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Music Review: Casket Salesman, Animal Alpha, Hurricane, To-Mera, & Sixx AM

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This column always tries to give you a nice slice of what is out there; with a good variety of new and old stuff. This week we try to keep up this task. While all of the bands are hard rock, their approach is quite varied.

CD Reviews

Animal Alpha – You Pay for the Whole Seat…

This lot most closely reminds me of another gothy punky heavy rock band called Die So Fluid. And it's not just because of the female singer and her range. Its got that oddles of attitude and in-yer-face quality to it that is quite endearing. From the opening title "Bundy" this puppy does not let up. So often bands try this sort of music and get it so wrong.

AA do it so well that you just have to listen. I bet they kick it live and put on one hell of a show. A great CD to kick out the cooties when you are feeling a bit blah. Gets better with every listen. DSF/AA tour of the UK perchance?

Casket Salesman – Sleeping Giants

Despite the name, this lot are not a goth band of any sort. They are more a mainstream heavy rock band with a poppy age. Two members of the screamo lot A Static Lullaby are on this CD, but rest assured this is not screamo or anything close. It's indie tinged hard rock that twists and turns with just enough frequency to keep it interesting. There are times when the band sound a bit Stone Temple Pilots. There is even a hint of the Cure hiding in there. They are very much a band that has been influenced by the indie-pop of the 80s. I suspect this lot would go down a treat on the UK scene.

There is no faulting the quality on this release, whether or not its your cup of tea.

To-Mera – Delusions

I heard good things about this CD from various sources. Not one of them did it justice. Imagine if you will: power metal jazz or is that jazz power metal. It's the most bizarre thing that should not work, but it does so beautifully; especially when combined with the stunning female vocals that abound. The closest thing I can think of is Testament at its fusion. To-Mera really take the concept power metal and does something unique with it. Now will the jazz interludes and fills suit everyone? Probably not, to be honest. It's just so nice to see someone taking the power metal concept and doing something original.

There are no highlights on here… no lowlights either. Your reaction will be to love it, loath it, or just be a bit confused. Great stuff from a band that should be huge.

Hurricane – Over the Edge, Slave to the Thrill, and Take What you Want

Hurricane's three releases lovingly re-mastered on CD for all of us that had 'em on vinyl. This re-issues features the mini-record sleeve format so liner notes are a minimum. A band that never quite did as well as they should, featuring the other half of Quiet Riot bass/guitar duo, and one could argue more talented, but less lucky. Lead singer Kelly Hansen is now using his vocal talents with Foreigner after a career of being a journeyman vocalist. I was fortunate to see this lot live on two of their tours. They were a great live band and talented guys who, like Lillian Axe, were taken as serious as they should have been. A case could be made for this lot to be described as an American Whitesnake. Oodles of charm and they sound like they are having such a damn good time.

These three CDs are worth a purchase for fans of the band or hard rock in general. "I'm on to You" filling your speakers is just a great pleasure. It's nice to see that Hurricane music still stands the test of time.

Sixx AM – Heroin Diaries

Released as a companion to the tell-all book of the same name by Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, this is by far the best thing any of the band has been involved with for a very long time. Rather than some self-indulgent load of dross; it's a damn good hard rock band with some cracking tunes on it. "Accidents Can Happen" and "Life is Beautiful" are cracking tunes no matter how you cut it. The personal reflection bits interspersed on the CD are both interesting and not intrusive.

It's great stuff and quite a surprise. I never thought I would ever be praising solo material from Motley's members. Lets hope this ain't a one shot deal.

Another load of CDs reviewed for your reading pleasure. It looks to be quite a good spring and summer for releases/tours. It's always nice when you get a good crop coming out. Keep rocking and check out live music whenever you can, no matter how small or large the gig.

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