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Monday, 5 December 2016

Reviews: Sixx:A.M, Sirenia, Superjoint, Haddock (Reviews By Paul)

Sixx AM: Prayers For The Blessed Vol 2 (Universal)

Back in May I reviewed Prayers For The Damned Vol 1, album number four from Sixx AM, giving it a 6/10. I stated at the time that it was probably the most accessible of the band’s four releases. Prayers For The Blessed Vol 2 follows swiftly on the heels of that release and it’s not bad. The compositions remain focused on the rock radio fare which we’ve come to expect. Vocalist James Michael possesses a decent set of pipes and with tracks like The Devil’s Coming and Wolf At Your Door he really lets rip.

The former track is a fine rip snorter of a track with some chunky riffs and sweet guitar work courtesy of DJ Ashba whilst That’s Gonna Leave A Scar thunders along with a melodic hard rock edge. Once again Nikki Sixx and co have drawn up some anthemic tunes which will get the fists pumping. Generic but perfectly listenable. 7/10

Sirenia: Dim Days Of Dolor (Napalm Records)

The Norwegian symphonic metallers have been around the block a few times since their formation in 2001 and return with their 8th full release and the first with new vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan. She replaces Ailyn Gilmenez who had been with the band for eight years. For Zoldan this is a step up, having been a member of the Sirenian choir for 13 years. Her classically trained mezzo soprano fits the band’s sound perfectly and she is of course no stranger to the metal scene having been a big part of Trail Of Tears’ Existensia and Turisas’ Battle Metal in 2004. Meanwhile the engine of Sirenia Morten Veland remains the composer and instrumentalist for all this album.

With fewer harsh vocals from Veland than in previous releases and a limited input from the choir in comparison to before, the focus is very much on Zoldan’s vocals and she doesn’t disappoint with a commanding performance. The title track allows her to demonstrate her calibre and she hits some stunningly high notes with apparent ease. The 12th Hour does see Veland’s gruff tones contrast with Zoldan’s delicate yet powerful delivery and the backing from the choir adds atmosphere to a busy track. It’s a little too similar in parts but symphonic metal is often like that. Worth a listen 7/10

Superjoint: Caught Up In The Gears Of Application (Housecors Records)

Formerly Superjoint Ritual but now just Superjoint for legal reasons, the filthy beast that is Philip Anselmo crashes back with the band’s first album since 2003’s A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred. Caught Up In The Gears Of Application is pretty much as you’d expect with an outfit that contains Anselmo associates Jimmy Bower, Kevin Bond, Jose Maneul Gonzalez and Stephen Taylor. It’s brutal, it’s dirty and it’s full of sludgy punk attitude. The hardcore edge, Anselmo’s guttural snarling shouted vocals and some quite disgustingly crushing riffs leave little to the imagination. Titles such as Sociopathic Herd Delusion and Rigging The Fight are full force anger. Listen with caution. 6/10

Haddock: Captain Wolfe’s Journey (Self Released)

I kid you not. Possibly the worst named band in the history of fish based rock, Haddock are a four-piece fuzz balled stoner outfit from Sweden. This five-track release is dirty, scruffy and very competent. Merging The Sword, Graveyard, High on Fire as well as the desert howlings of Kyuss, Captain Wolfe’s Journey continues very much in the vein of the stoner rock format, with crashing cymbals, rampaging riffs and distorted guitar work. If you like the stoner sound then this will be a pleasant addition to your collection. It’s nothing new and won’t win any awards but this is a genre which isn’t really about originality. 6/10

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