Reviews roundup – Status Quo vs. Demon’s Eye vs. The Marshall Tucker Band vs. Magenta

STATUS QUO Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits & More DVDSTATUS QUO
Accept No Substitute: The Definitive Hits & More DVD
Universal

You really wouldn’t think there would be anything left in the Status Quo archives, what with the plethora of releases over the years.  But you’d be wrong, as this lengthy trawl through the history of the Status Quo demonstrates.

You’ll need to set some time aside for this epic, as the double DVD set offers up 67, that’s sixty seven, promotional videos from throughout the years.  And that’s before you get to the meat in the sandwich. There are twenty four performances that haven’t been released before, with a ridiculous Beat Club session from Germany in 1970, that will raise eyebrows everywhere. It sees the Quo embarking on a 27 minute long, improvised performance of ‘Is It Really Me / Gotta Go Home’. It’s the band at their peak, during the transition from pop to rock, and is a must see for fans.

Add in eight tracks recorded at Wembley in 1996 anda further seven from their Download (aka Monsters of Rock) set in 2014, and you’ve got the perfect Christmas present for the Quo fan in your life.

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DEMON'S EYE featuring Doogie White Under The NeonDEMON’S EYE featuring Doogie White
Under The Neon
Winnerland

No-one was more surprised than me when, back in 2011, German Deep Purple tribute band Demon’s Eye got together with former Rainbow / current Michael Schenker vocalist Doogie White, to record an album of all original material.

The bigger surprise was just how good it was.  One of my favourite albums of the year, it resurrected the spirit of classic Rainbow, more than it did Purple, and was chock full of memorable tunes.  Well, knock me down with a flying Strat, but they’ve only gone and done it again.

Across the eleven tracks (thirteen if you buy it direct from the band), you’re treated to the sound of seventies classic rock, performed magnificently.  If you’re looking for that keyboard sound, rich guitar solos and some epic vocals, then you won’t go wrong with tracks like ‘Welcome To My World’, ‘Finest Moment’ and ‘Blood Red Sky’.  It may have lost the element of surprise that “The Stranger Within” brought, but it’s still essential listening for fans of the classic Rainbow / Deep Purple sound.

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THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND Live In The UK 1976THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND
Live In The UK 1976
Ramblin’ Records

Oh my.  I’m a huge fan of the MTB, but am far too young to have seen them perform in the UK.  It’s hard to believe that they once graced a stage a mere 40 miles away from me, with the classic lineup of Doug Gray, Toy and Tommy Caldwell, Jerry Eubanks, Paul Riddle and George McCorckle, but here’s the proof, as three of the tracks were recorded at the late, lamented Glasgow Apollo.

The “Long Hard Ride” album was hot off the presses, as they set out on their first overseas tour promoting their fifth album, but only the title track is performed here, with the rest of the album chock full of MTB classics like ‘Take The Highway’, ‘Searchin’ For A Rainbow’, Fire On The Mountain’ and ‘Can’t You See’.

The album doesn’t quite hold together, as it has tracks from all four of their UK shows in Glasgow, Birmingham, London and Manchester, and the sound quality dips here and there, but as a document of a great band, at their peak, this will do just fine.

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MAGENTA Songs For The DeadMAGENTA
Songs For The Dead
Cleopatra

Not to be confused with the UK progsters of the same name, this Magenta are of a far darker hue.

This Norwegian industrial meets alt meets metal combo are the lovechild of Vilde Lockert and Anders Odden, who have been working as Magenta for nigh on 20 years.  They’ve both done a lot of other things, with the latter especially well-known for his stints with Cadaver and Satyricon, amongst many others.

This is their sixth album, and if you like things dark, then this could be one for you.  The mixture of metal, electronic beats and mainstream pop sounds rarely works, but they seem to have the knack.  From the metallic ‘Im Paradisum’ and ‘All Year Long’ to the radio power ballad in waiting, ‘Die Young’, this is sheer quality.  Apart from, sadly enough, the lead single ‘Ghost’, which is by far the worst thing here.

However, there aren’t many albums where you will find guest vocals from Aleister Crowley and Pope Pius XII, so if you want a walk on the dark side, take a chance on this.

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