Dellacoma – South Of Everything


Shock Records

Buy the CD HERE

Review by Dave Smiles

This is an album that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let up until the end of the final track. Ten songs from a band that means business, but have kept in mind that this is meant to be fun. Rock n roll the way it was meant to be – tight, yet raw. Hard, fast and straight to the point with a sense of groove and enjoyment. With all but one song barely exceeding three and a half minutes, this gets the job done without too much polish or production.

After the disbandment of his previous band, Sunset Riot, Dellacoma Rio set about picking up the pieces and formed a new band consisting of Australian Rick Reynolds on bass, and Texans Art Stuck and Matt Cook on guitar and drums respectively.

Those who have heard the recent EP, The Dead Will Rise, (with guest musicians) will be familiar with the songs Under My Skin and Change. These songs appear on South Of Everything, rerecorded with this band.  They’re now faster and more energetic while maintaining the dynamics and raw energy of the previous versions. This shows a band on fire! A rock ‘n’ roll avalanche that’ll gather up everything in its path. Jump on board or you’ll be left behind. Change clocks in twelve seconds shorter than the EP version.

The album opener, My Kinda Woman is infectious, catchy and powerful. Bloodsucker is an enjoyable head banger in the dirty old school style of Guns N’ Roses. Straight up rockers with an upbeat, energetic feel, Movin’ On To Something New, Walk The Plank and Lesson Learned have killer riffs and performances from the band. There’s no over producing or studio trickery, just four guys making music together – vocals, guitar, bass, and drums.

The longest song on the album is Time Falls Away. It’s a great example of the song craft these guys use when putting songs together. The music and the vocals work brilliantly together and the melodic dirty riff has a very seventies feel. This is sure to draw you in. On the final track, Fame Slaves Gold, the band really gets some time to show what they can do. It’s easy to imagine that this one could be expanded into a jam during live shows.

South Of Everything is the kind of album that has durability. An album that you’d recommend to your mates, and you’ll keep going back to. Ten great songs that’ll work in both pubs and stadiums. Furthermore with a debut of this quality, it’s one of those albums that just feels important, like it will be a landmark in the future classics of rock ‘n’ roll. The artwork and the sequencing order of the songs reminds me of how important those things were in times past, and how they’re taken for granted in the downloading era.

If you miss the days of old when bands built their careers from the ground up, then this is a band to follow. It’ll be great to watch Dellacoma grow in the coming years.


Spit Fire – Welcome to Bone City


SPV/Rookies and Kings

Review by Rick Ossian

Buy the CD HERE or the MP3 HERE

When one takes into account that Bone City is Spit Fire’s all-important second offering, it takes a person back a step or two.  Granted, many times a band will come out of the chute immediately with a debut that takes the world by storm.  Spit Fire‘s 2013 said debut, Devil‘s Dance, was very good, but Bone City takes the prize and runs away grinning.  Contained herein are no less than 14 Ramones-size nuggets to sink your teeth into.   Let’s chew on them one at a time, shall we?

Before we get too far into things, let’s size up the personnel; Germany‘s Spit Fire are Dick Dropkick on lead vocals and guitar, Johnny Jailbreak on bass and backing vocals and Nikk Nitro on drums and backing vocals.  They are all involved on each number, interestingly enough, as most three-piece outfits seem to be.  On opener Here We Go, for example, Johnny and Nikk set up a nicely chugging, mind-humping riff.  A heavy drum/guitar intro is soon followed by good-time heavy rock, fueled mainly by the drums.  There is a guitar solo at about the 2-minute mark, which is amazing in and of itself considering the tune is just over three minutes long.

Lengthwise, the three-to-four-minute chomp seems to be the order of the day here, as there are no prog-length epics to dissect.  Dick LOVES to use the f-word, which is okay in my book; so few good rock bands curse anymore, you know?  Too Young to Die features storyteller-type vocals, a slamming drum intro and a nice headbanging rhythm.


Queen of the Night is also a big slammer, both vocally and instrumentally.  The main riff is clean and hard and straight to the point, which is pretty much a requirement when you only use up a few minutes at a time.  This is, for the most part, heavy rock mixed with punk.  There is sort of a lead guitar solo – briefly short but super sweet (2:25), and we end the proceedings with squeals and feedback.

Bone City Radio is one we should listen to at maximum volume, according to Dick (‘Turn up the motherfuckin’ Bone City Radio!’).  This is the place to be, evidently, as Dick also informs us that this is the ‘one and only rock and roll show’, and it ‘tastes like dynamite/ready to ignite’.  Though the vocals have their subdued moments, they don’t last; usually we find Dick shouting and screaming as opposed to a subdued whisper, which is good for rock and roll – folks can’t hear you at the back of the venue if you are whispering.

Fall From Grace features another pretty cool drum and guitar intro, and is anthemic at its best moments.  Lyrically, we are treated to what seems to be a Spit Fire credo: ‘No retreat/No surrender‘.  There are other lyrics that bear mention, but seem to be a bit pedestrian: ‘I’m gonna leave this town/leave without a trace/leave this fucking place‘.  Hey, it rhymes, so everything’s fine, right?

Motorman heralds another slamming number, and is kind of Motörhead-esque, which isn’t too surprising, given its title.  Again, the lyrics say it all; ‘I’m the trigger of a loaded gun/the gasoline that makes the motor run/rollin’ like the devil’s train/survivor of the dead man’s hand’.  It’s words and tunes like these that make a guy want to stand up and play air guitar!

Battlefield begins life with a mellower, more introspective mindset.  There is some nice guitar work here as well.  Do NOT think that Spit Fire have gone soft on us, however.  They soon quash any of those types of fears, and lyrically (again), they are on fire: ‘Back to raise some hell/to find the road that leads me home/shattered memory in mind/going to leave it all behind‘. Immature, you might say?  Well, it IS only their second recording.

Hell and High Water finds us chugging and pumping again.  There is a sweet intro here, and vocally, we find the boys ‘Rollin like a thunder train at supersonic speed/…another mouth to feed’.  This is mainly hillbilly boogie mixed with metal, for those of you keeping track.

Bridges Burned includes a lovely lead guitar intro, cool drums and a chugging rhythm.  This is mainly classic hard rock/heavy metal stuff, with another lead guitar solo at the 3-minute mark.  ‘WATCH YOUR STEP’, Dick warns us, but they are hardly preaching to the choir now, are they?

Last Gang in Town is another heavy duty tune. FUCK YEAH!‘ shouts Dick, and announces that they are ‘tragic little bastards/we’re not ready to withdraw/resurrected from the army of the dead‘.  There is a brief moment of lead guitar shred about 2 minutes in.

Take Me Home features more heaviness and a cool guitar intro.  Things are slamming again, and vocally, as before, this scribe was reminded of Black Star Riders.  At 2:30 there is a lead guitar solo, and at 2:50 we find that rock anomaly, the false ending!  It doesn’t happen very often- usually they just fade out towards the end, but sometimes we get lucky.  Personally, I wish that all of these tunes had gone on for a bit, but we don’t want punters vacating their seats due to tunes drawn out ad nauseum

Dust and Bones features yet another sweet guitar intro, this time including the bass and drums ever-so-slightly.  The main riff is a nice one, and made me think for just a moment that I was in Riff City instead of Bone City!  We are treated to a ZZ Top-style number with this one, and at 2 minutes in there is a riff breakdown of sorts, followed shortly by a quick snippet of lead guitar.

Desperado includes one more sweet guitar intro and one more heavy main riff.  ‘STAND UP/STAY STRONG’, Dick bellows at us, and we are inclined to listen.  The lyrics bear mentioning here again as well, it seems; ‘The remains of a dying breed with a rebel soul/Desperado is the devil’s son’ (nice couplet) and ‘Like a soldier with a loaded gun/Invincible and ready to fight‘.  Not a lot of rhyming going on there, but I believe that rock bands are entitled to some poetic license, right?  From about the 2-minute mark to 2:40 we hear a lead guitar solo, a breakdown, and guitar histrionics, ending with squeals and shredding.

The closer, Danger Zone, is a cover of Kenny Loggins tune from the Days of Thunder movie soundtrack (Tom Cruise, anyone?), and while I would never have thought that this tune would work in this context, it truly does!  Spit Fire infuses it with just the right amount of heaviness, and it’s off to the races we go!  Top marks!


Ensiferum – One Man Army


Metal Blade Records

Released February 24th 2015

Review by Suzi H

This review is extremely late. One Man Army – which I have been eagerly anticipating since September 2014 – landed in my inbox for review at the end of January.  Unfortunately I was extremely ill at the time and after eventually landing myself in hospital, and having to spend a week on bed rest, followed by another month and a half of doing not much more than my day job I’ve only just managed to get round to writing it up.  So to colleagues and readers, I’m dreadfully sorry, because really you guys should have read this months ago and been rampaging your way around the world listening to this album since.

Anyway, enough with the pity party and excuses and onto the music. Ensiferum are my third favourite Finnish band of all time – of course Turisas are first, Korpiklaani are second, and my Bloodstock 2015 ticket was purchased on the strength of the Ensiferum announcement. So, yeah, One Man Army has been hotly anticipated in the southern tower of Wyrd Ways Castle for quite some time.

I’m never much fussed about the *how* of music being produced – if sitting under a waterfall wrapped in a bullhide gets your juices flowing and leads to a kick arse album that’s fine by me.  Similarly, I couldn’t give any body part of a monkey if your preferred production method is to binge on Red Bull and blue Smarties and bash it out in one take.

Ensiferum have made much though of the production for this album as they tried to move away from digitally produced songs towards arrangements where every instrument actually got played.  The result is, I have to say, staggering.  Kicking off with March of War you are first gently grabbed by the music – the intro is all a bit Game of Thrones, full of penny whistles and strings and sweeping epic arrangements that are all evocative and bring to mind imagery of an army yomping through the forest renaissance stylee.  But then Axe of Judgement begins and you are bodyslammed into the front row and commanded to mosh and pillage until it’s all over.  Axe of Judgement is all brimstone and fury and catchy sing along “woahhwoaaah!” choruses, and if it doesn’t get played at BOA I’m going to lead a one woman riot in protest.

Moving on, you get carried along slam bang into Heathen Horde which has about the folkiest opening I’ve heard in 2015.  With lyrics like: “All heathen hearts/ Answer the call/ God of thunder bless our swords”, it’s full of fighting talk and promises a good punch up against a side fuelled on righteous fury and blessed by the Gods.

At this point I should point out that my attempts to actually write up my review have been significantly scuppered by the headbanging it engenders.  I’m not sure it’s especially hardcore to be sat at your desk, waving a pint of water around bellowing along, because my study is not a longhouse, I can’t quaff for shit (waste of good booze is quaffing) and being of a female persuasion, all my attempts to grow a beard have failed spectacularly, but this album doesn’t allow for sitting still. You have to just give it some and pretend that really your charging across the Northumbrian coast with a shield and axe and not sitting at home in your onesie.

Anyway, Heathen Horde is followed by One Man Army which is the traditional point where my attempts to say something sensible have degenerated into desk moshing.  So you can gather that the album’s title track is *rather good*. It’s all rousing vocals and epic instrumental sweeps and a screamy howley end. I like that in a song. Burden of the Fallen is a bit calmer.  It’s a ‘water break’ sort of track, but it’s also hauntingly beautiful and an all too brief glimpse into the softer side of the Finnish warriors.

Warrior Without A War is another heads down and mosh it out type track.  It is a little bit samey, however that doesn’t detract from it being thoroughly enjoyable.  Cry for the Earth Bounds changes things up again with a sort of medieval monasstic chant opening that really does make me think of soaring cathedrals, and solemn occasions.  It’s also got a rather awesome guitar riff in the middle.  Plus it’s 7 and a half minutes long, and I do like it when you get a decent saga condensed into a single album track.  Happy Days.

Two of Spades starts off faster paced than most of the album, with some fantastic drumming and for a folk metal track it’s a bit thrash really and is, I assumed at first, a tribute to Motörhead.  I’m not sure about the weird Viking Disco in the middle though.  It’s a bit too Saturday Night Fever for my liking. Anyway, from the discotheque we swiftly barrel into My Ancestors Blood where normality is restored, and all is well with the world again, as we return to sweeping riffs, epic vocals and a tune catchier than chlamydia on an 18-30 holiday.

The album rounds out with the doom laden intro of Descendants, Defiance, Domination  which picks up pace as it goes on, has an excellent spoken word section, and has one of the few clean male vocal tracks that I noticed. I mean, it’s only about 20 seconds in an 11 minute long track, but it stood out. There’s also about a minute of female vocals which are so Games of Thrones-esque I had to check I didn’t have another window open playing the theme tune.

I’ll be honest: the last non-bonus track Neito Pohjolan is the only one I didn’t like on the whole album. It was just… a bit strange and it didn’t quite fit, which is a shame because it had awesome vocals and I’d have liked to like it more.

There are four bonus tracks – a cover of Rawhide, Warmetal, Candour and Lies, and finally Bonus Song. They’re all good, although a little weird –  Candour and Lies is basically a country song and Bonus Song is Ensiferum Does A Glam Metal Track.  It’s quite good.  It reminds me of W.A.S.P!

All in, this is a superb album.  This has been one of the most time consuming write ups in my time at WWRS becuase I kept getting distracted with the desk moshing. Which is fun, but doesn’t get a review written. Even if you don’t like folk metal you’ll like this album. Of course, if you already like Ensiferum then you *should* love it, and I’ll see you down the front at Bloodstock!


They get a bonus star for having so many bonus tracks.

Reign of Fury – Death Be Thy Shepherd

Static Tension Recordings

Review by Cat A

I remember that I once said to someone in a bar that I haven’t heard any good new Thrash in an age, and that was mostly because a lot of people who attempt it think that mashing guitar strings as quickly as possible is what makes something Thrash.  Reign of Fury have something of a reputation on the Metal scene for putting on a stonking live show, but have they got what it takes to put together a decent album?

If you want the simple answer, skip to the bottom of this review, but for those who want to know more about what they’re getting in for then read on…

It all starts off sounding a little bit doomy and distorted as Faustian Mastery sets the initial atmosphere and I can’t help myself here, I’m anticipating the moment that the tempo heats up.  Boy, I am not disappointed as the layers blend over each other to make a brilliantly crafted, well balanced and highly driven track, interspersed with sections that are just crying out for a crowd to be filling in the gaps at the tops of their lungs with fists in the air. Melodic chorus, heavy guitars, thundering drum track and tight-as-hell instrumentals; this track has it all and we’re still only on number 1! All 9 minutes and 22 seconds of track one, but at no point am I tempted to press the spin on button, which is something of a miracle for someone with my attention span.

Bonus points there boys!

Can the next one live up to the now heightened expectations?  Without a doubt yes.  If at all possible Harbinger of Decay is even catchier.  It’s filled with cleverly written harmonies and breakdowns, which had me completely undecided whether I wanted to headbang, throw my arms in the air or dance around the kitchen grinning from ear to ear (on my first listen through I *was* dancing round the kitchen… there is photographic evidence).

It’s straight on to more classic Thrash sounds with Hypnotise The Masses – though there’s something of a punky feel to the chorus of this one which is never a bad thing in my book.

The pace just keeps on, and it’s finally All Is Lost that calms it down with a very Metallica-esque effort that has managed to get a lump in my throat every single time that I’ve listened to it (I think the count is currently 8).

The Love of a Dying God brings back the heavy as hell that never really goes away until the CD runs out at the end of the title track.  Speaking of which, Death Be Thy Shepherd comes as a spectacular finale.  If I had to pick just one song from this album to introduce someone to Reign of Fury then the title track from this very album would be the one. It’s a monster of a song, and not just because it’s ten and a half minutes long. It’s catchy, it’s driving, and its over all too soon.

I think that it’s safe to say that Reign of Fury are here to stay, and if they keep up the energy then when someone asks that awful question of “who will be headlining the big festivals in a decade?” (normally right after James Hetfield‘s age comes up) then in my opinion you couldn’t be a million miles away from the mark if you were to mention these guys as a possibility. Death Be Thy Shepherd is a true classic Thrash record which just happens to have been made three decades after the start of that movement.  There are all the key elements that a Thrash Metal fan expects from an album without any of it feeling forced or that it has been put in simply to satisfy the equation (one of my pet hates).  There is enough originality that you won’t be left feeling as though it’s a straight off imitation of so much music gone before. There’s also plenty of hooks and melodic sections that will serve to bring a new generation to the genre.

The short answer you were looking for? Undoubtedly Reign of Fury know their business, and their business is Thrash.  If you find yourself getting excited by the words “Big Four” then give this part of the new breed a chance and you won’t be disappointed.

I’ll just be over here, hitting Repeat All.

Rating: ****½

Axel Rudi Pell – Magic Moments 25th Anniversary Special



Review by Rick Ossian

Buy the CD HERE and the MP3 HERE

Bochum’s Axel Rudi Pell has achieved quite a feat on this extravaganza.  It will no doubt appear in several formats, but the one we shall focus on for today’s discussion is the 3CD/DVD package.  The Blu-Ray version will appear in April, shortly after the other versions.

The main reason I say Axel has achieved quite a feat is because, with a couple of slight exceptions, he has assembled his entire musical past on this blowout.  Not only do members of his band, Steeler, appear; assembled herein are an entire raft of legendary drummers and vocalists, not to mention one of my very favourite keyboard players, Mr. Tony Carey (Rainbow, Planet P Project)!

Also on board are tubthumper Vinny Appice (Derringer, DIO, Sabbath), former ARP drummer Jörg Michael (Running Wild, Stratovarious).  The former has one hell of a ‘Drum Battle‘ with ARP main skin-basher Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow), by the way.  Vocalists who appear in addition to stage singer Johnny Gioeli are Rob Rock, Jeff Scott Soto (Journey), Dougie White (Yngwie Malmsteen, Rainbow), Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group), John Lawton (Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, Lone Star), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) and Michael Voss (Mad Max, Bonfire). Whew!  The main branch of ARP are, of course, Johnny, Ferdy Doernberg (keys), Volker Krawczak (bass) and the aforementioned Rondinelli.  Quite a line-up, you say?  Wait till you hear what they play!


It should be noted here that, while there are considerable amounts of cover tunes here, there ARE some original moments (the Steeler material and the ARP tracks).  The only thing that really concerns me is how derivative things can get at some points.  It appears obvious on the first listen or two of this vast compendium of musical magical moments that Axel emulates, adores, and even worships one Mr. Ritchie Blackmore.  Any of you who may be in doubt at this point need only listen to the tunes…

While we are dispensing with the technicalities, it should also be noted that this set was gleaned from the Bang Your Head Festival (Balingen, 11 July 2014).  Though it could just as easily have been a Heavy AOR fest or a Rainbow/Deep Purple/Whitesnake tribute fest, we will stick with the facts.  For example, on Call Her Princess, I was almost immediately reminded of the riff from Burn or even Highway Star.  Amidst the feedback, squeals and reminiscent riffage, and recycled Purple memories, Axel DOES shine, shred, burn, wail and generally play his ass off!  There are, as the title suggests, many magical moments.  There are also some, well, not so mystical.  It is one thing to emulate your heroes; it is another entirely to wear your influences on your sleeve(s).  Without his own original material, this homage to Messrs. Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice and Blackmore (not to mention Coverdale, Dio, Schenker/Scorps) would simply NOT work nearly as well.


On the Purple cover Black Night, for example, we get to hear a faithful cover of the tune.  However, to be perfectly honest, it is somewhat pedestrian, even for this outfit.  Not that a fan, or punter, for that matter, should come to expect outstanding stuff at every turn; we should also consider the source.  This was a HUGE production, as anniversary sets oftentimes are.  It should not have had near the amount of covers that we witness here.  The set should have been about 1/3 shorter, in this writer’s humble opinion  — so, let’s just go with what we have.

Night After Night is another one of those pedestrian numbers, unfortunately.  It sounds more like recycled latter-day Rainbow riffage than anything else.  Strong as a Rock is more of the same, sounding more Purple-like than even the mighty Purple at times.  Crowd participation is a given at an event like this, and though ARP was probably one of the bill’s main attractions, I’m sure there were others.  Axel no doubt had the benefit of his own audience in addition to the myriad of other punters in the crowd.

Long Way to Go reminded me of Don Airey‘s keyboard style.  The main riff is a nice one, albeit still reminiscent of the Blackmore/Lord pocket – they keys and the guitars are in the spotlight, as it should be.  This tune features a surging, pumping main riff, and it also smacks loudly of 80’s-era hair metal (of course, Whitesnake comes to mind).

Rockin’ the City features a cool bass intro and more Blackmore adulation.  This particular track sounds more like Perfect Strangers-era Deep Purple.  It is compelling, and will be especially near-and-dear to Purple fans – but for some reason I feel the need for more.  Let us plow forward, shall we?

Sympathy features much more German/English crowd banter, which again should probably be considered a given when one considers the venue.  There is a cool main riff here that AGAIN bows down to the Blackmore altar.  This one is mainly a long solo for Axel, one amidst MANY showcases for the six-string wizard.

The Neil Young (Hey Hey My My) and ZZ Top (Tush) covers are also faithful renditions of the originals, even though somehow Tush is played Deep Purple style (and just HOW in the fuck did they do that?), and Hey Hey My My features a gorgeous piano intro, but at first glance this could be any one of a number of bands – most of the bar bands in my good old farmland home of Nebraska can play a Deep Purple track or ZZ Top for that matter.  Neil Young may be a bit of a stretch, however…

Undercover Animal comes off a bit like 2nd tier Def Leppard.  There is a lead burst at the end, and a big boom, no doubt pyrotechnic in origin, explodes at the close.  Probably to signal the end of the Steeler set, I’m assuming?  I could be mistaken.

Mistreated is an absolute monster here, though I for one would have preferred Coverdale or even Joe Lynn Turner over Johnny and Dougie if I were the one picking vocalists.  Too bad those cats weren’t in Germany that night, right?  Some brilliant blues playing here, by the by.

Mystica was not nearly as inspiring as I had imagined.  It is another monster, especially considering the sheer length of the track.  I was again reminded of Rainbow and DIO, in particular.  Nasty Reputation is more of the same.  There is an obligatory guitar solo, as with every track save the marathon Drum Battle.

Since You Been Gone is a great vehicle for Graham Bonnet, as those of you who are familiar with Rainbow will know.  (I always preferred Head East’s version, myself!)  Warrior is another pedestrian track at best.  The medley of Too Late/Eternal Prisoner/Too Late has a sweet main riff, and sounds for all the world like a more aggressive, progressive, even heavier Purple.  Plenty of riffs, and a wicked duel between guitar and keys (surprise!).  It is during this mega-monster track that the band is introduced while the bass and drums do a little milieu in the background… Fool Fool is more recycled Rainbow riffage, but is handled superbly in the more-than-capable hands of vocalist Jeff Scott SotoLong Live Rock and Roll features Graham Bonnet again, and all I could think was that it was too bad that Ronnie James DIO wasn’t still with us (RIP).

Another timely monster is The Masquerade Ball Casbah, which features a really cool lead a couple of minutes in.  There are some beautiful vocal and keyboard moments on the intro as well.  Rock the Nation deceived me for a moment – I thought it would be a cover of the Montrose standard, but I’m not really sure if it was or wasn’t.  I must have gotten distracted or bored during this one.

The finale, of course, is Smoke on the Water.  Need we say more?  This is a set primarily for Purple fans, and, of course, ARP fans.  Those who are neither should tread other waters.


Cloud Maze – Maybe, You Decide



Review by Rick Ossian

I don’t really know that I’m qualified to review this bunch, but I’m going to go for it anyway.  Cloud Maze are an electro-pop outfit from Moscow that were formed in 2013.  They DO veer off into the heaviness of Metal and Hard Rock occasionally, but that is obviously not their forte.  They are in the business of making people dance, so you would most likely hear them in a discothecque as opposed to a regular rock club.  Personnel are Sergy on vocals and lead guitar, Anfir on bass and Alex on drums.  Though this type of noise is NOT normally my cuppa, I was encouraged by a friend’s recommendation and thusly, here we are!

I must confess I was excited when I heard Chris Slade (AC/DC, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) deem these fellows ‘sensual’.  While not normally in one’s everyday vocabulary, we should all admit that we would LIKE it to be.  That being said, let us get on with the sexiness.  On first listen (or two), I hold true to what I espoused from the beginning.  This is NOT Metal.  It is more Rock than Pop, and there are a few Heavier moments, but it is a long ways from what we’re accustomed to hearing.  Most of these tracks would feel like they belonged on an FM Top 40 playlist (from the future), but it is doubtful that we would hear them on any of the stations we frequent.  But enough of my babbling…


The intro, though brief, is telling.  We hear a clip of a phone conversation between, I assume, Sergy or a rep for the band, inquiring as to whether or not they could be ‘one of your artists‘.  The response: ‘Sorry, that’s too gay for us‘!  Unfortunately for Cloud Maze, that may have been my initial response as well.  However, this is not a song – it’s just a very small spoken-word piece, if you will.  Next up is the actual music.

Dance has a cool beat, but it is way too electro dance-pop for these ears.  There are also some neat angst-ridden vocals here.  Angry vocals are good, right?  I just wish that the music was angrier.  This would be wonderful stuff for the dance floor.  Anybody who normally feels a groove would have a hard time sitting still to this number.  There are some decent dance breaks, but again – NOT Metal.  Be forewarned.  There is some Heavy Rock riffing going on here, and some decent guitar work, but let’s not get too excited.

Moves is more of a synth/guitar jam.  It is more of the same, the intro features a digital run-up to some good playing, rock guitar, bass and drums just simple whack style stuff.  The interplay between the drums and the bass is particularly busy on this tune.  There are angry vocals again, of course – perhaps because they can’t decide on a genre?   Vocally I was reminded of Mike Patton and BigElf‘s Damon Fox.  This is techno-laced Rock at it’s best, with some droning and a vocal shift around the 3 minute mark.  There is also some brief lead guitar noodling (2:00), and a couple of shifts.  Not bad.

Steroid features more tribal drumming, almost Bluesy to begin with, and FX sounding like sirens wailing.  The vocals again are mentally anguished, but that seems to be the norm on these recordings. Drums and bass are exceedingly busy again as well.

Persuade features more of the same, the angry vocals, and of course is Heavy Rock at best, but not necessarily Metal.  They DO veer dangerously close at some moments… This is more like Roxy Music or David Bowie on steroids and methamphetamines simultaneously.  ‘If you please/Get on your knees‘, the lyrics intone, and the vocalist is ‘turning‘ quite a bit.  This reminded me also of a heavier Alan Parsons Project, oddly enough, and there is a synth-like fade out at the end.

T.T.L. features one Cristian Galli of Carousel 47, and is a cool, punchy punk number with powerful vocals.  Trick is more of the same discothecque-style rumblings from above.  Imagine electro beats like in house or trance but mixed with cool basslines like some Heavy Rock is.

Winter sounds like it’s title, again with slightly anguished vocals.  It is pretty mellow music for the most part, as is evidenced by Sergy encouraging us to ‘turn the lights down‘.  It is spacey Computer Rock in some ways, also, and there are violins (??) (3:25) and a (sort of) guitar solo (3:40).  A computer fade-out graces the ending.  More PC rock mixed with disco, then.  Some repetition here as well.

Outro features a synth-like ambience (Eno, anyone?) that one might find in their local mall, or in the elevator (lift) at their local airport.  There is also some Edge(U2)-like guitar work.  It is muzak but better, and of course on a bigger scale.

Trick appears again at the close, this time with Smarts.  It is disco-NOT Metal (surprise!), and makes one wonder why it appears on the same disc twice.  Perhaps it was an oversight, or the obligatory ‘bonus’ track.  Once was enough.  It is a catchy number, I will give them that.  Rap does not belong – that must be where Smarts comes in.  He should have stayed home.


Prong – Songs From the Black Hole



Review by Rick Ossian

Buy the CD HERE and the MP3s HERE

Normally when I am confronted with a covers album I am sceptical at best.  I’ve been burned before with these clowns trying to emulate their heroes, and quite frankly have just about had my fill.  However, when I noticed it was my thrash metal heroes Prong, I decided to make an exception.  Prong are three stalwart metal champs who hail from Los Angeles by way of New York.  They are Tommy Victor (vocals, guitar), Jason Christopher (bass, backing vocals) and Art Cruz (drums).  Most of you may know Prong from their Rude Awakening days, as the track Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck was a regular FM staple when I was living in our state’s capital.  This may be among their best work since that lofty peak.

For the most part, the tracks contained herein are covers of punk rock denizens that most of you may have heard whispered in the corners of clubs and wild parties.  Husker Du? you would hear, or Fugazi, to which the inevitable reply, ‘who are those guys talking about?‘  Some of the bands covered on this record were never chart darlings or even critics’ champions.  Most of them were never really household words, save for, perhaps, Neil Young.  The mere fact that there is a Neil Young track on board here is almost completely incongruous, especially given the other selections!


Doomsday, originally recorded by Discharge, is short but sweet, with heavy riffage and powerful drums.  There is even a lead guitar shredding solo at about 1:20.  This tune is a serious jam that is over way too quickly.

Vision Thing, a Sisters of Mercy cover, as our fearless leader has observed, is “really rather excellent“.  Some killer riffing busts down the dear, and main riff kicks some serious ass.  With lyrics like “twenty-five whores in the room next door” and “another motherfucker in a motorcade”, how can you lose?

Goofy’s Concern was originally a Butthole Surfers number, and is about as faithful as you can be when it comes to the Surfers.  I witness the spectacle that is the Butthole Surfers live in Omaha one night, and I can tell you that I never quite looked at music the same way after that event.  For Prong‘s version I can tell you I was similarly fixated, especially when the droning intro gave way to trip-hammer drumming and heavy guitar riffing and vocal screaming and — well, you get the picture.  Some VERY intense stuff.  The main riff is excellent, as is the norm with Prong.  This one is another of several on board here that is agonizingly short but sugary sweet.

Kids of the Black Hole, an Adolescents tune, is done up again with drones, heavy riffing on the guitars and super fucking bad-ass drumming.  This is almost metal psych, in a way – it doesn’t really sound like punk – but then it is a heavy metal band doing classic punk rock covers.  The epitome of musical irony, you might say?  Just Prong doing their thing, I say.  The fierceness and the fury are there, and even a spoken word ‘house of’/’nights of’ rap, plus an instrumental breakdown at about the four-minute mark.  Everything a growing metalhead could want or need…

The Bars is a Black Flag number, and the boys do it up right, with a wonderful opening bass line, busy-as-hell drums and guitar joining in almost instantaneously.  There are lots of surprises here, including a wicked fast guitar solo shredding away (2:55) and a guitar fade-out.  Not typical of punk rock, but then what is?

Seeing Red was originally a Killing Joke anthem, and the Prong treatment features a cool guitar intro heralding the punk onslaught that soon follows.  The bass and drums join in at about 10 seconds in, shortly followed by vocal intensity at 20.  I was reminded of Hawkwind, of all bands, particularly when they do their space punk routine on the live Space Ritual stuff.  The end features droning feedback and a guitar fade out again.

Husker Du’s Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely is up next, and Prong‘s turn on this punk classic features heavy feedback, squalling guitars and pounding drums and bass.  Some melody is actually happening here vocally, which is another thing that one may not find normal for punk OR heavy metal, for that matter.  Seems Prong are full of surprises.  I was reminded of Black Star Riders, strangely enough, on this number.  At 1:30 there is some seriously shredding lead work again, and the drums are hellishly busy, almost nihilistic, if you will.

Fugazi‘s Give Me The Cure is the next to get the Prong treatment, and they grace its intro with a cool psych guitar figure, followed by droning and drums AGAIN.  I know, broken record, Rick – right? Of course!  Just listen and you will know that they have put the Prong stamp on things, so to speak.

Banned In D.C., originally done up by Bad Brains, features more of the same – heavy drus, screaming vocals, burning guitar.  This is super heavy punk mixed with a modicum of thrash.  At about a minute in they shift into hard rock, almost heavy metal territory.  At 1:45 there is what seems by now to be the obligatory lead guitar solo.  Not a bad turn at all.

Finally we come to the closer, a beautifully done cover of Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer.  This one was a a faithful enough cover to bring chills to my spine.  It is what we will refer to as “the single”.  Whether or not it garners any FM airplay is for anyone to say.  My guess is that it may not, but that would only be the loss of the radio station’s.  If not for the repetition and the selections, I would probably give this one top marks.  It is tempting.