I write this looking over an epic three week trek across the US to Fresno and back to Maine. The driving looks formidable, but it will give me a chance to listen to oodles of review music as the miles drift away from destination to destination.
Cooper Inc.: Pulling the Trigger
Formed in 2004 by John Cuijpers of Ayreon fame and Hans in’t Zandt (Wonder if that is the original spelling of Van Zant? Could this guy be Ronnie & Donnie’s distant European cousin?) of Vengeance fame teamed up together to make some quality European hard rock. This is a strong release from the band, but then again John has been making music with Steve Lukather of Toto fame (Cooper Inc has toured with them three summers in a row), Doug Aldrich of Whitesnake fame and Chuck Wright who has worked with too many many bands to mention.
This is a solid slab of hard rock with a certain quality and talent pervading all of it. Everything from the rocking title track to the gorgeous track “Voices Within” clearly make a case for the quality of this band. They know what they are doing and are not scared to show it. Though the band is full of talent there is little showboating, with the songs working in all aspects. This is a great release from a band I would like to hear more from. Unlike many of their European contemporaries there is nothing twee on here, no mangled pronunciations or groan inducing lyrics.
If you like solid hard rock of the European continental variety, this release is well worth seeking out.
Uriah Heep: Celebration
The name rather says it all with this release. It’s a celebration of a band that has made it 40 years. Personnel changes and a few deaths not withstanding the band continues to endear themselves to their current and new fans alike. The ole’ rockers still got a lot to offer. This is a look back of how they got to where they are. They have taken the opportunity to record some of their best known songs in all their modern glory.
Uriah Heep is the type of band that has songs that you know well but probably wouldn’t be able to pin the band down. Probably why this release is well timed to remind rock fans who exactly they are in the end. You will no doubt have hard tracks like “Easy Living” and “Lady in Black”. And you might have heard their oddball classic prog-esque tale called “The Wizard”.
This is a greatest hits release of sorts given, and fans of the band might not necessarily need to seek this out. But those with a passing acquaintance or familiar with their songs would do a good job to seek this out and give it a twirl. It won’t take too long for you to know why they have lasted so long.
Made up of members of 3 Doors Down, Music Mafia and Kid Rock’s backing band this lot certainly have a fair amount of experience playing rock. This outing features all the members producing something that is just a bit more basic than their normal bands’ fare. This is more of your basic hard rock with an 80s feel. There is a sense of modern music at its core, but overall there is quite a good retro- vibe to find here.
While this is a side-project it does not have that half-arsed feel to it. They are a proper band that is making an effort to produce something decent. This won’t exactly break any new ground for originality, but it’s a good for an enjoyable listen or two. Its clear that they enjoy doing what they are doing all in all. It was recorded in Nashville over a few days when members of the bands were free. A bunch of guys producing a vanity project or a side-band that could lead to other things?
Is this an essential purchase; probably not. However, if you can find this and want to give a new band that is having a good time a chance, then seek it out.
16 Second Stare: Red Carpet Material
Some really decent modern rock is what you get on this new release from the band. After playing a successful gig, their first, at SWSX in Austin, the band produced this impressive collection of tunes. Unlike many young bands they have really eschewed the normal Fall Out Boy-isms that can get so tiring except when done by the actual band that originated sound. Its significant they manage to produce such a solid record considering the fluctuating line-up that sees only two original members remaining.
They are now touring with ex-Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. So the band are getting themselves an every expanding audience. Its pretty obvious this will help keep the band in the spotlight with its solid modern rock sound and consistently quality material. Might not do much for old school hard rockers but its refreshing to see a band do something that lives up to proper rock standards.
If you want to hear a good modern rock band doing some decent material then you should seek this bunch out. They retain just enough to keep all rock fans while still remaining true to their roots. Its no wonder that they found themselves on the Cruefest national tour.
Aetherius Oscuritas: Black Medicine
This is one of those one man band black metal outfits that seem to be able to produce music to satisfy the black metal hordes. This is the fifth release from the band and is something that fans of bands like Dissection, Taake, Raganarok and Ancient would appreciate it. This is old school dark deep ancient evil black metal that is almost primordial in nature.
It’s a personal statement by Arkhorri playing homage to all those old school black metal and well as his way of hat-tipping the Hungarian black metal scene. This is one of those band that you will either love or hate depending on your take on this sort of uber-black metal. This sort of stuff is for the true believers of the genre who are not willing compromise for anything less than the blackest of black.
It can be bloody hard to review this sort of stuff because its really not for the uninitiated. This is stuff that is so obscure and intense most metal fans would not even know it existed. If you like the genre then you will probably enjoy this homage to all that has come before it. If you are not in on the vibe of the hole thing you probably shouldn’t bother. Black metal does not get blacker than this.
Well that is your lot for this week. From the nicest of mainstream hard rock to the blackest of black metal. Stay rocking and stay safe, see you in a few weeks.Powered by Sidelines