The Drippers - Scandinavian Thunder (The Sign Records) [Matt Bladen]
Filthy, furious, garage rocking from Scandinavia. The trio of Viktor Skatt (vocals/bass), William Dickborn (vocals/guitar) and drummer Niclas Kristoferson play high voltage rock n roll drawing from the Detroit scene that spawned The Stooges and MC5 along with bands such as The Hellacopters who are the precursors to bands such as The Drippers. Scandinavian Thunder is their second album, written and recorded during the pandemic, it was a way for the band to once again show their incendiary live sound, but obviously transferred to vinyl. Their debut Action Rock was well reviewed here, and this second record is equally as good.
Distorted fuzz riffage on No Stars is met by the punky Time For Some Action and Shine No Light where the trio blast away with a real revelry. This record again was produced, recorded and mixed by Scandinavian production legend Tomas Skogsberg and he has made sure that the ferocity of the bands live show is translated well here, making you feel like the band are playing in your front room, obviously if your stereo plays it loud enough. It's supposed to feel dirty and raw, tracks such as Rollin' Aces give you that feeling of being in a sweaty club. A massive punch of Scandinavian Thunder will make you want a tonne of beers and just rock out! 7/10Land Of Gypsies - Land of Gypsies (Frontiers Music Srl) [Simon Black]
I have to be brutally honest – despite being a long term fan of Californian also-ran rard Rockers Great White in 2012, the point when Vocalist Terry Ilous joined was the point that I stopped caring. The Elation album did not really register, because frankly without Jack Russell’s distinctive, soulful voice, this just wasn’t the band I knew or loved. I was sad to hear of the appalling treatment Ilous received from Great White though, because no-one should be fired from a band like that, but to be honest the car crash in slow motion had been happening for a long time and that means people inevitably get hurt. Sadly in this business usually this means the hired hands. So with the knowledge that Land Of Gypsies is a project spawned by Ilous, producer/bassist Fabrizio Grossi and guitarist Serge Simic this moved from being involved in an act circling the drain to being something of a supergroup.
It doesn’t disappoint.
I haven’t heard the infamous solo album Ilous released that was the trigger for him getting the boot from Great White, but this is a world away from the frankly stale material that came from the GW camp during his brief tenure. I guess the adage that you can’t make a silk purse our of a sow’s ear holds true, as this record is the product of a core of experienced and highly skilled hard rock veterans firing on all cylinders with total artistic and creative freedom. Musically this is gutsy, well-crafted hard rock, with a gutsy and deep bluesy edge to it. Being only a four piece with a single guitar, this is quite stripped back, meaning every note and instrument sounds put loud and clear, so yes, the justifiable comparisons to Bad Company meets 70’s Whitesnake with one axe are not too far away ... or indeed Supersonic Blues Machine given they share half of their lineup. Musically Grossi and Simic manage to sound like there’s way more than just the two of them, and not by overdubbing the hell out of their work, but careful and precise, yet fluid musical delivery and song craft.
The difference in Ilous’s performance here and what I had heard from Great White is a country mile apart. Here he is confident, in charge and totally demanding your attention. He holds the vocal lines with power, prestige and real gutsy class, and before I know it I am three spins into this ballsy debut. You would not know it was the same man, There are some stomping rocking tracks here just screaming for a live audience – Get It Right, Shattered and Trouble are just top notch crowd pleasers, so I really hope that they tour the ass of this record and that this doesn’t get relegated to a lockdown studio project, as for me this has serious legs. 8/10
Age Of Wolves - Age Of Wolves (Pitch Black Records) [Matt Bladen]
Brought together by some of the most experienced members of the Canadian heavy scene, Age Of Wolves is the debut album from the band of the same name. What we have here is a thundering mixture of heavy rock and hard hitting metal, bringing together classic rock, stoner, doom and traditional metal. Imagine Thin Lizzy jamming with bands such as Monster Magnet and you'll get an idea of what the record sounds like, concrete riffs put with big choruses. It's all pretty standard fare but played well. Michael Edwards has a great voice, whiskey soaked and smoky, he easily shifts from chest beating rockers like Overlord to the more bluesy tones of Grease Monkey And The Monkey Wrench.
The bottom end of Dwayne LaFramboise (drums) and Ray Solomon (bass) bring a thick syrupy sound to Temple Bar, a throb to My Love Ends All, along with a punchiness to the thumping We Rise which feels like a track by Down (hopefully without the Anselmo racism). Rounding out this foursome is Al 'Yeti' Bones who is the six stringer that has wide ranging style to his playing, having big riffs interspersed by more artistic flourishes. While recording this album they have also been featured in a documentary that will be on Amazon Prime. Age Of Wolves is a big stomping heavy record worth a place on your listening pile. 7/10