With 25 studio albums under his belt after forming Uriah Heep back in 1969, Mick Box is not your average 75-year-old. While it is a travesty that Uriah Heep are left in the shadows of their contemporaries, such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, the consistent high-quality of Uriah Heep’s albums puts them up with the aforementioned bands.
Moths, the five-piece stoner/prog outfit from San Juan, Puerto Rico, take a voyage into space on their debut LP. As cosmic and inter-galactic as the results are, this mission perhaps required more focus, more direction and a tad more discipline. The myriad metal genres, frequently-changing time signatures and disparate musical sections idiosyncratically grafted together into songs can make it hard to grasp or nail down any plan behind it all.
Having amassed a discography of over twenty albums as the lead vocalist (of which this is the fifth solely under his own name), and nearly two dozen guest appearances across a thirty year professional recording career, you could have forgiven James LaBrie for taking some overdue and well-earned time off when the 2020 Dream Theater world tour was halted. Instead, he and Eden’s Curse (whose Trinity album was adorned by his distinctive a glorious pipes) guitarist Paul Logue began trading the musical ideas that would grow into Beautiful Shade of Gray (InsideOut Music).
Monster Magnet probably needs no introduction to anyone who has paid any degree of attention to the alternative rock scene over the last 25 years or more. The band has always been unashamedly and unapologetically rockist in their approach. Largely ignoring scenes such as grunge as they have come and gone, Monster Magnet have managed to pump out album after album of classic heavy rock, and they continue to play to huge audiences. Somehow they have always stood out from the crowd of rock revivalists and “stoner” bands. Whilst the music of many of these retro bands so often feels tired and trite when compared to the 60s or 70s bands they try to copy, they always exuded a special kind of conviction, authenticity and raw power that sets them apart. Maybe this has something to do with (singer, guitar player and only original member) Dave Wyndorf having been born in 1956 and so having actually lived through the 60s and 70s. Either way, the music has always felt just as legitimate and classy as records by Motörhead or Deep Purple.
Following up a breakthrough album, such as Boss Keloid’s last opus Melted On The Inch (Holy Roar) which finished at #4 in Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year poll in 2018, is a challenging proposition. Stray too far from the magic formula and you risk undoing that giant stride taken forwards (even without being a band that has always taken efforts to ensure development and evolution of their sound is a given); repeat the previous approach and accusations of diminishing returns, or playing it safe, abound along with an invariably inferior product. Continue reading →
With no less than twenty-two studio albums behind them, NWOBHM legends Saxon are back again but with something a little different this time. Instead of just rummaging around in the attic for an old live recording, or throwing together a contractually obliged “Best Of…”, Barnsley’s finest have taken their time during lockdown to produce something a little more imaginative. Looking to the past, the band has recorded Inspirations (Silver Lining Music/Militia Guard), a collection of songs by artists who made an impact on them at the start of their musical journey. Continue reading →
The organizers of Hellfest have been officially canceled after the French government culture ministry said summer events would be allowed to go ahead — but with a limit of 5,000 people, all of whom must remain seated, to meet COVID-19 restrictions.This is a bad sign for the upcoming European festival circuit this year as other countries are likely to follow the same protocols. The Union of Contemporary Music (SMA), which represents festivals, concert venues and producers, said late Thursday that the figure had been agreed at a meeting with culture minister Roselyne Bachelot. Hellfest, which drew 180,000 people in 2019, generally features a lineup which is 90 percent made up of international acts and 20 percent of spectators coming from abroad. Hellfest 2021 was to have featured Deftones, Faith No More, System of A Down, Judas Priest, Puscifer, Korn, Volbeat, Opeth, Dropkick Murphys, Northlane, Deep Purple, Wardruna, Rival Sons, Devin Townsend, Suicidal Tendencies, and more.
A new album and a new singer. The Dead Daisies’ latest album Holy Ground (SPV Steamhammer) is their first with the “voice of rock” Glenn Hughes, and his powerful pipes are a perfect match for the band’s well-honed classic rock. Having been in Deep Purple and more recently Black Country Communion Glenn is no stranger to famous bandmates and supergroups. The lead single ‘Unspoken’ shows that despite the ever-revolving door of bandmates, the music is as thunderous, hooky and rocking as ever.