Nuclear Blast America
Lung Fu Mo She
E-Magine Entertainment Inc.
Vanderhoof, an almost-great band led by a truly great man, Kurt Vanderhoof, perhaps better known as the guitarist in Seattle thrash masterminds Metal Church. The Metal Church reunion, was, in a word, great. Peace of Mind was a great record, a seamless amalgamation of European power metal and Californian thrash, released under the auspices of Nuclear Blast, the home of Manowar. Nuclear Blast’s interest in the work of Mr. Vanderhoof extended beyond that of Metal Church, and now we have the first domestic release of Vanderhoof’s self-titled labor of love/side project. In interviews conducted around the release of Peace of Mind, Vanderhoof made it clear (even in Ink 19) that he had no truck with current “heavy music trends,” finding the whole affair depressing. He was clearly pining for a return to a different era, a time of triple-album concept records, gatefold sleeves, song suites that meandered and mulled over otherworldly matters, and perhaps a grandiose stage costume or two. Styx? Yeah. Yes? Good heavens, yeah. You’ve gotta admire the chutzpah of a compact disc that begins with the sound of a stylus touching down on vinyl. But does it stand the test of ages? Well, I lent the record to my pal Bruce, an expert on all things Styx, and his reaction was not as favorable as I’d hoped. Seems he confirmed a creeping suspicion of mine: Vanderhoof’s reach extends their grasp at this point in time. The grungy guitar sounds jar very uncomfortably against the retro organ and synth sounds, and vocalist Damon Albright has really gotta work on his Dennis DeYoung-isms some more. On the other hand, I gotta tell you that I enjoyed the record as a welcome break from the music-as-this-and-that which is currently clogging up the arteries of impressionable listeners everywhere. Perhaps attempting to resurrect hoary Progressive Rock for the new Millennium is the most punk rock move of all. Or perhaps not.
On the other hand, Marz is the worst rap-metal shit I’ve ever heard in my life•