About Me

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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Radio Sun - 'Beautiful Strange' Album Review


The Radio Sun – Beautiful Strange

You have to give the lads of The Radio Sun a bit of credit. They have some serious work ethic. ‘Beautiful Strange’ is their 5th album in 5 yrs, 4 if you call it calendar years (think about it!).  Their fan-base has been growing with every passing release. I know this for absolute FACT. Their star has ascended these past three years appearing at HRH AOR, and ripping up with each and every appearance.

This isn’t being too critical, but I don’t think you will ever see an ‘Operation Mindcrime’ type album from TRS, or that time when Megadeth went a bit soft and did a proper melodic rock album. It’s just not in The Radio Suns make up to go all left field completely. They have a sound that is distinct, thank to Jason Olds pipes, and play to their power/pop-rock sensibilities. If you want change, then this is where Black Majesty, and Starchase come in. Despite that, I hark for a change.

For me, The Radio Sun is all about Summer rock, which in Australia is a bit more prolonged than Blighty (maybe not this year). And it’s the summer feel that you get from TRS at any time of year. This is mainly down to the fact that all they guys wade in with some sumptuous harmonies.

We join The Radio Sun on Sunset Strip in ’84 with their Hair Metal riffage and pulsating beat for ‘Hold On Tight’. Its at the heavier end of what TRS do, akin to the likes of Dokken or Ratt, and it’s the side I like of TRS the most. More metal riffs Janevski! Please?

‘Believe In Me’ is typical fare for these guys, the type of song they easily compose in their sleep. It’s all about the chorus and melody and its what they do ever so well. ‘Should Have Listened In My Sleep’ is definitely one of the highlights and demands repeat listens. Its positive vibe powers along, so dig out those hairbrushes (if you have any hair) and get stuck into some air vocals. ‘As Long As You Want Me’ should be one of the first and obvious choices for radio play. ‘Miss Wonderful’ is one of those songs where you just fall back and melt into the sound and the solo in particular. ‘Have You Got What It Takes’ is what I’m saying! I want this heavier and more of this edgier sound. Keep the melodies, ramp up the riffs. ‘I Don’t Want To See You Cry’ again typifies The Radio Sun, its upbeat, punchy enough and with a touch of pop. That said, I don’t think its possible to make Jason Old sound like there’s anger in his vocals! They work with the tools they have and produce results. ‘Hearts On Fire’ and ‘Five Years After’ are both melodic as hell. Title track ‘Beautiful Secret’ is a definite for the live set as the chorus is great. The riff is bugging me as it reminds me of a classic, but that’s what 51 does for you. It will come to me in about 3-4 months I’m sure. ‘Standing Tall United’ finishes with a quick shuffle of the feet and a quick one-two, with Janevski showing his chops.

I’m a fan of The Radio Sun, and I like what they do. As a live band they are even more fantastic and I’ve watched them grow into the band they are today. My gripe? Play me a song in five years and I may struggle to tell you what album its off. Its not a bad thing, but I would love to see just one album where TRS go for the kill, like a ‘Back For The Attack’, ‘To Hell With The Devil’, or ‘Invasion Of Your Privacy’. TRS have one of these in them, I’m certain of it. In the UK I would say that ‘Beautiful Strange’ (or any other TRS album) is a Ronseal album, i.e. it does what it says on the tin. BUT…just once, I want to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck, like the ‘Hold On Tight’ and ‘Have You Got What It Takes’, but at a more sustained level. Well done fellas.

Score – 9/10

The Radio Sun –
Jason Old – Vocals
Steve Janevski – Guitar
Anthony Wong – Bass
Gilbert Annese – Drums

Produced by Paul Laine

Tracklisting –
Hold On Tight
Believe In Me
Should Have Listened To My Heart
As Long As You Want Me
Out Of This World
Miss Wonderful
Have You Got What It Takes
I Don’t Want To See You Cry
Hearts On Fire
Beautiful Secret
Five Years After
Standing Tall United

King Company - 'Queen Of Hearts' Review


King Company – Queen of Hearts

 

King Company was formed in early 2014. Drummer Mirka ”Leka” Rantanen (Raskasta joulua, Warmen, ex-Thunderstone, ex-Kotipelto, etc) had already been thinking about forming a new hard rock / melodic metal band for a long time. He wanted to play with people with whom he had worked before and who he knew as both good musicians and friends. First, he contacted guitarist Antti Wirman (Warmen) who was also the first to join. The singer Pasi Rantanen was in Mirka’s mind from the beginning, as they had played together in a couple of bands before (Thunderstone, Warmen). After keyboardist Jari Pailamo (Kiuas, Ponies To Kill), and bassist Time Schleifer (Enfarce) joined the band, this super-group was ready to start working. 

The band’s original name was “No Man’s Land”. In the autumn of 2014 they entered the famous Astia Studio to record their first 3 song demo. Shortly after this Antti Wirman got a temporary gig as the touring guitarist of Children Of Bodom, which limited their rehearsal time, but still the band managed to write more and more material. Co-operation with Heta Hyttinen & Ginger Vine Management began and eventually led to a recording contract with Frontiers Records. This was the band’s dream come true, and the debut album recordings could begin. In 2015 the band played very succesful gigs in Helsinki and Jyväskylä. The nearly sold out venue “On The Rocks” witnessed the band’s first live performance as they played a set full of songs from the upcoming album.

After the first gigs began the debut album recordings. The album war recorded and mixed by Janne Wirman and Kal Kaercher and mastered in by Mika Jussila. At this point Frontiers Records suggested a name change to avoid confusion: there already were two other bands by the same name. The band changed its name to “King Company” and released its debut album ”One For The Road” in 2016.

I’m going to brutally honest I really struggled with K.C’s debut album One For The Road so I was a touch apprehensive when I heard a second album was on the way however my fears were unfounded. Opening track Queen Of Hearts is a fantastic track reminiscent of  Drive, She Saids  Drivin’ Wheel, a lightning fast mix of keyboards and drums that sent shivers down my spine and had me hooked before I’d even heard a note of Leonard F. Guillans searing vocals. 

This album is a superb mixture of melodic hard rock and lighter waving ballads and I loved every minute of it. It’s not very often I say this but in my opinion King Company have achieved something quite rare and it’s an album that whilst there are a couple of slightly weaker songs there isn’t a truly bad track on this CD. What I have noticed while playing this album is that my enjoyment increases with every listen. With Queen Of Hearts King Company have taken the ingredients of early 90’s rock music mixed them together created an album to feast on.

I highly recommend that you open your purse or wallet and invest in Queen Of Hearts you won’t be disappointed. 

SCORE 10/10


Band Members
Leonard F. Guillan - vocals
Antti "Eversti" Wirman - guitars
Jari Pailamo - keyboards
Time Schleifer - bass
Mirka "Leka" Rantanen – drums
 
TRACK LISTING:

Queen Of Hearts
One Day Of Your Life
Stars
Living In A Hurricane
Under The Spell
Never Say Goodbye
Learn To Fly
Berlin
King For Tonight
Living The Dream
Arrival

PRODUCED BY: King Company
STUDIO: Beyond Abilities Studios, Soup Studios
RECORDED BY: Janne Wirman, Tero Kostermaa, Antti Wirman, Jari Pailamo
MIXED BY: Janne Wirman at Beyond Abilities Studios
MASTERED BY: Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios

Friday, 3 August 2018

Classic Albums Revisited - No. 1 - Icon - 'Night Of The Crime'

I’ve thought about doing something like this for quite some time. Either....
  • -        a classic album that needs revisiting (is it as great as it was back in the day, or even better?)  
  • -       an argument for album that was never a classic, but it should be.
  • -       or, an ‘every home should have one’ contender.
My contender for a classic album, is Icon’s 1985 masterpiece ‘Night Of The Crime’. It’s a classic album to me, but to any fan outside of AOR then its one that would unlikely appear on their radar. It complies with two out of my 3 statements above.
Ask anyone what their favourite melodic rock / AOR album is and I doubt they will pick anything later than 1992. The obvious choices are Journey’s ‘Escape’, Foreigner ‘4’, Strangeways’ ‘Native Sons’, Def Leppards ‘Hysteria’ (my fave Lep album is Pyromania), or something like Aviator, FM, Signal, Giant, and even Michael Bolton. Ask 10 different AOR fans and you will probably end up with 9 different answers. The list is always a decent one and one that you can argue down the pub for hours. 
If a band has a song that turns up on your radio, car stereo etc and you never touch the dial or turn it off, no matter how many times you’ve heard it, then it’s a classic. Multiply one track by 10, and ‘Night Of The Crime’ is a perfect album for me. There’s not a single duffer in sight. Fuck, even the gaps in the tracks are worth listening to as they ramp up the excitement level for me. 
They were formed in 1981 by high school buddies Dan Wexler (Guitar), Stephen Clifford (Vocals), and Tracy Wallach (bass). By The time it came to NOTC, in came John Aquilino (guitar) and Pat Dixon (drums). The album was released through Capitol Records and was produced by that talented fella Eddie Kramer, and mixed by another legend, Ron Nevison, and it features songwriting talent Bob Halligan Jr. For whatever reason I cannot understand to this day, Clifford walked during the mixing process for personal reasons. Fuck, and double fuck.
Any producer/mixer worth their salt can polish a turd. They can make poor albums sound average, and make average albums sound good. One thing they can’t do is to make a shit album  - or an average, or even good album, great. There has to be something ‘there’ already. Icon came to the table with a great set of songs. Much to the point where they are that good a set, the Produced would have to be a complete tool to fuck it up. Thankfully everything aligned for one of THE rock albums of the 80s.
Right from the opening bars of ‘Naked Eyes’ the Icon and Kramer set the whole tone of the album. The guitar sound on ‘NE’ is just fantastic, and Clifford’s vocals are crystal clear. Nothing is fighting with each instrument to be heard. Bass lines and drums thump away at your body, particularly on Hungry For Love. More on that later.
Full album on YouTube (above)

Missing’ is an AOR gem, from the opening parpy keyboards and the wailing backing vocals, before the wonderful bridge and chorus. ‘Missing’ is one of the top songs of this genre bar none. ‘Danger Calling’ is one of the more harder edged songs on offer, but again the chorus is instantly memorable. ‘(Take Another) Shot At My Heart ‘ has that Wexler guitar tone that should have made him a household name. ‘Out For Blood’ builds on the DC sound and is a twin guitar lovers wet dream of a number, particularly the intro, and is the nucleus of 'NOTC'. 
Raise The Hammer’ moves slowly along with its pounding and menacing beat, and ‘Frozen Tears’ is the obligatory 80s AOR ballad, and sounds like its straight out of an eighties soundtrack. ‘Whites Of Their Eyes’ is as good a song as any of their hair metal counterparts could muster. ‘Hungry For Love’ was put on a compilation tape by my mate, this was my Icon intro and gave me the fuel to find this album by hook or by crook. It’s a power ballad of the highest quality. The bass note 39s in is just immense. I still play this song as loud as any of my equipment will manage to go. The album is over all too quickly with the powerful and anthemic ‘Rock My Radio'.
Yes others will spout Journey as the greatest AOR band, and they truly deserve their place in rock history. ‘Night Of The Crime’ has a very high bar set for this genre. Cliffords vocals are some of the best ever to be set in vinyl, and Wexler and Aquilino’s guitars are to die for making ‘NOTC’ my contender for an ‘every home should have one’ and a classic album of AOR or any other genre.
The actual ‘crime’ is how the hell Icon didn’t become a huge band, as the talent is undeniably on show here. The fact that it went tits up before they had the chance to finish what they had started is a crying shame. Icon are the only band from the 80s that I would literally kill to have seen back in the day.
10/10

Monday, 30 July 2018

U.D.O. - 'Steelfactory' Album review


U.D.O. – ‘Steelfactory’


After more than 40 years in the business and with a renowned breakthrough in the early 80’s with ACCEPT behind him, as well as several million records sold worldwide, Udo Dirkschneider from Solingen/Wuppertal, Germany, is one of the biggest rock legends in the business. U.D.O. has enjoyed well over two decades in the spotlight. Regardless of changes in the metal scene or the U.D.O line-up, the band has never deviated from Dirkschneider’s vision of serving up traditional balls-to-the-wall, no-nonsense heavy metal.

The German metal gods U.D.O. roll over us with a heavyweight made of steel and metal better than ever! With 'Steelfactory', U.D.O return to their core competence, clearly influenced by their past shows with DIRKSCHNEIDER, the songs in their rousingly simple straightness have a hymn character, as it is only known from the past. 'Steelfactory' has become a timeless metal album and thus the impressive statement of a master of his craft.

With its earthy, punchy and handmade sound - with the participation of the Danish producer Jacob Hansen (among others Volbeat) - 'Steelfactory' meets the nerve of the time, which may be triggered again since the successful DIRKSCHNEIDER tour worldwide.

New album 'SteelFactory' will be released on 31st August.

And my suggestion is go out and buy it. From the moment ‘Tongue Reaper’ hits you, and through Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years sounding ‘Make The Move’ you’re hooked.
The german influences are plain to see and hear, together with some Greek Mandolin thrown in on ‘Keeper Of My Soul’. It’s very 80’s rock, but, being my age, I think that’s what makes it more enjoyable.

Udo Dirkschneider’s prominent voice in ‘In The Heat of The Night’ takes me back to Accept’s great era.  There’s some great crowd pleasers here, including 'Raise The Games’ superb verse riff and Egyptian tinkling. ‘Blood On Fire’ kicks heavy although the chorus lets the song down slightly, Some great duel guitar work in this also, together with a clever tongue in cheek solo!

As we claw our way through the album it’s apparent how solid this effort is. A very good heavy metal album that will please all of Udo’s followers and Accept’s I’m sure. Definitely an 8 from me.


Score 8/10

Reviewed by Sty

Track Listing

1)    Tongue Reaper
2)    Make The Move
3)    Keeper Of My Soul
4)     In The Heat Of The Night
5)    Raise The Game
6)    Blood On Fire
7)    Rising High
8)    Hungry And Angry
9)    One Heart One Soul
10)A Bite Of Evil
11)Eraser
12)Rose In The Desert
13)The Way


BAND MEMBERS: 
Udo Dirkschneider - Vocals
Andrey Smirnov – Lead Guitar
Fitty Wienhold - Bass
Sven Dirkschneider - Drums

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Primal Fear - 'Apocalypse' Album Review


The European power metal combo Primal Fear has been kicking around the metal underground for years, refining their brand of melodic riffing and soaring vocals. Their sound, highly influenced by Gamma Ray  (who has traded members with this band) and Judas Priest , was introduced on their 1998 eponymous debut. The following year found them gathering a press following when Jaws of Death  garnered positive reviews from most respectable metal critics. On top of that, their European popularity flourished as power metal enjoyed moderate success in the overseas mainstream. 
Nuclear Fire followed in 2001, leading to their first U.S. appearances in the guise of several large metal festivals throughout the year. They returned to the studio in early 2002, recording and releasing Black Sun by the end of spring. 2004's Devil's Ground and 2005's Seven Seals  saw the band expanding their fan base via a run of heavy touring, including a European and Japanese tour with Helloween, and 2007's New Religion featured a guest vocal from Epica's Simone Simons, as well as ambitious orchestral arrangements from Matz Ulmer and Mat Sinner. 2009 saw the release of the band's eighth studio long player, 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead), followed in 2012 by a string of well-received LPs that included Unbreakable (2011), Delivering the Black (2014), and Rulebreaker (2016). In 2017, they issued the live album Angels of Mercy as well as the single "If Looks Could Kill."

Although they’ve been going for over 20 years now 'Apocalypse' is the only Primal Fear material that I have knowingly heard. I have listened to 'Apocalypse' several times now and it is a good album. However, it did not impress me enough to make me want to go out and buy their extensive back catalogue. There isn’t actually anything wrong with the album but sadly there wasn’t a single track on the album that made me sit up and think 'holy sh*t that’s a great song'. What I did notice is that the composition of 'Apocalypse' is extremely well done and it flows beautifully; the atmospheric opener reaches a crescendo that sets the tone for the rest of the album. 
 Although I couldn’t pick a track that really stood out, what I did hear was a very polished melodic metal album that will have any self respecting rock fan shredding their air guitar and double kicking their phantom drum kit to the blistering paced 'New Rise' and 'The Ritual'.  'King Of Madness' does slow things down a touch then the breakneck speed resumes with 'Blood Sweat And Fear'. For the next five tracks the foot comes off the accelerator slightly, almost coming to a halt when 'Eye Of The Storm' fades out.  However, there was one shot of nitrous left in the tank and when it was hit 'Cannonball' came flying out of the blocks to bringing the album to a high speed conclusion.
For me Apocalypse is a solid 8/10 album.

Ralf Scheepers – lead vocals
Mat Sinner – bass, vocals
Tom Naumann – guitars, backing vocals
Alex Beyrodt – guitars
Magnus Karlsson – guitars, keyboards
Francesco Jovino – drums

Tracklisting - 
Apocalypse
New Rise
The Ritual
King Of Madness
Blood, Sweat & Fear
Supernova
Hail To The Fear
Hounds Of Justice
The Beast
Eye Of The Storm
Cannonball


Links: 
• Official Website: www.primalfear.de 
• Facebook:www.facebook.com/PrimalFearOfficial 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Dare - 'Out Of The Silence II' - Album review


Dare – Out Of The Silence II

I know many of my reader has written in and asked, ‘does the world need another Dare album?’. Well, dear reader, please read on…..

Dare are probably best known for their singer/songwriter Darren Wharton (who first rose to fame in the early eighties playing keyboards with legendary Irish rock band Thin Lizzy). Today Dare are one of the most respected and innovative melodic rock bands on the AOR scene, and have gained cult status among AOR fans throughout Europe, the UK and the world. The band’s debut 1988 A&M album ‘Out Of The Silence’ recorded at Joni Mitchell’s Bel Air Studio in Los Angeles, and produced by Nickelback  producer Mike Shipley is still widely regarded today as one of the all time great AOR albums.

Darren joined Philip Lynott’s  Thin Lizzy  at the tender age of eighteen and enjoyed 5 great years with the band touring extensively, alongside  renowned guitarist Scott Gorham, drummer Brian Downey, guitarists Snowy White (Pink Floyd),  Gary Moore and John Sykes (Whitesnake).  Working closely with Philip Lynott, Darren also recorded classic Thin Lizzy albums, such as ‘Chinatown’, ‘Renegade’, and ‘Thunder and Lightning’ on which Wharton co-wrote 3 songs, including the hit single ‘The Sun Goes Down’.  Sadly, the latter was to be Thin Lizzy’s last studio album, and in 1986 Darren Wharton returned to his home town of Manchester where, as an outlet for his creative flare for song writing, working with young Oldham guitarist Vinny Burns, formed his own band, Dare.
Following the   debut ‘Out Of The Silence’, Dare’s second offering  was the explosive ‘Blood From Stone’ produced by Keith Olsen (Whitesnake, Scorpions).Sadly this was the last album recorded for A&M Records after the company was sold to Polygram in 1993.

Now 2018 promises to be another great chapter in the book of Dare, as the band celebrate their 30yr Anniversary with a Special Edition re-release of their debut classic album ‘Out Of The Silence’. Out Of The Silence II has been completely re-recorded and in Wharton’s own words “has taken on a new life”. 


FM did it a short while back with ‘Indiscreet’, and in this instance DWs made a good decision. I love the original album, but the production of this sounds so much better in parts and Vinny’s guitar frippery is right up front and centre. What’s not to bloody like??

So, whilst it isn’t anywhere near as heavy as ‘Blood…’, ‘Abandon’ has a decent production, and Vinny Burns’ guitars are front, back, left right and centre. Wharton’s voice has not changed since the 80s so that’s another good sign as it could have gone South. The original songs are a fresh as they were in the 80s, and that is all down to some great songwriting (and playing). ‘Into the Fire’ has better vocals than the original as they came across a little weak, but now the ‘boost’ button has been pressed and its all very good. ‘Nothing Is Stronger Than Love’ but I personally prefer the original chorus to this new version.

I can see the benefit of re-recording songs if they felt the originals were weak due to what was available at that time, and some songs here do benefit from the modern approach – ‘Into the Fire’, ‘Under The Sun’, ‘Runaway’, and ‘Return the Heart’, but the real classics from their debut – ‘Abandon’, ‘The Raindance’, ‘King Of Spades’ (even more Celtic-ier than before), ‘Don’t Let Go’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ don’t really feel as it theres any benefit as they are ingrained in my psyche.

And that’s part of the issue. The original album is so embedded in my mind that I go to sing the original versions. OK, it was not a perfect album, and production levels are better now and cheaper than the 80s, but it was an iconic album from that period. However, on that note I would say it’s definitely a worthy addition to a current Dare fans collection. I myself prefer to sit with the original. It's a great way yo celebrate the original album and give their fans something a little different to the original. Great songs are always great, they dont always require tweaking.

Does the World need a remake of a Dare album? Not really. But it’s better than a lot of the (more) Celtic influenced music that has been Dare the past few years. I got the Celtic/Lizzy influence in the earlier years, but it was time to separate from Lizzy and forge out a path of their own. I worked in Scotland for 6 months in 1989, but I don’t speak with a Scottish accent.

My only worry is that in 2021 we will see the 30th anniversary of the fantastic ‘Blood From Stone’, an album that Darren thought was 'too metal'. Just don’t go and revisit this and replace the great guitar work with frilly shirts and an additional parpy keyboard to ponce it back to the soft and fluffy AOR levels ofthe 80s. Darren, leave it!


Score 8.5/10
Original 9/10

Tracklisting
Abandon
Into The Fire
Nothing Is stronger Than Love
Runaway
Under The Sun
The Raindance
King Of Spades
Heartbreaker
Return The Heart
Don’t let Go

Dare are
Darren Wharton
Vinny Burns
Kev Whitehead
Nigel Clutterbuck
Marc Roberts (live keys)

Orange Goblin - 'The Wolf Bites Back' Album Review


Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back

Orange Goblin have been holed up at Orgone Studios with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Grave Pleasures, Paradise Lost, Cathedral) to create their latest opus, titled The Wolf Bites Back. The resulting nine track album will be the band's ninth studio release and will be released via Candlelight/ Spinefarm Records worldwide on 15th June. Jesus, nine albums, and this is my first experience of the Orange Goblin. Despite going to shit loads of gigs every year, our paths have never crossed, and I’ve never gone looking for them….unfortunately. This is their debut for renowned label Spinefarm, and I guess they have been building up to this level and their moment that is fully deserved.

Vocalist, Ben Ward, commented:
"We are very excited about this new album. The Wolf Bites Back is our strongest and most diverse collection of songs to date, it’s certainly a lot darker both musically and lyrically. It is still definitely a distinct ORANGE GOBLIN album but we have incorporated a lot more variation on this record and there are hints of Can, Captain Beyond, Wishbone Ash and The Stooges nestling amongst the obvious Sabbath and Motorhead influences. Lyrically I have explored everything from alien serial killers to zombie biker gangs, Buddhist warriors through to descendants of the Salem witches!

"There was definitely a concerted effort to make sure all the songs could work in a live environment which gives the album a more raw, stripped back feel - something that I feel has been lacking from good rock and metal in recent years. Working with Jaime Gomez Arellano was really productive and a great experience, especially going back to tracking stuff to tape. I feel that he got the best out of all of us as musicians and songwriters and that really comes across in the songs, there is an air of confidence and experience. It was also a real honour for us to have Phil Campbell of Motorhead lending his hand to a couple of solos on there too!"

What can I say. If you’re a newcomer, then this is some seriously heavy shit! If you’re nine albums in, I’m guessing its tried and tested and you’re in it for the long haul. What immediately gets to me is the seriously heavy riffage, powerful, doom laden, with a bit of Sabbath thrown in for ‘Sons Of Salem’. More like Sons of Sabbath if you like. Ben Wards vocals are more on the growling side and the opener is the Ronseal style, its written on their sleeve and does what it says on the tin. ‘The Wolf Bites back’ takes me a bit by surprise as I wasn’t expecting a lilting beginning, but then….pow, in comes the guitars and we’re off again! It’s a fucking great track if I am honest – a cracking groove driven track. Coming from a diet of Classic Rock and AOR, Ward isn’t the best singer I’ve heard, but its all about attitude and style, and his vocals fit the music perfectly. ‘Renegade’ (not a Styx cover) again, grabs you to the throat and wrestles you to the ground. If you have a Motorhead sized hole in your life, then look no further than Renegade as it has Lemmy and Campbell running through it like a stick of rock. ‘Swords Of Fire’ kicks of with an extended bass riff, a bit too long at over half the song, before its back to some early Sabbath drum pounding, before letting go. It’s the weakest song for me so far, but that’s not necessarily a bad point. The others have been so good.

‘Ghosts Of The Primitives’ has a bit more class up its sleeve and is a but bluesy than anything so far. Its proper head-banging stuff, is this, before falling, rising, and again falling and segueing to the instrumental ‘In Bocca Al Lupo’ and serves as a welcome break and allows the ears to reset. Of course the rest isn’t and cannot be sustained, as ‘Suicide Division’ (a ballad, of course it isn’t a ballad!) out Motorhead’s Motorhead, for a couple of minutes of pure neck snapping metal, brutal. ‘The Stranger’ looks as if its about a killer. The lyrics are given extra menace as they are pretty much spoken and shouted by Ward, even as the track builds. ‘Burn The Ships’ sees the guys going back to the beginning of the album in style and substance. If Ward has never been in a Motorhead tribute band before then why not!? A voice as close to Lemmy’s as I’ve ever heard. Finally its onto ‘Zeitgeist’ and it’s a point that just sums up the whole of this album and the band themselves, its pulsating riffs, headbanging and horns, with some great guitar work  (dare I say Lizzy-esque) and driving rhythm. A great song to finish ‘The Wolf Bites Back’.

Orange Goblin certainly have the claws, bite, and wolf roar to make them stand out in the crowd. After 20 years, its their time in the sun, but I should say moon!

Whilst I’ve never been a fan, (up until now – how can you if you haven’t heard them) I cant wait to see this band live as I expect they would be explosive. I don’t know about any of the previous eight albums, but number nine is a perfect place to start.

The most times I’ve written Motorhead without reviewing a Motorhead album.

Score 8/10

Tracklisting
Sons Of Salem
The Wolf Bites back
Renegade
Swords Of Fire
Ghosts Of The Primitives
In Bocca Al Lupo
Suicide Division
The Stranger
Burn the Ships
Zeitgeist