Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Friday 8 February 2019

Reviews: Trollfest, Jetboy, Thomas Silver, Mojo Bozo (By Gareth)

Trollfest: Norwegian Fairy Tales (Napalm Records)

Upon first listen to Norwegian Folk-Metal band Trollfest eighth full-length studio album, I am reminded of the phrase "Never judge a book by it's cover" Going in I was expecting your fairly run of the mill folk/power metal cliches, but even in opening track Fjosnissens Fjaseri, they prove themselves to be cut above rest with regards to their peers. Heavy guitar and accordion riffs alternate between playing in perfect unison and complementing one another, time-changes are executed with prog rock precision and intricately harmonized gang vocals wrap around the black metal-Esq screaming lead. By track two Kjettaren Mot Strommen, we are introduced to the full range of instrumentation used by the band, with grand piano, saxophone, and strings adding to the overall soundscape. More surprises come throughout the album, with the band dipping into elements of pop and prog in later tracks, angelic female vocals on Fanden Flyr offer a welcome change of to the onslaught of lead vocalist Trollmannen's screams.

Overall the album feels like the soundtrack to a weekend-long bender out in the fjords, having embraced the local folk music, sampled a bit too much of the local ale and woken up surrounded by livestock as the sounds of violins and tin whistles echo in the distance in the final climactic track on the album. My only criticism of the album is that because there is so much going on musically, some of the more interesting musical ideas often feel a bit short-lived and that we are only seeing a glimpse of what this band is capable of if they decided to flesh out some of the more "out there" ideas. Trollfest is clearly a band who do not feel pigeonholed by genre and very willing to experiment while still upholding the main stylistic conventions. The band themselves do not class themselves as folk metal, however, preferring to say that they play Balkan metal, if this is what Balkan Metal sounds like, then I can definitely say that I'm a fan. 8/10

Jetboy: Born To Fly (Frontiers Records)

Remember Jetboy??? Probably considered by most as one of the lesser 1980's LA sleaze/hair bands, living in the shadow of the likes of Motley Crue, Ratt and Quiet Riot, Jetboy wore their influences on their sleeves, sounding more like AC/DC and their namesake song's authors New York Dolls, rather than the EVH/Steve Vai influenced virtuosity that made a lot of 80's rock sound so alike. However, the imminent rise of thrash metal and grunge of the late 80s/early 90s that sent most bands of their ilk into obscurity, Jetboy was no exception. A couple of attempts at a reunion through the late 90's/00's and they're back again, this time with former Faster Pussycat bassist Eric Stacy in tow for a brand new album. Things kick off to a great start with the Motorheadesque. opener Beating The Odds, forever missed late Motorhead frontman Lemmy even makes an appearance in the form of an interview clip in the mid-section of the song. Despite the strong start the rest album just seems to plod along and descend into tired and worn out rock'n'roll cliche. 

Title track Born To Fly displays some Acca Dacca like swagger and I can imagine it going down well at a summer festival but later tracks such as the predictable power ballad The Way You Move Me (track 4 on the album, just like in the old days) and closing track Party Time! just feel like a band going through the motions rather than reigniting old passions. In the band's press release they've stated that the track Inspiration From Desperation is influenced by the current political climate in the U.S, however, the overall message of said track seems to be so vague that it could be in support either side of the political compass, so as not to alienate potential fans perhaps? That being said I wouldn't exactly expect to hear bold political statements coming from Jetboy, tracks such as A Little Bit Easy and She feel a lot more at home for the band's lyrical content, the latter of which feels like a cringe-worthy attempt to tap into the youth of today with the voice of a millennial young lady talking about how many Instagram followers she has and lyrics about taking selfies. 

Overall I can't fault Jetboy's enthusiasm, sticking to their guns by keeping the spirit of rock alive, not going with the crowd as they did in the '80s while everyone else was two-hand tapping and sweep picking, however, I feel this album is strictly for the die-hard fans. For everyone else, if they're playing a festival you're already going to this summer, maybe give them a look in. 5/10

Thomas Silver: The Gospel According To Thomas (Red Cat Records)

Fantastically titled The Gospel According To Thomas is the debut solo album from former Hardcore Superstar lead guitarist Thomas Silver. Having parted ways with Hardcore Superstar in 2008 citing tiresome touring schedules and loss of inspiration, Silver has clearly found his fire once more, it may have taken over a decade, but from the pomposity of the album's title and the overall lyrical themes, it is clear that he has something say. Opening track Caught Between Worlds is a hard, driving rock anthem with a weird and wonderful edge to it, Silver, while not the strongest vocalist has his unique style, the likes of Andrew Eldridge and Type-O Negative's Peter Steele come to mind upon first listen, the more Baritone rock vocal is a welcome change to the usual higher range which this genre is more familiar with. Minor Swing shows off some of Silver's less conventional musical inspirations, tapping into some more punk and new wave influences. A pogoing-paced track sounding like The Clash's London Calling played at double speed, or fellow Scandinavian's Hanoi Rocks, Silver brings the music that he was raised on up to date. 

Lead single D-Day works as an excellent summary of the entire album, a moody ballad feel in the verse's building up to a huge stadium rock sized shout-along chorus (even if the "Everybody!" rally cry is somewhat reminiscent of The Backstreet Boys' Backstreets Back (Alright) ) The lyrics in this song seem to deal with Silver's departure from and return to making music "Maybe I'm the one to blame, Maybe I'm the bitter shamed, Maybe I would do it all again" The song changes pace in the middle 8 to showcase Silver's true calling as a phenomenal guitar player. The auto-biographical lyrical themes come to a peak in the final song of the album All Those Crazy Dreams, documenting his rise to stardom and fall into middle-aged mundanity; “the years go by, and we’re suddenly grown-ups, with families and kids, houses and German cars, you know we’re rock n roll stars.” It is an honest and moving statement that is rare to hear from our aging rockers. 

Overall the Gospel According to Thomas is a theatrical "dark pop" album, blending elements of the Hard Rock that his former band was best known for, along with vivid callbacks to genres such as Punk, New Wave and Goth. Excellent, well-constructed guitar solos on just about every song and brutally honest lyrics form a compelling chronicle of the past two decades of Reverend Silver's life. 6/10

Mojo Bozo's Electric Circus: Electric Circus (Self Released)

Hailing from Annapolis, Maryland, Mojo Bozo explode onto record with fuzz-toned, feedback-soaked psychedelic energy, it is instantly evident that the 3-piece is heavily influenced by the past, in particularly psychedelic, garage and surf rock of the late 1960s. After an intro-track that acts somewhat as an overture, the first real song Paranoia opens with punchy riffs and intense playing from all 3 members, building to a Josh Homme-esque. chorus, all wrapped up in a perfect rock single length of 3 and a half minutes. Later tracks delightfully hope between, rock, flower-power pop, and blues. The stand-out track for me, however, is Some Kind Of Magic (nothing to do with Freddie Mercury and Co.) A Zombies-like, Summer of Love pop gem, complete with a cheeky reference to the "Oocha Shaka" chant from Blue Suede's Hooked On A Feeling's buried in the mix of the instrumental break (made famous by Guardian's Of The Galaxy for those under 30/Reservoir Dogs for the over 30's) Another stand-out track is instrumental Swamp Thing, which is straight up Dick Dale-style surf rock. 

Catchy and bouncy and made me want to be dancing with Go-Go dancers in a 1960's nightclub. The playing on the album is impressive, very tasty guitar leads, flashy but never felt masturbatory as I find many progressive rock/metal players, the riffs throughout are catchy but inventive, with many of them instantly hum-along-able. I'd say the main thing that normally puts me off psychedelic rock, is the looseness of it, Mojo Bozo don't fall into this trap, however, the band is tight, but orchestrating chaos in places. Blending the retro influence with modern production and performing intricately written passages made to sound improvised. The album comes to climax with an instrumental sequel to the opening song simply titled Paranoia II, an adequately manic freak out to bring this very impressive love letter to the past to a close 9/10

No comments:

Post a Comment