Saturday, October 24, 2009

Uncommon Cunning Linguists

THE LOVING TONGUE – “Shadows Of Innocence” CD ’09 (Private, Australia) – You know, words of great wisdom can sometimes be found written on the men’s room walls. Ok, and women’s room…gotta be equal and all that. But really, it’s true. I once, while taking a piss, glanced at the ceiling of the men’s room at Doo Dah’s in Fells Point, Maryland and read the following: “If a glutton is guilty of gluttony, then God is an iron.” Well, of course, we went round & round about that one, eventually coming to the conclusion that the “iron” meant that God is a practitioner of irony. Ah yes…alcohol and all it’s clarifying properties. But let’s go back to that work “irony,” anyway, and it’s adjective form, “ironic.” Personally, I find it ironic that an album like this new one from THE LOVING TONGUE is released in the same year as something as grotesquely miserable as the cow pie issued under the moniker Heaven & Hell. The reason I find it ironic is that the Heaven & Hell was built up in a manic furor of hype that would have had the listening public believe it was going to be some sort of instant classic, a hallmark of melodic doom metal that could stand as one with the Black Sabbath album of the very same title, Rainbow’s “Rising” and other such residents of the holy tabernacle. And while it ended up being anything but (even though the horde of Sab apologists were there to defend it’s flaccid contents), this lil’ ol’ band from Australia has put out a record that Messrs. Iommi, Dio, Butler & Appice ought well be schooled by.

See, THE LOVING TONGUE is a 3-piece unit from Down Under and with “Shadows Of Innocence,” they’ve not only produced the best entry in their 4 album stint thusfar but a highlight of 2009. THE LOVING TONGUE is composed of Jimmy Petkoff (guitar, vocals), Big Tom Petkoff (bass & backing vocals) & Joe Toscano (drums) and I gotta tell you, they raise a ruckus that belies their number. “Tears Of A Unicorn” is a swirling power metal number that sets the tone for the entire record. Melodic yet forceful as hell, it takes flight on the near-orchestral strength of this band and then hits the stratosphere with the vibrato-laden vox of Jimmy P as well as his superb guitar work. Throughout the course of this lengthy disc, Petkoff’s axemanship is a source of constant admiration from this listener. If you can imagine a guy with the riffs of Blackmore, the tone of Stevie Ray (yeah, he plays a Strat…cool to see in metal these days) and the lead virtuosity of Uli Roth, you might have an idea. Yeah, he’s good, man! Behind Jimmy’s sterling 6-strings & killer pipes, Big Tom & Joe lay down a stone-solid rhythm section. Of course, it wouldn’t matter worth a tinker’s damn without songs and the 14 on offer here are top-drawer. Averaging around 6 minutes apiece, there’s plenty room for the aforementioned soloing from Petkoff, but there’s melody and hooks aplenty. Weak links aren’t something you’ll find on this record, but a couple highlights for me are the soaring “Temple Of Love,” “Hard One To Love” (with Jimmy yelling “Guitar now!” before a nasty solo) and the purely gorgeous ballad “Written In The Stars.” When I think about the fact that an album of this quality is so virtually unknown (for instance, Bible Of The Devil are like front page news compared to this unit), I suppose that is one of the ultimate ironies. And…um, Tony, Ronnie, Geezer & Vinnie…how’s about that cover of “Heaven & Hell” (Track 10)? Somehow I doubt you’ll see THE LOVING TONGUE covering “Bible Black” on their next CD. Lick It Up

NOTE: Not only are THE LOVING TONGUE’s previous discs worth checking out as well, but also investigate Jimmy Petkoff’s even more doom-metal unit, RAVEN BLACK NIGHT.

No comments: