What Have I Been Listening To (May 2022)

I haven’t done one of these in a while which may be bordering on criminal given how much great new music I have been listening to this year. I won’t bore you with a longer into than that, so let’s get into it.

Carpe Diem by Saxon

Saxon were a part of the NWOBHM trend in the late 70s and into the 80s, but I feel like they never get their proper dues like many others from the time do. They are my own personal favourite from the time, and they are one of the few who are still putting out top-notch heavy metal. Hard to believe they are coming up on their 50th year and they still got it.

IV by Naxatras

I’ve been following this Greek progressive psyche band for several years now and in fact their past albums have all graced my top 5 albums from the years they were released. I am pleased to say they’ve done it again. This time around, they have eschewed their AAA all analog recording for one that sounds more multilayered and expressive. They’s also added keyboards and synths this time around, which has given the music another dimension. This is the album of a band really coming into their own and cementing their status as one of the pre-eminent prog psyche bands around.

Thirteen by FM

FM are a band I discovered when they opened for Foreigner and Journey well over a decade ago. I was there for Journey, but FM actually blew me away, and I’ve been a fan since. Thirteen is their 13th album, and it is, to put it simply, one damn good album from a band who are up there with the best melodic rock bands active today. If you want someone to sing a melodic rock song, you want Steve Overland; his voice is that good. It blew me away all those years ago when I first heard them, and he blows me away now. Honestly it is a shame they are not as big as the bands they opened for on that first night I fell in love with them.

Strange Machine by Alunah

Upon hearing doom band Alunah you could be forgiven for thinking “oh great, more Black Sabbath worship” but dig deeper, and you find this band are no copy pasta outfit. They take the well established doom genre and put their own psychedelic twist on it. I feel like they have actually leaned more into the psyche direction since the departure of Sophie Day to be replaced on the mic by Sian Greenway, and I like it. I’ve read some negative reviews of this one but give it a chance, it is good.

St Patrick’s Cough by Electric Octopus

Speaking of psychedelia, Northern Ireland’s own Electric Octopus has a new album out, and it is exactly what you expect from these guys. This is another album of psychedelic jams that will take you on a weird and wonderful journey through multiple genres. I don’t partake of the ganja but I have to wonder what it would be like with this band’s music.

Back From The Dead by Halestorm

The post COVID-19 lockdown album the world needed. This is an album all about overcoming the darkness and depression of the past two years while trying to maintain some faith in humanity. Lzzy Hale is in fine form with some of the best vocal performances I’ve heard on a Halestorm record. She manages to perfectly balance power and emotion as required on each song. This will most likely be on my album of the year list.