Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
As we enter 2011, it’s time to take a look at the first batch of new releases for the year. We go from known veterans to young potential, covering melodic rock, prog, thrash and glam.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Despite having a huge repository (big word!) of great material from the 1980s, Magnum have always insisted they’re far from a nostalgia band. However, the quality (or lack of it) on their albums since the reunion a decade ago suggests otherwise. The Visitation (SPV) doesn’t change this situation much. It’s not that the record is poor, more that it’s a disappointment. We expect a lot more from this much loved band than they’re giving us right now.
Much more on track are fast rising your American melodic rockers Bad City. From Chicago, their debut album Welcome To The Wasteland (Atlantic) actually came out in the States a few months ago, but so far hasn’t gotten any attention over here. All that might change in 2011. Think mid-80s Bon Jovi meets late 80s Skid Row. Yep, they’ve the potential to go far.
Amplifier have been one of the most undervalued of young British prog bands for some while. However third album The Octopus (Ampcorp) is a real coming of age. This is a complex, sophisticated yet always mesmerizing work. It draws from the giants of the past and present to create something special. A unique audio aspiration that will be among the great albums of the year.
Architects have been gradually developing a style that might have begun as metalcore, but is slowly taking on a more progressive hue. The Here And Now (Century media) is a thunderous collection of strong songs delivered with real force, verve and no little musical agility. They might still be a little way off, but could Architects become the UK’s answer to Meshuggah? It’s possible, you know.
German thrashers The Very End have all the pace of Spurs flyer Gareth Bale, yet also mix it up with some supple, subtle moves on Mercy & Misery (SPV). They even cover Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song without sounding out of their depth, and also throw in that old Flashdance chestnut Maniac, turning it into a speed metal romp. This is bright and battle-hardened thrash from a band who sound like they could be the natural successors to Destruction.
Adler’s Appetite have just released two new songs digitally. Stardog sounds like a rehash of ideas from the Appetite For Destruction era of Guns N’ Roses. While Fading attempts to be a big late 80s melodic rock anthem. Neither is exactly essentially, although nor are they hopeless. A case of waiting for the band’s new album, to see what direction they actually take.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer begin life with their new label, Sony, with the double CD compilation The Essential ELP. There are 26 tracks in all, and while there are no surprises, it’s always good to be reminded of the joys of such classics as Fanfare For The Common Man, Karn Evil 9 Pt. 1 First Impression and Lucky Man.
Finally to Samurai, a young British prog band who combine melody with some tantalizingly impressive musicianship on Princes & Kings, a self-released seven-tracker. If you recall Saracen in the early 1980s (especially the album Heroes, Saints & Fools), then this isn’t too far removed. Check out the Reading-based bunch at www.myspace.com/samuraiband