Illiterates – ‘Makeout Mountain’   Leave a comment

Raucous garage punk band Illiterates, from LA and Atlanta, have just released their debut EP, ‘Makeout Mountain’. A Matt McCalvin production (Gringo Star, Zoners, St Pe), via Baby Robot Records, ‘MM’ is a 12 track broad ranging album, covering everything from sparkly sentimental ballads, to furious R&R, enhanced by vocalist Steve Albertson’s dramatic vocals. Its themes are inspired by pertinent socio-political, quasi-religious and deeply personal issues affecting the band.

A particularly poignant track, ‘Owl Commander’, is a tribute to the memory of Megan Galbraith, Chicago band 8 Inch Betsy member and lifelong friend of Steve’s. The associated video was directed by filmmaker and New York Times photographer Raymond McCrea Jones.

Illiterates create their music intuitively, at full tilt, in a personal setting and are influenced by a diverse collection of bands and artists, including Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs and Slayer. A band with a refreshingly honest and forthright approach to band relations and the process by which their music is born, Illiterates came up with a set’s worth of lively tracks, within 3 rehearsals. Unusually, much of the album was completed on a rowdy weekend break on a North Georgia Alpaca farm.

White Privilege – Instant impact! A raw punk sound intro’s, with a brief spoken word section, before the rhythmic melody kicks in. A freshness and sincerity pervades this short, but powerful, message driven track. Sex Pistols fans, eat your heart out.

Ramones City – Cool, smoothly delivered riff intro, basic, but it’s enough and it’s got a good groove. A fun, evocative and straightforward track.

Owl Commander – Plucky riff intro, slight sense of Girlschool meets The Pretenders. Confident delivery, tight and upbeat, its skill is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Easy to visualise on ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’, though).

Makeout Mountain – Good bass line opens, breaking into an easy  R&R sound, bringing imaginative visuals with it. Liking the velvet warmth of those riffs. Chaos and order, at once, with a side serving of fairground backdrops. Pleasant listen.

Svengali B – Immediately bass heavy intro, runaway pace and easy riffs. Additional light keys, percussion and well-placed feedback. Even a slight trance/techno echo, combined with 90’s punk/indie/brit rock vocals, surprisingly workable. Imagine Elastica, Placebo and vague psychedelia, thrown together and you’re there.

Mayonnaise Elbow – Hard-hitting, yet light intro, straight in there, with no hesitation and no holds barred. Decent accessible pace, flowing well and again, it mixes old school and modern sounds. It just flies on its own. Dizzying, yet fun and uplifting.

Elementals – Drums introing now, with a few intentional and well fitting feedback squalls and squeaks. There’s clear enthusiasm in the vocals, casually, yet ably performed, with an effortless feel. Spoken sections, verging on sci-fi-esque. It does begin to tail off and lose its focus a tad, towards the end, but generally, it’s a lively sound.

My Enemy – Significant time delay, before it opens, but the racy, melody heavy pace is worth waiting for. Accompanied by a background of vague chaos on the streets, working well and adding that something. Ending on the sound of glass smashing/possible windchimes clanging together, for all we know, but it does the job.

Horton Heats A Who – No, I don’t get that title either, but hey ho. Very brief spoken intro, opening onto rapid-fire drumming, old school riffing, along the lines of surf music and high on melody. The higher pitch connects well with the surf sound and it’s a short lived, but beefed up affair.

Blood Bath And Beyonce – Smashing the intro riff out and this is more Blondie-esque, vocally. Even shorter and more of a basic rhythm and tempo, but it’s just got a very human, grassroots, down-to-earth sense about it.

Uncle Junior – Getting right into it, with another chaotic frenetic paced rhythm. Lyrically, it may appear disturbingly incongruent, with the relentlessly upbeat mood of the melody, in places, but the timbre and timing slots right into the unpredictable chaos of the subject material. Over in a flash of energy.

Xmas Carols In The Psych Ward – Again, it gets straight into the vibe, with effortlessly capable riffs. Slight variation in riffage, when the drums come in, to bridge the early sections. Seems that slightly more thought and time permeates these riffs and the lyrics become a bit more accessible, before adopting a hysterical edge, at the close.

Overall – Well one thing that can be said about ‘Makeout Mountain’ is that it lives up to its hype. It is unarguably, all the things it’s claimed to be. Eclectically thematic and diverse, exploring serious matters, in a light-hearted, earthy way. Lively and energetic, accessible and yet, thought-provoking. An ultimate mishmash of punky attitude, with social conscience and real humanity.

6/10 ******

For fans of The Sex Pistols, PIL, Placebo, The Pretenders, Elastica, Blondie, The Ramones.


Posted September 20, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

THE 1984 DRAFT – ‘Makes Good Choices’   Leave a comment

From Drayton, Ohio, THE 1984 DRAFT are a band whose style combines American rock with 90’s punk and indie. Their current LP, ‘Makes Good Choices’ is about to be launched. Recorded by Pat Himes (Ryan Adams’ ‘Heartbreaker’). Joe Anderl, its main vocalist and songwriter has a 20 year history of supporting a significant range of globally renowned artists, both as a solo musician and with his band projects.

THE 1984 DRAFT launched their ‘Heisman Trophy Winner’ EP, through Gas Daddy Go! (Ex Guided By Voices drummer Don Thrasher’s boutique label), on November 6th, 2015. They also featured as one of 24 Ohio-based bands, on the 10th anniversary Aquabear Legion double vinyl competition, that same year.

Their EP, ‘Bo Jackson Up The Middle’, was released in 2014, through We Want Action. Both EP’s were produced at Popside Studio, with Micah Carli (ex-Hawthorne Heights guitarist). The latter production launched ahead of an NFL Network documentary, about the actual 1984 NFL Draft, featuring the band. Filmed in their native locality, on January 10th, 2014, broadcast on April 30th, 2014, on the NFL Network, following print and digital publications, in Sports Illustrated, The Omaha World Herald, New Noise Magazine, Ghettoblaster Magazine, etc.

THE 1984 DRAFT comprises: Joe  Anderl, (vocals, guitar), Justin Satinover, (drums), Eli Alban, (guitar), Chip Heck (bass).

Jan Kawolski – Very 90’s indie rock intro, much heavier on the instrumentals than the vocals. Pure riffing, lively, but samey and the vocals are barely audible and need bringing up. Short and sweet.

Lately – Deafening intro, very much in the same indie vein. A little tinny sounding and just a faint hint of group backing vocals. Hard to add any more, but so far, I’m not feeling it. Seems to be a carbon copy of the intro track.

Miss Ohio – This is better. More of a country blues rock emphasis and at least, some of the vocals are audible here. Unfortunately, though, not enough to count on and it just isn’t cutting it. The riffs are just too repetitive and though you can hear some enthusiasm here, it’s lacking substance.

Morrissey Of Mandy’s – Okay drum intro, keeping time well, but there’s a flat tone to the vocals and though there’s some variation in the riffs and they’re obviously eagerly played, nothing stands out and it’s missing that groove.

Honest – Slower pace now, with a more relaxed tone. Again, though, the vocals are distant (though it’s possible that it’s intended in part, for this track). Still, nothing grabs me and it just seems like an extension of the previous tracks. There’s general inconsistency in the audio quality of the individual components. The guitars are too loud, but the vocals are too low and the cymbals often tinny. Balance is required here, plus an injection of life.

Wedding – A better riff opening, initially, moving slightly further into the Brit rock area of the same 90’s era. This time, it’s got a swing to it, providing a bit of catch. Oasis fans might like this. Yet the vocals are still near inaudible, preventing any further assessment. Very brief and leaving an impression of incompletion. Shame, as this track had potential, if only more had been made of it.

Lutheran Heat – Improving slightly. Livelier riff intro’s, but yet again, it may as well be a guitar solo, since that’s really all that’s audible enough. Another wasted opportunity, over before it’s started.

Red Dress – Decent bit of intro riffage, plucky and now employing the quiet/loud dynamic. That makes a difference, when it bursts into life, with the louder sections, but the vocals disappear into the background again. The riffs would probably do a better job alone.

Megaphone – Early 60’s R&R drum intro, followed by some pleasant chords. As before, the vocals vanish into the autumn mists and the accompaniments are turned up way too loud, causing distortion. Hard to even make out any kind of real tune or melody, through the feedback. Ironically titled, really.

Lisbon Falls – Sounds as if this should have been ‘Wedding’, given the church organ intro! Even if it’s not the cheeriest of tunes. The riffs explode into action, in much the same way as before and actually, there’s almost a pleasant cohesion in the choir of voices joining the guitar, but the general sound’s too jarring, jolting and disjointed, to be able to glean much enjoyment from it. It’s evident the guitar’s overcompensating for the imbalance and though in itself, it could be a decent sound, it lacks effort and variety, letting itself down.

Overall – An unfortunate waste of potential, let down by bad production, imbalanced sound and general lack of energy and vitality, shown through repetitive, lacklustre performance, with no discernible variety or USP. Needs a great deal of improvement and much more professional sound production. Disappointing.

4/10 ****

For fans of country rock, bluegrass, blues rock and 90’s indie and Brit rock.

Posted September 19, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

ROXOR – ‘1988-2018 Nez Skonci Show’   Leave a comment

Originating from Czechoslovakia, ROXOR re-formed in 2007. Their initial formation harks back to 1988.

Drummer Honza utilised his artistry background, to design the debut album cover art, in 1991. He and Dan (guitarist) attempted to rebuild the band, in 1996, after it broke up, following the departure of vocalist Radek. They began playing and performing live again, with the addition of Ondra. However, Dan sadly sustained a hand injury, preventing him from continuing to play the guitar, until it recovered, several years later. By that point, the band had already splintered. It took off again, when Roman joined, on bass, following the other guys seeing his performance at the TELEGRAPH 30th anniversary show. At that point, the band agreed to reform, for just one gig, but from that day onwards, they re-established ROXOR, so since 2009, they’ve been a fully functioning metal band again. Their back catalogue includes ‘Out Of Periphery’, (studio album, 1991) and several demos, produced direct from the rehearsal room, over a weekend.

This current release covers the entire period from 1988-2018.

Kazatel – Raw, loud, ferocious). That’s an intro and a half). A proper combo of pure heavy metal, with speed and power blitzkriegs. Polish lyrics, but you still get the message. This is a band of metal brothers, just happy and excited to be back, doing what they obviously do best. Straight-out, uplifting, exuberant, hard rock, heavy metal).

Virtual – Awesome, palpable, familiar intro. This has got classic influences carved right through it, like a stick of heavy metal, hard-line rock. Real true old school stuff here. The riffs have it and the drums beat the message home, to the end, as the vocals grow increasingly anthemic and power simply screams from it. Sharp, tight, cohesive and bold. A definitive streak shines throughout.

Sasek A Kralovna – Wow! Now, it takes on a mediaeval direction, opening with a light woodwind pace, before moving, assertively and headlong, into a full frontal metal attack. The catchy chorus hits you immediately and you’ve just got to rock along with it. Language poses no barriers here, as the music speaks for itself. Light-hearted, yet reassuringly heavy, ending on a riff solo, with a slight hint of the mediaeval sound it opened with. Just a joyous track.

Kralovstvi Samoty – Drum hits intro, with a strong, bold blast. Gorgeously emotional riffs join them. The vocals then come in, with a powerful vibe of European flavour. Oh, those riffs just get more and more emotive, melting into your soul. The whole thing grows and evolves into a really big sound, soaring skywards, with palpable passion and absolute conviction. This is one of those ‘wow’ moments, for sure and the ending’ll leave you breathless.

Spravnej Smer – Loud, heavy and thrilling intro. Drums and riffs together, cementing the metal. Vocals fitting right in and even a few Jackson-esque riffs, echoing ‘Beat It’, perfectly positioned. Here, the melody lifts it, into happy, metal party territory. Just let the riffs pick you up and carry you along on their carefree vibe.

Cesta Do Pekel – Another change of tack, briefly, into an eerie, mysterious sound, before the short lived quiescence blasts, once more, into straight-out, full on metal. Still, retaining something of a breathy aspect, as the space in the song creates freedom for multi-directional, expressive accompaniments, all coming together again, at the end, for the most beautifully synchronised close.

Causa – Intriguing acoustic intro, with so much warmth within it, then exploding into active life, with a sound perfect for everything from headbanging to high-impact aerobics. A fun filled feast of upbeat metal, ideal for outdoor parties, barbecues and racetrack laps. Thrilling, from start to finish.

Prisera/Pnsera Baskervillska – Vicious dog assault introing, opening onto a fabulously shrill power scream, guaranteed to smash even the toughest of glass. Anthemic, harmonised vocals take over, with a few Slayer-esque riffs thrown in. Excitable melody all the way. Ideal mood lifter.

Alkohol – Big, booming intro. A lighter feel, but still plenty of power. Female vocals enter the fray now. This is really just a speed extravaganza, which although brief, packs quite a punch.

Metal Heart – Heartbeat opens, rapidly followed by lightning fast riffs and the masculine vocals are back again. It’s another ace driving song. Some nice twiddly riffs, lots of racing fast drumming and it’s got a very cohesive feel to it. Speeding on, till the end and closing on a shout, worthy of ‘Heavy Metal Killers’.

Tvoje Tvar – Proper heavy riffing intro. Drums matching the weight and vocals joining, with an irresistible melody and the riffs get sharper and more Slayer-esque, as the song progresses. It’s just a really strong beat and catch, throughout and it’s packed with standout features and quality sound. Utterly lovable track.

Krizova Vyprava – A change down, now, to a more fantasy film soundtrack essence. Building up, into a battle hymn feel, filled with heavy catchy melody. A total audio-visual, high-level metal fest, from beginning to end.

Zastavte Cas – Introing on a more peaceful combo of keyboards, gradually building riffs and acoustic sections, with both male and feminine vocals sharing the stage. A different, more comprehensive sound, ringing with experimental styles and textures. It may change direction, but it’s every bit as vibrant. There’s a touch of summer about this one.

Kdo Si Pocka – Fast beating drums, chasing riffs and both maintaining a brilliantly quick momentum. As do the vocals. Great to hear every section in sync, like this. Drums growing thunderous, in parts, even a very slight folky sense to some of the riffs, but mostly it’s a speed ride, for which, you should strap yourself in and turn it up loud.

Na Rozcesti – Gorgeous acoustic riff intro, joined by a smoothly beautiful mellow riff. Passion filled vocals come next and the riffs get so sensual, you could drown in them. Breaking into a faster rhythm, injecting a ton of catch, you’ll just get trapped inside it and float away to metal heaven.

Born To Ride – Chaos opens, with a crashing wave, upping the aggression now, then alternating it with lighter touches. A great primal scream in there, too. So many different styles and techniques in here, it’s like a play on music. Throwing in a few riff scales and vocal harmonies, duet style, combining both feminine and masculine together, performing it like a merry-go-round of playful metal.

S Puskou V Fade Stat – Beautifully dark piano intro, soaking sombre solemnity and melancholia into the atmosphere. Mellow vocals accompany the profundity, bringing a new depth of meaning to the fore. Fairly brief, but pointedly heartfelt.

Nez Skonci Show – Such feeling in that intro riff, like it’s infusing itself right into your heart. Soaring and flying high, the vocals just hit you hard, in tandem with the riffs, carrying so much strength within them. This whole track’s just like being lifted high and carried away on the wings of a bird. So visual and imaginative, it can’t fail to affect.

Na Rozloucenou – That intro riff really is incredible! Somehow, it emulates the buzzing of a bee and it does it well! Setting the scene for a massively cheering melody, played at breakneck pace and blitzing its way through a fairly short, but fun and action packed interval, before reaching the crescendo of a finale. Wringing every last drop of energy and enthusiasm out of that drum roll, it brings things to a powerful and solid end.

Overall – This is quite some compilation. The consistency of the craftsmanship, melody, sound production and eager enthusiasm within it’s second to none. Considering it’s 19 tracks, the energy never falters and neither does its uplifting vibe and general quality. That’s a highly impressive feat. For such a long album, it takes a great deal of focused dedication and genuine determination to hold attention and enjoyment for that length of time. They’ve achieved it. Given all their challenges and setbacks on the way there, it was worth the wait. Star quality.

10/10 **********

For fans of all old school heavy metal, speed/power metal, NWOBHM and classic hard rock.


Posted September 18, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Argos – ‘Dej, Co Mas’   Leave a comment

Heavy metal band Argos, from Czechoslovakia, initially played live in 1988. That particular phase of live shows terminated in 1991. A new era of gigs began in 2018. These are on an occasional basis, owing to other band commitments. In the intervening time between live appearance phases, 2 live recordings have remained. The following 11 tracks were re-recorded and released in CD format, entitled, ‘Dej, Co Mas’. Argos presently function as a quintet.

Mejdan – Rapid drumming fest intro! Speed riffs follow, then power vocals, alive with possibility. There’s a freshness to this, through which, the song breathes and it’s always so uplifting throughout. Great start.

Nebe Nezna Vyvolenynch – Cymbals open, joined by mega fast speed riffs and massive drum beats. Breathy vocals, creating atmosphere, like a warm embrace. The track’s just power incarnate. Packed with bursts of colourful melody, it’s fun, with a capital ‘F’.

Rytiri/Rytin – Moving into classic rock mode now. Still, there’s such a buzz about it. A lighter touch in places, this time, but still, that sense of uncontainable excitement pervades it. Some lower tones scattered through this, yet it doesn’t lose any of the upbeat feel. The fact the lyrics are in Polish actually adds to its appeal, in a way, since it requires more focus on the sound and musicology and that’s never at fault.

Dej Co Mas – Opening with more of those vibrant speed riffs, the melody’s even stronger here, with a slight Viking like edge to the vocals. Very catchy hooks flood this sound, especially in that irresistible pace. Lively and enthusiastic, the power saturating this creates the ideal memorable angle, for the title track.

Divadlo Svet – Beautifully high-pitched riff introing. That crackling edge comes back into the vocals and now, the melody takes on an anthemic style, before upping the hardness and heaviness, supported by the drumming. Alternating between that gorgeous anthem strand and the vicious bite of aggression, encasing it all in a mighty fast pace, it’s an impressive mix of speed, heaviness and passion, with random bursts of enigma.

Otrok – Defining drum beats open. This one’s a blast of speed, well packed with melody and a nice, relaxed pace and tone. The perfect driving track). Even a very slight folk element, which fits well. Especially with the backing vocals and the harmony at the end works perfectly.

Ne – An air raid siren opens, followed by a bomb and then, the air clears and the life returns, with the music. A great, fulsome combo of patriotic shades and colourful speed, powered by metallic flavours makes this a highly listenable track, with a big sound, guaranteed to please.

Posledniden – Mega hard, heavy metal riffs intro, rattling with intent). Hugely melodic and enormously enjoyable. Loving the speed and metal feel of those riffs. So catchy, it’s a real singalong number. (Well, hummable, unless you speak Polish). Just a blast of real feelgood stuff, to spin on endless replay).

Charon – Huge sound introing here. More of a Viking feel to it and just so strong. It’s one of those you feel, to your core. A very physical track. Loaded with catchy hooks. A good healthy dose of bass, making its presence known and adding that thud. Ending on a fabulous sound of oars, moving through the water, completing the Viking-esque imagery. In itself, an outstanding addition, unlikely to be heard elsewhere.

Ledovy Chram – Fantastic full on high octane speed metal, chasing intro! That makes an indelible impression, for its volume, production and sound quality alone. Carrying a really thrilling essence throughout, it’ll hold you enraptured and entranced. A fairly brief, but immensely powerful piece, sure to lift you to another world.

Na Pinej Plyn – Another round of racing speed, to delight and lift your senses. So multi-sensory, you can visualise the smoke coming off those riffs and hear the united shouts of warriors, as you feel the energy of the atmosphere of another age and culture. A really resonant, meaningful track, encased in a cheerful, fun loving rhythm.

Metalova Kralovna – (Bonus – Live, 1990) – A true old school, celebratory rock ‘n’ roll track. More of a party rock aspect to this. Not quite so relatable and that mic sounds slightly distant. Still, it’s upbeat enough and again, that folk edge returns, here and there. This is edging more towards 90’s Brit and indie rock, in places, though still rocky.

Jen Si Bez – (Bonus) – Good, heavy bass intro, with an audible party atmosphere background. Lighter touches on the accompaniments and slightly vocally flatter, at times. Less metallic and more light-hearted soft rock. Vocal shouts appear more frequently than singing and it’s just moving in a different direction. Seems like a diversion from the familiar path, to a hitherto unexplored area. Ruins it for me. Let’s return to the road more travelled, in this case.

Overall – All in all, a captivating and lively album, energetic and filled with metallic charm. The only quarrel is with the slight time delays at the outset of most tracks and the 2 closing bonus tracks. Though diversifying from the well worn path of an album, in that way, with bonus material, can be a brave move to make, it’s a risk, which doesn’t always work and in this case, it doesn’t. However, there’s a lot to be said for the overall sound, creativity and enjoyability of ‘DCM’, its musicianship is superb and its’ sound effects, remarkable. I still recommend it highly. Just ditch the bonus tracks and focus on the strength of the first 11.

9/10 *********

For fans of Wrathblade, North Hammer, Frost Giant, Celtic Legacy.


Posted September 16, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Big Bad Wolf – ‘Outrage Of Modesty’   Leave a comment

A 5 piece metal band from Slovenia, with a hard drinking, hard partying, destructive approach. Formed 2011, performing speed metal ever since, Big Bad Wolf are guaranteed to kill your eardrums and shake up your organs.

Beginning life as a group of unlikely scientists, metal became their escape. Going from covers to originals, when their front man departed, to pursue prostitutes in Singapore, a permanent line-up emerged. Their debut album, ‘Outrage Of Modesty’, launched earlier this year (2018), received rave reviews.  BBW are renowned for their dubious conduct and energised gigs. Now, it really is time to lock up your daughters. (And perhaps your wives, girlfriends, sisters, aswell).

Dingo Fever – Instant, punchy and powerful). Speed riffs, power screams and loads of bass involvement introing. A very distinctive Lemmy-esque vocal style! Not only fresh and buzzing with a Motorhead vibe, but few can pull that off and it sticks in your mind. Energy central, R&R feeling and absolutely flawless. That’s what you call a feelgood intro!

Bow To Your King – Opening with a careful, gradual, fluid intro, moving in, with a few classic rock, hair metal riffs, before those standout, grit soaked vocals command the stage. Mixing up modern speed riffs, with classic R&R sounds, gaining in strength, till the Viking-esque vocal outro makes its impression clear, rough and yet refined).

Ocean Of Madness – Getting off to a great heavy start, with a true heavy-metal speed riff, that Lemmy-esque voice takes its place, slotting right in. The confidence level’s inspiring and the evil laugh well placed. A born to rock sound, just acing it, at every turn. Hard, heavy, gritty and dirty).

Cider Hammer – Drums taking centre-stage now, marking their territory, with a clear signature, while the riffs fit right in with the rhythm. Even a slight funk section, utilising a touch of wah wah. The stones are lodged in his throat, as if totally natural and the whole track’s built around the rhythm section, combined with the deep-set gravel throat. Delicious. Should go down well with Line Of Fire fans.

Punisher – Immediate raw speed! Taking the helm straight away, the power leads the way. Explicit lyrics paint a strong picture, capably assisted by those sexily hard and heavy vocals. The riffs get faster, as the picture builds. A brief, but fun and involving track).

Faith No More – Introing with a gorgeously palpable echoic, steel strung section. You’d seriously think Lemmy himself had been resurrected. Moving into an easy rhythm, heartfelt, upbeat riffs add the catchy melody. Carrying you away on the laid-back chorus and finishing on several heavy drum beats. This one just drives the aggression home.

Release The Spiders – Sexy cool bass line opening, Lemmy the 2nd returns. Loving that tasty heavy riff. Becoming central to the track, in that beautifully velvet way, in places, echoing Sab’s ‘Snowblind’, the closing section brilliantly harmonises the penetrative drums and melting riffs. You really feel it here.

Rattlesnake – Taking the volume and heat up some more, the riff pace increases, with the active melody, in that awesomely visual car chase movie way. Great drum presence and a good dose of no-nonsense hard and heavy metal. Catchy melody joining up with the edgily siren-like riffs and booming drum hits. All tied together by that grit encrusted vocal. The business.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Love – Well constructed riff intro. This time, the vocal’s central and it works so well. A totally connected, cohesive, intuitively synchronised track. The bass stands out and every section has its moment. Sharp, tight, definitive ending.

Belgrade 41 – A sound effect of enigmatic, unidentifiable movement intro’s, before seguing into a bass heavy, thunderous rumble of a track. Here, some brief, harmonised backing vocals join the party. Evolving into something of a party metal track, there’s a more relaxed sense to this.

Big Bad Wolf – Big drum sounds introing. An immediacy embodies this and you’ve got to love the red hot pace of those riffs, as they move, easily, between scales and electrifying acuity. A well structured title track, making the most of every opportunity to inject imaginative, evocative lyrics and meeting them with a fittingly chase like pace. It’s got a great catchiness to it and it’s instantly memorable.

Colours Of The Night – Gorgeously sexy darkness infiltrates and consumes that opening bass. Keeping that heaviness consistent, with the accompaniments, this is really striking and quite physical. Speeding up, faster and faster, just that enthralling rhythmic pace is enough, in itself. Brief, but by no means lesser. An ideally arranged closer, with all the associated imagery to seal the deal.

Overall – Motorhead, stoner and southern blues fans, rejoice. For Lemmy is risen and there’s nothing not to like about this. ‘OOM’ is a hard rocker’s domain, from beginning to end. It’s laced with heavy, thunderous sounds throughout, it gels well and it rings true. Put on your leathers and turn it up loud.

10/10 **********

For fans of Motorhead, Line Of Fire, Baleful Creed, Black Sabbath, Kickin’ Valentina, BlackBerry Smoke, BSC, BCC, Obey, Live, BERDOO.


Posted September 15, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Dylan Grant – ‘The Truth’   Leave a comment

Introducing Dylan Grant’s debut studio release, ‘The Truth’. Based out of Highland, Indiana, Dylan’s an experienced guitarist, with a 33 year history. Presently playing rhythm guitar for AC/DC tribute act, Chicago Bonfire, from Northwest Indiana, Dylan may only just be launching his own music now, but he’s actually been composing most of his life. His major influences are AC/DC, Aerosmith and Randy Rhoads.

The Truth – Very neat tight riff intro. Great breakdown, solid chords and natural rock vocals. Good catch about it and whilst it could be more ambitious in chorus terms, the rhythm’s funky, rocky and hits just the right level. Lyrically, it’s evocative of G’N’R’s ‘The Garden’, with a slight sense of Alice Cooper, in places. Sound wise, it may appear slightly basic, but listen carefully and you’ll hear some decent rock grooves in there. Generally, it’s a pleasant listen, with lots of potential to build on.

7/10 *******

For fans of early G’N’R’, Alice Cooper, blues rock collectives, such as John Mayall’s Blues Breakers and funk and fusion bands, with rocky roots.


Posted September 13, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Reaper – Birth Of Chaos   Leave a comment

A 4 piece metal band from Liverpool, UK, Reaper have so far played Bloodstock  (2017), amongst several other notable achievements and are one of Planet Mosh’s top 3 Newblood stage bands. Having also presented a night with an orchestra, (all  scores arranged by their own vocalist), played support for ex-Hawkwind bassist Alan ‘Boomer’ Davey, Wolfsbane, Wolf, Dynamite!, Enforcer, Desolator and Eradikator, Reaper have additionally toured alongside Footprints in the Custard, Raised By Owls and Hamburg’s Taste Of Greed. Their self produced debut album, ‘Birth Of Chaos’ was self released and sports cover art by Andy Pilkington, of Very Metal Art. Forming March 22nd, 2011, Reaper is a band which has existed through many changes. These include much musical experimentation and movement from pure thrash, to what is currently a non-genre specific metal band. They now include hard rock, prog, instrumental and hints of fusion. Their aim is to diversify thrash and speed metal, via incorporation of limitless concepts and notions, as necessary to meet that aim. This strategy is currently unprecedented, within the metal genre.

Possessor Of Evil – Very powerful sinister riff intro, combining acoustic and electric guitars, making for an exciting sound. Exploding into a straight-out heavy-metal speed section, with all the vocal grit to prove it, this is one thrilling metal ride. Playing around with catchy melodies, searing edge, high-end riffs and mind melting scales, all whilst throwing in aspects of fusion and mixing them up with hints of extremity. The outcome’s impressively enlivening.

Wartorn – Mighty drum intro steals the show instantly. Especially so, given those electrifying, Slayer-esque riffs. Gravel-throated vocals add a real edge, combined with that floor crushingly heavy bass. A brief, but memorably explosive slice of metal madness.

World At Redemption – Even heavier drum intro, giving no ground at all, synching brilliantly with those sheer riffs and involving vocals. Unforgiving, tactile and imaginative. Adding in a bit of funk around 3/4 in, joining it up with crunchy vocals and a speed outro, evoking imagery of fast-moving trains and head-on collisions, this is definitely the full Monty.

The Crypt – Booming intro, increasing the heavyweight essence, fittingly strong lyrics, performed with absolute acuity and precision harmonies add to the thrill. Plenty of speed action in those riffs, orgasmic to the hilt. Fabulous synchronicity between this band, the heat increases, connecting everything to perfection. The thrill is never knowing where it’s gonna go next and it’s just alive with a palpable vibrancy, almost visual, in its radiance.

Entropy – Brilliant flaming riff intro, brooking no argument. On fire, with energy and metal edge. Pointedly powerful riffage and drumming as thunderous as a violent storm. Whipping up a storm of its own, with riffs to kill and red-hot fire of passion, it just gets better, stronger and hotter. Killing energy sparks off it, as the lyrics burn through even the strongest defences. It’s the height of metal mania.

Wings Of Darkness – Opening with a lighter cymbal action, immediately following it with a heavy as hell, Sab-esque drumming fest. Again, that edgy, grating vocal takes the energy up, before the riffs join it, injecting the funk and fun, ascending and descending those scales of hell, then a very slight blackness infiltrates the vocals, as it ends on a powerful shout and drum hit, in time with the riff. Stunning.

Checkmate – Searing riff intro, of face melting epicness. Thunderous drums enter, once more, till those sharpened vocals take over, commanding the level and direction of the sound. A wickedly delicious energy permeates these lyrics, at every turn. Got to love that flick between styles and genres, opening up the gates for all. Those notational rises and pitch increases are divine and it never fails to bring drama and pizzazz. Like a flaming flare, it screams with life.

Area 51 – Odd sound effect intro this time, but cleverly presented and thoughtfully composed. Spoken word section, bursting forth, onto a metallic landscape. Drumstick twirling stuff, great catchy pace and real heaviness pulses through this. Some inspired riffage and the vocals never ever lose that edge. The greatest vocal element, though, is that demonstrating expertly balanced melody and scream power, proving it can be done. Life enhancing and hugely uplifting.

Sixth Circle Of Hell – Changing direction, to more of a sombre, reflective, yet still anticipatory and edgy intro. Moving it up a gear, from there, back into all-out metal territory. Like a long shackled prisoner, breaking free from the chains, there’s a strong releasing feel to this track. Heavier and heavier, it gets, as the steel loaded drums roll on and beat their way out, to the end. An absolute ace.

The Way Of Shinobi – Rhythmic cymbal intro, followed by ever powerful drums. Slight sound and sense of computer game simulation, moving rapidly into another fiery pyre of riffs and charred-throated vocals. Brief Eastern sound surrounding, overtaken by more of that heavy-metal goodness. Immensely strong lyrics and battle-esque drumming, creating a war-cry image, before melodic heaven returns, with even more of that yummy riffing, ending the track on an improvised riff set to die for.

Overall – Sometimes, it’s hard to  do justice to the sheer level of inventive craftsmanship within an album. ‘Birth Of Chaos’ is one of them. I could write at length about the depth of talent, sincerity and passion evident within ‘BOC’. Instead, I’ll simply term it one of the most outstanding albums I’ve heard this year. So, if you like your metal eclectic, versatile and profoundly open-minded, whilst still paying homage to metal’s roots, give ‘BOC’ a whirl. You won’t be disappointed.

10/10 **********

For fans of X-Method, Samarkind, El Camino, Dread, Mind Patrol, Fury UK, Avenged Sevenfold.



Posted September 11, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized