YUR MUM – Ellipsis EP

A few seconds into this 2019 EP from London based two-piece rock band Yur Mum, it becomes evident that first impressions most definitely do not apply. ‘What Do You Want?’ wastes no time in cranking a huge riff – part 90s metal, part stoner rock – that makes the band sound like a cross between Godsmack and the heaviest parts of Shinedown. It’s most definitely not what you’d expect from a band who’ve decided that a moniker like Yur Mum best represents them. As the track progresses with a mid-paced, absolute crusher of a riff – something that’s brilliantly juxtaposed with Anelise Kunz’s howling and almost brattish vocal – you’ll soon realise that, despite appearances, these guys are serious. …And then, with a teeny bit more time to acclimatise to their heavy sound, you’ll then realise that the brilliant, groove laden riffs have enough force and volume to take on a full spectrum of moods. Nope, this is certainly not the work of a band whom, in name terms, might have you believe they were a teen pop-punk phenomenon.

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GLENN HUGHES – Addiction

Two years after the release of the soul tinged ‘Feel’, Glenn Hughes returned with ‘Addiction’ – an album that couldn’t be any more different from its predecessor if it tried. With Hughes in the middle of a work frenzy, ‘Addiction’ found him not only returning to hard rock in a big way, but delivering his heaviest solo album to date.

‘Addiction’ is an album that has weathered all kinds of musical storms and from both a performance and production value still sounds absolutely terrific. Not that it was well received by everyone upon release back in 1996. Some older listeners felt that Hughes had adopted “grunge sympathies”, a lazy, somewhat ignorant claim that seemed to miss the fact that the album is also varied in style. Decades on, such claims seem even sillier, as with the passing of time, Soundgarden – and sadly missed vocalist Chris Cornell – have very much joined the pantheon of classic rock acts and Cornell’s approach to vocals never seemed that far removed from the likes of Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale anyway. [If you’re still blinkered enough to not believe this, the proof is there in tracks like Temple of The Dog’s ‘Call Me A Dog’ and ‘All Night Thing’.]

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GIRL – Wasted Youth

Girl’s debut album ‘Sheer Greed’ wasn’t a massive success upon release in January 1980.  It reached a modest #33 on the UK album chart and spawned two flop singles. With Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest and Motorhead all scoring top five hits on the album charts during the year, so with that in mind, Girl’s chart placing seemed somewhat modest.  However, what the young band had lacked in sales they made up for with a sheer weight of live appearances.  Regulars at the legendary Marquee, the band also supported a lot of famous rock acts throughout 1980 and 1981 and rarely seemed to be off the road.

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MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND – High Times: Live In Italy

The third album from Michael Thompson Band, 2019’s ‘Love & Beyond’ was a bit of a disappointment. The material showed that Thompson was still a fine guitarist and in AOR terms it featured a few strong songs, but it just didn’t flow too well. An over-reliance on short instrumental links proved distracting and each one of those sounded like a half finished musical idea thrown onto the record in order to bulk it out. It wasn’t a patch on 1989’s ‘How Long’, but then, it was never going to be as good as that. In AOR terms, that record is a very hard act to follow.

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JORN – Heavy Rock Radio II: Executing The Classics

Jorn Lande is no stranger to cover versions. In 2006, he released an album’s worth of covers in tribute to the legendary Ronnie James Dio. Ten years on, he released ‘Heavy Rock Radio’, a tribute to some of his other favourites and influences. Unfortunately, ‘Heavy Rock Radio‘ wasn’t very good at all. A couple of tunes might’ve just about passed muster in terms of hard rock reworkings and – predictably – the obligatory Dio-related song fared quite well, but overall, it was a bit of a turkey. Making things heavier doesn’t necessarily make things better (unless you ask a particularly unadventurous metalhead) and in a rocked up cover of ‘Hotel California’, Lande truly hit rock bottom by giving the world a reggae metal hybrid that no-one with ears deserved to hear.

Jorn obviously had fun making that record – terrible as most of it might have been – and he enters his fifth decade as a recording artist with a second volume of reworked favourites. ‘Heavy Rock Radio II: Executing The Classics’ is an improvement on its predecessor, but then, in many respecrs, it would have struggled to have been worse. It’s actually about fifty percent better, but still makes for an incredibly patchy record.

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