New music time! Six new albums from six awesome bands. Let’s get straight to it!
Oh, but first, a quick honourable mention: check out The Death South’s covers EPs, Easy Listening for Jerks! Neither are albums or exactly rock, but cover some rock songs and are definitely worth a listen!
Welsh rock band Stereophonics put out their 11th studio album last week. That makes me feel old. I was a big fan back in their early days, but generally haven’t liked much after ‘Langauge. Sex…’. This album perfectly demonstrates my issue with the band. It’s good music, it’s perfectly passable soft/pop rock and there are definitely some standout tracks. However, I didn’t get into Stereophonics or the plodding, slow ballads. I got into them from ‘Bartender and the Thief’ and ‘Check My Eyelids for Holes’. I know the band has always had a liking of slower tracks, but they used to spread them out between more upbeat ones. This is nearly all slow. When Elton John could put out a more rockin’ album these days, it’s definitely not a good sign. However, the opening track and ‘Running Around my Brain’ are both good! 5/10
Sabaton: The War To End All Wars
The Swedish power metal titans released their tenth album on Friday, and to no surprise it is also about war. Also to what should be no ones surprise, it’s really good. Those who know me know I’ve always been a little so-so when it comes to power metal, but this is a masterclass in how the genre is done from the very best in the genre. From the very opening note of ‘Stormtroopers’ to the epic closing fade-out of ‘Versaille’, it is a 40-minute collection of awesomeness. All the singles are slow, ballad-style epics, and tracks like the opener and ‘Hellfighters’ are awesome faster tracks! 8/10
Crowbar: Zero And Below
The doom/sludge metal band finally released their first album after six years. I am a pretty big fan of Kirk Windstein from his amazing playing alongside Pepper Keenan in Down, but I’ll admit I haven’t checked out Kirk’s original band much before. I don’t know why either, because I liked it! It’s heavy, brimming with riffs and, well, sludgy! This band get nowhere near as much love as they should get, and I blame that for why I haven’t listened to them much. Tracks like ‘Bleeding From Every Hole’ and ‘Confess to Nothing’ are perfect examples of the bands style and a great jumping-in point to the genre, for those interested! 7.5/10
The Flower Kings: By Royal Decree
The prog rock band are definitely the weirdest album on this list this week, but that shouldn’t take away from the album at all. It reminds me a fair bit of Jethro Tull in its arrangement and feel, especially their new album that came out a couple of weeks ago. It’s weird, long, and shows off a talent for instrumentation and songwriting that I can only dream of. My only criticism is that most of the tracks are around the 5+ minute mark, but there’s 18 of them. The album is over an hour and a half long. As the saying goes, you can in fact have too much of a good thing. I will definitely be listening to this album a good few times, but I definitely couldn’t stick it on and concentrate through the whole thing in one sitting, it would have to be more background music. Still as I said, a fun, enjoyable album! 7/10
Ghost Toast: Shade Without Colour
Time to get heavy…ish. I’m not sure if they would prefer to be described as math metal or post-Tool, but it definitely has that sort of vibe! For those who can’t get into the genre, I have to warn you it is also instrumental. I personally enjoy instrumental music, though a full hour + is a tad too much for me all at once. Still though, the entire band are incredibly talented, and tracks like ‘Get Rid of’ and ‘Let Me Be No Nearer’ are definite highlights of a very good album! It’s the sort of music that I would LOVE to see live. 7/10
Midnight Bullet: Hostile Resistance
The thrashy groove metallers are on their fourth album now, and seem to just keep getting better and better. An album filled with terRIFic riffs (thank you), it very much wears its inspirations on its sleeve. From Pantera to Testament to Mastadon and even some Alice in Chains, all are present throughout this album, and it’s a great blend of styles that works perfectly for the band. The title track and ‘Dead Redemption’ are particular highlights for me, and well worth a listen! 8/10
And there we have it, another great week, particularly for metal. Check out next week’s too from our Facebook here for Bryan Adams and more!