Reviews roundup – Rockenbolle ~ Etorkizun Beltza ~ Blue Hook ~ Superchucker ~ Madd Scientist
Der Teufel Spielt Den Rock N Roll
Hmm. Someone has had an unfortunate time with the ladies if the first two tracks here are to be believed. “Fear In My Balls” talks of evil bitches whilst “Rock Bitch” is about an, um, rock bitch. What about sitting down, having a nice cup of tea and a wee blether.
Well, maybe not as German rock band seem more inclined to play both kinds of music. Rock and Roll. The album title translated as The Devil Plays Rock’n’Roll. Now I’m not sure about that as I’m sure there’s a lot of paperwork and supervision involved in managing hordes of demons but if Lucifer were so inclined then I reckon he’d be more Wagnerian than Motorhead meets Supersuckers. Because that’s what you’re getting here. Which means it’s right up my strasse.
The album is split between English and German lyrics so you might want to weigh up how much you actually like killer, sleazy, riffs before you buy. And there are twelve of them here. One for each song. Because they really do know how to roll out a rocking riff. It’s the second album from the Hamburg rockers and really is a delight. The production is great, there are plenty of punky singalong choruses and they even close things out with an actual Motorhead cover version. “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” since you ask. And just to make sure you get the connection, they even have a song all about their roadcrew.
There are a few nods to the likes of Rose Tattoo in there as well and if they were to bag an opening slot on the next Airbourne German tour I reckon their merch stand would be swamped. This is relentless rock and roll, just the way God intended.
Ekaitzen Osteko Sua
The fourth release from Basque metal band Etorkizun Beltza but their first with their new vocalist Imanol Orozko. And as befits a band that started life in 2010 after two of the original members spotted each others Iron Maiden T-shirts, this is proper metal.
To be fair, they mix up power metal with some true metal but there is nothing here that ardent fans of eighties metal wouldn’t take to their hearts. Well they probably won’t recognise the words as Etorkizun Beltza (which translates as Black Future) sing in their native Basque. Now bearing in mind that under 30% of your actual Basques speak the language that certainly limits some of their appeal. But you can’t fault the pride in a people who General Franco tried to culturally annihilate. He probably wasn’t a metalhead either.
Words aside, this takes the aforementioned eighties power metal, throws in some “Ram It Down” / “Painkiller” era Priest riffs and some near thrash drum patterns. And it all makes for a damn fine noise. Take a listen to “Altsasukoak Aske!”, my favourite track, and tell me I’m wrong. See, you can’t.
That’s run a close second by “Mundu Irenslea” which also rocks like a bastard. The guitar work from brothers Julen and Mikel Unamuno is fabulous throughout with some piercing solos, the production is as good as anything you’d hear on a major release and with a huge number of vicious riffs to hand, this is a headbangers delight.
The Night Wild
Looking for some psychedelic blues rock and worn out your copy of ‘Steppenwolf 7’? Well this might do you meantime.
Because that’s what you’re getting on the latest release from Ohio based Blue Hook, a band who’ve been on the go since 2004. Although this is only their third album.
Musically it has a helluva lot to commend it if the thought of the aforementioned Steppenwolf jamming with Kingfish sounds like your thing. And I’m sure there are a fair few out there getting a wee bit moist at the thought.
The band rarely get out of second gear but that gives the drawling John Kay like vocals of Adrian John Szozda the right framework to operate. The rhythm section is very fond of a laid back shuffle while it’s the lead guitar work that gives it a psychedelic sheen. They’ve also got some interesting arrangements on the go which rarely stick to a 4/4 format. So your ears have always got something to listen out for.
But unlike your actual jam bands Blue Hook do the decent thing and stick to actual songs. The best of those is “Lucifer And The Strange” which is one of the best psych tunes I’ve heard in a fair wee while. I’m also very fond of the “The Silence” which spins off into a Jefferson Airplane vibe that is quite delicious. A good one for those who remember the Holding Together magazine of yore.
I take it they don’t have the DuckDuckGo in the Canadian colonies? Why else would you call your album “Widespread Panic!”? I mean it’s not like there is a multi million selling jam band called Widespread Panic. Or maybe the plan was to fool the more lysergic of their fans into thinking they’d sneaked out a new album called Superchucker. Cue big sales and some very confused hippies.
And they would be very confused as the Canadian band specialise in heavy, heavy metal. As befits a band some of whose members have done time in a Judas Priest tribute act. But this metal is a tad more modern than that. For sure, there are some galloping guitar riffs in there. You know, the ones Maiden nicked off UFO and claimed as their own. But, regardless, if you don’t like a galloping guitar riff then you are dead to me. Dead 2 Me.
They’ve been on the go since 2016, releasing an EP followed by an enhanced version of said EP. But this is their debut full length album and sees them taking those old school riffs, adding some power metal vocals and some alt metal rhythms to make up their own sound.
The first couple of tracks are balls to the wall metal which are good but it’s the re-recorded ‘Liar’, where the pace slows that really grabs the attention. If anything it reminded me of vintage Praying Mantis. That’s a good thing by the way. Elsewhere they largely stick to a template but certainly know how to knock out some good guitar lines. They’re not doing anything new but metalheads will certainly take to the better songs.
I would have thought the last thing we needed in 2020 was another mad scientist. But turns out he’s not mad (just Madd) and he’s not a scientist. In fact, I’ll hand you over to Mr Scientist for a personal declaration. He’s a “a music producer, songwriter, recording artist, open format DJ, and proud gentleman bachelor.” So know you now.
Strangely enough, considering I’m the whitest metalhead you could find, the opening track didn’t sound unfamiliar. It’s very downtempo and trip hop in nature, almost Bristolian. After that he heads off into melodic hiphop and even though I’m no expert it sounds like the kind of thing that would have been chart bothering 5 or 6 years back. I only know that because the late Mrs H was very fond of dancehall tuneage and when she was around so were sounds like this.
That makes sense when I read that Mr Scientist released his first EP back in 2016 as that’s when the radiogram pumped out club jams in the kitchen. I’m told by people who know about this sort of thing that it’s a mix of West Coast hip hop, reggaeton, and dancehall. So there. He’s also a bit mucky so you might want to tread warily around “You Nssty” and “Grinding Me”. But, good news for curvy ladies. Mr Scientist and JTLR are fans. At least if “Take Flight” is to believed.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton