Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Label - Spaced Out Music
01 - Prey (Intro)
02 - Prey
03 - Shine A Light
04 - Unbroken
05 - Wings Of Steel
06 - Fill Your Head With Rock
07 - Take Me To Your Leader
08 - Private Lives
09 - We Can Make It
10 - What About The Night
11 - I Still Believe
Founded in UK at the end of the seventies by lyricist/vocalist Dave Hill and guitarist Mal Spooner, DEMON is one of the most musically interesting and socially aware hard rock bands of their age. Breaking through at the heart NWoBHM movement with albums like Night Of The Demon and The Unexpected Guest Demons sound probably had more in common with the likes of Europe and Bon Jovi than Iron Maiden and Saxon. Despite a huge and loyal fan base and critical acclaim over the years things never really took off on the same scale as it did for their contemporaries, mores the pity because Demon have recorded some great songs over the years and many a great album.
Unbroken is Demon's first new album since 2005’s ‘Better the Devil You Know’ and it sees them back, for the most part, to a classic hard rock/metal sound. There is a little prog in the opener the uptempo Prey, and its intro piece, which shows vocalist Dave Hill is still in fine vocal fettle. Joining Hill on writing duties are keyboards player Paul Farrington (although his keys are often way in the background) and drummer Neil Ogden. Shine A Light continues the powerful dynamic feel as the album starts to form and take a hold of you. The vocals are raucous and the solo is on fire.
Title track Unbroken is pretty much a reference to the band's longevity and unbroken spirit. A bit of a different animal than the previous, more melodic and harmonic, although the main guitar riff is blistering!
Wings of Steel is a keyboard laden tune which shouldn't come as much of a surprise as Hill wrote it with the keyboard player. It simply has one of the most breathtaking choruses on the entire album, another great Demon epic and what a bloody guitar solo!
Fill Your Head With Rock is an anthem about Sweden Rock Festival that the band has played on a number of occasions. It really goes to show that these veterans still know how to rock!
Take Me To Your Leader continues the bands / Dave Hill's fascination with ET life and space. The track is spacey but rocking too, with a big thick, multi-tracked vocal in the chorus that sticks out.
Private Lives is another track that Dave has written with keyboard player Paul Farrington, musically pretty melodic rock oriented and clever lyrics about the whole instant celebrity cult and paparazzi thing. A great polished sound here, a truly great song.
The very melodious and rhythmical midtempo We Can Make It, (If We All Try) tells another beautiful story, followed by What About The Night drenched in luscious keys, a classy 'theatrical' Demon tune deliciously devilish fun.
Finally I Still Believe is a lighters and a hands in the air anthem written in the trademark Demon way, a ballad yes, but ardent and powerful.
Unbroken is one of the strongest albums that Demon have put out in their entire career, and really does deserve some massive mainstream attention.
If you like melodic well written hard rock / metal executed to perfection then check this album out!
Rating - 10/10
Label - Self Released / Independant
Track listing -
01 - Kneel before You Die
02 - Mercy Flight
03 - My Obsession
"Left For Red are a Four Piece Heavy Metal band formed in 2009 with members of Groove Sadistic, ShakeDown and Viable Truth. Left For Red have a wide range of influences from Pantera, Deftones, Tool, Rush, Alter Bridge and Strapping Young Lad to name a few. LFR's sound is a mixture of Punk, Metal and Pop which makes you want to dance, sing and beat the crap out of the person next to you." Well that is what their press says and to be fair I cant really find a reason to disagree. For me Left For Red deliver that perfect blend of hard rock and all out metal. Riffs galore, a vocalist that can sing as well as roar his way through a song, and well talent in abundance. Are the songs any good? Well considering that these guys haven't been together all that long the songs are bloody great. Despite having to record on a tight budget, this EP being self financed, Left For Red, judging by the evidence on this EP alone, can hold their own with any band out there, and I really can see big things in their future, especially in the USA. Could Left For Red be the best metal band to come out of the midlands since the mighty Black Sabbath, I think they show the potential to be just that!
So come on guys, get behind a great young British band
Rating - 10/10
Label - 7Hard Records
Track listing -
01. Rub It On Me
03. Life And Soul
04. Diamond Sky
05. Secret Service
06. Suddenly Lost
08. Silver Horses
09. You re Breaking My Heart (Don t Do It)
11. Who s Holding On To You
Silver Horses are a brand new 70's style Hard Rock band featuring the vocal talents of the awesome Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath / Mollo Martin's Cage / Empire / M3 / Giuntini Project / solo). Tony Martin handled the vocal duties for Black Sabbath during the late 80's and early to mid 90's on such albums as: The Eternal Idol , Headless Cross , Tyr , Cross Purposes , Forbidden , Cross Purposes Live and The Sabbath Stones.This Anglo-Italian band combine the classic style's of Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake and twist it a little by adding a modern touch. Now first off, are they any good? Well musically the band are as tight as you can get, and the songs are pretty darn strong to boot, well written and well executed, but does Martin's voice really suite the more bluesy direction of this collection of tunes? Well he's covered Dazed and Confused, Stormbringer (Cage albums), and a multitude of Whitesnake classics during his days with Cozy Powell's Hammer and M3, so although this music is a little different to his usual hard rock / metal output, yes his voice suites the songs well, especially on tracks like Suddenly Lost (the albums high point for me), Secret Service and title track Silver Horses, this album does show case Martins versatility really well.
There is plenty of variation here, from the uptempo(Rub It On Me) to the stompers (Secret Service) to the atmospheric ballads (Suddenly Lost) and the quality never drops at all throughout the album.
Now here's to hoping that these guys take this project out on the road, and for the love of god follow it up with another album!
Sunday, 7 October 2012
01. Hell Or Hallelujah
02. Wall Of Sound
04. Back To The Stone Age
05. Shout Mercy
06. Long Way Down
07. Eat Your Heart Out
08. The Devil Is Me
09. Outta This World
10. All For The Love Of Rock & Roll
11. Take Me Down Below
12. Last Chance
13. Right Here Right Now (Bonus Track)
Kiss are back, with quite possibly their best album since Revenge, possibly since Destroyer!
KISS's career has spanned almost 39 years and this year they release their 20th studio album titled “Monster”. As with their last effort Sonic Boom the band invited no co-writers and founder and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley co-produced the CD along with Greg Collins.
Paul Stanley, along with co-founder and bassist Gene Simmons have continued to sport the same lineup for the last 8 years with drummer Eric Singer and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer rounding out the quartet.
“Hell or Hallelujah” was released to the airwaves on July 2, 2012. It is an up-tempo song that showcases Thayer’s strong and consistent licks delivered with that traditional Stanley vocal that Kiss fans have come to love.
Sung by Simmons, “Wall of Sound” has some nods to their Revenge album, while Stanley handles lead vocals on “Freak” and shares in the collective effort on the choruses and some of the verses.
“Back to the Stone Age” was co-written by all four members and all 4 have their imprint on this song vocally. Pretty good one.
“Long Way Down” is Kiss trademark, is a flowing track that bares everything that Kiss encompasses; a strong Stanley vocal performance and good harmonies.
“Eat Your Heart Out” starts out with the group doing an a Capella chorus, during which, you can really hear Eric Singer who has an underrated voice. Simmons takes lead vocal on this track, and if any song stands out as unique, I would say it’s this one.
Thayer commands lead vocals on “Outta This World”, nothing outstanding but he sounds natural and fresh.
Eric Singer has a song called “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”. As noted, his vocals are underrated andnster he shows what he can do with his voice on this song. His style of playing is a little different here, which earns some added attention.
Simmons’ bass pummels through the track “Take Me Down Below”. He locks in with Singer and leads this track on its way, later accompanied by Stanley. A potential single.
"Monster" is a more solid and consistent album than the previous 'Sonic Boom'.
Even though this band has been together for 8 years now, this is only the 2nd studio effort between them. Seems the band is becoming more comfortable with one another and the results show on some tracks.
"Monster" does not pace itself: it's a full-on aural assault from the first note, and doesn't let up until Stanley lets out a final jarring wail on 'Last Chance'.
It's Kiss, and you know what to expect.
Monster really is a true return to form for one of rock n rolls most iconic and long lasting bands.
02. Get Up
04. Just A Beautiful Day
05. I Don’t Care
06. You Wear Me Down
07. Type Of Girl
08. Always Away
10. Don’t Do This
11. The Masochist
12. I Believed In God
13. I Believed In God (Reprise)
14. In Your Arms (Bonus Track)
Danko Jones return with the follow up to 2010's excellent album, Below The Belt, (which in my opinion was their best all around album of their carear til that point!) with Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue. Forteen tracks of debauchery, rebellion, angst and well, Dank Jones doing what this Canadian trio do best! Opening up with Terrified, before blasting into Get Up and Legs (which is thankfully not a cover of the ZZ Top song!) all with no let up in tempo. Lead single, Just a Beautiful Day is up next, slowing things down a little, before hurtling into the best track on the album, I Dony Care. You Wear Me Down and Type Of Girl follow, again in the all too familar Danko Jones groove. We're not really likely to see the guys wander too far from their familar lyrical themes, but thats all the better as I love these guys, partly for their cliched lyrics lol.
Always Away has a kind of ACDC opening riff, before launching into rather a commercial little number thats laden with vocal harmonies throughout the chorus, a great song. Conceited is a typical Danko blast, where as Dont Do This is more of a typical Danko Stomp. The Masochist is an uptempo blast that could have quite easily fitted onto any of the bands previous releases. I Believed In God is a bit of a curve ball, with vocal refrain somewhat akin to Danzig in places, yet still a great song, would make for a brave single and an awesome video! In Your Arms, again to me has a Danzig feel to it, slower and doomier than the usual Danko track, but still a bloody great song.
This entire album is fantastic, and a contender for album of the year for me, but if I had to pick out a few highlights then I Believed In God, I Dont Care, Legs, Just A Beautiful day and Always Away would have to be included.
A great fun rock n roll album that deserves the worlds attention.
Rating - 10/10
Saturday, 6 October 2012
Label - EMI Records
Track listing -
01. This Is My God
02. Lost Worlds
03. Karma Killer
04. Us Against The World
05. The Chosen Ones
06. A World Without Heaven
08. Eyes Of The Young
09. These Are The Hands
10. The Lesson
Iron Maiden main man Steve Harris brings us his debut solo album, British Lion, a decade in the making, with asoud that is as far away from Iron Maidens as you could get. The album is a solid effort but not as good as one could have expected considering the pedigree involved. The following review is not my own words but I couldnt agree more with what has been said, so I have reproduced it here.
"STEVE HARRIS, the 'Boss' of Iron Maiden is busy touring the States, reliving some of his main band’s most glorious moments at this time.
He's chosen the same time to release his decade in the making – tracked whenever he could get time, on the backburner of Maiden activities - solo album, which is not entirely him flying solo, but more of a collaborative effort, titled "British Lion".
Apparently, Steve was managing this band in the early '90s and kinda liked them a bit too much and while the project really went no-where at the time and his solo company 'Beast Records' went into limbo, he kept in contact with them and decided to salvage the material which he also got involved with, playing the bass and co-writing some of the songs by issuing it under his name, as a solo album.
"British Lion" is not being pushed as a metal project. Singer Simon Dawson and guitarist Grahame Leslie have recorded in many rock&pop sessions, including The Outfield, so expect vocals quite away to the typical metal stuff.
Without being too long, the songs tend to dwell in mid-tempo territory mostly, and sound a bit long winded. The entire band is fine and British as it comes, but there's a bit of lack of fire and bite.
Repeated spins, make the album grow, but you’d really expect something more upbeat from Harris than an average to good album.
“This is my God” really reminded me a bit of Thunder and Zeppelin and while it has a nice groove and generally good ideas, it's a paint-it-by-numbers hard rocker, while “Lost Worlds” has hints of Maiden, in the form of a really long expressive part.
“Karma Killer” is almost how things should have been. It’s got a nasty, groovy and instantly recognizable riff and grooves. Taylor even convinces thoroughly on this one. Good chorus.
“Us Against the World” is one of the best moments here, mixing Maiden with UFO and the Scorpions quite nicely. Taylor’s melodic ideas are very smooth and nice, and there are some very smart guitar flourishes.
“The Chosen Ones” is very Lizzyesque, and simply quite good. But even here, in such a feelgood song, there seems to be a bit of uncertainty. Taylor, exclaims a 'yeah' at some point and it almost sounds forced and not that spontaneous. Another great song, but a little more flair, would have made it an anthem.
On “World Without Heaven” the guitars are lower in the mix than they should, really battling with the bass at point, not because of volume, but because they are just not as fat and sharp as they should.
“Judas” is darker, with a very abrupt drop out in the middle and some acoustics, “Eyes of The Young” is a more carefree, almost a ballad that rocks hard.
The real ballad is final track “The Lesson”, rich in strings that bears resemblances to Dio and maybe even Marillion.
Steve Harris really takes a chance by lending his name to this project, when he could have called it just “British Lion” and be done with, possibly making some people expect something-or-other that’s not a million miles away from Maiden.
What we get is an album with decent songwriting, but a bit lack of bite in the performances & production that ends up being detrimental to the overall result.
A more aggressive sound, tighter playing and more spirited vocal performances in certain songs would have benefited the CD strongly. Even some double vocals, or gang choruses here or there would have worked better.
Harris can do anything he wants and it would do nothing to dent the man's reputation. “British Lion” is just a fine, uncommon hard rock album with some good moments to enjoy."
British Lion is a good album, just not as good as I had hoped for to be honet. Highlight tracks include, Karma Killer, Lost Worlds and Us Against The World.
Rating - 7/10
Label - Independant?
01 - Wake Up Call
02 - Let Go
03 - Live Free Or Die
04 - Trouble
05 - Only A Dream
06 - All Or Nothing
07 - Feed On Me
08 - Irreversible
09 - Suffer
10 - Romance Is Dead
11 - Star Eyes
12 - Brand New Bree
13 - Waking The Dead
14 - Follow Your Instincts
Scottish rockers PEEPSHOW debuted in 2009 with a self-released CD that quickly sold out largely through word of mouth, and drew instant praise from UK press.
It has been three plus long years since that, and now we finally have their new album "Brand New Breed".
Unlike the bands debut album which had a very sleazy sound, "Brand New Breed" is fused with blasts of synths, modern light speed dual guitars and textured, flexing rhythms, all wrapped by a modern and sometimes bombastic production.
First single "Let Go" with its huge hooks is tailor made for the bigger venues, while the intensity of "Feed On Me" and the sky high emotions and god-sized riffs of "All Or Nothing" will drive their way straight into the guts and heart respectively.
"Live Free Or Die" is a great track that chugs along with the keyboards just topping things off, a little reminiscent of Babylon Bombs but with bigger production.
"Trouble" hearkens back to Peepshow's roots as explode through the speakers with hot riffage and attitude, but sonically is really polished, as the whole album. The title track and "Waking The Dead" are crunchy scorchers that speed into Shotgun Messiah's Second Coming era with singer Johnny Gunn growling and screaming for all he is worth, resulting in one the album finest moments.
Today so many bands may shy away from keyboards but Peepshow embrace them, and use them to add depth and that brings a fuller, more complete sound to the songs. Check out the slower yet dark "Only A Dream", with some Alice Cooper phrasing and a killer guitar solo.
They are not afraid to ballads as well, being "Irreversible" a modern oriented one, that type of songs that could give them their best shot at radio airplay and hopefully stardom.
Peepshow comes right back with "Suffer", which is a hard rocking tune that will once again make you stand tall. Drummer Hammy shows his chops on this one and makes himself noticed.
Ending the disc is "Follow Your Instincts", an tribal, anthemic modern track adorned with synth strings destined to arenas.
Peepshow have been brave enough to reinvent themselves and their sound despite the critical acclaim that came with their debut album, and they have managed to pull it off wonderfully. Brave New Breed is just that, a great album from a band that could quite easily be filling stadiums in the future given the right breaks!
Rating - 9/10
01 - I Gotsta Get Paid
02 - Chartreuse
03 - Consumption
04 - Over You
05 - Heartache In Blue
06 - I Don't Wanna Lose, Lose, You
07 - Flyin' High
08 - It s Too Easy Mañana
09 - Big Shiny Nine
10 - Have A Little Mercy
11 - Threshold Of A Breakdown (Bonus Track)
12 - Drive By Lover (Bonus Track)
After nearly a decade's wait, fans of 'that little ole’ band from Texas' called ZZ TOP are finally rewarded with the trio's 15th album, "La Futura".
Co-produced by Rick Rubin and the band's ever-so-stylish guitarist and singer Billy Gibbons, La Futura sees the band return to much more stripped down and basic sound, pretty much a direct-to-the-amp sound, trying to recapture the magic of their early 's releases. Does it manage it? Well I think it does, this album sounds bloody great, but then again I have always loved Billy Gibbon's tone, and I am quite thankful that the keyboards, electronics and over production of the late 's and 90's are nowhere to be found!
The three beards here give us some cracking bluesy rock songs, do they reach the heights of their previous classics, well probably no, but hell, its new music from ZZ Top and its pretty damn good ta boot!
Highlights include, Over You, Flyin' High Big Shiny Nine and threshold Of A Breakdown, although the guys do manage to completly miss the target with their cover of Its Too Easy Mañana, which simply doesn't work.
On a whole a petty amn ine album if your a an of the band check this one out!
Rating - 8/10
Label - Earache Records
01 - Keep On Swinging
02 - Wild Animal
03 - You Want To
04 - Until The Sun Comes
05 - Run From Revelation
06 - Jordan
07 - All The Way
08 - The Heist
09 - Three Fingers
10 - Nava
11 - Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)
12 - Manifest Destiny (Pt. 2)
13 - True
"The Long Beach, California, quartet RIVAL SONS made a big splash in 2011 with their breakthrough album 'Pressure & Time'. It put the rest of the retro-rock scene on notice: rehash the past all you want, but we're the future. And with their brand new album "Head Down", they're here to prove it.
Precious few revivalists possess that old black magic to set them apart. But to a fusion of the Classic Hard Rock and progressive blues of the seventies, genuine soul and a gutsy groove, Rival Sons add the real X Factor: great, great songs.
Such an obvious ingredient, but it's truly unbelievable just how many others miss it.
Recorded in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb and Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell, "Head Down" takes the band's electrifying blend of Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Free, Deep Purple, The Doors and a dozen others to exhilarating new heights.
Kick the door in, take no prisoners, ask no questions, play it loud; as plans go, it's hard to fault.
Opener "Keep On Swinging" pretty much sums it up: big, bold, swaggering and totally badass, it sets the tone for an album which raises the bar across the board.
The breezy "Wild Animal" and "Until the Sun Comes" contrast nicely with the raunchiness of "All The Way" and "Three Fingers", themselves preludes to the sheer girth of "You Want To" – which recalls Zep at their raucous best – and the mighty "Manifest Destiny Pt. 1", a shadowy, smouldering epic that broods like a black hole.
Although the required ballads aren't the group's strong suit, both "Jordan" and "True" are carried off with confidence and without resorting to slush or schmaltz. Actually, these are superb slow tunes.
Both as performers and songwriters Rival Sons have upped their game, and "Head Down" puts them well ahead of the pack.
It takes a degree of skill to make music that ticks all the Classic Rock boxes without sounding like a shameless exercise in nostalgia, but despite impeccable retro credentials, Rival Sons are doggedly establishing themselves as a vital force for the modern age, too.
A more adventurous beast than the previous album, "Head Down" is a riotous carnival of classic-saluting riffs, sunkissed psychedelia and irresistible hooks, with the band's soul, funk and blues influences thrust joyously to the fore.
"Head Down" honours half a century of Classic (Hard) Rock with reverence, respect and the realisation that this music's still happening, right now.
"Head Down" is a truly remarkable album and its unbelievable that its only the bands sophmore release as it shows such a depth of maturity in both the playing and songwriting that you could be forgiven for thinking that these guys had been at it since the 70's!
Rating - 10/10
Label - Rocksector Records
01. The Clarion Call
02. Darkness Draws Me In
03. Blood In Blood Out
04. Stripped Away
06. Shattered Crown
07. Gates To Oblivion
08. Wrath Of The Fallen
09. Cycle Of Addiction
10. Within The Mouth Of Madness
11. Rise Through Babylon
12. I Still Remember
Released on 12th November through Rocksector Records, Dark Horizons is the debut full length release from Manchester based four piece heavy metal band Babylon Fire. Dark Horizons contains twelve solid tracks which showcase the bands talent and diversity as songwriters. having to adapt to being a four piece following the departure of former guitarist Will Reece the band have honed both their sound and their songs to bring us a very solid debut. From the opening riffs of The Clarion Call the quality is never in doubt, and the intensity never really lets up throughout the entire duration of the album. in fact the tempo doesn't really ease off until track four, Stripped Away, which is a great little rocker, a little more commercial than the onslaught and intensity of the three previous tracks.Demonocracy continues to mix things up a little, the intensity returns but its mixed some melodic guitar sections and some great melodies. Shattered Crown is pretty much a great traditional heavy metal track which leads nicely into a great little instrumental, The Gates Of Oblivion. Gates....sets up the mighty Wrath Of the Fallen, which is probably my favourite track on the album. Here we see the intensity return, but its tempered with plenty of melody, a truly great song. The intensity continues with Cycle Of Addiction, which is a great metal / rock song. Within The Mouth Of Madness sees the intensity continue, a great track some great lyrics and its Charlie Manson intro. Penultimate track Rise Through Babylon, sees the tempo mixed up a little, a great song. The album closes out with I Still Remember, an epic song.
Its hard to believe that this album is the bands debut, it really does sound so accomplished as though the guys have been at this game for years!
To be honest Dark Horizons is a really strong debut album from a very promision British band. Proof that the British Rock and Metal scene is truly alive, and has a great home on Rocksector Records!
Rating - 9/10
Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Metal / Modern Metal
Label - Rocksector Records
01. Flames Of Justice
02. Hundred Years
03. Code Red
04. It Is What It Is
06. State Of Grace
07. From Beyond The Light
09. Love To Hate
10. Only When Its Over
Absolva are a Manchester based Classic Metal band born from the ashes (?) of the promising Fury Uk. As well as featuring Chris Appleton (Guitar and vocals) and Martin McNee (Drums) from Fury Uk, Absolva also features the talents of Tom Atkinson (Lead Guitars and backing vocals) of Vice fame and Dan Bate (Bass and backing vocals) of Point Black Fury fame. Theses guys are tight! Solid songs, with amazingly tight performances combined with an excellent production makes Flames Of Justice one of the best metal albums that I have heard in years, and I honestly mean that!
The twin guitar attack is reminiscent of the genre's legends such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but Chris and Tom take their slant to an all new level, the riffs are brutal at times, heavy yet melodic, and every lick seems to be so perfectly placed, nothing ever sounds contrived, just a natural flowing sound that just develops and flows along with each song.
This album has everything that a great metal album should have, brutal grinding tracks suck as It IS What It Is, duelling guitar lead tracks suck as on Breathe, great rocking along up tempo tracks such as title track Flames Of Justice, short sweet acoustic segments like State Of Grace and epic songs like Free and Only When Its Over, stompers like Beyond The Light, as I said everything a great metal album should have!.
This album is proof positive that Absolva are a seriously talented band with all the potential of becoming the new kings of the metal scene. They could well be the rightful heirs to the crowns of legendary bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest! Yes they really are that god damn good!
Flames of Justice is released on 5th November through Rocksector Records and you guys really should check it out!
Rating - 10/10
Catch Absolva on tour on the following dates:
Oct 27th - Machester (UK) Radcliffe Civic
Nov 2nd - Newcastle (UK) Trillians
Nov 3rd - Grimsby (UK) Yardbirds
Nov 4th - Bristol (UK) The Croft
Nov 7th - Sheffield (UK) Corporation
Nov 9th - London (UK) Underworld
Nov 10th - Birmingham (UK) Asylum 2
Nov 11th - Southamptom (UK) Talking Heads
Nov 15th - Ipswich (UK) The Railway
Nov 16th - Herdorf (Germany) Rattenloch
Nov 17th - TBC (Belguim)
Nov 18th - Roeselare (Belgium) De Verlichte Geest
Nov 30th - Belfast (N.Ireland) Voodoo
Dec 1st - Strabane (N.Ireland) Diceys
Dec 2nd - Dublin (Ireland) The Pint