Royal Republic – Club Majesty

They say fashion and pop culture are cyclical and this old adage is at work again with the current ’80s revival, with the recent Goonies-esque vibe of Stranger Things and IT, the Motley Crue film The Dirt and the Spielberg explosion of colour that is Ready Player One. As well as Muse‘s retro love fest Simulation Theory and the wonderfully abundant AOR cliches of The Night Flight Orchestra. From this colourful decade, Swedish rockers Royal Republic have drawn inspiration for their fourth album Club Majesty (Nuclear Blast Records). Continue reading

11PARANOIAS – Asterismal

Drone, much like Djent, is a wonderfully onomatopoeic genre. Say “droooone” out loud and you get somewhere close to the guitar tone that makes up this subset of noise music. It’s also a rather impenetrable genre, taking vast amounts of time to learn the ins and outs of a band’s oeuvre. Drone isn’t music for casual listeners, it requires dedication. When combined with swirling psychedelia and a deluge of Doom you get Asterismal, the latest album from experimental merchants, 11PARANOIAS. Continue reading

Vulcain – Vinyle

Formed in 1981, French Hard Rock trio Vulcain found a new lease of life and reformed in 2009 after over a decade away. Their new album Vinyle (Season of Mist) comes five years after their comeback album V8 and very much continues where they left off, namely the coarse and slightly punky brand of Hard Rock and Metal that caused critics to dub them “the French Motorhead” – no doubt helped by Daniel Puzio’s gruff vocals. Continue reading

Beastmilk – Climax

a2339922695_10Let’s get this out the way; Climax (Svart) by Beastmilk is pure hero worship of a whole clutch of 80’s influences. I heard all the originals many times in between figure-of-eighting to ‘Temple of Love’ and ‘Moonchild’ at The Dungeon goth club in South-fucking-hampton and had long since moved on.  Yet, hearing them now put together by a new, yet highly referential outfit, the interest is well and truly piqued, and got me in the mood to go back to the originals. Can’t ask for more than that…

Beastmilk are one of those strange (milky) beasts that don’t play metal but have been embraced by the metal community. Whether that’s because vocalist Kvohst has history in blacker climes (Dødheimsgard and Code) or because it takes those us approaching middle age back to our youth and experiments in painting fingernails black (once! I did it once! Same as the white silky frilly shirt! I’ll admit the leather trousers were worn until they fell apart though), or because you can’t argue with really good songs, whatever the style.

Launching with the energetic punky trio of Cure meets The Smiths ‘Death Reflects Us’, standout track ‘The Wind Blows Through The Skulls’ and the catchy ‘Genocidal Crush’, memorable song after memorable song continues, with the exceptions of the maudlin (and frankly dreary) ‘Ghosts Out of Focus’ and perhaps ending downer ‘Strange Attractors’. From ‘Nuclear Winter’ to ‘Surf The Apocalypse’ to ‘Lost In A Cold World’ Climax is a series of strong death-rock anthems, all of them driven on by an energetic and strong production from Kurt Ballou and an 8th-note peddling goth-punk bassline (Arino)overlaid with the jangly and dreamy guitars of Goatspeed (WTF? – ST), while Kvohst switches from Morrissey to Glenn Danzig to Ian Curtis, nailing the ideal style for the mood and section of the song.

As an added side-game you can play ‘spot-the-80’s’ reference as Bauhaus, Killing Joke and most prominently Joy Division (amongst others) raise their post-punk gothic-rock heads, but when the songs are this impressive, it matters not the amount of homage being paid, what matters is how good an album this is. And Climax is a very good album indeed.

8/10

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Steve Tovey