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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Reviews: Anvil, Trillium, Tedeschi Trucks Band

Anvil: Monument Of Metal (Camden)

Monument Of Metal is a compilation album compiled by Anvil in the wake of their career resurrection created by the rockumentary Anvil!: The Story Of Anvil. Singer/Guitarist Steve 'Lips' Kudrow and Drummer Robb Reiner are the only original members with current bassist Glen Five being present since 1996. This album is a great career overview which even features the title track of their latest album Juggernaut Of Justice. The Canadian band have influenced Metallica and Megadeth, these influential tracks are heard in the riffing and in 'Lips' vocal delivery which is very like Dave Mustaine's and sometimes verges on Rob Halfordesque screams. Some of the earlier tracks such as 666, Metal On Metal are the re-records from their This Is Thirteen album. However that doesn't really matter as the album contains 19 slabs of prime heavy metal that will be a great eye-opener for people discovering the band and wanting to have a nice career overview (like me I must admit) but also for fans who maybe want a collection on their iPod. This is only Anvil's second best of and as they are still releasing albums (and were way before the film re-kindled interest) it doesn't smack of the commercial cash in many compilations have. Great release form an underrated band rediscovered. 8/10

Trillium: Alloy (Frontiers)

Amanda Sommerville is known as the major vocal coach in the metal world as well as appearing on albums by After Forever, Kamelot, Epica, Edguy and being a major part of Tobias Sammet's Avantasia and metal opera Aina. Following on from the duet album she released with ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske she has released her first all-metal album. Alloy is pure symphonic metal with dark lyrical content and orchestrations galore. Ms Sommerville's voice is exquisite, her range is fantastic dripping with emotion and power, she has also managed to acquire a top-notch supporting band with Sascha Paeth and Miro handling the production and guitar and keys/orchestrations respectively, the rest of the guitars are handled by Epica's Sander Gommans and the rest of the band are the cream of the power/symphonic/progressive metal crop. As far as the songs go they are prime slabs of symphonic heavy metal filled with heavy guitars, ominous keys and tight solos. Best tracks are the opener Machine Gun, Mistaken and Scream It which features Jorn Lande. The album is overall excellent quality (as it would be with the members involved) however if you are not a fan of female-fronted metal this will not convert you however anyone else will get discover an excellent metal album featuring one of the best voices in modern metal. 8/10

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Revelator (Sony Masterworks)

Most spouses would love their other half being away from home on tour with The Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton but the majority wouldn't go and join them but Susan Tedeschi is not most people as she is a great blues artist in her own right. Both she and her husband Derek Trucks have their own bands which they put on hiatus to focus on their family. What followed was that in between being parents they managed to record this album that features the pair backed by members of both their solo bands. The album is a blues masterpiece with Tedeschi's soulful yet gritty voice crooning over the traditional blues style tracks that feature funky bass, percussive jazz and blues drumming from their two drummers, parping brass all drenched in Hammond Organ and is accentuated by the excellent slide guitar playing of Trucks. The album is 12 tracks of soulful blues slow burners that give the whole album a relaxed 'family' atmosphere. The tracks feature virtuoso playing but those who prefer the rockier blues of Bonamassa, Poppa Chubby, Oli Brown and even Truck’s solo band may find this a little too  mellow but for fans of traditional blues will love this soulful effort from this husband and wife team. 9/10

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