Album Review: Last in Line- Jericho


Rock supergroup Last in Line releases their third studio album Jericho today via earMUSIC! The name might be familiar to the ardent classic rock fan: it was the name of the 1984 album by Dio. 

Formed in 2012 by former Dio Luminaries, guitarist Vivian Campbell, bassist Jimmy Bain and drummer Vinny Appice, the trio did with the intention of celebrating the charismatic singer's memory. However, the band soon decided to move forward and create their style of music in the vein of Dio.

Jericho catches that same power and energy with the powerful vocals of Andrew Freeman instead. The album features enough meaty riffs for the average rock fan to gnaw on, alongside the impeccable drumming of Mr Appice and rumbling basslines of new bassist Phillip Soussan: a replacement for the late Jimmy Bain, who sadly passed away in 2016. 

Those familiar sounds of Appice's snare drum open with 'Not Today Satan', a resounding track to kick off any rock album with Campbell's leads, an elevation for Freeman to showcase his vocal versatility. Next is 'Ghost Town', a catchy track with soulful vocals and a tasty groove-orientated riff. I do understand why this was the first single.

Last In Line doesn't hold back here as each musician is given the creative freedom to play to their strengths. Producer Chris Hollier recognises this by recording the tracks live so the listener reaps the benefits. Vivian Campbell, in particular, unleashes a crunchy and dark guitar tone. He mixes blues-like riffs like 'Bastard Son' with aggressive, edgy riffs like ' Do the Work'.

The album is multi-layered with hard rock like 'House Party at The End of the World', sounding like the Holy Diver is back, to the more commercial tracks like 'Walls of Jericho'. In addition, Appice is back in fine form here, striking with a purpose. Bassist Phillip Soussan proves a viable opponent for Campbell to fire off a tasty lick; or hair-raising solo.

Overall, Jericho may have done with shoring down to ten tracks; it is still a rollicking good rock album that gives the listener what they want; riffs, lung-busting vocals, and enough joy to forget about the world.

Words by Anselm Anderson: Rating 9/10


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Album Review- The Rhubarb- Symptom of Failure

Glasgow Quartet The Rhubarb have unleashed their debut album Symptom of Failure via Milky Bomb Records. 

Formed in 2015, the band's brand of doom stoner rock, merged with the interchangeable male/female vocals of Hannah White and Sean Maguire will send shivers down your spine. They have built up a solid following with notable support slots to bands like Bongzilla, Alunah and Black Moth, as well as airplay on Total Rock, Amazing Radio and Hard Rock Hell.

Symptom of Failure is the follow-up to 2020's EP Black Sun and features eight tracks of distortion-drenched riffs and psychedelic rock destined to leave your head feeling like in cloud nine.

The low-strung psychedelic Mist opens the album like a soundtrack to a B-horror movie. White's enchanting vocals mesmerise the listener over fuzzy guitars that build to the introduction of Maguire's softer input. The song's spine-tingling instrumental breakdowns resonate throughout this release.

Next is the six-minute 'Forbidden', an equally hazy antidote of razor-sharp riffs and captivating solos. The haunting 'Awful Deed' is the band's latest single; an amalgamation of deft drum fills over ominous guitar play. 

The band interweaves harmonious vocal styles with sinister and distorted riffs to create an uneasy atmosphere within the music. In particular, Guitarist Michael McConville plays a pivotal role in a variety of riffs between slow, sludge instrumental breakdowns to sonically enhancing guitar solos for example, the slow, ponderous guitar leads of 'I Wanna Play a Game' builds speed to more aggressive riffs. Drummer Jack Donnelly also deserves a special mention as the glue that keeps the music together. The combination of subtle tom beat fills and thunderous leads adds a sinister edge to the guitar play and vocals.

And finally, Hannah White's vocal range on 'Trip to the South' is like a possessed Kate Bush over down tuned guitar riffs that are simple, but affected.

Overall, the Symptom of Failure is a fine balance of crafted songs and gothic storytelling that highlights the strong chemistry of the band.

Words by Anselm Anderson

Rating: 8.5/10

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Song Review: Holy Reptile- The Land


Bristol's Psychedelic Three-piece Holy Reptile have released 'The Land', their latest single taken from their upcoming second EP. 

Produced by The Wytches' Kristian Bell, the band reconnects with the true feeling of Psyche music with inspiration from Gothic Literature icons Hunter.S.Thompson, Kathryn Scanlan and Shirley Jackson. 
'The Land' hopes to bring the same bone-chilling and hypnotic feel to tape. The Analogue recording helps identify a dark and crispy tone.

The recurring rhythmic guitar patterns hypnotise the listener over sombre and jagged vocals. The sound is reminiscent of 60's jangly rock with a twist. The track builds up the tempo to an unexpected change in the middle eight. The band suddenly switch gears and let out a ferocious scream to channel the true horror of 'The Land'.

Words by Anselm Anderson

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Song Review- Plastic Barricades- Counting Fireworks

London-based Singer/Songwriter Dan Kert AKA Plastic Barricades returns with the uplifting 'Counting Fireworks', taken from their forthcoming album We Stayed Indoors.

'Counting Fireworks' delivers a positive message about overcoming anxieties through finding beauty in what surrounds us. The song's feel-good vibes begin with Dan Kert's infectious vocal melodies, accompanied by stirring guitar harmonies. The track builds to an energetic chorus that leaves the listener with a depth of warmth inside. Kert has enlisted the help of some talented musicians for his upcoming release and it shows in his singles. The simple songwriting is entuned with people's well-being and serves as a reminder that music doesn't need to be gloomy to enjoy.

Plastic Barricades is set to release its third album, We Stayed Indoors later this year.

Words by Anselm Anderson

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'Counting Fireworks'


Song Review- Amnesiak- Worms of the Mind

A couple of weeks ago on these pages, I reviewed the latest track from UK's Gothic rock act 8-Snake; a band fronted by multi-instrumentalist and composer Francesco Fonte. Fonte now appears on the debut single 'Worms of the Mind' by fellow Brits Amnesiak. Mastered by Platinum and Gold awarded Sound Engineer Maor Appelbaum, the song talks about a woman that suffers from the mental illness Delusional Parasitosis Disorder.

Lead singer, Grace Wilson's towering and haunting vocals relay the true terror of this illness. The slow, seductive basslines build the tension, as Wilson mesmerises, and details the effects this condition has on the woman. The dark, gloomy atmospherics is an eerie reminder of what serious mental disorders take on the mind and body.

'Worms of the Mind' is the debut single, taken from the band's forthcoming self-titled EP.

Words by Anselm Anderson.

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Album Review- Carbellion- Weapons of Choice

Carbellion has just released Weapons of Choice via Eclipse Records. The five-piece may be a mystery to people outside of the States, but their raucous style of rock 'n' roll may soon change that. The band's love for all things heavy and original will certainly ruffle a few feathers. 

Formed in South-Eastern Wisconsin in 2004, they have paid their dues with three EPs and two LPs. The quintet has been entertaining audiences in over 20 states, while sharing the stages with Motorhead, Shinedown, and Clutch amongst many star names. Weapons Of Choice is their third LP of grunge anthems combined with a traditional rock structure. Produced by Carbellion and Chris Djuricic. The band's tales of society begin with the fun-fuelled 'Barfight' with its dirty guitar-driven sound and fist-pumping choruses. It tells the story of a typical night down at the local bar.

Photo Credit: Sara Hays
The infectious grooves of 'Listen for Ghosts' is a reminder rock is far from dead, followed by the hollow screams of "it's the guy with the rings" on 'Pity the Backseat', a reminder this band are a hard-hitting powerful rock unit.

I enjoyed how the band sing about topical social commentary in their own original way. The riffs keep on coming and the songs are as easy on the ears, as the production on this. The band also venture into the heavier elements of their music category with 'Space' sharing similarities to Metallica's' 'Sad but True' and the tenacious 'Weapons of Choice', a combination of vocalist Cameron Kellenberger's jagged vocals over some slick interplay between guitarists Jamie Damrow and Brandon Bauer. The band show diversity and balance between tracks with 'Jungle Boy' exploring a blues side to their sound.

And finally, the band finishes with the dark and heavy 'Seasons of Failure' and a live recording of 'Stalemate'.

Overall, Carbellion shows rock can be a fun business with ten tracks of blue-collar rock 'N' roll.

Words by Anselm Anderson. Rating: 9/10

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Brandon Bauer (guitar), 
Cameron Kellenberger (vocals), 
Brent Nimz (drums),
Jamie Damrow (lead guitar), 
Steve Sheppard (bass guitar)

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'Pity The Backseat'

'Listen For Ghosts'


Album Review: Hollentor- Divergency

Hollentor is the project of guitarist Glen Poland. There won't be many readers that will recognise the name, but most likely will know the guests on Divergency. Names of such rockstar luminaries like James Lomenzo (Megadeth, Black Label Society), George Lynch (Lynch Mob) and Rudy Sarzo 
( Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne) will certainly pique the interest of the avid metalhead.

Glen Poland formed Hollentor in 2014 following a chance encounter with ex-Megadeth guitarist Glen Drover. The duo bonded over their names and interests in the 1980s Thrash Metal act after the pair met during an online session by Drover. The latter agreed to record tracks for the former to release an album. The guitarist brought in his brother, Shawn on drums and Hollentor was born. Divergency is the third outing for the project, which has brought in the aforementioned names, including Firewind vocalist Henning Basse. The album itself is nine tracks of solid old-school metal with soaring vocals and definitive guitar play.

The melodic guitar lead of 'Behind The Wall' is a good start to this album. The dark, intense feeling is amplified by the strong, tenacious vocal melodies accompanied by razor-sharp riffs. Next up are the softer melodies of the title track 'Divergency'. George Lynch brings some edge and diversity to the guitar play on 'Find The Light'. I personally enjoy how each song shows Judas Priest and Megadeth's influences with different styles. The inclusion of seasoned veterans helps bring this release to life.

In addition, the album has modern rock sensitivities such as 'Lotus Eater', a track with crunching riffs and towering vocal melodies heard on contemporary modern rock albums. 'Seize The Day' is a heavier track with another memorable performance from Henning Basse. The vocalist benefits from working with several experienced metal guitarists which allows him to reach his full potential. Other highlights include the anthemic 'Vikings Pride' with its pummeling drums, galloping rhythms and eye-watering solos.

Overall, Glen Poland and Hollentor may not be recognisable names, but, hopefully, they will be after this release. The album is certainly an ode to 1980s metal with tight songwriting, unforgettable riffs and hook-laden choruses.

Rating: 8/10. Words by Anselm Anderson

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Song Review: 8Snake- The Unreliable


British Gothic Rock act 8 Snake returns with their latest single 'The Unreliable' via 8Music Group.
This track continues the theme of mental health and isolation touched upon in 'Another End'. This time the track focuses on a man consumed by a human's never-ending quest for money and success. This obsession ultimately leads the man to surrender to his alcoholism and drug addiction.

'The Unreliable' was mixed and mastered by Doug Wheeler. The track starts with a similar post-gothic sound of  'Another End'. The dark, eerie riffs resonate with uneasiness for the listener before vocalist Francesco Fonte croons over the verses. Fonte's voice is stern and jagged like the late Pete Steele of Type 'O' Negative. The chorus releases the tension with powerful melodies that reflect the character's need to escape and restart his life. 

Overall, 8Snake continues to build up anticipation for their new album with an interesting concept behind mental health and the real-life struggle people felt during the Covid lockdowns.

Words by Anselm Anderson

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Album Review- My Own Fear- Violence Made History

Rambling Man's Reviews began in 2023 with a look at some thrash metal from France. The blog cocontinues by reviewing Violence Made History by Paris-based Thrash metal band My Own Fear via  Music-Records.

Formed in 2011, the five-piece released the 2014 EP Rise, before appearing alongside fellow France contemporaries such as Aggressor, Mercyless and Primal Age on tour.

Violence Made History was originally recorded, mixed and mastered in 2020 by Enzo Biasizzo at Elevation Studio. My Own Fear seeks influence from Kreator, Slayer and Morbid Angel among such brutal metal acts. This can be heard in the 39 minutes of the neck-breaking, teeth-gnashing style of pure metal of the Bay Area like.

The  album opens with a dark, haunting piano intro on 'Once Upon A Fall' as it segues into the no-nonsense '6:8-1', five minutes of cutthroat metal. The band's technical guitar skills blend with pummeling blast beats and guttural screams becoming a signature throughout this LP.

This relentless force of rapid fret play and muscular riffs continues on 'Dux Bellarum', a mix of said guitar play and dual  screams underline the band's anger and intensity. The main takeaway from this LP is the band's craftsmanship in building riffs to an ear-splitting finale. They combine tight chemistry and a clear idea of what works for them. This is evidenced in 'Hellfire Club (H.F.C), the throat-inducing screams of vocalist Nicholas stretch over the sardonic riffs that climax into a double guitar dual and jaw-dropping solo.

Another highlight I may add for your listening choice is 'Salem', a track inspired by witches. This is probably the closest the band come to "clean" vocals. The harrowing screams over bone-crushing drumming and melodic breakdowns promise trouble is brewing. And finally, the three-part 'Era of The Rats' completes my second rendezvous into French Metal.

Overall, My Own Fear creates ten sonic blasts of earth-shattering metal tracks to show the genre is still awake...and trembling.

Rating: 8/10. Words by Anselm Anderson.

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