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Released: 2006, Independent
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Music that will earn you a speeding ticket?
On his tenth CD in eight years (!!), Arizona-based guitarist Steve Cone delivers what can only be described as timeless metal/hard rock over the course of DISTORTION. Handling vocals, all instrumentation, writing, production and distribution, Cone embodies the DIY attitude of today’s independent musicians. Clocking in at a full hour, DISTORTION could have been trimmed of some excess fat but overall, these fourteen tracks are solid, grooving slabs of well-played, guitar-based music that are a mix of classic metal and brawny, bar band “rawk” with a few experimental surprises.
Tracks like “The Gambler,” “Hangin’ By A Thread” and “Wrecking Ball” speed along powered by turbo-charged guitar riffs that deliver some heat, while “Tastes So Good To Me” is a throwback to eighties metal. Cone isn’t afraid to really let loose on solos either, as he shreds away on “The Chosen Ones” and “Sixty Nine.” Even when pushing through dark, moody songs like “Life Blood” or “Alive,” Cone keeps the momentum going by injecting melodies into unexpected places. The strange tempos and arrangements of “I Have The Right” and “Burning” bog down the album’s middle section and the power ballad, “Understand,” draws undue attention to Cone’s vocal limitations. His unique but high-pitched, throaty delivery sounds like a strange mix of ex-Eagle Joe Walsh and Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe (?!). Even the drums—clearly not Cone’s strong suit—are weighed down by a simplicity that would be rectified by enlisting a proper skinsman in the future. Lyrically speaking, Cone has got to make some major improvements, as well. Penning such atrocities as “Forbidden fruit you need to take a bite/It won’t take long I just want to take you higher/I’ll show you many things but number one will lead to sixty nine” and “Way you look tonight/Has me on fire/Don't want to wait/Gotta take the bait” would have every D-list eighties’ cock-rock band jealous they didn’t write it.
DISTORTION is a shining example of the caliber of unsigned talent that is out there. Steve Cone has been slogging it out for a decade as a solo recording artist and this CD sounds as if it could have been recorded in 1977, 1987, 1997 or 2007 due to the enduring, no-bullshit nature of this type of music. Is Cone doing anything earth-shattering or genre-defining on DISTORTION? Hell no, but for an hour spent headbanging, air guitaring and speeding down the road, this is as good a soundtrack as any.
KILLER KUTS: “The Gambler,” “Tastes So Good To Me,” “Life Blood,” “Sixty Nine,” “Wrecking Ball”
1. The Gambler
2. Tastes So Good To Me
3. The Chosen Ones
4. Life Blood
5. Hangin’ By A Thread
7. Sixty Nine
8. I Have The Right
12. Locked and Loaded
13. Distortion (Instrumental)
14. Wrecking Ball
Steve Cone—Vocals/All Instruments
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