TORNADO RIDER: Jark Matter: CD

After careful deliberation and debate, I have concluded that the best way to describe this band is Dungeons and Dragons punk. Tornado Rider’s punk, metal, cello hybrid seems like the perfect soundtrack for a Wednesday night at the comic shop. One definitely needs to approach this band with a sense of humor and a willingness to play along, because—long story short—the lyrics are kind of dumb. It’s definitely a knowing dumbness, though, as it really does take some effort to come up with the weird sci-fi/fantasy mash-up that the band uses as its modus operandi. Some examples: “Giant Tree Man,” which is about being a giant tree man, “The Goat God,” which is about being the goat god, and “Sawed-off Heads,” which is about being in a land of floating, sawed-off heads. Trust me, these usually aren’t metaphors. The music itself? Pretty damn catchy. Also, for a band featuring a lead cello with nary a guitar in sight, this is surprisingly heavy. At nearly an hour, this album starts to run a little long, but it definitely has its moments. “I’m a Falcon” is a ridiculously catchy song, for having basically one lyric. (Can you guess what it might be?) Also, I have to give points to the ridiculously elaborate packaging which includes postcards, a button, a hidden map, and a nearly incomprehensible story written in the liner notes.

 –Adrian Salas (Silver Sprocket)