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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Reviews: Impellitteri, Send Request, Atlas, Onkel Tom (Reviews By Rich & Matt N)

Impellitteri: Nature Of The Beast (Frontiers) [Rich]

Impellitteri are a band I’ve never heard of before considering they have been going since 1987 and about a minute into their new and eleventh album Nature Of The Beast I was wondering why the hell I hadn’t heard these before as this is right up my street. Named after founding member and lead guitarist Chris Impellitteri the band play a super intense and fast style of heavy metal with absolutely face melting guitar shredding. The songs are all very melodic and catchy as well. It’s not just about Chris Impellitteri's guitar gymnastics though as frontman Rob Rock proves himself to be one of the most underrated singers in heavy metal. This is a fantastic heavy metal album full of fierce yet melodic anthems. The album is about two songs too long. The two cover versions - Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera and Black Sabbath’s Symptom Of The Universe - serve little purpose but it’s only a very minor criticism. 8/10

Send Request: Perspectives (Sharptone Records) [Matt N]

Perspectives by Send Request screams into life with an irresistibly cool riff in Dr Dare Rides Again. As a man who loved Simple Plan and Sum 41 in my youth I must admit the similarities to the vocals in those bands and other American pop punk groups is unmistakable. Hearing those vocals took me immediately back to simpler days of being a mildly emo teenager who wanted the world to listen to his pain. The second track Talk A Lot is a little bit different and is much more comparable to A Day To Remember, the vocals take on a harsher quality and the drums lead the way with faster and more complex rhythms. The tone of this song retains the teenage angst of the previous track but adds in the more aggressive qualities that only metal can provide in music. This seems to be the line that Send Request is attempting to walk, a balance between the more alternative rock bands and some metal influences.

That being said there isn’t a shortage of variation in this work. Send Request’s fourth track Let It Die takes on a more acoustic and simplistic tone. The vocal harmonies help reinforce the summer sunsets vibe. Lyrically the song is about having to let things change, a common human experience that I encourage the readership to listen to when they’ve experienced a recent change in their life. Both tracks Trust and Make Like A Tree are songs that didn’t 100% stick. I felt that neither of these songs achieved anything that the previous songs had accomplished. The choruses don’t quite hit strong enough to be truly impactful. I would have liked to hear more of those metal influences in these tracks to elevate the music rather than leaving it at the level of The All American Rejects. That’s not meant as a criticism of TAAR, simply as a statement of comparison. I think at this point in the album, Send Request reveal that they aren’t yet comfortable being aggressive as much as they prefer a more melancholic anger.

Here’s To The Years brought me right back on board with this band. As a lyricist myself I was able to overlook somewhat uneventful instruments to really appreciate how wonderfully conversational the lyrics are. So often in listening to smaller bands do you hear lines that do not link together properly but this song has lyrics that consistently flow into one another. Often I have a habit of assigning a time of year to a band’s music and this track is meant for autumn listening. Do yourself a favour and listen to this at the end of a school year, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to truly appreciate this gem. In fact I almost wish this song had been drawn out and left as the ending of the entire album, it has a beautiful sampling of what I assume is band conversations to accent the meaning of the song

Send Request is doing everything in their genre well, but I do question the individuality of the music. I’m not sure I’ve necessarily heard enough from this band to truly separate them from others in the same peer group. That all being said, the band has the uncanny talent for being able to perfectly structure their mid sections and endings. I am encouraged to listen to this band more and I do think that they should be selling out stadiums to packed teenagers, it’s music that directly appeals to adolescence and I hope that they find the millions of fans that they deserve. 8/10

Atlas: In Pursuit Of Memory (AOR Heaven) [Rich]

In Pursuit Of Memory is the debut album by Manchester based melodic hard rock band Atlas. This is the band's second release having previously released the EP World In Motion last year. Atlas have a sound that in rooted in classic AOR bands but also manages to sound contemporary and takes influence from progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater. The song themselves contain plenty of melodies and hooks with hummable piano lines and some impressive lead guitar playing with standouts being As Time Goes By, Lock And Key and Flesh And Blood (for which a video was filmed). The songs generally are all high energy and sound very professional for such a young and inexperienced band.

The vocals by frontman Craig Wells are definitely something of an acquired taste sounding absolutely awful and off key on the first couple of songs which sound like they were written for another singer altogether. Thankfully his vocals do improve drastically as the album goes on and the later songs do suit his vocal limits. Atlas have produced an enjoyable debut album which whilst not completely wowing me is definitely more than listenable. With some more experience under their belts I’m sure Atlas will become a big name in the modern AOR scene. 7/10

Onkel Tom: Bier Ernst (Steamhammer/SPV) [Rich]

As well as fronting the thrash legends Sodom, Tom Angelripper has released many solo albums under the guise of Onkel Tom. The latest of these and album number seven for Onkel Tom is Bier Ernst a double album of drinking tunes and party anthems. Don’t come into this album expecting a thrash metal attack as what you get is a mix of punk rock, heavy metal and rock & roll and splashes of folk music. There are odd moments which are far more thrash metal influenced such as the crossover song Ich Finde Nur Metal Geil but the majority of the songs are pure party rock influenced by hard drinking and good times such as Wir Trinken Wenig and Bier, Bier, Bier.  The second disc switches it up and is a bit more serious but still with the fun element which is carried through the entire album. Despite the language barrier (the entire album is in German), Bier Ernst is very enjoyable and would be a great album to put on for an evening of beer drinking and partying. 7/10 

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