"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Mollo/Martin - "The Third Cage" (CD)

Mollo/Martin - "The Third Cage" CD cover image

"The Third Cage" track listing:

1. Wicked World
2. Cirque Du Freak
3. Oh My Soul
4. One Of The Few
5. Still In Love With You
6. Can't Stay Here
7. Wardance
8. Don't. Know What It Is About You
9. Blind Fury
10. Violet Moon

Reviewed by on February 2, 2012

"The biggest problem with the album lies in Martin's vocal delivery."

With an appealing classic metal sound and some truly amazing guitar solos, Mollo/Martin's "The Third Cage" will please headbangers who like their metal steeped in the sounds of the '70s and '80s. That said, listeners may find themselves wishing for more distinctive vocals.

This is Italian guitar player Dario Mollo's third collaboration with ex-Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, and tracks like the opener, "Wicked World" and the angry midtempo stomp "Wardance" feature the two playing off each other quite well. Mollo's solos on the latter track are particularly masterful.

On the other hand, tracks like "One Of The Few" and especially "Still In Love With You" come across as by-the-numbers '80s pop metal, with the latter track having a distinctly Van Hagar feel.

The biggest problem with the album lies in Martin's vocal delivery, which never really varies from something reminiscent of Foreigner's Lou Gramm. It might have been nice to hear more of the lower-end vocals found on the slow album-ender "Violet Moon."

Still, those who enjoyed Martin's work with Sabbath are sure to find something they're fond of, and Mollo's fancy fretwork is often enough to make up for any vocal shortcomings.

Highs: "Violet Moon" and "Wicked World"

Lows: Some by-the-numbers tracks

Bottom line: Excellent guitar work helps overcome unexceptional vocals in this modern classic metal album.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)