Reviews roundup – Great Lefty: A Tribute To Tony Iommi vs.Florian Grey vs. Isiah B Brunt vs. Jana Josephina vs. Graham Greene
Great Lefty: Live Forever! – A Tribute To Tony Iommi
I don’t think anyone has ever called Anthony Frank Iommi “Great Lefty”, but there is no doubting his standing in the world of metal.
And because of that, here is the first ever tribute album to the man himself. Note: it’s not a Black Sabbath tribute, so there are non Ozzy related tunes here, which makes a pleasant change. The big names are also few and far between, with a plethora of actual Black Sabbath tribute bands spread across the two discs. Which means there is more chance of the music sounding like the Iommi originals.
Of the people you will have heard of, there’s Dario Mollo (Tony Martin, Glenn Hughes) featuring Mark Boals (Savoy Brown, Malmsteen, Dio Disciples, Dokken), Mario Parga (Graham Bonnett, Tony Martin, Cozy Powell) and Giuntini featuring Tony Martin. There’s also a tune from autistic musician Kyle Cousins that has Vinny Appice (former Sabbath and Heaven and Hell drummer), Barry Goudreau (guitarist for Boston), and bassist Hugh McDonald (David Bromberg, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Lita Ford).
How much you will enjoy this will largely depend on one simple thing. Do you like tribute albums? I do, but if you don’t you won’t. Simple. Me, I really enjoyed the resurrection of numbers like ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ (from “Eternal Idol”) and ‘Anno Mundi’ / ‘The Lawmaker’ (both from “Tyr”). Hopefully, it will generate some interest in the Sabbath lost years, which had more than their fair share of classic tunes. “Forbidden” excepted!
It’s doom and gloom time with some darkwave meets goth, courtesy of Florian Grey. Which is kind of appropriate coming straight after the Tony Iommi tribute album.
And you know where you are when an album arrives from Germany with song titles like ‘Laudanum’, ‘Demons’, ‘A Black Symphony’ and ‘Suffering’. Because this is a style that has its rules, and Florian Grey sticks to them. However, he has the bonus of actually having written some good songs.
He’s been working away at his style for a wee while now, having served time in bands that did opening slots for the likes of Lacrimas Profundere, Tarja Turunen, and Doro Pesch. But he’s been building towards this, his solo debut, and it’s been worth the wait.
See, he manages to stay dark, but with hooks melodic enough to catch on to a wider audience. Having toured with Lords Of The Lost, their Chris Harms has helped out on additional guitars, cellos and arrangements. If anything, it’s an album that is slightly redolent of HIM at their peak, but with a beefier edge.
It manages to avoid being a stereotype, while ticking all the boxes, which is no mean feat.
ISAIAH B BRUNT
Just The Way That It Goes
Time for some blues now, and this sees Mr Brunt travelling from Australia to New Orleans, to seek out some original vibes for this new album. And it all seems to have worked for him rather well.
On a set of all original material, he shows himself to be a fine writer as well as a good singer and guitarist. It helps that he has a red hot band backing him in the shape of Mark Whitaker on drums, Richard Bird on bass and Mike Hood on keys.
He can boogie real low, as he does on ‘The River Runs High’, he can throw in some classic blues rock sounds on ‘Let Your Heart Know’ and get all mellow on the ballad ‘With A Kiss’, without skipping a beat or losing the flow. But it’s when he boogies that things work best for me, so I’ve got ‘Lover’s Blues’ on repeat.
It’s a cracking album, and a must hear for fans of new blues.
I was rather taken with the last two singles from Jana Josephina having declared her to be the “new Lana Del Rey” with a comparatively straight face. That was for ‘Avalanche’, while the follow up ‘Dreamdancer’ had “a monster hook, and enough pop know how to take over the charts”.
So it’s not really a surprise when they turn out to be the best songs on the album. Because that’s what singles are for, and why pop music was always geared towards the three minute mark.
Apparently, she had a German language album out a few years back, but this is her attempt to crack the international market, and to be honest, there is no reason why not. She has a dramatic approach to her synth pop sounds that works really well, and there are another couple of moments on the record including ‘The Greatest’ that could easily cross over to radio.
Hopefully it will be matter of when rather than if.
Down Devils Road
It’s back off to the mythical continent of Australasia for our final release today. One that seems to be the first album that Graham Greene has released since 2006. Well, I suppose, once you’ve written the likes of Brighton Rock and The Third Man, you’re allowed to take it easy in your dotage.
But he’s managed to rouse himself for this one, and I’m glad he did. Because this is a roistering piece of rock that is well worthy of your attention. It’s easy to understand why Australian Guitar Magazine, said he was Australia’s answer to Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, because this solo album (and it is solo – he plays everything) is the match of those maestros.
Whether it’s rock, funk, blues, jazz or shred, he can turn his hand and his guitar to it. The opener, ‘Show Me The Money’ is one of the best genre tunes I’ve heard in a while, and even when he slows the pace on pieces like ‘Bobbo’s Cafe’, his fingers take you on a wondrous journey.
I’m not keen on the vocal track but it’s a small misstep on an otherwise excellent album.