ALBUM REVIEW: Black Star Riders – Wrong Side of Paradise


 

The new Black Star Riders album Wrong Side of Paradise signals the end of one era and the start of a new one. After eight years with Nuclear Blast this, their fifth record, is their first with Earache Records, their first without co-founding guitarist Scott Gorham, and their first as a quartet.

Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: The Subways – Uncertain Joys


 

Following the departure of drummer and founding member Josh Morgan, and an eight years gap between albums, comes The Subways fifth offering Uncertain Joys (Alcopop! Records). A lot has happened during this time, the dreaded c word notwithstanding, frontman Billy Lunn took three years out to study English at Cambridge University. The personal and personnel changes refreshed the band, with the introduction of synthesisers and pop to their brand of indie rock resulting in a textured and more interesting sound.

 

‘Love Waiting On You’ is a jolly little number with effervescent flourishes of synth, a great marriage between crunching chords and an upbeat pop melody. The title track is a triumph, with a bouncy melody straight from the pages of eighties pop, eased along by the silky smooth backing vocals of bass and keyboard player Charlotte Cooper. It is not just a collage of synths though, as in ‘Lavender Amelie’ they are in the background and complemented by a lush acoustic melody and a soft, XTC style hook.

 

They are still moments of no frills rock n’ roll, but it is tempered by the lighter moments and stands out all the more for it. The loud love letter to music ‘Black Wax’ blows away the cobwebs, with its punchy, almost primal riff reminiscent of Muse’s big rocker ‘Psycho’. The brash ‘Fight’, about standing up for the oppressed, is a spikey little number with a punk-like simplicity. ‘The Devil and Me’ motors along thanks to its nimble bassline and the propulsive drum beat of new member Camille Phillips. This is followed by the measured pace, alternative sound and subdued melancholia of ‘Joli Coeur’ – showcasing the balance on show and the progress made since the simpler, meat and potatoes like indie of their self-titled album eight years ago.

 

With Uncertain Joys, The Subways have come on leaps and bounds, mixing bold synths and bouncy pop to their straightforward Indie Rock to great effect.

Buy the album here:

https://linktr.ee/thesubways

 

8 / 10

THOMAS THROWER

 


ALBUM REVIEW: Mother Vulture – Mother Knows Best


 

The boisterous Mother Vulture have created quite a stir, and judging from their debut Mother Knows Best (Lockdown Records) it is very easy to see why. The Bristolian four piece are a whirlwind of different sounds – punk, metal and Royal Blood like rock rolled into one rowdy whole.

Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Mammoth WVH – Mammoth WVH (Deluxe Edition)


 

Having a father famous in the same field as you must be a blessing and a curse – being the son of Diego Maradonna, Michael Schumacher, Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan helps get your foot in the door but are hard acts to follow. Eddie Van Halen was the best of the best and after his untimely passing in 2020, his son Wolfgang focused his energies on his solo project Mammoth WVH. His self-titled debut came out a year later, with Wolfgang playing all the instruments himself.

 

This deluxe edition comes with three extra tracks, the best of which is ‘Talk and Walk’ – a stomping rocker with a smooth, AOR chorus. As for the album, as a whole, it is a decent offering of arena-friendly hard rock, with alternative, Foo Fighters, and Alter Bridge influences. It starts off with ‘Mr. Ed’, a glossy alt-rock bruiser with a sweet chorus and a 4/4 rhythm, a fiery tip of the hat to his dad.

 

With its seventy-minute runtime you certainly get your money’s worth, from the punchy swagger of ‘Horribly Right’ to the crunchy guitars, short and sweet solo, and thunderous drums of ‘You’ll Be The One’ there is plenty here to like. The best ones are ‘The Big Picture ‘ and ‘You’re To Blame’ – the former is a hefty slab of metal with a pounding riff and a consummately crafted chorus, the latter a sharp alt rocker made for radio with a fiery solo. Not far behind is ‘Feel’ – a lively, Foo Fighters-like track powered with a sprightly drum beat and a restless rhythm.

It is not all thrashing guitars and distortion, he lets his softer and poppier side out occasionally – the lush guitars and the soaring vocal harmonies of ballad ‘Resolve’ offers a sweetly struck bit of variety. Alas the other moments do not quite reach these heights, with ‘Circles’ sounding like a humdrum version of ‘How Soon is Now’ by The Smiths and the polished pop punk of ‘Think It Over” belongs on the soundtrack to some nameless mid ‘00s teen movie.

 

A mid-’00surs aside, Mammoth WVH (EX1) is a relentless album full of loving made, hard and heavy rockers with a commercial sheen. It is full of attitude and energy, and a big chorus or two, but its length and well-worn stylings means it gets a bit generic at times.

 

Buy the album here:

https://found.ee/MammothWVHDeluxe

7 / 10

THOMAS THROWER

 

 


ALBUM REVIEW: Massive Wagons – Triggered!


 

The British rockers Massive Wagons’ sixth record Triggered! (Earache Records) is another dose of their tried and tested, anthemic classic rock. It is still laced with humour, big riffs and abundant hooks but more raucous. Alongside The Darkness and Slade influences of their last record, the top ten House of Noise, are heavier moments, a touch of soft rock and a bit of reggae.

Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Austin Meade – Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind


 

A singer-songwriter from Texas, Austin Meade’s new album Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind is his second with Snakefarm Records. It is a concept album of sorts, with each track encapsulating a little stories of life and growing up – these episodes are broken up by the occasional short clip from the fictitious radio station LMAM. It is a varied record that gels together well, even if the radio clips do disrupt the flow somewhat – although ‘LMAM What’s Your Problem’, with its flat-earther style spin off, does raise a smile. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Monster Truck – Warriors


Canadian quartet Monster Truck have returned with new album Warriors (BMG). This is their fourth record and the title track kicks things off in fine fashion – it is a bouncy number with retro, eighties-era Iron Maiden guitar harmonies provided by guest axeman Dave Baksh of Sum 41 fame. This track sticks to Truckers tried and tested formula, fuzz drenched southern rock with chunky riffs, catchy choruses and chant along backing vocals that do not outstay their welcome.

 

This recipe served them well on 2018 predecessor True Rocker and the same is true here, as the propulsive, no nonsense boogie of ‘Golden Women’ shows. Perhaps the best taster of this is ‘Fuzz Mountain’, a Black Sabbath inspired chugger which is helped along by the insistent background hum of keys.

Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Clutch – Sunrise On Slaughter Beach


Clutch, the irrepressible quartet from Maryland, America have just graced our ears with a new record Sunrise On Slaughter Beach (Weathermarker) – their thirteenth record, coming four years after Book Of Bad Decisions. It is unmistakably a Clutch album, full of hearty riffs and deft turns of phrase, but it is a shorter and more varied one than its predecessor.

Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Shake The Roots


 

The American quartet Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown have a new album Shake The Roots, and it is the first on their own record label Rattle Shake Records. Their first independent album, and their fifth one overall, comes two years after Pressure and was recorded at frontman Tyler Bryant’s home studio in Nashville. It is a refreshing exploration of blues and rootsy rock, with plenty of dirty grooves, classic rock riffs and southern twang.

Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: The Dangerous Summer – Coming Home


 

Maryland rockers The Dangerous Summer‘s new record Coming Home (Rude Records) starts with the evocative title track – with its hypnotic piano riff and prominent Pixies influence. This is TDS’ sixth album, and it is a rockier affair than its three-year-old predecessor, Mother Nature.

Continue reading