23rd March 2017
A sizable queue snaked up Camden high street prior to this anticipated evening of rock and roll and the visit to these fair shores from Canadian rising stars, Monster Truck, here to promote their great “DiR.net Album Of The Year 2017 Sittin’ Heavy.
First up at the racetrack this evening was a The Picturebooks, a German Duo of Guitars and Drums. What they lacked in numbers they certainly made up for in decibels and drumsticks as their drummer beat his low rise kit to within to a bloody pulp. If those skins could talk they’d be in the police station reporting assault charges. The resonance was deep and thunderous which gave everything a foot stomping vibe that was brightened by the gruff vocals. Guitars were as bluesy as you’d expect and they has a few decent rabble of songs that shined out from the set. In contract to their precise deliberateness our main event was ready to ramp up the engines…
The throttle went well and truly through the floor as Monster Truck launched somewhat ironically straight into “Why Are You Not Rockin?” which set the tone for the rest of the evening. A night of ‘Monster’ riffs and ‘Truck’ loads of high octane rock and roll ensued (puns intended!). There was little in the way of diversions with a focus firmly upon their set, not even the bare chested guitar slinger could divert much attention. Whilst its clear they can riff with the best in the business, of me its the overlay of vocal harmonies and powerful wooo-ooaaaahhhs…which provide the melodic hooks scaled to land moby dick.
With such a straight-up hard rock band, they could easily have repeated the same winning riff, chorus, riff formula. But yet they balanced out the set with mid-tempo ‘pop’ numbers (“For The People”) between their all out attack gung-ho guitar frenzies (“The Enforcer”) and even threw in a few more swaggering slow-burning blues numbers (“Seven Seas Blues“). Not to mention the James Brown “I Feel Good” cover which should get its own release! A gigantic show from a rising band who are heading for the top of rock mountain.
15th March 2017
It’s clear after many years of being in and around the London rock’n’roll circuit that times have changed. Gone are the days of a cheeky pre-gig grab and run from McD’s, a few cheap ones at the local bar before heading to the venue sharpish to start swilling on more cheap lager. Nowadays we now like a nice comfy pub with good beer and a quality kitchen to satisfy our rumbling tummy’s.
Nevertheless, we did managed to get in for the only support band of the night, Miraculous Mule. What was miraculous that I remember them at all, which being honest is hazy at best. They were a rootsy 3 piece blues band that struggled with captivating the crowd and stuck to same tempo. Honestly…a forgettable Ass.
In stark comparison, on bounded the talismanic presence of Danko Jones, band in tow to a rapturous rousing applause. He wasted no time in kicking into his trademark punchy punk infused hard rock. Stopping regularly his stage banter is second to none, away from the crafted and scripted lead-ins he lives, breathes and sweats rock and roll so its no wonder he speaks with such passion to his fans.
Rather than revert to stereotype and dwell on the recent album Wild Cat, this evening’s set list was truly career spanning. From early raw punk of Sugar Chocolate and Cadillac, to their (in inverted quotes) “Pop” song First Date, the sweltering dirty groove of Legs and the menacing thunder roar of There’s Gonna Be A Fight Tonight. When the new material did surface it was warmly received, with plenty of crowd singing despite the relatively short time between its release and today. They were soaked in pop, macho rock posturing, general merriment and uplifting melodies.
What is 100% guaranteed at a Danko show is that we’d finish the night with the epic Live only track that is ‘Bring On The Mountain’, tonight was no exception. This unreleased song (and probably never will be put to a studio record) captures the essence of the man and the band, one that’s so steeped in rock tradition, grit and determination that can only be put into perspective from the summit of rock and roll. As he finished his heartfelt monologue he calls all the names of those with him at the top (a british feel to the list tonight including Lemmy & Strummer). Inevitably the cheers go up, and finally as we build to the finale, the taught guitars are finally unleashed in an avalanche of furious power chords…Fade to Close!
Job Done! Next City! The Next Crowd Awaits! Danko Jones Has Left The Building!
“This heart gets stronger, this skin gets thicker, this mouth gets louder”
January 19th 2017
Fast forward into 2017 and I (after many missed opportunities) thought that “The End” of Black Sabbath was a worthy tour to catch before they crumbled into the heavy rock and metal history books of which they authored many years ago.
Now a huge venue and a huge band needs a suitably big support act and rising hard rock and blues busters Rival Sons took this coveted slot. Having first seen them back in 2012 supporting Black Stone Cherry, apart from the elapse of 5 years, not a lot has changed. Sure they have polished up their professionalism and got better kit, but my opinion is still the same. Underwhelming. They have a lot of precious materials to work with showcasing a knack for retro styles blues riffs, swagger by the jagger-full and a vocalist whose range nearly blew the roof off this dome. Yet it all seems lazily patched together with the same mid tempo ploddy beats, riff, chorus, beats, riff chorus repeat… It’s just not inspiring seeing such a talent going through to motions and certainly the overkill on the retro effects do nothing to mask their tepid blues by numbers formula.
The tolls of the bells rang loud over the PA at tonight’s chosen church of heavy metal in anticipation at the eerily empty stage. The crunch of Tony Iommi’s darkly menacing Gibson SG finally signaled the entry of the forefathers of metal and all round darkness. Speaking of which, the “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne himself swiftly…no gently…no shuffled slowly, onto stage centre to utter the immortal words “What is this that stands before me?”. 20,000 Heavy Metal fans was the correct answer and they immediately showed their captors for the night they can sing as loud as any crowd they’ve witnessed over their last 40+ years of touring.
Ozzy Osbourne & Tony Iommi
After such longevity, its clear they had their live stage craft honed to absolute perfection as they slothly pummeled their way through an outstanding set of career spanning metal monsters. They may not move as fast, but they still gracefully levitated between songs and evaded intense fire cannons proving their theatrics were not of this world. The show was a set piece masterclass in suspense, perfect timing, humongous riffs and often surprisingly up-tempo dynamic shifts, often many times within a single song (Exhibit A: War Pigs).
The highlights for me was witnessing the grandfather of metal Iommi chugging our deeply tuned riffs which sounded as earth shattering today as i’m sure they did way back when. He has lost nothing, deftly skulking around the fretboard for those huge chords before dexterously dancing through epic solos with ease. The setlist was drawn primarily from their early heyday and those first 4 albums which defined the landscape for all who followed in their wake. The riff-fests of Children Of The Grave, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots and Into The Void were all stunning and gloomily anthemic.
As could be expected, Paranoid played us out to allow everyone to say farewell to the Black Sabbath (Osbourne, Iommi & Butler) in fitting style… on stage doing what they have always done, rocking, shocking and rolling!
19th August 2016
Tonight marks the end of the line for one of the most universally loved DiR.net bands. We’ve been to see them 5 times before, from small gigs in underground venues, festival appearances, now defunct legendary theatres. The most memorable of which wherein they played their first 4 albums in 2 nights in a row in Shoreditch. Motion City Soundtrack on their “So Long, Farewell…” tour were about to strike their final chords, but before they did do they had a few support acts…
The Excerts kicked us off with a mixed bag of alt rock tunes which was largely uninspiring and totally unmemorable.
Dinosaur Pile-Up upped the ante somewhat as they played a riotus set full of rock anthems with a grungy slant and a pop heart. Tracks from latest album 11:11 were harder, heavier and packed full of effects to ramp up their muscle. Energetic riffing and singalong melodies are their strong point, both of which were all here in abundance. A set of high energy fist pumping pop rock that really got the crowd revved up.
Motion City Soundtrack entered to mixed emotions from the crowd. Both equally glad to be here, but sad their leaving. Still none of that seemed to matter as MCS got straight down to business and ran us ragged through a huge all killer, no filler greatest hit set. They selected their best work showcasing their unrivaled craft for infectious pop-punk that’s as intelligent as it is infectious, energising as it is sobering. Their blend of poetic witticisms and tremendous songwriting was cranked up full volume and the partizan crowd truly gave it one last hurrah. Most of the sold out venue, young and old knew every word to every song, such is a tribute to their brilliance and longevity over nearly 20 years.
Motion City Soundtrack
It was clear this was a business night, not much in the way of band banter, MCS were here to play like it was their last night on stage. However as the set closer and pop anthem “The Future Freaks Me Out” rang to a close, the goodbyes from Pierre and the gang were full of heartfelt honesty and sadness that the time of MCS had run its course. Of course you never can rule out a re-union these days and you can rest assured that DiR.net will be there waiting for them when/if they do reignite the flame.
I’m not one for videoing, so enjoy someone else’s footage from the front…
Saturday 30th May 2015
It’s always exciting to get the festival experience to the sheltered urban playground as opposed to elements exposed mud filled gatherings. With superior sound, proper beer, great venues and that wildly eclectic vibe, Camden is the perfect host for a day of upcoming and established Rock. We started out in true festival fashion in the Brewdog Pub catching a couple of acoustic song smiths Andy Smith and Danny Wright down in the basement. This only served to amplify the need for amplification and just down the road @ which can only be described as featureless cellar we caught EofE. These pop/rock have a real metallic edge live and engaging youthful angst was nicely served up over rampant riffs.
Heading to different class of venue we upgraded from the basement to the balcony at the Jazz Cafe to catch a trio of promising young bands. Before that however we managed to arrive for the last track of the Broken Witt Rebels, whose sound is akin to early days Kings of Leon strutting with a bluesy swagger. Gravel voiced and wailing guitars aplenty this was a rather cool, albeit brief cameo appearance.
Broken Witt Rebels
The no frills 2 minute fun punk rock of Brawlers were up next. Their brand of carefree power chord pummeling and socially slanted lyrics were both immediate and damn infectious. They seems to be having a blast and their bouncing around spurred on those in the crowd who (just after lunch )were already in advanced states of intoxication.
Next Up were the Graveltones, a heavy blues rock duo that deal in dirty licks and loudness. Most memorable was their thunderclap drumming, splitting eardrums with each hammer blow on the skins. When they ramped up the energy they were free flowing with riffs and grooves galore. When they slowed the pace they did labour somewhat into repetition. Plenty of promise nonetheless.
Now to the one I have been waiting for, underground rock/grunge/pop/punk hero Matt Bigland and his band Dinosaur Pile-Up. With 3 albums of high octance pop, unhinged rock and nirvana-esque vibes I was eagerly anticipating seeing these guys again. I was sadly disappointed though. They clearly suffered from dodgy sound throughout their first 2-3 tracks and Matt was getting more and more agitated with every off colour note. Eventually half way through we left, it was difficult to watch a great band self destruct and we were getting hungry too!
Fed and watered from a variety of camden market vendors the DiR crew strode with purpose to Mr Flowers pick of the day, alt rock legends …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Their brand of energizes prog pulsed rock was in full flow this evening. Huge dynamic shifts, oppressive volumes, walls and layers of guitars all present and correct. Not to everyone’s taste though as the words boring and dull were also uttered.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
Recovering from temporary hearing loss, we ventured through the streets and ended up picking a random band out in a smaller bar, this just so happened to be Ducking Punches. We were greeting by a small acoustic gaggle of guitar, drums and the occasional violin fronted by a chap that was telling tales of life in small town Suffolk. It was immediately engaging and relatable through the story telling and singalong chorus’s. The standout moment of the day came from a melancholic muse over a lost friend, beautiful and heart-string tugging.
Most of the gang had now split and only the hardy few were left to check-out the clubthumping dance/dubstep-metal of Modestep. Their huge 8 string guitars were suitably downtuned ready to chug out rapturous melodies that blew off the roof. More Djent than expected they relied more on dub and electro which fitted the time and the club vibe, but didn’t strike any true differentiation from a DJ with a loud guitar.
All in all, one thing that can be agreed was Camden well and truly rocked!
17th November 2014
As ever the Roundhouse venue, beautiful in its surroundings delivered its usual sonic assassination of great rock music. I’m of the firm belief there is about a 2m square within the venue for which the sound is truly epic (stage centre 10m back if you’re interested). The rest just hear warped muffled reverberations from the circular brickiness of the…lets not gloss it up…”train shed”. This doubled with the abundance of pillars makes appropriate positioning essential, thankfully we made it to the sonic sweet spot only to be greeted with angry and agitated hard hardcore punkers Hatebreed who have disregarded sonic approachability.
It was fast, it was brutal, it was noisy, it was shouty, it was not everyone’s cup of tea. Endless razor-like power-chord chugging and indecypherable angst made for a tedious repetitive set that barely registered any dynamic shifts or semblance of a melody. Was an odd choice of support, one which backfired.
A warm welcome was received by Volbeat, the reining Danish kings of Scandinavian heavy rock. Their fine blend of diamond tipped rock, mammoth metal licks, exquisite vocal harmonies and epic pop choruses quickly soared into full flight. It was a wholly professional outing typified by the smoothness of the Hetfield meets Elvis vocals, the warmth of the guitar tones, the thunderous road of their amplifiers and the full voices of the onlooking crowd. It did seem like playing huge arena and stadiums are what they are used to and this smaller gathering felt a tad uneasy. Nevertheless all the hits were present and correct, good variety of old and new tunes, some sung in native danish (#puzzled) plus a few cool covers to boot. Huge and outstanding!
Long Live DoesItRock!
It’s been rather a long wait but the RockOSaurus is back from exile to grace the DoesItRock pages once more, having escaped the clutches of work and more work. Whether I’ve been missed or not is highly dubious, but what has been missing over the last 1000+ days (exactly) are gig reviews!
Gig Reviews are and always were the heart and soul of DoesItRock, documenting the highs and lows of a bunch of (often) merry men going out to live music shows in basement bars, pubs, clubs, theatres and the occasional mega arena to be entertained (mostly), deafened (occasionally), bored (rarely), serenaded (not so much) and most of all…ROCKED!
As the original DiR.net trio reunited at recent live outing in Hipster Central (East London), the flames of the recent past flickered brightly enough to stir the wildly aspiring rock blogger in me back to life. As such, I’ve vowed to take up the hefty slack to pull us kicking and screaming back up to date through the past 3 years of absent (but not entirely forgotten) reviews.
As of now, that’s 8 shows and 27 bands, let the posting frenzy commence… Lets see how good the memory of this aging dinosaur really is!
Lets crash straight into the Top 10 on the road to find those who made it into the top ten albums of 2017 …
10) Andy James – Exodus
Genre: Instrumental Guitar | Label: Urban Yeti Records
Quick Fire Summary: Melody. Often overlooked by the wizards of guitar genius in favour of showboating technique and shred velocity. Andy James has put it front and centre of every track on Exodus, meaning each has a beautiful flow letting his 6 strings ‘sing’ astounding lead lines among a cacophony of metal madness. From all out diamond tipped rockers to soppy ballads this album is by far the best from a Guitar Virtuoso in seemingly forever!
Top Track: Made Of Stone – Simply stunning lead guitar work clearly weaves its own assertive voice throughout this melodic masterpiece of composition. The technical fretwork in itself is dazzling, but add in the rumbling double bass and atmospheric driving metal backing rhythms it shines like all outstanding instrumentals do.
Watch: Gone (The Ballad)
9) Alpha Male Tea Party – Health
Genre: Math Rock | Label: Big Scary Monsters
Quick Fire Summary: In their own words, this “F**king Loud Instrumental Band” hold back nothing on this, their third album of exquisite Math Rock. An intricately crafted set of tunes crammed full of madcap phrasing, bright melodies and optimistic guitars. Yet their progressive and technical guitar chops do not overshadow their desire to cut loose and rock out!
Top Track: Ballerina – From song one, chord one, AMTP showcase all their strengths; big riffs, crashing cymbals, jarring tempo shifts, delicate lead lines and atmospheric interludes. A true taste of whats to come.
Watch: Some Soldiers
8) War Cloud – War Cloud
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Ripple Music
Quick Fire Summary: 70’s Hard rock has blunderbuss’d back into the rock spheres this year and this debut is one of the finest examples of non nonsense, “we are going to blow your ears off” rock and roll. Its an unrelenting riff fest of 8 adrenaline fueled tracks that range from all out attack metal to lolloping bluesy stonerisms, all via their high, ‘Flying V’ powered melodic guitar slinging. Yet its their impressive abundance of melodic solo’s which set them apart. Nothing over the top, just overdriven, intertwining, pitch shifted, harmonic dueling lead blues lines which make my heart sing and inevitably, the head bang.
Top Track: Divide & Conquer – A scaly blues run kicks us into the chugging palm muted power chords that lumber huge stoner footprints across the desert. All the while lulling you along with the smooth but tough vocals into thinking this is just another rock song…wrong. The majestic solo, kicks you out of the smoky stupor as the double guitar leads trade riffing battle blows leaving a huge trail of melodic destruction in its path (no pedals required). The kind of which have rarely seen since the glory Lizzy pairing of Robertson and Gorham.
Watch: Vulture City (Live)
7) Black Star Riders – Heavy Fire
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Nuclear Blast
Quick Fire Summary: Harder, Faster, Stronger. The sideline new music output branch of the (barely) original Thin Lizzy lineup show the rest of the “inspired by” crowd how to master melodic rock and roll. This time out they have written fun, catchy, energetic and unapologetic pop songs that rock-out with the best. Despite being rooted in the 70’s heydays they have sharpened a modern sound. Whilst the rest reinvent and recreate…Black Star Riders clearly hold the patent.
Top Track: Who Rides The Tiger – Wailing wah wah bend verse riffs break out into full galloping stride on accelerated power blues chorus runs. Gloriously daft lyrics and a dreamy feelgood melodic guitar solo has all the Lizzy hallmarks of the grand masters seal of approval.
Watch: Testify Or Say Goodbye
6) Clowns – Lucid Again
Genre: Hardcore/Progressive Punk | Label: This Charming Man Records
Quick Fire Summary: Take the raw power and energy of hardcore punk, pop a few pills of psychadelia and you’ll be well on the way to capturing the heart of these Australian noisenik’s latest album. It has all the punk staples, choppy and high velocity chords, angry (yet melodic) vocal delivery and chaos breaking out at every turn. Yet intrigue is gathered most around the metamorphic stylistic shifts as it twists from tradition into effect heavy reverbed guitars melodies and back with effortless grace. It’s loud, it’s in your face, but also defiantly different and endlessly listenable.
Top Track: Like A Knife At A Gunfight – Simply put, this is the song i’ll still be playing years from now and think; wow that build up crescendo are epic, the false peaks are teasing, the acoustic touches are captivating, the vocals are stylistically perfect, the proggy meanders are mesmerizing and the insane speed of the deceptively clean power chords is totally and utterly bonkers!!! I’ll never tire of this tracks energy and carnage causing chaos.
Watch: Destroy The Evidence (Live)
5) Danko Jones – Wild Cat
Genre: Rock | Label: AFM Records
Quick Fire Summary: Another year, yet another appearance on our annual best of countdown for the most rock and roller of all rock and rollers, Danko Jones. This guy can do no wrong (in my eyes) with his positive enthusiasm for fist pumping, arms aloft, horns to the sky punk edged hard rock anthems. What’s persevered him to this (album number 8) is retaining a melodic swagger and knack of a an infectious chorus or 10. Whether or not he ever breaks UK mainstream consciousness is irrelevant, the rock underground loves Danko.
Top Track: My Little RnR – The poppiest track and clear lead single sticks with the basics of Danko’s craft. A simple little verse riff, those rough and ready muscular vocals, tough chugging rhythm guitars, melodic guitar lead lines and a damn catchy chorus designed to lift spirits and raise collective voices.
Watch: My Little RnR
4) Blood Command – Gang Signs
Genre: Punk | Label: Fysisk Format
Quick Fire Summary: The 3rd outing for these Norwegian Art Punks is their most outrageously heavy to date, yet still find plenty of room for new ideas and the bubbling undercurrent of catchy chorus’ lines. The upping of their electronic arsenal is their most dynamic addition that turns what could be stagnate punk, often into a crushing club bangerz. The balance between the clean chorus’ and visceral vocal punishment dished out by new vocalist Karina Ljone is one finely traversed. Where hardcore, pop and art collide, that’s where Blood Command will be.
Top Track: Ctrl + Art + Delete – A warning shot across the bows encapsulates their sound in 3 short minutes. A slowly taut and wound up crescendo laced with electronic dubby warp-warps finally explodes into full hardcore punk mode with fiery lacerating lyrics. Come the chorus however they come smooth and clean before the circling vortex of choppy guitars implode to unleash the carnage once more.
Watch: Quitters Don’t Smoke
3) Dead Lord – In Ignorance We Trust
Genre: Rock | Label: Century Media Records
Quick Fire Summary: “Rock. From Sweden.” Says their website, and that’s a pretty clear summation of this crack shooting band of tremendous musicians who know how to raise the roof in the homeland of retro-rock. Not for the first time on this countdown, the Lizzy influences are plain to see with many a duelling melodic solo that dance and dazzle throughout their entrancing interplay. The vocals, I admit are Marmite. But if you do love them, then there is no boundary to to glory of this anthemic, big mustache pouting slab of prime 70’s fun fueled rock and roll.
Top Track: Darker Times – I love a good juxtapose and that’s exactly what you get on the closing track. With one the most upbeat driving riffs on the album with an insistent pace, not even the discontented lyrics can stop the oozing of a fun filled 70’s party. If Cheers was ever resurrected in 2018, this is a dead cert to be the theme tune.
Watch: Too Late
2) Hunter & The Bear – Paper Heart
Genre: Rock | Label: Hunter & The Bear
Quick Fire Summary: Yes I’m still a sucker for anthemic joyous rock, and if judged on this alone, Hunter & The Bear would have lifted this year’s crown. Warm smooth and hearty vocals melt like butter on the backdrop of high gloss production that is firmly rooted in radio friendliness. Despite the pop qualities, there are most definitely a guitar band who love to rock out. Its uplifting, is packed with top drawer songwriting, soul soaring songs and chorus’s to sing till your vocal chords dry up. 9 (self) released singles (all with videos) certainly says something.
Top Track: Hologram – I could easily have picked every song on this album, but Hologram with a chorus so infectious it should have hazmat stamped on its cover gets the nod. Blending electronics among the clean yet rough power chords among the somber verses works well and leads into the euphoria of ‘that’ chorus. Honest heart on sleeve songwriting only adds to its captivating passage.
Watch: Who’s Gonna Hear You
1) Feral Ohms – Feral Ohms
Genre: Hard Rock/Punk | Label: Silver Current
Quick Fire Summary: Feral Ohms is an unhinged, searingly intense, sharpened fuzz fueled lo-fi garage rocker. Forged in the MC5 fires of no nonsense ear blasting powerful punk onslaughts, their amped up scuzziness is both muscular and raw. Dive beneath the wailing wall of guitar, thunderous bass and reckless drums however and you’ll also find some surprisingly melodic lines and super hard rock riffing too. This is one band destined for orchestrating mosh pit madness in sweaty basement bars to relentlessly pummel heads, hearts and minds with a bombardment of primitive rock and roll. A singularity of chaos reigns supreme in 2017…the Rock Gods salute you!
Top Track: Love Damage – A deranged riff monster goes on a rampage smashing noise rock guitars into a wall of cymbals clearing anything in its path, cranking the amp reverb up to sound like the coming of the apocalypse whilst a deranged ‘howl at the moon’ vocal fill the air. An intense and stupefying 3 minutes of punk energy.
That’s all for 2017. Well done to you if you got this far! Rock (& Roll) on 2018.
Its January once more and with the cold dark evenings comes the annual ritual of constructing the Best of… post here at DoesItRock.net (I mean, no decent music is released in Jan anyway right?). We’ve had a markedly busier year on the gig and new music front in 2017 and so take to the task of rounding up the best of 2017’s albums of guitar greatness with renewed vigor and energy.
Its time to unleash to Albums of 2017…
20) King Gizzard & The Lizzard Wizard- Murder Of The Universe
Genre: Psychedelic Rock | Label: Heavenly Recordings
Quick Fire Summary: The 2nd of 5 albums released this year by the purveyors of the finest and most trippiest of triptastic psychedelic delusions from the land of Oz. Warped instrumentation, fantasy mythology and power packed guitar packs bind these cohesive meanders of the higher mind to create hazy, yet crazy masterpieces.
Top Track: Altered Beast – This 14+ min track in 4 movements is more akin to a fantasy rock opera on super strength acid, that links the album shifting forms into one metamorphic monster punky psy-rock, ermm…beast?
Watch: The Lord Of Lightning Vs Balrog
19) The Darkness – Pinewood Smile
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Canary Dwarf Records & Cooking Vinyl
Quick Fire Summary: Bias Alert: It wouldn’t be DoesItRock.net if the Darkness doesn’t appear! Latest from the spandex clad catsuit rockers sits between genius and ridicule, hilarity and parody so much so that It baffles and bemuses at every turn. Some stonkingly heavy riffs, fist pumping rockers and superb instrumentation but the often rude lyrics are borderline comedy act (which might have been what they were going for).
Top Track: Solid Gold – Whilst a long lost Ac/Dc riff powers this tongue-in-cheek romp, we’re sure they “Ain’t never gonna stop, Sh***ing out SOLID GOLD!”
18) The Bronx – IV
Genre: Punk | Label: ATO Records
Quick Fire Summary: The fifth (go figure?) album from New Yorks finest Punk’s channel the citys fine heritage for short sharp three minute three chord outbursts of attitude. This sounds like punk should, brash, nasty, visceral and raw. Yet underneath the layers of noise is a perfectly formed riff chorus riff chorus cycle that emphasises melody over chaos and certainly the album to crank up loud to annoy the parents.
Top Track: Past Away – A clever little picked riff is front and centre of this simple but effective track that’s so contagious, you’ll be humming it for days.
Watch: Two Birds
17) In Search Of Sun – Virgin Funk Mother
Genre: Prog/Funk/Metal/Rock | Label: Spinefarm Records
Quick Fire Summary: Reinvention from promising metal-core and mill running djent’ers to lords of progressive funk is complete. Taking their underlying talent for melody and technical guitar work they have created a wonderfully groovy and diverse album which not only rips up the rule books, but boils them in a melting pot ready to be reborn as a huge new tomes of intricately crafted rock gospels.
Top Track: Motherfunk – Reverb heavy fretwork and acoustic strumming lay the foundations of this short sharp pulsating powerhouse. Yet its the space in between that punctuates the kicking funky bass, pop vocals and those mesmerizing intricately woven melodies ready for the chorus of guitars to thunder in.
Watch: The World Is Yours
16) Goodbye June – Magic Valley
16) Goodbye June – Magic Valley
Genre: Rock | Label: Interscope
Quick Fire Summary: Debut LP from a trio of Nashville cousins who have a great ear for sprinkling magic melody dust on their radio friend rock anthems. Encrusted with blues and country flourishes this often hard rocking album is a bright and bursting bag of vitality powered by big guitars and laced with one of the most unique vocal performances of the year.
Top Track: Liberty Mother – Barnstormer? This blues strutting no hold barred rocker straps napalm to its forehead and blows the barn to oblivion!
Watch: Liberty Mother
15) Dave Hause – Bury Me In Philly
Genre: Singer/Songwriter | Label: Rise Records
Quick Fire Summary: Another former hardcore punk front man (a la Frank Turner) who fancies himself as a the modern storyteller in the vein of The Boss” himself. This warming album of un-apologetically american anthems is masterclass in melodic prowess to swell and puncture the heart. Packed with uplifting tunes and lyrics taking his soul to his sleeve, this is a great record to spin in the long summer evenings swigging a few cans as the sun goes down.
Top Track: Bury Me In Philly – A soaring slide of massively melodic Americana breeze, blown by the winds of rebellion against social media and a love for all things Philadelphia.
Watch: The Flinch
14) Mad Monkees – Mad Monkees
Genre: Stoner Rock | Label: Ressaca Records
Quick Fire Summary: From a random recommendation from Spotify Discovery to Stoner Rock album of the year, these Brazillian boys know how to infuse dirty desert guitars, gruff groovy vocals, hard rock ethos all with an insistent foot on the throttle. Their gritty lo-fi songs are more pop than you’d imagine via short, sweet, simple but entrancing offerings, focusing in on big choruses and equally big bluesy riffs.
Top Track: I Cannot Feel – Roaring drumming, fast fretting and uber riffing glides effortlessly over desolate peaks and valleys, yet slightly restrained in order to give way to sweet harmonious guest female vocals which adds a totally new genre dynamic which is infectious and hard hitting in its contrast.
Watch: Monkee Business
13) Death From Above (1979) – Outrage! Is Now
Genre: Rock | Label: Warner Bros/Last Gang Records
Quick Fire Summary: The second album of DFA1979’s welcome reunion, find them pouring petrol on their rekindled furnace of furious rock noise, only this time with a tonne more pop and production sophistication. Channeling their early recklessness and snarling punk attitude they have transported the riffs and energy and added nifty song craft with shifting tones, dynamics and some cool effects. Step aside Royal Blood, the originators are back with a bang, crash and a wallop!
Top Track: Caught Up – Slowing their usual unrelenting tempo this lumbering slow burner is melodic, infectious and riffy which makes the crescendo of triumphant explosive dance punk noise at 2:47 that much more satisfying.
Watch: Freeze Me
12) Brutus – Burst
Genre: <Insert Here> | Label: Hassle Records
One Line Summary: True uniqueness is hard to find in the overburdened music scenes, but its bubbling through this Belgian bands debut as constant as heartbeats. Elements of post-rock instrumentation, snarling (post?) hardcore punk attitude, mathy flourishes and darkened metal make this a wondrous discovery record of dizzying complexity. Yet it’s talismanic vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts’s seriously emotive, powerful pipes in both harsh and clean mode that makes it work. Not to mention she also plays drums too!
Top Track: All Along – This chaotic and beautiful atmospheric track is ever shifting under your ears, with reverbing melodies launching like fireworks, shifting dynamics, skin smashing drums and those terrifying but equally hopeful vocals.
Watch: All Along
11) Mammoth Mammoth – Mount The Mountain
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Napalm Records
Quick Fire Summary: It’s beer-o-clock somewhere, and I’m sure that Mammoth Mammoth are already there having rode in on their bikes with their leather jackets hung behind the door. No nonsense, no cares, just straight up and down dumb hard rock that pummels powerful blues riffs, stoner rock overtones and fist pumping chorus’ till their dragged out at closing time. But what a night hey? Lemmy would be proud.
Top Track: Sleepwalker – Find a riff that rocks, repeat, add some voices, repeat, play it loud and bang your head, repeat some more…simple?
Stay tuned for the top 10!
The competition is hotting up as we hit the top 10 Albums which rocked 2016’s socks off…as decided by me!
10) The Shrine – Rare Breed
Genre: Stoner Metal/Hard Rock | Label: Century Media Records
One Line Summary: Get your biker jackets and set course to headbang alley with this 70’s inspired stoner metal band that have the hair, the riffs and aren’t afraid to crank up the tempo and ride full throttle to adrenaline heaven.
Top Track: Coming Down Quick – A menacing gargantuan opening riffs plods along before being blasted skywards by a barrage of thumping power chords.
Watch: Coming Down Quick
9) Black Pistol Fire – Don’t Wake The Riot
Genre: Blues/Rock | Label: Modern Outsider
One Line Summary: Unsung heroes of vintage bluesy pop rock homages play with an dirtied fuzz fueled sound that boogies and swaggers out of the Deep South nodding to BB on their way to the crossroads.
Top Track: Fleet Foot – Foot stomping country barn dance number that showcases their authentic sound and knack for reinvigorating the humble blues riff.
Watch: Bad Blood
8) Scorpion Child – Acid Roulette
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Nuclear Blast
One Line Summary: A* pupils of the new school of classic rock get top marks for rocking like it’s 1975 with groovy hip shaking blues power and impressive rangy vocals time traveling back to the good old days of rock’n’roll debauchery and excess.
Top Track: Reapers Danse – High energy set to 11 rocker which blasts through riffs like a Gatling gun packaged with those powerful vocals and lively keys for backup.
Watch: Reapers Danse
7) Valley Of The Sun – Volume Rock
Genre: Stoner Rock | Label: Fuzzorama Records
One Line Summary: If you like your rock loud, proud, fast, packed with melody, guitar solos, energy and towering strength this Stoner come Hard rock adrenaline shot, it is about as good as it gets!
Top Track: The Hunt– A stampeding juggernaut of stoner rock that you must grip tight and to hold on for a thundering ride.
Watch: The Hunt
6) Weezer – Weezer (The White Album)
Genre: Rock | Label: Atlantic
One Line Summary:Rejuvenated 90’s rockers continue to hit new career highs with this upbeat and sun soaked record to spin on those long endless summer evenings, playful melodies, full keyboard workouts, captivating lyrics and as always plenty of inimitable ooooh-aaaaahs and crunchy rock chords.
Top Track: Thank God For Girls – Bright keys gently jaunt through this beautiful mesh of loud chorus chant vs. low key verbose lyrical verses that are sprinkled with sparkling wordplay.
Watch: Thank God For Girls
5) Crobot – Welcome To Fat City
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Nuclear Blast
One Line Summary: 2015’s Album of The Year makers return full of that warm fuzzy groovy guitar riffing which makes their stratospheric version of bluesy hard rock totally irresistible and stonkingly addictive.
Top Track: Not For Sale – Superstar vocals surround the pounding rhythms over a simple but god darnit superstar riff makes for a stunning song which rocks the ground beneath it rolls, but watch out for the epic rock-out crescendo topped with a feedback effect thats so damn cool it hurts.
Watch: Not For Sale
4) Royal Republic – Weekend Man
Genre: Rock | Label: Capitol Records
One Line Summary: Take some jaggedly strutting riffs, chop and add some funky beats, mix well with The Hives style and melody-centric garage rock and add the whimsical essence of Electric Six, crank up the tempo and you’ll create the most smile inducing, infectiously playful rock and roll record of 2016.
Top Track: Baby – The perfect execution of pop simplicity, a damn catchy stomping melody and a swaggering vocal performance with plenty of b..b..b..ba..be..be..b..ba..by’s!
3) Volbeat – Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie
Genre: Rock | Label: Universal
One Line Summary: Danish Rock royalty once again deliver a first class set of stratospheric snow capped anthems that can only be Volbeat, oddly indecipherable lyrics, jaunty rhythms and their gritty but overtly commercial sound that has you singing from the mountain tops.
Top Track: Black Rose (Ft. Danko Jones) – Superstar Scando-Canadian Combo is a riotous clash of styles which punches out rapid fire lyrics, thudding power chords, tempo shifts and epic melodic moments not to be missed.
Watch: Seal The Deal
2) Förtress – Ambrosia
Genre: Hard Rock/Metal | Label: Triassic Recordings
One Line Summary: Enthralling and entrancing psychedelia infused heaviness treading a careful line between Hard Rock and melodic Heavy Metal, swinging and swaying through thunderous groovetastic guitar lines delivered by the higher rock gods, pivoting their intricate tempo shifting melodies across funky/bluesy/proggy styles with both grace and power.
Top Track: Bitch Demon – Trad heavy metal opener has its foot firmly on the accelerator as it piles through overdriven riffs, only making way for the true track highlight of a funk filled head boppin’, toe tappin reverb soaked guitar bridge/solo which just makes you want to move your feet.
Watch: Bitch Demon
1) Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy
Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Dine Alone Music Inc.
One Line Summary: Canadian rockers bust down the door to greatness with this southern swingin’ record that has such depth of awesomely simple but effective big hitters that both loves to raise the fist and worship at the altar of rock and roll, whilst not forgetting stellar soaring choruses to get the people singing along.
Top Track: The Enforcer – Aggressive, dangerous, no nonsense highly volatile assault of a rock and roller wrapped in a tribute to the eponymous brutal hockey players with a less than average number of teeth, a song that screams don’t mess with me..or else you will get hurt!
(Rock &) Roll on 2017!