Biters: The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be (Earache Records)
Biters hail from Atlanta, Georgia and are being touted for big things. If you like T-Rex, Cheap Trick, The New York Dolls and Alice Cooper, the early 1970s glam rock sound, then you should really appreciate this band. Led by Tuk Smith, whose voice varies between Marc Bolan and Robin Zander, The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be is a real retro journey and follows on from 2015’s debut Electric Blood. Now I don’t particularly like this type of music, and tracks like Stone Cold Love and Callin’ You Home don’t change my opinion.
Having said that, the band demonstrate throughout the release why they’ve been making waves in the classic rock world, with their rock ‘n’ roll shtick sticking closely to the formula which served so many bands before them so well. There is nothing original here, with riffs stolen from many others; Don’t Turn This Good Heart Bad has the riff from BTO’s Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet running through it whilst Gypsy Rose is pure Cheap Trick.
Given the response the band received during their support slot for Blackberry Smoke recently, where for me they were a bit too much show without substance, I’m expecting them to increase in popularity. They aren’t for me but if you like this kind of music then Biters will be a real find. 7/10
Taberah: Sinners Lament (Rocket Distribution)
Hobart, Tasmania isn’t that well known for metal outfits but that may well change with the third release from power metallers Taberah. Sinners Lament is a fine release, full of classic charging anthems, sword and sorcery themes and duel guitars and the added female vocals adding to tracks such as the epic title track. In fact, every track is played in the true power metal style, harmonies on the choruses, subtle synths embellishing the tracks.
There is an underlying steel which surges through the album, such as the thrashy Child Of Storm with its razor-sharp riffs. Think Blind Guardian and Helloween and you aren’t far away. The Final March For Men is a storming track, almost orchestral in its construction and delivery with shades of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The only let down on a very competent album is the god-awful cover of the Eagles Hotel California, which did nothing but raise the hackles. If you can get past that, then Sinners Lament is well worth a listen, especially if you enjoy the might of proper power metal. 8/10
Burning Witches: Self Titled (Pledge Music)
After our recent review of Swiss outfit Sideburn, lo and behold another Swiss band drops onto the mat. This time it is the all-female outfit Burning Witches with their very solid self-titled release. 45 minutes of powerful hard hitting heavy metal which really goes for the jugular and doesn’t let up from the opening strains of Black Widow. Vocalist Seraina Telli possesses a powerful voice, hitting huge screams during the title track.
With themes of death, the occult and the underworld it’s no surprise that most of the tracks here are rampaging and anthemic. The playing is competent, with the duel guitar work of Alea Wyss and founder member Romana Kalkuhl excellent. Whilst the occasional track is a little predictable, Such as Creatures Of The Night, overall this is a very listenable chunk of metal and for their debut release it’s a fine effort. Full marks for the cover of Priest’s Jawbreaker, which captures the sheer heaviness of the original. 8/10