Following in the footsteps of various archive solo releases by Graham Bonnet – ranging from his unreleased solo debut to a three disc anthology of unreleased recordings from his time in Australia – this six disc box set from Hear No Evil Records gives Bonnet’s fans another reason to celebrate. ‘The Official Bootleg Box Set 1983-1986’ does exactly what it says on the tin. It presents three different live shows from Texas on the ‘No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll’ tour – featuring Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar – alongside three discs’ worth of rehearsals and demos culled from a four year period.
For most people, Eddie Jobson will be best known as an electric violin player who made his name in the seventies as a member of Curved Air and Roxy Music, as well as being a founder member of progressive rock supergroup UK.
Jobson has had a long and varied career, which will be celebrated on a series of compilation discs – each one covering a separate decade. The first of these, ‘The Band Years: 1971-79’ features a well curated selection of tracks including solo material and some of the bands with which Jobson made his name, including a broad overview of UK’s two studio albums.
Taking an early influence from Paul McCartney, bassist Chris Squire truly pushed boundaries in the late sixties and early 70s and took the four stringed instrument into new territory. Using the rhythmic instrument as a lead, Squire gave the bass a distinctive voice and with progressive rock band Yes, he subsequently became a huge influence upon bassists around the world.
Prior to his death in 2015, Squire gave his blessing for Yes to continue without him. In many ways, any form of Yes without Squire seemed like an odd proposition since his writing and arranging skills were always pivotal to everything, but the official Yes (featuring long-time members Stece Howe and Alan White, alongside vocalist Jon Davison) have toured harder and more extensively than ever, keen to keep Squire’s memory and legacy alive. With Yes releasing their own tribute in October 2018 via Cherry Red Records (including new recordings by Yes men Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood), it’s only right that the band’s founding father should have his own tribute too, and while on the surface, this US release ‘A Life In Yes’ (issued via Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid) doesn’t appear quite as glossy as its UK counterpart, it is every bit as interesting. A few recordings even make it an essential listen.
In 2016, Liverpool’s Novacrow released their debut EP ‘Black Syrup’, a melting pot of goth, grunge and funk with horror overtones that really captured a great sound. The riffs were often weighty, but most impressive of all were the vocals. It was immediately obvious that Kitty S. possessed a voice that really stood out above the heaviness; her clean vocal style made everything incredibly accessible and melodic, no matter how deep or intensive the riffs. Throughout the release, she sounded like a star in the making.
The following year came and went and things seemed to go rather quiet in the Novacrow camp. Finally, after what felt like forever, they returned with five new songs in the autumn of 2018. The resultant EP, ‘Criminal Mastermind’ isn’t as consistent as its predecessor and takes longer to get into, but when it really hits the mark, it presents a Novacrow that sounds as good as ever.
In Tenebriz is one of Russia’s more adventurous extreme metal bands. Rather than just settle for plain old black or death metal, their previous releases have fused black metal elements with bits of drone rock and post-metal, lending an almost cinematic feel to their work. Their 2018 release ‘Winternight Poetry’ is arguably their most adventurous, presenting a seven chapter half hour suite telling the story of Kai, whom upon visiting the kingdom of the Snow Queen, is taken prisoner and forever trapped in a world of permafrost. You wouldn’t know that unless you were told, since – as always with things from a black/extreme metal perspective – the lyrics are hard to grasp without the aid of the written word. For most listeners, it’ll be down to the music to do the talking…and luckily, this release features some great sounds and arrangements, befitting of such a brave piece of conceptual and progressive metal.