Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week, we’ve got a compilation from an all-time great, some blues rock, a classic AOR re-release and a bunch of prog rockers getting all scientific.
Words: Malcolm Dome
The career of the late Ronnie James Dio is celebrated on the double CD The Ronnie James Dio Story: Mightier Than The Sword (Universal). This spans his time from Elf through Rainbow and Black Sabbath to Dio and Heaven & Hell. Of course, there are great tracks missing. But what’s here is a reminder of a titanic talent who will never be forgotten or replaced.
Blues rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd is in top form on Here I Go (Roadrunner). It’s very much at the melodic hard rock end of the scale, with a keen balance maintained between the man’s blues leanings and the commercial appeal of the songs.
Metalheads Trivium have long been tipped for major things. In Waves (Roadrunner) is the band’s fifth album, and is certainly an attacking force. There’s a whirlpool of brutal riffs and bludgeoning grooves. It’s arguably Trivium’s most extreme album to date, and perhaps their best. The band sound sharp, as they deliver shards of shattering shockwaves.
Josh Taerk shows a nice line in balladic-oriented AOR on Never Look Back. He has an ability to write low key songs which have real composure and style. This man could be a major force in the genre. Find out more at www.joshtaerk.com
REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity (Sony) is among the best and biggest melodic rock albums of all time. It’s timely reissue, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original release, brings home once more that there’s not a bad track here, and most are timeless masterpieces. The second CD features the original demos, which were long thought to be lost. These are stripped down versions of the famous recordings we’ve come to know and love. The bonus CD could be called The REO Garage Days – and is proof that this band were – and still are – rock ‘n’ rollers at heart.
As CKY appear to be falling apart, so they release B-Sides & Rarities (Mighty Loud). The title says it all. And this is the sort of compilation which will only appeal to diehard fans. The standard is mixed, with some very strong stuff alongside the mediocre. But the cachet is the unreleased stuff here.
J21 features musicians who’ve played with David Bowie and Frank Zappa among others. So as you’d expect, Beyond The Holographic Veil (Floating World) has a deeply aesthetic value. It also has an esoteric concept, concerning a quasi scientific definition of reality. But despite an exhaustive, intellectual approach to the music, this is still an easily accessible album, because the musicians never allow you to get fully lost in their own maze of ideas. Something to appeal to fans of Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree.