Philadelphia – “Search & Destroy”

 Posted by on January 18, 2019 at 16:54  No Responses »
Jan 182019
 

You don’t often hear the theremin, least of all in rock and roll, and when the drums kick in I’m magically transported to the seventies, à la Deep Purple. Philadelphia do an excellent job of setting an ominous atmosphere, and I really like Brian Martini’s drum solo that propels us into the path of the speeding freight train called “Search & Destroy”. “Search & Destroy” first arrived in 1985, and will be re-released by Roxx Records on 25 January 2019. The limited edition vinyl run numbers only 500, and if you’re lucky you’ll be the owner of one of 150 gold vinyl LP’s. This cracker of an album was remastered by Rob Colwell of Bombworks Sound, and it screams to be turned loud.

Philadelphia paint a portrait of a kid down on his luck and in the streets in “Bobby’s Song”. They put a name to the face we so often ignore. It’s a pretty perfect ballad, and I’m crazy about that guitar tone! Brian Clark delivers an emotional performance in “Oh My Boy”, a song from father to son, and the instrumentation in the verse is suitably sparse. When the overdriven guitar finds the spotlight in the chorus, the father’s anguish is amplified tenfold. Phil Scholling’s melodic solo here is also my favourite on the album. Continue reading »

I.N.D (In Nomine Dei) – “Lucernarium” ep

 Posted by on January 10, 2019 at 22:53  No Responses »
Jan 102019
 

In Nomine Dei surprised me with their intensity on “Zly”, the first of four tracks on their 2017 EP, “Lucernarium”. The Polish song title “Zly” translates as “Evil”, and the core message is that the main character will not let evil distract her from God. While the start of the song suggests thrash metal, it becomes more midtempo once Alina start singing. While not as theatrical, Alina’s voice reminds me of Catherine Ringer (Les Rita Mitsouko). Alina also pushes her voice to a gravelly scream that suits the mood of the music.

“Prorok” (The Prophet) has a great hard rock groove, and the guitars have a no-nonsense, modern tone. The dual guitar attack also stands out in this one, like in the solo, where Michał and Patryk take turns to drive the melody ever higher. The lyrics “It’s Him, He’s coming / My Servant” points to Jesus Christ, and at that moment where He is baptised by John at the start of His ministry (Matthew 3:13-17).

While titled “Mrok” (The Dark), this song speaks of the fire of the Holy Spirit that burns within us. Listen to the opening few bars, and what Alina does there. Can I be bold and suggest that IND are tipping a hat to Rage Against The Machine? I love the layering of Alina’s voice when she sings “Amen”, and in the mix I hear a lower harmony accompanying her voice at times. It’s a subtle, but great production addition. IND don’t emulate RATM’s funk, which is a good choice in my opinion. Continue reading »

Jan 092019
 

Dystopian Futures are back to remind us of what punk rock used to be when bands would branch out into sonic areas a bit different from the norm.

Not too long ago, Dystopian Futures debuted their ep Low Arts, which proved quite surprising with its blend of garage, punk, and hardcore that reminded listeners of the old days of punk when bands would experiment.  While the debut was impressive, the 6 minute length left us wanting more, so now in their follow up ep The Tyranny of Things, the band/project more than doubled their previous outputThe band itself is made up of Dave Emmerson (ex-Old Timers) handling vocals and bass  and Scott Key (ex-Voice of the Mysterons) on guitars and drums, mostly.  The two of them incorporate a number of other sounds in the songs with each band member taking the responsibility for a bunch and on this album they brought in guest trumpeter Chris Davis and a Lewis M. Lewis, Dani, Jed, and Myles to join them in the “Post-Industrial Choir” (aka gang vocals).

The ep opens up calmly enough but with the title “Dead Philosophers” on a punk rock album one can quickly imagine the lyrics may be mostly a recitation of famous philosophers who are, in fact, dead.  Musically, I get a bit of Fugazi vibe in the early part of the song as it builds into a bit of melody as Dave’s voice gets louder and more ragged. Continue reading »

Evergrey – “The Atlantic”

 Posted by on December 23, 2018 at 19:13  No Responses »
Dec 232018
 

With their 11th album, Evergrey have released a masterpiece of dark, progressive power metal in The Atlantic, an album destined to be on year-end top 10 lists.

Originating in the midst of melodic death metal bands like At the Gates, and Dark Tranquility, the Swedish band Evergrey formed in 1995 and released their first album The Dark Discovery in 1998.  Being a productive band, in their 23 years together, the band has released now 11 albums including a live double cd with the Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra, all the while enduring lineup changes and touring the globe. With the release of The Glorius Collision in 2011 guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes van Dahl departed the band and were replaced by Henrik Danhage (guitar) and Jonas Ekdahl (drums).  This lineup has remained constant and produced  Hymns for the Broken (2014) and The Storm Within (2016).  Early 2019 will see the release of The Atlantic, which many are referring to as the third piece the trilogy combined with the other two albums from this iteration of the band.

To me, this album is what I had hoped The Storm Within was going to be when I first listened to it. Heavy and crushing while still providing an overall atmosphere that can best be described as from an epic tale.  Every performance, vocal, crushing riff, solo, pummeling drum rhythm, and beautiful atmospheric interlude on this album have been taken to a higher level.  This is a band in top form.  Even more amazing considering that the original recording was actually stolen from the band once completed, although that may have positively affected the final product. Continue reading »

Back Pocket Prophet – “To Overcome”

 Posted by on December 21, 2018 at 22:46  No Responses »
Dec 212018
 

English thrash/metal band Back Pocket Prophet are back from an extended hiatus releasing To Overcome as a follow up to 2011’s 1:4.

Back Pocket Prophet (BPP to fans) hail from Oxfordshire, UK and trace their roots back to 2007.  Following the Dead Men Walking ep, the band released their first full length in 2011, 1:4, and followed that up with tours throughout the UK, Switzerland and Germany.  As many bands endure, BPP has faced numerous challenges through lineup changes and are coming off an extended hiatus to release To Overcome.

To Overcome is like taking a step back in time. From the somewhat muddled opening riffs of “I’m Still Here”, it sounds to me as if the album was recorded more along the lines of a demo and quite a while ago.  The sound just feels old, hard to explain.  Dan Random’s vocals are mixed a bit loud overall in the mix and from lyrical content to delivery, this album has that dated feel to it.  Reminds me of  some of the lesser-known bands on the classic Tooth & Nail samplers Helpless Amongst Friends. Continue reading »