British Hard Rock Monsters from Birmingham UK have done it again, gone forth and produced yet another Studio Album, making this number seventeen. Triple that number if you want to include their live albums and VHS/DVD’s they have released too, and have been producing quality ear candy since the early 70’s, climbing the ladder to Rock greatness.
Bob Catley, vocals, has done an epic job, although in his 60’s, his approach is still the same it was back in 1972, but with the added ‘huskiness’ in his voice. Just like every other album, making it his own.
Tony Clarkin, Guitar and backing vocals, has come up with some very 80’s sounding leads. Very clean, simple, and with a lot of emotion. While his harmonies with Bob are undeniably reminiscent of that early 80’s sound. No wonder then seen as they are 2 of the original artists in the band.
On drums is Harry (Gary Milton) James, and has been a blessing in disguise Hard rock, wide open beats, creative and thunderous. Keeping with that classic sound Harry has probably made this album his best performance so far in terms of how everything works together.
Al Barrow on bass has a fantastic way of using his instrument to the fullest extent without going over the top, as most notable in the title track ‘On the 13th Day’.
Finally we have Mark Stanway on keys. Introducing a very clean piano where appropriate. Shadow town is a great example of this, as it is very prominent, working very well with the whole ensemble, leading the pack so to speak.
A massive improvement over their last album, ‘the Visitation’, kick starting the album off with a 7 minute masterpiece. ‘All the Dreamers’. A slow start with some great sounds from the keys, accompanied by ‘humm’s and ‘ooohhh’s with the subtle drums and guitar growing to a mighty riff and lead. Lending itself to lead into the first verse. Producing that ‘ballad’ like tone.
The same temperament is kept through right through until the title track. ‘On the 13th Day’ is very ‘oldie’ rock sounding, clean riffs, leads full of emotion, bass and keys keeping everything moving and tying together the remaining big sounding drums and effortless vocals.
A change of pace with track number six, ‘Dance of the Black Tattoo’, going that extra bit to make this one just more heavy and crunchy. The broken riffs, flowing neatly into the open chord chorus and back again. Its a nice change of pace, something I would not of expected from them.
All in all, a very well put together album, far stronger than the last one. If this is a sign of things to come, I cant wait for the next one. Bring on the tour!
Sources: Magnumonline.co.uk, SPV album teaser (youtube), Wikipedia.