Eleven Seven Music
‘Resilience’ is the fifth studio album from Texan hard rockers Drowning Pool. This release welcomes new lead vocalist Jasen Moreno. Moreno is the third frontman the band has recruited since the death of their original lead singer – Dave Williams – in 2002. On the very first listen to ‘Resilience’ it is easy to hear why Drowning Pool chose Moreno; his vocal range allows the band to revisit a sound closer to their beginnings yet keep things fresh.
The attention grabbing opening number ‘Anytime Anyplace’ pummels through the speakers, forceful and angry. It certainly does its job. All fired up, ‘Die For Nothing’ continues the momentum. Not about to calm things down, the confrontational ‘One Finger And A Fist’ is an fiery, fist pounding anthem. The rebellious energy doesn’t end there; musically this album is possibly Drowning Pool’s most powerful release in years.
Changing the vibe they throw in a party track– ‘Saturday Night’. The latter contains throw-away pop sensibilities and includes a repetitive chorus guaranteed to generate sing-alongs during the live setting. Further in, the brilliant ‘Life Of Misery’ doesn’t hold back, belligerent and unrelenting this song is among the highlights on the album.
The overall verdict: Moreno’s arrival has clearly breathed a new lease of life into the band. ‘Resilience’ signals a new and exciting chapter in the band’s career and will most certainly take Drowning Pool to a wider audience.
‘Resilience’ is available April 8th 2013
Jarinus Rhymes With Vaginus
Review by ROB LANE
You gotta realise that ‘Jarinus Rhymes With Vaginus’ is two of my favourite musicians, (Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Reddick and his song writing producer ‘boo’ Linus Dotson) creating their own Comedy Metal album - It’s not gonna suck. Stop reading now if you’re not on board for this landmark, over the top, chuckle-fest.
Comedy Rock runs a very fine line. The usual, dumb, question aimed squarely at music of this kind is ‘Are these guys serious?’ Yes, they’re serious, serious at being funny! It’s almost an alien concept to some people when artists genuinely do things which are fun and set out to make people laugh. It seems fine for stand-up comedians and actors, but when it comes to musicians it’s often frowned upon. There’s also the requirement of needing talent to make it work well which Reddick and Dotson have in huge quantity. It’s maybe the most ridiculous of songs which give the best results. Whether it be the absolute bizarre subject matter of ‘Farting at Staples’, ‘DVB’ or the album’s most genius creation, ‘The Morrissey Song’, which may be one of the greatest observational songs put to tape, the album runs the most outrageous and unpredictable track list you’re ever likely to hear in its shred induced thirty five minutes. Equal parts metal, 100% fun, surreally educational and yet, at times, surprisingly British!
It’s all bathed in the slickest of production which has become a trademark of the duo’s partnership which is mirrored with brilliantly played out spoken interludes making it feel like you’re in the studio watching the madness come alive. Even Diamond Dave during ‘Fair Warning’ sessions would be proud of this chaos.
Everyone needs a little Jarinus in their lives. You’ll feel better for the education.
‘Jarinus Rhymes With Vaginus’ is available now, it’s on your list!
Live! - DVD
Zuma Rock / earMUSIC
When a British rock band going by the name of Bush released their debut album ‘Sixteen Stone’ in 1994, they took the US by storm. The band’s instant success saw them turn into multi-platinum selling stars and they were headlining arenas stateside in no time. Although they were never able to create that level of success in their home country, Bush was undoubtedly among the biggest selling rock groups of the nineties.
Less than a year after the release of their fourth studio album, 2001’s ‘Golden State’, the band quietly parted ways.
Filmed at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon (USA), back in 2011 during the band’s come-back tour, ‘Live!’ is Bush’s first full length concert release. The trouble with recording live shows for viewing pleasure is the inability to capture the intensity and atmosphere you get when you actually attend a show, as this DVD demonstrates.
The set list covers a great selection of old favourites, including: ‘Greedy Fly’, ‘Everything Zen’, ‘The Chemicals Between Us’ and ‘Machinehead’. These songs still get the crowd going and are as relevant today as they were all those years ago.
Aside from the concert, ‘Live!’ contains music videos for ‘The Sound Of Winter’ and ‘Baby Come Home’, as well as a five song unplugged performance. The intimate roof top performance at tape.tv includes a stunning stripped back rendition of ‘Little Things’.
‘Live!’ is available March 4th 2013
(Red Bull Records)
Produced by John Feldmann (The Used, Papa Roach), ‘Filthy Empire’ is an explosion of energy. Opening number ‘Welcome Home’ is the first of many rock ‘n’ roll anthems; it’s raw, it’s loud and it’s in-your-face. Attention grabbed.
Now they’ve started Heaven’s Basement do not plan to let go. The brilliant ‘Fire, Fire’ pulverizes its way in to your head with its insanely catchy chorus and intensity. Songs such as the blistering ‘Nothing Left To Lose’, ‘The Long Goodbye’ and ‘Can’t Let Go’ are a bit more polished musically. Once again they contain anthemic choruses and big guitar riffs; it’s a concoction which features heavily on this album. ‘Filthy Empire’ contains plenty of big choruses - the kind of choruses you’ll find just too irresistible not to sing along to.
‘Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch’ and ‘Jump Back’ embrace the bluesy vibe of the 70s and the ballsy rock attitude of the 80s and pull them into the 21st Century. Slowing things down slightly with the ballad-esque ‘Be Somebody’ and then a couple of songs later, the acoustic ‘The Price We Pay’. The latter is probably the odd song out on the album. This heart-felt track gets a bit Muse-ish towards the end and while it’s not a bad song, in comparison the high energy held on the rest of the album, it’s a plodder.
Having always been just a step too short to make a big enough impact to keep above the radar, the release of ‘Filthy Empire’ is proof that the years of hard work has been worth it. After a slow burning career, Heaven’s Basement is about to ignite.
‘Filthy Empire’ is available now
Review by ROB LANE
To over analyse or dissect a brand new album from the rock royalty that is KISS would simply be pretty futile. At their very best, KISS only ever set out to be exciting, dumb fun. They are cartoon characters who rule a make believe world where guitars and good time rock and roll is twenty four seven. If you’re gonna delve into the credibility or artistic content of a band that wrote ‘Christine Sixteen’ or dropped a chorus line of ‘I just wanna f…, I just wanna f…, I just wanna forget you’, then I ain’t interested.
I found myself joining the KISS party fairly late. Whilst always being aware of them I never really bought into things until my late teenage years and 1992’s ‘Revenge’ album - a period where the band accepted their past, went back to writing killer tunes and just before the inevitable make-up fuelled reunion which has lasted ever since - give or take a few replacement ‘characters’ hopping on board. That’s probably why I really have no problem with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer donning The Cat and The Spaceman personas. Hell, if I were Simmons and Stanley at this point of their careers why worry if two of your band members are gonna show up and deliver the goods when you’ve got two perfectly professional musicians on hand to nail it every time? I doubt a vast majority of the band’s crowd has a clue they’re different guys anyway.
With a promise of having ‘No Filler, No Ballads and just Full Throttle Rock N Roll’, the new album kicks things into gear in old school fashion with ‘Hell or Hallelujah’. KISS seem to have really settled into a mode of trying to recreate their 70’s heyday sound and this is a fine example. Great retro guitar sound and that infamous call to arms Paul Stanley chorus line. Things don’t let up too much as the album grinds along unapologetically with the usual mix of Stanley and Simmons mash ups. This time round though there’s not the usual huge divide in quality between songs where one singer’s tunes usually come across much stronger than the others. On ‘Monster’ they’ve found a good equal standing and Simmons truly delivers with ‘Eat Your Heart Out’, an Alice Cooper styled anthem with some great early Van Halen style bass runs.
Perhaps the biggest surprises come later with easily the album’s two most commercial sounding tracks, each sung by ‘The Other Two’! Tommy Thayer brings to the table a cracking Joan Jett styled stomp with ‘Outta This World’. Sounding like a more rounded out Simmons, it’s definitely a radio worthy tune which will have some dumb rednecks whispering to their buddies: ‘Frehley can still really write a great tune’ next time they catch a concert! Eric Singer gravels up a Quireboys-esque sing along in the form of ‘All For The Love of Rock n Roll’, easily the catchiest song on the album.
Much like Van Halen’s recent ‘A Different Kind Of Truth’, an album as good as this in today’s day and age from a legendary veteran act like KISS is the best thing we can ask for. The quality is still way up there and the fun in undeniable. Do we really care? Will we revisit this album in five years time? Who knows? But for right now, ‘Monster’ will sure as hell sound amazing cranked to eleven with some beers in hand. I’m still on board.
‘Monster’ is available now
Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue
(Bad Taste Records)
Review by ROB LANE
In a world where the likes of the Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro command huge crowds and are continually heralded as rock royalty, it’s an on-going wonder why Canada’s Danko Jones aren’t challenging for the same crown in the mainstream. For those in the know, Danko Jones has long been one of the bands you can count on to deliver the goods. Whilst each of their past albums have been coated in their own identity, for the most part you can be assured you can expect no nonsense, unrelenting, unashamed rock and roll. It’s fun, it’s dumb, it’s hard, it’s heavy and yes, pretty darn perfect!
This time around is no different. With an album title that shouts its intentions perfectly, the band once again hit the ground running from the start with ‘Terrified’, which is immediately reminiscent of the stunning Norwegian band of old – SPAN, a group who delivered the goods with honest rock and roll and perhaps never got the full success they deserved. Danko Jones though is unlikely to go down lightly, they’re here to stay, and this new album will continue to see them build upon their already devoted underground fan base.
Whilst the album very rarely takes it’s foot off the gas, cuts such as ‘Just A Beautiful Day’ and the pop tinged ‘Always Away’ stray a little from the full on stomp and bring some light and shade to the table. There’s something of a fresh energy injected into the tracks, perhaps thanks to the arrival of drummer Atom Willard, along with the production skills of Matt DeMatteo and mixer Mike Fraser, whose resume contains the likes of AC/DC and Aerosmith so everyone feels right at home.
Whatever the reasons as to why Danko Jones aren’t huge may forever be put to question. Perhaps they don’t worry about the celebrity, the drama, or forced excess. They just do what they do, and in these eyes and ears that’s more than fine with me! Let’s keep it our secret!
'Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue' is available now
(Eleven Seven Music)
Papa Roach are kicking some serious ass on ‘The Connection’, their seventh (if you include their 1997 indie release) studio album. It’s been almost 13 years since Papa Roach first infested *cough*the world with their music. Since then they have had their share of musical highs and lows. What they’ve done on ‘The Connection’ though, is gather the best elements of their sound from over the course of their career, so you get a definite essence of old-school Papa Roach. The songs provide a bit of metal, some straight-up rock, a good dose of hip-hop and a light dusting of pop. The California quartet is also exploring with electronic sounds this time round and it works a treat.
The first single ‘Still Swingin’’ is an anthemic, in-your-face monster and it’s not on its own, just take a listen to ‘Silence Is The Enemy’, ‘Give Me Back My Life’ and ‘Not That Beautiful’. The lyrics are forthright and irate; Papa Roach haven’t lost that aggressive fire inside of them that’s for sure: “We don't belong, never will. Never cared, we always kill. Suit me up and I will attack 'cause PRoach is the new black” Jacoby Shaddix sings on ‘Still Swingin’’.
The token gentler moments have not been forgotten: ‘Before I Die’, the towering ‘Leader Of The Broken Hearts’ and ‘As Far As I Remember’ remind you how great the band are at churning up powerful ballad-esque numbers.
‘The Connection’ showcases Papa Roach at their finest. The doubters had speculated they wouldn’t last much longer than the nu-metal trend, but thanks to their determination and screw you attitude, today Papa Roach are still swingin’ - and rockin’ – harder and better than ever!
‘The Connection’ is available on the following dates:
|THE WHISKEY SYNDICATE
Right Side Of Crazy
(In At The Eye)
Can’t get enough of the old school rock sound? Get your ears round this. ‘Right Side Of Crazy’ is the debut album from Wolverhampton-based rockers The Whiskey Syndicate. Tightly packed with all the right kind of ingredients to make sturdy rock songs sound classic yet incorporate a contemporary edge. You’ve got the riffs, the blues and raw energy.
Without affecting the high quality recording, the rawness throughout ‘Right Side Of Crazy’ captures the spirit of the live setting, it’s a welcoming touch and proves to be a great asset.
There are plenty of bourbon soaked anthems and the title track is one of the first to standout, instantly making your toes tap and your head nod as you sing along. While tracks such as ‘Rock ‘N’ Roller’ and ‘Struck By The Light’ do not present anything that hasn’t already been heard before, they are filled with vitality and an eagerness to entertain.
Further down the line ‘Nothing To Hide’ serves up a more tender temperament with some super slick guitar work. The latter could possibly be the album’s most commanding moment, it’s a corker. ‘Darker Side Of Your Mind’ is a powerhouse. Its melody is murkier and grittier - letting you know that The Whiskey Syndicate have more than one flavour to offer. With ‘Right Side Of Crazy’, The Whiskey Syndicate have delivered the goods.
‘Right Side Of Crazy’ is available now
(Yaya Papu LLC)
The idea was simple. A group of friends - Sevendust’s John Connolly (vocals / guitar) and Vince Hornsby (bass), Creed / Alter Bridge’s Scott Phillips (drums) and Creed / Submersed’s Eric Friedman (guitar / vocals) – jamming together with the intention of having a good time, making music without any of the pressures or expectations normally placed upon them as career musicians. It wasn’t long though before the friends jamming sessions crystallised into Projected - a band that has an album’s worth of material ready to present to the world. Get yourselves prepared to hear the result of those good times - ‘Human’.
The instrumental ‘Into’ seductively leads into the searing ‘HELLo’. In an instant you are caught under Projected’s spell, it’s a place you will be happy to reside.
Throughout ‘Human’ the sound of guitars and hammering drum beats are delivered in abundance and are simply outstanding. What’s more, Connolly proves himself to be captivating lead vocalist and lyricist.
Although the songs on ‘Human’ seem to feed off the same formula, the band has managed to create something that doesn’t become stagnate mid-way through. Out of 11 tracks, there is not one that you want to skip. Songs such as ‘Watch It Burn’, ‘So Low’, ‘Bring You Back’ and ‘Closure’ exude hard rock muscle with meaty slabs of melody. The touching tribute to Dimebag Darrell - ‘12804’ is engaging and intense, while the sterling closer - ‘Breaking Me’ - gives out another shot of adrenaline: this Rob Zombie-esque number is the heaviest track on the album vocally.
Let’s just hope that ‘Human’ isn’t last we hear from Projected. Sometimes it is really is the simple ideas which turn out to be the greatest.
‘Human’ is available September 18th 2012
Have A Crappy Summer
Review by ROB LANE
Compilation albums are funny ol’ things. Often an odd, unnecessary collection of bands with too many songs just thrown together in order to make enough money to fund the project, where the final band on the track listing will never even get played. Occasionally though, once in a while, someone will get it right. Crappy Records thankfully nailed it.
When you think of Bowling For Soup, regardless of what the weather is doing, the sun is always shining in their power pop world. BFS front man Jaret Reddick, along with his Crappy Records cohorts Linus Dotson and Carl Caprioglio, has assembled this stellar bag of good time audio fun.
The BFS philosophy seems a ridiculous easy one which is perhaps why it works so well. They have always toured with bands their fans will enjoy, therefore the fans trust them. That same ethic is utilized on this compilation. Many of the bands are part of the Soup family, interweaved either as old touring partners or side projects, and it’s this that helps make the album flow so well. They’re not gonna throw too much of a curveball at you, that would just spoil the easy going fun! We just wanna drink some beer!
Highlights are served up aplenty. Allstar Weekend offers a youthful Metro Station style vibe with their track ‘Buzzed’. The Dollyrots ‘Super Mega Ultraviolet’ has that spiky punk pop energy we’ve come to expect from the West Coast trio and a guest spot from Brett Anderson of The Donnas adds an extra hazy summer vibe to the Linus of Hollywood track ‘Summer Fling’. Mix these gems with the likes of Hollywood Ending who have an American Hi-Fi (Lite) feel, the ever slick social commentary of MC Lars, plus the absolute ridiculous genius of Jarinus who simply ask ‘Why’s It So Hot?’ and bring Mr Big’s Paul Gilbert along to shred, just ‘cause they can!
I could go on and list every band on this album but I’m just gonna turn it up, head outside and fire up the BBQ – who cares if it’s raining?!
‘Have a Crappy Summer’ is available now
|JD & THE FDCS
Review by ROB LANE
Who the fuck is Jamie Delerict? And just who the fuck does he think he is? Well, it seems for a guy, who perhaps a vast majority of the mainstream music industry may be unfamiliar with, this venom spitting, hard nosed frontman and illustrious band leader, has some serious underground rock credentials to assemble a world beating debut album with more special guests than the recent Queen’s Jubilee celebrations! Where else would you find members of The Misfits, The Murderdolls, D-Generation and a WWE Diva all guesting on the same album?!
Delerict is no newbie. The guy has been there and done it many times, but his previous journeys have undoubtedly led him to this very spot to create the album he’s been waiting his entire career for. The title track ‘Recognise’, sets the bar for what the band is all about. This isn’t necessarily punk, it’s not overtly hard rock and it’s too ballsy to be pop - yet it’s all of these things at once. Walls of guitars, pouring attitude like AC/DC tearing it up at The Donna’s ‘Spend The Night’ Release Party backed with lyrics as simple as a pre-school storybook – “Rockin’ for the girls, rockin’ for the guys… Just so long as they realise.” It rhymes, it’s simple and you were probably singing the second line before you’d even read it, right?! That’s the best rock n’ roll right there.
Don’t sell them short though. Whilst the FDC’s are on a serious mission to deliver a good time there are numerous layers to this machine. They hold up the foundations of rock with ‘Ujpest Dozsa’ (giving a nod to possibly their closest musical comparison - The Explosion), ‘Never Gonna Stop’ and the ridiculously anthemic ‘Burn This City Down’; yet the album is able to roll along at an alarmingly fast rate thanks to the diversity of tunes such as ‘The Secret’, with its Danko Jones-esque rap vibe, and the experimental, almost folk ridden ‘This Town of Infamy’.
Perhaps its greatest success though, is that this album (and album is meant in the purest sense of the word), is not only Delerict’s musical journey but it’s one that takes us along for the ride too.
The underground may well be rising up!
‘Recognise’ is available July 2nd 2012
Break The Silence
Ten years after deciding to call it a day in 1998, the band reformed with original frontman Mark Rankin’s position being filled by Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson. From the beginning, Gun has always been a revolving door when it came to its members; many faces have come and gone. With former bass player Dante Gizzi now taking over lead vocal / frontman duties, 2012’s Gun – completed by Jools Gizzi (Guitar), Paul McManus (Drums), Derek Brown (Bass) and Johnny McGlynn (Lead guitar) - is a band which has re-invented itself in more ways than one. Instead of delivering a carbon copy of their past successes, the Scottish crew have crafted an album that sounds fresh and exciting.
Produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers), ‘Break The Silence’ has been made to appeal to a wider audience than its predecessors, thanks to a smoother, cleaner sound. The radio ready songs blend a modern rock vibe with pop sensibilities. Although the songs are not loaded with as many memorable choruses or harder edged rock melodies as past efforts, there are certainly no fillers here.
‘Caught In The Middle’ and title track ‘Break The Silence’ are powerful numbers, flowing with melody. ‘How Many Roads’ is a slower offering but no less impressive. Overtones of Axl Rose-esque vocals can be heard on tracks such as ‘Lost & Found’ and ‘Innocent Thieves’ and both sound sublime.
As the final note of the ‘Last Train’ is played, bringing ‘Break The Silence’ to its end, Gun fans around the world will no doubt agree that this new material is well worth the 14 year wait.
’Break The Silence’ is available July 9th 2012
|LESBIAN BED DEATH
Riot Of The Living Dead
‘Riot Of The Living Dead’ is the third album from horror loving band Lesbian Bed Death. It’s their first to feature frontwoman Kittie Racchea. Racchea does a great job, adding more power and sharpness vocally than present in previous offerings.
As you can probably establish from the title, the content within ‘Riot Of The Living Dead’ embraces a gothic vibe but with a slight twist of punk. The music doesn’t come across in a gloomy way though, which is a pleasant surprise. There are some upbeat melodies and fun playing around in those dark shadows.
Angry anthem ‘Soul Sucker’ is straight to the point and doesn’t mince any words. Getting grisly for ‘Halloween’, this cracking treat holds the killer promise: ‘Dressed like the monster from your scariest dream, like a vampire, like a ghost, I can be the things that you fear the most.’ Another notable track is the tantalising, fantasising, wilder paced ‘Rockabilly Bitch’. In contrast, ‘Seven Days’ brings a slower pace but with the mood still as intense, as the vocals turn into more of a haunting serenade.
This horror themed band has even penned a song ‘Ghost Face’, in honour of the character from the Scream movies. Vampires, zombies, evil creatures of the night; listening to ‘Riot Of The Living Dead’ you feel as if you’ve been transported into the pages of your favourite horror comic book or B-Movie - it’s certainly a worthy soundtrack!
‘Riot Of The Living Dead’ is available June 25th 2012
|KIDS CAN’T FLY
Southampton-based Kids Can’t Fly have previously been likened to Fall Out Boy and once you hear the music it is clear why the comparison has been made. The ‘Northern Lights’ EP produced by Romesh Dodangoda (Lost Prophets, Funeral For A Friend), contains four energetic and blissfully bouncy pop-punk songs.
Listen to the current single ‘Stick To Your Guns’ closely and you will find an uplifting, positive message about not being afraid to yourself.
The use of a horn section within the songs adds to the feel-good factor of the music. With a similar formula to Fall Out Boy, the melodies carried through each song are harmonious and catchy.
‘Northern Horizons’ could be the release which sees the Kids Can’t Fly crew take flight.
‘Northern Horizons’ EP is available June 25th 2012
The View From The Bottom
Review by ROB LANE
Eight years between albums can verge on Axl Rose style status but Californian rockers Lit have had their fair share of distractions over the past decade since their last release. Loss of both immediate family and band members alike would be enough for most acts to call it a day and get on with ‘real life’. Luckily for us the band realised one of the best ways to channel loss and frustration was through the magic of creating music. With that, both we, and I’m sure the band feel, are finally blessed with the perfectly titled ‘View From The Bottom’.
After riding high on mid 90’s success with tracks such as ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ and glorious MTV videos, featuring the likes of Pamela Anderson, anyone could wonder which way Lit would turn next. Becoming one of the decades hottest rock acts, could they attain any bigger accolades? Drawing on past negatives the band seem to have totally moulded that into one of the most positive sounding albums of recent times. Cleverly hooking up with one of the best pop rock producers in the business, Butch Walker, seems to have truly given the band a new lease of life and for fans of Walker’s previous band Marvelous 3, this new album will easily keep two sets of fans equally pleased.
Album opener ‘C’Mon’ sets the mood perfectly with its rousing call to arms, immediately proclaiming that LIT are back and they’ve never sounded better. The mould hasn’t been drastically broken, more refined and chiselled into what is essentially a great collection of Hard Rock classics. Songs such as ‘Like Tonight’ and teaser single ‘Same Shit, Different Drink’ hold onto the solid stomp sound from before, but it’s tracks such as ‘Nothings Free’ and ‘Miss You Gone’ that are finely tuned pop rock, which in a music world dominated by the likes of Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson, who are essentially doing the same commercial guitar rock vibe, it may well be time for the guys to get some air time too.
Saving the best till last, the closing duo of songs ‘The Wall’ and ‘Right This Time’ could easily be two of the bands finest moments. The first a timeless tour de force of classic hook laden song writing and the latter the perfect ‘Flip the Tape Over & Play Again’ track – if this was on cassette of course!
As vocalist A. Jay Popoff proclaims on the final number, ‘I think I got it right this time’ – you sure did sir, you sure did! Totally essential!
‘The View From The Bottom’ is available June 18th 2012
Bring On The Mountain – DVD
(Republic of Music)
Review by ROB LANE
Diving head first into this epic collection of material from Canadian rockers Danko Jones, I was reminded of great video documentaries from the likes of KISS and Skid Row, which took us on a time machine into past tours and video archives which we’d never seen before. I don’t know if this is a popular thing to do in today’s age of YouTube where everything is so instantly accessible but myself, and I’m sure the band, don’t care too much about that! Here is an act that have always played by their own rules, they’d take on board advice but still do it their own way with no compromise. It is this philosophy that has earned them respect and a career that is astounding even by the standards of much more commercially successful acts.
Quite simply put, Danko Jones set out to rock and they still hold onto that ethic. In their own words within this great 90 minute documentary, they’re happy as long as they can earn enough money to pay the bills then everything else is a reward and we’re all invited along for the ride. We’re taken back to the bands humble club beginnings, through an almost Spinal Tap revolving door of drummers and a front row seat to some incredible festival appearances which give an indication of how the band can command a crowd.
Elsewhere on this DVD heavyweight collection we are treated to a stunning short film featuring a cast to make most Hollywood blockbusters weep with envy. Elijah Wood, Selma Blair, a grown up Karate Kid Ralph Macchio and even Lemmy all make key role appearances in a Pulp Fiction gangster fest. The film is based on the bands most recent promo videos and makes a little more sense when all viewed alongside. Don’t fret though because they are all included too, as well as numerous live footage and the rest of the bands promo videos. They really treat you on this package making it essential for any fan of the band as well as any casual rock fan too. Just dive in!
‘Bring on the Mountain’ is available June 18th 2012
‘Chasing Boats’, the brand new EP from Hertfordshire-based alt-metallers, contains four tracks each holding strong melodies that could easily find a comfortable spot within today’s mainstream rock scene.
One niggle is that the harsh shouty-scream vocals that popup within the songs don’t really add any real substance; instead it sounds like they are added because it’s the cool thing to do - that sing-scream-shout bandwagon is getting pretty overloaded, or perhaps its the band’s way of coming across as ‘more metal’. Oh well, the saving grace is that the songs are not overloaded with it. That niggle aside, this release is full of intensity and energy, the more you hear it the more you like what you hear.
‘White Compass’ is the EPs most aggressive number but it remains accessible. Meanwhile ‘Mud’ is a smoother piece but an injection of those screamy vocals ensures that it doesn’t step too far into calm waters. It’s the guitar work that shines during ‘For You’, so much so you do find yourself lost in what’s going on in the background of the song. During title track ‘Chasing Boats’, the gang vocals work surprisingly well, but with the song coming just under the six minute mark, the one thing that doesn’t work as well is the repetitive long run of the chorus’ leading to the end of the song – it’s unnecessary and makes you switch off which is a shame.
Thousand Autumns have only been going a couple of years and it is clear that these youngsters have been trying to hone their performance. They do still have some work to do but these guys have done well in such a short space of time. Keep your eyes and ears on this band.
‘Chasing Boats’ is available June 25th 2012
“I wanted an album of pure rock, made brick by brick by the anger for all the crap we see every day. It's the anger of youngsters without future, of family men who lost their jobs and of all those people who feel taken the piss by a ruling class who thinks only at the interests of lobbyists. That’s why this album is dedicated to all the victims of this dirty, sick and cannibal society” – Max Navarro.
‘Hard Times’ is Max Navarro’s third album. As the title hints, the songs on this release are not going to be all sunshine and happiness. No, this is a socially aware offering with lyrics inspired by the hard times people are facing in their everyday lives due to the state of the economic climate today. Getting straight down to business, ‘You Can Rely On’ was written about the promises society makes but never keep; despite its serious nature this song has a toe tapping melody and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
‘Out Of Bounds’ picks up some speed and includes some great guitar work by John Paul Bellucci.
Navarro delivers old style AOR, melodic rock and is capable of infusing his influences - including Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty - throughout his work while still maintaining his own style.
There’s a slower emotional ballad in ‘The Wrong Side’ but it’s the first single ‘Cryin’’, carried by a more up-tempo rhythm, that deals with the topic of real broken hearted love. The lyrics deliver the feelings that anyone who has suffered heartbreak will relate to, including the request ‘give me back my heart please.’
From start to end ‘Hard Times’ is easy listening and easy to relate to. The guitar based songs are made of straight forward rock: no gimmicks, no fuss - just real music.
‘Hard Times’ is available now
September Mourning is not just a band, it’s a story and a trans-media project. Created by frontwoman Emily ‘M’ Lazar and Marc Silvestri (comic book artist / founder of Top Cow Productions), the concept behind September Mourning is to use elements of music, art, film, TV, etc. alongside a storyline set in a dark, fantasy universe. September is the main character in the story; she is a reaper who is neither dead nor alive. Her role is to fight fate, she has ‘the power to harness death and use it to make things right’. Each song on ‘Melancholia’ is said to represent the emotions and memories of the souls she takes.
When reading the bumf surrounding September Mourning, you would be forgiven for thinking that this ambitious project will offer more style than substance, particularly when it comes to the music side of things. Let’s see how things go when the play button is pressed...
Opening number ‘Go For The Throat’ does that for sure; Emily’s growling vocals launch a frenzied assault and along with the repetitive ‘A Place To Call Your Own’ it rolls out a modern metal carpet, smothering any pre-conceived negative judgements in its wake. These guys actually sound quite good!
The music is laced with electronic hard rock and at times holds a gothic feel. The slower-paced ‘Fallen’ brings to mind Lacuna Coil with its theatrical essence, while the Black Veil Brides-esque ‘Love Is War (Romanticide),’ is one of the album’s highlights with Emily’s full throttle screaming twisted in an electronic, industrial infused melody.
The song that stands out from all the other tracks is ‘Lost Angels’ due to the fact that it has a very 80s pop sound. It also carries a powerful SOS to all the fallen angels to unite in order to save the world: ‘when we learn to see each other as a family, we will begin to heal the hurt and sorrow. Love is all that matters in the end...’.
The engaging ‘Crimson Skies’ may be one of the more delicate offerings but it comes beautifully packed with an atmospheric intro and gently swells into a sound of wailing guitars.
All in all September Mourning may be an ambitious affair but ‘Melancholia’ does have enough substance within, showcasing Emily and her crew have the talent and songs to backup the musical side of the venture. However, it is debatable whether there’s durability here for September Mourning to have any kind of lengthy career. Worth checking out though, it’s always good to see artists creating something different from the norm.
‘Melancholia’ is available now
Graveyard Of Empires
(Sounds + Sights)
Produced by Trevor Kustiak, ‘Graveyard Of Empires’ by million-selling rock band Evans Blue, is possibly their heaviest and most aggressive release to date.
During the making of their last album, simply titled ‘Evans Blue’, Dan Chandler was still settling into his role as frontman. Three years on and the band – Chandler, Parker Lauzon (guitar), Vlad ‘V’ Tanaskovic (guitar) and Joe Pitter (bass) – have had time to develop their relationship and establish the direction they wish to head as a band. That’s not to say that this time round there were no obstacles to overcome. In November 2011, while the band were busy working on the album, drummer Howard ‘H-Bomb’ Davis’ departure was announced. Jason Pierce (Paramore’s touring drummer) was drafted in to keep the beat on all but two of the album tracks [‘This Time It’s Different’ and ‘Halo’, for which Mike McClure was behind the kit].
Opening with the searing ‘This Time It’s Different’, a song which builds up from a haunting piano intro and develops into an intense, hard-hitting number gripping you instantly. The derisive ‘Thank You’ carries melodic verses but it’s injected with heavy riffs and thumping drum beats. The title track is an instrumental combining the sounds of a piano and string orchestra; like the album’s cover artwork, this piece of music is ethereal yet it’s strangely comforting.
Evans Blue have done a very good job at providing a soundtrack that’s solid and compelling; integrating dulcet tones with guttural screams while maintaining room for some dark but catchy hooks, just take a listen to tracks like ‘Alone Not Lonely’, ‘In The Shadow’ and the fierce ‘Destroy The Obvious’.
One of the standout tracks is the soaring ‘Warrior’, a potent piano driven symphony. In this atmospheric offering there is a tangible passion in Chandler’s vocals. Drawing the album to a close is the angry ‘Halo’ a follow up to ‘Erase My Scars’. Bursting with resentment and a sense of confusion ‘Halo’ ensures your adrenalin levels are still running high until the very end.
Evans Blue have another well produced effort in their hands with no dips along the way. All in all, ‘Graveyard Of Empires’ has an edgier tone and with the raw, heavy and melodic moments well balanced there’s something on here for everyone.
‘Graveyard Of Empires’ is available April 17th 2012
|Check out the Archive section for past Music Reviews|