It’s Sunday so it has to be sneak preview day. And this week we look at the latest slice of live Thin Lizzy plus the return of multi-platinum metal gods Staind.
Now it’s not as if we’re short of live Lizzy. In fact some of the band’s best work has been captured in front of captive audiences and even this is a much bootlegged set from 33 years ago.
So why invest your hard earned cash in this re-mastered but essesntially raw slab of 70s rock and roll? For starters this is about as intimate as it gets on a live album and the unheralded Derby College comes across as the best venue this side of the Mayfair as Phil and the boys rip through their new improved set.
Yes this was the tour when Lizzy rocked hard and The Rocker showcases the band’s gritty change of direction. After more than three months on the road this might be a band where tensions are running high but heck they’re tight. Tighter than most of the trousers you’ll see in a revealing booklet featuring all too brief liner notes by drummer Brian Downey.
The inclusion of an early version of Cowboy Song makes this an essential purchase for Lizzy die-hards but there’s enough to keep the rest of us rocking. Even if we’re already overly familiar with Phil’s talent as a showman.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Tour De Force.
Not content with an all-out assault on the charts featuring Nickelback, Slipknot and Dragonforce, the unstoppable Roadrunner unleash one of the 21st century’s most uncompromising rock monsters on the record buying public.
Now here at rushonrock we’ve never been big Staind fans despite millions lapping up every chord of every song the men from Massachucetts have ever written. This, let us remind you, is the band which has seen each of their last three albums debut at number one on the Billboard Album Chart – joining the likes of U2, Van Halen and System Of A Down. Wow (as Kevin Keegan would no doubt say).
But that’s all in the past. What about the here and now? Is The Illusion Of Progress the most aptly named album title since Def Leppard’s Hysteria or have Aaron Lewis and his crew moved on?
Yes and no. After the aforementioned chart success there is enormous pressure on a band like Staind to stay true to what made them millionaires in the first place. On the other hand they can afford to push the boundaries now – safe in the knowledge that their bank balances will still be bulging if the world suddenly decides they’re shit.
Of course they’re not. And if this isn’t the massive leap in creativity we were hoping for then this, in our view, is the best and most bold Staind album there has ever been. If Believe and All I Want are a little formulaic then Tangled Up In You is a brilliant piece of hard rock writing. And you’ve got to love the acoustic version of mega hit It’s Been Awhile.
It’s been just about long enough since 2005’s Chapter V but this is no illusion of progress, after all.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Deep Staind.