NEW RELEASES FROM TWISTED SISTER, EXTREME, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, PAIN, RAVENEYE AND MANY MORE 2nd October 2016
Some tremendous albums, EPs and DVDs have hit digital platforms and the few remaining record stores recently and here's a selection of the ones we really liked.
This is the very first edition of You Spin Me Round and we'll be delivering the goods to you every fortnight.
Let's do this...
TWISTED SISTER: 'LIVE FROM THE HARD ROCK CASINO LAS VEGAS'
Out Now (Loud And Proud Records)
The first in a series of four Metal Meltdown concerts filmed at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas sees the legendary Twisted Sister in fighting form. Filmed on 30th May 2015, this was Twisted Sister's first show back on stage since the untimely death of their powerhouse drummer AJ Pero, whom this concert is dedicated to.
Taking his place on the drum stool is uber-fan and drummer extraordinaire Mike Portnoy who captures the spirit of the fallen hero.
The full ninety minute set is present and in its correct running order but is annoyingly broken up in places with anecdotes from the band which bizarrely can be found again on the accompanying documentary which itself is broken up with live clips from the show!
The documentary itself is insightful but tales of their early career are a bit repetitive as they were featured in their recent documentary DVD 'We Are Twisted Fucking Sister', however the band talk fondly of AJ Pero and hearing the story of their breakthrough videos of 'We're Not Gonna Take It' and 'I Wanna Rock', as told by actor Mark Metcalf who plays the role of the sadistic teacher in the videos, is priceless.
Now what do you want to do with your life?
EXTREME: 'PORNOGRAFFITTI LIVE 25'
Release Date: October 21st 2016 (Loud & Proud Records)
Extreme, hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, celebrated the 25th Anniversary of their best selling album, 'Pornograffitti', last year. The band spent some time in 2015 performing the album live from front to back and the complete concert from The Joint (Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas) on May 30th 2015 was recorded and filmed for a special release from Loud & Proud Records as part of their four-part Metal Meltdown DVD series. Along with the concert, a bonus documentary is included.
'Pornograffitti' was jammed with songs that featured blazing guitar playing, strong melodies, infectious hooks, and huge harmonies. Nuno Bettencourt (guitar), Gary Cherone (vocals) and Pat Badger (bass) remain from the line-up that recorded the 1990 release. Drummer Paul Geary left the band and Kevin Figueiredo now sits behind the kit.
Extreme still commands the stage with energy and the songs sound as fresh as they did decades ago. Nuno delivers a fret explosion on guitar that is every bit as important to the band's sound as the incredible vocals Gary provides. Striking gold with 'More Than Words' and 'Hole Hearted' opened the floodgate for album sales which made Extreme an MTV fan favourite but neither song defined the record.
'Pornograffitti' at heart is a hard rocking record that offers some diversity along the way and this package illustrates not only the album's greatness but also the musicians' passion for the songs.
VOODOO VEGAS: 'FREAK SHOW CANDY FLOSS
Release Date: 4th November 2016 (Independent)
Bournemouth's rapidly rising quintet Voodoo Vegas have been making a name for themselves over the past few years. They released their debut album, 'The Rise Of Jimmy Silver' back in 2013, the success of which enabled them to share stages with ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, Y&T and Status Quo as well as appearing in front of 80,000 people at Germany's Rhineland Palatinate Parade. This release was followed by the 'Hypnotise' EP in 2015 which served more as a stop-gap for the band whilst they built ideas for album number two, the wonderfully titled 'Freak Show Candy Floss'.
This ten song opus is jam packed full of good old fashioned rock'n'roll tracks that have become a trademark of VV. Those of you who are already familiar with their 'Hypnotise' EP may notice 'Killing Joke' from there has also been included here, but don't worry, there's still plenty of new material for even the most exuberant VV fan to get into and if you're not a fan yet, I think it's only a matter of time until you will be!
Opening salvo, 'Backstabber', lays the ground work for what's to follow with a huge slab of classic rock. The fast track gets the party started and the band really don't look back from then on in. 'Long Time Gone' has guitarists Merylina Hamilton and Jon Dawson showing their skills early on whilst the shouty, easy to remember chorus is infectious and you can imagine how much fun this will be live.
Three tracks in and you'll find 'Resolution' and as it begins you think it's going to be a slower paced acoustic number but it turns out not to be the case as the tempo ramps up and the electric guitars kick things off again. It's a showcase for bass player Ash Moulton who comes to the fore, as does drummer Jonno Smyth, showing what a formidable rhythm section they are.
Frontman Lawrence Case gets a showcase moment during 'Lady Divine' as he gives his performance everything he's got and his vocals trade off well against the flowing lead guitar. The ubiquitous acoustic number is still here though, in the form of 'Sleeping In The Rain', showing that there's more to this band than just bluff and bluster – oh, and it's an absolute corker of a song.
Overall it's another polished effort from the band and it bodes well for their future – all we need now is for a batch of UK dates so they can showcase the very best of the album live. Something to look forward to, then!
PAIN: 'COMING HOME'
Release Date: 9th September 2016 (Nuclear Blast)
Sweden's Peter Tagtgren is a man in demand as a producer. Recent efforts have included work with Sabaton, Amorphis and Children Of Bodom. Add in that he's co-created Lindemann with the Rammstein frontman and is the main force behind death metal band Hypocrisy and you can see why it's taken five years for him to release new music from his industrial Metal project Pain.
'Coming Home' is the eighth Pain studio release and continues the tradition of being an inventive mish-mash of pounding electronic beats. natural drums (provided on this occasion by his son Sebastian) and almost poppy choruses and melodies, all without losing that industrial edge.
'Final Crusade' is industrial meets Sabaton style Metal with it's chanting chorus. Sabaton frontman Joakim Broden actually makes a guest appearance over the intense riffing and keyboard hooks of 'Call Me' but there is plenty of variety too from the conspiracy theory inspired 'Black Knight Satellites' with orchestral overtones to trying to invent industrial country rockabilly in 'Designed To Piss You Off'.
This amount of invention means the album is inevitably a bit patchy but which songs people go for may vary according to their tastes. Overall though this is a really interesting and imaginative take on a genre which is a breath of fresh air. Well worth checking out and a very worthwhile addition to the Pain catalogue.
SKÁLMÖLD: 'VÖGGUVISUR YGGDRASILS'
Release Date: 30th September 2016 (Napalm Records)
Skälmöld have absolutely excelled themselves here with their finest offering to date, 'Vögguvísur Yggdrasils', a nine track opus of pure Viking Folk Metal which is making my ears very, very happy indeed.
There's only one fault with 'Vögguvísur Yggdrasils' - there are too many vowels in the album title but that's easy for me to say. On first listen, 'Vögguvísur Yggdrasils' is a hard hitting, driving, brutal affair but once you start to appreciate the subtleties within, you're in for a rich listening experience.
This is true Viking Metal and real Folk Metal as well, all combined to provide anthemic, powerful and memorable tunes. Skälmöld don't need complexity or gimics - all nine single word titles are a joy to behold and Skälmöld have upped their game majestically with their new album.
The Reykjavik, Iceland based six-piece explore the Nine Worlds, from the fiery Muspellsheim to frozen Nifelheim on 'Vögguvísur Yggdrasils' and it's one Hell of a ride. Buy it - or Vikings will come and burn your house down and dig up your garden. Possibly.
BLACK ACES: 'A SHOT IN THE DARK'
Release Date: 30th September 2016 (Bad Reputation)
Having spent the last five years splitting eardrums up and down the length and breath of Australia, Black Aces dropkick an album of bare knuckle bar room rock.
While the AC/DC comparison and obvious influence is near impossible to deny, there is still a huge amount of relief in knowing there are still bands out there who are Hell bent on keeping the heart of this breed of rock beating vigorously.
But Black Aces ain't no rip off merchants. Right from the off with title track 'A Shot In The Dark' you immediately get the impression they at times inject a much darker and menacing vibe into their music.
The party rock element is as you'd expect, smeared all over the record. 'Girl Like You' and 'Sick As A Dog' are all designed to have you opening beer bottles with people's heads. If you're partial to having your fillings rattled, turn 'Let It Roll' and 'Rough Touch' up to an unsociable level for the maximum dose.
You could argue this has all been done before, but when it's done with this much quality and undoubted honesty it doesn't matter one bit. Vocalist and lead guitarist Tyler Kinder sings like a man who regularly gargles with rusty razor blades. His blood curdling yell is all over full frontal bruisers 'Take It To The Wire' and the sinister 'The Walls'.
Approved by fellow Aussie Hell raisers Airbourne, this bunch have all the weapons in their armoury to unleash a serious rock'n'roll assault. Bring it on.
FREEDOM CALL: ‘MASTER OF LIGHT’
Release Date: 11th November 2016 (SPV/Steamhammer)
Led by vocalist and guitarist Chris Bay, this German power Metal band have always been at the melodic end, with a sound that's uplifting and as operatic as it is bouncy. Formed in the late 90s, 'Master Of Light' is their ninth studio album (tenth if you include the reworking of 'Eternity'), and while they have dipped their toes into dark gothic Metal and all out thrash, this takes both with the odd progressive touch and transports you back to the classic 'Crystal Empire', their second album and magnum opus.
The signature big vocal harmonies open 'Metal Is For Everyone' in operatic fashion (Bay's grandfather, an opera singer, an obvious influence), albeit with a tongue in cheek edge. The lead single, 'Hammer Of The Gods', is typically uplifting, The title track nods to the progressive Metal Iron Maiden have woven and with a couple of tracks running to over five minutes, Freedom Call have experimented on musical journeys a little more here.
From the acoustic moments and surprise ballad to the all-out Metal, the guitars and vocals as big as ever and some keyboard touches add depth to the sound.
There's some more than decent guitar work throughout the album, plenty of solos, but it's all about the big vocals and uplifting if chunky power. Music that pictures the swords and shields waved aloft with vigour.
DARKHAUS: 'WHEN SPARKS IGNITE'
Release Date: 30th September 2016 (SPV)
The debut album from Darkhaus took us by surprise here at MetalTalk HQ in 2013. Featuring two members of US hardcore veterans Pro-Pain, an Austrian synth-pop expert and a Scottish singer, we weren't expecting the little pop-goth gem of an album we got. Full of catchy hooks and lush electro melodies it was a revelation.
Three years on and we finally get a follow up. This time round the band have beefed up the guitars and the result is something more leaning towards a commercial rock vibe and a bit less of the goth synth rock thing. They still have a real talent for crafting catchy memorable songs though and singer Ken Hanlon's strong, melodic voice gets to shine.
Even when they start in a heavy Alter Bridge style in 'After The Heartache', as soon as they get to adding vocals into the song it becomes all about the melody. 'Tears Of Joy' shows they can do the piano ballad well too but it's the anthemic pop-Metal of songs like 'Oceans' and 'The Last Goodbye' which seem to be where the band want to be right now.
I loved the debut album and while this follow up isn't quite as good for me they had set themselves a very high bar. It's merely very good and full of memorable commercial sounding rock tunes. I look forward to checking them out on their first UK tour in November.
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: 'Noises From The Cathouse'
Out Now (Angel Air)
For fans of NWOBHM legends, Tygers Of Pan Tang, who are awaiting the late October release of their brand new spanking eponymous album, now is a good time to have a look at some of their previous work.
The Tygers were at the forefront of the NWOBHM scene with four hit albums between 1980 and 1982, but after being dropped by MCA the band started to splinter and fall apart. Guitarist Robb Weir brought the Tygers out of hibernation in 2000 with only himself as the sole original member.
The first comeback album, 'Mystical', was released a year later and purred rather than roared mightily and the same can be said for this release, 'Noises From The Cathouse', which originally came out in 2004, received poor promotion and was lost without trace until now.
However, it does have its moments. It was produced by Chris Tsangarides and features Ritchie Wicks on vocals who was also briefly with Angel Witch and despite the cliched lyrics, opener 'Bad Bad Kitty' sharpens its claws, 'Highspeed Highway Superman' has a cool sharp riff and an Americanised chorus while 'Cybernation' and the epic 'Master Of Illusion' express the Tygers' willingness for experimentation.
Fans of Bayley era Maiden will find plenty of comfort in 'Noises From The Cathouse'
VEIL OF DELUSIONS: 'ECHOES OF DAWN'
Release Date: 16th September 2016 (Independent)
Symphonic Metallers Veil Of Delusions hail from The Netherlands where they formed in 2010. Led by lead vocalist Zoë Tilly, the band deliver a diverse range of songs that contain influences from many bands with styles from symphonic to melodic death Metal. 'Echoes Of Dawn' is their debut release and announces them onto the scene in a very dramatic way.
Encompassing some eleven tracks, it showcases all aspects of this band in a way that's sure to grab the attention of an eager public. There's no room for slushy ballads or twee acoustic numbers here. With the exception of the title track, which serves as more of a spoken intro to 'War Begins', from start to finish this is one helluva rollercoaster ride with Tilly and guitarist/vocalist Martin Vos holding a tight reign on the power button.
It's Tilly's voice that reigns supreme here, whilst throughout the album Vos adds the grunt (literally at times) whilst underneath everything is the solid and understated drumming from Rob Reijs who provides a solid foundation for the tracks.
Highlights? Well, there's many here including 'The Chase' which has Vos taking the lead on the vocals whilst Tilly plays more of a supporting role but it's certainly amongst the best tracks here. Vos' vocals may be harsh at times, but you can still make out the lyrics (always a good thing!) as a wave of rich keyboard sounds fill out the rest of the track.
'Across The Sky' is one of the heaviest, and at the same time, more straightforward numbers here as the grinding guitars drive the song. Tilly has shorter lyrics to navigate here than in some of the other tracks, but the whole track has a polished feel to it as the band turns out another fine track. This may be Veil Of Delusions' debut album, but it's a fine effort and hopefully the first of many good albums to come from this talented quintet.
JOHN WESLEY: 'a way you'll never be'
Release Date: 7th October 2016 (Inside Out)
Some people might think of progressive rock as primarily a keyboard based sort of rock music but American guitarist John Wesley is irrefutable proof otherwise. His cultured and fiery melodic style has shared a stage with many of the modern giants of the genre, from Fish to Porcupine Tree and beyond.
Alongside all that collaborative work sits his solo career and 'a way you'll never be' (the small lettering is deliberate) is his eighth solo effort to date and one of his most interesting. In his own words: "I have worked extremely hard at bringing the two sides of my writing together; the acoustic singer songwriter and the electric heavy guitar elements."
The result is an album full of interesting and inventive guitar led songs, many filled with an introspective and atmospheric vibe. Introspection there may be but those guitars are often turned up to ten and songs like opener 'by the light of a sun' are a bit like a more complex version of Alter Bridge with the big rock feel.
Wesley provides a strong vocal lead too and on 'the revolutionist' he allows that to take centre stage and dials down the guitar a notch without losing the feel that it is a guitar driven album.
There are more laid back guitar moments where you can hear what a gentle touch this superb player can have such as in 'unsafe space' but it's parts like the huge riffing mid-section of 'Nada' which sets the tone overall to my ears. Really enjoyable all round though and worth checking out for anyone who has come across his work in the past.
Release Date: 30th September 2016 (Frontiers Music)
You can't beat the feeling of falling across a new band and wanting to tell the world about them. Raveneye struck that emotion with yours truly last year when they announced their arrival in style with their sublime and critically acclaimed EP, 'Breaking Out'. Needless to say, the anticipation for a full length release from the Milton Keynes trio has been high.
But sometimes anticipation can be the kiss of death with some records. With the distorted doomery of opener 'Wanna Feel You', you straight away get the feeling they've saw the EP and monumentally raised it.
Singer and guitarist Oli Brown comes with a hefty reputation, with four solo albums under his belt and touring the world with name dropping gold like Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani, you're not dealing with a chancer here. Although backed by a thunderous rhythm section in bassist Aaron Spiers and the now departed drummer Kev Hickman, it’s Brown who steals the show with his magical box of riffage, seducing lung power and lyrical genius.
The album hops through a lot of genres, 'Hero' gets the full monty all out rock treatment along with brain shaker 'Out Of The Rain'. They even get their inner funk out with 'Hate', a track that would undoubtedly unsettle the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. But hands down it's the heavily blues treated 'Oh My Love' that summarises the band up. Bulging with muscle, it's dark and smoky vibes are infectious, Brown's axe work is God-like and this is a track ready made for the live domain.
This gem was recorded over a twenty-five day period, but not going the extra day have denied it masterpiece status. A superb piece of work and I don't envy them having to following this.
EVIL INVADERS: 'IN FOR THE KILL'
Release Date: 30th September 2016 (Napalm Records)
If Judas Priest and Overkill got together and had a bastard love child, this would be what it would sound like.
The three-piece Belgian thrash/power combo powerhouse have really unleashed the beast on their new four-track EP which contains two brand new tracks, 'As Life Slowly Fades' and 'Raising Hell', as well as live versions of 'Pulses Of Pleasure' and 'Victims Of Sacrifice', both from their debut album 'Pulses Of Pleasure'.
This is madness on vinyl (or digi-link if you prefer) and it's high velocity and super intense with skull crushing riffs and solos that will melt your face off.
Each of the four tracks is a total winner and a massive slab of skilful brutality. Evil Invaders just might be the future of Heavy Metal.
ALEXA DE STRANGE: 'GET COURAGEOUS ON CON COJONES'
Release Date: 23rd September 2016 (Independent)
A self made, low budget DVD from loveable London based rising rock outfit Alexa de Strange. Fronted by the boobilicious Francesca, Alexa de Strange mix the elements of new wave punk, pop and Metal that makes them stand out with a bout of refreshing pop harmonies and cutting guitar riffs from George Gt Stergiou.
'Con Cojones' is Spanish for courageous and they certainly have been with this self financed, two hour DVD. The centrepiece is a live set from the Camden Underworld filmed with various cameras last November when they supported former Runaways girl Cherie Currie. They were on fine form that night and the whole set is included which featured Robin Guy on drums and guest Davie Ryder Prangley from Rachel Stamp on a cover of 'I Wanna Be Your Doll'. Also included are their enjoyable promo videos for the dark 'Babydoll' and the fun and foam antics of 'Luxxxurious'.
Some of the extras like the shaky camera work on sound checks and backstage tomfoolery are best left on the cutting room floor but bassist Shannon Lee perks it up with a David Bowie tour around South East London, plus there's an interview where you can find out what really makes the band tick or tong. Converted fans of the band should snap this up while the curious should best check them out live first or wait for the highly anticipated debut album.
Copies are available from the band directly. Contact them on Facebook or grab a copy when they play a homecoming gig back at the Camden Underworld in London on November 9th.
TEMPERANCE: 'THE EARTH EMBRACES US ALL'
Release Date: 16th September 2016 (Scarlet Records)
Italians Temperance have been known for their straight ahead female fronted symphonic Metal up to now. With 'The Earth Embraces Us All', their third full length album, they are trying to break out from the pack with a more diverse set of songs.
They can still do the genre typical double bass driven tunes with singer Chiara Tricarico's strong melodic voice soaring over the top but many of the songs here are more diverse with folk Metal and even jazz influences showing up.
They sound all the better for it and the eight minutes plus of the bizarrely titled 'Advice From A Caterpillar' shows that they can add a little prog metal substance to their sound very successfully too.
A real move in the right direction and a band worth checking out.
JENOVESE: 'LOVE U TO DEATH' EP
Release Date: 16th September 2016 (Independent)
Hailing from South Wales, Jenovese are a hard hitting, anthemic rock sextet who encompass melodic Metal, and have been together for just over six months. Led by husband and wife team of Emma and James Rees, this band once again shows that Wales has a hotbed of talent just waiting to be discovered.
This is the band's debut EP and it was recorded at the legendry Rockfield Studios and was produced by Romesh Dodabgoda who helped co produce Motörhead's 'The World Is Ours'. It may include a mere four tracks but it's a thoroughly enjoyable listen and surely paves the way for a follow up release.
The titular track is the most Metal sounding of the quartet and it races among at a fair rate as Emma Rees puts in a great vocal performance whilst the backing vocals help to fill out the sound a bit more. In fact she puts in an outstanding vocal on the EP closer, 'It Doesn't Matter (Anymore)', with the guitar riff constantly driving the track onwards whilst the drums of Jack Pritchard are strong and simple, creating a dependable backbone to the song.
The band wanted the EP to be a good representation of who they are and what they are about, and let's only hope that they build on the success of this EP with another EP or, hopefully, a full length album.
GENERAL STRATOCUSTER AND THE MARSHALS: 'DIRTY BOULEVARD'
Out Now (Black Candy)
Staying on the prowl of the Tygers Of Pan Tang, fans of the band will be pleasantly surprised by this Italian release that features Tygers vocalist Jacopo Meille and renowned Italian session guitarist Fabio Fabbri.
Far removed from the Metal attack of the Tygers, this third album from General Stratocuster And The Marshalls is a joyous affair that is drenched in blues and Americana rock'n'roll.
As the opening track states, it certainly is a shock to the system hearing Jacapo Meille singing in a different style but this album is full of easy going midnight driving numbers which don't dip in interest throughout.
Touches of early Bryan Adams on 'Built To Last' and Neil Young on 'Thank You Bob', completed by a seventies rock ballad in 'Hold Back The Tears' all make for a very surprising, comfortable and pleasing album.
HARDLINE: 'HUMAN NATURE'
Release Date: 14th October 2016 (Frontiers Music)
It’s twenty four years since Hardline released their debut album, 'Double Eclipse'. Founded by brothers Johnny and Joey Gioeli, the then line-up included Journey duo and AOR royalty Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo. Having experienced a glut of changes in personnel over the years, they still managed to keep the project alive with the release of three more high quality records. Now following the 2012 comeback album, 'Danger Zone', they're back with another master class in melodic rock.
For fans who have followed their fortunes over the years, this may not be the Hardline they are used to. With a scintillating opening of 'Where Will We Go From Here' and 'Nobody's Fool', they go for the throat straight away. It's clear by the thrusting attitude in the songs such as 'Running On Empty' and the salivating 'The World Is Falling Down' that they were hell bent on delivering an album obese with grinding riffs and towering hooks.
Producer and keyboard maestro Alessandro Del Vecchio obviously knew the talent that vocalist and song writing partner Johnny Gioeli possesses. Right throughout the album he sounds like a man singing for his life, and gives every track serious intensity. The pair combine beautifully on the ballad 'Take You Home', and despite the in-your-face vibe in the majority of the songs, this gem stands toe to toe with all of them.
This album most likely won't go down as an AOR classic with the purists compared to the heavyweights like Journey's 'Escape' or 'Toto IV' but I sincerely doubt they were aiming for that. If producing songs that hit your bloodstream right from the get go was the aim, mission accomplished.
Release Date: 30th September 2016 (Independent)
Hailing from Orange County, California, Idlewar are a powerful three piece who were formed back in 2014. Their well received debut EP, 'Dig In', was released in late 2015 and spanned five tracks and was a perfectly timed bite-size chunck showing just what the band can do – catchy choruses, memorable riffs and vocals that spare no emotion.
Fast forward twelve months and the band have released 'Impluse', their full length debut album. Ten solid slabs of rock, which pick up pretty much where the 'Dig In' EP left off. The first single released was 'Criminal', which surfaced in late August. Acting as a prelude to the albums release, the track has guitarist Rick Graham getting his showcase moment with his solo, whilst during the rest of the track he manages to keep things straight and true at the back with the main riff. There's a simple easy to remember chorus too, which adds a bit extra to a great track.
'Burn All This' is a slow paced song and it's already a firm favourite here at MetalTalk Towers. Just when you're getting into the groove, the track slides into a much simpler almost bluesy section which allows Blake another his moment in the spotlight with his vocals before the main guitar riff comes blasting out once again - truly great stuff from start to finish. 'Innocent' is another top track too. The slightly off-beat drum pattern from Pagonis adds something different to the track and it's clearly a showcase for his skills. Graham once again handles the vocals well and the whole thing motors along at a fair pace.
As you make your way through the album it's obvious how much effort the band have put into the writing and recording of it. Sure, they could have put out a couple of tracks in the meantime but they chose to stick it out and produce a classy and thunderously good debut.
Edition Two of You Spin Me Round here in a fortnight...