Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
Great Old Ones
Reviewed by Shawn Mason
Sheaf, the Saskatoon University Newspaper.
Everybody needs a coaster. Perhaps that’s the only reason this disc didn’t make into the trash like the case and liner notes before it. I gave it a chance. I mean, you can only hear a bunch of twenty-something D&D rejects whine over the coming of such-and-such evil monster for so long until they, and it, make it to the dumpster. Something happened though, that I can’t quite explain. I actually started to dig a couple of the tunes.
Great Old Ones is about 8-10 pretty good songs on a 22 song disc. Part of the reason for my initial dislike of the album was the fact that most of the music defies easy categorization (hard rock?). If The Smalls were stripped of all things punk and heavy metal, they wouldn’t be a very good band, and they would sound like Darkest of the Hillside Thickets.
Criticism number one comes by way of the singers voice. Imagine, if you will, Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies) using four Led Zeppelin albums worth of vocal effects, for every song. Also, every song on this album is a watered down H.P. Lovecraft tale or some drug induced D&D fantasy.
I like Great Old Ones because (besides the vocals) all the musicians are very talented and write really catchy songs. Before I knew it, I was singing along to tunes such as Space Ghosts, One Gilled Girl and Digging Up the World. I don’t want to like this album, but I do.