Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, them country boys from Finland, Steve 'N' Seagulls, are at it again with their eagerly awaited follow-up to last year's Farm Machine - which I personally enjoyed mightily. Their sophomore entry into the small subgenre of bluegrass metal, Brothers In Farms, picks up where the last one left off and takes it all to whole 'nother level. This stuff is solid gold, people.
In a land famous for its metal fervor, it's gratifying (and perhaps most appropriate) to see a few farmboys offer their take on some of the most memorable metal tunes of the last 20 years. Running the gamut from Nirvana to Nightwish to Megadeth - to Deep Purple, The Seagulls know their way around a metal tune and handle solos and progessive-tinged interludes with tongue planted firmly in cheek. When it all comes together it can be practically sublime, as the band's unique perspective gives Nirvana's In Bloom a major key upgrade and peppy beat that may fit the tune's lyrical wryness even better than the original. Similar results apply to the lads' rendition of Foo Fighters' The Pretender - though I still prefer the more metal songs as potent examples of how classic heavy songs are cross-genre goldmines in the hands of talented performers. While each musician is proficient in their instrument(s) of choice, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts largely due to the obvious enthusiasm the lads have for the source material and their own reimaginings of it.
The Bottom Line: The real bottom line is that heavy metal works in pretty much any genre, but Steve 'N' Seagulls are worthy pioneers of this particular (and hopefully growing) sub-genre of bluegrass-y jamming. Sallllllute!
- Genghis looks forward to seeing these cats' outstanding live show again...