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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Poodles - No Quarter (Live!) album review

The Poodles - No Quarter (Live) album review
Released on: Frontiers Records Release date: Available now

I have to say, I heard of the Poodles a couple of years ago from friends who had seen them at the UK's Firefest festival.
For me, like probably many people, with a name like the Poodles and some of the photo shots that I'd seen before, they looked like it's hard to take them seriously, but ....

By the way, my apologies to those of you that expected to see this review sooner, it's been pretty time lately time wise and just trying to keep up the news folks, but finally, I've got to this review!

Anyway, I have to admit, on hearing The Poodles ..., you start thinking, wow! Why didn't they pick a better name?
Well, perhaps if you think about it, if you're a hard rock act and you call yourself The Poodles over say a name like Dark Night or Iron Bridge (Note: These are just pie in the sky examples), names that you may possibly automatically pigeon hole any act as just 'another' rock band and why should I even listen to them ...

With a name like the Poodles and being a hard rock band, you are seriously going to draw attention to yourselves, the same could've been said maybe if they'd called themselves Ruff Dogs or Big Dog Rock (Note: Again folks, just examples) or something similar, anyway, I'm sure you take my meaning ...
Now I say, get over it! The Poodles are a seriously good, hard rockin' band, think modern day Europe with perhaps some Scorpions or even hugely underrated 80's German act Craaft.
Yes, they sound that good!

The band was actually formed back in 2006 and their first album was 'Metal Will Stand Tall,' perhaps a cheesy title that brings to mind silly metal acts like Manowar - Sorry, I could never take them seriously! - and they've also released two other studio releases since in 'Sweet Trade' and 'Clash of the Elements' and now here's a live album and it's not bad at all!

I never heard the studio releases before and sometimes, a band's live album can be a great way of getting into a new band. This one, I can't recommend strongly enough if you like catchy hard rock with a metal edge. Get over the name and glam image, these guys serious can rock out!

The album opens with the excellent 'Too Much of Everything' which is a class piece that perhaps starts sounding dark with a hint of symphonic metal, but before too long, vocalist Jakob Samuel has you totally sold. OK, at times he maybe borders on Axl Rose, but he's got such a phenomenal voice and that range ... Wow! The song grows and the chorus will have you in no time!

'Caroline' next and no it's not the Status Quo or Neil Diamond tune, but there own hugely catchy song that should be a huge hit everywhere in the world, I mean this! What hooklines throughout their set and with choruses as big as these and it even hints possibly with a nod to Billy Idol's White Wedding, with parts of the riff, but for me it wipes the floor of that song and the guitar work of Henrik Bergqvist well put simply, it's very impressive and the band is tight! I will add this though, there's clearly keyboards to be heard here and if you've seen the DVD that was released at the same time as this, 'In the Flesh' you'll see no keyboards or keyboard player on the stage. By the way, likewise, the DVD is great! It's a very funny at times, behind the scenes look at the band, but it also shows the guys passion for what they do, without any doubt!

'Seven Seas' starts a little restrained but then picks up the pace and rocks well and then of course, next it's time for the title track of their debut album, 'Metal Will Stand Tall,' which displays the bands continued talent, but the chorus is a clear statement that they class themselves as metal. I love the pre-chorus myself and it's time for some serious crowd participation here too.

A very melodic, almost artsy start for '(Live) Like No Tomorrow,' before it gets into a heavy riff and once again the melodies in the pre-choruses are so strong and you will be singing the chorus, I guarantee it!

Power ballad time in 'One Out of Ten' next and the keyboards are very, very obvious here soundwise too but no sign of them, but another great song.
'Lullaby for Jimmy' starts in a mellow way too and cruises into a big old bluesy instrumental track.

Time for a drum solo spot for drummer 'Kicken,' er yes, that's the name he goes by ... He also gets the crowd singing along too!

'Echoes from the Past' is next and is a mid paced melodic rocker with once again that big old chorus and these guys really have got that hook line chorus detail, nailed!
Next track 'Thunderball' is still a strong track and yes, the chorus is still catchy, but the song seems to lack a little something compared to everything else, that said, it's the only one here that does so far ...

'I Rule the Night' kicks off in an almost Dio kind of fashion, but Jakob Samuel does not sound like Dio, but it rocks along well and 'Night of Passion' is another steady rocker, with again a catchy chorus.

I will say that towards the end of this set, the tracks are certainly not as instant generally as the first half and 'Flesh & Blood' chugs in places and then picks up the pace a little here and there, but it's still alright.

Final track is 'Line of Fire,' which does close things out pretty well as it seems to pick up the pace and gets back to some of those great melodies again.

So this is an album that really starts very strong, gains momentum hits a little average run, but then closes well.
I for one, can't wait to hear what this band shares with us next and I understand we won't all have too long to wait! “Performocracy” on April 15th in Europe and May 5th in North America.
Oh and by the way, get the DVD 'In the Flesh,' seriously, it well worth it!
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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