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The Fucking Champs - VI

Released on Drag City, 4/24/07

While The Fucking Champs prefer to not have their music pigeonholed into one particular genre, itís nigh on impossible to not characterize them as a metal band. With aggressive guitar riffs, pounding drums, and a grand, operatic sound, metal is certainly the genre that would appear to be the best fit for The Fucking Champs. But, The Fucking Champs are not your typical big haired, spandex clad assemblage of heavy metal rockers.

In fact, the musicians comprising The Fucking Champs look more like members of Weezer or some other quasi-nerdy indie rock band. This minimalist, somewhat bookish exterior belies a potent sound that rivals the Scorpions, Metallica, and just about every other metal band shredding today. With VI, The Fucking Champs unleash their latest assemblage of instrumental metal tracks that likely wonít disappoint their faithful followers or your average metalhead.

Deciphering the bands that have influenced The Fucking Champs is not terribly difficult. Starting with the abbreviated track "Abide With Me", we get guitar riffs that sound eerily similar to Queen. The song could very easily be an additional track from the soundtrack of the 1980 science fiction cult classic Flash Gordon. This grand, sweeping operatic track seduces in short order.

Decidedly less operatic and markedly more aggressive is "A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Ideas". The Fucking Champs deserve credit for one of the best track titles of all time. The track itself is no slouch either. A guitar riff laden assault from start to finish, "A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Ideas", is reminiscent of Van Halen (circa. 1984) with a little Metallica thrown in for good measure.

"Dolores Park" has a mellower, stripped down feel that is strikingly reminiscent of some softer Led Zeppelin tracks. Acoustic guitars coupled with synthesizers give the track a slightly melancholic sound that bears some resemblance to the epic "Stairway to Heaven". "Dolores Park" is a refreshing change of pace from the aggressive, electric guitar infused tracks that comprise most of VI.

While The Fucking Champs exhibit no shortage of heavy metal/rock influences in VI, their sound is no mere amalgamation of said influences. The lack of vocals on any of the tracks is but one such departure despite the power ballad sound of the vast majority of the tracks. The clear infusion of classical music, soundtrack music, and electronic music is another departure.

Despite some departures from convention, the individual tracks on VI are not as distinctive as they could be. After listening to the first five or so tracks, things start to sound awfully similar. While the majority of the songs solidly constructed and executed, it is this repetitiveness that prevents VI from being an exceptional album. However, it IS an album that is worth at least a few spins.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars