"Validity" (Sleaszy Rider; 2022)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Validity" is a rich, heavy and complicated heavy metal recording featuring fast-and-furious progressive metal, stunning musicianship, and one of Tim "Ripper" Owens best performances in years.

The album opens with "Prelude," an instrumental based on the classical piece "Hall of the Mountain King." It doesn't really set the tone for what's to come. After listening to "Prelude," I expected a progressive rock album in the vein of The Great Kat, or others that do modern takes on classical pieces. But, track two suddenly set me straight when Ripper started singing. "Resistance" has its progressive metal back but, when paired with Ripper's aggressive vocal style, everything jumps into another category. The complexity of the band's music and progressive style, when mixed with Ripper's beautiful, brutal vocals, gives "Validity" a heaviness and a depth that dares you stop listening ... because you can't.

Going back to Ripper's performance here, just give a listen to track 4, "Mutiny." Ripper adds layers of sound to his vocals here, giving the track a heaviness, a dose of character and a hint of insanity that is tangible. As I said above, Ripper hasn't been this good in a long time (not that he's been bad, by any means, just to be clear).

I'll freely admit that the first couple of times I listened to "Validity," I didn't get too far past the first track. Again, it just seems out of place to me. The rest of the recording, however, kicks some serious ass and demands that you pay attention closely. I finally put in the effort and was rewarded with a surprisingly entertaining listening experience. I recommend you do the same.

Performing on "Validity" are: Tim "Ripper" Owens Vocals; Lance Sawyer Bass; Mike Abdow Guitar; Andry Lagiou Vocals; Adam Bentley Guitar; Gabe Pietrzak Guitar; Joey Izzo Keyboards; James Knoerl Drums; Perrine Missemer Violin.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2022 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.