On March 22, 1994, Pantera released Far Beyond Driven, an album which conclusively proved that, although grunge might’ve helped put to rest the musical scourge known as hair metal a few years earlier, real heavy metal was alive, well, and not going anywhere.
Not only did Far Beyond Driven debut at the top of the Billboard album charts, making it the fastest-selling album of Pantera’s career and their second consecutive platinum album, but it also helped shape the definition of heavy metal for a new generation, thanks to songs like “I’m Broken,” “Five Minutes Alone,” and its opening track, “Strength.” Is it the band’s best album? That’s all a matter of opinion. But it’s certainly a landmark album by just about anyone’s definition of the phrase.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this seminal release, we here at Rhino have taken great pains to remaster the material and make sure that it sounds as clean, crisp, and kick-ass as possible, but we’ve done more than that: we’ve also added a bonus disc, Far Beyond Bootleg – Live from Donington ’94, which features Pantera’s full 40-minute set from the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donington, England, including “Use My Third Arm,” “Strength Beyond Strength,” “Walk, “Mouth for War,” “This Love,” “Cowboys from Hell,” and a medley of “Domination” and “Hollow.”
In what we can only presume is some sort of unlikely 35th anniversary celebration of the last time she embarked on a proper tour, Kate Bush left fans reeling today when she dropped the bombshell that, in August and September, she’ll be playing a series of 15 shows at London’s Hammersmith Apollo.
In a pleasant, politely-worded announcement on her official website, Bush described herself as “delighted” about her declaration on the upcoming performances, adding, “I hope you will be able to join us and I look forward to seeing you there.”
The “Before the Dawn” dates – that seems to be the name of the concert series, based on the fact that the phrase was hash-tagged along with the announcement on Twitter – are as follows:
The musical movement known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which kicked off in the late ‘70s, is one which never really managed to cross the pond and make a major impact in America, but a few bands in the bunch did make a bit of headway here. Certainly, that list starts with Def Leppard, with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Motorhead also hovering near the top of the pack, but one which often gets lost in the shuffle – even though they developed a considerable following in various pockets of the country – is Saxon.
While Saxon’s era of Stateside success basically consists of the four albums they released between 1983 and 1986 – Power & the Glory, Crusader, Innocence is No Excuse, and Rock the Nations – you’d have a good chance of finding yourself trading fisticuffs if you suggested to a British fan that any one of those albums should be deemed one of the band’s best. (Their three most successful albums in the UK all came out prior to the four that proved popular in the US.)
Thankfully, you can now enjoy a fuller exploration of Saxon’s glory days and figure out your own favorites, thanks to the release of a new box set: Saxon: The Complete Albums 1979-1988. We had an opportunity to chat with Steve Dawson, a founding member of the band and their bassist through the majority of the albums in the set, and he talked us through Saxon’s birth, success, and creative struggles, their influence on Spinal Tap, and his exit from the band, along with a look into his life in the wake of his departure.
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