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MG66 - "In the House of Liv" (CD)

MG66 - "In the House of Liv" CD cover image

"In the House of Liv" track listing:

1. My Strength
2. In the House of Liv
3. To the Core (Hate You ...)
4. Nostalgia Kills
5. Living My Life
6. I Will, I Can
7. Shut Up!!
8. Double Minded
9. Dead End Railway
10. Fire

Reviewed by on July 19, 2009

"Instrumentally, I can't really find anything to complain about, with tracks like 'My Strength,' that will make you want to move, and solos that incorporate the styles of everyone from Angus Young to Zakk Wylde, and yeah, Dime too."

Proving that the Bush administration didn't turn everyone in Europe off from loving American sounds and culture, the members of Italy's MG66 do their best on "In the House of Liv" to sound like they emerged from the same American rock scene that inspired their heroes.

Take for example, "Living My Life," which begins with a deep-fried southern guitar lick that could've come from anyone from ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons to Pantera's Dimebag Darrell. The song's topic, a free-spirited woman who refuses to be judged and can't be contained by any one man's expectations, seems awfully familiar to these American ears as well.

The band's sound, which the members refer to as "thrash n' roll," successfully puts thrash and bluesy boogie rock in a blender and comes up with a mix that's reminiscent of everyone from Pantera to Motorhead to "Load"-era Metallica.

Instrumentally, I can't really find anything to complain about, with tracks like "My Strength," that will make you want to move, and solos that incorporate the styles of everyone from Angus Young to Zakk Wylde, and yeah, Dime too. Dee Mitra and Davidian's guitar work is the best thing about this disc, with bassist Steve C.H. and drummer Cla Vanza providing boogie and thrash in expert style as well.

Unfortunately, the vocals are where the album takes a major hit. Robert Pixx sings nearly everything in a James Hetfield growl — whether the material calls for it or not. Trust me, you'll never realize the subtleties of guys like Hetfield, Phil Anselmo and Lemmy until you hear similar songs without any of those subtleties.

Also, some of the lyrics have a misogynist bent that I wasn't fond of at all. "To the Core (Hate You ...)" features the song's protagonist beating his girlfriend to death as "Your mouth tries to mutter something but it never will."

On the other hand, there's the occasional track that's firing on all cylinders, like "Nostalgia Kills," which features great thrash riffing and smart lyrics that tell of the dangers of always looking to the past at the expense of the present.

If I was rating the MG66's musicianship instrumentally, "In the House of Liv" would score a lot higher, but the vocals and lyrics do drag the score down for me. If this band gets around to a second album, it'd probably be wise for them to work on polishing the vocals and lyrics.

Highs: Excellent playing throughout, with "My Strength" and "Nostalgia Kills," great lyrics standing out.

Lows: The misogynistic "To the Core (Hate You ...)," and vocals that could've used more polish throughout.

Bottom line: The playing, which incorporates a variety of styles, is great. The vocals and lyrics need work.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)