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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Reviews: Krysthla, Stephen Pearcy, Hellbound Hearts

Krysthla: Peace In Our Time (PHD)

Krysthla's 2015 record was responsible for much ringing in my ears that year a trend that continued after seeing them live. The record was 8 songs of extremely heavy metal that was aggressive, destructive taking the best parts of Meshuggah, Gojira and Strapping Young Lad and putting them in blender of ultra-violent beat-downs and furious riffage.

Well the ironically titled second album Peace In Our Time is anything but peaceful drawing inspiration from the frankly disturbing modern world we live in it riffs on Chamberlain's famous if misguided speech with a sense of hope that such a thing can be achieved for the next generation. Ultimately the album is about war and the music reflects this with concussion level rhythms from Carl Davies and Wayne Minney battering your ear drums, the grinding riffs of Neil Hudson and Noel Davis making them bleed profusely as Adi Mayes barks, growls and conjures the dark lord himself with his vocals.

It's a progressive, extreme record that deals with extreme topics, Yawm-Al-Qiyamah is the Arabic for Judgement Day and reflects the issues with the Middle East, while In Death We Shall Not Die is a tribute to all those that war has taken. It's harrowing stuff but the music takes what could be a hard subject to swallow and injects a shot of fury into it, there are more melodic and intricate textures yes but these elements bolster the brutality of the rest of the record.

Krysthla continue where they left off on their debut but after the rigorous touring schedule it's all razor sharp and honed to create maximum devastation, the production of Neil Hudson takes the SYL soundscapes and means that there is a wall of discord from the opening seconds, it's relentless with only the briefest of pauses as the songs are fleshed out by the lighter touches before the heaviness kicks back in. A powerhouse of sheer musical force Krysthla have followed up their debut and upped their game, keep an eye out for live shows between April and July as Krysthla live are something to behold. 8/10

Stephen Pearcy: Smash (Frontiers)

Smash is the latest solo album from the former/current Ratt frontman and like much of his solo career it shows a different side to his songwriting, there are some Ratt influences of course with Ten Miles Wide and Rain sounding like they could have come off Out Of The Cellar or Invasion Of Your Privacy, with the big open chords and huge hooks. However the record opens with droning grunge that has touches of AIC or Smashing Pumpkins but with a blazing guitar solo while Shut Down Baby is a Southern flavoured rocker that has Pearcy displaying his vocal prowess.

The sheer mix of styles on this record is impressive Dead Roses ramps up as a sleazier heavier outing, but all of them have a Pearcy's unique vocal delivery. If that Sunset Strip sound makes you run in the opposite direction than this record won't win you round but Smash is a good time rock n roll album that will appeal to the fans of Ratt or Pearcy's other work and can be used as evidence of his longevity in the rock world. 6/10

Hellbound Hearts: Film Noir

Billed as alternative rock Hellbound Hearts are a modern rock band that even though they claim to be Suffering The Radio they seem to be very much aiming for radio play their sound is distinctly radio friendly almost poppy in places offset by the crunching heaviness of their musicianship. Do you remember the UK rock scene back in the early 2000's well Hellbound Hearts would fit in perfectly with that scene due to the vocals, emotive lyrics and tendencies to move towards the dark and brooding. 

Cherry picking The Wildhearts, Billy Talent and even Nirvana as influences, they are actually quite similar to Exit State to be honest which is no bad thing as they were one of the few bands to really blend pop tendencies with heavy rock riffs. Hellbound Hearts do this very successfully throughout but it's glaringly obvious on tracks such as Still We Wait. Film Noir is an interesting record that shows a lot of promise for this Yorkshire based band. 7/10

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