Power to the People
Cyanide Records11th

This record pretty much reviews itself. For one thing, the bulk of it is a concert recording of all those big hits from when Poison battled it out on the charts with Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

It's the five new studio songs found on the front end that deserve a word or two.

The good news: C.C. DeVille, an unsung guitar hero of the pop metal Golden Age, is back. The bad news: So is Brett Michaels, the most unconscionably overwrought wanna-be soul man in human history. There you go - the yin and yang of pop metal: All the guitar guilty pleasures with all the torturous frontman bullshit.

What's really astounding about the new songs is that they mark a bizarre stab at "updating" the "Poison sound." Informed by a generic sense of alt-pop rock circa 1994, the experiment yields strange results. Most freakish is putting C.C. and his high-pitched whine on lead vocals for "I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine." Aside from proving that it's best when a guitarist keeps his mouth shut, the song sounds like Weird Al Yankovic fronting Green Day.

Frankly, Poison's Flesh and Blood kicked plenty of ass and there was no call for changing the formula. New Coke, anyone?

Sadly, there is no attempt to update or improve the lyrics in any way. Only a 4-year-old missing six or seven chromosomes could possibly find something redeeming there.

The title track is the group's assertion of modern-day "rawckin' out." Most assuredly, the song will be a hundred times better with the video.

"The Last Song" is a good ol' standard-issue power ballad off the same hunk of processed cheese that offered up "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Something to Believe In." Velveeta never made it so good.

None of this is to say the record isn't entertaining. It certainly is - although not necessarily for all the band's intended reasons. - ADG

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Will Records

Comparisons to Urge Overkill are inevitable with Nash Kato's solo debut, Debutante, and he acknowledges it in the title track when he sings, "Comin' out for the second time/but that don't mean I ain't no debutante." And he obviously isn't. The album is a testament to his bad boy image and is just as rockin' as some of the original bad boys'-the Stones-most decadent work. Just to make sure, he nails it home with the bridge: "You don't know just how fucked up I am, so don't blame me when I fuck you up."

With Debutante, Nash Kato is out to prove that he can kick just as much ass without his old Urge Overkill mates. The opening track, "Zooey Suicide" starts with a slow buildup of sonic noise before exploding into the song with the guitar riffs that used to make Urge fans crazy. "The Queen of the Gangsters" follows, its anthemic guitar-rock taking hold and sticking in your head all day.There's a typical Nash tip of the hat to celebrity status with "Octoroon" about Laetitia Casta. And a cover of a 70s staple is inevitable; he stays true to Steely Dan's "Dirty Work" but makes it his own with his unique voice and style.

To top it off, Nash employs the backup vocals of his "debutantes" throughout the album to give it a new flavor and set it apart from the likes of Urge's Saturation and Exit the Dragon. The ladies are a great addition, filling out the sound and making a great record absolutely infectious. -Steven Tweddell

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Right in the Nuts: A Tribute to Aerosmith
Small Stone Records

Remember the days before Aerosmith was a machine to crank out power ballads for crappy mega-popular movies? The days when Aerosmith was a hard-core rock band, playing real rock n' roll? No, the stuff they played besides Dream On and Walk This Way. Tunes like Lick and a Promise, Adam's Apple and Nobody's Fault. The music no one plays any more. And listening to this tribute, you wonder why. These are great rock songs, and a great compilation; most of these artists capture the raw soul of Aerosmith's early days far better than Aerosmith is doing right now. While thankfully only a few singers try to capture Steven Tyler's insane range and vocal sound, almost all the guitarists bring the energy of a young, coked-out-of-his-mind Joe Perry to the great riffs. Because of the surprising quality of the music, many songs are pretty straight up covers; Fireball Ministry's Movin' Out and Alabama Thunderpussy's Sweet Emotion rank among the top of these. Otherwise Soul Clique's ludicrously good funked up version of Last Child will have you tapping your toe and giggling incessantly, while Half Man's Round and Round far exceeds the original. There are no bad songs, or bad covers; it's a hell of a record, a hell of a tribute, and a great reminder that Aerosmith was awfully good once, and that it's worth taking the time to go dig up some original Toys in the Attic... but after a couple more kicks in the Nuts. - RB