Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Seven Sisters-Seven Sisters

High Roller Records

A long-time favorite act of mine, Seven Sisters is a  N.W.O.B.H.M-inspired traditional heavy metal band that hails from West London and has been active since 2013. Lead by vocalist/guitarist (and band founder) Kyle McNeill (one hell of a nice guy that I had the pleasure of interviewing last year!), Seven Sisters first made the scene in the summer of 2014 thanks to a buzz-worthy recording entitled, "The Warden". It took a year (and a bit of a line-up change) to do it, but that highly-praised demo was all but forgotten about when Seven Sisters issued the 7" single “Lost in Time”/”Wicked Steel”. Thanks to a new and improved sound (one which somehow/someway (?) made this already perfect traditional metal quartet all that more impressive!) that 2015 single turned Seven Sisters into a house-hold name with fans and critics alike. With the group now signed to High Roller Records we find ourselves staring face to face with something that many of us have been patiently waiting for. And of course that would be a full-length album from Kyle McNeill and his companions! This self-titled album (with eight songs and a run-time of just about 40 minutes) serves as Seven Sisters official full-length debut and yes, "Seven Sisters" is EVERYTHING that I had hopped & dreamed it would be and so much more!! Backed by the stellar musicianship of guitarist Graeme Farmer, bassist Adam Thorpe*, and drummer Steve Loftin, lead vocalist/guitarist Kyle McNeill has crafted an album that is completely brilliant! From it's overall production and sound (which is as vintage as you would expect from this London four-piece while still featuring enough of a modern edge to slam the competition HARD to the ground!) to actual songwriting this is exactly how you want a traditional heavy metal release to look and feel. This forthcoming LP already has instant classic written all over it. To that end, "Seven Sisters" is one of the all-time GREATEST debut albums in the field of heavy metal!! Maybe he made a slam-dunk of a deal with the devil or maybe he is just that good, but either way Kyle McNeill has continued his sneaky little game of one-upmanship on "Seven Sisters".  Personally I am leaning towards that devil deal. I mean how else are we to explain the vast improvements that took place between each of Seven Sisters' recordings? From "The Warden" to "Lost In Time" there was a jump in quality and now with this self-titled BEAST of an album it's like someone turned the switch all the way up to the top!! Sure, there is always natural growth that goes on with any good band but this is flat-out ridiculous! With it's killer dual-leads, catchy choruses, rock-solid as f**k rhythm section, and the golden delicious voice of band-leader Kyle McNeill this London quartet has one hell of a A++ debut on it's hands section and come mid-October there will be but one heavy metal band to rule them all! Seven Sisters is the new king of the mountain so be sure to bow down on your knees now while you have the chance. After all it's either bow down or be blown away!!!!

*Since the recording of this gem bassist Adam Thorpe has been replaced Javi Rute. 

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bull Funk Zoo-Dangerous Radio


Due to be released on September 11th, 2016, "Dangerous Radio" is the second full-length album from the one of a kind one-man ROCK project known as Bull Funk Zoo. Having previously covered Bull Funk Zoo (aka producer, multi instrumentalist, vocalist, and insanely-skilled guitarist Assaad Lakkis) back in late March of this year by way of the wild and crazy ride that was "Would You" I knew enough to expect two things out of this release. The first thing was that it would be completely unique and/or experimental. That had been the case with the wicked single "Would You" and it's (just as damn cool!) follow-up, "Burnin"*. These two album tracks offered a different take on heavy rock and from everything that I had read about Bull Funk Zoo' main-man Assaad Lakkis (ie: his backstory and his wide-range of musical influences**!) all signs pointed towards more of the same on his new disc. The second expectation that I had about "Dangerous Radio" is that it would be LOUD and ROCKING! Whether it was the album's artwork, it's highly-suggestive title or just the way in which those two previously mentioned singles had seemingly set a precedent there was something that told me this album was going to be a BEAST. Sure enough I was right. "Dangerous Radio" is nothing short of a rock and roll rampage! Essentially what you've got here is garage-worthy HEAVY rock doing shots of Jägermeister with the likes of seventies classic rock, blues-rock, funk-rock and punk rock while there is a Red Bull & moonshine-fueled prison riot going on!! In other words, "Dangerous Radio" lives up to it's inspired title while simultaneously making Bull Funk Zoo one hell of name to keep an eye on! Produced, mixed and mastered by Assaad Lakkis himself, "Dangerous Radio" is the sound of one extremely-talented man taking guitar rock on a adventure-filled ride through the wasteland that is today's modern rock scene in order to bring hope to all those who are dying and in desperate need of real music in order to survive. Bull Funk Zoo is the hero that many have been searching for. Thank the almighty god's of hell-fire and (blistered fingers) rock and roll that he is finally here!

*Check out the official video of "Burnin" by heading here

**  Assaad's influences range from James Brown & Motown artists to Soundgarden and Megadeth! He grew up inspired by everything from Kiss to Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jeff Beck. Toss in some major love for old-school punk as well as jazz(!) and you have one damn-fine multi-instrumentalist that has it all covered1!

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Friday, August 05, 2016



It was back in mid-January of this year that I first covered Baltimore, Maryland rock/metal act Thrillkiller. Their debut offering, "Time", was a hell of lot of fun and that explosive 4-track EP proved to be a easy recording to love thanks to it's simply unreal combination of  hard rock/guitar rock, AOR, and eighties pop metal! With their brand new disc here lead vocalist/main man Rob Bradley and crew* prove early on and often that sophomore slumps are for suckers and that it is indeed possible to out-think, outperform & outplay perfection!! More or less picking up where "Time" left off, "Showdown" builds upon the success of Thrillkiller's debut EP by adding six great new tracks to the mix. In addition to the fantastic title cut(!) there is "Living in Infamy", "The Fever", "A Reason", "The Believer", and "Social Disease". All six numbers sound simply amazing (and then some!) and showcase the insane amount of growth that this Baltimore group has achieved in it's short time together. What's more they fit perfectly in with the material from "Time" so that when it's all said and done you have the album to beat for 2016! If "Showdown" doesn't get Thrillkiller scooped up and signed then they is something terribly wrong with this thing we call reality!!

*Maxim Sobchenko - Guitar/Co-Founder
  Sebastian Ochoa - Bass
  Matt Bittman-Enginer and Drums

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Interview with Steve Handel of Seventh Calling

  Seventh Calling is a heavy metal band with two EPs and three full-length albums to it's name. The group's latest release is "Battle Call" and it is geared towards metalheads who love their music to be all at once classic and modern. A little while back I had the opportunity to talk to guitarist/vocalist Steve Handel. I want to thank Steve for taking the time to chat with us. Be sure to keep an eye out for my upcoming review of "Battle Call".  

Andy-Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how Seventh Calling first came about.

Steve-"My name is Steve Handel, and I am the lead vocalist/lead guitarist for Seventh Calling.  The idea of Seventh Calling come about from the simple enjoyment of performing heavy metal music live."

Andy-Seventh Calling is such an interesting moniker choice. Can you tell us how you settled on that name?

Steve-" Of sorts, it was kind of like names in a hat so to speak.  Names just kept getting crossed off of the list until the name Seventh Calling was rested upon.  It sounded the most like a heavy metal band name out of all the others."

Andy-Musically-speaking there is a lot going on when it comes to your sound. I hear traditional heavy metal, melodic metal, power metal and some thrash as well as a lot of old school influences. The thing is that's just me.  How would you personally describe your style? 

Steve-"Yes there are quite a few old school influences.  I would personally like to think of this as Seventh Calling style heavy metal." 

 Andy-Following up on that question and all, who are some of the band's influences? As a whole and I guess individually. 

Steve-"As a whole, just some of the influences and favorites are, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Mercyful Fate, Metal Church, Judas Priest, Dio, Black Sabbath, Primal Fear, Slayer, Saxon, Accept, Scorpions and so on. Many more than that as individuals for our influences.  

Andy-Your first album came out in 2006 if I'm correct and "Battle Call" was just recently released. When you look back how much change do you see when it comes to Seventh Calling? Is your band where you imagined it would be?

Steve-"Yes, after working through all of the years from the first record and all of the problems that I was able to overcome to hold the group together I would say that I am right where it should be for now." 

Andy-Speaking of your new album "Battle Call" (which I do hope to review sometime down the road!) how has the response been?

Steve-While I have only had a chance to listen to it once through I do like what I hear. "The response has seemed to be good to the album.  I hope that it continues and we keep on rolling!"

Andy-Was this a difficult album to record or are you guys old pros now that your on album number three?

Steve-"No it was relatively easy to record.  Once we had all of the material written and performed for a bit of course.  Hardest part is always writing the material first." 

Andy-Do you have any favorite songs on the new album and if so why?

Steve-"Not really.  I like em all at this point.?

Andy-Will you be touring behind your new disc?

Steve-"We have been doing some shows since the record was released.  Nothing too major yet, but we are hoping to see that change.?

Andy-It's hard to believe, but 2016 is already more than half over. Is there anything that the band really wants to get done before 2016 comes to an end?

Steve-"Yea! The writing process for our next record, and to continue playing live." 

Andy- I like to let bands have the last word. Is there anything we didn't touch on that you would like to add?

Steve-"We encourage the heavy metal fans of the world to join our BATTLE CALL by finding us on our official and also find us on Itunes, Amazon, CD Baby and more!  Or simply stop by our official merchandise page to order up your shirts, patches and more direct from us! KEEP THE HEAVY METAL FAITH ALIVE!"

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