F

October

Four Trips Ahead – Love And Rebellion (E.P.)
(505 Records – 2014)

The first thing that grabbed me were the very Geoff Tate and at times gruff Brice Dickinson like vocals backed with fresh sounding prog metal coupled with some modern riffage.

Five tracks is what you’ll find here with highlights being the opening ‘Step Into My World’; ‘Good Times Goodbye’ and the closer that is like a cross between the bands ‘Horny Toad’; ‘Dub War’ and Faith No More’.

File somewhere near ‘Operation:Mindcrime’ and ‘The Real Thing’

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

July

The Fireflys – Embers Of The Autumn
(Canadia Records – 2013)

An okay album of laid back rock-pop from Runcorn, Northwest England.

Highlights on here include ‘Julianne’ about turning your love around as the song says; ‘Cemetery Song’ with its crackly record opening or the sinister starting rocker ‘Der Riese’. It needs more oomph though and partyville to make an impact and it’s the sort of band that’ll be on some side-stage at Reading.

Rather tedious and mediochre – file next to a Tracy Chapman album.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

Flight 49 – The Smell Of Sweat And Sin (E.P.)
(S/R – 2014)

A widespread bunch of musical vibe in a short space of time is what you’ll find on here that fire out 5 songs and an intro that kicks it all off.

They come from Llandudno, North Wales but somehow have a feel-good fact for a bit of Dolly Parton since they cover the classic ‘9 To 5’ that works well as a rocker and then there’s the gutsy opener ‘Means To An End’.

Decent enough.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Focus – Golden Oldies
(In And Out Of Focus Records – 2014)

A brand new album from the prog legends that featues re-recordings of Focus songs and new numbers too from the newer line-up of the band that features founder member Thijs Van Leer and now Pierre Van Der Linden who takes those sticks yet again.

It of course features the classic ‘Hocus Pocus’ that opens up the album; the outstanding ‘House Of The King’ that I remember being the theme from ‘Saxondale’ that I’ve always loved ever since; the funk and rock-ballad loveliness of ‘Sylvia’ and the wacky bluesiness of ‘Aya Yippie Hippie Yae’

Retro baby!

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

Elijah Ford & The Bloom – Ashes (E.P.)
(S/R – 2012)

The son of former Black Crowes Guitarist proves he has what it takes to venture into the same business as his dad with this fresh, zesty 6-track e.p.

He has a winy like voice that reminds me a lot of Sean and Julian Lennon and unlike his dad he ventures into a strange sounding mysterious indie style which confuses your ears at times. Imagine The Beatles meets Jack Black a good example being ‘Loveless’ that has a sense of destruction to it in a puzzling sort of way.

There are some strong songs in the process like the opening ‘Lowdown’ with a fantastic arrangement with the same to be said for the atmospherical ‘Thirteen’ and there’s some great acoustic guitar-work in the closer ‘Under The Knife’ too.

Interesting E.P. and needs to be played several times as there is so much going on.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Marc Ford – Ghost
(Naim Audio – 2013)

Latest album from the former Black Crowes Guitarist, Marc Ford who I recently checked out live in Sheffield.

It’s a chilled out, laid back affair filled with musical passion throughout that has a Tom Petty feel about it at times in a Southern kinda way with outstanding songs like ‘Dream #26’ the bouncy, slide-guitar filled ‘I’m Free’; the epic ‘Sometimes’ that is the most Crowesy it actually gets or the closing ‘Call Me Faithful’ that puts me in mind of the band America and a bit of The Allman Brothers in acoustic mode.

A definite grower of an album.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

March/April 2014

Feste – First Folio
(TRG Records – 2013)

Great bluesy rock band from Anaheim, California who have a very bassy gutsy sound about them.

They place an authentic mark but also a fresh sound onto the genres with atmospheric powerful ballads like ‘Feathers + Way’; coolness of Satisfaction Street’ or the very likeable opener ‘Hollywoodland’.

Then there’s the haunting acoustic ‘Come Away, Death’’ the awesome riffed blues of ‘Black’ or the classic AC/DC like rock of Sweating Bullets’ with some Cali-vibe too thrown in – not to mention some Shakespeare set to music beautifully in the closing ‘Epilogue, The Wind And The Rain’.

Good stuff.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

FLOATING WORLDS - Below The Sea Of Light
(S/R - 2013)

Greek progsters Floating World are on their second album as they knock, the sad question again being how did the first miss our door?

Rocking in an all too familiar melodic and metal way, these eight songs showcase strong musicianship and playing as standard. Attention is given to hooks and there is already an instant chorus inside two minutes of the magnificent 'Shattered' which they probably are after ploughing through this belter. Ripe and ripplin' guitar leads and keyboards as set to all speeds and deal out a largely commercial spread.

Scarce little is long past its welcome even though the choruses are surprisingly extensive, reminding me of certain thrash acts during their early nineties 'soft' durations. Slick, swift and silky, 'Angel', 'Amyrah' and the almost AOR 'Thrill The Night' won't win a great deal of gold trophies on the originality podium but they at least understand how to keep European metal its usual appealing self.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Kamelot, Edguy & Saga.

NET: www.myspace.com/floatingworlds2007

FOREVER STORM – Tragedy
(EBM Records (Mexico) - 2013)

Not AOR giants Tyketto trying to experiment with extreme metal, in case that name makes you suspicious, Serbian foursome Forever Storm have been evidently heavy as heck from the day they hit tarmac.

Coupled together by twin guitarists Stefan and Milos, their speed metal menace comes out to play with an old fashioned face. All thirteen of these tracks, on what happens to be their second album, sound like something you might have heard bck in 1988 yet together there's an air of freshness fanning about. Don't panic - they thrash the place to devastation for the prenium half of the album but also make time to spread their wings a bit.

Take 'Flames of Reason' for example, a part-ballad power rocker that would go down as well on a Dokken or Iron Maiden disc, while 'Death Comes Alive' is one of the many proggresive crunchers pillaging the tracklist still yet ticks all a purists preferential boxes.

All the solos you could ask for come when needed and keep you wanting more to follow whilst Stefan, also the band's lead vocalist delivers with a slightly Piet Selck savageness to his tone. Eastern Europe do tend to deal in a nice ol' fashioned bit of metal when they like to... and that's often another (several hundred) every day.

Forever Storm are now having theirs...support them or die!

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Annihilator, Kamelot, Metal Church, Helloween, Megadeth & Gamma Ray.

NET: www.foreverstorm.com

FourPointOn – Young & Wasted
(S/R – 2012)

Punky sounding Rockers from the East Midlands area of the UK who have both male and female fronters that comes across very DIY in sound and style as though they were recorded in someone’s garage.

It’s not really until you get to track three that is ‘Bring Back Tommorow’ – touching ballad do you ears take any real interest or the metallin’ ‘Interlude’ the 2,3,4 Oi Oi of ‘Let’s Go’ or maybe the closing rocking ‘You And Me’.

Okay but I reckon this band will be miles better in a few years time especially

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

September

Friday Night Specials – First Taste (E.P.)
(S/R – 2013)

Excellent three tracker from this killer quintet of rockers from Varnamo, Sweden who crank it up with superb songs that are fresh and sellable to both the young and the old guard of rockers as well.

You hear a meltiong pot of artists on here such as ‘Down On My Knees’ that has a smooth ‘n’ silky essence to it too that even makes me think INXS meets The Rolling Stones as well. ‘Raging Bull’ is a killer kickin’ opener too that is like Buckcherry gone brasher with a punkier element and closer ‘Cancer’ is very Thin Lizzy gone Foo Fighters in sound ‘n’ style.

Promising act.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

July

Fast Train Union - II
(S/R - 2012)

Excellent old school Metal band from Ottowa, Ontario, Canada of the Priest kinda ilk meets a ton of hard rock with a deeper timbre sounding vocalist behind the mike than Halford.

Their songs are real epic blasts of hotness and can do slower ballad like numbers such as 'In Peace' in the same quality vein as fullpon throttlers like the opening 'Aletheia'. 'Fly Until Tomorrow' is a superb song too that hits over 6 mins and starts off very bluesy too. 'SSD' (Signed Sealed & Delivered) is a fine moment too and you can't help but sing along on the high bits or is that just me again.

Fast Train Union have got it and I urge anyone out there to check them out.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

January 2013

Fear Factory – The Industrialist
(Roadrunner - 2012)

Fear Factory are Burton C Bell (Ascension Of The Watchers, City Of Fire) on Vocals, Dino Cazares (Nailbomb, Brujeria, Asesino, Divine Heresy) on guitar, Matt DeVries (Chimaira, Six Feet Under) on bass and Mike Heller on drums.

'The Industrialist' is Fear Factory's eighth full length offering of their own unique brand of industrial metal. Fear Factory are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them. I happen to think they are an excellent band and haven't released a bad album, some of them have been lacking in some areas, but all in all Fear Factory's discography has some classic albums in there that will stand the test of time.

Also they have had some of the greatest metal musicians within their ranks at some time or other. When you've had the like of Raymond Herrera (Arkaea, Brujeria, Asesino), Gene Hoglan (Devin Townsend, Dark Angel, Death, Dethklok, Strapping Young Lad, Testament), Byron Stroud (Strapping Young Lad, Zimmers Hole, City Of Fire, Devin Townsend, 3 Inches Of Blood) and Christian Olde Wolbers (Arkaea, Beowulf and also a producer in his own right, producing bands such as Bleed The Sky, God Forbid, Mnemic and Threat Signal) you can’t be doing too much wrong.

'The Industrialist' kicks off proceedings with the title track 'The Industrialist' and comes with the familiar, comforting sound of the ‘Demanufacture’ era. It could have been slotted right in next to such classics as ‘Zero Signal’ and ‘New Breed’. It’s nothing new but it’s a ripping, heavy song and Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell sound as good as always. The same can be said for ‘Recharger’, ‘New Messiah’ and ‘Virus of Faith’, which are all essentially solid (if not overly typical) riffing and fairly catchy, clean choruses by Burton C. Bell. All remind me why I liked Fear Factory back in the day.

Unfortunately, they can’t keep that level of material going and the rest of ‘The Industrialist’ suffers a significant drop off. Tracks like ‘God Eater’ and ‘Different Engine’ have good ideas, but get bogged down in too much generic, mechanical riffing and unimpressive shouting. Other tracks like ‘Depraved Mind Murder’ and ‘Dissemble’ don’t have as many good ideas and are mostly just noise with a lot of shouting over it, and ‘Human Augmentation’ is nine minutes of pointless techno/ambient noise, with no metal to be had whatsoever.

Parts of ‘The Industrialist’ are respectable, but I was hoping for more and doubt I’ll be returning to this much in the future, if at all. For hardcore Fear Factory fans, something is better than nothing, so add a point. For the rest of us, it’s probably better to just revisit their early stuff and enjoy the glory days of a sound that really didn’t age well.

9/10

By Andy Turner

Net: http://www.fearfactory.com/ http://www.fearfactorymusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/fearfactoryofficial https://www.facebook.com/fearfactory http://www.reverbnation.com/fearfactory http://www.youtube.com/user/fearfactorymusic

Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist
(Prospect Place - 2011)

Five Finger Death Punch are Ivan Moody (Vocals), Zoltan Battery (Rhythm Guitar), Jason Hook (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Chris Kael (Bass, Backing Vocals) and Jeremy Spencer (Drums).

There’s a reason that Five Finger Death Punch have become one of the most popular metal bands of the past several years. But 5FDP songs aren’t simply designed for young, angry men that hate their jobs while they fight to attain the American dream to enjoy. They are certainly very good at creating songs that appeal to that faction of the world, thanks to the band’s ability to tap into the disaffected human being aspect.

‘American Capitalist’ is something of a declaration for Five Finger Death Punch. First off, the music affirms their status as a taut and tight technical metal band. Secondly, the lyrics show a cleverness and maturity rarely found in modern rock, and they're also painfully poetic at times. Third, American Capitalist is the culmination of years of hard work complete with battle scars, burns, and a giant middle finger to everyone who uttered the word "no" to these five individually and collectively talented individuals. In that sense, this is everything that a classic hard rock album should be.

The opening title track sets the tone. Guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook practically set their fretboards ablaze with pure thrash fireworks. The duo seamlessly switches time signatures, showing their true talent. The song showcases one of many leads that's bound to inspire a whole new generation of shredders like Iron Maiden and Metallica did back in the '80s. Underneath this deluge of six-string mastery, drummer Jeremy Spencer powers through violent double bass hammering.

The rest of the CD is very much in the same vein. With ‘American Capitalist,’ 5FDP deliver mid-tempo, fiery, quality hard rock that should further increase their visibility.

10/10

By Andy Turner

Net: www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com www.myspace.com/ffdp
www.facebook.com/fivefingerdeathpunch www.reverbnation.com/fivefingerdeathpunch

Freedom Call – Land Of The Crimson Dawn
(SPV - 2011)

Freedom Call are Chris Bay (Guitar/Vocals), Lars Rettkowitz (Guitar), Samy Saemann (Bass) and Klaus Sperling (Drums).

Consistency has never been a priority for Freedom Call. Some fans have criticized the band for this inconsistency. Those same people often forget that the band was formed by the drummer Dan Zimmerman to express his musical creativity in a way that maybe wouldn't work in his main band, Gamma Ray. In 2011 Zimmerman left the band he co-founded and has been replaced by veteran Metal drummer Klaus Sperling, ex-Sinner and Primal Fear). Freedom Call has evolved over the years through various musical twists and turns picking up and losing fans here and there. Over the 15 years, since their debut in 1999 the band has quite a stylistically diverse catalogue for one of the early pioneers of the Second Great Coming of Power Metal, as compared to some of their peers like Primal Fear or Hammerfall.

Their latest offering ‘Land Of The Crimson Dawn’ displays another shift in style, one that will perhaps annoy the Power Metal purists and amuse those fond of their quirky material. I'm in the latter camp (sometimes) as I enjoy the bands deviations and sense of humour. The bands last album, ‘Legend Of The Shadowking’ was a little darker and heavier with the theme concept and now the musical pendulum has swung back to the fun, the catchier side of Freedom Call. After a strong start with a speedy opener, the band switch gears and drop into a very melodic rocker tune called 'Rock Stars' with funny lyrics.

The pattern continues with a batch of super catchy melodic tunes scattered among the more conventional Power Metal and marching Metal anthems . The fun songs, 'Hero On Video', 'Rockin' Radio' and the aforementioned 'Rock Stars' fall into that Pretty Maids, (old) Axxis, Bonfire zone. All those three songs could have felt quite at home on a Sleez Beez album. The lyrics are also considerably more light hearted than the last outing with songs of a more modern sort singing of radio, video and role-playing, interspersed with the almost mandatory tales of power and glory, which happens to be the title of track 14.

As always the production quality is immaculate on this 14 song, hour long album. Good quality, good performances, good value and good songs, despite some stylistic inconsistencies, always have been a hallmark of Freedom Call. It's as if the quirky fun tracks at the end of the previous album were the main writing focus on this album coming out almost two years to the day, since the last one.
The band really brought the majesty and glory to the choruses of the anthems this time around. Big, loud male gang vocals boom across the songs, regaling us with epic tales of marching for metal across the wastelands, sword in hand, banners in the air and so on and so forth. The chorus of the title track 'Crimson Dawn' is so catchy it was permanently stuck in my brain until the day I die, just after one listen.

8/10

By Andy Turner

Net: http://www.freedom-call.net/ http://www.myspace.com/callforfreedom
http://www.last.fm/music/Freedom+Call https://www.facebook.com/pages/Freedom-Call/15424060865

Furio Louca - S/T
(S/R - 2012)

Brazilian 80's styled young rockers who's self-titeld album is decent enough but the sound has been compressed way to much.

Their singer puts me in mind of Dave Mustaine in the vocal dept. who is fronting a big hair band with cheesey cool cuts in 'The Criminal Novel'; the funny lyriced 'Rock Fever'' and the loving ballad 'Heart Mind & Soul'.

Then there's the rockin' 'Junkie To The Noise' with it's cool *ss guitar licks and closer 'Back The Outer Space'. These guys are ok and deserve a break.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

September

Fraze Gang - 2
(Bongo Beat Records - 2012)

80's hard rock from a band that features 2 members of Brighton Rock that are Greg Fraser (Guitar/Vocals) & Stevie Skreebs (Bass/Vocals).
It sounds very dated but what do you expect from guys of this calibre as this album could have come out in about 1984 or 1986 with the opening number that sets the style which is 'Saints & Sinner' that's like Judas Priest without the high ended vocals.

The CD is good for what it is though and you do get a cool rendition of 'I Just Want To Make Love To You'; the sipper stomping 'White Lightning'; a great orchestral ballad in 'This Is It' and the closing rock 'Rampage'.

Not a bad release but there's better stuff out there.

7/10

By Glenn Millgan

The Fright - S/T
(Flendforce Records/Cargo - 2012)

German Rock band who remind me of The Almighty & Danzig with a vocalist in Lon who is not unlike Ricky Warwick, James Hetfield oh and Glenn Danzig too funilly enough.

There's some nice 'n' dark sinister rockin' cuts in opener 'Late Night Affections'; 'Beloved Night' with an W. Axl Rose winy ending; 'Alive & Dead' that riffwise reminds me of 'Owner Of Lonely Heart' by Yes - no really - lol. It finishes off with the depressing but kinda sickly beautiful 'Believe In Angels'. I can see them getting noticed all over Europe.

Some of it is rather generic and tedious though with singing a bit ropey at times.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

July

FAIR OF FREAKS - The More I Want
(S/R - 2012)

Stand aside, fellas and fella-esses for another hot Scandinavian rock n’ roll machine rises from earth’s core.

Swedish four-piece Fair Of Freaks may look like one themselves from the sleeve photo but its their gritty get-out-there-and-get-it-done line in melodic hard rock that will drive me insane, more than. Nifty metal-oriented rockers like ‘Changes’ and ‘Different Situation’ snarl in way that warns shallow anticipators to back off betting on anything too akin to Journey approaching round the corner. Truth is, ‘Now You’re Gone’ gets closer by ten to the normal output of their continental counterparts, although Sean Sanders does manage to turn it a little more soulful at that stage.

‘Beautiful Ice swings by in a deliciously Scorpions-like way before yielding to their heavier side with ‘Forgotten’. A pounding old-school metal thumper in the Metallica/Dearly Beheaded vein, unbelievably as it sounds, it still retains a excellent multi-tiered chorus segment to re-commercialise it. Lead guitarist Lars Boquist enjoys a good spot to show off his picking skills in the mid section. Using‘Other Ways’ is used to demonstrate their proficiency in the ballad zone, Boquist’s acoustic work is also warm, smmery and a mite, nicely Warrant-like into the bargain.

Naughty ol’ ‘thrash’ hat placed on the head again, ‘Fountain of Love’ is still an ultimately melodic tune, Lars’s Lynch-inspired shreddery also adopting a slightly blues leaning before speeding away to the final chorus. ‘Holy Disguise’ nearly sounds too close to Hurricane to be legal but lovely stuff that old eighties rawk is, we can only let them off for it (right, kids?) A sickening twist to the end of Boquist’s solo break nearly has me reaching for the ‘skip’ before the chorus leaps back just in time. Moving on to the section marked ‘straight ahead rock’, ‘On and On’ is a tight-fistin’, bar room boogie bouncer of a number and simply doesn’t last long enough at three minutes.

‘Winterbound’ continues in similar vein, closing the album with the closest sound to hair metal they have including a catchy chorus with immediate comparisons to White Lion’s ‘Tell Me’. Another nice, Nordic hard rock crusade rumbles to an end and now I’ve played this through, the more I want to play it again, preferably with the volume knob on 11 – Swedish bands do often tend to have that effect. Excellent work guys with great hooks, plus handling of instruments as typically flawless, as always.

Certainly one I’d recommend freaking over.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Dokken, Harem Scarem, Georgia Satellites, Lynch Mob & Pink Cream 69.

NET: www.myspace.com/fairoffreaks www.fairoffreaks.com

June

Ricky Ferranti & The Rusty Miles - Rusty Miles
(Tanzan Music - 2012)

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this dude was actually from a Southern State of the USA but he actually comes from Piacenza.

Outstansing songs on here include Don't Stop; 'Let Me Know' (incredible female vocals); the rockabilly instrumental 'Country Junky'; the stonkin', Hendrix filled 'Jimi's Colour' and closing honky tonkin' late 50's like 'You're My Cat'.

An album with a variety of styles to get excited over.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

April

FATAL ERROR - Conglomerate
(Metal Scrap Records - 2011)

Another outfit of that continental extreme metal minority bent on cocking up what could have been made a good thing.

Fatal Error have made plenty of them, mixing ingredients into the pan without reneging it to the boil first. Trying to impress the over-expectant is always a bad thing with metal and these lads look like on feeling they’ve tested listeners patience enough by the opening track’s prog orientations that they have to over feed the growling vocal element to make up.

Having more than one different vocal style is always a likely kudos supplier but sadly so not when each bit doesn’t know its place and some promising thrash guitar gets wrecked trying to accommodate it.

One of those cds worthy of familiarising yourself for the live sets but on its own, strictly completist’s fare again here.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Obituary, Nile, Cannibla Corpse & Autopsy Morbid Angel.

NET: www.metalscrap.org.ua

February 2012

1st Rodeo - There Goes The Neighbourhood
(S/R - 2011)

Country Rockers that come across like John Mellencamp & The Georgia Satellites and dare I say it bits of Lonestar rolled into one and then some...

It's commercial in sounds and rather cheesey at times but a fun time release with the opening 'There Goes The Neighbourhood'; 12-bar humour like 'Bottle Cap' that someone is as deep as; the very retro and romantically thinking 'Small Town America'; the excellent tributing 'World's Greatest Dad'; the 'Light Of Day' like 'It Takes More Than That' or the bluesed-up 'In This House'.

Believe it or not they t they actaully come from Southern California.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

FORMER - The Kids Deserve Cable
(Faragon Records - 2011)

Instructions to read before playing this one should include 1. Strengthen bedroom floorboards with double thick slats. 2. Strip your guitar down to three strings, 3. Adjust trap so guitar body is level with right kneecap.

All clear? Now enjoy Former, four surprisingly un-young men who probably lived for the same music I somewhat discreetly enjoyed behind my fellow metalheads backs when I was only a tender seventeen myself. These Nashville lads knock back the bottles and knock on the nitrogen levels in ten very well prepared pop guitar numbers that you’d often only catch a British outfit fresh out of college trying to scratch a living out of… and often successfully. Strong choruses, lush summery chords and catchy-as-eff melodies make the mix with almost every song. Not on a single speed setting, their meter swings back and forth a fair old bit with uptempo punk just dominating marginally over laid back indie cuts and occasionally visiting blues vibes.

Perfect music for summer, Former are possibly forming a huge reputation on the scene’s forefront as I speak.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMEND IF YOU LIKE: Ash, Green Day, Datsuns & Nickelback.

September

FANTHRASH - Duality Of Things
(Rising Records - 2011)

‘Legendary’ seems the latest word to suffer under the curse of common misuse, seemingly often confused with ‘have been going since 1986’.

Why these Poles sadly missed out on the chance to become that defies a fair proportion of belief. Sticking to this delivery of brutal metal throughout their life span has done them favours in keeping their in-house faithful around for another offering right her in 2011. 'B.T.F.' doesn’t really go wrong anywhere - bar on the originality quota - sending down head dislocating slabs of old-fashioned noise like 'Allocation Of The Soul', 'Aggressor', 'Forced', 'Duality Of Things', 'Trauma Despotic', 'Green Tattoo' and 'Toxic Mind' from a high-rise landing several storeys up.

Twin-guitar- de-force performance is as one expects it to be, solos as fast but bendy as your favourite Bay Area act once treated you to getting the routine inclusion with clean panache while the rhythms give everything a ride for their money. Frontman Less’s growly and also sometimes Rob-Zombie-esque tones give the old-school flavour a firm push on the bottle and further expand the appeal of the album. In that shell that a nut is often known to fit in, a perfect speed metal package that should not be allowed to see light of day in the current climate, but thanks to the kindness of Rising Records, it did just. These boys are back and damn frightening with it - the danger being that soon their behemoth countrymen Vader will require more than the force to be with them.

Thrash of which I’m a fan indeed.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Testament, Metallica, Machine Head & Orange Goblin.

NET: www.myspace.com/fanthrashband

FROZEN DAWN - The Old Prophecy Of Winterland
(Mighty Hordes Productions - 2011)

More European metal promise is meted out to us lucky listening headbangers, just like some of us hold shares.

We are promised pure old school black metal by this Spanish combo and sure they don’t lie. Straight in with ‘Black spells’ and onwardly with ‘Order Of The Winter moon’, ‘Cold souls’, ‘Dark Lady’, ‘Winds From The north’ and ‘Frozen Dawn’ disappointment is rare as we are reminded of what proper extreme metal was really like, back in the day before it became fashionable play incessantly fast and gargle your way through an album.

Not that ‘T.O.P.O.W’ is abundant in slow moments, the near-progressive technicality just sounds as authentic as the pioneering entries in the roster, with influences in the solos and rhythms spread across an increasingly vast spectrum of metal - one certain number almost sounds like a death metal attempt at UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’. On the covers part of the agenda, the boys bring proceedings to a satisfactory end with a run of Satyr icon’s ‘Fuel for Hatred’ which tires nearly more too hard to prove us that their inspirations are genuine but its great fun to have on board the track listing.

Good touch of classic noise with next to zero tedium as endured in many other areas of the genre recently.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Emperor, Slayer, Burzum, Nile, Venom, Obituary & Pestilence.

NET: www.myspace.com/frozendawnofficial/music www.frozendawn.com

August

Ferreria – Are You In?
(S/R – 2011)

Classy melodic rock from New Yorker, Marc Ferriera (on vocals and guitar) and his brother Alex (on drums and vocals).

Some great rockin’ numbers on here like the opening ‘The More I Know’; the tongue in cheekiness of ‘Like A Glove’; the funky rocker ‘Pay With Pain’; the gorgeous acoustic instrumental ‘She’s Building A Fairy House’ and the retro-ish almost 1920’s like ‘Manners Song’.

This album should definitely be in your CD player.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Fozzy – Remains Alive & Chasing The Grill
(edel/EAR Music – 2011)

A double set of a live and a studio album that have been re-released on the above said label.

The Live album, ‘Remains Alive’ (also on DVD) sees Chris Jericho and his band live in Brisbane, Australia firing out mighty mouthfuls of metal madness in front of an ecstatic crowd who as the man himself says, sing along to every song. Highlights of the concert include the opening ‘Nameless Faceless’ a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Freewheel Burning’ the screaming of ‘Fozzy, Fozzy, Fozzy. OI. OI, OI’ several times throughout the gig as well.

Then there’s the sludgy Sabbathy ‘Wanderlust’; the bitchin’ ‘Eat The Rich’ the Alterrbridge/Papa Roach like ‘Feel The Burn’; the rapport for the encore where they don’t bother going offstage with tongue-in-cheek humour that takes before the riffery brilliance that is ‘To Kill A Stranger’. A gig that proves how good these guys are with their fans – no doubt they hung out with them after the last note of the last song had ended.

‘Chasing The Grill’ is an album of a dozen songs from 2009 that are ok but really a bit too generic and uninteresting at times as they appear to fall into that do what the record company tells them kinda thing which doesn’t seem to be the case on other releases.

Saying that there are some highlights on here that include the sabbathy ‘Martyr No More’; the ballad ‘Broken Soil’ that’s very Ozzy-like; ‘New Days Dawn’ and the speedmetal come old and new school heavy metalness of ‘Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday The 13th)’.

An ok re-release.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Full Turnout – Adversity
(S/R – 2011)

This is a band with more of a current sound and have more in common with Radiohead, Pink Floyd and the like – but without sounding like they are going to kill themselves as much – lol and even go into pop-punk territory as well.

They come from Southern Ontario, Canada and got together in 2006, releasing their 1st album ‘Perfect Neverending’ in 2008. This new release holds 13 tracks – lucky for some in this case with marvelous songs on here such as the atmospheric opener, ‘Adversity’; the rah rah Blink 182/Bowling For Soup like ‘Momentary Best Time’; the uplifting rocky ‘All Along’ and the epicpower ballad closer ‘Taken Back’.

Great band to suit a variety of people.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

June

FASTLANE FLOWER - Deadline

(Nordic Records - 2011)

From the hotbed of metal genius that is Scandinavia comes a band poised to eclipse that description single handedly.

Norwegian sextet Fastlane Flower’s debut album is an instantly nauseating tour de force -cum-tour-de-metal as they blend a mainly soulful dark female fronted metal sound with styles and visions from right around the box. Opener ‘Agent Of Chaos’ Straight up and in your face melodic metal with an extremely tantalising Queensryche-esque chorus line. Seemingly enthusiastic to share with us early, their different style examples , ‘State Of Emergency‘ , treads more alternative waters, Skunk Anansie mode on some likely minds.

’Monkey Businbess ’ and ’Blue Moon’ see some fine vocal work from resident chanteuse Eline Stolan and gritty guitar lines that take occasional thrash turns on the latter. An impromptu scream core attack comes from out of nowhere during ‘Secret Archive’ . Not stating that I haven’t caught another above decent metal act out with this scandalously unnecessary act of bandwagon jumping recently but again it does not seem to muster that much extra substance despite no largely detrimental effect on the tune. ‘Wisteria Lane Concept’ is a sledgehammer riff monger of a modern metal number delivered with Tura Satana attitude and an adequate sprinkle of prog across the cake.

‘Before I’m Gone’ and ‘Coping with The Loss Of Beauty’ are the band wallowing in more gothic waters though the former retains the echo of latterday Helloween I’ve sensed quite4 recurrently thought the record. Ninth track ‘At the Rainbow’s End’ climaxes the disc in simply balls-out goth metal with Eline’s sweet voice again summing up the whole mood of this highly atmospheric piece of rock. FFF deserve another F on their name, standing for Frightening as I’ve never seen an outfit throw it together like this to such instantly punishing effect. Life in this Fastlane is indeed looking more than very good.

Highly recommended.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: My Dying Bride, Evansescence & Arch Enemy.

NET: www.myspace.com/fastlaneflower

FIVE DAYS OF RAIN - Taste My Breath After The Fallout

(Rising Records - 2011)

Interesting names should be reserved for interesting bands in one‘s opinion - the biggest marketing con in metal strikes again courtesy of Five Days Of Rain.

An interesting , and somewhat Transformers Trailer-like intro tricks us from expecting just another seven tunes of standard scream-along extreme metal as such follows. One-note rhythm with on-off melodies slips do not make for innovation or creativity, especially when being growled and gargled continuously as usual over the top with barely a decent solo in situ.

Waiting for promise proves futile after about four tracks as little substance jumps out from the depths, and the whole thing drives me straight into the normal tedium reigning within the genre. ‘TMBATF’s only redeeming properties seem the occasional prog tendencies and alternating vocal format but apart for that, this is frankly business as usual in the brutal noise department.

Class under ‘one for a rainy day’ … or perhaps five of them.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Bring Me The Horizon

February 2011

Firewind - Days Of Defiance
(Century Media Records - 2010)

Time for us now to give Firewind a spin - a true old school style Heavy Metal outfit that have created a lot of excitement over the last couple of years. There's elements of all the usual suspects such as Judas Priest, Helloween, Iron Maiden.. you get the idea.

Highlights include 'Embrase The Sun'; 'Broken' with its gorgious medieval acoustic kinda feel to it that loudens up in the middle & the instrumental fast as f*ck 'SKG' that's got keyboards battling out with guitars and drums with a nice throbbing bassline thrown in their too.

Then there's the epic track called 'The Yearning' with those tasty flambouyant solos from Guitarist, Gus G (who is also now with Ozzy as everyone knows) and Keyboardist, Bob Katsionis. 'When All Is Said And Done' rounds if off good too right to the final cymbal echo that closes the album.

For lovers of Heavy Metal the world over.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

December

FLAG - Perihelion
(TSM - 2010)

A project of US veteran Arthur Offen, it is actually one of a trilogy of discs, but annoyingly we’re un-notified as to which one of the set we have had through the door here.

Getting on with what we do have, we are more than grateful for what turns out a very pleasant classic AOR / prog package. The eleven songs may possibly have been written over the past two-decades plus as you only have to listen to the opening title cut to detect but getting to hear music played as purely and unashamedly as this in twenty-ten is an early Christmas pressie.

The bloke’s Peterik-esque gravely range is as powerful as the harmonies themselves get at intervals, and though the progressive elements get a little edged into pretentiousness-ville at later stages, his multi-instrumental talents alongside seasoned guitar slinger Rick Hinkle make ‘Perihelion‘, ‘Runaway Train‘, ‘Beyond This Mountain’, ’Solar Fanfare’, ’World By Night‘, ‘Stephanie‘ and ’Low Country Rider - 1776 into solid ear candy on the spot for listeners with the loyal taste. Stunning example of a genre sadly criminalised by the cutting edge music scene today.

Buy!

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Survivor, Asia, Magnum, Toto, Dare

NET: www.arthuroffen.com

Forever Never - I Can't Believe It's Not Metal!!
(S/R - 2010)

A 6 track collection of covers by the now well known Metal band - doing songs that aren't Metal but Metalling them up all the same when it's appropriate to.

Numbers include songs by John Farnham (You're The Voice); Still Of The Night (Whitesnake); 'Future Love Paradise' (Seal) as well as 'Boombastic' (Shaggy) feat. Beji Webbe of Skindred. They don't take the piss or parady them at all - they do them justice and add plenty of crunchy heavy guitar as well, making sure that the song is still the prominent point to the listeners ear.F*ck*n' Killer and Totally Awesome E.P. is this! Proof that Metal bands can exceed in any genre they want to.

But only available at their gigs I hasten to add.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

FUGHU - Absence
(S/R - 2010)

Argentina! They’ve got bands?! What next? Footballers who don’t do drugs or handball their way to the world cup?

Only kidding, Fughu guys , at least your nation has proudly proven it can whack out a damn decent prog metal album to boot, and boy does this one take some? Right from the ignition of opener ’Ashes’ and its lively keyboard lead-in, these four young men mean it like its meant to be heard and delivery it in a format the comfortable end of formulaic.

Working varied lengths in song structure, their produce comes at you in bursts from 4 to 10 minutes , with instruments handled without too much need to force the substance. ‘Storm’, ‘Absence’, ‘Solitude’, Red V’ and ’Pain (get me inside)’ are amongst classy Wakeman/Rudess inspired cuts with incredible keyboard performances from Marcel Malmierca.

Whilst vocalist Santiago Burgi sounds more suited to a Darkness tribute outfit, his seventies guttural wail works in a lot of places and the chord driven guitar lines couple both elements together very securely and everything shoots by along the track with a loud whistle. Hand picked as tour support by the legendary Dream Theater recently, you needn’t ask why, listening to this masterpiece.

Excellent musical dynamics and very low on moments of tedium that drive most unassured proggies to standing at arms length, everyone might actually be advised to stand back for Fughu’s debut promises fireworks aplenty.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Dream Theater, Enchant, Yes, Queensryche & Dio

NET: myspace.com/fughuweb

October

FALLEN ANGEL - Crawling Out Of Hell
(Fallen Angel Records - 2010)

Nothing of relation to Brett Michael’s sunset strip glam combo, Fallen angel are every bit old school but unfortunately disastrously so in parts.

It looks promising , a 20 -track list which is en songs plus various instrument al interludes - (i.e. we are talking concept album alert here, peeps) and sounds it at first with pleasant power metal guitars shrieking in but the trouble starts soon after. Stop and go speed metal with no real progression across the verse-chorus circuit, the first three or four songs just trip and stumble as the players change their mind about how fast they want to do it every few seconds.

The momentum settles about halfway down and the hooks come through stronger but interest is nearly strained by this point. A storyline based on a n initially Life-on -Mars like tale of a guy landed in another time after an accident involving a car is on of its more appealing factors as is the duelling pitch vocals, largely Kai Hansen comparable at their best, and basic but sweet solo lines but the damage has taken some patching.

Not bad but they’ve tried a little too hard to be more than good here.

6.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Manowar, Helloween, Iron Saviour, Judas Priest & Anthrax

Fatiniza – Confusion
(Daxar Music – 2010)

Female singer from Bucaramanga, Colombia. and has a poppy commercial rock sort of sound, sometimes singing in her native language.

There’s an array of 12 numbers on here that are concerned with relationship topics such as come and talk to her like in ‘Babe Come On’; ‘The One’ or ‘Without You’. For those of you in South America, there’s the songs ‘Que Dificil Es Quererte’ an acoustic ballad and ‘Yo Quero Ser’ that are actually own language versions of previous songs on the album. To find out which ones you need to grab hold of the album.

Decent album that’ll please both natives and English speaking listeners, once you get used to her accent.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

September
FLYING CIRCUS – Forth
(TSM - 2010)

Rest easy, people, the Monty Python guys have not decided to try their hand in the Rock n’ roll trade, but Germany’s Flying Circus have still got plenty of clever tricks awaiting within their tent.

The feat of the night would be walking along a classic rock tightrope across a pop rock pool with a seal balancing a Goth metal ball on its nose below. These chaps just don’t know what to do, they just, make sure it’s good and give it to us hoping it goes down. It does well with me at least- their switching between psychedelic workouts and pop rock -blast outs confuses for most of the album’s distance but it still delivers strongly written tunes that while not always instant with their hooklines leave very little depth behind to crave.

The Mover, ’Free’, ’Long Gone By’, ‘ Just A Few Hours’, ‘Magic Land’, ‘I’ll Go my Own Way’, ‘Trip To Heaven’ and ‘Roll The Dice’ recommend the album by themselves with sturdy vocal and instrument performances that generously overweigh the extremely trivial flaws that flutter up along the course.

They’re not the Messiah, they are very talented boys.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Dream Theater, Shotgun Symphony, Magellan, Threshold

Forlorn - The Rotting
(Rising Records – 2010)

Forlorn formed in 2006 as the metal scene rips through Birmingham. The Rotting is their debut album after releasing two EPs Hearts of war and The Forlorn Hope.

The Rotting is dark heavy with a chilling eerie feel to it. Forget about your Napalm Deaths and Kreators, Forlorn hit you in the face with so much brutal power; a nuclear bunker couldn’t keep them out.

This 10 track CD is full of power, passion and aggression as they rip their way through ‘The Rotting’, ‘Worlds End’ and ‘Battle Scared’ to finish a punishment of pain with ‘This wicked Sin’.

Forlorn have the passion to progress and a blistering power to carry them through to the next stage.

8/10

By Tony Watson

Tom Frelek - Moment Of Certainty
(Independent – 2010)

I don’t know what’s going off, but guitar instrumental CDs are coming through like busses. For ages you don’t get one then they all turn up at once.

Tom Frelek is a talented guitar musician from Toronto who has a passion for rock/metal guitar riffs. I don’t mind instrumental band like Karma To Burn as they are dark deep and heavy without the flashiness but Tom Frelek has pushed the boundaries a little firther with cheeky little flick wrapped in a sound of class.

As I keep saying I’m not a big fan of CDs full of technical guitar work but as back ground music this CD isn’t too bad.

This is another one for the guitar loving instrumentalists out there who pray to be like Joe Satriani.

5/10

By Tony Watson

July
FAB BOX - Music From The Fab Box
(Avenue Of Allies - 2010)

These are a couple of Italian gents called Fab Box, on the Avenue of Allies, AOR’s hottest label of late and sound damn pleasant.

Not to be confused with the Fab Four, their one similarity to Lennon and the lads is a frequently acoustic based guitar structure that their otherwise electrical arrangement sits around. Almost totally pop-like throughout the 13-song span, many would argue that ’Tell Her I’m Alright’, ’Inside’, ’The Key’, ’A Matter Of Time’, ’Together’, ’I Still Believe’ and ’Reason Of The Heart’ should be kept to playing in the corner of a wine bar on a Monday night, I believe they deserve a far better crowd.

‘Lift You Up’, my personal fave from defunct Norwegian outfit On The Rise fires straight to mind when I hear ’Call My Name’, the disc’s standout cut taking from its chorus beyond legal extents. Sweet harmonies and solos continue on large capacity throughout ’You Are The One’ and’ Always’ despite an annoying keyboard line on the latter of the two , bringing the disc to a pleasant end with as- standard ballad-y climax, ’Yesterday’ ’s great AOR chorus underlining the feel of the scene. Sweet music for sweet people, FB’s style may be a little over commercialised in parts but a strong melodic rock style keeps them the full steps up the ladder.

A great disc that deserves a chance - check these lads out, pronts.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Nelson, Journey & Dare

NET: www.fabbox.net

FAITHFULL - Light This City
(Perris Records - 2010)

Another of the sod-knows howm many hundred hair bands to have missed the boat, Faithfull are deservedly picked up by the loyal rescue raft that is Perris Records and sent to another eagerly awaiting vessel.

Rightly so as well - this excellent rcord is probably the lifejacket that will see them there safely and is great fun whatever decade it coems to us in. Gritty singing approach, not unlike Seb Bach, amidst sweet an’ cheery solos and punchy hooks all dripping with Sunset strip sustenance , also allow for mellower, AOR-oriented interludes but the tiny lulls in momentum are not down to that.

’Light…’, ’All I Want’, ’You Won’t Get Me Now’, ’Melting Your Ice’, ’Learned My Lesson’, ’Like A Shadow’ , ’The Way I Am’, and ’Way Back’ are purely leap-behind-mike-and-let-rip classics bound to go down a treat in open topped cars on summer evenings and will totally rope in fans of the scene brought alive again by Steel Panther lately.

Death to all who don’t check this one out.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Skid Row, Tyketto, Danger Danger, Dokken, Extreme & Journey.

NET: myspace.com/faithfullband

FYELD - Not Blond Enough To Survive The Holocaust
(S/R – 2010)

Kind as it is of Bulgaria to drop another metal outfit on us once in a while, it still doesn’t mean that the hype will justified in its boosting.

This five piece’s latest album becomes an uncomfortable listen from the start, with staggery industrial metal arrangements that take ages to get to a half-decent chorus but my attention is already wavered on most occasions.

Not totally a bad outing, all the best sound elements are there, for which they are due credit but the near unrhythmical structures that plague the record make it very heavy going and remind one of the problem I experienced with Limp Bizkit’s debut cd. Travelling into the end half, we get some occasionally ominous hooklines and one or two pleasant lead moments but on the whole it is hard-going and tragically cumbersome.

Shame.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Machine Head

June

FORCENTUARY- Vanguard
(Independent - 2010)

Forcentuary are from one of Europe’s prominent capitals, Copenhagen and deliver melodic power metal as good as can be expected.

Coming at us with an edge over a lot of contemporaries largely because of their deep soulful vocal sound, frontman - Johnn Thunder sounding more than just as apt in a prog rock environment, they deliver in consistent force through much of their debut CD. Getting off to a winning start, ’Land of mirrors’ is a decent fast opener with strong chorus and solos that last endlessly but not without the obligatory switch of modes throughout.

‘Through the Eyes of Thunder’ and ‘Speculator’ follow behind , just as good if not dissolved in a bit. The tracks that stand above the rest are those that sound a little more than vaguely Maiden-like, ‘Rise of The Machines’ effectively pilfering the ’Caught Somewhere in Time’ intro during its middle eight, whilst ’Valhalla’s Call’ is drenched in pure Murray/Smith soloing glory. ’Bottom Line Zombies’ is the resident favourite, speeding along with a classic long gallopy power metal chorus. ’’Love and Honour’ slows things down - a mid paced magnum/Ten like number with sailing chorus melody that rises in stages and then majestically dips again ready for the repeat return.

‘Son of Poseidon’ and ‘The Abyss’ bring up the rear with a double bill of Maidenite-oriented treats, though with a more modernised feel and ever powerful twin guitar passages along both routes. Excellent as usual from our Scandinavian friends, ’Vanguard’s ’ momentum looked like slowing just in from the off, but no stinkers have flown into the grill. A distinctively unique approach intact, nonetheless Forcentuary are going to put their name all over festival bills with this belter, with their formula of sound and styles shaped around a underused format that still stops short of venturing outside what fans expect.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

May
Foghat – Not Live At The BBC
(Angel Air – 2010)

The title gets it right as comes from a live radio broadcast – those should be miles bigger but still legends all the same Southern Rockin’ Dudes fire up all the slidin’ powerful, feel-good brilliance throughout this recording. It took place on June 27th 2007 at EKO Productions in Commack, New York and used for Mark Klien’s Blues Warehouse Radio Show.

So many many highlights that start with ‘Home in My Hand’ and come to a magnificient finish with their anthem ‘Slow Ride’ with fantastic renditions of classics like ‘Terraplane Blues’; ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ (There may be people listening to this radio show) and ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’ (2nd version that’s faster and gutsier) in between. Oh and you gotta love the long throbbin’ ‘Chateau Lafitte ’59 Boogie’ a few loud listens too at the very least.

It’s a no-brainer – it get’s top marks and in loving memory of Lonesome Dave Peverett & Rod (The Bottle) Price).

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

March

The Feisty Piranhas - The End
(S/R - 2010)

A killer pop punky bunchy of guys from Southern California (live at The Canyon Club) who haver really great catchy punching memorable songs. They definately grow on you as they did me. They've got 2 members of the same family involved - Dad, Peter Lust on drums and Son, Peter Alexander Lust III on guitar and lead vocals.

On 1st listen you might not get grabbed butI guarantee that after the 3rd time they'll have you hooked for sure. Highlights include the opener 'Living Blind' that sets the scene from the start, '24 Hours' with 2 guest rappers on there and some awesome lead wailin'. 'Godfather' is a an excellent political number with some funky old ska moments in there and how about the haunting spoken word number that is entitled 'Memory of David' with a father tribute to his late 16 year old son. You gotta be sure to hear 'Where's the World' -a real nice ballad with it finished off with a rasping faster in 'The War Sucks'

Overall, they are worth checking out.

7.5/10

BY Glenn Milligan

January 2010
Fire – Thrill Me
(Avenue Of Allies – 2009)

Don’t get many of these to my knowledge – cookin’ rock bands from Malta – but’s what you get here. Well fattened riffin’ numbers about girls, chicks and other assorted hotties plus other more serious topics.

Love the fact that there’s a good few styles and influences here and it all sounds really well with highlights including the opening title track ‘Thrill Me’ that’s very AC/DC, the Whitesnakish meets the Cult-like ‘Get It on’; the Priest-speed ‘Come With Me’; the sultry ‘Crazy Lovin’; the prog rock meets Firehouse like ‘Where are you goin’ and the awesome metallin’ racin’ bassin’ ‘Lost Without You’.

Check ‘em out.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

October
Faithfull - Light This City
(Perris Records – 2008)

Light This City was originally released in 2003 on Vinny Records and has now been re-released in Europe on Perris records.

This CD is a must for Bon Jovi, Firehouse and Danger Danger fans, with the 80’s melodic rock style, big wigs and cowboy boots. It’s not often you here a modern twist to this 80’s rock, but Faithfull have looked at what’s happening in today’s scene and headed the opposite way. We have 13 cheesy rock classics that gets any old head banger playing their air guitars and shaking the dandruff out of their now bolding heads.

This 56 minute collection of rock is a breath of fresh air and is so cheesy my wife put it in her car.

8/10

By Tony Watson

Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland
(JLRG Entertainment – 2009)

Well if you are expecting the old Lita sound of the 80’s you could be dissappointed as this is far more in your face and heavier than you’d expect. I was kinda like, ‘What the f*ck?’ When I 1st heard it to be honest.

It sounds way more digital and computerised than the standard album and I get the impression she’s trying to go more for that Rammstein/Marilyn Manson/McQueen vibe than what she was as an 80’s Rock Chick. I think there are way too many backing and lead vocals from her husband, Jim Gillette and at times it becomes a Jim Gillette album featuring Lita Ford on vocals than the other way round that spoils it in my opinion if I am gonna be truthful about it.

There are a few good songs on it like the opener ‘Crave’; the ballsy slow riffed ‘Piece (Hell Yeah)’; the brashly riffed ‘Patriotic SOB’; the ballad ‘Sacred’ and the Black Sabbath like riffed ‘Push’ but a lot of it is very skippable and like wallpaper to me. At least I get to hear my buddy Stet Howland on drums on the majority of the tracks.

Dissapointing.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

September
FireSuite - My Dear (A Collection of Demos)
(S/R – 2009)

This is a four track EP of original tracks, Fire Suite are a band that sound like Radiohead mixed with The Cranberries and rolled around in the mud with Cracker.

This CD is an emotional rollercoaster of life that delights the airwaves with elegance and calm, which rolls into a tornado of passion and ambition with a passion to succeed. Although this CD only last a mere 17 minutes, FireSuite are showing the listener what they are made of and the talents they possess. My Dear is a definite must buy if you see them live, for a couple of quid you are not losing out on anything.

FireSuite keep up the good work

8/10

By Tony Watson

June
Foreshadow - Nations Of Failure
(Blastzone Entertainment – 2008)

From Tampa Bay Area Florida, Foreshadow hit the airwaves with a mixture of core grind, death metal, black metal and old school thrash, but in some sense totally missing what they are trying to achieve.

This is the first CD from Foreshadow, which comprise of 10 tracks of excruciating pain and suffering to the ears. Being a big fan of Thrash, Death, Speed and Black metal, this 40-minute episode falls way below the expectations of this genre of music.

Foreshadow have decided to get the concept of the above mentioned genres and do S.F.A. with it and push our and their own barriers to create their own genre.

The only positive thing I can say is that if you like Propain and the style they play, you may be close to what Foreshadow are about.

5/10

By Tony Watson

Free Spirit - Pale Sister Of Light
(Edel Records Finland – 2009)

This is the debut CD from Finish Band Free Spirit, who throw out timeless melodic rock that appeared in the eighties.

With their powerful melodies, endless choruses and guitar solos, Free Spirit have released an insight into the real world. The 11 tracks roll through their interpretation of the eighties big wig style rock, but finds it difficult to put a track on the CD which grabs you by the balls and gets you up banging your head.

In the eighties we had big bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Europe, but this band fail to meet this expectation and produce 46 minutes of seventies prog rock that drones on a bit, which don’t release the endorphins to get excited about.

I can’t knock how talented these guys are but it’s nothing new.

5/10

By Tony Watson

Freestone - The Temple Of Humanity
(Pink Records – 2009)

Freestone are a band who may be categorised in the prog rock/jazz rock/ pop rock, setting the scene with mood music that creates that very pleasing ambient atmosphere.

A very contemporary CD that engulf the airwaves with a melodic jazz rock and vocals. There is nothing violent about this CD as it something that you may have as background music while entertaining friends at a dinner party. AS a CD that could be listened to by it self, I personally would say it is something that you either have to be in the mood for. Due to the style of soft melodic rock it would be very difficult not to fall to sleep while embracing yourself into the floating rhythms and subtle beats.

A very calming 48 minutes that wraps itself round 12 tracks that blends from one to the other. Not my cup of tea and slice of cake style of rock as I felt it lacked the energy, but as a collection of background music then I can’t knock it.

5/10

By Tony Watson

4BITTEN - No More Sins
(Rocksector Records – 2009)

Well what can I say, we have a band who are heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, to Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Thunder, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, Metallica and the blues sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughn.

4Bitten are a four-piece band that have recorded a rocky, bluesy style with great riffs and guitar solos and a Female vocal content of Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Thunder, which fits the style of music very well.

This ten track CD last just under forty five minutes, which was very pleasant to listen too, not only giving you a chance to relax and listen to the sounds produced but also giving you a chance to rock your little heart out.

Although overall the CD was pleasing, there felt to be a little something missing, sometimes the tunes droned on a bit and didn’t seam to be going anywhere, but this could be down to the production which leaves the CD a bit flat in places.

Overall a great listen and good look to them in the future.

7/10

By Tony Watson

March 2009
Marc Ferreira – Working Overtime
(Two Side Moon Promotions – 2008)

Cracking melodic rock vocalist that I remember the name of from a few years ago – a frontman for a band called Medicine Wheel if I my memory serves me right.

It’s bouncy happy stuff that’s not unlike Bon Jovi & Firehouse meeting at the crossroads with some heavier BLS like guitar as well at times. Thumbs up most from Metalliville numbers are the in-your-face ‘Let It Die’ that’s like the post-Poley styled Danger Danger; the rockin’ and bluesin’ ‘Bad Girl’ and the opener ‘Walking in Thin Ice’ which is not a cover of a Yoko Ono song of the same name.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Folk Stone – S/T
(Fuel Records – 2009)

Italian Folk Metal band that sing in their own language. It’s an incredible array of talent and just simply amazing to hear traditional instruments like Bagpipes and Harps in Metal as it gives it such an illustrious edge.

You also get some outstanding instrumentals – all of this is a highlight !! Take the ‘Intro’; ‘In Taberna (Il Vino Veritas)’; the band title track ‘Folkstone’; ‘Lo Stendardo’ with it’s ‘Greensleeves’ melody and heaviness as well; the great drum and pipe led instrumental ‘Igni Gena (Schelmish Tribute)’ and the ‘Outro’ as well.

An absolute joy on the ears!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

December
Famous - All The World
(Burning Records - 2008)

With the greats like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC-DC, Black Sabbath, Famous have developed a sound that is so new and fresh but still showing the appreciation for the old style rock of the 70’s and 80’s.

All the world is very close to the sounds of Audioslave, late Soundgarden, Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry. The combination of solid rock with passion and enthusiasm drives the CD from start to finish.

This nine track CD enters into a new dimension of rock music, pushing out all the barriers but not spoiling the sound of what rock music is about. ‘Black Hole’ opens the CD with such passion and devotion, you would probably find it difficult to accept the rest of the CD also throws its heart out to the listener as it delves through ‘Today I’m Gonna Kill – The World’, ‘Heaven Will Come’, ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Give Me Your Soul’.

An excellent rock masterpiece.

9/10

By Tony Watson

Fizgig – Out Loud
(S/R – 2008)

Hailing form Bellevue, IOWA this rock band start off pretty good and deliver up 7 tracks altogether for this ere CD.

The opening hard rock song is great, going by the name of ‘Partytown’ is a killer number but the rest are rather sub par songs that would be more at home on a Cliff Richard album than a Rock CD.

A pity really as they are a good band but need way more balls to make an impact. Keep to the formula of the 1st song and you are onto something guys.

Shame as Fizgig just fizzle out.

5/10

By Glenn Milligan

Jack Foster III - Jazzraptor’s Secret
(Muse-Wrapped Records - 2008)

This is the forth CD from Jack Foster III, Jazzraptor’s Secret has a broad range of musical influences such as Jazz, Progressive rock and easy listening.

A ten track and very interesting CD full of intricate guitar riffs, melodic vocals and tame drum beats that would put a baby to sleep, but lacks the power and ambition that I would expect from a rock artist.

Although the CD is easy to the ears, I found myself wondering about and doing other things; the music didn’t keep me interested and didn’t keep me entertained in the slightest.

3/10

By Tony Watson

August
Family - Best of Family and Friends
(Angel Air Records - 2008)

Well what can I say; I thought I had landed back in the 60’s with a bunch of hippies. Family have been around since the beginning of mankind and are still going strong.

Best of family and Friends is a massive compilation of songs, which have expanded over 40 years and if you’re lucky you may even pick up the version with a DVD that was recorded in Newcastle in 2002.

Roger Chapman expressers his vocal abilities throughout the CD showing why he is still around today. From the start of ‘Burlesque’, to ‘The weavers answer’, ‘In my own Time’ and ‘Part of the load’, Friends demonstrate exactly what the 60’s and 70’s were about, which could easily put Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull in their place.

Family are probably part of most Hippies families and will remain there for the rest of there lives, and if that is the case then this is a must for the collection, even if it’s just for the DVD.

Not really my cup of tea but all the same you can’t knock class when you hear it.

7/10

By Tony Watson

Fields of Iaru - Alone in Inertia
(Dark Cavey Records - 2008)

What ever you do don’t listen to this by yourself or even with earphones on, as it will scare the pants off you. I am not going to disagree with anyone if they want to call this style of music ‘Egyptian Black Tomb Metal’, which suits it quite well.

The music is full of Middle Eastern percussion, pounding drums that are accompanied by doom-laden guitars and a vocal that would put Bathory’s first album to shame. The eerie atmospheric sound explodes into your evil souls and works through your body like scarab would on a feast.

From start to finish the echoing shudders ripple through your veins bringing the blood to boil with horrifying tracks such as ‘The birth of Anubis (the awakening)’, ‘lord of the necropolis’, ‘Mistress of the jackal headed god’, ‘The beauty of death and decay’ and ‘The rise of the sun god’, which finishes the CD with a sense of fuck me, what was that?

Fields of Iaru will end up with a very strong following that you will only see in the dead of night. BEWARE the Fields of Iaru will get you

8/10

By Tony Watson

PETER FREISTEDT - LA Project 2
(Zinc Music - 2008)

I recently reviewed another disc from this label by a chap called Robbie Dupree who seemed interested in playing virtually everything that wasn’t rock and still it got passed off as such a music.

I’m wondering if zinc after especially for such artists because if that’s the case, Mr Friestedt has almost just as easily attracted their attention favourably. On first entry though, this geezer seems a little closer placed to the ‘r’ word itself with a sound pretty much in the Journey/Styx aspect of things.

Continuing on through though, we get another taste of Dupree’s style, combined this time with a grittier, more guitar-based edge but not without the soul/funk over structure which remains prominent all along the ride. Toying with a variety of instruments himself, Peter is equally talented in both composing and instrument handling lines and leaves nothing to wither on any of these ten numbers.

Pretty catchy although a little patchy, like his labelmate, Peter Freistedt shows us again that there is still rock, without the ‘hard’ bit.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

FROM THE INSIDE - Visions
(Frontiers - 2008)

Danny Vaughn. An inescapable name on melodic rock cds theese days.

The Tyketto mighty-mouth doesn’t let a year go by releasing something under one of his many respected guises but this is of course still one of the most respected men in this genre so it is due.

Rendering the four-year hiatus since the first F.T.I. disc practically redundant, this incredible follow-up is exactly where this genius left off before. Accompanied by current House Of Lords shredder Jimi Bell and journeyman four-stringer Fabrizio Grossi, opening with his most-Survivor-esque moment in the form of ’Light Years’ is a solid promise of quality and thank f*** that the infuriating anti-rip voice-overs hold off long enough to enjoy the first chorus.

‘Making Waves’ is typical Vaughn and as usual great with it before both styles meet headlong for ‘If It’s Not Love’. ‘Listen To Your Heart’ is very easily describable as an almighty confrontation of ‘Was There A Time’ and ‘Suddenly’ tailored to reward those that constantly worship this legend and is up there again with the best.

‘Love Is No Stranger’ and ‘21 Century’ uphold the standards to full height with the latter introducing Jimi’s HOL sound to those in the shame of not yet to have heard this guy. - listen to how he clears that solo in fifteen seconds and keeps it in the gel, before that brief pause fanfares Dan’s return to the mike. ’Days Of Hunger and Moment To Moment’ are simply Danny doing it the way he does best but sandwich a potential gem in between, in the shape of the Journey-like ’Visions’.

Out of the blue as I’ve just finished saying this, ‘One More Night In Heaven’ is probably the strongest ballad he has written since ‘Standing Alone’ and should be a live staple on all future solo shows. ‘Push Me Off’ is a hearty rocker that sums Danny Vaughn up in a nutshell as one of the most powerful singers/songwriters in the AOR business today and is the closest to the ‘Ketto that he dare get today.

No drop in the momentum because the last number now upon us, ‘Telemetry’ allows us to savour the best of his soulful chorus vocal talents - reaching for the high notes from the ladder of passion he stands on without having to hold onto. Sadly it’s time to climb down again and admire another fine day’s work courtesy of a chap who has never slacked a day on the job in his entire musical life.

Bringing a superb team along with him once more has done the fella credit and I hope James Christian’s listening proudly because Jimi Bell’s proven himself no one-band pony to boot and the chemistry has simply further bubbled for an even more explosive result. Danny is a man who can do anything with or without help from anyone but with the correct ingredients to his disposal once again, comes through tops.

Blinding again, Mr V. I say no more.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

June 2008
Funny Money – Reissues
(Perris Records – 2007)

Steve Whiteman’s band back with a frighteningly great album of funtime rock ‘n’ roll 80’s Americana LA Sunset Strip style. Yep, before you ask he fronted a band called Kixx a few years ago

You can’t get enough of this kinda stuff and its well produced with some hot numbers amass a great album such as the opening ‘Off My Rocker’ about having a chick who can cook and sew (well that’s what you need when you is getting on bit); the beautiful reminiscing love ballad in ‘Baby Blues’; the grab ya straight away dance-floor non-stoppin, simply lyrical ‘Boogie Man’.

Then there’s ‘Suckin’ My Blood’ – you’re suckin me dry baby – oh yeah ! – I especially like this one for its surprise harmonica solo – spot on that dude and nearer there’s a classic ballad that all good albums need in the form of ‘Dry Eyes Cry’.

Get it !

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Funny Money – Stick It!
(Perris Records – 2007)

Stick what where? That is the question – well when it’s these cock rockers, do we really need to ask – a sincere 100% nope in this case – haha.

Full of feel-good tunes of the sort that you loved from a couple of decades ago - big hair, cowboy boots etc – you get the picture as well as some more grown up stuff as well.

Highlights on here include ‘Hot on your heels’; ‘Crush’; the serious autographical sound ‘Fool’s Confession’; the piping hot ‘Slow To Blow’; the mushy ballad ‘Thousand Thank Yous’ and ‘Weeds & Roses’ with killer countrified rockin’ blues solo and harmonica squealin’ not to mention angst filled lyrics about some chick that’s p*ss*d him off.

‘About Women’ is a good throbber of a number to end on as well with its addictive bass line and AC/DC riffage – makes sense to me!

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

2007
FLAGELLATION - Incinerate Disintegrate
(Lost Entertainment - 2007)

In a mini album allocating a full track out of just six for the use of an intro is a dodgy stunt to pull with the paying listener. Considering by the lump of directionless death metal racket that is the following track, ‘Chaos The Flesh’, it nearly gelled that the intro might be actually the most interesting listen on the album.

Hoping Lost Entertaiment hadn’t done what their name indicates already, I probed the remaining two thirds of Flagellation’s debut in the hope that their impressive maiden release by fellow Swedish signees Machinery, a member of whom appears here too, wasn’t a fluke. ‘Threshold To Madness’ and ‘Purified By Fire’ sink in however and the panic is over as further explorations of all things San Franciscan are undergone, and continue on to the title song while gothier closer ‘Vast Desolation’ takes things in an even more diverse direction,- - I’m actually reminded of Fear Factory a little bit there.

Patchy at first, our first taste of these guys eventually becomes sweeter in the mouth before we begin to contemplate swallowing and I hope that their first full-lengther has more numbers of the ilk of the latter four here.

All in all, pretty good in the end despite my earlier disappointment.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

Freedom Call – Dimensions
(SPV – 2007)

Power metal 4-piece from Germany who hammer it at us throughout the album and as put in the bio ‘The album raises the question where the climatic disaster will lead, what the fate of the human race will be and whether our future may be not on earth but far away on another planet of the universe’.

12 tracks of passion and all things sincerely metal – even name-checking themselves on ‘United Alliance’ with ‘We are Freedom Call’.

They are made up of mainstays Chris Bay (Vocals/Guitar) and Dan Zimmerman (Drums) and joined by 2 new guys who go by the names of Armin Danderer (Bass) and Lars Rettkowitz (Guitar).

There’s a slight bit of humour to them especially in ‘Mr. Evil’ with its name-check. This is a collection of fast, melodic songs with high vocals, with drums being beaten to hell – oh no doubt you get the powered-up picture. Some nice orchestra moments in Demons Dance’ and Light up the Sky’.

I like the classical elements that appear in the opening of ‘Words of Endeavour’ – nice ballad dudes, great keyboards riff in the title track that has a European Metal feel goin’ down there’. Love the ‘Magic Moment’ church organ and the bagpipes on ‘Far Away’ that adds something extra to the genre.

Cracking album.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

2006
Fair Warning – Brother’s Keepers
(Frontiers – 2006)

High class melodic hard rock from and I can’t help thinking that this frontman, Tommy Heart sounds so much like the leader of Hardline as well.

Highlights include the opener that is the bombastic ‘Don’t keep me waiting’ and likewise of a similar nature is ‘Generation Jedi’; the beautiful ‘Rainbow Eyes’; ‘Push me on’ withits great guitar solo which features a tasty bit of sweetpickin’; the powerful melodic ‘The Way’; ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ (no it’s not a cover of the Mott the Hoople song) or the closing number with the delicious harmonies on the loving AOR ballad ‘All I wanna do’ that kinda reminds me of a Robbie Williams number as it’s so perfectly polished.

This band put the balls and interest back into AOR.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

July
Fatal Smile – Neo Natural Freaks
(GMR Music Group – 2005)

Precise, decent metal band opening up with a ditty about Alien freek geeks – what ! then its straight forward after that. They come from Stockholm, Sweden and like their debut, it has been produced by Jonas Ostman (who is has done the knob twiddling bizniss for Yngwie Malmsteen) and mixed by Stefan Glaumann.

Fresh, bright, bolstering, crunchy metal right through that at times have the vibe of harder edged bands like Pantera - here you’ll find good melodies especially on numbers like ‘Dead Man Walking’; ‘Crash and Burn’; the gripping single ‘Learn – Love – Hate’ ; ‘Colourblind’ and the closer ‘11th Hour’.

Great vocals, great playing, great songs – what more could you ask for.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

FLATLINE - S/T (3 Track Demo)

Another Sheffield outfit sounded promising when I recently heard them live, Flatline don’t stoop too drastically below on their recorded material either.

Blending punk, alternative, sleaze and old-school rock in chequering smidgens through these three jumpy little numbers, they build up a style with strong modern day attitude but also one that has a classic feel too. If this demo is available at any gigs or mini-local fests, grab it - another slice of Steel city talent awaits your support.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

Frost – Out in the Cold
(Mauseleum – 2006)

A guitarist going by the name of Jack Frost brings together a bunch of well known and less well known Rock vocalists who sing some original songs and a few covers too.

I have to say that the best material is that that has Ted Poley on vocals who opens up the album with ‘Wasting Your Time’ and later covers ‘Sign of the Gypsy Queen’ as well as closing with ‘Head First.

Other highlights from other vocalists include ‘Out in the Cold’ that is a good hard rock number with XYZ’s Terry Illous on vocals; the Bad Company like ‘Peter & Me’ (Dale Toth at the mike). Frost’s cover of ‘Cold as Ice’ is exceptional with Jeff Martin on lead vocals with back-ups from Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt) or the atmospheric piano led after death questioning of ‘Passage to the other side’ with Toth again on lead vocals’

Interesting album.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

May
FIGHTSTAR - Waste A Moment (1-track promo)
(Universal Island Records)

If there’s one thing that as a rock webzine we hope we should never find ourselves in the position of having to do, it is to review material by someone from a BOY BAND. That aside, Busted weren’t actually that bad but definitely no leveller with Charlie Simpson’s new outfit.

Fightstar play a familiar style as well, though we’re talking that of Alter Bridge, Drowning Pool, Pearl Jam and Bush –type influences and comes with the sort of hook and driving guitar line that sells in stacks in rock, the way Simpson’s erstwhile scene of association did in pop circles. Already doing well in shops, the guy may have already have high profile but should rightfully be destined for much higher with this material.

Given the choice between Charlie Simpson and Bart Simpson, I’m afraid out little yellow-faced friend loses out this time.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM – Live
(Mausoleum)


TRACKS No Place For Disgrace, Swatting at Flies, Hard On You, Chemical Noose, Me, Wading through The Darkness, The Master Sleeps, Nothing To Say, Thrash, Hammerhead, Secret Square, Escape from Within, Dig Me Up To Bury Me.

Amidst new and hereinto undiscovered metal sensations that labels such as Belgium’s Mausoleum Records bring to our attention, there is still the rapidly evolving obligation to help bring at least one fabled metal institution back into the fold.

Phoenix’s Flotsam and Jetsam’s chief claim to fame is, to most casual metal observers, their dispensing of one Mr J. Newsted to a certain San Francisco –based outfit I might mention. To the loose listeners of F.A.J themselves, they have always prided themselves on their distinctively melodic sound, given that they are of course a thrash band, and if your introduction to their material indeed happens to be via this 13-track gig recently recorded in their Arizona hometown, you’ll find your own expectations quite easily summarised.

Harbouring the bulk of their best known line up, Jetsam maintain the form of performance that did the originals their cut of justice in their heyday, along with frontman Erik AK’s one-of-a kind warblings, sounding, at the large part of times, like a hybrid of Joey Belladonna, Blitz Ellsworth and at a fair amount of turns, Cro-mags’s John Joseph.

For those used to properly balanced production quality, I must warn you that the disc is very shaky regarding this side of matters, mostly picking up only one guitar, and it sounds like either the crowd were all suffering from a very bad case of laryngitis or this was a live studio jam that a few out on the street stopped by the door to listen to.

Pity that that’s had to ruin things as the Flotters put on a good exhibition here, and being signed again clearly means they’re far from forgotten.

7/10

By Dave Attrill


RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Overkill, Anthrax, Annihilator

FORCE OF EVIL- Black Empire
(Escapi)

Force Of Ev…. Names, eh. Serving as less than an accurate warning in the cases of some bands’ musics, FOE’s can take pride in harbouring a considerable level of substance behind such a trite moniker.

Though in possession of most of the stereotypical factors on the receiving end of more or less equal levels of ridicule to a name like theirs, this side of 1990, the elements have met via some clear experimentation and the resultant liquid is quite a fizzling mixture.

For the curious, it’s classy old-school eighties thrash twin guitar assaults with vocals likely to win a few Priest/Helloween fans’ hearts around the world plus an industrial/goth tint that has a checquered presence throughout but hangs around enough to be recognised as an integral element of their sound.

Most would particularly chortle at their lyrical content with the songs all focused on various horror movie icons but the idea is tastily applied and keeps an air of catchiness to most of the tunes. Summing all sides together, the vast cheese factor stays at the sleeve only - the music is their own more thought-driven direction and is an enjoyable conglomeration in the end run.

Worth trying.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

FEAR FACTORY – Demanufacture
(Roadrunner - 1995)

ALBUM LINE UP:
Burton C.Bell (Vocals), Dino Cazares (Guitar), Christian Olde Wolbers(Bass), Raymond Herrera(drums)

When Fear Factory first introduced themselves to all and sundry on planet metal in 1992, their debut long-play offering ‘Soul Of A New Machine’ documented the birth of a strange yet volatile new species, at a time when the primal waves in the rock n’ roll world were being hogged by our friends from Seattle. If the LA quartet’s first taste was a welcome enough package however, few could anticipate the ferocity its follow-up was to inflict on the scene a mere three years on. I heard the first snips from ‘Demanufacture’ on TV’s ‘Noisy Mothers’ show about a couple of months before its release and instantly I found the metal album that had been aching at all corners of its body to be made.

The no-sh*t Sepultura bludgeon of opening cut, ‘Demanufacture’ itself, rattles the ribs no less than equally today as it did a decade earlier, a piece of vintage death metal that their industrial voyeurisms fail to spoil.

‘Self Bias Resistor’ is where the bands more melodic side is showcased, for those unfamiliar with ‘Soul..’ in particular, almost relying in entirety on Burton C .Bell’s soulful gothic interludes that take the form of a more hyped up Pete Steele. The chorus built round this side of Bell’s voice garners it a significance the previous track doesn’t in this aspect.

If there’s two cuts worth the price of the album alone, six-minute long ‘Zero Signal’, my favourite of the eleven numbers, rates as one of them without fail and gives Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares in particular more than their fair share of space to assault the senses in as both take turns to ply their trade with respective prowess. The two runs of the seemingly endless verse-bridge(s)-chorus arrangement, seperated by a meaty lump of Metallica/Testament riffing from our man Dino spread the components out very liberally with the suddenly slowed-down tempo closing rhythm line along to Burton’s chant of ‘I Am So Numb’ probably the first of the most absorbing parts on the record.

The words ‘Hit Single’ and Fear Factory don’t fit very well in the same sentence but ‘Replica’ is the nearest they’ve got, a more streamlined version of ‘…Resistor’ that has been a dancefloor staple since creation and my fave along with ‘….Signal’. ‘New Breed’ is as industrial as they dare get, a three minute foray into Frontline Assembly territory that batters hard enough to justify its brevity twofold. The cover of ‘Dog Day Sunrise’ seems chosen for them. B.C.B’s voice fits the requirements of the Head Of David classic like a silk glove, and despite its relative subtlety, remains a respected inclusion on the track listing.

Back to familiar ground ‘Body Hammer’ and ‘Flashpoint’ stomp, stamp and swing the aforementioned instrument beginning with H at all in their path in a way that can only indicate they’d been inspired by the arrival of a certain other Cali metal act fronted by one Rob Flynn esq. ‘H.K- Hunter Killer’ parallels the title track almost identically, this powerful thrasher differentiated by Bell’s immortal rant of ‘I a-a-am a cri-i-iminal’ (I’m sure you’re a perfectly law-abiding chappie, Burton my ol’ mate) that keeps it anther Factory fan fave to this very day.

‘P*sschrist’ is the final in the band’s common format, on the album and host’s Bell’s most immense performance, his bloke-stuck-down-a-chimney delievery on that last chorus one of the most spine-shuddering moments you’ll ever endure on a metal tune. The guy’s more subdued half dominates closing epic ‘A Therapy For Pain’, a track that could hardly take the band’s moniker more literally if it tried with its seemingly endless closing crescendo Terminator-esque samples but still a very worthily -selected ending for an album of its type.

Truthfully speaking though, Fear Factory do not really belong to a type. They are one. A type that has gone on to produce several more albums of almost matching calibre but none can elude the shadow of this monstrosity. Still a mightily-followed act today and with bassist Christian Olde Wolbers now switched to guitar following Dino’s departure, their legacy will be carved in the name of ‘Demanufacture for decades to come.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

Flirt - Silent Night (Single)
(S/R - 2004)

Nashville, MI band that've been round since the late 70's give us their version of 'Silent Night' that starts as typical carol style and then goes into a fast revvin' punk number - thank Christ - scuse the pun.

Comes in a German version too.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

TOMMY FUNDERBURK - Anything For You
(Frontiers - 2004)


Tommy Funderburk’s name has not been an obscure quantity over the last two decades though his only work I’ve heard is his backing vocals with Whitesnake. This mighty solo offering sets the record straight as the veteran takes full advantage of his new lease of life on one of Europes’s top hard rock labels and delivers to perfection.

Despite his work qwith Coverdale et al, his choice of tool, apart from the occasional hint is more from the Harem Scarem or Bryan Adams rack which is always welcome in a space on my shelves, aided by a seven-strong backing band including one or two other recognisable names from the current scene. A strong offering from a man getting the notice he deserves with a voice we should hear more, much more often, ‘A.F.Y.’, is rich in hooks, harmonies and classic hard rock swagger that sells records like this.

Tommy had better get a slot at the Gods this year - if it’s on again - cause they are going to love this fella. In the meantime, they’re gonna love this just as much.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Stan Bush, Bryan Adams, Harem Scarem, Pulse, Heartland
ALSO RECOMMENDED
STAN BUSH - ‘Shine’ (Frontiers - 2004)
PULSE - S/T (Frontiers 2002)
HEARTLAND - Bridge Of Fools (Escape - 1997)
HEARTLAND - Wide Open (1995)

Edward Faust - Transient
(Wintersongs -2004)

Doomy, dark and a bit like Metallica in a church yard especially 'The Circle' and 'What lies within' that is melodic rock like with a big patch of fog over it.

This nicely crosses metal and gothic making an intriguing listen.

Be cool to hear a full album by this guy.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

FREAKHOUSE - Beautiful Misery

(Reality Entertainment - 2004)

The nice thing about nu-metal's more subtle side is that material of such form renders the genre a bit more approachable by traditional hard rock purists, all the while staying loyal to its own. Freakhouse seem prepared to please all and I'm sure I've already encountered opening cut 'Disconnected' beforehand. An excellent number and more of its level follow amongst the other ten, 'Beautiful Misery', 'Cleansing', 'Love Hates Me', 'Peel Away The Skin' and 'Liars Inc' being those I'd particularly point my finger at. Loaded to the brim with balls-out angst, feel and attitude, there's plenty to enjoy, as much and more so on stages and club dancefloors nationwide throughout this record. Not one for just the freaks. Well worth hearing. make that buying.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Virtually any act on the Wind-Up Label or also Godhead.

OTHER RECOMMENDED ALBUMS:
GODHEAD - Evolver (No label - 2004)
DROWNING POOL - S/T (Wind-Up 2004)
BOY SETS FIRE Both Albums (Wind Up 2001/4)

October/November
Flyz - Aphrodisia
(Self Released - 2004)

Excellent 3 piece from Leeds with 'Aprodisia' being the debut album that's got plenty for you to shout about. Not to be at all confused with those jumped up kids 'McFly' as these guys 'Flyz' have plenty of experience under their belts.

Fresh material is here that's for sure which is slightly indie orientated (but don't let that put you off as it ain't that depressing sh*te) - this has more in common with AC/DC and quality rock 'n' roll.

There's crackin' boogie in 'Deadman's Legs'; the nice ballad 'Goodbye' the waling rabid 'In a hole'; the wanna-be model sung about in 'Red Light' and the stonking 'Jealous' which is a ballad-come-blaster in the chorus.

Check 'em out as they should be big in the future.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

Funny Money - Back Again (re-release)
(Perris Records - 2004)

A band of Kix members - vocalist Steve Whiteman alongside Jimmy and Ronnie. Positive rock 'n' roll that's been mastered by Rodney Mills (guilty of creations by Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd). 9 tracks are from the original release with the other g from the deleted live EP.

You'll find happy well-structured adult orientated glam rock - if there is such a thing - well let me tell ya - there is now!! A sort of of Def Leppard meets Smokie with an appetite for the sounds of classic 80's Sunset strip LA vibe of artists like Pretty Boy Floyd', Ratt and Love/Hate. Songs of par excellence include the supreme studio numbers 'Horny Little Angel'; 'Wrapped Around You' plus live cuts like 'boogie Man' and 'Baby Blues'.

I'm very pleased to say that Kix have recently reformed - let's just hope they come over and blow a few fuses in Europe. This album does more than just wets the appetite for the band.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

September
FORSAKEN- Anima Mundi
(Golden Lake Productions - 2004)

A year on in the wake of their previous impressive disc, Maltese melodic gothsters Forsaken are in action again. Catching one of these tunes part-way through though is a less than advisable idea. Every song is like its own story within, going through various progressions and assortments of rhythm and time changes, but not without expert musical coordination and feel, and hooks do find their own place to sit on this bus, too.

Not ones for squeezing stuff into short spaces, all the seven tunes are anything up to eleven minutes in span, obviously allowing the progressive vibes to be sensed in more ways than just one. Ideal for those who like thoughtfully arranged deep-flowing metal tunes but with a hint of old-school chug and thrash attitude added.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

FUNERUS - Festering Earth
(Ibex Moon Records - 2004)

Another previously unheralded act creeps out of the woodwork, this album's being quite accurate of what goes on most of this planet of ours at the mo'. I can't possibly imagine what they are going to sound like - can't I b*****ks - when I put it on then.

The usual tricks are performed but at least with a bit of style and unusually some slight Dream Theater-ish vibes at brief intervals of subtlety towards the back end of the album, and the guitar and bass synchrony of siblings John and Jill McEntee make for common aural assault without sounding like an excuse for racket in the background.

Nothing too special for genre-ites but wimps are still warned about approaching it too quickly.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

August

Feinstein - Third Wish
(SPV - 2004)

F*ck me, its either Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes with a Swedish twang in his voice singing for Dio - nah, only joking - it's actually John West (of Royal Hunt/Artension). The leader of the band though, going by the name of David 'Rock' Feinstein is none other than the brother of Ronnie James Dio (who was replaced by Ritchie Blackmore when Elf became Rainbow all those many astral moons ago). Also in the band is Southern Rocker, Bob Twining of Foghat and The Outlaws with the outfit being made complete with bassist Jeff Howland and drummer Nafe Horton.

Produced by the bombastic Sword bearing king himself - Joey DeMaio of Manowar the album is pure throbbing metal of the highest order with the immense opener 'Regeration'; the down and head-banging title track 'Third Wish'; a 'Still I'm Sad' like number entitled 'Inferno'. Other highlights include the Ozzy meets Saxon'ish 'Masquerade'; 'Far Beyond' that could literally be a cousin or brother of Dio's 'Holy Diver' or Black Sabbath's 'Heaven and Hell' with its bass and rhythm guitar riffage.

Get this album now - M. E. T. A. L. !!!!!!!

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

FIGHTS - FIGHTS (Single)
(Xtra Mile - 2004)

Take one letter off the end of that name lads and Rob Halford might want a word with you. Then he might let them off considering their line in music is as far removed from his post Priest outfit as could possibly get.

Boasting a catching funk-lune through some of the guitar grooves, Sheffield quartet FIGHTS keep their pop-directed material their own way and give this material its own approachability factor. Try.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

Firegarden - 2164
(S/R - 2004)

A poppy rock meets metal band from Sheffield, UK who often play the Classic Rock Bar. They've got decent harmonies, young voices and are well established with their instruments, have a taste for the blues (Nevergreen) and old-school Rock (they cover Deep Purple's 'Highway Star' - just scrap those high screamy bits as it don't sound too clever).

Half is studio and half comes from a live gig at The Grapes from 25th March. They come up trumps bothways. Check 'em out they will be doing a local gig not too far away.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Freedom Call - Live Invasion
(SPV - 2004)

Can't say that I've heard of these guys before but they are bl**dy good and appear to be well known in the European territories. So what type of music is it - Power Metal of course of the Helloween, Silent Force, Gamma Ray variety that comes across very majestic not to mention symphonically triumphant at its best.

Land anywhere and prepare to be blown away. It's a pleasure to hear all these numbers - right from 'The Spell' to the closer 'Hymn of the Brave'. 'Lord of Light' has a keyboard sound and style not too dissimilar to a famous Europe number - which is rather funny really.

Like all bands of this genre there are plenty of songs concerning warriors, knights, overcoming evil and holding the power for freedom so if that's your bag then this ones for you.

They've added a neat bonus cd also that features ditties from an unreleased EP as well as state-of-the-art covers of Helloween's 'Dr. Stein' (that if truth be told I put on before the rest of the package) and a Powered 'n' Metallized version of Ultravox's 'Dancing with tears in my eeee-iiiiii's' (I mean 'eyes' but I just could resist that).

This 2 cd set invaded my speakers and truly conquered.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

July
FIREBALL MINISTRY - The Second Awakening
(Nuclear Blast - 2003)

The effective revival of old school metal, in the working of late, some say may have come too late to avoid suffering at the hands of Slipknot and beyond but I say it's never too late to pump that vital gallon of fresh blood into the veins of the genre. So bl**din'-well there. It's fortunate too that Ozzy is still doing prosperously for himself in the music biz today or LA's Fireball Ministry would have most likely gone largely ignored, their frontman's voice sounding jaw-droppingly reminiscent of the legendary Brummie warbler at the best of the duration.

'King', 'Master Of None', 'Flatline', 'In The Mourning', 'He Who Kills', 'Rollin' On', 'Choker' and bonus cut 'Dark Descend' are quite tailored to suit his style which goes in the Pepper Keenan direction too at fitting intervals on all numbers, and the guitar work owes coincidentally equal amounts to both the bands with which we associate the aforementioned two people.

Having been out for five months already at the time of writing, I only wish that albums like this would reach the Metalliville camp sooner, so our raving would be to greater effect as this is a certified blinder. Hooks galore in all corners, 'The Second Great Awakening' is for traditional heavy metal, exactly what its title says. Let's hope it means it too, this time.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

FROZEN SHADOWS - Hantisses
(Holy Records - 2004)

Amongst all the various weird noises French label Holy sign to their label there's at least something approachable for the preferably more straightforward metal fans. Not that Frozen Shadows are that straight forward in their own right, (nor is their name anything to do with Hank Marvin's mates getting trapped in the Artic in t-shirts and shorts) but their production of black metal will attract them their fans by the boatful without too much trouble.

In formula it's mainly the expected vocals and guitar styles aplenty but a variety of movements still finds space to be made in the music, some melodic moments prevailing to welcoming eardrums around the earth. There is a sense of old-school metal attitude in one or two numbers - nice one - and the riffing rarely lets up. A bit more of that diversity element would have served to please as a few tracks were less than immediately catchy, for that reason, but Frozen Shadows have done a good job with this disc.

Promising material.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

March

Force of Evil - S/T
(Escapi Music/Diamond Records - 2003)

A band featuring guitarist Hank Sherman of Mercyful Fate; Michael Denner (ex-Mercyful Fate) also on guitar; Bjarne Holm (Mercyful Fate Drummer from 1995); King Diamond bassist, Hal Patino and vocalist Martin Sheene of cult metal act, Ironfire. The idea came into fruition when King Diamond was busy in solo mode with perfect thing being that all members of 'Force of Evil' are based in Copenhagen, Denmark whuch erases any geographical and logistical problems completely.

The album captures an explosion of majestic full-fisted serious metal and comes across like a mix of the above metion bands and Judas Priest (in their heavy 'Painkiller' mode). If you like the sound of that then go and buy right this instant. It's a to-the-point release - try out 'Hell On Earth' and 'The Calling' about the Devil for good examples as well as 'Demonized' with fast drumming and thramming guitar work in high abundance.

Some will call this music dated and cliche - but do we listen to these people? No, because strong, true metal will never lie down at such accusations. Talk of the dark side is rife right here - the way it used to be and still is in some parts of the world when it comes to Heavy Metal. Force of Evil are a real band that King Diamond will have to work around when he wants to do anything anytime soon.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

February
FINAL FRONTIER - 2nd Wave
(Z-Records - 2004)

Mladen Borosak is a guy of many talents. Through his work with Triumph and more notably with Von Groove and 24K, his associated style has become increasingly renowned as his own. Drawing his influences mainly from the seventies, his talents made the latter act's 'Bulletproof' album one of the melodic hard rock high points of 2001.

'Second Wave' is the second album from his latest side act also involving impressive vocal find Rob Morratti. This chap's voice does seem to have changed in the year or so since their debut, going for a more guttural and noticeably Jamison-esque range. Mlad the Impaler has coincidentally enough come up with the songs to suit - the guy who changed his last name to Haze on their last disc might be considering changing again, to Peterik, this time round the round, but does not hide his own methods underneath, with luscious amounts of grooves and slides on the solos. 'Second Wave', 'Somebody's Got To Pay The Price', ''Lost Inside A Dream', 'Sherry', 'Faithful Heart', and 'Lydia' are still six from ten tunes that while showing a band rapidly moving on at a speed unexpected, still deliver the top quality Canadian goods, made all the possible by Mladen's performances once again.

With a new VG album due, life currently looks very peachy for this chap.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

Jan. 2004
Firehouse - Primetime
(Leverty Music - 2003)

Nothing musically has changed that much in the Firehouse camp - it's still as good as ever - but now the band are self-released on Bill Leverty's own label.

Piled high with positive late 80's arena friendly rock such as 'Crash' and the supposedly live 'Door to Door' with its motoring riff and drivin' vibe that'll work especially well on a Sunday (listen to it and find out why).

On the bass is a new dude called 'Dario Seixas' who complements the rest of the 'house perfectly just like the late Bruce Waibel always did. The band take a trip into the blues with 'I'm the one' with a fluffy bit of the old organ in there. And yes, before you ask they still have the knack for knocking up a gorgeous ballad with the song 'Let's Go' fitting the bill the exquisitely.

Fans of the band will love it but no doubt those god-damn DJ's will still be playing us songs from the 1st album and f*ck all else. With a release of this quality I think that they should get credit for what they are doing now - it's 'Primetime' don't you think..

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

Dec. 2003

Firebird - No. 3
(SPV - 2003)

Bill Steer's trio on their 3rd release funnily enough (their 1st for SPV as their previous two ('Firebird' and 'Deluxe') were available via Music For Nations). Firebird have themselves engrossed in similar style - that engrosses retro blues rock a la Humble Pie and Jimi Hendrix, so plenty of late 60's/early 70's like riffin' is a guarantee.

The vocals from Bill are slender and tenor; the drum action comes from George "Jolle" Atlagic and that bottom end bassin' is courtesy of Roger Nison. The songs, 10 in all, like in the good ole vinyl fashion include 'Tumblin' down' with it's long guitar solo and rhodes piano; the Black Crowesy 'Station' and the best numbers in my humble opinion 'Hard Hearted' with its hard-hitting Humble Pie like riff and the slow 'n' bluesy 'Off the leash'.

So if you fancy some groove to your night and wanna travel back around 30 years to classic sounds, you won't do a deal better than this.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

FORSAKEN - Iconclast
(Goldlake Productions - 2003)

Some bands come out from the most unlikely of places. Like Malta actually have a goth metal scene? According to Forsaken, they do. And as something of a bonus to boot, this most unlikeliest of nationalities has here dispensed a band with one of the freshest, matured, classiest goth/doom metal sounds heard.

With Leo Stivala's crystal-clear vocal produce, which wouldn't sound too out of place on a traditional HR/HM record, accommodated by the work of the four musicians making their sweet noises alongside, this little selection of tunes practically none of the 35 minutes they spread their markers within. 'Where Angels Have fallen' and 'Martyr's Prayer' are the best of the four but all more or less make the disc worth picking up.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

THE FORSAKEN - Traces of the Past
(Century Media - 2003)

The first time in Metalliville history we've encountered two bands of the same name, let alone in one month, though handily this lot have that little T-word on the beginning of their name. Firstly getting the harsh part of the review over with, some of these titles are dangerously cheesy, lads - most of today's other black metal acts know better than 'A Time to Die', 'God of Demise' or 'One More Kill'.

Seeing through that trivial banality, the material hiding behind it contains surprises a-plenty with substantial and often unforseeable rhythm and speed changes, within all of the tracks. Echoing Slayer, Maiden and Metallica in various places reaps due credit too, especially when they actually cover one of the latter's classics. Their version of 'Blackened' is sped up in a few more places than Hetfield et al's original but leaves nothing behind on the way.

If you like anything Norwegian and noisy combined with the aforementioned titans then the Forsaken are seemingly happy to cater. Particular other acts of this genre should listen to this lot and learn.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

FOUR SQUARE - 3 Chords, 1 Card
(Bad Taste Records - 2003)

I shudder with a degree of discomfort as I look at the first part of this CD's title, and you'd guess even more so as it enters my decks. However, as they've been so honest as to admit their indulgence in that most frowned upon of trendy musical habits, I'm going to return the kindness and give them a go. Good decision because as soon as track 1 'Mistreated' is away and rockin', the only thing I'm left worried about is if this band are on the wrong label - Artenzia being a more suitable home for their style.

Four Square do as you expect have a purely pop/indie structure to their material but the harmonies I catch on a lot of these tracks are akin to those you'd expect of AOR giants Harem Scarem and Mitch Malloy nowadays and also Bon Jovi at more than one time.

There are very few numbers which don't require a second listen for fast appreciation. 'Mistreated', 'Hitmaker', 'The line', 'Life Forgotten', 'Tee Vee' and 'We Alone' are true sounds of another ambitious new rock act making their stamp in the sand but given this thing's lasts a measly 34 minutes in duration, what the 'ell, just might as well play the whole thing again and again, as you'll have more time. I would.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

Fu Manchu - Go for it ... Live!
(SPV - 2003)

Two cd-set from the 'chu - the band who are regarded by many as the innovators of Stoner Rock alongside Kyuss. Let them take you on a pebbled journey of fast slabbing songs played in front of crowd live during their California Cross Tour 2002 - 22 tracks in all to be exact that includes 'Hell on wheels'; 'King of the road'; 'Downtown in Dogstown'; 'Wurkin'; 'Superbird'; and the best by far 'Saturn III' with spacey effects and elongated instrumental sections that's like Sabbath meets Hawkwind' in a distant part of the Universe.

Personally to me, a lot of the songs sound very alike - fuzzy guitar riffs, slammin' drums and slappin' raspin' vocal stabs that's like Rage Against The Machine meets The Beastie Boys - well just about but it's not as fast from the throat.

The stlyle obviously works for 'em as they've fans that dig 'em the world over.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Marc Ferrari - Lights, Camera, Action
(Z Records - 2003)

A hot collection of unused numbers made for films by Keel's ex-guitarist, Marc Ferrari after the Rock and Metal scene changed in the early 90's.

With a variety of rock styles such as the opener 'Run the Road' and the similar 'Caution to the wind' that has that motoring vibe of Glenn Hughes (with vocals provided by Bob Reynolds) to the pacin' bopper 'Right on the money' with Burning Rain's 'Keith St. John' holding the mike; the cheesey AC/DC'ish 'Too hot to stop (sung by Steve Plunkett of Autograph) and the bluesy 'Depth of my soul'.

This album is brilliant - no other words needed.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Pre-July 2003
FOREST STREAM - Tears Of Mortal Solitude
(Earache - 2003)

Doom metal, or melodic death metal albums, if you prefer are one of those things that rarely cease to amaze me - apart from how few have the balls to do one. Of course, there sure ain't no crime been done here, boy, but I always wonder if bands following this line take a bit of a liberty in the eyes of extreme metal's laws of style.

A band who sound brutal, angry, hateful.. and nice, at the same time, throughout. It seems Europeans earn their licence for this business ahead of everyone else as Russia's F.orest Stream have put their names on the paper with this very interestingly arranged CD, the growling vocals and grinding guitars being allocated only about two-to-three minutes a time amongst the lush symphonic keyboard harmony that dominates the duration of each epic tune. Those of you who take the time to listen will get the impression that either there are two different songs or two different bands taking their turn with each track - such is the vibe generated by the structure of these tunes.

If Dream Theater were a death metal act, this lot could have been SUED. A superb and absorbing slab of dark metal as it should be played with appeal to followers of more than just one genre.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

FUNKERVOGT - Survivor
(SPV - 2003)

It's amazing what can be crossed over with what nowadays, isn't it. Like rock n' roll with dance for example. Germany's Funkervogt have followed the trend of blending aggressive vocal workouts in with a dance synth beat underlayer. Most will compare this material in similarity to Gravity Kills but with less of the guitars so the only metal connection to be found is through Jens Kastel's guttural vocal histrionics.

The tunes are well laid out and easy to understand in both performance and lyrically too -dance fans, if you're planning to switch on expecting loads of wailin' and warbling about love, sex and kissin', you can effing well look elsewhere. There are elements that remind one of KLF classic 'What Time Is Love' through the feel of the whole record though a tad less manic, but its attitude rarely withers. Industrial perfection as only Europeans know how to get it.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM - FALLEN
JUNGLE RECORDS - JUG

After a break of over ten years, Fields of the Nephilim released an amazing single 'From the fire', which astonishingly charted at 83 in the UK charts without any promotion, this soaring dark hard rock ballad, taken from the new album 'Fallen' showed the fans that they are back and they mean business.

This brand new ten-track studio CD is a start of unfinished dark enthusiasm that was left when the band split in 1991, although the members of Fields of the Nephilim never split from the business, their fan base stayed as they toured with new bands and material.

'Fallen' is probably the heaviest and darkest album to date, which has released new passion for their darkwave underground following, when you hear 'Dead to the world', 'From the fire', 'Deeper' and 'One more nightmare' you know deep down that with these eerie tracks of Sodom, the Fields of the Nephilim have been re-incarnated from the dust and death of their late eighties image to be once again to reign the thrown of darkness

If the gothic sound wets your appetite then 'Fallen' is a CD that will finish the jigsaw in your dark gloomy CD collection.

9/10

By Tony Watson

FINAL FRONTIER - The First Wave
(Z Records - 2002)


A Canadian melodic rock act seems like a good thing to be in at the moment. We've sure had 'em coming in of late. Phil Naro's 'Glass Mountain' disc, the two 24K albums, the Jeff Austin album (well he's Canadian) , Harem Scarem and Honeymoon Suite's corking comeback efforts, and new guitar wizard Slav Simanic's 'Let It Go' (also featuring Naro) wasn't exactly bad either. Let's have another while we're at it, eh? And who better to leave it to than the retro hard rock guitar expertise of none other than Mr Mladen Borosak himself. Actually, the Von Groove/24k man seems to have changed his last name to Haze on this sleeve but the music stays undamaged in the slightest, and quite expectedly from anything this chap's been involved with, kicks my back-end big time.

Teaming up with his old mate Rob Moratti, they've made together what I can only describe to the best of my accuracy as a 24-Groove album, combining the key elements of Mladen's two most prolific acts plus a few hints of Mr Naro's latest rocker, into one glorious solid mass. And would you believe it but by some slight coincidence, Moratti's voice is little less than an exact platter of Phil's and Groove's Mike Shotton -there's irony for you.

Switching the subject to the songs themselves, I think that appetites for live shows on the account of this act have been well and truly wetted. 'Two Strangers', 'Restless Heart', 'Long Live Those Golden Years', 'Forever's A Heartbeat Away', 'Once Touched by Love', 'Soul Surrender' and the excellent 'Last To Know' lay down the law to the doubting if there are any. That said, they are just as importantly definitive examples as to why this sort of music deserves more favourable following, not to mention the talent beyond its construction.

In one line…. Mladen came, saw, rocked and went … hopefully back to the studio to record another one that's just as good. Then remember, there's the next Von Groove album to look forward to as well….. oh, stop it Mlad' you've spoiling us.


9/10

By Dave Attrill

ROBERT FLEISCHMAN - World In Your Eyes
(Frontiers/Now & Then - 2002)

Excuse me if this sounds a tad rude but I sort of. almost forgot this bloke existed. The last time he was heard from was nearly two decades ago on the Vinnie Vincent Invasion album and that was it.. Gone. Like the ring in Lord Of The Rings he remained undiscovered for years until Mark Ashton did a Bilbo Baggins of sorts by stumbling across him again recently. As not so unusual for most ex-big hair rockers, the first present-day shot of him shows the fella sitting there sporting a cropped do and with an acoustic guitar tucked under his arm, but surprisingly not looking at all bad for his age. Impressively the same compliment can be extended to this comeback offering from the man who once fronted a fledgling Journey prior to the legendary Steve Perry.

Instead of the sort of 70's/80's retro leanings you probably placed your bets on, well I'd call them off because this album has more to do with present day maestros Danny Danzi and Mitch Malloy than anything else though Mr. F does blend plenty of his home-grown produce into the album. And who better to help him keep the crops dusted than.. What, this chap again?! Oi, that will do.

There will be less of that talk about the prestigious guitar talents afforded to us on the half of Mr. Josh Ramos, young man. So the Two Fires/Storm/Hardline six-stringer shifts from one great act to another like a grasshopper on steroids, but as a musician so much in demand, the guy gets little time to rest. Hurricane's Kelly Hansen joins in with Fleischmann and Ramos in making songs like 'Heaven To Me', 'World in Your Eyes', and 'Just One Kiss' worth the price of the album themselves.

Of the seven other tunes, most stand more than decent themselves through about three so so are a tad less catchy, but Robert Fleischmann can't be forced to please everyone, even after the time he's been away. Nice one Rob, let's hope you're back for good this time, too.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

THE FLOWER KINGS - Unfold The Future
(Inside Out - 2002)

When asked to produce a review of this latest Flower Kings release, I was more than chuffed to give it a spin, being the big progressive rock fan I am. And from what I've heard of the band, they live up to their reputation. The album is possibly the most musically diverse that I've ever heard. Shifting and jerking from quirky and uptempo, to dramatic, soft and harmonious, it's a clever mix that is reminiscent of anything from early Pink Floyd to the present stuff by Transatlantic (of which one of the Flowers is also member).

Like Transatlantic, this sixteen track double-album starts off starts with an epic number lasting just over half an hour, 'The Truth Will Set You Free'. When hearing it, it seems like a combination of six seperate tunes smartly weaved together. These guys prove that they're good without being pretentious and without taking the fun out of what they do. 'Unfold The Future' has a overall, lively style, adding an array of colour and texture that runs throughout the album.

9/10

By Steve Windle

Four Star Mary - Welcome Home
(Spitfire Records - 2002)

The second album is always the hardest it's been said but Four Star Mary don't seem to have had a problem. They've improved and matured ten-fold when you come this to their debut, 'Thrown to the Wolves'.

It's extremely warm and melodic - not raw garage songs, rah, rah like 'Thrown...' was . Of course they still have that raw Mary sound on occasions on songs like the crackin' 'All l see' and 'Darker Days' but many songs feature incredible vocal performances like 'Train' and 'Prison'. Stand-out numbers without a doubt have got to be the soulful 'Bleed On'; 'Empty' and the acoustic closer, 'Stars come down' .

'Welcome Home' is gonna be held by welcome arms and thoroughly treasured. An absolute joy of an album.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Free Spirit - Shadow of a man
(Self-Released - 2002)

Finnish rock band 'Free Spirit' who formed in '92 (but were put on hold a wee while due to Studies and Military Service) are bashing out the 80 s sounds with this self-released effort.

OK, the overall sound is a bit boomy and slightly distorted at times but musically it's very good. They come across like a more European equivalent of The Cult with the early rawness of Whitesnake - especially in the bawlings of the Vocals that cut across nicely in 'Radiant High'.

There's almost a tribal vibe surrounding their offerings that's to be found in the Zepped up 'Easy Days' about, funnily enough, tribes in the mountains. The Scorpions are definitely a big influence to these guys as well and that comes across in 'Pale Spirit of light' that even gets a bit Doro Pesch in the musical department also. The closer, 'Cry of an Eagle' is a beautiful melodic rock epic and I recommend it to you gladly.

If given enough press in the right places, this band would be huge in Europe.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Pre-2003
Fantastic Super Foofs - Devan Endo EP
(Floating Toast Records- 2002)

When I first put this on, I nearly turned it off straight away. Just horrible-sounding unrehearsed student grunge-by-numbers with a singer who seemed to know everything apart from singing, but then the chorus arrived… thank God for that.

Very melodic and still retaining the alternative direction but fully in contrast to that messy verse line. An unexpectedly enjoyable tune by this Welsh three-piece leads to an immediately enjoyable cut in 'My God You Showed' - pure pop-punk as some might be used to, though with plenty of aggression. 'Enjoy The Ride' is sort of okey-dokey, an typical indie rock number with a Beatles-y bounce under its feet, but the credit belongs to the first two numbers.

Not a bad showing from another new young act on their way to bigger things and likely to garner some regular footage in Kerrang before long. I can only hope for them that they thrive before the rock fashion trend market finally turns another direction.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

Mike Fillius - S/T
(Self-Released Demo - 2001)

Falling somewhere between Joe Satriani and Steve Vai with touches of Randy Rhoads, New Yorker, Mike Fillius. He's rather good to say the least.

Highlights include a cover of the early 60's classic 'Pipeline' and originals like 'Halls to Hell' or the hells at your door feel of 'Trespassing', the racing 'Bad Wiring' or the country 12-bar rock of 'Spillway Jam'.

This guy'll get picked up somewhere sooner or later and I wish Mike the absolute best of luck - I think he'll go far. Mike fills you up with 6-string instrumental charm 'n' splendour.

Check out his website - http://www.geocities.com/mikefillius for more info on this future guitar guru.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Firebird - S/T

(Rise Above /Music For Nations - 2000)

The retro 70's Blues-Rock enthusiasts self-titled debut who are fronted by Bill Steer (ex-Carcass/Napalm Death) released this on Rise Above Records a couple of years since and picked up in the UK by Music For Nations. By comaparing this to the second album 'Deluxe' - you can tell that Bill Steer (Guitar/Vocals), Leo Smee (Bass/Organ) of Cathedral and Ludwig Witt (Drums) of Spiritual Beggars were still experimenting with the style as some of the songs fall a long way off perfection - but you can see where they were musically heading towards.

The production leaves a bit to be desired because the volume of the vocals is rather lacking at times and are overpowered by the instrumentation. Overall though, it's an OK album with one or two significant tracks such as 'Torn Down' and the cover of Traffic's 'Stranger to himself'.

Look out for album number 3 - out soon.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Fozzy - Happenstance
(SPV - 2002)

If you've not heard of Fozzy, then where have you been for the last 20 odd years - these guys invented Heavy Metal. Well that's the message they are sending out or should I say sending up to the Metal masses. So who are they? - basically a spinal tap-like cover band where the members have daft names that include vocalist, Mongoose McQueen (who's actually WWF Star, Chris Jericho), at the side of Duke LaRue on lead guitar (real name Rich Ward, ex-Stuck Mojo) and also on guitar is Lord Bayden Powell (Producer, Andy Sneap).

Fozzy put their own touch onto classics like Black Sabbath's 'Mob Rules', Judas Priest's 'Freewheel Burning', WASP's 'Love Machine', Scorpions 'Big City Nights' and many more. Just as good as the originals - I'm amazed just how good a singer Jericho is - his range is rather extensive and the rest of the line up is, well, pretty f*ckin' mindblowin' musically.

The best covers band I've heard in years (a cover band getting a record deal? Hmmmm- I guess it's who you are and who you know) - although they do claim that the songs were stolen from them. Coming to a rock pub near you some century soon.

Be sure to check out the CD-Rom 'EPK' which is a humourous Bad News meets Spinal Tap Documentary about the band.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

FRICTION - S/T
(Z Records - 2002)

Another one of those new names we first mentioned in Metalliville's pages about a year back, re-emerges with a rollicking debut CD under Europe's No. 1 melodic rock banner. Friction, for the unaware, are fronted by the former Lionsheart singer Steve Grimmett, with Nick Burr on guitars, and programmed drums too I understand, with bassist Gavin Cooper making up the numbers. Yeah, so the legacy of Grimmett's late outfit shimmers faintly in the air here but progression is proven at the same time.

Steve's voice is starting to lean into the Lawrence Gowan area for starters and my guess is that the other musical influences point at Mitch Malloy, House of Shakira and Heartland plus various things that Kevin Chalfant has been a part of in his time. Oh yes, and I'd include Sweet as well - there's an applaudable blast of that old seventies fave 'Action' as already popularly covered by Def Leppard a few years back on their 'Retro-Active' record. '

Breathe On Me', lets the guitar work toy with the heavier side of life and this track can be checked out on 'Z's Rock The Nation vol 1' sampler. . 'Little Miss Predictable' would fall into my faves slot - an inspiring hybrid of Mr Big-meets-24K style retro-rock- rumblings. 'I'm Back', 'Blue Collar Fever' and 'Forgive & Forget' are the other most repeatable cuts but the whole album is a pretty enjoyable British hard rock experience. They're opening up this year's Z-Rock show, by the way. Try to be there in time to catch 'em.

8/10

By Dave Atrill

February 2002

Fydolla Ho - Red Headed Woman (Demo)

 

Don't play this on a sickly stomach because I guarantee this bunch'll make you feel worse.

Imagine a female fronted Dead Kennedy's who happens to be no other than actress 'Shawnee Smith' who's got an odd wailing, chanting vocal style that's real different to boring Britney-like-clones that are doing the rounds continuously. It's appealing - big style!!!

They go by the genre known as Emo Metal and this 7 tracker is a top-notch eye-opener indeed. From the opener 'Overbend' which is a slammy punk bag of madness about doing somebody doggy fashion !!! 'Maja' and 'Ink' are by far the highlights - 'Ink' is very Incubus' and proves they've got some good melody to offer as well as punk palaver.

They could be huge on the Metal scene - in fact 'Fydolla Ho' make Hole look
like Steps.

 

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Pre- 2002

Firebird - Deluxe

(Music-For-Nations - 2001)

It's extraordinary that this trio is headed by the ex-Carcass and Napalm Death front-man, Bill Steer. It sounds nothing like his former bands - but instead it harks back to the glorious early Blues-Rock of the late 60's/early 70's. It could be said that Firebird are the b******d children of Humble Pie, Free and Cream - they are just that good. 'Deluxe' is the bands 2nd album -out on 27th August and is the follow up to their self-titled debut. It's elaborately brilliant - simply take my word for it!!

Take the Cream-esque drum-work of 'Hammers and Tongs' (courtesy of Ludwig Witt, who also plays percussion) which even has striking stoner/grunge frenzies going on as well. Or what about 'Steamroller' with its dirty blues hooks and John 'Bonzo' Bonham styles drum rolls - so that the track live up to its name.

The real turn-up for the books is the ballad 'Miles From Nowhere' where Bill Steer proves his worth as a beautifully heart-rendering vocalist - it's a far cry from his Grind-core vocals in Carcass - you just wouldn't think it was the same man. Imagine The Beatles 'While my guitar gently weeps' goes Deep Purple in an unplugged mode - as well as Bill's guitar sounding like Jimmy Page's Gibson (in his The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song' approach). There's even hints of 'In A Broken Dream' by Python Lee Jackson hidden in their.

'Zoltana' puts me firmly in mind of The Small Faces 'Wham Bam Thank You Mama' in a Free meets Cream style rolled up into one. That guitar solo is Fu****g mind-blowing - especially when the bass flows so well around it (courtesy of 'Leo Smee') and drums eventually take over for a short stint - I just love the cymbals that spiral high up in the mix.

The closer is really something special; simply titled 'Slow Blues' and comes across as a raw live studio effort that features Bill voice with a distorted, vocal effect - and then there's the stunning harmonica blasting out - 'Kin A.

Firebird's 'Deluxe' album puts Progressive Blues/Rock back on the musical map where it belongs. I bet Humble Pies's Steve Marriott and Free's Paul Kossoff would consider this album as purely essential listening - and you should too.

I just got to give it 10/10 - it's never away from the stereo. Get it bought.


By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

F - MINUS - SUBURBAN BLIGHT
HELLCAT RECORDS 80436-2


If you love Punk music what more could you ask for, there are 20 songs and over 23 minutes of solid attitude. Every member of this four piece band has a go at releasing their own energy and attitude through their vocals as well as knocking the hell out of their instruments.

There isn't a lot I could tell you about this CD, it's typical Punk. There isn't any songs that stand out, but who gives a damn when all you want to is beat the hell out of your best friends.

There is so much energy within this CD - 23 minutes isn't enough; another 23 minutes should have been put down, which would have made it worthwhile and more enjoyable.

You get into the CD when it is finishing. It's just not long enough. Never mind!

7/10

By Tony Watson

Four Star Mary - Thrown to the Wolves
(1999 MSG Records under licence to Eagle/Spitfire Records)

 

So you've not heard of 'Four Star Mary' before!!! - Well you should have, and if you happen to be a fan of 'Buffy the Vampire, then odds are, their music will ring a bell as the opener 'Dilate', 'She Knows' and 'Pain' have all been featured on the show.

This Californian Quartet is made up of Tad Looney (Lead Vocals), Zu (Guitar/BackingVocals), Steve Carter (Bass) and Chris Sobchack (Drums). They have that Creed and Pearl Jam resonance about them, so if that's your delight then here's another bands offerings you'll certainly want to digest. Tad has that oomph and drive in his vocal delivery that guys like Eddie Vedder are famous for - and very soon you'll be adding Mr. Looney to the list.

It could be said that Four Star Mary have a Pop-Punk Aura about them, especially the track 'Pain' which has a cruising open snare groove, thanks to Chris Sobchack the resident skin basher. 'Nevermind' has a real energetic thrill to it where the vocal pattern ties up incredibly well the guitar sound. In fact, to be completely honest, from every song I get the impression that these guys really do mean business (I know that sounds a bit too clichéd, but it's true!!! They will kick your ass!!!). Take the gutsy numbers like 'Shadows' and 'Say It' for first-class bolting examples.

Place 'Four Star Mary' in the 'Gonna Be Huge' pile. The readership of two notable U.K. Metal Magazines are gonna swoon over this band. Mark my words - I'm sure to be proved right.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

FURTHER SEEMS FOREVER- The Moon Is Down

(Tooth & Nail Records)

This ia a band who show promise within most of the tracks on the album. A
blend of gentile guitar riffs and vocals on tracks like "Snowbirds and
Townies", with more harder edged guitars on the title track and "Pictures of
Shorelines". I cannot help thinking of The Cure when I hear them though.
Maybe its because the vocalist as adapted to a similar style as Robert Smith
and does actually sound like him occasionally. However this band as a long way
to go to reach such ingenuity. The lyrical content is fine, but the 90s punk
edged guitar sound is getting to be a cliche by now and they don't really add
anything remarkably new to a worn out genre. They sound most inspiring on the
slower tracks, most notably "Just Until Sundown". Unfortunately for them its
when they most sound like the infinitely superior aforementioned band.

6/10

By David Roberts, BA Hons FS

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