Friday, August 31, 2007

Bad lyric day

Last weekday of the month means it's time for bad lyric day. These are from "Why trust you" off of Alice Cooper's Trash album

You come on strong with a great big smile
But your teeth are as sharp as a crocodile
You promised me the moon and the stars and the sun
But you never did nothin' for anyone
Can't look me in the face or straight in the eye
I'd buy the movie rights to your alibi
I wonder how long you will go
I wonder how high your head will blow
You're a psychopathic liar
Your soul is on fire
You're bluffin' with nuthin'
While the stakes are gettin' higher

First it's like this elementary school mentality of songwriting that everything has to rhyme. So you get some real stretches such as "alibi" is there just because it rhymes with eye. This style only helps to enhance the cheese factor that is present in this song and most of the album. If I bothered to read the lyrics to all of the songs on this album then I wonder how high my head would blow. Oh, wait I need a rhyme with blow so I guess it's time for me to go.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feature change

I will be doing away with the weekly "Judge the album cover" and instead doing a monthly feature called "Clash of the album covers". It's simple, I will put up two covers and you say which you prefer and why. The first one will be in September, hope you will enjoy it.

Sepultura-Beneath the remains

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By 1989 speed metal was very popular and there were bands from many countries playing this sub-genre of metal. Brazil's Sepultura were a band who had started out in the mid-1980's playing a "speed for the sake of speed" style that was fairly noisy and not particularly innovative. Yet after a couple of releases, they were growing more focused and developing their skills. This album hears the band channelling and controlling an aggressive style of thrash. The most important factor in their favor might be they were controlling the pace rather than the pace controlling them. They knew when to go forth with frenzied all out parts, but they also were becoming adept at slowing the tempo down and building changes as well. At this point in time the two biggest speed metal scenes were likely the Bay area scene and the German scene. Both had somewhat distinctive styles and although Sepultura have a few elements of both in their sound, they also were bringing some of their own ideas to the table as well. They were using different tones and their song structures were not that predictable anymore. Above all else, these guys were keeping it heavy and that was a point that too many bands missed. Too often a speed metal progressed to some extent, but they would lose some of their heaviness. Not here as the progression in Sepultura's style allowed them to take concentrate more on pounding through their songs and the heaviness actually became more pronounced. This is certainly a strong speed metal album that doesn't always get it's due.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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The year 1987 was a great one for hard rock and metal. The scenes were exploding and there were a number of fine releases. Here are your song choices...

Guns -n- Roses-Welcome to the jungle
Whitesnake-Still of the night

***Which one do you pick?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


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VH1 Classics

This DVD set represents the career of KISS from 1978 until 1991. The set contains three discs plus a fourth bonus DVD. However there are three different bonus DVD's so you would have to buy the sets at different places to ensure getting all three of the bonus DVDs. The first three discs contains two whole concerts, parts of concerts, TV appearances, the European version of the film KISS meets the phantom of the park, interviews and a few videos. The first of the two whole concerts is from Australia in 1980. The quality is a little fuzzy, but it's a solid show overall with a wild crowd and a decent performance. Ace seems a little tired, but the rest of the band makes up for it. The second whole concert was surprisingly the one I preferred. It's from Detroit and was filmed in 1990 which means it was "The Hot in the shade" tour. Not my favorite album by a long shot, but they put on a very entertaining show. Not the high energy of the mid-1970's, but an enjoyable performance for certain. I think Bruce was so solid that it allowed Gene and Paul to roam the stage more. Of course this also allowed Paul to do some stage moves that are completely ridiculous. Some of the language is cut, but overall the sound and picture quality is fairly high. There is an eight song performance from 1983 in Maracana Stadium in Brazil. The quality is fuzzy on these tracks and Paul and Gene are having to shout the words because the crowd is just enormous. There are five songs live at the Spectrum in Philadelphia from the Crazy Nights tour. The quality on these clips is very good and it's a shame we didn't get the whole concert. That's probably the biggest highlights of the set. My bonus disc was nine songs from a 1988 show in Tokyo. While good, it's not the whole show (I assume) and it would have been nice to have the complete show. The quality on some of the clips like the two tracks from Belgium in 1983 are rough, but most of the clips on the set are of decent or better quality. What's here is good, but there is a big gap with nothing representing Animalize or Asylum. I would gladly have traded the European version of KISS meets the phantom of the park and some of the partial concerts in exchange for the whole Animalize Live Uncensored concert that I saw on VHS a few times so many years ago. Overall most of the material is good and there is a lot of it. Whether you want it or not probably depends on how much you think of this period of the band's career.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Van Halen reunion

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A lot of people have been writing about the Van Halen reunion since it's now official and the tour will commence shortly. Roth-era Van Halen are one of my top five favorite bands and my favorite American band. Yet I can't help the fact that I am none too thrilled about this reunion. If it had happened ten years ago then it very well may have been something. I think it's a little sad that Michael Anthony isn't in it, but that's not a big part of the issue. I think reunions are a case by case as to whether it should be done or not. This year I think there was a very good idea for a band reunion and a very bad one. I have not seen either and won't because I am too cheap and hate to drive in the city. However, I think Heaven and hell was a good idea for a reunion and most fan reports say it went very well. Ronnie James Dio is still in good form and every one in the band has been active in various projects in recent years. So I am sure they were very tight and there was no major hype. They were just going out to play the songs from the Dio era of Black Sabbath. With Van Halen you just seem to be getting a lot of hype and I just doubt there is much energy left there. Diamond Dave has a lot resting on his shoulders to pull this thing off. Many sources say his voice is shot. Of course he's on board for the big payday because it beats playing state fairs and the venues he has had to play to make a living in recent years. I just think Van Halen are going to be a very thin shell of what they once were. My guess is they will look like they are going through the motions. Plus they are going to charge a whole lot of money to go and see this farce. Also unlike many others, the Roth era of this band ended on top in many ways. They had a messy break-up, but right before that was 1984 which was a great album and they had a great tour. The Roth-era could have ended on that high note except that they want the big cash in that a reunion will bring. No one thinks this tour is going to just pick up where 1984 ended. However too many fans will see it as their only chance to see the band with Dave. So they will shell out the huge price tag to see these guys limp through a set and try to relive the past. I was very much hoping Van Halen would be like Led Zeppelin and not do a reunion tour so that their past could be preserved. I didn't want them to become a joke, but unfortunately they will. It won't tarnish their great albums, but it's just a shame they felt the need to ride the money train and then pretend it's going to be like some big party. What a shame.

***What do you think of the reunion?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Judge the album cover

Here is the cover of the Scorpions 1984 release "Love at first sting". So do you like the cover, don't like it or is it just alright?

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

What's coming up?

That's going to wrap it up for AC/DC week. Hope you enjoyed it. I hope to do "1980's EP week" for my theme week next month. I left work early today to get a haircut because my hair was starting to make me look like a mad scientist. After that I made a trip to the record store today for maybe just the second time this summer. I scored some cool finds too. I got used copies of Electric Wizard's Let us Prey (stoner gods) and Warhorse's Red Sea (early 70's release featuring former Deep Purple bassist Nick Simper). I also picked up Airbourne's Runnin' Wild because I had heard good things about it over at hard rock hideout.. A little expensive, but a good release for sure. This week I hope to have out the following.

-Judge the album (likely on Sunday)
-Bad lyric day
-Heavy Metal jukebox
-My take on the Van Halen reunion
-Sepultura-Beneath the remains review
-KISS-KISSOLOGY vol. 2 DVD review

***Have a great week and enjoy the last days of Summer.

Friday, August 24, 2007


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This is my favorite AC/DC album and has been for a long time. What, the one with virtually no songs that get played on the radio? Yes, that's right many of the songs here certainly are not known by casual fans. I think this the last of their real raw sounding albums and probably the peak of that sound. Many of the songs seem to begin slow and steady as the band settles into their groove and takes control. Then they guide us through when they are ready and it's a pretty enjoyable ride. Bon Scott seems absolutely relaxed because he is in command and he just takes his time building up the songs. It's not just the beginning of the tracks where the band control the pace, it's also at other times as well. The middle of "Sin City" comes to mind with the slow part where everything winds down to a crawl and all ears are on the direction that the band is leading us. I think this was a level that the band worked it's way up to. "High Voltage" had a number of just decent songs and parts where the band couldn't quite keep a whole song going at a top level. "Dirty deeds done dirt cheap" saw this problem subside quite a bit, but there was still a little problem with it. "Let there be rock" certainly had a high energy level, but lacked some variation within the songs. However, Powerage seems to have it all as does the follow-up "Highway to hell", but the band still seems a little hungrier to me on "Powerage". The overall sound of the album is one of a band throwing everything they have at the situation and it's pretty spectacular. Favorite songs here are "Riff raff", "Rock n' roll damnation", "Sin city', "What's next to the moon" and Kicked in the teeth"

***So what's your favorite AC/DC album?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

AC/DC-Back in black

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AC/DC wasted very little time in replacing the late Bon Scott and releasing a new album. Oftentimes considered one of if not their best album. Undoubtedly the album that broke them into being huge in commercial terms particularly in North America. To me, the music here is fairly similar to the previous album "Highway to hell". I think that by this point the music was similar in pace to their outputs from the 1970's but perhaps a little less raw and they had a little more polish here and there. Yet a lot of that approach may have started with "Highway to hell" and just continued on this one. A large part of the success is due to the fact that around 1980 hard rock and metal was rising back into focus after several years of decline and competing with other musical genres. So in some ways this album may have really hit at the right time and right place. The biggest change is obviously the vocals and Brian Johnson is quite a bit different from Bon Scott. Neither singer had a great range, but both fit in with the music of AC/DC. However, I love Scott's vocals and found Johnson's approach to be a bit screechy and hard to take at times. There are times where Johnson's vocals work such as "Givin the dog a bone", the great "Rock and roll ain't noise pollution" and the good, but hugely overplayed "You shook me all night long". Yet other songs like the title track and "What do you do for money, honey" have vocals that are hard to take. Since Johnson's vocals are not quite as easy to take as Scott's, this perhaps put more pressure on the rest of the band to step up. They do step it up enough as I think the sound here is extremely tight. The band was fairly confident in what they were doing by this stage of the game. Above all else they control the pace and don't rush anything. They do have an overall style that prevails in the album, but they mix up the tempo perhaps more than in some of their previous efforts. Easily their best album with Brian Johnson and definitely a top five out of the band's large catalog. Still I have to say that it's a little overrated because I can't see it as being the band's best album. Best known album perhaps, but I think that has quite a bit to do with the timing issue I mentioned earlier. Still it's held up reasonably well and I listen to it fairly often even today.

***Powerage review coming up Friday as AC/DC week draws to a close.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The importance of AC/DC

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So how can a band whose songs are so simple be that important? Well, I think the simplicity of their music and their whole approach is indeed part of their importance and their appeal. I think AC/DC are one of the most influential and most copied hard rock acts of all time. A large part of that is because they are so basic. I am sure plenty of club bands and bands just starting out choose to cover someone like AC/DC or KISS because the songs are often easy to play. Some people might the basic approach as being negative, but I don't. I think rock music is meant to be enjoyed and AC/DC were one of those acts that showed you didn't have to virtuosos to play rock music. The humor in the lyrics and style is another plus as serious rock is great, but it's good to have the lighter side represented as well. Above all else I think that at their best these guys were fun. A lot of that came during the all too brief Bon Scott-era, but along with KISS they are the top band I think of as being a fun act. Hopefully that was short and to the point.

***AC/DC week moves on with a review of Back in black on Thursday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

AC/DC-Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

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This album was originally released in Australia in late 1976, but wasn't released here in the states until the spring of 1981 (after Back in black's success had caused the record company to see the value of the band). On this album, the Australian version's "R.I.P" and "Jailbreak" are replaced by "Rocker" and "Love at first feel". The album cover is also very different replacing the odd cartoon of the band with a bunch of people who don't want you to know who they are. Despite the track changes, I have always felt that this album had fairly cohesive sound. I think the band began to become very comfortable and confident with this basic, straight forward style that would be their trademark. The title track, "Problem Child", "There's gonna be some rockin'" and "Rocker" just plunge forward without looking back. The tracks "Love at first feel" and "Ain't no fun waitin' round to be a millionaire" are more relaxed and mid-tempo. "Ride on" is about as slow as AC/DC gets, but it might be Bon Scott's best vocals on the album as the song really relies on his natural sound and style. "Squealer" is perhaps less light hearted in it's approach than anything the band had done at this point. It's a solid example of the band's ability to build a song step by step. "Big balls" is a joke song with Bon Scott playfully milking the simple joke for all it's worth. This song isn't as funny to me as it was twenty some years ago when I first heard it, but I still like it. The songs here are very catchy and that has always been part of their appeal. The humor of the Bon Scott albums was a huge part of their sound as well and a large chunk of what was missing in their music after his death. Everything about this album just comes very easily and actually I think this feel to their music got stronger and lasted at least through "Highway to hell" in 1979. I don't think "Dirty deeds" is quite as strong as "Highway to hell" or "Powerage". Yet it's certainly stronger than "High Voltage" and perhaps just slightly better than "Let there be rock". Definitely an album I will never tire of hearing.

***AC/DC week moves on with something about the importance of AC/DC on Wednesday.

Monday, August 20, 2007


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I recall borrowing this one from a friend when it came out and I dismissed it after one listen. A few years later I realized that I had misjudged it to some extent. I think there are two factors as to why this was their best album in years. Number one is the return of Phil Rudd behind the drums. I think his simple, but effective style is too often overlooked. No offense to Chris Slade and Simon Wright, but Phil Rudd was the best drummer this band ever had. The second reason is that Rick Rubin was at the helm this time around. The production values are fine and they always have been, but it's more than that. There are a number of songs here that are the same old thing such as "The Honey Roll" and "Cover you in oil". Yet many of the other song see the band getting back to the subtle control of the music that they were once so perfect at. I think Rubin had a hand in that and the band would not have brought him in if they had been completely satisfied with where they were. One of the major strengths of this band to me has always been how they could start a song so simply and just draw you in. I think for several of the previous albums they got away from that approach. On this album tracks like "Hard as a rock", "Burnin' Alive", "Whiskey on the rocks" and the title track all work this way. They control the pace and milk it for all it's worth. I am not Brian Johnson's biggest fan by any means, yet he has some moments here and there. There are a few tracks where the bands takes a slightly more serious demeanor. On "The Furor", "Burnin' Alive" and "Hail Caesar" they go at it differently and these are the tracks where Johnson seems to be giving it more effort than normal and he sounds stronger. The Young brothers are as sharp as ever and keep things going nicely for the most part. This is not an album that defines the band, but it is an album with plenty to offer. It also came after they had been at it for over twenty years yet they were still coming up with different ways to refine their sound.

***AC/DC week continues with a review of Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Judge the album cover

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It's AC/DC week here at my blog. So here is the cover of "If you want blood you've got it ". Do you like it, don't like it or is it just alright?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What's coming up?

It's hard to believe that summer is almost over, but it's getting there. I have been listening to a lot of music lately when I have time. I didn't do a theme week last month because I had a vacation and just didn't get to it, but I will do one this coming week. So this week will be all about
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Here are the topics I hope to have out.
-An AC/DC judge the album cover on Sunday
-The importance of AC/DC
Reviews of the following albums
-Dirty deeds done dirt cheap
-Back in black

***So what are some of your favorite AC/DC songs?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Beatallica-Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band

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What do you get when you combine Metallica and the Beatles? Well, you might get a band called Beatallica. The band members here are Jaymz Lennfield, Greg Hammettson, Kliff McBurtney and Ringo Larz. These guys use mainly the melodies and lyrics of Beatles songs, but they apply Metallica's vocals and guitar tone. This certainly is a blending of the two as opposed to just being heavy versions of Beatles songs. Ultimately it's a joke album and some of the tracks are funny and some just seem very awkward. Now when they are funny it's because it's just so odd to hear a version like this rather than them making fun of the original artists. So that's a plus when it works. I don't think this is an easy project to pull off and really I think they pull it off to some extent. To me this is an album that might be enjoyed by fans of the two artists, but how many times would you want to hear something like this? For myself, the parts I like just make me want to pull out a Metallica CD rather than listen to this CD again. Apparently the band does have a following though and have even played a few big festivals.
Here are the song tracks to give you a better idea of what they are doing.

1. Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band
2. Revol-Ooh-Tion
3. Blackened the U.S.S.R.
4. Sandman
5. Helvester Of Skelter
6. A Garage Dayz Nite
7. Anestesia (I'm Only Sleeping)
8. Leper Madonna
9. Ktulu (He's So Heavy)
10. For Horsemen
11. Hey Dude
12. Sgt. Hetfield's (reprise)
13. ...And Justice For All My Loving

**Here is the band's site

The ups and downs of Metallica

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In order to keep this short I will just hit the main points by year.

1985-I first heard Metallica when a local radio show called "Friday Night Metal" played "Fight fire with fire", "For whom the bell tolls" and "Fade to black" over the course of the summer. These songs got me interested.

1986-I bought Master of puppets shortly after it's release and was hooked. I bought Ride the lightning and Kill 'em all shortly after that.

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1987-I wasn't too impressed with the $5.98 EP and my local Sound Waves also charged me $5.99 for it. Still I knew a new LP was coming eventually.

1988-I saw them at Van Halen's Monsters of rock and they were very good. I remember a few months later going to Sound Waves to get "And justice for all" on it's release date. I was highly disappointed with this album. It was still metal, but very dull and lacking the edge of the previous two albums.

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1991-Since 1988 I drew away from Metallica some, but was hoping the new album would be good. I bought it the week it came out and was let down again. It was a rock album and although better than And justice for all, it wasn't a whole lot more satisfying to me.

1996-Load was released and I really can't recall what song I heard first, but it was enough to interest me. I bought this album probably several weeks after it was released. It was again a rock album like the black album, but I thought it was much tighter and enjoyed it more.

1997-Re-load was released and I bought it when it came out. I liked it as much as the previous album and played it fairly often.

After that I just didn't keep up with them much other than listening to past albums. The Garage Inc. cd came out in 1998, but that didn't interest me so I didn't hear it until years after it's release. I have still never heard the S&M thing and have no desire to.

2003-St. Anger was released and I bought it the day it was released. I thought it was an odd approach, but didn't instantly dislike it like so many other people did. However I have only listened to it once and that was over four years ago.

Now the new album will come out some time in the upcoming months. Speculations about what it will be like are starting to spring up. Honestly I have not thought about much about it because they have just become so distant to me and their prime was so long ago. I also know that since they are still high profile that I will get to hear some of the new stuff easily and can decide then if it's worth getting or not.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Red Chord-Prey for eyes

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Metal Blade

The new offering from The Red Chord is not easy to take in at first. My initial impression was that is was largely death metal due to the vocals. Yet upon further examination, I was beginning to hear some classic speed metal riffs spiraling around here and there. Flashes of prime Slayer, New Jersey's Whiplash and even Exodus came to mind at moments. However, there are also passages that may lend themselves to a more hardcore approach as well. The songs are relatively short, but the majority are very busy and occasionally become rather frantic in style. I think that approach is one of the major pluses for this band. The odd riffs and slightly bizarre pacing is what made this album interesting. It took a few tracks for me to realize what they were doing though, but then I began to settle in and appreciate it. I still feel a little unsettled when an album like this has strong production values. I guess that's because I grew up in a time when speed and death metal albums normally had a fuzzier sound to the production. That's not a complaint, but just something that I am aware of. Although the music drew me in, the vocals were far more standard for this type of music. They may have been slightly more distinct, but nothing special. The only other negative is that oftentimes their song structures seem to begin to build towards something greater, but they never quite manage to complete this and the songs end. Now that could just be me having a different sense of where they should be going. Yet I couldn't shake the feeling that if some of the songs were slightly longer that these guys could have even gotten more out of their music. The Red Chord seem to have some genuine potential and I hope they keep pushing and growing beyond this album.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lesser of two evils: Europe vs. Winger

Time for another segment of Lesser of two evils. I take two albums that I am not very fond of and match them up to see which one is better or not as bad. The two bands this time around are generally better musicians than some of other acts that have appeared here. Still these two bands are here mainly because they contributed to the watering down of hard rock. Both possibly had the talent to do more, but largely made cookie cutter type hard rock with the hopes of getting lots of play on the radio and MTV.

We have Europe's 1986 release "The Final Countdown"

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going up against Winger's 1988 self-titled debut.

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For Europe we have Joey Tempest and for Winger it is of course Kip himself. Both have some degree of range and sharp production helps both guys. Tempest displays a better range though and is more consistent for what it's worth.
Point to Europe

So it's John Norum for Europe against Reb Beach for Winger. Both guys are technically fairly sound. Yet both tend to just do the minimum at times and then just show some flash on their solos. Kind of a close match-up, but I think Reb Beach has a better sense of timing and style.
Point to Winger

Rhythm section
Representing Europe is John Levin on bass and drummer Ian Haugland. They are up against Kip Winger on bass and drummer Rod Morgenstein for Winger. Both rhythm sections are fairly standard as they are serviceable, but neither really stand out. You really don't here either bass player that much. I think Morgenstein's drums are more solid and aggressive at times.
Point to Winger

The production values on both albums are overall fine as there was obviously a fair amount of money put into both projects. As far as originality goes, I would say neither band is completely copying anyone yet neither is really making a lot of headway either. Both seemed content to play it relatively safe.

Who rocks more?
Both acts have quite a bit of keyboards and both seem to like ballads more than they should. Those factors make it rather difficult for either act to win this category. Still Europe rely way too much on the keys and Winger had a tendency to push ahead more. Neither band is that great as far as hard rock bands go, but Winger are quite a bit closer in this category so ...
Point to Winger

Winger take it to a tune of 3-1-1. They must have done something to win this despite doing one of the worst Hendrix covers of all time. Actually they were slightly better than I remembered. Still not thrilled by either band though. Now I have the tune to Europe's sickening title track stuck in my head as well. Do-do-do-do Do-do-do-do-do. Oh, please make it stop!

***I will have another Lesser of two evils out next month. Only three left until I determine the Grand Stinker in December.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Twisted Sister-Stay Hungry

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Here was a bar band who had been battling it out in New York clubs for years before getting signed to tiny Secrect records. Unfortunately they only released one album before the label folded. Yet just when they thought it might be over they got a deal with Atlantic records. Their 1983 album "You can't stop rock n' roll" gathered some interest and by 1984 they were primed to explode. With the help of Mtv and radio play, these guys would be on the verge or becoming huge by the end of 1984. It still seems odd that so many of us accepted these guys dressed in bright rags and wearing heavy make-up, but we did. Their talent level wasn't high and the writing was far from groundbreaking yet this album certainly had an impact on me. I remember scrawling TS symbols on all my book covers back in 84-85 and playing this cassette to death. I think this album benefited from the enthusiasm of the band and largely Dee Snider. The two big singles "We're not gonna take it' and "I wanna rock" were played to death, but I still enjoy them. Both were so basic yet that's the level they were appealing too. Kids like good, simple in your face rock songs now and then and these songs filled that gap. The title track is similar in approach, but not quite as accessible to the masses. "Burn in hell" was shocking to me when I was 14 and although the shock is long gone now, it's still a different song that works. Horror-Teria is a two part song that contains the somewhat creepy "Captain Howdy" and the more straight forward "Street Justice". "Don't let me down" would be my choice for most underrated track on the album as it plunges ahead and Dee's vocals are full of fire. "The Price" is an example of a good 80's ballad. It has the necessary emotion, but avoids being too sappy. "The Beast" is the one track that I have never really gotten into. "S.M.F" is one of those tracks that still gets me fired up every time it comes on. It's surprising how well this album has aged, but then again I always held it in high regard.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who were they? Witch

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Witch formed in LA in 1982. Eventually they released the ep "The hex is on" in 1984 on O.T.T. Records. The line-up at that point was Peter Wabbit on vocals, Ronny Too on guitar, Jim Warmon on bass and drummer Punky Peru. After that they drifted a bit and made several line-up changes before recording a twelve inch called "Nobody sleeps" in 1987. The band kept going until 1989 before calling it a day. They did reform for a reunion show in 1991. They have a few links to other bands in some ways. Drummer Punky Peru was once married to Tommy Lee's sister Athena and later he lived with Lita Ford and co-wrote the song Fatal Portrait that she would use. The band had keyboard player David Ezrin in their ranks from 1987-1988 and he was the son of famed producer Bob Ezrin. The band also had Salty Dog bassist Michael Hannon fill in on bass at their 1991 reunion in place of Jim Warmon.

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Witch had a fairly typical glam look, but their sound was surprisingly more metal. I have never heard the twelve inch, but "The hex is on" is raw and definitely leans more towards metal than hard rock. Maybe at times almost like early Grim Reaper as far as the music goes, but fairly basic. I enjoyed the album but it's easy to see why bands like Motley Crue and WASP sold albums and these guys just faded away. They didn't quite do enough to set themselves apart. Still they are another slightly interesting entry in the cluttered world of LA metal bands.

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***Next month's Who were they? will be Blind Illusion.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Judge the album cover

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This week's cover is Anthrax's 1985 release "Spreading the disease". Do you like it, don't or is it just alright?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What's coming up?

This past week a customer came in several times to where I work (the public library) to use the internet. He was a heavyset man with long white hair done in dreadlocks, a long white beard and he always wore a red shirt and red pants (red shorts one day) and big black boots. No, I am not making this up and it took every ounce of restraint I had not to make some Santa Claus crack because he looked like some sort of hippie Santa. Anyway back to the blog and the business at hand. I didn't get around to reviewing Sepultura's Beneath the remains this week like I promised, but I will circle back for it at some point this month. Here is what I hope to have out this week.

-Judge the album cover on Sunday
-Who were they? Witch (the one from LA)
-Lesser of two evils: Europe versus Winger
-Twisted Sister-Stay Hungry review
-The Red Chord-Prey for eyes review
-The ups and downs of Metallica

***Here is a question for you.

-What are some of the worst hard rock/metal albums covers you have ever seen in your life?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Slough Feg-Hardworlder

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Cruz Del Sur

This is the sixth album from San Francisco based band Slough Feg. In many ways they sound they are from another time. That time would be somewhere around the early 1980's as they are very much focused on that sound. I think this approach has a big plus side and a small minus. First they are very much as pure of a metal band as I have heard in recent years. They don't waste any notes and their music comes across as being very genuine. In other words, no filler whatsoever.The music is primarily medium to medium fast, but they heap a whole pile of pace changes as they twist and wind their way through the tracks. I love how many of the tracks plunge straight into the mix instead of taking their time to get started. I had a little trouble with the vocals of Mike Scalzi at first because although clean and audible, the style is perhaps more restrained then I normally like. However they have grown on me and perhaps most importantly is that they work with the music so I can't argue with that. The main influences I hear are early Iron Maiden say about 81-84 with those great flowing riffs and a the tight rhythm section playing off one another. I also hear some late 70's-early 80's Thin Lizzy, early Saxon and maybe some pre-"Fighting the world" era Manowar. Now granted someone like myself who constantly writes about music from the past should be thrilled about an album devoted to the past. Well, I am, but I still can't help but wish they blended a little more recent styles in as well just because I think it may add even another level to their music. No doubt that this a fantastic release, but it just seems like they are trying so hard to not let any part of this album sound like it could have been done after say 1983-84. Small quibble though as I have listened to this album almost every day since I got it and my appreciation for it has grown with each listen. I think fans of NWOBHM and classic style early 1980's metal would really appreciate this one.

Bob Vinyl has also reviewed this album over at his blog today so go and check it out

You can find out more about the band on their site
You can also check out their record label

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Questions for you

Here are a few fairly easy questions for you.

-Who needs to release a live cd or dvd? (It can be from a past tour or even a band that is longer together)

-What band should pack it in and give up? Why?

-What band needs to do a reunion tour and or album?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rough Edge

Just wanted to let you know that I have started to write reviews for Rough Edge. You can check them out at I also have a link under the metal sites over on the left and down at the bottom of my blog. Some of the reviews might be the same ones I write here at my blog, but I may do some different ones here and there as time allows.

Lesser of two evils

Ah, it's time again for Lesser of two evils. I listen to a pair of stinkers and match them-up to see which is the lesser pile of dung. This month it's two L.A. bands that were featured in the film "Decline of western civilization 2". So it's

London's Don't cry wolf (1986)

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Odin's Fight for your life (1988)

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So on to the categories.


We get Nadir D'Priest from London and Randy O. for Odin. This is a tough one because both singers are honestly horrid. Nadir D'Priest is all over the place hitting every sour note you could imagine while Randy O. has very little clue as to what a melody is or how to find it. It's close, but I'll go with the one that makes me cringe less.

Point to London

It's Lizzie Grey on guitar versus Jeff Duncan of Odin. Lizzie Grey is sort of okay at times, but the hooks aren't sharp and there is not much feeling to his playing unless you count that I begin to feel nauseous the more I listen to it. Jeff Duncan hits some good solos here and there, but his biggest problem is that everything seems rushed. You never really get a sense of him having any style. Still Duncan hits a few good chops so...
Point to Odin

Rhythm section
For London we have Brian West on bass and Wailin J. Morgan on drums versus Aaron Samson and drummer Shawn Duncan for Odin. The London pair aren't the worst part of this band, but they don't do nearly enough to help matters either. Duncan and Samson manage to be consistent enough and even keep things going at times. Easy decision as it's ...
Point to Odin

Neither band sound a whole like any other bands. Yet in this case just because it hasn't been done before doesn't necessarily mean that it needed to be done. As far production goes I would say that the London album is kind of spotty and low in places. The Odin album is alright overall with a very strong sound on the slow songs.
Point to Odin

Who rocks more?
Perhaps this should be who sucked less because the worst thing about both bands is the writing. London are clunky and have no clue about hooks or style or technique. Odin are better players, but they lack sense of timing or how to plug emotion in because they just try to fly through too many of the songs. Yet Odin hit a few moments here and there because the three guys with instruments do have a clue as how to play them.
Point to Odin

Odin wins it 4-1.

London were all too often known for the fact that Blackie Lawless, Nikki Sixx, Slash and Izzy Stradlin were all in this band at one time. Yet all left and went on to greener pastures while London struggled and got passed up by bands that started years after they did. The true reason is obviously that the band wasn't that good. So anyone with any talent soon realized that and then they left. Nadir D'Priest later formed D'Priest out of London and did briefly get a major label deal. Lizzie Grey went on to form Spiders and Snakes. Odin also struggled for years and never managed to get a major label deal. However Randy O. got a major label deal with his band the Lost Boys. Guitarist Jeff Duncan later ended up in Armored Saint. Honestly these two albums were hard to make it through, but I soldiered on for the sake of the segment. I'll be back again with some more gems next month.

**The pictures I used are not the covers of the albums I listened to. I could not find a good image of the London cover and the Odin cover is very dull. So I went for an alternative shot of the London cover and the back of Odin's "Don't take no for an answer".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


It's time for over/under. I just list two bands and for each you put down what you think the most underrated and most overrated song by each artist is. So this month it's:

Jimi Hendrix
Van Halen

***So what do you think?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lillian Axe-Waters Rising

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It's seems that every hard rock act that began in the 1980's has come back in recent years hoping to cash in. So many times you only get one original member and that's the case here as guitarist Steve Blaze is the sole original member left. All too often recent outputs by returning 80's bands tend to be mere shells of what once was. However this band and their output might actually shatter some of that thinking. This album is a commendable effort at combining some of the band's old sound with a slightly different direction. That direction is generally heavier and more complex as well. It took me about four or five listens for all of it's contents to sink in though because they are really trying to do a great deal here. Songs like "Antarctica" and the title track are real go for the throat pieces that certainly don't play it safe. Tracks like "Fear of time" and "Deep in the black" hear the band masterfully controlling pace changes and styles. I think the band transcends all that I have heard from them in the past. They throw a lot of ideas out there and at times they are combining hard rock, metal and progressive music in a rather relentless manner. You know what? I think they have a winner. I may have alternated some of the heavier tracks with some of the lighter tracks in the track order and a few parts left me feeling a little dry, but all in all this album is slowly making me think it's pretty darn good. Maybe even doubly good for an older band who never got much respect back in the day. Your typical fan of hard rock may not be huge on this because it does tread more into metal and progressive waters some, but they have an undeniable sense of melody and timing as well. I have a feeling that come December I will still playing this one on a regular basis.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Judge the album cover

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This week's cover is Tesla's 1986 debut "Mechanical Resonance". Do you like it, don't like it or is it just average?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

What's coming up?

We got some rain recently, but it's still really dry around where I live. It's August so that means the start of the football season is getting near and that's always a good thing. I have been watching a lot of Star Trek episodes this week when I have the chance. Here is what I hope to have out in the coming week.

-Judge the album cover (likely on Sunday)
-Lesser of two evils: The decline of western civilization 2 version
-Lillian Axe-Waters rising review
-Sepultura-Beneath the remains review
-Either some questions for you or some rant from me or maybe a combination of both.

****Have a great week!

Anthrax-Among the living, 1987

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Background-Anthrax had released their sophomore album Spreading the disease in 1985 and toured into 1986 opening for the likes of Black Sabbath and Ozzy. They had gained a following during that time and the speed metal was gaining popularity so by early 1987 this was a fairly highly anticipated album.

Initial reaction-I got into them on Spreading the disease and was excited when this one came out. I loved it and played it often.


-Among the living-The title track comes on slowly and builds to a large thick beat before taking off in a flurry. The track overalls erupts and pushes ahead like a good opener should.

-Caught in a mosh-The beginning builds and then the drums fly in and Joey Belladonna plunges ahead with some confident vocals. The feel to this song is just like the band is so comfortable and confident with what they are doing. Great song that draws you and gets the blood pumping.

-I am the law-Another simple beginning only this one stays around the same pace. It's so basic yet pounding and right on target. I love how the drums sound as well.

-Efilnikufesin(N.F.L)-Starts out medium paced with a strong flow to it. Not a huge amount of variation here, but it moves along fairly well so it does keep my interest.

-A skeleton in the closet-Huge riff opens the track and the pace changes as the vocals come on. I like this song, but the rhythm section seems more in the back of the mix than normal.

-Indians-Simple drum beat and a basic guitar riff mark the start of one if not this band's biggest song. A good example of what this band could do in their prime. The music is big and your face and Joey's vocals are clear and cutting.

-One World-There is a lot going on in just the opening minute of this song and this may be a little more varied musically that a lot of the other tracks here. Possibly my favorite song on the album due to the aggressive approach.

-A.D.I.-Horror of it all-A slow intro winds into a chugging main riff and the drums fall in behind the guitar. There is a very clean sound to this song and it stands out some because of it. It's over seven minutes long, but they certainly keep it interesting.

-Imitation of life-Maybe the heaviest song on the album. I never thought of Ian and Spitz as the greatest guitarists around, but they knew how to keep it interesting.

Verdict/final word-"Among the living" has aged nicely for a twenty year old recording. Anthrax largely established their own sound and knew how to use it to it's fullest. The sound was simple yet direct and this style is what made them fairly accessible in their field. I think that along with "Spreading the disease" and "Persistence of time" this is one of their best albums. A lot has changed in twenty years yet this CD still finds it's way into my player fairly often.

***The twenty year old album review for September will be Deep Purple's The house of the blue light.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Greenleaf-Agents of Ahriman, 2007

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Small Stone

How many times have you heard someone say that a stoner band sounds like Black Sabbath? Probably quite a bit and this band is no exception. Yet the Sabbath comparisons are just the beginning of what these guys have put together. There's a healthy dose of Sabbath say circa 1972 that's present on much of this disc. There's also a strong touch of Deep Purple particularly in the rhythms at times. Yet it's not so much who your influences are as it it is how you interpret them and what you bring to the table. That last part is where I think this band shows some real promise. The opener "Highway Officer" comes busting on with a big sound complete with fuzzy riffs, pounding drums and even some organ bursts thrown in for good measure. "Treehorn" is up next and this is where we begin to see some of what this band can really do. They not only manage the pace, they actually completely control it. Like the classic 70's bands they obviously love, they manage make every little part of the song count. Another real standout is "Black Tar" which at first sounds a little like Deep Purple's "Strange kind of woman". However they toss in some nicely muted vocals and riffs so big they flow over you as the band easily brings them on and then takes them back down. Two things really help make this album better than many other stoner bands. One is the amount of hooks and the knowledge of when and where to use them. So many bands of this genre tend to start songs strong, but just don't have a grasp on how much they need to do to keep the momentum going. Greenleaf make it sound easy as they plow, plod, rip and even glide through many different sound changes. The second thing in their favor and this is the one that really makes them important in my opinion and that's the ability to put emotion into the music. Too many bands know how to play big fuzzy, distorted riffs yet it just sounds hollow if you can't put emotion throughout. These guys have a good handle on their songwriting for the most part and know how to make the songs really just ring true with genuine emotion. Now there are a few times when there may be some gaps on songs that could have been handled slightly better. Yet overall this is a tremendous effort that incorporates some fine classic early metal influences with more modern vocals and has some rock sensibilities thrown in for good measure. It's under forty minutes total running time yet the amount of sounds and textures present make it seem longer or perhaps it's just that I felt like I got so much out of the entire album. Certainly worth checking out.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

King Diamond-Give me your soul...please

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Metal Blade

King Diamond returns with his first album in four long years. There are a couple things that you can always seem to count on from a King Diamond album. The vocals will generally have lots of frantic changes, the guitar work of Andy LaRocque will largely be stellar and there will be some odd horror story theme. All of the above apply to the new album, but there is plenty more as well. For the vocals, it seems that King either doesn't or can't do the falsetto he once pulled out fairly often. However, he still delivers a mighty performance and keeps going steady as he always has. Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead are playing on their third album together and seem to be a pretty good team and feed off of each other nicely. There are many times here where they just seem to peel off riff after riff yet they make it sound so effortlessly seamless. The rhythm section of drummer Matt Thompson and bass player Hal Patino handle their duties well and keep the pace alive. Honestly, I have always been fairly indifferent with the lyrics on a King Dimaond album. If it doesn't detract from the music then it really doesn't concern me that much. However, this story does have a young girl, a picture and some type of haunting which means all topics that King has done before although not all on the same album. Considering the amount of albums the artists involved here have done, it's fairly fresh and creative yet still very much in the realm of classic styled metal. So many artists who started in the 1980's now seem to either reach to far or have run have out steam and ideas. It's obvious that this band certainly has not fallen into either of those traps. Still there was something that nagged at me during the first time I listened to it and it took me a few subsequent spins to put my finger on the problem. Finally it came me, the production is different on many of the songs. It's slightly stripped down and many of the songs lack the richness that I am so accustomed to hearing from King Diamond. A few of the tracks have that thick sound present, but several of them seem to have been robbed of some of the luster that many of the previous albums had. Overall I would say this in the top half of King Diamond's albums. King Diamond fans will likely find quite a bit to enjoy on this album.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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Get out your bell bottoms and your quarters because it's time for a 1970's version of the jukebox. Here are your choices.

Black Sabbath-Sweet Leaf
Deep Purple-Highway Star
Led Zeppelin-Immigrant Song

***Which one do you choose?