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Blistering punk and sublime dirges,
This review is from: storm the gates of heaven LP (Vinyl)
Storm the Gates of Heaven reveals unusual aspects of County's work: serious, reflective and profound. The monologue introducing the title track is the only part that may be considered offensive. The sound is a blend of bass, lead & rhythm guitar, drums & percussion by the versatile Electric Chairs.
Embellished by Hammond organ, the title track rages against and laments the suffering caused by religious wars. Anger may dominate but it does not lack humor. Cry Of Angels is an eloquent, even anthemic defense of Enlightenment values on which the guitar textures and the hook around the chorus superbly complement one another.
The special guitar effects, fierce vocals and the subject matter make Speed Demon unusual - and the words are prophetic. Side One concludes with Mr Normal, another mix of angry rant & plea for tolerance that reveals extraordinary psychological insight. Here also the arrangement impresses through dynamic interactions of vocals and guitars.
Side Two opens with Man Enough To Be A Woman where the tempo slows down from the uniformly fast pace of the first side. This song has a rich instrumental mix that includes Hammond organ & synthesizer, whilst piano & Vox organ adorn the ironic and witty Trying To Get On The Radio. What a pity it didn't stay on the playlists long enough (if it ever got on the radio in the first place) as it's quite catchy and should have been a hit.
The psychedelic classic I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night gets a dreamlike though still uptempo treatment - think of Bowie's cover of Let's Spend The Night Together on Aladdin Sane.
Storm The Gates concludes with the mournful track Tomorrow Is Another Day, a reflection on the life and death of a certain Andrea of Warhol Factory fame; it resembles the wistful Sunday Morning on The Velvet Underground & Nico as well as some of the later work of Nico. Acoustic guitar and harmonium reinforce the association with the German chanteuse. County outvelvets Nico & co on this haunting composition with its aching sense of loss and regret.
The color of the vinyl record resembles a type of marble in a blend of mauve, pink, green and white and Martyn Goddard deserves credit for the striking front & back cover pictures. Most of these tracks are available on the albums Rock 'n Roll Cleopatra and Let Your Backbone Slip but Storm The Gates of Heaven forms a cohesive and very special whole.