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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....