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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Reviews: Vallenfyre, Shadowman, Kings Of Broadway, Endeavour (Reviews By Paul)

Vallenfyre: Fear Those Who Fear Him (Century Media)

Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh returns with the third album from side project Vallenfyre, the brutal death metal outfit he created in 2009. Fear Those Who Fear Him is quite simply an exercise in total obliteration. Massive power chords, skin slicing riffs and some of the heaviest death metal vocals around combine to provide a heavyweight album of sheer class. Accompanied by drummer Waltteri Vayrynen and My Dying Bride axe legend Hamish Glencross, this is a non stop assault on the senses. Underpinned by some gut-splitting grindcore passages, tracks such as Amongst The Filth, Soldier Of Christ come at you full bore and the epic Cursed From The Womb allows Mackintosh to explore a more doom drenched sound, although no less heavy. Indeed, if there is one word to describe this release it would be 'heavy'. Well worth a listen if you enjoy some old school, powerfully constructed death metal. 8/10

Shadowman: Secrets And Lies (Escape Music)

So what do you get if you let Steve Overland (Heartland), Chris Childs (Thunder), Harry James (Thunder, Magnum, Snakecharmer), Steve Millington (Heartland) and Steve Morris (Heartland) get together? The answer is album number 4 from one of the most competent melodic rock outfits ever formed. Six years since Watching Over You, this release is full of saccharine coated AOR which you will either love or want to throw up to. The slower ballads like Put It All On Love are polished, effortless and smoother than Greg Wallace's head rubbed with butter.

Opener Gravity is possibly the essence of AOR, vocal harmonies, crystal clean guitar lines, and as always, the solid, reliable drumming of Harry James, whose style fits in superbly. Overland's voice is perfect, the man having been around the scene for a long time. The influence that having a couple of members of Thunder on board is evident on Secrets And Lies, such is the similarity. If you like your AOR smooth, clean and straightforward then Shadowman's fourth release will be right up your street. As AOR releases go, this is almost perfect. 8/10

Kings Of Broadway: Self-Titled (Pride & Joy)

The self-titled debut from Italian hard rock outfit Kings Of Broadway sits very much in the Shinedown, Nickelback and Godsmack camp. It's well written, well performed and very competent. Vocalist Tiziano Spigno has a voice which is totally suited to the music, whilst the rest of the band can play. Guitarist Aldo Lonobile is well known in the Italian scene with his work with bands such as Secret Sphere and Shadowspell and his duel guitar work with Ricky Messeri is effective.

Tracks such as Shallow Ground (which has the Mr Big Undertow riff) and Iron Lady have fire and power, ideal for an afternoon slot at a festival. The difficulty for this type of album is that it tends to become very similar to bands of the same genre and therefore slightly repetitive. The album finished with a cover of One Republic's Counting Stars, a fucking awful song which does not win them any plus points. In fact, they lose one as a result. 7/10

Endeavour: Bring Upon The Rising Day (Self Released)

This four track EP from the Bristol based progressive outfit is impressive. Skull crushingly heavy at times, yet full of melody and the progressive time changes associated with bands like Dream Theater. It may only be four tracks, and one an excellent cover of Alice in Chains Them Bones but it's value for money, with Death In Lies clocking in at just shy of nine minutes and the epic title track 13 minutes duration. What you get with Endeavour is the aggression of Pantera combined with the less bloated elements of Dream Theater. These guys are no tribute act though. The band play the Sophie stage on Friday 11 August at BOA. They are well worth checking out. 8/10

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