Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we’ve got a welter of progressive stuff, plus solo albums from a former Megadeth and a legendary bassist. There’s also a new album form the Cavalera brothers and a nod towards the new Uriah Heep release.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Presto Ballet is the brainchild of Metal Church guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof. They’re definitely of a progressive nature, in the style of the 1970s. And Invisible Places (Body Of Work) is an excellent example of just why their stature is growing so quickly. It will be one of the year’s best prog rock albums.
Former Megadeth guitarist Glen Drover shows his mettle (as it were) with Metalusion (Magna Carta). It’s full of guitar virtuosity and gusto. And while Drover does have a tendency to go overboard with his soloing, overall this is still really listenable, even if you’re not into guitar histrionics.
Cryptex are a progressively styled trio who owe something to the more acoustic sounds of Jethro Tull and Yes, yet also add to this shades of Tool and a more modern approach. It all comes together remarkably well on Good Morning, How Did You Live? (Loy World). This is a confident, strident record that sees the band take some risks, but always retain control. Impressive.
Mastodon release their first official live package with the CD/DVD Live At The Aragon (Reprise). It includes the whole of Crack The Skye and underlines the band’s position as one of the finest and inventive of all current metal acts. The next studio record could be very interesting.
The Cavalera Conspiracy is a combination of Max and Iggor Cavalera. Blunt Force Trauma (Roadrunner) is their second album, and while the debut hinted at some subtlety behind the hardcore metal aggression, this time there’s considerably more time spent in exploring the outer regions of metal, giving this a much more complete overall sound.
John Young Band, featuring keyboard maestro John Young, are in top form on Live At The Classic Rock Society 2003 (Heritage). The performance is clever and rich in texture, with some fine songs to back up the musicianship.
Mo Foster is one of the great bassists of any era, and he should certainly be capable of delivering an intriguing solo album. But Bass Themes (Angel Air) is decidedly patchy. The musicianship is fine, but there’s little to hang these 30 tracks together, because they cover a 26-year period from 1983. You can’t fault the talent here, but this is more a collection of disparate themes and ideas rather than a genuine album.
Finally, a word to the wise about the new Uriah Heep album. Into The Wild (Frontiers) is an accomplished effort from one of the great survivors of the UK rock scene. It’s a little understated, but does grow on you with each spin. The band’s third studio record in three years, this is perhaps the best of the trio.
Tags: Cavalera Conspiracy, Cryptex, Glen Drover, Iggor Cavalera, John Young, John Young Band, Kurdt Vanderhoof, Mastodon, Max Cavalera, Megadeth, Metal Church, Mo Foster, Presto Ballet, Tool. Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Yes