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Friday, 23 March 2018

Reviews: Stormzone, Flickertail, Black Rainbows, Death Alley (Reviews By Paul)

Stormzone: Lucifer’s Factory (Metal Nation Records)

The title of the latest release from Northern Ireland’s power metal heroes conjured up images of the poor sods who work for Mike Ashley. However, I don’t think that is what the band had in mind. It’s been a few years since the band wowed us at BOA but this excellent follow up to 2015’s Seven Kings album once again hits all the right buttons. Opener Dark Hedges pays tribute to the iconic landmark and legend made famous by Game Of Thrones with vocalist John ‘Harv’ Harbinson On top form. The title track leads to Cushy Glen, a full-on metal track but with a magical Thin Lizzy vibe.

With superb harmonies ably supporting the melody which always surges through the band’s work, this is an album of sheer delight. Last Night In Hell catches the ear with its solid foundations, big riffs and simple yet impressive construction; Steve Moore and Jr Afrifa displaying exemplary guitar work. The rhythm section takes the plaudits on Albhartach, Gordy Gray’s thunderous drumming linked tightly to the pummeling bass lines of Graham McNulty.

After such a blistering start, the album plateaus somewhat with We Are Strong and Broken Window a little bit filler rather than killer, but things quickly pick up with The Heaven You Despise throwing down some thrashing riffs as the tempo is rapidly accelerated. Your Hell Falls Down is a track that James Toseland wishes he could write; a classic hard rock track with all the right pieces in all the right places. Harbinson’s vocals are quite something, this is by far his strongest performance for the band and even his rock cliched “woo-ahs” on In For The Kill work. Although Lucifer’s Factory is possibly two songs too long, it is a fine heavy metal album and Stormzone deserve every success with this release. Get yourself a copy. It’s a fine album. 8/10

Flickertail: Hurry Up and Wait EP (Golden Robot Records)

This is the debut EP from rock outfit Flickertail, a four-piece from Sydney, Australia. Honest, Americana style rock which will appeal to fans of Tom Petty right through to Oasis. The EP is short, under 15 minutes in length for five songs but they’ve deviated in style throughout, with tracks such as Fade Away containing more than a nod to the Arctic Monkeys whilst also having some delicious melodies which veer far more towards the indie scene than that of the hard rock punter. That’s not to say there isn’t still enough here to get the interest pumped, with The Darkness influenced rock of Green Eyed Girl particularly standing out. Definitively one for those who like their rock with a lighter, indie honed edge. 7/10

Black Rainbows: Pandemonium (Heavy Psych Sounds

Heavy stoner fuzzed psychedelic rock features regularly here on the Musipedia and in Black Rainbows we have more of the same from the Roma based Italian outfit, whose album Pandemonium is their sixth. A distorted sound with echoing space rock greets you like an old friend on opener Sunrise, soaring synths and searing guitar riffs are the order of the day with founders Gabriele Fiori and Giuseppe Guglielmino now joined by drummer Fillippo Ragazzoni.

High To Hell maintains the pace with chunky riffs and muffled bass tones hitting the spot. It’s fast, driving stoner rock which really belies the fact this is a three-piece outfit creating such noise. Some of the tracks really race here, such as the magical Riding Fast ‘Til The End Of Time whilst the space rock feel of I Just wanna Fire transports you to a distant place. This is a cracking release and well worth a listen. 8/10

Death Alley: Superbia (Century Media Records)

Sophomore release from Dutch psychedelic outfit Death Alley, catchier than crabs in Cardiff Bay, with the protopunk sound fusing neatly with their stoner style. Superbia washes over you as you listen, a melting chilled out experience at times whilst the chunkier riffage of Feeding The Lions and Headlights In The Dark is countered by the 12 minute freak out of The Sewage which closes out the album in dramatic and fantastic style. Take a ride. It’s a real whizz. 7/10

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