Thursday, 26 February 2015

Angra's 'Secret Garden' - Album Review

You do not always think about Brazil being a hot-bed of progressive metal bands, but there is one that stands out: Angra. Since forming in 1991, the band have enjoyed much worldwide success with their string of melodic and technical albums. Despite being from Brazil, their music has always fallen into the European progressive/power metal mould, which has caused them to be quite popular here. While their first couple of albums showcased some traditional Brazilian sounds, this has taken a backseat in recent years with the focus instead being on melodies and lead guitar work. Secret Garden is the band's eighth studio album, and their first for five years. Aqua, released in 2010, is seen by many as a slight disappointment after the excellent Temple of Shadows from 2004 and Aurora Consurgens from 2006. Since the release of Aqua, long time frontman Eduardo Falaschi and drummer Ricardo Confessori have left the band, and have been replaced by Fabio Lione (Labyrinth; Rhapsody of Fire; Vision Divine) and Bruno Valverde respectively. In my opinion, these additions to the line-up have helped to strengthen the band, and have helped them to create their most focused album in years. The addition of Lione in particular has really been a boost for them. He is a true legend in the metal world, and his powerful, operatic voice suits the band perfectly. He comes with prestige too, and his long career with the Italian band Rhapsody of Fire has endeared him to many fans of melodic metal. Valverde is more of an unknown, but his playing throughout this album is superb and I am sure he will have a long and successful career in music. The rest of the band consists of founding guitarist Rafael Bittencourt, guitarist Kiko Loureiro, and bassist Felipe Andreoli - all of whom have formed the nucleus of the band since reforming in 2001. Songwriting is pretty well distributed, with all five members contributing to at least one song each. The main songwriting team of Bittencourt and Loureiro is as strong as ever though, with plenty of musical contribtions from Lione. Bittencourt has also added vocals to his game now, and acts as a second lead vocalists on many of the songs and, in some cases, singing the whole song without help from Lione. His vocals are much more soulful that Lione's operatic cleans, and the contrast between their styles works well.

Opening number Newborn Me is very typical Angra, and sets the listener at ease. The opening orchestrations are subtle, but it is not long before a crunching guitar riff joins them and the songs becomes a strident, lush metal tune that introduces Lione to the Angra fans. His uses his gruffer vocals for the verses, but he soars during the chorus, which is typically melodic. The song has a very percussive feel to it, with Valverde's drumming really taking the lead on many occasions. His off-kilter rhythms and fast footwork stand out on this song, and it makes you realise what a great find he is for the band. A renaissance-style classical guitar solo is another highlight, and really highlights the band's progressive tendencies. Despite it's gothic opening, Black Hearted Soul is a true power metal track. The twin guitar leads are packed with melody, and the verse steams along like a classic Helloween track, with Lione evoking the pureness of the great Michael Kiske. The chorus would not have sounded out of place on a Rhapsody of Fire album, and shows Lione doing what he does best. The mid-section of the song focuses on the band's two guitarists and sees the two trading leads and riffs aplenty which is sure to satisfy those who love fluid soloing. Final Light is more of a mid-paced rocker that is simpler than the album's previous two songs. The guitar tone has a dark, industrial sound to it which suits the crunchy nature of the song. The song does speed up somewhat during the instrumental section, but soon returns to the more controlled pace for a reprise of the chorus that Lione owns. Storm of Emotions is the first ballad of the album, and it is stunning. The ringing bass guitar that opens the song is extremely haunting, and Lione's breathy delivery fits the mood perfectly. Bittencourt's subtle guitar leads, backed up perfectly by Valverde's simple rhythms almost bring to mind classic Pink Floyd, but the song does get slightly heavier as it progresses. Bittencourt also handles the song's bridge, and his voice fits the music perfectly, and it easily distinguishable from Lione's. After a strange cover of The Police's Synchronicity II, we reach Violet Sky. This is a heavy song with a really Sabbathy riff, that Bittencourt sings and sings well. The verses are a little lighter, with a real progressive touch with Valverde's drumming once again standing out. The choruses are based around that same big riff from the intro, and Bittencourt's vocals sit well over it, his melody creating a contrast to the staccato, laboured riff.

The title track is up next, and is sung entirely by Simone Simons (Epica). It seems a strange choice to have a guest sing the whole of a song, but does such a good job that it barely seems to matter. Everyone knows what a great singer she is, and she uses her considerable range to create a varied performance. Sections of the song have a smokey lounge sound to then, while others have soaring symphonic rock overtones. This is never a particularly heavy song, but it still fits with the rest of the songs here despite not being sung by the band's usual singers. Upper Levels returns to the power metal sound found earlier in the album with Lione retaking his rightful place at the microphone. All that being said, this is still a very varied song with plenty of good chances in pace and styles. This is one of the more progressive songs on the album and it grows on you over multiple listens. Lione's masterful vocal performance is enough to keep you coming back, and his final note here is stunning! Crushing Room features another special guest, this time in the form of Doro Pesch (Warlock) and sees her duetting well with Bittencourt. Her voice is quite deep, and it can actually be quite hard to tell the two apart sometimes. This is quite a downbeat song, but the chorus is infectious and will stick with you for a long time after hearing it. Despite the slower nature of the song, the guitar solo here is still flashy. It really elevates the song and creates a nice contrast. The vocal performances during this song are very strong, and Pesch shines with all her experience as a metal singer. Lione returns on Perfect Symmetry for another slab of power metal. The Helloween similarities can be seen here too, with Lione's pure vocals leading the charge with a backing of metal and orchestra. While being enjoyable, there is nothing during this song that really stands out like in previous ones. The melodies are not as big as during Black Hearted Soul and the progressive tendencies of Newborn Me are not as apparent, which leaves the song lacking somewhat. Bittencourt takes the lead for a final time on the album's last song Silent Call, which is an acoustic-led ballad that really showcases his vocal talents. The subtle piano backing really helps to elevate the piece and helps the album to end on a quite note, but the song is so good that it does not matter. Overall, Secret Garden is a great album and easily the band's best since Temple of Shadows. The  has a real focus about it, but contains just enough diversity and progressive tendencies to keep things interesting and fresh.

The album was released on 2nd February 2015 via earMusic. Below is the band's promotional video for Storm of Emotions.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Blind Guardian's 'Beyond the Red Mirror' - Album Review

No band is probably more accomplished in the progressive/power metal world than the German band Blind Guardian. Since their debut album, Battalions of Fear in 1988, the band have been getting steadily more epic and over-the-top. Starting out as a bona fide speed metal act, their sound has gradually developed over time, adding more progressive and symphonic sides to their sound as they have gone along. 1995's Imaginations from the Other Side, the band's fifth album, was probably the one where this vision was first fully realised. Previous albums had been steadily growing to reach this point, but it was not until 1995 that Blind Guardian managed to fully meld their speed and progressive metal tendencies together. Future albums, particularly 1998's concept album Nightfall in Middle-Earth, have improved on this sound even further. This year sees the release of the band's tenth album Beyond the Red Mirror. It is another concept album, this time based around themes and characters introduced on Imaginations from the Other Side, making this album a semi sequel to it. It is has been five years since the band's last album, making it the longest gap between albums in their history. 2010's At the Edge of Time is a stunning piece of work, and one of my favourite albums from the band. The long gap between that album and this (even the old adage that Blind Guardian release albums for the World Cup did not ring true this time..) raised expectations immensely, and the band had been dropping hints about it for quite a while. Now it is finally released, I can say that while Beyond the Red Mirror does not quite live up to the splendour of their 2010 effort, it is definitely another great album in their catalogue. Those who like the symphonic side of the band's sound will love this album, as the orchestral arrangements have really been pushed to the fore here.While the heaviness is still present in many of the songs on this album, sound-wise this album is more of a cross between Imaginations from the Other Side and 2006's A Twist in the Myth. The production qualities are more alike to the latter, and the song structures and diversity are more akin to the former. This is also the band's first album with bassist Barend Courbois (Vengeance; Tank) who, although only credited as a guest musician in the album's sleeve notes, seems to have been made an official member of the band since. I wonder how this makes Oliver Holzwarth feel, who played for the band unofficially between 1997 and 2011.

The album is bookended by two epic, longer tracks - the first of which is The Ninth Wave. The gothic choir that heralds the opening of the album sets the tone perfectly and melds well with the orchestra. Real choirs and orchestras were uses during the recording of this album for a more authentic sound. The staccato verses have a dark, almost spoken-work quality to them, with Hansi Kürsch's distinct voice sounding restrained which really helps the atmosphere build up. The gothic nature continues with a slow, doomy riff during the latter stages of the verses, but the soaring chorus smashes this vibe and is trademark Blind Guardian. Kürsch sounds fantastic backed up by the huge choir, and the instrumentation from the rest of the band fits perfectly. This song has grown on me a lot, and the gothic verses actually really help with the overall tone of the album, even if they are not your traditional Bling Guardian sound. This song is set to become a great live set opener! Twilight of the Gods is a much more standard fare for the band. It is nearly half the length of the previous song and is much more riff-based, like Blind Guardian of old. André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen once again prove their worth as a guitar duo, and the speed metal riffing atop Frederik Ehmke's fast drumming immediately creates that classic Blind Guardian sound. Kürsch's vocals shine here, with his usual multi-tracked delivery filling the speakers, his diverse range is apparent. The chorus is another winner, with an anthemic melody that is just begging to be sung by a huge crowd. Olbrich's guitar melodies are also excellent, more soundscape-like than your average solo, they really add to the majestic overall sound. Prophecies is a really stunning piece, and really shows the band at their best. It opens slowly, but the bombastic arrangement is soon apparent as Kürsch's vocals lead the way backed all the way with Olbrich's guitar leads. The way he follows the vocal melodies is something the band have used extensively in the past, and it works so well here. The band's Queen influence is very clear here, and the bold arrangements really bring out the best of the song's melodies. The ending of the song is pure magic, building to an epic crescendo that is literally breathtaking! After those three excellent songs, At the Edge of Time (yes, strange I know!) falls a little flat in comparison. However, it never tries to compete, instead following a darker, more downbeat path with simple, yet dramatic string arrangements and some folky melodies during the quieter moments. This is not a bad song by any means, and repeated listens really reveal the hidden depths within. Ashes of Eternity, like Twilight of the Gods, is a much more traditional Blind Guardian metal piece. The galloping guitar riff is typical of the band's earlier work, but interjections of beautiful melodies from Kürsch bring that sound into the modern day. This is a song for the guitarists too, as Olbrich solos his heart out part of the way through, and his crushing riffs in tandem with Siepen are a lesson in power metal song structure.

After the limited edition bonus track Distant Memories, with it's renaissance melodies, we reach The Holy Grail. The speed metal is back full on here with some tight riffing and furious drumming. Ehmke is a brilliant drummer, but he always seems to get overshadowed by original drummer Thomen Stauch, which is a shame as he has a lot of offer - and this song proves it as he actually co-wrote it! Fans of albums like 1992's Somewhere Far Beyond will find a lot to like in this song, as the progressive elements take a backseat to the powerful speed metal. The pace does not let up at all, even during the soaring chorus. Not many bands are able to make a fast chorus this majestic, but Blind Guardian have been doing it for years. The Queen influences return on The Throne with some almost playfully theatrical vocal melodies that are augmented by some truly over-the-top orchestrations. This song's chorus is ridiculously catchy, with melodies that demand to be sung - and show the power of music when a metal band, an orchestra, and a choir all play together in tandem. At nearly 8 minutes in length, this is another mini-epic to go with the rest of the band's great songs in that category. I can almost imagine the band during the writing process of this song saying things like: 'Yes, this sounds epic, but how can we push it just that little bit further?'. The result is something that is huge, and well fitting the song's name! Sacred Mind is another darker song. The opening is quite subtle with gentle, gothic melodies - but it is not long before the song explodes into another metal ripper with some great off-kilter riffing and flashy lead work. The song's chorus is a bit of a let down though, and lacks the power of the rest of the album. Still, not every song is going to be a winner, and this is the one on the album that does not fully resonate with me, despite some very enjoyable sections. Miracle Machine is the album's shortest song at just over 3 minutes long, and it is a collaboration with their long-time touring keyboardist Michael Schüren, who's piano here is lovely. This is the only moment on the album that can be called a ballad, as this album lacks one of their trademark acoustic songs. Still, the melodies here are still very jaunty in places, which mix well with the more melancholic verses which occasionally feature a lone violin to help the atmosphere. As mentioned earlier, the album is bookended by two epics, and we have reached the final song: Grand Parade. In interviews, Olbrich has said that he thinks this is the best song the band have ever produced, and while I am not sure if I agree with him, it is certainly a statement-piece! The melodies are pushed right to the fore, and the orchestrations are really prominent, giving this song the feeling of the end of a big budget film. The songs moves through many sections, with the orchestral-lead sections actually being some of the best. I feel as if this song is the one where the band's long-time vision has finally been realised 100% - the mix of metal and classical music is seamless here, and it is a real triumph in songwriting and arrangement. Overall, this is a stunning album. While it may not quite reach the heights of a couple of the band's previous releases for me, this is an album that is sure to get lots of plays here over the years. I am sure the band's fanbase will take to it with gusto, and it reminds us (not that we ever need that) that Bling Guardian really are one of the best metal bands out there today.

The album was released on 2nd February 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records. Below is the band's promotional lyric video for Twilight of the Gods.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Jørn Lande & Trond Holter's 'Dracula: Swing of Death' - Album Review

Jørn Lande (Ark; Beyond Twilight; Masterplan) is one of the most revered singers in modern heavy metal. He has been around for a number of years now, and has contributed to many excellent albums by lots of different bands during his career. Sounding like a mixture of Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale, Lande's powerful vocals have gained him plenty of recognition in the metal world. Whether this is as a member of a band; guesting on projects such as Avantasia; his collaborations with other artisits, such as his albums with Russell Allen; or on his string of successful solo albums - Lande has found praise wherever he goes. His last couple of solo albums however have not seen quite as much love. 2012's Bring Heavy Rock to the Land and 2013's Traveller are a little more formulaic than his previous solo albums, and are not as catchy or as powerful as albums like 2006's The Duke. That being said, neither album was awful, but you just felt that Lande had slipped into a bit of a rut, and lost some of his inspiration. The constant changing of band line-up, and losing the majority of his long-term musicians certainly must have contributed to this, as his writing partnership with Jørn Viggo Lofstad produced many excellent songs. Traveller was the first time that Lande worked with Trond Holter (Wig Wam; Jorn), and despite some good songs, you never felt that this was going to be a partnership to beat Lande's previous ones. However, seeing them live at the Cambridge Rock Festival last year made me realise how good a guitarist Holter is, and this thought is what has stuck with me since. This new album, Dracula: Swing of Death, sees a new collaboration for Lande. Rather than releasing this under the usual 'Jorn' name, this album has been released under the name 'Jørn Land3 & Trond Holter present...', showing that this is to be seen more as a collaboration between two musicians rather than as another Lande solo album. Lande and Holter have really upped their game here, and this is the best album Lande has been involved with for some time. With Lande handling the vocals and Holter handling the guitars and keyboards, this is a real collaborative effort. Backing the two up are bassist Bernt Jansen (Wig Wam; Jorn) and drummer Per Morten Bergseth (Blindfold; Sonic Debris; Fracture). Lena Fløitmoen also appears on some of the album's songs duetting with Lande, and this mix of vocal styles really works well and adds a lot to the overall sound of the album.

The album starts with the theatrical Hands of Your God that slowly builds around some renaissance acoustic guitar lines and Lande's distinct voice. 'Theatrical' is a good word for this whole album, and as well as sounding like a classic metal album, there are also huge chunks of artists like Meat Loaf - you almost expect to read Jim Steinman's name somewhere in the credits! Hands of Your God is a glorified intro track, and it goes a great mood setting the scene with some marching metal rhythms and slow-burning lead guitar patterns from Holter. After some rather clichéd rain and thunder sounds, the second song Walking on Water starts, and this is vintage Lande. Holter's guitar riff here is massive, and the song is a real metal classic. The verses steam along with Lande's snarling, melodramatic vocals leading the way. but it is at the chorus where the song really takes off. The strings that back up the guitars are excellent and give the song an epic feel. Lande always excels in a powerful chorus, and this is one of his best for a long time. The instrumental section is excellent too, with a real folk metal feel to the lead guitars. Swing of Death has a totally different feel to it. The beginning is almost lounge music, with a laid-back, jaunty piano line that Lande sings over taking centre stage. The rock does return before long, but that jaunty vibe continues throughout. This song is something different to what Lande has done before, but he manages to make it work without it sounding contrived. Holter's guitar (and piano) work once again shines and his solo section towards the end is enjoyable and really fits with the mood of the song. Masquerade Ball is again piano driven, but this time it is much more in the traditional metal vein. After the upbeat previous song, this song feels dark - which works well. Little bursts of flamenco guitar help to add to that spooky mood, and the song soon launches into full-blown metal mode, with some more excellent melodramatic vocals and huge distorted guitars. That flamenco feel never leaves though, and Holter really lets rip with it over the top of his heavier, distorted guitars with good effect. Save Me is a much more conventional metal song, and the first one where we get to hear Lande duet with Fløitmoen. She actually dominates this song, and has a voice that holds it's own against Lande's. The piano and folk elements remain here, although greatly reduced that the previous couple of songs. Despite the song's heaviness, there remains a certain melacholy to it, which is greatly helped by Fløitmoen's performance.

River of Tears is up next and this is real bread and butter for Lande. The mid-paced, crushing metal anthem is what he has been writing for years, and this is the latest in a line of excellent songs in that vein. Fløitmoen's vocals add greatly to this song too, and her performance on the soaring chorus is a great contrast to Lande's headbanging verses. About halfway through, the song takes a slight turn, bringing back the jaunty piano from earlier in the album to good effect. Holter then really lets rip with a powerful, yet melodic guitar solo. Most of his solos on this album are long and enjoyable, and it makes you realise that this album is just as much his as Lande's - which is probably why they decided to release it the way that they did. Queen of the Dead is another classic Lande rocker. The verses are a little more down-beat, which highlights Lande's powerful vocals perfectly. He really is one of the best singers in modern metal that is keeping the classic way of singing metal alive. He is the Dio of the 21st Century, and his varied performance here shows that. The choruses are, of course, much heavier and more powerful than the verses - but this only helps to make them stand out and sound awesome. Into the Dark is another duet between Lande and Fløitmoen, and it is a real rocker! Holter's skittish riff really suits the mood and gets the blood pumping, which is then helped by the performances from the two singers. Again, Fløitmoen takes the lead on the choruses which helps to give them a smooth feel. I am surprised that Lande gave her so much time at the microphone, but I am glad that he did as she really adds a lot to this album. Maybe not every lead singer has an ego the size of a house! Talking of stepping to the side, True Love Through Blood is an instrumental piece that really showcases Holter's skills. Whether he is churning out a powerful riff, a shredding solo, or even playing the piano - Holter shines. His partnership with Lande on Traveller clearly had not quite gelled yet, but on this album they have written something rather special. For an instrumental, it is still highly melodic and memorable, with lots of different sections and guitar pyrotechnics to enjoy. The album comes to an end with Under the Gun, which is another solid song and ensures the album ends on a high. In some ways, this is the most epic and melodic song on the album which again features Fløitmoen prominently, but Lande is the real star with his dominating vocal performance. Overall, this is an excellent album, full of masterful performances from all concerned. Those concerned that Lande was losing muse need look no further than here to find out that he most certainly has not!

The album was released on 26th January 2015 via Frontiers Records. Below is the band's promotional video for Walking on Water.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Marilyn Manson's 'The Pale Emperor' - Album Review

Very few artists have been as controversial as Marilyn Manson. His angst-ridden industrial metal has always been extremely divisive, attracting adoration and disgust in almost equal measure. The thing that has always made him stand out (at least for me) from other artists out to shock, is that his music (and image) has always seemed 100% genuine. Nothing he ever did seemed contrived, and even in his heyday he did exactly what he wanted to do. I think this is why his more recent albums have not been as popular, because they have changed slightly from his commercial peak. To me, 2003's The Golden Age of Grotesque was his last truly great album. While even that did not hit the heights of what came before, it was a huge, swaggering rock album that was filled with melodic anthems. Since then, his artistic experimentations have seen mixed results. 2007's electronica-based Eat Me, Drink Me never really worked for me; and while the first half (side 1, if you will) of 2009's The High End of Low was excellent, the second half seemed poor and uninspired by comparison. His last album, 2012's Born Villain, was another confusing affair that did not really know what it wanted to be. I enjoyed the album at first, but repeated listens have only lessened by opinion of it. While none of these three albums are anything close to awful, they definitely lacked the spark that made Manson so strong in the first place. I would never expect another Mechanical Animals, as he is older and more restrained these days, but a solidly enjoyable album would be a triumph at this stage in his career. The Pale Emperor is his ninth studio album, and it is easily his most consistent since The Golden Age of Grotesque. Soundwise, it is actually quite similar to Born Villain, but the bluesy overtones and huge bass sound make it more enjoyable overall. Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez) who has been Manson's main collaborator throughout most of his career was not involved with the writing and performance of this album at all, with all the music being written instead by Tyler Bates who is more famous for his work on film and TV scores. He plays all of the albums instruments, apart from the drums which are played by Gil Sharone (Stolen Babies; The Dillinger Escape Plan). Working with Bates has clearly inspired Manson, and encouraged him to create his best album in years.

The opening number Killing Strangers really showcases the blues sound of the album perfectly. The song is based around a tight bass groove with the other instruments adding colour as and when needed. The thing that strikes me is how good Manson's voice sounds on this album. He seems to have found a comfortable range for his age, and his tortured croon sounds stronger than it has in ages. The bluesy guitar interludes give the song a great laid-back feel, while the atmospherics create a spooky vibe, and the two moods make for a great contrast. Deep Six is like the Manson of old. A dark guitar riff gets things underway before Sharone's hollow-sounding drums provide a solid backbone for the piece. This song really recalls the sound on Mechanical Animals with an anthemic chorus and some really dirty-sounding guitar stabs to back up Manson's screamed vocals. Those who pine his old sound need look further than this song, it really rocks. He has not sounded this inspired for ages, and this is a standout song on the album. Third Day of a Seven Day Binge is another bluesy croon. Again, the bass guitar is the dominant instrument here, and it's buzz drives the song while Manson's strong voice takes centre stage. His lyrics are still as witty as ever, even if they are not as angry or profanity-laden. The guitar work here is filling, with short lead sections and ringing chords used to good effect. The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles is filled with real swagger. Sharone's drum beat provides a great rhythm which the bass follows with more guitar backing than the previous songs. This song has another really strong chorus, that has a real swing feel to it while Manson sings over the top of some powerful guitar chords and plenty of cymbal crashes. The song is almost upbeat, something which Manson's songs rarely are, and this makes is another standout piece. Warship my Wreck is anything but upbeat. This song shares similarities with the material found on the second half of The High End of Low and is not as strong as the material that has come before it. It is a bit of a dirge that fails to really inspire, while never sounding bad either. Having said that though, the bluesy guitar solo from Bates near the end is enjoyable, especially when Manson's cracked voice joins in over the top of it to create something pained-sounding, which suits the sound of the album as a whole.

Slave Only Dreams to be King gets the album back on track. Some rousing spoken word opens the song before another potent drum and bass combination with a real 1990s industrial sound comes in and the song takes off. This is another song that has a whiff of his older material about it with really distorted guitar fills, punchy drums, and a mix of distinct vocal styles. The chorus is another good one, with a good keyboard backdrop for his vocals to soar over. The foot-stomping rhythms continue in The Devil Beneath my Feet. The bass riff here is extremely catchy with a very danceable rhythm that is sure to go down well live. The song builds as it goes along, with guitars eventually joining the bass, and a few nice atmospheric moments where everything but keyboards drop out make for good changes in pace. These last two songs would make for an excellent one-two punch live, with their infectious rhythms and sing-a-long nature. Birds of Hell Awaiting is another very bluesy piece. Imagine 1930s Delta blues brought kicking and screaming into the modern day, and this is what you might get. The drums have the blues shuffle to them, and the riffs follow the traditional 12 bar blues pattern. It works surprisingly well and the result is an enjoyable piece that does not sound like anything he has done before. Cupid Carries a Gun is similar to The Devil Beneath my Feet with it's tight drum groove and strident vocal performance from Manson. The guitar work on this song actually stands out more than the bass for once. There is some excellent, delicate acoustic work during some sections; and the rest of the song features some nice fuzzy riffing and picking that works well. The song is almost hypnotic, as the beat never really lets up throughout, and once you get that groove in your head it is very difficult to remove it. The album's final song is Odds of Even, which is another slower number. Manson's crooning here has a very different sound to it than on the rest of the songs here. The weakness in his voice benefits the song greatly, and Bates' inventive blues soloing, along with the stabs of keyboard, really make this song stand out. This is a song that grows on you over time, as it takes a while for the dirge to make much sense, but the guitar work and Manson's vocals will slowly draw you in. Overall, this is a really solid album from the legendary rocker, and one that is sure to bring back a lot of fans that had become tired of his more recent work. Fans of his work should definitely check this out, as there is much to enjoy here.

The album was released on 19th January 2015 via Hell, etc./Cooking Vinyl Limited. Below is his promotional video for Deep Six.