RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Neal Smith - KillSmith & The GreenFire Empire
Kachina Recores

Rating: B

Founding Alice Cooper Group drummer, Neal Smith, has returned with a rock opera that only a dude that hung around with The Alice Cooper Group could come up with.  Yep, it’s number three in his KillSmith Trilogy, and this one is weirder, wilder and more wonderful than the rest.

So, here is the scoop... a kid grows up in the jungle and discovers an ancient secret in the form of an ancient sacrificial drug, called GreenFire.  He releases the drug, gets everyone addicted to it, and he becomes the most powerful and evil drug lord on the planet.  As the land becomes littered with hopelessness and destruction, our hero, KillSmith, releases his rage.  The album is being touted as 'the last rock opera destined to become a movie'.  Maybe so; the story is certainly there.

Musically, this one scores high on creativity and tonal grooviness.  Vocally, let’’s just say Neal could have done better by bringing in a stronger singer.  Seeing as he is the lead vocalist, and this is his project, he probably felt he was the man for the job.  He's not terrible by any means, and on songs like "Palacia de Emeraldas" his lower tone fits the song well.  On tunes like "Blessings and Curses," the growl is just a bit too Muppet-like and lowers the overall standard of the message being portrayed.

All in all, both the music and vocals are acceptable and since this sucker ain't gonna get on the radio in 2014, artistic vision and integrity should probably be what Neal should go for. 

"GreenFire - Born of Poison" and "I Remember Blue Soul Land" are the best of the bunch.  Here, Smith succeeds in weaving a soundscape that reflects the storyline to a ‘T’.  Lead guitarist Rick Tedesco is a big part of the album’s sound and, in fact, the more he solos the cooler the album becomes.

At the end of the day, Neal Smith proves that he is more than 'just the drummer' with this album.  It’s gritty, gory and scary; yet at the same time, it is fun and it rocks.  Hmmm... kinda sounds like what people say about that other band he used to be in...

The Band:
Neal Smith - lead vocals, backing vocals, drums, percussion, rhythm guitar and synthesizer
Peter Catucci - bass, backing vocals and lead vocals on "Noelle No Wonder"
Lady Elizabeth Dellinger - backing vocals and intro lead vocals on "I Want Money"
Kevin Franklin - lead guitar
Pete "Keys" Hickey - synthesizer and keyboards
Hubert Martin - lead vocals on "Good Morning Blue Soul Land"
Joe Meo – saxophone
Rick Tedesco - lead guitar, rhythm guitar and backing vocals
Doug Wahlberg - lead guitar

KillSmith And The GreenFire Empire track listing:
Blessings And Curses
Good Morning Blue Soul Land
Screaming Bloody Murder
The Kill$Mith Överture
Palacio De Esmeraldas
Greenfire - Born Of Pöison
I Want Money
I Remember Blue Soul Land
Death To The King
Noelle No Wonder

By Jeb Wright