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Mortor - 'Shoot Em Up' (self released) 4/5

Now I don't know too much about Mortor. They come from Canada and this is I think their debut full length album, and thats about it, the press info that came with this one was a bit sparse and there aint a great deal of info around on the net either. But when I got my hands on this one and saw the album cover I was interested, after all anything with Nazi zombies on it has to be worth at least a look.

Now this is good, from the moment you click play your hit by a full on metal blitzkrieg that kicks off by sending a stuka like wave of pounding thrash and bludgeon beats  to blast a way into your head, and thus making opening in your minds defenses for the panzer divisions of Cannibal Corpse style speed and grind riffage and legions stormtrooping growled and snarled vocal delivery to punch on deep into your soul and capture your psyche. And this is one occupation I'm not going to object to.

This album is just relentless, cuts like For Glory, Under The Flag, Clusterfuck and Trigger Happy just roll you up with all the subtly of G.I.'s at an Iraqi wedding. This is metal at the bleeding edge, its raw, in your face, mosh pit friendly and very very enjoyable. However theres a softer side to Mortor, (although they do try to hide it). Take the cut Whiskey Surgery, heres a cut that has an almost rock and roll guitar solo in the middle and cuts like Point Blank and  Days Of Our Knives show a little light and shade, as tempo changes and some minor key riffage just work their way into to provide some colour to the relentless blast and batter. And check out the guitar work on Bonesaw... that is to die for.

Now theres a fair bit of this sort of stuff around there and whilst Mortor are no Cattle Decapitation, they are no slouches either and with a bit of luck and hard work they cold become a name to watch for in the future.

Pretty damn good

For fans of... Cattle Decapitation, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura, Kreator, Carcass.....

Van Susans - 'Paused In The Moment' (Beatnik Geek) 4/5

I first encountered UK alt / indie rockers Van Susans back last year when they issued their "We Could Be Scenery'' ep, and to be honest I wasn't that impressed, but that release did have one killer track that showed that the band did have something to offer. then a few months back we had their last single Bricks Not Sticks or Straw, a track that was a huge step in the right direction, and now we have this the bands debut album on our hands.

Glad to say this album is every bit as good as that single, in fact the aforementioned track kicks the album off and lays out the stall for whats to come. Big powerful pop rock ballads in the Beautiful South vein, spiced up by a huge Waterboys type celtic lighter waving vibe, hints of dirty rock and roll attitude, a dash of an almost Undertones style to song writing and catchy hooks by the truck load.

Highlights on offer include the vast and anthemic Fireworks with is sweet piano motif, the Subways style pop punk work out of The Road, the deeply introspective Disappear, the indie pop floor filler of Popo, the downbeat foot tapper of Notice Me and the drive indie rock workout of Served Cold with its rather tasty acoustic guitar lead and soaring fiddle lines. In fact there's not a weak track on show.

So this has me puzzled, was I wrong about that ep? Nope, I've just given it another listen and still find it lacking, but I'm loving this album. Why should that be? Well not long after the aforementioned ep was released Van Susans hit the road for a lengthy tour opening up for the Beautiful South, a band I've always had the utmost respect for as purveyors of good solid serious pop rock, and maybe something rubbed off onto the Van Susans, But whatever happened, the fact remains that in around a year, this lot have gone from being bog standard indie rock wannabes into an act that really do have something to offer the word musically. And long may they continue.

Pretty Good

For fans of... The Waterboys, The Beautiful South, Whiskey and Lace, Jimmy Eat World.....