Jorn – Over The Horizon Radar

Over The Horizon Radar Album Cover Art

Jorn – Over The Horizon Radar
Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release Date: 17/06/22

Running Time: 58:28
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Norway’s Jorn Lande is one of the most hardworking vocalists on the Hard Rock circuit – not to mention one of the most well-respected. I first came across him in Avantasia, where he is a vocal keystone having performed on most of their expansive rock opera studio projects, but more crucially has been a part of their touring backbone from the get-go. His rough, powerful and charismatic delivery brings a wonderfully soulful counterpoint to the more clean and operatic delivery of Tobi Sammet and live he is an unstoppable force of nature, so I grabbed the chance to listen to his latest solo effort with open arms. I’ve waffled about Avantasia for a reason and that’s because Sammet is a master at bringing the best performance possible out of his guest vocalists, capturing their essence and letting it flourish. 

Now, the challenge I have is this solo piece isn’t what I expected and does not achieve that.

OK, musically this is by the numbers Hard / Melodic Rock, but the problem I have with it is that it’s lacking the song-writing and performance edge that I have come to expect from Lande’s usual projects. I suspect that this is because as with so many Frontiers efforts of late, there’s a bunch of session house musicians involved, who are doing these projects on an almost daily basis (at least judging by the number of disks that cross my desk that have the same Italian names on them). It’s all very well running a music factory, but the means you don’t always get the drive when everyone is equally invested in the project in the way a band that’s fought for its existence from the ground up. Now don’t get me wrong, Frontiers have done well by Lande in the past, as the Allen Lande project testifies, particularly the later ones where former Stratovarius maestro Timo Tolki wrote, produced and performed, because that guy is an absolute perfectionist and like Sammet, brought the absolute best out of both Lande and Symphony X front man Russel Allen and in general I’m a supporter of the label, because they get it very right, very often. Just not always…

And there’s the rub, because throughout the majority of this album I’m struggling to find much that scales the heights I expect of projects with Lande’s name on them. For the most part the songs are formulaic and Lande’s heart does not seem to be into the performance either. Well … almost. Tucked in at the end is a song that bucks that trend and sees the man firing on all cylinders. ‘Faith Bloody Faith’ is Lande at his best – roaring delivery, great charisma and melodic soaring and a damn fine and catchy song-structure. But then there’s a reason for this one being stand out, and that is it was not part of this studio session and was originally written for the 2021 Melodi Grand Prix, which is the Norwegian Eurovision pre-selection national heat show. When the best thing on an album is effectively an extended extra of something written for another purpose, you know you are in trouble….

Sadly the rest of the album is just OK. But with Lande, I have come to expect excellence, because that’s what he’s delivered on each and every other project I have heard him on. I guess you can’t win every day…

‘Faith Bloody Faith’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Over The Horizon Radar
02. Dead London
03. My Rock And Roll
04. One Man War
05. Black Phoenix
06. Special Edition
07. Ode To The Black Nightshade
08. Winds Of Home
09. In The Dirt
10. Believer
11. Faith Bloody Faith (Extended Album Version)

LINE-UP:
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Tore Moren – Guitars
Adrian SB – Guitars
Nik Mazzucconi – Bass
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards
Francesco Jovino – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Sole Syndicate – Into The Flames

Into The Flames Album Cover Art

Sole Syndicate – Into The Flames
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 01:08:18
Review by Simon Black
10/10

Sweden’s Sole Syndicate somewhat blew me away with their 2020 Sophomore “Last Days of Eden”, so much so, that it landed firmly and squarely in my top ten list for that somewhat painful year, so expectations are somewhat high for this ‘tricky third’ album. Journalists always harp on about this sort of phrase by the way and it harks back to the ye olden days when bands would have songs lined up for labels that they had been honing for years before getting signed, the best of which would make it to album number one, the rest and some odds and sods on the second… before the shocking realisation that the cupboard was now bare and a third album was overdue. It’s probably irrelevant these days, given most acts have been having to keep the creativity going before then with EP’s and demos in a digital world that is not satisfied for you to simply recycle old material once you land a deal.

But it’s still a useful benchmark, because it often marks a turning point for a band in other ways, as they hit the point where they have been probably at this for the best part of a decade, have established themselves and feel they can experiment a little… This can be a dangerous experiment for many however – diverge too far from your core sound and you alienate the fanbase; stay too samey and people quickly point it out to you. There’s a razor fine line between these two stops and I am pleased to say that Sole Syndicate are walking that tight rope perfectly fine, thank you very much.

Whereas “The Last Days of Eden” was a rose tinted, yet soulfully sadness tinged slab of beautifully crafted Melodic Hard Rock, “Into The Flames” is way darker, more sombre and brutally heavy in comparison. Thematically it’s taking the concept one stage further, given what we’ve all lived through over the last two years and its subject matter focusses on the damage we are doing to our Eden, and indeed ourselves. Opening with the ruthlessly delivered and Djent-tinged single ‘Forsaken’ this is an album that keeps battering for a long time without losing momentum. 

It’s also got a much fatter, polished production sound to it as well, which lends it an epic feel in comparison to the stripped back to basics Hard Rocking of their previous album. What it feels like is the natural evolution of a band moving from tracks that work well in sweaty clubs to those that need more depth and structure in larger venues, which I hope they will start to play despite the damage the pandemic has done to their momentum (although to be fair that’s a level playing field for the whole industry).

Performance wise the band have lost none of the edge and I still remain amazed that Jonas Månsson delivers all the lead vocal and guitar parts on his own, or indeed that this is a four piece band, given how much depth and layering is going on this time out. Despite its length, these songs are so well crafted that time just flies. Even the nearly eleven minutes run time of the closing title track does not outstay its welcome, allowing changes, complexity and a hint of the progressive to lead you by the ears and steal you away.

Darker and heavier than it’s predecessor, yet losing none of the Melodic heart-twinges and soulful delivery that won me over before, this is a natural progression of a band that started with ten from me, and just went up to eleven. This isn’t a change of direction, this is a launchpad…

‘Forsaken’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Forsaken
02. Count to Zero
03. Brave Enough
04. Shadow of My Love
05. Miss Behave
06. Dust of Angels
07. Sunset Strip
08. Do You Believe
09. In the Absence of Light
10. Freak Like Me
11. Back Against the Wall
12. Into the Flames

LINE-UP:
Jonas Månsson – Vocals, Guitar
Katja Rasila – Keyboards, Vocals
David Gustafsson – Bass, Vocals
Henrik Zetterlund – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

James LaBrie – Beautiful Shade Of Grey

Beautiful Shade Of Grey Album Cover Art

James LaBrie – Beautiful Shade Of Grey
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 20/05/22
Running Time: 48:17
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Although I’m hugely appreciative of Dream Theater and the wave of Progressive Metal they have spawned all the way back to the early 1990’s, I have to confess that I haven’t taken the time to listen to any of lungsman James LaBrie’s solo records. It’s always interesting when a distinctive band and a major contributor to their overall sound does step sideways, because you get a window on the kind of material they might chose to listen to away from their day job. In LaBrie’s case there is nothing particularly different going on here with his vocal style choices. The music is firmly in the Melodic Hard Rock, with enough Progressive flourish to keep it interesting, but which allows the voice to lead. 

When they do such outings, two things usually happen. Either it’s the same as the band they are best known for (but without the politics of that line up) or it’s the singer plus an acoustic guitar for the majority of the songs (something that often happens with solo efforts because the material comes out of hotel room isolation and tour boredom). I understand that the former was more prevalent on his first three solo outings, but “Beautiful Shades of Grey” doesn’t go to the other extreme, instead employing a lot of semi-acoustic work but with a full band in support, with the electric and overdriven guitars used sparingly. That allows LaBrie to mostly do what he does best, which is belt out loud and proud, but with enough moments of subtlety and softness to make for an interesting mix. 

The song structures are far more straight ahead Rock, but that’s fine as they don’t distract from what’s going on and whereas you may not get to unpick the musical complexity like skinning an onion on layer at a time that you do from his main band, it still works because the focus is on mood, tone and catchy and enjoyable song-writing. It’s a bit like 70’s Yes when they were focussed on getting something short enough to get played on the radio. In fact that 70’s root couldn’t be more clear than the only cover here, which is a stomping rendition of Led Zeppellin’s ‘Ramble On’. The other high points are the lead song ‘Devil In Drag’ (and check out the electric version included on some versions of the record), the dark and moody ‘What I Missed’ and the mellifluous instrumentals and catchy melodies of ‘SuperNova Girl’.

Tonally this makes for a mellow, but emotively charged album which I am appreciating more and more with each listen. Worth a check out, as Dream Theater fans are going to see another side of James, and detractors may be pleasantly surprised.

‘Am I Right’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Devil In Drag
02. SuperNova Girl
03. Give And Take
04. Sunset Ruin
05. Hit Me Like A Brick
06. Wildflower
07. Conscience Calling
08. What I Missed
09. Am I Right
10. Ramble On
11. Devil In Drag (Electric Version)

LINE-UP:
James LaBrie – Lead & Backing Vocals
Paul Logue – Acoustic Guitars & Bass
Chance LaBrie – Drums & Percussion
Christian “Chrism” Pulkkinen – Keyboards
Marco Sfogli – Lead Acoustic & Electric Guitars

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Graham Bonnet Band – Day Out In Nowhere

Day Out In Nowhere Album Cover Art

Graham Bonnet Band – Day Out In Nowhere
Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release Date: 13.05.22
Running Time: 47:14
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Well, it’s been a funny few weeks. Remember when I told you all that I was quitting wrangling recalcitrant young gentlemen in favour of being in charge of people wrangling recalcitrant young ladies?

Turns out I fucking hated it. So I quit. And then went crawling cravenly back to my old manager and asked for my old job back. Surprisingly, considering Dark Juan (even in his professional capacities) is not known for mincing his words and had uttered a home truth or two on his way out of the door, my old manager was very receptive to my coming back to work for her, which means on May 27th I return to wrangling the same young gentlemen I wrangled before. That should be interesting, especially considering I have only got my old job back on the understand I fucking apply myself to the academic aspect of the job this time and become a senior wrangler like what I said I would when I blagged my way into the job for the second time. So, I’m actually going to have to do some work instead of drag the lads off to Alton Towers and to Manchester Storm ice hockey games in Sheffield, where Dark Juan would gleefully embarrass the fuck out of the plastic gangster teen with him by being incredibly noisy and chanting and generally being a total arsehole because I really REALLY like ice hockey.

None of which has absolutely anything to do with the fact that I am listening to the new release from one of the greatest rock and metal vocal gymnasts who has ever lived, the incomparable Mr. Graham Bonnet, wearer of metal’s sharpest suits, most impenetrable sunglasses and proud owner of metal’s most incongruent coiffure, being as his barnet has always looked like it belonged on an accountant from Bognor Regis, rather than a howling rock colossus who has bestrode world stages with Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz and Impellitteri as well as his own band – the band that contains the fragrant and divine Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass. Dark Juan had a bit of a telling off from Mrs. Dark Juan about his adoration of Beth-Ami Heavenstone when I reviewed Graham’s last release, so I will merely content myself with stating she is a superb bass player. 

And that’s all I’m saying this time because I don’t want I don’t want my balls sawn off with a blunt tin lid. Which was one of the more minor threats to my person. Corkscrews, bits of four-by-two in an anal interface and tearing my arms off and beating me to death with the wet ends were mentioned in passing.

“Day Out In Nowhere” opens with the quite stupendous “Imposter”, a song about Graham (why the fuck has this man not been made a Knight of the Realm for his services to music? He even had to overcome coming from Skegness, for fuck’s sake!) understanding that age is slowly catching up with him and how it affects him and his life and performance, which has a pathos that’s almost touching, however, his vocal channels the anger against ageing (believe me, as I approach my fifties, I feel the man deeply) and what could have been a bit moany turns into a massive battle cry for us greying hordes to pull our fucking socks up. The chorus is sublime – “Who are you, pretender? Now I can see, the man that’s reflected, that man is me…” sums up everything us gentlemen and I daresay a few ladies and other genders feel every time we drag ourselves out of our beds of pain and stare blankly at the tired and no longer flawless faces gawping back at us in the bathroom mirror. 

How the hell this man manages to consistently write such monolithic choruses is beyond me. “Uncle John” is a stand out here, with its story of a possible paedophile, with a short intro reminiscent of a musical box before some absolutely incendiary riffing from Conrado Pesinato kicks you in your lazy-ass pants and shocks you into attention. Graham’s voice soars effortlessly over it all – the man just can do no wrong. He is another one of my pantheon of musical gods – Graham Bonnet and Andrew Eldritch being top tier gods, anyway. “Uncle John” is one of the more aggressive songs and one of the most metal – The Graham Bonnet Band have always angled to the more melodic side of heavy metal, but this is a spitting firebrand of a track. “David’s Mom” is a song about a lady the  young Graham had a bit of a thing for, with yet another massive chorus in a paean to young mothers taunting gauche and tumescent teenage lads, touching an almost sleaze metal vibe before going to a middle eight with what can only be described as the most trad metal solo I have ever heard in modern music. This isn’t a criticism, it reminds me of good times, as does the keyboard solo by Alessandro Bertoni.

I’m lost. I can’t criticise this record. The man can do no wrong. Dammit, Graham Bonnet. Why do you have to be so amazing? I adore the man’s voice and have done so ever since I heard “Since You Been Gone” for the first time when I was 10 years old. I gently tease him about his haircut but he has always dared to be different, and as he gets older his voice, although rougher around the edges, still grabs me by the throat and shakes until I’m a gibbering mess. 40 fucking years he’s done that to me, the Skeggy git. The musicianship is top fucking notch, the production absolutely perfect for the music (who’s responsible for it? Conrado Pesinato and the superb bass player Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Hopefully I’m off the hook, now…) with every instrument easily discernible and Graham’s voice exactly where it needs to be, forward in the mix but not overpowering the music. The musicians sound hungry and like they are enjoying themselves and the record is notable for some fucking big names guesting on it – Mike and John Tempesta of Powerman 5000 and White Zombie respectively, Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Arch Enemy and Roy Z of Bruce Dickinson’s solo band and Halford to name them…

Also, DON FUCKING AIREY is playing on this album. Keyboard legend, mate…

“Jester” is another heavier song referencing climate change and ecological damage and the soloing of Jeff Loomis on this song is so tasty Dark Juan is salivating. No, not over Beth-Ami. Stop that, you’ll get me in trouble. I’m already on thin ice…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards the Graham Bonnet Band 9/10 for yet another stonking album. I have deducted one mark for “Suzy”, but that is because I FUCKING HATE BALLADS! I don’t care whether it’s Graham Bonnet or anyone doing a ballad. You do a ballad, The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is deducting a mark, end of. That’s the law. I don’t care how overarchingly splendid and epic it is, what with the full orchestra and all. Ballads suck. Ballads are the musical equivalent of a butcher doing a vegan fucking chorizo sausage. Or American Football versus proper football. They should be forbidden and the perpetrators shot, with only Graham Bonnet, the Wilson sisters of Heart, and Andrew Eldritch excepted. But that’s only because I like those musicians that much. Then again, however, if the superb bass player Beth-Ami wrote “Suzy” then it is the best tune ever and she should be applauded… 

Oh, boy, this time I’m fucked!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Imposter
02. Twelve Steps To Heaven
03. Brave New World (ft. Roy Z)
04. Uncle John
05. Day Out In Nowhere
06. The Sky Is Alive
07. David’s Mom
08. When We’re Asleep (ft. Mike Tempesta, John Tempesta)
09. It’s Just A Frickin’ Song (ft. Don Airey)
10. Jester (ft. Jeff Loomis)
11. Suzy (Orchestra)

LINE-UP:
The man, the legend, the improbable haircut – Mr. Graham Bonnet – Vocals
The fleet fingered king of the fretboard, Conrado Pesinato – Guitars
The superb bass player, Beth-Ami Heavenstone – Bass

Guest musicians:
Don Airey – Keyboards
Alessandro Bertoni – Keyboards
Levi Dokus – Drums
Shane Gaalaas – Drums
Jeff Loomis – Guitars
Takanori Ozaki – Acoustic Guitar
John Tempesta – Drums 
Mike Tempesta – Guitars     
Roy Z – Guitars

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.

Fozzy – Boombox

Boombox Album Cover Art

Fozzy – Boombox
Mascot Records
Release Date: 06/05/22
Running Time: 46:19
Review by Simon Black
8/10

For a band that started as a bit of fun from a chap who like covering Ozzy’s songs, Fozzy (geddit?) have really evolved into a credible and truly formidable Rock outfit. Annoyingly I’ve managed to miss most of their sets the last couple of times they’ve graced Bloodstock, but what I saw on the tail end of both was a band on fire, an audience mainlining energy and a natural born frontman in Chris Jerico loving every darned minute of it. The last time round I made the effort to get hold of a copy of “Judas”, and since then must confess to being something of a convert.

That energy and sensibility Jericho oozes on stage flows vibrantly and equally into the studio presentations and in that resepct “Boombox” picks up where “Judas” left off. This time round there’s a bit more Melodic Hard Rock sensibility, rather than the slightly more edgy and street feel of its predecessor, but it nevertheless manages to pack a considerable punch despite opting for a subtly more commercial feel. The reason for this is simple – punchy, effective and well-written songs convincingly delivered.

OK, the retro AOR ballad ‘Army Of One’ jars a little, as Fozzy are at their best when there’s a little danger in the mix – and this is way too radio safe, but that said its nice hearing Jericho singing that cleanly and reminds one just how much range he actually has. Tracks like the bouncing ‘Sane’, the more evenly paced but slab-like ‘Ugly On The Inside’ work because they have that distinctive Fozzy energy, but deliver it in measured slabs. Balancing this is a strong, reverb rich and fat 80’s production sound, which borders on the Synthwave. This becomes most extreme with the cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’, which despite a bit more double bass drumming is in no way a heavy version of the song at all. It’s a bit of a mis-fire to be fair and lets the overall flow of the record down somewhat.

Generally the songs balance between these two points, with the catchy bouncy and distinctive rhythms and riffs Fozzy deliver so well, counterpointed with a fat retro feel, with a little Modern Metal sensibility in there for good measure. With a few more like the more familiar style of ‘What Hell Is Like’ and ‘Omen’ in the mix, this would have sounded more traditionally like their back catalogue, but then after eight studio albums you need to mix things up a bit.

The album title is meant to evoke that fat sound of the 80’s and does it very well, as does the lavishly rich production sound, but for my money the more street and edgy feel of this album’s predecessor wins out. That said, the back end of the record is going to be what the established fans want to hear if they can just let the more commercial bits wash over them. Despite that, I suspect this album has the potential to win a way larger audience, which is no doubt exactly what it was intended to do. It’s still going to rip the audience a new one when played loud and live, so still works for my money.

‘Sane’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sane
02. I Still Burn
03. Purifier
04. Army Of One
05. Ugly On The Inside
06. Relax (Frankie Goes To Hollywood)
07. Nowhere To Run
08. My Great Wall
09. What Hell Is Like
10. Omen
11. The Worst Is Yet To Come
12. The Vulture Club

LINE-UP:
Chris Jericho – Vocals
Rich Ward – Guitars, Vocals
Grant Brooks – Drums
Billy Grey – Guitars
PJ Farley – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Magnum, Vega, Theia – Islington Assembly Hall, London (England) – 30/03/22

Magnum, Vega, Theia
Islington Assembly Hall, London (England)
30th March, 2022
Live Review by Chris Galea

Magnum are one of those rare bands who don’t have even one album that I really loathe. I even like their live albums, such as “The Spirit” (1991) or “Marauder” (1980) and I’m not even a fan of live albums. So you might empathise with the palpable sense of excitement that I felt as I entered this north London venue to see the band for the very first time.

This was also the first time I went to a gig at the Islington Assembly Hall and rarely have gigs I’ve covered gone so smoothly… fully air-conditioned venue, no unnecessary hassles for the photo-pit, well-organised merch stands, etc.

Vega were one of the supporting bands and I only had a fleeting awareness of their music. No problem….I’m always eager to discover my next favourite band. But before Vega, there was another band which briefly strutted their musical wares….

Theia

Theia was a 2-man band augmented by pre-programmed samples. Before their first song, the duo held out a sign which said ‘Applause’ – clearly a witty initiative to encourage crowd involvement. And the drummer and guitarist / singer were dressed in what looked like paint-stained handyman overalls. Comedy seems to be an integral part of Theia.

The songs themselves tended to have Pop-leaning choruses and sounded rather generic, but I enjoyed the vibe during set closer ‘The Day’. It was hard to take the band seriously but as Kyle Lamley (Theia singer/guitarist) said, Theia’s show was all about entertainment.

https://officialtheia.com/

Vega

Although Vega have seven albums to their name, this was my first real foray into the band’s music. Presenting themselves in a slightly Glam-like image, for Vega it was all about catchy and slick Hard Rock songs. As the band played the first few numbers of their set, Skid Row and Def Leppard were two points of reference that crossed my mind, especially the latter. During several moments of Vega’s set my mind also drifted to “Hot In The Shade”, which admittedly isn’t my favourite Kiss album.

Now enough name-dropping… Vega’s own material had a lot of strong melodies even though the songs themselves sometimes felt a bit mundane. There were a couple of ballads but I felt that the Rock-ier, more up-tempo parts of their set were more enjoyable. As if in vindication of my initial impressions, Vega ended their set with a cover of Def Leppard’s ‘Animal’.

Vega piqued enough of my interest to want to check out their music further. Good omen, I suppose.

https://www.vegaofficial.co.uk/

Magnum

Besides parading their recent “The Monster Roars” album, Magnum were also celebrating 5 decades since the band first came together. It’s hard to articulate what I find so appealing with Magnum’s music, but the quality of the band’s song-writing and the material’s execution always had a timeless characteristic to them. For me the songs sound great in context of any decade or mood.

This same timelessness had a physical embodiment tonight as band founders Tony Clarkin (guitar) and Bob Catley (vocals) performed with the same verve of someone half their age. Accompanying Clarkin and Catley were keyboard maestro Rick Benton, the versatile drummer Lee Morris (Paradise Lost, Marshall Law) and the ubiquitous Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic, Place Vendome) on bass.

With a bent on Magnum’s classic repertoire – in addition to a couple of surprises – the set-list included atmosphere, up-tempo Rock, introspection and anthemic material in order to make the concert a memorable experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Day After’ and ‘Rockin’ Chair’ brought back many happy memories. In ‘Les Morts Dansent’ the crowd’s singing of the chorus made that one of the show’s highlights. The familiar keyboard intro to ‘Vigilante’ elicited rapturous cheers and ‘All England Eyes’ got a similar reaction. There clearly were many passionate Magnum fans in Islington Assembly Hall.

‘Wild Swan’ hadn’t been in my personal wish list (and I suspect neither on that of other audience members), but I’m glad Magnum played it because it’s a great song with a great guitar melody… it has a very Whitesnake-like feel to it.

I would have liked to hear ‘Don’t Wake The Lion’, ‘The Prize’, ‘Sleepwalking’  or even the more recent ‘Archway Of Tears’ (“The Serpent Rings” is the best Magnum album in ages for me) but I definitely can’t complain… I’m more than satisfied with what the band opted to include.

Magnum rounded off with ‘A Storyteller’s Night’ and ‘Sacred Hour’ – two amazing songs – and Bob Catley seemed genuinely moved by the crowd’s warm response. Concert over, before the band members walked off the stage they all took a moment to seep in their fans’ adulation and signal their gratitude. Even the usually sombre-looking Tony Clarkin couldn’t resist smiling at that point. 

“See the night sky supernova / Chase the cold moon passing over / Start the dragon’s fire to smoulder / On a storyteller’s night.” 

As I zip up my jacket while I exit the venue, it struck me that Magnum’s performance was basically an enactment of their song ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’. 

http://www.magnumonline.co.uk/

LINKS:

Islington Assembly Hall:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

EMQ’s With ARMAGELION

Armagelion Logo

EMQ’s With ARMAGELION

Hello everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal project, Armagelion. Huge thanks to him for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about your history?

I am ARMAGELION, the Divine Beast. I play Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal.

It began in Los Angeles, California two years ago, even though the idea of the character came up 10 years ago. I wanted to find the perfect combination between a larger than life character and pure Hard Rock with reminiscence about the 80’s sound but with my own style.

Armagelion and his mythology come from the fascination for Sci-Fi, comic books and larger than life characters. Armagelion is the character I never saw, the entity I become when I’m on stage.

How did you come up with your name?

I wanted to create a memorable and powerful name, but without using any existing word. So I combined mythology and biblical words to create my own.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I am from Los Angeles, California. The scene there is great. Plenty of spaces for new artists. However, throughout the country there should be more space for new acts.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

My latest release is called ‘Lie to Me’. It’s very powerful and dramatic. This song is about holding on to a love that doesn’t exist any longer, and you prefer to hear lies than facing that it’s over. ‘Lie to Me’ is available on every streaming service and You can find its lyric video on my YouTube channel.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Definitely Bon Jovi, KISS and Mötley Crüe.

What first got you into music?

The sound and performance of the great Hard Rock bands of the 80’s. Powerful drums, high-pitched vocals, catchy melodies.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I am open to collaborate with any artist who shares my vision of great music and a great show. But definitely playing with legends like KISS, Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osborne would be a dream come true.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I would love to line-up in Download Fest. It would be perfect for my style. If I could travel back in time, Monsters of Rock would be a dream. And why not dream big? One day I would love an Armagelion Fest.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

It’s not weird, but incredible! A fan from Mexico made an Armagelion custom action figure. I felt very grateful and flattered. I will never forget that gift.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Simply thanks. You are a vital part of this and nothing would be possible without you. The best is yet to come, children of Armagelion!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Wow, tough question. There are so many legends that have passed away that I would like to bring back… I don’t want to miss anyone, but it would definitely be Prince, Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love creating songs that connect with people. That they listen to one of my songs and feel identified. I love that they see Armagelion and love the mystery and mysticism.

I hate assholes who take advantage of artists and their dreams. And I hate that nowadays anyone calls themselves “producer”, “singer” or “musician”. Social media confuses people and makes them think that they are something they’re not.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

It would make talent really matter. There are clowns who have zero talent and bam! they are “stars” overnight. But at the end of the day they are disposable.

True artists are timeless and it’s their art what makes them stars. Not social media.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

There are many, and I could talk for hours analysing them. But if I had to pick just one, I’d say Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey” – it’s sound, it’s production, it’s tracks, wow!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Good question. I understand that the industry evolves and music must be more accessible. That’s why there are downloads. But for me, nothing compares to having the album on vinyl. The artwork of an album is essential to understand it. It is a complement. Yes, downloads are good and accessible, but nothing like appreciating the artwork and details of the album.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I enjoy every gig because there are always different sensations. It’s unpredictable. Armagelion rituals are wild and always amazing.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I honestly can’t imagine doing anything other than singing. It is my air and food. It’s what I live for.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Another interesting question… Ozzy Osborne, Mötley Crüe (they count as one), Alice Cooper, Adam Lambert and Johnny Depp.

That party would not end well…

What’s next for the band?

Armagelion’s universe is expanding and his word is spreading. I have a new single to come, which is already done as the next preview to the upcoming album. The upcoming single is sensual and energetic. It’s called ‘Playing with Fire. Also, I’m planning to hit the road this year. Stay tuned.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Here you have my links:
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4SbqNuXLiu8IFt1RdIDtia
Instagram: https://instagram.com/armagelion?utm_medium=copy_link 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArmagelionOficial 
Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCasSThRYCsmGX3mHFVuNz0w 
Tiktok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZML56pNE2/ 

Jaffa Cakes! Is it a cake or a biscuit?

A Cake definitely!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for having me, stay tuned and follow my social media accounts for more!  

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

EMQ’s With TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS

Tyrannosaurus Nebulous Logo

EMQ’s With TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS

Hello everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with UK Classic Hard Rockers, Tyrannosaurus Nebulous. Huge thanks to them for taking part. 

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Matt, I play guitar and very often lead vocals. Also there’s Paul, guitars; Lee, bass, and Jay drums, lead and backing vocals. We are a four-piece Hard Rock band from Stourbridge in the Black Country. Our sound is crafted around classic 70’s hard rock. With listeners comparing them to a diverse range of classic rock bands such as AC/DC, Alice In Chains, Budgie and Thin Lizzy. The present line up formed in 2014 and released the ‘Deal With My Evil’ EP in 2016. 

How did you come up with your band name?

To the best of my recollection, we were one of those bands that couldn’t agree on a name, that was until our first gig was fast approaching so I threw Nebulous in to the mix, I’d read something somewhere that it meant vague or ill-defined, which I thought fit us as we couldn’t agree a name, turns out it means space cloud or something, we agreed to nebulous but we needed something else to represent the monster riffs, and so Tyrannosaurus Nebulous was born.


What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re from the West Midlands in the UK, Matt and Paul from Stourbridge, Jay from Dudley and Lee from Coseley (but originally from Caerphilly in South Wales).


What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We’ve recently released ‘Deal With My Evil’, which is the first single off our debut album called “Tyrant Lizard King” (released 25th March) The music video for the release is on our YouTube channel. 

Our next single ‘Magnetar’ is also out on the 25th March.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Matt: Musically when I was younger probably the likes of Metallica, ugly kid Joe, Steve Vai, Van Halen, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, more recently Volbeat, Winery dogs etc. 

Paul: The likes of AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Kings X, Whitesnake

Lee: Geddy Lee & Burke Shelley. Both phenomenal bass players and frontmen.


What first got you into music?

Matt: My dad first introduced me to the guitar when I was around ten years old, and of course his vinyl collection.

Paul: my brother Matt and dad both played the guitar, they were always making a noise, sort of had no choice but to join in

Lee: There always seemed to be music playing when I was growing up. My Dad is a big music fan and steered me in the right direction. My first album was Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and it just went from there. 

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Matt: I think I would love to jam with Billy Gibbons, swapping solos in ‘La Grange’ for hours probably.

Paul: Robert Plant (obviously local), or if he was still alive SRV.

Lee: Poison the Well, Shai Hulud or Misery Signals would add an interesting ‘beatdown’ element to the band’s sound. Current musician, very leftfield but Tame Impala is a phenomenal musician and that would develop the melodic side of what we do. Also Tom Jones, because he’s a legend and needs a Hard Rock record in his back catalogue. 


If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Matt: Mmmm Download or Rock AM Ring.

Paul: Glastonbury (would love to be on stage rather than watching).

Lee: Download or Ghent Festival (amazing city and an amazing festival).

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Matt: Err, a friend request.

Paul: The gift of strength, (carrying my gear to the car after a gig).

Lee: I’d love to say a beautiful woman’s knickers but an empty pint glass with a request to refill.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Life’s hard but you just gotta keep on keepin’ on.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Matt: Mr Eddie Van Halen.

Paul: SRV would love to get the chance to see him perform live.

Lee: Burke Shelley or Neil Peart.


What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Matt: Enjoy playing with other musicians, playing an instrument is great but when you’re in a room or on stage with fellow minded players its next level, I wouldn’t say hate but I’m not a fan of having to be in front of a camera for photos or videos.

Paul: Playing live and writing music.

Lee: Playing live and in the studio is the most enjoyable, I hate the frustration of getting our music out for people to hear. 


If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Lee: More investment in original talented upcoming musicians who don’t conform to the plastic world of popular music.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Matt: Impossible question, maybe Van Halen “Van Halen”.

Paul: Yeah impossible, Metallica?

Lee: I have many, today’s is “Happiness” by Dance Gavin Dance.


What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

Matt: I guess vinyl, but I sure do miss playing along with cassettes and having to tune my guitar up or down to suit, but then I probably own more CDs?

Paul: grew up with cassettes and CDs, although convenient you can’t hold a download in your hand.

Lee: I consume a lot of music so vinyl, cassettes, CD’s become too much of a faff. Digital for me. I went through my vinyl phase when I was an early teen. I used to love going to record fayres then. You could pick up an Iron Maiden vinyl album for a couple of quid then. Now they’re like £150 plus when you can buy them on CD for a fiver. It’s not about the medium for me, it’s about the music.


What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Matt: could pick one out, but I do love outdoor gigs.

Paul: O2 Academy.

Lee: Caerphilly Workman’s hall (hometown gig).

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Matt: Probably a sportsman of some kind, Rugby? No I’m too weak, Cyclist?

Paul: Professional pillow tester.

Lee: Record/music store owner.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Matt: Professor Brian cox, Ozzy Osbourne, Jack Black, Jethro, Brian May.

Paul: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, John Squire, Gandalf, Ludo (the film Labyrinth).

Lee: Jordan Peterson, Ozzy Osbourne, Harry Hill, Gene Simmons, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson (you can’t have one without the other). That would be mental.

What’s next for the band?

The future plans are to continue to challenge ourselves to write and record albums that add to and expand upon the great British hard rock albums of the past and to continue to spread the gospel of rock and roll on bigger and better stages. 

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Website: www.tyrannosaurusnebulous.com 
LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/tyrannosaurusnebulous 
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC93G5VzWGBeqFDJcEwTJy9A 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TyrannosaurusNebulous 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/T_Nebulous 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tyrannosaurus_nebulous/ 
Bandcamp: https://tyrannosaurusnebulous.bandcamp.com/ 
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tyrannosaurusnebulous/tracks 

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit

Matt: Biscake?

Paul: Cake, (it’s not called a Jaffa biscuit).

Lee: Cake, whilst we’re on the subject does anyone know what ‘Scampi’ is?.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Keep rockin’

Tyrannosaurus Nebulous Promo Pic

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

EMQ’s With PHARMACOSE

Pharmacose Logo

EMQ’s With PHARMACOSE

Hello everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Hard Rock project, Pharmacies. Huge thanks to main man Wes Jones for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Wes Jones, and I am the singer/guitarist for Pharmacose. It’s a project that was born in 2017 after I met producer Lu Rubino through a mutual friend. I had some songs I wanted to record, and my friend recommended Lu Rubino to me. We recorded those songs under the name Digital Array. We ended up pulling that record and reworking the songs, as well as writing new ones. I thought we could use a name change, so Pharmacose was officially born. At this point, it’s become more of a collaborative project since COVID hit. We haven’t been playing any shows and while we’re all still working together, I’ve become the primary producer. It was necessary due to the lockdowns, but I’ve really fallen in love with it. I’d love for us to start playing live again at some point, but that might not be possible for the time being due to another related project I’m working on, but more on that later.

How did you come up with your band name?

Pharmacose is a combination of the words “pharmaceutical” and “comatose.” When I came up with the name, I had been thinking about antidepressants and mood stabilizers and how they affect those of us with mental illness.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are in the US. I think people always say that Rock is dead, but they’ve been saying that for decades now. There is still plenty of great new Rock and Metal. Pop and Hip Hop are dominant right now, and I have absolutely no problem with that, but music is a cycle. Rock and Metal will be on top again at some point.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

We just released a single called ‘Smash’ and our album called “Prescription Fiction”, which came out 18th February. 

Who have been your greatest influences?

I listened to mostly Alternative and Hard Rock growing up, so that’s probably my biggest influence. Bands like Alice in Chains, TOOL, Queens of the Stone Age, Failure, At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta. Nine Inch Nails might be the biggest, though, because I love the combination of synths and rock.

What first got you into music?

I started playing the violin when I was about 6, and played it up through college. I kind of let it lapse, though, in favour of guitar. I taught myself to play guitar when I was 17 or so, and have been playing and writing music ever since.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Jerry Cantrell. The guy can do it all. I love the vocal harmonies he used to create with Layne Staley.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I lived in New Orleans for a few years and always had a blast at Voodoo, so probably that one.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I haven’t gotten any gifts from fans!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

“Prescription Fiction” is sort of a timeline of my mental health over almost a decade. I went through some pretty bad times, and the one thing I wish I had done sooner was ask for help. I think that’s the message. We’re never alone, even though it feels that way at times. Depression and other forms of mental illness have a way of warping our sense of reality. Please reach out. We lose too many people to suicide.

If you could bring one Metal / Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Layne Staley

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love writing, producing, and recording, but I hate the self-doubt that comes with it.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Streaming needs to pay more. I understand that companies want to keep subscription costs down.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“De-Loused in the Comatorium” by The Mars Volta

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

I listen to music on the go, so downloads. Vinyl, cassettes and CDs take up a lot of space, and I need that space to produce! 

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

A couple years ago we played a benefit in St. Augustine, FL, for a local musician that died a few years prior. It was to benefit his family. It felt good to do our part.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Well, I am still a practicing medical doctor, so I would be doing that!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Ricky Gervais, Trent Reznor, Bill Burr, Dave Chapelle & John Danaher.

What’s next for the band?

We’re releasing Prescription Fiction on 18th February. After that I have a related project that I’m going to talk more about in March. It’s probably my biggest undertaking yet, and I can’t wait to talk about it more. 

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pharmacose_band/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pharmacoseband/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pharmacose_Band
website: www.pharmacose.com

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Biscuits!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Nothing that hasn’t been covered.

Pharmacose Promo Pic

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

Warrior Soul – Out On Bail

Out On Bail Album Cover Art

Warrior Soul – Out On Bail (after being sentenced to imprisonment for crimes against music)
Livewire/ Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 04.03.22
Running Time: Too bastard long (33:36)
Review by Dark Juan
Score: Just don’t fucking bother, OK? The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System doesn’t go below -10,000,000/10. It’s been broken. Thaaaaaanks, Warrior Soul.

There are times I think that fate is out to get me. Whether it was the black Vauxhall Astra that tried T-boning me from a side-street this morning, provoking what can only be described as a sage and responsible and polite exchange of views with the “driver” of it or the fact that the august and otherwise sensible Beth “You’ll Pay For Your Crimes In Whatever Manner I See Fit, You Massive Twat” Jones assigned me this pile of foetid rat wank to review, it does sometimes feel that Dark Juan is on to a bit of a loser. However, Dark Juan is not cowed by poor fortune (and a VERY poor monetary fortune) and has risen above the horror of the past 48 hours at work (one of my young gentlemen refused to be effectively wrangled and also refused to understand just why a 1922 Chateau Yquem is an excellent accompaniment to a meat course, leading to a disagreement that lasted several hours and some mild bruising on my part. He’s from an affluent area and INSISTS on addressing me as “Blood” or “Fam”, or even more horrifically, “Famalam”. I am NO-ONE’S fucking famalam and I am not from fucking Tower bastard Hamlets. I am in fact excruciatingly white and Northern) to bring you this exquisitely crafted review of… sigh… Warrior bloody Soul.

Warrior Soul. A band that released a passable record in the early Nineties and appear to have been fooled into thinking that the difficult second album can be put off indefinitely by releasing hare-brained, turgid, “gritty” rock and roll platters on a regular basis, with vocals (I hesitate to call it singing) from a man who looks like he should live on a low-rent Florida trailer park and sounds like the Marlboro Red habit is going to cause health issues to him very soon. He also writes lyrics that are fucking stuck in hair metal heaven, chock full of bone-headed sex and meaningless, unimpressive swaggering. Kory, drugs ain’t fucking cool and when you’re a fifty-something man who performs (judging by the EPK picture I have of him) in a pair of trousers BADLY in need of repair, you frankly just make yourself look like a bit of a tit. In fact, you’re the kind of man who teenage Dark Juan used to mock and revile in Jilly’s Rockworld back in the Nineties. The old one who would be wearing tight blue Levi jeans, and the original Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow t-shirt, barely covering their expanding paunch and still trying to get off with the young ladies who were obviously and vocally repulsed by them. Drug references and howling about how rock and roll you are so fucking out of date it’s nearly as cringeworthy as being called “Famalam” by a white teenager whose home village has a fucking Rolls-Royce dealership in the middle of it. Especially when you’re old enough to be someone’s fucking grandad. Grow up, lad. 

Surprisingly, there is a passable song on “Out On Bail” (even the fucking title of the album is so banal it has made my nose bleed), ruined only by the cracked and damaged vocals of Kory Clarke and that song is ‘End Of The World’ – which rattles along quite nicely on a grungy sort of a vibe, with lyrics that eschew the normal drink / drugs / shagging / any combination of the three subject matter that dear old Kory normally employs. Clearly a moment of clarity was had and the lyrics are timely and accurate, especially around the current unpleasantness in the world. However, Kory undoes all the good work he’s done with this song by coming up with the fucking GEM of a lyric I have reproduced below:

“I’ll meet you in the lobby.
Someone’s done all the coke again,
Or maybe it was a robbery… yeah…”

Oh my good lord, Satan. I heard that lyric and physically felt my IQ drop into some kind of extra-dimensional black hole. Then I went and beat a child to get rid of the rage I felt after having my intelligence insulted so gravely. Then I called everyone “Fam” for several hours because it was that stupendously dumb and it had reduced my mental capacity to that of a white boy thinking he’s a grime rapper and from da streetz, when he actually comes from Ascot. This was from the second track in, entitled ‘One More For The Road’. Of course it is…

Disclaimer: I didn’t actually beat a child. Or anything.

Can I also point out that Kory Clarke doesn’t appear to be able to vocalise (I’m still not calling it singing) in tune? ‘Yo-Yo’ (correctly hyphenated) being a classic example of this as he caterwauls brokenly through multiple keys and basically turns the ears of the unfortunate listener to minced meat. “The New Paradigm” also shows this off to good advantage, being a particularly (and spectacularly) shit power ballad where Kory gets serious after putting down the Jack Daniels and running out of cocaine and whores. Regular readers of my bullshit will know that I have an extreme and deep-seated hatred of power ballads, viewing them as filler at best and having a rigid system of belief about them (‘18 And Life’ by Skid Row is the second best power ballad ever written, after Heart’s ‘Alone’ mainly because they don’t have the glorious voice that Ann Wilson has) and that they are a transparent and obvious attempt at a lighter waving hit chant-a-long record or the long suffering spouse of the rock star has finally had enough of the heroin binges, endless parties and all-encompassing egotism and fucked off with that nice Spanish gardener, Enrique, who works hard, isn’t a has-been waste of space in dodgy trousers, doesn’t have a drug habit and a face like it’s been hit by a poorly parked Volkswagen, and is generally kind and attentive and not a swaggering dickhead, therefore prompting a lament for their lost love. Or in the case of Tenacious D, the Metal. Thankfully, ‘The New Paradigm’ was the last song and I don’t have to listen to it anymore. Mrs Dark Juan has been vastly amused by my physical cringing as I managed to tick off even more boxes on the rock and roll cliché bingo I always play with myself when I listen to Warrior Soul. 

Mention of jail – Check.
Drug references – Check.
Surviving – Fucking Check.
Living the lifestyle of rock and roll – Oh, yes. Checkety check check.
Being on the road – Yawn. Check.
Extraneous “Baby” in the lyrics– Yes, indeed. Check-a-rama, baby.

BONUS ROUND! – “Yeah!” – Liberal checking going on right now!

Even the opening song on this record is poor as fuck. ‘We’re Alive’ starts with the tolling of a bell (for the remnants of my sanity as it was compromised severely after a mere one minute and forty-one seconds) before an ill-timed riff has absolutely fuck-all to do with the drumming until the rest of the band pull themselves together and start playing properly. The band aren’t too bad, though and they are very poorly served by their, ahem… vocalist. Because he can’t FUCKING SING!!!!!

The production on the album is also exactly as previous Warrior Soul releases. I knew just from the sound of it that Kory Clarke produced the fucking thing. His ruined, excruciating voice is massively forward in the mix to the detriment of EVERYONE ELSE and the guitars far, far too low. At least the drums and bass are audible and snappy, but I rather think that was by accident rather than by design. The blurb that came with this… product, claims that Kory Clarke is one of rock’s “Most prolific, prophetic and controversial songwriters”. He really isn’t. “Put your hands together, because we’re rocking out” is a sample of the quality of controversy on offer, unless you class lyrics that Poison would have rejected for being outdated and misogynist in 1990 as controversial, and they wrote ‘Unskinny Bop’. Neither is he a fucking prophet. He’s a fucking dinosaur. Wading through a sea of retarded sexuality, singing about drugs and booze and pretending you’re hard aren’t controversial. It makes you sound like a fucking colossal knobjockey. This kind of misguided toxic masculinity just makes me want to puke and it cheapens the music I have given my life to listening to. We have come so much further than where Warrior Soul are still.

It really upsets me that ‘End Of The World’ is on this album because it is a good song and I’d be excited if that was the basis of Warrior Soul’s sound. But it isn’t. The well-worn rock cliché show just keeps on coming back and Clarke’s vocal on ‘Yo-Yo’ is particularly unpleasant when he’s trying to hold notes on the pre-chorus. He wobbles all over the fucking place and is screamingly off-key and… and… and…

I’ve run out of words. I want to kill this record’s siblings in a curiously misplaced act of vengeance for ever having heard it. I hate it on a molecular level. I even listened to it twice, dear, valued readers, to make sure it wasn’t my prejudices talking. It wasn’t. Warrior Soul are truly, desperately shite.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System cannot be fucking arsed because it knew exactly what was going to happen within twenty-seven seconds of the opening song starting. It refuses to give Warrior Soul a score that doesn’t make a mockery of the Ever-Metal.com scoring system. Thank fuck there is ample booze in the house to blot out the horror via the medium of medicinal drinking.

Dark Juan and The Blood Splat Rating System do agree with Kory Clarke on one thing, you’ll be surprised to know, and that is that we all share a desire to see the destruction of the GOP. Especially with that fucking mangled apricot hellbeast Trump involved with it.

TRACKLISTING:
01. We’re Alive (For the love of God, no)
02. One More For The Road (For some reason this title keeps reminding me of Boz Scaggs’ “Lido Shuffle”)
03. Hip Hip Hurray (I left the horrible spelling intact even though it should be hooray. Yes, I am a grammar Nazi.)
04. Out On Bail (I really wish they weren’t by this point of the record)
05. Cancelled Culture (I still can’t work out whether Kory is feeling cancelled or he is lamenting culture being eradicated because of cancel culture)
06. End Of The World (I wish it would fucking hurry up, right now)
07. Yo-Yo (Wasn’t this a female rapper signed to East West Records ages ago?)
08. The New Paradigm (Ah, brings back memories of good old Warzone 2100 on the PC, back in the day)

LINE-UP:
Kory Clarke – Vocals, Drums on ‘One More For The Road’Dennis ‘El Guapo’ Post – Guitars
Christian Kimmett – Bass
Ivan Tambac – Drums on ‘The New Paradigm’, ‘End Of The World’
John Besser – Drums on ‘We’re Alive’, ‘Hip Hip Hurray’, ‘Out On Bail’, ‘Cancelled Culture’, ‘Yo-Yo’
John ‘Baby H’ Hodgson – Guitars on ‘Out On Bail’
Adam Arling – Guitars on ‘We’re Alive’, ‘The New Paradigm’
John ‘Full Throttle’ Polachek – Guitars on ‘One More For The Road’, ‘Cancelled
Culture’
Maria Hatzina – Special Guest Vocals on ‘Hip Hip Hurray’

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.