Archive for October 2018

Kikamora – ‘Masquerade’   Leave a comment

Imagine a heavier, rocked up Sade, with male vocals. That’s Kikamora.

Second EP, from Kikamora, ‘Masquerade’, is released on 16th November 2018. A hard rock band, combining new and traditional influences and throwing in a tasty blues thread, Kikamora launched their debut EP, ‘In The Henhouse’, back in 2016. That launched their careers instantly, attracting coverage from BBC Introducing, Glastonbury FM, etc. It also led to support slots for Phil Campbell (Motorhead) And The Bastard Sons, LA Guns, Skinny Molly and a run of headline gigs throughout the UK. Added to that were performances at Hard Rock Hell, Bloodstock Metal To The Masses Bristol finals, SOS Fest, Giants Of Rock, Rock & Roll Circus Charity Christmas show, alongside Trucker Diablo and the list goes on!

‘Masquerade’ was recorded and engineered by Simon Jackman and produced by John Mitchell, at Outhouse Studios (Alter Bridge, Inglorious, Don Bronco).

Alibi – Delicious intro, smooth and instantaneous. Very 90’s rock feel to it straight away, making good use of the well-placed combo of solo and group vocals and the tastefully heavy drumming and riffs, so effortlessly performed. It’s immediately clear that these guys know the score and they’ve cracked it, totally. Everything’s there – the melody, the timing, the rhythm and pace and every aspect flows in perfect sync. This is gonna catch you, from the off.

Wrong Place, Right Time – Very sexy riff and harmonica intro! Got to love that vibe! Really heavily bluesy and bound to hook you in, with its full on, yummy sound. Gorgeous sax section in there aswell. It works brilliantly, for the track and here, the drums really go for it and the vocals just carry that edge). This has pulled me in, for certain. Perfect Friday night therapy. Turn it up loud.

Sat Around Living – A darker feel now, pouring all the available emotion into it, in a darkly delicious hard blues number that rocks so hard. Absolute masters of naturally sensual rock. It’s a very highly visual track, depicting ‘Ghost’-esque imagery, making you want to climb inside it and ride right up to the top. This is one track destined to drive you right to the edge. Pure magic. Turn on territory, from start to finish. Sensational.

Off The Cuff – Rocking it back up again, to a very G’N’R’, ‘UYI’-esque point. An almost jungle edge to those drums and the riffs just fly up and down the fretboard. Vocals taking on a very slight AIC tone, now and then, though they’re so well suited to the kind of hard blues rock performed here. Just born for rocking. Sheer, precise delivery and not a thing out of place anywhere. A fabulously natural way, making the track the success it deserves to be.

Said And Done (Feels) – Beautiful intro, bringing a sense of palpable pathos and still keeping it up and rocking all the way. It’s just a velvet smooth feel throughout and there’s really no way to praise their musicality and skill of emotional delivery highly enough. A track that moves, so fluidly, in and out, like waves on a shoreline, while infusing such passionate atmosphere into the sound. Making you feel every note and just want more, ‘Said And Done”s a masterpiece of human emotion.

Overall – ‘Masquerade’ may be said to contradict its contents, in titular terms, given the raw passion screaming so blatantly, throughout it. All I know is it’s a thunderously real and powerful portrayal of sensuous and fierce love…… and I love it. To the very depths of my soul, which is where it’ll take you. Throbbing with feeling and drenched in sincerity, ‘Masquerade’ is the most natural force of hard blues rock I’ve heard all year.

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

For fans of Diamond Lil, 90’s rock, especially G’N’R’s ‘UYI’ era, Little Angels, Emeralds, Over The Under, Slash’s Snakepit, AIC, Devilfire, Hell’s Gazelles, The Raz, Overhung, The Quireboys’ ‘Twisted Love’ album.


Posted October 26, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Days Of Jupiter – ‘We All Die Young’   Leave a comment

Alternative metal band Days Of Jupiter formed in 2010. Winning 2nd place at Sweden’s biggest unsigned band competition, the achievements have continued, ever since.

Their debut 2012 album, ‘Secrets Brought To Life’ features ‘Bleed’, their most successful hit yet, which won them 2.3 million streams. The accompanying 2 music videos bagged 10,000+ hits. Following on from this, D.O.J secured slots at several high-profile festivals, within Sweden, including Sweden Rock Fest, Live At Heart, Nordic Rock Fest and Rock Out Wild.

2015 saw the launch of their follow-up album, ‘Only Ashes Remain’. Winning them international airplay, the track ‘Follow’, tagged amongst their top 5 tracks, features. Their 3rd and most powerful album so far came out in 2017. Entitled ‘New Awakening’, it was well received, to critical acclaim, landing a place on the top 50 US metal charts. A European tour followed.

The 4th album, ‘Panoptical’, is due for release on October 26th, 2018. The track ‘We All Die Young’ is featured.

We All Die Young – Great chunky intro, going for gold, with battle-esque drums, fabulous axe work and true metal vocals, loaded with feeling. A massive sound, with a real catchy hook to it. It’s plain to see why this band has been such a hit. Filled with meaty riffs, addictive vocals and classic metal expression. Nothing here to fault at all. Just chock full of top level, high octane metallic flare. Infectious choruses, full volume impact and zest aplenty. Everything about this track screams instant contagion. Press play and hit repeat.

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

For fans of Kyrbgrinder, Line Of Fire, Gun. – ‘Broken Halo’ official video.

Posted October 24, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Aonia – ‘The Seven’   Leave a comment

A 7 piece operatic/prog metal band, with 2 mind-blowingly powerful soprano vocalists, twin guitars, symphonic keyboards and strong drums and bass, Aonia are commonly tagged as similar to Therion, Avantasia, Nightwish, Epica and Revamp. This year alone, they won Bloodstock Metal To The Masses Sheffield, performed on the New Blood stage and did their preliminary European tour, with Alwaid (F).

Released on October 6th, their debut album, ‘The Seven’, was unleashed to the world during Aonia Fest II, at The Corporation, Sheffield. Guest featuring Blaze Bayley and Iliana Basileios Tsakiraki (Enemy Of Reality), ‘TS’ was recorded at Black Carrot Studios and mastered by Scott Atkins of Grindstone Studio (Cradle Of Filth, Savage Messiah, Sylosis, Amon Amarth).

‘TS’ will be promoted during a UK tour, for which, preparation is currently in progress. Aonia will also perform as special guests at 4 shows, as part of Blaze Bayley’s ‘Tour Of The Eagle Spirit’.

Aonia’s previous achievements include playing the renowned Dames Of Darkness and SOS Fests and also supporting Leaves Eyes, Xandria, Kobra and the Lotus, Warrior Soul, Skyclad, Dakesis, Azylya and Forever Never. Lately endorsed by Vocalzone, Joanne Kay Robinson and Melissa Adams (vocals), trained by globally famous Victorian opera expert Martin Yates, were both featured on Blaze Bayley’s last 3 albums, ‘The Redemption Of William Black’, ‘Infinite Entanglement’ and ‘Endure and Survive’. Two years ago, they also performed alongside him at Huskvarna Rock and Art Fest, Sweden.

Now commissioned to make a guitar for Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), guitarist Przemeck ‘Slick’ Druzkowski is currently continuing with his business of custom making his own signature guitars, whilst James ‘Carrot’ Brough continues his newly established recording business, at Black Carrot Studios. Aonia collectively press ahead with crafting the band and its performances, injecting more theatricality, each time.

Sold My Soul – Opening on a solemn keyboard section, a brief spoken episode and then a soaring guitar riff, before the soprano vocals kick in, with Aonia’s characteristic upbeat way. Displaying a beautifully performed twin vocal, ably assisted by the magical sounding riffs, melting into your soul, like liquid chocolate, down your throat. Powerful drums add the insistent, precisely timed back beat, as the pace increases and the joy just emanates from the vocals. Ending on a definitive drum beat and uplifting keyboard solo, it’s a great, well-defined intro to the album.

Violet Hours – Introing on a high vibe, demonstrated by a fabulous team effort, slotting together, with absolute cohesion. Those vocals soar, like a bird, injecting palpable atmosphere, enhanced by the intricate accompaniments. Here, the riffs really come into their own, chasing up and down the scales, with vibrant melody, while the keys add meaning to the darkening mood and the vocal efforts finish the track, with poignant pathos.

Wake Up, Lucretia! – Carefully performed instrumentals intro, picking out and conveying those plucky singular note formations, as the sopranos pierce the shell of your mind. Ethereal  beauty flows through those mystical vocals, giving it all they’ve got, with that winning operatic formula. The riffs just slide and glide in there, so intuitively, in perfect sync. It’s very visual in its format, increasing the heightened theatricality, till the end.

Still, I Rise – Precise, banging riff and drum intro, as Blaze’s unmistakable voice kicks in, accompanied by Mel and Joanne, so artistically. The power just shines out of this track, with real appeal. Catchy, yet complex, refreshingly unique, with a real individual slant, combining operatic with power and prog metal. It works and stunningly well. Lifting the melody and mood higher, taking you with it, it’s truly entrancing. Sharply finished, on a brilliantly eclectic vocal, showcasing the strength inherent in combined masculine and feminine efforts. Astounding.

Siren’s Lament – Acute, magical keyboard focused intro, broken into by those angelic vocals, before slick power riffs join in. There’s genuine depth to this performance, revealing itself through every note. The emotion’s palpable, as is the accompanying vision and sound of the siren, as the vocals get shriller, to the end. It’s a very evocative vision, playing out throughout the track and it has you hanging on every note. The theatrical energy is very much present and so resonant, as to be seductive.

Eye Of The Storm – Gorgeously picturesque sea sound effects, creating a powerfully vivid Viking image, introing. Beautiful melodic vocals take over, yet the image remains. A massive theatrical component creates a scene of its own, moving fluidly, through the track. The drums alone hold such strength in every beat. Hypnotic.

Heartsword – Bang! Drums defining that intro, moving straight into the mood of the song. There’s a very celtic/folky aspect to the vocals here, narrating tales of old, with total plausibility. As the shrill sopranos hit the highest registers, the song lifts with them and the riffs and drums follow. A magical interplay of sounds pick up the beat, chasing each other, through a race of multi-sensory adventure, till the end.

At The Masquerade – Well-controlled rhythm opens and everything comes together, in an immensely accessible performance. Some really intriguing keyboard sections in there, as it plays out, like a metal musical. The melody heightens, as the rhythm maintains its momentum and it’s a slightly slower pace, but it suits the depiction of the track title and it’s a clean, flawless, polished delivery.

If You Dare – Slowly opening, with a contemplative theme, revealed through emotionally performed vocals and similarly conveyed accompaniments. Some really vibrant keyboard sections enhance the mid-section further, as the riffs bring even more heightened feeling to things, with a slight Whitesnake-esque twang. Again, the vocals dictate the mood, with real melancholy, enhanced by the higher registers in which they’re sung.

Hyde And Seek – Intriguing scenes of battles and chases are constructed, at the outset, deeper entrenched by the breathlessness and screams. Taking a different direction, helped along by the heavy keys, depicting church organs and wurlitzers. Slowing down the pace and moving into a sense of emerging relief, the riffs lift it out of the doldrums, assisted by the powerful vocals and more forceful masculine narration. Mysterious story-line, all the more imagery evoking for the faster paced riffs. Slowing things back down again, towards the end and deepening the tone, to a more solemn depth, the vocals sing in unison, in a higher register, once more, as it ends, thoughtfully and melodically.

Overall – 10 tracks of phenomenal, mind-blowingly powerful metal, with magic, mystery and intrigue running deeply, through every note. ‘The Seven’ is a treasure trove of entrancement, demonstrative of the heights of which Aonia are capable. Throwing their all into every piece they produce, their stamina and multi-talented approach always shows through, just as it does here. Inventive and eclectic, intelligently crafted, with intricacy and precision, ‘TS’ really is a superior store of darkly enigmatic power, both thrilling and enthralling.

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

For fans of Nightwish, Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Delain, Within Temptation, Leaves Eyes, Tarja Turunnen.

Posted October 23, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Death By Disco – ‘Runaways’   Leave a comment

Death By Disco, from South Wales, UK, are a 5 piece melodic rock band. Their style has grown, through standard line-up changes, though the main basis of the band has remained static. Since 2015, they’ve released a debut EP, ‘The Story Of Pain And Glory’ and this current 6 track release, ‘Runaways’. Filled with hooks and scattered with (debatably) upbeat melodies, ‘Runaways’ is prepped for impact.

Runaways – Smooth intro, steady rhythm and a very soft rock ballad feel to it. Actually, the catchiness of this catches you unawares and it’s quite a pleasant sound. Gentler than expected, but I can’t fault the delivery, the production or the audio quality. Well constructed, it’s a relaxed arrangement, which just glides along.

You Know Me – Good follow-up to the intro, this retains that same gentle, emotional thread. Again, you do find yourself being carried along by the melody. It may not be what you’d call exciting and it is slightly monotone, samey and lacking in oomph, but it’s a pleasant enough listen, for laid-back frames of mind.

State Of The Art – Rocking it up a bit now, with some upbeat drum hits and a faster pace, lyrically incongruent with the sound, but it’s definitely rockier. More uplifting vibes throughout this, but it’s a bit too brief to make much of an impact.

Brand New – Opening on a bit of a melancholy note, there’s obviously a depth to it, in a very Rembrandts-esque, ‘I’ll Be There For You’ way, echoing that sound. This one moves through different moods, throwing in some powerful drum work and some very well performed, perfectly pitched, melodic vocals. Quite a strong feel to this track, though still a candidate for the softer end of rock.

Save Me – A tad repetitive in its intro, seeming to echo the previous track. As before, it can’t be faulted on a musical level, in terms of song-craft and delivery, even if it does sound a bit bland. On a positive note, this’ll doubtlessly prove helpful in a cathartic sense, to those experiencing the kind of lows and sadnesses spoken of in the lyrics, so in that sense, it’s purposeful and obviously meaningful. Just doesn’t do it for me.

Into The Night – Opening on a pained, poignant vocal, backed by equally morose accompaniments. Contrary to the last track, definitely don’t listen to this in a low mood. It has to be said, the lyrics are moving towards stalker territory now, which can’t be a good thing. It just gets sadder and sadder, till I feel my mood lowering, to plummeting depths. The musicality’s great, the performance fully plausible, a bit too plausible, in fact, going beyond emotionally effective, to downright depressing.

Overall – Well titled, as run away is exactly what it makes you want to do. More so, throughout the latter half. Musicianship and sound and production quality are well observed throughout and vocal delivery’s flawless. Instrumental performance, the same. Just not recommended unless you want to wallow in misery.

4/10 ****

For fans of The Ramones, The Rembrandts, The Calling.

Posted October 21, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

I Am Pariah – ‘Procreate//Annihilate’   Leave a comment

Self released on November 30th, ‘Procreate//Annihilate’ is the new EP from Stoke-on-Trent trio I Am Pariah. Intended as a balm for today’s life and all its ills, a meditation on society’s position and how it can improve, ‘P//A’ combines the heavy atmospherics of metal, with the nuances of rock and the perspective of punk, delivering the result with sharp edged drive.

Self produced, it consists of 4 tracks, narrating the harsh realities of many individuals in current society and the ways in which both nature and nurture contribute to the destructive ends to which people are driven.

A Place To Belong – Gradual, focused, contemplative intro, soon building up, into an explosion of sound, with a strong lyrical message. There’s a powerful melodic drive to this, stemming from clear emotion provoking events. It’s a big sound, conveying palpable anger, through tints of rocky metallic colour. Memorable lyrics and a form which’ll fit many genres, from alt rock to melodic metal.

Big Shot – Booming, compelling intro. Rising up, into a deathy tinge, with plenty of melody. Hope resonates through it, while the vocals swing between blackened and rockily melodic. It’s just a very powerful song, likely to appeal to many. Ending as it began, leaving that same empowering feel.

Cult Society – Razzmatazz opens, fizzling with energy and intent. More of a pop rock track, with a heavy basis. Very colourful blast of encouraging sounds crackling through it. Definitely uplifting, if nothing else, packed with soaring atmosphere. Brief, but effective.

Heavy In Japan – Banging intro, heavier in weight and production. Solid sound, well equalised and highly enthused performance. Consistently synchronised, retaining the power throughout. Just a really rocked up track, with a punchy delivery, from start to finish.

Overall – So ‘Procreate//Annihilate’ may not have done much for me or tapped into anything significant, on a personal level, but it’s undeniably pertinent in its message(s) and prominent in its sound. Fizzing with life, it’s a well produced, powerful piece of work, confidently delivered, capably balanced and versatile enough for mass appeal and categorisation within many diverse genres (of rock).

7/10 *******

For fans of Death Blooms, INXS.

Official Stream – ‘Heavy In Japan’ –


Posted October 17, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Daniel Trigger – ‘Right Turn’   Leave a comment

Introducing Daniel Trigger’s current album, ‘Right Turn’. All proceeds from the sales of which are being donated to the mental health charity MIND.

Penitence – Huge soaring intro! Straight into it, in Dan’s inimitable way. Massively powered vocals and accompaniments to match. Thoroughly infused with that catchy, accessible style that all fans of Dan’s work will recognise and shot through with 100% sincere plausibility. Drumming as wonderfully upbeat as it is heavy and always, that vocal signature shining through, adding to the mood lifting atmosphere. Flawless, impeccable delivery and the sound values are equally faultless. Just a great big radiant sound, guaranteed to pep you up.

Rock N  Roll Party – Gorgeously smooth strummed intro, drums rapidly following, with true party rock vocals. Lyrics any rock fan’ll identify with, adeptly performed, with sheer rabid enthusiasm. One to lose yourself in completely, a fact reinforced by the closing applause. That’s gonna be a firm fan favourite.

Drive – Well perfected intro riff, joined by softer vocals and a gentler, but no less effective melody. A very emotional one, this. Very moving lyrics, carrying echoes of The Quireboys’ ‘Pretty Girls’ and even, a rockier ‘Runaway Train’ reverberates through it. Just throwing out so much power, in every note. Impossibly impressive, in its sheer life force and energy alone, even without all the rest. Classic rock incarnate.

Running Into The Wind – Massive drum hits introing, flowing right into precisely timed vocals. Just so plausibly and eagerly performed, with nothing less than 100% drive. Hugely rhythmic and melodically fulsome, chunky sounds and upbeat vibes, all the way. Nothing to hate and everything to love.

Hold Back The Night – Very full drum sound intro’s here  and a gorgeously deep vocal follows. Lyrically cathartic, in a very nostalgic sense. There’s such a pure feeling about this and it’s just so real and believable, at the most primal level. A sense ably assisted by the ingrained beauty of the guitar parts. Some tracks just ring with absolute truth and sincerity and this is one of them.

Heavy Heart – Vocal solo intro, quickly joined by strong riffs, with a slightly electrified sound built-in. The palpable daggers to the heart shoot right out of this track, as does the release and relief following them. If there’s one thing Dan’s a master of, it’s conveying powerful emotions, through his music and that reflects so strongly, through this track.

Alive – Beautifully strummed chords open. Another emotional one, with healing rays of hope shining out of it. Some artists are known for healing with their voices and Dan has that ability, for certain. Again, there’s a real catchiness about it and it’s very much an intuitive track. Genuine feeling resonates throughout, saturating every moment and it’s just a great sound. Something of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ seems to sing through this aswell and it’s bound to touch many.

There In Your Heart – Loving that intro melody! An enormously hopeful song, right from the off. Prime rock ballad territory right here. This is a real wowser. Just so deeply entrenched with the very heart within the title. Slick, smooth, perfected delivery and truly, the love just screams from it.

Days Gone By – Ooh, brilliantly performed intro riff, bringing that deliciously hardened edge. Liking the lyrics, too). This just taps into something innately recognisable and brings it out of the shadows and into the light. In fact, it is a massively light filled track and that’s what resonates and impresses most. A highly therapeutic number, full of catch, which’ll no doubt hook you in, from the start.

Wheels In Motion – Yummy heavy intro, echoing The Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’. Ace pace and rhythm and a well chosen closer. Also something Bon Jovi-esque in the sound of Dan’s vocals, holding that same level of enthusiasm. Vibrant and life affirming throughout and ending on a mood enhancing shout. A really sunny track, through which, you can almost see the sun itself.

Overall – ‘Right Turn’ is something really special. As with all Dan’s previous work, his total professionalism, dedication and commitment to his art shines through it, like a beacon and it is, as always, flawless in its delivery and immaculate in sound production. With ‘RT’, though, he’s really hit the nail on the head, in the sense of the complete integration of pure and absolute plausible emotion. That’s what stands out most of all. ‘RT’ is not only consistently catchy and chock full of rocky hooks, but the wholeness of human experience pulses through it, bringing healing vibes with it. ‘RT’, for an instant hitter.

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

For fans of Journey, Bon Jovi, Devilfire, The Quireboys, Heaven’s Basement, Shinedown, Alter Bridge.

Audio mixing and mastering by
Artwork by Andy Pilkington at Very Metal Art

All tracks written, edited, mixed and produced by Daniel Trigger.

All proceeds from album sales will be donated to the mental health charity MIND at

Posted October 13, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Smoking Martha – ‘In Deep’   1 comment

Brisbane/Gold Coast based band Smoking Martha release their debut album, ‘In Deep’, through Bad Reputation Records, on November 9th, 2018. The alt rockers are confirmed to perform a succession of UK gigs, including Hard Rock Hell Festival, in collaboration with Wrecking Crew Tour Agency.

‘In Deep’ is currently making a big splash amongst the UK rock media, for its variety and versatility. Produced and recorded, by Matthew Bartlem (Matt Corby, Dead Letter Circus), at Loose Stone Studios, ‘ID’ (boasting 5 bonus tracks), has so far been toured alongside bands such as Wolfmother, Thunder, Seether, Hardcore Superstar, Fuel, Everclear, P.O.D., Cherie Currie (The Runaways), etc. Smoking Martha go from strength to strength, in Australia and beyond.

So Lonely – Tight, plucky riff intro, onto a typically alt atmosphere, evoking visuals of homely busy streets, thronging with people, with intermingling lives. It’s a little bit flat and samey, tone-wise, but the rhythm’s good and there’s a sense of anticipation and promise in the sound.

Say You’re Mine – Great vibrant opening! Much more uplifting and still as plucky. He really makes the most of those riffs and the drums are fittingly laid-back, suiting the atmosphere. Intensifying slightly, towards the end, it’s still a bit repetitive, but there’s an audible life about it, which somehow inspires hope.

To The Stars – Similar riff sound intro’s again, with that same busy atmosphere of crowded streets and mixed aspirations. There’s a gradual vocal fade in and a bluesy sound to the vocals, a decent sound in itself, but the vocals are held back way too much and the accompaniments are dominating. It needs some levelling, to make the most of that obvious vocal potential.

Ebb Of The Tide – Slightly changing the mood now, to a more fluid, movable scene. Still, the vocals aren’t present or audible enough. There’s a clear skill to the motion between tones and moods and the blues angle really comes out here, particularly through the riffs, but those vocals are almost hidden.

One Night – Good drum intro, relaxed and easy, sliding in with the riffs, showing promise, in themselves, with that effortless technique they sport. Vocals still disguised, though, as if performing from behind a screen. That’s frustrating, when more volume would add so much more.

Baby Let Me Go – Downbeat thread opening here. The melody’s actually quite beautiful and emotionally performed, in itself, though if only those vocals would come out of the shadows, the picture could be completed. There’s an unmistakable poignancy in the vocals, well capable of moving a crowd, but not enough is being made/heard of them, wasting the track’s potential.

Follow – A denser, heavier riff intro now, creating a much more upbeat mood. It’s a nice comfortable sound, with a hardened blues edge. Smoothness flows through it, well timed, suitably paced and it’s very aurally picturesque. Great job with those instrumentals. They really gnaw at you, in a very welcome sense. Vocals slightly more audible here and of what can be heard, the No Doubt echoes are clear, showing the true potential of that voice.

Find A Way – Opening in a much more explosive, excoriating way, the blues element takes centre stage and it’s a very welcome sound. Once more, that tightly plucky riff sound enters, combining with the harder, heavier impressions and all conveyed so smoothly, with a tasty bit of bottleneck in there. Just a shame there are barely any audible vocals to join it.

What’s Her Name? – Quick paced drum intro, with high vibe riffs in rapid succession. Keeping up a great momentum, with those delicious slide riffs, all the way through to the end and closing on a precisely timed drum hit. Instrumentally, it’s a hit. The vocals are, as ever, inexplicably elusive, though. Hard to review their quality, when they hide, in that manner.

Stranger Things – Precision drum hit and strong riffage intro’s. Employing the loud/quiet/loud tactic and working it well. The chase effect does it justice too and there’s certainly plenty of atmosphere, depicting the changing feelings, moods and events clearly. Yet again, the vocals seem to have left the building, but the song’s saved by the charged atmospheric accompaniments.

All Lit Up – (Bonus Demo) – Crackling into life, but fizzling out, just as quickly, this one seems to come and go and though it’s well played, there’s a vague quality about it, which struggles to retain attention. A bit bland.

Bad Choices – (Bonus Demo) – A sharper note to this one, echoing the intro to Placebo’s ‘Every You, Every Me’. (A good thing, in my book). Now the vocals strive to come through more, but are still hardly audible. Mic check, perhaps? Only at the last fence does the vocal sound make itself more clearly heard and as before, it’s a great sound, with a lot going for it, but it’s just way too quiet.

Fake Promises – (Bonus Demo) – Another raw riff explosion introing. Here, the vocals are just about audible, sooner, but still sound like they’re in constant fade-out mode. It’s time those mic levels were checked. Instrumentally, it’s a flawless, impressive performance, as smooth as ever and fairly catchy, too. It’d just be good to hear the vocals properly.

Heavy Heart – (Bonus Demo) – Ooh, you can feel the heavy heart immediately, in that intro! Well delivered, with strong emotion and especially powerful, in the riffs, even leaning towards The Cranberries ‘I Still Do’, in parts – no easy essence to capture, so that deserves credit. Gaining in strength, as it goes along, whilst remaining true to the ebb and flow necessary for a track of this nature. This is likely to win the memorability card, for its standout features.

Sweet As Honey – (Bonus Demo) – Taking the beat back up a bit, in an improvisation style easy laid-back number, echoing the strains of early classic blues rockers, such as ‘Tobacco Road’ and Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’. A brief finale, with some fine enough guitar licks to serve it well.

Overall – In and of itself, ‘In Deep’ is a good enough album, with a wealth of very decent, listenable instrumentals. It’s just a pity the vocals are consistently so vaguely audible as to create the impression it’s an entirely instrumental production. (No slight against pure instrumentals, many of which are stunning performances). When marketed as a full band/vocal led production, though, the cruciality of vocal clarity can’t be overemphasised. From the brief snatches of vague vocal audibility, it’s obvious there’s a great deal of skill inherent and it’s a very pleasant sound, with stacks of potential. Ultimately, a thorough sound check would have saved this, in a collective context, but given the vocal inaudibility, the final outcome’s based on the accompaniments and overall quality.

7/10 *******

For fans of No Doubt, Southern blues, Placebo, The Cranberries.

Official music video for ‘What’s Her Name?’ –

Posted October 10, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Rival – ‘Prophecy’   2 comments

Founded in Chicago, in 1990, Rival is a 4 piece band of metal brothers, with a shared passion for the old school sound. They began producing in 1991, starting with their self titled 5 track debut EP. Though it took 7 years for the EP to be released on CD and despite the lack of label support at that time, the metal underground fans stepped up and provided the support Rival needed to keep going.

Their refusal to conform to alternative trends has served them well and Rival have continued in their original vein. ‘Modern World’, their 1st full-length album, was the outcome. Given the catalogue of difficulties and delays with its release, however, (‘MW’ wasn’t launched till winter 2000), Rival had by then, become understandably jaded and despondently prepared to split, in the event that it failed to be the hit they were aiming for.

As it happens, ‘MW’ got lucky and hit the big time, after a metal magazine reviewer in Germany heard it and set things in motion. Soon, the word was out and ‘Death Stalker’, a track from MW, was chosen to appear on the best of the unsigned bands compilation album, from Rock Hard and Heavy and Oder Was I magazines. Rival were then invited to play ‘Headbangers Open Air’ and ‘Bang Your Head’ fests, during summer 2002.

These successes led to Rival signing their first record deal with Metal Blade. In 2003, they hit the studio and produced the 9 track metal attack that was ‘State Of Mind’.

Rival now present ‘Prophecy’, their new 8 track album release.

Retaliation – Instant heavy hitter right there! Classic melodic speed metal sound, with an easily listenable vocal. This has got it all and it manages to combine various influences, in the nods to Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica and even, a vague, if unintentional echo of ‘Presence’ era Plant. All whilst throwing their own spin on it. If ever there was a form of easy listening speed/power metal, this is it.

Vigilante – Awesome, electrified riff  intro there and it hits the spot immediately. You can definitely hear the raw gritty passion in here. It’s catchy, uplifting and chock full of great melodic riffs. Right up the street of all fellow power/speed metal fans and it comes complete with a high octane, energy fuelled closing drum roll. Very pleasing).

Black Widow – Fading in steadily, with a heavy riff, heading for prime metalgasm land. Strong reminders of Maiden’s ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ shine through it. Even a nice little continental flavour to the vocal section, in places. Good strong drumbeats keep the flow steady and the power high. This is a well performed track, keeping a mid-paced rhythm throughout and moving confidently, towards the end, with a sense that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. It’s a track title well used by many and Rival have stamped their names firmly on this version.

Prophecy – Sliding into a pensive mood now, before metalling it back up again, then the sparks fly. One thing Rival do well is control the speed, movement and flow of the accompaniments. That shows through consistently. Great metal sound in here, seeming to move through so many moods, capturing them all, infinitely well, in that technique, that seems to barrel its way through joy, poignancy, ambition and determination, all at once. ‘Prophecy”s definitely one for the classic rock nuts amongst us and it’s memorable as hell, with it’s catchy chorus and upbeat tones. Standout material there, for sure.

Paralyzed – Oh yeah, fabulous barrelling fast intro there! Getting straight in there and wasting no time. That easy way he has with the vocals just make it. Loving those energetic riffs. So damn catchy. Now we’re well on the way to full-blown metal orgasm territory. Forget it all and just glide along with it. This is how to create that elusive, inexplicable, but unmistakable sound and feeling. When the words escape you, the track’s not only done its job, but nailed it.

Blind Fury – It gets even better! Full on Dickinson-esque thing going on here. A blaze fest of metal, employing snatches of vibrato and racing on, in red-hot rage, it’s a shorter, but equally powerful blast of metallic mania.

About You – Instant speed opens, bringing the heaviness and the passion with it. I believe those lyrics fully. A strong delivery of emotion and experience, encased in a full metal jacket. Even the cymbal work’s so heavily conveyed, it’s more like a solid triangle sound than the light touch of a cymbal. Really cohesive, nicely timed and filled with heart.

Crash And Burn – Good, careful, steady cymbal intro, rapidly succeeded by well electrified riffs and then a throaty vocal, laced with intent. It’s a highly memorable track and thus, well chosen (as a) closer. That racetrack chase thing reverberates throughout and it’s a very sexy sound. Great lyrics, brilliantly delivered. Totally synchronised and it just screams joy, from every orifice.

Overall – If ever there was a contender for the School of ‘play that again, I’m not done with it yet and I want to hear it again’, ‘Prophecy’ is it. No better compliment, in my book. It may have been a long time in the making, but ‘Prophecy’ is worth every second of the wait. Speed/power/classic metal freaks will throw the devil horns in the air and salute this, for certain.

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

For fans of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica, Voltax, Celtic Legacy, RAM, Portrait, HOD, In Solitude, Cast Iron, Altheniko, Crowning Glory, Enforcer, Whitesnake.


Posted October 9, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Northern Sun Sessions – The Virginmarys   Leave a comment

Self released on 16th November 2018, the product of 10 months studio work, ‘Northern Sun Sessions’ is the new album from Macclesfield-based 2 piece, The Virginmarys. Following ‘Divides’ (produced and mixed by Gil Norton – Foo Fighters, Pixies) and debut ‘King Of Conflict’, vocalist/guitarist Ally Dickaty claims it’s his favourite work yet.

Known for their original style, The Virginmarys music is very real and true to life, in all its raw reality. For A.D., it’s a very personal vehicle, through which, all his own observations of and frustrations with life are conveyed.

‘NSS’, co-produced by A.D., at Preach Studios, Mark Winterburn, at Edge Studios, Kemble Walters, in LA and Mike Kalajian, Rogue Planet, New York, was recorded from June 2018, the hottest UK summer on record. The band feel this added to the positivity and uniqueness of the album.

Look Out For My Brother – Opening with a very bubblegum rock, early Oasis-esque sound, there’s an instant happy enthusiasm to this, taking you right back to the 90’s era of Northern Street rock. Very catchy, highly infectious and spreading cheerful contagion, with every note. Love it).

SOS4UNI – Shifting gear slightly, with a gentle acoustic intro now, before soon exploding back into that same sound. Brilliantly real, performed with a local accent and no pretence whatsoever. Even becoming gritty, as the effort and feeling becomes vocally audible. It’s just upbeat, nostalgic rock, which can’t fail to cheer.

Eye For An Eye – A deeper drum and riff sound opens, injecting a slight air of uncertainty. Pluckier strings add to the emphasis, but always, that explosion of all-encompassing world blocking music keeps it fresh. Accessible, long enough to devour and well produced, with obvious spark.

For The Two Of Us – Beautifully played chord intro, transporting it right back to that down-to-earth 90’s rock sound. It’s a very full sound, with such catchy vocals, a well-placed background echo and consistently good audio production. It just gets into you.

Blind Lead The Blind – Opening with a more mellow, contemplative vocal now, but it’s not long before the fullness of the explosive accompaniments returns. Bursting back onto the scene, with real sincerity, a massively catchy chorus and perfectly timed riff scales, blending with those increasingly hoarse vocals, there’s a rare breed of passion in here.

Get Me Back Home – Revved up riffs intro, with a distinctive steel string sound, adding some gorgeous slide, as the vocals bring that 90’s flavour of realism again and a bluesy emphasis enters the riffs. That blues tone stays, as the final notes are plucked, with perfect precision. Uplifting and truly sunny.

Northern Sun – Introing with a fairly ‘Civil War’-esque section, moving into a thoughtful vocal, pouring heart and genuine feeling into it, the chorus springs into life, surrounding the atmosphere with warmth and hope. Doing perfect justice to the title track, you can visualise the whole area just blowing up, into a happy snapshot of memories, as you hear this. Getting right into your soul, only the cold of heart and devoid of soul would fail to be moved by this.

Wanna Be Free – A single cymbal hit and some drum hits open, onto a spacious rocky landscape, through which you can breathe. Once again, those Oasis-esque vocals burst a hole in the atmosphere, adding a vague early Beatles sound, as the accompaniments match their enthusiasm perfectly, providing the final blowout.

Flags – Plucky riffs intro and the Brit rock sound of the 90’s enters again. Firing those vocals into the air, with passionate sincerity, in between the more contemplative sections, it rings out with feeling, as it conveys its message, before fading out, thoughtfully.

Step Up – Huge drum roll intro’s, moving instantly, back into the 90’s Brit rock, this time, with strong echoes of The Arctic Monkeys, only with more bite. The riffs do their thing easily, tight and loose in all the right places, with the bass coming in, with precision timing and it ends on a definitive riff and drum hit. Magic.

All Fall Down – A softer acoustic riff opens, with some gently hit cymbals and a gradually building vocal, for this finale. Introing a more melancholic note to the themes, arranging it into a rising aggression, with extraordinarily powerful grit, building, till the end, when the final drum hits and insistent riffs take hold. Solid and hugely effective.

Overall – This has truly blown me away. ‘Northern Sun Sessions ‘ is a force to be reckoned with and its power is utterly mind blowing. The grit and determination in the vocals alone is just tremendous, but for a 2 piece, The Virginmarys are tremendous and ‘NSS’ reflects that abundantly.

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

For fans of Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, The Beatles, Embrace, Pulp, The Stone Roses.

‘NSS’ can be pre-ordered from:

Posted October 7, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Negative Sixxx – ‘The Truth Shall Set You Free’   Leave a comment

Introducing the debut 4 track EP from Bay Area metallers  Negative Sixxx. A mix of metal genres, presented in a sophisticated format.

Chain Reaction – Precise drum roll intro’s. Roary, death style vocals mingle with thrashier lyrics, gentle acoustic sections and melodic riffs, making for an open-minded, genre defying sound, straddling various forms. This may not be up everyone’s street, but it’s simultaneous metallic offshoots are bound to catch the attentions of those more amenable to a broader spectrum of metal.

Minus 6 Feet – What a gorgeous opening! Surprising you, with a sensitive acoustic section, then moving back into a loud, thrashy arrangement, it’s a good demonstration of changing, conflicting moods. There’s a great, upbeat riff melody, sprinting up and down the fret board, as death vocals shout an effective outro.

Truth – Heavy riffs and drum rolls combine, to set the scene for a hard-line, edgy song, with more melody, amongst the growls. The lyrics are still audible, though, however deathy the vocals and what comes across most is the easily delivered skilled workmanship within.

Slay The Village – A battery of riffs opens, followed hot on its heels, by intensely conveyed drum hits. The passion’s clear, as the vocals become more blackened, but still, the lyrics are heard, as the thrash emphasis returns. This is a carefully crafted combination of styles, comprising thrash, melody, death and melo-death, incorporating hints of the opposite extremes, in the acoustic and black metal sections.

Overall – The main thing apparent throughout ‘TTSSYF’ is the natural flow of the sound, as performed by seasoned professionals. It’s this which gives life to the genre hopping outcome, creating a successful collaboration between milder and more aggressive formats. If listened to from an interpretive perspective, most will find something to suit their tastes. As a debut, it bodes well for the follow-up.

8/10 ********

For fans of heavy thrash, melo-death, black and death metal.


Posted October 5, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized