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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Eve’s Burden

The Black Letter

Review by Gary Hill

This is a good album from a group who seem like they are capable of a great album. When the disc works, it really rocks. Where it fails it’s for one of two reasons. The first is production. Several of the songs on the first half seem to have been thrown together on a back room mixing board by someone without much experience. Some of those tracks are quite good despite this set back – meaning with better production they’d be great. The other thing that is a downfall here is that the band tries to stretch their sound too far. Don’t get me wrong, variety is good, but when it feels contrived (as it does with their single track forays into rap metal and death metal) it just seems cheap. And that’s not good. With a little tweaking this band could certainly produce a masterpiece. I look forward to hearing what they do next as this is quite a good effort that shows potential for so much more.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Butterfly Net
There is a bit of metal ballad meets prog rock vibe to the melodic guitar that starts this thing. It works out from there into a smoking hot rocker. It's, at its heart, a power-ballad, I suppose. There are some soulful vibes to the vocals. The guitar over the top is quite expressive. There are some soaring sections to this song.
Goin' Up

The production is much better on this. The song feels like Stevie Ray Vaughn with a female singer. It’s a cool tune.

The Black Letter

A killer hard rocking number, this has a lot of blues in its mix. The production, though, takes another hit – feeling somewhere between the first two pieces in terms of quality.

Candy Girl

The production is better here, but the music isn’t as strong. This is good, it’s just that it’s sort of a generic hard rocking poppy kind of piece. It’s well played, but rather average in terms of content. That said, I do like the guitar solo a lot.

Love Keeps Me Hanging On

The production weighs heavily on the intro here, but it improves very quickly and this is one of the highlights of the set. It’s a little bit prog rock, a little bit country – and all cool. This is one of the most diverse arrangements on the set and works quite well.

The Tower

Here’s a smoking hard rocker that’s got hints of funk and heaping helpings of the blues. It’s one of the highlights of the set and the production is among the best on the set.

Wildcat

Now, here’s something completely different. This comes in with the crunchiest sounds we’ve heard so far. Lest you think it’s going to be pure metal, though, this is rap metal – yep, that’s right, it’s a rap song. This is strong, the production is near the top of the pile, but I’m just not sure it fits all that well with what we’ve heard to this point. It almost seems a bit too much like stretching to get a different audience. That said, the guitar solo is pretty cool.

Fly-take Me Away

This is interesting. It’s got an almost jazz oriented approach at times and yet rocks out quite well. There’s a bit of a groove to it, but there’s also some crunch. The production on this one is quite good.

The Fame Game

More mainstream this has some country built into it, but overall it’s a pop rock number. It’s not as generic as “Candy Girl,” though – but cut from somewhat the same cloth.

Windows Of Heaven

Here’s a rock ballad that works quite well. It’s perhaps a bit too AOR for my tastes, but not any more so than some of The Beatles music. There’s a great fiery guitar solo and they have fully purged the production problems here.

Still Learnin Love

In some ways this one is in the same vein as the one that came before it. Still, it’s like they upped the ante a bit here. This is more intense and more powerful.

Black Lightning

As this enters it feels like some kind of metal ballad. They fire out into some serious prog rock styled music from there, though. I think I’d probably call this one “progressive rock.” It’s evocative and powerful and arguably my favorite cut on show here. We also get some killer retro keyboards. The track reminds me a lot of something from Lana Lane.

Ten Thousand Years

There’s a 1950’s sort of texture on this poppy acoustic based number. This is good, but not really my thing. There’s a bit too much “girl group” to it.

California Rain

A powered up rock ballad, this is a strong piece. It’s got some killer guitar work and some real emotion packed into it. The production problems from earlier in the disc are really all gone by this point – we’ve not seen them raise their head in quite a while. There’s a lot of blues in this number.

With A Golden Ring

This is somewhat like the last one, but with a more pure pop texture. That said, the smoking guitar solo elevates it.

Peace To A Fool

Here is another point where they seem to try a little too hard to stretch the boundaries. There’s a death metal “Peace to a fool” chorus on this alternated with a mellower hard rock motif. The thing is, ignoring that Otep like part this works pretty well. That just seems like a cheap reach.

Euphoria
They saved one of the best pieces for last. It’s a bluesy sort of rocker that’s one part Heart, one part Led Zeppelin one part Pink Floyd and one part progressive rock.
 
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