Reviews roundup – Dean Ford vs. Tillian vs. C.T.P. vs. Skindeep vs. Vikings vs. Porn

Reviews roundup – Dean Ford vs. Tillian vs. C.T.P. vs. Skindeep vs. Vikings vs. Porn


71lde2fjfbl._sl1200_DEAN FORD
This Scottish Heart
Shine on Records

Sadly this now acts as an epitaph to the Marmalade hitmaker who passed away shortly after the release of this record.

After his hitmaking days he suffered addiction issues and performed in the USA to small crowds before finally returning to recording a couple of years ago.

He moved to the USA decades ago and this double CD was mainly recorded in his Californian kitchenette on to a laptop but such are the advances in technology you wouldn’t really know. Musically he’s operating in a sort of seventies singer / songwriter idiom with a few folky and country touches thrown in, some of which reflect his younger days growing up in Scotland.

As you would expect with this many songs they’re not all great but of the thirty on offer there is a really good album in there. Lyrically he deals in simple truths, nostalgia and emotion so the likes of ‘Made In Scotland’, ‘Little Man’, ‘Glasgow Road’ and the Marmalade a-like (and sadly apposite) ‘Running Out Of Time’ will resonate of many. Shorn of the harmonies from his hit making years, the vocals do sound stripped down but there is a quality to the best of the songs that make you think he should have had a brighter future. He revisits the past on an acoustic run through of ‘Reflections of My Life’ but it’s the brighter of the newer songs that he would want you to remember.

Amazon

 


81k2hfwml._ss500_TILLIAN
Lotus Graveyard
independent

Alright? Fancy some Israeli progressive rock? Well let me tell you boy, it’s your lucky day.

Tillian are the band in question and they’re coming from that modern, hard rock / metal tinged side of prog. So more Pain Of Salvation than Amazing Blondel. So plenty of guitars for young metalheads looking for a wee bit of calm. Or old metalheads like me who are just tired.

The one great thing about this record is that it is chocked to the gun-whales with great melodies. And when a swooping melody catches fire and the vocals of Leah Marcu soar over the top then it’s a thing of great joy. They’re also not scared of interesting arrangements, helped along by the melancholy strains of a cello (the saddest of all string instruments). The guitars of Opher Vishnia and Yaron Gilad are invariably spot on knowing when to lead and when to follow.

Apparently the album is personal and intimate, something the lyrics reinforce. So no world reaching conclusions, just songs of love, loss and hope. Well I’ve been through the first two and am waiting for the third to arrive before I die. So a mournful cello refrain and “Pain and joy are woven fine but can’t you see they’re clothing for a soul divine” is right down my melancholy road.

But they can rock it up as well and I’m hard pushed to find a song here that didn’t touch me is some way. Good and bad. I know it’s early days but you’ll be hard pushed to find a better modern prog album this year. So just go and get it. Now.

Amazon

 


61k0mber2bal._sl1200_C.T.P. (Christian Tolle Project)
Point Blank
Fastball

It’s a couple of years since i reviewed a Christian Tolle Project record and as that one featured revisits to his back catalogue I was looking forward to some new tunes.

And if you’re a fan of slightly old fashioned melodic rock then you’ll definitely enjoy this. It’s certainly enhanced by the presence of Doug Aldrich (ex-Dio, ex-Whitesnake, The Dead Daisies) on guitar and his tone certainly raises the performance level. Luckily he’s got some good tunes along for the ride as well. The vocals are handled by David Reece (ex-Accept, ex-Bonfire) and John Cuijpers (Cooper Inc., Ayreon, Praying Mantis) so there is some high quality on offer there as well. Although highly melodic there are still plenty of riffs for metalheads to hang their coats on.

But it’s when he gets a wee bit adventurous that it all works best so ‘Too Late’ and ‘Before I Fall’ are the absolute knockouts. There is a slightly unnecessary cover of Rainbow’s ‘Since You Been Gone’ but if that gets a few punters over the door then so mote it be, as it is definitely a record worth visiting.

Amazon

 


a0548351657_10SKINDEEP
New Life
independent

We’re off darn Sarf now to listen to the grungy metal sounds of Skindeep.

Although it’s to the oo-arr South West rather than the South East that we’re heading. Skindeep played their first show in 2012 but things seem to have been a wee bit hit and miss since then. But they’ve finally got their heads together in the country to put out their debut album. Based around a songwriting partnership of Tristan Tucker and Adam Moore they’re looking to the early nineties for their inspiration.

So it’s Black album Metallica rather than “Ride The Lightning” and a fair whack of riffs from the rockier side of grunge. So more beefy Alice In Chains than whiny Nirvana.

And they’ve got some good tunes as well with ‘New Life’, ‘Forsaken’ and ‘Blood On My Hands’ able to hold their heads high. Some of the songs do suffer from the production values and seem more demo like than anything else but on the good stuff Skindeep certainly have something to offer.

https://skindeepband.bandcamp.com/


91ntc0ucol._ss500_VIKINGS
Far Beyond My Dream
independent

An odd one this. Some 20 years after the first Vikings album there’s a second one. But unless I’m missing something there don’t appear to be any original Vikings here? I mean, surely, if you were going to try and springboard something off a long defunct band you’d go for one folk had heard of. But no.

But many long years after “Across The Great Wide Sea” here comes “Far Beyond My Dream”. And it’s fairly straight down the middle late eighties sounding heavy metal from the Southern Germans.

The performances are strong and they thrown in a few prog metal bits to keep your attention when things start to flag. There are a few good tunes on offer with ‘Avalon’ and ‘Before The Rain the best of the bunch. The guitar work is good as are the vocals although the drum sound shows up its origins as an independent release. If you are in the market for some sturdy old school metal then you might want to stream before you buy starting with the tracks mentioned above.

Amazon

 


71gsxzxtmvl._sl1440_PORN
The Darkest Of Human Desires Act II
Soulfood

In the modern world, if you want the wider world to find your band, don’t call it Porn. Just for research purposes I typed said word into the modern day Ask Jeeves and it returned “About 2,750,000,000 results”. I don’t even know how to pronounce that number.

But the gothy French industrial band Porn are stuck with it. Turns out this is the middle part of a trilogy following on from “The Ogre Inside – Act I” and continues the story of the charmingly named Mr Strangler. At least he should be easy to track down with a name like that. Turns out he’s a bit of a baddy and has started bumping people off while the band plays along in a Type O Negative meets Stabbing Westward kind of way.

Me? I’m a sucker for this sort of thing so really enjoyed the dark intonations, guitars and samples. Of course some won’t take to tales that involve Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and others but if you’re going to write music about such deplorable people then this is how it should sound. Which is to say ranging from creepy scary to shouting in your face waving a cleaver scary.

A couple of the songs really stand out so if you want to sample first have a listen to ‘Evil Six Evil’ and ‘Tonight Forever Bound’ which are just great songs. A good bad one.

Amazon

 

 


stcollogoSt Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton
http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/

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