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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Painkiller Hotel

Black Roses

Review by Gary Hill

The music on this disc is catchy and good. That’s about the only real compliments to be bestowed. Don’t get me wrong this is a catchy CD. And that’s about it. It is one of the most generic examples of modern pop rock I’ve heard. It could have been created by any number of nameless faceless modern bands and sound exactly the same as this. It reminds me of an old comedy bit talking about the food from a certain fast food restaurant. The skit said that it all came from one type of glop – burger – glop, fries – glop, Styrofoam container – glop. Well, that’s pretty much the story of a lot of modern pop rock, this included. It’s tasty, but it all tastes the same with no form of uniqueness or character.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
How Was I Supposed To Know
Drums lead things out here. From there the guitar join and we're delivered into an alternative pop rock kind of sound. It is a solid tune, if not Earth-shattering.
Brightest Flame
This rocks a bit harder. It’s nothing Earth-shattering or especially unique. It’s just a solid modern rock sound that seems quite generic.
Voice In My Head

Again, there’s nothing really establishing the band as anything unique here, but this song is a stronger one than the two that preceded it. This is entertaining if not unique.

You Don't Know What You're Missing
Guess what we have here? Another modern rocker that could have come from any number of bands and still sounded pretty much the same - Nickelback, anyone?
Becoming Someone Else
This one is based on a quite a cool riff and has some tasty musical textures, but it really sounds like Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains. Well written and performed it just lacks any kind of unique character. 
All I Ever Wanted
More melodic, this one is better than some of the other material here and a retro sounding, classic rock tinged jam mid-track is the first glimpse of a unique character we’ve had on the album. I’d say that this is the best song so far.
Lead Me On

The mellowest piece so far, this is arguably the most generic on show here. It’s just kind of boring.

Changes
This rocker is good, but again quite generic. This one is even a bit too much like the rest of the album and really suffers for that reason. It’s the first time the formula has shown signs of wearing thin.
Weakness
Suffering a lot from a generic song structure, the guitar solo segment is the only thing that really saves it.
So Far Away
Is there any way they could have created a less interesting and unique piece of music to end the set? I doubt it. This is a boring and trite pop dittie that is the weakest number on show here. While “Weakness” is literally weak, it would have made a much better closer than this. Wow – talk about ending with a whimper.
 
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