2017 Tidy Up Part One

So last year, around October I picked out a few albums for review. Only the Black Paisley review made it online. To close out 2017 properly, here is a series of mini-review of the other albums.

Carubine – Futuredream


I listened to a couple of tracks from this album and decided that it reminded me a bit of Extreme’s Waiting for the Punchline. That was an album which wasn’t too popular with Extreme fans, but which grew on me. The band, who hail from Stockholm Sweden, describe their sound as a mixture of Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters. Reading that list of bands, it is clear to me now that the focus of the music is the grunge/alternative movements from the 90s, with perhaps some older progressive music from the 70s making the odd appearance. Hence, no surprise that rather than growing on me like Waiting for the Punchline, this one proved too grungy for my tastes.

Code Red – Incendiary

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This album is a culmination Daniel Flores (The Murder Of My Sweet) persuading lead singer Ulrick Loonqvist, who started in Sahara in 2001, to put together a project showcasing his songs. The band features co-writers Morgan Jensen (Swedish Erotica) and Michael Palace (Palace, Big Time), along with lead guitarist Oscar Bromvall (Palace, Erika) and keyboard player Kaspar Dahlqvist (Shadowquest, Dionysus) to complete the line-up.

The album has a 80’s AOR feel, with bands with Foreigner, Journey, Night Ranger etc coming to mind.  The first time I listened I was really taken as I love this style of music. However, during repeated listens the album hasn’t quite ingrained itself into my brain quite as much as expected. Possibly because the songs are a little one paced and, whilst they are all decent, they fade into one, making it difficult to think back and pick out standout tracks. Having said that, I’m always pleased when it makes its way to back to the front of my playlist on the journey to or from work.

Dante Fox – Six String Revolver

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I have to admit that Dante Fox had faded from my memory, despite discovering them on Facebook and following them in the not that distant past. Eden’s Curse re-recorded one of the earlier albums with their new singer and I can’t remember if I made a comment on the blog about about it or not, but I do remember wondering what the point of the exercise was. Here Dante Fox re-examine songs from two of their early albums – “Under Suspicion” and “The Fire Within”. And this time I’m going to say I approve of the reworking. As I already own “Under Suspicion”, but haven’t listened to it for many years, I’ve got say that it is great hearing the songs again. They were good when that album was first released and they stand the test of time well and the new recordings sound good, albeit I haven’t gone a back to back comparison with the originals to determine if the new versions were really worth it.

Suffice to say that I’m enjoying listening this album and it is good to know that the band are still going strong. A pleasant reminder of a time when female fronted rock wasn’t a multitude of bands playing formularised symphonic rock with operatic vocals layered on top.

Empire – Chasing Shadows

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This is a reissue of material by a band formed by Rolf Munkes in the early 2000s. In fact, this is the last album that the band released and saw Tony Martin being replaced by ex-Rainbow singer Doogie White.

Whilst I’m sure that I have a couple of albums featuring Doogie on vocals, it was only when listening to this that I realised that he sounds remarkably like a certain Ronnie James Dio. The album sounds like RJD era Rainbow and in part Black Sabbath. The overall impression I have of the album is similar to that of  another RJD influenced singer – Jorn. Yes, I like the overall sound, yes, there are few tracks that are worthy of note, but after listening to this, I’m more likely to put on Rainbow, Black Sabbath or Dio, rather than give this another spin. Decent album, but its a tough gig trying to follow in the footsteps of a master.

Enzo And The Glory Ensemble – In the Name of the Son


I always like to give music inspired by the man above a fair shot and I really wanted to be able to give this a positive review. However, these guys have taken the rock opera theme too literally, yielding an album which is a difficult listen to. The combination of opera, discordant middle eastern music and metal guitar just doesn’t work for me and I end up skipping virtually all the tracks on the album.

Freaky Jelly – Reverse

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Freaky Jelly sounds like the name of a song from a Liquid Tension Experiment album. Not sure if it is but I do know that it sounds as if these guys are heavily influenced by Dream Theater. In the Progressive Metal genre DT are hard to escape.  I found this to be a decent album, but like many progressive metal albums, just a little to derivative to stand out. Hopefully next time out they can work on creating a more unique sound.

Into The Unknown – Out of the Shadows

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Opening with a cover of Don’t Pay The Ferryman is an unusual move for a debut album, where I would have thought the idea would have been to establish your own identity. Elsewhere there is a cover of the Miley Cyrus hit Wrecking Ball. On the original tracks this female fronted band sound failed to grab my attention, which could have been as much to do with the somewhat tinny production as anything else.

Jessica Wolfe – Grounded

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During my first listen to this I began to wonder how this had ended up in my review inbox. Given that I have a couple of Roxette albums tucked away in my record collection, perhaps it is not surprising. Jessica plays rock driven pop in much the same vein as Roxette and those catchy choruses will grab your attention during those initial listens. Further listens may have you wanting a little more variety and depth, but this one will play all the way through to end without me hitting the skip button.

Licence – Licence 2 Rock

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This band rock out like we are back in the eighties with NWOBHM meets glam, playing mostly high energy material. Listening to this will have you feeling nostalgic, but the danger for this lot is that maybe next time you want to listen to this type of music you’ll dig out your old Praying Mantis and Tygers of Pan Tang albums instead.

Midnight City – Midnight City

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Right from this off this album, featuring a band centred around current Tygertailz frontman Rob Wylde, made me sit up and listen. Add into mix that the songs were mastered by Harry Hess of Harem Scarem and produced by Mike Newdeck of Eden’s Curse and we have the potential for a good album. And that potential is realized on this throwback album which celebrates feel good eighties hair metal and party rock. Yip, fans of Danger Danger’s debut need to catch a listen to this.

OK, I’ve still got a few more albums to work my way through, and it is already March, so I’m going to post this as part one.

Empire Re-issues

Pride & Joy records are to re-issue the albums from Empire who were the brain child of German guitarist Rolf Munkes. The band released 4 albums between 2001 and 2007. Their 2nd album, Trading Souls, is re-issued on 26 May 2017.