Album review: GIRL – Wasted Youth

GIRL - Wasted Youth

Cherry Red Records [31.01.20]

Arguably, Girl was simply the launching pad for Phil Lewis – later to join The LA Guns; Phil Collen – later to join Def Leppard, and Gerry Laffy – later to carve out a significant career in the world of movies, music videos and mixed media art.

As a rock band, they burned bright but faded all too quickly. Formed in London in 1980, they were born to play live. Once their legendary 3 night gig at the Marquee had been immortalised in vinyl (1981), they were in demand all over the UK, and significantly (from a financial standpoint) in Japan.

The follow up to the debut, “Sheer Greed” (1980) was the band’s second, and last album, titled “Wasted Youth” (1983). And on it they’re still cutting manfully against the grain of UK contemporary rock of that era. Typically, the torqued up, screwed down hard rock of the title track, and Lewis’s sneering, whiplash vocal on ‘Overnight Angels’ were both lockstep with the lean, mean rock machine the band had become.

The second disc here “Killing Time” is a gargantuan, 20 track journey through what might have been. These are the tracks that either missed the cut for albums 1 and 2 or were recorded in readiness for album number 3. The two Russ Ballard covers, ‘Juliet’ and ‘Love Is A Game’ plus a pumped up cover of the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ are probably the picks.

CDs 3 through 6 see the band treading the boards in Tokyo, The Hamersmith Odeon and the Birmingham Odeon (twice), kicking off the live concert sequence on CD3 with the aforementioned “Live At The Marquee” in 1981. It is one powerful performance with many standouts, but ‘Ice In The Blood’ – a rock’n’roll terracing chant, wrapped up in barbed but beautifully crafted Hendrixian voodoo magic from Laffy and Collen – is head and shoulders above everything else.

Given a limited choice of parent material, songs from the debut “Sheer Greed” and “Killing Time” (eventually released in 1999) are liberally peppered through the Japanese and UK gigs on CDs 4,5 and 6. At each gig, they come out hard and fast, buzzing with an overload of energy. You can clearly hear the unmitigated punk chutzpah of The Stooges in songs like ‘Hollywood Tease’ and ‘Lovely Lorraine’, but ‘Heartbreak America’ and ‘Old Dogs’ point emphatically (and perhaps longingly) toward the stadiums of the USA, latching onto the stadium rock that grew out of the previous decade.

On every recording, studio or live, you can feel the constant, seismic rumble of a band on the move, staking out its territory, laying it all down, and all in the space of three intense years. Then it was over.

Review by Brian McGowan


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: SERPENTYNE & OPEROSE

SERPENTYNE - Angels of the Night

Hell Fury Records [Release date 21.11.19]

There is always so much to explore in music, as you explore every sub-genre of a sub-genre. Modern Symphonic Metal is a good case in point and, what was once just purely the domain of some of the fantastic Northern European acts who kicked off the mainstream excitement, has gone beyond an icily epic mix of power metal and suitably heroic classical music. Two UK bands have forged their own way in an ever-evolving landscape, both releasing very different, but equally striking albums.

London based quintet Serpentyne formed in 2010 and initially started off as a folk band before mixing in heavier elements by their second album and ‘Angels of the Night’, their fourth, is their heaviest and most accomplished yet. Fronted by the classically trained Maggiebeth Sand, their sound is very much a mix of the usual elements of Symphonic Rock but shot through with folk and medieval flavour. It’s an intriguing blend and you can be instantly transported back to the times of King Arthur or Robin Hood, such is the musical tapestry it conjures, imbued with the smell of chainmail armour, the sound battle and the mysticism of the forest.

Sand has a wonderfully unaffected and natural voice, much more folk orientated than her operatic soprano would lead you to believe. It’s a very characterful instrument and, matched with the bagpipe playing of bandmate Vaughan Grandin it gives Serpentyne a certain edge that makes fascinating listening. ‘Away in the World’ shows their ancient and modern mix perfectly and ‘Angel of the Night’ is introduced with the humming drone of voices before pipes skirl and brass assaults the senses in a mystical world punctuated by the thunder and punch of the guitar. Themes from history, literature and mythology feature throughout and the choral and orchestral ‘Lady Serpentyne’ is a fascinating exploration of the Medusa legend, ‘Boudicca’ takes a look at the Iceni Queen and ‘Lady Macbeth’ uses both spoken and sung phrases from the Bard of Avon’s infamously dark and treacherous play.

There is some truly excellent playing here and some of the guitar solos by Lee Wilmer are exceptionally fine and fiery, especially on ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Bring on the Storm’. Joining Sand on lead vocals for two tracks is bass player Nigel Middleton and thankfully he too goes for the more natural approach as opposed to the usual smooth/rough style adopted by a band with shared female and male singers. There continues to be a nice juxtaposition of music stylistically beyond the obvious as ‘Aphrodite’ opens with a really futuristic scattergun and rapid fire keys and, at the other end of the scale, ‘The Call of the Banshee’ is a multi-tracked world music piece that sounds like Gregorian Chant spliced to African tribal rhythms. If you want to try something new and different you can’t go wrong with ‘Angels of the Night’.

OPEROSE - Oceans Of Starlight

Lion Muisc [Release date 07.02.20]

Operose have gone their own route and in sophomore release ‘Oceans Of Starlight’ have released one of finest collisions between metal and opera since Wagner wrote ‘Ride of the Valkyrie’. In fact, this album is the natural progression to that very track as, if you ever wondered what the sound of a mass attack by the Valkyrie would be like, look no further. Taking things to another level entirely, Operose seem to have struck the perfect balance between bombast and beauty, each track being a titanic essay in the burgeoning subgenre.

Whilst opera generally starts with an overture, there is no such preamble with Operose as they kick straight into the dramatic and epic ‘Battle Swan’, guitars with the power of a tank, drums spitting out fast and furious and choral stabs that act as a base for the glorious voice of Jennifer Coleman. The frantic ‘Oceans of Starlight’ follows in a similar vein and this maritime tale certain has way more class than the wonderfully unhinged sea shanties of Alestorm but is definitely as entertaining. There is a real understanding of storytelling inherent in opera and this translates really well on the release as the pounding and visceral instrumentation heightens the drama.

Things slow slightly with the majestic ‘Lost Horizon’, all huge vocals from Coleman float deliriously across the gentle but powerful playing of guitarist Joe McGurk, drummer Steve Hauxwell and bass player Mike Bridge. Each plays to their own strength and what would potentially seem be an odd pairing of styles somehow works beautifully as each part of the jigsaw slots into place for the extraordinary picture. ‘This Life of Mine’ is another less kinetic track that focusses on the songwriting above all and follows a more traditional path that turns down some of the heightened elements.

‘Nothing Left’ also focusses on melody above the all-out attack and ‘On Sleeping Tides’ is full of string effects on the keys, piano and choral vocals that build up the atmosphere that is speaks of beauty with a hidden and very faint otherworldliness. Things ramp up again with the prog metal stylings of ‘Octavian’, a galloping and constantly changing feast of moods before the album closes with the epic (in all senses of the word) ‘The Actium Suite’. A rush of baroque keys leads to a flurry of flying digits up and down the fretboard and the two instruments dual throughout before the glorious and triumphant finish. You don’t need to like opera to enjoy this release, although it would certainly be a bonus, all you need to have is an appreciation of some incredible and groundbreaking music that will beguile, intrigue and thrill you. Music to get lost in. ****

Review by Paul Monkhouse


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: DAVE KERZNER – Breakdown – A Compilation 1995 – 2019

DAVE KERZNER

Cherry Red [Release date: 22.11.19]

Dave Kerzner is a deservedly celebrated musician and producer who has had a long and varied career both as a solo artist and as a member of a number of excellent bands.

Starting out with the almost post-punk Thud (with Kevin Gilbert) he has subsequently made his career in progressive rock with the likes of Lo-Fi Resistance, Sound Of Contact (with Simon Collins), Mantra Vega (with Heather Findlay) and, most recently, with the outstanding In Continuum (with Randy McStine and Marco Minnemann).

And as testament to his musical status, progressive rock luminaries such as Steve Hackett, Francis Dunnery, Nick D’Virgilio and Dave Kilminster all rock up to lend a hand.

‘Breakdown’ is a compilation of tracks from all the aforementioned bands plus Kerzner’s solo output – though it doesn’t follow the well-trodden path of these things as many tracks are either live, alternative or instrumental versions.

Now this might be an issue for Kerzner’s fans as it’s a moot point as to whether these versions outdo the originals, but anyone new to him cannot fail to be impressed with the diversity and sheer musicality of what’s on offer here.

Spread over two discs, Disc One draws heavily on Kerzner’s ‘New World’ and ‘Static – Live’ albums whilst Disc Two is more diverse with Lo-Fi Resistance, Mantra Vega, In Continuum and Sound Of Contact all making an appearance.

Disc One kicks off with the classic progressive rock of ‘The Lie’ which, with its great riff and nice guitaring from long-term band member Fernando Perdomo, sets in train a very enjoyable  and varied ride.

From the dreamy ‘Ocean Of Stars’ to the ELO-like ‘Nothing’, the emotional ‘Static’ to the Beatlesesque ‘New World’ (featuring Francis Dunnery) and the middle-Eastern vibe of ‘My Old Friend’ (a tribute to Kevin Gilbert) to the Floydian tropes of ‘Into The Sun’ the interest rarely dims and the musicianship is exceptional.

The only bum-custard-interface-scenario is with the rather atypical ‘Reckless’ which grates somewhat.

Disc Two rocks in with the drums-high-in-the-mix (always a good thing (!)) classic prog of Paranoia – the backing vocals of the McBroom sisters (of Pink Floyd fame) confirm that this is the point where IQ, Pink Floyd and Yes intersect.

‘Scavengers’ is a fast-paced rocker with spacey vocals courtesy of Yes’s Jon Davison which is salved by the ghostly intro and quintessential instrumental prog of ‘No Readmission’.

The pulsing riff and cascading keys of ‘Crash Landing’ is enhanced with an unmistakeable Steve Hackett solo -though the Mantra Vega track ‘Every Corner’ is an instrumental, thus denying us the golden warble of Heather Findlay.

The pounding riff of ‘All That Is’ (an InContinuum track) with Jon Davison again on vocals is so Yes and things come to a sublime finish with a trio of tracks from Kerzner’s time in Sound Of Contact – ‘Only Breathing Out’, ‘Omega Point’ and especially ‘Not Coming Down’ being album highlights.

Kerzner certainly deserves to be better known, but it’s a real tribute to him that he can call on so many of the great and good within progressive rock to contribute to this excellent compilation – and here is as good a place as any to begin to explore his rich musical history.    ****

Review by Alan Jones


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Quick plays: KIWI JR, OF MONTREAL

KIWI JR. – Football Money

KIWI JR. – Football Money Persona Non Grata [Release date 17.01.20]

Kiwi Jr. hail from Canada and feature Alvvays’ guitarist Brian Murphy amongst their ranks, with the group’s main songwriter being Jeremy Gaudet.

They pack it in with ten songs clocking in at under thirty minutes. Lyrically they take a light hearted approach be it on ‘Salary Man’ or the pop-tastic ‘Wicked Witches’ (shades of Fountains Of Wayne here). Maybe not so tasteful to use Brian Jones in the chorus of ‘Swimming Pool’…

One band they really remind me of are They Might Be Giants and in ‘Leslie’ they may well have their ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ crossover hit.

Quirky indie pop done well and a decent way to while away thirty minutes of your listening pleasure. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

OF MONTREAL - Ur FUN

OF MONTREAL – UR FUN Popvinyl Records [Release date 17.01.20]

Of Montreal are the musical muse of Kevin Barnes, who certainly likes his 80s synths and drum machines. Not that surprising as he says this album is inspired by 80s albums from Cyndi Lauper and Janet Jackson, plus he wanted every song to be a potential single. That is certainly job done on here, as each song has a catchy chorus and blissful if you enjoy synth pop (the synths and programmed drumbeats you do need to love as otherwise the album could become annoying!).

You’ve got to love a song as bouncy as ‘Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist’ – Sparks would love that song title I am sure – whilst ‘20th Century Schizofriendic Reven’ mixes 80s New wave with a little punk guitar punch.

Of Montreal is a fun piece of synth pop and one to blast away the winter blues. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Gig review: SAVOY BROWN – 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

SAVOY BROWN- 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

The marketing for the now traditional January London Blues Month is a mocked up, retro-style handbill.  Someone who can remember those days is Kim Simmonds. He may not have the high profile of other guitar contemporaries of the British blues explosion like Clapton, Green and Lee, but for a remarkable 53 years he has led an ever changing Savoy Brown line up, releasing new work at regular intervals.

He has been based on the East Coast of the USA for many moons – and the current band are American – but seems to be a fairly regular visitor to these shores in a variety of London venues. Fittingly this time it was in one of the few places to have survived from the days when the then Savoy Brown Blues Band were first making their name in the capital.

SAVOY BROWN- 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

On this occasion Savoy Brown opened with ‘Why Did You Hoodoo Me’, marked by an insidious riff with an almost ZZ Top feel in places.  ‘Payback Time’ from current album ‘City Light’ was straight down the line blues but enlivened by a great solo mid-song from Kim, typically immaculate in tone and technique.

Inevitably there were oldies like ‘Train To Nowhere’ and ‘I’m Tired’, accompanied by a fund of reminiscences delivered in the spryly dapper 72 year old’s soft Welsh lilt. However they were accompanied by as many songs from recent albums. ‘Conjure Rhythm’ had a great hypnotic groove to it and ‘Living On The Bayou’ combined a Creedence-like swampy guitar sound with the almost Knopfler-esque strains of Kim’s laid back baritone.

SAVOY BROWN- 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

The fact the latter now sings as well as plays guitar is not the only change over the years.  At various stages the band have had second guitarists or keyboard players, but these days the line up is a power trio and closer to traditional blues. This placed a greater onus on what in Savoy Brown terms is now a long-serving rhythm section of bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm, both of whom played a full part in some fine jamming.

However the latter briefly gave way to Heavy Metal Kids drummer Keith Boyce, one of many to have done service in the band in the past, who looked like he was enjoying himself during the slow blues of the Memphis Slim cover ‘l’ll Keep On Singing The Blues’.

SAVOY BROWN- 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

‘Cobra’ was  a boogie-style instrumental including a drum solo from Garnet who had now returned to the stool, but the moment many of us had been waiting for was the epic ‘Hellbound Train’, with Kim following some very menacing power chords by winding up to a long solo, though it ended at a relatively modest seven minutes.

The encores saw them revert to the supercharged boogie that made them such a success in the States in the seventies- ironically in a similar vein to the ex members who left to establish Foghat. Preceded by an anecdote about meeting its creator Muddy Waters,  a mean and dirty version of the old standard ‘Louisiana Blues’ gave way to ‘Savoy Brown Boogie’  which took in a bit of everything from a snatch of ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ to name dropping famous blues guitarists.

SAVOY BROWN- 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

The only complaint was a short set length of an hour and 25 minutes, with a few of their best known numbers (‘Tell Mama’, ‘Poor Girl’) omitted. Nevertheless this was possibly the most enjoyable of the Savoy Brown shows I have seen, a timely reminder of one of Britain’s most enduring musical exports in which Kim Simmonds is playing better than ever.

Review and photos by Andy Nathan


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Gig review: INTERPLAY – Le Chaudron, Montignac, SW France, 17 January 2020

INTERPLAY STAGE

Jazz is alive, well and prospering in the inventive hands of a French modern quartet called Interplay.

There was once a time when jazz fusion and rock almost coalesced and took the music beyond its historical antecedents. And while Interplay stay loyal to their musical heroes, their repertoire stretches from familiar Hard Bop antecedents to fusion, blues and Latino, taking in the likes of Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock along the way, plus a few unexpected surprises in a set fired by the spirit of improvisation.

Playing at Montignac’s compact Le Chaudron  – translated as The Cauldron – the quartet certainly adds its own jazz based hot sauce to the pot with a magnificent set that extols the virtues of their band name!

If the name Interplay sounds bit worn, with echoes of John Coltrane, Bill Evans and improvising hard bop in search of real spark, then this quartet quickly puts our fears to rest with an exhilarating set full of lilting rhythmic patterns and melodic phrasing.

Interplay take a bow

With little more than one rehearsal to fall back on, they rely on the true spirit of mutual cooperation. There are moments of real inspiration when they swing hard and then dig deep for real feel on a ballad.

They employ a fluid approach to both time and tempo while always retaining the essential symmetry of a piece.

Put simply, Interplay is the sum of its parts in which each member locks into a succession of hard bop rhythms, deep felt grooves, fleeting jazz fusion, magisterial solos and even a sniff of the blues.

They are intuitive and always pay service to the theme, but think nothing of adventurous explorations full of sparkling dynamics and relentless vigour.

Emilio le Roi

There’s also a pivotal dichotomy at the core of this band. On the one hand there’s the members themselves, the upright Emilio Fabrice Leroy  on drums in stark contrast to the dervish like Gautier, who constantly switches from the gritty husk of his tenor to the more flighty soprano sax.

Then there stick bassist Didier Villalba who is a like dancing mannequin with grimaces to match.  He occasionally doubles on regular electric bass, but for the most part dominates his upright bass, while pianist Frank Mathieu is an essential but understated presence.

The music too is a mix of passive and aggressive, both canorous and challenging with burst of energy and exploration. It’s an artery like presence at the heart of a band whose intoxicating set stirs the ghosts of jazz’s past.

When they do momentarily leap into the void with Gautier’s tonal colours, there are a few grimaces before they confidently return to earth.

They bring fresh intent to familiar fare that is rooted in Bop, but frequently veers into sophisticated post-Bop, Latin, Bossanova and contrasting ballads, all played with loving care and ignited with the true sense of spontaneity.

As sax player Denis Gautier later says in an intro, no number ever comes out the same, and that is down to the joy de vivre of their playing.

INTERPLAY bass & sax

The effervescent Denis Gautier fronts the band and frequently switches from his grainy tenor to an almost sinuous soprano sax to search for more contrasting tone colour.

He’s a natural focal point as his body language is an extension of his musical ability. He’s momentarily given to standing on one leg, or extends an arm as he reaches for a note. He works his body into passionate frenzy as he indulges himself in a succession of note clusters to give a number deeper colour and emphasis.

However, as the band’s name suggests, this quartet is the wonderful sum of its parts. The ship is steered by the effortless drive, fluidity and control of drummer Leroy.  His relentless tempos, gregarious rolls, thundering crescendos and crisp cymbal work offsets intuitive melodic phrasing that glues everything together.

Denis Gautier soprano sax

And when the moment comes for his solo, the band drops down only to return in perfect symbiosis, to suggest they are following his melody tone.

Interplay work through themes and variations in a canter. There is no ego here, as each member supports each other with what they have to offer as a meaningful part of the whole.

Bass player Didier Villalba for example, moves from long, languid low notes into suddenly bursts out of muscularity, while keyboard player Franck Mathieu shifts from subtle fills to sudden angular runs.

stick bass Do Do

But inevitably the focus returns to the sax playing Gautier, he of the restless presence and humorous gait, He’s a master of tone and dynamics, who at one point teases out a note and then in a sudden dynamic surge explores some extraterrestrial squalls. He smiles briefly, nods to the pianist, and it all brings audible gasps from the front row.

He continually mixes smooth lines with moments of sudden turbulence, all perfectly balanced by the supporting band.

The crowd play their part too, as the band eschews initial introspection to swing and connect with the full house. They are rewarded with vigorous mid-number applause for bass and sax solos.

There’s also an early highlight three numbers in, on a self penned piece that opens with Leroy’s atmospheric cymbal splashes and sounds like a ethereal early career Pink Floyd piece. The analogy might be an anathema to jazzers, but the mood of the piece is very evocative.

Frank Mathieu

In a backdrop of a subtle percussive patterns, interwoven piano and a beautiful melody, Gautier adds a brusque sax tone, flanked by a bass solo full of honey-thick notes and an ascending keyboard line.

Everything builds perfectly with a tempo shift leading back to the theme, before the gentlest of finishes which leaves the melody lingering in the room. Truly excellent.

This band doesn’t so much unlock the mysteries of jazz improvisation as just intuitively celebrate it.

The crowd volume is more audible and you can feel the energy in the room as the set cascades forward and brings a fresh take to Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’.

Dorie guests with Interplay

The band’s 90 plus minute set flies by, which is always a good sign of a great gig, and the evening is rounded off by special guest vocalist Dore who clearly enjoys her Ella Fitzgerald moment and positive purrs on the fun finale of Lee Hazelwood’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’.

In sum an unexpected mid-winter pleasure.

Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by Anne Pioton


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: LORDI – Killection

LORDI - Killection

AFM Records [Release date 31.01.20]

Finnish monsters Lordi have been rampaging through the planet since the first emerged from the deepest darkness in 1992. Over the years their own brand of twisted melodic and theatrical hard rock has won them legions of fans across the globe and, influenced by KISS, Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister, they themselves have arguably inspired gothic titans Ghost amongst others. Whilst certainly not a ‘greatest hits’ compilation, ‘The Killection’ certainly captures the many facets of the band in all their deranged glory and if you caught their triumphant Eurovision winning entry in 2006, you’ll know the sort of thing to expect.

For those with very long memories, the album hangs together like one of the Amicus ‘portmanteau’ horror films that were so popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s, with a linking narrative thread each section tells its own short story of dread. Four spoken word tracks bring atmosphere and the release can be enjoyed as a whole but also dipped into like some fiendish buffet as you submerge yourself in the macabre delights. As with Ghost, there is so much intelligence, craft and humour here that you can’t but be entertained and impressed in equal measure.

Always ones with an ear for a great melody, ‘Horror for Hire’ is hugely catchy, filled with harmonies and comes on like Alice Cooper in his prime but much rougher and dirtier. The mash up of Industrial Metal and Euro Disco of the psychotically entertaining ‘Shake the Baby Silent’ follows straight after and this change of direction is followed by yet another switch in the shape of ‘Like a Bee to the Honey’ which, complete with sax solo, is the nearest the band come to a love song. Things revert to a slightly more even keel as ‘Apollyon’ throws in elements of big 70’s bands with elements of pop rock but then head off again with the excellent heavy funk blues of ‘Blow My Fuse’.

The brilliantly titled and hilarious ‘I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You’ is a huge hard glam rock maelstrom, perfectly engineered to make you sing, dance and shake and the band’s love of Messrs. Stanley, Simmons and Co comes to the fore in the 70’s disco of ‘Zombimbo’ that could be ‘I was Made for Loving You (Part 2)’, especially given that the song pays real homage to the guitarwork in that odd KISS classic. ‘Up to No Good’ is another sinister Alice-alike stomper and ‘Cutterfly’ is a truly mad serial killer poppy metal song before launching into the crunching ‘Evil’, without doubt the heaviest song on the album as guitars tear you apart whilst drums and bass pulverize what’s left. The final course of this meal is the commercial cracker ‘Scream Demon’, melody front and centre, lush backing vocals swelling and soothing.

Possibly getting their inspiration from Mary Shelley, this musical Frankenstein’s Monster uses many different parts but, stitched together, the whole really does work incredibly well as one body. The perfect twisted party record and superbly conceived, ‘The Killection’ is another highpoint in the Lordi’s career. One thing though: don’t listen to this in the dark, keeping all the houselights firmly on instead and finally, please, don’t answer that strange knock at the door. ****

Review by Paul Monkhouse


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: BLIND EGO – Preaching To The Choir

BLIND EGO - Preaching To The Choir

Gentle Art Of Music  -  [Release date: 14.02.20]

German progressive rock titans RPWL have been ridiculously busy lately, both collectively and individually.

Their ‘Tales From Outer Space’ album from early 2019 was deservedly five starred, as was their double live follow-up ‘Live From Outer Space’. Add to this a tremendous solo album from the band’s vocalist/keysman Yogi Lang ‘A Way Out Of Here’ and tack on a European tour and you get some idea of their recent upward trajectory.

Now, as if all that was insufficient, along comes guitarist Kalle Wallner’s side project Blind Ego’s fourth studio album ‘Preaching To The Choir’.

And it’s an absolute monster.

As with 2016’s ’Liquid’ album, it’s as if he’s slipped the leash of  RPWL’s progressive rock constraints, turned the volume up to eleven and decided to blow us all into next week.

The dystopian cover art presages the album’s fatalistic blueprint, and for fans of RPWL’s brand of intelligent and thoughtful progressive rock a rude awakening lies in wait.

From the powerful, bass-heavy riff of the appropriately monikered opener ‘Massive’ it is immediately apparent that this is a wildly different beast – and yet, and yet, despite much metallic mayhem, throughout the album the tune is always at the centre of things.

Metallica, and particularly the ‘Black’ album is a good touchstone here as the band are able to switch from grinding metal riffs on the likes of the title track and ‘Line In The Sand’, to delicate arpeggios on ‘Dark Paradise’ and ‘Heading For The Stars’.

There’s even a touch of commerciality here and there with ‘Burning Alive’ and ‘In Exile’ and classic rock a go-go on ‘Broken Land’.

The eight minutes plus of closer ‘The Pulse’ is the only glimpse we get of RPWL’s progressive rock tropes – with its pulsing, ear-worm of a riff, it’s one of those tracks where you wonder just how does a riff like that come about…simple yet complex at the same time.

Across the album, Wallner’s fretwork is exceptional – incendiary when it needs to be but with deft subtlety if required and aligned to the vocals of Scott Balaban – which are just what this music needs – it’s a heady brew.

For many fans of RPWL ‘Preaching To The Choir’ may be a step too far into the world of sledgehammer rock but for metal-heads who enjoy a side-order of subtlety with their bludgeoning riffs it’s probably just the ticket. ****

Review by Alan Jones


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



EP review: MOLLY KARLOFF – Supernaturalation

MOLLY KARLOFF – Supernaturalation

Coming on with the force of a wrecking ball, Molly Karloff play the sort of gloriously scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll that your mother warned you about. With an excitement not seen since the early days of the Sex Pistols and Guns ‘n’ Roses, the five incendiary tracks on the EP are a rocket fuel blast from start to finish.

Kicking off with the titular ‘Supernaturalation’, the Oxfordshire three piece waste no time in getting right down to business, it’s dirty, piledriving riffing is full of snotty attitude and ‘’screw you’’ guitarwork. With its stop/start rhythm it bristles with an edge of real danger and has the primal rock feel that will scour your very soul.

‘She Said’ follows with a canyon deep groove and a sound so huge that it will easily straddle the Atlantic. Benefitting from a huge chorus, Molly Karloff are hugely assured in their song writing already and future contenders for the crown, the power of Cream but with the danger of the 60’s Stones matched with the hard edge of modern rock and new wave.

Capturing the spirit of punk, ‘Do You Wanna?’ is a gleaming supercharged engine, tearing off the line at Santa Pod raceway and ‘Do It Again’ is full of jittery, nervous energy, hopped up on e numbers. Battered and bruised, you reach the final track ‘The Other Side’ and it’s a slice of sophisticated garage rock that provides the coup de grace.

Raw edged and so razor sharp it will make you bleed, it’s an all-out assault that leave with two choices: surrender or press the play button again. Young bands shouldn’t be this good, this soon, but Molly Karloff are. Destroying a town near you soon.

Review by Paul Monkhouse


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: ANCHOR LANE – Casino

ANCHOR LANE - Casino

R7 Records [Release date 31.01.20]

Young, gifted and Scottish, What more could you want?

Anchor Lane – Connor Gaffney, Scott Hanson, Lawrence O’Brien and Matthew Quigley – are a Glasgow band who came to the attention of the rock’n'roll world on the back of their 2017 debut EP “New Beginning”. . . scoring them guest spots with Cheap Trick, a remarkably high profile start on the rock’n'roll version of the gig economy.

Their first full length, self penned studio album, “Casino” is produced by Toby Jepson. It’s a modestly scaled album that exceeds its budget limitations, and that’s always preferable to big money productions that sink under the weight of expectation. Jepson’s studio sound is clear and sharp, with width and depth, assiduously avoiding the sludgy arrangements and wildly uneven, invented rock noises that seem to be de rigeuer with contemporary producers.

The band stick tight to traditional rock’n'roll song structures and instrumentation, incorporating occasional moodiness and balladic touches into its otherwise charging style of bluesy rock.

It’s front loaded with the more commercial stuff. The smouldering, subdued opener, ‘Blood & Irony’ (co-written with Ricky Warwick), always seems to be on the verge of ignition. Such holding back implies a confidence in the material that is well justified. ‘Fame Shame’, the first single, has a rabble rousing, punky rock feel, at odds with the bluesier material that dominates the rest of the album. It’s filled with squealing, wailing axework and it occasionally shows the flicker of a harder, more dangerous edge. Great choice as album trailer.

Elsewhere, the picks would be ‘Clocks’, fuelled by a tumbling, tough as teak riff, an imaginative arrangement and a catchy chorus. And the bluesy, sub Black Label Society lament with a drawling riff, ‘Voodoo’. Gaffney puts his heart and soul into the vocals, wringing maximum emotion from every line. For anyone who thinks modern rock is worryingly lacking in heft, listen to these tracks.

Jepson’s cleancut arrangements and the band’s 3D rhythms are the album’s sonic heartbeat. But as the music progresses, producer and band play it safer, lessening Anchor Lane’s impact. To his credit, Jepson works up some imaginative arrangements, prizing polish over passion, looking to paper over the inconsistency in the songwriting on these later tracks. But he would have been better, perhaps, to let the passion shine through. ***

Review by Brian McGowan


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: FOGHAT – Fool For The City & Foghat Live (2019 Remasters)

FOGHAT - Fool For The City

Rock Candy Records [Release date 06.12.19]

Britband Foghat clocked up a considerable number of tour miles after relocating to the USA in 1970, road testing their material, looking to kickstart their career. It worked a treat. . . it’s on the road that you establish the body of each song, adapt and refine, then add the details. Subsequently, all but one of the band’s eight seventies’ albums went gold.

The band’s deceptively simple boogie has its roots in the American south. It’s basically delta blues with its serial number filed off, then turned up to eleven, and Foghat neatly underline the result by adding rhythmic gear changes and foot stomping slide guitar. A solid line up helped: “Lonesome” Dave Peverett, Rod Price and Roger Earl were in the band from the beginning. Musician/producer Nick Jameson came on board for the fifth album.

By that fifth release, Fool For The City (1975) they’d truly hit their stride. The title track and ‘Slow Ride’ were career peaks, high energy, head bobbing rock, each displaying as much a foot stomping stamp of authenticity as genre giants, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Canned Heat. The album went platinum. No surprise.

FOGHAT - Live

Two years later they played the Dome Arena in New York. The gig was captured by their multi talented producer, Nick Jameson in all its raw glory on Foghat Live. Their legendary road work paid off big time here. The band are in their element when faced with a live audience. Energy levels rise, inspired moments abound.

There’s a clear desire to nail things quickly, and they do so with an unfussy, go-for-it version of ‘Fool For The City’. A punchy, hard hitting, but not majorly transformed version of ‘Slow Ride’ closes the set as it did its parent album. Between times, a blistering cover of Willie Dixon’s blues classic ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’, and and a fuller, more considered take on Big Joe Turner’s sexually suggestive ‘Honey Hush’ have the crowd on their feet, their voices raising the rafters.

“Foghat Live” went double platinum.

Remastering : There was a concern that Peverett and Price’s raucous twin guitar wallop would be neutered by flat compression, making their meaty riffs sound tame. But no, they’ve been opened up… fully analogue, fully lossless, and not particularly technical, but the music sounds great. And that’s all that matters, right?

Review by Brian McGowan


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Single reviews: SHADES OF GRAY, KOBURG, THUNDERSTICK

SHADES OF GRAY – I Get Up

In a dark world, there are few things that unite us and raise our spirits more than music.  Not many people understand this as fully as Myke Gray and the guitar guru/songwriter/producer offers us his new track, ‘I Get Up’, just when we need it the most. The former Skin, Jagged Edge, Red White & Blues and UFO maestro has shaken things up and his constantly fertile imagination has given birth to this fantastically good time rock ‘n’ roll tune that is bound to make you grin from ear to ear.

Accompanied by a hugely enjoyable video in which Gray plays all the band members, the track sees him unleashing his inner Glam Rocker and is like a mash up of the very best of The Sweet and Motley Crue. It’s an utterly irresistible and brilliant bit of hard rock candy.

Whilst the guitarwork is as sparkling as ever, it’s his vocals that really stand out, perfectly suited to the material and a true treat to hear him come to the fore after letting some of the world class singers he’s worked with take the limelight at the mic.

A man who has crafted some of the UK’s best rock songs in the past thirty years, his songwriting is always impeccable and hopefully this project gets the support to give it real legs. The best party in town crammed into three and a half perfect minutes, your invitation awaits.

JUNK FOOD DEATH – Too Late

Something stirs amongst the genteel alleyways and cobbled streets of Cambridge; you can feel it as you walk past the gently flowing Cam or through the archways into the many perfectly manicured lawns of the University quads.

Junk Food Death have arrived and it’s time to run for your life before their utterly addictive heavy indie rock grabs you and drags you down to its lair, never to let you go. Equal parts The Who, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, this their first single since forming a very scant few months ago, will have you hooked, its mix of sixties pop rock sensibilities and grunge being the perfect brew to keep you singing and dancing like a thing possessed.

POWDERHEAD – Smash My Face/Live Powder

There’s definitely something in the water as Cambridgeshire seem to be producing more than their fair share of great rock and metal bands recently. Powderhead make their mark on the scene as they release this double whammy with the ‘Smash My Face’ single and ‘Live Powder’ EP, showing their fire in the recording studio with the more layered track and the straight into the desk four numbers direct from the floor.

The single builds slowly, it’s spiraling guitarwork ramping up the atmosphere before singer Hels brings a rough-edged toughness and the big chorus kicks in. It’s a real juggernaut and the live in the studio ep shows their punkier side, echoing the energy of the first two Iron Maiden albums. Hard rock that motors along and a hugely entertaining live band, Powderhead are seriously good and well worth checking out.

BASETTE – Sunglasses

A little gentler than their usual fare, Bastette have decided to show their more thoughtful side with this release and it’s a cracker. Pastoral guitars and multi-layered vocal interplay bring a rich soundscape that rises to the chorus and then dips again, the track weaving and sighing as it ramps up the passion. Prepare to be swept away.

DERANGE – Zero

With its brutal accompanying video, Derange continue to claim their stake as one of the most exciting bands on the circuit with this new single. Artfully mixing screaming heaviness and soaring melodies (the chorus is absolutely incandescent) singer Cat Pereira leads the band into another twisted tale that must be heard loud. Guitars hack and slice whilst the vocals easily flip between guttural and angelic as we are dragged, helpless but willingly, along. Few bands capture the fury and heart wrenching tenderness as well. Their finest yet.

KOBURG - Position Of Power

KOBURG – We Could Be Angels

The lead single from the magnificent ‘Positions of Power’ album, knocks things out of the ballpark. With its dramatic and sinister piano, lush vocals and prowling guitars, this should be blasting out the mainstage of Download. A masterclass in symphonic rock, this will capture you and never let you go.

KAROBELA – Skin & Bone

A total sugar rush of hard indie rock, this is an irresistible head-long charge into a perfect antidote to the long Winter nights. With its driving melody and outright earworm inducing fever, this will make your pulse race and synapses go wild as you leap around uncontrollably when you hear it. Your new favourite band.

THUNDERSTICK – Go Sleep With The Enemy/I Close My Eyes

A genuine NWOBHM legend, few people can have claimed to have played with two of the biggest bands of the era but Barry Graham Purkis, better known as Thunderstick, can with stints with Iron Maiden and Samson under his belt. Always an incredible showman, his musical and visual contribution to Paul Samson’s superb troupe brought them massive attention and a cover of the seminal Sounds weekly.

Forming the titular band in the 1980’s, Thunderstick toured relentlessly and released some superb albums in their six years of existence before splitting in ’86 but reforming thirty years later and haven’t looked back since. This double A side single is the band’s first with new singer Raven Blackwing and has all the excitement of the emerging movement back in those halcyon days when Saxon et al were poised to conquer the Earth but with way better production.

‘Go Sleep…’ is a 100mph punky delight with a rockabilly spirit with enough juice that it could light up a small town and, in a rather delightfully perverse move, the flip side is an acoustic driven, folky power ballad that really highlights Blackwing’s terrific vocals and the song writing skills of the ensemble. Two tracks, two very different sides of the same coin, two reasons to check out the single immediately.

PLANET ROCK ALLSTARS – You’re The Voice

Whilst it’s been out since before Christmas, this absolutely stonking version of the John Farnham classic is the greatest hard rock and metal collaboration since ‘Stars’ by Hear ‘n’ Aid. With all profits going to a fantastic cause it would be worth getting anyway, but the fact that this star studded single absolutely rips the roof off makes it an essential purchase. Part of the fun is spotting the various performers who appear (they’re listed on the sleeve of the cd) and the song itself is the defiant, uniting anthem that captures the zeitgeist in an age where we need to stand up and be heard. Buy it, sing yourself hoarse, punch the air and feel a few feet taller.

Reviews by Paul Monkhouse


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: FERNANDO PERDOMO – The Crimson Guitar

FERNANDO PERDOMO - The Crimson Guitar

Forward Motion Records  –  [Release date: 8 November 2019]

Fernando Perdomo’s day job is as the guitarist and bass player for the excellent Dave Kerzner Band but he has spread his solo wings quite frequently in recent years, to mixed reviews, and now we land at album number five – a solo tribute to the music of progressive rock behemoths King Crimson.

Described by Perdomo himself as a ‘labour of love’ he works his way through ten of KC’s back catalogue utilising just an acoustic guitar and no vocals.

Most are quite well known – ‘Peace – A Theme’, ‘I Talk To The Wind’, ‘Moonchild’, ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’, etc. together with a few surprises – ‘Formentera Lady’, ‘Book Of Saturday’ and especially ‘Erudite Eyes’ from the rather more obscure ‘The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles and Fripp’ album.

Now, there’s a saying in music that unless you bring something to it, don’t do covers.

And whilst I wouldn’t say that Perdomo brings nothing to these songs, he does, but much of the album sounds like ‘sofa noodling’.

Stripped of the vocals and the integral drama of the originals he struggles to sustain interest.

It’s all very pleasant and well played, but really only comes alive occasionally – the unfuckupable ‘Starless’ (although even on this, using a nylon-strung guitar robs the listener of Fripp’s immaculate string bends) and the instantly recognisable ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’ which, at least, shows a bit of passion.

I said in my review of Perdomo’s last but one outing – ‘Out To Sea’ from 2018 (also a ‘tribute’ album) – that he is so much better when he frees himself from the shackles of imitation and we must hope that now he’s paid tribute to all his heroes, the real Fernando Perdomo steps forward.

One other thing – at twenty five minutes long, you may well feel short-changed for what is advertised as a studio ‘album’.     **1/2

Review by Alan Jones

 


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: HUMANIST – Humanist

HUMANIST - Humanist

Ignition Records [Release date 21.02.20]

Humanist is an ambitious project orchestrated by guitarist and producer Rob Marshall, who has worked with the likes of Mark Lanegan (who guests on four songs on the album). He has assembled a starry cast including Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mark Gardener (Ride), Carl Hancock Rux (David Holmes, Portishead), John Robb (The Membranes), Ron Sexsmith and Jim Jones (The Jim Jones Revue, Thee Hypnotics).

The album is based on the film The ‘Living Room’ – a documentary about the life and death of singer-songwriter Gavin Clarke. The album covers the themes of “life, birth, death, religion, mortality”, which led to Marshall inviting the various vocalists to become involved.

Marshall’s guitar is a key ingredient to the album, recalling such greats as Echo & the Bunnymen and the Stone Roses – there are some wonderfully gothic moments on here. The single ‘Shock Collar’ featuring Dave Gahan is an album highlight, along with the Stone Roses vibe on ‘In My Arms Again’.

Loving the performance of Carl Hancock Rux on ‘Ring Of Truth’. One of those songs that draws you in both with the singing and the music. Be it the gentle build to the chorus (and what a chorus!) or the chiming guitar chords, this is a masterful piece of  music.

John Robb’s eerie vocals suit the epic ‘English Ghosts’ down to the ground. Like Depeche Mode but with more guitar and a trippy backing, wonderfully immersive on the headphones. To be fair the whole album is a highlight, be it the haunting, wistful vocals of Ilse Maria on ‘Truly Too Late’ or Mark Lanegan giving it some grit on ‘Beast Of The Nation’.

An intriguing and rewarding listen, hopefully Humanist will not just be a one-off and Rob Marshall has more musical treats in store for the future. Setting the musical standard high for 2020. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: SERENITY – The Last Knight

SERENITY - The Last Knight

Napalm Records [Release date 31.01.20]

Austrian symphonic metal band Serenity are back and I seemed to have missed 2017′s ‘Lionheart’, having enjoyed the previous year’s ‘Codex Atlanticus’. That’s the trouble sometimes with so many bands around it is hard to keep track on them.

The album’s subject matter is inspired by the life of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, who amongst his achievements laid the foundations of the Austrian state.

Herbie Langhans (Voodoo Circle, Avantasia) guests on ‘Set The World On Fire’, which along with ‘Invictus’ are the album’s stand outs.Both have a upbeat melody featuring plenty of riffs and instant choruses. Serenity have that knack, like Kamelot, of creating sweeping soundscapes yet never losing sight of the melody and getting lost in overblown and overlong songs like some bands do.

Serenity get the mix of pomp and metal just right, whilst the relentless drum beats don’t overpower the music as happens with many power metal releases.

Chris Hermsdörfer adds some growl vocals to ‘My Kingdom Comes’, a good, pounding power metal number. Georg Neuhauser has a suitably rousing vocal, even turning his hand to the ballad ‘My Farewell’ (shades of Kamelot on this one). Not sure who does the symphonic arrangements on the album, however kudos to them as this song and the grandiose intro piece ‘The Last Knight’ are impressive.

Personally it takes a special album to tweak my interest in the genre as it can soon become very ‘samey’. Luckily Serenity have the ideas and melodies to entice in even lapsed power/symphonic metal fans like myself. Likely to feature in many a symphonic metal top ten come the year’s end. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Gig review: COLLATERAL – The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

2020 promises to be a big year for Collateral, with their debut full-length album out in February to capitalise on the growing buzz around them. Indeed GRTR!’s writers voted the Kentish rockers the breakthrough act for 2020 in our end of year retrospective, so this was an appropriate way to start my gigging year, not least with a show in my own South-West London heartland.

The Beatles inspired name and memorabilia may suggest otherwise, but manager Noel Nevin has succeeded in making this bar in a suburban shopping parade one of live rock music’s little success stories in London. The Cavern is not much bigger than a front room but puts on shows nearly every night and has punched well above its weight with artists such as Praying Mantis and ex-Europe guitarist Kee Marcello gracing its cramped stage.

It has also been a favourite of Collateral dating back to their previous incarnation as the Angelo Tristan Band, so it was packed to the rafters with a combination of biker- style regulars and Collateral fans, or indeed both.

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

Their setlist had been shaken up somewhat and indeed they gambled on opening with probably their best known opening song, ‘Midnight Queen’, with vocals that always remind me of the Gin Blossoms mixed with Keith Urban. However ‘Won’t Stop Me Dreaming’ from the new album was altogether tougher with the feel of that generation of bands (Heavy Pettin, Tobruk etc) that tried to emulate Def Leppard’s success with ‘Pyromania’.

‘Going With The Wind’, just like the aforementioned ‘…Queen’ emphasised the unusual combination of Angelo Tristan’s acoustic guitar and Todd Winger’s nimble  lead guitar work. While a gig buddy of mine did query whether a second electric guitar would thicken out their sound, to me it is a characteristic that differentiates them from many other hopefuls.

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

However the band members bring a diverse variety of influences to the table and the darker riffing of ‘Merry Go Round’ would not have disgraced Black Stone Cherry or even Metallica. Indeed, other than the country-flavoured ‘About This Boy’, the majority of their originals including ‘In It For Love’ and ‘Promiseland’ were harder hitting.

Whether he was under the weather, or the sound balance was not quite right, the only frustration was that Angelo’s vocals struggled to make themselves heard somewhat. However his force of his magnetic personality ensured that it barely hindered enjoyment of the performance.

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

With an hour and a half set to play with, they moved in a couple of different directions – one was covers, so an ‘Eruption’ like solo slot by Todd was followed, thankfully not by a modern day Dave Lee Roth impression, but ‘Sharp Dressed Man’. Personally I found it a bit pointless but the reaction of a crowd up for a Friday might party made mine a minority view.

The other change was an increasingly rare opportunity to hear songs from their ‘Four Shots EP’, including ‘Just Waiting For You’ which was probably my highlight of the set. It started as an acoustic driven ballad – indeed I was drawing comparisons with David Gray’s ‘Babylon’- but picked up pace before kicking into a higher gear altogether with a superb extended solo from Todd on his Jackson, one of the eighties shredders guitars of choice.

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

Covers of ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ and ‘Rocking In The Free World’ were excellent choices to showcase the acoustic/electric guitar combo, while as confirmed Bon Jovi fans who indeed performed on Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway To Paradise’ cruise, it was perhaps no surprise that ‘Mr BigShot’ was followed by another crowd-pleasing BJ cover in ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’,  before they encored with another recent single in the Trade Description Act failing ‘Lullaby’.

Full credit to Collateral for putting in the hard yards and playing small gigs like this: indeed they are booked to play further shows at the Cavern – incidentally, easily accessible by regular late trains –  in between tours with the likes of Jared James Nichols and HEAT. However I would wager that by the end of the year they will be headlining much bigger places.

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

Review and photos by Andy Nathan

Album review


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: GARY MOORE – Live From London

GARY MOORE – Live From London

Mascot Records [Release date 31.01.20]

Before he re-discovered his blues credential in 1990, Gary Moore’s career encapsulated hard rock, fusion, prog, jazz-rock and always somewhere at the core blues.

30 years ago he took a career changing decision to throw his lot in with the blues. It re-ignited his career and brought him new fans and unexpected chart success, while he gained credibility by touring and recording with the likes of Albert Collins and Albert King.

In truth Moore’s concept of the blues is finding a different way in which to channel his aggressive rock-blues playing without clichés, while the old Brit invasion era material feels reborn in the hands of a barn burning guitarist.

He draws on the British Invasion years and John Mayall’s ‘Beano’ album in particular for some familiar fare, while curiously omitting his other big hero Peter Green.

There’s nothing really surprising here, but given the circumstances of his passing, this 10th anniversary live album brings a high quality sense of closure for fans.

The opening ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ almost feels like a limbering up exercise with some fierce rhythm guitar work, before his wailing vibrato meets some fearsome shredding head on as he solos imperiously.

He tears things up on an opening brace from his ‘Bad For You Baby’ album, the title song being a booming stop-time shuffle, before he’s a blur of speed and dexterity on the country tinged ‘Down The Line’. He delivers razor sharp hot picking with real spark on a song that is in truth otherwise forgettable.

Moore never loses his sense of fun on two ‘call and response’ numbers, as he switches to slide on JB Lenoir’s ‘Mojo Boogie’, which searches out a similar intensity to the Johnny Winter’s cover, while ‘Walking By Myself’ is a workday vehicle for his incendiary chops.

Moore’s playing has always been about a big tone and the kind of searing intensity that burns at the heart of all his solos, and it’s a combination serves him well on a well balanced album that is routed in the blues, but still rocks hard.

Ultimately it’s his inventive and blistering solos that give this album its impact.  For example, he attacks the slow blues of the John Mayall’s ‘Have You Heard’ (from the ‘Beano’ album) with impeccable timing, tone control and dynamics, and he’s equally good on the album’s litmus test; Al Cooper’s ‘I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know’.

Garry attributes the song to Donny Hathaway who injected the horn-led original with deeply wrought emotion. And just when you  think that Moore might be over reaching himself, but he transforms the song to his own end with an aching tone.

He pours all his emotion into his playing over a featherbed organ line, while he works his way to a piercing heavy rock finale that highlights his ability as a peerless rock-blues guitarist and a husky vocalist.

He’s not quite a successful with Otis Rush ‘All Your Lovin’. It’s taken at a slower tempo than his 1990 version and while he rejoices in the song’s signature riff and gives it presence with a warm tone, his brusque rough-edged vocals fail to capture Rush’s original emotional charge. Then again, given that most people buying this album will be guitar fans, he still delivers with plenty to spare.

Johnny Guitar Watson’s ‘Too Tired’  – which he used to play with Albert Collins – is given a guitar and organ led shuffle treatment in a good example of a durable blues song that has long been part of his set.

He saves his best for deep in the album with the anthemic ‘Still Got The Blues’, complete with its stolen melody line from the concluding ‘Parisienne Walkways’.

And when he does finally say goodbye with the latter, he rounds off a burgeoning set with trademark sustain and a beautifully sculpted and warm toned finish in sharp contrast to some of his earlier rip-roaring attack.

His final solo is everything Moore and guitarist fans in general want to hear from an ax-slinger who continued to set standards before his untimely demise.

He bows out with the sweetest sustain on a bridge building solo between rock and blues. There was only one Gary Moore and the final track alone is a great example of how he should be remembered. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album Review: BAI KAMARA JR & THE VOODOO SNIFFERS – Salone

BAI KAMARA JR & THE VOODOO SNIFFERS – Salone

Moosicus/M.I.G. Music [Release date 24.01.20]

It is said that an artist brings their own experiences to any work that they create and if that’s the case Bai Kamara’s biography would suggest a varied and interesting album. Son of the former Sierra Leonean ambassador in Brussels, Kamara grew up in the United Kingdom and his latest album with newly formed band, The Voodoo Sniffers, finds him exploring his African identity through music. ‘Salone’ (which means Sierra Leone in the Krio language) kicks off with a John Lee Hooker-style blues; ‘Can’t Wait Here Too Long’ finds a man impatient to move on “at this crossroads in my life”, and this begins a theme across the whole record of questioning and powerlessness to the forces around him.

One such force is the titular ‘Lady Boss’, a humorous story song where Kamara recounts his daily routine under the thumb of a domineering woman. Propelled by acoustic guitar and rhythmic percussion, the number has tongue placed firmly in cheek as Kamara ad-libs at the songs close; “She’s into the Me-Too movement and me too”. ‘Black Widow Spider’ sounds like it was recorded in a vast, echoing space as Bai Kamara delivers a Mannish Boy-esque vocal but surprisingly a touch of flamenco style accompaniment is thrown in. Such offbeat choices typify this album; presenting as a blues throwback record, there are curveball choices peppered throughout like the surprisingly ominous chords and slightly out of sync vocal stacking deployed on ‘Riverboat Blues’.

The album’s best moments are where twenty first century domesticity get the blues treatment to hilarious effect, like ‘Morning School Run Blues’, where Kamara laments; “No time for my coffee, we late again, we’ll be caught up in the morning traffic”. ‘Salone’s’ great strength is how it draws on blues history but doesn’t feel beholden to any particular approach or homage; it’s a strong collection of songs with subtle yet excellently judged arrangements and production. ***

Review by Phillip Beamon


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: FASTWAY – Trick Or Treat

FASTWAY - Trick Or Treat

Rock Candy Records {Release date 29.11.19]

The late, great “Fast” Eddie Clark died a year ago this month. Many consider Motorhead to be his single most important legacy. Fastway wasn’t far behind.

The 80s produced some great horror movies. “Trick Or Treat”(1987) wasn’t one of them. So how do you match up an album’s worth of rock songs to 90 minutes of cheesy, schlock horror banality? Bearing in mind this was way before movie/music tie-ins became the commercial behemoths of the 21st century.

The answer is, of course, you don’t even try. What you do is write nine ragged edged rock songs, bring in legendary producer Eddie Kramer to oversee the studio recordings, then carry on in-fighting (this was Fastway, don’t forget).

In fairness, the album sees the band re-examine its classic rock roots, picking up from time to time on the movie’s moods with music that is suitably dark and dynamic. ‘Don’t Stop The Fight’ is a rolling thundercloud of gloom and the sparse barbaric logic of ‘Tear Down The Walls’ is perfectly tuned to the movie’s insanity.

Clark’s pneumatically powered riffs and Connor & Reid’s pitch black rhythms consistently create a sombre, menacing backdrop. Add Dave King’s siren howl, and quality rock songs like ‘Stand Up’ and ‘If You Could See’ become blistering spins through the grim reality of life on the streets, suggesting “Trick Or Treat” is not just a movie construct.

The Rock Candy remastering Techs keep it simple (as much as this process could ever be described as “simple”), giving the album’s sound a sympathetic re-assessment, adding punch and clarity at all the right moments.

Like the movie, the album was a moderate success and generated some badly needed funding for the band. But you know what they say about money. Fastway disbanded soon after.

Review by Brian McGowan


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: KOBURG – Position Of Power

KOBURG - Position Of Power

Bandcamp [Release date 01.01.20]

It sounds like a fairy tale but, at the stroke of midnight, as the old year passed into the next decade, a new Queen was crowned. Now, America has Amy Lee, Holland has Floor Jansen, Sweden has Anette Olson, Italy has Cristina Scabbia and Finland has Tarja Turunen but the UK’s new Queen of Symphonic rock is London based Anastasia Koburg. Released on the 1st of January, her new album, ‘Position of Power’ may well be the best thing you hear all year.

From the opening salvo of ‘The Descent: I and II’, Koburg, the band, set their claim for the big league with a pairing of tracks that brings all the drama and vision of the best of the genre.

Vocals soar, guitars slash, keys swell and the drums and bass crush as you are swept away by the overwhelming grandeur. Koburg’s vocals are superb, and, whilst not touched with the grit of some of her contemporaries, are certainly full of beauty and character, bringing her own unique style throughout.

Make no mistake, this isn’t some ethereal, featherlight album, it genuinely does rock and tracks like ‘Forbidden Realms’ and ‘Spirit Call’ are full of adrenaline, traditional metal with huge ambition as it mixes Nightwish with the sort of guitarwork reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow at his finest.

There are moments of industrial heaviness too with the stunning ‘Choose Your Poison’ a pounding, Gary Numan-like grinder that really brings the hammer down. Elsewhere, ‘Love, Let it Rain Down on Me’ has an otherworldly, Blade Runner, feel that brings to mind that dystopian neon lit landscape before it launches into its upbeat chorus and ‘All that is Hidden’ turns the clock back to 19th Century Russia grandeur or a vampire ball as strings swell and guitars soar.

The album peaks with the truly epic ‘We Could Be Angels’. A truly breathtaking track, it starts with a chilling and haunting piano that leads to a gorgeous verse and chorus that will both seduce you and break your heart. It’s the sort of track that you would sell your soul to as you’re enveloped in it’s black waters and will stick in your head for the next year or so, constantly coming back to pull you back in.

‘Karma is a Bitch’ is all hardcore riffing and danger, whilst closing track ‘As Darkness Falls’ seems to be both brutal and blood spattered but also tender and shimmering with a pure incandescence.

It is this tightrope balance that is a major factor to the album’s success as Koburg captures that eternal struggle between light and darkness, the writing bother utterly compelling and intelligent. Remixes of both ‘We Could Be Angels’ and ‘The Descent’ are added on as bonus tracks and both the different takes are well worth listening to, the former in particular adding an additionally lush one to the recording.

The co-production by Koburg and Robert L Smith brings such a broad palette of tones and textures that it couldn’t have been bettered and, with all these elements working together, you have the best of album of its kind since Evanescence unleashed their debut, ‘Fallen’, in 2003. Not just a great symphonic rock album, but one of the most stunning releases of the past ten years. The gloves are off, Koburg and ‘Positions of Power’ are ready to take on all comers. *****

Review by Paul Monkhouse


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)



Album review: GIRL – Wasted Youth

GIRL - Wasted Youth

Cherry Red Records [31.01.20] Arguably, Girl was simply the launching pad for Phil Lewis – later to join The LA Guns; Phil Collen – later to join Def Leppard, and Gerry Laffy – later to carve out a significant career … Continue reading

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Album review: SERPENTYNE & OPEROSE

SERPENTYNE - Angels of the Night

Hell Fury Records [Release date 21.11.19] There is always so much to explore in music, as you explore every sub-genre of a sub-genre. Modern Symphonic Metal is a good case in point and, what was once just purely the domain … Continue reading

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Album review: DAVE KERZNER – Breakdown – A Compilation 1995 – 2019

DAVE KERZNER

Cherry Red [Release date: 22.11.19] Dave Kerzner is a deservedly celebrated musician and producer who has had a long and varied career both as a solo artist and as a member of a number of excellent bands. Starting out with … Continue reading

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Quick plays: KIWI JR, OF MONTREAL

KIWI JR. – Football Money

KIWI JR. – Football Money Persona Non Grata [Release date 17.01.20] Kiwi Jr. hail from Canada and feature Alvvays’ guitarist Brian Murphy amongst their ranks, with the group’s main songwriter being Jeremy Gaudet. They pack it in with ten songs … Continue reading

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Gig review: SAVOY BROWN – 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

SAVOY BROWN- 100 Club, London, 18 January 2020

The marketing for the now traditional January London Blues Month is a mocked up, retro-style handbill.  Someone who can remember those days is Kim Simmonds. He may not have the high profile of other guitar contemporaries of the British blues … Continue reading

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Gig review: INTERPLAY – Le Chaudron, Montignac, SW France, 17 January 2020

INTERPLAY STAGE

Jazz is alive, well and prospering in the inventive hands of a French modern quartet called Interplay. There was once a time when jazz fusion and rock almost coalesced and took the music beyond its historical antecedents. And while Interplay … Continue reading

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Album review: LORDI – Killection

LORDI - Killection

AFM Records [Release date 31.01.20] Finnish monsters Lordi have been rampaging through the planet since the first emerged from the deepest darkness in 1992. Over the years their own brand of twisted melodic and theatrical hard rock has won them … Continue reading

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Album review: BLIND EGO – Preaching To The Choir

BLIND EGO - Preaching To The Choir

Gentle Art Of Music  -  [Release date: 14.02.20] German progressive rock titans RPWL have been ridiculously busy lately, both collectively and individually. Their ‘Tales From Outer Space’ album from early 2019 was deservedly five starred, as was their double live … Continue reading

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EP review: MOLLY KARLOFF – Supernaturalation

MOLLY KARLOFF – Supernaturalation Coming on with the force of a wrecking ball, Molly Karloff play the sort of gloriously scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll that your mother warned you about. With an excitement not seen since the early days of … Continue reading

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Album review: ANCHOR LANE – Casino

ANCHOR LANE - Casino

R7 Records [Release date 31.01.20] Young, gifted and Scottish, What more could you want? Anchor Lane – Connor Gaffney, Scott Hanson, Lawrence O’Brien and Matthew Quigley – are a Glasgow band who came to the attention of the rock’n’roll world … Continue reading

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Album review: FOGHAT – Fool For The City & Foghat Live (2019 Remasters)

FOGHAT - Fool For The City

Rock Candy Records [Release date 06.12.19] Britband Foghat clocked up a considerable number of tour miles after relocating to the USA in 1970, road testing their material, looking to kickstart their career. It worked a treat. . . it’s on … Continue reading

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Single reviews: SHADES OF GRAY, KOBURG, THUNDERSTICK

KOBURG - Position Of Power

SHADES OF GRAY – I Get Up In a dark world, there are few things that unite us and raise our spirits more than music.  Not many people understand this as fully as Myke Gray and the guitar guru/songwriter/producer offers … Continue reading

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Album review: HUMANIST – Humanist

HUMANIST - Humanist

Ignition Records [Release date 21.02.20] Humanist is an ambitious project orchestrated by guitarist and producer Rob Marshall, who has worked with the likes of Mark Lanegan (who guests on four songs on the album). He has assembled a starry cast … Continue reading

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Album review: SERENITY – The Last Knight

SERENITY - The Last Knight

Napalm Records [Release date 31.01.20] Austrian symphonic metal band Serenity are back and I seemed to have missed 2017′s ‘Lionheart’, having enjoyed the previous year’s ‘Codex Atlanticus’. That’s the trouble sometimes with so many bands around it is hard to … Continue reading

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Gig review: COLLATERAL – The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

COLLATERAL- The Cavern, Raynes Park, London, 10 January 2020

2020 promises to be a big year for Collateral, with their debut full-length album out in February to capitalise on the growing buzz around them. Indeed GRTR!’s writers voted the Kentish rockers the breakthrough act for 2020 in our end … Continue reading

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Album review: GARY MOORE – Live From London

GARY MOORE – Live From London

Mascot Records [Release date 31.01.20] Before he re-discovered his blues credential in 1990, Gary Moore’s career encapsulated hard rock, fusion, prog, jazz-rock and always somewhere at the core blues. 30 years ago he took a career changing decision to throw … Continue reading

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Album Review: BAI KAMARA JR & THE VOODOO SNIFFERS – Salone

BAI KAMARA JR & THE VOODOO SNIFFERS – Salone

Moosicus/M.I.G. Music [Release date 24.01.20] It is said that an artist brings their own experiences to any work that they create and if that’s the case Bai Kamara’s biography would suggest a varied and interesting album. Son of the former … Continue reading

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Album review: FASTWAY – Trick Or Treat

FASTWAY - Trick Or Treat

Rock Candy Records {Release date 29.11.19] The late, great “Fast” Eddie Clark died a year ago this month. Many consider Motorhead to be his single most important legacy. Fastway wasn’t far behind. The 80s produced some great horror movies. “Trick … Continue reading

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Album review: KOBURG – Position Of Power

KOBURG - Position Of Power

Bandcamp [Release date 01.01.20] It sounds like a fairy tale but, at the stroke of midnight, as the old year passed into the next decade, a new Queen was crowned. Now, America has Amy Lee, Holland has Floor Jansen, Sweden … Continue reading

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Interview: JEFF GAUTIER

Jeff Gautier & PF

This is the audio version of Pete Feenstra’s interview with French drumming legend Jeff Gautier including music from his band Bars On Fire and other examples from a 40 year career.  The English translation is below. (58:26) Interview: JEFF GAUTIER … Continue reading

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