Quick Plays: THE FINEST HOUR, LANA LANE

THE FINEST HOUR – These Are The Good Old Days

Released 1st October

Debut band from a band hailing from Lincolnshire, who cover a fair few musical bases as they try and find their own sound. You’ve got the ska influenced ‘Pocket Change’, the more indie rock feel on ‘Control’ and then the album’s strongest song ‘Never Heard Of Dylan’. The latter is a cracking pop tune with a humorous lyric. ‘Janey’ is another decent pop song and one for airplay.

All in all not a bad debut, some of the songs can repeat their lyrics a bit too often giving the air of songs as works in progress. But then ‘Never Heard Of Dylan’ and ‘Janey’ prove they have the knack to pen strong melodies and hopefully they will go down the pop route more on their second album.

***

Jason Ritchie

LANA LANE – El Dorado Hotel (Think Tank Media)

Lana Lane is the diva of progressive rock and generally features husband Erik Norlander’s keyboards on her works.  This album is no different.

While Norlander’s keys feature prominently, so do the guitars (various guitar players have a role in this work).  This album is a lot easier to listen to than Ms Lane’s previous works and one can put that to the fact this four years have gone by and this album is a more mature approach in the genre.  Ms Lane’s voice has matured a bit too, sounding a lot like Ann Wilson in many places – and that’s no bad thing.  The progressive feel of the work is enhanced with lengthy opening and closing tracks.

Greet songs, superb musician performances and incredible production make this essential listening.

****1/4

Nick van der Meulen

IVORY GATES – Devil’s Dance (MS Metal Records)

Ivory Gates is another metal product hailing from Brazil.  “Devil’s Dance” is the band’s third release, after critical acclaim for their first two albums.

The album is quite a surprise: it begins as speed/prog metal (“Beyond the black”), after which it settles back into more mid-tempoed metal.  Don’t let that fool you, though, as much of the riffing is brutal.  The album remains melodic throughout and there isn’t a poor composition on it!  Felipe Travaclini has a remarkable voice, sounding like a cross between Bruce Dickinson and Stuart Adamson, and he uses it to good effect on this work, along with the superb guitar work from Matheus Armelin and Heitor Mazzotti.

My only gripe is that the album features only seven songs, where one would have wanted more – although “Suite Memory” is a mammoth 21 minutes long!  Nonetheless, a fine release that is worthy of your attention.

****1/4

Nick van der Meulen

DANIELE LIVERANI – Eleven Mysteries (Lion Music)

Daniele Liverani is generally known to be the keyboard and musical mastermind behind Twinspirits, Genius Rock Opera and Khymera, but on “Eleven Mysteries” he shows the world his prowess on guitar.

The album is conceptual in nature, with much ambient noises also being put into the mix.  While the songs are well put together and the guitarist very technical, the composition is very much like the album cover: very cold.  Another issue I have with this release are the eerie voices between songs, which put me off a bit.

This is good listening for those who appreciate good guitar technique, but if you want to feel warm and fuzzy after the listen, best you look elsewhere.

***

Nick van der Meulen

Second opinion by Jason Ritchie:

Daniele Liverani has previously been manning the keyboards but on this album he shows he is no slouch in the guitar stakes. As you’d expect on an instrumental album the guitar takes the front seat for much of the album, although there are some interesting keyboard flurries notably on the slower ‘Giving’. Bass player Tony Dickinson adds in a few bass solos and runs throughout the album. It can be hard going in guitar instrumental albums unless you are a fellow guitarist but Daniele Liverani has taken his ear for melody from his Kymera and Genius Rock Opera days to produce some crossover music. ‘Inspiration’ has a Megadath riff at the start  and a strong melodic rock undertone, in fact a song that you could imagine having vocals on.

Interesting and varied listen, not for all but a strong and well played/produced release.

***1/2


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Power Plays w/c 24 June (Mon-Fri)

GUMSHOE When Things Started To Ignite (indie)
THE NEW ROSES Heartache (Napalm Records)
EMPYRE New Republic (indie)
PISTON Leave If You Dare (indie)
SPREAD EAGLE Sound Of Speed (Frontiers)

Featured Albums w/c 24 June (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FORTUNE II (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 BARBE-Q-BARBIES Borrowed Time (Dissonance)
14:00-16:00 HEATHER FINDLAY Wild Horses (Black Sand Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

ELEANOR McEVOY I’d Rather Go Blonde (2010)



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