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Los Criptozoos - 'La danza del cadáver' (self released) 5/5

This is another lucky random surf find, Los Criptozoos hail from Castellón in Spain, they have been together since 2009, play a highly infectious brand of rock and roll fueled pop punk and this is their second album.

Now what first attracted me to this one was the fact that these lads sing in their native tongue. I will freely admit that my Spanish abilities none existent, so I can't tell you what they are going on about, but there are times when listening to songs in a language you can't understands adds to the listening experience. You find that vocal rhythms and melody take on a greater importance and gives the songs a whole new twist and vibe (I love French rap for that exact reason), and listening to this album is really pleasurable experience.

Blending influences that range from old school Clash / Stiff Little Fingers type old school punk, Mighty Mighty Bosstones style bop-able sub-ska sensibilities with buckets of traditional rock and roll feel good attack and big helpings of uplifting Latino get down and party rhythms, they have forged one of the most accessible and likeable pop punk releases I've heard in a long long time.

There are 11 tracks on offer, each one a real get down and boogie gem of high energy punk rocking excellence. Tracks like Xic Dolent, (whose lyrics seam to be about nuclear power), La Danza del Cadaver (The Dance of The Corpse - that one I can translate) and Quein se queja all dance into your ears and get your feet tapping your fists pumping and a smile on your face as wide as the straight of Gibraltar.

On top of that there is some first rate musicianship on show,  just check out the groovy bass line on the wonderful Ska driven Tormenta de feugo (Torment of Fire?) and the sweet rock and roll style guitar solo on Nada nuevo for starters. The vocals are melodic, direct, infectious and demand that you join in even if your Spanish is as bad as mine the drums are tight and driving and the whole thing is played and produced to perfection.

Basically, as you can guess I'm loving this to bits, and I'm sure you will as well, especially as its a free album (see below for download details), I've now got a huge urge to see this lot live, so if your a punk promotor reading this, please try to bring these guys to England on tour sometime, you will have a real hit on your hands I'm sure.

Just Amazing!!

For fans of... The Clash, The Subways, Stiff Little Fingers, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Blunders....

(Download this great album free from here - )

Spires - 'Lucid Abstractions' (Self Released) 5/5

One of last years most exciting releases was undoubtedly Spirals of Ascension, the debut album from Manchester prog metal outfit Spires. That release picked up a lot of airplay, both on BCFM and RS666 and narrowly missed out on being shortlisted for the BCFM shows album of the year award. Now Spirals have issued this new five track acoustic album as a follow up. Apparently the idea for this one came about after a series of unplugged show the band performed late last year. It is four new tracks and an acoustic rendition of Spirals of Ascension the title track from their debut album, and its damn good.

Kicking off with a nice and mellow cut entitled Under Bloodstained Skies, this album is breath taking in concept and scope. Stripped of the razor edged metalisms of their debut album Spires have forged in this album (and yes I will say album, cos although the band are calling it an ep, anything with a play time of nearly 40 minutes says album to me) a quiet and deeply introspective exercise in acoustic prog rock that not only shows them as first rate musicians and song writers, but as masters of the soundscape, as they weave delicate patterns of light and shade that flit moth like across the ears and bathe the soul in a gloriously dreamy wash of aural delight.

Highlights? well the whole album flows together perfectly and almost seamlessly but my personal fave moment has to be the spine tingling Perception, a track that is spine chilling, uplifting and head soothing all at the sametime.

All in all this is a fantastic release that shows that Spires are indeed an outfit that are capable of greatness, and the fact that these guys are still unsigned is a travesty. However if they keep issuing material of this diversity and quality they will not be independent for long.

If you only get on progressive album this year, make sure its this one.

For fans of... Fornost Arnor, Awake, Dream Theater, Fates Warning.....

To get you hands on a copy of this gem visit (but if you want a CD copy, hurry this comes as a limited pressing of 500 copies)