Category Archives: EP/Album Reviews

EP Review: William Control – The Black EP

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Electronic, Goth, Rock, now there’s an intriguing mouthful of styles, textures and tastes – by Guy Shankand. However the reality is WILLIAM CONTROL have a released a record which barely brushes the eyeliner of Goth and only lightly pierces Rock‘s spurned ear. Opener ‘Analog Flesh In A Digital World’ is somewhat closer to the Poppy Dancey Rave assimilating dirge normally heard through a cider sipping, teenage hoodie’s I-phone on a park bench somewhere in the home counties. Second track ‘All I Need’ awakens a few heartbreaking emotions but misses the opportunity to be an all new Electro anthem. ‘Knife Play’ is tip top bipty bop electronic fusion of Depeche Mode looking disapprovingly down on The White Lies, plus it has the line “Falling in love with a slave”…wow. The slow burning ‘Velvet Rose’ is the standout of the four tracks on offer. A rich, piano laden dark ballad that evokes visions of jet black hair, mascara emotion hiding behind cheap shades and an armful of meaningful tattoos resting on a solitary gravestone. William Control are slightly guilty of trying to be being all things to all men, pushing and promoting Rock/Goth themes that are conspicuous by their absence. This is Electronic music that the younger Rock generation may just fall in love with, whilst those of a certain age won’t get past the first few notes before zoning out, unless they start at track four, which is simplistically stunning.

Album Review: Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms

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Well this one has been a long time coming. When Creeper emerged with their brilliant self titled debut EP in 2014, people were already clamouring for a full length album. The want and anticipation was ramped up even further by follow up EP’s The Callous Heart (now a phrase that is part of the bands identity) as well as last year’s The Stranger, which seen the bands songwriting surpass all the conceptions people had held of this band so young in their career. A full promotional campaign that even the giants of music would be proud of as well as a brilliant debut headline tour, many big support slots (Andy Black, Pierce The Veil etc) and a recently released Kerrang cover and we finally have the debut Creeper album…

With hype being at fever pitch, there is a lot of onus on the band not to let the fans down here and, my god, do they deliver. From the moment Suzanne was released months ago and the album was announced, everyone should have known that Creeper were not going to let us down and they definitely don’t. Opening with the brilliantly theatrical single Black Rain where you get an immediate dose of the songwriting genius that exists within the Creeper unit as well as an introduction to the use of Hannah’s vocals, being utilised for the first time on this record. The combination of vocalists on the chorus here is huge, opening the album in truly outstanding fashion but the fun does not stop here.

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Following on from such a brilliant opener would have been nearly impossible for most bands, but Creeper are not most bands. Immediately following it with Poison Pens is a stroke of genius as the band throw a straight in your face punk-tinged track to show that the bite from their earlier work is going nowhere. Following this are the other two previously released tracks in Hiding With Boys and Suzanne where we see huge choruses as well as a sound that combines the pop punk style of The Offspring with the grace and vocal tendencies of Meatloaf, truly unique.

The album just does not stop at any point whatsoever, with genuine 10/10 tracks from start to finish. Down Below sounds absolutely massive, with Will wailing the chorus in such an honest way everyone will believe every word he says. Winona Forever has such a joyous nature to it that listeners will not be able to wipe the smiles from their faces when singing along to its absurdly catchy chorus.

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As good as all these songs are, what makes this record truly unmissable is the slower songs. The first one the listener will come across is Misery, which was previously released on The Stranger EP. This song is flawless, as well as being this writer’s top song of 2016, the emotion in the chorus, the reflective lyrics and the massive outro that the whole song builds to is just brilliant. There are two new slower songs on this record that show that Misery was not a one off however in Crickets and I Choose To Live. Both these tracks offer different perspectives on the slower songs as well as different lead vocalists. The former is Hannah Greenwood’s first chance at being the lead vocalist on Creeper and she takes her opportunity with both hands, with her emotional delivery creating what could be the best song of Creeper’s career so far. A genuine masterstroke of songwriting.

When this album comes to an end, one can’t help but sit there and wonder what just happened and how it has made them feel. Every song on this record will make the listener feel something such is the amount of honesty here, as well as the amount of fun you can have by listening to it.

Creeper are a band that nobody should pass up on, and every rock fan should take a sense of pride in. With this record they ensure that everyone will soon know who the best new band in rock music currently is. Not only that, they are doing everything on their own terms in their own way and it is only a matter of time before it is going to be too late to see these guys in small places. This band are going to continue to grow and when you consider that this is only one of the first steps on the journey, I for one can’t wait.

10/10 – Flawless, The best new band in music

Highlights – Crickets, Misery

Album Review: Radio Free Universe – Casa Del Diablo

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RADIO FREE UNIVERSE’S debut release engulfs you, rocks you and in places is pretty f**king spellbinding – By Guy Shankland. The Canadian four piece bristle with an inner Seventies Rock clichéd confidence that demands your complete and utter undivided attention. Opener ‘American Gun’ thumps it chest with a silverback beat which is backed up with a traditional gun slinging riff, while the vocals incorporate a Coverdale to Cornell Rock singing style. Lead single ‘Disclosure’ is an urgent espresso hit of hands in the Arena Rock and is possibly the standout track. ‘18 Wheels’ keeps rolling on with the standard layers of Bass drum, Vocal, Riff,  then bring it all together combo. It’s not the most original idea or sound but it does work. The only real turkey is ’Butterfly’ which is a dreamy, drippy psychedelic bucket of pretentious pish. ’Six’ goes all Southern devil kicking, cowboy boots and poker in the saloon. ‘DMT, ‘Magnolia Girl’ and a Phonics-esque ‘Rest Of Us’ are all agreeable road trip, blue skies with the top down California cruisers. The album is held together buy some quintessential bourbon laced vocals which cover the tracks like liquor on ice. Casa Del Diablo moves, stones and shakes with a subtle twist on the older, more influential Rock genres while maintaining a modern edge. The Rock ghosts of decades past can sleep easy knowing their iconic sound is in safe, maple soaked hands.

Album Review: Our Hollow, Our Home – Hartsick

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Metalcore has become quiet a controversial topic amongst metal fans recently, with many believing that the sub-genre has long gone by its sell by date. That said, whatever you think of the bands making the music, there is still a massive following for bands who combine breakdowns with massive choruses and that is exactly what south Englanders Our Hollow, Our Home are trying to provide here. Aiming to follow on in the footsteps of their successful peers in While She Sleeps and Architects, Our Hollow, Our Home are ambitiously self releasing this record and already have UK and European tours booked in as well as a lot of support from the mainstream rock media both sides of the Atlantic. Is it worth the interest though?

The answer to that is quite simple while also being a little complex. If you like metalcore from both sides of the Atlantic this is definitely for you. What the band achieve here is that they combine the American style of metalcore that is closely associated with warped tour and Sumerian Records with what British bands are doing currently by adding a more technical and heavier element to it while maintaining a melodic edge.

Songs such as second track Loneshark as well as the title track show off the bands ear for melody and massive choruses with the typical metalcore structure being used to great effect and the contrast of clean and scream vocals being utilised very well. What is impressive here is that, for the most part, these songs are not overproduced and you can hear personality in the tracks. The biggest problem for most bands who play this style of metalcore is that it is overproduced and this takes away the bite and aggression metalcore music has. However, Our Hollow, Our Home should be applauded for managing to avoid this when writing this style of track.

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While the band may be setting a good standard when writing songs more associated with the US, it is when they sound more like their brutish counterparts that we really see how good this band can be. Songs such as Throne To The Wolves and Fox Blood show a lot more variation in the bands sound and they are a lot better of because of it. The former track opens with a piano line that sounds like Coldplay before the song comes in with the breakdown style and use of ‘bleugh’ reminding the listener of Architects but while all of this is happening the band have choruses that are reminiscent of Mallory Knox on their best day. A truly brilliant track that shows off exactly what the band can do.

What we see here on this record is that Britain has another band on its hands who can step up to the plate and lead a new metalcore revolution. The time where America dominated this genre is long gone and when Our Hollow, Our Home focus more on that sound that has become associated with the exceptional British metal scene, we may have a monster on our hands.

8/10 – Really good song writing of multiple styles

Highlights – Throne To The Wolves, Fox Blood

Album Review: Brutus – Burst

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Belgium three piece BRUTUS come out swinging on their debut release Burst by Guy Shankland. Death metal drums, Maiden esque riffs, a motoring bass and some shouty melodic female vocals. Stefanie the drummer hit’s those skins with such ferocious force it’s a wonder she is able to sing anything let alone handle the lead vocals. March begins the aural assault as it rises, pauses and then rattles the eyes from your sockets. The fast paced opening leads you into the bands first single All Along. It kicks ‘n’ spits with Punk attitude, raspy vocals and a riff that Scott Ian would be proud of. Not Caring goes so full Death Metal its almost Norwegian. While the pace slows for Justice De Julia ll  which tries way to hard to be atmospheric as it lucky dips in and out of Metal genres. Drive is a superb, well crafted song it motors along as the band surf a rhythm slip stream . Looking For Love On Devil Mountain, Crack/Waste and a forgettable Horde 11 all follow the same mix n match Metal path. Brutus have delivered a debut of power, melody and force which repeatedly attacks the senses. An intriguing first album.

EP Review: Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm

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LESS THAN JAKE are celebrating their Twenty Fifth anniversary this year… and that’s one hell of an achievement – By Guy Shankland. The bands longevity (in the same way as Reel Big Fish) and continued popularity is in no small part down to their constant touring of the world which keeps the LTJ name fresh in the minds of fans new and old. The ‘Sound The Alarm’ E.P follows the well trodden Ska-Punk path with few deviations or surprises which is both reassuringly familiar and disappointing in equal measures. The album kicks off with the short sharp circle pit inducing ’Call To Arms’ which is the perfect E.P entrée. Once again the lead vocals are shared between original members, guitarist Chris DeMakes and bassist Roger Lima. ‘Whatever The Weather’ is a slower paced Ska laced anthem which dips and rises to a climatic chorus. A frantic Horn and bass opening on ‘Bomb Drop’ soon morphs into your standard Ska-Punk sound that could be one of a dozen bands. ‘Years Of Living Dangerously’, the high tempo ‘Things Change’ and ‘Welcome To My Life’ are all enjoyable and rousing Ska-Punk fodder. After quarter of a century Less Than Jake are now entering anniversary tour,elder statesman territory. The Ska-Punk sound is still undeniably fresh and LTJ do it better than most.

Album Review: WSTR’s ‘Red, Green Or Inbetween’

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Liverpool pop punks WSTR are set to release their debut album this month (20th January) titled Red, Green or Inbetween via No Sleep Records.  Having been a fan of the quartet for a while now, it was an honour to receive the album to review. This will be WSTR’s follow up to their debut EP SKRWD and lead singer Sammy Clifford and the lads once again excelled themselves with this release. It starts off with the already known Featherweight  and what a way to start a debut album off. Almost straight away you can hear Sammy’s epic vocals kicking off  a party of pop punk heaven with Kieren Alder and Danny Swift pitching in with their kick ass guitar riffs. The tempo of this song reminds me of early Neck Deep however it is clear that they have their own style to their music. Next up is Footprints which has an incredibly catchy beat to it almost straight away. The drum beat is complemented by Alder’s and Swifts epic guitar playing. Sammy’s vocals are once again on top form as they are throughout this faultless album. The third song on the album is unique due to it’s length. This is something seen by Blink-182’s California and it just breaks the album up really with running over just 30 seconds. Titled Gobshite, it has a really epic and fast beat to it and gets to the point directly. At the end, the lyrics ‘Out daddies said not to be ashamed of our dicks’ really points out the humour as well which all pop punk bands should of have because it’s about having fun. And that is exactly what the next song does, Lonely Smiles. In the music video seen below, the band gives something back to their fans and allows them each to be in their music video. The song itself was just a teaser to what expect of this album, and what a teaser it was. Alex Tobijanski on bass really added to this song also which created a really authentic song for WSTR and their style of music really came into their own.

2016 was an amazing year for WSTR having gone on tour with Neck Deep and played at such festivals as 2000 Trees and now the lads are ready to show what they’re really made off. This is certainly shown in their next track Nail in the Casket (Thanks For Nothing) and despite it has a very catchy and happy sound to it, the lyrics ‘bury me and nail the casket’ obviously highlights the pain lead singer Sammy Clifford feels. The song has a lot of potential to be a hit if the lads decide to release it as a single. Next up is personally my favourite and the song is titled Eastbound & Down. The chorus of the song is just perfect and really just sticks in my head. Lyrics such as ‘I got a little bit of money with a pocket full of hesitation’ and ‘I’m pathetic’ really hits home to what WSTR is trying to say in this track and it just makes you really feel for them. The track fades out at the end perfectly which is a sign of an awesome song and I have to say this is not only my favourite song from the album but right up there overall. King’s Cup is next up which is another solid edition to the album. Sammy sings lyrics such as ‘Lady luck is no friend of mine’ which once again shows the anger of the song but at the same time the instrumentals of Alder, Swift and Tobijanski really contradicts the lyrics in a good way. Next track is The Last Ride really reflects the lyrics with a almost darker sound to the song, which is not surprising seeing the song is mainly about death. After 2 minutes however, the song really becomes beautiful with an acoustic feel that will give you goosebumps. The lyrics ‘I’m bleeding out, and I can’t feel my face. I’l be waiting where you ghost remains. Because now you’re just a past time.’ really hits home but then it superbly kicks straight back in to a pop punk dream.

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Album artwork

Hightail is next up witch kicks in straight away with a very punchy start and never really stops having a high tempo to it. However just before 2 two minutes, a really catchy verse starts up and it allows guitarists Alder and Swift to really show what they are made off. The second to last song is cleverly titled Penultimate with WSTR once again showing why they are one of the most promising pop punk bands in the world right now. With dark lyrics such as ‘Nightmares in my head’ and ‘She’s a monster by my window’ clearly shows the band has a lot of passion for what they write but what makes this song so good is how it fades out. Just the way it changes to acoustic late on, it really allows fans to hear what the lyrics are about. Once again I could imagine this song on any alternative radio station such as Kerrang! Radio or BBC Radio One Rock Show. And what WSTR has done perfectly here is that it leads to the last song Punchline which starts out acoustic. However as you can expect this lasts for 20 seconds before the epic drums and guitar riffs kick in. This time the chorus really drills into your head as it is so catchy. The lyrics ‘Maybe I’m a fucking joke, the Punchline to a thousand TV episodes.’ and just carries on to rhyme fantastically. Once again this song screams what pop punk is all about and is a perfect way to end their debut album. So with just over two weeks until the realise, I advise any fan of WSTR or pop punk for that matter to get excited with this release. My prediction these guys will go far, very far. This album ‘Ain’t Great’, it’s fucking amazing!

Rating: 10/10 – These guys have got so much promise and this album simply cements that.

Favourite song:  Eastbound & Down

WSTR will join Seaway and The Gospel Youth on a UK tour this month and February!

Tickets can be purchased here.

24th Jan: Southampton, Joiners

25th Jan: Bristol, The Fleece
26th Jan: Leeds, The Key Club
27th Jan: Glasgow, Stereo
29th Jan: Newcastle, O2 Academy2
30th Jan: Manchester, Sound Control
31st Jan: Nottingham, Rock City Basement
1st Feb: Norwich, Epic Studios
2nd Feb: Birmingham, O2 Academy3
3rd Feb: London, Underworld

Album Review: You Me At Six’s Night People

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Surrey alternative rock band You Me At Six are set to release their new album Night People on Friday (6th January). Having announced another UK tour for April recently, the lads are truly going places once again having formed back in 2004. First up is the title track Night People and as fans would know by now, it’s one hell of a catchy track. The song has just about got everything you’d expect from a ‘pop-rock’ track. Lead singer Josh Franceschi uses his pitch perfect vocals to really capture the imagination of the audience. The lyric ‘It’s what you want (it’s), It’s what you need’ gets repeated a fair bit but I think this is what makes the track so catchy so great at the same time.

Next up is Plus One which doesn’t take long before you hear guitarists Max Heyler and Chris Miller really come in to their element with some awesome riffs. Once again Josh’s vocals is complimented by the brilliant backing singer Matt Barnes who also plays bass guitar. Despite this being once again pop rock, it certainly has more of a rock element to it rather than pop. And despite it being fairly short at 2 minutes 35 seconds, You Me At Six fans can be assured it’s a banger. The next song on the album is Heavy Soul and drummer Dan Flint can be heard straight away like he can throughout the album. Josh’s vocals is tested further with this song with this song obviously meaning a lot to him. Just after 2 minutes and the song starts to get slower but I really think it adds to the authenticity of the lyrics that gets repeated ‘What are you waiting for?’ and ‘I’ve got a feeling’ when talking about a ‘heavy soul’. Take On The World is then followed which starts of beautifully and reminds me a lot of Crash.  There’s something about Josh’s vocals that almost brings a tear to your eye, as the beat starts to kick in towards the 3 minute mark with some great backing vocals from Flint.

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Album Artwork

The fifth song on the album is titled Brand New and I guess in one way it reflects You Me At Six themselves as they try out a almost new style of music. The catchy song can really get you into a good mood as it exactly what the listener needs following the much sadder song before. The song is all about feeling like yourself and that’s exactly what it achieves. Next up is Swear which almost straight away has a Loverboy feel to it which is what I’m sure fans adore about You Me At Six. It sounds like there is a bit more anger to this song though as  Helyer and Miller really gave their all on guitar. Make Your Move is another solid addition to the album and really has a anthem feel to it. The song would sound great live as fans could just singalong to the catchy chorus. Josh’s voice also sees a more darker tone to it, maybe to reflect a more angry side to the song. The album’s eighth song Can’t Hold Back uses a bit more electronic sound to start it off and some almost indie rock riffs to the song. I think fans would enjoy listening to this song as it’s a little bit different to what they expect from You Me At Six however if you done the same style all the time, you’d be boring! The lyrics ‘Nobody wants to be alone’ also really reflects what the song is about and potentially could been someone on the band has felt a sense of loneliness in recent times.

The penultimate song titled Spell It Out starts off very sinister almost with the a more darker tone to Josh’s voice once again. With the song the second longest on the album, it allows for it to build up with a more slower start.It takes 2 and a half minutes before the song really kicks in with Flint proving once again why is one of the UK’s best drummers. Night People ends with track Give which is a perfect way to end an album as it has a mixture of up beat and almost sadness to it. Once again You Me At Six have proved why they are up there with the very best and this album will only cement their name.

Rating: 9/10 – You Me At Six once again prove why they are one of the best bands in the UK right now.

Favourite song: Take On The World – The song reminded me of Crash which is my all time favourite song from the band.

 

EP Review: Youth Killed It – Welcome To The Happy Girls Club

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Youth Killed It have been incredibly busy this year, not only have they spent the time creating their unique sound but they have also been doing so in the shadow of their former moniker Under The Influence. With the Norwich boys now being based in London they are not resting on the laurels of their old names success but are taking a new direction and wasting no time with this being the second release this year following on from the previous EP Welcome To The Sad Boys Club ( read what we thought of it here: https://originalrock.net/2016/04/08/ep-review-youth-killed-its-welcome-to-the-sad-boys-club/ ). Now with this second release have the guys improved in the short space of time or is it much of the same?

The answer is that throughout the four songs present on this EP, there is definite progress on almost all fronts. Opening the EP is the previously single Molly which wasted no time in showing that the fun factor in the band has definitely not left but the sound is much more established. Combining the bounce of rock music with indie styles guitars that is all brought together by a vocal assualt clearly influenced by the grime scene we have a brilliant, unique and fun sound that is encapsulated brilliantly on this track. Not only that but the listener can tell the band love what they are doing here, a true songwriting talent to possess.

Following this is EP highlight I Ain’t Ready For It which opens with a short build up before exploding into life with an in your face riff and vocal delivery. Although it still contains all the genre-bending and melding mentioned above, this track feels a lot more focused and although it would still be fun in a live environment, it is toned down on this track. The song brings to mind the songwriting talents of Marmozets with the grime delivery giving the song somewhat of a punk aesthetic to add to the mix of sounds used by Youth Killed It.

The fun factor returns on the following track simple titled FUDGE. Discussing the use and importance of GCSE in a very fun sounding track the band utilise somewhat of a cheerleader chant to very entertaining effect and are sure to have fans singing it at the top of their lungs on the road. This song is radio ready and could see the band fired into the stratosphere if it reaches the right audience due to it’s smile inducing and accessible nature.

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The EP ends with the closer Lads In Love (Bowns Ballad) which although seems like it is going to be a ballad judging by the sounds of the intro, luckily it is not and launches into the same style of track that Youth Killed It are already marking their own. This track encapsulates everything that the band are all about with fun lyrics about how ‘sick’ their girlfriend is whilst keeping that fun bounce alive throughout the entire track. A vast;y entertaining end to an EP that is a genuine pleasure to listen to.

All in all, Youth Killed It are growing at a rapid rate with this EP giving more evidence that this band have the potential to go very far as long as they continue to evolve well within the sound that they have created for themselves and if there is more to come in the near future, it won’t be long before you see these guys on the covers of magazines and on the radio.

8/10 – Brilliant and fun, a genuine joy

Highlight – I Ain’t Ready For It

Album Review: Red Fang – Only Ghost

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Up & coming Metal Band Red Fang have released their new album entitled Only Ghost.

The albums first song ‘Flies’ starts off with a drum pedal by John Sherman & a catchy guitar riff made by guitarist David Sulliva, that later turns into something more heavy to suit Bryan Giles vocals, while bassist Aaron Beak compliments him, with his more cleaner vocals. An excellent opener to get the listener ready.

The second song ‘Cut it Short’ is just excellent all around. Having a Queens Of The Stone Age vibe, with a catchy guitar riff, an excellent rhythm selection & yes a ram pedal was used! Hendrix would be proud. But this leads to the shortest song on the album, ‘Flames’ which is an instrumental piece that fits the tone but something didn’t feel right as well, it’s good but I wish something was added to it.

‘No Air’ follows & with a distorted bass setting up the song. This number does a good job to blend Giles & Beaks vocals together to become an amazing heavy metal number. ‘Shadows’ follows beginning with Sherman’s drumming that’s simple but effective all throughout. The song almost has a classic rock vibe, but still feels like a Red Fang number. ‘Not For You’ is next & it’s definitely one of the albums catchiest numbers & one the crowd will love, with excellent vocals from both Giles & Beak, while guitarist David Sullivan helps the song with his distorted guitar.

You can check out music video for ‘Shadows’ below:

‘The Smell of the Sound’ is next & it’s the albums most unique track with its heavy metal roots bring the showcase, but almost a progressive feeling presented too. Plus that bass by Beak is awesome. It if followed by “The Deep” which continues that trend, but follows Beak on vocals & it’s a sweet number.
This is followed by ‘I Am A Ghost’ which begins with an awesome rhythm section by Beak & Sherman as Giles more heavier vocals are more presented in this heavy metal piece, which has a very Black Sabbath vibe. The last number ‘Living in Lye’ starts with an intense drum roll by Sherman & Sullivan’s guitar playing helps the songs intensity, while Giles helps it give it that heavy flavour. There’s some awesome drumming & sweet solos presented that cap off what I think is an excellent record.

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Overall I highly recommend Only Ghost it’s an awesome album with great guitar work, an awesome rhythm section & the vocals being pitch perfect. A very high 9/10!

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Album Review by Hassan Ul-Haq