Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Best of Alcatrazz
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Compilation of the finest recordings by this defunct metalact that served as Yngwie Malmsteen's first group & featuredvocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, McAuley Schenker Group).15 tracks, including 'Island In The Sun', 'Gene... more »
Compilation of the finest recordings by this defunct metalact that served as Yngwie Malmsteen's first group & featuredvocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, McAuley Schenker Group).15 tracks, including 'Island In The Sun', 'General Hospital'and 'Hiroshima Mon A
Who picked these songs?
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Way back in the day I had the entire Alcatrazz canon (such as it was, only 3 studio albums and one live set) on cassette. The three studio albums were kind of spotty and the live album was inessential, but there were some good tunes to be found.Since the original albums are available on cd only as very pricey imports, it would seem to me (and to casual fans or the curious I'm sure) a sensible move to pick up this domestic compilation. Well, it would have been if someone had chosen the right songs.I can't really argue with the selections from "No Parole" or "Live Sentence", but "Disturbing The Peace" and "Dangerous Games" are completely misrepresented here. Somehow they managed to pick 9 songs from these two albums and still miss the highlights, especially on "Dangerous Games". Oh, well. May be the original albums will get reissued domestically someday.Note: My comments are based on the quality of the songs chosen, not the quality of the playing of Mssrs. Malmsteen and Vai. If you are a total frethead may be these were the best tracks?"
A semi famous vocalist and a tryptich of guitar heroes
Paul Lawrence | Australia | 07/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Graham Bonnet is well known within hard rock circles of a certain age due to his presence in Rainbow and then a stint in MSG. so at the time of the birth of Alcatrazz it's probably fair to say that all he had to do was turn up and he'd be offered a record deal.
Anyway, this release showcases tunes from all four Alcatrazz albums. Luckily for the newcomer this best of is organised in chronological order which is a great bonus. First up are the Yngwie tracks, both from No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll and the Live Sentence release. The live tracks include All Night Long and Since You've Been Gone, tunes Yngwie would of loved due to their Blackmore associations. Regardless, the tunes are a varying bunch, the first three tracks each having their own feel. In fact Yngwie played some of these tunes in the early days of his own solo career.
Next up is Steve Vai who unfairly was heckled by some of the bands fans after replacing Malmsteen. Here the guy fits into the role - actually playing straight, proper songs - not something his solo work is exactly litttered with....
Last on the revolving guitar playing spot is Danny Johnson. Without prior personal fame he is perhaps the least illustrious of the bands axe meistros but he handles his duties with aplomb. And just like Yngwie and Vai he co-wrotes a bunch of tunes.
A dilemna for me personally is Bonnets voice. In some indefinable way it just doesn't grab me and is too rough too much of the time But no denying his rapport with a suitably adoring Japanese crown on the live tracks here. And the subject matter spans a range of issues (presumably Bonnet was lyricist) and that helps keep this collection fresh. Ultimately this isn't a bad album but then again it didn't inspre me to buy their back catalogue.
For the anoraks out there - the rest of the band comprised Jan Uvena, Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea - the latter two from AOR band New England. Shea is actually responsible for the liner notes to this release."
Great compilation -- but do yourself a favor and purchase th
I. MUNOZ | Montreal, PQ, Canada | 10/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you don't know about this band, I guarantee you that it is always time to check them out. Graham Bonnet, the gifted vocalist previously from Rainbow and MSG, finally took control of his own musical tastes and went for it with Alcatrazz. Their first incarnation was with no other than Yngwie Malmsteen in the guitar duties, still in his early twenties and still about to conquer the world with his over-the-top axeworks. The three first songs on this album are from their first studio effort, titled "No Parole from Rock and Roll", which arguably is one of the best albums ever in the history of hard rock. Of course, only three songs make no justice to an album of that calibre, but you'll get the idea: a spiced-up blend of MSG's "Assault Attack!" and Rainbow's "Down to Earth", with Yngwie shining on his own right on the six strings. Every song from that period is worth a listening, but pay special attention to "Hiroshima Mon Amour". The guitar solos there are purely tasteful neoclassic shredding, as good as it can be. Bravo, Yngwie!
Then you get another set of three songs (tracks from 4 to 6) with the first line-up, but this time in a live environment, taken from the "Live Sentence" album - the second (and the last) with Yngwie Malmsteen. The live album was rushed almost right after the first studio album. Maybe the band felt they should state on record that the Swedish guitar god was also able to deliver the goods live, or maybe they just wanted to release some more material quickly... Anyway, these other three songs actually are covers they played in the live album, taken from Bonnet's previous catalogue. However, they did sound pretty well played by Alcatrazz. - specially "Night Games".
Tracks from 7 to 11 are from what I call the "nerdiest" period of the band. Though their rhythm section (drums & bass) was rather "low profile", bringing in Steve Vai as Yngwie's replacement gave the band a progressive edge no one could imagine would ever happen. Their third album ("Disturbing the Peace"), with Vai doing the axes, took a truly strange, funky color. To me these songs have always had a weird halo of mystery or intrigue. I mean, if thinking man's metal does exist, these songs are under that classification. I love them all! Vai's unorthodox phrasing is completely orthogonal to Yngwie's playing, but God it does work well for this band! A shame that it bombed commercially.
By the way, I think Vai wasn't really a true innovator like Yngwie was, since Vai's playing is "just" a blend of Hendrix, Zappa and Van Halen, but of course all taken to a never-seen-before level of perfection - thanks in part to Satch's teachings too. However, chop-wise and musicianship-wise there is no match for Vai. He is just the best metal guitar player ever, period - and the quirkiest one too. His album with Alcatrazz shows how interesting he can make things up when truly in the mood. You can taste it from all the songs here - "Dessert Diamond" was left out, yes, but that's just for you to buy the "Disturbing the Peace" album. :-) Shamefully, mere mortals weren't prepared for such a twist. And shamefully too, Vai left when David Lee Roth gave him a call - an offer he just couldn't refuse (well, DLR's "Eat'em and Smile!" is just another amazing album, so it was just "partially shamefully" that he left ;-)).
In any case, Vai left and things went really bad for Alcatrazz from then on. The remaining songs on this compilation are just a fight to stay alive, taken from their fourth and last album, "Dangerous Games". Guitarist Danny Johnson walked in recommended by the label, in an effort to make the band to survive after Vai's departure. It simply didn't work. Judge by yourself. Those songs are just so... forgettable! I wished Vai had stayed, or if at least Impellitteri had been hired, who knows where Alcatrazz would be now? But well, as obscure as Alcatrazz remained after they faded to black, they still left a mark in the history of rock. This compilation witnesses what it was, and it was no less than a five star band, mostly while Malmsteen and Vai were there. So, five stars too to this superbly presented and carefully selected set of songs, and thank you for the music, once more! Just do yourself a favour and buy all their albums too. ;-)"