Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
We travel from Finland to America to Nottingham and to Wales this week, in search of the latest gems and uncut diamonds. Time to drool over some jewels, and despair at the mediocre fayre.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Solo Michael Monroe might seem like a recipe for an insipid version of Hanoi Rocks, but that’s far from the case. Sensory Overdrive (Spinefarm) has a connection with Monroe’s past, but has plenty to offer in its own right: good songs, strong sounds and a sense of a man growing up without maturing – too much. Mind you, it does help having a talent like Ginger involved.
The first two Little Caesar albums have been packaged together by Iron Bird. It really does make you puzzle why a band who could deliver albums like their self-titled debut and Influence failed to set the late 80s/early 90s alight. These Americans had what it took to be as big as anyone from that era. Rough and tough, this lot were streetwise but also creative. It’s the sort of garage rock with fumes and fuming many young bands these days can only dream of delivering.
Protest The Hero make a fine prog metal noise on Scurrilous (Spinefarm). Don’t be misled by early signs of any lack of substance, things improve greatly the further you get into the album Some very clever and left-field touches.
Stryper are not everyone’s cuppa. But it must be said that they’ve done a few decent records, whether you enjoy the God bothering or not, However The Covering (Big3) is disastrous. This is the band offering us their versions of classics from the likes of Black Sabbath, Sweet, Scorpions, Kansas. Deep Purple and Kiss among others. But these are dreary, dull renditions with no sparkle, spark or sense of occasion. They should be soundly whipped by Satan’s minions for this nonsense.
You might just recall Nottingham’s Dawn Trader from the NWOBHM era. Like so many others who achieved little at the time (not their fault), they’re referred to by some as legends of the genre. In truth, this was a more than decent band who never got the breaks others enjoyed. But now they’re back together to celebrate their 30th anniversary, and have even recorded a debut album. Castle (From The Ashes) is far from being a waste of time. It’ll clearly appeal to anyone who remembers the band fondly, and proves the Trader did have some nifty songs. Find out more at www.dawntrader.net
Welsh band Revoker have been tipped for big things for a while. Their debut album has been long awaited. So, does Revenge For The Ruthless (Roadrunner) do them any favours? Actually, yes. Under the skilled guidance of producer Benji Webbe (the man who fronts Skindred), they’ve come up with a selection of songs that are grimy yet also sophisticated. You can hear bits of Pantera and Metallica in there, as well as moments of Skindred. But ultimately, Revoker do enough to suggest they can stand alone.
Earache have had the foresight to put together a compilation CD featuring some of their most exciting young acts New Noise Attack has bands like Enforcer, White Wizzard, Cauldron and The Browning. Oddly, though, Rival Sons are absent.
Finally, to a young band showing enormous potential. Blind Ambition. They’re a Welsh quintet who started in 2007 and definitely have traditional influences. These range from Bad Company to Guns N’ Roses, Black Label Society to Foreigner, System Of A Down to Iron Maiden. Unsigned, their music is very well developed. Check out the song Judgement Day here.
Find out more at http://www.blindambitionmusic.co.uk/
Tags: Bad Company, Benji Webbe, Black label Society, Black Sabbath, Blind Ambition, Cauldron, Dawn Trader, Deep Purple, Enforcer, Foreigner, Ginger, Guns N' Roses, Hanoi Rocks, Iron Maiden, Kansas, Kiss, Little Caesar, Metallica, Michael Monroe, Pantera, Protest The Hero, Revoker, Rival Sons, Scorpions, Skindred, Stryper, Sweet, System Of A Down, The Browning, White Wizzard