Quiet Riot: Road Rage (Frontiers Records)
"Bang Your Head! Metal Health To Drive You Mad" those lines are etched into many old school rockers psyche, Quiet Riot were at the height of their popularity in the 1980's (although they were founded in the 70's by Randy Rhodes) and it was Metal Health that was their anthem, the accompanying album of the same name it reached number one in the pop charts the first metal album to achieve this.
The band were a key mover and shaker in the US glam scene with big hair and big hits (two of which were Slade covers) and then like with so many glam acts things went wrong and they had a potted history since their 80's heyday, the band broke up and reformed numerous times but their real drama started after the death of original singer Kevin DuBrow.
What followed was the longest serving member and main writer drummer Frankie Banali forging ahead with the band aided by bassist Chuck Wright and their most recent guitarist Alex Grossi since their band leaders death they have performed with numerous vocalists including Love/Hate's Jizzy Pearl on their previous celebration record. However since that record they have managed to acquire the vocal talents of American Idol finalist James Durbin and decided to completely record the already released Road Rage with Durbin.
Now Durbin is no DuBrow, his vocals are a lot smoother but they are certainly strong, he sounds like a rockstar should an with an album of mature arena rock that stacks his sky-scraping vocals on top of big riffs. Road Rage is no Metal Health but it's not supposed to be, that album is 30 years old this is Quiet Riot for 2017 and it's the same old song and dance with a modern edge. Bang your head indeed! 7/10
Klogr: Keystone (Zeta Factory)
Italian-American band Klogr return with their second album of modern progressive alternative rock in the vein of A Perfect Circle, the band is led by Rusty who's vocals are angst ridden with a wide range, he croons mostly but knows when to angry things up when the guitars kick in even throwing in screams on Silent Witness. The guitars are played by both Rusty and PQ together they add heaviness and technicality, they are two major collaborators on the record and bonded over the 'Big Questions' about the universe mainly the arrogance of man.
Each song has a story behind it, Enigmatic Smile deals with the hidden meanings in art, Sleeping Through The Seasons is man turning off from the world letting it pass by while Prison Of Light and Technocracy are lamentations of the 21st Century apathy and reliance on technology. It's an album full of heavy themes luckily the music is equally heavy, Prison Of Light chugs, Pride Before A Fall has a Tool-like bassline and Something In The Air has the thumping grunge of Smashing Pumpkins.
It's not all heavy though Echoes Of Sin and Dark Tides are both more restrained more melodic tracks fleshing out the record from stomping metal. Keystone is an aggressive, intelligent record that weaves its spell over the course of 12 intuitive, progressive tracks, not as instant as it's predecessor but a look at what may be to come from this interesting band. 8/10
Fifth Density: Dominion Of The Sun (Self Released)
Phoenix, Arizona's Fifth Density deal in conceptual progressive music, Dominion Of The Sun is a 77 minute rock opera with a storyline set in Ancient Sumeria with the characters struggling to find meaning in consciousness, it focuses on cyborg, a looming evil and winning back free will. If the storyline sounds bonkers then it's comforting the music is typical recent American prog metal with touches of djent throughout, the grooves come from twin brothers Johnathan (drums) and Matt Bond (bass) but the musical horizon is expanded by the jazzy keys of Derek Coulter who battles and augments the twin guitars of Jacob Bond and Tre McCracken, with this many members ever track sounds huge, vastly technical, cinematic in scope and sung with passion by Avidan Elijah Wolfgang Camey-Santana.
The record is a densely layered piece it take numerous listens to really sink in as there is so much going on on every song, The Ascent is a tribal instrumental that serves as an intro to the epic Reaching The Divine but both songs will make really take notice of the bands talents. If you love your prog metal full of conceptual flights of fancy and intense musicality then Fifth Density's second album will have to sit on your shopping list. 7/10