This week, we’ve been mostly spinning new – and old – releases from Montrose, Them Crooked Vultures, Anthrax, ELP, AC/DC among others. Join us in a pick ‘n’ mix lucky and unlucky dip…
Pride of place this week must go to the reissued self-titled, debut album from Montrose (Rock Candy). Ever since it was first put out in 1973, this has become something of a touchstone. Eight tracks, each sparkling and thrumming with classic verve and vibe. Simple one of the greatest – if not the best – hard rock debuts of all time. Every home should have one. There are no bonus tracks here, but as it’s the first time this has been officially available on CD in Britain…well, haven’t you got a copy yet?!
Up against such a mighty release, everything else this week could easily just melt away. But there is some good stuff around. Another re-release, Airrace‘s Shaft Of Light (Rock Candy) has held up well after 25 years. Some neatly tight melodic hard rock, driven along by drummer Jason Bonham…yes, that bloke.
Them Crooked Vultures have been causing a stir for the past few months. So does their self-titled, debut album (Sony) live up to the expectations? Oh yes…and more. The combination of Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones proves to be inspirational on a record that sounds like mid-’70s Zeppelin having fun with some psychedelics – musically and otherwise. It’s a glorious studio jam session, but with genuine songs.
Anthrax have raided the BBC vaults for Caught In A Mosh (Universal), which features two shows from 1987: Hammersmith Odeon and Donington. Memo to whoever proofread the notes: Donington does not have four ‘n’s! Musically, it’s decent, but fails to really capture the excitement of the ‘Thrax in those days. The recordings are fine, but you need the visuals to get the full impact!
Those who long for the days when Euro metal meant Accept, Baron Rojo and Faithful Breath will get into High End Of The Season from Baton Rouge Morgue. It’s the Finn’s fifth album in four years – that’s going some. But there’s enough old school riff wizardry to keep fams of NWOBHM and its acolytes smiling all the way to the next Gaskin reunion.
ELP have packaged up Works Volumes 1 & 2 (Universal) together, which makes for an uneven triple CD. The second volume was never that essential, but the first one has some real gems and indulgencies. It’s Emerson, Lake & Palmer at their best – and worst.
Nice to see two fine Corrosion Of Conformity albums being put together in a two-for-one double Deliverance and Wiseblood (Iron Bird) mark the point in the 1990s when the band left behind their hardcore roots and went full tilt into southern metal sphere.
The same label has done something similar with Europe‘s Prisoners In Paradise and Out Of This World. Two albums with enough punch to give David Haye a bit of bother.
Well, we started with something special, so let’s end that way. Just in time for the festive season, AC/DC unleash the spectacular Backtracks (Sony). It’s a brilliant collection of studio and live rarities on CD and DVD. The deluxe edition has three CDs, two DVD discs and an LP, a 164-page book and loads of memorabilia, all in a box shaped like an guitar amplifier – and it works. There’s also a bog standard version has two CDs and a DVD – still well worth having.