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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Reviews: Rock Candy Funk Party, Santa Cruz, Neuronspoiler, HateMore

Rock Candy Funk Party: The Groove Cubed (Provogue)

The force of nature that is Joe Bonamassa returns again with a new record, the man releases albums faster than I can eat a hot dinner with solo records, collaborations with other artists, the return of Black Country Communion all taking the mans time, however the Rock Candy Funk Party albums have always been the most interesting part of the mans career. Different by definition RCFP are a funk/jazz/rock ensemble formed by session drummer extraordinaire Tal Bergman (Billy Idol, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Joe Bonamassa) and his friend funk guitarist Ron De Jesus, they recruited Bonamassa, bassist Mike Merritt and ivory tinkler Renato Neto to the cause with one goal in mind "there are no rules, just expect the unexpected".

Unexpected is right the record draws heavily from funk and jazz but there's samba on In The Groove, while Don't Even Try It ramps up the funk due to the additional vocals of Vintage Trouble's Ty Taylor who brings his requisite coolness to the song that comes from the 70's/80's disco scene, Nile Rogers be praised. He's not the only vocalist on this record as Jimmy Barnes daughter and Bonamassa collaborator Mahalia Barnes adds the sass to some I Got The Feelin' the rest of the record is strictly instrumental though, each virtuoso cranking out the groove driven funk as the songs weave in and out of different genres, at 14 tracks long many who are not totally taken in by this style of music will be losing interest by Mr Funkadamus Returns And He Is Mad which is essentially a drum solo from Bergman but for those groove seekers Rock Candy Funk party is a joyous experimental fusion record. 7/10

Santa Cruz: Bad Blood Rising (Universal Music Group)

The Finns love a bit of sleazy glam metal and it doesn't get much glammier than Santa Cruz, this young band have the spirit of the Sunset Strip coursing through their collective veins, they've even got a track called Get Me Out Of  California which is pure Sixx:A.M. Part Motley Crue, part G'N'R with the modern sheen of Asking Alexandria and Avenged Sevenfold these Finns bring dirty rock riffs, Archie vocals/guitar, Johnny guitar, Middy bass, Taz drums have epic choruses, that get heartfelt on Drag Me Out Of The Darkness and the acoustic Breathe but mostly it's big hard hitting riffs, with a modernity that sees them classed as glamcore. Labels aside Bad Blood Rising is an attitude driven record that is the sort of record you'd expect for a band full of red blooded youngsters, it's a record that's full of chest beating bravado, it's full of Pure Fucking Adrenaline, if you like Asking Alexandria, BMTH, Escape The Fate and bands of that ilk with a shining slice of 80's sounds then Santa Cruz will make your blood pressure rise, not my thing normally but no doubting the talent. 7/10

Neuronspoiler: Second Sight (Dissonance)

Well this is a blast from the past, I remember reviewing Neuronspoiler's debut album in 2013, it was a strong slice of traditional metal and it's taken the band four years to make and release this follow up as the scything riff of Reclaim Your Path scurries out of your speakers at a fair old pace, in the intervening years between the albums the sound hasn't changed one iota, Neuronspoiler play riff happy British heavy metal with some speed metal trappings even branching out into thrash on Slay The Beast the twin guitar mastery comes from David del Cid and Pierre Afoumado who shred up a storm letting Matthew Monroe and Erick Tekilla build a strong rhythm section. This record has a defiant tone to it, Hidden Agenda and This Is Revolution both scream out about the madness that is our current society, vocalist JR gives his best performance on the slow burning This Brave One that sits in the middle of the record and is filled with classical guitars and is followed by the Priest-like Queen Of The Darkness. Neuronspoiler still have a tight old on their sound, they're a band comfortable in their skin and are still performing the classic metal staples at the same high level as they were on their debut but for a modern audience, let's hope it doesn't take them another four years to follow it up. 7/10

HateMore: The Pain Of Loss (Monster Promotions) 

HateMore's Facebook page say their artists we also like are Exodus, Testament and Slayer and while This Is How We Die does have a bit of thrash to it, I'd say they have more of and Alice In Chains motif running through their records, slow, heavy grooves with reverbed vocals, things get a little faster on The Dream Is Dead. It's standard stuff but the addition of organs to the mix shake things up but this record is boring, it never gets out of cruise and there are much better ways to spend your time. 5/10

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