Ah good, a newRock City Review to er, review. I like it when a new issue comes out. It gives me the chance to find out if itís worse than the previous one. The claims are still there, the biggest (certainly with a 20,000 print run) free "whatever" in Nottingham. Itís just that, well, how can this be put, itís crap. I donít really know what theyíre trying to achieve or prove. The style of writing and presentation seems to indicate RC thinks of itself as having a community, and this is their newsletter. Well, dunno about that, but it for me bears no resemblance to what the place is about. Essentially itís a club, a rock club. It supposedly supports live music. So it employs someone to do demo reviews who pretty patently dislikes demos. Ok, he maybe taking the piss, but isnít this a place supposed to be supporting "rock" music and its roots rather than putting it down. The 2 pages of album reviews contain about ? rock albums. Sheesh, thereís reviews of the likes of ? and ? in here. Fine, itís open minded, but this is a rock club isnít it? Thereís little in here to recommend it as far as Iím concerned. Itís free, it has a huge print run, and itís associated with RC. Ok, so now make it worthwhile. And no, I donít have any grudges against the place, and neither am I in competition being based in Nottingham. Iíve never had personal dealings with them. I speak here as a punter whose been to the place on numerous occassions, seen countless bands there, and just thinks that there are many times when itís just taking the piss really. And this "magazine" just adds to it. Quite possible the "community" loves it, but as a publication supporting the music that helped make its name and reputation, itís a pretty sorry effort.
I spent bloody ages trying to find the newBreed 77 EP Vol 1without success, until I was loaned a copy. I mean, letís face it, theyíve been round for yonks now and this I think is only their second release, tíother one being The Message on Household Name. I understand waiting for the right deal and time, but isnít there a chance that they could miss their time? Still they know better than me, and Iím sure have much more informed and intelligent people than myself fighting their corner.
There again, maybe itís kind of good theyíve waited, because it sounds like theyíve evolved a bit and are searching for their own space a bit more than was evident on The Message, which was a good single, but kind of showed itís influences perhaps a bit too much. Now thereís influence there, but from a slightly different direction. For me the vocal influence of Keith Caputo is coming through more, itís been there in the live setting, and I think itís evident on this as well. Thereís also a slightly more fluid metal feel to it all than the start stop dynamics of the nu-metal thing. And the fluidity is something Iím more comfortable with.
Opening track Karma is also as it happens the best one on here. A rolling riff and catchy melody, it highlights the progression and strength of Breed77 at their best.
The second half of the EP is somewhat harder for me to personally get my head around Rise and Valium. Thereís a few more of the nu-metal dynamics on offer, and the songs just donít stick in my mind. However, the encouraging thing about them is that theyíre more adventurous than a number of other bands of their ilk, hinting at the desire to really develop their sound and overall approach. Total bludgeon is replaced by more dynamics and exploration. Itís just at this point in time, it doesnít work for me, especially on final track Valium. But the intention is kind of exciting. Theyíve taken their time and evolved to this point, more time will surely see them develop even further, something that can be fairly rare in bands these days.
Available on Org Records.
BLACKROCK - DEMO II
Ah, the heroes return with their second demo. For my money itís not quite on a par with the first, but it still marks them out as the best band in this particular style of rock in this country, and probably for me anywhere. Why? Itís just cos "it is". That indefinable something. You can point the finger at the soul and passion in Seanís vocals, the groove thatís established by the rhythm section of Ryszard on drums and Chis on bass, or the effortlessly classy riffs the guitarists Chris and Paul manage to reel off. Itís just class all the way, as pure and simple as that.
Anyway, weíve got another four tracks on offer here, and they open up with Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants. No, theyíre not ripping off Oasis. Iíd heard rumours of some dodgy looking geezers, alike enough to be bruvvers hanging around part of Nottingham looking suspicious. It opens up with a simple drum beat. Simple enough, many bands have done it, but as the bass and guitars join in, thereís already a swagger going. If this music was a body it would be strutting itself down the road. Thereís even a hint of The Black Crowes in there, the groove, the swagger. It doesnít get better. And again, itís augmented by a guitar sound that suits this so perfectly itís not true. Itís so warm. In todays age, some people may complain about the production, but itís perfect. It captures a 70s sound where so many trying hard have failed to do so.
Breadhead is next, another riff so catchy, so right you know it mustíve been done before. Hell, it probably has, but Blackrock just add their stamp and turn it totally into their own. Itís so melodic yet heavy, underpinned by Seanís gorgeous vocals. I said it in the review of their first demo, and Iím going to say it again. Theyíve got the natural groove that Metallica have tried to capture, but never will. You have it or you donít. I donít. Blackrock do.
Next is Downer Part II. The followup to Downer Part I. Such a great song that you want parts III, IV, V. Whatever it takes. Stallion completes it. It doesnít deviate much from the Blackrock formula, though thereís possibly their heaviest moment to date in the slow middle section. You donít want it to. Blackrock know what they do and they do it with style and skill that no-one else in their genre is approaching at the moment. Itís simple. Blackrock are the best band of their ilk going right now. Looks like Sabbath took the right decision to retire. Time to move over and let the new kings claim the throne. I mean, they even manage to make guitar solos interesting. What more evidence than that do you need of a bands genius.
£4 quid gets you this little gem. If youíre a stoner person, then, uh well look, you have no choice, you have to have this in your collection. 13 minutes of utter utter class.
Contact: Blackrock, Unit 6, O.P.M. House, Haydn Rd, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 2LB.