Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week, we’ve got a classic American band doing two of their classic albums live. We’ve got outtakes from a classic metal band’s last album getting a physical release. We’ve got Italian goth metallers getting all poppy. And an old school rocker amusing and amazing in a new book.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Bands doing classic albums live has become de rigueur. But in the case of Styx you get two of their finest albums on Live (Eagle Vision). Available on Blu-ray, DVD and CD, there’s the whole of The Grand Illusion followed by the entire Pieces Of Eight album, each in the proper track order. Truly brilliant. A pomp haven.
Metallica have now made the EP Beyond Magnetic (Mercury) available on CD. It features four tracks from the Death Magnetic recording sessions, all of which are previously unreleased. In all honesty, any could have made it onto the album without any drop in quality.
Ronnie Montrose, whole career has been coloured by the classic Montrose self-titled debut album. But he has been involved in other highly desirable projects. Gamma 2 (Rock Candy) was the second album from Gamma, the band he formed almost immediately after Montrose. Originally released in 1980, it mixes blues and a slightly more contemporary state-of-the-art hard rock edge. Definitely a CD to play while roaring down an American highway, or sunning yourself in a Clacton back yard.
Lillian Axe are in splendid form on XI – The Days Before Tomorrow (AFM). Their stylish, creative grip of AOR is as firm as ever on a set of songs that traverse from intricate ballads to more balls-out thumpers.
In theory, the combination of Lacuna Coil and top pop-rock producer Don Gilmore should have made Dark Adrenaline (Roadrunner) a stunner. So, why is it so mediocre? For a start, the songs seem overly airbrushed, losing the gothic sparkle of the band at their best. Secondly, there appears to be little rapport between the musicians and the producer. It all sounds a little lacklustre, without the drive or panache of Lacuna in their prime.
The Evil Dead are from Argentina and have a reputation in the extreme metal arena. But Pronounced The Evil Dead (Rising) shows that, take away vocals which sound like an angry Chihuahua with a raging ulcer, and you’re left with a surprisingly melodic metal band who nod at Megadeth and Iron Maiden and can certainly carry a tune.
Tony Ashton was a cult figure on the rock scene, thanks to his involvement with Ashton, Gardner & Dyke and Paice, Ashton, Lord. A real character who lived and loved life to the maximum, he died in 2001. The memoir Zermattitis: A Musicians’ Guide To Going Downhill Fast (Wymer Publishing) captures his humour, quirkiness and sheer effrontery brilliantly. Unlike so many autobiographies from more high profile figures, this hums with affection and truth. It’s not full of self-aggrandisement and hubris. A lesson for others on how to write such a book. This comes with a bonus DVD, featuring previously unreleased footage of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke.
Young Brummies Capital Sun have recorded three songs with producer Chris Tsangarides. The first of these, Forgotten Songs, is now available through their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/capitalsun). It goes back to the mid-to-late 70s British hard rock style, bringing to mind Thin Lizzy, UFO and Budgie. Very promising.
Tags: Ashton Gardner & Dyke, Budgie, Capital Sun, Gamma, Iron Maiden, Lacuna Coil, Lillian Axe, Megadeth, Metallica, Montrose, Paice Ashton And Lord, Ronnie Montrose, Styx, The Evil Dead, Thin Lizzy, Tony Ashton, UFO