Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, March 28, 2011

That would be an ‘eavy spring programme then...

THE daffodils are emerging tentatively through the drying soil, and lambs are bounding through fields, self-tenderising for the barbecue, and the Ormeau Road is being blitzed with some ‘eavy fuggin’ metal.

Yep, The Distortion Project’s spring programme has moved into high gear with April and May looking like a sonic wasteland of vibes to smash any sunny smiley thoughts that might have been pushing through your winter gummed eyes.

Last week alone we saw Darkest Era launch their début platter. Have to confess we (as in me and my son) were disappointed to miss this one, as Darkest Era performed way back at the first No Fake ID Required* gig. Krum electrified the crowd by plunging into the midst of a crowd of sweaty moshing teenagers.

Good luck to them, but as if that wasn’t enough to prepare you for the clocks going forward then hold on to your wee satanic cotton socks, because...well the line-up tells all.

In no particular order...Honey For Christ launch their new album ‘The Cruelty of Great Expectations’ on April 9th; “experimental-terror-metal noise heroes “ Today is the Day" play the Spring and Airbrake the night before; Hellbastard bring the ‘Bastards over Europe’ tour line-up to Auntie Annies on the 10th; and then we move into May…

Soilent Green land in the Limelight on 11th May, Welsh deathheads Desecration pop up in the same place the next day; and then we have the small matter of My Dying Bride on 22nd May at the Spring and Airbrake.

Look I could go on endlessly about support acts, ticket prices and availability, but as a former full-time journalist and current part-time chancer (well I work in PR, what do you expect!) save me the bother and head over to The Distortion Project and read, as they say, all about it!

Anyone else wanting gigs, events, metal weddings, black metal bar mitzvas, grindcore internments, or thrash metal formals mentioned email me. [PS – we also do album reviews!]

*No Fake ID Required was a name that a crowd of ne-er do wells used for two all-ages hard rock and metal gigs. I came up with the name when we were ensconced on sofas at Ossia Music School. As Paul, Stephen, Alli and Laura were all present there is collective ownership of the name. You may, of course, want to use it, but only with written permission from all of the above, your request being sent in your own blood Manowar style. Or send us a large amount of unmarked, non-sequential £50 notes in a brown envelope, which we will split and donate to the continuing profits of Jagermeister and Jack Daniels.
You may have noticed that included in this article are some links to the acts, which go to album links or MP3 download links in Amazon.com. Please do not feel obliged to buy from any of these links, but if you do Mr Arthur Guinness and Mr Jack Daniels will have your undying thanks. My liver on the other hand...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tasty trio of delight

CAUTIONARY NOTE: This isn't a review. When you pay in you shouldn't review stuff. This is an opinion, rather than a structured review. Also I suffered a severe allergic reaction...light headed and blurred vision on the night in question. Some have said it was the Guinness...mayhap they could be right!

Anyhoo - after that tortuous note on with the point of this wee blog post. Last Saturday night those kind and occassionally reliable people at Translink managed to deliver me safely to the comfortable confines of Ye Olde Limelight in that fashionably desolate Ormeau Road. Asides from saying hello to some old acquaintances (hi there Sid, Kyle, Martin, Mick etc) and finally f-2-f with Seatzie the purpose of the journey was to finally see Trucker Diablo live.

But first there were a couple of other musical appertiffs to be had.

A band I had not seen before are Third Harvest (I think that's what James at DP said!) and if it was something else I apologise as I was relatively sober at that point. They were very, very, very tight, prodicing an amalgam of styles ranging from progressive metal arrangements to straight forward heads down; all nailed down to within the finest breadth of the high 'e' string. Get in touch guys, would love to hear some more and get some background.

Next up were Soundstone.I confess that I have a soft spot for Soundstone. There is a rough and ready strut about them that always appealed, not to mention Adrain's tasty lead playing. Last week they were a bit looser than normal, owing to lack of gigging, but there was that nice wee look about them that speaks of a band than can sleaze about in any company.

Trucker Diablo enticed me when they forwarded an e-version of their album to assault my ears. There was that certain something about them that an old wrinkly rocker like me can't ignore. They're a party band, a band up there to lay down the riffs, tear up the night and leave you wondering why they're not on tour with an international package - hey there's an idea; The Answer, M$R, Trucker, S/Stone and LKA (plus any other NI bands you care to mention - ripping venues a new arsehole.

Okay - enough of wishful thinking and diversions - I'll not belabour the point but I was Drinking Beer, Trucker Destroyed, and later on that night and early the next day I felt as if the Big Truck ran me over. If you don't get those references, get the album 'The Devil Rhythm, get the beer in and enjoy yourself til your wee cotton rockin' socks are ripped off in sheer rockin' metal delight.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Get a reality check - please take a chill pill!

OKAY here's a wee step outside the norm for this blog - a serious rant. I have noticed of late a serious and committed attempt to big up the Northern Ireland rock and metal scene. And it is getting ever more healthy if you haven't noticed. With the Diamond Rock Club, the Distortion Project, Ma Nelson gigs and various other things going on, it's healthy.

But there are some people that slag off those trying to get the shit organised. The simple equation is that if you want in, fair enough, if not, also fair enough. The promoters, the bands, the venues are all pretty much in it together. But the point to make here is not that what they are all doing is not worthy - rather they are doing it out of love of the music.

While you are raging at some perceived injustice about people doing what they love please, please take a step back. They're not harming anyone, and through efforts such as charity fundraisers are doing a lot of good.

Local bands need outlets for everything from album launches through to just being seen; that they are prepared to do some good is even more laudable.

I want anyone who thinks about slagging off anyone else to take a look at the two photographs below. Just for a moment think about your priorities.

I've lifted them from the BBC website and apologies to the Beeb, but there is an important point I am making.

We all need a sense of perspective now and again. These images have haunted my dreams more than anything else in recent years.

Right now there are hundreds of ways that you can help: head to a charity gig, take part in some of the work Iron Maiden have done, or even just log on to the Red Cross appeal.

But most of all, next time you think about having a pop at somebody else, realise what you are doing, and have a pop at something in the real world. If we are here talking about heavy metal and hard rock, it's not going to change governments or spread democracy in oppressed lands. It's just a music form; a very important music form to all of us who listen, but not the most important thing.

As I look at the images above I sort of wonder about the heavy metal bands from Japan like Vow Wow, Loudness and Anthem. I haven't looked at their sites because of the enormity of the earthquake and tsunami because I feel like a moral coward, sneaking a voyeuristic peek at a tragedy.

Right - I've ranted, and mixed several non-coherent themes, but I've got it off my chest. Normal service will now return. Thank you for reading and tolerating this crap!  Now everybody chill the fuck out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No escape from the the Dillinger Plan

THOSE complicated, resilient little old 'mathcore' scamps Dillinger Escape Plan will be returning to Belfast for an August 4th date at the Spring and Airbrake - 24 hours after Iron Maiden rock the Odyssey, it's a perfect way to chill out after the Maiden over-the-top (and worthy) theatrics.

Priced at £14 (+£2 booking fee) the gig will see the New Jersey crew lay down, once again, their complicated and heavy hitting tracks backing the 2010 Option Paralysis release

Full DEP profile and gig booking details here.

(Although worth noting that some of the info is out-of-date in terms of what is the latest release from DEP)

Monday, March 14, 2011

You can’t fake greatness

THE thriller writer Christopher Brookmyre* has the protagonist of one his fine novels utter the lines: “Irresistible allure of nostalgia for the aging male who’s pining for lost youth. How the hell else could SLF and The Buzzcocks sell out venues in the late 80s?”

Back then the jaded, backcombed fashionistas would never have forseen the enduring appeal of SLF. The Buzzcocks may still be knocking around, but I neither know nor care – Belfast’s finest seem to be enduring.

Equally Brookmyre’s lines tell the lie that there the audience for SLF will be eternally on the wane as audiences’ age and styles move on.

If you were among the fortunate to be in the sell-out crowd on Saturday night (12th March) you will know that the age of the fans means that Stiff Little Fingers can have no doubt that a new generation of fans is developing and maturing in its taste for Rigid Digit fury.

For them each old tune was greeted as much like a new track, with the same verve as if it had been a hotly tipped track of some young outfit caught on a sampler CD.

For those of us of – ahem – a certain age the old and not-so-old tracks are greeted like old friends, friends to share a drink, a laugh and gale of not so restrained chants.

Even more unexpected was the excellent set from The Defects.

For those who missed out on the late 70s and early 80s Belfast punk scene, The Defects were amongst the motley crew of oiks like Rufrex, Rudi and the Outcasts who were born amid conflict, from the wombs of the Harp Bar, The Pound, The Labour Club and other even less salubrious venues.

For them – like SLF – the authority of the police and the pseudo-authority of bastard paramilitaries was to snubbed, ignored and generally taken the piss out of.

For each three-minute blast of fury on Saturday it was like punk never left – and it never really did. Tunes like Dance (Til You Drop) and Brutality have an elegance that those who slagged off the surface idiocy never understood, nor took the time to see them in context. But by scabs of history were well and truly ripped off to see the bleeding, pulsing sore that created Belfast punk newly exposed to the slightly stale air of the Ulster Hall.

Even more heartwarming was to hear kids chanting along to the words of Brutality who were still in primary school when the RUC became the PSNI, and an abbreviation that produced a less musical chant than the time-honoured “SS RUC”. That did earn the frowns of at least one bouncer who would have been graduating into the big school at around the same time.

If The Defects produced a set to warm up the Ulster Hall Stiff Little Fingers set the temperature dial to inferno: the teasing strains of Go For It coaxed every single soul to readiness before a storming, frantic ‘Roots, Radicals, Rocker’ blistered into action.

It was apparent that the pace was being upped, as each and every song seemed to have a tempo designed to either sweat the crowd into submission, or pack as many tunes as possible into the time span.

‘Just Fade Away’, ‘Tin Soldiers,’, ‘Wasted Life’, ‘Fly the Flag’ were among the tracks given a heart-stopping treatment. But the sheer speed of delivery didn’t diminish the playing, or the crowd’s response.

As alluded to, it was a crowd that spanned generations – from kids barely into their teens (and at least one on the balcony not yet to reach that milestone) to those about to end their fraternising with the 40s as the 50s looms – and it is a testimony to SLF that they can engage such a wide age bracket.

And there was also a sense that the political agenda of Jake Burns lyrical stance has come full circle. A majority of tracks aired where written when Thatcher’s Tories were waging war on the working class. Now the ConDem Coalition Government’s mantra of cuts is slashing working men and women’s wages and prospects, SLF aired a new song about how the bankers are basking in bonuses while public services are slashed and burned out of existence.

SLF will never, by themselves, make a change in the political landscape, but part of the enduring power is that Jake reminds us that there can be a sense of fairness that we can aspire to, there can be an alternative view outside the mainstream zombie inducing media, and there can be independent thinking.

But, as yer man also pointed out, just because ther're "miserable gits", doesn’t mean they can’t have a laugh at themselves – hence a rousing Barbed Wire Love.

And in each track from ‘Suspect Device’ through to lesser known sings such as ‘Harp’ [and by my bleeding wee fingers I love that song!] the mikes on stage were picking up the crowd’s singing. At a vantage point close to the stage right PA system the crowd’s response was a counterpoint, an enhancement, to every chorus, and every chant – all produced without a prompt, or poser’s preening for crowd response. SLF had an audible backing group of 1,000+ and the onstage directional mikes weren't pointed at the audience...

Encores produced one surprise, one not-so-surprise and a lot of sweaty burling about and pogoing.

Jake has always spoken and sang about how Joe Strummer’s influence on him – I paraphrase here, but Rory Gallagher gave Mr Burns a reason to pick up a guitar, and Joe gave him the passion to keep on playing.

Thus, when ‘I Fought The Law’ burst out it was an almost state of ecstasy that swept the crowd. Welcoming Ricky Warwick on to stage we were invited to “Please be upstanding for the National Anthem” and ‘Alternative Ulster’ seemed for some to round off the evening.

But checking out your standard SLF resumé there was the small matter of ‘Johnny Was’ that was an inevitable second encore – and the Ulster Hall was working harmonies along to the pathos of the Bob Marley song.

SLF will never be great in terms of the shallow measures of Pop Idol or X-Factor (Take ‘Guitar and Drum’ and shove it up Cowell’s superannuated arse if you ever meet him!). Nor will mere accountants’ figures of sales or cashflow measure or account for the longevity of SLF; or why street kids, metalheads, hard rockers, ska types, old skinheads, thrashers, and, of course, aging punks turn out to see the ‘Fingers.  For all the banter, all the self-deprecation, SLF are a band that will never be accorded accolades, but will always, always have a measure of greatness that few can aspire to.

And that greatness was bursting through in the Ulster Hall in what in this humble reviewer’s gigs was one of the most electric gigs I have seen SLF play since the tension filled fury of the Go For It tour gig in the same venue. In fact it was much better.

Stiff Little Fingers – the punk band that could play; the rock band with punk sensibilities; the pop punk progenitors; but most of all, Belfast’s finest bar none.


PS – I am fuckin’ biased but I don’t care, because there are a lot of us biased towards SLF too!
* - Country of the Blind: Christopher Brrokmyre P121 Abacus 2002 paperback

Friday, March 11, 2011

Holy Christ it's a new Honey for Christ album!

Making plans for April? Mark a date in your diary for Saturday April 9th before you do anything else!

Veteran metallers Honey for Christ unleash their début full-length platter of heaviness on that date in the ye olde Spring and Airbrake - courtesy of the Distortion Project.

With the tantalising title of  "The Cruelty of Great Expectations", those hungry to gather up the tunes can lay your grubby mits on it that night, for copies will be there for you to pass over the pounds to listen to the pounding tunes.

And if that wasn't enough to tempt you out (and if not you may need a metal transplant, or a good excuse from your doctor!) Honey for Christ will be joined by Condemned and Rebels by Nature (as well as another act to be confirmed!)

Doors are at 7pm and entry is a paltry £7.




Sunday, March 06, 2011

At your own risk...or at mine if you comment... :)

If, at this point, you continue to read further you do so at your own risk...below is a short story; if you chose to progress you will discover that I may have won awards, been commended for my journalism, and even on occassion ghost-written heavy political stuff, but leave me alone with Uncle Jack and cousin Carly then the result is short stories...in this case a slightly daft one..let me know how daft you think it is!

Four years of fighting, and no sign of victory.

Another year and he could retire to teach at what was left of the Academy. Four years and only two days of respite per month. Just 96 days of relief. In his hands he played with the headset. Such a relic. They were his only real respite, a window to a past gone for more than 900 years. A relic that had been left from his long-dead relative, passed through generation after generation, with none knowing what the silver discs contained.

Each month he had sat, connected to the dumb terminal, researching, reading what ‘ware he would let into his mind, always careful that no neural bombs had been left by the ‘bots.

Finally, two months ago he had broken the code, assembled a converter and copied the files to his ‘ware. Almost 2,000 files lay within, each labelled with obscure titles, and even more obscure names and organisations. It was another month before he dared to open one, fearful that the ancient codes would have decayed and corrupt his neural interfaces. When he finally opened them he was shocked for the first time since joining up in the ‘ware marines. He expected codes, ‘ware, even text downloaded via the ancient headset. Instead, three brief lines from someone whose name had been lost in the centuries passing, explaining the concept of music.

Music, a small word. A word that he had to look up in the library ‘ware. It was a word and a definition that baffled him, until the first chords blasted through the headset. He had laughed in shock.

Now it was his only solace. He had to face up to probable defeat. Commander of the Software Division of the United Earth Space Marines, and commander of a division that was slowly, but surely being defeated by the ‘bots. There had been some glimmer of hope this past three weeks, but until he could marshal a counter-attack…


“Sir, the divisional reports are ready to be uploaded,” said Samuels, his Exec Officer, who bustled into the room, still smelling of the stimulant he tolerated, but frowned upon; especially it’s use among his Official Cadre officers and ‘ware specialists. It might keep them awake and alert for a few extra minutes in death space, but it made them rash and, at times too impulsive against the ‘bots.

“Okay Samuels, thanks. You had any downtime?”

The man had been a competent marine when programming, but lacked the inherent strength of visualisation while in 'ware time. Where most marines visualised rich tapestries of sound, vision, smell and touch, Samuels preferred the quiet visualisations of boardrooms. It matched his straight bearing, impeccable uniform and angular face. Topped by the neatly trimmed grey hair he looked less like a marine and more like a member of the administrative cadre. He was in total contrast to the dishevelled demeanour of his commander.

“Yes, sir and I’m due relax trance tomorrow.”

“Okay, dismissed.”

Relax trance. What a stupid word combination. It was nothing to do with relaxing. The trance was designed to age his men and women. Their fights with the ‘bots were in a world where time was measured in a different framework compared to the rest of the human population. His four years in the wars had seen normal time fly by in a blur of more than 50 years, his body ageing slowed by the perverse nature of the quantum world the ‘bots occupied. The ageing was necessary, because without it the brain systems would overtake the neural wetware that bridged complex brain areas; a pathway of tiny interfaces measured in diameters of electrons and neutrons. The interfaces crossed posterior parietal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, effectively linking the motion-processing areas of visual pathways and body-mapping areas.

The sense of space constructed by this cortex was linked to the cingulated cortex, using its focus and crossroads between planning and emotional impulses in the brain to translate higher functions and boost attention. The link enabled the visualisation of colours, environment and other interpreted senses from the battlefield, using the impression of senses to do battle in the quantum world where the bridges of intervention changed every aspect of the virtual battlefield.

Just another year. Even he, commander of the ‘ware marines, was limited to five years’ service – almost 70 years in real time. Any longer and the risk of akinetic mutism from damage to the anterior cingulate cortex increased exponentially. He’d seen too many friends, too many of his marines struck down with q-syndrome, as the soldiers had dubbed it. A weird zombie-like state first clearly understood and then diagnosed correctly almost 1,000 years ago. It had been known about for years before that, but the damage they incurred in the battle with the ‘bots was irreversible. Zombies with full consciousness, but no motivation, no urge to move, to do anything, not even speak. All who suffered were discarded from the service. The lucky few were given terminal neural interface connections by their relatives. It was a merciful death.

“Think too long on this shit and you’ll never hook up again Jonas,” he thought, suddenly deciding that it was time for work. The division was so depleted of resources even the commander was forced to enjoin the battles.

He donned the headset first, loading up another song, from what he presumed was a 20th Century religious movement, Blue Oyster Cult. Veteran of the Psychic Wars.

“How fucking appropriate!”


Earth colonies had been gradually, slowly and cautiously exploring their distant corner of their galaxy for more than two centuries since they first mastered the art of sending drones to terraform uninhabited planets and then leapfrogging them with the sub-light driven ships, delivering colonists desperate to escape the dying throes of Earth.

Within 150 years more than 500 planets had been colonised, and then the first contact with the ‘bots came, bringing what seemed to be the beginning of the end. The ‘bots had appeared as physical ships to the first colony that they contacted. A ship set on course to colonise in their own unique way by a civilisation many millennia ago. There was no explanation offered by the ‘bots; no physical contact, simply the gradual neural dominance and extinction of the host via attacks based on a weird combination of imagined space and quantum physics. Their mission appeared to be simply to eradicate all biological codec that did not conform to their DNA and RNA sequencing programmes. At a rough estimate less than 20 per cent fitted their approved sequence.

Thankfully more than half of that fortunate few of the original colony decided that they owed it to the rest of humanity to warn them of the insidious invasion and slaughter that it precipitated.

Now there were less than 50 colonies, plus Earth system resisting, and more than 35 billion ‘defective’ DNA sequences eradicated. Samuels mused on the war. He’d been welcomed by the ‘Bots and carefully groomed in q-space to work on their behalf with the only force still resistingassimilation, the ‘ware marines. He thought sometimes of the people he’d helped kill through passing on ‘ware specs. He thought of their deaths. Sometimes he cried. Then, as he linked up with the willing survivors he felt the community of brain linkages that joined humanity with the long distant creators of the ‘bots – one huge galactic wide net of linked individuals and colony ‘bots. An efficient process, ordered and quiet.

To help him in his position as an infiltrator the ‘bots downloaded specialist ‘ware to his hippocampus. The convergence of neurons and their snapshot imagery of the rest of his brain activity was a perfect base for capturing and re-imaging neural activity to make Jonas and all his associated colleagues in the Human Defence Forces think of Samuels as nothing more than a dull but loyal EO.

Unfortunately the ‘ware managed to create chaos within a small section of the cerebellum that controlled sweat glands, leaving him with the whiff of coffee, long-outlawed in its concentrated form in the colonies.


Whatever organisation had been called Black Sabbath soothed Jonas with their sweeping aggressive music as he coursed through the battlefield, fending off ‘bot attacks, launching counter-attacks through neural viruses. The q-fields were adapted according to each marines’ own personal visual interpretation. His choice was an ancient game, played by his ancestors through clumsy visual interfaces. They had been called role-playing games and first-person shooters. The names were appropriate to what was his job. Cutting through swathes of code, using every type of programming language ever invented by humanity to sabotage the ‘bots manipulation of quantum fields. The very processes humanity had used to speed its computing capabilities to colonise their corner of the galaxy had been turned against them. Only the speed, flexibility and adaptability of the human brain could now provide a counter.

Black Label Society switched to Kiss, before Metallica took over...

For the first time in months they were making real progress. He switched to the separate ‘ware controlling his divisional deployments, marshalling a counter-thrust in three separate sectors.

The Offspring played on, followed by Alice Cooper focussing his mind...

“Sector four, press forward, div. two, they’ll drive into that noose you’ve got forming. Lock those codes in there. When they try to break through in binary, lock ‘em down and release neural bombs.” he projected to his divisional commanders, before switching back to his own field of combat.

Led Zeppelin, System of a Down and then Nine Inch Nails...


“I don’t know why he won’t just die,” Samuels projected to the ‘Bots. His own visualisation was of a boardroom, appropriate for an Executive Officer.

“I’ve released every neural pathogen, every neural bomb and dozens of viruses. He seems to have a way of combating each and every one. And some of the Marines seem to have developed that same ability.”

The ‘Bots, shed of the crude machinery that most of humanity believed them to be, appeared as fields of shimmering material in q-space. Their every move and his every observation changing the matter and the visualisation.

“What is music?” one asked.

“I don’t know.”

It seems to be the virus they are using,” the ‘Bot replied. “It is like a wall, which we cannot penetrate, and we cannot sequence quick enough when they have it activated to fight them off. It is not appearing on any of the pathways we map of the Marines ‘ware, nor their physical neural activity.”

“What is an Ozzy?” another asked.

I don’t know.”

“What is a Motorhead?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is a Ramone?”

“I don’t know.”

“What is an AC/DC??

“I don’t know.”

The boardroom shuddered.

"The Marines have breeched all our secure neural sites.”

“What, you told me those were the hubs to…”

“There’s something coming along…”

“You told me you couldn’t lose…”

“Samuels, what is headbanging?”

His boardroom exploded, the visualisation cut apart by seeming arcs of fire and explosions. Walking through the debris was Jonas. The image was one of a man 20 years Jonas’ junior, carrying an ancient projectile weapon and laughing. As he fired the weapon the quantum fields slithered and rolled, the programming languages cutting the ‘Bots internal integrity down to nothingness. Samuels knew he was seeing Jonas’ visualisations. And if he could see them, quantum law dictated that both he and the visualisation could be altered by that observation. He had to think fast, alter the vision before Jonas…

“Hey Samuels!” Jonas called out at him. The tired Commander was laughing. His hair seemed longer and he was dressed in ancient combat fatigues.

“Hanging out with the our low-life robotic quantum motherfuckin’ friends. It’s fuckin’ crazy man, we’re getting them beat.” He seemed drunk or high to Samuels.

“It’s not how they think it goes any more. We’re winning and we won’t live as slaves to these small quantum fuckers. If only they’d learn how to love us, and forget to hate us. Maybe it’s not too late for them. Will your mental wounds heal before I kill you.

“No guess not, all aboard the Crazy Train - you’re gonna die traitor.”

After the loud blast of the projectile weapon cutting across quantum space, Samuels heard a maniacal laugh and someone screaming, “All Aboard’. Samuels’ treachery died along with him.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Infectious grooves and raucous riffs

WHEN it comes to infectious grooves and raucous riffs are delivered hard and to the point in Last Known Addiction’s début release, One Left Standing; there, that’s the review over.

No seriously that would be enough to tell all that needs to be told about the band’s release to make you run along and part with the cash.

But there is a little more depth to this release than just another platter of tunes. There are a few niggles, but what band hasn’t experienced these trying to place hard crafted tracks down for the first time.

Above all, this release showcases a fine sense of song writing. Around The World, Always Coming Home and Preach stand out. These tracks take the tried and trusted hard rock formula and wring its neck with fingers clenched round guitars, pummel its melodies with fine tuned sensibilities and douse the whole lot with petrol-soaked Northern Ireland attitude.

The whole album sees the band as the bastard sons of an unholy union between Black Stone Cherry, The Answer, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Foreigner – with Lemmy present at the birth.

Yes there are a few wee problems – Bring It seems to be two different songs pushed into one, and the start of the excellent Always Coming Home seems a little muddy (but that could just be my copy). But these are tiny blips when seen in the context of a rather excellent CD!

But, this is not a one-dimensional band. On One Left Standing Last Known Addiction display a talent for honing their skills on more sensitive tracks– Simultaneously and Fight.

Album closer Fight is a particularly haunting acoustic track, delivered with rare passion and heartfelt singing.

It is not unfair to say that there are many so-called singer songwriters who would sacrifice a limb to be able to pen something this good.

Overall, One Left Standing should be regarded not as a good release from a local band; it should be considered as an album fit to adorn the shelves of any CD rack in any store across the western world.

Also this is a reflection as to just how good the hard rock talent is is pouring out of Northern Ireland. Never mind England; never mind Scotland; never mind Wales; and never mind the US of A. Last Known Addiction, Trucker Diablo, Million$Reload and a host of others are leaving the competition in their wake. With The Answer soon to release a new album A&R men take note – we’re coming and let no-one stand in our way. Kick The Tyres of the opposition, this Nation is one coming for you all.