Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week, we have symphonic goth metal from The Murder Of My Sweet, classic old-school metal from Armored Saint, the doom of Saint Vitus, and the straightforward rawk of Keel. Oh, and Rob Zombie being… well, being Rob Zombie!Words: Malcolm Dome
The allure of The Murder Of My Sweet is that they’re definitely in that area of music where Delain and Within Temptation ply their trade (symphonic, goth, female-fronted… erm, metal), but they’ve also got a sparkle of individuality. Divanity (Frontiers) really is an enjoyable romp from the Swedes. Lots of melody and punch, with a slightly gloomy atmosphere. And Anjelica Rylin has a voice as good as she looks. That is enough to get the red corpuscles very active.
In 1985, Keel gave us The Right To Rock, via the album of the same title. Now this has been re-issued by Frontiers Records, to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Still sounds like a cranked-up, high-action belter, with a new version of the title track featuring a chorus with loads of fans who sent in MP3s just chanting: “The right to rock!” About as close to MENSA as Ted Nugent is to becoming a vegan, but who’s complaining? Still fun, in a nostalgically frivolous manner.
Rob Zombie is back with Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (Roadrunnner). And it sounds like… well, just another Rob Zombie album. Maybe he’s been so successful at creating his own genre that this has now become a trap. But, we’ve got the sub-industrial grooves, the movie soundbites. Entertaining, but far from essential.
Sonata Arctica appear to have captured the imagination of many who love the Finnish approach to power metal. Consequently, there will be those who feel the mostly covers album Takatalvi, adds a new lustre to songs from Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Helloween, Metallica and… Bette Midler! The reality is that this only serves to remind us how special the original tracks are. These versions are dull.
Freedom Call show the Finns how to make power metal work – you go so far over the top and do it with a serious attitude. Result: something utterly ludicrous and panto-like. And totally joyous. The Germans’ latest album Legend Of The Shadowking (SPV) is a concept album – about Ludwig II, a 19th Century king of Bavaria. He was renowned for his extravagance, so it’s only fitting this record is so overblown it makes Manowar seem like an emo crew.
Celebrating the band’s recent reunion, Saint Vitus have had their 1990 Live album re-released by Southern Lord. A timely reminder, as the doom archangels prepare to play a show in London, of just why they’re held in such reverence by the underground metal community. Arguably still the finest exponents of the black art of doominess.
Finally, let’s celebrate the arrival of the new Armored Saint album La Raza (Metal Blade). It’s not only the best album yet from the underrated Los Angeles metalheads, but one of the best metal records that we’ll hear in 2010. It has huge riffs, massive melodies, oceans of energy and passion, and a battalion of truly anthemic songs. Forged in fire, raised in flame, this is a stunning celebration of a band really finding their range and purpose. Makes you wonder why vocalist John Bush has rejoined Anthrax.