Classic: Shotgun Symphony, Self Titled, 1993

shotgun symphonyThe now sadly gone UK  label Now & Then has produced a lot of albums that I consider classics. One of those is this 1993 debut from USA outfit Shotgun Symphony. At the time they only released a couple of albums, but as they now have a website, maybe we can expect some more music from the guys. Which would be a good thing, as this is quite enjoyable.

On this disk we find 10 songs in the melodic rock vein. And all are classy. Produced by Ivan Gunn (Balance Of Power, etc.) this album is a prime example of how one can rise above the main playing field in a over crowded genre. First you need a singer with an identifiable voice who sings his melodies with ease. So bring in Tracy White, check. Then you need a solid rhythm section, that is not afraid to cross boundaries if the song benefits from it. So bring in Ron Sivulich Jnr on drums and Ed Avila on bass. Next is a keyboard player that can add rich textures, so welcome Charlie Calv. And last but not least, you need a guitar player that can riff, play massive chords, and still rips it up like the best of them, and Mike Maino does just that. Of course, many of the members sing backing vocals, we would not want it any other way right?

So add to this ten songs that put all these qualities to good use and you have achieved instant success. That is, if there was any justice in the world. As we all know, that is not the case, so far to few people actually are aware this album exists. Which is a crying shame that needs to be undone. So head on over to the website and start exploring! Or better, buy it to help inspire the band to give us more music…

Website

Classic: Damn The Machine, Self Titled, 1993

damn the machineThis album is as far as I know the only output from Damn The Machine to have ever seen the light of day. And as it is featured in the Classic Series, you can bet I think that is a crying shame.

Consisting of brothers Chris (guitars and backing vocals) and Mark (drums and backings) Poland, David Randi (bass and backings) and Dave Clemmons (lead vocals and guitars), this is a tasty bite of metal with quite some progressive twists. On a Fates Warning scale of things, so no über complex wall of notes and ever changing time signatures here. But true to the genre, with plenty of style and mood variations.

One of the more remarkable features of this album is the sound. While some may be put off by it’s dry nature, I really love this type of production when it is done this good. It is crystal clear, you hear it is metal yet is is far from heavy, it has a lot of room to breathe and is not compressed to death. Quite unique, even for 1993 standards.

Clemmons voice might be an acquired taste, but I dig him. Lots of harmony vocals, so in the total picture this comes out pretty melodic. And with a guitar player of Chris Poland calibre on board, you can be assured of tasty playing and non standard riffing. Only one flaw to detect: why only one album?

Classic: The Eric Gales Band, Picture Of A Thousand Faces, 1993

eric gales band - picture of a 1000 facesGuitar players that add a lot of groove and feel to their style can usually expect my admiration. Especially when they still know how to rock!
Guitarist and singer Eric Gales is one of those guys. Rooted in blues and funk, groove and feel are spread in abundance. And still this album manages to rock big time.

Take opener Paralyzed for example, Jimi Hendrix would dig it for sure. And the chorus, with it’s melodic phrases, keeps you humming for days. Next track Angel Of The Night starts with beautiful light tones. Gales’ voice sounds warm and the acoustic guitar adds a lot of colour to this song. The title track is again a more rocking affair. With a great bass riff by the way. Flea would have been proud. And did I mention Gales is damn fine soloist? Wah solo here, cool! Then God Only Knows follows. And what beautiful stratocaster sounds here. Chilling mood, with guitars to match. This grabs you by the throat big time.
Next is the Beatles tune I Want You (She’s So Heavy). More prove of the talent in this band. And so well done, it fits the rest of the album seamlessly.

The CD continues with this quality. So anyone into Hendrix infused rock with a lot of authenticity, check this out!