Tag Archives: hollywood records

“Icon” by Queen

Artist: Queen
Title: “Icon”
Label: Hollywood Records
Release Date: 6/11/2013
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4.25/5

Every now and again I like to toss thoughts together when a compilation package is released that could add some value to the potentially new or growing music fan in your own personal world. After all, any diehard of bands like KISS, Iron Maiden and now Queen, seem to have all of the albums and tracks that are needed in their own musical collections so these “Icon” issues are generally not something that we as ardent fans might not jump to. With that being said they do still serve a great purpose and amount to good presents for the younger set who are learning to appreciate such classic tunes by legendary artists. Such was the case that I found with the recently released Queen issue in the form of “Icon” which delivers eleven tunes from the bands truly massive repertoire. I’ll keep this one short and say that there does not appear to be a throwaway track on the issue.
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“Return Of The Champions” by Queen

Artist: Queen & Paul Rodgers
Title: “Return Of The Champions”
Label: Hollywood Records
Release Date: 10/25/2005
Genre: Rock
Rating: 7/10

Released at the same time as the concert performance DVD, this CD offers you the chance to simply enjoy the music with your auditory senses alone. The concert itself was widely discussed online and in print media because the idea of Queen touring with Paul Rodgers handling the lead vocals would put fans of the music on two separate sides of the argument. Cynics felt it would bomb and oddly enough that was far from the case as venue after venue sold out despite them. Fans of both Rodgers and Queen were the luckiest of all for the presentation was handled with a level of respect that I think found Freddie Mercury smiling down on them. The music is done well and as one might expect Rodgers is no Mercury in the vocal sense but his resonant bluesy style works well for some of the numbers just the same. It’s hard to replace a talent like Mercury but with him passed away for so many years the remaining group members were bound to find a way to make the music live on in the concert stage. Sadly John Deacon would not take part in this sort of reunion, leaving only Brian May and Roger Taylor from the original line up with some stellar assistance from studio players to handle bass, keyboards and additional guitar. A good sampling of Queen classics is presented and some changes are offered on instances like “Hammer To Fall” which is played acoustically. Both May and Taylor also sing a lot during the show and truly shine adding to the quality of their musicianship. For “Bohemian Rhapsody” the audience is treated to Freddie Mercury singing on the piano (presented on video screens for the audience) while the band plays along. Rodgers returns at the end section of this song to lead the band triumphantly into “The Show Must Go On”. The audience itself is apparently pleased and this is most noticed during the response to “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions”. For these songs the entire Hallem Arena (Sheffield England) is singing along.
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“Return Of The Champions” (DVD) by Queen & Paul Rodgers

Artist: Queen & Paul Rodgers
Title: “Return Of The Champions”
Label: Hollywood Records
Release Date: 10/18/2005
Genre: Rock
Rating: 7/10

When the announcement that Queen would tour once again and feature singer Paul Rodgers on vocals it certainly caused some stir among their life long fans. The enigmatic Freddie Mercury is not someone whose shoes can be filled easily and there was a clearly a notably different style of vocals between the two singers. It was quite a risk and the task remained on the audience as to whether or not they would be accepted in this incarnation. Original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor would be the only members from the group to take this to the stage as bassist John Deacon opted out to be replaced by Danny Miranda. Keyboards would be handled by Spike Edney while Jamie Moses would assist on guitar. I admit I was one of the skeptics when the idea was launched but when the chance to view the DVD filmed at the Hallem Arena in Sheffield England came up I decided to give it a little more attention. Paul Rodgers is a great front man and a great singer and this goes without saying since he was a member of both Free and Bad Company. However, despite this he is no Freddie Mercury in terms of vocal register and flamboyant showmanship. Given that one wonders how he was chosen for the role and as you watch this performance you can clearly see that it was good friends deciding to perform good music for their fans. The formula works for the most part but the Queen fans need to let go of expecting the spot on sounds of Freddie. Rodgers does great on tunes like “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Tie Your Mother Down” adding his own bluesy register to the classic songs. Both May and Taylor sing a lot during this show and that itself is interesting for it gives a different spin on the material once performed by Mercury. They are also very talented vocalists and it is showcased well. There are solos from them both which I felt was a nice inclusion and to be fair to their friend Paul the group also performs a number of Bad Company/Free classics. As you expect these tracks sound great for how bad can the combination of musicians be after all these years of competent performance.
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Stryper @ Irving Plaza (10/6/2003)

Logo - Stryper2

Stryper Reunion Tour Rocks New York City – Irving Plaza October 6th, 2003

Traditionally, a Monday evening is not a night that I like to go see Shows, mostly because of needing to be in work so early in the morning. However, this time was a different case. For on You see, New York City’s Irving Plaza club was this time the host the the one and only STRYPER. This was of course the Christian Metal band from the mid 80’s who’s songs took a different approach to many metal bands of the time. Instead of singing about darker things and life and wild parties, their tunes were more about Love, devotion and following Jesus Christ. For those that never knew it, STRYPER actually stood for Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace Encouragement and Righteousness. The band states that their name is derived from the Biblical verse in Isaiah 53:5 “…by His stripes we are healed.” This passage is visible directly under the bands logo.
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“7: The Best Of Stryper” by Stryper

Artist: Stryper
Title: “7: The Best Of Stryper”
Label: Hollywood Records
Release Date: 3/25/2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 10/10

A few months ago I had the chance to see Stryper at one of their Reunion shows when they came to New York. Since I was already a fan, I expected to enjoy myself. Given the fact that this was among the first shows the band had done in 12 years I expected the show to be full of the songs that made them popular. You see, around the time of the Reunion plans, a CD came out entitled “Stryper: 7 – The Best Of”. I was very impressed by this release. Now that I have a copy, I can spend a little time on it on behalf of the Metal Circus.
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