URIAH HEEP: Sonic Origami: CD

 

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.

http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/index.php      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Uriah-Heep/128991783811209     http://www.cherryred.co.uk/default.asp  https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords

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URIAH HEEP: Spellbinder: CD

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!

http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/index.php      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Uriah-Heep/128991783811209     http://www.cherryred.co.uk/default.asp  https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords

NARINAS: All In: CD

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.

https://www.facebook.com/narinasofficial  http://narinasofficial.com/#_

YOUNGER YEARS: Self-titled: CD

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.

https://www.facebook.com/youngeryearsmd  http://www.youngeryearsmd.com/

KILL THE CURSE: Of Conformity And Death: CD

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.

https://www.facebook.com/KillTheCurseHC  http://killthecurse.bandcamp.com/album/of-conformity-and-death

https://www.facebook.com/fullhouserecords  http://www.fullhouserecords.com/

RAYGUN COWBOYS: Cowboy Up!: CD

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.

https://www.facebook.com/raygun.cowboys  http://www.rayguncowboys.com/#!

https://www.facebook.com/StumbleRecords  http://www.stumblerecords.com/

THE LUCKY ONES: Heartbreak, Hangovers & Punk Rock: CD

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.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lucky-Ones/121729077861287  https://www.facebook.com/StumbleRecords

http://www.stumblerecords.com/