Reviews roundup – Louise Cappi ~ Vanish ~ Media Octava ~ Replika ~ Uzziel
Well this was rather nice if you like some blues tinged, late night jazz bar music.
I do, so this record from Louise Cappi did the trick. Born in New York, based in New Orleans, she comes from a jazz family and this collection of four originals and five covers’s new album sees Ms Cappi and her band doing a fine job.
She started singing as a wean with her father, Al Cappi the well known jazz guitarist but it was only after moving to New Orleans and raising her family that she put her own band together and started developing her sound.
She’s got a good voice and the band to a fine job of creating a smoky backdrop for her to sing through. The best of the originals is the opening ‘Talk To Me’ with the best of the covers, the closing ‘Song For You’ by Leon Russell. She also takes on tunes from Randy Newman, Roberta Flack and the Gershwins alongside a medley of ‘Chain of Hearts / Unchain My Heart’.
It’s a mood piece, rarely getting out of second gear. But it’s a mighty fine cruise.
A power metal 20th anniversary EP from German band Vanish revisiting some oldies with some very special guests.
The guests are Alicja Mroczka (who’s guested on a few albums recently) along with a certain Tim “Ripper” Owens (Three Tremors / Iced Earth / Judas Priest) and Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear).
Now Ms Mroczka has a fine voice and the duet on ‘The Pale King’ is very enjoyable. But when you’re setting yourself up against Owens and Scheepers you really need to bring your A game or they’re going to walk away the victors. And they do. But that doesn’t stop this being a very enjoyable release.
They’re one of those bands who always seem to have been around without ever quite breaking through. Maybe it’s the keyboard heavy sound that puts some metalheads off. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed it and the five tracks here are all top notch.
I probably favour the mid-tempo melodic power of the Ripper enhanced ‘We Become What We Are’, which is an odd one to cover seeing as how it was on their most recent album as was the aforementioned ‘The Pale King’. But as metal power ballads go it’s hard to beat. New guitarist Ben Galster throws in some death like growls on ‘Disbelief’, Scheepers does his thing on the epic ‘The Grand Design’ and they have a quick run through the Black Sabbath classic ‘Heaven and Hell’, done here as an acoustic ballad.
If you’ve never heard of Vanish the 25 minutes on offer here should convert you. A real good one.
La Abolición de los Rascacielos
Fancy some quirky prog from Argentina? Of course you do. I mean who wouldn’t.
And that’s exactly what you’re getting from Media Octava. It’s the second album from the band who formed back in 2012 and sees Joe Ablop on lead vocals, electric piano and synthesizers, Juan Manuel “Juma” Nalda, on drums and backing vocals, Alejandro Damián Fenos, on bass and backing vocals and Milton Zini, on guitar and backing vocals.
Now I’m taking a punt here what with my lack of Spanish and an absence of a press release but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that “The Abolition Of Skyscrapers” isn’t some kind of hippy, let’s all buy bicycles and grown our own courgettes concept album. Well it does open with a song called bicycles. The courgettes I’m less sure of.
They’re really very good at this prog malarkey. There version throws in lots of jazzy fusion licks and more than a few quirky Zappaisms. But without disappearing up their own arses. The songs are all short and pithy but there is a flow and a cohesion to what they do that makes it seem very much a whole.
They’re certainly way over there and if you’re tired of mainstream prog then this is definitely worth a punt.
Well, now. Turns out that nu-metal didn’t die when Head found God.
Nope, it moved to North Carolina. Although, to be fair to Replika, they were actually a nu-metal band back in the day before personal issues caused them to disappear for a couple of decades.
And this is so nu-metally it may as well have NU tattooed on it’s forehead in big FO letters. Thing is, you don’t really hear this sort of thing anymore. Which means it actually sounds fresher than yet another metalcore/deathcore/nameyourowncore soundalike band, so many of whom are indistinguishable from each other.
They’ve got some good riffs, a decent singer and a handful of proper choruses with ‘Knots’ the best of them. They rattle through the half a dozen tracks at lightning speed and I enjoyed this so much more than I expected to. It’s not perfect as the drum sound will attest but if you want to relive your angsty, shouty teenage youth with some new tunes, then this will sort you out.
Well, as stupid ass intros go, ‘Beyond The Funfair’ is up there.
But after the initial thirty seconds it’s off into some modern thrash metal with this Austrian outfit.
Thing about thrash, it’s hard to forge your own identity and even tough Uzziel fall more into the melodic thrash idiom that’s still an issue.
I do like the mix of fore and background vocals which is the one thing that really stands out. That’s not to say they don’t have a pile of riffs to hand. They certainly do. And when they sometimes have a wee breakdown into classic metal territory that works as well. The solos shred and they certainly have a lot of anger coming through the speakers.
Lyrically it’s no safe space for anyone struggling to get to grips with life as a lot of the songs are about suffering, pain, loneliness and wanting to leave. So, me then. But it makes a change from songs about people bashing other people with heavy stuff. The production is OK for an indie release and there is something there that made listen a second time. Which shows that Uzziel have something that could be nurtured into something bigger.
The title track and ‘Your Death’ are the songs that stuck with me and I reckon melodic thrash fans should, at the very least, investigate.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton