HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Blood Brothers (SPV)

This has been out since '07 elsewhere, but now it's getting a good distro shot through SPV as a "Special Tour Edition" which includes a Live At Wacken DVD and a TV interview. But the album itself is the main event, many going so far as to call Blood Brothers the band's best album yet. Indeed what you get is Rose Tatto's spirited signature boogie rock, which sounds like AC/DC and The Angels roughed up for a pool cue-swinging bar fight. Interesting comparatives to Black Ice here, Rose Tattoo doing pretty much the same thing and writing a complex, substantial record of note-dense riff rockers that plays to this pointed and shared stylistic strength. There's more variety here versus that other band, and more punk energy and more slide, not to mention lyrical depth from a man legendary in Australia for a hard life and a hugely heroic redemption. 'Sweet Meat', smack in the middle of the album is admirable and hypnotic like 'The Song Remains The Same' yet ultimately puts one to sleep, sounding longer than it is. But then the band is back and rocking, with 'Man About Town' and 'Standover Man' doing the dirty AC/DC deed but good. Could have used a bit thicker production, i.e. more bass, but that's a minor quibble within a record that plays effortlessly on repeat, welcome each time through. Killer booklet too.
Rating 8

Mountain Of Power (Grooveyard)

In the history of tribute records, there's been no better love letter to a specific contingent of hard rock fan, i.e. the student of obscure metal acts of the '70s. Sure, one supposes one could snobbily offer a more obscure song selection, but hey, may as well go for this layer of onion peel because... well, no one's even gone this far yet! And Mountain Of Power is the band to take you there, because rather than be an actual band, it is the domain of legendary Swedish metal guitarist and scholar Janne Stark plus a bunch of heavy Swedish friends. Quite simply, the production and performances are molten, old school and stunning. And the songs? Well, there's Budgie's 'In For The Kill' (with a smarmy 'Breadfan' quote), fast post-Hagar Montrose obscurity 'Black Train', three covers of Canucks (Moxy, Goddo and Wireless), the heaviest song by Texas rockers Point Blank ('Uncle Ned'), and top of the bill, immense Derringer classic 'Sittin' By The Pool'. A grinding 14 tracks later, an amazing stoner rock lesson in lava lamped riffery is the giddy result, rent raw and personality-rich much like Stark's main squeezes, Overdrive and Locomotive Breath.
Rating 9

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