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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Reviews: Gentlemans Pistols, Voodoo Circle, Amaranthe

Gentlemans Pistols: At Her Majesty's Pleasure (Rise Above)

Gentlemans Pistols are your typical Rise Above 70's style riff band. They encompass all the past masters and bring them to a new audience. The band have undergone line-up changes since the release of their first self-titled album in 2007. They have a new drummer and a new guitarist in the shape of former Napalm Death/Carcass man Bill Steer. He himself peddles this kind of riffed up stoner rock in his band Firebird and the comparisons between this band and Gentlemans Pistols are obvious. However is not necessarily a bad thing, fans of Firebird should check out the ' Pistols as it will be right up their alley. Those who think Steer should have stuck to Grind core will no doubt avoid this album as they probably do with Firebird but that doesn't mean they should. The album contains a good set of songs that will translate well and James Atkinson's vocals are well suited to the instrumentation. All in all a very well-constructed 'fun' rock album. 7/10

Voodoo Circle: Broken Heart Syndrome (AFM)

From the opening of No Solution Blues you know precisely where Voodoo Circle pitch their tent. They are followers of the 'Snake and the chasers of the Rainbow. Yes this kind of thing has been done before but Voodoo Circle do it so well you forget about that. Formed as new band for virtuoso guitarist Alexander Beyrodt and featuring the vocal talent of Pink Cream 69's David Readman (who sounds more like Coverdale than Coverdale) the project is a super group of sorts the notable member being the hardest working man in all of metal Primal Fear bassist Mat Sinner who has no less than nine separate bands. Broken Heart Syndrome  doesn't stray too far from the formula of the first Voodoo Circle album which is solid hard rock in the vein of the bands previously mentioned. Readman croons like Cov and the shouts of 'baby baby baby' will bring a smile to any 'Snake fan. Beyrodt plays like Blackmore and Malmsteen rolled into one his soloing sublime especially on the title track and the epic  'Heavens Are Burning'. This isn't flagrant showing off however the songs are well constructed and the production is crisp. So in short if you like Blackmore, Coverdale and a sprinkling of neo-classical metal then Voodoo Circle is the band for you. 8/10

Amaranthe: S/T (Spinefarm)

Amaranthe come from Sweden/Denmark and were formed in 2008 by vocalist Jake E Berg and guitarist Olof Morck. They signed on another two vocalists and the rest of the band and set about creating a very unique sound. Yes they are a female fronted metal band with the conflicting harsh male, ethereal female vocals but they have an added layer of Jake's clean male vocals. This vocal triumvirate along with the melodic soloing and large keyboards gives them a melodic power metal sound more akin to Kamelot than Epica. The album contains 12 pulsing tracks that hit you from the off, with the track Hunger being a notable standout. (This is the first single and features a great video by the way) In the way of criticism the album can be very samey at times many of the tracks sounding similar to the others. This is not Amaranthes fault as it is a problem with all bands of this ilk. Despite this the trio of vocalists and the accomplished playing raises this album above others in the genre. Definitely one to watch. 8/10

Here is the video for Hunger if anyone is interested. It's well worth watching:


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