Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we’ve got the new Van Halen, we’ve got the old Tubes, we’ve got the new Orange Goblin, we’ve the old Procol Harum. Look at all the albums here today!
Words: Malcolm Dome
Ah, the Van Halen album. Something that’s certainly proven to be a talking point. Opinions range from calling it excellent to utter rubbish. So, just where to put A Different Kind Of Truth (Interscope)? Well, it’s OK, but no more. Some of Eddie Van Halen’s playing is brilliant. However, the best that can be said about the songs is that they imitate some of the finest moments from the original David Lee Roth era. However, these 2012 versions really are a shadow of what went before. As is also the case with Diamond Dave. He doesn’t have the spark or sparkle of old. If you’re satisfied with a once great band attempting to recreate what made them so remarkable yet falling well short of previously high standard,, then you’ll enjoy this. Otherwise…avoid.
Much more palatable is the new Orange Goblin album A Eulogy For The Damned (Candelight). Their first release in five years, this is arguably their best album yet. It has drive, power, passion, sheer edginess, some excellent songs and thunderous, titanic performances from the foursome. Essential.
The Tubes have never let anyone down, in a career that now goes over 40 years. Love Bomb (Cherry Red) was their last charting album in America, when originally released in 1985. Now reissued, it’s very much of its time. It mixes rock, funk, dance and humour, but with a production that really belongs to a bygone era. Still, there’s enough quality and fun here to make it worthwhile.
Procol Harum’s place among the early prog pioneers is obvious as soon as you hear their self-titled, 1967 debut, now reissued by Union Square. The combination of talents draws on a blues background, but has an English eccentricity that’s born out by Matthew Fisher’s organ playing and Gary Brooker’s almost spoken approach to the vocals. In some respects now rather quaint, nonetheless the band’s visionary appeal remains clear. And there are loads of bonus tracks, including the evergreen A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which wasn’t on the original album.
Norwegians Ribozyme have an interesting approach, as the trio prove on Presenting The Problem (Indie Recordings). There’s a touch of progressive metal, an additive of grunge and a coating of alt. rock. all presented with melodic depth and significant musicianship. This lot are certainly capable of massive deeds.
Philip Sayce is a Welshman now living in Canada, and his approach to the blues is individual and enticing. On Steamroller (Provogue) he shows some deft touches and a depth of emotion that makes him stand out as a really fresh talent on the scene. You feel that, while it’s all been heard before, this man does it like it is totally new and vibrant. No mean feat. You can get the title song for nothing here.
Red Lamb are a trio led by one-time Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz. Their self-titled and self-released debut album, co-produced by Dave Mustaine (who also wrote some of the lyrics), is a firmly individual effort that offers only occasional glimpses of Anthrax influence. It’s more about Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden, actually. And surprisingly powerful. The songs are tight and the music is hard, even occasionally harsh. Spitz proves here he has a future away from the ‘Thrax.
Tags: Anthrax, Dan Spitz, Dave Mustaine, David Lee Roth, Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher, Orange Goblin, Philip Sayce, Procol Harum, Rage Against The Machine, Red Lamb, Ribozyme, Soundgarden, The Tubes, Van Halen