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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Reviews: The Cadillac Three, Shrapnel, Panic Room

The Cadillac Three: Tennessee Mojo (Big Machine Records)

The Cadillac Three are southern and as they say in the opening salvo I'm Southern it ain't their fault. This is music for beer drinking and hell raising born from the legends of Waylon, Johnny and Willie while also bringing Steve Earle, The Allmans and more recently Waylon's son Shooter who the band sound a hell of a lot like fusing rock and country. The band themselves recognise their influences on Get Your Buzz On which mentions the godfathers of Skynryd. Although with three members, the guitar and smoky southern vocals of Jaren Johnson, the Tennessee shuffle of drummer Neil Mason and the multiple instruments of bassist Kelby Ray. The band are very good at what they do, this isn't your faux country of Kid Rock you can feel that these three have this music running through their blood with tracks like Down To The River which evokes the spirit of blues and gospel but with a rock n roll back beat. With bands like Blackberry Smoke and Shooter himself spearheading this revival of Outlaw Country (or Country Rock if you want) The Cadillac Three are putting themselves in good stead with their down home Southern swagger and an album filled with ass shaking sexually charged music rockers countered with the odd cowboy ballad. These self professed hillbillies have created a real stormer! YeeHaw!! 9/10

Shrapnel: The Virus Conspires (Candlelight Records)

Norwich...it's the Thrash capital of the world right? Well maybe that's not true but the five piece wrecking machine Sharpnel are on a mission to make this statement more accurate. The riffs come fast and furious from the outset with bludgeoning blast beats of Simon Jackson rattling the brain cells, the bass of Daryl Abbot (not that one) rumbles the bowels and the razor sharp riffage of Chris Martin and the killer solo's of Nathan Sadd mean that tracks like Kingdom Come, Titan and Braindead breeze through in a barrage of thrash madness with Jae Hadley conducting everything with his awesome grizzled vocals that give the band a modern sound as well as hints to the Bay Area past. 22 has a killer bass intro and again proceeds to smash your face in for over 4 minutes and has a big call and response middle 8. It's not just all super speed thrash mind as they have the right amount of groove to them as well with the title track showing just that. The pace rarely lets upon this album with every track destroying the one previously ending with the super fast All That We Know which ends everything on a highly aggressive note. This album is very strong for a debut and will definitely elevate the band to the same level of British thrashers Evile and possibly beyond. Strong, powerful and violent just how thrash should be!! 8/10   

Panic Room: Incarnate (Firefly Music)

Panic Room release their fourth album and they continue to evolve their sound which is what they have been doing since their second album Satellite and again this time they are emotional, powerful and also fully professional on every track. From the opening track Velocity which has a great guitar part from new boy Adam O'Sullivan who replaces Paul Davies and gives the track a Hogarth period Marillion, before it moves into second track Start The Sound which has the percussive drive of Kate Bush and features some excellent orchestrations and keys from Jonathan Edwards and a breathy performance from frontwoman Anne-Marie Helder who has one of the best voices in music at the moment both powerful (see the Asian flavoured title track) and plantative. With Yatim and Gavin providing the rhythm section moving the songs from the moody rockers, to massive euphoric modern prog and tender ballads see All That We Are. The album peaks and troughs bringing in light and shade, working through the piano pop of Waterfall which could be a chart hit and ends the first half of the album excellently throwing in elements of jazz (Nothing New), funk, soul and obviously rock on every track to make a cacophony of sound and also vision. Panic Room have always been a band unafraid to push boundaries and means that every album is a varied and rewarding experience and Incarnate is no exception. 8/10    

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