Talas, a Buffalo-based power-metal trio, handles its generic onslaught with a certain urgency: After all, calling a song and an album "Sink Your Teeth Into That" hardly suggests delicate savoring or introspective analysis. Most of the 10 songs are high- energy, steel-belted affairs, from the macho stance of "Hit and Run" to the rather incredulous plaint of "Shy Boy," with Dave Constantino's power chords and piercing solo lines and Paul Vargas' thunderhead drumming sounding a bit better than average.
Infinitely better than average, though, is Talas' virtuoso bass player, Billy Sheehan, who has been called the Eddie Van Halen of rock bassists. In fact, Sheehan is a guitarist turned bassist who not only attacks his instrument like a lead guitar, but also has stretched that instrument's role much the same way Jaco Pastorius did in Weather Report.
Sheehan is Talas' heart in more ways than one: He co-produced the record, writes all the songs and is very much the focus in performance. And if Talas' overall sound is straight-ahead metal mayhem, Sheehan at least keeps things interesting with hammer- ons, pull-offs and two-handed fretting techniques seldom mastered on guitar, much less on bass.
The real showcase piece is the startling bass instrumental "NV43345," in which Sheehan moves brightly from a bit of Bach invention to a load of Hendrix feedback, with clusters of bent notes and harmonics. He's definitely somebody to keep an ear on. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM TALUS -- Sink Your Teeth Into That (Relativity EMCL-1). THE SHOW TALUS, Saturday at 8 at the Wild West Rock Theater in Springfield.