Sunday, 20 August 2017

C.J. Wildheart - Blood (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Punk Rock
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:
01. Tea Leaf
02. Gutless
03. Lazybones
04. Beak
05. 50 Percent Indian
06. Tired Of Sex
07. Kiss It
08. Plastic Invasion
09. Itch
10. Lost In The Game

Wildhearts guitarist CJ Wildheart returns with his third full length solo release, and follow up to last years rather excellent release, 'Robot', in the form of 'Blood', and his musical evolution continues to develop. Gone are the bubble gum pop/punk melodies of his first post Wildhearts solo projects such as  Honeycrack and The Jelly's, in favour of the harder edged more riff based direction that began with 'Robot' and its predecessor 'Mable'. I have to say that 'Blood' is some of the most heavy and riff based (and dare I say intense?) material that CJ has put his name to outside of The Wildhearts to date. 'Blood' opens with 'Tea Leaf', a great track that would have sat well on 2014's 'Mable'. A few electronic samples mixed into some great riffs and CJ's instantly recognisable vocals fitting perfectly. Next up we have 'Gutless', a song driven along by some great intense riffs, and a song that would have sat well on any Wildhearts release. A great statement of intent, and brilliant indication of what is to follow. 'Lazybones' follows and continues to deliver on both the quality and intensity fronts. Another great riff too! 'Beak' is up next, a slightly more melodic and up tempo track than its predecessors, and a great song to showcase a slightly different side to CJ's song writing talent. '50 Percent Indian' marks the half way point to this great album, a great song with a great lyric throughout. Next up we have 'Tired of Sex' (surely that cant be true!). Here the keyboards are slightly more prominent, adding atmosphere to this songs fairly laid back feel. 'Kiss It' follows and is a short sharp blast based around a great riff with very few vocals.  'Plastic Invasion' sees things slow down a little and return to the type of blue print used throughout 2014's Mable album with electronic samples being mixed with some great guitar rhythms and riffs. The albums penultimate track is 'Itch' which follows a similar blue print to its predecessor, and seems to be a rather autobiographical track, concerning the career path the mighty Wildhearts. 'Lost In The Game' closes out the album, and is one of the best songs CJ has ever been involved with.
I have to say that 'Blood' is the best album so far from CJ's solo output. It truly has everything. Intensity, melody, riffs, great songs, brilliant production (once again courtesy of Dave Drapers magical ears!).
This is one album that you really do need to check out! 10 tracks that clock in at around the 33 minute mark, leaving you hungry for more!!

Rating: 10/10

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Spunk Volcano and the Eruptions - Not Wired Up Right (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Punk
Label - STP Records

Track listing:
01. Not Wired Up Right
02. Nobhead
03. Shutdown
04. Gatecrash
05. Fuck This For A Game Of Soldiers
06. Your The Bastard
07 . Out Of The Blue
08. Dementia Hurricane
09. Smack In The Teeth
10. Knuckledusters and Scars
11. Purely Medicinal

Following hot on the heels of their Ram Raid EP (released late March 2017) the imitable Spunk Volcano and the Eruptions return with their latest full length album in the form of Not Wired Up Right.
The album opens with the title track, 'Not Wired Up Right', an energetic blast of angst and aggression. The perfect start to any punk album! Next up we have 'Nobhead'. Here the tempo drops slightly, but not the quality as 'Nobhead' is a great slice of melodic punk rock n roll! 'Shutdown' follows and is yet another example of a finely crafted melodic punk track by Messrs Spunk and crew. 'Gatecrash' continue in much the same vein as its predecessor, following the well established Spunk Volcano formula. Next up we have the awesome, 'Fuck This For A Game Of Soldiers', a great slab of punk rock if ever there was one! Its also, in my opinion, one of the three tracks on the album that features "additional screaming" from one Mr Ginger Wildheart! (Non are actually listed in the CD artwork.)
'Your The Bastard' follows, a short sharp punk blast that sees the guys up the tempo once more before sliding into the brilliant 'Out Of The Blue'. 'Dementia Hurricane' is up next, and is as close as you are likely to get to a ballad, lol. 'Smack In The Teeth' is yet another great blast of angst and aggression. this is another of the tracks that I feel features the backing vocal talent of Ginger Wildheart in the shouty chorus'. the albums penultimate track comes in the form of 'Knuckledusters and Scars', which is yet another blast of pure punk aggression! Great tune too!!!
The album closes out with 'Purely Medicinal'. Here the guys change things up a little with a pretty much stripped back track featuring just a single guitar riff and vocal. A great song that showcases another side of the guys song writing skills.

Very Highly Recommended!!!

Rating: 10/10

RADIATION ROMEOS - Radiation Romeos (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music

Track listing:
01. Radiation Romeos
02. Ocean Drive
03. Bad Bad Company
04. Mystic Mountain
05. Like an Arrow
06. Promised Land
07. Castaways
08. Ghost Town
09. Til the End of Time
10. On the Tight Rope
11. Monstertraxx

RADIATION ROMEOS are a new band formed by amazing singer Parramore McCarty best known for being the frontman of such legendary US metal acts Warrior and famed Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens' solo project, Atomic Playboys.
Musically, "Radiation Romeos" moves in a classic melodic hard rock direction spiced in AOR with punchy edges thanks to the production of Michael Voss (Phantom 5, Casanova, Michael Schenker) who also contributed to the song writing.
All songs on "Radiation Romeos" move on melody and harmony, plenty of rhythm and rich rock groove with catchy refrains. Heyne (founder member of Doc Heyne) lays down some terrific solos throughout.
On the harder side of thing we found 'On The Tight Rope', 'Bad Bad Company' and the edgy 'Mystic Mountain'. Then 'Monstertraxx' is a song that brought from his former band of the same name, and you hear the band blurring the distinction between US metal and classic hard rock, and you may catch a subtle heavy bluesy groove underneath. All of this is balanced with catchy melodic / hard tunes as the title track with strong AOR waves on it, the semi-ballad / mid-tempo 'Like An Arrow' including very nice acoustics, or 'Ocean Drive', where light piano leads into a delicious AOR breeze with great atmospheres.
Another song of interest is 'Castaways' which offers something different inspired by '80s US melodic metal, built as an anthem beginning with a slick keyboard line, then moves into groove and muscular riffs plus a strong vocal arrangement.

A great debut album from a bunch of well seasoned musicians,

Well worth checking out!

Rating: 9/10

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Ferrymen - The Ferrymen (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music s.r.l

Track listing:

01. End Of The Road
02. Ferryman
03. Fool You All
04. Still Standing Up
05. Cry Wolf
06. One Heart
07. Darkest Hour
08. How The Story Ends
09. Enter Your Dream
10. Eyes On The Sky
11. Eternal Night
12. Welcome To My Show
13. One Heart (Acoustic Version)

The Ferrymen are a new project featuring guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), vocalist Ronnie Romero (Lords Of Black, Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow) and drummer Mike Terrana (Tarja, Axel Rudi Pell, Vision Divine). The songs for "The Ferrymen" were written by Karlsson in Sweden during the Summer of 2016, and apparently as soon as Romero heard the songs through their shared label he immediately wanting to become a part of the project. Mike Terrana coming on board just finalised the project.
Musically, you can expect maximum melodic stuff fusing the song writing and epic structures of the great Allen / Lande records (for which Magnus Karlsson was the main architect of the first three widely praised releases) with the Ronnie James Dio-esque vocal approach of Romero. (The main reason that he was recently selected by the legendary Ritchie Blackmore to front his latest incarnation of Richie Blackmore's Rainbow!)
The album kicks off with ‘End Of The Road,’ a fast-paced, classic melodic metal track with strong punchy riffs and vocals. The second track on the album, ‘Ferryman,’ has an anthemnic, stadium rock feel that crowds all over the globe will go wild for.
Then the softer ‘One Heart’ makes a nice change in dynamic to the album, and gives a fresh feel to the sound.  ‘The Darkest Hour,’ is an absolutely brilliant song, beginning with a  clock-like ticking that breaks into a fantastic drum section before Romero’s vocals to take over.
A beautiful keyboard introduction opens ‘Eternal Night,’ making for another of the standout tracks on the album, as it has a wonderful melodic and nostalgic feel which will undoubtedly remind you of listening to old Classic Rock albums from the good old days.
"The Ferrymen" is pure classic melodic metal / hard rock, and right up the street of any fan of the genre. There is no doubting the sheer talent of these three guys, with a stunning execution of each instrument performed plus a vibrant production.

Very very highly recommended!!

Rating: 10/10

Jorn - Life On Death Road (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Frontiers Music s.r.l

Track listing:

01. Life on Death Road
02. Hammered to the Cross (The Business)
03. Love Is the Remedy
04. Dreamwalker
05. Fire to the Sun
06. Insoluble Maze (Dreams in the Blindness)
07. I Walked Away
08. The Slippery Slope (Hangman’s Rope)
09. Devil You Can Drive
10. The Optimist
11. Man of the 80’s
12. Blackbirds

One of the greatest voices of heavy rock Jorn Lande returns with his latest album, and ninth altogether,  in the form of Life On Death Road. The album also marks the debut of a new line-up of very experienced and gifted musicians around the Norwegian singer. On bass is Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner, Kiske/Somerville) who needs virtually no introduction to metal fanatics.
On keyboards and production is Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Revolution Saints), who already joined JORN for the recording of his last covers album Heavy Rock Radio and was the glue that helped Jorn to create the feel and the direction for the new album.
Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear) is on drums and Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) handles guitar. Truly a recipe for a roaring success.
With tracks like “Love Is the Remedy,” “Man of the '80s,” title track “Life On Death Road,""Hammered To The Cross (The Business)" "Slippery Slope (Hangmans Rope)," and “Insoluble Maze,” which are some standouts on a damn near perfect record, this album is a definite must have, especially when they are combined with the anthems and ballads which come with "Dreamwalker" and more so with "The Optimist",. This truly is a bloody great album!

As any rock fan, Jorn Lande's vocals come across as part David Coverdale, part Ronnie James Dio (hence why he was invited to perform with Heaven and Hell at the Ronnie James Dio tribute a few years ago), and he manages to utilise that full range across the length and breadth of Life on death Road.
I have to say that the production of this album is absolutely fantastic thanks to Alessandro Del Vecchio, who has done an amazing job! The albums sound is clear yet punchy, a melding of hard rocking melodic metal, catchy songs that take pages from both bands Whitesnake and Dio while still sounding 100% like a Jorn album, combining it all into his shining moment of his career thus far.
Between his stellar vocals to the brilliantly memorable songs to the on-target performances, this album is one that will likely wind up on many Best Of Lists by the end of the year.

Very highly recommended!!!

Rating: 10/10

Wednesday 13 - Condolences (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Horror Rock / Industrial Rock / Horror Punk
Label - Nuclear Blast

Track listing:

01. Last Rites
02. What the Night Brings
03. Cadaverous
04. Blood Sick
05. Good Riddance
06. You Breathe, I Kill
07. Omen Amen
08. Cruel to You
09. Eulogy XIII
10. Prey for Me
11. Lonesome Road to Hell
12. Condolences
13. Death Infinity

Ok, for those unfamiliar with Wednesday 13 here's the bio:

"A grimly glamorous ghoul who first slithered from the cobwebbed shadows of Charlotte, North Carolina, in the early 90s, Wednesday 13 has firmly established himself as the world's premier purveyor of balls-out horror punk insanity. With a vivid and vile imagination that has endeared him to countless fans of riff-driven macabre over the last two decades, he has been one of rock's most prolific protagonists, spreading his credo of grave-robbing rock 'n' roll and Hallowe'en debauchery around the globe and unleashing a seemingly endless stream of blood-spattered albums and EPs. "All my favourite stuff, like Kiss and Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister, those guys set the bar pretty high," he states. "I always wanted to do something in the worlds of those bands. That's the blueprint." After several years of sharpening his creative teeth, Wednesday 13 emerged from the fetid crypt of obscurity with his band Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, before becoming a bona fide international rock star as frontman for the Murderdolls, his collaboration with Slipknot's Joey Jordison. The band took the world by storm, with Europe and the UK in particular succumbing to the feral charms of 2002 debut album, 'Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls'; a raucous eruption of big tunes and bad attitude that noisily redefined the horror punk genre. After Murderdolls went on an extended hiatus in 2004, Wednesday 13 embarked on a widely lauded solo career that again provided him with an outlet for his relentless outpouring of fiendish musical and lyrical ideas. Murderdolls reconvened in 2010 for the vicious 'Women And Children Last' album and another successful world tour before disappearing once more into the freezing midnight fog, leaving Wednesday to revive his solo career with a few thousand volts of wicked electricity and an acclaimed studio album, 'Calling All Corpses'. Frustrated with the arduous process of releasing his own music, our favourite black-hearted freak has thrown himself and his music into a whirling maelstrom of reinvention. The result is not just the heaviest and most authentically disturbing record of the great man's career but also a huge creative leap forward, neatly encapsulated by the new album's simple and direct title. In musical terms, Condolences showcases Wednesday's growing obsession with the world of heavy metal and its endless possibilities for exploring tales of horror and violence. Produced by renowned studio guru Zeuss, new songs like anthemic first single What The Night Brings and the pile-driving Blood Sick still exhibit a dash of B-movie weirdness and are full of Wednesday's trademark twisted lyrics, but where previous albums were rooted in the worlds of punk rock and glam metal, Condolences is a full-on modern metal record with gigantic balls and the attitude to match. From the glowering menace of Good Riddance to the grandiose hellishness of the album's 7-minute title track, it's living, breathing, murdering proof that the Wednesday 13 of 2017 means business. And business is mean.   "It's non-stop touring once the record comes out," Wednesday concludes. "We just did our first video for What The Night Brings and the visuals are really cool. I've incorporated a lot of stuff I've been doing live, like this devil character I've been transforming into at shows, and that got worked in. We're taking the music, the imagery and the entire stage show up a level. It's gonna be a full-on theatrical stage production, so I'll be busy as fuck on stage! I've been doing this shit for so many years, I started thinking 'How can I make this fun again?'

So after reading that I hope you have an idea of just what we are in for with Condolences, the artists eleventh release!

The album opens with the short instrumental, 'Last Rites' before launching into 'What The Night Brings', a good if rather subdued beginning to the album. 'Cadaverous' is up next, with riff that reminds my off something off of Killers Menace To Society album!  'Blood Sick'  follows, a more rounded atmospheric sounding track than its predecessor. 'Good Riddance' comes pounding along next, a classic Wednesday 13 track if ever there was one. 'You Breathe, I Kill' is a straight up Wednesday 13 rocker, from a stalkers point of view! 'Omen Amen' returns the feel of 'Cadaverous',
a great song with a sing along chorus! 'Cruel To You' slows the tempo a little, buts still not exactly a ballad, but it is quiet possibly the closest thing that Wednesday 13 will ever come to writing a pop song!
'Eulogy XIII' follows, a sort of industrial soundscape instrumental with selected samples. if this were a vinyl releases I guess this would be the opening track to side two of the album. 'Eulogy XIII' quickly gives way to 'Prey For Me', which once again has a bruising riff that could have been lifted from the aforementioned Killers album!
'Lonesome Road to Hell' is a rather melodic track that showcases another side to Wednesday's song writing.
The albums penultimate track also happens to be its title track, 'Condolences'. An atmospheric monster of a song. Absolutely brilliant! Haunting and brutal in equal parts!
The album closes out with 'Death Infinity', another atmospheric and haunting track that continues the theme and feel of its predecessor, only this time from the point of view of someone passing beyond the veil of death. A great song, and brilliant way to close out the album!

Condolences is a fantastic album that see's Wednesday 13 dropping much of the humour from their songs and therefore presenting a somewhat darker and colder vision to us all.

Well worth checking out!!

Rating: 10/10

Shadowman - Secrets and Lies (2017)

Genre - Melodic Rock / AOR
Label - Escape Music Ltd

Track listing:

01 - Gravity
02 - Automatic
03 - Put It All on Love
04 - Contagious
05 - Broken Bones
06 - Best Things in Life
07 - Face the Night
08 - No Smoke Without Fire
09 - Good Times, Bad Times
10 - Be True to Yourself
11 - Secrets and Lies
12 - Stand up and Be Counted

UK AOR super group SHADOWMAN return with the latest album, "Secrets and Lies", their first release in six years! Luckily for us the band personnel remains stable with members from FM (Steve Overland, vocals), Heartland (Steve Harris, guitar), and Thunder (Chris Childs and Harry James, bass and drums respectively).
Apart from the classic line-up, on this new effort Shadowman maintains its quality both in songwriting and production.
Basically and essentially, with "Secrets And Lies", you have five very talented veterans of the genre laying down some genuine and creative AOR / melodic rock. It's merely a fusion of their respective personal and professional experience from their respective bands.
Breaking this down a little more, Shadowman delivers the AOR / Melodic Rock essentials. Overland sings melodic and smooth, with a soulful sometimes bluesy delivery. He's backed up by harmonious vocal arrangements, mostly done by himself.
Melody and harmony, rhythm and groove, envelope every arrangement whether by those vocals, the guitar lines, or the touch of keyboard accent and atmosphere. The songs also turn on catchy hooks in composition, often the chorus, largely the melody. All these things are punctuated by Harris's solid and spicy straight up hard rock guitar solos.
'Gravity' and 'Automatic' are in the vein of the very first Shadowman record, there are the catchy rockers like 'Contagious', title track 'Secrets & Lies', the heavier 'No Smoke Without Fire', and the groovy 'Good Times Bad Times'. A song like 'Be True To Yourself' is an arena ready anthem, crunchy in the guitar line and soaring vocals. And lets not forget the ballads, 'Face The Night' and 'Put It All On Love', sugar coated AOR perfection.

"Secrets And Lies" is an album that brings together the sound and experience from all Shadowman's members, that being a mix of FM, Heartland and in lesser degree, Thunder.

Well worth checking out

Rating: 9/10

Danzig - Black Laden Crown (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Gothic Rock / Doom Metal
Label - AFM Records

Track listing:

01. Black Laden Crown
02. Eyes Ripping Fire
03. Devil On Hwy 9
04. Last Ride
05. The Witching Hour
06. But A Nightmare
07. Skulls & Daisies
08. Blackness Falls
09. Pull The Sun

Glenn Danzig returns with his latest studio album from his band Danzig in the form of Black Laden Crown. One of the first things to not is that this new album has a sound closer to the bands legendary first four albums than anything they have released in a very long time. The album opens with the creeping yet atmospheric title track. Whilst not the most instant or energetic track, it is definitely a grower, holding more and more fascination for the listener with each listen. Joining Glenn on this new album is former Ministry guitarist Tommy Victor, and this really shows in the quality of the riffs and song writing in general. A new depth if you will, which is most evident on tracks like 'Witching Hour' and 'Eyes Ripping Fire' which are  unlike anything Danzig has done before, and give the album a strong individual identity. The weakest track is oddly the track he chose to release as the lead single. 'Devil On Highway Nine', which although a bloody descent Danzig track by all means, it definitely has the weakest vocal, and weakest mix/production in the entire affair, although it is also one of the albums quickest tempo'd songs!

Black Laden Crown is a very welcome addition to the Danzig catalogue of work, and a big relief after the woeful vocals and quality of 'Skeletons' the recently released covers album.

Rating: 9/10

EZOO - Feeding The Beast (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - earMusic

Track listing:

01. You Are Your Wallet
02. The Flight of the Sapini
03. C'est la Vie
04. Guys from God
05. Feeding the Beast
06. Eyes of the World
07. Colder Than Cool
08. Too High to Be Falling
09. Motorbike
10. Since You Been Gone
11. Don't Look Back
12. Coda

EZOO is an exciting new project that see's to of hard rocks heavyweights combining forces to produce something completely new. Legendary lead vocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow / Alcatrazz / Graham Bonnet Band) teams up with renowned guitarist / songwriter / producer Dario Mollo (Crossbones / Mollo, Martin (with Tony Martin) / Voodoo Hill (with Glenn Hughes) / Noize Machine) to produce what has got to prove to be one of the best heavy rocks years of the year.
Drawing on the experience of these two rich Rock careers, the two leaders of EZOO obviously know how to craft a killer Hard Rock song or two.
The opening track is 'You are Your Wallet', a catchy, upbeat hard rocker, the perfect song to start the album. Mollo's riffs are to die for and Bonnet shines.
'C’est la Vie' is a killer, groovy heavy tune with lots of melody and superb solos, then the 'Guys from God' provides even more classic riffs and elaborated harmony vocal arrangements. Title track,  'Feeding the Beast', is a melodic song with strong guitar riffs, very much in the vein of Tony Martin solo album or track that might have appeared on one of the three Cage albums, with its different passages (some awesomely atmospheric) where Bonnet’s vocals are amazing.  'Motorbike', a punchy hard rocker plenty of magic, and Bonnet here simply kills. You would never know that he is almost in his 70's.
Also included on the album are two of Bonnet’s classic tracks he recorded with Rainbow; 'Eyes of the World', which is driven by a great rhythm, and the classic 'Since You Been Gone'. Here Mollo has provided his own musical spin to them, and Bonnet feels like fish in the water. His performance is as good in 2017 as he did in the originals.
Joining Bonnet and Mollo on this project are long time Mollo collaborators, Dario Patti, Guido Block (bass) and Roberto Gualdi (drums), and together they manage to pull off that real band sound, as opposed to just sounding like a studio project.

'Feeding The Beast' is a really strong album that more than surpasses an expectations a casual listener may have had prior to listening to it. Lets just hope that this doesn't turn out to be a one off project, because I would love to see what other magical gems these guys could come up with!

Rating: 10/10

Thursday, 20 April 2017

DEEP PURPLE - Infinite (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - earMUSIC

Track listing:
01. Time for Bedlam
02. Hip Boots
03. All I Got is You
04. One Night in Vegas
05. Get Me Outta Here
06. The Surprising
07. Johnny's Band
08. On Top of the World
09. Birds of Prey
10. Roadhouse Blues

British rock legends Deep Purple return with their latest release in the form of Infinite.
Starting out with the ‘quasi-religious computer voice’ of ‘Time For Bedlam’ you’re immediately plunged into recognisable ‘Purple’ territory, its all there from Gillan’s distinctive croon to the keyboard and guitar breaks that punctuate this swaggering rocker.
‘Hip Boots’ which follows is a rather direct bluesy rocker augmented by that distinctive Hammond sound. ‘All I Got It You’ is a track that manages to capture vintage sounds and past glories, then ‘One Night in Vegas’ has an assured, almost funky groove going on. ‘The Surprising’ is a dreamy, almost trancelike musing until two minutes in when the keys and drums fire up and we take a progressive ‘day trip’. ‘Johnny’s Band’ is more direct and guitar led, the tale of ‘Johnny Jones and his band’ and their rise to success and fall. ‘On Top of the World’, is another blues-infused story from Gillan, whilst ‘Birds of Prey’ has a little of the opener ‘Time For Bedlam’ about it, there’s that swagger, that vintage Deep Purple sound and fine performances by all.
The final word goes to a cover of the 47 year of ‘Roadhouse Blues’ by The Doors, it’s one of those landmarks songs, one of the greats in Rock’s pantheon and also one of those songs that’s deceptively simple in structure but so easy to get wrong. Deep Purple play it with a relatively straight bat, and seem to be having a lot of fun doing so. It’s a surprisingly great way to round out what has to be Purple’s finest hour in many a year.

Well worth checking out.

Rating: 9/10

Dirt Box Disco - Poppycock (2017)

Genre - Punk / Rock
Label - STP Records

Track listing:
01 - The Bullshit Kids
02 - Fingerblast
03 - Punk Rock Riot
04 - Little White Lie
05 - Working For Wankers
06 - Fat Kid
07 - Snorting Crack From A Girls Top Rack
08 - Lazy Bastard
09 - Slapdash And Haphazzard
10 - Geronimo
11 - Imaginary Friend
12 - Somethings Are Better Off Left Unsaid
13 - I Hate This City

The mighty Dirt Box Disco return with latest slab of unadulterated social commentary in the form of their latest album, Poppycock.
The album opens with "The Bullshit Kids", a song about certain elements of todays youth that is becoming more and more prevalent. Next up the album launches into "Fingerblast", a song about a woman's love of self pleasure! "Punk Rock Riot" follows and to be honest I think for me this is the weakest track on the entire album, although it will no doubt be lots of fun live . Things pick up again with "Little White Lie", almost a ballad without being a ballad, and a story with a moral to it!
the next song, "Working For Wankers", will ring true with many of us, and will I will no doubt be singing it to myself during my endless shifts at hells pit!
"Fat Kid" is rather cruel but still fun, "Snorting Crack..." whizzies by, before the excellent "Lazy Bastard" slows the pace down a little. A great song and we all know a person that fits the subject matter all too well!
"Slapdash and Haphazzard" is up next, a great song about that half arsed attitude that plagues elements of todays society, that just happens to have a little rock n roll feel to it. Next we have "Geronimo", a two minute blast about having a leap of faith. "Imaginary Friend" follows, a great song destined to become a dirt Box classic!
The albums penultimate track is the rather excellent "Somethings Are Better Left Unsaid", something that I have personally learnt all too well over the years!
The album closes out with "I Hate This City" which proves to be a real ska fest.

So there we have it, the latest slab of punk rock angst from Dirt Box Disco, thirteen tracks closcking in at thirty seven minutes long.

Well worth checking out as Dirt Box Disco are proving to be one the best English Punk bands around today!

Highly Recommended

Rating: 10/10

Spunk Volcano and the Eruptions - Ram Raid EP (2017)

Genre - Rock / Punk
Label - STP Records

Track listing:
01 - Ram Raid
02 - Stop Looking At Your Phone
03 - Hanging Around The Shops
04 - I Think Her Name Was Tracey?
05 - Snap Backbone

The indomitable Spunk Volcano and the Eruptions return with their latest slab of angst filled social commentary in the form of their Ram Raid EP.
The EP opens with the angst driven title track, a song that addresses the mind set of delinquent car thieves and boy racers. A great start. Next up we have the blistering "Stop Looking At Your Phone", which funnily enough address the modern day obsession people seem to have with their mobile phones. "Hanging Around The Shops" follows, addressing the problems of getting your fix of booze and fags when you are underage. Another great song forged in typical Spunk Volcano fashion. Next comes "I Think Her Name Was Tracey?"  another blistering angst filled track, discussing a poor girls life. The EP closes out with "Snap Backbone", which also happens to the EP's most melodic and commercial track. A song and a great closer for a five track EP that clocks in at just twelve minutes in length!

Check these guys out!

Rating: 10/10


Ginger Wildheart - Ghost In The Tanglewood (2017)

Genre - Rock / Country / Folk / Roots
Label - Pledge Music / Round Records

Track listing:
01 - The Daylight Hotel
02 - Paying It Forward
03 - Golden Tears
04 - Phantom Memories
05 - Minus You
06 - Remains
07 - The Words Are Gonna Have To Wait
08 - My Old Friend The Blues (Stevie Earle Cover)
09 - The Reaper
10 - Don't Say Goodbye

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11 - A Few Old Memories (Acapella) (Dolly Parton Cover)
12 - Has She Got A Friend For Me? (Richard and Linda Thompson Cover)
13 - I Could Have Cared For You

So here we have it folks, "Ghost In The Tanglewood", that album the Ginger Wildheart has promised and threatened to make since time began. In all seriousness Ginger has been hinting at this kind of album for years now, with the folksy Wildhearts classic, "Geordie In Wonderland", through the spoof country album World Of Filth, released under the pseudonym Howling Willy C##T, and through the Rootsy tracks that emerged as part of the tremendous G.A.S.S. project such as "Toxins & Tea", "Last day Of Summer", "The Pendine Incident" and "Cear Urfa". Now he delivers a full 10 track album of sublime heartfelt country / folk music
As Ginger himself puts it, "My fairly unavoidable accent means that the songs come off less Willie Nelson and more Bobby Thompson, but every lyric is purely heartfelt and every song is as true a story as you’ll ever hear in roots based music. This is Country music, played by a working class Geordie raised on Country and Northern Folk music. This stuff has always been in my blood since I was a wee nipper and it’s an honour to finally get to play it for you."
And what an album it is, sure it lacks the venom and attitude that has made some of Ginger's Wildhearts songs such classics, but here was have out favourite Geordie once again opening up his heart and bearing his soul in such a moving and tender way that you would have to be one cold hearted mutherpuger not to be moved, especially with the way in which the albums closing track, "Don't Say Goodbye" tugs at the old heart strings. The album really does run the full range of emotions, with songs such as "Golden Tears" and "Paying It Forward" giving hope and imploring faith and "Minus You" and "The Words Are Gonna Have To Wait" and the aforementioned "Don't Say Goodbye" giving glimpses of Ginger's more fragile side, together with the honest genius of "The Reaper". Plus Gingers cover of the Stevie Earle classic, "My Old Friend The Blues" is simply sublime!
This really is an album that needs to be digested and absorbed. Quite possibly Gingers crowning glory that tops off his long, long list of song writing achievements.

I have included three bonus tracks in the track listing that do not appear on the album proper, primarily because they were recorded as part of the albums sessions and are available through the albums pledge campaign, but also because they are great songs. The three part acapella harmonies of "A Few Old Memories", the melancholy bleakness of "Has She Got A Friend For Me" and the pure brilliance of "I Could Have Cared For You". All worth having and adding to any Ginger fans collection.

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons - Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons EP (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Motörhead Music

Track listing:
01 - Big Mouth
02 - Spiders
03 - Take Aim
04 - No Turning Back
05 - Life In Space

Legendary Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell returns with a brand new project,
PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS (formerly PHIL CAMPBELL'S ALL STARR BAND), the band featuring MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell alongside his sons Todd, Dane and Tyla, plus vocalist Neil Starr, and a brand spanking new debut EP!
Delivering a raw riff driven hard rock, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons play just the kind of music that you would expect from a project that features the Motorhead riffmeister Phil Campbell.
Whether it's the speedy biker-charged refrain of "No Turning Back", the crunchy catchy jump of "Big Mouth" or the beautiful-yet-bombastic balladry of "Life In Space", "Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons" brings uniquely organic life and verve to every last riff and stomp.

Great fun Ep, kind of reminds you of what good old fashioned rock n roll used to be all about!

Check it out!

Rating: - 9/10

The Scaramanga Six - As We Take The Stage (Single) (2017)

Genre - Rock / Alternative
Label - Self Released / Bandcamp

Track listing:
01 - As We Take The Stage (Parts 1 and 2)
02 - Owned

The mighty Scaramanga Six return with a taster for their forth coming new studio album (Pledge campaign to be launched soon), in the form of a two track digital single available through the bands bandcamp page.

The first track, 'As We Take The Stage' is driven along by some thunderous drums, some very tribal and organic rhythm patterns, with slight detours into a western feel. Love it!
The second track, 'Owned' has a darker more sci-fi feel to it as it begins, before blossoming into a great moody monster of a track.

If these are signs of what to expect from the bands new album then personally I simply can not wait to hear it!

Rating: - 10/10

Thunder - Broken Mirror EP (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - Ear-Music

Track listing:

01 - Fire On The Mountain
02 - Blue Eyed Girl
03 - Beyond The Stars
04 - I Will Return

Released exclusively through the bands website, Thunder's Broken Mirror EP is a four track affair set to accompany their brand spanking new album, Rip It Up.
Broken Mirror consists of four tracks that were written and recorded as part of the Rip It Up sessions, and to be honest, any one of them could have quite easily made the album.

The EP opens with the excellent 'Fire On The Mountain', that just has classic Thunder stamped all over it. Next up we have 'Blue Eyed Girl' a great fun little acoustic driven track with a southern blues flavour to it. 'Beyond The Stars' follows, a beautiful power ballad. 'I Will Return' closes out this four track EP, a melodic track. Another slab of genius.

Broken Mirror makes a fine addition to the Thunder back catalogue, with each of the tracks easily being more than good enough to qualify inclusion of the album proper.

Highly recommended!

Rating: - 10/10

Thunder - Rip It Up (2017)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Label - ear-music

Track listing:
01 - No One Gets Out Alive
02 - Rip It Up
03 - She Likes the Cocaine
04 - Right from the Start
05 - Shakedown
06 - Heartbreak Hurricane
07 - In Another Life
08 - The Chosen One
09 - The Enemy Inside
10 - Tumbling Down
11 - There's Always a Loser

Earlier this month British classic rock stalwarts Thunder returned with their eleventh studio album. Now I have always been a big fan of Thunder, and I can honestly say that I do not believe that they guys have ever put out a bad album. Sure some have been less instant than others, but the songs are performances have always been of the highest quality, and hey every now again they guys hit the magical chemistry a release albums that have that little special something, a certain energy and magic that makes them stand out. I'm talking their classic debut, Backstreet Symphony and Robert Johnsons Tombstone. Well guess what, I think that they have only gone a done it again with Rip It Up!
Once again the album is built around the twin pillars of Luke Morley’s songs and vocalist Danny Bowes interpretive ability, as the duo soar above the rock solid rhythm section of Chris Childs and Harry James, while Ben Matthews gives the band additional sonic armoury.
The album opens with 'No One Gets Out Alive', a statement of intent built in the classic Thunder mould, setting out the stall for what is to follow. Title track 'Rip It Up' is up next, with its plodding classic rock riff that breaks down into a great sing along chorus. 'She Likes Cocaine' follows proving to be a right ripsnorter of a track before the semi-ballad ‘Right From The Start’ take the pace down a little, yet manages to turn up the intensity. 'Shakedown' sees the guys picking up the pace once again with another ripper of a track. 'Heartbreak Hurricane' follows, and is one of my personal favourite tracks from this album, if not from the bands entire back catalogue! 'In Another Life' is a great soulful bluesy work out, really showcasing Danny's marvellous voice.
The albums gathers pace with 'The Chosen One', which proves to be yet another great little rocker! 'The Enemy Inside' follows, upon which Morley delivers some clever some oxymoronic wordplay in the lyrics, while he adds a Who style power chord intro and an accompanying Led Zeppelin riff to the stonking 'Tumbling Down'. Yet two more great classic rock tracks! The album closes out with the stylish blues-tinged melancholia of ‘There’s Always A Loser’, completing one of the best and most rounded albums that I have heard in many a year.

Do yourselves a favour and go out and grab a copy of this brilliant album. I sincerely doubt that a better classic rock album will be released this year, possibly even this decade!

Rating: - 10/10

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