NEAL SMITH – Pop 85/95

Neal Smith will always be best remembered for his time spent as the drummer in the original Alice Cooper group between 1968 and 1974.  Once seen, the image of that band becomes indelible.  Not just for a body-stocking wearing, snake-wielding frontman, either.  At their 1973 peak, Smith’s presence was like witnessing a blonde octopus attacking a drum kit.  He allegedly always made sure his kit was one drum bigger than Keith Moon’s. There’s no denying that this man was a rhythmic god.

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GRAMMA VENDETTA – A.C.I.D. Compliant EP

When Gramma Vendetta released their ‘Proof of Concept’ EP in 2018, the world was a very different place. Their punchy blues/garage/stoner metal hybrid sound was squarely about entertainment. After recording began on a follow up, a global pandemic forced everything into shutdown and – like everyone else – the band found themselves with a different set of priorities. The planned album became a stop-gap EP and the lockdown situation also gave them lyric inspiration, so, in many ways, their 2020 release ended up being a very different beast.

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Watch: Sven Gali return with a new video, ‘Now’

Twenty five years on from their second LP ‘Inwire’, hard rockers Sven Gali returned in June 2020 with their third release, the appropriately titled ‘3’.   With four riff-heavy tracks that take the bones of their earlier sound and potentially make it heavier, the new EP is a fantastic listen for anyone who enjoys a heavy sound with melodic roots.

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Listen: The Phoenix Within explore the power of words on new single ‘Tenfold’

“[It] touches on the importance of words, their meaning and their power. The lyrics reflect on how words can be used to comfort, empower and encourage. But it also reflects on how they can be used to agitate, hurt and destroy,” says The Phoenix Within’s frontman Omar Feliciano of the band’s new single ‘Tenfold’.

Tackling the themes of using words to build relationships and bridges instead of using them to hurt, ‘Tenfold’ is already a powerful statement, regardless of the music. The track’s arrangement, luckily, has almost an equal power with a set of riffs that very much hark back to the 90s emo movement – specifically bands like Sense Field and Shift – which, combined with a thoughtful vocal performance, results in a fantastic three minute alt-rock tune that should appeal to fans of 90s sounds as well as lovers of bands like Fall Out Boy.

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