Album Reviews
Band: Luke Appleton

Title: Snake Eyes

Label: Rocksector Records

Last year Absolva's rhythm guitarist and Iced Earth bassist Luke Appleton released his first solo acoustic EP entitled 'How Does It Feel To Be Alive?', which received great reviews.  But that was just the prelude to this his first full length acoustic solo album 'Snake Eyes'.

Luke has always been a multi-faceted musician, playing bass, lead and rhythm guitars.  He's also a great songwriter, but his vocal talent has previously been somewhat left in the shade. Now with 'Snake Eyes' Luke brings all these elements together in one great package.

If you caught the debut EP you will know what to expect from the full length album, but those who haven’t  I must insist you check it out.  The album itself is just such a glorious listen.  Luke really has gone that extra mile with this album.  He could have easily have gone down the full on metal path, but instead he has taken the brave move to do something completely different and off track with 'Snake Eyes'.  Produced by fellow Absolva member and brother Chris, with a few guests joining in along the way, 'Snake Eyes' isn’t the gamble the title portrays.

The album gets underway with ‘Inside Out’.  No fancy intros, no messing about, it's straight into the acoustic rocking as Luke takes on the state of the world today as the message behind this one.  There is an almost folk rock element to this one.

The album continues with ‘Medusa’ and like the Titan herself this one coils around the senses like a python taking its grip on its subject, with Luke really showing his vocal prowess on this one.

The title track 'Snake Eyes' is next.  Tis one has a real bluesy feel about it.  Again a real tour de force vocal from Luke, before the almost Medieval soundings of ‘First Star’, as Luke duets with Metaprism singer Theresa Smith.  This is just a superb track to lose yourself in.

Things rock out a touch more with ‘Heart Returns’, before one of my favourite tracks off the album the beautiful ‘Crocodile Tears’, with brother Chris providing a great electric guitar solo on this one.

Speaking of guest guitarists, we have another on ‘Stone Broke For My Heart’, as Babylon Fire guitarist Rishi Mehta brings the heat on this one.

There is a dark vibe to ‘Walkers’, where Mehta lends his guitar skills to this one, before that almost Medieval Folk Rock elements come back with the haunting ‘The Other Side’, before another guest artist makes his mark on the album. As Iced Earth’s original vocalist Gene Adam delivers the goods on the excellent ‘Slay the Hydra’, as the pair bring the dueting heat.

The folkish element is brought to forefront as the album introduces a flute section into the mix for ‘A Man Of A Thousand Words’, along with a little orchestration and a great electric solo for good measure.

The album closes with a live bonus track of title track of the EP ‘How Does it Feel to be Alive’, which really shows how these songs evolve in the live arena.

Luke has already taken this new album around Europe and will be bringing it back to the UK (and Europe) for some dates later this year, starting at the S.O.S. Festival in July.

So don’t miss out hearing this album and some tracks from the EP performed live on this part of the tour, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Review by: Barry McMinn

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Inside Out
2.  Medusa
3.  Snake Eyes
4.  First Star
5.  Heart Returns
6.  Crocodile Tears
7. Stone Broke From My Heart
8.  Walkers
9.  The Other Side
10.  Slay The Hydra 

11. A Man Of a Thousand Words 
12. How Does It Feel To Be Alive? (Live - bonus track)

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