Piledriver: Brothers In Boogie (Rockwall)
You've got to hand to the Germans. With their love of David Hasselhoff, sauerkraut and Grave Digger, they really don't give a shit. Enter Piledriver, a band formed in Essen in 1995 with one intention, “to preserve the legacy” of the original “Frantic Four”; yes folks, that is Status Quo. But none of this namby pamby acoustic shite, the original hard rocking denim clad pre-1981 band who used to be revered in the hard rock circles and who were responsible for the epic Quo Live.
Piledriver didn't leave it as a tribute band though, oh no. They decided to hit out on their own with their own Quo like boogie, four bars that will never die. Brothers in Boogie is the band’s third full release and mostly work. It's alright, listenable and inoffensive. Ironically vocal delivery of Michael Sommerhoff and Peter Wagner sits closer to Udo Dirkschneider than Parfitt or Rossi and the stomping beat veres from Quo to Scorpions to Lightweight Accept. Rock In A Crossfire Hurricane? Yeap, that's here. Fat Rat Boogie, One Way to Rock and perfect Quo replica Good Times Again make you smile. In fact, these would be the ideal band at a party or wedding. You will either hate this or love it. I'd love to see them live. It must be hysterical. I think the Grammy can be put back in the cupboard for another year. 6/10
Vesen: Rorschach (Soulseller)
Straight out of Satan’s arse hole comes Vesen, a four piece thrash black metal who hit hard and don't stop. Some of the most gruesome vocals I've heard for ages, cut throats riffage and rampaging bass and drums all combine to make a fearsome noise. It's not pretty but then I don't think the band are looking for pink and fluffy. Rorschach is their fifth full length album, and it pounds like a hammer to the head. Pray for Fire has a galloping pace, with Ronny Ostil’s screaming haunted vocals reminiscent of Behemoth’s Nergal. In fact the whole release has more than a nod to the Polish lords of the black metal world. It's crushing stuff and with tracks such as the demonic Blood, Bones and Pride and the battery of Vulgar, Old and Sick Blasphemy (with a large nod towards old school Celtic Frost) it'll scare the shit out of those who think hard rock is Stone Broken. Break out the black candles and the goat skull, time for a bit of Vesen in your life. 8/10
Battery: Martial Law (Punishment 18 Records)
I went to Aarhus once. I saw Cardiff City get thumped in a European Cup match in 1988. It was a dismal game which matched the place. Battery are still stuck in that year, such is the dated style of their thrash. But it's not all dreadful with some fine aggressive riffage and speed the name of the game. Vocally it's bloody awful, with Chris Steel’s screeching voice a poor man’s combination of about a million better thrash throats, Bobby Ellsworth, Paul Balfour and Steve Souza for three. Andreas Joen batters the shit out his kit from start to finish whilst raw fury drives the guitars of Steel, Jokull Johannesson and Jesper Campradt. Jannick Nielsen’s rampaging bass lines impress in the Frank Bello style. It's unfortunate that the vocals do nothing to enhance any of the songs, with Battery By Authority particularly dire but with some harnessing Battery may yet fire a charge or two. 6/10