Manic In Lithium: Manic In Lithium (Self Released)
Back in the early 90's guitarist Michael Hewett and vocalist Otis Mannick met at the Berklee College Of Music and Boston College Of Music, after this they moved to New York city and created two tapes of music but nothing more than that. However these recordings got lost in the midsts of time but as of December 2015 they were rediscovered by drummer Dean Rickard who mastered the recordings playing them to the res of the band and inspiring the creative spark again. This is where Manic In Lithium has come from both the album (the first of two) and the name of the band recording it, it consists of Otis, Michael, Dean and bassist Derek Cheever armed with new and old songs this record is the culmination of their career so far. With a long gestation period the record is good but it is split in to distinct parts, the two opening tracks Hell Of A High and Falling Down are both 90's sounding pieces coming from the same background of Alice In Chains with some grunge riffs and soulful vocals from Otis that conjure Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell the grunge rockers give way to a more progressive bent on You Belong To Me which sounds a bit like the band 3 with its frantic acoustics, pace changes and rumbling tom toms.
It's the stylistic differences that make this record interesting there are so many styles on offer you can tell that this record has been developed over time, There's grunge Strapped and Mud Horse, prog the Middle Eastern touches on Dead Trees Come Alive and the laid back funk on Sunshine Never Ends, southern rock on Takin It Easy, a bit of U2 with Turned Around. There is a myriad of styles on this record but I'd liken the band to the lesser known American rock band Ra they have a similar sound and are all the better for it, after a long time it's great to hear that these songs were strong when they were first written, they are enhanced by the production and the band's obvious virtuosity. If this is the first part of the bands two albums it's a good opening but it does feel a little like it's only half the story, the second part will be the real clincher but as it stands Manic In Lithium is an impressive start. 8/10
Nemrud: Nemrud (Rainbow 45 Records)
Turkish proggsters Nemrud are now on their third record and once again they carry the flag for classic sounding progressive rock. There self titled album contains four tracks all over 10 minutes in length that move from introspective acoustic numbers to sweeping orchestral pieces that draw heavily on the bands Middle Eastern heritage. The band are a traditional four piece of guitarist/singer (Mert Göçay) bassist (Levent Candaş) drummer (Mert Alkaya) and keyboardist (Mert Topel), the album benefits from this four piece approach as every instrument is important and given the chance to breathe to create the soundscapes and mystical atmosphere the album strives to create. From the ELP-like synths that open the record in a truly startling way, the album is based around the creation of the universe and the Nemrud which is a place for death to dwell, this concept is the basis for the spacey record that blurs the lines between science fiction with faith. Gods Of The Mountain is a slow opening to the record with a laid back guitar and swathes of synths for the first 5 minutes.
The vocals come in after that and vocally Mert Göçay sounds like Orphaned Land's Kobi Fahri with a beckoning insistent voice that is a major part of the bands sound. Gods Of The Mountain could come of the more recent Opeth numbers with nods to the halcyon days of progressive rock with a hard rock crunch. With such abstract lyrics, huge musical layers and a technically proficient musicians, that are able to handle any genre, with bass-led jazz during Lion Of Commagene as it changes into a sermon for the final part. Nemrud are a very impressive band part Opeth, part Orphaned Land with the right amount of classic prog that brings in ELP, Yes, Floyd (Forsaken Throne) some 80's electro (on the middle eight of The Euphrates) and countless other genres to create a sublime progressive rock album that is mostly instrumental punctuated with magical emotive lyrical passages. Nemrud is a truly excellent prog rock album from a band that I will following very closely from now on. 9/10
Death Roll: Rolling With Death
Um yeah Death Roll, they are from Norway and they play fast paced, rock and roll. So that's about all I know about the band as they seem to have absolutely no online presence, no website, no social media etc etc so I have no idea who is the band or who plays what but I know they are a four piece rock band so I guess that is something. With little to no background to the record or band I just have to talk about the music and for the most part the songs on this record are foot to the floor hard rock clad in a leather jacket and cruising down the highway with stylistic influences that are shared by countrymen Audrey Horne albeit Four on the floor riffs, crashing drums and some booming vocals and a punky attitude. Rolling With Death is a by the numbers rock release but will satisfy an urge if you have a hard rock craving. yes Heartattack Man steals the opening line of Stormbringer but Deal Gone Wrong is Chuck Berry style rock n roll and a the rest of the album is full of frantic shots of live wire rock. So Death Roll I don't know who they are but they play good honest music. 7/10