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18.5.12

Great White - 'Elation' (frontiers) 4.5/5

It's sad that after all Great White have been through and achieved over their long and illustrious career, from the highs of such tracks as Face The Day (still one of the greatest hard rock anthems of all time in my mind) to the tragic low of the Station Night Club disaster, that they have now entered a period of schism and we have two incarnations of the band suing the pants off each other for material usage rights and use of the band name. Still they do take time out of litigation from time to time to remind us they are infact musicians and here we have have the latest album from the version of the band that doesn't feature Jack Russell.

Now I gotta say that despite my frustration of seeing a band I really admire implode this is still a damn fine album. OK vocalist Terry Ilous is no Jack Russell, but he still does a great job and his vocals are distinctive enough to carry it off in fine style. As for the rest of this version of Great White, well, they sound like Great White. Nuff said.

There are some great, and I mean great tunes on offer here, You get some wonderful sleaze rockers in the likes of Lowdown, some first rate classic GW type hard rockers such as I've Got Something For You and Shotgun Willies, spot on slices of Americana like Love Train... hell even the power ballad Love Is Enough is not as bad as it could have been. In fact the only thing iffy about this album is its cover art work.

So all in all a pretty good release from a classic band, and one good enough to help me forget all their legal handbags for a while.

Recommended

For fans of... Whitesnake, Crazy Lixx, Beggars And Thieves, Trixter.....

16.5.12

Stone Axe - 'Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011' (Ripple Music) 5/5

US stoner rockers Stone Axe have been causing waves over the past couple of year, two cracking studio albums, an impressive series of live dates that's taken them to the four corners of the world and now we have this rather excellent live album add more fuel to the flame of Stone Axes excellence.

Now I know some people don't like live albums, but personally I love them, and this is a bit of a gem. From the opening double whammy of Stonin' / On with The Show, via the dark and sleazy Diamonds And Fools, the damnation boogie of Old Soul and the dance floor friendly We Know It's Still Rock 'n' Roll (my fave SA track) to the shuffle riffage of the closer Nightwolf, this album is fifteen cuts of Stone Axe style stoner rock excellence, that compliments their two studio albums in fine style

Highlight? well the whole album is one long highlight but if I was to pick one track it would be the spine tingling and very chilled out Skylah Rae.

All in all this is one fine record and it pens another chapter in the high history of Stone Axe with a flourish few other acts can match.

Highly Recommended

For fans of... Mos Generator, The Muggs, Blue Cheer, Groundhogs....


The New Jacobin Club - 'Left Behind' (Somnambulist Sound System) 4.5/5

Hailing from Saskatoon in Canada, deathrocking gothic darkwavers The New Jacobin Club have been around for sometime and have chalked up a very long list of releases dating back to the mid 1990's, of which this four track ep is the latest.

Sounding a bit like Cauda Pavonis and Moonspell with touches of Hawkwind you like synthy weirdness thrown in for good measure, this ep comes over as a bit of gem. Kicking off with My Smile, a sweet little gothic air puncher that hints at the likes of Lesbian Bed Death and The Mission we have here a cracking release from a band who have obviously honed their sound and style over many years, and while international superstardom has eluded them, they obviously don't give a damn and are happy doing their own thing in fine style.

Next up we have the deliciously dark Demon Princess, a gloriously black exercise in dark psychedelia, deep voices boom like the choir of the damned, riffs churn like the grave dirt of the zombie apocalypse, whilst cellos and synths weave and sweep like angry bats on the hunt for fresh human blood.Cracking stuff.

Then there's my fave cut of the four When Evil Comes Out To Play, a number that starts with a riff that surprisingly reminds me of cult NWOBHM outfit Chainsaw before resolving into a chorus Voodoo Johnson would have been proud to have penned, a real anthem if ever there was. Chuck in a live version of their track Blood Of The Servant Girl for good measure and you have a cracking little gem of an ep that will turn the goths, darkwaver and batcavers on big time and arouse the interest of wider rockers as well.

Pretty damn good if you ask me

For fans of... Cauda Pavonis, Lesbian Bed Death, The Mission, Alien Sex Fiend....

Allegaeon - 'Formshifter' (metalblade) 4/5

This ten tracker is the second full length release from Colorado 'technical' metal outfit Allagaeon a band that until now has slipped under my radar.

First impressions are, that this is pretty cool, opening up with the seven minute mini-epic Behold (God I Am) and blasting through tracks like the wonderfully entitled Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst (what ever the hell that means), the headlong razor slash of Iconic Images and glorious frenzied From The Stars Death Came this album form a sweet soundscape that manages to position itself halfway between the old school trashisms of Slayer and Testament and the southern metal sensibilities of the likes of Lamb of God and Machine Head,

Praise must be given to the guitar pairing of Ryan Glisan and Greg Burgess who not only have a nice line in heavy as hell grinding riffage but can shred and widdle like good uns, and keep it melodic at the same time, not an easy feat to pull off at all.

All in all a pretty good album, but my fave cut here is undoubtedly the closer Secrets of Sequence, a bit of a classic in the making that manages to blend so great 'head in the bass bin' metal dynamics with some rather impressive mellower moments.

Well worth checking out

For Fans Of... Lamb Of God, Charred Walls Of The Damned, Crowned By Fire, Testament....

8.5.12

Trioscapes - 'Separate Realities' (metalblade) 4.5/5

Oooo interesting. Metalblade records have a deserved reputation for being the home of all things good and extreme in metal, but every so often, like all good labels should, they do like to pitch a curve ball, and this album from US jazz/rock fusion outfit Trioscapes is just such a pitch. Featuring bassist Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me), saxpert Walter Fancourt (Casual Curious, Brand New Life) and drummist Matt Lynch (Eyris) this lot came together as a one off project to record a cover version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra classic Celestial Terrestrial Commuters. This in turn lead to the idea of a one off gig so more music was penned and as is often the way with such ideas things soon snowballed and soon Trioscapes were born and this their debut album was recorded.

Now my liking for jazz was formed at a very tender age. I grew up in the household of a jazz loving father and I knew the tunes to the likes of Dave Brubecks Take Five before I could sing most nursery rhymes; and although over the years since I have grown to become a bit of a rock and metal nut,  the soft spot for jazz is still there deep down.

There are six cuts on offer here, all very nice chilled out and perfectly performed sweet sax lead jazz workouts that serve equally well as background music and as music for active listening. Now I like jazz but I don't really know the language of the musical form, so I'll leave the technical analysis of this one to the more expert jazz reviewers, but I will say cuts like the chilled out Curse of The Ninth and the epic and driving title track, along with the aforementioned Mahavishnu cover all make for one great listen.

Fans of jazz and jazz rock will love this one up big time and anyone who is a little 'jazz curious' will find this a good place to start their own jazz odyssey.

NICE....

 For fans of... Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, King Crimson, Colosseum....

Cattle Decapitation - 'Monolith of Imhumanity' (Metalblade) 4.5/5

This is the ninth full length release from politically charged Californian death grind metallers Cattle Decapitation and it's a bit of gem.

Musically this album is about as intense and full on as it can get. Cuts like Forced Gender Reassignment, Gristle Licker and the magnificent Lifestalker explode from the speakers with all the brutal force of a unit of the Animal Liberation Front attacking a fur farm. Drums pound out a relentless tattoo whilst guitars scream thrash and shred like a crazed butcher and the vocals of Travis Ryan growl and snarl in vicious righteous fury. If you think the likes of Cannibal Corpse took it to the max then check these guys out, there is none more brutal and none more driven.

Lyrically this album is very much in line with the bands previous releases; tracks about animal rights intermix with vicious attacks on the decadence of western society and the state of the human condition in a ball of very angry social awareness that sock it to 'The Man' in a way few other outfits can hope to match. And in a world where so many of their musical counterparts are STILL banging out endless tunes about corpse fucking and devil worship its a breath of fresh air. I tip my hat to them for that alone.

Highlights? well the aforementioned Lifestalker with it's epic sounding bridge section, the frenzied thrash and pound of A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat and the closing cut Kingdom of Tyrants with its vast and deadly dark soundscapes are to my mind the real stand out cuts on offer, but the whole damn album is pretty impressive over all, and it's rapidly becoming a bit of a favourate of mine.

Highly Recommended

For Fans of..... Cannibal Corpse, Black Dahlia Murder, Jon For A Cowboy, Deicide....

John Taglieri - 'Lucky #9' (Leap Dog Music) 4/5

This is the ninth album from cult US country rocker John Taglieri, and what a little gem this six tracker is. Currently available as digital download only from all your normal online outlets, this mini album is a very sweet and very listenable selection of ear friendly soft rock tracks that blend aspects of Americana, country rock, rock and roll and folky singer songwriter sensibilities into one very engaging whole.

Cuts like the tender and plaintiff Dying Alive, the old school rock and roll work out of Losing Me and the catchy sub pop Make Me Believe as jump out from the speakers and give the listener a big friendly hug that leaves yours ears with a very warm and satisfied glow.

With a voice that has hints of Roy Orbison and a song writing style not unlike the great John Fogerty, Mr Taglieri, who played most of the instruments himself, has with Lucky #9 is one helluva pleasant record that should win him new fans and admirers worldwide and make his existing followers very happy indeed.

Very Good Indeed.

For fans of... John Fogerty, Steel Blue Rose, Grinderswitch, Creedance Clearwater Revival.