Quick Plays: AKINESIS, ESTRELLA, THE VIBES, SCYTHE OF ORION

AKINESIS – The PassAge 2012 www.akinesis.com

Italian duo Gabriele Caspani and Nando Mambretti release their second album based on the course of life. They play and produced all the music on the album that includes two songs sung in their native Italian. Overall not a bad album although the oversampled vocals on ‘Alien’ are appalling and put you off the album! ‘Distant Tears’ and ‘Taken’ are good AOR tunes, although the album could do with some memorable hooks/tunes to keep you coming back for another listen. Try it out on their website first.

**

Jason Ritchie

ESTRELLA – Shout (I Wanna Hear You)/Mona Lisa Smile CDS 2012 www.estrellarocks.com

Second single release from this young Scots hard rock band ahead of their debut album released later this month. ‘Shout’ is a simple fists-in-the-air hard rock anthem and if you didn’t know you’d swear it was a long lost 80′s band, albeit with a modern production. The other song ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ is a slower number with a uplifting chorus backed by a tasty guitar riff and keyboards on the chorus. Reminded me of a Bullet Boys tune and late 80′s Uriah Heep, all good stuff.

Estrella are definitely a band to keep an eye and ear on in the future.

****1/2

Jason Ritchie

The Vibes – 45 Minutes To Go

Two Sides Moon/SLW 2012

Swiss rock, not a phrase you hear too often, but The Vibes are trying to change all that. This three piece have been around for 10 years and ’45 Minutes To Go’ is their latest album. The band master in a heavy, sleazy rock n roll, think Motorhead with a Hammond organ accompaniment and you are getting close.

The band consists of Mojo, Matlock and Stuntman Jack (?) and they sound like a band that have been playing together for 10 years. Opener ‘Scumbags And Presidents’ bounces along nicely on a wave of the afore mentioned Hammond and is a good introduction to the band. Other highlights include ‘ Rapunzel’ which contains some tasty mouth organ flourishes for added effect, ‘Hellride’ which you half expect to have Lemmy on vocals and ‘Don’t Shoot The Pianist, Shoot The Piano’ which is a slower, bluesier number which contains that Hammond organ again to good effect and some excellent guitar work from Mojo.

It would appear then that Switzerland has more to offer musically than zithers and Celine Dion’s 1988 Eurovision contest winning song, thank goodness. The Vibes are a no nonsense rock n roll band who are well worth investigating, the hills are alive with the sound of loud guitars !

***1/2

David Wilson

Livin Garden – Where I Can Breath

Self Release 2012

This album was originally released in the band’s homeland of Brazil back in 2009. Since then the band have been touring Southern Brazil and have supported Black Label Society amongst others. The album has been recently released in other territories and they have recently toured in the US and hope to move further afield.

Musically they play hard rock very much in a similar vein to their gig buddies, Black Label Society, with a bit of thrash thrown in on a few tracks, most noticeably on ‘Don’t Blame’. The songs, to be honest, are nothing new but they are well executed, the twin guitar work of Pablo Kravicz and Daniel Doria in particular is excellent throughout .

Livin Garden are obviously a band with ambition and are currently working on their follow-up album to ‘Where I Can Breath’. If they can produce more of the same, then their wishes may just come true.

***1/2

David Wilson

SCYTHE OF ORION ‘Sun-Dial’2012  www.scytheoforion.com

Fellow GRTR! reviewer Pete Whalley reviewed the debut EP by this band back in 2009 and said they were a ‘work in progress’ as the sound wasn’t great. Well they must have taken his advice as their first full album has a decent sound throughout.

The band’s sound adds violin and cello to the traditional power/melodic metal mix. It works well for the majority of the time but occasionally the strings dominate the vocals. Vocalist Anu Lamminsaari has a distinct pop sound to her voice so much so a song like ‘Perfect Silence’ could easily appeal to fans of melodic rock. Best song by a country mile is ‘Ice Soldiers’ with a massively catchy hook and chorus plus vocal effects on the ice soldiers parts. ‘Listen My Friend’ delves into a folky song but don’t be fooled as midway through the guitars and keys kick in – glorious stuff!

Hopefully they have a few more musical ideas up their sleeves as this album is a solid start and coming from Finland they have melodic metal in their DNA! Don’t leave it so long next time please.

***1/2

Jason Ritchie

Ninth Circle – The Power Of One

Two Sides Moon/SLW 2012

‘The Power Of One’ is the second album from Californian rockers Ninth Circle. The band are a power trio who produce what they claim is ‘power metal for the new millennium’. Although they are based in the states the main influences are most definitely European, Hammerfall, Stratovarius and most obviously Iron Maiden are quoted, with Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’ appearing on the album.

Melodic power metal is what the band are all about and they certainly know how to write a good song. The title track of the album is a good starting point blending fast paced driving rock with plenty of harmonies and melodies. This theme continues throughout all tracks, others of note are ‘Frontman’ and ‘Fire Falling’ both of which are excellent and the cover of ‘The Trooper’ is well worth a listen.

Two criticisms did come to mind though over the course of the 12 tracks on offer. The first being it is all a bit monotone, same key with no real highs or lows to add variety to the individual tracks and the other is, with one guitar the sound seems incomplete and lacking in depth at times.

I did, however, enjoy the album despite this and with the guys back in the studio currently recording the follow up it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

***1/2
David Wilson

KAISAS ‘Unify’ Casket Music 2011

Greek guitarist/songwriter Babis Kaisas recorded this album back in 2010 when he worked with former Shy drummer Alan Kelly. Kelly left to work on his solo work and enter another former Shy member and current TNT vocalist Tony Mills, with Acacio Caravalho on drums completing the line-up. Mind you it’s all change again with Mills only on this album and former AC/DC vocalist Mark Evans is now the vocalist.

As with anything Tony Mills lends his vocals to it is bound to be enjoyable. The music is at the more ballad/mid-paced end of melodic rock and on songs like ‘Chemistry’, Tony Mills similarity to Queensryche’s Geoff Tate really shines through. The guitar work is the other album highlight – plenty of solos and flashy playing, although even this can’t save the awful take on ‘Jingle Bells’.

Worth a listen for the Tony Mills connection, although not the strongest set of songs it still has its moments.

***

Jason Ritchie





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Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GRACE Hope (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CLASSLESS ACT Welcome To the Show (Better Noise Music)
14:00-16:00 TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT Day By Day (indie)



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