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Music Reviews: James Williams, John Lawton & the Diana Express, Kingdom Come, Stahlmann, Temple of Thieves, and Waylon Speed

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Welcome to another week of music, first to two physical CDs that ended up on my doorstep.

James Williams has released a disc called Electric Shred and it is exactly what the title implies. This is a guitar player or instrumental fan’s idea of a good release. While the rest of us will be able to marvel at its class and quality, there is little of interest after a few plays. Some of the tracks would find a good place in the right game or movie, however, as they are deeply atmospheric.

John Lawton & the Diana Express have released an eclectic offering with The Power of the Mind that is mostly fairly mellow, except when it isn’t. While never metal, there are some proggy workouts with a tinge of ELP like “New Rhythm.” “Love in the World” and “Finale” on the other hand have a distinct Queen-touch to them, complete with Brian May-esque guitar widdlings. Lawton believes in saving the best for last.

Kingdom Come is basically Lenny Wolf and assorted musicians. His voice is still in good form on Outlier, if there are fewer high-pitched notes than in the past. This is an curious album, with elements of electronica creeping into some of the tracks which I am not sure about. Overall nothing really grabbed on this release but it might just be a grower.

Stahlmann have a release in German called Adamant and it is industrial. Not quite Rammstein but of a similar vein. There is enough guitar meat in these tracks to make them heavy enough for most of you readers. It is just you have to like that sort of haunting keyboards in the background that exudes from every track.

Temple of Thieves are a band I have never heard of who are very “modern”-sounding. Their album Passing Through the Zer0es is not bad but nothing particularly special either. There is a sense of “heard it all before” about the tracks and the songwriting doesn’t really cut it yet. They are trying so hard to be edgy but really aren’t. However, there is some talent on show here and they might be a band to watch.

Waylon Speed have released the outlaw country album of the year so far, Valance. This is some great stuff that brings to mind Shooter Jennings mixed with a touch of Tesla. An enjoyable romp through country-fried rock and rock-fried country. If you like Kid Rock’s latest album, then you will eat this stuff up. A great album for chilling out and knocking back a few whiskeys.

And that is your lot for this week. Stay safe and rocking y’all.

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