Joe Satriani: What Happens Next? (Legacy Recordings)
The guitar legend is back with a new album which unsurprisingly shreds, rocks, rolls and stops at all stations in between. The king of the arpeggio tapping has hit another rich vein of form. What Happens Next is a thoroughly enjoyable release with opening track Energy setting the scene with its high pace and rampant guitar lines. Satriani has kept it simple this time around, enlisting Glenn Hughes on bass and Chad Smith on drums. Yeah! It’s a supergroup in anyone’s money. Catbot follows, a humorous stomp intertwined with some quite magnificent axe work. At the age of 61, Satriani is an artist who I’ve flirted with from time to time without ever getting past first base. Surfing With the Alien has just passed its 30th anniversary. Just pause and let that think in for a minute.
The stunning Thunder High On The Mountain allows a more measured approach, whilst Headrush does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s fast, furious and underlined by an almost jazz frisson with Hughes and Smith clearly relishing the opportunity to open up. Hughes’ thunderous bass lines which bounce all over this bad boy are something else. With over 10 million albums sold, Satriani is a legend in the true sense of the word, a virtuoso whose playing is something out of this world. The title track is a blues soaked melancholic track, smooth and well-paced, whilst the scratchy Super Funky Badass is, well, you can probably work it out. 16 albums now under the belt, What Happens Next is a demonstration of a guitarist and colleagues who just purr. This is a quite brilliant piece of work. 8/10
Legend Of The Seagullmen: S/T (Dine Alone Records)
Singing psychedelic rock with a cinematic twist, Legend Of The Seagullmen (LOTS) have finally released their debut album, and it is one crazy barnacle soaked beast. The band comprises Danny Carey of Tool, Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Dethlok and Zappa Plays Zappa bassist Pete A Griffin alongside Jimmy Hayward on guitar, David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer, synth player Chris Giovanni and guitarist Tim Dawson. Songs of shipwrecks, giant mutant squid and epic tales fill the eight tracks. The galloping We Are The Seagullmen and the abstract The Fogger start proceedings in impressive style before the haunting Shipswreck complete with Judas Priest style riffs.
Curse Of The Red Tide begins slowly before cascading into a massive beast whilst the title track is a ripping punk fused stoner ride, worthy of Rob Zombie or Zodiac Mindwarp in their heyday. There’s a rockabilly groove to this one. The Orca, complete with whale communication effects, salutes this majestic creature, the largest of the dolphin family, whilst commenting on the horrors of captivity. Never go to a marine park; these intelligent mammals belong in the oceans not a tank. Penultimate track on this insane nautical ride, Rise Of The Giant tells the tale of a giant squid destroying downtown Hollywood. Musically, this is one crazy album, riffs a plenty, crashing drums and at times verging on spine crushingly heavy. It’s a complete smorgasbord of nuttiness and well worth a listen. 8/10
Mother Misery - Megalodon (Transubstans Records)
I’d never heard of Mother Misery. They have been around since 1998 and hail from Sweden. Megalodon is their fifth full release and is a decent ten tracks of hard rock. It doesn’t rip up any trees but is sufficiently competent to encourage you to maintain your listening. Ashes Of Your Crown is a typical track, with neat guitar work from Thomas Piehl and John Hermansen who also doubles up on vocal duty. At times it swings directly into AOR territory, with the harmonies adding to the melodic sound. The title track, named after a prehistoric shark isn’t as ferocious as you might expect but it does the job. Overall, Megalodon is an okay album which doesn’t do much to either excite or disappoint. 6/10
Philip H Anselmo & The Illegals: Choosing Mental Health As A Virtue (Season Of Mist)
I struggle with Phil Anselmo. Massively. His boorish behaviour over many years wears thin and the last show I saw with Down he was a shadow of his Pantera-self. This is the sophomore release from Philip H Anselmo & The Illegals and it is just staggeringly heavy. Anselmo rages with volcanic anger on opener Little Fucking Heroes and it rarely comes up for air from thereon in. Insane drumming, disjointed time sequences, face peeling guitars and screaming vocals combine to produce an aborted vomit noise which sounds like Napalm Death having sex with Converge. I must admit it took a lot of fortitude to sit through this much aggression. My speakers turned bright red like a ginger in the midday sun. It was bloody horrible. You’ll love this or hate it. I’m in the latter. Dire. 3/10