After two columns in relatively quick succession, I notice I am a bit tardy with this one. I have been listening to music quite a bit in fact.
Rage: Strings to a Web
Arch German metal band Rage is back with a rather good release. Fourteen tracks might seem a bit obsessive and overdone by some, but this lot pull it off. Then again it’s not as if they just fell of upstart metal truck. One of the classic metal trios, these guys deliver on whatever they happen to be doing.
Whether it’s a touch acoustic rock with the “Through the Ages” or the various tracks of glorious power metal, like “Empty Hollow”, this lot do it well. There is even a touch of electornica, circa the 80s, on the song “Connected” which has a whiff of AOR about it. It’s clear that the band have been listening to their contemporaries and are taking it all in for good measure. There are wisps of Helloween, Dream Theater, and even Opeth on here.
It’s clear Rage want to continue to grow as a metal band, and aren’t just rehashing the past. It’s hard to argue that anything on this release is bad, even though heavier fans might not like the slower stuff. One thing that is clear, this is not a band resting on their laurels. If you like German metal then you might want to pick this up. Oh and if you get the right release there is a bonus live DVD of their “greatest hits” live at Wachen.
The Other: New Blood
It sounds almost cliché’ these days, this bunch of punk metal horrormeister’s grew out of it, wait for it, a Misfits cover band. They were known as “The Ghouls” and were from Germany. The Other have opened for The Misfits, Wednesday 13, and The 69 Eyes so know the horror punk metal fan-base quite well. In 2007 the ended up on this side of the pond for a series of dates.
In 2008 it all came together thanks to a video with a porn star in it that helped their third album A Place to Bleed make it into the Germen charts. Needless to say such success put them on the festival circuit that took them all over Europe and saw them play with every one that you could think of. Considering the band is known for manic live performances, they have good stamina too. They are playing Wacken this year, which is a sign of success.
Needless to say if you are into the horror, punk-metal genre then you might want to pick this release up. The sub-genre has some fresh blood in it and it’s time for American fans to learn what the fuss is all about.
Buckcherry: All Night Long
Braindead, hard-rock party music is what you are after? Well Buckcherry is here to deliver the goods. This is probably their most consistent effort since their iconic debut. The title track rivals “Lit Up” for equal parts catchiness and sleaze. Just in case you didn’t get the vibe of the band, check out the next track “It’s All Party”
Buckcherry takes lashings of AC/DC, Aerosmith and wrapped it together in a health touch of Hollywood sleaze rock. This is for people who think Motley Crue have gotten a bit boring in their old age. You put a Buckcherry record on at a party, expect total carnage. Many won’t believe they made it to their fifth record and they almost didn’t, with onlly a few original members remaining.
If you like bad boy, party heavy rock, then you pretty much have to get this release. It’s the perfect music for the summer. Subtle, clever, and classy it ain’t, but it you need a touch of sleaze in your life then this band has got what you need. This should take the band to the next level of fame, and make them the huge worldwide stars there were always meant to be. Buckcherry are back with another great slab of sleaze.
Triosphere: The Road Less Travelled
Female fronted progressive metal from Norway, not a tinge of goth in sight thankfully. Clearly the lead singer admires Doro Pesch with her scratch bluesy female vocals. There are touches of the Wilson sisters about the voice as well, if they ever did metal. It’s a quartet of obviously talented musos who churn out some great Scandinavian progressive metal.
Oh yes, despite the name this is not a trio but a quartet. “The Anger and the Silent” is as heavy as it is deep.
The title track is a great example of the quality of their work. Its has all the elements you expect from the genre, coupled with Ida’s vocals and a catchy chorus. It’s the type of track that could see the band attract a whole new following. You might say this is the more approachable end of the progressive metal genre, less of the Dream Theater like endless noodling and far more sub five minute tight metal workouts.
This is one of those bands that run the line between progressive and power metal. I should think that fans of either genre, with a taste for female vocals and catchy songs, will quite like this lot. Whatever you want to call it, this is good stuff that will keep you satisfied.
Empires of Eden: Reborn in Fire
Can Oz, normally known for its tub-thumping party rock of AC/DC, Airbourne, and Cold Chisel, produce melodic progressive metal to rival the Scandinavians. Well, not sure about the rest of em’, but this lot certainly deliver the goods in droves. A gang of vocalists (8) sing over the course of the release, which explains the vast range of voices. Zak Stevens, Mike Vescera, Steve Grimmett, Carlos Sema, Sean Peck and three Aussie singers make up the collection here.
Grimmett’s performance on the song “Beyond Daybreak” might remind you of his great band Lionsheart. There is a strong feeling of Queensryche about much of the music on here, especially on “Proganatus ut obsurum”. The variety of singers gives Stu Marshall a large palate to play with when writing songs. It’s a smorgasbord of power metal vocals. If you want a song with a slow-build then check out the incredibly catchy title track.
The fact that Marshall can cram eight vocalists in nine impressive tracks is a feat in itself. It’s rare that an album with such a collection of musicians sounds at all cohesive. That feat is pulled off well on here. This is a great power metal release and one not be missed.
Crystal Tears: Generation X
A Greek band doing power metal with ex-Elergy vocalist Ian Parry is an interesting combination. Needless to say, there is no trouble with normal mispronunciations you get in bands from that part of the world. The song-writing on here is pretty good if a tad bog-standard. There really is little of this CD that can be found done elsewhere.
That is not to say it’s a bad album by any means. Its just that genre is filled with such quality the standard to rise about the middling morass is pretty high. There really is nothing on here that jumps out and catches the ear. What is most interesting is that on their previous effort the vocals were handled by Natasha Glanias. So it might shock a fan to hear a bloke belting out the tunes.
It’s clear that the band needs to have a steady line-up to take it to the next level. There is a lot of potential on show here, but it doesn’t seem to be gelling quite right. The title track shows what the band can do, when they pull the same way. Lets hope it all falls into the proper musical place with the next release.
On that Hellenic note we end this round-up heavy on the power metal. As always, stay safe and rocking as you enjoy the summer.