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Sunday 31 July 2016

Reviews: Dunsmuir, Fury, Hammers Of Misfortune

Dunsmuir: S/T (Hall Of Records)

So super-groups, some are great, some are not so great but seeing as anything Clutch frontman Neil Fallon puts his hands on turns to gold, Dunsmuir has the prospectus to be a very big deal especially when you consider the other members involved, Fallon takes up the vocals, in the back room is Fu Manchu's Brad Davies, behind the skins is the legendary Vinny Appice and on the guitar is Dave Bone who also plays the riffs in The Company Band which also features Fallon and Fireball Ministry's James A Rota. So with a cast of characters that are mostly known for their weed smoking stoner riffage you'd think Dunsmuir would be some kind of stoner supergroup akin to Down but that would be a bit too easy, this project sees them indulging in the music of their influences, well Bone, Fallon and Davies', Appice has probably contributed to a lot of the influences so doesn't count. It's more classic metal sounding than the most of the day-jobs sounding more like Dio-fronted Sabbath of Appice's tenure, with the intelligent, engaging lyrical poetry of Fallon.  At 35 minutes its also all over in a flash but with Fallon's unmistakable vocals leading the way it's 35 minutes that you'll want to replay as soon as it finishes. Bone plays some massive licks, bolstered by the heavy backbone of Davies, who is no stranger to the power of bass in his day job picking up the rhythm parts when Bone solos, as all this happening in the top end, Appice who is a man who is from a drumming dynasty, plays his arse off in backroom even on easier tracks like Our Only Master he beats with power of men half his age. The sound of Sabbath can be found everywhere on this record but not in lazy way, this is a band paying tribute to the greats through homage rather than blatant copying, What Manner Of Bliss? is probably the album's biggest Sabbath moment. Dunsmuir may just be a studio project, it may become bigger touring prospect but with this debut it's certainly a statement of intent. 8/10     

Fury: Lost In Space (Broken Road)

The Worcester classic heavy metal heroes Fury have returned with their second full length, this time the fantasy lyricism takes place in a galaxy far away with the occasional swing back to earth for songs about Vikings, War, Dragons and of course Pirates (as anyone who has seen them will know frontman Julian seems to have a massive Pirate fetish). With the album called Lost In Space I was expecting the title track to be a cover of the famous surf-guitar theme written by John Williams, it isn't that unfortunately but it is a 7 minute plus mini-epic with progressive time changes a sing along chorus and some excellent solos, it's a definitive opening statement reaffirming everything that is good about this band, Martin Trail's bass work gallops as it should, occasionally giving a fret slide or a rundown in the gaps while Alasdair Davies' drumming pushes the songs forward sometimes at a terrifying pace as he blasts away easily, only reigning himself in on the reflective Sons Of War where he plays with a deft hand adding drama to the piece. At the front of the sound is the twin guitars of Julian Jenkins and Jake Beesley they duel, harmonize and peel licks off with great skill, Beesley letting loose on the solo sections as Jenkins riffs underscoring the fireworks with solid slabs of riffage. I've always likened Fury to Metallica playing Iron Maiden and this sound is still very audible on this record, with thrash sounding riffs on Start Trippin' (not sure if this comes before or after Space Truckin') they also know when to resort to chest thumping classic metal on When The Hammer Falls and Vallhalla both of which are songs that would make Grand Magus green with envy. Fury are superb live act, I've personally seen them a few times, but their albums are never just excuses for more songs they take time to craft them trying to put as much of their live force into them as they can, I think they've pulled this off yet again on Lost In Space aided by the production of Pete Newdeck (Eden's Curse) and mastering of Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) they let all the instruments breathe and also capture the unique power of Jenkins' vocals, which are hard to describe being both husky and shrill, however they fit the music completely. Lost In Space is the latest sterling addition to Fury's catalog, no difficult second album syndrome here just another excellent showing from Fury. 9/10

Hammers Of Misfortune: Dead Revolution (Metal Blade)

Well yet again I have to admit my ignorance and stupidity, in that I had heard of Hammer's Of Misfortune but had never really listened to them as I naively thought they wouldn't be 'my thing'. Well listening to their sixth album I can attest that they are most definitely my thing, they have a NWOBHM meets Doom sound all wrapped up in 70's hard rock retroism, founder member John Cobbett is the driving force behind the band his guitar the basis of everything the band do, ably aided by Leila Abdul-Rauf on six and Paul Walker on four strings and songs that move from wall of noise doom, through chugging NWOBHM, rampaging thrash metal and beyond it's the dynamics of the guitarists that are the important part of the record as Will Carroll carries the beat. With just the members I've mentioned Hammers Of Misfortune would be interesting enough their fusion of styles sounding both different and comfortingly familiar, however with vocalist John Hutton, who makes this his second record with the group and has booming set of pipes, they have a good singer who's vocals are counterpointed by the more ethereal vocals of keyboardist Sigrid Sheie who is the band's best weapon as well as her vocals her keys and organs are and important part of the sound of this record with the psych wurlitzers cutting through the heavy riffs of The Velvet Inquisition before going full John Lord on the title track using the organ as and extra lead instrument going toe-to-toe with the guitars. With the style of this record the use of keys along with the NWOBHM styled riffage really gives Hammers Of Misfortune a unique sound so if you like your music a fusion of past glories with a modern touch Dead Revolution will get you rocking! 7/10


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