Known Johnson

June 19, 2006

Overlooked Alternatives: new releases for June 20, 2006

Filed under: Music,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 11:21 pm

This is a cool and varied week of releases. Let’s get right to it:

Queensryche – Operation: Mindcrime (Deluxe Edition): One can only assume that Capitol Records is using the recent release of the dreadfully dull and pointless sequel to Mindcrime as a reason for this lavish 3-disc offering being released this year – 19 years after it hit the markets – rather than next year when it would be a milestone 20th anniversary. Whatever the case may be, this is a reissue not to be missed by fans of the album. What you get is a gorgeous new package – a big book in a slipcase, the remaster of a few years back (with bonus tracks intact,) a DVD of the long out of print Video: Mindcrime, and the big deal here for fans, a live recording of the original Mindcrime that is not sourced from the notoriously thin, lifeless material used for the LiveCrime VHS/CD boxset. Nope, this is a previously unreleased concert from the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England, Nov. 15, 1990 that promises to be pretty good. Honestly, it can’t be much worse than LiveCrime. Mindcrime, one of the greatest concept albums of all time (maybe THE greatest concept album of all time – yep, I said it,) deserves better treatment than it got with LiveCrime.

Bruce Dickinson – Anthology (DVD): A simple title for a very impressive release – three DVDs packed full of previously nearly impossible to get Dickinson material. Sure, you know the dude from years of fronting the greatest metal band of all time, Iron Maiden, but have you made yourself familiar with his incredible solo career? Now’s a great time! Just last year he released his entire back catalog with bonus discs for nearly all albums, plus another killer album – they’re all worth your time, and they’re all better than anything Iron Maiden did in the 90s, I’m afraid to say.

This DVD set is probably not the best place for new fans to start, however – this is clearly aimed at long time fans. You know the type – the ones who hover over Ebay auctions of obscure old videotapes and pay exorbitant amounts for things. This is aimed directly at them to save them so money. So what’s on it? One disc bears the weight of two long sought-after VHS catalog entries – Dive Dive Live, which documents Bruce’s first solo tour, and Skunkworks Live, cleverly titled and shot live on the tour in support of that album. That would be enough for me right there, but disc two contains Scream for Me Brazil, which is a later solo period show. But that’s still not all – there’s another disc compiling all of Bruce’s solo videos (minus his latest album, Tyranny of Souls, sadly – why, I don’t know, so don’t ask me) plus some various other footage. But don’t trust me – Blogcritics’ Chris Beaumont has a great in-depth review of this monstrous (and amazingly cheap) package.

Pearl Jam Live at Easy Street: I was all prepared to write this up with no link to Amazon for this, because all the hype I’d read about this kept saying how this was going to only be released to indie stores, no big chains, etc. Well, joke’s on me, Amazon’s got their mitts on this thing somehow, so you won’t have to go deal with all the indie kids and their piercings and attitudes as they scoff at you buying lowly Pearl Jam EP like this. And what is it? It’s a little 7-song live album/EP/whatever recorded a short time after their stunningly great new self-titled album was released at a record store called, you guessed it, “Easy Street.”

Counting Crows – New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall February 6, 2003: I know what some of you are thinking, “Hey, is anything new this week?” Well, yes, but this is not one of those things. I wish I knew why the Counting Crows are releasing this concert now, three years later, but I just don’t. They are, and that’s the simple truth of it. Deal with it and let’s move on. If you opt to pick this one up, you might want to head to your nearest Best Buy, as their giant, shiny gears of mercenary merchandising machinery have managed to crush the competition once again by snatching up an exclusive bonus track of some kind for their version of this release. What this is, there’s no telling until you get this in your hands.

Front Line Assembly – Artificial Soldier: Ah, there it is, one actual new release. At least that I’m covering. There are others, I know, but I have to focus on something, so let’s just let it be the things that piqued my interest. This is one of those things.

I’ve been following Front Line Assembly since the industrial revolution hit music in the mid-90s. I can’t say I’m a die-hard, but every album, I find myself picking it up out of curiosity and I’m almost always surprised at how much more mature it is than I was expecting. Industrial’s just not a genre that tends to age with me very well, I have found – it began to sound more and more ridiculous the older I got, for the most part, but there’s a grand, cinematic quality to FLA’s music that keeps me intrigued enough to keep coming back for more. So colore me intrigued, again, at another Front Line Assembly album.



  1. I remember when you wrote about this for BC. I just picked up a used copy of QR’s Mindcrime At The Moore (cool venue in Seattle, btw). It has re-awakened my QR interest. I never did buy this deluxe edition. Do you still like it? How is the live show?

    I used to really like the Livecrime set. I guess I hadn’t listened to it in a million years but I did like listening to it way back when. Go figure.

    Comment by Josh Hathaway — July 9, 2008 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

  2. It’s funny, I saw you mention Mindcrime at the Moore at CoaF and it made me remember I’ve got the DVD set at home, unwatched – it’s been sitting there for ages. I need to watch that. I still don’t like MCII, but I’ll watch it.

    As for this, I did pick it up, and it’s worth it for the the live disc and Video Mindcrime – those videos are cool. (The Mindcrime album remaster is terrible, unfortunately, but it’s the same one that’s been available separately for years. Stick with the original.) It’s still not a great sounding live recording, so I’m going to have to assume that the fault lies in how they were actually running their sound at the time and not in the actual recording. It’s just a weird sound, but it IS better sounding than LiveCrime. I actually think this newer release is a better performance overall, partially because it’s what most of us actually saw on that tour – no guest vocals, etc. (Pamela Moore is presented via tapes.) I’m going to have to put this on the Ipod to listen to tomorrow . . . got me interested again. Cool!

    Comment by Tom — July 9, 2008 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  3. I found a 2-CD version of this (the album and the live sans the DVD) and went ahead and picked it up because I know how often I watch the bonus DVDs that come with these things. I listened to the live disc today and it’s good, probably better than Livecrime. The performances are pretty even to me. I’ve now got two complete live Mindcrime performances and one of them is a single show recording, so I’m pretty happy.

    Moore is okay. The recording sound is not that great- too much static to my ears. Tate can hit more of the notes than you might think, but he’s certainly lost a little. I like it, I like that the full saga is presented, but they didn’t quite nail it for me. I’d kind of like to check it out on DVD to see the visuals they did with that run.

    I also listened to O:M II this morning. I don’t dislike it. There are a couple of good songs in that set. Like most sequels it pales in comparison to the original but it’s not as bad as some people have made it out to be.

    Comment by Josh Hathaway — July 10, 2008 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  4. Aw, that’s disappointing. Maybe the DVD has better sound? I’m curious now. I may have to queue this up this weekend.

    You’re right – the Video Mindcrime DVD is not something I’ll watch often, but it was one of those things I pined for every once in a while. I regretted getting rid of the videotape long, long ago, but since our VCR isn’t even hooked up, that doesn’t matter much now. At the time this came out, I think the price on the 3-disc set was actually cheaper than the two-disc set, making it a no-brainer.

    For a KILLER live representation of this band, I have a pretty stunning bootleg of a Japanese show on the Promised Land tour. Great performance, great sound. I will have to send a copy of this your way (yes, along with that Petty show I keep promising – I WILL get that to you soon, seriously.) It’s better than any other live thing the band has officially released.

    OM2 is just so unnecessary. There were a few good tracks in the early part of the set, but the second half, if I remember correctly, completely falls flat. I just don’t understand why the story needed to be continued. I seem to recall interviews from the era where the band said the OM story was self-contained and needed no further exposition, so to pick it up today makes no sense. And when Dio comes in . . . I love Dio, man, what a voice, but that was practically laughable. And the ghost of Mary . . . ach, I just don’t see the need for any of this. There are just times when you should just leave things well enough alone. This is one of them. But if they can maintain the same spirit from what did work on OM2 in some new stuff, great – they might pull off a strong album. This coming from someone who actually likes Tribe a lot and has developed a soft spot for the stupidly titled Q2K, so down a grain of salt . . .

    Comment by Tom — July 10, 2008 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

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