ALBUM REVIEW: Jinjer – Macro

Jinjer has got to be right up there when it comes to the busiest bands in all of hard music today. Just examining their 2019 schedule leads me to notice that they kicked things off with the Micro EP, toured Europe, launched their first headlining North American run this Fall and somehow still found studio time to assemble their fourth proper LP Macro (Napalm Records) just in time for another Euro trek. Don’t know how they do it, but nothing but respect for our Ukrainian friends even if our president is a vile pig monster who tried extorting you guys for political gain. Continue reading

REVIEW: (Hed) P.E Live at The Cavalier Theatre, La Crosse Wisconsin

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There are just some bands that a person has to see whenever there is an opportunity, plain and simple. I made the mistake of not going to a concert in 1993, citing that I would see them next time, well, there was no next time. Since that moment in history, I rarely miss the shows of bands that are meaningful to me. One of the bands that I have on my must-see list is (Hed) P.E., I am hoping they are on your list too. My youngest spawn asked me a while ago how many time I have seen (Hed) P.E. and I surprised myself when I counted the shows I had attended. Continue reading

(Hed) P.E. – Stampede

Evolution is inevitable, resisting it is futile. I have witnessed oodles of bands that have resisted letting their music evolve, getting themselves trapped in a murky impenetrable bubble of monotony and dismal record sales. (Hed) P.E. is not one of those bands. If anything, (Hed) P.E. could be the official spokesmodel for bands who embrace the natural evolution of their music. The latest studio album from (Hed) P.E., Stampede (Pavement Entertainment) is a dynamic testament that the band is categorically fearless in their songwriting and continue to transcend any and all musical pre-conceived notions. Continue reading

Sons Of Lazareth – Blue Skies Back To Gray

No, it’s not a quirky mix of Lazarus and Nazareth. Italian Stoner / Grunge quartet Sons Of Lazareth are apparently named after an old family farmstead and, after four years on the road, debut album Blue Skies Back To Gray (Argonauta Records) is about to open up these jolly revheads to the wider market. Continue reading

P.O.D. – Circles

P.O.D. Is back with a new album, and pretty much continuing the arc they began on their last album The Awakening (Universal). Circles is the bands’ first album on their new label, Mascot Label Group, and we find the veteran band hanging out hard in their wheelhouse. By this point in their career, they know where they live musically and what their fans want from them. When they choose to experiment, like on the Rap Rock and Reggae heavy Circles, it’s always interesting at least. When they go to the tried and true, you get the classic P.O.D. Sound. There isn’t a lot of in between, or anything all new here, however. Continue reading

Bonfire – Temple Of Lies

Although they’ve been around since 1986 (or 1972 if you wish to include their previous incarnation, Cacumen), German act Bonfire have always had to live in the shadow of fellow countrymen and hard rockers Scorpions and Accept. Even with fifteen studio albums to their name, plus numerous compilation and live releases, the band has only ever achieved a limited, but steady amount of success.

With decades of personnel changes, reunions, and legal wranglings behind them, and with only guitarist Hans Ziller remaining as the band’s original member (and even he left the band for seven years after being fired in 1989), Bonfire’s latest line-up still manages to deliver the goods with their new record Temple of Lies (AFM).

Opening with a short, narrated, introduction, the bluesy guitar and neoclassical piano of ‘In the

Beginning’ sounds like something Manowar would come up with if asked to produce a beer commercial. Next up is the title track, a great song powered by a strong riff, dominated by the high pitched wailing vocals of new frontman Alex Staahl, and containing a chorus of which many a European Power Metal band would be proud.

The Dokken-esque ‘On The Wings of an Angel’ and ‘Stand or Fall’ are a little lighter but no less catchy, and with a very eighties title for a very eighties song, ‘Feed the Fire’ is slow, but solid foot-tappy goodness. ‘Comin’ Home’ is standard power ballad material and probably goes on a bit too long, while ‘I’ll Never Be loved By You’ is a slightly heavier ballad with big eighties hooks and a pleasant aroma of Meat Loaf.

You’ve been down this road before” sings Staahl on the faster paced ‘Fly Away’. Well, yes we have actually. Many times in fact, but it’s still good though. ‘I Help you Hate Me’ is a great little song with a headbangy, foot-stampy riff, but because of its reggae influence, automatically draws comparisons to the Scorpions’ superior ‘Is There Anybody There?’, and closing cut ‘Crazy Over You’ finishes the album in reasonable, but less than stellar fashion.

A worthy addition to the band’s back catalogue, Temple of Lies may not be Heavy Metal heaven, but it contains more than its fair share of highly creditable material and is certainly one of the strongest records the band has put out for many a year.

7.0/10

GARY ALCOCK

 

Sumo Cyco – Opus Mar

One of Canada’s best-kept secrets will be exploding into the music world once again as Hamilton, Ontario’s own Sumo Cyco drop their second full length album since establishing in 2011. Opus Mar (Self-Released/Pledge) was produced by their very own lead guitarist Matt ‘Md13’ Drake and renowned producer James ‘Lerock’ Loughrey, known for his work with Skindred and Joss Stone. Continue reading