Sunday, 8 September 2019

New Videeo Released: Steve Blower: Ties That Bind (Official Music Video)

Review: The Wildhearts - Diagnosis EP (2019)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Graphite Records

Track listing:
01. Diagnosis
02. God Damn
03. A Song About Drinking
04. The First Time
05. That's My Girl

Earlier this year the mighty Wildhearts made a triumphant comeback, after a decade away from the studio, with what is already proving to be one of the best album releases of 2019, Renaissance Men. This EP's lead track Diagnosis, is taken from that aforementioned album, and to be honest was one of the albums strongest and dare I say immediate tracks, definitely one of my favourites anyway. with its slow intro of great melodic riff and guitar feedback, before bursting into life with its venomous lyrical dissection of the medical professions attitude to mental health. A truly great song that has a lyrical theme close to my heart. Next up we have God Damn, the first of five new tracks recorded especially for this EP's release. God Damn slams itself into life with a great riff before the rather melodic vocals kick in for the verse, which feature CJ's vocals rather high in the mix, bringing to mind Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed era. The song packs so much attitude and aggression yet remains melodic but heavy) before going off on some great riff journeys ala the Wildhearts of the old days. A great song that should be a bloody blast live. Next up we have a song with a rather self explanatory title, in A Song About Drinking. This tracks opens with some blistering drums from Rich Battersby. A fast paced punk blast that only really slows down for the chorus. Brilliant. Next up we have The First Time. A great and rather typical Wildhearts track, possibly destined to be a classic where Ginger and co are celebrating their Renaissance and new lease of life. A heavy but melodic track that only the Wildhearts know how to deliver! That's My Girl follows, another punk infused rocker, that I can see Danny having heavy involvement in. A great song that brings to mind songs like Dancin' some of the more rock n roll leaning tracks. Would have made a great Yo Yos or Main Gains track too! Simple yet effective. Great fun song that pays tribute to someone girl!  The EP closes out with LOCAC, Now this track would have been right at home on the Wildhearts divisive and controversial Endless Nameless album or even one of Gingers Mutation projects albums. A great song, full of aggressive vocals and guitar riffs. 
This EP really does manage to showcase almost every side of the band, with each track reflecting something just a little different, yet the Wildhearts classic sound holding it all together seamlessly.

A great EP and together with Renaissance Men welcome additions to one of the worlds most underrated bands catalogue proving there is still life in this band even after all of these years!

God Bless The Wildhearts!

Buy IT!!!!!!!

Rating: 10/10


Review: Promethium - Revisions (2019)

Genre - Heavy Metal / Acoustic
Label - Load4 Records

Track listing:
01. Tribute To The Fallen
02. Shellshock
03. Enemies Of Fate
04. Nothing
05. 20.21.15
06. Visions
07. Murder Inc.
08. Crashing Down Pt2. Reflections
09. Rain
10. Sons Revenge

Revisions is the forth album released by Promethium, a ten track affair that features acoustic re-interpretations of tracks from Promethium's first three studio albums. Guitarist Daniel Lovett-Horn explains just how this album came into existence:
"In 2017 we were asked to play an acoustic slot at SOS Festival and without hesitation we said yes. Little did we know that sometimes not everything works acoustically and it isn't as easy as you think? However, after quickly realising that, we re-arranged a few tracks, played a gig and had a blast. So much so that everyone who saw the set were keen to know when we would be making an acoustic CD. What you're holding here are the re-workings of songs from our first three albums as well as a new track that never quite made 'Welcome To The Institution'. Its live, it's raw and it's Promethium"

But how does it sound?
Well to be honest, bloody good! By stripping these songs back to acoustic versions it allows their subtleties to shine through, never more so than on Visions, which features a guest vocal from Hannah Morris. Personally I love Promethium's full blown metal grandeur, but this acoustic album showcases not only another side of the band but also of the songs themselves.

Do yourselves a favour and check this album and band out!

Rating: 9/10

Review - Steve Blower - Back In Hell (2019)

Genre - Heavy Metal
Label - TBC

Track listing:
01. Back In Hell
02. The Whisperer
03. What's Left Of Me
04. The Prophet
05. Arabian Nights
06. Out of This World
07. The Midas Touch
08. Twisted Evolution
09. The Slain / Ties That Bind
10. Haunting Misery
11. The World Is Ablaze

Back In Hell is the debut solo album from Hamerex guitarist / vocalist Steve Blower featuring eleven tracks (approx. 53 minutes) of good old fashioned classic traditional metal. Initially beginning life as a six track min album titled Facilis Descenus Averno, it quickly evolved into a full length album with updated and improved recording equipment and time. Steve plays all of the instruments on this album as well as writing all of the songs and co-mixing the finished product with Andy Firth. But what does it sound like you ask?

The album opens with the title track, Back In Hell, with its instant classic metal riff and Iron Maiden / Judas Priest-esque like lead vocals., giving it a great traditional metal / nwobhm feel. Great start. The Whisperer follows, with its ever so slightly quicker pace, yet more melodic riffs. another great song. Whats Left Of Me is up next, with its speed metal leanings, and the strongest vocal delivery so far on the album. this song just grows and grows. Definitely one of the albums high lights, as is the next track, The Prophet. this track has a darker feel to it, but again it just grows and grows, with some great riff and a killer solo. Also once again a great vocal on this one. Next we have a trinity of instrumental tracks, the first being the Wasp-esque  Arabian Nights (think the song War Cry!), then the early Iron Maiden esque Out Of This World, before the heavier The Midas Touch, which I have to say is my favourite of the three instrumentals. Twisted Evolution is up next, dark and atmospheric, with its heavy brooding guitar riffs. Another album highlight for me. The Slain / Ties That Bind opens with a sinister heartbeat and poignant riff. The vocals paint a very clear and explicit picture. This is a very visual track, almost alarmingly so. The track moves into faster and heavier territory with some Dickinson-esque vocals. A Brilliant track! The albums penultimate track is Haunting Misery, another traditional metal jaunt before The World Is Ablaze closes out the album, another strong track with a Judas Priest-esque feel to it. 
Overall Back In Hell is a great strong solo effort that effectively showcases Steve's un-doubted talents as both a writer and multi instrumentalist, but I would dare to say could have benefited from more of a band involvement, which I believe would have developed the songs even further.

Rating: 8/10

Review: Black Star Riders - Another State Of Grace (2019)

Genre - Hard Rock
Label - Nuclear Blast

Track listing:
01 – Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down
02 – Another State Of Grace
03 – Ain’t The End Of The World
04 – Underneath the Afterglow
05 – Soldier in the Ghetto
06 – Why Do You Love Your Guns?
07 – Standing in the Line of Fire
08 – What Will It Take?
09 – In the Shadow of the War Machine
10 – Poisoned Heart

This review contains many elements of another review, not written by myself, as I whole heartedly agree with what was written, with a few added elements of my own. All credit to the original reviewer.

“Another State Of Grace” is the fourth studio album by UK / American rockers BLACK STAR RIDERS. I expect that any band who has put out three quite exceptional slabs of hard rock, and losses a key founding member in the form of one Damon Johnson, is always under pressure to come up with the goods and edge that last release to keep the fire burning and the fan base growing, but this fourth outing has another feel altogether – it’s an album that at once seems effortless, comfortable and one which is destined to become a classic.

It can’t be easy being Black Star Riders. On the one hand, most sane people were delighted when an acceptable incarnation of THIN LIZZY mutated into its own entity and started to make records that complemented, rather than added to, the legacy of guitarist Scott Gorham’s legendary former band.
On the other, the task of persuading people that the band can stand apart from the Lizzy catalogue and still rally the troops was never going to be an easy one.
That this multinational crew have reached their fourth album with credibility and momentum intact speaks volumes about the spirit behind the whole thing. The joy of this ongoing collaboration has long been how natural, unpretentious and honest it all sounds, and “Another State of Grace” could hardly be any more at ease with its place in the world.

After listening to opening track “Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down”, which does evoke some of the most melodic and memorable moments of Thin Lizzy’s back catalogue, especially when that sax kicks in, you know you have hit on something rather special. There is definitely a grittiness and rugged swagger to the sound of this new album that instantly makes it more engaging than its predecessors.
Vocalist Ricky Warwick is still doing the world’s best Phil Lynott impression, of course (and no, he didn’t sound like that when he was fronting The Almighty), but he delivers every line with such conviction and gruff charm that it’s hard not to wonder exactly what anyone could complain about.
In the absence of the real Thin Lizzy, for reasons that should be abundantly clear, this is still as close as we’re going to get.
The even better news is that the majority of these songs are good enough to take the weight.

The build and Celtic drum-fuelled thrust of title track “Another State of Grace” is quite exceptional. It’s a hard rocker which sits wonderfully well in a long tradition of songs that old Lizzy fans will be well familiar with. Indeed it’s that classic sound that feels so real here on this collection, like the patina of time has sat on these songs for years. Now that, believe me is a real art.

“Ain’t the End of the World” is a balls-out rocker, Gorham’s euphoric presence underpinning Warwick’s fiery vocal. A highlight with a great hook, wonderful guitars: it has it all. It’s backed by another great – ‘Underneath the Afterglow’ has a harder edge that will bring a smile to your face, riff driven and rocking it was the last song written for the album with music composed by Gorham and nephew Jesse Siebenberg (son of former Supertramp drummer Bob) with a gem of a lyric by Warwick.
“Underneath The Afterglow” is darker and gnarlier, metallic shades adding muscle to a blissfully restrained melody, while “Soldier in the Ghetto” is lithe power-pop with rippling Hammonds, very classic rock at its core.

“Standing In The Line Of Fire” is another high-energy rocker with a wonderfully screaming solo from Gorham. It really rocks.
“What Will it Take” is yet another pointer that Black Star Riders are revelling in not being considered merely an offshoot of Thin Lizzy but are a real band in their own right. This is a song that should underline that to those late to that conclusion as it dips its toes in what some might see as Americana, something Warwick has done a few times on his solo material. It’s quite possibly the most enigmatic song here as interestingly it still sports all of the traditional elements like the twin guitar attack, but it’s done via a completely new set of eyes. It also features a shared lead vocal as Warwick teams up with Pearl Aday.

A special mention has to go to “Why Do You Love Your Guns?” This a blunt and heartfelt honest lyric from Warwick, which obviously touches on a subject that is close to his heart. It sends shivers down the listener’s spine and leaves you with that Goose Bump feeling. Hats off to the guys for tackling such a sensitive and potentially volatile subject!

The album closes with a pair of winners: “In the Shadow of the War Machine” is another interesting slant on the straight hard rock side, though rock it does, and ending with and the roots rock strut of “Poisoned Heart” – which has a beating heart made to fill stadiums – the Black Star Riders fourth trip down the rock ‘n’ roll highway is easily their best yet.

“Another State Of Grace” was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Jay Ruston, who mixed ‘The Killer Instinct’ and ‘Heavy Fire’ and it sounds great. The result is in my opinion very much the most consistent and complete Black Star Riders so far.
We might all secretly want them to keep playing tons of Thin Lizzy songs live, but their own material has more than enough charm, class and power of its own.
One of the best Classic Rock albums of the year so far, and a serious contender for the big prize.

This a great album, potentially one of the best classics rock albums that will be released in 2019, and is therefore well worth checking out.

Rating: 9/10

Review: Baby Scream - Things You Can Say To A Stranger EP (2019)

Genre - Power pop / Rock
Label - Self Released.

Track listing:
01. Aching Life
02. Fake It 'Til You Make It
03. Roundabouts
04. Live While You Can
05. Somebody Kill Me Now

Ok, so I have to admit to feeling rather guilty about this one. Juan Pablo Mazzola sent me this EP late last year, as it was released and has therefore been available since the beginning of this year!. Ohh well better late than never I guess, but to Juan, I am so sorry that this has taken so long!

Now to the EP. Baby Scream return with their latest EP in the form of Things You Can Say To A Stranger, a great little five track slice of power pop heaven. To be fair Baby Scream seem to have become a one man band as of recent years with Juan Pablo Mazzola handling everything from the song writing, all instruments and production duties, as well as publicity and marketing, along with his various other projects, but the quality has always remained extremely high, as can be heard here.
The EP opens with Aching Life, a mellow, melancholic affair. A great vocal line and some really subtle keyboards / strings backing up  a great acoustic guitar and piano track. Great track. Up next we have Fake It Til  You Make It. this track has a slightly more stripped back feel to it, and a slightly more venomous vocal delivery. Another great song. Roundabouts follows, another great laidback mellow track. The energy and dare I say attitude picks up a little on Live While You Can, which for some reason reminds me of late 70's Alice Cooper in places, only with Baby Screams classic sound of power pop guitars. I really love this song. The EP closes with Somebody Kill Me Now, a sentiment I can totally relate to at the moment with all of this continuous Brexit drama going on here in the UK. The song itself is probably the most up-tempo track on the EP, a great song that blends some great Guitar leads with a great honest vocal some what similar to The Rembrandts.

Things You Can Say To A Stranger is a great addition to the Baby Scream catalogue, a band who are still grossly under-rated.

Buy It!!

Rating: 10/10

Monday, 26 August 2019

News: THE WILDHEARTS To Release 'Diagnosis' Mini-Album

THE WILDHEARTS To Release 'Diagnosis' Mini-Album: THE WILDHEARTS will release the 'Diagnosis' mini-album on October 4 through Graphite Records. 

This six-track effort features five brand new songs and is released as a limited-edition special white vinyl with pale blue powder splatter 10-inch (to look like a pill) and as a regular black vinyl 10-inch and CD. All three physical formats will also include an exclusive bespoke inner gatefold comic strip illustrated by the award-winning Hunt Emerson, who last worked with the band on the "Earth Vs" cover and their classic logo.

"Diagnosis" follows the success of "Renaissance Men", THE WILDHEARTS' first full-length studio album in 10 years, which gave the band's classic lineup of Ginger, CJ, Ritchie and Danny their highest chart entry since 1994's "P.H.U.Q.", when it debuted at No. 11.

To coincide with the "Diagnosis" announcement, THE WILDHEARTS have unveiled a new video for "Renaissance Men".

Says C.J Wildheart: "Well, fuck me, we dropped our first new album in 10 years back in May and blow me down if we didn't drop a humdinger of an album full of monster riffs and razor-sweet melodies. Well, we've not only gone back in to the studio to record five new songs that will be released as the 'Diagnosis' mini-album in October, we're hitting the road too. We have some great supports confirmed already, THE PROFESSIONALS and JANUS STARK, and I know there are some other amazing bands to be added to the rest of the tour.

"You're going to love the new mini album and the surprises we have on there and the tour is going to be one you should not miss. You can't keep a good band down."

Added Ginger Wildheart: "The lead track 'Diagnosis' is about mental health institutions and the medical health profession in this country, and about how it's letting people down. How the system is broken, and how the suicide rate is not getting any less.

"Depression and mental illness isn't an issue that attacks any one type of person. Whether you're homeless or if you're rich, this illness is taking people out on a regular basis. The government has pulled most of the funding into mental health research, and as a result people are still ignorant about it.

"Education is everything. And the more people talk about depression, the more need there'll be for education, and the more people will want educating about an issue that doesn't just affect the people suffering from it, but it affects everyone around them. And when someone is in a desperate position and their hope is taken away, then they're at the mercy of an illness that wants them dead. There's nothing more important in the world than education on mental health issues."

"Diagnosis" track listing:

01. Diagnosis
02. God Damn
03. A Song About Drinking
04. The First Time
05. That's My Girl

Review: Ginger Wildheart - Headzapoppin' (2019)

Genre - Hard Rock / Pop
Label - Round Records

Track listing:
01. Meet My Killer
02. Catch That Stranger
03. Saturday Matinee
04. Yorvik (My Hood)
05. Love Is
06. As Theodos Spoke
07. Boxes
08. The Answer Is Yes
09. Poundcoins & Kitchen Roll
10. Zap.

So it was little over a week ago that Ginger Wildheart started teasing the release of a new album, then bang, there it is titled Headzapoppin,  available to pre-order straight away through the Round Records website. The 10 track album will be released later this year, but those buying it now will get an instant digital download. Now that has to be the perfect way to get your Ginger fix on! Well as I have been a huge fan of both Ginger and The Wildhearts since around 1992 and the controversial Mondo Akimbo EP how could I resist? So what's the album all about? Well I will let Ginger explain that himself, 

Ginger says: “Writing music is a form of therapy for me. It keeps my mind occupied and ensures that I live in the moment.
“This album is a collection of songs written while walking my dog Maggie on early mornings with very few people around and tons of ideas not suited to either The Wildhearts or my more rootsy solo albums.
“I figured if this album merely pays for itself, through a modest amount being actually available, then my work was worth it, and I subsequently will try to release one of these mixed packages every year. 
“As of now, before anyone has heard this grab-bag of brain zaps, I have no idea if people are going to love this collection of musical mutts or hate it.
“My work here is done for now. Next stop, your ears. Wish me luck.”

The best way to describe the overall sound of Headzapoppin is that is more akin to Gingers solo out- put prior too his Ghost In The Tanglewood and Pessimists Companion albums. Giving the fans of Gingers work such as Valor, Yoni, Market Harbour, 555%, Albion and GASS a much needed fix, after his recent change in musical direction where he has been following a more rootsy musical path. The album opens with the excellent Meet My Killer. A great riff that drops into some almost ethereal vocal melodies, and a great chorus hook line! A great start to any album! Catch That Stranger follows, opening with a great melodic vocal melody before breaking down into a great guitar driven track that wouldn't have sounded out of place on either the Valor Del Corazon or Yoni albums. The refrain just before the chorus also brings to mind Gingers Mutation project or even the Wildhearts glorious Endless Nameless era for a brief moment, before the melody of the chorus kicks back in. A great song!
Up next we have the simply beautiful and melodic Saturday Matinee. A wonderfully soft track that I could have imagined easily worked into something that would have fitted onto Gingers more rootsy Ghost in the Tanglewood or Pessimists Companion albums. Once again a great song with some great heartfelt and honest lyrics too! Next we have Yorvik (My Hood). The song opens with a great bass line which leads into a little ditty where Ginger regales us with a description of his neighbourhood. Once again a great song that instantly worms its way into your brain. Love Is follows, a great song with a darkish moody feeling, in which Ginger describes his views on love, both the good and not so good points in a way that only Ginger can. A ballad of sorts I guess, a fantastic atmospheric and moody song none the less. As Theodos Spoke is strange little number. Opening with guitar feedback and a stomping bass line before Ginger slightly distorted vocals kick in. The song feels like its constantly building towards the chorus section. The best way that I can describe this track is imagine a cross somewhere between How I Won the Punk Wars from the 555% sessions and Gingers Mutation projects Frankenstein Effect. Boxes is a great little melodic rocker with tons of pop sensibilities thrown in. Next we have The Answer Is Yes, yet another great melodic song that could have been a great Hey Hello track in my opinion. A great singalong chorus and some atmospheric guitar arrangements. Love it. The albums penultimate track, Pound coins and Kitchen Roll has to feature some of the most down to earth introspective and honest lyrics ever written! Once again a lovely simple melodic song that just works so well. The album closes out with Zap. The track opens with a great single guitar riff, with Ginger singing over it, before more guitars kick in and the song explodes into life. Once again the lyrics are brilliantly honest and down to earth!.
A great way to close out any album.
As previously stated Headzapoppin provides a much needed fix, after his recent change in musical direction where he has been following a more rootsy musical path.

Rating: 10/10.

Pre-order this great album here!

And finally we are back!

Soooo, after an extended absence of over 12 months we are finally breathing life back into this old blog, largely thanks to a certain Mr Ginger Wildheart, whom together with the Wildhearts have / are about to, unleashed an avalanche of great music upon us this year, but more on all of the in later posts.
Again I cant promise just how frequently reviews are going to be posted, but please rest assured that they will be posted!

Well thank you all for checking this little blog out and I hope that I can help point you in the direction of some great music!