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Saturday 12 January 2019

Reviews: Electric Mary, Dead Witches, Herman Frank, Deever (Matt & Paul H)

Electric Mary: Mother (Listenable Records) [Matt]

10 years, 3 studio albums, 3 EP's and 1 live album and Australian rockers Electric Mary have just about broken onto the UK rock scene delivering the live show they are famous for Down Under. It's the show that has seen them support Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Def Leppard while they've played in the country and it's their albums that have fuelled that creative fire meaning they have new tracks to play every time. Their previous release III was sort of their 'big break' over here heavily touting them as one of the bands to watch in the hard rock arena and it secured them a tour and shows at Hard Rock Hell exposing them to a whole new audience. So now it's time for their fourth slab of rocking in the shape of new album Mother released once again through Listenable records, it's a record full of hip shaking, fist pounding, hair raising rock n roll performed like it's the 1970's all over again. With the psych leanings of Hendrix, the foot stomping of Free and big handful of Led Zeppelin, Mother is a shining example of proper rock music. With the Thunder-like riff of Gimme Love, the bluesy saunter of How Do You Do It, the thumping Hold On To What You Got, the desert psych of Long Long Day and the Zep-alike of Woman. Australian rock conjures dirty beer bars, Electric Mary are built for arenas. 8/10

Dead Witches: The Final Exorcism (Heavy Psych Sounds) [Matt]

Since the debut Dead Witches album Ouija in 2017 they have undergone a lineup change as founding guitarist Greg Elk died shortly after the debut so here the riffs are handled by Grave Lines' Oliver Hill while upfront Virginia Morti has exited the group to continue with Psychedelic Witchcraft, the wails and incantations are now taken by Soozi Chameleone whose voice casts a spell over the discordant rhythms from Carl Geary (bass) and founding member Mark Greening (drums).

It's hazy, slow bludgeoning occult doom drawn from a dark place as the majority of songs here have elongated run times which means that tracks such as Goddess Of The Night can sprawl into feedback driven outro and The Church By The Sea can ramp up the Sabbath worship to new levels with the reverebed repetition as Soozi snarls leading into the down-tuned sludge of Lay Demon. There's nothing too different here from the debut, but when a band is formed by former drummer of Electric Wizard you'd expect the type of dissonant, weighty doom metal that The Final Exorcism has in spades. 2019 has only just begun and they heavy has already hit a highpoint. 8/10

Herman Frank: Fight The Fear (AFM Records) [Paul H]

I called Frank’s last album The Devil Rides Out “average heavy metal by numbers”. Unsurprisingly, the former Accept axeman was undeterred by my score of 6 and has only gone ahead and recorded another solo album, Fight The Fear. It’s another lengthy piece of work, and at 64 minutes it’s quite a challenge. I’ve played it three times and whilst the music is the typical heavy metal which we have come to expect from Frank, it just doesn’t have any longevity in the memory. Possibly the stand out track on this release is Hail & Row, which is mainly because it changes and slows pace, with a moody feel and some reasonable vocals from Rick Altzi. Other than that, this is fare which won’t change the world, but stuff that large swathes of mainland Europe will love. Tracks like HitmanRock You and Sinners all sound exactly as you’d expect. It’s Accept-lite, perfectly reasonable and Frank delivers some choice guitar work. It’s just one of those albums that is unlikely to excite you. 6/10

Deever: You Need This (Self Released) [Matt]

While his former bandmate spouts off on YouTube making a complete ass of himself former Inglorious guitar player Wil 'Billy' Taylor has set about bringing together another band with a shared vision that is far away from the Whitesnake-lite of Inglorious. Along with himself as frontman he has recruited bassist Phil Appleton, drummer Higgy and guitarist Stevie Stoker to form Deever (which may be a dig at the leonine previous frontman) a much more contemporary styled band with influence coming from Shinedown, Foo Fighters as it moves between hard rock, metal and even punk, from the big grooves of Fire At Will, to the bass heavy All Come Running they've got a grunge tinge for Back Down and their feet firmly in the alt-rock camp for Parachute. Like I said it's a very modern rock record and the band have pumped everything into it both emotionally and financially however I'm not so keen on Taylor's vocals finding them a little weak at times, only when he's got the rawness on Only Enemy did I find myself liking them. To call an album You Need This is a little presumptuous but there is musical muscularity here and hooks for days however it's just not really my taste I'm afraid. 6/10    

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