Archive for the ‘Album Review’ Category

Recently received a couple new slabs of wax from German label, Lonestar Records. This is some quality stuff so let me talk about them in a bit more detail…

First up we have Markus Karlsson’s new project. He sang for Swedish rockers, The Turpentines.They had a song called No Salvation that the Hellacopters covered on their last album cos they were awesome like that.

REPUBLIKANS – “Republikans” LP (Lonestar Records)
Straight from the ruins of Scandinavian rockers, The Turpentines, hails another class act in the Republikans. Opening track Henry Vs Heroin is sheer punk power pop bliss with a chorus that is as infectious as it is ass-kickin’. In fact, this song alone is worth the price of admission. Seriously, it’s that damn good and you still have 13 songs to go. Upon hearing tracks like Never Get It Straight and Cramp My Style, it’s evident that there are equal parts The Real Kids, The Exploding Hearts and The Records all mashed together for catchy good time rockin’ goodness. The fun just doesn’t stop though and the quickish pieces of garage rock just keep on coming. Apparently some of these dudes are also in those crazed masked rockers, Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, and did I mention there’s a horn section? There is and it’s awesome, adding a very The Saints-esque vibe to tracks like The Suicide Look and Massmedia Attention. This was my first introduction to Republikans and I hope they don’t stop here cos this is the stuff rock n roll dreams are made of. Limited to 500 copies on “piss-yellow” vinyl, this album will restore your faith in punk rock n roll while you’re laying in the wake of Lemmy’s passing. This self-titled album is a mix of all things great and you need it in your life. File next to your records by The Hives and Sweatmaster. Still unsure? Just buy it or listen to the song below.

The nest record on offer is this incredible slab of party time goodness straight from some genius minds out there in sunny California…

THE BAYONETS – “Crash Boom Bang!” (Lonestar Records)
crashbangboom_albumcover_smAs soon as the needle dropped, an instantly recognisable tune filtered through the speakers. Rated as one of the coolest songs of 2014 by Little Stevie (of the E Street Band) on his Underground Garage station,  this LA power pop garage rock n roll band have dished up a solid release filled with catchy tunes reminiscent of every single one of your mum and dad’s great 70s albums. There’s blues, there’s pop, there’s psych, there’s garage, there’s country, there’s beat… none of it bad. This guitar twangin’ jam filled beat boppin’ rockin’ slab of purple wax is filled with ten songs of greatness. Catchy choruses, amazing playing, fantastic harmonies, The Bayonets certainly know how to pen a great tune. And they probably should by now considering chief song writer Brian Ray was part of Paul McCartney’s band and his cohort Oliver Leiber was born from rock n roll royalty (his father, the late Jerry Leiber of the songwriting duo of Leiber and Stoller gave you some pretty notable jukebox boppers like Jailhouse Rock, Stand By Me, Yakkety Yak, and Hound Dog). There’s a lot of awesome to be heard on Crash Boom Bang! and I can assure you that if you like decent music, this album is gonna find its way into your collections and onto your mixtapes. Seriously, don’t try and tell me the ballad Vagabond Soul (which, I’ll have you know, features Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler on wailing backing vocals) isn’t going to be on the next mixed tape you make for your highschool crush. It is what it is. Don’t fight it. This album might become one of my favourite records released in the last couple years and by the time you read this, the LPs might be all sold out as there are only 500 copies pressed but you can still try your luck by writing to Lonestar Records. I’d get on this fast because it’s sure to become a most sought after classic by record vinyl junkies the world over. This really is one of the hottest slabs of wax you’ll hear and you can thank me later.

Bust this for a tune!

You can grab both of these records right now directly from Lonestar Records but get in quick cos 500 copies sounds like a lot but when the bands are this good, they won’t last.

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Posted: September 17, 2015 in Album Review
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W.A.S.P. – “Golgotha” (Napalm Records)

Sometime in the early 90s someone told W.A.S.P. vocalist, Blackie Lawless, that from that moment forward he should write concept albums and make sure every song goes for ages and has shitloads of solos and an over-usage of drum fills. He took that on as gospel and released the epic The Crimson Idol; a self-indulgent story of his debaucherous rise to fame and his detachment from his family. It actually sounds better than it appears on paper and he even manages to say the word “doctor” about 400 times through the course of the album… but that’s not important to anyone but the folks at LGL cos for some reason we thought that fact was worthy of a 20 minute rant on one of our podcasts.

Over the years Blackie and Co. have dished out countless albums of ass-kicking heavy metal meets rock n roll. Just take a look at 2001’s Unholy Terror. All killer, no filler. Listen to the track Hate To Love Me for a tasty sample to see I ain’t talkin’ jive. But I digress. In between his love of concept albums, Blackie decided to go right back to the formula used on their debut self-titled album and he released the brilliant Helldorado complete with charming song titles like Dirty Balls and Don’t Cry (Just Suck). Yeah, it sounds juvenile and it totally was but let’s face it, no one is going to award W.A.S.P. an AMA for their intellectual lyrics anytime soon. They’re W.A.S.P. – a band who jokingly referred to their band name’s initials as standing for We Are Sexual Perverts and whose vocalist happily wore a cod piece with the words “I FUCK LIKE A BEAST” emblazoned on it. Stay classy, Blackie!

Golgotha is the band’s 15th studio album. Yeah, really. I had to double count them as well to make sure but yep, it’s true. They may have gone under the radar for the most part but believe me, there’s a lot of gold to be found in their back catalogue (I won’t mention that horrible period in which Blackie thought embracing the idea of industrial metal would be a great innovative way for the band to move forward… just trust me when I tell you it sucked so don’t cry). With Golgotha though, the band have stuck to the one thing the people love in a W.A.S.P. album; those simple chord structures of D to A to E. Its simplicity is more intricate than most albums cos it takes some serious talent to write albums where you play the same chords over and over again.

Golgotha opens with the track Scream and as it builds and builds, it gets you psyched for a wild ride. A great opener and first listen had my foot tappin’ and I possibly played some air guitar but it wasn’t until the second track, Last Runaway, where the band hits their most melodically best. This song is an absolute killer and repeated listens were all the rage in the LGL office. I’m a sucker for a good melody and this song has it all and clocking in at 5 minutes and 20 seconds, I realised that I can only listen to the song roughly six times an hour. What a bummer.

Shotgun follows and is another upbeat rocker with bitchin’ guitar solos while the song Miss You is the token ballad which is a lengthy one at almost eight minutes long. The solo is like that extended version of Sleeping In The Fire where the guitarist (whoever Blackie has at the time when you see them live, it’s a revolving door in the W.A.S.P. camp) just goes on and on wailing away. This is by no means a bad thing cos the less backing tapes Blackie needs live for his vocals, the better. It should also be noted that six of the album’s nine tracks all start exactly the same way; acoustic mellow intro before the big build up to the power chords. Once this started happening from song four onward, I began thinking “haven’t I already listened to this one?” But nope, it was just how they all start. Good times! The album’s title track finale is an epic seven and a half minute closer filled with every W.A.S.P. cliché you could possibly fit. Well, besides using the word ‘doctor’. Basically, it’s awesome.

It has to be said that the playing on Golgotha is solid. Blackie’s double-tracked vocals sound great and the nine songs are all winners. Okay, so maybe Eyes Of My Maker fell a bit short but that’s only five minutes out of an album that goes for about an hour. Just listen to Last Runaway again, that’s what I do.

Even though Blackie Lawless doesn’t acknowledge his fans when they get their albums signed at meet and greets, I’m still gonna go on record and say that this album is classic W.A.S.P. and while Lawless has matured lyrically, he is still delivering the goods and writing albums that are holding up. Hell, he’s doing a lot better than ex-W.A.S.P. guitarist and co-founder, Chris Holmes and his latest album, Shittin’ Bricks. Seriously, don’t even bother, regardless how good the guitar playing is.

I hearby give Golgotha a whopping 4 blind armadillos in Texas out of 5.

Sawblades, fuck the world!!!

Last year, the American-French-Swedish awesome foursome, Blues Pills, graced Australia with their vintage riffs and perfect blend of everything that is great about rock n roll. Mixing the best of Soul, Garage Rock, Stoner Rock, and what they now term as ‘classic rock’, these cats came charging full speed ahead with Corey Berry’s thumping back beat filled with groove, while vocalist Elin Larsson’s voice wailed from the stage as 18 year old guitarist, Dorian Sorriaux left everyone speechless with mouths open fixated on every guitar lick and perfectly executed solo. It really was one hell of a spectacle.

On the strength of their debut 7” (now extremely rare and most sought after) and the now infamous Devil Man 10”, we as lovers of music have been waiting patiently for their debut self-titled full length to drop. Will it stand up to the high praise received by their earlier works? Well my friends, let me tell you this: It does.

Blues Pills is a work of genius. In a day and age when there is just so much music out there to choose from and finding something fresh and exciting may seem a little overwhelming, this 10 track album is pure sonic bliss from start to finish. Oh and check out that bitchin’ cover art!

High Class Woman opens the show and right from the start you can feel it in your bones. It’s as though you just want to get up and get your groove on at a 60s love-in. Remember those? I don’t, but I know what they are. Thanks to all those books on the MC5 and the Stooges, but I digress. ANYWAY, I have to point out that there’s just no holding back on the guitar work as Sorriaux goes in for the kill with some of the most incredibly well-crafted guitar solos you’re likely to hear this year, maybe this lifetime. It’s as though the fiddly diddly solos follow Larsson’s vocals along, each guitar note reaching where Larsson’s voice was just mere moments earlier. It’s this kind of playing that stands out the most on Blues Pills. Every single solo feels just right. There’s not a single moment where it goes off track and gets lost on its trip through shredsville. It’s just so well calculated and whether he is carving up a storm through the finale of Black Smoke or kicking it back through the album’s more gentler moments like The River or Astralplane, there is nothing on this record that doesn’t gel so fluidly.

The band have reworked both The River and Devil Man from their Devil Man EP for this album and oddly enough, The River is longer on this album while Devil Man is just under a minute and a half shorter yet still manages to pack quite a punch. Zack Anderson’s bass lines are so on point rounding out one hell of a rhythm section that shades of Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones or Dust’s Kenny Aaronson creep through at every moment which is never a bad thing.

To put it plain and simple, Blues Pills is simply incredible. Everything is as it should be. The music, while based in a sound of days long ago, never gets tiresome or repetitious. Each song is as good as the last and the only fault you will find with this record is that it ends. Seriously. It’s no surprise that Blues Pills are receiving endless praise and hype and this album is every reason why. They are most worthy. A contender for the best album of 2014? You’re damn right! No, fuck it, I’m calling it now. This is no contender, this IS the best album of 2014 and we still have another six months to go! Sucks to be every other band releasing albums this year.

Blues Pills is out July 25th through Nuclear Blast.

Back in the mid to late ‘90s, I did one of those small time punk rock mailorder distros that seemed to spring up around the place. I was importing records and selling them at punk shows because there was so many good records out there that I wanted people to hear. One of the singles I imported was the Alkaline Trio’s For Your Lungs Only – a four track EP that showed huge promise from this little known band from Illinois.

As time went on, Alkaline Trio released a bunch of great albums, they dabbled in Satanism and offended Christians with their on stage banter (“This song’s about Jesus Christ… it’s called Stupid Kid”), and last year they celebrated 15 years together with the release of Damnesia – an acoustic reworking of their favourite Alkaline Trio songs. Kinda like what Bon Jovi did with This Left Feels Right, only Alkaline Trio didn’t fuck up Lay Your Hands On Me or Living On A Prayer. Now key members Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano have both taken time out from the band and released their very own solo albums.

When I heard Matt Skiba had a new band and a solo album on the go, I was quite eager to hear it for a number of reasons. Firstly, I prefer Matt’s vocals over Dan’s in Alkaline Trio (I hear some of you crying out “blasphemy” but whatever). Secondly, I was curious to see what else he had in his repertoire of tunes to spew forth on to the world. So finally, ‘Babylon’ has landed and is it any good? If you were to read the reviews of his first ever show with his new solo band, The Sekrets, you’d be quick to dismiss ever wanting to hear it – simply put, the show was such a sloppy drunken fucked up mess that even the label has had any video footage of that show removed off of YouTube. I wasn’t quick enough to view it but from what I read, “a sloppy drunken fucked up mess” is putting it kindly. Still, I am not one to judge on a show I wasn’t even at so I put the album on and began listening.

First up is the debut single off the album, ‘Voices’, a solid tune with a huge chorus that is so darn catchy I found I was singing it to myself at even the most awkward of times (in the shower, at family gatherings, a friend’s 21st on Saturday night, etc.) while onlookers gave me that “what the fuck’s he on about?” look. I didn’t care. It was so damn good I couldn’t stop myself. This is pretty much how the rest of the album follows through. Each song, just as good as the last, resulting in ten songs of sensational melodies and incredible songwriting. I couldn’t believe my ears.

By the time the album gets to the fourth track, Haven’t You, things slow down a bit as Skiba hits power ballad territory in one of the best tunes on the album. If I smoked and owned a lighter, I would hold it sky high every time I heard it. The song You sounds like it could have been written by a ’90s Britpop band with its Oasis-esque chorus and Cure meets Manic Street Preachers style guitar work. I really love this track and when he calls out “Dance with me!” I pictured a scene from one of those shitty movies like 500 Days Of Summer. It just has that feel for it.

Falling Like Rain has a chorus so similar to the Alkaline Trio track Calling All Skeletons you’ll start singing the latter’s lyrics while How The Hell Did We Get Here is filled with driving rhythms giving you a sign that the album is coming to a close but not without one last big chorus to have you punching the sky like Bender does at the end of The Breakfast Club.

The album finishes with an acoustic track titled Angel Of Deaf (that’s pretty awesome, I’m sure Slayer would be proud). It’s a haunting number with enough heartbreak and sorrow to make any emo kid happier than throwing down their pocket money at Starbucks for an overpriced latte after school on a Friday night.

The use of keyboards throughout the album is a unique touch that separates this album from sounding like another Alkaline Trio record. Skiba is one talented soul and this album is probably his finest 33 minutes to date (the album clocks in at just under 37 minutes but the last song has 3 and a half minutes of a microphone hum tapped on the end so I don’t count that). If he keeps writing and releasing albums of this calibre some day we may see Skiba talked about in the same breath as Springsteen. Seriously, Babylon is one impressive record. I really hope that debut show was nothing more than first show nerves getting in the way of a good performance (yeah, I know, who am I kidding?) and he can pull himself together and deliver the show that this band appears to be capable of cos seriously, if they do, we’re in for a real treat cos this album is, so far, one of the best releases of 2012. I don’t know about that headdress though. That shit’s kinda rank.

Just how good are Anthrax? Heaps good! Now I saw Anthrax back in 1990 on their Persistence Of Time tour and they were great. Like really great. And here’s a story from that show: They played at the Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide. This was back in the days when cameras were not allowed into venues so being a 15 year old punk with complete disregard for the rules, I snuck my camera in. Stuffed down the front of my pants, as I ran to the front of the stage, I got busted by security and they told me that I couldn’t bring my camera into the venue and that I had to hand it over to them. I wasn’t gonna hand over my camera so I told the security that I’d take the film out and give to him as I wasn’t going to give him my camera in case I never saw him again. Also, cos I sneakily had a second roll of film in my pocket. Yep, I’m that guy. So I opened the camera and gave him the roll of film inside and then got my place in the front row. Was quite happy with my spot. I befriended a photographer who was waiting to take photos of the bands and he had a bunch of photo passes around his neck. Since I was a punk kid with no manners, I asked him if I could have it. To my surprise, he happily gave the pass to me and to this day it resides in my office hanging with my other passes and knick knacks. Pretty happy with that! But the awesomeness of this story doesn’t end there. Trust me, it gets better. So on came the support band, Massappeal, and they were tops. I was a huge fan of their recorded works and was super happy to see that they were added as the support band to the Anthrax show, no matter how much of a mismatch some would say these 2 bands were. They played all the hits from their Nobody Likes A Thinker and Jazz albums and I was left with a feeling of “best 3rd gig ever!”

After Massappeal’s set was done, half an hour went by and the lights dimmed and out came Anthrax. I was stoked! They sounded awesome. The Thebarton Theatre is always good for sound and it’s a decent venue all round. So I started snapping photos, all the while trying not to let the security catch me (keeping in mind I was front row so it wasn’t an easy task) when about 45 minutes in, vocalist Joey Belladonna notices me taking a photo of him. I was like “oh fuck! I’m screwed now” as he leaned towards me and asked me to give him the camera. I was like “what do I do?!?!?!?!” and being the fanboy I was (and probably still am), I handed the camera to him, thinking to myself that I was busted and not allowed to take anymore photos and I’d be lucky if my mum ever saw her camera again. To my surprise, Joey aimed the camera at me and snapped a photo of me in the front row enjoying the show and handed the camera back to me. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe what had happened. Especially the way the security were on my way in with my camera but instead, the security did nothing to stop it so my guess is that once the approval from the band was acknowledged, not a single fuck was given. The metal heads around me all seemed surprised at what had happened and were all like “fuckin’ hell! That was awesome!” This photo still makes me smile and is a good reminder of my youth.

Now here I am, 21 years later, reviewing one of the most anticipated albums of the year! Anthrax have returned to form with their latest album of awesomeness, Worship Music, complete with vocalist Belladonna back in the saddle; His first studio album with the band in almost 20 years. I was eager to hear this new offering because I always liked Joey’s melodic style of vocals. So when I first heard this new album, I was blown away. Anthrax are back. Bigtime, baby! They’ve always been a band who know how to write great tunes and this album shows a true return to form with great riffs, huge tight production and Joey’s vocals are in fine form. While yes, it is a far stretch from the likes of Spreading The Disease, Among The Living or State of Euphoria, Worship Music is still a collection of tunes that kick some serious ass. Not only fans of Anthrax will dig it but if you’re a fan of metal, there’s something here you’ll enjoy. It’s the 80’s Anthrax that’s modernised themselves with the times without losing the spirit that made you dig ‘em in the first place. Pretty damn happy with this one.

Order your copy now from Riot!:

I don’t think the world was ever really ready for The Monsters yet here we are again, 25 years later and the blues trash garage schlock rockers from Switzerland have returned with another slab of tasty raw goodness. I remember the first day I heard The Monsters. I listened to them purely because they were referenced in an interview, I think, with The Mummies, and so I checked them out. This was back in the Myspace days, or maybe it was earlier. I just knew that from the first moment I heard them, I liked it. I was a huge fan of the Estrus Crust series and the garage bands of the ilk so these cats appealed to me immediately. After hearing The Monsters and Voodoo Rhythm main-man, Reverend Beat-Man’s gazillion side projects, I found myself asking just where he finds the time. Well, time is something he obviously has enough of because 25 years on of countless releases throughout the years shows that he is not only prolific but the guy obviously just doesn’t sleep. And thank god for that!

This new 14 track offering from The Monsters is, to put it in the simplest of terms as to not confuse those who have been subjected to shitty descriptions by mainstream magazines and pretentious journalists: Fantastic! I love it! In fact, I would even like to go on record and state that this is probably my favourite Monsters release to date. Yeah, true story. It has all the swagger, riffs, sleaze and class (or lack of) as previous Monsters releases and the sound / production / recording is some of the best and slickest that the band has ever used and sounded. I was impressed. Even when it’s raw, it’s still sounding slicker than the likes of their earlier works. Some may disagree but whatever, this is definitely a winner and deserves to be on your “best of 2011” lists. It’ll be on mine!

Order your copy on CD / LP from:

Back when I was in year 10, this dude in my art class came to school one day wearing a chain hanging from his ear to his nose ring. I had to laugh. I mean, really, the dude thought he was Rachel Bolan. He did that whole glam / hard rock look but you know how some dudes can just do that shit and others can’t? Yeah, he couldn’t. Skid Row were awesome. He wasn’t. Still, regardless, that first Skid Row album was a real classic record of that era. Even today it still stands the test of time. Every time I hear that scream before the last chorus of I Remember You, I am always amazed at just how good the vocals are on that record. A classic!

Now, fast forward 22 years later and what we have here is one trusty effort. And to still continuously be churning out quality music in this day and age is quite the feat. Why? Cos some days I think being Sebastian Bach must be pretty tiring. I mean, think about it: no doubt every single day since his departure from Skid Row back in 1996, he’s probably had some dickbag ask him “so will you ever reform with Skid Row?” Hell, I know I am sick of reading about it. Nostalgia heads need to understand that Seb ain’t going back so let bygones be bygones and just accept the fact that he’s simply moved on. And his latest solo effort, Kicking & Screaming proves this.

Carrying on from the success of his previous album, Angel Down, (which, if you haven’t heard, is one kickass ball of awesomeness), this ball tearin’ follow up is nothing short of an abundance of heavy rock and is sure to please every fan of the man with the instantly recognisable scream. Or, dare I say it, those who loved everything that was great about Skid Row’s second opus, Slave To The Grind (and really, if you don’t dig that record then your opinion on music is, from here on in, null and void. Hey, I don’t make the rules).

The album heads full force into some groovin’ riffage and it ain’t long til Seb’s wail is heard through the chorus of the album’s title track which is also the first single. Not a bad way to get things going and I can see instantly why people will be drawn to it. Personally, I like different songs on this album for different reasons. The balls-out rockers like My Own Worst Enemy and Dance On Your Grave pack a hell of a punch while the ballads and tender jams like I’m Alive and Wishin’ are equally as powerful and don’t lose any of the album’s momentum. There’s shades of Seb’s entire musical past presented here; from Skid Row to his previous solo efforts. No songs about trains though so fans of the Trailer Park Boys may feel a little unsatisfied. Alas, a great effort nonetheless and I hope this means we’ll see Bach and band head our way for some shows in the new year.