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Wig Wam - 'Wall Street' (frontiers) 4/5

Now I'm convinced that somewhere in Scandinavia there is a big machine where talented musicians are thrown in one end and great glam rock bands come out the other, over the past year we've had Crazy Lixx, Royal Republic and many others hitting  us up with great new albums; now we have Oslo band Wig Wam with their fourth studio album Wall Street.Now if you think you have come across this lot before, then your probably either a fan of Scan-glam or your a regular viewer of the Eurovision Song Contest, this lot represented Norway in 2005 with a track called In My Dreams, a song that was number 1 in Norway for a long long time and has made them household names in their homeland.

Anyway enough of the history lesson, whats this album like? Well there are 11 tracks on offer here and over all its pretty good. The opening two cuts Wall Street and OMG (I Wish I Had A Gun) are both balls out rockers that take a swipe lyrically at cash culture, bankers, the state of the word economy. Heavy? Nah not really, its all tongue in cheek highly headbangable fun stuff. Then we have a quick change of gear for the highly quirky Victory Is Sweet with a huge chorus, children's choir, orchestral backing and massive sing-a-long hooks. And so it continues... I'm not going to give a track by track breakdown, but take it from me its all good stuff. Other highlights include The Sweet sounding The Bigger The Better, the lighter waver of a ballad in the form of Tides Will Turn (again look out for a massive hook), the dark and driven One Million Enemies and the sleaze filled sex out of Try My Body On (with the biggest hook of all!!) Not really a weak moment on show, even the aforementioned ballad isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Now if there is any justice in the world, Wig Wam would be international superstars with albums like this under their belts, but we all know that justice and the music biz don't exactly walk hand in hand, but  have no doubt that Wall Street will at the very least become a bit of fave with those who like to seek out the good music that lays beyond the stuff served up on mainstream radio.

Pretty Damn Good

For fans of... L.A.Guns, Crash Street Kids, The Sweet, Ratt, Crazy Lixx.....

Circus Maximus - 'Nine' (frontiers) 4/5

Prog metal time again, and this time its Norways own Circus Maximus in the spotlight with this their third studio outing.

Now this is a pretty slick and impressive offering from Michael Eriksen and his band of slick power prog metallers, ten cuts, each a well penned, played and produced slice of musical edification that marks this lot out as leading players in the well populated field of European prog metal.

Once you get past the obligatory short intro track you get into the real stuff, first up there's the impressive Architect of Fortune a 10 minute plus epic that manages to be involved and complex yet avoids the Dream Theater style pomposity and self indulgence. Other highlights include the maidenesque Namaste, the huge and uplifting anthem of Reach Within, and the pair of epic closing tracks, the nine minute Burn After Reading with its superb interplay between guitarist Mats Haugen and keys man Lasse FinbrÄten; and the ten minute plus The Last Goodbye with its long and glorious build up into a breath taking Yes influenced finale. All in all, damn fine stuff indeed.

Now all the prog metal tick boxes are met on this one; complex riff structures, tempo and key changes, huge soundscapes, deep lyrics, Yes style harmony vocals, huge choruses.... Yet there is more to the Circus Maximus sound than the traditional European prog metal cliches, theres an almost AOR / Stadium rock feel in places here, and Circus Maximus are all the better for that it gives them an accessibility many of their contemporaries lack and a sound that will win them friends beyond the hard core prog metal audience.

Over all a good and very listenable record that stand up to repeated listening.

Worth a spot purchase

For fans of.. Opeth, Yes, Royal Hunt, Dignity, Fates Warning, Dream theater....

Mighty High - 'Legalize Tre Bags' (Ripple) 4/5

You don't need to do much lateral thinking to work out where New York stoner punks Mighty High are coming from with their second full length release. If the title and the album  cover art isn't a big enough give away (tre bags is New York street slang for a small cheap weed deal), then a quick look at the song titles confirms that this lot like all thing herbal and combustible - add in the fact that that this albums out on Ripple Music, home of all things cool and groovy in the stoner and retro rock scene and you have a record that really does exactly what it says on the tin.

Kicking off with a glorious MC5-U-like sub two minute thrash out entitled I Don't Wanna Listen Yes ('They sound even worse when I'm high') this record is a glorious rough as fuck cake walk through stoner culture. You get cuts like Moochie ('I'm gonna get high off your supply'), the riff heavy The Ram - a cut that sounds a little like UK alt rockers The Treat, the slick and groovy Tokin' and Strokin' and the doomy post Sabbath work out of Chemical Warpigs; 11 tracks in all every one dripping old school garage punk sensibilities and packed to the coda with drug references. And a very enjoyable listen it is to.

Musically there is a very strong MC5, Stoogies, New York Dolls vibe going on with this one, with hints of the likes of Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and The Deviants thrown in for good measure. As I hinted at earlier, the production here is minimalist and a bit rough round the edges, but that only helps re-enforce the whole garage rock feel to the music and serves to compliment the lyrical themes and ideas the band present.

Over all this is a pretty damn fine record, and there aint that many acts doing this kind of thing now days, and providing the feds don't cramp these guys high, long may they continue.

Worth Checking Out

For fans of... MC5, Inner City Unit, The Deviants, The Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, New York Dolls.....