Reviews roundup – Seth Lakeman vs. Love|Less vs. Pariah vs. Maddest vs. Apocalyptic Lovers
Ballads Of The Broken Few
It’s all change for Seth Lakeman on his eighth studio album. The subtitle sees him lnking up with Devonian girl trio Wildwood Kin, who’ve supported him on tour, for some delightful harmonies all recorded in a Jacobean manor house by weel kent producer Ethan Johns.
The eleven songs were recorded “as live” to ensure that the recordings have some vitality to them, and with some well placed electric guitar from producer Johns, this has ended up as one of his finest recordings to date.
There’s seven new songs alongside four covers and it’s an excellent mix from beginning to end. The arrangements and the harmonies are spot on with “Silence Reigns” and “Meet Me In The Twilight” the best of the former and the opening “The Willow Tree” the highlight of the latter.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Mr Lakeman, but this is the record I’ll be taking along on my evangelical mission to convert the faithless.
Act 1: Heaven EP
Post rock / alt rock from the band formerly known as The Last Word. Seems they were a proper loud band back then, but since mutating into their current format they’ve calmed down a bit.
The released their first EP, ‘Hollow Faith’ in 2014, toured with Alesana across Europe in 2015 and earlier on this year put out their second EP, ‘The Acoustics’ which was, um, an acoutic EP. And now here is EP three, ‘Act 1: Heaven’.
And as modern post rock / alt rock goes it’s pretty good. They’re certainly technically proficient and are very good at creating a dark, oppressive atmosphere, something that the opening “Omen” ably demonstrates. The lead track is a bit more positive and light while the other two numbers pale slightly in comparison. It’s the sort of things that twenty somethings with ironic raincoats will enjoy with the first two track deserving of a wider audience.
And we’re off to Switzerland for some stoner rock, courtesy of Pariah. They’ve been together since 2001, honing their craft on stage as they tour Europe in a minivan. Turns out they recorded this live in the studio with a minumum of overdubs to maximise the live intensity. OR because they were skint. Your choice.
Anyway, they’re very good at what the do. For sure, they’re mining the same desert plains as the usual suspects who’re all in thrall to Kyuss, but it really doesn’t matter when they get the groove just right. And Pariah certainly do that.
They’ve got the usual Sabbath influences in there, but at times they throw in a few modern metal and post rock rhythms just to show that they’re not simply a newborn heritage act. They’ve certainly got some cracking riffs to their name with the title track, “Owlhunter” and “Ten Thousand Pale White Trees” offering up more than enough to keep fans of the genre very happy indeed. The band are firing on all cylinders and this comes highly recommended.
Brazilian prog metal anyone? Well, let’s head off to São Paulo, Brazil to catch up with Maddest. Which is a terrible name for a band.
I say band but there’s only two of them. Mounir Sobh who takes cae of guitars, bass and vocals along with Vinicius Rampazo on drums. It’s their debut album and it has promise even if it’s far from the finished article. They’ve certainly got some interesting songs in the shape of “Ordo Pauperes”, “A Long Way to Fall” and “Zombie Attack” but the production is a bit on the flat side.
In amongst the prog metal there are a few post rock influences and if they can get things sorted in the studio there may be a future for them. Brazilian readers can catch them at a metalfest near you. The rest of you should hit your favourite streaming site.
Redemption Volume 1
Once upon a time there was a band called Love And War. They got together back in 1991 which was completely the wrong time for a melodic hard rock meets metal band. So they never made it. Fast forward twenty five years and the five members of the band (with their somewhat odd two bass lineup) are planning to punt out ten releases of something called “newly updated vintage material”.
I’m not sure what they mean, but they’ve pulled in Michael Wagener from the eighties to work on the recordings to buff up the recordings. A nd it’s not bad. For sure, you can actually tell that they were unlikely to have been headliners but there is plenty here to suggest that had they formed 10 years earlier they would have got regular work on the support circuit.
It’s eighties gold disc quality on songs like “Better Days”, “The Groove” and “Dying Day”. And if they had surfaced earlier, there is no doubt that “These Tears” would have been their radio track. It’s an enjoyable record for an old timer like me, and if there is anyone out there yearning for some nostalgia, give it a go.