Smash - The Last Stage
Fan Records
Modern Rock / Metal
5 songs (19:42)
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Mike

Smash is a rock / metal band from Finland that have released a five track EP in the hopes of signing with a bigger record label for the release of the debut full length album. The promo sheet touts the band as playing "heavy rock / metal complete with hard kicking riff and strong vocals - while not forgetting the melodies." It goes on to tout the band as the "missing link between the old and the new."

The band makes a few mentions of Kiss in the promo sheet. Obviously, Kiss is a favorite of the Smash as evidences by the cover version of War Machine that appears on this EP. Smash's guitarist even declares Creatures of the Night his favorite Kiss album as it is darker and heavier than most of their other material. I feel that Smash has tried to capture this same feeling by tuning their guitars low, too low. Combined with the half sung, half pissed off screaming, sometimes rap tinged vocals, too many moments of this album smell of the ever present mallcore metal that can found on your local radio station. The EP does have its moments however, mostly with the guitar work. As the promo sheet states, there are some meaty metal riffs as well as some classic shredding going on throughout the EP which is certainly the highlight of this release. When the lead vocals are sung, I find his voice to be very enjoyable and well suited for a hard rocking metal band. In fact, his voice reminds me slightly of Monster Magnet's lead vocalist. I also found the melodies to be on the weak side. After listening to this EP several times, War Machine is the only tune that stuck in my head.

The War Machine cover sounds like Kiss meets modern rock: not terrible, but nothing special and it certainly does not come close to the original. While this EP does have its moments (mostly with the very talented guitar player), the band makes too much of an attempt to appease the MTV generation for my tastes. This sound reminds me of some of the 80's metal bands that tried and failed to win new fans in the mid 90's with a more "modern" sound to their music. I think these guys have the talent to put out a really kick ass album if they go the "old school without sounding dated" route as opposed to the "old school meets new school (mallcore)" path they have chosen here. Of course, this is a matter of taste, and so I'd recommend checking out the band's website (linked above) to decide for yourself, especially those that have a spot for modern rock in your cd collection.

Killing Songs :
Shine (Solace In Me)
Mike quoted 50 / 100
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