Wino & Conny Ochs - Heavy Kingdom
Metal legend Scott "Wino" Weinrich continues his obsession acoustic
music, this time enlisting fellow traveler Conny Ochs. Together they wrote and
sing all the songs on "Heavy Kingdom," a moody collection of murder ballads,
southern ghosts and dark blues. Clearly neither Wino nor Ochs sees the acoustic
guitar as a step-down power-wise from the electric version. In their hands there
is considerable bite from the steels strings.
Starting it off with the stark, semi-spoken word "Somewhere
Nowhere," the duo launches into stripped down story-songs of betrayal and woe. The
title track's Grand Funk feel places the record in context with other metal
artists who have found kinship with country blues. (In fact, the closer, "Labour
Of Love," ends things with a loose, tipsy G n' R vibe.) There is an
instrumental version of "Heavy Kingdom as well, which is soulful instrumental,
pensive and tense.
Other highlights include "Vultures By The Vines" is one of
the louder tracks, a semi-electric tune with a solidly raw, muffled guitar solo.
"Dark Ravine," almost a gothic short story, is probably the best song on the
record, though the fuzzy, menacing swamp epic "Here Comes The Siren" is pretty
"Heavy Kingdom" is not a record to seek out for variety nor
for reassurance. Its relentlessly dark, spare groove might be too much in one
sitting. But if you can hang, Wino and Conny Ochs will spin many grim tale for
you, some that recall Cormac McCarthy or Johnny Cash in intensity.
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