Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Papa Shango – ‘Manservant’   Leave a comment

Rocking a chaotic combo of slack-jaw inducing circus rock, sensuality and outlandish physical live performances, Papa Shango are now a much loved band, with a sophisticated edge. They’ve amassed a plethora of positive media acclaim. (Including NME, Kerrang, Time Out and The Observer).

Dangerwank – Intriguing intro, featuring natural world sounds, yielding to a big rock riff, with a chorus of call and response kids voices, in response to the dodgy lyrics, filled with wacky weirdness. It’s an amusing, confusing miasma of fun and novelty, evoking the dodgiest images and its already sealed its USP, in its quirky uniqueness.

Buoys Ahoy! – Seaside sounds intro, instantly transporting you back to days long gone, before breaking down, into a chunky rock sound. Again, an air of fun, frolics and strangeness captures your focus. Some tasty guitar licks in there, before a chorus of pirate rock overtakes. Then, more upbeat rock riffs. Just the weirdest lyrics, with the weirdest mood.

Sympathy Sex – Quick heavy riff intro, followed by light-hearted drum hits. More of a sung narrative to this, but with lots more spoken sections. A bright, breezy melody mixes with uplifting lyrics, as odd as they are. Light percussion solo, at the mid-section, giving way to even more general quirkiness. Always a fun rhythm, with a party rock feel.

Sniff The Milk – Opening with sounds of a milkman, delivering milk! A repetitive lyric ensures the strangeness continues. It’s literally just repeating the title, with the rest of the lyrics being about the same thing. More party rock flavour, with a kettle whistling, in the background. Drumming always fun, you can’t help but imagine it featuring in an old sketch, in ‘The Young Ones’. If anyone wins the title of most bizarre band of 2021, so far, it’s these guys.

Sasha Grey – Thumping drums intro, with funky riffs following, close behind. Sexual lyrics paint a picture you probably don’t want to see. A weird combo of virtual reality references and the aforementioned sexual references are sure to bring amusement to the probable growing confusion.

Hellwitch – Good pointed riff and drum intro, accompanied by a shrill scream, evocative of a circus ringmaster. Definitely the rockiest, so far. Maintaining an effective rock rhythm, with the strongly evocative lyrical themes. Decent riff solo, around the mid-section, yielding to creative arrangements, with even more energised, lively shouts. Ending on a solid drum hit.

Space Tractor – Smooth riff opening, joined by fun-loving party rock vocals. Quite resonant of The Wonder Stuff. The melodies play out well, with good synth sounds adding to the mix. Just a lively combo of vocals and accompaniments, ending on another defined drum hit.

Oliver Cromwell – Birdsong and tribesmen sounds intro. Then into a rhythmic riff refrain. Well synced voices clearly ring out, telling the tale, in a tongue-in-cheek, ‘Horrible Histories’ format. An edge of ‘Maid Marian And Her Merry Men’ about the melodic structure. Just a bit of light-hearted upbeat banter. All the voices unite, in a cacophonous sound, till the strange line, ending.

Too Sick To Rule – Carefully timed beats count out the intro rhythm, then straight into a frantic riff. Vocals matching that energy. More comedy elements play out, in the group, anthemic lyrics. Just a fun filled chorus, slightly punky, in an Offspring-esque way. It’s all about that repetitive chorus. Then, slowing it down, to a sleaze riff, moving it up, into a toppling tower of riffage, keeping it going, in a funky, improv style, till the well-defined ending.

The Ballad Of Papa’s Pie – Acoustic chords open, with a wail of vocals, externalising a deep sigh, before moving down, into a lower, darker gear. A crooning style characterises this, ending in a hearty chuckle.

Overall – Imagine a free-form jam, in a circus tent, between WASP, The Wonder Stuff and The Offspring, with Alexi Sayle, shouting random lines, in the background, while the cast of every mediaeval comedy mill around and Alestorm drop in, for a pint and you’ve captured the essence of ‘Manservant’. It’s as wacky, bizarre and surreal as it’s intended to be. You might even say it’s completely off the wall. You’d be right. It’s also an outlier, on every level and as such, is brave, unique and unforgettable. The musicality, audio production and timing are all there. If you can get your head around the weirdness, you’ll hear a very decent performance, carrying the melodies well, with a lot of rhythm and a whole heap of fun.

8/10 ********

For fans of The Wonder Stuff, WASP’s ‘Electric Circus’ and ‘Headless Children’ eras, The Offspring, Alestorm, Dandy Brown, The Kiefers, Green Jelly, Wheatus.

Official Video link:

‘Manservant’ album link:

Posted January 16, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

ORCumentary – ‘Fully ORChestrated’   Leave a comment

All the way from New England, solo comedy metal band, ORCumentary returns, with ‘Fully ORChestrated’, the first release in 5 years. Produced during global Covid lockdown, it’s out on 5th February 2021.

Orc Adams, the man behind the concept, is stoked to present this exciting new 8 track album, marking 15 years since ORCumentary first formed.

Stemming from Orc Adams’s childhood ‘Lord Of The Rings’ addiction, ORCumentary began in 2006.

Utilising a selection of folk, woodwind and brass instruments, in place of the usual amplified guitars and drums, ‘FO’ contains the band’s first single for 5 years, aswell as a hilariously entertaining cover of the track ‘Where There’s A Whip, There’s A Way’, from the 1980 animation film, ‘Return Of The King’.

Amassing a ton of live experience, leading to unanticipated growth and success, the band played opening slots for bands such as Agalloch and Fen and was well received by Loudwire, Metal Injection and more.

This one-off, specialist comedic melodic metal band, has its niche fan base well and truly in the bag. Original influences include: Amorphis, Fintroll, Sabaton, besides ‘LOTR’.

To all intents and purposes, Adams becomes an Orc, during live performances, bringing forward a narrative backdrop, whereby he fights to overthrow freedom, in favour of Orc supremacy.

The live show has achieved huge global digital popularity, with its brand of self-deprecating geekiness. ‘FO’ is the voice of the Orc! To misquote a certain line, ‘the power of the Orc compels you!’

The CD includes bonus tracks, instrumentals and commentaries for all except Track 5.

The Time Of The Orc Has Come – Very unusually fantasy-esque flute solo, playing an unsettling sinister tune, before exploding into a huge boulder-like drum section. Then come the coruscating vocals, telling their tale and you won’t listen to this, without the requisite laughing fit). Very much like a piss take of ‘LOTR’, with all the accompanying sound effects. Gaining in volume and power, till the brief flute finale. You’ve got to love this sound).

Goblin Death March – A lower, down tuned key opens, with keyboards leading, strong, hilariously menacing vocal lines and a whole heap of fun visual images. It’s actually quite a big orchestral sound, with as much sweeping drama as roughened lyrics. The gentle flutes add the ideal touch of magic. You just can’t escape the obligatory time travel back to all the best moments of childhood fantasy series, throughout. Great definitive ending).

The Betrayer’s Song – Huge, powerful drum intro, with a big orchestral sound, again and racing imagery, accompanying. Just hilarious vocals, with tinkling keys, adding to the effects). The footsteps of the Orcs are audible. Piano solo creating a strong bridge, followed by a lighter flute section, backed by jungle drums. Such a creative force. Fading out smoothly.

Troll Snot – Opening on a steady, mid-paced piano solo, deep, but soothing, all at once. Quite an attractive melody precedes a warrior’s call. Soaring sounds are followed by heavy paces and guttural vocals. The minimal background flute once more adds a magic touch, prior to the poignant keys fading it out, beautifully.

Where There’s A Whip, There’s A Way – A fun piano intro accompanies the whip sounds and the blend of male and female vocals, in that theatrical structure, combining call and response with enlivening, building sound effects and comedy lyrics. It’s surprisingly workable and just a whole heap of fun, ending in a marching procession, with the commands ringing out).

Orcs On Ice – A sombre sounding piano intro builds up, to a quickly accompanying coarse vocal, matching its intensity well. A dramatic sweeping texture adds to the thrill of the moment. Then an aggressive line takes over. The huge orchestral sound builds it up, with the coarsened narrative, before the fleeting, lilting keys enter, climbing down and back up the scales, again. Strong, gruff Orc voices and heavy treads follow, accompanied by the cold sounds of the breeze, outside.

Orc In My Bathtub – Just a funny storyline, sung and played with such hilarious force). Over in a moment.

Smoke The Ashes Of Your Enemy With A Pipe Carved From Their Bones – Gradually emerging intro, into war-like drums and creepily sinister, building melodies. Then joined by the now familiar aggro Orc sounds. All lifting, at once, with real aplomb. Brief, but effective and unfailingly impacting.

Overall – ‘FO’ is just the metal tonic the world needs, right now. By turns, hilarious, theatrical, comedically dramatic and refreshingly original, it’s impressively unafraid to take the path less travelled and is all the better for it. Only the hardest of hard-hearted cynics could fail to like and be entranced by its charm and fun hilarity. This album should be available on prescription.

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

For fans of Dark Forest, Emerald Shine, ARRDUC, Tyr, Turisas, Ice Sword, Alestorm, SuidAkra, Marius Danielsen.

Pre-order CD’s and merch at:

‘The Time Of The Orc Has Come’ official video:

Posted January 13, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Briton Rites – ‘Occulte Fantastique’   Leave a comment

Briton Rites was originally founded at Halloween 2006, by guitarist Howie Bentley. Influenced by the JS Lefanu novel, Carmilla, 1872, about a predatory female vampire. The band aimed to bring alive the concepts and visuals of 19th-century Gothic horror and Hammer horror films, with the darkened sounds of Black Sabbath and Witchfinder General, thrown in.

Initially, set to be a one-man band, Howie changed his mind, when he heard Phil Swanson’s vocals and quickly, added him to the line-up. Their debut 2 track demo was an immediate hit and after recruiting Corbin King, on drums, a 2010 album soon followed, entitled ‘For Mircalla’.

BR’s fan base loved the new album and preparation for another album began. However, in 2012, when Howie’s wife sadly, became terminally ill, the production, understandably, took a back seat and was scrapped completely, when she died, in 2014. Howie would then take a long-term sabbatical from the music business.

A decade later, he returned and the band reformed, now with John Leeson, on bass. Recording recommenced and in December 2020, ‘Occulte Fantastique’ came to light. Revealing 8 tracks of evil doom and gothic blackness, it will transport you to a darkened world. Welcome to your nightmare!

The Masque Of Satan – Explosive doom intro. Vocals slightly drowned by the guitars, but it’s got that classic doom riff sound. Quite visually vampiric, resonant of Toxic Tito and Vampyre Heart. More instrumentally impacting than vocally, but the vocals do have that gothic horror edge. Drumming keeping pace well. Smooth, deftly tackled riffs and bass lines. Slight comedic sense to it, with a similarly slight Sabbath-esque sound, in places. Ending on a couple of cymbal hits. While I wouldn’t call it exciting, it does contain a veil of intrigue and the accompaniments carry it well.

My Will Be Thine – Similar sound opening, but with more vivacity. Well placed riff tones and now, it’s becoming markedly more Sab-esque. Still retaining the clear doom thread, though. Good melody and decent rhythmic hook. Lyrics easily audible. It’s an accessible enough track, even if more filler than killer. Definitely passably catchy. Riff pitch hitting greater height, around the mid-section, where the doom feel overlaps with vague Viking-esque tones. The upbeat melodic hits are probably its greatest strength. Long enough to absorb and the riffage is it’s other USP. Well-defined ending.

In Hell I Will Rule – Another similarly drum filled opening. Fast-paced number, with a little more urgency about it. Great guitar break in there. Liking its direction. Even a Van Halen-esque hint, at its edges. Vocals keeping the momentum well, in timing terms. Again, it’s the riffs which are central to the creative core of the track. That’s where the greatest energy and enthusiasm stems from. Whilst it doesn’t quite have that vocal spark, the timing and rhythms are effortless, as is the production.

The Demon Lover – Good striking riff intro, with a powerful underlying bass line. A level of intrigue creeps into the vocals here. Once again, a sense of vampiric comedy invades it, evoking easy gothic visions. The narrative’s quite strong. Tasty bit of wah and adventurous riffage, just before the mid-section, bridging the rest and continuing in that same vein, with a decent bit of whammy, enhancing it. Melodically, blending traditional and modern sounds well. Playing with a continuing melody, it retains the doom element, while including the visual aspects.

Strange But Beautiful – Sharper, more dramatic, very Sab-like bass and riff intro. Instantly, it lends it that air of authenticity, in old school terms. Slower pace, echoing strong resemblances to Sab’s ‘Into The Void’. Now, entering the typically floor-shaking doom note. You can almost visualise the black and purple cover of ‘Master Of Reality’, in here). Vaguely haunting lyrics, picking up speed, 3/4 in. So Ozzy-esque, vocally. Still, it’s a similarly enjoyable melody. Once again, channelling Eddie Van Halen, as the riffs carry it away. Abrupt, but definitive end.

The Wizard’s Pipe – Introing with a distinctly ‘Sweet Leaf’-esque sound. Lots of bass in here and a steady combo of modern, Electric Wizard-esque and traditional Sab-esque refrains. Always maintaining the momentum well. Just heavy on the doom mood, throughout. Quite an earthy sense to this one. Liking that expanding riff experimentation with greater chord progression, to higher pitches, amongst the grounding depths. A little more lyrical intrigue, as it continues. Climbing down well, to that closing riff and drum accompaniment and ending on a final hit.

The Witness – Strong intro, more explosive sounds, from the off. An easier, freer looseness to the riffs. Picking up the pace, it’s a little more lyrically disturbing, moving back up, into the VH-esque riffage, with a bit more wah. Climbing to the heights, then yielding to the deeper tones again. Still keeping an impressively quick pace. Coming back down, to another repetitive vocal line, with heaviness underpinning the close.

Occulte Fantastique – A deeper intro, with stronger doom imprints. Once again, it’s very Sab-esque, echoing ‘Hand Of Doom’, markedly. A lighter, higher pitch creeps in, here and there, but it’s rocking a notably deep, doom metal emphasis. Brief riff solo, 3/4 in, then a trailing riff, till the echoic ending.

Overall – ‘OF’, as a doom metal album, is a decent enough production, demonstrating able musicianship and strong riff and bass sections, melding well with the drums, collectively carrying the track. Vocally, it’s weaker, but the ease of timing and smooth production go some way to ameliorating that. Its essence, thematically, needs a heavier emphasis and a clearer direction, to retain listener focus, but melodically, it’s along the right lines. A stronger attention to its own originality and growing its USP, through more diverse structure would strengthen its catch, considerably, but it passes the time, enjoyably enough.

8/10 ********

For fans of Black Sabbath, Grand Magus, Electric Wizard, Kyuss, The Answer, Witchcraft, Toxic Tito, Vampyre Heart, Van Halen.

Posted January 12, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Forlorn Hope – ‘To The Bitter End’   Leave a comment

Merseyside, Liverpool, UK heavy metal quintet Forlorn Hope now present their powerful new military metal single, ‘To The Bitter End’. Telling the story of World War I’s 1916 defence of Frankfurt Trench, the track rings out, with the same exuberant, hard-hitting melodies and visceral lyrics common to most military metal. A snapshot into the events of that time, ‘TTBE’ is a catchy addictive sound, bringing history to life and guaranteed to lift your spirits, with its confident hooks.

In addition, all physical CDs will include an approximate 45 minute spoken word version of the complete historical background to ‘TTBE’.

To The Bitter End – Immediate power riff intro, with a solid rhythm. Lyrically, re-counting the events of WWI, with notable strength. Easy to sense the evocative visions, musically and lyrically. Very melodic and surprisingly upbeat, but showing a characteristically strong military spirit. Keeping all accompaniments uplifting, while re-telling the history, with that same hunger and determination to solidify the historical facts in your mind, beloved of many a war veteran. It’s a powerful, catchy melody, with a lot of drive and a clear battle-esque sense, conveyed, via the drum arrangements and general song structure. As concise and precise as is always the case with military metal and all in all, a very exhilarating track.

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

For fans of March In Arms, Soldierfield, Silent Winter.

Released 12th February 2021

Cover art by Mitchell Nolte Art and Illustration.

Represented by Fat Angel PR

Posted January 11, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Beth Lee – ‘Waiting On You Tonight’   Leave a comment

Released February 12th 2020, Austin, Texas artist Beth Lee presents her new solo album, ‘Waiting On You Tonight’.

It follows her last release, ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’, created with her previous band, Beth Lee And The Break-ups. ‘WOYT’ is her 4th album, produced in California, by Vicente Rodriguez (Chuck Prophet). Beth’s previously toured with renowned Texas blues guitarist Chris Duarte and now branches out, to vaster arenas of composition. Retaining her signature Americana sound, ‘WOYT’ incorporates wider inspirations, straddling various genres.

11 tracks of heartfelt material, it experiments, with contrasting keys and eras. Initially launched immediately before the global covid lockdown, in March 2020, ‘WOYT’ reveals a more intimate side to the story. Featuring James DePrato (guitars) and Julie Wolf (Ani Di Franco), multi-instrumentalist.

The contents are largely based around BL’s personal relationship issues, hence the band title and title track. The latter was actually composed back in 2006.

Additionally influenced by her family’s musical background, Beth’s first band was formed with her bass player dad, in 2008. Sharing many of his favoured early rock bands, some of those sounds were incorporated into her music. Title track, ‘WOYT’ was initially meant to be a slow waltz, which evolved, into a rock track.

Covering a 14 year journey, through personal and musical landscapes, ‘WOYT’ delivers the outcome of those experiences, in BL’s trademark authenticity.

Waiting On You Tonight – Opening on a steady rock rhythm and gentle Pretenders-esque vocals. The feeling’s audible, straight away. Quite a melancholy thread to the sound. Staying steady and loosely delivered, the beat’s consistent and the notes, precise. Fittingly emotive, with similarly poignant riffs. Not one likely to appeal to fans of upbeat melodies, but it’s very real and decently produced.

Yale ST And 45 – Cymbals and drum hits intro and straight into a similar, but slightly higher vibe. It’s got that same Pretenders-esque sense, with well performed vocals. Just a little too downbeat, but the beat’s strong. Quite lyrically nostalgic, it does that soft essence well, even if it’s a bit of a poignancy overload.

Playin’ Along – Slightly similar drum intro, with a samey melody. Again, it’s a country feel, with a light rock touch. The emotion’s clear and the tonal expression, accurate. It’s just a bit of a downer, again. One thing that can be said for it is that it it’s emotively authentic. A fair amount of early blues and country influence in here. The musicianship can’t really be knocked. Just too much of a mood killer.

I Won’t Give In – Plucky chords intro, with a better blues thread to the riffs, moving through different influential eras. This one does move up, slightly, in melodic terms. Once more, that Pretenders-esque feel returns. Only this time, marginally more listenable, thanks to the blues tone variations.

Birthday Song – Light sounds intro, before the melancholic vocals take over, again. It really is moving well into depressing territory now. Enough to lower your mood, to tearful levels. Just so flat, in mood, tempo and melody. Once more, it’s not the musical proficiency at fault. It’s the dour mood-lowering bleakness.

Pens And Needles – Oh thank the gods of rock for that! The tone’s picked up, at last! Now, we’re entering a territory verging on cheerful. In all honesty, this one should have been ‘Birthday Song’, given its far more celebratory atmosphere. Good to hear that they can do it, when they try.

Four Letter Name – Tighter, funkier riffs intro, before the mood dips back down, again. The vocals are well delivered, notationally and tonally, but it’s just making me want to pray for escape. Good production, with well-balanced sound values and performances, but honestly, the sheer bleakness is driving me to despair.

Understand Me – Gradual emergent intro, right back into the same depressing landscape. It does cover the early rock and soul sounds well, capturing the atmosphere, adeptly and again, all accompaniments play their parts, skilfully. The mood’s just intolerable, though.

Too Little Too Late – Smoothly delivered, but dismal intro. It does combine well, with clear cohesion. Just so very flat. There’s obvious skill in embracing that early days of rock, soul and pop atmosphere. Generally, though, the utter greyness enshrouds it, till you can’t focus on anything else.

All The Way – Here we go again, back into mood destroying inertia. So little else, of any note within it. Yes, it’s competent, in musical terms, but it doesn’t present anything warranting further listens and brings you all the way down, with it.

Overall – Despite attempts to find something worth listening to or complementing, in here, aside from the baseline musical capability, I couldn’t. Not just relentlessly bleak and monotonous, but genuinely despair inducing. Yes, it may have captured the intended mood well, but frankly, it made me want to end it all. Pass me the sleeping pills.

3/10 ***

For fans of The Pretenders, The Ronettes, The Supremes.

Processed with VSCO with kcp2 preset

Posted January 10, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Red Eye Caravan – ‘Nostrum Remedium’   Leave a comment

Red Eye Caravan began life in 2019, from collective intuitive inspiration, formed into a mission to recount the stories of those who’ve gone before, now departed. Each band member played their individual parts, as the lyrical, musical and melodic components were received and connected and the tales composed. Join REC, as ‘NR’ takes you on a wondrous journey, of ethereal worlds, brought to life.

The Descent – Chant-like zen sounds intro, quickly moving into bluesy slide guitar riffs and violins. Deep throaty vocals combine with harmonica sections and powerful mystical atmosphere. All vocals join together and the pace increases, with a higher, more upbeat melody. There’s certainly a strong traditional feel to it, loaded with old world culture. Group vocals build, with the soaring rhythm and it’s just very visually evocative, with a genuinely inviting thread, fully engaging your senses. Closing smoothly and cohesively.

A Gallop From Afar – Opening on clear galloping sounds, with neighing horses and spine chilling wicked laughter. A brief, but intriguing track, with powerful effects.

El Muerto – Straight in, with smoothly delivered slide riffs and a ton of blues feeling. Crash Test Dummies-esque ‘mm’s precede heavy deep group vocals, joining in a chant-like anthem, surrounded by impassioned, gypsy-esque accompaniments. Catchy, steady, mid-paced rhythms surround the vocals, with more evil laughter and a very nifty harmonica solo. Effectively utilised light percussion marries well with the bluesy slide riffs. Ending on the galloping horses again.

Good Man Richard – Sword fights, fencing and blacksmiths tools intro, yielding to another bluesy, but slightly mellower refrain. A choral backdrop surrounds the affecting lyrics. A well harmonised number, with plenty of blues mood and slide to die for. A strong Native American thread to it, with such evocative visuals. It’s very rhythmic, with more of that gypsy feeling and sound, complemented by a great combo of accompaniments.

Ozymandias – Crackling fires intro, with old-time blues vocals and slide riffs. Conjuring the spirits of old, the violins add a gentler note to the strongly entrenched keys and naturally timed percussive rhythms. The strength of the beat centres the track, idyllically. Stunning sound quality, cementing the track’s meaning. It just takes you straight there, with relentless verve. Ending on a return to the crackling flames.

At Gallows’ End – Down, into a lower key, now, but just as evocative, throwing in a few whistles, for good measure. The light chink of chains and change adds to the atmosphere. Once more, the blues emphasis is palpable and very real. The narrative thread combines with the heavy thudding clunk of the stones, in transporting you right to the heart of the action.

The Road North – Immediate lone vocals intro, supported by theatrical group choirs. Another ton of delicious slide connects with the percussion and violins, intensifying the old-time atmospherics. So accessibly visual, once again. The whole sound’s just so catchy and upbeat. Like a saloon bar western, with massively heightened energy, engaging, at close quarters. Even a touch of Whitesnake’s ‘Love Hunter’ in those riffs.

Banshee – Gentle steel strings intro, followed by really folky female vocals, joined by male backing vocals, then swapping it round, with a ton of slide. Listen carefully and you’ll even catch a glimpse of Metallica’s ‘Ronnie’ in there. Built and climbing around a fabulously strong wall of voices, with haunting Baez-esque resemblances. Ending on funeral bells, the whole track echoes the pictures and sounds of the past.

Marie Celeste – Exhortations to row a boat, with the sounds of the oars, lapping the water intro. Violins coming in, with the fun paced riffs and keys, before the deep down vocals sing out an epic tale, of almost biblical proportions. A little bit of funk takes this up a notch, with the blues harmonica and the timing’s impeccable. Violin growing as bluesy as it is folky. This is the sound of pure, natural talent. So much sincerity of feeling. Picking up speed, to a fun, chasing, country and western type violin dance, just before it fades out, on a final vocal line, returning to the oars, rowing through the water.

Old Debt – A gust of wind breezes into this opening, followed by a hunter’s old school C&W call to arms, on an outlaw trail. Very deliberate timing to this, reinforcing the meaning of the message. More tasty slide and harmonica grooves. Ending on another gust of wind, whispering through the cracks in the wooden shutters.

Celebration – (Bonus Track) – A classic old days bar room tinkling piano intro, echoing the ‘Milky Bar Kid’ ad). Just a very visual, party track, with all the attendant background chat, laughter and games.

Overall – Where to begin covering the praise due to an album like ‘NR’ is tricky, to say the least. Not only is it a wholly original, uniquely fulsome and flawless production. It’s also outstandingly evocative of times gone by, with impeccably infectious and intriguing features, with extraordinary attention to detail and a gigantic connection to the spirit of those times. The rare combination of sounds and instruments additionally, makes it an album appealing to fans of numerous genres, unlikely to unite well, in most other albums. ‘NR’ is a truly sensationally breath-taking work, which stands in a class of its own.

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

For fans of Muddy Moonshine, Buddy Miles, Buddy Guy, Django Reinhardt, Joan Baez, Black Stone Cherry, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Whitesnake, Metallica’s ‘Load’ era, Thirteen Stars, Emerald Shine, Crash Test Dummies.

Red Eye Caravan is: Akis Kosmidis – vocals, acoustic guitar, Valantis Dafkos – vocals, bass, lyrics, Panos Makoulis – electric, slide and acoustic guitars, keys, vocals, Eleni Paraskevopoulou – vocals, Stefanos Strogylis – harmonica, Thanos Giamarelos – violin, Paris Gatsios – drums, percussion.

Recorded and produced by Panos Makoulis, at Saint George Studio, Greece.

Cover art – Dinos Adamopoulos

Photos – John Konstantinopoulos

Posted January 9, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

The Magic Bus – ‘The House Of Asterion’   Leave a comment

Introducing ‘The House Of Asterion’, 2nd track from the album of the same name, from Greek rockers, The Magic Bus. Influenced by literary sources, the track’s available on YouTube.

Founded in 2017, TMB has toured and performed throughout Greece, playing alongside various prominent Greek bands. Their debut album, ‘To Kastro’ (‘The Castle’), is a rocky release, featuring enigmatic lyrical and musical twists.

Recorded and produced by Ektoras Sohos, at Locomotive Sound Studio, Lamia, Greece. Photos by Tasos Palamidas.

TMB is: Valantis Dafkos (lead and backing vocals), Ermis Soultanopoulous (guitars, backing vocals), Dina Argiriou (bass) and Paris Gatsios (drums).

The House Of Asterion – Thudding drums intro, with a gangster film type soundtrack. Then into a complex melody, with easy flowing riffs. An edge of anticipation underlies the track, moving into a continental sound. A steady beat persists, while the riffs climb, to a lively, energised pitch, intricately performed. Loving that riff solo, 3/4 in. Vocals adeptly handled. Sung in Greek, so seek an English translation, if eager to know the lyrics. Built around a strong structure, ending on a well powered riff and a confident drum hit.

8/10 ********

For fans of Gypsy Pistoleros, action film soundtracks and solid rock ‘n’ roll.

Posted January 8, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Peculiar Three – ‘Leap Of Faith’   Leave a comment

Peculiar Three, from Lividia City, Greece, now offer up their ‘Leap Of Faith’ LP. Following on from the 2014 self titled debut EP, it’s 8 tracks of emotive, heavy prog rock provide a glimpse into the trio of deep, philosophical metal minds who are PT.

Inspired by their own individual musical quirks, they speak through their music.

Featuring special contributions from Panos Makoulis and Mantis Savuldis, with cover art by Sotoris Kotsonis, ‘LOF’ was produced and recorded at Locomotive Sound Studio, Greece, by Ektoras Sohos, with clean guitars and keys recorded at One Take Recordings, Greece and Saint George Studio, Greece.

PT is: Valantis Dafkos (lead and backing vocals, bass), Panos Karkanos (guitars and keys) and Paris Gatsios (drums).

Perpetual – Electrifying power in that riff intro! Immediate and exhilarating. Energised drum hits follow, with the bass climbing down the scales and rumbling vocals, containing the promise of more. Mystery lies at the heart of this sound, from the beginning. Very decent melodies play out, in a mid-paced rhythm. The prog element’s audible and has a lot of strength driving it forward. It’s certainly unique, with no readily identifiable influential clues. In itself, unusual. Well-placed bit of wobble, on the riffs, there and the melody’s really the key here.

Innermost – Heavier, darker emphasis to this opening. Use of cymbals adds a lighter touch. Vocals more complex, notationally. The beats take on a more varied pattern, too. Quite impressively sustained vocal tones, given the flat keys within them. A flamenco-esque riff bridges the track, at the mid-section, adding another aspect altogether. A very evocative sound, with strikingly unique notes and instrumental combo’s. Drums growing more intense, with the gradually heavier bass line, intersecting surprisingly well with the flamenco riffs. Fading out carefully and confidently.

Inkblot – Opening on a much gentler sound, then speeding up, into a more upbeat jive. Atmospherically powerful, featuring creeping vocals and classic metal ones, combining nicely. The track soars, in its own notably controlled way. Maintaining the pace of the rhythms well. Lots of intrigue woven within it, while still injecting the odd old school sound. Keeping it fresh and alive. Drumming getting more frenetic, as it continues. Melodies building, with the deep background bass. This is a real band effort, all tying together neatly. Good drum rolls and speed riffs, taking it further, towards the end, closing on a slightly Maiden-esque refrain.

Marginal – Sombre acoustic notes intro, before exploding, into a darker, heavier backdrop. A sense of dread envelops the sound. Digging right down, to the depths of darkness. It’s a gradual build-up of murky evocations, verging on sludge. Taking it up, very slightly, into a land of hopeful glimmers, within the deep solemnity. A thudding dullness encapsulates the ethos of this track, gradually fading out, on some higher pitched, piercing riffage.

Leap Of Faith – Back up to uplifting territory, now). A slight Eastern mysticism enshrouds this, but it’s much more straight out heavy metal. Still very unique and diverse, in its way. Stylistically changeable, with a much heavier emphasis. It’s another well-controlled track, with a lot of precision within the arrangements. Bringing the cymbals in, just past the mid-section, with some tight, high-end riffage. Returning to the harder line sounds, before breaking into a brilliantly performed riff solo. Good smooth fade-out.

The Sentient – Right into a very classic trad metal riff intro. More of the darkness, but with the light introed earlier. Impressively timed riffs, good drum build-up. Gentler tones bring a bit more light. Then straight back into a marriage of light and dark, heavy and gentle. All the time, the rhythm’s maintained. It’s quite a complex, prog infused rhythm, with many variations within it. Movingly, effortlessly, between tempos, keys and techniques. It’s real virtuoso stuff.

Knaves o’ Knives – Great kick drum intro, taking it into a crunchier direction, with a touch of slide and a lot of groove-soaked blues. Again, that sense of mystique enters the lyrics. It’s a slightly more accessible pace, though it’s not without its alternations. Driven along by that hard-line, heavy riffs, there’s a very masculine touch to this. Likely to prove the most popular track, the slide emphasis propels this one on. Moving into steel strings, while still retaining the heightened melodies of the riffs, playing around them. Entering a breathier section now, towards the end, before picking up the pace, very slightly, interweaving the accompaniments, till they’re fully blended, as one. Almost hypnotic.

Caliban’s End – (Bonus Track) – An operatic, symphonic element intro’s this. Gentle vocals and classical riffs follow, with haunting instruments in the background, portraying a truly evocative vision. Building it up, into a theatrical epic. Containing an entire aural journey, in just a few steps. Beautifully played classical guitar, surrounded by flutes and keys, with magic intertwined within them. Very fantasy-esque. Such high quality, throughout. Showcasing an impressive range of notes, as it fades out, on soft vocals and gorgeous keys accompanying.

Overall – A truly magical album, from start to end, ‘Leap Of Faith’ is a startlingly dramatic work of art, on a level hard to attain. Showcasing vast sweeps of impressive artistry, uniquely performed, with apparent effortless ease. Unlike any standard rock album, this really is a one-off production, with swathes of diversity and a genuinely original touch.

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

For fans of Pink Floyd, Marius Danielsen, ARDDUC, Epica, Aonia, Silent Winter, Iron Maiden, Ice Sword, Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac, Fierce Deity, Leo Viridi, Misticia, Wintereve, Dark Forest, Emerald Shine, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Twisted Mist.

Posted January 7, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Trapmaker – ‘Will Of The Warrior’   Leave a comment

Trapmaker’s inception began in 2014. Founded by Charles Van Dang, (guitarist), it was intended as a NWOTHM band, only with darker shades. The initial demos were produced, in preparation for an album, but the lack of a vocalist meant recording was delayed.

2017 saw Sean Patrick Stark join the band, as vocalist and soon after, the self titled debut EP and the well-received 2nd EP, ‘Power Within’, came to light. The rest of the line-up then fell into place.

Following the 2018 release of ‘PW’, both Charles and 2nd guitarist JP Estrada experienced debilitating limb injuries, preventing them from gigging as often as planned. So they concentrated on composing new material and took a year-long break, with sporadic gigs in 2019.

In 2020, the band regrouped and continued prepping the album. The fallout from COVID 19, however, compelled them to go entirely remote and eventually, Sean left Trapmaker, but on good terms.

The same year, Rob Tombstone (Undertaker) took over vocals, delivering the very same style in keeping with the original Trapmaker sound.

Trapmaker now return, stronger than ever, committed to treading their own signature path within American power metal and NWOTHM.

Nazgul – Instant speed, low bass and power riffs intro. Intriguing mix of grit and extremity in those vocals and it’s slightly Priest-esque, in sound. Effective drumming, well sharpened riffage, with that audible old school technique. It does feel a bit too much like a straight take-off of Priest, but still, it’s a decent, melodic listen, deftly delivered. Ending slightly too abruptly.

The Admiral – Punchy opening. Once more, it’s very Priest-derivative, but that’s not to criticise the delivery, which remains impressive. Somehow, missing the spark, but the execution’s still spot on. Well maintained rhythmic pace, upbeat melodies and the enthusiasm’s clearly audible. Good classic riff, around the mid-section. Again, it’s well conveyed, demonstrating the level of work that’s gone into it and you can’t knock the energy behind it. It just falls down on impact.

Leather Lover – More of a gradual intro, with the drums coming in, at a mid-paced flow. Great cohesive accompaniment. Now, here’s where the catch enters). The vocals hit new heights in here and the rest follows suit. Now they’re hitting their stride). This track’s got a lot going for it. Everything’s just pushed up, a few notches and it works, seamlessly. Probably the raciest number yet. Great intricate riffage in there, blending in well with the enthused power screams and drum beats. A strong anthemic streak and a single drum hit closes. You’ll join in with this one, whether you want to or not).

Battosai – Very well placed riff section intro’s, followed by cymbal hits and driving the melody, from the start. Not quite as powerful as ‘LL’, but still a good listen, in its own way. Have to say, the total consistency of those power screams is commendable. Perhaps, they’d improve it, by losing the ‘woah’ bits, which just take the edge off, a bit. Still enjoyable, though and the riffage is particularly impressive. Those screams are actually really well held and it just gives it a buzz. Better vocals and a quieter riff fade-out.

Stronger Than Before – Just coming in a little too late, but the power and enthusiasm’s still there. The fretwork adds the extra touch. Rolling along well now. Throwing in a tad more anthemic sound and lifting the audio, slightly. It’s a well blended arrangement here and it just works. Lots of cohesion. The riffs really come into their own now, compelling you to join in and the general sound just grows better and better. Ending on a quite fabulous crescendo, sealing the deal.

Far Away – Deeper, more solemn riffs intro, amidst a bleak atmosphere, punctuated by spaced out, desolate cymbals and then the melody enters, piercing your heart. A sense of Priest’s ‘Beyond The Realms Of Death’ pervades this, with a darker mood, almost verging on Viking metal sounds. You could call this the versatility wildcard, but it clearly showcases the depths to which Trapmaker are capable. Reinforced by the deep backing choirs. Raising the spirit, with more melodic riffage, on which, it fades out, beautifully.

Journey To The West – Altogether jazzier, more uplifting power riffs intro). Impressive pace, tons of happy melodic vibes and a notable feelgood mood. Slight Celtic tinges to the riffs. Experimenting with strings and breathy percussion, riffage giving its all. Something of a jam improv set up to this and it works well. It’s the energy of the heightened mood that does it for this track. Also, the structure, whereby the track’s allowed to breathe. Makes even more of that delicious closing riff. A pure instrumental, with a lot of bite.

I Am The Monster – Opening on a bluesier angle, now, it’s a looser rhythm, with even more kick to it. Liking those electrified riffs a lot). Vocals more contemplative, but still retaining the grit and the seamless motion between that and the precision power screams. A lot of warmth and cohesion emanates from this, with so much feeling poured into those riffs. This track really hits that chord). You can feel it plucking at your heartstrings. It just runs away with itself, in the most palpable way. Moving down to the lower registers and beating out the drum rhythm, as it moves onwards, the riffs just sing. It’s just a delight. Brilliantly executed close, though it would have been much better if they’d left it be on that final heightened riff and power scream. The obscure burning sounds and dense, dreary low jazz tones destroy it.

Overall – ‘Will Of The Warrior’ is an album which grows on you, gradually, taking time to hit its stride and then never looking back, as its strength grows ever higher. It does sound derivative, in places and its energy doesn’t rise, till track 3. The experimental alternations sound vague, obscure and don’t really fit, but taking its biggest strengths, i.e. the energetic metal riffs, perfectly delivered power screams, skilfully timed drums and melodic essence, ‘WOTW’ is definitely heading in the right direction, embodying much of the heart of metal spirit.

8/10 ********

For fans of Judas Priest, Saxon, Devilfire.

Posted January 6, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Anubis – ‘Hurricane Of Hate’   1 comment

Intorducing 3rd DIY EP, ‘Hurricane Of Hate’, from L.A.’s melodic metallers Anubis. The source of this extreme production is, of course, the build-up effects of Covid lockdown, preventing the band from performing live, during 2020. They’ve therefore, channelled that visceral emotion into returning to the studio and creating ‘HOH’.

Split The Earth In Two – Thoroughly metal intro). Very much a power metal sound, with upbeat, driving melodic lyrics. Very real and impassioned, it’s a catchy track, with plenty colourful riffs and a strong, united front. Ending on precisely honed power screams, it’s tight, from start to end.

Wings Of The Warbird – Powerful intro, with an audible battle-esque flavour. It wastes no time, in getting straight in there, with more of that delicious power metal feel). Enjoyably melodic and even a vague Testament-esque hint in that riffage. Drums adding the perfect backbone, it’s strong on the anthemic taste and undeniably cohesive. Well held notes, consistent pace and just a lively, energetic slice of uplifting metal.

My Aphrodite – Gentle intro here, changing down, a few gears, to a ballad-esque sound, but luckily, changing backup to life affirming power tones. Still retaining a sense of emotive meaning, but with a well structured drum arrangement. The vocal versatility shines through the range, well supported by sharply executed riffs and drum hits. This sound just gels. The melody drives it on, moving, from lower depths to higher pitches, with consummate ease. Closing on an active drum fill, behind those evocative power screams.

Hurricane Of Hate – Extra powerful opening! This really goes for it, pouring in a ton of melody, speed and strength. You really feel this one. There’s a real aggression behind this track and still, it succeeds in raising the mood and keeping it up. Screams growing ever more precise, along with that highly intricate, vivid riffage. All the time, those heavy drum hits add the spice. Ending with sheer precision and absolute passion.

Overall – Possibly, their best work yet, ‘HOH’ really sings to your soul. A flawless example of the potential of raw passion, to ignite metallic fires in all who hear it.

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

For fans of Enforcer, H.O.D., White Wizzard, R.A.M., Portrait, Celtic Legacy, Powervice, Voltax, Altheniko, Cast Iron, Silent Winter.

Produced by Alex Crescioni, at Stygian Sound.

‘HOH’ is also available on YouTube and is now accessible on all main streaming platforms.

Posted January 5, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized