EMPIRE OF FOOLS – Devil Inside
This is a very impressive debut mini-offering from Devon-based Empire of Fools - and I often shudder when I hear the term “melodic rock” because that genre includes Styx and Styx were fodder for middle-age Mums with ear-plugs…..there, I said it.
No mistaking, the ‘Fools can write a melody or three and that is, undeniably the key to standing out in what is a fairly over-crowded space. But there’s a lot more to this powerful three-piece. This stuff is why the UK is, and probably always has been, justifiably considered the petri dish of all good, new things which rock.
There’s honestly not much wrong with this short collection of tracks in terms of the band’s execution of well-crafted songs, bundled up with excellent production, slamming riffage and a mighty vocal presence. The listener will be reminded of the more recent and slightly darker Europe output with an extra set of balls, reflecting Empire of Fools’ youthful exhuberance and creativity – especially on “Devil Inside” and “Dirty Mind”.
There is real maturity in the song-writing and a distinct focus in their direction which is refreshing on a debut – too often, bands try to do too much too early when finding their way. Empire of Fools’ mini-album/EP (what’s the difference ?) really holds your interest throughout and, for only three guys, they produce an extremely full sound which even five-pieces don’t often achieve.
Hopefully, these guys pick up some high profile touring support slots – they will surprise and win lots of fans. Definitely worth your time for a listen and your support out there on the road. ****
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
CITY OF THIEVES – Incinerator
[Release date 22.09.15]
Hard to believe London’s City of Thieves only made their live debut at Camden Rocks earlier this year since they sound so polished and confident on this five-track appetizer. Taken under the wing of Toby Jepson, the Thieves have honed a meaty sound and hit you like a linebacker with blistering opener, “Incinerator”. A thumping great track with more than a little swagger to it.
“Buzzed Up City” is pure Powerage-era AC/DC and that, as they say, is “like a sore dick”…you just can’t beat it.
“Lay Me To Waste” reverts back to the urgent, crashing delivery of the title track and really only needs a police siren over the initial guitar riff to remind you of the opening bars of GnR’s Welcome To The Jungle.
There is a really satisfying intensity and weightiness to City of Thieves sound (and I’m not just saying that because they look mean). “Here Comes The Shot” is probably fun to play (and hear) in a live setting though the fifth and final track, a live, acoustic rendition of “Mr. 50/50”, will probably be better on the full album – if it’s done plugged-in (which I assume it normally is).
You’ll have noticed a few “sounds-like” comments in this review and I think that would the only criticism of an otherwise cool debut – City of Thieves need to find their own niche a bit then get their guitars and get to work. Oodles of potential are evident here – the first three tracks alone are worth the investment – and they will please many. I hope they only follow me on Twitter…a tad more originality and these guys will be real rock contenders. ***
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
SPARK THE SAIL Sapphire Deep
[Release date 06.11.15]
The debut EP from Bristol based 5-piece Spark The Sail has been compared with Paramore, Panic At The Disco and Biffy Clyro.
Pacey and fun, the band are fronted by Ryan Moore (acoustic and vocals) and Jodie Davies (vocals), with Robbie Rowe (guitar), James Killackey (bass) and Mitchel Lewis providing the band’s punchy signature sound.
With feet precisely placed on either side of the on the pop/rock borderline, there’s the pop sensibilities of the Arctic’s and the Cranberries on display and it’s all rather entertaining. Having already appeared at the Isle Of Wight festival it’s easy to imagine the band becoming festival favourites with their contagious dual vocals, spiky rhythms and energetic beats.
Catchy and compulsive. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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Featured Albums w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JEFF SCOTT SOTO Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 LAZARUS DREAM Alive (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 RONAN FURLONG The King Of Leaves (Thoroughbred Music)
Power Plays w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)
L.A. GUNS All That You Are (Golden Robot Records)
THE DUST CODA Limbo Man (Earache)
EBBA BERGKVIST & THE FLAT TIRE BAND 68 Twin (indie)
IRON SAVIOR Souleater (AFM Records)
IVY GOLD This Is My Time (indie)
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