ALBUM REVIEW: Blacktop Mojo – Blacktop Mojo


From the opening salvo of big bruising rocker ‘Wicked Woman’, you know what Blacktop Mojo’s new self titled album (Cuhmon Records) has in store – a heady mixture of Southern Rock, Grunge and Hard Rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Soundgarden and Black Stone Cherry are the ingredients, with the outcome being muscular riffs, big choruses, plenty of volume, and an angsty, grunge-like atmosphere.

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ALBUM REVIEW: King Woman – Celestial Blues


Kris Esfandiari has released many different styles of music under many different monikers. There is Miserable, a solo, Shoegaze project of Esfandiari. Then, there’s NGHTCRWLR, an Experimental, Noise, Industrial outfit. With each project more different than the last, Esfandiari is a versatile and inventive vocalist gifted at making transgressive music. On Celestial Blues (Relapse Records), Esfandiari returns as King Woman. Following up 2017’s Created in the Image of Suffering, the sophomore album from King Woman is a shocking release that is like horror.

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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: Nicarus – “Coal People, Coal Puppets”


Musical artist Nicarus has released a trippy video for the title track of her early 2021 opus, Coal People, Coal Puppets. The record will see a re-release as a fully remastered album later in 2021. For the video, Nicarus imagines “Coal People, Coal Puppets” with a visually striking clip that alternates between color and black and white, calm and menacing, and does justice to the sprawling Doom and post-Grunge epic song. A DIY artist to her core, Nicarus is now matching the visuals to her already compelling music. Watch the clip here!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Seether – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


 

Seether is collectively known as Shaun Morgan (vocals), Corey Lowery (guitar), John Humphrey (drums), and Dale Stewart (bass) release their eighth album Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum (Fantasy Records). The album clocks in at just under an hour and is jam-packed with awesome songs. There isn’t a wasted moment on Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.

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EP REVIEW: Lonely Dakota – End of Days


Despite their stateside sounding name Lonely Dakota are a British quartet who formed at the tail end of 2015. With a few lineup changes and singles in between, including 2018s ‘Dead Stories’, this year saw the release of their debut EP End of Days (Self-Released) – serving up the kind of Post-Grunge that Shinedown and Seether built a career on. The plaintive melody and general melancholic aura of opening track ‘Victoria’ sets the tone for this five-track offering, emotive Hard Rock with radio-friendly sensibilities and a nagging sense of deja vu.Continue reading


Scott Stapp – The Space Between the Shadows


Since his last album Proof of Life Scott Stapp has been through a lot of turmoil, battling addiction and depression. Six years down the line and new record The Space Between The Shadows (Napalm Records) charts his successful battle with his personal demons and the lessons he learned on the way.Continue reading


Those Damn Crows – Murder And The Motive


One of the biggest problems Earache Records faced in the nineties was in identifying a second-wave to follow on from their ground-breaking Death Metal and Grindcore revolutionaries; they had set an unreachable bar with their pioneers that, particularly with a rapidly moving undercurrent of a scene, continuing such a rich vein of form was nigh on impossible. Following their twenty-first century reinvention as a home par-excellence for the very best in Rock (of the Classic-tinged variety), they face a similar quandary… how do you follow-up Rival Sons, Temperance Movement, and Blackberry Smoke?Continue reading


Three Days Grace – Outsider


When anyone thinks about Three Days Grace, instantly one thinks of 2003’s ‘I Hate Everything About You’. The song came out in emo’s prime and it fit so well. Ever since releasing their debut self-titled album, the Canadian quartet has stayed true to their three-year interval on releases. Continue reading


Weirds – Swarmculture


Weirds is not a heavy band. Or not heavy in the way that I’m accustomed to when reviewing God Dethroned or Suffocation. But on their début album, Swarmculture (Alcopop!) there is certainly traceable amounts of Hard Rock in Weirds’ diet. There’s also an abundance of post-Punk, synths, and even a dash of Blues in their musical makeup. Is this a case of too many cooks in studio?Continue reading


Pop Evil – Up


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It may be all too easy to scoff at bands that come from that America specialty of post-grunge hard rock acts following the likes of Nickelback, bands often cited as lowest common denominator rock and metal. What this does overlook is the genuine talent that does come through in this style, and at the very least that they do sometimes bring some great songs (even Nickelback have some anthems, don’t deny it). Relative unknowns in the UK and Europe, Pop Evil are big news in their native USA and are beginning to make some waves across the Atlantic (a pretty well received Download Festival main stage slot is a good start), and with good reason.

Pop Evil have always been a little bit different from the crowd they find themselves in, with a bit of an exploratory streak beyond their peers, whilst not proving wildly unpredictable or hard to follow. On this, their 4th effort Up (eOne Music) proceedings are immediate and huge from the start but also have an underlying sense of atmosphere, almost veering on eerie and morose at times.

Opening with lead single ‘Footsteps’ is a statement of intent, displaying the album’s new found positivity in comparison to its predecessor’s gloomy tone, as its instant chorus and metallic crunch embed themselves firmly into your head. Not that it lapses after this as throughout, each song proves strong, if not as memorable as others. Even the obligatory ballad ‘If Only For Now’ has a darker feel opposed to the sugar coating that many would do. Leigh Kakaty’s vocals prove heartfelt and genuine and certainly match the band’s colossal, if somewhat unoriginal, sound.

This kind of stadium ready contemporary rock is certainly not for everyone’s taste and it very rarely sets the world alight in the sense of reinvention or necessity, and whilst Up doesn’t entirely buck this trend it certainly further evidences Pop Evil’s prowess and their edge above many of their peers. With a greater sense of atmosphere than many similar bands and an ear for a good tune, these guys have proven themselves as one of the strongest in their field. Big things await.

 

7.0/10

CHRIS TIPPELL