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Hideous Sun Demons, The: Not So Hideous

Touring as the David Lee Roth band on Dave's Magna Carta release Diamond Dave, James LoMenzo (Bass), Toshi Hiketa (Guitar), and Ray Luzier (Drums) formed The Hideous Sun Demons. The music on this disc really smokes. On this album there are the familiar sounds of the David Lee Roth band which featured Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, and Greg Bissonette, however, what do you expect? These guys must be influenced by classic albums such as Eat em and Smile and Skyscraper, being that they currently play with the former front man of Van Halen known as Diamond Dave.

On this album, guitarist Toshi Hiketa, really smokes. Although heavily influenced by Vai, Hiketa's jazzy/funky guitar playing tends to separate this DLR band from the original lineup of Vai, Sheehan, and Bissonette. I was also very impressed with James Lomenzo's bass playing on the album. He isn't quite a Billy Sheehan or a Tony Levin, but he does an excellent job of holding down a groove. Lomenzo's style kind of reminds of Matt Bisonette's bass playing. It's like, he does a great job, but he's no Billy. Then again, who is? Having played with White Lion and Zakk Wylde's Pride and Glory, Lomenzo really offers a wide range of influences to this band. I think in time he will become better and better with age. I mean, he was basically a 4/4 quarter note thumber with White Lion, but he started to really shine with his groove and chops on the Pride And Glory album. Now, being that he is playing with the DLR band he is really starting to grow into a mature & solid bassist in the music industry.

I was very impressed with the drumming on this album. Ray Luzier does a great job of holding down the groove. He also does a great job of mixing in his fills. He is not overly flashy, but he does just enough to compliment the music. His drumming is definitely influenced by Bissonette, but he also shows off a bit more of a jazz/funk style of drumming on this album.

This is some great instrumental music, and if you are a fan of the old David Lee Roth band then you will definitely enjoy this album. Some of the tracks that really stand out in my mind are "Elevation", "Rain", "Mosquito", and "The Maze". Also, the fifth track on the album, "The Mummy" really kicks your ass. I really enjoyed the Liquid Tension Experiment type riff in the beginning. But seriously, there is no song that is better than the other on this album. You just have to listen to listen it for yourself to decide. Definitely check out this album.

Track Listing
1) Elevation (3:45)
2) Rain (4:54)
3) Osaka Funk (4:37)
4) A New Day (5:35)
5) The Mummy (4:58)
6) Demon?s Blues (2:26)
7) Mosquito (3:34)
8) S.O.C. (5:13)
9) Brainwashed (5:55)
10) 4 Seasons (4:10)
11) The Maze (5:29)
12) Purple Morning Drive (6:05)

Added: November 13th 2005
Reviewer: Josh Petraglia
Related Link: Magna Carta Website
Hits: 3240
Language: english

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Hideous Sun Demons, The: Not So Hideous
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-13 13:39:05
My Score:

The Hideous Sun Demons is a great instrumental trio formed by three of rock's most prolific and successful musicians. Ray Luzier on drums and James Lomenzo bass were also part of the DLR band when they decided to hook up with Japanese guitar virtuoso Toshi Hiketa in order to write a totally freeform jazz/fusion record that is unafraid to dive into southern rock, blues, and Latin as well. Given all three of them taught music at various schools including GIT and Osaka School of Music, their amazing chops should come as no surprise. Yet I still think it is fascinating to hear what these guys are capable of technically, since you've never heard James Lomenzo cutting it loose in his former bands White Lion, Slash's Snakepit or Black Label Society. Similarly, Ray Luzier shows everyone what an insanely talented drummer he is working the drums passionately and with ultimate perfection. From glistening jazzy cymbals to impressive polyrhythms, Luzier is a truly gifted musician and it's him who drives half of the songs. I've never heard any of Hiketa's albums before, but his playing on this eponymous release suggests he is a very fluid and articulate player with immense technique.

"Elevation" is a short song that immediately introduces the trio's heavy fusion rock underpinning, packed with an accented bass bottom by Lomenzo and excellent sweeping. The Hideous Sun Demons' songs are heavy and melodic at the same time, marked by highly technical guitar licks thar border on rock, jazz, Latin and blues, always leaving enough space for the band's rhythmic drive. Luzier's drumming on "Rain" is so amazing that I can't remember being so impressed by a drummer in a long time. How a drummer can overplay so much without pushing the song out of its musical route is beyond me. This song also has great fusion bass arpeggios, stuff you'd normally expect to hear on a Niacin disc. On "Osaka Funk", guest player Chris Juergensen joins Toshi Hiketa in a slow yet very dynamic funk rock track that allows the bass and drums to shine gloriously. Hiketa reminds me a bit of a less playful Steve Vai, but he is also deeply rooted in a blues rock pattern and exhibits it on the more southern rock inspired tunes: the somewhat acoustic and slow "A New Day", the very brief full-on jazz "Demon's Blues" (except for its blues solo), and the wide-open jam session on "The Maze", with a heavy southern rock flavour. Besides its crazed jazz improvisation, this song is also highlighted by a terrific melodic drive and even some whistles that emulate the same melody. The bass-rich "Mosquito" also marries slow jazz elements with an intricate drum work and choppy guitar licks, while "S.O.C." stands out for its brilliant percussive beats. "Brainwashed" is a smoking fast fusion jam, featuring frantic guitar playing (again with a bluesy lead solo) and classic rock style immediacy. The trio also explores some New Age territory on "4 Seasons", a pretty acoustic piece driven by dreamy melodies and brush drums.

The Hideous Sun Demons' debut album is well worth a listen. I think anyone who likes fusion-inspired instrumental rock that is both intricate and complex as well as surprisingly easy to enjoy should look into it.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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