"Apparently,this is the band that former Tesla bassist Brian Wheat is/was in.This was the group's first of two(so far)releases.It's okay,for music to play in the background while you're doing something else.Also believe that Tesla guitarist,Frank Hannon was involved in the making of this record.Best described as bluesy-like '70's music,inspired rock&roll.Actually,it COULD grow on you.Tunes I sort of liked were "Guardian Angel","Lizard Boots","Go For A Ride" and "Supermodel".Give it a try.You might like it more than I did."
Bringing groove-based hard rock back to the front lines.
Elizabeth "Lizz" Fisher | Sacramento, CA | 06/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By the time Tommy McClendon's guitar wails out a sinfully-delicious solo in the break of the album's opening track, "Guardian Angel," Soulmotor has already thrown it's hat into the major hard rock band ring. Darin Wood's menacing, yet passionate baritone growls throughout, while bassist Brian Wheat and drummer Mike Vanderhule power 13 tracks of infectiously bluesy, groovy, metallic tunes. Soulmotor's spirit lies in an undefinable potpourri of old-fashioned, grow-yer-hair-out-there-keep-yer-fist-in-the-air hard rock spirit, with equal nods to the ghosts of the 80's and Robert Johnson's crossroads. Devilish blues meld with a Sabbath-meets-TRex tuneful metallic bombast. Dark imagery of falling from grace and themes of deliverance and redemption cleverly co-exist with more upbeat, yet far from lightweight, numbers like "Live Up To Life" and the humorously-scathing "Supermodel." From the straight-forward punch of "Omega Son" and "Lizard Boots" to the radio-friendly beauty of "Fallen" to the sexy groove of "Touch Of Strange," the album is consistently addictive. The standout piece here, and what seems like could easily become a live favorite, is "By The Sound Of Her Wings," with Wood's vocals driving a taut epic about meeting the Angel Of Death. Wood delivers a chilling performance as the band slowly builds behind him to a head-rattling climax. Hard rock is back. And yeh, critics may scoff that the song remains the same, but Soulmotor stirs it up and releases it into awesome, psychoactive mind-exhaust."
It Doesn't Suck
Dennis G. Voss Jr. | Lexington, KY USA | 06/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I came to this CD as a fan of hard music, not as a fan of Tesla, and did not approach it with high expectations. From that perspective, it wasn't a bad purchase. The songs sometimes crunched hard, and even when they lightened up they did not move in an annoying direction that semi-hard bands sometimes choose for their filler (such as mawkish ballads, bad pop, or lame rap). I don't have to skip anything when I play it. The musicians had a good interplay, with occasionally inspired grooves, and to my untutored ear the sound quality seemed rather strong. So what's the catch? As other reviewers have already indicated, it's the vocals. Most of the songs are dull because the singing provides neither melody nor harmony nor good timing. The vocalist clearly didn't put the "soul" into Soulmotor! Which is too bad, too, because on the standout tracks from this album -- especially "Omega Son" -- he shows he can do more. One last point: "Supermodel" was a nice way to end the recording. It's written in the first-person voice of a supermodel, but with her lines sung and spoken by a gruff-voiced male playing it all straight. What otherwise might have been a cheap shot at an easily criticized profession becomes a little more interesting, leaving you to wonder whether this raw growl isn't the true sound of the supermodel's soul."
Take a Penny, Leave a Penny...
Matthew J. Bross | Northeast Ohio | 09/18/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"...As they say. Fortunately there are many options from Amazon Preferred Sellers to buy this CD for a penny here, so at least the risk is low if you want to take a chance on this marginal recording.
The primary reason why I purchased this CD was because, as many others did, I am a huge Tesla fan. Led by Tesla bassist Brian Wheat and released in 1999 during Tesla's temporary breakup, Soulmotor tries to take a darker road with down tuned guitars and gruff monotonic vocals. While I don't fully expect any Tesla off shoot (Moon Dog Mane, Bar 7, etc) to be or replicate the sound of the primary band, you would expect some form of melody and a groove.
Lead vocalist Darin Wood seems to suffer from the clichéd late 90's goateed, tattooed & pissed off syndrome with a voice hindered from smoking too many cigarettes. Is life that bad buddy? But bassist Brian Wheat and drummer Mike Vanderhule do form a rather tight and competent rhythm section.
There are a few diamonds in the rough here, especially the funk tinged "Good Day To Die" and the almost Zepplenish "Touch Of Strange". "Supermodel" does provide a good wrap up to this CD, but is comes too late to save this work from mediocrity.
Soulmotor could have locked into a musical groove but they just simply miss. Darin Wood made that possible. Thank God Tesla finally reunited in 2001 and in 2004 gave us "Into The Now".
Love the voice and the sound!!
Elizabeth "Lizz" Fisher | 02/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"People have different tastes, and if you like whinning chick sounding vocals, than this CD is NOT FOR YOU!!!! Darin sounds very intense and he is just right for this music. It is darker than I expected from Brian Wheat, but I now have a new respect (to go along with the old one) for his songwriting ability. This is not Tesla by any means, but the hooks are good and the music is real. I say buy it and enjoy."