JUSTIN’S REVIEWS W/C 28/06/04
If you like you’re Stoner Rock Southern style, with more than a nod and a wink to the legends Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet then Fulton Hill is the CD that you have been waiting for.
There is enough down home picking, swirling Hammond Organ and boogie laden riffs to keep the spirit of the South very happy, taking up from where “Staring At The Devine” left off this is a true modern Southern Rock masterpiece and if anyone says “they don’t write songs like that any more” you can point them in the direction of Alabama Thunderpussy and prove them wrong, Whether it’s the slow burner of “Alone Again”, the sheer brilliance of the elongated “Struggling For Balance”, the Rocking Boogie of “Wage Slave” and “Lunar Eclipse” or the sheer weight of “Bear Baiting” your musical taste buds are in for a treat. All the above tracks some of the best that the genre has to offer in 2004 and will set a presidency for others to try to emulate.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 67 mins + 12 TRACKS
BORKNAGAR / EPIC
Norway’s finest Progressive Black Metalers return with their strongest album yet but if you think they have toned things down you would be wrong because this cd sees them experimenting more than ever and not compromising for anyone.
This basically carries on from where Empiricism left off; their unique mix of Black Metal and folk influences has been copied but hardly ever equalled with the notable exception of Finnish bands Fintroll and Moonsorrow. Their traditional Black Metal sound and heavy guitars are augmented with some very nice Progressive Metal leanings with a touch of traditional instruments give the songs a distinctive earthy sound to them that is very enticing.
Best tracks; “Future Reminiscence“,”Sealed chambers Of Electricity”, “Quintessence” & “Circles”
DOWNLOAD “Future Reminiscence” from the bands own site above
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 58 mins + 12 TRACKS
CATHEDRAL / THE SERPENTS GOLD
To use the football analogy, this is a game of 2 half’s, Disc 1 (Serpents Treasure) is a best of and is essential if you are a Cathedral fan. It charts the bands history with Earache (which came to an end earlier this year) and with the co operation of the band the best of is as you would expect the cream of the crop and a good introduction to the un initiated, showing the bands many periods of change. Al the ones you would expect are here with a couple of exceptions.
The Second CD (Serpents Chest) is the one of real interest
to the die hard’s as it features rare and previously un released tracks from
early demos, live tracks and rare studio tracks. The best tracks of this CD rare the
instrumental version of the track “Imprisoned Flesh” called “Hide & Seek”,
Disc 1 – The Serpent’s Treasure Disc 2 - The Serpent's Chest
01. Ride 01. Hide and Seek
03. Autumn Twilight 03. Violet Breath
05. Soul Sacrifice
06. Enter the
07. Stained Glass Horizon feat. Victor Griffin/Joe Hasselvander (Pentagram
08. Vampire Sun 07. The Olde Oak Tree
09. Cosmic Funeral 08. Schizoid Puppeteer
10. Ebony Tears 09. Carnival Bizarre (demo)
11. Melancholy Emperor 10. Rabies (Witchfinder General cover)
12. Equilibrium 11. Blue Light (live)
13. Utopian Blaster 12. Commiserating the Celebration (of Life) (demo)
14. Voodoo Fire
15. Imprisoned In Flesh
DOWNLOAD “Old Oak Tree” from the Earache site
TOTAL PLAYING TIME DISC 1 = 80 mins TOTAL PLAYING TIME DISC 2 = 77 mins
ELECTRIC WIZARD / WE LIVE
Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore Doom Metal, it refuses to lie down and along with Cathedral, Electric Wizard are one of the genres leading lights.
I you don’t like it I doubt if this will convert you but if
you are one of the enlightened ones you are in for a real treat as the Wizard
are on top form with this one, there is nothing groundbreaking but what you get
is Doom at it’s best and the word is spreading, you only have to look at the new
bands coming through like the excellent The Eternal (whose review is elsewhere)
for proof of this. The guitar riffs
are as slow as treacle in winter, heavier than a snow fall in
Best tracks; “We Live”, “Another Perfect Day” & “The Sun Has Turned To Black”.
DOWNLOAD 3 Minute sample of The Sun Has Turned from the label site above.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 55 mis + 6 TRACKS
EVERGREY / THE INNER CIRCLE
If you love the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensryche and Vanden Plas, you are in for a treat as this latest from Evergrey is a joy to listen to.
What we have here is total class, plenty of heavy guitars, loads of keyboard runs and more time changes than you could wish for, couple this with the absolute perfection of the musicianship, and great vocals and you have one hell of a CD. For proof of this just check out “A Touch OF Blessing”, “Ambassador”, The Essence Of Conviction” and “More Than Ever”. They do have their lighter moments and these are just as good as the heavier songs and make this a very balanced album. The initial pressings of this come in a hardback book with 3 live tracks and show the band can do this live as well.
DOWNLOAD “A Touch Of Blessing from the label site above
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 58 mins + 13 TRACKS
MOTORHEAD / INFERNO
Lets face it Motorhead have been around for 30 years and as such are almost a Rock institution, they have been putting out consistent CD’s over that period and this must be their 16th or their abouts.
A few members have come and gone over the years but one thing has remained constant throughout, the loud as F**K METAL and the legend that is Lemmy. The catchy, heavy riff laden tunes coupled with Lemmy’s unique vocal style are all here and they still manage to come up with a few new twists every now and then and Inferno is no different. The main surprise this time is the acoustic Blues of the last track “Whorehouse Blues” traditional blues done in time old fashion and it works well as for the other songs “Life’s A Bitch”, “Terminal Show”, “In The Name Of Tragedy” and “In The Year Of The Bitch” will site very nicely into the vast Motorhead catalogue. The CD comes with a free DVD with 3 Videos and an interview.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 48 mins + 12 TRACKS + DVD
XisLOADED / RAW NERVE
From the same label that brought you InME, Vaux and Amplifier comes another new British band, XisLoaded and this debut CD has a maturity and commerciality way beyond their years.
The British Rock scene is healthier now than it has ever been and bands like this will do well. The guitarist reminds me a bit of the Edge from U2, he can pull out the riffs when needed but has the ability to be creative and hold back, less being more and allow a more creative feel to the songs. Produced by veteran producer Chris Shelton all the songs are allowed to breathe and have an open feel to them but still manage to pull the punches. Vocal wise the harmonies are simple, effective and help create a soundscape that is very distinct but not aloof other bands have taken 3 albums to get this far, I know we will hear a lot more of this band and I expect greater things to come.
Best tracks; “Laugh, Point & Wave”, “Thirteen Day’s”, “The Start Of Everything”, “Last Chance” and “Fallout”
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 44 mins + 12 TRACKS
METAL CHURCH / THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
It’s been 5 long year’s since the last Metal Church CD but it’s been well worth the wait as this is a fantastic return to former glory for the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal inspired band.
Taking their lead from Iron Maiden and Saxon this is Classic Rock with a capital C but somehow it manages to sound fresh. They have a new vocalist in the from of Ronny Munroe who’s style is similar to Biff of Saxon with a touch of Blaze Bailey thrown in for good measure, couple this with the stalwart guitar riffs and lead breaks from Kurdt Vanderhoof and you have a winning formula that will keep everybody happy and headbanging all night long. The Maiden comparison is so strong at time with the stop, start interplay between the guitars and drums, the sing-a-long chorus’s on “Cradle To The Grave”, “Hero’s Soul” and the epic “Wing’s Of Tomorrow” that it’s difficult to believe that Harris and Co. didn’t have a hand in them.
The best tracks are “Weight Of The World”, “Hero’s Soul”, “and Madman’s Soul” and “Wing’s Of Tomorrow” but that doesn’t mean that the others are inferior because they’re not; if you love 80’s Metal this one is for you.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 56 mins + 10 TRACKS
ANNIHILATOR / ALL FOR YOU
Still going strong after 15 years, Thrash driven Annihilator is a testament to the song writing ability and creativity of Canadian Jeff Waters.
Right from the first title track the CD leaves you in no doubt that this is a Heavy Metal record with intelligent lyrics and although not a concept album there is a thread that ties the songs together, madness, insanity and the frustration this causes. The driving metallic riffs coupled with the melodic chorouses make this a joy to listen to anyone who likes metal. The tracks, “Dr. Psycho”, “Demon Dance” and “Both Of Me” are prime examples of what Annihilator is all about and just to prove the have a softer side listen to the two ballads “The One” and “Holding On”, which are both superb.
If Annihilator were a vehicle it would be some kind of sooped up tank, fast, unstoppable and made of solid Metal.
Best tracks, “Dr. Psycho”, “Rage Absolute”, “Demon Dance”, and “All For You”.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 55 mins + 10 TRACKS + 5 CD ROM’S