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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Reviews: Truckfighters, The Birds Of Satan, Monument

Truckfighters: Universe (Fuzzorama)

Sweden does seem to be the home of classic rock and metal now and Örebro natives Truckfighters have been peddling their brand of stoner riff rock since 2001. The band have three albums, numerous E.P's and a film to their name, Universe is their fourth album and from the mono lead in of Mind Control with its fuzzed up riffs, hammering drums and fat low end the band immediately show no signs of changing their trademark sound. The second song shows Ozo's throbbing, rumbling bass in full bowel moving The Chaiman, before the super punk of Convention which melds into the trippy Get Lifted which has a great sprawling fuzzed up delivery bringing to mind Queens Of The Stone Age. The album,  The band also have elements of Fu Manchu, Kyuss and also Swedish bands like Spiritual Beggars and Mustasch who they sound a lot of like especially on Dream Sale. As I said Ozo is a great bass player and singer meaning that the album is very bass heavy, Enzo smashes the drums, Dango is a great guitarist with some big guitar lines and understated playing especially on the progressive, 13 minute final track Mastodont which sounds a lot like the band it ribs. Truckfighters are a band that do what they do very well and in the live arena they are probably explosive but as I find a lot with stoner rock, it lacks a little on record, still a great album of riff heavy rock from the Swedes. 7/10 

The Birds Of Satan: S/T (Shannabelle Records)

The Birds Of Satan are a progressive rock band formed by The Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. No stranger to solo projects Hawkins already has one under his belt with The Coattail Riders record merging the man's love of classic rock and Queen together to create a funky, rocky album. The Birds Of Satan morphed out of a covers band Hawkins was in called Chevy Metal. Yes the album shares similarities with the previous band (due in part to Hawkins' involvement) but has much more of progressive feel to it;  as witnessed by the nine minute opening salvo of The Ballad Of The Birds Of Satan which is a long and winding song that brings in all the sounds of Hawkins' youth, it kicks off with percussive drums and staccato riff that wouldn't be out of place on the last Foo's album, before moving into a Sabbath style doom middle that bursts into a David Bowie sounding final third. The rest of the tracks are all confident rockers with proggy flourishes meaning that the thirty odd minutes of this album fly by. Hawkins as usual handles drums and vocals his drums are jazzy, rocky, funky and many other things ending with 'y' and his vocals are as usual smoky as a Scottish Salmon factory. He is aided and abetted by his Chevy Metal cohorts Wiley Hodgen on bass and Mick Murphy on guitar, both of whom are excellent foils for Hawkins' drumming, the album also features guest appearances by Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee and Dave Grohl (naturally). The rest of the songs are the 'tick tock' Bowie-like rhythm of Thanks For The Line and the crazy Queen like Pieces Of The Puzzle which moves from cod-reggae to driving rock anthem in just over 4 minutes, standing out as two of the best. This is a great album that brims with immediacy, you can hear the 'live in the studio' feel of the record in the songs and the production. This is music made without much preparation but a whole lot of heart! 8/10

Monument: Renegades (MGR Music)

Monument arose from the ashes of the second White Wizzard split. Singer Pete Ellis left the troubled band to forge his own path with Monument and amongst all of the NWOTHM it is Monument that are British meaning that they are one of the few bands that can lay stake to NWOBHM crown. From the opening title track this is all so lovingly familiar, the galloping basslines of Chris Dale, the machine gun drums of Matt C, the dual guitar attack of Lewis Stephens and Dan Baune who switch from razor sharp leads to blistering solos in an instant. All of this leather clad retroism is topped by the air siren vocals of Ellis who evokes the greats of Dickinson and Halford. After you are thoroughly brought in to their retro metal world by the proto-thrash of the title track, Fatal Attack does it all again albeit this time with a song that sounds like it could easily be on Powerslave and it is followed by the fist pumping Manowar-like Crusaders which just cries out to be sung back by the warrior hordes. So so far we've been firmly stuck in the 80's with the spiked armbands and leather waistcoats it's on Runaway that things get a bit more modern with a track that wouldn't seem out of place on Dance Of Death. So yes with bands like Enforcer, Cauldron and Holy Grail all flying the flag for Traditional metal, Monument bring a distinctly British vibe to things, and about time too!! Things go a bit naughty on Midnight Queen before the obligatory mid album instrumental Red Dragon is up there with Transylvania from the Maiden catalogue, things finish with the 6 minute plus Omega. Yes with Monument have shown through their tenacity and more importantly their stability that they can bring back the sound that spawned a genre. All hail the NNWOBHM!! (Sorry Mr Barton). 8/10

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