The Quireboys: Twisted Love (Off Yer Rocka) [Review By Paul]
Longevity appears to be a particular trait of rock bands. The Quireboys are no exception. Formed in 1984 and a permanent fixture since their reformation in 2001, the band have been particularly productive in the last few years with relentless gigging and an almost production line approach to album releases. Twisted Love is their tenth studio release, and it's a pretty decent affair. Bolstered by the blues tinged backing vocal of Lynne Jackaman and a stabilised line up, this is the kind of stuff you want playing in the bar or on a hot summer night. Spike’s vocals remain as raspy as a forty a day Rothmans smoker but with as much soul and feeling as he had back in 1990 on A Bit Of What You Fancy.
Sure, it's still the combination of The Faces, The Stones and The Black Crowes but The Quireboys follow the blueprint with a panache that is often absent in rock these days. The Union’s Dave McCluskey lays a solid foundation to work with bassist Nick Malling although the undoubted star of this album is Keith Weir’s stunning keyboard work which stands out on tracks like Ghost Train, Gracie B (Part II) and Midnight Collective. Underpinning it all is Spike’s vocal and the dependable guitar work of Paul Guerin, whose interplay with Weir on Shotgun Way, Life’s A Bitch and the foot stomping Torn And Frayed is excellent. Throw in Jackaman’s backing vocals and this is a real good time album. Grab a whiskey, throw on those shades and enjoy. 8/10
Svvamp: Self Titled (Riding Easy Records) [Review By Paul]
Retro sounding blues rock is all the rage these days and the debut album from Swedes Svvamp gets a huge “come on in”. With the emphasis firmly focused on the sounds of Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, early Lizzy and more than a smattering of Zeppelin, this is a thoughtful, beautifully composed album which opens with the meandering Big Rest, Adam Johansson’s soul filled vocals immediately demanding your attention. It's an interesting way to start an album, without the usual power and pace of a traditional opener but still captivating. The Roy Harper-like Set My Foot and Leave follows, Johansson’s calm tones mixing sweetly with the acoustic work of Henrick Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren.
The 70s feel continues with Free At Last, before we finally get a muddy riff or two on Oh Girl. Things really hot up with the southern stomp of Blue In The Face, surely the bastard offspring of a long forgotten one night stand between Graveyard and The Sword. Bjorklund’s guitar howls like a beaten child whilst Johansson’s crashing drumming and change of style match perfectly. Down By The River conjures up the blues tinged rock of Neil Young and Crazy Horse whilst my favourite Serpent In The Sky contains a hypnotic riff, gutsy guitar work and a variation on the vocal again, with some Jay Buchannan style work. Indeed, Rival Sons are one of the bands that come to mind when listening to this album and that is not a bad thing at all. A band to watch out for. 7/10
Die No More: Destruction Complete (Self Released)
Carlisle is probably not where you'd think classic sounding, thrash edged metal would come from but Die No More are out to change that. Destruction Complete is their second EP and comes 2 years after their full length debut Elected Evil. In this time DNM have clearly honed their skills in the live arena as this EP is a lot smoother the riffs slicing like scissors through silk, the drumming relentless but not all consuming, there are far more NWOBHM sounds to this EP than there are outright thrash madness, opener Save Yourself and the excellent The Enemy Within has all the thrash you need with distorted riffage and stone cold grooves to get the head banging, the disharmony of the instrumental sections are offset by Marc's clean Hetfield-like vocals, which also add to the classic metal sounds forgoing the normal barking thrash vocal.
The growing maturity of the band is at it's best on Mirage which has a progressively tinged opening due Kev's lead guitar, but as soon as you've settled in to it the rhythm section of Marc, Martyn (bass) and Steve (drums) kick you in the spleen and all hell breaks loose with solos galore. The four songs on this EP are all very strong but the best is saved for last, the title track clocks in at just under 8 minutes and is a Herculean example of the bands musical talent, progressive, technical and in parts downright mesmerising, it ticks all the classic metal final song boxes. Forgoing a bit of the thrash metal sound has paid off for Die No More they have made themselves sound more seasoned. One criticism is that it's whet my appetite now so I hope it won't be too long before the second album comes out, as it has the potential to be very, very impressive 7/10