Hulk Hogan tells a story wherein he gets a voicemail from his agent saying that he has two products up for endorsement – a grill and a mixer – and to call him back quickly to let him know which one he wanted, because another one of his clients had the same offer put forth. But he procrastinated. By the time he got back to his agent, his other client had already claimed the grill, leaving Hulk with the mixer…
Behold Hulk Hogan’s Thunder Mixer. It was a decent product, I guess, albeit one of fairly limited uses. The mixing blade created a nice tornado effect that was great for mixing powdered beverages. It wasn’t very loud and ran on batteries, making it useful in the office or on the go. Unfortunately for Hulk, it ended up being a miserable failure (and unfortunately for me, the one I bought on eBay broke the first time someone tried introducing ice into the process). The grill, on the other hand…
… George Foreman’s Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, a product that took the world by the storm and continues to sell to this day. Would it have been as successful with Hulk behind it? What would have happened if George had gotten stuck with the mixer? MYSTERIES ABOUND.
My point? Oh yeah, I’m getting to that.
In my version of the story, Michael Wuensch is George Foreman, and his grill is Visigoth’s The Revenant King; I am Hulk Hogan, and Alpha Tiger’s iDentity is my mixer.
Just like the mixer, iDentity is presented nicely, with some bold, throwback-type artwork and a musical vibe direct from metal’s golden age. You can do a lot worse than having a vocalist reminiscent of Michael Kiske and Geoff Tate fronting your band, and playing music that also evokes comparisons to their respective bands (probably more of the former than the latter). Pleasantly, “Lady Liberty” bursts forth with strong riffing and an emphatic delivery. The remaining eight tracks tend to follow suit, and at the end you find yourself thinking, “Well, that’s just wonderful. Let’s do it again.”
And that’s where it all begins to fall apart. Again, like the mixer, repeated spins begin to show the band’s limitations; the chinks in their metal. Soon, you find yourself asking why a German band would be singing about “Lady Liberty,” or if metal is an appropriate genre in which to condemn the “Scripted Reality” that has saturated television. Even the rebellious one-two punch of “We Won’t Take It Anymore” and “Revolution In Progress” go from calls to action to tiresome and contrived. Worst of all, you quickly realize that you can’t really remember one track from another, or really any tracks at all. If you can’t do that, what are the chances you’re going to go back and listen to it again? Pretty slim.
Eventually, if you’re like me, you’ll just suddenly stop playback and give up. To appropriate one of their song titles, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Listening was no longer fun; I had gone from raising my fist in salute to raising it in anger; from high hopes to high blood pressure.
I don’t want to completely condemn iDentity, because some folks whose opinions I respect have much nicer things to say about it. So I’ll just say that I cannot personally recommend this album to anyone when there are so many other bands doing traditional metal so much better these days – like the aforementioned Visigoth. I wouldn’t recommend that mixer either next to the grill.
Hulk Hogan eventually did get a grill to endorse, but it also failed, thanks to a high price tag. Maybe I too can find a grill someday. Hey, I think the new Blind Guardian might be available—SCORE!!