S.K.o.R. Tellus GMR Music
Fronted by singer Emil Gammeltoft (who I’ve known since running the Nazareth fanclub in the 90′s), a vocalist who has recorded with Nerved and original Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton, SKoR are a Swedish band who mix catchy hard rock with a punch and, in places, a decent euro-pop melody.
The album kicks off with a strange and disjointed effect ridden intro before single ‘Bubbleman’ storms in. Lyrically a little repetitive but the overall catchiness is infectious. Emil’s vocals mix a Brian Johnson roughness with a high-octane Hanoi Rocks energy.
‘Rhythm’n’Blues’ is a chunkier track, with guitars that mix a rough gravel with early 70′s Purple and Nazareth, while there’s an 80′s period AC/DC to the vocals. A very decent song with a great guitar solo. Then there’s songs like ‘Kamikaze’ that mix rock with catchy pop in a nod to sleazy kind of fashion. There’s also a nod to the poppy melodic power metal of the early 00′s.
There’s a bit of variation in the style, but the central theme is excellent and catchy, something that’s taken the band a while (and a few line-up changes) to settle on.
Review by Joe Geesin
DUSTER BENNETT The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (2CD) Floating World [Release date 27.07.18]
Originally issued 12 years ago, this rare and essential set is now available with new sleevenotes.
For those not in the know, Duster Bennett was a blues singer/guitarist who was very popular on the club scene. His more country driven blues still paved way for many, he was part of the British Blues Explosion, played with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and was a close friend of original Yardbirds guitarist Top Topham (a band he influenced, as well as the likes of Peter Green). While he may have struggled to find mainstream success, he influenced many, before his untimely death in 1976 (a car crash, after performance with Memphis Slim).
Blue Horizon was a classic and famous label strongly associated with the blues explosion and this set compiles 3 albums and a number of singles, all showcasing Duster’s work.
Not only do these tracks showcase some wonderful blues, but also encompass Duster’s range of styles; from acoustic to electric, from hard blues to country and back again, there’s a touch of banjo, piano and harmonica there too. And in places there’s a real wonderful groove. The live work shows too how good he was on stage.
The track ‘Jumpin’ At Shadows’ will be recognised by many, as it was covered by both Fleetwood Mac and Gary Moore.
The music is original, honest, earthy; proper British blues. Well annotated, it’s really well worth searching out. ****1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
SAGA So Good So Far – Live At Rock Of Ages earMUSIC [Release date 28.09.18]
Saga recorded their 2017 show at the Rock Of Ages festival on what was the band’s 40th anniversary. They first played the festival in 2006 and it is a wide ranging setlist covering the ‘must plays’ like ‘On The Loose’, ‘The Flyer’ and ‘Wind Him Up, along with a few choice cuts like ‘Will It Be You? (Chapter Four)’.
Drummer Mike Thorne really shines on this album, be it on the drum solo on ‘Frog Bite’ or the electronic drums he uses on some songs. You can also tell that Germany is their adopted home as they always get a rousing reception from the fans and Michael Sadler happily chats away in German to the crowd, no need for the odd stilted phrase some bands need to try!
The band play their final show in San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 12th and they will be missed. They never did get to do a farewell show in the UK, only a gathering of fans in a London pub to meet members of the band. It seems like farewell, however lets hope they at least get the bug back to record new music in the not too distant future. If not, then this live release (also available on vinyl, DVD and Blu-ray) serves as a reminder of what a great band Saga were and we still have their music to enjoy. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
HERCULES MORSE Vita Boundary
“Vita Boundary “ is the debut album from British band Hercules Morse, and I have to admit that is very good. Mixing Britpop sensibilities with an injection of Foo Fighters influence has created something fresh sounding and not easy to ignore.
The songs on the album are catchy, hook laden modern rock and throughout the album, every now and again, you think you hear an influence but it is the overall blend that works so well. You can catch touches of Blur, Foo Fighters, Mansun, the Beatles and even Duran Duran if you listen for it but yet the band has developed its own sound.
“Cuckoo” and “Everything Is Great” are songs that will not leave my head. “Talk Me Down”, “Resigned, “Can’t See The Sunrise”, “War Within” and “Go For Broke” are my other recommendations for immediately investigating.
This four piece band formed in 2014 and it is hard to believe that “Vita Boundary” is only their debut album as it sounds like a band that has been together a lot longer than 4 years. With Hercules Morse having already toured with the likes of Band of Skulls, Blaze Bayley and Orange Goblin, and having gained support for magazines such as Kerrang!, Powerplay and Rock Sound, it looks like the band has a bright future. ****
Review by Nikk Gunns
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