Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Label: Ripple Music
"Already recognised as one of the world's leading purveyors of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych, Ripple Music upped the ante in 2015 with the arrival of one of their most ambitious projects to date, The Second Coming of Heavy Series.
Serving as an ongoing showcase for some of the best and heaviest bands emerging from the underground, each installment shines a light on those worthy of your attention. Consisting of one, 12” slab of multi-coloured vinyl with full colour sleeves and inserts, the series is designed to be saved and treasured, like a fine anthology of books. So much so when the albums are filed next to each other, the complete collection of aligned spines form a mind-blowing image direct from the underground".
The above quote was taken from the electronic press kit that accompanied the review copy of this album and it hits the nail on the head with the information about this series and the record label releasing the material.
This volume features a North American and a European band. The American band, Ride The Sun hail from Southern California and the European band, The Trikes are residents of Germany. The balance of this LP favours the US band, Ride The Sun get five songs and The Trikes get four. Time for some US/European trade balance discussion. There's a raw rock sound to a number of these tracks which is more Motorhead than Kyuss. According to Ride The Sun's bandcamp, there are two vocalists in this band, which maybe why sometimes the vocals are close to close to Neil Falloon of Clutch and at other times much rawer.
While Ride The Sun are about rocking your face of, their German offsiders, The Trikes are more laid back and instead of going for the throat, this band creep up on the listener with catchy melodic, jamming guitars and a reliable drummer providing the background beat which all fit into a psychedelic groove of fuzz together. Just listening to the music, it's impossible not to get the feeling that these musicians know each other well. A further inspection of their bandcamp site reveals that the vocalist/drummer and the bassist share a family name.
If I had to declare a winner between the two bands, then the prize would go to The Trikes as their musicianship is clearly of high caliber however it's clear Ride The Sun achieve their goal of rocking out and taking others along for the ride.
Release Date: 4 May 2018
The Trikes on bandcamp/Ride The Sun on bandcamp
The Trikes on Facebook/Ride the Sun on facebook
Monday, April 23, 2018
Four Lights are a pop punk band from Seattle. Kobayasi Maru is their second record. The band's music falls somewhere between power pop and punk-pop. The emphasis is more weighted towards pop than either punk or power with tight harmonies. The press sheet mentions a Weezer influence and that band definitely comes through in "Characters" and "Scene of The Crime". However, this whole album is about as punk and, for that matter, about as pop as The Goo Goo Dolls have been since they got a song in a Meg Ryan movie (check out their "Hold Me Up" and "Superstar Wash" albums for when they peaked musically).
Record Label: North AmericaBomb Pop Europe: Stardumb
Despite my complaints, the catchiness of most the songs on Kobayasi Maru is undeniable but this album feels too long as too many of the songs just blend together. Four Lights claim to love nerd culture and be pop punk but anyone hoping Four Lights used "Milo Goes to College" as a blueprint is heading for a disappointment. To be fair to Four Lights, the most appealing songs on "Kobayashi Maru" are songs that run over the three minute mark. "Jimmy's Song Part 2" and "Characters". In these tunes, Four Lights really put themselves across as tight and accomplished songwriters.
If emo or Weezer excites you, then "Kobayashi Maru" will be for you. Now, where is that nomeansno album?
Release Date: 20 April 2018
Four Lights on bandcamp
Four Lights on Facebook
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity
Indian band, Against Evil are a straight up traditional meat and heavy metal outfit. It's easy to hear the influence of eighties mainstream metal on the band. Don't think about the metal that the music television of the time was pushing or thrash metal but instead think Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Manowar. Against Evil have a pumped up metallic sound without sounding like a carbon copy of any of the before mentioned bands.
Against Evil have a beefy sounding vocalist or two(both the rhythm guitarist,Sravan and the bass guitarist, Siri are credited with vocal duties), who can carry a tune without needing to show off that he can do high-pitched screams. The groups songwriting is strong as is the riffing. Often an all-in chorus comes in where you'd expect there to be a scream which works in the band's favor The rhythm section has a muscular bass and is a solid unit throughout the album.
"Bad Luck" is reminiscent of early Motley Crue with a similar punchy guitar sound and its all-in chorus. There's a definite Manowar influence on "Gods of Metal" but Against Evil aren't delivering a facsimile as they have their own thing going and stamp their own identity into the tune. Against Evil aren't exactly reinventing the wheel but they deliver catchy and enjoyable head-nodding metal. Oh and by the way, Jeff Loomis from Nevermore and Arch Enemy provides a guest guitar solo on "Sentenced to Death", which could be a selling point for many although Against Evil are definitely all capable musicians. The music video for the song is below. While "All Hail the King" may not be an instant stand out album but it certainly is a solid metal album.
Release Date: 6 April 2018
Against Evil on bandcamp
Against Evil on Facebook
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