Archive for the Rock Category

Lord of The Lost – Swan Songs II

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 2nd December 2017 by izaforestspirit

Lord of The Lost
Swan Songs II
Released 6th October 2017
Dark Rock/Gothic Rock/Classical
Released via Napalm Records

Image result for lord of the lost swan songs ii cover

The German dark rock band Lord of the Lost have been around for a decade. It was originally a solo project of the frontman Chris Harms; then he recruited other musicians before releasing the first album. Their style varies slightly with each release, ranging from the HIM-esque Gothic rock debut ‘Fears’, classical/acoustic ‘Swan Songs’, Latino rhythms on the single ‘La Bomba’ to industrial metal on ‘Empyrean’. This brings us to their latest opus‘ Swan Songs II’- another album combining dark rock with classical orchestra.

First up is the wonderfully sinister murder ballad Waiting For You To Die’ This song caught my attention even before the album’s release thanks to the beautiful lyric video. The orchestration makes the track all the more dynamic and memorable. Lighthouse makes you immediately want to get up and dance. It’s uplifting and the lyrics are surprisingly positive like the sun re-appearing again after a long, violent storm. I absolutely adore the chorus. It has been stuck in my head for weeks now. So much so that I’ve even started singing it to my children as a lullaby.

If it’s slow, sombre ballads with violins in the background you want, then My Better Me is the song for you. Personally I prefer Wonder in Sable. This melodic track picks up gradually after a slow start treating the listener to more gloriously performed orchestration and Chris Harms’s emotionally charged vocals.

In summary, Lord of the Lost have created a stunning piece of work. They have once again proven just how diverse and complex their music can be. Not all ensemble albums by rock bands are worth the hype but ‘Swan Songs II’ is great example of how well this concept can work.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

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Madam X – Monstrocity

Posted in Metal, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 15th November 2017 by izaforestspirit

Madam X
Monstrocity
Released 31st October (The USA), 3rd November 2017 (Europe)
Heavy Metal/Glam Metal / Hard Rock
Released via EMP Label Group/ SVP Europe

Madam X - Monstrocity

The American heavy metal band Madam X are back after a long hiatus with a new album called ‘Monstrocity’, their first full length release since their debut album which came out in 1984. The band was originally formed back in 1981 by sisters Roxy and Maxine Petrucci. They remained active throughout the ‘80s before their drummer Roxy Petrucci joined the hard rock band Vixen. This album features the original line-up including the Petrucci sisters and vocalist Bret Kaiser.

Resurrection seems like a fitting title for an opening track for a band returning from a long break. They are back and ready to rock your world with a brand new, energetic heavy metal tunes filled with shredding guitars and powerful vocals. Similar things can be said for the title track which really puts the emphasis on the guitars.

While first few songs sound more modern, Freak Parade’sounds like it was originally written in the ‘80s. The chorus has that distinctive, cheesy 1980s style ‘glam rock’ feel to it. The glam rock influence might have something to do with the addition of Vixen’s Janet Gardner on guest vocals. Then there’s the oddly titled but highly catchy ‘Big Rock Rolls Heavy’, one of the more metal-sounding, fast tracks on the album. This would be the song to play at the start of their show to really get the crowd going. The guitar work is superb, drumming is great and the chorus is one of the most memorable ones on here. “Give me metal or give me death!” The icing on the cake is a re-recording of the band’s biggest hit High in High School which really puts a new spin on the song.

In summary, I’ve had lots of fun reviewing Madam X’s latest opus. It is much heavier and more metal than I expected it to be. I like that the band is able to stay true to their roots while creating something new and exciting. Glam metal isn’t normally my thing but I really enjoyed ‘Monstrocity’.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Cats In Space – Scarecrow

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 28th October 2017 by mickbirchy

Cats In Space

Scarecrow

Power-pop, Glam Rock

Released: 25 August 2017

via Cats In Space / Cargo Records

In my continued search for something different in the rock/metal world. I happened upon a band called Cats In Space. I thought this had to be something new different and interesting. To my disappointment they weren’t some existential prog-rock act with themes of feline creatures in the vastness of space. Instead it’s another rock act trying to evoke that feeling of the late 70’s/early 80’s glam rock. To which they do a really good job. Their music is bright , happy and definitely has that sense of musical presence that gets that style of old school rock down almost perfectly. Once I got past my confusion of what they were, I really found myself getting into their music. Having grown up on this genre, it definitely struck a chord with me. It has the same feel as Whitesnake, well not really but it’s something I can get behind 100%.

The album has a weird tone on the production, like a really heavy digital processing, this works on some songs but can kind of sounds like shit at other times. Especially when it’s just the synths on their own. Every song has a really strong hook, with pretty simplistic lyrics so it’s easy to sing along to. They implore this masterfully, I have to say I was bopping along quite merrily to almost every track. Even though the production is a little weird, I love the songwriting, the way the songs flow should bring a smile to any hard rock fan, with swelling versus that just build to big choruses. Yeah, it’s formulaic but you can’t argue that it works. They just get the best out of their sound by making everything sound huge. The guitar tone is wonderful and the bass and drums lock in together really well. The vocals performance is damn near flawless, soaring on top of the production and hitting every note beautifully.

I have to say I was a little taken back by this album. It reminded me of listening to old school records with my Dad and it has those big overblown choruses to match. The production can be a little clumsy with the way it sounds at times, but that’s a very minor point. The songs are fantastic. It’s cheesy and a little bit silly but I think that’s the point. To be an over-the-top power pop/glam rock band with massive catchy choruses that are easy to sing along to. I actually liked this album in the end. Not enough to give it a perfect rating but you know with the amount of depressing shite that out there. I needed something like this.

4/5

Mick Birchall

As Lions announce tour dates and new video

Posted in Misc., News, Rock on 25th September 2017 by izaforestspirit

The British hard rock band As Lions have recently announced that they will be joining Alter Bridge as special guests on their European tour next month.

You can check out the dates below:

OCTOBER TOUR DATES W/ ALTER BRIDGE

5th – Edinburgh, Usher Hall

7th – Dublin, Olympia

8th – Belfast, Ulster Hall

10th – Paris, Elysee Montmarte, FR

11th – Groningen, Oosterpoort, NL

12th – Stuttgart, Porsche Arena, DE

15th – Hannover, Swiss Life Hall, DE

16th – Oberhausen, Tubrinenhalle, DE

18th – Vienna, Gasometer, AT

20th – Warsaw, Progesja, PL

22nd – Budapest, Sportarena, HU

24th – Zurich, Samsung Hall, CH

26th – Barcelona, Razzmatazz, ES

27th – Madrid, La Riviera, ES

29th – Lisbon, Coliseu, PT

UK fans can also catch them live in November supported by Greyhaven and the winners of the ‘Nine Lives’ competition, who will have a chance to play at the respective home venues. For the full schedule, see the poster below:

Image may contain: text

In the meantime you can check out their new lyric video ‘Pieces’.

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/AsLionsBand/

http://www.aslionsband.com

 

Autograph – Get Off Your Ass

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , on 22nd September 2017 by izaforestspirit

Autograph
Get Off Your Ass
Released 6th October 2017
Hard Rock
Released via EMP Group

Image result for autograPH GET OFF cover

‘Get Off Your Ass’ is the new album from the American hard rock band Autograph. The band was originally formed back in the 1980s. They disbanded in 1989 and have remained inactive until some of the founding members got together in 2013, and decided to re-activate the band. Sadly their original vocalist Steve Plunkett was unavailable for the reunion, so they enlisted the former Jailhouse singer Simon Daniels instead. With this new line-up they released an EP last year, and now a full album.

The album title seems appropriate for a band who has recently re-formed after a long hiatus. The title track acts as the perfect opening song – energetic, catchy with a positive vibes oozing from the guitars and bluesy-hard rock vocals. Meet Me Halfway caught my attention due to the rocking and swinging guitar tunes and the super catchy chorus. Like the opening track, this one also has a positive feel to it, putting the listener in a good mood. “Can’t you see, it’s your lucky day!” It’s time to sing, dance, swing or possibly even jump along to the chorus…

As with most good hard rock albums, you get some radio-friendly slow ballads – in this case the somewhat melancholic-sounding All On My Own. Unlike its predecessors, this track reflects a more glam rock style and it is easily the most melodic song on here. Personally I preferred the more energetic tunes such as All Emotions, where the guitars really take to the spotlight. Last but not least, we get a live version of one their classics – Turn Up the Radio.

Overall, ‘Get Off Your Ass’ is a fine piece of classic hard rock. Band re-unions are very much in vogue these days but not all are successful. In Autograph’s case they seem have a rekindled an old flame and shot it up into the sky. Rock on!

4/5

Iza Raittila

Two Witches 30th anniversary show

Posted in Dubstep, Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , on 9th September 2017 by izaforestspirit

Dark Side Cowboys, Freaknagel, Harmony Garden
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
8th September 2017

The Finnish Goth rock band Two Witches celebrated their 30th anniversary last night. And what would be a better place to celebrate it than one of my favorite venues in their home city – at Klubi. I’ve seen them live before, but their anniversary show promised to be something special. Support bands including the Swedish alternative rock band Dark Side Cowboys, Estonian industrial band Freakangel and others.

I arrived too late to catch the first band Harmony Garden, who apparently played an acoustic set. The first band I saw was Dark Side Cowboys. I’ve seen these guys live before when they played Lumous Gothic Festival a few years ago, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Their style is difficult to categorize, it’s a mixture of old school, Fields of the Nephilim -style Goth rock with hints of darkwave and even some industrial. One thing is for sure, they know how to put on a great show. 4/5

Freakangel is a band that I used to like a lot when they first came out; I really like their first album. Sadly I’m not that keen on their newer releases and I don’t particularly like the direction that they are heading with their latest album. Their show was better than the first time that I saw them live, but it’s a shame that they only played one track from ‘The Faults of Humanity’. Other songs I recognized included ‘Parasite’, ‘The Used’ and ‘Book of Violence’. 3/5

Then the time came for the heroes of the day, Two Witches. These guys are usually very good live. This show was special in the sense that it gave the audience an insight into the band’s history. Singer Jyrki Witch was keen to share some anecdotes about the band’s early days. They also had some surprise guests with two former members of the band, Nauko and Toby joining them on stage for a few songs. As usual, they played an mixture of old and new songs including fan favorites such as ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’, ‘Dead Dog’s Howl’, ‘Inner Circle Outside’ and ‘Burn The Witch’. One surprise addition to the setlist was an old darkwave track called ‘Cat’s Eyes’ sung by Jyrki alone as an encore. 5/5

In summary I had a good time. Good music and it was a fun night out in town. Dark Side Cowboys were great live, Freakangel had its moments. As for the night’s heroes…Thirty years and still going strong. Happy anniversary to the Two Witches!

Iza Raittila

Blue Cheer – Live At Rockpalast – Bonn 2008

Posted in Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , , on 9th September 2017 by Paul Macmillan

Blue Cheer

Live At Rockpalast – Bonn 2008 (double live CD & DVD)

Hard rock/Blues

Released 31st March 2017 via M.I.G.

 

Blue Cheer might ring a bell, but I’d be lying if I said I thought they were a household name. This is certainly the first time I’ve actively sat down and listened to them, or rather, watched, as is the case here. Not for the first time, I wish I’d paid more attention. This is some badass old-school riffing, with an incredible level of energy for doomy blues/metal, especially doomy blues/metal churned out by three fairly haggard looking old dudes.

The video itself is a little odd. The footage is great; nice angles, every member gets some screen time, and the quality is nice. It’s more a case of the setting. It’s a little like a cross between a music college theatre and The Old Grey Whistle Test stage. From the start, you can spot bar maids carrying crates (not trays) of empty glasses, and punters making their way to and from the toilet. It is nice, up close, and personal, but there’s something about it which seems at odds with the massive sound coming from the stage.

And it is massive! This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though. If my German is correct, the announcer tells us at the start that they once claimed the title of ‘loudest band in the world’. Sharing that part of rock and roll which saw the likes of Cream, Sabbath, and Motorhead at their most basically visceral, this is absolutely a band who were part of the melange which gave birth to what we now know as heavy metal. There are all the best characteristics of what made that movement in the beginning. Suzzed out, aggressive blues. Post-Vietnam punk energy. UK power trio riffs. It’s all there.

Sadly, founder and frontman, Dickie Peterson, is no longer with us, otherwise this band may still be giving the young ones a run for their money. If you, like me, hadn’t given Blue Cheer a proper day in court, and you want to dig deeper into the (pre-) history of stoner doom, give this a spin. It’s a great performance, featuring some surprisingly recognisable musical moments which may or may not have been pinched by a number of our heroes down the line. I’m looking at you, Clutch and Alice In Chains.

4/5

Paul Macmillan