THE APOSTATES – Wide-Eyed & Determined www.theapostates.co.uk (Released Dec 10th)
The Apostates formed back in 2006 and the three piece consist of Adam Stone (vocals/guitar), Steve Reynolds (bass/vocals) and Mike Saminaden (drums/vocals). They have racked up hundreds of live shows and this shows in their confidence on this album. They have fast, punk fueled tunes although bizarrely the guitar sound reminded me of the Smiths and ‘Sixteen’ recalls IRS-era REM. The songs are little snap shots of life, some work like ‘Acrylic Friends’ and others are not so strong.
A decent enough debut, for fans of indie and punk – the latter day version, not the 70′s/80′s style.
ZEN MOTEL – We Want Your Blood www.zenmotel.co.uk
Third album by this three piece and their first since 2007′s ‘Stations Of The Dead’ which was a very enjoyable album. Like that album it features CJ of Wildhearts fame guesting on three songs.
Zen Motel are like the Wildhearts punk moments, crossed with thrash metal and some 70′s/80′s classic rock approved guitar. It sounds very mixed-up but it works for the most part. Songs like ‘Superhuman Colosseum’ don’t so much as invite the listener in, as bash down the door screaming into your ears! But the band do keep their sense of melody and closing song ‘House Of The Dying Sun’ is the closet they will ever get to slow number. It is songs like ‘Kill Your Radio’ and ‘Death Rock City’ where this band really excel though, massive hard riffs and in your face vocals.
Not quite as good as ‘Stations Of The Dead’ but still mighty fine.
JOHNNY WORE BLACK – Up In Flames (single)
Featuring Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, this is a dark brooding number that mixes nu metal with a stoner grunge, a hint of Black Sabbath gone trebly and dream like. A little disjointed to start but does improve.
The second track Noise is good too, a bit Nu for me but this seems good Kerrang! fare.
WARSEID – Where Fate Lies Unbound (EP) www.warseid.com
An interesting mix of Black Folk Metal that kicks off with Shackles Through The Sand, a folky almost Celtic opening before the heavy metal comes in. Interesting, and also a little disjointed in that you have elements of black metal and anthemic power metal going on at the same time.
It’s a long track (over 7 minutes) that does build well – imagine black metal vocals and machine-gun drums with neoclassical guitar lines and changes in pace with touches of folk.
Frost Upon The Embers features the same mix, and the fourth track Farewell (11 minutes) is almost proggy. It’s heavier moments are quite chunky, and like the rest of the EP the mainstream edge is actually quite solid and enjoyable. The changes of pace a little much with the folk and black influences, and I’ve never been a fan of tortured troll / screaming cat vocals.
TIME’S FORGOTTEN – The Book Of Lost Worlds www.timesforgottencr.com
Progressive metal from Costa Rica that is pretty good (in places) – once it gets going, and the vocal harmonies of intro opener Nostalgia (a touch of Yes) doesn’t really seem to work.
Disconnected is a solid number and pretty enjoyable, some strong riffs and interesting intricate guitar lines. Transcendence ranges from being solid and strong to disjointed and folky, so not very consistent.
State Of Awareness is a good track but River, with its complex rhythm, is quite disjointed. Good riff half way through though.
At times this is quite a strong album but at others it either drifts or becomes mixed and difficult to listen to.
The SPOKES – In My Head www.thespokessweden.com
Debut album from this Swedish rock band that has a solid chunky and very fuzzy take on some classic rock styles.
Opener Do You Really Want It typifies the sound with a warm bluesy rocking sound, and there’s a strong Black Crowes / Skynyrd / Thin Lizzy sound. Add to that some Stones on Centerfold Girl.
The guitar interplay on Give Back My Love nods to Black Rose.
Don’t Feed The Fire is slower and chunkier, but some nice harmonica. There’s more Skynyrd and Lizzy in SlowDown, an uptempo bluesy number.
There are these classic rock influences throughout that make for a very enjoyable album. A good listen all the way through but nothing stands out as too catchy, or as single material. And the use of fuzz throughout makes it sound slightly samey.
Well worth a listen though.
CAPTAIN CRIMSON – Dancing Madly Backwards Transubstans Records
Modern uptempo rock that tries to blend classic blues rock and stoner. Think Cactus with modern metal stoner edge.
Some interesting rhythms, occasionally funky (think a much heavier Extreme), and the intro to Don’t Take Me For A Fool features some excellent guitar work. In fact this is one of the better tracks. A blues edge and a change of pace or two.
Sadly the vocals on the album have a very limited range and come over a touch shouty.
Solid, some good stuff, but a little 1 dimensional.
FULLFORCE – Next Level SPV
Fullforce, the band featuring various ex/current members of HammerFall plus Cloudscape’s Mike Andersson on vocals, return with their second album. Their debut album ‘One’ was a very strong and enjoyable power metal/melodic metal release. Sadly though this new album doesn’t, as the title may suggest, take it to the next level. The problem is that the heavier songs don’t have much variety although ‘Break It, Crack It, Destroy It’ is a tasty metal monster.
The album comes alive on the quieter moments like ‘Smile At The World’, which wouldn’t look out of place on an album from say Survivor or Night Ranger. A lovely song with gentle harmonies and guitars.
This album is still worth your time but I am not sure it will add many new fans sadly.
SAM APPLE PIE – S/T Angel Air
An interesting curio re-issued by Angel Air as Sam Apple Pie’s debut was originally released back in 1969. A five piece with a lead (Mick Smith) and slide (Andy Johnson) guitarists trading licks throughout the album. Listening to this album reminded me of the Groundhogs as the guitar solos are often the main focus of the songs and the vocals of Sam Sampson are not the most memorable. That said songs like ‘Winter Of My Love’ and ‘Stranger’ you marvel at the guitar playing. They even throw in a cover of ‘Tiger Man’, originally covered by Elvis. Mainly a blues rock based sound prevails throughout the album although this is augmented on certain songs with some tasty sax and piano.
The band made one more album before calling it a day with bass player Gary Fletcher having the most high profile musical career afterwards as a member of the Blues Band.
Of definite interest to collectors and fans of the late 60′s/early 70′s blues rock era, although of limited appeal to a wider audience.
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Featured Albums w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LIONVILLE Magic Is Alive (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MAD MAX Stormchild Rising (SPV)
14:00-16:00 MARY COUGHLAN Life Stories (2020)
Power Plays w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
SOUTH OF SALEM Cold Day In Hell (indie)
BLACK LESION Sins (indie)
CAROLINE JONES All Of The Boys (Social Family Records)
BLACK SUN Resist (Rockshot Records)
THE JAILBIRDS Dull My Brain (Golden Robot Records)
FROM ASHES TO NEW Scars That I’m Hiding (Better Noise Records)
THE GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS Spirit Of A Workin’ Man (Mascot)
THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA Apologise (TBOG Music)
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