Reviews roundup – A New Revenge vs. Mother Witch & Dead Water Ghosts vs. Silver Dust vs. Electric Mary vs. Disen Gage vs. Zoes Idol
A NEW REVENGE
Enemies And Lovers
Tim Owens is a busy boy these days. It’s only May and this is the third different “band” album he’s been on already after The Three Tremors and Spirits Of Fire. And he’s also about to go on tour with the ghost of Ronnie James Dio on the hologram show thing.
This has it’s roots in Project Rock aka Rockstar which was first mooted about 5 or 6 years back when it also included Guns n’ Roses keyboard player Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ Andreadi. He seems to have gone but that still leaves Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie J. Malmsteen), drummer James Kottak (Kingdom Come, Scorpions), guitarist Keri Kelli (Slash’s Snake Pit, Alice Cooper, Vince Neil Band) and bass player Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot). Although Sarzo seems to have now departed if the appearance of Phil Soussan (Ozzy, Vince Neil, Billy Idol, Last In Line) in the video is anything to go by.
It’s actually odd to hear Owens performing on a hard rock album because that’s what this is. After decades of hearing him scream over crushing metal it takes some time to adjust to the sound of his actual singing voice. It’s no surprise given the other members of the band that this record is chock full of eighties sounding hard rock. There are also a few nods to the world of alternative rock with some choppy indie rhythms hither and thither.
But when they stick to big rock sounds then it’s a real treat. That covers ‘Only The Pretty Ones’ (which may have Kellis old boss, Mr Cooper reaching for his lawyers), the near metal ‘The Eyes’ and the opening ‘The Distance Between’. When they try to be modern and punky it doesn’t work quite as well but eight of the ten tracks pass muster which is a good return by anyone’s standards.
Of course as a project album you don’t want to get too involved as all concerned will be off doing other things by now but as projects go it’s a good one.
MOTHER WITCH & DEAD WATER GHOSTS
Ruins of Faith
Some doom metal, anyone?
Me I don’t mind if I do although I should really have words with the Ukrainian postal service as this seems to have come out in 2015, which doesn’t say a lot about the Odessa to Embra despatch riders.
Mind you, best be careful what with my 45% Caspian steppes based DNA, in case they decide to repatriate me for crimes against postmen.
But if doom metal is your thing then the fantastically named Mother Witch & Dead Water Ghosts have got it in spades.
The brief opening track is merely getting your head sorted before the howling mad ‘Storm’ arrives to bludgeon you into submission with the soaring vibrato of Maria Teplitskaya heads off into outer space. At least I’m assuming that’s who it is as there was no press release, no EP credits and their Bandcamp page keeps it all a secret. Fair play. They seem to have had one album out before this back in 2014 and if this is anything to go by doomsters who like their music to have a psychedelic spin to it will absolutely lap this up.
The guitars are always to the fore, the riffs are trippy and swirling and whatever they’re singing about is probably not happy clappy daffodils. It’s a real treat.
I enjoyed the last album from Silver Dust although I did say “I really enjoyed it but then I come from a long line of people with mental health issues.”
And that continues here as the Swiss steampunk goth horror rock band continue on their merry way. Which is to say slightly symphonic goth meets hard rock. Just in case you need convincing about their no quite right characteristics they’ve even brought in Mr Lordi from, um, Lord to join in on a cover of the Kim Carnes soft rock classic, ‘Bette Davis Eyes’.
To be honest that should be enough to have you scuttling off to order a copy but their original material is really good. It’s also a concept album (hurrah!) set in a World War 2 haunted house. *wins* It’ about a deserter who ends up in a house owned by a murderous couple who are after a magic talisman he, unbeknownst, has about him. *wins x2*
This couldn’t be more up my street unless it was actually in my street. And I’ve checked out number 21 just in case as it’s only seven doors down. Still not convinced? What about a tune called ‘The Witches Dance’ which is a sort of duet between the aforementioned deserter and Siamese twins? Told you.
The riffs are good, the story plays out well and the none more bonkers attitude remains well on top.
You’ll need an elephants memory to recall the last album from Electric Mary. 8 years ago it was.
Hopefully that’s not too long because this is a magnificent beast of an album. But there are a lot of younger bands out there trying to hoover up the classic rock pounds, shillings and pence. So can Electric Mary turn back time?
If there is any justice then every Rival Sons fan out there will realise the error of their ways and hoover this up sharpish. Across the eight tracks (this is a proper album, this is) there isn’t a duff note or a bum note. Most of the tunes stick to stomping out an assortment of fabulous riffs allied to a memorable chorus that should have festival crowds across the world howling along. If the punters who saw them opening up for the likes of Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, and Def Leppard get on board then this should be the record that catapults them to the first division.
Highlights? That’s a Sophies Choice kind of question that it. I love. Repeat love ‘Sorry Baby’ a slow build of a track that is utterly monumental showing off all their seventies blues rock influences with an amazing vocal and spiraling guitar solo. But I don’t want to diss any of the other tracks as the short sharp shocks of ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Woman’ are just as effective. Album of the year? It’s in with a shout. Get your Greta Van Fleet and Monster Truck loving buddies to cop an ear to this. Essential.
The Big Adventure
To Russia for some instrumental prog. And bloody good instrumental prog it is too.
In the dark net world of niche prog fans, Disen Gage are held in high regard. They’ve released half a dozen albums since first forming back in 1999 and have developed over the years into the sort of thing that ardent fans of latter day King Crimson and Djam Karet hold close to their pigeon chests.
So it’s prog, fusion, art rock and improv all rolled into one. Although this one seems to have planned out in a more conventional format with each piece prepared in advance. But it’s still full of unconventional rhythms and time signatures with the arrangements enhanced by some additional instrumentation including the accordion (oh yes) and cello. I’ve always reckoned there wasn’t enough accordion in the world of prog and I’m hopeful this will encourage others in that direction.
They mix up heavy riffs with pastoral sounds with nary a thought to the popular idiom and when everything comes together as it does on ‘Adventurers’, ‘Selfish Tango’ and ‘Carnival Escape’ then it becomes a genuinely creative exploration. Highly recommended to the prog fans named above.
We Apologize For Being Awesome
They’ve been on the go for a while, have German rockers Zoes Idol. Over a decade in fact which has seen a couple of demos, a couple of EPs, a debut album and now this second full length release.
And what they seem to about is modern metal (well modern metal from 10 years back) with a dose of party rock thrown in for good measure. And it’s quite an engaging sound. Of course they’re German so that means there is room for songs called ‘(All You Need Is) Beer’ and ‘Piss On Me’. As well as one about the worst day of the week. Which they reckon is Thursday. That would be ‘Der Donnerstag-Tag’.
They’re pretty good at groovy riffs as a cursory listen to the opening ‘Yesterday Is History’ with the vocals definitely on the punk side of things. That’s one of the best tunes here along with the aforementioned ‘(All You Need Is) Beer’. Well how could the latter lose when it starts with a brief burst of ‘No Limits’ by 2 Unlimited! The best of the more straight ahead metal songs is ‘Life’s A Joke (The Grim Sense Idol) which even toys with the edges of the dreaded rap metal.
It’s enjoyable without being essential.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton