The Best New Rock Album Releases This Week
Metallica, R.E.M. and Soundgarden are among the best new rock album releases you can pick up later this week
Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct
"First impression: fantastic sleeve. Brooklyn-based high-art photography duo Herring & Herring have transformed Metallica into garish, multi-coloured, face-twisting demons, like living Francis Bacon paintings. It’s arguably their best album cover ever. Inside, however, the results are more mixed. Where Rubin pushed the band to revisit their hyper-maximalist 80s thrash roots, with mostly fruitful results, here it’s a more uneven mix. Hardwired is an 88-minute double album that spends too long in Metallica’s latter-day comfort zone of mid-tempo power-grind and cartoonishly macabre lyrics, and much of it feels conservative and uninspired. But all is not lost; there is plenty to savour too." Read the full review here.
Jethro Tull - Stand Up: The Elevated Edition
"Originally released in August 1969, Stand Up, Jethro Tull’s second album, was their first with guitarist Martin Barre, in for the departed Mick Abrahams. In many ways it was also the blueprint for the classic Tull sound, signalling a shift from stodgy blues rock to a voyaging form of progressive folk, full of Celtic flavours, classicism and Ian Anderson’s animated flute lines." Read the full review here.
The Levellers - Levelling The Land: 25th Anniversary Edition
"While it’s always been easy to sneer at the earnestness of The Levellers, the band themselves possessed enough self-awareness when they sang, ‘And all the problems of this world won’t be solved with this guitar.’ Yet that said, it’s difficult to ignore the evidence that The Levellers veer wildly from hopeless naivety to righteous outrage." Read the full review here.
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger reissue
"No one likes an anniversary more than the music industry, and this year is the 25th birthday of grunge, arguably the last great revolution in rock. Of course, the sound and style attributed to the Seattle scene had been bubbling under for several years, but 1991 is often taken as the moment when things reached critical mass and the world was forced to take notice in a paradigm-shifting way. Right up there with Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten was Soundgarden’s quantum leap into the big league, their third album and follow-up to Louder Than Love." Read the full review here.
R.E.M. - Out Of Time reissue
"For long-haul fans of R.E.M., 1991’s Out Of Time was something of a sideswipe. Gone was the cryptic murk and slanted oddness that had defined much of their 80s output, replaced instead by bouncy white funk, guest rappers and bright, rootsy melodies. This new-found uplift chimed with the wider public, the huge success of ubiquitous single Losing My Religion turning R.E.M. from alt-rock avatars into mainstream heroes as Out Of Time sold over four million copies in the US alone." Read the full review here.
The Who - My Generation reissue
"The latest in a long line of expanded editions sees the album’s original running time of 36 minutes padded out to just short of four hours, courtesy of alternative takes, a deluge of bonus tracks and various mono and stereo mixes. Rather than some overloaded folly, however, it instead affords us the chance to see Townshend’s songwriting in tentative gestation." Read the full review here.