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Modern Day Escape - ' Under The Gun' (standby) 4/5

With out doubt the real surprise of 2011 was the success of Black Veil Brides as they exploded out of the California underground to stake a real claim at world domination. Now we have Ohio post emo boys Modern Day Escape attempting to follow in their wake of their label mates with this their second album.

Now with former BVB stickman Sandra Alva thumping the pig skin and taking a very similar approach to production as BVB followed on their 'Set The World On Fire' opus it would be too easy just to dismiss this lot as a band of bandwagon jumpers and move on. But to do that would be to do MDE a huge disservice, cos this record is a pretty impressive work in its own right.

There are eleven cuts on offer here and to be honest they are pretty good. Cuts like Life's A Bitch, Tigers Blood and Feels On The Darkside are all prime slices of top notch commercial mainstream hard rock; bursting with angst fueled teen attitude, mosh pit friendly headbangable aggression and enough catchy hooks to keep a tuna fisherman going for several weeks. All good fun stuff.

All the classic hard rock influences are on show, you get dollops of Moltey Crue, hints of Iron Maiden, Kiss style riffage, post hardcore shouty bits and more... and the end result is another album that could just well help in making the mainstream cool again.

OK its not all good news, there are a few places, especially on the opening cut City of Thieves where the sound is a bit confused and messy and the result is that this album isn't as immediately accessible as the aforementioned BVB opus, but its worth sticking with, especially when it comes to the closing cut Demons Down Below, a track that has 'classic' scrawled all over it.

The bottom line is that this is the sound of the new mainstream, and if it means more of this kind of stuff, and less Nickleback, 30 Seconds To Mars, Theory of a Wifebeater kind of yawn rock then the world is going to be a better place.

Pretty damn good

For fans of... Black Veil Brides, Halestorm, Dear Superstar, Shinedown etc....

Tyketto - 'Dig In Deep' (frontiers) 3/5

Another US East Coast outfit on the comeback trail, Tyketto first emerged out of New York in the late 80's and like many of the second wave of US hair rockers had their careers cut short by the whole grunge movement of the early 1990's. They first split in 1996 after four albums, reformed in 2004 and broke up 'for good' three years later. However less than 12 months later they reformed and have spent the last four years touring their butts off world wide and preparing for this, the first album of new material in 16 years.

Now I will be honest and say I'm finding this on a little bit of a let down on first listen, I have a copy of the bands first album on vinyl, and find this latest offering a bit light weight in comparison. It's a wee bit too radio friendly for my tastes, a bit lacking in drive and balls. It' not until the fifth track on the album you get anything resembling a real rocker, when the the opening riff of The Fight Left In Me cuts in, but even then that riff resolves into something not all that gutsy and pretty middle of the road. In fact true rock out moments on this one are a bit few and far between. Theres the rather groovy slide blues of the title track and the riff heavy and driving Sound Off (the best cut on offer by a country mile), but thats about it really. The rest of the album is made up of light weight US daytime rock radio tunes, rather cheesy power ballads and sub Bon Jovi lighter wavers.

Shame because this album is well penned and played and you know that Tyketto are a band who can rock out like bastards when they want to, but here they never seam to get out of second gear. Still fm radio stations in the mid west will lap it up ever if the rest of the world may find this album a bit lacking in fire.

Try before you buy

For fans of... House of Lords, Beggars & Thieves, Bon Jovi, REM.....

Trixter - 'New Audio Machine' (frontiers) 4/5

Back in the late '80s / early 90's, New Jersey hard rockers Trixter were a promising new act in the second division of US rock. Their first two albums made small dents in the US rock charts and great things were expected, but following a rather disappointing album of cover versions in 1994 the band fell apart. however 2008 saw a reformation for a live album, a compilation album and reunion tour, and now at least we have the first album of new original Trixter material for 20 years.

Now this one starts of very strongly, the opening cut Drag Me Down kicks off with a sweet little blues fired acoustic moment, that has hints of Soundgarden about it, before cutting off into a pretty impressive Cinderella style hair metal workout, all sleazy strut,' na na na na' hooks and down and dirty riffage.

Having set the stall out Trixter continue with pretty much more of the same, and thats fine with me, cos listening to this album takes me screaming back to those heady days of hair spray heroes like Ratt, Poison, Nevada Beach and the like when the whole glam revival stuff provided the musical counter point to my heavier, more thrashy listening and kept me lurching drunkenly around dance floors well into the wee small hours.

Cuts like Dirty Love, Machine, Tattoos And Misery and Save Your Soul all sleaze from the speakers like a drunken personnel manager at an office party and start a party with your libido that could well end up in a compromising position with the girl from the typing pool and a final warning from the boss. And then there's the fantastic closing cut, Walk With A Stranger a number that sounds like Bon Jovi before they sold out to the MTV big hit single machine. Ok, there are a couple of skippers, namely the two cheese laden power ballads Live For The Day and The Coolest Thing, but I can over look two duff tracks when the other nine on offer are so strong.

Over all this is a pretty damn fine album and one that Trixter should be proud to have recorded.

Strongly Recommended

For fans of... Cinderella, Poison, Tyketto, Black Veil Brides etc....