BLACK ACES Shot In The Dark (Bad Reputation)
The trouble being an Australian rock band, and particularly one that plays blues rock at a certain speed, is that you are going to inevitably draw comparisons with Australia’s best known rock export AC/DC.
Now I would love to tell you that Black Aces’ new album “Shot In The Dark” reminds me of Rhino Bucket, Airbourne and Junkyard, but therein lies the problem, it does sound like early to mid AC/DC in the process. This is not necessarily a bad thing as all bands have their influences and it’d be rude not to give a nod in that direction.
The highlights amongst the 13 tracks on offer here include “Girl Like You”, “Back On The Chain”, “Sick As A Dog”, “Shake The Ace” and “Wanted Man”. However, it is “Rough Touch” and “Burnin’ Up The Highway” that ultimately steal the show here. There is also a choice cover of AC/DC’s “Girls Got Rhythm” thrown in for good measure. ***
Review by Nikk Gunns
A REBEL FEW As The Crow Flies
I don’t typically get into the kind of bands that play hard rock with a southern twang to it whose fans one would imagine are donning biker leathers, denim vests, bandanas, calling each other bro. You know, bands like Hellyeah, Texas Hippie Coalition, and BLS. It just doesn’t appeal to me, especially over the long term. I can maybe handle a song or two here and there, but as a whole I find that niche sound to be fairly boring and redundant.
Now that I have pissed off a whole slew of fans of the bro-metal world, allow me to reference one band that seems to sound a little more authentic. They’re called A Rebel Few and, ironically enough, are from Ontario Canada though have tapped right into a real Southern rock feel.
They’re debut album, As The Crow Flies, has a certain swagger that gives them an honesty missing from others of their ilk, as opposed to some of these types of bands that are actually from the South.
Unlike many of their sound-alike compatriots, A Rebel Few have that driving redneck groove, tasty riffs that are equal parts Skynyrd infused with an 80’s hard rock melodic power, with a voice that doesn’t sound forced.
This is the sound I believe some of the aforementioned bands have been shooting for, but seem to have missed somewhere along the way. With tracks like “Dyin’ Breed,” “Rebel Few,” and “Bitter Man” ARF take a fairly standard rock groove adding their own little twist to it. There’s nothing truly ground breaking here, however I really like that they’re not doing anything fancy. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I doubt this band will make me re-evaluate this sub genre of hard rock, but at least I now know of one album from it that I can say I truly liked. Will I go back to it? Maybe from time to time, but not with any regularity because it’s still not my type of music, but I survived the whole album without wanting to chuck it out the window after a few spins. The same can’t be said for some of their contemporaries. If you are a fan of this kind of band, and those I have mentioned earlier, this is the one you should be jamming relentlessly. *** 1/2
Review by Chris Martin
2 WEEKS Live Your Way
2 Weeks NYC hard rocking threesome Gina Donadio (vocals and drums), guitarist Robert Neal, and Gina’s twin brother Joe (bass), tread a well-established path on their self-released debut. Crunching metal riffs overlaid with female vocals (with Benatar tones).
For fans of Evanescense, Halestorm and the like, it opens in pretty good style – powerhouse drumming, powerful guitar riffs and Donaldio’s suitably melodic vocals. There may be no ground breaking – it’s a well-trodden format – but it’s well constructed and delivered.
If there’s a complaint, there’s not a lot of light and shade. For the most part the album is delivered with collective pedals firmly pushed to the metal. And when they do ease up as on the soft acoustic ‘Detached’ – there just isn’t enough by way of subtlety.
The opening pairing of ‘Watch You Burn’ and ‘Hold’ work particularly well, but after that – unless you’re in the mood for a bit of female fronted head banging one track tends to blur pretty much into the next. **1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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