All Angels Scream (Level Two)

Billy Joe Shaver, with California Speedbag Beachland, 15711 Waterloo Road 9 p.m., Saturday, July 14

$12 advance, $15 day of show


In a fit of misguided inventiveness, Biastfear -- a local heavyish metal act that churns out the sort of stop/start agit-guitar that defines modern metal -- decided to add a pretty female R&B crooner as its lead singer. It was an attempt, one figures, to "blur the lines" between such diverse styles. Judging by Biastfear's All Angels Scream, lead lady Crystal surely has some fine pipes with which to belt out a tune, and the boys in the band can clearly pull off this sort of mainstream hard rock. But the combination of the two rarely, if ever, succeeds. The record's lead cut, "In Throughout," probably comes closest to shaping a "sound" for Biastfear, but is hardly groundbreaking in its Alanis Morissette stance. Rapping efforts on "Coming Down" and "Look at Me" are preternaturally hip-hop -- a far cry from the band's self-proclaimed "heavy hop" concoction -- and ultimately make the songs sound silly.

A series of "hrumphs," growls, groans, and shouts litter the record with too much badass posturing, and a "Public Service Denouncement" (a rant about music censorship and child rearing that splits the record into two halves) is aimed right, but winds up sounding preachy and anti-intellectually forced. At the least, All Angels Scream acknowledges the band's realization that there's way too much of the same sort of thing going around the hard rock conveyor belt these days, and that it's high time someone tried to do something a little bit different. Apparently, even if the trying leads to wayward failure.

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