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Music Reviews: Amity Lane, 3 Mile Scream, Red Orkestra, Thunder, and Unleashed

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This week's load of CDs is varied, that's for sure. We have everything from sub-Coldplay warblings to the utter head-down power of the legendary Unleashed. Right smack in the middle is the bluesy goodness of my ol' muckers, Thunder. There was supposed to be a review of The Answer/Roadstar gig in this column as well, but the tickets for the gig were not forthcoming, which is a pity.

CD Reviews

Amity Lane: The Sound of Regret

If you can imagine the missing link between Busted! and Charlie's new band Fightstar minced with a bit of Blink 182, then you can imagine what this lot sounds like. It's punky music with serious boy-band pop sensibilities. There is lots of emotion and angst, but none of it is too scary or aggressive. You can imagine the lead singer with a goofy smile on his face as teenage girls bounce around in the front of the stage.

"Running Away" is just one such track with its catchy as stink chorus and sensibilities. It's a bit goofy, a bit twee, but also a heck of a lot of fun. Teenage girls will love this lot and you might expect to see them on the charts sooner or later. If you got an open mind, it's hard not to like this lot even if it's not your style of music.

3 Mile Scream: 3 Mile Scream 

This is metalcore with serious thrash overtones, including some serious blast-beat drumming. Drumming is indeed impressive on this release. He must admire the Paul Bostaph school. This is modern metal done with a great respect for past metal. In the middle of what could be said as bog standard metalcore you get a soaring solo snuck in for good measure.

A good example of this is "Dare to Question". While some of the lead singer's screaming can get a bit old at times, his ability to go from high pitched screeching to a death metal grunt is impressive. I can imagine this is what Mastadon sounded like early in their career. There is a lot of potential on this CD and, with a few listens, it starts to ooze out. It will be interesting to see where this lot is headed with their next release. Let's hope they live up to their potential. They're certainly a band to watch.

Red Orkestra: Life with Machines

This is Sub-Coldplay mellow plod with whingeing vocals and Middle-of-the-Road sensibilties; just check out tracks like "Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" for proof of that. The CD was tough for me to listen to as it so bored me, I fell asleep at least once while listening. Eleven tracks of utter tedium from this lot. It is well enough played and arranged, it just lacks any sense of originality or warmth.

Thunder: Robert Johnson's Tombstone

Despite the title, this is not a tribute album to the blues legend, but merely the title of a cracking track about the great man. This is another strong album from the most underrated band to reside on this isle in many a moon. Never quite high profile, they meticulously put out excellent rock albums and entertain their avid cadre of fans whether it's at last year's Monsters of Rock, or at their many shows up and down the country. And unlike some bands, this is not a half-arsed album to give them an excuse to tour, but eleven exemplary tracks of thunder and roll. There is obviously blues, a Zeppelin-esque rocker in the form of "Last Man Standing," and several cracking ballads, including the acoustic "My Darkest Hour".

Embarking on another tour this autumn, Thunder yet again proves why we love them. Quality British heavy rock delivered with class, ability, and tongue-in-cheek; what else do you need?

Unleashed: Midvinterblot

This is one of those metal albums that evokes your inner Viking warrior, check out the chug of the title track. Think Tim Taylor of Tool Time fame with swords instead of power tools doing his uber-male grunts. It's head down Odin-worshipping heavy dark metal. You really want to have it on hand the next time some happy-clappy nuisance comes to your door wanting to ask you about your relationship with Jesus.

It's death metal attitude, but lyrically it's all Viking mythology played with a grim determination to get everything out of their instruments. It's no wonder this lot are one of the most respected in death metal circles. Like Opeth's death metal stuff, this isn't merely grunting and fast playing, there is skilled musicianship on show here with monster riffs and killer hooks.

This is brilliant epic stuff that evokes the mood of North Sea storms followed by the fierceness of full raid. "Valhalla Awaits" sounds damn good to me, lads.

Well, that is your lot for this week, as diverse as I promised. There is certainly some cracking English rock out there for those who wish to find it. Too bad they are having such a hard time getting noticed in their own country, never mind the U.S. The U.K. sends you dross like The Darkness, but not Thunder, The Answer, Roadstar, or Glyder.

As always, keep rocking, keep safe, and check out live music whenever and wherever you can.

Oh yeah, and Save the Astoria!

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