Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we’ve got some of the DVD stuff, some of the heavy stuff, some of the reissues stuff, some of the prog stuff. Just..well, stuff, really!
Words: Malcolm Dome
Let’s start off with a live DVD. And not just any live DVD, because Live At River Plate (Sony Music) showcases AC/DC in supreme form on the Black Ice tour. Shot with 32 cameras (well, that’s what they say. I didn’t actually count them) in Buenos Aires during December 2009 over three nights, it’s breathtaking. More proof, if any’s needed, that ’DC retain an unmatchable power. Easily one of the best live releases in recent years.
Scottish vocalist Frankie Miller was one of the giants of the 1970s. And proof comes with the four-CD compilation Frankie Miller…That’s Who! The Complete Chrysalis Recordings 1973-1980 (Chrysalis). Listening back to what he did on albums such as Once In A Blue Moon, The Rock and Full House (all of which are here) is to be reminded what a special talent he had, all focused through a voice that had soul and class. He delivered everything in a style that’s close to Alex Harvey and Rod Stewart, but perhaps was a little more supple than either of those two giants.
Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse takes his own band into the studio for Out Standing In Their Field (earMUSIC). It’s jazz-tinged instrumental music that’s both sophisticated yet also accessible. You can almost hear Morse’s sigh of relief as he gets a break from plonking out Smoke On The Water yet again. This also comes with a bonus live CD, recorded in Germany during 1990.
Talking of live, Canada’s Saga take their celebrated 1983 album Heads Or Tales and do the whole thing onstage for the aptly titled Heads Or Tales Live (earMUSIC). It’s impressive enough, but coming as it does just as the band have announced the return of vocalist Michael Sadler, this becomes nothing more than a curio featuring his replacement Rob Moratti. Still, it’s a fun reminder that Moratti did a decent job.
With their imminent arrival in the UK, Babe The Collection (Universal) is a cool Styx compilation, featuring some of their finest moments. Nobody should need to be jogged into remembering just how brilliant this band have been for so long. But the 19 songs here do the job.
Status Quo’s 1999 album Under The Influence (earMUSIC) has been remastered for this reissue. Not sure what the point of this might be. The album’s far from Quo’s best, and is hardly worth the bother. Still, the countdown is on for their Tesco record!
The Soulless used to be known as Ignominious Incarceration. Can’t think why they decided to change their name – the original one’s got so much going for it, especially after a few drinks. Anyway, The Soulless have just put out Isolated (Earache), and if your bag’s melodic death metal then this is one for the collection. This young band really do have a way of mixing brutality with tunefulness and making it all sound so obvious.
The more venerable Autopsy have been around long enough to know exactly what they’re doing. Yes, they did split up in 1995, and get back together two years ago, but what they prove on Macabre Eternal (Peaceville) is that while this might be their first new studio album in 16 years, they’ve gotten straight back in the saddle. The old school death metal style is still intact. Everything here could have been on any of their early albums. But that’s the point. Autopsy know who they are and what people want.
Now Primordial are one of the most intensely fascinating bands around. Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand (Metal Blade) is arguably the Irishmen’s finest album so far. It’s bleak, morbid and dark, yet that atmosphere suits the epic approach. This is a symphony of destruction that rises up and envelopes you in woe. Truly magnificent.
Listening to Landscapes And Personal Spaces (Loose Fish), you’d be convinced that Ladies Who Lunch must be from Atlanta Nashville. Such is the America influence ringing through their songs. But the four-piece are from London. This striking album showcases a band who draw from Tom Petty and The Black Crowes, as well as having some more localised connections with the likes of The Answer. A really stylish record. Find out more at www.ladieswholunch.info
Finally, Toehammer are a London band who make a big impression with the single Gone With The Wind. If you fancy the idea of a fuzzed-up, garagy sound lashed to lo fi blues-rock, then this a band to check out. Toehammer really do make it work with style and force, yet have an underlying supple individuality. They’ll go a long way, if there’s any reason left in this world. Check them out at www.myspace.com/toehammermusic
Tags: AC/DC, Alex Harvey, Autopsy, Deep Purple, Frankie Miller, Ignominious Incarceration, Ladies Who Lunch, Michael Sadler, Primordial, Rob Moratti, Rod Stewart, Saga, Status Quo, Steve Morse, Styx, The Answer, The Black Crowes, The Soulless, Toehammer, Tom Petty