‘Diamonds In The Dust’ – Ones You May Have Missed!
2019 Album Round Up Part One
Reviews by Paul Monkhouse
This year has been an absolutely bumper year for music and has seen a veritable tidal wave of superb releases. It would have been very easy to miss some great new recordings by bands large and small. Now, we don’t want you to miss some potential crackers so here’s a round-up of some of the best that are well worth checking out…
The Bloodshake Chorus – “Live At Epic Studios”
East Anglia’s favourite rocking ghouls released this live album to great acclaim earlier this year and it truly catches their raw edged shows. Imagine, if you will, the perfect house band for The Munsters or The Addams Family and you get the idea of what these guys sound like, all psychedelic fuzz, 60’s covers and a truly entertaining show that will both thrill you and get you singing with happy abandon. Some off-kilter choices such as ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’, ‘Jolene’ and ‘Delilah’ are superbly twisted but it’s on the soulful interpretation of ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’ that the band, in particular singer JJ Darby, shine showing their more artistic side. They may have been shunned by ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ after going down fantastically well in the studio but The Bloodshake Chorus will most definitely have the last (maniacal) laugh.
Whitesnake – “Flesh And Blood”
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 10/05/2019
David Coverdale has always been one of the finest singers in rock and after the highs of his relatively brief tenure with Deep Purple he has gone on to conquer the world with the hard rock colossus that is Whitesnake. Purists may prefer the late 70’s / early 80’s classic line-up that produced some of the most exciting bluesy hard rock of the era but things change and it was with the ‘1987’ album that saw the band really take flight. The hard rock template produced by that album has been pretty much adhered to over the years and this new release is more of the same but also is one of his best since that particular record was released. Whilst the line-up seems to have rotated on a constant merry go round and there is a really audible roughness in DC’s vocals on the first track it seems like the current mix of guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra have really upped the ante and the album bristles with some later period classic Whitesnake raunch and roll. The old swagger is back and the tongue in cheek single ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’, rockers ‘Trouble is My Middle Name’, ‘Get Up’ and in particular the laid back mainly acoustic ballad ‘After All’ are just some of the highlights on the release. A real grower and one that proves there’s still plenty of life in this particular ‘Snake.
Barbe-Q-Barbies – “Borrowed Time”
Release Date: 07/06/2019
This Finnish five piece shows that girls can rock just as hard as the boys and the album is jam packed with some truly brilliant party-ready hard rock and attitude. This isn’t dumb heads-down full-on metal but has a sense of melody and dynamics that shows a huge grasp of both instantly catchy songwriting that is imbued with real intelligence. With tracks like ‘Diz-Funk-tional’, ‘Alive’, ‘Made Of Scars’ and ‘Borrowed Time’ this has to be one of the best albums you’ll hear this year.
The Treatment – “Power Crazy”
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 22/03/2019
The Treatment have come a long way since they formed in the world famous academic environs of Cambridge eleven years ago and their brand of classic hard rock has seen them tour with the likes of Kiss, Motley Crue, Status Quo, Motörhead, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, Steel Panther and Buckcherry amongst many others. “Power Crazy” is the quintet’s fourth album and their first with vocalist Tom Rampton who replaced the departing Mitchell Emms two years ago, the band gelling quickly and producing some of their strongest material on this set. Opener ‘Let’s Get Dirty’ sets their stall out with a number that takes its cues from the great AC/DC and could well point this album to be the perfect one to listen to whilst the Aussie giants work on their latest opus due next year. This isn’t to say that the band either ape Angus and Co or are derivative as that is far from the case, they have produced something that is full of all the best bits of the bands you love wrapped around some terrific songs and performances. ‘Bite Back’, ‘King Of The City’ and ‘The Fighting Song’ are worth the price of admission alone and there are another nine barnstormers to get your teeth into. Let’s get rocked!
Dead Daisies – “Locked And Loaded”
Release Date: 23/08/2019
Line-ups don’t get much starrier than The Dead Daisies. Having had past or present members of (amongst others): Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Journey, Guns n Roses, INXS, The Rolling Stones, Ted Nugent and Motley Crue in their ranks they can truly boast some of the biggest names in the business. This latest album is equally as stellar and is a collection of cherry-picked studio or live takes of some of the greatest songs in rock history, played by the various versions of the band since their inception. To hear them rip into such songs as ‘Midnight Moses’, ‘Fortunate Son’, ‘Rocking in the Free World’ and two Beatles numbers in the shape of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ is an absolute joy. Somewhat foreshadowing events, they also tackle ‘Highway Star’ and now can boast having Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes join them following the recent departure of Marco Mendoza and John Corabi. Who knows what they will cover with ‘The Voice of Rock’ now fronting them, but, if it’s anywhere near as good as the tracks on this album, they’ll certainly be blowing the roofs off of everywhere they play.
Wayward Sons – “The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be”
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 11/10/2019
Led by the inimitable Toby Jepson, this, the bands sophomore album, shows just what a great unit they have become and that many hours on the road touring up and down the country has really paid off. With all songs written by the former Little Angel there is a both a continuity of style and a chance for the band to stamp their own individual identities on the recording process. It is, at times, an angry album, railing against social injustice and the nonsense that is happening in the world and shows a real depth of connection and heart way beyond the usual hard rock fare. Sure, there is much to enjoy and the myriad of touches show influences from such bands as diverse as The Clash, Queen and ELO alongside some epic (but never overwrought) guitar work by Sam Wood, great keys by Dave Kemp, thundering rhythm provided by Nic Wastell and Phil Martini, all topped by the outstanding vocals of Mr Jepson. An album that at once looks back to some of the classic rock bands of the past whilst very much looking to the future and developing their own groove with tracks such as ‘As Black As Sin’ and ‘Feel Good Hit’ really showing the way. It rocks hard and makes you think and because of that it’s one of the very best and most passionate albums you’ll hear all year.
Down ‘N’ Outz – “This Is How We Roll”
Release Date: 11/10/2019
Initially a love letter to the great Mott the Hoople, Joe Elliot and his all-star band of merry men have really broken out on their own with this album full of classy new songs and a terrific cover of a Tubes classic. Magic happens when you take one Leppard, three Quireboys, a Vixen and a Wayward Son into the studio and the results are as stellar as the bands line-up. Kicking off with the scorching ‘Another Man’s War’, it’s pretty much full pelt into a magical and wonderful musical mystery tour from that moment onwards as the album twists and turns, a mix of full-on hard rock ‘n’ roll, old school boogie, lush ballads and a touching tribute to David Bowie in the shape of ‘Goodnight Mr Jones’. The songwriting is superb, the performances brilliant and the production huge. Don’t expect Def Leppard or The Quireboys as the Down ‘n’ Outz are neither but what they’ve produced is the next step in a fascinating evolution. Seriously, you must own this album.
The Swamp Born Assassins – Dead Man’s Train
Release Date: 01/06/2019
You can practically smell the bourbon the moment the first notes play. On this, the Assassins second album, the six-piece Glasgow rockers improve on and grow their passion for all things Southern Rock, surpassing their impressive debut with more layers of sound and a conviction that seeps through the recording like spilled blood on a wooden roadhouse floor. The moment you board this particular train, the title track blazing away, it’s an unstoppable adrenaline fuelled ride with no thoughts of putting on the brakes. Full of huge riffs, rapid fire rhythms, sway and thunder this really does run the gamut of the genre from heads down Southern boogie to Cajun blues that smoulder like a steaming bowl of gumbo. Amongst the highlights, ‘The Weeping Tree’ glistens with classic slide guitar, ‘Rise Up’ is full of Celtic spirit and ‘Crank It Up’ does exactly what the name suggests. Best listened to with a bottle of whiskey, this is a great meeting of North and South.
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