Reviews roundup – Manny Charlton vs. Astralion vs. Blue Sky Theory vs. Morrow’s Memory
Manny Charlton may have been out of Nazareth for longer than he was in Nazareth but he will forever be ex-Nazareth. He’s seventy five now and has a new solo album out, the cunningly titled ‘Solo’ which features a smattering of new songs alongside some old songs and some cover tunes.
Which makes it a bit of a mixed bag, especially as there is an assortment of singers aboard as well. The first few tunes are Manny fronted with something old, something new and something Radiohead on offer but then the guests start arriving and it becomes a wee bit disjointed.
I was surprised after all the hoohaa that Linton Osborne who briefley replaced Dan McCafferty in Nazareth before jumping ship to hook up with Manny only appears on one song, so that may well be another ship that’s sailed but “All My Tears (Be Washed Away) ” is one of the best tracks here. The Nazareth revisits don’t fare so well as they’re so associated with Dan and the less said about his Abba cover “S.O.S.” the better.
It may have been better to punt out five new tracks as an EP because Manny can still play the guitar but overall this is for diehard Nazarenes only.
To Finland now for some power metal. And it’s from Astralion, relatively new kids on the block, who’re now on to their second album.
And it’s good. If Stratovarius styled power metal is your thing. There are a lot of keyboards here which always cheers me up and some very strong vocals. Add in the required big riffs and all is good in the world.
Fans of the aforementioned Stratovarius as well as those who yearn for Hammerfall and Blind Guardian will find a welcome home in and amongst “Black Adder” and “Wastelands Of Ice”, while the closing ten minutes of “The Great Place Of The Sea” is as good a power metal outing as you’re likely to hear all year.
It’s not al perfect as the production is a bit muted in places and a couple of songs don’t make the grade but overall this is a strong and welcome offering.
BLUE SKY THEORY
Some modern metal from Germany now and it’s the debut album from Blue Sky Theory who first got together back in 2014.
Now I’m an old bastard so this modern metal thing isn’t really for me but Blue Sky Theory will certainly appear to the young ‘uns out there. For a debut album it certainly does the job of bringing them to public notice and musically they’re certainly very competent. They can handle the aggressive side of things as well as taking things down a notch when required. So all is good there.
There are a couple of standout tracks in the shape of “It All Ends The Same” and “Build It Up Tear It Down” and if they can bring those songs to the ears of the Kerrap! generation then they could well have a decent future.
More modern metal / alt rock, this time from Detroit and this is one for the post grungeteers out there.
They’ve been on the go for a while, forming in 2009, so they’ve had plenty of time to get their sound sorted out. And you can tell the work that has gone into this debut EP. Again, not my cup of tea, but I can recognise talent when I hear it, and there is plenty of it on offer here.
They shoot their load early on as the opening two tracks “Bloodlust” and “Ones and Zeros” blast everything else into oblivion, and they’re the sort of tunes that will get a rabid club crowd pumped up way too high.
It’s one for the fans of Breaking Benjamin and early Foo Fighters, of whom there should be more than enough to keep them going.