Home / CD Reviews: Hourcast, Moonstone Project, OSI and Winters Bane

CD Reviews: Hourcast, Moonstone Project, OSI and Winters Bane

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It’s been a little more than a week since I last did one of these. The bank holiday (Memorial Day weekend) killed my supply of discs for a few days so I thought I would give the current batch a bit more of an ear-over. The results have been most satisfying and quite varied. Of course some that variety occured on the same disc.
Enough jarring lets get to the CD reviews.

Hourcast: State of Disgrace

I never really heard of this lot before this disc and I have to say it took a bit of time for them to sink in musically. They did eventually; especially after few listens on the ole’ iPod. From the haunting piano of “This Life” you know you are into something that sounds vaguely modern while retaining what quantifies it as quality. It has a bit of a Trivium feel here; that is not a complaint.

Like Trivium there are clear hints to metal giants like Iron Maiden as with the song “Freeze” whose bass/guitar combo is pure Maiden goodness. The video to this awesome track is available on their website. Currently on tour with Sevendust and Soil, they sound on CD like they would be awesome live.
Hourcast is a classic example of the new breed of heavy clever hard rock and metal coming out of the US at the moment. There is a clear sense of quality on this CD; although 13 tracks might be a tad over ambitious as things flag a bit towards the end. If you are looking to take a chance on a new act for the summer then seek out this lot. Well worth price of admission.

Moonstone Project: Time to Take a Stand

You might think that getting together this lot (Kelly Keeling, Glenn Hughes, Carmine Appice, Graham Bonnet, Steve Walsh, James Christian, Paul Shortino, Eric Bloom and several others with a shit-hot Italian guitarist, in the form of Matt Fillipinni) is a formula for a trite music wank-fest. In fact they have produced a damn good album; much like Stuart Smith’s Heaven & Earth.
He uses a variety of voices and styles to full effect from the funk of Glenn Hughes to driving rock of Graham Bonnet’s vocal-styling on “City of Lites.” For an album like this to get it right; you have to really want to see the musicians perform it live and this is no exception. Quite frankly there ain’t a turkey on this CD. This might have something to do with the fact you get nine tracks and no 16 track fluff extravaganza. This is an album of sheer class. I hope this is not a one-off and we hear more from Mr Fillipinni and his gang of mates.

OSI: Free

A supergroup of uber-musos from Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Chroma Key could be the formula for a widdle-fest of epic and chronic proportions. Instead what we have is an impressive collection of tracks that should make any Pink Floyd fan weep for joy. It’s a master class in mature intelligent progressive heavy rock that veers away from some of the frankly turgid nature of the music by both Dream Theater and Chroma Key. Portnoy, Kevin Moore (who doe keys & vocs), and Matheos seem to keep each other in check.

I rather liked their first outing together; but this one is far tighter and more impressive. Needless to say, if you are a fan of prog you will just love this. Just pop this puppy in, sit back with your head phones on, and enjoy its magnificence. Do I need to go into each track? Nah, they are all good. It may be only a tad under 50 minutes; but you won’t really care.

Winter’s Bane: Redivivus

Since this lot lost Ripper Owen to Judas Priest and now Iced Earth; they had rather stalled. The band is back with a new vocalist in the form of Alexander Koch and a drummer who has done gigs with Helloween and Metallium. That gives you a good idea of what to expect on here.

If you can imagine a clone of Bruce Dickinson fronting Helloween with a touch of American power metal then you are on the right track. This is power metal perfection as peddled by Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iced Earth etc. Brilliantly played fast and furious this is very much the spawn of Steve Harris and his lot. I honestly can’t think of a better example of American power metal of this quality besides Iced Earth.

Nine tracks of power goodness; with all the rifting and solos you would want. “Burning Bridges” is a definite highlight. This should keep American power-metallers happy until the next disc from Iron Maiden and Iced Earth. Oh yes and as with much of this type of metal; there are hints of prog throughout.

On the digital front

Our EP has gone off to 31 different outlets if CD Baby is to be believed. Haven’t heard of the tracks actually showing up on any of the services yet but who knows. There is another Garageband alike site out there called Bandspace. Why one would chose to use it over Garageband is not quite clear yet. But then again competition is always good.

Well that’s it for this week so have a good one and stay safe out there. However more importantly get out there, keep rocking, and support live music everywhere.

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