Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week, we’re astonished by veteran American rockers, check out some old school blues-rock, listen as a singer reinvents his back catalogue and find out what the Foos guitarist has been doing in his holidays.
Words: Malcolm Dome
It’s one of the surprises of the year so far. The new album from Lillian Axe, a band whom I’d long since given up on. Their second album. 1989′s Love + War, was excellent. But they’ve done little of consequence since. However, new album Deep Red Shadows (Love & War Records) is a real shock – in the right sense. This is brooding, atmospheric music that takes melodic rock into new areas. The songs are all strong and sturdy, but it’s the dark way theyre interpreted that makes its mark.
Veterans Foghat know their onions, in a bluesy kinda way. So, it’s no surprise that Last Train Home (Foghat Records) has real quality throughout. Only drummer Roger Earl remains form the glory, stadium-filling days of the 1970s. But the new line-up – including one-time Ted Nugent vocalist Charlie Huhn – can certainly cut it. There’s a combinations of covers and new songs here, as the band race from out and out boogie to a more thought-provoking laidback approach. If you like the Black Crowes, you’re gonna love this.
Tony Harnell made his name as vocalist with Norwegian melodic funsters TNT. He’s also sung with Westworld and Starbreaker. Now, the American has decided to revisit his own catalogue, cherry pick songs and revamp theml with the help of some muso pals, under the band name of Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train. The result is Round Trip (Frontiers), a patchy, patchwork of an album, which leans more to the acoustic side of rock ‘n’ roll. Some of the new versions work very wel. But others – in particular the TNT classic 10,000 Lovers In One – simply fall apart. Still, an interesting experiment.
YOSO features one-time Toto singer Bobby Kimball, plus keyboard player Tony Kaye and multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood (both associated with Yes). The result is Elements (Frontiers), which could easily have been Tes or Yoto, but comes far closer to being Yes with a little more emphasis on snappy songs. Oh, and there’s a bonus CD with the trio’s interpretation of classic Toto and Yes songs, just so you get the point.
If you’ve got the new issue of Classic Rock (and if not, why not?!), then you should alrweady be familiar with Fuyron, through the Underdog EP given away inside the magazine. The band’s full album, Gravitas, provides a lot of the same. Energetic, blue collar British metal. Unfussy and tidy, it’s not a great album by any means, but is a lot better than some others who get overly hyped. There’s something here that’s very appealing, actually. Self-released, this is only available at http://furyon.bigcartel.com
Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants are led by the Foo Fighters guitarist. And their self-titled album (Columbia) reveals an impressive garage rock sound. It’s reminiscent of The Flamin’ Groovies, with touches of early 70s Stones.
When Neurosis released Enemy Of The Sun (Neurot Recordings) in 1993, it was a staggering achievement. Brutally ambient metal that somehow fitted in with nothing at time, but also made complete sense in the era of grunge. Now reissued, it still makes total sense. What you realise on this expanded edition is that there’s so much progressive music here, but the intensity still burns.
Finally, Feeder burst back with Renegades (Big Teeth Music), an it’s one of the best albums of their career to date. Classy song, well constructed performances – an object lesson in modern alt. pop-rock.
Tags: Billy Sherwood, Black Crowes, Bobby Kimball, Charlie Huhn, Chris Shiflett, Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants, Feeder, Flamin' Groovies, Foghat, Foo Fighters, Furyon, Lillian Axe, Neurosis, Roger Earl, Rolling Stones, Starbreaker, Ted Nugent, TNT, Tony Harnell, Tony Harnell & The Dead Peasants, Tony Kaye, Toto, Westworld, Yes, YOSO