Philip H. Dolinsky 2016
A wing, a prayer and flying guitars. With a little help from above, orthodox man gives heft to his hopes.
Group homes and abuse, homelessness and mental hospitals: there was a lot of negativity in Philip H. Dolinsky’s life until he found solace in Judaism and started to channel his love for the Lord through riffing and shredding. The two-part “Jewish Heavy Metal” is Pesach Chaim’s third record and, possibly, a pinnacle of this artist’s career, the double album taking the epic scope of his music – more often than not, snippets of scriptures wrapped in melodious skronk – to the limit. Listening to it can be a suitably painful process, as the songs’ aggressiveness – of speed and thrash metal sort, with occasional King Diamond-esque falsetto – contrasts their message, yet there’s a lot to enjoy, given Dolinsky’s six-string prowess and manifold ideas on display.
Accumulating all of it, the 33-minute “Sonata For Being In Love With Hashem/G-d – In D Minor” must be Pesach’s magnum opus, the piece’s prog mindset manifested in a series of memorable, multicolored solos, stricken with bass rumble and acoustic strum; unfortunately, vocal lines on the effusive likes of “The Moshiach Is Coming” won’t match instrumental parts in terms of tune, and Chaim’s voice is hardly able to bear the weight of what he’s trying to say. Such an approach may fit the anger behind “Hail Moschiach – Spit On Nazi” – which, although less personal than the exposition of social stigmas on Dolinsky’s previous platters, delivers acidic (or hasidic) political critique – but “Hooligan War” should amount to a nice slice of punk, rather than metal, aimed at antisemitism.
Even with the demo-like recording quality, especially in drums department, the album’s impact could have been stronger if Pesach shortened some of the tracks, as “Words Of Torah” offers too much repetition, and delegated singing to somebody else who would also embellish the melodies. With “Spacial” (sic!) showing a different route for Chaim’s creativity, his next step has a chance to take this artist up the ladder of respect.