Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Judas Priest - Classic Albums: British Steel
(Eagle Vision)

An amazing series, Classic Albums is finally getting around to some heavy material, Metallica's Black Album and Maiden's Number Of The Beast getting treatment as well as this (relative) classic. If you ignore all the back-patting about what is essentially a slightly boring sellout album, this is amazing stuff, featuring footage of Halford with long blond locks, blond moptop, bald and with '80s mullet. Interviews are conducted with the four principles (but no Dave Holland) as well as producer Tom Allom. Additionally, there's the hilarious vintage Breaking The Law video (a DVD extra), a chat with Scott Travis, and interesting material about recording at John Lennon's house. Rob also recounts in detail the story of the band's fateful Toronto gig. Another extra is the analysis of Rapid Fire as well as a turgid Grinder from Rock In Rio '91. All told, at 110 minutes, you will learn a lot about the album and the band in general, specifically some fairly thoughtful material on the implications and motivations behind going commercial, a process otherwise known as dumbing down.
Rating 9

Doug Aldrich - Alter Ego
(Z Records)

Hurricane/Burning Rain guitarist Doug Aldrich chimes in with a slinky funky considerably heavy solo album that elegantly swirls in concentric circles around guys like Hendrix, Kotzen, Hughes and Whitesnake. Lively as all get out and a sensuous six-string burner from start to finish, Alter Ego is well-paced ('cept for an instrumental first track!), Aldrich proving himself a master of this terrain, composing roundabout note-dense riffs well within the pleasure dome of song. But there are a few mellow tracks (fave: lush folk instrumental 'Zepster Applachian Sister') as well as recurring heavy and playful instrumentals, so peaks and valleys occur, Aldrich punctuating the proceedings through the use of awesome guest vocalists like Kal Swann, grizzled Little Caesar vet Ron Young and Matt Kramer, who is an aristocratic presence on the punchy Slash-like number 'Her Kingdom'. Damn good fortified fun, and a welcome re-engineering of the man's influences into something vibrant and heavy yet classic rock and rhythmic. See www.zrecords.net for more info.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 3