Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we present for your delectation and delight some pop-rock, prog rock, psychedelia, epic metal, sludging metal, blues rock, technical grooving metal and a classic back catalogue back on the streets.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Any band called Fun must be boring, right? It’s that ancient rule (which I’ve just made up) that musos who use a name which suggests rock ’n’ roll action are usually drab. Not here, though. The album Aim And Ignite (Fueled By Ramen) comes at ya like a combination of Cheap Trick, Queen and ELO. If you recall Something Corporate, then this lot aren’t too far removed. New heroes of pop-rockism.
The Reasoning proved at High Voltage earlier this year that they’re a class act. Now you can see the young prog band’s set that day on the DVD Highway To High Voltage (Comet Music). You know what? They really were damn good that day. The band also enhance their growing reputation with acoustic album Acoustically Speaking (Comet Music), proving that the combination of quality musicianship and good songs is a winner.
Veteran boogie band Foghat return with new album Last Train Home (Angel Air). It’s business as usual for this lot. High grade blues-rock with that southern momentum. At this stage in their career, you’d not expect the ’Hat to suddenly do something different, would you? No sign of emo influences here!
Wolf People are a psychedelic/folk band. They come from Bedford (hardly prog central!), and make music that’s intricate, off the wall and at times just a touch disturbing. But Steeple (JagJaguwar) is the sort of album that will keep you coming back for more. Not exactly full of festive cheer, it’s the sort of album that demands you’re slightly stoned and in need of something stimulating and challenging.
While Heaven Wept are among the finest of all the current epic melancholic metal acts (EMMA, if you wanna go the mnemonic route). But can they deliver live? Oh yes. As is proven by Triumph: Tragedy: Transcendence (Cruz Del Sur). This is a majestic album, with the band in tremendous form. There’s also a bonus DVD. While Heaven Wept really are among the best metal bands around, and word has it they’ve just signed to Nuclear Blast. Their profile is sure to rise in 2011.
Survivor seemed to have been dogged by that song (you know the Rocky horror one!) throughout their career. But the fact is that they’re one of the best AOR bands around. The reissue of 1984’s Vital Signs (Rock Candy) shows their pedigree. This is perhaps their best album, and it’s been lovingly restored and enhanced. Every track’s a winner.
The massive reissues Triumph campaign by Frontiers Records gives us all another chance to witness of the great Canadian bands in their pomp. Hard to cherry pick selected albums from the 10 on offer, so just go for the box set featuring them all. Oh, alright if you really insist in narrowing it down, then Progressions Of Power, Allied Forces, Never Surrender and The Sport Of Kings are maybe the ones to target.
Veteran extreme metallers Atheist return with perhaps the best album of their career. Jupiter (Season Of Mist) is their first since reuniting in 2006, and not only does it have the brutality and technical excellence which punctuated their work in the 1990s, but also a ferocious groove. A modern album with the traditional touch.
Finally, Savannah’s Kylesa are part of the same tradition as Baroness and Mastodon. They’ve elements of sludge, psychedelia and early 70s heavy rock in there. And Spiral Shadow (Season Of Mist) brings it all together in a brilliant package of quiet passages and blaring power. If you can imagine a metallic version of cult prog rockers Jade Warrior, then you’re on the mark.