Saturday, 10 November 2012

So the plan was to review all new albums I bought this year and I've failed that in some style......
Even avoiding the buying of reissues, I'm still a bit behind, so here's a whirlwind review of those I missed:

Enslaved - Riitir.
More brutal Scandinavian metal. Some concessions to melody and the the occasional clean vocal but really just pummelling heaviness to annoy your neighbours with. The lengthy Death in the Eyes Of Dawn is a pretty good summary of the album

Rosa Rebecka - Songs For Mrs Beautiful
Gentle folk with a Scandinavian lilt including some sung in Swedish. Nothing spectacular but if you need a break from making your ears bleed with Slayer then the title track and Heartful of Seaweed make a pleasant distraction

Egbert Derix - Paintings In Minor Lila.
I'm not sure the world was screaming out for a Dutchman to cover lots of Marillion songs on a grand piano and string quartet. Not as odd as it sounds and both Fish and Steve Hogarth lend spoken parts. However, not even a Marillion masochist needs 3 classical variations on Marbles I though.....

Smoken - Spoonful Of Stars.
One of the greatest wasted talents ever. Lauren Smoken has a voice to shame Janis Joplin but insists on singing self penned songs which sound like the wine bar blues Gary Moore was peddling in the 90's. A complete waste of an amazing voice

Lydia Loveless - Indestructible Blues.
Like a runaway female Georgia Satellites, this album is was brought up on banjos, moonshine and rednecks. Some fantastic rollicking country rock such as the tracks Bad Way To Go and Do Right. And it's always a pleasure to hear a woman not afraid to let rip with some industrial language

Insomnium - One For Sorrow.
Probably the best of the five albums here. This time Finnish death metal which makes greater use of melody and clean vocals than Enslaved. The use of more than one vocalist and keyboards makes this a standout record in an already crowded Scandinavian metal market. The opening salvo of the instrumental Inertia followed by Through The Shadow is the highlight of the album

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Very rarely do a band release a great album in a year only to top within 12 months but Crippled Black Phoenix are becoming the masters of this trick. Their latest offering No Sadness Or Farewell is a masterpiece.

It starts off with a 12 minute instrumental called How We Rock which is simply the best thing they have ever recorded. Starting off slowly with some oriental theme going on in the background it breaks into a guitar solo Dave Gilmour would be proud of. The song almost stops, and then the guitar picks out a naggingly repetitive motif before the piano and then drums join in and all the while gently building and increasing the tension. It's like Tubular Bells with added balls - cymbals are added, power chords, choral backing and still it builds. Over 4 minutes to go and there are even real bloody tubular bells joining in now. Listening to this through headphones on heavyweight vinyl is just awesome as the whole thing reaches a crescendo before letting you down gently and leaving you with the ringing bells.

There are other tracks but you need to breathe and relax after that opener. Hold On (So Goodbye To All Of That) starts like U2 at their most pretentious before deciding to end the song an an accapella crowd sing along.

Jonestown Martin is just indescribable really - Heavy guitar, synths effects stolen from Hawkwind and according to the sleeve notes 'Monk Voices' !!

It all ends with Long Live Independence a galloping rocker very similar to Laying Traps from the last album (which was good enough to nominated in the Prog Magazine awards recently)

This is a band so full of invention and variety that they deserve so much more than to be adored as cult heroes by those who dare to try. This is the real Prog for the new age and not the tepid outpouring of one Mr S Wilson

How We Rock - indeed......

Thursday, 1 November 2012

One of this year's easiest reviews - Doro has released her latest offering and it's called Raise Your Fist

And it sounds EXACTLY like a Doro album..... Grab yourself a studded leather wristband, throw some devil horns and just pretend grunge never happened.

Details are really superfluous but let's see - Track featuring Lemmy? Check. Power Ballad sung in German? Check. Terrible track titles? Check (Little Headbanger and Rock Till Death being great examples)

To be fair the power ballad Engel is fantastic song and the album overall is a big dumb slab of enjoyable metal.

The art work below is just a joy to look at !