Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
Lots of blues-style rocking this week, as we look at some oldsters and also some newsters. There’s also some prog metal and biker-friendly rock. Oh, and some true metal from Germany (where else?). Hey ho, let’s go…
Words: Malcolm Dome
Rival Sons are one of Classic Rock’s hot tips for 2011. And this introductory, self-titled EP (Earache) proves just why great things are expected from them. Available through iTunes, the tracks have a blues-rock swagger and early 70s authenticity. You can hear Free, Zeppelin and the Small Faces in there. But ultimately Rival Sons are their own men, and stand tall. See them make their live debut in the UK at The Barfly, London on Saturday, February 12.
In a similar vein there’s King King. The album Take My Hand (Manhaton Records) offers a very British appeal, with frontman Alan Nimmo having a voice that’s part Otis Redding and part Paul Rodgers,. Nice trick if you can pull it off – and he does. There’s a funky swing to back up the obviously bluesy rhythms, and some nifty songs. Could be a big career ahead. So, what with Rival Sons and also Saint Jude emerging, this could be a very big year for blues-soaked music.
More venerable is Francis Rossi, who’s recently been enjoying some solo attention. Live At St Luke’s London (earMUSIC) features a combination of his own songs and a couple of Status Quo classics. All delivered with the inimitable boogie sound that he’s been renowned for down the years. Perhaps a little too white table cloth and silver cutlery, as opposed to sawdust and empty beer bottles, but it’s an enjoyable romp.
Robin Trower delves back into the vaults for At The BBC 1973-1975 (Chrysalis). This is a collection of all his recordings for the Beeb, both live and in session. It’s a cracking double CD, capturing the great guitarist in a period when he was probably at his best. The Hendrix comparisons are clear, but so is the man’s individuality. Truly a celebration of a much undervalued figure.
With all anthemic guns blazing The Treatment race out of the blocks with debut album This Might Hurt (Powerage). There are hooks so big they could reel in a school of whales, plus mighty riffing with brings to mind Def Leppard in their very early days. And vocalist Matt Jones has the sort of raspy throat that should only be allowed after a decade of hard gigging and even harder drinking. And Shake The Mountain could become one of the year’s signature tunes. Catch them on the upcoming Power Supply tour.
Distorted Breed are one of those bands who could have easily fallen down, because of the inherent American biker rock style of the music. But it all holds together well on the EP The Wrong Road (Random Candle). There’s a real power and energy here, fuelled by influences from Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society. What’s more, led by thundering vocalist Jim Distortion, they’ve got a real Brit grit about them. One to watch this year.
Hookah The Fuzz are a young British metal band with a very interesting, and slightly twisted, sound. On their self-titled, debut album, they prove to be influenced by Metallica, only rather more proggy. The aggression and brutality are obvious, but so too is some intensely sophisticated musicianship. Find out more at www.hookahthefuzz.com
Desert Storm come on like the much-missed Four Horsemen on Forked Tongue (Buried In Smoke). It’s stoner rock, but with a real biker groove, and songs doused in testosterone and then set on fire. The band might look like hardcore nerds, but the music is right outta the Little Caesar and Circus Of Power approach.
Finally, Scheepers hit us with some true metal (that appears to be a prevalent term these days) on a self-titled album (Frontiers). This is Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear fame. Armed with the likes of Ripper Owens, Kai Hansen and Mat Sinner, the singer has come up with an album that sounds like prime Primal Fear, or game Gamma Ray, or more than acceptable Accept. There’s even a full-on cover of Judas Priest’s Before The Dawn. A bit of a cracker, in a true metal style.
Tags: Accept, Alan Nimmo, Black label Society, Black Stone Cherry, Circus Of Power, Def Leppard, Desert Storm, Distorted Breed, Four Horsemen, Francis Rossi, Free, Gamma Ray, Hookah The Fuzz, Jimi Hendrix, Judas Priest, Kai Hansen, King King, Led Zeppelin, Little Caesar, Mat Sinner, Matt Jones, Metallica, Primal Fear, Ralf Scheepers, Rival Sons, Robin Trower, Saint Jude, Small Faces, Status Quo, The Treatment