Death & Taxes promo Tape cassette CrO2 rare. 4 songs. L.A USA Progressive Metal, Prog Rock. (No audio available)


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1. Diet Of Worms 6:22
2. Human Fly 6:22
3. Instrumental With Words 10:45
4. Bottomless Hippopotamus 4:45

Human Fly is a fusion between the previous two tracks as the beat and feel is decisively in a funk-metal vein though the guitar effects give the track that hippy spaced out feeling. The opus Instrumental With Words, running at close to eleven minutes, is one of the stand-out tracks on the album. The guitar effects create that sinister feeling to the whole of the music as the group show how they have attained their new-found musical style that has seen them progress from an almost speed metal output to a more polished and at the same time accessible musical format. Of course the odd reference to their previous style does surface occasionally, but this is blended in with complementary off beats and Shannon’s mesmerising bass hooks that allow the guitar onslaught to fit neatly into place.

Five years after their debut Paradigms For a New Quarter, LA area trio Death & Taxe$ is here with their long awaited follow-up, no less unsettling than their first, but more focused and uniquely twisted. There still a strong Rush influence at work here, though D&T sound nothing like the Canadian trio, instead finding a raw funkiness that drives at the bottom end and an edgy metallic guitar sound that screams with aggression. Gone are the cookie-monster vocals – this time singer/bassist/stick-player and primary composer Tom Shannon sings it direct with a healthy dose of attitude a la Sky Saxon, and combined with the wall of sonic textures and soaring guitar solos, it all contributes to a newly found psychedelicism within the band sound. The spirited lead work of Vince Martinez spins around inside the listener head while Shannon and drummers Mark Hanson or Don Medina (track depending – seems they switched drummers mid-stream) blast upward from the bottom end. Occasionally the guitars take on an almost jazzy tone (“”The Enigma That is Man,”” for example) that combines with the punchy bottom end to create a very unique sound that seems to straddle a number of genre-bending styles simultaneously. Likewise on tracks like “”Diet of Worms,”” the guitars take on a shimmery tone while the throbbing bass tones burn with urgent intensity. While D&T are not particularly difficult or avant-garde, they are definitely operating in sonic territory where few have gone before.

This is a stunning blend of innovative, heavily jazz influenced metal. Great vocals from both late Tom Shannon and Vince Martinez. Unbelievable fret-less bass grooves and stick play, warped and superb guitar textures, underpinned by the heavy, pounding rhythms of Mark Hanson / Don Medina. This is serious, complex, ultimately progressive music, a brand new approach. I don’t want to cite any similarities, because this band is playing some very original music. I just have to turn this tape again and again and again…”

Overall this album shows that the band have made a vast musical improvement over their debut album and this definitely bodes well for the future. They have managed to move forward and create a sound that incorporates a degree of experimentalization together with a certain amount of funk without betraying their metallic roots. The band are gradually coming round to their own band definition which is that of a progressive jazz metal fusion outfit.

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