Reviews roundup – Evans & Stokes ~ Goddys ~ The End A.D. ~ Delirare
EVANS AND STOKES
Children Of God
I’m a tremendous admirer of the ambitious. Probably because I only ever had one and that turned to shit. But this third release from John Evans (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Jenny Stokes (piano, vocals, lyrics) isn’t messing about. Not only have they put together some very impressive songs but they’ve put together a 24 page, beautifully illustrated lyric book to go with it. A bugger to store in the CD racks but it’s worth it.
And I’m glad it’s there as the lyrics are a huge part of what makes this work. It may be over two years since I lost my faith (2nd June 2017 since you ask) but you can’t forget 40 years of belief. But don’t worry, this isn’t a happy clappy world. After all, what is more metal than tales of the Crusades and songs about Satan? Exactly. They’re here among a host of others which cover numerous aspects of the metal world. They also dip into classic hard rock and even get a bit proggy in places but wherever they roam there is talent in abundance.
Strange to say, despite this being album number three, they’ve never met. Living 8000 miles apart will do that. I’m still undecided on the overall merits of the internet but this is definitely one of the pluses. Ms Stokes has a voice that doesn’t really fit the music but for some reason that’s a good thing. And Mr Evans can certainly play the guitar. There are some fantastic moments on this release but if you listen to one song to get a flavour make it ‘Godforsaken’. It’s an immense tune. ‘Evildoer’ isn’t far behind it but wherever you drop the needle there is always something worth listening to.
An absolute treat.
That’s right scary cover art, that is. Every time I look at it I see something new and frightful.
This is the debut album from Goddys, a band who hail from one of my favourite places in the world – Thuringia! I’ve never been but it’s just a great name. In my head I always picture Thongor of Lemuria striding into battle against a Thuringian warlord.
Back to the band. Dreadful name but it’s what singer Emma Schwabe, guitarist and co-singer Philipp Schwabe, bassist Michael Rudolph and drummer Daniel Rudolph have plumped for. Musically, they’re a wee bit all over the place as they take in classic hard rock, Doorsian psych, desert rock and all points inbetween. Don’t get me wrong, in places it’s very good. Looking at their picture I’m guessing they’re not new at this game which certainly helps to explain some of the rather splendid fuzz tones that adorn the record.
Lyrically, I’ve no idea what the hell is going on. Bear in mind this is a band who have a song called ‘Beard Grow Powder’. Not something I’ve ever needed or even knew existed. That’s when Ms Schwabe isn’t screaming about griffins, paranoia and tortured bodies lying in the dirt. Aye, it’s not a cheery record by any stretch of the imagination. But that suits the music which can trace its roots back to the world of Blue Cheer. Granted, I’m not the biggest fan of the vocals but there are some magnificent riffs and rhythms on offer with ‘Mad Game’ an absolute standout.
It’s different and we like different.
THE END A.D.
Seems odd to kick your album off with a cover version but that’s The End A.D. have done. Weirdly enough I remember it because in the UK “Adios Dude” by Deadspot came out on Heavy Metal Records. Something that fooled me out of £1.75 in a second hand record shop. I still refute it’s claim of being thrash metal. Of course you then have to question when is a cover a cover what with guitarist Paul Juestrich being in both bands.
Fast forward thirty years and Phildadelphia band The End A.D. are really, really angry about stuff. The first of their own tunes is ‘Why Won’t You Die’ and I’m glad it’s someone else who is on the receiving end. Vitriol maximus. Where The End A.D. are a wee bit different from most punkish bands out there are the guitars. Paul Juestrich knows how to riff and shred so while vocalist Ami Friend is spitting out her rage, he just gets on with the business of rocking.
As you would expect there is a lot of potty mouthed action but the big selling point for me is the production. So many punky bands fall down there but this sounds huge and when the crunch of ‘Junkie Logic’ and ‘Bitch Magnet’ come crashing out of the speakers even an old metalhead like me is converted.
They have a swagger and a groove and even if there are a couple of tracks that don’t quite click the overall effect is quite magnificent. Unusually, they save the best for last with the closing ‘I Wanna Be Alone’ the one song that really deserves to see them becoming a name.
Not many albums make their way from Costa Rica to the frozen North so I was keen to give this one a spin. And I’m glad I did.
For sure it’s not a world beater but there are enough twists and kicks to keep you listening throughout. Delirare are the brainchild of singer/flautist Natasha Sheik and guitarist Alfonso Chinchilla who first started the band back in 2015. They put out an EP the following year before going through a complete band refit. And now we have “Rising”.
It’s fairly traditional hard rock in the main but just when you get comfortable a flute solo breaks out which brings a whole new dimension to things when you’ve just prepared yourself for some steady riffing. The guitar solos are good and when Ms Sheik uses her higher register she had a really good voice. It’s mainly mid tempo chugging but they give good ballad as well with ‘Oblivion Island’ the best of them.
There are some eighties gothy influences but more from the All About Eve end of the spectrum than the Sisters of Mercy and there are some interesting arrangements on offer as well. You can draw a line from them to the mellower side of bands like Within Temptation and they seem happy to look outside the mainstream. Something you can hear that in songs like ‘Fingertips’ and ‘Song Of Her World’. It’s certainly interesting enough to file away in the keep an eye on them file.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton