Reviews roundup – Colin Carter vs. Canshaker Pi vs. Stormwolf vs. Sinforce vs. Sawyer Path
Once upon a time Colin Carter was the singer with Flash, a band of prog also rans who arrived a wee bit too late to break through. That was despite having original Yes guitarist Peter Banks in their ranks. The solo works of Peter Banks have been getting reappraised recently so what better time for Mr Carter to release his debut solo album.
The answer to that is, of course, 1973, shortly after the charted in the USA Top 40 albums listings. But fast forward a lifetime and here it is. And it’s good. In bits. Because like a lot of solo albums it jumps all over the place and suffers from a lack of cohesion. That’s not to say there aren’t some excellent moments here. There are. “Star Crossed” and “Munich Song” are great. The best of the old school pop / rock crossovers on offer. That couple do have some prog tinges that will appeal to fans of old. He’s even brought in original Flash drummer Mike Hough on four off the songs.
Some of the songs just miss totally with “Tortuga Tonight” the biggest offender but 6 of the 10 tracks on offer are worth a repeat play so give it a go if you’re of a curious bent.
Naughty Naughty Violence
To the Netherlands for some indie rock and the oddly named Canshaker Pi. It may be a reference to the future career paths of most graduate mathematicians as they tap dance for change on the streets of Amsterdam. Who knows.
Musically it’s pretty much what you what expect from a modern day indie band. Scratchy guitars, vocals that seem to be a fraction off key and songs called “If Kelly Doesn’t, Then Who Will?” It’s a mixture of garage rock, some post grunge and some moments of WTF when they offer up a song less than a minute long without the wit or wisdom of Napalm Death.
It’s a wee bit hard to see who will warm to this as there aren’t enough moments to grab an audience. They come close a couple of times on “Pressure From Above” and the self referential “Indie Academy” but they’ll need to pull a few more like those out of the bag if they’re going to convince the indie buying market.
Red Cat Records
Well I think we have a winner in the annual Most Metal Album Cover Of The Year Awards. A belter!
And the album is almost a belter as well. See, there are some fantastic riffs on offer here. In fact, I would go so far as to so there are more great riffs crammed into this release than almost any other metal album this year.
The band – vocalist Elena Ventura, guitarist Francesco Natale, bassist Francesco Gaetani, guitarist Dave Passarelli and drummer Tiziana Cotella – are capable of cranking out some classic heavy metal with the best of them as they look back to the early days of power metal for their game plan. Numbers like “Marathon”, “Soulblighter” and a romping cover of the Doro classic “All We Are” are a delight. But.
Yes, there’s always a but. And this one comes in two parts. First off all, the drum sound is atrocious. But a good producer can fix that. The second one is more of an issue as Ventura really struggles to match the quality of the songs with her voice. She sounds like a pop singer straining at the top of her range. Fix both those things and Stormwolf could have a real future.
To Germany now, the power base of power metal and Sinforce are the latest pretenders to the throne.
There is nothing here that won’t please fans of Helloween, Edguy and Gamma Ray. But they’ve already got them so do Sinforce have anything to make them standout.
Yes. Ish. Opening track “The Dream Collector” is a metal thrashing mad delight with fantastic percussion and riffs. The good work continues on “Crown of Thorns” and “New World Rising”. But the middle of the album sags slightly as the songs dip a wee bit in quality. But the performance level stays on 11 the whole way through and they save a knockout punch for the closing “Let The World Explode” which really could soundtrack the end of days.
It might not be quite the finished article but this is a power metal album that fans of the genre should definitely not miss out on.
More metal and this time we’re off to the Canadian colonies to meet up with Sawyer Path.
Their thing is modern metal. Well, modern metal from about a decade ago. With a few nu-metal influences thrown in as well. Now say what you like about nu-metal…actually, don’t. It was shit.
However, there are a helluva lot of people out there who bought Linkin Park and Papa Roach albums back in the day. Granted, they’re mostly clogging up charity shop bins nowadays but if they’re in the market for a new-ish band to soundtrack their mid-life crises then this could be the one for them. Because Sawyer Path do what they do very well.
They throw in some metalcore licks on the likes of “Blind” and “Through The Lies” and go all Korn-ish on “My Medication”. But they’re top notch musicians and have managed to nail a really good production sound on, presumably, a low budget. Even better, they don’t arse around. They’re in and out in half an hour, making their mark in brutal fashion.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton