Tag Archives: Dan Mann

Review: Blindstone – Blues-O-Delic Celebration – A Tribute To The Blues

Review: Blindstone – Blues-O-Delic Celebration – A Tribute To The Blues

Grooveyard Records (November 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

The Blindstone boys are back with a brand new album, this time a collection of covers amounting to a tribute to the blues. I know they were a tad nervous about whether they’ve done the thirteen tracks justice, having had chance to listen to the whole album quite a few times here’s my humble opinion of if they hit target or not.

Kicking off the album is a cover of BB King’s ‘Rock Me Baby‘. Now a cover can be two things. A carbon copy of the original or a band’s interpretation. Personally I prefer the latter as it’s interesting to listen to a song from a different angle so to speak. The original is a laid back track, while this is more forward, leaning more to blues rock which actually gives this track some balls!

Second up is ‘Blood Stream‘, originally released by Rocky Hill, brother of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. Straight away this grabs you with wailing guitar, and energetic rhythm section, this is Blindstone putting their stamp on it. Being very familiar with the original I’m not disappointed with this rendition.

Next is Freddy King’s ‘Pack It Up‘ covered by Bonamassa on Blues Deluxe which is more of a direct copy but as I said earlier, I prefer things getting a little twist or two. This is once again adding that that distinctive Blindstone blues rock stamp, which makes it more of a foot tapper in my book.

Me And My Woman‘ is next on the bill from the criminally underrated Shuggie Otis. The Blindstone version thankfully manages to retain elements of that 70’s New York funk groove with the underlying blues elements.

Old School‘ is a track unknown to myself and was originally recorded by the wonderfully named Guitar Shorty. An appropriately named track for sure as it is quite simply old school blues.

The next track ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me’ is based on the Gales Brothers song which i believe is written by Eugene Gales. A slow blues number, low down and dirty with a wonderful guitar tone. Great stuff indeed.

You can’t really have an album in tribute to the blues without certain artists being covered. And so we have Howlin Wolf’s ‘Built For Comfort‘, a song which I’ve always loved for it’s lyrics. Blindstone have transformed it into what sounds like early ZZ Top, so another box ticked for me.

I’m really enjoying the selection of artists being covered on this album, people not normally covered. The next track is Leslie West’s ‘By The River‘, another southern soaked blues rock extravaganza which sounds more full bodied than the original, not to knock the original mind in any way.

Having mentioned that ‘Little Old Band From Texas’ ZZ Top earlier we now arrive at a cover of the band’s ‘Bar-B-Q‘, originally to be found on Rio Grande Mud. Martin has nailed the sound of Billy Gibbons’ guitar. Just over three minutes of musical bliss.

The next cover version is of Slim Harpo’s ‘Finger On The Trigger‘. I can see why this appears as the original is quite a funky blues number and I know Martin is rather partial to a bit of funky guitar.

We re-visit the legendary BB King with ‘The Blues Come Over Me‘, the guitar riff just gets your foot tapping and your hand starts to wander into air guitar mode!

Slowing things right down is our next number ‘Stone Crazy‘. Again from a blues legend, Mr Buddy Guy. Blindstone have for want of a better phrase, thickened out the sound, giving it almost some angst, but not taking away the essence of the song.

I’m not in the slightest bit surprised which artist is being covered on the last track on the album. Blindstone wouldn’t be Blindstone without some Jimi Hendrix in the mix somewhere!

The Hendrix track chosen to close is ‘Hey Joe‘. Well I’ve never heard the band do a poor job when it comes to playing anything by Hendrix and this is no exception. What’s really great is Martin’s son Magnus Andersen and Jens Andersen, his dad, are both guesting on guitar.

To sum up, if your already a Blindstone fan then you’ll most certainly enjoy the album. If you want to hear a covers album that isn’t covers by number then this is the album for you.




Review: Devoid – Cup Of Tears

Review: Devoid – Cup Of Tears

MelodicRock Records (October 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

You’d think it would be easy to write a review about a release that ticks all your personal taste boxes, however you then have to ensure it doesn’t come across as too gushy!

Cup Of Tears‘ is the brainchild of French guitarist Mael Saout (Shadyon), and brings together an ensemble of talent that should ensure it’s a killer release.

First off the inclusion of vocalist Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz ticks the first box. Carsten is the perfect fit for this melodic metal album and is most certainly on form. Yes I’m biased, being a huge fan of the albums he’s released/sung on.

Secondly, the remainder of the band form such a tight outfit, from the excellent guitar work of Shad Mae, the engine room of bassist Ben Toquet & drummer Ben Wanders and ivory tinkler Jorris Guilbaud.

And thirdly, we have a selection of guest guitarists, Mattias Ia Eklundh (Freak Kitchen), Henrik Danhage (Evergrey), Daniel Palmqvist (Beyond The Katakomb) and Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear/The Ferrymen). Each one of these axemen has a fantastic track record and their contributions on this album don’t disappoint.

The album consists of twelve tracks, coming in at just under an hour, which is certainly a more than acceptable run time.

Okay I did say I’d try not to get ‘gushy’, but this album has immediately leapt into my shortlist of favorite releases of 2017. This is exactly the sort of melodic metal I love, a melting pot of influences & musical expression. There is only one way to listen to this and that’s LOUD!

It can be difficult picking favorite tracks off albums as some releases are such that your choice can change the more you listen. And so my initial choices are ‘Religion‘, ‘Mind Keeper‘ and ‘Hollow Point‘.

A highly recommended release.

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Review: Samarkind – Samarkind

Review: Samarkind – Samarkind

Independent (November 24th 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Of course there is many a time that your told by a PR that this album will be right up your street, on this occasion the PR in question is so bloody right!

What we have here are eight tracks which are absolutely soaked in southern rock & bourbon.

Samarakind are a truly international band with two Irishmen, David Paul Byrne, formerly of Assassin on vocals, Mark Dempsey on bass guitar, Polish guitarist Michal Kulbaka and South African Marius Appelgryn on drums.

Not exactly what you’d expect a Southern tinged band to be, but trust me these guys absolutely nail it! Think Blackfoot mixed with 70’s classic rock, a combination which as I said is certainly my bag.

The band has just supported Inglorious in Dublin and they are in some respects of the same ilk. Similarities in vocal style at times and as I said there’s that underlying 70’s vibe.

The stand out track for me is ‘Good Man Calling‘, a slow burner of a track which amply demonstrates what this band is about.

If there’s one small criticism, it’s the fact it’s only eight tracks, which makes sort of in between an EP and a full album. Hopefully the band has plenty more material up it’s collective sleeves.

Another 2017 release that’s highly recommended.



Review: American Mafia – Made In New York

Review: American Mafia – Made In New York

Lions Pride (September 25th 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

As regular readers of my ramblings know only too well, I’ve impatiently awaited the arrival of ‘Made in New York‘ since it was first announced.

I was one of the people who took part in the band’s Pledge campaign, ending up with a rather splendid t-shirt indeed. American Mafia are a band I was instantly attracted too after hearing the samples from their first album ‘Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine‘, and have played that particular release to death! Well I was certainly hoping for more of the same when it came to this five track EP.

Unlike the aforementioned album, all the vocals on ‘Made in New York‘ are handled by Don Chaffin, who’s vocal style is certainly my taste, don’t like the vocalist, don’t like the music…simples!

The simple fact is if you like ‘Rock N’ Roll Hit Machine‘ then you’ll like ‘Made in New York‘, it’s a perfect follow on from the band.

To still have bands following that hard rock path with no added fluff and nonsense is an absolute blessing, the old ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ saying is a perfect example of what the EP brings to the table.

All I can say more is roll on another full album from the band. I for one already have my wallet open and ready!

Review: Heaven & Earth – Hard To Kill

Review: Heaven & Earth – Hard To Kill

Quarto Valley Records (October 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Heaven & Earth are back with a brand new studio album, ‘Hard To Kill‘, four years after the release of the superb ‘Dig‘. Due to the sheer quality of ‘Dig‘, the band had set themselves rather a momentous task to better it.

So the question is have they managed it? Well the short and simple Fluff Freeman answer is “not arf”. Yes it’s a classic rock album, but it’s still like a breath of fresh air in a market stagnated with projects.

The level of musicianship on this album is sublime, this is a tight, coherent band showing you exactly what years of experience and skill can achieve. Some albums just have that ability to grab you by the scruff of the neck and make you take notice.

Yes the album is full of influences, show me an album that isn’t. The influences my lug holes can pick out are ones that are from favorites of mine. Be it the Whitesnake in the title track ‘Hard To Kill‘ or the heaps of Uriah Heep evident in ‘Till It’s Over‘, they just make me like the album even more!

While there are stand out tracks like ‘The Game Has Changed‘, which is an absolute delight of a foot stomper and ‘LA Blues‘, which certainly wouldn’t be out of place on any blues rock release currently out there, there really isn’t a single filler on this album.

If you dug ‘Dig‘ then you will absolutely love ‘Hard To Kill‘. If your a fan of no frills, honest , down to earth hard rock, then this really needs to be on your shopping list.

Review: Moritz – About Time Too

Review: Moritz – About Time Too

Shadows Of A Dream (August 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I’m sure there were several possibilities when it came to the album title, but somehow this one seems rather fitting! Four years after the release of ‘S.O.S.‘ comes ‘About Time Too‘, the new album from British AOR band Moritz.

Well they say patience is a virtue, but having already heard some of the new material both as sound files and also live when the band patiently played both Fibrofest’s for yours truly, I was hankering to hear the whole kit and kaboodle!

Next came the problem of writing an unbiased and subjective review of the album…..but hey, not being someone to balk at a challenge here goes.

If your a fan of the band and familiar with their previous releases then ‘About Time Too‘ is not really going to spring any surprises for you. For those of you unfamiliar, what you get is an album that follows in the rich tradition of British AOR. Great song writing, great melodies, and an overall superior musicianship, all the components that fans of the genre look for.

Some of the tracks feel almost like old friends as I’ve played them quite a few times over the last year. ‘Moon And Back‘ & ‘Chance Of A Lifetime‘ are to me classic Moritz tracks.

From the keyboard soaked intro of ‘Love Long Gone‘, the R&B meets rock ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is‘ and the near seven minute closing track ‘There’s Something About / Unwanted Man‘, this is everything you want in an AOR release.

So the question that this raises, if you like AOR and haven’t ordered it, why the hell not?




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