Legendary hard rock band Nazareth release their 25th studio album, Surviving The Law.
I could go on and on about Nazareth, but I have done that before in this very blog so I’ll try to keep it short this time. They are icons in the heavy music world, best known for the timeless album Hair Of The Dog (1975), they had many big albums and a few radio hits as well, like “Holiday” from Malice In Wonderland (1980). They played hard rock in the earliest days, and maintained a hard edge throughout even as the music lightened up a few notches and went through phases and evolutions. I have a physical copy of every album they ever released and, while of course I have favorites, I still pull from the entire canon when I want to hear Nazareth music.
When I started listening to them in the 1970s, the band was Dan McCafferty (vocals), Manny Charlton (guitar), Pete Agnew (bass), and Darrell Sweet (drums). Over the years the line-up changed of course, and now Pete Agnew is the only founding member still in the band. Agnew is joined by Carl Sentance (vocals), Jimmy Murrison (guitar), and Lee Agnew (drums) on the new album.
First up in the fourteen-track set is “Strange Days.” It has a gritty sound and grungy guitar line that is complemented by the ever listenable vocals of Sentance. It is a heavy song and great opener. “You Gotta Pass It Around” follows on a slower heel with a soulful lilt. “Runaway” hit me like a song from Loud ‘N’ Proud, and that is a good thing. Peppy and ever on the chase, this one is a great radio song.
“Sweet Kiss” is a great bluesy song that hooks you early and keeps you in its clutches. “Sinner” is a fast-moving rocking number that does remind you a little of Judas Priest (but not that song), and “Psycho Skies” has a feel to it that makes you want to hear it live. While the last song, “You Made Me,” is a slow one, ballads are avoided on this album. I was pleased by the pace, and there are many great cuts throughout.
I wondered before I sat down to listen to this album whether it would sound like Nazareth to me. I have gotten over Dan McCaffrey’s retirement and that was a tough for us long-time fans because his voice is iconic. No one else sounds like him. Once that idea is inculcated, you can hear Nazareth in the music. Long lived bands almost always change over time. We can, each of us, either accept that truth or not.
I don’t know how many more Nazareth albums there will be, but I can tell you this – Surviving The Law is a good one. Recommended.
Surviving The Law is out now through Frontiers Records on CD, vinyl, cassette, and digital.
Frontiers Records, https://www.frontiers.shop/nazareth/
© Wayne Edwards