Sunday, 30 April 2017

Album Review: CRAZY LIXX - Ruff Justice

Crazy Lixx - Ruff Justice

01. Wild Child
02. XIII
03. Walk The Wire
04. Shot With A Needle Of Love
05. Killer
06. Hunter Of The Heart
07. Snakes In Paradise
08. If It's Love
09. Kiss Of Love
10. Live Before I Die

Anyone who knows me knows of my love of 80's Heavy Metal, Glam and Sleaze Rock, and Crazy Lixx clearly love it too! Over the last decade, we've seen a resurgence of this kind of music with the image to match, mainly played by guys from Sweden, most of whom are blatantly too young to remember the scene the first time around. The interesting thing is that most of these new(ish) bands are better than the 80's bands they're clearly influenced by. The irony is that this music which is associated with Los Angeles and hot summer nights is now being created in the coldest, darkest reaches of Scandinavia. Among the best of these Scandinavian Retro-Hard Rock bands are Reckless Love, Hardcore Superstar, Santa Cruz, Crashdiet, H.E.A.T and, of course, the mighty Crazy Lixx.

If there's one thing I love as much as 80's Heavy Metal, it's 80's Horror films (check out my top 20 Horror movies here), especially the Friday 13th franchise. When I heard that Crazy Lixx were contributing new music to the forthcoming Friday 13th computer game, I was extremely interested to hear what they'd done. The tracks XIII and Live Before I Die were released on YouTube a few months ago, and they fit with the Friday 13th franchise like steak with potato wedges, as they complement each other perfectly. They were also two of the best songs I've heard from Crazy Lixx, capturing the energy, drama and sound of 80's Heavy Metal perfectly, so I decided to buy the album on its release day without a second thought.

Having been a Crazy Lixx fan since their awesome second album New Religion came out, I always look forward to their new records, but since hearing the aforementioned tracks, this one was clearly going to be extra special. There's a third song from the forthcoming Friday 13th game called Killer, which I hadn't heard before. It's another winner in a trio of Horror splendour, with a slow and sleazy riff that effortlessly serves as the ideal soundtrack to Jason Vorhees stalking some thirty year old teenagers around Crystal Lake. Other 'killer' tracks include opener Wild Child, which is anthemic Hard Rock at its best and sets the tone for the album perfectly, preparing your ears for the following onslaught of amazing Retro-Metal. Shot With A Needle Of Love would have been a massive single if it had been released in 1989, but in fairness, the same can be said of any and every track on this magnificent opus.

Everything about this album is fucking cool. The album sleeve artwork with the compulsory shot of the band leaning against a sports car, while wearing shades on the back of the booklet. The disc itself even has the numbers in squares just like the CDs of days gone by used to. If you loved the 80's, this album not only brings you some perfect nostalgia, but improves on what went before. In other words, it sounds like how you remember the 80's, as opposed to exactly how it was, providing a wonderful lick of paint. Ruff Justice does what it says on the tin, and it's a tin of exactly what I wanted.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Album Review: SADDOLLS - Blood Of A Kind

Saddolls - Blood of a Kind

01. Dunkelstein
02. Creep It Into You
03. Cold Blood Inside
04. Zombie Love
05. Sex In Church
06. Kiss You In Hell
07. Pale White Dracula
08. Die Better
09. Misery Revisited

I only recently discovered SadDolls which is very odd, as I really should have heard of them ages ago. A friend of mine recently posted their new video on Facebook, saying that they sounded like HIM. They do a bit, but to my ears their music is more of a mix of Icon & The Black Roses, The 69 Eyes and Deathstars. If you like the aforementioned artists, SadDolls may be your new favourite band.

They're from Greece, and Blood of a Kind is their fourth studio album. All is all, it's pretty good. Some tracks are stronger than others, but overall it's a solid record. Highlights include the single Cold Blood Inside, Die Better and the faster, heavier Misery Revisited, which finishes off the album on a high.

SadDolls are clearly a good band, but they aren't quite in the league of the aforementioned bands that they are reminiscent of. Having said that, they have moments of greatness, and I believe that with the support of a larger label and the right producer, they could soar out of obscurity and become an international Goth treasure.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Album Review: COUNTERFEIT - Together We Are Stronger

Counterfeit - Together We Are Stronger

01. Washed Out
02. For The Thrill Of It
03. Close To Your Chest
04. As Yet Untitled
05. Romeo
06. You Can't Rely
07. Lost Everything
08. Addiction
09. Enough
10. Letters To The Lost

This is the debut album from the UK's Counterfeit. They've been receiving a lot of press of late, not just because they're a decent band, but because their lead singer is the actor Jamie Campbell Bower who starred in three Twilight films and a Harry Potter movie , and a number of others.

So with an already world famous lead singer, Counterfeit are in the enviable position of starting out with media interest and an almost ready made fan-base. I'm not sure how many followers Jamie has on social media, but I probably can't count that high. This scenario reminds me of Jared Leto's band 30 Seconds To Mars, and their immediate rise to fame. However, to sustain success, the music has to be killer. Jared's band was awesome and is still successful to this day, whereas Steven Seagal's band sucked balls and no-one really gives a fuck about his musical output anymore. So, what about Counterfeit?

I'm pleased to say that they're not just good, they're fucking great. They sound like early Bush mixed with early Gallows, as they have that raw Grunge sound, but with a contemporary feel and an aggressive Punk edge that sizzles with energy and passion. After the lame album Bush released earlier this year (see review here) I was so happy to hear this album, as Together We Are Stronger is what I'd have loved Bush's record to have sounded like. This really is a case of 'Out with the old and in with the new!'

Together We Are Stronger is an excellent debut album. It's packed full of great songs, and has huge crossover potential.  I'll be very surprised if they don't become a huge international act in the near future.

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