THE HIDDEN HAND - MOTHER * TEACHER * DESTROYER - SOUTHERN LORD
To be honest, I was driving and listening to this disc for the purposes of this review for a couple of days before glancing at the back cover where the label has conveniently placed a band biography. My point is that even without knowing the band's pedigree I could hear the Saint Vitus connections in The Hidden Hand's music.
The album, adorned with a cryptic and religious cover, is a rehash of early Black Sabbath, plus the obvious Saint Vitus mannerisms - granted not a stretch. This is the real stuff though. The band truly evokes that certain '70s feeling with a bottom-heavy doom metal that plods along at suitable tempo. Then the band kicks into a raw jam session or a slower drone (Black Ribbon is a good example) which coupled with the organic sound translates into a laid back, yet heavy, disc for all Sabbath fans. The only tangent in the whole story is apparently the band's lyrics. Check out a song title like The Deprogramming of Tom Delay. If memory serves me correctly, Tom is a good ol' boy American politician! - Anna Tergel
THE HIDDEN HAND - THE RESURRECTION OF WHISKEY FOOTE - SOUTHERN LORD
Unless one has been a member of Black Sabbath or has a name that begins with Leif and ends in Edling there is barely a person in all of metaldom whose work and music has contributed more to doom metal than Scott 'Wino' Weinrich of The Hidden Hand. The singer and guitarist has served time in Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Place Of Skulls, among others, and does not disappoint with The Resurrection Of Whiskey Foote. The album narrates the story of the title’s fictional character in a fledgling United States Of America and is a little more laid back and peaceful than the man’s previous output, but nonetheless still full of honest doom metal.
The Resurrection.. begins with a poppy riff put to distortion, and has an equally suspect title, before coming back with the heavy and foreboding slow doom of Someday Soon. More like 'sometime in the years past!' Wino employs a deliberate and cautious phrasing that makes it all sound so effortless. The music drags the listener with it. Spiritually Bereft has a great bass sound that crackles with distortion. The melodic singing accompanies the music of another era into an aura of no pretensions. Majestic Presence is perhaps the best and most interesting song on the album and takes one back to the Saint Vitus days - especially given the lead and vocally. The heavy bass guitar is present, as is schizoid drumming by Evan Tanner. The song finds time for a modicum of psychedelia. The title track and Lightning Hill are folksier and even partly feature a rootsy harmonica. Slow Rain, in contrast, is disjointed owing to the drumming and could have been the backdrop to a Led Zeppelin song were it not so bottom-heavy.
The Hidden Hand... for the love of the art... doom fans will barely be disappointed. - Ali “The Metallian”