Swedes ManStrand are rooted in 70s classic rock with their Sabbath meets Rainbow meets Deep Purple sounds.
But fellow Scandos Daisy Cutter wear their grunge influences on their sleeves and as for Herts crew Dandelion Killers (why the flowery theme to this week’s bands? – ed) you can make your own minds up.
ManStrand – ManStrand (Self Released)
Think back to a time when 70s rock and metal ruled (i.e. the 70s) and this fabulous retro-fest will take you there. Fueled by flared jeans, long hair and a love of the pounding riff, ManStrand’s magnificent music fuses Sabbath with Rainbow and Whitesnake with Deep Purple to satisfy any fan of truly classic rock.
Singer songwriter Carl Manstrand has revamped five tracks from his prolific past and thrown them together with seven new compositions. Significantly fellow guitarist Richard Hoerberg is credited with contributing to opening duo Come On and Classica and these two tracks blow the following three out of the water.
It seems Manstrand (the man, not the band) might have found the yin to complement his yang in the shape of Hoerberg. It’s a potential match made in metal heaven and promises much for the future.
On the strength of this debut, ManStrand’s follow-up – already in production – should take the Swedes to the next level. That time can’t come soon enough.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Man-na From Heaven
Daisy Cutter – M.O.A.B. (Self Released)
With Pearl Jam’s Backspacer still fresh in the mind and the US giants ready to headline Hyde Park Calling this summer there might never be a better time for the grunge-heavy rock of Daisy Cutter to blow British audiences apart.
There’s more than a hint of Eddie Vedder about vocalist Rainer Vasshaug and that’s no bad thing. Sore Knees, which kicks off this five-track mini album in some style, could be culled from the mid 90s back catalogue of any Seattle-based band but the urgent Derailed proves there’s more to this quartet than meets the eye.
And the versatile Vasshaug mellows his tone again on the intro to Queen Bitch before blasting into a Foos-esque chorus. This is a modern blueprint for music which changed the rock landscape 15 years ago and it sounds remarkably good.
But for all of Vasshaug’s vibrancy it’s Jan Olav Isachsen’s focused axe work which could hold the key to Daisy Cutter flowering in 2010. This man is so tight you feel he could snap at any moment. Until he does Daisy Cutter deserve your attention.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Rainer Days
Dandelion Killers – Orphans Of The Empire (Gasworks Productions)
Here’s a band which clearly fears being pigeon-holed and there’s absolutely no danger of fitting Dandelion Killers into any identifiable genre on this evidence. They’re rock with pop sensibilities and that’s about as detailed as you’re gonna get.
Take Top Of The Globe – it’s not the song you’re expecting after the opening blast that is Prototypes, with its Beatlesy sensibilities and haunting mid-section. Sixes And Sevenses picks up the pace with multi-talented frontman Adam Daffurn delivering a quite remarkable vocal performance but then comes Cameo – a track which belongs to the soundtrack of a low budget vampire flick.
If you like to know what you’re getting next you’ll hate this. If you like to second guess a band’s tracklist you’ll hate it even more. And if you like your rock heavy then you won’t really find what you’re looking for in Orphans Of The Empire. But Daffurn’s style is intriguing enough and the band’s potential is obvious – finding their niche appears to be the toughest challenge Dandelion Killers face right now.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Empire Strikes Back