NAZARETH “THE NEWZ” – CLASSIC HARD ROCK FROM 2008 NEVER SOUNDED SO GOOD!
Back in 1971, Nazareth, a bluesy Rockin’ band from Dunfermline, Scotland, released their self-titled debut album on Warner Bros. Records. Fast forward to 2008 and Nazareth is still going strong, with their Classic Rock colliding with Hard Rock and mixed with a blues influence that so pronounces their musical style. The Newz was released on March 31, 2008, on Demolition Records. There are many great albums that have been released in the last few years, “The Newz” is a great Hard Rock album, one that needs to be re-introduced to our loyal Hard Rock Hideout following! As I write this, I am jumping up and down and stomping my feet in Classic Hard Rock glee, that’s how emphatic I am about Nazareth and “The Newz”. Alright, I might not be stomping my feet.
Ten years removed from the last Nazareth studio album, (1998’s “Boogaloo”), “The Newz” reinstates that this band still has a full tank of Rock ‘N’ Roll gas and enough Old School vibe to shake and stir the Classic Rock Gods from their slumber. With original members Dan McCafferty on lead vocals and Pete Agnew on bass, along with longtime member Jimmy Murrison on guitars and Lee Agnew on drums, this is Nazareth… present day, circa 2008 and they don’t stray from their bluesy-Hard Rock ways. Lee Agnew is Pete Agnew’s son, (Lee replaced original drummer Darrell Sweet upon his passing away in 1999). 2008 was a year which in which Nazareth celebrated their 40th Anniversary of Rock ‘N’ Roll, as truest and revered a milestone any band in the land could ever hope for.
Onto the songs heard on “The Newz”… “Goin’ Loco” kicks off this Nazareth Rock party with all the free-spirited energy that this legendary band has been so famous for. To say this song is groovy is an understatement, the guitar licks from Jimmy are stuff that would make Prince himself proud and any guitarist out there knows that’s a compliment. “Goin’ Loco” is a perfect opener for “The Newz”, establishing that Nazareth still maintains and glorifies that Classic Rock attitude and sound.
“A Day At The Beach” just might be the most happy song I’ve ever heard from Nazareth, alongside “May The Sunshine” from their iconic 1979 album – “No Mean City”. Truth be told, I listened to “A Day At The Beach” while driving in many snowstorms the past couple of years… and this song literally made me feel like Summer was just a day away and everything really was alright. A fun, melodic and instantly memorable song that is supposed to lift one’s spirits. Oh… this song Rocks too.
From “Goin’ Loco” straight through to “Dying Breed”, I applaud and raise my horns to the air for the vocals of Dan McCafferty. In my most honest opinion, Dan has NOT lost a single step in his voice, making each song trademark Nazareth, just due to his vocals alone. “Liar” is easily the heaviest song on “The Newz”, with Jimmy delivering the Heavy Metal riffs coupled with some funky laden leads. With Pete and Lee pumping up the beats on the rhythm section, I find myself “banging thy head” to “Liar” without any sense of control.
“Warning” takes over where “Liar” left off. Whoa… this song could have been a hit in ANY decade of Nazareth Rock ‘N’ Roll. “Warning” should be played on mainstream FM just to highlight what REAL Hard Rock sounds like, Old School and brandishing all the Hard guitar goodness that this genre was built upon. Jimmy ignites “Warning” at the closing with an impressive guitar solo that leaves me wanting more of that cool stuff. “Loggin’ On” is a catchy Hard Rock song that lyrically puts a reality check on the world of the internet and how people can waste their life away by “Loggin’ On”.
Overall, it is very difficult for me to choose a “favorite” song on “The Newz”. This dilemma only deepens when “Mean Streets” gets it’s Hard, Heavy and Funky Groovin’ sound cranked up to the maximum level. Yes Virginia, there is some consistent Funk in that guitar of Jimmy’s. “Mean Streets” title may fool you, however, it is a song that can be enjoyed loud while doing a psyche-out dance by yourself, with no witnesses… of course. “Dying Breed” is a haunting, Hard & Heavy epic, clocking in at 13:23, don’t think for one second Nazareth has lost their flare for some sinister Rock ‘N’ Roll! Just when you think this song has neared its end… keep this CD playing… for “Dying Breed” is a creeper and a keeper!
“The Newz” carries it weight with the utmost musical integrity of its songs. “Road Trip”, “The Gathering”, “Warning” and “Liar” are the heavyweights, with “Gloria” being the ultra-cool and reflective ballad and “A Day At The Beach” reinstating the “fun-side” to Hard Rock. Mix in the underrated guitar play of Jimmy Murrison and the astute drumming of Lee Agnew, coupled with the legendary Pete Agnew on bass and the sandpapered vocals of Dan McCafferty… and you have one ultra solid, Classic Hard Rock album, one that rises from the pack for this lifetime Nazareth fan and Rock ‘N’ Rollaholic.
Setting any Nazareth fan bias I may bestow aside, “The Newz” should not disappoint those looking for a quality album of songs. This is a Hard Rock album that is a throwback to those days when creating songs really did matter, days when those overly glorified radio hits were just a shot in the dark.
Rating: Out of 10
- Goin’ Loco
- Day At The Beach
- See Me
- Enough Love
- Mean Streets
- Road Trip
- Keep On Travellin’
- Loggin’ On
- The Gathering
- Dying Breed
Dan McCafferty – lead vocals
Pete Agnew – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jimmy Murrison – guitars
Lee Agnew – drums