Category Archives: Hard Rock

Saigon Kick – Saigon Kick (Review)

Saigon Kick – Saigon Kick (1991)

Florida’s Saigon Kick arrived too late for the 80s glam metal party but their 1991 debut album had an eclectic and alternative edge that seemed custom-built for the new decade. The flashy chops and harmonies cast back to the glory days of Ratt, Dokken and the like but colourful shades of Alice In Chains, psychedelia and thrash pointed to the future.

Easy to see why there was a buzz about this band but the eclecticism is a double-edged sword. The variety is impressive and keeps things interesting but also means that for every infectious pop rocker like Colors or moody metaller like New World there’s a cheesy U2-esque Love Of God or the silly cod-angst of What Do You Do. Add banal lyrics to all the style-hopping and the album starts to seem like it’s got little to say.

The hard edge and druggy melody brings to mind contemporaries like Warrior Soul and Enuff Z’nuff but Saigon Kick are inferior to both, with neither Warrior Soul’s incendiary intelligence or Enuff Z’nuff’s depth and taste. There definitely some great stuff here but in an era with a bewildering array of musical flavours on offer, Saigon Kick taste too vanilla.

HMO Rating: 2 out of 5

[Saigon Kick – What Do You Do]

Recent Rock Candy reissue with bonus tracks
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Thor – Unchained (Review)

Unchained (EP – 1983, Reissue – 2015)

I want to get HMO circa 2019 off to a mighty start and it doesn’t get much mightier than everyone’s favourite brick-breaking, steel-bending and hot water bottle-exploding Canuck Jon Mikl Thor!

The former bodybuilding champ (and naked waiter) plugged away with various bands like Body Rock and Thor And The Imps before finally settling on Thor, releasing their debut album Keep The Dogs Away in the late 70s. The debut’s ropey (but infuriatingly catchy) glam made for a bit of a false start and it wasn’t until 1983’s Unchained EP that Thor finally hit his musical stride, with a nifty new band and a hard metal backing that was much better suited to his voice, persona and Herculean physique.

That physique and viking imagery often gets Thor lumped in with HMO-heroes Manowar but the music on Unchained is much more along the lines of the party-hearty block riffing of Twisted Sister. Traces of the debut’s glam approach remain, especially in the EP’s weakest track Lazer Eyes. But Unchained is even catchier than the debut and tracks like Anger, Lightning Strikes Again and When Gods Collide are instant favourites and mandatory listening for any true metal party!

Better still, the recent reissue from Cleopatra bolsters the already mighty EP with tons of quality bonus tracks like War Hammer and Rebirth Of The Hero as well as the ultra-rare Lightning Strikes Again EP from 1982 which features raw earlier versions of the Unchained tracks. When you’re fucking and fighting in Valhalla, Unchained will be playing in the background. Essential listening for anyone that needs some devastation with their musculation.

HMO Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5

[Thor – Anger]

New Releases – 5th October 2018

The release schedule is definitely hotting up now… lots of cool stuff out today.

Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest

Behemoth’s last album The Satanist is a modern classic so no pressure on them to follow it up. None whatsoever no siree. Reading quite mixed and underwhelming reports about this but I’ll want to hear it for myself anyway, and so will you. I’ve avoided all advance tracks so far cause I just want to hear the whole thing.

Anthrax – State Of Euphoria (Deluxe Edition)

I’ve been on a tremungous Anthrax kick lately so this deluxe edition of the underrated State Of Euphoria will do me nicely. Remastered with era B-Sides, booklet and a bonus disc called “Charlie’s Archive” which is work-in-progress recordings of the album’s songs. Puts you right in the room with the band apparently. Bet Scott Ian ignores you.

Steve Perry – Traces

Whoops, almost forgot this one! The Journey vocal legend returns with this surprise solo album. Been looking forward to this and the single No Erasin’ was great so… yes. Look out for editions with bonus tracks too.

High On Fire – Electric Messiah

Matt Pike’s a busy lad. Not content with the excellent new Sleep album he’s also got a new High On Fire one out too. I’ve got most of this band’s stuff but they’re not a big fave and I slept on their last album. Might give this a go though, cause I feel like Pike is just on form lately… and they’re not on Third Man Records so that’s a plus!

Deathhammer – Chained To Hell

Fun black thrash from Norway. New track Rabid Maniac Force is total Destruction worship which is absolutely fine by me. And tell me you don’t want a copy of this for that cover alone! And it’s not on Third Man Records because Jack White is a pure plum.

Riot – Archives Volume 1: 1976-1981

Amazing looking archival release from High Roller that covers the bands early years with vocalist Guy Speranza. Available as a CD/DVD set or a DLP/DVD set, this features 18 unreleased tracks including pre-Rock City stuff, early versions of Narita tracks and a live show from 1981 on the DVD. Want.

Cirith Ungol – Witch’s Game

The returned Cirith Ungol dropped this superb new song on Bandcamp a wee while back and now’s your chance to get their first new song in 27 years on vinyl. It will also feature a live version of Doomed Planet as the B-side, taken from their performance at Germany’s Hammer of Doom festival in 2017.

And that’s about it for another week. See you next week for more new release bunkum.

Thundersteel – Riot Reissue Classic Album on 30th November 2018

Riot and Metal Blade are set to release the 30th Anniversary Edition of their classic album Thundersteel on 30th November.

Originally released in 1988 the album is now getting the full Metal Blade treatment including bonus tracks and a bonus DVD with tons of exclusive live concert footage. And there’s also a vinyl edition… clear lavender!

Anyhoo, this is a must buy. Not my favourite stuff of theirs (I vote Narita) but it’s a sterling reboot of the band in a pacey, speed/power metal mould and well worth getting for fans of classic metal.

New Releases – 28th September 2018

New releases. That is why you are here.

Anaal Nathrakh – A New Kind Of Horror

I was a big fan of AN’s last album The Whole Of The Law so I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I wasn’t that fussed by new song Forward! so I decided to ignore all advance tracks and just wait to hear the album in full. It has put a wee dampener on my excitement though… but not enough to stop me buying it.

A Forest Of Stars – Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes

I first heard these Victorian black metal thespians in a documentary about the UK scene and I’ve wanted to get into them ever since. But so far, I want to like them more than I actually do. I’ve tried this new album and I still don’t quite get it. If you do get it then the handcrafted box edition looks very snazzy.

Horrendous – Idol

Modern death metal mavens Horrendous return with their fourth album. I’ve only heard their last album Anareta which was pretty good but got drowned out among all the other releases of the time. Might happen again with this one cause there’s so much coming out now. But we’ll see.

Cinderella – The Mercury Years

And last but certainly not least, the classic Cinderella studio albums get some long overdue reissue love. I’m not that familiar with the fourth album but the first three are golden. And there’s also bonus tracks on the albums and an extra disc of live tracks and B-sides. And all for just £20?! Ewwww! Ewwww yeah!

And that’s about the lot for this week. See you next week for more new release antics.

Seven Devils Moonshine – Epic Virgin Steele Box Set To Be Released In Nov 2018

HMO heroes Virgin Steele have announced they will celebrate their 35th Anniversary(!) by releasing a brand new box set called Seven Devils Moonshine. It will be released through SPV/Steamhammer on November 23rd 2018 and will include 5 CDs (a total of 88 songs) as well as a sticker and a 24 page booklet with new lyrics and photos by frontman David DeFeis.

The band have been doing extended album reissues for quite a few years now and were planning to reissue the two albums Hymns To Victory and The Book Of Burning together as a deluxe set with extra material. But they started recording some new stuff to put on a bonus disc and in typically overblown Virgin Steele style they ended up with three albums worth of new material! So as well as the two reissued albums the set will include 3CDs worth of new songs, orchestral versions, cover versions… you name it. Looks like a great value package and a must-buy for fans. As I wrote recently, their last studio album wasn’t the best but I love this band and I’ll take as much of this stuff as they’ve got.

Now Playing: Anthrax – For All Kings

Some albums are so OK you have to buy them twice.

Funnily enough, after reading an article about Anthrax’s Scott Ian (reportedly) behaving like an arsehole, I ended up going on a big Anthrax kick and buying another copy of their last album For All Kings. Goes to show all publicity is good publicity!

I wasn’t all that impressed by For All Kings when it was released back in 2016 but after hearing some of the songs live on the recent Kings Among Scotland release, I felt like revisiting it.  And ended up not only listening to it again but enjoying it enough to add the ‘Tour Edition’ to my collection (for its extra disc of demo versions). Some great tracks here like You Gotta Believe, Suzerain, Evil Twin and the title track. I’d prefer the sound to have more attack and I find songs like Breathing Lightning and This Battle Chose Us a bit too slick for comfort but, judged on its own merits as a We’ve Come For You All kinda album, it’s a solid and memorable release. Just don’t ask Scott Ian to sign it for you.