Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
We’re back with a new Kate Bush album, a love Chris Cornell one, a dip into the past from Savatage and Magnum. Oh, and something from Nickelback.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Kate Bush is a unique artist. You never quite know what to expect from her albums. New one 50 Words For Snow (Fish People/EMI) is once more a challenging mix of the ethereal, the spiritual and the downright strange. Some might regard it as rather self-indulgent. But that’s what la Bush has always been able to do, namely exactly what she wants, how she wants. And it’s a triumph.
Chris Cornell gets acoustic on us with Song Book (Universal). This is his first solo live album, and showcases both his stuff as well as Soundgarden material. Oh, and there are covers of Led Zeppelin’s Thank You, plus John Lennon’s Imagine. This is all done so well, and perfectly captures the man’s vocal charms and depth. If you’re a Cornell/Soundgarden fan, this is a must.
Savatage never really recovered from the death of guitarist Criss in 1993. So, Ghost In The Ruin – A Tribute To Criss Oliva (earMUSIC) should have been a chance to hear what he could do live. But drawn from several shows between 1987 and 1990, it is something of a hotch potch that doesn’t really do justice to the band or the guitarist, when both were in their pomp. There are some stunning moments, but not enough of them.
Magnum celebrate 10 years on the SPV label with something of a strange compilation. Evolution sees them remixing, and even partially re-recording, 10 tracks. Still, it is enjoyable stuff, even if the originals are mostly better. And there are two new songs, both of which are very strong in the Magnum style and offer real hope that the next album will be a cracker.
Superchief might be from Des Moines, but they’ve little in common with those famed DM metalheads Slipknot. As proven on the album Corporate Dynamite (Brolester) is a surging collaboration of The Allman Brothers, Clutch, Motorhead and Scissorfight. The band have convincing redneck groove, but combine this with a real edge. Startlingly surprising success.
The initial two Deep Purple line-ups are featured on BBC Sessions 1968-1970 (EMI). And it’s interesting to see how the band developed. The first CD showcases Mk 1, with their most distinct psychedelic approach, although as Ritchie Blackmore’s role becomes more pronounced as things develop. The second CD sees Mk 2 taking heavier direction – and we all know how important that would prove to be for rock music in general.
AFM Records celebrate their 15th anniversary with a three CD compilation called 15 Years Metal Addiction, spanning those years. As you might expect, it’s a real lucky dip affair, both in terms of quality and style. But if you fancy the idea of roaming about from thrash to power metal, via gothic metal and alt. metal, then you might fancy a quick forage. Best here are U.D.O., Doro, Onslaught and Masterplan, but there are others who deserve to be heard.
Two interesting reissues from Robin Trower on the Repertoirte label, Both Another Days Blues (from 2005) and What Lies Beneath (2009) show the man’s deep love for great blues, as he delivers his trademark guitar licks. He’s imaginative and dynamic as ever, and remains a towering yet undervalued talent. Both of these are fine albums, if the Trower style is your bag.
Finally, Nickelback never cease to stir up negative feelings. Well, Here And Now (Roadrunner) won’t suddenly win over the sceptics. It’s more of the same pop-rock from the Canadians. If you approach this album with an open mind you will enjoy what they do, although it’s far from essential and really isn’t as good as their early releases.
Tags: Allman Brothers, Chris Cornell, Clutch, Criss Oliva, Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore, Doro, John Lennon, Kate Bush, Led Zeppelin, Magnum, Masterplan, Motorhead, Nickelback, Onslaught, Robin Trower, Savatage, Scissorfight, Soundgarden, Supechief, U.D.O.