Classic Rock’s New Releases Of The Week
We’ve got a right old collection this week. Germans covering NWOBHM obscurities. Germans revamping albums into box sets. Germans on DVD…oh, and some bands who aren’t German at all.
Words: Malcolm Dome
What is it about the NWOBHM era that so fascinates the Germans? It appears that even the most obscure bands from back then can reunite and get treated like heroes out there. It’s almost perverse. And here’s recent proof. Roxxcalibur have done a covers album called NWOBHM For Muthas (SPV). It’s been out for a little while, but it’s worth flagging up. They’ve chosen some right plums as well. From Jameson Raid to Jaguar, Dark Star to Chateaux. Many of the bands here probably deserved to get more acclaim in the late 70s/early 80s than proved to be the case. So this is some kind of posthumous recognition. All that’s missing is the smell of the Music Machine loos – now there’s an idea. Bring back the scratch ‘n’ sniff concept! The Roxx gang do it all with straight faces, and it is entertaining. But…yeah, perverse and just a little silly.
Still in Germany, Kreator have revamped last year’s Hordes Of Chaos album under the new title of Hordes Of Chaos – Ultra Riot (SPV). It comes in a box with lots of extras: bonus CD, a poster and photo book. Sadly no patch, though. But you do get a postcard. Musically? It’s a brash, brawling bacchanalia of classic Aryan thrash.
The late, great Phil Lynott is recalled in the Yellow Pearl collection (Universal). This is a compilation of solo material, with nothing unreleased added. But it is a reminder of the man’s songwriting talents, and of his storytelling. An irreplaceable giant.
Talking of giants Randy Bachman and Fred Turner back together as Bachman & Turner – the Overdrive bit now dropped (well, they’re getting older). But the style is the same as BTO on their self-titled debut (Cadiz) – at least, one assumes this is a debut, unless you see it as a continuation of BTO, in which case…oh never mind, on with the music. This is a slick, muscular collection of tunes – with the emphasis on melody as well as seriously kicking musician. Hard to believe that these two Canadians have a combined age that, in IQ terms, corresponds to a very clever person. But anyone who saw their excellent set at High Voltage will understand immediately that they’ve made a cracking comeback.
Moby Grape were one of the foremost psychedelic bands in the San Francisco area during the late 1960s. Moby Grape Live (Sundazed) is a brilliant collection of live recordings made between 1966-69. None of these have been released before, and there some magical moments. A real psyche freakout, especially on the recordings with the enigmatic band founder ‘Skip’ Spence. Watch out for the Moby Grape feature in Cult Heroes very soon.
Avenged Sevenfold in good album shock? Believe it. After scratching around in Helloween’s bins for past couple of sub-standard power metal records, the band have suddenly found themselves on Nightmare (Warner Brothers). It’s diverse, fuelled up and really driven. The death of drummer Jim ‘The Rev’ Sullivan seems to have focused the band, and there lyrical references to him. Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy does a fine job on drums (he was Sullivan’s hero, apparently), and the whole project has the feel of a band stepping up a level or three.
Cavalar sound like stadium rockers locked in the bodies of a band forced to play the pubs. On Recoil, they really let go with some serious anthems and riffage. Based in London, but multi-national, there’s a sense here of a band who could go places, given half a chance. It’s Van Halen attitude, Maiden metal sensibility and Alice In Chains groove. Check them out at www.myspace.com/cavalarrock
Vinyl freaks can get all freaked by the vinyl reissues on Peaceville. These include the Candlemass doom classic Epicus Doomicus Metalilcus – the 1986 album is worth having for the title alone – and Opeth‘s 1999 record Still Life, when they were still more death metal than progressive, but were slowly turning the corner.
If you’re into Dr. Feelgood then the DVD Oil City Confidential (Cadiz) is one you’ll want. Directed by Julien Temple, it does a great job telling the story of Canvey island conquistadors. Fascinating stuff.
Finally, back to Germany for the Sodom DVD Lords Of Depravity Part II (SPV). It tells the story of the great thrashers from 1995 up 2007, with lots of footage (both live and backstage). There’s also their entire 25th anniversary show at the Wacken Festival in 2007. No sign of any depravity, though, nor hidden NWOBHM pleasures…which is where we came in and where take our leave this week.
Tags: Alice In Chains, Avenged Sevenfold, Bachman & Turer, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Candlemass, Cavalar, Chateaux, Dark Star, Dr. Feelgood Julien Temple, Dream Theater, Fred Turner, High Voltage Festival, Iron Maiden, Jaguar, Jameson Raid, Jim 'The Rev' Sullivan, Kreator, Mike Portnoy, Moby Grape, Opeth, Phil Lynott, Randy Bachman, Roxxcalibur, Skip Spence, Sodom, Van Halen