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Sunday, June 10, 2007

COLDPLAY are working on their new album although it may now be released in early 2008.

MAGENTA currently plan to release their new album in Jan 2008.

STARZ will release a new live album on 9 July. "Come Out At Night" documents Starz' performance at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio in September 2004.

FAST EDDIE CLARKE's "ANTHOLOGY" will be released on 16 July.

IRON MAIDEN’s Download show has been filmed for a DVD release.

Called 'Secret Green', the band has been formed by Francis Lickerish, guitarist, composer and founder member of The Enid. Joined by ex Enid members Willie Gilmour (keyboards) and Neil Kavanagh (bass and vocals) along with Andy Tillison (The Tangent) on Keyboards, vocalist Hilary Palmer, guitarist Jon Beedle and John Howells (Avril Lavigne, Katy Melua, Uriah Heap) on drums and percussion, the band are currently recording their debut album 'Songs To Wake The King'.

Early demos suggest a big sound very reminiscent of the classic Symphonic-Rock duel-guitar, seven piece Enid era of In The Region Of The Summer Stars to Six Pieces combined with some traditional acoustic English folk influences seen before in Gryphon and early Oldfield albums.

Debut performance will be at the Arundel arts Festival on 27th August 2007 where the band will be playing brand new material from the forthcoming album. The set will also feature one or two early Enid classics performed by these orginal members, in their orginal large format band setting, for the first time in over 25 years!



Fri 31st Aug - King Tut's, Glasgow (+ support, Abel Ganz)
Sat 1st Sept - Classic Rock Society, Rotherham (with support, Blind Ego & Kramer)
Sun 2nd Sept - The Dome, Tufnell Park, London (with support, Blind Ego & Kramer)
These dates will feature a special guest appearance by former Pallas vocalist Euan Lowson. A mixture of Pallas past and present will be performed.

Aug. 25 - The Underworld - London, UK
Aug. 26 - [to be announced] - Deal, UK
Aug. 28 - Negasonic Music Club - Aalst, Belgium
Aug. 29 - Negasonic Music Club - Aalst, Belgium
Sep. 01 - Cafe Cairo - Wurzburg, Germany

ODS (OLIVER DAWSON SAXON - ex-SAXON founding members Steve Dawson (bass) and Graham Oliver (guitar)
Jun. 15 - The Underworld - London
Jul. 07 - The Brickmakers Live Music Venue - Norwich, East
Jul. 20 - The Kingswood - Birmingham
Aug. 25 - Patriot Games - Monmouth Wales
Aug. 31 - The Old Vic - Coalville
The group's lineup also features ex-SAXON drummer Nigel Durham, ex-SARACEN guitarist Haydn Conway, and former SHY vocalist John "Wardi" Ward.

31/08/07 Die Halle, Reichenbach/Fils, Germany
01/09/07 Plato, Helmond, Holland
02/09/07 Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland
03/09/07 Matrix, Bochum, Germany
04/09/07 Colos Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
05/09/07 Der Hirsch, Nürnberg, Germany
06/09/07 Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
07/09/07 N8, Osnabrück, Germany
08/09/07 Retro Music Hall, Prague, Czech Republic
09/09/07 Schiff A38, Budapest, Hungary
11/09/07 Transbordeur, Lyon, France
12/09/07 Roxy, Saarbrücken, Germany
13/09/07 Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
14/09/07 Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
15/09/07 TBA*, London, England
(* London details and supports to be confirmed)


Asteroid - s/t

Asteroid first came to my attention on the split CD they put out with Blowback last year on my beloved Fuzzorama Records. At the time I said they were "an absolute delight, layering their stoner fuzz in psychedelic sheens straight out of the Masters Of Reality handbook". And now, here they are with a whole CD to themselves! And, lo, it is good.

They seem to be slowly metamorphosising from a stoner based band into a heavy fuzz spacerock outfit, and that's the kind of talk that gets me ever so slightly moist. And there are so many incredibly good grooves here, I could be keeping the laundrette going for years. What stops them tipping over into out and out spacerock is the brevity and melody on display, so despite song titles along the lines of 'The Infinite Secrets of Planet Megladoon' and 'Panoramic Telescope', they've remained rooted in the concept of the song. Which is cool.

Of all their contemporaries they're probably closest to Truckfighters as they dish out heavy anthem after heavy anthem with well thought out arrangements, keyboards and oodles of monumental fuzz. Best of the bunch in a bunch full of goodness are probably '''The 13th Witching Hour' with its weird rhythms and 'Doctor Smoke' which is just far out and groovy, man.

If psychedelic fuzz space rock is your bag, and it should be, this is nogh on essential.

4 ****

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Waltari - Release Date

Hmm. Is the only possible reaction to this CD. Finnish outfit Waltari have been on the go for quite literally hunnerds of years without making any kind of breakthrough. And, from this CD, it's easy to see why. Because they seem to have absolutely no idea who they are.

To be fair, their last album, "Blood Sample", did get them some worldwide attention, but this is blighted in much the same way as that one was, which means that you have absolutely no idea what the hell is going to come out of the speakers next. They start off in fairly standard late eighties Ozzy fashion on 'Get Stamped' before turning into dull indie rockers on 'Big Sleep'. Then, for no discernible reason they turn into a generic punk band for a couple of forgettable numbers." But then, they really go mad.

Track 4, 'Cityshamaani' is a 36 minute long piece of music in five movements which covers virtually the entire gamut of guitar based rock music as it veers crazily from prog rock to power metal to thrash guitars, throws down a bit of rap metal and blitzes you with some doof doof techno on its way to blitzing your senses into submission. In places, it's absolutely outstanding, in others a horrendous mess, but it certainly entertains on the drive to the asylum.

The remaining tracks fall into the same categories as the earlier ones, veering between generic rock tosh and some cracking metal riffing before finishing up with the utterly bizarre but oddly compelling 'Spokebone', a collaboration between Waltari and fellow Finns Värttinä, who combine traditional music with modern rock, with sampled beats and female vocals. It's al lin Finnish, so maybe they'll get the joke inbetween the fiddling, but it's a fine way to end one of the stranger albums you'll hear all year.

3 ***

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

ThreeMileIsland - Fractured

I strongly suspect that you wouldn't want to get stuck in a lift with these people. There's a lot of shouting going on and I think they might be quite upset about something. It's all my own fault, the press release did say it was for fans of 36 Crazyfists and Rage Against The Machine, so I should have been better prepared.

And the lead track, 'Cimarron Street', on this 2 track demo is certainly chock full of shouty attitude and pent up vehemence which should stand them in good stead come their mad bloke with a beard and a shopping trolley phase, several years down the line. I've no idea what they're pissed off about but I'm mad about it now as well.

Second track 'The Rising' is less good, substituting some System Of A Down rhythms in place of the first tracks splatter your guts over the street fury. but I'm not going to tell them that in case they find out where I live. Coming to a teenage moshpit near you.

3 ***

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Shatterpoint - Dead Precedence

If I was a proper journalist I'd just look out my review of their 2004 debut "Consequences", rejig some of the words about, put in a bit about either it being a step forward, backward or more of the same, and pretend it was a brand new review. But that would be cheap, lazy, journalism, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

When Shatterpoint came to my attention back in 2004, I lauded them for dealing [insert here] "in straight ahead no nonsense thrash metal". And I'm glad to report that this punningly entitled follow up isn't mucking around with any of that fancy nu-core malarkey, instead this caters for the people who [insert here] "crave the simpler times of Metallica and Megadeth churning out riff after riff."

Hey, this is quite easy. I'd better get to the bit where I talk about how they [insert here] "dish out a fair amount of melody as well, but not in a Black Album sell out fashion, just enough to keep the tune in your head after the riff has gone". Oh, there it was. But seriously folks, this is a cracking CD, and actually does move the band on a bit from their debut EP. The riffs are a bit sharper, the production is ramped up a few notches and on songs like album highlight 'Thorn Inside' they indulge in some fantastically brutal metal.

They've also moved a few steps away from the Testament like vibe of their debut, heading more into their own sound which is one of earthquake inducing thrashology. There's at least half a dozen tracks here that cause you to suffer some serious mischief down the pit with 'No One Else To Blame' and the title track up there with the best of them. Props to Powerplay records as well for putting together a cool looking package, well removed from the usual eighties cartoon style so beloved of thrash labels. Lyrically there are some well pointed diatribes to give you summat to think about in between your bouts of metal thrahing madness.

3.5 *** 1/2

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Shining - V: Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)

Shining let me down. A bit like Glen Benton and his dead at 33 claim, if you're going to form a suicidal black metal band, then you'd better come up with some suicide. But, here we are, 11 years after the inception of what was a solo project by Niklas Kvarforth, and they're still on the go.

As with most Scandinavian black metal outfits, keeping a stable line up isn't really there thing and they've got through hunnerds including the ubiquitious Jan Axel Blomberg, better known to you and I as Hellhammer. Come 2004, Shining announced they were becoming inactive, which raised my hopes once again, but after "IV: The Eerie Cold" there was silence for a year or so. This album was recorded and then Niklas vanished with a band statement reading ""A couple of days ago, we received a letter from a person very close to Kvarforth telling us that Kvaforth had decided to leave this world behind and also introducing as a kind off last will, a new singer to replace him for future events of Shining". Hurrah! And so it was that February 3rd this year saw the first concert to feature new frontman Ghoul. Who turned out to be Niklas Kvarforth in a zombie suit. Boo!

All of which leaves me feeling cheated as I listen to this album. But damn them, if it isn't good. It's still pretty much the same as on "III - Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie" and "IV - The Eerie Cold", offering up depressive black metal with symphonic, soundtrack like interludes and touches, raw, blackened vocals and a crushing air of despondancy. Not forgetting 'Hamlet - the mild cigar from Benson & Hedges' or Bach's "Air on a G-string" to the more refined among you . Which is just how it should be, although methinks that 'true' black metal fiends will find fault with the slight progression into the world of symphonic black metal, and I can almost hear the cries of "sell-out" from here. Which would be a shame because the six tracks give out as much misery, darkness and depression as you could ever wish for.

3.5 *** 1/2

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Abramis Brama - Live

Now that's just cheeky - claiming that your live album "proudly stands alongside such monsters as "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith", "Made In Japan" or "Unleashed In The East". Not just cheeky but silly. Especially when your seventies influenced groove drenched hard rock is actually very good.

They've been peddling their Swedish sung fare around their home country for ten years now, so they can certainly play a bit. This album acts as a live best of (despite already having a best of out), which will come as a treat for anyone who caught them at the Roadburn Festival back in 2006. They shy short of turning into a stoner band having more in common with Grand Funk Railroad and Mountain, but do enjoy ripping out a fat, groovy riff when the mood takes them.

Don't ask me what they're banging on about but 'Säljer Din Själ' is a killer and there seems to be a crowd favourite in the shape of

Kall Som Sten', which everyone knows the chorus too. Despite being recorded at multiple locations, it sounds like a cracking night out. It's all original material bar a nod back to one of their early influences, Swedish stoner legends November, and a run through 'Men Mitt Hjarta Ska Vara Gjort Av Sten', which will rock the hardest heart of stone.

3.5 *** 1/2

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Sonic Syndicate - Only Inhuman

Hmm, not so hot on the heels of their 2004 debut release "Eden Fire", an album which was fairly standard Gothenburg melodic death metal, 2007 sees Sonic Syndicate now signed to Nuclear Blast, after winning some kind of competition (one assumes not for unsigned acts), and a slightly refined sound which has tempered the death metal and introduced more elements of metalcore. Shame it's turned out so average.

Coming on like a mix of Soilwork and In Flames, but without the individuality that makes others stand out, I'm afraid this album just totally passed me by. Blink and I missed it. Trying to be positive, the vocal arrangements are actually pretty good, what with loads of harmonies and there are some nice keyboard touches, but the songs and the riffs are just by the numbers.

They've definitely taken a very commercial bent with this release, with 'Enclave' having Kerrap! hit written all over it, but most of this album is join the dots, identikit, modern metal with no personality.

1.5 *1/2
Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton


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