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1.8.11

Trivium - 'In Waves' (roadrunner records) 4/5


Now I know I'm going against a certain trend here, I know its fashionable to slag off Trivium as having sold out, and lost their 'metal core' roots. But hell I'm going to nail my colours to the mast and say this is the first Trivium album I really like. OK the older albums may have been heavier, more 'core, more moshpit friendly and less commercial than In Waves, but they never really impressed me, they were ok ,but other bands did it better, far better in some cases, and I found a lot of Triviums output boring.

But with In Waves, their fifth full length release I am glad to say they have matured as a band and are showing there is more to these Florida noise merchants than pubescent mosh music for 'core scene kids, and are beginning to show Trivium are an intelligent outfit, that has something to offer to the wider rock world in general.

On tracks like Watch the World Burn, Black and Inception of The End they are heading into Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Armored Saint territory, sweet guitar solos, catchy hooks and killer - yet controlled riffage. There is still a fair bit of 'core in here as well, numbers like At Skyline's Severance are still moshable enough to keep your average pit happy, and my fave track on the album 'Caustic Are The Ties That Blind' manages to blend face shredding growled trash with a middle section that wouldn't sound out of place on a Blue Oyster Cult album (I kid you not).

I have a good feeling about this album, this could be the one that promotes Trivium from the championship league of 'core wannabe's into the premier league of world metal bands. I know some of the less open minded metal fans may equate this with 'selling out', but anyone with half an ounce of musical intelligence will understand this is progress and will be glad to see the maturing of a great band who are bound to conquer a wider audience with this great album. Highly Recommended.

for fans of... Megadeth, Underoath, Machine Head and great metal in general.

Aliases - 'Safer Than Reality' (basick records) 3/5


There nothing essentially wrong with this debut release from UK progressive metalcore outfit Aliases, It's well played, ticks all the right boxes for the genre... fairly complex song structures... CHECK, shouty death grunt vocals interspersed with some melodic vocalisations... CHECK, jerky chuggy riffs with 'star burst' bits of guitar widdling... CHECK etc etc etc. In fact its a damn fine and very listenable little mini album.

It's just that as a whole this album stays a little too close to its title, and comes over more than a little safe. The complex structures just aint as complex as say Periphery, the riffage doesn't let rip in the way Terakai does, the vocals are set to stun, rather than to kill like Skin The Pig. In short each time you listen through you find the experience enjoyable rather than memorable and your wishing the experience was a little more full on, a little more intense.

You see there is a lot of this sort of stuff coming out of the UK at the moment, and a lot of it is extremely good, and whilst I can't find any real fault with Safer Than Reality, I can't find anything here to make it stand out from the crowd either. They come close in a couple of places, such as on Sirens and The Reality of Beliefs; but even those tracks tend to fall slightly short of being truly memorable.

In short... Close but no cigar

For fans of... Terakai, Skin the Pig, The Bled, Pay No Respect...

Grifter - 'Grifter' (ripple music) 4.5/5


OK, first up, PLEASE do NOT confuse this outfit with a rather limp indie shoegaze band from the states of similar name. If you want angst ridden teeny post rock walk away now and save yourself a whole world of pain and possible ear damage... If however you want to hear some down and dirty good old biker rock from Plymouth in the UK, then stick around, cos I think you'll like.

Formed by a group of veterans from the Plymouth area rock scene, Grifter have been around since 2003 and have chalked up a long list of self released eps that have won them friends and rave reviews all over the UK, and now they are hitting us with their first full length album. And worra album it is; dripping classic hard rock sensibilities from first to last this album just rocks. There's the smattering of all the greats in Grifters balls out rock approach; ZZ Top, AC/DC,  Juicy Lucy... even bits of some of those great but forgotten NWOBHM outfits like Split Beaver, Handsome Beasts and After Dark. Basically this right up my musical alley. It ain't original, it ain't cleaver, it is just rock and roll with a capital RAWK.

There's 11 tracks here, and each one is a stomping greasy down and dirty biker bash floor filler, and with titles like Asshole Parade, Strip Club, Piss And Gas et al. you know EXACTLY where these guys are coming from; and in a time when too many rock bands are trying to be over cleaver and too flash for their own good Grifter are a breath of fresh air.

Highlights? well the album is one long highlight, but I will confess the damnation boogie of Young Blood Old Veins with its message of keep on rockin' strikes a particular chord with this aging old rocker 'THE CLOCK'S TICKING - BUT I'M NOT LISTENING..' Hell yeah!!

Buy this album, and play it LOUD!

For fans of -  Dumpy's Rusty Nuts, Handsome Beasts, Airbourne, Rose Tattoo, AC/DC, ZZ top etc

Imperial Vengeance - 'Black Heart Of Empire' (transend records) 4/5


This is the second full length album from Essex 'steam metal' outfit Imperial Vengeance, and after their flirtation with World War One on their debut release 'At The Going Down Of The Sun', they now step back in time and serve up a delicious slice of metallic Victorianism that can only be described as a complete gem. This album even sounds Victorian, with its haunting orchestrated passages, gin palace pianos and penny dreadful narrated sections. Hell if they really did have heavy metal in Victorian England I could well image Charles Dickens being in this band, or at least serving up some lyrics for them.

The albums first four tracks: Scenes Of Inked Treachery / Black Heart Of Empire / The Voice Of Thelema / The Ghost Of Light form a nice little conceptual suite in the aforementioned 'penny dreadful' style. (Apparently, on release the album will come with a 'penny dreadful' novella to accompany it - sadly my advanced review copy didn't come with it, so I can't comment). But from what I can make out it's a dark and twisted tale of hauntings, death and terror... all good stuff.

Beyond the concept section the album continues in much the same vein. Main man C Edward Alexander (ex Cradle Of Filth) is in fine form, with barked vocals, driven guitar work and powerful orchestrated sections, and there's some tasty operatic vocalisations from guest song bird Lori Lewis (vocalist with Therion) to provide the perfect counterpoint to the Blind Beggar knife fight brutality; this is most true on The Devil In The Detail, which for me is the standout track on this really rather excellent album.

Now I wonder if this is available on wax cylinder?

For Fans of... Cradle Of Filth, Cathedral, Within Temptation, Whitechapel etc..