Savage Messiah: Hands Of Fate (Century Media)
We've had a few ups and downs with Savage Messiah, the London band came around at the same time as the thrash resurgence of of about 10 years ago, along with Evile, Reign Of Fury, Municipal Waste and others Savage Messiah set about bringing back old school thrash as nu-metal died out. On record the band were pretty good their 2012 record Plague Of Conscience and 2014 release The Fateful Dark saw them pretty much nail their colours to the mast with the right concoction of 80's thrash and classic metal leanings. However in the live arena they did always strike me as a little haphazard. Now on their fifth album the logo has been revamped, their line up has changed with Dave Silver the only remaining original member and the album cover is subtle and understated, it seems like Hands Of Fate is something of a rebirth for Savage Messiah, so with anticipation I pressed play.
The title track opens the record with chunky, choppy riff, it's got a gang chorus and the handprints of Metallica circa 1991, the middle eight even has a phased out part where you can just hear "hush little baby..." Hands Of Fate is a natural single, anthemic enough for rockers but with a lot of heft. It also sets the tone for the record as Savage Messiah have really highlighted their more traditional metal influence, Wing And A Prayer sounds as if BFMV are playing a Maiden track. However they do retain their thrash roots with Blood Red Road which has Dave doing his Megadave snarl, while Lay Down Your Arms bring back the Metallica stomps, the band sound revitalised by the changes as Dave leads the way with his impressive vocals and riff hungry rhythm guitar backed by Mira Slama's bass grooves and Andrea Gorio's drumming skills, check out Solar Corona for the fattest of classic metal riffs on the record, before Sam S Junior brings some flashy lead prowess.
Hands Of Fate takes Savage Messiah in to their tenth year as a band with a new found confidence and hybrid style that will hopefully see them as much more in-sync metal machine ready to devour the live stages. 8/10
The Atomic Bitchwax: Force Field (Tee Pee Records)
If you can say anything about The Atomic Bitchwax it's that they are 4:20 friendly band of current Monster Magnet bassist Chris Kosnik who with guitarist Finn Ryan and MM drummer Bob Pantella play mind expanding psychedelic stoner rock that has got a bit more oomph to it than their colossal riffing day job. With Finn Ryan's guitar slinging wildly TAB have perfected their self described "thunder boogie" over the course of a long career and this seventh record is just another chapter of their story.
Force Field doesn't do anything different to their previous albums but it it's a headbanging ride through riff driven boogie rock with a distinct smell of weed permeating through every retro groove. It's a wild ride that doesn't stop with Alaskan Thunder Fuck the albums wildest track sitting in between some Grand Funk Goes Punk heavy rocking. Spark one up, grab some buds and let the good times roll! 7/10
In Search Of Sun: Virgin Funk Mother (Spinefarm)
A long time ago there was band called 3 they were progressive rock band from Woodstock New York, formed by multi-instrumentalist Joey Eppard and drummer Josh (who later joined Coheed & Cambria) they played dark, yet uplifting music that owed as much to hard rock as it did pop, they were unafraid of genres adding as many as possible to their music for maximum effect. I've only opened this review with a history lesson as 3 are the band that I'm most reminded off when I put on the second effort by London act In Search Of Sun, now I've heard the name but I've never really investigated the bands music until now.
Much like the New York band mentioned earlier In Search of Sun know their way around a genre for maximum effect, it's prog Jim but not as we know it Bad Girl has bass heavy poly-rhythms but uses them in time signature more used to ska or reggae, Petrichtor does the same but has jazz drumming in it's stop-start sound and lots of dexterity in the guitar playing. In Search Of Sun are forging their own path music with style all of their own, heartfelt emotional vocals, a virtuosity in their playing but some very poppy hooks that slither their way into your psyche, it's refreshing to hear music like this and if you have been a long time fan of Coheed & Cambria, InMe or even 3 then Virgin Funk Mother will get you moving. 8/10
Black Water Rising: Electrified (Pavement Music)
Brooklyn band Black Water Rising deal with heft, they say their music is "No Frills Riff Rock" and they've nailed that description, thick syrupy riffs thunder through your speakers with the viscosity of Fu Manchu, Fireball Ministry or Monster Magnet. The politically charged, emotive lyrics are delivered by Rob Traynor's excellent vocals but he and the rest of the band use a chunky wall of riffs to hammer the point home.
Even on the lighter Don't Wait Up and World Of Frustration they still retain a heaviness, they add a mainstream edge to Higher but on the title track, Obey, Payback and Buried In Black they crank the amps up to 11. This is the band's third album, which is not bad when you consider the project started as a vehicle for Traynor, they bring the heavy stoner rock riffs from the opening track but they also add in some of the more accessible touches of Nickelback et al. Electrified is a good album, it's nothing new or too complicated just good honest, riff friendly rocking. 7/10