Unlike most metalheads, I think I'm somewhat sacrilegious when it comes to my non-appreciation of Venom. They are one of two acts that I know are just worshipped in the metal community, but I simply do not get the appeal at all (the other being King Diamond). That being said, I had very little expectation for a new Venom release, and yet, they came though with what is a fairly solid effort.
LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM
It seems that all previous pains in the Mr. Big camp have been forgotten. Mr. Big returned last year with a great album, tour, and now a fairly intimate acoustic live album called LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM. It's good to see. This band that was always strong on musicianship might be the band of all bands best suited to do an unplugged set. Not only are their songs very condusive to this kind of setting, but they are so far superior a class of musicians than the average band that attempts to try this. They aren't hacks like Poison who just sound awkward when performing the songs outside of the defined box of their original recordings.
THE THIRD CAGE
I get the math. When a major band changes singers, the next guy never gets the respect of the first. If they change again, that guy always gets disrespected greatly. Look no further than the once again popular Van Halen for proof. Anyone want to argue that Gary Cherone was ever given respect in that band? I thought not. In my eyes though, the single most disrespected singer in rock history has to be vocalist Tony Martin. Martin had the distinction of being the guy who replaced Dio in Black Sabbath. You remember - Dio replaced Ozzy, and then Martin replaced Dio. As third guy on the totem pole of Black Sabbath, I would argue that his catalog from start to finish was stronger than the Ozzy era (the whole Ozzy era, not just the first 4 albums). I personally will always reach for an album like HEADLESS CROSS long before something like TECHNICAL ECSTACY. Maybe it's just me, but I have long respected and sung the praises of the Martin era of Sabbath.
It's funny how this band has continued to survive, even given the fact that so few people can actually name a single song that they've ever done. D-A-D is a band that's most famous for having to change their name from "Disneyland After Dark" after being legally threatened by Mickey Mouse. That said, they had one album that was fairly successful, NO FUEL LEFT FOR THE PILGRIMS, and a long career of localized success in Denmark after it.
I think to give a fair analysis of my musical taste when it comes to UFO. I am not, on any level, a fan that's been there from the start of this band. They are OK, but certainly not a band I've ever considered to be great by any level. I never really followed them, so the who's who of the lineup is not of great concern to me like it might be to other fans of the band. Further, I'm definitely not one of those guys that celebrates Michael Schenker as the god of the six strings like so many do. I have all his work, and I'm yet to be really bowled over by anything he's done. As it relates to UFO, I'm not one of those guys that will immediately dismiss an album with Vinnie Moore on it because it simply doesn't feature Schenker.