I'm going to be focussing on all the releases from one record company. Powerage records was set up by Classic Rock magazine to showcase talent they thought were not getting the right reaction in the UK. They intern started their own label and signed the bands to it. I'm going to do short reviews of all their bands with the exception of The Treatment, who I have already reviewed and who are now on Spinefarm.
Thus band come from Wales and play Alice In Chains style grunge metal with some Zeppelin flourishes. The band however are not a one dimensional and lethargic as their name suggests, they incorporate some crushingly heavy riffs that they blend seamlessly with melody and instrumental prowess. With vocals coming from both their guitarists and their bassist, they weave and interesting web of understated musicality that sits alongside their riff driven rock. A great band if you like Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Zeppelin. 8/10
Viking Skull: Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey
A band that have been around forever and who have always been a superb live attraction, Viking Skull have never been that lucky with recorded output. It is a mishmash of companies and quality throughout their career. Formed from the ashes of Raging Speedhorn, Viking Skull play, alcohol fuelled biker rock. They are a band that share similarities with regular tour buddy’s Orange Goblin along with Clutch, Motorhead and Monster Magnet. Frontman and founder member Roddy Stone has a great whiskey soaked roar and the playing throughout is dirty, fuzzy but professional. A great one to check out even if the title does give more than a little away. 8/10
EndeverafteR: Kiss Or Kill
The first band to hail from the USA EndeverafteR are young men you have a love of big hair, woman and partying. They also want to sound like Motley Crue. Admittedly Motley Crue with a better singer. The band play sleazy hard rock with a metallic sheen. Singer and lead guitarist Michael Grant is both a great singer and a great guitarist. The band have had great success; Their single I Wanna Be Your Man went to #25 on the Billboard Chart (Which is no mean feat) they have also supported some big time acts in the USA and with more spotlight they could do the same here. EndeverafteR have some big chops that need to be realised. 7/10
Pride Tiger: The Lucky Ones
This band hail from Canada and probably have a house filled with vintage vinyl. They play retro rock that comes straight out of the 70's. Many of the songs are gloriously retro and the twin guitar attack is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy in their glory days. The band consists of former members of True Metal wackos 3 Inches Of Blood, yet none of that power metal is visible here. This is just 70's hard rock for the new millennium that said a little bit of change can do a band better. 7/10
New Device: Takin' Over
What do you get if you have Guns N Roses play with Metallica riffs while Patrick Stump form Fall Out Boy sings over the top? Well the answer is not an abomination but New Device and trust me the description is much better than it sounds. Equal parts heaviness and melody, New Device pack a whole album of Stadium Rock into their debut album, however many of the songs have a metal crunch that raise them above the standard 80's fare. The band I would compare them to most would be Skid Row who were too metal for good looking fans but too good for Poison fans (sorry Poison fans). The album is filled with high quality songwritting and features some of the best riffing and soloing by a young band in a long time, (Plus In The Fading Light is possibly one of the best power ballads I have heard since the heady 80's). A great party band that are more than just a throwback. 9/10
Electric Mary: Down To The Bone
Electric Mary have a few styles in their sound but mainly they are influenced by the Zeppelin, Hendrix and AC/DC, style hard rock. The band have a truly retro sound and are obviously very proud of it. The guitars are twin channelled with one in the right ear and the other in the left. This gives the entire album an old school feel. The songwriting is good if a little generic at times, but for a great hard rocking stoner riffing band Electric Mary are a good bet. 8/10
Hell City Glamours: S/T
Hell City Glamours hail from Australia and have a Stonesy, punky vibe. They bring to mind Hanoi Rocks or The New York Dolls. They sound raw and full of energy which probably leads to a great stage show. As an album this is patchy but has a spiky, bluesy joyfulness throughout. 7/10
Powerage took it upon themselves to reissue all of Bigelf’s albums. The band are a complex collection of, Zeppelin, Purple, and The Beatles. They encompass all brands of rock and roll from heavy metal, doom, and psych to glam, folk and some pop. They are truly a band that sums up progressive and a breath of fresh air to anyone who will hears them. Debut E.P Closer To Doom 7/10 shows the beginnings of this rock monster, it's blues based hard rock with lashings of Hammond Organ and Mellotron (like Thin Lizzy on LSD) hint to where the band would go later. Second album Hex 8/10 is refined and professional and adds more psych elements in the vein of early Pink Floyd. The album is by far their darkest and has a lot of almost doomy and Goth overtones. Third album Money Machine 8/10 is their turnaround album, on this album they have mastered their craft and flex their musical muscle, they start to write more elaborate and longer songs that give them room to extend their musical repertoire. This all leads to their latest album Cheat The Gallows 10/10 this is a musical tour-de-force that the band have been threatening to write. The tracks are equal parts rock, metal and prog, there are the obligatory long songs, final track Counting Sheep is over 11 minutes. All of the tracks are superbly written and blend all of their influences seamlessly, with frontman Damon Fox taking the role of a twisted organ wielding ringleader throughout the album. Any fan of rock or metal will find something they can enjoy on any of these albums. Definitely ones to watch.
Pearl: Little Immaculate White Fox
Pearl or Pearl Aday to give her, her full name. Has been around the rock world since she was a child, as the backing vocalist for Motley Crue, daughter of Musical Man Mountain Meat Loaf and wife of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian she has travelled the world gaining experience for her first solo release. Despite all of these different careers Pearl (the band)'s album is grounded in soul flavoured blues rock. With her husband taking rhythm guitar she leads her band through 10 original tracks and one cover. Her smoky, emotion filled vocals have a hint of Janis Joplin and the songs themselves are Stonsey and rocking. The cover is Nutbush City Limits which she treats with respect but also turns up to 11. Definitely a dead ringer for rock (sorry) 8/10
Originally lumped with the burgeoning Nu-Metal crowd Nonpoint have rapid fire vocals and brushing riffs. Abandoning these rap inspired parts the band now have a more groove orientated vibe in the vein of Pantera. Lead vocalist Elias Soriano has an Ansemlo style bark (the band even cover 5 Minutes Alone and managed to do it justice). The riffs are heavy with a distinctly southern vibe and the soloing is professional but not particularly inspiring. A well-executed but not particularly different post millennium American Metal album. 7/10
Million Dollar Reload: Anthems Of Degeneration
A band that has been on the live circuit for many years, they have three versions of their debut album but this release is their best quality version. They come from Ireland but they have a familiar sound mainly that of Australia's finest AC/DC but also that of Rose Tattoo and some Accept thrown in for good measure. Frontman Phil Conalane sounds uncannily like Bon Scott and the band play sleaze drenched rock and roll that focuses on girls, drinking and sin. Million Dollar Reload have a great mix of swagger and grit and they know exactly what to do with it. Great stuff! 9/10
Voodoo Six: Fluke?
With links to Iron Maiden Voodoo Six released their first album to great kudos. Tours with Maiden and other world beating bands followed but when they lost their original vocalist and record deal they disappeared. However with Fluke? they have come back to prove that their first album wasn't that. With new vocalist Luke Purdie the band are decidedly more bluesy than they were before but with strong songwriting from founder member and bassist Tony Newton they have a new found power. The songs are powerful, emotional and in places heavy. Good album from a band with a new lease of life. 8/10