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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Reviews: Art Of Anarchy, Blackwelder, Galley Beggar

Art Of Anarchy: S/T (Century Media)

Art Of Anarchy is one part Guns N Roses, one part Disturbed, and one part Stone Temple Pilots as it features, Bumblefoot on guitar, John Moyer on the bass and Mr controversy himself Scott Weiland on vocals, making up the rest of the band are twin brothers Jon and Vince Votta who are session musicians and friends of Bumblefoot, on guitar and drums respectively. Now with all that out of the way we need to address the elephant in the room Art Of Anarchy are currently in hiatus and have been since before the release of their debut, now this is down to the human firework Scott Weiland who left the band after the album was recorded as he claimed he "was never in the band. It was something I did when I wasn't doing anything. I was asked to write some lyrics and sing some melodies on this project, but it's not a band I'm in" where as the band said otherwise, now for band releasing their debut to not have a complete band is a pretty big deal but while the future of the band is in turmoil currently we have to focus on the music. So what is the music like? Well it is a sum of the bands parts really drawing an influence from all of the members previous bands together to create some metallic hard rock from the opening classical guitar of intro Black Rain which moves straight into the Southern swagger of Small Batch Whiskey which has a sound similar to early Black Stone Cherry, meanwhile Grand Applause is pure Velvet Revolver with Bumblefoot channelling his predecessor in G'N'R with the bluesy rock solos and Weiland showing off his unique voice. Moyer uses his down a dirty bass licks on Superstar which is big, crunchy metal track that bounds along nicely; the albums centrepiece though is Til The Dust Is Gone which is an expressive ballad, the kind that Weiland does so well, driven by Vottas excellent drumming and beautiful classical guitar solo in the middle of it, the album does whiper out towards the end but with this song and a few others on this album Art Of Anarchy have made a strong debut and if they can get their act together then they could produce magic. 7/10

Blackwelder: Survival Of The Fittest (Golden Core Records)

A collaborative 'supergroup' featuring a member of Primal Fear, it seems like I say this a lot on this blog, however for once I'm not talking about the hardest working man in metal Mat Sinner, no Blackwelder features the voice of Primal Fear's Ralf Scheepers along with Hellion/ex Yngwie Malmsteen bassist Bjorn Englen, ex Angra drummer Aquiles Priester and guitarist Andrew Szucs. The band are not your usual power metal fodder either and while the blast beats and lightning guitars are there, the album draws more from the progressive rock sphere Spaceman is the first track to show this off with it's Sci-Fi theme and Scheepers relying on his mid-range and some vocoder to bring the song to life while they bring in more classical influences on the instrumental Adeturi which gives Szucs a chance to show off his neo-classical chops before we err on Priest territory on Freeway Of Life albeit when they were in their Turbo era. Blackwelder manage to fuse prog with metal well but none of the tracks really stand out except for the Blind Guardian-like Remember The Time and the Priest feast of Play Some More. Yes the performances are good, Ralf especially is in fine vocal form as always but for me the songs on this album seem to meld into one, a neo classical riff here, a scream there, rampaging drums and solos galore however there are only a few songs that really grab your attention on this record. It does feel like a stopgap album while the new Primal Fear album is being completed, my anticipation is high for that record unfortunately Survival Of The Fittest doesn't do anything to quell that anticipation I'm afraid. 7/10

Galley Beggar: Silence & Tears (Rise Above)

Now as you may know Rise Above deal in stoner, doom and the occult style of rock and metal however they also provide a home for the wider range of styles. Galley Beggar are the newest members of the roster and they deal in acoustically tinged folk with a focus on the occult psych tinge. As the album kicks off David Ellis and Matt Fowler's acoustic guitars driving the first track Adam & Eve which tells the tale of Adam's downfall to a haunting folk melody, Pay My Body Home has vocalist Maria O Donnell channelling Sandy Denny with her vocals, the Fairport Convention influence continues the traditional jig of Jack Orion which has liberal use of Celine Marshall's violin and harmony vocals to die for. This album is laid back with some clean guitar lines bolstering the acoustics on Geordie (again a traditional song arranged by the band) while Paul Dadswell's drums and Bill Lynn's bass add the rhythmic element to the 'heavier' songs. With bands like Ancient VVisdom playing this kind of stuff for a while there is an appetite for the more sedate style of occult rock. Galley Beggar are doing it with a certain sense of authenticity having the keening female vocals the medieval style music augmented with the acoustic guitars and the violin, with tracks like the chanting anti religion Empty Sky, the choral final track Deliver Him which has a baroque almost religious feel (something that is evident throughout the album) part sparse chamber music, part acoustic psychedelia. The title track is the most telling on the album as it puts the band's unique folk delivery to the words of Lord Byron, the both intertwining perfectly showing that music and poetry will always intertwine. Galley Beggar manage to create some wondrous achingly beautiful music with a lot of soul to it. Well worth checking out if you like anything on the Rise Above roster but also if you want something that is a little different harking back to the 60's folk rock explosion. 9/10

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