Album Review: Burning Witches- The Dark Tower


Release Date: May 5th                           Record Label: Napalm Records

The five enchantresses of Burning Witches return with a call to arms for old-school metal. The Dark Tower is a varied album with plenty of riffs and 1980s-fused heavy metal. Produced by Destruction Frontman Schmier, The ladies' fifth studio effort will be released this Friday, May 5th via Napalm Records.

Lead by the colossal vocals of Laura Guldemond, the album focuses on the bone-chilling tales of ghouls, witches and monsters. The album begins with an opening monologue 'Rise of Darkness' to set the scene for a full-out assault of the earlobes. The bone-shattering riffs of 'Unleash The Beast' whets the appetites with guest guitarist Courtney Cox (Not Monica from Friends!) linking up with regular guitarist Romana Kalkhul to do battle with a two-pronged attack.

The infectious 'Renegade' and 'Evil Witch' deliver enough muscular riffs and ear-splitting drumming from Lala Frischknecht to carry the momentum of the album. The ballad 'Tomorrow' gives listeners a respite before the thunderous lead single 'The Dark Tower' raises those hairs on the neck.

Photo Credit: Martin Rahn

The album switches to harmonic choruses and an aggressive guitar sound with tracks like 'Arrow of Time' and 'Heart of Ice' with guitar-tapping and structured riffs and solos giving it a Judas feel.

The band have a real togetherness on this release with a serious mission statement to the metal world. The production is second to none and the guitar work is spellbinding with a daringness to try out new ideas and to dazzle the listener. The only drawback I have about the album is some of those riffs can sound too similar towards the end.

And finally, the grooves of 'The Lost Souls ' with Laura's devilish staccato growl end this album.

Overall, Burning Witches set the metal world ablaze with 13 tales of true horror with a true metal album for the masses.

Words by Anselm Anderson      Rating: 8.5/10

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Tracklist The Dark Tower:

1. Rise Of Darkness
2. Unleash The Beast
3. Renegade
4. Evil Witch
5. World On Fire
6. Tomorrow
7. House Of Blood
8. The Dark Tower
9. Heart Of Ice
10. Arrow Of Time
11. Doomed To Die
12. Into The Unknown
13. The Lost Souls


Jeanine Grob - Bass
Lala Frischknecht - Drums
Romana Kalkuhl - Guitars
Laura Guldemond - Vocals
Larissa Ernst - Guitars


The Dark Tower

Unleash The Beast
(Contains Flashing Images)


Album Review: Coastal Fire Department- Outsiders


UK Post Grunge Newcomers Coastal Fire Department " get a kick out being an outsider". The theme of their latest LP, Outsiders, released via L'islet Records.

The quartet was formed a decade ago in Guernsey Since then, Coastal Fire Department has gained a reputation for continually evolving its sound. Outsiders is a follow-up to 2021's debut album, Connected, which sees the band create a guitar-driven record with lyrical content based on social observations and stories. The album's swirling guitars, angular vocals and tongue-in-cheek perspective on life are expected to win them over a new following.

Recorded by QOTSA producer Kelli Scott, the aggressive opening riff to 'What I Do' is a slab of 2000's post-grunge with cascading vocal melodies and a singer in deep reflection. Next is the emotive 'Cry Your Heart Out', a sound reflective of radio-friendly rock acts like Editors.

CFD aim to write tracks that appeal to the members of society that feel undervalued. Outsiders is an anthem for those people with observations of everyday situations that would otherwise go unnoticed. The rousing 'Gentleman' is one such example. Its ferocious guitars, pounding drums and the cries of lead vocalist Ollie Goddard is a standout track out of the opening songs.

The album picks up momentum with the angst-driven 'Gun' and the dark grooves of 'Stranger Town'. It takes CFD time but soon develops a sharp, grunge sound reminiscent of acts like Pixies and Nirvana.

Ollie Goddard is the whimsical lyricist regaling stories of old over the dirty, distorted riffs of himself and lead guitarist John Langlois. Bassist Saad Frihmat's thick basslines come to prominence in the Pixies cover 'Gouge Away', whilst drummer Ozzy Austin keeps those tom-tom beats going throughout without missing a rhythm.

Overall, Coastal Fire Department creates a sound for the outsiders with a rock genre made specifically for outsiders. The album takes time to get into, but they prevail with a unique collection of rock tracks for the masses.

Rating: 8/10

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Stranger Town

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Album Review- Ian Hunter: Defiance Part One

Record Label: Sun Records Release Date: April 21st

Legendary singer/songwriter Ian Hunter has been a household name for an incredible seven decades, since his humble beginnings with Mott the Hoople.

Defiance: Part One is the first of two releases featuring a star-studded lineup, due for release this Friday, April 21st via Sun Records. Ian Hunter brings all the talent to help tell his stories in the best way. Produced by longtime collaborator Andy York, the album features stars as diverse as Billy F Gibbons (ZZ Top), Slash (Guns 'N' Roses), Todd Rundgren and the late Jeff Beck.

Hunter recorded the album in 2020 during the lockdown in Hunter's Connecticut Basement with the help of a computer, V5 Piano and 'A very small keyboard'.

The album begins with the ferocious guitar leads of Slash and grooves of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo on 'Defiance' Trujillo borrowed the fretless bass used by the late Jaco Pistorius on Hunter's second release, 1975's All American Alien Boy. Next up is the poignant tribute to, I think, Hunter's father on 'No Hard Fellings' featuring stellar guitar work from Jeff Beck and the Hollywood star Johnny Depp on slide guitar.

Ian Hunter shows maturity beyond his years with his compromising voice and ability to convey stories through his lyrical play. He also shows a willingness to select talented musicians to adapt to his affable singer/songwriter style. There is the rebellious rocker 'Pavlov's Dog' featuring the remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots- The Deleo Brothers on Guitar and Bass and drummer Eric Kretz, as well as the melodic songs 'Guernica' with Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliot and 'Angel' featuring the late Foo Fighter drummer Taylor Hawkins appearing on two tracks. 

And without forgetting the playful lead single 'Bed of Roses' with Ringo Starr and Mike Campbell (Tom Petty) providing listeners with an upbeat reminiscent throwback to Hunter's Mott the Hoople days.

Overall, Ian Hunter produces ten tracks of True Defiance with solid rock songs full of catchy choruses, feel-good tunes, and a tale of a veteran with enough life than all those young dudes rocking the system these days.

Rating: 9.5/10   Words by Anselm Anderson

'Defiance: Part One"' is available this Friday, April 21st via all streaming platforms and retail outlets.

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1. Defiance

Dane Clark: Drums

Robert Trujillo: Bass

Slash: Electric, Rhythm and Lead Guitars

Dennis Dibrizzi: Background Vocal

Andy York: Background Vocal

Ian Hunter: Electric Guitar

2. Bed Of Roses

Ringo Starr: Drums

Tony Shanahan: Bass

Mike Campbell: Acoustic and Electric Rhythm Guitars, Slide Guitar, Mandolin

Andy Burton: Organ

Rich Pagano: Tambourine

Andy York: Background Vocals

Ian Hunter: Piano

3. No Hard Feelings

Dane Clark: Drums and Percussion

Johnny Depp: Acoustic and Electric Rhythm Guitars, Slide Guitar, Background Vocals

Jeff Beck: Lead Guitar

Andy York: Electric Guitar, Bass

Ian Hunter: Piano

4. Pavlov’s Dog

Eric Kretz: Drums

Dean DeLeo: Electric Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Acoustic Guitar, Slide Guitar

Robert DeLeo: Bass

Dennis Dibrizzi: Background Vocal

Andy York: Background Vocal, Maracas

Ian Hunter: Piano

5. Don’t Tread On Me

Rich Pagano: Drums, Congas, Percussion

Todd Rundgren: Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars, Background Vocals

Andy Burton: Organ

Andy York: Bass

Ian Hunter: Piano

6. Guernica

Dane Clark: Drums and Percussion

Mike Campbell: Electric Rhythm and Lead Guitars

Joe Elliott: Background Vocals

Andy Burton: Harmonium

Andy York: Bass, Baritone Guitar, Background Vocal

Ian Hunter: Piano

7. I Hate Hate

Dane Clark: Drums

Andy Burton: Keyboards

Dennis Dibrizzi: Background Vocals

Andy York: Baritone Guitar, Tambourine, Background Vocals

Ian Hunter: Piano

8. Angel

Taylor Hawkins: Drums, Electric Guitars, Electric Piano, Background Vocals

Duff McKagan: Bass

Brad Whitford: Slide Guitar

Waddy Wachtel: 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Lead Electric Guitars

Ian Hunter: Piano

9. Kiss N’Make Up

Taylor Hawkins: Drums

Billy Bob Thornton: Percussion, Lead and Backup Vocals

Billy F Gibbons: Electric, Rhythm and Lead Guitars

J.D. Andrew: Bass

James Mastro: Electric Guitar

Rich Pagano: Congas

Andy Burton: Keyboards, Vibes

10. This Is What I’m Here For

Taylor Hawkins: Drums

Waddy Wachtel: Electric Rhythm and Lead Guitars

Joe Elliott: Background Vocals

Paul Page: Bass

Andy Burton: Organ

Andy York: Baritone Guitar

Ian Hunter: Piano

11. I Hate Hate (Alternate Version)

Dane Clark: Drums

Jeff Tweedy: Electric Guitars and Bass

Andy Burton: Keyboard

Dennis Dibrizzi: Background Vocal

Andy Burton: Organ

Andy York: Tambourine and Background Vocal

Ian Hunter: Piano

All Songs Written By Ian Hunter

Produced By Andy York and Ian Hunter

Mixed By James Frazee



Album Review: LA Guns- Black Diamonds


Release Date: April 14th        Record Label: Fron s.r.l

The regular reader of these pages can handle the tale of Mr Tracii Guns and Guns 'N' Roses: We all know how that played out. Today, Mr Guns is back with his LA Guns, particularly Black Diamonds, due out this Friday (April 14th) via Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Produced by the man (Tracii Guns) himself, Black Diamonds is the band's fourth album since Guns formed the band in 1988.  The band have had their well-documented issues but has rekindled the original energy since Guns and Vocalist Phil Lewis reformed the band in 2017. The album was recorded last year, and the 11 tracks show significant 1970's influences from Led Zeppelin,  and, more recently, Guns and Roses, Alice Cooper.

The album opens with the post-grunge vibes of 'Betray You', Lewis croons over distorted, psychedelic riffs. Next is the hook-laden grooves of 'Wrong About You'. LA Guns blend that hard rock edge with ballads like 'Diamonds' and 'Gonna Lose'. They do try to keep the listener interested with catchy songs and the odd riff. Unfortunately, Black Diamonds stands to suffer for sounding too much like the Zep.

That doesn't mean it is a bad album at all. There are some foot-stompers like 'Babylon' and 'Got It Wrong' that keep those rock listeners' hips' swaying. The album flows nicely and I tend to forget it is only 41 minutes long. Tracii Guns takes on extra duties on guitar and mellotron. He combines well with Phil Lewis and fellow guitarist Johnny Martin on 'Lowlife' to give an extra edge to proceedings. LA Guns certainly sound like they had a lot of fun recording this.

Overall, LA Guns may not be shining all Black Diamonds here. However, there are enough gems for the band to sparkle and remind bands of who they really are.

Words by Anselm Anderson.  Rating: 7.5/10 

Black Diamonds will be released via all streaming platforms and available retail outlets on April 14th via Frontiers Music s.r.l.

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“Black Diamonds” tracklisting:

You Betray
Wrong About You
Shattered Glass
Gonna Lose
Got It Wrong
Like A Drug

Time: 0.41.14


Phil Lewis - Vocals
Tracii Guns - Electric & Acoustic Guitars, MellotronAce Von Johnson - Electric Guitars
Johnny Martin - Bass, Electric Electric Guitars
Shawn Duncan - Drums (live)
Adam Hamilton - Drums (studio) & Strings

Produced by Tracii Guns

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Song Review: Little King- Silver Tongue.


Texan Progressive rock act Little King celebrates 25 years of their existence with a tongue-in-cheek look back over those years. 'Silver Tongue' is a compilation of the band's work with references to previous album titles referenced throughout the track.

Formed in 1996 by guitarist/singer/songwriter Ryan Rosoff, he named the band after a Gaelic translation of his name. The band have released five LPs and two EPs to date. The track mixes hard rock, blues and metal with progressive elements to create a fun track.

The distinctive sound of a dirty blues riff gets the listeners on their feet. The song builds tempo with a hook-laden chorus before it transitions into more melodic grooves. The darker grooves slow the tempo before the bridge explodes into ominous vocal melodies.

'Silver Tongue' is a raucous slice of rock with meaty riffs and enough twists to send the listener off the scent.

Words by Anselm Anderson

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