Well, this is a first for me - a band reaching out and asking me to review their new music by listening to it on Spotify. I guess that's an OK strategy, although if I really liked the material this would not be acceptable to have to burn up my 3G bandwidth that AT&T robs me for using. Still, I'm in front of the computer most of the time, so why not give this a listen.
For those that don't know, Scalp is a project who's mere mention probably put Andrew McNeice of MelodicRock.com into convulsions! This is an AOR supergroup of sorts - featuring members of acts like W.E.T., Insania, Eclipse, Baltimoore and Sabaton). Unfortunately for Scalp, the amalgamation of a lot of talent doesn't always translate into a great project. SCALP is a pretty sub-standard AOR rocker that suffers from somewhat murky production as well as fairly drab material.
This almost never happens. It almost never happens that a band of some notoriety finds a way to come all the way back from the dead and be better than ever. That's exactly what has happened here. For all intents and purposes, Accept was dead. Udo Dirkschneider started an Accept clone band called U.D.O., and the remaining guys were doing nothing. For many, Accept was over. Somehow though, they brought in the surprisingly awesome Mark Tornillo from TT Quick, and came roaring back with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS. To say they stunned the world would be an understatement, as I think even the most staunch believers didn't come close to imagining that release being very good. That said though, the band's follow-up STALINGRAD could actually be more important for them. Would it live up to the last album, or was NATIONS just a fluke?
I get why some bands regroup and take another stab at recording and touring. I really do. For a lot of them, it's all about making some money and reliving old memories of past glory. For some though, I just shake my head and wonder why. Mekong Delta is one such band. Just being honest here, but has there ever been more than fleeting interest in this band? Ever? Being truthful, I don't know that a lot of people have ever considered them even to be a b level band in the thrash metal game. Their fusion of prog and thrash has always been a miss with most fans of both genres. Yet, they keep plugging onward, although now with the only original member being the bass player.
ROCK AND ROLL RIDE
I have to admit it – I’m pretty much a fan of whatever Jack Blades does. I loved Night Ranger back in the day (and as recently as their last album SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA). I couldn’t get enough of his band Damn Yankees. I even love his stuff with Shaw/Blades, specifically his covers album called INFLUENCE. Inadvertently, I was a big fan of the TMG album he did with Eric Martin as well. So, a solo record from Blades is more than welcomed on my desk.
When Al Jourgensen shelved Ministry back in 2008, it seemed like a good idea to be honest. While I’m a huge fan of his politically fueled albums, the rhetoric was wearing out on most people. That said though, there’s nary a Ministry album that’s not good, so after several years away, it only seemed right that Jourgensen would end his retirement with the bug to make more industrialized speed metal biting him hard on the neck. RELAPSE finds Ministry back and firing fast and furious. While this is lyrically the weakest album ever done by Ministry, the sneering sarcasm of Jourgensen comes spewing forth throughout. The subject matter may have changed, but this is still your same Ministry.