Released: 2001, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
David Neil Cline is apparently from Michigan, and as you can tell from his two first names, and the priceless portrait of him on the back cover (where he appears in a bandanna, sunglasses, and a tie-dyed tank top, lighting a cigarette with one hand holding a beer in the other), he’s got a pretty down-home, laid-back style. No bullet belts, no corpse paint, no swords – but on the whole I think metal fans will enjoy his stuff.
Mr. Cline is a talented guitarist, and he’s cut this album mainly to show off his prowess and to crank out a few downtuned, feel-good jigs. Is this metal? I think so. It is heavy. “Fate Of Pain,” “Life Under Glass,” “Kassie Lane” (one of the standout tracks) and several others on this 14-track album seem to scrape into metal territory. Don’t get me wrong – you will not see Mr. Cline wearing bullets, swinging a sword or screeching about butchered bodies anytime soon. But what he can deliver are catchy jams, excellent riffs, and a refreshing voyage into territory that a lot of metal fans don’t visit very often. There’s a hint of the Kyuss/Fu Manchu “stoner” or “desert metal” sound here, but I don’t want to stretch the comparison to those bands too far. This is the kind of album where you don’t really have to categorize it or say it sounds like Band X or Band Y. You just put it on, enjoy it, and that’s pretty much it.
David’s vocals are a little grating at times. The production quality on THOROUGH SCRUTINY is sometimes uneven and disappointing. So it’s not a perfect album. I don’t think these drawbacks seriously detract from the listening experience. If you like listening to good guitar work (and what metal fan doesn’t?), you will find at least something endearing about this album.
I was very glad to receive this album (thanks Rick!) and happy to review something a little different for a change. The album certainly withstands my THOROUGH SCRUTINY and emerges with high marks. David Neil Cline may be more of a “fellow traveler” than a true dyed-in-the-wool metalhead, but he’s welcome to come jam in my CD player anytime – but he has to smoke outside on the balcony.
Contact: Gazochtahagen Records, PMB #125, 1223 S. Gratiot, Clinton Twp., MI 48036, or email email@example.com.