Quick plays: BLACK 4, MIKE CAMPESE

Black 4 - The Tales Of Cuatro Negro

BLACK 4 –The Tales of Cuatro Negro
Self Release  (Release date – out now )

Black 4 are a quartet from Chicago who formed in 2011. They play raw rock and roll mixed with a touch of punk and metal. The Tales of Cuatro Negro is their debut full length cd.

Black 4 claim influences from  Kyuss, Clutch and Black Sabbath and these influences are clear throughout the album. They have played gigs with the likes of Scorpion Child and Mondo Generator, these must have been great gigs, lots of floor rumbling bass!

Songs of note for me were ‘Double Mono’ which opens the album, with throbbing bass and a sound which is a mix of Clutch and Black Sabbath, and ‘Love Machine’ which rattles along like a freight train. Another of note is ‘Fluffy Waffle Blowgun’, what a name, which has more of a punk vibe and vocals blasted out by Bryan Tunis.

‘50 yds of Darkness’ with a slower, pounding beat is followed by ‘Breezy Deezy’, another great name. Black 4’s sound reminds me very much of Clutch and if they provide as good a live show as the album promises I would love to catch them sometime. The Tales of Cuatro Negro is a great album if you like ‘hard rock/punk/stoner rock’. I do!  ****

Review by CJ

MIKE CAMPESE Chameleon www.mikecampese.com [Release date 17.09.13]

Looking at the bio of Mike Campese – tuition at the revered Musicians Institute (GIT) in Hollywood, time in Trans-Siberian Orchestra and so on – you would be forgiven thinking that ‘Chameleon’ was worthy of your immediate attention.

Great credits don’t make a great guitarist.  The use of synthetic drums grates throughout and there is little bottom end.  What they can’t give you at guitar school is that unique “touch”, the special sound that’s a hallmark of truly great guitar players.

Campese has the chops (and arguably too much “widdle”) but with an unconvincing tonal approach that does nothing to set him aside from his contemporaries.  Melodically this isn’t too good either and don’t get me started discussing his vocals.  The album isn’t even redeemed by a cameo appearance from Living Colour’s Vernon Reid (‘Do It For The Cats’).

The weak link throughout is Campese.  He’s written everything and with the exception of the real drum tracks (Mike Normandin/Art Bernstein) played everything.  It’s a great burden to bear and this album really needed a decent producer who could set Campese on the straight and narrow.  **

Review by David Randall


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