Reviews roundup – Lordi vs. Brainstorm vs. Happy Note Record Sampler 2016

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LORDI

Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy)
AFM

I gave ‘Scare Force One’ a miss as repeated plays of ‘To Beast or Not to Beast’ had found it wanting after an initial buzz. But when I heard they were doing something different for album number eight it seemed time to jump back into Lordi world.

They’ve done well since their initial Eurovision glory with their Kiss meets GWAR mix of camp metal and hard rock. And the first half of this album – Theaterror – continues in that tradition with some rather enjoyable tunes such as “Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be The Beast-Man In The Masters Of The Universe)” which is almost as enjoyable as the title, as well as some horrorific songs like “Sick Flick” and the down-tempo “Mary Is Dead”. They’ve got their songwriting mojo back and it’s a real treat.

Flip it over (in old money) and it’s time for Demonarchy which sees them having a go at yer actual heavy metal. It’s also a concept suite that relates the tale of of The Undead Son, The Bloodsucking Count, The She-Wolf and The Witch. As it should.

And they give the metal a full whack for sure, as they blast out ‘Demonarchy’, ‘And The Zombie Says’ and ‘Break Of Dawn’ as if to the metal born. They’ve went back to Nino Laurenne for production duties and it seems to have revitalised the whole band. A hard rock and metal joy from start to finish.

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51d03hi-6jlBRAINSTORM
Memorial Roots (Re-Rooted)
AFM

On the subject of eighth albums ‘Memorial Roots’ was the difficult eighth album for German power metal outfit Brainstorm. They’d carved out a nice mid level career with the previous seven but decided to do something a bit different that time around. Unfortunately, something different meant a shinier and more mainstream sound that left long time fans bemused, to say the least.

But now there is a reissue campaign underway and it’s time to right some wrongs, so they’ve handed the tapes over to longtime sound engineer Achim Köhler to do a remix in the tradition of old school Brainstorm. And fans will be delighted to know that it works.

They’ve rounded things off by including all the songs from the ‘Memorial Roots’ sessions (11 from the standard version + Digipak/Vinyl/Japan bonus tracks & the previously unreleased “Forsake What I Believed (edit)” bunged into a digipack and offered it up for public consumption. I’m not usually a fan of rejigged old stuff but it really does sound so much better than the original, with songs like “The Conjunction Of 7 Planets” and “Cross The Line” brought to fresh life.

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61vnv9yterl-_ss500VARIOUS ARTISTS
Happy Note Record Sampler 2016
Happy Note

I did not know that Professor X was a musician as well as running a school for mutants but it just goes to show you because Charles Xavier is releasing a compilation album highlighting twenty years worth of releases showcasing his work as a jazz musician and producer.

It goes right back to the seventies for a couple of tracks from his early days with Satori and then meanders through the decades with songs touching on new age and ambient as well as his core jazz sound.

There is an array of top jazz talent on display here with the likes of smooth jazz saxophonist Sam Riney, trumpeter Warren Gayle, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta alongside countless others, so there is no doubting the musical ability on offer. There is also a taster for his next album in the shape of “The Dreamer” which shows he’s not ready to rest on his laurels just yer.

It may be a bit idiosyncratic for mainstream listeners but jazz fans looking for some new and old sounds will enjoy.

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