There are always going to be a release by a band or solo artist with one album in someone’s collection most of the time. Sometimes it can be a one-off obscure side project that might deserve more than what it got, sometimes it can be a failed attempt to express something different than what they usually thrive in. Here is a list of some of my eye and ear catching releases. I’m going to dive into many genres, mainly the hard and heavy, but also stuff outside the box but close to it.
Stressball – Stressball (1993, Pavement) Coming from the New Orleans sludge underground scene. Stressball released a few demos before and after the sole full length. The band may be long gone, due to the passing of their vocalist, Steven and guitarist Lennon. This album features drummer Joseph Fazzio who you may know of as former Superjoint Ritual/Hank III drummer. Stressball was also a headliner with Acid Bath as an new coming opener at their events. Nola never fails to produce the best sludge metal. If you enjoy Crowbar, this is for you.
Floodgate – Penalty (1996, Roadrunner) A short lived new band fronted by Kyle Thomas of Exhorder and Trouble. Floodgate was a piece originally called Penalty when releasing the demos featuring Jimmy Bower on drums. Floodgate’s sound was more stoner metal ala COC/Down in many ways compared to the thrash that Exhorder created. I hoped for a while that this band would come back full time, but never did sadly. A 3 song demo was recorded after the album, but never properly released. The demo can heard on YouTube and is considered by the band as their true sound.
Vista Chino – Peace (2013, Napalm) This is/was the closest to a Kyuss reunion that could happen. This lineup featured John Garcia (vocals), Brant Bjork (drums, vocals), Nick Oliveri (bass), Bruno Fevery (guitar). The Kyuss Lives! name was used for live performances before the album was made, but changed do to legal disputes from former Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme. Mike Dean from COC even makes a guest appearance on bass for a song, too. Sadly this band faded away, thankfully John and Brant are making solo material for all of us to enjoy.
MD.45 – The Craving (1996, Slab) Dave Mustaine on guitar and Lee Ving from Fear on vocals? Huh? Yep! A definite one off side project with a radio single “Hell’s Motel”. It has punk elements but also biker bar rock overtones with Lee Ving’s bluesy rasp and occasional blues harp. Lee Ving also made a country album, but I’ll get to that later. Anyway, I hear a lot of crybabies complain about this album because it did not sound like Megadeth. Well, no shit, it’s a fucking side band, it’s not supposed to. Also features drums by Jimmy DeGrasso who joined Megadeth soon after, but we all know from Suicidal Tendencies and Alice Cooper fame. Bassist, Kelly LeMieux ended up in Buckcherry, hmm. So if you want the best version of this release, get the 1996 original Slab/Capitol one, not the re-issued cash grab edition from 2004, trust me.
Range War – Home on the Range (2017, Atom Age Industries) So, here we go about Lee Ving like I said. He is a man of many talents in music and even acting. This album was recorded in 1985 and shelved until 2017. A song has been released as 7” singles and some are even heard in films. A good amount of rock musicians have done country well and he is definitely one of the better ones. Little is known who the lineup is besides Ving on guitar, vocals. If you dig old outlaw country, get this hidden gem from the 80’s. It seems to only have one major source for purchase, an exclusive item at Atom Age Industries online.
Supershine – Supershine (2000, Metal Blade) bassist, vocalist Doug Pinnick of King’s-X and guitarist Bruce Franklin of Trouble join forces to bring a heavy yet melodic masterpiece. Also guests Jeff Olson and Jerry Gaskill trading drums on various tracks and mastered by Ty Tabor. The combination of these 2 elements may seem strange but definitely a quality release that should be on your media shelf between both their main acts. The late 90’s and early 2000’s were a hard time for the metal genres and this project might have gone under the radar for even the fans of these performers. And course Metal Blade released it, so that being said should also be a bonus!
Snake Nation – Snake Nation (1989, Caroline) During a lineup change for Corrosion Of Conformity, Woody decided to do double duties and jam with then former bassist Mike Dean. This album was only released on vinyl and cassette and can still be found on ebay, where I got mine long ago. It was recorded on the cheap, but I think it sounds pretty good, I like it raw. Do not expect it to sound exactly like that era of COC, even though the elements are there, obviously. I hope one day a remixed reissue will come out.
Righteous Fool – Righteous Fool EP (2010, Southern Lord) Released as a 7” vinyl and digital download only, it appeared to be a teaser of the full length that was recorded, but never released. Originally a side project of Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman and then COC drummer Jason Patterson from HR’s solo band in the 2000’s. When 2010 came along and the OG 3 piece of COC came back into formation with Reed Mullin back on drums, he also joined Righteous Fool. Jason Patterson came in on guitar when Woody wanted to keep his focus on COC. Kind of a confusing lineup flip and flop with both parties, this release has more of a fuzz distortion and more 70’s rock sound. Maybe one day we will get the full length release in tribute to the late Reed Mullin.
Premonition 13 – 13 (2011, Volcom) This was Wino’s new band during the departure of The Hidden Hand and during his rejoining of Saint Vitus. Premonition 13 lasted a short while with the release, tour and a single. It also had the potential to be almost as good as his work in The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan in my opinion. It was a rare occasion seeing him share guitar/vocal duties with another band mate but it suited the style a little. The production is crisp and analog sounded, really brings out the warm low end. It might also be a rare grab now that the label is defunct.
Agents Of Oblivion – Agents Of Oblivion (2000, Rotten Records) Dax Riggs and Mike Sanchez of Acid Bath bring you a different flavor of Louisiana rock in a more 70’s manner with psychedelic effects and samples taken from the film, Gummo. I really wish this band carried on after the tour for the album. I mean, his solo stuff is great, but this album was a good start to something that could have carried on. There is even a cover of Acid Bath’s Dead Girl with a more down home road house feel. I had the cd, it was stolen from me, but I at least have the tracks still. Maybe I might pick it up again in time and I suggest you do as well.
HSAS – Through The Fire (1984, Geffen) AKA Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve! With on radio hit titled Top of the Rock, confusing casual listeners as a rare Hagar track they cannot find. What’s not to like, it’s Hagar with members of Journey, Santana and Yardbirds. It sold well but not as well as their full time outfits. Sammy even stated that I Can’t Drive 55 almost ended up on this album and he is glad it did not, not meaning it in a bad way. You can find this album in the Sammy Hagar section at your local record shop haha. Anyway, for you followers of Hagar, Journey or good ole mullet rock, I recommend this for your Camaro rides.
Abraxas Pool – Abraxas Pool (1997, Miramar) Speaking of Journey and Santana members, this project features Neal Schon, Greg Rolie, Michael Schrieve and others. It’s long out of print and almost unheard of by aficionados of the mentioned artists. It resembles the Chicano sound of the Abraxas lineup of Santana minus Carlos and less Journey elements. It’s something for a diehard more so than a casual listener perhaps. More of an album you put on when chilling at home and want a calm atmosphere. Margarita time, perhaps.