Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
A look at the latest releases from W.A.S.P., Paramore and newbies Vanity Blvd. Plus mighty-fine reissues from Vardis and Thor… and news of something very special coming your way from the coffers of Rock Candy Records.
- One of the hottest discoveries of the year is Sweden’s Vanity Blvd. Their debut album Rock’N’Roll Overdose is out now through Gain/Sony BMG. Imagine Mötley Crüe with Sandi Saraya or Karen Lawrence on vocals… and just wait until you hear their power ballad Come Dance With Me: it’s like 1994 – the band, not the year – all over again.Yes, Vanity Blvd are that damn good! Check them out on the web here and here.
- We gotta admit it: we’re rather taken by the new W.A.S.P. album Babylon (Demolition). It’s jam-packed full of powerful, politically charged anthems from Blackie Lawless, especially Crazy, Thunder Red and Seas Of Fire. Plus there’s a coupla killer cover versions: Deep Purple’s Burn and Chuck Berry’s Promised Land. Yep, Babylon is unexpectedly awesome – and with nary a hint of blatant sexism and/or torture tactics in sight. (Forget W.A.S.P.’s legendary chainsaw-codpiece’d beast – this time it’s the world that’s fucked.)
- Two excellent reissues are comin’ your way via Krescendo Records: 100 MPH and The World’s Insane by NWOBHM ne’er-do-wells, Wakefield’s very own Vardis. The unfettered energy of both these albums – released in 1980 and 1981 respectively – is undiminished, and Steve Zodiac’s guitar playing remains entirely untamed. No bonus tracks, nonsense sleeve-notes, but who cares? Does anyone know where Herr Zodiac is these days? Motorcycle Irene, even? If so, drop the Classic Rock website a line!
- Talking about reissues, we’re lovin’ Thor’s Unchained, which originally rampaged into the shops thru’ Mongol Horde Records in 1983. It’s a magnificent city-rocking opus and no mistake; all hail Canada’s muscular devastator! Unchained is being re-released by the mad-as-a-fish Finnish label, Ektro Records. Check out Ektro here – you simply must listen to another one of their signings, the completely bonkers Röyhkä ja Rättö ja Lehtisalo!
- While certainly not cast-iron Classic Rock territory, we’re impressed by Paramore’s latest album brand new eyes (Fueled By Ramen). The precocious – and preposterously young – pop-punks have really come of age on this record, which documents their near break-up (it happened a year or so back) in suitably spiky fashion. The moral of the story being: please don’t think of Paramore as just a Kerrang! band. Hmm… since when did that become a term of denigration rather than celebration?
- Finally, some fantastic news from Rock Candy Records: they’re re-releasing Montrose’s groundbreaking self-titled debut album in late October. The band’s 1974 milestone, originally on Warner Bros, has been completely remastered: Ronnie Montrose’s guitar reportedly sounds immense; Sammy ‘Sam’ Hagar’s vocals even more so. What’s more, the CD comes with extensive sleeve notes (or an ‘essay’ as those highbrow Rock Candy dudes say) by fabled alliterative pen-pusher, Brian Brandes Brinkerhoff. Crazy name, crazy guy! Stop press: Montrose are apparently performing live on November 18. Click here for more.
– Geoff Barton