Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Answer - New Horizon (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Napalm Records

Track listing:

01 - New Horizon
02 - Leave With Nothin'
03 - Spectacular
04 - Speak Now
05 - Somebody Else
06 - Concrete
07 - Call Yourself a Friend
08 - Baby Kill Me
09 - Burn You Down
10 - Scream a Louder Love
11 - Road Less Travelled (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
12 - Feel the Fear (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
13 - Real as It Gets (ltd. ed. Bonus Track)
14 - White Flag (iTunes exclusive Bonus Track)

#### The following are not my own words but I couldn't agree with their author any more! please  credit the original author (unknown!) #####

"Northern Ireland classic hard rockers THE ANSWER have been around since 2000 but it took them until 2006 for their first album to be released. Better late than ever, since they've gone from strength to strength with each new recording.
My ears were pleasantly delighted with the material from the previous albums, but somehow there was something missing in the final delivery of their songs. Now listening "New Horizon" I know what it was: sonic spark. And it wasn't The Answer's fault.
Although all the tech aspects (production engineering, mix, etc.) were first class and the output earthy and classy, what these guys needed was someone capable to capture on tape these attributes plus the mislaid factor: the 'live' feeling.
Toby Jepson (Fastway, Saxon's 'Call To Arms') is the magician, as his superb job behind the desk has armed The Answer's music with a vivacious crisp and clear sound.
Big riffs hit you straight in the face as title track "New Horizon" opens up the proceedings. Guitarist Paul Mahon is on fire delivering a short blistering solo in between all the razor sharp riffs while Micky Waters and James Heatley keep the bulldozer rolling on bass and drums respectively. And this is before Cormac Neeson has entered the fray with his awesome raspy, classic bluesy voice. 
Now we're talking, and you know from the start that "New Horizon" will be 'the album' (possibly the definitive) from The Answer.
An almost funky beginning to "Leave With Nothin´" suddenly explodes in the chorus as the band decidedly tears it up. Heavy and directly to your bones, it gives way to the first single "Spectacular". I just love this song.
A thick nice bass line permeates throughout this punchy track with Mahon keeping the guitar soaring when he is not shredding it to bits. The swirling lyrical refrain 'We Could Be Spectacular' rotates like helicopter blades in the head and does not stop to thrill.
"Speak Now"' slows things down initially by letting us hear their tender side before cranking the guitars briefly for the chorus where Cormac shines brilliantly with some astonishing singing. It beats me that he and this band aren't bigger than they are. 
The ride continues until we are confronted by a stammering rock n' roll style riff that launches "Somebody Else" which evolves into The Quireboys territory mixed with Thunder at their very best and Marc Bolan & T. Rex. In other words; a truly great song.
An earth-shattering bass, led-heavy drumming and a riff-fest galore is what kickstarts "Concrete". Add Cormac on top of that and you have one of the best classic hardrockers of 2013.
With a tone of melancholy reflection "Call Yourself A Friend" builds and proves to be a triumphant moment within their output. Listen out for that change in tempo as they head out of the gates; sublime.
Tasty, groovy and full of glam "Baby Kill Me" is a great party starter and this is then topped by the following "Burn You Down", a stomping anthemic rocker if there ever was one. You can't beat a sing-a-long chorus, can you?
The regular CD edition ends on a real high note with "Scream A Louder Love", and definitely showcase what The Answer is all about. This is British classic hard rock of the highest order brought to life in a modern take.
But we have more juicy tracks to enjoy as bonuses; the swaggering come-n-go of "Road Less Travelled", the kick ass "Feel The Fear" (what a groove!) and the bruising "Real As It Gets".
We have as well the iTunes exclusive "White Flag" (it's also included in the double vinyl edition), another groovy monster driven by a pumping rhythm.
Like I said at the beginning, The Answer have only gotten better by each album. "New Horizon" definitely brings to the table how much talented these guys are.
There's not a single weak song here, containing a familiar swagger and treads on a path that is predictable and trusted, but it is done with a sense of confidence truly enviable. The Answer are by no means a throwback band but they know how to blend their influences with their own inspiration to create some foocking bad ass hard rock music in the process." 

 Very Highly Recommended.

Rating - 10/10

Bedlam - Live In Binghampton 1974 (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Angel Air Records

Track listing:
01. I Believe In You
02. The Beast
03. The Great Game
04. Set Me Free
05. Interview
06. The Fool

07. The Beast (remix)

"BEDLAM were one of the hardest working rock bands of the early 70’s and they released one studio album, performed hundreds of gigs across UK and Europe and one USA tour from which this album was recorded in New York in 1974. The band was on the cusp of success but COZY POWELL’S success with his solo single “Dance With The Devil” effectively killed off the success the band had worked so hard for. DAVE BALL had left PROCOL HARUM where he replaced Robin Trower back in 1971 to form Bedlam. In the future FRANK AIELLO would work again with Cozy Powell in HAMMER. Included is a bonus track which is a newly remixed version of a track from the original Bedlam album."

Well first let me just say that considering the age of the live recording on offer here it is stunning!
Here Bedlam, a band that were truly on the verge of greatness, are captured at their absolute live best! Great songs that are on a par with anything released by their contemporaries such as Led Zepplin, Deep Purple, Cream, even the mighty Black Sabbath!
A truly remarkable recording presented with great linear notes by a lable that has a habit of un-erthing and releasing these lost gems!

Rating - 10/10

Sweet - The Answer (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop / Glam
Label - Angel Air Records

Track listing:
01 Do As I Say
02 X-Ray Specs
03 Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again
04 Stand Up
05 Nouveau Rock Star
06 Natural
07 Mind
08 Marshall Stack
09 Red Tape
10 When Friends Fall Out
11 Is It True
12 Dangerous Game
13 I Don’t Want To Say Goodnight
14 Crudely Mott

15 Marshall Stack (Alt Ending)
16 Do As I Say (Single Mix)
17 Stand Up (Hard Rock Version)

"SWEET are forever associated with that tremendous run of worldwide hit singles in the 70’s (no less than 13 UK Top 20 hit singles) but their popularity remains as they tour all over Europe where they still to this day enjoy headline status at festivals. The Answer was recorded in 1992 in Hanover, GERMANY and showcases how tight a rock band the group had become. This album has long been out of print with copies currently changing hands at over a £100 a copy. Now remastered with three bonus tracks"

On November 4th (2013) Angel Air Records re-release The Answer, by Andy Scott's Sweet, fully remastered and including 3 bonus tracks (as stated above) but is the album any good? Well the answer is a resounding yes! The Answer, and this lineup of the seventies glam rock legends may have never reached the same levels of commercial success as the groups releases from the seventies heyday, but it is still a very strong release indeed with songs such as X-Ray Specs, Nouveau Rock Star, Natural, Marshall Stack and I Don't Want To Say Goodnight proving that Andy Scott had lost non of his song writing magic.
The remastering brings the songs to life, allowing them to breath and really shine, giving them an almost contemporary edge, although one or two tracks haven't aged as well as others, such as album opener Do As I Say, which has a slightly tired and dated feel to it.
This release comes complete with extensive linear sleeve notes to help fill in the gaps making this a great little album ta boot.
This album is a must have for fans of Sweet (and Andy Scott of course!) but is also a worthy place to start for fans that are just a little curious as to what happened to the Hellraiser's after the seventies Ballroom Blitz!

Rating - 9/10

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Buffalo Summer - Buffalo Summer (2013)

Genre - Classic Rock / Hard Rock / Southern Rock
Label - Cargo Records

Track listing:

01 - She's All Natural
02 - Down To The River
03 - Truth From Fable
04 - A Horse Called Freedom
05 - Rolls On Through
06 - Ain't No Other
07 - Keep On Runnin'
08 - Typhoid Mary
09 - Ol' Duke

So you like your music of the classic hard rock with a southern flavour variety? Me too, and I'd wager that you are going to love Welsh rocker's, Buffalo Summer's self titled debut album just as I do!
This album just throws great song after great song at you, with the band effortlessly delivering future classic after future classic, which is really suprising considering that Buffalo Summer are a relatively young band!
Great songs, executed to perfection, with a bright and crisp clear production.
To be honest I just can't find words to praise this album highly enough.
A great feel good classic hard rock record, just about sums it up!

You must check this album out!

Rating - 10/10

The up n' coming Welsh classic rock band tour the UK in October with KADAVAR (Nuclear Blast Records) have just announced German shows supporting THE QUIREBOYS in November and will play Planet Rock's ROCKSTOCK December 2013.

Kadavar dates
Oct 23rd London - Borderline
Oct 24th Wolverhampton - Slade Rooms
Oct 25th Glasgow - Cathouse
Oct 26th Nottingham - Bodega
Oct 27th Manchester - Deaf Institute
Oct 28th Bristol - Exchange

Quireboys Germany dates

Nov 11th Nachtleben - Frankfurt
Nov 12th Blues Garage - Hannover
Nov 13th The Rock Cafe - St Pauli, Hamburg
Dec 7th Planet Rock, Rockstock - Great Yarmouth

Hamerex - IX (2013)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - IX Music

Track listing:

01. IX Circles
02. The Life Of Death
03. Inferno
04. Edge Of Madness
05. The Extremist
06. Mortuary
07. The Stranger
08. Descent Of Angels
09. The Night Of Samhain
10. Still The Wall Remains

The official bio states -
Hamerex are a heavy metal band founded in 2004 by guitarist Steve Blower. The band also consists of vocalist Chris Moules, bassist Andy Firth and drummer Darren Kelsall.
The band are an energetic and entertaining live band with their influences coming through in both their music and live shows. Hamerex have supported such bands as PowerQuest, Conquest Of Steel and Funeral For A Friend as well as playing at Clarence Park Music Festival in July 2012.
2012 saw Hamerex release their debut album on Casket Music which was highly praised by a number of reviewers with Rhys Stevenson of Global Metal Network saying "'Rites Of Passage' brings a whole new stance on the meaning of original and traditional, this is by far one of the most impressive rejuvenations of old style metal to be unleashed, a sheer class of absolute proportions."
2013 is set to be the bands biggest year to date with a high profile gig already under their belts when they opened for Funeral For A Friend in April. The band are excited about the release of their second album 'IX' which shows Hamerex at their musical best with their most varied and experimental release to date.

So now that we have the official inrodutions out of the way, what do Hamerex sound like and is IX any good?
Well firstly Hamerex are a very very good Traditional Heavy Metal band with a few metalcore leanings. they deliver a traditional metal sound ala Iron Maiden and Judas Priest only infused with a healthy dose of modern attitude and contemporary principles.
IX really does manage to showcase the band at their best, from their strong and varried songwritting, to their solid musicianship. This album pretty much has eveything that a metal fan could want from the NWoBHM feel of The Life Of Death, to the proto doom of Inferno, to the thrash leanings of Descent Of Angels and The Extremist, to the epic stylings of The Night Of Samhain and eventually the subtilties of Still The Wall Remains. Yet it all fits together perfectly.
Hamerex are a great exciting band and in IX they have a strong solid metal album that really show cases their talents.

Well worth checking out!

Rating 9/10

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Teenage Casket Comapny - Still Standing (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Trashpit Records

Track listing:

01 - Still Standing
02 - First Night Of Your Life
03 - (You Only Love Me) When You Hate Me
04 - Make It Through The Night
05 - Best Friend Is My Radio
06 - Dead In America
07 - Take A Little Time
08 - Without You
09 - Girl
10 - Kings Of The World

After a hiatus and lineup changes (Jamie Delerict leaving to form JD and the FDC's), various members becoming involved with other projects, (Rob Wylde playing bass in Tigertailz, Laney becoming involved with Black Molly's and Bulletboys) TCC return with a new album in the form of Still Standing, a rather apt title all things considered. To be honest, the break may have done the guys good, as I'm fairly confident in saying that Still Standing is the best and most accomplished thing that the band have released to date. The songs are as finely crafted as ever, and the performances top notch as you would expect, but the production really allows the songs to shine this time around, polished but not over polished if you know what I mean, capturing that raw stadium filling sound that these guys have always had, and its stadiums that they deserve to be filling too. this album has it all, from huge Def Leppard styled ballads like Make It Through The Night, To Fist Pumping fuck yous like Still Standing, Dead In America and Best Friend Is My Radio, to huge chorus driven Eureka Machines ESE tracks like First Night Of Your Life.
A great comeback album, and their best to date in my honest opinion!

Highly recommended

Rating - 10/10

SuperCharger - Wolf Tickets EP (2013)

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

Track listing:

01 - Pieces
02 - A Major (Headshake)
03 - Cartoon Smile
04 - Sceneshifter
05 - Hallelujah

UK Rockers SuperCharger unleash their latest EP upon the world and the follow up to the mighty Retox EP, in the form of Wolf Tickets. Five insanely intense and well crafted songs, delivered with the passion and heart that we have come to expect from Nick Parsons (ex Whatever / The Almighty) and the SuperCharger crew. To be honest dare I say that the songs on offer here may even drop a little of the usual SuperCharger fury and attitude and more than nod their heads a little in the direction of Whatever (Nick Parsons original band from way back in the nineties), which is no bad thing as I was a huge fan of their two albums and Ep! Pieces delivers a melodic fury and intensity that really sets the scene, quickly followed by A Major (Headshake), which slows things down a little, with its pop sensibilities. Two for two so far! Cartoon Smile follows, and this track really could be a Whatever track, awesome as it twists and turns. Radio friendly too! Definitely one of the standout tracks on offer here together with Hallelujah and A Major (Headshake). Sceneshifter picks up the pace again, another excellent track, whilst the Ep closes out with Hallelujah, a seven and half minute opus. Its been a long path for SuperCharger main man Nick Parsons, through Whatever, The Almighty, Runt and finally SuperCharger, but the quality of the music has never dropped. Wolf Tickets delivers further proof that SuperCharger are a great British band delivering quality music on a consistent level!
Very highly recommended!

Rating 10/10

Dregen - Dregen (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Spinefarm Records

Track listings:

01 - Divisions Of Me
02 - Just Like That
03 - Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road
04 - Gig Pig
05 - Pink Hearse
06 - Bad Situation
07 - One Man Army
08 - 6:10 (Feat Danko Jones)
09 - Refuse
10 - Mojo's Gone

Finally the Backyard Babies, Helicopters main man Dregen (also Michael Monroe), gets around to putting out his debut solo album, and by God what an album it is.
This album pretty much covers the Rock N Roll spectrum, from the driven statement of intent that is Divisions Of Me, to the poppy Just Like That, to the quirky Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road (hands down my favourite track, although Pink Hearse comes close!).
10 perfectly crafted tracks, performed to perfection!. Hell Dregen has so much faith in this album, as he rightly should, that he has quit Michael Monroe's band so that he can tour it!
There just simply isn't a bad song on here, but my personal favourites have to be, Flat Tyre.... Pink Hearse, Bad Situation and 6:10.

A really great album that is really worth checking out!

Rating 10/10

Falling Red - Empire Of The Damned (2013)

Genre - Hard Rock / Sleaze
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01 - Time To Rise
02 - The Devil You Know
03 - We Escaped A Cult
04 - Break Me
05 - Outcast
06 - Disposable
07 - Empire Of The Damned
08 - We Are Reckless
09 - No Sanctuary
10 - Lonely Way To Die
11 - Change For No One

UK rockers, Falling Red, return with their sophmore album and what an album it is! This time around the guys have opted to go down the Pledge Music route in order to record the follow up to their debut, Shake The Faith, and the great Ep, Hasta La Victoria Siempre, giving them complete creative freedom and full control of their destiny so to speak. And the result is not only a damn fine album, but also the best set of songs that the band have been involved in so far! Now I have to be honest here. I enjoyed Shake The Faith, but wasn't totally blown away by it, unlike Hasta La Victoria Siempre, which I thought was amazing, so I awaited Empire Of The Damned with baited breath, and the guys didn't disappoint! Altogether a more coherent album, Empire... has a harder edge and a larger injection of attitude than its predecessors. Opening with the moody and atmospheric Time To Rise, Falling Red set the scene for what is to follow. And that is an onslaught of six awesome tracks, (most destined to be live favourites!) in the form of The Devil You Know, We Escaped A Cult, Break Me, Outcast, Disposable and title track Empire.... We Are Reckless follows, a track that will be familiar to most fans as it was released over the Internet a few months back as a teaser for the album. Reckless proves to be the weakest track so far too,not because its a bad song, just that its not quite as strong as its predecessors, and that's eight songs in! The quiality soon picks back up again with No Sanctuary, which flows nicely into Lonely Way To Die. The album finished with another blast of high octane attitude in the form of Change For No One, a song with some great twists and turns. Emoire of The Damned is cram packed with great songs, performed by a band both at the writting and performing peak! Top that with a great production and Falling Red have managed to deliver a strong candidate for album of the year in the form of Empire Of The Damned!

Very highly reconmended

Rating - 10/10