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Lita Ford- Whitechapel- Sep7ember- Wayland

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Lita Ford
Living Like a Runaway

Steamhammer

Some may remember Ford as the 17-year-old guitarist for the Runaways, the Los Angeles-based all-girl band that kicked open the door for female rockers with songs like "Cherry Bomb" more than 35 years ago. Others may remember Ford only from previous solo records where she scored hits with "Kiss Me Deadly" and "If I Close My Eyes Forever," her duet with Ozzy Osbourne. The arrangement of "Branded" definitely pays homage to the work of the Runaways but the album's title track is a U2-influenced mid-tempo rocker and a reminiscence that demonstrates that while Lita can still play the rock kitten she is also comfortable in the role of middle-aged rock goddess. "Mother" could be mistaken for a Heart song with Nancy Wilson on vocals and a few songs veer into an industrial realm, most notably a cover of the Nikki Sixx composition "A Song to Slit Your Wrist By." There's little real excitement here and Living Like a Runaway will probably find its way to obscurity fairly quickly but those who pinned Lita's photo to their walls in decades past may want to check it out anyway.

Whitechapel
Whitechapel

Metal Blade

These Tennessee titans play deathcore the way it's meant to be played. Songs like "Make it Bleed" and "Hate Creation" are nothing short of brain-rattling and "(Cult)uralist" is so frothingly frenetic that you can't help but smile even though singer Phil Bozeman growls "I will kill you" rather convincingly throughout the song. Bozeman's belched-out vocals are basically what make this band click but Whitechapel also has a three-man guitar attack to aid in their evil intentions.

Sep7ember
Strange Ways of Going Home

Steamhammer

Singer Boris Pillmann employs an unusual technique during "View Into Blur;" he sings the song's verses one word at a time, staccato-like, and in doing so creates enough of a hook that the song's chorus is almost unnecessary. Sep7ember play pop rock and "Rocket to Somewhere" sounds like something from an early pre-stardom Greg Kihn album and that's good stuff. Much of Strange Ways… just doesn't seem to quite gel but there are a few gems here for the adventurous listener.

Wayland
Welcome to My Head

Ironworks

This quartet from Michigan moved to Los Angeles but rock maven Jude Cole talked them into moving back to the Midwest and their hometown of Wayland. Regardless of where they honed their chops they've come up with some good stuff for this 4-song E.P. including something old school classic rock fans will love in the Bad Company-like "Nobody's Perfect." Also sounding good is a nod to fellow Michigander Bob Seger in a modernized and heavy version of "Fire Down Below."

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