Category Archives: Album Review

EP Review : Gypsy’s Kiss – Heat Crazed Vole: Re-tailed

Review by Peter Coates –

Roulette Records / Cargo Distribution

This is a little slice of NWOBHM history being re-released on May 1st, from a band that first started life in 1974, with one Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) as a founder member of the band along with David Smith who is back fronting the band today after finally reforming the band in 2018 under pressure from many areas, for a charity festival.  

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Single Review : Vega – “Grit Your Teeth”

Review by Peter Coates –

British rock band VEGA will release their new album Grit Your Teeth on Friday 12th June 2020 via Frontier Records.  Band members Nick Workman, Tom Martin, James Martin, Marcus Thurston, Hutch and Mikey Kew have a rich history; including stints with UK rock bands Kick, Sugartown and Paul Dianno, but it was their meeting of musical minds back in 2009 that gave the rock-genre one of the finest releases of that year in the form of their debut album, Kiss Of Life.

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EP Review : Hannah Wicklund – The Inbetween

Review by Peter Coates –

South Carolina-born Hannah Wicklund releases The Inbetween a very special 10” inch vinyl EP of four stripped back solo performances on Friday 17th April 2020. The EP is available via the webstore (, and if you order the vinyl edition of the EP you will automatically receive the EP digitally.

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EP Review : Molly Karloff – Supernaturalation

Review by Peter Coates –

Since the release of their critically acclaimed debut EP, Dancing for Money (2018), this Oxfordshire (UK) based three-piece band have toured their contagiously hook-filled, fist pumping sound to packed venues around the country, as one of many rock bands in the NWOCR universe.

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Album Review : Wille and the Bandits – PATHS

Review by Peter Coates –

Wille and the Bandits are a British-based band who play a variety of different genres spanning across the Blues, Rock, Latin and Folk styles. The band currently consists of Wille Edwards, Matthew Gallagher, Harry Mackaill and Finn McAuley, and this album, Paths, was released in early 2019 in the UK.

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Album Review : WARBIRDS – Order From Chaos

Review by Peter Coates –

An Australian modern rock three-piece who released this, their first full-length album in October 2019, having previously issued two EPs, WARBIRDS have been around for a while with Anth Nekich as the front-man on lead guitars and vocals, and Lee Strapp behind the kit – Lee’s brother Ben is currently the live bass player, although does not appear on the record, with the bass lines provided by Anth, producer Mat Robins, previous bassist Jared Piatkowski and Jason Meracis.

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Album Review : Beau Bowen – The Great Anticlimax

Review by Peter Coates

Release Date – April 10th 2020

Back in the good old days of 2018, a young singer / guitarist / multi-instrumentalist called Kaleb McKane released an EP titled Universe in Reverse with three tracks channelling Muse, Roxy Music, David Bowie and Hendrix with a modern twist on psychedelic glam rock – featuring a cracking voice and some very tasty guitar work.  

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Album Review : Collateral

Review by Peter Coates

A blast of classic AOR rock from a hard-working bunch of lads from Kent.

Over here in Australia I keep a jealous watch on the stream of quality rock bands emerging from all corners of the UK, covering classic rock, southern rock, , blues rock and all combinations of the above, playing at countless gigs and festivals throughout the country, and being encouraged by the continuing influence of bands who were their idols and heroes from the 1980s and 1990s, many of whom are still ripping it up around the pub, club and theatre circuit – Thunder; Tyketto; Gun; FM and the rest.

These guys may just be the pick of the current crop!

Collateral released their 4 Shots EP at the end of 2018 which was a taster of some quality melodic rock, delivered with a touch of swagger and some killer riffs that combined classic stadium AOR anthems of US and Scandinavian monsters, with a modern and slightly edgier British rock feel.  When you hear the varied influences behind each of the band members, it sort of all makes sense.

Front man Angelo Tristan has a heavy country music side, and guitarist Todd Winger enjoys the ballsier southern rock of Black Stone Cherry and The Cadillac 3, while Jack Bentley-Smith flies the 80s big-rock flag, and drummer Ben Atkinson is from the darker, heavier end of the metal spectrum.  

2019 saw the band head out on a number of support tours, playing the UK’s Camden Rocks and Ramblin’ Man Fair festivals, and also got selected from 200,000 entrants to support Jon Bon Jovi on his Runway to Paradise cruise, and they are just heading out around the UK with the mighty bluespower guitarist Jared James Nichols (here in Australia shortly with John 5) to give them yet more exposure, and then with Phil X & The Drills (Bon Jovi guitarist), before crossing the Channel to go round Europe opening for Skid Row before they are back in the UK with Scandinavian melodic rockers H.E.A.T.  So the next few months are going to be flat out for the boys.

Mr Big Shot kicks off the record with a crunching riff which breaks down for the chorus to a kicking bass and drum line and leaps into the catchiest pre-chorus and the enormous crowd-vocals of the “Big Shot” chorus – call it derivative if you will…..but the band describes it as a slightly mocking self-parody of themselves and found the song developed a strength that meant it was perfect to open the album.

Another killer riff opens up Promiseland which features some guitar chops over a solid kick-drum through the verse, some soaring harmonies, and a ripper solo for Todd and a whole heap of epic harmony vocals and keyboards.  Classic 80’s rock with a modern grittier southern edge comes to the fore with Merry-Go-Round which sees Angelo deliver a really strong vocal, with some subtle harmonies, and a sensational middle-eight and solo with crushing guitars before the stripped-back final verse.

Angelo originally wrote In It For Love over 10 years ago and the band re-visited it and changed the tempo, so it is a driving melodic rocker with some pounding drums and an odd time-change in the song that sort of works, but gives the track two distinct vibes which while both great in their own right, don’t entirely gel as the one song.

An absolute stormer of a track come out next with Lullaby which is a moodier riff-driven track with some immense drumming and a tasty solo, and the lyrics delivered with a bit of venom – this one will be immense live with the crowd-chorus, and was released as the first single from the album back in May 2019.

The opening guitars of Midnight Queen, the only track from the EP that is on the new record, are melodic and semi-acoustic rather than brutal riffs, and immediately bring to mind some of the classic AOR anthems from Nightranger, Honeymoon Suite, Loverboy, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, with driving bass and drums, and a tasty line in guitar licks from Todd

A rock ballad was always going to find it’s way onto the record, and Get Back To You has got it all – the breathy vocals over acoustic guitar before the band kicks in for the next verse, the soaring vocals of the chorus, and the melodic guitar soloing over huge keyboards – you can see the lighters in the air already.  The solo leads into the power-ballad chorus and there is a second solo in the delightfully overblown outro which works so well. If it sounds as though I am critical, that is certainly not the case…….it is impossible to hear this and not be picked up emotionally at least a little.

Won’t Stop Me Dreaming opens up with a pile-driving riff that has more hook-lines than a trawler, as it races into catchy pre-chorus and even catchier chorus.  The harmonies are seamless and the beat just forces the head to nod and feet to stamp – this will be a killer track live. Album-closer About This Boy has some of the country music influences, and ends up as a what could be a huge radio-friendly west coast rock song with a feel of The Eagles or their modern incarnation, Midland.  

Angelo has the hair and the voice to go with it, with some wonderful harmonies in many of the choruses, with some quality lead guitar and riffing from Todd, and an absolutely solid rhythm-section in Jack and Ben, with the whole package supported by a huge production from Sean Kenny – this is stadium melodic rock of the quality of the likes of Bad English, with the commercial power of Bon Jovi and Europe, and the balls of Skid Row, tinged with the modern Scandinavian power and harmony of Eclipse or Degreed, delivered with a modern British edge as with the likes of New Device, Vega or Night By Night.The album is released on February 21st and is available on all normal formats and from the band website.

Album Review : Matty T Wall – Transpacific Blues Vol.1

Review by Peter Coates –

The more artists I discover for the first time, the more ignorant I think I must be about the music scene!

A CD that dropped into the letter box this week is the new release from Perth bluesman Matty T Wall, which is a collection of some absolute blues classics from some of the all-time greats, performed by Matty and his band, and features a few guest guitarists – with the concept inspired by the Gary Moore release of Still Got The Blues back in 1990.

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Review by Pete Coates –

Canadian artist Leeroy Stagger’s name might not ring too many bells with Australian music lovers, but hopefully that situation is about to change with the release of his latest album, Strange Path – released on Sept 13th through True North Records / MGM. Despite the lack of familiarity, Leeroy has so far released 11 albums, 2 EPs and has 17 years as a singer-songwriter under his belt which has seen him develop a reputation as a masterful lyricist and exciting performer, garnering a strong following in his homeland, while also making inroads into both the UK and US in recent years.

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Album Review : Kris Barras Band – Light It Up

Review by Pete Coates –

Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group – Release Date Sept 13th 

The rise of the Kris Barras Band continues with the announcement of their brand new album Light It Up, which is to be released on the 13th of September via Provogue, a month before their biggest UK headline tour to date.

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Album Review : Jack J Hutchinson – Who Feeds The Wolf?

Review by Peter Coates –

From the opening riff of Justified you get the feeling that what is about to burst through the speakers could be something special. When the Hammond organ and the vocals kick in, the tingles start to run up your spine, and then the middle-eight break hits you like a sledgehammer before the first of many ripping solos puts the icing on the cake. There is so much depth and complexity in the backing vocal harmonies and the underlying melodies that the listener is pulled in deep, and is immersed in the layers.

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Review by Peter Coates –


Another new name to me from the big wide world of the blues, and another cracking example of the quality of blues guitarists out there today – with a handful of solo albums behind him, as well as three years in The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kirk Fletcher has one of the more soulful voices, twinned with a guitar style that brings to mind the likes of Carlos Santana, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, Gary Clarke Jr and Eric Gales to name just a few!
Continue reading Album Review : KIRK FLETCHER – HOLD ON

Album Review : Dave Hole – Goin’ Back Down

Review by Peter Coates

Dave Hole had been on my radar for many years thanks to regular mentions from a mate, noting that he doesn’t release much or tour Australia often. So here comes Goin’ Back Down album number 12 (I think) – after at least 3 years of preparation, writing and learning about engineering and production, building a studio, as well as working out all of the various musical parts he was going to play. Eight of the tracks see Dave Hole playing everything himself, along with some samples and loops, and 3 tracks feature some sidemen on Bass, Drums and Keyboards.
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Album Review : Black Stone Cherry – “Family Tree”

Review by Peter Coates

Black Stone Cherry are still Chris Robertson (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Ben Wells (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jon Lawhon (bass guitar, backinisg vocals), and the brutal John Fred Young (drums, backing vocals), and this 6th studio record sees the band repeating the production duties in the Barrick studio in Glasgow KY, where they had first recorded in back in 2003. In addition Chris handled the mixing of this record, and has done a fine job of it.
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