Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Swedish southern style power pack Roadhouse Diet are back with a vengeance. They immediately deliver the proof in opener "Powerload", which is a pedal to the metal melodic, yet heavy and powerful rocker with a nice twiddling guitar solo, followed by yet another power-pack in the form of "Devilmaker". The band has now been reinforced by keyboard player Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, Mojobone, King Hobo, Opeth, DeathOrgan etc) and his presence shows, especially in the second number with his Hammond organ beefing up the sound. The album is produced, mixed and mastered by singer/lead guitarist Jonas Kjellgren, a man of many skills. I just love the powerful, organic sound and his blazing guitar work. I also like that fact that he knows not to just drive the guitar amp at full blast, like in Hard Times Ahead, where the guitar just chugs along in the background, and then bursts out in the chorus. Dynamics, people, dynamics! The intro of the title track also provides the chance for Per Wiberg to channel his inner John Lord, and the track itself actually beings his former band Mojobone to mind with it’s kinda quirky rhythmic pattern, even though it was written by Kjellgren. Maybe he’s channeling his inner Per Wiberg? If you’re a fan of bands like the aforementioned Mojobone, and also bands like The Company Band, The Killbilly 5’ers, Hogjaw, Five Horse Johnson – down and dirty southern boogie with a modern twist and the lead boots firmly on – check it out! If a track like "Over The Top, Then Down And Out" won’t hit you like a love-brick in the face, you need to book an appointment with your doctor!
Label: Mojoholic Records
First of all, I’m a huge fan of Pontus’ raspy blues infused vocals and his fiery guitar work, also heard in AC/CD style hard rockers Bonafide. Wreck of Blues is however a totally different creature. The band features Pontus on guitar and vocals, his father Håkan Nyberg on drums and bass player Kalle Johansson. The music is rootsy, energy loaded electric blues. Even though I love Bonafide, I must say Pontus’ voice really hits home 100 % in this musical environment. The album is a cool meeting between Stevie Ray Vaughn/Robin Trower style guitar based heavy blues and classic rhythm ‘n blues. This trio sure has the power of groove flowing through their veins. Just check out tracks like “You Had A Friend” and “Light Me Up” with Håkan shuffling away like steady old tractor, with Kalle providing the low frequency steering wheel and Pontus harvesting the sweet tonal fruits. I really love the earthy, analogue mix which sometimes, like in “Brothers And Friends” sounds like it was recorded live there and then. Having had the pleasure of seeing the band live, I can say this is not far away from what they do sound like on stage. I also have to say, with the blues sometimes having the problem of repeating itself over and over, Pontus has managed to put some nice twists to the old well-oiled blues machine. Truly a kick-ass album!
Label: Off Yer Rocka
There are a lot of albums out there that deserve to have more spotlight on them. Back in 1996 the album “What’s Inside Trixie’s Closet?”, by the band Closet Monster, was released, but unfortunately passed under most people’s radar. Not mine, however, and that was because Joe Romagnola, the mastermind behind Grooveyard Records, turned me on to the band. Well, what’s more suitable than for Joe to again put the spotlight on this hidden South Dakota gem. It’s actually quite hard to pinpoint what Closet Monster sound like. Singer Jon Koopman does have quite a distinct touch of Ozzy Osbourne, while the music ranges from slightly King’s X influenced songs to straight ahead riff oriented heavy rock. In 1995 the band Phychotherapy released an album entitled “Tell Me When It Hurts”. There are similarities, but since you probably haven’t heard about them either I guess it’s no point me mentioning them. But. I did. Anyway. All I can say is that this is a kick ass hard rocker with great melodies, quirky riffs and high-class vocals, played by a great band. If you missed it the first time, don’t repeat the mistake!
Label: Grooveyard Records