At their best, cover albums have a strange way of galvanizing an artist by returning to the songs that inspired them; the artists can find the reason why they made music in the first place, perhaps finding a new reason to make music. Robert Plant's Dreamland – his first solo album in nearly ten years and one of the best records he's ever done, either as a solo artist or as a member of Led Zeppelin – fulfills that simple definition of a covers album and goes beyond it, finding Plant sounding reinvigorated and as restless as a new artist. Part of the reason why this album works so well is that he has a new band – not a group of supporting musicians, but a real band whose members can challenge him because they tap into the same eerie, post-folk mysticism that fueled Led Zeppelin III, among other haunting moments in the Zep catalog. Another reason why this album works so well is that it finds the band working from a similar aesthetic point as classic Zeppelin, who, at their peak, often reinterpreted and extrapolated their inspirations, piecing them together to create something startlingly original.
Seventy-one minutes of live Pearl Jam plus an unreleased song? It's aural nirvana for fans of the reclusive, integrity-driven Seattle quintet. Pearl Jam are nothing if not passionate and unabashedly rocking, and this 16-track offering, recorded during their Yield tour, illustrates why the mumbly voiced rock deity and his band of merry men inspire such ardor in their followers. Eddie Vedder's emotive vocals, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard's raw and raging fretwork and edgy, catchy, whisper-to-a-scream dynamics are deftly and inspiringly captured. Though a few staples (including "Jeremy") are missing, songs running the gamut of the band's seven-year career–from "Corduroy" to "Nothingman" to the Neil Young-penned "F*ckin' Up"–more than make up for any exclusions. The breadth and scope found on Live on Two Legs (a take on the Queen song, "Death on Two Legs"?) proves the once über-"alternative" Pearl Jam have struck a loud chord in the mainstream…and that's not a bad thing.
Pain Of Salvation - Entropia (1997). This debut recording (originally released in 1997) by Swedish prog metal band Pain of Salvation proved to be a well-needed breath of fresh air for a genre that was full of self-parody and self-indulgence. Led by vocalist/lyricist Daniel Gildenlow, their unique style draws from influences such as Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Faith No More, King's X, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa, to name a few. Their theatrical, concept-like approach is offered in three chapters and is delivered with emotion, intelligence, integrity, passion, and poignancy. These qualities, which are often strived for but rarely attained, seem to come from the number of years the band spent together honing their craft…
Them Crooked Vultures is a rock supergroup formed in Los Angeles in 2009 by John Paul Jones (former member of Led Zeppelin), Dave Grohl (of Foo Fighters and former member of Nirvana), and Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age and former member of Kyuss). The group also includes guitarist Alain Johannes during live performances. The band's first single "New Fang" was released in October 2009, followed by the group's self-titled debut album the following month, debuting at number 12 on the Billboard 200. The group won the 2011 Grammy Awards Best Hard Rock Performance category for "New Fang".
On the 13th Day is the 17th studio album from the rock group Magnum (including Keeping the Nite Light Burning and ignoring Evolution), which was released in September 2012, under the label of Steamhammer Records/SPV. The album entered the charts at number 3 in the UK Rock & Metal Charts, number 5 in the UK Indie Charts, number 28 in the German Album Charts, #36 Swedish Album Charts, #43 UK Album Charts during its first week, making it their most successful album since their reformation in 2002 at the time of its release. Bob Catley has stated that he considers On the 13th Day to be Magnum's rockiest album to date, with the track Dance of the Black Tattoo standing out as particularly heavy for a Magnum album.
Wings of Heaven is the seventh studio album by the English rock band Magnum, released in 1988. The original choice of producers for Wings of Heaven was Roger Taylor and Dave Richards, who had produced Vigilante. This was not realised because of conflicting schedules. Albert Boekholt was suggested at Wisseloord Studios, the Netherlands. The album was mixed at Sarm West Studios in London in January 1988. One song was announced, "That's How The Blues Must Start", but was dropped from the album. The album is certified Silver in the UK.
Beatles fans love to explain that the key to the successful partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was their contrasting songwriting personalities – Lennon was the tongue in cheek sardonic wit, McCartney the earnest balladeer. On John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, a sharply conceived tribute which sets the duo's classics in a jazz trio with big-band arrangements, the singer/guitarist hits the mark more often when he's taking on the Lennon persona. He approaches "Cant' Buy Me Love," "When I'm 64," and "Get Back" with a playful wink, jumping off his speedy melody lines and the rising brass sections for extended improvisational tradeoffs with pianist Ray Kennedy, and adding colorful touches like scatting and even ad libbing his own lyrical verses based on the originals. Likewise, he attacks the all-instrumental "Eleanor Rigby" with a jumpy, swinging aggression. Pizzarelli, however, becomes overly schmaltzy in presenting ballads like "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Long and Winding Road" too seriously, with maudlin, straightforward arrangements that grind the party to a halt. The one exception is the more percussive "Oh Darling," where his intense vocal helps the tune rise above the hotel lounge mentality.