Reviews roundup – TraumeR vs. Montage vs. Juliette Strange vs. The Willing vs. No One’s Project

61qg0kjqw2blTRAUMER
Avalon
Fastball

Let’s kick things off with some heavy blooming metal.  And for that we’re eschewing the frozen North where horns are high and head off to the warmer climes of Brazil and the second albumn from power metal outfit TraumeR.

Hot on the heels of their debut album ‘The Great Metal Storm’ which actually went Top 20 in Japan they haven’t deviated from their sound instead sticking to the power metal template. A nd quite right too as they’re very good at it.

After an orchestral intro (tick) they launch straight into some powerful power metal which delivers both on riffs and on melody.  Vocalist Guilherme Hirose really delivers as you have too in this genre and there is nothing here that old school Stratovarius fans would blanch at.

“Forever Starts Tomorrow” and “Angel of the Night” are the highlights for me but the whole record delivers exactly what it promises.  Five horns!

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81wamalvsgl-_sl1500_MONTAGE
Metamorphosis
Fastball

Time for some prog meets metal courtesy of Montage from Helsinki in Finland with their second album following on from their self titled debut a couple of years back.

Since then they’ve toured Finland, The Netherlands, Estonia and Russia and got themselves a new vocalist prior to heading back into the studio.  And if the thought of mid period Pink Floyd meets Amorphis with some heavy guitars makes you moist then this could be the palce for you.

They kick off with some synth based prog on “Age of Innocence” before going full on prog with the title track and things are looking good. But you do start to get a sense of unease as the album progresses and you slowly realise that the vocals aren’t quite sharp enough.  They get away with it because the record is predominately about the music, so tunes like “Black Magic” are powerful enough to withstand it.

But if they’re looking to break out into the wider market then that’s something that needs addressed because musically they can certainly cut the mustard.  So it’a nearly not quite but something fans of hard edged prog should still consider.

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51l-j38ah2l-_ss500JULIETTE STRANGE
Romeo Kills Romeo
independent

They really set me up with this one.  The PR bumph claims “at the pinnacle of musical diversity one band comes to rule the kingdom. Juliette Strange…bring a new, eclectic, premium rock-n-roll experience.”  Wow!

But by that they actually seem to mean eighties synth pop meets nineties indies.  Right.  It’s a collaboration between John Price (from Nashville) and Jean-Paul Dehavilland (from Colchester)and seems firmly aimed at thirty somethings who’re looking for a record to play at their next fondue party or whatever the latest hipster, ironic thing is to do.

That’s not to dismiss it because they’re good musicians and have some good songs to match.  Numbers like “What Lies Between Us” and “Anything Happens” are worth a listen but they really shouldn’t have lead with a statement that had me picturing Monster Magnet rutting with Lemmy’ then delivered Pulp having a cuppa.

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51j25smgwul-_ss500THE WILLING
Right Direction
Rave Song Records

When I was thirteen I was skint.  My Dad was dying and I’d got an employment licence from the cooncil which allowed me to work 28 hours a week as an apprentice butcher.  I was still supposed to go to school and I never let on about the three paper rounds, the milk delivery route or the Saturday afternoon grocery deliveries up a bastarding hill on a bike.  The wages went straight into the house and my one moment of relief was the Friday Rock Show.

I loved my rawk but certainly couldn’t afford to buy records.  I did have a white melamime record player that I’d been given as a birthday present (£10 from the Stewarts Ballroom Saturday auctions) but not much to play on it.  However, next door neighbours big brother bought Sounds, the weekly music paper, and passed it to me.  And so it was I saved up the tokens for the Sounds Heavy Metal Album in 1979.  What a day that was when it arrived.  REO Speedwagon, Boston, Molly Hatchet, Journey, Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, Rick Derringer and tucked away near the end, The Boyzz.  How I loved “Too Wild To Tame” as Dirty Dan Buck roared above some biker rock.

They never made it, dumped Dirty Dan, shortened their name and went a bit mellow before splitting.  Which is a long winded way of letting you know that a) I’m old and b) the rhythm section from The Boyzz are members of The Willing!  Phew.

And their new album is straight ahead seventies retro rock which has more in common with The Moody Blues than it does a biker bar.  As with most people of a certain age they have Beatles band influences, a touch of roots rock and some seventies Beach Boys harmonies to their name.  And it’s quite good.  It rarely gets above second gear but there is pleasure to be had in songs like  “Who’s Gonna Love Me”, “When You Can’t Remember Who You Are Anymore” and “Live for Today”.

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61mr9bu6ndl-_ss500NO ONE’S PROJECT
Warning
independent

Off to Italy now for some alt rock.  Although why this sort of thing is called alt anymore is beyond me as the mainstream has moved to accept what used to be called alternative.

Anyway, No-One’s Project like to think of themselves as polyhedral, eclectic and theatrical.  Which seems to translate as “we like Muse, a lot”.  And that’s not the worst thing to be influenced by.

At times they throw in some math metal rhythms and licks that certainly add some colour to the songs and every now and they have a bit of a meltdown and just unleash something totally mental.  And that’s when it works best.  It’s definitely a try before you buy offering but give numbers like “Invasor Ballad (The Fallen Mask)”, “Melody of Summer Dreams” or “The Richest Man of the C-Metery” a bash and they might just turn you.

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