Classic: Triumph, The Sport Of Kings, 1986

triumph - the sport of kingsYeah I know, with a back catalogue like that of Canadians Triumph, it is pretty hard to pick just the one album that tells you all you need to know about this band. So, as I think this one ranks among their finest work ever, I grabbed my copy and started listening again.

And when the intro of Tears In The Rain starts, I am already in a far off place. It will never seize to amaze me how capable this trio was. With Rik Emmett on guitars and vocals, Mike Levine on bass and keyboards and Gil Moore on drums and vocals, they were in fact a serious contender for the throne of that other famous Canadian trio.

And even if that never happened, it was not for the lack of great songs.  I Mean: Somebody´s Out There! Great riff and chorus, catchy as hell and just plain timeless. What Rules My Heart, ditto. A bit more heavy, but still, wow. If Only shows great emotion, from the opening guitar notes, to the ghostly backing vocals ” if only wishes would come true”… Hooked On You is a party rock song Triumph style. The vocals exchanging parts, with Rik as usual doing the high parts and Gil delivering the more earthy lines. Take A Stand, or the instrumental Embrujo…

For me there is no sense in naming all the tracks, this is a record every serious lover of all things rock should own. Period! And since they seem back together, we might even get some new music…

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Classic: Iron Maiden, Somewhere In Time, 1986

Iron Maiden - Somewhere in timeRecently I was playing the latest release of Iron Maiden (The Final Frontier) but, as it has been a long time since I posted a Classic review, I decided for doing a post about an album from their past. Mind you, not because that recent album is no good!

And I can imagine some people will not understand why I choose just this one, their Somewhere In Time opus. After all, it has those “dreaded” keyboards featuring prominently. And that was something many a fan had to chew upon. But not me, I have always been  a sucker for the added colour of synthesisers or their more analogue equivalents. So I plainly like this album a lot. Even if only for 2 of my personal Maiden favourites, Wasted Years and Stranger In  A Strange Land. But of course that would be short selling the CD. There are many more tracks on offer here that are vintage Maiden, if not all. Like opener Caught Somewhere In Time, Heaven Can Wait, or The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner. That title alone is classic Maiden.

At the time Iron Maiden still was a quintet, with of course Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson. But also Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Nicko McBrain. Housed in another beautiful and detailed cover, a great album to play every once in a while. So if you decided against it at the time, give it a try, it will prove you wrong!

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Classic: Queensryche, Rage For Order, 1986

queensryche - rage for orderWith Queensryche it is very tempting to take a closer look at Operation: Mindcrime or Empire. As those are the albums that propelled them into stardom.
But being the pigheaded guy that I am, I took this album out of the closet. First because I very much like the almost “science fiction” like production on it. Very modern for the time and a one off for the band. Second it is because I feel this album perfectly hints at the potential of the band. And last but not least it is because of the songs.

Things get started with Walk In The Shadows, which makes clear in which direction the band is developing. Compare this to their breakthrough albums! Next track I Dream In Infra Red, is one of those songs that slowly dawn on you and sink their teeth into your system. the clean guitar parts here would be revisited later a lot sound wise.
The Whisper is one of those eerie spooky tracks that you never get tired of. Brilliant riffs and backing vocals. Their version of Lisa Dalbello’s I´m Gonna Get Close To You is worth the price of this album on it’s own. How evil, how daring for a metal band.

And be assured, the album goes on with songs on par and thus stays the testament of a band on it’s way to it’s creative and commercial peak! As essential as their big sellers. Or is it just me?

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Classic: David And David, Boomtown, 1986

david + david - boomtownThe first time I heard the title track, Welcome To The Boomtown, I was hooked. I still know the lyric by heart, so that must mean something. The use of strings and guitars, and that inspired lyric about miss Christina and handsome Kevin, sung so well, still does the trick. And it´s not the only lyric with a meaning. All songs have stories to tell and are easy to relate to.

But that is not all. Though in retrospect, sound wise firmly rooted in the 80’s (because of all the keyboards), the album withstood the tests of time rather easy in my humble opinion. The production is flawless and still attractive to hear.
Track Ain´t So Easy still is an instant favourite, Being Alone Together is a hypnotizing affair, as is A Rock For the Forgotten with it´s clever combination of vocal melodies, synths and guitar riffs. River´s Gonna Rise slows the tempo down, but the moment the singing start you just have to listen and will be glued to your chair. In the chorus the guitars take over, but keep supporting the vocals. David Baerwald again proves his voice has a strong lower register. The guitar solo, though limited in a technical sense, has such a great feel that it hits home on intention alone.

Almost all instruments are played by the David’s (Baerwald and Ricketts) and the album is produced by Davitt Sigerson. I lost track of Ricketts after this, but Baerwald released a couple of albums that are also very interesting, though of a more experimental nature. But worth checking out if you are able to find them.