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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Reviews: Monster Magnet, Desert Storm, Eliminator, Firegarden (Reviews By Paul)

Monster Magnet: Mindfucker(Napalm Records)

The first new album by the Space Rockers since 2013’s Last Patrol, Mindfucker is just fabulous. A hard driving rocker from the opening strains of Rocket Freak, full of raging guitar, Dave Wyndorf's distinctive vocals and those ear worms which get in your head and chew upon the brain. The swirling Inferno Of Soul, the title track and the superb cover of Robert Calvert’s Ejection from 1974’s Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters transport you far away. Sure, it’s no Dopes To Infinity but this isn’t the 1990s. There’s a couple of bits of filler included, such as the throw away rampage of Brainwashed but you can’t have everything. Closing track When The Hammer Comes Down is imperious, classic Magnet and a fitting end to an album that deserves attention. 8/10

Desert Storm: Sentinels (APF Records)

Oxford’s Desert Storm has been delivering their Southern stoner metal for over a decade and Sentinels is their fourth full release. It’s savage, with Matt Ryan’s grizzly vocals fitting the stomp and fuzz-balled riffs neatly. Shades of Mastodon surface in opening track Journey’s End although the following song Too Far Gone sounds more like distorted Orange Goblin, punishingly heavy and as gnarly as a wizard’s jock strap. The roaring eight-minute Kingdom Of Horns encapsulates the unrestrained power of the band whose sound is undeniably honed despite its rawness. Sharp and punchy tunes like The Drifter balance out an album that needs to be played loud, preferably in a sweaty environment with a beer in both hands. This is a hard punch to the face … one that brings a crooked smile every time. 7/10

Eliminator: Last Horizon (Dissonance Productions)

Apparently, this has been over eight years in the making. Well, if you really want to listen to some mundane ‘traditional’ heavy metal I suppose you might find it mildly entertaining. It’s not appalling in the same way that some of the rubbish we review here is, but two tracks in to Last Horizon and it already begins to grate. Danny Foster’s weak vocals may well be the challenge here, with the band’s high tempo pitch forcing Foster to strain and struggle. The Iron Maiden influence is clear throughout the album, especially on the title track, with dual guitars adding melody. Echoes, the first of four lengthier tracks at over six minutes contain more Lizzy/Maiden style guitar, marred by the strained vocals. Procession Of Witches contained some hope but Fall Of The Seer was the final straw. Sorry, but this is another album marred by a vocalist whose performance is way below the quality of the rest of the band, 4/10

Firegarden: Voyage To Crab Mountain (Riffids Records)

This is a journey through psychedelic classic rock which is crammed with storytelling, chunky fuzzed up riffs and a general good time vibe. The band hail from Sheffield, and comprise Jake Mann on guitar and vocals, Ashley Tuck on drums, Chris Heald on bass and vocals and Adele Smith on vocals. If I’m right, Smith is making her recording debut with the band, and Voyage To Crab Mountain allows her soulful voice to add a new dimension to the band’s sound. Although the band sit firmly in the classic rock camp, there is a distinct stoner edge to some of their songs, such as the short Crushed By Falling Rocks which meanders around Mann’s riff.

The album has more than a nod to the 1970s, and some familiar influences appear; Shoot For The Moon has more than a passing resemblance to Patti Smith’s Because The Night on the chorus, Adele Smith’s vocal a little Pat Benatar in delivery. Pigeons is a different beast altogether, a mellow eight-minute instrumental ramble which changes direction and pace as the band flex their progressive rock muscles and Mann demonstrates some neat guitar work. Voyage To Crab Mountain is an interesting piece of work, let down by some awful artwork but don’t let that put you off investing time. 7/10

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