Silfur (Deutsche Grammophon)
Pianist and score composer Dustin O’Halloran’s first venture into the world of music was playing guitar and keyboards for the hugely underrated and wistful Los Angeles guitar band Dēvics at the start of the nineties. Near enough three decades later O’Halloran is an award winning score composer and pianist who has worked with Volker Bertelmann scoring such big screen gems such as Lion and Ammonite, as well as being one half of A Winged Victory for the Sullen, making intricate and emotive sonic soundscapes with Adam Wiltzie. Not forgetting O’Halloran’s work with Soulsavers.
Silfur is a collection of reimagined piano pieces from O’Halloran’s solo past – plus there are a couple of newbies carefully slotted in that O’Halloran worked on whilst being isolated in Iceland during lockdown. Composer Bryan Senti, the Siggi String Quartet and cellist Gyða Valtýsdóttir have been brought on board to enhance the ambience of O’Halloran’s piano led pieces that bring to mind light after darkness, spaciousness, peace and freedom. Silfur is nothing short of being a work of emotive and beautiful brilliance.
words DAVID NOBAKHT
Go Ahead And Die (Nuclear Blast)
There’s been many a son that’s followed their father into the music business, but as for playing in the same band together, not too many spring to mind. Stepping up to the plate are Go Ahead And Die [pictured, top – credit Jim Louvau], the new band formed by Igor Amadeus Cavalera – son of Sepultura/Soulfly legend Max, who he’s roped in to lend some guitar and vocals.
The result is a furiously thrashy affair, with dashes of old-school hardcore thrown in for good measure. Igor attacks his instrument with the same ferocity and venom that we’ve come to expect from dad over the years, while Max himself just seems to find new levels of malice in his vocal attack. The next stage in the evolution of the Cavalera family has begun and I’m happy to report that the apple doesn’t stray too far away from the tree, which is just fine.
words CHRIS ANDREWS
Mammoth WVH (EX1)
Wolfgang Van Halen already has a belting musical resume. A pivotal member of Tremonti, as well as being a latterday member of rock greats Van Halen. It was only a matter of time before his own solo talents were showcased for all to see.
Fourteen tracks pack out his debut album release as Mammoth WVH, all written and performed by Wolfgang himself. No mean feat at all. The guitar riff and piercing finger-tapping solo of Mr Ed rings out loud, while You’re To Blame grows into a crashing crescendo of drums, filled in with a stunning solo melee of string bends and slides.
Bonus track Distance, a fitting tribute to dad and guitar icon Eddie Van Halen, beautifully ties up this musical feast. Wolfgang provides an immense effort and showmanship of musical talent, and an album I’m sure his father is looking down on with pride.
words OWEN SCOURFIELD
There’s something cold and contrived about the first few songs on the latest from this multi-million-selling pop band. Perhaps my abiding memory of the softer-rockier Maroon 5 from 20 years ago hasn’t shifted, but still, the label of “pop band” just doesn’t seem to make sense when listening to Jordi.
When global brands like Coldplay or, to a lesser extent, OneRepublic put out chart-friendly new material they still manage to sound like a band. Devoid of any sense of a group sound, or a feeling of actual musicians playing live – until the more engaging Convince Me Otherwise, eight songs in – this collection of identikit crap really is uninspired.
Guest spots from artists as diverse as Juice WRLD and Stevie Nicks can’t drag the standard any higher, or make Jordi feel unlike an Adam Levine solo album. In their defence, Lovesick and the closing Memories are better than the rest, but still nothing like the standard expected from such a bankable act. Regardless, like lead single Beautiful Mistakes it will go on to sell bucketloads, I’m sure.
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES
Back The Way We Came: Vol. 1 (2011-2021) (Sour Mash)
It’s now 30 years since Oasis formed, and 12 years on from their split, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds celebrate a decade of work with an 18-song greatest hits album. The music industry has changed significantly since Oasis, and some may think this album is just an elongated Spotify playlist – still, fans who invest in one of the variously deluxe vinyl editions will be rewarded with bonus tracks, remixes and acoustic work, as well as further keepsake artwork.
This reviewer at least was disappointed that You Know We Can’t Go Back wasn’t included, but the album also includes two new singles: Flying On The Ground and the recently released We’re On Our Way Now. With melancholy melody, and lyrical excerpts including “meet your maker”, “cast no shadow”, “hey now” and “stood on top of the world”, the latest single seems to nod back to Gallagher’s Oasis days.
Diehard fans may be holding onto those lyrics for a potential reforming of the band – and with the album title similarly seeming to point to a journey back to Noel Gallagher’s roots, who knows what the future holds…
words ALEX WILLIAMS