Ward XVI – Metamorphosis

Ward XVI – Metamorphosis
Metal Rocka Recordings
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Running Time: 49:43
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

Well hello there my fellow crazy fiends. Now, those who know me will know I’m a fairly measured soul, and I’ve also been referred to as ‘the shy and retiring type’, even demur (pahahaha)! But those who know me well, will know that underneath this cleverly disguised exterior, I have a darker, more deranged side, that’s held back for special occasions. And this is one of those occasions, so please forgive my musings. Getting the chance to become an inmate on Ward XVI at Whittingham Asylum is something quite appealing to me. And getting admitted here is simple. You only have to share in the joy of the deranged, unhinged and slightly peculiar. And that is something I can definitely do!

The latest wing of Ward XVI – “Metamorphosis” – is about to open, and us lucky special inmates get to have a sneak peak, and tell you what it’s like! I’m afraid that I was admitted to the ward fairly recently, so missed the arrival of the other wings, and am now exploring them out of order, Tarantino style, apparently! But I’ve been told, that if you explore them all in order of their creation, you can see how they all fit together!

So, what’s it like here in “Metamorphosis”? Well, as you would expect from Ward XVI, it’s conceptual and follows a theme. It’s a chilling and macabre circus of the mind. The kind you dream about after too much cheese late at night. Its haunting accordion melodies conjure images of deranged, black and white striped clowns doing odd things with organs – and not the sort of organs you can play… At least not without draining the blood from them and drying them substantially first. This is backed up by the solid rhythms and riffs, and some pretty trippy electro work. Get the probes out nurse, I’m ready for my lobotomy!

The first sounds you are hit with upon entering “Metamorphosis” are that of a conversation between doctor and client, setting the scene of the decent into evil madness, the reasons for which will become clearer as we move along. This leads into ‘The Cradle Song’, which paints the picture of where the madness started. A lullaby with a dark twist, complete with ominous music box sounds. The haunting melodies and guitar work here set the mournful tone.

As you move along the twisting corridors of “Metamorphosis”, the bitterness stemming from years of neglect sing out, with Psychoberrie’s vocals delivering all the disturbing tones and nuances you would expect from one so deranged. This is pummelled further into your brain with the freak circus melodies, strange ambient sounds, and the measured work on guitars, and ska inspired bass and drums that sit below the melody.

I think my favourite area of this new wing is ‘Shadows’. It’s melancholy and disturbing, and finalises this new chapter in a perfectly dark way. Its message is sorrowful, and its lilting melody matches the hurt within the walls of the asylum…

In case you didn’t understand any of that, here’s the important bit! If you like to be taken on a theatrical journey into the madness of despair, in the style of Alice Cooper or Avatar, then Ward XVI, and this new album, are for you. It brings another level of depth and depravity to their ‘Shock Rock’ style, both musically and production wise, it’s masterfully handled. The instrumentation is ingenious, mixing ska style off beats and classic rock riffs. The use of sound effects, as well as spoken word, and some operatic and harsh vocals, add to the drama, darkness and madness throughout. Lyrically this disturbing concept album creates a deep and sorrowful picture, that draws you in from the very start. Terrifyingly beautiful, or beautifully terrifying? I’ll let you decide. Until the next chapter, inmates. Stay safe…And don’t let the shadows bite…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Retrogression
02. The Cradle Song
03. Mister Babadook
04. Daisy Chains
05. Broken Toys
06. Imago
07. A Goodnight Shot
08. Burn The Witch
09. Catch Me If You Can
10. The Verdict
11. Shadows

LINE-UP:
Psychoberrie – Vocals and Lyrics
Dr Von Stottenstein – Guitar
Wolfy Huntsman – Bass

Guest Appearances
‘Retrogression’: The Psychiatrist – Chris Barton
‘Verdict’: The Judge – Steve Walker
Drums -John Badger
Martin Crawley – Keyboards & Accordion
Anabelle Iratni – Operatic Vocals
Russ Custard – Guest Vocals: ‘Shadows’

LINKS:
www.wardxvi.com/
www.facebook.com/WardXVI/
www.twitter.com/WardXVIOfficial
www.instagram.com/wardxvi
www.wardxvi.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqyXfqFGUbz0T-1wFXCjjQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1iB6Fms5mWFqlK0vJi07of

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.

Cats In Space – Daytrip To Narnia

Day Trip To Narnia Cover

 

Cats In Space – Daytrip To Narnia
Harmony Factory/Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 01-03-2019
Running Time: 52:33
Review by Tsarina Wilson
10/10 (Only because I couldn’t give it more!)

Cats In Space “Epic Long Player” album is everything I expected it to be. From the amazing art work of the album cover to the punchy, catchy tracks, this band never disappoints. I had the pleasure of reviewing their last album and, as with this album “Daytrip To Narnia”, once again they have gone above and beyond to give us a fun, bouncy, rock album with tracks that will just bowl you over.

The guys, who include Paul Menzi on lead vocals and “screams”, Greg Heart on lead guitar, tubular bells and acoustic vocals, Dean Howar on lead and rhythm guitars, Andy Stewart on piano, synthesizers, vocoder and organ, Steevi Bacon on drums, percussion, timpani and vocals and, last but not least, Mick Wilson on vocals, acoustics and additional synthesizers, have such a unique sound it certainly makes them stand out for me.

The guys have certainly caused a stir since they exploded onto the scene in 2015 with their debut album “Too Many Gods” and they have earned their right to be still going strong after touring with legendary rock giants Deep Purple, Status Quo and Thunder playing UK arenas, plus playing Hyde Park with Phil Collins and Blondie. But somehow, I think the best is yet to come for these guys! They are a total breath of fresh air.

‘Tragic Alter Ego’ reminded me very much of ‘Good Old-Fashioned Loverboy’ by Queen, with also the hint of the lyrics from ‘Play the Game’, but they also remind me of bands like ELO and Kiss.

But don’t think for one minute this band is your standard run of the mill band. They deliver great guitar riffs, brilliant vocals plus some great synths with a fun and light hearted air about them.

That said this album is one of two halves. The second half (tracks 8-14) make up ‘The Story Of Johnny Rocket’ which takes you on a trip into space and, let’s be honest many of us have dreamed of that. This is great song writing with a twist, terrific harmonies and just a great feel good factor to it.

‘Thunder In The Night’ is the track where “Johnny” meets the future Mrs Rocket, ‘One Small Step’ continues their story and the slower song ‘Twilight’ is quite melancholy compared to other tracks but the harmonies are so good.

The last track concludes the “Johnny Rocket” story and ends in an uplifting mood telling us never to give up hope and I’m sure these guys never did. The whole album is like a story within a story and you get little hints of their influences. It maybe just a few notes of guitar but makes you think “wow that could be…” Some lyrics certainly make you reminisce, especially when they mention “The Soup Dragon” and, for those of you not old enough to remember, it’s from The Clangers! But thank you! You have now made me feel very old!

This album “Daytrip To Narnia” has it all, storytelling, fun, rock, great clear vocals, great harmonies, but above all it’s just a damn good listen.

So, make time for it either in the car, in the office or at home as it’s an uplifting and great album.

The whole album “Daytrip To Narnia” is a pleasure to listen to, a real “pick me up listen”
Some tracks have a real 70’s rock feel while others have quite deep lyrics, but one thing for sure is I hope I get to review their next album as well.

The album will be available on standard CD, 12” 180g white vinyl and the extremely limited addition Narnia Box which are numbered, premium quality wooden boxes full of Cats In Space goodies including the new album, a 12”of Thunder In The Night, which includes unreleased tracks like their version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Communication Breakdown’ ‘Man in The Moon’(acoustic) a Johnny Rocket woven patch, dog tag, guitar plectrum, six collector cards and a cover of Slade’s ‘How Do You Feel’ featuring Danny Bowes from Thunder on 7” vinyl. (Ok just take my money now hahaha)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Narnia
02. She Talks Too Much
03. Hologram Man
04. Tragic Alter Ego
05. Silver And Gold
06. Chasing Diamonds
07. Unicorn
08. The Story Of Johnny Rocket I: Space Overture
09. The Story Of Johnny Rocket II: Johnny Rocket
10. The Story Of Johnny Rocket III: Thunder In The Night
11. The Story Of Johnny Rocket IV: One Small Step
12. The Story OF Johnny Rocket V: Twilight
13. The Story Of Johnny Rocket VI: Yesterday’s News
14. The Story Of Johnny Rocket VII: Destination Unknown

LINKS:
https://www.catsinspace.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/catsinspaceband/

https://www.instagram.com/catsinspaceband/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6u18E3uWblUypQJu8_UAcA

 

Promo Pic1

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.