Magick Touch: Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire (Edged Circle Productions)
Classic rock wrapped up in a ball of power and fury is the order of the day from Bergen’s Magick Touch. Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire is just under 40 minutes of hard rocking in the vein of Thin Lizzy, Tygers of Pan Tang, Whitesnake and hundreds of others, and at times it’s hard to believe that there are just three of them. Opener Under The Gun kicks the album off in style, a short, in your face blast. Vocalist and guitarist HK Rein has a decent voice, ranging from Phil Lynott to Layne Staley.
The Great Escape highlighting the inner Lynott with a track that Black Star Riders would be proud to own. The Nuge’s Cat Scratch Fever riff surfaces on Midnight Sadusa, which has a fuzzy combination of Witch Tripper and Gun! There are points in the release where the attention does wander slightly but the thick chunky riffs do tend to refocus the mind. Electrick Sorcery has a soaring, climatic feel, crashing drums and an AOR feel, and overall, the band has a sound which will go down well on their support to Audrey Horne in Europe shortly. 7/10
Bloodbark: Bonebranches (Self Released)
I have little information about Bloodbark. Bonebranches is the debut release, it is 39 minutes of atmospheric ambient black metal, delivered in three majestic epic tracks. Opening track Eyeless Winter starts with a lone piano, accompanied by some thick synth which quickly explodes into a typical black metal delivery, tremolo picking, thunderous bass drums and rasping vocals with a riff that repeats for the first couple of minutes before developing into an 11-minute journey filled with crashing riffs and tempo changes.
This is followed by the impressive Ferns And Roads, which at nearly 18 minutes long has ample time to develop. Beginning with a slow, macabre processional feel it is led by simple keyboard notes whilst the drums and guitars encase it, the track picks up both pace and intensity, soaring with snarling vicious vocals contrasting with the haunting melody that pulses throughout. As Wolves, another lingering track that is simply constructed yet effortlessly effective in its delivery. Bonebranches is an interesting release and whilst it doesn’t have the same quality of Winterfylleth, Fen and the like there is a lot to be interested in here. 7/10
Raven Cain: Oblivious (Maximum Volume Music)
One listen to the latest release from Raven Cain will leave you in no doubt where his loyalty lies. Tracks such as Outlaw Way, General Lee and the quite spectacularly awful flag-flying Son Of The South all contain chest thumping, stars and stripes waving patriotic themes which to a non-American are just quite alarming to be honest. Concentrating on the music and not straying into the political for a minute, Oblivious works just fine. Hard rocking with a Southern Country rock style, it’s neatly and smoothly done with decent production and decent musicianship.
Raven Cain’s bombastic biography may explain why this alleged direct descendent of Blackbeard the pirate comes across with a non-nonsense approach that is likely to make many feel a little uneasy. However, the ghastly ballad My Addiction, which has the skin crawling is bad enough but when you get to All American Bad Ass then it’s time to turn the speakers off. Confidence is one thing but Raven Cain, 6th degree black belt, ordained Buddhist priest and all-round patriot has an arrogance that really doesn’t appeal in the slightest. 4/10
American Glutton: Dish Served Cold (From The Ashes Records)
A five-track EP from American Glutton, which contains the same personnel who make up Raven Cain and his band. Comprising Raven Cain on vocals, Tommy Harrison on guitar and Dani Harrison, the band has a slightly harder rock edge than Cain’s solo work but contains the same swagger in the vocals and although the biog suggests that Cain’s own fans were surprised at his versatility, I can’t really distinguish anything substantially different in his delivery.
Five tracks of routine hard rock, slick and robust, but with little to stand out from the mundane. Lyrically it’s predictable, and in God Knows we have a candidate for one of the worst songs of 2018. If you like dirty, sleaze crusted rock then it may be of interest. I’m unlikely to ever play this again. 5/10