Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we have been mostly listening to some punk style Americana, loads of reissues, some metalcore bands who offer something more than the norm. Oh. And there are couple of Wilson sisters on a live DVD. Enjoy.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Social Distortion have long been a band combining punk, rockabilly and rock ’n’ roll. Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes (Epitaph) is typical of what Mike Ness and the boys can do. It’s full of songs that come somewhere between Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, yet with Bad Religion’s attitude. Good stuff.
A quarter-of-a century after debuting with The Sentinel, Pallas have decided to go back to the concept of Atlantis for XXV (Music Theories Recordings). It’s perhaps the best album of the band’s career to date. Sophisticated, dark and heavy, it’s compelling and full of brilliant musical motifs and visions. At times startling, this album is never less than strident. A total triumph.
All That Remains go for the typical metalcore approach much of the time on For We Are Many (Razor & Tie). But they’ve enough about them to make this album a little more than just another genre cliché. Not the best of the type, still the Americans are at least trying to be individual.
In a similar vein, Britain’s Glamour Of The Kill offer some stylish, melodic moments on The Summoning (Afflicted Music). While staying in the metal arena, they also hint at serious AOR credentials here. This is one band who could break away from the Bullet For My Valentine mould and become something altogether more powerful and serious.
Two reissues from the mighty Twisted Sister, both on the Armoury label. There’s Club Daze Volume 1. The Studio Sessions, which is a collection of early recordings. Some, like Under The Blade and Shoot ’Em Down, have become Twisted classics. But a lot of these songs expose a band trying to find their direction. Still, not at all a bad historical perspective. You Can’t Stop Rock’ N’ Roll was the band’s first major label album. Originally released in 1983, it’s got such bar room brawls as The Kids Are Back, I Am (I’m Me) and the title song. This is where the legend started.
Heart are impressively caught live on the DVD Night At Sky Church (Eagle Vision). Filmed last March, it sees the Wilson sisters in great form, as they run through a combination of much-loved oldies and newer material. They even get Alison Krauss in to help out on These Dreams, Safronia’s Mark and Your Long Journey. Oozing class all the way, it’s a reminder of just how consistently excellent Heart have been down the years, and also of their enduring power today.
Good to have some Warlock reissues to spin, all from the Metal Mind label. Hellbound was the 1985 follow-up to the debut Burning The Witches (or, as it became commonly known: Burning Ze Wicker Chairs). It’s a touch less raw that the first album, but still packs a huge kick on songs like Earthshaker Rock and Out Of Control. A year later we had True As Steel, which started to get the German band attention on an international level. It was released around the time Warlock played the Monsters Of Rock Festival in ’86, and has such anthems as the title song and Fight For Rock. Finally, there’s Triumph And Agony, which was really Doro’s first solo album in many respects. It’s probably the most complete of all the Warlock albums, having a more sure-footed production and songs with a little more melodic hard rock swagger. All We Are, I Rule The Ruins and Metal Tango show Doro could musically mature and develop, without losing touch with her own thunderous roots. All, of course, have bonus tracks.
Talking of re-issues, the same label are doing the same job with Bang Tango (available from January 31). Now, Psycho Café (1989) was an impressive debut, offering something not too far removed from a cross between Guns N’ Roses, Junkyard and Motley Crue. This was at a time when many considered them to be a coming force. Second album Dancin’ On Coals (19991) surprisingly took the band more towards the funk rock area, with mixed results. Still, both are worthwhile, and the latter comes with bonus tracks. As for the 1992 five-tracker Ain’t No Jive…Live!, well that really didn’t do the band much justice. Best to ignore this.
Tags: Alison Krauss, All That Remains, Ann Wilson, Bad Religion, Bang Tango, Bruce Springsteen, Bullet For My Valentine, Doro Pesch, Glamour Of The Kill, Guns N' Roses, Heart, Junkyard, Mike Ness, Monsters Of Rock, Motley Crue, Nancy Wilson, Pallas, Social Distortion, Tom Petty, Twisted Sister, Warlock