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CD Review

Heathen Democracy: Guerilla Wrench

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You have to give the guys of Guerilla Wrench credit. With their latest release, Heathen Democracy, they take a penchant for interesting turns of phrase, a good album name, a take-no-prisoners attitude and some solid thrash musicianship and mix it all together. Unfortunately, it's in the mix where it all falls apart.

For one thing, everything seems like it's recorded through cotton. I expect this approach on an LP from the early '80s, but come on; even tracks recorded in a garage should sound cleaner than this. Worse than the music, however, are the lyrics. If I have to crank up the volume, crank down the bass and boost my treble to understand what the hell the lead singer is howling, I'm writing off the disc as a bad investment.

Which begs the question: What's the music itself like? The lyrics aren't too shabby (I particularly like the ones to "WWJD," although I'm not thrilled about having to read them instead of hearing them) and the G-men can play, mixing a thrash-metal approach with '70s-style rock numbers like "Lady Death," which evokes early AC/DC. All told, though, I can't recommend it, at least not until a cleaner mix is produced.