CD Reviews

Crisis Works, Escape Velocity and A Godlike Inferno


Young Legionnaire Crisis Works (Wichita)

With members possessing impeccable rock credentials from previous Brit bands (Yourcodenameis: milo, Bloc Party), trio Young Legionnaire discharges the most satisfying, full-on, testicles-out rock debut of 2011. Crisis Works is a concept album about manufactured crises (economic collapse, endless wars) that the power elite orchestrate so as to more easily dismantle a paper-thin safety net that keeps people from dying like animals in the street. Big words aside, this record kicks butt front to back, from the nighttime terror-drive of “Twin Victory,” crammed with one headlong riff after another, to the skull-smacking, open guitar chords of “Futures Finished,” brandishing a vocal hook that never grows dull. No downbeat, Bic-flicking ballads to drag momentum either, just the soundtrack for a white-knuckled ride to California and back. Fans of … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Foo Fighters will relish this raucous blast of maximum guitar rock ’n’ roll. Crank this MF. ★★★☆☆


Zombi Escape Velocity (Relapse)

Upon unsentimental analysis, Pittsburgh synth-rock instrumental duo Zombi—bassist/keyboardist Steve Moore and drummer Anthony Paterra—succeeds in just one respect: injecting some punk/metal attitude into the sonic realm first mapped out by Krautrock pioneers Tangerine Dream and Italian horror-movie soundtrack band Goblin. Still, Zombi’s contribution remains dazzling and inventive. Escape Velocity is pure Max Headroom-era car-chase sequences, from the Jan Hammer-esque title track to the Rush-meets-Vangelis splendor of “Slow Oscillations.” If those tracks don’t work for you, try the eerie “Shrunken Heads,” which will inspire you to snort coke and re-watch Predator. But it’s the epic, nine-minute “DE3” that evokes the garish beauty of the album cover—two naked hologram-gals running out of an open-doored DeLorean DMC-12 and into a synthetic landscape. The pop-music technology and sheen of the ’80s sound terrifyingly, achingly beautiful in the grip of Zombi. ★★★☆☆


Ancient VVisdom A Godlike Inferno (Shinebox)

The dusty Spanish guitar motif that propels the haunting ballad “Children of the Wasteland” is otherworldly, to say the least. It brings to mind Spaghetti Western film composer Ennio Morricone and early Leonard Cohen, even if the tragic, poetic lyrics promising a dead future for a post-apocalyptic (or perhaps the current younger) generation sound ripped from a lost Danzig record. Austin, Texas, demonic coffee-shop trio Ancient VVisdom (that’s no typo, it’s how the band spells its name) is the sulfur-stinking spawn of metal drummer Nathan Opposition (Integrity), who now favors acoustic instruments (bowed stand-up bass), melodic singing and clanging trash bins with a machete—seriously! From the satanic loyalties of “The Opposition” (sample lyrics: “Hail to thee, Lord Lucifer/I sing praises to thee and I suffer no longer”) to the creepy Atlantean narrative “Lost Civilization,” A Godlike Inferno burns with the intensity of a torch-lit ceremony in the Transylvanian woods. A must for fans of eclectic, minimalist, literary left-hand-path metal. ★★★☆☆

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13)

Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13)

By Tribune Media Service

Shot in 3-D, if that means anything to anybody anymore, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides comes with a misleading subtitle. Stranger tides? Stranger than what? What’s strange, or fresh, about any of the mechanical diversions offered here?