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SOLRIZE (Mano Cornuta) LP/CD

SOLRIZE come from Vienna, Austria, and are self-proclaimed propagators of heavy rock, as they proudly state with their album title, which literally means “the horned hand”. And I guess every average rock music fan is aware which sign is meant by this. So heavy rock it is, and after the short intro 'The Droning' where the wind is howling through barren desert landscapes, SOLRIZE underline this with the fast-paced stoner riff of 'Endurance', showcasing a nice fuzzy guitar sound as well as a great overall production - all instruments do sound natural and warm and have room to be distinguishable. The album was produced and mixed by THE one and only Scott Reeder (yes, of The Obsessed/Kyuss/Goatsnake-fame), and the man did a pretty good job.

But let’s focus on the music. The band plays really solid and tight. laying down some heavy riffs at times (as in 'I Am The Warrior' or 'Enemy') and some of the guitar licks have a nice Wino twist, which is definitely a good point for me. SOLRIZE mainly play groovy, mostly up-beat tunes, which will make your head nod, enriched with some catchy choruses like in 'Speak Of The Devil' or the album closer 'Law Of The Dead'. The songs sound fresh and are not too cliché-ridden, but sometimes they are just a little too mediocre to be good. The acoustic, well-done instrumental 'Casampulga' gives a nice atmospheric interlude, before 'Rising Up Again' takes it to the heavy again and turns out to be my favorite track on the album.

The vocals of Elvis Nine are pretty high-pitched and he handles this really well, and reminds me a bit of Glenn Danzig when singing in a lower register. But I have to admit, that his old-school metal vocal lines are just not my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, Elvis Nine knows how to sing, but the melodies are too cheesy for me, so unfortunately after a few songs, it gets a bit annoying. I’m sorry to say this, as the band obviously puts devotion into their songs and I suggest that everyone, who is a fan of fast-paced stoner with a dash of old-school metal should give them a spin, as SOLRIZE have some great tunes like the aforementioned 'Rising Up Again' or 'Law Of The Dead'. I definitely give them credit for sounding not too standardized and for having a singer who is not doing the usual thing in that scene.

(Steve Albino)