Reviews roundup – Krissy Matthews vs. Robby Krieger vs. Lazy Eye vs. The Forgotten Age
Live At Freak Valley
I last bumped heads with Krissy Matthews back when ‘Scenes From A Moving Window’ came out. I thought it was a big step forward for him with an attention to melody that really raised his game.
Well that’s out the window for this live album as this is all about the power and the rawk. It’s certainly a very live album which comes across more as an upper grade bootleg with its warts and all approach. So if you’re looking for power trio aggression and some wild guitar solos then this is the place for you.
He’s never been the strongest vocalist which may be why his live show seems to concentrate on guitar pyrotechnics and a thumping rhythm section. It probably went down a storm at the German stoner festival that the main set was recorded at but will probably leave blues fans feeling a wee bit cold. Certainly fans of classic power trio rock wll take to tunes like “All Night Long” and “Bad Boy”.
The album is filled out by three bonus tracks recorded a few months earlier at a German club show and continues the raw and electric theme. “Too many bands release “live records” but half of it is over dubbed in the studio” says Matthews. “On Freak Valley you get the real deal. No overdubs.” And there is no arguing with that.
Cleopatra Records have a history of releasing tribute albums to the likes of the Beatles and Pink Floyd utilising an array of well known faces. And their latest thing seems to be collating albums from these sessions and releasing them under an artists name.
They’ve already done it with Joe Lynn Turner and now it’s the time of one time Doors guitarist Robby Krieger to get the same treatment. Which is quite handy if you can’t be arsed buying a dozen different albums for a handful of tunes.
So this release pulls in the likes of Jackson Browne, Hawkwind’s Nik Turner, the late John Wetton, Styx’s Tommy Shaw, and even TJ Hooker himself, William Shatner There’s a scattering of Yes alumni like Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Geoff Downes and some competent covers of songs like “Across The Universe”, “Don’t Leave Me Now” and “Brain Damage”. They’ve remixed a couple of the songs to try and pull you in as well as previously unreleased live version go “Back Door Man”.
Pocket The Black
To the mythical continent of Australia now for some more live blues, this time from Lazy Eye who recorded this in front of a studio audience at Chapel Lane Studios in Adelaide.
What makes this is a wee bit different is the fact that it’s a Hammond organ driven affair. Now that’s one of my favourite sounds so a round of applause for the band for shelling out for a van with super strong suspension.
It’s an all original affair and quite sixties sounding but that’s inevitable with a Hammond. But that doesn’t stop it from being a top notch affair chock full of good tunes and strong performances. Evan Whetter hits the keys and pedals as well as singing and with some great guitar work from Erica Graf keeping him company the whole record makes for an invigorating listen.
The trio is completed by Mario Marino who matches his partners and I can’t emphasise enough what a great blues album this. Go get it now.
THE FORGOTTEN AGE
I’m an old man so metalcore still seems like a new thing to me. I’ve seen so many twists on metal over the years that it takes a lot to stir my interest especially when so many new bands seem intent on being metal without actually being metal.
So the likes of Bullet For A Valentine never interested me. It’s just white noise and not the good kind. So props to The Forgotten Age who’ve taken the basic metalcore template and actually managed to do somwthing worthwhile with it.
It’s their debut offering and even if they’re doing the clean / growl vocal thing that everyone else does allied to the usual twin drum sound they’ve still got that little something different. For sure, a bit more melody wouldn’t go amiss but a few tweaks to the guitar sound and they could come up with something special.
They have got some monster monster riffs especially on “Know My Name”, which is the highlight of the EP. Some more like that and we’ll hear a lot more of The Forgotten Age.