Saturday, 26 July 2014

Leanids- A Wildly (2014)

Genre - Rock / Alternative / Folk
Label - Self Released / Paper Wings Media

Track listing:
01 - Wanderlust
02 - Trust
03 - Candid And Frank
04 - All I Wanted
05 - Whirr
06 - And Then
07 - Whatever
08 - Noelle
09 - Ghostlight
10 - A Wildly
11 - A Wildly (Live At Svartån)

A Wildly is the debut full length album from Leanids, a Swedish alt-folk band.
Leanids set out to create a dreamy, organic and personal sound that falls somewhere in between alternative rock and folk.
The band retired to the vast Swedish countryside, where they recorded their debut album, "A Wildly". These sessions are the sound of four friends playing music in a room; offering a direct, honest and spontaneous collection of tunes that go straight to the heart.
A Wildly is a great sounding album, really laid back and heart felt. Every song just seems to hit the spot, with a sound that falls somewhere along the lines of Ryan Adams, Wolf People, Neil Young, The Common Linnets or Alabama Shakes…simply a nice blend of alternative rock and folk.Every track is simply bliss, if you are looking for that certain album to just put on and chill out too then look no further!

Rating - 10/10

Treason Kings - Your Suit EP (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative / Modern Rock
Label - Self released

Track listing:
01 - Your Suit
02 - Unless You'll Be

New on the scene, Treason Kings are turning heads with their alternative rock sound that manages to mix Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains with Biffy Clyro whilst putting their own stamp on things it with their own unique twist.
Hailing from Leeds, Treason Kings are a 4 piece alternative rock band who live together in a crumbling terrace house, generating riff heavy wall-of-sound chaos in their basement just bands did back in the good old days!
Title track ‘Your Suit’ is a tip of the hat to stoner rock/grunge influences, and is an example of what happens when both guitarist greet their fuzz pedals with open arms. The Sound Garden / Pearl Jam and Sabbath influences really shine through on this track, whilst it almost maintains a prog rock feel to it as the same time. 'Unless You’ll Be’ is a faster paced assault on the speakers, filled with the energy and rawness the band has become known for on the live circuit.
The band are already making waves in all the right places.  ("‘A sound that could dominate the world!") media and industry are taking note of Treason Kings, with the BBC’s Alan Raw championing the band. He first saw the band at their sold-out hometown launch show held and grabbed them for an impromptu interview straight after their set. This subsequently led to a live interview and numerous plays on his BBC Introducing radio show.
Most recently, singer/songwriter/producer Toby Jepson (Little Angels, The Virginmarys, The Answer, Saxon, Toseland, The Brew) has confirmed his involvement with the band for an upcoming new ep/mini album release:
 "Treason Kings to me represents all that's great about British music; inventive, passionate, thoughtful and with that certain quirk that sets them apart from others. Above all, the songs are killer, and that really is the most important thing. I'm delighted to be involved in the bands development, working with the lads is a joy, it's great to witness the birth of a band that really does have something to say, and who say it in such a unique fashion" - Toby Jepson

'Your Suit/Unless You'll Be' is released 25th July 2014.

Rating 9/10

Catch Treason Kings live on tour:

27th July - SHEFFIELD - Tramlines Festival (The Redhouse)
2nd August - LEEDS - Flannel Fest - Temple of Boom
24th August - GRAVESEND - Rock Fest (Leos at The Red Lion)
29th August - HULL - Sunkfest - Sunk Island
13th September - WAKEFIELD - Long Division Festival
26th September - LEEDS - Oxjam Festival - Fox & Newt

Hung Like Jack - White Powder EP (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Alternative / Punk
Label - Self Released

Track listing:

01 - White Powder
02 - Ripe For Grieving
03 - Four Walls

Hung like jack were formed back in Darlington.(UK), when Tim Smith (Guitars) met up with J Tutin (Vocals) and Hakim (Bass)..The band advertised for a drummer and up steps Denz, hitting the sweet spot with his hard hitting beats and versatility. Four e.p's and a live disc."Arrested By Midnight" later the band split for a short period whilst the band members went their separate ways, that was up until around six months ago when they re-formed and recorded this their latest e.p. titled "White Powder".
Considering that Denz recently claimed that this e.p. was recorded very quickly and on a very limited budget its out standing. Title track white Powder starts things off in a high octane punk / alternative rock fused fashion. You can definitely hear the punk influences, and at a little under two minutes in length the song really does fly by, but the production is quite polished and really brings out the quality of both the performance and songwriting. A great start.
Next up is Ripe For Grieving, the longest of the three tracks on offer here, with a slightly slower tempo and some great atmospheric guitar work. Another great song that at times brings Nick Parsons Supercharger (UK) and Whatever to mind. Again a really great song.
Four Walls closes things out and its another really solid song.
In short the band sound really tight all over this Ep, yet fluid and relaxed enough to really capture that live feeling. All three songs are really solid, and if their strength and quality are anything to go by then I really cant wait for the album!
Personally I'm really glad these guys chose to reform, otherwise I would have sadly missed them, now to track down their back catalogue!

Highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Steel Panther - All You Can Eat (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Glam / Sleaze / Heavy Metal / Spoof
Label - Open E Music

Track listing:
01 -  Pussywhipped
02 -  Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
03 -  Gloryhole
04 -  Bukkake Tears
05 -  Gangbang At The Old Folks Home
06 -  Ten Strikes You’re Out
07 -  The Burden Of Being Wonderful
08 -  F@cking My Heart In The Ass
09 -  BVS
10 -  You're Beautiful When You Don't Talk
11 -  If I Was The King
12 -  She's On The Rag

Okay, so I know that this album has been out a little while now, but finally I get around to posting a review of it!

What can I say about All You Can Eat? Like every other Steel Panther album, it’s sex, metal.. more sex and more metal. Their parodic, sexual and comedic content only just gets more explicit, funnier and heavier on "All You Can Eat".
You have two ways with Steel Panther, nothing in between: you like it or hate it. I mean, just take a look at the song titles... it's a joke after joke.
But there's something that, apart if lyrics result too much irritating for you, makes this band great; their musicality, musicianship and production. "All You Can Eat", as very very few acts in last 25 years, captures the first class, glossy, bombastic shiny sound from the hair metal glory days.
This CD sounds immense, like any major label '87 - '91 release handled by Beau Hill, Peter Collins, Bruce Fairbairn or even Robert John "Mutt" Lange behind the production desk.
You know how every "All You Can Eat" song is gonna go down as far as lyrics go, with Michael Starr singing about 'blowing his load' at the "Gloryhole" in France or how he caught "B.V.S.". Nonetheless, he still carries a great vocal range and does it as good as a young, sober Vince Neil. 
Guitarist and controller of the eargasms, Satchel, still rolls with a great array of solos and very '80s anthemic riffs that make the icon of Steel Panther expand. Lexxi’s bass work is still as impressive as it always has been, despite the fact he spends more time looking at his hair in the mirror than actually playing bass. And Mr. Stix Zadinia’s drumming gives off that strong Eighties beat you’d hear from Ratt’s ‘Round and Round’ to name one, and always has outdone himself one album after the next.
So, put your prejudices aside and enjoy these anthemic American Hard Rock songs. Musically, all tracks in "All You Can Eat" are catchy and kickin' hymns.
Steel Panther's comedy has been approved by the likes of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith or Paul Stanley of Kiss to name a couple, so join the circus and enjoy the music. It's terrific.
A cult to the legendary LA scene, Steel Panther are the rebirth of '80s hair metal and the ones responsible for global orgasms, putting quite clear throughout "All You Can Eat" that they’re at the top of their game now.
Truth be told, the only people who won't dig this well written, composed and produced Sunset Strip quartet's 3rd album are those without sense of humour, women on their rags and possibly your grandparents. 
Steel Panther ROCKS.

Rating 8/10

Steel Panther are:
Michael Starr (Ralph Saenz) – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Satchel (Russ Parrish) – lead guitar, backing vocals
Lexxi Foxx (Travis Haley) – bass, backing vocals
Stix Zadinia (Darren Leader) – drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

DIRE STRAITS - Brothers In Arms [Remaster SHM-CD] (2014)

Genre - Classic Rock
Label - Universal Japan

Track listing:
01 - So Far Away
02 - Money For Nothing
03 - Walk Of Life
04 - Your Latest Trick
05 - Why Worry
06 - Ride Across The River
07 - The Man's Too Strong
08 - One World
09 - Brothers In Arms

Finally one of the greatest Classic Rock albums of all time is released on high quality SHM-CD format; DIRE STRAITS "Brothers In Arms". 
"Brothers In Arms" previously appeared on a multi-channel SACD, however the mastering of that release is not to everyone’s taste, considered rather bright and compressed by some.
This new remaster by Universal Japan sounds wonderful, with a fantastic dynamic range and replicating the original LP length and artwork.
Brothers In Arms" was a number one album in almost every country, certified platinum nine times in the US and diamond in both Europe and the UK, making this the band's best-selling album worldwide and one of the most famous Classic Rock recordings of all time.
Exquisitely produced, the album generated five successful singles in "Money For Nothing", "So Far Away", "Brothers in Arms", "Walk Of Life" and "Your Latest Trick".
Many fans were demanding a proper remaster of this gem, honouring the original vinyl LP release both in sound and track length, as most of the songs on the subsequent CD / cassette editions were needlessly longer.
This SHM-CD release of the fifth studio album from Dire Straits is A Must Have.

Rating 10/10

JOHN ILLSLEY - Testing The Water (2014)

Genre - Classic Rock / melodic Rock / Blues
Label - Creek Records

Track listing:
01 - Railway Tracks
02 - Nothing To Do
03 - Testing The Water
04 - Sometimes
05 - Run For Cover
06 - Darling Heart
07 - When God Made Time
08 - This Is Your Voice

JOHN ILLSLEY is best known as one of the founders of Dire Straits, playing bass and providing backing vocals on many of the band’s most famous songs. Illsley had a major role in creating the sound and the success of Dire Straits - he and Mark Knopfler were the only original members to remain with the band from its beginnings in 1977 right through to 1995 when it folded.
But this multiple Brit & Grammy award winner never stopped writing songs, releasing own albums and touring.
Now, recovered from a serious illness and after four years since his last album, JOHN ILLSLEY returns with "Testing The Water".
"Testing The Water" it’s actually his fourth solo album, but this one comes with a high profile tour and a significant push to bring our attention to quality songs full of substance and feel.
It is no surprise that there is a Dire Straits touch to many of the song on the CD. That speaks of Illsley’s influence on his former band with its slow, bluesy, roots influenced Classic Rock. But there is much more here too.
As well as the fine bass and guitar work you would expect there are many elegant harmonies and lovely sax solos throughout the record and the often deeply personal lyrics are delivered in a velvety and emotional voice.
The first three compositions here are all very strong. The opening "Railway Tracks" sets a fast pace as the guitar melody stands out over a solid rhythm section. This could almost be a Brothers In Arms outtake, although the chorus with strong female harmonies gives a very different tone.
Acoustic guitar opens "Nothing To Do" and a saxophone melody winds through the track. Illsley’s vocals here are more expansive and he delivers them well. Next, title track is perhaps the album’s highlight.
"Testing The Water" begins with a military style drum beat as sax and guitar provide the melody. It simmers along nicely without ever quite coming to the boil, and its solid songwriting skeleton showcases Illsley's Classic Rock pedigree. 
The variety continues in several other good tracks. "Run For Cover" has political lyrics, served with a biting rocking tone that emphasises the content, and a big chorus. 
The funky "Sometimes" is a fun uptempo rocker and the guitar work has a Knopfler feel behind the smooth lead vocals, while "Darling Heart" is a tender track, keyboard filled with a cool twangy guitar sound.
Closer "This Is Your Voice" has a breezy and sentimental feel, the bass strong throughout, ending the album on an upbeat note. 
John Illsley has been an influential musician for several decades, and the combination of experience and craft he shows here makes "Testing The Water" a really good Classic Rock album. 
Illsley is a thoughtful lyricist, an emotive singer and a fine harmony arranger, and it is the latter quality that infuses the album with a magical strand of continuity.
"Testing The Water" will obviously appeal to Dire Straits fans, but anyone who likes carefully crafted, arranged, performed and produced 'real' Classic Rock music should take a listen.
Very Recommended.

Rating 10/10

HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS - Big Trouble (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Mausoleum Records

Track listing:
01 -  Another Day In Grey - Pt. 1
02 -  Move On
03 -  Big Trouble
04 -  The Only Way
05 -  The Cage
06 -  The Ocean
07 -  Oh Boy!
08 -  Underground
09 -  Village Of The Damned
10 -  Song For A Fool
11 -  Fuck You All (bonus track)

Featuring some of the most renowned Classic Hard Rock artists in the lineup, HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS is the creation of French guitarist and composer Stéphane 'Steph' Honde who, after considerable success in his native country, has made California his home since 2012.
He's been busy these last two years writing music for his new project and this first album entitled "Big Trouble", just released by Mausoleum Records.
Honde has been able to garner the help of some legendary musicians including bass player Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, et al), keyboard player Don Airey (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, et al), and drummer Vinnie Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, et al). Early Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno, with whom Honde also toured with, adds vocals on the bonus track "F*ck You All". 
It's all quite impressive, but what's inside?
The answer would be mostly traditional hard rock with a strong melodic foundation, with Honde's guitar work front and centre. The title cut is a good example of how the elements blend: intense riffs, good melody, catchy refrain, and a concise sweaty solo in the mix. 
Hollywood Monsters go for groove with a metallic edge within "Underground", then "Village of the Damned" (co-written by Appice, could be the heaviest song here, sounding like a cross between a Whitesnake and Black Sabbath song with Honde ripping off a nice solo at the end.
All is balanced by more melodic rock oriented numbers like the semi-ballad "The Only Way" where Honde vocals turn a bit Coverdale-esque, the really nice acoustic "The Ocean" embellished with classical strings, and the bluesy & sweet "Oh Boy!".
One of the highlights is "Song For A Fool", a slow mover and burner, especially in the drum line and Honde's six string work. Maybe you'll think that the solo is a guitar solo, but it's not! It's actually Tim Bogert playing the best bass chorus ever!
The aforementioned "F*ck You All" ends the disc in hard rockin', fun way with nasty lyrics and the tack vocals of Paul Di'Anno.
What I liked about Hollywood Monsters, apart from the solid songs, is the intention of 'Steph' Honde to avoid the rehash of the style and mannerism of the classic rock acts who inspired him.
With Airey or Appice at hand it's hard not to be tempted to write and arrange a song akin Deep Purple or Dio, but Honde and the guys sound authentic and really personal.
"Big Trouble" is an album of varied and creative classic hard & melodic rock songs that will keep your interested. In fact, it's better (and more original) than many classic acts recent efforts
Very Recommended.

Rating - 9/10