HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Judas Priest - Live in London

Classy but bare bones, Priest's Live In London DVD comes housed in an oversized plastic jewel case and includes a professional 12 page booklet that restates the band's Ripper-branded years. Once inside the disc, all one gets is the live show plus a Desert Plains soundcheck, as well as some load-in/backstage footage, this stuff portrayed in pro-shot black and white. The concert however is worthy testament to Ripper's capabilities in a live environment, the man unfortunately trapped in an era where the band has forgotten how to write. However, we do get Demolition's best track, the Dio-dastardly Feed On Me, as well as Hell Is Home, also a decent and daring idea from that plodding album. The sound is perfect, the guitars afire, Ripper executing his cool, ever so slightly rock-ironic stage moves, his effortless highs, his comfortable growls, looking the cogent cross between office supplies salesman and aging, thinning gangsta, only the opening track's silver mirror long coat fitting badly on this stage presence maven. Fully 19 tracks are proffered, with five from the Ripper years, a ton of hits of unarguably genius, notable no-show being You've Got Another Thing Comin', which blows anyway.
Rating 7

Watchtower - Demonstrations In Chaos

Watchtower have entered the lexicon of music journos as one of the originators of progressive metal, screaming pretty much in a Texas wind tunnel, their acrobatic extremity, presaging the rise of Death and the current modest wave of bands combining musicianship with speed/thrash/death, many of them on Ken Golden's Laser's Edge label. The band only made two records, so what this is, is a scoop-up of rarities, the anchor of the collection being '83 demos of songs, mostly from the debut, some from the follow-up (yet here, with original singer Jason McMaster). Seven of these are presented, good sound quality, Jason yelping like a hyena as was the style in vogue at the time (Seattle and Shrapnel, take a bow), drummer Rick Colaluca stealing the show with his pioneering flow 'n' fills. After these however, the quality drops precipitously, the back half offering the odd acceptable demo but also boot-quality live stuff and two "boombox" recordings, perhaps the worst thing I've ever heard pressed to CD. But the package is well-appointed, offering lyrics, live shots, show posters, and a couple of sets of historical perspectives. Bottom line though, when you hear those first seven recordings: this band knocked the stuffing out of anybody else trying fancy pants metal, playing with groove, recording well, writing complex look-at-me's but with some semblance of logic and purpose, respect deserved. See www.monsterrecords.com for more info.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 5