Saturday, 26 October 2013

BB Blackdog - Live At Cask Corner 25.10.13 (Gig Review)

Cask Corner, Doncaster 25.10.13

One drummer and two bass players might seem an unusual line up for a rock group, but in this instance it is all that is required to create a unique,totally original sound and concept.

In an attempt to describe their music i am reminded of many things, the lead bassist and vocalist Dale Rowles has the vocal harmony of Jack Bruce mingled with the non folkish stylings of Ian Anderson, whilst his outstanding ability at playing a rickenbacker bass as a lead guitar (reminscent of Lemmy way back in 1973!) with the addition of say Geezer Butler and Les Claypool. Creating amazing sounds by what from my angle appeared to be a wah wah pedal and phaser f/x unit, he also threw in some slide guitar work, something which i have never seen on a bass in 36 years of going to gig's.

The second bassist Molly May Hooper ranges from the traditional job of a bass player to turning her hand to rhythm playing with some added f/x for extra depth.

Axel Boldt plays an unconventional drum kit, holding solid and rhythmic patterns throughout (also operating the bands self contained PA system and mixing desk) and perhaps more shockingly actually manages to wear more pink items than Sky London did when he was in King Lizard a few years back.

So to the music, some songs worked as pure seventies psychedelia harking back to the legendary Hawkwind (during one song i found myself singing 'Time we Left' in my head due to the hypnotic basswork) blended with german art rockers Can, others were in the hard rock style, i managed to pick out elements of Black Sabbath and Primus.

There were a few comical songs and a reggae number broken up by some blast beats and heavy riffing.

As to the lyrical content which ranged from Politics (Dale is a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party) to Ex Wives and some roosters coming to a nasty end at the farm!
We should also not forget Sex (and lets face it who would want to forget such a thing?) with songs about Gimps and Speed Dating showing the loving and caring side of initial relationship contact, the woman wanting security and romance, the man wanting to tie her up and err well you get the idea.

The final elements making the perfect evening were the humorous quips from dale in between songs I (imagine Viv Stanshall doing an impression of Graham Chapman) and crowd participation with members of the audience invited to wear rooster hats and dance like chickens and also a conga line running throughout the venue.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Korn - The Paradigm Shift (CD Review)

01.Prey For Me
02.Love & Meth
03.What We Do
04.Spike In My Veins
05.Mass Hysteria
06.Paranoid And Aroused
07.Never Never
08.Punishment Time
09.Lullaby For A Sadist
11.It's All Wrong

Jonathan Davis (Vocals/Bagpipes/keyboards/Programming)
Brian "Head" Welch (Guitar)
James "Munky" Shaffer (Guitar)
Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu (Bass)
Ray Luzier (Drums)

Guest Musicians
Zaylien (Keyboards/Programming)
Sluggo (keyboards/Programming)

Studio album number eleven and the first album to feature original guitarist Brian "Head" Welch since 2003's Take a Look in the Mirror.

I am hoping that with 'Head' back in the fold (i guess being back with the sex, drugs, bad language and satanism is okay now after his outburst many years ago?) and with 'Munky' saying they are trying to get back to the sound they had with the 'Issues' album that Korn are leaving all that skrillex crap behind and getting back to doing what they do best which is their own strange mix of rock/goth and hip hop.

Well here's hoping; Click Play and........

Well 'Prey For Me' certainly makes an impressive opening, really sounds like the old Korn, solid drum, that epic bass sound, the weird and quirky bits they thrown in (spookycore wasnt it once termed?), Davis vocal is on top form and the backing vocals work well.

From this point onwards every track sounds just as good, different moods, some more atmospheric than others, some get heavy some stay with that commercial edge.
What this album proves is that Korn can still play proper rock music (yeh okay call it Nu-Metal if you want, but that was always a weird tag anyway, pretty meaningless in reality) and dont need all this "dubstep" experimental crap.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of : Slipknot, Fear Factory, Rammstein, Tool, Stone Sour

Paradise Lost - Tragic Illusion 25 The Rarities (CD Review)

01.Loneliness Remains
02.Never Take Me Alive (Spear of Destiny cover,Tragic Idol bonus track 2012)
03.Ending Through Changes (Tragic Idol Japan bonus track 2012)
04.The Last Fallen Saviour (Appeared on a Decibel 7” flexi 2012)
05.Last Regret Lost in Prague Orchestra Mix (Faith Divides Us bonus track 2009)
06.Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us Lost in Prague Orchestra Mix (bonus track 2009)
07.Cardinal Zero (Faith Divides Us bonus track 2009)
08.Back On Disaster (In Requiem album sessions 2007)
09.Sons Of Perdition (In Requiem Japan bonus track 2007)
10.Godless (The Enemy Single B-Side 2007)
11.Missing (Everything But the Girl Cover In Requiem bonus track 2007)
12.Silent In Heart (In Requiem  bonus track 2007)
13.Gothic 2013
14.Our Saviour 2013

Nick Holmes (Vocals)
Greg Mackintosh (Guitar)
Aaron Aedy (Guitar)
Steve Edmondson (Bass)
Adrian Erlandsson (Drums)

Jeff Singer (Drums on 2007 Tracks)

Of the three new recordings guitarist Greg Mackintosh said, “ 'Our Saviour’ was one of our present drummer’s favourite songs when he was a teenager, so when we were deciding on a really early track to re-record, this was high up on the list. This version is not meant to be better or even comparable to the original, which was of a certain time when perfection was not the order of the day. It was a time when music had charm and innocence. This new version is simply an affectionate look back on that time, and hopefully we did it justice.”

The other two are 'Gothic' a re-record of the genre defining title track from the 1991 classic and a brand new song 'Loneliness Remains'.
These three tracks will also appear on a 10” exclusive white Vinyl limited to 100 copies.

So if you are a fan but couldnt afford all the different limited edition releases then this is the perfect album, and if you do have all the tracks you get 3 new ones, so either way its a good compilation to own.

Im not that keen on the cover versions, but thats more of a case that i have no intrest in the originals.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of : My Dying Bride, Anathema, Vallenfyre, Him, 69 Eyes

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Blood Drive - Besides Expectations (CD Review)

01.Besides Expectations
02.In Limbo
03.Heart Breaker
04.Break At The Bend
05.Idol Sound

Matthew Lee (Guitar/Vocals)
Jon Stevenson (Bass)
Russ Smith (Drums)

Lincoln based band who formed at the beginning of this year, the trio having played together in a previous outfit decided to move into a more rock orientated direction drawing on influences from the Deftones to Alkaline Trio.

Opening with 'Besides Expectations' the sound is slightly reminscent of Foo Fighters mixed with some pop punk melodies.
A solid vocal performance and well played even if the music is a little simplistic in delivery.

Some nice guitar opens the next song 'In Limbo' and builds into some early grunge stylings creating an almost anthemic feel, throw in a quirky guitar solo towards the end and all in all pretty good stuff.

Some solid drumming drives along 'Heart Breaker', complete with a catchy chorus and a guitar riff perfect for mini mosh pits, this one is no doubt a live favourite.

Now 'Break At The Bend' has a very different feel, the opening has a touch of Metallica's 'One' about it, then it moves into some furious guitaring and agressive drumming with some clever pedal work thrown in.
The song has some interesting timing changes, bordering on Thrash riffs, to QOTSA harmony breakdowns.

Finally 'Idol Sound' has a goth/indie vibe, especially in the riff that could be one of Brian Moloko's.

Overall a good EP, lots of ideas and energy, if it lacks anything its the overall production, at times very "tinny", almost as if the whole thing was recorded live in one take as opposed to a month in the studio, needs a good mix to give it some warmth and depth.That said if this is the first then the second will be something to look out for.

They are already popular on the live circuit and their fanbase in increasing all the time, i would suggest you go check them out and buy a copy!

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of : Foo Fighters, Placebo, Alkaline Trio, Muse, Deftones, Nirvana


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Monster Magnet - Last Patrol (CD Review)

 01.I Live Behind the Clouds
02.Last Patrol
03.Three King Fishers
06.Mindless Ones
07.The Duke Of Supernature
08.End Of Time
09.Stay Tuned
10.Strobe Light Beatdown
11.One Dead Moon

Dave Wyndorf (Vocals)
Garrett Sweeny (Guitar)
Phil Caivano (Guitar)
Jim Baglino (Bass)
Bob Pantella (Drums)

Well after all these years they still manage to produce yet another superb album, it all still sounds like Captain Beefheart fronting a jam band with Steppenwolf and Hawkwind.

The epic track 'Last Patrol' is 9 minutes of Psyched out space metal full of tape loops and synth pulses mixing with great guitarwork.

A real throwback to the 60's with a sitar laden cover of Donovan's 'Three King Fishers' and the gospel element to 'Hallelujah' reminds me of Delany & Bonnie back in 1970.

Some beautiful tabla and acoustic guitar mixed in with some orchestration for the mantra like 'The Duke Of Supernature'.

'End Of Time' returns to the space rock, a tuch of Hawkwind's Master Of The Universe lurking in there, i love it when Monster Magnet do this stuff because they are one of the few bands who seem to understand this genre and re produce it with a nod to the past whilst keeping it up to date.

Synth and acoustic guitar are all that backs 'Stay Tuned' its a dark and slow song and really keeps the mood edgy.

The last 2 songs are bonus tracks, depending on which version you get.

Rating 10/10
For fans Of : Hawkwind, Mudhoney, Steppenwolf, Blue Cheer

Motorhead - Aftershock (CD Review)

02.Coup De Grace
03.Lost Woman Blues
04.End Of Time
05.Do You Believe
06.Death Machine
07.Dust And Glass
08.Going To Mexico
09.Silence When You Speak To Me
10.Crying Shame
11.Queen Of The Damned
13.Keep Your Powder Dry

Lemmy (Bass/Vocals)
Phil "Wizzö" Campbell (Guitar)
Mikkey Dee (Drums)

Well it could have been an all cover version album that was talked about last year and with the health scare with Lemmy it was possible that we wouldnt get an album at all this year, but they have returned with studio album number 22 (even though the press release says 21 they forget that 'On Parole' was an official album as well!!!).

It's a Motorhead album so you know what you are gonna get - fast, rockin rocks coming in at under 4 minutes, solid bass, brain crunching drumming, off the hip and in yer face guitar playing and THE voice of Lemmy!

So 'Heartbreaker' and 'Coup De Grace' start us off in time honoured style then we get 'Lost Woman Blues' a heavy blues song that really stands out, nothing short of awesome!

'End Of Time' returns us to what we expect then comes 'Death Machine' a song that could have been off the 'Bomber' album, its dark and menacing like an updated version of 'Sweet Revenge'.

A blues riff that sounds a little like Steppenwolf's 'The Pusher' leads us into a very laid back 60's sounding ballad called 'Dust And Glass' another great and standout track.

Haha the fast paced 'Going To Mexico' kinda sounds like 'Going To Brazil'.

Heavy and punchy 'Silence When You Speak To Me' (Didnt Spike Milligan write that in one of his books?) comes in as the albums longest track and works well.

I swear i can detect some piano in the mix on 'Crying Shame' but nothing in the bio sheet about it? Kick ass song though!

The next 3 songs are mid paced rockers leaving us with the final track 'Paralyze' which is one of the fastest on the album.

Actually one of the better albums from the last few years, the band sound younger and fresher that they have for a while now, weird is'nt it?

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of : Tank, Viking Skull, Ramones, Damned, Girlschool

Human Fortress - Raided Land (CD Review)

01.Raided Land
02.Child Of War
03.Wasted Years
04.The Chosen One
06.Gladiator Of Rome (Part 2)
07.Dark Knight
09.Pray For Salvation
10.Evil Curse
11.Restless Souls
12.Under Siege
13.Guard The Blind

Gus Monsanto (Vocals)
Todd Wolf (Guitar)
Volker Trost (Guitar)
Andre Hort (Bass)
Dirk Liehm (Keyboards)
Apostolos Zaios (Drums)

The beginnings of HUMAN FORTRESS reach back to 1997, when the Hard Rock band “Timezone” was founded in the Hanover area, which later should change their style towards Melodic Metal and rename to HUMAN FORTRESS. After a first demo, which was very well received in the underground, several contract offers came up so the band signed with Limb Music. The debut album “Lord Of Earth And Heavens Heir” was released to critical acclaim in 2001, followed by “Defenders Of The Crown” two years later. With several line-up changes (most significantly ex-Galloglass vocalist Carsten Frank replacing Jioti Parcharidis), the band’s third album “Eternal Empire” was released in 2008. Despite the album’s qualities, the down-tuned guitars, more modern overall approach of the material and the shouting of Frank were a departure from the epic melodic sound that HUMAN FORTRESS were known for. Shortly after the release of “Eternal Empire”, the band split. But at the end of 2008, original members Wolf, Trost, Parcharidis and Zaios started planning to resurrect HUMAN FORTRESS. In 2009 Jioti Parcharidis left the band again for medical reasons. It took a while to get together a stable line-up again, which was found by the addition of Dirk Liehm (keyboards), Andre Hort (bass) and Brazilian master vocalist Gus Monsanto (ex-Timo Tolkki’s Revolution Renaissance, Adagio).

And here we go again another slab of generic euro power metal, not the usual high speed guitar-fest but the melodic stuff with orchestration and "nice" keyboards.
If thats yur bag then this is pretty good stuff, well executed, ticking all the boxes as it goes along, if on the other hand you want something that stands out and that trys to push the genre further, then give this one a miss.

Rating 5/10
For Fans Of : Kamelot and all the other bands that sound like this!

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Unvarnished (CD Review)

01.Any Weather
03.Soulmates To Strangers
04.Make It Back
05.Hard To Grow Up
07.Reality Mentality
08.Bad As We Can Be
10.Everybody Needs A Hero

Joan Jett (Guitar/Vocals)
Thommy Price (Drums)
Dougie Needles (Guitar)
Acey Slade (Bass)

Guest Musicians:
Dave Grohl (All Instruments : Any Weather)
Laura Jane Grace (Vocals : Soulmates To Strangers)

Returning after a lengthy break Joan Jett has recorded and album with a more serious tone covering topics from losing loved ones to Hurricane Sandy, social media and bullying.

Staring with 'Any Weather', Co-written with Dave Grohl (who plays bass and guitar as well as drums on the track!) and recorded in his 606 studio. Has a typical catchy melody and chorus that you would expect from both of them.

'TMI', a song that begins with the trademark drumbeat and turns into quite an infectious song, the subject matter deals with the "seriousness" of sharing too much on social media, not sure thats a huge deal after all nobody is forced to use such sites, but hey ho its a good song anyway.

Laura Jane Grace from Against Me co-wrote 'Soulmates To Strangers' and sounds like Joan is duetting with Courtney Love.

The destruction that Hurricane Sandy brught is the subject of the the groove-laden 'Make It Back'.

Personal sentiments with the next two tracks 'Hard To Grow Up' and 'Fragile', kinda hard songs to review when they deal with subjects of lost friends, relatives and pets, in what Joan has dubbed her "decade of death".

'Reality Mentality' is about reality television and how America (and most other countries) are obsessed with it.

'Bad As We Can Be' has a Ramones vibe whilst 'Different' has that old anthemic glam rock sound and finally 'Everybody Needs A Hero' is a pretty average ballad written by Kenny Laguna.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of : Ramones, The Donnas, Hole, L7

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Vision Bleak - Witching Hour (CD Review)

01.Witching Hour
02.A Witch Is Born
03.The Bloksberg Rite
04.Cannibal Witch
05.The Wood Hag
07.Pesta Approaches
08.The Call Of The Banshee
09.The Valkyrie
10.Witchery In Forests Dark I
11.Witchery In Forests Dark II

Schwadorf (Guitars/Bass/keyboards)
Konstanz (voices/Drums/keyboards)

Three years after "Set Sail To Mystery", the masters of Horror Metal have undergone creative rejuvenation. With the spontaneity and playfulness of "Witching Hour", Schwadorf and Konstanz hark back to their debut „The Deathship Has A New Captain", and the slogan "creepy and haunting entertainment" has not been more topical and fitting ever since 2004. The comprehensive witchcraft concept of "Witching Hour" highlights the duo as morbid storytellers with a bizarrely brutal, yet also entertaining assortment of fairytales and myths up their sleeves. Familiar elements such as groovy, driving riffs, sublime, melodic lead guitars and Konstanz' unique voice are still the defining characteristics, yet new implementations like the haunting flute or the most versatile and sinister vocals so far are crucial to the fact that "Witching Hour" in its entirety sounds more dour and unfathomable than earlier recordings.

From the gothic intro of 'Witching Hour' you could be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be a nice ambient album..WRONG!
'A Witch Is Born' kicks in with some gothic tinged black metal with a hint of Rammstein thrown in !

A full onslaught of layered keyboards, guitarwork and drums follows until we arrive at parts one and two of 'Witchery In Forests Dark' totalling 16 minutes of epic music.
Starting with sound effects and simple keyboard, it gets more and more creepy (like a perfect horror movie soundtrack), lurking in the distance is the occasional guitar riff and then some demonic vocal effects.
Then just when you think its gonna kick into some metal, well it doesnt, it holds the ambience with a synth playing a "sitar" like sound, throw in more sound effects and a little symphonic undertone towards the end and you are left with a chill down your spine!

Rating 9/10

For Fans Of : Midnight Syndicate, Axis Of Perdition, Satyricon, Cradle Of Filth, Rammstein

Red Fang - Whales And Leeches (CD Review)

02.Blood Like Cream
03.No Hope
04.Crows In Swine
05.Voices Of The Dead
06.Behind The Light
07.Dawn Rising
10.This Animal
11.Every Little Twist

Bryan Giles (Guitar/Vocals)
Aaron Beam (Bass/Vocals)
David Sullivan (Guitar)
John Sherman (Drums)

Apparentley this band have roots as far back as 1972, but the Portland "ultimate hard-rockin’ party bringers" only seem to have appeared in 2005, however they now emerge from two years of constant touring with their new full length album ‘Whales And Leeches’.  This latest release sees Red Fang further maturing into top notch songwriters and musicians.  With the help of guests Mike Scheidt (Yob) and Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession), ‘Whales And Leeches’ further propels Red Fang into the upper stratosphere of hard rock and metal elite.

First six tracks move in traditional stoner/doom style, well executed and full of energy.
However when we get to 'Dawn Rising' we get some sludge doom for seven whole minutes, and it is awesome, featuring guest vocals from Mike which adds some epic menace to the whole thing.

This darker sound continues with 'Failure' and then the album returns to the other style.

Bloody great big slab of an album and well worth tracking down.

Rating 9/10

For fans Of : Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss, Melvins