Boulder – Reaped In Half – Review


Reaped In Half (Tee Pee)
by Brian Varney & Craig Regala

At first I wasn’t sure this was actually Boulder. I mean, there’s no question that it’s the guys in Boulder playing (esp. since the CD and cover has the band’s name printed on it all fancy-like), but this is a step in quite a different direction for these guys. For one thing, they’re actually kinda writing songs now. I mean, they’re all still just an excuse for the guitar solos (and very worthwhile solos they are), but these are less hunks of unformed molten metal hurled carelessly at your head than previous recorded efforts. The band’s aim is still to smack you full-force in the back of the head with the unholy power of their metal, but they’ve begun to actually form the metal into a suitably blunt object before they start swinging. Heck, they’re so into writing songs now that Reaped in Half is actually a concept album (albeit one without a concept), divided into Acts 1 and 2.

The other major difference here is the vocals. The vocalist is clearly not the best singer in the world, a shortcoming he tried to overcome previously by simply shouting himself raw. Reaped in Half, on the other hand, features actual singing. And it works really well with the band’s sound. To the singer’s credit, he recognizes the limits of his range and does not attempt to sing that which he cannot (are you taking notes, Mr. Hetfield?). To his discredit, his name is not included in any of my Boulder CDs or the press clippings that came with this one, so he will have to remain, within the context of this review, simply “the singer.”

Boulder comes from the same general “scene” as Keelhaul and 10,000 Leagues Under My Nutsac, tangential to the Cambodia label and Red Giant; all greater Cleveland area stuff. The first tune used the Lizzy standard “Are You Ready” as the lift-off point and these guys generally use a punk-as-fuck-take on the NWOBHM bands (Riot et. al) who learned the lessons of prime Maiden/Priest hum without the theatric/history lessons. Like I said, “punk rock” for its milieu. But where previously the mess often “just was” about half the time here it coagulates into a more songful blood pudding so regular metal-rockers can suck down a bowlful. Much like the rat pack, Tesco Vee, Kiss, etc., they know the show needs to be “a show.” Scream out for their Venom cover. Or one of the 16 (!) Motörhead songs they’ve done.
(PO Box 20307 New York, NY 10009)