Feb 23, 2013
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Alabama Shakes – “Boys & Girls” (2012)

Label : Rough Trade

Review by Luisa Mercier

While “white” rock music is living a moment in which there is a certain lack of inspiration, black music tries to find its roots. In order to do this, it is necessary for bands to go back where most of them have started.  In fact, Alabama Shakes come from Alabama, from the South of United States of America where soul, blues were born many years ago. Singer Brittany Howard, guitar player Heath Fogg, bass player Zack Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson are all sons of those lands.

They are very young and, without any doubt, the focus of the band is Brittany . Her voice is powerful and sensual, full of passion and suffering. We could compare her to Aretha Franklin or Janis Joplin, but we will not do this: she has her own identity and it is correct to judge her for her own skills. Their debut record “Boys & Girls” is built over a simple rock-blues without frills. The most represantive track is “You’re Not Alone”, where you can really see the comparison with Janis Joplin in this Southern ballad.  Continue reading »

Feb 23, 2013
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Yo La Tengo – “Fade” (2013)

Label : Matador Records

Review by Davide Torresan

I have to confess that I have never heard of this band. From the name I was expecting a Spanish group, and definitely not a metal one. Searching around to find some informations, I discovered that Yo La Tengo (the abbreviation is YLT) is an alternative rock band and it’s fairly well known. This American group is founded in 1989 and since 1992 the line-up has consisted of Ira Kaplan (guitar, piano, vocals), Georgia Hubley (drum, piano, vocals) and James McNew (bass, vocals). I was saying alternative rock…well, YLT is considered among the most important representatives of the American alternative rock scene of the 90s. In more than 10 years they have been able to blend many musical influences, from pop music to rock, with violin and sax inserts too.

This one is an unusual instrument in this genre, isn’t it? “Fade” is their 13th album and its sound slightly differs from their previous work, “Popular Songs”. In this one the electric guitar was present in each song, but in “Fade” it is almost gone. You feel strongly this absence. Indeed it seems like something is missing in these songs. There’s a lack of rhythm though the album’s atmospheres are soothing because of the beautiful voices of Ira and Georgia. There are no drum’s accelerations, the classical guitar and bass strings are softly plucked. They call it dream pop. Continue reading »

Feb 23, 2013
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Dawn of Destiny – “Praying to the World” (2012)

Label : Phonotraxx Publishing

Review by Tony Cannella

The German melodic power metal band Dawn of Destiny returns with their fourth album and first since 2009’s “Human Fragility”. My introduction to this band came via that album and I was very impressed with the vocalist Tanja Maul, but alas the band changed vocalists shortly following the release of “Human Fragility”. Enter new vocalist Jeanette Scherff and while her style differs from Tanja’s (Jeanette’s is more of a soaring power metal style), she has definitely proven to be more than a good fit for Dawn of Destiny and sounds as if she has been with the band for more than just this one album – the chemistry is that good.

Dawn of Destiny wastes little time in getting right to it with the hard driving, bombastic opening song “My Life In Ruins”. New vocalist Jeanette Scherff has proven to be a worthy edition to DOD’s ranks. Bass player Jens Faber handles the male vocals on the album and his performance on the album is impressive. He sings in numerous styles, for instance, on the opening track he sings in a black metal screaming style, but he also contributes clean vocals and grunt vocals to “Praying to the World”. Continue reading »

Feb 22, 2013
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Dalriada – “Napisten Hava” (2012)

Label: Hammer Music/Nail Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Dalriada is a Folk metal band from Hungary and “Napisten Hava” is their 7th album. They were formed in 1998 under the banner of Echo of Dalriada, but did not release their debut until 2004 and they changed their name to their current one in 2006. While their new album is heavy on the Folk aspects, it also provides over 60-minutes worth of heaviness and power.

All of the lyrics on “Napisten Hava” are sung in their native Hungarian and have a toe-tapping up-tempo quality to them for the most part. With Violins being used as a prominent instrument the band tears through such memorable songs as “A Dudas”, “Napisten Hava” and the speed metal influenced “Napom, Fenyes Napom”. Continue reading »

Feb 22, 2013
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Crimson Sky – “Dawn” (EP) (2012)

Independent Release

Review by Tony Cannella

In 2009 the U.K. based progressive rock outfit Crimson Sky released their debut full-length “Misunderstood”. Since that time, the band has undergone numerous line-up changes including the addition of new vocalist Jane Setter. Now, Crimson Sky returns with their new line-up and a brand-new 4-song EP entitled “Dawn”.

The keyboard intro leads us into the almost 7-minute opening track, “Crimson Sky”. The 7 ½ minute ballad to mid-tempo song “The Sea” is next and one of two older songs that have been re-recorded by the new line-up. New lead vocalist Jane Setter is an excellent addition to the band and breathes new life into the older tracks. Continue reading »

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