Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we’ve some sleaze from Sweden, Canadian NWOBHM types, a genuine NWOBHM band, cult heroes from the early 70s and some bloke called Lemmy.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Lemmy The Movie (Entertainment One) gives an insight into one of the great characters of the past three decades. Let’s face it, we almost seem to take Lemmy for granted sometimes. So, it’s good to have something like this to remind us all why he is a true icon. With contributions from a wide range of personalities and musos – from Slash, to Ozzy, Metallica and Dave Grohl – it captures the spirit and essence of a man with a passion for history and a real lust for life. Unmissable. And you should also check out this footage, with some of the special guests at last year’s Classic Rock Awards talking about the legacy and importance of Lemmy.
From Sweden Bullet have come up with a sensational album with Highway Pirates (Black Lodge). If you recall the first Godz album and also One Night Stand from Teaze, then add in a touch of early Def Leppard, then you’re close to the charms of this album – it’s a barrage of bankeable bombast. They’re teaming up with fellow Swedes Enforcer to play The Underworld in London on April 9. That promises to drench you in a torrent of tumultuous trash.
Mournblade were an 80s British band who fitted somewhere between space rock, NWOBHM and doom. At the time they got little attention, but Anthology – Vol 1(Angel Air) shows they actually did have some decent musical ideas, and a few good songs. Oddly, the low fi production sounds appropriate more for the current era than it did back then. Shame more than half of this features live recordings, almost as if they’re trying to pad it out,
The Edgar Broughton Band are mostly know for their 1970 semi-hit Out Demons Out, But what The Harvest Years 1969-1973 (EMI) collection proves is that they’re worth far more than a cursory mention in the story of rock during that era, which is usually their lot. Heavy blues and psych run riot through the compilation of the five albums for the Harvest label. Probably their self-titled third record (originally put out in 1971) is the best. It even has a very young Mike Oldfield guesting on the song Thinking Of You.
The Winchester Club are a musicians collective, closely allied in spirit to Sunn 0))) and Earth. They dive into ambient doom, and Negative Liberty (Exile On Mainstream) is quite brilliant. Just lose yourself in soundscapes that are really jam sessions. This album is addictive.
Praying Mantis have gone back to their early days, revisiting five oldies on Metalmorphosis. Usually, records like this flop because the bands involved fail to realise that what made the original recordings so special was a certain serendipity (hello, Twisted Sister, Anthrax). But Mantis have avoided that trap, and the new versions of NWOBHM faves like Captured City and Children Of The Earth work well. Order copies at www.praying-mantis.com
Talking of NWOBHM Canadians Cauldron are massively inspired by that era. Bet they’ve a shrine to Gaskin, Triarchy and Geddes Axe. But Burning Fortune (Earache) doesn’t sound like a retro album at all. They use those early 80s influences to come up with a true metal work stuffed with great tunes and flowing guitar solos. The sort of album that would have been a fave at The Soundhouse in 1980, if you could send it back through time (anyone got an email address for the TARDIS?). And it also comes with a special edition of the fanzine Chromium Dioxide, one of the best, and funniest, reads you’ll ever have.
Ammonal describe themselves as melodic death metal. But on the demo Beginning The End Of Everything, the Italians display some neat epic melancholic doom touches, which bring to mind While Heaven Wept. The song I Bleed could be stunning if it had the right production. There’s more info at www.myspace.com/ammonalmetal.
Finally, there’s Rainbow Rising (Universal) from perhaps the greatest of all Rainbow line-ups. Nothing need be said about the 1976 original, expect that it’s among the most important rock records of all time, and still sounds like a tornado of genius when set against the limp puffs of breeze which pass for many praised albums these days. Now it’s been released with a bonus CD, which features rough mixes of all six songs, plus a tour rehearsal version of Stargazer.
Tags: Ammonal, Anthrax, Bullet, Cauldron, Classic Rock Awards, Dave Grohl, Def Leppard, Earth, Edgar Broughton Band, Enforcer, Gaskin, Geddes Axe, Godz, Lemmy, Metallica, Mournblade, ozzy Osbourne, Praying Mantis, Rainbow, Slash, Sunn 0))), Teaze, The Winchester Club, Triarchy, Twisted Sister, While Heaven Wept