Review: 7HY-No Going Back

Lions Pride Music (March 2019)

Reviewer: Kelv Hellrazer

Alan Kelly, last time i saw him mid 90s Crazy Crazy , talking bout Chariot, near scuffle on crazy Crazy bus lol , but we go way back to 84, silly album covers, Walthamstow Royal Standard etc.

With his Limahl/ George Lynch hairdo lol, Shy were best AOR band in UK with the best guitarist and the songwriter Steve Harris was the secret weapon RIP ….but it was over without him.

Alan has come up trumps with US vocalist Shawn Pelata, good songs, good vocals, don’t like the name, it’s gonna be compared to Shy, no need for it, nothing like Shy.

Stay Gone‘ opens in fine style, kind of uptempo , Shawn’s a more AOR Hamie from Heavy Pettin’, great Bvs from Kelly kind of Bonjovi esque, great guitars.

Deep Dark Blue‘ great production nice chorus. ‘Still Falling‘ nice ballad, I can see the lighters now, great the way it starts rocking and the sax solo really works, I used to hate sax.

Your Reality‘ rocks out. Great chorus not yer usual AOR achmaltzy song strays away from banal lyrics.

Can’t Trust The Radio‘ is my kind of AOR , moody atmospheric nice takes me back glorious 80’s would have sold loads of this in Shades Records.

Can We Try‘ closes in fine style, very USA influenced Hyts Autograph, bands like that. Awesome guitar solo, Yngwie/ Joshua style from Danny Beardsley. Gone through their other 4 LP’s, I like the material.

Alan needs his old hair do back changed the name to Kelly Palata, maybe some fests in Europe as well for this UK /US collaboration, people would dig it as they ain’t your usual suspects. Bored shitless of Brit bands, and young guys getting it wrong, then big choruses, big production and 7HY is for you, they are wasted, need a new label and a fresh start!

 

 

 

Review: Altitudes & Attitude Get It Out

Megaforce Records (Jan 18th 2019)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

Altitudes & Attitude is a side project for Thrash Metal Bass legends Dave Elfson (Megadeth) and Frank Bello (Anthrax) that began life back in at the start of this decade. As opposed to the type of music they play in their main bands this is a much more Hard Rock/Alt Rock orientated project and their first full album release ‘Get It Out‘ also contains the tracks from their 2014 self titled EP.

Alongside Bello (Bass/Vocals) and Elfson (Guitar) we’ve got Jeff Friedl (Drums) from A Perfect Circle and the album is produced by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Steel Panther, Stone Sour). This is an interesting piece of work and certainly gives the main protagonists an opportunity to showcase talents they don’t get the chance to with their main bands. Frank Bello’s vocals for example are really strong right through.  There will certainly be some comparisons to the likes of Foo Fighters on songs like the title track ‘Get It Out‘ which is a really powerful all out rocker and ‘Part Of Me‘ with that fuzzy tone to the underlying riff.

For me ‘Slip‘ is just a piece of of class, it is perhaps more in the vein of Alkaline Trio, this one holds the attention, has a different feel from the rest of the album and just feels right, the vibe is quite upbeat which in many ways contradicts the feeling the song generally give out. ‘Talk To Me‘ follows suit and keeps the mid section of the album flowing, sadly for me the instrumental ‘Leviathan‘ doesn’t really go anywhere, and feels a but out of synch here, perhaps it’s just a placing thing.

Littered throughout the album are guest guitar spots from the likes of Ace Frehley (KISS), Gus G (Ozzy, Firewind), Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) and Satchel (Steel Panther), which adds a bit more depth to everything. Just take the screaming solo by GusG in ‘Here Again‘ as an example, just enhances that track so much. There are also moments of more aggressive riffing dotted around this release, ‘Here Again‘ the album closer certainly has a much heavier vibe in the chunky riffs and Thrashy interludes, while retaining a similar vocal delivery to the rest of the album..

This may not be a release that was on everyone’s radar, but it shouldn’t be just bypassed, certainly enough good stuff here to make it worth checking out and it’s always nice to hear something different from some well know musicians in their own field. Hopefully they we be able to schedule some more European dates following their recent run with Slash..

Review: Elles Bailey – Road I Call Home

Release Date: (March 7th 2019)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

Elles Bailey has been a growing force in recent times and with the release of her second album ‘Road I Call Home‘ that’s definitely going to continue. Following on from the critically acclaimed and very successful debut album ‘Wildfire‘ which was released towards the end of 2017, Elles is set to capitalise on the momentum that a really good debut and some very hard work touring has built up.

The music on this release continues in the same vein as what we have heard previously, but there’s an assured confidence flowing through this release that just pushes the songs to new levels, although this may be a very personal group of songs there are themes that resonate with us all and it’s the execution that makes everything shine so well. Style wise we’ve got an amalgamation of Blues, Americana and Country dripping all over this one

This is most definitely an album you need to let seep into your pores, soak in it, breathe it in, tracks like ‘Deeper‘ just beg to be put on repeat and allow you to pick up on different nuances with each listen. As with it’s predecessor this was recorded in Nashville, and has been sympathetically produced by Brad Nowell and Steve Blackmon, which suits the style and delivery of the songs.

Of the eleven tracks on offer here you find it hard to look past any one track, there are so many reasons to keep listening and to come back for more. What raises this album above the rest is probably the fact that it so smoothly rolls from one style to another and yet neither loses focus nor the beautiful ebb and flow from song to song. ‘Help Somebody‘ stuck in my head from the first listen, a bluesy beast lifted by a Brass section that’s in no way overpowering, there are pieces of magic everywhere you turn, and the playing is exemplary whether from the special guests in Nashville or the UK musicians.

There’s an almost visible pain in ‘What’s The Matter With You‘, while ‘Little Piece Of Heaven‘ is another that wraps around your heart and pulls on the strings hard and is probably the most poppy track on offer while remaining very soulful at the same time, the writing credits are great to see but really mean very little without the excellent delivery of the stories. Then we come to the closing track ‘Light In The Distance‘ and just wow, a stunning performance in it’s simplicity, a vocal with piano accompaniment, but the vocal is so beautiful, like a winding river it meanders through a story, it’s a testament as to how far this young artist has come in a relatively short space of time.

This is a wonderful album, it’s full of depth, warmth and just really well put together songs that demand your attention. Keep your eyes and ears open for Elles Bailey, it’s a name that I’m sure you will hear a lot more of in the future. The Uk/Irl Tour starts at the beginning of March, don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear these songs live, it will be a great experience. The World better be ready for Elles because she is definitely coming for it.

 

Review: Blood Red Saints Pulse

AOR Heaven (Febuary 22nd 2019)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

It has been just over 12 months since Blood Red Saints released their last album ‘Love, Hate, Conspiracies‘ and the guys are back with the release of their third album ‘Pulse‘, and it’s a damn good album.

What we have grown to expect from this band is a more edgy style of AOR, well written songs, but strong riffs and the levels turned up a bit, certainly since the addition of second guitarist Neil Hibbs, and they have certainly found their groove. As always the main focal point of the band it Pete Godfrey’s wonderful voice alongside Lee Revill’s lead guitar.

Having listened to the album a lot over the last few weeks the whistling, and slightly haunting Into to the opening track ‘Believer‘ still grabs my attention, it’s unusual but somehow fits perfectly as a starting point for the song, and it is a really good song to kick the album off with, they have managed again on this album to blend some different styles and manage to sound different to most of the bands out there, it’s not synchronised  rock.

Of the eleven tracks on offer here you will be grabbed by the most of them in a slightly different way, for some reason after the intro when the chorus kicks in I just can’t shake the thoughts of Shinedown when listening to ‘Cross To Bear‘ but that’s not to say that it is in anyway sounding cloned, this is an  excellent track, that stands on it’s own merits. Pete’s vocals are exemplary throughout, but there is something about this one that keeps pulling me back over and over, with the faint orchestral accompaniment, or the strength of that chorus, this is certain for me to become a live favourite. There’s a real crunch and power to ‘Message To God‘ and it’s another one that sticks out on each listen, strong riff, pumping drums.

This time around the ballads ‘Crash Into Me‘ and the wonderful ‘Bring Me To Life‘ are once again beautifully executed, and I’m sure both will come across brilliantly in an acoustic or full band setting. ‘Bring Me To Life‘ in particular completes the album brilliantly, going from moving harmonic vocals to some screaming guitars in 5 seconds flat.

This is another excellent release from Blood Red Saints, again it sounds different to what’s out there already and still has that edge, it’s not perfect, what is in this day and age, one or two tracks didn’t quite do it for me, for example some days I really like the title track and others it’s not grabbing me, but it’s a damn fine album overall. Really look forward to hearing these new songs live and how powerful they will come across. Once again Blood Red Saints have shown that they are one of the better and more interesting Melodic Rock bands in the UK and this group of songs will hopefully just add to their legion of fans.

Review: Departed – Tides

Independent (Feb 2nd 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

South West UK rockers Departed have just released ‘Tides‘, their follow up EP to the band’s debut EP. It’s been nearly three years since that debut, an EP I still play, and it’s nice to finally get to listen to some new music from the band.

Tides‘ consists of five tracks, which have that ‘British Rock Band’ sound firmly stamped all over them. First off the block ‘Come On‘ does however have a certain Black Crowes vibe to it, fast paced, foot tapping goodness, it nicely sets the scene for what’s to follow.

Soul Shaker‘ ramps things up another notch, is there such a thing as a double foot tapper? Again catchy as hell, think car windows down, arm out, stereo blaring, it’s got that sort of vibe about it.

Next up is ‘All The Way‘ which has a deeper groove with a great riff throughout delivered with aplomb by guitarist Ben Brookland.

Let Her Down Easy‘ slows things down, again with a Black Crowes vibe, but with that British twist delivered by vocalist Mark Pascall, whose vocals slot very favorably into my personal musical tastes.

Remedy‘ is another slow number, with a wonderful guitar sound, and again brings thoughts of sunnier weather, lazing in a beer garden, sun on the face, you get the picture I’m painting! It brings the EP sadly to an end, but with a flourish.

These guys really need to give us a full album, with the types of response they’ve had from fans and media alike with their live performances, it would really help give them that final push.

All I can add is that ‘Tides‘ is highly recommended.

 

Review: Collateral – The Black Heart, Camden, Feb 7th 2019

Reviewer / photographer – Dan Mann

The last twelve months has seen Collateral get a foot in the door to the next level of rock stardom.

Their appearance last night at The Black Heart, Camden certainly kicked off 2019 in style, introduced onstage by Planet Rock‘s Paul Anthony, the band launched into a set of original material in front of an enthusiastic sell out crowd who happily sang along to every song.

This was a showcase of how a hungry young rock band should perform, their enjoyment and enthusiasm clearly showing, as they stormed through their set, ending on their current single ‘Midnight Queen‘, a song that’s undergone a new mix by Romesh Dodangoda  and is currently on Planet Rock’s playlist.

If you’ve not yet seen Collateral play, then grab the chance now before they’re playing arenas!!

Set List:

1 – Calm Before The Storm

2 – When Faith Breaks

3 – You Were the Only One

4 – Going With The Wind *

5 – Coming Home

6 – Move On

7 – Just Waiting For You *

8 – Promise Land **

9 – Merry Go Round **

10 – Lullaby Encore **

11- Midnight Queen * + **

*Denotes songs from ‘4 Shots! EP‘ **Denotes songs from forthcoming debut album

all images copy-write© RPR Media UK

 

Review: Gathering Of Kings – First Mission

RN Records (January 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Here we have another album I’ve been eagerly awaiting having bought four of the tracks from Amazon last year, so I had a pretty good understanding of what the album was going to be like.

First Mission‘ is a smörgåsbord of an album, combining a wealth of talent from other Scandi rock bands eg. Masterplan, Therion, The Night Flight Orchestra, Soilwork, Saffire, Pretty Maids, Spiritual Beggars, Corroded, Streamline etc. The end results are a melodic rock fans wet dream. Imagine someone sitting down to record the ultimate Scandi rock sampler, yes it’s that good!

They haven’t shurked on the number of tracks either, giving us twelve in total. And to pick a favorite? It would be easier to squeeze myself through a catflap, but if forced to pick the highlights as it were I’d have to go for ‘Forever and a Day‘, ‘Out of My Life‘ & ‘Saviour‘.

If you are a fan of melodic hard rock and Scandi rock then this really is a no brainer, purchase wise.

Get yourselves a copy and give it the beans!

Review: Gin Annie – 100% Proof

Off Yer Rocka Recordings (Jan 25th 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

For those of you unfamiliar with Gin Annie, they’re a five piece melodic hard rock band, hailing from the West Midlands, Wolverhampton to be exact, which is part of an area (the Black Country) steeped in rock history!

Gin Annie are part of a strong, and still growing line of of British bands who are collectively being grouped under the moniker ‘New Wave Of Classic Rock‘.

Well here we have the band’s debut album, ‘100% Proof‘ supplying us ten tracks of guitar driven rock that is sure to get your foot or feet tapping / stomping.

All the ingredients are here, the riffs, the pounding drums, great vocals, and of course none of those would mean anything without great songs.

From the start of the first track ‘Love Ain’t Here‘ the stage is set  for what’s to follow. Catchy? Damn right it is..

The album meanders between the out and out hard rock of ‘Damage Is Done‘ and ‘All I Want‘ to the more melodic ‘Chains‘ and the rather excellent ‘Haunt Me

I love the riff throughout ‘Fallin’‘, classic air guitar moment!

The album wraps up with the gritty ‘Born To Rock And Roll‘ which is full of that bourbon soaked atmosphere that such a titled song should contain.

It’s so satisfying to have yet another band furiously waving the flag for British rock and delivering such a strong debut.

Add this on your ‘to buy’ list.

 

Review: Flotsam And Jetsam – The End Of Chaos

AFM Records (January 18th 2019)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

In many ways Flotsam and Jetsam are not only one of the heavyweights of the Thrash Metal, a band during 90’s for me far ahead of their time but also one that has so often been underrated in the genre. Something that has perhaps become quite a common thread in reviews I write, but something that could again hold back an album like this is the current need for immediacy in music, and perhaps to a certain extent the older generation that see’s their free time reduced and therefore the ability to sit and properly listen to music is no longer there, this again is an album you need to live with a bit.

What we have grown to expect from this band is a more mature often melodic style of Thrash, well written songs and it’s always most importantly tight as hell and Metal. The band have always had one of the more original sounding vocalists in Erik A.K, and that is still true today. To have existed as a band for 38 years is no easy feat in itself, and there has been a fair share of ups and downs, but to continue to make albums of this quality is a great sign of the hard work they continue to put in. Having listened to the album a lot over the last few weeks it just continues to grow on me, the songs stay fresh and I haven’t wanted to put it down, it’s on constant rotation as I travel around the City and that is never a bad sign.

Of the eleven tracks on offer here you will be grabbed by the power of ‘Control‘ which is just class, everything in proportion, pounding drums, screaming guitars and a layering that just drives it all home, there’s a nice anger in Erik’s vocal delivery on this one too that fits perfectly to the tune. Alongside this we’ve got other highlights including ‘Demolition Man‘ which a really nice bass line, spitting guitars, it’s another no holds barred track and ‘Unwelcome Surprise‘ which just smashes you right in the face and keeps going, pacey, crunchy goodness. Going to be really interesting what they pick from this album to their live set as there are many options.

This is another excellent release from a band that never really went away but appear to have become totally reinvigorated in recent years, there’s power, control and just some really excellent tracks that have translated brilliantly in the live environment. F&J will be hitting the UK in March with Overkill and again in July for the Amplified Festival. Do yourself a favour and get this one, if you are a fan of Thrash, heavy music or just good music, this is one that is sure to satisfy a lot more than just old school fans. Top stuff from a band all too often referred to as the one Jason Newsted left to go to Metallica, they have continued to be relevant in a scene where so many of their peers lost the creative spark many years ago. 2019 sees a band with a great lineup that seems to be working so well together, creatively and live, plenty more to come from this band.

Review: Meridian – Margin Of Error

Mighty Music (March 22nd 2019)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Meridian, the Danish melodic metal band, return with a brand new album ‘Margin Of Error‘, comprising of eleven tracks, four of which I’m more than familiar with as they were on the band’s EP ‘The Fate of Atlantis‘ released last year.

Having heard that the four tracks would be on a full album I kind of knew what to expect. Or so I thought….’Margin Of Error‘ just takes everything up several notches, giving us a fully emersive album which I have not stopped playing.

Guitarists Martin J. Anderson and Marco Angioni have both been busy with their involvement with hard rock band REƎCE, helmed by vocalist David Reece, resulting in the album ‘Resilient Heart‘ which was in my top ten releases from last year Hence the two year gap since the last Meridian album ‘Breaking The Surface‘.

To bring up something I mutter often, if the vocals don’t suit me then the album won’t light my dials. But in singer Lars Märker, the band have an absolute star, whose vocal talants are superb. I have long shouted about the talents of Martin J. Anderson, from when I first heard him in his other band Blindstone, a seriously underated guitarist. Not to say Marco is lacking in talent, hell no!. Peter Bruun – bass, and Klaus Agerbo – drums supply that pounding, controlled soundtrack that punches you squarely in the gut.

With eleven terrific tracks, ranging from the pounding opener ‘The Devil Inside Us All‘, the hard rock feel of ‘The Fate Of Atlantis‘, a track which wouldn’t be out of place on an Eden’s Curse album, to the Iron Maiden like ‘Scream For Me‘, this album will appeal to a wide range of rock fans.

I know it’s only January, but ‘Margin Of Error‘ is already looking like a worthy contender for a favoirte release of 2019.

Verdict……..order it now!