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Harvey Milk - Life... The Best Game In Town CD (album) cover

LIFE... THE BEST GAME IN TOWN

Harvey Milk

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.05 | 2 ratings

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HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars One of Harvey Milk's finest releases, this album has a bright, confident sheen that manages to be very accessible (to metal fans, anyway) while also being subversively experimental and daring. While their prior album (Special Wishes) was a mixed bag of moments of genius together with moments of boredom, this album is solid all the way through, and the high points are as good as anything they've ever released. This is anthemic sludge/stoner rock that not only dares to be different, it also dares to be fun and rockin'.

In addition to the usual three suspects (Creston Spiers on guitar and vocal, Stephen Tanner on bass and vocal, and Kyle Spence on drums), the band has added doom/drone legend Joe Preston (guitar, vocal) to the group, well known in underground circles as a former member of Earth, The Melvins, Thrones (his solo project), and Sunn 0))). Though it's hard to tell where his contributions are exactly, his presence no doubt inspired the band to new heights. Preston only stayed around for this one album, but who knows, he may be back. He's always popping up somewhere in the underground metal world.

Right off the bat, this album knocks you off your feet with the 8-minute "Death Goes to the Winner", one of the most incredible songs they've ever done. It begins with a tranquil, lovely melody sung by Creston (not bad for a guy more known for his gutteral roar), and accompanied by two clean guitars. Then a thundering slab of molten lava steams in for the chorus, followed by another quiet verse, and then the chorus again. Then - it's Takeoff Time! In the second half of the song, the rhythm section pounds out a slow choppy rhythm as Creston goes completely bananas on his guitar, eking out sounds that would make the Butthole Surfers nervous. In between this, he screams out select lines of the Velvets' "Waiting for the Man", followed by a winking reference to "A Day in the Life" before stopping suddenly and hitting a long piano chord to fade out (just like on the Sgt Pepper album, ha ha). A thoroughly damaged and cathartic track that will stay with you forever.

After this, the rest of the album maintains a high level of quality, from accessible midtempo headbangers like "Decades" and "Motown" (the latter actually has hit potential), to fast thrashy numbers that are difficult to play ("A Maelstrom of Bad Decisions", "Barnburner", the Fear cover "We Destroy the Family"), to dramatic, emotional epics with plenty of weirdness ("Roses", "Goodbye Blues"). So it's a nice variety of sounds, and the songs feel more powerful and developed than they did on the prior album.

There's another musical joke hidden at the end of the album. After the elaborate, multi-part epic "Goodbye Blues", there is a moment of silence, followed by a brief cover of the Loony Tunes theme, punctuated with a loud gong that is a clear reference to the Moody Blues "Days of Future Passed" album's finale. Those guys...

I'd recommend this album as a good entry point for metal fans who aren't quite ready for the avant garde yet. This album will give you your metalhead thrills, while convincing you that experimental noise can be fun too.

HolyMoly | 4/5 |

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