Cwn Annwn - _Cwn Annwn_
by: Aaron McKay (2 out of 5)
With such an atypical and interesting band name, as well as hailing from the mid-west, Cwn Annwn (pronounced coo-nah-NOON) was a band I was interested in checking out. This quartet from Minnesota came into being around 1998 and now finds themselves in the desperately difficult position of climbing out of relative obscurity to more of a professional status. The most recent attempt in accomplishing this task was done by way of a three track demo at Echo Bay Studios in New Hope, Minnesota; I understand that Echo Bay has been responsible for producing acts like Living Colour and Elvis Costello. Be that as it may, Cwn Annwn's new demo needs an angle. Not without direction, this band has ability, but seems lacking in the "musical vision" department. This demo is well done, yet leaves the listener absent a hook for their form/style. Naming themselves after the Welsh "hounds of hell", on first impression Cwn Annwn paints a vivid word picture of a severe thrash metal outfit, but musically burns a bit too rich in the gas/oil mixture. These guys have a lot of drive throughout the disc complete with well-timed speed and nice breaks. The vocals are sung in a clean, understandable style, yet sounding a lot like they are still too close to their garage band roots. The mostly hyper riffs of "Feral Ferocious" start things off. "Grey Streak" follows next with a ghostly touch of the surreal, thumping bass and the most stirring mix of breaks on this effort -- my favorite of the three songs. Last is "I Used to Give a Damn", sounding very much like Nuclear Assault screwing around with Metallica's gear in the _Kill 'em All_ era. The CD came complete with a radio edit for "Feral Ferocious" and a radio edit and alt ending for "Grey Streak". I will be listening, hopefully soon, for a longer and more mature venture from these guys. There is something here that just needs to connect and we'll have another Flotsam and Jetsam on our hands, and that'd be a -good- thing from where I stand.


(article published 26/11/2003)

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