Category: CD Reviews

Opeth – ‘In Cauda Venenum’ (Moderbolaget/Nuclear Blast)

Few bands will ever experience the creative highs of Swedish prog metal masters Opeth. Starting with 1999’s ‘Still Life’ and running flawlessly until 2008’s ‘Watershed’, the band produced a non-stop succession of masterpieces, blending death metal, folkish elements and prog inventiveness into a package that helped to elevate the wider metal genre. In turn, this helped spawn a procession of high-minded brilliance which today can be found in everything from Nailed To Obscurity to Conjurer, the Swedes’ distinctive long-form metallic epics laying roots deep in the metal genre. And then, they changed.

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Wicked Stone – ‘Devil in Me’ (Self Released)

Al Wiseman had not heard of Wicked Stone until encountering this EP, so he was pleasantly surprised by what we have here, which is five tracks of simple old-fashioned rock! His first impression was “Ooh this sounds like how Shinedown did in their early days”, and that’s is no bad thing at all! Punchy, catchy, with a crisp enough vocal that you’ll not have to go Googling lyrics, ‘Devil in Me’ is frankly very easy on the ear, to the point where he actually looked up where they are touring and was pretty damn pissed that they’d played his local venue The Robin 2 in Bilston, two days previous to his picking up this. This was greeted with a resounding “bugger!”. But, we digress…

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Danny Bryant – ‘Means Of Escape’ (Jazzhaus)

“Music is my release in the world. It’s my way of surviving. It’s my means of escape.” So explains Danny Bryant when he talks about this, his incredible 11th studio album. And, it’s not hard to see where he is coming from, because this is an album that allows you to escape the troubles of this world, while at the same time providing a therapeutic antidote to those self-same tribulations and woes. For, at its basest level, music is an extremely personal experience, for both those who create it and those who listen to it, and that is an experience which Bryant consistently is able to deliver in a career which has gone from strength to strength in terms of not only pushing him to the forefront of the British blues-rock scene but also establishing him as one of, if not THE, foremost figures in the genre.

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Ohmwork – ‘HorrorWorks’ (Rob Mules)

For some reason, the 13th of September was a very popular date for album releases this year, with a whole slew of albums being released on this day anyone would think that Friday the 13th has some sort of significance… And if you’re going to release a horror themed album, then what better date to pick than Friday the 13th? That’s exactly what Ohmwork thought when they picked the date to unleash their fourth album, ‘HorrorWorks’, which follows what was their most successful release to date. The question is how does ‘HorrorWorks’ shape up? Or more simply – Rob Zom-to-be or Rob Zom-not-to-be?

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Urkraft – ‘A Scornful Death’/’Our Treacherous Fathers’ (First Force Music)

This time John B have two albums for you, as they are both being released together. ‘A Scornful Death’ was originally recorded back in 2008 and I believe released as a free download back them. This will be its proper official release. On the other hand, ‘Our Treacherous Fathers’ is a new release for 2019. It is a rather interesting experience to hear their last album from 2008 before they disbanded right at the same time as their first album after reuniting. People and bands change a lot in 11 years. Hearing all that evolution from one album to the next without all the time in between is rather cool and makes it rather fun to listen to both like this.

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Mudhoney – ‘Morning In America’ (Sub Pop)

Mudhoney are hardly an unknown name amongst our readers here. Quite apart from the coverage of last year’s album and tour, they are cited as being an influence for the likes of Nirvana, mainly in their earlier more punk like tracks and the band that probably kept Sub Pop going as a label until Nirvana came around. So, a new EP already? Let’s dive into it…

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Lauren Tate – ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ (Trash Queen Records)

Lauren Tate will be familiar to many loyal and attentive ÜR readers as the face and voice of Yorkshire grunge punks Hands Off Gretel, who have graced these very pages on many occasions and never once failed to poke all the right rock ‘n’ roll buttons as far as we are concerned. Now, she has proven once again that she has plenty to say, and extremely loudly, but this time outside the confines of the band, with her latest solo offering – and what a fucking gem of an album it is: one which definitely, and defiantly, screams to be heard by every self-respecting punk ‘n’ roller in this hoary old Überverse…

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Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones – ‘Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones’ (Strawberry Moon Records)

Hannah Wicklund is one of an increasingly prolific number of female artists who are helping to give the blues-rock genre a distinctly, and very welcome, feminine voice. And, at just 22 years of age, she is also an artist who can quite accurately and justifiably be described as a prodigious and prolific talent as, despite her relative youth, this is her third studio album – and it’s released on her own label to boot, indicating that she is also a young woman who is intent on maintaining as much control over her own destiny as it is possible to do in this hoary and incestuous music business.

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Toxic Holocaust – ‘Primal Future: 2019’ (Entertainment One)

Joel Grind is one of the great unsung heroes of thrash metal. For 20 years now he’s been plugging away in the underground and flying the flag for good honest, 80s-influenced head banging. Aside from the writing, composition and production duties, he plays every single instrument himself. Technically speaking there’s two other official members, but make no mistake, Toxic Holocaust are Joel’s baby. 

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