Sunday, November 1, 2009

Golden Colorado

SMAUG – “Path Of The Crow” Demo CD EP ’09 (Private, US) – If you’ll recall, last year I did a nice write-up and interview with Colorado metal fiends, SMAUG, giving their debut full-length (self-released) platter “…As My Blood Runs Cold” a helluva review. If you don’t recall, well then, I guess that goes to show you that you’re memory’s shot and you need to take a dose of ginseng or something. But, since I have a tendency to be nice and forgiving at times, I’ll fill you in. SMAUG are from the Rocky Mountain State and in 2008, they produced a platter of lengthy, raw and ass-busting metal epics that took me back to the days of the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. Beards & long hair flying (well, the pics would indicate this), they filled that disc with gnarled riff-after-riff, mid-range vox and dueling lead guitars that took their cue from the best of Tipton & Downing. So, suffice it to say that a nice warm feeling of…ok, a nice cold feeling of metal from the mountains washed over me when the latest brown package from the return address of “SMAUG” tumbled out of my mailbox recently. This time a 3 song EP, SMAUG have upped their ante in a couple ways. To begin with, while I loved the 8 & 9 minute opuses of “…Blood…,” this time we see the band streamlining things into the 5-6 minute range and the focusing only serves to increase the volatility. “Plight Of The Converts” opens on just a massive stuttering mid-paced riff and what I love immediately is the production. It is as nasty and haggard as hell while still retaining a world of grace and melody. When the song shifts into a galloping coda wherein guitarists Jeff and Keith simply unload the snarling lead goods, my ass is up and bangin’! This reaction (which is being stared at, in a cross of awe and disgust by my kids) only continues with the metal-thrashing mad chainsaw of “Onward To Glory.” This one takes me back to the days of “Kill ‘Em All” and Exciter’s first 2 records (John Ricci was god!). Pounding metal, indeed. It all comes to a super-cool close with the title cut, also featuring vocalist Alton’s best pipes thusfar. Clocking in at just under 7 minutes, “Path Of The Crow” has the feel of a lost jam between old Priest and embryonic Metallica and when the harmony lead kicks in around 5:17, it’s like an unholy marriage between “Stained Class” & Lizzy’s “Black Rose.” How can you fucking beat that?! For a vintage metal fan, you really can’t and all I can say is that after hearing this trio of new SMAUG muthas, I’m mega-psyched for full-lengther # 2. Something To Crow About

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