Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week, we celebrate an Ozzy reissue, welcome back a female vocalist, go all prog for a bit and also breeze through a book a drummer. It’s rock Jim, and mostly as we’d wanna know it.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Has it really been 30 years since we were all so dramatically introduced to Ozzy Osbourne the solo artist? Well, the reissue of the Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of Madman albums by Legacy Records tells its own tale. They come together in a collector’s edition box set with a bonus live CD. Now happily restored to their original state, both albums are still outstanding, and has Ozzy ever really matched these masterworks? This is due out at the end of May, by the way.
On the prog side, Credo offer up melody and thoughtfully understated musicianship on Against Reason (Festival Music). Now 20 years old, this British band once more show the value of knowing how to keep songs sharp and structured. They also have a certain joyous, tumbling energy, which makes the album entertaining.
Twelfth Night frontman Andy Sears also delivers on solo album Souvenir. It’s an unpretentious collection of songs which are well constructed and performed by a man who seems keen to be seen more as a pop-rock artist here. It works. Check out the details at www.andysears.twelfthnight.info
Sweden’s Miss Behaviour are a real treat. In fact, they have something in common with their fellow countrymen Treat, in that they know how to squeeze out really catchy melodies. Last Woman Standing (Avenue Of Allies) combines great harmonies, world class hooks and trash rock musicality. It’s Hardcore Superstar, only better. They’ve gotta be seen at the Islington O2 Academy in London on May 4, with Houston and Crashdiet.
Uriah Heep are on form with Into The Wild (Frontiers). It offers no new twists from the band, but if you’re a fan of their recent albums, then you’ll have no problems with this one. Strong, powerful songs delivered with creativity and panache. Just what you want from Heep.
The compilation Rock For Japan (AOR Heaven) is being released to raise funds for the Red Cross. There are a lot of highs here, but that’s to be expected from a list of artists that includes Dan Reed, Legs Diamond, House Of Lords and FM. One real surprise is the inclusion of a new song from Fiona – her first in 20 years. Loved Along The Way proves she’s still got the chops, and is a fine taster for a new album later in the year.
On the demo front, check out Zodiac N’ Black. Then Londoners have aggression and edge on their three-track CD. But they also have the foresight to realise that the songs have to be of a high standard if they’re to stand any chance of breaking out of the cluttered morass in which so many young hopefuls get perpetually stuck. There’s more info at www.zodiacnblack.com
Finally, to Tales Of A Ratt (Blotzer Brothers Publishing), the autobiography of Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer. He doesn’t pull any punches in describing his career, dealing out written blows against bandmates and also other high profile stars from the 1980s. Overall, it’s an amusing and informative read, but you do end up believing the man to be a buffoon fuelled by an overly active ego. But then, that’s it took to make an impact in the 80s – and through Ratt, Blotzer certainly did that.
Tags: Andy Sears, Bobby Blotzer, Crashdiet, Credo, Dan Reed, Fiona, FM, Hardcore Superstar, House Of Lords, Houston, Legs Diamond, Miss Behaviour, ozzy Osbourne, Ratt, Treat, Twelfth Night, Uriah Heep, Zodia N' Black