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Sunday 2 June 2019

Reviews: Alan Parsons, Gin Lady, Sleeping Child, Burial Remains

Alan Parsons: The Secret (Frontiers Records)

Alan Parsons will be known to readers of this blog for one of two things, either as the legendary studio tech at Abbey Road who engineered Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon or as the butt of a joke on Austin Powers. Having found some relative fame in the late 70's and 80's with The Alan Parson's Project this is a solo record that is Parsons' first album in 15 years, he has written and arranged all of the record along with the mixing and producing. It opens with Sorcerer's Apprentice (famously featured in Disney's Fantasia), it's as good as the original and leads into Miracle which features the vocals of Jason Miraz, One Note Symphony has echoes of Sirius/Eye In The Sky.

This record doesn't stick to one genre as you'd think with someone like Parsons at the helm take a song like Sometimes which has Lou Gramm (ex-Foreigner) behind the mic and sounds like an Elton John offcut, while Soirée Fantastique has a both Parsons and Todd Cooper sharing the vocals making it sound like a French 70's Eurovision entry and Fly To Me has the dreamy psych of the Beatles. Todd Cooper is in fact the major vocalist here co-writing much of this album with Parsons and Tom Brooks. Parsons contributes also to the instrumentation with guitars, keys and percussion though he has help from musicians such as guitarists Steve Hackett and Ian Bairnson of Alan Parsons Project, virtuoso bass player Guy Erez and session drummer extraordinaire Vincent Peter Colaiuta. If you've ever heard Trans Siberian Orchestra in their less metallic moments then The Secret sounds a lot like that. A good album if a more varied one than what we normally listen to. 7/10

Gin Lady: Tall Sun Crooked Moon (Kozmik Artifactz)

The Swedes are very good at nostalgic rock n roll, they have a glut of bands who delve deeper into the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s echoing everything from Carnaby Street cool to San Francisco quirkiness. Gin Lady is one such band who has moved between the decades with their musical endeavours. This fifth album comes two years after their last on Electric Earth saw them bringing more 60’s psych sounds, pitching them in the summer of love, here though they have grasped onto roots, not theirs, but the roots of American country and rock. Tall Sun Crooked Moon is a straight line to Laurel Canyon bringing a bit of desert rock to the more well-worn sounds of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers mixed with an Allman Brothers twang.

It’s brilliantly conceived, especially as both bands mentioned are no longer around, to have these sunny sounds blaring out of the stereo once again warms the soul. It bring some glorious pen chords on Everyone In Love, before those sweet Allman harmony leads ring through on first single Sweet Country Living, while The Visit, Into The Wasteland and Always Gold have that upbeat melancholy of Tom Petty & co, as Gentle Bird brings the sadness of Neil Young’s Harvest-era. Tall Sun Crooked Moon is a brilliant album from these Swedes, digging deep vein of Americana making their own with every note, nostalgic fr all the right reasons. 8/10

Sleeping Child: Rise Of The Astrophant (Self Released)

Regular readers will know I like a bit of desert rock, especially when it features big lumbering stoner riffs, some more psych passages and even percussive travelling caravan vibes. The debut full length by Hamburg band Sleeping Child has all that, the latter on Amunet, however what it doesn’t have are vocals that make me want to listen to it. Jules the singer of the band has not got a particularly good voice; it’s trying for that Shamanistic quality but comes across as just shout more than anything, which does diminish the overall enjoyment of the record. An instrumental such as God Anubis shows the band are good enough without the vocals so I’m not sure why they can’t hear what it does to their music. I mean it is opinion but for me Rise Of The Astrophant is lessened by the vocals. 5/10

Burial Remains: Trinity Of Death (Transcending Obscurity)

Featuring members of Grim Fate and Fleshcrawl (who recently toured the UK with our own Sodomized Cadaver) , Burial Remains are old school death metal band with membership split between The Netherlands and Germany. Trinity Of Death is their debut album and comes to renowned extreme metal label Transcending Obscurity Records. There is a skin peeling rawness to this record that brings to mind Entombed and Dismember, the flurry of intense riffs rarely let up, Burn With Me especially which features guest vocals from Ralf Hauber (Revel In Flesh, Heads For The Dead). That’s not to say this album doesn’t have some groove to it as the opening number Crucifixion Of The Vanquished, does bring it down to a stomp before they let loose on head bangers such as Days Of Dread. At 7 tracks long it doesn’t outstay its welcome every song built for maximum impact and as Tormenter blitzes past you in a tornado of biting guitar tones and growled/screamed vocals you find yourself with a shortness of breath. Burial Remains still kill the old school way and are all the better for it, nasty, aggressive death metal, the way it should be. 7/10

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