Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Erkonauts - I Did Something Bad

Many fora bring you to new music to discover and I mentioned several times Progstreaming, Something For The Weekend or Ave Noctum. A Major source I might not have mentioned before is Prog Metal Zone, with their weekly new releases including links to songs or full albums. So I ran into this band from Geneva Switzerland. PMZ spoke about Progmetal with a Punk attitude and the clip of Domimium Mundi sounded very promising. Check it out on YouTube. If you like the heavier parts of this semi ballad you might just order this CD as well. Otherwise first go through their clip with parts of each song as I did.

Punk attitude might be a good description as there definitely is a raw edge to their music. Sometimes I hear a Motorhead like bass running as well. But at the same time I hear adventurous Prog Metal which has always a heavy bass very present. Then I also heard some Thin Lizzy on triple speed passing in Tony 5. As these guys are like me non native English speakers they can get away with somewhat dubious song titles like The Great Ass Poopery or All the Girls Should Die. It is all about the music, which has a party atmosphere around it and I can imagine this to be live quite an energetic show.
Highlight of the album comes in the Hamster's Ghosthouse. This songs greets Voivod openly while at the end of it we get several instrumental minutes with a solo that reminds us of Gary Moore while still hard rocking. A song alone that justifies purchasing this album.

So I did order directly with the band after listening to the two clips at YouTube. To my surprise I was ordernumber 22 only. I guess the ProgMetal loving world can do a lot better. This is just the next great finding in very young 2015 for me. And finishing with Prog Metal Zone, this week led me to the next great discovery in Vola. That band emailed back that they are working on a physical CD now, so watch these pages for more PMZ discoveries soon.  

Saturday, 14 February 2015

House of X - House of X

A self-titled debut album of a new band, with rather famous names in it. Until recently House of X was named X-Ufo as most band members used to be in UFO at one time or another they focussed on covering UFO songs. On vocals we have Danny Peyronal who used to be UFO's first keyboard player and backing vocalist, playing on No Heavy Petting, On Guitars Laurence Archer who played on the High Stakes and Dangerous Men album, but also knwon from his work with Stampede and Phil Lynnot's Grand Slam. On Bass Rocky Newton, who did not play UFO, but was in Lionheart and McAuley Schenker Group and finally drummer Clive Edwards who was amongst many bands in UFO as well.

With these names we get Bluesy Hard Rock which sounds very British and therefore great. This is not an album that will shock your world maybe, but it sounds very nice from start to finish. Not attempting to sound like UFO, they do include one cover, the Danny Peyronel written Martian Landscape. This holds a risk since Danny has a good voice, but not many people can get away with covering Phill Mog on vocals and come out winning. The slight upbeat version makes up partially though. Actually other ballad Alive sounds better to me. Highlight of the album I guess is uptempo party-rocker No More Tequila, which should close many future parties around.

While saying that this album might not move the earth, it definitely is highly recommended. Maybe because of Laurence Archer's presence I can hear a certain Stampede vibe in many songs as well, so just listen to this album. Meanwhile as I am on book tips as well, for ones interested in the passing of these people in UFO read the biography: High Stakes and Dangerous Men by Neil Daniels.  

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Audioplastik - In the Head of a Maniac

I believe it was end 2013 when I voted for promise 2014 to be Alpha Flood on the Prog Magazine Poll. Then drummer Collin Leijenaar left and the name changed into Brave New Sky, which kept me waiting for this CD that never came. And now I received my copy of the pre-ordered debutalbum of Audioplastik and a new highlight of 2015 arrived. Audioplastik are: Dec Burke from Darwin's Radio, Frost*, two Classic solo albums and helping out British Prog artists like Lee Abraham (I believe he also played Rush covers with or before Darwin's Radio). Simon Andersson from Darkwater and ex-Pain of Salvation on guitars and bass. Richard West best known from playing keyboards in Threshold.

Looking at the past and current bands of the members we could expect some melodic progmetal light or melodic heavy prog and that is exactly what we get. Compact and accessable Audioplastik presents a great set of 13 songs, some of which even can be considered radio-friendly (if you don't live in Holland that is). Audioplastik are blending nicely the bands mentioned above. Being heavier than Dec Burke's solo efforts they also remind of a softer Threshold and melodic Darkwater is on the background. Running through the songs I have no outstanding favorite yet, while there is plenty to choose from instrumentals, uptempo or semi-ballads.

Next to Shatterd Skies this was one of the CD's I was looking forward to in the new year and again my expectations were met. Seeing Dec Burke live is for me less of a succes story. When he opened for Script for a Jester's Tour snow was stopping me from driving to de Boerderij and half an hour waiting for a tram that never came, made me throw the towel. Than in 2012 I was going for a training in London and arranged flights so that I could catch Dec Burke's Band in Milton Keynes on a Sunday afternoon, a show that got cancelled shortly before. Now Audioplastik should make it to de Boerderij, play this album completed with covers from all bands mentioned at the introduction and a great night at the Farm seems guaranteed.    

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Mark Gregory - No Sleep till Saltburn

Mark Gregory is not a musician, he is a writer, former milkman, radio maker, band manager and creative director amongst other jobs. As such this is not a CD, but a book. And what a read it was on my last week's trip abroad. The full title being "No sleep till Saltburn -Adventures on the edge of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal" this is a first hand story of the do it your self mentality that resulted in the boom of many great (or not so great) NWOBHM bands in the early eighties. After finishing this book in almost one read I can only say that anyone with a slight interest in Heavy Metal or NWOBHM and no strong dislike of reading should have this book. Almost as captivating as Anvil's The Story of Anvil, this book is also filled with humour when going through the learning on the job experiences and painful mistakes. In the end it has been mainly thanks to people like Mark Gregory that the news on the NWOBHM got spread around through his magazine Cleveland Rocks as well as his local radio show.

All the bands mentioned in the book sound familiar to me, but as I was still at school and only started seeing live shows at the end of the NWOBHM movement, with Diamond Head first time outside the UK being one of the first of them. There is a link with Holland though as Mark talks about the letters received from abroad asking for his first edition of Cleveland Rocks. He specially mentions a certain Metal Mike and Andre Verhuysen, both World Famous in Holland's metal scene as the original and still running Aardschok magazine editors. They took care that Holland always learned about new bands fast and some broke through in Holland before conquering Europe really (Metallica and Queensryche for starters). The Chapter No Sleep till Eindhoven was therefore an extra interesting read, as Mark joined Satan on their Dutch tour 1983, where they played the Dynamo club in Eindhoven. Satan proudly mentioned to be ranked above Whitesnake, Quo, Gillan and Van Halen and as I have my Aardschoks 1983-1986 saved for historical value, I could check the facts and indeed they were , ranked number 40 and above these more known names. The review of Mark for that show was one of great admiration of band and audience, so I had to check the review in Aardschok as well, which was a bit more down to earth. As a Dutchman it was nice to read though that Dutch crowds in the early eighties looked maniacal in the eyes of an English band and journalist.

Repeating again this book you read with a smile on your face. The comments on the Battleaxe cover for Burn this Town, their tourbus, the rockstar behaviour of some names that disappeared pretty soon, the drinking sessions in London interviewing Saga, his first impressions of Venom (similar to mine at the time) it all brings you back to times when music was made out of love for the music and no X-Factor/Idols shit existed. So sorry I can't make it to Brofest to return to NENWOBHM heydays.