Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week, there’s some Mastodon soundtrack stuff, a stoner gem from Sasquatch, the return of a former Live man, original prog metallers High Tide and a DVD on the making of the Paranoid album.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Mastodon have always leaned towards soundtrack music,. So the fact they’ve done the music for the film Jonah Hex (Warner Bros.) should come as no surprise. Usually, soundtrack music doesn’t really work without the visuals, but in this case it most certainly does – perhaps because Mastodon’s music is visual in its own right.
Sasquatch are one those stoner type bands who’ve long been searching for a niche. They might have found it with Sasquatch III (Small Stone). It has power and variety, and the band aren’t afraid to stretch out. In fact, they hit peak condition on the longer tracks. Kinda Grateful Dead meets Grand Magus.
The Chemistry Set might have a name that suggests a dreaded shoegazer mob, but they’re a sparky, spikey psychedelic band. This Day Will Never Happen Again (Dead Bees) draws from the 80s psyche scene, rather than the 1960s, and it’s got an edge. These test tube babies are efinitely a positive experience.
Finland’s Kaos Krew are what might happen if Joe Satriani joined Rammstein, and they attempted to morph into Deep Purple. Global Fobia (Top) is mostly enjoyable in a nonsensical way. But wait until you hear Hocus Pocus. No, not a cover of that song, but an original…well, more like a total steal from Blitzkrieg, first done by the NWOBHM band Blitzkrieg, and later covered by Metallica. Law suits at dawn, sirs?
Ed Kowalczyk used to front Philadelphia alt. rockers Live. Now he’s out on his own with Alive (earMUSIC). But the approach hasn’t changed. Sumptuous melodies topped off with that expressive voice. And all so understated. It would be easy for the man to showboat, yet he never does. This could be one of the surprise successes of the year. But is the album title some pun on Kowalczyk going solo (think about it)?
High Tide have often been cited as one of the pioneers of the prog metal genre. The reissue of their 1969 debut Sea Shanties (Esoteric) reinforces that reputation. There’s some wild playing here, and the relationship between guitarist Tony Hill and electric violinist Simon House is mesmerising.
Big Num are a young English band with a grasp on the AC/DC approach to music. From Monkey Came Man, From Man Came Me might have a ludicrous title, nut the music rocks and boogies. And while Scott era ‘DC is an obvious reference, they manage to infuse it all with their own style. Check them out at www.bignum.net.
Craig McDonald was a founder of NWOBHM band Sinner. Now the guitarist is out on his own with Pies, Pasties And Rock ‘N’ Roll. The title says it all. This is pub rock, riding along on a blues rock tandem. Entertaining in its own right, you have to feel that McDonald is best served in a live environment. Check him out at www.craig-mcdonald.com.
Finally, a DVD worth having is Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid (Eagle Vision). The story behind the making of this classic album – now celebrating its 40th anniversary – it’s well constructed, and the input from all four Sabs (not to mention Classic Rock‘s own Geoff Barton) is both amusing and informative. If you’ve already seen this documentary on BBC, then it’s still worth getting the DVD, because there’s an extra 40 minutes of material. Which is nice.
Tags: AC/DC Bon Scott, Big Num, Black Sabbath, Blitzkrieg, Craif McDonald, Deep Purple, Ed Kowalczyk, Grand Magus, Grateful Dead, High Tide, Joe Satriani, Kaos Krew, Live, Mastodon, Metallica, Rammstein, Sasquatch, Simon House, Sinner, The Chemistry Set, Tony Hill