It’s been an interesting few weeks and been quite busy, hence the lack of a column. That said, it does not mean that I am not listening to copious amounts of metal goodness.
U.D.O: Leatherhead EP & Rev-Raptor
Good ole Udo Dickschierder, now firmly ex-Accept, is back with a couple of releases. The first one is an EP taster of the full length. The title track to the EP is prime Accept that ranks up there with some of their best. It could easily have appeared alongside their classic “Balls to the Wall”. Full of menace and malice, it’s prime in your face heavy rock and a great return to form for the big man. The next track continues that tradition with its ever so subtle call to arms “Rock & Roll Soldier”. The other two tracks are as good but are just non-album releases.
Rev-Raptor continues on with the trend established on the EP. Heavy rock done the only way Udo knows how to do it. His band are a good bunch of musicians who know what needs to be done musically. The ballad-like “I Give As Good As I Get” rises to the normal level of Udo unintentional humor. Granted this breaks no new ground for either Udo or the genre, but who really gives a damn, really. We like Udo just the way he is. If you like German heavy rock why accept, ahem, imitations when you can get the real thing here.
Both are worthy collections to your metal collection. Great to see Udo in fine form.
Uriah Heep: Into the Wild
The opening track lets you know this is going to be a good one. This is prime keyboard-tinged rock delivered by guys who know how it’s done. Yet again bands are realising that sticking to what they know best is good for all involved. This album will remind fans why they like this lot in the first place. Newcomers to the band will easily realise why the Heep are so beloved. They were there at the beginning of what we call heavy rock and they seem to want to be there until the(ir) bitter end.
This band have always been known for delivering hard rock tracks with catchy choruses, and rich keyboards all wrapped in their clear tones. While some might claim UH are a poor man’s Deep Purple, I think they have always been able to hold their own against any band. “I Can See You” has a touch of Asia about it. It’s a great little ditty. The rest of album is full of tracks of such class. It’s reassuring that this band have released such a consistent effort after so many years. “Bring on the next 40 years”, the band seems to be saying.
King Kobra: King Kobra
They are back from a lengthy hiatus, now fronted by Paul Shortino, rather than Mark (Marcie) Free. It was like they never left. This is music that completely and utterly ignores everything that came after the 80s. It’s 100% American good time hard rock. Carmine Appice is back behind the drum kit making sure his baby has the proper tub-thumping to back it all up.
Deep, meaningful lyrics are not to be found here. At times KK come across as a bit of an American Whitesnake, like on “You Make it Easy”. Well, if Whitesnake were as much obsessed with partying as they were with horn-dogging and love. I mean, how can you possibly find anything wrong with “Turn Up for a Good Time”. KK are the perfect antidote for all the miserable dross called pop rock these days. Slap this sucker on when you have maxed out on Radiohead and their navel gazing ilk.
It’s great to see this band back in fine form. You will find fewer hard rock releases of this quality. They may be obsessed with having a good time, but no one can fault them for the goods. It’s always fun when the ole’ dogs of the genre show up to remind the young ones how it’s really done.
Bloodbound: Unholy Cross
What happens when a bunch of Scandinavian metal musos from various genres get to let their hair down? Something special retro and true. While other members of the heavy rock elite slum it in various party and stoner rock bands, this one is pure heavy metal (circa the mid-’80s, to be exact). They sound like a really good version of every opening band you ever saw that never quite made it back in the ’80s. It sounds a bit like a bunch of guys, after being apart for 30 years, gets back together to give it one more go.
“Moria”, the opener is an unabashed anthemic rocker that is squarely aimed at the festival scene. It’s a fist in the air glory ride from start to finish. A couple of tracks along is the ever so subtle “Together We Fight”, which is a gloriously fun version of every one of those native language tunes we love from bands like Tyr. All of it has a very strong Judas Priest and Iron Maiden feel to it—a sublime mixture of the two with just enough originality to make it worthwhile.
There is even an excuse for the lighters, with the heart-felt tune “Brothers in War”. Imagine if Judas Maiden had written Knopfler & Co.’s “Brothers in Arms”. You can just see the swaying aloft arms in the audience. A great retro metal album from guys who love all the originals.
Well that is your lot for this week. Lashings of female and power metal will come next week for you to look forward to. As always, stay rocking and safe.