Ministry – “Relapse”

Ministry – “Relapse” (AFM Records)

‘…kids today are so influenced by what the media feeds them..’ says Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, the dissident Texan veteran whose career spans 30 years of perversion, drug abuse and a relentless tirade against corporate greed, govt corruption and public apathy. “Relapse” is the band’s first studio album with original material since 2007’s “The Last Sucker” and when Jourgensen starts screaming ‘…I’m not dead yet, I’m not dead yet!!..’ ya gotta wonder if he’s talkin about his ulcers or the new album – cos it’s the meanest mutha I’ve heard this year!! Yeah, no kidding, after getting used to that sampled, industro metal that the band were putting out over the years, “Relapse” is a complete shock to me: this is pure punk rock at its most abrasive, obnoxious and out rightly noisy!! Like a meeting between the Ramones and Pantera with heaps of ‘go-fuck-yourself’ attitude, songs like ‘Ghouldiggers’ are street anthems built for today’s urban mass protests taking place all over the world. Ministry have essentially captured the angst, furor, tear gas and truncheons while steadfastly keeping to their political mantras like ‘…we don’t want prison, we just want reason…’ on poignant songs like ‘Kleptocracy’. If that wasn’t enough, they even resurrect SOD’s ‘United Forces’ and take the piss back by giving it a socially conscious mix that only this deviant Ministry could achieve! Continue reading

Kill Devil Hill – “Kill Devil Hill”

Kill Devil Hill – “Kill Devil Hill” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Wow. So this is the famed Black Sabbath / Pantera supergroup? Yeah, and I’d probably chuck in some Down and Dio in there for good measure! For those of you that just crawled out from under a rock, Kill Devil Hill is Rex ‘Rocker’ Brown (Pantera, Down) on bass, Vinny Appice (Heaven and Hell, Dio, Black Sabbath) on drums, Mark Zavon (Ratt, 40 Cycle Hum) on guitar and Jason “Dewey” Bragg (Pissing Razors) on vocals. Interestingly though, the core sound KDH is nothing like the aforementioned bands and actually owes more to 70s rock – specifically Zepp – along with a very strong Alice In Chains trippy undercurrent completed with a strong southern groove, especially in Dewey’s vocals. But get this, this ain’t no retro ride, so while ‘Rise From The Shadows’ may be trippy, it’s one heavy mutha from Appice’s smashing drums to Rex’s bottom end crunching bass! Essentially, it’s a heavy metalized version of Plant n Page like on thumping opener ‘War Machine’ and the piece de resistance for me is ‘Old Man’ with that heavy southern doom riff reminding me of good ‘ol Crowbar! The South has arisen again. Continue reading

Unisonic – “Ignition”

Unisonic – “Ignition” EP (earMusic/Edel)

Unisonic is the rock band formed by ex Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske – and what a ripper it is too! Assembling a formidable crew in Pink Cream 69ers Dennis Ward and Kosta Zafiriou, ex Gotthard member Mandy Meyer and more recently, Kai Hansen, Kiske has spared us nothing! I guess the obvious expectation of Unisonic’s music would be that of Helloween part 2, not unreasonable given the live bonus track of ‘I Want Out’, where it’s good to hear Kiske’s vocals still bearing up to those soprano levels. However, for their own material, Unisonic have drawn from their collective experience where the title track opener is reminiscent of an upbeat ‘Coming Home’ from the Scorpions, whereas ‘My Sanctuary’ seems to be a slower, melodic rock version of Iron Maiden with lyrical references to ‘..running free..’ (well, Kiske was considered as Bruce’s replacement…Ed), and ‘Souls Alive’ is mid tempo melodic power metal with soft interludes that allows Kiske to demonstrate the soulful side of his vocal capability. All in all this is an impressive release befitting the pedigree of the musicians involved, so I hope it goes beyond ‘project’ status to becoming a full time band in its own right! Continue reading

Kissin’ Dynamite – “Money, Sex & Power”

Kissin’ Dynamite – “Money, Sex & Power” (AFM Records)

Do you like Money, Sex and Power? Indeed, gimme more, gimme more! So scream these five hairspray rockers who look like they just stepped outta Gazzari’s onto Sunset Strip back in the 80s – except they’re from Germany, Bavaria to be exact, more commonly associated with lederhosen than leather LOL! Typically taking their inspiration from GnR, Crue and Skid Row, in terms of their look, attitude and sound, what sets them apart are the strong Germanic melodies turning the likes of ‘Sex Is War’, ‘I Will Be King’ and ‘She’s A Killer’ into catchy singalong anthems. Pioneered by the Scorpions and taken further by Accept (when they were melodic), Germany has never really had an equivalent to those 80s bands but Kissin’ Dynamite could be the nitro that Europe is looking for – either way, get ready for some Swabian sleaze metal LOL!! Continue reading

Mad Max – “Another Night Of Passion”

Mad Max – “Another Night Of Passion” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Another amazingly resurrection – this time from famed 80s Christian melodic metal band, Mad Max, from Germany. As I remember, they were on the verge of success but never got a shot to make it to the US owing to some label FUBAR – but hey, that’s rock n roll! 25 years on, they’re trying to give it another go, and damn fine effort it is too! Just noting the album’s title, it seems to be take from their 1987 “Night Of Passion” album, and that’s pretty much where anthemic songs like ‘Rocklahoma’ and ‘Back And Alive’ are still at – LOL, did these guys skip the 90s!? Power melodies laced with harmony choruses and driven by heaps of purebred rock riffs courtesy of Michael Voss and Juergen Breforth’s guitar work especially on the closing instrumental of ‘True Blue’. Having talented producer / musician Voss still in the band has made all the difference: from his superb classic rock vocals which aren’t a million miles from Stryper’s Michael Sweet (if thankfully without the latter’s religious fervour!), to his superb songwriting and generally giving the band a contemporary sound while sticking to that original formula. The return of Mad Max is to be heralded, that this album is graced with all the hallmarks of that glorious time is nothing short of a miracle! Continue reading

Furyon – “Gravitas”

Furyon – “Gravitas” (Frontiers Records)

Hmmm, sounds like a Vin Diesel flick LOL – and not a million miles away either given that the band’s take on their handle is of a prime warrior name! The music however, is somewhat mellower being a less down tuned (and prob less stoned – Ed) version of Alice In Chains, but with the powerful Americana guitar work of Alter Bridge, completed with the raw, hard rock vocals of Matt Mitchell. If my memory serves me correctly, “Gravitas” was actually released a coupla years back as a self release and promptly sold out, so this re-release by Frontiers will no doubt do justice to classic rock songs like ‘Stand Like Stone’, ‘Desert Suicide’ and ‘New Way of Living’, all of which could steam up any bar! Continue reading

Bang Tango – “Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt”

Bang Tango – “Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt” (78 Productions)

Bang Tango?! Holy molee, I remember these guys from the late-ish 80s during the hair / glam days, although I seem to recollect them having a kick ass funk groove to them? Well, get ready for a rocket ride back to those sleazy days of L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and GnR! Like a heavier version of GnR during their ‘Illusion..’ era, “Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt” is 10 tracks of pure, kick ass Americana from ‘Suck It Up’ to ‘Bring The World’ and ‘Have You Seen Her’, which could almost be the successor to GnR’s version of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. Today’s Bang Tango might be less funky and purists may argue that only original vocalist Joe Lesté remains, but boy, has he one mean mutha of a band and an album to keep those memories still flying high! Continue reading

Weregoat – “Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity”

Weregoat – “Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity” (Dark Descent Records)

Nasty. These Portland perverts play bestial proto black / death where early Possessed and Bathory left off. This is about as cave-man like as it gets, right down to the misogynistic album cover and primitive songs like ‘Nuclear Cunt’, ‘Abysmal Whore’ and ‘Nocturnal Hunt’. Dark, sinister ‘vocals’, filthy, feedback drenched guitar and grindcore blast beat rhythms meld into a visceral slime bucket that is utterly savage yet also strangely addictive. Weregoat reach right into your soul and tear it out as you unashamedly death spasm orgasmically to their foul insanity. Like I said, totally nasty. Continue reading

Coilguns – “Stadia Rods”

Coilguns – “Stadia Rods” EP (Dead Dead Dead Music)

When another handmade Piprek artworked CD arrived, I knew this could only be from Coilguns, whose eclectic fusion of noise, industrial and post hardcore delivers a sonic barrage as powerful as a full on avalanche down the north face of the Eiger! When I first heard their split release with Kunz (their sister band), my immediate thoughts were of comparisons to the Dillinger Escape Plan and likewise The Ocean, unsurprising given that the guys also played there too! However, I’m highly pleased to say that “Stadia Rods” is a step back from the brink, not quite as off the wall as DEP, and even with black metallic tinges which gives songs like ‘Zoetropist, ‘In The Limelights’ and ‘Witness The Kern Arc’ a more palatable structure, and dare I say it, catchiness. Of course, to the uninitiated, it’s still a veritable wall of noise, but then so is a watch, unless it’s made in Switzerland. Continue reading

Skarlett Riot – “Villain”

Skarlett Riot – “Villain” EP (http://www.facebook.com/skarlettriotuk)

Talk about balls of fire – Skarlett Riot are a young Brit crew who play high energy rock with punk sass a plenty! Driven by the powerful femme vocals of Skarlett (glad to hear it’s not a bloke LOL – Ed), songs like ‘Read My Lips’, ‘Party Hard’ and ‘You’re The Enemy’ all have an aggressive edge but most of all, are highly catchy in both their structures and use of melody in the right place. With plenty of passion in their energetic delivery, Skarlett Riot have released a powerful l’il number in this EP, and it would be a criminal act indeed if this lot didn’t go very far after this. Continue reading