Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dust – Soulburst (CD)



Not to be confused with the 70s namesakes, who released two albums. These Swedish retro rockers should however appeal to the fans of the aforementioned. Dust’s first effort really struck like me a sledgehammer! Outstanding 70s sounding riff oriented hard rock with a touch of the mighty Badlands. The debut was a self-financed affair, while they have now been picked up by the appropriately named Attitude Records. This is also, I was told by one of the members, why they decided to re-record two songs from the debut. This means that for us “old” fans this release features seven new tracks to suck on. The album kicks off with “Sun Rising” which instantly shows the band hasn’t changed their winning concept from the debut. Next up is “The King Is Coming” which really shows the band’s Badlands influences with the mighty Roger Solander sounding like Ray Gillen’s long lost cousin. Johan Niskanen is a bluesy riff machine with a lot of tasty leads under his belt, often skipping the rhythm guitar during the solos and leaving it up to the tightly knit power rhythm package of bass player Bernt Ek and drummer Örjan “Dr Rock” Englin to fill every crack and crevice. It’s however not all power riffs and heavy rhythms. “Waiting For You” is a cool blues oriented ballads, with a hint of vintage Whitesnake (when Dave still had a voice and they were a blues rock unit). “Free” is based on almost the same, more or less sacred and forbidden but still often used, riff pattern of Hendrix “Freedom”. A tad too close, but still a great song. “Soul Stealer” is another cool riff rocker in line with the rest of the album. The album closes with a cool Univibe drenched guitar floating on top of the groovy rhythm package and Solander soaring above it all with his bluesy melodic top notch vocals. All in all a solid follow-up to a killer debut! If you’re into bands like Badlands, King Karma etc., don’t miss these guys out!
Janne Stark
Year: 2016
Label: Attitude Records

Country: Sweden

Electric Religions – Duality Of The Universe (CD)


Swedish guitar wiz Steven Kautzky Andersson released his first solo album, “Gipsy Power”, in 1994. A second outing, “Missa Magica”, saw the light of day four years later. The albums had a strong hint of the far east and after this he started exploring this type of music even further, which was quite evident in his project Iubar. In 2000 I received a demo with his new band Electric Religions and in 2014 the first official EP saw the light of day. The direction was now completely different. Heavy and riff oriented! Yep, my favorite words. The band’s first full length album “Duality Of The Universe” starts off with a 48 second instrumental intro entitled “For The Love of Jimi Hendrix”. Now we’re talking! “Good Fortune” and “Terracotta” continue in an almost doomy vein. The band is fronted by female singer Neili Bjerring. Her vocals in combination with the riffing actually reminds me quite a lot of the early stuff by 70s hard rockers Resurrection Band, which is a good thing in my book! “Lee Chao Long” is another cool number, sounding quite oriental and with a touch of early Rainbow at times. “1000 Battles” continues the dark and doomy vein with a really brutal chorus and a cool oriental sounding guitar solo. “Horses Tale” is a powerful big ballad, also with a touch of vintage Rainbow. “Yangtze River” is the darkest and heaviest I’ve heard from this band so far, very Candlemass meets Sabbath with Neili’s vocals giving it a touch of Avatarium. Sitar playing doom riffs? Yepp, check out the track “Last Emperor” for this interesting combination. I must say, I’m positively surprised by the sheer brutal heaviness of this album, and the combination between Steven’s fat riffs and killer guitar playing and Neili’s cool and melodic, yet slightly raspy voice. Think Avatarium and add an oriental flare to it. If that sounds appealing – check out Electric Religions! I highly recommend it!
Janne Stark
Label: Comedia
Year: 2016
Country: Sweden


Heavy Star – Electric Overdrive (CD)



If you were brought up on the 80s melodic, sleazy hard rock with bands like Ratt and Cinderella, you should definitely check out Italian band Heavy Star. I’m definitely more of a seventies guy with riffs and a bluesy vibe as my preference, as I’m sure most of you know by now. I however must say Heavy Star do a great job bringing back the vibe of the era of big hair and spandex. Guitarist Marco “K-Ace” is a shredder with the right attitude and sound and singer Albert Fish does have a touch of Steven Pearcy meets Tom Kiefer. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the band is on the notorious glam, sleaze and melodic rock label Perris Records. These guys will fit in perfectly in the labels roster and if you like the other releases of Perris Records, no need to hesitate!
Janne Stark
Label: Perris Records
Year: 2015

Country: Italy