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Here it comes again: that inimitable drunken warble which could only originate from...Sheavy's Steve Hennessy -- arguably the greatest Ozzy Osbourne impersonator alive (actually, he sounds more like early-days Ozzy than the man himself these days). Eerie and disconcerting, the similarity has fueled this Newfoundland-based band's detractors over the years, serving as an unfair excuse to overlook their very accomplished brand of driving hard rock and metal. But Sheavy, though clearly identifiable as a doom/stoner rock act, is anything but a Black Sabbath tribute act, and each successive release seems to gain them a little more respect thanks to some quality tunes. And their fourth album, 2002's Synchronized, is no exception, with outstanding riff excursions such as "Firebird 350," "Last of the V8 Interceptors," and "Next Exit to Vertigo" picking up right where previous efforts left off and setting the aggressive tone early on. But the band eventually finds room to break with convention; the synth-enhanced, "Junior's Eyes"-sound-alike title track and the oddball "Invasion of the Micronauts," complete with reverse percussion effects à la "Come Together," beg the question: Has Sheavy arrived at their Technical Ecstasy a few albums too soon? The answer is a resounding "not exactly," since such experiments are mostly successful, far from radical, and soon left behind for more traditional stoner/doom fare, including the lengthy jam "Ultraglide" and the pounding "Set Phasers to Stun." And then, Sheavy pulls out all the stops with awesome closer, "The Time Machine," a possible candidate for Metal Single of the Year and arguably the best pure song of their career.

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