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Nazareth - "The Newz" (CD)

Nazareth - "The Newz" CD cover image

"The Newz" track listing:

1. Goin' Loco (5:24)
2. Day At The Beach (4:56)
3. Liar (6:44)
4. See Me (4:54)
5. Enough Love (5:50)
6. Warning (4:36)
7. Mean Streets (4:16)
8. Road Trip (2:48)
9. Gloria (5:48)
10. Keep On Travellin' (3:56)
11. Loggin' On (4:48)
12. The Gathering (7:08)
13. Dying Breed (4:08)

Hidden Track:
Goblin King (4:23)

Reviewed by on March 3, 2009

"'The Newz' is not an album for fans of extreme metal, but the bluesy and southern rock feel makes it an excellent choice for fans of classic bands such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty, and even at times, AC/DC."

While many may only recognize Nazareth as the band responsible for the 1970’s ballad "Love Hurts," this Scottish band has been a mainstay in the European industry for longer than many readers have drawn breath. After forty years in the industry, and twenty albums under their belts, Nazareth released "The Newz" in 2008, and proved that they are able to crank out lyrics and tunes that are more than just a cheese fest.

One thing that separates Nazareth from other hard rock acts currently on the scene is that their music is understated. The instruments are solid but not showy, the tunes are melodic and vocals-driven, and the vocals are strong but not piercing. "The Newz" is not an album for fans of extreme metal, but the bluesy and southern rock feel makes it an excellent choice for fans of classic bands such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty, and even at times, AC/DC. And if you still like the classic "Love Hurts," you’ll probably also like the modern version, "Enough Love."

The rest of the album, however, avoids the ballad category. Many of the tunes sound like they would make a great set at the House of Blues, such as "Goin’ Loco," "Day At The Beach," and "See Me." All of these are very distinctive southern rock tunes.

There are also moments where the musical style crosses over into country, such as in "Gloria," which is reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold’s hit "Dear God." The "final" track, "Dying Breed," also displays some country inspired instrumentals, though overall it sounds more like Tom Petty classic rock.

There’s enough sleaze in "Warning" and "Road Trip" to entice fans of classic Guns n Roses, sans the Slash shreds. "Warning" is especially nice, in that the vocals here sound like Ozzy from twenty years ago. Unlike many veteran musicians, McCafferty’s voice hasn’t aged at all over the last thirty years.

There are moments, though, where McCafferty’s and Agnew’s - Pete’s, not his son Lee’s - age shine through. The lyrics on "Loggin’ On" sound like either the laments of someone who holds a healthy dose of hostility for the internet, or like a Weird Al Yankovic spoof. While they may have a valid point about people hiding behind the security of a monitor and not getting out and living life, the message is sure to fall on deaf ears. In the case of "The Gathering," the wise words of someone who has seen the futility of war adds a maturity that songwriters under forty just can’t comprehend.

While most of the music is southern classic rock, and may not be something the average Lamb of God fan is going to run out and purchase, there are two real highlights to the album that make it worth checking out. The first is "Liar," a scathing personal message to George W. Bush wrapped up in a grungy, bluesy tune, and the hidden track that isn’t actually listed on the album, but shows up about five minutes after the closing measure of "Dying Breed," the strange and elusive "Goblin King." This hidden gem is probably the most hardcore track on the album, though it is admittedly a very strange mix, and the high range vocals are almost painful. Still, it’s worth moving the player forward to have a listen.

Despite the addition of new blood in their lineup, Nazareth still has a very classic and somewhat dated feel to their music. But for those who favor classic rock, and still find themselves requesting Creedence Clearwater tunes, "The Newz" is a good choice.

Highs: "Liar" is a tune that every person in the free world should hear; bluesy southern rock tunes are lighthearted and easy to listen to.

Lows: "Loggin’ On" shows Agnew’s and McCafferty’s age, while the vocals in "Goblin King" are painfully flat.

Bottom line: For the genre, it’s a good selection.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)