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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Reviews: Amaranthe, The Black Moods, Suicide By Tigers

Amaranthe: Maximalism (Spinefarm)

Amaranthe are concerning themselves with premium quality poppy electro metal with one ear to the mainstream, they have the guts of a metal band and rippling synths that wouldn't sound out of place in Ibiza, on Fireball the synths are at their thumping best. This record has all of the musical touches that have been part of Amaranthe's style since their debut. They dabble a bit on the record too however as That Song has a touch of Halestorm to it and would sound perfect at a major sports event, while 21 is an ode to luck and gambling that is harder edged and powered by the guitar of Olof killer solos.

The electronica elements are still heavily prevalent with the drums bass and keys all being the main driving force behind the pumping music as Olofs guitar cuts in with heavy riffs and serious solo chops. Again the vocal interplay is impressive with Elize showing a wider range to her vocals putting a bit of grit into On The Rocks. With the Jake E Lundberg and Henrik Englund Wilhemsson supplying clean and harsh vocals, they are the ideal counterpoints and companions to the main vocals of Elize. Her voice is still the stand out though she can out sing most of the pop strumpets doing the rounds at the moment providing the melodic power to the faster tracks but also handling a slower songs such as Limitless with a grace that is only shared by a few vocalists around.

Endlessly is her magnum opus, it has the huge musical backing and sees Elize moving into diva levels of pomp with a simply stunning performance. Amaranthe are now four albums into their career and they have carved out a niche as the premier purveyors and some would say originators of their sound. It's another album that will see Amaranthe gain more fans, play bigger arenas and ultimately cement themselves as a headliner of the future. 8/10

The Black Moods: Medicine (Another Century)

With that name and the album title you'd be forgiven for thinking The Black Moods were the kind of fringe wearing emo band parodied so brilliantly by Evil Scarecrow on their song Blacken The Everything. However on this assumption you would be wrong, The Black Moods are hard rock band from Tempe Arizona, fronted by singer/guitarist Josh Kennedy who is a born rockstar, with his leonine Plant-like hair, he supplies the swaggering guitar riffs with the loucheness of Keith Richards and compliments it with his whiskey soaked vocal, backed by Chico Diaz on drums and rounded out by Johannes Lars on the bass the trio play a mature type of alternative rock that puts them in the same category as Muse, CandleBox, Chevelle but with the pop sensibilities of The Killers and even our own Ash.

Think The Foo Fighters with a classic rock ethos and you'll get The Black Moods' sound, they go to arena rock on How Long driven by jangly power chords, add an indie sensibility to Paralysed, but they are at their best on the driving hard rockers such as Someone Save Us and the thumping Right Now Anywhere. The trio bind together as one and this record moves away from the crafted multi tracked albums that seem to flood rock at the moment stripping things back to their basic state of just instruments and vocals. Medicine is a tough, direct and punchy debut that is a promising start for the Arizona rockers. Keep an eye out for the band as they have lot of promise. 7/10

Suicide By Tigers: S/T (Self Released)

Despite sounding like what could be a very nasty way to end it all, Suicide By Tigers are a Swedish hard rock n roll band. Being from Sweden this means that they are very retro, expansive drumming from Johan Helgesson kicks off Death On Your Tail as frontman Nils Lindström croons with a soulful vocal comparable to Glen Hughes but with a lower register. Helgesson's drumming is exquisite throughout and the main draw for this record especially his fills on Vicious Malicious. SBT take from the late 60's blues and soul backed rock that Rival Sons have helped bring back into the public consciousness, the production helps the record no end it makes the walking bass of Peter Broch sound warm and inviting, defines the drums from the percussion on Beautiful Nights and it also means that Petter Rudnert's guitar has a crisp tone to it when it cuts in for his firework displays.

As I've said SBT have that late 60's early 70's vibe that can be heard on the Black Country Communion records with Pack Of Wolves being one of the picks of the record with its groovy riff and numerous razor sharp guitar solos. This self released, self titled album is a cracking record that sounds like it should be on a much bigger label than it is, soulful, bluesy, brimming with cocksure confidence and oozing with coolness these cats definitely have claws. 8/10  

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