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Monday, 6 February 2012

Out Of The Beyond 15

Voodoo Six: Falling Knives E.P

Released as a digital stopgap to tide fans over bassist (and Steve Harris' mate) Tommy Newton's Voodoo Six return with their first E.P Falling Knives. This is more of the same hard rock that was featured on the newly rejigged line up's last album Fluke? It contains three new tracks and three new version of tracks featured on their debut album First Hit For Free (also called Feed My Soul) which featured their previous vocalist who was good but still couldn’t hold a candle to the excellent soul drenched vocals of current frontman Luke Purdie who shows us his strong bluesy style on the title track. The other two tracks are also excellent with Sharp Sand sounding like the Foo Fighters and Stop which has a very funky bass line and the re-recorded tracks are also blinders especially when compared to the originals which while great are much improved with better production and performances from the band. A killer little E.P that keeps the band’s name in the loop. 7/10

Sebastian Bach: Kicking And Screaming

The former Skid Row frontman will be forever associated with his band until they reform but until then we will have to put up with his solo releases. When I say put up with however I don't mean to say that they are not worth listening to as they are and Kicking And Screaming is well worth your time and money. Unlike his last effort Angel Down this features no guest singers or musicians (other than John 5 on one track). This is an album of rocked up sleazy metal with a modern edge. It kicks off with the metallic riffage of the title track and doesn't let up until the obligatory ballad in the shape of I'm Alive before kicking off again. Bach is on top form and hasn't lost any of his vocal power; his band is great as well with Bobby Jarzombek crushing the drums and 20 year old Nick Sterling giving a great performance on all stringed instruments (Damn that boy can play). This is a great album from an old hat that has never slipped. One for fans of Velvet Revolver, G'N'R and hard rocking albums with a metal edge. 8/10

GPS: Window To The Soul

Formed when ASIA main man Geoff Downes was forming a new line up of the band with drummer Jay Schellen, bassist/vocalist John Payne and virtuoso English guitarist Guthrie Govan. However this ended when Downes went back to reform the classic line up of the band. The other three then formed their own band having already written the majority of an album. This band became GPS (made of their second names) and they teamed up with Ryo Okumoto of Spock's Beard on keys. The album itself is pure prog mixing classic and neo prog influences with added metal crunch from Govan's frankly stunning guitar playing interweaving with Okumoto's propulsive keys, both of which are teamed with Payne's soulful vocal delivery. Some maybe weary of the slightly religious nature of the lyrics however this is not a Christian rock band. It is however a brilliantly produced, excellently performed and melodically heavy album that is far more progressive than ASIA have ever been. 9/10

Hunted: Welcome The Dead

The Bay Area and Germany are two places most associated with thrash metal however The Hunted are from the metal haven of... Wales. The band play modern thrash metal with progressive influences and with Chris G's high pitched screech they sound a lot like Beyond Fear; Tim 'Ripper' Owens band after leaving Priest. His voice is very like the 'Ripper's' having the same shriek on the highs and growl on the mid-range. The band are technical and proficient but the song writing is there. However the band do suffer as many of the songs are a bit too generic and it's only when they spread their wings a bit on the progressive Aria (In Memoriam) and Shadows that they really show what they can do, on these tracks they have more of a Nevermore sound to them (which is funny because the band have their cover of The Heart Collector as a bonus track). The production suffers a little bit as well as the sound can be a bit 'muddy' at times but overall this is a competent modern progressive/thrash/trad metal debut; that shows where the band are going right and where they need to improve. 7/10 

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