“Welcome to the mind of the Ultra Violent – A deranged and sick individual with no regard for the helpless victims he encounters. He stalks his prey with deadly precision, creeping through the shadows unseen and silent, waiting sometimes for several days to attack. And then, with sudden fury and deadly quickness, he descends upon his victims, cutting and slicing with the skill of a highly qualified surgeon. In a despicable act of carnage he would harvest the organs and sell them on the Internet. ‘Cuz to him, you’re nothing but an ORGAN DONOR.”
And thus begins Organ Donor’s debut album, The Ultra Violent. Organ Donor is a California based band who has put together a loose concept album which revolves around the before mentioned serial killer. Three of the band members, (Falcon, Hipp, and Juice), laid down some killer tracks in their California-based studio. Once the music was completed they hooked up with Jim Gillette (former lead singer of Nitro) to lay down the vocals. Now, you younger readers are probably wondering, “who the Hell was Nitro?” and you old schoolers who remember Nitro are probably thinking, “Oh NO …” Nitro, for the record, was one of the cheesiest hair metal bands of the 1980’s. While basically every part of their gig was over the top, the band become known for two things — one was Michael Angelo’s outrageous guitar playing, much of which was done on his four-necked custom X shaped guitar, and the other was Jim Gillette’s seven octave voice, which was infamous for blowing speakers and shattering glass during their live shows. Unfortunately for them, Nitro wasn’t known for being that good, and the band soon disappeared from the face of the Earth. If you only know three things about Jim Gillette, know the following: 1, he was the former lead singer of Nitro, 2, he is the current lead singer of Organ Donor, 3, he has been married to Lita Ford for the past seven years. Go Jim!
So anyway, enough of Nitro and back to Organ Donor. The Ultra Violent rocks! Now remember, the Flack man still very much enjoys 80’s and 90’s metal, and this sounds a lot like that, so my definition of rocking might be a little different than yours. I sent a few tracks to Sick Royale to listen to. I mentioned comparisons to Nuclear Assault and MOD, and he mentioned Overkill, so think in that realm. It’s good straight forward metal, nothing more and nothing less.
Hipp’s guitar sounds are thick with lots of palm muting and chunka-chunka’s. Falcon’s bass has a GREAT sound, one of the better overall bass sounds I’ve heard recently in fact. Finally, someone turned the “tone” knob back up a bit so the bass isn’t completely lost within the low end guitars. Juice’s drums are strong and provide a solid backbone to build the songs on. A few guests appear on the album as well, including Lita Ford, Michael Angelo, and T.R. Austin providing guitar solos, and David Ezrin (Lita Ford) standing in on keyboards. For the most part these work, (Ford’s solo is soulfull and effective), but Michael Angelo’s 100 mph fretwork comes off as graffiti on top of an already finished piece of art. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is, however, how are Gillette’s vocals?
Surprisingly, quite good! Many of Gillette’s vocals from Nitro would make listeners wonder if they were listing to a metal band, an opera, or a chipmunk writhing in pain. Every Nitro song was like, “I swear to GOD I can sing higher than you, don’t you believe me? HERE, I’ll do it AGAIN!” Gillette seems to have outgrown the need to prove to listeners that he has more available octaves than Mariah Carey, and it has improved his delivery 1000%. You can still tell that Gillette has a lot of talent and control over his voice, but this lower range is much more fitting to this style of music. There are still heavily layered choruses and plenty of vocal effects here and there, but the difference this time around is that his voice adds to the songs instead of detracting from them a’la Nitro.
The Ultra Violent reminds me a lot of Alice Cooper’s Raise Your Fist and Yell album — it’s a light hearted album about murder and death. None of the album’s ten tracks stray too far from the radio-friendly four minute mark, and even considering the album’s subject material I doubt there’s anything here that couldn’t get radio play. “Organ Donor”, one of the better songs on the album, is written from the killer’s perspective and really shows off Gillette’s vocals without him showing off. “The Ultra Violent” is another strong track, (until the end, when Angelo throws up his solo all over the place, continuing for 30 seconds after the song’s over). “Bone Saw” slows down to a grindy pace, and “Six Feet Deep” picks it back up with a galluping double bass riff. “Breathless” shines due to Lita Ford’s solos and chunky style, but the end of the song, (a minute of people shouting “Breathless” over and over), drags a bit. “Hypnotized” is another catchy crunchy riff with some electronica mixed in (nothing too drastic) that rocks. “Guilty” was probably my least favorite track on the disc, due to its thin mix and Gillette’s excessive layering. It sounds almost like a pitch shifter. “Bed of Nails” picks the pace back up with some stop and start chunkiness and heavy riffage, and then it’s off to “Last Rites,” another up tempo rocker. The disc closes with “My Fist”, a strange combination of guitars, harmonies, keyboards, almost tribal like drums, and a closing speech that I’ll let you hear for yourself.
If you’re waiting to hear Organ Donor on your local radio station or searching MTV for them, you might as well give up now. They don’t have a DJ and they’re not 15 years old so any chance for financial success is pretty well shot. However, If you’re into straight forward heavy metal, definitely spend the $10 on the band’s website and become an Organ Donor. I’m glad to be a member of the club.
01. Organ Donor
02. The Ultra Violent
03. Bone Saw
04. Six Feet Deep
08. Bed of Nails
09. Last Rites
10. My Fist
By the way, the band’s website is designed and run by Hipp (guitarist), and the band is both very fan and Internet friendly, so be sure to drop by and tell them that Flack from Review-O-Matic sent you. There are lots of pictures, background, and audio samples to be found online there.