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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Thunderbird

Heavyweight

Review by Gary Hill

There is definitely an old school vibe to this. The music here occupies the same kind of territory as AC/DC, early Kiss, early Aerosmith, Van Halen and more. There is also often times a real vintage heavy metal vibe here. All in all this is quite an effective disc. I think it could have been made a bit stronger by a bit more change in terms of tempo or perhaps just by leaving one or two of the songs that are a bit too similar off the set. That said, though, it works quite well as it is. The “more of the same” thing really doesn’t do much to distract, and there is enough variety to keep it feeling fresh most of the time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Run for the Border
The crunch laden open section makes me think of AC/DC quite a bit. When they bring it to the song proper it’s more of a straightforward hard rock. The guitar solo section later, though, is very much in a real steel styled heavy metal sound. This is a cool tune however you slice it or label it.
Dog
I really dig the guitar riffing that drives much of this song. It’s another straightahead, stripped down hard rocker with a lot of class. It’s another that definitely leans along heavy metal borders.
Earth
Here we get another song that’s not a huge change. This is really a very cool metal song in a lot of ways. There are some melodic chordings, though. I dig the vocal arrangement a lot on this tune, too. The lyrics on this are very well grounded in double entendre.
Heavy Weight
Now this is a real change. It’s more of an alternative rocker. It has a more complex song structure. Sure, it’s still built with an aggressive energy and raw edge. It just has some unusual melodic elements and changes.
Grudge City
There is very much a 1970s hard rock element here. Yet there is also a bit of a metal edge. This has a great sound and a great vibe. It’s one of the most instantly accessible pieces here.
The Set-Up
There is a weird “set up” to this song. It is made up of the sounds of something going on, but I’m not sure just what. After that they tear in with a killer hard rocking riff. This is another with a lot of metal in the mix. It makes me think of something Krokus perhaps. The thing is, there’s a melodic section mid-track that’s almost jazz guitar based. They return to the earlier stuff with a  vengeance after that, though. It’s another great song.
Leave It Alone
This killer tune is very much an old school metal based stomper. It’s a bit like AC/DC or Krokus, but still different than either of those acts, too.
Big Stick
If you want the motherlode of double entendres, look no further than this song. It’s a very sexually oriented number, but all barely hidden in lyrics that could be read to mean something else. It’s also very much a heavy metal song, and a real stomper at that.
Today
This is more of a melodic rocker. The bulk of the song is an alternative rock ballad. There is a powered up section, though. This is good in that it provides some variety. It just feels a bit awkward, though. It’s definitely not as strong as the rest of the stuff here.
On the Prowl
Back into the hard rocking territory, this crunch rocker is a tasty one.
Baton Rouge
Now, this is another bit of real variety. The opening of this has a real down-home Robert Johnson type blues sound. After that intro, though, they turn things into a more typical (but quite strong) metal based rocker.
Sweet As
Here is another with some sexual content. It’s another straight hard rocker, too. It’s a good tune that feels like it could have come out in the late 1970s.
Okay
While this is definitely more of the same (and the formula is just starting to wear a bit thin), this cut holds up pretty well. The technical (and very tasty) guitar solo goes a long way toward elevating this thing.
Go
This is faster and rather fierce. It’s one of the most decidedly heavy metal based things here. That helps to make this one stand above the rest. This instrumental has a definite heavy metal vibe to it. Yet it also makes me think of Van Halen a bit.
This Sea
This cut is a real change. It has a lot of jazz built into it. It’s a mellow and quite melodic piece of music. It’s pretty and very effective. It’s one of the highlights of the set, really.
Bloody Mary
We’re back into more familiar hard rocking territory here. The thing is, the very variety of having the last couple tracks break things up really helps. This song doesn’t need it, though. It’s just so classy. This is metallic, hard rocking and based on some smoking riffing. It’s one of the best tunes here.
 
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