Alcatrazz – “Parole Denied – Tokyo 2017” 2 CD / DVD (Frontiers Music)
Battle Helm Rating
Something of a hard rock super group when it was formed in 1983 by former Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group vocalist Graham Bonnet, Alcatrazz at different moments also featured the talents of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Danny Johnson (Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper) and Clive Burr (for a week!) in its prestigious ranks. Despite only lasting 4 years, the band released 3 albums and thereafter, retained a cult following that has never died to this day. With Bonnet on something of a roll in recent years, as part of his 2017 Japanese tour of “The Book”, he reunited with Alcatrazz co-founders Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) and Gary Shea (bass) after 33 years for a unique series of farewell shows in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. Rounded out by Mark Benquechea (drums) and Conrado Pesinato (guitars), both from the Graham Bonnet Band, “Parole Denied – Tokyo 2017” is 11 live tracks, 8 rehearsal / studio demos and a 12 track filmed DVD to bring final closure to this band in fine style. Led by Bonnet’s still amazing vocals, the material typically takes a Rainbow flavour and depending on his co-composing guitarist at the time, neoclassical, rhythmic and classic rock aspects. With Waldo’s pumping keys powering the 70s hard rock groove on ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’, Conrado Pesinato’s guitar brings a tasteful modern rock element that really injects the energy – and indeed, he should be commended for his starry performance throughout in being able to handle these classic songs originally conceived by those legendary guitarists oh so splendidly! Throughout it all is Bonnet, hitting the highs, every now and then fraying but simply unflappable in his soul and conveying the passion ceaselessly, all to the rapture of the appreciative audience. On the more metallic ‘Jet To Jet’ with Benquechea firing up the double bass drums, the massive melodies be they through the keys or guitars are no less dramatic and the chorus is nothing short of heavenly – not forgetting Pesinato’s brilliant neo classical guitar work – truly worthy of a concerto in his own right! Bringing it to a close on the slower, but no less punchy ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ with its 80s synth and high harmonies complementing the pure hard rock beat of Shea’s deep rumbling bass and a pure heavy metal solo from Pesinato, “Parole Denied – Tokyo 2017” captures this unique farewell performance both on audio and video, ensuring the legacy of this band, and its faithful fans will remain unforgotten.