By Cook Young, June 1998
Agnostic Front, Something's Gotta Give (1998 Epitaph)
Agnostic Front broke into the music scene in 1981 and quickly established
themselves as one of New York's premiere hardcore bands. In 1993, the band
decided to take a respite which ultimately lasted five years. Now, with
Something's Gotta Give, Agnostic Front are back in all their raging glory.
The current line-up comprises founding members vocalist Roger Miret and guitarist
Vinny Stigma, along with veteran bassist Rob Kabula and drummer Jimmy
"the kid" Collette. Although they don't necessarily break new
ground on this release, they prove they've lost little spark with music that's
fast and furious but somehow catchy and, at times, surprisingly
tuneful. Guest stars include label mates Rancid, who provide backup vocals on
Grinspoon, Licker Bottle Cozy (1998 Universal Records)
Named after a Harvard professor known for attempting to decriminalize
marijuana, the three-year-old Australian band Grinspoon have caught the
media's attention -- but because of their music not their name. The band's
debut CD, Licker Bottle Cozy features frontman Phil Jamieson's
attractive and melodic vocals over pounding, razor-sharp, albeit
sometimes repetitious chords. Somehow, the combination works well. Perhaps
it's bassist Joe Hansen's slick style, which goes a long way toward enhancing the band's
sound. Although their music is unique, given that they're new in town, I'll
describe their sound for you as similar to Tool, Bush or Henry Rollins,
all of whom Grinspoon have opened for.
Boiler, The New Professionals (1998 Mayhem Records)
Hard driving is not the term for Boiler. A pack of jackhammers knawing
through mammoth slabs of concrete better describes this three-man band
from Ithaca, New York. Although they hail from a college town and are
just premiering their debut album, The New Professionals: Rules for
Industrial Slammitude & Groovination (there's a mouthful for ya), the
members of Boiler are actually seasoned professionals, having worked
individually in the past with acts such as Pro-Pain, Alice in Chains,
Soundgarden, and Garbage. In forming Boiler, the band members have created a
slow-grinding, forceful sound which vocalist/guitarist Marc Mays compares to
a live boxing match. Listeners beware, Boiler is not for the meek.
Fear Factory, Obsolete (1998 Roadrunner Records)
I'm not sure whether Fear Factory's Obsolete is a pretentious,
migraine-inducing affair or a cool collection of bone-crushing,
techno-metal vignettes. I guess it's a little of both. The band is tight
and the vocal delivery does sound convincing, however, the songs are a bit
repetitious, particularly on the choruses. (How many times can one listen
to "I am the way. Prepare for salvation," before the off button gets
employed.) Fear Factory has been on the
Aggro-rock scene since their
formation in LA in 1990. Obsolete is their third studio release.
On the upside, the mix of techno and thrash does make for some interesting
effects on the CD; the musicianship is fine, as is Greg Reely's production.
Gary Numan guests on the title track.
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