A II Z The Witch Of Berkeley Caroline Records [Release date 18.08.17]
Part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, AIIZ (pronounced A To Z) were formed in Manchester in 1979 and recorded one album, this live set (like fellow NWoBHM band Vardis, whose debut was a live album).
Featuring vocalist Dave Owens, guitarist Gary Owens, bassist Cam Campbell and drummer Karl Reti, the band built up quite a legacy before being signed to Polydor. The crowd chants before the band hit the stage a testament to the fan base they had already built up (now THAT’s how to do it, X Factor fans). The band’s style nodded to Motorhead, Sweet Savage and Weapon, so there’s plenty Crash Bang Wallop here.
While the style was a little rough, the band are on form on stage. Tracks range from full on blistering metal (like the opener No Fun After Midnight) to the more melodic (Walking The Distance). There’s a good riff in Glastonbury Massacre, the touches of shred work well too.
Here the set is expanded to 2 discs, the second disc kicking off with the band’s 2 singles and their b-sides; far more polished and melodic (nodding towards Quartz). In fact by then the dissension was setting in, and the second single features a new rhythm section, including AC/DC drummer Simon Wright. The album is completed by 5 Live @ The BBC tracks.
At last a decent and full release of this NWoBHM gem, expanded appropriately. Sleevenotes and one of the tackiest LP covers ever. Damn good. ****
Review by Joe Geesin
INTO THE UNKNOWN Out Of The Shadows
Vigilante Records [Release date 20.10.17]
Into The Unknown feature vocalist Lucie Holzlova, guitarist Ryan Atkins and bassist/producer Rupert Withers. They came about as Rupert Withers needed a guitarist for a song he was producing and enter Ryan Atkins, they worked well together and added vocalist Lucie and a couple of years later they are releasing their debut album.
Shades of Halestorm on ‘Why Me?’, whist ‘We Are One’ deals with uniting against the terrorist attacks in the world and has a whiff of Iron Maiden in the guitars.
Two covers on here, first up Chris de Burgh’s ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’, which they suitably rock up. Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ again sounds like Halestorm covering it and both covers suit the band’s sound and style. The ballad ‘Breaking My Heart’ is one to hear, allowing Lucie’s vocals to take the spotlight. However, the thirteen minutes of ‘Demons and Angels’ does drag on and they maybe best sticking to shorter, punchier rock songs.
Into The Unknown have a produced a solid debut album, there are some good musical moments on here and they have laid the basis for a good crack at the rocky road to success in rock ‘n’ roll. ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
HEADCHARGER Hexagram Veryrecords
Not loads around on the web about this French band Headcharger, well information that makes sense once it has been mangled by Google Translate. They have been around since 1997 and if you like your riffs deep and heavy in the QOTSA/Korn style you will like this lot.
Sébastien Pierre has a powerful singing voice, perfect to sit atop the guitar barrage of David Rocha and Antony Josse. The guitar intro on ‘Load The Dice’ is pretty damn fine and another highlight is the no nonsense rock of ‘A Long Wait’.
Not bad at all, hardly essential, but still worth a listen and live I would imagine Headcharger are ones to watch. ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
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ROBIN TROWER In The Line Of Fire (1990)
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