Jonny X & The Groadies
Sat July 23
Food Hole
20 NW 3rd

"We are lazy," confides Jeremy "Professor" Romagna, the mad scientist who engineered the self-titled Jonny X and the Groadies. "We are very lazy," concurs DJInvisibleTouch, the band's oft-spandexed bassist. If the old adage is true, that you have your whole life to write your first album, and six months to write the next one, someone better warn these guys. The band has been blasting basements and sundry kid friendly venues with smoke, lights, and sonic adventure for over nine years. Only now have they unleashed 26 glorious minutes of their sci-fi metal and synth-cataclysms.

--"We wanted to make CDs that would vaporize with the laser--thereby creating smoke," explains Travis West, the Groadie who writes all the music and lyrics, programs the drum machines, plays guitar, and occasionally sings. His concern with recreating the live show in an audio document is as pokerfaced and tongue-in-cheek as his song titles. Names like "FOG OF BLööD" and "CASTLE/FACE" don't imply how fun these tunes actually are. Contrary to stereotypical metal, the bubbly aggression of Groadies music is not a testosterone-driven sound. Jonny X himself raises chickens for crying out loud. How scary is that?

--The Groadies' rabid local fans are bound to ask, "How can that live visual and physical intensity be captured on a recording?" Romagna suggests that it was never intended to. "I don't try to make it sound like a sweaty, chaotic basement with flashing strobes, but more like an empty castle or the blasted surface of an asteroid." Without the obscurity of fog, lasers, and a dark sea of convulsing bodies, these nine songs take on a great deal of clarity. Each is a mini-suite of blisteringly fast linear melodic movements. Some last only seconds, but all streamline from blurring metal riffalanche to ominous synth-line into triumphant themes so simple they might have been lifted from a children's album.

--I've been seeing the Groadies for over eight years, and can confirm that this disc was worth the wait. It's a moot point whether this could have been made in 2002. It's here now. Nine songs of technical synthcore madness concluded by the 14-minute "UNMORTÅL" saga which is either about interstellar vampirism, or "creepy wizard shit" depending on who you ask. Album standout "CORPSED" begins with a highly memorable faux-string theme followed by maniacal guitar riffs (and leads!), collapsing into a doomed double-bass breakdown that would make Neurosis proud. "DON'T STOP SCREÅMING" follows with its electro-maelstrom.

--Each song is faster, more intricate and relentless than the last, which makes for a strangely satisfying listen; black metal that delivers the ear candy, without selling out to anyone along the way. Without a label or any official distro, the bike-punk/post-nuclear "Groadie" (a put-down meaning "dirty person") fanbase will be wondering if they can get this thing on wax. DJInvisibleTouch opines, "Hopefully it will be released on vinyl, but that costs money and we're out of that stuff."