"The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" (Screaming Ferret Wreckords; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Like "Barely Human" before it, "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" is a solid metal album that delivers powerful tunes, sharp production and monster riffs that will stick in your head long after the CD is over. 

As the album cover image hints, "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" is a little darker than its predecessor at times, featuring rhythms that are grittier and lyrics that are somewhat more morbid on songs such as "Twisted Wreck," "Curse" and "Permanently Damaged."

Perhaps it's simply the style of this CD compared to "Barely Human," but the songs on "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" don't seem quite as dynamic and instantly addictive as did those on the prior CD.  Don't get me wrong. This CD still rocks hard and will generate many repeat plays in my player but "The Deep..." didn't grab me as quickly and as effortlessly as the previous effort.

And what's up with the apparently self-censored lyrics on "Last of the Wanted"? Vocalist Paul Souza utters only the first two letters of the word "shit" on this track, although earlier he had no problem singing "Permanently fucked up" on "Permanently Damaged." This obvious attempt to make "Last of the Wanted" radio-friendly knocks the legs out from under a really cool song.

That aside, with "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep," Meliah Rage proves once again that they're far from done when it comes to giving the world some more much needed metal muscle.

Meliah Rage: Anthony Nichols - guitar; Jim Koury - guitar; Jesse Johnson - bass; Paul Souza - vocals; Stuart Dowie - drums.

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"Barely Human" (Screaming Ferret Wreckords; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Barely Human" is a monster of a metal album that plods along like Godzilla through Tokyo when it wants to, and then rips into high gear like a Harley Davidson chainsaw at others. This CD proves that some veteran bands don't get older, they just get better.

Most of the songs are balls-out metalfests, such as "Hate Machine," "Barely Human," and "Motor Psycho." But the band isn't afraid to show a relatively softer side, too, with power ballads like "Ungodly" and "Hell Song." "Wrong Place, Right Time" falls snugly in the middle, chugging along at full metal speed one moment, then slowing down to power ballad melody the next.

The downside here might be that a lot of the tracks sound like they're relics of the past. They are written in a style that was most popular years, if not decades, ago. Of course, that might be a bright side, too, especially if you're into that genre. If you are, you'll love "Barely Human."

And, as if "Barely Human" wasn't awesome enough, the band also includes a bonus CD. "Unfinished Business" is a demo containing eight tracks that the band recorded in 1992 when shopping for a new record label. Surprise #1: Godsmack's Sully Erna performs on this CD. Surprise #2: "Unfinished Business" - despite being a somewhat rough demo from over ten years ago - still sounds great! And, since it's never been heard until now, it's like getting two new Meliah Rage albums for the price of one.

As far as heavy metal bargains go, you won't find one much better than this double dose of Meliah Rage.

Meliah Rage: Anthony Nichols - guitar; Jim Koury - guitar; Jesse Johnson - bass; Paul Souza - vocals; Barry Spillberg - drums. Bass on "Invincible" by Bob Mayo.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07 Aug 2023 20:46:39 -0400.