SHIRAZ LANE – Be The Slave Or Be The Change (2015)
Ambition and talent are two qualities that Finnish fivesome SHIRAZ LANE have in abundance. Add to this that all of its members are in their early ’20s and you have a band that deserves to be picked up by a record label, nurtured and given the resources needed to continue building a name.
Until that happens the guys are taking care of business themselves with their EP “Be The Slave Or Be The Change“, and I must say they’re doing a darn fine job.
Shiraz Lane have already played numerous gigs since their humble beginnings in 2009 including a performance at the Hard Rock Café in Toronto, Canada (after winning a contest called Hard Rock Rising Helsinki) in November of last year, more recently they took Tokyo by storm, next month they head over to Wacken Open Air in Germany and in September they hit the road with Santa Cruz. Not bad eh?
And they deserve it, as they are really, really good.
So what does the stuff Shiraz Lane bring to the table on their EP sound like? Well, they clearly have a soft spot for New Jersey hard rockers Skid Row’s first 2 platters but I also heard traces of Slik Toxik, Dynazty (at the time of their debut) and fellow country men Santa Cruz.
Main ingedients of the combo’s sound are the high pitched, banshee like vocals of singer Hannes Kett and the furious exchange of riffs and licks between guitarists Miki Kalske and Jani Laine.
It’s obvious when listening to the 5 tracks included that the band has taken the time to come up with well written (lyrically they steer clear away from boy meets girl or let’s party type songs) and constructed songs that show different sides of the band.
Opening track “Mental Slavery” is a heavy, pounding affair, a genuine headbanger while on the following “Behind the 8-Ball” the main theme that runs through the song is blues based & melodic but every now the band lashes out with some serious rockin’. Six stringer Jani Laine is truly smokin’ on this one.
Up next is my favourite song (and the first I ever heard of these guys) “Money Talks”: a balls out rocker with a most swingin’, funky rhythm, some frantic drumming (cowbell, anyone?) and a rippin’ guitar solo.
The party continues with the disc’s most catchy (hell, I was whistlin’ along after the first listen) song “Out There Somewhere” that is sure to lift up the spirit of anyone who hears it and is feeling a bit down.
Things come to an end with the mid-tempo “Story To Tell” that tells us that if we want to change things we should start by changing ourselves today. A serious message but the underlying rhythm is rather upbeat.
Do not be fooled by Shiraz Lane’s youth / baby faces: there is a reason these feisty Finns are getting the attention they are – and not just because they have been likened to early Guns ’n’ Roses and Skid Row. In fact, they are happy with that identification, but are sure that there is a lot more to them than that.
And do not be pushed back by the ‘strange’ artwork; the music inside rocks greatly.
Shiraz Lane could be the next big thing for Finnish hard rock, one of these ‘bands to watch’ in a very near future, meanwhile enjoy this kick ass EP.
1 – Mental Slavery
2 – Behind the 8-Ball
3 – Money Talks
4 – Out There Somewhere
5 – Story To Tell
Hannes Kett – vocals
Jani Laine – guitar
Miki Kalske – guitar
Joel Alex – bass
Ana Willman – drums
BUY IT !