Released: 2005, Power Play Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
I wasn’t sure what to make of this one. The guitar-playing is certainly above reproach, and the songwriting is excellent. The production is better than I expected, also; but then, I don’t know really what I expected. I think the problem here is the vocal approach.
It’s not that Kris has a bad voice; he actually reminds me a bit of Testament’s Chuck Billy with his range; other times, I’m reminded of a drunken Kip Winger. But his annunciation is awful. In other words, you’ll have no fucking clue just what the hell he’s slurring on about, but at least he slurs on about it all in key. Hey, that’s more than Dan Beehler (Exciter) or Neil Turbin (Anthrax) were ever able to manage.
Stylistically, this is Metallic Hard Rock with lots of eccentric flourishes, like something you might find on Lion Music or Spitfire. Tracks like “Dream Awake” actually have a pretty classic Metal bite to them that remind of a good number of things, all of them vaguely elusive. Here, Kris sort of sounds like King Diamond in his “normal” non-falsetto voice. The odd electronic elements that drift in and out of the composition don’t entirely work here, in my opinion; but at least they’re never overbearing. The soloing here is among his best, incidentally.
“Change” is catchy, but the way Kris slurs his words is sort of irritating. The title track starts off with a hideously familiar—but entirely welcome—melodic riff. The vocals don’t really sound bad here, though the timing feels just a bit off. Tone-wise, however, the delivery is definitely appropriate, and hints at an undeveloped potential.
Kris clearly has a lot of talent, and WISE HEDONIST is a fine CD for the Hard Rock and Guitar Rock enthusiast, with clear Marty Friedman and Ace Frehley influences With a little work on the vocals, this could really gather quite the cult.