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(46:57 / Unicorn Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. An Eye For an Eye 3:17 2. Fools For the Cliche 3:05 3. Damaged Brain 4:15 4. Mater-Sync 4:12 5. Partymaniac 4:29 6. Perfect Dream 4:42 7. Superficial Girl Com 4:37 8. Strange Behaviour 3:36 9. Ugly Little Thing 4:36 10. Great Guy 3:35 11. Vernissage 6:26 LINEUP: Benjamin Schippritt - guitars; vocals Berthold Fehmer - keyboards Michael Sticken - drums
Prolusion. Consisting of then-recent university graduates, German trio JUNK FARM came into existence some five years ago. "Ugly Little Thing" is their first brainchild.
Analysis. The outfit's moniker automatically reminds me of Junky Funk, but although the name of that Japanese band sounds certainly more provocative:-), they do really play Jazz Rock, unlike these guys. I'm still scratching my head wondering why the trio cites Jazz as one of the most important components of their music. There is not even a trace of genuine Jazz here, only one of the disc's eleven tracks, the instrumental Mater-Sync, revealing a more or less considerable connection with that genre. Not too ingenious compositionally, this is nevertheless a competently performed piece of quasi Jazz-Fusion (with no other stylistic makeweights) and is probably the only highlight of this album, at least in terms of progressiveness. Five more numbers, An Eye For an Eye, Fools For the Cliche, Great Guy, Perfect Dream and Ugly Little Thing, can all be regarded as good creations too, but only as long as they're viewed outside the context of Prog Rock. The sound of the first three of these is a mixture of Thrash Metal of the first water and symphonic Hard Rock, suggesting a cross between Metallica (or rather Testament) and Uriah Heep, with some hints of a quasi-improvisational style within their instrumental sections that, however, are much more often deplorably short than otherwise. Perfect Dream, with NWBHM in its basis, is reminiscent of early Helloween or Iron Maiden, whilst Ugly Little Thing is guitar- and organ-driven retro Hard Rock. What prevents me from relating those five songs to Prog-Metal is that there aren't enough curves thrown into them to keep them from becoming predictable. That being said, their best aspect is that each achieves that power and drive which all the remaining five tracks lack, as when devoid of a distinct heavy component Junk Farm's music seems automatically to lose a substantial part of its expressiveness. The first time the material begins, say, to arouse suspicion is on the third track, Damaged Brain, a conventional '80-styled pop-rock song with a certain ballad-like feeling in the refrain, which is repeated more than once, unfortunately. With plenty of so-called hooks and catching melodies, this is one of those subliminal things that will stick in your head once you've played it twice running. The (remaining) instrumental piece Superficial Girl Com and the song Vernissage, while also soft-sounding throughout, both have their fine moments and aren't abundant in obtrusive melodies, but from a progressive standpoint come across as substandard creations anyway. Finally, Partymaniac and Strange Behaviour, both strictly alternate hard-rock moves with, well, AOR sections. Benjamin Schippritt's vocals are fine overall, but seem to be much better adapted to heavy music. On Thrash-styled numbers he usually provides only lead vocals (in contrast to most of the other songs, which abound in harmony vocals), and there his singing possesses a certain identity, otherwise appearing as something both conventional and featureless.
Conclusion. I appreciate the band for having properly titled their first CD, "Ugly Little Thing". Joking apart, half of the recording is decent prog-tinged Metal, though overall, this is an okayish release at best, quite atypical of Unicorn Records. Try to check it before buying.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: December 20, 2007
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