Randy Rose - Sacrificium (Intense) 1991
1. "Pain" (4:06)
Randy Rose is often compared with Danzig, and while this is an accurated description, I don't think this was ever Randy's intent. However, there is no escaping the similarities, especially in the vocal delivery. The music is for the most part a slow, doomy, sludge with a big Black Sabbath influence. Songs like "Oppression" and the more upbeat "Wicked Ways" are both instantly likeable. "Wicked Ways" in particular has one of those choruses that gets stuck in your head all day long. "Would someone please release me, for the ways of this world". Likewise the chugging, riffs of "Black Harvest" should have most metalheads banging their heads along to it's infectious groove. "Walls of Hate" has a monster Black Sabbath inspired riff and some great guitar work from Randy's brother Roger Rose. So while the Danzig comparisons are valid, there are many other influences on this CD as well. Regardless of the comparisons, "Sacrificium" is a likeable album. Personally I like Rose far better than Danzig.
Rose - Healing (Intense Records) 1993
1. "R.I.P." [instrumental]
If I were going to advise someone to which Rose CD to check out first, this would be the one I would chose. "Healing" is an outstanding blend of doom metal and stoner rock. While "Sacrificium" leaned a bit closer to the Danzig sound, Rose's follow-up is much more unique, although no less infectious. After a short, doom, instrumental opening, the album rips open with "Fallen", a slow song with a sing-along chorus and one of those guitar riffs that echoes through your brain all day long. "When I Let You Down" picks up the tempo a bit, retaining a doom edge and a crunchy guitar tone. The guitar riffs and melodies are simplistic, but catchy and memorable. Likewise, "Demons" is another standout track with it's heavy crunch and catchy chorus. Rose's lyrics are not overly complicated, but rather Randy focuses on writing personal lyrics that obviously mean a lot to him. In the aforementioned "Demons" Randy is calling out to God for freedom from demonic oppression. However, what is intersting about this song is that the perspective of the lyrics switch back and forth from the demon to the opressed. "You Let Me In with your sin, and I will stay til you drive me away", is obviously sung from the demon's perspective. However, lines like "Demons won't you leave me be, can I pleas be free, inside of me, Christ please free me" are obviously sang from the perspective of the oppressed. This theme also runs through "D.O.P." which stands for "Depression, Oppressions, Possession." Perhaps my favorite song on this CD is album closer "On My Knees". This song is a very chilling and almost haunting acoustic ballad with some very honest, personal and emotional lyrics. The band would record a heavier version of this song on the forthcoming Intense Live Series that I actually like better than this acoustic version. However, when I first purchased this CD as a new release, I played this song over and over again.
Rose - Intense Live Series Vol. 3 (Intense) 1993
Number three in the five part Intense Records "live in the studio" EPs (along with Deliverance, Tourniquet, Mortal, and Die Happy) and disc number three for Rose as well. Randy Rose's offering gives us raw renditions of songs off his first two discs plus one cover, the blues standard "You Gotta Move." Most people seem to dislike the five Intense Live Series discs, but I really enjoy the raw energy that they have, especially on Rose. The vocal delivery on "Demons" is just so much more enjoyable to me than the more laid back studio version. The beefed up verison of "On My Knees" blows the original version out of the water. This is a killer song with loads of emotion. "Hide" also really benefits from the live recording. Really, the entire disc is a very enjoyable listen. Even the blues cover is well done.
Rose - Crazy Little World (Intense) 1994
1. "New Day"
I bought this album as a new release in 1994 and was utterly and completely disappointed. I sold my copy almost immediately. I had loved the first two Rose studio discs and thought his live EP was great as well. The Black Sabbath/Danzig inspired doomy heavy metal was so infectious. "Crazy Little World" was such a big departure from those two albums. However, over the years several people have commented to me that I needed to give it another chance because, "it grows on you." It grows on you? Like mold? No but seriously, I decided to give this disc another spin and at the same time round out the Rose collection. Listening to this CD again fresh after almost a decade I can still see what the big shock was. I mean, this is just so light and flowery compared to the dark sludge that was "Healing" and "Sacrificium". I can certainly appreciate Randy's desire to experiment with new sounds and styles but I can't really get into this like I can the rest of his material. However, now that I can seperate it from those other releases a bit easier, it is a whole lot more enjoyable and may even be one of those releases that fills that void when I am looking for something to mellow out to.
Rose - Into the Unknown (R.E.X.) 1995
1. "Fading Away"
After a brief mistep in the light alternative album that proceeded this one, Rose returns with another heavy, retro, doomy metal album. This one continues in the Danzig meets Trouble doom metal. Simple yet catchy rhythms with haunting vocals from Randy. As far as I know this was Rose's fifth and last solo album for a couple decades.
1. The Tortured Girl / Bye Bye Hands / Sutra (8:34)
2. Keep You to Myself (5:44)
3. Medication (3:41)
4. Whispering Whales (4:15)
5. Kellan and the Illustrator (4:26)
6. Micky (4:33)
7. The Girl (7:01)
8. Monster (4:23)
9. Hells Locked from the Inside (4:30)
10. When Will I Be Loved (5:27)
When it was announced that Rose was going to be releasing a new album I was intrigued. I loved his first two albums under the Rose moniker as well as the Intense Live EP. "On My Knees" from that EP is one of my favorite songs from him. Of course, what I was hoping for something similar to "Healing" Of course decades later, why would anyone expect him to sound the same. For that matter, Rose never really stuck to a formula to begin with. His "Crazy Little World" album sounded nothing like "Healing". As such, I was a bit disappointed on my first listen. However, upon re-visiting the album a few weeks after initially purchasing it, I discovered an album that is absolutely brilliant. If the title of the album doesn't give it away, the overall sound and vibe of the album is very dark.
Musically there are moments that remind me of "Healing" and the first self-titled album. However, the overall vibe of this album is much different. There is some huge 1970's Queen influences with those big, majestic vocals and at times you would think that Freddie Mercury resurrected and laid down some vocals on this album. The opening track is epic and mixes those Queen vocal harmonies with an eerie Alice Cooper vibe. This track is backed up with "Keep You To Myself" which is built around a heavy, buzzy guitar sound and does have moments that remind me of the classic early 90's Rose records. The album as a whole is a dark and eerie mix of these musical styles making for a compelling listen, despite the dark and sometimes disturbing lyrical themes.