Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week, we look at the latest stuff in the shops from Pearl Jam, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice In Chains, Mott The Hoople and more…
- It’s time to get Black Sabbath-tastic again. The final five albums from the Ozzy era have just been re-released by Universal, each with a bonus CD as well as the original remastered record. That’s Volume 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die! While the last two might have the odd dodgy track, nonetheless every metalhead has to own the entire Ozzy era catalogue – it’s mandatory.
- We’re not far off the Mott The Hoople reunion week (well, five days) at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. So, no surprise to find The Very Best Of Mott The Hoople (Sony) out there. But it’s hard to argue with a record that has 20 gold-tinted tracks. Every one a winner.
- Pearl Jam will have all long-term fans waving their (cheesecloth) knickers in the air with Backspacer (J Records/Island). But the album will also appeal to anyone who enjoys alt. rock with plenty of punch and attitude.
- Still on the grunge trail, Alice In Chains return with Black Gives Way To Blue (EMI). Even the band must be slightly amazed at the enthusiastic way that fans have accepted vocalist William Duvall, in place of the late Layne Staley. The general consensus is that it’s a powerful return by the band.
- Guitar geeks are bound to love Steve Vai’s Where The Wild Things Are (Favored Nations), a live CD/DVD recorded and filmed in Minneapolis. It’s the master in prime form. Somehow, he makes the art of widdling seem innovative, inviting. Almost acceptable, in fact!
- For those who enjoy something a little esoteric, there’s Ancestors’ second album Of Sound Mind (Tee Pee). It’s somewhere between King Crimson and Neurosis, having the dexterity of the former and the intensity of the latter.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd might not be the force of old – how could they be, with only guitarist Gary Rossington left from the glory years? – but God & Guns (Loud & Proud/Roadrunner) is surprisingly good. Stylistically, it’s a long way removed from those 70s albums which helped to define southern rock. This is slicker – more of an American melodic hard rock album with occasional chickenscratchin’ and ‘yee-haw’ interludes. Still entertaining, nonetheless.
- Dutch crew The Devil’s Blood might be the current darlings of the black metal community in Europe, but their debut album, The Time Of No Time Evermore (Van Records), will definitely appeal to those who like late 60s/early 70s hard rock. It’s a combination of Coven, Roky Erickson and Jefferson Airplane – neatly wrapped in occult lyrics.
- Finally, two heavy recommendations. Descend Into Depravity (Relapse) from Dying Fetus kicks like a starving mule who’s just had the last carrot stolen by its mortal enemy. And the reissue of Slipknot‘s self-titled debut (Roadrunner) might come with all sorts of add-ons, but it’s the original album – now 10 years old – that impresses most. They were one angry mob back then!