[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(30:56, ‘Love Muffin’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Hangover 3:04 2. Rhet Ro 3:52 3. The Friendlies 5:01 4. Psycho John 3:21 5. Judas 2:46 6. Groceries & Antifreeze 3:01 7. Ylime 3:04 8. Nasally Impaired 3:53 9. Weaving 2:54 LINEUP: Adam Rich – guitars, bass; drums Psycho John – vocals
Prolusion. US composer and musician Adam RICH has been around as a recording artist for just over 20 years, releasing his first ever EP back in 1993, and since then releasing a handful of solo albums alongside tenures in bands such as Tadpole, Girth and Oliver Buck & The New Madrids. "Virgin Freak" is his debut album from 1994, which was reissued on CD in 2014 through Adam Rich' own label Love Muffin Records.
Analysis. When reading up on this artist, I saw that he states artists such as Joe Satriani, Michael Fath and Eric Johnson as major sources of inspirations, and at the stage he was in 1994 presumably Satriani was at the top of that pile, when reading that his CD "Flying in a Blue Dream" is quoted as a direct inspiration for Adam Rich to start recording his own music. That may be the case, and those with a keen interest in guitar albums and technique can probably pinpoint how this comes across on the material of this production. Personally I get rather different associations, however. The dark, booming bass guitar and the dark, meaty riffs used throughout give me associations to Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath first and foremost. While I can't say much about the guitar soloing, apart from being fairly melodic and a suitable contrast to the supporting elements, the dark, rich and fairly bombastic riffs that are a mainstay here give me fairly constant associations to vintage Black Sabbath. On the somewhat cleverly named Rhet Ro in particular, a piece that alternates the meaty riffs with gentler, psychedelic oriented details, there's an ongoing, repeated supporting riff that might as well has been lifted from one of Black Sabbath's classic albums. If this has been done on purpose or if this is an accidental feature I can't tell though, but it should be difficult for just about anyone to listen to this track without picking up that particular detail. And even when Rich explores gentler moods, as on Ylime, my main associations are similar endeavors on Black Sabbath's classic albums. I should add in that I did hear, or thought I heard, plenty of familiar sounding riffs and guitar solo details that gave me a desire to revisit the metal albums I listened to in the 90's. Alongside what may or may not be planned or accidental details that can be tracked back to the likes of Iron Maiden, Savatage and even Metallica on a couple of occasions, there were many small, minute details that gave me associations to underground US metal bands that were active in the late 80's and early 90's. Nasty Savage is a specific association in that department, and one I came to on the instrumentally pleasant Psycho John, a creation rather destroyed by the flat, lifeless vocals of said person. Otherwise this is an album crafted and recorded by a young DIY artist, a school kid back when this production was recorded and originally released as a cassette. The age of the creator shows in the track titles, the rather horrible cover art, and the quality of the recordings does leave a bit to be desired. Partially because it was rescued from a cassette tape, a medium whose sound qualities rarely have been heralded by audiophiles, and partially because I kind of assume that the original album was made on a shoestring budget. That Rich’s main qualities are as a guitarist and bassist, and not as a drummer, merits mentioning too, those eager for technical elegance in all departments won't be swooned by the qualities of this creation.
Conclusion. "Virgin Freak" documents the qualities of a young and enthusiastic musician, eager to show his skills and talents as an up and coming musician. The album is mainly instrumental, with a main focus on guitar riffs and guitar soloing, with a certain charming lo-fi quality to it. Those fond of 80's metal should find this production most appealing, and due to the dark riffs and the nature of them a certain affection for vintage Black Sabbath is probably called for to be able to truly enjoy the recording.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]