Tuesday, February 5, 2002 @ 9:21 AM
(Hardware Records/Point Music)
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New York-based artist S.A. Adams has been recording under his name since 1994, although he's been around on New York's underground scene since 1985 when he teamed up with future Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and began recording 21 out of 100 songs he had already written. As far as direction goes, his stuff is heavily influenced by NWOBHM artists such as Tank, Raven, early Saxon, Fist, Samson and even Venom, but at the same time S.A. Adams is far from being a retro novelty. His music has also been compared to Motörhead, Exciter and The Rods.
The present album originally came out in the States in 2001 and has only been available in Europe as expensive imports. Stovepipe has now been released in Europe with two re-mixes and four bonus tracks. Right the first number, "Comin' Home,” which revisits his days with The Fury, comes along in a newly mixed form (alternate "ugly" mix) and sets pretty much the tone for the album. You get dirty and uncompromising, riffy metal assaults without make-up, stylish embelishments or anything which can remotely be described as "nice.” Adams vomits his vocal parts into the mic and sounds like a mixture of Paul Di Anno, Henry Rollins and Blaze Bayley with a sore throat. There's also the occasional dash of punk on Stovepipe, like the 84 seconds blast of speed called "Stalker,” which is followed without a break by the stomping "Chains That Bind.” These three tracks as well as the grim "Leech" are the ones I would name as the ones that represent the album best. A good rocker is also the alternate mix of "I Can Be Your Man.” The riff attacks in "Reborn" are heartily recommended to the hardcore headbangers. The four bonus tracks on the album are also more than just give-aways, especially "Perls, Not Diamonds" is a cool, riffy rocker.
S. A. Adams's Stovepipe is a serious onslaught on our European neck muscles and Adams fans out here will be very happy about this special release of New York underground metal in its ugliest and rawest form. Generally, the album could do with a slightly better production sound (sounds a bit too much like garage to me), and S.A. Adams could do with some singing lessons. He sounds great in the deeper regions of his voice, but every attempt to go higher hurts a bit. Some of the tracks come across slightly monotonous as well, but Stovepipe is definitely something which will go down very well over here in Europe.