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TESLA Alive In Europe Frontiers (2010)


Tesla may have emerged at the same time as the LA glam metal scene ruled the roost, but, as they sang about the eponymous inventor Nikola, they were a band out of time. Their no bullshit attitude and hard driving songs laced with that eighties rarity, guitar solos, owed more to the classic hard rock from bands a decade earlier on both sides of the Atlantic.

After disbanding in the mid-nineties, they reformed early in the millennium and continue to tour and record, including a well-received Download appearance last year. So this live album, taken from the same European tour, is a timely reminder of their enduring talent.

It is far though from a 'Greatest Hits' set: it includes four songs from their latest Forever More album, including the slightly grungey title track, and I Wanna Live, and two from 2004's comeback Into the Now, including the title track which ends the CD and feels slightly in the wrong place in the set.The twin guitars of Frank Hannon and new boy Dave Rude do battle with riffs and solos throughout, while singer Jeff Keith's trademark rasp is in fine fettle, although I could do without his Northern Californian trait of constantly addressing the audience as 'man'.

Long-time Tesla lovers will appreciate fine versions of the likes of Modern Day Cowboy, Heavens Trail, with some phenomenally dirty slide guitar work from Frank, Signs and Lil Suzi to name but a few. Although supposedly recorded at various locations, most of the album seems to be taken from a Barcelona show. The Catalans are in fine voice, and indeed take over with impromptu singing and chanting during the slower numbers in the middle like Love Song and What You Give. This gives the album an individual touch and something to distinguish it from studio albums.

To be honest, for a more comprehensive run through of the songs from their first and best two albums, you would be better off with 2001's Replugged Live, which had the advantage of being a double disc. But this shows how Sacramento's finest are still on top of their game and no mere nostalgia trip.


Review by Andy Nathan


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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