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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Neal Smith

Killsmith and the Greenfire Empire

Review by Gary Hill

Neal Smith is probably best known for his work with Alice Cooper. He was the drummer in the original Alice Cooper band. This album is a concept album. It has a pretty wide range of songs and styles. Just about everything is effective, though. The only thing that takes some getting used to is the vocals.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Blessings and Curses

This thing powers in with a seriously metallic stomper. This is great stuff.

Good Morning Blue Soul Land
With some honky tonk piano, this is a killer gospel tune meets rock and roller. It’s bouncy and a lot of fun. The saxophone really adds a lot to the piece.
Screaming Bloody Murder
Here’s another that’s almost metal. It also has some definite vibes that call to mind early Alice Cooper. This is a very twisted Christmas song.
The Killsmith Overture
The opening section on this has a lot of classical music built into it. Spanish guitar is one of the elements bringing a Latin flavor. As the arrangement fills out, it takes on a definite progressive rock leaning. There are non-lyrical female vocals in the mix, too. As it continues to work through, that prog element is more pronounced.
Palacio De Esmeraldas
Hard rocking and very dramatic, this is great stuff. It has some metal in the mix, but also more of that progressive rock. This is a stomper with a lot of class.
Greenfire Born of Poison
Here we have a hard rocker with both punk and metal in the mix.     
I Want Money
Although in a lot of ways this is similar to the last cut, a female sung verse and a prog oriented instrumental break set it apart. The chorus on this is definitely catchy.
Pandemonium
This powerhouse is noisy. It’s also got a lot of psychedelia built into it. It’s a pretty crazed cut in a lot of ways, really.
I Remember Blue Soul Land
More of a pop rocker, this one is good, but not as solid as the rest of the set.
Death to the King
Another hard rocker, this is theatrical and a little proggy at times.
Noelle No Wonder
This is another melodic rocker. It’s got some hints of prog rock. It’s also a Christmas song. It’s not one of the best here, though.
 
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