NEW RELEASES FROM AS LIONS, DEF LEPPARD, BURNT OUT WRECK, IMMOLATION AND MANY MORE...
21st April 2017
Edition Nine of You Spin Me Round. It's been a while and you can expect another of these very, very shortly...
Let's do this...
ELECTRIC GUITARS: 'ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO'
Out Now (Mighty Music/Target Group)
If they were handing out Grammy's for worst band name, Electric Guitars would probably make several trips to the podium, but don't let that put you off. They may not be household names on a worldwide level, but back in their homeland of Denmark, Soren Andersen and Mika Vandborg are a very big noise indeed. On their track 'Hero Of Mine', off their self-titled debut album, they brought together ten of the most famous guitarists in Denmark, a feat which made the national news. So we're not dealing with Scandinavia's answer to Tenacious D here, and this album is far from a 'Smell The Glove' or 'Shark Sandwich' job. Mind you song titles like 'Bambi On Ice' and 'False Flag Operation' may make you think otherwise. But bypass that and you'll uncover a sturdy rock album.
Title track 'Rock 'N' Roll Radio' doesn't exactly blow the doors off, top riff but the chorus lacks muscle. However, the collaboration with D-A-D vocalist Jesper Binzer on 'Headless Chicken' is a different story. Riotous and vocally snarling, it has Binzer singing like a man possessed, probably due to having brother Jacob cracking the whip in production duties. Teaming up with the D-A-D guitarist was a shrewd move, he's unlocked a grittier element not really evident in their two previous albums. The full on doom intro of 'Swagman' more than smacks of a heavy Sabbath influence with pulverising stoner grooves.
But it's the powerhouse track 'Homewrecking Woman' that leaves your ears tingling in ecstasy. Indulgently dark and moody, it shows off Andersen's and Vandborg's six string prowess, and it's that prowess which covers a lot of the banality on some of the tracks. While the likes of 'Lucy Glow', 'Stay Under The Radar' and 'Back To You' are decent enough, after three or four listens they begin to sound like regurgitated half empty arena rock. Still for lovers of good old meaty riffs, fill your boots.
FUELED HATE: 'MARCH OF THE PIGS'
Out Now (Attic Records)
Many bands of today seem to rely heavily on one thing: technicality. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of flare as much as the next guy, but sometimes I don't want to sit through nine minutes of fretboard wankery. Sometimes all I want is a few minutes of throat-kicking, eye-gouging music. Something that makes you jump to your feet, and gives you the urge to punch a gorilla in the oesophagus. Have you ever listened to an album that is so mosh-worthy you can't help but start a one-man wall of death in your local supermarket?
I have, and it's called 'March Of The Pigs', from manic Geordie metallers Fueled Hate. Fusing hardcore and metal into a big slice of inedible but ultimately tasty cake, the band has created its own distinct sound since first breaking onto the scene in 2012. On 'March Of The Pigs', the grooves are at times reminiscent of Pantera, and the riffs are refreshingly primal, refusing to venture into the sometimes-pretentious world of shred.
Now let's talk about the vocals. There's a reason I've designated a whole paragraph for this part, and it's because Fueled Hate's vocalist is truly something else. His delivery is borderline-psychotic, at times sounding like an escaped patient from Broadmoor, and while some might find it strange, I feel like many will appreciate the unique approach to singing. Okay, 'singing' might be a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea. To summarise, 'March Of The Pigs' is so bloody refreshing that a sponsorship deal with Evian might not be out of the question. What are you waiting for? Buy the album, and get started on that Waitrose circle pit.
TIM BOWNESS: 'LOST IN THE GHOST LIGHT'
Out Now (Inside Out)
When you look at Tim Bowness' career the people he's worked with read like a who's who of modern prog, from his ongoing collaboration with Steven Wilson as No-Man to work with members of The Pineapple Thief as well as other members of Porcupine Tree. He is also rated highly enough to be called on to work with prog veterans like Peter Hamill and Robert Fripp, but he has a pretty productive solo career too and 'Lost In The Ghost Light' is his fourth solo album and the third in the last four years or so.
Carrying on in style from 2015's 'Stupid Things That Mean The World' this album has a relaxed, laid back, dreamy feel to it. It's far from background music though or anything like that. This time the approach is that old prog rock favourite, a concept album. The theme is based around the effects of the modern world, streaming and ageing audiences and how it affects creativity and the compromises that can influence that too, family life and so on.
The subject matter obviously carries some personal weight for Bowness and that gives the album some real gravitas. The music here is beautifully crafted and put together and there is the usual array of high quality prog musicians doing guest slots to prove the point with Ian Anderson being the name that really catches the eye. It as all low energy stuff but the quality of the playing, Steven Wilson's mixing and mastering which really let's all the individual parts be heard and the commitment to the lyrics and the subject really make this something you listen to carefully. If there is a modern album that's made for listening to on headphones, this is it.
The nature of Tim Bowness' careful, thoughtful style of prog will probably limit the audience for this album which is a shame. Genuinely memorable tracks like 'Worlds Of Yesterday' would really catch people's attention if they got some radio play. If anyone is looking for an album to both relax them and make them think then this is the one to go for. Very enjoyable and superbly crafted.
BURNT OUT WRECK: 'SWALLOW'
Out Now (The Right Honourable Recording Company Ltd – Through Cherry Red)
Heavy Pettin' drummer Gary Moat has led a relatively quiet life away from the spotlight since the band broke up in 1988, resurfacing briefly for some live dates with 2012s Mother's Ruin project, where he swapped the drums for guitar and microphone. Moat squirreled himself away after that but has recently thrust himself back into the spotlight once again as the driving force behind Burnt Out Wreck – a hard rock outfit whose first full length album, 'Swallow' is on the verge of being released.
Spanning some eleven tracks, this is very definitely a hard rock album and no doubt, but rather than go down the easy route of rehashing a few old Heavy Pettin' numbers, all these tracks are new compositions. Based in the classic rock style, it's very much in the same mould as the likes of Status Quo, AC/DC or for the youngsters of you out there – Airbourne – nothing fancy, just straight ahead rock.
On the whole it's an enjoyable album with my only minor niggle being the fact that the vocals are occasionally too far back in the mix but it doesn't really detract from the listening experience. There's a collection of killer guitar riffs scattered throughout the album most notably on 'She's The One' (which also features a solid drum performance) and album closer 'Best Of Your Life'. 'Pulling It Out' has a hint of innuendo about the lyrics, but it's a rather fun song all told – oh, and it has a great lead guitar solo too!
Other highlights include 'Talk About Love' which, despite the title, ain't no soppy ballad but a full-on rock track that's sure to get the dandruff flying at gigs, while 'Flames' may be one of the slower paced numbers, it still has a great guitar riff not to mention another guitar solo which is just the icing on the cake. There's a lot to like here and with the prospect of the band taking their show on the road in 2017 it'll be interesting to see how these songs transfer to the stage.
DANKO JONES: 'WILD CAT'
Out Now (Bad Taste Records)
Last year saw Danko Jones hit 20 years tearing it up with their brand of punk treated hard rock. Previous album, 2015s Fire Music gave the band their highest chart positions in most of the major territories across Europe and also tapped up a few new ones. Wild Cat has the Canadians maintaining the services of producer Eric Ratz for the bands eight studio album.
Clearly a vibrant chemistry between band and producer, 'I Gotta Rock', 'My Little Rock N Roll' and 'Going Out Tonight' open the album with a hat trick of grit and power. Although these are the hallmarks of the the majority of their back catalogue, this is their first album where there's bona fide hits all over the place. 'You Are My Woman' has a delightful whiff of a Thin Lizzy influence, which is no surprise as their known to bang out a high-octane version of Are You Ready of an evening. The cheeky and hugely catchy 'Do This Every Night' is one of those tracks you've heard Danko Jones record a dozen times before, yet it still hits the sweet spot every-time.
The all action title track has Jones trademark menacing vocals working overtime, think Hendrix garnished with some classic ZZ Top, but more brutally executed.'She Likes It' and the shagfest 'Success In Bed' are far from being deep thinkers, but are still top class lessons in bad ass rock. Backed by a smokin' hot rhythm section in John Calabrese(bass) and Rich Knox(drums), Jones and co let it all hang out on the pummeling 'Diamond Lady'. A band with a penchant for anarchic tunes, Wild Cat is an irresistible ball of searing hot energy.
DEF LEPPARD: 'AND THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME... LIVE IN DETROIT'
Out Now (Eagle Rock)
Surprisingly for a band that tours so frequently, 'And There Will Be A Next Time... Live from Detroit', is Def Leppard's first proper on-tour video recording since 1988.
Filmed at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, a 14,000 capacity outdoor arena, it captures the pure essence of the band who deliver a comprehensive set-list covering all the key tracks from 'Hysteria' and 'Pyromania' you'd expect – along with newer material from the excellent 'Def Leppard' album and a few old favourites such as 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' and 'Let's Get Rocked'.
Sound and picture quality are superb – I just wish Phil Collen would put a shirt on. 'And There Will Be A Next Time...' is out now.
NEON HURRICANE: 'LIQUOR SWEET' EP
Out Now (Independent)
Glasgow based Neon Hurricane are just beginning their rock and roll adventures together and after a successful gig at the city's Hard Rock Café and The Box late last year, as well as coming first in the more recent night at the Party of the Palace - Battle of the Bands competition, the band have made good their promise to enter the studio to lay down their first ever EP – and here it is, the 'Liquor Sweet' EP.
After a weekend ensconced in a central Scotland studio, the band have produced two tracks that are, on the whole, pretty good. Both tracks are original songs showing promise in the song-writing department, whilst the recordings themselves are good, they're not without a minor niggle here and there.
First up is 'Sweet Lady' which is a solid enough number with a punchy guitar riff from Guitarist Graeme Craig that helps to gets things going before front man Jason Minto comes in with a laid back performance. Minto has a good strong voice and it rightly takes centre stage here but unfortunately, the same can't be said of the guitars which have a somewhat murky sound to them and they're rather distant in the mix. Having said that, Craig puts in a fine effort with the three part guitar harmonies and the guitar solo, it's just that you want to have these upfront and in your face and the sound here fails to deliver that, which is unfortunate but still, you have to applaud him for the effort he's taken to actually do this.
The second track, 'Raining Mondays' is a much more accomplished effort. There's a solid drum beat anchoring things down and that's joined by Craig's memorable guitar riff. Again, it's Minto who shines through here as he gives his performance a sense of urgency but at the same time he still manages to give it everything he's got. When you add in a catchy chorus, the band certainly pull things out of the bag with this number. Faltering steps maybe but they certainly show a lot of promise.
THE FALLEN STATE: 'THE VIEW FROM RUIN
While the brown nose critics are getting ready to dry hump the new album from Inglorious,bare in mind there's a whole load of other British bands producing top class hard rock too. The Fallen State are most definitely one of them. 'The View From Ruin' is the fifth addition to their EP catalogue and bears all the hallmarks of a band who are ready to punch at a heavier weight.
The hell for leather anarchy of 'The Quickening' doesn't for a second let you up for air,nor would you want it too. Proving that touring with likes of Black Stone Cherry,3 Doors Down and Grammy winning Halestrom hasn't done them harm at all,the big and brash Four Letter Word is in your face evidence of their ever growing maturity as musicians and songwriters. Although trading under the hard rock banner,Sleepless and Lifetime are perfectly garnished with tasty pop punk vibes.For avid viewers of Scuzz TV,these hard nosed tunes will be right up your alley.
But it's the titanic ballad 'Nova' that leaves the biggest mark. A song about loss it's packed with genuine sadness and features vocalist Ben Steening giving it some serious welly. A brilliantly constructed piece of music that will test your emotion threshold. Five songs of immense quality.
Out Now (Nuclear Blast)
Having delivered album after album of dissonant, soul-punching death metal, Immolation have a new unholy offering for the metal world this year. Entitled 'Atonement', this eleven-track behemoth is the perfect album to sit back and relax to, so grab yourself a cold one, recline that chair, and dim the lights, because shit's about to get sexy.
The first thing you will hear upon pressing play is a clean, somewhat eerie riff – the kind that I've heard bands use for a solid minute or so in order to build atmosphere. But unlike some of the more pretentious groups in the scene, Immolation waste no time in getting to the good stuff, unleashing a barrage of blast beats and growls that will make your ears happy, and your neighbours... not so much.
The New York death-metal icons have never strived to sound a certain way, nor have they put a strain on the creative process by trying to 'evolve' (the latter of which seems to be a recurring problem in today's competitive music industry). Call me an elitist, but I'm getting a bit tired of iconic Metal bands trying to force a more mainstream, commercially acceptable sound, and in turn, sacrificing their creative integrity.
With Immolation, you never have to worry about such nonsense. 'Atonement', like all the albums that came before, is consistently brutal, consistently menacing, and in no way radio friendly. Dolan's demonic vocal work will guide you into a place of evil serenity, accompanied by crushing riffs and masterful drum work.
MIKE TRAMP: 'MAYBE TOMORROW'
Out Now (Target)
Former White Lion and Freak Of Nature frontman Mike Tramp has unleashe his latest album 'Maybe Tomorrow' and those of you expecting the vocal histrionics of his former days may be sorely disappointed.
Following on from a hugely successful solo acoustic tour in 2016, Tramp has continued in this light melodic vein with the help of producer guitarist Soren Andersen (last seen on these shores slinging his axe with Glenn Hughes). Tramp's voice has aged gracefully and is still something to behold. Opener 'Coming Home' sets the tone for the whole album - well produced, well performed melodic rock.
Think Bryan Adams and you won't be too far off the mark. 'Would I Lie To You', 'Why Worry At All' and title track 'Maybe Tomorrow' are all stand out tracks in an album of very high quality. If you like the softer side of rock, then look no further.
AS LIONS: 'SELFISH AGE'
Out Now (Better Noise Records)
From the ashes of short lived Brit metal core outfit Rise To Remain come As Lions. featuring 3 ex members From Rise…. you may have expected them to carry on in their metal core style. Not so!
They are more Asking Alexandra or Disturbed than screaming metal core. This change in style showcases vocalist Austin Dickinson (yes his dad is Bruce, but that's mainly irrelevant here) to fine effect. Here he is actually singing, and he has a fine voice indeed. The addition of keyboards to the mix gives the album a modern pop/rock sound.
As Lions released the four track 'Aftermath' ep back in October 2016 as a statement of intent. Herein lies the problem though - 'Selfish Age' is a concise album, eleven tracks over forty-four minutes but all the previously released tracks from the 'Aftermath' EP are contained within 'Selfish Age'. In today's value for money climate, that might not have been the best move from the label or management.
I have had this album on constant rotation for around a week solid and that is a fine recommendation of 'Selfish Age'.
EDENBRIDGE: 'THE GREAT MOMENTUM'
Out Now (Steamhammer/SPV)
Austrian symphonic metallers Edenbridge iike a bit of epic. Guitarist/keyboardist Arne 'Lanvall' Stockhammer and his partner, vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher have been putting the symphonic in symphonic metal since 1998. They love making their sound as authentic as possible to the point that they got their fans to crowdfund them using a real orchestra on 2012's 'The Bonding'.
Five years later here they are with new material and things are as epic as ever. 'The Great Momentum' is certainly more of the same and fans of their previous seven studio releases will certainly recognise the style. It reeks of quality however, and you feel that those intervening five years have been put to good use. The sound is lush and many layered and the orchestral edge is still there but seems to have been pulled back a bit. This lets the band part of the sound shine and the big guitars and pounding drums make great use of the opportunity for both bombast and subtlety.
It's Edelsbacher who benefits most from the approach though. The Austrian vocalist may not be blessed with the huge range and power of some of her contemporaries but she has a strong, pleasantly melodic tone and the capacity to use it to good emotional effect and there is much of that here. In songs like the almost proggy 'A Turnaround In Art' and the more metallic 'The Visitor' she really gets to show off her range and is extremely effective. The latter song by the way is one of the most memorable I have heard so far this year, the closing half really worms its' way into your head after a while.
Any band looking to do sweeping majestic symphonic metal need their epic song of course and here the album closer is twelve minutes under the title 'The Greatest Gift Of All'. It doesn't really hold many surprises but is beautifully crafted and has that cinemascope feel that they are looking for. it takes you on a journey and keeps you entertained along the way. This a fine album from a band who should really be better known than they are in their chosen genre. Anyone with a penchant for things both metallic and symphonic would do well to check it out.
Out Now (Century Media)
There is something to be said for the energy of Thrash Music and its need to be played fast, hard and angry. The likes of The Big Four do most of that but as they age, the 'hard' part becomes, pun intended, harder. Havok, although hardened road warriors, have all of the requisite focus, aggression and youthful energy needed to play this type of music well.
Starting off with a funky bassline akin to the best of Faith No More's back catalogue, Colorado thrash titan's Havok have returned with their most varied and political album yet in the form of 10 track behemoth, 'Conformicide'. Said funky bassline is from album opener, F.P.C, funky basslines play alongside an opening acoustic lilt akin to Metallica's magnum opus Master of Puppets.
In today's political climate, the only thing positive coming out of a President like Trump is the amount of art put out into the world because of his administration. In the year's of relative calm Obama produced, not much in the way of political anger from artists came forth. This ends now. Straight out of the gate David Sanchez is screaming about the 'United Snakes of America' on second track 'Hang 'Em High'.
The album is produced to a high standard which modern thrash fans embrace. All instruments and voice are clear across the record, especially recent band addition Nick Schendzielos, who joined in 2015s bass lines. For such a 'thrash' record what Havok bring to the table is a fresh approach to what should be deemed 'thrash', funky bass lines included.
Havok have a challenge on their hands and on this showing are more than capable of stepping up and showing the older guard why they got into the scene in the first place. At this point in other band's careers Metallica were on Master of Puppets, Megadeth on the classic Rust In Peace and Slayer the mighty Reign In Blood. Havok are well on their way to showing the big boys how things are done.
JD MILLER: 'WORLD WAR X'
Released 28th April 2017 (JD Music)
If your hell bent on naming your band after alcoholic beverages, you owe it to yourself to do it right. Sweden's JD Miller done just that,cracking name but more importantly they have the tunes to match.
World War X is a far meatier offering than their impressive debut 'Grand Intentions'. Although you won't discover music of epic proportions,there's plenty to hold your interest.The towering 'Journey Through The Past,Power' and 'Forgotten' tick every box both musically and vocally. Main man Peter Hallden and guitar duo Alex Oriz and Elias Frojd play and blinder throughout the album, and pull out all the stops on the hearty Clouded Minds. What starts as a hammer and thongs metal monster takes a detour up a more melodic path but never loses it's punchy quality.
Not without it's shady moments, 'Against The Wind,My Open Arms' and 'Isolation' don't get the blood flowing even after a multitude of spins. Evergrey is a decent stab at power balladry, but on the whole leaves you wanting. Slickly produced by former member Christian Svedin, World War X is an admirable effort. Fellow Swedes Europe will always be the benchmark for Scandinavian melodic rock bands, and while JD Miller are nowhere near that yet, World War X is proof their making hefty strides.
ALL EDITIONS OF YOU SPIN ME ROUND
21st April 2017: As Lions, Def Leppard, Burnt Out Wreck, Immolation and many more...
15th January 2017: Pain Of Salvation, Stephen Pearcy, Jack Russell, Powerwolf and many more...
31st December 2016: Damaj, Mercy Isle, Krampus, Wretched Soul...
18th December 2016: Alice Cooper, Beyond The Black, Rush, Magnum and many more...
28th November 2016: Graham Bonnet, Civil War, The Doomsday Kingdon, Departed and many more...
15th November 2016: deVience, AC Angry, Solitude, Pretty Maids and many more...
30th October 2016: Testament, Sonata Arctica, Drescher, The Answer and many more...
16th October 2016: Kix, Tyketto, Joan Ov Arc, Kingbreaker and many more...
2nd October 2016: Twisted Sister, Extreme, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Pain, Raveneye and many more...