Is it really four years since Symphony X’s last album ‘Iconoclast’ was released? A release that I personally struggled with as I found Russell Allen’s vocals to be too gruff too often rather than hitting the highs that I know he is more than capable of. Colleagues too had commented that something was perhaps lacking in the songs so it was with some trepidation that I approached this, their 9th release, ‘Underworld’.
Bottom line is that they still rock hard and yes while Powerplay may bit a diverse in spots, the overall feel still tickles my tummy with Melodic/Hard Rock riffing and good times vibes. While it is perfectly clear that Shakra has evolved from just plain rocking tunes to in some tracks a more modern commercial sound, the overall feel of the record is still distinctively theirs and their sound in bulk has not changed.
As I prepared to write up the review of The Wildhearts show at the Shepherds Bush Empire, celebrating the 20th Anniversary of seminal release ‘P.H.U.Q.’ , it was knowing that I would struggle to write anything but positive messages about the set and the band’s performance. These days, the Wildhearts are a safe bet. Not middle of the road, boring or even dull safe but safe in the knowledge that I’m always going to enjoy myself for the entire evening.