Review: Wicked Stone – Devil In Me (EP)

Factory Music (September 13th 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Okay let’s start by placing my cards on the table. Wicked Stone, yes I’m a fan!

I first saw them supporting RavenEye at Leo’s Red Lion and when I was booking bands to play the second Fibrofest, Wicked Stone instantly came to mind as a band we needed back at Leo’s.

It’s been a bit of a wait for new material since the band’s release of ‘Ain’t No Rest‘ in 2017, but with everyone working and with other commitments it’s more than understandable.

So, was it worth the wait, a wait that seems longer being an inpatient fan?

Two words……….damn right!

One thing I like about Wicked Stone‘s releases is they capture the full on intensity of the band’s live shows. Fat riffs and a pounding bass & drumline help propel the tracks deep inside your earlugs.

From the opening onslaught of ‘Couldn’t Take Anymore‘ to the last track on the EP, ‘Devil In Me‘ you don’t catch a breather, the infectious, foot stomping assault gives no quarter.

This is a ‘no brainer’, add ‘Devil In Me‘ to your music collection.

After receiving the promo came news of line up change. I hope the band manage to get onto that illusive next rung and get the attention they justly deserve.

 

Review: Hands Off Gretel, Humber Street Sesh 2019 August 2nd & 3rd August

Reviewer / Photographer: Paul Saripo

Hands Off Gretel have been touring extensively during festival season and with the foresight of Alen Raw, from Humbers BBC introducing, he talked his counterparts in south Yorkshire to get these guys up and over to Hull and play on the Humber Street Sesh, BBC Introducing Stage for 2019

Hands Off Gretel arrived in good time and mingled in the crowds soaking up the Sesh’s unique City Festival atmosphere before delivering a stela performance on the Introducing Stage.

A worthy crowd assembled to take delivery of Gretel’s alternate rock set, opening up with One Eyed Girl, it wasn’t long before the classic SASS and Milk showed just how lyrically strong and poignant the HOG quartet are.

The vocal range of Lauren draws you in with a smoothness that turns wildly into a growling rasping whip and back again with a backlash of calm.

A broken 6th string on Laurens guitar made for a quick change to a sparkly pink axe, it seemed at this point energy amongst the willing crowd turned into small pools of mosh, then up from the masses a crowd surfer emerged and was aloft for a few seconds then brought down back to safety by vigilant event staff.

Sean on lead makes playing guitars look deceptively easy, churning out the complexity with ease alongside Beckie on the Rickenbacker bass, who plays fast, precise and with personality that resonates with the hefty strings, whilst at the back Sam is on drums keeping the time and driving the beats out as sure as an artillery strike.

Review: Three Day Millionaires – Humber Street Sesh August 2nd & 3rd August 2019

Reviewer / photographer: Paul Saripo

Three Day Millionaires have played the Humber Street Sesh before, including headlining the almighty Rock Stage, however this year the three piece hard hitting Punk rock ’ n‘roll power house hit the Main Stage for 2019’s two day festival which takes over the City and far beyond.

It was the first time the Main Stage at the Humber street Sesh, has scheduled a punk band to have the signature stage of the festival and at a prime time on Saturday.

Speaking briefly with the lads before the set, it was clear these guys had a plan and oh boy did they deliver a stunning performance.

Not only did they pull in large crowds filling the Marina, they rocked, kicking out some serious energy to an enthusiastic and eclectic ordinance who may not have anticipated the thrust of power laden riffs of ‘The Snub’.

These guys play hard, tight and fast energy punk that do not hold anything back. Another first for the main stage at the Sesh, was a bust snare head that warranted a quick change out and on with the well-received onslaught of sheer head on punk delivered in true Hull spirit.

The Three Day Millionaires, announced that this maybe one of their final gigs as two of the trio are expectant fathers and will soon be taking time out with their respective families.

Time will tell what happens during this sabbatical, these guys have been around gigging for about 4 years with gigs up and down the Uk, in places such as Camden, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Lincoln to mention a few just this year alone as well as been part of the Hull’s rich musical family.

All photographs copywrite© Paul Saripo & Paul Saripo Photography and may not be used without express permission

Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Brighter Days

Provogue Records (August 23rd)

 Reviewer: Paul Saripo

The opening track is ‘Baptise Me‘ a stand out, solid blues rock number that really hooks you into the rhythm and depth of the music. A great opener for the album and insight in what’s to follow.

Next is the albums only cover song ‘Simple Man‘, originally by ‘Pops Staples‘, this rendition is smooth and offers some new dimension with the pedal steel work. Whilst not presented quite as personal as Pops, its sole full and arranged well.

Lenesha Randolph takes up lead vocals on ‘Cry Over Me‘ whilst Robert concentrates on working the steel guitar in a relaxed sliding swill allowing room for Lenesha’ fantastic vocal lines. A good compliment of instrumental breaks to really push some fast right hand and pedal work of Robert’s steal.

Second Hand Man‘ is percussive and drives a deep farrow with a sprinkle of a jazz feel at times.

Have Mercy‘, is a soulful gospel duet that is held together by a solid bass line from Danyel Morgan and the melodic pedal guitar woven into the track.

Next up is somewhat slower vocally yet still upbeat on the steel that has a voice in synergy and a bonding part of this album.

I’m Living Off The Love You Give‘ picks up the beat and delivers in a car wash jive beat with whip steel string work.

Cut Em Loose‘ has some fast and prominent work on the pedal steel guitar, leaving the hook of the refrain to combine and invite you in to join.

Don’t Fight‘ is built with a variety musical styles presented in medley fashion with influences of T-Bone Walker then midway into the song following a crescendo a riff developed and I was reminded of Soft Cell with the early 80’s Tainted Love

The album concludes with ‘Strange Train‘ a large anthem track with everyone pushing the tempo and keeping balance and use of a the lap steal in prominence over the pedal.

Overall an enjoyable album, unique rock blues gospel with an upbeat feel.

 

 

 

Scarlet Rebels – Show Your Colours

ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records (09 August 2019)

Reviewer: Paul Saripo

Welsh based Rock band, Scarlet Rebels (previously going by the name of V0id) have produced their debut Album, ‘Show Your Colours‘ with riffs as smooth as mountain slate and groves as deep as the lush green valleys.

The album opens with an impressive track, ‘No One Else To Blame‘ that uses vocal harmonies and head rocking guitars to deliver a solid first track introduction and signature for the album.

Each track on the album is robust and formed together with gifted song writing from the heart.  A tapestry of Musical delight as this album unfolds, delivering an emotional journey with a variety of killer riffs and swirling solos of ‘You Take My Breath Away‘,  then on to a potent anthem track ‘Head’s In The Ground‘ followed by dusty confederate undertones of ‘Part Of Me‘.

Moving on to the next track ‘Heal‘, which begins with an air of tension which develops into a roller coaster of vibrant riffs. ‘Let Your Love Go‘ is another energetic song as is ‘Nothing To Say‘.

Next up is ‘Save Me‘ with solid hook’s and solid construction.

‘Blinded By The Pain‘ is solitude and desperation around mental heath, following on is ‘Shattered Dreams‘ and ‘Can I Open My Eyes‘ continuing with an upbeat energy.

From this we are pulled into ‘Returning Light a heart wrenching ballad. Powerful arrangements combine with Wayne Doyle’s well written lyrics delivered with believable vocals. One of my favourite tracks on the album.

‘Losing End’ picks up pace again showing further dexterity of Scarlet Rebels writing ability. The album closes with ‘Radio Song‘.

This album has a place in everyone’s collection, not only seriously talented musicians and song writers, but a breath of fresh air in contemporary rock.

Review: Danny Vaughn – Myths, Legends & Lies

Vaughnsongs (June 14th 2019)

Reviewer: Grant Foster

I’ve always admired Mr Vaughn. A real honest, down to earth, friendly guy. And it goes without saying, a first class vocalist. Frontman of Tyketto, who’s first release, the classy AOR of ‘Don’t Come Easy’, is always welcome on my stereo / Iphone / cd player.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this release as DV’s solo releases have run the gamut of styles from hard rock to acoustic overtones. But DV hasn’t disappointed here! He has brought an album that is so intimate, so close, so full of joy, earthy, organic and warm.

It’s perfect for warm summer nights, or long drives in the countryside, or parties with good friends. There’s Irish country jigs (The Shadow Of King John), country pickers (Man or Machine, Last Ride of the Sunset Men), blues (Something I Picked Up Along The Way) acoustic (What You Left Behind) and a whole lot more besides.

DV’s voice is warm, rich and smooth. The performances here are of the highest order and the production is bright. If you think DV is a one card trick, then think again. This album is a sheer joy. It would be nothing of course, without good songs and it has plenty of those, amongst the 14 tracks on offer.

Myths Legends & Lies‘ – probably the most surprising album of the year for me so far, but, one of the best yet.

Bloodhound – Humber Street Sesh August 2nd & 3rd August 2019

Photographer: Paul Saripo (Paul Saripo Photography)

Bloodhound, a three-piece grunge peddling outreach of alternative rock, return to play a home town festival In Hull.
Filling the Strummerville Stage at Humber Street Sesh, as the powerful set progressed so did the volume of people pushing up against the barriers to see who was rocking out Humber street on Saturday. These guys are working on a new album over the coming months which will be something to watch out for.

All photographs copywrite© Paul Saripo & Paul Saripo Photography and may not be used without express permission

Review: Bonfire – Live On Holy Ground Wacken 2018

Pride & Joy Music (June 14th 2019)
Reviewer: Grant Foster

Live albums, are they as relevant today as they were 40 years ago?

If You Want Blood, Live and Dangerous, Strangers In The Night. In the days before the internet, downloads, YouTube etc, they were a wonderful documentation of a band’s live show committed to vinyl. But even those illustrious releases aren’t entirely ‘live’.

Priest’s effort is well known as ‘Unleashed In The Studio’ for a reason! Listen to Whole Lotta Rosie from IYWB. Most of it is the studio version from the Let There Be Rock album version. And the ending? I’ve never heard it finished like that on any bootlegs from that era or since! So, how do you know what you are hearing on these ‘live’ albums, is in fact, just that?

This album recorded at Wacken 2018, sounds great. Full and muscular. Almost like a studio release. Ooops, there’s the cynic in me again. The playing and singing is full on. There’s no doubting the quality of this band ‘live’. I really don’t know what else to say. If you are a Bonfire fan, you’re gonna love this. If you’re a hard rock fan, it’s worth checking out. If you haven’t heard of the band, check out their ‘Fireworks’ album.

That’s the problem with live albums in the modern day, in my humble opinion. The songs become so over produced, that they are almost indistinguishable from the albums from which they originally came. And as anyone who has ever performed a live rock show knows, that’s very rarely the case. Now where’s my copy of AC/DC’s ‘Live From The Atlantic Studios?’ Now that’s a LIVE album!

Review: Tarchon Fist – Apocalypse

Pride & Joy Music (16th August 2019)

Reviewer: Paul Saripo

Tarchon Fist, an Italian metal axe swinging outfit that know how deliver lyrically with heavy slick metal riffs have produced quite a few albums however this is there first concept album.

This new album, ‘Apocalypse‘, will take the listener into a journey of myth, legend and historical fact as well as dousing your musical hunger with fresh volcanic jolt.

Guitars are in full harmonic song, bright, punchy and duet with harmonic waves.

This is a concept album that is well organised, the narrative here is a path of human to human conflict and tests the question that none of us are born good, nor are we born bad.

This is intellectual metal that’s delivered by versatile and precision musicians that play fast and hard with little compromise for a lyric trail that is full of challenge such as ‘Razor From The Abyss‘.

‘Proud to Be Dinosaurs‘ is something of a min anthem that just hooks you in as you explore this albums journey.

This is based on pre-Christianity culture rather than anything biblical so don’t expect any mercy here other than some hints of a Ballard on ‘My Destiny (Epilogue)‘.

Last Human Strength‘ is another strong track with a riff change midway that is reminiscent of Beethoven’s  ‘Für Elise’.

Ramon on lead Vocals doesn’t let up and delivers a range and tone reminiscent of some place between Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford

Make no mistake, this is a story that needs to be listened to over and over again without being shy on the volume.

Review: Rob Moratti – Renaissance

AOR Heaven (21 June 2019)

Reviewer: David Pearce

Rob Moratti has been lead singer for Saga and the Final Frontier and has been a favourite of Japanese music lovers in particular.

His new album ‘Renaissance‘ sees Moratti going solo and this proves to be a good move as he starts with the West Coast sound of ‘You Are The One‘. While the guitars are crunching away Moratti’s voice sails above them with ease channelling diverse styles and sounding like a mix between the Eagles and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. He has a truly superb range and makes this opener a real convertible with the top down driving track!

Let Me Be The One‘ starts with an 80s synth before settling in to a smooth rock ballad that just oozes class. ‘Best of Me‘ sounds like classic REO Speedwagon and builds a gorgeous wall of sound featuring Moratti’s amazing vocals and a beautiful piano led tune.

Lift You Up‘ is another driving song that features a really strong chorus that sets off the verses very well.  ‘Hold on to Love‘ has a hint of the classic 80s group Huey Lewis and the News in the music and becomes a track that the listener can sing along to very quickly.

I Let You In‘ like ‘Let Me Be the One’ sounds like a bona fide rock classic pretty much straight away. ‘It’s Time to Let Go‘ has another great piano backing that reminds me of the best of Bruce Hornsby and the Range.

Mandy Come Home‘ starts with the most understated introduction on the album before moving into Europe territory with driving guitars and a Joey Tempest style vocal. ‘I Don’t Want to Wait Forever‘ sounds like the best of Paul Carrack and the tune has more than a hint of Silent Running in the verses. It is definitely my favourite track on the album and really should get some serious airplay.

The final track on this uniformly excellent album is ‘It Hurts to be in Love‘ which once again strolls confidently into Europe’s catalogue and is not found wanting in any way.

This is the album of a singer with a great voice, great range and great confidence. With the help of an experienced, versatile and incredibly talented set of musicians Rob Moratti has crafted a classic set of songs that demand to be listened to.