Monday, July 5, 2010

Atomic Opera: For Madmen Only (1994)

(As published in Brian Q. Newcomb's Syndicate ... )

Atomic Opera
For Madmen Only
(Collision Arts)

Those who've wondered what Sam Taylor would do after splitting with King's X and Galactic Cowboys need wonder no more: In Atomic Opera, he's found yet another group of long-haired, harmony-singing, Christian headbangers from Houston who ply their trade on a secular label (a Warner Bros. affiliate this time) and who indulge their penchant for songs averaging over five minutes as lustily as they do their disenchantment with evangelicaldom. "I'm sick of holy freaks / who say it all so well," sings Frank Hart in "I Know Better." And in "War Drum," doubling as lead guitarist, he does to "Onward, Christian Soldiers" what Jimi Hendrix did to "The Star-Spangled Banner." On the faith-affirming side are the liner notes ("Gloria Patri Filli E Et Spiritus Sanctus"), the cover art (stained glass with band initials doubling as Alpha and Omega letters), and the latest deafeningly joyful hammer-and-anvil noises to emerge from Taylor's Texas forge.

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