REVIEW: The week's best Rock & Metal albums – Joe Bonamassa, Five Finger Death Punch, more

May 18, 2018
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Joe Bonamassa
British Blues Explosion Live
(Mascot/Provogue)

★★★★

The pioneering influence of the British blues explosion of the 1960’s and 70’s can never be understated. Its effect upon teenagers spawned a whole new generation of magical players onto the world stage.

As one who was caught under the spell of this influence, Joe Bonamassa displays his own devilish dexterity on his homage to the holy trinity of British blues guitar greats: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

The spiky staccato of opener Beck’s Bolero/Rice Pudding is executed with sharp precision, whilst Clapton’s Mainline Florida glides along with subtle serenity.

However, it’s the heavy duty fuzzed up blast on Cream’s SWLABR, Led Zep’s Tea For One and How Many More Times that showcase this no ordinary Joe’s fiery fretboard fingerwork to join this elite class of guitar heroes.

Roger Glover
The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper’s Feast
(Cherry Red)

★★★★

Roger Glover’s concept album based on the illustrated book by William Plomer and Alan Aldridge, floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee with its stellar line up of musician friends and bandmates.

This remastered recording includes bonus goodies and a rare radio special concert and exudes charm as it uncovers the upbeat fun and experimental feel of the original tracks.

Get Ready pounds down the track as Glenn Hughes’ unmistakable vocal springs into action. David Coverdale’s smouldering singing style burns all over Behind The Smile, proving the bluesy credentials that had recently landed him the top job as Deep Purple’s frontman.

Not featured on the original vinyl release, future Uriah Heep singer John Lawton emotes on Little Chalk Blue to capture the peerless spirit of teamwork riddling its way all through this opus.

But it’s the hit single Love Is All, featuring future Rainbow and Black Sabbath singer Ronnie James Dio, that tiggerishly bounces about with its boundless optimism that still steals the show.

Don Airey
One Of A Kind
(earMUSIC)

★★★★

Famed fingersmith and current Deep Purple keyboard player Don Airey has pulled out all the stops on this aptly titled One Of A Kind solo release.

Abetted by the mighty lung power of Nazareth’s Carl Sentance, opener Respect reveals interlacing synth runs anchored by deep and dark Hammond Organ growls. Guitarist Simon McBride fires on all six strings to the strutting, hard rock feel on All Out Of Line as both he and Airey majestically trade melodic notes of musical wisdom.

The rock radio-friendly chorus and verse drama of the title track is a soft top down, highway star scorcher of a song. Balance is provided with aplomb by power ballads Every Time I See Your Face and the bluesy burn of Need You So Bad.

However, it’s the choppy, eastern musical flavours on Victim Of Pain that showcase and stretch out all the talents of Airey’s ensemble to thumping effect.

As the Don of the keyboards, there’s nothing airy-fairy about this release as it proves itself to indeed be one of a kind.

Five Finger Death Punch
And Justice For None
(Eleven Seven Label Group)

★★★★

Singer Ivan Moody growls out of the speakers like a rabid dog in need of a huge bone on massive opening number Fake. And the thumping riffs and power vocals continue on Top Of The World, proving there is still nothing false about 5FDP on this their seventh album.

In many ways, there is more of a musical balance than on previous releases. The punchy power anthems I Refuse and Stuck In My Ways, plus covers of The Offspring’s Gone Away and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Blue On Black muscle their way into the brain.

A brash and ballsy blast of metal from a band that is maturing with every release.



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