Teenage Time Killers: Greatest Hits Vol 1 (Rise)
What is a supergroup? Well there can be a good case for Teenage Time Killers for being the supergroup of super groups, formed by My Ruin guitarist Mick Murphy and Corrosion Of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin the two men have garnered a veritable who's who of rock and metal artists for this album which is essentially an album that allows the two men to explore their punk influences. Amongst the artists featured are: Dave Grohl ( Nirvana/Foo Fighters), Stephen O'Malley (of Sunn O))) and Burning Witch), Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour), Nick Oliveri (formerly Queens of the Stone Age), Jello Biafra (formerly Dead Kennedys), Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio and currently Blink-182) and Randy Blythe (Lamb of God). Along with these both COC's Mike Dean and Woody Weatherman, My Ruin's Tarrie B and Clutch's Neil Fallon all feature on this album that passes by at a fair speed as none of the tracks are over 3 minutes long (as is only right for snotty nosed punk).
Exploder kicks things off suitably with Reed Mullin snarling as the band thrash about behind him with a this blast of aggression and a Cali punk stomp, then it's hold on as the next 19 tracks proceed to kick you around the head as much like Grohl's Probot album there are experiments in the more fringe and extreme sides of music. Crowned By The Light is a doom style song with driven by Neil Fallon's unmistakable drawl. the D.I,Y ethos is very strong on this record with all of the musicians jumping in and out of the songs meaning that they all have a immediacy from a live-in-the-studio feel, Hung Out To Dry is one of the most brutal songs on the record as Randy Blythe growls over the top, Jello Biafra adds his lunacy to John Cleese's poem Ode To Sean Hannity while Bario is pure MexiCali punk that wouldn't sound out of place on a Misfits or indeed early The Offspring and shows why Matt Skiba is the best replacement for Tom Delonge (being that his voice is bearable). As the album moves on Corey Taylors confrontational vocals work well on Egobomb (Written for Taylor surely?) Tarrie B has raw attitude on Clawhoof and Municipal Waste's Tony Foresta adds his thrash tones to Ignorant People. This is an album that will appeal to those who like their albums primal and aggressive and indeed anyone that is a fan of anyone involved will find something to bang their head to. 8/10
Gus G: Brand New Revolution (Century Media)
Six string wizard Gus G returns with his second solo album. Having made his name with Firewind and now as Ozzy's guitarist he has set about creating yet another solo record that follows in the vein of his debut. This record however is more concise than the previous effort as it starts things with off fret destroying instrumental The Quest which harks back to his power metal halcyon days with the Greek power metal heroes. Vocally as well this album sticks with just four vocalists with the lion's share of the vocals taken by Jacob Bunton who has a clear melodic voice that he honed in his hair-style band called Lynam. His vocals are great and suit Gus G's more melodic hard rock style on this album, if I was to liken it to anyone it would be a big part of G'N'R, mixed with modern American radio rock. In fact much like former GNR six stringer Slash he has found his Myles Kennedy in the shape of Bunton who just fits like a glove on the five tracks he sings on.
From the Alter Bridge sounding We Are The One to the muscular ballad Behind Those Eyes. So this all means that the album style differs to that of both Gus' day jobs although the tracks on this album still features some sublime soloing that really shows off Gus's talent, Firewind drummer Jo Nunez and bassist Marty O' Brien add the wall of sound backing, Amaranthe's Elize Ryd provides her vocals to the best track on the album the symphonic metal baiting What Lies Below. The other voices on the record are Jeff Scott Soto who's smooth tones are perfect for Gone To Stay but he really isn't needed and Mats Leven once again shows his face on the metallic trio of Come Hell Or Highwater, If It Ends Today and The Demon Inside which goes to show why he should be the new Firewind singer. Everything has come together on this second album and even though it's not Firewind (or indeed Ozzy) while many are waiting for a new Firewind album this will have to do. 7/10
Tracer: Water For Thirsty Dogs (Rough Trade)
Young guns Tracer are now on their third full length album and since their debut min album they have been a band evolving their sound, they have always straddled the line between classic rock and 90's alternative rock. Spaces In Between had enough of a mix to keep them sounding fresh where as El Pistolero was rigidly fixed in the classic rock era (possibly due to Kevin Shirley's influence) but once again the band mix up their sound with Water For Thirsty Dogs which plants this Aussie bands feet in the 90's and early 00's, with more grunge influences than classic rock of previous releases much of this record harks back tot he glory days of AIC, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Much of this is to do with the excellent guitar work and vocal delivery of founder Michael Brown who is a dead ringer for Cornell with the title track and indeed many of the songs on this record being pure Cornell and Soundgarden, Us Against The World has the immediacy of Pearl Jam, while Lazy has the dreamy, melancholic tone of AIC and We're Only Animals and Owe You Nothing echoes the driving desert rock of QOTSA. Lots of influences on this record then but enough talent to make their songs stand out from the crowd see Astronaut Juggernaut, the spacey The Machine and the beautiful Homeward Bound which sounds like a Cornell solo song. Brown can really play and indeed his gruff croon too is excellent, also he is ably backed bassist Jet and drummer Andre Wise who provide the strong, swaggering bottom end for every song. Water For Thirsty Dogs is a great album that shows that this band have now found their sound and jolly good it is too!! 8/10