Those Peabodys, The Roller, Anew Revolution, and Sweet Skull
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., June 6, 2008
Late last decade, when the Sword's J.D. Cronise swung an axe in Those Peabodys, antipodal high voltage bolted the brand. On rock-solid third LP Animal Saturday (Little Mafia), the Austin trio packs a concrete beating while shading its monochromatic wallet-chain rawk with black and purple tonal concussions. Adam Hatley and Clarke Wilson bang and mash mere inches ahead of hollering drum quarry Erik Conn, whose rolling thunder sunders the opening title track, hornet-breached sting "Ting Ting Jahe," and the steel-toed swagger of "Suggestions in Seduction." Acoustic respite waxes penultimate on "Hot Money v. Easy Credit," which preps the demolition ferocity of closer "Cheetahbear." Grizzly. Recorded by Swordsman Brian Richie at his Folkvang Studios and Austin DIY superintendent Mike Vasquez at Sweatbox, the Roller's eponymous debut on Monofonus Press lowers a vox-shredded boom of collapse plodding toward doom. Variance crumbles to a minimum, but so does letup. Closer "Rattle of the Shaman" even shakes loose a (meat) hook. Fronted by former Madonna Maverick (Records) Joey Duenas of last great Back Room hope Ünloco, local quartet Anew Revolution recorded debut disc Rise in L.A. for Koch Records with Avenged Sevenfold/Godsmack radio slicker Mudrock. Commercial heavy melodies can't douse "California Burning," but a cover of New Order's "True Faith" and the second-half sensitivity of "Beautiful," "The Lonely," and "Love to Hate" out these eyeliner metal detectors same as cell-phone ballad "Let Go." Despite the Euro death-metal font and Gene Simmons-goes-Norwegian snapshot backing its debut, Sweet Skull scrubs its vox clean as Burning Brides ("Ride the Faders") and even STP ("Politician"), tempos galloping. "Redline" digs in more ample hooks, rejoined by redline instrumental "Gecko," which buffets a jet-ski yank in three exhilarating minutes. "Bobby Peru" gets lewd, the title track spews nitroglycerine, and though there's more needless Scott Weiland on non-L7 hopper "Wargasm" and even slopping over onto closer "Think For You," Sweet Skull scores a heat seeker.