It’s straight-up hard rock in this week’s column. And I say that with enthusiasm!
Deep Purple are back with a cracking new album called Now What?!. I’m not sure what the title is meant to mean but what it means for us is a damn solid album. Hell they even have a song titled “Vincent Price” which is worth in itself. This is as solid a Deep Purple release as anything they have ever done. The unit that is Deep Purple is still firing on all cylinders and producing music that is both relevant and entertaining. This is not an excuse to tour but a work that stands on its own.
Fair Warning are back with their brand of polished hard rock on Sundancer. They have a bit of fun with gospel on songs like “Man in the Mirror” and then a bit of Eagles-like country-fried mesa rock. It is good to see an established band like this have a bit of fun with their tunes. This is a great album for a long drive in the country. This is a consistent quality hard rock album and one that I would recommend highly.
Heaven’s Basement have finally released their debut album called Filthy Empire—the band have been around since 2008. It is a very modern-sounding record that really doesn’t instantly connect at first and isn’t as catchy as the material from early versions of the band. However with repeated listens it does start to take a hold. One great track is “When the Lights Go Out in London.” This band is the third iteration of a band that started as Hurricane Party in the early ’00s, then turned into Roadstar (also a great track of theirs) only to morph into HB. I’ve seen the first two versions of the band live and they were damned good. Just hope HB play material from all their manifestations.
Ian Danter has an album by the name of Prove You Wrong and it is just this side of decent. The singing is a mixture of Boston’s Brad Delp and the bloke from Stryper. The biggest problem is that most of the songs are just not memorable or catchy enough to last. Well, that is until the last track. “I Wanna Be a Has-Been” is a great comment on the purpose of fame and success. It is just a shame the rest of the tracks aren’t this good.
Clutch have released some down home boogy swamp music on Earth Rocker. As you would expect, this is another impressive collection from this talented bunch. Clutch are one of those great American bands that don’t get their fair due. They are the King’s X of swamp rock and really deserve your attention. That said, this is straight-up damn good hard rock album which will be one of the best you hear all year. Rarely does it get any better than this.
Rainbow are about to drop Live in Munich 1977 (2-CD, DVD and 2-LP) which features the much beloved late Ronnie James Dio on vocals. The songs, taken from their first two releases, feature quite a bit of Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar antics in their midst. That said, if you can stand some of the more tedious widling from Blackmore, it is hard not to be consumed by the talent of the RJD’s vocals. He is quite the showman and the vocalist. This has been remastered to make sure you get the full experience.
On that nostalgic note it is time for me to head off. Stay safe and rocking out there people.