Category: Album Reviews

Khirki – ‘Κυκεώνας’ (Venerate Industries)

Taking its name from what is believed to have been an ancient Greek a psychoactive compounded brew, as expounded in the Eleusinian Mysteries, this album from Athenian trio Khirki mixes a heady concoction that blends doom metal with traditional Hellenic folk music, arena anthemics and classic rock vibes into a truly intoxicating aural cocktail that produces many flavours and a sense of exploratory sensitivity that will have even the most discerning palette wondering what it has just sampled.

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Manic Eden – ‘Manic Eden’ (Music Theory Recordings)

It was 1993. The hair metal movement had expended the last of its ‘spray and had been over-taken by grungier, dirtier vibes. One of the biggest, most iconic, most recognizable bands on the scene were put on what seemed to be an indefinite hiatus, with their lead singer deciding to explore more diverse musical directions, leaving three of the musicians who had helped propel him to the top of the arena-selling bills in somewhat of a state of limbo. No that they decided to hang about, as they did what they did best and that was continue making music… and so it was that Whitesnake members Adrian Vandenberg, Rudi Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge found themselves putting together this one-off album, now re-released to mark its 30th anniversary.

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Keith McCoy – ‘Dawn Of The Machines’ (Self-Released)

Hailing from the historic Irish city of Limerick, Keith McCoy has been releasing music as a solo artist since 2020, including a number of synth albums/EPs, horror film scores (including a track on a John Carpenter tribute album), four progressive metal EPs and various other projects/session work with the likes of other local acts such as Mysteries End, Hedfuzy, Soylent Chiba… In other words, he’s quite a busy chappie. But, with such a prodigious volume of work in such a relatively short space of time, is it a case of quantity over quantity?

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Neversaid – ‘Bond Over Blood’ (Self-Released)

There is a well-posited psychological debate that goes by the term “nature versus nurture”, which discusses the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities (nature) versus personal experiences (nurture) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioural traits, and examines the complex interplay between genes and environment in shaping behaviour and development. It is a debate which has come to prominence in recent years, mainly through the myriad discussions around sexual identity (and, as the grandfather of a non-binary grandchild, this is not a realm Monk intends to enter in this forum), but one which is touched upon in the very title, and subsequent lyrical content of this second EP from London-based emo-punks Neversaid.

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sleepmakeswaves – ‘It’s Here, But I Have No Names For It’ (Bird’s Robe/MGM/Dunk Records)

Post rock is a funny genre to Jase W. He absolutely adores so much of the inventive ways to create interesting, dynamic and engrossing music that often seldom has any sort of vocals to speak of and always seems to tiptoe around using tropes within the genre itself and retreading well worn paths of song construction. And hopefully, with any luck if you have a passing interest of this style of music, you’ve at least heard the name “sleepmakeswaves” and if not, this album is your perfect diving in point for a pretty expansive and diverse back catalogue of music from a band that seldom seems to find themselves in the ÜK and Europe.

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Marc Valentine – ‘Basement Sparks’ (Wicked Cool)

It has to admitted that the history between Über Rock and Marc Valentine is a long and storied one. After all, for nigh on two decades he fronted one of our favourite glunk bands, Last Great Dreamers, before leaving to plough a solo furrow, which has led to this, his second stand-alone album, which cements his position as one of the most distinctive voices in the power pop mien, and one which very proudly celebrates the heritage of the subgenre in truly jubilant style.

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Cock Sparrer – ‘Hand On Heart’ (Cherry Red)

Back in 2017, when ÜK street punk legends Cock Sparrer released their outstanding ‘Forever’ album, many, band included, expected it to be their last. Up to that point it was regarded by many as their finest album too. So their world-wide legion of fans were delighted earlier this year to hear the band would be releasing one more album, their eighth (and final?) studio offering ‘Hand On Heart’. This one really is likely to be the last, and if so, Cock Sparrer are going out on an almighty high, as Jim R asserts…

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Venues – ‘Transience’ (Arising Empire)

There’s definitely something in the water when it comes to Germany and producing some outrageously interesting bands in the metalcore scene over the past few years; generally it seems that countries often go through ‘eras’, like Australia with its proggy metalcore, the ÜS and it’s massive strides in hardcore recently. Part of this fast emerging scene in Germany is Venues who’ve been known for great riff writing and energetic songs since their previous two releases, ‘Aspire’ and ‘Solace’, both fantastically solid releases in their own right that Jase W has thoroughly enjoyed since discovering them through Arising Empire’s YouTube channel (Seriously, some incredible stuff on there).

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Leaves’ Eyes – ‘Myths Of Fate’ (AFM Records)

Time to pour another horn of mead, throw a few freshly-hewn elm logs on the fire, and revel in the retelling of some of our favourite ‘Myths Of Fate’ as Leaves’ Eyes once more raise a toast to the ancestors and pay homage to the brave men and women of centuries long gone by with their suitably epic and resounding ninth studio album, which truly takes us on journey back through those mists of time while at the same time ensuring we keep our feet very firmly planted in the soil of today, axe in hand ready once again to fight off the enemy hordes and reclaim our birthright of entry into the company of our fellow warriors in the drinking halls of Valhalla.

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Dragonforce – ‘Warp Speed Warriors’ (Napalm Records)

Power metal legends Dragonforce return with their bright and sweeping new album ‘Warp Speed Warriors’, released this past Friday. Video game influences twist around cinematic fantasy narratives in this fresh and innovative new album- Herman Li and Sam Totman’s breathtaking guitars rise around the shattering heights of Marc Hudson’s vocals in this self-contained adventure into the most unchartered and playful corners of thematic power metal. 

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