Thundermother – Black And Gold

Black And Gold Album Cover Art

Thundermother – Black And Gold
AFM Records
Release Date: 19/08/22
Running Time: 42:49
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Thundermother somewhat impressed me last year when I reviewed their re-issued expanded edition of their “Heatwave” from 2020. So I grabbed this one with open arms, because shit-hot Hard Rock bands of this calibre are a rarity in a crowded market full of copycats. It’s impressive not least for the fact that they had to practically start again from the ground up after some crippling line-up changes since their debut, but this incarnation of the band have a lot going for them. 

As with last time out, the music is back to basics anthemic Hard Rock, with roots back to the early 80’s, but a Modern and hugely up to date feel to them. With a lovely fat guitar sound and a huge dose of crunch-bang-wallop that evokes AC/DC on a good day (in sound that is, although to be fair you get stylistic nods as well from time to time – the title track being the most obvious occasion but ‘I Don’t Know’ probably owes Angus royalties too) this album belts you where it hurts right from the get-go.

With nothing coming in over four and a half minutes, these ladies deliver a dozen tight, well-structured and highly anthemic belters that really belong on bigger stages before long, which considering their reputation live can not be too far away. Five albums and a painful reboot later, and this does not sound like a band with any shortage of fire, energy or potential. Obviously, in any commercially pitched outfit aimed at the more Melodic end of the market, there’s a few slower numbers in there, but these too work seamlessly, as Guernica Mancini’s vocals are little short of spectacular. Soulful, powerful and with a lustrous emotional edge that Steven Tyler would tip the nod to. She must be one of the strongest players in this scene today.

This incarnation of the Swedish four piece is an absolute powerhouse though, and these four ladies are destined for much, much more if they can keep this up. Gutsy, beautifully written, lavishly produced and heart-pumpingly delivered, this one is clearly going to get a lot more play time from me…

‘Watch Out’ Official Music Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Light In The Sky  
02. Black And Gold 
03. Raise Your Hands  
04. Hot Mess  
05. Wasted 
06. Watch Out 
07. I Don’t Know You 
08. All Looks No Hooks  
09. Loud And Free 
10. Try With Love 
11. Stratosphere 
12. Borrowed Time

LINE-UP:
Filippa Nässil – Guitar
Guernica Mancini – Vocals
Emlee Johansson – Drums
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – 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.

The Big Deal – First Bite

First Bite Album Cover Art

The Big Deal – First Bite
Frontiers Records s.r.l.
Release Date: 13/05/22
Running Time: 40:03
Review by Simon Black
8/10

A new day, and a new country to review (at least for me). If you wonder what I’m talking about, then don’t forget that the vast majority of European Metal that hits my desk hails from German, the UK the Nordics and the Mediterranean countries, with far too little coming from more Eastern shores. Enter The Big Deal, who hail from Serbia and pump out very Radio Friendly Melodic Rock with a Progressive Metal tinge. Whilst most of Frontiers Records output is re-platforming stars of old – either by packaging a well-known name with the house studio and session player team filling the slots, or creating Super Groups or what I call The Blues Brothers records (putting the band back together). Tucked in amongst this sometimes repetitive fodder are some genuinely strong new bands that make ploughing through all the cookie cutter material thoroughly worthwhile. 

This is one such example.

This label produces a lot of Melo-Metal, but what makes this one distinctive is it’s clearly a cohesive band project with their own sound and identity, rather than something that Serafino Perugino has assembled as a project. The band are a five piece and are built around husband and wife team Srdjan Brankovic (guitars, song-writing and production) and Nevena Brankovic (vocals and keyboards). Vocal duties are shared with Ana Nikolic, creating a wonderfully richly layered set of harmonics – predominantly clean, but with a little bit of edge when needed, which makes the band sound a lot fuller than many a debut record. The only Frontiers house stamp is the addition of label stalwart Alessandro Del Vecchio on bass, although he can play practically anything in any style (and indeed has given how many of the label’s releases he’s contributed to).

Musically, what gives it an interesting edge is the subtle but incredibly skilful Progressive touches that turn up on the two Brankovic’s guitar and keyboard instrumental parts. It has the kind of fluidity, skill and flourish that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Dream Theater or Nightwish (circa Olzen) album on the occasions when they manage a genuine radio friendly hit – so the virtuosity is subtle and restrained, not screaming in your face. Add this to some catchy melodies, well-layered harmonies (actually way more musically complex than they sound on the surface) and you have music that works across the aisles – like Danger, Danger but with infinitely better players. I’m normally less bothered by the obvious attempt at a hit material, but even the very commercial single ‘Sensational’ works well because of this restrained technical virtuosity and the sheer power of the dual vocal delivery.

I do wonder if Frontiers played safe here, because I get the feeling that this is a band with the potential to really punch high, as although restraint works when you’re trying to pull in the radio-friendly Rock rather than Metal crowd I do feel that a little more of that technical skill can still go a hell of a long way without breaking the commercial appeal. A damn fine start nonetheless.

‘Never Say Never’ Official Music Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Never Say Never
02. I Need You Here Tonight
03. Sensational
04. Top Heaven
05. Wake The Fire
06. In The Dead Of The Night
07. Rebel Lady
08. Power On
09. Bad Times, Good Times
10. Fallen
11. Lady Of The Night

LINE-UP:
Srdjan Brankovic – Guitars
Nevena Brankovic – Vocals And Keyboards
Ana Nikolic – Vocals
Marko Milojevic – Drums
Alessandro Del Vecchio – 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.

Blood Red Saints – Undisputed

Undisputed album cover art

Blood Red Saints – Undisputed
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 06/08/2021
Running Time: 48:30
Review By Mark Pritchard
6/10

For over a month now, while I have been under the weather, and the weather outside has been changeable at best, the one thing that has been a constant is my listening to “Undisputed”, the most recent album by Britain’s own Melodic Rock band Blood Red Saints. Recently, I went to London to meet up with a friend and on both the long train journey there, and back, this album was soothing to listen to and helpful to pass the travel time. So, who are Blood Red Saints, and what’s this album like? Well, let’s find out.

Blood Red Saints were founded back in late 2014 and hail from the U.K. city of Manchester. “Undisputed” is the band’s 4th album release with “Speedway”, “Love Hate Conspiracies” & “Pulse” being released in 2015, 2017 & 2019 respectively. Alongside the Melodic Rock sounds, there’s also a large dose of Heavy Metal, Pop-Metal and Hard Rock, that make up Blood Red Saints sound. Personally, to me, they have a sound similar to that of Bon Jovi, and Whitesnake, with a little Aerosmith.

“Undisputed” is a calmer laid back album in comparison to other albums I have reviewed over the last few months. It’s one of those albums you can sit back and relax with. I will be honest and say this album isn’t too bad, but with sounding so similar to the bands I mentioned before it isn’t mind-blowing. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are alright, but when I listen and instantly think how much a song sounds like another band, it takes something away from the work Blood Red Stains put into the album themselves.

With all the time I have had while listening to this album, gradually a single song stood out more and more to me, that I did really like listening to. This was track 6, “Karma”. While it reminds me quite a bit of Whitesnake, it’s a very easy listening song, that can be listened to in any situation. This was an enjoyable album. Not ground-breaking, but definitely worth a listen. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. This Ain’t A Love Song
02. Love Like War
03. Heaven In The Headlights
04. Breathe Again
05. Caught In The Wreckage
06. Karma
07. Come Alive
08. Alibi
09. Undisputed
10. Complete
11. All I Wanna Do

LINE-UP:
Pete Godfrey – Vocals
Lee Revill – Guitars
Rob Naylor – Bass
Andy Chemney – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard 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.


Vega – Anarchy And Unity

Anarchy And Unity Album Cover Art


Vega – Anarchy And Unity
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 17/09/2021
Running Time: 48:39
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Vega have been a staple for me since seeing them live at Amplified in 2017. They deliver a fabulous early Bon Jovi-esque sound, which is right up my street. So, every time a new release from my favourite British Melodic Hard Rockers pops up, I grab it without a second thought. And here we are chatting about them again, in the shape of their seventh studio album, “Anarchy And Unity”. This album brings with it two new band members, Billy Taylor (ex-Inglorious) on guitars and Pete Newdeck (Nitrate, Midnite City) on drums, and for me, their arrival has reinvented and rejuvenated Vega’s already excellent sound, which I’m very happy about.

This album is a voyage into more ambitious territory I feel. They’ve taken the already highly set bar, and raised it a little more (ironically, this is a lyric in ‘C’mon’). This is their most complete and well-rounded album to date. Everything from the actual songwriting, to the playing, and production, seems to have hit the sweet spot here, and I really can’t fault it. So, I’m going to give you a rundown of some of the highlights for me.

The album opener, ‘Beautiful Lie’, is a hard-hitting up-tempo track, which is delivered with ferocity musically, and Nick Workman’s vocals are just fabulous. Gravelling, gritty lower end tones, and then impressive richness in the soaring higher vocals. He has a fabulous range. This track is also full of great vocal harmonies, and classic 80’s Hard Melodic Rock sounds, and an awesome guitar solo.

‘End Of The Fade’ is an absolute banging power ballad. It’s got a sinister minor undertone in the verse, and the chorus throws in a minor cadence, which I just love. Again, I am in awe of Nick’s vocals, as well as the fullness of the instrumentals. It’s a really satisfying track, which I keep going back to.

‘Welcome To Wherever’ is completely Bon Jovi through and through. I don’t really need to say anything else, but it’s a great track. It’s got some superb keyboard moments too. ‘Live For Me’ is another great standout ballad to start, but with a hard edge, that moves everything to a more up-tempo middle section, with a properly good guitar solo.

I’m loving the mix of upbeat and ballad tracks on the album as well. It makes it really easy to listen to and get lost in. And the production is crystal clear throughout, with everything balanced and placed masterfully.

Track 10, ‘C’mon’ explores new territory, switching between Jazz and Rock in an ingeniously smooth way. Groovy! And why the hell not – it’s exciting and alive. Honestly, there is nothing not to like about this album. Every track is a banger. If you like Melodic Rock, and are partial to a bit of Bon Jovi (I should probably point out that I LOOOOOVE Bon Jovi, and one of my favourite ever gigs was seeing them in the Etihad Stadium in 2013) then you will love this album, and Vega in general. They should be huge. They should be playing stadiums around the world. End of. LOVE IT!!

‘Ain’t Who I Am’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Beautiful Lie
02. Sooner Or Later
03. End Of The Fade
04. Ain’t Who I Am
05. Welcome To Wherever
06. Bring The Riot
07. Live For Me
08. Kneel To You
09. Glow
10. C’mon
11. Had Enough
12. 2Die4

LINE-UP:
Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass
James Martin – Keyboards
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
Billy Taylor – Guitar
Pete Newdeck – Drums

LINKS:

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.

EMQ’s with BLACK 7

Black 7 Logo

EMQ’s with BLACK 7

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview, with brand new, Hannover, Germany based Melodic Instrumental Heavy Rock project, Black7. Huge thanks to main man, Lars Totzke, 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 Lars and during the Corona phase I started playing guitar again and developing ideas. After a few months I had enough ideas and decided to publish it.

How did you come up with your band name?

At the end of 2020 I bought a new guitar. A black 7-string

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

I am from Hannover, Germany.

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

The Album “Look Inside” will be my first release since 1998. It is due to be released on 8th October.

‘Look Inside’ (Album Teaser)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Sevendust, Korn,

What first got you into music?

The first album I got was “Highway To Hell”. Before that I got to know Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin through my father. When NWOBHM started in the mid-eighties it was clear that I wanted to play the guitar.

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

I think Apocalyptica would be an interesting idea.

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

Rock in Rio, one of the biggest.

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

A cuddly toy.

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

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

Bon Scott. He was cool.

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

To fully develop creatively is an incredible feeling. Getting little money for it and earning it in other ways is less great.

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

I think the internet has changed a lot.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Iron Maiden – “Live After Death”

Metallica – “Black Album”

Paco de Lucia/Al Di Meola/John Mclaughlin – “Friday Night In San Francisco”

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

I prefer CD’s.

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

It was a Band contest. The last concert was in front of 1000 people and Victory were the headliner.

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

No idea. Maybe banker. At least you earn money there. 😊

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

What’s next for the band?

Promoting my album. Let’s see what the future will bring.

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

www.black-seven.de/
www.youtube.com/channel/UC29c1c5r-hHKv4zdlkRl29g

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Biscuit of course.

Black 7 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.

Robin McAuley – Standing On The Edge

Standing On The Edge Album Cover Art

Robin McAuley – Standing On The Edge
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 44:39
Review by Simon Black
8/10

I have to confess that my engagement with Robin McAuley is fairly limited, despite my predilection for the more Melodic end of the Hard Rock world. Somewhere in my vinyl collection is a battered copy of “Perfect Timing” – the original collaboration with Michael Schenker, which at the time I was slightly disappointed in, as it felt that the great axeman was very much in the background. Look at the cover if you don’t believe me, he literally is standing in McAuley’s shadow – or at least the shadow of his rather spectacular mid-80’s bouffant. The fact that during this period the MSG band acronym was physically branded as the McAuley Schenker Group, rather than the Michael Schenker Group probably tells us all we need to know about who was in the driving seat during this period and at the time it felt like a misfire and somewhat passed me by. Time, however, is great at pointing out that actions based on knee jerk teenage reactions are not always the right ones…Although music was about to do a complete body swerve not long after its release and this sort of Melodic Hard Rock rapidly fall out of favour with the major labels, over time it has proven to be a stone cold classic, if not a classic Schenker album. Clearly there were other MSG releases with this line-up, but when you are fighting against, or being pushed to follow the rise of Grunge and everything that followed it, these did not make an impact in the same way.

This is a slightly different direction than McAuley’s Black Swan project and as ever when Serafino Perugino at Frontiers assembles a project, there’s a particular era, ethos and feel that he is trying to capture in amber with an added modern take and “Standing On The Edge” is very much picking up where “Perfect Timing” left off – with deliberate precision. The opening track ‘Thy Will Be Done’, feels like it could have been a B-Side from those 80’s sessions, right down to the dated keyboard arrangements, but what saves it from being a retro footnote is the fact that McAuley’s voice is absolutely on top form and the song-writing beautifully crafted. The rest of the album has a slightly more modern sound to it, so I am taking this opening track for what it was probably intended to be – a message to the listener that this is where the album is starting from, but it’s not where it will finish.

To prove the point, the title track kicks things up a notch significantly with a catchy riff, solid mid-tempo beat and then steps back to let the man show how good a shape his vocal chords are actually in. Generally, there’s some really robust song-writing on here and the eleven tracks stand up quite well, with a bit of a slowdown in the middle as ‘Chosen Few’ feels a bit like a filler, but the power ballad ‘Run Away’, whilst pure Melo-Ballad in tone, is more Gary Hughes than USA 80’s in style, so does not feel dated. The record works because it varies the pace to demonstrate McAuley’s range, rather than going for the tried and tested formula of a record of belters plus a lone ballad or two (the fast and slow share equal billing here), but also because a lot of care has clearly gone into crafting a recording that has its back foot in the 80’s but its front foot forward a few decades. As always with these Frontiers releases the production melds the retro sound as we remember it in our heads with modern recording standards and values. I would be interested to see if this incarnation takes a live turn, or is just a studio project, but either way it works just fine.

‘Standing On The Edge’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Thy Will Be Done
02. Standing On The Edge
03. Late December
04. Do You Remember
05. Say Goodbye
06. Chosen Few
07. Run Away
08. Supposed To Do Now
09. Wanna Take A Ride
10. Like A Ghost
11. Running Out Of Time

LINE-UP:
Robin McAuley – Vocals
Andrea Seveso – Guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Bass, Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Nicholas Papapicco – Drums
Howard Leese – Guitars on ‘Supposed To Do Now’

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.

The End Machine – Phase2

Phase2 Album Cover Art

The End Machine – Phase2
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 55:08
Review by Simon Black
8/10

You gotta love the gall of the guys over at Frontiers. You want to sign your rock heroes, but can’t because the brand names they are famous for are locked up in legal rights hell over at a major label somewhere. The solution – create a new ‘Power Group’ act built around said hero (providing that they and their great-grandchildren are not locked into some kind of exclusivity deal), add a bunch of associated musicians, with the brief to recreate the sound and sensibilities of the glory years and thereby bypass the legal landmines. The End Machine basically does this with George Lynch, so you end up with an act that has an uncanny resemblance to a hybrid of Dokken and Lynch Mob without having to spend more money in legal fees than on studio time and session musicians, in a day and age where, more than ever, making money is about high volumes and wafer thin low margins for labels.

This really has a very strong classic Dokken feel to it, but the Lynch Mob ethos predominates, with lots of blues tinged Hard Rock vibes to it – and this is not surprising when the musical backbone is Dokken stalwarts George Lynch and Jeff Pilson, with Lynch Mob singer Robert Mason and Steve Brown, the brother of retired classic Dokken drummer Mick Brown, on the sticks and skins. The classic Dokken / Lynch Mob tropes are all there, with the added benefit of Lynch really allowing his love of the Blues to free flow, with some extended and soulful guitar solo work that positively ripples from the speakers. OK, we’re always going to miss that lovely vibrato of old Don, but he’s got the brand locked away tight and having Mason on board works really well regardless.

What I was not aware of was that this is the second time around for this outfit, which has the maturity and stylistic ease of a group of musicians who are all comfortable with working together. This is really solid, well-crafted Melodic Rock, where no one member of the band is allowed to hog the lime light. It’s got that really cohesive feel to it that and I cannot point a finger at one track on here with the accusation of “filler”. So consistent in fact, that it’s a struggle to point you to a stand out track, although ‘Prison Or Paradise’ and the harmony-laden ‘Plastic Heroes’ come pretty close, which is pure anthemic Hard Rock heaven. As always from this genre we get the odd syrupy ballad (stand up ‘Scars’) but this is saved from any hint of mediocrity from that soulful gutsy voice and Lynch’s anthemic guitar lines.

So, loving or loathing these Supergroup records is a matter of personal tastes and faux ethical pride. To be honest I’m all for these projects where we know nothing is ever going to get the originals back in a studio together in this lifetime and if the quality can be kept this consistent who the hell really cares?

‘Blood And Money’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Rising
02. Blood And Money
03. We Walk Alone
04. Dark Divide
05. Crack The Sky
06. Prison Or Paradise
07. Plastic Heroes
08. Scars
09. Shine Your Light
10. Devils Playground
11. Born Of Fire
12. Destiny

LINE-UP:
George Lynch – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Steve Brown – Drums & Background Vocals
Robert Mason – Lead & Background Vocals

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.

EMQ’s with PRESSURE

Pressure Logo

EMQ’s with PRESSURE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Stockholm, Sweden based Story/Melodic Rock band, Pressure. Huge thanks to lead guitarist/songwriter, Simon Forsell, 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 Simon Forsell, lead guitarist and songwriter of the band Pressure.

Pressure is a Story Metal band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. With songwriter and lead guitarist Simon “Siirpo” Forsell at the helm, vocalist Olof Jönsson and guitarist Emil Salling we lead everyday people around the world to overcome and embrace the pressures felt from everyday existence. With our lyrics we try to show that there are two sides to every story – the good and the bad. Every song has a double meaning. Pressure wants the music to be used as tools to handle the different kind of pressures that surrounds us.

The lead singer Olof puts his soul into each and every word he performs, and he is backed up by the guitars intriguing melodies and rhythmical sound.

The band began their journey together in 2018, and since then we have worked around the clock to build our unique sound and powerful songs. Pressure is always putting up a great show for you and our aim is to make memories and epic musical moments together with our fans.

A quote that can summarize our lyrics is: “How can you tell a story about life if you haven’t dared to live life to its fullest and taken chances, so you can say you have been there and done that!”. Pressure is all about every story, every moment, every Pressure!

How did you come up with your band name?

It came kind of naturally as we are singing about the pressures around us and write our music based on different kind of pressure, so it was quite an easy choice to make. We really think the name projects what kind of message we want to put out there.

What country/region are you from and what is the metal/rock scene like there?

We are from Sweden and Sweden has a really good and large metal scene. We love a lot of the bands from here, one band that we really like is the power metal band Sabaton. Their combination of heavy power metal with historical lyrics told with a great voice is really something to listen to. Check them out if you have not.

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

We are releasing a new album on May 7th, 2021. This album is called “Path Of A Shadow” and is a concept album about your own life but told from your shadow’s perspective. You can try to be someone you are not and put on a good act through your life, but you cannot hide from your own shadow, he is with you in every moment, in every place and always watches you. Never judging, just being there. He is always around, protecting you and having your back without any questions. This is his story. Prepare to encounter truths about yourself that you either didn’t know or didn’t want anyone else to find out.

‘What You See (Is What You Get)’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Our songs have a lot of different influences. The songs differ in genre and mood and so we have a lot of different people that we get inspired by. For myself, I must say that my greatest influences are the people around me and the stories that they tell me, so I get new inspiration for music. There are so many stories out there that need to be told. So, I want to answer that the common person, who just struggles with life and tries in his or her own way to do the best they can, they are my greatest influences.

What first got you into music?

I got into music really early. I started playing as a kid and since then I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. Its more than a hobby or an interest. It’s my lifeblood.

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

I would probably answer this questions in like 100 different ways. Haha, but right now, right here? I want to do a blues album with Eric Clapton!

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

That’s a hard question. I love to play big venues, but I also love to play small clubs. It’s hard to put them against each other. So, give me Wembley and I will give some epic guitar solos, give me a small club and I will connect with the people there and get to know half of them after the show!

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

Hmmm….That will remain a secret! Haha.

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

Stay in the fight. Good things will come but only to those who fight for it. Believe in who and what you are and do not let others dictate who and what you are.

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

Freddie Mercury – that voice is just magical.

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

Being a musician is great because you get to express yourself through your music and to be able to provoke different reactions from those who listen. To be able to help people with the songs that you write. And also, to network and find new and likeminded friends. The bad things must be the working hours, the pay and the endless struggling to get everything to work.

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

It’s hard for me to say, but I want people to be able to get back what they deserve. So, I want to say that I think that streaming services could pay more because the companies are lifting huge profit, but the artist doesn’t see much of it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Hard to choose. I have many…but ok let’s take a swede! “Rising Force” by Yngwie Malmsteen is a great performance of an excellent guitarist. I love the mixing of styles even if the notes are so fast you have to listen to it three times to understand the genius behind it.

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

Vinyl. That’s pure rock n roll for you! The others are just copies of the greatest!

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

We were playing for a Swedish funeral company. They actually really knew how to party. A great gig that went on for hours!

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

I would probably be doing something creative anyway. I need to be able to express myself. I really think that I would be a teacher or perhaps a writer. I cannot see myself doing a normal 9-5 work as that would slowly kill me, I think!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I would invite some people that need to be at a dinner party. People living at the so called bottom of society. Just to give them new hope and for me to collect their stories. I think there is a big chance for people to give up, but we often pass that up. I guess that when people get the chance to invite people to a party, they just take their friends, loved ones and such. But I think those people, we see those people every day and we often party and do things. Let’s give back to people who have nothing.

What’s next for the band?

Next is the album release. We are so excited for this as we have worked for over 2 years on this release. Let me share with you the Prelude of the story of the album!

“Lost in an ocean of terror and dishonour, you realize you are nothing but alone.
You fall to your knees, whispering along the breeze, but the waves do not even reach you.
You reach out to the stars, but they move further away.
You swim and swim, but you drown until you decide to rise from the waters.

Lit by the moon, you glisten in glory as you see me reflected on the sands you once hated.
Unlike the waves that ignore, my support outpours.
Unlike the stars that turn back, I’ll keep you safe from the pack.
of wolves that desire to devour you and have you gated.

I am your Shadow, and this is my path.
A journey that starts with you and concludes our wraths.
They say ignorance is bliss, but I say to know is better than to dismiss.
Now hear me!”

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

www.pressure.band
www.facebook.com/pressuresweden
www.instagram.com/pressuresweden
www.youtube.com/c/Pressuresweden
www.open.spotify.com/artist/7a9rKp03MYJv4leDN7Mm8k
www.shop.spreadshirt.se/pressure

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Haha, this question should be asked to our lead singer, he is actually also a baker! To me, well cake or biscuit, I will eat them anyway! I love those! Give me now! I just got really hungry!

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

Yeah, thank you for the time and opportunity to be a part of this. And to all of you out there wanting to be heard, reach out to me/us and we will see to make your story into a song!

Pressure 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.

Gary Hughes – Waterside

Waterside Album Cover Art

Gary Hughes – Waterside
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 49:47
Review by Simon Black
5/10

Gary Hughes is a name I’ve not heard much of recently, despite the fact that he has a prodigiously prolific rate of output. I first came across him in the late 1990’s when Ten appeared out of the blue and stubbornly refused to acknowledge any of the current fads in rock music and to carry the torch of Melodic Hard Rock firmly forward for long enough to restart the genre. Ten’s contribution is significant, but the man has put his name to many more projects and is probably single-handedly responsible for reinvigorating Bob Catley from Magnum’s career when that act went on hiatus (check his first solo album “The Tower” on which Hughes’ very distinctive song writing and musical tone is clearly audible if you don’t believe me).

This, however, is the first time I have listened to one of Hughes’ solo recordings, although with at least half of the members of Ten playing on here anyway, it feels more like a side-step than stepping out. I was expecting pure Melodic Hard Rock in the Ten vein, but this is a slightly softer sounding piece of work. Vocally he is quite restrained and mellow, despite the sometimes more rockin’ nature of the tracks. Lyrically is a bit more of a mixed bag though. I was less than impressed with some of the lyrics. ‘Lay Down’ with its S&M references invoking a bygone age of 80’s latex-clad bimbos in music videos felt downright cringe worthy and really not what’s needed in this day and age – despite it being attached to one of the catchier sounding songs on the record. But on the flip side of this are thoughtful, evocative and heart-warming songs that showcase his song-writing abilities perfectly. I’m normally quite wary of Melo-Rock Power ballads, but Hughes has a gift for them and plenty are to be found on here.

As always with Hughes you get well-structured songs that lead the ear through gently and tell you where to start waving the phone lights during the live show. The songs individually are fine, but I am struggling to find too many strong tracks on here – the exception being the title track, which has oodles more energy and pace than the majority of the disk and was a wise choice for the lead track. His voice has naturally aged over the decades and this time he’s playing to that tone rather than trying to push himself and generally this works absolutely fine. It’s a calm bit of Melodic Rock, but doesn’t quite have the energy that I was hoping for.

TRACKLISTING:
01. All At Once It Feels Like I Believe
02. Electra- Glide
03. Lay Down
04. The Runaway Damned
05. Screaming In The Half Light
06. Waterside
07. Video Show
08. Save My Soul
09. Seduce Me
10. When Love Is Done

LINE-UP:
Gary Hughes – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitars
Dann Rosingana – Lead Guitar
David Rosingana – Bass Guitar
Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards and Drums
Karen Fell – Backing Vocals
Scott Hughes – Lead and Backing Vocals

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.