Subterranea (2CD)

SKU: INO28532
Label:
Inside Out Music
Category:
Progressive Rock
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This 2CD is perhaps the band's crowning achievement. You can even perceive this to be their "Lamb" so to speak. Extremely ambitious work firmly implanted in the neo-prog style but with lots of cool intricacies. Peter Nicholls and Co. take it to the next level on this one.

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  • "he power struggle within Van Halen was often painted as David Lee Roth's ego running out of control -- a theory that was easy enough to believe given his outsized charisma -- but in retrospect, it seems evident that Eddie Van Halen wanted respect to go along with his gargantuan fame, and Roth wasn't willing to play. Bizarrely enough, Sammy Hagar -- the former Montrose lead singer who had carved out a successful solo career -- was ready to play, possibly because the Red Rocker was never afraid of being earnest, nor was he afraid of synthesizers, for that matter. There was always the lingering suspicion that, yes, Sammy truly couldn't drive 55, and that's why he wrote the song, and that kind of forthright rocking is evident on the strident anthems of 5150. From the moment the album opens with the crashing "Good Enough," it's clearly the work of the same band -- it's hard to mistake Eddie's guitars, just as it's hard to mistake Alex and Michael Anthony's pulse, or Michael's harmonies -- but the music feels decidedly different. Where Diamond Dave would have strutted through the song with his tongue firmly in cheek, Hagar plays it right down the middle, never winking, never joking. Even when he takes a stab at humor on the closing "Inside" -- joshing around about why the guys chose him as a replacement -- it never feels funny, probably because, unlike Dave, he's not a born comedian. Then again, 5150 wasn't really intended to be funny; it was intended to be a serious album, spiked by a few relentless metallic rockers like "Get Up," but functioning more as a vehicle to showcase Van Halen's -- particularly the guitarist's -- increasing growth and maturity. There are plenty of power ballads, in "Why Can't This Be Love" and "Love Walks In," there's a soaring anthem of inspiration in "Dreams," and even the straight-up rocker "Best of Both Worlds" is tighter and leaner than the gonzo excursions of "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher." And that's where Hagar comes in: Diamond Dave didn't have much patience for plainspoken lyrics or crafting songs, but Sammy does and he brings a previously unheard sense of discipline to the writing on 5150. Not that Hagar is a craftsman like Randy Newman, but he's helped push Van Halen into a dedication on writing full-fledged songs, something that often seemed an afterthought in the original lineup. And so Van Hagar was a bit of an odd mix -- a party band and a party guy, slowly veering into a bourgeois concept of respectability, something that eventually sunk the band -- but on 5150 it worked because they had the songs and the desire to party, so those good intentions and slow tunes don't slow the album down; they give it variety and help make the album a pretty impressive opening act for Van Halen Mach II." - Allmusic Guide
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  • "Their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, was first released in Canada and then in the United States on February 14, 1976. It was an immediate hit, reaching number seven on the United States album charts, and achieved a platinum award for sales.At this point in its career, Heart was still a band, but the Wilson sisters had already begun to exert control. They co-wrote wrote nine of the 10 tracks on the record and wrote the remaining track with the rest of the band. In addition, Ann, as the lead vocalist, was the centerpiece and main focus of the band.It was an auspicious first album. The music had a rawer feel than their later polished sound that would propel them to further stardom. It was hard rock with a bluesy sound mixed in. It all added up to one of the better debut albums of the seventiesThe album's first track was the Top 10 hit single “Magic Man.” Ann Wilson’s vocal immediately grabs you. It was instantly recognized that she possessed one of those rare voices that was a gift. The other Top 40 single, “Crazy On You,” was an anxious and urgent rocker. The acoustic intro led to a building electric guitar sound with a repeated riff that continued throughout the song.There is a lot to like about the album. “Soul Of The Sea” is a nice guitar ballad with strings. “White Lightning and Wine” is a bluesy rocker and a forgotten gem in their large catalog of material. “Sing Child,” which is the only group composition on the album, has a guitar jam in the middle that presents early Heart as a true band. “How Deep It Goes” is another rock/blues outing.When this debut effort was first released, it seemed as if Heart just appeared on the music scene out of nowhere. Thirty-four years later, the Wilson sisters are now recognized as lasting rock superstars. If you want to explore the music of Heart, Dreamboat Annie is the place to start." - Seattle Pi
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