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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Reviews: Mastodon, Evile, Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa

Mastodon: The Hunter (Roadrunner)

After the prog-metal madness of last album Crack The Skye the metal madmen of Mastodon return with a more straight forward album that only has a semi concept. Smashing out of the blocks with Black Tongue and the catchy; almost commercial Curl Of The Burl. Both these songs feature the big riffing that Mastodon have made their name in. The next track Blasteroid is a punk rock song with odd time signatures that mixes things up a bit especially because it is followed by the heavy stoner riffing Stargasam. The band have created another heavy album where every track is different and the album is better for it. The vocals of Brent and Troy are brilliant as are drummer Brann who takes his first full lead vocal on the track The Creature Lives. The playing is stunning especially on All The Heavy Lifting and on the very trippy title track. Mastodon have come back from their prog flight of fancy with a very accomplished album that harks back to their roots but also sees them as the band they are now. Give it a few spins and you will unlock all of its treasures. 9/10

Evile: Five Serpents Teeth (Earache)

This is Evile's third album and their first since the tragic passing of bassist Mike Alexander. With debut Enter The Grave the band produced a retro thrash attack that was dumb fun, on second album Infected Nations they became more technical but a bit more inaccessible. On this third album the band have found their sound, which is a mix between the two previous albums. From the opening of  the first title track, you realise that the bands playing is far more accomplished than it used to be, frontman Matt Drake's voice has also matured and is now his roar pitched between Araya and Hetfield's. The soloing from his brother Ol is brilliant and lightning fast. Most of the songs range from speedy thrashers like Eternal Empire and chugging riffers like the very commercial sounding Cult. The band are not all heaviness however the tribute to Mike Alexander In Memoriam is an excellent ballad that serves as a fitting tribute to their former bassist (who also co-wrote the song). All in all this album is an excellent metal album that shows a young band who are going to go far. I for one can't wait to see them rip these songs up live. 8/10

Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa (Provogue)

Beth Hart is a female blues singer that is well known in the blues rock circles. Joe Bonamassa needs no introduction at all. These two great artists have teamed up for this album of blues and soul covers. Joe B specifically chose Hart to sing on this album and you can see why, her soulful gravelly vocals are perfect for hard drinking, hard loving songs that are covered on this album. Joe's vocal input is limited to just one track which is a duet between the two, but his expressive guitar playing is on every track bringing them a more modern edge. The rest of the band are Joe's solo band and they all play like the seasoned veterans they are. Like all of Joe's recent albums the production his helmed by Kevin Shirley who brings his fantastic plaudits to the album. The star however is Hart herself who is a stunning talent, vocally she is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse but is grittier, she steals this album and is a perfect vocal foil for Joe's guitar. An excellent album that is for blues and soul fans as well as fans of the two title musicians. 8/10

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