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Friday, 20 May 2011

Out Of The Beyond Part 2

Jettblack: S/T & Slip It On E.P

Two words that sum up Jettblack: Balls Out. These guys truly invoke the spirit of old school hard rock. They have a particular 80's flavour to them, bringing to the table the sounds of the Ratt, Skid Row, Def Leppard and even having some parlances with Y&T. They are unashamedly retro with lyrics based on sinning and women. The opening trio of Slip It On, Two Hot Girls and When It Comes To Loving perfectly set the tone for the rest of the album. These all feature great riffs, solos and melodic choruses. With Will Stapleton and Jon Dow sharing both guitar and vocal duties, Jettblack are able to combine their old school influences into something fresh. With Not Even Love they have a ballad that rivals some of Leppards greats, before they go back into the 80's assault. The Slip It On E.P is a companion piece that gives two extra studio tracks (one being a cracking cover of Highway To The Dangerzone) plus it also includes an acoustic version of the song Mother Fucker featured on the album which shows even when stripped back Jettblack still write killer songs. If you’re not a fan of 80's music then you may want to avoid this but if you like your rock like you like your love (hard and fast) then make a date with Jettblack. 8/10

Foxy Shazam: S/T

The lead singer of Foxy Shazam Eric Sean Nally share co-writing credits with Justin Hawkins on both the Hot Leg album and the new Meatloaf album. This alone gives you an idea about what Foxy Shazam sound like. Another way to describe it would be...Queen. Starting out as a post hardcore band they have gradually emerged into a band that is hard to categorize but mostly sound like Nally's writing jobs...oh and Queen a hell of a lot like Queen. The album itself is their third and most accomplished, featuring a standard rock band line up augmented with a werewolf like piano player and a horn player the band takes 70's pomp rock to its OTT best. With a varying style on each song ranging from punk, to glam and with hit single Unstoppable already being played back to back with We Will Rock You in American sport stadiums. Foxy Shazam only have to break it over here and they will be America's answer to the people's rock band. Help them out buy the record you know you want to. 8/10

Triaxis: Keys To The Kingdom

So continuing the theme of bands that, sound like other bands. I give you Welsh metallers Triaxis, who sound like Iron Maiden (If Bruce and Adrian were girls). The gallop is there, the melody is there and the siren vocal are their yet they also add more of a progressive take on the Maiden sound with two songs clocking it at over seven minutes and none under four. This is a definitive purchase for Maiden fans, non maiden fans may want to avoid it, but fans of female fronted metal may also find it interesting. 7/10

Xystus: Equilibrio

This is a concept metal-opera that has been conceived by Dutch band Xystus. Before this album they had released two prog-power metal records with symphonic touches. On Equilibrio they have enlisted the help of an entire orchestra and choirs to back the musical side of things. The story revolves around two battling kingdoms and a hero given a quest by a goddess of sorts who has to choose between good and evil and unite the kingdoms. Lead singer Bas Dolmas takes the part of the traveller and protagonist with the duelling monarchs portrayed by Michelle Splietelhof and John Vooijs both of whom are musical actors. The death is portrayed by George Oosthoek lead growler in the gothic metal band Orphanage. The Ethereal vocals of the goddess are supplied by Simone Simons of Epica fame. The album itself is a true symphonic metal masterpiece, the concept doesn't get in the way of the album but it is one that needs to be digested in one sitting (so no shuffle). I cannot praise this album enough. 9/10

The video for Jettblack's "Two Hot Girls": http://youtu.be/GsALXltSMRE

Footage of the Xystus concert: http://youtu.be/iKUBGbL0u5g


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