HEAVY METAL NINJAS – Interstellar Abduction
Warner Music [Release date – out now]
Heavy Metal Ninjas hail not from Japan as you might expect but from New Zealand. Lead by virtuoso guitarist Richie Allan, this instrumental six piece are here to assault your senses with some jaw dropping playing. Mixing metal, jazz, funk, prog and just about any other genre you wish to mention the album will not be to all tastes.
If Steve Vai ever collaborates with Dream Theater it may sound something like this. Richie Allan is endorsed by Ibanez guitars, as is Vai, and I think he may be a bit of a fan, his sound and playing style being not a million miles away from Steve’s.
The nine tracks on the album are a real musical tour de force, Richie has managed to amass a group of musicians who are at the top of their game. Complex key and rhythm changes are taken in their stride whether they are being played at breakneck speed or in slower, jazzier passages. The talent on show is never in question.
My issue with albums of this nature though is that most tracks become musical studies rather than actual songs and once you get past the barrage of notes and stunning fretwork there is not a lot of content. The playing is stunning and the band apparently have an impressive live show but album wise it’s not one I would have on repeat.
This is a technically brilliant album and if you love Vai and virtuoso guitar work then this will be right up your fretboard. ***
Review by Dave Wilson
TIDE No. 4
CPZ Records [Release date – out now]
Tide bill themselves as ‘one of the loudest bands from Slovakia’ . Not sure how much competition there is for this title but if No. 4 is anything to go by Slovakia must be the AOR capital of Europe. The album is more 3o Seconds To Mars and Feeder rather than Slayer but, having said that, what they do they do well producing some good melodic rock.
First single from the album, ‘ Riot Act’, is an energetic rocker which is almost Nirvana like at points. The other feature track is the slower paced ballad ‘Love Is Gone’ which has a big chorus and would go down well live. All the nine tracks featured are worth checking out and should see Tide riding a wave of success soon. ***1/2
Review by Dave Wilson
KATIE COLE – Lay It All Down
Katie Cole hails from Melbourne, Australia although her music is more at home in Nashville and the US heartlands.This album appears to have been slated for release last year, however the music industry’s recurrent theme of record label hassles meant it was taken back by Katie Cole to get a sonic spruce up and released to her satisfaction.
There are radio airplay songs bursting out all over this album from ‘(We Started A) Fire’, which has had a radio release through to the jaunty pop of ‘Crash Landing’. ‘Penelope’ even features country legend Kris Kristofferson on backing vocals and legendary session guitarist Tim Pierce features on most songs (he’s played on albums by Alice Cooper, Ozzy and err Celine Dion to name but a few).
Those who like the more pop end of country be it Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow or Taylor Swift, Katie Cole will be right up your street. An assured set of songs and not one filler in sight, great stuff and kudos for Katie Cole for persevering to get her music out there. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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