WESTWARD: The Empire of Deception

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This band from Salt Lake City was quickly crowned by fans as playing “Cowboy Space Rock.” This is because Westward’s original songs are flavored with a mixture of western trail music combined with futuristic motifs and underlying tones that scream modern and progressive rock.

The album has a fresh sound that grabs the listener right from the start with synth stabs, soaring vocals, and tight playing that make your feet move and make you want to dance. The album includes 10 tracks which feature two singles; “The Last Stand” which has been released as their official lyric single for this album, and the official music video “Force and Matter.” Both songs are just massive and are perfectly chosen as singles from this album with the high energy and expert playing, they give the listener an idea of where this album is going. They are similar in sound to Muse and Radiohead, but manage to keep their own identity and run with it. The songs are not pretentious like some from those mentioned bands, these are concise and full of emotion and are so damn catchy that you can’t get the out of your head. “Machines” is one of my favorite songs on the album with the sky-high vocals, and the sound of new wave bands from the ‘80s, but still fresh enough to sound modern at the same time.

This album was a definite surprise to me, as I had not heard of this band before, but what an impression they made on me. I recommend this album and really hope that people will buy it and go see them live if they get the chance…I don’t want this much talent to fade away, they need you and will give us great things in the future, as well as this awesome album right now with your help.

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/westward-empire-of-deception.html

https://westwardtheband.bandcamp.com/album/the-empire-of-deception

http://www.westwardtheband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/westwardtheband

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GROUPOEM: Dirt Church

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The band began as Mr.Science in 1983 before transforming into Groupoem in 1986. The band first released a six song 12″ EP before embarking on a North American tour in 1987. They later returned to the studio where they recorded 10 songs in the summer of 1987 that are being released now for the first time, along with some new songs. The band then went on hiatus for 25 years and has now regrouped with all the original members that ironically, all four members of the band separately had migrated from Toronto to the Vancouver, BC area. The first nine tracks on this album represent the newest music, while tracks ten through eighteen are from 1987, and are a mix of punk rock and alternative.

If you are a fan of talking/singing, kind of how Lou Reed did it, this is for you. “Slimfast” is the kickoff track of this album, and one of their newer songs and has that vocal style mixed with some angular playing that really gives the song a nice edge to it. The vocals also give me a Stan Ridgway vibe with the shaky sound to them. The band has a great vibe going on with sharp guitar playing, and terrific drumming and the vocals that kind of are a step out of sync, but yet match up perfectly with the music. All of the new songs have a great sound and are exceptional, and then we get to the old ones…wow! The band sounds so different, you know, youth and different experiences can make a difference over time, but I wish that I had heard this band back in high school, I would have loved them, and I do now! The band just blows through these old songs at a breakneck pace and you really feel the power and enthusiasm that is present on these songs. One rager after another that will get your heart rate going and get your tired old ass up out of your chair and slamming in the front room.

I am so glad to hear their new songs and how they have moved on, but kept the great songs that they showed on the older tunes, but damn, they could really tear it up back then. A great collection of songs that shows a progression and a promise for more in the future from this talented group. Welcome back boys!

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/groupoem-dirt-church.html

https://www.facebook.com/groupoemband/

http://www.groupoem-band.com/

A mini documentary of the band’s reformation at YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccyYtHm7cc8

Spotify: https://goo.gl/UBWxUs

MAVARA – Consciousness

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Mavara is Iran’s first and premier progressive rock band, now based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the name Mavara translates to “beyond everything you think.” The band was formed in 2001 by composer/keyboardist Farhood Ghadiri and over the years has had a fluid line-up of members, but currently Mavara is comprised of Ghadiri along with Ashkan Hamedi (vocals and guitar), Sina Khodaiefer (bass), Anis Oveisi (keyboards), and Jim Welch (drums).
Starting off with spoken word, “Invasion (636 Gregorian Calendar)” has an 11:39 running time that grabs you and gives you a look at how good they are at playing, as well as where the album is heading. The album has a flurry of dynamic vocals, shape-shifting rhythms, and technical guitar work and really gives the listener a lot to ingest as a first track. “Love for Centuries” begins with a haunting piano line, a great melody and just a great flow of emotions followed by the emotive vocals of Ashkan Hamedi. “Living the Fast Life” there are some truly soulful moments on this song, such as the fantastic guitar playing accompanied by terrific drumming. “High on Power” is almost a ballad and has a strong vocal performance that really stands out. “Consciousness” closes out the album the piano playing really impressed me, the additional keyboards and swirling guitar effects make this a monumental song.

With so much talent and the ability to grab your ears, this band really takes you on a journey and makes you want to hear more from them. With three other albums out there, this is proof that bands from countries you never think about can rock your ass off.

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/09/mavara-consciousness.html

https://www.facebook.com/mavaraband

http://www.mavaraband.com/

https://mavara.bandcamp.com/album/consciousness

THE MOCK TURTLES: Turtle Soup (Expanded Edition)

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The Mock Turtles are an English indie rock band, formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1985, who enjoyed some success in the early 1990s. Their song “Can You Dig It?” which was released in 1991, charted in the UK top 20 in 1991 and again in 2003. Led by former Judge Happiness singer Martin Coogan, older brother of actor/comedian Steve Coogan, the band began to pick up attention around 1990, with tracks such as “Lay Me Down” and “And Then She Smiles” on the Imaginary label. It was “Can You Dig It?,” however, which gained them wider attention. Originally a b-side to “Lay Me Down,” the band’s new record label, Siren, re-issued it with additional guitar work, and “Can You Dig It?” breached the Top 20 in the UK Singles Chart.

This is a digitally remastered and expanded two CD edition, which represents their complete Imaginary catalogue, all of the Mock Turtles’ non-album singles and B-sides are included, together with the many cover versions they recorded for Imaginary’s popular tribute albums (covering The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett, The Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart and The Kinks). In addition, Martin Coogan has unearthed no less than fourteen previously unissued Mock Turtles demos from his personal archive. Sleevenotes are by Mark Hodkinson (The Guardian, etc.), who was the first-ever journalist to review the band back in the mid-1980s. This collection features a massive forty-one tracks and with the great remastered sound, is a real treat for fans.

Being a DJ, and huge music fan, I was always on the hunt for something new to play in my set, I was downtown shopping and saw their original release as a cut-out in a store for $3 and having heard of them from reading the British music rags, I grabbed this CD and took it home. I played it as soon as I got there and loved what I heard and added it into my rotation and got good responses. Does this still hold up after all of these years? Hell yeah it does! Yes the singles are still as good as before, and the rest of the album still is great, but the bonus songs are what really makes this a winner. The end of disc one is filled out with tracks from the Pomona EP, singles and live tracks. Disc two has tracks that the band recorded for a comeback album in 2003 some of which made it on to the band’s Can You Dig It Greatest Hits CD, the great demos that give you an idea of where the band was both coming from and going, and some great covers of Syd Barrett’s “No Good Trying,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?,” The Byrds’ “Time Between and Why” into one killer tune, and, two Kinks songs, “Shangri-la” and “The Big Sky.”

With so many songs and the great sound and booklet, this is definitely a collection that goes beyond most reissues and is worth every penny. Get this album and relive one of the lost albums of the early ’90s and treat your ears to a listening experience that you won’t soon forget.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMockTurtles/

https://www.facebook.com/cherryredrecords

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/

JACQUI L: PLANET PARALLEL 5

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Australian prog artist Jacqui L has released her debut album that is a conceptual piece that has ten tracks of intriguing music that will capture your attention. She states that she is a scorpion/alien from the planet PP5, but let’s not hold that against her.

Starting with an a capella that did nothing for me, I thought that this was going to be a hard listen, but then comes the first song with its Middle Eastern sound and then it started to happen, “Frankenstein” got into my head and I had to hear more. “I’ll Covet” has a great chorus and is a pretty heavy track that I just loved from the start. As I continued to listen, the songs became better and better, maybe this alien was corrupting me through her music, you never know. With great songwriting and tight playing, this was continuing to draw me in and then I got to “Cold” which had a great ‘70s vibe to it and almost a Supertramp sound to the keys.

I was thinking that this was going to be some sort of pretentious tripe, but it really was a fantastic album from start to finish. The people from planet PP5 are coming, and they can take me as their slave, as long as I can listen to this over and over again.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/09/jacqui-l-planet-parallel-5.html

http://www.jacquil.com/

https://www.facebook.com/PlanetParallel5/

https://jacquil.bandcamp.com/releases

VAJRA: The Mirror: Single

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This band from New York plays a mix of what they call Gypsy Metal, and also contains East Indian sounds, Hard Rock, Psychedelic, Metal, and Progressive all mixed together. They have just released a new single from their forthcoming CD, Irkalla (released Fall 2017) which is the first in a series of three EPs called the Trilogy Series.

The song has a few gentle parts that get harder and heavier, and then there are parts that are completely bombastic and just blow your hair back. The mix of the different music styles, including the East Indian sounds really work together to create a unique sound. The playing is exemplary, with a tight arrangement, great production, thick bass, driving drums, blistering guitar playing and such amazing vocals that I had to hit repeat a few times. The song is catchy, and very memorable, a very good sign for their upcoming EPs.

Take a look at their cool video for the song, then go and buy it and play the hell out of it. Get ready for something great from this band, they have the talent and with quality of this high standard, they are going to keep rising.

http://www.thevajratemple.com/

http://www.facebook.com/vajratemple

https://vajratemple.bandcamp.com/

IMMORTAL SYNN: Machine Men

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This five piece metal band from Denver, CO has shared the stage with: Lynch Mob, Wildside, Loudness, Great White, Warrant, Winger, L.A. Guns, Firehouse, Hammerfall, Delain, BulletBoys, Ratt, and The Relapse Symphony in the past. The band consists of Chase McClellan (lead vocals), Tony Z (founder, rhythm/lead guitar, vocals), Miguel Ruíz (lead guitar, backup vocals), Andrew Cope (bass, vocals), Axel Berrios (official drummer, but is currently attending school in Mexico and is set to return by the end of 2017), Ryan Alexander Bloom (fill-in drummer during Axel’s absence).

The band has a mix of traditional metal blended with a touch of thrash and hard rock and does a pretty good job of it. You get eleven songs full of power and raw emotion that you just have to hit the replay after it’s over just to get that rush that occurred on first listen. The songs are pure metal, no alternative, no gloss, just a kick in the groin and a punch in the head of killer riffs, and choruses that will have you shouting along to. The guitar playing is fantastic with solos and riffs bouncing around your ears non-stop, the pounding drums and bass form a perfect union, and the vocals switch from being gruff to up in the higher reaches and make for a noise that’s filled with aggression, but not bland lyrics, these guys are a lot more thoughtful than the average metal band. As I listened to the album, I just got drawn into it deeper and deeper, enjoying it more than I thought I would. The band did a great job with the production and the song length, being not too long and making you want to hear more from them.

I put this on thinking that I might enjoy some of it, but came away loving it and now they have a fan in me. The band proves that hard work, talent and the right mix of people can become a juggernaut.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/08/immortal-synn-machine-men.html

https://www.facebook.com/immortalsynnmusic

https://immortalsynn.bandcamp.com/album/machine-men