Released: 2005, Sextant Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Fans of late 80s and early 90s metal may remember the Canadian band Slik Toxik who had a big hit in 1992 with the anti-drug song, “White Lies, Black Truth” from their DOIN’ THE NASTY album. The vocalist of Slik Toxik, Nick Walsh, dodged endless comparisons to Sebastian Bach and while they were not unfounded, the singer definitely had a set of pipes that equaled those of the Skid Row frontman. With the recession of metal in the early 90s, Slik Toxik broke up after releasing the largely-unnoticed IRRELEVANT in 1994 and little has been heard of the various band members since. Now, Walsh has re-emerged with a new band called Revolver that also features guitarist Sean Kelly of hard rockers, Crash Kelly. The band holds their own but with Walsh’s name attached to every songwriting credit, he is definitely the marquee personality and reason that people will take notice. TURBULENCE is Revolver’s first release and while all of the swagger and range still resides in Walsh’s voice (as well as the Bach-isms), this is no nostalgia act or throwback to the hair metal era. TURBULENCE is a surprisingly heavy slice of metal/hard rock with enough modern touches to keep things fresh. Memorable choruses and melodies are everywhere but a strong guitar presence keeps things heavy. Fans of Walsh’s voice will be surprised to hear he can still belt ‘em out and that ten years’ absence never diminished his talent.
The title track gets things rolling with a punchy rhythm section and Walsh’s blues-y vocal is as smooth as ever in the chorus. The heavy groove of “Juggernaut” features a telling lyric—“While breaking new ground, can’t fake a new sound, so come with me”—that shows where Walsh’s head is at musically in 2005. In other words, we won’t be seeing him rapping or faking a new style to fit into the mainstream. Revolver is what is…take it or leave it! “Electric Machine” has hit written all over it and its psychedelic vibe is really infectious. Likewise, “Blue Sky” is a light, acoustic ballad with some power crunch in the choruses that could easily be a breakout hit. Kind of reminds me of Filter’s “Take A Picture” but with more melodic and less harsh vocals. “Dead Weight,” “Nosebleed” and “Jesus Wept” are heavy-hitters that possess biting lyrics (“I make Satan look like a blue-eyed baby boy”), thunderous riffs and plenty of headbanging moments.
Since Slik Toxik was a band I always felt came about three years too late for its own good, it’s nice to see that Nick Walsh (who hasn’t aged a day based on the photos in the CD booklet) has gotten back into music again and turned out such an excellent album. Besides the amateurish Photoshop-job on the cover, there really are no negative points to be found on TURBULENCE, nor is there a bad song in the bunch. All eleven tracks are straight-up, guitar-driven, hook-filled hard rock/metal with a tight band behind a classic voice. What more can you ask for?
KILLER KUTS: “Turbulence,” “Juggernaut,” “Electric Machine,” “Blue Sky,” “Nosebleed”