|Review: Chris Laney - Pure|
Label: Metal Heaven
Year released: 2009
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Review online: April 30, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.2/5 (64%) (5 Votes)
A rocky start to solo stardom for legendary producer Chris Laney here, but if there were a banquet for such a fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude, this seasoned Swede would be picking up the check. The multi-instrumentalist has been twiddling the knobs for a number of renowned artists over the years, and as resident producer at the famed Polar Studios, he has worked extensively with acts as diverse as Candlemass and Europe, which goes some way to attesting his agility when it comes to knowing his way around a mixing desk. As a musician, Laney has laid down tracks for many bands over the years, most recently with Randy Piper's Animal and the obscure Zan Clan, but why it has taken him this long to release an album exclusively showcasing his own material remains a mystery. All I know is that, at least for some, it has been worth the wait.
Expecting marching, pompous AOR and being dished out some steaming mid-paced Melodic Heavy Metal instead, Pure plays like a musical wheel of fortune, spinning its many influences around the confines of the album and settling randomly at arbitrary points. From radio-friendly opener "Situation", we find Laney seducing the mic with the clumsy "I Dunno" and commercial flop "Make You Cry" before the real gems are unleashed. The moment "The Stranger In You" blasts through the speaker, you know we have traveled some distance here, as the bluesy, almost hard rock-like opening triumvirate are exchanged for full on ballsy old school metal, sounding like a riff-heavy tug of war between latter day Priest and Sinner, with just enough Crystal Ball and Chalice hidden in there to bring the catchy hooks to the surface. With Laney handling all guitar duties, tracks like "Fire & Ice", "Pissed At What Ya Missed" and the irate, yet poorly named "I Hate Yer Guts" sees the producer really let rip with some incredibly infectious licks and leads, hammering his colossal riffs against big, shout-along refrains so gritty it makes Mat Sinner look like Shakira.
Naturally, the production is thicker than a Big Brother contestant, giving the album a real kick up the backside that makes all that juicy guitar work all the more powerful. But as an album, Pure is a slick but disjointed affair that somehow misses its full potential. Still, a decent, at times quite stirring, debut that will come as a belated treat for those still dwelling in Laney's constituency.
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