I recently picked up the latest release'Acoustica' from the Scorpions on import. I have been very curious about this release. What you have in this album is a live acoustic set similar to Tesla's 'Five man acoustical jam'. There are a few new tracks, some cover tunes, and the old classics that the fans will expect. Now I'm not normally a huge fan of this type of thing, but this album turned out to be a very fun listen. The set opens with an acoustic version of 'The Zoo' and rolls right along with other classics like 'Holiday', 'Send me an Angel', 'Wind of change', 'Still loving you', and an updated version of 'Rock you like a Hurricane' titled 'Hurricane 2001'. The cover tunes are fun. You have the Kansas classic 'Dust in the Wind' and a tribute to the late Benjamin Orr of The Cars with 'Drive'. Both are done well and are instantly recognizable. The band carry well as usual from the live perspective. The band recorded live in Lisbon, Portugal. The new material is what you would expect from the band. Melodic and instantly memorable. I think the band was tasteful in their track selection and really picked the music tha would work best in the acoustic environment.
This is a fun release and has been getting some spin time in the deck. The band has been releasing some interesting music in the past few years and I have enjoyed most of it. Now with this release having been out for a bit now, I really would like the band to come out with something in the vein of 'Blackout'. Something that I know the band is capable of. 'Acoustica' is a good in between album and hopefully this release will see a domestic release soon!
Under-Radio is the new band and album featuring guitarist Eric Zimmerman who studied under none other than Dream Theater's John Petrucci. Also featured on the release are Matt Bissonette, Mark Zonder, Mark Valerio, Chris Howard, and vocalist Robbie Wyckoff. To sum up the sound of the album, it sounds progressive with a lot of edge 'Acrobat' opens and makes that case right away. Wyckoff's vocals on the album remind me a bit of Glenn Hughes in some ways. He comes across well. Continuing the trend set in 'Acrobat' is 'Spinning Wheels'. Erratic drumbeats and chunky rhythms once again show the consistency of the material. There is a good deal of atmosphere on the album in tracks like the acoustic 'How was the Funeral?', the powerful sounding 'Lifeline', and 'Drinking Blood' that has some very cool arrangements and closes the album in fine fashion. Most of the music just flat out rocks. You can really tell when a guitarist is influencing the writing structure. The guitar playing smokes. Eric doesn't come across as a noodler, but instead shows good discipline in putting things where they elong and sound write which makes the album enjoyable instead of a big showoff session. Not really a weak track on the disc in my opinion.
Under-Radio is a band I wasn't really familiar with, but found quite impressive. The listen is quite unique. The sound is intense but has a technical aspect that you hear in more polished progressive metal. The album sounds like a lot of effort went in with an outstanding end result. For those looking for a routine formula that has been used for ages, this may not be it. For those who appreciate innovation in songwriting and an artist who dares to be a bit more dangerous, spin this disc. I found it to be one of the years surprises!