Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
What have we got this week? Metal, prog, reissues…all you need (well some of what you might need) as you plan those Xmas pressies.
Words: Malcolm Dome
It’s probably fair to say that Anvil’s stock has never been higher. So it was always inevitable that there would be a compilation of older material Still, at least Monument Of Metal (Sony) has been put together by the band. And it is great to hear all those faves like Metal On Metal. And this does span their career from those early days right up to 2011. It is a fitting reminder that the Canadians were influential on the thrash movement.
Still on the metal scene, My Dying Bride are in finely honed doomesque form with The Barghest Of Whitby (Peaceville). It’s just track, but at over 27 minutes in length, this does fit into the epic compartment. MDB never actually lose your interest, as they spool together some darkly dank riffs and atmospherically progressive claustrophobia.
One of the best of the younger crop of proggie bands, Magenta are at their finest on Chameleon (Tigermoth). Christina Booth’s gently chiming vocals are backed up by the sort of music that’s delicate yet also strident. This really does flow impressively from start to finish.
One assumes Yes have decided to release In The Present Live From Lyon (Frontiers) to underpin the current frontman’s credibility. Not that it’s surely in any doubt. However, the three disc affair (two CDs and one DVD) does prove that onstage vocalist Benoit David has much to commend him. This was filmed and recorded in December 2009, when David was still feeling his way. But he copes admirably.
Israelis Metal Scent have a metal approach that owes a lot to the likes of Judas Priest and Motorhead. And new album Homemade is the first time they’ve recorded only original songs. While there are times when it all comes across as clichéd, the band are capable of getting lost in a cul-de-sac, there are some very strong moments here. All of which suggests this is a band with promise. Further info: www.myspace.com/metalscentband
The reissue of Skin’s self-titled debut 1994 album by Rock Candy once more proves they were genuinely talented, and possessed of world class potential. Given better breaks, Skin could have easily become a major global melodic hard rock force. The strength in depth here deserves to be heard, and praised, again.
Undervalued at the time, Orion The Hunter’s self-titled first album is back on the streets courtesy once more of Rock Candy., Originally put out in 1984, it suffered by comparisons to Boston, as it was the brainchild of Barry Goudreau, guitarist with Tom Scholz’s band. But if it fails to live up to what Boston had achieved, then this is still a formidably epic mix of melody and pomp. So You Ran, a hit single at the time, is still flawless. And vocalist Fan Cosmo, who would later join Boston, is stylish and effortless.
Savatage weren’t at their best on Poets And Madmen (earMUSIC). First put out in 2001, it marked the return on vocals of Jon Oliva, after an absence of eight years. But it now comes across as representing a band struggling to emerge from the shadow of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The latter might have begun as a side project to focus the band’s more epic and operatic aspirations, but now had become a major force. It left Savatage as a shadow of their once mighty selves, and this album throws a spotlight on their confusion as to what direction they should take.
Finally, something of a shock. Korn claimed that The Path Of Totality (Roadrunner) was their journey into dubstep and electronic music. But in actuality, it’s more about progressive metal than anything else. It appears Korn might well have found a way forward.