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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Hard Cider

Don’t Dwell on It

Review by Gary Hill

These guys have created an intriguing set here. The production makes it clear that this is a DIY set. Musically, it’s all pretty solid. A few cuts have trouble in terms of the vocals, though. No matter that, this is a disc that shows a lot of promise. With a little fine tuning, this could be an incredible band. As it is, they are pretty darn good, if a bit unpolished.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Intravenous Four

The guitar that brings this into being has a real old school metal sound. They power out from there. This has a real garage band element, but it makes me think of early Kiss in a lot of ways. Still, I think that to some degree comparisons to Motorhead wouldn’t be completely out of the question. Although this lacks a little something in terms of production, it really rocks.

Salvation on a String
The opening segment of this has an almost prog rock edge. They work out into a jam that has that same garage sound as the first one, but this is quirky. It’s less of a straightahead rocker. It really does feel like something that would have been recorded in the mid-70s in a lot of ways. This is not instantly catchy, but it’s so cool.
This cut is high energy punk rock. In a lot of ways it works pretty well. The thing is, the vocals sometimes go far off-key and it makes it a little hard to take at that point. I do love the killer bass work on this piece. This does get a minor parental advisory on the lyrics.
Music in My Head
More of a straightahead rocker, this works better in terms of the vocals than the previous cut did. It’s not nearly as interesting musically, though. It definitely has a 1970s garage band kind of sound. The drums are pretty prominent on this thing.
Musically this is one of the coolest cuts here. It has a great balance between a jazzy psychedelic mellow movement and a harder rocking section. The big problem here are the vocals. They are way off key and really get in the way of enjoyment of the piece. It’s a shame because this could have been the best song here.
This is such a cool tune. It’s very much a punk rock styled thing. Yet, there is some of that vintage rock sound, too. In fact, in some ways this feels like something that might have come from someone like The MC5 or Blue Cheer. It’s one of the strongest pieces here.
Prelude (Changes)
Starting with an intricate mellow section, this powers out into some killer hard rock. There is a punk edge to this for sure. It definitely scores a parental advisory, too. The vocals are a little rough, but it works pretty well for this piece. It drops later to a slow section that leans toward metal.
Cold-Hearted B***h
As you can probably guess from the edit on the title, this gets a parental advisory. There is a jazzy kind of vibe here, mixed with a punk rock edge. In some ways this makes me think of The Stray Cats a bit. The instrumental section mid-track is a full on jazz treatment. It’s a bit odd, but very cool.
The Devil
This definitely has a lot of that jazz element at play. It’s a really weird song, but in a cool way. The vocals here have a tendency to wander off key, too, but for an arrangement like this, it’s part of the charm. I love the harmonica solo, too. This is strange, but so effective at the same time.
No More
No frills hard rock, this song is okay, but not really anything all that special. It does have some intriguing guitar bits, though.
Play with My Head
More of a punk rock styled tune, this is cool. It has some killer metallic jamming later in the piece, too. The bass line makes me think of Flea at times.
Here’s another cut that’s just sort of okay. It is hard rocking and a little strange. It just doesn’t really grab me. I think maybe the disc would have been better if they’d put this one somewhere else in the order.
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