(7/10) I have to admit it right in the begining that Helmet always belonged to my favorite bands in alternative metal. Records such as "Meantime" and "Aftertaste" include milestones in alternative metal that are build on walls of riffs and the typical aggressive vocallines. Page Hamilton created a sound that was intense, brutal and powerful. It was music that added a new aspect to metal.
Then it became silent around the band before Hamilton returned with Helmet back in 2004 when "Size Matters" was released. In the meantime Helmet published two more longplayers with "Dead to the World" becoming the newest chapter.
Unfortunately I have to say that the new album comes not only with good songs. There's pretty good stuff on the album. "Red Scare" features the bands trademarks and also "Die Alone" lives from a brutal riff and Hamilton's aggressive vocals. The mixture of noise rock and riff power works perfect here.
But there are also some 'inbetween' sogs on the album. The opener "Life or Death" belongs to them, a tune that features the wild guitars by losing a bit on the punch of the earlier Helmet. The same goes for "Drunk in the Afternoon". It's more a move towards alternative rock, a direction that gets confirmed by tunes like "Bad News" which is a kind of what the title says. It's a more than average alternative rock track that doesn't lead to excitiment at all. The same goes for "Green Shirt", a track that is a strange mixture of punk, alternative rock and hardrock. What ever it exactly is, it's far away from smashers like "In the Meantime".
As said, there are some songs on this album that prove Helmet still being able to write raging riff attacks. But there is also too much music on this album that sounds average and almost boring. In case your Helmet reference album is called "Meantime" or the "Betty" EP you should go for some pre-listening. In case you're looking for some alternative rock the Samshing Pumkins style I guess this is your album.
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: October 28th, 2016
Leiden is a city in The Netherlands that is well known for their university. But 'leiden' also means 'suffering' in German, a double meaning that describes this Thursday evening very well.
It was at no point suffering to be part of this concert with three bands that are all great. The part that was disappointing was the amount of fans that came to Gebr. de Nobel that night. Eventhough the guys played the smaller of the two rooms there was enough space for everybody. Actually we are talking about 25-30 fans of ambitious rock music that found their way to Leiden that night. Thinking about a vivid student city in combination with some good rock'n'roll bands should actually lead to a much more packed venue.
Anyhow, that's what it was and everybody who wasn't there missed a great evening in rock.
It was Honeymoon Disease from Gothenburg, Sweden that had to go on stage first. The two girls and two boys released a pretty good record a few months ago. Now they had the chance to present it live and they used the momentum. When I saw them rocking the venue I was reminded of '77, partly due to the music but more because of the energy level they spread. Honeymoon Disease split roles quite clearly. The boys are the hard working rhythm section that makes the engine run while the girls, with their guitars, took the responsibility for the entertainment factor.
All four together nailed down a show that couldn't be much better for an opener. It's not that easy to move on a small stage but the band used every square meter for constant action and pure rock postures, ending in an grande finale with both girls laying on the ground for the last chords. A great start.
Fortunately also RavenEye could draw on some great songs, most of them from the recently released debut. The fact that the trio has been touring a lot, being opening act for bands like Slash and Deep Purple, was very present. These guys played many shows together which led to a tight performance of cool songs. This band is a strong unit that stands like a rock when it comes to the sound. The performance instead couldn't be more dynamic. I mentioned the small stage and it was obviously too small for this trio from Milton Keynes. Singer/guitarist Oli Brown was the first one that went right into the audience, performing from there and a while ago it was him and Aaron Spiers, playing piggy-back, surrounded by very surprised fans. Not to forget Brown, standing all of a sudden on the bass drum for kicking off a song. All this underlines the rising attention for these guys from the UK. I guess we will hear more of the them.
Than it was time for Zodiac. I had some hope that there might be more fans filling the venue for the four-piece from Germany. This hope was gone in a second since the amount of rock enthusiasts stayed the same during the entire concert. It must have been a bit of a 'suffering', or more a disappointment for the band but this fact didn't have any impact on their performance. It shows the professional attitude of the four guys playing for 20 people as they would have done it for 200.
That Zodiacs songs are good ones goes without saying. The guys recently released their newest album that comes with awesome music. Some of it, like the cool title track "Grain of Soul", has been played that night, mixed with older stuff. Having re-release the debut EP in a limited vinyl version means that Zodiac also added "Upon the Stone" to the setlist. All in all it was a well done choice of band highlights that peaked in an extended version of "Coming Home" from the band's debut "A Bit of Devil". This tune belongs to the best ones Zodiac has ever wrote. Starting slowly and building up to an immense rocker, that's what it is about and it's a great closer of a pretty cool show.
Mentioning 'show', Zodiac isn't about fancy effects and a lot of decoration. These guys have excellent music to offer which speaks on its own. Therefor it didn't matter that the stage was kept pretty dark, with some shades of red and blue. It's the music that does the job, also on the Thursday night in Leiden.
In the end it wasn't 'suffering' at all for all the ones that visited the show. Zodiac definitely brought it home and I hope that there will be some more fans in Eindhoven because one thing is for for sure: Zodiac and the two support bands deserve far more attention than what they had to face in Leiden.
Location: Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, Netherlands
Date: October 6th, 2016
(9/10) It was in an interview I had with Mark Tremonti at the end of last year when he mentioned that the beginning of 2016 will be the starting point for working on the next Alter Bridge album. Having heard this excitement was pretty high and now, nine months later, the new record is out there in the shops.
"The Last Hero” is the name of the longplayer that includes 13 new and exciting songs, reflecting 100% Alter Bridge.
Alter Bridge is one of hese bands that shows what you can achieve if they are more than just four highly competent musicians. This quartet is forming one unit that stands like a rock. It feels like there is a generic understanding of each other’s strengths which makes each Alter Bridge album to a goodie-bag of great alternative metal songs. In this context it doesn't matter if the guys are involved in other bands - Tremonti with his solo project and Myles Kennedy also being part of Slash's band. The guys get together and internal chemistry does the job.
So, what can we say about "The Last Hero"? It wasn't an easy thing to set a next step after having released the very successful "Fortress" longplayer three years ago. However, the four guys managed and they made this next step with the new album. It's the general theme about leaders and heros that characterizes this record and it's all the typical Alter Bridge trademarks that are constantly present. What makes "The Last Hero" slightly different is the fact that the album has less of a dark expression than it was with "Fortress" and the range of sound variations got a bit wider, all this still in the framework of what we know form this fourpiece.
"Show me a Leader" was the first song that was unveiled from the new longplayer and it became the opener too. The songs marks a great start into this longplayer since it combines great vocal lines with the typical Alter Bridge heaviness, created by Tremonti's guitar and a more than robust rhythm foundation done by Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips.
Themewise the opener is addressing good leadership and a need for heroes and therefor the lyrics of "The Writing on the Wall" are more than just decoration. Ignoring signs of things going wrong these days are ignored, leading to nothing better in the future. The tune itself is a heavy one with an awesome chorus.
One of the more atmospheric songs on the album is "My Champion" which is a quite commercial one. It comes has a more melodic rock expression than a metal approach, but who cares. Listening to the guys and the way how they interpret this catchy tune is great, esp. Myles Kennedy doing a great job. A tune that comes with a similar expression is called "You Will Be Remembered". It's a track that's kept in a more moderate pace, belonging to the more soulful moments on "The Last Hero". In this sense it can be compared with "The Side of Fate"" that follows a similar pattern. Interesting with the latter is the silent acoustic section halfway down the road.
Next to these tracks the majority of "The Last Hero" is built on heavy stuff. The mentioned opening duo of songs belongs to this category but also numbers like "Poison in Your Veins", the gloomy "Crows on a Wire" that includes an excellent Tremonti riff and slower creeping "The Other Side" are alternative metal pearls that no one can do better than Alter Bridge.
What I like with this band is, that their sound has an own identity. You're listening to a song and you immediately identify it as being from Alter Bridge. Secondly, in this given framework, the four-piece has enough space for giving the tracks different expressions. Some of the songs are harder, some are more melodic, some are more soulful, but all of them are living up to the bands trademark.
With all the other commitments and obligations Alter Bridge didn't have endless time for working on this album. Things have been done in a rather short amount of time with a result that is jaw-dropping. It shows that time isn't the only factor for delivering quality. Hard work and a lot of passion are equally important. Great guys, great band, great album.
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: October 7th, 2016
(7/10) Swedish rocker Truckfighters are pretty straight forward when it comes to their neewest album. It's their fifth longplayer and guess what they called it - "V". Can't be more clear than that. OK, what does "V" contain? First of all it comes with seven songs (I have the feeling I don;t get rid of numbers in this review).
Dango, Ozo and El Danno do what they can do best, playing songs that reflect a wild cocktail of stoner, rock, metal and alternative. This is what they did so far and this is also what you get on the new album. In this sense there aren't many surprises, it's more like good quality songs that found some further development tweaks along the way.
Truckfighters found their own spot on the metal map which is basically due to the described mixture of style. "Calm Before the Strom" is the opener and it's also one of the moments that shows Truckfighters being different. While others would have chosen an upbeat start into the album it's Truckfighters going for a eight minutes long track that is basically on slow speed. Stoner rock meets some grunge meets some more traditional rock - all in one tune.
"Hawkseye" is shifting gears to a next level before "The 1" knocks you out with a strong rhythm and an immense level of energy. "Gehenna" and "Fiend" are the more stoner influence tracks on the album that has with "Storyline" an seven minutes long closer that is intesive and rolling.
"V" became a good rock album that has an own identity. It's a solid album that makes fun to listen to. And if, last but not least, some of you want to see the guys on stage, they are on tour in Europe during autumn to promote the album.
Label: Century Media
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: September 23rd, 2016
(8/10) The first thing that stands out is the band's unusual name. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra sounds strange and give you no idea of what to expect. It was a surprise egg for me too, but when I read who's part of this band things got clearer.
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra is William DuVall (Alice in Chains), Ben Weinmann (Dillinger
Escape Plan), Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Pete Griffin (Dethklok) und Thomas
Pridgen (The Mars Volta) which means that you can expect some more unconventional rock and metal music. And indeed, the songs on "Broken Lines" sound special, experimental, heavy and psychedelic. The guys added a certain level of underlaying complexity to the songs, each of them filled with twists and tweaks. All this makes the album exciting and very entertaining since the listener will be constantly surprised by new moves that mostly couldn't be foreseen. Having said this I also have to address the fact that the album stands like a rock. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra manages to keep the flow throughout the entire album which makes even the more progressive songs very approachable.
The involved musicians give you a certain framework of what kind of music you can expect. The album contains some kick-ass rockers, a segement the opener "Adapt or Die" belongs to. Grooving numbers like the moderate paced "No-One is Innocent" can be found on "Broken Lines as well as some anarchic punk moments that are included in the band's portfolio too. The raging parts of "Crucifixion" speak a clear language even though the main theme of the song comes with a more Tool-based approach.
Additionally there are silent and fragile moments can be found on "Broken Lines". "All We Have is Now" is one of these songs that show the very emotional side of Giraffe Tongue Orchestra while "Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want" follows with a funky expression that reminds of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The title track "Broken Lines" is a song you have to wait for till the final end of the album. It's an tune that's full of breaks and pieces that go very well together. It's with its alternative rock elements one of the best songs on the album and a good choice for being the name giver for this thrlling and confusing release.
"Broken Lines" came from left field but it's a nice surprise of creative music that can reach a wider audience without being mainstream. Cool stuff.
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: September 23rd, 2016
(8/10) One of the newcomers in hardrock this year are RavenEye from the UK. The three-piece was founded in 2014 by guitarist/singer Oli Brown and bassplayer Aaron Spiers. So far the guys didn't release more than an EP in 2015 which was called "Breaking Out".
The quartet promoted this EP intesively with a lot of touring connected. RavenEye supported bands like Deep purple, Halestorm and Slash, also playing on bigger European festivals such as Download Festival and Hellfest. So it was less the releases that opened RavenEye for a bigger audience, it has been the extensive touring activities that had two effects. It helped RavenEye to constantly enlarge their fan base and growing together as a band.
RavenEye's debut is being shipped to the record stores as we speak and it presents a band that comes with esxcellent songs and a tight way of performing them. The eleven songs on the album cover a wider range of influences - from Led Zeppelin to Soundgarden. All this inspiration led to songs that are featuring some bluesy elements, classic rock, hardrock and a touch of retro, packaged in a modern expression and a heaviness that makes the album to an interesting one for rock fans and metalheads.
"Nova" starts slow and heavy with "Wanna Feel You". The song has a certain alternative metal flair that partly reminds me of Alice In Chains merged with traditional hardrock. It's a cool start into an exciting album. That RavenEye can also play faster is what the band shows with the dynamic "Come With Me" followed by the grooving "Inside".
The post-grunge moments are coming back in the darker "Supernova" that belongs the best songs on the album. More cool stuff is named "Madeline" which is an energetic rocker, something that also goes for "Out of the Rain".
The most emotional moment on the record is called "Eternity" which is a slow and romantic tune, including a melancholic expression that makes the track to a really touching one.
All in all "Nova" became an exciting piece of music of some newcomers that will challenge established rock bands. RavenEye came to stay.
Label: Frontiers Music
Release Date EU: September 23rd, 2016
Andy Brings' Double Crush Syndrome posted a new video. "Die For Rock'n'Roll" is the name of the track that will be released as 7" on October 7th.
Furthermore the guys are on the road and here are dates:
01.10.16 Hameln - Mad Music
02.10.16 Leipzig - Flowerpower
06.10.16 Hamburg - Klubsen
07.10.16 Schwerte - Rattenloch
08.10.16 Köln - Essigfabrik
14.10.16 Frankfurt - 11-er
15.10.16 Pforzheim - Sakrema
20.10.16 Berlin - Wild At Heart
21.10.16 Wachenroth - Toxicity
28.10.16 München - Garage Deluxe
29.10.16 CH-Sissach - Kultik
Introducing Faith No More feels like carrying sand to the beach. Of course, every fan of rock and metal music has at least heard about the guys before. Faith No More can look back to an outstanding success in rock history, creating a new genre and a new sound that lasts till today. Faith No More left more than a footprint in the rock scene and the guys are still inspiring new bands up till now. Records like "The Real Thing" from the bands earlier era are still classics and belong to my all-time faves.
After having had a highly successful return in 2015 with their newest studio album "Sol Invictus" the guys are celebrating this year two other milestones in their rich discography.
"King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime" and "Album of the Year" from the second half of the nineties have been remastered and will be newly released. In addition to the original remastered tracklist each of the two releases comes with a second CD that includes exciting remixes and songs taken from the session. What's also new is the both records will be available for the first time as vinyl.
"King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime" marked the first release without the band's iconic guitarist Jim Martin, something the led to an album that unveiled new and more radical aspects in Faith No More's sound. Tracks like "Cuckoo for Caca" with its organized chaotic expression belongs to these radical tracks on the album. But there are the easygoing moments on the album too. "Evidence" is a relaxed number that puts a spell on you.
As extras on CD 2 the band releases the mentioned "Evidence" also in a Spanish version and a Portuguese version. But also "Staring a Joke", a cover from the Bee Gees song, that was originally the b-side for "Digging the Grave" became a part of the bonus disc. All in all there are enough goodies for Faith No More fans on this re-release.
What goes for "King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime" is also relevant for "Album of the Year". First of all it's a brave statement giving a longplayer such a name. And even if it wasn't the 'album of the year' for everybody it was/is still a great album of Mike Patton & Co. With "The Last Cup of Sorrow" the original album comes with a real hit and also "Ashes to Ashes" belongs to the best tracks Faith No More has ever published.
The bonus disc comes with a few remixes that sound pretty interesting and it's the last to mentioned tracks that are really exciting in these new arrangements. Furthermore it's live recordings like "Collision" that shows the enormous power the band spreads during live shows.
Often re-issues are more feathers than chicken. But the remastering of these Faith No More classic records and the additional benefit of exciting bonus material makes both records to a good documentary of the later phase of a band that wrote music history. And I personally think that it's the vinyls that make everything even more interesting for fans.
"King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime"
Label: Warner Music
Genre: Alternative Rock/Metal
Release Date EU: September 9th, 2016
"Album of the Year"
Label: Warner Music
Release Date EU: September 9th, 2016
Fans of alternative noise rockers Helmet should mark October 28th in their agendas. It's the release day of Helmet's next longplayer "Dead to the World".
Bandleader Page Hamilton states:
“Catch phrases, punchlines, guns, bluster, ammo, incivility, impatience, murder. You, me, us, them, life, liberty and the pursuit of property.
We disagree, we disrespect, discourse disappears in the age of access. When in doubt GET LOUD! It's my way or the highway, thank you Lawrence Tierney!
Religious tchotchkes nailed to the walls of homes above razor-scarred mirrors. Do you meditate, levitate, pray? Live in LA! I'm a huge fan, got a perfume line, smell nice, plan my next move. Threats loom, the bad news network blooms, fear sells. Just get em out, the spying neighbors, suspects, terrorists our forefathers intent. 'If you don't like it, leave' and call it democracy."
The album will be released via earMUSIC/Edel and is produced by Hamilton
01. Life Or Death
02. I ♥ My Guru
03. Bad News
04. Red Scare
05. Dead To The World
06. Green Shirt
07. Expect The World
08. Die Alone
09. Drunk In The Afternoon
10. Look Alive
11. Life Or Death (Slow)
(7/10) The band's name might be a bit misleading, or maybe it was only me who had something totally different in mind when I read the Little Brother Eli for the first time. I can't really say what kind of music I expected but it for sure wasn't good quality blues rock with a modern touch, spiced-up even with some hip-hop elements.
So, who are these guys that came together under the banner of Little Brother Eli? The band started in Oxford, UK back in 2013. It was bassist Josh Rigal and singer Alex Grew who founded this quintet that also includes Adam Stowe, Benji Page and Tom Williams - so five guys and no brother Eli.
Like said earlier, the five guys play blues rock that is quite good stuff to listen to. The album starts with "Oceans" which is more an alternative rock song that has already some blues links. Those get far more intense in the next song. "Who Do You" includes a grooving blues guitar that set the tone of voice, supported by well done vocals lines.
It feels like the guys build up the quality level the further you dive into the tracklist. The first two songs are OK but with "This Girl" they quintet has a first small 'hit' on their album.
That the guys can also play the slower blues style is what they show with "Roll Away, a song followed by "Gold". The latter is a moderate rock song that comes with a super catchy chorus and a great sense for melodies.
What helps "Cold Tales" as well being pure fun for listeners is next to the tunes the well-done production which leads to a warm and powerful sound. Little Brother Eli's album is definitely worth to spend some time with. Check it out.
Label: The Animal Farm
Genre: Blues Rock
Release Date EU: August 26th, 2016
(7/10) I can't even remember anymore what pulled my attention towards Shit The Cow. I guess it was the unusual name of the band that made me curious some years ago. It was the band's sophomore EP "Salt of the Earth" that was the first one I reviewed at that time.
What's fascinating with the sound of these guys is the way how they approach music. In the end it's a mixture of stoner and garage rock with some alternative rock spices. However, these guys do what the want to do and this is something you can also listen to on their new EP "One With the Devil".
It's again five songs (plus an alternative version of "Warcow") that the Swedes burned on this disc and they are typical Shit The Cow ones. The start is speedy. "Warcow" is a rocker which is good but not the best the guys have ever written. Things get better with the title track. Shit The Cow finds back to their strength of having a unique sound that you either like or not. I like the fact that the guys don't care about current trends and do just their thing, something that's reflected in "One With the Devil".
Things get even slower in tempo with El Chupacabra, a great song that has a certain monotony included that puts a kind of spell on the listener. "The Villain" has the same approach but includes some female vocals which in parts even remind of what Philipp Boa did a few years ago. However, the vibe of "The Villain" is darker, creating the picture of an autumn forest covered in grey fog.
"Iggy" kicks in again with some more pace before an alternative version of "Warcow" rounds of this EP; the latter done with female vocals, puristic instrumentation and a really eerily expression.
To sum up: "One With the Devil" contains again typical Shit The Cow stuff that's maybe a bit weaker than what they had on the previous records but it's still well done independent stuff, done by a band that does what they want to do rather than caring about trends.
Genre: Garage Rock
Release Date EU: September 1st, 2016
(8/10) It was end of the eighties when I heard New Model Army for the first time. It was on almost endless rotation every weekend in the local underground club and I can't say how often they played "51st State" and "Vagabonds". Especially the latter was a real smasher that made the people go wild and both songs still belong to the best ones Justin Sullivan ever wrote.
Since that moment in time I'm following the band that release many more records, without having any real disappointment in their discography. New Model Army found their special niche and created a sound that can be identified immediately as being from Sullivan and Co.
The new album is preparing the listener for the coming winter period, even though it feels something that's far away while sitting with 35 degrees Celsius. "Winter" starts with the epic "Beginning", a slow seven minutes long opener that acts like a well-chosen introduction. It's an intensive piece of music that slowly builds up and becomes more and more voluminous along the the way.
The title track is another highlight on the album, starting with the typical New Model Army acoustic guitar and Sullivan's unique phrased vocallines. "Eyes Get Used to the Darkness" instead is a dark anthem that is build on a faster pace before "Drifts" takes over, being a tune with a lot of emotional depth. I think it's the most moving track on the album with almost desperate screams in the chorus. In case you're looking for a more atmospheric moment, "Winter" can offer "Born Feral" which becomes quite sphereful towards the end.
"Winter" is an typical New Model Army album that contains all trademarks the band stands for. Still Sullivan and bandmates create enough dynamic and variations to keep things entertaining and fresh. It's a great album of a band that belongs to the keyplayers in post-punk/folk/dark rock. Thumbs up and it seems to be become a good 'winter'.
Release Date EU: August 26th, 2016
(8/10) Motorowl from Germany wasn't a band I had on my metal radar until today. Not a too big of a surprise since the guys from Thuringia started in 2014. The bigger 'aha-effect' was more their new album "Om Generation" and and the level of maturity the guys get across with this longplayer.
"Om Generation" features eight songs that are anchored somewhere between classic rock, alternative and some stoner rock.
It's the 70's classic rock that builds the base. It's the bombastic Hammond sound which gives each track an organic warm expression and the you could draw some parallels with bands like e.g. Spiritual Beggars.
The title track is the chosen opener for this longplayer and it's a well chosen beginning since it gives you a good overview of what to expect. A true highlight on the album is called "The Highest City", a tune split in two parts. While the first one blows your speaker loud and mighty, it's part 2 that includes the more silent sections. A great double-header."One and Zero" is a faster rocker that shows more of Motorowl's stoner passion while "Beloved Whale" is, at least in the first half, is a more quiet number, that creates psychedelic depth by the intense vocals of Max Hemmann.
"White Horse" is a cool rocker before "Spiritual Healing" creates an eight minutes atmospheric fireworks at the end. It's an epical track; somewhere between hope and despair. Loud and silent tones are in a constant interaction, something that makes the song to a real treat for your ears and mind.
Motorowl is a band that has started a journey that could became an exckting one for band and fans. "Om Generator" is a good first leg on this trip and let's see how the next ones will look like.
Label: Century Media
Release Date EU: August 26th,2016