New Releases: From Mental Metal To Prog Grooves
This week, we prog out with Panic Room and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, get into some revisionism with 3, put on our Britny Fox finery, go mental with PiL…
Words: Malcolm Dome
* As we head further into the Xmas pressie period, let’s start off with the strong suggestion that you go to www.panicroom.org.uk and order the deluxe version of Panic Room‘s quite marvellous new album Satellite. The deluxe edition has a bonus EP – classy prog rock heaven. If you wanna wait for the standard edition, it’s out early next year on Voiceprint.
* Still on the prog trail, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band have just put a five-CD box set called Bootleg Archives, Volumes 1-5 (MM Archive). To be honest it’s patchy, but then as the band point out, nothing has been ‘finessed’ in the studio, this is all raw live stuff, recorded over the past 28 years or so. Still, one for diehard fans.
* Far more worthy is the superb reissue of Sonja Kristina‘s 1994 album Harmonics Of Love. The Curved Air hostess is in top form, and her version of Motorhead’s I Don’t Believe A Word is a bit tasty – in an acoustic style.
* 3 are from Woodstock. They’re a progressive metal band who’ve strong connections with Coheed And Cambria. What they’ve done on Revisions (Metal Blade) is revisit some of their more obscure, early work and update the songs in questions. It actually works rather well, coming across as somewhere between mid 80s Rush and 1980s intelligent American metallers Zebra.
* Britny Fox were one of those second-level big-hair bands who seem to have become the epitome of everything that was wrong with the genre. Well the double CD reissue of their first two albums Britny Fox and Boys In Heat (Iron Bird) actually helps redress the balance. They’re more than decent sleaze rockers, albeit a little in the shadow of fellow Philadelphia funsters Cinderella. Mind you, the photo of the band on the cover of their self-titled debut…s omeone really should have had a word with them. Looking like escapees from a transvestite themed tribute to Jason King wasn’t even cool back then!
* It’s also the time of year when you occasionally find a record slumped at the back of your collection that you always meant to play, but somehow got overlooked. Two of these have finally taken me for a quick spin. Lions sound like a better version of Velvet Revolver on Let No One Fall (Maybe Records). Seriously, they’ve the groove of the Revolver, but without the baggage that’s held them back. From Austin, Texas they drive a mean rock’n'roll bus – straight over the edge.
* North Carolina’s Between The Buried And Me really shake up the genre barriers on The Great Misdirect (Victory). This is space rock for the grindcore generation, bunny boiler music with a psycho-delic fringe. A real grower.
* Finally, PiL have just had their 1979 album Metal Box (Virgin) reissued. Housed in a metal box, as was the original, it’s surprising how relevant this remains. Post-punk madness, with elements of dub, metal and freeform mentalism. Fabulous listening when the mood grabs ya.