Monday, 30 April 2012


Swedish hard rockers Europe have gone back to blues basics for their 9th studio album 'Bag Of Bones' with the help of producer Kevin Shirley who has worked his magic yet again. Opener 'Riches To Rags' sets the standard whilst lead cut 'Not Supposed To Sing The Blues' (an addictive Led Zep workout) burns the house down. Inspiring compositions such as the title track (which features Joe Bonamassa on slide guitar) and the Deep Purple-esque 'My Woman My Friend' add depth. Elsewhere the straight-forward hard rock of 'Firebox' and the stripped-down acoustic tingle of ‘Drink And A Smile' are stadium-filling hallmarks.The shining twin stars of singer Joey Tempest and guitarist John Norum stand-out trumps here providing perfect interplay. Europe were born to sing the blues... contender for rock album of the year!

Mark Crampton

Friday, 6 April 2012


Comeback albums are often like middle-aged men getting new Porsches. It may have seemed like this when Accept got together with vocalist Mark Tornillo for 2010’s 'Blood Of The Nations', a potent record that won rave reviews. The German metal band’s latest, 'Stalingrad' is taking that comeback and running with it. From the chugging guitars and sky-splitting vocals of opener 'Hung Drawn And Quartered' to the doom-laden riffs of the title track and the smouldering menace of 'Twist Of Fate', this album successfully builds on the gargantuan superstructure of its predecessor. True peace comes on the battlefield when each side has fought a worthy battle that both can respect. This is the spirit that this record breathes and the reason why it will be as big a hit in Russia as it is in Germany, the two nations whose titanic struggle inspired its epic theme!

Colin Liddell