Reviews roundup ~ Luca Kiella ~ DogRocket Blues Band ~ Sorceress of Sin ~ Jasmeno
Ready For You
Cypress Road Productions
A couple of years back I reckoned Luca Kiella was a phenomenal keyboard player and a meh singer. That was after hearing his debut EP, “Figure It Out” and now there’s a whole album to listen to, And you know what? He’s a phenomenal keyboard player and a meh singer.
Don’t get me wrong, the music is fabulous. It swings and grooves with a retro funky, soul and blues mix that is a delight to listen to. The songs are uniformly excellent and the band he’s put together really do an excellent job of bringing it all to life. That would be guitarist Aaron Weistrop, drummer Paul Hall and bass player William Baggett with a special round of applause for the horn section of Mark Mullins, Bobby Campo and Brad Walker who appear on four of the tracks. And it’s no surprise that they’re the four best ones.
Oddly enough, when he has a go at a ballad, his voice takes on a different dimension. He really holds his own on “A True Connection” but when he cranks up his Hammond organ and launches into an up-tempo stormer it just doesn’t work. Which is a damn shame as there is so much to enjoy here. Songs like the title track, “Misstep” and “Here No More” are packed full of joy.
It’s tricky when it’s your name that is in lights but someone ought to have a word.
DOGROCKET BLUES BAND
I know who I’m hiring when it comes to burying the bodies. They look like it’s not the first time they’ve been called into We Shall Never Speak Of This action.
Now, somewhere up above I mentioned the pitfalls of having a meh singer. Guess what? Yup. And it’s another shame as there are some really good songs here as well. But you know who the bandleader and songwriter is. Yes, that’s right. The singer / keyboard player. There seems to be a them developing here.
You can get away with that when you’re a part-time, bar playing rhythm and blues band. But when you graduate to a recording studio you no longer have the clink of glasses, the hum of conversation and the inevitable 9pm catfight. It’s just you. Again, musically there is a helluva lot to enjoy here as the veteran players certainly know their way around their instruments. They even throw in a few seventies, jazzesque passages hither and thither to make sure you’re paying attention. And it works.
Bill Kesel (for it is he who sings and writes) has been accumulating songs for decades, so it’s no great surprise that he’s brought the cream of the crop to this release. The arrangements are excellent and when they go a bit yacht rock as they do on “Only Man” then you yearn, I mean yearn for a Michael McDonald to be at the mic. Generally, it’s the funkier numbers that work best with the title track an excellent example with an almost spoken word approach to the vocals.
The rest of the band do a fine job – that’s Joe Custer (bass), Mike Jacobs (guitarist) and David Matherly (drummer) with the percussion of the latter a constantly inventive delight.
SORCERESS OF SIN
So what did I think of their debut “Mirrored Revenge”? Well, don’t ask me. I can barely remember the way to the toilet never mind records from a year or so back. Fortunately, we have the internet. “firmly rooted in more traditional power metal so expect plenty of Stratovarius / Helloween inspired moments. And in an unusual twist they’ve actually got a singer who can sing.” OK then.
Well, it’s the same this time around. But with a bit more, technical term alert, oomph.
And isn’t it jolly nice of them to name the record after their guitarist. Either that or they put everyones name in a hat and drew for it. So it could just as easily have been called Lisa, Paul or Daniel. Lucky break.
What it is, to use a technical term, is fucking brilliant. From the opening “Necropolis” (and you know how I like a Necropolis) this is bombastic power metal which is starting to show some symphonic elements. Something I am unlikely to complain about. It’s s slow beginning but then the guitars kick in and it’s balls to the wall metal. Excellent! My memory isn’t what it used to be but I’m reasonably sure the debut wasn’t this heavy. Maybe it’s the drums? They’re absolutely ferocious here.
And in Lisa Skinner they’ve got a singer, who as I mentioned earlier, can sing. Not in an aerie faerie manner but in a proper, full blooded aural assault. S’good. The music ebbs and flows with a few slower moments to give you time to catch your breath. Naturally, they save the best for last as they embark on the 12 minute title track where they throw everything, including next doors kitchen sink, into a monumental slab of metal. It’s why heavy metal was invented. A real good one.
PS – that’s a proper heavy metal album cover as well!
To Poland for some progressive rock. Some quite stunning prog rock. And synthpop.
I don’t recall their debut, self titled album from last year but if this mini-album is anything to go by then I’m sure it was an absolute banger. Well, as bangery as anything can be in the world of progressive rock.
This release sees six new tracks being augmented by four tracks from said debut which have been remixed and some new bass lines and a different guitar solo chucked in for good measure. Not that I’ll spot the difference bearing in mind what I’ve just said.
It’s very eighties synth driven which isn’t something you hear a lot of in modern prog but if you’ve got too many Tangerine Dream soundtracks from shitty 80s films lying around then I reckon you’ll take to this. In terms of actual prog then the guitar work is very late period Pink Floyd. They’ve also got a new singer on the new tracks with the splendidly named Lecia Louise Mcphail-Bell having been supplanted by Karolina Andrzejewska. Now this may make me a fearful racist but I suspect the latter may be closer to home than the Australian Ms Bell. Although with Ms Andrzejewska having her own band in the shape of Batalion d’Amour whose “Fenix album I reviewed hunnerds of years back.
If there is such a thing as prog dance doof doof then this is it as the new songs, in particular, have an air of in da club about them. Well, a better than average chill out room, certainly. The old(!) songs are definitely proggier but the new material has a certain something about it that draws you in. One for that huge System 7 / Pink Floyd synthpop meets prog crossover crowd. A good one.
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