Quick Plays: THE SPECTACLE, LIMB, SCREAM ARENA, STALA & SO, JS TOLAR, DISTANT PAST

Album review:  THE SPECTACLE – Traitors

Doforit records ( Release date – out now)

I don’t know a great deal about this lot other than they are from Texas and that their blend of stoner rock and grindcore is as intriguing as it sounds. This limited edition EP/ mini album is a fairly brutal and unrelenting affair. The band are a politically charged ball of anger that vent their frustrations via their music.

The EP contains five hard and fast slabs of metal and displays some highly competent playing. Best of the bunch are ‘Backstabbers’ and ‘We Are The Traitors’ which both bulldoze you into submission, as the band say this album is not for the timid!

Worth a listen if you like your metal on the more extreme side

***

Review by David Wilson

Album review:  LIMB – Limb

New Heavy Sounds ( Release date – 14th April 2014)

Listening to the debut, self-titled album by London four piece Limb proved to be a bit of a challenge for me and at the end I wasn’t fully sure what to make of it. The music they produce is down tuned sludge/ doom rock which proved to be a fairly joyless listen.

Each song rides on a wave of fuzzed up bass with vocalist Rob Hoey hollering along in his monotone drone. However there are moments throughout the album where certain riffs and passages do gel to create an almost Sabbath like sound. Best of the bunch is the two part track ‘Eternal Psalm pts 1 and 2’ which starts off with a repeated riff before opening into a full blown doom metal monster. The pace and volume rises and falls before returning to the original riff to close off the track.

This one I suspect will appeal to lovers of doom and sludge metal, but beyond that I think it will struggle to find an audience.

**1/2

Review by David Wilson

 

Album review: SCREAM ARENA – Scream Arena

Mighty Music ( Release Date – 7th April 2014)

Scream Arena were formed by frontman Andy Paul to play melodic classic rock taking influences from the best of 70’s and 80’s British rock. The catalyst for this album though was none other than famed US rocker, Paul Sabu, who has taken the band under his wing and guided them to the release of this self –titled debut.

The album does deliver on its promise and contains some solid melodic rock, it is nothing though that you couldn’t find down your local on a Friday night. One thing which I found substandard throughout was the vocal delivery of Andy Paul, he just isn’t that good, sorry Andy! His voice is fairly weak and at times gets lost in the mix, classic rock needs a strong, dynamic vocal to cut through but it just didn’t happen here.

Musically the album on the whole is a decent affair with good melodies and harmonies. The song ‘Another Night In London Town’ is a good example of this, it is an upbeat track with a hooky chorus which does work well. This is countered by the travesty that is the band’s cover of the Elvis classic ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ which was suggested by Sabu. I could hear the King spinning in his grave at this version, laboured isn’t the word!

I’m afraid there is little here to convince me that Andy and the guys will make it out the pubs and clubs in their local area even with the celebrity endorsement.

**1/2

Review by David Wilson

STALA & SO – Play Another Round

Escape Music [Release date out now]

Finnish band Stala & So boast not one but two previous members of Eurovision winning band Lordi. Vocalist Stala is the drummer previously known as Kita, whilst Nick Gore featured on bass in both bands.

“Play Another Round” is the second album from the band who at times, musically at least, remind me of latter day fellow Finns Hanoi Rocks. The album is sleaze lite, with hints of both Firehouse and early Bon Jovi (“Tokyo Delights” has a great classic Jovi feel , “The Boys Are Having Fun” has that “Wild In The Street” vibe).

Understandably, English is not Stala’s first language and, unlike bands like Hardcore Superstar or the Backyard Babies, the vocals do at times suffer from a heavy accent and weaker strength (acoustic bonus track, Ozzy Osborne’s “Shot In The Dark” being a prime example of this).There are two tracks on the album that were mixed by top notch producer Beau Hill, the single “Rock Until I’m Done” and the bonus track “Pamela”, the latter being the bands own Eurovision entry.

“All She Wrote” is a Poison style ballad whilst “Rockstar” develops from a Cinderella sounding riff to full on late ‘80’s Sunset Strip. Other highlights include “Never Again”, “Life Goes On”, “All Alone” and “For Your Love”.

Overall, Stala & So is a fun band and “Play Another Round” sums that up nicely.

***1/2

Review by Nikk Gunns

DISTANT PAST – Utopian Void

Swiss metal band return with their second album and judging by the line-up they have other bands too, certainly in the case of bass player Adriano Troiano and drummer Jan Zwiebel who are both in Emerald.

Listening to this album brought to mind Queensryche in their prime mainly due to the high end vocals of Jvo Julmy and Iron Maiden in the guitar playing. Plus like the aforementioned Iron Maiden this band revel in historical based epics like the excellent ‘The Hell Of Verdun’. For some no nonsense classic 80′s metal grab a listen to ‘Sceptre’ and ‘Faces’. It does lack consistency at times and needs a real sing-a-long tune a la Maiden to really get this band noticed.

***

Review by Jason Ritchie

MARY SARAH & FRIENDS – Bridges

www.agr-music.com [Released 31.03.14]

Country singer Mary Sarah is only eighteen yet has been singing on stage since she was eight! This album has taken two years to completed and sees Mary Sarah singing a series of duets with some of the biggest living country legends.

Now traditional country like this is not normally my cup of tea, however she has such a strong yet melodic voice you  will be impressed regardless of your musical leanings. A credit to the high esteem she must be held by the established artists is that often they take a back seat, almost as a backing vocal as is the case with Dolly Parton on her hit ‘Jolene’. She makes ‘Crazy’ her own, again Willie Nelson is there in the background and the duet with the Oak Ridge Boys on ‘Dream On’ is sublime (listen out for the deep bass vocal how does someone sing that low?).

I am sure Mary Sarah will have a bright and successful future and having an album chock full of country music’s finest will certainly help her on the way.

***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

JS TOLAR – The Continuum

www.jstolar.com

JS Tolar has been working on this album for the past couple of years and if you like highly polished progressive metal you will enjoy this album I am sure. JS Tolar has written and recorded the whole album, a concept piece based on the darkness of the soul through the main character’s nightmares.

The music recalls bands like Porcupine Tree (especially on the wonderful ‘Shattered Sky’ with its blissful vocals and haunting melody) and Blackfield, more for the ear for a decent melody that JS Tolar seems to possess.

Do give this a listen as without a specialist label to back the release it may get lost to people who would enjoy it.

***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie




Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

COLLATERAL Mr Big Shot (Roulette Media Records)
BABY HUSBAND Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (indie)
OF ALLIES Off The Map (indie)
EXPLORING BIRDSONG The River (indie)
MARISA AND THE MOTHS – Slave (indie)
CATTLE AND CANE I Wish I Knew Jesus (Like I Do)
KING VOODOO Creep (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Big Blue World (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REDLINE Gods & Monsters (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 WILDWOOD KIN (Silvertone/Sony)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)



Email This Page
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, All Posts, Quick Plays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply