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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Famous Underground

Famous Underground

Review by Gary Hill

I could see putting this one under the heavy metal banner. For me, though, it’s more just straight hard rock. That said, a few songs cross heavily over the border into metal territory. This is quite a good set that has tendencies towards things like Guns ‘N Roses, Alice in Chains and 80s hair metal.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review

The riff that opens the album is awesome. It’s part heavy metal and part alternative rock. It’s all cool.

While the riff that drives this one might not be as compelling as the one on the first track, it’s close. This is another smoking hot rocker that works very well. The alternative rock vibe here is stronger, but there is more metal in the guitar solo section.
Dead Weight
As this opens it seems the disc might hold to the “third song is a ballad” philosophy. I suppose you could consider this to be a power ballad, but I’d personally think that the hard rocking groove takes it out of the ballad territory. There is a rap-metal vibe here in some ways. It’s a cool rocker, though. It’s also one of the more diverse tracks here with a good contrast between rocking and mellow and melodic.
Love Stands Still
Alternative rock blends with 80s metal on this rocker. It’s not as strong as the songs that preceded it and the formula is starting to wear a little thin, anyway.
Forever and a Day
Here’s the ballad. This one feels a lot like 1980s metal.
I’m reminded quite a bit of the kind of music Guns ‘N’ Roses did on their first album here, but there are also some nods to things like Alice In Chains here.
Wheel of Misfortune
This one crosses over into pure metal. It has some fairly extreme vocals at times, too.
Mommy Is a Junkie
More extreme rock, this isn’t quite pure metal, but it sure has a lot of metal in it. It’s just not a very strong song.
On Broken Wings
Here we get another power ballad. This one again has a lot of that 1980s metal sound to it. This is actually one of the strongest cuts here. It has a powered up guitar solo section that rocks out very well, too.
Bullet Train
This smoking hot rocker makes me think of Alice In Chains quite a bit. That said, the guitar solo section is more in line with heavy metal.
Hell to Pay
There is almost a 90s Sabbath meets 90s Kiss vibe to this, but with a little Brutal Planet Alice Cooper blended into it. It’s another killer rocker and actually one of the strongest on the disc.
Dead Weight (Raw and Un-Plugged)
An acoustic take on the earlier track, I like this one a lot. In fact, it might even work better in this format.
On Broken Wings (Alternate Version)
This alternate takes is more pure mellow ballad. It’s also quite powerful.
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