Category: CD Reviews

Hellfox – ‘The Call’ (Music For The Masses)

In an industry that is still pretty dominated by male acts, it’s often a bit of a head turner to come across an all-female metal band. So, it’s no surprise that, when such a rarity dropped onto the doormat of ÜRHQ, JOnny B couldn’t resist the temptation to pick it up and take it for a spin. With a striking green cover depicting a masked woman carrying a fox, ‘The Call’ is his first introduction to this Italian alt-metal band and, as it is their debut, it could be yours too…

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Beriedir – ‘Aqva’ (Rockshots Records)

Jonny B picked up this album to be greeted by a real combination of words to describe the genre. “Power Prog Melancholic Metal” declared the press release for Beriedir’s sophomore release ‘Aqva’, and JB couldn’t help but be curious as to how that combination would sound. The combination of power and prog is not an unusual one for our man, and this generally results in powerful epic music with upbeat energy, but to take that in the opposite direction and make it melancholic? That’s a new one for him…

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Great American Ghost – ‘Torture World’ EP (MNRK Heavy)

Things have just got incredibly heavy as Boston-based hardcore band Great American Ghost have released their latest EP – ‘Torture World’. The group, described by Kerrang! as “an exercise in old-school extremity” and named one of the “50 Greatest American Hardcore Bands Right Now”, are certainly living up to the hype. Teaming up with producer Will Putney (A Day To Remember, Knocked Loose, The Amity Affliction), this EP is a sonic masterpiece. So naturally Steve M cranked up his speakers and dove right in to the pit…

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Tony Martin – ‘Thorns’ (Dark Star Records)

Tony ‘The Cat’ Martin should be an immediately identifiable name to all metalheads of a certain generation. He was, after all, the second longest serving singer in Black Sabbath, lasting, on and off, the guts of a decade and recording five studio albums with the increasingly dystopic Iommi as the guitarist tried his damnedest to pummel the band’s legacy into the ground in the mid- to late-Nineties. In my book, the highlight of his time before the ‘phone stopped ringing, as he described it in an interview Monk did with him back in 2012, was the title track of the ‘Headless Cross’ album: definitely one of our boss man’s top ten Sabbath songs of all time…

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Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘A New Heartbeat’ EP (Mighty Music)

There are few names more synonymous with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that the North East’s Tygers Of Pan Tang, with albums like ‘Wild Cat’ and ‘Spellbound’ up there with the best of the era. That original band may have disbanded a long time ago now, but guitarist and founding member Rob Weir has been keeping the Tygers flag flying with differing line-ups since first re-forming the band back in 1999. As we hit 2022, the Tygers are back with a new guitarist, Francesco Marras, a new bass player, Huw Holding, and a new EP, ‘A New Heartbeat’, that contains both something old and something new.

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Nocturna – ‘Daughters Of The Night’ (Scarlet Records)

Duality is today’s word of the day as Jonny B get to grips with up-and-coming new band Nocturna who are set to unleash their debut album ‘Daughters Of The Night’. Founded by the mastermind Frederico Mondelli (Frozen Crown/Be the Wolf), who provides the artwork for the album but is not a performing member, Nocturna’s key focus is the combination of the two vocalists – Grace Darkling and Rehn Stillnight. Rocking a heavily symphonic influenced style that promises to appeal to fans of Nightwish and Within Temptation combined with the pedigree backing of Mondelli, there’s enough here to convince me to dive in and check it out.

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Led By Lanterns – ‘Paralysis’ (Self-Released)

Birmingham-based rockers, Led By Lanterns are set to drop their debut album, ‘Paralysis’ which to Jase W’s great delight has landed in his lap to review prior to its release this month. Described as fusing heavy riffs with boyband vocals, something that fits a lot of bands he’s found himself listening to heavily over the past couple of years, he’s looking forward to getting his ears around this on a cold January morning…

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Hit The Ground Runnin’ – ‘Sudden Impact’ (AOR Heaven)

David O just picked this from a list of albums to review on the Über Rock team page as a result of it being AOR. He has a penchant for AOR especially stuff like Toto and Journey among many others. Never having heard of HTGR, he wondered how much they had previously released he searched around to find this Philadelphia-based band only released the one album, waaay back in 1989 and only then on a limited run from a Canadian label – so that would be why. The publicity blurb reckons that original copies go for up to a thousand quid! This is again released on a limited run of 500 copies, so it may add to the desire for someone looking for a potential investment opportunity. However, is it worth the cost was my question. Well, as an eight track CD with two bonus tracks and another eight tracks on the second of the double CD mix makes it certainly value for money…

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Custard – ‘Imperium Rapax’ (Pure Steel Records)

Custard is something that Jonny B loves with a little bit of pud – and he’s seen some footprints in it – but he doesn’t think he would have considered it as a name for a power metal band. There’s always a surprise here at ÜRHQ though and JB’s is that such a thing does exist and, not only that, but they have also done since the ‘90s. So that’s him schooled, we guess! So there’s nothing else to do but see what power metal delights are in store with their latest in a long line of albums – ‘Imperium Rapax’.

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EXTENDED PLAY: Bite-Sized Morsels of Musical Mayhem

For many years, the EP – or ‘Extended Player’, to give it its full title – was a criminally overlooked format. But, in recent years, it has made something of a deserved comeback, as bands face the challenge of continually producing new material but often not being able to commit to the cost of, or time to, recording full-length albums. They have been especially important over the past 24 months of on-and-off-on-again lockdowns and restrictions, as the format has enabled artists to snatch valuable moments of recording time to get new product out to their fans.

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