Sometimes, just sometimes, writing for the mighty Metal Observer can be a bizarre experience, and one such time has been visited upon me via the third long player from Aussie Prog Metallers THE LOVING TONGUE. ‘’Shadows Of Innocence’’ is utterly barmy. Not constrained by any particular genre of Rock or Metal, THE LOVING TONGUE come across bits MEAT LOAF, bits QUEEN, bits 70’s Rock, bits, well bits all over the place to be honest; in fact a whole smorgasbord of over the top musicality and that’s duly demonstrated by the high pitched wailing of vocalist/ guitarist Jimmy Petkoff. He doesn’t exactly hide his light under a bushel in that kind of KING DIAMOND way, I can assure you.
This is a lengthy record and not an album that you’ll go back to time and time again, however there’s a certain charm to it. First impressions, the ridiculous band name, but that aside this is particularly irreverent, humorous Progressive Rock/ Metal record that couldn’t be a million more miles away from the brute force of THRESHOLD and SYMPHONY X, and the obsequious DREAM THEATER.
If you like your Prog operatic with plenty of flair and an audacious wit then The LOVING TONGUE is worth checking out, alone, for the quite abysmal rendition of SABBATH’s ‘’Heaven And Hell’’. Long will this stick in the memory as being a truly terrible cover version, although you might want to stick it on now and again to cheer yourself up.
Apart from that, THE LOVING TONGUE run the gamut of all that is permissible in Prog Rock land. Opener ‘’Tears Of A Unicorn’’ unleashes all that you’re going to expect from this antipodean lot: Over the top vocals, clever guitar riffs and a fair bit of melody. Skipping to ‘’Written In The Stars’’ and the lighters are out, waving in the wind whilst the MAIDEN meets MANOWAR all out Metal of ‘’Marching On’’ features the best but most simple chorus you could wish for. The other end of the Rock spectrum gets involved in the absurdly entertaining Gothic Rock of ‘’Eliza’’, with Petkoff camping up like it comes naturally.
At best you’ll cherry pick the tracks that appeal to you most but since this album is crammed full of memorable songs, some only for the fun factor, ‘’Shadows Of Innocence’’ is almost akin to a guilty pleasure. You shouldn’t really like it, but for some reason you do but you wouldn’t honestly tell your friends the name of the band?
(Online March 11, 2010)