Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lesser of two evils

Time again for another session of Lesser of two evils. I take two not so good albums and put them against each other and figure out a winner. This time Bob Vinyl and I will both be chiming in on the CDs in question. This time we have....


Little Caesar-s/t (1990)



Lord Tracy-Deaf Gods of Babylon (1989)


So we have former Pantera singer Terrence Glaze up for lord Tracy. He is going against Ron Young who is the man that broke a pool cue over Arnold Scharzenegger in the bar scene in Terminator 2.

Lord Tracy
BV- This guy sounds like Sammy Hagar if Sammy had no soul at all. His cadence is flat and his range is minimal. On slower songs, he's even worse. He should be singing in a bar band doing bad AOR covers. Maybe he could get a big curly blond wig and play in a (bad) Sammy Hagar cover band. I know "3HC" is a joke, but a joke should have a better take on rap than this.

MM-I hear the Sammy Hagar thing, but it's more like he's trying (and struggling) to sing in Hagar's style than that he actually sound like him. He's trying too hard and really reaching, but there is nothing behind it. Somewhere along the recording process someone really needed to tell him that he couldn't sing.

Little Caesar

BV-He doesn't have a great voice, but he uses what he has well which raises him to the level of perhaps just a tad better than mediocre. At his best, he's a poorman's Ian Astbury. Bad Ian Astbury beats bad Sammy Hagar, point to Little Caesar.

MM-The range is alright, but he sings with some conviction. I don't completely buy into what he's trying to do, but he does and that helps. Point to Little Caesar.


So it's Apache and Louren Molinare for Little Caesar against Jymmy R. Rusidoff for Lord Tracy.

Lord Tracy

BV-At their best, these are third-rate Van Halen riffs that alternate between disjointed/unnatural and just plain dull. I think at times Lord Tracy would like to do something along the lines of Extreme, but their guitarist fails do anything dynamic. Not only are the riffs unoriginal, but they're poorly played as well.

MM-The bulk of the riffs are similar to Extreme's first album only not nearly as sharp. The solos are far worse it's like he's trying to toss in everything but the kitchen sink in an attempt to sound stellar. Only it just sounds sloppy and annoying like he's trying so hard to impress us with his want to be rock god tricks.

Little Caesar

BV-The guitar parts never show off and that's good. If the 80's did one disservice to the instrument, it's that it encouraged so many dull guitarists to be flashy rather than to sink their teeth into their playing and try to evoke some feeling. Little Caesar's guitar parts are played with some swagger and have a nice organic tone. There were plenty of guys who could play circles around this guy, but most of them were far more boring. If for no other reason than for not overextending himself, point toLittle Caesar.

MM-I like the overall tone and even though there is not a lot here that's original at least most of it seems directed towards the overall good of the song rather than trying to be a hot dog and slap in some flash that doesn't fit. Point to Little Caesar.

Rhythm Section
It's bass player Fidel Paniagua and drummer Tom Morris for Little Caesar against bassist Kinley Wolf and drummer Chris Craig for Lord Tracy.

Lord Tracy

BV- I guess they can keep time, but they provide no value, no drive,no groove. If they were any more boring, they'd fall asleep. The drummer and bassist are the band's best technicians, yet they manage to evoke even less emotion than the singer and guitarist.

MM-For Lord Tracy these two are better than the vocalist and the guitarist for sure, but that doesn't mean a whole lot in the long run. The drummer is steady enough and you don't hear the bass player a lot. There was one slow song where the rhythm section kept it from being truly horrible because the singer and guitarist were killing it. Still they are just alright at best.

Little Caesar

BV-Neither are great players, but they do make a contribution to the music with rich tones and just a bit of swing. The bass lines aren't all that complicated, but they provide a rolling rhythm on which the riffs ride. I'll take groove over noodling any day. Point to Little Caesar.

MM-These guys are also fairly standard yet I like the drum sound overall. There is a little variation on Little Caesar's songs and these guys handle the different paces fairly well.
Point to Little Caesar.


Lord Tracy

BV-The only thing less original than the music is the lyrics (with the exception of the comical "Piranha"). Frankly, even when they try their hand at some of the things Faith No More and Extreme were doing at the same time and got into something a little newer than the same old 80s hard rock crap, they do it so poorly that they shouldn't even get credit for trying. Why do so many people in hard rock think misogyny is cool anyway? The production is unfortunately decent, allowing us to hear just how bad Lord Tracy is in all facets of their game.

MM-They copy a number of other acts, but not the usual suspects as not many acts copy Sammy Hagar and to be fair this came out the same years as Extreme's debut. However it still fails to sound that fresh and just because something is sort of original doesn't mean it's good as several songs by this band illustrate. The production is above average.

Little Caesar

BV- I've certainly heard this stuff before, so they aren't going to get any points for originality. However, they do it well and the production brings out their gritty, organic sound. They both get zeroes for originality, but the production for Little Caesar brings out their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Point to Little Caesar.

MM-I think they were trying to blend some classic rock with hard rock of the day and the results were hit and miss and the originality was minimal. However producer Bob Rock does a fine job of making what's here sound tight and as presentable as possible.

Who Rocks More?
Lord Tracy
BV-Lord Tracy hit the nail on the head when they call one of theirshort, meaningless instrumentals a "wank." That's really what their music is. There's no substance on any level yet they play in a way that attempts to show off their meager skills as if they actually have something to offer. I found myself laughing at how bad "She Man Blues" is and then commenting a moment later that it was one of the album's best songs. I can't imagine how something could rock less. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

MM-It just felt like Lord Tracy were so bad that even when they tried get the music to move it didn't exactly rock but instead it just showed all of their weaknesses. They just didn't really seem to have a clue about how to make this music appealing on any level. Perhaps this album should have been called the "Tone Deaf Gods of Babylon"

Little Caesar
BV- Rather than getting bogged down in showing off, Little Caesar get straight to the business at hand and they do, despite not doing it in a new way, rock. Sure, I'd rather listen to the Cult, but this would do in a pinch. If I only had Little Caesar in the car, it wouldn't be the end of the world. If I only had Lord Tracy, I'd just assume ride in silence. Point to Little Caesar.

MM-I think Little Caesar tried well enough and several songs rocked in fact they definitely had more good songs than they did clunkers. I think they had an idea of how to rock and did so some, but they were also taking a few stabs at some very radio friendly tracks as well. If the amount of tattoos equaled talent than these guys would have been big. However their sound wasn't as heavy as their image yet they do enough to show that they had some potential. Point to Little Caesar.

We both agree that Little Caesar sweeps Lord Tracy.

BV-Well, I have even more respect for Metal Mark after going through this process myself. While Lord Tracy is probably up there with the worst of them, at least I lucked out with Little Caesar. They're a far cry from great, but they're listenable. Lord Tracy was just torture.

MM-Both bands didn't make much head way back in the days of a very crowded field. However both seem to have a little bit of a cult following and both have reformed at certain points in recent years. Little Caesar were one of those bands like Circus of power and Junkyard who tried to look tough, but their music didn't match their image. Lord Tracy just sounded like they had no idea what they were doing, but made an album anyway.

***Thanks to Bob Vinyl for helping out. He writes Rock and Roll and meandering nonsense.

Labels: ,


Blogger DPTH International said...

Soooo I shouldn't bother with Lord Tracy then? Wow. I imagine Little Cesar swept it before you even started breaking down the catagories.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

dpth-Skip Lord Tracy. Little Caesar turned out to be better than I thought and Lord Tracy turned out worse.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

This was fun! I own both CD's but I must admit that I haven't listened to either one of them in quite some time.

Mark, I would be happy to do one of these with you sometime.

Rob Rockitt
Hard Rock Hideout

3:26 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Lord Tracy was pretty good. Little Caesar? Blech!

8:17 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home