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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Reviews: Muse, Simon McBride, Monument

Muse: The 2nd Law (Warner Bros)

Are Muse still a rock band? This was the main question I asked myself when I heard that they were bringing a new dubstep direction to this album (named after the famous laws of Thermodynamics). However I wasn’t surprised at this revelation Muse have never been an 'organic' band meaning that electronics have always played a major part in their sound. So to the album which yes does have some dubstep in the two part title track which I will admit is brilliantly done and the single Madness (which also has a massive Queen vibe in the solo). On the other hand they have expanded their sound in other ways, Panic Station is every 80's song in existence mashed together, Supremacy also has a lot of Queen in it, they go trance with Follow Me and then turn into U2 on Big Freeze. As for the rock there is plenty of it with the mid-section of the album classic Muse, bassist Chris Wolstenholme takes the vocals for two of the heavier tracks and the rest is the vocal histrionics of Bellamy. So are Muse still a rock band? The answer is yes but they are one with chameleon-like tendencies meaning that they can change and adapt, but they are always more than capable to pull it off. 7/10

Simon McBride: Crossing The Line (Nugene Records)

Simon McBride is now on his third record of Blues-rock and he improves on every album. He is a fantastic guitar playing and his whiskey soaked croon means that the record oozes with class and passion. This can be witnessed on the emotive No Room To Breathe which has the hallmarks of McBride's fellow countryman and guitar legend Gary Moore. However it's not just on the slower songs that he shines when he picks up the pace on the soulful organ drenched Don't Be A Fool McBride is almost untouchable. He also looks back to his last release which was a split live/acoustic record on the Celtic flavoured A Rock And A Storm. The years of touring have paid off as these compositions are his most accomplished yet, with staple leaders like Joey Bones (Bonamassa) relying more on covers than original material the mantle falls to artists like McBride to create innovative blues-rock and he does so in spades on this album, look to the horn backed Alcatraz as an example of just how good the compositions are. McBride’s smoky vocals are great truly bringing a sense of longing on the blues based ballads like One More Try (which has fantastically stirring solo in it) and a gritty croon on rockers like Heartbreaker (which surprisingly sounds like Free). This is a record for any fan of blues-rock and it is a testament to just how good Simon McBride is. 9/10 

Monument: Rock The Night (Independent)

Formed by another former White Wizzard vocalist Monument are a NWOBHM revivalist band and they wear their influences (and their studs) on their sleeves, they bring Priest thrash-like attack on the frenetic opening track (which features Richie Faulkner on guitar) and Maiden dual-guitar harmonies on the future classic Midnight Queen. The guitarists trade licks and solo's with aplomb on every track, the bass is straight out of the 'Arry playbook and the drums blast with the power of Scott Travis. This is just an EP but on these 5 tracks you can see that any full length release will be chock full of big hitters ready for any heavy metal party. The Dickinson merged with Ozzy vocals of Ellis means that this album is a cracking release that merges classic NWOBHM style songs that are bolstered by spotless production and some top-notch songs. This EP will truly Rock The Night! 8/10

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