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Suffer More
Suffer More
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy metal and heavy blues aficionados should dive right in..., 28 May 2016
This review is from: Suffer More (MP3 Download)
Black River, the debut album from Derby based band Doomsday Outlaw, was met by a hard and heavy note of approval by east midlands and further afield metal-heads in 2015.

Suffer More, like the debut, has a riff based core and a heavy blues edge but on album number two Doomsday Outlaw have expanded their sound and struck a balance between heavy blues and heavy metal (as opposed to following the metal brick road that led to Black River).

The band also has a new dynamic by way of latest recruit Phil Poole, a singer that couldn’t be more different from previous vocalist Carl Batten.
Where Batten’s raw, earthy and deeper vocal suited the Black River material, the vocally rangier Poole is a blues inflected rock tenor that gives the band an additional string to their metal sheened blues bow; he immediately makes his vocal presence known on the grungy, mid-tempo metal blues opener 'Walk on Water.'

'Fallback,' which preceded the album as lead-off single, kicks up the pace and power with the guitars of Steve Broughton and Gavin Mills up front backed by a relentless rhythmic groove from drummer John "Ironfoot" Willis and bassist Indy Chanda.

By the time the short acoustic interlude of 'Driftwood' segues to 'All That I Have' (a six-and-a-half minute blues-drenched number) it’s clear this is a band that have shaken off the restricting shackles of their original sound; Doomsday Outlaw have musically tempered their brand of blues metal to produce a less hard sound but a far stronger one.

And it’s a strength that thrives on diversity, whether that be via the brooding title track (if Iron Maiden did slow metal blues…), the shout it out rock and pounding roll of 'I’ve Been Found,' the banging and blues rocking 'Bring You Pain' or the swampy swagger of the wonderfully titled 'Blues for a Phantom Limb.'

Suffer More is a giant step forward for Doomsday Outlaw and while a 15 track, near seventy minute release provides serious blues metal bang for your buck a 12 track, sixty minute album would have produced even stronger, less is more results – the short and frantic 'Pandemonium' breaks up the album’s continuity and rhythm while 'Wait Until Tomorrow' and 'Jericho Cane' are weighty enough but hearken back to the Black River sound; consequently they sit a little uncomfortably on Suffer More.

The album ends with the contrasting but outstanding brace of 'Running Into You' and 'Tale of a Broken Man.'
The primarily acoustic and vocal former showcases just what Phil Poole has brought to the band while the latter turns the amps back up to 11 to rock out with a bluesy and grungy power much as the album opened.

Many a non-metal rock fan would struggle to dip their toes in the Black River that was Doomsday Outlaw’s debut offering but the more musically powerful Suffer More is a release that both heavy metal and heavy blues aficionados should dive right into.


Sign of IV
Sign of IV
Offered by ProgRock Wales
Price: £9.75

5.0 out of 5 stars The Signs (of IV) are very good indeed..., 23 May 2016
This review is from: Sign of IV (Audio CD)
Kiama, featuring vocalist Dylan Thompson (Shadow of the Sun, The Reasoning), multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed (Magenta, Kompendium), guitarist Luke Machin (Maschine, The Tangent) and drummer Andy Edwards (Frost*, IQ, Robert Plant), have taken 70s rock influences and fused them with their own creativity and modern progressive talents to create the perfectly named debut album Sign of IV.

The quartet’s statement of intent is delivered loudly and clearly on 'Cold Black Heart,' which rocks like the proverbial.
From a riffing guitar intro and organ keyboard swell the song builds upon Andy Edwards’ beefy drum groove and Dylan Thompson's rock tenor vocal, bolstered by a big, vibrant simple chorus and a smattering of smokin’ six-string licks from Luke Machin.

The band then get their prog on for 'Tears,' a track that has so much atmosphere and texture across its hard rock rise and softer fall structure that it feels like the five minute number has been playing for half as long again – less is more conveyed in a concise yet fully expressed piece of Steven Wilson-esque musicality.

While the relatively short-length brace of opening numbers certainly make their mark, progressive long-form composition hasn’t been posted missing in musical action

'Muzzled,' with just a soupçon of Floyd, female backing vocals (Tesni Jones, Lorraine King and Kirstie Roberts) and some airy, jazzy six-string remarks, carries a lovely melodic flow and sway across its seven minutes.
The eight minute 'Beautiful World,' with its soft Genesis/ Steve Hackett styled intro and equally soft Dylan Thompson vocal, lifts and raises to form a captivating progressive ballad that gets more instrumentally intricate as the song continues.

The two largest pieces on the album (both eight and a half minutes) also make an impact.

'Slime' starts as if it’s going to be mid-70s King Crimson but soon develops into a track that’s all Kiama.
The track mixes progressive soundscape with contemporary rock to create a sometimes brooding, sometimes edgy and occasionally delicate piece that concludes in uplifting "find your light" lyrical fashion and a short but poignant solo from Luke Machin over Rob Reed’s simple but effective piano refrain.

'Slip Away' by contrast is the quintessential power-rock ballad.
While it contains a change of pace mid-song rock bridge, at its core is a mid-tempo pulse that’s the perfect vehicle for Luke Machin’s powerful six-string remarks and Dylan Thompson’s poignant cries for "all the dreamers that the world passed by" as time and life slip away.

In a world where a lot of progressive rock is anything but (or is simply rehashing themes of a prog past), it’s refreshing to hear a quartet of like-minded musicians producing an album where each song has its own weight and feel – the bluesy prog ballad 'I Will Make it Up to You' is in complete contrast to the funky, feisty and rockin’ 'To the Edge' (the backing girls in full rock-soul vocal swing); album closer 'Free' is a moving little number with a melodic atmosphere all its own.

The results are an album where each song creates its own identity, but it’s an identity created by the talents that make up Kiama.

If Messrs. Thompson, Reed, Machin and Edwards decide to go beyond the debut and forge a collective career for themselves alongside their respective bands, then the Signs of IV are very good indeed.


On A Mission - Live In Madrid
On A Mission - Live In Madrid
Price: £14.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mission accomplished, 13 May 2016
The classic rock quality – in terms of the collective that is Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock and the back catalogue of Schenker stamped material performed – is reason enough for a live release from the talented quintet but it’s also the perfect time to capture an on-stage snapshot of the band; On a Mission : Live in Madrid both follows and helps promote what is by far the strongest Temple of Rock studio album to date, Spirit on a Mission.

Nor could the band have picked a better place to record a Spirit tour show.
Michael Schenker still has a strong and loyal following in the US and the UK but his European fans are as high-energy and passionate as any.​
In Madrid they are more passionate than most – loudly and clearly proven from the vocal chant get-go as 'Doctor Doctor' launches from its keyboard and guitar crying introduction to fill the Joy Eslava theatre with its sound.

Opening with the UFO classic may seem like a case of showing your hand too soon but the reality is Michael Schenker has more than his fair share of musical Aces in his career deck; the twenty-one song Live in Madrid set is peppered with UFO, Scorpions and original/ early era MSG highlights.

While the set showcases the musical history of one of the six-string greats of rock Live in Madrid also showcases an outstanding group who have developed in to a fine band in their own right – this is not just a set of Schenker sidemen, this is the strongest unit to feature Michael Schenker since the earliest incarnations of MSG some thirty five years past.

Scottish singer Doogie White is in fine voice throughout the show, delivering rock solid performances across UFO songs 'Too Hot To Handle' and 'Only You Can Rock Me' as well as the thunderous Scorpions classics 'Lovedrive' and 'Blackout.'

In the engine room the band are powered by one of the most solid drum and bass sections in rock, Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz, the Scorpions Kings of rhythm from the late 70s to the early 90s.
Buchholz’s beefy and weaving bass lines on the Scorpions instrumental 'Coast To Coast' are almost worth the ticket price on their own.

Rhythm guitarist, keyboard player and backing vocalist Wayne Findlay has grown in musical prominence since the Temple’s foundations were laid in 2011.
Findlay's 7-string rhythm guitar brings a gritty low-end sound to proceedings, adding a thicker layer to 70s classics such as UFO's 'Lights Out' while putting a distinct sonic stamp on new material including the heavy melodic crunch 'n' funk of 'Communion,' the relentless rhythm of 'Vigilante Man' and the brooding, metal edged 'Saviour Machine' (featuring Michael Schenker on "Flying-M" double-neck guitar).

The inclusion of so many Temple of Rock songs in the set, eight in total, also helps solidify the band’s identity, making Live in Madrid a far superior release to Live in Europe 2012 (the latter being Michael Schenker’s greatest hits plus a couple of new songs from an embryonic band on their first tour).

That said Michael Schenker is still unarguably the star of the show.
The German uber-guitarist, having got his rock and roll mojo back (clearly evident in his exemplary and effervescent playing), is On a Mission to deliver quality hard melodic rock to the world.
And, as recorded and filmed on the night of November 19th 2015, Madrid.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2016 1:46 PM BST


Aftermath
Aftermath
Offered by langton_info_england
Price: £40.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Positive Consequences, 10 May 2016
This review is from: Aftermath (Audio CD)
Signals, the 2013 debut album from Scottish melodic progressives Preacher, was a noteworthy first venture that got a deserved remastered re-release via IME Records in 2015.

Three years on from those sonic Signals first being detected Preacher have broadened their sound, shaken off their Pink Floyd shackles (a few songs on the debut found themselves turning to the Dark Side) and delivered Aftermath, an incredibly confident and contemporary progressive melodic rock album that nods to, rather than borrows from, their Floydian (and to a lesser degree David Bowie) influences.

At the core of Preacher are the triumvirate of lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter Martin Murphy, keyboardist Arnold "Arny" Burgoyne and lead guitarist Greg Murphy, son of Martin Murphy (a prodigious talent, the younger Murphy is a self-taught musician who can finger-flex across a fretboard as comfortably as he can deliver emotive or melodic phrasing).

Drummer Iain Duncan and bassist Gordon Munro (the latter joining the band post-Signals) hold rhythmic court and create the solid foundation that Aftermath is built upon; Angela Bell and Kerry McWhinnie, an integral part of Preacher’s layered sound, provide vocal harmonies and tonal colour.

Preacher’s sophomore outing opens in atmospheric style with the title track.
Leading with a simple piano refrain and accompanying guitar remarks the song builds to a more full-bodied soundscape with both the backing singers and lead guitar in full cry, the latter’s melodically wailing notes echoing the lyrical emphasis of the need for change.

'Aftermath' also carries the sort of dynamic that would make for a strong closing statement but the track sets up much of what follows – many of the songs lyrically express the struggles of modern life and the current state of global affairs (the underlying message is "better get our house in order before it’s too late").

Following the 'Aftermath' comes, somewhat appropriately, 'Welcome to the Fray.'
A brooding mid-tempo Pink Floyd meets contemporary rock piece, 'Welcome to the Fray' decries the modern world and global power struggles with some fittingly angry but melodically charged guitar bursts from Greg Murphy (and cool little organ interjections from Arnold Burgoyne).

The regimented drum introduction of 'War' sets up both the militaristic rhythm of the song and its battle-scarred lines ("I see a glow in the distance, the buildings burned to the floor…") before an uplifting final few bars and hopeful lyric bring the song, and the hostilities, to a more optimistic conclusion.

'Hold On' changes the pace once again (building from a piano and vocal opening to a layered sound of keyboard fills, backing vocals and big drum sound) before keyboard sprinkled, pseudo-funky 'Vinyl' grooves (pun intended) create an outstanding slice of progressively-led melodic rock that's as contemporary as the pre-digital age reflections of the lyrics are nostalgic.

For all the strength of Aftermath across its opening five numbers the album positively shines on its closing quartet of tracks.

'Vision' is a breezy, pleasant departure for the band.
A dreamy, soft rock arrangement sets the scene before a jazzy, 70s styled instrumental section picks up the tempo; Arnold Burgoyne’s spray of keyboard notes scatter across Iain Duncan and Gordon Munro’s simple but effective groove before Greg Murphy’s guitar licks kick in to bring the number to its spacey conclusion.

Creating a similar vibe is the mid-tempo 'Sleep;' it too features an instrumental closing section but this time in full-band rock mode with Greg Murphy throwing melodic shapes over the harmony backing vocals and drum flourishes.

'War Reprise' is an alternative view of the 'War' that’s already taken place, seen through the eyes of a man caught up in the fray through no choice of his own.
Martin Murphy's lyrics certainly carry weight ("a day feels like a lifetime, being here against my will") but the true strength of the primarily instrumental number lies in the poignancy of the extended soloing from Greg Murphy, in complete melodic empathy with the emotion of the song.

The atmospheric and lyrically contemplative 'Always' closes out the album in fine style, marred only by the fact the up-tempo closing section, driven by some feisty six-string bursts from Greg Murphy, fades all too soon.

Signals built from quiet, introductory beginnings to a powerful and assured musicality that was hard to ignore.

The same can now be said of Preacher who should suffer nothing but positive consequences in the wake of this particular Aftermath.


Introvertigo
Introvertigo
Price: £9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standing favourably against any..., 10 May 2016
This review is from: Introvertigo (Audio CD)
Singer guitarist songwriter Dan Patlansky may be tagged as a blues rock musician but he has a sound, style and six-string delivery that could as easily be described as blues rawk.

Case in point?
The sonic energy and punch of opening number 'Run,' complete with hollered track title chorus, is vibrant contemporary hard rock in blues shaded clothing.
It also sets up Dan Patlansky’s eighth album Introvertigo in hard edged, yet melodically charged, style.

But the South African blues rocker can also rock the blues – 'Poor Old John' carries an infectious rhythm 'n' groove and an even more infectious chorus (once heard you’ll be singing about "Poor old John" who’s "not around for long" for the rest of the day); by contrast 'Heartbeat' is a dirty great slice of heavy, Louisiana-tinged blues with a "we share the air we breathe" lyric as seen from the perspective of the homeless man on the street corner.

Dan Patlansky gets on his musical pulpit to deliver the raunchy, riff fuelled blues of 'Sonnava Faith.'
It’s a big hitting number with an equally big hitting lyric ("Don’t come cheap being born again – I hold the tickets to Heaven my friend”) that attacks not religion but the just-send-money TV evangelist and those who pray to the God of Mammon.

Some pretty cool shades of blues come by way of the funky 'Stop the Messin’, the AOR styled 'Bet On Me' and the up-tempo, heavy pop beat of 'Western Decay,' the title of which leaves the listener in no doubt as to where the lyric – and western society – seems to be headed.

The slow blues 'Still Wanna Be Your Man' is a road musician’s tale of balancing that life with one of family.
The song produces a sincere vocal from Dan Patlansky along with some seriously impressive crying guitar lines over guest musician Rami Jaffe’s Hammond B3.

Similarly 'Loosen Up the Grip,' which builds from piano and vocal introduction to a mid-weight melodic blues, features another great vocal, some simple yet highly impactive six-string remarks and a delightful solo.

'Queen Puree' closes out Introvertigo in hard, mid-tempo rock it out style.
Musically the number is a mix of contemporary brashness and Hendrix chords while lyrically Patlansky sings of his young daughter who controls her parents as well as her guitar virtuoso dad can play his Fender Stratocaster.

Dan Patlansky’s previous album, Dear Silence Thieves, was voted the No.1 Blues Rock album of 2014 by Blues Rock Review USA; it was also Patlansky’s best album to date.

Note that’s "was" Patlansky’s best album to date.

Because after honing his blues club craft across South Africa for a number of years and releasing a collection of notable, earlier albums (including the EMI/ Blue Note release True Blues in 2004), Dan Patlansky now stands favourably against any blues rock performer you care to mention.

And Introvertigo, again featuring the talents of Clint Falconer (bass), Andy Maritz (drums) and Theo Crous (producer) stands favourably against any hard rock album you’ll hear this year, blues affected or otherwise.


Rainbird
Rainbird
Price: £10.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful genre-less songcraft, 9 May 2016
This review is from: Rainbird (Audio CD)
Adam Norsworthy, as front man and guitarist of blues rock outfit The Mustangs (a popular draw on the blues circuit and festivals across the UK and Europe), gets to show off his blues chops in high energy, distinctly British R&B style.
But with his solo career, which runs parallel to The Mustangs (to date the band and singer have released seven studio albums apiece), Norsworthy has developed in to a consummate singer songwriter.

Adam Norsworthy’s previous album, 2014’s Love & Wine, was a breezy affair that painted colourful singer songwriter pictures from a palette of 60s styled melodic pop, Americana, US coastal music, easy listening and a nod to David Bowie via the Space Oddified 'Still Life.'

Rainbird is, in broad stroke terms, more of the same in its singer songwriter approach, but solo album number seven is no Love & Wine Part Two – it’s Adam Norsworthy’s best and most mature work to date and one that delivers reflection, melancholy, storytelling, uplifting melodies and up-beat rhythms in equal measure.

A small number of guest musicians have been employed across various tracks (including a rhythm section of bassist Mat Beable and King King drummer (and co-producer) Wayne Proctor), lending weight to the sound or providing that just-what-the-song-needs additional layer (King King’s Bob Fridzema for example adds Hammond organ textures to a few of the songs).

Opening with the power-pop meets rock and roll beat of 'Leave a Light On' and closing thirteen songs and fifty minutes later with the reflective piano and vocal of 'Just a Weary Soldier,' Rainbird presents Adam Norsworthy at his songcrafting best.

There is also a timeless quality to the songs, or numbers that could sit in any musical time and space.
'No Point Talking' is jaunty melodic folk-pop but would have been a hit single for pop rockers Smokie thirty plus years past; the gentle and captivating storytelling track 'The Stradivarius Tree' (featuring violinist Anna Brigham) could have been written two centuries ago or last week; similarly the vocal-acoustic guitar-violin folk styled tale 'A Night in the Bolney.'

Elsewhere the ballad 'I’d Rather Spend My Time With You' carries a strangely alluring melancholy while 'Da Vinci’s Eyes' and 'Loving Could Be So Easy' are uplifting, can’t help but smile pieces of lightweight and harder pop rock, respectively.

But it’s not just the craft of the songs that impresses.
The sound and arrangement of the individual tracks, and the album as a whole, is also worthy of praise, a large part of which is down to the ear and talents of co-producer Wayne Proctor (along with the mix from Proctor and Steve Wright).

In a musical world where everything needs to be labelled or pigeonholed Adam Norsworthy has managed to deliver an album that is genuinely genre-less.
Rainbird flies above and beyond categorisation, floating free as a delightful album full of great songs written by a very fine singer songwriter.


WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO
Price: £12.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Setting the tone..., 6 May 2016
This review is from: WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO (Audio CD)
There are a number of notable and truly outstanding six-stringers in the world of rock, prog, blues and instrumental fusion with a sound so distinct you can identify them from just one solo or melodic phrase.

Robin Trower is unquestionably one such guitar great but while the earthy and beautifully melodic "Trower tone" is due in no small part to his custom-became-signature Fender Stratocaster and distortion driven pedal power, it’s also part of his very fabric.
'That sound doesn’t just come from Robin Trower's fingers, guitar, pedals and amps; it comes from his blues infused soul.

Where You Are Going To features that famous Trower tone in spades but, more importantly, it hasn’t embedded itself this richly or sublimely on a Robin Trower album since the Long Misty Days of decades past.

Musically and creatively however Where You Are Going To is an extension of Robin Trower’s previous album Something's About To Change; four decades on from the career defining Bridge of Sighs Robin Trower is no longer a pioneer of progressive blues rock but a league leader of 21st century soulful blues.

Where You Are Going To expands on the slow-blues nature of Something’s About To Change to offer up a more varied menu, from the mid-tempo melodic blues of opener 'When Will the Next Blow Fall' (inspired by recent unsavoury events in Europe) and slower, six-minute title tack (with a lyric that both reflects and ponders) to the Hendrix meets blues-funk of 'Back Where You Belong' and on to the fusion of soul, funk and blues that coalesce to form album closer 'Delusion Sweet Delusion.'

The one failing of more recent Robin Trower solo albums has been Trower's decision to take on lead vocal duties; the results have been decidedly hit and miss vocal affairs (brilliant guitarist, but never the greatest singer in the world).
Here however Trower delivers his best vocal work to date, comfortable and confident in the musical surroundings and clearly inspired by the more personal nature of a number of the songs.
The personal aspect of Where You Are Going To is most evident and most significant on the drifting and touching slow blues 'We Will Be Together Someday,' written for, and dedicated to, the memory of Robin Trower’s late wife Andrea (similarly the more groove-driven blues number 'I’m Holding On To You').

The 71 years young Robin Trower is in one of the most musically prolific periods of his life; when he’s not touring or recording he’s playing his guitar a few hours every day and coming up with song ideas on an almost weekly basis.

Which probably explains why the laid-back groove and exemplary guitar playing on Something’s About To Change made for Robin Trower’s best album of the 21st century.

Where You Are Going To, however, goes beyond to stand tall as one of the strongest releases of Robin Trower's storied career.


Lucky 13
Lucky 13
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His number's come up..., 4 May 2016
This review is from: Lucky 13 (MP3 Download)
While the self-titled debut album, featuring the wonderful 'Watching Over Me,' was a solid enough eight song introduction to the Kris Barras Band, Lucky 13 welcomes the return of an outfit – now augmented to a fuller sounding four piece with the addition of keyboard player Matthew Vowels – who have absolutely no right to produce an album as good as this for a sophomore release.

But then singer guitarist Kris Barras is not exactly short on experience or talent – the UK based musician started playing guitar at six, has played on both sides of the pond as a performer and session musician, published instructional media and currently writes a guitar technique column for Blues Matters Magazine.

Opening with the Nashville blues and hard rockin’ punch of 'Heart On Your Sleeve' (featuring guest musician Simon Lane on harmonica), Kris Barras and band – Ricky Mitchell (bass), Will Beavis (drums) and Matthew Vowels (keyboards, vocals) – introduce those aforementioned Nashville inspired sounds to strong rock melodies, shake each other’s hand and become firm musical friends across an exceptionally strong, no filler, eleven track album.

The more rootsy but melodically charged 'I Got Time,' featuring backing and harmony interjections from Phoebe Ions (who makes her vocal mark on many of the numbers) leads to 'Rock 'n' Roll Running Through My Veins,' a five minute slice of vibrant, hard melodic blues-tinged rock with a searing solo from Kris Barras.
It’s a song that deserves to be heard on rock radio playlist rotation on both sides of the pond.

Tracks such as 'I Can’t Help You Now,' 'I’m Gone' (with some tasty slide guitar work) and the funkier groove of 'Nothing To Hide' keep the blues melodically rocking before Phoebe Ions takes centre stage for the slow blues of 'Tearing Me Apart;' Ions’ blues pipes are complemented perfectly by the six-string cries and melodic remarks from Kris Barras.

Simon Lane’s blues harp wails under the 'Big City Lights' and the number’s big, bluesy, riff ‘n’ rhythm before the band head down the rockabilly roll road to 'Small Town Blues,' which finger-picks its way through three and a half minutes of up-tempo fun.

'Too Dumb to Care' carries a feisty and funky blues rock vibe before 'Devil’s Done Alright By Me' brings the album to a pacey rhythm and blues edged close.

For all the obvious talents of Kris Barras, the song quality, musicianship and sheer vibrancy of the band's second album is at a level you’d expect from a seasoned or veteran band with years of recording and performing behind them.

But in a day and age where it can be a crapshoot for even the most talented or hardest working of bands Kris Barras, having had his number come up with Lucky 13, is also clearly rolling sevens.


Where You Are Going to
Where You Are Going to
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Setting the "tone"..., 16 April 2016
This review is from: Where You Are Going to (Audio CD)
There are a number of notable and truly outstanding six-stringers in the world of rock, prog, blues and instrumental fusion with a sound so distinct you can identify them from just one solo or melodic phrase.

Robin Trower is unquestionably one such guitar great but while the earthy and beautifully melodic "Trower tone" is due in no small part to his custom-became-signature Fender Stratocaster and distortion driven pedal power, it’s also part of his very fabric.
'That sound doesn’t just come from Robin Trower's fingers, guitar, pedals and amps; it comes from his blues infused soul.

Where You Are Going To features that famous Trower tone in spades but, more importantly, it hasn’t embedded itself this richly or sublimely on a Robin Trower album since the Long Misty Days of decades past.

Musically and creatively however Where You Are Going To is an extension of Robin Trower’s previous album Something's About To Change; four decades on from the career defining Bridge of Sighs Robin Trower is no longer a pioneer of progressive blues rock but a league leader of 21st century soulful blues.

Where You Are Going To expands on the slow-blues nature of Something’s About To Change to offer up a more varied menu, from the mid-tempo melodic blues of opener 'When Will the Next Blow Fall' (inspired by recent unsavoury events in Europe) and slower, six-minute title tack (with a lyric that both reflects and ponders) to the Hendrix meets blues-funk of 'Back Where You Belong' and on to the fusion of soul, funk and blues that coalesce to form album closer 'Delusion Sweet Delusion.'

The one failing of more recent Robin Trower solo albums has been Trower's decision to take on lead vocal duties; the results have been decidedly hit and miss vocal affairs (brilliant guitarist, but never the greatest singer in the world).
Here however Trower delivers his best vocal work to date, comfortable and confident in the musical surroundings and clearly inspired by the more personal nature of a number of the songs.
The personal aspect of Where You Are Going To is most evident and most significant on the drifting and touching slow blues 'We Will Be Together Someday,' written for, and dedicated to, the memory of Robin Trower’s late wife Andrea (similarly the more groove-driven blues number 'I’m Holding On To You').

The 71 years young Robin Trower is in one of the most musically prolific periods of his life; when he’s not touring or recording he’s playing his guitar a few hours every day and coming up with song ideas on an almost weekly basis.

Which probably explains why the laid-back groove and exemplary guitar playing on Something’s About To Change made for Robin Trower’s best album of the 21st century.

Where You Are Going To, however, goes beyond to stand tall as one of the strongest releases of Robin Trower's storied career.


The Machine Stops
The Machine Stops
Price: £9.99

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian future tales and the ever-present Hawkwind - the perfect match, 15 April 2016
This review is from: The Machine Stops (Audio CD)
It’s hard to think of a better subject for a Hawkwind album than E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, from which the album takes its title, concept and lyrical inspiration.
Forster’s 1909 novella would turn out to be a somewhat prophetic tale of a future where individuals live in underground isolation, communicating only via personal screens (while an omnipotent but decaying mechanism known as The Machine attends to the cavern dwellers needs).

'All Hail The Machine,' featuring a spoken word introduction from band front man Mr Dibs over mechanical and computer styled synth bursts, sets up the dystopian tone of the album before 'The Machine' rocks out in a psychedelic fury of frantic drum work and ever-changing guitar lines that flit across and around the song’s constant flurry of synthesised notes.

From there, Hawkwind set off to tell E. M. Forster’s "dark future" tale as only Hawkwind can.

'King of the World' features ever-present guitarist and true Hawklord of psychedelic rock, Dave Brock.
Brock's trademark spoken-rather-than-sung vocal accompanies a mix of psychedelic Hawk-drone and rhythmic drive, the latter supplied by long-time Hawkwind drummer Richard Chadwick and synthesizer player Niall Hone, bassist on the track (latest recruit to the Hawkwind cause, Haz Wheaton, contributes bass to two of the numbers on The Machine Stops).

'In My Room' carries some of the sonic ambiance of 'The Golden Void' in its introductory synth washes while 'Synchronized Blue,' 'A Solitary Man' and six-and-a-half minute album closer 'Lost in Science' are classic slices of Hawkwind's proto (now post) punk meeting pacey space rock head on.

A change of pace comes via 'Hexagone,' a lightweight piece solely performed by Dead Fred (aka Phillip Reeves).
While 'Hexagone' initially seems to sit a little uncomfortably in the middle of the The Machine Stops, its quirky, light-relief charm adds a little splash of off-beat colour to the album’s darker tones.

Hawkwind’s most celebrated days are behind them; since heading out In Search Of Space in the 70s and peppering their 80s and early 90s output with a number of notable releases commercial success has eluded the legendary outfit.
But the band, along with their loyal Hawkfans, probably care not a jot – and live Hawkwind have always pulled a crowd, both on tour and as a festival attraction.

More significantly however Hawkwind, through various incarnations and line-ups, have been psychedelic rock Warriors On the Edge of Time so long it’s almost impossible to conceive of a future where they won’t be part of the rock and roll fabric – or at least its spacier, outer edges (man).

That’s as hard to imagine as a future where we almost solely rely upon, sit in isolation in front of, or talk to, small computerised screens all day...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2016 11:15 AM BST


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