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Soundbite

Our critics' picks in new releases

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From Black Sabbath to Rainbow to Alice Cooper, '70s metal is like the singer/songwriter explosion of the same period in that it was driven by charismatic frontmen and their cult of personality. Of course, rather than bemoan their love life or ponder the lilies of the field, metal constructed colorful theatrical fantasy worlds, which in the hands of singer Valient Thorr, is the antidote to indie rock's sardonic ambivalence.

Crash landing on this planet while on a drive-by from Venus, their debut offers a liberating hand to enslaved, stressed-out Earth with chunky, passionate rock that does a surprisingly good job of capturing their white-hot live performance. From the piston-pumping roar of "I Am The Law"--with its extended drum breakdown--to the proto-garage "Stick And Stones"--which implores that we keep that third eye open--the quintet deliver unironic, ass-kicking rock that blends '70s metal solos, head-boring Motorhead rhythms, punk rock energy and a canny, humorous, other-worldly perspective into an old-fashioned good time. Isn't this what rock 'n' roll is all about: A little Venusian escapism?

Help an alien out. Buy his record at www.valientthorr.com .

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