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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Reviews: The Vintage Caravan, Lesoir, Godsized

The Vintage Caravan: Arrival (Nuclear Blast)

The history of rock music is littered with classic three pieces but The Vintage Trouble draw from the early 60's style of Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and Mountain. Now all three of these bands are seen to be based around their legendary guitarists but they were also made up of bunch of legendary bassists and drummers such as Felix Pappalardi, Jack Bruce, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker. Those band's sounds were due to the fact that all those involved were immensely talented worked together to create the fantastic songs that they were known for. The same can be said for The Vintage Caravan, Óskar Logi has a sonorous wide vocal range and plays his guitar like demon on rockers like Babylon while Alexander Örn shuffles the bass licks on Carousel on which he gets a bass solo and Stefán Ari Stefánsson who plays for his life anchoring everything especially on the latter part of Innerverse on which he really shows his mettle. Now as I said the band draw most of their influence from the late 60's early 70's style of hard rock based in blues and adding psychedelic elements that allow them to have wig outs in their songs relying more on the feel of the songs than too much structure, Shaken Belief's is a prime example of this, where as Crazy Horses (not a Osmond cover) is a balls out rocker that is part Neil Young, part Ted Nugent with it's Western piano playing and chugging riffage, Sandwalker has the sound of another three piece echoing the boogie of Billy, Dusty and Frank. The Vintage Caravan have upped their game on this second album really honing everything they showed on their debut, Arrival is a testament to just that; this is The Vintage Caravan's statement of intent more so than their looser debut and because of that this may be the album that sees them explode in the next 12 months. 8/10

Lesoir: Luctor Et Emergo (V2 Benelux)

I will admit I hadn't herd too much of Lesoir but with some research I found that they are Dutch rock band formed and fronted by Maartje Meessen, they fall into the Artrock category drawing influences from Anathema, Skunk Anansie, Crippled Black Phoenix and A Perfect Circle. The album title translates to "I Struggle And Emerge" and this echoes the dark tone of the record with loud dynamic guitars from Ingo Dassen (with Eleen Bartholomeus and Meessen contributing live) who also provides the pulsing synths and electronic beats on tracks like the Porcupine Tree-like (A Lady Named) Bright and the pulsating Flawless Chemistry. The rhythm section of Ingo Jetten's bass and Bob Van Heumen's drums provides the band with a wide and compelling backing that gives them a real sense of force on the rockier tracks such as Going Home and Deliberate but equally on the quieter moments they both show off their expertise and technical prowess mostly on Hold On To Fascination which has progressive tendency. With the wall of sound style of playing Dassen's guitars sound like a tidal wave of sound bringing to mind Anathema and CBP who also get a nod in the lyrical content with struggle and strength all being included. The sound of Lesoir is very much anchored by their front woman she is the reason for the dark, chaotic heaviness and the fragile, whispered emotion her piano and flute undercut the electric assault on the more melodious quieter moments such as the title track. Her voice however is where her true talent lays it is stunning, effortlessly moving between an almost aggressive operatic roar to a lulling, hushed chant, vocally she sounds a lot like Alanis Morrisette with her feisty fired up vocal delivery that can move from sweet to shouted in an instant on Press Play From Start and the thunderous In Reverse. Luctor Et Emergo is a stunning piece of work that sits perfectly in the same category as Steven Wilson, Anathema, A Perfect Circle and British Artrockers Panic Room this is alternative rock music with a progressive bent and a hell of a lot of talent on show. Buy this album! 10/10    

Godsized: Heavy Lies The Crown (Metalville)

Godsized have always been compared to their American cousins and multi time tour mates Black Label Society and yes they do have a similar style to Zakk and his boys; huge slabs of riffage based on a pace setting rhythm section that bring everything together. Things kick off slow on Welcome To Hell with some intricate clean lead playing starting the song before it gets heavier and faster from there on in. As I've said the band have a pounding rhythm section in the shape of Dan Kavanagh and Gavin Kerrigan and when underscoring the twin guitars of Chris Charles and Glen Korner their contribution speaks for itself. Charles and Korner are no slouches themselves riffing like bastards throughout bringing some big rockers that Charles can boom over with his Myles Kennedy like vocals. In fact the band have drawn a lot more from the Tremonti school of musicianship with a modern metal sound with heaps of melody they play well and their songs are good. However there is a problem, they are trying a little too hard to be Alter Bridge on this record, this maybe to move away from their British BLS crown but it makes them sound like a different band. There are glimpses of their old biker metal background but not as much as I and indeed anyone who enjoyed their debut album would want, the songs on this album are a little boring in places. I have no doubt that in the live arena they will still punch you in the mouth but this record does seem a little restrained. 6/10    

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