New Year's Day: Diary Of A Creep (Century Media)
To satisfy their borderline obsessed fan base, New Year's Day follow up their breakthrough album Malevolence with a 6 track EP. It features one brand new song, the excellent Disgust Me whioch has the bands trademark mix of groove heavy riffs and catchy chorus as Ash Costello sings with an angst that's unmatched after the new original come five covers where New Year's Day have done their on versions of tracks from artists that have influenced them, New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle gets and industrial darkwave makeover, their take on Pantera's Fucking Hostile is a little slower than the original but one it's more rounded and two the lyrics are decipherable, it still punches you in the throat though so kudos for that and the solos are Dime worthy.
As I've said the covers are a little eclectic as after Fucking Hostile Linkin Park's Crawling is treated to a synth remix that really makes it a dark and poignant track, Ash teams up with Lzzy Hale for a salute to female rock icon Shirley Manson with a rocking version of Only Happy When It Rains where Lzzy gets to really let loose with the stomp/clap keeping going. Finally the record ends with Don't Speak which has No Doubt sounding like never before, it's a suitably powerful end to the record as the orchestration makes it sound like a modern Bond-theme.
Diary Of A Creep is an impressive stop gap that lets New Year's Day pay homage to their influences by putting their own spin on classic songs but also shows that they are still creating new music which bodes well for a new album soon. 7/10
Lione/Conti: Lione/Conti (Frontiers Records)
Frontiers have a knack of putting together dream team pairings, like the Allen/Lande records the newest dual vocalist album comes from Alessandro Conti and Fabio Lione. Conti is the singer of Trick Or Treat and was chosen by guitarist Luca Truilli to front his version of Rhapsody after he left the original group. Fabio Lione is the original singer of Rhapsody and Rhapsody Of Fire (the band changed name after Truilli left) and has recently sung for Rhapsody again on their most recent (and final) tour. So both men have sung with Rhapsody so you'd expect the record to sound a little like that and while the Rhapsody influence is their as the press releases says this is pretty much an Italian version of Allen/Lande but with more of a power metal vibe.
As with most of these Frontiers collaborative records the backing musicians make the record what it is and this is no exception, the album was written and produced by Simone Mularoni of DGM he plays guitars and bass with Marco Lanciotti and Filippo Martignano taking drums and keys respectively, they fire on all cylinders throughout as Lione and Conti stretch their tonsils. What the record gives you is 10 big power metal tracks and the occasional ballad like Somebody Else. Both vocalists are brilliant and play off each other well, Lione/Conti will be a treat for anyone who enjoys power metal and any previous Frontiers collections. 7/10
Tartarum: Tales Of Ancient Times (Self Released)
Cypriot band Tartarum used to be known as Khrysaor until 2017 when they decided to release their new record under a new name due to new band members, so Tales Of Ancient Times is the bands debut album an it's a strong first shot, the record has 8 tracks of atmospheric/symphonically charged melodic death metal, led by the maelstrom of riffage from founding member Alexis Yiangoulis songs like Cosmology are unstoppable with furious blastbeats running riot.
Yiangoulis also takes the keys adding the dramatic parts to tracks such as the chugging Titanomachy where Kotsios Kotsiou is free to explore with his lead guitar playing adding frenzied solos and more restrained moments on Capturing The Universe. Tartarum are stylistically reminiscent of their Greek counterparts Septicflesh as Chris Panteli balances his low growls with clean mids effortlessly, while the expansive musical backing really makes you listen, Tales Of Ancient Times is a progressive, atmospheric record with an extreme metal heart, it's one of those records that builds to a thrilling climax with Kuchisake Onna and Feasting With The Gods two of the best songs on the record by far. You need to hear this album if Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Wintersun are regularly played in your home, I promise you won't regret it. 8/10
Wedge: Killing Tongue (Heavy Psych Sounds)
There seems to be an influx of late 60’s/early 70’s influenced psych rock bands around at the minute and many come from Sweden, as Paul will attest due to him being the one to review most of them, not all of them are Swedish, for example one of the best are Berlin rockers Kadavar. So also out of Berlin come Wedge who scream mind-altering psych with their album artwork which sees a woman licking a tab shaped like a guitar pick.
It’s by no means subtle but then neither is the music, stomping hard rock that brings to mind Grand Funk Railroad, Stray and Status Quo but also modern acts like Lionize. If you want a feel for the band then listen to their first track Nuthin’ and their final track Push Air, the former is a riff friendly Lizzy-like rocker that gets the blood pumping before the organs swell into Deep Purple proportions, the latter is a musical menagerie with funk bass, electric piano and even a harmonica solo coming during its 6 minute run time.
That’s not to say the rest of the album is not worth dealing with because it very much is, Lucid flows freely with tasty riffs, Tired Eyes is all atmosphere as the sound effect of chains drag the song along underpinned by bassist/organist Dave Götz who has dextrous four stringing and bubbling keys, before exploding into some more Thin Lizzy harmonies. The time is kept to a frenzied steadiness (which I know is a misnomer) by drummer Holger “The Holg” Grosser as the fuzzbox riffs and wild vocals come from Kiryk Drewinski.
The music is atypical for a retro trio, part Wolfmother, part Kadavar the songs whizz pass with all the authenticity of the period, just check out the Eagles meets tabla/bongo on Quarter To Dawn or the jazz flourishes on High Head Woman. Killing Tongue is establishes Wedge as retro rock groove machine decked out in bell-bottoms and paisley shirts you practically smell the joss sticks across the 9 tracks. 9/10