Monday, June 11, 2007

Lesser of two evils

Welcome to Lesser of two evils, this is where I take two bands I am not too fond of and match up the albums to try and pick a winner. This time it's two albums from 1988. We have...
Kingdome Come-s/t,

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Zodiac Mindwarp and the love reaction-Tatooed beat messiah

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I listened to these two several times for this contest. Not because they were any good, but because both were so dull that I kept losing my focus and drifting away from the music. Yet I think I was able to eventually focus and figure out a winner. Here is the breakdown.

So we have Lenny Wolf from Kingdom Come going up against Zodiac Mindwarp himself. Lenny Wolf sounds like an uninspired Robert Plant. Only thing is I never heard Robert plant sound uninspired on anything. Wolf displays very little charm or emotion. Zodiac Mindwarp's voclas sound like a decent copy of 80's Alice Cooper.
-Point to Zodiac Mindwarp.

Danny Stag and Rick Steier are the guitarist for Kingdom Come and Cobalt Stargazer is the player for Zodiac Mindwarp. The KC guys are a little stale and reserved, but they can play some and they get some sparks going a little. You just have to listen for them which was tough at times. Cobalt Stargazer's playing is so basic and his rhythm's are better than his solos for whatever that's worth. He just does very little beyond what you would expect any bar band guitarists in any town could do.
-Point to Kingdom Come

Rhythm section
We have bassist Johnny B. Frank and drummer James Kottak for Kingdome Come against Kid Chaos on bass and Kid Thunderhide on drums. I don't much hear the bass on Zodiac Mindwarp and the drummer is about as blah as a drummer could be. Johnny B. Frank seems to be doing his job alright and James Kottak is fairly solid.
Point to Kingdome Come.

Kingdom Come are typically most known for being compared to Led Zeppelin. Zodiac Mindwarp's best song here is easily "Prime Mover" and the main riff is really a slight variation on Priest's "Living after midnight". So not much originality from either one. The production on Kingdom Come is far too slick, there is no edge to it at all. It almost reminds me of movie soundtrack instrumentals or something. The production on Zodiac Mindwarp is good enough.
Point to Zodiac Mindwarp

Who rocks more
As above, Kingdom Come are too slick in their sound. They can play enough, but they rarely come out of their carefully planned route. Just everything is far too safe. Zodiac Mindwarp are a mediocre garage band at best, but they have a few moments and some life to them.

Point to Zodiac Mindwarp

Okay, so by a 3-2 count Zodiac Mindwarp wins this one. This was the fourth Lesser of two evils I have done and in the previous three I found each of the winners to be better than I originally thought and even Steelheart (who lost) were slightly better. Yet I can honestly say these two bands I judged today were both worse than I remember them. Kingdom Come's album is so processed that it has very little life to it at all. Zodiac Mindwarp have an image that seem like they might be fun in a mindless sort of way yet they are far too boring to be fun. These were tough albums to make it through. I need to go listen to some Iron Maiden or Motorhead to rinse my ears of this crud I had to subject them to.


Blogger rock_of_ages said...

Two very different bands here and it can't have been easy to compare them. Kingdom Come's classic rock Zeppisms against the scuzz-rock of Zodiac...

For what it's worth, I fail to see how Kingdom Come are an 'evil'. To my ears, despite the silly claims they'd never heard Zeppelin, that first album is a good solid album that I still reach for regularly. It was more obvious that say Cinderella for borrowing from Zeppelin and although I havn't reviewed it yet on my site I'm guessing I'd give it a 3 to 4! The subsequent albums are all worth hearing as well even if Lenny Wolf is the only constant. The recent single was very much to my liking.

Zodiac Mindwarp seemed more of a cartoon metal band, almost a Motorhead for MTV hair generation. A few goods tracks but little substance from what I recall but it must be 15 years at least since I heard anything but Prime Mover.

Funny how everybody's tastes are different isn't it?

1:45 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

You are noble to go through this for us. I have KC, not ZW, and I must say I barely ever listen to it. And now I remember why.

-- david

2:46 AM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

I've never heard of Zodiac Mindwarp, but the band member names are almost as good as the guys from Lounge Against the Machine. Cobalt Stargazer? Awesome.

I, unfortunately, do remember Kingdom Come. Rule #1 in rock: Leave Zeppelin to Zeppelin. True, most metal bands are either emulating Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, but few have been so unapologetically copycattish as those guys.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Rock of ages-To me it is so watered down and lifeless. I probably actually prefer Wild Horses which was the band that Steier and Kottak did after leaving KC. I also saw Kingdom Come open Van Halen's Monsters of rock in 1988. They were just as boring there and I have never seen such a huge crowd show such indifference towards a band.

David-I remember both being a little better 19 years ago, but things change.

Beckeye-The names are one of the better things about ZM. Although I would guess they have a bigger cult following today than Kingdom Come does.

4:18 AM  
Blogger George Vader said...

I couldn't stand Kingdom Come, sacrilege I know but I don't rate Zeppelin, so a third rate Zep wasn't going to 'float my boat'. The Mindwarp on the other hand I have great memories of, 'Prime Mover' was a great single and live they always put on a good show.

4:29 AM  
Blogger aXe mAn said...

I happen to think that Kingdom Come is a pretty good band. But, their first album is NOT their best. As time went on, on later albums they developed a little bit more of their own style.

I only like a couple songs from Zodiac Mindwarp. They sound pretty good and bring a lot of energy. Especiall with the song "Backseat Education".

I would give it to Kingdom Come.
But, neither of them are "evil".

7:08 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I have to agree that both are pretty "evil," but I'm not surprised at the result. Kingdom Come does everything wrong in my book. They're just formulaic, super-slick and soulless. Zodiac Mindwarp wasn't all that good at what they did, but at least it was a little grittier.

I think Beckeye is right, elave Zeppelin to Zeppelin. Influence is one thing, but the bands that are just a ripoff are never any good.

7:21 AM  
Blogger rock_of_ages said...

I'm pretty much out on my own here...
I'll promise to keep my Kingdom Come listening sessions a private affair :-) I (still) like this album but they ain't a band I'll argue for!

Does anyone see the irony though of Kingdom Come getting a lot of stick by plagerising Zep when Zep themselves were massive copyists of many blues artists - to the point of not even giving appropriate writing credits at times?

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Like Beckeye, I've never heard of Zodiac Mindwarp. I know who Kingdom Come is, but, other than maybe hearing them on the Metal music channel on my cable system, I'm not sure if I would recognize any of their music.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Aunt Jackie said...

I actually liked Kingdom Come pretty well, but I haven't heard that in a long time! Thanks for the reminder.

10:45 AM  
Blogger captain corky said...

Zodiac Mindwarp gets bonus points for their incredible cheese ball name!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

George-I remember a lot of ads and even some radio publicity in my area when Zodiac Mindwarp played a clube near where I live in 1988.

Axe Man-I struggled to make it through one Kingdom Come album. it may be a while before I can prepare myself to listen to another one.

Bob-Kingdom Come were one a number of bands that just seemed so pre-fabricated. I think 1988 was when the hard rock market really started to get flooded with a lot of lame bands with no souls or fire to them.

rock of ages-You are right about Zeppelin. Also there have been a number of bands who have copied say Black Sabbath and AC/DC yet they normally didn't criticized for it.
The Lesser of two evils wasn't created for me to just rag on bands. I created it to give a second listen to bands I may dismissed at one point.

Bruce-Zodiac Mindwaro got some notice from the Headbanger's Ball and metal magazines in the U.S. in 1988. They are from the U.K. and were bigger there.

Aunt Jackie-This was the first time I heard Kingdom Come in probably 15 years and I remembered it being better, but it just wasn't that good.

Captain Corky-Zodiac Mindwarp have done maybe half a dozen or so albums. They have had a number of different band members and all of them have those goofy names.

12:06 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Rock of Ages, I disagree about Zeppelin. They definitely drew a lot from blues, but they made their own thing out of it. Even their Willie Dixon covers on the first album sounded distinctly like Led Zeppelin and not Willie Dixon. I love Zeppelin, but frankly I have a hard time listening to large doses of classic blues artists, even greats like Dixon or Muddy Waters.

I think the difference with Kingdom Come is that they copied instead of being influenced. Musically, they are so close to Zeppelin, but their souls are as far apart as they could be.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Allyson said...

I don't mind the Kingdome Come. Actually, I sort of like it.


12:59 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I also have a copy of Kingdom Come, and got thru about 2/3 of the tape beforeI took it out of the car stereo, put it in it's case never to be heard from again.

I don't have Zodiac Mindwarp, so I can't say.

10:41 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

I have a co-worker who's goten right into Kingdom Come lately and it scares me. I don't know enough of either band to judge, but I 'm content in my ignorance.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

dpth-You aren't missing out on anything there.

12:44 PM  

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