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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Wild Lies – 'Jack’s Out Of The Box' EP review

The Wild Lies – 'Jack’s Out Of The Box' EP review

Released on: Izzi Records. Release date: Available now.
So here we are with a band that most likely, none of you have heard of. Why?
Well, most likely it’s because The Wild Lies are currently – As yet - an unsigned young British act from High Wycombe (England), who put together this wonderful, self-financed release and yes, I know it’s just an E.P. of five songs – that are killer! – but they clearly wanted to get something out there quickly and it seems in recent times, even some established acts have been reluctant to record a full blown album, for various reasons and have done the same.
I know a few right off the bat, who did so because their take is that many people, modern listeners, simply lose interest in one act’s whole new album of say twelve to fifteen or so songs, so they feel it’s better to focus on a handful of top notch tracks.
Others I’ve heard say they’re reluctant to do a full album, because so many people simply find pirated tracks online, download them for free or for a ridiculous nominal fee – That they, the pirates. – keep for themselves without any royalties going to the artist, to which I say to the artists, I don't blame you!

There’s also another angle that I’ve not heard said, but there’s probably a lot to it and that is, when an act goes out live and plays their sets, how many new songs off their latest album, do they ever play? One? Two? Maybe five tops right, so right there is maybe a valid reason and angle today, certainly from established acts for sure.
Sad days, as I indeed love hearing a completely new album’s worth of material!
Maybe I’m the exception though ….?
To the E.P. that we are covering here though, is The Wild Lies first recorded output, ‘Jack’s Out Of The Box.’The lineup that recorded this E.P. was – Yes, I’ll get to that … - Matt James - vocals, Rob Gamble - guitar, Dylan Smith - bass and Ralph Morris on drums.
I just love how strong opening track ‘Falling’ is, especially the killer chorus, strong hook line, great vocal from Matt James – He should go far! - great catchy lyrics and the band recorded an interesting video for this track. Check it out on You Tube:
It’s weird because the opening of the song seems to come across very heavy, but then before long it just grabs you as it’s such a hooky song … ‘That’s why I’m F-a-l-l – i-n-g, Got no destination … I don’t want this, to be the end. I’m dreaming, not cheap imitation, I don’t want this, to be pretend!’
Love the chorus, then into the heavy chord changes again through each verse and then, once again ‘I’m F-a-l-l-i-n-g …’ You’ll get it when you hear it!
Very heavy bridge and then a ripping solo from Rob Gamble.
There are clearly loads of influences across just this song alone, but the album, sorry, E.P. is just solid!
‘Stone Cold Love’ next is equally as edgy as ‘Falling’ and at first I didn’t feel that the chorus was as catching as ‘Falling,’ but you know what? It really is!
Plenty of timing changes throughout the song, which is possibly why it didn’t grab me in the same way as ’Falling’ from the start but once you’ve played this a few times, you’re like kicking yourself for not thinking it from the get go.
The band has got great harmonies too on the vocals, all to just make this better and better.
Next track ‘Relive the Ride,’ was the first track I ever heard of this band from a good old friend in the UK – Thanks Ian! – who asked me if I had heard of these guys before.
He sent me the You Tube video link for this – – and it was like, wow! Who are these guys? Then I found the ‘Falling’ link from there and was hooked and could not figure out, how I missed this band before?!
The song opens with an almost – Oh boy, here I go … Comparisons! – Def Leppard like groove intro, then gets driving with a very familiar like driving riff and becomes an absolutely killer song with big vocals, big dirty yet catchy chord patterns and wonderfully subtle guitar licks that aren’t overpowering, just accenting the song. Wonderful stuff!
Who’d of thought after all the powerful hard rockin’ and drivin’ of the three previous songs that they’d then come up with the magical power ballad ‘Beginning To End.’Love Rob’s lead guitar sound, very (Michael) Schenker like and once more I can’t emphasize enough how strong Matt James vocal is. The whole song structure is very well written, as are all the five songs on here.

Final of the five tracks here is ‘Heartbreaker’ which starts with a big old dirty, sleazy intro and then just rocks out, in an edgy style not unlike Jet when they do it.
All the songs have very many elements to them that may have you comparing those  elements to other bands, but as an all-encompassing package here this is simply great!
Again on ‘Heartbreaker,’ as elsewhere here, the timing changes show just how tight the band is and seeing them live for me would be just another wonderful dimension personally.
So here’s the thing, I love everything here and it’s very worthy of the rating it receives and so I wanted to know more about the band and have found out that they have toured as a support act in the UK and have also lined up a prestigious appearance at this year’s UK Download festival on June 15th, fantastic.
I wanted to also know about future plans too and have learned that the lineup has now changed, from the guys that recorded the E.P. and two promo videos.

The current lineup features original member Dylan Smith on Bass, Matt Polley – Vocals (Who is in fact, Matt James! Name change!), Tom Miles – Drums, Andre Ruffell and Zak Muller on Guitars.
It will be interesting to see where the band goes from here and hope to hear more of them in the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – Just wish there was a full album’s worth of material though …
Wanna buy the E.P. folks? Here's a link:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rainbow – ‘Live in Munich 1977’ album review

Rainbow – ‘Live in Munich 1977’ album review

Released on: Eagle. Release date: Available now.
First off I have to tell you that this Rainbow 'Live in Munich 1977,' is a release that was previously released in different formats, although never on vinyl and has now been reissued in various different formats with re-mastered audio. 
So now it's available in DVD, vinyl, CD and digital download formats for both the video and finally the music that I have to cover here.
No mention of Blu-ray ... Yet!
My source had limited availability on the DVD, so I went and picked up a copy for myself – From Amazon … - which includes many bonus features, that I really wanted a copy of for my collection anyway ..., but I'm not covering that review here ... Took me long enough to wrap this beauty up!
This release basically features the lineup that released the wonderful album, ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’ in 1978 with leader Ritchie Blackmore (Guitars), Ronnie James Dio (Lead vocals – RIP Ronnie), Cozy Powell (Drums – RIP Cozy) and the two newest members of the band, who were let go / quit after the recording the album and touring it finished in 1979.
Bob Daisley (Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, Widowmaker, Ozzy Osbourne, Uriah Heep, Gary Moore and many more!) on bass who after leaving Rainbow was hugely sort after and on keyboards David Stone who could really jam on Hammond!
None of the other three members surely need any introduction at all, as they all have / had great track records, end of story!

Sadly both Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell are no longer with us, leaving the world way too early in anyone’s book.
After Rainbow though, they both went from success to success, until both of them sadly passed. Cozy in a car crash in 1998 and Ronnie just three years ago to stomach cancer.
I sincerely miss both these players, as they were both top notch.
RIP guys ...

So this is the CD version of this release, ‘Live in Munich 1977’ that sadly only includes nine tracks and there could’ve been more, but for Mr. Blackmore’s incredible self-indulgencies ... Seriously!

  This became all too obvious in subsequent Rainbow gigs and live releases, which in each case had much more of a set list to them, not necessarily much longer shows, but without doubt more streamlined.

In fact this is really only eight tracks when you take out the ‘Introduction’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with the voice of Judy Garland and it really rocks out with ‘Kill The King’ reflecting the band on absolutely top form with their opening number!

David Stone’s Hammond totally compliments Ritchie’s magnificent guitar work and Ronnie’s wonderful vocals and the driving force of both Cozy Powell and Bob Daisley, it’s just wow!

At the end of ‘Kill The King,’ Ronnie talks to the crowd, ‘Thank you so much, again we say thank you for staying so long, for staying as long as you have, we hope you enjoy the show.’

The story goes that the band were late starting this gig as prior to this Munich gig, Ritchie Blackmore had to be smuggled out of Austria after trouble with Police at a gig there two nights earlier, which caused the band to arrive late for this gig.
Have to say, the band sounds great, so maybe Ritchie’s freedom drove him to play the performance of his life perhaps?! LOL!

‘Mistreated’ from Ritchie’s Deep Purple career is next and for all intents and purposes it’s as strong as ever, if drawn out which is my only criticism here, with Ritchie just going off on his own little jaunt, before the band all come crashing back in with the song’s heavy blues groove.
I love Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar work, always have done as any of my old mates would tell you and he was my favourite player for ages until around the mid-80’s when I just felt that really for me, Michael Schenker (UFO, Scorpions) was edging it ...
Still love all of his Purple and Rainbow stuff though!
‘Sixteen Century Greensleeves’ comes next, almost like a breath of fresh air.
The track that gently lulls the listener into a false sense of security with its gentle intro before kicking down the door with some seriously heavy guitar chords, drums and bass, is a
great number that I hadn’t heard in years and it brought back great memories! Magic!

The wonderful and epic ‘Catch The Rainbow’ is next, which finally starts after about two minutes of Ritchie’s ‘song introduction ...’
Although it’s such a lengthy excursion, it allows each band member to shine, but it’s really Ritchie Blackmore’s centerpiece if you will with his soloing in the middle – even with David Stone trying to make his Hammond organ get some attention – reaching over seven minutes alone in this seventeen minute monster!
Still love it!
As a lead into ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ Ronnie explains ‘We’d like to do a song for you from an LP that you’ve never heard before, because we’ve only just finished recording it … An LP that you should be able to buy, I hope or steal it or whatever you do with it, get it, in January some time. Our new LP which this is the title track from, kind of the message that we’re trying to give to the world .., except for Austria … It’s a song called ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’ this one!’
It’s actually kind of cool as clearly since the band had only just wrapped up recording prior to these dates, the new song’s structures were not yet set in stone, so as with ‘Kill The King,’ ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’ each song actually comes across slightly different from how you may have familiarized yourself with the tune from the 1978 album release.

The intro especially with the drums – Cowbell count in! – and Hammond keyboard playing back and forth a little before finally kicking everyone in together and it’s a seriously heavy Hammond intro and then Ronnie’s vocal sounds completely inspired!
Wonderful stuff!

Disc two kicks off with an almost speed driven version of ‘Man On The Silver Mountain,’ which if you go back and listen to the original 1975 version from ‘Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow,’ it’s like this one leaves that version in the dust!
 It of course get's into it's jam section, where after a little Blackmore break, the band kicks into 'Starstuck' just briefly, still a kick ass jam!
Said jam continues and then gets back into 'Man On The Silver Mountan' before wrapping the track up.  

I must say I’ve always thought the original studio version sounds so slow, I remember our band looking to cover it a few years ago and when we first got together to jam it everyone said to me,Al, that’s way too slow man!’ I said, ‘OK, let’s all listen to the original together then and you’ll see why I’m playing so slow?!' LOL! Funny times!

‘Still I’m Sad’ next is another monster here, clocking in around twenty five minutes, although it does capture my all-time hero drummer Cozy Powell, performing his solo accompanying Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture!'
It is another with the lengthy intro, not Ritchie so much this time, but David Stone, no complaints though ... Then right around the four minute mark, wham! In comes the band!
 When they reach the mid section, Ritchie throws in little snatches of songs / tunes, first off I hear 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' then Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy.'
David Stone gets a little time, where he even at times sounds like Keith Emerson to a degree with some serious synth stuff ... Wow!
Then it's Cozy's turn ... Prior to the '1812 ...' piece, he shows his own little endeavors, with rapid double bass drum and wonderful fill's the whole thing clocking in just under six minutes ...
Love the DVD of this ... Boy are you missed Cozy .... :(
The cheers when Ronnie yells out, 'Cozy Powell!' Speak for themselves, massive!
The band departs the stage briefly only to be beckoned back for an encore in 'Do You Close Your Eyes?' Of course not before Ritchie's provided us another three minutes of his guitar flurries ...

The band totally rocks on this and there's a moment or so when Ritchie and David Stone play off each other in great style and then there's Ritchie's own soloing that is just wonderful!
The ending I will say though is seriously drawn out by Ritchie as he gets all crazy and trashes his guitar ...
All said and done though, a very solid and suitable finish, good old rocker!
The whole performance is closed by 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow,' with Judy Garland doing her bit in the intro for the band and at the end ....

It's releases like this that kind of in some respects rile the listener up, that Ritchie Blackmore stopped rockin' 'n' rollin' more than a few years back.

I really did enjoy listening to this though and checking out the DVD ...
The bonus footage there for me, is going to take some time for me to get to though unfortunately ..., as more album reviews beckon!

This is certainly a winner in my books however you look at it, even if kind of drawn out in places, there's plenty here in the flow of things that more than make up for Ritchie's 'dabbling's!'

With Rainbow, 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll' simply couldn't say it loud enough and with these guys, the memories will always remain special and legendary.
Good job Eagle Rock for putting this out!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Related sites: - Fan site, very good!