In 2015, The Murder of My Sweet released a terrible concept album called ‘Beth Out of Hell‘ which their record company likened to ELO and Queen. A brave but foolish claim: in reality, the album sounded a fourth rate Nightwish and it’s hard to imagine even the most staunch Euro metal fan would’ve enjoyed such a charmless, generic set of songs. Its follow up, 2017’s ‘Echoes of The Aftermath‘, was much better in that it actually gave a concession to some more melodic material, but even so, it still wasn’t the kind of record that would set the world alight. None of the band’s shortcomings lay with singer Angelica Rylin. She has a great voice, and as demonstrated on her solo album from 2013, she’s capable of using it far better than The Murder of My Sweet’s general bombast ever seemed to allow.
House of Shakira’s ninth album ‘Radiocarbon’ comes some twenty two years after their debut. This means this lesser known band’s career has effectively been longer than some of the classic melodic rock/AOR acts of the 80s heyday. On the basis of ‘Radiocarbon’, they still love what they do…and if you’re a fan of big melodic riffs with a Swedish bent, chances are you will too. Although the album appears to have been mastered far too loudly – a somewhat common complaint in this digital age – the songs are, by and large, terrific. That’s enough to make the album stand among HoS’s best.
When Doug Aldrich left Whitesnake in 2013 after an on-off seven year stint, it was potentially a huge blow to the band. For Doug, though, it was the definitely right thing to do, since the ‘Snake had been trading on goodwill for years and by the time of the ‘Forevermore’ tour in 2011, to suggest David Coverdale’s voice wasn’t…quite up to scratch would be putting it very politely. Since then, as an in demand musician, Aldrich has hardly kept a low profile: he’s recorded with melodic rock supergroup Revolution Saints, had success with hard rockers The Dead Daisies and latterly resurrected his hard rock outfit Burning Rain.
Chas West will be familiar to most listeners as having been the vocalist for Bonham, as well as fronting Craig Goldy’s short lived band Resurrection Kings. With regards to the latter, West always felt like the weak link. A band that included Goldy and drummer Vinny Appice could never be all bad, but West’s tendencies to sing everything at full volume made the album hard going in places.
Two years on, West Bound finds Chas working with cult hero Roy Z, a man best known for his work with Bruce Dickinson in the 90s as well as being a key member of Tribe of Gypsies. Throughout this debut, West still approaches many of the songs at full pelt and with maximum metal theatrics, but with much better material to hand and with Z’s having a more sympathetic style, it’s more obvious why he’s been in demand as a session vocalist in the past. In this case, West’s overblown style combined with Z’s vast array of riffs actually results in a great album.