Doogie White – As Yet Untitled Reissue (2CD)

As Yet Untitled Album Reissue Cover Art

Doogie White – As Yet Untitled Reissue (2CD)
The Store For Music
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 106:54
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

“As Yet Untitled” was originally released back in 2011 when Doogie White’s spell singing with Yngwie Malmsteen’s band had ended. The album title is a dig at the practice of magazines pre-empting news of a band’s new album. There are some juicy additions in this re-release but first, what of the ‘regular’ content?

It kicks off in dramatic fashion with ‘Come Taste The Band’, which was also the title of the first Deep Purple album not to feature Ritchie Blackmore. Ritchie reportedly saw the funny side of Doogie’s ‘cheekiness’ and in fact had ended up inviting the Scottish singer to join Rainbow. It’s a really great song that I can’t get enough of.

For music fans who have only heard Doogie singing in albums by Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Tank and others, “As Yet Untitled” might represent a repository of surprises. Indeed, the album showcases Doogie’s versatility as a singer – such as the AC/DC-inspired ‘Time Machine’ or ‘Secret Jesus’ where Doogie seems to use Glenn Hughes’ soulful singing as a beacon. ‘Land Of The Deceiver’ has some thrilling guitar solos and the riffs in ‘Lonely’ are bound to get you headbanging while playing air-guitar.

There’s a long list of guests that help Doogie bring these songs to life. In the promotional album on which this review is based, it’s not always clear which musician contributes to which track but just scroll down to see who there is on the album. Considering the number of guests and the fact that the album was written intermittently over several years, it might be tempting to speculate that “As Yet Untitled” is a mess. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, for the album feels very cohesive. It doesn’t purport to reinvent the wheel of music, especially for fans of Whitesnake and Deep Purple, but nevertheless it’s a damn fine album.

At the tail end of the regular CD are two bonus tracks: ‘Disturbing The Dirt’, notable for its catchy riffs and strong melodies and the magnificently melancholic ‘Small Town Saturday Night’.

Also, with the re-release of “As Yet Untitled” is a bonus disc containing some of the cover versions that Doogie has recorded over the years. The more interesting ones include an original take on Iron Maiden’s ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ and a great interpretation of UFO’s ‘Long Gone’.

Honestly, this package represents very good value…worth acquiring even if you had already bought the original release. And if, like me, you hadn’t…well then then adding this release to your collection is a no-brainer.

‘Come Taste The Band’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:

CD1
01. Come Taste The Band
02. Time Machine
03. Dreams Lie Down And Die
04. Lonely
05. Land Of The Deceiver
06. Secret Jesus
07. Sea Of Emotion
08. Catz Got Yer Tongue
09. Living On The Cheap
10. Times Like These
11. Dishing the Dirt (Bonus Track)
12. Small Town Saturday Night (Bonus Track)

CD2
01. The Clairvoyant (Iron Maiden Cover)
02. Too Hot To Handle (UFO Cover)
03. Judgement Day (Whitesnake Cover)
04. Let’s Spend The Night Together (The Rolling Stones Cover)
05. This Flight Tonight (Nazareth Cover)
06. Long Gone (UFO Cover)
07. Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover)
08. Crying In The Rain (Whitesnake)
09. Love Hurts (Nazareth Cover)
10. Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly Cover)
11. Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter (Iron Maiden Cover)
12. Twistin’ The Night Away (Sam Cooke Cover)

LINE-UP
Doogie White – Vocals
Patti Russo (Meat Loaf, Queen) – Vocals
Mick Tucker (Tank) – Guitar
Alex Dickson (Midnight Blue, Gun, Bruce Dickinson) – Guitar
Phil Hilborne (Nicko McBrain, Glenn Hughes) – Guitar
Marcus Jidell (Avatarium) – Guitar
Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse, James LaBrie) – Bass
Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Michael Schenker Group) – Bass
Greg Smith (Alice Cooper, Rainbow) – Bass
Tony Carey (Rainbow) – Keyboards
Thomas Broman (Great King Rat, Electric Boys, Humanimal) – Drums
Patrick Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen, W.A.S.P., Impellitteri, NorthTale) – Drums

LINKS:

(Note: This site hasn’t been updated for many years but does still give you plenty of historical info on some of Doogie’s various projects)

Watch Chris Galea’s video interview with Doogie White here:

https://ever-metal.com/2021/07/16/video-interview-with-doogie-white/

Doogie White Live Photo

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Video Interview with DOOGIE WHITE

Doogie White Logo

Video Interview with DOOGIE WHITE
The Flying Scotsman
By Chris Galea

Sometimes it just takes a little initiative to change everything. For Doogie White that initiative was probably when he gave Ritchie Blackmore’s management a cassette containing some songs with him singing. That eventually led him to join Rainbow and his career has since flown from peak to pinnacle.

Douglas ‘Doogie’ White was born in Motherwell (Scotland) on the 7th March 1960. He sings or has sung with bands such as La Paz, Alcatrazz, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Praying Mantis, Tank…and Rainbow and has collaborated with the cream of contemporary music.

In this interview Doogie and I discuss recent (and not-so-recent) musical involvements, the re-release of his only solo album (called “As Yet Untitled”) and ponder over the general state of things.

Enjoy!

DOOGIE WHITE Video Interview by Chris Galea

DISCOGRAPHY (Studio Albums, Unless Otherwise Indicated):
Long Shadows Dawn – “Isle of Wrath” (Out Aug. 2021)
Michael Schenker Fest – “Revelation” (2019) (On 5 Tracks)
Michael Schenker Fest – “Resurrection” (2018) (On 5 Tracks)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Spirit On A Mission” (2015)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Bridge the Gap” (2013)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Temple of Rock” (2011) (On 1 Track)
Come Taste The Band – “Reignition” (2018) (On All But 2 Tracks)
John Steel & Doogie White – “Everything or Nothing” (2017)
Stardust Reverie Project – “Proclamation of Shadows” (2015) (On 2 Tracks)
WAMI (White/Appice/Mendoza/Iggy) – “Kill The King” (2014)
Doogie White & La Paz – “Shut Up and Rawk!” (2016)
Doogie White & La Paz – “The Dark and the Light” (2013)
Doogie White & La Paz – “Granite” (2012)
Doogie White – “As Yet Untitled” (2011)
Demon’s Eye – “Under the Neon” (2015)
Demon’s Eye – “The Stranger Within” (2011)
Tank – “War Nation” (2012)
Tank – “War Machine” (2010)
Rata Blanca – “The Forgotten Kingdom” (2009) (English Version)
Empire – “Chasing Shadows” (2007)
M3 – “Rough an’ Ready” (Live, DVD&CD) (2005)
Praying Mantis – “The Journey Goes On” (2003) (On 7 Tracks)
Liesegang/White – “Visual Surveillance of Extreme” (2005)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Unleash the Fury” (2005)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Attack!!” (2002)
Cornerstone – “Two Tales of One Tomorrow” (2007)
Cornerstone – “Once upon Our Yesterdays” (2003)
Cornerstone – “Human Stain” (2002)
Cornerstone – “Arrival” (2000)
Nikolo Kotsev – “Nostradamus” (2001)
Balance Of Power – “Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion” (1999) (Only Backing Vocals)
Chain – “Eros of Love and Destruction” (1997)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “Black Masquerade – Rockpalast ’95” (Live, DVD & CD)
(2013)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “Stranger In Us All” (1995)
Midnight Blue – “Take The Money And Run” (1994)
La Paz – “The Amy Tapes” (Cassette Only) (1988)
La Paz – “Old Habits Die Hard” (Cassette Only) (1985)

LINKS:
Alcatrazz:

Long Shadows Dawn:

Doogie White:

Read Chris’s review of the 2021 reissue of “As Yet Untitled here:
https://ever-metal.com/2021/07/16/doogie-white-as-yet-untitled-reissue-2cd/

Doogie White Live Photo

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

Interview with Christian Liljegren

Christian Liljegren Logo

Interview with Christian Liljegren
The Passion Within
By Chris Galea

While I consider myself to have a very eclectic taste in music, I’ve always had a soft spot for melodic White Metal bands, particularly Stryper. So, when bands such as Narnia and Golden Resurrection came along, I lapped them all up with the eagerness of an overexcited puppy. Swedish singer Christian Liljegren has been at the helm of many of these bands but it was only a few months ago that he released his first solo album, the excellent “Melodic Passion”.

Curious to find out more about this album and about what makes Christian tick, I fired a few questions in his direction. Here’s what came back…

CG: Who were the singers that inspired you to sing?

Christian: My biggest vocal influences are Brian Connolly (The Sweet), Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath), David Byron (Uriah Heep) and Joey Tempest (Europe).

CG: “Melodic Passion” is your first solo album. In what ways was the approach to writing and recording this album different from others you’ve done before?

Christian: This is the first solo album where I am involved in all aspects of the songs both music and lyrics and as one of the producers.

CG: The promotional video for ‘Salute For The King’ seems to be autobiographical…it contains footage taken from throughout your career. How did this idea come about?

Christian: The idea for this album is really go back to my roots where it all started both as a listener and as performer so the video was perfect to include the different phases of my music career.

‘Salute For The King’ (Official Video)

CG: The line-up for your solo album is a very strong one so it’s no surprise that “Melodic Passion” sounds quite tight. How easy was it to get Stephen, Per, Habo and Olov on board?

Christian: I have been close to these guys for many years so I know what I got. Stephen and I have only known each other for a couple of years but it seems like a lifetime as we clicked so perfect in music and I am very proud of the songs and how my dear friends delivered on the album.

CG: There’s an obvious thematic thread linking “Melodic Passion” to albums you’ve recorded with bands such as Narnia and Golden Resurrection. How important is Christianity in the music you make? Would you consider exploring entirely different or darker themes in future?

Christian: In my perspective, my faith has always been a natural thing for me in my lyrics as I breathe the air and I share different lyrics on both lighter and heavier subjects. For example, the song ‘History’ is a very serious and heavy matter on how we deal and have learned from our history.

CG: Do you view the Black Metal genre as your antagonist?

Christian: I don´t see it that way. Every person has a personal choice, what they take in or not, in their lives.

CG: What do you remember of the time you supported Stryper on tour?

Christian: It was a fantastic tour, to really get to know these people personally, and at the same time hear these wonderful songs. I am a huge fan, since 1985, and they are also the reason I wanted to form a band with a Christian message in the lyrics.

The tour was the 2nd time I supported Stryper. I did it with Audiovision in 2010 as well.

CG: How challenging was it to sing The Waymaker’s version of ‘Soldiers Under Command’?

Christian: It was a musical vision I have had for a long time, as this song started it all for me, so it was very emotional to do it but I am very happy with the result and I am happy how our vocals worked out and Jani Stefanovic did a marvelous production.

CG: What is the situation with Narnia? Are you hoping to tour or record a successor to “From Darkness To Light” (2019 album)?

Christian: Everything is fine with Narnia and we are working on the next studio album. We have two shows booked in November in Netherlands and Belgium and we hope it will happen. All depends on the pandemic situation with Covid-19.

The album is planned to be out springtime 2022.

CG: How optimistic are you about the live scene emerging from the Coronavirus pandemic?

Christian: I hope and pray all will be better and I am optimistic the live scene will open in autumn 2021.

CG: I’ve read interviews with you where you mention Children of Bodom and Uriah Heep. Two musicians who have passed away in recent months are Alexi Laiho and Ken Hensley…what memories do you have of them and their music?

Christian: I have done concerts with both bands and met Ken Hensley several times. Uriah Heep have a special place in my heart. One of my favourite bands ever. Regarding Alexi it is sad he passed away too early. I had only met him once.

CG: How do you keep your voice in shape?

Christian: I am working out my voice with a voice pipe, an invention from Sweden, that strengthens my vocals chords and I sing nearly 3-4 times a week to keep my voice in good condition. I also keep my body in good condition and run 15-30 kms per week.

CG: From all the albums you have recorded (“Melodic Passion” aside) which one is closest to your heart? Why?

Christian: I think “Melodic Passion” is the closest as it really shows the passion and the musical roots but I am deeply proud of Narnia´s album Long Live The King & From Darkness To Light, The Waymaker, Audiovision – Focus, Modest Attraction albums and Flagship as I am a man who loves to sing different and I am trying to separate the albums and I am blessed to have been doing 40+ releases until this day.

CG: Thank you for your time in answering these questions!!

Christian: Thank you so much for your support and I wish you a great year. Let the musical passion run your life!!! Long Live The King!

‘History’ (Official Video)

SELECTED ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY:
Christian Liljegren – “Melodic Passion” (2021)
The Waymaker – “The Waymaker” (2020)
Narnia – “From Darkness To Light” (2019)
Narnia – “Enter The Gate” (2006)
Narnia – “The Great Fall” (2003)
Narnia – “Desert Land “ (2000)
Narnia – “Long Live The King” (1998)
Narnia – “Awakening” (1997)
7days – “Into Forever” (2010)
Wisdom Call – “Wisdom Call” (2001)
Golden Resurrection – “One Voice For The Kingdom” (2013)
Golden Resurrection – “Man With A Mission” (2011)
Golden Resurrection – “Glory To My King” (2010)
Audiovision – “Focus” (2010)
Audiovision – “The Calling” (2005)
DivineFire – “Eye Of The Storm” (2011)
DivineFire – “Farewell” (2008)
DivineFire – “Into A New Dimension” (2006)
DivineFire – “Hero” (2005)
DivineFire – “Glory Thy Name” (2004)

LINKS:
Christian Liljegren:

The Waymaker:

Narnia:

Audiovision:

Original Review of Christian Liljegren – “Melodic Passion”

Christian_Liljegren Promo Pic (Credit Mats Vassfjord)
Photo by Mats Vassfjord

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

Cannibal Corpse – Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years

Centuries Of Torment - The First 20 Years Cover

Cannibal Corpse
Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years
Directed: Nic Izzi, Denise Korycki, David Stuart
Produced & Released by: Metal Blade Records
2008
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

If anything, new album “Violence Unimagined” (2021) proves that Cannibal Corpse are as relevant as ever. But who really are Cannibal Corpse? And how did it all come to this?

“Centuries of Torment” provides the answers to those questions and more. It’s a documentary released in 2008 that dissects the Death Metal pioneers, warts, guts and all. (There’s nothing like a few good puns to open a review!) Basically, it’s a DVD package spread over 3 discs:

The first disc is a documentary about the history of the band and the bulk of this review will in fact focus on that disc.

“Centuries of Torment: Performances” is the second disc and contains lots of live footage – mostly with George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher on vocals but there’s also material from the Chris Barnes era – as well as the band’s promotional videos. All very intense stuff.

Finally, the third disc – “Centuries of Torment: Bonus Chunks” – is an extension of the first but goes into greater depth on issues indirectly related to the band and follows no specific chronology. It covers issues such as general attitudes on censorship, bands that the members of Cannibal Corpse dig, and a hilarious segment on the sanitary limitations of touring bands.

Cannibal Corpse Circa 1990v
Cannibal Corpse circa 1990

But now onto the first disc…

At over 3 hours duration, “Cannibal Corpse: History” is one of the most exhaustive band documentaries I’ve ever seen. It chronicles the first 20 years of the band’s existence from every perspective imaginable.

It starts by delving into the band’s formation…when none of the founding members had any idea how to play their instrument…and then traces Cannibal Corpse’s post-natal steps. We are taken to the very place where they did their first gig, opening for Dark Angel (which then had Gene Hoglan on drums…incidentally Hoglan contributes quite a lot to this documentary). Cannibal Corpse drummer and founding member Paul Mazurkiewicz also takes us to see the band’s old rehearsal studio where the band wrote most of their early material and where they started to develop their sound.

The success of Cannibal Corpse put Buffalo (U.S.A.) on the Metal map, something which the city’s Metal fans were proud of and consequentially rallied behind the band. This sense of camaraderie was bolstered after the band opened gigs for the likes of Kreator and Death early in their career and always leaving a very positive impression. As a friend of the band put it, Cannibal Corpse “opened the floodgates for the bands of Buffalo”. Before long, demand for the band enabled its members to  dedicate themselves to the band on a full-time basis.

So immediate was the band’s impact, in fact, that Metal Blade Records signed Cannibal Corpse less than a year after the band had been together, making then the label’s first Death Metal signing.

Cannibal Corpse – First Live Show (1989)

“Centuries of Torment: History” documents the band’s story via interviews interspersed with rare footage, vintage photography, and snippets of live shows. And it’s really everyone who enthusiastically contributes via personal reminiscences and points of view. This includes band members, family members, fans, school friends, neighbours, touring crew, record label executives and band peers such as Sean Reinert, Paul Masvidal, Eric Rutan, Malevolent Creation (also from Buffalo…Death Metal buddies of Cannibal Corpse), Anthrax, Jeff Loomis, Obituary, The Black Dahlia Murder, Kataklysm, Monstrosity, Immolation and many many others.

Amongst other things, there’s a very interesting analysis of the artworks of Vince Locke that adorn the band’s albums, including an interview with Locke himself. It becomes clear that gore was always part of the band’s imagery…probably even before the music itself coalesced. Furthermore, the band does not shy away from addressing the controversies that arose from its imagery and lyrics. After all, controversies have only served to help spur the band’s career further.

Butchered At Birth Album Cover
“Butchered At Birth” – Debut Album Cover

The documentary also analyses each album released by the band up until “Kill” from 2006. With each one, the band members reveal the circumstances that led to its release, its recording and fan reactions while clarifying any related polemics. Musicians from other bands explain the impact that a particular album has had on them.

But before they go into all that, the members of Cannibal Corpse describe their magical journey from the East to the West coast of the U.S.A. to record the band’s debut album at the famed Morrisound studios with Scott Burns, the legendary sound engineer who has produced many classic Death Metal albums such as “Piece of Time” by Atheist, “Spiritual Healing” by Death, “Cause of Death” by Obituary and “Slaughter in the Vatican” by Exhorder. Burns’ wider role in shaping the entire Death Metal subgenre is discussed via interviews with Burns himself and with various bands (including of course Cannibal Corpse). It’s all very fascinating stuff.

“Centuries of Torment” also points the spotlight on the band-members that for some reason or another do not form part of the band any more. Ex-members reminisce on the good times they’ve had with the band but also on the conflict that led to their departure from Cannibal Corpse. This includes, of course, ex-vocalist Chris Barnes, who tells us: ”I’m feeling good where I am [Six Feet Under]. But I like where I came from.” These interviews are quite objective – case in point is when we are told what really happened with the acrimonious firing of founding member guitarist Bob Rusay. Cannibal Corpse drummer/founding member Paul Mazurkiewicz is careful not to place blame for that on just one person. All this enhances the quality of the documentary’s interviews.

Some of the band’s most significant tours are discussed, such as the first European tour in support of the “Butchered at Birth” album. Rarely discussed topics in relation to touring are here openly contemplated, such as the toll that decades of touring have on the physical well-being of Death Metal musicians.

As one might expect, there’s no shortage of trivia and amusing recollections, such as the band’s appearance in Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura film of 1994. Another one is when band vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher reminisces on the time the band chilled out at the home of Cher who even cooked for them. All the while, the band members’ jocular personalities ensure the documentary never feels dragging. The irony that Corpsegrinder is fishing while answering several interview questions did not escape me.

‘Devoured By Vermin’ Official Video from the 1996 album “Vile”.

Beside the band being a benchmark of the Death Metal genre, each member of Cannibal Corpse has become a point of reference with regards his instrument of trade. The documentary delves into these traits in context of the Metal scene. For example, there’s a discussion on whether Cannibal Corpse were the progenitors of Death Metal ‘growls’. The styles and approaches of each guitarist are examined, especially for the way they affected the musical direction of the band. Bassist Alex Webster tries to describe his own style of playing but Donald Tardy (Obituary drummer) simply describes him as “a bass player’s bass player” while Eric Rutan regards Webster as the “Steve Harris of Death Metal”.

A crucial element of Cannibal Corpse’s music is of course the drumming of Paul Mazurkiewicz, who highlights some of the techniques he was forced to adopt in order to push the boundaries of the band’s music. Some of those very techniques are today widely adopted by many Death Metal drummers.

Of all Death Metal bands in existence, Cannibal Corpse have one of the most loyal fanbases…as one interviewee says in “Centuries of Torment”, “they make lifers out of their fans”. It transpires that this is partly due to the quality of the music and to the band’s eagerness to evolve. But the band members’ willingness to interact with fans endears them to the same fans and fans the flames of devotion.

Highly regarded guitarist Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Ripping Corpse) talks about his friendship with the guys of Cannibal Corpse. In the documentary he tells us how his reputation as a producer blossomed after he produced Cannibal Corpse’s “Kill” album of 2006. According to him, a key ingredient of the band’s success was its keenness and ability to always re-invent itself. Unsurprisingly, when I started writing this review it was announced that Eric had joined Cannibal Corpse as their lead guitarist after Pat O’Brien had a run-in with the law.

As I suggested earlier, “Centuries of Torment: History” is impressively exhaustive, especially when taking into consideration the two accompanying discs. And this is definitely its main selling point. Together, the 3 discs are over 7 hours long in total. So, for fans who want to get to know the band better or even anyone simply interested in a great success story…the documentary provides hours of compelling viewing. It could have been better edited but that’s only a minor snag. And keep an eye open for the hilarious bloopers toward the very end.

“Centuries of Torment” was released in 2008 to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s existence so there are…at the time of writing this…five albums and over a decade of events that aren’t covered. When the “Centuries of Torment” DVD package was released, the band had sold a total of one million albums. Since the documentary’s release they have sold more than two million. Clearly the band’s appeal shows no sign of abating. It would make sense, therefore, to have a second documentary chronicling the last 15 years or so. The blood still flows…

Centuries Of Torment – The First 20 Years Trailer

LINKS:

Cannibal Corpse 2021
Cannibal Corpse 2021

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Acid Mammoth – Caravan

Caravan Album Cover Art

Acid Mammoth – Caravan
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 40:17
Review by Chris Galea
7.5/10

“Caravan” consolidates the music style of Acid Mammoth…a Stoner Doom that’s heavy, dense and fuzzy. However, some changes are immediately noticeable in respect to the band’s previous album “Under Acid Hoof”.

For example, overall, I feel there has been a marked improvement as far as production and mixing is concerned, even though the sound of the snare drum takes some getting used to. The singing of Christos Babalis Jr. sounds less like Ozzy than in previous releases – that wasn’t a bad thing of course, but it’s good to hear Jr. try to assimilate his own personality into the singing.

Maybe it’s just my impression but there also seems to be an effort to infuse more melody into the dark atmosphere of the band’s music. And there are more guitar solos than before. Sometimes all this doesn’t entirely convince (as in ‘Berserker’ or in parts of ‘Ivory Towers’) but when this new approach works, it works marvellously. Case in point is the title-track, an epic 11-minute plus song dense with hypnotic riffs. I also felt a significant improvement in the drumming of Marios Louvaris, more in the sense of feel than technique.

So, although I’m not absolutely won over, “Caravan” is definitely a step up for Acid Mammoth.

Imagine Black Sabbath meeting Hawkwind to serenade the world as it burns…I reckon that ‘serenade’ would sound pretty close to “Caravan”.

‘Caravan’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Berserker
02. Psychedelic Wasteland
03. Ivory Towers
04. Caravan
05. Black Dust

LINE-UP:
Chris Babalis Jr. – Guitar & Vocals
Chris Babalis Sr. – Guitar
Dimosthenis Varikos – Bass
Marios Louvaris – Drums

LINKS:

Acid Mammoth Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Acid Mammoth – Under Acid Hoof

Under Acid Hoof Reissue Album Cover Art

Acid Mammoth – Under Acid Hoof
Heavy Psych Sounds
Re-release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 44:53
Review by Chris Galea
7/10

I do know a few Metal bands that have (or had) father and son within the line-up but it’s safe to say that there aren’t many such cases. One of them, though, is Acid Mammoth. Have I got your attention? Good. Now for the more pertinent matters…

Acid Mammoth is a Stoner Doom band from Greece. “Under Acid Hoof” is the band’s 2nd album, originally released in 2020 but Heavy Psych Sounds have repackaged the album, added two bonus tracks and re-released it in 2021. But was it worth re-releasing? Well, there’s a ton of Stoner Doom bands out there but Acid Mammoth seem to be one of the more interesting of the lot. So that would be a ‘yes’.

Downtuned fuzzy guitars, viscid and filthy riffs and lyrics with a penchant for the occult…that’s “Under Acid Hoof” in a nutshell. I know it’s hard to find a Metal band that isn’t influenced by Black Sabbath, especially a Doom band, but with Acid Mammoth the influence is very direct. The vocals of Chris Babalis Jr (who also plays guitar) in fact, sound like a photocopy of Ozzy. Originality and diversity of ideas are not two of the album’s strongest points. Also, I’m not 100% convinced by the sound – sometimes one instrument drowns out another. But there are other things to enjoy here if Doom’s your thing…

In ‘Tree Of Woe’, for example, the drums and guitar riffs really work great together. ‘Jack The Riffer’ is well-written and contains some scorching riffs (ah, Jack The ‘Riffer’…now I get it!). Apocalyptic scenarios are described in the lyrics of ‘Tusks Of Doom’ and the song’s music certainly strives to illustrate that.

As heavy as a stampede of Mammoths, “Under Acid Hoof” has a charm that reels you closer to the band.

‘Them!’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Them!
02. Tree Of Woe
03. Tusks Of Doom
04. Far Harrad (Bonus Track)
05. Jack The Riffer
06. Under Acid Hoof
07. White Hag (Bonus Track – Live)

LINE-UP:
Chris Babalis Jr. – Vocals, Guitars
Chris Babalis Sr. – Guitars
Dimosthenis Varikos – Bass
Marios Louvaris – Drums

LINKS:

Acid Mammoth Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Christian Liljegren – Melodic Passion

Melodic Passion Album Cover Art

Christian Liljegren – Melodic Passion
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 49:27
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

Christian Liljegren must be the most prolific and hardworking person in Metal…I counted more than 30 albums – released in the last 25 years – that have him as lead vocalist. One is tempted to speculate that the quality of his material would consequentially be diluted. Sometimes, perhaps, but certainly not as far as this album is concerned.

“Melodic Passion” is being touted as a solo album but if you’ve heard Christian’s previous bands…such as Narnia or Golden Resurrection…then “Melodic Passion” is something along those very lines. The lyrics are blatantly religious (e.g. ‘I trust in the Lord to show me the way’…a line from ‘I Breathe’) and I’d concede that the album abounds in clichés. But none of that bothers me because the songwriting quality is superb and Christian Liljegren’s voice has never sounded better…powerful, melodic and unfaltering. Of course, it helps that I have a soft spot for neo-classical melodies, of which “Melodic Passion” has many.

‘History’ reminds me of “Trilogy” era Malmsteen; I sensed a strong influence from early Dio in ‘Salute For The King’ and ‘The Victory’. And a lot of the guitar solos feel directly inspired by Rainbow and Alcatrazz. Stryper is another obvious comparison, both lyrically and musically.

With Liljegren are the cream of the crop of Scandinavian Melodic Metal, including drummer Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson and bassist Per Schelander, both with Royal Hunt at one point. Completing the line-up are two ex-bandmates of Liljegren: Stephen Carlson on guitars and Olov Andersson on keyboards.

The songs tend to be anthemic and loaded with hooks. All this makes them eminently suitable to be performed live. One example is ‘The Rock’, which, in addition to a catchy chorus has some impressive high-end screams and great guitar harmonies.

The title says it all…so if you check out one Melodic Metal album this year, let it be this one.

‘Salute For The King’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Melodic Passion
02. Salute For The King
03. The Rock
04. This Is My Love Song
05. The Victory
06. Dead Or Alive
07. I Breathe
08. History
09. Third Day
10. My King

LINE-UP:
Christian Liljegren – Vocals (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision, Modest Attraction)
Stephen Carlson – Guitars (Brotthog, Tales, The Rise, Gil Edwards)
Per Schelander – Bass (Astrakhan, House of Shakira, Pain of Salvation, Royal Hunt)
Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson – Drums (Narnia, Royal Hunt, Avatarium, The Doomsday Kingdom)
Olov Andersson – Keyboards (Audiovision, Grand Stand, Veni Domine)

LINKS:

Christian Liljegren Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Steve Hackett – Under A Mediterranean Sky

Under A Mediterranean Sky Album Cover Art

Steve Hackett – Under A Mediterranean Sky
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 21/01/2021
Running Time: 51:14
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

I first met and interviewed Steve Hackett about 20 years ago, the day before he was due to perform in Malta for the first time. The theatre where we met was (and is) one of the oldest enclosed theatres in the world. As the interview ended and we strolled into the streets of Valletta, black dust filled the air and car alarms kept going off. The Etna volcano in nearby Sicily was erupting and winds were blowing the volcanic ash southwards. Both of us were fascinated at that unusual sight.

Since then, Steve Hackett has performed in Malta, and indeed in other Mediterranean countries, several times and his fascination with the area’s quirks, history and ways of life has given rise to this album.

With “Under A Mediterranean Sky”, Hackett has coalesced his feelings for the Mediterranean into music form. There are no lyrics…the music provides all the stories…and the album is largely dependent on acoustic instruments.

Basically, each composition in the album represents a country that lies around the Mediterranean Sea, from south European to north African territories to the Middle East and all in between. For example, ‘Scarlatti Sonata’ has a Spanish flavour to it – it is one of the album tracks consisting entirely of acoustic guitar. ‘The Memory Of Myth’, on the other hand, mixes folk guitar with orchestral instruments to evoke images of ancient Greece – and the resulting effect is magical. ‘The Dervish And The Djin’ contains some spooky Middle Eastern melodies and uses a range of string and wind instruments in addition to hand percussion accompaniments.

Closing the album, ‘The Call Of The Sea’ is a haunting track dedicated to the Mediterranean itself. The arpeggios flowing up and down the guitar neck symbolise the sea’s waves. Some grand orchestrations within this composition reminded me of the countless days – and nights – that I spent lying by the same sea simply listening to the music created by the waves as they brushed against the shore. Such are the evocative qualities of this album!

“Under A Mediterranean Sky” is prevalently romantic in nature but also contains several moments of drama. Despite recurring elements all tracks have their own personality. Credit for this is due to Steve Hackett’s enduring talent as a composer. Case in point is the opening track ‘Mdina (The Walled City)’. Mdina (pronounced ‘Imdina’) is a Maltese city that has changed little since the time of Christ – the composition’s cinematic orchestrations alternating with Hackett’s folk guitar have a spirit that’s unmistakably Maltese.

It’s hard to fault the quality of these tracks. Ever since the time he played with Genesis, Steve Hackett has regularly crafted albums around guiding themes, but he has also proved that there are many ways to go about doing that.

I know, this publication is called ‘Ever Metal’ and although Hackett has often been involved in Metal and Rock music before, there’s none of that here. But who cares! Good music is still good music, no matter the genre.

‘Mdina (The Walled City) (Official Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mdina (The Walled City)
02. Adriatic Blue
03. Sirocco
04. Joie de Vivre
05. The Memory Of Myth
06. Scarlatti Sonata
07. Casa del Fauno
08. The Dervish And The Djin
09. Lorato
10. Andalusian Heart
11. The Call Of The Sea

LINE-UP
Steve Hackett – Nylon, Steel String & Twelve String Guitars, Charango, Iraqi Oud ( Tracks 1 – 11)
John Hackett – Flute (Track 7)
Roger King – Keyboards, Programming & Orchestral Arrangements (Tracks 1 – 11)
Malik Mansurov – Tar (Tracks 3, 8)
Arsen Petrosyan – Duduk (Track 8)
Christine Townsend – Violin (Tracks 5, 10)
Rob Townsend – Soprano Sax (Track 8)

LINKS:

Steve Hackett Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3

LTE3 Album Cover Art

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 16/04/2021
Running Time: 61:39
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

It’s hard to believe that it has been over 20 years since the first Liquid Tension Experiment (LTE) CD popped into my letter box but on listening to the band’s 3rd album, it feels much less than that.

For the uninitiated, LTE was formed after 4 academically trained musicians got together in one room hoping that something worthwhile would emerge from their collaborative efforts. The musicians were guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy, who at the time were both parts of Dream Theater; ex-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Well, something worthwhile had emerged…in fact so productive was the chemistry between them that Jordan Rudess ended up being invited to join Dream Theater…where he remains to this day. The first LTE album was quickly followed by another but that was the distant 1999.

In a nutshell LTE is an instrumental band that inhabits the boundaries of Progressive Metal. The beauty of this project is that there are no significant constrictions, whether artistic or commercial, on what to create. Having said that, I’d say that “3” feels Jazzier, Bluesier, Funkier and perhaps more eclectic than the previous 2 LTE albums. And yet the source of the music is immediately recognisable. Case in point is ‘Beating The Odds’, which John Petrucci recently described as the “feel-good song of the pandemic”.

The tracks I liked most are also the ‘weirdest’…the most adventurous…of the lot: ‘Liquid Evolution’ and ‘Rhapsody In Blue’. The latter track, in particular, seems to possess the musical playfulness often associated with Frank Zappa.

When you hear Tony Levin extracting a series of harmonics from his bass, you know that Chris and Kevin (whoever they are) are about to embark on another journey. I’m referring to the track ‘Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ (Note: the 1st LTE album had featured a track called ‘Chris And Kevin’s Excellent Adventure’).

‘Shades Of Hope’ contains some of the emotional intensity of ‘Out Of The Blue’, a track that appeared on Petrucci’s recent “Terminal Velocity” solo album.

Mike Portnoy sounds relentless in ‘The Passage of Time’, the closest the album gets (musically speaking) to Dream Theater. In this track his drumming works particularly well with Petrucci’s fiery riffs.

All musicians are in excellent form, individually and collectively. There’s no doubt in my mind that this third LTE outing delivers on its potential and expectations in leaps and bounds.

‘The Passage Of Time’ (Official Video)

‘Hypersonic’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hypersonic
02. Beating The Odds
03. Liquid Evolution
04. The Passage Of Time
05. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey
06. Rhapsody In Blue
07. Shades Of Hope
08. Key To The Imagination

LINE-UP:
Tony Levin – Bass Guitars, Chapman Stick
John Petrucci – Guitars
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Jordan Rudess – Keyboards

LINKS:

Liquid Tension Experiment Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers

My Book Of Answers Album Cover Art

Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 45:10
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

“He was a wizard of a thousand kings. And I chanced to meet him one night wandering.”

(‘The Wizard’ – Uriah Heep)

The above verse, from the classic song penned by Ken Hensley when part of Uriah Heep, roughly sums up how this album came into existence. A chance encounter between Vladimir Emelin, Russian superfan, and Ken Hensley quickly developed into a strong friendship. Before long Emelin sent Hensley some poems he had written and his idol agreed to work those poems into songs. The result of all that is this album, “My Book of Answers”.

Sadly, Ken Hensley passed away a few months ago just as the album’s recording had been finished. Of course, the dark cloud’s silver lining is that we get to indulge in a new set of songs from Mr Hensley.

I sensed a particularly strong resonance of The Beatles in this album. Overall, the songs are well-balanced with choir vocals, opportune guitar solos and tasteful keyboards sounds. ‘The Cold Sacrifice’ is cathartic in spirit; ‘The Silent Scream’, by contrast, feels nostalgic; in ‘The Darkest Hour’ amongst other elements we find the Hammond and guitar working together to exorcise some interesting vibes. I also cannot fail to mention the song ‘Suddenly’ with its magnificent orchestrations and glorious melodies. On the other side of the coin ‘Lost’ and ‘Cover Girl’ lack memorable hooks but they’re no slouchers, mind you.

All compositions possess an aura of bleakness but also driven by hope and this was very typical of Hensley’s songwriting style.

In today’s world of over-produced and bombastic music it’s sobering to be able to, once in a while, delve into nothing other than good songs. It’s an apt swansong from Ken Hensley.

The wizard may be gone but his spells endure.

‘The Cold Sacrifice’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Lost (My Guardian)
02. Right Here, Right Now
03. The Cold Sacrifice
04. The Silent Scream
05. Cover Girl
06. Light The Fire (In My Heart)
07. Stand (Chase The Beast Away)
08. The Darkest Hour
09. Suddenly
10.The Darkest Hour (Alternative Version, Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Ken Hensley – Vocals, Guitar, Hammond
Izzy Cueto – Guitars
Moises Cerzo – Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
Tommy Lopez – Drums

Francesco Severino – Bass (Track 8)
David Gonzales – Piano (Tracks 6, 8)
Jacke Knight – Piano (Track 5)
Roberto Tiranti – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Ekaterina Nadaresihvil – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Belinda Campbell – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Rosie Doonan – Backing Vocals (Track 7)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.