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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Reviews: TNT, Toledo Steel, Monolith Grows!, Kilmore

TNT: XIII (Frontiers Music)

Norwegian rockers TNT have been have been kicking out the jams for a long while now, 1982 to be exact. XIII is their thirteenth record and their first with new vocalist Baol Bardot Bulsara who replaces the bands most consistent vocalist Tony Harnell, he's backed as ever by founding members Ronni Le Tekro (guitar) and Diesel Dahl (drums) who are alongside bassist Ove Husemoen. After 13 albums TNT know what work so don't expect to hear anything wildly different than the melodic rock the band are known for, expect fretboard fireworks, soaring vocals and anthemic hooks. We're Gonna Make It is very Journey due in a huge part to Baol's Steve Perryesque voice, Fair Warning has slower sleazier sound, It's Electric is funky and there are a few saccharine ballads that slow the pace. I've always found TNT a little lightweight as an act and XIII hasn't done anything to change my mind, one for AOR aficionados or Journey super fans. 6/10

Toledo Steel: No Quarter (Dissonance Productions)

"Toledo steel, which is from Toledo Spain is historically an unusually hard form of steel that was primarily used for sword making in the Roman period" So steel is the name of the game and with this band there's some proper British Steel going on. A throwback band hailing from Southampton, this rough and ready mob are riding that NWOBHM influence with some Priest, Accept and Saxon on this decidedly retort release. No Quarter opens with Behold The Machine a 6 minute twisting track that has the gallops and twin leads any faithful NWOBHMer would be silly to ignore. It's all decidedly retro with some Brit grit at the heart of it, the album is extremely reminiscent of the glory days and it stands above many of the bands playing in this new wave, perhaps because there's no blatant copying, the songs borrow from a style rather than brazen copying. At just 8 tracks No Quarter gives and expects none back, it's a shameless celebration of a distinctly British genre that is in resurgence with Monument currently leading the charge, it's on the shoulders of Toledo Steel to be at the head of the chasing pack. 8/10

Monolith Grows: Black And Supersonic (Burning Wax Promotions)

Progressive stoner metal is perhaps a slight misnomer as stoner usually relies on meat and two veg riffs but prog welcomes a buffet of sounds. However Italian band Monolith Grows have brought the two together in a powerful drive of dirty grunge rock, swathes of stoner grooves and some intergalactic desert rock, with Satan Monday Bureau shifting into the self explanatory Interlude With Synths And Clean Guitars, a calming couple of minutes in an otherwise raucous album. Black And Supersonic tries it's hardest to conjure the wisened musical muscle of multiple Chris Cornell with the heaviness layered on So Fresh! and the bass heavy Low the two most Cornellian tracks on the record as the layered hazy riffs heave. If you're not a Soundgarden/Kyuss fan then you won't get Monolith Grows, if you are these vibes are the best. 7/10

Kilmore: Call Of The Void (Self Released)

Riffs and more riffs from Halifax Nova Scotia, I'll say this now I like this band a lot, there a bit Zep and bit Soundgarden, with the funky 70's (Dawn To Dusk) dancing with the gritty 90's grooves Kepler Star and a bluesiness that holds it all together like glue. As Heather howls with a soulful sassy shake she's also riffing up a storm with Dan on the six strings, in the background Neil and Lor are the expressive rhythm section loading up the low end but also when things get a bit lighter and slower they have the job of adding a heaviness, with Seven Seas they are the crunch behind the Coheed & Cambria-styled riff. The more I listened to this album the more I think Kilmore are the band Halestorm should be, just check out Dark Matter and you'll understand what I mean. They've managed to get the ingredients right on their debut record Call Of The Void, the two years taken to create this record have meant it sounds great full of modern/classic rock riffs. It's difficult to write much more as you need to just buy the album to really understand how good Kilmore are. 8/10

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