Wax Mekanix / Troll Teeth – Blunt (Split EP)

Blunt EP Cover Art

Wax Mekanix / Troll Teeth – Blunt (Split EP)
Electric Talon Records
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Running Time: 14.32

Review by Alun Jones

Now the good folks at Electric Talon Records issued this split EP back in October last year, so yet again, apologies for my tardiness. I’ll think of an excuse by the end of this review. For now, let’s just cover some basic info: two bands, namely Troll Teeth and Wax Mekanix, with five songs split between them. Style-wise, we’re in for a journey – so stay sharp.

Wax Mekanix is an artist I’m already familiar with from his exceptional ‘Mobocracy’ album from 2020. That record covered a wide base genre wise, from hard rock to folky guitar and any number of surprises in between. Wax hasn’t stood still, instead deciding to venture into yet newer fields with the three tracks shared here. So first up we get ‘Head’, an enticing blend of acoustic guitar, tribal drums and percussion, plus rowdy vocals. There’s no ferocious riffage here, but the infectious rhythms and Eastern sounding chords will drag any listener along.

‘Manchester Strawberry Blonde’ is a short interlude, with almost Native American percussion, augmented with lyrics that recount a despairingly tragic incident. The lyrics on all tracks are worth a read, particularly here. Wax’s final offering is ‘Freak Boutique’, where the mellow acoustic guitar is embellished again with Eastern rhythms. As a result, this is less campfire singalong and more a voyage across exotic lands.  

Troll Teeth have the best band name I’ve heard in years. Thankfully, they can also deliver some righteous music too. ‘The Pigs are on Parade Today’ has a dense, mid-paced stoner rock approach that is instantly cinematic: perfectly appropriate for watching vast desert skies growing dark and the heavens lighting up. ‘Barbs on a Wire’ is more aggressive, but still retains a sense of melody along with the rolling, raucous riff. It’s progressive in the best sense of the word and also addictive with its relentless, undulating drive and fiery lead guitar. If you dig Baroness, you’ll dig this. 

At first listen, the two bands here seem somewhat different – but it becomes obvious that they’re tied together by their expansive, wide view of the world – and its sounds. Wax Mekanix and Troll Teeth are both visionaries. Here’s to hearing a new full length from each, soon.

What was that? What was my excuse for this review being so late? Well, ah … I had completed it ages ago, honest, but Ozzy Osbourne ate it.

01. Head (Wax Mekanix) 
02. Manchester Strawberry Blonde (Wax Mekanix) 
03. Freak Boutique (Wax Mekanix)
04. The Pigs Are on Parade Today (Troll Teeth)
05. Barbs on a Wire (Troll Teeth) 



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The Hu – Live at the Orpheum, Vancouver BC, Canada – 26/10/2021

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Fred Lee & The Restless – Sleepwalking In Daylight

Sleepwalking In Daylight Album Cover Art

Fred Lee & The Restless – Sleepwalking In Daylight
The Sign
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 28:48
Review by Beth Jones

Fred Lee, AKA Fredrik Lindkvist, is best known for his role as frontman of Swedish Punk/Hardcore band Totalt Jävla Mörker, so you would expect some pretty hard-hitting sounds to be popping out of him for his debut solo album, “Sleepwalking In Daylight”. But you’d be very wrong. This album is a jaunt into the world of Folk Rock. And a rather nice one it is too.

Formed in 2019, Fred Lee & The Restless explore the more laid back and from the heart musical expression that at some point comes to us all. I would describe it as music for the world-weary soul. It has a soothing and relatable presence, with lyrical honesty, and melodic catchiness to boot.

I do love a bit of Folk Rock. I was in a folk band for some years and enjoyed the fusion of folk sounds from instruments like the fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, combining with rock guitars and steady rhythmic percussion, alongside vaguely gravelly and ever so slightly off-key vocals. This is what makes the sound so recognizably ‘Folk’. The unpolished nature makes it so much more human.

This album reminds me a lot of The Levellers, whose music formed a large part of my ‘go to’ collection in the late 90’s. The melancholic dystopian view of the world explored through happy melodies is something I’ve always found quite fascinating. The lilting sounds of gypsy-style violin and delicate plinks of the banjo take your mind wandering to a faraway place, sitting on a log in the summer heat, reminiscing of days passed, friends departed, and old memories. A great example of this is the acoustic driven ‘New Sweden’.

There’s nothing overstated about this album either. Whether it is more upbeat, full band numbers, such as ‘I’ve Tried’, or ‘Devil’s Chokehold’, or more laid-back acoustic songs like ‘You Were Anyone, But Not Anywhere…’ and ‘Letter To A Friend’, everything is stripped back and downplayed. This is also another vital key to Folk music. It can be played acoustically and have the same impact as it does plugged up with a full band.

All in all, this is a very pleasing listen. It’s nothing fancy, it does exactly what it says on the tin. But sometimes, that really is all you need. If you’re world-weary, or just want something chilled out to listen to, then you could do a lot worse than this unassuming little album. It’s definitely one I’ll be revisiting often.

‘Devil’s Chokehold’ (Audio)

01. Who Do You Want To Be?
02. I’ve Tried
03. The Weight On My Shoulders
04. You Were Anyone, But Not Anywhere…
05. New Sweden
06. Devil’s Chokehold
07. Capitalist Market
08. Juliet
09. These Times Are So Fucking Dark
10. Letter To A Friend

Fredrick Lindkvist – Songwriting, Instrumentals, Vocals
Emma Sjödin – Guest Vocals
Lars Kyösti (Sekunderna, Sista Brytet) – Guitar
Håkan Olsson – Guitar
Erik Gunnarsson (Epidemics, Dream Warriors, Bottenhavet) – Drums
Johan Philipsson (Royal Downfall) – Bass
Joakim Lindquist (Den Stora Flykten, Popterror) – Keyboards
Hanna Kangassalo (Horseface) – Violin


Fred Lee & The Restless Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Wax Mekanix – Mobocracy

Mobocracy Album Cover Art

Wax Mekanix – Mobocracy
Electric Talon Records
Release Date: 20/11/2020
Running Time: 26:59
Review by Alun Jones

“Who the fuck is Wax Mekanix?” You may well ask. Who is this enigmatic troubadour, this mysterious master musician, who has concocted this art for us to absorb? Well, I’m not sure I can answer those questions, but I have done some research. A bit late, I know, as this album was first released back in November. But hey, I can’t be cutting edge all of the time. Sometimes a scribe such as I must admit that changes of seismic consequence occur without my usual omniscient vision. Hard to believe, I know.

And yet here we are. Six tracks of exploration and wonder that plough a beguiling path through musical genres, from classic hard rock to folky musings, with an added sprinkle of the unexpected and alternative.

If you want big full-on metal with groove, you’ll find it with ‘Blood In My Eyes’. Huge chants and choruses? Try the gladiatorial detonation of ‘Victorious’, where you’ll also witness Brandon Yeagley and Chris Bishop of the very awesome Crobot playing the funky, infectious riffs that they’re famed for.

Wax himself is something of a renaissance man: writing, singing and playing on all tracks. Possessing a voice that can change from a warm country croon to a caramel Maynard James Keenan earnestness to a classic Alice Cooper roar, Wax morphs easily from one to another. He’s like Mike Patton with a folk fixation, but dressed even more dapper.

‘Mad World’ is one of my favourite tracks here, starting off with some Mexican guitars before erupting in a NWOBHM stampede that also recalls The Crüe at their pop metal best.

The absolute highlight, though, is the final track ‘Black’. This song is all eerie acoustic guitar and minimal percussion, with a catchy melody that creates something hypnotic and other worldly. Despite also reminding me of Johnny Nice Painter form the Fast Show (do a Google) on the chorus, this song exudes atmosphere.

Although this album is a little short, there’s plenty to investigate. Listeners will be rewarded with additional revelations each time they delve into it.

When I first heard “Mobocracy”, I rated it as good. After a couple of listens, I’ve upgraded it to GREAT. A welcome amalgamation of styles and influences, as well as exemplary song writing and musicianship, don’t let the endeavours of Wax Mekanix pass you by. Who is Wax Mekanix? The real question should be: “What’s next?”

Speaking of wax, did I ever tell you about that time when Ozzy and I decided to do a séance with some candles he pilfered from some hippies? That did not end well. There’s a little B&B in Carlisle that still has scorch marks up the walls. Tony was not impressed in the slightest. And I still have a phobia of barbecues to this day.

‘Black’ (Official Video)

01. Blood In My Eyes
02. Victorious
03. All Freaks
04. Mad World
05. Ghostland
06. Black

Wax Mekanix – Lead and Backing vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Drums, Percussion (Tracks 1-6)
Lectriq – Backing vocals, Percussion (Tracks 1-6)
Brandon Yeagley – Backing vocals (Tracks 1-6)
Chris Bishop – Electric & Acoustic Guitars (Tracks 2, 3, 6)
Tom Altman – Guitar, Bass (Tracks 1, 2 , 3, 5)
Wendell PoPs Sewell – Guitar, Bass (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5)
John Hazel – Guitar, Bass (Track 4)
Raje Shwari – Backing vocals (Track 3)
M11SON – Backing vocals (Track 2)
Tommy Conwell – Backing vocals (Track 2)
Nataliya Odud – Backing vocals (Track 2)
Eli Goldman – Backing Vocals (Track 2)


Wax Mekanix Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Mike West – The Next Life

Mike West – The Next Life
Release Date: 07/08/2020
Running Time: 33:27
Review by Beth Jones

We first came across Mike West at our favourite haunt, Mcleans Pentre, and he instantly became a hit with me. His southern style acoustic jams conjure images of chilling round a campfire as the sun sets. And now we can all enjoy the sultry tones of his gravelly pipes from the comfort of our own homes, with “The Next Life” – his debut full length album! You can’t beat a bit of country folk/blues, can you? The tormented, Jack Daniels fuelled ramblings of the jaded, set to music, has long been a favourite of many a music fan, and I’m no exception! When listening to Mike, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was a pure deep south cowboy, come across the pond to serenade us with ramblings penned on his back porch. But he’s not, he’s actually from Rock Ferry up on the Wirral!

“The Next Life” is packed full of all the bluesy goodness that I would expect from Mike, and has a few tracks that were my favourites live, too! It starts with the title track, which is a lilting, folk inspired tune. The addition of slide and violin here really enhances the sound, and the track travels through tempo changes which keep it interesting. And, of course, on top of it all sits Mike’s unmistakable vocals. They’re reminiscent of Tom Waits, and this pleases me greatly!

The album continues in a similar lamenting style, with Mike’s lyrical poetry featuring strongly throughout. This is one of his strongest points – his word smithery creates a wonderful storytelling element, which is both heartfelt and thought provoking. This is displayed perfectly in track 3, ‘What If?’.

With most tracks recorded in a minor key, the melancholy air of this album is tangible, but not in a bad way. It takes me back to my days playing in a folk band, where the best songs were always in a minor key! That said, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘For Them’, which is actually in a major key! However, it doesn’t lose any of it’s storytelling ability, and is full of reflection upon life, which is Mike’s forte.

The production of this album is also very well done. Recorded at Kingwood Studios in Liverpool, it has the effect of a live performance, which somehow adds to the impact of the music. And more importantly, while the addition of other instruments does fill out the sound, nothing overpowers Mike’s guitar and vocals, which are the stars of the show.

Because of Mike’s unique vocal style, “The Next Life” might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s a very well created debut full-length, of which he should be extremely proud. There’s nowhere to hide when playing acoustically and creating a set of songs that are musically sound, deep and thoughtful, but also able to captivate an audience, is a difficult thing to master. With this album, Mike West has done them all for me, and I look forward to seeing where he takes things to next, as I think he has really found himself, and now has a lot more to give.

01. The Next Life
02. Work On
03. What If?
04. Company I Keep
05. Away I Go
06. Father to Son
07. Rock Ferry
08. For Them
09. No Grave

Mike West – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica and Bass
Paul Miceli-Fagrell – Harmonica, Recording and Mixing
Amy Chalmers – Violin
Travis Egnor – Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.