Volume 92, Issue 9
Thursday, September 17, 1998
service with a smile
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Over the shoulder Sugar holder
Big Sugar tends to hit you right between the eyes, with mammoth distorted guitars layered over reggae and blues.
On Heated, the band's sound has continued to evolve from 1996's Hemi-vision. They are no longer just being carried by the phenomenal energy of guitarist Gordie Johnson. Kelly Hoppe, Gary Lowe and the latest drummer, Gavin Brown contribute to the mix.
Johnson's writing continues to improve. When you peel away the distortion from the over-driven Marshall stacks, you are left with great hooks, such as the laid back groove of "Girl Watcher" and "Round and Round (for CJ)."
Johnson on the guitar is amazing to listen to. On the first single, "The Scene," Johnson rips it up with an uncanny ability to fuse weird sounds created with his axe, while exhibiting a speed and range that can be matched by few others.
One of those few is Warren Haynes (of Allman Brothers and Government Mule fame), who joins Big Sugar on a powerful rendition of the BTO classic "Let It Ride," creating an assortment of distorted guitars and an even bigger sound.
Heated is an excellent album, but it is not Big Sugar's best work. It doesn't have the commercial appeal of Hemi-vision, nor does it break new ground. It has something for old and new fans alike.
From The Underground And Below
It should be no mystery the once hardcore, cult-appealing heavy metal music of the '80s has been on a diet in the '90s. But let the truth be known that this heavy metal still exists and there are bands still playing it.
Overkill is a prime example of the aforementioned brand of heavy metal music. Problem is, they're playing it in the '90s.
From The Underground And Below comes across as a two-dimensional brand of heavy metal. The album's production and the music itself lacks any sort of ingenuity or talent.
The most crucial factor in distinguishing "bad" heavy metal is the overly embraced E chord. The music on the album also lacks any depth. The use of two layered guitars and bass coinciding with the beat makes for very boring listening. Just throw in some lifeless guitar solos and pointless lyrics sung by a singer with his underwear on too tight and you have the recipe for Overkill.
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