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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Reviews: AxeWound, Royal Republic, The Reasoning

Axewound: Vultures (Search And Destroy)

Formed by Bullet For My Valentine's Matt Tuck (who handles guitar and some vocals) the band also features Glamour Of The Kill's guitarist Mike Kingswood, Pitchshifter’s drummer Jason Bowld and the former bassist of Rise To Remain Joe Copcutt, with Cancer Bats' Liam Cormier taking lead screams and shouts, Axewound were pretty good when I saw them at Download, they were fast, furious and heavy. Unfortunately on their debut is none of these things. The album is essentially metalcore that finds a groove and tends to stick to it. With tracks like the Post-Apocalyptic Party which descends into a massive breakdown and the pacy Burn Alive the band have a clear idea of what they want to sound like however they come off as generic modern metal. Despite it being his project one can't help but feel that if Matt Tuck only contributed guitar the album would be little less tedious than it is a lot of his tracks sound like BFMV with Cold  and the piano backed and slightly wimpy Collide being the prime examples, Cormier does try his best to sound menacing but against this backdrop but it's only really Victim of The System that stands out. Both vocalists are on good form and the playing is tight however the whole thing is just really generic and a bit too safe for my tastes. Disappointing 5/10

Royal Republic: Save The Nation (Roadrunner)

The Royal Republic are a band or rebel-rousing Swedes that play dirty, ballsy, Rock N Roll with a punk snarl. This sophomore album expands the angular punk with its jagged guitar riffs from Hannes Irenard and some shoutier vocals from Adam Grahn. The band have still got their big hooky tracks and silly sense of humour with Make Love Not War (If You Have To Make War - Make Sure To Make Time To Make Love In Between) and Everybody Wants to Be An Astronaut but they also are taking hints from some bigger bands to make sure they have some songs ready for the arenas they will headline with Molotov and Revolution harking back to The Clash and the Pistols, Punk Drunk Love mirroring The Ramones, and You Ain't Nobody (Till Somebody Hates You) is the Foo Fighters All My Life by another name. Since their debut the band have become a major touring draw and on this album that confidence has grown, this is a band trying to capture their live ferocity on record and succeeding but also trying to show that they have their sights set firmly on the top. On this evidence they will be there in no time! 8/10

The Reasoning: Adventures In Neverland (Esoteric Antenna/Cherry Red recordings)

Welsh progsters The Reasoning have been thought he mill as late with the sudden disappearance of their long time guitarist Owain Roberts, and while we all hold out hope that he comes back safe, the band were still in the formative stages of this album and the fact that they have now finished and released it is testament to their commitment to their craft. Trimmed down to just a 5-piece now the band have also streamlined their sound since their last record Adverse Camber. Things start strongly with the off-kilter Hyperdrive which features Matt Cohen's pulsating bass driving the track, the melodies coming from Tony Turrell's Keys and the harmonious voice of singer Rachel who soars with just a hint of beautiful frailty. The band have really gone back to sound of their first album albeit without the metal influence that was present on some of the tracks. This means that this album has more of a keyboard heavy melodic style with Marillion (Otherworld), Pendragon (Stop The Clock) and even mid-period Genesis coming to mind. The guitar playing has been handled by new boy Keith Hawkins who does an excellent job blending some very technical playing with mouth-watering solos, some of the solo's come from guest musicians, but you can't see the join. The album ends in tremendous style with the title track and shows that The Reasoning are doing what they do best which is old-school prog with nothing else to water it down. A terrific record. 8/10

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