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Wednesday 19 October 2016

Reviews: Kansas, Charred Walls Of The Damned, Plagueship (Reviews By Stief)

Kansas: The Prelude Implicit (Inside Out Music)

The first album in 16 years, it's a pleasant surprise to see Kansas recording again with new lead vocalist Ronnie Platt taking centre stage whilst doubling up on keyboards. Platt has a great set of pipes, and settles right in with the band's sound, which remains as strong as ever. Kansas seem to have veered more towards a more mellow sound with songs such as Refugee and Southern blues tinged The Unsung Heroes making up most of the album's sound. It's not a bad thing to be honest, and the band still have a few songs with that classic rock feel, in Summer and Rhythm In The Spirit. David Ragsdale's Violin soars through many of the songs, sometimes taking front stage such as in the opening of the aforementioned Summer, a song with that classic Kansas sound many know and love, breaking into a delicious solo halfway through. This is all backed up by Kansas Veterans Phil Ehart and Rich WIlliams on drums and guitar respectively, Billy Greer on bass, newcomer Zak Rizvi's rhythm guitar and David Manion backing up Platt on keyboards, with the majority of the band backing up the vocals. Chances are, if you're a fan of Kansas, you're already a fan of the album, and even if you aren't, if you like your classic rock, this is an excellent shout. 9/10

Charred Walls Of The Damned: Creatures Watching Over The Damned (Metal Blade)

The brainchild of Ex-Iced Earth Drummer Richard Christy, and featuring the vocal talents of Tim "Ripper" Owens, the basswork of Testament's Steve DiGiorgio, and Jason Suecof of Capharnum on guitars, Charred Walls Of The Damned is a brilliant slice of heavy metal supergroup goodness. Ripper Owen's career has seen him fronting Priest and Iced Earth, and his vocal style is well known throughout the metal world. With Charred Walls... it works excellently alongside the brilliant drumming of Christy and Suecof's riffage, DiGiorgio's bass giving every song a meaty foundation on which the band layer their respective sounds. Musically, Charred Walls... seems to takes the best parts of each member's past work with their respective bands and squeezes it into an excellent sound with definite Power metal influences being heard in songs like Lies and Living In The Shadow Of Yesterday. My one criticism of the album is that many of the songs seem a bit too short, and just as you're getting into them, they fade out, or in some circumstances, just end abruptly. This can especially be seen in Lies, where towards the end of the song, Suecof pours out an excellent solo only to finish as it reaches its crescendo. That minor problem aside, the album is an excellent listen. 8/10

Plagueship : Shrykull (Unsigned)

The debut album from the Leeds based Plagueship, it mixes excellent vocal work with tight, progressive guitar work, groove laden bass with death metal guitars. Madness, Escaping is a brilliant example of the technical work the band can do, with great chugging bass from Adam Parkin and soaring riffs from guitarists Alexis Giovoglanian and John Richardson working with the blastbeats of Stephen Wilkinson. Other songs on the album showcase the vocal talents of Jonny Byrne, whose growls are vicious and sinister and sit comfortably on the fence between the guttural sounds of Amon Amarth and the screeches of Cradle Of Filth. An excellent album, and definitely a band to keep an eye on. 9/10

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