Australian Punk band Cousin Betty return with an explosive new single "Taxes and Death" on January 10th, taken from their upcoming debut LP, The band have been riding high with the releases of their two EP'S, Left and Overs.'TAXES & DEATH' is based on President Benjamin Franklin's famous quote and sees the band venting their frustrations at selfish record labels.

Cousin Betty was formed by renowned guitarist and songwriter, Damien Stofka who has created riffs and written songs for Molten Universe, Death Mattel, LITTER and various other projects for the last 15 years. Stofka formed the band after seeking inspiration from The  Desert Sessions. The guitarist seemed disillusioned with being part of a standard band, he decided to spend his downtime compiling albums worth of material with contributing artists and performers he liked.

'Taxes and Death' is a rousing track, clocking in after one and a half minutes. The guitar-driven song is punchy and aggressive. The band shout over sharp riffs and pummeling drums. This feels like a punk anthem for the reality we find ourselves in.

Words by Anselm Anderson

 'Taxes and Death' WILL BE AVAILABLE on January 10th, click here to pre-order the track.https://linktr.ee/cousinbetty

Click here to read about the band's other songs.

SONG OF THE DAY Cousin Betty - Drone | Rambling Man's Reviews (anselmanderson.blogspot.com)

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Rising female-fronted Rock act Smoking Martha has released their sophomore effort, Universe, a follow up to 2017's widely received debut 'In Deep'. The album features the band's diverse sound, combining pop vocal choruses with blistering riffs and infectious hooks over 12 tracks.

Smoking Martha, fronted by the charismatic charms of Natasha Doherty, hail from Brisbane, Australia. The quartet has steadily forged a strong cult following with notable support slots with some of rock's recognisable acts, such as Thunder, Uriah Heep and Saliva. The band have also made regular appearances at local festivals in their native Australia, including an appearance at Hard Rock Hell in 2018 in England. The LP was produced by Matt Bartlem and Luke Palmer (Dead Letter Circus), recorded at Studio Circus in Queensland, Australia.

The LP starts with the thunderous drum intro of "Good Girls". Doherty's distinctive rich vocals sound similar to No Doubt's Gwen Stafani with added zest. Next up is the mesmerising tones of "Only Love ". The clean guitar breaks blend with strong drumming to produce a real rocker to kick this album into touch.

The album can, at times, feel disconnected between the vocals and the music. Nonetheless, the band show mature songwriting skills to produce a diverse album to include blues, soft rock,and hard rock.
Lead single 'Liquid Sunshine'  shows they can also do ballads, too. The song's heartwarming melodies combine with sweet vocals and hazy riffs to create a nice track

It is at this part of the LP that feels like it has been split into two EP'S, The first sounding like a real rock album, the second part of the LP feels more experimental with more variation in the band's musical abilities. The bluesy "Intermission" is a surprising addition here. Other highlights include the sonic guitar sounds of the radio-friendly "Ghost" and the vibrant "It's A Lie", complete with dirty riffs. The funky "Wild and Free" sounds like something from the seventies classic rock book with Doherty crooning over pounding drums and a dynamic rock sound. The title track "Universe" wraps things up with this ballad that sounds like a farewell to this satisfying release.

Overall, Smoking Martha come out firing on all cylinders with another sterling effort released from Xelon Entertainment. The band show promise in their attempts to create something fresh for an avid rock fan.

Words by Anselm Anderson

'Universe' album tracklist:

1. Good Girls
2. Only Love
3. I Tried
4. Wonderful Happiness
5. Liquid Sunshine
6. Intermission
7. Neon Lights
8. Ghost
9. It's A Lie
10. Wild And Free
11. In The Shadows
12. Universe

Smoking Martha is:

Tasha D – Vocals

Mick Broome – Guitar

Matty Mulheran – Bass

Jordy Poynter – Drums


Official Website – https://www.smokingmartha.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/smokingmartha @smokingmartha
Twitter – https://twitter.com/smokingmartha @smokingmartha
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/smokingmartha @smokingmartha
You Tube – https://www.youtube.com/user/smokingmartha



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Stockholm based alt-rockers AD MELIORA returns with the premiere of the video to the new single "No Yellow Bricks."

It is the first track since this year's debut EP The Void, The Time, The Path. 'No Yellow Bricks' is a melodic rock song about struggling to overcome doubt and depression to achieve one's personal goals. The quartet consists of experienced musicians from Spain, Italy and The Canary Islands. Ad Meliora combines alternative rock with math-rock elements and melodious passages.

The song opens with an alternate finger-picking guitar style that erupts explosively into a distorted riff. This repetition of the riff builds throughout the first verse, slowing towards the bridge. The tempo slows in between verses, as lead vocalist Paolo sings in a reflective tone. The passages are intricate and mellow, as the tempo builds to a climax. The song finishes with a return to the heavy riff that greeted the start of the track, which identifies vocalist Paolo Alabau screaming out all his frustrations. Drummer Ioan Ebbasta maintains a rhythmic drumming style. Guitarist Sergio Ortiz and bassist Abby Suarez build up some unusual arrangements that support the vocalist to sing openly.

Words by Anselm Anderson

Click here to read all about the debut EP from Ad Meliora










Horror rock quartet EB &THE DEADLIGHTS unleash hell on their much-anticipated debut EP Still See Ghosts. The ghoulish Irishmen hail from Belfast, Northern Ireland, consisting of lead vocalist Ethan Beattie, rhythm guitarist Matt McCabe, drummer Alex Williams and keyboardist/lead guitarist Andy McCarney.

The band's mix of punk, razor-sharp riffs and contagious choruses all stems from their influences, including Murderdolls, Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. The album is five tracks long, clocking in at roughly under 20 minutes. The EP begins with the abrasive "Nightmare Of Reality", a raging two-minute blast of harsh aggressive vocals, frenetic guitars, and enough rawness to start things off.

Next up is "Heathen of The Mind", a full-throttle blast of raw anger and angst. The song's groovy riffs, pummeling drums, and a cross between feral screams and clean vocals make this the standout track on the EP. The Deadlights play music on their sleeves with an experimental look through their inner selves to find the right music to suit them. The album can at times sound a lot like their influences. However, they have enough ideas and talent to forge their own sound going forward, This writer personally feels the music sounds better when Beattie uses clean vocals as it catches his true voice.

"Devil Between Me and You" is an example of a track that does just that. This is more of a blues-orientated song. The acoustic guitar intro is dark and atmospheric, and Beattie does his best Billy Idol impression in time with the rhythmic drumming patterns. The song concludes with a scintillating solo that is short and effective.

Next up is the sinister tones of "Empty Frames" which sounds similar to "Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson. The cutthroat riffs resonate within the ear, along with an eerie keyboard sound, menacing vocals and another solo to add to the band's impressive arsenal for killer riffs.

And finally, the title track "Still See Ghosts" is a sombre farewell steeped in melancholy and pain.

Overall, EB & The Delights may be seeing more than ghosts after this pleasing debut. The band's got an interesting concept they need to stick with

Words by Anselm Anderson





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Australian Multi-Instrumentalist Aquilus AKA Mr Horace Rosenqvist returns with the first of a two-part opus entitled Bellum-I via Blood Music Records. The 62-minute eight-track release is heavily influenced by dark, atmospheric metal, European folk and classical music.

It is rare to feature such a record on the Rambling Man's pages, but this album has an overall sense of something epic emerging here. The musician hails from Melbourne, Australia and features several musicians on this album. 'Bellum- I' opts to feature some traditional instruments such as acoustic guitars. piano, violins, mandolas, balalaika, mandolins, banjos, gusli, bow psaltery, and fipple flutes.

Aquilas first came to prominence ten years ago with his debut album, 'Griseus'. which was preceded by a series of demos released in the 2000s. 'Bellum-I 'brings together eight tracks of melodious symphonies, harrowing vocals and an ethereal adventure all to your stereos.

The sombre tinkles of the piano-laden "The Night Winds of Avila" sets the scene for what feels like a gothic horror movie. "Into Wooded Hollows" sums up that previous assessment with a riveting six minutes of a macabre journey through deathly growls, tender pianos and bone-chilling string arrangements that would please horror novelist  Clive Barker.

Bellum-I seems a statement of intent from the one-man band to bring something unique to the mainstream. Each track feels like a soundtrack to some epic waiting to be discovered in the cold arms of winter.

The 13-minute " Eternal Unrest" is the longest on the album. This feels like an interlude with each augmentation of dissonant chords growing in sound. The song feels like it is broken into four parts with some nice melodic piano leads followed by death growls and jagged symphonies sounding like a battle between good and evil.

"The Silent Passing" is anything but with a more heavy metal edge.  The resonant cries of loud and catatonic vocals regurgitate over menacing guitar riffs. The album closes with two nine-minute tracks "Lucifer's Gate" and "Empyreal Nightsky" which sound like they could be two cinematic masterpieces that offer a series of emotions. Aquilus encaptures sadness, pain and brevity through a remarkable choice of instrumentation and symphonies.

Overall, 'Bellum-I' may very well alter your perceptions of classical music and dark metal because Aquilus has created a sound that makes them both work.

Words by Anselm Anderson



The Night Winds of Avila

Into Wooded Hollows

Eternal Unrest

Moon Isabelline

The Silent Passing

Embered Waters

Lucille’s Gate

Empyreal Nightsky

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Bath-based Independent Record Label Pale Wizard Records present a tribute to Alice Cooper's 1971 album 'Killer'. The shock rocker's fourth studio album proved to be an influential one on many successors because it proved to be a turning point for the band. 'Killer' was a statement of intent to the critics hung up on the band's theatrics and make-up.

The English based record label was formed in 2007 by friends Tim Hilleard and Dan Flitcroft. The duo picked eight of their best acts to sing on the album, including a cameo by Dan Flitcroft's Sergeant Thunderhoof. They wanted to pay a special tribute to their favourite artist, so they thought it would be a good opportunity with 'Killer'. The album was originally released on November 27th,1971.

Killer: 50 years later... features some upcoming acts from the world of hard rock, psychedelia, and the stoner underground putting their own spin on this legendary album.

London's Psychedelic Green Lung kicks off with a camp rendition of "Under My Wheels". The act put a glam rock touch on the track with searing keys and a sizzling solo. This cover feels more like a celebration of the star. Next up is Oxford's desert rockers' The Grand Mal, who add their own charisma and charm to "Be My Lover" Dan Flitcroft's Sergeant Thunderhoof do a sterling job making "Halo Of Flies" darker and more psychedelic than the original.

The album is a fun concept with many of England's lesser-known acts grabbing an opportunity to showcase their abilities on such a huge album. However, there are times on here when the tracks don't click. The down-tuned riffs of 1968 are an exception on "You Drive Me
Nervous" sounds more menacing than Cooper's version. This is where the album makes the concept
work with tracks like Ritual King's "Desperado" and Mos Generator's "Dead Babies" sending shivers down this writer's spine.

The album finishes with the quirkiness of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell singing on the title track "Killer" There are four bonus tracks for the CD and Digital formats. The Female-fronted hard rock act Alunah adds grit to "I'm Eighteen" with sultry vocals and mesmerising guitar work. Suns Of Thunder's highly-charged rendition of "Billion Dollar Babies" Possessor's heavy,groove-orientated "Muscle Of Love" and finally the macabre screams of "Sick Things" from Sound Of Origin.

Overall, Pale Wizard Records deliver a pleasing trip down memory lane with some talented acts on hand to help.

Words by Anselm Anderson

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