A nice collection of reviews for you, all in anticipation of the post-NYE onslaught of review material that is about come down on me like a ton of bricks. A mixed bag here, only one of which actually involves "new" material but overall quite a good collection
Pink Floyd: Pulse
Finally out on DVD this live testament of their last major tour is quite a site and sound to behold. The fact they play the entire Dark Side of the Moon makes it all the more pleasurable. To fully grasp how professional this lot are, one of their backing singers Sam Brown is a talented singer in her own right. She is on tour in the UK right now. A mate of mine has described this DVD has having the ability to get you stoned without having to smoke anything…it is aural and visual drugs.
You are lulled into a sublime sense of delight as you listened to one of the most amazing lives bands on the planet. If you love Pink Floyd this is essential, if you like them it is probably essential as well. There are some nice goodies including, a tour diary movie, as well as promos and other movie clips with the band's music. Excellent package, music and performance. What else could you possibly want?
Styx: One With Everything
Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland who only play contemporary music, hence the name. They selected Styx for this one-off performance which makes sense as much of Styx's music is composed rather than written and has a symphonic edge to it. This is quite an impressive DVD of Styx hits with two new songs for good measure. The band seem to meld rather well with the Orchestra/Choir with none of the awkwardness that you seen on other such outings.
Of course there are all their great hits played with oodles of pomp and flair. Laurence Gowan continues to eradicate the memory of Dennis DeYoung with both his keyboard playing (on a rotating stand to boot) and excellent singing. Those of you into your extras will enjoy the Quake cam which follows the drummer, the extra interviews and if you watch it around Christmas time the two Xmas songs. (Thankfully not included in the proper gig to annoy at other times of year.) If you enjoy Styx, you will enjoy this. Period.
Jon Oliva's: Pain
The driving force behind the mighty Savatage, returns with his band Pain. Not surprisingly, this sounds quite a bit like his other band but with even more angst & pathos. This is obviously a highly personal album, with songs that show Jon's religious affiliation and his attempts to come to terms with the loss of his brother. Despite the passing of time he has penned a heart wrenching track in the form of 'Still I Pray for You Now'.
The opening track 'Through the Eyes of the King' evokes memories of Savatage's great rendering of 'Hall of the Mountain King'. Oliva still has one of the most powerful voices in metal; a metal Meatloaf without the campness. This is powerful stuff played with passion and belief. You cannot help be moved by it. Not exactly the easiest thing to listen to, not that Savatage was either, but well worth the time. Every listen this album gets better & better. I doubt you will hear a better power metal album this year.
Stuck Mojo: Southern Born Killers
Those of you that are regulars to this columns probably are fairly aware that I bloody loath rap-metal. This is probably due to the fact that I suffered through listening to lots of clones of the successful purveyors of it when it was hot. Well Stuck Mojo, featuring members of Chris Jericho's band Fozzy and The Duke, have released a cracking new album that is rather unusual. Instead of ranting against the West like those wankers RATM, this is a middle-fingered salute to those Jihadists that would kills us all. Check out the track and video for 'Open Season' if you think I am joking.
Their new album is available for free at Stuck Mojo Media and the lads are well pissed. Think Kid Rock if he thought with his brain instead of his penis or BLS if they did rap-metal instead of country-metal. As far as I am concerned this is the best rap-metal album I have heard since Faith No More's Epic. Stuck Mojo have produced a blinder of an album.
John Waite: Downtown: Journey of the Heart
John Waite goes all country on us and re-records some of his best stuff in a new way. Now normally this sort of thing stinks of cash-in and probably is not worth buying. There is none of that on here, with songs like 'Missing You' now a duet with Allison Kraus taking on a whole new life and a whole new meaning. Yes the new version of 'When I see you Smile' probably isn't that far from the original but its great fun nonetheless. Rather than belabour the point there are only twelve tracks on here, 3 of which are new recordings. Although one of them is a bit dubious for some 'St Patrick's Day', his take on 'Highway 61 Revisited' is quite a cracking tune. While maybe no essential if you have his entire back-catalogue, its a nice reminder of what a true talent Waite is when it comes down to it. I am sure, like many, the new 'Missing You' will be played quite a bit in the next few months.
Well that is my lot for this outing. A curious mixture of the heavy, the mellow and the sublime. As always make sure you stay safe and stay rocking… check out live music where ever you are and if you have been following my iTunes travails I have news. It has taken a year but my band's stuff is finally on ITunes after a bloody year of waiting. This bloody rock band stuff is not for the impatient that is for sure.