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Octopus - Supernatural Alliance

Label: Rise Above Records
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10


Octopus were founded in 2008 by guitarist J Frezzato, aka Mojo Frezzato, aka Joe Frezza, with vocalist Masha Marjieh. Frezzato appears to be the driving force behind their Lovecraftian, trippy, aquatic, cosmic imagery and lyricism, all of which are present on their 2018 release, “Supernatural Alliance.” This isn’t their first record, but it’s their first with Rise Above Records. It’s a good fit.

 

With all due respect to Mr. Frezzato and the rest of the Octopus band, Masha Marjieh is the strongest arm of this mollusc. All she does is sing fantastic vocal melodies with power and perfection. She doesn't dazzle with soaring Dickinson or Halford aural fireworks, nor does she shock with Angela Gossow growls; her delivery is more akin to Ozzy Osbourne did in his prime, shining with great presence and an incredible-sounding, metallic-edged, untrained, clean voice, that immediately draws and sirens in your attention.
There’s not a bad song on “Supernatural Alliance”, but a few of the tunes would have been duds without Masha. A couple of the tracks open with painfully bleah, generic riffing, which she redeems when the vocals kick in. The title track is an amazing example of this - - after its heard-this-ten-thousand-times-before intro, the verse and chorus melodies transform the song into something incredible, one of the album’s best.
Frezzato is otherwise best known for his stint with Electric Six, but there are very few parallels between E6 and this project, with none of the manic silly snark of his former outfit. Octopus are a bit more of a straightforward, blue collar Hard Rock n’ Roll band, with similarities - - passing or strong - - to Kiss, Monster Magnet, Cellar Darling, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Mountain, Night Ranger, ‘70s Heart, Cream, Aerosmith, Nazareth, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, Slade, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Wishbone Ash, and everyone else who ever slung a guitar and wore bell bottoms.
Due to the bar band aspect, the high quality of the entire record isn't immediately apparent. You need to dive to the depths with this Octopus to fully appreciate it. I encourage you; screw on the copper diver’s helmet and drop into the fathoms of the album.
There are a bunch of killer tracks that I’ve become really fond of, after a few listens, especially “Supernatural Alliance,” “Slave and Master,” “Black Dynamite,” and the stellar, “All the Love,” the latter of which sounds almost like Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” reinterpreted by John Lennon. Grab onto this one with eight tentacles.

 
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