Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week, we spin an album that’s taken nearly 25 years to release, plus a couple which go back nearly 30 years. Oh, and then there’s the return of Foreigner and Stage Dolls…
It’s taken around 25 years to finally get a release but the wait’s been worth it. Carried Away By The Storm (Your Tune) is the second album from Brit hopefuls Bronz. Terrible business problems blighted the band after they recorded this but, restored to its full vigour, this record is a real gem. A lost classic rediscovered – or rather discovered. Classy, melodic hard rock. Had it been released when first planned, this lot might have become a major name. Ah well…
Balance‘s self-titled debut album (Rock Candy) had no such problems in 1981. Shame it didn’t sell well back then. The US East Coast trio offer some really funky moments on a selection of grooving hard rock tunes. At times it’s almost the Bee Gees with geetars. No bad thing, in this case.
Jameson Raid were one of many NWOBHM hopefuls whom fate decreed had, erm… no hope. Shame really, because Just As The Dust Has Settled (Shadow King) proves they deserved rather better. This is a compilation featuring their two EPs (Jameson Raid and End Of Part One), plus seven previously unreleased tracks from those far-off days. The production values are so lo-fi they make Spider sound like Boston, but the charm of the songs and the sheer unbridled naivete of the performances overcome such minor complaints. Pitched somewhere between Trespass and Saxon, these Brummies never rivalled Judas Priest or Black Sabbath, but if you’re into checking out the underbelly of NWOBHM (the quality end, that is), then this is worth getting. Pre-order a copy now from www.jamesonraid.eu
Foreigner have a new singer for the album Can’t Stand Still (Ear Music). It’s Kelly Hansen (he’s actually been with the band since 2005) who does a damn fine job walking the fine line between imitating Lou Gramm and setting his own seal. Full of driven and stylish songs, Hansen gets the job done with a flourish. Perhaps not quite as good as all those great Foreigner albums from the 70s and 80s, this is still a lot better than might have feared.
Stage Dolls have a long history on the melodic hard rock scene. The Norwegians are close to their best on Always (AOR Heaven). Full of smoothly seductive songs and nicely measured tones, it might be just a little too mannered, but… hey, they do have Torstein Flakne, who still has one of the greatest names in rock!
If you’re into a blues-based British hard rock band fronted by a woman with one of those classic raspy vocal roars, then you have to check out Raising Sand. New album All Out War (Bullseye Records) allows TJ to really let rip, and she is definitely in the tradition of Maggie Bell and Jenny Hahn. Actually, the rest of the band aren’t slouches either. And they can certainly belt it all out with real drive. In fact, Raising Sand have been described as being like Foghat with a female singer – praise indeed.
Sanctuary were one of those thrash bands who deserved a lot more than they achieved at the end of the 1980s. From Seattle, they were good enough to catch the attention of Dave Mustaine, who produced their debut album Refuge Denied. This has now been packaged with second album Into The Mirror Black by Ironbird Records. You what? There will still be some head-scratching over why this lot were never major players. Yes, these albums still sound strong. And Jerry Ewing’s authoritative sleeve notes give you an insight into what went wrong, and right. Still, least we got Nevermore from broken dreams of Sanctuary.
Heavy Metal Kids released a rather good album in 2003 called Hit The Right Button. Now it’s been re-issued by Angel Air as Hit The Right Button Plus. It’s been expanded to include four live tracks. Frankly, while the album itself is rather tasty, albeit lacking lovable larrikin charm of the late Gary Holton, we could easily live without the live tracks.
Finally on to a demo, but a really impressive one. If your bag’s doom, then Age Of Taurus will be right up your strasse. Think Solitude Aeturnus with a daub of early Pentagram. This seems to be a project for one Toby M. Wright, and he’s a mighty talent. Find out more at www.myspace.com/ageoftaurus
Tags: Age Of Taurus, Baance, Bee Gees, Boston, Bronz, Dave Mustaine, Foreigner, Gary Holton, Heavy Metal Kids, Jameson Raid, Jenny Hahn, Kelly Hanse, Lou Gramm, Maggie Bell, Nevermore, Pentagram, Raising Sand, Sanctuary, Solitude Aeturnus, Spider, Stage Dolls, TJ, Toby M. Wright, Torstein Flakne