Reviews roundup – Last Autumn’s Dream vs. The Comets of Doom vs. Heat of Damage vs. Razorbats vs. Dark Rain

81jtkwclw4l-_sl1084_LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM
AOR Heaven

Twelve months on from “Level Eleven” and here comes the twelfth album from Swedish outfit Last Autumns Dream.  Back in the dark ages, Last Autumn’s Dream, were formed by vocalist and keyboardist Mikael Erlandsson, guitarist Andy Malecek from Fair Warning, along with three Europe expats in the shape of bassist John Levén, drummer Ian Haugland and keyboardist Mic Michaeli.

These days, it’s Mikael Erlandsson who flies the flag, and this album, much like the last six, is an enjoyable slice of melodic rock, albeit one that never really gets out of second gear.  There are some good tunes here, Erlandsson is a strong vocalist and even an REO Speedwagon cover version.  Something that cheered me up immensely.

But the one thing it won’t do, is bring any more followers to the table.  Fans will lap up tunes like ‘Out Of Love’ and ‘Bring Out The Heroes, but you’d be hard pushed to pick this album out of a Last Autumn’s Dream lineup.  It’s a good album, but it’s just lacking that little something special to push it into the world of great.



51j2b1tzskvl-_ss280THE COMETS OF DOOM
Sound Of Time
Yellow Snake

Germany now, for some post grunge, mainstream rock.  You know the sort of thing.  Foo Fighters meets Eddie Vedder in a dark alleyway, they hug and make a pop record about the plight of the rainforest.

Which is a bit of a shame, because the Comets of Doom is a great name for a band.  But there is no spacerock and no doom metal.  Which is an even bigger shame, because that would be a crossover worth hearing.  Monster Magnet meets Sleep!

However, the Hanoverians do have a good guitarist and Holger Marx knows how to fire out a good riff.  So, if you are looking for some mid-nineties rock, then lend an ear to songs like ‘Comets Forever and ‘Still Holding On.  It might float your boat.



41lc10awuwl-_ss280HEAT OF DAMAGE
Open Fire

It’s off to the American colonies now to meet a band who would be very comfortable touring partners with the Comets of Doom, as they are operating in a very similar area.  Yes, it’s more post grunge mainstream rock, albeit with a hint of modern metal.

So instead of Foo Fighters meets Eddie Vedder, it’s Foo Fighters meets Bullets For My Valentine.  I must admit, the prevalence of Foo Fighters influenced bands constantly surprises me.  I mean, I know they’re successful, but they’re no half shite.  Heat Of Damage also venture into the no go area of nu-metal for some of their riffs, but I find that rather endearing.

But that where Heat Of Damage are going on their debut album, and if 1% of the people who like the Foos buy this, then they’re sorted.  The odd screamed vocal might scare them a bit, mind, but on songs like ‘Watch You Burn’ and the radio hit that could be, ‘Accessory’, they show they’ve got the chops for the modern beat generation.



Camp Rock
Self Destructo

I was worried for a moment.  After all, wasn’t Camp Rock, some terrible Disney programme which tried to brainwash children into thinking that Demi Lovato was a rock chick?  Luckily, Norwegian band Razorbats seem oblivious to that.

Because this is some rattlingly good old school rock and / or roll.  With one foot in the seventies guitar rock world and another in eighties sleaze rock, you can tell they’ve got a few Alice Cooper and Kiss albums that they nicked off their grandads.

Of course, if I’d paid closer attention, I would have noticed the sleeve homage to the likes of Scorpions, Ozzy and Twisted Sister, amongst others, but a few spins of top tunes like ‘Planet Riff’ and ‘Kids Of The 70s’ were all it took to concert me to their way of thinking.  For sure, they tip over into the world of punk a bit too much, but that aside, this is a cracking rock and roll record.



a2678016593_10DARK RAIN
The Long Road Home

We’re off to Brunswick , Maine, a place that barely escaped being Canadian to listen to Dark Rain, a female fronted hard rock band.  In their part of the world, they’ve opened shows for the likes of Zakk Wylde and White Lion, amongst others, but this is their turn in the spotlight.

And it’s pretty good.  It’s modern rock, but with a few hints of nineties metal in and around the guitars, which at least do me the courtesy of being high in the mix, a pet hate of mine in the world of modern rock.  I shouldn’t have to shove me ears into a speaker to find the bloody guitar!

The band are solid, and the vocals work well.  They’ve also got a few good tunes under their belt, with the likes of ‘Get Ready’ and ‘Behind the Screen’ more than capable of getting a few radio plays under their belt.  Melodic, without wimping out, this was a pleasant listen.