It’s been ten years since the guitar virtuoso that is Gary Moore passed away. And yet, there seems to have been a relentless plundering of the man’s archives over the past decade. How Blue Can You Get is the latest in the list of releases and contains eight songs which are apparently previously unheard and unreleased.
Moore’s guitar playing is undisputed. His soulful blues style graced Thin Lizzy, Skid Row, Colosseum II as well as an exceptional solo career which saw his music range from hard rock through to the easier blues style that he excelled at. How Blue Can You Get features eight tracks. It opens with a storming version of Freddie King’s I’m Torn Down before the well-known Memphis Slim song Steppin’ Out gets the Moore treatment. The inevitable ballad which formed a substantial part of Moore’s catalogue arrives in the form of In My Dreams, which is a hybrid of Still Got The Blues and Parisienne Walkways, Moore’s signature melancholic guitar singing beautifully throughout.
More covers are included with BB King’s How Blue Can You Get forming the central pillar of the album, with the seven-minute meandering work out sure to be a treat for those Blues aficionados. Elsewhere Moore shows his chops with a funked-up version of Elmore James’ Done Somebody Wrong, and there are a couple of other sweet explorations in the shape of Looking At Your Picture, and the closing tenderness of Living With The Blues. If you are a fan of the man, then this may be an essential purchase. For those with a mere passing interest, then a quick listen on Spotify is probably sufficient. Either way, there is no doubting the quality. It just feels a bit more plundering of a vault that surely is reaching empty. 8/10
Alchemia - Inception (Wormholedeath Records) [Richard Oliver]
Inception is the debut album from Brazilian ‘horror metal’ band Alchemia. The band was formed in 2018 by multi-instrumentalist Victor Hugo Pilroja (vocals) and completed by Rodrigo Maciel (guitar), FIFAS (bass), Alex Cristopher (drums) and Wally D’Alessandro (keyboards). Alchemia have a number of influences on Inception taking elements of extreme metal, gothic metal and symphonic metal as well as influences from more contemporary forms of metal and much more. With this cornucopia of different influences abound it means that the album contains a varied bunch of songs from the pop metal leanings of Haunting You and the industrial groove metal of Ashes and If Nothing Is Sacred to highlights such as the melodic and symphonic sweep of Save Us, Mind Prison and Secret Call.
Mister Misery – A Brighter Side Of Death (Arising Empire) [Liam True]
Beginning their sleazy horror-laden blend of rocking anthems and frantic metal head-bangers in some style. Mister Misery tear their way out of the dirt like a reanimated Return Of The Living Dead corpse with Ballad Of The Headless Horseman. Gigantic hooks, galloping riffs and a chorus that is such a sing-along, it’s a very exciting start. With both feet firmly planted in the modern metal side of things, the twisted beings continue their march to world domination with Buried, Mister Hyde and Burn. Grandiosity that makes every moment feel like it belongs in a stadium. Chuggy heaviness, energetic effects and gothic-tinged atmosphere, and of course, gleefully fun choruses. All covered in the sticky residue of tongue in cheek horror vibes.
Talking of tongue in cheek horror vibes though, check out Devil In Me. The horror melody, kicking into a thumping guitar groove and punchy drum beat, the roaring death-focused vocals doing battle with the clean singing. The playful energy of this track, it is startlingly clever and impressively addictive. How do you achieve world domination in modern rock and metal? By appealing to the mainstream music crowd. Which Mister Misery certainly will, meaning they’re also likely to piss of a ton of so called ‘metal purists’ but even that lot will be hard pressed to not admit to enjoying some of what is here. For example, the racing riff work of I’ll Never Be Yours has a thrashy edge and it would take a stubborn fool to ignore this chorus. Though Under The Moonlight is where you’re reminded of just how gleefully evil and twisted Mister Misery can be. Another hit amongst an album filled with them.
Any thoughts that sustaining this high level of energetic metal catchiness is a task too much for this band have no idea who they’re dealing with. Mister Misery are revelling in their horror shenanigans and with In Forever (love the guitar solo), Clown Prince Of Hell (so bloody twisted but also so bloody heavy), We Don’t Belong (head-banging gold with riffs to die for) and Home (a rocking foot-rapper that keeps the smile plastered over the face), they prove they’re the next big thing.
It’s down to to Through Hell to end things in style and holy hell, does it. A sprawling epic that has some of the wildest riffs and the most hellaciously heavy beats of the album. A dramatic finale even with the orchestral version of Ballad Of The Headless Horseman as the actual final track. 7/10
Off The Cross – Enjoy It While It Lasts (Self Released) [Simon Black]
Those of you that read my unintelligible dribblings on here regularly may have spotted that in the main I tend to prefer bands with a more predominantly clean vocal style, on the grounds that I generally like to be able to understand the lyrics someone has taken the trouble to write, so when I occasionally extend my reach to the more extreme stylistically, the Editor (bless his Millennial socks) normally raises his hands to the sky and cries some appropriate epithet regarding my lack of open mindedness the rest of the time. So why do Off The Cross appeal to me?
This approach keeps it up throughout, and none more blatantly than on the frankly brilliant single This Too Shall Pass, with its funeral opening, delicate Symphonic keyboards layering and the superb guest turn from Eluveitie/Illumishade’s Fabienne Erni, before building to the concrete elephant heaviness that you would expect. It’s an unexpected turn in an album of superbly produced hook laden melodic brutality and by this point in the album I am utterly hooked. Frankly I was pleasantly blown away in that nice and completely unexpected way that is the reason I do this gig in the first place. You know that’s a positive experience when I find myself listening a fair few times despite the mounting pile of stuff to review, because I want to do it justice. 8/10