Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Reviews: Hanoi Rocks, Gideon, Ignominy, Bad Bones (Reviews By David Karpel, Zak Skane, Erick Willand & James Jackson)

Hanoi Rocks - Oriental Beat (Svart Records) [David Karpel]

Sleaze royalty, purveyors of flashy, glam-punk fashion and street stained, Decline of Western Civilization Part II rock & roll excessiveness, Hanoi Rocks deserve a revisit. While it’s fun to recognize them as a key influence to a bunch of American bands who borrowed from their looks, sounds, and antics, a new listen reminds us that the variety of styles in these songs are rooted in the band’s own musical context, including such diverse bands as New York Dolls, the Clash, Cheap Trick, and The Police. 

They remain one of those bands that if you missed them way back when, their relevance persists to such an extent that it may be your music-loving duty to give an attentive listen to their remixed and remastered, consequential 1982 album Oriental Beat. The band hated the original production value, even though the album and subsequent tour were a turning point for them, solidifying them as rising rock stars, and they took part in the production of this 40th Anniversary reissue. The new version does an excellent job of bringing the right elements forward, giving us a better sense of Michael Monroe’s sensuous vocals, and of Sami Yaffa’s foundational bass playing, not to mention the clarity given to the guitars, drums, and other elements. 

If you’re already a fan, the reshuffling of a few songs might bug you, at first. It made no difference to me. The title song opens the album with a scratchy, punchy beat. A scream imitated by so many androgynous, hair-sprayed lead singers follows until the song breaks into a fat-tired punk rock rager that manages melody and catchiness with ease until a break for an all too brief and swanky sax solo, after which the band returns to stomp that punchy beat right to the end.

Drums open Motorvatin’, Yaffa’s bass rolls in, and then Monroe’s voice, dripping with that knowing attitude, becomes the pull. It’s a debauched rock & roll anthem sweetened with harmonies that add to the infectiousness. No Law Or Order incorporates that punk-reggae sound Hanoi Rocks adapts with panache, the new mix providing a much better listen than the original, too, the bass warmer, the guitars so much more crisp. Teenangels Outsiders bursts with that energetic “wild and free, yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus and back up singing that makes it a pretty perfect, straight up rock song, including that awesome sax again. 

When Sweet Home Suburbia shuffle-beats through the speakers, my already attentive senses are spiked with renewed interest. This is my favorite moment on the album because it defies all my previous notions of the band and because it’s just a fantastic, sleazy rock song to get up and dance to. Much of what I liked about early Chili Peppers is here, that funk driven rock, the swing, the dirty concrete-born scrapes and bruises. MC Baby brings that punk rock energy back with a hoppin’ beat, guitar licks, harmonies, and Monroe’s vocals twisting everything into submission. 

Don’t Follow Me gets more breezy, ever more sweet, and the new production gives each instrument, including Monroe’s voice and sax, their due. Visitor continues the mid pace of the Don’t Follow Me, but has an almost disco-goth mood with a chorus that will hook you without mercy. Lightnin’ Bar Blues is a fun cover song, and Devil Woman is a hair-slicked boulevard cruiser of a song that incorporates harmonica and bluesy heartbreak. The album closes on the appropriate piano ballad, Fallen Star, that showcases how Monroe’s talents can conjure Bowie as much as anyone else, while also foreshadowing the many imitators that would follow. 8/10

Gideon – More Power, More Pain (Rude Records/Equal Vision Records) [Zak Skane]

This album comes to a swinging start with their opening track Back 2 Basics. From just a quick flick of a drum fill we are pummeled by classic hard core styled chugging rhythms mixed with modern flavour from the screeching of Digitech Whammys and the tight percussive rhythms from the guitars and the slapping attack of the kick drum. The drum performance gives this track a push and pull feeling, which really makes this performance, sound live and organic. Damned If I Do shows the guitars taking a step back whilst delving into bowl rumbling low tuning to allow the talents of Jake Smelley drum skills to shine through with every tasty drum lick flavouring this track with attitude and swagger whilst keeping the listener interested through the track. 

I Will Carry You will sends the listener into consistent curve balls with it’s haunting slide guitar intros, melodic hardcore choruses and classic metallic hardcore verses. Listening through the lyrical content on this song you can feel the passion seeping more than ever through every lyric that Daniel McWhorter barks out. Midnight Blue brings in some nu metal swagger with it’s bouncy energy, bass driven verses with rap swaggered vocals. 

From the eerie sounding voice soundscapes to the bludgeoning blows of the guitars ganging up with the drummers pounding rhythms combined with catchy vocal hooks and their climatic apocalyptic ending More Power More Pain stands out as one of the most punishingly heavy songs on the album. Another highlight on this album is the nu metal energy of Take Off which band incorporate classic hip hop inspired break beats bouncy tempos and 2000’s inspired choruses.

From start to end this album packs so much attitude and flavour from the opening punches of Back 2 Basics to the melodic passages from tracks like Midnight Blue and I Will Carry You to the punishing tracks like More Power More Pain and Too Much Is Never Enough this is an album you can put on your angry playlist, if you are specifically craving some hard core aggression. 9/10.

Ignominy - Imminent Collapse (Transcending Obscurity) [Erick Willand]

Ignominy hails from Quebec in the wonderfully frozen northern realms of fabled Canada and has only an EP, Fear The Living from 2019 proceeding this full length. I remember their single from last year and I'm totally ready for this blast of cold dissonance.

I dig when a song or album opens with weird little details like this, the sound of someone plugging their guitar in before the song proper starts, it’s the little things. Frantic Appeasement starts this way and slides quickly into a sort of false grinding start before finally, at 2:03 and well past the song's midpoint we get the real meat via some very solid blasting and some harsh as a winter wind vocals. Track ends with a guitar peel that bleeds cleanly into track two, Defaulting Genetics and I instantly feel the difference here, no opening song shenanigans this time it’s right into the frozen crevasse. The drum work here by M. Lazure is fierce and feels like the fabric that ties this together and keeps it from flying off completely unhinged. This is a good moment to mention that including the lyrics with the press kit is always a really good idea. 

Reminiscence Of Hatred was released late 22 as a single and ended up in my playlist after the third listen. Easily the most, and I hate to say it, ‘accessible’ song on the album it has a straightforward approach both musically and vocally, it does however burn a bit of time coming in at a hefty 5 minutes and 56 seconds. It is very tight with some downright frightening guitar sounds and conveys a clear sense of aggression. This is followed immediately by a 49 second ambient piece called Premonition Of A Dead End that has a creepy machine vibe and is placed in exactly the right spot on the album. It also bleeds right into the opening seconds of Nightmare Bacteria for an interesting effect of almost tying the three pieces together in an eerie way that just works. Again I feel like I have to mention the drumming as the high point here, it’s tight and holds this speedy juggernaut together despite the 6:09 run time.

Visceral starts slow and purposeful, building on a solid almost distant riff that becomes a ruthless buzzsaw and the angriest vocals yet. It’s a looser song then the previous and seems to suffer for it, meandering back and forth in speed and general ‘feel’. Prelude Vers L’angoisse is another machine noise ambient ‘interlude’ that does come off a bit weird, and that becomes Visuals. The last track of the album and one of the longest at 6:18 seconds and like previous tracks starts off slowly and builds into a solid wall of dissonant aggression. Then at the 4:03 mark comes a low growling roar and the proceedings shift for a moment before re-blasting comes. Everything is in place here and works, and the ending second is …abrupt in that you’ve just hit a wall at 90 mph kind of way.

Imminent Collapse is a strong album there is no denying that, Defaulting Genetics and Nightmare Bacteria are both very solid songs. The atmosphere throughout works so well based entirely on the band's use of the space between the songs and a few well placed ‘interludes’ that tie the whole together. Having said that, a few of these tracks could have used a trim, by the end even my attention was flagging and that's a bad sign.

And finally album art…or rather lack thereof as I have no idea what’s going on here, it’s some kind of gray smudge…and for some reason the cool black and white rotting zombie head is on the back of the CD but all over the merch. Speaking of merch, these guys did go all out, they even have Ignominy coffee mugs available. As cool as that is and all things considered though I have to give this cold slab a 7/10.

Bad Bones - Hasta El Final! (Rockshots Records) [James Jackson]

Oh dear……

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: I’m not good at advice.. can I interest you in a sarcastic comment ? And if I were to be stood in front of these guys live then I’d be turning towards the bar and asking for anything from the top shelf.

Bad Bones are a Hard Rock act, hailing I believe from Italy and have a Motörhead kind of raucous Rock element to them, there’s a segment in the track Rattlesnake that sounds almost, that’s almost Maiden-esque, it’s brief but there and whilst it could have showed some promise, it’s so short lived that it’s never going to redeem anything.

I’ll be up front here, say it like it is, call a spade a spade etc.. I’m not a fan.

I just don’t get that angsty, booze fuelled jock rock vibe (I used a “cool” term). It all just sounds like it’s trying way too hard to be hard, like the guy you worked with, the one that had been there done that, read the book, wore the shirt only to find out that he’s at home, alone (unless you count the three cats) watching reruns of Coronation Street from 1983.

First impressions count, yet another saying and in most cases it’s completely true, since starting these reviews I’ve wondered how many times I need to listen to an album in order to review it, to honestly review it that is but what if I can’t bring myself to listen to it more than once, what if one song is three songs too many? I literally can’t listen to anymore of this album, I’m not finding anything that I can enjoy within the first two tracks so spending any more time on it would be a complete waste of time.

I’m certain that if you’re a fan of this band then you’ll be excited to know that they’ve a new album out, probably drooling at the thought but it’s sure as hell not for me and this is a first I believe but my score for this is the lowest I’ve ever given. 0/10

No comments:

Post a Comment