Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam

Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam
RPM Music
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Running Time: 55:12
Review by Beth Jones

When you think of Southern Rock and Blues, you probably picture a beat up back porch in the dusty southern states of America in the warmth of the evening sun, upon which there sits a craggy gentleman, supping a Southern Comfort or a nice bourbon, whilst singing about life and strumming a guitar. Or driving across an orange dessert in an open top Cadillac on the way to Woodstock, the sun beating down and the dust sticking hard to your brill-creamed handlebar tash, swigging from a bottle of moonshine and toking on a Marlboro.  And you would be forgiven for thinking that the members of Thirteen Stars had all indeed been living that life in order to create the Southern Rock sound that we all know and love. But you’d be wrong. They are, in fact, from the West Coast… of Cumbria, UK. Being a dweller of the UK myself, I can confirm that Cumbria is neither dusty, nor sunny for a good 95% of the year, so getting that Southern sound the way Thirteen Stars do is pretty impressive!

Their latest release, and fifth studio album, “Finest Ramshackle Jam”, is due to drop in mid-June 2020. The album was recorded at Doncaster’s Axis Studios, which has played host to a variety of names, including Terrorvision, Massive Wagons, and Black Spiders, and engineered and produced by Matt Elliss, with co-production by Thirteen Stars’ frontman, Hoss Thompson. The album was mastered by Geoff Pesche (Page & Plant, Therapy, The Divine Comedy) at Abbey Road Studios no less (if you don’t know the significance of that place, are you even a music fan?)!

The album as a whole has been inspired by, and pays homage to many sub-genres of Rock and musical icons from ages past, with nods to Rockabilly and classic Rock ‘n’ Roll, and hints of greats such as Queen, Tom Petty, and Elvis Presley, amongst others. The use of instantly recognisable instruments – Hammond organ, a brass section, and Bass Clav – provide a classic 50s, 60s and 70s feel, but it’s in no way ‘dated’. The sweeping backing vocal harmonies and guitar harmonies throughout, the fuzzed-out guitar solos, and the extremely good, multi-layered mixing, give “Finest Ramshackle Jam” a very ‘full’ feel, which is really pleasing to listen to. I particularly like the use of panning on many of the songs, which creates a brilliant sense of depth, and almost makes it feel like you are watching a live show (remember them?… they were fun… ☹).

The album starts at apace, with ‘I’m Ready’, a track that frontman Hoss Thompson describes as a composition in which the idea of music is personified, and is asking ‘are you ready to dedicate your life to me, whatever hardship that may bring?’ to which the answer, for these guys, is ‘yes’!

There is a good variety of pace and feeling across the record, with upbeat tracks like ‘Be There In The Morning’ (which to me has quite a Buddy Holly feel about it), and ‘Mint Jelly’, proper full on groove in tracks like ‘Break It Down Slowly’, and even a little walk into Motown in ‘Rebel’. The whole 55 minutes of this album is crammed full of excellent musicianship from all members – one of my favourite moments being the mighty guitar work in the final track, ‘Only A Soldier’. It’s like a big hug in its richness and has plenty of wah!

I simply can’t pick a favourite track off this album, as they are all so different from each other, and explore the full depths of genres around their sound. In the press release front man, Hoss, said that this album was a reaction to their previous album, “The White Raven”, which, although liked it, they “felt that it lacked some variety, and we wanted to create a more esoteric album. One that encapsulated all the different inspirations we have and that shows the variety of songwriting that we create.” Well, congratulations guys, as you have done just that in this album. It’s not ground-breaking, but it doesn’t need to be. Its beauty is in the bands understanding of the musical roots which they emulate. These guys are really solid players in their field, and deserve much acclaim for their work, and this damn fine album. If you like Southern Rock, in any form, you’re going to love this album.

01. I’m Ready
02. Running So Long
03. Sweet Lies
04. Give It Good
05. Sleeping
06. Sorcery
07. Be There In The Morning
08. I’d Do Anything
09. Mint Jelly
10. Rebel
11. Steel Horse
12. Keep Calm and Carry On
13. Razor’s Edge
14. Break It Down Slowly
15. Only A Soldier

Hoss Thompson – Vocals/Guitar
Jax Sedgwick – Guitar
Mike Reid – Bass
Andy Bates – Drums


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.

Collateral – ‘Collateral’


Collateral – ‘Collateral’
Roulette Media Records / Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 21/02/2020
Running Time: 34:35
Reviewed By Paul Monkhouse

The rock scene has seemingly never looked healthier and 2019 has seen some absolutely incredible new albums emerge this year. This trend looks to continue well into 2020 with the release firstly of the Anchor Lane debut album and this, the first full length offering by Kent four-piece Collateral in February. Already making a big impression on UK and global audiences with slots at Camden Rocks, Ramblin’ Man and an appearance alongside Jon Bon Jovi, these South East rockers are amongst the most hotly tipped bands for future superstardom and this self-titled release shows exactly why they’re getting so much attention.

The songs on the album are huge and have such lofty ambitions to be played in stadiums but, unlike many who have come before, their strongest weapon in the fight is their talent and drive to succeed. Despite all the big, singalong anthems and flamboyant image, it’s not all empty glamour and glitz as beneath the noise and gleaming chrome of the surface lies a real blue-collar heart and recaptures the spirit of when Bon Jovi and their ilk were at their peak.

The album kicks off with the single ‘Mr. Big Shot’ and it’s a giant slab of commercial hard rock that mixes in some really 80’s elements ranging from classic American AOR to some almost New Romantic undertones and a pinch of ELO. Full of great guitar work from Todd Winger and epic vocals by Angelo Tristan, the track drips with tongue in cheek innuendos and a huge sense of a band having a ball in the studio. More monster riffing and vast melodies power along paeon to the modern music industry ‘Promiseland’, it sounds like the sleazy lovechild of AC/DC and, should have been huge, USA rock legends Giant as it snarls and purrs, leading to a superb solo by Winger. The band dust off their cowboy boots as the Southern Rock feel of ‘Merry Go Round’ brings images of swirling dust devils and shimmering desert heat to mind as they effortlessly turn their home county ‘Garden of England’ into the American Midwest. Close your eyes and you can feel the sun beating down and the dry mouthed feel that is desperate to be administered an ice-cold beer. Without doubt, one of the greatest strengths of the band is to conjure up that sense of time and place in a very tangible way, transporting you to a time when hair was big, and choruses were even bigger. This is no aping of the classic bands of that era but a contemporary take on the type of rock music that made Bon Jovi et al kings of stadiums, the production by Sean M Kenny bringing out the best in the material whilst giving it a thoroughly modern sheen.

‘In it for Love’ exemplifies this approach as it perfectly balances the pounding rock driven by rhythm section Ben Atkinson on drums and Jack Bentley-Smith’s bass alongside such a great, dynamic song that will have you singing along in no time. With its instantly catchy “woooh oooh oooh” gang vocals during the chorus and another fret blazing solo ‘Lullaby’ has already become a live favourite and should be blaring out of every car radio across the Atlantic, such is its perfect suitability for the American market.

Also finding its main inspiration the other side of the ‘pond’ is ‘Midnight Queen’, the band tilting their Stetsons to a more AOR meets Country Rock feel that sounds like it might have been written by Richard Marx and Vince Gill, the opening line the name of a huge hit that Marx wrote for Vixen and it shares that same sense of space, the focus on the songwriting, not the flash.

Those waiting for the heartfelt power ballad won’t be disappointed as ‘Get Back to You’ ticks all the right boxes, Tristan pouring his heart out as he longs to return home whilst the song proves it’s more about quality and quiet than drama school overemphasis.

Having stated their love for the aforementioned Mr. Jovi, the band expressed their intent to write something that captured the spirit of tracks like ‘Always’ and this certainly will see a sea of mobile phone lights (nobody is allowed lighters at gigs these days) held aloft in tribute. The pace picks up once again in the spot on, commercial pop rock of ‘Won’t Stop Me Dreaming’, a song that contains a tough streak of steely determination laced through its supremely candy coated and instantly addictive shell. The album ends with ‘About this Boy’, another country tinged track that once more heads more to the massive and lucrative Nashville scene than the heavier end of their material. Whilst a meatier number may have been more fitting, the song is still imbued with that Transatlantic feel that may well find the band gaining ground both in their home country and in the United States given the growing market here and the already titanic base there. Always doing things their way, Collateral continue to push forward, and this album shows just how far they’ve grown and where they’re heading. The stadiums of the world are beckoning.

Track Listing:
1 Mr Big Shot
2 Promised Land
3 Merry Go Round
4 In It For Love
5 Lullaby
6 Midnight Queen
7 Get Back To You
8 Won’t Stop Me Dreaming
9 About This Boy






Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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.


Pinto Graham


Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with New Haven, Connecticut, Southern Stoner/Rock trio Pinto Graham! Huge thanks to guitarist Andre Roman for taking part!

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Andre Roman, guitar player in Pinto Graham. Pinto Graham was started as a 2 piece (bass and drums) band by Ant and Brian sometime around 2013 or so. A friend of mine had played guitar with them briefly before moving to California and I was introduced to the guys with the hopes of replacing him. It was a great fit and I joined the band in 2016.

How did you come up with your band name?

Ant (bass/vocals) came up with the name. I believe it was really just a version of some of his favourite band names…Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd etc…

What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?

Our drummer Brian is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ant and I are from the United States. The metal scene here in the US is amazing! It’s thriving well and really embracing all the styles within the “metal” title.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

Our latest release is Entitled “DOS”. Our second record, oddly enough following our first record, “UNO”. We have just released a single from DOS called ‘Southern Superstitions.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Personally my greatest musical influences are Cream, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, the Melvins, Mudhoney, RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough….to name a few!

What first got you into music?

My older brother introduced me to punk when I was around 10 years old. Black Flag, Bad Brains…and at the same time I received my first guitar. So I spent a lot of time learning songs by Mudhoney, Dinosaur JR, Sonic Youth…

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

That’s a tough question! I would really love to collaborate with the guys in Earthless. Maybe just an improvised jam or something!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Any rock festival in Europe would be awesome.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Boogie!! Have a great time, all the time! And thank you for coming to shows.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Jimi Hendrix. No doubt.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Well, I don’t hate any of it. As long as we get to play, there shouldn’t be anything to hate. Maybe typing out interview answers…I’d rather talk to people. Other than that, it’s a good gig being a musician. The most enjoyable part is playing and meeting other bands and talking about gear or studios.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

We try hard not to be involved in the music industry per se…We don’t have a label and if we did we’d want it to be a small one that appreciates music rather than how much money an artist can pull in.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

The ‘Red Album’ by Grand Funk Railroad is just one of my favourites.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl with a download is the best.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

All of them rock!! We just try to make sure we have a good time all the time.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’d be a carpenter. Oh wait…I mean…I am a carpenter. Music ain’t payin the bills!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Frank Zappa and whatever 4 people he wanted to bring.

What’s next for the band?

We’ll be playing shows in support of “DOS” and getting new songs ready for the next record!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I’d maybe call them a cookie…a fucking delicious cookie/biscuit hahaha!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you. Hopefully we can rock out for y’all sometime!


Pinto Graham Pic


Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of 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.


Shallow Side – Saints & Sinners

Saints _ Sinners Cover

Shallow Side – Saints & Sinners
Thermal Entertainment LLC
Release Date: 29/03/2019
Running Time: 35:09
Review by Stephanie Stevens

Rick here – As I was getting ready to send this over for publication it became apparent that the album, which had been on all the major streaming/download sites was being recalled. Shallow Side have made an announcement on Facebook Live that some things are happening behind the scenes which necessitates the recall. I’m not going to speculate on what is happening, but you may not be able to buy or stream the album by the time this review goes live. Keep an eye on Shallow Side’s social media links for updates!

Shallow Side caught my attention back in 2016 when they won best new artist by Loudwire. The band comes from Alabama and consists of a bunch of musicians who have the passion, love and dedication to write, record and create a dynamic show for their fans. Just from following them it’s easy to see they care and appreciate everyone that supports and enjoys the rock music they love making.

The addiction I have to songs like ‘Can You Hear Me’, ‘Try To Fight It’ and their cover of ‘Renegade’ by Styx has made me a huge fan and I was overly excited to finally enjoy new music when Shallow Side’s latest album “Saints & Sinners” landed in my mailbox.

One thing is for sure, these guys have grown immensely and it showcases depth and an overall sense of the band edging towards their ultimate sound just with one listen to this new disc.

Shallow Side begin the album with a song call ‘Revival’ that is jaw dropping and refreshing to hear from them. That old-school down south rock vibe jabs you right from the beginning. That low bass vocal just grabs you. It is potent and shows they can get down ‘n’ dirty when needed and I think an opener like this just breathes new light for the fans of this band.

The title track continues the Southern Rock feel and just oozes with melodic beauty and good n lively rock attitude.

‘Sound The Alarm’, the band’s first single, is sassy, sultry and wins you over with charm. You will be addicted to the melodic driven antics of this track!

‘Temptations’ is soulful and the playful vocal pattern just takes this track to new heights. I knew vocalist Eric Boatright had depth and talent but on this song he showcases diversity and perfection throughout.

‘No More’ is guitar sass! It’s pumped with hard rock grit and at times pulled me back into an 80’s soundscape but then bungees you back into the modern rock world. I love the energy and the playfulness from the musical ambience and vocal patterns.

‘Not Alone’ gives me piano and a voice. With these you have the beauty in a ballad and Shallow Side have hit a homerun with this. Delicate and pretty with an air of soft rock ambience. Two thumbs up for this you southern gentleman.

Lastly, my favourite song off this album is called ‘Hallelujah’. You want attitude? You want Rock ‘n’ Roll creativity? You want stripped down Rock? Do you need melody that drives you to get up and move? This song is just a straight forward beautiful ball of ‘fuck ya’!! Words don’t do it enough justice; you just gotta hit play and feel it in your soul.

Shallow Side IS Rock ‘n’ Roll! They are a band that leaves their hearts on the stage every night, writes real music with real meaning and just encompasses the future of Rock.

01. Revival
02. Saints & Sinners
03. Sound The Alarm
04. Drugs&Lust
05. Temptations
06. Hallelujah
07. No More
08. All Rise
09. Not Alone
10. Carry On



Promo Pic1


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens 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.

The Swamp Born Assassins – Smell The Mud

Smell The Mud Cover

The Swamp Born Assassins – Smell The Mud
Carnivora Records
Running Time: 49:38
Release Date: 19/03/2017
Review by Paul Monkhouse

It’s hard to believe that these guys come from Scotland, such is the skill and lovingly crafted paeon of love to the best of Southern Rock, albeit it with a much dirtier edge on this, their latest album. The Glasgow based five-piece have captured the spirit of their many influences and infused the album with their heroes whilst very much retaining an identity all of their own.

The moment that the slide guitar comes in on ‘Out in the Rain’ you know that this is going to be a big slice of gritty rock that Lynyrd Skynyrd would play at their heaviest. With the opening line of ‘’Ever had one of those days when nothing goes right?’’ seeming like a snarling challenge, these guys come out swinging and you know you’ve going to have to hold on tight as they take off like a Nascar champion.

‘Never Ever Never’ starts off with the riff from ‘Peter Gunn’ passed through an ancient and overdriven amplifier and is another brutal, pounding belter. In the shape of Black Stone Cherry, this song is meant to be heard from tiny bars to huge festival stages and is brimming with some real old-style R&B fire. ‘Walk Tall’ is another track that somehow brings together the trio of Pantera, AC/DC and Aerosmith to produce an unholy lovechild that has parts of all three huge acts but is also distinctly their own creation.

There is such a great gumbo of sludge and fire in their material that is matched by power and subtlety. All the way through the album there are some truly nice little touches that add some incredible colour to what could have been potentially been just a straight-ahead rock/metal album. Successfully combining balls and brains, The Swamp Born Assassins have approached both the material and performances with real intelligence that certainly pays dividends.

The stomping ‘Crawl’ would be something that you get the feeling that the late, great Lemmy would love and is a later highlight of the album. All rock ‘n’ roll attitude and spirit it demands to be heard, as does the garage rock madness of the title cut, ‘Smell The Mud’, a track you can easily imagine in the soundtrack of a Rob Zombie movie. Sinewy and prowling the song is full of menace and features a great bit of guitarwork and gang harmony vocals.

Equally sinister is the haunting and haunted ‘Clara Bella Lee’, a blues duet that finishes the album in style. It’s also the longest and most expansive track of this release. Underpinned with a real swing, the interplay of male and female vocals works masterfully in a call and response where you don’t really know who the victim is. All the members of the band really bring things together in a truly epic slice of American Gothic, the superb arrangement of voices and some outstanding musicianship mark this as the highpoint of “Smell The Mud” and provides a real contrast to all the other balls to the wall tracks. A really great listen and one certainly worth seeking out and adding to your collection.

01. Out In The Rain
02.Never Ever Never
03.Walk Tall
04.Dead Man Walking
05.Land Of The Six Gun
07.Smell The Mud
08.The Gator
09.Clara Belle Lee



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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.