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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Reviews: Black Stone Cherry, Matt Cameron, R.I.P, V1

Black Stone Cherry: Black To The Blues (Mascot Records)

On their third EP Black Stone Cherry, have done something a little different while their fan base wait for their new album. Off the back of their most recent world tour the band have put together a compilation of their versions of blues standards, you may think Joe Bonamassa has probably got this market cornered, but BSC speak to probably a younger audience who will now be exposed to the blues standards of old. BSC play it reasonably safe covering songs that have been covered by numerous artists over the years, the two most recognizable being Muddy Waters' Hoochie Coochie Man which is  given a heavier BSC overhaul and Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign that features some parping brass. The songs are fairly faithful to the originals but with a heaviness that BSC themselves have been lacking somewhat lately, Built For Comfort has a punching riff and a funky synth that Howlin Wolf could only dream of, they unsurprisingly bring some stoner touches to Waters' Champagne & Reefer and give a big Southern riff to Freddie King's Palace Of The King. To hear a band like this jamming old blues tunes in their own style is interesting, the covers are a little too well known but this is a record for the band and it's fans nothing more. 6/10

Matt Cameron: Cavedweller (I'm A Seahorse Music)

There aren't many musicians who can claim to be in four of the most influential bands in a genre, Matt Cameron is one of those people, a founder member of Skin Yard, Temple Of The Dog and Soundgarden in 1998 after Soundgarden split he joined Pearl Jam and has split his time between both of grunges heavy hitters ever since. Now he has tried his hand at being a frontman, guitarist, producer and writer for his first solo record, joining him are drummer Mark Giuliana and bassist Tim Lefebvre both of whom are from David Bowie's most recent backing band that played on Blackstar.

I can say that this experiment has been a hit, vocally he's more than capable having a nicely melodic vocal that means this record is a far away from his day jobs as possible and as a guitarist too he can hold his own layering synths and acoustic strumming with bluesy electrics on Blind. If you've heard Taylor Hawkins solo records then you'll get a hint as to what Cavedweller sounds like, Cameron indulges in psychedelic hard rock for Time Won't Wait,  air guitar friendly riffs on All At Once a song that has cool drum outro to it, he dabbles with buzzing electronics and ambient textures for One Special Lady and goes deeper still on Real And Imagined. It's an interesting record this, some of these songs date back to the 80's but nothing sounds dated, equally it also stands on it's own merit by not  being anywhere similar to either Soundgarden or Pearl Jam. Solo projects can be a shambles but this just adds another string to Matt Cameron's already huge bow. 7/10

R.I.P: Street Reaper (Riding Easy Records)

Portland, Oregon must be a scary place to live, at least that's the impression you get from R.I.P's second record. They play what they like to call sleazy street doom, this is doom metal that doesn't run over the same old tropes of wizards, goblins, no Street Reaper is horror movie occultism with dirty fuzzy riffs from Angel Martinez and Jon Mullett thundering in at every opportunity as Willie D bashes out a meaty rhythm and Fuzz hollers. It's classic doom that sits as a bridge between the occult doom of Electric Wizard and the sleazy proto-metal of Admiral Sir Cloudseley Shovell. Mother Road's snarling riff brings the bite back to doom metal, it makes the music unsettling and heavy but never falls into the so often used troupe of extended lumbering riffs, the pace is fairly brisk, if Mastodon were influenced more by Pentagram and Saint Vitus than Neurosis this is what they would sound like. Doom metal can be fairly repetitive but R.I.P are taking it back to it's grimy roots riff by riff, a good second album from the Oregon band but I think where they really shine is live, let's hope they make it to these shores soon. 7/10 

V1: Armageddon - End Of The Beginning (Frog Juice Production)

The press release for this record says V! was formed by former Iron Maiden men Dennis Willcock (vocals/frontman) and Terry Wapram (guitars) in 1978 both men left the band to form V1. Former vocalist of Iron Maiden is a stretch, he never recorded anything with the group and as far as I'm aware never wrote any of the songs that would feature on their single releases. V1 are the latest in a long line of reinvigorated NWOBHM bands, reformed when the members are re-living their glory days in their latter years. Unfortunately it follows the trend for these projects to be depressingly average with middle of the road songwriting, basic performances and no real spark never mind any fire. There are so many bands both contemporaries and young upstarts that are far superior to this and I suggest you exhaust yourself seeking them out first before you even spin this disc. If this is really is the end then Armageddon out of here. 4/10

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