In the interest of trying to swiftly move forward into 2018 so that I can blog about fresh new music (and non-music stuff), I’ve decided to condense and compile a handful of my remaining album reviews from 2017 down to a few blurbs. Part II coming shortly!
There are two full reviews I’d like to knock out after this, and then I’ll follow up with my annual year-end awards later.
Accept – The Rise of Chaos
Nuclear Blast Records
Despite enjoying Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad being a decent follow-up, I ended up skipping Blind Rage as I felt the band was taking a heavier, harsher direction that wasn’t enjoyable to my ears. However, the band’s fourth effort with former T.T. Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo is a winner. The album is heavy, but it seems like there more of an emphasis on melody and the band has opted for a more straight-forward and traditional heavy metal style that draws influences from the likes of Motorhead or AC/DC and the songs are catchy this time around! In other words, The Rise of Chaos sounds more like classic Accept.
And, whether intentional or not, Tornillo is sounding more and more like former Accept vocalist Udo Dirkschneider.
Random side-note: “Hole in the Head” sounds like a ’90s Megadeth song.
Highlights: “No Regrets”, “Hole in the Head”, “Analog Man”, “Worlds Colliding”, “Race to Extinction”
Bloodbound – War of Dragons
In 2015, I was new to the band and blown away by Stormborn, when it was released that same year. I anxiously awaited the next release. Unfortunately, War of Dragons is not a standout album by any measure. It’s a generic slab of European power metal, keyboards and all. Sure, Stormborn was European power metal as well, but it was heavy and truly powerful. Most of what fits the modern label of “power metal” these days lacks balls and bite and the same can be said of this release. Even when I thought the band was going to deliver the heavy metal goods on “King of Swords”, they cut to the typical soaring Euro power metal chorus and galloping drums that completely ruin the song.
Don’t be fooled by the amazingly heavy metal album cover– Bloodbound has retreated into wimpy power metal mediocrity with War of Dragons. What a shame.
The Darkness – Pinewood Smile
Canary Drawf Records
I’m fairly confident this band is never going to be able to match Permission to Land or One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back, they simply lost too much time and momentum, but The Darkness is still a fun, quirky band and they still write great vintage hard rock riffs inspired by the likes of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy with an interesting mix of pop.
Ugly cover art aside, Pinewood Smile is a satisfying release that I would at least put on par with their previous effort, Last of Our Kind. Of course, the lyric and situations being described by the lyrics are still usually quite silly and they don’t always make sense to my American ears, but the music is so good that it doesn’t matter.
Highlights: “Buccaneers of Hispaniola”, “Southern Trains”, “Lay Down with Me, Barbara”, “I Wish I Was in Heaven”, “Stampede of Love”, “Seagulls (Losing My Virginity)”
Deep Purple – Infinite
I’m very casual Deep Purple fan. They have some classic tracks and albums, but I’ve never been particularly devoted to them, nor do I own the majority of their catalog. I suppose if I grew up during the heyday I’d have a greater appreciation for that band and their modern releases. That said, I do enjoy the “Deep Purple sound”. When you hear Deep Purple, you KNOW it’s Deep Purple, and that’s exactly what Infinite is– Deep Purple.
Inifinite is perhaps a bit laid back and a little mellow with a spaced-out track such as “The Surprising”, but that’s pretty much to expected from a bunch of guys in their late 60s and early 70s. I know not to expect In Rock or Machine Head from these guys. Even so, the band still can crank out a solid heavy rocker or two, and Ian Gillan sounds good even though he is now 72 years old! Yeah, you’re not going to get a “Child In Time”-style screeching performance out of him anymore, but his voice is still fantastic.
This is a fine album, but I can’t say it’ll stick around in my brain or playlist for much longer.
Highlights: “Time for Bedlam”, “All I Got Is You”, “The Surprising”, “Birds of Prey”