Sinbreed vs. Stevie Nimmo vs. Elaine Samuels & Kindred Spirit vs. My Fair Fiend vs. ProgAtom
Album number three for Sinbreed, and their first since the departure of Blind Guardian guitarist Marcus Siepen. But it seems like it’s carry on regardless, as this is more of the same from the power metal outfit. Which is a good thing.
The core band of Alex Schulz (bass), Frederik Ehmke (drums), Flo Laurin (guitars, keyboards) and Herbie Langhans (vocals) know their way around the genre, and there are enough killer tunes hear to keep many a festival crowd happy. When they can throw out numbers like ‘Creation of Reality’, ‘The Riddle’ and ‘Behind A Mask’, then they’ve got nothing to worry about.
Heck, they even manage to throw in a power ballad with a straight face, so gird yourself for the arrival of ‘At The Gate’. There is some great percussion work, the riffs are powerful, and even if they need to work a little at providing a unique identity, this is still a strong step for Sinbreed.
Sky Won’t Fall
You don’t get many Stevie Nimmo albums. This is just his second, six years on from ‘The Wynds Of Life’. To be fair, he’s had the Nimmo Brothers filling his time, but with wee brother Alan of on King King duty, it must have felt the time was right.
And it was worth the wait, because this is a really good record indeed. As befits a solo album, it’s not a retread of his band work, as this ranges over rock, blues, country and singer songwritery territory, showcasing his songs to great effect.
My antenna is tuned to the tougher songs, so I took special pleasure in ‘Gambler’s Roll’, the album highlight for me. But if you’re looking for something to lift your spirits, then give ‘Chains Of Hope‘ a try. If it’s the blues you want, then it’s time to spin ‘Running On Back To You‘. He could even get some Radio 2 airplay with ‘Lovin’ Might Do Us Good, a mighty sweet retro sould tune.
But regardless of what grrove you drop the needle into, ‘Sky Won’t Fall’ guarantees you a mighty fine time.
Sat 13 Feb 2016 Bingley Arts Centre Bingley, UK
Fri 26 Feb 2016 Zed Music Cafe Sevenoaks, UK
Thu 17 Mar 2016 Ropetackle arts centre Shoreham by sea, UK
Fri 18 Mar 2016 Ropery Hall Barton-upon-humber, UK
Sat 19 Mar 2016 Unknown venue Barnard Castle, UK
Sun 20 Mar 2016 Backstage at the Green Hotel Kinross, UK
Mon 21 Mar 2016 The Bullingdon Oxford, UK
Fri 29 Apr 2016 Boom Boom Club @ Stutton F.c. London, UK
Sat 30 Apr 2016 Selby Town Hall Selby, UK
Wed 04 May 2016 The Cluny Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Thu 05 May 2016 Tollbooth Stirling, UK
Fri 06 May 2016 Òran Mór Glasgow, UK
Sat 07 May 2016 Cafe Drummond Aberdeen, UK
Wed 11 May 2016 Vonnies Blues Club Cheltenham, UK
Thu 12 May 2016 Chislehurst Recreation Ground Bromley, UK
Sat 14 May 2016 Hartlepool Supporters Club Hartlepool, UK
Thu 19 May 2016 Farnham Maltings Farnham, UK
Fri 20 May 2016 Arlington Arts Centre Newbury, UK
Sat 21 May 2016 The Flowerpot Derby, UK
Sun 22 May 2016 The Greystones Sheffield, UK
ELAINE SAMUELS & KINDRED SPIRIT
I was having one of my “whatever happened to” moments, when the name Les Binks popped into my head. Those of us, of a certain vintage, will remember him as the man who drummed on the best Judas Priest albums, as well as blink and you’ll miss him cameos with NWOBHM outfits Tytan and Lionheart. Well, fast forward several decades and here he is, drumming on a few tracks for folk rockers Kindred Spirit.
A vehicle for the songs and voice of Elaine Samuels, they’ve been around for ages, purveying their folk rock sound around festivals in England, and they’re really rather good. They seem to be taking inspiration from the late sixties / early seventies folk rock movement, so if you like your Fairports / Fotheringay sounds, then you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.
Ms Samuels is a strong vocalist, and even if I find a lot of the words a bit too hippy drippy, then the music is good enough to carry me through. The arrangements are particularly good, with plenty of nuances brought in by flutes, percussion, violins and the like. Best of the bunch for me were ‘It’s Not Too Late’, a cover of the America tune ‘A Horse with No Name’ and a knees up called ‘Feed the Fire’.
MY FAIR FIEND
Indie rock from Utah. But it’s not all bad, as My Fair Fiend have a degree of experimentation about them, that almost verges on the prog. And when that happens on this, their second album, it’s worth lending an ear to.
You’ll get all that on the opening tune, ‘Blackest Dream’, which sets out their stall in fine fashion. It’s only when they wander into the mainstream as they do on tunes like ‘Trapped Like A Ghost’ that the attention wanders, but when they’ve got numbers like ‘Empty Shell’ up their sleeve, there’s always something worth listening to.
The strength is in the songwriting, something that is highlighted by ‘Very Long Shadow’ where vocalist Callie Croft lets rip with just a guitar. There’s a lot of angst in here, but if that’s your thing, then this will be your, um, thing.
Some out and out Scandi prog now, courtesy of Norwegian band ProgAtom, who comprise Åsmund Mjelva, Arild Sveum, Mattis Sørum, Simen Motrøen and Tore Christer Storlid. Anrd they really like David Gilmour led Pink Floyd.
Which is fair enough, especially when you’re as good at it as this lot. They’ve all got form in varying degrees, with Mattis Sørum probably the most noted with his Pictorial Wand work. Handily, he runs his own studio, so there is plenty of scope for him to tinker away.
The original idea for this project came from Mjelva and Sveum who were keen to produce music in a melodic prog form. They had the skeltons of the songs, and together with the other musicians ended up with this very enjoyable release. Songs like ‘Forventning’ and ‘Min egen demon’ are deserving of a wide prog audience, and the whole record is one that Floydians should be investigating.