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Reviews Written by
Ianham "Ianham" (Ross-shire, Scotland)

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Death Penalty
Death Penalty
Price: £11.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Riffmeister returns, 12 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Death Penalty (Audio CD)
What can I say - in fact the "Sun" said it best ....

"One of England's great riff machines (and candidate for most unrecognised National Treasure), Garry "Gaz" Jennings, has found a tight-as-a ducks-armpit rhythm section and fantastic vocalist ....and they're from Belgium! We understand that even Gaz was astonished, "I had no idea. One minute I was in Cathedral with some bloke from Coventry, next minute I was in a cosmopolitan, multi-lingual environment."

No longer just known for just chocolates and Poirot, Belgium has become a hotbed of doom. Acquired in a job lot from the EU (by way of Serpentcult), our plucky Belgians kick up one hell of a storm. After hearing this platter we (as a Nation) should be more than happy to pay Europe what they demand. Every child over 5 should own a copy and it should be included on the School Syllabus. This is one Monster Metal Mother of a Record. A steaming five stars....."

I think they liked it. I did too.

I commend this CD to the House.

Brimstone Coven
Brimstone Coven
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £7.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Trick or Treacle here!, 7 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Brimstone Coven (Audio CD)
Will this ever re-invent the wheel? No. Does this rock? Yes. Hurled at you at a pace that I can tap to and just about play airdrums without worrying the neighbours, this is a good doomy piece of 70's style rifferama. Lovely vocals too - a bit of a treat on what used to be called "Heavy Rock". Note not metal (louder noisier cousin). No twiddly twiddly guitars here - nope this is pure slow drama- why play scales when you have a perfectly good rudimentary chord sequence?

How do I compare thee - well if I said Cream meets Sabbath one might envisage a Masters of Reality Type experience. Although that is not too far of the mark, it does do Brimstone Coven a disservice - as they are their own band. A band, I might add, with some hummable tunes - something not to be sniffed at in a world filled with death grunts (or as I prefer - Cookie Monster vocals). Much as I enjoy a good grunt every now and then - it is something of a treat when a band actually sings harmoniously. The result in something you might imagine Opeth might get up to if they were constrained to three chords and made to read Dennis Wheatley for a month non-stop.

I must make mention of the delicious cover - yes it does come across as an Italian knock-off Hammer exploitation flick but that is not a bad thing. If it was a film it would have Veronica Carlson, Ingrid Pitt and Madeline Smith as the previously named coven. Yes it would be that good - all I can say is that this CD would have been the perfect soundtrack.

I commend this to the House.

Condemned To Hope
Condemned To Hope
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Mothtake, this is great, 1 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Condemned To Hope (Audio CD)
The Black Moth (1921) was a Georgian romance novel by Georgette Heyer. Wikipedia assures me that mystery and intrigue continue to the melodrama's end. Clearly Georgette had no idea that a band from Leeds would add gigantic riffs to that heady brew.

Let's cut to the chase, yes this is retro but is at the same time , decidedly now. It's more than good enough to stand toe to toe with albums that have long been accepted as classics. Clearly the band have nailed their colours to the mast with the choice of a certain R. Dean for their jacket design/logo. [This sleeve nestles nicely between Demons & Wizards and Never Turn Your Back On A Friend]. So far so Vertigo.

What sets this record apart is the sheer quality of songs and the drive of a band clearly determined to blow the roof off. There is not an ounce of wasted music here, every note serves the song and I haven't even mentioned the vocals. Harriet Bevan is astonishing - fully integrated into the band yet a commanding, venomous presence. No annoying ornamentation she just belts out a good tune. Some reviewers grasp for comparisons, and sure there are thankfully a few around at the moment - Jex Thoth being one, Electric Citizen's Laura Dolan being another. But in truth, Harriet is in a class of her own.

Whilst many reviewers rightly mention Sabbath - plainly the guitarists Jim & Nico studied at the Iommi School of Rock . I would also mention Leaf Hound - accepting that even this does not account for the revved up riffage that goes around. Special mention must go to Grinderman/Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos and engineer Hawkins who show how to record a rock band in all it's raw unadulterated glory. Make no mistake this is a "What The F..." experience.

I commend this CD/LP/Wax Cylinder to the House.

Price: £12.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What da do Ron Ron?, 30 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Censored (Audio CD)
As fine a band of space warriors as you could wish to find, Hawklords live up to a mighty legacy. The question you must ask yourself here is do I want synths that go wooosh, phasing, wacky guitar riffiing and demented cosmic poetry? If the answer is a big yes, then buy this album.

Clearly other reviewers have done a fine job, so I would just like to share a simple view.

What makes Hawklords great is simply Ron Tree - he is not a classically gifted singer, and some of his lyrics can be awkward but he has great heart and that comes over in bundles. He means this and although he is ably supported by a crack band, be clear he is the one that makes this band loveable. This is fun stuff, Ron mixes Rotten and Calvert in equal measure and considerable charm He knocks off some rhyming couplets that are worth the price of admission. Love the occasional rolling R's Rrrron.

Like previous albums, you almost think the first 4 songs are so strong they have shot their bolt early but the hits just keep coming - plainly track 9 "Catwalk Chic" is a star but there is a galaxy here - "It's what you wanted" is mega and others have already the epic that is "The Well of Forever". Loved the last quirky last track - never saw that coming. This is the best three album run anybody in the hawk family have put together for decades. Luxuriate in the cosmic storm.

The production is step up from earlier albums but it remains warm and inviting. Thankfully it is NOT overproduced and keeps some rough edges. Great stuff!

I commend this CD to the House.

Price: £12.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get yourself Nicked, my son!, 12 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Miasma (Audio CD)
Now buffed up and presented here for your delectation by our fronds (sic) at Cherry Red, this is the mighty Frond's debut. Nick Saloman (Frond-in-chief) is a hidden gem of British Psychedelia. Clearly his ability to spank-the-plank verges on the hendrixian however even Blessed Jimi couldn't do it all himself on a two-track. Be not mistaken, this truly is a lo-fi production however what it lacks in sonic sheen is more than made up for by its sheer chutzpah and no little charm. These songs/jams have given me continuous joy since for I picked up the original LP on Woronzow records in 1987 or thereabouts.

If I had to pick out one tune, it would be hard not to go for "She's in Love With Time"; if you close your eyes , add three part harmonies and McGuinn on 12 string , this could have been the follow up to "Eight Miles High". Yes, it's that good. Speaking of The Byrds, I understand that those Teenage Fanclub chappies have themselves picked up on Nick's song-writing prowess.

This is an essential purchase for anyone remotely interested in the more lysergic end of what used to be known as pop.

Happily Cherry Red will be re-releasing the rest of Nick's archive recordings, so that should mean the follow up -"Inner Marshland" will be next on the shopping list.

I commend this CD to the House.

Price: £12.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Say yes to the Band from Delmonte....., 12 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Carousel (Audio CD)
I saw this band twice , once at Edinburgh's now defunct Nite Club and I still have a home recording of their encore , a version of Rocky Erikson's "Your Gonna Miss Me". I shouted myself hoarse that night. I also saw them supporting The Teardrop Explodes.

This band, should have been huge or at least appreciated - fantastic songs. I bought both EP's when they came out. Obviously indebted to Nuggets era garage punk these songs stand the test of time. The only regret is that the brilliant Lemon Verbena Tea is missing - this was I understand recorded for Richard Skinner's Radio 1 sessions presumably lost in the mists of time. I can however still whistle the tune - sad but true. (If anybody can give me a copy of this please contact me on comments.)

The EP tracks - Tous Les soir, Gaga, Infectious Smile, So it's not to be, Don't Cry your tears are probably the strongest but I have a real soft spot for No Man's Land. A nice bit of pumping Farfisa and splendid backing from the rhythm section, which included the delightful Bernice (who was definitely my favourite drummer of 1980).

The term lost classic is much abused, particularly when applied to mid '70's shaggy singer-songwriters. This band however were CLASSIC and loveable in a particularly Scottish way. The balance of the original line-up was a joy to be hold and this comes over in these enthusiastic recordings. Play loud and frequently.

As essential to Scotland's musical history as Jimmy Shand, Orange Juice and Josef K - it's certainly a step up from Andy Stewart.

I commend this CD to the House.

Sagacity (Special Edition)
Sagacity (Special Edition)
Price: £6.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its great, buy on sight - no really, 3 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yup its saga , its great, buy on sight - no really. This band is seriously underrated in the UK at least. I know some folk say it's not as good as ..........(fill in any particular album or year), however if you want to play the same three albums over & over go ahead. This is damn good ad all you have to do is appreciate it for what it is.

Heaven & Earth
Heaven & Earth
Price: £13.53

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes - the healthier option!, 21 July 2014
This review is from: Heaven & Earth (Audio CD)
I've read some of the reviews before listening to this album and re-read them after actually listening to the album, it's fair to say that some folk need to lighten up. Hands up, my favourite version of Yes is the one with Tony Kaye and his mighty swelling (Hammond) Organ. I also hold a very soft spot for Peter Banks, who really set out what made Yes sound yessy with the best jazzy chords since Jim Hall.

Anyway I only mention this to illustrate everybody has a particular favourite but that should not detract from what is currently being served at the table of Yes. Is it a mighty fare, I hear you ask....well not exactly. It is healthy and very good for you but it's not your hog-roast more a nourishing slice of nut-roast with a side serving of salad. Whilst we might all hanker after the hog, we know that as we get older we have to think organic or simply put... we die. Yes have survived this long by adapting and regularly disposing of members in a haphazard , sometimes brutal way (Wakeman Junior got particularly shafted I might note). Nevertheless they have stayed around longer than many, much to the chagrin of professional critics and (it would appear) some "fans".

Anyhow, simply put this is an album where the band play songs - tuneful songs and certainly ones a tad longer than most. Is it prog? Yes . Is it good prog? Yes. Will it change the world? No.

New vocalist , Jon Davison does a splendid Job - I was already familiar with him through his stint with Glass Hammer (a fine band - buy all their albums). He also does a great job in the songwriting dept carrying off 7 co-writes. I particularly draw your attention to track 4 "To Ascend" - endlessly hummable. " In a world of our own" has a nice little McCartneyesque bass figure going on - now a bass duel between Squire and McCartney would be interesting. Track 7 "Light of the Ages" is probably my fav so far- this is a Davison composition, and well-good it is too.

On the down-side, I would take issue with the choice of producer Roy Thomas Baker has a huge rep but is a bit on the safe side. Yes do need a kick in the pants to shift gear and whilst the sound is good, I get the feeling that a a bit more edge would have been of benefit - is Steve Albini available for a remix? On keyboards Geoff Downes does follow his natural urge to go all parptastic c.f. Asia - concentrate on your organ Geoff! But these are mere niggles

At this stage my feeling is that this is a grower, it's true charms will be revealed over time. Obviously some will take an instant dislike to it but some "fans" still hate "Tales from the Topographic Oceans" (and that includes to some degree, Wakeman Senior). However I would encourage anybody to give it a go and live with it for a while.

To return to my earlier food analogy, whilst we may reminisce about meals we have had in the past, it is always best to eat what is in front of you especially when it's this good.

I commend this CD to the House.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2014 10:10 PM BST

The Peacock Party (Remastered & Expanded Edition)
The Peacock Party (Remastered & Expanded Edition)
Price: £12.03

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A (peacock) feather in the cap., 8 July 2014
Having bought Raven's & Lullabies by GG & Oliver Wakeman I was pleased to see that Esoteric had opted to reissue some of the back catalogue. As usual Esoteric use the best source material & present it in a high quality package. As it happens, Oliver Wakeman does the CD layout and a fine design job he does - and it at least gives the estimable Phil Smee a rest. The Peacock Party is a musical follow up to Alan Aldridge's other book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast (Roger Glover having already set that one to music).

The music is top notch - but don't get overly hung up on labels , there's folk , a smattering of prog, jazzy bits even new age. What did surprise was just how this 35 year old album still leaps out the speakers and says class. Ok, it is not remotely left field, it is decidedly tuneful - some would say tasteful. What it does do is put a smile on my face and that is as it should be. Music that makes you happy, now there' s thought.

Of the bonus tracks two are versions of the main tracks, but the other two are a real find. Vocals by Shirley Roden and John Gustafson (of Quatermass, Roxy Music) really make them stand out Strangely enough, John Gustafson had also played on the Butterfly Ball LP. All round this is a fine album - so good bought another two reissues with no doubt another two to follow.

I commend this CD to the house.

Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.68

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychedelic Album of 2014 or your money back (only kidding about the money), 4 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Midnight Sun (Audio CD)
In a short snappy review, the main points are side one - contains most of the "What The ..." moments; side 2 contains the best songs. Excess phasing all round, lovely stuff. Sean knows his way around a drum kit as well as half the kitchen sink of instruments. "Poor Paul Getty" is sent off with delicious black humour and the opening "Too Deep" is one hell of an opening musical statement. Big mention for the lap steel playing on the final track "Moth to a flame" absolutely stunning. Some touches of Floyd & Barrett but nothing that would worry your mother. "Golden Earings" is the sole cover and it does a great job of lightening the mood with its change in pace - originally a hit for Peggy Lee in 1947. What this is decidedly not is a star trip of an album where what you get is dull but worthy. Be assured this is marmite stuff - love or loathe - not much inbetween. If there is a true renaissance of psychedelic music and the presence of Temples, Toy and the Horrors suggest there is, The GOASTT should be top of that list.

Buy on sight (or click)

I commend this CD to the House

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