Mind Scans

Mind Scans Volume 9

Hi folks,  It’s been a pretty busy month or so for all of us here at My Global Mind, and with the holiday season right around the corner it’s only going to get crazier. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that we haven’t been listening to much music though because we have! In the great tradition of catching you guys up as much as we possibly can. Without further adieu….Kick back and enjoy another edition of MIND SCANS….

 

 

01. IAN HUNTER – WHEN I’M PRESIDENT  (slimstyle records)

Ian Hunter’s 2007 album SHRUNKEN HEADS was a politically and socially charged look at what’s wrong with everyday America, his adopted home-land, and the 2009 follow-up MAN OVERBOARD was a more retrospective and introspective look at Hunter’s life and the paths he has chosen along the way. May it’s ironic then (or maybe not…I always have trouble with the correct definition of that word) that his new album, the most upbeat and casual we have heard from him in quite a while carries the title WHEN I’M PRESIDENT. There are still a couple of songs here that float lyrically around Presidential campaigns, but much more tongue in cheek rather than actual commentary, and the personal look-within songs are here too, but the album as a whole lets off that good old classic bar-room rock vibe…Almost like a party record. When Hunter sings on the opening track “Get wild, get weird, get wonderful, and we can slip into something a little more comfortable”, It’s almost like he saying that it’s time leave the personal stuff aside for a while and just have some fun rockin’ out, and as a man in his seventies that has contributed so much to the history of rock music why the hell shouldn’t he! There’s harmless nods like Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, The Who and a few others all wrapped up that trademark sound Hunter has crafted for himself which blends bar-room boogie rock, blues rock and honky tonk. Hunter’s backing group The Rant Band do a sublime job here too and have so much more personality than what you usually expect and the fact that these guys aren’t just a studio act but also go with Hunter on the road really pays dividends. Mott/Hunter solo fans will love this album!   8/10

 

02. THE KILLERS – BATTLE BORN   (island records)

Word around the traps is that a vast majority of THE KILLERS’ fan base aren’t very impressed with this new album at all…Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. To be fair, BATTLE BORN is pretty far removed from anything you would expect to hear by THE KILLERS, virtually gone is the modern American/U.K rock hybrid sound of their previous work, and in its place a sort of mid-way between synth pop and neo-prog that sounds like a mixture of THE EURYTHMICS, THE CARS, THE CURE and U2. An album full of mid-paced moody soundscapes that in a way remind me of what COLDPLAY have been trying to do over their career…but here’s a little secret that might get me yelled at…I like this album much, much more than anything COLDPLAY has released, by far actually. At times it struggles a little because it doesn’t feel quite as epic as it is trying to be, but overall it’s definitely one of those albums that you wouldn’t pick individual tracks from, it’s more of a cover to cover type deal for sure. As far as BATTLE BORN reaches, it doesn’t quite get there, but if this is the direction THE KILLERS are heading them I’m definitely on board and looking forward to seeing what comes next.            8/10

 

03. SOVEREIGN – WARRING HEAVEN   (self-released)

SOVEREIGN is yet another one of those one-man projects focusing on the sounds of Epic Power Metal, but the reason this album is getting noticed is due to the fact that the vocals are done by none other than one of the most respected singers in the rock & metal landscapes, Mike Vescera (ANIMETAL USA, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, LOUDNESS, OBSESSION). Truthfully though, the absolute highlight of this album is Vescera’s vocals, and as with anything else he puts his name his contribution here is of a very high quality and he certainly gave it everything he had. Unfortunately though, the songs themselves don’t live up to their potential. For the most part it’s very straightforward power metal without much style or substance. The musicianship is high quality stuff, and boy can Samir Mhamdi make some awesome noise with a guitar. It just feels way too mechanical and by the books to be of any true relevance. Vescera fans will enjoy hearing their hero doing his thing, but those that are just looking for good overall music can probably skip over this one.        6/10

 

04. TYGERS OF PAN TANG – AMBUSH   (rocksector records)

I have always felt a little sorry TYGERS OF PAN TANG. Most true music fanatics know and respect them, but as far as the general public goes they remain rather unheard of, which is entirely unfair when you consider just how much of a part of the early NWOBHM sound they were. Bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and even DEF LEPPARD get all the credit for this style, but the TYGERS are worth mentioning in that grouping too. Once again the band’s latest album AMBUSH features more line-up changes, but stylistically it’s a great representation of what the band have done over their lengthy career. Some will be tempted to call this classic rock, or melodic hard rock, which is fine I guess, butI like to think it’s much closer to what actual HEAVY METAL itself sounded like in the early to mid-eighties. The artwork deserves a special mention too and is one of the best the band has ever had. Bonus points also for the song HEY, SUZIE, which is a nod to a character from one of the bands earliest songs SUZIE SMILED… It’s little things like this that make it worth keeping an eye on bands that you have involved yourself with across long amounts of time.       8/10

 

05. CUSTARD – INFECTED BY ANGER   (pure steel records)

CUSTARD have always been one of those bands that I have seemed to enjoy more than most people I speak to about them, and it seems that their new album INFESTED BY ANGER will be no different. Across the album, CUSTARD delve into every single Power Metal cliché in the book but it’s something they do very well. The very high-pitched BANSHEE like vocal sections are great as it’s something you don’t hear very often these days. Chanting choruses, thundering double-kick drumming, a song with FIRE in the title, a song with SWORD in the title…YUP it’s all here, and I love every cheesy second of it. While a lot of today’s power metal acts battle for relevance by being serious or progressive, it’s refreshing to hear a band like CUSTARD just doing their thing.      7/10

 

06. ORDEN OGAN – TILL THE END   (afm records)

After a few delays and plenty of rumours, TILL THE END is finally ready to be released, and fans of the band will be happy to know that it was worth the wait. Compared to the bands earlier work, this album is a little more straightforward and down the line, but that doesn’t seem to take any of the enjoyment away really. The symphonic elements are turned up to eleven here with the entire album sounding like an epic soundtrack score to some unwritten movie. The guitar work is exceptional and the production is as massive as you are likely to hear anywhere else this year. The lush melodies that have become a trademark of ORDEN OGAN are here in abundance too, and for the most part the vocals sound other worldly. All in all TILL THE END feels like a slight step down from their previous gem EASTON HOPE, but I’m sure fans of the band will still appreciate the new album and it’s destined to get some pretty positive reviews. If you like your metal epic, symphonic, lush and very, very well produced then be sure to jump on this album as soon as possible.      8/10

 

07. MOB RULES – CANNIBAL NATION   (afm records)

Some bands just seem destined to be also-rans no matter how hard they try. A perfect example of this would have to be German metallers MOB RULES. Looking back at their previous six albums, they really have had some gems filled with melodic power/traditional metal and each release has had at least two or three songs that are as good as anything else the genre has offered up. Their latest album CANNIBAL NATION is once again a very well put together slice of metal that finds a perfect balance between HELLOWEEN and SCORPIONS and features some really catchy songs all with one major thing in common… EPIC CHORUSES! Seriously guys, this band has a knack of writing some of the best chorus sections across the entire land of metal. I will say though that I am disappointed with the bland cover artwork, obviously attempting a more serious look this time around, but their first five albums all have really cool power-metal, fantasy-esque cover art, in comparison CANNIBAL NATION is crud. Reading around it seems CANNIBAL NATION is set to follow the mid-range scoring of most of the band’s previous work… For me though this album is very enjoyable and probably my most listened to album across the entire month of October. Highly Recommended!!!       8/10

 

08. FULL FORCE – NEXT LEVEL    (steamhammer/spv)

As far as heavy metal supergroups go it doesn’t get much bigger than this. The members of FULL FORCE have at some stage or another been a part of bands like CLOUDSCAPE, ACT 3, HAMMERFALL, LOST HORIZON, DAWN OF OBLIVION, DREAM EVIL and more. When they bring it all together for their aptly titled second album NEXT LEVEL out comes a very melodic style of Traditional Heavy Metal with a slight element of mid-paced Power Metal to boot. For some reason though the album didn’t grab me as much as I thought it would. There’s nothing really wrong here, the songwriting is relatively strong, the musicianship is as excellent as you would expect from such a bunch of seasoned professionals, Michael Anderssen’s vocals are varied, inspired and done quite well and the production is a nice mix of wall-of-sound low end and punchy higher end. The problem for me however is that when a group of musicians from other bands get together I expect something amazing, and NEXT LEVEL isn’t quite there. Is it a good album?…Yes, and metal fans will surely enjoy it, just not quite exciting enough for my liking.    7/10

 

09. CLOUDSCAPE – NEW ERA   (nightmare records)

Oddly enough I enjoyed Michael Anderssen’s vocal efforts on the FULL FORCE (reviewed above) album more than I do his contribution to his main band’s new album NEW ERA. Musically it’s the best album the band have released by far, and the varied approach that combines heavy melodic rock, melodic metal and some progressive elements sounds pretty easy on the ears. My biggest problem is with Anderssen’s high register vocals that just feel strained too much on this release. Maybe the FULL FORCE album was mixed by somebody with more experience in the vocal department or something like that. Every now and then on this album there are a few little modern influences that fit in better than you may think, and the occasional growled vocals are more than welcome too. The band has a few new members since their last release, and it seems that they may be heading closer toward the right path than previously, I just wish the higher register vocals were done a little better… It could have been the touch of class this album needed to really turn some heads.        7/10

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed your latest dose of MIND SCANS everybody. Plenty of stuff to get through and a little something for everybody. Plenty happening in the MGM offices so stay tuned! In the mean time, feel free to let us know what YOU though some of the albums in the MIND SCAN section. Banter is always encouraged 😉

 

This edition of MIND SCANS brought to you by ZeeZee.

 

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