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Wino & Conny Ochs - "Heavy Kingdom" (CD)

Wino & Conny Ochs - "Heavy Kingdom" CD cover image

"Heavy Kingdom" track listing:

1. Somewhere Nowhere
2. Heavy Kingdom
3. Dust
4. Vultures By The Vines
5. Dark Ravines
6. Traces Of Blood
7. Heavy Kingdom Jam
8. Highway Kind
9. Dead Yesterday
10. Here Comes The Siren
11. Labour Of Love

Reviewed by on March 6, 2012

"If you liked Wino's acoustic 'Adrift,' it's a fair bet that you'll find something to enjoy here — but there's definitely a lot less substance to be had on many of these tracks."

After crafting an acoustic masterpiece with last year's "Adrift," Scott "Wino" Weinrich is back with another mostly unplugged effort, "Heavy Kingdom," which has him performing alongside Conny Ochs, who supported him on the "Adrift" tour. Unfortunately, this is a case where two heads are not better than one, with both the songwriting and guitar work feeling a little slight in places.

The music is definitely more in Ochs' natural style than in that of Wino's work in the Obsessed, or even on the "Adrift" album. It's among the most instrumentally sparse albums I've heard in a long time, often featuring just vocals and two acoustic guitars.

The "just-two-guys-jamming" feel fairly well on tracks like the Townes Van Zandt cover "Highway Kind," which has Ochs and Weinrich delivering some excellent vocal harmonies. It's also interesting to hear Wino play what almost feels like country music on "Heavy Kingdom Jam."

On the other hand, tracks like the opener, "Somewhere Nowhere," feel quite slight, with a main riff that could've worked if played electrically, but that lacks any power on an acoustic guitar. The disc also ends on a weak note, with "Labour Of Love" featuring some truly weak lyrics.

It's generally the speedier stuff that works better, with "Heavy Kingdom" almost bringing Led Zeppelin tracks like "Gallows Pole" to mind, while "Vultures By The Vines" brings a welcome dose of electric fuzz and an almost grunge rock feel. It also features Ochs' best vocals on the disc. Also impressive is the creepy "Here Comes The Siren," which features a smidgen of Wino's trademark doom style.

If you liked Wino's acoustic "Adrift," it's a fair bet that you'll find something to enjoy here — but there's definitely a lot less substance to be had on many of these tracks. That said, there's nothing terrible here, and there are some moments of beauty and energy. No, you're not going to be banging your head much — but it's a decent disc to mellow out to.

Highs: "Heavy Kingdom," "Heavy Kingdom Jam" and "Vultures By The Vines."

Lows: "Labour Of Love" and "Somewhere Nowhere."

Bottom line: A decent, if somewhat slight acoustic album that doesn't completely measure up to Wino's previous "Adrift."

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 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)