Reviews January/01

Big Country / Come up Screaming / SPV 085-71062 CD


Big Country - Come Up Screaming Tracklisting:CD 1: Harvest Home; King of Emotion; Driving to Damascus; John Waynes Dream; The Storm; Where the Rose is sown; Come back to me; Somebody else; Dive in to me; Look away; You Dreamer; Your Spirit to me.
CD 2: The President slipped and fell; Lost Patrol;; 13 Valleys; Inwards; Wonderland; We're not in Kansas; Porroh Man; Chance; In a Big Country; Fields of Fire.

Big Country is no more - the final chord has been taken. But Stuart Adamson & Co. can look back on a long and glorious career starting way back in 1983.
This album was recorded during the tour that supported the last studio album "Driving to Damascus" - in fact it is produced by Rafe McKennea, who had made his name with acts like Ten and Bob Catley.
The Scottish four-some featuring original members Stuart Adamsom on guitar and vocals, Mark Brzezicki on drums and backing vocals, Tony Butler on bass and backing vocals and Bruce Watson on guitar and mandolin has (almost) always sticked to their roots. The lyrics was inspired of stories of the past and Celtic mysticism and the music has always been big, proud, pompous and very unique in the way Adamsom and Watson manages to let their guitars sound like back pipes. The only "downer" I could remember in my record collection is "Piece in our Time" from 1988 - that was too mainstream for my taste.
ut here they have recorded the bast of the best tracks through the years: "Look away", "Dive in to me", and... and...
My favourites and (acording to the applauses on the CD) the general audience too, are the ultimate Big Country stadium rockers "In a Big Country" and "Fields of Fire" - the two tracks that made Big Country a big band in Great Britain as well as in the USA and made their debut album become Record of the Year elected by the music magazine Sounds back in 1983.
I would like to say "Thank you, for such great musical experiences and good luck in the future"!

Double Dealer / Double Dealer / CD0085-41432


Double Dealer! Tracklisting:The long Way Road; Pandora's Box; The Enemy; Deep blue Sky; Primitive Live; Inner Voice; Too young and vane; Look at your face; Leave as it is now; Raise your Fist; Fire Drake.

This is the debut album from Japanese melodic power metal outfit called Double Dealer. But the musicians on the album are no strangers to the melodic metal scene. Main characters in the project are Concerto Moon guitarist Norifumi Shima and Saber Tiger vocalist Takenori Shimoyama.
But - what started out as a solo record for Shima turned out to be a project featuring other members of the two mentioned groups and on the album the bass is handled by Kohsaku Mitani (Concerto Moon), keyboards by Toshiyuki Koike (Concerto Moon) and drums by Yoshio Isoda (Saber Tiger), with a guest star appearence by Joe Lynn Turner axe man Akira Kajiyama on the hidden track "Fire Drake".
The players are all unknown to me but according to the press info they have been a part of the very big Japanese melodic power metal scene for years. And their main idols are classic rock/metal stars like Blackmore, Dio; Gillan and Emerson/Lake/Palmer - but also acts like Malsteen, Royal Hunt or even Uli Jon Roth must be sources to inspiration.
Outstanding track are the grand "Inner voice" that reminds me of Malmsteen in a mood for ballads. But also the fast opener "The long Way Road" with its powerful speed and technically brilliant guitar solo. The album ends with the powerful "statement" "Raise your Fist" and is very fitting for such a powerful metal album.
The future looks bright for this outfit - and maybe they will actually be band and not just a project, rumours are that they will soon begin to work together on their second album.

Mob Rules / Temple of Two Suns / CD 085-41422


Mob Rules! Tracklisting: The Temple Fanfare; Pilot of Earth; Outer Space; Celebration Day; Flag of Life; Unknown Man; Hold on; Evolution's falling; Inside the Fire; Eyes of all young; Hold on.

Mob Rules was in 1999 called "... the most talented German newcomer since Helloween and Blind Guardian" at that time their debut "Savage Land" was released and gave them a lot of attention on the European melodic power metal market.
"Temple of two Suns" is the second album the German quintet has recorded - this time under the aegis of Sascha Paeth (Rhapsody, Angra, Kamelot). And the production allows high speed tracks like "Pilot of "Earth", "Outer Space" and "Eyes of all young" goes hand in hand with hymn-like midtempo tracks like "Celebration Day" which reminds me of Savatage - as well as a sensitive ballad primarily based on vocals and piano "Hold on".
The band line up features Klaus Dirks on vocals, Oliver Fuhlhage on guitar, Matthias Mineur on guitar, Thorsten Plorin on bass and Arved Mannott on drums with guest appearences by Sascha Onnen keyboards, Thomas Rettke (Heavens Gate) ans Susanne Möhle (Heavens Gate, Hyper Child).
The tracks on the album tell the sory on a new society popping up after a nuclear war. The society's centre is the old Aztec temple in a mysterious valley and is not only the political focalpoint of the state, but also the centre of sacred rituals and celebrations - exciting.
After their succesfull tour in 1999 with Overkill, Scorpions and Ivory Tower the band will hopefully continue touring spring 2001!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2001