Lonely Robot: The Big Dream (InsideOut)
Musician/producer/writer all round Renaissance man John Mitchell has returned to his solo love affair that is the no rules, no boundaries Lonely Robot project. Since the release of the record Mitchell has been busy with Frost* touring and recording as well a his usual job of producing, mixing for other bands. In between all this he has managed to record another Lonely Robot album, once again there is a loose concept but whereas Please Come Home saw the astronaut isolated in the darkness of space, now he awakens in a surreal garden that Mitchell supposes "mirrors 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' [almost] a solipsistic haze" with the astronaut trapped inside his own mind this has allowed Mitchell to bring the album 'down to earth' so to speak allowing more organic textures to the songs. T
his has been helped that since the debut Lonely Robot have been established as a live band featuring Steve Vantsis (Fish/Tilt) on bass, Liam Holmes on keys and his Frost* bandmate Craig Blundell behind the skins. Blundell also contributes drums to the album with Mitchell pretty much playing everything else, although Nick Beggs adds some additional bass. The songs shine once again with the album having a texture of their own that are both different to the previous record but audibly continue the themes established. Pop, rock, prog, folk and many more are all covered here with the songs shorter more direct and at time softer, where as Sigma and Everglow are the heavy hitters of the record and will be the rock radio staples, the more subtle softer tunes like The Divine Art Of Being and the folky In Floral Green which features mystical backing vocals from Bonita McKinney.
Elsewhere the album pairs interesting musical soundscapes with spoken word narration from Lee Ingleby (Inspector George Gently/Line Of Duty). With two albums of uncompromising musical experimentation, a third on the way and more 'one-off' live shows planned to once again weave his musical tapestry John Mitchell has returned with another sterling release that will seal his position as one of the (usually) British musical polymath's in the realms of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and more recently Steven Wilson. 10/10
Selene: The Ravages Of Time (Self Released)
I reviewed Selene's EP in 2014 but somehow missed out on reviewing their debut full length in 2015, the EP got a solid 7/10 and I mentioned that the band could diversify a little to really hit home in what is crowded genre. It looks as this is what the band have tried to do on this their second full length, the record is tighter, harsher and faster with guitarist/founder/songwriter John Connor describing it as "leaning more on our Power Metal roots" and while that is true it's still a record that sits comfortably in the symphonic metal genre due to the operatic vocals of Shonagh Lyons. I would say my review copy had scratchy production which detracted from the listening experience but The Ravages Of Time is a good enough album for fans of this style, there are risks but not too many to change anything drastically, still if operatic, orchestral backed metal is your bag this Irish band will be for you. 7/10
Revival: Demo Album (Self Released)
Welsh metal four piece Revival has wowed me twice when I've seen them onstage so when their demo album dropped in to MoM towers I put it on the decks of doom and cranked up the volume. The album is a mixture of their Madness demo and their newest unreleased demo named Season Of The Wizard as such the production is a bit all over the place and a couple of the tracks are repeated, it's the songs on the Season Of The Wizard that stand out in audio quality as they are produced by the legendary Chris Tsangarides. In terms of influence the sounds of Down, Orange Goblin, BLS all loom large with I Am God, Chains are heavyweight stoner riffs favoured by Down but the band add the BLS style shredding to Tap Out and Danger.
Obviously with these sort of influences to their sound they also have a huge shot of Sabbath on Season Of The Wizard and their cover of Paranoid is pretty good too. Limited to just 100 physical copies pick this album up as it's a snapshot of a band at the very inception of their career and it bodes well for the rest of their career, the songs are punchy, the performances mature and the overall package is presented with professionalism. Revival are definitely bringing back the rock. 8/10