Ever controversial, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2021 inductees have been announced. JAY-Z, Foo Fighters, Tina Turner, the Go-Go’s, Todd Rundgren, and Carole King will all be inducted. It marks the second induction for Dave Grohl (previously with Nirvana), Turner (previously with Ike Turner), and King (previously with Gerry Goffin). Turner and King follow Stevie Nicks as the only women to be inducted multiple times. Those nominated include metal icons Rage Against the Machine, and Iron Maiden, along with Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Chaka Khan, Fela Kuti, New York Dolls, and Dionne Warwick. The Rock Hall has rarely gotten it right for Rock and Heavy Metal and of bands that are officially in the metal genre, only Black Sabbath and Metallica are in. Ozzy Osbourne genius guitarist Randy Rhodes will be induced in The Musical Excellence Award with LL Cool J, Billy Preston, and Randy Rhoads. Music executive Clarence Avant is this year’s Ahmet Ertegun Award, honoree.
Cutting her professional teeth among serious pedigree as a member of Psych-Rock collective The Eden House Orchestra, the ethereal vocals of Belfast’s Louise Patricia Crane have dripped honey with such luminaries as Monica Richards and Julianne Regan. Debut solo album Deep Blue (Peculiar Doll Records) sees a host of Rock legends lend a hand to create a work of strange, wistful charm, paying due deference to a number of influences in the process.Continue reading →
When allied to a sonic experience the term ‘Dreadnought‘ usually alludes to a bruising encounter with little imagination or subtlety. Not so the Denver quartet bearing that name, whose brand of Prog Metal is an eclectic mix of the weird, heavy and profoundly charming, and which spans many genres of music.Continue reading →
On Heavy Yoke (Solid State/Indie Recordings) Azusa is a bit all over all the place. Solid State’s own website has them described as “Can you imagine Kate Bush fronting Slayer; Death collaborating with Annette Peacock?” And they’re not technically wrong. Heavy Yoke is ripe with flashes of Thrash, Death Metal, Punk, Pop and Prog. It seems contradictory or musically adverse, but these are professionals at work.Continue reading →
The Kingdom Field (Prophecy Productions), the 2014 EP from West Yorkshire project Darkher, was at once a thing of beauty and a powerful thrum evoking the bleak moors surrounding the culturally fertile English county. Those fortunate enough to have sampled that release have hankered for an album ever since and thankfully, with Realms (Prophecy Productions), that day has come.Continue reading →
He was so deeply huddled under a blanket that it took a while to locate the source of the voice hollering my name. Eytan Wineapple, curator of the rumbling beast that was the NOIZ All-Dayer, initially celebrated its second incarnation looking like death warmed up. After a long couple of days, with Wineapple escorting eventual headliners Dukatalon to Sheffield and back, they eventually bedded down in today’s venue. “They got here around 3 a.m., and I tucked them all in!” joked Rebellion manager and event collaborator Hayley. Five minutes later, the flat-capped Wineapple was bounding around like a madman: putting to serious shame Ghost Cult’s scribe who, twelve hours later, and still nearly three hours from the denouement, interviewed said host in a rather weary and addled fashion…
NOIZ is not your average festival. Displays of album-style art and guitars in various stages of completion (one of which is raffled off later in the day) stand beside the S.O.P.H.I.E. merch stall in the upper level of the club-style venue. A dedicated handful, meanwhile, witness the pulverising Industria of openers Khost: looking for all the world like a couple of local scallies bumbling about on a stage, yet laying waste with a mystical power which deserved a better slot and much more attention. The Birmingham duo’s ambient, crushing set, its implosive chords and guttural scours blending with a wonderful and passionate line in Middle-Eastern vocal samples, ended bang on time: a courtesy that some of the festival’s other performers could have tried harder to match.
Now apparently, this latest effort from Leaves Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine has been sold to us as ‘Ambient doom’. I can safely say that no version of doom has been anywhere near Vervain (Napalm) but within is a sound of some melancholy, despite adding only a touch of gravity to the more expected symphonic template.
Opening track ‘My Wilderness’ houses a sense of despair, lush keys creating a stirring atmosphere while Liv’s heavenly tones are accompanied by haunting backing vocals. The ensuing ‘Love Decay’ features dramatic 80s goth vocals from End of Green‘s Michelle Darkness, adding to the dark pop-rock feel which is given further piquancy by an spiky riff and crashing drums. The title track’s strange synths and gentle but driving beat underpin a gorgeous vocal which is Tori Amos-like at its height: indeed the quirky Goddess is evinced on a number of tracks here, not least in the roughed-up dub of ‘Creeper’ and closer ‘Oblivious’, both full of sparing leads and woolly key fills in the worst traditions of 80s AOR.
It’s a plaintive sound, that largely gothic instrumentation and dark, icicle-drop keys giving the style expected to the Benatar-ish ‘Stronghold of Angels’, which is given a harder edge by a wonderful contribution from Doro Pesch and some heady harmonies. Though devoid of extremity, even weaker moments such as the occasionally feeble ‘Hunters’ are given a little oomph by Kristine’s soaring, crystal-clear voice, full of emotion; the layered backing vocals; and those ‘riff and rhythm’-laden choruses. There’s a hint of Kate Bush also on the edgy ballad ‘Lotus’, evincing a bitter coffee in a lonely Parisian cafe.
There’s an unmistakable air of European rock about it all, even when that riff kicks in, yet it’s emotive despite the clinical over-production and delicious for devotees of heartfelt operatic rock. Liv’s honeyed notes are effortless, even aching on the mournful ‘Two and a Heart’, and overall it’s fairly pleasant though not the sort for rough old me. Catchy, sweet, and choc-full of darkness and melody, it’s Gothic Symphonia with an even softer heart.