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Single reviews: June 2011

We've listed singles/EPs/demos in order of star rating. Best first.

Reviews by Jason Ritchie, Abigail Suter, Pete Whalley

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WEAPON Ready 4 U

Weapon are one of the early 80's NWOBHM bands that influenced Metallica and according to a Metallica biography, 'Damage Incoporated', the band lifted parts of the Weapon song 'Set The Stage Alight' for their own song 'Hit The Lights'.

Fast forward thirty years since the band last released a single and they are back, with original members Danny Hynes (vocals) and Jeff Summers (guitar) joined by Ian Sweeting (drums) and Gavin Cooper (bass - Bob Catley/Lionsheart).

It is a very catchy song, featuring a tasty big riff and vocalist Danny Hynes has a strong melodic tone. Reminded me a bit of Statetrooper (a band which Jeff Summers and Gavin Cooper both played in) and Stormzone. You can download it now and it's well worth it! ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie


I'm pretty sure you've never heard of Promethee and that's because they're new to the UK music scene originally hailing from Switzerland. However, if you have been lucky enough to have your ears brutally blessed by their metalcore tendencies, you will know full well that we can expect big things of the Swiss five-piece in the coming months. After their formation in 2008, they released their debut EP on the 13th of March 2010 just two years later. And what a step that was in their career.

The EP opens safely and securely with "And Then The Earth Was Shaken" which boasts an extremely promising build up with a melodic feel and stable drumbeat from Nils Haldi. However, once the vocals kick in it becomes slightly monotonous and average. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with the way Joshua Orsi uses his outstanding ability to scream but there could be a little more depth to the track so that Promethee could show off their true skills.

The follow up to this is "Shipwreck" and Promethee do not hesitate to make up for where the last track failed. A strong rhythm and powerful chant of the words "We came, we saw, we conquered!" break through the bands façade to show their real forté; barbarous and bloodthirsty death riffs.

Both "Sink Or Swim" and "Ashes" provide a major contrast to the appearance of the band's Facebook page. All that elegant looking French vocabulary really seems out of it's depth when you listen to the pure ruthlessness of their music. Both sport pretty impressive guitar solos from Ludovic Lacroix mid-track cutting through Josh's ferocious vocals.

The EP is concluded on "Over The Horizon" with a sound which is almost anthemic and leaves the listener on a completely legal high not knowing what's hit them.

Dear listener, this is Promethee. Prepare to have your ears ripped to shreds. Now sit back and enjoy. ****

Review by Abigail Suter

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SHOOT THE DEAD Don't Stop Dancing

Shoot The Dead - a female fronted four piece from Brighton have come up with a pretty unique concept - the marriage of pop /rock and party/dance. With raunchy rock vocals, a huge hook and a video notion that if you do stop dancing hungry orcs will be gnawing your bones, it's an almost guaranteed rave hit.

The B-side - a 'live' version of gig favourite Inhuman - adds dance programming to a frenetic rhythm, and topped by some blistering guitar and vocal lines this most unlikely of crossover combinations suggests that Shoot The Dead may just be an STD you'll want to catch. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

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CYBIC GURU Catastrophe / Secret

Coming out of the blocks with a Stone Roses style driving rhythm, but with a hook that would be worthy of some of the eighties masters like Mr Mister, Catastrophe is something of a throwback. But a welcome one.

Part American and part Icelandic, the band are the brainchild of Japanese/American violinist Roland Hartwell. With two albums under their belt, big followings in Iceland and Japan, and a growing fan base in Georgia the band's sonic soundscapes are both fresh and invigorating

The B-side Secret sticks with the soft rock melodic hook, but this time underpins it with a meaty early seventies hard rock groove and some more contemporary 'shouty' vocal lines. An impressive and powerful combination. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley


With seven studio albums and eighteen Top 30 hits in Ireland to their name, there can be little doubt that the band formed in Galway in 1986 will have yet another hit on home soil with this latest release taken from their 'The Further Adventures of The Saw Doctors' album.

Renowned for their live performances, particularly in the UK and the States, I have to say that to my ears Indian Summer sounds very much like an album track as opposed to a potential chart rocket. But with a nod towards the style of Springsteen balladry, it's not inconceivable that it could get reasonable amounts of airplay Stateside. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Norwegian rockers Electric Woodland are a curious hybrid who open with classic rock riffs and work their way round a few grooves before eventually settling for melodic pop rock. They are also a band in search of a decent vocalist for neither Vegard Ertsaas or Peder Kjaernli has the power, the phrasing ability let alone the presence to turn some promising riffs and powerful chords into anything more than a pedestrian ramble through the outer fringes of rock.

Look no further than the wasted potential of the powerful riff driven opener 'Midnight Treasure' which apart from taking too long to introduce the vocal is a promising song that ultimately fails to deliver. And that's a shame as the band's proggy riff driven style evokes early Deep Purple and the chord changes are pure Sabbath, but a hard rock approach demands a ballsy vocalist. And it's that basic problem that dogs all four tracks here in spite of the presence of two different vocalists.
In fact most of this EP sounds like a rehearsal in which the guitarists strike up a nascent understanding as the busy rhythm section powers them on, but then they hit a brick wall in terms of the vocals.

In fact most of this 4 track EP - which clocks in at nearly 20 minutes - has a goodtime enthusiastic feel mirroring the very reason for the band's existence in the first place, which was to play rock in their native Norway after the demise of several major festivals. But for the most part the results sound like a polite workable compromise rather than a devil may care effort.
'Sharp Angle' for example, choogles along inoffensibly with a drone like quality on the guitars before the band's enthusiasm gets the better of them as they actually speed up towards the climax of the song.

'Another Brick In Your Puzzle' is more interesting if only for the welcome variety in the texture and sound as it crosses over from a Tull like staccato electric guitar to Christian Olsen-Ruud experiments on acoustic and banjo and then back again.
Electric woodland are band who delight in finding early 70's derivative riffs, transitory grooves and occasionally embrace a sense of the dramatic, but ultimately they don't go beyond riff driven rock without any personality. And just when you think their getting close to cooking up their own gumbo they slip back into the sing-along pop rock of 'Manimal', on which Peder's nasal vocals sounds like a young Stan Webb on a number that chugs along but hardly smoulders.

Working on the principle that EP's are a good way to test the water and create an initial impression, Electric Woodland have the drive, enthusiasm and spirit to make a splash but they need better vocals and more coherent musical direction. ***

Review by Pete Feenstra


For a band whose PR blurb would have you believe made such an impact with their eponymous 2009 debut album that they're on the cusp of a major breakthrough, there's precious little to be found on the web about this four piece hard / classic rock outfit from Nashville.

Which, if Vol 1 - their six track follow up EP - is anything to go by, is something of a surprise. The band do rock US style. Big guitars, big drums, big choruses and radio friendly - in an eighties sort of a way - their sound falling somewhere between Guns 'n' Roses and Poison / Motley Crue.

The set has all the necessary rock 'n' roll swagger, attitude and just the right amount of sleeze, and in guitarist / singer Christopher James they've got a front man who sounds the part. The lead single Blackheart is made for radio play (at least on US rock radio) and if the band can conjure up the appropriate image (all important these days) then there's no reason why they couldn't become a force to be reckoned with. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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Despite the Scream mask artwork, Kids - the new single from Manchester indie four piece Airship is a pretty commercial offering. With a shimmering wall of sound reminiscent of The Editors and honeyed vocals in the style of Cherry Ghost it bodes well for their forthcoming album 'Stuck In This Ocean'.

Having supported The Editors, and with Doves/Cherry Ghost producer Dan Austin behind the desk, those influences shine through and should make the band a hit on the summer festival scene. And with support slots to Biffy Clyro looming, the future looks bright. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


London based Deadly Circus Fire release this eponymous 5 track EP, well it’s more of a mini album, and it is both raw and melodic, and nods towards prog metal. That said, there are so many influences, mostly noisy ones. There’s some alternative in bucketloads, and chunks of Tool and Mastodon. Quite a lot of pounding going on. The riffs mix chunky, noisy and jangly well.

I’d imagine good for a mosh pit. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

SKELETAL DAMAGE A Headshot Is The Only Way EP

Three tracks that prove this band will be worth checking out at Download. Punchy up-front metal that mixes the thrash of Megadeth and Metallica with the noise and brutality of Machine Head and Pantera.

The opening track has a solid, dark riff and fast chunky rhythms, a little rough sounding though. 'Blue on Blue' is as noisier and an excellent riff.

If you like modern metal that has thrash tendencies, you’ll probably like this. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

Beyond Dreams Of Grandeur EP

Debut eponymous 5 track EP from this Birmingham young band. The guitar work and songs are pretty good, some intricate work in what is effectively emo / alternative metal. Pop and metal influences, especially in 'A Portrait Of Us', from melody to death metal like noise and intensity and back again.

Not my favourite genre but should do OK. **

Review by Joe Geesin

WE DIE TONIGHT Stem The Tide EP (Seven Records)

4 track EP from this London based band, who are described as progressive hardcore.

The first opens with thunderous bursts of guitar bass and drums, the accompanying vocal chords have been delicately swabbed with Dettol and a wire brush. These segments will soon have your underwear looking like a used coffee filter.

The lighter moments mix bland alternative melodies with occasional Maiden-esque trad metal guitar interplay. Hardcore, both what goes in and what comes out. **

Review by Joe Geesin

SKILLER Follow the Siren EP

Swedish metal that is as much influenced by electronica as extreme metal. The is strong, heavy and solid keyboard work in the opening track that is intricate and swirling, could take the music in a pomp or prog direction, the metal guitars work well with it but when they go extreme (guitars, vocals), I just wanted to skip forward.

The mainstream metal angle works very well - imagine Iron Maiden with more prominent keyboards, the alternative bits do nothing for me so I go make a cup of tea, the really extreme bits (some of the guitars, most of the vocals) just put me right off. All that I love and hate about metal in one track, and there are three of them. **

Review by Joe Geesin

THE HYENAS Filthy Electricity

Three piece band from Essex who come across as the Stroke jamming with Muse, although sadly they are not a patch on Muse. The second song on here, 'You Should Not Operate Machinery' with its repetitive refrain is the stronger of the two songs but neither really have enough to want you to check out more by the band. **½

Review by Jason Ritchie


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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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