Lugnet

 

Lugnet – Lugnet

Pride & Joy Music (2016)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Hailing from Sweden (yes another scandi band) Lugnet are a band who’ve not followed the deluge of Scandi bands and recorded a melodic rock album. Instead your treated to a delicious slice of British inspired 70’s hard rock.

The first track on the album ‘All The Way’ is actually rather reminiscent of Voodoo Circle’s take on Whitesnake, if that makes sense. Vocalist Roger Solander is a delightful mixture of David Coverdale, John Lawton & Ian Gillan. His vocals ticks so many boxes on my ‘musical tastes’ list!

Sails’ is more like that other Gillan (Ray) and Badlands, infusing an underlying current of blues rock into the mix.

Next up is ‘Veins’ with a pounding riff and Solander wailing away, thankfully with plenty of control to his vocals. Large slabs of Dio/Sabbath influence make this very enjoyable.

We head back to Coverdale / early Snake territory with the excellent ‘Tears In The Sky’. Special guest Bruno Erminero on the Hammond Organ, adds to the 70’s feel with great effect.

It Ain’t Easy’ starts off with a reasonably fast tempo, and to my ears comes across as Uriah Heep, and the catchy chorus easily sticks in the old grey matter.

We keep the tempo uplifted with ‘Gypsy Dice’, drummer Fredrik Jansson giving the kit a damn good work out and a fine exempt of the ‘double axe attack’ courtesy of messers Marcus ‘Mackan’ Holten and Danne ‘Bonden’ Jansson.

The penultimate track on the album ‘In The Still Of The Water’ sees the band once again slipping on the Deep Purple shoes and giving it their all.

And so to the last track (wish there were more). Thankfully they leave us with a track that’s nearly ten and a half minutes long. Solander’s vocals on ‘Into The Light’ remind me of Tony Martin era Black Sabbath, once again not a bad thing whatsoever.

To quickly sum up, I can see this album creeping into my Top 20, if not my Top 10 releases of 2016.

Dead Shed Jokers - Dead Shed Jokers

Dead Shed Jokers – Dead Shed Jokers
 
Pity My Brain Records (2015)
 
Reviewer – Stephen Brophy
The self titled sophomore album from Welsh Alt Rockers Dead Shed Jokers is an intriguing one, and not just a run of the mill Rock album by any means. There are elements of numerous styles in here, with vocalist Hywel Davies guiding us through the bands winding road with an ease that also encompasses an air of the theatrical. The album itself is well balanced, different and shows off a lot of talent from a band that are not easily pigeonholed.
Tracks like the excellent opener ‘Dafydd’s Song‘, a rousing rocker with punchy riffs and a little bit of angst in the vocal delivery roll straight into a more indie slide of ‘Delay The Morning‘ where, as in other places on this album, I get reminded of The Enemy frontman Tom Clarke in their more rock like moments, and that’s certainly not a band thing, the ability to seamlessly switch, move and interpret rock standards in a different way is always something a little special, and these guys have that in bucket loads. The base for it all would seem to come out of 70’s Classic Rock, but not anything as simple as copying what’s already be delivered a thousand times before, even a track that has simple beginnings like ‘A Cautionary Tale‘ has the added edge of some haunting guitar work and the real sense that strands of a story are being spun into the microphone.
The stand out tracks here, alongside the opener, are the upbeat, funky and enigmatic ‘Rapture Riddles‘ which runs out in twenty different directions rather than circles, the slightly demented ‘Memoirs of Mr Bryant‘ which ends in a cacophony of madness, but it’s still a very interesting song, also ‘Made in Vietnam‘ with some really nice bass runs and an ebb and flow that lifts you up and dumps your right down again, there’s just some really good work right the way through, but it’s definitely an album that needs and deserves some perseverance and may take a few listens to settle in your mind.
This band are really tight throughout and the production suits the music really well, it’s not over polished and that’s just perfect. Dead Shed Jokers have managed to create a pretty original sounding album and one that’s definitely worth your attention, if you haven’t heard of them before go pick this one up and allow it to sink into your skin, once if soaks through it’s quite difficult not to be affected by it.

Copyright© Peter Scallan
                 Copyright© Peter Scallan

Review: Gun

Sala Arena, Madrid 30 Oct 2015

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

GUN and I go back a long way having known three of the guys for well over 30 years and had the privilege to play the odd gig with Giuliano Gizzi. Consequently I have seen them many times in a number of locations including of course Glasgow Barrowlands which is always something special. I had heard that Spain was partial to a bit of GUN and that Madrid was a favourite city for the band and was looking forward to both the gig and enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of Madrid!

I must admit, with about 30 minutes to gig time I was getting worried that the place was empty with barely 60-70 people in when the local support act finished. However, in the space of about 20 minutes the place filled up and it was rammed. The band hit the stage with the opening song from the latest album Frantic called Let It Shine and what an opening! The place erupted and became even more frantic when they quickly launched into Don’t Say It’s Over which really had the place bouncing and singing. The fever pitch increased even further when Better Days kicked in with the crowd singing the words with Dante Gizzi. Another new song followed in the shape of One Wrong Turn before another GUN classic was rolled out in the form of Seems Like I’m Losing You from the Swagger album. A superb rendition of Something To Believe In followed with the place really bouncing and was dedicated to local boy Luis Diaz who is a diehard GUN fan and was our personal Madrid tour guide for the first couple of days. Next up was single Everyone’s a Winner which was followed by the awesome title track from Frantic, which I just love and is even better live than on the album. The roof nearly came off the venue when the Giuliano opened Money and the crowd was bouncing like it was 1977 and the punk revolution and shouting every word as it was sung. These were quickly followed by a further two songs from Frantic with Hold Your Head Up and then Labour of Love again both sounding raunchy and rocking. Another song from Taking On The World was rolled out in the shape of Inside Out leading to the penultimate song Word Up with the crowd joining in. The guys then closed the set proper with Steal Your Fire which is one of my personal favourite before leaving the stage. However, the place erupted like it was the second coming when the encore started with Taking On The World followed by Welcome To The Real World. And there was one more song which brought to crowd to the boil as no GUN gig would be complete without Shame On You. And so it was ended and GUN seriously rocked Madrid!

Now admittedly it was always unlikely that I was going to be impartial with this gig review given a lifetime of history with some of the guys. However, while the band served up an absolutely awesome set, the real surprise was the Madrid crowd who rocked even harder than the band. I found myself just looking about at people’s reaction to the band and it was fanatical. GUN’s Xmas gig at the Barrowlands has always been special but this year Glasgow you will have to go one helluva way to out rock Madrid. Madrid – you were pure dead gallus and made a happy man feel very old!

   Copyright© Graeme Cook
Copyright©Graeme Cook

 

Review: Alice Cooper/Mötley Crüe

Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle 2 Nov 2015

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

It’s been a long time since I saw either of these acts. It was 1989 and 1986 respectively at the Edinburgh Playhouse, although if I am honest I only went to see Mötley Crüe as Cheap Trick were the support. And continuing in that honest vein I was only really looking forward to seeing Alice Cooper tonight. History repeating itself!

I missed The One Hundred who opened proceedings so lets start with Alice Cooper. Over the years Alice Cooper has produced some masterful albums but also dished up some dross. However, Alice as a show is almost a guarantee of an excellent evening’s entertainment. With only an hour-long set I was intrigued to see how he played it, although he couldn’t go wrong if he drew on his stronger albums. The set opened with Black Widow from his golden era in the 70s and continued in that vein as he rolled out more classics from the early 70s in the shape of No More Mr Nice Guy, Under My Wheels, Eighteen and Billion Dollar Babies effortlessly with the aid of an excellent band including awesome female guitarist Nina Strauss. The 70s classics were quickly followed by Poison, the title track of the album that put Alice back in the limelight in 1989. We were then treated to Dirty Diamonds, co-written with long-time bass stalwart Chuck Garric. Not surprisingly there was bass/drum interplay section in which they guys had their respective slots. We then jumped back to the 70s for the excellent Go To Hell which really rocked for me before Feed My Frankenstein from the 90s album Hey Stoopid. During this song we werebvtreated to a huge rocking Frankenstein monster who commandeered the stage providing the comic book spectacle you would expect of Alice Cooper. This was followed by the Ballad of Dwight Fry and Alice’s nurse helping him into his straight jacket and then tormenting him throughout before exacting his revenge, all making for an entertaining spectacle. Next up was a medley of sorts with partial versions of Killer and I Love The Dead during which Alice gets beheaded. The last song needed no introduction from the opening chords and the crowd just lapped up School’s Out which was an obvious closer. What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the Alice Cooper live show – it is just pure rock’n’roll theatre and it was superb.

  Copyright© Graeme Cook
Copyright© Graeme Cook

And so to the Crüe and their final tour. The set opened with Girls, Girls, Girls and even during the first song Vince Neal was ducking out of the high notes on the chorus, pointing his mic to the audience to sing. This was quickly followed by Wild Side and then onto Primal Scream which to me sounded awful in terms of sound quality and most definitely in terms of the vocals. Same Old Situation was next and sounded pretty good. There was a change of pace with Don’t Go Away Mad which was also ok. Smoking in the Boys room was opened with excerpts from the Glitter Bands Rock’n’Roll which was also ok. However, Looks That Kill for me was also awful vocally as Neal attempted and failed miserably at the high notes – but at least he tried – take note Don Dokken! I didn’t know the next song which I believe is from the Saints of Los Angeles album and called Motherfucker of the Year – really? Nikki Sixx then proceeded to narrate about his life and the fact that if you really want something you will get it with himself being the point in case. He used the word f@ck that much he could have become an honourary Glaswegian! This was followed by a rendition of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK before falling back to classic Crüe in the shape of Shout At The Devil which highlighted further vocal shortcomings. Louder Than Hell did rock it up a little before the intro tape to the drum solo. I could be wrong but I think it was called O Fortuna but I am not really sure if I am honest! However, what followed was a quite spectacular drum piece with Tommy Lee on his roller coaster and blew the roof off the house. The sublime was quickly followed by the ridiculous with Mick Mars guitar solo which was quite possibly the singular worst guitar solo I have ever seen at this sort of level. Granted I know his health isn’t the best and I may be being unfair but what it boils down is if I turned up and performed my day job as bad as that I wouldn’t last long! Saints of Los Angeles followed with the penultimate song being Dr Feelgood and the set closing proper with the rocking Kickstart My Heart. The encore involved the band moving to a small stage at the end of the rollercoaster to play Home Sweet Home. I was positioned right next to this stage and Vince Neal looked like he was terrified further reinforced by the fact he seemed to miss his cue for the song only to be prompted visually by Tommy Lee on the piano. And again he struggled with this song, which accounted for the terrified look.

As I said above I am not a great fan of the Crüe but the drum spectacular was just that – spectacular! Add to this was that the show these guys put on was also spectacular and would give anybody a run for their money. And despite the fact that I don’t own a single Crüe album, I knew all bar three songs. That in itself just goes to show just how much of an impact this band have had on rock music – either that or I just hung out at the wrong places when I was younger! Not for me at all, but a quite spectacular show which was lapped up by the audience on the night. I just hope they don’t do a Status Quo and I have to suffer another night with the Crüe because of a certain hot blonde!

Review: Devil City Angels – Devil City Angels

Century Media Records (2015)

Reviewer: Kelv Hellrazer

As far as I’m concerned Bryan Dallas, Chandler Mogul and Brandon Gibbs are the future of this music… They are showing tired 80s people how it’s done not copying, not hair by numbers but what would have continued if grunge hadn’t come along…

Anyway let’s talk Brandon Gibbs… Here’s a guy that was zero years old, when me, Lynn Allens and Billy Pieffer were living it up at Beethovens in Davenport  Iowa in  86.. Here’s a guy that has great songwriting skills that the old dudes had but he’s breathing new life into it, but not that by numbers shit…

Okay songs…we got ’em.  ‘Numb‘, holy crap Brandon sounds like Gene Simmons but way better… Powerful and straight outta Chris Laney songbook, ‘You Are All I Need‘ is superb PowerPop  like the Raspberries meeting Jonathan Daniels in a dark alley. ‘Back To The Drive‘ is prime 70s’ glam along Suzi Quatro love it and I bet my old pal Rikki Alan Rockett does too, Brandon brings great things outta Rikki and Traci Guns.

Bad Decision‘ is classic Kiss like not that tosh Banker Simmons is knocking out at the moment it’s aggressive it’s flashy I love it. ‘I’m Living‘ sounds like Poison, Rikki sounds happy at the beginning of song…it sounds like Poison but Brandon gives it seventies cred!

Brandon’s brought me outta music  journalism retirement (and Dan Mann of coarse), cos he’s come up with a supergroup that works.

Everyone’s talking bout Poison( I’ve even been offered money to spill the beans…too busy using Bret’s aftershave) reunions and Special Guests.. Poison need Bret but I reckon Brandon could breathe new life into em on rhythm guitar  Album of the year  cheerz Brandon..

Whiskey Fingers

Review: Voodoo Circle – Whiskey Fingers

AFM Records (2015)

Reviewer – Aaron Chatfield

Guitarist Alex Beyrodt has ripped his six string on a number of classic Germanic metal releases Primal Fear, Sinner and Silent Force and is considered a virtuoso by those in the now. His band Voodoo Circle are on their 4th album, the suitably titles Whiskey Fingers. The band started out in the Yngwie style on their debut, but there has been an evolution over the last albums towards a more classic blues rock sound, in a Moody/Marsden Whitesnake style.

Joining Alex has his usual partners in crime alongside him, perennial Teutonic bassist Matt Sinner and UK vocal powerhouse, David Readman.

Trapped In Paradise’ opens up, complete with some nice Hammond-esq keyboards. It’s a solid opener, big chorus and sets the scene very well. We are talking a retro-Whitesnake sound, hints of 1987 in there two. Plenty of space for Alex and David to shine. There’s moment where I wondered if Mr. Coverdale was sharing the vocal duties!

Following up is ‘Heartbreaking Woman’ which is sublime. More of the Whitesnake references, a touch of Deep Purple. If you yearn for the days when Whitesnake weren’t doing cover albums, then this is for you. ‘Wait And Watch’ is a power ballad that weaves it’s way through a number of different styles, starting with an acoustic driven chorus and David’s smoke-stained blues vocals, there’s even some banjo in there! The track builds with some big drums, before the big chorus kicks in around 2:25. Splendid stuff

Medicine Man’ is another rip roaring rocker, before we arrive at another ballad, the wistful ‘The Day The Walls Came Down’. This is how rock ballads should be, emotional, powerful and with those “I can’t live without you” lyrics. We’ve all been there!

The reference points continue, ‘Heart of Stone’ reminds me of Don’t break my heart again in parts, ‘Straight Shooter’ and ‘The Rhythm Of My Heart’ follow with more Coverdale references. ‘Devil Takes Me Down’, brings Burn to mind, ‘5 O’Clock’ at straight up rocker.

The album finishes with another slow tempo ballad, ‘Been Said And Done’. Alex and David get more opportunities to shine, with some great guitar work and world class vocals, respectively.

Overall, for me, this is everything I hoped it would be from the album, the previous album More Than One Way Home, was good, but the evolution is complete. Whiskey Fingers, is a solid cohesive album, which maintains the feel and quality start to finish. If you are a fan of the mid to late 80s Deep Purple and Whitesnake sound, then grab this, you will love it. It’s going to be a regular listen for me!

MyRefuge_Cover[A Matter Of Supremacy]

Review: My Refuge – A Matter of Supremacy

Bakerteam Records(2015)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

My Refuge are a five piece power/prog metal band from Varese, near Milan and have been releasing music since 2010. However, ‘A Matter Of Supremacy‘ is the band’s first full length album.

The album kicks off with ‘A Storm Is Coming‘ and your instantly greeted by pounding drums and a dual guitar attack. My first impressions of the vocals was that they were a bit on the wavery side, but I must cut singer Davide Vella some slack as English is not his first language and as the song progresses things settle down a little.

On track two, ‘The Cage (Oh Demon in My Eyes)‘ there are hints of Michael Kiske which is well in keeping with the song which is reminiscent of late 80’s Helloween.

Calling Of The Wind‘ is again very Helloween, which is not a bad thing in my book. There are also vocal elements of one of the band’s influences, Crimson Glory. I feel this track more suits Davide‘s vocals then the opener.

Next up is ‘Endless Night‘ which opens with some powerful, deep drums and bass from the engine room. This track highlights the excellent production of the album by Andrea De Bernardi.

Again a powerful opening to a track, this time ‘Living In Anger‘ This has elements of progressive metal mixed in with the general power metal feel of the album. It’s a sound that you tend to only hear from European bands and, with a couple of exceptions, is the sound I prefer.

This Wall‘ has a more modern sound then the previous tracks to my ears. It doesn’t grab me as much to be absolutely honest. It’s not that it’s a bad track, just after repeated listens it has an overall feel that isn’t for me.

With ‘The Raven‘ we’re entering the symphonic end of the rock  genre, with a chant like intro before once again the dual guitars of Mauro Paietta and Simone Dettore begin to crank their stuff. I’m hearing Maiden influence, all very reminiscent of Murray & Smith.

Things are slowed down somewhat for ‘Empty Room‘ and I must say it really suits the band. Elements of Arena make this track more progressive. Great stuff.

On Wings Of Wax‘ brings us firmly back to power metal territory but with guitars not out of place on a Dragonforce release in places. The duet style vocals on the chorus are excellent.

And suddenly we’ve reached the final track ‘Somewhere‘ I say suddenly as the overall speed of this album makes time fly! We’re back to symphonic style vocals on the chorus, but mixed in with those earlier mentions influences of Helloween & Crimson Glory.

To sum up, if your a fan of European power metal, then this album is certainly worth a listen.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Avenford – Mortal Price

NAIL Records (HMR Music Kft.) 2015

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Trying to keep up with album releases is at times almost an impossible task and sometimes unfortunately some fall through the net so to speak. Thankfully drummer Rob Leech brought Mortal Price to my attention. I say thankfully as this album ticks many boxes from the off, Rob obviously knowing my musical tastes!

First track is in fact the intro entitled ‘Overture 895‘ which pretty much nails what type of album is to follow firmly to the mast, and which is swiftly followed by ‘Guiding Light‘ which assaults your lugs with some furious guitar work, very reminiscent of the likes of say Masterplan with hints of Malmsteen, which is no surprise as they are cited as influences by guitarist Peter Szehoffner and guitarist/vocalist Arpie Gamson.

Hunter’s Trail‘ again is a prime example of power metal with a powerful guitar sound, pounding drums and layers of keyboard. ‘Turn The Page‘ starts off slowly with some expressive guitar work before the percussion section builds things up. Certainly a track more towards the melodic end of the scale and shows that the band have the ability to push across pigeon holed genres.

Another Masterplan-esc track is ‘Jewels Of Fate‘which at a tad under three and a half minutes is the shortest track on the album (not including the intro) I’d of actually preferred it to have been a bit longer to enable a longer guitar break. I guess my wishes are sort of granted when we come to the title track. ‘Mortal Price‘ which is almost eight minutes long. It’s a typical ‘epic’ power metal track. I’m not describing it as such in a derogatory manner as I’m someone who rather likes such tracks.

With a scifi style keyboard intro ‘Invasion‘ twists and turns from the twin guitar sound to keyboards and back. The keyboards are more controlled for ‘Blade In The Moonlight‘ which is currently my favourite track on the album. There is a real temptation for Arpie to go over the top with the vocals, however he keeps things tight and controlled.

Journey To The Land Of Emeralds‘ is an instrumental which thankfully doesn’t lose you halfway through, which on occasion such tracks can have a tendency too do. With the mixture of all out guitar combined with the more delicate sections, it’s this balance and mixture that keeps the track on an even keel.

Rounding off the album is ‘Night To Remember‘ This is a track I’d put more in the hard rock camp rather then out and out power metal and it’s probably my second favourite track on the album. It’ll be interesting to see if there are a few more tracks in this vein on next year’s release.

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Review: Jennifer Westwood And The Handsome Devils – Greetings From this Town

Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils (2015)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils hail from Detroit, a city which let’s face it has a superb reputation for great music. So I was already anticipating something rather good, and boy I was not disappointed.

Kicking off with the bluesy ‘Bad Luck Charm‘ I’m instantly grabbed by Jennifer’s vocal style. I’ve said time and time again, if the singer doesn’t do it for me then I’m going to struggle with an album. I’m certainly not struggling here, with a rich smokey voice which has just the right amount of roughness to the edge. The production on this recording is excellent with a deep, but not overblown bass, tight drums and a nicely rounded guitar.

This quality recording takes us onward to ‘Living On The Fringe‘ which takes things more towards a Patti Smith vibe, an artist whom they happened to support in concert, and I can see why.

Just when your getting to grips with that change in direction we veer towards country rock with ‘Driving My Life Away‘. This is an area I don’t often visit, however if your tastes like me include the likes of the Eagles and Joe Walsh then you’ll be thoroughly entertained.

Round And Round‘ continues in the same vein, and just helps to highlight what a superb singer Jennifer is.

Following on is  ‘Cow Girl Blues‘ which is reminiscent of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with hints of Pat Benatar. I’ve come back to this track several times, very enjoyable.

The album now goes back to a solid slice of blues rock with ‘Ventilator Blues‘ the band remaining rock solid with Dylan Dunbar delivering sterling work on guitar and with what I always call the engine room of a band, namely the bass and drums, deftly handled by Jeremy Mackinder (bass) and Matt Stahl (drums)

Divorcee‘ takes back to that country rock vibe which I defy anyone not to tap their feet too. If that tires you out then don’t worry as things are taken down a pace for the slow ‘Sinner Park Time‘ which has a hint of Bonnie Raitt about it.

Wade In The Water‘ sees Jennifer and the boys visiting Eva Cassidy territory with a delicious dose of warm feeling blues, filled with soul and feeling.

Nobody’s Business‘ could be seen by some as a country song, but there’s much more to it then that. Here we have a heady mix of blues, country, gospel & rock with some Dwayne Eddie style guitar to give the track just the right amount of twang!

The start of ‘Redneck Man‘ wouldn’t be out of place on one of the last couple of ZZ Top album releases, continuing in that vein with Jennifer’s vocals taking on a rougher edge which is certainty in keeping with the track. Dylan Dunbar joins her on vocal duties and the pair of them gel together rather well.

And so we reach the last track on the album, ‘This Town‘. Yet again this highlights a band who collectively have many years of experience gained in and around the clubs and bars of Detroit and beyond.

If your looking for an album that demands your attention rather then musical wallpaper then I suggest you go buy a copy right away get immersed.

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Review: Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman

Century Media (2015)

Reviewer: Aaron Chatfield

A few weeks ago I reviewed the latest release from estranged Queensrÿche singer, Geoff Tate’s current band, Operation: Mindcrime, so it is only appropriate that I get my teeth into the brand new release from Queensrÿche themselves.

Condition Human has been a highly awaited release, with appetites whetted by the self titled opus in 2013. That self titled album was good, but felt a little rushed. With a little more time on their side, what can the band do?

‘Arrow of Time’ starts the album off and it’s got that recognisable twin guitar harmony that the current QR demonstrated. It’s a throw back to the first couple of QR releases, interwoven with some Mindcrime and Empire textures. A solid tempo drives it along, with Scott Rockenfield demonstrating is incredible prowess on the kit (you have to tune into the percussion to really appreciate the guys skills). Relative new boy, Todd LeTorre is in fine form and we are hearing more of his overall tone on this album, compared to his debut with the band, where he was often compared too Tate.

Guardian’ follows with an Empire-esq melody line guiding us into chunky riff and some inventive song structures. The Empire comparisons continue, with the political lyrics. I can imagine this song live, with its anthemic calling in the bridge.

The Operation Mindcrime similarities come in on ‘Hellfire’, with the intro bringing back memories of drug riddled assassins desperate for absolution in the pouring rain. As the album unfolds, it’s clear that Queensrÿche have looked back to their sound on their first 5-6 releases for inspiration, with every track having a bit of Warning, Empire of my personally favourite, Rage for Order in them. There is some fiery soloing on this track from the axe partnership of Parker Lundgren and Michael Wilton and we see LeTorre pushing his range to the max. Wonderful stuff.

‘Toxic Remedy’ and ‘Selfish Lives’ are both splendid Queensrÿche tracks. ‘Eye9′, brings the tempo down a little, a brooding, prowling track, where Eddie Jackson’s bass is the foundation to some solid work from the rest of the band.

‘Bulletproof’ is the one of the albums Silent Lucidity moments and whilst it is unlikely to have the MTV fuelled impact across the world, it’s a superb track. It’s hard to pick out key performances from the band members, with each one proving their worth.

An almost bay-area style chunky riff lets ‘Hourglass’ out of the gates, before the clean guitar chorus opens the song up into the type of mid-tempo progressive rocker that Queensrÿche do so well.

‘Just Us’ is the second Silent Lucidity moment, probably more so than Bulletproof. There is also moments that remind me of some of the off-beat solo work from former Crimson Glory vocalist, Midnight (RIP), a band that Todd has previously fronted.

If you have been waiting for something a little more ‘Needle Lies‘, then wait no longer. ‘All There Was’ is an up-tempo track, with a riff that hints at the aforementioned Operation Mindcrime track. The track segues into ‘The Aftermath’, which feels like it should end the album…. but wait, there’s more.

Queensrÿche leave the ‘Condition Hüman title track to last. At just under 8 mins, it is clearly the albums tour de force. One of the secrets to a long track of this nature, is using the time to create a number of different tempos and themes. Queensrÿche succeed in doing exactly this, with everything from chugging riffs, to epic power chords and crystal like guitar chimes. As the title track, it delivers almost an album taster, bringing all of the ideas from the previous 11 tracks together into an epic piece of prog-rock/metal.

On the Geoff Tate review, I finished off suggesting that Geoff needed to leave the Queensrÿche association behind in order to give himself the ability to grow and find new fans (but, what do I know!). When it comes to Queensrÿche, I think it is the opposite approach that has revitalised the band. With Todd acting as the catalyst and Lundgren bringing some youthful vitality, Queensrÿche have wound the clock back to their true glory days. Embracing those early albums and delivering the type of album that Queensrÿche fans have been desperate for.

There is no doubt in my mind that Queensrÿche have delivered the goods with this album. 12 tracks of fine prog-metal, with a retro-feel, but a modern edge, I can’t wait to see them on the road playing some of the highlights

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