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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Reviews: GOLD, Walking Stone Giants, At The Sun, Booze Control (Rich, Paul S, Paul H & Polly)

GOLD: Why Aren’t You Laughing (Artoffact Records) [Rich]

This album was very much unfamiliar territory. A band I had never heard of and a genre that I have very little knowledge of but I like a challenge and it’s certainly paid off with the fantastic Why Aren’t You Laughing which is the fourth album by Dutch gothic rock band GOLD. GOLD have a very unique style which merges together several different styles, genres and influences into a sound they can very much call their own. It’s a mixing pot of gothic rock and post-rock with dashings of black metal, shoegaze and dark pop and it is an utterly sublime combination with songs as dark and bleak as they are catchy and memorable.

The atmospheric and haunting vocals by Milena Eva combined with strong guitar work really drive these songs and it’s impossible not to be caught up in the driving He Is Not, the intense Taken By Storm and the defiant title track. This album has a very strong dark and melancholic feel especially evident in the more atmospheric songs such as Truly Truly Disappointed and Till Death Do Us Part. GOLD are a band that have very much carved their own unique style and one that can appeal to post-rock and gothic rock. Why Aren’t You Laughing is a magnificent piece of work and GOLD are sure to be turning some heads upon its release. 8/10

Walking Stone Giants: Some Hell In My Heaven (Self Released) [Paul S]

Walking Stone Giants are a 4 piece based in Thessaloniki, Greece. They have been going since 2013, and Some Hell In My Heaven is their second album, coming 4 years after their debut; The Sons Of Gaia. The band play a relaxed style of Hard Rock, that is rooted in the rock scene of the seventies and eighties. The album kicks off with I Feel The Burn, a mid-paced piece of melodic hard rock. The pacing has a relaxed feel, but don’t read that as being lacklustre, or plodding. The tempo is right for the song, it might not be going for the jugular, but it is very tuneful and melodic, and doesn’t need to be aggressive, the song also boasts a great solo. Next up is the title track Some Hell In My Heaven, the verse section has a little more drive than the previous song, a little more relentless, but then mellows out for the chorus.

This is a nice piece of classic rock music, the ending of the track even reminded me a little of The Cult. Next up is In The Desert, which is simpler and more direct, great track. Snake I Ride The Thunder, has a simple main riff, again with the relaxed, mellow rock feel that this band does very well. The track reminds me a little of Saxon’s cover of Ride Like The Wind. No, I’m not sure what the title means either. Another Tomorrow is one of the softest tracks on the album, mellow and bluesy, with a really great solo (all the guitar work on the album is very good). Mad Tire (another slightly strange song title) is a more up-tempo, driving piece of rock music, lots of fun! And the up-tempo theme continues with Rusty Royal, which features a great, tough main riff. Stand up completes a trio of faster songs, but all still have a slightly relaxed tempo, and bluesy feel to a lot of the guitar. Reason To Hate You is a cracking rock song with a slightly eastern feel to the riffs.

The album is brought to a close by the track The Man With 2 Shadows, which is hard rock, but with clean guitars, which ends up sounding like Making Movies era Dire Straits. That's not a criticism, this is a great track, and it features a solo that good enough to be compared to Dire Straits. Some Hell In My Heaven is a great piece of rock music. This doesn’t have anything particularly groundbreaking or innovative about it, but that's not really the point. This is just hard rock done very well, well written, well played, on an album that has been well produced and mixed. Highly enjoyable! 8/10

At The Sun: Leave Before The Light (1078463 Records DK2) [Paul H]

Rising stars At The Sun’s debut release fits comfortably into the New Wave of Classic Rock which is dominating the airwaves at the moment. With the band having made a big impact at the HRH Highway To Hell competition at Sheffield last year, and gaining airplay on Planet Rock, Total Rock and HRH radio, they have just the sound which is likely to grab the attention from large swathes of the hard rock crowd. Mixing the crunch of Black Stone Cherry and The Black Crowes with the no-nonsense approach of AC/DC, the band provide 50 minutes of slick, smooth and easy to listen to rock. Big hooks, anthems galore and enough heavy riffs to attract those who like their rock with a bit of oomph.

Only A Fool, Preacher and Breathe are a solid opening trio on this release, setting out the stall early, Harry Dale’s vocals just the right side of confident, the guitar work of Chet Jogia sharp and neat and the rhythm section of founder Kieron Heaven, bassist Alex Matthews and drummer Craig Steen locked tight. With a groove and feel which varies from Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement to contemporaries Doomsday Outlaw, Ginn Annie and Massive Waggons, At The Sun have sufficient about them to push hard for those support slots with the likes of BSC and the numerous Planet Rock events that happen across the UK each year. At 50 minutes in length this album is probably about ten minutes longer than needed but At The Sun fit nicely into a side of the rock world which appeals to many. 7/10

Booze Control: Forgotten Lands (Gates Of Hell) [Polly]

I’m not sure if I’m psychic or if this album is incredibly predictable… From begrudgingly listening to this album several times I have come to the conclusion that the album is just one really long song. I can hear throughout the influences of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but this album just sounds like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest’s embarrassing younger brother. I’m a girl that’s big on a guitar riff and a solo and lack of either of these in an album is a no go for me, this album hits another extremity of overkill on the riffs and solos. It’s almost as if they’ve written them and not put thought into the placement of it in a song, it just seems a little sloppy and as though no thought has put into the delivery of it.

One thing that has prevented me from giving this album a 0/10 is the vocals, it’s the only part of what the band has created that allowed me to differentiate each track, but it just seems a bit too ‘samey’ and sometimes made me cringe. Usually I have one or two favourite songs in an album, but I can’t even think of one that I slightly enjoyed, as I said at the beginning of the review, this album is a really long song, and not one that I enjoyed at all. 1/10

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