REVIEW: Sweeny Todd Live at The Lunt Fontanne Theatre


Prepare to be mesmerized and transported into the dark, macabre world of Victorian London with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York. This Broadway rendition of the classic musical is tailor-made for the heavy music fans. Most of us know the 2007 movie starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. Which is fine But it is barely the tip of that iceberg of the story. I suspect even fewer know or remember the Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote) and Len Cariou (Fraiser) original from 1979. That being said, this a timeless show you should see. From the opening number of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” to the finale, this the most diverse Broadway cast I’ve ever seen. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Avenged Sevenfold – Life Is But A Dream…


 

Avenged Sevenfold are potentially one of the most divisive metal acts out of the US since Metallica. All you need to do is look at their previous two albums, 2013’s Hail To The King & 2016’s The Stage to see the extreme polar oppositions these albums created. The former for how the band wore their Metallica influence on their sleeve, creating their own version of The Black Album, and then the following 2016 release throwing all of their previous influences and sounds up in the air, bringing in outside sources from the likes of Pink Floyd, and creating a wholly new progressive rock/metal experience.

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REVIEW: Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony Live at the Chase Center


A Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony review was written by a band kid.

Full disclosure: I’ve known about Metallica since they were a four-line advert in the back pages of physical rock magazines. My first year of high school Kie C. gave me a mixtape of No Life Til Leather and Kill ‘Em All in the band room. I. Was. Hooked. Master of Puppets was released and I played it non stop. I learned to play the entire album on my flute, by ear. My first Metallica show was in 1986 when they opened for Ozzy. I was front row. That was my place for the next thirty-three years and nine countries consisting of 60 shows. It’s a lifelong love affair. Continue reading


Royal Hunt – XIII: Devil’s Dozen


ROYAL-HUNT_XIII-Devils-Dozen

It is hard to be distinctive in the frilly-shirted, leather waist-coated, hair-billowing-majestically-in-the-wind world of Power Metal. Yet, make your mark and you’ll find a dedicated, passionate and devoted audience willing to support you, smile benevolently at any missteps and devour anything approaching a return to form. Over the course of their twenty six year career, Denmark’s top exponent of the art Royal Hunt have witnessed all of the above, and with XIII: Devil’s Dozen (Frontiers) have rewarded once more their loyal subjects.

The return to the fold of DC Cooper in 2012 has ensured that the Royal Hunt continues to ride strong into the latter part of their career like a fine wine, as album thirteen rivals Paradox (Magna Carta) as their crowning moment.

Energized by the powerful pigskin pounding of Narnia’s Andreas Johansson, ‘So Right, So Wrong’ announces the commencement of the album in spectacular fashion, with a dramatic and rousing symphonic introduction that bursts out into rocking, roaring guitars. Cooper’s vocals add to the theatrical, Broadway feel before delivering the first, and biggest, of several big choruses.

While Cooper is an obvious and deserving focal point, once again it is Andre Andersen who is the conductor of majesties from behind the ivories (or whatever the keys of a synth are made of…), his songwriting exuding a joie de vivre that is infectious, with each track larger than life. ‘May You Never (Walk Alone)’ hosts everything that works about Royal Hunt, starting life as a piano ballad before exploding in a thunder of drums, power chords, bass runs and synth stabs, racing down the aortic valves fuelling the body.

A bombastic, ambitious, joyful, layered and uplifting album, Andersen knows how to switch it up; ‘Riches To Rags’ introduces a ridiculously catchy piped motif and a folk jiggery-pokery to proceedings, ‘Until The Day’ is over the top symphonic hard rock semi-balladic majesty while ‘Heart On A Platter’ bounces in with thick bass swagger and jazzy keys embellishments, that builds up to a Kamelot-meets-Whitesnake slip of the tongue.

We’ve all witnessed many an album of this ilk that descends into sterile, flaccid by-numbers staid song-writing. Despite each track touching the six minute mark, XIII never outstays its welcome. With flashes of Dokken and Stratovarius, Royal Hunt show, a quarter of a century into their career, how the marriage of power metal with symphonic and hard rock should be done.

 

8.0/10

STEVE TOVEY