REVIEW: The Top 5 Rock and Metal new albums of the week from Jethro Tull to SaxonOn February 14, 2018 by Margot
MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST.
Hot on the heels of his successful Michael Schenker Fest tour, this uber guitarist has taken its magic to the studio and, as the title suggests, conjured up nothing short of a rebirth with this outstanding album.
Recorded with four different singers who all bring their top game to this hard rock masterpiece. With Robin McAuley singing the album kicks off with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett playing a screamer of a guitar solo on Heart And Soul. Graham Bonnet bellows with true grit on Night Moods and Everest and Doogie White delivers on a classy Take Me To The Church.
Singer Gary Barden proves that there was much fun in the making of this album on Messin’ Around. All four singers mass a phalanx of larynx together for an ultimate vocal battle on Warrior.
Throughout, Schenker’s sonic fretwork squeals and roars with a storm and drive that could raise the dead.
It’s simply the best studio recording of his long and colourful career.
Heavy Horses New Shoes Anniversary Edition.
Heavy Horses provided the meaty filling in an inspired trifecta of folk-rock releases by Jethro Tull upon its original release in 1978, as it galloped into the Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic.
Steven Wilson’s detectorist tendencies unearth the recorded gems lying just beneath the surface of these original recordings on this superbly remastered release.
The double tracking of vocals on The Mouse Police Never Sleeps and on Journeyman shine through where once they murkily dwelled in the deep ruts and grooves of the original vinyl recording. The same is true of Martin Barre’s double tracking of guitar on stand out ditties No Lullaby and the titular Heavy Horses.
It’s also the album that spawned the live release Bursting Out.
This ‘new shoes’ release ploughs a deep furrow by digging up and unearthing a complete live recording of the Berne concert from the 1978 Heavy Horses tour. It’s the unexpurgated concert from which the studio ‘sweetened’ Bursting Out emerged. Jakko Jakszyk has polished up and honed a superb show from a band playing at the zenith of their mighty collected powers.
A further two DVD’s bringing all the before into 5.1 surround sound, with contemporary videos and adverts patched in, are the thick icing on a cake for the listener to heartily indulge. As the latest Tull/Steven Wilson box set given the bells, whistles and flutes this is a masterpiece worthy of the venerable Heavy Horses themselves.
Barnsley metal bangers Saxon led the charge of the New Wave of British Metal Bands in the late 70’s. Incredibly, Thunderbolt is their 22nd studio release and it has landed with a resounding thud!
Olympus Rising Sons of Odin and title track Thunderbolt lead the Heavy Metal way as though personally delivered by the Hammer of Thor itself. Searing solos and heavy riffing by Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt abound on this release with Biff Byford in commanding form on vocals especially on the epic, vampiric Nosferatu.
Saxon is a national treasure and Thunderbolt is another gem of a release to add their overflowing treasure trove of classic British metal songs.
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT.
A DEEPER CUT
There is nothing sober about this latest release by The Temperance Movement. Distilled within is a clear spirited, high octane record overflowing with good time raunchy, rollicking rock anthems.
Possessing a raw and belting vocal delivery, not dissimilar to Humble Pie era Steve Marriott, singer Phil Campbell lets rip from opener Caught in The Middle to album closer The Wonders We’ve Seen, on this very fine record.
There is also a soulful groove created throughout by dual guitarists trading steely riffs, over a bedrock of hard rhythm, as evidenced on the jaunty stomp of Backwater Zoo and Built-In Forgetter.
Tender moments on title track Deeper Cut and Another Spiral showcase a fine balance of poised songwriting.
A swaggering album that is brimful of heady soon to be classic songs.
THE BAD FLOWERS.
A bloomin’, bangin’ first effort by Midland’s three-piece Bad Flowers has caused quite a stir in the rock scene and rightfully so.
From the force 9 sound gale of Thunder Child and Hurricane, guitarist and singer Tom Leighton drives this album from the front with heavy riffs and his impassioned classic rock voice.
Be Your Man and Lions Blood will prove to be festival favourites as this three-piece from Cannock take this bombastic, cracking first album on the road.