Ammunition - Ammunition
Ammunition are a sixpiece band formed in 2014 by the multi-instrumentalist Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T. and Nordic Union) and the former singer of The Poodles, Åge Sten Nilsen. The gifted Mårtensson seems almost incapable of making a bad move, and the following year’s debut, Shanghaied, was a strong introductory statement.
Unsurprisingly, this self-titled second picks up right where the band left off with Shanghaied. The guitars of Mårtensson and Jon Pettersen sit high and proud in the mix, jostling for space with a variety of punch-the-air hook-lines, although Ammunition are also capable of lower key, more subtle moments such as An Eye For An Eye. However, when Nilsen sings about tearing your city down in the song of the same name, then evacuation or an apocalyptic party in the streets are the only sensible options. The similarity between Freedom Finder and Billy Squier’s The Stroke is so glaring that one hopes it was intended as an affectionate parody, but that’s a minor quibble.
The first great album of 2018 has arrived. (8⁄10)
Blood Red Saints - Love Hate Conspiracies
Frontman Pete Godfrey and his new-look Saints have heavied things up a little since their well-received debut, Speedway, back in 2015. That’s often a recipe for disaster, but the tracks on this highly enjoyable follow-up pack a pleasingly accessible punch. Contributions from Paul Laine of the Defiants and Trixter’s Steve Brown certainly don’t hurt. (8⁄10)
Tony Mills - Streets Of Chance
Unlike so many contemporaries from those days, Tony Mills can still sing as though it’s the 1980s. The former Shy/TNT frontman is in a cheerier emotional head-space here than on 2015’s Over My Dead Body, and with players of the calibre of Joel Hoekstra, Tommy Denander and Eric Ragno, SOC is an exquisite slice of melodic hard rock. (8⁄10)
The Poodles - Prisma
Here the Swedish glamsters cover songs from different genres, including ones by Elton John, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple and Depeche Mode. On paper that might sound dodgy, but the results are actually pretty good. A sleek, punchy reimagining of Michael Sembello’s Maniac is among the highlights, although overall the arrangements are perhaps a little too cautious. (5⁄10)
Prayer - Silent Soldiers
Inspired by Thin Lizzy, Saga, Treat and Royal Hunt, among others, on Silent Soldiers Finnish band Prayer attempt to weld a colourful, pompous edge to what is otherwise a fairly robust strand of AOR. However, the band work best by taking the direct route, and Rock And A Hard Place, the least cluttered-sounding track on the album, is the most effective one on it. (6⁄10)