Reviews Round-Up October 2022Reviews Round-Up October 2022


• ELEINE – ‘Acoustic In Hell’
• AMPYRE – ‘Ampyre’


I’ve never been a big fan of acoustic metal as I think that once the plug’s been pulled the power and the passion gets lost. However, on their latest outing ELEINE don’t seem to have that problem. ‘Acoustic In Hell’ (Atomic Fire, 14 October) serves up eight acoustic re-workings from their back catalogue (‘Eleine’, ‘Until The End’ and ‘Dancing In Hell’), and it’s apparent that Madeleine Liljestam (vocals), Rikard Ekberg (guitars and cookie monster) and Jesper Sunnhagen (drums) have put no little thought and effort into re-imagining the songs for a new format. Driven by Liljestam’s stunning voice the material is neither lacking in power nor passion, and all credit to the band for pulling off what is quite a coup. ‘Enemies’ and ‘Ava Of Death’ in particular are worth the price of the disc alone, and although ‘Acoustic In Hell’ is touted as an EP as it clocks in at just under thirty-four minutes, it’s still longer than the average early KISS LP.


Video clips:
‘Enemies’ –

‘All Shall Burn’ –


For those without elephantine memories SMASHED GLADYS appeared on the scene when Heavy Metal America issued their self-titled debut in 1985. Fronted by the sandpaper-tonsilled Sally Cato, the band had come together in New York the previous year and started making a lot of noise – literally and figuratively – on the local scene. And although ‘Smashed Gladys’ was a tad unfocussed (I’m not even sure it got a US release, and three of its cuts were re-recorded for its follow-up) the band were snapped up by Elektra and the truly stunning ‘Social Intercourse’ followed in 1988. Demos for the third album were recorded, but then with the death of bassist Mark Sliker it all began to unravel. Fast forward thirty-plus years and ‘Raw’ (Golden Robot Records, 7 October) is a collection of eighteen demo tracks, many of which appear to have been from the sessions for the third album while four are from a trip to the recording studio with Gene Simmons and pre-date their debut album. Regrettably there’s little information on the promo as to exactly what tracks belong to which sessions, but the good time, hard drivin’ rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ material is in the main from the top drawer (check out ‘Bump In The Night’) and leaves you wondering what might have been had that third album made it to the shops.


Video clips:
‘Bleed For Me’ –

‘Bump In The Night’ -


We looked at AMPYRE back in July, when their sole self-titled 1991 EP was released as a limited edition five-track slab of vinyl. The band were an accessible rock act in the vein of Saraya and Vixen, and sounded gloriously Eighties – perhaps too much so as the music world began to reshape itself around grunge. The guys at Golden Core have now re-released the Stuttgart band’s material on CD augmented by the three tracks from their extremely good ‘Everything Changes’ demo recorded three years later. By this time though vocalist Elke Grötzinger had left the band and been replaced by Francis Soto. The music had indeed changed too, moving more into almost Queensrÿche / Fates Warning territory, which seems to have really suited Soto’s incredible range, yet although there’s no doubting the quality of the musicianship (the rest of the line-up – brothers Andreas and Matthias Pfisterer, guitars and keyboards respectively, bassist Richard Mavro and drummer Chio Mulé – remained unchanged) they were still ploughing a largely unfashionable furrow. Top marks to Golden Core for unearthing this gem.


© John Tucker October 2022