Quick plays: CRANSTON, CRUZH, THE LUCID DREAM

Cranston

CRANSTON
www.philvincentbands.com [Release date 22.07.16]

Phil Vincent is a prolific solo and band artist who never drops the quality. Cranston is his latest incarnation and he is joined by Paul Sabu (Only Child/Sabu) on this one. Phil takes on the lead vocals and those distinctive Paul Sabu harmony background vocals are used to good effect throughout the album. Sabu handles all the instruments bar the drums which are played by B.F. D’Ercole, who appears in another Phil Vincent spin-off D’Ercole – keeping it in the musical family.

This is good time melodic hard rock that has a big 80′s influence, from the gang vocals and cowbell on ‘Queen Of Pain’ through to the straight ahead rock of ‘Trouble Ahead’. Would have liked a big ballad – ‘Sea Of Madness’ comes nearest to this – but it is one of his heaviest albums to date. An album perfect for those hankering after an 80′s melodic hard rock fix.  ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

Cruzh

CRUZH

www.frontiers.it [Release date 26.08.16]

Cruzh are one of a crop of new bands that Frontiers have been signing up of late and fair play to Frontiers as they are signing bands from many musical walks of life. Cruzh though are a classic Frontiers artist in that they play catchy melodic rock and hail from Scandinavia.

They are a three piece comprising of Anton Joensson (guitars/vocals), Dennis Butabi Borg (drums) and Tony Andersson (vocals/keys). The vocals of Andersson can make or break this album for some as he has a high register and that processed feel, although I am sure they are not.

Even if the sun isn’t shining it will be through your speakers listening to ‘Aim For The Head’ and ‘First Cruzh’, each with massive hooks and instant choruses. Not so taken on their ballads as ‘Anything For You’ treads a very well worn path and ‘Stay’ does veer closely into boy band territory sound wise!

A promising debut, by no means essential as it has been done before and they lack the mass appeal of say H.E.A.T., nonetheless many melodic rock fans will enjoy this one. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE LUCID DREAM Compulsion Songs
Holy You Are Recordings [Release date 23.09.16]

Third album from this Carlisle based band and they like to wander all over musically. The opening few minutes of ‘Bad Texan’ are superb, psychedelic meets Stone Roses, awesome stuff. The buzz saw guitars just add further to the eclectic and enjoyable mix. The next song ‘Stormy Waters’ continues that Stone Roses vibe and is the most instant song on the album.

The epic ‘Epitaph’ is a trance rock feast, recalling Hawkwind and the Ozric Tentacles, making for interesting listening and a lot to absorb musically.

Quite rightly the Lucid Dream have been gaining rave reviews in the music press and ‘Compulsion Songs’ can only further their exposure and success.  ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

TWILIGHT FORCE Heroes Of Mighty Magic
Nuclear Blast [Release date 26.08.16]

Twilight Force make their major label debut as self-proclaimed masters of adventure metal. They aim to carry on the power/symphonic metal traditions of bands like Nightwish, Rhapsody Of Fire et al. In fact Fabio Lione from Rhapsody Of Fire guests on ‘There And Back Again’, with Joakim Brodén of Sabaton adding his distinctive vocals to the album’s title track.

It is all rousing swords and sorcery stuff and fair play to the band as they keep the melodic and pace up throughout the album. The orchestral parts sound good and not like some cheap string synths some power metal bands use. They can get a little lost in all the bombast and pomp as ‘There And Here’ sounds like a megamix of all the power metal cliches going.

I prefer the latest Sabaton to this one although Twilight Force are streets ahead of the overcrowded power/symphonic metal market out there. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

LYNAM Halfway To Hell
Lion’s Pride Music [Release date 16.09.16]

Lynam (not be confused with the smooth voiced former TV sports presenter Des!) are a band formed by Jacob Buntons after his previous band Mars Electric folded. This is a compilation gathering together the band’s last two EP’s and adding in some of the highlights from their previous albums (they have been active since 2001).

The music has that modern rock edge of bands like latter day Buckcherry, Hinder and even Butch Walker on ‘Lindsay Says’. They can certainly pack a punch as the anthemic ‘Rise Up’ proves and they can do lighter-in-the-air moments, ‘Just Say Anything’, a wonderfully emotion packed song.

Lynam’s music is better suited to the US as band’s like them only ever seem to get a cult following here in the UK and Europe, hopefully though this compilation will get them noticed more and make some inroads into gaining a new audience. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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Power Plays w/c 15 April (Mon-Fri)

KILL THE SILENCE All We Are (indie)
TRUCKER DIABLO Other Side Of The City (Big Truck Records)
99 CRIMES Comin’ Down Like Rain (Perris Records)
DREW DAVIES Man On The Run (indie)
HEADLINE MANIAC Save Me (3Ms Music)
MATT MITCHELL & THE COLD HEARTS Home (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 15 April (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 X-ROMANCE Voices From The Past (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK PAISLEY Perennials (indie)
14:00-16:00 ELLES BAILEY Road I Call Home (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JUDIE TZUKE Ritmo (1983)



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