Minimal waffle, maximum music – I’m very aware that there is too much music and not enough time! I’ve had close to 1,000 albums pass through my inbox this year alone (I’ve probably only been able to listen to about a third of them), and what I’m presenting are my favourite albums of 2018, the albums that I’ve connected most with, that matter most to me, one way or another.
Though enigmatic Australian duo BAK released an album back in 2010, new EP Flower (self-released) is the first time the band has released any music in the UK. Despite having a base of Beau Djekic and Kit Dyson this Arabian / Prog hybrid at times involves a full orchestra and up to 100 musicians in total. This release is, therefore, highly intriguing. Continue reading →
Since the release of their debut album in 2010, Swedish act Ghost has divided the Metal community like no other band has for years. Frequently berated for a seemingly endless list of equally meaningless reasons, you just know the band are laughing themselves stupid underneath their masks each time the latest horde of terminally outraged cynics appear, summoned to their keyboards, as if by magic, whenever the word “Ghost” is mentioned on the internet, to inform the world using block capitals that “they’re just ripping off Blue Öyster Cult and Mercyful Fate”, “they’re not metal”, or “they’re only a gimmick anyway” etc. etc.
There aren’t many bands who mark forty plus years with an extensive UK tour promoting a brand new album as opposed to a full-on nostalgia show; but then again Magnum hasn’t followed the trend of many of their peers since their return from hiatus in the early 2000’s. As mentioned by our own Sir Tovey in his Lost on The Road To Eternity(Steamhammer) review, Magnum missed the nostalgia wave of recent times and thus, perhaps as a result, haven’t exactly been media darlings or more a recognisable name more on the periphery. This was certainly the case for me until finally discovering them with the aforementioned Lost …, discovering with it a rich and highly consistent catalogue; a new album more than capable of standing its own with even the band’s more highly regarded efforts. Continue reading →
The release of Magnum’s twentieth studio album, Lost On The Road To Eternity (SPV/Steamhammer) is no mean feat, considering twenty-five years ago, the band were releasing the aptly named and wholly underwhelming Sleepwalking (Music For Nations) while struggling to find a foothold in a musical environment that had no room for them. Continue reading →
“I’m sixty-three years old, booking a world tour, the tickets are flying out the door… Why the fuck should I give a fuck?!” was David Coverdale’s rather eloquent response to criticisms of the concept of Whitesnake’s The Purple Album (Frontiers), an album that does exactly what it says on the tin (and then some), revisiting The Cov’s years as frontman of Deep Purple and Whitesnake-ing up a selection of his favourite tunes.
And, the guy has a point (so to speak – as the millions… and millions… of The Cov’s female fans would testify), for not only did he co-write all of these magnificent and timeless rock songs in the first place, but The Purple Album is a rather fine run through of them that will please both ‘snake and Purple fans alike, as tracks from the 70’s are electrified by the guitar talents of former Winger six-stringer Reb Beach and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Joel Hoekstra.
It needs to be said, these are not “better” versions of the originals, but new, different versions, presented in vibrant aural technicolour – a thoroughly enjoyable run through of a selection of songs that do benefit from the modern, ballsy rock (but oh-so-slick) production, provided by Coverdale, Beach and Michael McIntyre. It also needs to be acknowledged that this is no bog-standard re-record. What we have here is one of Rock music’s most iconic and distinctive vocalists laying down versions of some truly seminal tracks – ‘Burn’, for example, an instantly identifiable riff and powerful chorus that inspired many . All through, The Cov is on absolute fire, effortlessly wrapping his larynx, like thick, oozing melted chocolate undulating down and over a fulsome breast, around ‘Love Child’, playful and powerful on a driving version of ‘Lady Double Dealer’ that sounds like it could have been on 1987 (EMI/Geffen) or soulful and with gravitas on ‘Soldier of Fortune’. While predominantly a Rock album, ‘Holy Man’ and ‘Sail Away’ are sensitively delivered by the distinctive, legendary tones of Lord David Coverdale.
What we have is a celebration of Coverdale’s career that sees him taking classic songs from the very beginning of it and peppering them with the condiments of his band, Whitesnake. The only real mis-step is ‘Mistreated’, because despite all the skill and best will in the universe no one can play that song and make those notes sing and emote like Ritchie Blackmore, but it is the only time things don’t quite hit the mark. For when all is said and done, all The Purple Album is, is a(n excellent) selection of Deep Purple songs played by Whitesnake. And a very good thing that is too.