Peter Innes All gigs
You're reading it here first, fans of British heavy metal - how old-school power-rock went round the block, round the universe, was lost for a generation...but then got itself a studded black leather satnav and finally, it's come home to roost and how it is now, word on the street...back on the money. The evidence? Well...Dave Little (Axis, Pauline Gillan Band - guitar), Keeth Naylor (Pauline Gillan Band - drums), Pat O'Neill (Love and Bullets, Black Rose - guitar) and Chris Wing (bass and orchestral digital keyboard diamonds) find themselves in the same Newcastle's Trinity studio as vocalist Tony Thurlow (Berlyn, Panama, Jump the Gun). Adding legendary and beefy electric guitar cojones are Tigers of Pan Tang's Fred Purser and Mick Tucker (Axis, Tank, White Spirit) - so, here, your honour, is the case for the re-evolution, pretty damned classy from the get-go.
The multi-layered instrumental overture "Something Wicked This Way Comes" sets a deceptively calming view to a thrill - and that thrill is "Fallen", where, take it from me, metal finds new sharded razor-edges that glisten in new-found light. Thixatropic yet creatively mobile Norse legend accelerates zero to 150 in nano-seconds - and that's before it goes straight off the edge of the cliff, and Tucker's solo in the outro is a creamer. Like, it's been days since first hearing...and I'm still having trouble sleeping. "Dream a Dream" leads to Tower of Angels which is lyrically vast and highly figurative - the dream is of gods and angels - a Boys' Own melodic voyage in a thunderous guitar universe.
Three bars into "Torre de Angeles", it's a no-go area for mommas' boys Bon Jovi, this street's built of granite-hard but harmonic rock that follows you to a dark car-park to slug the back of your skull with a foot and a half of scaffold tube... and motivates your feet like a helium mainline, over a monolith, slab foundation of electric guitar massif riffed valley that shakes the pyramids to dust. It takes a certain modus operandi to carry this stuff off convincingly - allegoric old-testament mythical rock - but here, it sounds effortlessly easy. "Death From Above", apocalyptic vision of rained-down oblivion, an acid hard rain's gonna fall prophesy, a seamless, pulsing lead / second electric guitar adventure. "Stone Cold" chills on a white-out Arctic blizzard of wailing metal. Opening deceptively with sweet, light-of-touch, eloquent bluesy flamenco 12-string picking, "Of Time and Stars" reveals itself as an intense thumper.
Musically, of its genre, this album uplifting and praise-worthy, with earth-shattering vocals throughout. As a package, this is a gothic artifact that must make the boys justifiably, if quietly, proud - the metal grail, indeed.