As we near Christmas and Hanukkah, people are looking for gift ideas and possibly some that involve music. I hope this week's selection of reviews will give you some ideas on what to buy your favorite rocker.
Burning Point: Burned Down the Enemy
Finnish power symphonic metallers are always welcome in this household and this lot is no exception. They have some nice riffing and keyboard lines while retaining that power drive in the back. There is some serious quality musicianship here. Think Saga gone all metal on you. All the tracks have that wonderful galloping quality that makes the genre so much fun.
Metal Heaven were pretty clever to pick them up as they exude an unknown quality that lets 'em rise above the power metal horde. "Dawn of the Ancient War" is a rather good track, with vocals not unlike Iced Earth with a line in the chorus of "no retreat, no surrender". It's all good and puts a smile on my face. So, what is not to like?
Even Nine: Feed
This is a four song EP from an upcoming British band. Even Nine. However like many bands they differ greatly live than on their CD. I saw them do a rather good job of opening for Thunder last week with their Velvet Revolver-esque rock. What a difference to this CD. That's not say it's bad, but it does seem to have been mixed so it sounds like the indie-tinged rock that is prevalent on the UK charts.
While in concert, the lead singer is a mix of Eddie Veder and Jon Bon Jovi. On here, he just sings (or is mixed) like bog-standard MOR rock. Any hint of passion is gone. At least that's the way it is on the first three tracks. The final song, the title track, has a hint of the quality rock this band produces live. It's catchy and well performed, hinting at the potential that exists in this band. Not there yet but certainly a band to keep an eye on.
Nightwish: Highest Hopes
Now all of you know that I rather like Nighwish and fear for their future now that they have parted with their lead singer, Tara. This "best of" is a fitting tribute to the end of the era of a great symphonic goth power metal band with songs from all phases of their career. There is even a cover on here of Gary Moore's "Over the Hills and Far Away" that I would argue is better than the original recording from the '80s.
The female vocalizing on it is just stunning. The CD starts with the awesome "Wish I had an Angel" and ends with frankly stunning male-lead "High Hopes," recorded live with serious Floyd influences. If you have never heard this band before, this collection is well worth checking out. It is, unlike many greatest hits, very much their best of… so far. Oh yes, and there is special DVD with three live tracks none of which are on the CD. This is an excellent package from an amazing band that hopefully will rise again soon.
Spider Rockets: Even After
I gave this CD quite a few listens before I wrote this review, even putting off its writing for a week or so. Something about this band just irks me a bit. I have finally figured out what I loath about this band. It's the abysmal whiney vocals of the lead singer, which have the same affect on me as fingernails on chalk-boards for some. Now some people like that sort of almost spoken whiney singing – I guess I don't.
Alas, this is most obviously the case on their appallingly bad cover of "Helter Skelter". Sad thing is, even though the CD has a horrid drum sound, you can tell the musicians in the band are actually quite capable. The playing on here is decent, but then the singing gets in the way.
Well, that is your lot. My music piece for an think-tank has finally dropped and it is called "Creative Destruction In The Music Industry – The Way Ahead". I Never thought I would write something for the oldest think-tank in the UK which has the word destruction in it. Needless to say Blogcritics gets a nod in the piece as an example of consumer led use of technology. Many thanks to Eric for his help with the piece.
As always keep supporting live music where ever and however it may be. Stay safe and rocking every day.Powered by Sidelines