Volume 94, Issue 73

Thursday, February 1, 2001


Life on Canada's hip hop frontline

Sylvia is one for the dogs

An essential album

An essential album

Various Artists
O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The new Coen brothers film, O Brother,Where Art Thou? has been receiving a remarkable amount of acclaim, even being hailed as the best work of their long and illustrious career.

Although that's a debatable claim, one indisputable fact is that the movie's soundtrack is an instant classic.

A collection of both traditional and modern country, bluegrass and blues, the album contains some of the finest American roots music ever recorded.

The soundtrack ranges from vintage recordings like Harry McLintock's delightful "Big Rock Candy Mountain," to new compositions like "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow," which appears in four different, but wonderful renditions.

There's a definite spiritual bend to the album, and much of the music would not be out of place on a gospel recording. Best of these are Alison Krauss' beautiful "Down To The River To Pray" and "O Death," by Ralph Stanley. It may be impossible to listen to this album without getting chills.

–Aaron St. John

Carnival Diablos

Anyone who declares that metal is dead deserves to be clubbed.

However, Canadian-based band Annihilator has done the world a favour, by releasing the musical version of this violent act. How beautiful it is.

Annihilator's sound recalls the glory days of metal – namely, the mid-80s Bay Area thrash scene created and perfected by the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. The production on this record, however, remains decidely modern, further solidifying Carnival Diablos' power.

As for the tracks themselves, album-opener "Denied" is an old-school thrashfest, while "The Perfect Virus" has an undeniable central groove, which in 1985 would have propelled an arena-full of mullet-wearing headbangers into a frenzy.

The highlight of this disc, however, is "Hunter Killer." Perfomed in an odd-time signature, with multiple guitar-tracks layered on top of each other, "Hunter Killer" is a sonic and technical gem.

Further proof that metal can tread the ground between the traditional and innovative in the year 2001.

–David Perri

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Copyright The Gazette 2000