Reviews roundup – Lordi vs. Syrence vs. Nunchucker vs. Yagull vs. Highest Intention vs. Bang Bang Firecracker
Recordead Live – Sextourcism In Z7
I’ll always have a soft spot for Lordi thanks to their Eurovision win 13 years back(!) It was when I was introducing the late Mrs H to the wonders of metal and we were tucked up in a Pitlochry cottage with an Indian takeway watching the mayhem unfold. Rerr times.
Of course Lordi aren’t actually that good and their albums have varied from good to patchy over the years, although they have been getting heavier over the last couple of releases with “Sexorcism” from last year being their best in a while. It’s also a wee bit odd that Lordi have never released a live album before. There were a couple of DVDs post Eurovision but they’ve avoided the album-tour-live album schtick beloved of so many. For a band that’s been on the go for over a quarter of a century that’s quite remarkable so the multi-format “Recordead Live – Sextourcism In Z7” is here to fill that void.
I’m listening to the audio but having seen them live I have no doubt that the visual aspect will be top drawer. The audio is well produced and the current lineup of the band do bring the music to life. For sure, Mr Lordi has never been much of a singer and as he’s also the producer they’re well up in the mix but when it comes together on the better of their songs it makes for an enjoyable listen.
It’s out on DVD, Blu-Ray and an assortment of coloured vinyl. The multimedia versions come with bonus material which has a tour diary as well as all the official videos the band have made over the years including the rare ‘Inferno’ from 1994 which was the first outing for what was to become Lordi.
Freedom In Fire
Syrence can trace their roots back to the school day band that was Epic Fail in 2008. After a welcome name change and a few lineup changes they released their first demo in 2016 before another round of lineup changes led to this version signing a record deal.
“Freedom In Fire” is what they’ve come up with and it’s rather enjoyable. It’ll probably come as no surprise to learn that a German metal band have headed down the melodic power metal route so it’s not a record that’s full of surprises. But Arndt ”Strikar” Streich – Drums, Oliver ”Oschlo” Schlosser – Guitars, Fritz Jolas – Bass, Johnny Vox – Vocals and Julian Barkholz – Guitars bring some fire to their sound.
You can hear the bands that have influenced them, so there are hints of Savatage, Judas Priest and Stratovarius in there, but that’s bound to happen when you’re setting out. But they have a few cracking tracks tucked away here which more than indicates that they could easily being to make a name for themselves. Take a listen to ‘Symphony’, ‘Your War’ or ‘Kings Of Speed’ and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.
It’s fairly old-fashioned, traditional, power metal but done very well indeed.
Now I’m all in favour of Belinda Carliles panties circa 1987 but never thought about writing a song about them. For that we have the delightfully named Nunchucker to thank and the opening ‘The Sweet Smell Of Rock’n’Roll’.
Turns out that Nunchucker have their roots in some ten year old soundtrack recordings which were dusted down by originators Matt Lovell and Chris Tate who decided to flesh them out into a band and a record. The charmingly titled “Motherfucker Superior”. Strange to relate their thing is basically eighties Wardour Street sleaze rock. And I should know. I was there. Yes I’m old enough to have seen the Quireboys when they were still the London Queerboys. I’ve still got a Christmas card from Hanoi Rocks.
So, musically, this is the sort of thing that makes me sigh wistfully and think of horse tranquiliser. As opposed to Horse (London). So there’s oodles of bluesy, sleazy riffs that make me want to reach for a drink. Thing is it also sounds like it was recorded in 1986. Did they deliberately set out to make it lo-fi and grubby? I hope so otherwise there is no excuse in the 21st century. I enjoyed it, mind you, but it did lead me into a world of Lords of the New Church spin-off band which is doing little for my search for sobriety. I also enjoyed how this two disc edition has an instrumental CD for use in film and TV.
By a band called Nunchucker. From “Motherfucker Superior”. Sweet dreams.
I’m not a complete Neanderthal and am quite partial to a wee bit of gentle, acoustic jazz so this latest release from Yagull was a treat.
A duo comprised of pianist Kana Kamitsubo and guitarist Sasha Markovic their thing is a thing of tranquil delight. It’s not as overly complicated as a lot of music of that ilk tends to be. That’s not to say they’re not great musicians; they are. But there is no need to be clever for the sake of being clever. Especially when it’s at the expense of a melody. And this is a record dripping in melodies. In fact, ‘Dawn’ is so good I find it difficult to get on with the rest of the record as I keep on hitting the repeat button. Which is a bit of a bugger when it’s only track two.
But that would mean me missing out on their cover of ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’. Yes, you read that right. And here’s hoping the jazz influenced Bill Ward gets to hear it. It’s the only cover and there is no need for other peoples music when their muse is so strong. The album has one vocal track which is a bit of a shame as it breaks the spell, even if the oohing and aahing is very well done. That’s not to disrespect the guest vocalist but when you’ve created such an intense mood over the preceding tracks it comes as a jolt to my headphone clad ears. That aside this is an absolutely fantastic release.
Reggae. Oh. Do I really need to tell the Black Uhuru story again. The one that scarred me for life and made reggae my bête noire. No? Good. Just take it as read.
Highest Intention is the vehicle for singer / guitarist Ben ”Down” Lowe who put the band together in 2012 and they’ve been playing solidly since as a vintage roots reggae revival band.
I don’t know who they are mind, as the CD package adopts a minimalist approach to credits. By not giving any. Apart from the tracklisting mentioning that the opening ‘Morning Light’ has vocals from Karim Isreal. Who is, apparently, a thing in the Californian reggae world. Musically, the whole record sounds very early eighties. Which makes sense if you’re a revival band.
It’s very light and poppy the whole way through and does remind me of the radio back when Third Word and Pluto Shervington were having radio hits. It’s well played and produced and if you like this Sort of Thing then you’ll like this.
BANG BANG FIRECRACKER
Welcome to the Slaughterhouse
Seems that Bang Bang Firecracker is the latest venture from Keiron Berry out of Enemo-J. Nope, me neither.
He put this together after he did a tour supporting former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes and the PR thing says influenced by W.A.S.P., Guns ‘n’ Roses, AC/DC, Slayer and Anthrax. Which is influences go isnae bad.
Of course it’s not really. So don’t come here looking for sleaze rock and single entendres. Yes, it has some old school riifs but its actually more at home in the world of modern metal. Well, modern to me. 21st century anyway. Mr Berry does the guitars and vocals while the rhythm section of Marcus Wrench and Russ Gwynne on bass and drums are well in tune with the music.
There are some excellent riffs on offer wth ‘The Non Believers’, ‘Witch Proof’ and ‘Hellbent For Pleasure’ the best of the bunch. The album isn’t as sleaze drenched as you would think from the what’s wrong with being sexy cover but if you’re looking for something that isn’t afraid of the world of raunch’n’roll then give this a try.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton