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Singles Bar: December 2006

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

Christmas 2006- festive music

IRON MAIDEN Different World (EMI)
Release date: 26 December

What a year for Maiden, for too long major influences on the new generation of metallers rather than bashing out a song of their own. Or to be more precise, a magnum opus. 'A Matter Of Life And Death' is one of GRTR!'s albums of the year.

'Different World' is the natural second single and is an admirable flagwaver for both the UK leg of their world tour and the album itself. There's a DVD version (no CGI expense spared) and there's also a 7" vinyl picture disc.

This single sampler shows the band playing with an energy belying the passage of two decades since they cut their most memorable work. And the single, like the album, showcases the triple guitar assault as much as Bruce Dickinson's distinctive vocals. ****½

Review by David Randall

HEADRUSH Livin' In A Fantasy Rock Revival Records (2007)

Now this band come from my hometown of Stoke, birthplace of Slash, Lemmy and the might Demon (and that Port Vale supporting wimp Robbie Williams!), so I could be excused for bias but this band ROCK! Yes, it has been done before but rarely this well and believe you me we have a UK Buckcherry here!

This band are like Motley Crue should sound today, big guitar riffs, a vocalist with a real raw power in Andy Law and of course tunes that refuse to leave your head after one play.

This single isn't out until January but visit their website and get the EP. They blow the newer bands like Rattlesnake Remedy and Roadstar out of the water...Play loud and enjoy! ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie

NERINA PALLOT Learning To Breathe (14th Floor)
Release date: January 8 2007

It's been one hell of a year for Nerina - Fires breaking to Gold status in the UK and faring particularly well in the GRTR! Best of 2006 nominations. In advance of a UK tour in the New Year Nerina releases the beautiful Learning To Breathe as a follow up to her two previous hits Everybody's Gone To War and Sophia.

It's a radio friendly pop-rock number par excellence and can only enhance Nerina's growing reputation.

Released on 8 January it will be backed by a piano-led version of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart and a brand new track Vena Cava. Unfortunately neither were available at the time of reviewing, but they must make the single - available on 7" vinyl and CD - a must for fans. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

Release date: January 8 2007

It's a shame that the band's recent UK dates drew mixed reactions from fans, with some disappointed about the brevity of their set.

It's true that there's no room for complacency in the Evanescence ranks, and since their much-lauded debut in 2004 there have been many girl-fronted metal acts snapping at their heels.

This single is one of the standouts from the best-selling album 'Open Door' and another fine showcase for Amy Lee against orchestra and power chord. The extra track 'The Last Song I'm Waiting On You' is an attractive ballad and this also appears on a second CD version together with excellent 'unplugged' versions of 'All I'm Living For' and 'Lithium'.

The band return to the UK for a full tour in 2007. In the meantime this is a rewarding listen and if you've not heard the band's music before (where have you been hiding?) the four-track version is the one to go for. ****

Review by David Randall

BIFFY CLYRO semi-mental

Due for download release on Christmas Day, exclusively on, Scottish cult rockers Biffy Clyro make a play for the major league with their latest single 'semi-mental'. It's their first new recording for two years and is backed by two tracks from their forthcoming album Puzzle due in spring.

Recorded in Vancouver with producer Garth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and mixed by Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, System of a Down, Rush), the single has a more commercial edge and production than previous offerings. But it retains all the crunching Biffy trademarks, wrapped in a radio friendly sheen aimed fairly and squarely at arenas and a market in the land of red, white and blue.

Fans will not be disappointed, but it should also help to broaden Biffy Clyro's appeal. A Def Leppard for a new generation perhaps? ****

SLAYER Eyes Of The Insane

And I thought a Satyricon single was a strange and bizarre thing in a world where Lil Chris manages some chart action. But no, here's a Slayer single to put it into perspective.

The guitars go 'rhrhrhrhrhrhrhrhrh', the bass goes 'gpumgpumgpumg' and the vocals go 'woarghwoarghwoargh'. The big difference is, as any Slayer fan will tell you, that the drums are back to going 'bkbkbkbkbkb', just like they should. I'm going to rock the boat slightly by pointing out that it isn't as good as folks have been claiming it is, in the wake of the little drummer boys return. However, it is Slayer, and as such needs to be cherished, in a slightly unseemly manner.

Kerry would doubtless kick my head in for pointing out how loveable they are, but he has a girls name, so how hard can he be really? Overcompensating, is what I say, what with the spikes and the snakes. ****

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

GOODBOOKS Leni (Columbia Records)

Formed in 2005, Goodbooks cite the likes of Kraftwerk, XTC, Pulp and Hot Chip as influences and featured in NME's list of the top 10 bands to watch out for in 2006.

Leni is polished indie offering with strong melodies, an electronic heartbeat and some decent hooks and vocals. It's strong melodic pop and one that could well make it. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

THUNDER The Devil Made Me Do It

Off the back of a blindingly successful UK tour, the Thunder boys have plucked another single from their 'Robert Johnson's Tombstone' album for your rock n' roll delectation.

And it is a cracking tune, telling a tale of, um, teenage fumbling with a ludicrously addictive bridge, which will have you humming in between bouts of air guitaring.

It's one of those multi-format hoohahs with a batch of exclusive tracks across the 2CDs and 7" single. If you have to pick one, go for the 3 track CD version which finds room for a riproaring 'I'm In Heaven' along with one of those patented broody Thunder moments, 'Don't Worry About Forever'.

A national treasure, save our Thunder for Blighty and buy this now. ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

FRANK TURNER Vital Signs (

Former singer with Million Dead releases this single on Christmas Day! You can request the download via

In this multimedia age you don't need shop anymore to get your tunes and this acoustic song could do well in the post-Christmas lull that the music industry goes through.

The addition of strings halfway through the song lifts it up and you have a damn fine tune.

The demo on here 'Heartless Bastard Mother F**ker' is not one however to play at your family Christmas dinner! ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

VIA VOCE Faster Than A Dead Horse

Husband and wife team who take that 60's psychedelic sound and add in some neat drums and harmonies. Add to this some screeching feedback guitar - it is like the Beachboys meets MC5 at times!

This band are good and a cut above many bands out there wanting to be heard. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

SATYRICON The Pentagram Burns

The notion of a Satyricon single in this country is a highly amusing indeed. You can just picture the Tesco shoppers popping one in their baskets alongside the Take That comeback single. "Yes, Madeleine, Norwegian black metal is what everyone is playing at their dinner parties these days. Amelia and Trevor swear by them. They played nothing else at their last bruncheque."

I made up bruncheque but mark my words! Anyway, the album "Now Diabolical" is utterly splendid as are Satyricon, and this single is a gloom ridden yet catchy number, which will please their legion of follower (Hi Stef). The main guitar hook is persistent, insistent and easily causes a rapid movement of the head, an essential part of the rawk. All together now, "Rise my friend, march to war, time is up, shadows dance", etc. Marvellous. ****

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

THE HEDRONS Heatseeker (Measured Records)

Their main claim to fame so far is that they performed the first UKI band to play a virtual gig via MySpace. Not sure how many watched it but with all the hype over MySpace and You Tube it would be a sizeable audience I am sure.

This new single is a decent enough guitar led tune although nothing special but sure to get their brief spotlight on the likes of XFM and in NME. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE RIPPS Vandals (

Spiky pop rock with a punk edge is how you'd classify this band. Doubtless if you have not heard many songs like these two you'd be impressed but bands like the Buzzcocks did it so much better! Not bad but nothing here to make you want to check them out more. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

SIA Pictures

Sia Furler is the voice behind Zero 7 and in advance of a 9 song mini LP, Pictures is released as a 'taster' single.

2006 has been a really successful year for Sia - touring with Zero 7, completing her own US sell-out tour, and Breathe Me featuring in the finale scene of the Six Feet Under series.

An Australian artist, Sia falls somewhere between Dido and Sarah McLachlan, on and the strength of this single - available as a digital download - firmly in the Jewel camp of quality female pop singer songwriters. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

CAPDOWN Keeping Up Appearances (Fierce Panda)

Capdown's new single is a mix of their traditional ska sound mixed with hard rock riffs and it doesn't sound to bad either! Very fast and catchy tune that should win the band new fans especially from the rock end of music.

The other song on here 'Serious Is Not A Sin' is not quite so good but still worthy of a listen. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

FEAR OF MUSIC We Are Not The Enemy EP (Faster Music)

A three track EP of the decent end of guitar pop - with a more of a punk and glam blast. Green Day watch out!

Ballsy, art rock, and passionate too.

Second track 'A Blueprint' adds a piano and a power ballad edge to the punk rock.

Antithesis of the X Factor shite, should do well. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

JET Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I wanted to like this more than I'd liked any record, ever. Just for the line in the PR bumph that says 'feral rock 'n' roll at it's very best, coming on like a hard rock Banana Splits after being acid spiked by Angus Young whilst cruising at 38 thousand feet, freak flag loosely tied to the back'.

Of course, the problem with a line like that is, nothing is ever going to live up to it. In life, on record, hyperbole like that is only going to result in crushing disappointment. Because it's actually a good record. In a not as good as the last album kind of way, because no-one seems capable of following up good albums these days. Although, were I the kind of chap prone to shimmying on to the floor at my local dance hall palace rock night, this is the kind of thing that would get me there.

Rifftastic enough for the chaps, melodic enough for the attractive young ladies who would, no doubt, be won over by my rough hewn charm and be flinging themselves at me with careless abandon. Or pointing and laughing. Whatever. ***½

Review by Stuart Hamilton

DURBAN POISON Pushing You Away (V8 Records)

Available at gigs and download, this debut single is a very strong and polished affair, the opening riff nodding at Iron Maiden before a tad more modern metal sound comes in, nodding seriously at The Cult, the chorus has that catchy punk metal angle. ***½

For a debut release, this is seriously worth checking out.

Review by Joe Geesin


The only thing biting the dust has been the reputation of Queen as Brian May and Roger Taylor seem content to let any old tat use their name.

This was originally a club bootleg by Cedric Gervais, who must be a really kerrazy guy to have such a kerrazy name. Perhaps he's the Gervais who got the sense of humour? And maybe Ricky has some musical talent he keeps very well hidden? Mebbe naw, we've all seen his eighties incarnation often enough to know he can't sing.

Bearing in mind that this song was the danciest tune ever to emanate from Queen (for we shall keep the memory of "Hot Space" buried where it belongs), it hasn't actually been changed that much. The radio edit just seems to have had some bleeps added in randomly. On the plus side, that means it still sounds like Queen. On the down side, it means it's money for old rope. But be grateful, for if you stray into the Vocal mix you will realise what a bad remix can do to your morale.

Many years from now, however, this will be looked upon fondly when people recall the 5ive / Queen collaboration on "We Will Rock You". Corpse. Turning. Grave. Use in a sentence. ***

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

UNDEROATH In Regards To Myself (Virgin)

The opening track to their successful Define The Great Line album, this single is a powerful almost extreme track, with forced vocals and noisy guitar in an indie-metal way. Deep bass, and a siren like lead guitar.

It's OK, but a little disjointed, bit messy, haphazard. I guess that's what some like in their metal these days. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

GRAND VOLUME History/Fire Come Soon (

Noise bombast meets guitar pop, with an uncanny catchy edge. Panel beating drums match the music well, a tad of a punky edge at the trendy end.

The music isn't too deep, it's hard to say lots about it, but it'll suit radio airplay very well. Mid range vocals, not taxing, but stretching the pop well.

The second track features much heavier, crunchy metal guitar riffs. **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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