Reviews roundup – Sari Schorr vs. Inflator vs. Mike Sponza vs. Traktor vs. Justinsane

71xyvj4st7l-_sl1005_SARI SCHORR
A Force Of Nature
Manhaton Records

There’s been a lot of hoo-ha leading up to this debut release from Sari Schorr, who first made her name working with the likes of Joe Louis Walker and Popa Chubby.  And she’s got a bit of a dream team behind her with producer Mike Vernon in the chair.

On the record she’s joined by guitarists Innes Sibun and Oli Brown, with Walter Trout popping in for a guest solo.  So it should be good. And it is. After all, she is a very good singer.  Things start off rather oddly with “Ain’t Got No Money”, a song that left me shrugging my shoulders, but once I got into the body of the kirk, things got a lot better.

The musical performances are all top notch, with the backing musicians bringing the songs to life.  And when she gets to grips with Leadbelly’s “Black Betty” and Walter Trout’s “Work No More” things get very good indeed.  However, not all the original material is as strong as those numbers and the middle of the album drags a wee bit.  However, it’s all brought back to life by an invigorating reimagining of The Supremes “Stop! In The Name Of Love”.

It’s a very good debut, even if it doesn’t keel over into great.  But it still comes very highly recommended.

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51xhxwnwuxlINFLATOR
The Conditioning
Timezone

Germany now for some modern meets alternative metal from Hamburg based band Inflator.  They’re an odd bunch who look back to the days of nu-metal for some of their sound before mixing it up with a more modern approach.

So it’s Linkin Park meets Papa Roach with some Nine Inch Nails synth sounds.  Which works well if that’s your bag.  Songs like “Demons”, “You’re The Hunter Not The Prey” and even the balladic “Memories” will appeal to fans of the aforementioned outfits.

There are a couple of tunes which sound like Faith No More on a bad day.  And, remember kids, a good FNM day is a bad day by any other name, but for the most part Inflator manage to pull it off.

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51xqoh-98hl-_ss500_ss280MIKE SPONZA
Ergo Sum
Epops

Some Italian blues now, courtesy of Mike Sponza, who is joined by British bluesman Ian Siegal on seven of the eight songs here, on an album recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

He likes to mix up his sound as he takes blues and soul, with a particular yen for the glory days of Stax and their ilk.  But he’s not averse to getting a wee bit down and dirty when the song requires it, as on “See How The Man”.  The album is enlivened by some great Hammond organ from Dean Ross, while the horn section is bang on.

The guitar reall shines on “Kiss Me”, while vintage blues singer Dana Gillespie pops in to lay down a great vocal on “The Thin Line”.

It’s an excellent release, highly recommended for blues fans.

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vyr_13079traktor-cd-2016TRAKTOR
Artefuckt
independent

Biker rock from the Czech Republic now, courtesy of Traktor who are apparently on to their fifth album.  And as biker rock goes, they’re good at it.

It’s rough and ready hard rock which will appeal to fans of Motorhead and their many followers, along with anyone who llikes songs about Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare, the Emperor Caligula and prostitutes.  Maybe.  And who wouldn’t.

They make a fine noise and even end things up with a cover of the Motorhead tune “No Voices In The Sky”.  Recommended for fans of grubby, leather clad rock and roll.

61ac2b1cf7yl-_ss500_ss280JUSTINSANE
Justinsane
independent

Not to be confused with Justin Sane, guitarist and lead vocalist for the punk rock band Anti-Flag, who has also released solo albums, Justinsane (without a space) are an Italian modern metal band.  So there.

The brainchild of Davide Carnevalini in collaboration with drummer Alessandro Cimaroli, the album is standard modern metal with a few punk dynamisms hither and thither.  It’s solid and ticks off all the boxes required of the genre with a decent set of vocals from Pierfrancesco Gasparrini.  It’s well produced and is the sort of thing that Scuzz TV plays to death after 10pm.

But I’m not really the target audience so found some of the songs lacking.  However, those a few decades younger than me will probably enjoy the likes of “Sky’s Eyes”, “Dark Vision” and ” Frozen”, the best of the songs on offer.

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