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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Kid Bludo

Up and Away

Review by Tim Jones

Kid Bludo, from New York, is composed of Jim O'Brien (guitars and keys--he also writes the music and lyrics), Chuck Woodard (vocals), Jennifer Herbs (vocals), and Donny Howland (drums). The male vocals are heard much more frequently than the female. The band gets their name from their own super hero, Kid Bludo, the champion of 80's rock.

Their first album, Up and Away, is short (43 minutes), and stays true to the 80's sound the band is going for. A little more variety would have been welcome (most the songs go soft/hard/soft/hard/soft/hard) and some other instruments would've been nice. The female vocals are great (Jennifer Herbs doesn't get as much time as Chuck Woodard, and I found myself constantly wanting more of her). Chuck Woodard's voice is pretty standard 80's metal. The album's sound has elements of 80's hair metal, melodic rock, and progressive metal. Their influences include Boston, Journey, Dream Theater, and Dokken.

It’s nothing groundbreaking, but still a good album. Here's hoping they'll soon put out another album and include more of Jennifer Herbs on it. I recommend this to 80's metal fans, progressive metal fans, and fans of bands such as Boston, Styx, and Journey.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Stand in Line
The first track starts like a Gregorian chant. Guitars and bass soon join in, Scorpions-like, then the drums, and then harsh vocals, and it sounds like progressive death metal. Worries dissipate as more standard vocals come in--a decent voice accompanied by the death vocals and deep-throated female singing.
Up and Away
Soft guitar strumming and vocals are soon accompanied by a hard bass. Female vocals enter, and the mood lightens. The two voices sometimes meet and duet, but usually perform alone. There are some very beautiful, melodic points.
Stormy
This track has an undeniable sense of urgency attached to it. Fast moving guitars start and then bass joins. It grabs you fast in the introduction, and then backs off a bit. Harsher vocals come in sometimes, accenting the bass. The song ends with the same great urgency with which it started.
Only Time
Soft-strumming guitars start this quieter piece off. It's pretty much a power ballad. The male vocals dominate, but occasionally the female vocals come in and they duet. After about a minute, the bass comes, the male vocals turn into growls, and one realizes that this is still Kid Bludo. A nice electric guitar solo breaks up the song. It ends on the same light side it began with.
Steer
A very pretty keys-dominated introduction turns into a loud bass and guitar fest. Hard and harsh switches places with soft and pretty several more times during this track. A guitar solo interrupts the hardness. More than anything, I'm reminded of Van Halen.
Stranded
Distorted guitars start this one out. Jennifer Herbs comes in, accompanied by a deep bass, and then joined by the male vocals, which slowly take over. A nice guitar and keys instrumental provides a needed interlude, and Herbs again joins with her great voice. The soft parts here are very nice. The song ends with distorted guitars and melodic, soft singing.
Eternity
A soft-plucking introduction, and slow male vocals and a measured beat come in. I'm reminded at one point of Gabriel-era Genesis. That glimpse is fleeting, and most of the song is simpler and more acoustic. Spanish-sounding guitars come in for a few seconds, and sound great. Plucking guitar and male vocals end the track.
Hold the Line
Fast guitars and keys start this one off, and then it switches abruptly to soft music and female vocals. Just as quickly, it returns to harsh male vocals and fast guitars. Then back again to soft and female. It turns hard again, then we get a guitar solo, which is great stuff like always. More switching back and forth between hard and soft, and the song ends hard, with a bit of a Styx sound to it.
Need Your Love
This track, like most of the others, starts off soft, and then the bass comes in. It soon fades out, and Jennifer Herbs starts singing softly - very nice. I find myself hoping that she'll keep singing, but the male vocals cut in, and it's back to business as usual. It’s all bass, guitars, drums, and male vocals, occasionally accompanied by female singing. A guitar solo emerges, playing against a background of keys and then bass. The music becomes softer and the female vocals take over once more. Hard dominates until the softened quick conclusion.
Show Me the Way
Haunting guitars, nice and soft, start it. Male and female vocals come in, just as haunting. And then the hard bass and drums join them. Some of the guitar riffs here are very cool. Much of this song is softer and more haunting. I find myself wishing they'd left the whole track like that. A very 80’sish electric guitar solo cuts through the middle of the piece. This is one of my favorite tunes on the album, and it ends like it begins, pleasant yet haunting.
 
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