Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week we’ve got – ulp! – Christmas albums from REO Speedwagon, Rob Halford and Slade (but of course), some doom from My Dying Bride, the return of Creed and a book from Diamond Head’s guitarist. Which is all very nice… or is it?
Creed have always got a bad rap over here. God-bothering Pearl Jam wannabes, etc. But, in truth, they always deserved a little better. So, presumably their reunion will be met with utter indifference in the UK. However Full Circle (Virgin) is a decent record, albeit very predictable. It is Alter Bridge without the edge. Blame that on frontman Scott Stapp?
REO Speedwagon really should know better than to get involved in the Christmas market. But here they are, delivering up Not So Silent Night, which is available through their website, www.reospeedwagon.com. But, it’s not as awful as it sounds. Yes, I am avowed REO fan. Even so, there are enough passable moments here to make it bearable. Just. But gimme Hi Infidelity every time.
Rob Halford goes all Santa on us? Oh yes. The Metal God has re-formed Halford for Halford III: Winter Songs (Metal God Entertainment), his take on the Yule stuff. But, like REO, he just about gets away with it. If only because the opening song, Get Into The Spirit, is actually a right cracker. It’s an original track as well. Shame nothing else matches up, but it’s not as embarrassing as some have been.
But when it comes to Christmas, there is one band who just know how to do it. No shock that Slade‘s Party Album (Universal) is all you’ll need to get grandma up and struttin’ her stuff. How could you fail with Cum On Feel The Noize, Get Down And Get With It and Mama Weer All Crazee Now. They even make the Okey Cokey sound like it needs a mosh pit – well, almost. And we can forgive them Auld Lang Syne, can’t we? Is Merry Xmas Everybody there? What do you think?!
Soil are one of those bands who started their career on a high, and have been sliding ever since. Truth be told Picture Perfect (AFM) doesn’t really arrest or reverse the trend. It’s competent, comfortable post-nu metal fare. The title track is the best thing here, but comparing it to Halo is like asking someone to believe that an arthritic tortoise would beat Usain Bolt.
Junius deserve a mention for two reasons. Firstly, because their concept album The Martyrdom Of A Catastrophist (The Mylene Sheath) is based on the life and works of the controversial 20th Century figure Immanuel Velikovksy, a man who unified cosmic theory, history and myth in a unique way (look him up). And secondly, it’s a fine album. Very much in the beard stroking intense proggie manner of Isis and The Mars Volta.
My Dying Bride do the moody gloom thing better than most. The EP Bring Me Victory (Peaceville) offers nothing new; no signs of a sense of humour or a quick 12-bar shuffle. But that’s what band and fans alike expect. They’re not gonna alter now.
Finally there’s Am I Evil?, guitarist Brian Tatler‘s telling of the Diamond Head story. No, it’s not an album. But it’s just been published, and is worth reading. In his book Tatler recalls the story in a surprisingly honest fashion, and if the writing style hardly suggests he’s the next J.K. Rowling nonetheless it really does give a fascinating glimpse into the life, times, triumphs and failures of the band many of us believe should have been a world power. Get it from www.diamond-head.net.
– Malcolm Dome