There’s some beefed up battle metal from King Of Asgard and some pretty boy punk rock in the shape of Little Fish.
Emerson, Lake And Palmer celebrate their High Voltage Festival show with a new compilation of the same name. We check out some typically heavy shit from Nuclear Blast bad boys Kataklysm and review and rate the latest sounds from Brit bands Pay No Respect and The Perfect Crime.
Headlining this summer’s High Voltage festival gave ELP fresh impetus 40 years after their self-titled album hit number four on the UK charts.
And in naming their latest compilation after the inaugural Victoria Park event it seems the band are keen to cash in while they can. And let’s face it – this is nothing more than an exercise in making a few more quid before it’s time to call it a day.
Whether a nicely packed two-CD retrospective is more to do with the bean counters at ELP’s record label or the band themselves is open to question. But we kinda hope it’s the former as there’s nothing here which enhances the supergroup’s reputation – not even the merest hint of an unreleased track, live rarity or demo from the archives.
What you do get is yet another masterclass in pomp rock with Tarkus kicking off CD1 and Fanfare For The Common Man squeezed into the middle of CD2. In between there’s all 11 parts of Pictures At An Exhibition and the brilliant Touch And Go.
But this is all very familiar fodder and existing fans should avid at all costs. For new converts it’s a fine introduction to ELP’s better moments but this is no career-spanning collection. SR
rushonrock rated: 6/10 ELPlease Not Another Compilation
Everyone needs a slice of Viking Folk Death Metal in their lives and if you’re looking for a very particular aural fix to see you through the long summer nights then look no further than this blinding debut from the bunch of seriously heavy Swedes.
This is Turisas on steroids – the trad battle metal of Brethren Of The North just what you need to see you across Hadrian’s Wall in double quick time. It’s perfect, pounding, marching music and its spirit is infectious.
The distant crow’s call, Scando yodelling and immersive chanting which underpin The Last Journey make this the standout track on a surprisingly impressive record but the highlights could fill a longboat and then some.
Founder Karl Beckman has found the perfect vehicle for his post-Mithotyn rants and the mighty Metal Blade have managed to add a merry band of new stars in the making to an already daunting roster. Good work. SR
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Oh My Gard
Hardcore bands from Medway aren’t exactly ten a penny and this bunch of heavy hitting hopefuls don’t really do anything for Kent’s reputation as a breeding ground for grizzled youths.
Pay No Respect’s dull metal by numbers is unoriginal to say the least and within a genre proud of its groundbreaking sound this is one act mired in cliche. Revenge Is Glory grates from start to finish and even if You Failed is some kind of astute self-critique is fails to cut the hardcore mustard.
There’s angst. There’s anguish. And there’s some kind of attitude. But it feels as if Pay No Respect have spent their early teen years leafing through copies of Rock Sound magazine to create the perfect look and the perfect sound – missing the point that this music needs to mean something. It really doesn’t, even though it definitely should. SR
rushonrock rated: 4/10 Pay No Attention
Even the title of this near-perfect examination of old school thrash sounds good. But just wait until you hear the music. If Heaven does have any venom (and we’re hoping not) then it may well sound like Kataklysm – snarling, sneering and designed to jolt those smug in the knowledge they’d narrowly escaped Hell.
Hail The Renegade has a classic Metallica feel to it with an epic riff coursing through a track meant to trouble the neighbours. But As The Wall Collapses is even better with its respectful nod towards the NWOBHM and a cracking guitar solo as good as anything we’ve heard all year.
The Slipknot-style riffage at the heart of Numb And Intoxicated proves Kataklysm aren’t afraid to showcase their diversity and this compelling number completes the urgent mid-section of an album which mixes grand statements with subtle, stylised quality.
Perhaps destined to remain an underground hit in 2010 there’s every chance this record will grow and grow. It has the legs so give it a listen. SR
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Kat’s Out Of the Bag
At their best The Perfect Crime sound like the days when Biffy Clyro really rocked and it’s fair to say they’re fairly well schooled in how to produce musical light and shade.
The problem here is that for all their grandiose prog metal moments and indie rock breaks there’s one underlying wall of noise which is, quite frankly, dull. As dishwater.
The Biffy mixed with Hundred Reasons opener Hailstones has a lot to offer. But by the time you’ve heard the same track with a slightly different twist time and time again it really does begin to grate.
Are We There? opens up with a mellow, near acoustic, riff which suggests there is a depth to The Perfect Crime which may well manifest itself fully on the live stage. But even here the Cambridgeshire crew appear to lack the courage of their early convictions and drift into second division jock rock.
If you like your three-piece bands to break new ground and push the boundaries then steer clear of The Perfect Crime. Check out the dishwater for inspiration. SR
rushonrock rated: 5/10 Crime Against Rock
It’s been a hectic couple of years for Oxford’s Little Fish. After being picked up by legendary producer Linda Perry they have been across the Pond recording their debut album and Baffled And Beat is an impressive first album from this duo.
Little Fish draw heavily from garage rock influences and with Julia ‘Juju’ Sophie on lead vocals it conjures up images of classic female fronted bands such as Hole and Spinnerette. Opening track Darling Dear is punchy whereas lead single Am I Crazy? is poetic with Juju describing the hardships of a failing relationship.
Despite Little Fish being confined to two members the sound they manage to create with just a guitar and drums is astounding. The addition of a Hammond organ on Heroin Dance perfectly compliments the song whilst Juju cries “I don’t want to die alone/I just want to be loved”.
The tone of Juju’s voice is haunting yet beautiful at the same time and is very reminiscent of Courtney Love. The garage band vibe is very refreshing to hear with tracks like Baffled And Beat and Die Young keeping an upbeat feel despite the gloominess of the lyrics.
Baffled And Beat is closed with the excellent Sorry State in which you’re hanging off every word that comes out of Juju’s mouth. An impressive debut album from the Oxford duo which could spark the revival of the garage band genre. TW
rushonrock rated: 8/10
This week’s reviewers: Simon Rushworth and Tom Walsh