Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week we’ve got some grind, some classic hard rock, some New York trash, some prog metal, some Brit metal… and, most exciting of all, some Thor!
Words: Malcolm Dome
Let there be rejoicing in the great halls of Valhalla, as the mighty Thor prepares for his long overdue return to the UK (playing The Gaff in London on April 19) by reissuing his stunning 1985 album Only The Strong (Ektro). This is what metal’s all about. Comic-strip piledrivers, torso-flexing anthems and music that makes you wanna race chariots across the bar top. OK, it’s got as much ham as a hammer, but can you deny the glory of Let The Blood Run Red or When Gods Collide. And there’s even a live version of Warriors Of The Universe with Classic Rock‘s Geoff Barton on backing vocals. SingalongaThor indeed!
The Dillinger Escape Plan have been hovering on the edge of progressive metal for some while. But with Option Paralysis (Seasons Of Mist) they’ve taken the plunge – in their own manner. It’s still ultra-hard and ferocious, but the complex interplay is fascinating. Math metal taken to an algebraic level. Diehards will probably hate it, but this’ll get them a new audience.
Brijitte West And The Desperate Hopefuls are a trashy New York band in the same sense as Johnny Thunders or The Dead Boys. Their self-titled album (Devils Jukebox) is a party piece for those who fantasise about jacking up, throwing up and cracking up. It’s the sort of album Hole have always aspired to make, but never come close to achieving. Songs for the wretched and the wrecked. Oh, and for those who care, Brijitte West is a looker!
Proving that the Brits can still come up with quality, modern metal. G.U. Medicine have hit the mark with the impressive Lords Of Oblivion (Undergroove). It has influences from the classic rock, death metal and punk areas, all combined with a real flair. The songs are more than decent and the musicianship rages when necessary, but also offers light and shade. There is intelligent life in Yorkshire!
The reissue of Brutal Truth‘s 1992 debut album underlines what a massive grind they were – and remain. Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses (Earache) is just savage, but with a purpose. It also has loads of extra tracks and even bonus videos. Really nasty.
In fact, this is probably the blueprint, along with early Napalm Death, for the Wormrot album Abuse (Earache). The Singapore band (yes, Singapore!) offer up no fewer than 57 tracks across two CDs of unerringly brutal assault. There’s nothing original here, but it’s enjoyable, in the same way as you might smile as someone shoves a hot needle through your tongue. Go on, try it before you condemn it!
Detective‘s self-titled debut album (Rock Candy) was always something of an underrated hard rock slider. Originally put out by Swan Song in 1977, it combined talented musicians who had been involved with Silverhead (we’ll get round to them shortly in our Cult Heroes series), Yes and Steppenwolf. And it turned out to be the sort of album that should have launched a stellar career. Why it didn’t is discussed in the very informative sleeve notes here – and is producer Jimmy Robinson really Jimmy Page?
Mention must be made of the Slash album, which has been getting so much attention. Self-titled (Roadrunner), I must admit that I was expecting something decent, but perhaps lacking a real sparkle. However, the reality is that the record is superb. Slash proves he’s got a grip of his musical direction and gets that little bit extra out of his many major-name collaborators. This is no all-star ego trip, but the best album to come out of the Guns N’ Roses camp (let’s face it, he’ll always be regarded as having the strongest connections with that lot, whether he’s in or out of the band) since…well, dare one say Appetite For Destruction? Get your copy of the special Classic Rock Slash ‘Fan Pack’ now… it’s a bargain.
Tags: Brijitte West And The Desperate Hopefuls, Brutal Truth, Dead Boys, Detective, Dillinger Escape Plan, G.U. Medicine, Guns N' Roses, Jimmy Page, Johnny Thunders, Napalm Death, Silverhead, Slash, Steppenwolf, Thor, Wormrot, Yes