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Divine Propaganda

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Album Review

The voice — though somewhat flat and strained-sounding — is instantly recognizable. The guitar playing — whether driving forceful, down-tuned power chords, or peeling off inventive and dazzling solos, is a virtual monument to American underground metal. Both are in possession of Scott Weinrich, otherwise known as the ubiquitous Wino — the voice and guitar standing front and center of past indie metal legends like Saint Vitus and The Obsessed, and, more recently, the also quite awesome Spirit Caravan. When the last of these split in the summer of 2002, Wino busied himself with various projects of which The Hidden Hand became the first to bear musical fruit in the way of 2003's Divine Propaganda L.P. Another power trio, the group finds bassist/vocalist Bruce Falkinburg and drummer Dave Hennessy fulfilling their supporting roles to perfection, allowing their esteemed leader to, well, do his thing. Which is essentially what he has always done, only Divine Propaganda, as dictated by its title, focuses almost entirely on acerbic political commentary, as if Wino finally decided to acknowledge the issues doing the rounds everyday in his hometown of D.C. Thought-provoking exhortations include accusatory opener "Bellicose Rhetoric," the plea for environmental consciousness "Damyata," and the Sabbath-infused, covertly named "Tranquility Base." A welcome sample of Wino's equal opportunity admiration for punk rock, the absolutely storming, one-minute perfection of "Screw the Naysayers" says more with less than most pompous protest rockers' best shots, and delivers a heartfelt 'up yours!' to the establishment, all at the same time. And what of the mostly esoteric subject matter typical of previous band Spirit Caravan? Well, some of it makes the cut here, kinda, only now, Wino applies his imaginative wordplay to allude to the same social messages. Examples of this can be found in the pessimistic vision and psychedelic swirl of "The Last Tree," and the galaxy traveling, wordless chant of "Prayer for the Night" (see the booklet for bilingual poetry). All in all, despite covering so much familiar ground throughout, The Hidden Hand quickly affirms a fresh identity all its own, and promises to go down as yet another compelling chapter in Wino's ever-growing history.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Following the dissolution of Spirit Caravan in mid-2002, stoner rock godfather Scott "Wino" Weinrich announced that he would be joining Place of Skulls — the band fronted by guitarist Victor Griffin of Pentagram fame. At the same time, though, he also formed a new band called the Hidden Hand with Maryland natives Bruce Falkinberg (bass/vocals) and Dave Hennessy (drums). The trio's debut album, 2003's Divine Propaganda, retained most of the sonic hallmarks characteristic of Wino's long career...
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Divine Propaganda, The Hidden Hand
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