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Mortor - 'Shoot Em Up' (self released) 4/5

Now I don't know too much about Mortor. They come from Canada and this is I think their debut full length album, and thats about it, the press info that came with this one was a bit sparse and there aint a great deal of info around on the net either. But when I got my hands on this one and saw the album cover I was interested, after all anything with Nazi zombies on it has to be worth at least a look.

Now this is good, from the moment you click play your hit by a full on metal blitzkrieg that kicks off by sending a stuka like wave of pounding thrash and bludgeon beats  to blast a way into your head, and thus making opening in your minds defenses for the panzer divisions of Cannibal Corpse style speed and grind riffage and legions stormtrooping growled and snarled vocal delivery to punch on deep into your soul and capture your psyche. And this is one occupation I'm not going to object to.

This album is just relentless, cuts like For Glory, Under The Flag, Clusterfuck and Trigger Happy just roll you up with all the subtly of G.I.'s at an Iraqi wedding. This is metal at the bleeding edge, its raw, in your face, mosh pit friendly and very very enjoyable. However theres a softer side to Mortor, (although they do try to hide it). Take the cut Whiskey Surgery, heres a cut that has an almost rock and roll guitar solo in the middle and cuts like Point Blank and  Days Of Our Knives show a little light and shade, as tempo changes and some minor key riffage just work their way into to provide some colour to the relentless blast and batter. And check out the guitar work on Bonesaw... that is to die for.

Now theres a fair bit of this sort of stuff around there and whilst Mortor are no Cattle Decapitation, they are no slouches either and with a bit of luck and hard work they cold become a name to watch for in the future.

Pretty damn good

For fans of... Cattle Decapitation, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura, Kreator, Carcass.....

Van Susans - 'Paused In The Moment' (Beatnik Geek) 4/5

I first encountered UK alt / indie rockers Van Susans back last year when they issued their "We Could Be Scenery'' ep, and to be honest I wasn't that impressed, but that release did have one killer track that showed that the band did have something to offer. then a few months back we had their last single Bricks Not Sticks or Straw, a track that was a huge step in the right direction, and now we have this the bands debut album on our hands.

Glad to say this album is every bit as good as that single, in fact the aforementioned track kicks the album off and lays out the stall for whats to come. Big powerful pop rock ballads in the Beautiful South vein, spiced up by a huge Waterboys type celtic lighter waving vibe, hints of dirty rock and roll attitude, a dash of an almost Undertones style to song writing and catchy hooks by the truck load.

Highlights on offer include the vast and anthemic Fireworks with is sweet piano motif, the Subways style pop punk work out of The Road, the deeply introspective Disappear, the indie pop floor filler of Popo, the downbeat foot tapper of Notice Me and the drive indie rock workout of Served Cold with its rather tasty acoustic guitar lead and soaring fiddle lines. In fact there's not a weak track on show.

So this has me puzzled, was I wrong about that ep? Nope, I've just given it another listen and still find it lacking, but I'm loving this album. Why should that be? Well not long after the aforementioned ep was released Van Susans hit the road for a lengthy tour opening up for the Beautiful South, a band I've always had the utmost respect for as purveyors of good solid serious pop rock, and maybe something rubbed off onto the Van Susans, But whatever happened, the fact remains that in around a year, this lot have gone from being bog standard indie rock wannabes into an act that really do have something to offer the word musically. And long may they continue.

Pretty Good

For fans of... The Waterboys, The Beautiful South, Whiskey and Lace, Jimmy Eat World.....


C.F.A. - 'Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God' (Ripple) 4/5

CFA (aka The Cody Foster Army) hail from Tacoma, Washington State in the US, and have been around for four or five years now. They are a three piece whose greatly experienced members cut their teeth in such luminary underground cult punk outfits such as Inbreed, Daisy Love, Toxic Shock, Miserable Bastards, Stump, Crash Landing, Buckwildz, and Mico De Noche. This is the bands debut album.

Now this is a very interesting one, CFA play a very curious and nearly unique sounding blend of stoner rock old school hardcore punk and sludge fired primordial thrashy doom metal. Tracks like The hard and driving Shake Your Ass, Never free and Sons Of The Soil and pretty much the rest of this sixteen tracker fly past in a glorious mix of old school metal riffage, hardcore screamed vocals and buckets of raw punk attitude. Other highlights include the Sabbath with a glue bag doomy pound of Kick Rocks and the Venom influenced Holy Colonoscopy.

There also a couple of very interesting cover versions on show, there's the old Bob Marley classic Iron Lion Zion, stripped of its Reggae back beats and given a full metal work over, and the result is pretty impressive, sounding a bit like The Subhumans over all. However the best track on the whole album is a version of the old Creedance Clearwater classic Fortunate Son, played fairly straight, but a LOT heavier, here CFA have taken a track inspired by the pointless conflicts of the 1960s and made it relevant to the pointless conflicts of the modern age.

Over I like this album lots, but I do fear a little for CFA in this age of excessive sub genres and musical pigeon holes. I can see many of the metal heads and stoner freaks finding it a bit too hardcore, and the core scene kiddies finding it a bit too old school metal. But I also live in hope that anyone who likes real musical experimentation will find this a refreshing and interesting mix of styles with a lot to offer the broadminded listener.

Well worth checking out

For fans of... P.O.T., Mighty High, Cannabis Corpse, Venom.....


Mos Generator - 'Nomads' (Ripple) 4.5/5

Its been five years since we last heard any brand new material from Seattle grungy stoner retro rockers Mos Generator, but now at long last we have album number five, and believe me, the wait was worth it.

This one kicks off with the riff heavy Cosmic Ark with its post Sabbath riffage, Ozzy-u-like vocals, it's sludge and grind soundscapes and mellow middle section resulting in something that sounds like it could be taken from Sabbaths Technical Ecstasy, a belter of a track. And having set up the stall, Mos Generator continue in fine style. All that time out hasn't changed them at all, all the classic Mos Gen trademarks are here, the heavy as hell riffage, the searching and emotive lyrics, the flashes of 60's psyche rock, the undercurrent of Seattle grunge, the sweet blues licks... all the elements that have marked Mos Gen out as leaders in the current field of retro fueled stoner rockers. OK they may not have shown a huge amount of progress since that classic eponymous 2002 debut album, but hell, progress for progress sake is a bad thing, Mos Gen have got a winning formula and if it aint broke don't fix it.

Highlights? well the whole album is just great, but listen out for the highly intelligent and well realised re-working of the Judas Priest classic Solar Angels, the vast and highly headbangable I Can't Get Where I Belong and the epic closer This Is A Gift Of Nature with its hard and heavy riffage and wonderful breakdown and slow build section leading to a truly earth moving climax. However my fave cut on offer has to be the dark and doomy Step Up with is sub death metal sensibilities and big anthem style hook.

Basically Mos Gen are back, they are in fine form and anyone who loves their rock, raw, grungy, classic and in your face should sit up and take notice.

Great Stuff

For fans of... Stone Axe, Soundgarden, Black Sabbath, The Groundhogs...