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Wednesday 25 May 2022

Reviews: The Pineapple Thief, Visions Of Atlantis, Christian Death, Coreleoni (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

The Pineapple Thief - Give It Back (Kscope)

It's Gavin Harrison who we have to thank for this album. The Pineapple Thief/King Crimson/Porcupine Tree drummer hand picked the music featured on this album from three of the bands early albums: Little Man, All The Wars, Tightly Unwound, he approached these songs in the same way he does in King Crimson, which is to play it as if it's a totally new song. After subsequent tours with the band since joining for Your Wilderness, his approach to the older material has seen these tracks take on new life, so inspired by Harrison's idea to rework some of these tracks band leader took things even further and re-wrote, re-recorded and re-worked these songs into tracks that were the same but different. 

What you get from Give It Back, then is a 12 track record that will delight longtime fans, as they will spent hours comparing these to the originals, listening out for the impressive percussion playing of Harrison, but also the additions to the rest of the music from Soord. All the songs here feel like they have been chosen by a drummer, many of them are very rhythmically led, Shoot First and Warm Seas with even the stripped back ones such as Build A World feature glockenspiel and other percussive nuances. So not a best of, but a collection of old songs hand picked by the drummer that have warranted rewiring as the band put. 

We start out with the thrusting Wretched Soul, where the drums are particularly potent giving the track a bit more of a angst about it. Dead In The Water goes more into the modern style of jazzy drum patterns with shimmering post rock guitars, Soord's vocal cutting through with introspective lyricism, 137 gives us some industrial drive. However it's the title track that gives you the perfect idea about what this record is about. The first track chosen by Gavin Harrison it's been revamped into a stage ready heavy rocker, in opposition to the acoustic beauty of Start Your Descent, the Radiohead vibes of Little Man and also Boxing Day which in both forms is one of my favourite The Pineapple Thief songs. 

As I said for fans this will be a great record to pick out the new parts and obsess over, however it also sets down a set of songs newer fans may not know, ready for future tours and back catalogue deep dives. 8/10

Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates (Napalm Records)

Climb aboard, hoist the mizzenmast and set sail for tails of buccaneers on the open seas with Austrian symphonic metal band Visions Of Atlantis. Following their 2019 studio release Wanderers and live record A Symphonic Journey To Remember in 2020, the band have now unleashed their latest studio record Pirates, which surprisingly is about Privateers on the open ocean. It’s a well sailed metal influence, the most famous Pirate metal bands being Running Wild and Alestorm, (however less said about them the better). 

Pirates is cinematic in its scope with huge waves of orchestras and choirs on Master The Hurricane, that are all very Hans Zimmer. Wanderers saw the band trying to redefine themselves, searching for meaning but on Pirates, according to singer Clémentine Delauney they are now "confident in their identity" their upbeat symphonics dipping into heavier riffs and darker orchestrations, the folky Freedom, building drama as Delauney and co-vocalists Michele Guaitoli share a moody ballad, backed by harp and restrained instrumentation, though it builds into a cracking track. It feels like you're bearing witness to this confidence in VOA as a band. 

The tempestuous nautical soundscapes continue on Legion Of The Seas, producer Felix Heldt flexing his muscle on this multifaceted number where everything is at 11. Both Delauney and Guiaitoli are perfect foils for each other Clémentine's wide operatic style perfectly matched by Michele's more traditional power metal delivery. Together they weave the tales on this album brilliantly backed by the most eclectic musicals style yet, even adding flutes and bagpipes to a number of songs including Darkness Inside and In My World, these are provided by Ben Metzner of Feuerschwanz and give the album another dimension. Pirates is a superior symphonic metal offering from Visions Of Atlantis, establishing their identity properly as a band with impressive results. 8/10

Christian Death - Evil Becomes Rule (Season Of Mist)

The apparent founders of American Goth Rock, they have weathered many a storm, from the transition from a post punk band to a more metallic unit in the 1980's, this was necessitated by a split int he band with 2 Christian Deaths doing the rounds (it's not just Batushka). Evil Becomes Rule is the 17th album from the longest lasting version of the band featuring Valor on vocals/guitar/violin/cello/piano and keys, Maitri on vocals/bass and Pao on drums, together this three piece continue the legacy of Death Rock that Christian Death forged many years ago, that has influenced bands such as Danzig, Type O Negative and more recently Unto Others. 

Now it's here I'll address the issue I have with this album, it's only 11 tracks in length but feels much, much longer, that is a problem when a lot of the material sounds very similar, low fuzzy basslines, set to wild dual vocals Valor with the lows and Maitri the wailing highs. The bill this as an 'artistic expression' unfortunately it's one that so often feels a little too much like expression than a coherent album. There are some moments to savour but they are few and far between. Evil Becomes Rule will excite loyal fans but for me, there's too much that drags. 5/10

Coreleoni - III (Atomic Fire Records)

Formed as a tribute to the band guitarist Leo Leoni founded all those years ago, Gotthard, they are now on the 3 studio album of music. The first album was re-recording of some early, possibly forgotten songs from the Gotthard catalogue, but on III they have recorded a lot of new tracks forged in those same fires. This record features Albanian vocalist Eugent Bushpepa, who has represented his country at Eurovision, but here has the perfect, sleazy 80's rock vocal for these hard rock cuts. The 10 originals here are pretty much what you'd expect from Leoni's songwriting, part Ratt, part Bon Jovi, with big choruses and a hard rock swagger it's classic Gotthard in all but name. 

There are of course some re-recorded Gotthard songs as well so you can play spot difference between the originals and these covers, though as they are all written by the same person there's not a lot of variation really. The only jump out moment of this record is the cover of Jumpin' Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones, which isn't great if I'm honest. However the originals and re-recordings more than enough make up for the price of admission. Classic hard rock sounds that will appeal to any Gotthard or radio rock lovers. 7/10

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