Album Reviews

Nova Twins


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Nova Twins have been slowly building their fanbase with impressive support slots and festival appearances. In February 2020, you know just before the world stood still, the duo released their debut in ‘Who Are The Girls?’.

Despite the difficulties for music promotion over the next year or so, stock in the band has only risen with their debut album a critical success. The quality of that first album helped to back up the hype that had begun to surround Amy Love and Georgia South.

Now, the duo are unleashing their sophomore album on the world as they continue to lay the groundwork for stardom.

The potential for this band is unlimited with their genre-defying sound making them a true crossover act. Fans of various musical types will find comfort in ‘Supernova’, which sees Nova Twins once again delivering a slice of action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled, electro-punk groove.

Nova Twins – ‘Antagonist’

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Single, ‘Antagonist’, is straight in your face and sets the tone for what’s to come from the rest of the record. ‘Cleopatra’, ‘K.M.B.’ and ‘Fire & Ice’ are highlights but there really isn’t a bad track on ‘Supernova’.

The duo are clearly growing in confidence with every record, and this album is a timestamp of a band transitioning from having potential to delivering the goods.

If you like music with attitude, passion and ferocity then this album and Nova Twins are most definitely for you. ‘Supernova’ really is a half hour of power and it will do nothing but continue to push this incredible band on their upwards trajectory!

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Album Reviews

Def Leppard

Diamond Star Halos

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With their huge American Stadium Tour on the horizon, Def Leppard have returned with their first new album in seven years. ‘Diamond Star Halos’ is actually only their 12th studio album since their inception some 45 years ago.

The band certainly hasn’t been prolific then, and there has been some mixed results amongst those 12 albums from the sublime and iconic, to the flat and forgettable. How then will this new release stand up?

Well, it starts off very well indeed with ‘Take What You Want’, ‘Kick’ and ‘Fire It Up’. I’d say that ‘Kick’ is up there with the catchiest songs of their career, which is a high compliment indeed.

Def Leppard – ‘Kick’

Listen to ‘Kick’ on our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist

I’ll note now the length of the album, sitting at just over an hour, and admit straight away that this feels too much. Cutting a few tracks to get the album around the 45 minutes mark would benefit the overall ease of consumption a lot.

Sonically the album is something of a throwback to their past glories and more than just a doff of the hat to their influences. Whilst this leads to some enjoyable moments, it also sees the band linger a little too long in others.

This is a difficult album to review, because there are plenty of high points and not many bad parts to pinpoint; it just feels bloated. It’s around twelfth track, ‘Angels (Can’t Help You Now)’, that I really begin to sap and feel the album needs to wrap up, but I’m daunted when I see that there is another thirteen minutes left!

‘Diamond Star Halos’ is worth your attention and patience, it is a solid album from a band with nothing to prove. I just feel with a few tweaks to the tracklist it could’ve been a great album.

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Album Reviews

Liam Gallagher


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The resurrection of Liam Gallagher has truly been an incredible thing to witness. Anyone placing bets on Liam becoming one of the largest solo acts in the UK following the dissolution of Beady Eye would have gotten more than a few sideways looks.

But… that is exactly what has happened with Gallagher selling out arenas, festivals and huge outdoor shows consistently over the past five years. He has two solo number one albums to his name, and now you’d be a fool to bet against him gaining a third with new record, ‘C’MON YOU KNOW’.

There is no doubting the iconic status that Gallagher holds, but what he has achieved in recent years will change his legacy forever for the better. Out from the shadows of Oasis and his brother, Liam has shocked many with the way he has carried himself musically and personally.

A new generation of fans has discovered his iconic voice, not just for his past successes but also for his current output and that is a beautiful thing.

His first two solo albums have been more than solid, whilst sticking closely sonically to what his has always been known for. ‘C’MON YOU KNOW’, however sees Gallagher opening up musically to incorporate wider influences.

Liam Gallagher – ‘Everything’s Electric’

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Perhaps not genre-bending in the truest sense, as the album is still rooted in familiar territory, but this is the most diverse collection of songs to feature Liam’s name. Perhaps slightly ironic given his jovial jousting at his sibling, although I do doubt there is any scissor playing present here.

The singles have been well selected and in fact the likes of ‘Everything’s Electric’ and the title track are literally the standout tracks. The rest of the album is once again solid and task achieving but perhaps slightly underwhelming in the grand scheme of things.

What saves this album from mediocrity and raises it to the standards expected is the diversification. This is perhaps the most interesting album of Gallagher’s solo career, if not the best in quality. What is does do is once again prove the critics wrong and demonstrate that Gallagher is a viable solo artist.

More than that he remains one of the biggest names in the industry and somehow retains relevance some thirty years into his career. Gallagher is remarkable and of course iconic!

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Album Reviews

The Black Keys

Dropout Boogie

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Flashback almost 10 years ago now and the already well established The Black Keys were on the cusp of real superstardom after the incredible success of ‘El Camino’. Then the disruption began.

Whilst touring follow up album, ‘Turn Blue’, drummer Patrick Carney dislocated his shoulder and several shows were cancelled. Once that tour concluded the band went on an extended hiatus, returning in 2019 with ‘Let’s Rock’ to somewhat of a whimper.

A covers album followed last year, and any momentum the band still had seemed to dissipate. Neither, ‘Let’s Rock’ or ‘Delta Kream’ were bad albums, but neither lived up to the high standards and expectations of the band.

On now to March this year and a fantastic single, ‘Wild Child’ peaked interest again. Could The Black Keys rediscover the magic that established them as one of the biggest and best live bands rock bands on the planet?

The Black Keys – ‘Wild Child’

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Well, here we are in May 2022 and we now have their eleventh studio album, ‘Dropout Boogie’, and thankfully that special touch seems to have returned. ‘Wild Child’ and fellow single, ‘It Ain’t Over’ open the album superbly and remind fans just why they fell in love with the band.

Yes, this truly is a clichéd return to form for The Black Keys, who have seemingly benefitted from returning to basics. This is a simple yet effective hard rock stomp capturing the elements of blues and garage rock that helped define their sound.

Billy F Gibbons featuring track, ‘Good Love’ is another highlight, but really there isn’t a bad song on the album. Carney and Dan Auerbach have their synchronicity back, and fans have The Black Keys back on top form.

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Album Reviews


Pure Evil

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London rockers Puppy offered great promise on their debut album, ‘The Goat’, back in 2019. Now the three-piece return with sophomore offering, ‘Pure Evil’, so how does this album hold up against its predecessor?

Well, from the very beginning the bands trademark sound remains intact as they produce a unique crossover of grunge and metal with a pop bow on top. Intro ‘Shining Star’ leads into single ‘The Kiss’ as the album very much picks up where ‘The Goat’ left off.

Puppy – ‘The Kiss’

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That’s certainly not to say that there isn’t progress made on ‘Pure Evil’. Somehow the riffs feel meatier yet the melodies sound poppier as the band stretch the differing ends of their rock and roll rainbow.

In doing so the end result may well be a pot of gold. Well perhaps not literal gold, but definitely musical gold. The likes of ‘My Offer’ and ‘…And Watched It Glow’ show that Puppy maintain their power to craft strong singles; but it’s the overall quality on show that cements the band as one of the finest purveyors of new rock music.

As the album comes towards a close, the band deliver more examples of the maturity in sound reached since their debut. ‘Angel’, ‘Shame’ and ‘Glacial’ give ‘Pure Evil’ a stunning ending and leave you ready to hit play again.

Puppy have managed to back up their fantastic debut with another album packed full of sublime alt rock that further establishes the band as amongst the best young rock bands around.

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Listen to ‘…And Watch It Glow’ from Puppy on our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Spotify Playlist

Album Reviews



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The career of Fozzy is a very unique one, but the trajectory of the band both in terms of quality and professional growth is simple. The group’s career progression has been driven by the continued advancement in quality of their musical output.

2017’s ‘Judas’ took the band to new heights, with major thanks to the success of the title track. Now five years on the band are back with their eighth studio album, ‘Boombox’, and looking to maintain that positive ascent.

The album starts well with the singles ‘Sane’, ‘I Still Burn’ and ‘Purifier’. These tracks had already given a strong inclination of what to expect from the album as a whole, and they provide a fine opening run for listeners.

Fozzy – ‘Sane’

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Over the past 20+ years Fozzy albums have transformed from all covers, to a mix of covers and originals, to originals with a couple of standout tracks, to finally in recent years fully developed pieces of work.

‘Boombox’ continues this trend, and flows well with the bands signature sound taking centre stage with a few ebbs and flows mixed in to keep things interesting. ‘Army of One’ and ‘Ugly On The Inside’ particularly add something a little different into the mix.

Speaking of adding surprises into the mix, the band continues to throw in occasional cover versions and ‘Boombox’ features a surprisingly fun version of ‘Relax’ from Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Fozzy have no doubt proven many doubters wrong over the years, and thankfully for their fans there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. Eight albums in and the band feel like they have reached the peak of their powers, although you wouldn’t put it past them to keep on getting better.

On ‘Boombox’ the band show again that the likes of single ‘Nowhere To Run’ are no longer outlying standouts but they are now the normal standard for Fozzy.

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Album Reviews


Back From The Dead

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Halestorm sing “…In my redemption, I’m my own redemption…” on their new track, ‘My Redemption’.

The band may not be in need of redemption but their upwards trajectory has appeared to be stalling recently. Let’s not talk about flattening curves however as we’ve heard enough of that over the past two years! But certainly momentum has been slowing for the band.

The band has built a solid and very dedicated fanbase over the past decade or so, but have they hit their peak? Well, they certainly never died, but with their fifth studio album, the band are ‘Back From The Dead’ as it were!

Halestorm – ‘Back From The Dead’

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Yes, living up to the name of the album, new life now breathes through the band as they deliver some of their best work to date.

The album starts out strong with the title track, ‘Wicked Ways’ and ‘Strange Girl’; and the quality never really drops. Whether rocking hard on the likes of ‘The Steeple’ or captivating on ballads such as ‘Terrible Things’ or album closer ‘Raise Your Horns’, this is Halestorm on top form.

It has obviously been an appalling couple of years and many bands have struggled or seen their momentum hit during this time, but with ‘Back From The Dead’, you feel that Halestorm have caught the ball rather than dropping it!

The band will be returning to the UK for an Arena tour with Alter Bridge this December and you feel , with the reset button pushed, that the band are ready to live up to their potential and sit atop the throne sooner rather than later.

Rock most definitely isn’t dead (sorry Gene), and neither are Halestorm!

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Album Reviews

Bloc Party

Alpha Games

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It has been 6 years since Bloc Party released their last album, 2016’s ‘Hymns’. Since then solo projects, anniversary tours, pandemics and life in general have taken over, but now they are back with their sixth studio album, ‘Alpha Games’.

The group of course shot to prominence with debut album, ‘Silent Alarm’ back in 2005 and their career took them into huge venues across the world. Recent years however haven’t seen a great deal of activity from the band, with a couple of line-up changes also occurring.

It’s hard now to take stock of where the band fit into the musical landscape, are they are nostalgia act, or a creative entity still? Are they full time or part time? What direction are they heading musically?

Well, the fact we are discussing a new album demonstrates that the band still appears a viable commodity. This is great news as the band always did stand out from the crowded indie scene of the so called noughties.

Predecessor ‘Hymns’ however received rather mixed reviews, so how will ‘Alpha Games’ fare and how will it position the band moving forward?

Bloc Party – ‘Traps’

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There are lots of questions here, but as soon as the album starts you sense the Bloc Party of old. Not in a rehash, cash in way but instead in the innovative and sonically diverse way that helped make them unique in the first place.

Opening duo ‘Day Drinker’ and ‘Traps’ set the standard early and the rest of the album manages to hold that level with only one or two slight lulls. There is a good mix of faster and slower numbers and the album flows pretty well with little drag.

This is a decent Bloc Party album that is well worth a listen, but it doesn’t really answer all the questions. Whilst this isn’t a lazy effort by any stretch of the imagination it isn’t groundbreaking either. It almost feels like the band hitting the reset button after a period of meandering change. Where they go next will be interesting.

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Album Reviews



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An unplanned consequence of the forced downtime of the past couple of years, ‘Zeit’, is only the eighth album in the nearly thirty years of Rammstein. That means that these days there is a real sense of occasion when they do release anything.

The anticipation started building upon the release of the title track towards the start of March, and built to a crescendo with the debut of latest single ‘Zick Zack’ at the beginning of this month. ‘Zick Zack’ particularly promised full on Rammstein insanity both musically and with its absurd video.

Rammstein – ‘Zick Zack’

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Now the album is here and it’s once again time to get lost in the lunacy of this incredible band. ‘Armee der Tristen’ and the title track set the tone for what’s to come. This isn’t the heaviest album musically compared to previous works, but it harnesses the various elements that make up the band’s sound well.

I guess you could say that this is what you could expect an easy listening album to be like when done by these metal icons. There aren’t any bad tracks here but perhaps not any that really jump out of the pack either.

From start to finish this is a very enjoyable album that is a nice addition to the band’s back catalogue, although I’d hazard a guess that it won’t trouble the top of any best Rammstein album lists; that being more of a compliment to their previous work than any kind of jab at ‘Zeit’.

For the past decade Rammstein have been mainly a live act, so it’s a pleasant surprise to receive another album so soon after their untitled 2019 album. Soon though the band will be returning to the stage and it will be interesting to see how many ‘Zeit’ songs will feature in the set list moving forward. ‘Zick Zack’ could be lots of fun and I’m sure other songs could grow in the live setting also.

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Album Reviews

Bowling For Soup

Pop Drunk Snot Bread

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👀 Bowling For Soup have a new album out!

So, what are you expecting from it? With 11 albums and nearing 30 years together as a band, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody what the band are offering on ‘Pop Drunk Snot Bread’.

The band has long established themselves as the foremost purveyors of fabulous pop-punk and this album is exactly what you’d want it to be. This record is packed with those catchy, sing-a-long songs that the band has such an abundance of in their back catalogue.

The danger facing any band at this point in their career is that the quality dips and they become a parody of themselves. Well, Bowling For Soup have kind of always been a parody of themselves anyway which is perhaps why they have such longevity.

Bowling For Soup – ‘I Wanna Be Brad Pitt’

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The dip in quality has yet to arrive and this album is full of songs likely to become engrained fan favourites such as ‘I Wanna Be Brad Pitt’, ‘Getting Old Sucks (But Everybody’s Doing It)’ and ‘Alexa Bliss’.

On opening track ‘Greatest Of All Time’, Jared Reddick sings “…Never about competition, or god damn chart position, just being us we never cared…”, and that perfectly sums up this album. It isn’t the fresh new fad, it is unlikely to take the band to new heights, but, it’s fun, enjoyable and is Bowling For Soup just being themselves!

The same song also offers the line “…We only want to make you smile, maybe sing along and forget about the bad stuff…”; mission achieved, and in this messed up world that’s perhaps exactly what we need.

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