Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we take a look at a NWOBH legend’s BBC recordings, get all metal with Witchery, rejoice in the return of The Enid, go all sleazy with Jettblack and look forward to Hawkwind and Black Country Communion.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Long regarded as one of the greatest bands never to make it, Diamond Head‘s influence has nonetheless been profound. Ask Metallica or Megadeth. Live At The BBC (Polydor) is a double CD featuring studio sessions and live recordings. It spans the period 1980-82 and also 1993. There are some special moments to remind us how good the Stourbridge swinging sultans could be.
Witchery are a metal supergroup of sorts, featuring members of Opeth, The Haunted and Arch Enemy. Witchkrieg (Century Media) is their fifth album, but it all sounds a little stale. At times, the band are definitely going through the motions. The fun’s seemingly gone out of the project. Shame the title suggests more imagination than the music.
Korn appear to have swallowed some ambient pills on Korn III – Remember Who You Are (Roadrunner). Perhaps their most inventive album since the 1994 self-titled debut, this one is drenched in a kind of soundtrack atmosphere. The sound is very big, but also intimate. After a few years struggling to find a reason to carry on, Korn appear to have hit a fresh groove. Impressive.
The Enid have been one of this country’s most intriguing and original bands for 35 years. Nothing’s changed on Journey’s End (Operation Seraphim). The music’s dynamic, thoughtful, romantic yet also tremendously powerful. Progressive in the right sense, with a deep alliance with the classical sphere, while also retaining a distinct rock edge. Among the year’s best so far.
Jettblack take us back to the sleaze rock era of the 1980s with Get Your Hands Dirty (Spinefarm). It’s fun-filled frenetic frivolity – and it isn’t only the hands that are dirty. More Brighton Beach than Sunset Strip, there’s a lot of Brit grit here, as well as glammed up anthems. But if you hanker for the (ahem) glory days of Tigertailz, Rankelson and Marionette (not the current American lot), then Jettblack are your boys.
Emerald are a classic rock quinter, based in the UK. They cite Sabbath, Maiden, Lizzy and Whitesnake as influences. You can hear all of this on Master I Am (Phantom). They’ve a lot of passion and heart, but right now lack one incisive song that could really propel them, and the production’s dreadful. Still, there’s a genuine love for the music here, and that makes the CD far from the disaster it might have been.
Time to namecheck two albums coming out in the next couple of months, and are gonna be worth getting. Firstly, there’s Hawkwind‘s Blood Of The Earth (Eastworld), due out on July 19. It’s the space rock masters at their best. Not so much reinventing the genre, as catapulting themselves right into the heart of 2010, without compromising their inimitable style.
Black Country Communion will hit us with their eagerly anticipated debut Black Country (Mascot) on September 20. So, what do you get from Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham? A huge arena rock sound, with anthemic songs and some stunning performances. Everything you’d hope to find with this foursome, but maybe dared not believe it could happen.
Finally, a demo. Mach 22 is the brainchild of Jay-Z guitarist Lamont Caldwell. It’s powerhouse funk rock, with psychedelic undertones and some searing musicianship on the five songs here. Worth a deal in anyone’s language. Check out more at www.mach22music.com
Tags: Arch Enemy, Black Country Communion, Black Sabbath, Derek Sherinian, Diamond Head, Emerald, Glenn Hughes, Hawkwind, Iron Maiden, Jason Bonham, Jay-Z, Jettblack, Joa Bonamassa, Korn, Lamont Caldwell, Mach 22, Marionette, Megadeth, Metallica, Opeth, Rankelson, The Enid, The Haunted, Thin Lizzy, Tigertailz, Whitesnake, Witchery