Backed by a band of skilful Swedes (including Mic Michaeli and John Leven of Europe fame) the rehab-ed and rejuvenated “Voice Of Rock” delivered an engaging set of hard and groovy AOR with 1994’s From Now On… The album wasted no time getting Purple fans onboard with the rousing, Hammond-led opener Pickin’ Up The Pieces and the superb blues metal of Lay Your Body Down. But it also pointed the way forward with the moody funk of Walking On The Water, soulful rocker The Liar and the trippy Into The Void. It gets too middle-of-the-road for comfort at points and there’s some dated bloat in the album’s later stages but the closing title-track and a couple of ace Purple covers are worth holding out for. Stronger and more confident from here on in, Glenn would get more adventurous and exciting with subsequent releases. But this album was a strong building block for his comeback and also a great place for new fans to discover his talents.
Don’t know about you, but I would like to hear some death metal today. Fingers crossed.
Cemetery Urn – Barbaric Retribution
Ermagherd. Derth Mertle. The cover caught my eye and it only took about 45 seconds of Down The Path Of The Dead to make me want to buy this. One for fans of Dead Congregation.
Innumerable Forms – Punishment In Flesh
Death metal! Quite doom-laden stuff, quick preview reminded me of early Paradise Lost. Another ace cover. Another must-hear.
And, not a new release yet, but I can’t not mention the new Steve Perry track taken from his upcoming album Traces (out Oct 5). Totally not metal but this song and the return of Perry has really cracked a big smile on the HMOverlord’s misanthropic granite visage. Great to hear that voice again, reminds me of the For The Love Of Strange Medicine stuff, which has got me a bit excited.
And that’s about the lot for this week. See you next week for another mix of raw death metal and smooth AOR. Just the way you like it.
Blue Öyster Cult had hit it big with 1976’s Agents Of Fortune but they were starting to sound like they were going through the motions by the time of 1979’s Mirrors. The slick Tom Werman production and generic songwriting displays little of the band’s usual esoteric adventurousness. The pastiche Moon Crazy should never have seen the light of day and the title-track has some woeful lyrics: “Pretty girls have a love affair/with their eyes and their shining hair”. The AOR approach mostly results in decent but forgettable tracks like Lonely Teardrops but does at least manage to offer up one Cult classic in the wistfully pretty single In Thee. The album is on stronger footing when the band finally starts to sound like the BÖC of old on The Vigil and I Am The Storm, a great cosmic pairing that livens up the second half. Definitely a lesser effort compared to its predecessors but Mirrors has just enough going for it to be worth a look.
It’s time, once again, for my weekly perusal of the new release schedules. I’m trying to streamline these posts a bit so, just to clarify, this is just my own personal picks from the day’s release schedules. I try to stick to albums that I genuinely think I might buy or at least listen to at some point. When I can be bothered I’ll throw in some albums that I think are notable even if they’re not my cup of tea.
Candlemass – Dark Are The Veils Of Death
Two rare and previously unreleased tracks from a 1987 rehearsal for their essential album Nightfall? OK that’ll be must-buy of the week then. This limited 7″ vinyl, is part of the ongoing Peaceville 30th anniversary celebrations and ties in with the 30th anniversary of Nightfall too. I’ll basically buy most anything that has Candlemass written on it so this is a no-brainer.
Wormwitch – Strike Mortal Soil
Every week needs some CanCon (it’s a legal requirement) so here’s the debut album from Wormwitch. If I’m being totally honest, the only reason this stood out to me is cause the cover is so thoroughly metal but then I checked out some songs and this is a very intriguing debut: black metal with a big filthy dose of rock n’ roll thrown in and some tasty riffs.
Ensnared – Dysangelium
Here’s another debut album, this time of the Swedish death metal variety. Hard to say based on one listen but this is promising stuff. Ensnared has a way with a riff. There’s some really sharp and inventive writing on this and it has an authentically murky and old-school death metal vibe. Fans of bands like Dead Congregation should give this a go.
Harem Scarem – United
I was just gonna include this as another CanCon joke but then I went and checked out the track Here Today, Gone Tomorrow and… hey! This is pretty good! I’ve been finding a lot of the older classic rock bands getting increasingly dicey so it’s nice to hear some slick melodic rock that actually delivers the goods. So, come on Canucks, what have I been missing out on and where should I start?
Elsewhere Sabbath Assembly’s Rites Of Passage should appeal to fans of female-fronted, psychedelic occult rock. I’m maybe just being too impatient but I don’t really get the appeal. It makes me all bored and twitchy. Fans of beery blues rock ala old Whitesnake or Bad Company might enjoy Second Skin, the second album (see what they did there?) from Snakecharmer. Warrant are back with Louder Harder Faster which, going by the title-track, sounds like it might be decent, anthemic 80s raunch. And while we’re in the 80s there are also Rock Candy remasters of two Lillian Axe albums, their S/T debut and Love & War. Not very familiar with them at all but both these albums seem well-liked and hard-to-find so these look like worthwhile reissues.
And that’s about it. Chip in if there’s anything I’ve missed and I’ll tell you whether a) I’ve made a terrible error b) couldn’t be arsed including it or c) I genuinely don’t have a scooby who/what you’re talking about.
I know most metal fans prefer the Dio-fronted Rainbow but round these parts Joe Lynn Turner rules. So here’s a superb version of the classic Rainbow track I Surrender. It’s taken from the Live in Japan 1984 double live album that was made available recently as bonus discs with the Ritchie Blackmore Story box set. It’s a bonus extra that outstrips the main feature easily. Listening to Ritchie Blackmore reminiscing about his career is one thing: listening to him play is another entirely. And if you’ve never listened to The Man in Black’s live playing, you’ve never really heard him at all. No criticism of his studio output – it’s adorned with legendary guitar work – but this is a man that likens studio recording to “being at the dentists”. Unshackled from the studio, his playing reaches a transcendent level of inspiration and excitement. The whole band is on great form here, especially Joe Lynn Turner who sings with passion and commitment. But Blackmore grabs this great AOR track by the balls, lifting it to another level with one of his ingeniously messy, improvisational and thrilling solos. There’s a tag I use on this site: The World’s Greatest Guitarist. It’s reserved for The Man in Black and performances like this are why.
It’s finally Friday, time to spend all your hard-earned cash… but what on? Well, the HMOverlord is here to help, telling you what’s new and exciting in the world of metal and rock. And I had to tear myself away from the live stream of Banger TV’s “Essential Power Metal Albums” debate to do it too, so I hope you’re grateful. There’s not much doing in the way of reissues this week (the XTC Skylarking set does look nice though) so it’s all new music. And first off, we’ve got one of the most anticipated albums of the year.
Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
With its simplified artwork and the handing of all vocal duties to Nocturno Culto, it looks like it’s all change with Darkthrone’s new release. Advance track Tundra Leech suggested a more misanthropic approach, following the bullet-belted romp of The Underground Resistance. I loved that album but I find the prospect of a less chummy Darkthrone thrilling. I’ve got my orange vinyl edition pre-ordered and I’m hoping for “Album of the Year” material here.
Hobbs’ Angel of Death – Heaven Bled
The Australian metal legend returns to tide all you thrash fans over while you wait for the new Testament and Metallica albums to land. But, if the track Son of God is anything to go by, I might just stick with this. It’s Show No Mercy-era Slayer stylings put a proper smile on my face. If the whole album is like that, this could be a total winner.
Anciients – Voice of the Void
I haven’t heard this band at all but Season of Mist have been releasing a lot of great stuff lately and I’ve read some intriguing reviews of this new album. Anciients have got a great proggy sound, like a less-sludgy Mastodon but the song I heard (Ibex Eye) took a wee bit too long to get going. Still, there’s definitely promise here so I’ll be checking this one out. Awesome cover too.
Blasphemer – Ritual Theophagy
Italians’ Blasphemer return after a six-year absence to rip out some old-school death metal. It’s chaotic and evil but with a blasting, technical edge. It reminds me a bit of the very early Akercocke stuff, actually. And if song titles like Jesus Rapes and Crucifix of Shit are anything to go by, sounds like these guys are Blaphemers by nature as well as by name. Released on Comatose Music.
Sons of Balaur – Tenebris Deos
Another Season of Mist release, here’s the fictional black metal band Sons of Balaur. Fresh from starring in the graphic novel, and soon to be animated movie, ‘Realm of the Damned’. They’ve definitely got a publicity angle at least. It’s all good fun I suppose, but I haven’t been impressed by what I’ve heard so far. And it’s all a bit… silly.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
I can pretty much cut-and-paste my coverage of last week’s Meshuggah album here. Just change the names (and all the stuff about breakfast). DEP are a well-regarded band that just never really caught me. But I was pretty impressed by their new track Symptom of Terminal Illness so I’m sure this album will hit the spot with their fans. And they’ll have to make this most of it, since it looks like it might be the band’s last.
Elsewhere, we have the return of Singapore’s Wormrot with Voices, an album that also marks Earache’s return to grindcore. But, in typical grindcore fashion, you wait years for it… and then only get 26 minutes worth. Anyone cowering in a corner at the mere suggestion of grindcore can take solace in the new Tyketto album Reach. I’m sure that’ll be manna from heaven for AOR fans. And fans of Europe might want to check out their former guitarist Kee Marcello and his new album Scaling Up. Great guitar but sounds like the vocals might be a weak link here. Both those are out on Frontier Records. And rounding things off, we’ve got the DVD/CD set of Extreme’s Pornograffitti Live 25 (kick it Kevin!) and Sonic Syndicate’s Eurovision pomp of Confessions. Not for me!
Not a bad batch of albums today then. A few that I’ll definitely be looking into but, let’s not kid ourselves, this week is all about the unholy Darkthrone! Hope you enjoyed my wee round-up. Let me know what you’re after today, anything crucial I missed? Until next Friday, happy hunting. I’m off to see if I can catch the end of that Power Metal debate…