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Grindhouse - 'Chapter One' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/87/82/b3/grindhouse-chapter-one-49-1443221508.jpg Hot

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Let's hope 'Chapter Two' will follow soon and that it is as good as its predecessor.

2014 saw the German singer Michael Bormann releasing his 'Love Is Magic – Best Of Ballads' compilation and even though he's quite convincing in his weepy odes to love and heartbreak, his fans have eagerly awaited his Hard Rock rebirth. Now it comes in the form of an album recorded in conjunction with the Italian act Grindhouse, who combine cinematographic inclinations with a Hard Rock sound.

Entitled 'Chapter One', the album explodes with a pounding drum roll as the first track 'After Midnight' begins. It's a modern-day Hard Rock piece with hints of early Guns 'N' Roses and Skid Row, completed by Bormann's characteristic voice. Next is Grindhouse's rendition of the 1983 Disco classic 'Ain't Nobody' (originally done by Rufus & Chaka Khan), the song's Funky beat replaced with a fierce, pulsating riff and pumping rhythm section. There's a Progressive vibe to the instrumental work in 'The Stunt' and a hook that's unashamedly Jaded Heart-esque, drawing much from aesthetics Bormann got his listeners used to in the early days.

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'The Way Out' combines Sleaze Metal-tinted, raw energy with melodic passages, followed up by 'The Enemy' with its mellow, ballad-esque verses heavily contrasted with the intensity of lead guitar work. Similarly intense is 'Nothing Gonna Stop Me', its aggressively chanted choruses adding a raw, live vibe to it. It precedes 'Titty Twister', a song that fills the air with its groovy riffs and Funk-ish rhythm section only to surprise a listener with nifty piano-based interludes and the guitar-laden
instrumental coda. This, as well as the next track 'Wild Dusk', combine Hard Rock with distinct Blues and Funk flavours – the vivid, pulsating sound that drives them both leaving no doubt about the album's actual highlights. The closing song 'What A Night' has '...One' going full circle so as to return to the contemporary, gritty Hard Rock sound against the melodic hooks so characteristic of the first few tracks on the record.

There's a fine line between variety and chaos in music, but with '...One', Grindhouse have managed to make the most of the former while avoiding the latter. Their sound is solid and coherent, firmly embedded in modern Hard Rock aesthetics yet a handful of different flavours added to particular tracks that make it anything but repetitive and dull. And, of course, apart from it and the band's technical prowess there's another asset to this line-up – personalized by Bormann himself. 'Chapter One' is the former leader of JH returning to his Hard Rock roots and proving, beyond any doubt, that in this genre he's still a force to be reckoned with. Let's hope 'Chapter Two' will follow soon and that it is as good as its predecessor.

Alexandra Mrozowska

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