I found much to my horror that my original Amazon.ca Slash Puppet review had been taken and credited to some defunct site called “bandfocus.net”! I thought it would be wise to re-claim it for myself. Here it is in slightly revised form.
SLASH PUPPET – Slash Puppet (Fringe EP, 1993)
A short while ago, I reviewed the debut release by the legendary Toronto glam metal band, Slash Puppet. For a while there, it looked like Slash Puppet was destined to be the “next big thing”. They were winning awards, had national video play, and a stunning collection of hard rock material to draw from for their well-reviewed gigs.
Well, you know what happened next. Grunge took over, and the Toronto metal scene never exploded the way it was hoped. If it had, Slash Puppet would have been the band leading the charge. (With Winter Rose, I Mother Earth, Sven Gali, Russian Blue, Slik Toxik, Attitude, and so many others right behind…ahh, but I digress.)
This 1993 EP was their second release (the afformentioned debut is now available on CD as No Strings Attached, on Sun City Records). It is solid from start to finish. The singer, Mif (better known as Anthony J. Mifsud; you’ve seen him acting in the Norm McDonald comedy Dirty Work!) has a soulful, gritty, and gravelly voice that has elements of Brian Johnson and Lemmy, but really sounds like neither. Really, Mif sounds like Mif, and you have to hear the voice to get it. The band were tight, emphasizing tough riffs, killer choruses, and street-smart lyrics. No wimpy songs here. Even the sole ballad “Eyes Of A Child” isn’t a wimp-out. Not with lyrics like those, and a soulful delivery from Mif.
The lead track from No Strings Attached, “Slow Down”, reappears here, now parsed as “Slowdown”. (I believe this song is a remix with a new bass part, based on the credits. Peet Dove played bass on the original demo version but is not credited here, which leads me to believe the bass was re-recorded by new bassist Dave Carreiro. Otherwise, the song sounds almost identical to the demo version.)
Every song smokes. Slash Puppet down-shifted on speed for these songs, but traded that in for a slightly bluesier, soulful vibe. Their songwriting abilities grew by leaps and bounds between releases, no doubt enhanced by their live experience. When their debut was recorded, the band had not even played a gig yet! Slash Puppet is much more melodic than No Strings Attached, but still tough as nails.
If you’re into tough, glammy rock n’ roll with great musicianship and songwriting, Slash Puppet are the band to check out. This EP just shines. If you’re into collecting obscure albums from the era, or Canadian bands, this CD is an absolute must, although I saw one guy on ‘net claiming to have sold his copy for almost $200! I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay that much. Check thrift shops and used CD stores. I used to sell this in my store for $5.99.
This EP was mixed by Rich Chycki, probably best known for his 5.1 work with Rush!
Here’s hoping Mif and the surviving members reunite for a few more songs or shows. I’ll be there.