This week sees my CD player and iPod blessed with some rather good slabs of whatever CDs are made of. Varying types of hard rock, but all of it rather intriguing. What is even better is that I have been privileged to hear two damn fine bands that had not yet reached my radar screen.
Red Light Rippers: Nobody Likes a Rat
The last time I heard unknown sleaze rock that was this good it was by a band called Guns N Roses and it was way back in 1989… on vinyl. This stuff is just sweating bodily fluids you would rather not think about. It’s driving nasty and catchy as a case of the clap from a hooker. I mean, with tracks like “Trailer Trash Trixie”, what the hell do you expect? “Let’s Go” leads you to a place you really wanna go.
Staci T. Rat has that vocal scratch and sleaze and reminds me of Taimi Downe of Faster Pussycat. As with FP and Hanoi Rocks, there is a taste of glam trash. They are touring the UK with Glenn Matlock (of the Sex Pistols) and have at least one date with Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns N Roses). I am going to see this lot live and can’t bloody wait. It’s one of those records that leaves you with a cheeky sordid grin that’s hard to wipe off. So what is wrong with a bit of guilty pleasure?
After all the turmoil within this band (a stabbing and a breakdown of band leader Timo Tolkki), it is quite a surprise to see them back for another go — their 11th. Fear not, they have not gone all modern on us. They’re still playing uber-symphonic metal with oodles of class. They have a song called “Gotterdammerung (Zenith Of Power)”, just in case you remain unconvinced. The Finnish band has all but the bassist of the previous outing on this CD.
Unlike many symphonic metal albums, this CD has been kept to nine tracks which is probably a good thing. What is most amusing to me is the track
“Just Carry On” sounds as if it’s from A-Ha or even Europe in their prime and is quite good Scandi-pop/rock. Unlike much of the band’s stuff, this track is catchy and very approachable. For most bands, this CD would be impressive. Looking back at Stratovarius’ past few years, it’s a bloody miracle.
Slave to the System: (self titled)
With two members of Brother Cane (Damon Johnson and Roman Glick), the drummer from Queensyche Scott Rockenfield, and a former Queensryche guitarist Kelly Gray (who also does vocals), this CD is an intriguing prospect to be sure. It has Audioslave/Velvet Revolver potential in abundance. I have to admit, with great amusement, that this band sounds a bit like the half-way point between the above two bands musically veering into each band’s territory and back again repeatedly. Now it would be terribly unfair to suggest that this band is trying to ape either of the two supergroups. It just seems as if they have taken old style heavy rock and combined it with modern influences and come up with a similar outcome. As you would expect with the players on this CD, it is all tight as hell and of the utmost quality. Take a listen to the title track, with its killer solo and tell me this ain’t great stuff. “Live this Life” is a wonderful flowing power-ballad. If you initially don’t think it’s up to much…give it time. It’s truly a grower. It will no doubt be a contender for heavy rock album of the year.
NFD: “Light My Way”
Goth is back with a vengeance, well if left in the hands of these guys. With the Sisters touring again, it’s ripe for another NFD release. Of course the lads are happy to create their own market as they are starting a goth club in London. This song is available for download. The CD single includes a radio edit and “Fog Descends” version of the title track taken from their new album Dead Pool Rising as well as “Unearthed.” Need I say it’s miserable as f***, but still catchy?
Well, that is my lot for this week. I should have plopped The Trews CD into this collection of reviews, but I wanted to be able to listen to it for another week. It’s that bloody good. Let’s just say you should forget the poxy “the” in front of the name cause it ain’t one of them “the” bands kicking around now.
Stay safe and stay rocking…oh yes…go see live music while you’re at it!