McKENZIE-BRUCE: Berner Street: CD

This is the greatest prog metal Jack the Ripper concept album in history. True, it’s the only entry in that genre. (Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls spoke of Saucy Jack but never made it). And, true, it’s an awful album—really, one of the worst the cut-out bins have ever coughed up—but neither of these factors should diminish Berner Street’s place in history. The storyline is foggy, at best, the arrangements are like a train jumping tracks, and the solos, dear god, the solos, they’re everywhere. Guitarist Tony McKenzie is all over his fretboard—the opening song has three distinct solos, fifty seconds each—but I don’t think he has any control over when he solos. They’re more like seizures. And there’s more. Perhaps up to $10,000. Berner Street is also a contest. Solve the band’s mystery and you could win a lot of money. I’ve listened to this Plan 9 From Outer Space-like fiasco a bunch of times and I have yet to figure out what the central question is, never mind solving said question, but like the aforementioned Ed Wood flick, I come back for more, fascinated by the litany of misguided thinking. I doubt I’ll ever solve the mystery, so here’s the “official entry number” that came with my copy: POFO4C624712C. Good luck.

 –Mike Faloon (Big Dan)