Metal thrashing mad – King Lizard vs. SKintrade vs. Vanishing Point
A Nightmare Livin’ The Dream
Sleaze rock, eh? That always takes me back. After all, I was in my teens when the glories of eighties hair metal was at its peak. Now, granted, I’m a very attractive man, but I wasn’t built for hairspray and spandex. And neither were a lot of the ladies, but it didn’t stop them.
However, Flash Roxx, Niro Knox, Lee Benz and Moyano El Buffalo (their real names) obviously think that the time is right for a glam metal revival. To be fair, they didn’t really have much of a choice after their respective parents named them, but if you’re the sort of person who’s lookin’ for nuthin’ but a good time, and has a casual disregard for the use of the letter z and apostrophes, then this is going to be right up your street. Now I admit to being slightly confused, because I thought this came out about a year ago, but the record label say it’s coming out in March 2014, and you think they would know. Or maybe they’ve inhaled too much ‘product’.
Their debut album “Viva La Decadence” was quite good, but they’ve obviously overdosed on silk scarves, stiletto heels and rouge for this one, as tunes like ‘I Can’t Be Your Lover’, ‘This Ain’t Love’ and ‘Waterloo Ratz’ are much better than anything they’ve done before. Granted, there are still a few fillers, and they might be more Silverwing than Faster Pussycat, but as someone who still holds on to his Hanoi Rocks fan club membership card and his ‘Flashbomb Fever’ poster sleeve, this was an enjoyable trip back to my youth.
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God I’m old. I first encountered Matti Alfonzetti back in the olden days when he was fronting Jagged Edge with that young fella me lad on guitar who was supposed to be the next big thing. Myke Gray, I think it was. And if the next big thing involves supporting Vixen (ah, Vixen) at the Cavendish in Edinburgh, then job well done.
Matti has kept himself busy over the years, with a multitude of bands and projects including Talisman Road II Ruin, Scott Gorham, Impera and many others, as well as some solo albums, and a reunion with Myke Gray in Red, White and Blues. But back in the early nineties he teamed up with George Bravo in a heavier project than is his wont, and so Skintrade was begat. They were a bit grungey, and got their timing right, but it wasn’t to be, despite tours with Motorhead, DAD, and Therapy, and they packed it in midway through the decade.
Fast forward to 2012, and they decided to give it another go, leading to a best of with some new tunes. It was still heavy, but in more of a melodic metal style, and now they’ve finally recorded their third album, eighteen years on from the last one. Matti Alfonzetti is a great vocalist, and is fine form, helped along by some fine riffing from Stefan Bergström, and when the songs match the performance, as they do on the likes of ‘Pay In Blood’, ‘Getting Away With Murder’ and ‘Dying In Your Arms’, then its well worth it.
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Distant Is The Sun
And we’re finishing up with some prog metal, all the way from the mythical land of Ozteralia. Putting to one side, the non existence of the large Southern Island, Vanishing Point have been on the go since 1998, although they haven’t released anything since “The Fourth Season” akbum back in 2007.
Their hiatus came about when founding member Tommy Vucur left in 2010, but Silvio Massaro on vocals and Chris Porcianko on guitar have regrouped, got their act back together, with “Distant Is The Sun”, the result. Now, if you read past the words prog metal earlier on, then I’m assuming that you are familiar with the likes of Dream Theater, Threshold and Sonata Arctica, and this is very much in the same vein. In fact, Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica pops up on one of the better tracks, ‘Circle Of Fire’.
They’re definitely not reinventing the wheel, and there are a few moments where you find yourself trying to guess where you heard that musical motif before, but of its ilk, it’s good enough. A couple of the tunes could have done with some rearranging, but when they hit top form, and they can, they’re very good. The highlight is definitely ‘Let The River Run’, and if they can come up with a few more like that, then they’ll be welcome to come back.