Nili Brosh, Spectrum, 2019

nili brosh - spectrumIf ever there was a title that fits the contents, then it must be this one. This is an album that showcases the many influences and genres  Nili is capable of writing and performing, making it a real broad spectrum of songs.

But first a step back. Nili Brosh has shared the stage with many bands and guitarists and released this, her third solo album, late 2019. Openers Cartagena and Andalusian Fantasy rely very much on nylon stringed guitars and therefore have a very Spanish folk feel. Circus Wedding and Rachel in Paris take you from polka to chanson before arriving in more rock territory with Solace. And despite whether you like tracks like that, every single one is done with style and finesse.

Still, I cannot deny that the moment the electric guitar is plugged in, my blood really got pumping and I was listening with more interest. Co producer Alex Argento made sure the keyboards added lots of texture to the often fabulous fretwork from Nili. Who not only shreds, but is also more than capable of playing very melodic phrases, creating melodies you will find yourself whistling for days.

Going from polka to progressive metal is asking a lot from your audience. But for me, taking risks like that should be applauded. Phenomenal album!

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Blind Ego, Preaching To The Choir, 2020

blind ego - preaching to the choirWhile this marks the first Blind Ego album to get a feature, it certainly is not the first time Kalle Wallner (RPWL) makes an appearance. And if this album is anything to go by, I certainly need to check out previous releases.

Especially people like me, who are quite fond of progressive music that is melodic and wanders between rock and metal and is not afraid to add dynamic passages, cannot really go wrong with this album. I was hooked the first time listening so that makes for an easy write up.
Openers Massive and the title track make it very clear what you can expect, riffs, solos, great singing and a surprise here and there. What else do you need? Lot’s of groove present too.

Combine that with what I said before and a band that writes songs instead of vehicles to show off technical prowess and you will understand why I can fully recommend this!

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Rome, The Dublin Session, 2019

rome - the dublin sessionBack in the player is Jerome Reuter, a.k.a. Rome. With an album he recorded in ehhh Dublin with friends and local talents. If you have read my previous review of Rome, you will know that last time he impressed me with that album.

As it is always tempting to compare, I reckon I should view this for what it is; an album made with friends, focussing on lots of traditional instruments like banjo, bouzouki and uilleann pipes. And still there is that mighty voice and the acoustic guitar. And songs that sit very comfortable in a folk setting. So they are never overly complex, but thrive on melody and energy.
But the best thing for me, having never really been a fan of folk music, is that Rome manages to trancends that genre and again deliver something I enjoy listening to.  Bravo!

Besides the album, I also received the Hinter Den Mauern Der Stadt (Behind the walls of the City) single. Not sure where the 2 tracks are from, but by themselves they are also worth a listen, even when I found the lead track to be a bit repetitive.

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MonoDeluX, Thirteen Minutes, 2020

monodelux - thirteen minutesFrom Long Beach California hail MonoDeluX. With Ho Dagger on vocals and guitar, Joe E. on bass and Rob Knonel on drums.

This EP with 5 tracks is as the press info says, full tilt rock ‘n roll. Or as they say: “If you can imagine The Stooges and Roxy Music locked in a cell with a large amount of crystal methamphetamine and a large battery of highly volatile explosives, trying to hold off the likes of the MC5 and the Spiders from Mars, while being pimped out by Little Richard and Johnny Thunders, then and only then can you begin to appreciate the sheer and undeniable pound for pound superiority that is MonoDeluX. So ya better wear a helmet… “.

Anyone who feels major league punk rock bands are playing it (too) safe, you will love this bunch!

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Jack Green, The Party At The End Of The World, 2020

jack green - the party at the end of the worldAnd while the name Jack Green did not really ring a bell with me, reading through the press information I learned that I must have heard him in one form or the other, After all, he apparently worked with bands like T.Rex, Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Pretty Things to name a a few, as well as released a quartet of solo albums in the early Eighties.

After living here and there before moving back to the UK and starting a video company, it has become time to release a set of very personal songs. Some dealing with his wife’s battle with cancer, some with social commentary or some about a dystopian vision of our future.
Musically I reckon this is an amalgam of all the things from his past. It is basically a pop rock album, with a blues lining. The vocals might not be very spectacular, they do get the job done.

The result is a 13 track album with just over 45 minutes of music that are easy on the ears and can be put on any time of day. Nothing earthshattering or new, just rock solid and enjoyable.

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Sirkis Bialas IQ, Our New Earth, 2019

sirkis bialas iq - our new earthSecond album from Asaf Sirkis (drums) and Sylwia Bialas (vocals and waterphone) with Frank Harrison on keyboards and Kevin Glasgow on bass. Together they deliver 11 tracks on 2 discs (38 and 47 minutes)

I guess on the surface this is going to be labelled as vocal jazz, but close listening reveals this goes beyond that. Let’s have a look at Land Of Oblivion which is very dreamlike, with soundscapes and a voice that is  used as an instrument, rather than taking a leading role. Beautiful. And while on other albums wordless singing can really get on my nerves, in for example Letter to A. it is done just right.
Other influences include modern classical music, folk, progrock and world music.

While the result will not be to everyone’s liking perhaps, there is no denying a lot of heart and soul is put into the songs. This transcends the typical Jazz idiom for me and truly reaches out on an emotional level to anyone willing to listen.

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Tusmorke, Leker For Barn, Ritualer For Volksne, 2019

tusmorke - leker for barnThis latest Tusmorke album is based on 2 children musicals; The Bridge To The Other Side and The Root Of All Evil. Both of which partly consist of traditional Norwegian children songs.

I’ll spare you the press blurb, as I did not understand much of it. Like I do not understand anything that is sung since all is in Norwegian. The fact that the melodies are typical for children’s music, and children are often singing along with the musicians lead me to the conclusion that this is for fans only. And for Norwegian children probably.

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Ruphus, Let Your Light Shine, 1976

ruphus - let your light shineSecond time a 2019 Ruphus remaster has arrived here. And this is their third album, which marks a departure from their progrock roots and sees them venture more into  jazz rock territory.

The press info tells me that this album opened them up to a much larger European audience. But after listening to this a couple of times, I am afraid I hardly get it. Okay, solid playing as usual, and the jazz influences are limited to the degree that they stay away from all too loose and form free playing. But for me the deal breaker is the wordless singing. Just not my thing I guess.

If that is something you dig, or if you did fall for the music at the time, then this is for you!

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Ricky Diamond, Already Dead, 2019

ricky diamond - already deadIf you mix a part of Mötörhead with a part of Metallica in a bowl of stoner metal and throw in a bit of punk attitude, chances are you end up with Spanish trio Ricky Diamond. (Well actually the drummer is a Dane.)

After their debut EP Morphine Lips, they took the time to record their first full length and this is the result.
And while I am not really an expert on things stoner, what I can say that I am pretty sure these guys are a kick in the teeth. Riff Heavy a la Sabbath, their raw energy is unleashed in the 10 songs on the CD.
And you really cannot go wrong with songs like W.T.O.I.L., Doglike Devotion or Bullet In Your Soul. Chock full of attitude, the band growls its way into your ears.

Not a dull moment in sight, so damn convincing if you ask me!

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Les Penning with Robert Reed, Return To Penrhos, 2019

LES-PENNING-WITH-ROBERT-REED-RETURN-TO-PENRHOSOh my, time for something completely different… Les Penning is known for his instrumental contributions to the work of one Mike Oldfield. And Robert Reed you might know from Magenta and more.

On this album you get guitar work that sounds eerily close to Oldfield. There are lots of old and familiar melodies running thoughout the album, often giving it a folk or classical feel. Especially when instruments like the flute play a big part in the sound.What more to tell? The music is melodic, with a nice dynamic range, even when it never rocks hard.

So I guess that people who love the music of Oldfield, the Excalibur saga, or just folk music, will enjoy this.

The special edition also holds a DVD with promo videos and a live set.

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