PelleK – Bag of tricks (Liljegren Records/Doolittle Group)
PelleK is a Norwegian singer/songwriter who came to the fore by performing on “The X Factor” on Norwegian television in 2009. He wrote “Bag of tricks” afterwards, presenting some of the material on YouTube, which landed him the role of vocalist in Damnation Angels, as well as The ANABASIS. “Bag of tricks” finally saw the light of day after playing a guest role on one of Tommy ReinXeed’s videos.
PelleK has quite an array of guests lined up for this work, including Amanda Somerville and Oliver Hartmann. The result is a melodic power metal album in the vein of Sonata Arctica. Each performer does his/her job well and each song a pleasure to listen to. This album could fit in with Sonata Arctica’s “Silence” (arguably still their best release to date).
Another great power metal project from Scandinavia which needs to be sampled!
Nick van der Meulen
Polution – Beyond Control (Escape Music)
Polution is a Swiss rock outfit that has been on the local underground scene since 2005. “Beyond control” is their sophomore release after their debut, “Overheated”, was released in 2007.
While this is touted for Gotthard and AC/DC fans, this is more modern rock in flavour, with touches of Nickelback and The Offspring to be heard. What makes this stand out is the fact that there is a lot of melody, with Bullet of my Valentine type of guitar harmonies, the riffing is more prominent and Pascal Gwerder’s vocals while raspy at times, adds another dimension to the overall sound.
Essential for hard rock lovers.
Nick van der Meulen
Wild Frontier – 2012 (Music Buy Mail/Cargo Records)
Wild Frontier is a German rock outfit that has been around for 22 years, recording five albums in the process, with “2012” being their latest effort.
While the band is touted as hard rock, it is only the opening track, “2012”, which is heavy rock. Most of the album ranges between power pop and melodic rock. The melodies are upbeat and light, leaving one in a good mood as the final notes of “Gimme gimme” (yes, the ABBA song) fade away.
Another great German band hidden from the world has produced a fine melodic rock album which needs to be heard.
Nick van der Meulen
Prayer – Danger In The Dark (Escape Music)
Prayer is a Finnish AOR/melodic rock outfit which created ripples in 2005 with the release of their debut, “Wrong address”. Seven years later the band, featuring a revised line up, releases “Danger in the dark”…
This is a cracking release, with Tapani Tikkanen, the voice and songwriter of the band, in fine fettle with the pen. Ten songs are featured, producing smooth AOR tinged melodic rock which is a joy to listen to. The album is easy on the ears and soothes the soul.
This is a classic example of producing fine rock music without it having to grab you by the throat. Essential for AOR and even Westcoast lovers.
Nick van der Meulen
ORDINARY BRAINWASH – ME 2.0 Metal Mind Productions 2012
This is the third album by the one man band that is Rafal Zak and listening to this album it is amazing one man can create such deep and wonderous musical soundscapes. There is much on here to be enjoyed by fans of Porcupine Tree (‘Unbirthday’) and even the pomp sweep of Muse on ‘Don’t Look Back’.
Not always an easy listen as the dark lyrics have a computer theme running through them and much talk of failing and fixing yourself. But worth the effort and musically it reveals a little more with each listen. If Rafal Zak is this talented on his own imagine what he could come up with a band of similar minded musicians!
Cinemawave – Can You Hear The Silence Manilla PR)
Can You Hear The Silence is the debut album by London based indie rockers Cinemawave. The band have been together for a while and have gained a lot of airplay on Soccer AM of all places, rock n roll indeed!
The guys have wide and varied influences, but they come across as a cross between The Verve and Echo And The Bunnymen which doesn’t make for the liveliest of sounds. Over the course of the 12 tracks there are some decent tunes, but nothing to grab you, nothing to get fired up about.
I could see this album getting played in student digs up and down the country and perhaps with the interest in the recent comeback appearances of another of the band’s influences, The Stone Roses, the time is right for Cinemawave to unleash their debut.
Mighty High – Legalise Tre Bags!! Mint Deluxe Tapes
Mighty High describe themselves as ‘Brooklyn’s No. 1 regressive rock act’, not sure how big the competition is, but a grand claim none the less. Tre bags, for the uninitiated, were apparently $3 dope bags that were sold throughout the Bronx back in the day and in keeping with the album title the subject matter is all drugs related.
The album opens with ‘ I Don’t Wanna Listen To Yes’ which does exactly as it says on the tin, not big on Mr Anderson and co then. Regardless of the lyrical content, which I found got a bit boring after a few tracks, the band are actually rather good. The description of ‘regressive rock’ is spot on, think old school garage rock with NYC attitude and you get the idea, simplistic but effective.
Standout tracks are ‘Drug Wars’ which is a pop at Nancy Reagan and ‘Tokin’ and Strokin’ which apparently is a homage to the late actor David Carradine. This album is worth a listen as musically the band are great, but you can’t help but feel that with the subject matter the audience is always going to be limited . Perhaps that is why the long for the return of the $3 bag ?
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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)
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