Last Crack

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Sinister Funkhouse #17

Last Crack - Sinister Funkhouse #17 ©1988 Roadracer
1. Good Mourning From The Funkhouse
2. Gush Volcano Crush (G.V.C.)
3. Blood Brothers Of The Big Black Bear
4. Concrete Slaughterdogs
5. Slicing Steel
6. Saraboyscage
7. The Last Crack
8. Shelter
9. Terse
10. Thee Abyss

The debut from Wisconsin's Last Crack caught quite a few ears upon its release as it was an intriguing left field take on metal, though still somewhat fractured in execution. The band obviously had a lot of enthusiasm and ambition, which is displayed throughout, but often the band still sounded as though they were getting used to playing with one another. Couple that with a production that didn't seem to quite know how to capture the band's sound and you get a debut that is enjoyable, but just flawed enough to be an album you don't feel the urge to play a lot. But some good songs exist here: "Concrete Slaughterdogs", "Slicing Steel" and "Shelter" contain elements of an accessible brand of metal mixed with the band's often strange approach. Vocalist Buddo, who is helpfully nude on the cover, tends to shout his way through the songs. His voice is powerful but he seems as though he isn't sure how to use it over the songs so he takes the aggressive approach. The thing that slows this album down are the clunky songs like "Terse" or "Sarasboycage" that are long on ambitious ideas but aren't pulled off. "Sarasboycage" actually foreshadows their excellent 1991 album Burning Time with guitars weaving through and around each other, but this particular song comes off ackwardly. This debut tends to hint at a lot of potential for the band (which, in the long run, they did fulfill) but is not necessarily the album to win you over.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2000

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Burning Time

Last Crack - Burning Time ©1991 Roadracer
1. Wicked Sandbox
2. Mini Toboggan
3. Energy Mind
4. My Burning Time
5. Precious Human Stress
6. Love, Craig
8. Love Or Surrender
9. Mack Bolasses
10. Blue Fly, Fish Sky
11. Papa Mugaya
12. Down Beat Dirt Messiah
13. Oooh

Phenomenal.

That's probably the best way to describe Last Crack's 1991 effort, Burning Time. Shaking off the lack of cohesion of their debut, Sinister Funkhouse #17, Last Crack proved the second time around is so much better with this incredibly varied, introspective and adventurous foray into a realm that metal and rock had somehow entirely forgetten. Between the musicianship and the expressive, honest and forceful vocals of Buddo, Last Crack created a masterpiece that completely fell through the cracks of mass attention. Pity those who have missed out.

With the production of Dave Jerden perfectly illuminating individual performances and focusing the parts into a unified whole, Burning Time is a record that offers so much to the listener with each listen. Guitarists Paul Schluter and Don Bakken each individually play opposing parts to one another, yet still create this masterful weaving of music that completes the other. The rhythm section of bassist Todd Winger (no word if Kip is related) and drummer Phil Buerstatte (who ended up briefly in White Zombie after Last Crack combusted) is precise and crystal clear. And above it all is Buddo, the enigmatic singer who defines the role of a frontman. The same man who posed nude for the band's debut album's cover bares his soul and heart throughout Burning Time and it is that sort of unilateral honesty that truly makes this record special. Like many gifted rock vocalists, Buddo is hardly perfect in the technical sense but you know that each and every note comes straight from the heart and every word is meant. His voice is extremely powerful and very few singers have the ability to convince the listener this is for real. Whether he is singing about a fond memory of sledding in the snow as a youth in "Mini Toboggan" or the goofball romantic sappiness of "Blue Fly, Fish Sky" or displaying the stark reality of substance abuse in "Kiss A the Cold", everything is carried with conviction and power.

Burning Time is a criminally forgotten record. Truly an alternative to what would become "alternative" rock and a diamond lost in the coalmine of grunge, the album remains to this day one of my personal all time favorite releases. Very few records carry such an amazing and wonderful impact as this one. Do yourself a favor and search it out. The reward will be phenomenal.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2001

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