Reviews roundup – Iron Savior vs. Tweed Funk vs. Steve Hill vs. MaxXouT vs. Sky Talk
When their last album came out, I said “like a mix of Helloween and Blind Guardian…It’s balls to the wall, foot on the monitor, none more power metal.”
And, thankfully, this is more of the same. It was back in 1997 that Piet Sielck, Thomen Stauch (Blind Guardian) and Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) got together, but nowadays it’s only Sielck who is left manning the ramaparts, and on their ninth studio album he’s let the metal run riot. Huzzah!
So, what you’re getting is bang on the mark, top drawer, German power metal, which blasts away the cobwebs and gets the dandruff shaking. I’m not quite sure how they’re not spoekn of in the same breath as some of the bigger names, because Iron Savior are right up there. The riffs are spot on, there are some great solos, and enough soaring choruses to keep Gamma Ray up all night worrying.
There are toms of great songs with ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Strike Down The Tyranny’ and ‘The Sun Won’t Rise In Hell’ the ones I’m currently air guitaring to. Fabulous.
Three in a row, three in a row, hallo, hallo, three in a row! Excuse the juvenile football chanting, but back when “Love Is” was released in 2012 I hollered “The funk, the whole funk and nothing but the funk!” Then I was hollering again, because “First Name Lucky” was “a blues shoutin’ romp”. And now, for the third time, I’m doing a Little Milton shimmy and shining my spats.
Yes, Tweed Funk have struck gold again. It’s the kind of thing that would have seen an old school revue hitting the road to get people dancing in clubs, back in the day, but even in the privacy of your own home, there is no excuse for not throwing a few moves and grooves.
It’s all new, blues meets soul, with some great tunes which would have hogged the airwaves back in the day. Songs like ‘Sweet Music’, ‘Who Is This’ and ‘Soul Rockin’ are just sheer delights, especially when the horn section gets to honking. If you have any hankering for the great days of Stax or Muscle Shoals, then you need this in your life. Me, I’m off to boogaloo.
Solo Recordings Volume 3
No Label Records
How do you fancy a one man band from the Canadian colonies? You do! Well, you’re in luck, because here comes Steve Hill.
Now, I’m not an expert, because this is my first encounter with Mr Hill, but I suspect he’s had a couple of albums out before this one. It’s also worth noting that he’s no novelty band, so don’t expect cymbals strapped to his knees and a rousing chorus of ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’ (boo). Nope, he’s a proper musician, who specialises in blues and roots, bordering on Americana.
There is also some blues rock in there.as the likes of the opening ‘Damned’ will attest, and he can knock out a soulful slow blues – see ‘Still A Fool & A Rollin Stone’. I’m less keen on the folky side such as ‘Slowly Slipping Away’, but there is no doubting that Mr Hill has talent in spades.
A proper solo record, this is most definitely worth a listen.
The Big Push
You’ve got to admire people who’re full of self belief. Witness the upper/lower case dementos MaxXouT. They say “the debut Album from MaxXouT is the greatest hard rock band in ten years!” To be fair they later retracted that and went for “the fourth greatest hard rock band in ten years”.
Now, granted, there hasn’t been a lot of great new hard rock in the last decade, so they may be erring on the side of caution. However, what they have done is revisited eighties and nineties hard rock, and made a fun album.
That’s fun, not great, because as a two man band, they may have stretched themselves rather thinly, especially on the production side but, again. it sounds like they had fun making it as well. Which is half the battle. Especially, as their tongue is firmly in cheek on songs like ‘Of Course I’ll Call You’, ‘Love at Second Sight’ and ‘Runnin’ on Fumes’.
After you listen the full album you will never want to listen to anything else in your entire life. Oh, hang on, that’s them, not me. For the third time, in as many paragraphs, I’ll use the word fun.
Days In The Sun
Now that the metal, blues, one and two man bands, and fun are out of the way, it’s time to get serious with some progressive rock. Yes, time to stroke the bum fluff and ruminate on paradiddles.
Which brings us to SkyTalk, a three piece band comprising twin brothers Jordan and Talor Steinberg and Dan “Ello” Costello (who may or may not be related to Dixon of Dock Green). Bonding over a common love of bands like yes, and a mutual lack of teenage friends, they decided to have a bash at that there prog.
And considering they’ve only been a band for a year or so, they’d done pretty well. Granted, I don’t get the funk influences that are supposed to be mixed in with their prog, but when the songs and performances join together on the likes of ‘Hearing The Silence’, then you can’t help but applaud their youthful chutzpah.
As a debut EP, probably 75% of it is on the nose, so prog fans looking for some new sounds instead of remastered 4D versions of records they’ve bought five times already, should really five Sky Talks a fair hearing.