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Smiling Dogs

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Album Review

Man's Gin is a project by Erik Wunder, best known to underground metal fans as the instrumental half of the highly regarded black metal group Cobalt. This sounds very different from that band's work, though; it's dominated by acoustic guitar, piano, upright bass, and drums, and is strongly influenced by country and the quieter, moodier side of Southern rock. It has its own lurching rhythm, closer to fife and drum music than rock, and Wunder's vocals are powerful, but clearly driven more by the need to get something out than to exploit refined technique; on "Free," he's chanting more than singing, over thumping, boxy drums and guitars that sound just slightly out of tune. When an electric guitar emerges halfway through the song, it's a thin, staticky buzz that brings no catharsis. "Stone on My Head" has the full-speed-ahead power of early rock & roll, but the ominous, doubled vocals give it a creepy power, like the band in a bar knows a fight's about to break out and is trying to make it worse before it gets better. Meanwhile, "Hate.Money.Love.Woman." has the stark beauty and vocal harmonies of classic country-folk. This is a multifaceted but unified album that has its own unique drive and power, and it might well appeal to people turned off by the noisy black metal of Cobalt.

Customer Reviews

Wow... enough said.

I'm not a music reviewer by any sense of the word, just an average person who enjoys good music when I hear it. I have always been a fan of the "heavier" side of rock and metal, but as I've gotten older (only 27) I've learned to actually stop and LISTEN to the words sang on albums. I have always been a fan of underground metal and I don't care much for mainstream music; I have never heard of Profound Lore or any of the band's attached to them. I found (stumbled) upon Man's Gin and was taken aback. I have been a fan of Deadboy and the Elephant Man as well as Hurt for years. Erik Wunder's release sounds so much similar in all of the good ways to those bands and every reason I love them. I've never been a fan of Cobalt but also regularly listen to Witchery so I have have a vast array of musical tastes. I gove this album a couple of listens on iTunes and also on Man's Gin myspace page. I listened to the album over and over and will continue for months to come. My favorite is the Death of Jimmy Sturgis. I also catch myself randomly sining the other songs in my head throughout the day. Great album, I'll be looking forward to more in the future.

yeah, this is pretty sick

i love cobalt, and i love dark, acoustic music...and the bluegrass/county/american folk aspect rules...all in all, i can fox with this...totally foxable indeed.

Singer/Songwriter Americana for metal fans

Cobalt is awesome because it's real. Man's Gin is awesome for that same reason.

It's a creepy album, it's an awesome album, and I'd certainly place it near the top of music I've been listening to lately. Free, in particular, stands out as a track I genuinely can't get enough of. But, the whole album reeks of Americana and boy does that smell good.

Smiling Dogs, Man's Gin
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Customer Ratings