Right off the bat, I'm reminded of The Tea Party, What Is This, the first Stray Dog release, and maybe Thin White Rope in this hard-edged power trio…and, man, am I ever glad to see a small resurgence of an esteemed old configuration slowly cropping back up lately. Not only that but these cats know how to work multiple vocals, centering in the lead singer's very cool voice, all to excellent effect while crafting some highly unusual lead guitar work.
Strange Day evokes a very welcome return to an offbeat side of 70s metal and psych that's figured into some of the best work of the last two decades (Masters of Reality, Trouble, etc.). Fulgencio, the lead guitarist, has a unique approach hard to nail down, but his extremely powerful leads and choice chordwork recall Snuffy Walden's (Stray Dog) earliest viscerally cerebral set and tone. Every all-too-short solo is an absolute masterpiece, and when he runs one full-tilt into the chords…sweet Jesus! Chris Clark (bassist) and Scott Jones (drummer) provide a rock-solid rhythm section, the group often churning like a steel beast set loose from a cave, yet they just as often lay back to let the vocals smoothly dominate. The title cut gives away a great influence by Alice in Chains, and, from the heaviness of the atmospheres, you'd think the lyrics would be gritty and downtone, but they're most often hopeful and positivistic. Yeah, they acknowledge the nature of the world but also like to fight, a lot like Rik Emmett of Triumph, for the light behind the storm.
Strange Day shows not only a compelling style in this, their debut release, but Fulgencio is a future monster who I think will be an extremely important guitar player. Every time he cuts himself loose, it's absolutely mindbending and as innovative as any stringbender currently vying for attention. Almost no one's doing quite what he is, and the amount of thought and artistry put into each golden freakout is absinthe to this critic's ever-thirsty and very demanding ear. I was crushed when Alain Johannes failed to follow up his initial brilliance in What Is This, but Fulgencio has me smiling like the cat that got the cream. Watch him and see if I'm not right.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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