VAN HALEN; "Live: Right Here, Right Now" (Warner Bros.) * * * 1/2

It's about time. Grammy Award-winner Van Halen, the band that pushed "arena sound" metal into the spotlight during the late '70s, has released its first live album. A good move.

"Right Here, Right Now" captures the excitement and power of a live Van Halen show.

Tactful mixes of old and new music are offered in a double-CD package. The songs "Poundcake" and "Dreams" fit well with pre-Sammy Hagar era hits "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Jump." One nice surprise is a remake of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Vocalist Hagar also plays his solo hits "There's Only One Way To Rock" and an acoustic version of "Give To Live."

Speaking of solos, bassist Michael Anthony reincarnates "Sunday Afternoon in the Park" (noted on the credits as "Ultra Bass"); drummer Alex Van Halen pounds his syncopated rage and introduces "Panama"; and, of course, guitar virtuoso Edward Van Halen peppers out an extended intro to the Kinks' "You Really Got Me."

The album's only drawback is the lack of older hits. "Running With The Devil," "So This Is Love" and "Dance The Night Away" are missing from this studio-quality mix. Too bad the grudge with ex-vocalist David Lee Roth caused these hits to be discarded. Still, this release is great.

EVERY MOTHER'S NIGHTMARE; "Wake Up Screaming" (Arista). * * 1/2

It's difficult to put a label on Every Mother's Nightmare. Every song on the group's second album, "Wake Up Screaming," has its own style.

These guys from Tennessee are definitely rock 'n' rollers, but is it Southern rock? Blues? Heavy metal? This album keeps the listener guessing.

The first cut, "House of Pain," which also happens to be the first single, is nothing more (and nothing less) than straightforward heavy metal. The song is not to be confused in any way with Faster Pussycat's sappy single of the same name. EMN's song is better. It kicks and kicks hard.

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Then there are tracks like "I Hate Myself" and "Already Gone" (not the Eagles'), which straddle the Southern-rock fence, while "Good Die Young" and "Closet Down the Hall" hint of funk and blues.

A disappointment is the remake of the Nashville Teens' 1964 hit "Tobacco Road." EMN barrels through the song so fast the song loses its sinister, backwoods blues flavor.

There is also the standard, heart-tugging ballad, "I Needed You," that is nothing but a convenient rehash of all the other cliche-ridden love songs about obsession. The band could have left it off and spared us the pain.

The mix of the album, however, is full. Each instrument comes in loud and clear. Producers Jim Gaines and Kevin Elson, both of Journey fame, have combined efforts once again to create a collage of emotion and style that may take Every Mother's Nightmare up the charts.

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