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Wednesday 27 November 2019

Reviews: Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Angel Sword, Northerion (Paul H & Rich)

Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders: Get The Money (Colombia) [Paul Hutchings]

I’ve never especially liked Taylor Hawkins. I have no basis for this dislike other than he’s a genuinely good drummer, he’s got rock star looks, he drums in a band where he’s almost as good as the frontman who still allows him sing during their shows, and he keeps appearing in virtually every rockumentary ever produced. He’s also friends with huge swathes of rock royalty and he’s drafted in some big guns on the third album which he’s produced with The Coattail Riders.

As much as I am reluctant to say it, Get The Money is a massively enjoyable album. Plenty of Queen style harmonies as expected, but The Beatles feel of CU In Hell where he duets with LeAnn Rimes is unexpected. Alongside Chris Chaney (bass), Nate Woods (guitar and vocals) And John Lonsteau who produced the album with Hawkins, we get Dave Grohl, Pat Smears, Roger Taylor, Duff McKagen, Nancy Wilson, Chrissie Hynde, Joe Walsh and Perry Farrell. Middle Child features Grohl and has a delicious Cheap Trick flavour whilst the electro pop of Kiss The Ring is as self-deprecating as they come. Get The Money starts softly but soon succumbs to a gentle reggae beat, unsurprising given Hawkins’ love of The Police, Hynde’s smoky vocals combine with Hawkins own tones along with a neat bit of guitar from the Eagles veteran Walsh.

I could do without the Yardbirds cover of Shapes Of Things which features Queen’s Roger Taylor and fellow Foo Fighter Pat Smears, but it’s okay as covers go and you can feel the fun oozing out of the speaker. Elsewhere Mark King pops up on Queen Of The Clowns, and the short sharp I really Blew It sees Dave Grohl, Hawkins and Perry Farrell go for it big time. Get The Money is a quality release. Plenty of variation, pop mixed with rock and yet one more reason to despise Taylor Hawkins. 8/10

Tygers Of Pan Tang: Ritual (Avalon Label) [Paul Hutchings]

Their 2016 eponymous release was a reasonable affair; I gave it a 7/10 at the time and Ritual continues the ride. The Tygers line-up remains stable, guitarist Robb Weir at the helm, along with Micky Crystal on guitar, bassist Gavin Gray, drummer Craig Ellis and Jacopo Meille on vocals. The album starts in rip roaring style, Worlds Apart a crashing melodic metal track which gallops along. First single Destiny is clearly aimed at radio airplay, another melodic fist pumping song that has enough hooks to be memorable. (It also features the song on a car radio as an intro, and we all know that there is only one song that should have this style of intro, and that is Detroit Rock City by Kiss).

Spoils Of War stands proudly as the centrepiece of the album, a solid emotive track followed by White Lines, its typical 80s intro leading to a song about life on the road rather than cocaine use. The Mandatory ballad Words Cut Like Knives follows, as usual a ghastly affair which begs the question why bands bother doing these songs. The remainder of the album is rather generic although the nearly eight-minute Sail On bucks the trend, a brooding simmering track and is possibly the best track the band has written for a long time. The reworking of 1980s Don’t Touch Me There from Wild Cat closes the album and has all the class its title suggests. It’s classic Tygers. The fact that the band continue to work and produce music is to their credit. Robb Weir’s drive undeniable. This is a genuinely decent hard rock album. 7/10

Angel Sword: Neon City (Self Released) [Rich Oliver]

Neon City is the second album by Finnish NWOTHM (New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal) band Angel Sword.  Much like the vast majority of other bands in this genre they play old school heavy metal like it is still 1982. A loving throwback to the heavy metal pioneers of yesteryear. Angel Sword don’t particularly have anything about them to make them stand out but Neon City is simply just under 32 minutes of competent old school heavy metal. The songs are punchy and anthemic with plenty of twin guitars and the gruff vocals of Jerry Razors who sounds like a cross between Chris Boltendahl and Rock ‘n’ Rolf with hints of Udo Dirkschneider and Lemmy. The main influences here are NWOBHM bands and a considerable influence from Judas Priest. It’s not original by any means but like all the other NWOTHM bands it is a homage and a throwback to the glory days of heavy metal. A perfectly enjoyable listen for those who love old school heavy metal. 7/10

Northerion: Sky Above // Sea Below (RecordJet) [Rich Oliver]

Northerion are a heavy metal band from East-Frisia in Germany and Sky Above // Sea Below is the second album from the band. Described as a melodic heavy metal band Northerion incorporate a lot of different influences into their sound from classic heavy metal to power metal to melodic death metal to folk metal. This is a real mixing pot of sounds and styles which sounds good on paper but unfortunately isn’t delivered too well. There are two things really holding this album back - the first is the sterile and flat production which sucks the life out of pretty much every song on the album and the second are the vocals by Tim Grögor which have absolutely no passion or enthusiasm to them whatsoever. It really sounds uninterested and just like he cannot be bothered.

 The songs themselves are generally lifeless and boring but there are a couple which stand out above the rest. Valkyries Wings and The Omen Of Fire are the more melodic death metal inspired songs of the album and they have much more energy and urgency to them and also have some added harsh vocals (which also aren’t too good). Sky Above // Sea Below although played well is just a rather dull affair. Aside from the two songs previously mentioned there was little that caught my interest. Apart from the odd moment here and there the rest of the album in general just failed to inspire much of a reaction from me. 4/10

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