Review Summary: Thrash/prog metallers Galactic Cowboys deliver a solid debut album, though it could use some refining…2 of 2 thought this review was well written
So on random weekends when there’s nothing to do, I just like to stroll around and look for rummage sales in hope to see if there’s anything good for cheap at them. Well, I happen to find a giant box of CDs at one, and the seller was letting them go for a buck each. There was some pretty good stuff in there, but mostly mainstream stuff. I caught up on some classic albums I never got a chance to get or willing to spend $10+ on, like Back in Black
by AC/DC, Dr. Feelgood
by Motley Crue, and even the 2-disc original cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera
. Somehow, I stumble upon this album, Galactic Cowboy’s self-titled one. Now, I have never listened to the Galactic Cowboys at this point, I’ve only heard that they were a metal band, though not a widely known one. Seeing as it was only $1, I picked it up and gave it a listen.
The Galactic Cowboys mix tons of sounds together you wouldn’t expect to be together. They take soft, airy, often-harmonized vocals, done by Ben Huggins and the rest of the band, such as the ones used in Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, etc, and mix them with heavy, thrash-oriented guitar parts and progressive-like songwriting, which create a unique effect. This leads to the album being incredibly diverse, leaving the album chalk full of different sounds everywhere. I’m Not Amused
, the powerful opening track, is probably the best example at the diversity present here, as it features a wild acoustic intro riff, heavy verses, and a harmonica breakdown, while the next track, My School
is a soft song with clean guitars and slow, distorted riffing along with the light vocals. Sounds kinda funny, but these traits really give the Galactic Cowboys
their own sound.
None of the members of the band are, unfortunately, terribly proficient with their instrument, but instead use their ability to their full potential to add some pretty cool sounds. Dane Sonnier, the guitarist, is very good at coming up with creative riffs throughout the album, which help drive the music and gives it a progressivey, thrashy-like sound. Solos are rare, but are usually average at best and only simple techniques such as tapping is used. The bass is non-existent, so I won’t even bother mentioning it. The drummer, Alan Doss, is a decent drummer, but is well below average compared to most prog metal drummers, which makes him more of a thrash drummer, comparable to the likes of *gasp* Lars Ulrich.
As I said earlier, this album is very diverse. Too diverse in fact, some of the songs are fantastic, while a small handful is just plain bad. One of the best songs here, Kaptain Krude
, is by far the heaviest song on present on the album. The riffing is extremely heavy throughout the entire song, and is contrasted with the clean vocals of Huggins. No solo here, just plain heaviness start to end, with a slowdown during the last half of the song. Kill Floor
also features the same riffing, while Someone for Everyone
offers a nice ballad halfway through the song. There are 2 songs near the end of the album which are, more or less, filler tracks, clocking in at 1:19 and 2:10 a piece, which offer some cool riffing throughout, but are too short to offer anything new that hasn’t been heard in the album.
Unfortunately, there are a little too many mediocre songs present. My School
is just plain boring, while Why Can’t You Believe in Me
is a poor attempt at a mid-tempo song. Along with the mediocre songs, the length of the album really kills the album. The album clocks in around an hour, which is, unfortunately, too long for the kind of music they write (this is actually one of their shortest albums too). All but the two filler songs are over 5 minutes long, which can cause the album to drag a lot, especially in the slower songs. On top of which, the 3 slow songs on the album are some of the longest, especially Speak to Me
, which clocks in at 11 and a half minutes, much too long for so little diversity present in the song. Finally, the constantly harmonized vocals can get irritating to listeners not used to it, and may cause people to stop listening, though I don’t have that problem.
Overall, the Galactic Cowboys have released a solid debut, with plenty of good traits shown throughout the album, though the negatives do bring the rating down quite a bit. The fast tempo songs are all top notch, but most of the mid tempo songs and the slow songs lack groove and emotion, and leads to the songs ending up boring. Unfortunately, the negatives aren’t ever fixed in later albums, which leaves the rest of their albums besides Space in Your Face
mediocre to slightly above average. Galactic Cowboys
is definitely a closet classic for fans of thrash and slightly progressive music, but should be avoided by all other listeners. However, if you want a quick listen to a song, I’m Not Amused
brings the best the Galactic Cowboys have to offer in one song, or Kaptain Krude
for something crushing and heavy.
Recommended Tracks: Kaptain Krude, I’m Not Amused, Kill Floor, Someone for Everyone