Category: CD Reviews

Blind Monarch – ‘What Is Imposed Must Be Endured’ (Dry Cough/Heavenly Vault)

Sometimes an album will come out that just doesn’t get the attention it deserves. For whatever reason, there are always some that manage to launch themselves into obscurity from day one to potentially never be seen again. Fortunately, there are labels out there who keep doing the good work of scooping up these little gems and polishing them up to be released on nice shiny vinyl to give them the chance they deserve to win over the masses. The latest band to get this treatment is Sheffield’s own Blind Monarch who have had their 2019 debut ‘What Is Imposed Must Be Endured’ picked up by Dry Cough Records and Heavenly Vault to be pressed to give it the attention they feel it deserves. Considering Jonny B missed out on this one the first time round, he couldn’t help himself but to dive in and see what all the fuss is about…

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Duncan Reid And The Big Heads – ‘Live At Akkurat’ (Self-Released)

If you don’t know the name Duncan Reid then you do indeed have only yourself to blame, either for living in isolation for a lot longer than the rest of us or failing to read your favourite website for the past decade. After all, we are talking about a former member of one of the most respected power pop bands in the entire damn Überverse – that’s The Boys, in case you’re wondering – and subsequently the producer of four increasingly fine solo albums… well, in conjunction with his Big Heads, a group of musicians whom we’re reliably informed don’t live up to their names, as they’re a rather modest bunch, at least outside of their ability to consistently produce wonderfully crafted rock ‘n’ roll songs (oh, and their frontman’s assertion that they are “the world’s best-looking power pop band!)… In fact, the only question you should be asking yourself is “where the feck is Akkurat?”

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Frozen Crown – ‘Winterbane’ (Scarlet Records)

In the interest of full disclosure, John B loves Frozen Crown. They are one of his top modern power metal bands. So, the minute he heard they might be releasing a new album he immediately requested it. It can be a little nerve-racking when a band you love changes up their lineup, especially three all at once. JB had to check it out to see if they would still live up to what he loved before and he was not disappointed at all. Sure, there is a definite change in the overall feel of the album -that is a given with that much of a change in creative talent – but he still loves what they have created…

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Motorjesus – ‘Hellbreaker’ (AFM Records)

This is another of those sort of albums that Monk just loves – one that does exactly what it says in the title, which sets out its proponents’ intention clearly and simply: and that is to create the sort of dirt-encrusted heavy-ass, pedal-to-the-metal rock ‘n’f’n’ roll that comes roaring out of the depths of hell like Vin Diesel with a tank full of napalm under his hood and straight into the darkest recesses of your soul…

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Giotopia – ‘Trinity Of Evil’ (Self-Released)

John B loves when an album tells him a story. He probably mentions it at some point in every review. Few things win more points with JB than when music feels like it is taking him somewhere. He expects it at a track level but when it is at an album level it is sure to get his attention. This is true with the music itself as well as the lyrics. He believes this shows a deeper pride in one’s work. It also can be difficult to pull off well. As with any storytelling, it can be hard to keep the audience’s attention but when you nail it you end up with an awesome album. The question is how does our man feel about ‘Trinity Of Evil’? Do Giotopia nail it?

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Monarch – ‘Future Shock’ (Self-Released)

There are a few different bands named Monarch. The French version are doomsters, while Monarch from LA play ‘indie electro-pop’.  The album reviewed here is courtesy of four hairy blokes from San Diego who distinguish themselves online with the tagline MonarchThrash. Thank you, Lord, (or whoever). This Monarch, whose sound is influenced by the likes of Slayer and Iron Maiden, formed in 2007, released an EP in 2011 and their first album, with the apt name of ‘Go Forth…. Slaughter’, in 2017. Entirely self-produced they recorded much of the debut in one take, playing as they would live.

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Neil Merryweather & the Space Rangers – ‘Space Rangers’ (Regain Records)

Every now and then an obscure nugget from rock’s rich history will pop up on reissue that will pique your interest and curiosity, regardless of whether you know much, or anything, about the artist. Such is the case with ‘Space Rangers’, a 1974 album from Canadian maverick Neil Merryweather, a cult classic given a long overdue reissue this week. So, strap yourself in and prepare to explore Neil Merryweather & the Space Rangers’ weird and wonderful world of glam space prog…

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The Über Rock Singles Club – Doom and Stoner Special

Welcome to another special themed edition of our Singles Club feature, for which DJ Astrocreep has trawled back through the multitude of submissions we’ve had over the last few weeks and chosen the pick of the stoner, desert rock, doom and sludge offerings currently doing the rounds. Without further ado, it’s time to turn on, tune in, crash out and to let the riffs run through you!

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Hot Breath – ‘Rubbery Lips’ (The Sign Records)

There’s a line in ‘Adapted Mind’, the sixth track on this declarative debut album from Swedish garage rockers Hot Breath, when Jennifer Israelsson refers to climbing aboard a time machine – and that is exactly the feeling that she and her three bandmates (bassist Anton Frick Kallmin, drummer Jimmy Karlsson and lead guitarist Karl Edfeldt) evoke, as they draw us back into the sort of early Eighties vibe that lies somewhere between high-energy pop punk and the heavier end of the radio-friendly pop rock era.

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Dust Mice – ‘Earth III’ (Self-Released)

When an album submission comes in referencing spaced-out garage rock with sci-fi influences, it’s going to pique the big man by the name of DJ Astrocreep’s interest and not just because Hawkwind, the pioneers of space rock, sit among his most revered bands. Add in a cover of his favourite band, Black Sabbath, and a homage to another classic rock song and there should be plenty there for him to sink his teeth into and enjoy… or is there?

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Winding Road – ‘Winding Road’ (AOR Heaven)

Any album on a label called AOR Heaven should give you an idea of the style before listening to it. This is no exception. Swedish musicians Magnus Akerlund and Jan Hedlund collaborated in Akerlund’s studio to compile this 12-track album in 2018. Jonas Tyskhagen provides the vocal talent and Frederik Folkare provide some of the guitar solos.

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