Reviews roundup – Doug Wahlberg Band vs. Keith Stone vs. Overlord SR vs. Mordwolf
DOUG WAHLBERG BAND
Flying Under The Radar
I think it’s fairly safe to say that the Doug Wahlberg band would really like it to be 1977. Because that’s when their rather splendid FM seventies rock would have been all over the airwaves. In their time they’ve opened shows for Foreigner, George Thorogood, Blue Oyster Cult, Rick Derringer, Cheap Trick and others, and it’s definitely the right place for them to be.
Every song here sounds like you’ve already heard it somewhere before, but not in a plagiarist kind of way. No, it’s because they’re instantly memorable. Which is a very difficult thing to pull off, but on songs like ‘Love When it Rains’, ‘Broken’ and ‘Waiting on the Sun’, it’s the sound of old friends coming home.
Wahlberg is an excellent guitarist, and he’s put together an excellent band to bring these songs to life. It errs on the pop side of rock, but one listen to this, and you’ll be filing it in the friend for life pile. Flying under the radar no more.
The Prodigal Returns
I suppose the big selling point of this record will be the appearance of a certain Dr. John (not a doctor). But that does a disservice to Keith Stone, a fellow New Orleans musician, who is most definitely the star of his own record.
As you would expect from a New Orleans album, this ranges far and wide, taking in blues, soul, funk and jazz, with some fabulous guitar work from Mr Stone up front and centre. But the songs more than match the performance, as a quick listen to the likes of ‘Better Things To Do’, ‘New Orleans Moonlight’ and the closing eight-minute version of ‘Just A Closer Walk With Thee’, augmented by the piano of Dr. John.
There isn’t a bum steer here, as the songs are uniformly excellent, as are the arrangements, all of which makes this an essential listen for anyone with half an interest in the music of New Orleans.
When I saw that cover I had a Manilla Road flashback. And that was before I knew that the band formerly known as Overlord Without An SR had appeared on the Metal Massacre VI compilation album back in the eighties.
Which certainly explains the raw, power metal sound that they’re still pursuing after all this time. But, as someone whose teenage years coincided with the NWOBHM, this is the kind of thing that makes me feel young, even if my arthritis can only take so much headbanging nowadays.
They may have added a couple of letters to their name, but when the guitars of ‘Wildman’ George Koerber and Craig Dunham crank things up, then you don’t notice the passing of time. There are hints of early Iron Maiden here and there, but they’re allowed to, seeing as how they come from a similar era, and tunes like ‘Creeping In The Night’ and, um, ‘Power Metal’, made me very happy indeed.
Machine Of War
Aiiiiieeeee! Here’s MÖRDWÖLF (umlauts bands own) with a Misfits meets Alice Cooper styled ramapge through some seventies hard rock meets punk. But with added vampires and human sacrifice. As it should be.
Formed back in 2011 by lead singer/guitarist Karl Von Heilman III, drummer Rocco Semeraro and bassist Vinny Padula, they’ve got some form behind them, having played in numerous bands over the years, including Von Heilman III having a stint in and Aerosmith tribute act, Toys in the Attic. Meanwhile Rocky and Vinny have spent years in Bishop, touring with the likes of Anthrax, Saliva and Disturbed.
But this sees them following up the EP “Release the Beast” with an enjoyable romp through some raw and ragged rock meets punk, with tunes like ‘Lilith’, ‘The Crimson Cross’, ‘The Deader the Better’ and ‘I Hope You Die’ guaranteed to raise a smile wherever white face paint is sold.