VANGELIS – Oceanic (1996)

Review by: Nina A
Album assigned by: Alex Alex

Apart from tacky cover art, the 90s were also the decade of new age music made by weird Euro guys. But I like the smiling mermen and women on the cover here, they look far too happy and wholesome and really not sinister at all, and due to this I think they wouldn’t fit in well enough in some Sinbad or Odysseus tale, which is where you would expect your merfolk to show up.

Likewise, the oceanic journey in Oceanic is not very sinister at all – it’s a smooth sail from the triumphant send off of opening track “Bon Voyage” to closing track “Songs of the Seas”, which, if I have to be honest, sounds like the outro to a group meditation session in yoga class; prevented from reaching gorgeousness status only because electronica (especially in the 90s) tends to be so flat in sound. To Vangelis’s credit, however, every track on Oceanic is arranged well enough to not sound needlessly heavy, in fact to be even curiously comforting. Even the sweet little mermaids (or sirens as they are billed here) show up as soon as track two to murmur sweetly, and seemingly not with the intent to put you to sleep and bite off your head, but rather to rock your little ship on gently and lovingly on the pillow of their voices.

And here I want to apologise to Alex for putting off reviewing this masterful record for so long. I aspired to attempt to be as funny as he usually is in his reviews, but I realised a lot of water has to flow through (Bulgarian expression) and I have to have eaten a lot of bread (another Bulgarian expression), before I can even hope to bow at the feet of the master. Still, during that time I played Oceanic a lot, and I grew fond of every track on this musical oceanic sightseeing journey (for yoga class ®).

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN – Ocean Rain (1984)

Review by: Alexander Shatkevich
Edited by: Dina Levina
Album assigned by: Jonathan Moss

I think it’s symbolic that my first review will be about an album that was released in the year of my birth, 1984. The first thing that came to mind at the first listen – the album didn’t get old in any way. It’s like all those synthetic apples from supermarkets that always are red and fresh. But in a difference from apples, Ocean Rain is nowhere near to the famous synthetic and drum-machine sound of the 80’s that I hate so much.

Ocean Rain is still very fresh, and from the very first sounds it hooks you by the arse and holds you up until the very end. The mood and the atmosphere create a whole new world that you explore with Echo and the Bunnymen. On the cover of the album, the band members are knowingly pictured in a boat making their way through an underground cave. When I listen to Ocean Rain, I can’t get away from imagining them sailing in that boat and singing all the songs, though I wonder where the 35-piece orchestra is hiding. But all the musicians are there, believe me, and their sound is reflecting from the cave walls and fulfills the album with lush and charm.  

Actually, in spite of all of these cave allusions, it’s only the background on the cover – the main thing is the boat. Ocean Rain is a journey album, full of ordeals, gloomy experiences and courage. From the very beginning you’re sailing away with the band and not on a boat but on a large ancient ship. Uncertainty and storms are waiting for you, but maybe in the end you will find your Shangri-La nevertheless.

The album opens with bombastic violins and cellos, followed by the whole 35-piece orchestra and the band. The name of the opening song is Silver, just like the name of the famous pirate from The Treasure Island. Silver is filled with the mood reminiscent of great discoveries and something unexpected. The ship swings on waves, the captain gives the last orders on the bridge, ladies on the pier look at the rising sails with admiration. What’s waiting for us ahead? Silver is the kind of a song you always want to return to from time to time; and when you do, you can’t keep yourself from listening to the next one and then the whole album. It’s like with a good film, when you know the ending, but want to live thru the whole story with these characters once again. An excellent beginning, it gives a tone to the whole album.

Nocturnal Me begins where Silver ends. The orchestra is there, and it’s way more heroic and decisive. The ship had sailed away and it’s now ready to face the uncertainty. It’s a beautiful and atmospheric composition, full of concerns and fatalism. “Do or die. What’s done is done. True beauty lies on the blue horizon”. Powerful drums beat out the march and lead the song. After a while, the affected bravado set by Silver fades away, the pier and the admiring ladies are long gone, and you’re digging into fears and doubts. As the song continues, the fears are growing bigger and bigger. “Take me internally forever yours nocturnal me”. Now, you almost don’t hear the march, but only the gloomy orchestra and the melancholic voice of Ian McCulloch. It’s like the sound of doom that the sailors of Captain Magellan felt when they were leaving Portugal. Will they find the way to India or the end of the world? Generally, they had more chances to face the end of the world and terrible death than reach other lands. How can you reach India sailing away from it? Round the Earth? Ah, bullshit!

But after a dark night there’s always dawn. The sun is rising and rays of light are playing on the waves, and it seems there is still hope. It’s Crystal Days. For me this song is a little bit weaker in comparison with the first two. Maybe because of its light and optimistic atmosphere. But actually this lightweight feeling and hope are illusive. In the visible simplicity of Crystal Days hides the same dense sound and dim feeling of anxiety. I am not a fan of this song but it’s in its place here, and it gives a small emotional break before the new tests befall our sailors.

These tests are already there. On The Yo Yo Man we hear another dense and gloomy march. The sound of drums is so great on this album! Pete de Freitas is doing a fantastic job here and it’s a real joy to listen to him. The Yo Yo Man is wonderful and it’s one of those déjà vu feelings, when you listen to the song and you think “wait a minute, I think I’ve been knowing it for a very long time”. It’s like when you’re meeting with someone and after an hour of talking you feel like you’ve known each other for ages. Beautiful arrangement, hooks and twists are all there. It is a great song!

And after The Yo Yo Man there goes Thorn Of Crowns. It begins with eastern motives and is then followed by drum beat even more powerful than before. The drums here are not eastern, but very solid and distressing, bringing the feeling of anxiety. Drums set the mainline of the song and submit everything else around them to themselves. Thorn Of Crowns has really weird lyrics, and that’s the case when I don’t like it a lot. Stuttering McCulloch singing about cucumber, cabbage and cauliflower, what the fuck does he mean? Nah, I don’t wanna know. But on the sound scale it’s a great song. It sounds almost like The Doors. McCulloch shouts out the words just like Morrison and I always imagine him dancing one of those shamanistic Jim dances. The first side of the album ends on a mystic note and leaves us in confusion. What’s going to happen next? What will be the end of this journey?

The second side begins with a huge hit – The Killing Moon. It continues the basic theme of the album – fate, choice, predeterminancy. It’s a beautiful, melancholic song, and here the orchestra is shining once again. Grim violins and cellos bring a very dramatic and heroic sound to it. So even if the hero cannot fight fate, it sounds like he can. That’s the ideal way to continue our journey if you ask me.

The next song, Seven Seas, brings a little optimistic break to the record, as Crystal Days did on the first side. It is the poppiest song on the album, too simple for me and for this album. It’s no surprise that it was chosen as a single after all. I didn’t find any hooks or interesting bits going on here, Seven Seas is a rather plain and forgettable tune, especially after such great song as The Killing Moon. The only plus of Seven Seas is less orchestra so you can hear more guitars than strings. But as they’re not very interesting, there’s no real benefit from that, too. 

So let’s move forward to the next song immediately ‘cos it’s much better. My Kingdom has not much orchestra as well, but there are some great guitar work by Will Sergeant and light heroic vocals by Ian. The drums are powerful as usual. And as opposed to Thorn Of Crowds, here the stutter is okay. All those B-b-b-burn the skin and k-k-k-k-k-kingdom are very energetic and bring the drive to the not so very fast album. I like this song and I like the lyrics, too: “I’ve lost and I’ve gained and while I was thinking You cut off my hands when I wanted to twist”. And, thank you very much, now I know what the hell Boney Moroney is, the campaign against illiteracy is in action.

After the dynamic My Kingdom here comes Ocean Rain, the final song that gives its name to the album. It’s the end of our journey, peaceful and melancholic. When you listen to it you churn to the beginning. The blame is on the violins and cellos which are back, and they step forward once again. But if on Silver and Nocturnal Me they were powerful and broke out of the speakers, now they’re floating quietly like a river. And if in the beginning the strings were the sign of future ordeals, now they’re rays of hope that spills on the melancholic atmosphere of the song. Listening to Ocean Rain you may think that our bad feelings about the journey came true and we didn’t succeed, but the strings give hope that there’ll be another day and we’ll find our Shangri-La. I think it’s a really optimistic ending and I like this song very much.    

Ocean Rain is a beautiful album. Great arrangements, atmosphere, vocals, lyrics (exc. cucumber and cabbage, yuk). It’s very equable, which is both its strength and its weakness. Dialectic as would say Moss… or Hegel. The songs are so equable by their atmosphere, sound and rhythm, that I would say I’d like to hear some more variety. But on the other hand it has some light numbers such as Seven Seas or Crystal Days. The problem is, I don’t like them that much. My Kingdom is good, but the best songs here are melancholy and gloomy. Maybe I need the light numbers to be on the same level as Nocturnal Me, I don’t know. Even the light numbers have the same atmosphere and the viscous sound. In any case, it’s not a big problem at all. I like the concept of the album and I like that all songs are submitted to it. Anyway, almost every album has its ups and downs. And the downs of Ocean Rain are not very deep at all. Honestly, I can say that it has no weak song at all.

Ocean Rain is a great album from any side. When it was released it was marketed as “the greatest album ever made”. Of course it was not, but I think Echo and the Bunnymen had all the rights to say the opposite. It’s a truly great album and it doesn’t disappoint rock lovers even after thirty years had passed. It’s not the greatest album of all times, but it certainly deserves your attention. You don’t believe in advertising after all, huh? I don’t advise you to believe me, so if you’ve never listened to it, grab your legs and go find yourself a copy. Have a good listening!

ROBERT WYATT – Rock Bottom (1974)

Review by: Dinar Khayrutdinov
Album assigned by: Joseph Middleton-Welling

I have to start this review with a confession. I tried to crack this album for years and was never really able to get into it. I forever memorized Robert Wyatt’s Rock Bottom as an absolutely murky, depressing, tuneless and joyless experience, made even worse by some really pretentious atonal experimental instrumentation and very weird singing. God knows I had tried my best to appreciate this music – for instance, I read up on it, learned the background. You probably all know that story: former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt fell from a third-floor window and was rendered paraplegic by the incident. When he almost gave up on life while staying in hospital, he decided to write and record this album. And I thought the album felt… exactly like something recorded by a man who just gave up on life. It felt hopeless to me. It literally was rock bottom. I could find no pleasure or aesthetic satisfaction found from listening to it. That was what I felt about this record some time ago.
But then I was assigned it in the reviewing game. That meant I had to listen to it again (oh God! no! fuck! not again! please!), but it also meant I could try and look at it from a different angle. Which I did. And maybe I could also try to re-evaluate this album and finally find good things in it. Which, can you believe it, I also did.
Rock Bottom is indeed a difficult listening experience but everything kind of comes together when you understand that murky, depressing and uneasy is exactly what this album is supposed to sound like. The title and the water-themed album sleeve are not coincidental either – the record does feel like drowning under water with next to no hope of coming to the surface. This IS an album about pain and suffering – and very genuine pain and suffering at that. But I also discovered one more thing when revisiting Rock Bottom: there IS hope amidst all this depressing stuff. And when you finally notice these glimpses (or even flashes) of hope, you also start noticing that this album does have place for some love poetry (some of the songs are dedicated to Wyatt’s wife), some cool jazzy sax solos, some legitimately great musicianship and even some humourous and silly moments (I have learnt to especially enjoy Ivor Cutler’s nonsensical poem recital with a funny exaggerated accent in Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road)! At some point I simply understood that, even if still I don’t really enjoy this record that much, at least it’s nothing like anything else I have ever heard. It’s absolutely unique, and that probably is where its brilliance lies. As for the musical enjoyment part, well… I guess it is a matter of taste.
It is also highly possible that all music is purely a matter of taste and our appreciation of it depends on our background, current mood and other insubstantial factors. So try and listen to Rock Bottom. Maybe you’ll love it at once and it’ll become one of your favourite albums. Or maybe you’ll hate it at once, turn it off and forget about it forever. Or maybe you’ll just feel indifferent. But I still urge you to give this record a chance. It might take a lot of patience, but with some effort you can learn to at least respect this music, like I did.

STEVEN WILSON – Grace for Drowning (2011)

Review by: Ali Ghoneim
Album assigned by: Roland Bruynesteyn 

Steven Wilson has been behind many of the recent reissues of classic prog rock albums, and after listening to one his own albums, it’s easy to see why. This is a guy who is thoroughly familiar with the prog sound. Unfortunately, while that makes him suited to helming reissuing projects, it doesn’t help make albums like Grace for Drowning terribly exciting. The album faithfully reproduces elements of ITCOTCK-era King Crimson — the apocalyptic choirs, soothing mellotron, hysterical sax, etc. – and mixes them in with drum machines and some metal guitar heroics. The end product bears much of the form of a prog rock album, but in my opinion little of its spirit. I can’t put my finger on it, but the album comes off like the pet project of someone who is more of a producer than a songwriter, making all of the songs seem a bit perfunctory. Instead of being an independently vital and distinct work, Grace for Drowning ends up sounding like a generic calling card for Wilson’s skills as an excellent producer.  
To be fair, I should probably give his other albums a shot before I write him off like this.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE – Prospect Hummer (2005)

Reviewed by: Alex Alex
Album assigned by: Schuyler L. 

Hilariously Google Play gives you “I Remember Learning How to Drive” instead of “I Remember Learning How to Dive”!

Thus already robots can work as art counselors!


It was interesting, challenging and very personal unlike the diving routine. What’s to learn about diving: you stand HIGH you touch WATER with your FINGERS. They also brought harp. At this point artistic robots must interfere AND THEY DID!


One can learn how to dive still, surely. Yet, with the above correction diving and driving is the same thing, only happening in parallel on different driving lanes. Or maybe you see water there. The operations are losing their names, a ticket to your concert is your driving license and this is not a typing mistake but the vision of the universal passage to Hell.

MUMIY TROLL – Morskaya (1997)

Review by: Irfan Hidayatullah
Album Assigned by: Dina Levina 

This is a weird, weird album (or at least kinda weird-sounding–for a pop album, that is). I have never subjected myself to more than one listen, but here goes my thoughts anyway.

The band did certainly make their way to make this album sound interesting, different, or whatever it is–there’s an unconventional chord changes here and there, there’s a crazy sounding keyboard/synthesizers, and the singer guy sings in a rather unconventional way, adopting a slightly vaudevillian (?) attitude. The band also insert a hook for every now and then–they certainly know how to draw the listener’s attention. There’s an attempt to diversify their songs too–unfortunately, in the end the album still does nothing for me. For the starter, the album feels deadly long–even though it clocks at 48 minutes in 14 songs, it feels like it should have been shorter. Maybe that’s because the lack of fresh musical ideas. (At sixth songs or so, I feel enough already, even though I’m getting used to their sound). The lack of musical ideas also means that in the end you’ll have a hard time distinguishing the songs, although the first six songs are quite, uh, tolerable.

Of course, the impression might be improved on subsequent listens.

MARILLION – This Strange Engine (1997)

Review by: Dina Levina
Album assigned by: Charly Saenz

The man who gave birth to this album declared himself a Man of a Thousand Faces in the opening song, and I expected an adventure, varicolored and bizarre. However, the faces he presents here are all samely and somewhat Bon Jovi-ish. Pleasant but a tad pretentious lyrics-wise, the first song is more or less okay.

Then comes One Fine Day, a retro little thing about rain and hope, and I’m hoping for something to happen. Still, all I get is some preachy obscure message and melancholy music I try hard to enjoy, up until the second when the nice dramatic effect given by piano and strings is violently murdered by the olden guitar, and all hope goes to hell.
I’m waiting for something strange and fascinating, but as the lyrics say, “beginning to wonder if we’ll wait in vain”.

After One Fine Day, we have 80 Days, all of them equally fine. ‘Tis an uplifting song in which the singer is gently trying to get sexual consent from someone while riding in a car. There is certain harmony in it, since this song is perfect for car rides, plain and optimistic. In the middle, someone from the horn section gets loose for a few seconds, but an invisible hand silences them quickly.

After the car ride we spend almost eight minutes in a meditative state in Estonia, being cosmic and monotonous. The xylophone is giving it a mysterious touch, the lyrics carry the same obscure wisdom the author is so desperate to preach. “I wonder if my rope’s still hanging from the tree”, he wonders, and I feel eternal gloom grabbing me by the throat, attempting to drown me in string-ridden despair.

The jolly Bon Jovi vibes are back in An Accidental Man, the rope around my neck loosens, but my will to live and listen further is shaken. “It’s not that I’m complaining, It’s all the same to me”, sings the man, and I nod mournfully. It feels like being in a particularly claustrophobic Stephen King story – we’re still riding in that car, but the scenery doesn’t seem to change.

Preachy again, the song suddenly breaks out into something African in the line of The Lion King, which is nice and refreshing. Also, nice flute. The author declares repeatedly that he’s carrying a message of hope, and I still want to believe him – we have the last, thirty-minute long song ahead of us.

I regret to say that it fails me.

P.S: Phrases like “the womb of time” in poetry and lyrics must be punishable by death.


Review by: Joseph Middleton-Welling
Album assigned by: Eric Pember

This is a record about the small things but the things that are also perversely the most important things in the world-like particles!
First a bit of background, ‘They Might be Giants’ (TMBG), ‘Flood’ is their third album and their first for a major label, it’s also probably their most well known and, full admission, the only album of theirs that I’ve heard all the way through. There were only two guys in TMBG at this point John Linsell and John Flansburgh, and they split most of the instruments between them with a few parts played by session musicians. Notably all the percussion on this album is provided by various drum machines. The sound picture is coloured by various synths and organs which combined with the drum machine, lends some of album the feel of an early Magnetic Fields LP or a less frantic Devo. Not that the album is monochromatic, some songs such as ‘Your Racist Friend’ and the closing track ‘Road Movie to Berlin’ tip the balance more strongly towards guitars. A lot of the tracks feature prominent accordion melodies and this combined with the tight songwriting lends the album a good sense of diversity. Binding together the various musical threads on this album is an atmosphere of DIY experimentation. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a band record, more like, perhaps, a group of intelligent (but emotional) scientists piecing together songs together using diagrams, test tubes and a wide range of slightly archaic instruments.
What stops the album turning into a piece of experimental art musik like Throbbing Gristle or Coil is that musically this album also harks back to simpler forms of American music from the 50’s, 60’s and in some cases even earlier. Songs by Carol King and the various Rogers, Hammersteins and Schopenhauers who seemingly wrote all the songs back in this halcyon era are often brought to mind when listening to many of these tracks. By that I mean the songs have simple and catchy melodies that nevertheless bound to formally conservative structures. Verses, choruses and middle eights are all well in evidence here. TMBG even include a 50’s cover ‘Istanbul’ that makes the connection to older forms of music explicit. This combination of high quality songwriting in the ‘classic’ mould combined with somewhat modernistic and unorthodox arrangements helps create a quirky but overall charming aesthetic that draws you in even as it surprises you. Much of this surprise is conveyed by the lyrics.
Lyrically, the songs on this album address potentially trivial subjects but these themes mask deeper and more essential emotions that come to the fore after repeated listens. ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’ is both about a night light and sung from the perspective of the object itself. Other songs on the album are about being reincarnated as a bag of groceries and the need to wear prosthetic foreheads. When first listening to this album (at least for me) I didn’t pay too much attention to the lyrics but I really enjoyed the melodies and the arrangements. After listening a few times I came to notice the quirky subject matter and I was amused. However the problem with ‘funny lyrics’ is that they often they are only funny or interesting in the short term and after that rapidly become tedious (Weird Al et. al.). With these lyrics it’s the fact that they’re often used as cover to talk about some deeper emotional stuff. For example ‘Birdhouse’ is really a plea for companionship and ‘Dead’ is a song about deep regret. Obviously the songs are also funny and quirky but if you scratch through the surface there’s often real emotional resonance buried inside.
Take for instance ‘Particle Man’, which might be the signature song on this record. On first listen it’s easy to get caught up in the bouncy accordion and child like references to a cast of characters that wouldn’t be out of place on a Nickleodeon Cartoon. But have a read of this verse:

Person man, person man
Hit on the head with a frying pan
Lives his life in a garbage can
Person man
Is he depressed or is he a mess?
Does he feel totally worthless?
Who came up with person man?
Degraded man, person man

The song is actually about the vacuity of existence in modern late capitalist society and how it leads an unsatisfyible sense of longing and questioning within people at the bottom of the economic pile. Adorno would be proud.

In conclusion this album will worm its way into your head like a tiny particle and then beat you over the head like an angry triangle.


Review by: Syd Spence
Album assigned by: Francelino Prazeres de Azevedo Filho

Ever since this project began, I’ve been given records whose taste doesn’t suit my palate, which is good to a degree. It get’s me out of my ghetto of listening patterns. So far though,  I’ve not really enjoyed any of them, which i find weird because I think i have a wide palette. I mean my current listening collection has reggae, jazz, metal, and pop rock, and yet, you Only Solitairians keep giving me music that I don’t enjoy. Apparently, i’m more narrow minded then I think I am. 

However, this round I was assigned an album that I should like. It’s this Brazilian funky hip hop alt rock fusion group with leftist politics and fantastic hand drumming (that only Brazil could do.) Essentially, Brazil’s answer to Rage Against the Machine, a group that any child of ‘90s knows and loves. Yet, I don’t like this record. 

First let’s start with the MC. Now I don’t exactly know what he is talking about, I’m a dumb American that can’t speak Portuguese. It’s pretty terrible how monolingual my decaying empire is, but that’s the fact of the matter, but I digress. I’m pretty certain all the lyrics are leftist in tone, I believe i heard a Viva Zapata, and who doesn’t love Emiliano Zapata? Well, fascists of course, but surely any sane person loves themselves some Zapatistas. So good for Chico. It’s just his delivery sounds like a macho football hooligan that wanted to be a hip hop MC. I just find his tone and style unsavory. He probably is spitting the truth, but my dumb ears can’t decipher it or more to the point enjoy it.  

The next problem is the guitar. The tone is so ‘90s, it’s like a mixture of generic hardish alt rock and funk, which just turns me off. Like if he sounds like a local bar band’s guitarist attempt at sounding like John Frusciante or Tom Morello, and the guitar tones he uses are so generic ‘90s altrock that it sucks all the funk out. 

With all those problem, I must say the percussion was on point. I love those tribal drums, and this album has a lot of it. Unfortunately, they surround subpar songs with subpar guitar and a subpar MC. Not for me, perhaps next session, I’ll get a new album that I will love. 

WITCHCRAFT – Legend (2012)

Review by: B.B. Fultz
Album assigned by: Syd Spence

NOTE : The only versions of this album that I could find had some gaps between the songs, so I’m assuming a few of the songs were missing. It’s possible the missing songs are better than the ones I commented on, so take my lukewarm review of the album with a grain of salt.

An album by a band called Witchcraft, billed as “doom metal” by reviewers, and released in the year 2012 doesn’t sound promising. One can already hear the overproduced mess of power chords, the unintelligible lyrics, the phlegm-throated shrieking, all the elements of something an angsty 13 year old boy might headbang to (when he wasn’t listening to Korn). 

Good News … This album isn’t like that. Surprisingly, it’s a callback to classic heavy metal. The most obvious and most prevalent influence is early Black Sabbath. From the very first song, the vocal style reminds me of Ozzy. Not the voice so much as how the lyrics are sung. Specifically mid-period Sabbath (Vol-4/SBS/Sabotage) where Ozzy was expanding his emotive range rather than simply repeating the guitar phrases with his voice. The vocalist is good enough in his way. He’s no great shakes but he has a decent enough range to pull off these songs. For heavy metal, there’s surprisingly not much screaming or growling on this album. This singer favors melodicity over brute force. The upside to this is, he doesn’t sound like a total choad. The downside is that he doesn’t make a very strong impression. He’s no Ian Gillan, just a run-of-the-mill rock singer with an okay set of pipes. 
The songs tend to grind along at mid-tempo. They’re heavy, but not too heavy. There’s lots of sludge here, but there’s also a momentum of sorts. These guys aren’t just playing that sludgy metal sound because it “sounds cool” (although it does), they’re actually trying to go somewhere with it. There is a lot of melodic string-plucking between the heavy riffs, and passages that sound like they’re trying to be acoustic even though they’re electric guitar … you know, that quasi-medieval sound, when heavy metal is trying a little too hard to sound emotional and cathartic (Blackmore’s Rainbow must have been another influence). The riffs themselves are not all that memorable. Likewise, the playing is competent, but not much beyond that. Most of these songs probably won’t stick in your head if you’re not a heavy metal fan, and maybe even if you are one. 

The solos are the most interesting part of the album, because they’re such a deliberate callback to classic rock bands (of various schools, not just heavy metal). They often resemble 70s hard rock solos (slow and heavy — think David Gilmour in “Pigs”) combined with certain melodic tendencies from 80s metal solos. They are not very fast or flashy, which probably works to their advantage. 70s solos were pieces of information, each note a specific word or phrase or gesture, which is what separated them from generic 80s noodling. A given solo might sound like Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, even Lynyrd Skynyrd. The more interesting solos sound like a few different bands over a short span of time. While there are 80s (and later) elements at work here, the heart of the solos is rooted in 70s hard rock. 
Nothing on this album jumps out as amazing or innovative, but that’s probably not what they were going for. It’s more of a tribute to classic rock by some guys with a little skill and an obvious love for the older bands. Whatever hooks there are on this album, if any, are not especially sharp, but at least it’s a reasonably coherent tribute to old school heavy metal. And in 2012, that’s maybe not such a bad thing.