Category: CD Reviews

Twelve Foot Ninja – ‘Vengeance’ (Self-Released)

So far, 2021 has seen some absolutely fantastic releases this year with many bands finding time to mess with often more eccentric ideas over the course of 2020’s pandemic lockdowns affecting many countries around the world, but definitely none more so than Australia. Genre-bending Aussies, Twelve Foot Ninja returns with their third full length album, ‘Vengeance’, an album that’s been teased for a while with a slew of bizarre music videos to support their singles.

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Paydretz – ‘Chroniques de l’Insurrection’ (Antiq)

Not many people will know that at one point Jonny B was pretty fluent in French. Okay, he might be pretty rusty these days but that doesn’t stop him having a bit of an affinity for the language though. However, he’s sure that many do know that he’s pretty fond of both black metal and folk metal so you can imagine that he jumped at the chance to check out a band who combined all three of those things! That’s how he found myself getting lost in ‘Chroniques de l’Insurrection’ (or ‘Chronicles Of The Uprising’ for those not as fluent in le francais…)

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Wicked Smile – ‘Wait For The Night’ (Cargo Records)

Wicked Smile is a bit of a double header. It is the latest project from Aussie guitarist Steve Janevski, who will perhaps be known to regular ÜR readers as the driving force behind The Radio Sun, a band Monk has ranted and raved about several times over the years, with at least two of their releases topping his personal end-of-year album polls. The second hit comes from the fact that it sees Janevski reuniting once more with his long-time friend and collaborator Paul Laine, who once more has stepped up to produce and partly co-write this debut opus.

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Sepultura – ‘Sepulnation: The Studio Albums 1998 – 2009’ (BMG)

Sepultura are one of those bands who split fans’ opinions. There are those who remain firmly entrenched in the “Max era” and refuse to listen to anything which the band have produced since their founding frontman spectacularly quit the band a quarter of a century ago. Then there are those, obviously much younger fans, who are familiar only with the “post-Max” era. And, of course, there is the third faction, who accept that change is inevitable and have stuck with the band from the beginning to the present day…

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Four Stroke Baron – ‘Classics’ (Prosthetic Records)

Monk must admit that when he first saw the title of this album, he thought it was an “best of…”/”greatest hits…” type collection, albeit from a band with whom he was totally unfamiliar. But, showing that you should never judge an album by its title, nothing could be further from the truth, as, despite its implication, this is merely the third studio album from FSB, with the name being a cheeky nod to the duo’s covers album from last year, which saw them re-interpret their favourite tunes by the likes of Death Grips, The Beatles and Chvrches.

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The Courettes – ‘Back In Mono’ (Damaged Goods Records)

There are some bands that have a retro vibe to their sound, and there are some that do it with such attention to detail that it’s an art form in itself. Such is the case with the ‘spit ´n´ snarl garage rumble-meets-Phil Spector pop’ sound of Danish/Brazilian husband-and-wife-duo The Courettes, who have now linked up with the ultra-cool Damaged Goods label for their third album ‘Back In Mono’.

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Darkness Ablaze – ‘Creator’ (Darkstorm Records)

Everyone loves a good comeback, or at least that’s what I like to tell myself anyway. Sure, you get the odd one or two bands who really should have packed it in and stayed packed in (yeah, we’re looking at you Motley Crüd) but for the most part it’s exciting to see a band get a new lease of life and get back on the road. This is the stage of life that Darkness Ablaze are at after having called it quits back in 2011 after a couple of albums and a string of tours and festival appearances due to a change of circumstances for the band members. But the music didn’t die, it just lay dormant until Darkness Ablaze was resurrected in 2018 to record new music that would become the ‘Creator’ EP.

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Black Sabbath – ‘Technical Ecstasy (Super Deluxe Edition)’ (BMG)

‘Technical Ecstasy’ was the album where things started looking ominous for the future of Black Sabbath. Ozzy admits to considering leaving the band, drugs rumours pervade their history even more. Tony Iommi changed the musical direction to an extent, with keys becoming more pervasive into the sound and it began to sound like they were now being influenced by the bands they used to influence themselves. This detracts, though, from what is actually still a very good rock album, just one quite different from their earlier material. Add in master producer Steven Wilson, a phenomenal musician with a somehow even better ear in his own right, to provide alternative versions and mixes, as well as the original being further remastered and the super deluxe release has the potential to be something else in its own right.

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Ferocious Dog – ‘The Hope’ (Graphite Records)

Let’s be brutally honest: after the Covidications of the past 19 months, we all need some hope in our lives. And as the lights of that feeling grow brighter by the day, what more perfect way to celebrate than with an album that reflects on darkness yet portrays an optimistic future by epitomizing the strength of the human spirit to overcome the most severe of adversities? Well, that is exactly what Ferocious Dog do on this, their latest, stunningly crafted album.

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Taylor Young Band – ‘Mercury Transit’ (Hand Drawn Records)

At his time of life, it really shouldn’t do so, but it does intrigue Monk how the voices of certain artists continue to echo in our individual and collective musical memories. The other night, he was watching a recording of a gig by Tom Petty, broadcast on one of those obscure “arts” programmes that seem to populate the nether regions of our satellite channels. Needless to say, it was a classy, and timeless, performance… and then, the next morning, he popped this, the debut solo album from drummer-turned-singer Taylor Young into the ÜRHQ deathdecks – and it was like being transported back to the previous evening, such is the Petty-esque feeling that permeates this ten-track offering.

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Black 7 – ‘Look Inside’ (Self-Released)

Now, right at the outset, |Monk has to hold his hands up and declare that he’s not a massive fan of entirely instrumental albums. They’re not the sort of thing he tends to sit down and listen to out of choice. Like classical music, he tends to view them as background soundtracks to other aspects of life, such as researching his book, because your concentration on such matters is not interrupted by having to do the same in regard to lyrics and meanings. Now, this is in no way intended to decry or denigrate the musicians involved, as there are numerous fantastic rock and metal instrumentalists, too many to name in this already over-long intro, who have chosen not to add vocals to their material, and to varying degrees of success: there are many times when the big bad boss has listened to a purely instrumental track and thought “that could do with a big fuck-off scream right there…”

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