Author: Marcus Jervis

Vanderbuyst – At The Crack Of Dawn

As soon as Jochem Jonkman delivers the priceless opening couplet of ‘A little make-up and a push up bra, high heels to make her legs look tall’ on the classily titled ‘Girl In Heat’, you pretty much know Dutch hard rockers Vanderbuyst aren’t exactly out to scale new heights of intellectual greatness. And that’s fine; nobody goes to a Vanderbuyst gig for a lecture in quantum physics and like most of the songs on the first half of this, their fourth album, it’s a solid hard rock song, drawing influences from the Scorpions, Thin Lizzy and the less excessive...

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Bullet – Storm Of Blades

Men with a penchant for beard-stroking and blowing smoke up their own ass will try hard to convince you that heavy metal is a darkly cerebral art form, its relics and icons curated by wizards in Hogwarts. It might be true of Yes, but Yes aren’t heavy metal are they? Heavy metal is essentially pretty stupid and beautiful in its dumbass simplicity. Swedish skull bashers Bullet grasp that simple fact in much the same way the likes of Anvil and Krokus did and they make no apologies for it. Why should they? They sound like they’re having a hell...

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FM – Rockville

Rewind to 1986 and FM’s “Indiscreet” debut, an album now rightly regarded as a benchmark in British melodic rock. At the time, it seemed the UK had finally produced a band to beat the Americans at their own AOR-game; FM were destined to be huge. But they never were. Sure, they persevered, releasing quality albums, but the seemingly inevitable big breakthrough never happened and the FM story was over by 1995. Or, that’s how it might have been. The music may be soft rock but FM are hard men, and “Rockville” is the second instalment of a comeback that...

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Orianthi – Heaven In This Hell

Steadily building a reputation as a top-notch six-stringer with everyone from Michael Jackson to Alice Cooper has paved the way for what is looking like a successful solo career. The latest stop on that path for Orianthi is her third solo record “Heaven In This Hell.” It’s an excellent album, but hardcore headbangers beware that for all its hard rock trappings and fleet-fingered soloing, it’s not a metal album. Orianthi rocks and rocks hard, but you’ll also find clear influences from the blues, country rock and unashamed pop. If that’s got you thinking in the ballpark of a feminine...

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Vega – What The Hell

The word on the street is Vega have created a classic; a masterpiece of melodic hard rock, an album of auspicious AOR to match the very best the genre has to offer. You shouldn’t always listen to the word on the street. What Vega have really done is release a good album that in places hints at magnificence, but  overall lacks the stone cold killer instinct to place them truly in the company of legends where many believe they belong. Vega may become a Journey or a Foreigner, but not quite yet. At its best, “What The Hell” is...

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