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Music Reviews: Scorpions, Van Canto, W.E.T. and Within Temptation

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A mixed bag of stuff is reviewed this week, but all good, more or less.

Scorpions have released (as of late 2013) MTV Unplugged: Live in Athens. Not surprisingly, it does what it says on the tin and in very fine form. It is mostly about their greatest hits stripped down in front of an adoring crowd of fans and in a wonderful location. It is a great CD & DVD set that really does give you good value for money. There is even a documentary on the making of this great release from a legendary band, and while they have no idea how to retire, they don’t ever do anything half-assed. Sit back, grab a glass of something and relax as the Scorpions remind us all just what a brilliant bunch of songwriters and rockers they are in the end.

urlVan Canto are back with a new release called Dawn of the Brave. It is the usual mix of cracking a cappella covers and original tracks. Their version of “Final Countdown” should not be as good as it is, but it put a smile on my face. And even the most po-faced can’t help but dig their cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero”. But originals on here are great too and show that Van Canto can crank out a cappella power metal with the best of them.

W.E.T. are about to drop One Live – In Stockholm. This is an impressive two-CD (also on DVD) set from the AOR supergroup powerhouse that was recorded live in early 2013. The entire band is in top form, as they blast through tracks from the band and the bands that spawned the supergroup. The crowd is in adoration for this lot and it is easy to see why. Jeff Scott Soto is the man in command of the stage and his voice has never sounded better. Like any live album, if you are in the right mood it just flows over you like cool water.

Within Temptation are back with a new album, Hydra. I have to say this one is a conundrum. When it is on, like on the track “Paradise (What About Us?)” which is a duet with Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), it kicks some serious behind, but much of the base release is just filler. There are one too many duets with a has-been rapper (Xzibit), but then there is “Dangerous” with Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage) which works nicely. The best of the non-duets is probably the cracking opener “Let Us Burn”. It is possible that my malaise for this is down to the bonus tracks available on the “digital release”. This album is a bit of grower, possibly, but overall this is not a patch on their best material.

Well that is your lot for this week, stay safe and rocking out there people.

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