Reviews roundup ~ Lake Of Tears ~ Days Between Stations ~ Final Gravity ~ Angeline ~ Superfecta
LAKE OF TEARS
A decade has passed since we last hear from Daniel Brennare (who is Lake of Tears) as he’s had his battles to fight. And those battles have fed into this record which is a weighty, claustrophobic slab of synth goth metal.
He hasn’t really released a bad record over the years so it’s no surprise that this one is a well thought out and well presented release. How you’ll cope with it depends on whether you’re drawn to the desolate or want to drag yourself away from it. I’m on my last legs so although I should have taken to my heels I couldn’t help but be drawn in.
It’s not all a straight down the middle, old school synth goth hybrid as there are moments of metal as well as hints of prog and on the instrumental ‘The End of This World’ just good old industrial. But the absolute standout is ‘In Wait and in Worries’ which is just stunning. If stunning can be applied to a piece of music that tears you inside out. Bandit. There’s plenty of other stunning moments with ‘Cosmic Sailor’ and the bonus track ‘In Gloom’ coming up the rails. It’s a stunning piece of work from beginning, forged through adversity and, quite probably, the best record of his career.
If you fall into the “I am a lonely man, sorrow is my friend” category then is will either be your worst nightmare or a dark companion.
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS
An odd one this. See, Days Between Stations comprises guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes Bills. But on this, their third album, Yes fella Billy Sherwood plays bass and drums, produces, co-writes and, of the three featured vocalists, puts in the most appearances.
The other guests are one time XTC man Colin Moulding and Pink Floyd/Blue Pearl vocalist Durga McBroom. But its got Sherwood all over it with most of the music harking back to seventies styled prog. Which is a good thing in case you were wondering. And it’s no great surprise that the Sherwood fronted songs, aided by his Chris Squire style bass playing means it sounds a bit like Yes. Again, a good thing.
They do stray into neo-prog territory from time to time with the closing ‘The Common Thread’ the best example of that. Where things do veer slightly off to left field is on the more up-tempo instrumental passages where Messrs Samzadeh and Fuentes Bills get to stretch out a wee bit. The guitar work is particularly fine especially if you’re drawn to 1973 Genesis type sounds. You can hear a bit of everything they do in the opening track ‘Spark’. Not a surprise considering it lasts 16 minutes but it really does fly by. The title track is probably the highlight, though. The arrangement and multi track vocals are just superb. A special mention to the Durga McBroom fronted ballad, ‘Witness the End of the World’. It’s fabulous although I’d moved it further down the album.
Fans of classic prog will adore this and should waste no time in climbing aboard.
They’ve taken their time getting this one out as their website says it’s due in mid 2019. Now I know the colonials over in America are in a different time zone but that seems to be stretching it a bit.
Mind you, it seems to have taken them ten years to follow up their “4 Pack” EP so maybe things do work a wee bit differently over there. So what we have got? Well it’s teetering on the edges between prog and prog metal with a few alt rock / post grunge moments thrown in for good measure. Apparently, it’s not a concept album but rather “a cohesive, developing theme of self-awareness and growth throughout”. Your shout.
And it’s good. There’s some really good songs, strong arrangements and an excellent vocal performance from Melissa Jane Dichiera. My favourite is the power ballad ‘Hello, Hello (Bleeding Sadness)’. It’s blooming immense that one. Of course I’m all partial to the rock so ‘Leaving’ with its weighty riff is another treat. The whole thing sounds excellent which may be down to them getting John Kurzweg (Creed / Puddle of Mudd) or maybe they’re just really good at self producing. Whatever, it sounds as good as any major release.
There’s no filler here and if there are any mainstream hard rock fans looking for something a bit more adventurous then give this a spin.
We Were Raised On Radio
Blow Your Fez Off Music
I enjoyed “Shadowlands” from Angeline when it came out three years or so ago. It was the latest attempt from a band who can trace their history back over 35 years with a few splits and reunions over the years.
Their thing is eighties melodic rock. The kind of thing that Def Leppard and Bon Jovi fans of a certain vintage would enjoy. Although, to their credit, they do widen their remit with ‘My Heart Won’t Let You Go’ referencing nineties Bon Jovi instead! I like this sort of thing as it reminds me of my youth when I when I would travel to the wilds of Newcastle in search of Tyketto and Crown of Thorns gigs. The spandex years. Not mine I hasten to add.
But the Swedish outfit have got the sound down perfectly and this could easily have been found in a time capsule chock full of glistening melodies and catchy hooks, buried away for future AOR fans to find. I’m more inclined towards the slightly heavier tunes so the likes of ‘Helpless’ and ‘Closer To Forever’ got me hitting the repeat button. But a song like the near title track ‘Raised On Radio’ would have been a sure fire, um, radio hit back in the day. The musicianship is excellent and the production is bright and shiny.
It’s everything a fan of old school melodic rock could want. Excellent.
Rusty Cage Recordings
Well I must admit when I saw this was on Rusty Cage recordings I sighed, convinced I was in for some nineties throwback post grunge. Which is a long way away from being my favourite thing. But, damn it’s good.
If you’re a fan of huge Sabbathy riffs with a bit of Southern Leadfoot / CoC groove thrown in for good measure then you’re going to be one happy mofo. Because this rocks like a bastard.
Yes, they get their Soundgarden on in a few places but fortunately for all of us Ron Negrini has a voice that can more than cope with that. He wails and soars over some fantastic guitar work while drummer Matthew Vella has obviously decided that playing all of the drums all of the time is the only way to do it. And I’m not going to argue. Take a listen to ‘The Abyss’ if you want to hear the sound of a million percussion instruments dying a noisy death.
It’s not all balls to the walls stuff and they do space out here and there but when they rage on the likes of ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Mannequin’ it’s a sound to topple empires. Fabulous.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton