Archive for Hard rock

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

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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

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

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

Wraith – Revelation

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

Wraith
Revelation
Released 4th August 2017
Hard Rock/Melodic Heavy Metal
Released via Ice Rain Records/Cargo Records

Wraith is a British hard rock band that has been around since the late ’80s. They were most active in the ’90s, after which they had a long break between albums. It’s now been a decade since their last studio album was released and now Wraith are back with a new line-up and a new album called ‘Revelation’. This is also their first work to feature the new vocalist Ryan Coggin.

Ten years is a long time to wait for a new album. This is my first encounter with Wraith so I can’t really comment on how their style has evolved over the years. Rather than commenting on how this compares to their past albums, I will just focus on ‘Revelation’. Here we have ten tracks which range from Bon Jovi -esque melodic hard rock to NWBHM-style heavy metal. An example of the former is the slow ballad ‘Leaving Me Again‘ and the latter ‘No Respect‘ – an energetic, guitar-driven song. The vocals on it aren’t half bad either.

Then there’s the catchy, somewhat sleaze rock inspired ‘Human Hater‘ which reminded me of Mötley Crüe for some reason. This is probably one of the simplest songs in terms of lyrics, but who cares? After all, who needs profound lyrical themes when you can just enjoy a catchy chorus and headbang along to the twin guitar melodies?

In summary, ‘Revelation’ embodies the saying “..good things come to those who wait”. It’s been ten years, but now Wraith are back with a strong album that’s bound to please both classic heavy metal and hard rock fans.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Alice Cooper reveals new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Rock with tags , , , on 18th July 2017 by izaforestspirit

The legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper has announced that his new album, the first studio release in six years, will be called ‘Paranormal’. It will feature guest performances from U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ TOP’s Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover.

Here is what the singer had to say about it:

“I love that title, ‘Paranormal’, but it’s not really a scary record. There’s a couple of scary songs on it, but [it is] ‘paranormal,’ meaning ‘other than normal.’ This is not a normal Alice record. Bob [Erzin] and I decided, ‘No theme this time. We’re gonna make a record of things that just get us off, songs that we like. And it might go in a lot of different directions, but these are just songs that get us off.”

‘Paranormal’ is expected to hit the shops on 28th July 2017 via earMusic and it will be available in the following formats: 2CD digipack, limited edition box set and digital download.

You can check out the cover art below:

He has also released a lyric video for the title track.

For further information visit:

http://www.alicecooper.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AliceCooper/

 

Epitaph – A Night At The Old Station

Posted in CD, Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , on 23rd May 2017 by izaforestspirit

Epitaph
A Night at The Old Station
Released 28th April 2017
Hard Rock/Prog-rock with jazz elements
Released via M.I.G Music GmbH

A Night At The Old Station’ is an acoustic live album from the German hard rock band Epitaph. It was recorded at the Old Station in Anderten, near Hanover, Germany. The set features a mixture of old and new material played using mostly acoustic instruments. Although full concert recording is available as a 2CD &DVD box-set, this review will focus of the promo CD version which features six tracks plus two enhanced live videos.

Two keys words – “live” and “acoustic”, are a good indication of the what you can expect from this release. I’ve never been to an Epitaph show but the live videos offer the next best thing. The use of acoustic instruments gives the songs a relaxed, more melodic feel which is only enhanced by the additional cellos, piano, keyboards and violin on some of the tracks. Take Looking For A Friend for example, it has that chilled out vibe to it. Then they speed things up a notch with One of These Days, a catchy hard rock ballad with a memorable chorus .

I recognized Love Child, having previously heard it as a bonus track on their most recent studio album ‘Fire From The Soul’. The acoustic version is far more laid back but it definitely has its charms. Then if you’re looking for a good tune to dance to then look no further than Ain’t No Liar, the longest but also the most catchy song on the CD.

Overall, this is clearly more for the die-hard Epitaph fans who wish to add this release to their existing collection. As with any live album, it’s no match for the real live show experience but it gives the offers the listener/viewer the next best thing.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila