Review Summary: This "Hidden Hand" will not only teach you, it will destroy you.
Scott "Wino" Weinrich, a name so familiar to the underground hard rock/metal world. If you don't know him, he has been in Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Place of Skulls followed by a solo career and Premonition 13. In 2002, The Hidden Hand formed in Maryland comprising of Scott Weinrich (vocals/guitars), Bruce Falkinburg (bass/vocals), and Dave Henessey (Drums). After their debut, Divine Propaganda, The Hidden Hand wanted to continue their politically driven, psychedelic-induced rock and take their songwriting a step further; in return, they gave us Mother*Teacher*Destroyer.
"Declination ascertained. Ascension is
on the rise. Echoes from within the
system. A structure ill-defined."
Above, is an excerpt from the opening track, "The Crossing," which presents the theme of Mother*Teacher*Destroyer continuing in the political/social direction of Divine Propaganda. Musically, The Hidden Hand is hard to describe because one can't pinpoint who else they sound like, but the fact is, you can definitely tell this is a Wino project. There are traces of psychedelic elements especially on tracks like "Black Ribbon," "Currents," and "Magdalene," and then you heavy/slow hard rock riffage present in songs like "Desensitized," "Travesty As Usual" and "Sons of Kings" that are a definite Wino trademark. Additionally, not only do they do a good job of infusing heavy riffs with psychedelic atmosphere and tones, but Wino and Bruce trade off vocals appropriately. Depending on the song, the melody, the riff, the chorus, etc., one of the vocalist takes the forefront, and it works. In "Half Mist," the unmistakable Wino vocal melodies compliment over the guitar melodies of the song in the verse and chorus. "Black Ribbon" is a good example of Bruce's vocal ability; it is melodic yet gruff, but distinguishably different, and that is important to the impact of Mother*Teacher*Destroyer musically.
"Pour the wine onto the sand, mix
the blood of fallen men. War for
beauty must now end, leave the
broken sword for the son. Sons of
kings we return today forsaken by the
gods we've slain we're lost. Our fast
ships on the grey ocean, we kneel
and wash our weapons in the sea."
If you are a fan of Scott "Wino" Weinrich, and haven't checked out The Hidden Hand, this album is recommended. It isn't a repeat to what Wino has done in the past, but a continuation of where he started and would go in future projects. A fair and balanced approach of heavy, hard rock riffs, but not afraid to step out of the box and make it melodic.