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Album Review: Arctic Monkeys – AM

I actually really wanted to hate this album before if came out last year. I’ve never been a fan of the band or anything from the modern indie/pop-punk genres and having been raised on ‘proper’ music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, I saw Arctic Monkeys as being a bit of a joke. Despite my efforts I was sold on this before its release after hearing the first 3 singles ‘R U Mine’, the monstrously anthemic ‘Do I Wanna Know’ and ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’.
I wasn’t expecting the retro rock/soul sound and production and found the guitar tones and vocals both fascinating and satisfying. The band have completely reinvented their sound and image, something that has been evolving steadily over their past two albums ‘Humbug’ and ‘Suck It And See’. From the blistering rock assaults of ‘R U Mine?’ and ‘Arabella'; the infectious rhythmic grooves of ‘Fireside’ and ‘Knee Socks'; the beauty of ballads ‘No.1 Party Anthem’ and ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ and the downright catchy ‘Snap Out Of It’, AM proves to be a very diverse bag of tunes.

Something has to be said for Alex Turner’s talent as a lyricist too. This album, although perhaps more so on earlier albums, contains some excellent lyric writing. Really poetic and clever stuff that is worth checking out. The last song on this album, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ is essentially the John Cooper Clarke poem of the same name re-worked into a song. A successful rendition.

Anyway, this album is worth a spin and might take you by surprise. I spent a lot of time last summer gathered around with friends just listening to this, discussing each track and truly appreciating the album as a whole. Hopefully bands such as Arctic Monkeys can keep the art of the album alive for future generations.

There was also a great deal of clever marketing with this record, both with its artwork, the band’s image and the music videos that gave it a unique identity. Perhaps similar to the unmistakable pulses and prisms of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon? Admittedly, the pulsating radio waves of AM that wrap around the record’s gatefold sleeve are probably lifted from Dark Side, and the band’s logo is equally lifted from Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality sleeve. However, Arctic Monkeys don’t deny their influences. ‘Arabella’ does contain essences of ‘War Pigs’ and the band have been performing a fusion of the two songs on their current tour.

I used to sneer at Arctic Monkeys and their growing popularity, sitting smugly with my vintage record collection and dismissing them as being some fad that would eventually die off. Now here I am with all their albums in my collection and a ticket to go and see them perform later this year! Ultimately a fan of band that are, in my generation, riding the success and popularity that the classic bands in my collection rode in their own time. I suppose there’s a bit of irony there somewhere.

Arctic-Monkeys-AM

Restaurant Review: Zizzi Ristorante, Falmouth

The Zizzi Ristorante in Falmouth is fast becoming one of my favourite places to eat. Located next to the National Maritime Museum, it overlooks the harbour, creating some stellar picturesque window views from within the restaurant. Whilst not the only Italian in town with Pizza Express on its toes right next door, the international pizza chain falls far short in comparison. The real competition is a couple of doors down with Rick Stein’s Fish and Seafood Bar. Albeit offering a different culinary experience, it’s certainly a strong candidate for your evening meal and I must confess that my first experience at Zizzi’s was very much by default. I had initially intended to visit Rick Stein’s and arrived only to find it closed!

Inside the restaurant is spacious, fresh and a lot larger than outside would have you imagine. One of the advantages of going out in November and out of season is that everywhere is generally quiet and there are plenty of tables to choose from, not to mention a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. The staff are very efficient and personable and you’re not left hanging around awkwardly upon entering. Given the choice it can be hard to decide where to sit with comfortable ring sofas on one side and intimate high tables by the windows on the other. Either way, with a candle-lit table beside the sea it’s now only down to the food to seal the deal for a perfect all-round package.

I have been three times over the past month and only on my third visit did I actually succeed in ordering a pizza! It sounds bizarre but for some reason the menu has proven itself to be a little misleading on my part. There are slim pizzas listed side by side with salads and calzone pizzas with rustic pizzas. Admittedly, my misreading of the menu may partly at least be down to my own personal incompetence and perhaps I shouldn’t have been too surprised to see a roasted duck salad appear from the kitchen instead of duck pizza during my first visit. It would be nice to have some guidance for Italian dining newbies such as myself on what certain things listed actually are. I was more than a little shocked to see a large pasty coming my way after ordering what I thought was a spicy meat pizza, but there can be no denying that the calzone carne piccante was a pleasant surprise and possibly all the more nicer for it. My recommended dish however is the rustica mare e monti, a pizza that impresses both with its size and taste. One half a refreshingly cool landscape of tender king prawns, mozzarella, courgette and crème fraiche; the other a sensational affair of spicy sausage, tomato, hot chillies and rocket. At last I had successfully ordered a pizza, and what a monster of a pizza it was, almost taking me aback as much as the previous two surprise orders! It was a perfect combination. When the heat of the chillies roared a little too hot for my liking I could switch to the cool tang of freshly squeezed lemon over prawns and crème fraiche.

If you’re looking for a classy dinner out that delivers on quality of food, value for money and great hospitality then the Zizzi Ristorante is a great place to go. Whether you’re a young couple seeking a romantic meal with a sea view by candlelight or a family taking a break from the home kitchen, you will not be disappointed. If it’s something new to tantalise your taste buds that you’re after and you’re anything like me, fear not as the menu offers plenty more than just margherita and spag bol!

Zizzi Ristorante

Album Review: Relic – Matt Stevens

Album: Relic

Release: 2011

Artist: Matt Stevens

Label: Spencer Park Music

Track Listing: 1) Nightbus 2) Relic 3) Rusty 4) 20 GOTO 10 5) Rushden Fair 6) Up 7) Scapegoat 8) Sand (Part 2) 9) Frost 10) 30 END

Internet phenomenon Matt Stevens returns with his latest offering Relic only a year after his critically acclaimed Ghost album. His third instalment is an inspirational blend of progressive guitar passages accompanied by drums, bass, strings, glockenspiel and even the occasional Mellotron. Stevens’ solo climb through self-internet promotion via social media sites and an army of enthusiastic bloggers, podcasters and fans is respectable in itself with his music being well worth the effort to promote.

The cheery grandeur of tracks such as Nightbus and Rusty are a delight upon first listen and the musical textures and melodic hooks grow more impressive with each consecutive play. Known for his technical blend of acoustic guitar music, Stevens moulds intriguing song structures with catchy melody lines throughout this release. The swirling time signatures in Up and Scapegoat create an effortless dreamscape crafted by complex rhythmic passages that appear more beautiful that they do awkward.

Despite the many moments of splendour, Relic isn’t as consistent as its predecessor. Whereas 20 GOTO 10 and Rushden Fair fail to muster the same magic found elsewhere, there are welcomed surprises held within this record. Frost is a prime example; a dynamic explosion of distorted guitars and soft soundscapes that marry perfectly within a spiralling seven-eight landscape, providing a much needed boost of energy to the album. 30 END is a pleasant closing number with luscious Mellotron layering that creates yet another wonderful dreamy soundscape whilst Stevens’ lead guitar melodies serenade the listener into a state of bliss. The chaotic white noise at the end is perhaps a little too out of place yet it is just another testimony to Stevens’ open-minded approach to song writing.

So, if you’re in search of a fresh musical journey that will take you through the realms of prog, folk, ambient and post rock then you can’t go wrong with Relic which has proved itself to be one of this year’s most interesting releases.

 

Rating: [8/10]

 

TTT:

1)      Scapegoat

2)      Frost

3)      30 END

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 19/10/2011

 

Album Review – Chickenfoot III (Classic Rock Limited Edition Collector’s Pack) – Chickenfoot

Classic Rock Presents: Chickenfoot III

Album: Chickenfoot III (Classic Rock Limited Edition Collector’s Pack)

Release: 2011

Artist: Chickenfoot

Label: Ear Music

Track Listing: 1) Last Temptation 2) Alright Alright 3) Different Devil 4) Up Next 5) Lighten Up 6) Come Closer 7) Three and a Half Letters 8) Big Foot 9) Dubai Blues 10) Something Going Wrong 11) Down the Drain (Live in Phoenix) 12) Oh Yeah (Live in Phoenix)

The lively supergroup returns with their bizarrely titled second album. The version reviewed here is the Classic Rock Collector’s fan pack which includes two bonus live tracks and a host of exclusive goodies. The bulk of the extra items is the 132-page glossy magazine. Inside you will find lots of interesting articles including in-depth interviews, a track by track guide, details on the new live drummer and features on Satriani and Hagar’s respective solo careers (although disappointingly dodging out the Montrose albums). The presentation is clear and it’s a real delight to behold. A great deal of 3D imagery is used inside the mag and also on the four postcards inside the album packaging with 3D glasses included. The cards also include amusing interviews with the band members and bar codes that allow bonus video content to be accessed when scanned by a smart-phone. The icing on the cake is an official guitar pick pack for all those aspiring Satriani shredders out there.

So far so good, now down to the quality of the album itself. The band have deceivingly dodged the ‘difficult second album’ in name, but thankfully they have also produced a solid album that completes the illusion. This is after all not a strenuous second offering and if anything cements the band’s reputation as a strong creative unit. Egos still tamed, Chickenfoot III is the sound of a band growing musically – not a group of rock gods trying to outplay each other.

Last Temptation is a strong opening number and is as impressive as the material on their debut. The band’s bluesy roots are again in full swing with catchy chorus lines being pumped into every anthem giving this album plenty of replay value. The memorable funky riffs that spawned all over the previous release are present here in numbers such as Up Next and Big Foot. The softer songs are just as strong with the likes of Different Devil and Come Closer showing that the band can do more than just party with Hagar’s vocals being suitably versatile. Three and a Half Letters sees the band produce a fiery and rebellious monster. Tales too familiar of individuals struggling to find work in an unfair world are represented with class and passion accompanied by the explosive musical performances of the band.

Satriani’s guitar solos are as well-crafted and just as tasteful as before. Sure he’s known as a shred master, but his melodic lines in songs such as Alright Alright and Something Going Wrong are both technical and musical to a high standard, showing professional restrain when needed.

The new album is a good listen and is destined to please fans that have already lapped up their debut album and energetic live DVD Get Your Buzz On. Two tracks from that video make up the bonus live tracks in this package. Lengthy versions of Down the Drain and Oh Yeah sound not only as crystal clear as the record production-wise, but they also sound better than the majority of the new material. There are occasional shades of mediocrity in the likes of Lighten Up and Dubai Blues which fail to muster up memorable qualities and the overall feel of the album isn’t quite as great as their first effort. There’s plenty to enjoy here and the extras in the Collector’s Pack make this particular version an essential purchase this year.

 

Rating (Collector’s Pack): [9/10]

Rating (Chickenfoot III):   [7/10]

 

TTT:

1)      Last Temptation

2)      Three and a Half Letters

3)      Come Closer

 

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 27/09/2011

 

Album Review: A Dramatic Turn of Events – Dream Theater

Album: A Dramatic Turn of Events

Release: 2011

Artist: Dream Theater

Label: Roadrunner

Track Listing: 1) On the Backs of Angels 2) Build Me Up, Break Me Down 3) Lost Not Forgotten 4) This is the Life 5) Bridges in the Sky 6) Outcry 7) Far From Heaven 8) Breaking All Illusions 9) Beneath the Surface

Arguably the most anticipated Dream Theater album in quite some time, A Dramatic Turn of Events is the aptly named product of a shaken band. Co-founder, drummer and songwriter Mike Portnoy infamously departed last year on the back of the group’s most successful album in search of a more metallic venture with Avenged Sevenfold. Once he was surprisingly shown the door from that project he was justifiably denied his place back in Dream Theater and the band (after a long drawn out process) recruited former Extreme and Annihilator powerhouse Mike Mangini. Recent reports that Portnoy is now looking to sue his former band mates is casting yet another shadow over the Dream Theater camp, but if not more so over the ex-drummer himself. For this new album is the result of a band bravely marching on, leaving the past behind and embracing a new future. Perhaps their strong defiant approach has left Portnoy more than just a little bitter.

Eager fans will already know the opener On the Backs of Angels since it was released as an early album teaser. Our first glimpse of the new outfit is most impressive. A technically advanced yet musically enjoyable track, the opener proves to be one of the most satisfying Dream Theater tunes in recent years. Beautiful chiming clean guitars marry with the atmospheric keyboard pads and chugging riffs. Build Me Up, Break Me Down is also a success, presenting brutally heavy memorable riffs and catchy chorus lines.

Lost Not Forgotten sees the band return to the technical exploitation that they’ve become renowned for. The complex sections are perfect opportunities for Mangini to prove his worth, complementing shifting rhythmic patterns with his likeable, if not Portnoy-inspired style. Despite the instrumental virtuosity, the track fails to deliver on the melodic side. At ten minutes in length it falls victim of a tried and tested formula that the band have been milking to death over the last decade. Outcry and Breaking All Illusions contain further examples of this.

Bridges in the Sky is a more inspired musical venture. With an intro that contains Tibetan throat singing, harps, oriental chimes and a choir, the track sets itself up to be nothing short of epic. It doesn’t disappoint with the eleven minutes packing in quality riffs and melodies to make it easily one of the most playable tunes on the record. The inspiration is also found on the tender ballad Far From Heaven. The single-length song contains a believable performance from James LaBrie accompanied by piano and strings. A much more stripped-down song, it proves to be one of the album’s most enjoyable. Beneath the Surface has the same approach, the band proving that they can do just fine without a drummer at all.

If fans had any doubts that Dream Theater would struggle without Portnoy then they can breathe a sigh of relief. A Dramatic Change of Events contains some great material and much promise for where the band may grow with future releases. This is one of their more enjoyable records in recent years and a strong one at that.

 

Rating: [7/10]

 

TTT:

1)      On the Backs of Angels

2)      Far From Heaven

3)      Bridges in the Sky

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 22/09/2011

Album Review: Heritage – Opeth

File:Opeth-Heritage.jpg

Album: Heritage

Release: 2011

Artist: Opeth

Label: Roadrunner

Track Listing: 1) Heritage 2) The Devil’s Orchard 3) I Feel the Dark 4) Slither 5) Nepenthe 6) Haxprocess 7) Famine 8) The Lines in My Hand 9) Folklore 10) Marrow of the Earth 11)

Here it is, the most controversial Opeth album to date. Fans were warned well in advance that Heritage would be the start of a new musical direction that, daringly, would contain no death growls; the only album to do so since 2003’s Damnation. Whilst Watershed was an aptly named step in a new musical direction that largely favoured soft melodies over brutal death metal, this new release is another world still.

With keyboardist Per Wiberg departing from the band earlier in the year, his replacement Joakim Svalberg opens up the album with the solo piano piece Heritage. The beautiful solo spot conjures up classical and jazz vibes, a little on the short side at two minutes, it’s merely the doorway to the journey ahead. The Devil’s Orchard is a fine representation of the new style. One of the first noticeable changes is that the guitar tones are noticeably fuzzier and less ‘metal’ than before. Martin Axenrot’s drumming also adds an entirely new dimension to the sound. Credit has to be given to his playing here, his technical jazz talent is present throughout the album and the band’s new style has given him space to prove himself a versatile musician. The new sound takes a while to get used to but once the past is left behind there’s no doubting the grandeur of the opening song. Well-structured and melodically rich, The Devil’s Orchard is sure to become a staple in the new live set.

Whilst I Feel the Dark contains the classic Opeth acoustic vibe fans will be accustomed to, there are songs here that unashamedly display Mikael Åkerfeldt’s other musical influences. Slither is indisputably Rainbow. Not only that but it contains a guitar solo that is characteristically Ritchie Blackmore in every way. Their roots are revealed further with Ian Anderson-inspired flute solos in Famine and the pompous prog nature of Folklore reminiscent of 70s Camel. The latter track is the clear album standout and one of Opeth’s finest songs to date. An eight minute exploration that concludes with a spiralling dance-fused section, something not previously associated with the band that works tremendously well here.

Heritage is the beginning of a new chapter for Opeth. It’s worlds apart from their death metal days, a clear progression from Watershed and, if you’re expecting Damnation 2, it’s not that either. Open minded fans will cherish this new venture and it will surely enlighten a new prospective audience. Not everything is perfect and there are a few touches of mediocrity in tracks such as Nepenthe and Marrow of the Earth which show that Opeth have yet to fully master this new musical territory. The metal-heads out there will be disappointed if expecting anything remotely heavy, this is pure revitalised 70s prog rock.

 

Rating: [8/10]

 

TTT:

1)      Folklore

2)      The Devil’s Orchard

3)      Slither

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 19/09/2011

Album Review: Sympathetic Resonance – Arch/Matheos

Album: SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE

Release: 2011

Artist: Arch/Matheos

Label: Metal Blade

Track Listing: 1) Neurotically Wired 2) Midnight Serenade 3) Stained Glass Sky 4) On the Fence 5) Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me) 6) Incense and Myrrh

It’s been twenty-five years since John Arch last appeared on a full-length album. Since Awaken the Guardian, the former Fates Warning frontman released his solo EP A Twist of Fate in 2003 with help from former band mate Jim Matheos. An impressive return it seemed, yet it was to be another eight years before a full-length record would emerge, and here we are with Sympathetic Resonance. Bringing in further ex-Fates Warning members Joey Vera (Bass) and Frank Aresti (Guitar) almost makes this a version of Fates Warning in itself with Bobby Jarzombek completing the line up on drums.

This is an ambitious and undoubtedly progressive release, containing six solid pieces of music, three of which clock in past the ten minute mark. Neurotically Wired and Midnight Serenade are stunning tracks to open up the album. Arch’s angelic vocals glide sublimely above the voracious technical instrumental passages that shift relentlessly from one heavy riff to another. The guitar tones are beefy and heavy as hell. Creating a monstrous wave of sound, Matheos and Aresti execute intellectual guitar wizardry through the shifting time signatures. Each section compliments the next as tension-building soft passages mould seamlessly with the heavy riffage. Arch’s persistent use of the harmonic minor scale creates a sense of mystery that runs throughout the album. His vocal delivery is staggeringly powerful and with his high range as strong as ever this record is proving to be more than just a welcome return.

Stained Glass Sky is the longest track clocking in just shy of fourteen minutes. The instrumental intro is a show of technical brilliance and a prime example of how these musicians have inspired the likes of Dream Theater and Symphony X. Despite its mammoth length the track succeeds in being melodically rich and musically entertaining. Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me) is not quite as polished with some sections feeling a little out of place if not forced to fit into the arrangement. On the Fence and album closer Incesnse and Myrrh are shorter ventures (the former still hitting the eight minute mark) that solidify the strength of the album; expertly written songs that don’t outstay their welcome. Arch’s lyrics frame him as the perfect storyteller. His first person fantasy accounts blend perfectly with the instrumental progressions, together forming an intriguing musical landscape.

Far from just a Fates Warning side project, Arch/Matheos is a collaboration that has proven it has a place in the current progressive metal scene. The high calibre song writing seldom fails to impress, the individual performances from each contributing band member are unfaultable and the production is clear and polished. Kicking off a month full of highly anticipated progressive releases from the likes of Dream Theater, Opeth and Mastodon, Arch/Matheos have set the standard high.

 

Rating: [9/10]

 

TTT:

1)      Neurotically Wired

2)      Stained Glass Sky

3)      Midnight Serenade

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 05/09/2011

 

Album Review: Until Fear No Longer Defines Us – Ghost Brigade

Album: Until Fear No Longer Defines Us

Release: 2011

Artist: Ghost Brigade

Label: Season of Mist

Track Listing: 1) In the Woods 2) Clawmaster 3) Chamber 4) Traces of Liberty 5) Divine Act of Lunacy 6) Grain 7) Breakwater 8) Cult of Decay 9) Torn 10) Soulcarvers

If you like your metal dark, brutal and twined together with delicate acoustic passages and imaginative song structures, then Ghost Brigade’s third offering should be part of your record collection. The Finnish quintet has struck gold with this release. Until Fear No Longer Defines Us is every bit as good as their previous albums, and then some. The band has shown great promise with their open-minded approach to song writing and their diversity is in full swing here, combining elements of progressive rock, death metal and sludge metal into a magical concoction.

The album opens strongly with In the Woods and Clawmaster. The former is a beautiful stripped-down acoustic number that displays vocalist Manne Ikonen’s powerful emotive delivery. A soothing albeit bleak opener drifts away before the album explodes with Clawmaster that sees Ghost Brigade hit the death metal switch and unleash a wave of intense riffs. The storm isn’t allowed to rage on uncontrollably and is instead divided by mesmerizing soft passages. Ikonen’s talents at switching between growling death and clean vocals emphasises the light and shade of the song with each side of his technique being equally impressive. The inclusion of Aleksi Munter (Swallow the Sun, Insomnium) on keyboards adds great sonic depth to the music, particularly during the eerie gentle sections.

Finnish metal has a reputation for being a bit on the depressing side and Ghost Brigade are no exception. Chamber is as melancholy as it is beautiful. An excellent slow-tempo song packed full of emotion and haunting melodies, something Ghost Brigade’s music is full of. The band sound at times like a cross between Katatonia and Alice in Chains, Ikonen’s clean style being a nod towards that of Jerry Cantrell. The doomy chords have an element of grunge to them whilst maintaining prog sensibilities that at times sound akin to the likes of Opeth and Mastodon. The band admits to having a rich bank of influences and this is unsurprising with their music being so open. With such an extensive source of inspiration to draw from, Ghost Brigade still manage to create their own sound – something rare in today’s metal scene that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

The album develops from strength to strength with Traces of Liberty and Divine Act of Lunacy providing harder hitting numbers fuelled with energy and bite. Dull moments are few and far between on this album yet Grain is a momentary lapse in aggression and a temporary dent in quality, coming across a little predictable and long. Cult of Decay and Torn are finer numbers, presenting fresh musical ideas and more successful riffs.

The band’s progressive edge has produced epics such as Breakwater and Soulcarvers. The former being the band’s longest track to date, a mid-album mammoth that comes close to the nine-minute mark. Ending the record on a solemn not, Soulcarvers slows down proceedings for a moment of reflection through meandering guitar melodies and subtle touches of musical brilliance. A fantastic listen.

Ghost Brigade have produced an impressive piece of work here and have proved themselves to be a promising act for the future. This is an impressive show of song writing that scores highly on both musicianship and emotional delivery. Highly recommended.

 

Rating: [9/10]

 

TTT:

1)      Clawmaster

2)      Breakwater

3)      Cult of Decay

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 20/11/2011

 

Album Review: In Waves – Trivium

Album: IN WAVES

Release: 2011

Artist: Trivium

Label: Roadrunner

Track Listing: 1) Capsizing the Sea 2) In Waves 3) Inception of the End 4) Dusk Dismantled 5) Watch the World Burn 6) Black 7) A Skyline’s Severance 8) Built to Fall 9) Caustic Are the Ties That Bind 10) Forsake Not the Dream 11) Chaos Reigns 12) Of All These Yesteryears 13) Leaving This World Behind

Trivium return to the formula used on 2005s Ascendency with their new record, developing their old thrash sensibilities whilst continuing the melodic exploration where Shogun left off.  In Waves is another bold attempt to create a concoction of brutal metalcore with catchy vocal hooks that will need to refresh their reputation and prove their worth as a credible force in the face of a new decade of music.

The title track executes this premise to perfection. A solid opener that highlights Matt Heafy’s now convincing vocal style, his combination of harsh growls and strong clean vocals have a powerful delivery that shines amongst a unified high level of musicianship. Inception of the End is another well-structured track with memorable melodies. New drummer, Nick Augusto, adds his element to the mix with an energetic show of rhythmic adjustments that work both for and against the music. Whilst his tempo shifting is well placed and needed, the trigger-happy blast beats and double-kick spamming stands at times out of place, particularly when competing with Heafy’s melodic vocal hooks.

The album continues to impress with highlights such as Black, Built to Fall and the particularly well-crafted Caustic Are the Ties That Bind Us. Hard hitting sections are moulded perfectly with clean passages, producing interesting arrangements decorated with memorable riffs and high-calibre guitar solos. A Skyline’s Severance however is a victim of the flat modern metal sound. With little in the way of dynamic range the track relies purely on musical quality and delivery that unfortunately isn’t up to scratch. This proves to be a significant dash of mediocrity that crops up again in the second half with Chaos Reigns proving itself to be one-dimensional and undefined. That said, two tracks out of thirteen hardly bring a black cloud over what is wholly a consistent album.

Of All These Yesteryears is a satisfying album closer that grows from ballad to metal anthem in fine style with alternating time signatures of sixes and eights crafting an interesting sonic landscape. It flows directly into Leaving This World Behind, a short instrumental slither of sound and that, as with Capsizing the Sea, only contributes to the song next to it.

In Waves is a success that manages to deliver fifty minutes of heavy yet accessible metal that will both satisfy fans and gain new followers. Trivium have put a lot of effort into proving to critics that they’re more than a predictable Metallica clone and In Waves is a testament to this.

 

Rating: [8/10]

 

TTT:

1)      In Waves

2)      Caustic Are the Ties That Bind us

3)      Black

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 11/08/2011

 

Album Review: Kill All Control – George Lynch

George-Lynch-Kill-All-Control-300x300

Album: KILL ALL CONTROL

Release: 2011

Artist: George Lynch

Label: Rocket Science

Track Listing: 1) Kill All Control 2) Done 3) Fly on the Wall 4) Brand New Day 5) Wicked Witch 6) Voices in My Head 7) Resurrect Your Soul 8) Rattlesnake 9) Sun 10) Man On Fire 11) My Own Enemy 12) Son of Scary 13) Go It Alone

George Lynch has significantly moved on musically since his eighties heyday with Dokken and this latest release is another example of his ability to morph sonically to suit current trends. With all hopes of an original Dokken line-up reunion dead in the water, fans will have to make do with another Lynch solo record.

Like his first solo effort Sacred Groove, Kill All Control boasts an assortment of special guests. This time around we are treated to contributions from the likes of Keith St. John (Montrose, Burning Rain), Will Martin (Earshot), Marq Torien (Bulletboys) and Fred Coury (Cinderella). With a fine cast in place, Lynch stands in the shadows (no pun intended) for the majority of the album, keeping his shred chops at bay in favour of allowing the songs space to breathe. This works to an extent with tracks such as Fly on the Wall and Brand New Day being strong enough to stand up on their own merits. However the lack of solo embellishment on the opening two numbers results in short songs that feel lacking in substance and in much need of a spark from a glistening solo. Thankfully Lynch finds space to express himself during the likes of Wicked Witch and Resurrect Your Soul, delivering his signature style in a restrained and tasteful manner within well-crafted compositions.

A lot of people will predictably dip into this album to hear Lynch shred like it’s 1987, but here he has found a place in the true band format similar to the way Joe Satriani has with Chickenfoot. Gone are the hyperbolic solos and the clichéd hair metal lyrics and in their place lie collection of contemporary rock songs.

Son of Scary sees Lynch step fully into the spotlight, paying homage to Mr Scary to the point of using the original riffs and melodies. See it as Mr Scary – part 2. The instrumental is a highlight and is easily the best track on the second half which plods on with some mediocre tunes lacking fire such as My Own Enemy and Go It Alone.

Kill All Control contains a healthy selection of solid hard-rock anthems with elements of blues and even grunge with Voices in My Head sounding like a typical Alice in Chains number. Lynch has done well in developing his modern sound and his ability to use his technical talent only where needed shows his professionalism and maturity as a guitarist. Fans of Dokken and Lynch Mob shouldn’t hesitate to give this a spin, but if you’re a newcomer looking to check out Lynch’s chops you’d be better off starting with his eighties Dokken material.

 

Rating: [7/10]

 

TTT:

1)      Wicked Witch

2)      Son of Scary

3)      Resurrect Your Soul

 

Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 03/08/2011