"The Glory Years"

(Eagle Vision)

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RATING: 7/10

Ian Gillan is a true blue heavy metal icon. His work in DEEP PURPLE, including the seminal "Machine Head" album and much later on albums like "Perfect Strangers" after the reformation, will probably always define a good chunk of his legacy. His voice is unlike any in metal and hard rock, and his patented wail ("Highway Star" and "Child in Time" are the prime examples) has been and forever will be emulated. In addition to his stint in BLACK SABBATH on 1983's "Born Again" album, many stateside fans, with the exception of the old-timers and diehards, may have missed his namesake band GILLAN, formed in 1978 following his disbanding of the IAN GILLAN BAND. GILLAN found a good deal more success in Europe though, the NWOBHM-tinged hard rock style with R&B influences making a sizeable, if not monumental, splash. As such, "The Glory Years" DVD provides fans and those with a desire to learn a little heavy metal history with a snapshot of some hot live performances.

The main portion of the hour long disc is an eight-track performance at Oxford Polytechnic on February 18, 1981. Beyond a diverse and interesting song selection that includes "Mr. Universe", the mellow slow burn of "Mutually Assured Destruction" (about nuclear holocaust), the bopping cover of R&B tune "New Orleans", and blues classic "Trouble", the all around performance smokes. Guitarist Bernie Torme is an integral part of the show, his playing accomplished and his stage presence appealingly flashy, while rotund bassist John McCoy moves like a madman. One might even refer to McCoy's half-shaved head and punk-ish look as intimidating. With drummer Mick Underwood and keyboardist Colin Towns holding their own as well, the set allows plenty of opportunity for stellar individual performances and that includes Gillan going apeshit with his conga on several occasions. The bonus tracks include performances of several tracks, including duplicates of ones from the aforementioned set taken from "Top of the Pops", German TV, etc.

Visually and aurally, the show is a good one. However, a DVD like this one really needs a little more footage, particularly from the historical perspective. Even a bonus interview would have made a big difference. I can't say it's a huge problem, but it would make the disc more inviting for potential buyers. On the whole though, "The Glory Years" is one GILLAN fans will surely want.


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