Lost Angel, by 3rd Strike
Suggested by Danny Nuttall
Reviewed by Rob Wagner
Nu-Metal. New Metal. It was, at the time, the next new thing – trying to inject some heaviness and trendiness back into the rock scene after increasingly bland Grunge bands flooded the market. Though there is a fairly wide spread of sounds which fall under the ν-metal genre, the core elements are as follows:
– Guitar riffs are prominent but solos are (mythic) rare. The music tends to focus on the rhythm.
– Rapping, singing, screaming and – yes Craig – growling are the most-common vocal styles.
– Guitar sounds are heavily overdriven by default, but wah pedals and reverb are common for quieter song sections and verses.
– Turntables, sampling, scratching and electronic backings are common from the hip-hop influence.
However, to stand out you needed a gimmick – just like the WWF Wrestlers of the time. KoRn were Rowdy Roddy Piper – a bit more old school with random kilts and bagpipes. Slipknot were the Road Warriors with their comedy costumes and aggressive appearance. Marilyn Manson was Goldust, all sleek and mysterious but with misplaced sexual behaviour. Biohazard were Hardcore Holly, cosplaying as a Goliath Necromunda gang. Maybe it’s lazy, but Kittie were Chyna, the big bad lady doing it in a man’s world. Lostprophets were Pat Patterson.
3rd Strike are quite possibly Marty Jannetty. They were there at the time, sure, but do you remember them? Have you heard of them? They released one album (this one) back in 2002, towards the end of the main wave of nu metal and they come from California, one of the big American centres of the time. Two singles were released from the album: No Light, their slightly more mellow song, and Redemption, which has a bit more of an industrial vibe to it. However, when it really comes down to it, 3rd Strike are quite possibly the most middle-of-the-road bland nu metal band I’ve come across.
Maybe that’s unfair, there’s nothing wrong with them. In fact I kind of enjoyed it. No song let me down, just a bunch of reliable nu-metal songs passing through. But no song stood out either, until a rap cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid snuck up behind me and left me bleeding on the floor.
The sad thing is that if this album had been released two or three years earlier and I’d seen them at the Cavern or Phoenix down in Exeter (my locals) I’d have probably enjoyed them. If they’d played a couple of times then I’d have gone back, maybe bought the album, and then I’d look back fondly on the memory. I might even have been the one to recommend this album to Craig, who would have crapped all over it.
This project, for me, is showing up a lot of peoples’ pet albums that reminds them of good times even if the music itself isn’t standout. I’ve submitted a couple myself and mildly regretted it now that I see the reviews rolling in, but reading Saira’s review of the Libertine’s guff last month is another good example. It doesn’t matter to her that other people hear that octopus and call it awful, because it reminds her of an enjoyable period of her life.
Therefore I offer my apologies to Danny because I expect he suggested this and looks back fondly at a gig-going time. But to me this is a missed opportunity I have only discovered 20 years later and doesn’t offer me anything I didn’t hear over and over at the time, even though I also enjoyed it. I give this album a modest 5/10 and probably won’t listen to it again, but I understand it.
[Craig’s Review – Surprisingly, given some of the drivel I’ve had to suffer through at Rob’s behest, he and I are largely aligned on 3rd Strike. It’s Nu Metal, done well enough me make me tap my moshin’ feet, but it largely lacks the elusive umami that would turn it from basic food to sumptuous meal. It contains all the elements, and I guess my only criticism would be that the shouty-rappy vocals mean a little too heavily into the trope than I’d like. I’d not suggest totally reining it in, merely dialling it back a notch. As for songs, my standout it City’s On Fire, which manages to portray a wild and dizzy illicit panic fantastically well. Oh, and as Rob said, their ninja-striking Sabbath tribute Paranoid is well worth your time, albeit a little too much of a faithful recreation for me. The fewer creative liberties taken on cover versions, the more I’m left pining for the original. Lost Angel gets 5/10 from me. Finally, top work on the Wrestling analogies! As someone who has metaphorically Five Star Frog Splashed in that particular Squared Circle Lake, I got a massive (brogue) kick out of it.]