HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Queensryche - The Art Of Live

For those who like the new Queensryche, this vid's for you, The Art Of Live capturing the mature version of the band and their textural songs in an appropriately grainy and sepia-toned art format. The sound is... strange, almost too clean and separated, crisp and bass-less. But Tate is an expressive frontman, quite dramatic with his hands, in good voice, and a pretty cool dresser. Personally, I'm bored by the new songs, but I'm glad Sign Of The Times and Best I Can made it, along with weirdly wooden versions of Comfortably Numb and Won't Get Fooled Again, performed with various Dream Theater guys, highlight being the two-drummer barrage on the Who song. Extras include low-key interview footage and an acoustic 'Tribe' at a TV station at 6:00 AM and a photo gallery. I dunno, that sepia thing slowly bummed me out over the course of the thing, like there was a power outage in the hall. Like I say, it matches the power outage of the new album though, yet all told, it does indeed presents the band as pretty classy, as rock warriors now short-shorn and stubbly and with a few extra pounds of baggage.
Rating 6

Tears Of Anger - Still Alive
(Lion Music)

After a decade of fits and starts and background musical achievements, brothers Benny (guitars) and Bjorn (vocals) Jansson have crafted the culmination of their sumptuous Swedish search. The Tears Of Anger debut is an exquisite mix of AOR melodies, darker, more ominous pre-power metal melodies, progressive arrangements and a certain bluesy Jorn Lande-like depth. And the execution of the above is superlative, the band's experience bleeding through, the production making these powerful songs bloom. Not sure what it is, but somehow this comes from a place that is both bombastic and highly engaging, Still Alive wholly lacking in power metal clichˇs while placing its chips adeptly one step away from progressive metal's maze-like tendencies. All this can be heard on a stomping track like Moment Of Truth, or the rhythmic and soaring Revenge Will Come, both rich in memorable hooks, but both full of professional detailing and flash maneuvers.
Rating 8.5