Back in the 1970s, behemoths like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath released albums like clockwork every year. The grind of album, tour, album, tour clearly took its toll on these bands, as you will no doubt have seen by the various rockumentaries and autobiographies. It's been four years since Deep Purple released the excellent Now What?! With a lengthy tour lined up, is there pressure on a band of Purple's pedigree to deliver? Well, however you feel, Infinite is an absolute corker. Full of laid back bluesy explorations, The band are on top form with the duels between Don Airey and Steve Morse particularly exciting and reminiscent of the early workouts between Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord.
Ian Gillan was always one of my favourite British singers and his performance here is fantastic. With his usual humour coming across in several of the tracks, particularly during On Top Of The World. There are no duff tracks in my opinion, with Birds Of Prey and All I Got Is You possibly the pick of the lot. The steady, reliable bass lines of Roger Glover continues to flow seamlessly with Ian Paice's jazz style drumming. Meanwhile Morse and Airey prove that age is no barrier with some stunning keyboard and guitar work. An interesting reworking of The Doors' Roadhouse Blues is also included for a bit of indulgence. It's worth making the effort to pick up the deluxe version too, as it contains four extra songs, the pick of these being the instrumental Uncommon Man which is simply superb. The band come to Cardiff in November and I for one am already excited to see them. 9/10
Steel Panther: Lower The Bar (Open E Records)
I've never been a huge fan of the glam metal scene. The hair of Crue and Poison did little for me in the 1980s although I have a fondness for the first two Crue albums and Dr Feelgood remains a total beast. Steel Panther take all the excess of that era, load it with sexist parody and continue to sell out arenas across the UK every time they tour. I have no problem with their musicianship and Satchel demonstrates once again on Lower The Bar that he can really play. Their back catalogue ranges from humorous to downright insulting (Mrs H always smiles at Glory Hole, especially when it pops up on her workout compilation).
Lower The Bar continues in the same vein as Balls Deep and 2014's All You Can Eat with the usual range of appallingly offensive tongue in cheek lyrics. Goin' In The Back Door, Anything Goes, Pussy Ain't Free, you get the picture. The saving grace on an otherwise mediocre release is a very good cover of Cheap Trick's She's Tight which fits comfortably with the other titles (and features Robin Zander - Ed). Slightly tired, a little bit over done? The audiences appear to suggest otherwise. I just don't get it. 6/10
Jasta: The Lost Chapters (Matyr Records)
Hatebreed and Kingdom Of Sorrow from man, known to most as Jamey Jasta returns with a new solo release, The Lost Chapters. It's a tasty release if you like the rampaging beast known as Hatebreed, crushingly heavy whist maintaining the groove synonymous with Lamb Of God and the like. Vocalist Jasta is joined by bandmates Steve Gibb, Charlie Bellmore, Chris Beaudette and Nick Bellmore along with former KSE singer Howard Jones on the excellent Chasing Demons.
You know what you are going to get with an album like this, the anthems of rebellion in songs such as Back To What Matters and Parasitic. There is also the curved ball at the end of the album with a cover of Buried Alive, which first appeared on Black Sabbath's 1992 album Dehumaniser and a very sympathetic cover it is too. I won't lie, Jasta appeals to me. The Lost Chapters is a stomping size 12 which you'll either love or hate. I fucking love it. 8/10
Tequila Mockingbyrd: Fight And Flight (Off Yer Rocka)
Since their inception in 2012, Melbourne power trio Tequila Mockingbyrd has been kicking up a storm and gaining some solid international acclaim. A number of European tour slots has raised their profile and they are on the bill at this year's Steelhouse Festival. Fight And Flight is their debut release and it sits very much in the vein of many of their countrymen. Think Airborne, think Massive and think good time rock n' roll.
It's straight up, heads down party rock which is guaranteed to get the feet tapping. It's not brilliant throughout, with Somebody Put Something In My Drink and Why Are We Still Friends weaker than a newborn kitten. However, if you like your music simple, feisty and raucous then tracks like I Smell Rock N Roll, Everyone Down and Good Time will certainly have you grabbing for a cold one. Estelle Artois, Jess Reily and Josie O'Toole give it their all throughout. Worth a listen. 7/10