ATTIC THEORY – The Sign Of An Active Mind EP

Formed from the ashes of three underground bands in 2017, Liverpool’s Attic Theory quickly gained some high profile champions on the rock scene. Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot is on record as being one of their early fans, and long before their debut release emerged, the band had already shared stages with Terrorvision, US legends Candlebox and Saving Abel.

Their 2020 EP introduces their work to a wider audience via six tracks that blend a classic rock heart with elements of a very 90s inspired post-grunge edge. It’s a sound that, when it works for Attic Theory, works brilliantly. Even when it misses the mark slightly, as most bands do on occasion, their musical intents are always more than clear. Whatever angle of hard rock the band chooses to tackle, however, the riffs are huge and the hooks are more than assured.

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JUDAS PRIEST – Point Of Entry

By the time Judas Priest entered the 1980s – their second decade as recording artists – the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was in full flow. As has been written many times before, their sixth studio album ‘British Steel’ is a genuine metal classic, more than able of standing proudly alongside Iron Maiden’s self titled debut and Saxon’s ‘Wheels of Steel’ as one of the greatest heavy albums of that year. No matter how much great music Priest had up their collective sleeve, that would always be a hard act to follow.

In 1981, Priest had high hopes of repeating ‘British Steel’s’ commercial success with another timeless set. Being the first time the band had actually re-entered the studio with the same line-up, in theory, they should have been a stronger unit than ever. However, the resulting album, ‘Point of Entry’ (released in February ’81) initially sounds weaker than Priest’s previous couple of albums and although parts of it seem very formulaic on the surface, in reality, their seventh LP features a couple of musical experiments that show a band attempting to branch out. Regardless of some interesting material, though, it’s no match for its immediate predecessors (‘British Steel’ and ‘Killing Machine’); that said, it’s far from the bad album its sometimes suggested to be.
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SKYHAMMER – The Skyhammer EP

Over the decades, metal has gone through various changes and spawned a lot of different heavy – and increasingly heavier – subgenres, but sometimes, there’s a genuine pleasure in hearing a band thundering out a riff or six that takes things right back to basics. Australia’s Skyhammer bill themselves as “a traditional metal band” and within the first ten seconds of this self-titled EP, that traditional – and very 80s – aspect of their art is presented rather unapologetically. For lovers of the style, this will be a good thing, especially with the opening track showcasing some fab twin lead guitar sounds inspired by Iron Maiden circa 1984.

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DURBIN – The Beast Awakens

Rock vocalist James Durbin first came to public attention when he participated in the tenth season of American Idol in 2011. A genuine wildcard amongst pop wannabes, his love of rock music eventually made him stand out, and although not a winner, he gained a respectful top five placing. That relative success later allowed him to perform alongside his heroes Judas Priest on the show. His career took a more credible path later when he became the lead singer for Quiet Riot in 2017, subsequently recording two albums with them for the Frontiers Records label. Despite leaving Quiet Riot after a relatively short time, his association with Frontiers continued and the label released his first solo record in 2021.

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