At the end of March, the second release from Bullet Proof Lovers hits US shores. We got to hear it early at Real Gone and can confidently say it’s an absolute belter of a long-player. Everything the previous mini-album promised comes through big style: punky workouts, big chorus hooks and even more of the new wave aspects usually associated with frontman Kurt Baker’s solo career. It’s got a little of everything needed for achieving that feel good factor.
Russia’s Always Sick are another band joining the onslaught of punkers either channelling classic Ramones or ‘39/Smooth’ era Green Day for their primary influences. Ranging from the almost piss-takingly good (Riverdales, Tough) to the flat out awful, there’s a world’s worth of acts channelling the same four chords to make their punky mark. So many, in fact, there are now too many to even count, so it’s unsurprising when many slip by unnoticed.
The first Styx album (self-titled, 1972) is an overlooked slab of pomp rock. It’s not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but any band wishing to open their debut long player with a thirteen minute epic fusing hard rock with flourishes of Aaron Copland and what sounds like a conversation with a New York cabbie must have something, right? With that track, ‘Movement For The Common Man’, Styx announced their arrival in a typically grand style. The rest of the album, while nowhere near as complete sounding as 1977’s ‘Grand Illusion’ or as obviously song oriented as any of the albums from then onward, still makes for interesting listening decades after its original release. 1973’s ‘Styx II’, by contrast, is a more sedate affair – sedate in the world of early Styx means still very much still pompous and overblown – but, naturally, a bigger input from vocalist/pianist Dennis DeYoung, brought with it a much stronger element of musical theatre.
With these two records as a solid grounding, the band went all out for their next long player ‘The Serpent Is Rising’. Released in October 1973 – the third Styx LP to hit the shelves in just eighteen months – it has to be said, it has less of a focus than its predecessors. It doesn’t sound as if Styx had been tempted to use up leftover material though, rather more that this time out, the gloves were truly off. Coming from the days when bands were allowed to spend record company money (no matter how meagre a budget) while still very much on a learning curve, it sounds as if Styx intended to throw everything at this recording bar the kitchen sink to find out, once and for all, what styles worked for them…and which ones really didn’t.
How to describe Satarial? Aside from possessing a broad extreme metal tendency, this Moscow based outfit are almost impossible to pigeonhole. A rather clumsy description might be “operatic battle black metal”. It sounds implausible, but that’s kind of where the bulk of their inspiration comes from on their 2016 release ‘Blessed Brigit’. It should be a mess; it should be so confrontational that almost no-one would want to listen…but, somehow, their noisy sound collages are fascinating in their aural brutality – and after over a decade of plying their ugliness, the fact that they still sound so original and so vibrant is no mean feat.
Back in February 2016, Tom Baker & The Snakes dropped their debut EP, giving listeners a short burst of high-octane rock driven by three guitars. It’s hard not to at least half-love a band with three guitarists, right?!
They’re back – and this time they’re set to stun with a full length release. On the basis of a couple of sneak previews, the album promises more of the same, but as the old saying goes “you can’t fix what ain’t broke”. If you can’t wait until ‘Lookout Tower’ is released digitally via Rum Bar Records on March 31st, then check out lead track ‘Make It Hurt’ via the stream below. If you crave a trashy rock hit that takes its cues from Tommy Stinson’s Bash & Pop, you surely won’t be disappointed!