Category: CD Reviews

Chris Catalyst – ‘Kaleidoscopes’ (Self-Released)

The name Chris Catalyst should be as familiar to even the most passive of ÜR readers as your favourite pair of underpants – and if it isn’t, then you either don’t wear underpants or have been living in a state of rock ‘n’ roll-starved stasis for the better part of the past decade. After all, he is one of the hardest working men in Yorkshire, popping up more frequently than yer man in those bothersome internet adverts, having been involved at one time or another or in one shape or another with bands such as The Sisters Of Mercy, Ugly Kid Joe, Mariachi El Bronx and Terrorvision, as well as finding time to record and tour with his own band of troubadours, The Eureka Machines… It’s a work ethic he has continued during the various lockdowns, with a seemingly incessant stream of live streams and podcasts to both entertain us in our darkest hours but also convince us to part with thousands of our hard-earned (and, in many cases, dwindling) pounds to aid various charities – and, in between all of this, he’s also found the time to put together this, his inspirational second solo album…

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Vokonis – ‘Odyssey’ (The Sign Records)

Having released three albums which have shown them constantly evolving and embracing progression, it could be argued that Swedish progressive stoners Vokonis have defiantly upped the ante with this fourth full-length release. How so, we hear you ask? Well, they only went and recruited one of the most respected multi-instrumentalists in the whole of Scandinavia, never mind just Sweden, to help them take things to the next level. Yes, we’re talking about the one and only Per Wiberg, best known for his work with behemoths like Opeth, Spiritual Beggars and Kamchatka, and, most recently, a man carving an impressive path for himself as a solo artist.

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Feradur – ‘Parakosm’ EP (Self-Released)

Many of us have heard of “small man syndrome”, and I’m sure we all know someone who suffers from it (personally, Monk could name half a dozen), but is there such a thing as “small country syndrome”? Well, if there is, then, stepping outside of our home territory of Norn Iron for the time being, the tiny land-locked principality of Luxembourg must be a prime exemplar of the condition, seeming as it does to punch well above its weight, especially when it comes to the number of native bands ploughing their furrow at the more extreme end of the metal spectrum.

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Sumo Cyco – ‘Initiation’ (Napalm Records)

Regular ÜR readers should need no initiation (sic) into the dystopian world of Canadian punk/metal crossover crüe Sumo Cyco, as they have been melding and pushing generic boundaries for the best part of a decade now – as well as nearly killing our very own beloved Dark Queen on their last visit to our adopted hometown of Belfast some two-and-a-half years back… but, hey, we’re not ones to hold grudges, especially as DQ is still very much alive and kicking ass… just as Skye Sweetnam and her bandmates are continuing to do on this, their long-awaited and much-anticipated third album…

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Perturbator – ‘Lustful Sacraments’ (Blood Music)

DJ Astrocreep always finds it immensely interesting to hear when an artist takes a big step in a different direction from where their previous musical work has been, as in the case of Perturbator. While James Kent, as Perturbator is known off stage, has a background as a black metal guitarist, synthwave is a pretty big departure from there and there’s always an interest in whether the artist can amalgamate successfully the various different influences they have, whether they continue with an entirely retro feel or, as per ‘New Model’, his 2017 EP, take a big step in quite a different direction from his roots as this particular incarnation or previous ones.

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Per Wiberg – ‘All Is Well In The Land Of The Living But For The Rest Of Us… Lights Out’ EP (Despotz Records)

Swedish multi-instrumentalist Per Wiberg has graced albums and stages with bands such as Opeth, Spiritual Beggars and Candlemass over the years, and in 2019 released his first solo album ‘Head Without Eyes’ to much acclaim. Now he’s back with a brand new EP ‘All Is Well In The Land Of The Living But For The Rest Of Us… Lights Out’, rather aptly titled for these turbulent times.

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Myles Kennedy – ‘The Ides of March’ (Napalm Records)

As far as David O’Neill is concerned, it’s not possible to place Myles Kennedy in the genre of musicians who rest on their laurels. Since being in the Mayfield Four and getting noticed by Slash for his work with the Conspirators, he has consistently been involved in a multiplicity of musical projects as a singer and guitarist. Whilst predominantly associated with Alter Bridge, his main talent has been his vocal ability. However, this is backed up by a seriously talented songwriter and guitarist. Consistently turning out sublimely crafted songs in partnership with Mark Tremonti for AB he is also a very accomplished guitarist albeit not regularly associated with lead guitar with that band, but then so is Tremonti a very good vocalist who is more renowned for his solo guitar than his singing. ..

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Pop Evil – ‘Versatile’ (eOne)

If you send John B an album and tell him it is “for fans of Breaking Benjamin”, you better be able to back it up. That is a very high pedestal in JB’s mind and one he judges against harshly. So, needless to say, his expectations were very high. He feels it is important that he make this really clear due to how emotionally connected to the genre he is, and he tends to be very picky in this particular genre, especially when it is his first exposure to a band. He tells you all this because when he says this album kicks ass, he wants you to get his full meaning…

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The Distractors – ‘Subversiv Dekadent’ (Self-Released)

Formed in Belgium in 2019, The Distractors release their debut LP, ‘Subversiv Dekadent’ this week with the intention of inciting disorder, specifically it seems, the stealing of cars and the punching of people in the face. It occurs to Lesley M that she could be done for suggesting that this was their intention. So, let her ask you – is ‘making you want to’ the same as inciting? It’s a grey area (pointed stare).

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It Bites – ‘Map Of The Past’/’The Tall Ships’ (InsideOut Music)

There appears to be a penchant among musicians to do one of two things as a result of the lockdowns – write new music or play with their old stuff. The latter appears to be the case with the prog/fusion band of the 80s, It Bites. However, rather than just do one album, they have remixed/remastered the concept album ‘Map of the Past’ (2012) and their album from 2008 ‘The Tall Ships’. David O’Neill supposes that whilst the musical content is already known to the band’s following, the fact that these re-issues are accompanied by a significant amount of extra booklets than were originally supplied and there is the ability to obtain them on vinyl for the first time to capture the new interest in this media among a different generation.

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ForeignWolf – ‘Your Weapons, Your Words’ EP (Self-Released)

ForeignWolf are another of those bands who cross our radar on a regular basis – a relatively new name (as evinced by the fact that this is their only their second EP and they had only a handful of gigs under their belts before the pandemic stymied any further attempts to cut their teeth live) but one that comes with a plethora of experience in terms of its collective and individual membership, with their line-up involving members from various outfits who have featured on these pages in the past, including (the now defunct) Altus and punk soul rebels Paper Tigers.

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