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23.9.11

Wornaway - 'Wornaway' (self released) 4/5

Aussie groove metal outfit Wornaway, are one of those lucky finds. I was killing a bit of time doing a bit of random net surfing when I stumbled on this little gem of an ep. They are from the city of Brisbane and as far as I can make out this is their debut release.

And what a little cracker this six tracker is. Six songs - well five plus a two minute intro track, each one a neat and nifty exercise in all that's good about the underground metal scene worldwide. We get Failure - a corking thrash and grinder that reminds me of Brum metal up and comers and Sunday Rockshow faves Zombie Xtras; The Wasted - a dark and aggressive mid tempo headbanger that has shades of Imicus about it and an excellent chill out mid section. Then there's Living Is A Dying Art - my fave track on this release which is classic Aussie rock and manages to stay dark and brutal whilst retaining a snifter of that trademark boogie sound that under pins most Australian rock. Kissed By Flames features a sweet little introduction before heading off into Sacred Mother Tongue territory; whilst closer Deliverance is a three and a half minute micro-epic that smacks of the band Metallica could have been if they hadn't fallen in love with the money and their own hype.

There is top rate musician ship on show here, the vocals are gruff and brutal, but never become unintelligible. The guitars bludgeon like baseball bats and slice like razors with equal measure, whilst the drums are as tight as Ian Thorpes swim suit after a particularly heavy lunch. All good stuff.

Over all this is a great ep by a band that shows great promise. Wornaway are definitely a name to watch out for.

For Fans of... Trivium, Zombie Xtras, Sacred Mother Tongue, The More I See...

This ep can be downloaded for FREE from - http://wornaway.bandcamp.com/album/wornaway

Charred Walls of The Damned - 'Cold Winds on Timeless Days' (metalblade) 4.5/5

Now to me and many older metalheads Tim 'Ripper' Owens is best known as the guy who was plucked from tribute band obscurity to help screw up the mighty Judas Priest for a couple of albums before Rob Halford saw sense and returned to the fold. Still he went some way to redeem himself during his stint with Iced Earth. Now he has moved on again and we have 'Cold Winds On Timeless Days' the second album from his current outfit Charred Walls Of The Damned.

And I'm glad to say with this release the ghosts of those two Priest albums are well and truly laid to rest as Mr Owens and the rest of his crew hit us with a record that is 100% their own and not chained to the tails of others From the opening track Timeless Days with is acoustic intro and huge power metal resolution to the epic metal workout of the closer Avoid The Light, CWOTD have served up a very strong metal album indeed.

Mr Owens vocals are remarkable, sure there are shades of Rob Halford in his delivery and range, for that is after all part of the guys style, but he also shows there is more to his talent than a mere Halford clone. There are shades of John 'Armored Saint' Bush, Bruce Dickinson and even Biff 'Saxon' Byford in there as well, he has the range the power and the delivery to carve himself a notch up there amongst the very best of them as himself.

But a great metal vocalist does not a great metal album make. You need  the musos there to to weigh in as well, and thankfully the rest of CWOTD are more than up to the task. Jason Suecrof, better known as Trivums desk jockey, is an axe hero of the highest order, capable of everything from brain melting shred solos and face ripping riffs to some sublime mellow interludes with an easy that has to be heard to be believed. Add in the powerhouse rhythm section ex Death / Iced Earth sticksman Richard Christy and former Testament bassist Steve DiGorgio and you have a metal band capable of taking on the very best of them.

Highlights on this impressive album include Maidenesque Forever Marching On, the darkly epic The Beast Outside My Window, the power metal anthem of Bloodworm and fist raising grind and bang of Admire The Heroes. But to be honest, there is not a single weak track on offer here, every track is a real jewel to be enjoyed and treasured forever.

In short this album is just great and is a worthy addition to cannon of metal classics.

For fans of... Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Helloween....

3 - 'The Ghost You Gave To Me' (metalblade) 3/5

OK, just clear up any confusion, this 3 are the American post prog outfit, not the short lived Keith Emerson project from the late 1980's, neither are they the hardcore punk out fit of the same name. This is this 3's sixth full length studio album and their fourth for metalblade.

First impressions are this album is very pleasant, there are 12 cuts on offer, all well played, produced and penned and over all I'm reminded a little of the likes of Styx and Rush in both terms of style and delivery. Vocalist Joey Eppard is has a very distinctive voice, sounding female in places and a touch like Geddy Lee or Jon Anderson in others.

However as pleasant and listenable as this record is it does contain very little in the way of a 'wow' factor. It does have its moments, such as on numbers like Numbers - the albums true stand out cut with some truly epic riffage and snappy drum work, the title track with some nice complex syncopated rhythm work and epic powerchordage and It's Alive with it's 'Yes-u-like' feel. However on a lot of the rest of the record the band seam content to bounce between competent but forgettable stadium rock and the same old acoustic 'away-with-the-fairies' fodder we so often get fobbed of with as prog rock these days.

The over all result, for me at least, is that I am finding this album very hard to get into, just when you hear a track and think its getting good, the next song comes along and lets you down. All this results in a very patchy album that promises lots but doesn't quite deliver when you want it to. I get the feeling that this album is trying to be all things to all people; progressive, prog metal, stadium rock, indie, alternative... and is danger of falling down the gaps between multiple stools as it tries but just fails to touch all bases.

This album basically is a basket of missed opportunities, and if 3 could work out exactly what sort of band they wanted to be and worked towards that end they could produce something remarkable, but at the moment they are firmly in the also ran camp.

for fans of... Porcupine Tree, Wishing Tree, Crowded House, Rush....