A quick rundown on some of the discs taking residence in my Ripple player.
Gunslinger - Better Times
We blasted out a special review on their last album Earthquake in E Minor contributed by Mike "Artie O." Hannon, one of the original innovators at Kick Ass. So when the band returned with their new album Better Times, we were primed and ready. This is simply balls-out rock n roll, played with abandon by Alan Davey (ex-Hawkwind) and crew. Riffy, rough and rocky. 70's rock fans take note. it's a keper. Check out the way groovy, funk-rock of "My Lady." Simply perfect.
Pagan Altar - The Time Lord
I'm a hard nut sucker for early NWOBHM, particularly the more obscure stuff. It's stunning how many bands came out of that era, most never seeing the light of day beyond their local pub. Pagan Altar is one such NWOBHM band that has been bypassed by time. These are the oldest known recordings to exist, demos, dating back to 1978, and show a band that definitely should have reached a wider audience. Fantastic riffs, great harmony guitars and a slightly darkened, post-Sabbath edge. The quality is DIY and rough, just the way I love my early NWOBHM. This one is an orgasm for early metal addicts like me.
Gorgantherron - S/T
What do you get when you mix a big stoner/doom vibe with a love of Grade B sci-fi? Don't think Monster Magnet, think Gorgantherron. There's a whole mythology around the band that includes super secret space missions in 1968, lost monkeys, crash landings in 2010 and endless tapes of Sabbath and Maiden. I believe it all. These madcap riffmeisters tread the delicate balance between gargantuan, rocking doom rock with a touch of the tongue-in-cheek absurd. And it all works. Whether rocking their brains out on "Mothra!" or really freaking out into a jazzy-stoner groove on "Assimilate", this self-titled debut is nothing but fun. And I'll give a nod to anyone who brings some fun back to the oh-so-serious genre of Doom.
The Setting Son - Before I Eat My Eyes & Ears
With The Setting Son, you know what you're gonna get. Swirling, acid-tinged, addictive sugary garage pop, and this album is no different. As sweet a confection as cotton candy, swirling organs and soaring harmonies guide us through one garage pop gem after another. I loved their last album and this one holds up just as well. Seems their well of candy-perfect melodies will never run dry.
Laugh at the Fakes -One Night Only
Wasn't sure that I was going to include this disc or not, because in the end -- to me-- it's flawed. But on the other hand, I seem to keep playing it so there's definitely something there. Four guys who rock out like a mad mix of Guns n Roses, thrash metal and . . .and . . .I don't know. Something complex and proggy. How's that? Laugh at the Fakes is the brainchild of singer/guitarist and songwriter Everett Mason. One thing I gotta say, this kids got talent, both on the axe and the vocals, and most of these songs really cook. The problem is that Everett seems to want to do too much with each song. He doesn't know how to leave well enough alone and let things breathe. Rather that find that perfect riff, he breaks up each song with odd time changes and conflicting riffs. It's impressive to an extent, but when you take a song that is as near-perfect as "Better than You," --with that earworm of a pop metal chorus and vocal hook (simply amazing) -- and add that post-chorus stuttering riff, it simply kills the momentum of the song. To my ears, it just would've been so much more effective without it. I'm including them in this post because I believe in Everett's talent, and think that if he gets a producer who can focus his attack into less showy songcraft, we'll have something really incredible.