Reviews roundup –  Lars Boquist vs. Oliver Monroe vs. Catalina Shortwave vs. Curse The Fall

51lfnughcpl-_ss280LARS BOQUIST
Larser Than Life
independent

He’s been around a bit, has Lars Boquist.  He released his first record in 1985, which was a single with the band Dizziness.  Since then he’s been in just about every band in Norway, as well as working as a guitar demonstrator.

So, if you’ve got a penchant for Nordic rock, and have recrods from the likes of Pole Position, Reptilian, Neondaze or Fair of Freaks, then you’ll have heard some of his widdling.  However, this is his first solo album, and he’s veered off (largely) into the world of instrumental rock. But it’s not really from the school of Satriani or Vai, as it’s much more song based than that.

In fact, I don’t know if he just couldn’t find a singer, as there are a couple of vocal tracks here, but this is basically seventies guitar rock, with flashes of Uli Jon Roth in amongst the melodies.  It’s an enjoyable release, but I hope he finds a singer for the next one.

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612szfk7ill-_ss280OLIVER MONROE
Power To The Music
independent

On the subject of widdly guitars, and who should turn up on this release but one time Dio guitarist Tracey G.  He was much maligned during the whole “Strange Highways” / “Angry Machines” era, and since then he’s been cast off into the hinterland of Christmas albums and self releases.

But he’s on half the tracks on this record from Oliver Monroe, a German singer, who has recorded with the band Meroe.  He’s also brought in guitarist BC Sleaze (Shameless) and old band mate Tommy Wagner (current drummer for Cherie Currie), to make an old school eighties hard rock meets metal album.  And it’s good fun.

That’s fun, not great, because there are some flaws here.  Mainly on the production side, because there are some rollicking great tunes like the title track, ‘Yeah Yeah’ and ‘Break The Law’.  It certainly appeals to the eighties metalhead in me, and took me back to the days of my youth, with its mash up of glam metal, hard rock and old school riffs

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61vbjdol-0l-_ss280CATALINA SHORTWAVE
Wax Ex-Static
independent

It’s only a few months since I reviewed the catchily titled “Radio Voodoo: Songs From The Dark End Of The Dial” by Connecticut band Catalina Shortwave, and now they’re back with a mini-album / maxi EP thing.

I reckoned they were an old school rock band, with some jam band licks and a touch of nu-prog, and nothing has changed my mind about that.  I reckoned they were a smidgin too indie for me to obsess over, and that holds true, but they are actually trying to do something a wee bit different, which is to be commended.

The opening ‘Light You Up’ is the best track here, and could easily find a place on college radio over there in the American colonies.  If anything, they are moving in a more melodic and mainstream direction, which could make them more accessible to the masses.  Fingers crossed.

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51id3obrmrl-_ss280CURSE THE FALL
Aphelion
Final Legion

Lastly, for today, we’re off to Oklahoma – where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet, When the wind comes right behind the rain. But, no, this is not a musical theatre combo, rather a modern metal band, with a few touches of the nu.  I’m sure you’re wondering, so I’m pleased to tell you that the aphelion is the point in the orbit of an object where it is farthest from the Sun.

With that cleared up, on to the music, and a band who’ve been together since 2013, playing their metal to anyone who would have them.  All the members have form going back much further, so there is no question about their musical chops.  I’d tell you about all the other bands they’ve been in, but you’ve never heard of them.

Musically, they’ve gone for the whole Pantera meets nu-metal vibe, which means the riffs are good, the vocals less so.  They’re chock full of aggression and if you’re looking for some modern metal with attitude, then give them a stream before you buy.

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