When "Born of the Sun," the opening track on Animi begins playing, it seems that this British five-member tech metal band is intent on merely pummeling their way into your ears, including with screamed vocals from front man Jay Shields. But get to the middle of the song and you'll hear a break featuring keyboard flourishes and mellowed-out guitar too. The two seemingly at-odds sounds work nicely for Subversion, who stir plenty of melodic prog sounds into their tech metal stew throughout. The technique really works on album standout "Imperfect" where the listener can take a musical rollercoaster ride as the band bounces back and forth from thump to serene. Get it here.
Singer Barnes is legendary in his Australian homeland but American fans may mostly be familiar with him because he briefly held down the lead vocal chores for INXS after the death of Michael Hutchence. This album celebrates Barnes' 30-year solo career and to add to the fun he's loaded the record with guest appearances; Steven Van Zandt plays hot lead guitar on the Stones-y "Ride the Night Away," Jonathan Cain (Journey, the Babys) plays keys on the blue collar rocker "Working Class Man" and Neal Schon (Journey) wields a mean slide guitar on "Going Down Alone." Also guesting are Diesel, Joe Bonamassa, Baby Animals, The Living End and several others but none steal the show; Barnes' whisky-soaked, often impish-sounding vocals are the key to this impressive set. Get it here.
Bad Taste Records
Toronto's Danko Jones is a power trio featuring the band's namesake on vocals and guitar, John Calabrese on bass and Rich Knox on drums and here they rip through a set of fast rockers like the punk-tinged "Gonna Be a Fight Tonight," the rattling party anthem "Do You Wanna Rock" and the amusing "Getting Into Drugs," a tale of a first experience with marijuana that'll have stoners blowing huge clouds of smoke as they sing along between coughs. Danko Jones are not into ballads; everything here is punchy and meant to keep the listener involved in the tune. Perennially overlooked by American audiences, this band is due for some stateside love and now is a real good time to get on the bandwagon. Pre-order it here.
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