Originally released in September 1998, Sonic Origami was recorded by the line-up of founder member Mick Box on guitar, drummer Lee Kerslake, Phil Lanzon on keyboards, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw and Trevor Bolder on bass. This remastered version now features a bonus track, an edited version of “Heartless Land” and features a brand new essay from Classic Rock and Metal Hammer’s Malcolm Dome based on brand new interviews with the band members, as well as famed producer Pip Williams.
The album kicks off with the song “Between Two Worlds”, a track dedicated to former (and departed) former HEEP members Gary Thain and David Byron. This high energy song opens with soft keyboard, then gets into a fast tempo followed with powerful vocals and combines heavy rhythm at the beginning followed with slower rhythm where Shaw sings melody and is backed with guitar fills that make this not just a great opener, but a fantastic tribute to their fallen comrades. “I Hear Voices” is a rocker with a distant vocal style and tasty rhythm section with soft guitar riffs, and has a great guitar solo. “Perfect Little Heart” is a catchy straight forward rock song with excellent keyboard playing and vocals. “Heartless Land” is an acoustically driven track that .has a very uplifting sound. This is a nice blend of hard rockers and gentle acoustic tunes (with a dash of symphony) mixed perfectly together without ever growing tiresome. Some other songs that stood out were, “In the Moment”, “Change”, “Everything in Life”, “Across the Miles” a cover by SURVIVOR, “Feels Like”, and “Sweet Pretender”. The bonus song “Heartless Land” is just a shorter version of the album track.
Another great HEEP album that mixes up the rockers with the quiet songs and sounds great turned up loud. Get yourself some new HEEP albums, you can’t keep listening to the old stuff, you need to get this and hear how good they’ve stayed after all of the years they’ve been together.
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Originally recorded in concert in Koln, Germany for broadcast on German radio in 1996, Spellbinder was URIAH HEEP’s fourth official live album, and was recorded by the well established line-up of founding member Mick Box on guitar, drummer Lee Kerslake, Phil Lanzon on keyboards, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw and Trevor Bolder on bass. This version features two studio bonus tracks “Sail The Rivers” and “Across The Miles (Radio Version),” as well as featuring a brand new essay from Classic Rock and Metal Hammer’s Malcolm Dome and has brand new interviews with the band members included.
The performance on this album is first-rate, with classic HEEP songs trotted out for the punters, but there isn’t anything new on here, they knew what the fans wanted to hear and they gave it to them in spades. Some of the older tracks, such as “Devil’s Daughter” and “Rainbow Demon” had not been performed live for many years before this and “Circle Of Hands”, “The Wizard”, and “Look At Yourself” are included, all still sounding remarkably fresh for a band with only one original member. They include the new at the time song “Words In A Distance” that is titled “Words In The Distance” on the Sea Of Light album that came out two years after this was recorded and the crowd gave a really positive response to it. The band is definitely having a great time and the love for their craft is on display here with performances filled with energy and excitement, that you can almost feel. The bonus song “Sail The Rivers” from the Sea Of Light album is a great mid-paced rock song that deserved to have been included on the album, but at least it’s on here for our listening pleasure. The last bonus song is “Across The Miles (Radio Version)” from the 1998 album Sonic Origami and it’s a slower song that has beautiful vocals that are heartwarming and the playing takes the song into the stratosphere.
Yes I know, another HEEP live album, but it really is worth getting, for the performance, the excellent remastering job and the two bonus songs. Get this and play it loud, get out your denims and relive your younger days with a pint or three and ‘ear the ‘EEP getting ‘eavy!
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Yuri Ulisses André “YUA” is a Brazilian musician, multi-instrumentalist, and singer who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and founder of the pop punk / hardcore band NARINAS and now lives in Hollywood, CA. Yuri currently just finished his first EP entitled All In while attending Musicians Institute, which he wrote, produced and recorded all the songs on it throughout the program, and now plans to form a new band under the same name.
“Afraid Of Dying” kicks things off with some nice snotty vocals and manic drumming, thick bass and speedy leads that get things off to a great start. “Endless Nightmare” keeps up the quality of the first song and brings in more melody than most pop punk bands are able to incorporate into their entire albums, and the catchy chorus just adds to this awesome song. “Haunting Till (Feat. McKail Seely)” has pummeling drums and the added vocals of McKail Seely add another dimension to the song that takes the buzzing guitars and brings in a nice acoustic sound for a few seconds, then back into the melodic punk with added piano that really made this a gripping song. “It’s Time” is a bonus track and it’s a great acoustic track of vocals and guitar and ends the EP off perfectly.
YUA did such a mind-blowing job on this EP that I would love to give him a round of applause for all of the work and love that was put into this carefully created gem. It’s great to see that the DIY ethic has not gone away and some people go beyond the mediocre and shoot for the stars.
YOUNGER YEARS from Baltimore, Maryland, have self-released their first two EPs; The Death of Steve Rogers, and Beer Necessities plus released the digital two song single “Brohemian Rhapsody”. YOUNGER YEARS have merged twelve of their songs together to create their self-titled full length.
This punk band starts off with “Tapes Not Torrents” a fast paced song with raspy vocals and a drummer smashing away, the guitar steaming full speed ahead and hooks galore, great start. “Ed Grimley Vs. The Landshark” is more along the lines of hardcore mixed with some metal guitar playing that made for a crunchy tune. “Aquaman (AKA the Fish Whisperer)” has snotty vocals and has great poppier sound that grabbed me. “Shots of Comfort” is a nice kick in the throat with the fast guitar playing, the thick bass, the frenetic drumming and the manic vocals. “I Only Have One Speed, and it’s “Fuck You”” has great angry vocals and really has that “We fucking mean it man” feel to it, good stuff. These were the songs on YOUNGER YEARS’ EP, Beer Necessities and really shows that for most bands, an EP is the way to go, no trying to fill space with mediocre songs, just put the good ones on it and burn it up. The second half of the album is The Death of Steve Rogers EP and it starts with “Hal Dirty’s”, a fantastic snotty punk tune that has great background vocals and goes by before you know it. “Show Some Neck” has some great guitar playing with some nice leads and has a cool stop / start and backup vocals. “If Neo-Cons Had Any Brains, They’d Be Anarchists” has great lyrics and a nice biting edge that made this one of my favorites, especially with the excellent background vocals and the woah-ohs. “What Matters Most (Is How Well You Walk Through the Flames)” is a nice tight hardcore song with great playing that would be great fun to slam to. “Shirlena” has a ton of power and energy, plus great rough sounding vocals, it one of those songs that make you want to break something. “So You Think You Can Dance” has an almost streetpunk sound and is such a great song that I had to relay it a few times during this listening session. Great energy, fast guitar playing and drumming that just pushes the song forward and great lead and background vocals. “The Death of Steve Rogers (Acoustic)” is a nice way to end off this high energy album, speedy guitar playing and bitter lyrics.
The band really did a great job on these two EPs and played hard and fast, had lyrics that were fun and insightful, and probably put more effort into their music than a lot of other bands. They recently signed with Fast Break Entertainment and will undoubtedly be putting out another release of punk rock that should be heard by more than the people currently aware of them, they should be huge.
KILL THE CURSE was formed by members and ex-members of such Finnish heavy hardcore stalwarts as BOLT, ENDSTAND, COLD INSIDE,SECURITY THREAT and ON A SOLID ROCK. What we get is eight songs played by Kalle Pennanen on vocals, Lauri Louekari on drums, Miikka Hietanen on guitar, and Tapio Vartiainen on bass.
“Titanism” kicks off the album with its heavy, relentless approach which makes the statement that they’re ready to rip your face off right from the beginning with some groove ridden hardcore. “The Curse of Man” continues the heavy, in-your-face approach and has them playing slow at first, then breaking into a fast track that would make you tired in the pit. “Existence Horror” the riffing on this song is awesome, just such a delight to hear the clean, crisp sounds coming out of the guitar, mixed with the growling, deep vocals just got my head nodding along. “When Ends Turn Into Means” is a very thick sounding song with a lot of anger in the lyrics. “Becoming a Monster” has melodic riffs that plunge into heavier mosh parts and make me think of how much METALLICA would kill to be this heavy on their last album. “The Dissident” is a fast rager of a song that gallops along and takes you with it for a great ride into the hemisphere of the band, circling the planet mosh. “The Stench of Fear” is another bitingly angry song that would be brutal in a pit, and finally we have the last song “Escaping the Desert,” which ends the album with one last burst of power that has more of a heavy metal song than a hardcore song, with the guitar playing bringing that style to mind.
Lyrically and musically, this was one of the better hardcore albums that I’ve heard in a long time. This was one of those albums that when you look at it you think that it might be ok, but then you put it on and it blows you away.
RAYGUN COWBOYS are back with their third full length album of nine original songs and one cover of “Daddy Ya” by CLARENCE “Gatemouth” BROWN. This psychobilly band from Edmonton, Alberta started in 2000 and gets people on the dance floor from the first to last song. Their horn section sets them apart from other bands from their genre, and makes them a band that has more diversity than others in that genre.
“Break These Chains” really jumps out with the punk rock vocals, the rockabilly feel mixed with the powerful sound of the horn section. “I’m Coming Home” has a great galloping drumbeat mixed with horn stabs, passionate vocals and some tight guitar playing with nice riffs. “One Of Them Tonight” starts off with a rocking rhythm and blues sound that kicks into more punk rock with a ’50s feel and really was a favorite of mine. “I’m Not One To Judge” is a straight forward rockabilly song that had a nice clean sound that would have been a hit back in the ’50s or when rockabilly got popular in the early ’80s, great song. “Rock’n’Roll Ruined My Life” is a great punk song with great piano playing that would have fit in perfectly back in ’76, another great song that reminded me of “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle” off of the album of the same name. This band really is unique with all the different styles that they play, keeping you guessing as to where they are going to go from track to track. Everything is played with conviction and love and just jumps out from the speakers and grabs you. Other songs that stood out were, “Daddy Ya” a classic song, “Broken Down In Montreal” a great honky-tonk song, and “Wasted Night”.
I was expecting a more straight played psychobilly album, but the diversity on this album took it over the top for me. This is going to get played a lot, my wife loves rockabilly, I think I’m going to have to play this for her.
This St. Catherines, Ontario based booze-fueled punk rock band has put out their sophomore album of fourteen tracks that will continue the band’s winning streak of great music. On this album we have Stumble Records proprietor Steve Stumble on vocals, Robbie Knuckles on bass and vocals, Chris “The Doctor” Nowicki on guitar and vocals, and Matt 3 Pack Murphy on drums.
Instead of doing the typical lyric thing on the insert, they wrote stories about the songs which I appreciated, so I don’t have to tell you what the songs are about. “Summer In The Streets” kicks the album off with heavy power chords and a rocking drum beat that gets you moving with its infectious groove. “Road Dog” is a fast paced street punk song with driving rhythms and gang vocals that will get you singing along to it. “Great Minds (Drink Alike)” is a powerful song that will get you to raise your beer and shout along with the band, “Punk Rock ‘Til We’ve Parted” brings out the spirit of ’76 punk rock and succeeds admirably, and “Take Back” is a great manic song that grabbed me and I had to play it a few times while listening to the album because it’s just so in your face. The band really goes all out on this release, giving us powerful playing, lyrics that are actually a step above the average punk band and a few different styles that they manage to pull off with ease and a skill that will leave you enthralled. Other standouts for me were, “Bring Back The Punk Rock,” “Cheap Wine,” “I.O.B.D.,” and one of my favorites “St. Paul & Queen.”
Great album that made me smile, throw down a few beers and sing along to, you can’t go wrong with that. If these guys can keep this up, I may have found a band that gets near the top of my playing pile every time.
This is the fourth album from Canadian trio FM that has now been re-released and re-mastered. It was released in 1980 and was produced by synthesiser wizard Larry Fast (of SYNERGY and musician with NEKTAR and PETER GABRIEL).
The more overt prog rock tendencies have been replaced by more of the contemporary rock sound that was getting popular at the time, but they still managed to keep enough to sound unique and stand out from the crowd. “Krakow” has great synthesizer playing, an infectious beat and emotive singing that start the album on a high note. “Power” is a very straight forward rock song that has a touch of SAGA in it, but the powerful singing and drumming keep it under their own sound, plus the great keyboard playing adds to the song being a standout. “Truth or Consequences” has a late ’70s pop rock sound and is super catchy and I had to stop and play it twice. The band still consisted of Cameron Hawkins (synthesisers, bass, vocals), Martin Deller on drums and Ben Mink on electric violin and mandolin and they really played their hearts out on this album. The songs being more pop oriented on this album still retained the technically refined playing and made really kept this in the realm of being far more interesting than other bands from this era. “Lost and Found” brings more of the spacey prog sound to the song and it feels very claustrophobic, almost like a PINK FLOYD track. “City Of Fear” mixes the prog and more pop oriented styles together and succeeds admirably with how well done the mixture is. “Surface to Air” could fit really well into the album Signals by RUSH with its new wave sound provided by the heavy, but thrilling use of the synthesizer that made me remember hearing this on the radio when I was a kid and loving it. “Up to You” keeps up the new wave influenced rock and was another treat on the album. “Silence” is a more mellow song that brings the space rock back and the guitar playing and drumming are standouts on this song. “Riding the Thunder” is almost a metal song with the heavy playing and yelled vocals, kind of reminiscent of “Godzilla” by BLUE OYSTER CULT. Finally the last song “Nobody at All” is a nice mellow ballad that takes you away on a grand journey that just feels like you’re floating into the ether. A great ending to an album that mixes up styles and gives the listener a lot of different things to take in.
All in all, this was a great album that although getting away from the more prog rock of earlier albums, still has more than its share of prog mixed with newer (at the time) sounds that still manage to hold your interest. Go out and grab this, see how a band makes the jump into the pop word, but still keeps the songs the first priority, not trying to make things trendy.
This is a remastered edition of the 1979 album by the Canadian Progressive Rock group FM that includes an illustrated booklet and a new essay. The band began life in 1976 with Cameron Hawkins (synthesisers, bass, vocals) and Nash the Slash (Jeff Plewman) (electric violin, mandolin, vocals) coming together as a duo, and making an appearance on national TV in Canada in the summer of 1976. By March 1977, FM became a trio with the addition of Martin Deller on drums and the band’s debut album soon followed. By the end of the year, Nash the Slash had been replaced by Ben Mink on electric violin and mandolin. Surveillance was the third album by the band and includes a cover of “Shapes Of Things” by THE YARDBIRDS that was released as a single.
First song “Rocket Roll” is a very catchy rock song that would have made a great single and basically the only prog rock element is the theme and lyrics because it doesn’t get more straight ahead than this. The instrumental track “Orion” is a complete spacey prog song with great playing that flows perfectly into “Horizons” which has a bit of a PINK FLOYD feel in the vocals, but the fluid guitar playing and the fantastic drumming keep it grounded in their own style. “Random Harvest” starts of with a RUSH sound on the instrumentation, but it goes into a GENESIS sound while still retaining the more rock playing in the song. “Shapes Of Things” is a very energetic cover and the band plays it pretty straight forward, but the vocals seem to be mixed down too low and fixing that would have put this over just good into great. “Seventh Heaven” is a very smooth sounding prog song that has a touch of SAGA going on and again, the guitar playing and drumming are standouts. “Father Time” is a more laid back track that keeps the prog flag flying, this time the keyboards are the standout. “Sofa Back” is a mostly instrumental track which the group performed live without its brief vocoder chant of “Moe, Larry, Cheese,” a quote from the Three Stooges short called “Horses’ Collars”. Expecting the audience would not understand it, to the group’s surprise, the audience usually chanted the phrase for them during the performance. It has a definite RUSH sound to it, but it’s a fun track all the same. Finally we get to the last song “Destruction,” which mixes the more rocking bits with prog and ends the album on a high note.
You can see the band coming to the crossroads of more commercial rock and the more technical prog that they started with and being able to combine the two styles very well on this album. This is definitely a very well done album and one that has not aged too badly, with stellar performances from the band and is highly recommended.
Toronto, Ontario’s I.D.N.S. lay down some heavy and brutal political crust punk that will get stuck in your player and make you rip the volume knob off. They made the red, paper sleeves of the cassette and folded and glued them together and included the great lyrics.
This is harsh and passionate, fast-paced and the vocals are screamed in such a way that you need the lyric sheet to get the message, but you can hear how angry his is and the rest of the band are in the playing. You get six songs that are equally strong and filled with rage that would make getting close to the stage a very precarious situation because you can just imagine what the pit would be like, a swirling morass of bodies careening off of one another while the band plays at high velocity.
Go out and grab this release and feel anger that will be contagious enough to infect you when you play it. Great sound bites thrown in-between the songs as well, especially the George Carlin bit.