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Monday, 20 July 2015

Reviews: We Are Harlot, The Protomen, Eradikator

We Are Harlot: We Are Harlot (Roadrunner)

A lot has been made of We Are Harlot in the mainstream rock press, they are hailed as being one of the bands proudly flying the flag for the next generation of rock along with Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry et al. With so many harking back to different eras and drawing from the past, We Are Harlot are no exception having the imagery and indeed the lyrics of the Sunset Strip's premier sleaze and party merchants like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses and Skid Row, the latter being all the more prevalent when you realise founding guitarist Jeff George played in Sebastian Bach's solo band before forming this group. However setting the music aside for a bit; much has been made of this band's singer Danny Worsnopp who made his name with modern metalcore kids Asking Alexandria, Worsnopp lasted three albums with the band before finally setting sail to pastures; new following his love of classic hard rock and setting up We Are Harlot who are sonically different to Asking Alexandria in nearly all respects.

So what of this new hard rock sound then? Does it work? Well as Dancing On Nails hammers out of the gates all big riffs, honky tonk piano and sexually charged vocals you are kicked in the teeth by a rocker that would sit comfortably on Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation, the major thing that strikes you too is Worsnopp's vocals which are whiskey soaked with hardcore rasp (Never Turn Back and Flying Too Close To The Sun) but on the more melodic tracks like Someday they keen longingly like Brent Smith from Shinedown, yet another band who We Are Harlot echo musically albeit with more of a bar fight atmosphere and the sordid lick of lust that the Toxic Twins have always given rock music, Worsnopp has said that this album "is basically about sex!" and that is clear to see on DLT (Dirty Little Thing) and Love For The Night, in fact nearly all of the songs speak of carnal knowledge (whether unlawful or not remains to be seen) with Worsnopp having the right amount of grit to melody to make you feel he knows what he's talking about.

However he is not the only member of this band as Brian Weaver's bass and Bruno Agra's drums give the songs a fat, juicy rhythm section allowing Jeff George's guitar to riff like hell and give brief flashes of solo brilliance that explode from the songs like fireworks, see One More Night. With this short blast of hard rock fury (the album clocks in at just under 40 minutes) you can see why We Are Harlot are seen as being one of the torch-bearers of the modern rock age, they draw from their influences but they add enough of their own influence to make them sound fresh, modern and yes even vital, if you love the modern American radio rock bands like Shinedown, Halestorm, Hinder yet still hanker for a bit of Jack Daniels fuelled gutter rock then We Are Harlot will be guaranteed to get your party started with this frisky debut, album number two may just be take them to the top of the pile. 9/10        

The Protomen: Cover Up (Sound Machine)

In the music industry today it is very difficult to be truly mysterious, a quick Google search can easily give you the identities of Slipknot, GWAR, Ghost and Lordi however The Protomen are truly mysterious very little is known about the band other than they create concept albums based around the Mega Man videogame franchise and that they take their names from various films and media and all linked to androids. The Tennessee natives have been making music since around 2005, although they usually deal with concepts they also litter their live sets with 70's and 80's covers; they have now compiled an album made up of songs that follow their preferred themes of struggle, heroism and self determination with an 80's style action movie drama happening between the parts which pitches man verses robot. So with all this taken in this to account, how does the album sound? Well bloody terrific if I'm honest with some fantastic covers making it almost a jukebox of great late 70's and 80's hits, first off you get Because The Night which is performed with the same level female tenacity as Ms Smith by The Protomen's sole female member The Gambler who duets with lead vocalist Raul Panther III on the perfect opening track before you get the one two punch of Princes Of The Universe (Queen) and Mr Roboto (Styx) which is a synth filled perfect fit for a band that features a member called K.I.L.R.O.Y, to really draw you into this mad idea for an album.

The first part of the story is wrapped up with Robert Tepper's No Way Out. So far so good, the musicianship is amazing fuelled by keys and synths from Commander B. Hawkins, Jr, the aforementioned The Gambler, Raul Panther III and Murphy Weller who is the bottom end of the band with his bass and bass synths, they are aided and abetted by Reanimator's sterling drum work, which is at it's best on In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins) as well as the searing lead guitars of Sir. Dr. Robert Bakker and Shock Magnum, see their rousing version of The Trooper for evidence that they can play like the best metallers. This album plays like a compilation of great songs, albeit with someone else playing them, this is bolstered by the songs not really changing much from the originals just with little additions here and there; Roy Orbison's I Drove All Night gets a harder edge, while The Gambler gives a good account of herself on Total Eclipse Of The Heart having a sweeter but equally as powerful voice as Ms Tyler. For those brought up on this music or indeed those who love a bit of retro this album will be played repeatedly, so a score? Well can you score a covers album? The songs are not new but the finale of Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins) and the piano-led solemn rendition of Mike And The Mechanics' Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) is enough to warrant high praise indeed, if you want to know what The Protomen sound like then get this album (on vinyl or cassette only) and then try their own stuff I'm sure you will be impressed. 9/10 

Eradikator: Edge Of Humanity (Self Released)

Birmingham's Eradikator (not be associated with the German thrashers Eradicator who Paul reviewed earlier this year) are a thrash metal band set deep in the American thrash style of Megadeth, Testament and Metallica with the youthful exuberance of Brits like Shrapnel, Incinery and most notably Evile a band who they are very similar to  musically and vocally with Pat Cox's drawling shout sounding like a mix between Matt Drake and James Hetfield. This is proper thrash that relies on furious riffs from guitarists Liam and Andy who parry and duel with each other throughout providing the riffs and solos the heavier tracks like Season's Of Rage as well as the slower more introspective tracks like Fortress Unknown and which features some soaring guitar melodies, as does the instrumental Karios Passing which yet again is a testament to the guitar prowess. Backing the superb guitar work is a barrage of drums from Jon who provides a blitzkrieg on the thrashier tracks like The Great Deception, Mesmerised but also providing intricate percussion on the slower tracks.

Eradikator have really stepped up their game again on this second album honing their skills and producing some seriously good metal music that manages to merge aggressive vocals, thrash riffage with, and this is the most important factor, a heap of melodies and huge hooks that get you chanting along on tracks. Songs like the title track which could have come off The Black Album with it's changing time signatures and anthemic middle section that you can see commanding the arena, this is definitely the bands step up with everything improved, musically and sonically, drafting in veteran metal producer Russ Russell to give them a booming sound for their metal attack. Eradikator is the is the latest in the new wave of British thrash metal that pick up the gauntlet laid down by Evile and run with it destroying everything in their path. 9/10

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