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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

The Hidden Hand

The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote

Review by Gary Hill

The easy header for this band is “stoner rock” and it fits pretty well. They do a great job of creating their own flavor of that genre – and frankly I like pretty much all music in that style. Why? Well, I’ve always been a huge fan of Black Sabbath and the genre of stoner rock is really so much Sabbath that any fan of Iommi and company will be sure to dig that genre. They do stretch things out quite a bit, but always keep it tasty.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Purple Neon Dream

Moving slowly, this is heavy and very tasty with an almost Southern rock element to it. The vocals bring in a stoner rock texture.

Someday Soon
The intro on this is uber heavy and plodding and feels a lot like early Black Sabbath. The vocals somehow make me think a bit of Spinal Tap, but musically this is a slow moving and especially Sabbath-like piece of killer sludge.
Dark Horizons
To my ear this killer sounds kind of like some combination of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and early Rush. It’s got a lot of energy and is built on some tasty riffing. The guitar solo section is a real screamer with a definite classic hard rock sound. 
Spiritually Bereft
More slow, plodding, Sabbath-like heaviness with rather Spinal Tap like vocals makes up this number. We get some especially tasty riffing here on this piece. There’s an almost psychedelically tinged jam later that’s quite cool. 
The Lesson
There’s much more of a psychedelic element here. That said, this is purely metal. We get a killer faster paced jam later that makes me think of Born Again era Sabbath a bit. References to Captain Beyond wouldn’t be unwarranted, but a much heavier version of that band. They throw a killer wah guitar solo into the jam later. That’s a nice touch and while so much of this track (like the album) is based on the sound of Black Sabbath it’s nice to see them move it in new directions. Somehow the vocals on this remind me a bit of WASP.
Majestic Presence
A real scorcher, there’s a definite classic rock sound to this. It’s got a lot of that old school hard rock element blending with a more pure metal texture. I like this track a lot. It’s a bit different from some of the rest in that it’s less pure metal and less Sabbath influenced, but it’s no less retro. The guitar solo is especially tasty. They take us out into space rock for the closing section. 
The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote
The title track pounds in with a sound that makes me think of a metal version of old Montrose. The vocals feel like what you’d get if Blackie Lawless worked with a Dio styled delivery. All in all this is another great cut with a rubbery sort of classic rock riff based structure. I can also make out hints of Kiss here. 
Lightning Hill
Musically this reminds me of very early Judas Priest (think “Cheater” – there’s even harmonica here) with a more metal edge. That said, the vocals are probably the most Blackie Lawless-like of anything here. 
Broke Dog
Uber hard edged, this reminds me of King Crimson meets Rush and Black Sabbath – at least musical. The vocals are kind of a punky Blackie Lawless delivery. There’s an odd little jam tacked onto the end of this – almost like a new song, but very short.
Slow Rain
Now, this is something quite a bit different. It’s still definitely metal – and definitely in the stoner variety, but there is so much progressive rock woven into this that on a different album I would certainly consider it a prog rock number. The swirling riff is intriguing and with a different sort of sound on it would be at home on just about any progressive rock album (I’m particularly thinking Nektar, though). There a couple drum solos in the midst of this piece, too.
 
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