Formed in 1990 and based in Sweden, The Quill have released 9 albums over the past 28 years which is hardly prolific. However, quality is always better than quantity and the band have found a good level of success and a very sound fanbase. To remind the Rock community of their credentials within the stoner rock genre, The Quill have remastered and re-released their 2 most popular and well known albums with the addition of some extra bonus tracks.
Voodoo Caravan is the bands third album and was initially released in 2002 and quickly became a fan favourite. It is now regarded as the quintessential The Quill album featuring Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott as a guest on the albums best track (Shapes Of Afterlife). Lead singer Magnus Ekwall has a voice often compared to the much missed and extremely talented Chris Cornell. The vocal range is absolutely awesome and this is evident as soon as the title track opens this album and immediately has a 70’s Rock feel about it as does much of the rest of the album. The musical side of the band are equally talented and adept at their instruments which makes for a tight sounding and almost Black Sabbath noise. As previously mentioned Shapes Of Afterlife is an instantly accessible track with a killer guitar solo and affirms the quality of the songwriting within the band. (Wade Across) The Mighty River is Led Zeppelin meets Soungarden confirming the influences of the band. Original album closer Virgo is an 8 minute assault of everything good about The Quill. Great singing, brilliant guitar and an epic rhythm section all coming together to leave the listener wanting more! Luckily on this re-release the listener does indeed get more in the form of 3 bonus tracks. Firstly is the never heard before Spiral. It is unbelievable the track never made it onto the original release for reasons only the band can know. The song effortlessly sits well on the album as do the other 2 bonus tracks Gather Round The Sun and Thousand Years which were both only available previously on the Japanese CD release.
Due to the success of Voodoo Caravan the record company understandably wanted new music and fast. The Quill by this time were on a roll and at the top of their game so the band rushed into the studio to record the follow up Hooray! It’s A Deathtrip. Overall the songs on this album are more classic rock than stoner rock and the band seemed to be more relaxed and having more fun on this album noticeable by the more diverse and varied tracks. The listener will still hear the Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin influences with a little more Nirvana and Kyuss thrown in for good measure. Throughout this album the band do not let up with song after song of hard rock, superb musicianship and excellent songwriting culminating in this album being the bands most successful to date. Sadly on this re-release you only get one bonus track the superb Been Here Once Before.
The Quill are a superb band of musicians with a vocalist who is instantly recognisable. Both of these albums have aged very well and will please hardcore fans while,hopefully, opening the eyes and ears of a new generation of Rock fans who may have overlooked the band previously.
Voodoo Caravan: 8/10
Hooray! It’s A Deathtrip: 7/10 (Due to lack of more bonus tracks)
What can I say about Harem Scarem that I haven’t said a million times already over the last 20 years of being a fan of theirs? Not much, but I’m going to have to find something to say as they have a new album out now. I could blabber on about how they’re one of the best, most consistent melodic rock bands of all-time. I could tell you that they’re one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. I could say that it is a shame they’re not a bigger name than they are. I could say all that (most of which I have said in prior reviews,) but chances are if you’re reading this you probably already know all of this. If you don’t, then get with the program dammit! 2017 saw the release of United, which in my estimation is their best work thus far, so they already had their work cut out for them with a new album.
The London based alt. metal band, Breed 77 are back with their fourth release “The Evil Inside”, and for fans of the band, I am glad to say that this record is a blast. Initially, as listening to “The Evil Inside”, one cannot help but compare the band to the likes of Drowning Pool, SOiL, but as you continue to listen, you see that Breed 77, although sharing some similarities with these bands, their record does in fact stand out on its own merits.
What we have here is a tribute not in a tribute CD kind of way, but in Scheepers paying respect to the greats in his own music that didn’t really fit into the mold of Primal Fear. I notice the duet with Tim Ripper Owens on “Remission of Sin”, not only is it bad ass but it sounds as if Ralf and Ripper we’re singing a duet on a Priest record.