Archive for the Rock Category

Volster – Perfect Storm

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , on 20th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

Volster
Perfect Storm
Released 20th April 2018
Melodic Hard Rock
Released via ROAR Rock of Angels Records

Image result for volster perfect storm

‘Perfect Storm’ is debut album from the Swedish melodic hard rock band Volster. The band name dates back to the mid-90s when Ulf Andersson and Henrik Lundberg (former members of Masquerade) recorded a demo titled ‘Volster’. Several years later, in 2013 they decided to form a band under that name. Their style has been summed up by their bassist as “…melodic hard rock as it’s supposed to be.”

Melodic is the keyword here. This album is definitely all about melody. The title track is a good example of modern-sounding hard rock – good guitar harmonies and a skillfully executed chorus. Then other influences shine through with tracks including Heaven or Hell featuring some groove-style bass guitar structures. That particular song reminded me of Black Label Society for some reason. Speaking of groove; the slower, more ballad-like Babylon is packed with bluesy guitar riffs giving it a considerably darker tone compared to many of the other songs on here. The vocals and the overall style on Games of War made me think of Ozzy Osbourne.

I’m not going to bother going through every track even if there would be good things to say about all of them. Volster seem to happily borrow from a variety of both metal and hard rock styles. There are elements of everything from classic hard rock, glam/sleaze rock to melodic heavy metal and even groove metal. Surprisingly enough it all works well as a whole.

In summary, ‘Perfect Storm’ shows a band who wear their influences on their sleeves; acknowledging and in some ways paying homage to their past, but also moving forward and embracing a more modern style. What started as a short demo in the 1990s is now a fully fledged beast, alive and ready to rock in 2018.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

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Vlad in Tears live Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Rock with tags , on 12th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

There are lots of fun events happening in Helsinki this weekend. For example one of my favorite bands is playing two shows. It’s a shame that I can’t make it to any of them…

So I had a look at what was available locally and I came across Vlad in Tears. They’re a Berlin-based Italian Gothic rock band whose music sounds similar to the likes of HIM and The 69 Eyes. I only recently discovered them and I’m probably not alone in thinking that they are somewhat underrated. Assumedly low early ticket sales meant that this event actually became a free show but the venue wasn’t busy at all.

First up was up was the Finnish dark wave band Rain Diary. I quite enjoyed their set. Their music is melodic and good to dance to. So not a bad start to the night. 3.5/5

Next was Psyyke, an old and well established post-punk band who are apparently one of pioneers of the Finnish Goth scene. The crowd wasn’t big this time either, but these guys did their best to keep the audience entertained. There’s not much I can say about their show. It was good, old school post-punk and everyone seemed to be having fun. 4/5

The night’s headliners came on stage with a slight delay. I kind of felt sorry for them having to come all this way to play a free show to a limited audience. This was apparently their first time in Finland. The performance was really good. They played most of their hits including the most recent ‘Sorrow’, ‘Bleed Me Dry’ and ‘The Devil Won’t Take Me Home’. 4/5

Overall, I had a good time. I like Vlad in Tears and I hope that they will visit Finland again at some point. They do deserve a bigger audience.

Iza Raittila

More details about the new album from Lord of The Lost

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Rock, Studio Report with tags , , on 4th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

Just one year after the release of their orchestral album ‘Swan Songs II’, the German Gothic industrial metal band Lord of the Lost are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their latest opus –  ‘Thornstar’.  This will be a concept album focusing on the myth of a doomed high civilization. Here’s what the band’s front-man Chris Harms had to say about it:

“From the beginning it has been a big vision we had with ‘Thornstar’- the concept demands a lot of responsibility. And the final result overtook us completely.”

‘Thornstar’ will be out worldwide on 3rd August 2018 via Napalm Records.

 1. On This Rock I Will Build My Church
2. Loreley
3. Black Halo
4. In Our Hands
5. Morgana
6. Haythor
7. Naxxar
8. Cut Me Out
9. The Mortarian
10. Under The Sun
11. In Darkness, In Light
12. Forevermore
13. Ruins

LORD OF THE LOST - Thornstar / CD
In the meantime you can check out their latest video from the opening track ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’.

For more information go to:

https://www.facebook.com/lordofthelost/

http://lordofthelost.de/

 

Stone Free Festival announce headliners

Posted in Festival, Metal, Misc., News, Rock with tags , , , , on 10th March 2018 by izaforestspirit

London’s prime classic rock event Stone Free Festival is now in its third year. This time it will take place on Saturday 16th June – Sunday 17th June 2018 at The O2 in London, The UK.

This year the headliners will include Scorpions, Megadeth (exclusive UK shows) along with YES and former Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson. 

In addition to the main performances the festival will also have a range of other unique attractions such as the Speak Easy Lounge, an acoustic beer garden and a vinyl record fair.

Here’s the official poster:

For more information visit:
http://stonefreefestival.com/

https://www.facebook.com/StoneFreeFestival/

Turbowolf – The Free Life

Posted in CD, Experimental, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th February 2018 by mickbirchy

Artist: Turbowolf

Album: The Free Life

Genre, Psychedelic, Punk, Electronic

Released: 09 March 2018

via So Recordings

The Bristol based psychedelic punk rockers, Turbowolf, are back with their third album, The Free Life. They’re definitely one of those bands that are so different and distinct that you either love the sound or hate it. I personally, love what they produce. I like bands that really challenge their listeners and do something different and Turbowolf have that spark, something that their fans can connect with which leaves casual fans with intrigue (and I’m sure some confusion). I loved their 2011 self-titled debut so much. It was a burst of creativity and really delivered a full package of excitement, not bad for a first outing. Their 2015 album, Two Hands, left me a little disappointed, maybe it was just the victim of over-hype, but it just wasn’t as good. Some great songs individually but the album wasn’t as well put together for my liking. However, early demos and singles from this album sounded interesting enough for me to want to get the whole album and a proper spin.

The album sparks with energy straight off of the bat, with the infectious No, No, No. The synth, guitars and bass all meld together to create this delicious soup of electronic noise. Exactly how you want a record to open, with a punch of punk right in the senses. Across the board Turbowolf seem to have more of a toned sound on this album. Guitarist Andy Ghosh and bassist Lianna Lee Davies bring the heavy riffs that feel heavier. When they kick into full punk mode you feel this rush of psychedelic electronic sounds. The riffs are tight and the basslines are highly enjoyable. Every second of this album hits hard and fast with all of the verbose and intricate sounds that Turbowolf have become known for. Chris Georgiadis’s vocals fit well. He delivers the lyrics in such a way that you have to pay attention to what he’s saying. Then when the vocal harmonies come in, it leaves an impact. On a sound design level The Free Life impresses and on writing level it’s excellent. Turbowolf do everything in their power to bend the very concept of music to their whims.

Also, with this album comes a slew of featured musicians to collaborate on this project. Joe Talbot of fellow Bristol band Idles, lends his vocal talents to Capital X. Sebastian Grainger of Death From Above adds his musical mind to the track Cheap Magic. Mike Kerr of Royal Blood trades lines with Chris in the mind melter of a tune Domino. Finally, Chantal Brown of acclaimed psyche-metallers Vodun adds her flair to the song Very Bad. Usually I would say having this many featured guests cheapens a record. However every single one adds something unique to their respective song and makes the album all the more varied and diverse. One thing is for sure, you will not be bored with this album in a hurry. There is so much to appreciate and the talent on display is immense.

Now like I said Turbowolf are a very distinct band, so this will not be to everyone’s taste. If you’re not into this type of music then this album will do very little to change that mindset. They have definitely chosen their direction. Whereby they push the medium further with every release. I mean they do have some crossover appeal and casual audiences will probably take to the singles, as they do get radio play. However, the albums go full on weird mode and it can be a little much for the average listener. They’ve always had that effect though, so nothing new there. I’m very much into the sound on display here. There’s a creativity and splendor to the album that makes it sound so interesting. From its most intense punk moments to the mind-bending distortion and synths that gives them their signature sound. You will not mistake Turbowolf for anyone else, they hit the mark perfectly here.

5/5

Mick Birchall

MAKS – 3ft No Diving

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 2nd February 2018 by mickbirchy

MAKS

3ft No Diving

Rock, Southern Rock, Adult Alternative

Released: 23 June 2017

Self Released

This is definitely an interesting release to listen to. MAKS is a Dutch multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter with a very distinct sound. It’s a big old mixture of rock, new wave, country and adult alternative. His new album 3ft No Diving is certainly something very unique, I guarantee you haven’t heard anything like this. It’s an album that really stretches the length of what you’d call “rock music”. The type of album you get here is an interesting musical soup of different instrumental styles and genres which when combined make for something really interesting to listen to. All of the songs are written by him, barring the two covers which I’ll mention later, so there’s some real personal ideas here which I feel are executed well. OK, this album is not going to be to everyone’s taste, I’ll tell you now but there’s some fantastic songwriting here.

The album opens with the foreboding tone of “Portal”. However this is quickly moved into the first song on the album “Lay Down Low” and automatically you learn what type of album you’re getting. A nice fusion of electronic new wave and folky southern rock and it actually works quite well. Obviously he’s not the first to make this odd pairing but he definitely has his own vision of how it should work. The guitar being very prominent and most of the other instruments falling into the background somewhere. MAKS voice is really good, a very soothing tone for the melodies and every so often he has that blues scratchiness to his voice which is great. In particularly for his cover of “Stones in my Passway” a blues classic by Robert Johnson. The other cover “Waiting for the Man” by Lou Reed is nicely performed as well, although I’m not the biggest Lou Reed fan, I can appreciate this. It’s very clear from the sound on the album that this was a passion project and the passion definitely shines through.

However, the production is not all there, at least not for me. Everything is quite tinny and there sounds like there’s a lot of audio filters. Hey, if this is your thing then fine but for me, I like a little bass and more of a bottom to the production. The acoustic guitar sounds lovely, however everything else is quite muted and feels synthesised to a degree and that gets annoying after a while. If the drums had a little more impact to them and the bass filled the bottom of the sound, then this maybe a little easier to listen to. Other than that, I have very little problems, the songwriting is great and I love how the melodies flow, it sounds well put together on a writing level, also the riffs are well executed.  

For me I like it. I didn’t love it, but I look forward to hearing him create more music. He obviously has an ear for lyrics, melody, harmony and rhythm and with that comes something that truly sticks with you. Again, the production may not be to everyone’s taste but I think with a little bit more of a punch and a thicker tone this could be something I could say I love.  Definitely worth checking out anyway. Hope you listen and enjoy.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Thundermother – Thundermother

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , on 2nd February 2018 by mickbirchy

Thundermother
“Thundermother”
Hard Rock
Released: 23rd February 2018
via Despotz Records

In the spring of 2017, Thundermother saw some drastic changes. Four members left, three new ones arrived (Vocals: Guernica Mancini, Drums: Emlee Johansson & Bass: Sara Pettersson). Yet, guitarist and founder, Filippa Nässil stood as the only original member left. I admire that she’s standing by her vision of the band and the members she’s brought in play the parts well. Overall, the line-up feels stronger.

I really like the sound that Thundermother put on here. A sort of throwback rock n roll with more of a modern feel. Yet for my liking there’s nothing here to spice up the usual formula. There’s nothing new and so there’s ultimately nothing keeping me invested in the music and it turns into white noise. I want to reiterate I like the music, but because there is so little in the way of something different being performed all it does is make me want to go back a listen to old records. This sound has been done and the classic rock records are still classic, we don’t need more bands performing this sound anymore. It’s not even like Airbourne or Steel Panther, where they have so much intensity and passion, you can’t help but get into it. Here it feels so stagnant and lifeless.

As you can tell, I’m kinda torn on this album. In one way I really like it. They try to invoke a lot of the classic staples and they are all competent musicians producing a sound they clearly love. Yet I can’t get over just how formulaic the music is. If this were a few years ago, I probably would’ve eaten this up. It’s just after years of going to gigs and hearing endless copycats who just play this sort of music with nothing fresh added to it. Well, it all gets really boring, and my mind is craving for something else to be added to the formula. Anything that will keep my interest.

So before this becomes a whipping party, let’s talk about the good stuff. As I feel there is a lot to like. For one, it’s all performed well and the production is great. Everything being clear and concise. The vocals standing out on top of the production and you really feel every drum beat. There’s a sharpness to the tone and every little thing is done well. The riffs are also well done, with a constant groove and the bass is played well creating a nice bottom end to the guitar. So the tone is thick and the album does move at a nice pace. The vocals of, Guernica Mancini are simply immaculate. She has a really nice voice and it works with this style of music. All the pieces fit rather nicely. Overall the sound is nice and the songs are very likeable. If you’re into your classic rock and have no desire to move on past the 70’s in terms of musical direction then yeah this band is great for you.

I just wish there was more to this. No, I don’t demand that every rock album has to be experimental or a massive prog-rock concept album. However, I would like to think musicians want to push the boundaries rather than being so confined to one sound. I think that’s my biggest problem here. The complete unwillingness to really try to craft something not before heard. There’s no issue with being influenced by the classic rock bands of yesteryear, I just want to see artists try to make something fresh to my ears. It can be as simple as adding non-traditional instrumentation to create sounds never before present in the genre. Or you could go all out and start genre mixing have a bit of fun mixing and matching and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Hell, I’ll always give credit to those who at least attempt something out of the ordinary.  I just think that Thundermother play it far to safe here.

Like I said, if this is your thing and you like your throwback bands, the Thundermother do a fabulous job. It might not be for me necessarily be for me, then again I’m not the target audience. I do think they could be so much more if they tried to move past the standard rock n roll formula. As is though, it’s fine. The music is nice and the melodies are ones that get caught in your head and you find yourself singing. The shake up in the group dynamic, I think, was good for them and I admire the persistence of Filippa for not just letting the brand of Thundermother just die off. If you like classic rock with no surprises and left uncompromised then I say buy it and enjoy. It’s not bad music, it’s just nothing I haven’t heard before.

3/5

Mick Birchall