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Avant Gardener: Free Land of Zirconia

I want to begin this review by commenting on whether we really need another cover of "Helter Skelter." I know, I know, the song has lots of resonance across the history of rock, including within heavy metal circles. It's an edgy song—at least it was—the kind that also appeals to metal bands and metal fans. It also has famous associations with the Manson Family killings, one of those American events that continues to raise people's curiosity to this day. Still, those killings were horrible and probably don't deserve the attention they get. Here's the problem with "Helter Skelter": we've heard it too many times. I mean, Aerosmith covered it back in the mid-seventies and Motley Crue took a stab at it in the early eighties. When U2 covered it not much later, it was already played out. (By the way, I once heard U2 perform "Help!" at a show back in the eighties—they nailed it). I'm ready to hear different Beatles covers. The version of "Helter Skelter" that closes out this album is straightforward, unimaginative, and unnecessary.

Well. The rest of the album is actually fairly strong. These guys play in a fairly traditional style, one mostly made up of beefy barroom hooks and grooves. They describe themselves as stoner metal, probably the best designation. The music is slightly cleaner than other stoner bands, but it has plenty of solid punch and power. The vocals are strong and throaty, sometimes reminiscent of James Hetfield at his most demonstrative. I know people make fun of Hetfield these days, but his vocal style can be awfully engaging. With the exception of the Beatles cover, I thought it was fun. I've got to give this album credit for having some of the funkiest titles I've seen lately. This isn't the best album I've heard, but it has a road trip quality to it, the kind of music that perfectly suits the open road.

Track Listing:
1. The hornet
2. Scroll-bee-low
3. Shit on you crazy Zirconian
4. Sgt. Peacock and the Crow
5. Horse Sweet Horse
6. Bear-Belly
7. Sheep, Ostrich
8. Llittle Mice (I don't want no god)
9. Animals for Slaughter
10. Helter Skelter

Added: May 14th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 1729
Language: english

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