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Tuesday 12 December 2023

Reviews: Cassidy Paris, Everdawn, Fifth Note, Trick Or Treat (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Cassidy Paris - New Sensation (Frontiers Music Srl)

New Sensation is the debut album from Aussie rocker Cassidy Paris, inspired by the likes of Pat Benatar, Heart, Lzzy Hale et al, she’s on a mission to inspire more women into the rock n roll sphere. Cassidy is only 20 but has already got 2 EP’s under her belt, but on her first international release, she’s all about making a statement. 

The Heart/Benatar sound comes from the opener Danger, open chords and big chorus showing both Paris’ soulful vocals (she’s also a guitar player live endorsed by Fender but doesn’t seem to play on the record), in conjunction with Paul Laine (ex-Danger Danger) she has written an album that will appeal to any fans of melodic rock, utilising the AOR scene of the 80’s as a major inspiration, using her platform to spread the anti-bullying message that she’s been so active in campaigning for, on the track Stand

Having not long finished another UK tour, this album couldn’t have come at a better time as anyone that saw her perform will be actively trying to seek out music so it will hopefully be snapped up. Here I Am takes a more modern approach, Halestorm/Evanescence the keys of Alessandro Del Vecchio important, as well as all his other instruments and production (probably), he also brings modernity to On The Bright Side

The rest of her band are also on fire two guitarists and a drummer as Laine adds some additional vocals, slick 80’s melodic rock at just 20 Cassidy Paris has a very bright future ahead, similarly to Chez Kane there’s a homage to the past but Paris also adds modern American metal and even some punk/emo on Song For Broken Hearted. I’ll be honest and says it suffers from ballad bloat, but there’s enough on New Sensation to present a bright future for Cassidy Paris. 7/10

Everdawn - Venera (Frontiers Music Srl)

Everdawn’s 2021 Frontiers Music debut Cleopatra received an 8/10 by Mr Hutchings on this blog back when it was released, so with the band having been plying their trade since 2014 and formerly featuring a member of Symphony X then you’d expect that the quality wouldn’t dip just two years later. 

The answer is no, despite being 14(!) tracks they whizz by with a breakneck pace, keeping the progging to the 12 minute Truer Words Ever Spoken. Since that album only the quartet of Boris Zaks (keys), Richard Fischer (guitars), Dan Prestup (drums) and Alina Gavrilenko (vocals) remaining from Cleopatra, band co-founder and bassist Mike LePond needed in too many other places so they have Alan D’Angelo playing on Venera. You can’t hear the join as he’s a brilliant bass player giving the low chugs to tracks such as Karmic Partner

Everdawn are a really speedy style of symphonic metal much like early Kamelot/Sonata Arctica/Nightwish, the orchestrations/synths intermingling with the guitars for melodic widdling on tracks such as Samsara, the drumming hitting the sort of pace black metal bands dream of while the vocals soar operatically but also carry weight in the lower register. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen (yep him again), its jumps off the player allowing all the instruments to breathe on tracks such as the instrumental Crimson Dusk & Silver Dawn

Venera manages to capture lightning with neo-classical playing, progressive song writing and a massive ode to the power/symphonic genre. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though perhaps a one or two fewer songs would have made the difference, due to a shorter more direct runtime. 8/10

Fifth Note – Here We Are (Frontiers Music Srl)

A brand new signing from India, Fifth Note release their debut album on Frontiers Music. Originally a Christian metal themed covers band, playing songs by Stryper and Circus Maximus, they now adopt more secular influences for an album that can be a little jarring.

Rider opens the record with the sleazy hard rock of a band such as G’N’R, but then Always Love You adds strings and 80’s AOR stylings reminding me of Stryper, but with the keyboards from the prog rock genre as Dreamer gets a hard rock groove which is like Kingdom Come where Zep inspired some sleaze scene of the 1980’s.

Popular in their own country, the Zep influence comes from the vocals but often they are stretched a little too far. Then without warning Fantasy evolves into modern progressive metal, as I Won’t Give Up takes it back to AOR. The influences are wide but a little all over the place, using progressive as a bookmark for trying too many things.

Are they AOR (Here We Are)? Or are they prog metal (Misfortune/Falling Apart/Confused Trauma)? Well they’re sort of both I think, but also neither, no matter how slick they are the record was a bit of a slog. Hopefully with a bit of refinement they will have a better showing on album number two. 6/10

Trick Or Treat – A Creepy Symphony (Scarlet Records)

To celebrate more than 20 years as a band, Hellowee… I mean Trick Or Treat have released their first live album. A Creepy Symphony was recorded on their Creepy Symphonies tour, from their beginnings to their modern incarnation of Italy’s premier ‘happy metal’ band. 

Now I’ve always perhaps been a little harsh on the band as they do ape the German pumpkins a lot. But with Alessandro Conti (Twilight Force/Ex Luca Trulli’s Rhapsody) behind the mic, they have someone who is both Kiske and Lione in one, though when you hear him without the studio trappings, his voice is a bit pitchier than it is on record, there’s not quite the polish either though Simone Mulroni does a great job of mixing and mastering so that you can hear it’s live but the crowd noise isn’t too loud, and none of the instruments drown the others out. 

This was obviously recorded in Italy as the between song banter is in Italian, and it features some special guests such as Michele Luppi (Secret Sphere/Whitesnake), Chiara Tricarico (Moonlight Haze/ex-Temperance) providing vocals while former guitarist Luca Cabri appears on final track Like Donald Duck. Included as well is an Xmas single featuring Tommy Johansson of Sabaton/Majestica, which is actually kind of funny. 

Trick Or Treat don’t take themselves seriously and neither should you, if you like the quirky humour of Helloween or Rocket Ride period Edguy as well as the cheesiness of Freedom Call then you’ll do worse than checking out this live career overview. 7/10

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