Acid Test (Marmaduke)
I have no patience or use for albums without lyrics - and by extension vocals, right? Anyway, so there's three bloody points off ten right there. Still, if I did (ha ha - talk to Ritchie Blackmore about this concept, and he's right... pretty illogical thinking music without singing is invalid), one couldn't do worse than cozy up to the immensely talented, musical and classy Jeff Kollman and Shane Gaalaas. Bassist Barry Sparks is replaced by three revolving, rotating, pirouetting bassists, but the show is really down to Gaalaas and his thrilling, swirling percussion skills and Kollman, who has got to have the coolest axe vocabulary on the planet. The things he does here are tasty into a John 5 and Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert zone. In fact, if you think about it, the bar has really been raised in recent years. These instrumental wanks have to astonish; the acrobatics have to be three things: acrobatic, yes, but also novel and valid as accessible pieces of music. Look no further than 'The Spy Who Ate Her' for about 12 examples of that, times three, equals 36.
Live: One Hot Night (Locomotive)
I've always loved Y&T, even if it's yet another tired case of an old guy worshipping every damn album up to a point (I mean, I bought Yesterday & Today as a new release in 1976 at 13; I know every lick and word to the first five) and then being a little bored (In Rock We Trust, Down For The Count - yes, I'm not sure if that's the right order) and then raving lunatic mad as hell (Ten, Contagious - right order? Too bored to confirm), and then on-board again (Musically Incorrect - are there more real albums? Can't remember). So for the band's first live DVD, it's a love-in all over again, Meniketti, Kennemore and two non-card-carriers (not their fault!) turning in a set that on the negative, is visually no-frills and a little dark, and on the positive, scintillating of sound quality, of performance, and of song selection. Not every DVD can be a CD playin' in the background, but this one can. Every instrument is beautifully placed in the mix, Dave is of great voice (and he had a cold!), and the guys play their hearts out. Substance as well: it's three hours of stuff, including useful and entertaining looks backstage before and after, amusing out-take footage, happy, humpy fan excitement and reaction (believe me - this makes you feel that you aren't alone), meet and greet joy, and then a little bonus outdoor fest live footage. I dunno... I found myself pondering the power of metal, the electricity of metal, guitars, Dave looking loud 'n' proud in leather pants, even if armies of watchers wouldn't even call the heaviest Y&T songs metal now 25 years later. Still, this was metal to us, and yeah, after that pondering, I defiantly got swept up in my pretty little head and its reflective mind games these days into defending this as metal, tried and true, as real now as it was then.
Hard Reviews Page 3