www.needleinthegroove.co.uk

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Spectre Beneath - 'The Downfall Of Judith King' Album Review

The Spectre Beneath – The Downfall Of Judith King

The Spectre Beneath consists of L Lockser (Vocals), Pete ‘Paz’ Worrall (Guitar/Bass/Piano), and Consta Taylor (drums – Bleak Exist with Paz). All songs were written by ‘Paz’ except one, and all were produced by said ‘Paz’. I have no other supporting PR bumfery that usually accompanies an album release.

However I do know Pete Worrall, not that well, but enough to know he is a talented writer (check out his novels), an extremely good guitarist (other bands/projects include Bleak Exist and also Plague And The Decay), and lover of greyhounds! Also he accompanies another friend of mine, ‘Hedgy’ on the ‘Pictures, Noise and Words’ YouTube channel (Pete’s the one on the left).

I was asked by Pete if I’d review this, which is a bit weird, because if you could compile a Venn diagram of mine and Pete’s musical tastes, about 4 bands would cross over! Generally, we are miles apart, possibly even planets apart. He is a braver man than me.

So, what of ‘The Downfall Of Judith King’? With a title like that, you know its a concept album of some description. I’m crap at explaining albums, so we’ll get straight to the melody….

What happens if you combine the musical melody of a singer like Den Adel, progressive metalness of Devin Townsend, Symphony X, and the riffage of Biomechanical? Well the answer wholeheartedly is ‘There Are Cameras In the Dolls’. The guitar playing is brutal (in a good way), so much so, I had to take the volume down just to concentrate and listen to what my ears were taking in. The riffs are fast and frenetic, and when combined with Taylor’s drumming its multiplies the rhythmic assault. I think the guy has 4 legs based on the bass drum beats coming through. The contrast of L Lockers vocals cuts through the guitar and drums like a knife through butter. It makes for one hell of an opening track.


‘Teach Yourself Guitar (Step 2)’ follows on in the same path. If you’ve got a good formula why rewrite the rule book. Bonus for me? No grunting, well not yet anyway. ‘As The Crows Peck At Your Bones’ ramps up the quality a notch. At this point I’m really liking the vocals of L Lockser, and the rest isn’t too shabby either. The first chance to draw breath comes with the title track, ‘The Downfall Of Judith King’ and acoustic opening, before a more ‘traditional’ rock song ensues. I’ve enjoyed the pace of the album so far, but this is a song that defines The Spectre Beneath for me, and has a very ‘Heaven and Hell’ Black Sabbath bass line running through it for the bridge sections. Six minutes in I half expect Lockser to wail ‘Sing me a song, youre a singer...’. Its by far and wide my favourite song on the album. Mainly because it falls into the Venn diagram section I mentioned earlier. I love this song. All Pete needs to do now, is grow that handlebar moustache!!

‘Mrs Lovett’s Pies’ is another assault on the senses. I don’t know how many BPM we are up to, but lets settle for ‘its lots’. The guitar playing isn’t overpowering in any way, its riffs just come at you very thick and very, very fast. ‘Fragmented’ goes back to the less frenetic pace, and for me its where this album shines. The solo is blisteringly good. The first third of ‘The Plotting Of Judith King’ reminds me of a great rock/prog band called Tilt, in this instance a song called ‘Long Gone’ and in my books, this is high praise indeed. Info the final stretch we get the 'The Abduction and The Questioning Of Olivia Soames’ (2 songs). They introduce a dramatic effect to proceedings, culminating in the powerhouse ‘Questioning Of...’ where ‘Paz’ and the guys throw the proverbial sink at you. If Arjen Lucassen, Michael Romeo and Charlotte Wessels had a threesome, then ‘The Questioning Of Olivia Soames’ is the outcome of such a convergence.



For a bloke whose musical tastes range from the likes of Dokken, to Journey and Alter Bridge, ‘The Downfall Of Judith King’ has been a walk out of my usual comfort zone. Its definitely an album of two sides, the first half is fast, heavy and has more notes than you could care to count. Then there’s the lighter side of the second half, still heavy, but not as frenetic, and its these songs for me where the album resonates the most. There are some bloody good songs on here, in particularly the title track, ‘Fragmented and the latter section. Its a mighty impressive debut and I really look forward to what these guys do next.

Play this album loud, extremely loud. Theres just no other way to.

A very solid 8/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

The Spectre Beneath
Pete ‘Paz’ Worrall – Guitars / Bass / Piano
L Lockser – Vocals

Luke C.M. - guitar solos on ‘Teach Yourself Guitar (Step 2)’ / ‘As The Crows Peck At Your Bones’ / Mrs Lovetts Pies

Produced by Pete Worrall
Mixed and mastered by Joho Kilponen, Kilproduction Audio

Tracklisting -
There Are Cameras In The Dolls
Teach Yourself Guitar – Step 2
As The Crows Peck At Your Bones
The Downfall Of Judith King
Mrs Lovetts Pies
Fragmented
The Birth Of Judith King
The Plotting Of Judith King
The Abduction Of Olivia Soames
The Questioning Of Olivia Soames

Released Friday 27th









Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Sam Millar - 'Holy Sass' EP Review


Sam Millar – Holy Sass

Every now and then you see a band that chimes with you and for an inexplicable reason you just go “Wow”. Bigfoot were that band for me. They had this long haired guitarist with a smiling, cheeky, “I’m bloody good btw” attitude. That’ll be the bold Sam Millar.

I saw them supporting Jeff Scott Soto in Newcastle where I personally thought they were better than the main act. I also treated my wife to a gig in Edinburgh when the lads were supporting Tyketto. I loved the short set, my wife discovered that premium seats at the front side of the stage meant she was under the speakers. She’s not spoken to me since as she’s now partially deaf. She wasn’t a fan however I was.

I then saw the lads at Rockingham where they were awesome and the Welsh mafia agreed with me to the extent that 4 of us were decked out in the green and white Bigfoot Union Jack tour shirts. I think fan-boy is a harsh but fair comment as I collected t-shirts and signed EPs. I also had the pleasure to chat to the lads and so I was gutted when they undertook a farewell tour that, to be honest only Black Sabbath and Kiss have done for longer. The upside of this was Sam Millar (him of the cheeky smile, never say no to a beer and general happy demeanour) announced on Facebook that he was recording his own stuff. I’d seen his YouTube videos (videos? FFS how old do I sound?!) and was committed to a signed copy of the EP.

'Holy Sass' – nae idea what it means but I knew the word on the street was it wasn’t a Bigfoot style sound. This worried me not a jot and into the car CD it went. To be honest it hasn’t been off. It is 5 tracks of pure soft/melodic rock/pop. Delete as appropriate.

'Eyes' kicks things off with a good old fashioned 70’s guitar riff and then I discovered Mr Millar can bloody sing. Not a booming voice but one that totally compliments the sound of the song superbly. It’s foot tappingly good with echoing clapping and nicely layered vocals. There’s also the lyrics, not twee but heartfelt: “So much for walking away, so much for making it history, get up and get up and go if you don’t like what you see”. I think there may be a bit of hangover from a previous relationship there (band or girlfriend I won’t presume to know but you make your own minds up)

'Cyber Girl' – FFS I thought the start was gonna be Mud “Lonely this Christmas” followed by The Darkness and their bloody Christmas song.  However, I was wrong! It grows and grows into a very soft but haunting song. It becomes a superb melodic piece and the Sam solo is stunning. OK it’s still a Christmas style song but it’s more addictive than Marmite. I love it. “Cyber girl meet me in the real world”, a sad refection on youngsters nowadays, what happened to bumping into your wife in a pub? Oh that’ll be just me then.

'Let Me Yet' – the first song I’d heard as sneak preview, the guitar hook and general happy upbeat sound is wonderful. The chorus is superb and it leaves a smile on your face. Again the lyrics are quality but the guitar again is just so good. I think this boy may actually be able to play…….

'Lost in Translation' - nice acoustic start with “that” guitar sound kicking in. A bona fide melodic rock piece that just grows to highlight that Sam is a proper guitarist. It has the orchestral bit at the end which I think was wasted a bit, another minute of that with the guitar and we’d have a perfect song.

'Strangers' - I always thought I’d heard the perfect melodic rock songs and this beauty bursts into life. It’s one of the most stunning piece of catchy guitar based joy you can imagine. My wife sat in the car stunned and said “no way was he in that noisy band, it’s brilliant.” It’s stunningly good, the chorus is an ear worm, it’s one of the most uplifting tracks I’ve heard…..in days

So 'Holy Sass' is just a piece of pure fun, enjoyment and choruses that are just magnificent and if you don’t listen to this and smile you must be dead from the neck up and nothing working downstairs.

I wanted to like it because I’ve met Sam and he is a genuine nice guy but it blew me away how good it was and rumours there may a follow-up coming makes me very happy.

Its the best EP I’ve heard in a long time.

9 out of 10 easy. Loved it.

Review by Lawrie Willcox

Track Listing:

1. Eyes
2. Cyber Girl
3. Let Me Yet
4. Lost In Translation
5. Strangers

Artist:
Sam Millar……and probably a few mates.




Whiskey Myers - 'Whiskey Myers' Album Review

Whiskey Myers - S/T

Whiskey Myers are about to release their fifth studio album, their self- produced, self-titled and set for release Friday 27th Sept.

“This was the first album be have produced on our own and its 100% authentically us, which is why we decided to self-title it ‘Whiskey Myers;” says lead guitarist John Jeffers. “We’ve been fortunate in our careers to work with some incredible producers, but self-producing gave us the freedom to try out every crazy idea in the studio, which got us to this place where we are completely satisfied with the end result and more excited than ever to get this new music out to our fans”.

My path first crossed theirs as a +1 when I went to see them support The Cadillac Three a few years back, and I took an immediate interest in their work. Their last album ‘Mud’ was a defining moment for them as far as I am concerned, and thankfully I am pleased to say that this upward trajectory continues with the “S/T” album. They have previously had three albums in the Country Chart in the US, but, to me, they have Southern Rock coursing through their veins and are THE band to take up the reins from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Get your stomping boots out for opener “Die Rockin’” as its part preachin’ and totally bitchin’! I particularly like WM’s use of female backing vocals as it just elevates the song to a different level. “Mona Lisa” is a more melodic tune that is instantly likeable, and Jeffers' lide guitar shines. “Rolling Stone” does drop its anchor deep in Country territory, and highlights the fact they are equally happy with a more commercial sound and will surely be lapped up by CMTs fanbase. “Bitch” is a more up-tempo rocker, and of course there's a song about “Gasoline” which reminds me of bar-bands, sawdust and chicken wire, with a cracking 'wah-wah' geetar solo, and some fine wailing from Cody Cannon.

“Bury My Bones” is a southern as a possum eating a sweet potato pie. A slow number that shows their versatility and can mix it all up with the simplest of ease. “Glitter Ain’t Gold” has a pulsating backbone that will get your body moving in time with the beat, with Cannon wailing ‘I was raised by the wolves in the woods, not the streets’. It's a  curious line, and one I’d like to know its meaning of. “Houston Country Sky” is one song I can clearly visualise at a country fair, and the lap steel guitar transports you right in the middle of the action. “Little More Money” and “California To Caroline” have a lilting, haunting guitar sound, and the minimal use of Hammond organ combined with lap steel guitar on Caroline sucks you in, wanting more and is just delightful. “Kentucky Gold” is a live kick-ass anthem if ever I heard one. A treasure trove of a song.

“Running” is the first song that hasn’t taken me on a musical journey. Its pleasant enough, but everything before is soooo much better. It picks up considerably towards the back end though, and makes up for its plodding majority. “Hammer” is all harmonica and pounding rhythm, and gets them back on track. Full credit to the harmonies, and its gospel/blues style backing vocals. Simply marvellous.

I've made the comparison to Lynyrd Skynyrd at the top of this review, and its their final song “Bad Weather” that is the contender to be Whiskey Myers’s ‘Freebird’, both in stature and length! Cannon projects emotion in his vocals, and I see many a hardened biker wiping a tear as they sup their beer. The second half of the song sees the band take over and it’s all about the jam. The song fades out at its peak, but you can imagine and feel that it’s only just beginning. A nailed down 100% cert for the live shows. Every note is being wrung out. It’s a belting way to finish off the album.

If you’ve been keeping count, it is fourteen songs of pure quality, that just slip by in an instant. Very few bands utilise female backing singers, but Whiskey Myers, as did Skynyrd, use these harmonies that elevate the songs to a different level. More bands should do it, and when done well, there’s nowt better.

In going it alone, Whiskey Myers could have gone off the rails, but its been a sterling decision to self-produce. I didn’t think they could top ‘Mud’, but how wrong I was. The album cover is minimalistic, and the songs are anything but.

TC3 may get the plaudits from the faithful, but Whiskey Myers are the real deal.

Score 8.5/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

Tracklisting -

Die Rockin’
Mona Lisa
Rolling Stone
Bitch
Gasoline
Bury My Bones
Glitter Ain’t Gold
Houston Country Sky
Little More Money
California To Caroline
Kentucky Gold
Running
Hammer
Bad Weather

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Defiants ' Zokusho' Album Review

The Defiants - ‘Zokusho’

THE DEFIANTS is a band put together by Paul Laine, Bruno Ravel, and Rob Marcello. Fans in the know will immediately recognize them, as all have ties to Danger Danger.

Best known for being the D2 vocalist on four studio albums over the course of 12 years, Paul Laine came back to work with his former bandmates Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello, who are the other two pillars of The DEFIANTS, for the band’s self-titled debut album in 2015. The guys reunited at the suggestion of Frontiers’ President, Serafino Perugino, who really wanted these current and former Danger Danger members to offer fans of that band some new music. The resulting album was pleasing not only to the D2 fans, but also to ALL the fans out there who are into the classic sound of the era from which D2 emerged.

The Defiants debut album was greeted with a great acclaim as a glorious return to the “in your face” melodic hard rock that enraptured millions of fans back in the ‘80s and ‘90s and is currently enjoying a renaissance here in the 21st century, so a follow-up album was a no-brainer. The brand new album, “Zokusho”, a Japanese word meaning “the sequel” or “the next chapter”, is now set for release this fall.

This time, things for D2 fans get even more exciting as D2 drummer Steve West is a special guest on drums. The Defiants could very well be one Perugino’s best ideas yet. Despite 12 years and 4 albums fronting Danger Danger, 90% of fans would likely go for the Ted Poley fronted version over this Paul Laine period. Paul Laine fronted the band during the AOR wilderness years (’93-’04) unfortunately. Even 80s household names struggled in the advent of flannel, two chords and depressing lyrics (aka Grunge)! Paul proved on the debut that he is definitely the man for this job.

So do the guys shake off the sophomore second album syndrome? More of that later. ‘Love Is The Killer’ immediately sets its stall as a companion piece for the debut. Melodic rock in a modern being. Big (hair), big hook, bigger chorus and some stellar soloing from Marcello. ‘Standing On The Edge’ is a powerful song with TNT in its veins, and some vocal histrionics from Laine. ‘Hollywood In Headlights’ and ‘Fallin’ For You’ are both classic D2 songs by any other name. Both are bona fide Summer driving song to be played at max volume. By now you (the listener) can relax. The boys have got your back. You know its gonna be good from here on in.  ‘Hold On Tonite’ is the first traditional ballad and and takes the pace down slightly, but it’s still good listening, and a definite grower.

‘Allnighter’ is back to a rough and ready approach, with its harder edged guitar riff and a verst that’s straight out of Nickleback’s ‘Burn It To The Ground’ playbook. ‘U X’D My Heart’ is a vehicle to prove how good a singer Paul Laine is. This song is all about him. As he nearly his notes that only dogs can hear.  It has a great outdo from Marcello. ‘It Goes Fast’ just skips along at an enjoyable pace that goes so quick you want to savour it all again. As we get to ’Stay’ Im beginning to wonder how many of these songs are worthy of being singles. It’s hard to select any losers in the pack. ‘Alive’ has a big scoop of U2 in it and I hate myself for knowing this! So let’s leave it at that. Im going to scrub myself in bleach….

…I'm back now for the final song, the Paul Laine mantra ‘Drink Up’. I’ve only seen him once, and he drank, like, a lot! It's a proper old school rocker that invites you to play it loud and proud and it makes no apology for what it is.

Heres the checklist….
Melodic. Catchy. Harmonies a plenty. Great guitar work. Wonderful songwriting. Four guys at the absolute top of their game. Cracking production. ‘Zokusho’ has the lot.

SAS? (Sophomore Album Syndrome?) No fucking chance. Its bloody fabulous!

Score 9/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

The Defiants
Paul Laine - Vocals
Bruno Ravel - Bass
Rob Marcello - Guitars
Steve West - Drums

Tracklist:
1.Love Is The Killer
2.Standing On The Edge
3.Hollywood In Headlights
4.Fallin’ For You
5.Hold On Tonite
6.Allnighter
7.U X’d My Heart
8.It Goes Fast
9.Stay
10.Alive
11.Drink Up!

Released 13th September

Robert Tepper - "Better Than The Rest' Album Review

Robert Tepper - ‘Better Than The Rest’

Singer/songwriter Robert Tepper was born in Bayonne, New Jersey. Tepper began his career in the music industry as a staff songwriter in New York City. While in New York, Robert formed a partnership with fellow singer/songwriter Benny Mardones. The duo struck pay dirt with the hit ballad “Into the Night,” which not only peaked at #11 on the Top 40 radio pop charts in September, 1980, but also earned the pair a Grammy Award nomination. Tepper went on to collaborate again with Mardones on the latter’s 1981 follow-up album “Too Much To Lose.”

Robert signed up with the Scotti Brothers record label in 1985 and moved to Los Angeles, California. Tepper scored another hit with the rousing tune “No Easy Way Out,” which was featured on the soundtrack to Rocky IV (1985) and peaked at #22 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop radio chart in 1986. Robert released his debut album “No Easy Way Out” that same year. Despite being prominently featured on the soundtrack to the critically reviled Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Cobra(1986), Tepper’s dynamic song “Angel of the City” failed to crack the top 40 radio charts while the single “Don’t Walk Away” only made it to #85. Robert released his second album “Modern Madness” in 1988 and was a member of the classic hard-rock group Iron Butterfly for several years. His third album “No Rest for the Wounded Heart” came out in 1996. Tepper released his fourth album “New Life Story” in 2012. 

Like many people my first experience with Robert Tepper was with the song ‘No Easy Way Out’ and I was hooked but for some unknown reason his solo albums have never done as well as I believe they should so hearing he had a new album coming I was excited to give this a listen.

‘Better Than The Rest’ is a finely crafted collection of songs and Robert’s voice is as good now as it was 30+ years ago. Listening to this album certainly brought back memories of ripped jean, leather jackets and Poodle Perms. While these songs are finely crafted it doesn’t mean that they’re amazing and that is the problem that I picked up on the first listen, although the album is well written and produced I found it painfully boring, there are moments when I thought here we go this is the high quality track that I’ve been waiting for but sadly it just never quite reaches the potential. It took 6 songs for me to even tap my feet, usually when I listen to an album on repeat it doesn’t take me long to pick up lyrics and start singing along but it just didn’t happen with this release.

For such a talented musician and songwriter Robert Teppers albums always seem to receive a warm reception then under perform. I was hoping ‘Better Than The Rest’ would break that chain but in my opinion which may be unpopular, it won’t. A lot of bands from the 80’s/90’s although performing the kind of material that made them successful back then have made enough tweaks to their sound to appear fresh, Robert Tepper hasn’t done this. I wanted to love this album but not matter how many times I listened to it I simply couldn’t. I’m giving ‘Better Than The Rest’ a meagre 6/10 and to be honest it’s only the quality of the production that stopped me marking this lower.

Review by Hollywood Vampyre

Tracklisting
Why Does Over (Have To Be So Sad)
Better Than The Rest
All That We Never Have
Testimony
Time Just This Time
My Yesterday
Tell Me You Love Me
Show Me Where The Light Is Going
Beyond The Atmosphere
I Don’t Want To Make You Love Me
You Know Just How You Feel




KXM - 'Circle Of Dolls' Album Review

KXM - ‘Circle Of Dolls’

KXM — which derives its name from a combination of its members’ other projects (K from KORN, X from KING’S X and M from LYNCH MOB) — issued its self-titled debut in 2014. The 13-track follow-up, “Scatterbrain”, was released on March 17, 2017. Now the band is back with a stronger and awesome new album which - in George Lynch’s words - “it’s better than the first two. It’s insane. The magic’s there, the chemistry’s there, and we’re just sitting here patting ourselves on the back, telling each other what geniuses we are!”

KXM is comprised of dUg Pinnick of King’s X on vocals/bass, George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken on guitars and Korn’s drum maestro, Ray Luzier, rounds out the powerhouse trio. The band takes its name from the combination of the member’s other projects: K from Korn, X from King’s X and M from Lynch Mob.

KXM formed in early 2013 when dUg, George and Ray spoke about trying to jam together. At the time it wasn’t clear what would come from those jams. The only thing that was clear was that these 3 musicians, at the top of their game, wanted to play together. The self-titled debut, KXM, was born from those jam sessions and is now an important piece in each band member’s musical legacy. In a world that constantly searches for new and unique music, KXM delivers all the power and punch that one would expect from these high level players!

First of all I just want to say that dUg Pinnick (fuck only knows why he spells Dug ‘dUg’) has just turned 69! Sixty-fucking-nine! He could pass for someone in their forties, never mind someone fast approaching 70!

If you’re expecting something Kings X / Dokken / Korn related, then you’re not in luck. If anything, its closest to Kings X, but that’s down to Pinnick’s unmistakeable vocals. ‘War Of Words’ is fast and phrenetic, and signals its intent from the off. ‘Mind Swamp’ has a bit of a trippy and hypnotising opening riff, before a more metal riff ensues. For the guitar solo, Lynch plays it like a prog rock song that current Opeth fans would expect, and is not your typical Lynch expectation. Which is cool. Its makes for one of the best songs on the album

‘Circle Of Dolls’ is a more straightforward track, with a cool drum pattern from Luzier. Three songs in and there isn’t a pattern to their style. I guess they guys just bounced ideas, jammed and recorded whatever juices flow out. ‘Lightning’ coughs up a slow groove, and particularly plays to Pinnick’s vocalisation. The guy still sounds great! It proves to be another highlight.
It’s a long song and the whole song plays out and is given time to breathe and isn’t forced. Lynch gets some strange sounds out before a passioned solo sees out the remainder. ’Time Flies’ has more of a relaxed opening, before soaring. I have to say that Lynch’s guitar playing is something else.

’Twice’ kicks off with a very ear pleasing ‘poppy’ groove, if ever KXM could be poppy? This is as close as it gets to being mainstream radio `U~S friendly rock. ‘Big As The Sun’ starts off with a punchy bass and drum riff, but its Lynch’s guitar playing that takes this up a level or three., whereas for ’Vessel Of Destruction’ its Luziers drumming taking central stage to it Korn-esque roots. It shows the looseness and flow of their playing that I’ve been trying to describe, but only a song can prove. ‘A Day Without Me’ has an acoustic country cowboy opening, before the groove belting with Pinnick’s bluesy wail proving as effective foil.

‘Wide Awake’ is one of those songs where they just let Lynch off the reins, wound him up and let him go. The solo is a meandering, soulful, and one that if it were the 70s, would go on for days and days. ’Shadow Lover’ has its foot set in the 90s, it’s a dark sounding Pinnick, with a resonance to his vocals that make the difference. ‘Cold Sweats’ is one of the couple of songs that has some harmonies vocally. Finally its ‘The Border’ is hypnotic and trippy, but most of all, topical. Some say musicians and actors should keep out of politics, buy I feel they have a much stronger voice than the establishment what you to think.

I have to say that Circle of Dolls is a varied tapestry of music. KXM have weaved various styles and themes that reward the listener with something different for each and every song. Its good to see 3 musicians performing at the top of their respective games still and given the opportunity to play it out as they have here.

I still think Lynch is the guitar God he has always been. Pinnick’s vocals are mostly undiminished considering his age. Im not ageist, but we expect our musical idols to sound like they did in 1985. And Luzier adds to the tryptich with some sterling drum wizardry.

If you’re already a fan of KXM, buy this album, as its my fave yet. If you’re new to KXM but a fan of Pinnick, Luzier & Lynch, buy it. Tell you what, just buy it anyway. I think though, in being able to see and hear these songs being played live, would be something else indeed.

Score  8/10

Review by Paul Chesworth

Line-up:
dUg Pinnick - Vocals / Bass
George Lynch - Guitars
Ray Luzier

Circle Of Dolls is scheduled for release on September 13th via Rat Pak Records.

Tracklist:
1.War of Words | 02. Mind Swamp | 03. Circle of Dolls | 04. Lightning | 05. Time Flies | 06. Twice | 07. Big as the Sun | 08. Vessel of Destruction | 09. A Day Without Me | 10. Wide Awake | 11. Shadow Lover | 12. Cold Sweats | 13. The Border | 14. War of Words (Radio Edit) [Bonus Track – CD & Download Versions Only]

Weblinks:
 www.facebook.com/KXMofficial
 www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/kxm

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Block Buster - 'Losing Gravity' album review

Block Buster – Losing Gravity

The description of Block Buster (the band, not the 1980’s TV programme or defunct video rental store) from the Frontiers promo info said the following:

“The best way of describing their music would be something like this: take AC/DC and Motorhead, spice it up with some Extreme and Bon Jovi, the rougher side of The Rolling Stones, throw in some hunger and energy of the rock-torch carriers of the newer generation such as Airbourne and The Darkness, add a good dose of modern vibe to the mix, put it in a giant blender and you will have the band’s mind-blowing debut "Losing Gravity”! Enjoy and get ready to be blown away!”

Well let’s just say that I’ve no idea how much the writer had been drinking when he put that out or what drugs he’d taken because it is utter crap. Motorhead FFS? Block Buster are as close to Motorhead as ABBA were. 

Luckily the description the band themselves used is far more accurate: We grew up listening to "classic" rock, but we also like many of today's artists from different genres, who tend to influence us just as much. So, we guess it's a mixture of modern and retro.”

Thank God some sanity prevails. The album is a wonderful eclectic mix of styles which does nod in the direction of the 80’s rock scene but with a healthy dollop of modern indie style rock to accompany it not forgetting a touch of rock rap.

Block Buster for clarity are a young(ish) Finnish rock band, brothers Aarni (Lead vocals, guitar) and Jaako Metsapelto (drums), Elias Salo (lead guitar) and Joonas Arppe (bass).

Out In The City kicks the album off with “the” riff that Foo Fighters used on All My Life but this is no rip off or copy, the song kicks in and off we go, buckle up. Great harmonies and a real indication of what is to follow.

Gone By The Morning has a real feel of Ratt at their best crossed with a bit of a modern sound, it works well.

Flammable takes us to full on guitar rock, a driving beat, high octane verse and a great chorus, the song powers on with the dual guitars unrelenting.  

Back From The Shadows another decent rocker with a superb catchy chorus, a great piece of melodic rock. It even has a sneaky little key change towards the end just to freshen up the last minute. 

Losing Gravity is, and please don’t lose it with me, a song that Oasis, Shed 7 or Embrace would be proud of, it’s got a great retro feel to it and I don’t care, I really don’t, it’s quality.

Sweet Mary Jane – maybe it’s the song title and the way Aarni sings on this but I can’t help but think of a cleaned up Love/Hate. The song benefits from a decent riff throughout and the rap style intertwined throughout the song. 

Talking of rap, Move is one of the singles off the album and talk about messing with your head, it has an Electric Boys funk sound, rap vocals that could have come from a heavier version of Uptown Funk and it’s one upbeat belter of a song.

Would You Do It Again is up there in the top couple of favourite songs for me, the build-up of the guitar, the slow burn as the song grows into yet another superbly catchy song that has a real atmospheric feel to it.

This was an album that has been one the best surprises of 2019 so far. Due to the aforementioned guff that accompanied the album I expected a heavy rock album. Now don’t get me wrong there is plenty of decent rock to be had but the whole vibe of the album is a fresh, energetic sound that doffs it’s cap to the 80’s but is still moving forward.

It’s an album that put a smile on my face, left me trying to identify influences, reminded me of so many bands and styles, catchier than a STI, has some superb guitar riffs and fingers crossed that Losing Gravity elevates Block Buster up to the levels of their other Scandinavian rock peers. 

A solid 8/10

Review by Lawrie

Block Buster are:

Aarni Metsäpelto – Lead vocals & Guitar

Jaakko Metsäpelto – Drums & Vocals 

Joonas Arppe – Bass & Vocals 

Elias Salo – Lead Guitar & Vocals


Losing Gravity Track Listing:

1.   Out In The City
2.   Gone By The Morning
3.   Flammable
4.   Back From The Shadows
5.   Losing Gravity
6.   Sweet Mary Jane (Album Version)*
7.   Somebody To Shock Me
8.   Walking Like A Dog
9.   Move
10. Would You Do It Again

11. Bulletproof