OZ KNOZZ - review added 4th December 2011
Album Review: True Believer (2011)
For fans of: Classic Rock
Houston, Texas band Oz Knozz was originally formed all the way back in 1969 by current members Duane and Bill Massey, plus Jack Alford. Their first album "Ruff Mix" came out in the mid 1970s, and plenty of touring followed. It wasn't until 2008 that the follow-up emerged, and that makes new album "True Believer" only the 3rd album in 42 years.
You know what? Whilst this album isn't going to change the musical landscape, if the band had consistently been making music like this for the past four and a bit decades, I have a sneaking suspicion they would be up there with the likes of UFO and other vintage pedallers of classic rock.
The Oz Knozz sound definitely nods to the past. The production is mostly modern, but the vibe is firmly rooted in the 1970s. It works really well because, though it harks back to early Journey, Kansas and Deep Purple, the crisp sound makes it obvious this is a new release. I'm not convinced by the relationship between the vocals and the playing - the singing hasn't been given the same dose of polish as everything else - but any doubts are more than glossed over by the shiny positives...the positives being catchy songs and that certain feeling of 'right' you can't quite put your finger on.
Of the songs, the rocking 'Empty Room' is awesome, 'Goodbye Again' and 'Far Away' are both weirdly contagious, 'Fox Paws' is a change of direction that doesn't work quite so well, the slower 'Always There' is progressively epic, 'Here Comes The Night' is great but the start really does rip off Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin`', 'Visitor' is good but nothing more, 'What The...?' is groovy and kind of fun, the title track is huge and deserving of the role. Final track 'Kings And Treasures' is the longest at nearly 7 minutes, and though it's way more progressive than the rest of the album it manages to be brilliantly moreish.
There are a couple of average tracks on "True Believer", and I'm still not 100% on the singing, but as a whole this is an awesome retro-biased album that should bring a smile to anyone with an ear to the past.
Overall (Not An Average Of The Above):
01. Empty Room
02. Goodbye Again
03. Far Away
04. Fox Paws
05. Always There
06. Here Comes The Night
08. What The...?
09. True Believer
10. Kings And Treasures
Milton De Coronado (Miltonio), Lead Vocals and Keyboards
Duane Massey, Keyboards, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Lead and Backing Vocals
Robert Guinea (Robert-O), Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bill Massey, Bass Guitar, Saxophone
Marty Naul, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals