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Quick Play: A round-up of April 2008 album releases

We've listed albums in order of star rating. Best first.

BURNED IN EFFIGY Burned In Effigy

Unsigned Connecticut band making their full length debut album available through their websites. Pretty extreme. Not like the clean cut thrash of Metallica or Anthrax (more like Metallica before they broke), this is more extreme, full of ear splitting riffs (some good ones too), only on occasion getting cluttered. At times a nod at 90s Judas Priest (at their heaviest). Vocals go from punchy (almost rap like) to growls and screams and back again.

Rather noisy, but for mainstream extreme it's better than most. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

INVISIGOTH Narcotica Pro Rock Records

Their debut album 'Alcoholocaust' was released only last year so they've done alright for themselves to have a second album out so soon.

Invisigoth are a two member project featuring Cage on guitars, bass, keyboards and drummers and singer Viggo Domino. Much of 'Narcotica' is ambient stuff with lots of ideas and a large musical canvas.

They prefer not to be labelled as a particular type of band, choosing to simply make music that fuses any and every idea. It's a bold attempt and 'Narcotica' is an interesting album although it's hard to digest; and it's not an album you'd listen to for enjoyment.

The songs are epic and cinematic with lots of synth effects. It's fascinating stuff. For more information visit www.myspace.com/invisigothmusic. ***

Review by Neil Daniels

BEARDFISH Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two Inside Out (2008)

Beardfish tickle many musical taste buds from the 70's prog meets jazz of 'Into The Night' which recalls Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Camel.

Then you get the rocking 'The Hunter' which with its prominent Hammond sound recalls Jon Lord and Deep Purple in their 70's heyday (even on the vocals there is a hint of Ian Gillan!). This is an album highlight for sure! But sometimes they do drift off, too much into jazz rock territory for my liking and the title track will delight lovers of OTT 70's prog rock but maybe not to everyone's taste.

Musically the band are very competent but sometimes their songs seem to cover so many musical styles and lose their way. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

SPIRIT Time Circle 1968- 1972 SPV 42402 (2 CD)

This 45 track, 2 CD set mostly features material from the 4 albums that Spiritís original line up released. With influences of West Coast Pop, acid psychedlia and acid rock. There is a good mix of hits, remixes and rarities- and quality of the songwriting and musicianship shines through here.

Highlights include Uncle Jack, Taurus (which later influenced a certain guitarist to write Stairway To Heaven) and Mechanical World.

This compilation is good as a comprehensive introduction to Spirit- or as a way of replacing those old albums. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

OXYGENE8 Freak Of A Chance

The first thing that hit me about Oxygene8 was 'thank Christ they're not another bunch of poorly produced myspace wannabees'. The second was 'Enigma'.

For there is indeed, on the title track, there is a likeness. Half spoken female vocals courtesy of Linda Cushma, a melodic rock backdrop with some excellent guitar work, and some hypnotic rhythms. And, of course, there's Linda's instrument of choice - the Chapman Stick.

But there's more to this US/Mexican/Chilean 3 piece. Underlying all their tracks is a powerful prog backdrop and some lovely production work. But it's married with some more overtly commercial material - No Different But Not The Same and Don't Look Down could easily have been penned by, say Meredith Brooks. Impressive. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

12 GAUGE ALLIANCE Conspire To Conclude

Energetic electro metal 4-piece from South Wales, there is a brutal metal approach (think Pantera).

The electronic intro is a little long, not grabbing enough (a long intro should be anticipating, not have you reach for the skip button).

Drum bursts aplenty, riffs too, what is impressive is the clean and powerful vocals, when they're not screaming or growling which otherwise cheapens the sound.

One standout is "Breaking Hearts Beating" (screams aside), which has already featured on a Metal Hammer cover CD.

There are some good moments on this album, but it's all a little too brutal for me.

Some good vocals, some good riffs, some electro moments too, but I had to stop when I ran out of aspirin. **½

Review by Joe Geesin


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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