Saturday, 4 February 2017

Chris Catalyst -Life Is Often Brilliant (2017)

Genre - Rock / Pop / Alternative
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:
01 - No regrets
02 -Same Old Sun
03 - Cracking Up
04 - Yeah - Oh No
05 - Wake Me Up On Monday
06 - How Do You Sleep
07 - Distance Over Time
08 - I Hope We Always Stay The Same
09 - Sticks and Stones
10 - Far
11 - You Die At The End
12 - Able Seamen
13 - When We Fall Apart (Bonus Track)

2016 proved to be a busy year for Eureka Machines main man, Chris Catalyst. Although his main band had decided to take some time out, he performed a few solo shows, a couple of shows with Ginger Wildheart,  played guitar for US rockers Ugly Kid Joe on their tour and toured with UK veteran rockers Terrorvision too. He also managed to find the time to record his rather excellent debut solo album too, and here it is in the form of Life Is Often Brilliant!
The album opens with the excellent 'No Regrets'. A great song with a stop start type of riff intro and a hugely melodic chorus section. Brilliant start to Life Is Often Brilliant!
'Same Old Sun' is up next, its intro changing the feel completely before the song kicks in. Once again the song has a huge chorus section. Next we have 'Cracking Up' which has a great opening riff. he rest of the song is pretty awesome too! Tons of tempo changes and vocal harmonies. 'Yeah - Oh No' follows, which has a rather Eureka Machines feel to it, only not as heavy. 'Wake Me Up On Monday' is just a great melodic track that would have fit perfectly on to any of the Eureka Machines albums. Great choice for a single! Another of the albums many highlights follows in the form of the awesome 'How Do You Sleep At Night'. This song is quickly becoming one of my favourite songs of all time! 'Distance Over Time' is up next. A beautiful atmospheric intro that just builds into an absolute monster of a song! Yet another highlight! Next up is 'I Hope We Always Stay The Same' which builds in a similar way to its predecessor, and proves to be every bit as much a great track!
'Sticks and Stones' follows, now I didn't really like this song when I first heard it, but it is a real grower, and sounds so much better within the context of this album! 'Far' follows, with its slick bridges and awesome harmonies. Yet another brilliant song. 'You Die At The End' is the albums penultimate song and an absolute classic ta boot! The album closes out with the subtle 'Able Seamen' but I've included the last track, 'When We Fall Apart' as a bonus track for a couple of reasons. Firstly its an absolutely excellent song that deserves to be on the album, and secondly, it was a given away as a bonus track at the very beginning of the pledge campaign, and is thus still available to anyone that pledges for the album!
Once again with Life Is Often Brilliant Chris Catalyst proves what a great song writer and musician he really is!

Life Is Often Brilliant is a blinding debut solo album from one the hardest working and most talented Uk musicians out there. Do yourselves a bloody huge favour and grab yourself a copy!

Rating: 10/10

Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Pledge Music / Nuclear Blast Entertainment

Track listing:
01 - Heavy Fire
02 - When The Night Comes In
03 - Dancing With The Wrong Girl
04 - Who Rides The Tiger
05 - Cold War Love
06 - Testify Or Say Goodbye
07 - Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
08 - True Blue Kid
09 - Ticket To Rise
10 - Letting Go Of Me

Heavy Fire is the long awaited third album from Black Star Riders. Black Star Riders were created in 2012 by members of the most recent line-up of Thin Lizzy, and delivered widely acclaimed music in their first two records ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ and ‘The Killer Instinct’ which established Black Star Riders as one of the finest present-day rock ‘n’ roll bands.
The title track 'Heavy Fire' jumps out of the speakers from the very first second you hit the play button. It punches the air out of you as it declares there is no room for complacent listening here. Crank it up and succumb!
A mid-tempo yet power-packed track which does justice to the signature Black Star Riders sound - crisp and raw.
This essence is carried into 'When the Night Comes In' which is one of the catchier songs on the album with awe-inspiring vocals, cool lyrics and an infectious chorus. The song shows the new approach the band adopts while still upholding its heritage in spirit.
Remarkable musical ingenuity is showcased in 'Dancing with the Wrong Girl' which has a heavy classic spirit while 'Who Rides the Tiger' delivers a monster groove.
There’s been no compromising with the band’s distinct quality and the record upholds the appeal of heavy rock through and through as evident in the compact and powerful rocker 'Ticket to Rise' also featuring soulful backing vocals.
There is a nice shift in thought process from the laid back 'Cold War Love' to the heavier 'Testify or Say Goodbye' which is one of the finest songs on the album. The latter bears the magnificence of classic rock in elements like its traditionally composed chorus.
'Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed' starts with an epic bass line and is rhythm-wise wonderful. 'True Blue Kid' further demonstrates versatility within the magnitude of heavy rock while 'Letting Go of Me' provides a perfect finish to the album by leaving a hard-hitting impact.

The Limited Edition includes the atmospheric 'Fade', another great piece of finest melodic hard rock with a feel that brings to mind guitarist Gorham days with 21 Guns.

Just like the Thin Lizzy of old, Black Star Riders rely heavily on the glorious power of their twin guitar attack, but play with a greater sense of sustained urgency than their former incarnation tended to do.
As a result they have produced an album that is certain to prove fervently popular when they hit the stage this year – every song is designed to get you out of your seat and have you leaping around.

Rating: 10/10

Mutation (Ginger Wildheart) - I - The Frankenstien Effect (Re-mastered) (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Noise / Alternative
Label - Round Records

Track listing:
01 - Powderland
02 - Rats
03 - Friday Night Drugs
04 - Schadenfreuden
05 - Compass Point
06 - Lively Boy
07 - Gruntwhore
08 - On Poking Dogs
09 - Wham City
10 - Carion Blue

Following hot on the heels of III - Dark Black is the re-mastered release of the first album to emerge under the Mutation banner, The Frankenstein Effect.
Once again re-mastered by the man with the magic ear, Dave Draper, this album now sounds even more impressive. the Frankenstein Effect was always the most acessable of the three Mutation albums, but now everything sounds that much clearer and sharper. In fact this album sounds absolutely awesome!
The Mutation project is about as far removed musically from the 555% and Hey! Hello! projects as you could possibly get!
Imagine the more extreme, heavier, off the wall tracks that the Wildhearts have ever put out, then multiply that by a thousand and you may get an idea of what we are dealing with here.
That's not to say that its all intensity, there are some great melodies interwoven with the immense riffs. If you like your music on the heavy side then you really should check this out, very much in the vein of Pulled Apart By Horses and Exit International (who feature, along with Random Jon Poole and Chris Catalyst to name a few), The Frankenstien Effect is an album that shows Ginger is just as cutting edge and relevent today as he has ever been.

A great album!

Unfortunately it looks like this re-master will only be available digitally with no physical cd available at the moment.

Rating - 10/10

Mutation (Ginger Wildheart) - III - Dark Black (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Noise / Alternative
Label - Round Records

Track  Listing:

01 - "."
02 - Authenticity
03 - Toxins
04 - Devolution
05 - Irritant
06 - Skint
07 - Hate
08 - Victim
09 - Dogs
10 - Deterioration

III - Dark Black is the third instalment of Ginger Wildhearts Mutation project. This time around all of the tracks were written by Ginger Wildheart and Scott Lee Andrews, with Devin Townsend adding to the mix on Devolution. Ginger himself says that Mutation will not be for everyone, and its certainly not for anyone who has a weak disposition. Its loud, its noisy, its brash, its bloody brilliant. A great noisy mess!
The album begins with a very short intro in the form of "." before launching all guns blazing into 'Authenticity', which really lets you know exactly what you are in for with the rest of the album! 'Toxins' blasts past, before we have the Devin Townsend collaboration, the rather excellent 'Devolution', which is exactly what you would expect from a collaboration between such noise loving merchants! 'Irritant' has quite possibly one of the best chorus's ever written in, "fuck off you cunt, you are an irritant", just pure class! 'Skint' hurtles along leading us into the brutal 'Hate'.  'Victim' is pure unadulterated chaos, as is the albums penultimate track, 'Dogs'.
the album closes out with 'Deterioration', yet another blast of intensity. In fact the intensity levels never drop below maximum from the albums start to its finish. Clocking in at twenty six minutes this album is short, but not all that sweet.

For this album, Ginger has not only attracted the talents of Scott Lee Andrews and Devin Townsend, but has also roped in the likes of Phil Campbell (Motorhead), Givvi Flynn, Toshi, Paul Catten, Jamie Oliver and Dom Lawson to help out.
Recorded by Jase Edwards and mixed by the magic ear of Dave Draper, III - Dark Black really is the crowning glory of the Mutation project.

If you like it loud, noisy and chaotic, check it out, if you don't, well I really wouldn't, this album could give you nightmares

Rating: 10/10

Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors - The Devil's in the Detail (2016/17)

Genre - Rock / Pop / Alternative
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:
01 - Smarter
02 - We Should Never Have Moved To LA
03 - Anywhere
04 - Heavy Heart
05 - Scottish Mud
06 - Back In Time
07 - The Gulf Of Mexico
08 - Cheaters Never Change
09 - Drugs and Fashion
10 - Strength In Numbers
11 - Don't Say I Told You So
12 - It Ain't Easy

The Devil's In The Detail is the brand spanking new album from Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors, a trans Atlantic rock n roll band hailing from Texas and the UK. And what a bloody debut. Great bounce filled rock n roll, with a tremendous sense of melody. Incorporating so many musical elements its unbelievable, from country to blues to punk to out and out rock n roll. What a refreshing band. This, their debut album has been financed through a blinding pledge music campaign, hence the 2016/17 release dates (pledgers were lucky enough to get their hands on this brilliant album last year!).
The albums kicks off with the bouncy and rather excellent 'Smarter', which flows into the equally brilliant 'We Should Never Have Moved To LA', before the tempo slows a little for the rather laid back 'Anywhere', with its bluesy overtones. Next up comes the beautiful 'Heavy Heart'. A really beautiful ballad with some great harmonies and soul searching lyrics! Surely one of the albums many highlights. The rather fun 'Scottish Mud' is up next, picking up the pace a little. Yet another great song. Next up is the excellent acoustic driven 'Back In Time', a beautiful song that features Ryan taking a look back in time. 'The Gulf Of Mexico' follows, with its chugging main riff. possibly the heaviest song so far on the album, bloody brilliant non the less. Hot on its heels we have 'Cheaters Never Change', a real blues country mix. Yet another brilliant song! 'Drugs and Fashion' picks up the tempo and the mood once again, returning to the bouncy rock of the albums first couple of tracks.
'Strength In Numbers' is a great song about a defiant spirit, a great up-tempo song that has a brilliant energy to it. This could be killer live!
The albums penultimate track is 'Don't Say I Told You So', a beautiful duet. this song sends tingles down my spine. Beautiful and haunting!
'It Ain't Easy' closes the album out, a great fun song with a proper country feel to it, and a nice snarling surprise hidden inside if you are patient enough to wait for it!

This is one of the best and strongest debuts that I have heard in many a year, and very well worth checking out. Definitely one of the most complete and rounded releases that I have heard in quite a while, and possibly a contender for release of the year!

Rating: 10/10

The Dowling Poole - Deep Breath EP (2016)

Genre - Rock / Pop / Alternative
Label - 369 Music

Track listing:
01 - Deep Breath
02 - A Kiss On The Ocean (Live Acoustic from Manchester)
03 - Paper, Scissors, Stone (Live Acoustic From Manchester)

Released very late in 2016, The Dowling Poole issued their brilliant Deep Breath EP. Once again following the formula of its two predecessor releases, Myles Checks Out and Bright Spark EP's, of featuring three tracks, one new exclusive studio cut, in this case the rather excellent 'Deep Breath', and once again two more live acoustic tracks recorded in Manchester (UK).
This time around the new studio track, 'Deep Breath', has a darker more menacing atmosphere about it, once again show casing another side of this mega talented combo's song writing. A really great track that really leaves the listener longing for album four, or at the very least, more new EP's!
The two live acoustic tracks are taken from the same session / show as the ones released on the previous two releases, once again having a brilliant sound quality and feel to them, and once again showing just how good these guys are live!
Please, Willie Dowling, Random Jon Poole and Givvi Flynn, stop teasing us and get album four underway!

Very well worth checking out!

Rating: 10/10

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ginger Wildheart & Ryan Hamilton - Fuck You Brain (Charity EP) (2016)

Genre - Rock / Pop / Punk / Blues
Label - Round Records

Track listing:
01 - Fuck You Brain
02 - Ode To The Idiots
03 - Dogbreath

Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton, too immensely talented musicians who have made no secret of their long running battles with depression have decided to get together to record and release a charity single, with the proceeds being donated to The Samaritans to help with the support that they provide to so many, especially around this time of year.
Lets discuss the music first before I post what those involved have to say about the project.
The lead track, Fuck You Brain is a great up beat rocker, that sees the lead vocal being shared by all those involved. The perfect blend of rocking guitars and pop melodies, with some wicked pedal steel guitar courtesy of Maurice Hipkiss
The Ep's second track, Ode To The Idiots, is written by Ryan Hamilton, and recorded during the sessions for his recent pledge campaign (more on that album to follow). Its short and sweet, but a great pop punk song non the less.
the Ep's final track Dogbreath is an instrumental, and about as mental as it gets. coming across as a mix of Patience and Gratitude and Mutations Wham City.
A great little Ep that's well worth having in your collection, even more so considering the cause that its raising money for!

Rating: 10/10

The EP is available HERE

Now over to those involved to tell you about this project:

Ginger Wildheart - Drums/Bass/Guitar/Vocals.
Ryan Hamilton - Guitar/Vocals.
Givvi Flynn - Vocals.
Emily Ewing - Vocals.
Matthew Colley - Piano.
Maurice Hipkiss - Pedal Steel.
Dave Draper - Percussion/Guitars.

A message from Ginger Wildheart:
"Ironically I struggled even getting to the studio to record my parts for this single, deep as was in my current battle with depression. The same attack that almost killed me a week ago.

My depression wants me dead. So far I'm winning on weight advantage, but the battle is never over.

This is a very vulnerable time of year for sufferers of mental health issues, and suicide sees a marked increase over Christmas and New Year. So the help provided by The Samaritans is invaluable, especially over this period.
Please help us in helping someone this year.

Obviously severe depression is not seasonal, but the reminder that you yourself are 'not doing so bad' is reinforced over this Festive holiday. If you have a healthy family, loved ones who are safe, a warm home, a job and a hot meal staring at you at some point, then you are doing better than many people this Xmas

 To simply say "thank you" for what you have, please donate for those suffering from suicidal thoughts, struggling with depression/anxiety, or for those helping such a person through this holiday period."

  message from Ryan Hamilton:
"Ginger and I have both been very vocal about our struggles with depression and anxiety. Mental health issues like these deserve much more attention, and respect, than they get.

After we wrote "Fuck You, Brain" we weren't quite sure what to do with it. Ginger had the idea to use it as a charity single, and asked if I was ok with that. I couldn't say "YES!" fast enough.

I hope everyone enjoys the new music and fun collaboration. I also sincerely hope we can raise a good deal of money to raise awareness, and do some good, for an issue very important to us." 

A message from Givvi Flynn:
"When Ginger asked me if I'd like to get involved with this single, it was a no-brainer. My own mental health requires daily management (as does that of many friends and colleagues) so I fully appreciate how dark some days can be - why wouldn't I want to do something which might help those suffering similarly?

I hope the song raises money and awareness for a great cause, it was a pleasure to be part of such a positive, rewarding venture."

A message from Emily Ewing:
"It has been a real honour to have my vocals feature on this track. The song has such an important message. One that speaks to me personally as well.

My anxiety is an on-going battle, some days are certainly worse than others. There are times when I can't see light at the end of the tunnel. Panic attacks have also played a major role in my life. As a society we need to stop saying "Get over it", "You have nothing to be sad about". Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there or happening. It's hard to pretend everything is fine when it's not.

I hope this song raises awareness and lets anyone going through a hard time with mental illness know you are brave to face it everyday and you not alone!!!"

Again the Ep is available HERE