Home / Music / DVD/Music Reviews: Wishbone Ash, Heaven & Hell, Whitesnake, Loaded, and Twisted Sister

DVD/Music Reviews: Wishbone Ash, Heaven & Hell, Whitesnake, Loaded, and Twisted Sister

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This seems to be the week for re-releases with DVDs and home movie DVDs.

DVD reviews

Wishbone Ash: This is Wishbone Ash

Subtitled a “rockumentary,” you might just get them under the trade descriptions act. To say anything on this disc “rocks” would be over-stating it just a tad. While the band plays some of their tunes, none of it is at all rollicking. This is an older band who enjoy what they are doing and do it rather well. A rock & roll documentary of epic proportions this isn’t. This is the type of release that will have fans of the band excited. One has to believe it’s for the overly keen, Wishbone Ash geeks. Most bands include this sort of release in addition to a live DVD or even CD (a good example can be found below). I am not sure it’s really a stand alone product.

There is little in the way of extras and it’s mostly the band sitting around with their instruments playing a bit and kvetching. I have to say that it will bore most viewers rigid. I mean there are some clips of them driving classic British sports cars around the countryside. The film maybe a bit slow, but they are hardly bombing around country roads. WA is a classic band much beloved by many. This, unlike the Story of Anvil, will not lead to their renaissance. If you are anything but a hard-core fan skip this and wait until their next studio release.

Heaven & Hell: Radio City Music Hall- Live!

This DVD is all the more poignant as we recently saw the first anniversary of the untimely death of front-man extraordinaire Ronnie James Dio. Like any post-death Dio release, it is with trepidation and sadness that you experience any such DVD. This particular DVD is an outstanding and apt final release of from the great talent. This was recorded on their first tour in 2007 (under this name) at the great New York landmark Radio City Music Hall. Those unaware of the venue can enjoy a helpful guide to the facility with a staff member as part of the extras. This being a limited edition Blu-ray it comes with even more goodies, including a documentary, “Road Movie”; “Hail to the God’s of Metal”; “Meet the Mob,”the audience for the gig; and finally “The Wisdom of Dio.”

Of course the centerpiece to the entire affair is the gig itself, which sees Dio, Iommi, Butler and Vinny Appice in full flow, playing 15 tracks from all phases of their career. It’s no surprise that the band felt the need to record 2009’s excellent “The Devil You Know” after such a gig. As you would expect with such an extraordinary line-up of talent, the H&H machine was tight as a German panzer right out of the factory. It’s just a shame that such a gig will never be repeated by Heaven & Hell. Watch in awe and enjoyment the talent that was the mighty Heaven & Hell. If you are into metal, this is essential.

Whitesnake: Live at Donington 1990

This is a fan request that has finally been released by Frontiers Records. In addition to the stand-alone seventeen track DVD, you can get a 2 CD/1 DVD set so you can enjoy the gig in all its glory whereever you are. One caveat is that this is not your multiple camera modern extravaganza, more of a damn good one camera recording of the gig. The sound isn’t all it could be, but hardly anyone keen on this release will even care.

What is most interesting is a David Coverdale narrated “Making of Slip of the Tongue” documentary. The pressure for the band must have huge after the multiplatinum release that was 1987/Whitesnake; never mind the fact that most of the band didn’t actually play on that album, and so it could have been a bit of a limp record. Critics, with the exception of this one, were not overly keen on Slip of the Tongue mostly due to Steve Vai’s over the top guitars. There is also a slideshow on the DVD.

Like any such release, Whitesnake fans will find this essential. Anyone who looks fondly back on that era of the band won’t go wrong with it either, especially if you were at Donnington that year. Just remember this isn’t your “all bells and whistles” DVD extravaganza; sit back and enjoy.

CD reviews

Loaded: Sick re-release

Loaded is Duff McCagan’s musical side gig, or is that full time gig now that Velvet Revolver are no more (or “on hiatus”)?  Loaded, especially with the release of their album Dark Days, were touted as a return to the bassist’s “punk roots.”  Visions of Guns N’ Roses’ god-awful punk-covers album The Spaghetti Incident? were premature. Duff has toured with Loaded on and off since he left GnR. Loaded seemed to get the most traction in the UK.

This new release feels more a “proper” one being entirely original material written for this album rather than re-hashes like on Dark Days. Sick does not strike anyone as punk in the slightest sense, well no more so that Phil Collen’s outfit Manraze. This is merely good pared down heavy rock done with lots of attitude and gravitas. It contrasts greatly with GnR and even Velvet Revolver, showing Duff doing music at its base level.

This re-release includes a DVD featuring a live gig from September 2008 in Glasgow, as six webisodes of the tour and a promo for the song “No More.” Oh yes and the original CD includes two bonus tracks: “Roll Away” and an acoustic version of “Wasted Heart.” These features give you plenty of reasons to add this collection if you missed it the first time in 2009.

Raucous catchy songs abound from the title track through to the end. This is a much better release than the original Loaded effort and far better than say the last Velvet Revolver album. Good seat of yer pants hard rock can be just what the doctor ordered sometimes. Loaded fills that prescription.

Twisted Sister: Under the Blade

This is Twister Sister’s ever so subtle debut from back in 1982. It has now been given the full re-master treatment with oodles of extras stuck on to boot. On the CD you get the Ruff Cutts EP that was only ever released on vinyl (including a great version of “Leader of the Pack”) as well as a live version of “Shoot Em’ Down” recorded at Reading in ’82. This CD track gives you a taster for the live DVD of their entire set at Reading that year. Not surprisingly the Reading set comprises quite a few tracks from their debut album. The DVD includes a couple of interviews for good measure.

The UK embraced Twisted Sister more than some parts of the States at first thanks to their debut on a UK based record label.  This was before Twister Sister went all MTV in the mid-80s and on to great fame. Some argued that this was the “real” Twisted Sister, that they “sold-out” on Stay Hungry.  Balderdash–it’s all Twisted Sister and the later stuff was just a bit flasher and better mixed. This album proves that Twisted Sister was always a great band that deserve all the breaks they got. It wasn’t a coincidence that “Shoot Em’ Down” was embraced post-9/11 as an anthem for the New York City and its stunned residents. A damn good album, made even better by a damn good band.

Have a safe and rocking week, see you back here next time.

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About Marty Dodge