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CD REVIEW: Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned's 30 Weight

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THE DEAL: Former Antiseen roadie Gideon Smith continues down his own Southern rock path with The Dixie Damned and their third album, 30 Weight.

THE GOOD: Gideon Smith's deep vocals conjure up images of Jim Morrison, Glenn Danzig or Elvis Presley, while the music is slathered in distortion, blues riffs and/or metal grooves driving it forward. Hints of psychedelia present themselves within the lyrics and music without being soaked in a stoner haze. The album opens with the Sabbath-esque riff of "Black Fire" leading into Gideon's vocals, which provide a gritty, yet soulful, presentation. Whispered vocals on "South" haunt the song and listener. "Bleed Black" is a slow, droning, six-minute metal song inducing visions of death and solitude with its dark lyrics. Smith growls "Spit on my kindness and blacken my name" on "Do Me Wrong." Smith almost unleashes a country persona on "When I Die," showing another side on the mostly metal album.

THE BAD: The familiarity of some of the '70s metal style brought forth sounds dated at times. Instead of using that as inspiration to move forward, it can sound like too much of a tribute to and copy of what's been done in the past. "Feel Alive" sounds a little too cliche with lyrics like "On demon's wings we fly."

THE VERDICT: Smith's vocals are the driving characteristic of his music. 30 Weight takes the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, leaving him in his comfort zone of blues-infused metal. (See him live at Snug Harbor on Sept. 30.)

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