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Friday, 14 December 2012

Reviews: Wolfsbane, Electric Wizard, Shadow Of The Sun

Wolfsbane: Down Fall The Good Guys: Remastered (Self-released)

So on goes the re-issue campaign from Blaze and co Down Fall... is the band's second album and continues in the same vein as there EP and debut album, with songs filled with booze, money, women and politics. Kicking things off with the funky blues of Smashed And Blind before the shout along You Load Me Down. Jase Edwards’s guitars are far more prevalent filling most of the songs with some tight soloing. That's not to say that the bass and drums are slacking as they are both vibrant and driving. Bayley does seem to give a better vocal performance on the Wolfsbane records than he does on his Iron Maiden outings which might be because he is a better fit, his vocals are especially good on tracks like Ezy which ends with a blood curdling primal scream. The album is full of live staples like Black Lagoon and Temple Of Rock. Down Fall The Good Guys still has all of the dirty sleazy hallmarks of Wolfsbane's sound and also improves on it with big ballads like Broken Doll and the blues of Twice As Mean which show their improved songwriting prowess. This remastered edition includes two new tracks that have been taken from original album demos and they fit in with the rest of the album and make two good additions to an already good album with a wide musical scope. 7/10

Electric Wizard: Legalise Drugs and Murder (Satyr IX Productions)

This is cassette that was presented free with Terroriser magazine and has already been released as 7" Vinyl single. It is six tracks long and features the same deep, dark, dope-smoking, doom metal that Electric Wizard does so well. Starting things off with the simply evil, fuzzed up, knuckle dragging riff of the title track you know Electric Wizard are in their comfort zone. The audio is all over the place but this is obviously to give a very retro cassette feel, with the snaps, crackles and lots of tape hiss. Jus Oborns hollered, echoed vocals are still as haunting as ever and his and Liz Buckingham's guitar interplay is great as usual. Satyr IX comes next and is sparse and even slower than the opening track with even more vocodered vocals and some very cultish drumming. As ever Electric Wizard have created six more tracks of headphone music, best enjoyed with some chemical 'accompaniment' (though not needed in my case) the tracks are full of occult lyricism, back masking (on Murder And Madness), head rattling bass and some titanic slabs of doom riffage. There are only really three full songs on this EP with two being instrumentals and one being really an outro piece however the band are still one of the genre leaders, kneel at their altar. 7/10

Shadow Of The Sun: Monument (Self Released)

Hailing from the Rhondda Valley, Shadow Of The Sun have honed this album in the live arena, and all of the band bring their respective talents to it resulting in a very accomplished, grown-up album that draws from neo-prog of Porcupine Tree, some Pink Floyd influences and a very hearty does of Tool. The vocals of Matthew Alexander Powell are strong and have a very wide expressive range meaning he is equally adept to the hard rock of Rising and the acoustic folk of My Heart Is Wild And Overgrown, he is backed by the propulsive percussion of Rhys Jones, the dexterous, voodoo rhythms of Lee Woodmass' bass and the melodic, technical and emotive playing of Dylan Thompson's guitar. These are truly four incredibly talented musicians working together to create a very good album that stretches between the modern metal of Hourglass, the reflective Halo, the technical heaviness of I'm Coming Home, the anthemic Crimson Flags and the almost Beatles-eque Who Cares? This is a fantastic debut album from Shadow Of The Sun and has been expertly produced by Lee Howells. If they continue to create music this good they will be something very special indeed. 9/10

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