Reviews roundup – The Unity vs. Jon Zeeman vs. Burnt Out Wreck
Steamhammer / SPV
When I heard that two members of Gamma Ray were working on a new project I immediately assumed they would be working on a lo-fi alt-folk set of Wurzels cover versions. Sadly, I was wrong as this release from Henjo Richter (guitar) and Michael Ehré (drums) sees them in the melodic metal medium where they made their names.
On the plus side they’re very, very good at it. In fact had these songs appeared on a Gamma Ray release I doubt that anyone would have complained. For sure it’s less aggressive and more melodic than their parent band but that’s largely down to arrangements.
Alongside singer Gianba Manenti, bassist Jogi Sweers, keyboard player Sascha Onnen and guitarist Stef E they’ve put together a set of excellent songs which will make fans of melodic Euro metal very happy indeed. The opening “Rise and Fall” sets out their stall in fine fettle with blazing guitars and riffs galore.
There are a couple of slower numbers that don’t work quite as well although it’s one of those, “The Wishing Well” which is the album highlight. As an opening salvo this hits all the marks and hopefully we’ll hear a lot more from The Unity.
Jon Zeeman is a great guitarist. Don’t believe me. Just ask the Allman Brothers Band who had him sitting in at the Beacon. Or the late Butch Trucks who had Jon in his Freight Train Band. In fact Butch plays on a couple of tracks here, probably the last ones before he took his own life last year.
Sadness aside this is a great album with a touch of the ABB vibe and a whole lot of Zeeman attitude. He can strut his stuff with style as he does on “All I Want Is You” and of “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Baby!” but he can slow it right down with feeling as best demonstrated on “If I Could Make You Love Me, I’d Give Up Everything I Own”.
With a great band geeing him up Mr Zeeman busts out some sweet moves which will please fans of funky blues rock. It’s mainly originals with a Jimi Hendrix cover and a Robert Johnson tune along for the ride. But it’s his own songs which get you coming back for more. Incidentally, Mr Zeeman has pledged half the royalties generated from “All I Want Is You” and “Next To You” (the songs featuring Butch Trucks) to benefit the family of Trucks and his favorite charity, The Big House Museum in Macon, GA.
BURNT OUT WRECK
Blimey! That takes me back. I was still a wee boy when Heavy Pettin’ unleashed their debut single and when they graduated to a major label for their debut album “Lettin Loose” with Brian May and Queen it seemed that the world was the Scots rockers for the taking.
Of course it wasn’t and a few short years later they were trying to get on the Eurovision Song Contest with a slushy ballad called “Romeo”. And that was that. Fast forward several decades and Gary Moat, the drummer and songwriter from Heavy Pettin’ has put together a new band called Burnt Out Wreck. And they’re rather good.
These days he’s out front and singing so nae mair Hamie. And he’s got a decent voice in a raspy seventies style which suits the music well. Because it’s hard rocking seventies hard rock that’s the main influence here as he and the band bang out some excellent songs. Numbers like “Pulling It Out”, “Talk About Love” and “Flames” are top drawer tunes which will go down well at a metal fest near you. It’s good to have him back and here’s hoping for an encore run through of “In and Out of Love” !