A return of old favorites and some new material is the focus of this week’s set of reviews.
The Scorpions: Comeblack
The rather forced title is the first clue that this release is going to be a bit of a mixed bag. Unfortunately, The Scorpions jumped on the bandwagon of redoing old songs for a new era.
It was nice to see the CD start off with a bit of a forgotten classic in the form of “Rhythm of Love” off one of their less than classic releases. And, it was also great to hear Klaus Meine sing “No One Like You”, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Still Loving You” without the amusing German mangling of the English language on the original versions. There may even be a few people who actually understand lyrics to these songs for the first time.
It is, however, probably unreasonable of me to say I would have preferred not to have the bloody awful “Winds of Change” clogging up the CD. The seven re-recordings were where the band should have stopped because then things get ugly.
The covers are horrible and fail to work on so many levels. Why did the band think that covering Soft Cell’s alleged ode to AIDS “Tainted Love” is a good idea? To end this collection of six dire covers is an appalling version of “Ruby Tuesday” that would make The Stones cringe.
Alright, that is a bit harsh. The version of T. Rex’s “Children of the Revolution” is not bad, just nothing that spectacular. Why do good bands insist on releasing covers of songs not suited to their sound or vibe? Yes, cover them in rehearsal or when you are messing about but don’t unleash them on your paying public.
Lillian Axe: XI: The Days Before Tomorrow
Lillian Axe are back with yet another release of quality and erudite hard rock. They have yet another lead singer, a position which seems to be a revolving door for this Louisiana-based band, but Steve Blaze, the only real constant in this band, thinks this is their best effort yet. Well that might be the case but I rather doubt it will be as popular as some of their earlier and more accessible work. If that sounds harsh, it is not meant to be. Lillian Axe is a great band that has consistently produced quality music.
I hardly think this consistent release will raise their profile to your average rock fan any more than their previous releases, Top 100 chart-bothering though they might be. It is really about time that Lillian Axe get recognized for being the “hidden gem” of American rock music. There is not one lame track on here and that is a fact.
Madison Rising: S/T
Take the aesthetic conservatism and patriotism of most country music or Ted Nugent and produce it in a sound not unlike Nickelback. Post-grunge hard rock for the tea party set would be another way of describing this band. Bands that weigh their politics on their sleeves whether left, right or center always take a risk of coming across as trite and lame. As someone said to me a few years ago, “If you want good right-of-center music, it has to be good first, then worry about the political bias.”
This band manages to just about stay on the straight and narrow, never drifting into the weeds. Then again, if you think “Red, White & Blue” by Lynyrd Skynyrd is jingoistic, stay the hell away from this lot. Songs on here are about guns, family, the military, and returning soldiers.
So, what about the music, then? Well, the band are very good at what they do and certainly have the chops. If you like Chad Kroeger’s (Nickelback) voice, you will have no problem with the guy fronting this lot. This is very modern hard rock for the modern hard rock fan.
Madison Rising might want to tone the sentimentality down a bit on their next record to expand their lyric range a tiny bit. That said, there is talent to spare and with some songwriting/song balance guidance from Uncle Ted or Toby Keith, these guys will be big before you know it. They are certainly a young band to watch and from the acoustic set I saw online, they have the talent to take it as far as it will go.
Well that is your lot for this week. Stay warm and safe in the winter air.Powered by Sidelines