Reviews roundup – Evergrey vs. Saxon vs. John Lodge vs. The Carnabys vs. Thomas Charlie Pedersen
The Storm Within
It’s been a while since an Evergrey album was top of my playlist. In fact you’re going back to ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’ in 2006. So that’s ten years and three albums which have just missed for me. But this one really does buck the trend.
‘The Storm Within’ is an absolute belter and up their with the very best they’ve ever released. Which is saying something for a band twenty years into their career. Of course only Tom S. Englund has been their since the beginning so the buck stops with him, and he’s really pulled out all the stops on this one.
As the title suggests this sees him tackling internal, emotional issues through the medium of prog metal, and it sees them adding in some different shades to their music on the likes of “The Paradox of the Flame”. There is even a duet with Nightwish’s Floor Jansen on “In Orbit” that reminded me that she can actually sing! Even if her other contribution is the albums one forgettable moment.
It’s more laid back than some of their more recent releases which suits the subject matter without taking away from the power. It’s just a different kind of power. However “The Distance” will get old school fans chomping at the bit.
Baptism Of Fire: The Collection 1991-2009
Music Club Deluxe
Where were you in ’79 when the dam began to burst? Well I was at the school but the following year saw me seeing Saxon for the first of many times when they opened for Motorhead at the Edinburgh Odeon. I’ve seen them dozens of times since, most recently with Doro and with a forthcoming tour with Fastway and Girlschool what better time to catch up with them.
And this compilation really is aimed at people like me who may have their entire Carrere catalogue but who drifted away from new releases. It covers all their albums from ‘Solid Ball of Rock’ through to ‘Into the Labyrinth’ across two discs and thirty four tracks.
There’s nothing new here but if you did skip ‘Solid Ball of Rock’, ‘Forever Free’, ‘Dogs of War’, ‘Unleash the Beast’, ‘Metalhead’, ‘Killing Ground’, ‘Lionheart’, ‘The Inner Sanctum’ and ‘Into the Labyrinth’ then this is your chance to development from middle of the rockers into the power metal beasts they became. As well as marvel at some unrelentingly awful album cover art.
It’s out at a budget price and worth every penny.
Isn’t Life Strange
Moody Blues man John Lodge is off on a solo UK tour in September and to mark the occasion he’s put out a rather lovely 7″ single. Yes, vinyl!.
This sees him releasing a new acoustic recording of the Moodies hit “Isn’t Life Strange”, originally on their 1972 album ‘Seventh Sojourn’ coupled with an unplugged version of “Simply Magic” from his solo album ‘10,000 Light Years Ago’.
“Isn’t Life Strange” sees him along with an acoustic guitar with flute and cello and it’s just lovely. Fast forward to last year and the B-side was on his 2015 solo album but it’s as if they were from days apart not decades.
Fans will love it, especially as Mr Lodge has autographed them, and it should whet appetites for his tour.
Too Much Never Enough
Four Horsemen Records
It’s my own fault. I see the phrase “raw, powerful rock’n’roll” and get all moist, only to find out it’s another shuffling indie band who wouldn’t know rock’n’roll if it upped and punched them in the face.
Now if they’d said indie rock then my expectations would have been tempered accordingly. I mean it’s not my cup of tea but I recognise good tune when I hear one, even if it is dowsed with early nineties indie. And The Carnabys have a few tucked away here.
“Great Dane in the Graveyard”, “‘Down He Goes” and “‘Elizabeth” have all got Top 20 in 1994 written all over them and I’m sure the NME back when it was a music rag would have slapped them on the front page with abandon. PS. If you’re going to use my picture on the front cover you could at least send me a sixer o’ Tennents Super.
THOMAS CHARLIE PEDERSEN
Second Hand War
Apparently Thomas Charlie Pedersen is the singer and songwriter of the Danish alternative rock band Vinyl Floor. But this is a solo record and there is nothing alternative or rock about it. Instead this sees him looking to the Laurel Canyon of the seventies for some singer / songwriting confessionals.
It’s one of these emotional offering that document the end of a long-term relationship, so there’s lots of broken heart and wiping snot on your sleeve moments. He seems well suited to this approach with sparse instrumentation and intimate vocals.
In places it gets a wee bit folky, as on “High Dust Devils”, whilst on the likes of “Uneasy Feeling” and “Golden Age” he’s channeling Neil Young and Bob Dylan, which should please people with no taste.
It’s a long way from the Dinosaur Jr and Pixies sounds of his main band and well worth a listen, even if it’s probably three tracks too long. Their website seems to be down as I write but keep trying http://www.vinylfloorband.com/