Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Don’t Choke on the Words: Jägermeister Musictour 2007

Unlike many of the other CDs I've been reviewing from the archive of Derek Handova, the compilation “Jägermeister Musictour 2007” is of recent vintage. It’s even from this century: 2007. Also, I can be pretty sure that I saw The Cult in concert in 2007 at The Warfield, San Francisco, when I got this CD. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy had the good taste to have it handed out as people were leaving the auditorium. Or more likely, the good folks at Jägermeister had it handed out as part of their campaign against underage drinking. Well, I’m not one to choke back my words of thanks. So thanks Ian, Billy and the Jägers! Unfortunately, you cannot find any The Cult tracks on this disc. But there are some interesting cuts by bands that may not have received their proper notice. And a few tracks from veteran metal acts.

The one track that immediately jumps out to the ears is the song “Power Player” by Clutch. Having been around since the 1990s as one of the Stoner Rock acts caught in the shadow of Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch seems to be finally breaking on “Power Player,” showcasing this thumping rocker as their opening number on recent tours. Saying “Get your hands off me, you don't know who I am | I'm a power player, I'm a power player,” the group makes a statement of prowess and attitude. With a driving bass line and strong drumming, they rip through it.

Another mix brimming with defiance is “Hell & Consequences” by Stone Sour. Menacing, they intone, “I will not be afraid” while citing a list of stiff-spined standing-up-to-your enemies mantras. I find myself uttering this snippet under my breath when confronted with oppositions small and large. Playing at fast-forward speed, Stone Sour combines the best elements of nu metal instrumentalism and old school rock storytelling.

A couple of long-in-the-tooth metal purveyors figure prominently on this “Jäger” volume: Big 4 speed metal entry Slayer and uncategorizable Gwar. Except for the aforementioned tracks and some more melodic dirges by Deftones [“Xerces”], Shinedown [“Some Day”] and HIM [“Venus (In Our Blood)], a great many of the tracks take after one or the other of Slayer or Gwar—and that’s probably not a good thing. Slayer offers up “Eyes of the Insane,” which seems just to be another pseudo-satanic meditation for which the band is infamous. I can remember them doing something like this back in the 80s on “South of Heaven.” Gwar is just abysmal with its patented guttural sound on “Eighth Lock.” But you have to give them credit for pretending that a piledriving sonic creation can pass for music in some corridors.

For the most part, for a freebie, “Jägermeister Musictour 2007” is a good selection to pick at random. If The Cult comes around again, I’ll have to check out the 2014 version of their annual promotion platter of new music and new and not-so-new artists.

-Derek Handova
Appreciative Listener

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