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Music Reviews: Eight Bells, Farewell My Love, Giant X, Circle II Circle, Stratovarius, and Unantastbar

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This week I dug into a few of the EPs sitting in my virtual in-bin.

Eight Bells is some atmospheric stoner-esque music that really does please these ears. The title track on The Captain’s Daughter is haunting with its female chanting and dreary nature. This was, of course, perfect for the weather today as there is a gale going on outside. The music on this disc has a distinct whiff of sea salt if you concentrate hard enough.

Another EP has come across my virtual desk from Farewell My Love called Mirror, Mirror. I have to admit it did not register much with exception of their sneering cover of “It’s my Life” by Bon Jovi. They take that song and make it something special, more genuine almost than the original. Hopefully a full length release will feature a few more memorable tracks.

Giant X are a hard-rock band with a lead singer who sounds a bit like Udo Dirkschneider if he were a bit mellower in his tone (i.e. less screeching). This album really gets in its stride with “Don’t Quit Until Tomorrow” with its festival riling chorus. I is a great album that taxes nothing and delivers the goods in droves. There is nothing not to like here if want something enjoyable and catchy. Hell they even have a ballad called “Nameless Heroes” that should be an armed forces radio hit.

Circle II Circle are back with an excellent selection of their trademark Savatage-like progressive power metal goodness. Seasons Will Fall see Zak Stevens and company firing on all cylinders and producing a quality collection of the music you would expect from them. If you are into CIIC, then you will enjoy this album. I suspect the stability of their line-up influences how tight this band sound. This is great stuff that never disappoints.

But if you want over the top melodic progressive/symphonic power metal excess, then the latest from Stratovarius, Nemesis, is what you need. Always pomp in extremis they really have pushed the boat out with this release no more so than on “The Story is Over”. The title track will not disappoint those who like their power metal with a huge sound. Whether you consider this bunch a bunch of pretentious ponces or geniuses of grandiosity, you can’t argue with the quality and consistency of their output.

Unantastbar sing in German so I have no idea what the hell they are singing, but I want to sing along anyway. This is jaunty numbnut party-rock with catchy choruses and lots of ‘tude, even a touch of the Ramones. Gegen die Stile is quite an endearing album that just evokes a festival crowd going nuts on a hot drunken Saturday afternoon at Walken. Raise yer stein of lager & get your ears around this.

On that beer-soaked note, have a safe and rocking week.

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