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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Tipton, Entwhistle & Powell

Edge of the World

Review by Gary Hill

When Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest first set out to record a solo album he worked predominantly with John Entwhistle (The Who) and Cozy Powell (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Emerson Lake and Powell and seemingly a million other bands). Well, after the disc was done, the label nixed its release. Tipton went on to produce Baptizm of Fire and this one sat unreleased. Well, now he's managed to get the disc out there, and considering that both of his cohorts in musical crime have since passed away, it seems that this makes for a good, if not great, tribute to them both. There is some very good material here, it's just not at the level of creative uniqueness that one might expect from three such talented people. It's a bit too generic throughout most of the disc. Still, only one track really is a total loss. All the rest have some redeeming qualities, and many are down right good. I suppose the people who would like this best are fans of such groups as Bon Jovi and other '80's hair metal bands. They would certainly feel at home here as much of this CD follows that kind of formula. In addition to the trio of musicians whose names grace the front cover, Don Airey (Ozzy, Rainbow) provides keyboards. Neil Murray provides additional bass on one track.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Unknown Soldier
This is just a short mysterious sounding keyboard dominated cut that serves as an intro to the next piece. It feels just a bit like "Epitaph" from Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny album.


Friendly Fire
The cut stomps out from the introductory one with a tasty riff before turning into a chorus that has an almost Beatles go metal approach. The guitar solo section here is quite tasty. The whole song is good, but there just seems to be a bit of flair lacking to keep it out of the "great" category. This is actually pretty dynamic, moving through several changes, some more effective than others. The guitar solo jam later is pretty awesome, though, and makes up for anything missing from the rest of the piece. I'd have to say that the metal portions of this one feel more like mid-era Black Sabbath than Judas Priest, though.

The Holy Man
The keyboard intro on this one, while a bit mysterious in texture, calls to mind '80's hair metal just a bit too much. Still, when the vocals come across for the first verse it's less in that mode. This part isn't great, but it's definitely not in that much maligned genre. A ballad-like (almost Bon Jovi-ish) guitar texture comes in for the next verses. The vocals definitely tend to get lost in the mix in that section. It jumps in after this, though, to a killer hard rocking segment that makes up for the previous sections. I don't think I'd call most of this heavy metal, but it does rock out quite nicely and is an effective jam. There are moments in the guitar solo section that remind me of Judas Priest's "The Sinner." They drop it back to a stripped down segment afterwards that doesn't do a lot for me, though.
Never Say Die
This one comes in with an over layer that is straight out of The Who's "Baba O'Riley." After a verse over a fairly stripped down progression this jumps up to a hard rocking fury. This one is fairly solid, just not really a standout. The guitar solo section does have a good amount of scorch factor, though. Later this seems like a Lick It Up era Kiss cut with a touch of Rainbow thrown in.

Resolution
Feeling a bit like the Sammy Hagar song from the Heavy Metal soundtrack on the opening riff, as it drops back to the more stripped down segment this feels quite a bit like Judas Priest from Defenders of the Faith or another album from that era. The chorus, though, is way too generic to do any good for this one. Still, when it shifts to a slower grind, this is just plain awesome. This section definitely makes up for any weakness in the rest of the track. I also like the Zeppelin-like segment that follows that directly. It seems like that linking segment revitalized the guys to come back in with more passion and power for the rest of the track. I especially like the crunchy extended jam that serves as the outro.

Searching
An acoustic guitar starts this one in balladic fashion, as keys join this feels a bit like a prog rock song, still in that ballad mode. This grows very slowly, just becoming more lush and evocative as it carries forward. The chorus is in a strummed mode that is more rock oriented, but still completely acoustic in its texture. Tipton puts in a short tasty bit of acoustic soloing after this chorus. And then the song is back on its same pattern with just a bit more energy. This one really would fit on just about any prog rock album as the ballad. It's pretty and a nice change of pace. While I wouldn't say this is my favorite cut here, it is one of the most consistent.
Give Blood
The intro on this one has a really odd keyboard texture, energetic, but just plain strange. As it cuts into the song proper it's very much a standard '80's metal rocker like Bon Jovi or Warrant and their ilk. While this cut is still entertaining it's way too formulaic and easily the loser of the disc.
Crime of Passion
This acoustic based rocker feels a bit like an Ozzy ballad. The chorus, though, is way too trite. Still, as the cut powers up into more metal territory Tipton throws in a smoking solo that saves this one from mediocrity.
Walls Cave In
Keys start this one, then an acoustic guitar joins and they run through for a time to make up the intro. As the cut shifts to electric the riff is exceptionally tasty and moves through a couple of variations. It drops to a very stripped down segment for the verse, but the anthemic chorus is followed by some very tasty jamming. While this track suffers from a bit of that generic texture, touches like the purely screaming Priest-like instrumental section keep this one in the "very good" category.
Edge of the World
A killer metal intro gives way to a more ballad-like approach that has a bit of prog metal texture. As they power it out the generic sounds return, but this is still very tasty, feeling perhaps like some of the most dramatic music from Whitesnake. An alternate segment later has a psychedelic rock goes metal motif in both the music and the lyrics. This anthemic rocker is actually one of my favorites on show here.
Stronger Than The Drug
Stomping in with a gritty hard rocking texture, the intro segment feels quite punk oriented. As it shifts into the verse, though, it is another that calls to mind Whitesnake a bit. I also feel a little Robert Plant (solo) vibe going on here. This is still quite tasty, if formulaic. The horn section (not sure if they are real or keys) is a unique touch, but I don't think I like it. The guitar solo is meaty, and I swear I hear a bit of "Kashmir" in the segment that comes afterwards. This one is not a complete winner, but it is pretty strong and does make for a good album closer.
 
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