Sometimes, just sometimes, you get the chance to hear a band that hits you so hard that you are completely blown away and become besotted by their music … or is that just me? Anyway, it seems to happen for me once or, very rarely, twice a year (1987 – Def Leppard; 2014 – ColdSpell and Eden’s Curse). Here I sit, in February 2016 and it’s already happened! Not because of a gig or a festival this time, rather it was simply because of a combination of an email and a quick glance through the pages of a rock magazine.
Having spotted comments about similarities to Def Leppard (COP UK are from Sheffield after all) it really was beholden on me to check these boys out and then I got sent a copy of the album. Two things struck me straight away:
1) They sound pretty much nothing like Def Leppard
2) What a CORKER of an album!
What you have here are 11 tracks all brimming with power, hooks, melody and the feel of a band that should be filling the biggest of arenas right around the world. So many bands launch their career with a stormer of a first album and then after that the quality (some might say drive or passion) seems to get harder and harder to achieve, let alone maintain, This is C.O.P. UK’s third album and their is not a single sign of a band struggling to come up with ideas.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFt2izqvMYU]
Third album, you say? Indeed it is (and their first for UDR GmbH Label Services. The name might be a new one to you because prior to this release the band were known as Crimes of Passion but it would appear that the “powers that be” or the band felt C.O.P. UK more punchy and befitting of a band with the sound and energy exhibited by these guys.
Produced and mixed by Sascha Paeth, himself a musician and songwriter with Avantasia, Epica and others, the Sheffield, England-forged sextet have delivered 11 briskly addictive, exciting hard rock classics with influences ranging from hometown heroes Def Leppard to the likes of Saxon, Megadeth and classic White Lion.
“It’s good to see there are bands that are not denying where they came from, and ones who can still look ahead and are open to new influences,” says producer Paeth, and it’s crystal clear from opener ‘The Core’ that C.O.P UK want to evoke the influence of such groups while injecting some new energy and steel into the proceedings.
“Songs such as the epically-structured ‘No Place For Heaven’ with Cloudy Yang’s vocals dovetailing wonderfully with lead singer Dale Radcliffe to form a true radio-hugger the speedy melodic-metal thrust of ‘Halo’ and the soaring emotions of ‘Catch Me If You Can’ show a band whose steel-coated delivery and expansive embrace of classic-yet-fresh song writing earmark them as a hard rock force which cannot be kept quiet.
“Always remember,” states Paeth, “real singing, real playing and real song-writing makes real music, period!”
Indeed, Radcliffe’s warm, soaring vocals always find perfect melodic congruence with the Staton/Mewse guitar axis, making music which feels gloriously timeless, doubtless the result of an insatiable work ethic which has prevailed since the band came together in 2005 and immediately leapt into playing as many shows as possible. In fact it was the combination of the wondrous guitar parts and the superlative vocal harmonies that really hit all the right buttons for me. “Catch Me If You Can” is a great case in point – thunderous in parts, harmonious vocals in the chorus – it’s almost the most powerful of love songs – until you listen to the lyrics.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0zereYmFbs]
The band do some great, for want of a better (less clichéd) term – power ballads. Ah, you say, but do they sound like Def Leppard? As mentioned earlier – not really. Just like their local heroes, C.O.P. UK are a band who clearly value (and are justifiably proud of) their vocals. A great blend throuoghout which puts a shimmery, glittery sheen on top of the grit, power and thunder of the music behind them.
Should you buy this? Damn right – tomorrow (if not sooner!) and I promise you will NOT be disappointed. Many times I have questioned whether we should score albums out of 5/10/100 and generally I felt that all you get here is my point of view. Now, of course my opinion is worth it’s weight in gold/platinum and diamonds (cough! cough!) but also it is quite clear that the number of reviews where the album is rated at the highest of scores simply CAN@T be true? That said, if I had to give”No Place for Heaven” a score out of 10 … I’d give it 20! Not a day has gone by without me listening to it since the day I was sent a streaming version. Not just that, I felt the need to get hold of ther first two albums (which are also great, by the way) and then I bought myself a physical copy to ensure that my obsessive. completist disorder was satiated![youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz9Zabi2Jlk]
The boys have just finished a European tour with Helloween (after previous tours with The Poodles and Mike Tramp) and I;m looking forward to seeing them later in the year at S.O.S. Festival in Prestwich.
Do you need some classic, powerful, cutting edge (with a whole host of classic tinges) rock? Of course you do – GET THIS BOUGHT!