Some highlights from my recent listening adventures…
Manowar – Gods of War I used to think this album sucked but it’s won me over recently. The churning title track is victorious and Sons of Odin is top-drawer. As a whole, though, the album is staggeringly flabby but perseverance with all the orchestral interludes and narration will be rewarded with charms for SUCCESS IN BATTLE and LOVEMAKING. I know this to be true. Praise Odin!
Saxon – Sacrifice Saxon have kept up their high standards with this year’s new album. There are some moments of filler which render it slightly inferior to their previous album, Call to Arms but there are also plenty of the solid-gold choruses and riffs that Saxon seem to have an endless supply of. Each song also has a clear identity which stops the album outstaying its welcome. You’ve got to marvel at the creativity of these guys after all these years.
Anathema – Alternative 4 One of the best albums to come from the trinity of northern gloom: Anathema, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost. I adore all 3 bands but, given that they all hail from places south of HMO Mission Control, I do wonder why they have to be quite so gloomy. Cheer up goths!
Cheap Trick – In Color (Steve Albini version) Cheap Trick’s second album, In Color (released in 1977) had a great set of songs that many (the band included) felt was let down by its limp sound. I just found out recently that Cheap Trick re-recorded these tracks with Steve Albini while recording their 1997 self-titled album with him! Unfortunately it was never released but I was able to track it down online to have a listen. It’s great stuff and the new versions add a touch of the spiky edginess of Cheap Trick’s debut to the perfect pop of the In Color material. Usually these kind of projects leave me cold but I enjoyed this a lot and would definitely buy it if it ever gets an official release.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Pictures at an Exhibition As album climaxes go, few match ELPs The Great Gates of Kiev for sheer majesty and bombast. The kind of bombast that goes well with cannons firing! Actual cannons.
Jethro Tull – M.U. The Best of Jethro Tull I have most of Tull’s studio albums (I’m missing a few recent ones) but there’s something about this compilation that keeps me going back to it. It’s just a great, compact selection of brilliant songs and I’d recommend it to the Tull-curious. It worked for me!
The Misfits – Walk Among Us Ever fancied large-breasted goths, turned into a martian or had 18 eyes too many? Then this album is for you. In fact, you should own this regardless because it is infectious gold from start to finish. Just been to see Danzig’s 25th Anniversary show down in Manchester and it was absolute bliss to hear him perform classics like Skulls, Astro Zombies and I Turned into a Martian.
SONG OF THE WEEK
“With just a touch of my burning hand…” It’s The Misfit’s Astro Zombies.
[The Misfits – Astro Zombies]