(Candlelight/Rise Above)

01. The Rook
02. Hangman
03. Spy Vs. Spy
04. Standing at the Edge of the World
05. Revenge of the Viper Three
06. A Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere
07. The Man who Never Was
08. Stingray Part III
09. Imitation of Christ
10. Last Chance...GremlinX

RATING: 7/10

Surely you know the deal when it comes to Canada's SHEAVY. If you can't get enough of mid-period, Ozzy-era BLACK SABBATH with more of an upbeat stoner rock twist, then this is your band. Provided you don't trick yourself into thinking that SHEAVY is anything more than a heavy rock group wearing its SAB influences on its collective sleeve and injecting FU MANCHU style riffage into the mix, then "Republic?" won't disappoint. A Lee Dorrian record label (Rise Above) and a doom-messiah producer (Billy Anderson) should give you a hint of what's in store as well.

Lest the uninitiated be confused, "Republic?" is much more stoner rock than doom. The REVEREND BIZARRE this is not. However, Steve Hennessey's Ozzy-worship vocal style and a sound with roots in post-"Master of Reality" SABBATH keeps the disc from being California good time toke rock. A biting guitar tone, monster riffage, and a batch of cool solos make it worth cranking at top volume in the car stereo with a cooler of brew in the backseat (not that I'm advocating that sort of thing, of course). Song-wise, there are no duds. "The Rook" is an up-tempo groove rocker and "Hangman" rides a mid-tempo stutter riff, kicks into overdrive, and knocks out some lit-up boogie for good measure. "Spy Vs. Spy" has a Wino-esque quality to it (except for the vocals) in a PLACE OF SKULLS kind of way. "Standing at the Edge of the World" just plain sounds like a BLACK SABBATH song title. The tune clocks in at 7:20, darting in and out of tempo changes, and including light sections and a sweet psychedelic guitar solo. Much of the rest involves mid-tempo crunch and bluesy swagger. Unless you're looking for a reinvention of the wheel, there isn't much to bitch about on "Republic?"


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