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Crucified Barbara - 'The Midnight Chase' (GMR) 4.5/5

Crucified Barbara are a all girl four piece outfit from Sweden. Originally a punk outfit they have honed their sound over the past 14 years into a classic old school hard rock outfit. They have toured with Motorhead amongst other and have just issued this their third studio album.

Ooo this is good, I've not encountered Crucified Barbara before but a mate of mine has been raving about them for sometime, so I thought it was time I checked them out, I got hold of this their latest release and boy I'm glad I did. Kicking off with The Crucifier, a juicy slice of old school 80's style metal in the Girlschool / Meanstreak vein, this album is just one glorious exhibition of first rate classic old school rock and metal. Tracks like Shut Your Mouth, Rules And Bones, Kid From the Upperclass etc are all damn fine, intelligent and highly headbangable exercises in classic metal excellence that stand up to repeated listening.

I know this may be seen as cliche, but I can't but notice some interesting parallels with Girlschool on this one. After all both bands started out as punk outfits, both evolved their sound into good old hard rock whilst retaining a little of the punk roots in their sound, and both have the power, drive and attitude to prove that anything the boys can do the girls can do just as well if not better.

OK it's not all good news, there is the ballad Count Me In, a very light weight throw away radio rocker that sticks out from the rest of the album like a Torey boy at a socialist workers rally, (hence this album not getting a perfect 5), but when you also have gems like Rock Me Like The Devil on offer it is a slip up than can be over looked.

The bottom line is this is a great record from a great band and one that should help Crucified Barbara get better noticed worldwide. I expect great things from these ladies in the years to come.

Very Good Indeed

For fans of.. Girlschool, Motorhead, Tank, Meanstreak, The Kix, Rock Goddess etc...

L.A.Guns - 'Hollwood Forever (Dead Line) 4.5/5

Sadly there is a tendency with some bands to split and reform in several different incarnations, and then spend as much time suing the backsides off each other as they do touring and recording. Just like Saxon, Great White, Wishbone Ash etc, glam legends L.A.Guns have also found themselves going down this route. Now I aint gonna let this review turn into a 'for fuck sake' rant. I'll just point out  that this version of L.A.Guns is the Phil Lewis fronted version and get on with it.

Now this album, the latest offering, is a pretty damn good one. It kicks off with a rather storming title track that lays out the stall for the rest of the 13 tracks to follow. We get the rather interesting Eel Pie (a reference to Mr Lewis East London roots?) with its cutting insight into the music business, the big an brooding Burn with its huge hook laden chorus, the rock and boogie bang out of Vine Street Shimmy with its glorious sleazy chorus riff, a fantastic slow and heavy blues workout in the form of Dirty Black Night - which features some stunning guitar work from Stacey Blades and the headlong drive of Venus Bomb which is an air guitar classic in the making...In fact there isn't really a duff track on offer, even the slower cuts like Underneath the Sun, are sleaze filled late night drinking anthems, that manage to stay ell clear of the old power ballad cliche.

Phil Lewis is a vocalist I've always had a lot of time for, after all I'm old enough to have seen him fronting both Girl and Torme back in the early 80's long before he upped sticks to California, and I'm glad to say he still sounds as sleazy, powerful, in your face and convicted as he did on Girl's Sheer Greed opus way back when, add in the fact that Stacey Blades does some of the best guitar work of his career on this one and the rhythm section of Scott Griffin and Steve Riley are as tight as Anne Widdecombes rubber bondage cat suit and you've got a great band writing and performing some first class hard rock

In short, this is a fantastic record and a worthy addition to the catalogue of a great band.

Well worth checking out

For fans of.. Poison, Girl, Guns And Roses, Ratt and classic hard rock and hair metal.

Lastwind - 'Return Of A Sonic Assassin' (Flicknife) 5/5

Ok a quick history lesson. Back in 1977, after a particularly disastrous US tour space rock gods Hawkwind decided to split, (only for a short while before they reformed as 'Hawklords' in the summer of 1978), but in the gap Dave Brock and Robert Calvert met up with Devon based prog rockers Ark for a one off gig at Barnstable Town Hall under the name The Sonic Assassins. The gig was recorded and gave rise to the rather impressive and hellishly influential 'Sonic Assassins' ep, Brock later used several Sonic Assassins for the reformed Hawklords (bassist Harvey Bainbridge went on to become a regular fixture in the hawks for the next 10 years), Now, lord knows how many years on, Ark / Sonic Assassins member Paul Hayles has recruited some of his former band buddies, along with a couple of of the great and good from the south West music scene (including former Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustlnik) to form Lastwind. and they have just issued this rather tasty long player.

Now I will admit to being a huge fan of Hawkwind, ever since I had my 16 year old mind blown by a mates brothers copy of Space Ritual, and although I have found that the Hawks themselves haven't done anything that has really impressed me since Xenon Codex back in about 1988 - all those classic albums are still the benchmark I judge space rock by. And I'm glad to say that this one is a bit of a classic.

Kicking off with a title track that harks back to that classic Sonic Assassins ep, Lastwind have put together a cracking album that sounds more Hawkwind than Hawkwind themselves have sounded in years. You get cuts like the spaced out and grinding Winds Of Time, that wouldn't sound out of place of the Hawks 'Warrior on The Edge Of Time' opus, the hard driving Autoroute, that sounds like a classic Calvert era track in all but vocal delivery, the heavy space metal of Monster Trucks which hat tips the hawks PXR5 era and the trippy astral boogie of Which Way When with its references to the works of the likes of Harvey Bainbridge and Steve Swindals.

However don't think for a minute that this classic album is a mere hawkclone offering. There are loads of subtle nods and winks to some of the other greats of UK space rock as well, Inner City Unit, The Lloyd Langton Group, The Alman Mulo Band, Mournblade, Magic Muscle, Underground Zero... the spirit of all these classic acts and more is alive and kicking on this one, and that makes this old acid rocker very happy indeed.

In short this is a great album that should be in the collection of all Hawkfans, space rockers, prog boys and acid trippers whatever planet they happen to be on.

Very very highly recommended

For fans of... HAWKWIND, Mournblade, Gong, The Deep Fix, Krankshaft.....