Last time, I regaled you with news of the return of such 80′s powerhouse rockers as Journey and ASIA. Now, let’s switch gears a bit from the synthesizer-layered Progressive Rock scene to the sharper edge of the spectrum with Hard Rock.
When it comes to a behind-the-scenes review, the story of hard rockers Great White has many similarities to ASIA. Both bands experienced a turbulent split in their past, resulting in the parallel continuation of two distinct lineups. In 1992, ASIA’s vocalist John Wetton was replaced with the very capable John Payne. When the original lineup came back together in 2006, a contractual agreement was established to allow Payne’s band to continue as ASIA Featuring John Payne.
Great White release new album “Elation”
Similarly, Great White frontman Jack Russell, forced into hiatus due to serious medical complications, was replaced by former XYZ vocalist Terry Ilous in 2010. This was supposed to have been a temporary assignment for Ilous, but when Russell’s lengthy recovery led to his bandmates’ concerns over his reliance on prescribed pain killers, the group decided to make Ilous’ position as frontman permanent. Russell continues to fight this decision today, insisting that he alone owns the rights to the Great White name. The continuing court battle has not stopped the band from releasing their 30th anniversary album, however. While Russell continues to perform as Jack Russell’s Great White, the rest of the guys are on tour promoting “Elation”. Ilous’ voice has a similar tone to Russell’s, so the classics such as “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” lose nothing in a live performance. The level of refinement in the new frontman’s vocal skills, however, lends a fresh, modern feel to Great White’s traditional style.
The Cult give us a “Choice of Weapon” in 2012
Another 80′s icon in the sizzling realm of hard rock, The Cult have also fine-tuned their sound with modern production. None of the classic Cult sound has been lost in their new album, “Choice of Weapon”. Assisted by the infamous Bob Rock, the boys have put together a diverse collection of tracks which show a wealth of musical maturity without losing the lyrical poetics that fans have come to know. Frontman Ian Astbury delivers haunting, Doors-like refrains to skillful guitar riffs that frequently pay tribute to the styles of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi. Age has certainly not mellowed their sound. “Choice of Weapon” is The Cult as we’ve known it, deftly blending their punk rock beginnings with the hard rock style that led them to a 30-show, sold-out tour in 1999. As long as they can keep their tour bus from flying off the road again, expect to see The Cult at a venue near you.
Come back for part three of my series, wherein I grow my hair, splash on some makeup and Poison myself with some 80′s glam rock.