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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Reviews: Zero Verdict, The Earls Of Mars, The Mojo Sinners

Zero Verdict: Walk Tall (Self Released)

Zero Verdict are a little bit of an enigma, they have a melting pot nature about them as they say themselves: "blend many different styles and combines everything with low tuning and heavy but melodic vocals and catchy melodies" I couldn't have put it better myself as Alive kicks off you have a definite metallic crunch from the guitars but with huge chorus vocals, think Dream Theater mixed with Circus Maximus, the riffs of Alter Bridge in their and even a bit of Journey added for the huge hooks. It is certainly a strange sound but it does work the vocals of Sami Huotari are robust moving from a tough mid to a sky scraping high but as part of the backing choirs they are amazing giving the songs like Release Yourself a life of their own. Behind him Tapio Mattila's guitars, Juha Haipus bass and Pekka Leppäluoto's drums bring riff after crunchy riff moving between, speedy power metal on Live Like No Tomorrow, stomping groove on Lie (In My Own Life)and Train! which has some great keys too and dabbles with Devin Townsend too in parts. As much as they enjoy the big riffing rock songs they are also masters at evoking heartfelt romanticism of ballads like Be On Your Own Way which has a killer key change. With such a jarring musical mix there will be a few that will find it all a bit too much but for the most part Zero Verdict do a good job or merging all their influences together to create this album of interesting progressive music, with a little refinement they could stumble across something very good indeed. 7/10    

The Earls Of Mars: EP (Self Released)

The word weird is thrown about a lot but The Earls Of Mars are a very weird band, I first saw them supporting Orange Goblin and was intrigued by their mix of metal, jazz and swing. This intrigue was rewarded on their debut album which superbly blended these genres to create some top draw rock with influences coming from outside the rock world. So the band are now between record labels but their mad genius is still pumping so now we have their EP simply entitled EP which is stopgap before their next album. We go from the Faith No More meets doom laden thrash of Fisticuffs which starts the album and then in a total switch of sound we get the piano powered, gypsy swing of Whodunnit then the doom comes back again on In The Quiet Corner Of A Mad Man's Eye the band thunder along powered by Dave Newman's intricate percussion, Si McCarthy's upright walking bass, at it's finest on the dreamy Mr Peeps Never Sleeps and Dan Hardigan's superb guitar playing. Harry Armstrong once again is the bands barking leader hammering the piano/organ/mellotron while wailing like a frenzied animal with a thorn in it's side (in a good way). The album levels off with the fuzzy finale of H.A.M which is a synth led instrumental which ends things strong;y. EP is a cracking little detour into the spiralling craziness of The Earls Of Mars, one downside is it's not quite enough. With another album on the way just come on in and just let your freak flag fly. 7/10

The Mojo Sinners: The Carnival EP (Self Released)

Hailing from Ystrad Mynach, Rhondda in South Wales Valleys The Mojo Sinners play a heavy style of blues rock. The Carnival is their debut EP and it has four seriously good tracks on it from this three piece that channel ZZ Top, Rory Gallagher, SRV with some soulful blues licks coming from David Williams who plays with style and has a fervent vocal that stirs the soul and angries up the blood, however his rocking riffs would be nothing without the throbbing basslines of Ross McInch and the hammering drum work of Dane Campbell. This is rock with a blues edge with second track The Traveller illuminating this well with it's bayou acoustic intro and outro bookending the thundering rock middle section. These four tracks are all different which shows the talent of the band Carousel is a funky piece with echoed vocals, as I said The Traveller is a hard rocking radio bothering track, Deadroads is smoky swamp blues with a slow burning fist pumping first part that explodes into guitar fireworks for the middle section, finally Nightshade ends the EP with a deftly played ballad that features some reserved percussion from Campbell (who is son of Motorhead's Phil) at the beginning before swaying through quiet and loud dynamics led by McInch's bass all while Williams cries for his 'Belladonna' and delivers yet another searing solo. A strong debut EP from a local band that have all the chops to get a lot bigger (hell they are already on the cover mount CD of the latest Classic Rock) 8/10

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