Hammerforce – Access Denied

Hammerforce Access Denied

Hammerforce – ‘Access Denied’ (2013)

Running Time 51:00

Released 2013 on Metalism Records

9/10 – Review By Rick Tilley

THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014 ALTHOUGH I HAVE NOW GIVEN THE ALBUM A SCORE OUT OF TEN.

Hammerforce have returned with their sophomore album ‘Access Denied’ and for anyone unfamiliar with their sound and who has to have a genre tag, I have taken it upon myself to give them the title ‘Twisted Power Metal’. Hailing from St. Petersburg in Russia, Hammerforce are one of a handful of bands, I can think of, who are breathing fresh life into the power metal genre and if you crave something a little bit different then these guys come highly recommended!

Why do I call them twisted? Well, they are essentially an extremely good power metal band at heart, and possess all the good elements of that genre in spades. Soaring vocals, powerhouse drumming and bass runs with fantastic guitar work, but…where they stand out from legions of other bands is in the keyboard department. ‘Nikita Merzlyakov’ delivers some quite stunning work. If you can imagine synth work in an almost dance/trance style mixed with classic power metal you’ll find something that really shouldn’t work, or so I keep telling myself, but in actual fact adds an outstanding clash of styles, especially for a huge fan of the genre, like myself.

The album kicks off with ‘I Am I’ and leaves you in no doubt that this is going to be a pretty special listen. Picking out individual tracks is pointless though, because most of them follow a similar pattern, although that doesn’t mean they all sound alike, far from it. There are some great melodies and choruses contained here that will have fans of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind and Dragonforce jumping and headbanging for all that they are worth. There are also elements of classic metal bands such as Judas Priest, so anyone who thinks I’ve lost my mind will very definitely know what side of the fence Hammerforce sit on. Fantastically produced, mixed and mastered by Nikita at his own studio, and with artwork and booklet to put much bigger bands to shame, ‘Access Denied’ is nine tracks (plus two bonus cuts sung in Russian) of awesome catchy metal that should really see the ‘Hammerforce’ name spoken by many more people in the coming months. Check out their website, which gives you access to lots of free songs and see what you’ve been missing!

Hammerforce

NOTE:

It looks like it has been very quiet on Hammerforce Social Media for quite a while now, which is unfortunate, but I wanted to share the review again because “Access Denied” is such a good album and deserves to be heard.

Rick – November 2017

Track List –

  • 01 I Am I
  • 02 Templates For All
  • 03 Wasted
  • 04 Mass Media
  • 05 Fugitive
  • 06 Earth Is On Trial
  • 07 No Place For The Old Men
  • 08 Reflections
  • 09 Access Denied

Links –

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce any part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Baleful Creed interview

John Allen / Fin Finlay – Baleful Creed Interview

October 2017

by Beth Jones

About a month ago (I’m slow, I know – hey I’ve been busy!) I had the great pleasure of interviewing John and Fin, the guitarist and front man and founding members of Northern Ireland heavy rockers Baleful Creed. We had a very jolly 40 minutes on Skype, covering everything from Buckfast to Jaffa Cakes. So here it is:

Baleful Creed band pic

Ever Metal: For those who haven’t heard of you, can you give us a brief history of the band. Where you came from, what you do and where you are now?

John Allen: Well it started back in 2009. Previously Fin and me had just been dabbling about with a covers band, nothing too serious, it was just a way to get out of the house, crank up the volume on the amps and the guitars and just sort of have a night out! We only did a few gigs as the cover band – probably because we weren’t very good!!

Fin Finlay: No, I think it was probably because we picked songs that we enjoyed playing, not what the public wanted!

John: Yeah, we didn’t do songs like ‘Summer Of 69’ or anything like that!

Fin: We didn’t do the stuff that people wanted to hear – so the covers band was like playing an original set – people going ‘we’ve never heard of any of this!’

John: Yeah, then just at some point, Fin came to me with this disc of four or five demo songs that he had put together. I was fairly reticent of actually listening to it because I didn’t want to! When did he write a song? You know! But he totally surprised me and that ‘first material’ morphed into what became the debut EP. That hooked straight away on his style of writing. I think I had the guitar tone he wanted so we put that together. Plus, I had the band name as well!

Fin: Yeah you had that from a long time ago!

John: He had to get me on board I think! From that, that pushed me into starting to write stuff so it then developed into what we are and who we are now.

Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?

Fin: I can answer his – Black Sabbath!! I have a really wide range of music I like – from heavy metal to… When I was about 8 or 9 my cousin gave me some LPs – Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Judas Priest – stuff like that, and ever since then I’ve just always liked rock. It wasn’t like ‘Oh I was in to rock last summer and I’m into hip hop this summer’, once you go into rock, it’s in your blood. It’s not a phase. It’s a love.

John: Queen was the first band that got me in to listening to rock. I was watching Top Of The Pops going ‘this is absolute rubbish this stuff’, I had no interest in music at all, but I always sort of knew about Queen, and then when I got my first pay packet, I was thinking about buying an album and it was Queen and it started me down that road.

Fin: Yeah, it was the 80s – people always go on about the 80s and 80s music, and it was horrible! And the style was terrible as well!! I was just jeans, leather jacket and cut offs. I didn’t mind that look, but I didn’t like that whole new romantic thing.

John: Yeah that style of music is probably best just left in the past!!

You have recently released your second album “Seismic Shifter” how is that being received so far?

John: Yeah it went down really well – it’s been a real pleasant surprise for us! We were so shocked to get a first album out! Then to carry on and move in to a second album – at the end of the day this was all started as just a hobby and a bit of fun – but it’s just escalated – like a small snowball rolling down a hill and growing in size and volume as the years go on. So, it was great to get another album out – it was something we probably both thought we would never do again. It was great that we weren’t the one album only and that was it done. It’s great that we have achieved another batch of songs that we could go out and record. And the reception for it has been phenomenal. It’s been out since June and the reviews have all been pretty incredible so we’re exceedingly chuffed with that. It’s been good putting it all together for the last three years or so.

Fin: We had to do that with the new guys coming on board – the two Daves – we had to give them time – they wanted to get out and gig, so they had to learn the first album, then they wanted to gig it, so it took a while before we could actually get writing again. John had a lot of riffs from ages ago anyway, so when we did decide to write another album it was good because the Daves’ influences helped as well.

John: Absolutely, and a lot of people have said there is a definite change – it’s still the Baleful Creed core sound to it, but definitely the grooves have changed and that’s got to be down to the new engine room that’s in place! People are noticing that live and certainly on the record that there’s a wee different set of influences in there, that have just changed the way the final product is and luckily, it’s all been really positive and favourable, so we’re exceedingly chuffed with that.

We have actually commented on that – it definitely does sound different – your live sound appears heavier to your album sound – do you prefer the measured experience of studio recording for an album, or do you prefer the rough and ready of live performance – the heavier, the chunkier, the ‘we can whack it up as much as we want here’?

Fin: Yeah, playing live is really good. That’s what we want to do all the time, but you do have to do new material for the fans and the people listening. You go into the studio and it’s all excitement you know, but it does get a bit tedious after a while! You’re just sitting there waiting and either John or Dave’s laying down bass lines or riffs or something, and its only more fun when you’re doing it yourself!

John: Ey, the studio’s a strange place to be in! For me it’s exceedingly nerve wracking – when you’re playing and everybody’s looking at you and you’re on ‘take 55 of this wee bit’!! Like OCD to get that solo right. Whereas live, you’ve got to get out there, you play it, there’s no room for error. You make wee blips here and there and whatnot, but its raw – you’re feeding off what’s happening in the audience, you’re feeding off the other players in the band, you’re basically feeding off the volume cos you can get out there and get that amp cranked up.

Fin: I would actually love to be out in the crowd to hear that sound because on the stage you don’t hear that sound – you get the monitors, and you hear a bit of volume from your amps, but you don’t hear the overall sound. Some people say, ‘WOW that was really, really loud, I loved it!!’ I’d love to be out there just to hear it!

John: Yeah you can still hear a bit of what is actually going on. Obviously, the studio captures that, but the studio is always going to be quite restrained in a way, where every note needs to be just caught and put down on tape. You’re working to click tracks or whatever, so it’s all quite precise and polished. Going out live, you get that……. You know we’re just a live band at the end of the day, so it does flip over a bit. Certainly nothing changes tuning wise, it’s maybe just the volume that we operate at!

Fin: Eleven!!!

John: Mr Jeffers is a loud drummer so yes, our amps go to eleven in good old Spinal Tap world!

What is the rock and metal scene like in Ireland?

Fin: It’s ok…….!! It’s very good actually. There’s so much talent over here. The only thing is, it’s a small country so everyone’s fighting for a place. We do want to break over and get on to the mainland more because, if you just want to stay in the one wee country, you just do nothing! You can’t get out to a wider audience.

John: It’s very easy to over saturate yourself here. You’re playing to a limited audience. There is a very good hardcore of folk who will come out and support the local music and the local scene here. When you go to a big gig – and our biggest would be the SSE Odyssey which holds 8-10,000, those mainstream rock bands, metal bands crowds don’t filter down into the local scene really, and there are a lot of really good bands and really good albums that are just floating about here in Northern Ireland, because people just don’t seem to want to go out and see what’s on their doorstep. I was like that in my early twenties – all I went to see was cover bands and the big bands that came through – my night out was going out to see what band was playing AC/DC and things like that. Then I discovered a couple of local bands I sort of went ‘Hang on – there is stuff happening on my doorstep that is really good’! I think you just need to be introduced to that, then you actually just start delving in. A lot of people – us included only ever went to big gigs, and then Darren heard Citizens. I think they were supporting Blaze Bayley or someone like that and they just totally blew him away and he was like ‘What the hell’s going on here – they’re from here!!’ And he then started delving in. He set up a local festival, because his son had been really ill in childhood and it was a way of saying thank you to the hospital that had treated him. He put on all the best local talent. It was probably the most successful festival round here and that was from him just seeing one local band and thinking ‘Bloody hell there’s something good going on here on my doorstep!’

Fin: Yeah, his festival would be one of the biggest gigs over here – everyone wants to be part of it – it’s always a really good, big crowd and it’s very successful.

JA: Yeah – apart from that though, nothing like Rockwich, that you were both at, happens over here and for me it’s a big gap in the market. You get your evening gig where there’ll be three or four rock and metal bands on, but we really only have Sunflower Fest here.

FF: But that’s more main stream isn’t it.

John: It’s a bit more eclectic – its indie, its world music and stuff like that – you only get a wee bit of rock and metal coming through. So, there’s a market here for a one dayer, maybe two – day Rock and Metal festival. There’s a wealth of bands here. And there a quite a few Northern Ireland bands punching through onto the mainland, so I think for a wee small country we’re doing alright!

Is it difficult attracting exposure in England, Scotland and Wales? How easy is it for you getting over here to the mainland to play?

John: Well we have been over about three or four times, but it was all Scotland based gigs before. Our first English gig was Rockwich a few months ago. This fella here (Fin) doesn’t fly, so it’s big money heading over with him cos we’ve got to take a ferry and a car!! But we’ve reached the point now where we know we need to get over now and we’ll invest that money just to get over and get reaching the audience. Online you can do so much as well now, you know, you can reach out to people and let them hear the band.

Fin: Yeah years ago it used to be flyers – you used to have to put flyers up or pass them around and just hope that they got to the people who wanted to come and see you! But there wasn’t a big original band scene here in the early nineties – there was a lot of cover bands and stuff.

John: Maybe then it was just we hadn’t discovered that there was all these original bands ourselves – we might have been off radar!! Whereas now we’re more clued in to what’s happening. Certainly, our focus is to listen to our contemporary bands round here.

Who is the song writer, or do you all have a hand in it?

John: It’s a mixture of all of us really.

Fin: We like to write music that we want to listen too.

John: Mostly the second album came about because of somebody bringing riffs into the room – whether that was stuff that Fin had, or myself, you sort of jam it out in the room a bit, then the Daves bring in their influence – they sort of pull and push it whatever way it needs to go, then the vocals will come in on top. This time round everybody was putting their eggs into the mix, whereas before it would have mostly been Fin. We’re all quite open. He will get an idea and tweak it to his own sort of style cos he knows how many syllables he needs to sing in a particular line, so where we might have written a novel, he’ll tone it down to a singable level but keep the gist of what the song is about. So it just goes into a big mixing pot really and gets shoved around until we get an end product that we are all pretty happy with.

Baleful Creed Seismic Shifter Cover

What’s next for Baleful Creed? Are you writing still or are you just concentrating on the live stuff?

John: Well, we are heading into a quiet period gig wise, so this will open up the chance for us to get back in writing again. We do only get to meet once a week anyway on an evening because of work commitments and family commitments, so we do only get a couple of hours a week to get into the room and start mixing stuff up. But a goal has been set to try and get a third album out within a couple of years.

Fin: But hopefully make it a wee bit different again.

Thinking forward to that album, and the future; If you could work with one producer in the future, who would that be, or would you self-produce?

Fin: We like producing it ourselves!

John: We’re fairly fortunate that Neil up at Manor Park (Neil Calderwood – Manor Park Studios) knows our sound, and knows the sound that we like, and captures it really well for us. I think that comes through in the reviews that we have got off the album. For me it would be Martin Birch, if he’s still alive, because he is Rainbow, he is Heaven and Hell, he’s all those classic Iron Maiden albums. I’d like to work with Martin Birch.

Fin: I’ll go with what he says!!

John: You can’t do that – you’re more Bob Rock!(Laughing)

If you could do a world tour, what countries would you like to gig in?

John: Errrrr….. All the countries that are connected by land so he doesn’t have to fly!!! I don’t think there are any restrictions really. I would really love to play America – we’ve a lot of good friends and supporters over there – it would be great to just get over and do a gig for them at some point.

Fin: It’s just about financing ourselves, that’s all.

John: Yeah, we run this as an independent thing ourselves, so everything we make is just churned back into the band funds again.

Fin: Yeah nothing goes into our own pockets – it all goes back in for recording, merchandise, it’s like a big wheel that just goes round and round.

John: Yeah and it’s been good fun, and everything we do we can look back on and go, ‘that’s our own achievements’. We’ve never tried to be signed in any way shape or form.

Fin: In this day and age, I don’t think that’s even necessary – I’ve read articles where bands are actually encouraged to market themselves, to do those things themselves and cut out the middle man so to speak. We don’t want to be signed though.

John: Yeah, we have had a couple of approaches in the past and you look at it and think ‘What’s in it for us?’. There’s not a lot of money generated in this industry now, so what we are doing, we want to keep on doing. You invest back into the band and that maybe funds a trip over to the UK or hopefully further afield, hopefully from this new album and getting the merch items out there, but there’s nobody looking over our shoulders going ‘you need to get a record out by such and such a date’, so we can do everything at our own pace with no pressure. At the end of the day this started out as a hobby and it’s maybe not just a hobby any more, but there’s no pressure on us. We’re not going to get into financial difficulties, we’re not going to owe our label money or anything, so we can just do this under our own steam.

Fin: Unless we get a million pound record deal!! That would make us do a record quickly!!

What is your favourite song to play live, and why?

Fin: I Love ‘God’s Fear’, I just love that..

John: Yeah I was just about to say that. ‘Devil’s Side’ for me has a really good feel to it. That, ‘The Wolf’ and ‘Levy’ were the last three to get put together for that new album.

Fin: Yeah and that was nearly dropped!! It’s a wee bluesy feeling, ‘it’s just too simple, it’s maybe not our sort of thing, but we just put it out and it’s become one of people’s favourites…. But for me it would be ‘God’s Fear’.

John: And for me it would be ‘Devil’s Side’ I think.

Fin: I still get a kick out of playing ‘Autumn Leaves’ though. It is the reaction that you get back from the audience – everyone loves it. It’s dark – and I like that.

Give us your best rock’n’roll story – what’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you on stage etc?

Fin: For me it would probably be getting completely wasted playing Dublin and making an absolute arse of myself!!

John: Yeah and then you went and re-enacted it again the next time we were in Dublin. You didn’t learn your lesson!!

Fin: Yeah you could get away with that sort of stuff back in the 70s, but not now. I didn’t really think it through.

John: Yeah, the first gig in Dublin wasn’t a good start. I brought my own amp head down, but one of the guys in the other band said, ‘to save yourself bother, just use my rig’, and I blew it in the second song! All the sound just went ffftt. They were playing on, blissfully unaware that I was there, sweat rolling down my face, going ‘WHAT’S GONE ON’!! Trying to find out what the hell had happened! So that was my sheer moment of panic and terror, which I hope to never experience again. Meanwhile, these guys are all stoned and pished out of their heads, because they had taken a road trip to Dublin and I think they had forgotten that they had to play at the end of it! It was a steep learning curve!!

(Note: The band did elaborate further on this, but it may have been incriminating to print it, so we have edited it a little!! Needless to say, after consuming much Buckfast and other concoctions, they were a little worse for wear!)

John: I think that is probably why we have only played Dublin three times and never been invited back!!

Fin: Yeah, I don’t do the whole drinking before a gig thing any more. It’s not enjoyable……. For everyone else there. Maybe for me it is – I thought we were brilliant!!!

John: But it’s a different mindset now. In those early days we were just doing it for fun, but now you know you have got to get up on stage and perform.

Fin: Yeah people want to hear you playing it like the album, they don’t want you to just make stuff up as you’re going along – like Aerosmith – Houston ‘77  – which was woeful!! But the fans didn’t care because they were probably all off their heads as well!!

What would your best advice be for young kids wanting to start a band?

John: Don’t drink before you go on stage!!!!!! Er.. Just enjoy it. Try and get a bit of good equipment because I think that is half the battle – having a good sound before you get up on stage.

Fin: And if you are writing stuff, write stuff that you want to write, not what you think the crowd wants.

John: And don’t mind taking a few hits along the way – you’re not going to please everybody. Some people are going to think you are crap. Don’t take it personally, just get up and try and write another song and see what happens. Just enjoy it for what it is – at the end of the day, you are getting up and you’re playing and if you’re enjoying it, it’s a fantastic hobby / profession to have.

Fin: I would love nothing more than to get up every morning and all I have to do is come up with riffs and lyrics, that would be great. Unfortunately, we have to work!

And finally…Jaffa cake – cake or biscuit?!

Fin: It’s a biscuit.

John: It’s a cake. It’s sponge with chocolate on the top!

Fin: Yeah, but if you go into the supermarket, they are in the biscuit isle!!

John: Yeah, but do you know what the really big clue is? It’s on the box – it says Jaffa CAKE – it doesn’t say Jaffa biscuit!

Fin: What do you guys think?

Beth: Well I’m on the biscuit side!!

Rick: I’m on the cake side!!

Beth: Yeah, we argue about it quite a lot, so we thought we would ask everyone we interview and then collate it!!

John: Cake.

Fin: Nah I’m with Beth, it’s a biscuit all the way. Definitely a biscuit.

And that was that. The band did also tell us that they are working on a website, as not everyone uses social media, and that they are looking to book some gigs here on the mainland very soon. Thank you once again chaps for taking time out of packing merch to talk to us here at Ever Metal! We had great fun. If anyone wants to book the guys, which I would highly recommend, or if you just want to check them out, here are all the links you will need!

BALEFUL CREED ARE –

Fin Finlay – Vocals & Guitar
John Allen – Guitar
Davy Greer – Bass & Vocals
Dave Jeffers – Drums

Links –

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the permission of both parties.  Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Robin Beck interview

Robin Beck - love is coming cover

Robin Beck interview, 29/09/17

by Vikkie Richmond

Soft rock supremo Robin Beck knows a thing or two about music and the business in general, having just released her eleventh studio album, “Love Is Coming”.  As a prolific recording artist with a career that has spanned over four decades, she took time out of her busy schedule to share some thoughts on life.

Ever Metal: So, Robin, thank you for taking the time to talk to Ever Metal! Congratulations on studio album number eleven, “Love Is Coming”.  Tell us more about it …

 Robin Beck: Well, it’s the newest album, it’s on Frontiers Records and we’ve changed the dynamic around a little bit.  Normally I write most of the material … my husband James Christian [from House of Lords] co-produced it with Clif Magness, completely did all the tracks and we embellished them.  James played on it and Tommy [Denander] played on it.  I co-wrote a couple of songs, “Crave The Touch” and “Girl Like Me” and we put our own feel on it.  We did this album as three brains, in three different places coming together as one and it was brilliant.

You obviously enjoyed the whole process?

It was the easiest for me as I only had to interpret it, because the songs really mirrored who I am and meant as much to me as my own songs that I’ve been writing over the past couple of years.  It was really easy for me, probably harder for them.

Will you be touring to promote the album?

I am planning a tour, if you gave me something to do right now I wold be jumping out of my skin but you know, with the way the world is shaped right now, it’s a little bit tilted, so we really have to organise ourselves very well so as not to get ourselves jammed up in a situation that we can’t pull out of.  Europe is very unpredictable these days and I do most of my touring over there.  When I do tour over here, lately the weather and the way the world is going, the US is also a bit dodgy.  We’re pushing for spring, we were going to do October, but forces were not with us so we are rearranging. 

Well, we are living in uncertain times.  May I take things back to where you first started – you wrote your first song at around ten years of age, so what drew you into music?  It seems like music is all you ever wanted to do?

That’s the answer right there in the question.  All I ever wanted to do and all I really knew how to do was what came natural to me and I feel very fortunate that it worked out for me on so many different levels.  All of my life I just kept stepping into situations that were real, as opposed to scams; a lot of kids get scammed these days by producers and by ads in magazines, then there is all the rigmarole with YouTube and a lot of – pardon me for saying – very untalented people competing with some very worthy and talented people, so it’s a big, fired-up mess.  I feel really comfortable in saying that, from the era that I draw my inspiration from, with the Beatles, the Supremes, Joe Cocker and Janice Joplin, I had so much to draw from and such a colourful start that it was so much built on fantasy and thinking, I can do this.  Nobody ever tried to stop me and I honestly never had any bad experiences.  It just kept rolling and I kept pursuing and things were just, maybe rightfully or maybe magically, falling in my lap.

It’s a bit of a fairy tale, isn’t it?  You knew what you wanted, you went for it and you got it?

Yeah, it took me thirty two years to make the goal, but … (laughs) I was always in the music business, either in a band or in a studio singing backgrounds, or trying to make a record or performing live, getting into commercials … I was always in the arts in one aspect or another, so I never felt the weight, if you know what I mean.  I always felt like with every little experience, I was getting a break.

Robin Beck pic

Do you feel that these days it’s a bit of a different ethos?  There are a lot of hard workers out there, but there are those that just sit back and think it will happen for them?

Well, I didn’t know how not to put one foot in front of the other to do what I loved doing, it just came very natural.  I don’t know if there’s a lot of people sitting out there waiting for it to come, I don’t know that that’s really the case.  The way YouTube is and Facebook and all of the social media, I think it’s just a great big sensation that there are people that are deserving who don’t get their due and there are people that are really not deserving but somehow or another because of their social media skills, they get a lot more attention and go viral.  I’m not 100% sure that people are sitting there waiting, unless we’re talking about the ‘entitled’ generation, but you know what, every generation goes through their judgement period.  Now we have a world of social media and a lot of technology; this is the generation that maybe feels that they don’t have to beat the pavement the way that we did in the seventies, eighties and the nineties and even just recently, when you’ve come from my roots, we don’t know how to do anything other than put the hammer to the nail.  We may know technology completely and be very versed at it, but it’s not in our blood to fabricate it through social media and to hype it that way as much as it is to create it and provide it and watch it spin out of control and straight onto the charts, if it’s possible.

Do you think that the proliferation of talent and reality shows fuels the fire, when people think it’s going to happen for them just like that?

Oh, there’s a lot of broken hearts.  I’ve seen those crowds and I’ve seen the kids from my daughter, when she was in grade school and high school and all of her friends, they all went to art school and out for those sort of things.  I’ve been to one or two where I’ve watched with friends and even with my own kid and said we’re not sitting through this and we’re not going through this with tens of thousands of people.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing, come on, I mean look what happened for Kelly Clarkson and for Carrie Underwood.  You know, what they say is the cream always rises to the top so no matter what vehicle that you have to take to get there, you have to own it, so if X Factor and American Idol are going to be out there and they’re gonna go through from the clowns to the crowns, then so be it.  If the parents can handle it and the kids really want it – that may be their only way to get from Oklahoma to the stage, it’s not so easy.  It’s a good thing, talent shows are always good – we’ve had them since the beginning of time.        

Do you ever feel jaded by the music business – that you might want to hang up the microphone and not do this anymore?

(Laughs) Of course!  When I had my daughter I was ready to hang up my tap shoes; I only wanted to be her Mom and I had made my greatest achievement; I created another life.  My goal in life is always happiness and health over money and I was never trying to be famous, ever, maybe that’s why I’m not as well-known as I should be worldwide.  It was never my goal, it’s not who I am and I never did it for that reason; I did it because I loved doing it.  Occasionally it does wear your soul down, but the good news is that when inspiration comes knocking, you have someone like Clif Magness who comes [back] into your life after two decades and says, hey do you want to write a song with me or hey, I’ve got songs for you.  It regenerates and the spark is ignited.  If it’s in your blood and it’s real, it would be pretty hard to stop, unless your health stopped you.         

If I may mention THE song (“First Time”, which was used in a Coca Cola advert in 1988) – that was massive for you and you stayed at number one for ages.  How did you feel about the song at the time, because it kind of launched your mainstream career?

It’s absolutely true that it was my breakthrough as a recording artist because I couldn’t have gone as far as I did, I mean as far as I know, because that’s the way it happened, I can’t say it might have happened another way because it didn’t.  Let’s face it, it started out as a commercial and the requests coming into the BBC and Radio 1 were astronomical.  When the request came to me to come and sing it, I came in and I sang it as a job, if you will.  It was like, I did the commercial, I’m thrilled to pieces that it’s doing so well, I’m thrilled that I have an audience because at the time I didn’t know if I would ever get any closer to being an artist than having people appreciate what I did for television commercials and actually recognising me by name was phenomenal enough as it was. Going in and singing the song and knowing that I could put my own spin on it, I could use my own voice, I could sing it will all of my heart and not be told how to sing it, that right there made it a pleasure to do.  Wondering whether or not it was going to be a hit was the very furthest thing from my mind because I knew better than to put all my eggs in one basket.  Four months later, [I got] a telephone call from John Watson from the label and it all began there – come to the UK and do Top of the Pops, I could not believe it was a real phone call. 

TOTP was quite the thing over here.

Oh my God, I was on that show with The Bangles, I loved The Bangles!  I think a couple of The Beegees were in the audience, I was like what the …?  Are you kidding me? I was very shy, too; I’m much more outgoing now because I have a lot more confidence, but I was very scared and it was new territory for me.  It was everything I ever dreamed of, happening literally overnight.  After so many years of trying, you forget about what that goal is and you just love your music, you do it with all of your heart.  There’s just so many times that you can send demos around saying here’s me as an artist and compete with the names that were out there at that point – don’t forget grunge was coming out so that was going to turn everything on its ear anyway.  It cracked that door open for me and I have never looked back since.

You’ve worked with a legendary who’s who of musicians and songwriters.  If you had to pick out the highlights, who would be the favourite people that you’ve worked with?

Oh boy, let’s hope no-one ever reads this!  In many ways, it’s not so much about the actual artists that I was working with as much as it is the whole environment.  The most fun that I ever had and what I appreciated the most was working with Arif Mardin; Arif had produced everyone from Aretha Franklin to Chaka Khan and every other artist in between. David Bowie, Chaka Khan and Leo Sayer … being in that environment, being even able to stand in the same room as someone like George Benson!  In the old days, you went to the studio, sometimes there would be a full orchestra there and there’s the full band, the rhythm section, the background singers, the producers, the engineers … the party never ends and it’s intense.  Aside from doing my own sessions and working with the singers and producers that I work with, it would be most difficult to say I enjoyed doing that project the most, because they are all equal in terms of the vibe that you get and then you separate that from the really bad ones you do, where they are really awful and you want to forget them and I’ve done hundreds of those.

Is there anyone that you haven’t collaborated with that you would really like to work with?

I think the list is really long!  I always wanted to do something with Steven Tyler and wished I could do something with Bryan Adams and Steve Perry.  I did get to do Rock Meets Classic and I got to share the stage with Ian Gillan and Jimi Jamison, who is one of my favourites.  I feel lucky that I did.  I did a duet with Clif Magness and he’s one of my favourite singer/songwriters and producers so that’s pretty cool.  I’ve sung backgrounds for Michael Bolton and back in the day he was just too much.  I do wish I could do a duet with him, I think we might have too much of a past history as friends to go there.  I also dreamed about doing a duet with Julian Lennon; he’s also a dear friend of mine, but I don’t think that that is in the cards.  I sure wouldn’t mind doing a duet with Ann Wilson but I think her sister would kick my ass!  

Having listened to the new album, your voice is still sounding really good; how do you look after it and keep it healthy?

Just using it – it’s a muscle.  If I’m over-singing, then of course I rest my voice, but in terms of doing scales and all that stuff, I was never into it and I’m far too lazy.  If you don’t use it, it gets a bit rusty, you have to get back in there and exercise that muscle, so I would say the more I sing, the more in shape my vocal cords remain.  Drink a lot of water!

If you had to introduce a new fan to your music, which album would you pick and why?

I think everybody should listen to the “Trouble Or Nothing” album, because everything that goes around, comes around; we’ve been in that phase with the resurgence of eighties rock music for a while now and it’s still going pretty strong.  Some of my other albums are very sentimental and on the softer side.  I’m going to have to say “Love Is Coming” is easily the best album I’ve ever done, from top to bottom, where there wasn’t a moment or a second of regret doing one single song.  I don’t listen to it over and over and over again, but when I do listen to it, I go “I really do like it!”  I think “Human Instinct” is also a really good album, although a bit dated sounding at this point.  It would be really hard to differentiate them in terms of their quality.

What do you listen to when you’re chilling out?  Do you have any recommendations for new music?

I’m always listening to mix tapes on my iPod.  I listen to Aerosmith and Bonnie Raitt and I listen to people that I don’t sound like.  I love jazz and I love all kinds of pop, but what I don’t love is rap [music].  I have to say it loud and proud, I am not a big fan of rap music, so you will never find that on my iPod.  My recommendations are still old school, go back and listen to some old Joe Cocker records, go back and listen to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.  Go back and listen to Billie Holliday, you know?   That’s where I always found my inspiration and the colours, the soulfulness and just the moods that were set.  A lot of times with the music that we have now, there’s no real mood.  I love some of the more modern pop singers of today, but I don’t spin them.

Your daughter, Olivia, has followed you into the business.  Do you encourage her?

Olivia’s passions are with musical theatre, but she can sing anything from opera to metal and anything in between.  Between me and her Dad [James], she just has it in her genes.  She’s a very talented actress and she’s signed to two major agencies, she does commercials, she’s doing some film, she’s singing on record.  At the age of 20, I was still going to Seven Eleven for dinner and she’s going to five star restaurants.  I’m really happy for her that she’s working and beating the path.  I encourage it, but if she didn’t love it, I wouldn’t say a word.  I’m extremely proud of her.

The music business has always been and is still relatively male dominated.  Do you feel it’s been hard going as a female artist?

I think being a woman is always an advantage.  I’ve never felt threatened by men or by men running any business, so long as they don’t paint me into a corner and do something to me personally, it’s business.  As far as singing is concerned, I take all my cues from guys who are the greatest singers ever, they’re who I follow, so it only made my life easier to listen to people like Steve Perry and Steven Tyler.  It’s never been a problem for me, but it really isn’t a ‘man’s world’, that is such nonsense.

What advice would you give to any new singers or bands that are just starting out?

First of all, I would ask them to please not be full of themselves.  Secondly, I’d tell them not to kid themselves.  Thirdly, I would tell them that there’s a lot of bad elements in this business and it is not a walk in the park; you really do have to dig your heels in and you’re gonna have to fail a lot before you succeed, but don’t give up.  If it’s your passion, just stick with it; if ever a day comes where it doesn’t make you happy and doesn’t bring happiness to the people around you, take on something else, but never give up your passion. Never.  Okay, so get a day job and move along with it, but keep it going.  Everybody that’s worth their salt that I’m friends with and that’s helped me throughout their career, they’re not making money out of it.  The most beautiful thing about that is that they’re such terrific people.  I’m a great collaborator and that’s also a piece of advice – collaborating is loads of fun and that’s the way you learn.  A lot of inspiration will come from what you do with other people.

What’s next for Robin Beck?

I don’t think about it very much.  If I thought about it, I might think I was missing out on something, I mean so many of my friends are going on cruises and they’re travelling the world, basically with their feet up.  When I try to do those sort of things, I do love it, but for very short spurts.  I get bored quickly and I really do think that for myself and also for James, we’re happiest and healthiest when we’re creating and I think we’re nicest when we’re happy with what we’re doing.  Thinking forward, do I want to stop [doing this]?  I haven’t given it any real thought and the music business may stop me before I stop it, but I have no plans to stop.  I don’t know if I could do anything else, to be honest, and I certainly cannot sit and do nothing.  I want to be on stage – that floats my boat.   

Links –

 

Disclaimer:  This interview is solely the property of Vikkie Richmond and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the permission of both parties.  Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Jens Westin / Corroded Interview

Corroded logo

Jens Westin / Corroded interview

by Rick Tilley

I really hadn’t heard much of Swedish band Corroded until their latest album, the brilliant “Defcon Zero”, was sent to Ever Metal earlier in the year. However, this is a band that has created music for a Swedish TV show and the hugely popular video game Battlefield plus has topped the music charts in their home country! Now signed to Despotz Records they are intent on spreading the name Corroded much further afield and with the ‘international’ sound they have it’s not going to be difficult to do that. Recently I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat to Lead Vocalist and Guitarist Jens Westin about the band and even though he is a man of few words it’s clear to see is passion about his music!

Rick – Hi, I’m Rick from Ever Metal. It’s great to be able to ask you some questions. Firstly would you be able to give us a little background about Corroded for those who haven’t heard of you before?

Jens – CORRODED started out in 2004 and I (Jens) am the only original member left from that setup. Today the setup is me on vocals/lead guitar, Bjarne Elvsgard on bass, Tomas Andersson lead guitar and Per Solang on drums.

Your latest album ‘Defcon Zero’ has recently been released. I think it’s fantastic but how has it been received so far?

It has been received really good by the fans and also by the critics .

It’s been five years since your previous album ‘State Of Disgrace’ was released. I know you’ve been gigging regularly in-between albums but was there another reason why it took so long?

We decided that it was time for us to change label, and it took a really long time for everything to come together the way we wanted it to. But our new label (Despotz Records) is awesome, so it is all fine and dandy nowadays.

Your music is difficult to categorise! I don’t like giving music genre tags but most readers like to know where a band sits on the Metal/Rock spectrum and the closest I could come up with was Pantera meets Shinedown! To most that might sound like an odd combination so how would you describe your music?

I usually say that it lies in the ear of the beholder. It’s very hard for us to, to say what kind of musical genre we find ourselves in. Our standard answer is Hard Rock, because I think that it encompass almost every genre within the spectra.

I wasn’t expecting your music to be so hugely catchy, to add to what I said previously, it sounds like a dose of Modern Metal mixed with commercial American Hard Rock. How do you go about writing new material? Is it an individual or complete band process?

 It is a complete band process. We tend to start with a riff from me (Jens) or Tomas, and then we will take it from there as a band to a finished song.

In this day and age it’s not easy standing out, however, I cannot think of another band who sounds quite like Corroded! Who were your influences when growing up and what current bands do you like?

We have one common denominator and that is Black Sabbath, otherwise we have a lot of different musical influences within the band. For me it started with The Beatles and then AC/DC, then came bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica and so forth. For the moment I’m really in to Mastodon, Biffy Clyro, Meshuggah, Testament and Clutch.

You’ve become very popular in your home country of Sweden. Can you try and tell us what that rise in popularity has felt like?

It’s really hard to describe, because for us it has been a gradual climb up the ladder so to say. But one thing is for sure..…..It feels great J

You recently played Sweden Rock Festival to what looked like a huge crowd. That must have been a special moment?

Yeah, that was a real hallelujah moment. We didn’t think that it would be that many people there, since we played rather early on the last day of the festival. But when we came up on the stage and saw the crowd, man that was something else.

Scandinavian Countries seem to produce a vast amount of successful Metal and Rock bands. Why do you think that is?

I’m not sure. If I knew the reason why, I would sell it by the bottle and be a billionaire. I think that part of the reason is because we have a good music school for the kids, and I really think that the Scandinavian weather is a part of it too.

You’ve also recently been announced as main support on Pain’s European tour in October and November. How are you looking forward to that?

It’s going to be great. We spoke with Peter Tätgren when we played at Sweden Rock, and pretty much decided there on the spot.

Unfortunately, there are no UK dates on that tour. Are you trying to plan any UK dates in the near future?

We would really like to come to the UK as soon as possible, but as always it comes down to monetary issues.

What other countries/parts of the world would you love to play?

Everywhere. Where there is a CORRODED show going on, that is a good place to be.

Are you constantly writing new material or will you be waiting until the end of this touring cycle before coming up with ideas for your next album?

We are more or less constantly writing stuff, but we won’t do any recording until we feel that we have the time.

I’m sure you don’t want to wait a further five years before releasing another album so do you already have plans for when you would like to release a follow up or are you just going to see what happens next with ‘Defcon Zero’?

We have a couple of ideas, but nothing that we can be specific about for the time being.

The internet is now such an important tool for promoting a band and its music but it’s also a curse for illegal downloading so how do you budget how much to spend, for example, on a video or cover art knowing that some people will just download the album or individual songs for free?

That is something that our management and label takes care of.

Is there anything else you would like to add before we finish?

We are really looking forward to meet all of you out there on the road, but until we do….. Horns Up

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you for taking the time to chat to Ever Metal, continued good luck with ‘Defcon Zero’, it’s a great album, and I hope you can get over to UK shores soon because I for one will be there to see you!

Thank you!/Jens

There you have it! As mentioned in the interview, Corroded will be supporting Pain on their upcoming Mainland European Tour (Dates below) and if you get a chance to see them then please do! Since this interview was completed Corroded have also released ‘The Nevo Sessions’, a beautiful acoustic EP that should definitely be checked out as well! Jens may not be a man of many words but Corroded let the music do the talking and that is the most important thing!

Corroded tour date pic

 

Links –

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties.  Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Fractions – Forces EP

Fractions – Forces EP

Running Time 26:14

Release Date 28-07-2017

Self-Released / Enso Music Management

EP Review By Rick Tilley

7.5/10

Forces EP Cover

When I saw Fractions open the show, as part of the Leicester,  Bloodstock M2TM Final at the second ‘Uprising’ event in May this year, I felt their performance, as energetic as it was, was somewhat hampered by a messy sound and, as I hadn’t heard any of their material up until that point, it was difficult for me to really engage with them, especially as they describe themselves as Progressive Metalcore, and as you’ll probably know by now, Metalcore is a genre I have difficulty with, primarily because a majority of the screamers/shouters, in these types of bands, all sound the same and I feel like I want to supply them with throat pastilles and a sick bag!

Of course, being the person I am, I still wanted to hear their debut EP when it was released a couple of months later, because I didn’t want that live performance to be how I remembered the band, so I was very pleased when “Forces” arrived on my review pile!  Formed from the ashes of two other bands Phat Jerusalem and Method In Madness, Fractions formed in 2011 and after a few of the usual line-up changes have been gigging all around the UK building a fan base and reputation!

“Forces” contains six tracks (if you include the just over one minute guitar piece ‘Interlude’) and comes in at around 26 minutes in total. Before pressing play the first thing you will notice, hopefully, is the superb cover art designed by the, ever in demand, Andy Pilkington at Very Metal Art. Andy has given the packaging a very professional look and, even though I think he has a very distinctive style, manages to make every piece of artwork or video he creates extremely distinctive to each band he works with!

‘Wolf Inside’ kicks the EP off and it starts in a fashion you may not expect, and I’m not talking about the thunder! It’s haunting but beautiful piano work and it lulls you into a false sense of security because when the riff and thunderous double bass drumming hits it takes your breath away and what you get is extremely heavy BUT extremely melodic as well. This is something that hadn’t come across very well at the gig so was an extremely pleasant surprise. I’m not going to tell you I’ve fallen in love with the harsh/screamed vocals, because I haven’t, and it’s never going to happen but the clean singing is excellent, Chris Hare has a superb vocal range and you would swear there are two singers providing the vocals, the band are ridiculously tight, the guitar work, courtesy of Chris Johnson and Lee Geary is beautiful and the more you hear the songs the more they develop and grow. ‘Beyond Infinity’ is an excellent track with a hugely catchy chorus, thanks to great clean vocals and ‘Radiant Wings’ slows things down a bit before erupting into restrained chaos as the song progresses.

After the aforementioned ‘Interlude’ the next track ‘The Owls Are Not What They Seem’ is my favourite here. It starts as if you are underwater and gradually reaching the surface, the music getting clearer and louder before thumping you right round the proverbials. What makes this song so good are the various passages and riffs which bring the progressive nature of Fractions to the fore and stamps on your forehead what this band can really achieve. Again the guitar solos are absolute perfection and Steve Humphrey’s drumming leaves me in awe of his talent. Title track ‘Forces’ is the final song on the EP and whilst it doesn’t reach the quality of ‘Owls’ it’s a tremendously quirky and catchy affair and ends, once again, with the piano refrain, although it has been edited to sound broken and mismatched.

All in all this is a quite fabulous debut, especially as it’s self-produced and self-released and, before long, plenty of people will be talking about Fractions.  I may not be a fan of the harsh vocals or this genre in general but it would be very wrong of me to mark down an EP which has really made me sit up and think. If they can carry this quality into their first album then I shall look forward to it tremendously…and that’s something I never thought I would say!!

  • TRACKLIST
  • 1. Wolf Inside
  • 2. Beyond Infinity
  • 3. Radiant Wings
  • 4. Interlude
  • 5. The Owls Are Not What They Seem

6. Forces

https://www.facebook.com/Fractionsuk

https://www.instagram.com/_fractions_/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI1jw8OB6sbJJ06CCmqlaKg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awHEQrSTy6Q&t=13s  ‘Forces’ (Official Audio)

Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

 

Riot – Inishmore / Shine On / Sons of Society Reissues

Promo Pic

RIOT

INISHMORE/SHINE ON/SONS OF SOCIETY REISSUES

9 OUT OF 10

Running time: 3.46:41 (all three albums)

METAL BLADE RECORDS

 

Ever since I first heard “Flight of the Warrior” (many years after its release I hasten to add. Yet another band I was late to the party for!) I have been a huge fan of Riot and having the chance to review their latest three releases (re-workings of three previously released albums) was something I just could not turn down.

Often hailed as one of the most unluckiest bands in heavy metal, Riot are an American heavy metal band, founded in New York City in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale. But after recording their first album, “Rock City,” and having support slots with the AC/DC and Molly Hatchet, the band were unable to maintain momentum and were on the verge of splitting up by 1979.

This was the year, however, that the New Way of British Heavy Metal scene appeared and the band came to the attention of renowned DJ Neal Kay, who spread the word about them in Britain. British fans brought up imported copies of “Rock City” and this encouraged the band to record their second album “Narita”, released in 1979.

Although having a long running successful career, they reached their peak of popularity in the early 1980’s, touring with the likes of AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, Sammy Hagar, Kiss, Vandenberg, Black Sabbath and Rush and 1981 saw the release of their biggest selling album, Fire Down Under, which reached the top 100 of the billboard chart.

Initially their sound was straight forward heavy metal but after the release of 1988’s Thundersteel album, their musical direction changed to more along the lines of power metal (with a bit of good old American rock n roll throw in.)

There have been various personnel changes over the years, vocalists Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester both suffering untimely deaths, and the passing of founding member and band leader, guitarist Mark Reale due to complications with Crohn’s Disease in 2012, resulting in no original members left in the band.

This, however, didn’t stop the remaining members carrying on and in 2013, they re-launched themselves as “Riot V”, the name Riot having been laid to rest at the request of Mark’s father, and in 2014 released the album “Unleash the Fire,” the first without Reale.

Now, in 2017, the band are back with the re-issue of three of their classic back catalogue, “Inishmore”, “Shine On” and “Sons of Society”. These two studios (Inishmore and Sons of Society) and one live album (Shine On) are melodic power metal gems and are a must have addition to any fans collection, all three albums re-mastered by Patrick Engel for optimal sound quality.

The two studio albums show Riot at the top of their game. I must admit I hadn’t heard of these albums (despite being a huge fan. Shame on me!) but I must say that they have shown another side to Riot that I didn’t know existed.

Originally released in 1998 and 1999, respectively, it wasn’t the era of Riot that I had initially been introduced to and I just have to say one thing…….I missed out! These albums are fantastic, American power metal at its best, and, despite the various line-up changes the band had endured, unmistakeably RIOT!

Built on Celtic legends, Inishmore is atmospheric and conceptual, the guitar intricacies and pounding drums make this straight power metal at its best, while Sons of Society is solid, with excellent guitar work and powerful vocals. Inishmore has now also produced my favourite Riot song in Angel Eyes (possibly also overtaking previous personal favs Outlaw and Flight of the Warrior.)

The live album Shine On is a re-working of the 1998 album, extended here to 20 tracks from 17, but gives the listener the opportunity to hear this awesome band live, something which I have unfortunately never done.

If you haven’t heard of Riot before, where the hell have you been for the past 40 years??? But if you have, then go get yourself these re-issues. They will be a superb addition to your collection and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

This band have been through a lot to get where they are and really are true metal soldiers. They will keep marching and fighting the good fight to continue to bring you the music you’ve come to know, love and expect!

 

Track Listings

Inishmore

  • 1. Black Water
  • 2. Angel Eyes
  • 3. Liberty
  • 4. Kings Are Falling
  • 5. The Man
  • 6. Watching the Signs
  • 7. Should I Run
  • 8. Cry for the Dying
  • 9. Turning the Hands of Time
  • 10. 15 Rivers
  • 11. Red Reign
  • 12. Gypsy
  • 13. Inishmore (Forsaken Heart)
  • 14. Inishmore
  • 15. Danny Boy
  • 16. 15 Rivers (Acoustic Demo)

 

Shine On

  • 1. Black Water (Live)
  • 2. Angel Eyes (Live)
  • 3. Soldier (Live)
  • 4. The Man (Live)
  • 5. Kings Are Falling (Live)
  • 6. Bloodstreets (Live)
  • 7. Watching the Signs (Bonus Track) \[Live]
  • 8. Swords and Tequila (Live)
  • 9. Cry for the Dying (Live)
  • 10. Inishmore (Forsaken Heart) \[Live]
  • 11. Inishmore (Live)
  • 12. Danny Boy (Live)
  • 13. Liberty (Live)
  • 14. Gypsy (Live)
  • 15. The Last of the Mohicans (Intro) \[Live]
  • 16. Glory Calling (Live)
  • 17. Thundersteel (Live)
  • 18. Nightbreaker (Bonus Track) \[Live]
  • 19. Outlaw (Live)
  • 20. Warrior (Live)

 

Sons of Society

  • 1. Snake Charmer
  • 2. On the Wings of Life
  • 3. Sons of Society
  • 4. Twist of Fate
  • 5. Bad Machine
  • 6. Cover Me
  • 7. Dragonfire
  • 8. The Law
  • 9. Time to Bleed
  • 10. Queen
  • 11. Somewhere
  • 12. Promises
  • 13. Sons of Society (Instrumental Rough Mix)
  • 14. The Law (Instrumental Rough Mix)
  • 15. Time to Bleed (Instrumental Rough Mix)
  • 16. Somewhere (Instrumental Rough Mix)
  • 17. Promises (Instrumental Rough Mix)

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

riotv-band2

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

 

Snakecharmer – Second Skin

Second Skin Cover

SNAKECHARMER

SECOND SKIN

7/10

Running time: 51:00

Frontiers Music srl

Review by Vikkie “Queen Of Rock” Richmond

 

There seems to be a glut of ‘super groups’ rising to prominence these days and Snakecharmer is the latest one to grace my turntable with their wares.  “Second Skin” is the second album from Whitesnake’s Neil Murray, coming a surprising four years after the eponymously titled debut. Also featuring members of Thunder, Wishbone Ash, Ozzy Osbourne and Heartland, Snakecharmer is a veritable feast of musical talent, brought together to play classic rock their way.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this eleven track offering, but the opener “Sounds Like A Plan” is a clear shot across the bows of the good ship Classic; it is suffice to say that Chris Ousey’s vocals have a raspy, vibrato style going on that wouldn’t have been out of place twenty or even thirty years ago. The old school sound runs through the whole album but I feel is particularly prominent on second song, “That Kind Of Love”, with the harmonies on the vocals and the overall feel-good vibe to it.

One of my favourite tracks is “Are You Ready To Fly” as it kicks in with a down and dirty vibe and features a sweet guitar solo which brings the song to its peak. The rather lovely “I’ll Take You As You Are” features some soulful guitar effects and is pretty uplifting.

“Hell Of A Way To Live” has a more modern feel to it, with some nice vocal harmony work, a raunchy riff underpinning the song and a nice time signature change towards the end. However, I had to check for technical difficulties when “Dress It Up” kicked in; for a second I thought I had inadvertently changed music to AC/DC, but it’s a rocking song nonetheless.

“Forgive And Forget” is an altogether more mellow effort, with a funky back line which builds up to a big chorus before dropping back to a more laid back vibe with some nice piano effect. Closing track “Where Do We Go From Here” is a big, powerhouse of a semi-ballad, featuring some echoing vocals and huge guitar sounds – it’s a perfect closing song.

Snakecharmer are not reinventing the rock wheel with this album, however what they are doing is taking the ‘classic’ vibe and rocking the bejesus out of it. Does it sound a bit dated?  Maybe a little, in some places, but it’s a passable, pleasant listen and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of cowbell?  There is talent in abundance and the experience of the musicians shines through. I did see them at this year’s Ramblin’ Man fair and whilst they were clearly at the top of their musical game, I was left feeling a little bit ambivalent towards their performance. That’s not to say I wouldn’t see them again; after all, Snakecharmer as a unit are bona fide rock royalty.

 

TRACK LISTING

  • 01 Sounds Like A Plan
  • 02 That Kind of Love
  • 03 Are You Ready To Fly
  • 04 Follow Me Under
  • 05 I’ll Take You As You Are
  • 06 Hell Of A Way To Live
  • 07 Fade Away
  • 08 Dress It Up
  • 09 Punching Above My Weight
  • 10 Forgive And Forget
  • 11 Where Do We Go From Here

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

“Are You Ready To Fly” video – https://youtu.be/Em7Cr4G-4KU

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie “Queen of Rock” Richmond and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities