Monday 22 August 2016

Album review: MGT - Volumes

01.   Knowing Me Knowing You (with Ville Valo)
02.   You Can’t Go Back To Once Upon A Time (with Miles Hunt)
03.   The Reaping (with Ashton Nyte)
04.   Another Snake In The Grass (with Wayne Hussey)
05.   It Won’t Take You Long (with Miles Hunt)
06.   Star Struck Eyes (with Julianne Regan)
07.   Sweet Valentine (with Carlo Van Putten)
08.   Jesamine (Poetry & Ice) [with Ashton Nyte]
09.   Seconds (with Saffron)
10.   Another Day Back (with Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls)
11.   Coming Clean (with Raymond Watts)
12.   Drive And Forget (with Ricky Warwick)
13.   Black Heart (with Erica Nockalls)
14.   Dark Storm (with Andi Sex Gang)

This is the first solo album from legendary guitar player 'Mark Gemini Thwaite' (AKA MGT). He has played with a number of bands over the years including The Mission, Spear of Destiny and many others as a session player. For this record, he has brought in a number of different vocalists, most of whom I'm aware he's worked with in the past, so he's clearly called in a few favours here. I really like this approach, as it gives each track a fresh sound, and the songs sit well together as a cohesive album without being too musically eclectic.

The album kicks off with a cover of ABBA's 'Knowing Me Knowing You' with HIM's Ville Valo on lead vocals. It is a masterpiece and one of the best cover versions I've ever heard. The production reminds me of 'Razorblade Romance' era HIM but even more crisp and modern. This is how I wanted the last HIM record to sound, but ended up with more of the post Venus Doom lo-fi sound which I don't think sounds as good. Who knows? Maybe MGT will produce the next HIM album? I'd love that.

The general sound running through 'Volumes' is a bit like a modern take on classic Goth, with some industrial undertones. Naturally, the familiar voices of legends such as Wayne Hussey and Andi Sex Gang work perfectly on their respective tracks. Among the other guest vocalists are Ricky Warwick from The Almighty/Black Star Riders, Miles Hunt from The Wonderstuff and Saffron from Republica. Saffron sings on a really strong cover of The Human League's 'Seconds' which is another of the album's highlights.

From this cauldron of talent and creativity, my favourite tracks are 'The Reaping' and 'Jesamine (Poetry & Ice)', both of which are sung by Ashton Nyte from The Awakening. His baritone vocal style works so well with these tracks, and along with MGT's incredible tone and delivery, make for the perfect take on classic Gothic Rock whilst keeping the songs sounding contemporary at the same time. If that was the intention, they nailed it.

To conclude, this album features outstanding performances from immensely talented artists coupled with a magnificent production. It deserves no less praise than that, and is definitely a contender for my 'Album of the Year'.


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