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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Mental Metal With the Galactic Cowboys

August 24, 1993|KATHERINE TURMAN

With a combination of thundering, thrash-rock power and fluid, four-part harmonies, the Galactic Cowboys played a genre-busting show at the Troubadour on Sunday. Is it thinking-person's thrash, or mental metal that's as capable of cracking a cranium as tickling the cerebellum? Either way, one thing was certain: The Galactic Cowboys rock.

The quartet's Metallica-like heaviness is mitigated by surprising time changes, beautiful harmonies and an occasional harmonica part tossed in for good measure, all delivered with levity and exuberance.

The Houston-based group also addresses atypical rock 'n' roll themes: "Circles in the Fields" explores the concept of crop circles, while "If I Were a Killer" was dedicated to "suicide machine" doctor Jack Kevorkian.

In keeping with the Cowboys' quirky space-age demeanor, hints of progressive rock were evident at the Troubadour in the high-tech musicianship and sometimes classically influenced guitar stylings, yet there was plenty of brutal power for the hard-core head-bangers to enjoy.

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