Reviews roundup – Sulpher vs. Nox Interna vs. Tomislav Goluban vs. The Rising vs. Florian Grey vs. Scandic Tribe
No One Will Ever Know
Oblivion / SPV
It’s been a long time since we heard from Sulpher, the industrial rock act formed in 2000 by Rob Holliday and Steve Monti (both ex-Curve). Their debut got some decent reviews, they toured with the likes of the Sisters of Mercy. And then silence.
Of course Holliday ended up a touring guitarist with Marilyn Manson and The Prodigy while Monti went on to drum and produce with a host of indie acts. So maybe life just got in the way. But they’ve got back together for a new Sulpher album. And it’s pretty good. For a nineties industrial rock meets metal album. So if that’s your bag then you’re going to be very happy indeed as there isn’t much of it around these days.
Me, I quite enjoyed it. I do like a bit of sturm und drang and there’s a fair amount of that going on here as things clang and clatter along to some excellent riffs. So ‘No One Will Ever Know’ and ‘Used’ were splendid. It’s only when they mellow out and try to do spooky that it doesn’t quite come off for me. But when they unleash the beast as they fo on ‘Take a Long Hard Look’ then it’s a magnificent sound that deserves to be heard. A mixed bag but overall, a winner.
A Minor Road
Oooh! An EP! I do like an EP and this one from goth rockers Nox Interna.
The Spanish spooksters have been on the go for a decade now, led by Richy Nox is very eighties goth influenced so it’s very much rock rather than metal. But there are some interesting arrangements and strong performances all round.
It’s a taster for their next album, due out in 2019, and it certainly does the trick with the two new tunes – ‘A Minor Road’ and ‘Doomed Generation’ – well worth your attention. They round things off with a cover of a song by eighties Spanish rockers Heroes del Silencio (nope, me neither), just to make sure that fans buy this rather than wait for the album. Proper goth rock well worth a listen.
TOMISLAV GOLUBAN feat Toni Staresinic
Velvet Space Love
Hmmm. Yup, this is a hmmm one as we head off to Croatia to catch up with harmonica man Tomislav Goluban (harmonica) and his keyboard playing bud Toni Starešinić (keyboards) for what seems to be deemed an instrumental progressive sci-fi blues album.
No, I’m not making that up. Of course it’s nothing of the sort as it actually plays out like the sort of thing John Mayall was playing with around about his “Empty Rooms” period. So, blues rooted fusion is what you’re getting. And if that sounds like the sort of thing to get you moist, then this will certainly please you. To be honest, an entire album of it was a bit too much for me, however much I want to applaud the boys in the band for trying to do something a wee bit different.
When it works it is really good, so check out ‘The Busiest Woman I’ve Ever Loved’ on the video down below for the project at its peak. A shame the three dance remixes at the end of the album suck the life out of things but if you take this in small doses then it should be mind altering enough.
When is an Irish country band not a country band. Well there a good few answers to that question in the modern music business but at least The Rising cling on to some vestige of country music on their new album.
It’s very country pop or rather pop-country with single and title track ‘Moving On’ showcasing what they do. If you like that song then you’ll probably enjoy the album. Of course, people who liked the debut might be in for a surprise, seeing as how they how now have a girl singing instead of a boy. So it’s really a fresh start as they try to grab some of that Shires / Ward Thomas / Jess & The Bandits interest.
Chantelle is a decent enough singer but it does take a wee bit of individualism away from their sound, even is she is technically a better singer. But they’ve got Nashville in their sights and have chucked the Springsteen references of their debut for a cleaner more commercial sound which is shown to its best on ‘Even The Stars Fall For You’ (which would be a surefire US hit in anothers hands), ‘ Take A Hint’ and ‘Finally Found You’. It may be a bit too poppy for me but it’s a big step forward for The Rising.
It’s back to the world of goth now as we head to Germany to catch up with Florian Grey whose “Gone” record back in 2015 was a real treat.
And he’s carried on in fine fettle as he continues to mine that whole poppy goth rock lite sound that propelled His Infernal Majesty to world wide acclaim back in the day. Of course those days are gone now but folks who’ve been lighting a black candle and praying for some worthy pop goth should definitely be getting a hold of this.
Have a listen to the video of ‘We Go Down’ at the end of this review and you’ll be swept up in their synth driven pop goth sound straight off. For sure there isn’t a great deal of variety but we’re playing with moods here. It’s one for the weeping romantics out there who like to clutch books of poetry to their breasts atop a gloomy clifftop. Nowt wrong with that and with songs like ‘A Cold Days Night’, ‘Bereft’ and ‘My Babylon’, there’s moody melodies galore. A gothtastic treat.
Light At The End
Well now, as you may have guessed from their name, Scandic Tribe are a melodic rock band from Scandinavia. Denmark to be exact and they do like their retro melodic hard rock.
However, rather than simply being an AOR band they’ve looked a wee bit to the left hand path and brought in influences from the likes of Stevie Salas Colorcode and the Dan Reed Network to flesh out some fine songs.
Things get off to quite a slow start but by the time you get to ‘Heaven’ and ‘Revolution of Confusion’ you start to get a proper feel of just how good a band Scandic Tribe could become. They’ve got some big choruses and memorable melodies and even if some of the songs could do with some editing (‘Life Is Good’ for example), there is so much promise on offer that you can easily forgive minor annoyances.
It’s a shame that the melodic rock world relies on fake projects and unwanted reunions because if fans got a chance to hear records like this, their ears (and wallets) would rapidly open.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton