HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

BACHMAN & TURNER-Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC
Eagle Vision

Hard to forget the acrimony between members (and brothers!) within the Bachman-Turner Overdrive saga, and let's face it, it would have been nice to have this tweak to the upside enough to call 'er BTO. Still, the key component besides Randy is of course Fred Turner, his biker holler and his rumbling bass lines. So the band's called Bachman & Turner and they are a reasonable facsimile and a legitimate creative force, having issued a new studio album two years ago, from which five of these 20 tracks hail. First the negative, which is more noticeable on the CD representation of this one of many shows the band has played together all over North America and Europe: the guitars ain't that heavy! That's right, for a two guitar band, the fat and fuzzy power chord sound is sure missing from "Sledgehammer," "Let It Ride" and "Rock Is My Life," while "Four Wheel Drive" suffers from timid drumming, which elsewhere also occasionally pulls back on the majesty one expects from these songs after such a long wait. On the positive, Fred is in robust form, growling out his vocals strong and confidently in tune, enunciating in his unique and "angered" manner. One must note, both Fred and Randy are a couple weeks apart in age, 68, pushin' 69, but you'd never know it here, given how energetic and yet tight they are as a band, and both singing fine as co-dependent foils, so different, a big part of BTO's appeal. The new songs fit the format just fine, simple, hard-hitting tunes, cannily crafted for maximum anthemic effect without much intellectual struggle. A cool bonus is Fred getting the mic for "American Woman," which is balanced by a late in the sequence "Shakin' All Over," a song I never need to hear again by anybody. And the video? Nicely shot, simple stage, pretty colors, but a bit of a damper with the crowd being both an older demographic and sitting down. Competently played (by Randy, Fred and just some guys, frankly), very cool and almost inspiring vocally from both cool codgers, but otherwise calling this three stars would just be too generous.
Rating 6

NEIL DANIELS-Metallica: The Early Years And The Rise Of Metal
Independent Music Press

UK superscribe Neil Daniels writes about as many metal books as me an' Joel McIver these days, and his latest captures the cozy feel of his innovative All Pens Blazing duo, what with all the writers (disclosure, me included) getting to drop their two cents in on all things metal. Seriously, that's the main positive of this lively tome, because, who needs a short Metallica history after all that's been said? No, what Neil's done is lean towards context, having all manner of industry-watcher describe in detail what Metallica's first four albums meant then and mean now, making for an intellectually satisfying hybrid between history and review. And from the inside of the biz, it really is cool to see what all these people you know really think about the band's industry-shattering thrash madness, what it meant to metal as a whole, why it was so damn good, and why the heck ...And Justice For All sounds so damn weird. Cool idea, nice presentation, a few errors, but all told, a delightful read for the serious Metallica fanboy.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 6