Gillan – The Vinyl Collection Box Set Review

A few years back, Edsel released the Gillan back catalogue with bonus tracks. Again the Gillan glory years are being revisited with this vinyl box set. This current set, the Gillan vinyl box set is entitled ‘The Vinyl Collection’ an this new box set will feature 5 chart albums (7 LPs in total) and is the first time they have been reissued on vinyl in this cracking box set
There was a time in British rock history that Ian Gillan was not in Deep Purple. On leaving the Purps in ’73 and rejoining in 1984 he set about a solo career as either Ian Gillan Band, Gillan or the delightfully named Garth Rockett & The Moonshiners. With ‘Future Shock’ we join the band four albums in. This is another CD from the Edsel reissue series of Gillan albums. ‘FS’ was the first of two Gillan releases in 1981, the other being ‘Double Trouble’. This was a Golden period for the NWOBHM, especially for Gillan. Between Oct 79 and Nov 81, Gillan racked up both album and single success. In this two year period, they had 3 albums that hit the Top 20, all within the Top 12. Future Shock went to number 2!!

Gillan disbanded the jazz fusion Ian Gillan Band and took just Colin Towns over to the newly formed Gillan. In came guitar virtuoso Bernie Torme, bassist John McCoy, and drumming stalwart Mick Underwood, he of The Outlaws, and Gillan’s old stomping outfit, Episode Six.
The set covers the ‘Glory’ Gillan years so to speak. From Mr. Universe through to Magic. And we start with Mr. Universe…..
It was the one Gillan album I didn’t buy originally back in the day , so fast forward 30 odd  (37!!) years and it’s a new listen for me.I’d heard a couple of tracks, the two main standouts being the title track, the building block and staple sound that Gillan would expand on in future albums. Frenetic guitar frippery from Torme, pounding rhythm from McCoy/Underwood, and the ovary inkling prowess of Towns.  ‘Mr Universe’ is a rip roaring, pulsating, melodic and soaring track with Gillan’s voice the main instrument. The other main standout being ‘Vengeance’ the more melodic/straight down the middle rock side of Gillan’s repertoire. ‘Secret Of The Dance’ set the stall out for Mr Universe, a fast paced, blinding opener (ignoring the intro track ‘Second Sight’). Gillan were off and running….
If you are like me, and fit into the 40+ age bracket of which I am a member, then you probably can remember some, if not many of your album purchases, I mean good ‘ol vinyl. Most of the young ‘uns today probably call them ‘big cd’s!’
Well this text one was one such purchase. I was flicking through the vinyl at my local Woolies (in the days when they had quite an extensive collection and not just the pop shite represented in the charts today), and I came across the ‘GLORY ROAD’ album, attached was a big sticker proclaiming “includes FREE album ‘For Gillan Fans Only – Limited Edition’”
And it was, as I still don’t know of many who managed to get their mitts on this masterpiece, even though over 25000 copies were sold! All this for the princely sum of £1.99!!! It was a bargain.
I loved this album, as it was my first official foray into “Gillan”, (oo-er missus!). This was released in 1980 and was the 2ndofficial Gillan album, after Mr Universe,  and, unlike the other ex-Purple offshoots, Gillan went for it with fiery and explosive gusto.
Glory Road was issued prior to Gillan’s Reading festival appearance for the Fri night support slot of Rory Gallagher. ‘GR’ enabled Gillan to enter the charts for the first time since his Purple days with ‘No Sleeping on the Job’ reaching No55. It was a strange choice of single. The album fared better reaching No3. They were on their way.
‘Unchain Your Brain’ still stands out as being a great rock song and typifies this (the best) line-up, with Hendrix like riffs courtesy of Bernie Torme, one if not the most underrated guitarists of the 80’s. McCoy and Underwood form the backbone of the rhythm section, pulsating and driving the songs along. But the highlight of the band is the man himself, screaming and wailing like the proverbial banshee on ‘Are You Sure’. There’s not many people who have been able to sing the same range as Gillan (extending from the E2 to the G above soprano high C, and beyond!)
‘No Easy Way’ kicks off with a wild, frenzied axe solo before settling into what I believe should have been one of the singles. How this album only spawned one single in ‘Sleeping On The Job’ is beyond me. What on Earth were Virgin up to? ‘Unchain..’, No Easy Way’ and ‘Running, White Face, City Boy’ could have been worthy contenders, as these the have/had Top 20 written all over them. The very underrated ‘If You Believe Me’ is a classic blues song, and typical of some of the crackers, it was written very quickly, and was a cracking staple of the then live set
So……what of the bonus album? Well, this was the prize asset for me, something I still refer to in my many ramblings to this day. ‘For Gillan Fans Only’ is a collection of leftover songs, general studio tomfoolery and was put together by the band and its road crew (aka The Franks). You must listen to it, even today, as it doesn’t disappoint, and is a great testimony to a band set out for having a great time.
The main highlights are all the ramblings in-between the songs, one of which you still need vinyl as its difficult to play a cd in reverse! ‘Higher and Higher’ deserved its place on the Glory Road album and was only on here as it was a B side to ‘Sleeping…’ single. Gillan was a master in wordplay, who can forget the bands spotlighted, ‘Cosmo Toons & The Split Knee Loons’ with ‘She was A Real Egg Timer’ and the legendary Arthur Guitar & his Hamster Cage Ensemble performing the Harry Lime Theme (Fucking Brilliant even to this day! Its my wife’s ringtone FFS!). Its up there with a lot of comedy albums, and it still makes me laugh (a lot) a mere 36 years down the line! That said there’s some belting songs that never quite made it.

The band that recorded the excellent ‘Glory Road’ were still in place…..just! ‘FUTURE SHOCK’ is probably the album that most defines Gillan. ‘Future Shock’ spawned two singles, ‘New Orleans’ and ‘No Laughing in Heaven’. It’s a missed opportunity to include ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ (probably THE DEFINITIVE Gillan song) but they have gone for true relication of the originals.

‘FS’ is a more experimental album than its predecessors, possibly down to the fact that it was the first to be produced by the band. The sound is more stripped and raw. Opener is the title track, and by now is a typical Gillan offering, fast paced and frenetic, with vocals to match. The single ‘No Laughing in Heaven’ is a real surprise, a merging of rap and rock years before Run-DMC/Aerosmith ever thought of it! ‘New Orleans’ the other single taken from this album is another cover in the Gillan back catalogue, all of which have proven to be firm favourites with the fans. ‘Bite the Bullet’ again is a typical signature song, followed by a real surprise of a ballad, (I don’t remember Gillan being known for his ballads) ‘If I Sing Softly’. Once again the strength of the songs rise higher than a lot of the competition at the time

As I mentioned above, changes were afoot. To keep it short and sweet, Virgin offered to fly the band from Germany to appear on TOTP to promote the ‘No Laughing…’ single. It was on one of their rare days off, and Bernie Torme refused to go. Net result, in comes Janick Gers but he was not allowed to be seen on TV performing another musician’s solo.

Like Glory Road, I had a similar buying experience. ‘DOUBLE TROUBLE’ was the second album release in 1981, following ‘Future Shock’. As a randy adolescent I was attracted by the two lovely ‘hooker-esque’ young ladies on the front cover. It was a toss-up (no pun intended honest!) between this and ‘FS’. Something in the trouser department won and I bought ‘Double Trouble’. Knob 1, Chesy 0.
Out had gone the wonderful Bernie Torme and in came (you either love him or hate him, ask any Maiden fan) Janick Gers from White Spirit. I thought he was Swedish for years, turns out he’s from Hartlepool! 
This was the Golden period for Gillan, even though the album, nowhere near as good as the previous two, still managed to spawn two Top 10 singles in ‘Restless’ and ‘Nightmare’. I probably haven’t heard it in more than 5 years, and still sounds fresh.
Gers fitted into Torme’s place seamlessly, with his widdly trickery trademark guitar work suiting Gillan perfectly. An ideal replacement! DT opens with a massive statement of intent, a thunderous flurry of drums leading into the primeval ‘I’ll Rip Your Spine Out’, followed by the melodic first hit single ‘Restless’. ‘Men of War’ is your typical Gillan ‘screamer’ of a song, concluding with the key changing ‘Life Goes On’. The 3 part epic ‘Born To Kill’ featuring ‘The Franks’ aka the road crew on backing vocals finishes things off. Whilst its not my fave Gillan album, it still has a lot of positives going for it
Finally we are up to ‘MAGIC’. In came Janick Gers for Tormé for this his second album, a Blackmore influenced guitarist if ever I heard one. This is evident on the opener ‘What’s The Matter’, typical if what Ritchie was up to with Rainbow, a sign of things to come….
‘Bluesy Blue Sea’ a mid pace song with a very repeatable and insistent chorus, penned and inspired as Ian sat staring at the sea off the Devon coast, mulling over his problems during the songwriting of this album.
What’s waiting around the corner for me is a real surprise in ‘Long Gone’. This is a very melodic offering which is a good two years prior to its soundalike and obviously more famous ‘Jump’ by Van Halen. A blatant copy if ever I heard it! ‘Driving Me Wild’ is more typical up-tempo track with surging riffs and Colin Towns’ nightmarish keys. What is noticeable is Towns return to the fore as main songwriter, which is why there’s a more radio friendly album to be heard here. ‘Demon Driver’ is a very dramatic song which is almost Broadway in style. It experiments with distorted vocals, and dark in nature, before picking up speed and letting rip as it draws to a close. ‘You’re So Right’  is a more sunnier, uplifting song, very American in sound and has a very sing-a-long-a Gillan chorus. The final track was also the single from the album, an excellent metalled-up cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Living For The City’. The CD also includes 8 bonus tracks, of b-sides and more cover versions.
This is without doubt the most commercial album by the band I’ve heard. It’s surprising looking back, how it never performed better than its predecessors. This line up deserved another stab at success. Problems beset the band, Gillan had tonsillitis and struggles through the rest of the tour, couple this with financial problems and the end was nigh. The album was released in the September, the final gig for the band was December. Obviously what happened next is history, Gillan joined Sabbath, and then no sooner had he joined, the Purple bandwagon was rolling, and what a comeback, but that’s another story
It is truly an essential record of one of the best exponents of rock in the 80’s. Go out and buy all of them, a worthy addition for any CD collection.
What we have is one of Britains finest vocalists covering an important period in the developing rock scene in the early 1980s. Full of experience and quality, Gillan, like Blackmore in the day, proved that there was more to life than just Deep Purple. The band was surrounded by controversy (internally) over the years from what Ive read, and the likelihood of reformation is as close as Blackmore sending Gillan a Xmas card.
That said, this box set is a fine example of a man and band in their prime, growing abd combusting in equal measure. Its hard to review a vinyl box set when you only have the CDs to review. I revisited my personal vinyl and have hoped that the exact same is to follow. Should you have a spare £80-100,  at  todays stupid vinyl prices, a little over 10 quid each is an absolute bargain
Gillan is truly an essential listen of one of the best exponents of rock in the 80’s. It was a short lived ride (79-82) but they road the coattails of the blossoming NWOBHM, headlined Reading back in the day, whuch was no mean feat in itself, and cement their place in British rock history. What more could you ask for….?
Mr Universe               75/100
Glory Road                90/100

                                 100/100 as a package. The inclusion of ‘FGFO’ still makes me laugh some 30 odd years later

Future Shock             80/100
Double Trouble        75/100
Magic                          80/100
Amazon exclusive Version with 7” –

Standard version –

Operation: Mindcrime – ‘Resurrection’ Review

It’s only been twelve months since Geoff Tate’s last album and, although he originally stated he wanted to release something every six months, an album a year is not a bad return in this modern musical age. Tate was one of my favourite vocalists for many years until Queensryche’s Q2K which, for me at least, was a turning point, not only from a quality control aspect in regards to the song writing, but also for Geoff’s voice as he started to sing within himself and adopt melodies that were more akin to speaking and rapping than using his excellent set of pipes. So, it was with a little trepidation that I gave his new album a spin.
Resurrection is the second part of Tate’s new trilogy and follows on from 2015’s ‘The Key’, an album that had more troughs than peaks, but that itself was a step up from the trough maker’s storage locker of troughs that was ‘Frequency Unknown’. The title track opened up the proceedings and, although just a glorified interlude, I thought it to be quite an inventive start that ran seamlessly into the very likeable two minute instrumental, ‘When All Falls Away’. When the thirty second, ‘A Moment in Time’ ended, I sat intrigued at the direction Resurrection had taken. The atmosphere was excellent, the direction was left of field and it was genuinely interesting. A minute later and the haunting, ‘Through The Noize’, completed the first 4 songs with only approximately five minutes on the clock. At that point it seemed Geoff and his team had really taken the ‘concept’ by the scruff of the neck and had done away with the bland, uninteresting rock songs that had dogged the previous couple of releases. I was poised, ready to go with him…that was until the first ‘traditional’ song’, ‘Left for Dead’, kicked in.
A slow plodding track, ‘Left for Dead’ proved it is business as usual as a dull chord driven riff dribbled out of the speakers. Tate continued his usual speaking/rapping style, occasionally having his voice sometimes too low in the mix (unforgiveable, surely). ‘Miles Away’ continued the pedestrian momentum and, to its credit, contained some notable synth progressions, but the vocal melody again was choppy and utterly devoid of hooks. ‘Healing my Wounds’ and ‘The Fight’ follow the same formula which was a shame as it all started so well. ‘Taking on the world’ was a rare venture into mid-tempo range and an album highlight just because it injected a bit of life into the proceedings.
The second half of the album was a little more progressive, song wise, with ‘A Smear Campaign’ and the Promised Land-esque, ‘Which Side Your On’ being immediate stand outs. I think if Operation: Mindcrime had followed this more progressive, riff driven direction then Resurrection would have been a lot more interesting instead of the latter day Queensryche vs David Bowie mash up which we ended up with.
It’s obvious a lot of production work has gone into Resurrection and you can tell, from a sound point of view, it’s a natural successor to ‘The Key’. Although grating in the mid-frequencies at times, the album is littered with lots of pops, squeaks, electronica and effects that work really well and are imaginatively placed helping it create its own identity. But these are hundreds and thousands atop a dry and bland nut loaf. They do add to the overall experience and, with a hat full of decent tunes, this production could have worked even better.
It’s not a good sign when the worst thing about Tate’s solo project is Tate himself. His voice seems strained and his melodies are monotonous and unmemorable, all of which leads you to deduce that he’s lost his voice. I have thought this for a while until I heard Avantasia’s ‘Seduction of Decay’ with Tate vocal duelling with Tobias Sammet. Tate sounds terrific. I am convinced that all Tate needs is a new song writing team, a good producer who will push him vocally, play to his strengths and create some decent melodies. It’s such a shame he seems happy to drone over uninspired and sometimes tedious, yet occasionally interesting rock music because he’s still capable of so much more.
Resurrection isn’t terrible and is a step up from ‘The Key’ as there are some promising progressive moments. What’s the story and concept about? I have no idea as you can’t really pick out what Tate is singing, but having said that, I have no idea about Coheed and Cambria’s arcing story, I just love the tunes, which is where Resurrection falls down. I think it will certainly keep the Tate fans happy but I doubt it will attract anyone new.
Score 50/100
Reviewer – Pete Worrall
Tracklisting –
When All Falls Away
Moment In Time
Through The Noize
Left For Dead
Miles Away
Healing My Wounds
The Fight
Taking On The World
A Smear Campaign
Which Side You On
Into The Hands Of The World
Live From My Machine

Angels Or Kings – ‘Go Ask The Moon’ Album Review

Angels Or Kings – Go Ask The Moon
Angels Or Kings and myself go back quite a while. I used to be a regular frequenter at our local rock venue ‘The Tiv’ (Tivoli) in Buckley, North Wales. Many great bands played here – FM, Drive She Said, Kings X, Badlands, Dream Theater, Romeos Daughter, Thunder and many, many others. Despite going to over 30 gigs at this place, few support bands stood out. Two of them did, and one was a cracking melodic rock band called AOK from Manchester. They were fantastic! The internet hadn’t caught on back then, so if you wanted music of any kind (vinyl, cassette, or fledgling CD), you (me) had to travel to Chester, Manchester or London to fill your collections. I so wanted an AOK album (or cassette!). How they never got a deal back in the day was beyond me, it proved to be one of the misses of the late 80s / early 90s. Shame on you.
When I heard that Angels Or Kings had got back together a year or three back, I was a happy little bunny. Their debut was a feast for sore ears and was well received by fans and critics alike, and thankfully 2016 sees them release their 2nd album ‘Go Ask The Moon’. A lot of bands suffer from ‘second album syndrome’, but not Angels Or Kings. In Tony Bell they have one of the finest songwriters of this genre, and in Steve Kenny, a mighty powerful guitarist. Couple this melody-fest with Barrie ‘Baz’ Jackson’s dulcet tones and Angels Or Kings are a band to behold, making them one of the best bands in this genre we call AOR/Melodic rock.
Early into ‘GATM’ and the evidence is compelling. ‘No More Faith To Lose’ is already up on anything from the debut, proving that there’s a more comfortable and blossoming writing process. It has everything you could wish for – a killer riff, harmonies to die for and the best vocal performance from Mr Jackson. I think ‘Ancient Fires’ is a semi autobiographical song about gingers….. ‘she never made the most of the sunshine, he never took a chance in the rain’. Joking aside, it’s a song that few can pen these days, its a huge slab of fluffiness. ‘No Alibi’ harks back to the glory days of the likes of Foreigner. ‘The Nights Don’t Count’ is one of those rock ballads that David Coverdale would give his left bollock for in 1987, or any other year come to think of it, and it proves to be a ‘sit up and take notice’ track. Its as smooth as (delete as appropriate) silk/glass/velvet/a babies bum/my un-laboured hands. ‘When The Heart Is Wrong’ is just another example of highly polished and sophisticated songwriting. ‘Waiting For The Thunder’ is one of those songs you could picture on BBC 2’s ‘No Limits’ many moons ago – a British ‘Summertime Girls’ I think .
‘On The Corner Of Love And Lost’ has more slik-ness than a seagull dipped in Castrol GTX. Tony Bell has been bigging up ‘Heartbreak Railroad Company’ for months. Thankfully he is 100% on the button, it’s a ballad that just oozes quality and if the Classic Rock Awards had a ‘Rocktastic Ballad’ award, then the voting would be closed after just one listen. If it were licensed to someone like Eric Church or Jason Aldean, then both Tony and Angels Or Kings would be sat on a shitload of money, guaranteed! Its one, if not the best songs of the year.  Angels Or Kings go out with a proper bang with the title track, one of the heaviest on the album and sees Kenny trade licks with Jackson’s raspy vocals.
 If Angels Or Kings, Moritz, BRS and Vega were Americans, they’d all be playing gigs as part of a ‘classic rock’ package with the likes of REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Foreigner and Heart, playing to tens of thousand of people. In the UK it’s a different matter, but that makes them seem as if it’s a bit more of an exclusive secret, and all ours. That doesn’t mean its OK, as all these these bands deserve a better audience as they are all flying the flag for British melodic rock and putting it in its healthiest position that its been in in years.
To summarise, if you’re already a fan of Angels Or Kings then ‘Go Ask The Moon’ is one of the biggest no-brainers of this or any other year; and if you’re a fan of AOR and not dipped your toe in yet to the velvet soaked tunes of Messers Bell, Kenny and Jackson, then get your arse into gear and buy this wonderful album.
I stated a few months back that The Defiants was the melodic rock album of 2016 – Well, I was wrong!
Too many bands don’t go back through the great songs of the 80s and listen to what made them great slabs of melodic rock. Angels Or Kings have done just that (I think) and come up with an album that would fit perfectly in any fans collection from the past, present or future.
For fans of Survivor, Toto, Foreigner, FM, etc
Score 99/100
Tony Bell – Guitar
Steve Kenny – Guitar/Keys/Bass
Barrie Jackson – Vocals
Tracklisting –
No More Faith To Lose
Ancient Fires
No Alibi
The Nights Don’t Count
When The Heart Is Wrong
You Better Pray
Waiting For The Thunder
On The Corner Of Love And Lost
Heartbreak Railroad  Company
Go Ask The Moon
Out 28.10.16 from all good retailers and probably some shit ones as well

Favourite tracks of 2016……so far!

Its been a pretty decent year so far, with a lot of good albums. All of my fave albums so far will have at least one track listed here, but there may also be some others that just have a standout track. So, in no particular order whatsoever here’s a list of some of the songs I like and are worth checking out from 2016


Michael Sweet           – Bizarre
Rival Sons                   – Hollow Bones Pt1 / Black Coffee
Dante Fox                   – Dynamite / Break These Chains
Almah                          – Indigo
Christopher Shayne – Give A Damn
Dorothy                       – Dark Nights / Wicked Ones
Tremonti                     – Catching Fire
Ted Poley                    – We Are Young
Vega                              – Saving Grace
Gene The Werewolf – Fortune & Fame
The Defiants              – Love and Bullets / Runaway
Mason Hill                  – Survive
Sons Of Icarus           – Make Amends / You Want it All
The King Lot              – One Of These Days (I know it was out last year, but I only heard it this year, so it counts in my book. My site, my rules!!)
Nordic Union             – When Death Is Calling / Hypocrisy
Inglorious                   – Inglorious / Until I Die
Mitch Malloy              – Rock-N-Roll
Delain                           – The Glory And The Scum
Palace                           – Master Of The Universe
Moritz                           – Chance Of A Lifetime (demo)
deVience                      – Go Hard Or Go Home
Scorpion Child           – Reapers Danse / Winter Side Of Deranged
Monument                  – Blood Red Sky
Massive Wagons       – Nails
First Signal                 – Love Gets Through
Violet Janine              – Devil In Me
Stone Broken             – Not Your Enemy
Buffalo Summer        – Heartbreakin’ Floorshakin’
Treat                             – I Don’t Miss The Misery
The Cadillac Three   – Bury Me In My Boots
Prototype                    – Behind Your Eye
Headspace                  – Road To Supremacy
Nitroville                    – Motorocker 
Captain Blackbeard – Divided Feelings
Rage Of Angels          – R.O.A.

ALMAH – ‘E.V.O.’ Album Review

Now its not exactly unknown for me not to know established artistes / bands. One thing is for sure; I’ll always give the stream/download a listen before making a decision, as this is how gems are unearthed. I have to say that I’ve pretty much come up with the musical equivalent to a De Beers diamond mine!
ALMAH is led by former Angra singer Edu Falaschi; and I’m led to believe that he has sold more than one million albums in his 25-year spinning career.  On average 40k sales a year is no mean feat!

Since their founding in 2006, the band already has released four full-length albums world-wide (‘Almah’, ‘Fragile Equality’, ‘Motion’ and ‘Unfold’).  E.V.O is the 5th release in their career. This is a conceptual album, which is based on the evolution of the people’s mind and soul during the new age that the world is about to live in – called Age of Aquarius. The author, Edu Falaschi, visited different subjects that are connected with the main concept, creating a very positive lyric and album atmosphere. I’m coming at ALMAH completely new, blind and, after over 400gigs, probably deaf!
What can I tell you? Well it’s partly power metal, melodic, uplifting, and for the European readers, it would fit into Eurovision like a worn glove. To top it all off, it brings a smile to your listening pleasure, which isn’t always about these days. Lots of bands are enjoyable, but not all bands can make you smile.
Opener ‘Age of Aquarius’ starts off all light and refreshing, angelic voice and birds tweeting, a ballad methinks? Proggy? Well both in a way…..until about the 2 min mark, when the POWER is brought to the table. Its sounds like a musical theater opera, rocked up. And it’s the kind of song that buggers up drummers. I fear for Pedro Tinello – if he hasn’t had both knees replaced, it wont be long after power drumming of this order.  (I also bet he can’t open a jam jar to save his life!). The seven minutes of AoA just fly by! Falaschi hast got the best of voices I’ve ever come across, but what he has, he makes good use out of it.
‘Speranza’ is immediately up lifting. It comes under what I used to call singa-longa-metal. The German bands are great at this, and ALMAH takes this idea and runs with it. There (I’m gonna name check a UK melodic rock band here) are sounds of Vega to be heard (which is great for me – great band, check em out!).  If this doesn’t pick you up after a long, hard day in work, its time to start taking drugs to take the edge off. Powerful stuff.
And so it continues…..’The Brotherhood’ is the king of song I imagine being out on tour with a huge choir and orchestra, and lots of tickertape and fans blowing! ‘Innocence’ reminds me of the days when bands like Evanescence were good, and ‘Higher’ has a nice big dirty riff, and is the closest song to his past life with Angra on this album.  ‘Infatuated’ again, is a huge song,’ I’ll give it to Edu; he knows how to pen a big, dramatic and powerful song. ‘Pleased To Meet You’ is right down the middle of the road, unashamed prog rock – but not the boring prog. Its lively, with some nice keyboard touches and comes at you like a giant rock – like the one off Indiana Jones!! Here the keyboards interplay with the guitar wonderfully. ‘Final Warning’ is a little off the pace compare to everything that precedes it. ‘Indigo’ picks the pace back up and is a favourite on the album for me. ‘Corporate Way’ has a grunge Alice In Chains feel to it, with the verses seeing Falaschi sounding very Layne Staley, with the music interjecting to be metal prog. Finally, ‘Capital Punishment’. Something this lively shouldn’t purport to something as an execution. Then again I always tend go off melody and rarely the lyrics.
Praise has to be given to the other guys, as all complete ALMAH’s circle. Its not just Edu Falaschi. Barbosa and Mafra handle guitar duties extremely well, not over playing (which isn’t easy for power metal / operatic / euro / prog rock), and as stated earlier Tinello’s drumming is pretty damn powerful.
There’s a saying that goes ‘its no good being the richest man in the cemetery’. In Edu’s, case, he may not be the richest as far as money goes, but if E.V.O. is anything to go by, the enjoyment he gives to his listeners and fans is reward enough. On this evidence I will certainly be looking to dig out the back catalogue. Cracking stuff, it’s what makes reviewing worthwhile.
‘E.V.O.’ is one of the best old / new (to me) bands I’ve heard in a while.
SCORE – 85/100
Age Of Aquarius
The Brotherhood
Pleased To Meet You
Final Warning
Corporate war
Capital Punishment
Edu Falaschi – vocals, keyboards
Marcelo Barbosa – guitars
Raphael Dafras – bass
Diogo Mafra – guitars
Pedro Tinello – drums

Stick Men – ‘Prog Noir’ Album Review

Stick men – Prog Noir
Feel free to shout at these words but I didn’t know who Stick Men were, never heard of them, passed me by, utterly clueless. Turns out they’re very clever musicians playing esoteric instruments and producing a sound that is all over the place. Two parts King Crimson in Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto plus one-part musical octopus Markus Reuter.
So, Prog Noir. As I have not heard Stick Men’s previous releases I’m coming at this without any preconceptions and two songs in I was worried I was in for a tough listen. It’s like a painter deciding he was going to do pictures using only shades of brown, it doesn’t matter how good he is the result is going to be muted at best. So it is with the first two tracks they are lifeless in some undefinable way, they are exercises in restraint, both the music and the vocals low key and plodding but in a quirky style that makes you realise there is something good waiting to be let loose. Don’t shoot me yet wait until the end.
Then the third track (Plutonium) plays and the album transforms into something else, instantly likeable whilst taking the word quirky to a new level, (I won’t use it again I promise) any song that shoehorns a bit of ‘Yes’ in gets my vote. After this the album is off and running with a traditional song; you know the ones where there is a verse and chorus and obvious structure (sort of) but after that is all instrumentals that bring reminders of ‘Porcupine tree’ (Schattenhaft) or just calm genius until the last song which brings back the vocals, the singer kept reminding me of Hasse Fröberg of ‘The Flower Kings’ not exactly just a bit.
The production is great with everything laid out in its own space which is quite important when you’re dealing with talent like this, you don’t want to lose some virtuoso Bass playing in a muddy mix do you? Musically speaking from a listener enjoyment point of view this is quality stuff that will not set your ears on fire, you can appreciate it and grow to like some of it very much but I wouldn’t put it on at a party. It rolls along usually at the same pace and you either need to be lying on the carpet with your headphones on or driving a long way on the motorway to appreciate it, most of the tracks are experiences rather than songs.
Those first two songs grew on me after I’d heard the rest of the album and I question the running order putting the songs with vocals in one place and the instrumentals in another, mixing them up would have balanced the album out in my mind but I’m not going to tell these guys what to do, they have enough experience to make their own minds up.
In summary the album is calm, qui… I mean interesting and well-made but I won’t be returning to it much.

Review by Hedgy 
Score – 75/100
Track listing-
Prog Noir
The Tempest
Rose in the sand / requiem
Trey’s Continuum
Embracing the sun
Never the same