Hard Rock

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Hard rock, or heavy rock, is a genre of rock music which is tied in with heavy metal at several levels. The hard rock sound is typically characterized by heavily distorted guitars, potent riffage, and strong and solid drums which, along with the bass, constitute the rhythm section, while the vocals are often aggressive and draw primarily on expression, as hard rock vocalists often incorporate screams, wails, growls, raspiness and falsetto voice and other techniques that one rarely encounters in types of popular music outside of the rock music sphere. Hard rock is heavier, more aggressive and harsher than pop rock and many other types of rock music and is thus based on the same aesthetic as much heavy metal music is.

Hard rock emerged in the mid 1960s and early 1970s as musicians within various rock subgenres of that era (such as, for instance, blues rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, southern rock, boogie rock and garage rock among others) began experimenting with distortion, heaviness, intensity and aggression. The sound that such artists developed would eventually become the sound associated with heavy metal music in general, and the early hard rock sound is often considered identical to the proto-metal sound, and, at the time, the terms ‘hard rock’, ‘heavy rock’, and ‘heavy metal’ were synonymous.

As artists like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, and later Judas Priest, began to gradually move their music away from its blues roots and into darker territory, ‘heavy metal’ began to be used with reference to the type of music resulting from this darker and more intense type of rock music, while many other artists who contributed to the establishment of the proto-metal sound retained their blues influences, and also began incorporating other elements into their music, and by the 1980s, hard rock was generally considered more commercially oriented and more melodic than heavy metal music. The histories of hard rock and heavy metal remained intertwined, though, as many hard rock artists would often take their music into heavy metal territory and incorporate elements from various subtypes of heavy metal into their music, while heavy metal artists would continue to draw on influences from both contemporary and early hard rock. Also, many artists would experiment with both heavy metal music and hard rock, releasing albums and singles some of which fall under the hard rock rubric while others fall under the heavy metal rubric. In addition, several subgenres and movements in heavy metal have close associations with hard rock - for instance, many NWoBHM artists would extensively draw on hard rock (some even being more hard rock than heavy metal), while glam metal is often conflated with hard rock.

The term ‘hard rock’ is used in a number of different ways. Sometimes, it is used as an antonym of ‘soft rock’ which refers to pop rock, folk rock and other types of rock music which do not emphasize distorted guitars – this definition is very broad and includes any type of guitar-driven rock, not necessarily related to heavy metal music, including punk rock, grunge and even Brit pop. Another broad definition is the use of the term ‘hard rock’ with reference to heavy metal music in general, while a more specific use of the term is restricted to blues-based pentatonic rock music performed with intensity and heaviness on distorted guitars, thus excluding many artists who combine rock with elements from heavy metal. Another definition, which is the one that the MMA operates with, emphasizes the heaviness of hard rock compared to other types of rock music as well as its relation to metal, placing hard rock within the sphere of heavy metal music on the scale of heaviness and intensity underneath traditional heavy metal, but above other types of rock music. On this definition the ethos that characterizes heavy metal music in general, is applied to hard rock as well, thus largely excluding rock genres like punk rock and grunge rock (with exceptions, of course), as well as individual artists and releases whose sound cannot be said to bear any similarity to heavy metal music or to have any relation to heavy metal music at all. This definition cuts across rock music subgenres, and will thus include artists from, say, southern rock or AOR whose sound involves a considerable amount of heavy metal elements while excluding other southern rock or AOR artists that do not integrate heavy metal elements into their music.

Inclusive Hard Rock Genres

Heavy Psych Also known as Psychedelic Hard Rock or Hard Psych, heavy psych is a fusion genre between hard rock and psychedelic rock developed by acts such as Blue Cheer and Vanilla Fudge in the late 1960's. As such many early heavy psych acts can also be found under proto-metal on the MMA. Like with all hard rock on MMA, heavy psych acts are only included if they have been deemed to have a relevance to heavy metal music. Examples of later heavy psych acts include Blood Ceremony (whose work also leans into doom metal), Purson and Jess and the Ancient Ones.

Heavy Prog Also known as Progressive Hard Rock, heavy prog acts add a harder edge to their core progressive rock sound, which may or may not include metal elements as well, but are still primarily progressive rock artists. Like with all hard rock on MMA, heavy prog acts are only included if they have been deemed to have a relevance to heavy metal music, though as always this distinction need not apply to every release the artist has made. Examples of acts in the MMA database with heavy prog releases include Porcupine Tree, Arena and Touchstone.

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres (except Heavy Alternative Rock) & shared with Heavy Metal and Glam Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)


Biography written by Time Signature. The Inclusive Genre section written by adg211288.

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hard rock Music Reviews

BLACK STAR RIDERS The Killer Instinct

Album · 2015 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"The Killer Instinct" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US hard rock act Black Star Riders. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2015. There´s been one lineup change since the release of the band´s debut full-length studio album "All Hell Breaks Loose (2013)", as bassist Marco Mendoza has been replaced by Robbie Crane.

Stylistically there have been very few changes, as the material on "The Killer Instinct" pretty much continues down the melodic hard rock path of "All Hell Breaks Loose (2013)". It´s no surprise that the music often sounds a lot like Thin Lizzy as the lineup features quite a few members of the last touring lineup of that band which of course includes iconic Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham. Black Star Riders was founded to stand on it´s own two feet though, and they certainly do just that. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts and the album is graced with powerful organic playing throughout. Ricky Warwick is not the most distinct sounding vocalist on the scene, but his voice and passionate delivery perfectly suits the instrumental part of the music.

The material on the 10 track, 46:11 minutes long album are well written, catchy, and memorable. The album opens with the title track, and from there we are treated to one killer hard rock track after another. In addition to the strong title track, other highlights include "Bullet Blues", "Soldierstown", and the closing "You Little Liar". If the closing guitar solo on the latter doesn´t make you want to play air guitar, I´m not sure if anything ever will.

"The Killer Instinct" features a very well sounding production. It´s powerful, organic, and very detailed. Everything is perfectly audible in the mix. So upon conclusion "The Killer Instinct" is a high quality release by Black Star Riders. High level musicianship, effectful and memorable songwriting, and a powerful production are some of the great assets of the album. Another great asset is the way the band are able to combine a "feel good" rock´n´roll atmosphere with a touch of sweet longing melancholy. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

VAN HALEN Van Halen

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
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Unitron
In the world of guitar virtuoso's, several can obviously play with great technical skill, but few were able to master songwriting. This took away from their ability to appeal to more than just guitar nerds. I went through a brief phase of delving into that scene, but apart from the first couple Satriani and Malmsteen albums, it just doesn't hold up to a guy like me who just wants to enjoy some great music. The way to truly become one of the greatest guitarists of all time to the ears of many music lovers, is to not only master your craft in a technical sense, but also master songwriting and be a true team player in a band where each member has equal importance and never outshines another.

This is what made the original lineup of Van Halen such legends and Eddie Van Halen one of rock and metal's most celebrated guitarists. The band had pure chemistry, with each member being a master in their field. David Lee Roth sings with so much exuberance and charisma that few other frontmen have been able to match. Eddie Van Halen plays fantastic melodies, hooks, and solos that always fit into the song. Michael Anthony's bass thumps, pops, and stands out in a way that is usually only reserved for funk bassists, and Alex Van Halen's drumming is rambunctious, driving, and along with the bass makes for an incredibly energetic rhythm section.

Van Halen's debut set the blueprint for future Van Halen albums, with the band taking their songwriting even into the organization of tracks making it all fit together perfectly. The guitar solo track Eruption could easily just come across as showing off with any other band, but it sounds great between the two classics that bookend it. Ice Cream Man, while good, wouldn't make a good ending. That's why On Fire follows as a fittingly fiery encore with some fantastic frantic and anxious sounding melodies.

Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love's opening melody is one of the most iconic in rock and metal, and never gets old no matter how many times you hear it. I'm the One's Doo-Wop bridge screams with personality and what other band could make it blend perfectly with roaring heavy metal? The moody Little Dreamer with its heavy bass kind of reminds me of Budgie. Even with all these highlights, Atomic Punk's always been my personal favorite. There's just so much attitude with one of the band's most commanding performances.

Van Halen's debut is simply a legend, and while I think Women and Children First and Fair Warning are my personal favorite albums from them, this isn't far behind at all. It's an iconic album that, along with the following few albums, shows how important band chemistry is to creating an awesome winning sound. The band may be called Van Halen, but each member is an absolute star here.

VAN HALEN Women And Children First

Album · 1980 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
VAN HALEN experienced a phenomenally fast rise to the top after the release of the debut album in 1978. The combo effect of David Lee Roth’s charismatic vaudeville laced frontman antics in tandem with Eddie Van Halen’s pyrotechnic guitar wizardry was enough to give the world of hard rock and heavy metal a much needed kick in the ass and as a result the band quickly ascended to top dog status. The band toured extensively and then dropped the sophomore album “Van Halen II” only a year later but round two failed to catch the magic of the debut. The sophomore slump could’ve been interpreted as VAN HALEN falling from grace as quickly as it arose from nowhere but all those fears were put to rest when the band released its third album WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST on March 26, 1980. 


After two unapologetic party rocker albums VAN HALEN decided to move on a bit and solidify its rather scattered musical approach and as a result VH focused on a sound that firmly cemented them in the world of the 80s heavy metal scene with much more emphasis on rowdy metal rockers that emphasized fast tempos, sizzling guitar antics and strong rhythmic drives accompanied by Roth’s already flamboyant singing style. One could even say the album was a bit more serious although VAN HALEN was never known for its philosophical meanderings into existential quandaries. The more focused approach was also matched by the band’s first album of all original material which yielded two of the band’s best classic tracks that were concert draws for years including “And The Cradle Will Rock” and “Everybody Wants Some.”

Ted Templeton once again sat in as producer and while WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST failed to produce any hit singles as had the first two albums, the band’s unrelenting heavy rock approach made them a successful album oriented band that became very popular in arena sized concerts. The leading track “And The Cradle Will Rock” began with a phase-shifting Wurlitzer electric piano masquerading as a guitar effect debuted Eddie’s fascination with keyboard tricks which would culminate with heavy synth use on “1984.” The track became one of the most beloved live songs of the band’s repertoire and equally popular was the jungle drum / vocal led “Everybody Wants Some!” which gleefully celebrated Roth’s sexual conquests which also showcased another VH trait, namely Roth reciting spoken word dialogue like a lustful teenager in a whorehouse.

While none of the album’s remaining tracks became FM radio classics like the first two, the entire album seriously rocks the house with tracks like “Fools” showcasing some of Eddie’s tasteful guitar antics ushering in a groovy bluesy guitar led riff with a bass stomp that allowed Eddie’s improv virtuosity to have a moment in the spotlight. While “Romeo Delight” takes things into even heavier metal territory with head banging guitar riffs and Hendrix-esque feedback it manages to keep that VH charm of mixing louder and softer dynamics. The true surprise comes from the brief instrumental “Tora! Tora!” with trippy synthesizer effects along with a Black Sabbath inspired doom metal riff accompanied by Eddie’s restless fret workouts. The track bleeds into “Loss Of Control” which keeps the metal pace going strong with an unusual song arrangement that showcases not only Eddie’s guitar techniques but unusual rhythmic cadences and lots of VH vocal tradeoffs. Somehow they keep the boogie-woogie underbelly in tact.

“Take Your Whiskey Home” finds Eddie in classic acoustic blues guitar form, a trick that would later be recycled for “Hot For Teacher” but turns into a heavy rock hard hitter that displays a bass line reminiscent of the “Running With The Devil” playbook. The track that started out acoustically and turned hard rock is followed by the all acoustic “Could This Be Magic?” which is the only track in the entire VH canon to feature a backing female vocalist however Nicolette Larson is practically drowned out by the rest of the band also belting out vocal harmonies. It’s also somewhat of a title track with the lyrics WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST appearing several times. The beautiful slide guitars and a rare appearance of Roth on acoustic guitar create a nice little respite from the heavy metal heft. It’s a beautifully melodic track which is followed by the final rocker “In A Simple Rhyme” which originally was supposed to connect to the ending to the beginning of the next album but that never happened.

This is my second favorite VAN HALEN after after the debut notable for its consistency and heaviness only punctuated by brief moments of slower paced acoustic parts. WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST pretty much stated that VAN HALEN was here to stay and went multi-platinum and ushered the band into the heavy metal 80s as one of the top acts of the day. It was also becoming clear that the egotistic frontman David Lee Roth was increasingly in conflict with the Van Halen brothers which led to serious tensions brewing in the band but due to the success the band was enjoying was always worked out in the end but after many decades since the band’s heyday it’s been revealed that Roth’s antics clashed big time with the brothers’ desire to steer the band in a different direction. There are many moments that are a sneak preview to Roth’s solo career and while he would split just a few years down the road, for this moment in time the chemistry and tension worked to everyone’s advantage. WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST is an outstanding classic hard rock / heavy metal album of the era.

VAN HALEN Van Halen II

Album · 1979 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
VAN HALEN scored immensely with its debut which hit the ground running in 1978 and electrified the hard rock world with David Lee Roth’s charismatic showmanship and Eddie Van Halen’s virtuosic guitar antics which reverberate into the modern era. While drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony may have been left out of the glittery flamboyance club, their strong rhythmic chops also helped propel VAN HALEN into superstardom virtually overnight. The band immediately went on a grueling tour and partied on like the end of the world was nigh but suddenly the realization came that the record company was expecting a followup and they wanted it sooner rather than later.

The result was the unremarkably titled VAN HALEN II which emerged less than a year after the debut as if the world would forget about this wildly energetic band if they had not pumped it out so quickly! While following in the footsteps of the multi-platinum debut, VAN HALEN II came across as the reject tracks from the earlier recording sessions. Having funneled their energy into touring and attracting a much larger international audience, the four VAN HALEN members seemed to have forsaken the songwriting process and crafted more direct simpler descendants of the sizzling powerhouses that graced the debut. Likewise the band was rushed to record and completed the album in less than a week and despite the massive success of the previous 12 months received even less money for production values. The result of all this was a far inferior second coming only saved by the energetic deliveries that showed the boyz in full action even when things were not ideal.

In many ways, VAN HALEN II is simply retreading what was successful on the first album. In the vein of the massively popular “You Really Got Me” came the Linda Ronstadt cover “You’re No Good” although song was actually written by Clint Ballard Jr first performed by Dee Dee Warwick in 1963. Likewise an instrumental wankfest guitar solo by Eddie appeared on “Spanish Fly” although this time he opted for a short acoustic Spanish guitar piece which was too little too late as the seventh track for full exploitation of Eddie’s pyrotechnic guitar wizardry which electrified a heavy metal planet in full gestation. The main gist of VAN HALEN II seems to have been to go for the pop rock jugular with catchy feel good sing-along songs with strong guitar hooks and a bit of heavy metal sizzle but overall no tracks really could capture the magic that made the debut so brilliant.

The album spawned two singles, “Dance The Night Away” and “Beautiful Girls” and along with the majority of tracks opted for a more chilled southern California beach party vibe over the wider spectrum of musical prowess present on the debut. While no tracks on VAN HALEN II are horrible and most are actually quite pleasant, the album clearly faltered in encompassing an album listening experience and instead sounds like a collection of leftovers that were gussied up a bit here and there for the sake of exploiting the band’s instant popularity for commercial purposes only, a common but sad trait of the world of record companies of another time. Despite the tamped down dynamics which offered a more even keel hard rock approach, VAN HALEN II rocketed up to #6 on the Billboard album charts even if the album came across as an addendum of the debut. The track “Dance The Night Away” even peaked at #15 on the Billboard singles charts.

While hardly VAN HALEN’s best effort, VAN HALEN II is nevertheless a fun little slice of late 70s hard rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously and after all it’s totally understandable that an exhausted and partied out group of characters were unable to perform given the immense pressure to due so. Yes, VAN HALEN experienced a sophomore slump but they would get back on track in time for the following year’s third release “Women And Children First” which would prove once and for all that VAN HALEN were no one trick pony and had the mojo to stick around for the long haul. True that VAN HALEN II is never my top pick if i get that itch to hear what made the band so unique but despite it’s rather ho hum track selection, it’s no throwaway either and could a VAN HALEN fan really exclude this one from their collection? I don’t think so!

CLUTCH Clutch

Album · 1995 · Stoner Rock
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Unitron
Clutch's self-titled album is a fantastic album and great transition from the aggressive sludge metal of their debut to the southern blues metal of The Elephant Riders, mixing both sounds and perfecting both. There's also psychedelic vibes and some great funky rhythms, it basically uses all elements of what Clutch's music has done and would do. Neil Fallon's vocals are still raw and gravelly, yet will sing melodic lines with those vocals as well sometimes a hip hop lyrical flow (Not quite rapping, but it's easy to hear the influence on a song like Texan Book of the Dead). The abstract lyrics are more easily heard, and are just as fantastic as the debut.

Songs like Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw, the bursting with energy Texan Book of the Dead, Escape from the Prison Planet, psychedelic Spacegrass, awesomely titled I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth, the funky and bluesy swagger of Tight Like That, and sludgy Animal Farm are all absolute favorite Clutch tracks of mine and show off how varied the album is.

hard rock movie reviews

KISS Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park

Movie · 1978 · Hard Rock
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Vim Fuego
KISS have long had a reputation for doing anything for a buck, and getting their name out in public. There are KISS coffins, er… sorry I mean KISS Kaskets, KISS cologne, KISS checkers, KISS Visa cards, and of course, the KISS comic books. Is it over-the-top tacky marketing of image over substance, or is it capitalism and market forces in action, and simply giving people what they want? With KISS, it’s an unclear mixture of both.

The Marvel Comics Super Special 1977 comic book saw Space Ace, the Demon, the Starchild, and the Catman battling villains Dr. Doom and Mephisto with their superpowers. The comic even has the band members’ blood mixed in with the ink. And so what does every comic book superhero want? A live action movie of course.

So the world got “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park”, which first aired on the NBC network on 28 October 1978.

It’s like an overlong live action episode of Scooby Doo, but without the stoner humour. The plot is a bit convoluted. KISS are playing a series of shows at an amusement park. However the park is inhabited by a mad scientist who is supposedly developing animatronic robots for the park. But of course, he’s mad and therefore evil, so he’s creating robots of real people. He creates a Demon Gene robot which smashes up the park. While the band are busy performing, another robot is sent to steal their talismans, from which their superpowers come. And then it starts to get silly and confusing…

There’s more than half an hour of snoozefest before there’s any “acting” from the band themselves. None of the four had any acting experience, and the stilted delivery of their dialogue shows. Originally, all Space Ace was scripted to say was “Ack!” When the real Ace found out, he threatened to pull out unless he got some more lines. After demanding more lines, Frehley also didn’t show for filming some days, so his stunt double filled in. Peter Criss’ Catman lines were mostly feline puns, and his voice ended up being overdubbed anyway, as he didn’t turn up for looping (re-recording lines in post-production), and his broad accent. Gene’s Demon voice ended up either a demonic roar or a Satanic hiss.

Despite all the cheap and nasty sets, effects, and costuming, the fight scenes are actually pretty entertaining. There’s a kung fu fight after one of the concerts onstage and in the empty arena, and there’s a great slapstick/comic book-style brawl against various classic horror movie monster robots. And of course, there’s the climactic KISS robots vs KISS superheroes fight in front of a crowd going wild.

There’s concert footage interspersed through the movie. These parts offer sweet relief from the hammy acting. It was a real concert at a real theme park, set up especially to be filmed for the movie. After the real concert, the band also lip synched several tracks for filming. As you’d expect from KISS, the live performances are flamboyant and over-the-top. Perhaps a more traditional concert movie would have been a better idea?

So how did it all turn out? It was a fucking disaster of course! KISS hated it. For years, after, it was forbidden to mention the movie to anyone in the band. Gene Simmons compared it to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, often considered the worst movie of all time.

Fans hated it. It got a worldwide release in theatres to a pretty tepid response. It was oddly popular in Australia, but this was probably because free tickets could be obtained by cutting 20 diamond shaped coupons from an ice confectionery cup called an "Icee" and pasting them onto a printed sheet.

KISS fans being what they are, eventually warmed to the movie. It slowly gained cult status, and was released on DVD as part of the “Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991” box set. It’s one of those movies you see to say that you’ve seen it, but won’t remember well, and definitely won’t remember for the right reasons. The thought of a second viewing is a brand new horror show all of it’s own…

DEEP PURPLE The Video Singles

Movie · 1987 · Hard Rock
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martindavey87
Don’t get me wrong, I love Deep Purple, and I really enjoy the songs on offer here, but these videos are all pretty hilariously bland and uninteresting, and sure reflections of the times and music genre. Besides that, this DVD is barely half an hour long, and comes with no extras, and all these videos are available on YouTube. Not even some additional chit chat between the videos. So there’s really no point in owning this unless you’re an OCD collector like me, who needs to own everything. And even then, it only takes up space.

But I’m a collector, and I only paid 50p for this. So why not?

THE WHO Quadrophenia: Live In London

Movie · 2014 · Hard Rock
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rdtprog
I was not sure before purchasing this DVD, if I was going to enjoy a live show with the complete double album of "Quadrophenia", because it was a long time ago that I listen to this album and if I remember, I didn't enjoy all the songs. Many years later, I didn't change my mind about this, there are some really good songs, like the title track, "Dr. Jimmy", "The Rock" and "Love Reign Over Me". The other tracks are not bad for what they are, good rock songs, but not as good as some songs of their entire discography. Fortunately, the show has some of those songs as bonus performance, including "Baba O'Riley", "Who are You" and "Won't get Fooled Again"

There's a lot of projections on the screen of the band from the old days. Nice touch to have included John Entwistle with a solo of one of his performance in the song "5:15". Not only you can see him on the screen, but you can actually hear his solo. In fact, his solo sounds more alive than the bass sound of the actual player Pino Palladino, who is rarely captured by the cameras and low in the mix. Also, during "Bell Boy", Keith Moon is singing on the screen.Those projections of the old days performances are only present in the "Quadrophenia" album and not in the bonus songs at the end. We have many musicians on the stage including horn players, Simon Townsend who signs like Pete in "Dirty Jobs". Also two keyboardists, but it's mostly the piano that we hear during this show.

It is easy to rate this, can't be 2 stars because it's not only for collectors, and can't be 4 stars because, that is not a progressive rock show. So it's a good 3 stars, nothing more. But those who enjoy "Quadrophenia" will have a ball with this DVD!

DEF LEPPARD Classic Albums: Hysteria

Movie · 2002 · Hard Rock
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progshine
The worst episode of all Classic Albums series (and I watched 25 of them)!

What is great about the series is that they explain track by track about the albums and show these tracks on a studio enviroment stripping them down and showing us details. Not here.

Hysteria have 12 tracks, but according to this documentary the album have only 7 tracks, and half of it the only feature on the movie is some video or live footage of the song, sometimes the band says 3 words about it though.

As I said, this series is supposed to go deep into Classic albums in the history of music and tell their secrets and details, and most of times they do an excellent job. Not here.

Not to mention that Hysteria might have sold 12 million copies but this is not a classic album at all, just a popular one in 1987. And we know this story in Pop music, right?

RUSH Replay X 3

Movie · 2006 · Hard Rock
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AtomicCrimsonRush
"Replay X3" is a terrific box set of the 3 earlier Rush VHS concerts and it has been mastered to provide great picture though not all widescreen unfortunately. The sound is excellent without any noteable dropout unlike the VHS antiques. The packaging is excellent, booklets included and all original art prints on the seperate covers. There is also a bonus CD of Grace Under Pressure which is worthwhile.

DVD 1 is Exit...Stage Left, a 1 hour concert from the early years or Rushtory when they had long hair, and features a strong setlist with the likes of Limelight, Tom Sawyer, and a rare appearance of the brilliant Xanadu. The usual suspects are here such as the wonderful Red Barchetta and quintessential Freewill along with lighters in the air stalwart crowd pleaser Closer To The Heart. It is always great to see them having fun with the instrumental YYZ and a real treat is to hear the medley at the end with By-Tor And The Snow Dog, In The End, In The Mood and 2112 edited together masterfully. The VHS or DVD delivers what it promises, Rush in their hey day with great quality sound and editing. The band look young of course and jump around a lot more and there were no signs of chicken rotisseries or clothes dryers back then, but a heck of a lot of lighting and laser effects more than makes up for it. The concert also comes with a lot of interview footage and voice overs between songs, and some footage of the band backstage while the songs play and that is a treat compared to the usual straight concert footage. Too short but quite sweet. A real blast from the past that will please Rushaholics.

DVD 2 is Grace Under Pressure, another of the earlier concert performances of Rush running for about an hour with a lot of songs from "Grace Under Pressure" of course and it is nice to hear these. It begins with a glorious opening with The Spirit Of Radio, and a noticeable glowing effect on the band especially the white shirts, as if Vaseline had been rubbed on the lens. This is the 80s and this effect was prominent on film clips of artists such as Nik Kershaw and Dire Straits or Duran Duran. It looks kind of weird on Rush as they were never pretty video boys. Unfortunately the fuzzy effect is prevalent throughout the recording, and it kind of annoys me, especially the way the bright lights phase over constantly. Lifeson wears a white sports jacket looking like the mad scientist of metal, Peart has a white T and red cap that he loses later, and Lee wears grey suit jacket and white T. The hair dos are 80s personified; Peart has a rat tail, Lee has a mullet and Lifeson has a Flock of Seagulls quiff. Oh well, it is what it is. The music is brilliant.

The Enemy Within is rarely heard live but sparked my memory and it's a great song. The Weapon is always fantastic, one of my favourites, and it begins with a Dracula character on screen telling people to put on their 3D glasses. Witch Hunt begins with a screening of a bunch of cultists burning books with torches. It is a great song from "Moving Pictures" recently heard in the Time Machine concerts. Lee's vocals are excellent throughout and the guitars are incredible. New World Man is another one rarely heard live recently and it is OK though not one of the better tracks from "Signals". Synths are heard here though no one seems to be playing them, so I suspect some recorded music was used. It was the age of the video clip and a clip is shown of some animation and a boy looking up to see a huge airship in the sky. Distant Early Warning follows and it is a great song from GUP, that has become a concert favourite. The clip shows the boy riding a missile and the laser light show follows.

Red Sector A is an awesome song and I loved hearing it on this DVD again, with one of the strongest melodies of the Rush catalogue. The laser show looks great here. The lyrics by Lee are terrific and when Lee sings "smoking gun" a massive explosion goes off causing the crowd to roar. The lyrics are actually based on family experience and is a homage to his mother and father that survived the holocaust. Though Lee re wrote the lyrics to have a broader perspective that it may apply to any holocaust like situation such as Rwanda. Closer To The Heart is always a crowd pleaser and the crowd know it well enough to drown out some of Lee's vocals. There were no mobile phones back then but plenty of lighters go up in the air.

The obligatory medley is here with a terrific merging of some classics, YYZ, Temples Of Syrinx, and Tom Sawyer. During YYZ the crowd are obsessed with air drumming throughout. Tom Sawyer features the Moving Pictures animation on the screen. It is nice to hear Lee be able to reach those high notes too in the chorus.

Vital Signs is one I have not seen live on other concerts till the "Moving Pictures" live concerts of recent years. When Lee takes off his jacket his white T glows like the rest of the band's halos. It is a weird effect really and perhaps the worse part of the DVD. It ends with Finding My Way and In The Mood, from the earliest album. it is a great crowd participation song with the crowd visible throughout, a guy even lights up a pipe at one stage. Overall, this is a great snippet of songs from the Rush 80s years, worth checking out for certain even if for nostalgia if nothing else.

DVD 3 is A Show Of Hands, a 90 minutes concert experience and as such way better than the previous DVDs available, namely "Exit Stage Left" and "Grace Under Pressure". It is excellent also due to the use of animations on the big screen and the overall setlist. The songs are from "Hold Your Fire" mostly and I believe they are better heard live than on that album so that is a drawcard of this particular DVD. It also has a very solid quality sound throughout and the band look great and have heaps of fun. From "Hold Your Fire" the songs appear, Mission, Prime Mover, Force Ten, and Turn The Page so there is a lot from their latest at the time.

Closer To The Heart is always present of course along with quintessential Tom Sawyer, and The Spirit of Radio. I always love to hear the magnificent Red Sector A and hard rocking Force Ten, and it was great to see them play Mission, another one rarely heard live on these DVDs.

Marathon, Territories and The Big Money from "Power Windows" are good rockers for the crowd to get into. The drum solo by Peart is terrific, with his vibes section and patented cymbal jazz splashes along with some incredible triplet work though his drums are still stationary in this era, and not as many.

The concert ends with a brilliant medley 2112, The Temples Of Syrinx, La Villa Strangiato and In The Mood. Overall a strong concert, one of the best live documents of the band and worth getting hold of above the rest.

The Grace Under Pressure Bonus CD, is a previously unreleased audio from the newly remastered Grace Under Pressure concert soundtrack and it is a fantastic Rush sound.

"Replay x3" is definitely worth getting as it houses 3 very good concerts of the early years and these are only available now with this set released in 2006.

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