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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Reviews: Whiskey Myers, Sodom, Throes Of Dawn

Whiskey Myers: Mud (Thirty Tigers)

Texans Whiskey Myers broke this side of the pond with their previous record Early Morning Shakes and since then they have been graciously welcomed with open arms by the British rock crowd and press, so much so that their second album Firewater was re-released for the British market, since their last album they have supported Cadillac Three on their last UK tour as well as supporting other high profile names, nabbing spots at Ramblin Man Fair and going out on their own headline tour of the UK. With all this focus on the Texan band it can be said that their fourth record Mud is anticipated  and it does live up to the expectation that is certainly surrounding it. Mud is another album crammed with the kind of Country/Southern rock not heard since the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers,The Marshall Tucker Band, The Doobie Brothers and even The Eagles were in full flight (no pun intended).

As you can see by these comparisons Whiskey Myers lean more towards the the country rock sound than a lot of their peers (The Cadillac Three and Blackberry Smoke excluded) with bubbling organs, parping brass and fiddles adding to their menagerie of sounds on On This River. The album deals with the trappings of the South too paying homage to it's heroes on Hank (a song about Hank Williams) but also how the south is a state of mind, just listen to the fuzzy, guitar laden Frogman which tells the tale of a Navy SEAL longing for his country home, co-written by ex Black Crowe Rich Robinson or Trailer We Call Home which is the sort of blue-collar storytelling that is both believable and for many sympathetic to.

The writing has improved significantly on this fourth record the band have managed to take the intensity of their live sound and translate it to the record, frontman Cody Cannon's lyrics are are in places affecting and others triumphant and the record sounds like it was recorded live in the studio in as few takes as possible, the seven piece band all bringing their distinctive talents to the album.

Take for instance a song like Stone that builds from a piano-led ballad into a Rossington/Collins-like guitar trade off or the heavy title track which just sounds huge with the rhythm section punching hard, these tracks are counterpointed by the smooth Some Of Your Love, the acoustic picking of The Good Ole Days and Lightning, Bugs And Rain which is funky, folky and flirty, however every song just fits and they are deep in the rich vein of the country rock tradition all of the songs clearly display the breadth of sounds within that tradition. Mud is the culmination of a long game for Whiskey Myers and sets them up for bigger things to come. 8/10    

Sodom: Decision Day (SPV) [Review By Paul]

There’s not much to really say about Sodom. Since their formation in 1981, the German thrash machine has continued to grind out high quality no-nonsense metal which does exactly what it says on the tin. Decision Day leaves little to the imagination, 50 minutes of pounding heavy metal which switches speed but little else. Strange Lost World is more traditional heavy metal with crushing riffs and Tom Angelripper’s gritty vocal delivery grabbing you by the throat whilst the more aggressive thrash assault of Rolling Thunder and the uncomfortably titled Vaginal Born Evil leave little to the imagination. Originators of the genre, Sodom are often and rightly talked about as part of the big three in Germany, alongside the might of Kreator and Destruction. Whilst the Bay Area took much of the limelight, it’s pleasing to see and hear the real old school still kicking the shit out of everything with full force. Get Decision Day. Bang your head. Classic. 8/10

Throes Of Dawn: Our Voices Shall Remain (Argonauta Records)

Dark progressive metal band formed by Henri (vocals) and Jani (synths) the mixture of guitars and synths are the major part of TOD's interesting and engaging sound. Obviously the band are not the happiest of chaps as their music is mornful, baleful and at times downright depressing (One Of Us Is Missing) but at the same time the album is imbued with captivating beauty that has the classic sound of Pink Floyd with the guitar playing packing an emotive punch that is increased when coupled with the layers of keys to really hit you in the heart and the guts.

From the repetitive riff of Mezmerized you can clearly hear that TOD have a sonic connection to Anathema and Crippled Black Phoenix as they rely on every instrument coming together to create a soundscape rather than focusing on flights of fancy, that's not to say there aren't any solos though, far from it there are incredible solos throughout but they are there to enhance the music. Take a song like The Understanding which is one of the darker heavier songs but it's peppered with melodic solo lines from Juha's spellbinding lead guitar. Atmosphere is paramount to this band Jani's synths and chunky rhythm guitars work well with Henri's keys to create a mood that Harri and Juusos rhythm section expand upon as frontman Henri's vocals are used as another form of moving expression. All are at there most powerful on final song The Black Wreath Of Mind.

Not since Distant Satellites or Hand Cannot Erase have I been so drawn in by an album, there is a lot going on in this record which brings you back to it for repeated listens allowing the record to grow and release more it's delights with every listen. Yes it's a miserable record but it's beautiful in its misery and that makes it a sure fire contender for my album of the year list. 9/10

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