Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we get some Canadian blokes who were the subject of an award winning film. That Pearl Jam bloke who’s gone all ukele on us. Those Scottish blokes who drink a lot. Some blkes from LA whom everyone thinks are gonna be big. And…other blokes.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Anvil might now be known more for their tragic-comedy documentary Anvil! The Story Of Anvil, but they’ve made some excellent albums in the past. And Juggernaut Of Justice (SPV/Steamhammer) is perhaps their best release since..well, perhaps even as far back as 1983’s Forged In Fire. The hunger, bite and power are right back, with a stirringly metal edge to songs like On Fire, New Orleans Voo Doo and Turn It Up. To have Anvil back in this form is more than anyone could have expected.
If you’re expecting Eddie Vedder to deliver a Pearl Jam style album on Ukele Songs (Monkeywrench Records), then you’re out of the loop. Why should such a solo effort mirror the mothership? But while the voice is unmistakable, the fact that much of this album features just his singing accompanied by ukeles makes it almost surreal. In its own way, this is very rootys and brings to mind an era and a place far removed from anything in the 21st Century. Listen to this, and you’ll understand.
Nazareth have been on the scene for so long you could be forgiven for dismissing the relevance of anything new. Their back catalogue is extensive and classy enough as it is. But Big Dogz (earMUSIC) is stuffed full of strong songs and committed performances. A far from meaningless release.
In Flames seem to reach new heights on Sounds Of A Playground Fading (Century Media). The style they’ve established through more than a decade of quality is still present. But to this aggressive metal approach has been added a new melodic confidence. The twin guitars really do chime this time.
Devin Townsend is a man with such a range of musical personalities that nothing he does with the Devin Townsend Project should come as a surprise. So, here are two albums representing different sides of his persona. On the one hand there’s Deconstruction (Century Media), which is utterly bonkers and stark, starting progressive mania. While on the other hand we have the more sedate and calming Ghost (Century Media). You can get them separately or together. Maybe play them at the same time for some serious mental derangement.
Black Veil Brides are getting a real buzz right now. The Los Angeles band would be easy to dismiss as the latest hype. But Set The World On Fire (Lava) is a lot better than you might expect. It’s Motley Crue with a Marilyn Manson fixation, and some really impressive anthems. Not a classic, but it suggests this lot could be massive.
Finally, a book. Spike Webb’s Mad, Bad And Nageorus To Know – The Book Of Drummers’ Tales (John Blake) is exactly that. Lots of stories from drummers. Some are amusing, others are interesting, yet others are a little yawnsome. A drummer himself, Webb seems determined to prove that there’s a lot more to this species than merely hitting things, and he has got some big names in here. From Nick Mason to Simon Phillips via Rat Scabies. Overall, you are left with the impression that drummers…well, they hit things, right? Oh, and hang out with musicians. Not at all a badly written book, it really tries to be more than the sum of its parts.