Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week’s selection includes the return of Krokus and also of Thomas Gabriel Warrior of Celtic Frost/Hellhammer infamy; an AC/DC movie soundtrack; Darkthrone going all Motörhead-like; live Asia and Chickenfoot; plus a spot of Chrome Hoofery.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Right, let’s kick off with a guaranteed winner. How can you go wrong with an AC/DC compilation? Answer is, you can’t. Alright it’s masquerading as the soundtrack album for Iron Man 2 (Sony), but let’s face it, the music stands up without any visuals. There’s 15 songs in all, including both Bon and Jonno eras. Nothing previously unreleased, but that’s not the point. With the band gearing up for their headlining stint at the Download Festival (June 11), this’ll sell, sell, sell.
As if by coincidence, Swiss rollers Krokus have a new album out. Always compared (usually unfavorourably and a little unfairly) to the Aussie legends, Krokus were at their best in the early to mid-1980s. So it’s gratifying that the line-up responsible for perhaps their finest album, 1982′s One Vice At A Time, are back together. It shows, because Hoodoo (Sony) is rather good. We could have done without a cover of Born To Be Wild (about as daring as putting an extra sugar in your coffee) and one or two songs stray a little too close to AC/DC. But overall, a bit of a stomper. Oh, and Rock And Roll Handshake is the history of Krokus in just under four minutes.
Heavy as a heavy thing weighed down with heaviness, the debut album from Triptykon takes off from where Celtic Frost left off. Not surprising, when you consider that Eparistera Daimones (Century Media) is the brainchild of Thomas Gabriel Fischer, who now seems to be known as Tom Gabriel Warrior. This is dark, dense and utterly unrelenting in its blackness. Laughs are at a premium, but this is close to musical genius. And there still some death grunts to keep the diehards smiling.
Still on the heavy side, Norway’s Darkthrone might have started out as pre-eminent black metal pioneers, but with each succeeding album they turn more into Motörhead…or Tank. Circle The Wagons (Peaceville) is damn fine, but do we need a band re-running the debut Tank album, Filth Hounds Of Hades?
We’ve mentioned before that Asia have come up with an excellent new studio album, Omega (Frontiers). But there’s also a shoddy double live CD out now called Live Around The World (Rokarola). This has been so poorly compiled that, at one point, John Wetton introduces a version of the Yes classic Roundabout – only what we get is The Smile Has Left Your Eyes! The band have had nothing to do with this – and it shows.
Carmine Appice has gathered together some of his fave guitarists for his Guitar Heroes album (Music Avenue). Each track has a different hero. Some work, others don’t. But with the likes of Slash, Ted Nugent, Brian May, Leslie West, Richie Sambora and Zakk Wylde around, there’s plenty for fretboard fanatics to enjoy. Even if the rest of us might find all this widdling about as enticing as a game of bowls between snails.
How many times can you package and repackage the Deep Purple back catalogue? How long is a piece of string? Singles & EP Anthology 1968-1980 (EMI) features every track you’d find on Purple’s singles and EPs – the clue’s in the title. And no more really need be said.
Among the weirder bands on the planet, Chrome Hoof are part metal, part prog, part funk, part industrial, part electronica. Add it all together, and you might arrive at Crush Depth (Southern Records). Actually, this is something of a disappointment. What should be a riot of anarchistic sounds and ideas ends up being… well, suburban in its lack of flair. Rather like expecting The Goons and getting Terry & June. It probably comes to life on stage.
Equally polite is a new album from Drive, She Said. Titled Dreams Will Come – The Best Of & More (AOR Heaven). It’s a compilation, with a few new songs. The newies include Cher’s I Found Someone and Michael Bolton’s Fools Game, which were written by DSS’ Mark Mangold. Both are good versions – in fact, the entire album is good. But somehow lacks real spite and sparkle.
Finally, a DVD. Chickenfoot‘s Get Your Buzz On Live (Eagle Vision) reinforces the fact this band are a real force on stage. One of the best around. Well filmed, with the emphais on performance not camera and computer trickery, this also has a documentary on the band and a photo gallery. Bit of a cracker.
Tags: AC/DC, Asia, Brian May, Carmine Appice, Celtic Frost, Cher, Chickenfoot, Chrome Hoof, Darkthrone, Deep Purple, Drive She Said, John Wetton, Krokus, Leslie West, Mark Mangold, Michael Bolton, Motorhead, Richie Sambora, Slash, Tank, Ted Nugent, Thomas Gabriel Warrior, Triptykon, Yes, Zakk Wylde