Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Hamerex - Traitor (2016)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - Code 7 - Ix Music

Track listing:
01 - Traitor
02 - The Dark Tower
03 - Dead mountain
04 - The Nameless One
05 - Eyes Of Deceit
06 - The Abyss
07 - The Evil Within
08 - Journey's End

Hamerex return with their brand spanking new album in the form of Traitor, and what an album it is too! Clocking in at just under the fifty minute mark, Traitor is a brilliant slab of pure unadulterated metal!
Opening with the title track, Traitor, the guys start things off with a mighty slab of dark doom laden riffage, that at the same time seems to be uplifting and positive too! Something like the bastard child of a Paradise Lost and Disturbed union! Next up we have The Dark Tower, a song that carries the instantly recognisable Hamerex sound, cool chugging riffs and silk lead guitar work combining with driving drums and soaring vocals. Dead Mountain follows, a tribal influenced slab of majestic metal, there is just something really comforting and familiar to this song. Next up we have The Nameless One, which is quite possibly my favourite song on the album. Think Iron Maidens Still Life and Virus, everything a good classic metal track should be, cool atmospheric sections, exploding riffs, subtle to soaring Dickinson-esque vocals, absolutely perfect! The pace quickens on Eye's Of Deceit, with its catchy rapid fire riffs and rhythm section. This would have made a great album opener as it really does leave you hungering for more!
The Abyss is up next, a great instrumental and a song that begins with a simple melodic riff  that echoes along until the rhythm sections kick's in and builds the songs atmosphere and power until it becomes a true metal giant. The Evil Within is the albums penultimate and longest track clocking in at around the nine minute mark. Imagine Dickinson or Blaze Bayley for that matter, fronting Slayer or Exodus and you get an idea of how this brilliant track comes across, pure unadulterated metal!
The Album closes with Journey's End, with its slower Sabbath meets Maiden like riff, that just keeps growing.

Traitor really is a grand old slab of brilliant unadulterated metal that see's the rhythm section of bassist Marc Hood and drummer Darren Kelsall, laying the solid foundations for guitarist Steve Blower and Andy Firth to build sonic slabs of metal mayhem upon on. All topped off with Steve Blowers solid and at times Bruce Dickinson like vocals.

Vary Highly Recommended!

Rating: 10/10

Saturday, 24 September 2016

AIRBOURNE - Breakin' Outta Hell (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Universal Music

Track listing:
01 - Breakin' Outta Hell
02 - Rivalry
03 - Get Back Up
04 - It's Never Too Loud for Me
05 - Thin the Blood
06 - I'm Going to Hell for This
07 - Down on You
08 - Never Been Rocked Like This
09 - When I Drink I Go Crazy
10 - Do Me Like You Do Yourself
11 - It's All for Rock N' Roll

Since the release of their debut album in 2003 AIRBOURNE have been delivering their brand of Aussie flavoured hard rock.   Airbourne’s heroes AC/DC managed it, as did fellow Aussie icons Rose Tattoo, and sure enough there are times here when Airbourne come close to matching such lofty standards. The album’s title cut, an “anti-bullshit and boredom anthem” is a brilliant opener, the likes of 'Get Back Up', the dirty 'It’s Never Too Loud For Me', 'I Go Crazy When I Drink', 'I’m Going To Hell For This' and the salacious 'Down On You' continuing the exceptional work of no-frills, kick-ass rock n' roll.
Delivered in Joel O’Keefe’s gravel-voiced roar, all tap into the band’s gloriously booze-soaked, expletive-charged modus operandi and are surely destined to become part of their onstage repertoire.
"Breakin' Outta Hell" is a very easy album to review,  simple, effective Rock 'n Roll. If you know Airbourne, you already know what you’re getting.

Rating: 9/10

RAVENEYE - Nova (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music

Track listing:

01. Wanna Feel You
02. Come With Me
03. Inside
04. Hero
05. Supernova
06. Walls
07. Oh My Love
08. Madeline
09. Hate
10. Out Of The Rain
11. Eternity

RAVENEYE are a UK-based trio formed in two years by 25 year old, multi-award winning guitarist & singer Oli Brown, along with Aussie bassist Aaron Spiers plus drummer Adam Breeze.
Recorded as a band as opposed to a passion project of guitarist and vocalist Oli Brown, "Nova" feels really consistent from the go and is a towering statement of how hard rock should sound in 2016.
There’s massive, dirty, bluesy riffs married with Oli’s snarling lyrics alongside his partners in crime; Aaron Spiers delivering meaty bass lines and Gunnar Olsen powering through his drum tracks.
Album opener 'Wanna Feel You' is mired in heavy blues and is a great way of pulling you in. One of the beefiest songs on the album it clocks in just under the six minute mark as it builds into a massive writhing beast before the radio-friendly gut punch of 'Come With Me' hits. It’s a brilliant juxtaposition of the two songs and shows how diverse the band can be whilst managing to retain their identity.
Between riffs and distortion, Oli Brown is proving his mettle with his weapon of choice and with some of the sounds he manages to get out of his guitar shows he’s intent on making a claim on becoming one of rock’s most talked about guitarists.
"Nova" is pretty exhilarating from top to toe, and I do have favourites, but only by a small margin may I add and when you get to ‘Walls’ you’ll know exactly what I mean. The complexity of the song writing blended with moments of outstanding flair that seep through are awesome, and will knock you off your feet while raising the rafters at the same time. ‘Walls’ comes at you all guns blazing from every direction in a bombardment of time changes and riffs that could make a grown man cry.
Oh My Love’ has that wonderful sensuous chunky bass with overlaid bluesy tones and high background harmonies that is just incredible, and I can’t get enough of this one either. Crank the volume, tighten the earphones, close your eyes and feel that damn solo swallow you whole.
The closing tune ‘Eternity’ is another great one. Harmonies are delicate and touching, the melody is captivating and then whoa it just slams you in the heart with an epic virtuoso and uplifting sensation that you just don’t want to come down from.
At this point you now just want to hit the repeat button and do it all over again, because you can’t believe the ride is over. This album gets better and better with every play!
"Nova" is a one of a hell rocking debut full of riffs and grooves, laden with hooks and singalong choruses. It’s exhilarating, it’s fast and furious one moment, and ripping out your heart the next.

Rating: 10/10

BULLETRAIN - What You Fear The Most (2016)

Genre - Melodic Rock
Label - AOR Heaven Records

Track listing:
01 - Memory Lane
02 - Love Lies
03 - Can't Get Away
04 - Fight with Me
05 - We Salute You
06 - Feed the Fire
07 - Wet, Tired & Lonely
08 - Old Lighthouse
09 - Fear
10 - Far Away

Swedish melodic hard rockers BULLETRAIN unleash their second album in the form of What You Fear The Most. Their Skid Row-esque meets Crazy Lixx rockin' music is filled in with big & heavy guitars, high-pitched vocals and choruses to sing-a-long for days. The band's new lead singer Sebastian Sundberg has an incredible vocal range and takes the final result to a higher level. The guitars are, as mentioned above, huge and pretty heavy at places but still melodic, while the rhythm section is a blast (brings to mind Eclipse's sound).
Much of the success to Bulletrain's second album should be credited to the mix and overall guidance of Grammy Award winning producer Tobias Lindell, the brain behind the music from bands like Hardcore Superstar, Europe and H.E.A.T to name a few.
Opener 'Memory Lane' kick-off things in an '80s fashion and brings back the golden era of US Hair Metal but with a modern, punchy production. 'Love Lies', that reminds me a bit of Guns N' Roses, is yet another 'ballsy' rocker that takes no prisoners, then the fast-paced 'Fight With Me' is even more aggressive with a thunderous rhythm section and a Skid Row attitude.
'We Salute You', is an anthemic tune fuelled by a superb catchy hook and a memorable chorus line.
The AOR-ish 'Wet, Tired And Lonely' is a personal favourite, a Scandi hymn in the typical mold of the genre but updated 2016, and the moody / modern 'Far Away' is another highlight out of this new record.
"What You Fear The Most" is one of these kind of albums that you fall in love at once and leaves you hungry for more!

Rating: 9/10

Cat Southall - Call Of Distress (2016)

Genre - Pop / Rock / Concept
Label - Art Head Records

Track listing:

01 - Hospital Scene (feat. Dr Bernard John Kane Jr)
02 - Hello
03 - Call Of Distress
04 - 8 Years Previously (feat. Dr Bernard John Kane Jr)
05 - Look at Me (feat. James Kennedy)
06 - Advertisement (feat. Dr Bernard John Kane Jr)
07 - One Day at a Time
08 - Scream My Thoughts
09 - Telephone Call (feat. Dr Bernard John Kane Jr)
10 - If I Tell You
11 - Angels (feat. Dr Bernard John Kane Jr)
12 - Cruel to Be Kind (feat. James Kennedy)
13 - Me and You
14 - Go to War
15 - Creation of Man (feat. James Kennedy)
16 - Superheroes (feat. James Kennedy)

Cat Southall has most recently come to my attention through her involvement with Ginger Wildhearts Hey! Hello! project, with in which she has put in some rather stellar live performances and contributed some of the strongest lead vocals on the Hey! Hello! Too! album. Cat Southall's professional vocal career has spanned several decades, working in all genres of Music. Cat spent 12 years fronting popular rock band Sal, gigging and touring nationally and internationally sharing stages with Saxon, Dodgy, Ocean Colour Scene. Cat has also worked as a session artist backing name bands such as 'Gun', 'John Cale', 'Catatonia' and  the legendary 'Tom Jones', she joined forces with local legends The Manic Street Preachers, arranging and performing gospel vocals on their hit album 'Postcards from a Young Man', which also led to Cat performing with the band on the legendary 'Later With Jools Holland' show and Strictly Come Dancing where she worked with Dave Arch and the Strictly Come Dancing band.
Cat wrote and recorded this solo concept album, working with Sal band mate Noog and Kyshera front man James Kennedy,
'Call Of Distress' is an album of soaringly anthemic theatrical pop/rock, complete with superheroes, evil villains, comic style artwork, spoken narrative & sound FX. She fuses influences from David Bowie to Queen; Kate Bush to The Beatles. Through her music you’ll find beautiful melodies, dramatic rock, huge choruses and lyrics, sincere and affecting. Building on the vocal and performance dynamics learned through operatic training, a love of musical theatre and rock music, Cat’s performance is as affecting, fun and memorable as her songs.

As mentioned above, 'Call Of Distress' is a concept album, where after waking up in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there, Cat, Having suffered massive head trauma starts experiencing unexplainable powers which can only be described as Super-human. The more she believes, the more she begins to express her latent super-abilities. To keep her secret, Cat creates an alter ego known as Nancy Neuron and uses her powers to save humanity from the evil Dr Lukas Vent and his Army of Robots.

Now releasing a concept album in today's world of the ever decreasing attention span is rather a brave decision to make, but one that Cat and crew pull off really well. The albums sixteen tracks clock in at around the forty five minute mark, and trust me that time just flies by. Cat's vocals are awesome, as she sings her way through the characters adventure, journeying through various musical genres and landscapes along the way, from the gentle and subtle piano led tracks suck as 'Hello' and 'Scream My Thoughts' to the rocking 'Look At Me'  and ' Me To You'. In places 'Call Of Distress' brings to mind some of Meatloafs better moments, but always maintains its own distinct identity.

This is a really enjoyable album and one that I really do recommend that you check out. Plkus Cat has an awesome set of pipes on her too!

Rating: 9/10

Friday, 16 September 2016

Hey! Hello! - Too! (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Punk
Label -  Round Records / Pledge Music

Track listing:
01 - All Around The World
02 - This Ain't Love
03 - Glass Of champagne
04 - Kids
05 - Forever Young
06 - Loud And Fucking Clear
07 - Can't Stand You (Hurting Me)
08 - Lets Get Emotional
09 - A History Of Lovers
10 - Body Parts
11 - Perfect

Its been a rough ride for Ginger Wildheart's Hey! Hello! project. Originally conceived around the time that he was working on the Mutation projects as a noisy pop project that was to release a couple of  pledge exclusive singles. recorded with Victoria Liedtke on co-vocals and Ginger pretty much handling everything else, the project ballooned up into a full album that Ginger eventually released commercially in 2013 to great critical and fan acclaim and a few selected live dates including a trip to Japan. Just when things were looking like they were really going to take off there was a falling out between Ginger and his then manager and boyfriend of Victoria and for all intents and purposes it looked as the though Hey! Hello! were dead in the water. Then all of a sudden Ginger enlists the services of Love Zombies vocalist Hollis Mahady for some live dates and then the next thing you know there is a tour book for late 2015 and an album in the bag. Unfortunately disaster would once again strike and the album and tour had to be postponed as Ginger was hospitalised with depression. Then just as the band are set to release the album and embark on some rescheduled UK live dates, Hollis decides that shew no longer wants to be apart of the band and relocates to LA! The album is immediately pulled (but not before it had released it to some lucky pledgers) and once again things begin to look dark for Hey! Hello!. The band decide to hold some auditions to find a new female vocalist but when the online fan community voice some rather cruel and negative opinions Ginger announces that he will re-record the album with him singing all the parts. Then the wait begins!
Now the wait is over, the album is here and Ginger and the band have pulled a fast one, or several to be honest!
Firstly the track listing has been rejigged, Three tracks have been outed Automatic Love, Don't Stop Loving The Music and Little Piggy are gone and replaced by All Around The World, A History Of Lovers and Perfect, but wait that's not all. The guys have also enlisted the help of various guest vocalists! The sly buggers them!
The album opens with the blistering melodic pop rocker, All Around The World featuring Vicky Jackson on lead vocals. Things are off the a great start! Next up we have the re-worked version of This Ain't Love, featuring Emily Lee on lead vocals. The arrangements been tinkered with when compared to the initially released version, but only serves to highlight Emily's powerful lead vocal. Great song!
The cover of Sailor 1976's Glass of Champagne follows, this time with drummer Ai and Laila K singing in harmony. I have to say that I think that I prefer the original Hey! Hello! cover of this with Ginger and Hollis vocally sparing through the verses. Still a good solid track. Next we have another of the re-worked tracks in the form of Kids. Now Kids is still one of the best songs on the album all the stronger for the stunning vocal delivery of Cat Southall!
Christina Maynard tackles the emotional vocal for Forever Young and does a sterling job of it to!
Long time co-conspirator Givvi Flynn provides the snarling duelling lead vocal with Ginger for the awesome Loud And Fucking Clear, that is after Ginger provides an verbal update on what's been going on....The songs lyrics have been completely re-worked and they pull no punches trust me!
Can't Stand You (Hurting Me) sees Cat Southall taking the lead vocal again on this fantastic melodic song. Next we have another of the albums highlights in Lets Get Emotional. The Rev and Ginger provide some blistering guitar work whilst Eloise Kerry provides a sneering angst filled vocal. Next we have the second of the new songs, A History Of Lovers, which sees Ginger handling the lead vocals. Another slab of Gingers melodic genius! We then have the albums quirkiest track. This time its the re-working of the Albion track, Body Parts. Here we have Ai and bassist Toshi singing the verses in Japanese whilst the chorus stays in English. Somehow this feels a little out of place and breaks the albums momentum. Closing out the album is the last of the new tracks, Perfect. This is a blistering song with The Rev delivering a great lead vocal!

So despite a little stumble towards the end, Too! is a fantastic album and proof positive that there is something truly magical about Hey! Hello!

Rating: 10/10

Zug Izland - The Promised Land - Nebula (2016)

Genre - Hard Rock / Modern Rock / Alternative
Label - Zug Izland (Self Released)

Track listing:

01 - Lies
02 - Twilight Zone
03 - My Disease
04 - So Perfect (feat. Any Body Killa, Fisty Cuffs & Mike P)
05 - Chemical Girl
06 - Promised Land
07 - Sunny Day (Lucas Larry Jesus Pieces Remix)
08 - Cry (Acoustic)
09 - Idiot
10 - Lick The Flames
11 - Everything (Remix) [Re-mastered]

Zug Izland were originally put together way back in 2003 so the horrorcore rapper Violent J of Insane Clown Posse could record and release the rock album that he had always dreamed of doing. He soon realised that his vocals weren't quite up to the job and enlisted Syn. The result was 2003's Cracked Tiles album which featured all lyrics written by Violent J but performed by Syn. The album went down really well both the critics and fans alike and remains to this day one of the best rap rock cross over albums that I have ever heard. The band went on then to write and record 2004's 333 album that was once again very well received. Then the line up changes started and band started to loose their way. They managed to write and record a further album that was to be titled The Promised Land but the band split and the album was shelved and remains unreleased. Although a version of the album did leak back in 2009, but only a few songs from that leaked album have made this the final long awaited release of The Promised Land - Nebula.
The album opens with Lies, a great song that did featured on the 2009 leaked album, but it has been massively reworked here. Driven along by a great riff that slows down to a real chugger of a track. Always loved this song! Next up we have a new one, Twilight Zone. This a great song that see's the band mix up their musical stylings a little, mixing in some great keyboards, pop / dance beats and some great riffs throughout the chorus. A great song. My Disease is up next. Once again this is a survivor from the original leaked album, but once again they have toyed with the arrangements a little. Yet again a great song. So Perfect follows, this one is more of a rap track and features the rapping talents of ABK (Any Body Killa),Fisty Cuffs and original Zug guitarist / producer Mike P. I have to say that personally I find this one to be the weakest track on the album!
Next we have a re-working of another track from the leaked album, Chemical Girl, which gladly sees the guys getting back on track, with a great acoustic and string arrangement driven ballad.
Promised Land follows, which sees the guys rocking out again. No doubt destined to be a live favourite! Next we have a remixed version of Sunny Day that originally appeared on the bands debut album, 2003's Cracked Tiles. I have to say that I prefer the original, this remix feels disembodied somehow. An acoustic rendition of Cry follows, another song that first appeared on the bands debut album. You may recognise it as the classic track from the cult classic movie, Lost boys. The song works just as well in this stripped down acoustic version as it did in the full blown production back in 2003. Idiot is up next and is quite a fun song that manages to lighten the mood a little after the heavy lyrics of the previous two tracks.
Lick The Flames is the albums penultimate track, a great rocker that first saw the light of day on last years compilation album Toxicology: Zug Izlands Dopest Bangers! The album closes out with a remixed and re-mastered version of the song that opened the bands second album, Everything, which works quite well to close the album.
On a whole, The Promised Land - Nebula, is a good solid album from a great band that are just starting to find their feet again after a long absence, its just a pity that, How Doe's It Feel, Next To Me, Woke Up Screaming and the awesome cover of Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall from the 2009 leaked album  didn't also make the cut too, as then, this album would have really been something to be reckoned with!

Rating: 8/10