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Nazareth - 'Tattooed On My Brain' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/21/08/58/nazareth-tattooed-on-my-brain-34-1543000781.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 23, 2018    
 
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An album of catchy, hooky songs and a masterclass in musicianship.

'Tattooed On My Brain' is Nazareth's twenty-fourth studio album in a fifty year career of output, and it also marks their first with new vocalist Carl Sentence, so there's a lot riding on it.

The album opens with serious intent as 'Never Dance With The Devil' riffs its way out of the speakers and Sentence's vocals power across the top, giving notice of what's to come. The title track follows next and I give a warning, it's an instant earworm that I indeed had tattooed on my brain for two days. 'State Of Emergency' is a crash, bang, wallop of a rocker with Jimmy Murrison racing along the frets like there is no tomorrow. There's a slight line-dancing, Country feel to 'Rubik's Romance' which sounds odd but works, while the album's first single, 'Pole To Pole', is another catchy, riffy rocker. In another change of direction, 'Push' has a Southern guitar whine that brings to mind tumbleweed and a dry desert, whereas 'The Secret Is Out' is a slow head-banger that leads into the more epic 'Don't Throw Your Love Away', the latter a huge, stadium-filler of a song.

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It has to be remembered that Nazareth come from an age when Rock songs could also be catchy, chart-topping singles and it's something they've always excelled at. 'Changes', while not a ballad per se, slows down the pace with some smoochy licks, even though it can't help but break out on the choruses. The generous thirteen songs close out with the beautiful and atmospheric 'You Call Me', a track sung by Pete Agnew, who takes over the vocals as he used to back in the early days.

All eyes were going to be on this album, the first after Dan McCafferty's retirement, but Sentence is the perfect successor; he has the ability to capture the essence of Nazareth yet still sound like himself, be respectful of the legacy yet still stamp his own mark. Is this still Nazareth? It most assuredly is. It's the very nature of bands that the spotlight is often turned on the vocalist, but Agnew is the Captain of the Nazareth ship, so the DNA remains intact and a new vocalist has allowed them to explore and stretch some musical muscle.

I promise old Nazareth fans won't be disappointed, but for anyone coming to them for the first time, this is an album of catchy, hooky songs and a masterclass in musicianship.

Helen Bradley Owers

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