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'Vegas lights'
(I Sold My Soul Media)

Phil Kane

phil kane

hancox vegas lights

Englishman Pip Hancox, front man of psychobilly shit kickers Guana Batz, has resided for many years in the States and listening to this you can tell. Whilst 'Vegas Lights' retains the mix of punky sleaze metal and Rockabilly that only the Brits seem to be able to master, it is sweetened with a generous wash of Americana, signified by a hot sultry desert El Diablo de la guitarra Gretsch sound..

For his debut project, apparently recorded for some reason in utmost secrecy in the California desert, Hancox enrolled the help of long-time Guana Batz drummer and stand up bass player Jonny Bowler, guitarist Gino Meregillano and drummer Alex Pappas (which I think is the Guana Batz US touring line up). The idea seems to have been to let Pip scratch an itch or two by revisiting, even recapturing, some of the sounds that inspired the Batz inception a few decades ago.

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He has pretty much succeeded too with the predominant groove of 'Vegas Lights' being rooted in the badlands where rockabilly meets psychobilly meets rock 'n' roll. Yet there is more; the buzz saw metal-lite triumvirate of 'Toxic Twins', 'Sally' and 'Black Door City', the Jason And The Scorchers country rush of 'Bleed', the thick syrupy quality of the guitar on 'Shake' that Black Sabbath made their own and the title track is a charming study on Americana's mid western folk heritage.

The album also boasts an interpretation of Blondie's 'Call Me' which closes the album. Now, usually such an inclusion would be a mistake but not in this instance as the quality of Hancox own songs is such that the cover compliments rather than overshadows the rest of the album.

The vast bulk of 'Vegas Lights' however is built on a foundation of raw rockabilly together with a considerable measure of metallic hillbilly country grit, with the beefed up galloping rock 'n' roll tipping its not inconsiderable hat to the greats Presley, Jerry Lee and Perkins. 'London Streets', the drum led 'Carburettor' instrumental and '7th Daughter', the mid paced 'Beautiful Creature' and the furious 'Ellinore' all anchor the album to its roots whilst giving it enough leash to enjoy itself; think Warner E Hodges jamming with Slash and The Stray Cats.

'Vegas Lights' is a slow burner, a solidly rocking album that will mature with age. It is a great debut album not least because it retains the grunt of good ol' fashioned rock 'n' roll that will appeal to most, if not all rockers. Hell, it might even appeal to those that ain't.

This album is not groundbreaking but if the likes of Rocket From The Crypt, The Reverend Horton Heat and Jim Jones spin yer wheels then 'Vegas Lights' might just do the same. Enjoy the party.





Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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