3MS Music [Release date 01.12.17]
No ‘new kids on the block’, Kiss The Gun are a bunch of seasoned players. Sort of.
Formed in Salisbury when a pair of old duffers playing in local covers bands – Dave South a bassist on the original NWOBHM circuit, but who changed direction in the 90s writing dance and club music, and rhythm guitarist Graham Exton – wrote a song called ‘Tainted Heart’. When a demo was heard by a studio and label owner, they were asked to record an EP, and Kiss The Gun was born.
Completing the line-up are Gerry Hearn (lead guitar) who’s toured with bands ranging from Uriah Heep to Freddie Starr, Rob Taylor (drums) who’d just finished a 2 year stint playing trombone on cruise ships, and the jewel in the band’s crown – Nadin Zakharian (vocals) who was a 2011 semi-finalist in Georgian TV’s Talented and a semi-finalist in the 2013 TV singing competition The Voice of Georgia.
Together, what they serve up sonically is a big slice of 80′s melodic rock circa Journey/ Thin Lizzy, or more recent band’s like Eden’s Curse. It’s polished stuff – a rock solid rhythm section, big, crunchy guitar riffs, and economic soloing combined with well written, well crafted, and well produced songs.
But it’s Zakharian’s outstanding vocals – perfectly suited to the format – that set Kiss The Gun apart, and suggest more by way of genetic linkage, and shared DNA, with bands like Vixen and Saraya. It may be something of a clichéd genre, but it’s one hugely difficult to carry off convincingly, and Kiss The Gun have it nailed.
That’s in no small measure down to Zakharian’s delivery – she’s something of a ‘find’ in the current era – just the right balance of power and ‘feel’ and, geography apart, if the band are able to recreate their sound live, there must surely be a gap in the market to be plugged.
Such is the well-constructed nature of Nightmares that it sounds anything but a debut – tracks like the Lizzy inspired ‘Writing On The Wall’, ‘Stand Up’, with its distant echoes of Boston, and the driving ‘Run, Run, Run’ are ‘made’ for rock radio. Light and shade are provided by the piano and Spanish guitar-led ballads of the title track and ‘Drowning’, but – for the most part – Nightmares simply ‘rocks’.
A band ‘out of time’ maybe, but Kiss The Gun are nevertheless perfect antidote to these modern times. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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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)
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