Reviews roundup – Ace Frehley vs. Killing Tyranny vs. Fenisia vs. Silver Mammoth vs. B-Movie
Origins Vol. 1
Steamhammer / SPV
Oh, good. A covers album. Rather threateningly called Vol. 1. That’s what Ace Frehley is offering up as a follow-up to his rather enjoyable 2014 album “Space Invader”. Of course, it’s going to sell to the Kiss army, even those who’ve previously shunned him thanks to one of the guest performers being a certain Paul Stanley, who contributes vocals to a cover of Free‘s 1970 song ‘Fire and Water’, marking their first collaboration since Kiss’ 1998 original lineup reunion album “Psycho Circus”.
It’s also quite endearing that Ace finds room on a covers album for three Kiss tunes, even if one of them isn’t one of his Kiss tunes. Either that or the sign of a monstrous ego! Away from the Kiss Konnection you’ll also find Slash appearing on Thin Lizzy’s classic ‘Emerald’, Lita Ford singing and playing lead on The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’, former Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 playing guitar on ‘Parasite’ and Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Spanish Castle Magic’, plus Pearl Jam’s Mike McCreedy playing guitar on aqnother Kiss tune, ‘Cold Gin’.
It’s a hit and miss affair, which pretty much sums the career of Mr Frehley, but when ti works as it does on album highlight ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ (originally by Steppenwolf) you can hear just what endeared him to so many. When it goes wrong (‘Till The End Of The Day’ original by The Kinks) it’s like your cousins cover band ruining a wedding reception. But Ace is Ace. And if he wants to cover Cream, the Rolling Stones or even a Kiss song he didn’t play on (‘Rock N Roll Hell’), then so mote it be.
Time for some heavy bucketing metal now. And there is now doubt that Killing Tyranny are heavy metal. In an eighties Armored Saint meets Forbidden proto power metal meets thrash kind of way.
It’s the brainchild of George Gregory (ex-Outraged / Ironworks) who has put the whole project together, and done a bang up job of it. Seems that Ironworks, his old band, featured some ex members of Sanctuary, which makes a lot of sense, given the metal style he’s pursuing. After all, “Into the Mirror Black”, was a classic in its time.
If you have a taste for eighties metal, then songs like ‘Caged’ and ‘Martyr’ have a lot of appeal. It also sounds good, with a decent production. Mr Gregory says he is influenced by the great heavy metal bands Priest, Maiden, Helloween, Fates Warning, Megadeth, and others, and if those names warm the cockles of your heart, then give this a go.
Italy now, for some southern influenced metal, which will appeal to fans of latter day Corrosion Of Comformity or Black Label Society. Apparently, they started life as a southern rock influenced band, before toughening up their sound, aiming to integrate their own heavier style with their passion for ancient myth, alchemy, occult science and esoterica. So there.
This is part two of a trilogy, which began with their 2012 album “Lucifer”. Since then they’ve prepped for the follow up, opening shows for the likes of The Misfits and Paul Di’Anno, and I’m sure the latter would have recognised some of the galloping guitar rhythms they favour. Granted, I’m not sure I really understand the concept, which seems to have something to day with the philosophy of the Enlightenment (David Hume, George Campbell, Francis Hutcheson – that sort of thing) but I do know a good metal tune when I hear one, and there are plenty of them here.
Songs like ‘Adamant’, ‘Blizzard’ and ‘Live Loyal The Loyal’ are absolutely excellent, with some strong vocals and great guitar work. There is also a lot of variety in the arrangements, which lends itself to repeated plays. A good one.
MS Metal Records
We’re still in the world of metal, but we’re heading further afield (Brazil) and back in time (the seventies) for some stoner / Sabbath influenced proto metal.
It’s the third album from Silver Mammoth, and even though their Black Sabbath meets desert rock meets Uriah Heep sound has been done before, they do it really well. It’s an album full of energy, wiry guitar solos and some excellent keyboard arrangements.
“Mindlomania” also features a good production which balances the instrumentation very well, allowing Alice Cooper soundalike Marcelo Izzo to spin their tales of ‘Bewitched’, ‘The Time Has Come’ and ‘The Cave, The Hole, The Escape’ over some great riffs and Hammond solos. In fact, if heavy seventies keyboards sounds are your thing, then you really need to hear ‘Sadness’. One for the Leaf Hound fans out there.
Climate Of Fear
New wave / electropop outfit B-Movie, best known for their 1982 international smash hit single ‘Nowhere Girl’, continue their return to music with a brand new album featuring all 4 original founding members. Of course, international smash means it wasn’t actually a smash in their native UK, where it’s No 68 placing was outshine by the earlier ‘Remembrance Day’ which soared to No 61.
Not that that stops them appending four versions of ‘Nowhere Girl’ to this new album as bonus tracks. But, hey, if you’ve got a hook, hold on to it for dear life. I’m assuming they’re doing this for the love, especially guitarist Paul Statham, who probably never has to work again after having two songs on the Dido album “No Angel”, including single / Roswell theme ‘Here With Me’.
I don’t remember them at all, but after listening to their early material alongside this one, it’s clear to see that they’ve just pretended the last thirty five years never happened, and have just got on with their dark electro-pop stylings as if it were yesterday. ‘Forgotten Souls’ is a real highlight, the vibrant music at odds with the lyrics, but fans of eighties synth driven music will enjoy ‘Another False Dawn, ‘A Girls & A Gun’ and ‘Feeling Gothic’.
The bonus tracks are a recently recorded version of ‘Nowhere Girl’ in full and edited versions, along with remixes by Die Krupps / Leæther Strip and Deathday. For that full retro effect it’s also out as a special limited edition vinyl set that includes all 4 remixes on a separate 12″ single.