M

 
July
   

The Micronite Filters – Chasing Ghosts
(Get Bent Records – 2014)

This is very old school and could have been released in the late 50’s or early 60’s since it’s raw and gutsy blues and rockabilly, countrified stuff – think Seasick Steve in a band form.

Highlights on here from these Oxford, MS boys include the opening ;Ballad Of A Bankers Son’; the ballsy ‘Ramblers Lament’; the thumping on the floor and harmonica blasting of ‘Ladies Man Blues’ or the Bo Diddley meets George Thorogood like Train Robbers’ or the deltaness of the closing ‘When The Lonesome Whistle Blows’

Very much the real deal.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
March/April 2014
 

ME AND MY SHADOW - S/T
(S/R - 2013)

The above mentioned are an industrial duo consisting of Randy Carrier and Andy Usser, two talented multi-instrumentalists who draw in from an impressionable array of household names to make up their style.

Lumpy, crunching metal lines and meaty synth arrangements, most melodic, come together head on and create an enjoyably shaped collection of experimental tunes. Set to swing- hammer beats and not without a respectable lead solo or two as well, the anger that Me And My Shadow seem to have pent up pays big dividends in their delivery.

With an interesting switch in vocal styles across all eleven numbers, from guttural modern metal to ambient, alternative float, there is a lot going on to look at. Two or three tracks stay a little over their welcome in parts but the on-off Strapping Young Lad sensation makes the album travel effortlessly along.

One to try finding.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.meandmyshadow.tk

 

MINOR MODESTY - Deadline For A Frozen Snail
(S/R - 2013)

Lummy, who went and put Lithuania on the musical mapthen? Well Minor Modesty perhaps, should you end up stuck for answers...or at least they work hard at doing so.

A unique cull of alternative, thrash and industrial awaits in nine piles for you to pick your finger at in this their debut album. Old school is the name of the game and these guys know their inspirations, Soundgarden, Pantera, Metallica and Flower Kings being four you can hear almost right away.

Add frontman Ceslovas's Lemmy-on-helium lungs to the top of the mix and you have songs like '...Modesty', 'Dorian Gray', 'Never Wake Up', 'Dismal Demon', 'God Nr.6' and 'Frozen Snail' simply made to suit your own perfections. Speed metal, punk and pure aggression outweigh the rest as 'D.F.A.F.S.' progresses but the tedium stays on the pavement.

'Gullible Man' goes for a break into slowsville land with a slick Seattle- fulled ballad towards the back end of the album when you least expect it will still happen but this outfit are pretty evidently a happening one themselves. Shame its not yet outside of the continent.

Try to make it possible, people.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Nickelback, Black Sabbath, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana & Porcupine Tree.

NET: www.facebook.com/pages/minor-modesty

 

MINOTAURO - Master Of the Sea
(Dust On The Tracks Records - 2013)

Named after the mythical Greek monster, these Italian/Croatian melodic metal maestroes mignt be out to hunt and have you for dinner themselves if you dare ignore this infectuous slab of slick European fayre.

Raw rhythm guitars ricket along a smooth sustained keyboard with the grace of a gull on a waveless sea. Applying lead vocals in the as-standard Dickinson sense and right away, 'The Idol', 'Master...', 'The Day Of Redemption', 'Never Loose Your Faith' and 'This Is What We Need' make plenty of it.

Twin guitar work is always the fast track forward on symph' metal lines and messrs Smajlagic and Caharija are already on route to running down the buffers by the end of one blistering solo. As wealthily familiar fodder as 'M.O.T. S.' might be, the motions still deserve going through when a band get it on this well. A Minotaur(o) worth being fed to.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Kamelot, Stratovarius, Gamma Ray, Nightwish & Queensryche.

NET: www.myspace.com/minotauroofficial

 

Moore Street Band – A Girl Like Her
(S/R -2013)

A cool band from Southern California who have a cool variety of styles and likes between them all.

There’s some killer blues in ‘Bye Bye Baby’; pure west coast sounds in ‘Vital Signs’ with some lovely Rhodes organ sounds being the icing on the cake that work well in the arrangement or the Eagles meets The Byrds like title track ‘A Girl Like Her’,

Nice!

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MYSTICA GIRLS - Gates Of Hell
(S/R - 2014)

First time I've probably chanced across an all-girl metal band from Mexico, so mightily relieved I am to establish such a thing exists.

One that starts in sounding like a girl-fronted Anthrax is a additional bonus. Surprising shovelfuls of speed metal guitar greet me with opening tune 'Gates of Hell' and go on in a Load-era Metallica way on through 'Boogie Biker'. Rich in the knowledge of English, lyrics like as found on 'No More', 'The Spirit Has Won', 'Tiny Blue Dot', 'The Conquest' and 'Why Should We Need' show through with scarcely a sign that this is their second tongue.

Guitarist, Cynthya Blackcat doesn't over cook her solos, sticking to old fashioned fast metal rhythms to sustain the momentum through every one of the twelve tunes, which suits Mon Laferte's somewhat Ann Wilson like husk much better one reckons. Excellent, hooky high speed rock with aggression in disguise beneath distinctive songs.

Mystica Girls music is indeed rare in its culmination of elements, still sits up towards the top rung for quality.

Buy.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Epica & Lana Lane.

NET: www.mysticagirls.com

 
November
 

John Mamone – Order And Chaos
(S/R – 2013)

A brilliant album from a very talented artist who hails from Ontario, Canada who provides a rich ‘n’ well assembled strong song album with incredible sound quality throughout.

On the dozen ditties on which he plays guitar, bass, keyboards and takes care of lead and backing vocals you’ll come across some killer hard rock that clocks in at just over 41 minutes of listening pleasure with the Black Sabbath like ‘Unlived’ that opens the album; the funk-metal of ‘Burn ‘Til There Ain’t Nothin’ Left’ or the beautiful light and lifting space-like instrumental ‘For Heaven’s Sake’.

Later on the words Uriah and Heep come to mind when you hear ‘Madness’ with all the fast organ work; the blues meets Sabbath like ‘Razor Jam’ as well as an excellent closing rocker with cool riffage that is ‘Gimme More Bullets’. Guitar solos are also provided by Kelly Kereliuk and Lee Nedich on various songs too with Mike Cotton taking care of drums throughout the album.

We recommend you get you hands on this splendid cd.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Jimmy Martin – Wild At Heart
(Aloud Music/Fastball Music – 2013)

Excellent Melodic Rock artist who is from Luxembourg but moved to LA at the age of 19 with superb songs on offer for your tabs that’ll grab your attention I reckon.

Some of these songs appear like anthems such as his single ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ – a duet with Robin Beck; ‘Love Somebody’ (that’s a duet with Rick Springfield) or what about the cool cover of ‘My Sherona’.

Good solid stuff that ticks all the right boxes.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Mistress – Loveteaser
(Origami Music - 2013)

Retro hair-metal pure and simple in all ways possible which ain’t no bad deal I feel.

Coming across like a New Zealand equivalent of a Def Leppard meets Tigertailz mix with cutting riffs, hot key changes and shouty backing vocals it’s back to 1987 all over again and again.

Some excellent cuts to be found here such as the very Lep-like ‘Love Teaser’ that is like a cross between ‘Tear it Down’ and ‘Gods Of War’; the cheesey as hell ‘Rock It Tonight’; the gutsy ‘To The Top’ or the Beau Hill mixed closer about a not so good girl called ‘She’s A Sinner’.

It hits the spots and I bet she does too!

9/10

By Glenn Millgan

 

Motorhead – Aftershock
(UDR Music – 2013)

This is arguably one of Motorheads best albums because it is very much a culmination of all the best elements found on their albums over the last ten years or so with a cool variety of styles that makes it standout from the pack somewhat.

It starts off in typical raw as hell avalanching pulverising mode with ‘Heartbreaker’ that hits all the trademark buttons as does the closer ‘Paralyzed’ that puts you in mind of numbers like ‘Overkill’ and ‘Bomber’. But songs on here that really get my attention are ‘Lost Woman Blues’ that sees Lemmy sound like a local old crooner singing about his broken relationship that starts off in a typical slower style before cranking up and heavily rocking out blissfully.

Then there’s the rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Do You Believe’ with his immortal ‘Lost In Hollywood’ line that hits me with past experience immediately that’ll have you bopping for sure; the excellent ballad ‘Dust And Glass’ complete with quality sounding rim-shots from Mikkey Dee and even some piano is included on the excellent biker/teddy boy no doubt approved ‘Crying Shame’ or the tongue in cheek number ‘Keep Your Powder Dry’ that’s got a cool bit of riffery from Phil Campbell on the chorus.

It’s a real grower and shocker of an album and up there as one of the finest releases this year.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Mystery – 2013
(Metopalis Recoreds)

A young band from Melbourne, Australia who are no more than 16 years old and sound like an 80’s hair band since they mirror and nail the sounds perfectly.

Every song is a surefine killer of a number and no surprise that they got to do a shows ‘n’ festivals with bands like WASP & Twisted Sister. Highlights include the cowbell starting ‘Raise Your Fist’ – an anthem if ever there was one; the outstanding party-filled ‘On Fire’ and the sleaziness of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Forever be. They finish off with tributes to Dio ‘Stand Up And Shout’ & Men At Work with their metalled up ‘take of Down Under’.

Definitely a band that will shape the future of hair metal for many years to come!

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
September
 

METHOD TO MADNESS - Guilty As Sin
(MTM Productions - 2012 / 2013)

More concept album malarkey from the prog underground lair leaps out for a breather.

US multi-instrumental duo Kevin Griffin and Mike Woodell have worked as a unit for fourteen years, starting out as Dream Within and then Calibur in turn before adopting the name you read above as of 2006 onwards. 79 minutes is an expectedly daunting duration for an album but a good storyline supporting the vocal side takes the tedium away from the technical element.

I would have to call myself harsh a bit as this whole piece is mostly palatable without the pressure to listen on. The plot, centred round some bloke's false conviction for murder and the resulting porridge that ensues, sits on a listenable guitar base, taking both the acoustic and electrical directions in equal manouvres.

Solos are scattered and seem restricted to their core minimum which is a good thing or an awkardish one depending on the directionless instrumental gaps still left to cross at several occasions. Strongly written and well recorded, Method of Madness could do with learning methods of momentum for future development but this is still good in the greater half of parts.

Seek for a listen - it could well be your thing.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Flower Kings, PorcupineTree & Queensryche.

NET: www.method-to-madness.com

 

Mothers Whiskey – Vol. 1
(Nomadic Lullabies – 2013)

Dark ‘n’ heavy Sabbath like sounds from a band who loudly bawl out of Portland, Oregon – I bet you could hear them over the big pond too or at least feel their vibrations through the earths core.

This is so retro and could have come out in the early 70’s with the witchcraftian ‘Cloaks & Cauldrons’ & the slow to fast blast outing of ‘Feel The Wrath’ that is very much Vol. 4 like (as in those guys from Birmingham, UK again) with its heavy riffs and solid out in the front of the mix drumming – a 10 minutes 17 seconds epic!

Having a tune about a hog is pretty cool too that goes by the name of ‘Blessed Boar’ that has a real sludgy, dirty, distorted riff to it. The album finishes off nice and solidly with a slipper stomping jamming instrumental called ‘The Passage’.

Damn this is better than a certain bands comeback album – I kid you not!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
August
 

MIND AFFLICTION - Pathetic Humanity
(S/R - 2013)

Mind Afflictions's font on the sleeve front does somewhat depict a death metal offering might be imminent.

And you never guess what, that's exactly what it is - screaming fast, angry noise, served daily and predictable as always. With no intent to offend other extreme metal aficionados of the world united, the album does what you expect but there's where where it starts and stops, surprises non-existent in a mediocre seven-track trek. Most tunes do their toil for the scene with sharp riffs and solos but sadly all get dissolved in a dull wall of noise and the much -touted magic again never sees any rabbit emerge from the musical hat.

Damn shame this material is so good live sometimes.

5.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Gorguts & Cannibal Corpse.

 

MIND THE GAEP - Get Ready For Tonight
(Independent - 2013)

Mispelled warning on an Underground platform, pronouncing this German act's name is a numbing of the skull itself, before I reach the music.

Packed away beneath the covers is a startlingly raw rock n'roll release that sets their country's spectrum an unlikely step wider. Mind The Gaep's single-guitar, bar room rock brand is usually a more Australian bred sound but true European grit gets you everything. These eleven tunes,certainly have it between them and mostly a hefty heapful of, apiece. Sassy vocals in the Seb Bach vein watch vocalist Matt Deiner spit his testosterone tinged globules all over traditional hard rockers like 'Get Ready...', Reckless Driver', 'Sister Sister', 'Miss J', 'Chicago', 'Cum On Babe' and 'Femme Fatale'.

Shredder Branko Ebert is a rich picking, rooted evidently in classic cornerstones such as Van Halen and Ac/DC and pins the solos with the same prowess that would do the luminaries proud while adding in drips of his own self-formulated fluid. Tight driving hard rhythms smack one in the face as sharply, allowing also for extra dimensionalities as sax, piano and harp are all welcomed into the mix at one place or more.

Winning the style some unexpected justice on top is the recording of Branko, Vjeran (bass) and Boozey's (drums) instruments in one single shebang, something scarcely heard of in the studio recording arena these days. A scorching rock release that sizzles out with the sultry blues swagger of 'Midnight Dance' and a swish hidden acoustic cut, the debut album from these Deutschland newbies is a signal of a greater musical train making its way up the line... if there is likely to be such thing. If so, then mind the gaep - I mean 'gap' - as these boys are sure to rush through the station without stopping.

Incredible.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Guns n' Roses, Warrior Soul, Buckcherry, Dogs D'Amour, Airbourne, Bad Company & Thunder.

NET: www.mindthegaep.com

 

Mom's Rocket - V2 / Red
(S/R - 2013)

About as close as you can get to Soundgarden without having any of their songs or members on or in there. This is two albums released together as one.

'V2' came out originally in 2009 with plenty of bawly singing that's very Chris Cornell with highlights in the opening 'Broken' and 'Lies' that has a riff like a very famous Neil Young number and one of the album tracks from The Beatle's 'Abbey Road' album. Later there's a great track in 'Liquid Moon' that's got a nice percussive heavy melody to it and the excellent closing almost anthemic 'Too Good To Be For Real'.

'Red' follows in similar style but the songs are punchier with better hooks and melodies that opens with 'By A Thread' followed by the cooking riffed 'Angels' that has f*ck all to do with the song from the ex-Take That member. Other killer songs on here include 'Through My Hands'; 'Already Dead'; 'New Religion' and the excellent title track it self called 'RED' that closes the album.

Great sounds that are authentically Seattle.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
July
 

Mystery Blue - Conquer The World
(S/R - 2013)

Female fronted band who appear to sound like they wanna be the European version of Judas Priest, Saxon or Iron Maiden.

It's cheesey and Spinal Tap from start to finishand I guess that's the idea unless they aren't personally in on the joke and are taking themselves seriously but I sincerely hope they aren't. Nice epic ballad in 'Keep On Dreaming' though but most of it is very bland with over-played riffage and vocal wailings but I do like the fact that 'Guardian Angel' begins with a didgeridoo.

Average.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
May
 

MINDWORK - Eterea
(S/R - 2012)

Back beyond the ol' Iron Curtain we once again forage and draw out progressive metal trio Mindwork.

Assuming we may have been doing it with one ear shut as well as eyes, the description of this Czech outfit's sound might have left the word 'extreme' out of the middle. Leaning heavily on the er....heavier side of technical metal these lads still channel the substance straight to us in juggernaut proportions.

Meaty hard metal rhythms and soft prog acoustic segments switch around on an unstable ratio but there is an overall growing instantness in songs like 'The Stream Of Causality', 'Mind Renewal', 'Reaping Waters' and 'Stillness Of The Sea' that you feel seeping into you. Wide-influenced, dark and melodic together, that this is mindwork that goes without saying. Gritty stuff finished with true Eastern Europe panache.

Sweet.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.facebook.com/mindwork

 
April
 

M.I.C. - 5th Avenue
(Y & J Publishing - 2013)

The 5th album from M.I.C or as they are known in their full sense, Made In China.

Some decent enough material on here such as the opener in the the hard rockin' Kiss like 'Let Me in'; the sugared up 'Sweet Christeen'; the sinister 'Serial Killers' and the cheesey 12 bar that is 'Rockin' Rollin' It'.

Wonder what the next album will be called?

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Layla Milou - Reborn
(7Hard - 2012)

German Frontess who is very fresh and to the point in her style with hard rock, nu-metal and kinda mixes the style of Doro with Lita and many more at the same time.

Highlights include the opening 'Porn' with its gutteral guitar work; 'F*ck You' that is a real raunchy rocker and will no doubt be loved in concert & the outstanding duet 'Bloody Valentine' with Tony Martin. Then there's 'Your Own Control' that has a real strong melody and reminds me a bit of Evanescence without the pretentiousness to it that feaures ex-Iron Maiden frontman, Paul Di'Anno and the Clawfinger Remix of 'Access Denied' that closes the album.

Decent and worth a listen or three.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Misconstructers - Reset
(S/R - 2012)

3 tracker from some abrasive old punk rock trio that vocally sound pretty brash, high and straining - so well done if that was the idea there.

Miserable minor keyed material such as the delectable 'Wasted Away' or 'New Line' is what you'll get here. Imagine something like the English Dogs meet Black Sabbath and you are somewhere close to what this sounds like.

Hmmm..... maybe not.

5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MSB - II
(S/R - 2013)

80's sounding rock band from Luxemburg with a dude called Baba on vocal who has a very whisky soaked country voice and puts it to good use indeed.

Highlights include openin Whitesnake like pomp of the outstanding 'This Time Around' (that comes as a Radio Edit too ), a cracking cover of Linda Perry's 'Beautiful, the Southern Rock of 'Gambler' ; more Whitesnake sounds in 'U Can Do What U Want' and the awesome instrumental slidiness of 'Long Way From Home'.

Excellent 2nd release from the Michael Shepherd band.

10/10

By Glenn MIlligan

 
February
 

MYTHODEA - S/T
(S/R -2012)

New name, old face, US/Greek melodic metallers Mythodea bring a hugely talented discovery and an equally procient past favourite together under the same sleeve.

Making up the Mediterranean contingent behind ex Artension/Royal Hunt hyperthroat John West is six string conjurour Christos Nikolaou. Making magic from.the start, he and Westy wave wands to change chugging power metal riff-fests into ten soulful landscapes of music that last over each to the next. Taking aboard the essential elements of swish symphonic guitar and vocal workouts, swopping them where possible for progressive, flowing rivers of melody is what Mythodea sit poised on doing.

'Another World', 'Hope', 'In My Soul', 'Mnemosyne', 'Sailing On a Stormy Sea' and 'Ultimate Pain' arent all packed to the hilt with headbanger-only content, Charlie Zeleny and Steve Degorgio's rhythm section setting a wider scene in which the style is free to nestle, legs spread wide and in fact suits itself strongest to a ballad. Dextrous playing, that takes in Wests two significant past day jobs, importantly cuts out Nikolau's niche that created the Mythodea produce single-handedly. Another match made in heaven, helped by an established legend along the way.

Great stuff.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Dream Theater, Rhapsody of Fire, Queensryche & Marillion.

NET: www.MythodeaBand.com

 
January 2013
 

MAJESTY REVIVAL - Through Reality
(Total Metal Records - 2012)

Ukranian melodic metal starlets Majesty Of Revival indeed revive a majestic sound despite one I never recall the demise of.

Fiery progressive metal with passion and force, saturated in the as-always incredible musicianship and vocals is what Europe is prided over, even if not only in the Eastern sector. Rocketing guitars with fast lines and solos that read like a quick thriller novel, long length numbers are mercifully in short supply here with only 'Reality' and 'Epilogus' exceeding the seven-minute mark. Keeping it commercial, 'Meaning Of Life', 'The Moonlight', 'The Code', 'Masked Illusion' and 'Blind' distribute all the required parts with precision,guitarist Dmitriy Pavlovskiy giving great lead-based backings to vocal sections as well as the sizzling solos he vends in tandem after.

Riveting ivory talent from Marat Adiev also helps heighten the bar at the other end, duelling organ and synth parts sending every song on a trip into the near extravagant and denondsrating that length isnt always necessarily to lunp the best elements so carefully in together. Vocalist Konstantin Naumenko tops off this scrumptious musical trifle with fine cream for a range, showing good octaves in both the fast-beat and ballad oriented departments.

Special guest vocalist Norrtti nearly ruptures the momentum with his murky goth metal snarl on seventh track 'Magnatia Dei' but the untimely rise in instrumental ferocity dissolves amongst the album after a couple of listens. Stunning work from over the mainland again, the Urkrainians seriously up the ante again with this album.Modestly cut with thought allowed to whats important and what might not be in classic metals creation, Majesty Of Revival's first full-length piece seals further a future for the genres longevity.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Kamelot, Rhapsody, Epica, Stratovarius Nightwish, Mostly Autumn & Candlemass.

NET: www.myspace.com/majestyofrevival www.vk.com/majestyrevival

 

MEHRAN - Subterranea
(S/R - 2012)

I thought I was going to struggle with this (so many instrumental albums do generate that effect on my patience), yet somehow in the end the stop button stayed untouched. Mehran is actually the mainman of his eponymous act and a technically gifted guitarist to boot.

Mixing his flamboyant flamenco strings with seventies rock rhythms and straight-laced old-school sass you don't see coming,this chap locks himself in a class of his own and chucks the key. Utilised well alongside his talents are the also-shrill melodies of keyboardsman Carl Kennedy, which while verging on the over-progged precipece supply a delicious seventies zest through a sound Deep Purple's late Jon Lord would have approved of.

Very relaxing material in the whole with a welcome shortage in epic-length tracks, 'Subterranea' comes strong as one of those seldom vocal-less discs that get.me guessing whats next til the end.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.mehranguitar.com

 

Mercury Underground - S/T (E.P.)
(S/R- 2012)

Solid 3 track E.P. from a decent enough rock band that kinda remind me of a ballsy Styx meets meets those dudes who were big a few years ago called 'Ocean Colour Scene and even elements of Foo Fighters and The Cult in there too..

They have come out of Glasgow Scotland and somgs like 'Shockwave Solution' & 'The Great Escape' should heat up any room this CD is spun in.

Ones to watch!

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Meroe - Sick Society
(S/R - 2012)

80's Hard Rock from a band from Munich with cheesey lyrics, big drum sounds and blazing guitar work and big banshee lead vocals too.

Highlights include opener the big hair sounds of opener 'Wild Temptation', the early Bon Jovi like 'Let It Rock' - hang on - that's the title of one of theirs - cheeky f*ck*rs - hahaha or the cool enough track with Malmsteen thrills in the guitar dept that is 'Here In My Heart' and the topic that is the sad loss of a friend 'Kissin' A Dream Goodbye'.Or what about 'Show Your Love' mainly for the kick *ss axe solos and the closing 'Canadian Lady' - guess it makes a change to American ones but funnily enough it's about a chick who has moved to LA - go figure!

Decent enough.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Ministry – Relapse
(13th Planet - 2012)

It’s been over 4 years since Al Jourgensen and his crew have released an album. ‘Relapse’ is probably the best album of theirs for years musically. On this album Al Jourgensen still deals with recent worldwide political events and his own personal struggles in life and within the music industry.

‘Relapse’ is an easy album to listen to if not shallow in its lyrical content. It’s an album that isn’t as strong in it industrial roots as previous Ministry albums, but still has that Ministry stamp of industrial authority on it. It has a lot of the ‘Jesus Built My Hot Rod’ sound to it without sounding too much like the album ‘Psalm 69’ that it was on. The album is a bit too intense and contains a lot of political innuendos. It contains 9 very original Ministry songs that send out a message to the listener, one of the tracks ’99 Percenters’ is about the ‘Occupy’ movement or the title track ‘Relapse’ is about the end of civilisation as we know it in 2012. The outspoken Al Jourgensen as usual has something to say and doesn’t care who likes or dislikes it. To me the highlight of the album is the cover version of the track ‘United Forces’ by S.O.D. that’s it’s truly a great cover version.

As a lot of people know that Al Jorgensen’s lyrics have never been complicated or full of depth. ‘Relapse’ offers another album of shallow lyrical content, but as usual contains drug related innuendos and an obsessive hatred toward the Bush administration, which is now no longer current. All the lyric’s on this album is either drug related or politically motivated. In 2011, Al Jourgensen recorded a country album under the pseudonym of ‘Buck Satan And The 666 Shooters’ which was a good solid fun album, but ‘Relapse’ ranges from average to embarrassing, but the musical content is still typically Ministry.

The first track ‘Ghouldiggers’ is a prime example of the worst track on the album. It starts with Al Jourgensen negatively ranting as usual about the music industry as a whole and name dropping artists that were directly affected by it. It then kicks in with typical Ministry programmed double kick drums and muted frantic fretting almost through the whole track. One minute it to the track and you’ve heard all there is to hear. The only track that actually sounds slightly happy is the song ‘Double Tap’ which I would compare to tracks on the album ‘Rio Grande Blood’. Even if Ministry rely on the use a lot of computer programmed music, it’s nice to see Ministry back. Some of the worst tracks on the album include ‘Bloodlust’ and ‘Kleptocracy’ which sound like a downtuned remake of ‘The Last Sucker’.

In the end, the album is a big disappointment and I feel that giving the album a low rating is a bit wrong but that’s all it deserves. It’s nice to see Ministry back but they need to buck their ideas up a bit and produce an album worthy of the Ministry name. Instead they release this dull and very repetitive album.

7/10

By Andy Turner

Net: www.thirteenthplanet.com/ministry www.myspace.com/ministrymusic
www.facebook.com/Ministry?rf=110663672294603

 

MONGREL - Reclamation
(THC - 2012)

Being from Boston is an interesting fact for firsts, seeing how we’ve savoured little of profile from there since Aerosmith and Extreme arose.

These lads – and lass – lay the record straight again. Nasty-sounded, spitty punk metal like the sort Mongrel brew up becomes punishingly more lethal when led by a female, and while modern enough to most, zests of hardcore legends past also trickle into this hot-boiling musical blob.

‘Bored To Death’, ‘Pseudocide’, ‘F**k Off And Die’ (do you mind, I wrote a song by that name once.. in fact so didn’t Voivod?) ‘Zombies Of War’, ‘Tarnished Halo’, ‘Crucifiction’ and ‘Stillborn Savior’ are rough and ready rock n’ roll numbers. Shredding choruses an careless near-plagiarisms (aside from the ‘F.O.A.D.’ issue, the ‘Zombies…’ verse part is dangerously ‘Purple Haze’ -alike) come as part and parcel of the beautiful sound but what I such a band without its favourable foibles eh?

Make no mistake, Mongrel make a hefty reclamation of metal’s musical soil, their seeds already sowed deep below. Water them with a listen of this recommended album.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Tura Satana, NY Loose, My Ruin, McQueen & Skunk Anansie.

NET: mongrelband.com

 

MORRE - Morphine
(Melodic Revolution Records - 2012)

These lads back again? I've only just put down pen from plugging their last masterpiece.

So hoping its a hat-trick for them with 'Morphine' I move it beneath the lens and immediately I leave disappointment behind in the gutter again. Canada's Morre make their point from the opening number and hell its a sharp one here. The duelling guitar vocal pair of Fuser and Igor are on fire this time, moving the songs and solos back and forth between them and still bringing the goods solid. Driving chord lines to lush Spanish-accented acoustic trips, seems there is nothing safe from being tried out by this ultra -talented Toronto trio.

Awkwardly difficult to differentiate their vocal ranges apiece, some of their melodies steal the fire of the choruses, cementing their talants as singers not just stringers. Setting these out in jewels, sings including 'House On The Hills', 'Mountain High', 'Who Will Wait', 'Stay', 'Underneath The Sun', 'She Moves', 'Hold The Candle' and 'Letting Go' are up there with the best of what has already gone before if not nicely surpassing the standards as well.
A personal favourite would be 'Wind Beneath My Wings', a grippy blues infested groover likely wrong-footing everyone expecting a cover of the slushy seventies pop classic.

That said did you ever know these guys might one day be your heroes... so why not worship with a copy of this latest cd to your collection.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Alice In Chains, Led Zeppelin, Nickelback & Pink Floyd.

NET: www.morremusic.com

 

My Dying Bride – The Barghest O’ Whitby
(Peaceville - 2011)

Welcome to the world of My Dying Bride, the UK's premier Doom/Goth Metal outfit. 'The Barghest O'Whitby' is a one track 27-minute EP. Opening with the snap of thunder and the howl of the wilderness, ‘The Barghest O’Whitby’ could be the soundtrack to your classic horror film (in The Hound Of The Baskervilles style), it has a feeling that the ominous deep of the strings and eerie squeak of violins does little to dispel this feeling.

Long-time stalwarts of the Doom/Gothic Metal genre, My Dying Bride have drawn upon superstition and folklore to create this 27 minute masterpiece, which is described as a ‘chilling tale of a supernatural entity hell bent on revenge’. There are lengthy My Dying Bride songs, and then there’s ‘The Barghest O' Whitby’. A song so massive that it takes up a full EP, ‘The Barghest O’ Whitby’ is the most complex task the band has taken on in their two decade career. Almost 30 minutes long, the track feels like a snapshot from every era of the band. From the harsh beginnings to the uncertain middle to the return to glory in the final minutes, ‘The Barghest O’ Whitby’ is the by-product of years of being one of the premier Doom/Gothic Metal bands in existence. While it’s not a masterpiece on the scale of ‘Turn Loose The Swans’ or ‘The Cry Of Mankind’, it’s easily one of the best EP’s the band has written in ages.

‘The Barghest O’ Whitby’ is a return to the sadistic nature the band had in them on the first few records of their career. The last five minutes bursts into ‘90s-styled death metal, and vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe unleashes his uneven growls. While they sound more in-key and vicious than his laughable attempt on 'A Chapter in Loathing', from their last album 'For Lies I Sire', it’s still his weakest vocal range. Though fitting in with the sinister mood, Aaron Stainthorpe sounds strained and weak with his growling. His clean vocals, on the other hand, retains its Doom/Gothic charm. His lyrics continue to be overly-dramatic mush, but his passionate vocals make them suitable to the tune. This EP is also the return of drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels, who was last seen on their modern classic ‘Songs of Darkness, Words of Light’. Shaun Taylor-Steels is a great and powerful drummer for the band, and his inspired work drives the rest of the band to put in similar individual performances and collective performances.

There’s too much to the song to break it down into specific high points, but there’s something for fans of any of My Dying Bride’s past albums. The violin is a constant influence on the song’s progression, and the guitars are tightly interwoven throughout every riff and lead. For a song that gets close to half-an-hour, it’s very accessible to those with the patience for such an endeavour. However, there are a few odd transitions in the middle of the song, and the song also ends very abruptly. As with a song of this length it has its good points but it also has its bad points, in parts it is long, boring and drawn out but in others it’s a classical masterpiece. ‘The Barghest O’ Whitby’ is far from anything My Dying Bride has done in a while. It still has the Doom/Gothic aura surrounding it, but there’s a bitter anger surging through a good portion of the EP. It’s as if the band is revisiting their chaotic past to satisfy unfinished urges. For long-time fans who may have been wondering what the next step for My Dying Bride would be, ‘The Barghest O’ Whitby’ is a bold statement that says the band has a lot more creative drive left in them and are going to be around for many years to come.

'The Bargest O'Whitby is easily one of the best compositions the band has written in over a decade, a return to a harsher style of playing, makes 27 minutes fly by with little effort. Aaron Stainthorpe's awful growls, the abrupt transition halfway through, song ends with a whimper. Consisting of one massive jam, ‘The Barghest O' Whitby’ proves that My Dying Bride is still pushing themselves into uncharted creative territory and are planning to be around for a while yet.

8/10

By Andy Turner

Net: http://www.mydyingbride.net/ http://www.myspace.com/officialmydyingbride http://www.last.fm/music/My+Dying+Bride
https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Dying-Bride-Official-uk/282179138510618

 
September
 

Magic Sam - Raw Blues 1969
((Retroworld - 2012)

A live gig recorded in Berkely California that is jam packed with loads of Chicago Blues.

Although the sound ain't great it comes acroos extremely authentic and it has a feeling of being in a nice old echoey club and recorded at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival.. A lot of it sounds vey similar in the same key with plenty in the style of 'I Can't Quit You Baby' and 'Sweet Home Chicago' - the song ironically closing the gig as well.

Highlights include the offbeat at times opener 'San-Ho-Zay' ; the Yardbirds like'You Don't Love Me'; the moderate paced 'I Need You So Bad'; the funky 'Tremble'; the soul-filled 'That's All I Need'; the outright raw 'Looking Good' that reminds me of 'I'm Going Home' by Ten Years After' and the generic 12-bar blues of 'Hide Away'.

Good old school blues.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

The Mar-Tays - S/T
(S/T - 2012)

6 New Yorkers who unleash an album that has a dozen covers on it who are big on the session side of things - be it live or in studio over the years.

The line-up comprises of lead female vocalist Martee LeBow; Keyboard and Horn Arranger Irwin Fisch; Guitar, Mandolin and vocalist, Ira Siegel; Bass and Vocalist John Siegler; Guitar, Banjo and Vocalist Larry Saltzman and Drummer Percussionist, Frank Vilardi.

This is mainly from the 60's and 70's with many obscure numbers thrown in to keep it interesting such as a killer gospel like 'Country Road'; Neil Young's 'I Believe In You' as well as 'Who Do The Voodoo' - a Martee LeBrow original which does what it says in the title - takes ya down 'New Orleans'. Then in between there are more well known cuts like 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' and a killer soul and blues take of 'A World Without Love' by Lennon & McCartney' and made famous by Peter & Gordon.

Superbly impresssive CD of the contemporary nature.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

See more info about these guys via www.facebook.com/TheMarTays

 

Moore Street Band - S/T (E.P.)
(S/R - 2011)

Middle of the road band of the contemporary mode is a good way to desribe these guys from Los Angeles.

It's a 5 tracker with some nice laid back material though his voice is a bit monotone and droning for my liking but there is a great song in 'Crazy' and sugary ballad 'Feel My Heart' that reminds me of the kind of stuff Ted Poley did about a decade ago.

File under OK.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

My Dynamite - S/T
(Listenable Records - 2012)

Straight away I think The Black Crowes in every single way possible from the opening notes of starting number 'Take It Or Leave It'.

As has already been said elsewhere, it's like a mix of said bands 1st 2 albums - even the wailing sound of style of Chris Robinson's vocals are there and the female gospel backing singers to top it off - complete parody and almost like another lost album from Georgia's finest but actually come from Melbourne, Australia.

Every single song is exceptional and I can't rave about these guys enough at all and even manage to throw a bit of Allman Brothers style in on 'Raise Your Glasses' that hints at songs like 'Remedy' and more off 'Southern Harmony..'. Highlights.... well the entire f*ck*n' album man!! oh okay, the opener 'Take It Or Leave It'; 'Inside Out' with that luscious melody; the excellent 'Dirty Game' and the beautiful balladeering 'Singing Stormy Weather' with the underlining of soaring organwork.

Then there's the Allmaness meets Robinsoness of 'Big Attraction' and later closed with the stripped down echoing bluesed out 'Fork In Your Tongue'.

It's 1990 all over again - completely outstanding.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
August
 

MASTER & THE MULE - The View From Nowhere
(QNQ Records - 2012)

Formerly known as Immune, noisy Leeds foursome Master & The Mule might still soon be caught up with by the peeps that warmed to their previous incarnation.

Wholesome grunge-prog fusions are often deemed a giveaway, being such an audacious trademark sound but tying these genres in particular together again proves better than just merely harmless. Sturdy rhythm guitars, rich deep in doom and angst whilst upholding a latter-day Metallica sharpness set a good template to work the rest of the detail into. Add driving solo parts plus a solemnly eighties-flavoured electric vocal to the top of this neatly made musical pile and it is hard to see why it should soon crumble.

Expecting huge hooks and singalong elements would fall under ‘unwise’ for the lyrics slide by rather indecipherably with syllables over-sustained at times but the ambience factor allows for their many paralleling samples to compensate. Despite some piss-irritating rideouts, especially ‘Exchange Expression’s closing crescendo, this debut from M&TM, is a promising re-ignition of another shimmering young British metal fire.

Rather commendable in the end.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Filter, Devin Townsend & Soft Cell.

NET: www.masterandthemule.com

 
July
 

MORRE - Out There
(S/R - 2010)

Given a band’s latest album to taste their talents by then subsequently having their previous one from two years past thrust my way by TSM seems strange by logic by Toronto’s Morre did mange to impress already so might as well gander at where their glorious trek began.

These three motivated young men here gave a grunge-friendly side to their laid back, straight-shooting rock style. Whether electric or acoustic, all eight of these numbers sit down, stand up or jump at your face, according to the mood in conveyance, though most are written simply to have fun listening one summer afternoon. ‘The Moment’, ‘Brand New Tide’, ‘Playing with fire’, ‘Under The Lights’ and ‘Time Is Slipping Away’ get all the guitar gunpowder of duetting leaders Igor and Fuser together in one barrel and blast you with blues-infused gusto, fired practically pointblank.

With strongly natural angst in their pipes that delivers the songs to all audiences, Seattle-schooled or otherwise, ‘Out there’ is certainly as called by title. ‘Impressive’ would have shortened it a further word still even if that contains more letters.

Enjoy the new but please look to the past… there’s certainly Morre where this came from.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots & Nickelback.

NET: www.morremusic.com

 
June
 

CHRYSTINE MOON - World Out There

Acoustic releases recorded without only a solitary guitar and mic to hand come approached with caution in the rock fraternity.

Sheffield-based songstress Chrystine Moon seems however to have the power to trick us away from our cynicisms in an ep that rapidly becomes inspiring and inspired Despite the quiet entry these tracks make, they become growingly infectious with her rich deep range. The opening title track has already become a familiarity from live performances and while 'Bigger Society' and 'Rising From Fragile' take more than a single lap to lay into, are pretty much there.

Highlight of the disc by a thread has to be her take on Nickelback's 'Rock Star', the lyrics fully reworked to take us through her heartfelt feminist attributes which even as a male listener do make for worthy education. Interesting start and hopefully more lively material like this sits written and waiting to be played.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MORRE - Contrast
(S/R - 2012)

Tortonto never stops dropping them on us. The home of Harem Scarem, Von Groove and Brighton Rock to name but three bring yet another brilliant young melodic band.

Not quite in the AOR sense of things, sprightly trio Morre are a dark, seventies edged pop-rock combustion of post punk and slightly prog chemicals with straight-ahead song structures to stir in accessibility. ‘Winding Road’, ‘Lady of Lust’ and the luscious groove of ‘Stray Dog’ are succulent numbers stringing together influences set often largely adrift whilst the piano-oriented ’I Can’t Remember’ is as close to soft rock as they seemingly prefer to come.

‘Renegades’ is certainly one of the high notes, hitting big with its wavy chorus and swishy retro lead even though it is sadly too briefly maintained. pipe-infested acoustic ’BringYou Back’ ends impressively with female harmony vocals sweetening the cream on a pretty delectable cake. Delicious stuff from another promising Canadian combo cutting loose.

Seek it out and listen - this impressive first taste will leave you wanting Morre.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull &The Police.

NET: www.myspace.com/morremusic

 
April
 

M.I.C. - On All 4's
(Y & J Publishing - 2012)

Oh cool, Yvon Serre and the band have yet another release on our doorsteps - every year there's always a new album from them which I have come to look forward to.

11 numbers on here that start up with the rockin' 'Can't Take Anymore' with other highlights including 'Milley'; 'Anything' (very Paul Stanley); 'Dancing With The Light' and the closing 'Reunite'.

Imagine Kiss meets The Cars with elements of Cheap Trick and your are somewhere close to how M.I.C. sound. They could do with a few big support slots to get them into the bigger league. A band that rocks and deserves to be heard by a larger audience.

Check them out.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Mojo Filter - Mrs. Love Revolution
(S/R - 2011)

A band that could have come out in the early 70's or late 60's over here in the UK but in fact they are a gang of young four Italians who put this together last year.

This is solid and so damn good with highlights including 'No Comment Please'; the 'Summertime Blues' stolen riffage in 'What I've Got'; the countriness of 'Las Vegas'; the aptly titled 70's Rolling Stones like 'Lick Me Up' & 'Ragged Companion'.

I'm off back 30 or so years like these guys!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MORROW’S MEMORY - Moving Forward
(S/R - 2011)

Prog and thrash and thrash… prog and metal…prog and grunge.. All three have been tried up to date, notably the daring latter.

Detroit six-piece Morrow’s Memory commendably mislead with their debut album’s opening keyboard instrumental ‘Eternal Rest’ but that of course, we feel is the fun of it with these ’ere crossovers. Those who approach a prog rock cd wearing plastic gloves need not worry about a lavish display of Labrie theatrics sitting in wait for there is a grandly gutsy angst metal voice provided by Tony Fitchett instead.

Despite what you’re due to think, these nine songs are nicely pure in their crossover element, instead of pieces from each side of the box stuck together . Both the deep progressive and alternative engines run in wonderfully tight tandem, taking ‘Abandoned’, ‘Evolve’, ‘Let You Down’, ‘The Road’, ‘Hero In the Dark’ and ’Moving Forward’ to two plus hopefully many other open -minded droves of the metal -loving faithful.

The scene’s two most conflicting subgenre will draw conflicting subgenres together rather than drive acrimoniously apart, with the thoroughly driving guitars of Joe Wolford and Brian Sasanas. Lines, chords, choruses and ultra-crippling rhythms all come together solid hard with a strong likeness to Brit prog favourites Awake as soon as you’re in by the second track.

Tantalising and powerful, Morrow’s Memory are tomorrow’s reality…and this one is certainly memorable.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Porcupine Tree, Nickelback, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stiltskin & Metallica.

NET: www.morrorw’s memory.com

 
February
 

MINSK SECURITY - Reign Of Iniquity
(Quam Libet Records - 2011)

Could have sworn I’d just put on a Metallica cd by mistake here.. Or a Slayer one , …. Or Sepultura perhaps.

Swiss fivesome Minsk Security sure take their influences aboard - I’d only just included the big names there in case anyone was guessing. No crime in being inspired by metal’s best, MS don’t so much plagiarise the styles as swish them about in a vat and then pour them intro about a dozen metallic containers which weigh dangerously heavily when full. Frighteningly classy extreme metal sounds collide with Bay area brute force for a heavy and also surprisingly hook-spewing conflagration in the centre.

The twin guitars take cues from all angles with Judas priest even coming in at occasional turns….sometimes these lads manage to be slow enough to take them safely. Vocalist Marc Reichen is some versatile machine, mainly growling but also giving it that generously gothic creen when its needed. Excellent timing and arrangement make ‘The Prostration’, ‘Beyond Triviality’ ,‘Ungenesis’, ‘Life By The Sword’, ‘Through the Eyes Of A Martyr’ and ‘An Ode To Agony’ perfectly formed gems of melodic death metal that glint quick enough to make all fans of the scene start digging.

Then again….’Reign of Iniquity’ might move the earth round itself alone.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Seps, Nile, Fear Factory Lamb of God, In Flames, Testament & Soulfly.

NET: www.minsk-security.ch

 

MOON BIRD - Powerless
(Moonbird Music - 2011)

Multi-talented yank duo Moon Bird last appeared two-three years ago with their fairly enticing ‘Humans’ CD.

Progressive as hell without the pretension, they progress on again this time with a heavier face on. Many of the hallmarks you met before seem to pop up again in good time amidst the fantastic and hooky musical dynamics but the Genesis comparisons drawn before replaced by a somehow more Spocks Beard-meets-Nirvana switchover. Kwiecinski and Lynch’s leather-tough musical tightness on all instruments injects the accessibility into ’Deadly Ideas’, ’Powerless’, ’Who Could We Be’, ‘No Human Touch’, ‘Overwhelmed’, ‘How We’ll Survive’ and ‘Falling Down’ alone and the choruses placed on top are as commercial as any straight ahead contemporary pop rock offering.

Excellent revisit from a deserving twosome even further pu in their game than last time.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Rush, The Police & Porcupine Tree.

NET: Moonbirdmusic.com

 

MORO - Slow River
(S/R - 2011)

Another album of the sort most metalheads listening who find offensive also expect me to share their dislike.

Frankly my faked hatred for this type of stuff, I am about to own up to as I genuinely take to these lads and their cheerful indie rock instantly. Not strictly nineties, noughties but also a clear escape to eighties inspiration are made amongst most of their ten tweety little ditties. Largely Britpop oriented, there is the occasional hint of soul and blues shoved in for smoother measure while the hooks typically do the lions share to propel it the way.

‘Love is Here’, ‘Now and Then’, ‘Clouds’, ‘Something I Can Feel’, ‘Hummingbird’, ‘Love That Girl’ and ‘Slow River’ are not plastered with punk pop by numbers some hundred (thousand) other acts, probably wanting the fastest way onto a Terrorvison or Ash support slot, would once have whacked off the line overnight. MoRo are talented and diverse young men who spread themselves over the dimensions, serving serve up music often reverberant of experiencing the summer of love all over again. Something I can feel for definite happening here.

Good one!

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Ash, Beatles, Dodgy & Joy Division.

 
January 2012
 

THE MOON BAND - Denavigation
(Rockville - 2011)

Danish oddballs Moonband first sprung to my notice early last year and probably a deservedly large share of the public’s on top.

Classable only as rock probably due to the fact they have guitars on board, their acoustic folk pop lush is absolute ear fodder from beginning to end. Mainly slowbeat with southern and blues additions, the male/ female vocal sharing of Eugen, Chris and Katrin is the focal centre of the engine this time, providing a haunting landscape to their music that lives on in you long after as if you have just come straight from seeing a historical Highland flick at the pictures this evening.

‘Photosynthesis’, ‘Midsummer Night’, ‘Joanne’, ‘In Your Arms’, ‘Rock Me On’, ‘Number Seven’, ‘Go Loose’ and ‘War Sings A Song’ see banjos, harps, bouzoukis, mandolins and even glockenspiels get together head on behind them , colliding with crisp instant harmonies and rhythms you can tap your feet to til they cramp.

Catchy stuff and very recommended for those long summer nights when they return.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.myspace.com/themoonbandinspace

 
December
 

Duff McKagen's Loaded - Sick (Special Edition CD/DVD)
(Armoury Records - 2011)

It's the 2nd 'Loaded album' reissued from that ex-GNR Bassist, Duff McKagan, who as you know is also a member of that band who have an off/on haitusness that is Velvet Revolver.

Highlights on the album include the opening title track itself 'Sick'; 'IOU'; Transluscent; 'I See Through You' as well as both the acoustic and electric versions of 'Wasted Heart'. A lot of work has gone into the album as there are some really nice arrangements and vocal harmonies spread around many of the songs.

Nice touch in having the bonus DVD as well from the Garage, Glasgow, UK that took place on Sept. 22nd 2008 that includes liver versions (obviously) of songs from this album and the debut 'Dark Days' plus a kickin' cover of Iggy's 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' as well as some webisodes as well.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
October
 

Minsk Security – Reign Of Iniquity
(Quam Libet Records - 2011)

As soon as you start listening to this album, you know that the Swiss boys are not messing around.

Chilling screams ring through your ears throughout every song, with manic guitar riffs to follow. Marc Reichen switches between his melodic singing voice and ferocious growls to add some variation to the music. Guitarists, Oliver Schneider and Michael Suter put their own melodic sounds into the mix, and combined with bassist Andy Schaufelberger and the hard hitting drumming of Simon Burkhard, the music itself is enough to get those fists pumping! Overall, the album offers a hard hitting selection of songs, such as 'A Life By The Sword' and 'Dirge Of Men'.

A great album that’s sure to get all listeners headbanging!

10/10

By Sam Hutchinson

 
September
 
MANDARA - Empty Hearted (Single)
(S/R - 2011)

Her name sounds eastern as does the front picture but the mysterious mono-named chanteuse is proudly an all-out American gal.

Well until you hear this lovely taster piece where her Buddhist inspirations are brought to the fore. Strong swishy progressive harmonies last longer than the tune even tries to with an authentic sense of ol’ Arabia right through the verse and bridge even though cut into by a commonly western metal lead solo.

Bonus number ’Dragons Fly’ is deep feeling stuff again though more Fleetwood Mac mode this time and plus a pitchy distortion line that almost outstays its welcome. Altogether, damn intriguing work here by this talented young lady and easily worth an album’s length of listening time.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.mandararock.com

 

MECALIMB - Bound To Fall
(Rising Records - 2011)

Norway’s reputation comes second only to Sweden in the Nordic metal/rock stakes producing phenomenal outfits a plenty over the years but probably their slightly lesser position on the rostrum is down to so-so outfits like this letting the side down.

Mecalimb aren’t poor at what they do by a long way but don’t excite despite some decent old fashioned riffing while their solos certainly don’t become in any real need of complaint with audible Maiden-inspired slips on particular tunes accounting for pleasant decoration The power-stomp pace of quite a few numbers is great but like the frequent visits back and forth to fasts-ville and back again and bog standard scream-about vocal lines makes for less monumentality between tracks.

Bound to fall, perhaps not flat on its face… but frankly in the box marked been there, heard that like hundreds before them.

6/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Mortiis, Emperor & Morbid Angel.

 

STEVE MORSE BAND - Outstanding In Their Field
(E.A.R Music/Edel Records - 2011)

You need to be a connoisseur to get what instrumental cds are about, a certain friend often tells me. True as this tends to be, that boot ends up on the foot of the artist himself sometimes.

Step forward, the legendary Steve Morse who after about forty years in the business needs little instruction on whether it is perfectionist or passing interested types who would stop for the sound of his talents, - whatever the Deep Purple/Kansas man does will deserve its praises. Straight in from ‘Name Dropping’ that opening track’s title is risky temptation itself to act on as many famous sounds instantly come head to head though mostly nineties and possibly Seattle based. ‘Brink Of The Edge’ and ‘Here And Now And Then’ will be the sound that fans of his two day jobs to date will envisage hearing most, hard rock and blues balladry galore and both still great without vocal element in town.

SM indeed manages a near-symbolic Blackmore bend in its closing minute with some sweet sustained lines. Prog, blues and punchy American bar-room rock n’roll account for the following three tunes, the sassed-out strutfest 'Relentless Encroachment' being an easy favourite as well as a probable departure for Steve here. ‘Time Junction’ is fast hard rock with friendly keyboard fills coming in at mid-placed angles for added zest.

Fans of only the most thoughtful and developed classic rock construction will love 'Unnamed Sources' even though we can again name about fifty at least right away in the space of this track. Though proudly an American in all meaning of the word, ol’ Morsey boy taken a lot of Swedish inspiration throughout 'Flight of The Osprey', almost completely bringing us the intro of Talisman’s 'Mysterious' before following up with some almost-purely Yngwie powered shreddery for the body of the number.

'Baroque n' Dreams' brings it as close as he dares to his day job, with a some acoustic fare that wouldn’t have gone drastically amiss on an old chestnut such as Anyone’s Daughter’ (I believe a Mr Blackmore wrote that one, young man!). Seeking to end in pure eighties note, both by title and style, 'Rising Power' disappoints at neither, sneaking in through a cunningly still-ajar acoustic back door with a testosterone-overladen old-school rock assault that Satriani would have sold his car to play once more.

Saving his chance to shine high alongside till the end it seems, bassist Dave Larue’s performance is flawless throughout but dominates here towards the later half of the track while Van Romaine completes the other side of an ultra-sturdy rhythm section this outstanding record would scarcely be as such without. Tight as shrunken spandex performances from this awesome six-stringer who deserves to still hold the mantle in rock’s most prestigious vacancy after 15 years wipe the word ‘boring’ clean away from the front of this particular instrumental platter.

The ultimate fact is, Steve could even make an album in Morse code and it’d emerge sounding good.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai & Jimi Hendrix.

NET: www.stevemorse.com www.edel-music.net

 
August
 

Mother's Army – The Complete Discography
(earMusic/Edel – 2011)

A three CD set of a band I’d never actually heard of I’m ashamed to say but there’s no denying that it’s members of Rock Royalty in Joe Lynn Turner (Lead & Backing Vocals); Jeff Watson (Guitar/Keys/BV’s); Bob Daisley (Bass), and Drummers, Carmine Appice & Aynsley Dunbar.

CD 1, the self titled ‘Mother’s Army’ from 1993 sees us in the 80’s Arena Rock vein with some excellent cuts such as the pummelling ‘Second Nature’ ‘Darkside’; the fast ‘n’ pacey ‘Get A Life’; the cool up-tempo fun-time bluesiness of ‘Voice Of Reason’ and the effective harmonies of ‘Mothers Army’ itself.

CD2, ‘Planet Earth’ is of a more vocal affair where Joe sings in a lower range than his interstellar style he is famous for most of the time. There’s some good stuff in the likes of ‘Cradle To The Grave’ which looks at the controlling of life; ‘Planet Earth’ with it’s startling sharp and panned vocal effects – not to mention the ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ like guitar lick; the blues-riffed but kinda priggish ballad ‘Sea Of Eternity’ and the closing old school bluesy-jazz smokiness ‘Mother Earth’.

CD3 ‘Fire On The Moon’ leads us back into the direction of the debut album with JLT firing out his higher end. There’s some seriously fine songs on here as well so it’s a pity it was their final release as a band. Highlights on here include the opening ‘N.D.E.’; the title track bluesiness of ‘Fire On The Moon’ itself; the Indianesque ‘Common Ground’ coming complete with sitar playing that blends well with the hard rock instrumentation and Joe’s voice or the more expected JLT Rainbow-like work we are used to.

Decent threesome!

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
June
 

MIDISAURUS - Race/Jurassic
(Train Wreckords - 2011)

One so much as breathes the idea of creating an instrumental rock album by computer and you stand the very potential risk of ridicule or mockery from all corners.

Except young Anthony George decided just to go ahead and get on with doing it instead and it actually paid, having produced not one but two cds to boot. The first one is a three-parter specialising mainly in synth-layerd eighties rock/metal and classic prog noises. Anthony back-and-forths between the two giving us three-four tracks of each type before capping if off with a mixed bag of his more broadened spectrum including acoustic thrash and power metal with very peppery keyboard and guitar lines.

Second album ‘Jurassic’ is instead a mixed bag right throughout. We hear the same selections as before, blended into a wider palate but more creatively. Styles cross over and synths again collide with swish lead/rhythm pieces though the ballads are where Mr George comes strongest. Despite two or three growingly irritating overuses of the synth where strings alone would have sufficed, what this lad has cooked up comes with very few lumps left in the end. Tricky to get into at first whether or not you're a connoisseur for convention, ’Midi-saurus’ is quite a stimulating listen.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.myspace.com/midisaurus

 

MOKER - Total Domination
(Rising Records - 2011)

European death metal hotshots Moker are here on their second album and from what I’m catching I’ve missed little on the first.

This young Belgian act’s brand of extreme metal is just extreme, predictable and quite near as boring too. Saving graces do exist in the form of a few vaguely tasty guitar harmonies that come and go before you can bat your ear lobes while some of their slower interludes and solos beckon for occasional repeats but still it accounts to next to zero of the excitement brought about by the promo.

The grossly diehard fans of this scene will disagree -meet you someday in the moshpit boys - but for me I’ve got far better examples of this scene in the rack to return to.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Cannibal Corpse & Morbid Angel

 

The Muggs - Born Ugly
(S/R - 2011)

Excellent reto hard-rock bluesers from Detroit whose debut I received a while ago. I am pleased to say that this new release fires on all the same cylinders without a struggling moment in sight.

Here you get strong and dirty riffery by a trio of musicians that lean towards the excellence of artists like The Jimi Hendrix Experience or Mountain with some spaciness and southernness in there too. Vocally they are killer with songs they can be utterly proud of with some outstanding songs in 'Blood Meridian'; 'Clean Break Blues' with some knockout sliding going down or others like 'Dear Theo'. Then there's the immediatley grabbing '6 To Midnight'; the laid back 'World Around' with plenty of psychedelia to it and the closer with its fitting title of 'Last Words'.

Pretty impossible not to give them top marks.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MUMBU - S/T
(Subsound Records - 2011)

The combination of metal, hardcore, tribal and jazz as promised form Italian instrumental duo Mumbu just sounds delectable on paper but when hitting play you find out all is not what it says on the packet.

Against all hope these boys just go onto make an over cooked progressive sound that tastes extremely sour and I find myself having to spit bits out more than on a few occasions. No real tune to speak of audible anywhere, only eight trackloads of endlessly on-off noise with suspiciously out of tune trumpets, a few tasty drum lines seem the only point of redemption until they disappear under further depths of unrhythmical din.

They keep a few points back solely for originality but sadly this Mumbu falls more Mumbu Jumbo to me otherwise.

4/10

By Dave Attrill

 
May
 
Duff McKagan's Loaded - The Taking
(Armoury Records - 2011)

Excellent release while the day job is on hold for the mo' that sees him explore rock, punk and all kindsa stuff inbetween.

Highlights include the opening slow, funky, punky to Manson like 'Lords Of Abandon'; the stonering 'Executioner's Song'; the bright and brilliant 'Indian Summer'; the atmospheric Bowie'ish 'Wrecking Ball' and 'Cocaine' (that comes in both electric and acoustic bluesy format). He really has come into his own, wel to be honest, he's been pretty established in his own right for a while.

Check them out on tour as I'm sure you'll be impressed as much as I was with the album.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MOURNBLADE - Anthology - Vol 1
(Angel Air - 2011)

Mournblade are one of the NWOBHM outifts whose name rarely came up in discussion, at least in Lars Ulrich’s constantly recycled diatribes on the scene.

Balls knows why as to me they sound, aside from their bog-awfully tinny production - a hell of a lot better than most of those other UK born acts of the same moment in metal history. A more progressively tutored style to their playing, there are a lot of the common formulae to find including classic winding solo breaks and singer Dunken Mullett’s nasal vocals.

MB’s tunes are, to the bigger half of their credit, largely garnished by expertly performed keyboards by from Derek Jasnoch who gives the band its classic rock edge that should probably make the record more distinctive in the future even though they only seem to be audible on the six studio made cuts here than the eight live entries. A band I’m glad to finally hear music from at last who did a reform gig in the UK last year.

Hope they'll do a full country trek in the not too distant future as they have a lot better to offer than the basic output of most to their eighties UK peers bar about three others I might mention.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Samson, Budgie, Saracen, Diamond Head, Angelwitch & Blue Oyster Cult.

NWT: www.angelair.co.uk

 
March
 

MESSIAH - Final Warning (Re-issue)
(Retroactive Records - 2010)

An old favourite on the Christian metal scene of the 80s, Messiah are another act to reap the generosity of today’s many underground labels scattered around the globe and give their old masters a fresh breath of air.

Though originally unleashed in 1984, I wouldn’t have blamed people buying it at the time form mistakenly believing it to have been actually laid down a further decade or so back down the line. The guitar and vocal sound production is purely seventies though sounds very catchy for it and the tunes themselves are as decent as can be expected for their time with 'Outta Control', 'Where are You', 'Mistaken Identity', 'Lucifer' and 'T.F.W.' serving up a stringy trad metal sound.

Occasionally prog interludes authenticate its style as a true heavy metal disc of their day with aggressive and more than occasional Iron Maiden rounding rhythms. Another immediately notable feature, Charles Michael’s husky voice is not far different from Don Dokken’s and though I cannot tell if its gone the same way as the his over the last decade, it’s finely sinister and commanding to convey their godly lyrical diatribes across.

Still worth having again, or hearing for the first time, if you’re lucky, this may be your final warning to chase it up for your collection.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.messiah-the-final-warning.com

 

MESSIAH - Going Insane (Re-issue)
(Retroactive Records - 2010)

Bloody hell, I’ve only just reviewed one re-ish by these good ol’ Texan boys tonight. This classic five-tracker followed behind 'Final Warning' a couple of years later and proved even harder to pick up in the shops.

Adopting to a more Dokken-like sound production, they still perform with the strong seventies edge and you can immediately pick up many lingering influences oded to prog as well as early major league metal acts. ’We Will Rock’ in particular has an unashamed likeness to Twisted Sister in their teething period, heard little of throughout the older record and though the Christian overtones still remain they come over relaxed as opposed to dominating the lyrical content of all their cuts.

As an extra treat, demos of three old favourites from ‘FW’ have been generously tacked onto the end of this re-release, 'Lucifer', 'Final Warning' and 'You'd Better Say a Prayer' sounding strongly performed and highly in vogue for their time in 1979. Another impressive package I get to hear for the first time in my life, these lads wouldn’t do wrong to pop up from the water again once in a while.

Classic stuff kept hung where we can still see it to remember.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.messiah-the-final-warning.com

 

MOTHER OF SIN - Absolution
(S/R - 2010)

MOS are a three piece melodic metal act from Holland performing a nicely simplified style. Although with prog tendencies, they come along without the complex epic structures as is speciality of countless other bands of type and just opt to rock out.

Down to a twosome for the recording stint, talented multi-instrument maestro Eduard Hovinga handles all weapons bar drums and provides a shrill high pitch range that adjusts with the part with Gerry de Graaf holding it together well from his stool. Surprisingly simplified rhythm guitar arrangements come topped with lush symphonic solos and keyboards, all of which Hovinga polishes off like he’s played these tunes since he was 10 and there is a total absence of ill-fitting moments marking the surface.

Mostly high octane metal with happening ballad moments along the route, the album is solidly accessible work with tracks such as ‘Redemption’, ‘Everlasting’, ‘Failing In This Skin‘, ‘Higher Ground’, ‘Braced’, ’Overflow’ and ’Absolution’ being the tracks to listen to closely on the second play.

A mother of a decent melodic metal album, it would probably rate as a Sin not to give this one your time.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Helloween, Stratovarius & Balance of Power

NET: www.myspce.com/motherofsin

 
February
 

MARSHMELLOW OVERCOAT - On Safari
(S/R - 2010)

They look it too - in fact I’d be interested in exploring the wilderness if I knew it might lead me to find where they dig their interesting sound from.

This trio are audibly sporting more roots than my local woods and sound truly great for it. Refusing to unearth anything younger than 40 years, they commit a lot of their guitar sound to Beatles and Neil Young - like inspirations, channelled at the audience through a peppery-powerful electro-acoustic line.

’Over Me’, ’Faces On The Floor‘, ‘,Girl with The Red Hair‘, ‘Life Is Complicated‘, ‘She’s a Winner’, ’How to Let Go’ and ’Something Sun’ are songs that are not made today, simple as but if these three young men say they’re allowed to, I for one will never intend to argue.

Infectious hooks and simple tunes that rarely overstay their space are the foundations that the golden age of guitar-led rock n’ roll was created on, lest we forget. With this second record, MMO are not sitting around when it comes to reminding us how it is. Fantastic old fashioned American music done with guts.

Recommended.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Beatles, Lynyrd Skynrd, Neil Young & Bob Dylan
NET: www.myspace.com/marshmellowovercoat

 

MASS - 84 Unchained
(Retroactive - 2010)

I didn’t exactly expect this to be a new bunch of toons from the legendary Christian metal mob. Told both by the title and the hairdos that this mini-album dates back some 27 years, the sound possibly shifts me a few further back than that.

Opener ‘Looking Good’ is almost MSG’s ’Armed and Ready’ with a lyric change, frontman Louis St August ’s range an instant match to Mr Barden. A slice of traditional metal in the early Maiden vein, ’Holy One’ speeds along from a slow ballad like beginning that brilliantly disguises its arrival. ’Still of The Night’ rocks n’ rolls along after in an unlikely turn of diversity but the Louis’ raw high-pitched throat seems to indicate that its all meant to be genuine.

You don’t get it as classy or cheesy as this in twenty-eleven - (perhaps that’s why they must have released it, doh!) then that’s a sad fact of life that everyone forced to suffer today’s scream core musos has to face.

Turn a blind eye and enjoy a band who deserved to be big in their own day because they need to be again now.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.Massrocks.com

 

The Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle (Digipack CD & DVD Re-release)
(Edsel Records - 2010)

Well I recorded a vinyl copy of this album a good decade or more ago but don;t tell anyone so it's nice to have an official copy now on CD.

All the great songs are still there of course that includes well known hits such as the title track itself 'Fly Like An Eagle'; 'Rock'N Me' that play over and over on USA Classic Rock Stations; the cover of 'You Send Me' not to mention the brilliant album numbers such 'Wild Honey' and the amazing bluesy 'Sweet Marie'. 3 alternate demo numbers are added and it's real interesting to compare the demo version og Rock 'n' Me that is slower ansd quieter than the album version. The additional 5.1 surround sound version really fills up the room and sounds bright and so fresh compared to the original version.

Also you can't beat the one to one documetary interview on how the album came to be that was filmed in 2006 and shows what his influences are and how he and his band rose from playing small clubs to massive places like Oakland Coliseum. Cool to see him sat playing cool licks that he played alongside T-Bone Walker and Chuck Berry - licks that grew into some of the sounds and songs on the album itself.

Then there's the footage of the 2 hour gig from 2005 Abracadabra and Dance Dance Dance with mate Carlos on violin and then there's George Thorogood guesting on 'I Love The Life I With' 'all your love (i was missing) with Satch (oh he's there for the rest of the gig I hasten to add) and best by far of Joe is when he lets rip on 'Crossroads' as he turns on the craziness. There is far too much blues in the gig for my liking though, though you can't please everyone. They drag out 'Fly Like An Eagle' a lot with 3 giutars wailing away the keyboard player rapping on it that surprises the crowd no end. Then George Thorogood joins for encore of 'serenade' towards the closure as well.

Overall a great set celebration one of the most outstanding album releases of the 1970's.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Mindf*ck - S/T (E.P.)
(S/R - 2010)

Interesting Metal Band who you just can't categorise throughout the E.P. at all.

The opener is a real abrasive best in 'Crown The Good' and 'Dude' is an instrumental that's like a salute to Soungarden and reminds me largely of their cracking number 'Rusty Cage'. Then you've got 'The Faith' that could have come straight off a Pink Floyd album or the Lenny Kravitz like 'Summer Sky'. To top this off there's an absolutely beatifully haunting rendition of Glen Campbell's 'Witchita Lineman'.

These guys could go far and make it hard for lazy journalists to pinpoint and pigeonhole.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MR GIL - Light and Sound
(Electrum Production - 2010)

Technically a solo album, the man behind the name is Mirek Gil, an immensely talented multi instrumentalist from Poland. Ironically enough, his debut cd brings a largely instrumental platter - only six of the ten tracks here featuring vocals, including one in their native tongue.

Based around acoustic guitar and piano, and a fair old bit of banjo to boot the music’s mellow progressive sound justifies this often questionable format and allows you to enjoy some class playing. I sense a strong Jethro Tull feel to a few tracks and occasionally Bad Company’s name comes to mind but this is generally pleasant stuff to sit listening to with a meal and a glass in front and a great evening with a board game to follow.

While it is going to have the appeal to most pedantic metalheads of a rampant pitbull with the ploppers, ‘Light and Sound’ is an incredible slice of professionally executed musicianship by a further hotly unveiled East European talent.

For f**k’s sake guys, that curtain’s going to catch light one day.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: myspace.com/mirekgil

 
January 2011
 

THE MERCY HOUSE - S/T (3-track EP)
(S/R - 2010)

Amongst all the countless irritatingly bad new outfits I’ve had to suffer this last month, one band do occasionally give me a break… and I mean a big one here - (which makes it a pity this is only an three- track offering.)

London's The Mercy House play generally straight ahead metal with a healthy Alice in Chains flavour through frontman Drew’s razory rasps that that layer on the angst in lethally thick toppings. Progressing from a sound of Sabbath, Dio and Slayer on the first cut to Soundgarden, Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine and the like on the following, the accurate twin guitars present themselves to the fore through awesomely clean rhythm lines and solos.

Riffs and hooks seldom seem to both come from the same one band nowadays so the other important element is the piece making up a refreshing puzzle. An extremely promising sample from this young British act, T.M.H’s debut album is set to be terrifying.. but certainly not terrible.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.myspace.com/themercyhouse

 

Motorhead - The World Is Yours
(Motorhead UDR Music/EMI - 2010)

It's here - the brand new album from Lemmy and the gang who do us all proud again with a release that has enough to impress the hardcore fans of the brutal brashness and the hard rock fans as well in general.

Highlights include the opener 'Born To Lose' that's pure hard edged Rock with a simple hard riff; 'Rock 'n' Roll Music & 'Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye' that are pure meat and potatoes bar room brilliance that hark back to the late 50's 12-bar groove but metalled up to the fullest. Good to see that the band have formed their own label as well so no-one can f*ck them over and rip them off. I love the variation of the songs and the way that some of them finish on the drums and cymbal echo in the album mix such as on 'I Know How To Die' and 'Get Back In Line'.

The multitracked Lemmy vocals sound incredible on the chorus of 'Devils In My Head' - kinda like a Kilmister Choir. The Orgasmatron deep, throaty, nasty vocal style on 'Brotherhood Of Man' sound great too - as though he's smoked a few hundred ciggys and contracted bronchitis or something and then there's that echoey scare as well in the background that comes swirlling around like ghostly crowd at a football match. Lemmy is singing great and the vocals are crystal clear with Drummer, Mikkey Dee and Guitarist, Phil Campbell sounding as on fire as ever.

Just wish they'd play our neck the woods again - the Steel City of Sheffield.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
December
 

MELODROME - Flood
(TSM/Music Soultube - 2010)

‘Flood’ is not a drastically belated soundtrack left over from the Robert Carlyle movie - it’s the forth CD from an impressive Massachusetts trio and another of those outfits we should have been allowed to hear ten years ago.

Want your rock music played with total balls, and no guilty diversions towards current style constraints? Well look no further than these guys who say it… sorry, play it like it is and have a place in the rack that says simply ‘Rock n’ roll’. occasional alternative moments find their way in amongst the eleven pillars of AC/DC-meets-T-Rex testosterone driven vertically into planet rock’s ore here.

Supported upright by straight laced seventies guitar and dirty snarling voice unashamedly handpicked for the cause, ’I wanna Run’, ’complacent’, ’Shelter’,’ Time On My Hands’, 'Sticky’, ’Oh Yeah’ and ’I Want You Gone’ are the stuff we don’t get enough of these days - and perhaps here too either , at only 40 minutes. Still, the time it gives you for gratuitous replays.

Great.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: myspace.com/melodrome

 

METALHEADZ - S/T
(S/R - 2010)

Was looking to expect some kind of straight ahead hard rock offering from these guys going on name and cover image combined, but instead am disappointed by four pieces of death metal din.

Still thankfully old school however, we do get classic guttural grindings from frontman Marco rather than some modern screamcore wannabe horror I normally have to endure. Atop this, there is still some substance in the instrumentation which attempts to be interesting and also quite progressive but on too few and far apart occasions to make it compulsory for a repeat listen.

Once again, comes under ‘die-hard fans only’ me thinks - I prefer the movie with Bruce Willis in, to be frank.

5.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MOSTLY AUTUMN - Go Well Diamond Heart
(Mostly Autumn Records - 2010)

Brit folk metal giants Mostly Autumn are back with another welcome craft off the beautifully carved line that has come on their behalf to date.

Still needing to learn that they need to take a bit less time starting their tunes, especially the first one, opener ’ For all we Shared’ gives a decent moment of Dare-esque Celtic harmony. Their likeness to the AOR legends , in an acoustic layered electric sound is what heightens their appeal to he roof along with Olivia Sparnen and Bryan Josh’s lush female/male dual vocals. Josh takes the mike foe the gritty Neil-Young-meets-Jam rocker ’Deep In Borrowdale’ , showing the band have no difficulties with title aptness yet doesn’t cause any demeaning representations of one of the album’s most immediate cuts.

Personal fave ’Something Better’ does the same again, its bouncing lyrical rhythm of ’When cowboys ruled the world, they ruled a world…” almost stopping me from playing on to the remaining half of the disc while the chugging guitar structure carries it providing an existing strength before the hooks arrive. With thankfully no downhill-from-here sensation to sting the listener thereafter, title track ‘G.W.D.H.’ itself does the same using all the instruments with keyboards largely at the forefront alongside Sparnen’s sugar sweet tones to propel a beautiful goth metal vehicle. ‘Back to Life’ is a slow and un-instant indie-esque track with the hook sounding unfinished but it seems to gel on subsequent plays and surprises with a good Blackmore -like bend from Bryan.

Closing numbers ‘Hold The Sun‘ and ‘And When The War Is Over’ are doubtlessly two of the album’s best, one a strong Evanescence -oriented power ballad with a brilliant wavy chorus line, the latter a piano vocal led duet between both singers that brings the eighties noticeably enough to mind to mention it. A great visit once more from one of the island’s finest modern metal outfits current still hoping to make their biggest waves yet, ’GWDH’ is both scenic and stunning, practically head to toe and all parts in between. Mesmerising vocal and instrument performances throughout with barely one tune totally missing out on a hook just leaves you wanting more than just eight numbers … hopefully they play more when you see them live.

Incredible.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Skyclad, Anathema & Evanescence
NET: myspace.com/mostlyautumnband

 
September
 
Maxdmyz - Cosmic Hearse
(Renegade Records – 2010)

Maxdmyz from London have release a cracking 4 track EP with a full release in 2011.

These guys have a power that would put Kill Switch Engage, Sepultura and Sodom to shame. Cosmic Hearse is full of fast, hard and aggressive music with a vocal content that can range from Chris Cornell/Eddie Vedder to the death growls of Tom Araya and Max Cavalera.

As ‘Seed’ hits the face with a sledgehammer force, all you want to do is get up of your lazy fat ass and start fighting with thick dense air that surrounds your body like a thick blanket. This then turns into an fit of rage as ‘Sayer’ kicks you in the balls then slam dunks you with ‘Lift Your Head’ and ‘Cosmic Hearse’. There isn’t much more you can do apart from surrender to the delights Maxdmyz brings to your sad lives.

Can’t wait for the full length CD.

10/10

By Tony Watson

 

M.I.C (Made In China) – Out 2 Rock
(TSM – 2010)

It does what it says on the cover – it rocks – just like the did on the debut album right from the opening ‘Sit On You’ to the official closing of ‘Between The Eyes’.

15 tracks in all as you also get short radio versions of ‘Who Do You Love’ & ‘Something To Say’. They are a likable lot from way over in the east that are perfect for radio and clubs alike. That mid 80’s sound is all over them and I can’t help thinking Huey Lewis & The News at various points in a Quo & Kiss like way.

Highlights include ‘Out In The Rain’; the indian intro’d ‘Forever In You World’; the Paul Stanleyesque ‘Can’t Live This Way’; the cock-rockin’ ‘Tell The Lies’ that sounds like a Gene Simmons number and ‘Can’t Let You Go’ that’s a full-on hair rock anthem.

Be cool to think all the other bands from this region are as good.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
August
 
Mac Blagick – Ramadawn
(Glen Ghost Records – 2010)

Although it’s release was this year it sounds like it came out in about 1968 with its very much classic stereo warm bassy analogue realness and bright overall mix like you are listening to some old vinyl – minus the crackles of course.

There’s an array of different styles on here - some is kinda bluesy, other parts are psychedelic and others weirdly jazzy and quirky. Highlights include the opening Santana goes blues-prog ‘Superf*ck’; ‘Garden Of Apple Trees’ with its speeded up section on the end like a vinly album played at 45rpm – them were the days & the oddly sounding bv’d ‘Queen Of The Night’.

Then there’s outstanding laid back & light druggified ‘Ramadawn’ with its mad instrumental ending; the stranglely titled ‘CUINSTHLM’ with a lot of styles in it and clocking in at nearly 7 mins and the closing Cream-like ‘Dark Surprise’ with deep backing vocals.

These guys have really got something hapnin’ here.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Glen Matlock & The Philistines – Born Running
(Peppermint Records/Floating World Ltd – 2010)

Yes you know his name from The Sex Pistols and more recently as the new bassist for the reformed Faces. This is the man with his own outfit, The Philistines

Glen has a voice that sounds like Ozzy meets Tom Petty – if that makes any sense. Overall, this is an album that’s chokker full brilliant dare I say more rockin’ tunes that include the opener ‘Born Running’ about wanting to be with the girl when you are busy elsewhere; ‘Get What You Get’ about women doing your head in & the retro-british rock meets USA sounding ‘Rockchick’ about women on Sunset Strip.

Then there’s ‘Electricity’ about the chemistry with someone; ‘Yeah Right’ about the jaded ones who think they are at the top of their game in rock; the poppied Ramonesy meets Quoness of ‘Way To Go’ and the closing excellent fast but what would be a ciggy lighter anthem that is ‘Somewehere Somehow’.

An album that many will really enjoy – me included as well.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Monsters In The Attic – Tales Of The Worm (E.P)
(Onslaught Music – 2010)

Laid back acoustic stuff from a trio from London. It’s really effective and puts me in mind of Elvis Costello, Dan Reed and even Kip Winger at times.

Highlights include ‘Get To The Border’ & ‘Zombie’ with the real down with it harp playing. Believe it or not these guys are actually an up-beat rock ‘n’ roll band that have gone acoustic for this e.p.

Decent.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
July
 

METHUSALEM - Unite and Conquer
(Metal Revelation - 2010)

Holland’s not a country to be left out of the great European metal industry, by a long shot. Even if they’ve seemed quiet to us at Metalliville since Mennen showed their smiling faces a few years back, Van Gogh country has never ceased to uphold the quality and now Methusalem come out as one of those delicately prepared brews simmering in the stove.

The ridicule factor embedded in a title such as ‘Hardrock Showdown’ touches on inexcusable in 2010 but their handsome tongue in cheek ode to the clean shaped Dokken style of old rescues it from eternal condemnation. The momentum already fired up to the limit, ‘Go All The Way’ and ‘Forever’ keep it in their own different but delightful way, the former ‘s soaring chorus harmony pretty similar to that of ’Fight You On Your Own’ by fast rising Sheff rockers Crimes of Passion, before the latter turns them onto ‘Priest ‘ mode, Harold de Vries voce actually not a little unlike the bald gentleman’s.

Ballad time arises with ‘Brothers In arms’ an average-y acoustic trek that is passable but sadly nothing outstanding. Maintaining deviations but on a catchier note, ‘Running In Circles’ is a rocker with a vaguely power pop flavour you can taste but a killer chorus line and blissfully sweet trad metal guitar outtro totally exterminate this from the purists troubles. “Get Ready To Rock does what yet another frighteningly tripe title dictates and will be an undeniably awesome stage tune, especially the way they attack back with that final chorus from one of those classic silent post-solo build ups. ‘Thunder’ and ‘lock and load’ are punchy seventies-cut numbers with substantial sass and show there’s good stuff to come with the final one.

’Unite and Conquer’, the closing title number doesn’t even try to disappoint, setting out in ballad style before bringing home what could welcome double as a sweet hybrid of ’Doctor Doctor’ and ’Where Eagles Dare’ . One great but frankly short record, ‘UAC’ is still a belter and as their second album, shows that they already placed the benchmark they now surpass. With so many outfits on the continent already sending the sparks flying, Methusalem might be one of those big bangs to go off amongst them.

Awesome.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Dokken, Million, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, UFO, Saxon, Y&T.

NET: www.methusalem.nu myspace.com/methusalemband

 

June

 

Machines Of Grace - Machines Of Grace
(Winterfall Music – 2010)

MOG are Jeff Plate and Zak ex members of Savatage, TSO, Metal Church and Circle II Circle. So you know exactly what you are going to receive.

MOG release a melodic metal, hard rock, modern rock and acoustic tendencies to add to the mix. This self-titled CD is full of passion, licks and flicks with a professional and polished outcome.

MOG has many tracks that have a potential of being a single (if singles were important), but as you glide through the disc, ‘The Moment’, ‘Just a Game’ and ‘This Time’ to name a few explode into a ball of heart felt passion.

A well-received 14 track collection with an addiction for continuous playing.

9/10

By Tony Watson

 
JAMIE MALLENDER - Return To Bass
(S/R - 2010)

Not out of some hot upcoming Swedish metal sensations as his surname might suggest, Jamie Mallender actually happens to be a Sheffield-based bassist with one remarkable laurel to his buckle in having played for ex Black Sabbath/Bailey’s Comet man Tony Martin.

Not content, since going back on his own, with a straight ahead full band release, he has grabbed all instruments -except the mike - and thrown together nine remarkably appetising pieces of progressive instrumentation. Dominated by his hefty four-string it may well be but across the half hour, there ‘s some decent lead and piano pieces as well which most Spock’s Beard fans would see as a great advert to listen and occasionally the sax makes a stand for pleasant measure.

Some trippy parts do ensue as Jamie tries at times to complicate the already complicated enough parts with over -staggered rhythm mixes from all instruments but against the flaws, the favours weigh up the stronger in the mix. A sweet, if short start to the musical wizardy of Mr Mallender’s journey , lets hope his next stop off is at least as enjoyable as this turned out to be.

Impressive.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 

Marshall Law - Power Game
(Angel Air – 2010)

In my teens I slightly remembered having some ‘Marshall Law’ for a short period of time in my record collection, but due to the lack of money this was sold to a friend with many other things.

The strangest thing is that I can’t recall any tracks from the band. Being all excited to have something back in my collection, I was slightly disappointed to hear a poor man’s version of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Vow Wow and Whitesnake.

Although ‘Power Game’ comes across very powerful in places this re-mastered version of the 1993 classic fails to impress the crowed of today. People change and people move on and good classic rock/metal is lost within the ether of today’s society.

On a positive side ‘No Justice’, ‘Searching For Paradise’ and the sought after single ‘Naked Aggression’ do hit the spot with that 80’s feel for power.


5/10

By Tony Watson

 

Maelstorm - The Shores at Dawn
(Casket Music – 2008)

From the dark depths of Glasgow UK, Maelstorm are not a force to be reckoned with.

I bet you have guessed it, Maelstorm are a death, black doom band with a curdling vocal content that would put the willies up anyone. ‘The Shores at Dawn’ is full of the things you would expect from Cradle of Filth and Gorgoroth but without the professional feel. Although the band lacks the imagination to produce great music, it is still 11 tracks of pure hatred, filth and violence.

The disappointing thing is that I was listening to the CD while writing and as I did my introduction, the first two tracks ‘Thrall of the One’ and ‘With war We Wander’ felt like they were dragging on and on, which means a to me a constant mono tone feel.

‘A Perfect Storm’ gilded in very subtly to be pinned down by the force of ‘Miasma’ that represented the same style to the rest of the CD.

5/10

By Tony Watson

 

Massacre Of The Megafauna - S/T (Demo)
(S/R – 2010)

A Barnsley foursome formed late 2009 with Luke – Drums, Ron – Guitars, Jim – Guitars, Chris – Bass and Bing – Vocals. Massacre Of the Megefauna release a passion for prog style thrash/metal, which could be on the verge of Tool mixed with Opeth, early Fear Factory and coated with a light topping of Willhaven.

This three track demo is bought to your attention with ‘Professional Generalist’ that is raw to the bone, full of aggression, scream core vocals and a simple complexity of fast and furious drums mellowed by the guitars. This then is followed by a similar style of metal ‘A fist At The Crowd’ which has a catchy guitar riff as it explodes into an assault and battery of the ears, to release the pain and anger of our everyday lives.

The third track is an attempt of a ballad I think! Although Bing can scream, shout and growl his attempt to sing is absolutely awful. I’m afraid you have to bung your ears for this one. I’m not sure if they are trying to sound like Alice In Chains with the vocal intro of this particular track, but it doesn’t work. Bing get some lessons in singing before you attempt this track again.

Overall, I can see where this band is coming from and going too. If you put aside the rawness of the demo and concentrate on the tracks, with their musical talent and different approach to the metal that’s around, then MOTM could actually get somewhere.

8/10

By Tony Watson

 

Mudvayne - Mudvayne
(Sony/Epic – 2009)

You either love or hate Mudvayne, as originally they followed the Slipknot route of masks to make them look more evil than they actually are.

Mudvayne with their self-titled new release is typical of their original style but I must admit, track one ‘Beautiful and Strange’ hits you like a ton of bricks with its speed and aggression.

The eleven tracks rattle their way through, with intricate intros and outros as well as complicated guitar riffs and passionate drumming and bass lines.

Overall Mudvayne have released a solid CD and maybe their best, but I feel it’s one that may be left on the shelf by the public.

9/10

By Tony Watson

 
April
 
CRAIG MAHER - Propel
(Shine On Records - 2010)

Unknown American stringer/singer Craig Maher makes a decent impact with his first solo output despite an unexpectedly short one with only 34 minutes to plough at.

The opening title tune is a quirky blue rocker with a small progressive venture in the middle in lieu of the solo. Propelled into the following track as we are, ‘cosmic Ride’ would make many of us think his chap is actually from our side of the pond, listening to its pretty ELO tutored structure. ‘Ten Thousand Dreams ‘ is a summery pop rock ballad with Journey like piano and an overall smoothness in its s swing.

Getting back into rock-out mode again ‘Living In Utopia’ is just that , guitars and vocals with feel all along the trip. As I f we’ve been sent back to the previous track again straight after, ‘Summer’ is just as it sound says - evening walk by the river pictured in music with a great acoustic/electric duel to drive your feet along the grass.

‘Where I Belong ‘ and ‘open My Eyes’ ‘ gets Craig down and grooving with it once more , the latter adding the pier-organ keyboard attack for pure seventies swish. ‘War Of The roses’ ends on a premature and slightly anti-climatic note with a so-so acoustic track that is playable enough but lacks a distinctive hook . In short , a short but sweet record that, aside from aforementioned lull, is interesting and catchy with Craig’s multi-talented guitar ability spectrum on good display.

Another hot new property to appear out of nowhere, let’s hope this chap doesn’t disappear back too quickly.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill


RECOMMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Journey, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Foreigner, ELO, Bowie.

 
Marshall Law – Power Game
(Angel Air – 2009)

Originally released in 1993, the Heavy Metal dudes from Birmingham – it was their second album. It’s serious deep stuff a la preist and bands like than and beyond.

It’s good stuff indeed with Andy Pyke and the guys melting our heads with loud ‘n’ proud cuts like the title track ‘Power Game’; ‘Psychdrama’; ‘Dead Zone’; ‘Chain Of Youth’; & ‘No Justice. The CD even lets you in on what the songs were written about and there are extensive liner notes in there by Jon Geesin.

It was produced by famed guitarist, Robin George who did a decent enough job back in the day.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
THE MARY MAJOR - 4:13
(TSM - 2010)

Handily defined by having a ‘the’ on the start of their name, Mary Major are not a solo act and even more to the point better referred to as a dual machine if anything - at least on the vocal aspect.

A male/female alternating lead is however rarely used in styles of alternative rock like M M’s brand of rickety punk metal- -the format normally appeared restricted to goth and symphonic outfits. Lotta Hoglin and Erik Moralin synchronise their singing for the choruses on most tracks and their contrastable combination sets the hook parts flying on top of the rest, their sailing melodies and well held notes going unusually well with the sometime thrash like guitar lines.

Solos are absent, apart from a few bass interludes but with the gaps where they would have gone closed by small progressive mid sections, these ten tunes stay able to fly past without being ruined. Good sound with attitude and texture mixed for a strongly unique edge, The Mary are poised to be a Major success story for the future.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Evanescence, Skunk Anansie, McQueen

 
March
 

Medusa - Darker Shade of Hate
(Modern Invasion Music – 2007)

MEDUSA are one of Australia’s independent, original, Heavy Metal bands. from hometown Melbourne,

In 2002 MEDUSA released their debut full-length CD “Darker Shade of Hate” which has since been re-released in 2007. ‘Darker Shade of Hate’ is a mixture of ‘Ironweed’, ‘Girlschool’ and ‘Dumpy Rusty Nuts’ that gives the listener of good solid rock.

An 11 track CD with an average track time of 2½ minutes Medusa soon rattle through the playlist faster than a seeping fart through your pants.

Although pleasant to listen too, unfortunately it’s nothing new, so after several listens ‘Darker Shade of Hate’ becomes ‘Boring Shade of Boredom’. As the drones of ‘Lockdown’, ‘Kick in the Guts’ and ‘Anger’ go in one ear and out the other.

3/10

By Tony Watson

 
January 2010
 

MAEVEN - Girl In Blue (Promo Single)
(Lock Jaw Records - 2009)

Sheffield’s favourite girls get in and get mean once again and to most extents more bad-assed than previously witnessed.

Their debut offering with Hannah Manterfield (formerly bassist) now behind the mike is bruising cut of slamming punk metal that keeps its all-round feel with changes in tempo between verse and chorus and spits all the way.

Sadly this disc is lacking a B-side so we have make do with the one track on which to judge the produce of their new formation but it’s a harsh warning alone to not even try ignoring them .

Frightening.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MIA HOPE - We are Just Satellites
(Rising Records - 2009)

As if we though it might never happen, a hot young new British metal outfit finally convey the ‘H’ word itself within their moniker.

The fact that these guys come from Berkshire falls amongst the interesting info almost to become pitifully downplayed by the sound I encounter when I start the disc twirling. Tedious metal core shrieks that are especially indecipherable for the first three numbers attempt to ruin what looked like being a potentially innovative platter.

However the scream elements eventually take a lesser stage to some lovably technical guitar ideas as the album goes on, with regular progressive injections and the vocals as one redeeming factor allow for a few moments likely to satisfy fans of the early Korn sound. Less exciting than one would have waged, they claim to be just satellites but they are likely to pick up a fair wave of new fans quite soon.

Not bad.

6.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Mudvayne – S/T
(Epic Records – 2009)

Heavy & Brutal Band’s latest offering. Still shoveling out the abrasive sounds that’s a melting pot of nu-metal with reminders of other bands on the scene like Fear Factory, Tool & Slipknot (on occasions).

Some of it is ok but it gets so OTT that it gets rather monotonous and relies and rawping shouty vocals and swearing to make an impression on you at times which does get rather boring after a while.

When they fire up decent melody it’s worth listening to but more often than not they spoil it by going into the full-force bloodspitting ferocious vocals such as ‘Beyond The Pale’; ‘Out To Pasture’ etc. etc.

Part-liked some parts of each song but not a fan of all of it. I guess we aren’t on the same page here.

5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MYSTERY BLUE - Hell & Fury
(Bennett Records - 2009)

Europe specialise in female fronted metal acts quite generously and Mystery Blue are indeed a treat amongst many.

Neither over-pretentious or preferring to adhere to some long-drawn goth metal feel they keep it sweet and simple, sticking to a healthily straight ahead trad metal noise. Being a single guitar act doesn’t discourage Frenzy from letting rip with true Maiden -schooled splendour, dealing in a classy selection of lines that do front woman Nathalie’s pure voice loveable justice.

‘Hell & Fury’, ‘Endangering species’, ‘Metal Attack’, ‘Fate’, ‘Nuclear Skies’ and ‘Deadly Nightshade’ are built around moderately progressive rhythm arrangements that keep you listening without losing attention and just savour the band’s unashamedly delicious old school swagger with no additional flavours added to satisfy the fashion hungry. (like that’s going to happen, with songs about metal). Excellent stuff altogether with very few grating elements, its only a mystery why this blue were unknown to those on our side of the channel for so long.

Lets pray that this review is one of many to grab them some vital attention.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENED IF YOU LIKE:
Warlock, Doro, Magica, Sinergy

 
October
 
Mely - Portrait of a Porcelain Doll
(Nightmare Records - 2009)

Mely are a band with a future. Their rock is deep and hard with thought out tunes, an excellent vocal style and an understanding of each other.

Portrait of a Porcelain Doll is the forth release for this hard hit melodic rock band, that is similar to Drowning pool, Breaking point, Alter Bridge and Boy Hits Car. I know I have mentioned some big American acts here, but this CD is as good as or better than what these bands have released.

Mely supply us with 9 tracks and 41 minutes of pure pleasure, through ‘Of Doubt And Fear’, ‘Sweet Six Feet’ and ‘Maybe Yesterday’ to name a few. Their style not only incorporates good rock but also produces the intricacy of modern guitar playing.

It’s not often you get a CD through that doesn’t have a bad track on it, this is a must buy

10/10

By Tony Watson

 
The Milstones – Devil In Me
(Tempo Music – 2009)

Southern Rockin band from Helsinki, Finland whose singer has a very reminds me a lot of Chris Robinson and the group themselves are not unlike The Black Crowes who will keep ya grooved out for a good 41 minutes.

10 tracks of greatness on here with standouts including the powerful almost 70’s AC/DC’ish ‘Queen To Me’; the light to building ‘So Alive Today’ with it’s exquisite sliding guitar and harmonious vocals; the powerfully sung balladeering ‘Rattlin’ Blues’; the Quireboys meets Black Crowesy like ‘Street Soul’ with its bright wailing harmonica and Wood/Richards/Robinson like guitar riffery or the gorgeous ‘Green Valley’.

A band you need to hear if you love it southern and rockin’.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Mollygogo - Girls Love That Sh*t
(Party House Records – 2009)

Sometimes things come through that just have a party feel about it. Mollygogo are a Norwegian Ska-Punk band with more party than the Playboy mansion.

Girls Love That Shit is the first release from this six piece band who come across with a ‘Real Big Fish’, ‘AOD’, ‘Blink 182’ and ‘Bowling for soup’ sort of sound.

Mollygogo produced and engineered the 12 tracks that come across with a massive party feel. Girls Love That Sh*t will be a must for all kids with songs such as ‘Useless but Free’, Like Lovers Do’, ‘Summer of Position ‘69’ and ‘Festival F*ck Fest’ that will get them laughing, screaming and having a jolly good time.

Very entertaining

7/10

By Tony Watson

 
MOONBIRD – Humans
(2009)

Been a surprising while since I’ve listened to one of these bands in possession of a produce that ventures more than a little bit off the beaten metal track so what better way back into the momentum than with Moonbird, a two piece whose sound immediately takes that biscuit.

A sample-oriented affair effectively based around 60 percent keyboard but with some tasty seventies guitar intermissions, Jim and Daryl appear to be toying right to the far outer limits of the prog stratosphere but close enough to the industrial side to broaden their dimensions as well a little. Extremely atmospheric and melodic a lot of the time, the harmonies take you along with them at the best of times and there’s a convincing Genesis-esque edge to a few numbers.

Frankly unlikely to see a chart position, and not without its moments along the way plus annoyingly over-used spoken vocal parts these two lads have nonetheless made a pleasant creation with this one and I intend to keep my ears open.

Music made for painting pictures along to.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Steve Morse Band – Out Standing In Their Field
(EAR Music/Edel – 2009)

The guitarist of Deep Purple goes out on his own with a trio that features alongside his good self, Dave Larue on Bass and Van Romaine on Drums.

Theirs a healthy variety of different types of music on here – ranging from blues, jazz, country and straight rock to name but a few. My personal faves as overall standouts though on here include the countrified Albert Lee/Chet Atkins like ‘John Deere Letter’; the epic greatness of ‘Flight Of The Osprey’; the classical ‘Baroque’n Dreams’ and the awesome opening bluesin’ ‘Name Dropping’ that has these cool other riffs in it now and again of a prog like jazz nature sometimes.

Damn Fine Instrumental Album.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
September
 
Memoira – S/T
(Nightmare Records – 2009)

Memoira is a 6 piece Finnish metal band playing rather epic Metal that has progressive melodic and gothic fronted by a female vocalist Jemina who has a voice of an angel. Memoira formed in the beginning of 2007 by the two guitarists Jani Haanpää and Marko Heurlin in 2001 and gathered the other pieces of jigsaw as they went along.

Memoira remind me of Evanescence and Within Temptation, with their solid metal angelic vocal content and a power that hits the circuits like a bolt of lightning.

This 9 track CD delivers 41 minutes of power metal that hits the bones like a steam train. From the intro ‘Arise’ through ‘Experimenters Farewell’, pounding through ‘Half Alive’ to finish with ‘Amortization’, which raps the CD up into a tight ball of pure metal.

Memoira will make their mark if promoted the same way as Evanescence and Within Temptation. Good look

8/10

By Tony Watson

 
June
 
Marenne - The Past Prelude
(Symbioses Music – 2009)

Marenne is from Finland and produce a melodic, metallic style music with powerful guitars and a vocal that melts the hardest frost.

This the second release from Marenne, which has a 80’s style rock but with a twenty first century sound. Marenne has a very powerful and at the same time southing vocal that brings the best out from the rest of the band, the guitar work of Zachary Hietala does not take centre stage on this CD but blends in and produces the chords, and licks when necessary.

A ten track 45 minutes of mystic southing vocals, with melodic guitars, keyboards and drums that releases a powerful soft rock style.

Although it was very pleasurable, I do feel they will struggle in the UK market, which is a bit of a shame.

8/10

By Tony Watson

 
M.I.C. – Made In China
(S/R – 2009)

This is a really great find – an excellent rockin’ band from China – not that you’d guess from the name of the band of course. They play full on n-brainer, party filled still all the way through this cheesey cd.

Ok – not the greatest vocalist in the world but the passion and almight musical power is there – the best sorta sounds you’d what from a UK or USA band but of course these guys are froma good distance from both of ‘em.

Highlights include the opener ‘Take A Look’; the Kiss meets Status Quo like ‘Rock & Roll’; ‘Everything You Do’ with its opening beautiful sax solo – the song itself being very Enuff Z Nuff meets Bowling For Soup or something – good mix!; the awesome light-hearted but rockin’, ‘Let Me Be Your King’ and the cheesey closing rollin’ ‘Let’s Do It’.

A band you can’t help but like.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Misery Speaks - Disciples Of Doom
(Drakkar Records/Sony – 2009)

As I sit here in my cold dark cell ‘Out Of the Unknown’ emerges with an early Opeth feel that creates an eerie ambience, which then rips into ‘The Burning Path’ that frightened the living shit out of me.

Disciples Of Doom is the third release from these five gods of doom and gloom. Misery Speaks have removed their Swedish sound that were present on the last two releases and powered their way into a hell of suffering and pain.

Disciples Of Doom is a reinvention due to the fresh vocals of Przemek Golomb, that hit the balls harder than a kick to the wedding tackle.

A 10 track CD full of aggression similar to that of Kreator and Entombed, bounds itself through 50 minutes of pure hell to release the pain and suffering we have as human beings. As we rip our way through ‘End Up In Smoke’, ‘Obsessed’ and ‘Black Garden’, ‘Into The Unknown’ the unknown is where we end up.

Misery Speaks have released a sound that is so full, it pulls the life out of your soul to leave you in a naked state of pleasure.

10/10

By Tony Watson

 
The Morning After – You Can’t Hurt Steel
(Rising Records – 2009)

One of them bands that you just can’t quite pin down to any style – is it folk metal, hardcore, grindcore, thrash or melodic metal or is it heavy metal or power metal? – well it’s metal so who gives a f*ck really and that’s what really matters.

These guys have got it all to be honest and sound up-to-date and fresh but at the same time very, very old school as well. Every song stands out a lot in all different ways. My buddy Donna Thompson, says they sound Dragonforce who have kidnapped Dani Filth, whereas at other times the vocals sound like Richie Edwards from The Stone Gods.

It’s all a massive highlight right through so simply buy it and play it from beginning to end. Go anywhere you want from ‘Metropolis’ to ‘Atlantis’ and all parts in between and after.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Mudvayne - The New Game
(Epic Records – 2008)

Their first studio album in three years, and what a new beginning, if this was played without me knowing who it was I wouldn’t have said it was Mudvayne.

The first and second tracks on the CD are ‘Fish Out Of Water’ and ‘Do What You Do’ which are really catchy, with a calm vocal content very similar to that of Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies.

A three-year break from the studio has made Mudvayne very mature in the style of writing and lyrical content. The title track ‘The New Game’ is a very powerful track, which is fast and furious that brings Mudvayne into the league they are use to.

This 11 track 43 minute CD is a must for all Mudvayne fans, and a CD to pick up for all those who have listened to the odd track and were never shore about a full length Mudvayne CD.

This CD is full of surprises and a mixture of soft metal through to thrash that gives everyone a good understanding of where Mudvayne have been and where they are going.

8/10

By Tony Watson

 
March
 
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – Perpetual Flame
(Rising Force Records – 2008)

After witnessing the Great Man and his Rising Force live in Sheffield last year, I was looking forward to hearing the new album, especially since epic vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens had taken control of the micropone duties.

It sounds corny to say but Yngwie and Tim are a perfect musical and vocal marriage – they complement each other so well that you’d think they’d been working together for years. The production is brilliant as well and you can thank Mr. Malmsteen for that as he took control of both sides of the recording booth.

It’s fired up to the full throughout the entire album with a mass of highlights that include a number about Yngwie’s fave Ferrari ‘Devil Driver’ that I can imagine the guitar god playing at full blast while racing down the boulevards in Miami; the epical metalness of ‘Damnation Game’ that you can’t help singing along with on the chorus or ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ that’s got some killer machine gun drumming from Patrick Johansson’ that runs well along with the exception guitar riffery.

‘Caprici Di Diabolo’ is an outstanding instrumental that shows Yngwie at his absolute best, even telling me in the interview with him that it was the hardest thing he had ever played. One of my fave attractions of the album is the song where Yngwie sings lead vocals which herewith is the gorgious ‘Magic City’ about his love of living in Miami, Florida, USA which encompasses the beauty and warmth of the glorious place and the State as a whole - it’s the only place to be! I’ll second that forever more.

The best album that Yngwie Malmsteen has released in years – one that he can be very proud of.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
My Passion – Thanks For Nothing
(Style Suicide Records – 2009)

New band from UK who have electronic elements, emo screamo and nu-metal. Mad ‘n’ fresh catchy sh*t really but it’ll work for the young kids to be honest – you kinda get the grasp of this dancey metal thing – or whatever it is that’s happening and then it suddenly finishes.

Be interesting to see what else they are about as well.

From the album 'Corporate Flesh Party'.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
February 2009
 
Marionette - Spite
(Listenable Records – 2008)

This Swedish hardcore metal act have tried to combine the love of metal with mixing elegance, darkness, power, aggression, speed and the ambience of Japanese music. A slightly outrages combination but it’s a combination that seems to be working throughout the 12-tracks and 43 minutes.

Without a doubt, this aggressive outlook in their music brings out an explosion of passion and faith in what they do. ‘Parasite’ encapsulates the eardrums with such force you will need more than an ear syringe to clear the devastation left by the assault. The rest of the CD builds up on their promise of power and aggression to engulf the airwaves with a potent poison that has you wrapped like a mummified state from the level injection of a black widow.

Without doubt this CD will get a young following that will follow the band with great interest.

9/10

By Tony Watson

 
December
 

Marshall Law - Razorhead
(DR2/Demolition Records - 2008)

After a gap of 10 years, the boys from Birmingham, UK, Marshall Law unveil a brand new studio album packed with 15 songs of pure British Metal Old School Metal.

Heavy stuff indeed with some really great numbers that include piping hot tracks like ‘Razorhead’, ‘Another Bullet’; ‘Necromancer’; ‘Blood & Pain’; ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ and ‘Hell On Earth’. Without a ballad in sight this album never lets up and goes into overdrive on much of the material.

Andy Pyke and the boys can definitely be proud of this comeback release – see you out on the road soon lads.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Mind Gone Blind – Liars And Preachers
(Rising Records – 2008)

A Scottish 4 piece of the Stoner variety and beyond as they have slight elements of other hard rock species such as a slight bit of 70’s classicness and dare I say it, new-age grunge.

It’s an album that manages to keep you interested the whole way through as some releases of this nature can get dull after the first 3 or 4 songs. Highlights include the opener ‘Say You Will’; the title-track ‘Liars And Preachers’; ‘Getting Back’ and the closer ‘Just’.

Good album.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
November
 
Mendeed - Shadow War Love… The Best Of
(Rising Records - 2008)

As you would expect from the darkest depths of Glasgow, Mendeed storm out of Scotland with brutal thrash, hardcore, black metal, death metal, battle metal and any other style of metal you can think of, all coming together in harmony.

A 12 track collection of beer drinking Glaswegians, having a daily fight in the city centre, creating as much havoc as possible and destroying all that should cross their path.

A very brutal CD that brings the best out of these crazy bunch of lads.

6/10

By Tony Watson

 
Metal Church - This Present Wasteland
(SPV - 2008)

Formed in Seattle in the early eighties, Metal Church were not given the praise they deserve, with their debut self called album, The Dark and Blessing in Disguise, ripped the late eighties to bits, but then it seamed they faded away like a morning fog and think this CD should have gone withit.

This Present Wasteland I must admit isn’t the best thing they have done, there seems to be something missing but I can’t quite put my finger on it. If you are expecting song like ‘Ton of Bricks’, ‘Watch the Children Pray’ then you are going to be disappointed. It does seen as though they have struggled to replace the original front man David Wayne and with that the solid battleground of true thrash metal disappeared.

This CD sound is too clean which doesn’t release the grinding and thrash sound Metal Church were known for. The intro to ‘The Company of Sorrow’ has totally ripped off Metallica’s Blackened, which I must admit made me think this is going to be a bloody good CD, but I am sorry to say Metal Church have lost the feel for thrash metal.

5/10

By Tony Watson

 
The Mirimar Disaster - Volumes
(Undergroove - 2008)

It makes a welcome change to hear local bands that want to be heard in the open world. These guys are from Sheffield and have the attitude to go with it.

The Mirimar Disaster, comes across with a Voivod feel to them, it must be the distinctive rumbling of the bass, complicated guitar riffs and the same vocal content that you would expect from the Canadian metal gods.

This 5 track CD gives all hope to the metal that is coming through the UK, if 25 minutes is all it takes to make something of your self then 5 minutes of this CD will definitely give you an insight to today’s local musical talent.

Give these guys your support as they have the talent to make it big.

9/10

By Tony Watson

 
August
 

Eamonn McCormack - Kindred Spirits
(True Talent Records - 2008)

A young bluesman who on this album features guest appearences with some rather big names.

Some of the lyrics of the songs are a bit cheesey especially on 'The Grove' featuring Herman Brood and 'Barclay Club Blues' about a visit to a strip club. Some killer playing on 'Falsely Accused' featuring the late, great Rory Gallagher with the same to be said on the instrumental 'Mystica' that's got ex-Focus man Jan Akkerman featured on the other guitar.

A lot of it though is heard it all before blues riffs that have already been done a million times making a good half of the album rather skippable to be honest. 'Funkytown' saves the day though which is exactly that - a funky old groove with cool lyrics to go with it.

An OK blues album that has fantastic all-round warm real sound.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
MANIFEST - Hedonism
(Morningstar Records - 2008)

Another band being touted as the next big sensation in metal circles might just turn out to be another so-so screamcore act.

Well, half - three quarters of a point for Manifest make their entry sounding no less than an item of such description but one of the Killswitch Engage line, vocally speaking, sounding like you’ve got two different guys fighting over the mic always helps for interest even if you’ve - and obviously I’ve- heard it before and two tracks into the nine, I find I’m’ liking this band.

The guitars here certainly disappoint the least with an above-pacifying platter of Metallica, Testament and Anthrax in amongst many of the best in their various avenues, and some lovely solo twiddles that form the band’s main element of commercial accessibility.

Sort of glad I gave this disc at least once chance - not the biggest of groundbreakers but its still a handy moshing tool, lying at the top of the box.

Worth hearing.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Many Things Untold - Atlantic
(Rising Records - 2008)

A collection of teenagers who have been together for 4 years and are still only seventeen. These energetic five sum come across as nothing new but have the passion to push what they believe in.

‘Atlantic’ is their debut CD that contains a mixture of grind-core, thrash, and speed metal. The CD has some very good musical riffs but is then let down by the growling and screaming of the two vocalist, which is portrayed throughout the 10 tracks

Hopefully the guys will sit back and listen to what they are doing and progress the musical riffs with a vocal content that will bring the best out of the songs. This is not a criticism but a word of advice, as you can hear the talent throughout the music, which I believe will grow with their passion for good hard metal.

6/10

By Tony Watson

 
MAX MIDSUN - Max Factor
(Morningstar Records - 2008)

Any CD that comes to me with a sleeve sporting images of a sky blue-lipped gob on the front is likely to make me sit up and stick the disc on with some value of intrigue as to what’s going on.

Intrigue sustained for a lot of the playing time of what turns out is actually this Nordic fivesome’s second full-length offering or more to the point the words, ’what‘,’the’ and ’f***’ spring to mind more.

A strange three-way tie of punk, hardcore and metal unlike many I’ve ever encountered in my decade of writing albums awaits - picture a mix of Helmet, Iron Maiden, Exploited, Cro-mags and Danzig as regarding various elements forming their sound and think along prog lines al little for the instrument rhythms.

Largely melodic noise along the span, there’s the occasional death-y moment from the vocal end but this very approachable material and some of the tunes have a relaxing groove too while Kim Tunvag’s creening range aids the overall cause.

A few industrial snips nearly spoilt the broth - come on guys, there’s only so many different things you can throw in the one pot - but they still leave the best of ten helpings of the most original sounding metal I’ve heard in about five years thankfully undamaged.

Whatever these enthusiastic young men are trying to achieve, they will do for their innovation is second to none, and I hope they are on their way to some deservedly healthy attention.

Max-imum respect is due here.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MOONGARDEN - Songs From The Lighthouse
(SPV - 2008)

Another mysterious ship sails into the Eurpoean prog metal harbour, and Moongarden unload their wares as soon as they moor, to the gladly awaiting.

Mostly consisting of Dream theater and Saga branded packages, these Italians still have a bit of potential bit of business in in front of them, even if their three opening numbers have a collective playing time of nearly half-an-hour.

Seal-esque second number ‘It‘s You‘, -yes that sounds crazy but its true - is one of the early attention catches, as is the singer’s range which could light up torches in any kind of musical lines. Resident epic ’Solaris’ seems to go by much quicker than the nearly-quarter -hour duration on print but this must be due to the attention I lend to this multi-structural number and the various movements in association withy the basis of its lyrical content.

A larger amount of the rest of the tunes seem to fall almost with standard-length matter though of course that’s’ no excuse to focus on the verse-chorus-verse prospective of things, as you shouldn’t be doing anyway in prog circles. ‘Emontionaut’, ‘That Child’ and ‘Southampton Railroad’ are all their own machine but at the while, musically still linked by common elements and the latter-day Theater likeness is to their praise and ‘Flesh’ is a lush little number making good use of their guest string section.

‘Dreamlord’, the disc’s second longie is a more Marillion-oriented affair with great keys all along and you know there’s something brilliant coming along on the end of that quite middle eight. ‘Lighthouse Song’ is one of those infuriating tunes that is always not over when it looks like it is but its lush if long-winded arrangement makes it one of the album’s best and the soulful vocals plus that cheery solo at the end make it more fun to play again.

Swimming in seas of depth and ingenuity, this disc’s style does borrow from a fair few major names but only enough to keep them well afloat and on their way to their own voyage of discovery. Another of those bands that just came out of nowhere, Moongarden, we hope don’t disappear back there again too soon as they are lined up to be an immense contribution to the scene.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Dream Theater, Enchant, Spock’s Beard, Threshold

 

Motorhead - Motorizer
(SPV - 2008)

Okay - it's not the title of a 'Lawnmower or latest sex toy available only in Amsterdam, it is in fact the new Motorhead album. Yes, it's that time of the year that us lads over here solidly look forward to which afterwards can only mean one more thing - UK Tour - Oh F*ck*n' Yes! - this time with Saxon & Danko Jones!

'Motorizer' is like a mix between 'Inferno' and 'Kiss Of Death' - it's got its heavy brutal songs, the more melodic moments and a healthy sprinkling of Rock 'n' Roll. There's 11 newies on here, of which I'd like to hear on UK Radio but I ain't holding my breath on that one.

Plenty to get excited about with highlights including the opener 'Runaround Man' that hits you between the eyes and guarantees that you didn't press play and get the new Coldplay or Verve album by mistake - well they'd be flung straight out the window or presented to Lemmy to be used as an ashtray - hahaha.

Can't help but love the rock and rolling 'English Rose' about waiting for a female date who is late - that's women for ya! 'Heroes' is a great song too - especially when it gets to its chorus section. 'Rock Out' is classic Motorhead and very 'Bomber' like where the title is humourously the chorus of the song in good old 'Don't write too many words Lemmy fashion', especially the 'with ya cock out bit'.

'Time Is Right' sees Phil Campbell go for some supersonic slide guitar work and in 'When The Eagle Screams' we get some brilliant double-bass work and synchronated drumwork from Mikkey Dee where he sorta reminds me of 'Overkill' and 'Sacrifice'.

Our favourite threesome are back with another goody.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

The Muggs - On With The Show
(S/R - 2008)

An Atmospheric Rock-Blues trio from Detroit -who remind me of a cross between Humble Pie, Ten Years After and Cream with elements of Canned Heat, Gwyn Ashton and Jimi Hendrix.

It's like going back a good 35 to 40 years as The Muggs songs are wholesome and moresome with heartfelt big dirty blues riffs that many artists would wish they had come up with.

You can literally drop onto any song and melt yourself into pure retroness with outstanding sounds being 'Slow Curve'; 'All Around You'; 'Curbside Constellation Blues' and 'Get it on' - well to be honest every song is amazing.

These uglies deserve to go to the top of the blues tree!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
June
 
Mad Margritt – Animal
(Perris Record – 2007)

A great band in the vein of Poison and Skid Row with big bulging fat guitar sound and one hell of a wailer of a vocalist – not to mention the crucial b.v’s as well. Like going back to about 1988 all over again but this is 19 years on – not that you’d realise from this ‘ere CD.

A 7 tracker of a 5” plus its female orgasmic groaning intro titled ‘Extreme Osculation’ – haha – whatever lads – so who’s the chick behind the mike then. Like this bunch a lot, especially when they kick out a bluesy in ya face ditty like ‘Looking In From The Outside’.

Ok, it’s in a serious mode but the number ‘I don’t think I love you’ completely rocks before it all comes to a crumble with the closer Time’ – wonder if these guys will ever make it to see us in ole blighty.

Worth search this CD out.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
May
 
Andre Matos – Time To Be Free
(SPV – 2008)

The ex-Angra & ex-Shaman Guitarist goes it alone – I guess it’s his ‘Time To Be Free’. Great high ended vocalist (think Jon Anderson of Yes) who delivers 11 power metal epics of an orchestral grounding.

Highlights include ‘Letting Go’; the magnificent ‘Remember Why’; ‘Looking Back’ with its acoustic guitar sections; the beautiful piano led ballad ‘Reason’ and the gorgeous orchestral closer ‘Endeavour’.

Andre proves that there’s more him than meets the eye and hopefully he will do well as a solo artist. He truly deserves to.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
McQueen – Break The Silence
(Demolition Records – 2008)

They certainly do that – kill all quietness positively dead in its footsteps. Heavy, brutal female fronted metal band who’ve toured with the likes of WASP and Velvet Revolver and there’s little wonder sounding like this.

Highlights on here include the hardened party-filled ‘Running Out Of Things To Say’; the pop funked-up rockin’ ‘Numb’; the revvin’ up of ‘The Line Went Dead’’ the honesty of ‘Not For Sale’ and the closer ‘(I Don’t Know How to) Break It To You’.

This band has got selling and staying power for you.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MILLION - Thrill Of The Chase
(Metal Heaven - 2008)

Swedish melodic metal veterans Million have taken their profile to greater heights than ever in the last three years with their loudly received slot at the 05 Firefest being a likely contributor along with the reissue of their earlier catalogue and stonking reviews for then newie Kingsize by the proverbial lorryful.

Fast forward to 2008 and we now find them setting a potential benchmark in place of their previous masterworks. Its name is ‘Thrill Of The Chase’ and I would without hesitation advise everyone to chase up a copy of what has to be their finest spinner by far, to date. The opening title number is a classic high-speed hard rocker and with it, an essential live opener, and is capped by a great synchronised break on guitar and keys together. ‘Menace To Society is an Evidence One-esque stomper with also a vague likeliness to Yngwie’s ‘Heaven Tonight’ while ‘Slave To You’ does a similar thing but a little more Tyketto oriented.

‘One Above’ is as good as what is its name says - this Celt-oriented groover is an instant fave and a compulsory live inclusion. ‘Lonely In A Crowded Room’ is a Talisman-like cut with stronger keyboard presence on-board and before the first half of the album finishes as quickly as it began in the form of UFO but with an even more anthemic vocal melody than ‘Thrill...’. Still no loss on the quality scope,, ‘From Heaven to Hell’ is a purely text-book mid-beat rocker, typical of Scandianvia’s high standards, before more of the same (yes!) except with a very Magnum-ish chorus (double yes!) ensues resulting in another token favourite becoming established, ‘Son of the Son’ being the title.

As if they are telepathically aware that we are rooting for more, ‘Through The Eyes Of The Child’ keeps the Nordic charm turned firmly on with those backing vocal harmonies we love plus impressive topically-edged lyric content to boot. ‘Beware Of The Wolf’ is something you might seriously want to consider right now as these lads will huff, puff and blow more than a few houses down with this high octane symphonic metal speeder. Something different did eventually have to come along and so it does with ‘Fires Of Siberia’, the album’s penultimate number being the furthest removed from their main style structure but in the end that’s only down to its seventies fuelled slides and general ol’ fashioned grittiness with a strongly Purple edge on the keys.

And...as we liked it so much, there’s second helpings, coupled back again to a bouncier chorus rhythm line, ‘Need to Believe’ closing proceedings by recapturing the best elements of the eleven....er....preceding tunes. After that fifty five minutes, I’m quite gutted that there’s nothing else to make it up to a full sixty, though saying that, the one benefit of another three years or so’s gap before their next full-lengther sees light is that I’ve got some serious time in front to spin this absolute shredder before I finally get bored. With not one single bad or so-so moment in sight, this has to be their best effort to date with the diverse contributions of the current line-up probably being the hand that helped.

I can’t give this a million but the score still has a 1 and 0 somewhere in it. Blinding!

10/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Helloween, Evidence One, Dokken, Dragonforce, Royal Hunt, Pink Cream 69, TNT, Dream Theater & Dio.

ALSO RECOMMENDED
Evidence One - The Sky Is The Limit (AFM - 2007) Awesome 3rd album by these upcoming German hard rockers. (See review also on Metalliville)

 
January 2008
 

MAGNUM - Wings Of Heaven Live
(SPV - 2007)

I would be lying to say I didn’t have a prediction three years back when they did the entire ‘Storyteller’s Night’ platter live to mark its anniversary, that ‘Wings Of Heaven’, their all time best seller might eventually become subject of such divine dealings.

Coincidentially enough, Catley, Clarkin and co have indeed decided to celebrate such an important birthday and I don’t mean their recent 60ths - oops, sorry guys, that just came up.... and all that. Of course to get to it, you have to listen to the first half of the show first, - (yep these guys are supporting themselves tonight) which of course means material from their latest album “and if you don’t know the words by now, you’re in trouble, “the frontman charismatically informs the throngs.

Featuring four songs from ‘Princess Alice and The Broken Arrow’ amongst a selection of nine tunes may sound an own goal when ‘Soldier Of The Line’, ‘The Spirit’ and ‘Rockin’ Chair’(again) have to be sacrificed to make room but ‘How Far Jerusalem’ and another personal fave ‘All England’s Eyes’ still make it to the mix. To hear ‘Kingdom Of Madness’ only forty minutes into a Magnum set is a new experience too but together on the list alongside ‘Out Of The Shadows’ and ‘When We Were Younger’, another two of what I rate as Tony’s best songs, at this end of the 30 year age gap in their catalogue is a treat alone. Still little weight against what is to follow after the 15-minute interval.

A change of disc later and here we go folks. An eerie intro captures the attention - in a “what’s this got to do with ‘Wings Of f***’ing Heaven’?” sort of way – then the opening chords to the song that brought Birmingham’s finest to my attention seventeen years ago, ‘Days Of No Trust’, are struck and it’s one truly barmy crowd on that side of the barrier. ‘Wild Swan’ is often a live mainstay with that searing second chorus line that closes the timeless multi-tempo power epic. ‘Start Talking Love’, subject of their one and only Top Of The Pops appearance, is in contrast a straight ahead rocker but this Journey-meets-Whitesnake-oriented hookfest one of the finest AOR numbers ever penned.

Hearing ‘One Step Away’ live for the first time in nearly two decades must be a near-hallucinatory experience for most even if I have to enjoy it from the comfort of my bedroom and the album’s third single ‘Must Have Been Love’, a classic itself seems drowned in comparison though a still strong attack by Bob makes it float proud. ‘Different Worlds’ was the one song from the album not to make the legendary Hammersmith 88 set and respectably completes the set. While a grower on me when I first heard it its non-inclusion here would have made just a big a hole as the omission of ‘Pray for the Day’. This regular crowd pleaser returns to the live agenda to immense reception but the big song itself is still to come.

Meant in literal terms as well of course, the ten-and-a-half minute monstrosity that is ‘Don’t Wake The Lion’ is making its live comeback tonight after nearly two decades and seeing how Al Barrow and Jimmy Copley handle the parts here once played by messrs Lowe and Barker will be intriguing. Not one bit less than equally as well as Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin and Mark Stanway is the answer there, squire and boy have the newer twosome been put through their paces by the old masters here and not one mistake made anywhere through the duration of this incredible tune. The noise I hear from the rooms several hundred (or is it thousand) other inhabitants at the end says it all.

In fact the boys reckon they deserve another. Don’t you agree. And with all eight ‘W.O.H.’ cuts used up what better to round of such a magic night for Magnum-ites old and new - and moderately recently converted - than with another truly magic moment itself in the shape of ‘Sacred Hour’. A tad cream-crackered they may sound by the end of another four minutes of this band’s astounding music but justly so. The musical phenomenon that is Magnum continue, after 35 years to reign supreme - the band’s s core duo may have just struck the same decade as Lemmy but he hasn’t made any attempt to call it a day has he.

Put it this way, Bob and Tony, til the day long in the future that you both finally agree it fit to close the curtain for ever, hold on to what you have, and use the magic for as long as it stays true to yourselves.... for one thing’s certain- you continue to weave it not only amongst you, but amongst all who believe in it, and will do from this day til then... and believe me there are many left to come.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Mammoth – Leftovers, Relics & Rarities
(Angel Air – 2007)

Just as the title says, these are cuts that never made their albums, so John McCoy has now many them available to us for the very first time – good lad.

As can be expected, a lot of it is demo quality but we don’t care about that fact as this material is fat, beefy, full and it rocks like you’d expect from these guys.

Highlights include ‘Let Me Out!’; ‘Dark Storm’; a live version of ‘Fatman’ introduced by the late legendary ‘Tommy Vance’; and ‘Long Time Coming’.

A great album especially for fans of this long, rockin’ trio metal trio.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

MSB - Cafe Trauma
(Redcorn Records - 2007)

Another case of band from the unlikeliest of places arising, Northampton has seen little of profile of any form of rock music and all of a sudden, Silverstone country graces us with a ska-punk act.

And quite a damn decent one too - ‘Milk and Apples’, ‘Sunday Drivers’ and ‘Massive Misfortune are superb examples of the scene at best, not only on the behest of a UK outfit - the latter catches one of the sax players attempting what sounds like the theme from ‘Fat Tulip’s Garden’ *. ‘Time Gentlemen Please’ meanwhile attempts to be everything within the punk subgenre spectrum in the area of one minute fifty seconds, beginning as a raging aggro-core number and ending sounding like a sweet little brother of Dog Eat Dog’s ‘Pull My Finger’. ‘Why have You Forsaken Me’ is one of the strongest cuts by a long shot - a ballad-ish track til nearly three quarters distance then rocks out in not-Metallica-unlike fashion before quietening again for the outtro.

A few vague downers do exist with ‘Punishment Shuffle’ and ‘The Heist’ raging along but keeping me waiting for the hook that fails to arrive - a bit like the No 98 bus I (try to) get into town. The ska genre as you who have visited the site regularly or are personally aware of my rock-ular preferences, may know is a fairly acquired taste with yours truly but these fellas seem to do it for me.

At only 37 minutes though, I hope they’ve got another in the future as ‘Cafe....’ has been considerable fun.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE Rancid, Capdown, Dog Eat Dog.

 
November
 

MONSTERWORKS - Spacial Operations

A sleeve that strongly suggests a prog metal effort is imminent turns out to be strongly misleading. M.W. ‘s line of work turns out to be scream-laden thrash-core noise although points are due as this type of outfit doing a concept album set in the outer reaches is a metal first in my opinion.

Interestingly more, a British band, these four lads have pleasingly subtle guitar layers throughout a lot of these tracks and make having fourteen of them less of a burden to negotiate and being lyrically impressive as well helps.

Solos included, they do take a softer direction towards the end of the playing but their unusual take on the genre they’re seemingly meant to associate with means they are predictable and innovate but on separate levels.

It actually works, guys.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
October
 
Kristy Majors – Sex Drugs ‘N’ Rock N Roll
(DIY Records – 2006)

Latest album from a founder Pretty Boy Floyd member sees him hit hard at real life out in LA (and anywhere else for that matter) with cuts as honest as ‘Wasted In America’; ‘Sex Drugs ‘N’ Rock Roll or ‘Kids On Dope’; ‘Greed’; ‘A-OK’ and ‘Only the good die young’ among many others.

It’s fresh, rockin and kinda sleazy in a way but not to the point of too much make-up and cowbells – this is Kristy for the now and beyond and it’s pretty obvious that he aims to look at what’s around by using his own eyes, while many other bands topics are stuck in the titty bars still like they are forever in the 80’s and sunset strip is exactly the same as it ever was. The young kids who buy records now will appreciate this album and not just us old time glimmers.

He’s hitting our UK shores early in the New Year so look out for him coming to a venue near you.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Meldrum – Blowin’ Up The Machine
(Frontiers Records – 2007)

Michelle Meldrum’s band No frills, heavy almost nu-metal at times barrage of sounds right the way through the platter with ‘Purge’ and ‘Scar’ being perfect examples.

‘Hang ‘Em’ is one hell of a great number with its sexy riffing as is the bulleting riffery of ‘Miss Mee When I’m Gone’ that features Lemmy also vocals – a nice inclusion to the album for defo – more of that yes please. ‘Another Kind’ is a killer of a number and ‘Exploited’ is kinda like Black Label Society with a female on vocals instead of the blonde-bearded hellraiser.

Good to hear a ballad from these ladies too in ‘Get Me Outta Here’ but off course its back to the heaviness with closer ‘Bite The Pillow’.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 

Motorhead – Better Motorhead Than Dead ~

Live At Hammersmith
(SPV – 2007)

The 30th Anniversary Show live from Hammersmith Apollo on June 16th, 2005 – seems strange that it only came out this year as the set list has changed a bit since then plus another studio album has reared its ugly ‘motor’ head since this gig.

If you are a fan of Lemmy’s men, then you know the score as there’s plenty of metal to get excited about here such as the oldie but goldie ‘Love Me Like Reptile’; newer songs at the time like ‘In The Name of Tragedy’ and the acoustic number ‘Whorehouse Blues’ with Lemmy also on harmonica. Like the fact one of my lesser played faves is in the set tonight – this being ‘Love For Sale’.

There’s one guest star on here – this being Michelle Meldrum who joins in on vocals during ‘Killed By Death’ as opposed to being a good handful like on the 25th Anniversary gig. Elsewhere it’s the obvious crowd pleasers such as ‘Sacrifice’ with Mikkey Dee’s obligatory supreme drum solo and classics like ‘Iron Fist’; ‘Ace Of Spades’ and ‘Overkill’ – oh and ‘Bomber’ as well.

Good set but nothing out of the ordinary really to report on here.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
August
 
MACHINERY – Degeneration
(Lost Entertainment Productions - 2007)

Last Entertainment are the latest new label to beam down on the Metalliville surface and nearly get off to a clumsy start by way of a slightly erratic bit of goods description. Swedes Machinery’s sound, advertised as death metal on most pieces of info I have about them would better be described as a Bay Area best of, with keyboards added, and a guitar-playing vocalist-fronted five-piece including an ivory-rattler is an interestingly less than frequent line-up in this industry.

‘Degeneration’ seldom puts a foot wrong, all nine numbers are beautifully crafted goth-edged metal tunes that Michel Isberg’s Hetfield-meets-Holmes moulded rant fits in giving it it’s harder side. Absorbing all the way with the odd moment of lull, Machinery keep their cogs well oiled as testified by the end product.

I won’t spoil it any more for you - listen to this interesting band yourself, but your opinion after one spin of what is of course their debut album should also be a good one

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full
(MPL/Starcon – 2007)

It’s always a big event when a new album from Sir Paul comes out – this one being no exception. Kicking off with the happy ‘Dance Tonight’ that got plenty of airplay – I love the moderate toe tapping beat and that mandolin playing matey.

Other highlights on here include ‘Only Mama Knows’ that kind of reminds me of ‘Band on The Run’ with its intro and outro that goes into one hell of a cooking number – there’s some orchestration there too. ‘You Tell Me’ looks back on his yesteryears while ‘Mr. Bellamy’ has some brass band backing on there – a song that’s all about a guy who wants to commit suicide by jumping off a building (not the bearded conservationist as you’d have thought Paul to write about – lol).

‘Vintage Clothes’ has some multi-tracked vocals happening that is sinister but likeable. ‘That Was Me’ is a humourous number that again looks at yesteryear and what Paul has achieved in his life. ‘The End Of The End’ is a happy but at the same time sad song about what Paul wants to have taking place at his funeral and closer ‘Nod Your Head’ is a nice simple happy ditty that is very Post Beatles/Early Wings.

Overall this a splendid album from one of Liverpool’s finest which sees Paul trying out newer mysterious arrangements than you’d normally expect of him – it’s a real grower of an album.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Miss. Conduct – Sinner Vs Sinned EP
(Visible Noise – 2007)

A six tracker of pop punk that the kids’ll love no doubt. It lights up from the start with ‘City Burns Alive’ and goes right through rocking ya all the way. That’s a killer hooky chorus in ‘Devotion’ – nice vocals there as well.

I reckon this band like early Iron Maiden judging by the riffery in ‘First Love Denial’ that has a fresh edge to it with the ending ‘Sinner Vs Sinned’ having you pinning for more.

They could be big news if they get enough press and maybe a bit of TV coverage – you know you never can tell.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
June
 
MIDAS - Don’t Dance
(Killsound Recordings)

When you get sent one-track samplers it quite frequently determines the panning out of things for opinion with only one piece of music to introduce themselves on, and everything rests on the feedback.

Brit fivesome Midas may remove the brown trousers as this tune is probably the pop-punk anthem of the year, prized not only on its bouncy-as-f*** chorus-line but a litle bit also on some quite Weller-esque verse guitar rhythms.

Still in their teens, as made clear by their lyrical content, ‘Don’t Dance’ is probably a title I am going to have to disobey if this one gets onto a club dancefloor anywhere I am in attendance.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 
THE MIRIMAR DISASTER - S/T
(Undergroove Records - 2007)


Regulars on live gig flyers across Sheffield - well they hail from our beloved steel city after all - The Mirimar Disaster’s followers are finally able to enjoy the tunes they have probably moshed along to at more than one of their various shows past, from the comfort of their own bedroom as their debut disc finally arrives.

I have to apply a bit of an off-track description even though it is not mentioned in any other form of promotion I have seen to their unusually two-dimensional material, as what I am hearing right now could only be described as prog-core. These nine magnificently epic numbers, which is strange for an HC act, at times make the disc a treat for fans of Earth Crisis and bands of similar style but also consist of a middle eight that changes them all of a sudden into something not unlike another new York act I might mention, that being prog metal goliaths Dream Theater.

A highly unusual album that fixes it focus more on depth than din even though there’s fair share of the latter, and shows that this type of metal is certainly not about just getting behind a microphone and gargling out your internal workings for all they’re worth - they guys have worked H-A-R-D here.

For those yet to hear, or hear of them (whichever appropriate), it’s well worth the time, especially for the open minded of you.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

WEBSITE: www.themirimardisaster.com

 
May
 
MAGNUM - Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow
(SPV /Inside Out - 2007)

Bob Catley is not allowed time off. It’s almost official. No sooner had he finished that acoustic tour than he was summoned back to the studio by his partner in crime of 40 years Tony Clarkin to work on another studio master piece with the Midlands melodic rock legends that brought his name to the public.

‘Princess Alice…’ picks up more or less exactly where ‘Brand New Morning’ left off by the three year gap hasn’t stopped any wheels turning. Their fourteenth album continues their current revitalised form which for the uninitiated is a fusion of the style they explored on the ‘Hard Rain’ stuff together with the two albums up to Magnum’s split in 1995.

The opening two tracks spread the wings further however, with the intro to the former quite reminiscent of ‘Only A Memory’, the epic ballad from ‘Goodnight LA’. Classic Magnum both, echoes of Catley’s solo material are also audible. Quite inevitably the form continues for four further numbers although the songs are starting to starting to dissolve into one another a little by that stage, as I begin to get a sense of waiting for something that never comes, and this is about the only time that the album comes anywhere near to stumbling - like Magnum would.

‘Be Strong’ is something I manage to do as this groover in the vain of H.R.’s ‘Another Nice Mess’ lifts things away from the ground once more, but the best song has to be ‘Thank You For The Day’ in which Mark Stanway contributes some Bruce Hornsby-esque piano lines. A fag lighter-in-the-air favourite for years to come though watch out if you’re doing this at a gig that falls after the 1st of July.

I have already enjoyed ‘Your Lies’ on a recent ‘Powerplay’ mag sampler and was impressed by this upper-octane rocker which wouldn’t look out of place on the second album by Pulse, (Catley solo guitarist Vince o’Regan’s short lived AOR outfit which sadly broke up two years ago.). So Mr Clarkin, it seems, has been learning from the younger generation.

The final two tunes, especially ‘You’ll Never Sleep’ are again these lads as we like to hear them today, helping another fine Magnum disc ensure that, and that’s indeed what ‘P.A.A.T.B.A.’ is. With the as-usual flawless displays from the three main men, plus of course Al Barrow and new drummer Jimmy Copley - this is his first studio outing with them – plus a welcome recreation of the ‘Vigilante’ sleeve band pic inside, fans young and old are in for a treat.

Mag–nificent work once again.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 
McCoy – Unreal The Anthology
(Angel Air – 2007)

The bassist of many a band shows us what he’s been part of since 1969 to the most recent recordings in 2006 and goes from a late 60’s band called Welcome right through to GMT.

You get to realise just how busy this big bassman has been since he first picked up his instrument – interestingly enough he was in a band with the now famous comedian Charley Chuck who encouraged him to pick up that bass in a band entitled ‘Mamas Little Children’ – but sadly no tapes exist of this band at all.

He’s played Jazz, Funk, Soul, Rock and Metal and god-holy knows what else as well as producing albums for bands like The UK Subs which kept him in cash throughout a lot of his career. It’s impossible to place examples of his works on just 1 cd, therefore this is a 2CD set where you will find some of John’s fave cuts from the already mentioned Welcome to others that include Gillan, Atomic Rooster, Samson, McCOY, Mammoth and many other rare bits n pieces in between like Quadrant, NEO and VHF.

Highlights (of which there are actually many include an alternate version of Samson’s ‘Tommorow Or Yesterday’ that’s got plenty of echo on it; a live version of the blues classic ‘Big Boss Man’ from McCoy; a crackin’ alt. version of Gillan’s ‘No Easy Way’; a rare number in ‘Calling Out Your Name’ by The Coolies that sounds like ‘Blister on The Moon’ by Taste (Rory Gallagher); the humourous ‘Fatman’ by Mammoth (whoah - I got that on 12” single – awesome !); the excellent Sun Red Sun’s ‘I know a place’ with the late great Ray Gillen on lead vocals – he’s sadly missed he is too, as is Paul Samson who is included in solo mode with ‘Mean Woman Blues’.

You must check out Mr. McCoy’s latest project too GMT that features Bernie Tormie and Robin Guy – the song ‘Cannonball’ is aired here that I previously saw on the Bernie Torme DVD ‘Stratocaster Gypsy’. Then last but by no means least, a funny song that John wrote but does not play on called ‘Shaving Cream’ by The Split Knee Loons – hearing is believing !!

An Anthology well worth buying especially for the fact that it ain’t the usual greatest hits package but a far more interesting collection of material. Be sure to catch GMT at a venue near you.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Messiah’s Kiss – Dragonheart
(SPV – 2007)

A band you can rely on bring plenty of hard old school metal to the forefront – think Judas Priest, Helloween and nowadays Saxon – a ton of double-bass bashery, mid to high ended vocalising and miles of guitar riffage.

This is full on fist-raising, leather jackets and studs stuff let em tell ya with songs like ‘Where the falcons cry’; the title track ‘Dragonheart’; ‘Nocturnal’ and the epical orchestral closer ‘The Ivory Gates’.

Keep it comin’ lads.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
BLAST FROM THE PAST

METALLICA - Master Of Puppets
(Vertigo - 1986)

A belated 20th anniversary celebration for one of the most monolithic thrash releases of all time is by way better than not bothering at all. When four sprightly young lads by the name of James, Lars, Kirk and Cliff got together in a studio and struck these chords for the first time in 1985, could they have in any possibility predicted the impact that ‘Puppets’ was to strike planet metal’s surface with in the two decades that followed.

OK, so when ‘Battery’ begins, that acoustic intro leads you to think you were about to listen to some ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ rehash but although the two are pretty similarly structured in parts, it’s this album’s opener that has always been superior but I am not slating either. A live regular since, it is however the album’s title song that has been a watertight Metallica gig cornerstone since its creation.

Very sadly, it is only on CD that you can get to hear the full eight minutes plus, apart from the various tribute acts that ride into town, as the Tallica boys have a miserable habit of often playing their half-length version - after the ‘Master, master-r-r-r, master-r-r-r….’ bit fades, there’s no more to come. A well constructed number, it’s mixture of tempos, varying from quintessential speed metal of its day to a menacing stomp that backs James Hetfield as he chants “Master, master, where’s the dreams that I’ve been after” plus mental soloing from Mr Hammett, it is a devastating dancefloor selection today.

The heaviest song I think a I’ve ever heard from a Bay Area outfit is doubtlessly ‘The Thing That Should Not Be’. Its stop-start structure is checquered amongst repeats of a riff that you can just feel yourself repeatedly swing a claw hammer down on the bonnet of your car, along to. Hetfield’s stretchy inflections on the chorus lyrics sounded a bit misfitted with the style and brutality of the number when I first heard it, but you can’t have everything heavy so the best advice one could follow is to listen to that riff throughout and let nothing distract you.

‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’is another long standing institution for the band who fit that description fifty-fold themselves. Coming in on a structure and opening solo line similar to that of ‘Fade To Black’ the chorus is much more instant and bludgeons as Lars Ulrich rolls in with the rhythm and the back half of the song just speeds away, Hammet in particular. “Leave me al-o-o-one” comes the immortal yell from James. Advice probably worth following at this stage, lads.

‘Disposable Heroes’ shows that one epic per album ain’t enough any more by this stage, this almighty juggernaut of a tune boasting a similar structure to ‘M.O.P.’ itself but more chuggy in its rhythm lines, and in a fitting pairing with its lyrical war one of Hetfield’s guitar lines does distinctively reminisce a Uzi merrily relieving itself of a few hundred rounds. The chorus’s closing words ‘you coward, you servant, you blind man’ are things you will still be called – by me - if you back off from this one today .

‘Leper Messiah’ was a major departure at this stage for Metallica, not only because it isn’t performed at speeds of 1-200 mph but its own chanting stomp verse line which had more in common with scene rivals Anthrax and was also replicated on their subsequent albums, ‘…Justice…’ and ‘Metallica’ in particular. Rarely performed live since 1987 apart from for the ‘Some Kind Of Monster’ EP, it is a quality metal tune that has stood the test of time and remains as well respected by the fans as th other seven on the album. Tune number seven, ‘Orion’ is that of all regular obligations on a Metallica album of the 80’s, another instrumental and the third eight-minuter on the platter. The best of all the ones they did, it is very melodic and multi-staged, allowing for various tempos but again, criminally ignored live, apart from a bit of it showing up on Kirk’s solo spot during the live shows in 1989 and again in late 1992.

Closing as fast as the album began, ‘Damage Inc’ is what thrash was all about during the eighties, relentless high speed heavy metal aggression that runs on attitude, and over anything in its path. Very sadly, it was to be the final song we would hear Cliff Burton play on, apart from later contributions on ‘To Live Is To Die’, in a year that had also robbed us of Lizzy legend Phil Lynott as well but his legacy remains carved into the walls with his performances on this, ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Kill ‘em All’ (which celebrates its 25th birthday next year) and in still shifting copies of these three important albums by the lorry load now, today’s younger generation of Metallica fans are reminded of one of the most important musicians in metal who ever lived.

‘Master Of Puppets’ should be seen not only as a goodbye present from Mr Burton however but as a record it self which shaped the Bay Area and the entire metal scene itself forever, and with many of these tunes a regular on metal club dance-floors worldwide, its immortally iconic stature alongside the Black Album will stand solidly unforgotten.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

IN MEMORY OF CLIFF BURTON ~ 1962 -1986

 

"Blast from the Past"

Metallica - Master Of Puppets
(Elektra Records - 1986)

The Metallica of the 80's definitely reigned the Metal world they literally were leaders in the Thrash Metal genre. Another great follow-up from "Ride The Lightning" I'd have to say that "Master Of Puppets" dominated even more so in the songwriting.

Production-wise by Metallica and Flemming Rasmussen was impeccable. Only 8
tracks here but almost an hour's worth of incredible Thrash Metal. I still think if Cliff Burton their bassist up until this release was still in the band Metallica would not have taken the musical style that they now undertake.

Opening track "Battery" has some acoustic guitars then BAM domineering electric guitar riffs that are simply baffling. Their style (riff-wise) was some of the greatest works that they've ever accomplished. There really is nothing missing from this album the vocals, guitar/lead guitar, bass and drums.

It's a damn shame this band has really gone to waste. But anyway, in terms of the writing for this release is simply impeccable. I especially like the closing track "Damage Inc." an amazing track but then again I highly esteem all tracks done on this album.

I'm still in favor of ". . And Justice For All" as being Metallica's best ever release but this album is a must for those of you into Thrash Metal. There are so many highlights on this album the instrumental "Orion" with Cliff Burton on Lead Bass really dominates. The structure and writing style for all tracks on this release are entirely original and memorable.

Track listing:

1. Battery
2. Master Of Puppets
3. The Thing That Should Not Be
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
5. Disposable Heroes
6. Leper Messiah
7. Orion
8. Damage Inc.

Credits:
Don Brautigam - Illustrations
Cliff Burton - Bass, Vocals (Background), Lead Bass on "Orion"
Rob Ellis - Photography
Ross Halfin - Photography
Kirk Hammett - Lead Guitar
James Hetfield - Guitars, Arranger, Vocals
George Marino - Remastering
Metallica - Producer, Cover Art Concept
Flemming Rasmussen - Producer, Engineer
Lars Ulrich - Arranger, Drums
Michael Wagener - Mixing

9.5/10

By Death8699 (MethylinInfo@aol.com)

 

"Blast from the Past"

Metallica - And Justice For All
(Elektra Records - 1988)

Metallica got me into listening to Thrash Metal as well as all other kinds of Metal. I would conclude that this is the last great release by them. The Metallica of the 90's and present day are nothing like I knew of them during the 80's. I would conclude that this is one of their hardest releases. Everything mixed well and the guitar is sooooooo heavy but of course there are clean parts during the song "One" as well as an acoustical piece done in memory of Cliff Burton which is on "To Live Is To Die".

The guitars are ultra-heavy for the most part and the riffs are memorable not only on "Blackened" but the whole album is simply amazing. It seemed to me that they were flawless with this release. The only downside is that it is hard to hear the bass guitar during the songs. Metallica on this release played uncompromising Thrash Metal that landed them millions of dollars.They even did a video for the song "One".

Metallica used to be against making videos but nowadays they really compromised their style and seem to just be aiming to please listeners. I'd have to conclude that if Cliff was still around Metallica would be still reigning in the Thrash Metal department. But oh well, "And Justice For All" kicks serious ass. The whole entire album seemed to be flawless to me.

If you haven't heard this release yet then first check out "Blackened", "Dyers Eve", and "The Shortest Straw". I'd conclude that all songs even ones I didn't mention kicked serious ass. I think this was a platinum release. If you're into Thrash Metal then this album is definitely for you!

Credits:

James Hetfield - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
Lars Ulrich - Drums
Kirk Hammett - Lead Guitar
Jason Newsted - Bass

Track listing:

1. Blackened (Hetfield, Newsted, Ulrich)
2. ...And Justice for All (Hammett, Hetfield, Ulrich)
3. Eye Of The Beholder (Hammett, Hetfield, Ulrich)
4. One (Hetfield, Ulrich)
5. The Shortest Straw (Hetfield, Ulrich)
6. Harvester Of Sorrow (Hetfield, Ulrich)
7. The Frayed Ends Of Sanity (Hammett, Hetfield, Ulrich)
8. To Live Is To Die (Burton, Hetfield, Ulrich)
9. Dyers Eve (Hammett, Hetfield, Ulrich)

10/10

By Death8699 (MethylinInfo@aol.com)

 
MNEMIC – Passenger
(Nuclear Blast - 2007)

Experiencing something of a Danish invasion on the Rock/metal scene of late - although this outfit’s current frontman is French - Mnemic are probably pioneering the move by way of their rapidly building following which sees this, apparently their third album, arrive.

Having survived the nigh-on-unlistenable opening number, vocal arrangements almost purely of the spew-a-bit then sing-a-bit format, the more tuneful parts winning the whack but the Robb Flynn-influenced guitar lines throughout give them a commendable supply of cred along with it.

Quite largely a contemporary exercise for the uninitiated, there is still the fair share of sounds echoing from classic metal acts of San Francisco ringing audible.

Try.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Jan 2007
 

MAHAVATAR - From The Sun, The Rain, The Wind, The Soil
(Escapi - 2006)

European quintet Mahavatar are one of those outfits you just can’t categorise for the love of money. Bridging industrial threaded thrashcore and mellow, male-fronted/female backed goth metal (vocally), and all that sits between, this bunch spend a good part of their time in the grey area and their mellow subdued approaches at times nearly make their angrier moments sound less than important.

Hooks are included but Mahavatar’s produce allows for much further exploration and the fact that most numbers last at least a good five minutes, gives you the time you need to help this interesting band’s music to absorb.

Another continental crop that’s come up good, I only wish we could get a few packets of these seeds as well but at least Mahavatar’s appear to have been well watered from the start.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 
2006
 
MISTAKEN ELEMENT - Engraved In Memory
(S/R – 2006)

A band who have seemingly made mistakes or as near as dammit with particular elements of the musical sense, these chaps are keen to make their thrashcore noise sound interesting, instrumentally but less so as to try doing it at least reasonably carefully.

Their predictable vocals fro this style are played out by an evident multi-speed rhythm capability. To their credit, they do dive in at most opportune moments but only to apply it in a rather ‘anything-will-do-as-long-as-it-sounds-different-to-others’ sort of way. Though not quite bad enough to file under ‘unlistenable’ the album is still rather messy and sounds glued together in many a spot.

Only those into Madball and Earth Crisis - in a reasonably big way –will probably consider this compulsory.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Mob Rules – Ethnolution A.D.
(SPV – 2006)

Very impressive new album from German Metalheads, Mob Rules this is !! The 1st 6 songs being the title track concept itself. Excellent Orchestral structured project that is highly political with standout cuts bein’ ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and ‘The Last Farewell’.

The rest of the album is of an equally high standard too – melodic metal brilliance that need to heard like ‘Ain’t the one’ and the closer ‘Better Morning’ that was a collaboration with ex-member of Rage, Chris Wolff – a soaring balladeering near fantasy like epic.

A CD that is well worth owning.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Moistboyz – IV
(Schnitzel Records – 2006)

American Motherf*cks, who simply don’t give one to be honest – patriotic – you must be jokin’. Pure politically incorrect songs galore with elements of rock n roll & punk all the way through the album.

Take your pick from ‘F*ck You’; ‘Roy’ (about a gay guy); ‘White Trash’; or best of all, ‘Everybody’s f*cked her’.

Non serious shock-filled gourmet – coming to an elevator near you.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Moistboyz – That’s what rock and roll can do (Single)
(Schitzel Records – 2006)

Great powered glam meets stoner rock that’s very addictive and likable – a bit like a slutty dancer in a club that’s showing she’s available for the night and beyond. Well ‘That’s what rock ‘n’ roll can do’ for definite or at least it ought to.

Can imagine this single making them a good few fans.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Motorhead – Kiss of Death
(SPV – 2006)

I have to admit that I thought the title was a bit unoriginal and corny when I first heard what the new ‘head album was to be called but as soon as I heard the contents I soon ate my words. It’s well recorded, the songs are at their best and so is Lemmy’s voice – you can make out every single word that’s spat out of his whiskey soaked, Marlboro smoke filled mouth that makes a pleasant change. Mikkey and Phil sound spot on in the mix too.

This album has the strength of the last album ‘Inferno’ but betters that offering due to the songs being a lot more varied in musical style – a bit like what ‘Hammered’ had – making it easy the best Motorhead album in years – even though many gave ‘Inferno’ this accreditation last year – this release blinds it by far – even Lemmy says that and I have to completely agree.

Out of the 12 songs found here there’s some great rock ‘n’ roll to be found in ‘One Night Stand’, ‘Christine’ that I am looking to seeing Phil ‘Dancing Trainers’ Campbell bopping and boogying on down to when we get to see them again in November – especially ‘Christine’ (with it’s mention of the ‘Ace of Spades’). ‘Be My Baby’ is of a similar calibre too but it’s verses are more hoggish and aggressive to be classed as pure rock n roll – well that’s until we reach the crackin’ chorus section.

Easily by far the best song on the album is the acoustic and electric ‘God was never on your side’ that’s bound to fire up a few persons out there – so was he on yours, I’ll let you deter your own answer to that – think they ought to make this a single – what a video it would be – in my opinion it’s a triumphant song that I and no doubt many others would like to witness in concert and beyond.

‘Kingdom of the worm’ musically and lyrically portrays the brutality of war, showing that there’s simply nothing clever in it at all – Lemmy should run for President or Prime Minister as he knows his stuff and needs no scripts writing for him by some upper class pr*ck in a suit – he has his own mind and ideas. The closer is class, this being ‘Going Down’ – a nice but of the ‘head – and remember kids – ‘you can’t mess with Dr. Rock’.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
July
 
M.B.CONN - From Black to Purple

What the f…… er …right let’s get this straight. Bit of a funny name, innit? Now…. the title gives me a clue to what may be around the corner. The music….. this is going to be murder.

Bearing little in similarity to any band fronted by persons called Ozzy or Ian Gillan, though they are occasional traces, this Chicago chappie has put almost every type of music including, Jazz, funk, blues and pop in some place or other in here and this should make for interesting listening but unfortunately for the wrong reasons.

Impressed by his musical integrity I sure am but nigh on the opposite by the hook factor and though this doesn’t do much damage to all experimental offerings, this one suffers and I am struggling by the end, the novelty of the exercise long worn off by then. Stating that it’s split over two discs when I find just the one inside doesn’t help me either as I was worried one hadn’t been sent, not that I would have missed much.

One for the curious only.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Moonstone Project – Time to make a stand
(Majestic Rock – 2006)

A neat album project from a guy called Matt Filippini that is pure classic rock and I’m talking the sounds of Free (a colossal cover of ‘Fire and Water’), Deep Purple & early Whitesnake. Yes there’s a lot of bluesy influenced material on here, not to mention a bit of funk rock as well and it’s all excellent to be completely honest.

How can it not be a ‘cream of the crop’ album when you have vocalists like Glenn Hughes, James Christian (House of Lords), Eric Bloom (Blue Oyster Cult), Graham Bonnet and Paul Shortino – the list goes on….

Highlights apart from it all include the Hughes sung ‘Where do you hide the blues you got’; the openin’ slide guitar redneck rock like ‘Slave of Time’ with Kelly Keeling on vocals; the southern like AOR funk of ‘On the Way to Moonstone’ ; the funky ‘City of Lites’ with Steve Walsh on vocals and all the rest of the album.

Here’s an album that every Deep Purple fan should have – even Ian Paice is featured on drums on ‘Rose in Hell’ and another famous tom beater includes Carmine Appice on the DP sounding ‘Pictures of my lonely days’ with Paul Shortino on throatal duties.

I could go on and on about this album but I can simply sum it up – if you liked exceptional classic rock, just buy this and don’t even question your actions.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
May
 
MENDEED - This War Will Last Forever

Tours with Anthrax, Cradle Of Filth, Slipknot and Amen, two sold out E.p’s - and a not so badly selling debut album either - , Radio 1 airplay even… you name it.

In the four years they have been around, Brit metal bruisers Mendeed can’t complain about the success they’ve encountered. Having a sound that leans in three different directions that being thrash death and Black metal, all at more or less the same time means they have won huge crossover appeal in the extreme metal market and managed to earn quite equal balance of cred through the not undiverse range of metal acts they have so far supported.

Not saying that they have tried any style change to fit the demands of their fellow heavyweights, this is very much the previous offering again, fast, noisy, and unrelenting, coming across like a less commercial In Flames to some. Naming tracks is pointless as they are quite obviously so alike but listening a couple of times assures you of getting some good practice in for that moshpit.

Nice…in a nasty way.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
March 2006
 
MARCY PLAYGROUND - MP3
(Reality Entertainment)

I reckoned some people might freeze with concern at this disc’s title, thinking it indicated the ownership of a PC might be necessary in order to play it. Luckily not, and Marcy Playground’s handsome sounding pop rock indeed let rip the very instant the button was hit.

Fronted by a chap called Woz who’s voice comes straight across as a kind of Stayley/Cobain hybrid, they in fact ride the Seattle sound all round plus a few notable nods to Brit grunge kings Bush. Lined with lovely melodies and quite a few commendable hooks too – including titles in a couple of cases, this trio actually make music that sounds like they’re happy instead of trying to drill into us what a bunch of depressed so-and-sos they are.

Happiness does sell records in places, boys.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

SITE www.marcyplayground.com

 
MENDEED - Beneath A Burning Sky EP
(Rising Records)


Another from the mighty Mendeed and I’m afraid it looks like they’ve stumbled here a bit, the EP’s title track favouring the ratio too much towards noise than substance.

Accompanying tunes ‘End Of Man’ and ‘Divided We Fall’ are slightly back up the slope but not riding the top of their roster either which leaves the enclosed promo vid for ‘Beneath….’ as the chief highlight of the package.

Fans may probably disagree so if you fit such category yourself, give it a listen by all means - the review, as always - comes by way of scribe’s personal thoughts – but I still prefer their previous one.

A slight case of foot coming of pedal for Mendeed, one thinks.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Midnight Circus – Money Shot
(Perris Records – 2005)

Formed in ’92, this cock rock bunch made up of Alan Rogers (Vocals); Rob Howl (Guitar); Gregg Gill (Bass) and Rick Ward (Drums). It’s of brilliant production quality and recorded at Spyder Studio in Houston, Texas.

I guess you can say they are kinda Poison meets AOR – decent clean accessible vocals as oppsed to the trademark screech squawks with plenty on offer to get excited about just like the girl does in the song ‘Dirty Rhythm’. Take a listen to the fast paced ‘Alive’; ‘Tonight’ with its ‘Shoot to Thrill’ guitar section; the cool intro to the album entitled and the one with the kids on it named ‘SMD’ (Suck my d*ck) – lol.

Excellent artists who deserve plenty of radio airplay.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
MOONLIGHT AGONY – Echoes Of A Nightmare
(Nightmare Records – 2005)

Moonlight Agony is a six-piece modern progressive metal band and it seems to show as there are continually multiple layers of sound from the two guitars, bass, drums and synths that are all combined well with some great timing. The vocals of Chitral Somapala carry most of the melody throughout the tracks and are strong and well suited to the music.

The dynamic opener to this album ‘Into Darkness’ shows great promise with some good melodies, guitar riffs and changes. This good work is continued into the second track ‘Icy Plains’ which is also a real audio treat that seems to get pulled by various music paths in the first 15 seconds alone and incorporates female vocals.

The title track and other tracks were a little disappointing because I thought they became a little muddled without using a strong melody to tie it all together like in the first two tracks. ‘Equilibrium’, ‘Vanished’ and ‘Ghost’ show a little return to form with some impressive technical guitar work in the latter.

Moonlight Agony shows talent but lack consistency generating a catchy track for me, instead forming well-woven medley of ideas.

7/10

By Al Hoath

 
Morgana Lefay – Grand Materia
(Blackmark – 2005)

Thaking themselves very serious – they are a metal band with a singer who sounds like a cross between Billy Idol and Roger Chapman and Family. Musically its like Iced Earth and Iron Maiden and borders on new metal.

A conceptual album that’s placed together very well but rather too serious at times.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Motorhead – Bomber (2 Disc Deluxe Expanded Edition)
(Sanctuary Records – 2005)

Released to commemorate 30 years in the biz, the legendary ’79 album comes flying at us with an extra CD of outtakes, the ‘Golden Years’ E.P. and the other odd track too to make up the time and keep the interest of the listen who already owns the original vinyl copy.

The album itself is a milestone in metal that needs no introduction – BOM-BAR (sic) – as its commonly known amongst the Motorheadbangers – the song that often comes in the live set at times before ‘Overkill’. It has other songs many of you will know such as the classic ‘Stone Deaf Forever’; ‘Poison’; ‘All the Aces’ and ‘Dead men tell no tales’ plus the Eddie Clarke on vocals number that is ‘Step Down’ – a bluesy thang that works with the rest of the numbers as a refreshing break from their usual hitting ya hard and fast style.

On the bonus CD, it’s good to hear live versions of ‘Dead men tell no tales’, an alternate version from the studio of ‘Bomber’ there ya go, I spelt it right that time and its b-side ‘Over the top’ plus a live version of ‘Stone Dead Forever’.

Wahey – metal don’t get better than this.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
MULTI PURPOSE CHEMICAL - Cult (EP)
(Honey Records)

Multi Purpose Chemical have relied on some pretty vicious chemicals to create their substance. Most of these substances come from New York by the sound of things, judging by the four bolts of bruising industro-tinted rage-core this disc delivers.

Several familiar names shoot up in the sound from the offset, but it’s good to hear a pedigree of this particular arrangement. If you can get hold of this one, do, and witness another worthy British contribution to this ever-expanding scene, in the making.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Sick Of It All, Madball, Helmet, Earth Crisis, Dubwar

 
2005
 

MANIFEST - Half Past Violence
(2005)


Of the helping of European death metal delights 2005 has served to our tables, many have turned out tasting rather bland and fit for leaving after a couple of bites or so. Scandinavian’s ‘Manifest’ turn out to be the better side of average, as it happens and easily one of the most commercial as their guitar work’s concerned.

If you are partial to classic chugging thrash riffs of the sort tailored by people called Skolnick or Peterson between 1988 and 1992 plus vocals more than a little in line with Obituary’s John Tardy, … I’ll leave the rest to you to find out.

Making this sort of album has been close to being a crime in the Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, etc dominated metal scene of recent times but some of us still live for heavy s**t the way it was meant to be played. Plenty of pounding play-along-if-you’ve-got-one rhythms blended with the by regulation ‘speedy bits’ make this one mean b*st*rd for the mosh pits.

Half of us may be past this ‘violence’ but many still wallow in it.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MENDEED - Act Of Sorrow (Single)
(Rising Records - 2005)

Recent review subjects on Metalliville pages, Mendeed return with more of the same but for these three tracks it’s good fun to hear these young whippersnappers deal with everything dark and deathular.

Balancing black, death, goth and thrash metals pays for some more than others and the idea of getting all four together is a more frequent exploit, these days, so the Brit newcomers have played their cards right where influences count.

No idiots on guitar either, their combinations of technique make fro a more listenable end product than churned out by other bands who have been functioning for about five times as long as they have.

About time this scene Mendeed its ways, don’t you think?

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MESHUGGAH - Catch 33
(Nuclear Blast - 2005)

Swedish thrashers Mesuggah have toured with a fair old portion of the extreme metal scene’s top brass over the years, and as they sound almost exactly like most of them, they should not have been made to feel too unwelcome.

I lie, there is a notable quantity of experimentation sprinkled in nooks and crannies so not everything is dangerously over- predictable as cynics might expect. First impressions are just business as usual but the streamlined industrial stylings of their sound do eventually show through their typical deathly dredgings and their overall formula, whilst not necessarily likely to have every Frontline Assembly fan wetting their bottoms, can be proudly called their own.

I am surprise to find that they’d actually been goings as far back as 1989, a time when Meshuggah’s particular sound was little thought of. Unless they sounded drastically different then, in an Anthrax/Nuclear Assault sort of way.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MILLIONAIRE - Paradisiac
(Play It Again Sam Records - 2005)

I can’t, in all honesty, find a nearly exact description for what this foursome are trying to pull off on this offering. Quite interesting as it comes across in most places, they have a formula that blends most of the contemporary commercial noise and threatens to leave most sitting on a fence as to what to describe them as.

At worst, it sounds annoyingly akin to the Wildhearts industrial sound on that album of theirs in 1997, combined with Clam abuse, Ginger’s even more ill received side-project. On the positive end, picture Pearl Jam (circa ‘Ten’/’Vs’) churned in with some filthy out-and-out garage rock n’roll suss and more than a sprinkle of nu-breed groove and it magically turns most of these eleven tunes into almost instantly accessible fare.

A pretty catchy collection of songs but with a fair few shaky spots and it will take more than one full spin to fully understand where they’re intent on going. However, Millionaire may just about manage to become that themselves if the current directions of style in the scene stay as they have been lately.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MOKE – Carnival

A regular subject of Kerrang, Rock Sound, Metal Hammer, NME even but less so of mine, Moke nonetheless are a band to totally ignore at your peril … as I seem to have so far . All’s safe – it seems I like them - if I can say that on the basis of having only heard this latest album of theirs plus the odd song of their previous catalogue that’s passed me by hereinto.

I personally don’t understand why they seem to be purely regarded by most as an alternative rock band when there are next to no end of Deep Purple and Free/Bad Company oriented grooves supporting their singer’s noticeably itself 70s/80s range. Purists on either side thus need be aware/assured, Moke’s music is no black and white affair and deserves attention from most different scenes as their influence wires are plugged into quite distantly apart sockets.

Diverse deep and damn infectious in places, ‘Carnival’ is an easy-to-use converting tool (well it worked on me) as much as it is more of the best for the established Moke-ular throngs. A treat from one of the best-followed bands on the current British scene.

 

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MY SIXTH SENSE - Love Fading Innocence

Italy’s My Sixth Sense are… or were, an undiscovered jewel until this which I believe is not their first release. The European sextet play a staggeringly unique take on melodic metal that flushes just about every factor of cynical ridicule down the loo. Not trying to scare off any Royal Hunt or Artension fan reading, seen as skeletal elements here are similar but you’d do best to couple what lies here of that common formula with the latterday Dream Theatre sound, drown it deep in pure goth fluids and add some unusually pop-edged hooks, to get a match with the description of M.S.S. ‘s sound.

13 songs gives a generous amount of material to enjoy and time to do so in and virtually as many belters to choose from but with the sharp riffs and drilling vocals, quite Belladona-like too, nothing here should fail to switch you on first run. As thoroughly absorbing and hooky as it is original and deep, these six lads clearly have six senses each rather than between them …. And that’s just musically.

A masterpiece of ’05.

9.5 /10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: …….actually I advise you just buy it and find out for yourself.

 
May and Early 2005
 

MADSIDE
(EVO Recordings - 2005)

More nu-breed shenanigans afoot, the sweeping craze of conglomerating melodic rock and various contemporary contortions claims its latest of its many victims. A fair treat for Drowning Pool or Alter Bridge fans, this may still struggle astound non-completists, owing to a bit of an identity crisis in Madside's rockular dealings.

We know the market fro this line of rock n' roll swells by the second but as is also the case in other scenes I might mention, they bear little to differentiate from fellow competitors in the ring and substance suffers pretty heavily in the face of style here, sadly.

A good six or seven songs are almost instantly likely to be replayable faves and have notable amounts of potential but they need to move further towards their own sound in order to fulfil it.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MANILLA ROAD - Invasion/Metal (Double CD reissue)

(Sonic Age Records/Cult Metal Classics)

I'm getting rather worried at this. These first ever this… greatest ever that….. only true the other… bands that I'm being finally clued up on though they've been around for as long as I've walked the earth.

Veteran US three-piece Manilla Road's first two albums from 80 and 82 - that long ago - show up for the first time on CD for those who either haven't been around for the 27 years I have or can't be arsed to clean up their old grotty record turntable once more.

You know what you're in for when you read this sleeve and that's what you get. Primeval old-school trad metal that probably moulded the stoner-rock trend of the nineties onwards and for those who enjoy the sounds of where Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard and beyond, this should give you an interesting guide to its family tree. Though it took me a bit to get adjusted to this band's sound - let alone sitting through tunes up to 13 minutes long - learning where the idea of epic metal originated sort of set the record straight, though I'm sure a few other bands on the planet were already at it.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MELIAH RAGE - Barely Human
(Screaming Ferret Wreckords )

Another of those names we seem to know nothing more than that of, Meliah Rage hide plenty behind their hype. The much touted US outfit swing between old school and Stoner metal with occaisional prog and alternative hints on the guitars, and their style, if already all too familiar to almost all and sundry, digests pretty easily.

Frontman Paul Souza, whose voice has quite a distinctive James Hetfield-like roar, is another name some may be familiar with if you caught the 27 Pills album a couple of years back (see below) and his tones make a welcome contribution to these sorts of projects. Catchy end-to-end, this album rocks in its good old fashioned way and should find a welcome with modern metal fans as well.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Cathedral, Metallica, 27 Pills, Paradise Lost, Orange Goblin

ALSO RECOMMENDED
27 PILLS - 27 Pills (Metalhertz 2003) See review in 'T' section.

 
MENDEED - Ignite The Flames (Single)
(Rising Records)

Getting this carried away with such loud nasty music at this tender young age surely can’t be good for you. Can’t it, my arse. Here we have five lads who look barely older than 18 venting their rage but bravely attempting feats of diversity that show their education in metal circles is not unsubstantial.

Switching back and forth between something approaching black metal and throwaway shout-core noise, and filled in on top by some rather pristine stabs at Devin Townsend’s own unmistakable shrieks which themselves pull away to let in some more melodic moments.

See, done properly, bands begun this early by people, in their natural life do still get places pretty quick if they’ve done their homework. Mendeed should.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MENNEN - Freakzoid
(Escapi - 2005)

The biggest news in the Dutch melodic rock scene at the mo is obviously Terra Nova's reformation, but Fred and lads be warned, four young men may have broken into your yard whilst you were out. Stand forward Mennen.

These new-generation AOR-sters have just dared to show their face to the UK but I hope they're not going to leg it just yet….. they dropped off quite an exciting package at our door, labelled 'Freakzoid' which I surely wouldn't mind thanking them for.. If you enjoy the principle of combining contemporary feel with equal doses of late eighties hard rock class thrown in for measure as perfected by Brit faves Kick then look no further as this is one disc you must come by hearing distance of.

Not one song without its hookline and at least notable smidgen of suss and swagger, pick from 'Down', 'Above The Waterline', 'Rain',' Bob', 'These Good Times', 'Believe', 'The World Stopped Turning' and 'Loose Somebody'if you must but you'll find it quite hard to neglect any on first spinning. This album, put plainly, is an outright belter and further into the bargain, Eric Van Der Kerkhof is another potential guitar discovery to the many we already wish success for in this industry.

And your of this buying this album, I hope, will contribute to its fulfilment.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

ALSO RECOMMENDED
KICK - Consider This (Beast - 1999)

 
Made of Iron - S/T
(Sonic Age Records - 2004)

A German based band who have 2 greek guys in the line-up band who basically are a direct copy of various points in history of Iron Maiden (just look at the band name for a start!!). It can be argued as a result that there's no originality whatsoever or that the album features 9 tracks of excellence saluting one of the UK's finest metal bands ever.

Judge for yourself by checking out 'Fight for the cross'; 'Made of Iron' on the opening bass run); 'Peace in Flames' that's rather 'The Evil that men do' or 'King of all Kings'.

It's as though Bruce got gagged and someone else took over on vocals.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
MAGNUM - Brand New Morning
(SPV - 2004)

Obviously not just a quick get together for the cash, Magnum's reformation already finds itself two albums old and showing little signs of them calling it a day for a second time just yet. Opening title track 'B.M.N' is the closest they'll get to Magnum of past today, a very beefed up 'Sleepwalking'- meets 'Rock Art' - oriented number that'll please most of their fans. 'It's time to Come Together' is the Brummie veterans in Survivor mode - now that's a lethal combination if ever there was one. Just imagine Jim Peterik and mates jamming on almost everything great from 'Storytellers Night', 'Vigilante' and 'Wings.', and adding quite some element from the first Hard Rain Cd and you can match the results.

'We All Run' is one of the weaker moments of the album, sounding like a 'Breath Of Life' leftover but still an acceptable track. Ballad 'The Blue And The Grey' sees Clarkin's name change to Clapton with some of Tony's best blues soloing ever recorded and Bob Catley's voice drilling full soul into the feel of the song. The style follows on into the more bouncier 'I'll Breathe For You', probably the most immediate tune on the album with a great hook attached to absorbing ivory harmonies by Mr Stanway leading out to the end.

Who finished the last shall start the next, seems the motto as Mark has the first half minute of 'Last Goodbye' to himself before the rest of the gang commence with this belter, probably the joint lead cut of this platter along with that previous track, summarising the beauty of Bob's solo material, intertwined with that of his day act, with everything about this tune turning out perfect.

'Immigrant Son' is the darkest-sounding tune Tony has ever penned though in possession of a 100% classic Magnum chorus harmony - probably the next best number after those two, today. It's time to do the Journey thing now as Bob and Tony take the 'Hard Road' with probably the biggest departure in style that Magnum have ever made and yes, the results are recommended listening. Closer 'The Scarecrow' is the only other struggling point of the album, a decent enough H.R. -esque number in its own right with a pleasant hint of Fleetwood Mac classic 'Don't Stop' in its chorus but it seems to be stretched to its ten minute length just for the sake of it, a la Metallica's 'The Outlaw Torn' despite further musical experimentation from Messrs Clarkin and Stanway there.

Little to dampen the overall quality of the album, 'Brand New Morning' finds Magnum waking up on another one themselves and full of more top quality ideas with the old faves that work still at the front of their minds. A little less instant than 'Breath Of Life' but still a compulsory listen for even casual Magnum fans.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
The Marigold - Divisional
(Black Desert Records - 2004)

As the accompanying bio states, it's melancholic and has heavy riffs. An Italian 3 piece that sound like A Perfect Circle, The Cure and Helmet'

There are 6 numbers in all that include the straight forward 'Melanie' to the very distortive 'Divisional'.

An excellent mix of Goth and Rock.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
THE METEORS - These Evil Things
(People Like You Records - 2004)

At 25 years and 30 albums, punk trio The Meteors are probably on record for the longest career - and catalogue - without reaching my awareness, even in name. Time to finally start digging then.

Where we come in, here, this veteran threesome's material is some sort of raspy voiced, adrenaline-soaked punk n' roll affair based round a frequently Motorhead-driven guitar style and carries its own name of 'psychobilly' music as branded by the band. Not without hooks, a lot of this songs such as 'Dog', 'To The Devil A Daughter', 'Bonebag', 'No Reason', 'Scream You F***er, Scream' and 'Loneliness OF The Long Distance Killer' have their legs, the only serious goolie-dropper being their less-than-advised cover of Priest's 'Breaking The Law' which sounds more like it's been covered by that bunch of Mexican buskers, who play Sheffield city centre a couple of afternoons each week, during their tea-break Criminal but on the whole, Meteors have quite a lot of strong material to continue making their craters with.

Impressive stuff.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MOTORHEAD - Inferno
(SPV - 2004)

Defying practically every written law in the music industry regarding age and fashion, Motorhead will not be restrained by even the cruellest of cynics. Their twenty-something-th album, 'Inferno' is 40 minutes of their trademark old-fashioned metal practically untarnished through 25-odd years of warts, whisky and the wild life.

Not totally oblivious to moving with the times they do add audible hints of commercial and contemporary essences into a few songs - there's even a ballad - but force of habit prevails. Come on, you know what Lemmy's faithful expect of him, hence the bulk of the disc is delivered with the Motor on full gear. Approaching 59, one of metal's most loveable nutters just goes about his business once again without worrying - his voice assured of good stead for at least another decade and although a fair few may tire by now of hearing just another Motorhead album like the last.. hey, it's his band and his music so b******s to the lot of you.

Remember, keeping true to his style and not straying into alternative waters is what holds Motorhead well afloat today where others sink and for those who missed their recent UK trek, 'Inferno', another welcome chapter in their regime should come as easy consolation. Or there's always that other thing .. You know, that one about some playing card or other. Ever heard it?

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 
October
 
Machine Gun Kelly - White Line Offside
(Perris Records - 2004)

Nasty Idol's vocalist 'Andy Pierce' is fronting this lot so that's a mark or two for a start. Originally released in Sweden in '95 and never before released in the US (or the UK for that matter either) the album has now been given a chance to sit in the shelves of Wallmart or Barnes and Noble.

It's like 1987 all over again with good cuts being 'Sister Sin' (which is very like Aerosmith's 'Mama Kin'); 'Wild Sodom' about girls who like it up the you know what! - ahem - more tea vicar!! As well as druggy influenced songs like 'Kikk that habbit' and 'Crackhouse'.

In all honesty it is very run of the mill average compared to 'Nasty Idols' but for a bands debut it's passable but nothing sparkling.

5.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
MEGADETH - The System Has Failed
(Sanctuary - 2004)

Rather abruptly announcing their split at the front end of 2002, Dave Mustaine stated it at the time as owing to a then sustained arm injury, and that the band would return sometime in the near future. Only three years having vanished since last album 'World Needs A Hero' and that arm seems to have made an impressive recovery, as he's been spending the last ten months working on this 'comeback'.

Unfortunately, messrs DeGrasso, Pitrelli and Ellefson vanished along the way too, especially surprising in the case of the later as this is the first time that D.M. has worked without the man who was his musical partner-in-crime for 18 years. Joining Mustaine this time though, alongside newcomers Jimmie Lea Sloas and Vince Colaiuta is royalty in itself. Chris Poland who recorded their debut 'Killing Is My Business.' and legendary follow up 'Peace Sells. ' with the LA foursome before leaving in late '86 to form his less successful Damn The Machine outfit returns to fill the slot since occupied by Jeff Young, Marty Friedman and briefly ex-Savatage legend Al Pitrelli and his menacing form alongside

Dave has seemingly stood the test of time. 'Blackmail The Universe' which leads the this time, is 'Rust In Peace crammed into four minutes, all the hallmarks of that 1990 classic recreated to sophisticated extent with that all too familiar Mustaine guitar sound like it never left for a minute. 'Die Dead Enough' showcases the more hook friendly Dave Mustaine of 2004, combining the feel of 'Countdown To Extinction's' title song with 'Trust' from the over-slated 'Cryptic Writings' - you can hear both tracks as one throughout this number - the best on the album. Dave makes a bruising revisit to his speed-metal roots in 'Kick The chair', the alternating solos between him and Chris making one wonder if those intervening 17 years had ever actually passed. Rarely afraid to remind everyone of another part of his musical past, 'The Scorpion' stomps past in a very Metallica-esque manner though that hook remains strictly Mustaine.

'Tears In A Vial' is a potential chart position candidate too, the most melodic song Mustaine has penned since 'Breadline' with some slick solo melodies from both lads throughout. The clocks are turned back swiftly twenty years, the lyrics of 'Back In The Day' sounding like something written slightly too late for 'K.I.M.B..' but the musical accompaniments smell distinctly of more present day scents. 'Something That I'm Not' rocks in the commercial way again with a pleasant bounciness in its chorus, more reminiscent of Hetfield and co's latterday works and the similarly - styled 'Truth Be Told' takes things even further in the 'Load'-'St Anger' direction.

Just as I was about to warn Mr Mustaine off pursuing the styles of his rival act too far over the line of legality, 'Of Mice And Men' snaps his mind back into its own slot once more, the sinister sliding refrain here of the sort commonly associated with the 'Rust.' material. 'Shadow Of Death' is little more than Dave reading reading, er, growling the 'The Lord Is My Shepherd' sermon over some of his typical riffing and probably only serves as a prelude to closer 'My Kingdom' which owes quite a bit in ways to early fave 'Set the World Afire'.

One of Dave Mustaine's finest records to date, 'T.S.H.F' is Dave saying. 'I don't give a f*** if I'm 43, my arm's better so it's back to work'. One can only pray that the rumours, that this tenth offering will be his last under the Megadeth banner, fail to take effect as this outfit still have the fuel to fly on full knots for a good few years yet, and reuniting with Chris has been the greatest move in metal this side of the millennium alongside Rob Halford's decision to rejoin a certain Brummie outfit ... (whoever they are). Megadeth...MegaDEADLY, you mean.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Mercury Rain - St. Matthieu
(Shadowflame Productions - 2004)

Serious sophisticated dark, doomy metal with female lead vocals. It's very well done but it seems directionless and falls onto the tedium in my opinion - no doubt others will disagree though. 'Sanctuary' does feature some interesting male/female vocals trade-offs.

Maybe I need to listen to this more as it's damn majestic & monstrous at times. I can see them getting on by supporting a few bands like Lacuna Coil or Dragonforce to get their own stronghold of an audience.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
September
 
MISANTHROPE - Misanthro-Therapie
(Holy Records - 2004)

An interesting little mixture here, in relative principal to the Chaos Star CD I've just finished dealing with though returning to more familiar, metal-fan-pleasing waters. I'd have been telling a lie to say the name Misanthrope hasn't popped up in hindsight, and apparently the act have been on the job for about a decade and a half now, so that bonus CD of archive footage from over the years that Holy very kindly decided to exclude from my copy of this package would have helped.

Satisfying oneself with the focal content then, there is plenty to satisfy those approaching the Cradle Of Filth, etc end of things but at a cautiously commercial angle. A pretty blend of old-fashioned riffing that echoes Metallica's 'And Justice Fro All' sound, Misanthrope are a more-or-less formulaic but dynamic outfit who lay out their tunes very well to give each a proportionate amount of rhythmical flow and timing.

Quite a well-planned effort despite minor hindrances mentioned and while performed in their native country's language, this minor deterrent fails to overshadow the platter. Hear.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 
August
 
KEE MARCELLO'S K2 - Melon Demon Drive
(Frontiers - 2004)

Just when you'd think that Frontiers had run out of famous name in the melodic hard rock scene….. oh it looks like they ain't. About the only other Ex-member of Europe apart from Mr Tempest to have popped up to my attention since, guitarist Kee Marcello's obviously either ashamed of his past produce or have been listening to some very funny sounds lately.

As corking as this thirteen-track selection happens to be, almost every Europe fan on the planet will flinging this in the direction of a nearby bin after about two tunes. To bring you nearer to the target, it's an amalgam of everything that's good on the nu-breed roster, supported most prolifically by the increasingly thriving Artenzia label, and has a lot going for it.

'Pre-Fix', 'Enemies', 'Blood', 'Epic', 'If', 'Hey Romeo', 'Tattoo For Patto' and 'Ride On' are a selection of the tunes showcasing the diversity that Kee's talent has propelled, just going prove again that there are fewer one-trick ponies in this scene than people assume. The man's not a bad singer either and his appropriately gravely tones may have some intentional relation to the musical direction of this album.

My heart can only sink though at the thought that this record's still going to struggle in the mainstream market either because of contemporary music fan's likely resentment to having an eighties AOR legend at the performance helm or , fans of Kee's associated scene's narrow-minded inabilities to accept his stepping outside genre limitations. Ignore these 'rules' if you can and give this a good listen… or several, it is, in almost all parts, a superb piece of work by the Swede, written and performed with his heart and attitude on full blast.

Glad to see you're still busy, mate.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Metal Church - Weight of the World
(SPV - 2004)

Vintage metal warriors back on the go again who are a bit like a mix of early Iron Maiden crossed with the current sound of Biff Byford's Saxon.

A lot of it is very dated and as though they've been transported from 1984 to 2004 via Dr. Who's Tardis. For those of you who dig the NWOBHM sound then this album is one that will be on the buying list.

Much of this music has been done way too much and has had its day although I do recommend the track 'Bomb to Drop'.

5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Mob Rules - Among the Gods
(SPV - 2004)

A metal band from Germany who toured extensively with artists that include Savatage, Doro Pesch and The Scorpions as well as having released 5 albums in 4 years - the last one being 'Hallowed be thy name' that was reviewed not too long ago and featured on this very page.

This album 'Among the Gods' is strong, atmospheric with the epic title track featuring ex-Helloween Guitarist, 'Roland Grapow', now of 'Masterplan' plus Ian Parry of 'Consortium Project' in the show. 'New World Symphony' is easily the best thing on the album with its battlish marching into war drums and elaborate orchestral score. 'Ship of Fools' is a hard boppin' number that is no relation to the Yngwie J. Malmsteen track of the same name from his 'Attack' album. It's all very dark but shows a light to what can become of the future - big wide drum sounds washed over by keyboards 'n' effects especially in the tempo of closer, 'Arabia'.

Mob Rules take metal forward somewhat without the need for all the Devil-like clichés.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
June
 
Messiah's Kiss - Metal
(SPV - 2004)

Now there's an original title for an album - not!! The Cd goes on and you immediately enter Dracula's tomb - all dark keyboards and drones of hellish like tones before the band erupt into speeding metal.

Very much a race through the sounds of yesteryear - mix in the squealing guitars of WASP with the cheesiness of Saxon or the clinky bass sounds of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris.

Land anywhere on the cd and you'll get real old school metal with good cuts being 'Holy Water'; the OTT lyriced 'Metal 'till we die'; 'Run and Hide; the very Maidenistic 'The Edge of Eternity' and the top notch 'Believer'

A Strong Metal album.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
April/May
 

Alex Masi - In the Name of Mozart
(Lion Music - 2004)

Italian born and raised musician, Alex masi who started out in the Metal band, Dark Lord has now released his follow-up to 'In the Name of Bach' - this time paying tribute to Mozart.

Played on Manne semiacoustica guitar and Farnell elctric bass and on occasions accompanied by The Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra such as 'Guitar (Piano) Concerto #24 C Min K.491' where Alex proves you don't need a rock band to achieve greatness - you simply need outstanding melody and supreme musicianship.

There are famous pieces covered which are instantly recognisable such as 'Rondo a la Turca' in A Major K. 331 (a piece that was often used in a speeded up form for 'The Benny Hill Show' for the various comedy sketches) as well as 'Allegro' from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K.525' and lesser known pieces to Joe Public like 'Theme with 12 variations in D Major'.

This album is a must for classical enthusiasts, guitar fans and those who wish to hear a rock musician in an alternated mode.

Absolutely outstanding.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
The MEDIAM - Out Of Ideas
(S/P - 2004)

About the most honest title I could have heard on any release in my years as a rock 'n' roll fan is a though milling round in my head as the opening track of these five does find this lot locked outside the creativity department, by way of another tired industro-vocalled alt' racket.

The following number has a hammery guitar line that initially promises better things for the next cuts. 3rd track 'Lonely' delivers, by far the best of the lot, even if that main lick practically plagiarises Therapy's 'Trigger Inside'. 'Re-ignition Part Two' a cover of a Bad Brains number is slow funk-oriented fodder but quite a grower and a cover of soul legend Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' moves the mode even further away from their assumed style.

An apology due for my criticism at the beginning of the review, The Mediam have in truth got an applaudable set of ideas from which to work on with this material. It looks like they're already worked on them too, from what I'm hearing here.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 

Moonstone - The Second Rune
(Brennus - 2003)

This is the very first time I have heard what I would term a 'Power Metal' band from France. It turns out that it's their second release - hence 'The Second Rune'. What struck me immediately was the fact that the lead vocalist is female, this being 'Paula Guittard' with the rest of the line-up being completed by Miky Lee (Drums); Gilles Lesoin (Bass); Franck Vidal and Emilien Vincente (both on Guitar).

Moonstone originally formed in 194 as a Rock/Metal cover band called 'Slacker' before becoming 'Moonstone' in 1998, performing their own material and changing the line-up several times. They impress with 9 tracks in all honing in on influences like Helloween and Judas Priest. It's an impressive album especially with songs like 'Heart on Heart' - a kind of lusting love song or the ballad 'You're leaving me' that reminds me of Doro Pesch in an emotional soaring mode. I can't help but like the track 'Run' a lot as well with its overtly metal lyrics.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
(Peaceville Records - 2004)

My Dying Bride skillfully fuses elements of Doom, Goth and Death in a manner which journeys toward the depths of utter darkness. Sweeping caliginous melodies strewn with moribund lyrical passages of woe and despair call into being a melancholic atmosphere that is truly their own.

"Catherine Blake" characterizes the death metal prejudices of the group's earlier efforts for brief moments, in turn lapsing into chilling spoken word movements of distressful verse. A haunting acoustic guitar line carries the introspective "My Wine in Silence", a powerful melody throughout. It is important to note the manner in which the distressful lyrics focus upon lost and broken love and the relationships centered upon emotions resulting from those conditions. Oftentimes, the moody dirges created by the strings and keys are purely sublime in the absoluteness of their somberness.

The tonal environment of this album is brooding in its entirety. These compositions are constructed masterfully as My Dying Bride have become true maestros in illustrating sadness as an art form through their music. This record is mandatory for any fan of doom metal.

Quite highly recommended for anyone else with the slightest of interest in the darker side of music.

***** (5 Stars)

By Star (from Detroit)

 
March
 
Molly Hatchett - 25th Anniversary (Best of Re-Recorded)
(SPV - 2003)

Pure USA Southern State brilliance from Molly Hatchett who hail from Baco Raton, Florida who have re-recorded some of their classics that no rebel wearin' red-knecked rocker will be able to resist very easily.

They lead you through the deep regions with new versions of 'Flirtin' with disaster' and 'Whiskey Man' as well as a thoroughly incredible take (especially the guitar work) of The Allman Brother's 'Dreams I'll never see'; the swampin' drivin' 'Gator Country (Dixie); the 'Skynyrd 'Coming Home-ness' with its piano led intro 'fall of the Peacemakers'; the humorous and stomping 'One man's pleasure'; and the awesome 'Jukin' City'.

With sounds like these it makes you wanna get to Florida as soon as humanly possible. It'd be a perfect crime not to land with this album with top marks.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Monster Magnet - Unbroken (Hotel Baby)
(SPV - 2004)

Back with a new single that has it all - a drivin' riff, strong lyrics and a hooking chorus - not to mention it being about a groupie.

So,

"Shut your mouth you big f*ck*n' baby - you can be what I want you to be"

You betcha!!

Check out the new album as well - 'Monolithic Baby' and the single's b-side (or whatever they call 'em these days) - a cover of The Velvet Underground's 'Venus In Furs' with it's moody psychedelic riff and moany vocals that was originally the title tune for a late 60's soft-core porn flick.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Mother Mercy - Dancin' with the Devil
(Perris Records - 2004)

A hybrid of Sleaze and Heavy Metal - imagine The LA Guns and Love/Hate moshing 'n' mixing with the likes of Black Label Society and even Pantera - well it sounds weird but it works.

It's a wee bit clichéd but very enjoyable heavy metal hell. Best numbers are the Pantera'ish double bassings of 'Machine'; the early Tigertailzy 'Devil Child'; the untactful 'Waste of Skin; the sleazy 'Ragman' and 'Little Nicky' with it's opening section which changes the lyrics of Toni Basil's 'Hey Nicky' with humorous results - 'Hey Nicky you're a slut, bet you take it up your b***, hey Nicky".

Like to see 'em some time live in the UK.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
February
 
MY DYING BRIDE - Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light
(Peaceville - 2004)

The latest in the lengthy catalogue that Brit. misery merchants 'My Dying Bride' have graced the world with over the last fifteen years sees the Bradford five-piece continue to progress but still keep in mind the golden rule of staying true to their form, and to their following. Never the most cheerful of people, they keep their fans that way with this 8-song platter that combines the usual vital elements and spreads them over more space, allowing up to ten minutes for the numbers to absorb if necessary.

The tunes are created with the same dark passion and brooding harmony as previous material and the twin-mode vocals work their usual wonders against typically interesting ideas on the guitars. With a fair few vibes and styles that have not been heard on past recordings, including a chunk of blues guitar on one number, one of the scene's top talents are going from strength to strength and proof that fellow West Yorkshire-based genre giants Paradise Lost don't hog all the credit. The Bride are far from dying yet.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Jan. 2004
 
MAGNITUDE NINE - Decoding The Soul
(SPV/Inside Out 2004)

The third album from the modern-day US prog discoveries, 'Decoding..' emphasises their importance to the scene to continued extent. Relying on more straightforward, verse-chorus-verse oriented structures but meet with no resentment from their peers for this - some things are best left to Dream Theater et al.

Propelled by the guitar dynamics of the talented Rob Johnson and the deep but totally precise voice of Corey Brown, from fellow scenesters Psycho Drama, and also aided ably by keyboardsman Joseph Glean, drummer John Homan and recently recruited bassist Ian Ringer, this outfit are in a class almost completely of their own, and if these numbers are this good on disc, who can only ponder their onstage power.

'New Dimension', 'Facing The Unknown', 'Walk Through The Fire', and 'Dead In Their Tracks', I've just swiped from the pack at random - the whole album is worthy of your time, and wallet, and is just a souvenir of Magnitude 9's musical ingenuity -it's just a pity they only have 'em out at three-yearly intervals when they're this good.

A Magnitud-ous..

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Kristy 'Krash' Majors - For those about to sniff some glue
(Perris - 2003)

Ex-Guitarist of Pretty Boy Floyd unleashes a tribute to 'The Ramones'. There's plenty of 2,3,4 Oi Oi Punk. What's good is that he hasn't covered obvious tracks like 'Psycho Therapy' and 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker' and 'I wanna be sedated' but has instead gone for hardcore cuts like the punkin' slammy 'Go Mental'; the controversial 'Now I wanna sniff some glue' that's like something of Metallica's 'Kill 'em all'.

The PMRC are gonna love 'Censorsh*t' and you've just gotta hand it to Crash for the humour of adding the sunny 'n' blazin' 'California Sun'.

Good uplifting stuff indeed.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
MOGUL - Play Away
(Wretched Recordings - 2003)

I can't begin to imagine what this could be as I slide it grudgingly into my CD player. Another doers of boring ind... er, on the hand, they've got a few tricks up their sleeve. Well they've got a keyboard player amongst their troupe so something's going to happen here.

South London fivesome Mogul are definitely playing away, sporting a sound more in line with REM and the Police and whilst this little trio of numbers wasn't all that arresting at first (you finished being funny yet, Dave) it grows on you by about three times after a couple of listens. Jamie Gordon has about as close a voice to Sting as anyone can get today, so a crack on the crossover appeal market has this band's name on it.

At least two of these numbers have definite potential for their future, so I don''t think we should turn our backs on this lot just so soon.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 
The MOONIES - The Rock n' Roll EP
(Self-Produced - 2004)

On the back of the sleeve, it also says in quite large print, 'who the f**k are the Moonies?'. Saved me asking then. They are actually a three piece from Liverpool who take their name Who legend Keith Moon who is a big idol of this outfit's resident sticksman, and have also made their name known across the Isle, having toured recently with the Buzzcocks.

As guessed by their name they are an alternative act but one with the capability of bashing out a decent number - 'Being Me' having one of the catchiest pop-rock choruses I've heard in the last couple of years. It's just a pity that the three other tunes, 'Teenage Suicide', 'Record Store' and 'Overload' don't live up to the same expectations but to the other sort of one instead: plodding back to typical business-as-usual Britpop but slightly better fodder, that is for the fans, as if there aren't already enough of the c**ts. Never mind, though, that first track should still be fun.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Eric Moore and The Godz - Twenty Five Moore Years
('78 - '03 The Complete Retrospective)
(Outlaw Recordings - 2003)

A quarter of a century of raw, red-necked, rock 'n' roll from Eric Moore and his Godz who come from Columbus, Ohio.

Eric Moore is a full-on party experience who will smoke the green, green grass of home and rock it up as well with blasters like 'Gotta keep a rockin' (one of his faves), the Kiss-like 'Criminal Mind' (that was written in a hotel about a biker at a gas station); the river saluting 'Mississippi' (originally done by Bobby Gentry); Eric's love song, 'Baby, I love you' or the soul 'n' passion grabbing 'Burnin' Bridges that's like a distant cousin of 'Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama'.

If you want more of Moore, then you got it - a bonus helping of 11 tracks and an interview. These are blisteringly good especially the songs taken from the live radio set at The Agora, Cleveland, Ohio in 1982 that include 'Gotta Muv' - a belter of a 12-bar and one for the ladies - 'Shake It'. There's a couple of demos as well as a live gig segment from Alrosa Villa, Columbus, Ohio, 1995 that include already mentioned classics like 'Baby, I love you' and 'Mississippi'.

A pleasant package I must admit.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

 
Dec. 2003
 
MAGELLAN - Impossible Figures
(SPV - 2003)

This fifth album from us prog-rockers shows that if it works don't change it. Instead they've simply expanded their unique sound. There's still the hard solid guitar sound and driving rhythms but with a more refined mix melodic sounds incorporating classical instruments.

The expansion of instruments has made 'Impossible Figures' a more diverse album that strays only a little in to the contemporary enough to complement the hard edge rhythm before it's drawn back, before it becomes a chaotic mess.

This album is certainly skilfully produced.

8/10

By Steve Windle

 
METALLICA - Kill 'em All
(Vertigo - 1983)

Who'd have assumed that when a tennis-obssessed Danish teenager placed down his racket and picked up a drumstick that he'd open the can of worms that he did. Well, with eighty-odd million albums shifted, Lars Ulrich needn't look back, though I thought we should instead.

Lars formed the first true line-up of Metallica in 1981 with James Hetfield, who he'd befriended through an American ad rag, plus guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney. Events over the ensuing two years saw the latter couple's hooks slung, to be replaced by Kirk Hammet and Cliff Burton, and the resulting album, originally titled 'Metal Up Your Ass' but better known of course by the title we have looked at on the sleeve for the last two decades, was cast onto this earth.

'Hit The Lights' was one of the thrash anthems of the early eighties and listening to Hetfield's youthful shriek of a voice on that tune contrasts with the roar of the forty-year old man singing on today's 'St Anger' material. It has been heard live again over recent years though sadly only a small part in a medley with clips from other numbers from this and 'Ride The Lightning'. 'The Four Horsemen' was always a stage nugget but to hear it in its seven-minute entirety from 1986 onwards was only possible on album as the live version was heavily chopped in the middle in latter day performances. An earlier version of the song, 'Mechanix' would later be recorded on Megadeth's debut album 'Killing Is My Business' - well Dave did have his name in the credits, lads- and can still be heard regularly at their live shows too.

'Motorbreath' and 'Jump in the Fire' were are and always will be definitive Metallica of their early day and 'Whiplash' is the quintessential stage selection from this album, the lyrics summing up the true intensity that they intended to produce through their brand of metal noise. 'Pulling Teeth', Burton's sample of his innovative bass solo experimentation couldn't be a better way to remember Jason Newsted's illustrious predecessor, even if the legend would live to see another two albums yet.

'Phantom Lord' and 'No Remorse' continued to demonstrate the brute force capabilities of this young band, and both numbers are still enjoyed today, emphatically by the band's veteran followers and Hetfield's alteration of the latter's chorus to "No remorse, no repent, we don't give a f*** what it meant" garners its due amusement but hammers the point home at the same time. 'Seek and Destroy' has been the band's sing-a-long anthem since the start and though the quarter-hour long James Vs Crowd session at the end of the song during the early nineties gigs outstayed their welcome, it's for those reasons as well as some of Hammet's hottest soloing, that this song is mostly remembered.

Finishing off the record as they started it, 'Metal Militia' is 100mph metal straight from the genre's heyday, ruthless and pencil perfect riffage taking control through. 'On Through the mist and the madness, we're trying to get the message to you.' I think they'd already managed by that stage. One of the greatest speed metal albums EVER penned, 'Kill 'em All' was let down only slightly by James's slightly unrehearsed sounding shoutiness but the overall prowess of this album lives on to this day.

A very important part of any metal collection, the twentieth anniversary of this monster couldn't be celebrated better.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 

TAD MOROSE - Modus Vivendi
(Century Media 2003)

Another band I've known for yonks, by name but not by one single note, Tad Morose took me by more surprise when I finally heard them recently than any band over the last five years or so.

When you listen to any band today who sounds like Blackie Lawless, Ronnie James Dio and James Hetfield rolled together with a hint of (Bruce) Dickinson here and there, top a couple of layers of meaty-as-f*** power metal grind, you know this music's still heading in the right direction. 'Afraid to Die', 'Clearly Insane', 'Cyberdrome', 'Take On The World', 'Mother Shipton's Words' and ' Life In a Lonely Grave' are just a random six of the ten tunes that alone testify how this form of rock n' roll was once a way of life for many, and still deserves to be today.

Superb musicianship and writing all around, I only hope and assume this album is typical of their output, because if it is, their back catalogue beckons attention. Tremendous.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Dio, Wasp, Metallica, Maiden, Sabbath (Post-Ozzy) Priest, etc.

 
NEAL MORSE - Testimony
(SPV- 2003)

Neal Morse's third solo album 'Testimony' really steps in to it's own as a solo album. Unlike the Spock's Beard frontman's first two solo albums 'Testimony' doesn't stray into a pop-orientated sound but remains very progressive. The sound of S.B.and Transatlantic drift throughout the album but this really is an expansion of Morse's own sound.

At over two hours long this album has been a long time in the making. Morse has really pulled out all the stops and the production reflects it. Featuring Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Kerry Livgred (Kansas) it's one of the most diverse albums that I've heard.

9/10

By Steve Windle

 

Mountain - High (UK) / Mystic Fire (USA)
(Lightyear Entertainment - 2002)

One of the best trio's in the history of Rock - Leslie West's Mountain who comprise of founder, Leslie West (Guitar/Vocals) alongside Ritchie Scarlet on Bass and Corky Laing on Drums last year released an album that reigns high (scuse the pun) on Metalliville's playlist.

This is dirty 'n' hard rock enlaced in the blues with each number having a gripping melody throughout. Many of the amazing examples being the opening 'Immortal' - and believe Mr. West is; 'Mystic Fire' with its irresistible singalong vocal harmonies in the chorus section of the song and the awesome rock-blues riffage that is the epicentre of 'Rotten Peach (Part II) that Angus Young of AC/DC would no doubt have loved to have cone up with.

There are two covers on the album too - these being an enlightening take of 'Fever' (the Elvis Presley hit - not the Aerosmith ditty) and a frightening rendition of 'When Johnny comes marching home' that places Corky Laing well and truly I the spotlight with his commendable jazz style of rock drumming.

Mountain have eve re-recorded the classic Whaling epic, 'Nantucket Sleighride' which is absolutely phenomenal and guaranteed to blow your mind time and time again - especially the riff that was used as the theme for the political programme 'Weekend World'.

When you combine extremely well, though out compositions that are played by cream of the crop musicians and iced off with the ferocious vocals of Leslie West, it comes as little wonder that what here is heard is an absolute corker of an album.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Mystery Blue - Metal Slaves
(Road Show Productions - 2003)

French Metal band fronted by female vocalist 'Nathalie'. Like the e.p. released a few months ago this again is pure 80's old-school metal - think Warlock and Chastain. It's nice to see bands doing this sort of stuff these days.

The track 'Metal Dreams' says it all for me as it harks back to when we were all kids and metal was really the 'in-thing. There's slice of thrash blasting that is 'Rollercoaster' and man, those vocals are raw and roaring. Both ends of the album have an instrumental - the opener is a weird digeridooey thing entitled 'Human E.T' (Native Deep) that'll totally weird your head out.

Mystery Blue ain't afraid to tell it like it is either with a ditty entitled 'Bloody B*st*rds' - and to find out who that's been written for - well you'll have to buy the album.

Hope Metal gets as good as this again over here in the UK - wonder if it's still big in France?

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan BA Hons CS

 

Madnomad - Tamper-Evident
(Sanctuary Records - 2003)

As probably beknownst to yourselves, we've come across quite a lot of new bands throwing virtually everything they can find into one box and giving it a shake. However, while most turn out to deliver interesting and hugely impressive products, someone here has seemingly left the separate components on the doorstep and run off.

As always, there's the usual array of different styles and sounds, but 12-strong Brit outfit Madnomad sound like a dozen peple making their individual sounds of choice in the same room, but hardly interacting together as a unit. Alright this may very well be for a couple of tracks, but not thirteen, please, and the situation I'm afraid turns out to be pretty unlucky here. Whilst I'm sure they mean well by these - if you can make them out as songs - bizarre cuts, I'm afraid that with the exception of one or two here and there, I was unable to pick a great deal of crops from this particular field.

One of THE things I loathe having to do above all is give a poor review but I feel I have virtually little choice here. However I will refrain from branding it totally abysmal because I'm sure they meant to do something constructive here, and just didn't manage to assemble the pieces. Shame.

4/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MARS ELECTRIC - Fame Amongst The Vulgar
(Artenzia Records - 2003)

What I like about the Artenzia label in particular is their take on variation across the melodic rock spectrum, taking in nu-breed hard/pop rock acts in the main. Mars Electric are one of the most mentioned outfits of said type on the label at time of writing. Let me get it right, this is their second long player, the debut disc having been released - and then got them dropped - by Columbia. So to avoid another contract coming to a close too soon, have they pulled the required weight here? Maybe.

The ever dubious fusion of hard rock and alternative works better for this band than it does for others but that doesn't stop a few selections from slipping into so-and-so's-ville and its surrounding area. There are plenty of replay-able numbers about, though, 'Disco King' being one that immediately comes to consideration, even if I find that electro-synth intro irritating, and for the live circuit, they are well stocked up.

Being on a label with the excellent Brian McDonald would always present quite a standard to meet but Mars Electric, though a totally different noise to that of he, have given it a good try.

Ones to check out.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 

BRIAN MCDONALD PROJECT - Voyage
(Artenzia Records - 2003)

Why is it that so many are in the habit of scampering off into the wilderness after making a killer album? It's like. 'Oh yeah, top album mate, this f***in' rocks, man.. Hello.. You round here somewhere?.... oh, he seems to have gone.'. Let's be fair.

American melodic rock wizard Brian McDonald has only been away for two and a half years since the phenomenal 'Wind It Up' disc, Mr Gioelli meanwhile taking a whole decade to put another Hardline disc together. As expected, it's like its illustrious predecessor in places but he has allowed himself to move on where he can, though retaining the Honeymoon Suite/Magnum style keyboard sound amongst things surviving from before.

Once more, he has a crack at all the instruments himself except for guest spots and the similarities with Winger, Survivor, Leppard and occasionally Dare too, are still easily pickable. Not another 'Wind It Up' but any means but rocking at the best times of the day, Brian still knows top tunes when he writes them. I can assure you that a visit to this McDonald(s) still makes your day.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MITCH MALLOY - Malloy 88
(Frontiers/N&T - 2003)

Er Mitch, what's going on. I thought we were to like,.. expect a NEW album. You know, as in one of NEW songs. . F*** that, if Harem Scarem can empty the vaults to such admiring listeners, so can our man from Nashville.

Turning the clocks back further than Hess and co's disc, as you can guess from the title, Mitch Malloy actually had a full band called Malloy in those days, and this is the album that never was, so to speak but suddenly is now. Only four years before his classic S/T solo album saw daylight, these cuts were run on an 8-track but for such a basic machine, it's done a good job and one good enough to render this material sellable. Two songs 'Forever' and 'Problem Child' made it onto the 1992 release, while the other ten that were left almost to rot for the ensuing 1.5 decades at long last find themselves a permanent haven, thanks to Now & Then.

'On My Way', 'Rodeo Girl' and 'She's Young, She's Wild' are pure driving hard rockers that preluded the style of his following produce, with his vocals impressively rich for his young age. The chuggy guitar propelling 'If You Were Mine' furthers the feel of Malloy's slightly more balls-y side of that day. A major production difference, particularly on the drum track on power ballad 'Still In Love' suggest that this and possibly one or two other tracks were recorded at a slightly different stage, and possibly on a different desk. 'Forever' is the first of two tracks that made it to 'S/T', almost identical, bar the recording quality and still a bloody cracking tune whichever version I'm listening to.

I can't help suspecting that Mitch rang up 'Rent-A -Riff' during the composing of 'Feel Like Falling In Love', and felt like borrowing the intro from 'Black Betty' with which to start off this otherwise high quality chunk of melodic rock. Amongst the disc's best, it books itself a place as a top future live selection, the like applying to 'Angeline' which has one of the most powerful chorus vocals of Malloy's youth. 'Ready For Love' is one of the album's slightly less addictive listens, like 'Forever' but the hooks burying not as deep. 'Money Can't Buy Love' is an awesome AOR tune with the chorus that steals the laurels of the 50 minutes. 'Without You' is a nominated runner-up too, a ballad-angled number that would have done rather well as a single in its days.

'Problem Child' is the only other less-than wonderful number, - acceptable enough but the but this earlier high-speed rocker version of his hit acoustic ballad is small potatoes compared with the anthem we're used to hearing, tarnished mainly by the totally different and comparatively bland vocal melody here. Flaws to one side, Mitch Malloy has earned himself a hearty round of applause for this collection that has been left unheard for longer than some have lived. I hope that as with ..Scarem and 21 Guns recently before, that this serves as an example to all you other bands deciding to bin an album's worth of material before letting your fans hear it - you might bin a few of them too, in the process. Mitch had more sense.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 

METALLICA - ST. ANGER
(VERTIGO - 2003)

Big bands are the easiest to set your clocks by. Unfortunately it's in the way that we have to wait several bloody years fore each new studio album they do. Dep Leppard, 3 years. Aerosmith, four, AC/DC, usually about five. Metallica are probably the worst offenders with the gap between Reload and this latest platter bridging well over half a decade itself. In that time, they've lost their bassist and their lead singer has been in and out of rehab almost as many times as Scott Weiland - oh shut up, we don't want the full list.

So what have the Metalli-chaps got in store for us this time, I wonder? Apart from a new member in Robert Trujillo replacing Jason Newsted on four-string chores, they've got a new sound for us again. Well-l-l-l-l-... for those listening since 1996/7's LOAD and RELOAD offerings, it's new anyway. But, if you own any of these three following albums 'Kill 'em All', 'Ride The Lightning' or 'Master Of puppets', you'll know exactly what old tricks they're up to here. Plus not to mention a few they've learned in today's fashion-marched musical times, such as NO GUITAR SOLOS???! KIRK, HOW COULD YOU?!! Following trends at your age, you traitor!

'Frantic' and 'St Anger' are actually recorded like sped-up versions of 'Fuel' from that disc 6 years back, combined with the aggression that they patented at their thrash peak in the 80's over those early long players. The title tune borrows a lyric or two from 'Damage Inc' - we'll let you figure it out for yourself - but the chorus is this time a lot more melodic than its 'Puppets' predecessor. With apologies for what I said earlier about solos, they do manage to get one in to the beginning stages of 'Some Kind Of Monster', if perhaps only to decorate the progression repeating for two-and-half minutes before a melodic but manic engine of a tune follows. 'Dirty Window' sports a lyrical topic not far off that of 'And Justice For all' but backed by three times the aggression. Hetfield's vocals take to an even more different contortion through the verse arrangements of 'Invisible Kid', preceding one of the best choruses of the album, whereas to he roars back with vengeance, in a way we last heard on the 'Black' album.

Track six is.. They haven't.. oh. no.they haven't. I thought we were about to be treated to a remake of 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' just then when that intro lick stamped through my speakers. For consolation, 'My World' is one of the album's stronger songs, with another umpteen-layered build into the chorus, which itself happens to be one of those that stays until you've taken it in. Continuing this habit of replicating old items, 'Shoot Me Again', at first sounded like gracing us with a renamed cover of 'Of Wolf And Man' when I heard that opening stop-go chug that introduces the song. This has to be one of the most complicated and explorative tunes the band have ever written, changing direction more times than a lost rally driver, and with a very rappy bridge 'Shoot me again/shoot me again/shoot me/shoot me again/shoot me again/shoot me' being another crack formed in the ground by the Metalli-men before the last half of the song just enjoys a good old-fashioned thrashabout, once more.

The opening/verse melody to 'Sweet Amber' is, I'm afraid, the nearest you'll get to a solo from them, this time, folks but they've done well to recall the blues-oriented styles of 'Load' once more as well as at an intermediating intensity thought by many as forever abandoned at the time of said 1996 album. The 'chug n' bend' riff supporting the verses of 'The Unnamed feeling' work together with what I would consider to be James Hetfield's most melodic singing on this album though a little quirkier in particular areas. 'Purify' is made for one reason and one reason only - to relieve one of one's own skull by means of a blunt metal implement but it finds its own space for melody again at regular intervals and the outtro part sounds like a totally different song cutting in.

That leaves 'All Within My Hands' to wind things up adhering to the combinations meddled with on the last then numbers, but a smidgen or two more of the thoughtful frettery of the last two albums gets itself a gap where it can. Metallica 2003 - the verdict is a band who've learnt from past changes of musical direction that it's a tough world when pleasing both yourself and your followers with the same one product. James, Lars, Kirk and producer Bob Rock who stepped in as their stop-gap bassist during the studio period, met a largely satisfactory compromise with 'St Anger' when it came to doing so and the return of the world's no1 metal band should now be welcomed warmer than ever.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Pre-July 2003
 
Million - The First Two Million
(A2 Records - 2002)

The self-titled 'Million' sounds like an 80's Scorpions album without the frills other than the neck-gyrating 'Signs of Victory' or the kickin' 'Winds of Change' (not a cover of the said German band classic either). 'Desperate Love' reminds me of Bon Jovi's 'Lay your hands on me' with more bite before it goes into some killer rock soundz. The acoustic 'I wanna know' is a good number but it just doesn't climax enough musically like rock acoustics should. 'Million' is an OK album but it's nothing to get over excited about. 5/10.

Second album, 'We, Ourselves, Us' fairs better as the band reach the mid to late 80's and attempt to compete with artists of the time like The Bullet Boys and other bands of that ilk. With cuts like the electrifying 'Burning Hell'; the cheesy cock rockin' 'Dr.Love'; the tongue-in-cheek 'Take me home' about an early morning wake-up with a newly met chick or the gutsy burnin' 'Never Again' (about having a hangover), it's definitely got more going for it. Strangely though the album wimps out by finishing with a ballad that's more suited to the likes of Michael (now Mulletless) Bolton - weird end to a happening selection of tracks.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
Mad Margritt - New Sensation

(Perris Records - 2002)

When I stuck this album on it warmed my heart immediately - it's passionate rumbling cock rock - if there is such a thing and it put me in a great mod from the beginning.

It's like putting on a lost Warrant 'n' Poison album on - a pure emotional party, party fiasco with numbers like 'Midnight Rendezvous' with it's slow 'n' dirty guitar riff and drum bashings - awesome. And before you ask, It' s not all image - they can play exceptionally well as the Spanish influenced 'Sensation (Afterglow)' and the loving acoustic ballad, 'Can't get over you' that could put you in mind of the great Boston track 'More than a feeling'. Then there's the spectacular rocker 'Long Way from home' that really is a showpiece.

Now the version of AC/DC'S 'TNT' is a credit to them - just as good as the original as well - these guys nail it. A superb end to a superb album.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
MAGELLAN - HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD
(MAGNA CARTA - MA-9045-2)

It's always the same when something new ventures through the letterbox, who are these? What style of music is it? And will I need to pass it on to another member of this site who will appreciate it more than myself! The answer to the latter simple question is 'no'. This three track epic will literally blow you away with so much emotion, all the good and bad thoughts that ever entered your mind will escape your sad pathetic featureless faces with so much force, your friends and close family will think your soul has left the object you call a body and entered another life dimension.

You may think what the hell is he talking about! Well let me tell you. Magellan hit the first track, which is broken down into 13-tracks for ease of listening with a harmonic introduction to a 34-minute neo-progressive true story of a brother who was killed in the Vietnam war. All the pain and suffering that can happen within a close family spills its guts out all over this CD leaving it tainted with a lush world of memories and the very nature of memory itself.

Track two 'Family's Jewels' is an astonishing instrumental featuring Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) on flute and the keyboard wizardry of Trent Gardner. The lasting impression one has of this CD is the deep emotion and the sorrow of the situation housed within sad half masked flagship suite.

Even if progressive rock isn't your thing, this is a must of a buy, as with all masterpieces this is one true emotional CD that can be played at anytime and anywhere and given the full respect it deserves.

10/10

By Tony Watson

 
Eric Martin - I'm Goin Sane

(Frontier/Now and Then - 2002)

A momentous solo album from the ex-vocalist of Mr. Big (those guys if you remember recorded the never off MTV hit 'To be with You' as well as 'Green Tinted Sixties Mind', it's Eric's 4th solo album and what a scorcher it is too from the opening in-your-face, tell-it-how-it-is opener 'My Disease' to the cover of The Car's classic 'Just what I needed' (that's included on the European release)! He recently aired some of album live at the recent Gods gig late last year, much to the delights of reviewer Dave Attrill.

It rocks and it rolls with numbers like 'Spaceman' whereas 'Untouchable' and 'There goes the neighborhood' funk out. Mr. Martin hasn't lost his magical, musical touch then that trademark Mr. Big front-voice really comes into play especially on 'Everyday'. Now hear this - you just can't beat the Cult/stones vibe in 'Carnival of Souls' and this song if played on radio it would do well as a single.

This album equals anything that Mr. Big brought out at their peak without the need for going over the top.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
MERENDINE ATOMICHE - THE HOLY METAL
(NOBRAIN RECORDING - NBR013)

'The Holy Metal' is the first real project of Merendine Atomiche who were the official Metallica tribute band in Italy. This five track CD is full on 80's thrash metal from start to finish with no holding back.

These guys have tried to start where Metallica finished in 1988 but also adding a mixture of Iron Maiden, Nuclear Assault, Megadeth, Overkill and Testament into the full on assault of ear battering rhythms that only the dead can rest from.

As a first official project this isn't a bad CD but I feel that the production and engineering of these five performances were slightly miss laid in the final production that lets the CD down for what it could be worth.

7/10

By Tony Watson

 
Michael Monroe - Whatcha Want
(SPV - 2002)

If you're pleased by the Sleaze, then this Blonde Glam God is gonna be at the top of the list. The double M himself, Michael Monroe unleashes 'Whatcha Want' after just completing a tour with the re-formed Hanoi Rocks. This solo album has got crucial Covers like a throatripping 'Do anything you wanna do' (a late '77 hit for Eddie and the Hot Rods) and the explosive 'I won't lie down and die' (by The UK Subs) that are slipped around original numbers like the reggae'ish 'Stranded' or the punky hanoi that is 'What love is'.

We are appeased by some guitar material as well like the hazy riffed 'Germfree Adolescents' about a girl obsessed with cleanliness or the gorgeous 'Telephone bill is all mine' about ringing home while being in all parts of the globe.

The Saxophone does not stay in the cupboard after the Hanoi Rocks tour either since it makes an appearance on 'Jimmy Brown' - a song by Casino Steel. Even acoustic territories have been tried and tested in his version of the Leonard Cohen song, 'Hey, that's no way to say goodbye' that's unbeatable.

To sum it up - this is an album that's packed well. Be it hard, soft. Slow or fast material - let's hope he tours it.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force - Attack !!

(Pony Canyon/SPV - 2002)

After meeting the great man who is Mr. Malmsteen in Miami, I looked forward to hearing the new album, since Yngwie told us it would contain some of his best work yet and was extremely happy with it.

The line-up for his band 'Rising Force' is spectacular and features Dougie White (ex-Rainbow), on Vocals, Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theatre) on Keyboards and fellow Swede, Patrick Johansson on Drums (who we met in Miami also) as well as the Producer/Engineer of the album, 'Tom Fletcher'.

Magical musical and downright breath-taking is an honest way of describing the album. It's nice to see that Yngwie has kept a strong hold on his Viking reigns, although he's lived for many a year in the United States as 'Valhalla' is a glorious tribute to those lost lost galleon days where Dougie gallantly bellows forthwith about fighting, sailing the seas and drinking with the gods. In fact many of the songs recall historic, sometimes fictional moments such as 'Valley of Kings' when 'Gods walked the Earth In the city of a thousand gales' or 'Ship of Fools' which can actually be taken as purely metaphoric.

Big thunderous vocals also come courtesy of Yngwie himself in the Hendrix vivid Blues-Rocker 'Freedom isn't Free' about enjoyed a night with your woman. It's a big musical change to the majority of the album that largely has the ultimate Malmsteen mark 'Symphonic Nee-classical Rockin' Power Metal' but that's completely cool with me and no doubt to the bulk of his fanfare. Overall the material is placed together extremely well and the production is superior to many others out these days thanks to Tom Fletcher'.

Offered up as a real treat to his guitar playing worshipers are 3 instrumental pieces - 'Baroque and Roll' (the title of his once proposed record table), 'Majestic Blue' and 'Air (on a G-string' - a variation on a theme by J. S. Bach. The Japanese 'Pony Canyon' copy of 'Attack !!' adds a bonus track called 'Nobody's Fool' that's very Rainbow meets Deep Purple in style. You even get a special collectors card as well.

Overall, it's an exceptional album- the musician and vocal performances are simply incredible with Yngwie's guitar playing being fast, technically innovative, extremely melodic with notes a plenty in a short space of time. This album will take some beating but no doubt Yngwie will manage it.

Looking forward to witnessing it all live.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
MADDER MORTEM - Deadlands
(Century Media - 2002)

The Scandinavian Black/Goth Metal scene never sleeps, does it. Madder Mortem make sure of that, too.

There is certainly no average-ness on display from this young Norwegian fivesome and they bring a fresh new diversity to dark metal that renders their material very commercially palatable. Unusually sweet vocal harmonies -for the genre they belong to - set them apart from the competition by quite a berth. Female vocalist Agnete seems content just with singing clearly and well as the might do in any type of rock band , rather than roar and spit her way through just another brutal extreme metal record.

The guitarists both put in a good set of licks to support her crystallized creenings and a good does of Dream Theater vibe fluid dissolves into the substance but leaves its colour visible and one or two solid lumps as well. The overall result is nine beautifully crafted metal songs - melodic and morbidly passionate in a way that keeps the album approachable as a whole unit, with the odd shaky moment. You can never have too much fresh blood in a music scene like this, and Madder Mortem have proven themselves worthy donors.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MALEVOLENT CREATION - The Will To Kill
(Nuclear Blast - 2002)

These lads were in Sheffield, a couple of years ago and I missed the bl**ders! One of America's finest thrash metal acts in my town and I didn't catch wind of it 'til about two days beforehand, by which time, other plans for that evening had been cemented in. Cruelly slated by some I've spoken to in my time as being just a bland Sepultura-style act, they may sound quite like Cavalera and co in their prime but Malevolent Creation don't care and pound out their just-over-barely distinguishable brand of aggressive eighties/early nineties -shaped speed metal on masochistic ear-drums. Yes, and it's complete with p*ssed-off-pitbull-terrier growls to account for the vocal contingent.

It may come as a surprise but there are a few ideas that show up in the mix without warning and thus things start to sound interesting, and the middle few songs slow down the gears but still remain a headbanger's dream drive fro the bulk of the duration. Again, as we have noticed already, thrash metal guitarage is allowed to be melodic, and I found quite a few licks to my liking from that view point. Even the smallest specks of diversity can keep a band's credibility from slipping and in a day and age where thrash is ridiculed by many over its apparent un-adventurousness, Malevolent Creation know how to stay unignored.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

 
MOB RULES - Hollowed Be Thy Name
(SPV - 2002)

There has been some pretty decent produce coming out of the European melodic metal scene of late. Germany's Mob Rules have a notable presence on the factory floor and their latest release 'Hollowed Be Thy Name' should maintain the happiness of most customers. Fuelled by the same petrol that Swedish scene-stealers Last Tribe run their motors on, they are set to stand head and shoulders amongst most fellow generals of the genre.

To add a few more kilos to their commercial weight, they've roped in Helloween's Roland Grapow for a couple of numbers. Not that there's anything pants about Matthias Mineur's and Oliver Fuhlage's fretting activities, I'll have it noted. 'Speed of Life', 'Ghost Town', 'In The Land Of Wind & Rain', 'How The Gypsy was Born', 'All Above The Atmosphere' and the title track are where the talent's put to the test in songwriting as well as song PLAYING.

I must admit that one or two tunes towards the end of the disc didn't sustain the excitement as much as first forecast but the damage overall is very minimal. With a few more festival slots likely to be theirs on the back of this quality album, the future couldn't look that much brighter for Mob Rules at present.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 

Mystery Blue - Brand New Demo !!!
(Self-Released - 2002)

French Metal band who actually started back in '82 and now fronted by the brunette beauty, Nathalie. Vocally, she's very reminding of Rockbitch with Kate Bush and Alanis Morrisette qualities. This three track gives the listener soft acoustic offerings (Dark Vision) and hard-edged rock like the thrashing harshness of 'Roller Coaster Ride'.

Metal-wise the style is very early 80's - think studs etc and dudes with classic Accept t-shirts - Real Metal. There appears to be a resurgence of this type of stuff in Europe - especially due to the high popularity of symphonic power metal and other sub-genres of this ilk.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

MEDICATION - PRINCE VALIUM
(LOCOMOTIVE MUSIC - 2002)

If you haven't heard the name Medication rumbling around in your life then you must be dead, Medication are a mixture of Logan Mader (Machine Head, Soulfly), Whitfield Crane (Life Of Agony/Ugly Kid Joe), B-Blunt (A Day In The Life), Roy Mayorga (Soulfly) who has re-joined Soulfly and has been replaced by Josh Freese (a Perfect Circle, Chris Cornell, Guns 'N Roses and Infectious Grooves) and Kyle Sanders who took the place of Robert Trujillo (Ozzy, Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves) who turned down the position after re-joining Ozzy in September 2001.

Prince Valium was produced by the one and only Bill Kennedy (Nine Inch Nails, Monster Magnet, Sepultura, Alice in Chains, Megadeth, Motley Crue and Black Sabbath), who was not just the driving force for Medication but also to influence and incorporate jerky Faith No More style guitar hooks and shimmering, floaty harmonies.

Mader describes his music as '…hard hitting from start to finish and very dynamic and hypnotic through to the end. It's really heavy…' In a way the personalities of each individual come out very clear throughout the CD, Prince Valium is not a quick release that you get when a couple of members of a band have too much spare time, it is a well thought out, organised and produced work of art, from the intro of 'loaded Gun' to the end of the thirteenth track 'Inside', Medication hit you with their influences but at the same time keeping their own style.

If you are after that little bit of something different, then Medication is what you require.

If you are lucky enough to pick up the 5-track EP that was released in March 2002, there are two tracks that are not on the full CD.

9/10

By Tony Watson

 

Messiah's Kiss - Prayer for the Dying
(SPV - 2002)

Get the black leather jacket on, tight jeans, put a mean face on and a fist in the air, making repetitive punching actions. Now that is what is conjured up by this OTT overdone genre of metal performed by Messiah's Kiss from Germany. We're talking Metal offerings circa 84-86, when it was cool to wear studded wristbands.

It's excellent for what it is but it's done been done a million times already by many more already. It's pure tongue in cheek Pirest 'n' Accept forged metal with the odd soundbite of Megadeth or Dio doing the rounds. This is pure old school the - way it used to be and is more than likely still as big in Europe as it was then.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

MECCA - S/T
(Frontiers/Now& Then - 2002)

 

The supergroup disease spreads far. The source has never been traced. One possible factor could be a certain set at the Gods 2000 fest, by a star studded line-up carrying people by the names of Chalfant, Ramos, Peterik and Keagy amongst their ranks that evening. Little surprise is it to learn that Jim Peterik has found someway of being involved with this latest AOR hottie, even if it means sitting behind a mixing desk rather than a keyboard. Hell, if it means sitting in a room with fellow legend Fergie Frederiksen whilst he's recording an album, why pass up the opportunity?

The former TOTO frontman sings on five of the album's ten songs, with David Hungate handling the others with aplomb. The style needs little, if not ZERO introduction - it is everything you have it carded for. That being of course, radio friendly American melodic rock of the highest order. Tunes that the likes of Journey, Stan Bush, Danger Danger, Two Fires even perhaps a little group called Survivor would have given their goolies to have written. 'Velocitized', 'Can't Stop Love', ' Silence Of The Heart' and 'You Still Shock Me' are the tallest turrets on the castle whilst 'Close That Gap' sees them straying into boy band territory a tad, but without sounding crappy in the process.

Another successful union of scene veterans is proven beyond doubt with one of the years most promising releases for the genre. Pity they cancelled that Gods 2002 slot in Bradford.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MOLLO/MARTIN - The Cage 2
(Frontiers/Now & Then - 2002)

That Tony Martin ain't half a busy man. Running concurrently with his remarkable work in Bailey's Comet of late, his sophomore collaboration with hotly tipped Italian six-stringer Dario Mollo also hits the streets to hype of noticable degree, from press circles.

Three years since the duo first hit if off on disc, you'd have through up to now that it had been a one-off working. Well quite obviously, you've wrong, aren't you. Backed by an almost completely Italian line-up, bar bassist Tony Franklin (ex-The Firm) Martin goes for the throat, with the throat, and the music does its best to try and follow suit. In contrast to the more commercial compositions of the first album, Martin seems to have brought some of his Black Sabbath work home with him, and to a degree it works but when he tries to blend it in at too frequent occasions with things passing in other directions, it almost trips over itself on a few spots.

This may not be a barnstorming but it's strictly NOT a bog awful CD and the Celtic aroma can quite easily be scented in this flower but I'd still say that today, the Baileys pull it off that bit better. Maybe Tony has made the right decision in joining Des and the lads.

It's still good though.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

 

Mustn't Grumble - The Steve Marriott Memorial Concert 2001
(Sanctuary Records - 2002)

Imagine some of the greatest Steve Marriott numbers performed by some his idols and friends to a warm, rapturous audience at the London Astoria on 20th April, 2001 - well that's what you get right here in gorgious digital stereo. There's Small Faces classics, slices of Humble Pie and even a solo original, 'Phone call away' that Dennis Greaves said was one of Steve's last ever songs.

The heartfelt love and enthusiasm flows throughout the concert which as the lyric booklet states, sold out six weeks in advance and even broke the records for bar takings at the Astoria. Ex-Love vocalist, Steve Ellis, blows the place away with a powerful Marriott like blast on 'Song of a Baker' and 'My Way of Giving' and then there's the wacky 'n' fast take of 'Lazy Sunday' from John's Children.

Humble Pie even reformed with a line-up featuring Peter Frampton, Greg Ridley, Dave 'Clem' Clempson and Gerry Shirley who blew the dust off the wobwebs by banging out the pumpin' 'Four Day Creep', 'Natural Born Bugie' and the Frampton fronted 'Shine On' - Awesome - this line-up ought to tour. If this wasn't enough - how about a classic bit o' 'Black Coffee' found on Humble's 'Eat It' album serenaded by Deborah Bonham, sister of the late John Bonham or Midge Ure's quiet acoustic rendition of 'My Mind's Eye' that proved to be a real turn up for the books and all round crowd pleaser.

Even Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan join the stage alongside Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher for the finale of 3 Small Faces classics - 'Here comes the nice', 'Tin Soldier' and the ultimate encore - All Or Nothing bringing this amazing all-star salute to an epic end. As the booklet says, there was only one person missing - that being the man himself - Steve Marriott. No doubt he was watching it from somewhere, screaming - 'Man, it's been a Gas !!'

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Minute By Minute - Long Hot Night

(Angel Air 2002)

A group formed by couple of friends, Ray Fenwick and Polle Eduard who'd played in two Dutch groups Tee Set and After Tea. Ray has been a member of The Spencer Davis Group and The Ian Gillan Band while Polle played with lesser known (in the UK that is) artists The Rest and Rob De Niga. Minute by Minute also featured the late legend, Cozy Powell in the drum seat, Saxophonist Candy Dulfer and Jan Akkerman (of Focus). This album, 'Long Hot Night' has been left in the can since 1987 but the time is now obviously right to let the public make their mind up on it.

Overall, this is a contemporary collectionof mellow rock aimed at the 40+. It reminds me very much of Dire Straits combined with a healthy injection of country and large dosages of the blues especially tracks like 'Don't mess with fire' and 'Go back to sleep' (that sounds like a distant cousin of 'Aye Aye Man' by Mark Knopfler - the theme for the 3rd series of the UK Drama, 'Auf Weidersien Pet). Then there's the hook riff of 'I'll be back' that also features musical phrases you'd also associate with the said head-band wearing Geordie.

'Tijuana Holiday' is a cool number - a bit like 'Barefootin' with saxophone and whining BB King'ish Blues soloing. These are just some of the outstanding tracks on this happy contemporary album.

Funnily enough - I fully recommend it.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

MAGNUM - Breath Of Life
(SPV - 2002)

'A title that is just ASKING for the sort of scathing ridicule cruelly pinned on comeback albums by old bands reformed after several years, graces the new 12-tracker by these West Midlands legends. The question is, why have Messrs Catley, Clarkin & co chosen such a down heartening moniker for this storming return after over half a decade out of sight. Well if you call the two Hard Rain CDs and Bob's four solo discs 'out of sight' that is. Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin have always been within our sight, matey "and if this incredible album is a 'breath of life' it is a very, very, very fresh one - the issue is NOT open to debate.

As I'd predicted, Bob came back home, heavily under the influence of his brace of barnstorming albums, penned not by T.C. but by Gary Hughes - Gary himself having used his cut of the inspirations on his own band Ten's new full-lengther 'Far Beyond The World'.

Some might mistake this as a hits album because (A) it is packed with songs deserving to be so, and (B) because it spans everything from Catley and Clarkin's collective era over twenty-five years and the more recent few that Bob has enjoyed with Mr Hughes - Gary was only about ten (NO JOKES, OK) when 'Kingdom of Madness' filled the shelves of record stores nationwide. God knows how many years, plus a six year break later and there's still room, and time, for one more. 'Cry', 'Everyday' and 'Let Somebody In' pack the most punch and 'Still' could give Heartland a firm reminder of who's boss round these parts.

'Dream About You' brings Magnum's past to the present the most, sounding like a levelled mixture of 'Cry for You', 'Les Morts Dansant' and various tunes off the 'Wings' and 'Vigilante' discs. And I don't hesitate to mention the remaining seven superb tracks, 'This Heart', 'Breath Of Life', 'After The Rain', 'That Holy Touch', 'The Face Of An Enemy', 'Just Like January' and 'Night After Night' worth naming one-by-one. All but one of of the line-up where they last left off, remain, with Mark Stanway and Mickey Barker back on Keys and Drums respectively. Al Barrow, who has played in Hard Rain and in Catley's solo touring act over the last few years is our new man on bass, as it turns out that former four stringer Colin 'Wally' Lowe had lost contact with them following the band's 1995 split.

My only gripe about this CD is why they'd chosen such a title to go on the front when it is actually anything but a desperate attempt to squeeze a last few drops out of a old dried battery. They shouldn't put themselves down in front of the public like this for what is a truly terrific British melodic rock album. Magnum have rightfully reclaimed their battlefield - invade it if you dare.

Oh, and don't forget, AL Barrow and also Bob's touring guitarist Vince O'Regan have a new band together called Pulse whose debut is reviewed elsewhere in our albums column at the moment.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 

Motorhead - Hammered
(SPV - 2002)

At blistering volume, the hell-bound trio throw at us the usual heavy helping that we've grown accustomed to. It's another of those Motorhead albums in the old fashioned Motorhead style - nothing more, nothing less. So if that's what you desire - fine.

Produced by Bob Kulick and Tom Panasio in LA, 'Hammered' has a crystal clear sound (but who'd expect anything else from the likes of Mr. K). This raw 'n' brutal offering allows Lemmy, Mikkey and Phil to rip it up in their own right.

Out in early April, it will no doubt be lapped up in gargantuan mighty measures by the core fans.

There's some satisfactory stuff on this platter such as the heavy charged riff-boasting melodic opener, 'Walk like a crooked mile' - which comes across as one of the best tracks on the album - especially with its prominent multi-tracked vocals in the chorus, all the way through to the last real song - the abrasive blasting b*stard that is 'Red Raw'.

I get the impression though Lemmy's boys won't be attracting much of a new audience unless they tour with some of the younger 'Flavour of the Month bands' - You know who you are !!!

Why do Motorhead insist on rehashing old melodies and phrasings found on classics like 'Overkill' and many others over the past 20 odd plus years - something that they are guilty of in 'Brave New World'. This ditty even includes the famous yet bland Kilmister trademark of using the song title as the chorus (and nothing but !!!).

'Voices from the War' sees Phil Campbell recreate the riff from AC/DC's classic '77 number 'Let There Be Rock' theme and moulding it into an arrangement fit for Lemmyland. Phil commented in an interview with yours truly that it wasn't intentional and didn't realise at the time - his exact explanation was 'Why should I steal someone else's riffs when I can rip off my own !!!"

For typical tell it 'ow it is Lemmy Lingo then you'll do no better than stickin' on the tongue in cheek finger-pointing 'Shut Your Mouth'. You'll have great delight in immersing ones ears with the Lems vocal cut-ins of phrases like 'Say What' and 'No Shit'.

Sadly, 'Kill the World' is pure filler-dross and falls well flat of average - 'Kill The Song' more like !!! The musicality is pretty banal and abysmal - press skip as soon as humanly possible.

The seriously humorous bird pulling power number 'Dr. Love' saves you from losing interest in the album about a woman wearing you out or Lemmy's case - the exact opposite.


The band have even teamed up with WWF Wrester on the short spoken-word piece entitled 'Serial Killer' - but who the hell will take it in any way serious. It's very much a Spinal Tap joke that has you saying - 'Yeah Right !!! Who are you tryin' to kid?' Try listening to lines like this with a straight face -

'I am the red straight razor - the one who bathes in blood'

or

'I am the black dead nightmare - I bring a light so bright'

Overall though, 'Hammered will grow on you - but Motorhead have done it all before - a bit like their famous cover design.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
The Mushroom River Band - Simsalabim
(Century Media - 2002)

More Stoner Rock from Sweden that basically sounds like all the rest - it's the fast, noisy an' angry type as opposed to the Bluesy Sabbath bashings that are miles more musical.

Why do many of these acts sound very much the same - this could really be the make or break of the genre - it could get way too saturated if labels don't watch out - look at what happened to the Cock Rock Scene in the early 90's.

Musically there's plenty of flourishable ideas but the production sounds too rushed for its own good (it's like listening to a bag of cabbages in a washing machine - the vocals are too buried in the mix which real spoils what could be an averagely decent album. I'm sorry to say this but it really is a shambles - listen to 'Bugs' or any other track on the album and try disagreeing with me on this point.

Basically it's the same thing over and over. Great album cover though - just a pity that the contents aren't as exciting.

For Stoner Rock completists only.

4/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
February 2002
 

MACHINE HEAD -SUPERCHARGER
ROADRUNNER RECORDS 12 085005

From the first CD 'Burn my Eyes', to 'Supercharger' Machine Head have got a style that works very well for them, with their distinctive vocals and vocal content to their pounding drums and the full on thrash guitars. Why change if it works.

'Supercharger' does have it's slight differences with it's engineering and production, there are a few more samples as well as slight influences through bands like Rage Against the Machine and Korn that add that little bit extra.

With the Limited edition digi pack there are a total of eighteen tracks, this includes four bonus tracks 'Hole in the sky', 'Ten fold', 'The Blood, The Sweat The tears (live)' and 'Desire to Fire (live)' that are all worth that little extra pound. The rest of the CD is typical Machine Head from start to finish 'Bulldozer', 'Crashing Around You', 'Only The Names', 'Nausea', 'Blank Generation' and 'Supercharger' will blow you into the next millennium.

Overall if you are a big Machine Head fan or not, this CD will be greatly enjoyed throughout the thrash metal fan base as well as the industry.

9/10

By Tony Watson

 
THE MAD CAPSULE MARKETS -
OSC-DIS (OSCILLATION IN DISTORTION)
(PALMDC 2069-2 - 2002)

The Mad Capsule Markets are a three piece band from Japan who have created a new trend and identity of 'Mad Soldier' with intelligence, superior strength and agility through which they have expressed themselves through their music, from techno metal to thrash through to indie pop and punk.

OSC-DIS is a forty-minute twelve track CD that contains the CD-ROM of I'L (Pulse), which is all computer simulated 'Mad Soldier' battles that is a must to see.
The Mad Capsule Markets hit your ears harder than the bombing of Pearl harbour with a full on hardcore techno metal track 'Tribe', which then rips into 'Out/Definition' and 'I'll (pulse)' which is a club classic.

M.C.M. have tried to be original throughout the CD with different formats and styles that have been expressed through 'Multiplies', 'Mob Track', 'All Time In Sunny Beach' and 'Island' that probably come across of being more European style metal and techno than Japanese orientated music, but it's a CD that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of NineInchNails, Ministry, Clawfinger and Prodigy.


9/10

Japan at their best

By Tony Watson

 

MARVEL - LONG WAY TO GO
INDEPENDENT (DEMO)



Portugal's darlings MARVEL bounce back with an all new demo with the vocals now recorded in English. Watch the labels fight to sign Marvel as now we get a clearer picture of where the band are headed and they are going in the right direction that borders on pure melodic rock horizons.

But before you start fantasising, let me say that this is a demo, but the quality of the production is not perfect but they have done well in smoothing out the rough edges as heard on their album which was sung in their native Portuguese language.

Even though the band are still developing, the songs are now much better, the first song 'Long Way To Go' is a simple catchy AOR number in the vein of the first Eyes album, whilst 'If I Could Love You' borders itself around ballad territory and is like Takara's 'Lonely Shade Of Blue'

When I hear Marvel's song's now I think of bands like Talisman, Gotthard, House Of Lords and Eyes etc mainly due to Ivan D'almeida's vocals where D'almeida bring tons of Jeff Scott Soto and James Christian from House Of Lords to mind.
'Colours That You Never Forget' is a very strong AOR number, whilst 'Hole In The Ground' is magic, it's a wintry piece, filled with hollow vocals and nice musical patterns and a guitar pulse that bring to mind Michael Landau. I swear that if you didn't know you would think that this was a project with Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Ivan's voice is that identical to Jeff's.]

'Someday' ends the demo on a fine note, this song crosses the bridge between the House Of Lords number 'Spirit Of Love' and anything Jeff Scott Soto has done.
I would like to hear the band continue in this direction but with a more heavier style a'la House of Lords and Talisman, the band should go and listen to those records right now, and then without duplicating those bands find their own feet. There's absolutely nothing wrong at all with Marvel's song's, but I feel that the audience out there wants to hear songs with a little bit more punch.

Until then if you like Soto/Talisman/House Of Lords etc then go track this sucka down, it's very honest and well thought out, you watch Marvel become a grandiose melodic rock outfit in years to come. They have the potential!!

www.marvelmusic.com

7/10

By Nicky Baldrian

 
MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - BE AWARE OF SCORPIONS
(SPV 085-72552 CD - 2001)

Michael Schenker returns with a brand new line up and another classic hard rock CD, Michael has recruited his long-term friend from U.F.O. Jeff Martin on drums who bought in Rev. Jones on bass and a young talented vocalist Chris Logan who wrote most of the lyrics on the new CD.

'Be aware of scorpions' has the trademark of Michael Schenker written all over it with his fluid guitar licks and distinctive riffs (that you would find in U.F.O. and the Scorpions). Michael also produced the CD with Ralph Patlan who also did the engineering and mixing.

This thirteen track CD is probably one of the best collections of hard rock anthems you will ever hear, with it's pounding drum beats and wonderful guitar riffs that will get anyone playing an air guitar. Michael seems to have become more mature with his style and the way he plays his guitar without being too overconfident that some talented guitarists do, because of this, not one track on this CD has been spoilt due to extensive guitar solos and riffs.

From the start of 'No Turning Back' to the last track 'Eyes of a Child', 'Be aware of scorpions' has you enthralled with full satisfaction of money well spent. Brilliant!!!

9/10

By Tony Watson

 

Moxy - V
(Record Heaven Music - 2001)

This band and album is ace - classic good old rock in a ZZ Top meets Led Zeppelin style with a flurry of early Whitesnake thrown in to add that extra sparkle as well.

Springing up immediately is 'Yucatan Man' with it's Eliminatorish ZZ Top Groove and the Afterburnin' 'Nitro Love'. If you wanna hear a number that sounds like the two Zep classics 'Black Dog' and 'Whole lotta love' then 'Fire down below' will do it for ya - it's a full-on tribute - no doubt about it. If that ain't enough there's the Whitesnake feel found on the grandiose 'Walkin' on the wild side' or the pure AC/DC'ish 'Workin' Man' that has elements of the echo-squealing techniques employed in the guitar playing of ZZ Top.

So are they any good live - you bet your cotton socks on it - you are graced with a rocking ditty called 'Time to move on' that was recorded in Canada in June 2001.

This is by far one of the best old-school hard rock albums I've heard in years.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 
January 2002
 

MASTERS OF REALITY - DEEP IN A HOLE
BROWNHOUSE RECORDINGS BRH 9902 2

I didn't know what to think of this at first, we have what I can understand two main guys Chris Goss and John Leamy, who then have invited ten guest performers to play on this ten track CD, which is in memory of Stanley Kubrick, for what reason I do not know.

The CD started off sounding like Alice in Chains with the slow grunge and long vocal chords, but at the same time it wasn't, as when we reach track 4 'Major Lance', there seems to be a harmonic interlude before track 5 'Scatagoria' that has the makings of an old Pink Floyd or even a Gong track, it's so messed up that they must have been as high as a kite when it was written, all you want to do is slowly shake your head and wave your hands in the air like you just don't care.

I find it hard to describe what style of music it's supposed to be, there are so many influences and so much variety throughout the CD. We can start off with Alice in Chains then may be the Black Crowes, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Hawkwind mixed with the f*cked up Mr Bungle and Butthole Surfers that fill the room with an ambience of what is this, where am I and who are you?

There are some excellent tracks that were written on this planet like 'Third man on the moon', 'A wish for a fish', 'Deep in a Hole', 'Roof of a shed' and 'Shotgun Son'. You definitely need an open mind to understand this weird collection of tunes from what a can only say about this talented f*cked up bunch of guys!

It's a CD that grows on you, but a CD that you would put away then pick up again three months later and think this is pleasurable, weird but good.

7/10

By Tony Watson

 

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Bath
(Dark Symphonies - 2001)

Wow! Two albums out at the same time, by one act. What have we done so good, eh? Then again, G'N'R did it, Fish did it, and if I remember correctly, all four members from Kiss had solo efforts out in the shops on the same day. What makes it an even taller order is that it comes from such a diverse and talented act as this previously unknown (to me) US combo. We are looking here, ladeez an' genn'lmen, at extreme metal's answer to Dream Theater, with the added bonus of a woman singer - though a bloke's tonsils can be heard in utilisation for most of the time too.

We have everything here, from Cradle of Filth, Deicide etc, through to melodies that Yes or Rush could have possibly neglected to compose quickly enough. As their Biography states, traces of Metallica, Maiden and Priest influences are not impossible to decipher throughout the duration of the CD, which is actually just over an hour in length. The album takes its time, which is about ten minutes, to get started though those lavish instrumental workings of the opening track go straight onto record as one of the very juiciest bites of this apple. Then it is a total change of style as a good old fashioned growling death metal onslaught kicks in and these styles alternate and mix with each other and with countless other styles through 'til the end. Prog, thrash, death, goth, trad metal and the occasional trip down trendsville street are all very much on display here, all in individual glass cabinets for clear presentation. They say life is like a box of chocolates, but not so much as this lot, sonny. That said, there still is evidently a near perfect balance of milk, dark and white ones in this assortment.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

 

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Leaving Your Body Map
(Dark Symphonies - 2001)


And onto 'part two' and practically more of the same. Same length -61 minutes - same style variations - and same style variety. Only a further slight rise in the standards set by 'Bath'. The band's brutal side beats less around the bush in the earlier stages, this time, hitting in sooner than before, leaving us seeing stars before soothing out with those female fronted ultra-melodic goth harmonies in all their glory. The periods spent on each style are longer this time which is better as the mode changes on the other CD came too fast for us to keep adjusting. Once again, 100mph death metal with classic bite is never that far away, but when the softer sections start, it is best, this time round, to get used to them as they're going to last a little while longer.

Believe me when I say like it sounds like a couple of different bands playing different sorts of music having an 'I'll do a bit, then you do a bit' style duel. You don't hear me complaining though because one hundred percent of the time this idea bl**dy well works! A musical fight (meant in this way, of course) is no cause for alarm except for the fact that they sound dangerously more diverse than Dream Thea….. hang on is that Mr LaBrie coming down the alleyway towards me now….. No James, please, I didn't mean it mate…no, please, I can explain…... AAAAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!

10/10

By Dave Attrill

 
Mississippi Sludge - Biscuits and Slavery

(Record Heaven Music - 2001 - RHCD48)

 

Pure all-round Blues-Rock brilliance is the best way of describing 'Mississippi Sludge' who have a deep 'n' dark touch of blending in groovin' 'n' grindin' stoner rock.

This album will have you crackin' open numerous cans of beer with you best buddies and you'll more than likely find yourselves ranting on about how much you dig this musical delight and bands of a similar ilk like ZZ Top, Humble Pie and Bill Steer's 'Firebird'. Hints of Elmore James, AC/DC and Jackyll can also be found lurking out of the speakers. Take the gutsy scratching and slide guitar fest of 'Cabin' about chillin' out in the sun (and having a good ole beer, I guess) or 'Somethin' gotta give' with its Black Crowesy Organ playin' about being a happy reminiscing country boy. Another thumpin' track that rocks my boat (although to be honest, the whole album does) is the Hard Blues-Rock of 'Back to Back'.

Mississippi Sludge - remember the name where you'll be greeted by Vocalist/Songwriter, Adam Elliot; Guitarist, Jeff Mohr; Bassist, Tracey Scott and AJ Cavalier on Drums/Vocals.

These guys are bound to be 'The Dogs Testicles' in concert - I hope the 'Sludge' swim through the giant pond that points towards the U.K. very soon.

 

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

THE MURDER CITY DEVILS -
THELEMA
SUB POP RECORDS SPCD560

A punk/gothic raw style band with a slight difference, this twenty-one minute six track CD featuring an enhanced video of 'Idle Hands' has the hint of the 'Deadkennedys' and the 'Sisters of Mercy' without the speed and aggression of the late seventies punk band with the exception of track six '364 days' that seems as though it could have been written and performed by the 'Pogues'.

The distinctive vocals of Spencer Moody come across very raw and clear above the organ, piano, guitars and drums of this six-piece band. The musical content on the CD varies within each track, which makes the CD very enjoyable to listen to starting from the opening track 'That's What You Get' to ' Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum' to finish off with the Christmas pub song '364 days'.

The band themselves will not get the gratitude they disserve through this CD, it should have been slightly longer so they could have expressed themselves a bit more.

The Enhanced CD video is well worth a look.

7/10
By Tony Watson

 

Masi - Eternal Struggle
(Lion Music Cat. No. LMC 2109 2 (2001) )

So you like exquisite technical classical orientated Rock and Metal do you- well look no further than a label like Lion Music whose roster includes some of the finest artists around - take Alex Masi for instance who's back with his band 'Masi' doing the label proud.

'Eternal Struggle' brings to the forefront the sort of music that should be noticed a great deal more - quality counts and I see it in this album big style!! Kyle Michaels is the vocalist for this piece of plastic coated metal and he reminds me of a younger more polished 'n' refined Biff Byford - funnily enough, Alex Masi supported Saxon (Biff's band) in his Dark Lord days.

There's 12 cuts in all including a fantastic cover of Foreigner's 'Blue Monday, Blue Day' - it really is a pure listening joy from beginning to end. Major highlights are the opener 'Crow Haven Corner' which sees Masi mix together the power metal of Helloween with the ecstatic guitar-work of Malmsteen and is all about witchcraft. The pumpin' 'Lost in the City' with its big bawling chorus and the power AOR of 'Caught in the Middle' are more than enough to satisfy any legitimate rock fan.
Enjoy!!

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Lars Eric Mattsson - Eternity (Re-Recorded)
(Lion Music - 2001)

The first album returns re-recorded due to Lars not being happy with the original Europe/Japanese release from 1988 of which he says,

"The recordings were of extremely low quality due to lack of money and
knowledge. We recorded and mixed the album ourselves without really
knowing what we were doing".

So here it is - a newly completed version that features alongside Mr.
Mattson (who takes care of Guitars, Bass and Keyboards), Bjorn Lodin on
vocals (of 'Baltimoore' fame) and drummer Eddie Sledgehammer !!!! (now
that's a class surname!!!)

The album is jam packed with virtuoso musicianship with Lars and the boys coming hurtling at you from the speakers like a blizzard. Expect to be impressed with outstanding numbers like the pacey, powered instrumental 'Mujahedrin Warrior' with it's short flamenco styled middle section. Other superb songs on this outstanding album are 'Let it Rock' (which you've just gotta dig for the title alone) which actually reminds me of Dio's 'Don't talk to Strangers'. Then there's, 'Can't go on without your love' with the atmospheric organ intro or the chuggin' rhythm assault and screaming lead solo action that swirls around with some well beaten drums booming out as well on 'Love is the answer'.

Lars has even included three bonus tracks such as 'Children of the Sun'
which didn't make it on the original release. This comes across as being very Malmsteen and puts me in mind of some of his numbers like 'The Queen's in Love' and 'You don't remember, I'll never forget'.

'Eternity' is quite simply album that has enough on it to keep you
interested for that exact length of time.

8/10

by Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Medicine Head - Two Man Band
(Angel Air SJPCD 095 - 2001)

A 'Two Man Band' is exactly what Medicine Head were - an awesome two-some from the Midlands made up of Peter Hope Evans and John Fiddler + guests like Tony Ashton (Piano) and Morgan Fisher (Pedal Steel).

The 'Head played very much simplistic sounding contemporary rock in a folky mode (rather like McGuinness Flint or Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance) - a great example of this is the track 'It's Natural' - a cookin' 12-bar. I would even say that Medicine Head could quite easy match the Eagles in overall supreme quality vocals and musicianship.

The album is real nice and has highlights like the snappy 'Mother Love', 'Over You' (with it's cool Jaw Harp) and reminds me of two Free songs mixed into one- 'Mr Big' and Fire and Water'. The number entitled 'I'm Your Man' is a real T-Rexy type ditty and which I strongly recommend if Marc Bolan is your thing!!

Recorded by Pete Townshend at his Eel Pie Studios (so that's why it has a strong resemblance to some of the material on PT's 'Who Came First' album) and oringinally came out in 1976 - it's been re-released on CD with three bonus tracks which make it worth buying if you already have the original crackly vinyl - these songs are 'Me and Suzie (Hit the Hour) and two B-sides 'Moon Child' and 'Midnight'.

A beauty of a buy if you like folky 70's Rock.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

MEGADETH - The World Needs A Hero

(Sanctuary Records - 2001)

Always a touchy issue, reviewing albums by my favourite bands, and an uncomfortable one too - in this case having probably offended one or two readers with my 5/10 review of their greatest hits comp', 'Capital Punishment' back in December's issue of the print fanzine. So, can those fans be pacified again this time round? This album should win back a fair fistful of the cynics who've boycotted them since their change of musical direction over the last three albums.

When I got into the band, in mid '92, 'Countdown To Extinction' was just coming out. From the line up that I saw playing 'Symphony of Destruction' on Top Of The Pops, only the two Daves remain, guitarist/singer Mustaine and bassist Ellefson. Joined by some chap called Jimmy Degrasso who replaced the cancer stricken Nick Menza in 1998, and recently by former Savatage/Flesh & Blood guitarist Al Pitrelli (who fills the position vacated by Marty Friedman). There is obviously some confusion for those just having got back into the band, so it may be necessary to check the sleeve notes regarding the new line-up.

Those of you who moved on after the 'Youthanasia album but have decided to give them the benefit of the doubt are pretty wise in choice because lead-off cut 'Disconnect' is classic old school thrashing Megadeth that the older fans have missed of late. '......Hero' is not of the favourite tunes - an interestingly structured number but having a talking verse line followed by a chorus comprising of backing vocals sounding like they are standing over the other side of the room, doesn't make for a catchy song. 'Moto Psycho' again thrashes out mostly, like the earlier stuff once more and '1000 Times Goodbye is a slower but sleeker working.

'Promises' is without any disputes at all, the most bizarre tune I have heard from Mr. Mustaine and his Merry Men - surely they'd gone melodic enough as it was with 'Breadline' but no, they can get softer still. 'Return To Hangar' is 'Hangar 18' part two, and almost identical in bits to its 1990 predecessor. 'When' is the closer, and it was only on second - and much closer listen that I realised they had borrowed the structure and melodies of Diamond Head classic 'Am I Evil'. The Megadeth of the new millennium are a re-toughened, revitalized one - and though there are quite a few patchy areas on this album, the inclusion of guitar wizard Pitrelli has helped the band keep both feet on the ground and the rekindling of the styles that elevated them to the top originally looks set to do that for them again. We hope.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

Melodica - USAcoustica

(TPGPMELODICA Records - 2001)

Okay, so many of us in the U.K. will already have the 'Acoutisca' album, so why have Ted and Gerhard released this - well actually for a very good reason - the U.S. fans (and the rest of the world for that matter) could not get their hands on 'Acoustica' (due to it being a limited pressing through Now and Then Records over here). This release contains the majority of the 'Acoustica' album but also includes some previously unavailable tracks like 'Better off Dead', a wonderful heartfelt ballad written by Steve Norander, about living life alone without your girl. Another excellent song is 'Out of my mind', which appears in both acoustic and electric demo form, again it's another heartfelt ballad but this time about needing a particular girl who you're destined for. There's even a full band electric version of The Cult's 'Fire Woman', which I consider is miles better vocally than the original. This album is well worth every penny - make sure to look out for the brand new studio album 'Love Metal' out in a few months time. Judging by the title track alone, it's bound to be a fine album. For the time being though, wear out this class piece of musical artwork.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Melodica - Lovemetal
(Frontiers/Now & Then 2001)

This is the album is the best Melodica band to date. It features the original vocalist of Danger Danger, Ted Poley and stunning Euro 6-string axeman Gerhard Pichler.

There's so much here to please the ears of any fanatical lover of Melodic Hard Rock. The opening number, the incredible 'Summer Nights' is a major attraction for a start. There are foot-stamping songs galore including the tell-it-how-it-is "What number are you" - the brutal two finger assault at negative journalists who have had it in for the band (and other like them). Yeah, it's good to hear Melodica get their own back!!

You just gotta love the title-track 'Lovemetal' - it's like old Danger Danger at it's serious best. The chorus is passionately explosive and here's the lyrics to prove it -

'Lovemetal forever,
Whenever we're together
The riffs go flowing through my head
Come on baby turn it up to ten'

Yeah - Gorgeous aren't they !!! The whole album is this good from beginning to end - a ravenous melodic rock dream !!!

If you fancy more mellow moments - then your wishes have been granted with the loving rock-ballad 'Keep on runnin' about missing your girl'. Lead Guitarist, Gerhard also gets a chance to shine in his own right with the flamboyant instrumental 'Gotta save yourself' - which gives the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai a run for their money. Other astounding songs include 'Shake' a solid rocker with powerful shouty backing vocals (a la Bon Jovi in their heyday - when they were 'Bon Jovi' with big hair!!!). In fact this track would fit snugly on an album like 'New Jersey' and not seem out of place. 'Broken Promises' is a sheer delight to listen to, although it's about a relationship that's ended. It's a number that shows good songs can be inspired by bad times in your life - and this really is 100% proof.

Apart from the songs, it has to be admitted that the cover is rather sensational which puts me in warm glowing mood everytime I look at it.

The band have just played a string of hot British dates and hope to come back and perform for you in early 2002. When they do - be sure to go - or you'll be missing out on some special. These guys have a big long future - this is only the beginning.

Buy this excellent album from www.nowandthen.co.uk , www.tedpoley.com and www.frontiers.it



10/10 - the album gets better everytime you play it!!!

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

MELODICA - LOVE METAL

(as above)

As we both thought the same high things of Ted Poley's latest musical masterwork, we decided on a double-headed write-up. So here is Dave's take on this stunning Cd.

You can just imagine motor sport mega-gob Murray Walker for a minute here. "And there goes Austria's Gerhard Pichler, straight out of the pits with a fresh set of strings on his car, no it's his guitar, and he takes the lead. Down the straight he burns, and who's that following close behind him? It's Ted Poley, the American who used to drive for team Danger Danger, I do believe! Poley attacks. He's right behind Pichler! He's through! No, I tell a lie! Pichler has another go and he takes the lead with that incredible manoeuvre at the chicane there!" Alright, Dave, you've had your little laugh.

The review now, if you don't mind, eh? Well we could have summed it up in that last bit actually and those of you who have lost interest in Mr Poley following his moonlighting - style wise - with Bone Machine, are hopefully forced to reconsider on a spin of this second album from his current machine Melodica. 'Love Metal' is, strangely as it happens, a concept album. It is based on the ten stages of a relationship going from love-at-first-sight through head-over-heels to arse-over-tit that I managed to figure out from the lyrical content after about ten read-throughs. By that time though, I had also been busy enjoying, time and time again, one of 2001's very, very best albums, courtesy of a chap who's been to hell and back to deliver these goods.

Ted Poley's reputation and quality as a singer goes without any argument whatsoever, and those who've followed him from the opening chords of 'Naughty Naughty' to the present era in time space… and rock, know that there is a man very much in control of his music here. And who's to deny that he's eavesdropped a tad on modern day Z-signed heroes Savannah's sound as a possible explanation behind his return to the sound that brought him to the arenas of the globe, the first time round. 'Summer Nights' itself makes the things more enjoyable. The following five tunes are simply put - 1989 all over again, 'Broken Promises' being the new millennium's equivalent of 'One Step From Paradise' or 'Don't Walk Away'. 'Out Of My Mind' can only be rivalled if all by 'Monkey Business' and 'Bang Bang'. 'Shake' is more an earthquake in the direction of 'Screw It' Valley, whilst 'Keep On Running' odes more to Tall Stories or Alfonzetti, thus guaranteeing a great song to come. 'What Number R.U?' is a little more aggressive at first with Poley's pitched wailings working a few screws loose on that roof, but it's never any fun to swing at the D.D. regime for one further inspiration.

We end with a few minutes of Austrian guitar god Gerhard Pichler shreddin' it, Danzi-style. And that geezer himself only closed his last album with an incredible instrumental. "The cheek of it" I hear Danny mutter from around the corner. From humble beginnings as a drummer in Prophet to the melodic rock Jesus that we know today, Ted Poley remains praised as highly as ever with an album destined to bring the scene back from its knees for keeps.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

 

Mike Plume Band - Fools for the Radio
(Steel Belted Records - 2001)

Mike Plum was born and raised in Alberta, Canada and has a genuine love for straight down the line rock 'n' roll - factory style at that. It's the sound and style that gods like Tom Petty and Bob Dylan hold the trademark for - though 'The Mike Plume Band' can easily match their stand.

This is actually their sixth album and the first to be distributed in Europe. 'Fools for the radio' is a high-spirited warm-hearted affair which I'm real glad I got the chance to check out - you should too.

'Fly in the Ointment' could well be a Tom Petty track - but it's one of theirs - I love it!! Whilst 'Walkin' By' has that stature of 'The Rolling Stones'. I never expect that the 'Mike Plume Band' would sound like this especially when they have a trendy student image - but it goes to show that you can't go on that alone.

Land anywhere on this album and you won't be disappointed. 'Eggshells (New Day)' is a splendid ending to a fabulous album with great melody and singing style - especially notable is the grandiose organ vibe.

You get 13 exquisite numbers about relationships on this platter that I 100% recommend.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Million - Detonator
(A2 Records - 2001)

Sweden's Million (who formed in 1989) hold up with sophisticated, pristine metal melodics, raucous vocals (courtesy of 'Ulrich Carlsson') and throbbing double bass drumming. 'Detonator' is their fourth release (so I must get hold of the other three), produced by the band themselves and mixed by well-known producer 'Simon Hanhart' - a man who's cliental has included Marillion and Malmsteen - in fact, he's just produced the latest Asia album.

The male ingredients of 'Million' are BJ Laneby (Bass), Ulrich Carlsson (Vocals), Jonas Hermansson (Guitar), Mikael Bohnke (Keyboards) and Per Westergen (Drums) who provide us with 11 pulverising electric blasters from opener, 'I'm your blood' (about being strong and carrying on with life when your parents have die) to 'No place like hell' (about feeling down about life and bad personal vibes continually repeating themselves). In the middle of the album you'll discover the acoustic melter entitled 'Even the Sun' about being fooled by love and lies.

If you dig the darkness of Dio, hail the wailings of Helloween and continually cry for Queensryche then Million will do more than enough to satisfy your desires.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Mitch Molloy - Shine

(2001 Frontiers/Now & Then Records)

I love melodic rock, especially when it pumps out as positive as this baby. Mitch Molloy's 'Shine' comes gleaming towards you from out of the bleak cosmos - and thank God !!! 'Shine' is the man 3rd release - which he's sure to be promoting when he hits these shores in October with Nelson.

The track 'You lift me' certainly lifted me in a happy rocky Tyketto-esque kind of way. There really is hope in the sadly ignored genre of rock - it has so much class - unlike many of the other genres hyped up by the Media these days. The guests on the album includes notable musicians like Michael Thompson (who's played with Madonna, Great White and many others), Bon Jovi's Bassist Hugh McDonald, Drummer Micky Curry (from the Bryan Adams band).

There's a splattering of superb songs on this offering like the spiritual ballad 'Draw the Line', the joyous 'Love's made a liar out of me' about realising that it's great to be in love as opposed to being alone. Or what about the splendid soft AOR of 'Love's own hand' or the bouncy rhythmic poptastic rocker 'When I try' with its rather excellent chorus that reads like this -

'When I try to be good, and do just what I should,
I go out of my mind, cause I just wanna have a good time'

Which I couldn't agree more with myself - I guess deep down everybody feels like this!!!

I hope he plays the closer 'Shadows of the dark' at the Sheffield Boardwalk gig on 14th October 2001 because it's a masterpiece.

Overall, Mitch Molloy's 'Shine' is a really entertaining album.

8/10

by Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

 

Monkeyhead - Monkeyhead
(Frontiers/Now and Then - 2001)

Simon Davies and Jason Hook (of 'Bullet Boys' fame) were two high school friends (from the East Coast of America) who grew up listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Queen and Kiss. They formed Monkeyhead in 1995 with a rhythm section of Steve O on drums and Paul Bartel on Bass (who have both been playing for 20 years).

Monkeyhead are very much melodic hair rock as I like it who incorporate the styles of Danger Danger (Ted Poley era), Harem Scarem, Dokken, Firehouse and of course, Bullet. Now those bands styles sells Monkeyhead to me alone without hearing the album.

On one play you will agree that they've done the aforementioned bands proud with top cuts like the epic rocker 'Guns of July' (that's very D2 and B.B) whereas 'Temptation' and 'All my friends in heaven' could quite easily be acoustic Nelson or Firehouse numbers - in fact Simon Davies (with his prominent vocal deliverance) is a close runner up to CJ Snare (lead vocalist of Firehouse).

I can't recommend Monkeyhead highly enough - they are most definitely the future to what became known as 'Hair Metal' in the late 80's/early 90's - but Monkeyhead have miles more lyrical substance than much of what was going on back then. The album was produced by Beau Hill who's placed absolute magic into albums by Alice Cooper, Europe, Ratt and Warrant. Groove out to the majestic 'Bow to the Master' or spin your hair to the blues-metal of 'Morphine'.

With more bands like this and plenty of promotion will place great uplifting rock back on the map where it belongs.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

 

Moonspell - Nocturnia (2 track teaser)

Their new album 'Darkness and Hope' (pictured above) came out on August 27th and features a couple of great tracks at least judging by the standard of this 2-track sampler with the doomy 'Nocturnia' and 'Firewalking' which is a rampant energetic force of a number with changling bass work, strong gothic vocals and ferocious guitar riffage.

Buy their new CD or more than likely miss out on something special.

Keep it Dark!!

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

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