T

April/May

3 Dayz Whizkey – Black Water
(Timezone – 2013)

Good ole boyz bluezy Southern Rock from 3 dayz Whizkey and I knew this was gonna be a top ranking album as soon as I heard the first few seconds of it.

Some mouthwatering numbers on here from these Germans include the opener that is ‘The Gambler’ that sets the stall out from the start with it’s talk of railway stations and sliding guitar; the head into the blues ZZ Top’ish ‘All Night Long’; the chilled out ditty called ‘The King’ with some six string sounds to die for and the slipper stomping ‘Black Rider’.

OR what about ‘Blues Is King’ with its ‘La Grange’ meets ‘Gerdundula’ meets ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ like riffery; the rather excellent ‘Mick Jagger’ that quotes many rock icons and what they’ve given to us; ‘Devil Woman’ which is very like ‘Trudy’ by by Charlie Daniels, and closes with the acoustic and aunthenic as hell ‘Got No TimeFor Feeling Bad’ that is pure black man on the front porch kinda stuff.

Good Sh*t indeed!

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

Trainwreck Architect – Traits Of The Sick
(S/R – 2013)

Old school thrashing and fast hard rock done by a young gang of dude that’ll get ya going right away.

This is a f*ck*n’ blast from beginning to end and pays homage to the likes of Anthrax, Xentrix and Onslaught amd early Metallica to name but a few with great walloping songs such as ‘The Culprit’, ‘As Killers Breath’; ‘The Door Slams Shut’ and the firing on all cylinders blaster that is ‘Feed Them Bullets’.

Excellent.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

Daniel Trigger – Army Of One
(S/R – 2012)

Melodic Hard Rocking from an artist who has elements of old and new with sounds of Alter Bridge and hot sounds of the 80’s in there and comes from the Midlands in the UK as well and originally fronted a trio called Trigger.

Some really great songs on here such the heavy opening number that is’Unbreakable’ that reminds me of the likes of Nickelback; the gutsy blues like ‘Fear The Night’ and pacey powerful riffed ‘State Of Mind’ which is followed up by the 80’s hard rocking ‘Here & Now’.

Then there’s the heartfelt ‘Remember When’ about one of his music buddies and the closing cracking rocker ‘ ‘Dancing With The Devil’.

Outstanding album who deserves to do well in the UK and beyond.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

Trouble Circus – Ain’t Sh*t
(Record Union – 2013)

A raucous rock band from Norway who are full of attitude and shoutiness in a punk like way.

It’s full-on, venomous and goes at 90 miles an hour with revvin’ clattering cuts including ‘City Punk Rock’; the rockin’ ‘Do You Wanna’; the tongue in cheek ‘Legalize’ about sucking his d*ck with its fake crowd screaming and Mikkey Dee speed drumming and the closer ‘Downtown’ is a cooking tune too that surprises you by closing on solo piano.

Okay.

6.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

December

George Thorogood & The Destroyers– Ride Till I Die/ The Hard Stuff
(Eagle Records – 2013)

A double set of two of George’s albums – the first of which ‘Ride….’ I reviewed back in 2006 so go and scroll down to find out about that one.

‘The Hard Stuff’ simply carries on in the same ole formula of cheesey old overdone many times blues which to be honest gets tiring very quickly if I wanna put my cards on the table – gambling ones or otherwise. Highlights are the opening gutsy rocker of a title-track grinding moderate riffed ‘ I Didn’t Know’ with it’s deliberate pauses; the slide guitar-work of ‘Dyanflow Blues’ that’s very Leadbelly, the folky country of ‘Drifter’s Escape’ or the 12 -bar blues ‘Takin’ Care Of Business’ for the slide-work.

Average to Great.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

November

THALION - Dawn of Chaos
(S/R - 2013)

Canada can also belt out a worthy prog metal product too, as Annihilator long ago testified.

Treading closely flavoured waters, this Quebec outfit drop every element to please Edguy or Kamelot fans, the crust of the earth over, into this eight track platter but pleasantly it is done. Defying tedium, they move more into straight- in-your- face speed metal with twin guitars stealing the glory gifted by the keyboards in many other counterparts.

Simple verse- chorus-verse structures soon have you forgetting which genre they're playing for - Thalion make it easy to walk in and think Iron Maiden have a new one on the go. 'Another day', 'Dawn of Chaos', 'Nameless Pharaoh' and 'Ballroom of Fear' find little to no new ground but a greatly consistent thread throughout decrees that the melodic metal collection clears a gap for this one.

Unoriginal but fun.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.facebook.com/thalionrulz

Nik Turner – Space Gypsy
(Cleopatra Records /Purple Pyramid – 2013)

This is pure early Hawkwind circa Dave Anderson 1972 era with Nik having a brand new band and comes across as authentic as hell

It’s cosmic, spacey, druggified and utterly out-there which is what I wanted from a release from this psychedelic legend. There’s a fusionistic, tranquil quality to the album especially on ‘Galaxy Rise’ with the seasgulls on there that also has a real eastern feel too. You simply get beamed up and transferred to another galaxy in your head while taking it all in.

There are one or two cool old Brock-like riffs and similar arrangements in there such as ‘Coming Of The Maya’ & the aptly titled ‘We Ride The Timewinds’ that reminds me of ‘Brainstorm’. Other amazing sounds include the wind oscillating opener ‘Fallen Angel STS-51-L’ that is followed in style with saxophone intro on ‘Joker’s Song’ or the incredibly radio-waved and phased-out balladeering dreamstate ‘Eternity’ giving the impression you are floating above your body.

Nik plays some outstanding flute on the last official song on the album ‘The Visitor’ that gives Ian Anderson (no relation to Dave) a run for his money at times and finishes with some ear piercing sonar that even made my cats ears twinge.

What can I say apart from mind-blowing brilliance.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

April

Twisted Species - Genus
(S/R - 2013)

A metal band that have elements of old school and stoner in there with a few Zakk Wylde like urrp guitar squeals on occasions who come from Shropshire, UK.

Highlights on here include the opener 'Hold Me Down'; the lighter 'Don't Wanna Die Again'; 'Dead Behind The Eyes' & the Sabbathy at times like Innocence Lost'.My only qualm is that there's too much post-grunge yawling on here for my liking and makes them come across too generic as opposed to standing out from the pack but do have th eodd element of Black Label Society and Pantera in there.

Okay.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

January 2013

T&N - Slave To The Empire
(Edel/Ear Music - 2012)

A high profile band to be honest when you consider that it features former members of Dokken (Jeff Pilson/George Lynch/'Wild' Mick Brown).

You'll also find the said guys alongside guest singers like Doug Pinnock, Seb Bach and Tim 'Ripper' Owens at times too, giving Jeff a break in the vocal dept and also plenty of numbers with stick meastro Brian Tichy holding fort on the kit.

There are many highlights here including new songs sung by Mr. Pilson such as 'Slave To The Empire' and 'Rhythm Of The Soul as well as momentous versions of It's Not Love' (Robert Mason); 'Tooth And Nail' (Doug Pinnock); 'Into The Fire'; 'Alone Again' (with Seb Bach); 'Kiss Of Death' (Tim 'Ripper' Owens) - easily the best two in the highlight dept and finished off with the excellent 'Access Denied'.

Metal Majesticness.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

The Tequila Rockingbirds - Drowning In A Moment Of Enlightenment
(S/R - 2012)

Now these guys remind of something between Led Zeppelin and Great White with aspects and elements of both bands in there and hail from Newfoundland, Canada.

A really strong album from a band who are no doubt a stellar act if this cd is anything to go by as it's a real top dollar calibre release from beginning to end with ballsy batterers in 'Jericho' ; the folky Led Zep 4 like 'Leave Your List Behind' and the powerful ballad with it's socking at ya vocal and rolling drums throughout that is 'These Are The Things'.

Then there's the screaming at you and slidin' guitarin' 'I've Got A Box To Put You In' or the gorgious closing acoustic 'Are You Listening. Hope they do really well all over the world as they truly deserve to.

Outstanding.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

Texas Hippie Coalition - Peacemaker
(Carved Records - 2012)

This is down 'n' dirty outlaw metal from that famous oil filled state of America - yeah the one that brought you ZZ Top and some terrible tv dramas - you know the ones.

Deep filled boots of hog stinkin' smokin' leather and gun totin' motherf*ck*r vibes is what you'll find on here on their 3rd album - must get hold of the debut and second on the strength of this monster. They have that kinda strength, power and sound that is like a melting pot of Black Label Society meets Pantera moshing it up with David Alan Coe, Swampdawamp and Scattered Hamlet.

Ferocious whisky soaked vocals from Big Dad Ritch with blazing southern fried raw 'n' real as f*ck musicianship from Wes Wallace (Guitar); Bassist John Exall and Drums from Timmy Braun. This album comes across entirely heartfelt with full-barelled numbers in the opening 'Hands Up' that sets the standard of all things to come; the extremely singalong epics that are 'Outlaw' & 'Turn It Up' and the very dixied 'Don't Come Lovin'.

Then there's the acoustic radio monoraul intro'd 'Paw Paw Hill' about illegal liquor making; the outstanding titletrack'Peacemaker' and beautiful closing ballad that is 'Think Of Me' that all have solid as hell riffs of high-spirited moonshined glory from the backwoods of hell. Nothing short of brilliant as it's one of the best Rock/Metal albums I've heard since Metalliville existed and I'd put it against any classic album out there that's been released in the last 40 or so years.

Bring on the South Ya'll as it's gonna rise again at this rate!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TIMES FORGOTTEN - The Book Of Lost Words
(S/R - 2012)

Though their name resembles the scathing Kerrang often reserve for such outfits, Times Forgotten rises above it with flying colours, with the type of album made to forcefully pluck another nail from prog’s coffin.

This being the San Jose sextet’s third album means I have to back reference but thankfully it turns out as good news both ways – ‘TBOLW’ is a superb cd. Biting guitar arrangements from both stringsters Leonardo and Ari steal the album’s fire from under vocalist Francisco Longhi’s nose, with solos starting, filling and finishing the tunes. Longhi, it should be said is still every bit the accomplished throat with a likeness to the many best of the genre and his own harmonies sit there to be savoured.

The keyboards aren’t by any means left out of it, with some magnificent Stanway/Sherinian-schooled melodies to ice the cake all round. ‘Disconnected’, ‘Transcendence’, ‘States of Awareness’, ‘River’, ‘Burn My Eyes’, ‘Days Like Eternity’ and ‘louder Than Sun’ don’t rely on length to size up the quality stakes, even if a few aren’t exactly short. Dynamic playing and singing do that job for them and that’s before writing even comes in.

Times Forgotten have not forgotten the recipe as much as got it spot on - I defy you to turn down the taste.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Threshold & Saga.

NET: www.timesforgottencr.com

Tyketto – Dig In Deep
(Frontiers - 2012)

In all music genres, there are some bands that have stigmatized a specific era with their songs, bands that eventually didn’t make it and disappeared from the scene, or had a short career generally. Tyketto are one of those bands. They released a splendid album back in 1991 which has a few songs that are being considered as gems even today and honestly I believe that they will always be regarded as ones. How can one forget or not like Danny Vaughn’s unique voice and the catchy as hell ‘Forever Young’ which is still played in rock clubs today? ‘Don’t Come Easy’ is still among the best albums of melodic hard rock music of all time.

Returning 17 years after ‘Shine’ (where Steve Augeri sings) with the original line-up (the ‘Don’t Come Easy’ era), Tyketto made the fantasy of lots hard rock fans come true. After all, who hadn’t thought, when listening to the hits of the band in a club or at home how it would have been like if they came back with new material?

‘Dig In Deep’ has lots of acoustic guitars, many mediocre songs and not a big catchy tune in sight. Danny Vaughn’s voice is in great shape (as it should be with all his touring supporting his solo album) and sends chills down your spine, but the songwriting isn’t as consistent or as strong as it should have been. After you’ve listened to the album, you’ll be left with thoughts of how this album could’ve have been. This isn’t exactly what you expect and I think this isn’t what the band meant to do as well. I was expecting something closer to the first album with catchy rockers and heartbreaking ballads, but all I got is this generic, mediocre melodic rock (with very few strong moments) album with this dry but not bad production.

This is one album I would not go out and buy, it is very disappointing and mediocre from a band who set a light the eighties rock clubs with some great American hair metal. Their debut album ‘Don’t Come Easy’ and follow ups 'Strength In Numbers' and ‘Shine’ are still regularly played in my CD player, but ‘Dig In Deep’ will be consigned to ‘never to be played again’ section of my CD collection.

If you fancy checking out Tyketto old and new, here are some links to the band and their music.

6/10

By Andy Turner

Net: http://www.tyketto.de/ http://www.tyketto.com/ http://www.myspace.com/tykettoband https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tyketto-The-Official/272013509510636
http://www.reverbnation.com/tyketto

June

Tank - War Nation
(Metal Mind Productions - 2012)

Man it doesn't seem like 5 minutes since I was last reviewing the previous album by these guys - how time flies.

Anyways, this is another epic release from the unit with Doogie White on lead vocals. Why can't may others release CD's of this quality instead of jumping onto some vile bandwagon that too many are guilty of. So many highlights on here that have well crafted guitar solo's drum-fills and breaks and then there's golden nugget vocals on top as well which are pure icing on the cake.

It's like going back to the good old days when you listen to these numbers with stand-outs apart from the entirity (which would be a total copout, but what the hell). Go from 'State Of The Union' right through to 'Hardroad' with points in between like the title track 'War Nation'; Don't Dream In The Dark' and 'Wings Of Heaven' you'll find nothing but brillaince screaming at you from every possible direction.

If you like bands like Judas Priest, Rainbow and Dio then this is one you'll adore too. Oh cool as sh*t - secret song which I presume is called 'War Machine' - hang on there's yet more - a live tune 'Dance At The Feet Of The Devil' I think it's called and an acoustic number that follows too about wastin' your life away.

Fekkin' Sh*t Hot!!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

Daniel Trigger - Infinite Persistence
(S/R - 2012)

A self released album by a Brit dude, ac ouple of his family members and 3 friends that he states took 23 years to plan and 2 years to record.

There's some good powerful hard rock stuff on here with highlights including 'Sell My Soul'; 'Alone Tonight'; 'Rain'; 'Screaming At The Enemy'; 'Promised Land'; 'Pendulum' and the closing piano ballad about his son in 'Last Breath'. Decent material musically and there's some effective multi-tracked vocals from Mr. Trigger too.

Give him a spin.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

Trucker Diablo - The Devil Rhythm
(Ripple Music - 2011)

Raucaus rockers from Ireland that have took the eye of artists like Joe Elliott. Ok, this originally came out in 2010 but it's been re-released on this label going by the name of Ripple Records.

There's full on fresh rowdyness and a healthy helping of southern sounds too on here - imagine The Almighty & The Wildhearts meets Black Label Society with elements of Black Stone Cherry for good measures too - that's somewhere close to the stlylings of Trucker Diabalo with vocals that put me in mind of Metallica's James Hetfield at times.

Highlights on this moresome masterpiece include the opening 'Drink Beer, Destroy'; the hard 'n' dirty 'Big Truck'; the Rob Zombie like 'Never Too Late To Sin'; the brilliant Southern-belled dixie-downess of 'Dirty Love'; the slidin' greatness of 'Rattlehead' and killer closer in 'Running Scared'.

Excellent.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

April

TANKARD - Thirst
(AFM - 2008)

It's Tankard time (a review I missed a good while ago, so apologies there - Ed).

Ten bulky looking parcels drop through the letterbox ‘marked ‘Thirst’ which is a new thing for the band, in that it’s title track houses the only one visible reference to their fave subject that the booze-obsessed Gerry veterans make in any of their titles this time round.

Highlights on here include ‘Octane Warriors’, ‘Deposit Pirates’, ‘Stay Thirst’, ‘Echoes Of Fear’, ‘When Daddy Comes To Play’ and ‘G.A.L.O.W.’ Closing titles ‘Myevilfart’ and ‘Sexy Feet Under’ may have us laughing a lot but by having some very Priest-flavoured guitar glaze over the top by Andy Gutjahr means its no less appetizing than last year’s banquet, ‘Last Case Scenario’.

Typically strong performances from the guys still giving it more than plenty of muscle after 26 years (now close to their 30th - Ed) they are as Metal as ever.

Excellent.

9/10

By Dave Atttrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Slayer, Evile, Testament, Pantera & Primal Fear.

TOMORROW LIVES - Skeletons In My Closet
(S/R - 2011)


Kentucky eh… a further big export alongside Blue Grass, Nicky Hayden and that erm...chickeny stuff to pride themselves on?

These four lads live like tomorrow never comes, taking their testorerone-fueled alt-metal assault across the sand plastered plains, stopping for no one. Not that they do ig all at full throttle , this is a diverse album when it gets down deeper and the vague prog vibes are murder to shake off. Hooks are occasionally slow through these ten numbers but the rippling riffs and sharp-shooting drum beats compensate.

Both live and on disc, great numbers like ’Skeletons…’, ‘Walk Away’, ‘Lonely & Left Out’, ‘Fallen From Grace’, ‘It’s Over’, ‘Here’ and 'The End (Wake Me Up)' rock and rumble with only some annoying random screamcore occasions to ruin things. Striking resemblances to seventy percent of today’s young metal mega-starters don’t seem to come advertised in the promotional writs, but that’s the surprise made for once pleasant, even to a horn throwing old-school hack like myself.

Frightening.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Nickelback, Drowning Pool, Nirvana & Alter Bridge.

NET: www.myspace.com//tomorrowlives

Toxic Heart - Trailerpark Show
(S/R - 2012)

A 4 piece band from Slovenia who are posing as rednecks on this 6 track CD.

Musically they are getting there but vocally they sound about as Dixie as Duran Duran - now if they came across like a Ronnie or Johnny Van Zant or like Hayseed you-know-who then it'd be far more believable than their Del Amitri like vibe and style.

That aside the songs are decent enough with highlights including the openin title track 'Trailerpark Show'; 'Down South' and the closing 'Mixed Emotions'. Needs work - you can look the part but you gotta sound the part too which is way more important.

6.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

TOYGRACE - Average Songs
(Synchronia - 2011)

'It’s Not Easy To Be Me’ goes the opening title of this Italian act’s debut.

Not that I’d accuse them ever of kidding, their beautiful front woman’s fiery but awesomely harmonic pipes steal nearly the full glory from everything else great about these eight numbers. Songs that swing between the silky indie pop feel of Catatonia and the angst-plated girl -fronted grunge attack of Skunk Anansie in equally divided proportions mean that ‘Great’, ‘Satine Stone’, ‘Magnet Love’, ‘Music’ and ‘Funny Game’ have no single home for their market to sit in and at least the aforementioned two will be clawing hard over their product.

Cool, acoustic electric balance on the string front still does its part to stop restless fingers aiming towards the ‘skip’, although that would only be likely if this wasn’t your cup of tea to begin with. With my remarkably more balanced taste in rock n’ roll sounds nowadays, I’d safely say it is.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Mostly Autumn & The Cranberries.

NET: www.toygrace.com

TREPID - And They Call it Revolution
(S/|R - 2011)

Not every single girl fronted metal-machine exports from European shores, still as hard as we find it to believe.

One or two from the good old US of A get their foot through the door and when we leave it open for such fantastic talent such as Trepid do we really care? About these guys certainly, a fair bit. Despite some annoying distortion to the solo element, they do a lovely line in trad metal/alternative fusion and fire through each number of the eleven so fast, you even remember actually pressing the play. Frontwoman, Lana Rothsberger began her childhood roots in country so it would be an unexpected transition to witness in today’s weighty creen that couples onto all styles, wetter Seattle or San Franscisco oriented- what counts it that she’s bloody digit-slobbering good behind that microphone.

Whether it’s punk, metal, southern rock, blues or whatever else they give you to tick on the list, ‘Devil Girl’, ‘Rip It Away’, ‘Kiss The Devil Goodbye’ ‘Sick’, ‘Revolt’, ‘Sin and Pie’ and ‘Are You My Vampire’ rock solid in a strongly modern accent. Alice in Chains and Metallica amongst their listed inspirations attack one another headlong and leave one to wallow in all the shit that makes it out through this side of the musical fan.

Great one.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: My Ruin, Skunk Anansie, Siouxie and The Banshee, Girlschool, Nirvana & Black Sabbath

NET: www.myspace.com/trepidband

January 2012

This Is Lizzard - The Orcas Sessions
(Stolk Music Records - 2011)

A three piece who get together once a year on Orcas Island, WA, USA who have released this gorgious 6 track CD.

Highlights include the opening 'Alright' about a girl who loves the moon; a live cover of Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin' and a beautiful song about that festival in late December called 'Christmas In Summertime. They are female fronted by Lizanne Hennessey who writes all the songs with Roland Stolk and Gene Nery sorting out the instrument side of things.

Chilled, organic and both acoutical and electrical magnetism is what you'll find here.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

THREE EYES LEFT - Non Method as Method…No Limits as Limit
(S/R - 2011)

Most only have two.. unless you’re talking about someone with half of his glasses absent.

Not sounding anything nearly as like alt rock faves Third Eye Blind as the name throws you, TEL trade in deep driving stoner metal and da-a-amn go-o-o-od at it too. Pepper in occasional prog herbs and leave ‘La Fee Verthe’, ‘Jeet Kune Do’ and ‘Hymn Of The Riffian’ to simmer before they explode from the cooker to cook your brain with brutal southern-driving rhythm.

Guitarist/Singer Maic’s throat could barely come more recommended for the task, more classy than your dad’s old Morris Minor, in his delivery and rather not unlike one MR O.Osbourne in his prime. One is best advised to afford this trio a chance if they find a tour date or few this way as they don’t often get as heavy or infectious as this.

No limits indeed, my friend.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Black Sabbath, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard & Pantera.

NET: www.myspace.com/threeeyesleft

October

THY BLEEDING SKIES - Autumn Souls
(Whirlwind Records - 2011)

Nature coughs up another band that seemed to have attracted the legendary tag despite having appeared to Metalliville from out of nowhere Like lately-reviewed US extremesters Indestructible Noise Command, however, these six lads also command a lot of respect for peddling substance alongside din.

German death metal merchants Thy Bleeding Skies do the scene proud, serving up a diverse amalgam of rhythms, paces and traditional doom-influenced lines, having three guitarists showing its dividends indeed. Picking up old school reins and holding them together with the looser feels of Candlemass and Paradise Lost sends the hounds hurtling off over metal’s icy plains at astounding pace without getting stuck kin the freezing cracked lakes of tediousness.

‘The Chaos that Comes’, ‘Memories’, ‘Autumn Souls’, ‘Gonna Be a Bad Day’, ‘Innner Aspect’, ‘The Fallen One’ and ‘The Sky Still Bleeds’ rock and rumble with pleasantly riveting old-school force and become an enjoyable piece death metal from the start - yes such thing does exist. Recommended for anyone who wants angry, accessible and old fashioned all in one pack… recommended full-stop in fact.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Morbid Angel, Testament & Nile.

NET: www.myspace.com/thybleeedingskies

September

ROBIN TROWER - The Playful Heart
(Repertoire Records - 2011)

You’ve been departed, four decades from the legendary band that you made your reputation first known by, yet you wouldn’t so much as blink at the idea of retirement. 

Robin Trower esq, my hat goes off to you sir. In a day, before my dad was even old enough to touch alcohol this gentleman was big and his music still now remains ruled one hundred and one percent by his heart, and zero percent by fashion, which is why I harbour almost more respect for music from this era than today’s talented new minority making it onto the HMV racks.

One only needs a solitary lap each through ‘Playful Heart’, ‘Don’t Look Back’, ‘Dressed In Gold’, ‘Find Me’, ‘Maybe I Can Be A Friend’, ’Camille’ and ‘And we Shall Call It Love’ once to understand why Mr. Trower’s sound is as important in 2011 as in 1967.

Timeless sound with solos  aplenty in his unmistakable style make these new eleven  tunes  future cornerstones in their own rights. From his hard-rocking prog class to slow bluesy swings, Robin only occasionally robs from the rich, taking strongly into account his reputed Hendrix inspirations, but dishes out, above plenty to the poor(ly) in need of real classic rock music.

Melodies you’d once hear purring out of a pub jukebox on Sunday afternoon stay in your hears  on through the eras and those who survive that day and age, have the least excuse of all not to sing along with these excellent songs and savour the traditional Trower bends that come with every one. 

Awesome! 

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

  
RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Procul Harum, Cream, Free, Pink Floyd, Bad Company & Deep Purple.

NET:  www.trowerpower.com

TURBO BLANC - Sun Up (Single)
(Rising Records - 2011)

I first met these lively Londoners sometime late last year and was plausibly impressed by the single song taster, even though I do recall ending withy an oh-so-polite request for slightly more in quantity on their next subsequent disc.

So I get two songs this time - see they do take (some kind of) notice. ‘Sun Up’ finds TB still thrashing out their grittily infectious line of punk n’ roll madness with a little progression in pace and you instantly believe the promise. The classy edge continue through the wavy groove lines ending both this and dominating vaguely bluesier B-side ’Like A Weapon’’ which has a convincing old school seventies drive.

Frontman, Nik - a painting salesman by day may have to clear some space for a few cds by this time next year as these boys are becoming increasingly addictive in both sound and performance.

Album on its way soon boys?

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: www.myspace.com/turboblanc

August
Trouble Tribe Japan – Supersonic Stare
(S/R – 2011)

Where they from again? Well actually only half the band are from Japan – this being their bassist Yugi Uchida and guitarist Jun Sugimoto or more precisely – Osaka – though they are actually based there all the same with the outfit completed with American drummer, Gordy Carlson and Irish singer, Brian O’Kane.

Their style is what can be termed as melodic rock and metal with a few hints of the nu-ness in there too with 8 songs spanning just over 34 minutes and highlights on here include the opening ‘In My Head’; ‘Sunny California’ and ‘Starlight’ that are bright, enlightening and rewarding to the ears.

Great band – my only just don’t vent is that they rehash a few baggy shorts and spiky haired riffs you’ve heard a few times too many already – bar that, an excellent CD. See them live in you live anywhere between Tokyo and Sydney.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (Special Edition CD + DVD)
(Armoury Records – 2011)

The original debut from 1982 re-released with bonus songs and a DVD from Reading Festival that took place that same year!

No need to say much about the debut album as we all know the classics such as the opening ‘What You Don’t Know’; ‘Under The Blade’ ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Shoot ‘em Down’ – great o have them on CD at last all the same as well as the album classics like ‘Run For Your Life’ and ‘Day Of The Rocker’.

If that ain’t enough the good peeps at Armoury have included the ‘Ruff Cutts’ EP that are the 4 original demos of ‘What You Don’t Know’; ‘Shoot ‘Em Down’ (with added gunshots at the end); ‘Under The Blade’ and the later to be released cover of ‘Leader Of The Pack’ that was originally released on ‘Secret Records’ back in ’81 – you lucky f*ck*rs!!

The DVD ‘1982 Reading Festival’ is a real treat – seeing the band back in the day before the album had even come out and playing a good handful of songs from it that include ‘Tear It Loose’; ‘Sin After Sin’ and ‘What You Don’t Know. Not to mention an incredible rendition of their version of The Rolling Stones ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll’ which features Producer of the album, Pete Way (of UFO) on stage and the reunion of Lemmy and ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke who had not spoken since Eddie had left Motorhead – an epic pinnacle moment indeed.

Dee moans at the crowd for throwing stuff as well but does win them over about halfway into the set. You even get present interviews with the band members about what they thought to the gig, being in the UK, recording the album and UK food – hahaha – this is funny sh*t – didn’t one get thrown on stage at the gig as well as manky fruit and bottles of p*ss!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

Two Wheel Eel – S/T
(EM INC – 2010)

A band that are real appealing to the old school fans and beyond who have plenty of beautiful acousticness to them.

They are from New York and formed in the early 80’s – this is their debut album and has some really great songs on it throughout.

Highlights include the opening ‘Hey Annie’; the retro late 60’s ‘Front Page News’; the mid paced sad but truthfulness of ‘Heartbreaker’ and the Southern-riff-like ‘We’re All The Same’.

Worth checking out!

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

June

Mike Tramp & The Rock 'N' Roll Circus - Stand Your Ground
(Ear Music/Edel - 2011)

The ex-White Lion/Freak Of Nature frontmans latest release. Let me tell you that it's his best release in years and equals out to the best of what White Lion did for defo.

There are just so many good songs on here and it's as tho he's gone through the past few years and placed them all in the 'keep for my strongest album yet' or something because there aint no sign of fillers anywhere in the killer rock release! So many highlights indeed right the way through with highlights including the opening 'Don't Let Then Put It On You' that comes complete with air-raid sirens; the rockin' Quo meets AC/DC 'Gotta Get Away' and pop-rock of 'Got Me Crazy'.

Then there's the deep thinking sinister ballad 'The World Is Changing' the laid back rocker 'Prettiest Girl' and to close it the epic social and war related closer 'The Soldier Never Started A War'.

Well worth getting this one is.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TWO CENT SAM - Songs From The Sandbox

(S/R - 2011)

A new band for once justifiable to be raved about on papers mags and promos worldwide, US fivesome Two Cent Sam are a rare breed let loose.

These lads explore all manner of pop rock music created. Shoving, alternative, , indie, ska, and even AOR all in one basket, nothing ends up falls out over the side wilted. ‘Warcry’, ‘This is Why’ , ’Wasting Away’, ’Killers Now’, ’Memo 32’ , ’Never Too Soon’ and ’My Generation’ are the seven resident favourites in a thirteen -long thrill ride that is amplified by some tastily gusty vocals similar in frequent bursts to the Dexies’ Kevin Rowland. Strongly competent on both electric and acoustic strings plus keyboards, TCS don’t take any prisoners nor leave anyone out on the rocks with their spectrum pandering swagger and come through it even taller.

Excellent.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Blink 182, The Jam, Artic Monkeys & Madness

NET: myspace.com/twocentsam

May

Pat Travers Band - Boom Boom Live At The Toronto Diamond 1990
(Edel/earMusic - 2011)

The Canadian caught live who sounds vocally like Rory Gallagher with the guitar chops of Gary Moore.

Qualitywise, the reproduction of the CD is a bit flat and you need to blast the sound up quite a bit to get a damn good response from what's on offer. Once you do though, it's rather good with some enthusiastic blues and rock sounds from Pat and the boys. Highlights include cuts like 'What'cha Gonna Do Without Me'; the then newly released 'School Of Hard Knocks'; a cover of 'Born Under A Bad Sign'; the bright and smiling 'I La La Love You'; the ballsy 'Snortin' Whiskey' or excellent pulverising instrumental 'Guitars From Hell'.

Not a bad live album but certainly not the best.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

March

TO CAST A SHADOW - In Memory Of
(Kolony Records - 2010)

Just as we’re getting used to certain things coming from certain places, it’s Scandinavia who now grace us with another great new female fronted outfit - why should Poland have all the fun.

'To Cast a Shadow' are not actually hot off the press, although, this their second album is just about, has been on store shelves two weeks at the time of writing. A mildly progressive slab of melodic goth noise with all the sought ingredients, songs like ‘Tormented’, ‘Morose’, ‘Oceans Apart’, ‘Betula’, ‘My Misery’ and ‘Set Afire’ are common place ear candy for all fans of lush vocal harmonies as Gunnhild Huser supplies to these beautifully atmospheric tracks.

Above-competitive but also down -to- earth guitar work from Marcus Granlien in place of endless widdle stints allows for plenty of subtle acoustic diversions, the reputation for versatility in this genre not exactly unknown. Captivating and classy, TCAS are another sweet mainland treat to enjoy.

Excellent.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Anthema, My Dying Bride & Paradise Lost

NET: www.myspace.com/tocastashadow

TOXIC SMILE - I’m Your Saviour
(S/R - 2010)

Nine-track offering has one other more notable thing in common with Tallica’s ‘And Justice For All’ album in the longest being over nine minutes and the shortest clocking in at five and a half. yet this is a much more preferable listen than one of my least two favourite discs from the Bay Area boys.

Being good to see a German outfit giving this stuff a try once again, TS are not on their first ,having been around since 1996 and their latest product is strong and atmospheric even if not also sounding borrowed throughout, ’Pride and Joy providing particularly strong Theater vibes at the beginning. ‘Liquid Wall’, ‘The Change’, ‘Hidden Brand’, ‘Endless Cycle’ and ‘Poles Apart’ do have things you can note each for, for the next play with keysman Marek Arnold putting in the most significant show.

Lest we forget it, their guitar work is of course of the par excellence level with considerably infectious harmonies regarding the style whilst Larry B has the typically fine pipes required for the package and the job is done with no bits left loose needing the listener to sit and enjoy.

Pleasant stuff again from a scene marked for its talents.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Enchant, Fates Warning, Stratovarious & Yes.

NET: myspace.com/toxicsmile www.toxic-smile.de

February

TANTRIC CYCLE - Bleed (EP)
(S/R -2010)

Presented with another sleaze punk sensation I’m always more glam punk wannabes by numbers round the corner, Austria’s Tantric Cycle strictly fail to disappoint, coming not so much round as straight across and leathering you in the ol’ Chevy Chase with their rock n’ roll barrage.

This bolshy, ballsy Guns n Roses / Faster Pussycat fuelled approach pays testimony to the struggling belief that one or two bands can still actually come equipped to play it with class and these lads have it sorted in the space of just three numbers. Hooks, sass and some hard driving solos build up on the genuine promise of substance and show everyone how we wish it could still be done.

Often after another new cycle myself, one will have to seriously consider the Tantric brand next time.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: myspace.com/tantriccycle

TESTIFY - Pushing Back Darkness
(S/R - 2010)

California’s Testify are another great new band, who are fronted by Vixen's current bass player and backing vocalist, Lynn Lowrey.

I’d better warn you though that if you’re expecting however anything that sounds like ’Edge Of A Broken Heart’ out of any of these eight numbers, be prepared ot be disappointed. There is no bandwagon jumping to mention but these guys do spread their wings across influential skies. Blues, grunge and punk join updated hard rock for a sweet and short but sharp showdown although there are enough old-school requirements intact to please.

'Eyes of Fire', 'From The Grave'; 'Time to Burn', 'Pillar Of Salt' and ‘Sound The Alarm’ drop hooks, suss and solos in their due payloads and make for bold live energy with brutal shreds from Scott Weisenborn to favour the older follower. Even though Lynne’s pipes have altered somewhat with age, it sees her stronger on returning aboard a mighty vehicle that may yet ride over the roofs of her older machines.

'Pushing Back Darkness’ may take more than one journey to leave its tyre print over the Vixen parking lot but it makes a mighty new mark on the metal front anyway.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Doro, Warlock, Skunk Anansie & Girlschool.
NET:myspace.com/testifyband

THIRTEEN BLED PROMISES - Disimpregnations
(S/R -2010)

Spain’s 'Thirteen Bled Promises', caught my attention momentarily, interesting names ’Sells So Bad It Makes You cry’ and ’The Boy In the Clap Pajamas’ appearing on the sleeves.

Hiding behind them of course though is uninterestingly so-so death metal din that thankfully lasts only four tracks. TBP growl and gargle along to more great ugly lumps of directionless high speed drum guitar racket that seems to be going nowhere except a half hour slot at the local metal club once every three months.

With occasionally technical moments saving them from boring the more seasoned of scene followers there is hope for them in the industry but that’s about all the excitement I can find.

Sounds so dull it makes you die.

4.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Morbid Angel & Nile.

TUBEFREEKS - Complex Disorders
(S/R - 2010)

Their name may sound like either an army of deformed men on the London Underground, or some typical wannabe indie-pop sell-outs.

Baltimore trio, Tubefreeks are thankfully neither, although they do come with a few alternative tendencies and are already classed under grunge amongst things on the promo. Putting a bit of everything from the main three into their mix, grindy Seattle -edged noise meets with straight ahead hard rock and ……… metal in a melting but intelligently orchestrated collision.

Frontman Paul Vankenburg’s more than a little Ozzy- like range sits beautifully on top of their mostly seventies-levelled metal approach and turns a lot of attention away from their initially, contemporary-moulded product. With plenty of lovely solos to choose from, this album reeks of wonderful yet unusually confined classiness and a strong whiff of substance that fills the air solid.

A wonderfully Freek occurrence.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Trouble, Soundgarden & Metallica.

NET: myspace.com/tubefreeks

Twisted Sister - You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll (Re-issue)
(Armoury Records - 2011)

Well what really needs to be said for this classic 1983 Rock release that hasn't been said already.

Those 10 tracks have come out again and remixed and remastered for 2011 so it's miles clearer for the listeners of today - not that I am complaining about the sounds of the original release - it was 1983 for gods sake!

Highlights are obvious really such as loud and proud gems such as opener 'The Kids Are Back'; 'Ride To Live, Live To Ride'; 'We're Gonna Make It' and the title track 'You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll' but to make it more worthwhile in buying you are also treated to 3 bonus numbers with the best number being the fast, furious 'Feel The Power'.

Invest in one.

9.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

Twisted Sister - Come Out And Play
(Armoury - 2011)

Re-release of the 1985 album that has some classics on there and a few that are not so classic as well - hahaha. The good, the bad and the ugly - I suppose that's the 'Sister to a T really.

There's brilliance in the form of the well known hits like 'The Leader Of The Pack'; 'Be Chrool To Your School' (that features Alice Cooper on vocals at times) or the haunting ballad 'I believe In You' as well as some real cliche cheesey panto-rock in 'I Believe In Rock 'N' Roll'; the bellowing sing in a deep whole chorused 'Lookin' Out For Number One' or the Manawar Spinal Tap-ness of the original album closer 'Kill Or Be Killed'. Nice bonus number in the powerhouse of a ballad 'King Of The Fools' - probably one of the strongest song on the album to be honest with timeless lyrical content.

This album is like wine when it gets older - some turns to excellent vintage whereas other bottles of it turn to vinegar, which in some ways is a perfect description of this bands music - though I could be shot for saying that in some quarters.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

Twisted Sister - Love Is For Suckers
(Armoury - 2010)

Their last official album that came out in 1987- well it was their album but wasn't meant to be really - as legend and truth goes, the material was actually written by Dee Snider to be a solo album but the record company insisted on it being a Twisted Sister album, even though the band weren't really operating as one - in the brotherhood way of thinking.

I guess that's why it was thought of in some parts as a stinker of an album for the band - but if you think of it as a Dee Snider solo album then it's a really strong album with songs to match - OK, it's mostly free of all the tongue in cheek cliches that made them in the 1st place - their routine of dress up like a bunch of ugly transvestites and play shock rock and sing rather novelty like party anthems.

The original ten track album has some cracking songs on their such as the opening 'Wake Up (The Sleepng Giant)'; the commercial female appealing 'Hot Love'; the excellent needy 'I'm So Hot For You You' with its sleazy riff and lyrics to match; the cheesy Snider meets Simmons 70's Kiss glitz of 'One Bad Habit'; the bag and bang the chick song that is 'I Want This Night (To Last Forever)' with it's excellent singalong chorus and the outstanding love ballad 'You Are All That I Need'. There's even 4 bonus songs too that include some damn fine tunes in the cheesey rocker 'Feel Appeal' and the retro-looking-backness of 'If That's What You Want'.

It's a pity the band didn't continue as this is one hell of a great album in its own right, despite the circumstances it was made in.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TWISTED SISTER - Club Daze Vol. 1
(Armoury Records - 2010)

Though Dee Snider’s previous demo collection ‘Don’t Let the B*st*rds Grind you Down’ wasn’t the greatest release to have been sent to the pressers, it still certainly wasn’t deserving of the ferocious maulings most hard rock rags globally allowed it.

Whether this is another attempt at the same thing for a preferably better reception I’m not sure but its still enjoyable to se the legendary Twisted Sister in their formative youth. What it is unexpected to hear in that day and age is a glam metal number lasting six and a half minutes long . 'Come Back' is a pleasantly strong slice of hard rock before its time that gave a firm warning claxon over what was to come between 1981-85 along with early treks of eventual TS cornerstones 'Under the Blade' and 'Shoot ’em Down' which are thrown in at the end of the thirteen track collection for very good measure.

Although more numbers of this ilk follow, it seems however that their earlier material was routed up to a decade previous to their supposed 1972 incarnation. ‘Pay the Price’, ‘High Stepping’, ‘Can’t Stand Still’ and ‘Lady’s Boy’ swing strongly back to the sixties and maybe further in one or two cases. ‘Come Back’, ‘Big Gun’, ‘I’ll Never Grow up Now’, ‘70’s sounding tracks, ‘Rock n’ Roll Saviours’, ‘Tv Wife’ and Follow Me’ are the sound of the band discovering their more hard rock driven roots sprouting out from the tree whilst a cover of ’Leader Of The Pack’ is the quintessential choice to symbolise the Snide’s anarchistic persona that brought the band to the fore almost single-handedly..

Messrs French and Ojeda’s soling is just as raucous in their primitive era as we would hear on their multi-million selling lps to follow whilst was it me or did Dee himself sound frighteningly like Phil Lynott. A mighty assortment that told you in no uncertain terms this were a band not to be messed with, there is clearly a reason why this group were already pulling in up to a couple of thousand before they peaked the big time.

For those who stay hungry… this may be an appetising light desert, plus cheese and biscuits to follow.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks, Dokken

NET: myspace.com/twistedsister www.twistedsister.com

Tygers of Pan Tang - The Spellbound Sessions (E.P.)
(Hard Rock Records - 2011)

This is an E.P. that roars at you like it's been wired striaght from the amps with no b*llsh*t and up-to-date technology flattening and ruining the mix. It's utterly real the way it should be as though it were coming off a classic piece of vinyl - well I suppose it does if you think about it.

Six songs that came out way back when on the 'Spellbound' album that have been re-Arranged' and re-recorded in the current line-up of Robb Weir and Dean Robertson both on guitar, Brian West on Bass, Craig Ellis on Drums and last but my no means least, Jacopo Meille on Vocals. Standouters, well all of it really as these are fine songs, every one of them. I guess if I had to pick the best numbers it would be 'Spellbound' itself, the opening 'Gangland' and the exquisite 'Don't Stop By' that closes the CD.

Be sure to get your hands on this quick when it comes out as its only available from the Tyger Force Fan Club via their .com official website with a release of 1000 copies only - I feel priviledged in recieving an advance copy to spread the news to you all for defo!

Excellent - good old 80's British Metal at its finest!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

January 2011

Therapy? - We’re Here To The End
(DR2 Records - 2010)

As a massive fan of Therapy? I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t reach my home town of Sheffield for the last Crooked Timber tour, but never mind, as we have a double CD of their explosive set that was recorded over three days at the London Water Rats as part of their 20th Anniversary.

The first disc has 17 tracks, which start with the tremendous ‘Screamager’ and then ponds and batters its way through ‘Sister’, ‘Turn’ and ‘Die like a mother f*ck*r’. The second CD contains 19 tracks and packed with a lot of our favourites ‘Nausea’, ‘Knives’, ‘Nowhere’, ‘Church of Noise’, ‘Trigger Inside’, Die Laughing’, to finish with ‘Teethgrinder’. The worst part to this compilation of aggression, passion and enjoyment is that they have only included 4 tracks of ‘Crooked Timber’, which is a damn shame.

On a brighter note, this CD encapsulates the hard work Therapy? Puts into their performance and the ability to engulf the crowd into the turmoil of what Therapy? Do best. And that’s to play good solid rock and metal with attitude.

10/10

By Tony Watson

Tigertailz - Bezerk Live - Burnin' Fuel
(TT Records - 2010)

Well we all remember the crucial album Bezerk coming out with the amazing 'Love Bomb Baby' - well here it is in its entirety live in concert and sounding so energetic and pumping hard at ya. Ok, the lineup has changed a bit since those crazy daze and now features Robin Guy on drums and Sarah Firebrand on bass and vocals alongside mainstays Jay Pepper (Lead Guitar/Vocals) and Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Kim Hooker manning the mike!

The sound qulaity is right in your face with zest, richness and crystal clarity. It comes over so real and intimate and actually comes from 3 separate gigs that you wouldn't even realise from the CD - these places being Cardiff, Newcastle and Stockholm - credit to their longtime friend and producer as he's done an exceptional job here - pity all live albums don't sound as gargantuan as this. Highlights include hot tracks in the already mentioned 'Love Bomb Baby'; the opener 'Sick Sex' the gorgious ballad 'Heaven'; the throbbing 'Love Overload'; the brilliantly singalongy 'Action City' - well to be honest you could list the entire contents of the album .

What really does it on top are the immense high soaring backing vocals of Sarah which put the icing on the cake of each song that blend so well with the high trill singing of Kim. Robin really has it going on with the drum kit as well and sounds killer all the way and Jay still provides all the second to none exceptional killer guitar riffs. Every crowd is on form and it's funny to hear at least one bloke out of tune there - hahaha - can't all be perfect can they. Anyways, on stage its top-notch throughout and they even throw in some cool closing covers in The Osmonds 'Crazy Horses' and Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spade'.

You can't not give this band top marks and I have still yet to see them myself in action - all this changes on May 18th as they play O2 Academy, Sheffield!!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TURBO BLANC - Lunatic Perfume (1-track promo)

One tends never trust bands I’m introduced to via a one-track disc, largely because it means the tune I’m listening to might be their only above decent cut or in the case of Londoners Turbo Blanc, they’ve got another bunch of belters like ‘Lunatic perfume round the corner.

This groovy alt-tinged rocker is an instantly infectious corker - three straight minutes of strong dance floor suss and low slung guitar attitude plus a substantially built chorus line that waves along and swallows you by the end of the last repeat.

Impressive indeed, just hope we get more - literally - from these guys on the next occasion.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

NET: myspace.com/turboblanc

December

Tank - War Machine
(Metal Mind Productions - 2010)

So that's where Doogie White went when he left Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force, he joined the cult metallers Tank 9who has co-written each song with Guitarist, Mick Tucker.

It's like a new band and sounds more like Saxon & Rising Force - much to my liking with each number having its own appeal and not just a generic style flowing throughout the album.The album also features Bruce Dickinson's ex-bassist, Chris Dale to to top things off as well.

Plenty of uptempo highlights to be found on here including the outstanding opener 'Judgement Day' (though how many songs have had that title so far- lol); the pacing 'Phoenix Rising'; the racing 'Great Expectations;the epic ballad ' future Rock Anthem 'The Last Laugh' with it's 'Live It, Love It, Live For Rock 'n' Roll' chorus section that'll be perfect for singing along to in concert and the knockout closer 'My Insanity'.

F*ck*n Ace!!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TORTILLA ARMY - One for The Living
(S/R - 2010)

Nice name, ugly looking chaps on the sleeve, nice sound. Strictly not this week’s boy army from the baggy trousered Bring-Me-The-Horizon wannabe brigade in case you ask but actually a quartet of well-seasoned players with a well researched array of styles, Kent’s Tortilla Army are actually as crunchy and mouthwatering as the food item depicted in their tag if not distinctly more than so.

Opening cut ’Water’ may very well be an aggressive punk rocker but the angst of frontman/guitarist Jim Noble’s Cornell like throat signals that something powerful and deep is on the way. A strong progressive element confirms it aloud as ’Fade Me out’ grinds along the verse to all out rock chorus and then back again before ’cheated’ swings its way along like a heavied up Manics hit single.

‘Trust’ is wisely itself put in these guys as the momentum hits high for a killer melodic hard rocker, more noughties than eighties obviously but soul delivery is instant and unending. Half time over and with no own goals in sight, ’More I See You’ kicks off across the field with a cheerful rocker that allows lead stringer Joe Coomes to show his prowess with a classy chorus widdle followed by a sweet little Megadeth-inspired break and along with ‘Trust’ is my other personal fave.

‘Save Me From Myself’ is the one save they don’t quite get past the net today, narrowly held up by a chorus rather flat for the build up I gets. I.O.S is another fast bruiser built around an arrangement in the vein of Metallic’s ‘Fuel’ - the good old slow down briefly then take back off again attack leading to another powerful solo from Mr Coomes and a further manic though under-repeated chorus finale.

Speaking of that, we are already at the end with eighth track, ‘broken’, a brutal grunge cut with that crafty ballad style verse approach to lure the (un)suspecting and a sure fire hit for all the Seattle inspired. A mighty and meaty little disc adapted to all corners with nothing out of place, this is one album a lot of work has been put into - they even spent 23 hours solid in a studio laying it down - and we have heard enough to be blown away within first spin.

‘Music For The Living’ may also be worth turning up for the dead if they’re still round to listen.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Nickelback, Therapy, Soundgarden, Metallica

NET: myspace.com/13222074 & www.tortillaarmy.com

September

Therapy? - Crooked Timber (Deluxe Gold Edition)
(DR2 Records – 2010)

Well what can I say as I have already said it before with regards this new masterpiece from the Irish lads. (please see previous review).

The record company have released a new edition which contains 4 new bonus tracks
Exiles (bong-ra guttural exodus remix), Magic Mountain (snug slut remix), Low Winter Sun and Don’t Cry, which finish of the CD with the joys of Therapy?

Crooked Timber is probably one of the best CDs I heard last year and to have it with extra tracks is a blessing for a massive Therapy? fan

10/10

By Tony Watson

July

THULIUM - 69 (EP)
(AKA Music - 2010)

Thulium are a young new alternative rock trio based in London but don’t let the description put, you off, especially the ‘a’ word, they are actually a impressive sounding lot from go.

Working on a pop-oriented punk structure, frontman Boubou’s angsty guttural projection will win them many an old school follower . Deep and punchy with a casket that blows back into their last chorus, ’Running’ and ’Craving’ are a deadly warning to those expecting any Britpop -by-numbers pap to emanate from their sound systems this time even though the ballad-like ’90 Days Of Sorrow’ almost tries to mislead some down that road.

Great.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
The Almighty, Three Colours Red, Blink 182

NET: www.akamusic.com/thulium myspace.com/thulium69

June

These Monsters - Call Me Dragon
(Brew Records – 2010)

I don’t know what’s happening in Leeds at the moment, but there’s a lot of alternative music knocking about and These Monsters have attached themselves onto the rat race.

Unlike most rock bands, These Monsters are another Kama to Burn instrumental band. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, on the contrary. These Monsters release a delicate ambient style that’s quite soothing to the ears. Live gigs may be a bit of a bore though, as fans like to sing along.

‘Call Me Dragon’ is a 7 track 40 minute explosion of instrumental riffs, flicks and breaks with intricate guitar solos and subtle bass and drum tones as each track drifts through one to the other and out again like a gentle breeze.

Very pleasing to the ear as you wonder off into ‘Call Me Dragon’, ‘Who Is Tis Tall Sick Man’ and ‘Deaf Machine’ to name but a few.

7/10

By Tony Watson

Toyz - Carte Blanche
(Brennus Records – 2009)

Toyz are a French prog rock band with a melodic soft undertone similar in style to that of Bon Jovi, Scorpions and Europe.

Carte Blanche is lacking the enthusiasm of the above mentioned band and would be a band you may enjoy in a pub as back ground music.

As an 11 track CD you do get the classic rock feel as the guitars whimpers away and the soft melodic tapping of the drums. Carte Blanche is a bit wet for me and failed to get my pulse racing, but track like ‘Angel’, ‘One More Try’ and ‘The Old Tree’ do prick your ears upfor a good listen.

5/10

By Tony Watson

May
Thunderbird Motel – Rockit Til The Wheels Fall Off
(S/R – 2009)

Pure unadulterated rock n roll and puts me in mind of late 60’s Garage kinda stuff at times – though these are young guys. It’s like MC5 at times and at others The Rolling Stones, The Doors and other classic stuff.

Highlights are a plenty including opener ‘Black Eye’; ‘Love & Rockets’ and ‘S.W.T.A’ which stands for Sleeping with the Angels. Hope that these guys go a long way – it’s real – it’s raw and it’s rollickin’ rock for sure!

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

Treebeard – Reel Ale
(Gabadon Records – 2010)

Sheffield based band that delved well into the folky sounds and also incorporate some rock in their too at times. They wouldn’t be too out of place on Mike Hardings Radio 1 Folk Show at all.

I can see some peeps beiong baffled by some of it like songs such as ‘Dun Ringill’ or a folk version of Coldplay’s ‘Driftwood’ but these guys are so good that they make you wanna listen. Other highlights include the excellent ‘Believe’ and their version of ‘Free Electric Band’ that’s dedicated to Sass of the late great Classic Rock Bar and other awesome drinking pools in Sheffield.

Then there’s the psychedical folky jig that is 'Chris World/Around The World For Sport’; a cool cover of Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades' and an amazing ‘Going to California’ by Led Zeppelin and that ‘Russian Medley’ is awesome too.

Damn fine musicians that need to be checked out at a festival or at your local drinking parlour.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

April
TARA’s SECRET - Vertigo
(BCM - 2010)

I have had a soft spot for these Stoke lads ever since guitarist/keysman Craig Chapman gave me a flyer at the debut Firefest show five long years ago. In the passing half decade ,they have played, split up, reformed, got married (in one member’s case), and also released two damn effing fine studio albums.

This, the second of the two is just about everything I expected it to be and actually took about seven to eight full spins before I finally got round to picking up my pen and notepad. ‘Rock n’ Roll Beauty Queen’ comes in on a ‘clinical’ sounding metal guitar line but shoots along into a great Danny Vaughn like chorus and is a strong starter, even with the outtro being a little overdrawn.

Ignoring this early lull in momentum, we (finally) move onto ‘She’s My Baby’ punchy rocker with good bends on guitar. Pretty close - vocally - to defunct fellow Brit favourites Pulse, the vocal similarities between John and Simon are spottable. Remaining on a ‘Natural’ High’ we board quickly for a drive-speed rocker that could have easily been on their last album - imagine playing ‘Drive Me Home’ and this back to back.

‘The Last To Know’ Features guest vocals from Sue Willets, taking lead for a verse as well. Lively piano -backed ballad but still with good guitar bits from resident shredder Richie Beardsley where they are needed. A personal fave of mine from this album, ‘Promises’ is an awesomely gritty 70’s driven tune that sounds like a bunch of guys attempting to jam on Whitesnake’s ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ while listening to Free’s ‘Wishing Well’ .

Listeners are guaranteed equal doses of ‘Vertigo’ with the title cut, a rocker of well-contrasted elements with a chuggy line luring one you in to a great bouncer of a chorus plus a great flowing solo from Richie again. Allowing for ‘One More Chance’ to let us finally hear a ballad, here is a lovely piano-vocal number by Craig and John , though not washed over by tide of guitar , halfway into it as one might have been braced for.

‘My Reward’ for such patience is to rock out once again - boasting an enormous as f**k live sound , this number is essential set-opening fodder, lads- (if only Brighton rock would choose to kick off live shows with ‘Unleash The Rage’ while I‘m at it.) The inclination to ‘Shake What Ya Mama Gave Ya’ by the time of track 9, a summery groover, with Adrian Marx guesting on vocals is no longer resistible.

Frankly though, this track seemed to grate with me a bit, as the chorus turns out a little less significant than the build-up indicated - funnily enough, the bridge actually sounds catchier. A brief convo between band members and Marx at the fade out is pretty amusing though. Without messing about, ‘Homeland’ is typical Tara’s Secret goodness - quality chorus an road-travelling inspired lyrical content making for an untimely combo.

As regarding the two bonus tracks, ‘GBTR’ is a so-and-so stomper, long chorus but lacks overall hook. Evading disappointment, ‘Wildest Dreams ends the platter with a great full octane cut, can’t understand why it is not a main track. Ten still plenty and almost a perfect one all the same, it doesn’t last long enough at about 50 minutes but too much can be had of what is good. Thus another superb journey from start to end with only extremely small blips on the screen reaches its end with the sunroof proudly open. Tara’s remain one of Brit AOR’s best kept secrets - though they’ve been well and truly given away by now.

Brill!

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Van Halen, UFO, Mitch Malloy, Thin Lizzy, Survivor.

TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED – Degenerate
(Rising Records - 2010)

Though made out to look like still an upcoming act on the promo sheet blurbs, Bath’s Trigger The Bloodshed are in fact now a premier division Brit metal act though their game to me seems ot be still hard to sit through for my efforts.

I will usually hear worse tunes than ’A Vision Showing Nothing’, ’Hollow Prophecy’, ’Dead Vain’ and ’A Sterile Existence’ peddled weekly by other extreme metal acts currently plaguing the planet over though TTB still don’t seem to entirely make it as my cup of tea.

Vocal alternations between pitches are applaudale as is the on-off progressive path they see fit to tread where it matters, but the dominant combination remains monotonous and 33 minutes still become a drag for me this time. Going on the material from the previous two records, though this one is certainly unlikely to disappoint any of their existing fans.

As for myself I’ll take a bench at the sidelines.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Slayer, Bring Me The Horizon, Killswitch Engage, Pantera, Evile, Morbid Angel, Nile.

Robin Trower – What Lies Beneath
(Floating Word – 2009)

Chilled out modernish sounding bluesy material from the old icon. There’s chilled out relaxing material and some really snazzy Hendrixy like stuff such as the spectacular ‘Freefall’ & ‘Sleeping On The Moon’.

There’s some laid back instrumentals here like the opening ‘Wish You Were Mine’ & ‘Time And Emotion’ that add a bit of colour to the album to what would be general waling funked out blues etc – but done well I may add.

Decent album that’s good to relax to.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

March

Throttlerod - Pig Charmer
(Small Stone Records – 2009)

Throttlerod release an aggressive stoner rock feel to the airwaves that travel without no obstruction all the way from Richmond Virginia.

Pig Charmer is on the verge of Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Quicksand and Soundgarden to release a pure and uninterrupted energy of sound that becomes a breakdown of aggression, hate and pain.

Pig Charmer is a 12 track collection of solid stoner rock that energises any lazy bastard as it rips into 'Clean', 'Hum' and 'Serenade' to finish with the epilogue of 'Where's Josh?', 'Dink' and 'Majors' as the influence of Quicksand and Soundgarden come into force.

An exciting CD to rock to with its chugging guitars sound and deep base. Brilliant

9/10

By Tony Watson

January 2010
TURBOWOLF - Let’s Die/Ancient Snake (2-track EP)
(S/R - 2009)


I got handed this one, warned to expect student oriented emo sh*te but clearly Glenn wasn’t aware I’d actually heard these chaps already- or he’s got the mixed up with another disc (lol – bad memory – Glenn).

Turbowolf are no such thing, circulating closer round the regions of a slightly punked up version of White Zombie. These two tunes may not be the very strongest examples of their material but the pummelling electro metal rhythms are a major turn-on and are likely to have your floor shaking at above half volume. It’s not hard to see why these lads have gained a commercial reputation already.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

Tygers of Pan Tang - Animal Instinct
(Armoury Records – 2009)

Tygers of Pan Tang, what a shock to the system as I opened the package to find a new TOPT Double disc, one of which is a DVD live from Berlin Studios 2008

TOPT have been around for over 20 years and are one of those bands that were absolutely brilliant but never really made it to the big time. TOPT remind me of good classic rock such as Y&T, Tigertailz, Michael Schenker, Thunder and Little Angles.

From start to finish, this 16 track CD gets that tired aching body up and rocking like it's never rocked before as 'Rock Candy' hits your ears you know deep down this CD is going to be hard to put down as it glides through 'Cry Sweet Freedom', 'Live for Today' and 'Let it Burn'

Throughout the 70 minutes, TOPT have produced a classic of a CD that encapsulates all the best bits about good solid rock music that reaches the parts of the body that other rock music fails to reach.

A must buy for everyone, this CD puts Bon Jovi down a peg or two.

10/10

By Tony Watson

December
TRICK OR TREAT - Tin Soldiers
(Valery Records - 2009)

Actually having reviewed this disc on no other day than October 31st itself, people would probably reckon I was taking the piss to post it onto the Metalliville page on said date.

However these Italians have plenty of tricks and a hell of a treat for melodic metal fans worldwide with these eleven lovely little tunes. Again travelling the full circle to add all the best influences, the Modena quintet manage to stand themselves out in the line a tad with their prog-tinged power metal sound and there’s a wavy Evidence One vibe to the disc as well as some occasionally bizarre titles.

Musically it is kept purely loyal to its own genre and the vocals and rippling twin guitars are a familiar but well oiled and smoothly vehicle here. The solos come at beginning, middle and end of every track and the choruses look like having their work cut out in being heard in their own right but ’Paper Dragon’, ’Take Your Chance’, ‘Hello Moon’, ‘Elevator to the Sky’ and ‘Final Destination’ see they are done their full share of justice.

Hence the outcome of this trial being a fantastically well crafted piece of epic metal without the epics that rarely bores and frequently belts. Appropriately similar to a band whose name sounds uncannily close to Hallowe’en, they may sound, Trick Or Treat get away with it very well indeed.

Great stuff.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
Mi.ll.ion, Evidence One, Gamma Ray, Dream Theater, Angra

POINT OF INTEREST:
We didn’t want to spoil it for you right away, but ex-Helloween man, Michael Kiske actually sings guest vocals on two tracks on the album. (We’ll leave which ones these are to your imagination)

October
The Dead Lay Waiting - We Rise
(Rising Records – 2009)

The Dead Lay Waiting are a band from Swindon and described by themselves, are a modern day death metal band, but I would personally call them scream core crossed with thrash. Death metal doesn’t even come close to these guys.

The Dead Lay Waiting are nothing new in the genre of thrash, they have released a 12 track CD that mingles into each other with no difference in tone, drum beats, screams and attitude. This 44 minute accolade, battles with personality, charisma, and talent that failed to excite a hardcore, thrash, death and speed metal fan.

As the CD start with ‘Anxiety’, I hadn’t realised it had also gone through ‘50s’ and ‘I’ll Hunt You Down’, which clearly indicates this band to be mono-tone.

Not the most exciting band in the world but I do feel they will gather a small following.

4/10

By Tony Watson

13th Floor Elevators – Psychedelic Circus
(Floating World Records – 2009)

Great psychedelia from the late 60’s from Roky Erikson and his gang who kinda remind me of a drugged out garage sounding mix of The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones with elements of The Doors, Big Brother & The Holding Company crossed with the out-thereness of acts like Bonzo Dog and Frank Zappa at times.

They were the 1st ever band to call themselves psychedelic through the drugs they were using as opposed to the music they were coming up with, though if you listen to them, they are very far out in the song creations. It’s bluesy and pure garage rock with even the weird sounds that are actually created through miking up a jug and making noise down it – yep that’s right – and no-one has done it since either.

The recordings are from surviving live concert tapes from 1966 and 1967 that sound like they could have been recorded last night as they are crystal clear and sound rather perfect. Highlights include a cover of ‘The Word’ by The Beatles in their own angst vocal way, the mind blowing original, ‘Roller Coaster’ and their only hit ‘You’re gonna miss me’; the specially written for them ‘Monkey Island’ & ‘Fire Engine’by local hipster (as the liner notes state) Powell St. John; a psychedelic version of Buddy Holly’s ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’ and the amazing closer, ‘I’ve got Levitation’.

It’s an amazing experience and little wonder that they influenced the likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain & even ZZ Top.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

Timesprout - Promo-Sapien

(S/R- 2009)

Timesprout are a new band from Barnsley, who are hitting the local scene with there stoer rock style music.

This three track EP hits the mark where Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss and Abdullah have left off. As demos go it is as rough as it comes but this shouldn’t put you checking these guys out.

Give your local support.

8/10

By Tony Watson

Toja – Train Of Life
(Avenue Of Allies Music – 2009)

Lightweight EuroMetal that has some traditional and folky aspects from Germany.

There’s some interesting stuff featured on here such a gregorian chants on ‘No Cross’; acappella vocals on ‘First Love’ that turns into a number that has a riff in it that sounds like ‘The Wizard’ by Black Sabbath. Other highlights include the orchestral like ballad ‘All Of My Life’; the rockin’ ‘Night to Remember’ or the closing ‘Circle Of Lies’ with it’s steal of ‘Motherless Child’.

Ok album but a bit too serious for repeated plays.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan

September
Testament - The Formation of Damnation
(Nuclear Blast – 2009)

Like most Testament CD’s you know exactly what you are going to get, full on thrash metal at its best. Unlike the last few releases, Testament have sat back, watched the world go by and then entered into an unknown realm of speed, thrash and violence.

The Formation of Damnation is probably the best thing since Practice Watch You Preach, Testament have really sat down and thought about how they started, how they have been and how they are going to be back with the big boys.

There is no underestimation that this 11 track 50 minute collection of thrash, speed, growls and sound abuse of the airwaves fill the lost thrash souls that have been stuck in the late 80’s. From the introduction of ‘For the Glory of...’ through the assault of ‘More Than Meets the Eye’, in to the title track itself which bounces hard and heavy into ‘Dangers of the Faithless’ to end with ‘Leave Me Forever’, Testament have released so much power and aggression into this CD, which will bring them into the spotlight once again.

Testament you have surpassed yourselves with this CD which gives me great pleasure with every listen.

Release the anger Testament are back.

10/10

By Tony Watson

August
Tonk – Sister Switchblade
(Modern Music/SonyBMG – 2009)

A decent bunch of riff rockin’ tunes to be found from these young guys from Sydney, Australia though they sound like they could as easily hail from the UK, USA or the rock orientated parts of Europe.

Highlights include the Airbourne (who they have actually shared a stage with) like title track, ‘Sister Switchblade’; the opening hard rocker ‘Redback’; the woman to forget about that is ‘Predator’ and ‘Stick with my blood’ with the rather interesting banjo-phased guitar sound – impressive.

Great band – like to see ‘em over in the UK some time soon.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

The Turtles – Save The Turtles: The Turtles Greatest Hits
(Manifesto Records – 2009)

OK, everyone recognises ‘Happy Together’ from various films and adverts but did you realise that they released tons of other great singles or the fact that 2 of the members went on to become members of Frank Zappa’s ‘Mothers Of Invention’ - these being Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan.

Musically and vocally, The Turtles were kind of like The Byrds, The Zombies and The Kinks all rolled up into one. What’s good about this album is that fact that each number is given a full explanation of how it came to be and where the band were in their progress as a successful outfit at the time – much to the delight of anoraks like my good self – lol.

Highlights on here include the above said song obviously as well as numbers such as ‘Outside Chance’; ‘You Showed Me’; their Zombiefied rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’; the freakyish ‘Love In The City’; the orchestrated ‘Me About You’.

Then there’s the wacky-what’s-gonna-happen-next psychedelia of ‘Sound Asleep’ or the classic ‘Guide For The Married Man’ with it’s Mamas and Papa’s like backing vocals at times. Luck and behold, you even get the bonus unreleased track that is the short but interesting ‘Chevrolet Camaro Commercial’.

Makes me wonder why some of these great songs appear to have been lost on radio and tv in the depths of time. Good you get to enjoy many of them now on this cool compliation.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

June
This Distance - The Reality The Perfection
(Basick Records – 2009)

A 5 piece hardcore metal band from Cardiff/Swansea who have released their violent energy into the rest of the world.

‘The Reality The Perfection’ is a 6 track EP lasting a pitiful 18 minutes as ‘This Distance’ have a lot to show and a hell of a lot to get out of their system. Following the likes of early ‘Will Haven’, ‘This Distance’ immerse into a state of hard heavy grinding beats surrounded by aggressive vocals and pounding drums that will wake the dead.

This CD will get them a good following but I do feel there could be more from this band as they mature and develop their style.

5/10

By Tony Watson

Top Johnny – S/T
(StarBrite Productions – 2008)

A Canadian Rock band that mix in 80’s Rock songs, more modern sounding rock with Rap Rock a la Bodycount meets Faith No No More or summat like that so theres a little for everybody here.

Highlights include the rappin’ ‘Bustin’ Loose’; the funky ‘n’ poppy ‘Keep It Real’; the cock rockin’ Love Me Like An Animal’; the rock ‘n’ rappin ‘This Time’ & ‘We Are Live and topped off with the closer ‘Ready 4 U’ that defininately is.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Robin Trower – RT @ RO.08
(V-12 Records Inc /Floating World Ltd – 2009)

A man who comes across with bluesy rock Hendrix feel to him is here to be found live on this 2 CD set from the Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, Michigan on March 29th, 2008.

If you want a ton of blues-rock then this is the perfect place to come. Some of it does get rather tedious though – no doubt I’ve upset a few peeps saying that although I do love the song ‘Day Of The Eagle’ since some of my buddies used to play it on Fort Myers Beach, FL. USA.

Like some live CD’s there’s one major flaw – there are silent gaps between each track which altogether spoils the atmosphere of the concert. Sad really as its a decent enough gig. I do like really in ya faceness of ‘Little Bit Of Sympathy’ and ‘Hannah’ which adds a detraction aay from the nornal blues passage that along with a couple of other tunes are presented on CD 2 in visual format, playable on your PC.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

April

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH IT?!

TESTAMENT - Return To the Apocalyptic City
(Atlantic - 1993)

This recording from Testament’s final US tour with Alex Skolnick before his departure for the next 13 years to come, is one I’ve always had fun spinning but despite the flawless ferocity of their musical performance, sadly struggled to find a good review from practically any rag at the time of its output.

While releasing a six-track mini live album to celebrate booting out your lead guitarist sounds a less than orthodox exercise, at the same time unnecessary doesn’t not read the same as unacceptable, and this 1993 release, Testament’s answer to ‘Just Say Ozzy’ while just an excuse to have a stop gap release between ‘Ritual’ and ‘Low’ still has its own two feet on which it stands and the sweet and varied little selection from across the width of Chuck and co’s by-then five-album-strong catalogue duly delivered its bruises to both listeners ,and the moshers in attendance.

‘So Many Lies’ might not have been written at the time of the ‘Eindhoven 87’ offering but neither was ‘Disciples of the Watch ‘ for that matter but alongside amongst ‘Over The Wall’, ‘The Haunting’ and ‘Reign Of Terror’ the latter is a timeless cornerstone, coming from the mighty ‘The New Order’ album. Yes, so one or two people may be ripped by the last track being a studio number but the showing of Testament’s softer quarter with ‘Return To Serenity’ was ideal to swiftly educate first time Testy-ites on how they had progressed over their seven years of existence up to that time, and in particular it’s a treat for those who enjoyed them on the recent Judas Priest / Megadeth tour.

With Mr Skolnick now firmly reinstated in the band -along with the rest of the classic incarnation- ‘R.T.T.A.C’ may today seem a little daft when you consider the whim on which it was issued but it remains a welcome and totally valid entry in the books of one of Bay Areas’ finest and should not ever be deleted. If you are still deterred from the derogatory references metal mags often gave this one and still do whenever it comes up in discussion, ignore and pick it up where and when you can.

A welcome little taste to the world of live thrash metal awaits you.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

March
Therapy? - Crooked Timber
(DR2 Records – 2000)

This is the thirteenth studio album from these Irish rockers with Andy Cairns showing us that Therapy? Are not ready for putting their feet up yet.

Crooked Timber is not your typical Therapy? Album, this ten track collection is as heavy as it comes, let’s forget for a minute the masterpieces in the past such as Troublegum and Infernal Love from 1994 and 1995 and think what is happening in the music industry today and what the kids on the street are listening too. Crooked Timber fits very nicely into what’s happening today. We have the heavy guitars and intricate choruses, pounding bass that would put Voivod and Korn to shame and drum beats that keep you interested in the whole concept.

When listening to the CD in the back ground while doing other stuff, I actually thought my wife had changed the CD and put some Voivod on. I don’t know if Therapy? are influenced by the likes of Voivod guitar or bass concept but this made me prick my ears up and start to really listen to this new masterpiece.

Crooked Timber starts with a violent intro of ‘The Head That Tried To Strangle Itself’, which has all the makings of a Therapy? Cd, but then the CD pounds and crushes into ‘Enjoy The Struggle’ and ‘Clowns Galore’ but the biggest surprise of all is a 10-minute instrumental ‘Magic Mountain’ before ending with ‘Bad Excuse for Daylight’.

This is the best Therapy? CD I have heard for over 14 years and it feels good that these guys are back with a fresh feel.

10/10

By Tony Watson

TOXIC - Fear
(Rocksector Records – 2009)

Whoever Toxic are, they’re good at it. Good at peddling old school metal, they knock it off here with taste and unashamed panache which keeps most f these 14 songs pretty appealing.

At times similar to US tradsters Frostbite and quite Sabbath-y at the best of moments, the dalliance with al things done metallically between 1970 - 82 here shines well even though there are weak moments where the broth gets spoilt. Keeping with the positive side of the coin, the solos and choruses are often good and throw in a bluesy drive to a few as well.

‘Lucifer’, ‘Live on’, ‘Tinnitus’, ‘Feed Me Bitch’’, Freedom’ and ‘Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained’ rate as my personal top six but is almost random in one or two cases, as I shortened down the list from about 8. Unknown they are at present but taking the still existent market for trad metal into consideration, there is hope.

Nothing ventured but possibly still one or two things to gain. Worth a try chaps.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

Twins Crew – Twin Demon (E.P.)
(S/R – 2009)

2nd E.P. from the Swedish twins band that again is very of the Iron Maiden meets Judas Priest ilk with good examples being ‘Twin Demon’ and closer ‘The End of Forever’.

It’s well produced and put together and even shows they have a sense of humour with the Spinal Tapness of ‘Heavy Metal Nation’ and a liking for the styles of the songs of hero from the same country, Yngwie J. Malmsteen in ‘Legions of The Dead’.

Decent enough CD.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

February 2009
The Temple Of Now - Two Worlds
(Independent Records – 2009)

Like his other recent release Calie Cox is a very talented individual who can play every instrument placed in front of him. His other solo project ‘Obvious’ is an interpretation of 80’s style epic rock with bands such as Rush but without the keyboards, even the vocal content is very close to Geddy Lee of Rush.

This CD is very similar to that of ‘Obvious’ with its very calm a collective collection of music but ‘Two Worlds’ has hit the rocker side of his music. With the Rush influence there is also a hint of Led Zeppelin and Marillion to bring the whole CD into a class of it’s own.

This 14-track rock compilation gives a full hour of classic rock with an upbeat vocal tone that keeps you drawn into the tracks. Unlike ‘Obvious’ I think he has stretched his vocals a little too far which makes him sound out of tune in places.

6/10

By Tony Watson

Tracy Gang Pussy - Number4
(Two Side Moon – 2009)

I must admit it’s the first time I have heard a sleaze rock band from France, TGP began in 2002 in Paris with the love of Scandinavian rock and US Punk Rock.

Number4 is the third album from TGP, drawing their attention to Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters with a touch of the Ramones throw in for good measure.

Number4 is a 12 track CD, which lasts about 43 minutes and is full of your hard sleazy rock n roll and from France, this is sounding rather good as it is missing the American style sleaze rock attitude you get with Skid Row, Motley Crue or even Guns and Roses. I not saying its toned down and missing the bollocks from it, but it has got something else in its place, which you can only get from Europe.

I do feel it will take a lot of effort to hit the UK market at this moment in time and be accepted by us Brits, we have bands like Tigertailz who work their guts out to try and get somewhere in Britain and struggle to sell out small venues, but it is something that will grow and grow in mainland Europe and is something that is very enjoyable to listen too if we can drag ourselves away from the American rock.

8/10

By Tony Watson

Trigger The Bloodshed - The Great Depression
(Rising Records – 2009)

According to Blabbermouth.net these guys are the heaviest band in the UK. Terrorizer state ‘Our New Favourite British death Merchants’, well what can I say to that, for nearly thirty years I have been listening to bands like Venom, Napalm Death, Carcas, Bolt Thrower, Deicide and Godflesh to name a few. And I must admit Trigger The Bloodshed are very close.

This Bath based Death/grindcore metal band are a set of teenagers who have too much energy. I’m not saying this as a bad thing as there are too many kids who just sit on their fat backsides watching TV or playing computer games. The amount of aggression, pain, hate, and aural thuggery shows how much energy these guys have.

‘The Great Depression’ releases everything that is right about beath and girndcore metal, you can’t escape the fact that 30 minutes and 11 tracks can fly by so quickly.
These young lads have a great future and we hope they stick at it.

8/10

By Tony Watson

Turbowolf - Ghost Hunt (Single)
(Downloader – 2009)

Like most new bands you have to try and stand out from the rest. Turbowolf definitely do that with their style of disco metal.

As a 3 track promotion this band have shown they have the energy, the desire to be different, the guts to be weird and the flamboyant flare to bring rock into the twenty first century.

This is the type of sound kids will go for with their hard grunging guitars, disco keyboards and catchy tunes.

Keep it up it’s great.

8/10

By Tony Watson

September

Teaser - No Big Deal (E.P)
(S/R - 2008)

A healthy EP of hard hitting AOR from a band who come from Sweden. It's a 3 tracker and expect to hear all the songs within on a forthcoming soundtrack for an Independent Hollywood film called 'Back Both Ways'.

Best song by far is the 3rd number 'Guilty of Love' - no it's not a cover of the Whitesnake number. The opening riff reminds me of The Progidy's 'Breath' but then turns in a nice bouncy bit of AOR.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Terasbetoni - Myrskyntuoja
(Warner Music Finland - 2008)

Now why didn't they teach us Finnish at school, instead of French as it would have been put to good use here. I therefore feel rather incompetent and ignorant reviewing this here album as I don't undersatand one word of it but the heavy metal offerings here are f*ck*n' spot on!

That aside, you can't go wrong with this album (especially if you are Finnish - lol) - seems all the best bands come from Finland or Sweden these days - making a mockery of the majority of the sign sh*t from the UK.

It's all damn good music with the stand-out being the one that they played at the Eurovision Song Contest 'Missa Miehet Ratsastaa' - especially the Hoo-Haa and key-change. I also like the opener 'Voiman Vortyat' which sets the standard from the start; 'Vrjakaleen' with its opening thunder sfx and viking choral section.; the charging heavy b*st*rd that is 'Metallin Voima' and the closing 'Seisa Suorassa'.

It's kind of a mix of traditional metal a la Iron Maiden & Judas Priest alongside ballsy Viking or Battle Metal without all the folky instruments.

Wish we had bands of this standard over here in our country - we invented Heavy Metal but other European countries have stolen the flame torch and running with it for all it's worth.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

The Tex Mex Experience - TMX
(Evangeline Records - 2008)

A new bit of something for Metalliville - this being a healthy slap of Texas Southern Rock and Cajun Quality listening.

An album you can really get all Americana about with some real nice songs in the gorgious Smokie lke ballad 'Too Little, Too Late'; the slowie Quireboys like 'One And Only' and many other brilliant numbers such as the excellent, original sounding 'Bleed Me' and the awesome country rockin' 'One Shot' and 'Texas Rose'.

Pretty impossible not to like this CD.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

The More I See - The Unholy Feast
(Transcend Records - 2008)


If your not aware guitarist Gizz Butt first appeared in a punk metal band The English Dogs back in the 80’s and also became the guitarist for The Prodigy until 2002 where The More I See was born. As Gizz came from a punk, thrash metal background, he has decided to go back to his root and spice up the metal world once more.

The Unholy Feast is a fine example of talented musicians with the passion for music and live entertainment such as drummer Spike T. Smith of Sacrilege and the punk legends the Damned.

‘The more I See’ hit the decks with full on angry thrash metal like ‘Machine Head’, ‘Testament’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Dragon Force’ and a hint of ‘Corrosion of Conformity’ with exceptional guitar solos pounding drums and a bite that hurts for days.

Such songs as ‘Decadence Within’, ‘Fear of Death’, ‘Blood line’ and ‘Veiled by Greed’ to name but a few explore the passion, blood and sweat that is spread throughout the CD.

For all thrash fans, this is a must.

9/10

By Tony Watson

July
Trigger The Bloodshed - Purgation
(Rising Records - 2008)

When it comes to a genre of music as aurally abrasive and mind-manglingly vicious as grindcore, one is best to advise any young band venturing down said path that the only chance they've got of making it on Any level over the faceless millions garnering for the same dream, is that they should try and inject some new ideas into their crusty musical catharticism.

This is clearly a method of thinking that no-one opted to tell rising quintet Trigger The Bloodshed, who's debut outing "Purgation", a bullet-fast, rottweiler nasty slab of by-the-book death/grind, that sits firmly between the clinical precision of Dying Fetus and the raw aggression of quality Napalm Death, yet seemingly point blank refuses to break away from said blueprint laid out by their musical forefathers decades ago.

For a start, while the likes of "Inception" and "Mortuary Walls" wield the kind of caustic abrasion that you'd hope for, the bands grind assault quickly becomes tedious after about 3 songs. With tracks such as "Laceration" and "Hollow Lovers" at first boasting some interesting musical ideas, that later pitter out to reveal the band to truly offer nothing new, exciting or potentially dangerous; a term that many have associated with the key figures within the genre over the years.

Said fact is later hammered home by the inclusion of BMTH-esque breakdowns, best highlighted on "Rebirth" and "Merciless Ignorance"; leaving the Bath-based grinders to appear as nothing more than another group of no-name micreants, rankable only amongst the thousands of other bands currently hoping on the trend. To their credit, album outro "A Perfect Casket" bears some unique Middle Eastern vocals and acoustic guitars before spewing forth the musical equvilant of blood-riddled vomit, but it's too little, too late and it simply cannot negate from the fact that TTBS have little to offer the baying masses.

Fact is, if you're one of the many 16 year olds currently salavating over the throngs of skinny jean-wearing, fringe bearing mobs that are infesting the British music scene, then TTBS are right up your alley. If you yearn something more however, you'll quickly realise that the band are merely proverbial deadwood for the mounting pile of indentikit bands without a prayer of attaining any relevance or longevity, and with any luck will quickly f*ck off when the "scene" finally dies.

4/10

By Tom Brumpton

May
Twins Crew – S/T (EP)
(S/R – 2008)

Young Swedish Metalheads that sound like a mix of Iron Maiden, Blaze Bailey, Rage and a bit of Judas Priest as well. I’ve known the 2 twin brothers Dennis & David Janglovof the band a few years and knew they’d be damn good at their craft.

This really sounds like a shop-released CD and they must have spent a good few euros putting this together as its so professional. 5 numbers of fast, hard, steel fury are to be enjoyed.

Highlights include the Harrisesque ‘Beauty & The Beast’; opener ‘Davey Jones’ (don’t think it’s about that dude from ‘The Monkees though’ – lol) and the slower joyous ‘Different Kind Of Love’.

Looking forward to seeing how the album turns out.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

January 2008
Tarsha – Prophecies
(S/R – 2006)

A guy who toured with Adlers Appetite as his frontman who now is out in his own right.

Sheldon Tarsha fires out his own rockin’ and metal fury on a collection of killer action-packed songs that include opener ‘Dirty’; ‘My First Hit’; the Marilyn Manson like ‘Skeletons’ and ‘Cynical Christ’ that hints at Nine Inch Nails as well.

Then there’s the deep ‘n’ nasty ‘Buried on the Inside’ (the double M vibe again) and the quiet closer ‘Generation-H (2012) that is very much an undiscovered album – think U2 and Simple Minds gone metal – damn f*ck*n’ good.

Overall an effective album but for good or bad is very Brian Warneresque a lot of the time.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Temple of Brutality - Lethal Agenda
(Demolition Records – 2007)

Heavy as sh*t, brutal as f*ck in-your-face Metal band – think up-to-date Pantera with elements of sorts of bands that spit blood and play real hard and sit nicely with artists like Chimaira, Entombed and Machine Head – luvvery, juvverly – just what your granny ordered – ha ha – oooh, reminds me of the good old days – yeah right – more likely to give her a cardiac arrest.

Temple Of Brutality feature two well known names in the world of Metal and I’m talking Stet Howland on Drums (ex-WASP) & Dave Ellefson on Bass (ex-Megadeth) alongside Todd Barnes (Vocals) & Peter Sceithauer (Guitars).

Blastin’ at ya highlights include like title track ‘Lethal Agenda’; ‘Isabel’; ‘Art Of War’; ‘Already Dead’; ‘Hammer’ & ‘Hate Machine’. Hey you even get the promo video for Lethal Agenda’ on here as well – talk about a good deal for the money.

Pulverise your PA system and hack up ya Hi-Fi Speakers with this loud b*st*rd of an album.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

November

TANKARD - Best Case Scenario

(AFM - 2007)

Like five seconds after their last disc came through my letterbox, Tankard have something else for me to spin and speak about after. The German thrash legends are celebrating a rather important anniversary - 25 years – in the business so any old excuse to re-record their favourites to 2007 standards will do.

Not to cause any panic to those who suspect this means mutilating them into blasphemous lumps of nu-metal dung, the beer-obsessed veteran foursome are just, as the press message on the back of the sleeve tells us, taking advantage in the boosts in technology to produce better sounding versions of established classics without shedding any elements to their true metal sound. The solos still are all there as are the growling eighties vocals that par them up with Blighty titans of the age as such as Tysondog and Venom and in true fashion of a fair few acts of that day, sport a single guitar line-up.

Thrash back then of course meant their tunes did have hooks and conveniently Tankard, true beneficiaries of such a format all along, happened to be one of Metallica’s favourite youth-hood acts. ‘Beauty And The Beer’ impressed me as it did a fair few other Europeans but for those who missed out on their chance of catching their original catalogue before HMV all but turned their backs on such bands, this is a chance for new converts to get their own backs.

For existing fans, depending on how obsessive you are, this should be of inevitable appeal even if you prefer the oldies to be left as they were.

By Dave Attrill

FRANK TURNER - S/T (EP)

Oh look, another solo artist touches down on Planet rock n’ roll soils - let’s see what Mr Turner has as cargo.

Something that isn’t original but at the same time is, Turner’s produce is largely acoustic indie-blues hybrid with his clearer than crystal voice riding along in an almost too English-sounding way but it pays immensely as you can hear every syllable this bloke utters without a repeat skip.

I still pressed said button though afterwards.... to hear this promising young fellow’s talents again.

Catchy stuff.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

Two Of A Kind – S/T
(Frontiers Records – 2007)

Striking Melodic Hard Rock band that are female fronted who come across like Lita Ford meets Vixen and Heart etc – you get the idea I guess. It ain’t geek stuff one bit and by the sounds of it they’ve really gone to town with the aggressive hitting riffs that work perfect with the dual fronted vocals of Esther Brouns and Anita Craemehr.

Highlights include the opening rocker ‘Light In The Dark’; ‘The Longest Night’; the ballads ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and ‘Unbearable’; the positive, uplifiting ‘Whole Again’; ‘To The Top’ and or the sad but brilliant ballad ‘I Die A Little More Everyday’.

There should be more bands like this in the forefront of the mainstream music radio as this is much more preferable. Every song is exceptional.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

July
Tesla - Real to Reel
(Tesla Electric Recordings Inc/Rykodisc - 2007)

Paying homages & tributes to some of the heros that influenced them - a bit like what Def Leppard and more recently Poison have just done. Some may argue it's jumping on the covering band's bandwagon - but what the hell - if it works as well as this does - the more the merrier.

What makes this interesting is that the choices aren't the usual jukebox faves - take 'Hand me down world' (The Guess Who); 'Day of the Eagle' (Robin Trower) or 'Stealin' & 'Walk Away'( now who originally did these numbers?); or as good examples as well as more familiar numbers like Deep Purples 'Space Truckin'; Led Zeppelin's 'Thank You'; The Rolling Stones 'Honky Tonk Women' or UFO's 'Rock Bottom'.

Excellent renditions too - very close to the originals a well - no doubt that was the idea. Hey, better still it's all been recorded analogue - it's as though you are playing a vinyl album (it's miles warmer than digital). Tell ya what - I wish many other artists did this - it is really far more real from the reel.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

THRESHOLD - Dead Reckoning
(Nuclear Blast - 2007)

Having been unable to enlist the services of Metalliville’s occasional Prog scribe Steve this time round turns out have done me one big favour as I would have otherwise missed out on a treat by this legendary British act.

Not having got hold of any further material since their live CD ‘Critical Energy’, over three years ago, I catch up with a now again only five-strong formation with poor old Karl Groom having to carry all the six-string burdens himself but carrying them off to immensely plausible panache as is the norm for these lads. The unusually thrashy opening number ‘Slipstream’ suffers a tarnish in the frankly unessecary bursts of death vocal, as ‘Mac’ McDermott’s pipes have more than the adequate amount of thrust to fire unaided, but is an otherwise acceptable cut despite setting a misleading tone for the rest of the album.

And thus an hour of incredibly crafted melodic metal ensues, needless to say obviously and at the end of powerful harmony-echoed epics like ‘This Is Your Life’, ‘Elusive’, ‘Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams’, ‘Disappear’ and ‘Safe To Fly’ I don’t think they can get any better with each that follows only they effin’ well do. All nine numbers tell their own story with every instrument and its player having their part, even if it is down either to just ‘Mac’s LaBrie-tutored tones or Johann James’s powerhouse drum performances to push the wheels on the wagon.

Seldom a stinker on their quarter and no sign of anything remotely close here, either, ‘Dead Reckoning’ is one of 2007’s watertight certs with the vital ingredients - yes, including hooks – are all fully stocked and used as if on an endless supply. Essential to all, followers or converts, without fail why this lot aren’t big enough to headline on the Arena circuit over here is for the unfairest of reasons.

Kids, put those Slipknot cds away (preferably in the bin) and get a piece of these guys.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Dream Theater, Helloween, Annihilator, Magnum, Royal Hunt

SITE www.thresh.net

April
Therion – Gothic Kabbalah
(Nuclear Blast – 2007)

A Swedish band that is Orchestral material meets metal with both a male and female vocalist. A conceptual project that no doubt appears the need to be played a few times before you grasp the narrative about what the story is all bout.

The quality of this will blow your mind and you may even realise you take a liking to operatic voices as I did on here. From ‘Mitternacht Lowe’ to Adulruna Redivivia’ this album is truly a magical masterpiece that many can only dream of putting together.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

January 2007
Type O Negative – Dead Again
(SPV – 2007)

Now let’s motor down into the deep dark ranks of Type O Negative on a new album that manages to throw in bits of all the aspects of their previous albums. There’s the heavy as sh*t thrashyness of ‘Slow, Deep & Hard’ & ‘The Making of Faeces’ on ‘Dead Again’ & ‘Tripping A Blind Man’ whereas much of the rest of the album echoes ‘Bloody Kisses’ & ‘October Rust’ & beyond.

They are still into spreading the words of doom in ‘The Profits of Doom’ , wailing about fire in ‘She burned me down’ and if you listen out you still hear the mention of ‘Whore’ that appears to have spanned throughout much of the bands history – or is it just my ears playing tricks on me again.

They even incorporate The Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ into ‘These Three Things’ and it fits perfect in a way only these New Yorkers know how. Nice to see they still grind out those Sabbathy like riffs as well – ‘Sweet Leaf’ anybody – yeah as long as it’s the green of T.O.N.

Love the singalong in ‘An Ode to Locksmiths’ – ‘we ain’t going home, there’s nowhere to go’. I never thought they would release an album to match ‘Bloody Kisses’ but believe me, I think they many have done it here - this is an album that Peter, Josh, Kenny & Johnny can definitely be proud of releasing upon our mortal minds and souls.

‘Dead Again’ proves that Type O Negative are alive and well. If being dead sounds as good as this then I can’t wait.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

Tarot – Crows Fly Back
(Nuclear Blast – 2007)

Finnish Metalheads who throw in good-old, old school Metal with symphonic and at times industrial sounds and features Marco Hietala from Nightwish on Bass & Vocals – a band he actually formed with his brother Zachary in 1986, then called Purgatory, before getting signed and changing their name to Tarot and that’s the name they’ve used ever since when they’ve been a band out there working as they have had rather a few silent moments as the members have been busy elsewhere.

This is a fine album with supreme musicianship and vocals to match with highlights including the ballad ‘Tides’; the dramatic title-track opener ‘Crows Fly Back’ the power-riffery of the fast-paced ‘Traitor’ and the closer ‘Grey.

So this is what Mr. H does when he ain’t doin’ the day job.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

2006
THUNDER - Robert Johnson’s Tombstone
(STC Recordings – 2006)


Busier in the last four years than they’ve been in the last two decades, Brit Blues-Rock vets Thunder storm back with their eighth studio stonker - yes you read that right, it is one – and their third since reforming in late ’02.

Another change of label finds them now on STC Recordings (nice meeting you) so this means their brand of traditional seventies laden hard rock swagger is becoming an acquired taste in the present day. Writing this review less than two weeks prior to seeing them take to the stage at Sheffield City Hall (again) I and many other steel city folk still have taste and effin good job too as ‘R.J.T.’ rocks big time.

The luscious licks that Luke Morley and Ben Matthews churn out take on a sometimes heavier sound but still find time to arc back to the ‘Backstreet’/’Judgment Day’ period and the result is nearly a dozen more deliciously groovy tunes that will satisfy all Thunder-ites new and old.

I am hoping we hear ‘Dirty Dream’, ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’, ‘Andy Warhol Said’ and the title cut at the forthcoming show but that’s simply a case of picking any old four from these eleven. Very few weak moments if any at all, ‘R.J.T’ is a proud component to the Croydon boys’ library.

Keep ‘em coming, lads.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

ANDY TIMMONS BAND - Resolution
(Favoured Nations Entertainment - 2006)

A sticker on the front of this cover reads - ‘long awaited release from one of rocks most respected guitarists. Understatements, both.

Andy Timmons seems to have either disappeared into exile since his departure from Danger Danger (that is a bit harsh actually, he did guest on their later albums) or has just sat around waiting for the musical climate to shine down on his side of the musical world once again. Whether it has or not, he has given up waiting and got on with his work, or should I say ‘works’, the result being a superb collection of instrumental ditties that owes quite a bit to Steve Vai and also Storm/Two Fires shredder Josh Ramos to name just two of many audible influences.

Drummer Mitch Marine and Ted Poley look-alike bassist Mike Daane (no, seriously he does) are new names to me although I’m under the assumption they’re highly sought after session players to earn a spot with a wizard like Andy. His style has moved along a bit since his days with the double-D guys but there is still no mistaking a true Timmons lick when you listen for one, they do come up more than a couple of times during the album.

An acquired taste as always being vocal-less, it kept me absorbed right throughout and it is nice to hear anything this chap puts his name to, especially after such a long time out of profile. I don’t think you should come to too much danger either, listening to this one.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

TARA’S SECRET - Tomorrow The World
(Blackcat Music - 2006)

Midlands melodic rock favourites Tara’s Secret have picked up a purely appreciative reception since they came to the public notice a couple of years or so ago, even if it still hasn’t landed them a single Gods or Firefest slot to date.

I was blown away by their material when I first sampled it at a show in Rotherham last year and it was an ideal theatrical trailer to what was coming soon with this new album. Opener ‘Drive Me Home’, the number I remember best from that set is a powerful Van Halen-y rocker, complete with the keyboards too and sets the pace for the rest of the disc.

Johnny Trowbridge’s range itself is distinctly unique even though it does sound like a hybrid of several other major mouths - I’ll leave you to find out which - and fits any style these lads switch to although they keep within their AOR confines all along. Strong numbers like ‘I Believe’, ‘Summer Days’, ‘Storm Inside’, ‘Love Shy’, ‘In Movies’ and ‘Sheperd’s Warning’ are guaranteed the same level of cred, recorded, as they would merit, live not one without a hook and a very measly few even nearly flat moments through all twelve cuts.

Classic guitar lines from messrs Beardsley and Chapman, and hard driving harmonies all the way, it soon becomes crystal how these lads managed to land a deal. Tara’s are easily the best kept Secret in hard rock even if they have all but been given away by now.

If like me, you’ve listened to this stunning album, don’t keep it to yourself.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

WEBSITE www.taras-secret.com

TEN - The Twilight Chronicles
(Frontiers - 2006)

Probably Britain’s most indestructible AOR outfit today - two years and two members gone and Ten are back once more. The offenders by the way are bassist Steve McKenna and drummer Greg Morgan which means that messrs Hughes and Halliwell are the only two survivors of the line-up from a decade back.

Opening an album with an epic will always sound a risqué move to many, though it’s done Iron Maiden little harm, and Ten have got away with it themselves with both the belting title cuts on ‘Name Of The Rose’ and ‘The Robe’. This time it’s actually two tracks that make up one, ‘The Prologue’ acting as a substantially lengthy intro to ‘Rome’ a classic Ten number which takes us right back to their early stuff and would go down just as well on a sci-fi movie soundtrack and from then on they falter infrequently for the remaining hour or so.

‘Elysian Fields’ and ‘Hallowed Ground’ are Ten spreading their wings and soaring high, propelled by the ever-powerful vocals of Gary Hughes while guitarists John Halliwell and Chris Francis give their usual flawless performance. ‘This Heart Goes On’ is not to be confused with that hideous Celine Dion tune of similar name but is still on of the album’s less monumental moments. ‘Oblivion, The Twilight Masquerade’, ‘Tourniquet’ and ‘Born to The Grave’ are Ten moving on and moving back in one move, countless elements of their first four albums collaged with the modern shades of their progression.

‘When This Night Is Done’ unfortunately finds them almost of steam, a just-above-average Ten number which isn’t at all bad but nothing incredible from a band who are otherwise nothing short of. Robust material in general, two or three less consistent moments rob them of just one point from the possible ten (….yeah, okay, ha, ha, ha) but Gary and the lads can add this, their eighth album to the wall with its seven mighty predecessors.

With unfallable musicianship as always, Ten have delivered once again - first class.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

Toto – Bottom of the Soul (Summer 2006 – Tour Edition)
(Frontiers Record – 2006)

4 track e.p from Toto that features new number – a thought-posing ballad that comes in radio edit form and album version, alongside a live tv medley of three of their hits – Africa, Rosanna & Bottom of your soul, plus a live version of ‘Gypsy train’ as well.

Always a pleasure to hear those terrifically brilliant angelic voices.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Tribal Tongue – One More Shot
(S/R – 2006)

Tribal Tongue are an immensely talented quartet, based in Fort Myers Beach, Florida who mix Rock, Metal, Blues and incredible vocal harmonies together in a melting pot and create what because their own unique luscious blend of musical and vocal prowess - they are so unique that I can truly call the Tribal Tongue Sound.

Comprised of 4 outstanding performers, each in his own right the ‘Tongue are comprised of Bryce Barnes on Bass/Vocals/B.V’s/Guitar (ex-Edwin Dare/Blackfoot); Jokomo Joe Monroe on Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar/Bass Guitar/BV’s (ex-Engine Joe, TT Strip); Tag Graves on Lead Guitar/Acoustic Guitar/Vocoder/BV’s (ex-Rod Stewart; Leon Russell; Eric Clapton…) and by no means leastly Gary “Crankshaft” Renshaw taking care of Drums/Percussion & BV’s (ex-Dave Hlubeck band~Molly Hatchet).

Every song’s a winner baby (especially when you got lead vocalists that are as excellent as Joe and Bryce) because just about any one could be picked as a hit single so place your bets which would reach number 1 in the charts the quickest, possible time. Go from the opening driving ‘One More Shot’ (which the lads are giving it) with its striving harmonies and venomous lead breaks; the cookingly gorgeous up-tempo gospelness of ‘I Feel’ and ‘I Got Love’ ; the Southern poppy to propellin’ Rockness of ‘Can you hear me (when I call)’ or the genius of the ballad ‘Nothin’ Stays the Same’ - (cracking lead vocals Bryce) or the closing ‘I ain’t gonna tell you no more’ with Tag’s effective vocoder effects on the ‘No More’ section of the chorus.

These guys have become one of my all time favourite bands and this CD blows me away every time I hear it and I seriously cannot praise these guys enough.

To check out samples of the songs simply got to www.tribaltongue.com where you can also purchase the CD and find out more about the band.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

June
TANKARD - Beauty And The Beer
(AFM – 2006)

24 Years into their career, Germany’s Tankard know that like one of their nations other proud exports, beer, the music shouldn’t change. And so it hasn’t.

The noisy foursome belt out another batch of old-school thrash toons as you’d expect it to sound though very strong so for a one-guitar outfit. The thing about this stuff is that while half of this album’s riffs I’ve heard about a hundred (thousand times) before, these guys are having fun celebrating the good ol’ days of metal - which might be probably the main reason for all the songs about beer that they sing but it makes for some comical hooks in the process, as well as titles.
Not one for people seeking depth or creativity but if you fancy little more than standing, downing a few cans and doing the ol’ devil signs, in your lounge one Sunday morning while waiting for the wife to get the dinner done this comes as a class A recommendation.

Though if it’s all the same with you chaps, I’ll stick with a Coke, myself.

7.5/10

By Dave Attrill

May

TORNADO - Rude Demo (Self-Released)


About the only thing I find rude about this disc is that there is almost no English to be found anywhere on the sleeve, save for the band name and title.

Listening to what this whacky Italian threesome have on show makes you forget about the flaw. On one song they’re thrash, another, hardcore, another, hard rock, and the other, something that sounds like funk and ska loosely rolled together. Even if you can’t translate a word of their native lingo, though there are a few times here and there where you’ve got a fair idea of what they’re on about, they are quite easy and fun to sing along to.

I just hope Tornado understand enough English to read this review as they have quite successfully attempted to sweep me off my feet.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

Trepalium - Alchemik Clockwork Of Disorder
(Holy Records – 2006)

Having never heard this band before the Cd artwork interested me, Clocks…Blood smeared across piano keys…reminds me of something I’d seen before but can’t place.

After reading the short description of the band by their record label, describing their sound as "The New School Of Death metal", I received with the cd I put said cd into my cd player, half expecting some second-rate Decapitated/Disgorge cloned Death metal to come pouring out at me, pleasantly I couldn’t have been more incorrect.

After a short build up it’s straight into the first track “Decease My Life”, a superbly clear, classic-styled death metal riff greets me out of my speakers, unrestrained yet technical blasts, excellent guitar work, but wait, what? An organ/keyboard at 1:31 mins!? I must admit to being a little thrown by it, but for the right reason. As it, in a very peculiar sort of way, works with the way the track progresses. For an even clearer example of the keyboard usage listen to the groove laden “Sick Boogie Murder” (saxophones? scat-vocals? Is this serious?) or dis-chorded “Psycho Theme” (Clockwork Orange anyone?).

Tracks that stood out on this release for me was the title track “Alchemik Clockwork Of Disorder”, for it’s totally crushing riffs remniscent of Morbid Angel’s “Domination” release. “One Breath Of Peace”, for it’s interesting Metallica/Macarbe acoustic sound & “Perversion Of Reality” for it’s good old back to basics headbang-fodder riffs & excellent solid blasts. (Reminded me of “Affiliated With The Suffereing” era Blood Red Throne, an excellent track, my favorite of the whole album.)

The whole album consists of solid technical French death metal, not by any means stomach wrenchingly brutal & intensely crushing but enough interesting instrument work to keep even the most elitist of death metal fans interested as to what could possibly come next. Accompanied by solid complex drumming, rumbling bass prone to odd but never-the-less entertaining jazz styled breakdowns, flawless vocals & unexpected, almost lounge-music influenced keyboards that work surprisingly well with the rest of the arrangement. After listening to this release I think it’s safe to say I’ve not come across anything as innovative as this in my years of listening to Extreme Metal.

7.5/10

By T. Xjort

March 2006
TEN FOOT DOLLS - The Demos
(S/R)

Er, chaps, this doesn’t happen to be a demo by any chance does it. Less of the ‘chaps’ actually, this girl-fronted quartet from Sheffield blew me away when I recently saw them for the first time at a gig at city centre bar West Street Live and was honoured to have received the last copy of this complimentary taster.

Tasty being how I would describe it (no, I’m not doing any more jokes about that cornflakes ad). The thought of a female voice –led Motley Crue/Dokken hybrid is one worth having but much more fun when it becomes a reality as TFD have obviously grasped. All four tunes possess gritty Sunset strip suss packed in with that traditional metal guitar edge and lest we forget to mention strong hook-lines.

Unfortunately, shocking production of the vocal tracks mean I had to listen with the volume up at unsociable levels – and for a band who actually spent their first session together as a full unit, in a studio, that’s even more surprising. Given this foul up was a one-off, I’m hoping these belters will be burned again for a proper release later this year as this band’s material deserves a break.

In the meantime, catch them at the dates below and find out for yourself what you’re missing.

9/10

(for the music and songwriting)

APRIL 14 - Civic Center, Mexborough - supporting Robin Black
MAY 26 - Parklands, Doncaster
JULY 8 - Dome, Doncaster

Visit - www.tenfootdolls.co.uk for more info.

TESTAMENT - Live In London
(Spitfire)

TRACKS The Preacher, The New Order, The Haunting, Electric Crown, Sins Of Omission, Souls Of Black, Into The Pit, Trial by Fire, Practice What You Preach, Let Go Of My World, The Legacy, Over The Wall, Raging Waters, Disciples Of The watch.

Testament have hit rough times over recent years, dominated by the illness of frontman Chuck Billy, obviously but they have rebound on an alarming scale, i.e. not everyone at first though that would mean reuniting Billy and with original lead shredder Skolnick and bassist Greg Christian.

Having the original line-up could only mean one thing – classic Testament throughout their set and this show recorded in our beloved capital hardly deviates. Everyone’s there to hear stuff from their very early albums and so they roll it out, material from all of their first five long-players dominating the evening.

Quite obviously, ‘The New Order’ makes the largest contribution with no less than five numbers from that legendary 1988 disc and beginning and ending the show with said material indicates the Testament of today’s performance is no less brutal than that of them seventeen years or so before. Chuck’s throat is totally unhindered by his recent problems, screaming insides… inside out at the room of metal-mad Londonians, note for note in relation to the originals.

Skolnick takes his old job back with both hands, ripping and reeling with every lick and you can tell just by listening to this bloke alone that this is one rather special night for the San Franciscans. Chuck sounds like he’s got a lump in his throat as he introduces his erstwhile colleagues on for what is actually their first appearance in London with this line up for 13 years. It could be more so, half way through the set when drummer Joey Tempesta gives up his stool to illustrious predecessor Louie Clement, completing the original line up, including remaining old timer Eric Peterson, of course and the crowd proceed to make more noise than the band themselves.

Whether this reformation for the original five is a permanent thing or it’s back to being Billy, Peterson and various other hands again, I am at time of writing uninformed but for once we finally have a full length show with Skolnick in the ranks, the only other offerings from such times being the ‘Eindhoven ‘87’ and ‘Return To The Apocalyptic City’ EPS. Let’s hope there’s a full UK tour on the way before Alex parts company again. A thoroughly brutal and blinding collection for even the most casual Testament-ite on the planet, these lads don’t need telling about maintaining their standards.

Essential.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

THEATER OF TRAGEDY – Storm
(AFM Records - 2006)

Well of course there’s tragedy associated with somewhere within, goth metal isn’t supposed to be happy is it. TOT’s style is very-untragic, the woman-vs-man vocals, mostly accounted for by the fairer sex being the selling point of this album single handedly.

Nell is quite a recent addition to the band from what I’ve read but her set of pipes slaughter most male contemporaries without flinching and so leave poor old Raymond Rohonyi, the Norweigan sextet’s other mike-ster for dead.

With a sound that’s almost AOR on occasions, T.O.T.’s sweet sorcerer-ous tones put them quite often in a league close to that of another band called ‘Theater’ I might mention - and should put this disc in every record store with taste across the planet.

Powerful and absorbing stuff from another fine Scandinavian export.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Arch Enemy or a more commercialised My Dying Bride, albeit with female vox.

TWILIGHT - Born Undivine

The Rain In Spain is raining metal more and more these days, and Twilight come with thunder and lightning for good measure. Yes, they sound fairly indifferent to about fifty percent of the other (top) bands of the genre in question - that being melodic power metal of course- but their produce is strong enough to be noticed.

Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson-like ranges come as standard in the scene but this guy’s throat sounds like a direct hybrid, delivering some very powerful upper-pitch melodies, and appropriately enough the guitar work is a throw together of the razor sharp sounds of their Scandinavian counterparts.

Doing it by the book they do throw an epic or two in but all in the sake of substance and never sake. Formula doesn’t always ruin things and it certainly has not done Twilight any damage - they have made sure to use such criteria with care and the results can be heard right here.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Royal Hunt, Primal Fear, Judas Priest

TARA’S SECRET - Venice Of The North (1-track promo sampler)
(S/R -2005)

I was a trifle miffed to end up having to miss this lot when they played at the CRB. So when I grabbed this little taster at the recent Firefest event in Bradford, I was pretty chuffed to finally get an earful of what Tara’s Secret are all about. Put it this way, if you like UFO, you are going to like this lot… a lot.

Though kicking off in a very contemporary style akin to Dutch hotties Mennen, it’s not long before they are rocking in a purely British ‘75-‘85 manner and the Mogg-like range of the singer throughout makes for the main enjoyment along, though that hook soon caught on too. I’m looking forward to making it to one of their shows in the near future (Herringthorpe centre, Rotherham, May 14th) plus hearing that debut album of theirs as I’m sure this is not the only decent tune they have to offer by a long way.

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

TAT - S/T (3-track live EP)
(EX Records – 2004)

Having my first sample of a band’s music by way of live recorded material can be a pain at the bulk of times, which you may have learned already, as it doesn’t always give one the chance to hear and appreciate the exact quality of their output.

Plenty still carry it off though, girl-fronted quartet Tat giving a reasonable first impression with three attitude-soaked anthems of the many they evidently own. Unlike too many punk acts of yesteryear or of such style, they swing between more than one strumming style - and attention grabbing in even the smallest of ways isn’t always that bad a thing.

If you wondered what Girlschool sounded like on Steroids, try this lot.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

Jennie Tebler – Silverwing (single)

A Swedish artist who owes this release to the late Bathory man, ‘Quorthon’. A sweet catchy piece of Gothic Doom. Jennie has a beautiful voice as well.

This was Quorthon’s last work so this fact makes it a very special release.

‘Silverwing across the night sky’.

Long live the music and memory of ‘Quorthon’.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TERRABYTE - The Gloom Factory
(Screaming Ferret)

A rather old-school name, then it's for rather old school metal so that should help you guess what's coming. Offering a combination that takes in mostly Testament, Slayer and Sepultura riffery, I can't see Terrabyte failing to attract their share of the punters of all ages with some distinct smidgens of Machine Head and Pantera added to the score as well. I've obviously heard solos of this sort about a thousand times before but they are always welcome if the style suits them.

The singer's quite unique voice helps in this area too, dividing its time between a classic early eighties metal snarl and something that sounds like a budding Blaze Bayley impersonator trying to carve himself out a career - well some people did actually like those two Maiden albums. 'Doom Gloom', 'Romper Stomper', 'Emotional Debris' and 'Insanity' are within the disc's stronger side and the bonus live defacings of various Christmas tunes, record on their tour last December make for extra entertainment - especially singing 'Little Drummer Boy' along to the riffs fro 'Am I Evil'…..

Well, it's more fun than the collection of bland renditions Toto's Steve Lukather inflicted on us a year ago.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

Teenage Casket Company – Dial It Up
(Trashpit Records – 2005)

The EP was brilliant, so does the album match up to it – seems to – bright and up their like Rob Lane’s hair – I couldn’t resist that one mate. UK Sleaze Kings – well one of ‘em anyway – TCC belt out pleasin’, fun lovin’ music with good cutz including ‘Bad Girl’ – now that’s a definite single.

Right the way through it’s a cookin’ vibe right through to the closer ‘Ain’t nothin’ on me’. A right on party album for lovers of real rock n roll so open a few cans and get this one cranked up.

Other highlights include the boppin’ ‘Another Part of me’ and the title track ‘Dial it up’ with its phone sound effects.

Metalliville also receives a thank-you too for being of the many who’ve supported them in their first year – wahey.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Joe Lynn Turner – The Usual Suspects
(Frontiers/Now and Then Records - 2005)

Don’t seem 5 minutes since the JLT album came out but it’s great to see another from the dude with the surname Turner.

There’s so much to get excited over here like the ballsy ‘Power of love’; the purple-esque ‘Jack Knife’ and ‘Unfinished Business’ or the delightful ballads too like ‘rest of my life’; ‘Live and love again and ‘All Alone’ for the girls to swoop around.

Another good album from Joe.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

209 - First Minute, First Round
(Bohemian Records – 2004

I feel a bit uncomfortable about reviewing this album, having just given initial taster ‘Trigger’ a less-than-charitable rating. Despite worries however, 209’s guns are more heavily loaded than first thought, their rap-metal being a lot more weightier and riff-driven instead of just some bloke shouting along to guitars, about all that’s bad with the world. These Londoners still sound formulaic so you’d notice but are still notice-able in their own right with movements that should draw appeal from Metallica, Sepultura and Machine Head fans as well as those of their associated genre.

In the end this is a good disc in most places and hopefully a slot or two with some of the Hardcore/metal scene’s top names comes their way because these guys deserve a chance on stage. I branded that aforementioned sampled track - one of the albums few less monumental parts - as being about exciting as a cricket tea but that said, those egg and cress sarnies they usually did actually weren’t bad.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE
Stuck Mojo, Biohazard, Orange 9mm, Pro-Pain, Machine Head.

MIKE TRAMP - Songs I Left On Both Sides
(Frontiers - 2004)


What, sixteen of them? A bit careless of you, old chap. Then again, on sitting through some of these rather half-hearted sounding offerings, I can see the word 'should've' being added somewhere in that title.

Not that any are particularly pants but the material I heard him perform at the Corporation last October was mostly superior to sixty-five percent of these cuts. Yes, a few hooks do hang out, as we expect from such a pivotal figure and the sweet guitar melodies are sprinkled about a little bit too, but this album on the whole sounds like little more than either a contractual grovel or just something to amuse people awaiting that next White Lion or Freak Of Nature album that will probably never come. Hence, at best, this is one for the Tramp-loving public only.

Sorry, Mike.

5/10

By Dave Attrill

TRISTANIA - Ashes
(SPV - 2005)

Finally hearing a full album from Sweden's latest goth sensations Tristania allows me to put the record straight about what this lot do. The seven-strong troupe including three vocalists - one female - have a style destined to mislead if you take them on the merit of one track.

The album continuously evolves through all seven songs, from Emperor-meets-C.O.F. black metal racket to a female fronted My Dying Bride, which should not fall short of too much appeal in the scene's faithful. One can find a fair bit to go at for Metallica, Testament or Anthrax fans as well, with some of that riffing in the first couple of numbers, so it becomes more of an all-round affair with that in account.

A good example of rock's darker spectrum turning its subtle side nearer for all to touch. Recommended

8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

TEN - Return To Evermore
(Intensity Records - 2004)

Three years may have passed since the last studio offering from Ten but it can hardly be said that the Mancunian rockers have laid low in that stretch. Their tour with Asia and Gods slot in '02 and Gary Hughes' 'Once And Future King' masterpiece last year being the focal points along with John Halliwell's new Enzign project. Vinny Burns also, as you know parted company following 'Far Beyond The World' as have recently, their label of the last seven years, Now & Then.

On a much more positive note, Vin's replacement Chris Francis makes a gargantuan impact on his debut recording with the band and fully maintains the class from 'Name Of The Rose', 'The Robe' and 'Spellbound' established by his predecessor. Equipped with huge hooks, stunning harmonies and Hughes's ever undenied vocal talent, Paul Hodson also helps sustain the constant Catley-isms all along. Still for the most part their usual best selves, Ten take time to explore the styles department, treating themselves to a bit of contemporary instrumental attire on a number or two. Don't worry though, no total alternative workouts to be heard - like they'd do such a thing.

Back after an unusually long break for them, 'R.T.E', Ten's seventh album into their eight year-old career is an incredible work an the true product of a band bravely and defiantly striving in a scene still underrated by the trend-obsessed many today.

Buy.

9.5/10

By Dave Attrill

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - 30th Anniversary Tour: Live
(Eagle Rock - 2004)

He's 'bad to the bone; and he 'drinks alone' but not tonight as George is live 'n' vibed with his Destroyers at Nottingham Concert Hall, UK so go 'Rocking your life away'.

It's a good night for the blues with killer songs that you can choose. Be it 'The Fixer' or 'The Sky is Crying', he's a 'Greedy Man' round 'Night Time' who wants a 'Sweet Little Lady' out on the dance floor - especially if she's single or divorced.

'That's it I quit', just get out your house and buy it. Then, go get yourself 'One Bourbon, One Scotch (and) One Beer'.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

Thunder - I love you more than Rock 'n' Roll (Single)
(STC Recordings - 2004)

This is like Thunders answer to 'Honky Tonk Woman' with its main riff which explodes into classic brass before you go back to that cool riffage again that's complete with cowbell.

It's got in the Top 30 of the UK and let's hope it goes further. She must be one hell of a woman if she's loved more than rock 'n' roll.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

Thunderclap Newman - Something in the Air
(Hathor Creative Industries -2004)

The old late 60's banged out again with fresh orchestration and overwhelming production.

Seems weird hearing a different vocalist but since Speedy Keene regularly plays the great gig in the sky, this replacement is adequate enough - if not a bit deeper as well. I reckon Speedy would approve this song though.

The other two tracks are good time ditties about letting the sunshine in your life and getting life good.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

TRONN - Alienofilia

(S/R - Demo)

I like the sleeve print. I like the title.. I quite like the name too... I can't say I like the content though. Cheese-ridden industrial codge that's good for a laugh but little else with almost nothing that can be merely classed as a tune of any sort audible. Whilst material created by the likes of Strapping Young Lad, Frontline Assembly et al more often than not veers into the indecipherable waters, Devin keeps even his noisiest numbers vaguely notable.

It's not that these tracks can't be told apart, as they do in truth have their own components, just they seem as if they were assembled with a Pritt Stick - obviously in other words just leaving a mess with bits all over the place. Possibly a demo as there's no mention of a label here (I wonder why), this half-hour of noises, terrible, tedious and at points about tolerable was quite likely recorded for a laugh, one or two cuts vaguely bordering on the comical. However, if you're vying for any prosperity on the professional music market , I'd strongly recommend you try doing something else next time out, lads.

2.5/10

By Dave Attrill

Twisted Sister - Still Hungry
(Detonator Records - 2004)

A re-recording of 'Stay Hungry' with bonus tracks. It's been 20 years since the original came out and they were never happy with the original; mix - it's therefore been re-recorded by the band and produced by Mark Mendoza. No detriment to the initial album but this is brighter and a lot clearer - where everything is fully audible in the mix.

Therefore listen new versions of classics like 'We're not gonna take it'; 'SMF'; 'The Price' and of course 'I wanna rock'. It's electric and in your face - just like you'd want Twisted Sister to be.

The bonus tracks (7 in total) include material lost in the original 1984 session such as 'Blastin' Fast and Loud' and re-makes of old club daze numbers like the thrusty 'Come back' and 'You know I Cry'.

The 80's shock rockers are back and they mean business (at the weekend).

9/10

By Glenn Milligan

209 - Trigger
(Bohemian Records - 2004)

'Promising new band' is not expression difficult not to tire of these days and thank bl**din' god we've been spared it here as the only thing this lot promise is probably to disappear without trace.

Their brand of rap-oriented metalcore is nothing offensive just totally bereft of direction and whilst I often have little twinge of excitement at the though of trying another new act out, this lot are about exciting as a cricket tea.

Having three versions of the same track does even less favours and whilst strict fans of the scene might probably chase this one, others are advised to stick with the best instead.

3.5/10

By Dave Attrill

Taz Taylor - Caffiene Racer
(No Hair records - 2004)

As bald as a coot guitarist who looks and sounds like a cross of Satriani and Vai - but to leave the review there would be rather lazy of me. Taz, from Sandiago, CA, USA like many others has the fret chops and interesting time-changes to his music - a fete that some other artists fail to live up to.

A dozen ditties appear here - it's melodic, nice, slow in places but rocks enough to keep you entertained. Cool cuts include 'Pot of Gold'; 'Sting in the tail'; 'Through the turns'; the intriguing 'On the Edge' and 'Eye of the Flyer' but best of all is the gorgeous 'George's Song' that closes the cd, in fact the whole album is dedicated to him - this being 'George Taylor', Taz's late dad.

Wonder if Taz will become the main guitarist of a big name band in the future.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

THE MORE I SEE - The Wolves Are Hungry
(SPV - 2004)

Talk about 'coming out from under the carpet', but The More I See are one band who sure know how to turn up, incognito. I mean for starters, since when has Peterborough been earmarked as an originating ground for metal bands? Secondly, a label who more commonly deal with metal's classically renowned genres houses this outfit. Then their title so far indicates to most a set of ideas drawn from anything up to about 1989.

However, a look at the band's photo on the sleeve dissuades one from jumping to the expected conclusion, their sound even more so but the aforementioned styles are by no mean totally absent. Initially one thinks Machine Head circa-third album with some strained Anselmo grunts from frontman Chad and a noticeable reminiscence in one or two numbers to certain bands whose names begin with the words Boy Hits. Beyond this though, a large part of the remaining education is taught in metal's old school and quite a few headbanging thirtysomethings might like to switch on to this before making any rash decisions.

Accompanying the versatile guitar work, we get quite a few tasty little bits of piano as bonus alongside quite an interesting selection of other ideas in this impressive band's material. Call them what sort of thing you choose to but file under F***ing Big Stuff anyway as they are one of the most fresh and interesting combinations of influences used of late.

Never mind the wolves mate, I'm bl**din' starving.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

THERAPY - Never Apologise, Never Explain
(Spitfire - 2004)

Ireland's greatest export since U2 and Thin… you know who - Therapy can't complain about the ride they've had over their 12-year stint. Several albums and tours sown the road from the day 'Teethgrinder' hit the street, Cairns and co, if not too much trace of their original trademark hooligan rock that saw them at their peak in the mid 90s.

In 2004AD we catch up with them trying something sounding akin to Metallica-meets-Drowning Pool-meets themselves, circa '94. With guitarist/cellist Martin McCarrick gone, the band are back to basics but no change in attitude and they savage from the start, with very few of these thirteen tunes losing teeth. The album does have its poppier parts and moves in different directions in its 40 minutes but Therapy don't care what you think, only what they write.. and what you think about that too.

A brutal continuation of their career for this still revered Irish act.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

Travers and Appice - It takes a lot of balls
(SPV -2004)

That'll be Pat Travers and Carmine Appice to y'all. Legends in their own right rocking it up on one album together. It's the good ole 70's again with the material here - groovin' and blastin' on some cookin' blues - pure mojo material right from the opening 'Better from a distance' (which is like AC/DC meets Humble Pie) to PT Slide - it's musical sex right the way through. The guys took a bit of LA influence on
'Taken' and Carmine revs up in 'Remind Me' with Pat taking off from thereon in that same said song.

If you want a killer Southern-like ballad then 'Hey You' is perfect and no it's not the Quireboys song either - it's an anthemic love song - a real beauty and it's worth getting the album for that song alone. Another corker of a ballad of a similar nature is 'Can't escape the fire'. They've even tried out a bit of reggae in 'I can't let it go' then there's the filler 'Rock me' or the wailing, bluesy 'Never saw it coming'.

Looking forward to another release from this pair or maybe a tour.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan

TREPALIUM - Through the Absurd
(Holy Records - 2004)

Avoiding any confusion with Gallic alterna-metal mob Treponem Pal, Trepalium are a much less experimental force. Cutting a long story short, it's frankly speaking, straight ahead death metal that fails to distinguish them amongst umpteen thousand other acts making such unholy noise like this.

I finally got roped in on a repeat play when the at times melodic guitar managed to sink into the mind, not without trace. In most cases it's another been-there-done-it affair but some progressive moments towards the end, whether intended or not, alleviated the course of the vehicle. Nothing to earn the genre further disrepute in the diversity..or lack of. stakes, but neither is it something too capable of helping them in the other direction either.

For strict fans of formula, mostly.

6.5/10

By Dave Attrill

August

Teenage Casket Crew - S/T (Sampler CD)
(S/R - 2004)

Glam band that hail from Derbyshire, UK of all places that feature the bAassist of Dip and vocalist of China Doll.

It's a three tracker recorded at Sigma Studios in Burton - nice sounds as well. You get a modern style with opener 'Down on luck' whereas 'Bad Girl' has an 80's vibe and electricity to it - think Hanoi Rocks with a brutal 90's feel. Last but by no means least is 'Another part of me' (TCC save the best number to the end) - a feisty little rocker that blends in the vibe of Pretty Boy Floyd with a thumpy Levellers riff -it's fresh and fulfilling.

The album can't be too far away.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan

Thunderbolt - Demons and Diamonds
(Massacre Records - 2004)

Grand old metal a la Iron Maiden complete with similar soundin' 'n' styled vocals. Norway is where they come from (the home of Black Metal), a part called Oslo to be exact and this happens to be their debut.

Strikin' solo's plus plenty of cymbals and tom-tom crashing is a plenty. Loadza highlights throughout with notable ones being the epic 'Enforcer'; the orchestral 'Palantir' and 'Haunted by Shadows'.

For lovers of Iron Maiden everywhere - OK, it ain't very original but what the hell - it's good old fashioned metal.

6.5/10

By Glenn Milligan

12 STONES - Far Away (1 track promo)
(Wind Up - 2004)

Listening to this back to back with the Alter Bridge sampler I was wondering briefly if I'd just put the same disc back by accident, not to mention this is on the same label as 12 STONES or should I say two, better with having an even stronger hook and also bothering to include a GUITAR SOLO in the tune, and a bloody good one too.

The whole number has an overall vibe that could attract followers of one or two other particular rock genres I might mention. A blinding tune, capped by same soulful vocals I've just heard on that other lot's offering, I'm hoping this single gets some well-deserved chart action.

The single 'Far Away' is released on Tuesday 10th August.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

March
Joe Lynn Turner - JLT
(Shrapnel Records - 2003)

Ok, it's already been said elsewhere that this album is similar in style and stands as a mirror to the other half of the Hughes-Turner Project, this being Glenn Hughes' 'Songs in the key of Rock' which ain't no bad thing as that was a top-notch album.

'JLT' as you can probably gather whacks together a good pile of rock 'n' blues at it's crème de la crème standard with cuts like 'Dirty Deal'; 'Let's Go'; 'Cryin' out loud' being perfect examples'.

Joe has even gone all Deep Purpley on us with the racing 'In Cold Blood' and 'Hit the Switch'. The main stand-out on the album has got to be 'Love don't live here' a fantastic ballad that illustrates heartache and the realism of loneliness.

A supreme album from one of the world's most renown rock vocalists. Well I'm surrendering to the incredible rising force of Joe Lynn Turner and when he has a powerful, passionate voice like this, you should too.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan

February
THRESHOLD - Critical Energy
(Inside Out/SPV - 2003)

Threshold have ridden a tall horse in the prog metal scene for the last decade so. For Britain's answer to Dream Theater, a live album is as expected a test of the titans. Ploughing majestically through an immense two hour set drawn from their entire era, they are on about their fifth different singer now and although with only a couple or so original soldiers still in the battalion, the super-powered sextet still can make any number from their past or present sound as good as the day it emerged.

Stunning vocals and handling of instruments goes sans quibbles that You notice that Threshhold have more of a straightforward approach to their form of music, opting more often for the verse-chorus-verse criteria, from which bands today like Magnitude Nine and Balance Of Power take cue. However they do it though, their virtuosity is evident in every one of the eighteen numbers played on this night's show and the volume of applause on completion of each single piece says it all - putting the time that they do into making music pays any day no matter how many days it takes.

Threshold still hopefully have plenty ahead.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

TRANSATLANTIC - Live In Europe
(SPV/Inside Out - 2003)

With the release of the Transatlantic live album comes the breaking of a new record I think; the longest live performance with the fewest number of tracks. At over two hours and only six tracks on the album, it's all the epics off their first two albums. And as you'd expect from the collaboration of four members of some of the finest prog bands the performance is spot on.

This album is full of great stuff.

9/10

By Steve Windle

Jan. 2004
TENEBRE - Electric Hellfire Kiss
(Regain)

Stuck (and not happily) between Moonspell, Sentenced and The Kovenant, Tenebre blow it on a few fronts. Lyrically, this is quite laughable, although one senses a it of tongue in Cheek to the band's approach, calling themselves an International Magik Group right on the album cover.

New singer Victor Fradera (the band has three full-length's before his arrival), does a weird gruff and an occasional goth, a somewhat interesting mix. But his schizophrenia is a good metaphor for the album, the listener jostled from hard gothic new wave to metal and back again (and late in the album for 'At The Mountain', excellent doom). Weird, but I get a pretty cool Monster Magnet vibe by the end of this often tiring trip, even if I wish the band would stick to the rocking out Sentenced thing and stop all the red wining.

6/10

By Martin Popoff

THREE DAYS GRACE - I Hate Everything about You
(MFN - 2003)

Three Days Grace, Two songs average, One fairly impressive, and you have this single's review more or less wound up in nine words. Far form being the most dull, predictable record on the planet, US grunge youngsters Three Days Grace's produce still leaves less to excite the more adventurous listener.

The best song is not the title track but 'Burn' whilst 'Are You Ready' just bubbles under, together with 'I Hate.' Whilst there are some barely distinguishable hooks intact, the whole thing does little much more than the average days work in the department.

Why this excellent label with previous signees including Freak Of Nature, Warrior Soul and Magnum wants to support this sort of stuff is anyone's guess but someone has to, so good luck to 'em.

6/10

By Dave Attrill

THUNDERSTONE - The Burning
(Nuclear Blast)

Two records deep into the jostled middle of the power metal holding pen, Thunderstone have expanded to fill their personalities, especially singer Pasi, who, despite being hankered by an accent, sounds like a rock lion with something to say and a sonorous, bluesy voice with which to say it.

The keyboards are still gay (yet thankfully, only occasional), but the songs are sturdy and Stratovarian, not to mention the riffs, guitarist Nino Laurenne getting vicious on fast-trackers like 'Side By Side' and barroom rocking for the straight verse churn of 'Drawn To The Flame'. But the real gem is the mournful Royal Hunt-like AOR of 'Mirror Never Lies', on which Pasi gets to power his way over a sly, tasteful arrangement (check out the swirling twin and single axe soloing at the 1:56 mark) toward a great pre-chorus and chorus.

I feel an obsessive flood of replaying coming on.

8/10

by Martin Popoff

TIAMAT - Prey
(Century Media 2003)

They have stolen the pride of the Swedish metal scene for over a decade now and with their eighth long player, Tiamat continue to own their rights to such distinction as I speak.

I've not caught that much of their material since 94's debut 'Wildhoney' but the few little bits n' bobs from their intervening six disc did help me find my way back onto the path and the present day Tiamat sound. Which isn't far removed from the old one, I'll have you know, as this one quite evidently summarisers their works of the last nine years in the space of fifty-five minutes.

Moving, absorbing and totally spirit lifting, you can feel yourself being drawn into their world by their brand of ribbon-smooth goth metal and it's not hard to learn how they earned their followers right from the day they set off.

One of the genre's finest acts by far.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: My Dying Bride, Anathema or Paradise Lost when they sounded different.

Toto - Live in Amsterdam
(Spitfire Records - 2003)

It came rushing to the floor like the house that crushed the witch in the 'Wizard of OZ' - Ok, that's the sillyness out of the way - this is a live effort from one the finest rock bands who began lifein the late 70's and are famed for their with pristine vocal outputs.

Their line-up now comprises of the ever-present Steve Lukather (Guitar/Vocals), Mike Porcaro (Bass), Bobby Kimball (Vocals), David Paich (Keyboards) and super-session/live-hire, Simon Phillips (Drums) - plus additional band members Tony Spinner (Vocals/Guitar) and John Jessel (Vocals/Keyboards).

The vocal heights are there and the musicianship is strict, tight and the ultimate in technical ability. The people present for this performance are spoilt with renditions of The Beatle's 'While my guitar gently weeps' that's dedicated to Brother Jeff (Porcara) and Brother George (Harrison), the Toto greatest hits live staples 'Africa'; 'Rosanna' and 'Hold the line' as well as lesser well-known numbers like the poundin' 'Goodbye Elenore'; 'Girl Goodbye' and the jazzy 'Georgy Porgy' that's couple with 'Lion' and part of a medley that also includes 'Waiting for your love' and 'Hydra'.

A warm exquisite performance in front of a well-receiving crowd even though some of the vocals might not be as high as they once were - not that many can better them of course.

8.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

TRIPOD - S/T
(Moonjune Records - 2003)

On hearing this album, the question of why, musicians spoil good work by sticking in rubbish in at the side of it came to mind. Tripod is an acquired taste and I'm afraid it's not my taste.

The problem I have with some of the tracks on this album is that for example, track 2, 'Trip The Light' has great vocals by Clint Bahr and interesting rhythm carried on Sax playing Keith Gurland and Steve Romano on percussion that really conveys them a very competent players. But is spoiled by messy contemporary rubbish that seems to be there for the sake of it.

Sorry guys you can do a lot better.

4/10

by Steve Windle

27 PILLS - S/T
(Metalhertz - 2003)

I need that high a dose to sit down to this lot - that name leaves me on the
edge of suspense for starters. So here we go with another, then…… Oh yes, I do
believe we're talkin' here. Gravelly husky young vocals glide smoothly above
mountains of crunchy modern guitar metal with a contemporary
Metallica-meets-Alice in Chains feel. An unknown quantity from practically all
angles, 27 Pills take Nu-breed in to the heavier, brooding end of the
passageway, albeit with the echoes of the commercial side always audible.

'It's Over', 'Come To Me', 'Transfixed', 'Tunnel Vision' and 'What Got Away' are a few of the reasons pressing one into further blastings through this remarkable CD
and singer Paul Souza's throat has got to have some sort of multi-function
adjustment switch installed as it jumps from James Hetfield to Layne Stayley
(RIP) to even quite a noticeable 80's NWOBHM rasp at not infrequent intervals. A
welcome blend of old over new and vice versa, 27 Pills stand proud as another
fresh metal sound with plenty pairs of ears it deserves to reach.

Good start.


8.5/10

By Dave Attrill

Tyla - Passion, Loyalty and Betrayal
(King Outlaw - 2002)

After a recent tour with The Dogs D'Amour, Tyla returns from the dog kennel with another solo effort that makes a step into the direction of 'Lullabies for tough guys'. He's experimental somewhat with sound especially in the distortive 12-bar 'Girl on fire' but returns to the mellow acoustic balladeer mode with 'St. Valentines Day Marcana' before you get to thinkin' he's lost the plot and gone all heavy on us. There's a tribute to someone in 'Talkin' 'bout Keef' (well it's got to be Keith Richards hasn't it).

It's very much your typical DIY offering from Tyla that we've grown accustomed to expect these days. It looks like Spain really has had an effect and rubbed off on him musically as well as he's come up with a percussive come electric instrumental he's appropriately named 'Bolero De Lepante'.

Hardcore fans queue up for it - then again you probably already have done.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

TORMAN MAXT - The Foolishness Of God
(Mars Hill Records - 2003)

The downside to being in a band comprised entirely of members of your own family is that if musical differences eventually rear their ugly head, its not just the group in likely danger of breaking up. The three Messaro brothers will I hope cross that bridge nearer to coming to it, though I hope that time never comes, having just listened to this album. There are DIFFERENCES galore in MUSICAL style, and between this band's style and most others on mother earth today. Rarely in my years as a rock n' roll man have I come across anything remotely like this combination of seventies progressive technique, albeit almost totally devoid of keyboards and deep cut modern day rhythms and styles.

Where these three lads sprung up from is anyone's guess but I hope they're here to stay as their streak of ingenuity would rub off a treat on future upstarts in the experimentalist rock trade. The best I can bring it down to right now is hints of David Bowie (Ziggy/Space Oddity era), Yes, Dream Theater and Queensryche and Metallica on mere occasions, but even that's not telling a full tale. You just need to listen to this one a few times to take it in but you should all find your favourite parts in it, somewhere.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

TYGERS OF PAN TANG - Live In The Roar
(Angel Air Records - 2003)

Loved By Lars Ulrich, loathed by Kerrang, this/that/the other-ed by everyone else it has touched, the NWOBHM scene's role in hard rock music can never be under-graded.

Geordie Prima Donnas Tygers of Pan Tang were there right at the beginning and are here again, now. Having reformed in '99, they cut a deal with the Z label which unfortunately survived only one album before they were thrown back into the cold murky streets once more - the under-rehearsed performance of then acquired singer Tony Liddel the rumoured cause. With a convincing sounding replacement in Richie Wicks, surviving early member Robb Weir (guitar), plus remaining current residents Dean Robertson (guitar), Brian West (bass) and Craig Ellis (drums), they rip and tear through an hour and quarter of classics, several newies from their forthcoming studio disc plus two well-received covers.

The new material is easily pickable from the pack but sits there as welcome as new pupils in a classroom and the handling of all sixteen numbers is without debate. Just one thing, boys, who exactly are you playing to, here? Either a major mixing foul-up or they had one of the quietest audiences for a rock show possibly imaginable, my money I'm afraid is not on the latter - the crowd just audible when I turn the volume up. That out of the way, the Tygers are far from Pan-Tanged out yet as this offering will prove.

7/10

By Dave Attrill

July 2003

TALISMAN - Cats & Dogs
(Frontiers/Now & Then)

A further inclusion in the list of legends of melodic hard rock succumbing to the pleads for their return, Sweden's Talisman are the latest to be offered flowers, choccies and contract papers from the Now & Then men. One can't say that they've been lying asleep on their garden benches for the whole of their inactive duration, either. Well, most of them, haven't. Marcel Jacob has been well occupied with Great King Rat's brief come-back and the Humanimal project amongst things, whilst Jeff Scott Soto has been busy with Takara, Eyes, Human Clay, Humanimal also, and more recently his solo shenanigans including his worshipped Gods 2002 slot.

Pontus Norgren who appeared in the band's last incarnation before their split has recorded a well-received solo album as well as his own involvement in GTR and .. wait for it… Humanimal, but he's missed the bus back this time. His predecessor Frederik Akesson caught it, though, and rejoining Jacob and Soto as does Drummer Jamie Borger, we'll see if they've learnt anything whilst away. I'll cut to the point and say yes they have.

While this material resembles that of the latter days of their primal era, I won't just sit here and think of it as 'Humanimal Pt 3' because it is not. It is another album, but does pick up some of those pieces. Concentrating heavily on soul-driven melodies again, through the likes of 'Skin On Skin', 'In Make Believe', 'Sorry', 'Trapped' and 'Lost In The Wasteland', Soto cuts his own work out for him, which shouldn't require too big a pair of scissors for this chap, as at the same time, shrill guitar work from Akesson makes the words 'Yoo-hoo, I'm ba-ack' quite applicable on his quarter, too.

'Outta My Way' is a fast n' furious number of the sort heard on the first album but even faster than that - quite similar to Mr Big's 'Colorado Bulldog' in some respects and with Jacob's bass on particularly riveting form. A new direction is travelled in the vehicle of 'Wherever, Whenever, Whatever', the melodies coming across purely grunge-oriented but with mid-paced hard rock rhythms supporting the structure, opened up by an again superb, if familiar sounding lead-off from Marcel. 'M.O.M' is the bread winner of the bunch on today's occasion, a live essential that'll make the album worth the price alone to most fans.

At the end of the line, 'Cats & Dogs' is in general a terrific album, with a few moments a squint less so, but against the more complimentary perspective they hold little contest. The comeback of the year with no question, this album explains why Talisman remain as important to the scene now as they did 13 years back.

8/10

By Dave Attrill

KEN TAMPLIN - Wake The Nations
(Frontiers/Now & Then - 2003)

Here they are, eighteen brand new cuts from hard rock's Mr Nice, Ken Tamplin. It's actually been over two and a half years since the news of the planting of Ken's latest crop first came to light and he stated at the time through his then label Z that he was looking forwards to collaborating with some of hard rock's most respectable players. I sort of sussed that one out right from the start.

Opener 'Story Of Love' sees the mike thrown to Talisman turbomouth, Jeff Scott Soto and current Unruly Child man Phil Bardowell, thus letting most secrets of this promised star-studder straight out of the cupboard and if that's not enough, Jeff's illustrious act could have come up with this corker any day. Aside from such reasons it qualifies as one of the album's strongest tunes. Other commendable tracks including 'Falling Houses', 'Man With A Plan', '7 Eleven People', 'Livin' Large' and 'Saints & Heroes' demonstrate what they should would have sounded like, had they started their career 10-15 years further on. That said, whether it's his regular aide Howie Simon, or guests such as Richie Kotzen, Jeff Watson, Marty Friedman, Steve Salas or Reb Beach alongside him, Tamplin an accomplished guitarist himself deserves to mingle with and be mingled with by such talented fellow scene servants. I'm glad I mentioned Harem Scarem at the beginning of the review because Pete Lesperance shares the soloing duties with Salas on that number.

'Cell Phone Freaks', featuring ex-Poison/Mr Big man Kotzen is more Enuff Znuff than anything to do with those two acts so Richie is pushing his boat even further out.. 'Mystery' is the other half of the prime pair completed by 'Story' and is spiked with probably the most lethally addictive lick of the disc. Howie boy, if Talisman catch hold of that one... well actually I should concern yourselves more with what's going to happen if Alannah Myles comes across that intro to 'God In Heaven'.

'W.T.N' is probably Ken Tamplin's best work since 'In Your face - chock full of killer guitar work from an array of pristine figures including the man himself plus the ever better Simon, also now in Talisman. As expected, a few of the numbers were less incendiary than their neighbouring tunes but I'm quite often to expect that from an eighteen-track album. All in all, a truly Christian act by rock's best loved Christian.

8/10

By DaveAttrill

Thunder - Loser (Single)

Thunder's reunion single release is back on the track of where they left off many moons ago before the record company got on their back, diluted their music and fell off the wagon in the promotion department. 'Loser' has a classic ballsy riff which you should all recognise if you saw 'em on the Monsters of Rock Tour 2002 or on their headlining Tour in 2003.

There's no 'Loser' in this band - the only loser is the person that doesn't buy it as it's being exclusively sold by HMV.

10/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - Ride 'til I die
(Spitfire Records - 2003)

If it ain't broke then why fix it, especially if the classic old blues-rockin' style still sells - well it does for George and his boys anyway. It's an album that could have come out 30 years ago - but without the now taken for granted exceptional digital quality sound. It's 12-bar good-time vibes at their finest like the stars 'n' stripe saluting 'American Made'and the slow blues of 'Don't let the bossman get you down' which I guess we can all relate to.

Thorogood's thrown in classic covers such as Eddie Cochrans 'My Way' which The Who covered live in the 60's on some occasions and John Lee Hooker's 'Ride 'til I die' that'll see you checkin' out the original versions. By far though, the best track is definatley 'Wash My Hands' about falling in with the wrong crowd, ending up behind bars and escaping with the brilliant lyric 'I washed my hands like Daddy told me but I musta washed my hands in a muddy stream' - you know it's kind of ironic because my first hearing of George was the brilliant,'One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer' (by John Lee Hooker) played on a Classic Rock Station which I remember as plain as day because we were driving past Tallahassee County Jail in April 2002 - now that's some coincidence.

8/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Thunder - Shooting at the Sun
(STC Recordings - 2002)

After stealing the show on the November Monsters of Rock Tour, Thunder have gone one step further and spoilt us with a comeback album of brand spanking new material.

'Shooting at the Sun' is an incredibly strong album without a filler in sight and gives the impression that the band have never been away at all. It's real fresh matches up to the zest found on the debut 'Back Street Symphony'. It's an album that I'm so pleased happened. You find out about a crazy New Years Party that actually took place in London, despite the reference to LA that's called 'Everybody's laughing' - funky grooves at their coolest throughout that's gonna be good live. The title track itself, 'Shooting at the Sun' is a masterpiece and those of you present at a Monsters gig will be pleased to hear the studio version of 'Somebody get me a Spin Doctor' - a bluesy, stompin' packed song that harks back to the vibe of 70's Bad Company with that quintessential Thunder makeover.

Other well recommended numbers include 'Out of My head' that's reminiscent of the Doobie Brothers in rock mode and comes riding high with luscious vocal harmonies and a totally addictive chorus or the warm acoustic turning red hot electric meatiness of 'Shake the tree' and the humorous, tongue-in-cheek ditty 'The Pimp and the Whore'.

This is an album that deserves to go straight to the top. Welcome back lads.

9/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

TIERRA SANTA - Indomable

(Locomotive - 2003)

Scouring this earth continuously for the new talent ever on offer in the rock n' roll world, we land on a country that is suddenly starting to seep the same fluids out of a crack somewhere there. Spain has until recently had little genre contribution of much profile outside its shores but with the arrivals of melodic rock starlets 91 Suite and the impressive prog rock workings of Pyramid, time is ripe to visit the hot country for another hot property.

Tierra Santa have opted straight for the metal thing and on first hearing, their decision stands un-faulted. They sing in Spanish too, which is interesting and about the only thing that links them to their native land as the music on offer within the domains of this disc is totally North-West European-styled produce. The key names that pop up when you play this are indeed Helloween, Gamma Ray and Stratovarius, though there is, I have to admit, a bit of Latin-influenced soloing at occasional intervals.

'Indomable', 'Coro de Guerros', 'Las Walkirias' and 'Azote De Dios' are four mere samples of the stunning melodic metal that these lads have put their hours into and on learning that they've actually been together for some years - this is their FIFTH album - I can only grit my teeth in frustration at the lack of earlier awareness of this prisitine outfit.

Get their four other discs a release over here, please, this stuff rocks like buggery. The only Santa I'd ever be seen believing in.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

TIME MACHINE - EVIL
(LUCRETIA RECORDS - LU20015-2)

Since 1993 Time Machine have been widely recognized as the founders of the Italian heavy metal scene, with their unique gothic and progressive elements marked with epic and symphonic episodes.

Evil has been written with in intriguing concept, aided by the world famous novelist Valerio Evangelisti, which enriches the artistic value of 'Evil'. This ten-track episode brings together the warmth, the cold, the light and the darkness of everything that may affect our every day world through the ruthless battles between good and evil.

From the eerie church organ instrumental of 'Gerona' that runs like the blood through our veins into 'Where's my heaven' to the powerful tracks of 'Army of the dead' and 'Eyes of fire' to another wonderful instrumental 'Ecclesia spiritualis'.

This fine and impressive concept disc will enlighten and metal enthusiast and will also open the eyes and ears of those who aren't.

9/10

By Tony Watson

Toxic Princess - S/T
(Self-Released - 2002)

An album I saw advertised in a famous US Rock/Metal Magazine and thought - I must get hold of a copy of this. From Montrose, Colorado they are a female fronted and although this is very much a demo I really dig it.

It's kind of metal with Gothic overtones with experimental metallic vocal effects - a top example being the opener 'Fantasy Girl' that's very Type O Negative in the deep keyed riffage department. I guess you get the idea by now that it's dark stuff - but it's real entertaining as well such as the creasing 'n' side splitting 'Bone Pony' coming complete with horse neighing samples and then there's the exquisite 'Rock and Roll Band'.

I'll go in head and feet first with this and say that this band are a pure hybrid and well worth investing in.

Looking forward to the next release.

7.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Trashcan Darlings - Episode I: The Lipstick Menace
(East Side Records - 2002)

Trashcan Darlings are a quintet of German Rah Rah 2,3 4 puckers who resemble the looks of an 80's LA Glam band.

Going since the early 90's they've released singles and EP's and the majority of it has been collected together for this album.

If you like traditional pop-punk of the earlier variety then you'll love 'em especially bangers like 'Bad Reputation' (classic sleaze punky; '...Days with Tommy Guns; 'Drag Me down' and 'Dehumanizer'.

They just lack variety though as many of the songs are far too similar.

5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Tank - Still At War
(Zoom Club Records - 2002)

I remember the name Tank from the late 80's as a friend of mine had one of the bands 7" picture discs. I never got to hear the band but the name stuck in my head.

Fronted by an ex-member of the Damned, Algy Ward, Tank are back and ready for battle. They remind me of Gary Moore in his 80's Metal period - even Algy's voice bares resemblence to the said Irishman - something that comes apparent from the opening title track itself, 'Still at war'.

It's a refreshing change to the current spikey haired, 'we can't play' crap that sadly fills up a lot of British Metal Magazines these days. I prefer Tank anyday of the week - as Ozzy puts it, 'These nu-metal bands sound like they are torturing each other' whereas these guys present real metal for proper metal fans and who grew up with the genre.

Towering metal meltdowns include 'Light the fire (watch 'em burn)' and 'Return of the filth hounds' that gallop at you with gut wrenching powers - here those guitars and drums make the final onslaught or enjoy the Ozzyesque riifage of 'And then we heard the thunder'.

Much of the material is rather similar, so those of you who need more variation - then you may it rather old-hat and lose interest after the fist few numbers. I'd say that it's an album for lovers of old school metal only and if that's you - then do yourself a favour and make that purchase.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Tribe of Judah - Exit Elvis

(Spitfire Records - 2002)

A project from Gary Cherone - known better for being the vocalist of Extreme and one-album Van Halen man. This album has nothing to do with neither musically and is more relative to Nine Inch Nails and Alice in Chains. It'll puzzle his previous fans - they'll either go for it or diregard it completely - a funny one this to say the least.

Sittin' on the fence is probably a good option with regard to this album and seeing what the future holds. Highlights on the album include the opener, 'Left For Dead' a good slab of powerful industrial Rock or the electronic grudge of 'East of Paradise or what about the ambient 'Ambiguous Headress' that falls into Enya, Clannad and Massive Attack territory gone metal.

Another enlightener is the track, 'My Utopia' or the title track itself 'Exit Elvis' that mixes Flamenco Jazz Rock with classical violins and the contemporary sounds of female vocals - what a combination - where he got that idea is intones guess.

It's an album that needs to be gotten used to as it's a rather pessimistic release from a vocalist you'd associate with the big hair pastiness of the late 80's.

6.5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Tysondog - Painted Heroes
(Sanctuary Records - 2002)

An 80's band signed up in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal days with a sound similar to an echoey Thin Lizzy and musically like early Iron Maiden, UFO and the slight bit of debut album Def Leppard. They don't sound much different to a lot of other bands who didn't make it that big like Tygers of Pan Tang etc - you get the picture !?!? Painted Heroes brings together their two albums 'Beware of the Dog' (84) and 'Crimes of Insanity (85) plus the non-album tracks featured on their 4-track 12" ep.

Signed by Neat Records and on the same label as Venom - in fact, 'Beware of the Dog' was produced by Chronos (Venom mainman) - the sound quality ain't too good - something that the band weren't happy about at the time and song-wise it isn't much to brag about either - screaming 'n' wailing high vocals and old-hat riffs that do the rounds endlessly (3rd rate Iron Maiden played by copycats). There's the odd track that's halfway decent like 'Hammerhead' that sounds like something from Ozzy Osbourne's 'Diary of a Madman' or the acoustic started 'In The End' that burns in to fully fledged metal after a while.

The 'Crimes of Insanity' album is basically more of the same. At times it's a bit like listening to Twisted Sister trying to be Judas Priest and Accept which is all rather sad and bandwagon'ish. Like the former album there are a couple a couple of good tracks such as their cover of Alice Cooper's 'Schools Out' that has far more agression and drum work than the original. 'Judgement Day' isn't a bad track either but the majority of this album is tedious and highly skippable.

Only buy this if you a hardcore completist of obscure NWOBHM bands.

5/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

TESTIFY - TRIVIALITY BEYOND ACCEPTANCE
(VAN RICHER RECORDS - 2002)

'Triviality Beyond Acceptance' is the fifth release from the Essen German aggro guitar driven industrial band Testify. This CD is probably the hardest and most creative to date with massive influences from Ministry, Die Krupps, Skrew and KMFDM.

Testify have produced a fifty two minute eleven track industrial classic with it's heavy pounding guitars and programming that would make Ministry and Die Krupps proud, with its blistering earth wrenching industrial electronic tracks like 'White Skinned Heroine', 'Fragile Puppet', 'Abuser's Gabble', 'Dumb/Numb/Gun' and 'Under the Cold Moon', Testify could definitely contest themselves to be one of the strongest and hardest industrial bands on the scene to date.


9/10

By Tony Watson

THINEU - S/T (Demo)

This three track demo landed on the door step wrapped in a paper sleeve and a little not could you review thanks.

When this happens you get a little bit worried, do I give them a good review? Do I put it to one side and forget about it? Or give these guys a chance to get known? I went for a beer first before tackling the review in hand.

These guys do have talent with their hard rock, thrash and melodic melodies and as a demo goes, it wasn't bad, I would advise these guys to get a different vocalist as he is way out of tune and sometimes sounds like he is killing himself apart from that with the right producer and record company these guys could do ok from this wretched business.

Good luck guys as I feel that little help along the way will pay off.

7/10

By Tony Watson

Tyla - Life or Death
(King Outlaw - 2002)

This is a disappointing album to be honest because of its poor sound quality and coming over more like a bunch of left-over demo's that were discarded from the incredible 'Lullabies for Tough Guys' album. Song-wise it's OK but the bad production on the songs kills their overall appeal.

This release like the last sees ex-Dogs D' Amour man, Jo Dog lends a hand on guitar as well as Felix Vives at times on drums - although Tyla has employed a drum machine to take care of a lot of the work. There are some highlights that include the power ballad 'Another You' which is included in its normal form plus an electric version also with multi-tracked vocals. 'Murder Poem' is a song that sounds perfect with the muddy mix incorporated and it's vibe is real sinister vibe, needless to say, Tyla at his darkest. ''Voodoo Queen' is a pretty memorable number and kinda has a Stonesy (Goats Head Soup) feel surrounding it. I especially like the secret untitled closer that could possibly go by the title of 'What a fool I've been'.

Not to be placed in the 'party section of your cd collection', but this fits the bill perfect - 'Life is crap and here are all the reasons why'. Tyla can do miles better than this - surely living in Spain can't be this bad.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

TALON - S/T
(Frontiers/Now & Then - 2002)

Formerly known as Voxen, they've been knocking around on the label for quite a while, now, having been about two years, since I first heard them, under their current tag with a track on the label's Union 3 sampler album. They read from very similar books to Vicious Mary (also on the same record label) but some also previously borrowed out by chaps called Don, George, Mick and Jeff are evidently stashed somewhere amongst the pile. Note, this is strictly NOT intended as any form of detriment whatsoever, as anything Dokken-influenced comes under my recommendation.

Opening track 'Wrecking Ball' is more in the line of latter-day Pink Cream 69 but the comparisons to LA's finest are still valid at this early stage. Most are saved, though, for 'Fire In Your Soul', 'Calling You Tonight', 'Talon In My Heart', 'Mother Mary, May I', and 'All Is Not Forgiven' whilst that opening riff on 'Falling Star' is practically a 2002 remix of 'Don't Lie To Me'. Combine these factors with the incendiary guitaring of Kory Voxen and Jim Kee and you have one of the essential melodic rock album templates for this decade.

Talon are set to appear at the Gods 2002 Pt 2 bash -make the effort to catch 'em.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

12 Stones -S/T

(Wind-Up Entertainment - 2002)

This CD has nothing going for it apart from the average electric guitar playing that has been heard in most bands lately - also makes a great frisby.

Every song sounds the same and the way you can tell they are different is by loking at the title!!

Lead Singer, Paul McCoy says,

"I'd like to thank Jesus for guiding my steps and opening my eyes".

Simon says,

'I'd like to thank 12 Stones for guiding my steps to the bin and closing my ears.

Very poor and unimpressive. Sorry.

2/10

By Simon Moorhouse

21 GUNS - Demo-Lition
(Z Records - 2002)

Yes, I know, it says 'demo' in the title. But before you think you're about to get a cobbled mixture of past odds n' sods from Scott Gorham and Co, you can wipe that worried look off your face right now.

These eleven tracks were laid down in 1993 shortly after 'Salute' was released and should have been the second album, but before any final recording could be made, the US act parted company.

Four years further up the line, Scott reunited the troops albeit without vocalist Tommy La Verdi who had disappeared with some pop group or other. Solli from Norwegian hard rock kings, Sons Of Angels - in the middle of their decade sabbatical at the time - took over the mike and a completely fresh set of stuff recorded which had a very contrasting style in relation to their earlier material. 'Nothing's Real' only saw the light of day in Japan initially but a UK/European release on Z came about in late 2000.

Shortly afterwards, Gorham and bassist Leif Johansen stumbled across the lost eleven songs that Scott had forgot even existed. They gave 'em another whirl, Mark Alger was impressed at first hear and an instant release was landed.

And what of these songs, then? Well let's just say that getting them out on record has probably been the greatest career move they've ever made, at least since 'Salute' anyway, cos these tunes f*cking rock, period. ';Greed', 'Amazed', 'Blood Gone Bad', 'Never Say Die', 'Cry Me A River' and 'Little White Lies' are where they're at today. These songs almost make 'Knee Deep', 'Little Sister', 'Jungleland' or 'Pays Off Big' look weak at the knees.

'Gotta Get Up' is by far my chief choice of the collection although I'm a little disheartened by the non-rerun of the chorus after the lead solo break, a crime Hardline have been guilty of in the past with 'Life's A Bitch'. If 'Do, I Do' sounds familiar to owners of the 'Nothing's Real' disc, because this is an earlier version of the sing 'No Soul' and in fact three other primary prototypes of said album's tunes nestle amongst the flock herein.

Whether it's Solli or Tommy on the vox spot through, these songs KILL, KILL, KILL and performances from all personnel, including drummer Mike Sturgis go without quibble. I'm hoping that there will be a Z-Rock fest slot for this band in the not too distant future as 21 Guns, despite only having had three albums out in the last ten years are never in too much danger of shedding standards. Scott, please don't be another several years with the next album, the anticipation's all too much.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

BLASTS FROM THE PAST

21 GUNS - Salute
(BMG Records - 1992)

Well, you had to see it coming, didn't you. Mentioning a stunning new 21 Guns album without bringing up the issue of their legendary debut in depth just wasn't going to pass, was it.

The roots of 21 Guns could be traced back to about 1987, a few years after the break-up of Thin Lizzy, Guitarist, Scott Gorham gradually roped in singer Tommy LaVerdi, Mike Sturgis and Leif Johansen over the years out of various musicians he tried his hand with, and the songs were mainly assembled in the three years leading up to its release in 1992.

Opener, and US single 'Knee Deep' got them some commendable airplay on their country's radio stations, and is probably the tune that most people will think of when you mention this album to them. Four ballads follow in succession which for one thing underlines the rather bizarre layout of the album's running order. Often, the ballads are expected to be crammed into the latter half of the disc. Nevertheless, 'These Eyes', 'Walking' and 'Marching In Time' are no less than decent tunes themselves, and earn their place in the album as much as the other nine tracks, and 'The Rain' is the catchiest of this quartet. 'Little Sister' tips the tempo scales back towards balancing point with the belter of 'em all, no contest. Out and out hard rock approaching 100mph, killer bridge and chorus both. 'Pays Off Big' takes them on a trip into Winger-world and for virtually that reason alone makes it one of the other of my primal picks. 'Just A Wish' is another quiet moment, one of the album's two softest numbers, but in contrast, 'Battered And Bruised' is heavy enough to do to you just what its title suggests. .

'Jungleland' is another of the album's top five, and boasts the most impressive structural arrangement on the album. The disc's mostly sentimental tune comes in the form of 'Tell Me', with lyrics centered on the harrowing aftermath of a young lad being gunned down in a drive-by shooting right outside his own home. The said atrocity is tragically part of everyday life in the band's native Los Angeles, and this song has practically made crystal clear their and many other people's thoughts (including mine) on the mindless violence that that the laws of the US are today doing their utmost to try and curb further, every day. 'No Way Out' ends the platter ends the platter on another vaguely Wingerish note, with the chorus being a tad more laid back than one might first predict but that said, still one of the disc's five highest points. Piece this with LaVerdi's incredibly soulful vocal performance throughout all twelve tunes alongside Gorham's finely educated fretwork, and that concludes this fifty-one minute lesson in making one of the greatest melodic rock records of all time.

I just hope that even if Solli does remain in LA Verdi's shoes that they still remember this album when they plan their live sets in the future. How's about getting it a release on Z, by the way, Scott?

10/10

By Dave Attrill

Bernie Torme - Live Sheffield 1983
(Angel Air - 2002)

Bernie is most well known for being on of the guitarists on Ozzy's 'Blizzard of Oz' album as well as being a member of Gillan but he also had a solo career - not to mention recently touring with his band outfit, 'Electric Gypsies'.

This early 80's Sheffield gig is ok but the sound is rather echoey and sounds more like an old bootleg of a soundboard mix. Bernie isn't the greatest vocalist in the world but his guitar playing makes up for it. Alongside him is drummer, Ron Rebel and bassist, Colin Bond.

Best numbers on here are 'No Easy Way' that Bernie says is by The Grumbleweeds (no honestly, you read that right) that's a full on hard rock slab of power. The song is even repeated at the end of the gig so that's proof in itself how good a song it is - it must have been one of Bernie's favourites. 'Lightning Strikes' is a first-rate track also, especially when it comes to his long guitar solo and then there's the exqusite New Wave Punk epic, 'I can't control myself', that I'm sure I've heard before somewhere - especially the ' ba ba ba ba' chorus line. Dotted around the set are other long-forgotten top class tunes such as the thundering 'Pocession' or 'The Beat' thatt happenened to be one of Torme's solo singles.

This CD is a good insight to what else Bernie Torme has to offer - just a pity about the averageness of some of the material and poor sound quality - otherwise higher marks would have been awarded.

6/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

311 - I'll be here a while (Single)
(Music For Nations - 2002)

What can I say about this band - after listening to it numerous times, I grew to like the single, 'I'll be here a while'. The Radio Version adopts a very Reggae style, which I think is a little too adventurous. However, the acoustic version creates a very subdude atmosphere. Very Nice. The Radio version is nothing compared to the acoustic. 311 have tried too hard to make the song work. If they had loosened the beat a little more and not created a fast moving song, then it would be successful.

5/10

By Simon Moorhouse

TIAMAT - JUDAS CHRIST
(CENTURY MEDIA Records 2000 cat. No. 77380-2)

Tiamat are probably the most influential Scandinavian gothic band, you may have heard their name when people talk about bands like Type O Negative and Fields of Nephilin or even Paradise Lost.

Tiamat throughout this CD address positive life and love affirming topics that reveals their true strength, allowing harsh guitars to blend perfectly with muted keyboards, which knots together rhythmic advances and melancholic distance with the ice cold voice of Johan Edlund.

Judas Christ isn't just a CD full of doom and gloom, it is full of excitement, anticipation as well as perpetually innovative and forward thinking, from the start of 'The Return of the Son of Nothing', 'So Much for Suicide', 'Vote for Love', 'Love is as Good as Soma' and 'Too Far Gone' Tiamat hit every emotion with their experimental structures and their deep atmospheric ambience.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, Tiamat are more on the gothic line of metal than a true full on metal band, so if bands like Type O Negative etc hit your taste buds then this CD is a must.

9/10

By Tony Watson

Mike Tramp - Recovering the Wasted Years
(2001 Ulftone Music)

The voice of White Lion and Freak of Nature - 'Mike Tramp' is back with his 3rd solo release - is he really 'Recovering the wasted years' and what is the once big haired sting look-alike referring to ? Watch this space to find out!!!

Tramp will be doing some UK dates, the back end of April with Kraut Rockers,
'Bonfire' in support. It's a bit like buses - none come for ages and then they all come at once - we've had quite a few 80's Big Hair outfits over here just recent (consult the live review section).

'..Wasted Years' is a laid back affair as opposed to the cock-rock force of White Lion or the Grungefest of 'Freak of Nature'. It leans more towards artists of the contemporary nature such as John Cougar Mellencamp or even Bruce Springsteen. It appears he's trying something new as opposed to being a parody of the late 80's.

He's matured and this musical approach suits his vocal dynamics. Mellowish
moments flow out in large lashings but the first track 'Falling down' is nearly a mirror image of Bon Jovi's 'I believe' gone contemporary with less explosives and concerns about failing in life - strange to say he's touring at the mo'.

I especially like 'Mr. Death' with its high pitch harmonica solo that dips into Tom Petty territory. A haunting feeling is let loose 'Follow Your Dreams' that's coupled together with a tremendous chorus. For a decent dosage of Rock, try out 'Do it all over' - there's Enuff Z'nuff and The Rolling Stones tattooed all over this - Class riff indeed !!! Love to hear him do it live with Mick and Keith.

If you want vocals from the soul then 'Don't take my Rock 'n' Roll' says it all -

'You can take all my money,
You can take my fancy car,
You can take the bed I sleep in,
But don't you take my Rock 'n' Roll'

I'll second that!! No doubt, you'll third it!!!

Mike Tramp ends on a positive closer with 'Always Tomorrow' - rock 'n' roll style.

A nice album - but it will disappoint those of you that are still stuck in the 80's.

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

12 STONES - BROKEN
WIND-UP RECORDS - 2002- Cat no. WUJC20009-2

An exciting new rock band from New Orleans release their debut single 'Broken' from their forthcoming CD released in April 2002.

Their sound is full of passion with a mixture of anger and raw energy, being on the same label as 'Creed' and 'Breaking Point' expect a similar style. 12 Stones have the potential to become a household name.


9/10

By Tony Watson

TWO FIRES - Ignition
(Frontiers/Now & Then)

A very welcome return for one of the single most important acts in the American adult oriented rock scene of today. For most, the name Two Fires symbolises a couple of things - their corking 2000 debut album and most importantly that year's slot at the Gods, where, accompanied by Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy and Survivor's legendary Jim Peterik, they put on probably the one of the truly greatest melodic rock shows ever to have graced these shores. So what, do Messrs Chalfant and Ramos have in store for us, this time round the ride?. The signs are good to begin with as we leap into 'Ignition' itself, a fiery high-speed hard rocker that practically ignites the album by itself. From then on, it's an AOR fan's wet dream as Kevin Chalfant and Josh Ramos, two of the greatest rock musicians that the planet has to offer, show us what two decades, or about three in Kevin's case, has achieved from them and still does today. And with seventy percent of the material being co-written by Jim Peterik (why am I NOT surprised) the achievement is this time virtually Grade A in rock album making and the Survivorisms are there from the start.

I must admit though that Mr. Chalfant has more of the voice of a tiger than the eyes of one. Ramos's gifted geetaring is the other crucial contribution to this amazing CD which, via winning tunes like 'More Than A Mystery', 'I See Red', 'This Night', and 'The Man I Want To Be', should win them another slot at Wigan this year - hopefully headlining. Then again, mightn't Hardline get that slot?

9/10

By Dave Attrill

Bonnie Tyler -Total Eclipse (The Bonnie Tyler Anthology)
(Sanctuary - 2002)

This is a truly remarkable double CD collection of songs to suit all tastes. 80's power ballads such as her well acclaimed 'Faster than the speed of light' and the classic, 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' start off the second CD with such vigerance, raunch and bombastic power. Every track takes you away on an emotional journey that no other artist has ever managed to do in the same album as Bonnie.

Certainly, the 1st CD is quite laid back with beautiful songs including her popular classic, 'It's a heartache'. There are 37 outstanding impressive tracks spread among the set which need to be heard many times to really appreciate BT's purity of distinctive vocal style that's equally backed by outstanding musicians, writers and producers like Jim Steinman and Desmond Child.

Order or buy it straight away.

10/10

By Paul Milligan, BA Hons CMT


February 2002
TEN - Far Beyond The World
(Now and Then/Frontiers - 2001)

Blighty's No1 AOR troupe are one act you can almost doubtlessly set your watch by, as another fifteen months on, they're back in the limelight again with another superb hour of stunning symphonic hard rock glory. On a sombre note, however, I must admit it to write this review, after having read the small slip stapled to the front of the accompanying paperwork. The sentence 'Vinny Burns has left the band' was clear enough my eyes, if maybe not as easy to stomach. At least he had the common decency to stick around for one more album, first, which I proceeded to enjoy, savouring the Vinster's six-string delights one last time, in the company of Hughes and co.

They seem to have gone off the idea of starting their albums with one of their speedier numbers, but the incredible lead-off cut 'Glimmer Of Evil' throws the best of their self-titled debut disc and previous stonker 'Bablyon' together in one smoothly rounded lump. It looks as if Gary Hughes's other song-writing gymnastics, put to use for the benefit of one Bob Catley have surplussed somewhat. 'Strange Land' sounds like it was originally penned for his royal Bobness's incredible 'Middle Earth' album of last year, but shut out due to lack of space, so Gaz took it back home with him, and boy, did it go to a good one.

'Outlawed and Notorious' and 'Heart Like A Lion' both make further good use of Hughes's inspirations, gained through his extra-curricular, Catley associated, creativity. It should be quite appropriate to point out at this stage that we are carrying ex-Catley/Hard Rain keysman Paul Hodson aboard this ship at present, Don Airey having finished his stint and now working in Company Of Snakes. 'What About Me'. What about a traditional Ten power ballad, more to the point? All yours, lads.... yes, on yes...... nice one, this. Sorta reflects old fave 'You're In My Life' at the best of times. 'High Tide' is raw and muscular out-and-rock, of a style Ten have hardly touched before - well since 'The Robe' anyway.

'Last of the Lovers' seems them heavy it up again without losing tact and 'Scarlet and the Grey' is another B.C. - moulded belter. The three remaining tunes, 'Black Shadow', 'Who Do You Want To Love' and the title track are quite a mixed back of ballads and rockers - not Ten's greatest of all time but nothing to give the thumbs down to. So there you have it. Vinny Burns left almost certainly on a high. 'F. B .T. W' might still not yet have toppled their classic 'Name Of The Rose but Vin' can by all rights be proud to have been a part of these two and the other four albums that he has created with Gary Hughes over the last six years. Vinny, take care mate, and the very best of luck with your intended solo career.

9/10

By Dave Attrill

THE TORIES - THE UPSIDE OF DOWN

The Tories are a talented indie rock band who work hard together to get the sound and style that will work for them, if given the break they will make it big, I would have to say they are on the same level as Embrace, Stabbing Westward and Stereophonics, as they are of a similar style also I can see like the above mentioned their next project will be written with more emotion more ambition but still stay simple with their creative rhythms.

This eleven track CD has been quite an enjoyment to listen too, with it's semi acoustic feel, the warmness and deep down excitement throughout to say it's not my kind of stuff. With tracks like 'Time For You', 'Would You Notice', 'Come Unglued', 'The Upside Of You' and 'Other Side Of Time' The Tories have written and produced a CD with individual tracks, that is to say that not one of the tracks sounds like the other, in one sense the CD captures your emotions then in the next has you in the mode for a party.

'The Upside Of Down' has captured the band as they mean to go on, with their own emotions being spilled out into songs, life, as a band will also come in their live performances.

8/10

By Tony Watson

12 STONES - BROKEN (Single)
WIND-UP RECORDS WUJC20009-2

An exciting new rock band from New Orleans release their debut single 'Broken' from their forthcoming CD released in April 2002.

Their sound is full of passion with a mixture of anger and raw energy, being on the same label as 'Creed' and 'Breaking Point' expect a similar style. 12 Stones have the potential to become a household name.


9/10

By Tony Watson

Twisted Forever - A Tribute to Twisted Sister
(Koch Records - 2001)

Twisted Sister are the stuff that legends are made of - with Dee Snider's sicko blonde Shirley Temple shagpile and the bands overall O.T.T. glammy spandex look, not to mention f*ck*d up drag make-up and confident attitude that borders on pure head-strong arrogance - that sets them above many of the bands of their time and ilk. No wonder then, that at last a tribute has been put together to hit the stores and anything else that gets in its way.

Bands old and new have had a go at a '...Sister' song - stealin' the show by far is Motorhead with a dirty balls-out interpretation of 'Shoot 'em down'. 'Under the blade' sounds gruisomely evil, when kicked out by old-schoolers 'Overkill', but why let Joan Jett ruin 'We're not gonna take it' - which sounds like 'The Osmonds gone rock who are failing miserably - it's even got tacky handclaps in it (this ain't sone crass Gary Glitter song - ya know - it's by Twisted 'F*ckin' Sister - and it's been brutally slaughtered - unforgivable - Girlschool or Phantom Blue should have covered it - not Joan Jet!!!

Thank God that Sebastian Bach and Friends save the day with a blistering 'You can't stop Rock 'n' Roll' and Sweden's 'Hammerfall' who beautifully deliver 'We're gonna make it'. Stoner rockers Fu Manchu go for a slowed down take of 'Ride to live, live to ride' which really does work - it's like one of their own number's - I hope Stoner gets big in the U.K. - because I'd love to hear this live - especially with its dirgy, rumblin' riff - love it !!!

Instead of blowin' their own trumpet, Twisted Sister themselves come out of the woodwork and blast out with AC/DC's 'Sin City' - Bon Scott will have given this a definite thumbs up. Hope these guys tour eventually - and not just the odd one-ff gig.

 

7/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

BLAST FROM THE PAST -

TYKETTO - Don't Come Easy
(Geffen Records - 1992)

A moment I've been waiting for, for some considerable time. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we celebrate ten years of an important album. A very important album. One that truly shaped the melodic hard rock music scene. An album, most songs of which are covered by bands of the kind, the world over. Messrs Vaughn, Clayton, St James and Kennedy formed in 1987, shortly after Danny had worked in Brit outfit Waysted, with UFO bassist Pete Way. Their aim - to produce cool, creamy, smooth melodic rock of the kind that at the time was just made to be heard on that ol' radio.

I'd be surprised if that first song on the album wasn't on a good old few American DJ's play-lists on a weekly basis in the early nineties, oh yes. There is barely a night goes by at a rock night club today even where 'Forever Young' can't be heard blaring out in all it's glory prompting a good few dozen or maybe hundred air guitarists to fill the dance-floor , gyrating in unison to this practical 'institution' in hair rock anthems. The best five minutes of any night at the Corporation or Rig, or whatever club premises I'm on, on a Saturday night. That's not to forget the other nine tunes we have enjoyed again and again on this debut by the New York act. 'Wings' is a very pleasant mellow rocker and another fave with club DJ's today. 'Burning Down Inside', also a minor hit single in the States, has in recent times become the subject of the occasional cover by Tykes-influenced Rotherham act Deadline. 'Seasons' and 'Standing Alone' are more laid back in tempo but both big stage faves for both the band then and Danny and drummer Michael Clayton's current act Vaughn.

'Lay Your Body Down' is another addictive anthem, and 'Walk On Fire' is one of the close runners up with 'Forever Young', also having been given a superb unplugged run by Danny at their Nottingham show. 'Nothing But Love' laid the path for the follow-up LP 'Strength In Numbers' with its perky electric-and-acoustic guitars together sound. 'Strip Me Down' and 'Sail Away' go in the country direction but not in the inferior one. I have heard all of these ten songs live in one form or another, and though Brooke St James is elsewhere nowadays, his guitar work remains very much safe in PJ Zitarosa's hands.

Jimi Kennedy, the original bass player left after the album, and 'Strength' released three years later had seen him replaced by then by Jamie Scott. Danny Vaughan left before third album 'Shine' to work with Mark Mangold and Al Pitrelli in blues rock act 'Flesh n' Blood and laid guest lead vocals down on some songs on Alliance's 'R.U. Wilde' album in 1999. By that time he was back in Tyketto again, but then Brooke left. The band just felt they couldn't work under the name Tyketto any more, mutually agreeing on Danny's surname as their new monicker - as if enough hard rock bands haven't done that already - and put out the impressive 'Soldier Sailors On Riverside' album and this year's corker 'Fearless'. Their deal with Z Records in early 2000 also got them the headlining slot at the Wigan all-dayer that May, where they were able to remind their newer followers of that great CD that began it all, back in 1991.

10/10

By Dave Attrill

Tyla - Lullabies for Tough Guys
(King Outlaw KO007 - 2001)

 

The Dogs D' Amour main man has gone all out of his way on this latest release 'Lullabies for Tough Guys' for he's played just about every instrument himself throughout the album - as well as featuring a bit of input from Jo Dog and Oscar Gelma. Not only that - it's an electric album as opposed to an acoustic offering.

Named after a chance meeting with Al Capone in a cafe in Padova, Italy, the album really does see Tyla at his ultimate best - which begins with a prologue about his life and a thank-you to the listener.

15 ditties appear here with as well as a secret true story (as opposed to a song) that's about a strange occurrence in Spain. It really is hard to pick out particular songs because to be truthful they are all golden gems - to give a pre-taste to you though - I guarantee that you'll really dig 'Woolworth Girl' - with a riff that reminds me of Tom Robinson's '2,4,6,8, Motorway' - Tyla's even included an acoustic version as well - Nice One Mate!!! The joyfully rocking 'Lucky 13' with acoustic guitar at the forefront plus an electric country-esque version of 'All these dreams' about not being able to get to sleep. 'Picture in my heart' sees Tyla get Dogsy on us that concerns missing the one you love.

What's superb about the album is that Tyla gives some notes in the sleeve about what gave him the ideas to write the songs - which gives you an excellent insight to our British equivalent of Bob Dylan!!!

I reckon this is his best ever solo album - the next one will be worth waiting for - no doubt.

 

9/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

January 2002

Takara - Perception of Reality

(2001)

 

Takara are a colourful AOR band who are extremely tight and together. Their vocalist, Michael James Flatters, at times is a dead ringer for the Freddie Mercury in his mid 70's heyday especially in the tracks 'Ready to Promise' and the rocking 'Dream it all'.

The CD kicks off with a crackin' pacey number about the loss of a girl who is 'Miles Away' and is followed up by classy numbers like 'Without You' that has an acoustic riff which is reminiscent Paul McCartney's 'Young Boy' from his 'Flaming Pie' album - before the song explodes into a gorgeous AOR ballad epic with a big song-title chorus and endearing guitar solo, (thanks to the talents of Neal Grusky).

To sum it up nicely, Takara are a strong unity that have the ballsy flare of Foreigner, the musical beauty of Boston and the joyous variety of Journey.

Find out more about this exceptional group via our links page which'll take you straight to their web-site www.takararocks.com


An easy 10/10.

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

TESTAMENT - FIRST STRIKE STILL DEADLY
SPITFIRE RECORDS SPITCD083 (2001)

Among the leaders of heavy / thrash metal over the past fifteen years, Testament have proven that through great song writing they are still one of the leaders in thrash metal. Testament have revisited their origins and given a new life to the early material with this compilation.

Joining the band on this marvelous revisit are Alix skoinick (guitar) and JohnTempesta (drums) along with the original vocalist of 'The Legacy' (Testament's original incarnation) former 'EXODUS' front-man, Steve Souza, who adds his classic vocal techniques to 'Alone in the Dark' and 'Reign of Terror'.

This eleven track CD runs through the early classics of 'Over the Wall', 'Burnt Offerings', 'Into the Pit', 'Disciples of the Watch' and 'The New Order' to name but a few, which sound absolutely marvelous in their new surroundings. The passion and fury from Testament has only increased over the years that has brung so much enjoyment into our living rooms.

First Strike Still Deadly is a brilliant reminder of their achievement that still shines over the world of metal, which no one can take away from them.

10/10

By Tony Watson

TWIN OBSCENITY - Bloodstone
(Century Media)

The Norwegian black metal scene, contrary to belief is still very much in existence as this rather impressive 9-tracker shows. Solefald, a three-piece, now turned five-piece by the addition of singers Dolgar (ex-Gehennah) and Tonje Ettesvoll. Yes, that's right. Singers. Not just growl, growl, growl from these bands nowadays, but we are getting a bit more melodic in this new millennium. This is probably helped by female vocalist Ettesvoll's sonorous croonings at the appropriate intervals, but we still have the trademark extreme metal garglings courtesy of Dolgar to put the album in place.

Unfortunately, whilst still an enjoyable album, I've just heard practically the same thing off the Maudlin Of The Well discs (see reviews in 'M' section) so basically, though it does stay on the rails, it is again a rather going through the motions affair. The continued vocal variation again helps it from trying to disappear up it's own nether parts, but overall, the album doesn't do much else in trying to stray from the motions. Atle Wiig is an accomplished fretster and keyboard player and his attempts at musical experimentation to do the band a reasonable chunk of credit works in the long run, so if you think all's lost, it isn't. This album is still highly recommended to those who are well and truly devoted to this scene or style.

6/10

By Dave Attrill

Therion - Secret of the Runes
(Nuclear Blast NB 625 - 2001)

Now this is real interesting. A Gothic metal band playing alongside a choir.

It's all based on Nordic Tradition about a world tree called 'Yggrasil' and each part of the tree has nine worlds. Every track on the album represents a different world.

It's incredible stuff and simply impossible to pick out an individual highlight - honestly this album is mind-blowing. I have to recommend - well all of it really - but if I had to pick out a single track it would be 'Muspelheim' (with its violin/string intro).

Also check out Ginnungagap (Prologue) or as the albums creator Christofer Johnsson says,

"the void of creation, where the world was shaped".

An adventurous piece of work by an equally adventurous band - I can
recommend Therion's new album enough'

9/10

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

THORN.ELEVEN - THORN.ELEVEN
(SPV 085-72312 - (2001))

First of all I thought we had a band with attitude, the intro to 'Sick' gives you hard hitting thrash riffs which makes you think Machinehead had got a side project, then the track calms down and the vocals came in. What started of well finished just as quick, I wasn't that impressed, it was the vocals; they didn't seem to be in harmony with the music.

The vocalist David Becker is trying too hard to be like Maynard James Keenan of 'Tool' and Edward Kowalczyk of 'Live' which at first didn't seem to go with the attitude of the heavy guitar driven grunge and metal and the touch melodic interludes. After track four or five on the CD, he starts to add his own vocal attitude to the wonderful riffs, the CD then started to be a lot more interesting. After several listens the vocals did start to grow on me, but deep down you know it's a highly energetic CD, which has been let down by the vocal content.

We have a talented bunch of musicians from Germany who have concentrated hard on their own sound and style, which has come across very well throughout the CD with tracks like 'Push Me', 'Permanent State of Mind', 'Negative Karma', 'Come Creeping', 'Sway' and the 8.48 minute track 'Two' that finishes the CD off wonderfully.
Although the CD and the Band themselves will do well throughout Europe, I don't think it will do that well in the UK. The vocals haven't got enough power or attitude to keep the UK public interested, plus, I don't think it will get the air play as clubs in the UK don't like playing up and coming bands who aren't commercial.

7/10 for the music, worth a listen.

By

Tony Watson

DEVIN TOWNSEND - Physicist

The Mad-as-a-man-standing-in-the-way-of-a-hungry-lion Mr. Townsend returns with his first album in over two years, since the 'Infinity' album and of course, the stunning 'Ocean Machine' CD. It's also been the best bit of four years since the last Strapping Young Lad album, and this bloke's still as loveable a loony as ever. This is the guy who once spent several weeks in a Funny Farm of his own decision, and who almost died of strokes, several times, after his high-pitched vocal exercises went a little way too far out the other side of the carriage. You only have to look at his current hairdo to see that all's still merrily mad in the D.T. camp of late.

He's so proud of his past musical madness that he seems to be celebrating it with this latest platter which is new material that superglues together the style of all his previous albums - even hinting at times towards the 'Sex and Religion' album, that he and Steve Vai did together eight years ago, when Devin was still only in his teens. The heaviest leaning is without doubt, and without surprise at that, in the way of the 'Ocean Machine' album, with Strapping, Vai and Infinity influences making up the rest.

All songs are crafted to the same sculpture - heavy, guttural and gobsmackingly livid but all painted in melody as well. Yes Dev can keep things calm, when he wants to, and several Ocean Machine tunes spring instantly to mind on many an occasion, mostly 'Rain' and 'Seventh Wave', and echoes of 'In My Dreams With You' from the Vai album are heard faintly here and there. Strapping Young Lad styles lace each song, interweaving with the other similarities, and before I know it, I'm lost as to what I style can call this album, so I have ended up listing the lot. Heavy Devvy is back, is big, is bad, and is mad but what's more, if he were sane, this album would have been no fun.

8/10 by Dave Attrill

Tuff - The History of Tuff
(RLS Records 2001)

This is a nifty 14-track greatest hits album from Stevie Rachelle and the new line-up of Tuff, which is made up of Stevie Rachelle providing the vocals (of course), Darrell Roberts on Guitars, Brian Saunders playing the Bass and Tony Eckholm attacking the Drums.

There are tracks featured from Stevie's first solo album, 'Who the hell am I'; most notably the title track, which for some peculiar reason reminds me of the Muppet Show classic 'Halfway down the stairs' which was sung by Kermit's nephew, Robin (which I honestly do mean as a compliment Stevie - it's a real cute song!!!). The gorgeous ballad, 'So Many Seasons' is also included - and is just as good as 'Who the hell am I'.

'Since Sixty Six' (Stevie's second album), is represented well - take the blistering 'Not Telling the Truth', 'Don't Complain' (which ought to be a future rock classic) and 'I won't give up' in which Stevie tries his hand at the Indie Rock style.

By a mile, the ultimate standout track is the brand new Tuff track, 'American Hair Band' (which is included in full and edited form). Remember when Kid Rock rapped over Metallica's 'Sad But True', well this is the Tuff equivalent that salutes notable 80's and early 90's hair bands like Motley Crue, Dangerous Toys, Kiss and The Bullet Boys. They've even re-recorded snippets of Guns 'n' Roses 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and Twisted Sisters 'We're not gonna take it' - they are so convincing, I thought they were samples.

If you liked the original Tuff songs, there's a fair good splashing of these like 1989's 'Good Guys Wear Black' which is purist cock rock at its most prominent; or what about the sleazy soundz of 'Sinner Street' (also from '89') which has all the perfection of Poison with a generous hint of Hanoi Rocks comin' at you as well. I especially love the captivating 'Summertime Goodbye' and 'American Man' (partly penned by Gene Simmons, who needs no introduction), a grandiose outing for Tuff recorded last year - it's a full-on stars 'n' stripes moderate rocker which puts me in mind of Kiss's Revenge album. Hopefully, this album should set Tuff up with a great future. I'm really looking forward to the next studio album (if this set is anything to go by) and the odd gig or two in the U.K.

Full Steam Ahead - There's everything here you could possibly desire be it Sleaze, Rock-Rap, Indie and Cock Rock. Purchase this outstanding set, Tuffs back-catalogue and Stevie Rachelles solo albums + notable live tapes @ www.tuffcds.com www.americanhairband.com and www.stevierachelle.com

It's a definite 10/10 for this baby

By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

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