Reviews roundup – Brainstorm vs. Marenna vs. David Slame vs. Wille & The Bandits
You know where you are with a Brainstorm album. And that place is nineties power metal which sits on the harder edge of the genre. Which is a good place to be.
So here on album number twelve they rampage through a fine set of tunes all offset by some excellent vocals (as always) by Andy B. Franck. If anything they’ve actually got a tad heavier this time around but unlike many of their ilk they never forget to attach a good song to all the sturm und drang that is rattling around. So numbers like ‘Jeanne Boulet (1764)’ and ‘Divine Inner Ghost’ have yer actual melodies and a chorus you can sing along to. Result. But, naturally, the guitars are still front and centre with Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric firing on all cylinders with some inventive riffs.
I’ve always been surprised that Brainstorm never managed to punch through to the proper big leagues of metal but there is still time for you to sign yourself up for some powerful and dynamic power metal. Even better, if you pony up for the deluxe edition you’ll get a bonus DVD: “Scary Creatures Over Europe 2016” chucked in for good measure. Off you go now.
Livin’ No Regrets
Do you remember when Bon Jovi were a proper band? Well so does Rob Marenna and he’s going to make blooming well sure that his eighties blend of melodic hard rock and AOR will have you yearning for the days of big hair and big melodies.
To that end we’re going to Brazil where he’s already recorded and released two albums leading to this, the Live Album! Yes indeed, as befits music of this genre when the “No Regrets” tour headed to Caxias do Sul, Brazil, so did a tape recorder resulting in this release. And I really enjoyed it. Mind you, I was their the first time so his soaring voice and melodies hits me right in the memory bank. He and his band – Arthur Appel (bass and voice), Aaron Alves (guitar and voice), Gionathan Sandi (drums) – along with special guests Sasha Z (Guitar), Jonas Godoy (guitar) and voice) and Maurício Pezzi (keyboards) hit all the marks perfectly.
Luckily there are some excellent tunes along the way, some of which would have been sure fire hits in 1987. ‘You Need To Believe’, ‘Never Surrender’ and ‘Reason To Live’ really stand out for me as they take me back to a time of youthful dreams. The sound isn’t perfect but then it shouldn’t be. It’s a live album! But it has fire and spirit and the sound of a good time. Melodic hard rock fans of a certain age should definitely be giving it a listen.
Follow The Butterfly
Hello! It’s concept album time. “Follow The Butterfly” tells the story of “A character facing fear and escaping from a life of modern slave and entering a magic kingdom, far from chaos, some kind of rebirth”. So now you know.
And this is done through the medium of prog tinged classic hard rock. Which is fine by me. I saw Magnum more times than was good for me. I own a few Ten records. I’m practically an expert. Mr Slame is certainly a good singer and also knows how to write a good tune as, bar a couple of co-writes, they’re all his. He’s put together a good studio band as well who seem to have an inderstanding of what he’s trying to do so not just a bunch of sessioneers. Granted, the production isn’t quite all there but he’s doing this by himself, so job well done.
There are elements of pomp rock in there for good measure as well, so fans of vintage Kansas and Starcastle will certainly find a lot to enjoy in the grooves of ‘Circles Of Pain II’ and ‘Freedom’. If you’re looking for an interesting record with something to say musically and lyrically, then give this a go. You could be in for a very nice surprise.
WILLE & THE BANDITS
Find My Way
February 2019 seems like an awfy long way away. There’s a whole winter to get through before you can get your hands on the new Wille & The Bandits album.
So to keep you toasty by the fire they’ve done the decent thing and released a single. And you’ll certainly warm up if you jiggle up and down to ‘Find My Way’ as the trio rock hard through some psych tinged blues rock. It certainly does its job which is to rouse some interest in the forthcoming “Paths” album and if you do the pre-order thing you’ll get to download this straight way. The magic of the internet!
They’ve also got a big UK tour lined up for March next year so as the nights fair draw in at least you’ll have something to aim for.