Monday, April 30, 2007

The importance of Rush

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I'll keep this brief because if you like Rush then you have your ideas about why they are important and why you like them. If you don't like them then you probably stopped reading after you saw the title of this entry. Rush have been around for over thirty years. During that time they have gone through a number of sound changes. Yet no matter what style they had at the time, they have always had a fairly active sound and always manage to sound like more than three guys playing. I think during their long history they have been fairly diverse in their sound as they have been hard rock, prog-rock, early heavy metal and other styles in lesser ways. Since they have dipped into so many sounds they have influence a lot of people of different musical backgrounds.
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Of course many prog-rock fans like them, but fans of some metal appreciate the quick pace changes of their early material. Then you aspiring musicians who recognize their indivual talents. As individuals each member is very talented yet there has never been any showboating or excessive solos. Everything has pretty much always been for the good of the overall sound. Even after I have heard these albums for years, I still find myself discovering more parts that I like. It seems like many of their albums have so much going on that it takes awhile to really realize everything that's transpiring during their songs. I think that's a big part of what has them above the pack. That's my two cents for now. Rush week marches on tomorrow with a review of "Caress of steel".

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Judge the album cover

Welcome to Rush week here at my blog. Here is the cover of the new Rush album. Or at least I am guessing that it is, it's the one that Amazon is showing. A few months ago some sites were showing a very different cover.

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So do you think-
A)I like it.
B)I don't like it
C)It's alright.
D)I don't care about the cover, I am just glad that it is coming out on Tuesday.
E)Add your own comment.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What's coming up?

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Well, the NFL draft is today so that's kind of exciting. In case you are wondering why there is a naked guy at the top of this page, it's because I will be doing "Rush week" this coming week. That's in honor of their new album coming out. Plus they are probably my fourth favorite band of all time. When my wife was pregnant with our first child we didn't find out the gender so we had to come with names for both genders. Early on I suggested Geddy, but my wife quickly shot that one down. So here is what I hope to have out this week.

-A Rush version of Judge the album cover
-A Rush version of the Heavy Metal Jukebox
-A review of Caress of steel
-A review of Permanent Waves
-The importance of Rush
-One other topic

Who would have thought a band that once looked like this......
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....could be so cool?

***The new Rush is the album I am looking forward to most this year. What album are you most looking forward to? (it can be one that has already come out in 2007 too)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Post 666

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Originally I was going to post about Heavy metal nicknames, but then I saw that this would be my 666 post. So I could not pass up the chance to talk about my all time favorite metal album. No album is perfect, but a few come close and Iron Maiden's The number of the beast is one of those in my book. It's not the typical Iron Maiden album either. I think the styles of the songs are far more varied than most of Maiden's albums. The first time I heard it was when I was like 14. Now I had already heard Powerslave and Piece of Mind so I was into them. Still there was something about The number of the beast that just grabbed me and drew me in. It was a real mesmerizing album and it had me trying to focus on every little detail. The rapid fire pace of "Invaders" hit me right away. Later in the album is another fairly fast killer called "Gangland" as it flies on and the band just tears into it. "22 Acacia Avenue" always appealed to me because of how it seemed yet it's a very appealing song with lots of peaks. "The Prisoner" is a showcase for the whole but primarily for Clive Burr's drumming and Bruce Dickinson's spot on vocals. "Children of the damned" is a demonstration of the ability to control the pace and squeeze out the emotion. "Hallowed be thy name" might be the most innovative song on the album as it's all metal yet it's slow and deliberate and shows off the band's ability as storytellers. An ability that has set them apart from the pack of other metal bands. "Run to the hills" we all know and it has a catchy beginning and manages to have a memorable chorus, but overall the song was anything except routine. The title track is just a complete masterpiece of a song that encompasses fear, anger, excitement and all kinds of emotion rolled up into a relatively short length. Just an amazing album that changed the face of metal the moment it came out.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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Time again for the Heavy metal jukebox. This time it's a journey back to 1984. Early in the year the Raiders pounded the Redskins in the Super Bowl.
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I hate the Raiders, but I hate the Redskins even more. However I love Ghostbusters and it came out that year.
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Anyway here are your three song choices from 1984.

Ratt-Round and round
Scorpions-Rock you like a hurricane
Twisted Sister-We're not gonna take

***So which one do you choose?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Guns and Roses challenge

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Three weeks ago I issued the challenge to take the two Use your illusion albums and trim it down to make one album. So you need to trim the filler and then figure out what order you wanted the tracks in. Here is what I came up with for my Use your Illusion album in it's proper order and some explanations.

Right next door to hell-They hit it right with this as the opener.

Knockin' on Heaven's door-One cover song is sufficient and I picked the one I preferred.

Pretty Tied up-I like the vocals and it moves along pretty well

November Rain-One sappy song is enough and this one is good when I am in the mood for it.

Double Talkin' Jive-I almost passed on this at the final cut, but the way it flows and the short length made me feel right about keeping it on.

Bad Apples-This one is a little silly, but it's okay to toss in some humor and I think it's a good change of pace at this point.

14 Years-I like the lyrics and the feel of this song.

Don't damn me-This would probably be the beginning of side two on vinyl. So this big riff and the energy behind it is a good way to kick off the second half of the album.

Civil War-A little more downbeat, but a well written song overall.

Dust -n- bones-Another borderline song, but repeated listenings convinced me it was a keeper. Plus I love the song title.

Dead Horse-There are only a few songs here that I truly love, but this is one of them. Extremely strong track does a lot in little time.

You could be mine-A good wake up call towards the end to keep the momentum going.

Estranged-I thought different tracks as the closer and this might be a little unusual choice, but I think it would leave an impression.

So there is my album and I am no one elses will be exactly the same. Even at it's best, the Use your illusion material wasn't close to Appetite for destruction. UYI was far more mainstream and less interesting than Appetite. However there are good songs from different styles. Maybe most importantly the band developed a sense of confidence at times that came from having toured and developed some experience.

**So what would be on your condensed one album Use your Illusion?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Jackyl shirt

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I was reminded of this story when I saw that Jackyl were playing at Rocklahoma. I have not been to that many concerts, but I was lucky enough to see Aerosmith twice in 1994. The second time was in Louisville, Kentucky and Jackyl were the opener. They got a huge ovation, but I thought they were very average. Anyway all of my friends loved Jackyl and one of them bought a shirt that said "Jackyl me off" on the back. A few days later at college another guy we knew saw my friend's shirt and said "You would look more intelligent if you wore a "kick me" sign on your back". I thought it was funny.

Middian-Age Eternal, 2007

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That's right I actually broke down and bought a cd that came out this year. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt formed YOB in 1996 and started cranking out slow, droning music after a few years of figuring out a musical direction. In late 2005 after four releases, Scheidt decided to call it quits for YOB because the rhythm section had quit the band. He took a short break and then started recruiting for a new band, this one. Just like YOB, Middian are signed to Metal blade records. The sound of Middian is maybe 60% the same as YOB. There are lots of long, winding slow musical passages with a minumum of vocals just like YOB. However this band is far more metal and less psychedlic than YOB. Perhaps less Pink Floyd and more Sleep and Electric Wizard. There is just such an emphasis on every specific note like they are pulling as much out of it as humanly possible. Plus there are lots of big echoes so you hear and really feel all of the sounds vibrating around you. It's probably as much doom as it is stoner rock, but has far more hooks and a tighter song structure than say Sleep or Electric Wizard. It's not something that you can easily grasp right away and it may not be for everyone. Despite the pace there really is just so much going on. The vocals are purposefully very low in the mix. Almost sounding at times like Burke Shelley of Budgie singing in a tunnel. I am kind of split on how I feel about the vocals, but I am gradually warming up to it. The music is at times very large and I felt like it was all around me and this is maybe just one of a few albums in recent years that made me feel that way. You may have to be in a certain mood to really appreciate it, but it's well worth the effort. I expected this year to be a good one for doom and stoner rock and this album begins to make a good case for that point.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lesser of two evils

It's time for another "Lesser of two evils" match-up. This time it's self-titled debut from Firehouse
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The self-titled debut from Steelheart.

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Both came out in 1990 and I only heard their singles back then, but for some reason I used to get these two bands confused with each other. In recent years I got both out of the bargain bin. I think my biggest problem with both bands is that they come across as being a little generic, but today they get to battle it out and there will be a winner.

Lead singer
Mike Matijevic of Steelheart has a strong voice and a big range. A very solid talent and my guess is this was effortless for him. I am not totally convinced of his ability to project emotion at times, but that could be chalked up to the material. C.J. Snare of Firehouse isn't as bad as I remember him being. His voice flows with the music fairly well at times, but he lacks strength at times and his range is just okay.

Point to Steelheart

This category was the biggest surprise to me. Bill Leverty of Firehouse is in a numerical mismatch as he is one against the two Steelheart guitarists, who are Chris Risola and Frank Di Costanza. Guitarists from both bands are solid enough in their rhythms with Steelheart maybe being a little heavier, but slightly more repetitious. However it was in the solos where I noticed the difference and number of players didn't matter here. Bill Leverty has a pretty good of grasp of what constitutes a good solo. Largely his solos were short and to the point, but interesting. The solos from the guys from Steelheart were typical and even a little bland. Leverty also had an overall stronger groove to his playing and really helped keep some of his band's songs going.

Point to Firehouse

Rhythm section
So from Firehouse we have bass player Perry Richardson and drummer Michael Foster going against Steeheart bassist James Ward and drummer John Fowler. Bass players are even to me as neither stands out at all. Not so with drummers though as I listened closely. John Fowler kept the pace, but very typical. However Michael Foster had at least half a dozen songs where I could really here his change in rhythm and his playing helped keep some songs interesting.

Point to Firehouse

Production values on both albums are fairly solid, but safe as most major label releases of this sort were at the time. Neither stands above the other in that department. To be honest I don't see either one as being any more original than the other. I tried to listen for it, but both bands are just okay as far as originality goes so this one is a .....

Tie, no points awarded

Who rocks more?
Neither of these bands will be accused of being real rocking bands, but both rock to some extent. Steelheart often started out their songs strong, but many times failed to sustain a whole track. Too often it felt like the music was just going through the motions. Firehouse tended to start out okay or decent.Yet they frequently built the momentum and several times managed to keep some decent grooves going throughout the whole song.

Point to Firehouse.

So the final score is Firehouse 3 Steelheart 1 and 1 tie. Once again the winner turned out different than what I at first figured. So doing this segment has allowed me to listen more closely to albums I normally might not spend much time on. So I will have another "Lesser of two evils" out next month.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Judge the album cover

Having skulls on heavy metal album covers has been around about as long as heavy metal. Here are a few skull album covers.

First is Headhunter by Krokus from 1983.
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Next if Forbidden Evil by Forbidden from 1988.
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Third is Doomsday Machine by Arch Enemy from 2005.
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**Do you like any of them, don't like them or are they just alright?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What's coming up?

This week has seemed very long, but now it's almost over. At least the weather has improved where I am at. Here's what I hope to have out this week.

-This Wednesday the 25th I will have out the Guns and Roses challenge. This is where I am taking the two Use your Illusion albums and narrowing down the songs to make one album. So I trimming the fat so to speak and trying to figure out a track order.

Also I hope to have out these topics:

-Judge the album cover on Sunday
-Middian-Age Eternal review
-Lesser of two evils:Firehouse versus Steelheart
-Heavy Metal nicknames

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Damien-Stop this war, 1989

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Ohio based band Damien kind of remind me of Malice from Oregan. In that both were mid/late 80's bands that sounded quite a bit like Judas Priest. Malice sound a little more like Priest in the vocal department and Damien sound a little more like them in the music department. Ultimately I prefer Damien to Malice due to more hooks and less repitition. This is their sophomore effort and it's a total of ten tracks. It's certainly not overly original as it has a big dose of Judas Priest and lesser splashes of maybe Accept and Armored Saint. If you are going to copy someone then it should at least be someone good and they have the right influences then. Yet they do manage to keep it lively and heavy with some strong rhythms constantly going. I guess this album would be refered to as "classic metal" now although back then it just would have been called "metal" or maybe even "power metal" as that phrase was just coming into use and hadn't yet just been assigned to mainly European bands. I had a sampler cassette in 1989 that included the track "Rising dawn" from this album and it drew me in. I bought the album based on that one track and wasn't disappointed. There are tracks like "Matilda" and "Corpse Grinder" where the guys ran short on ideas where the lyrics were concerned, but largely it's steady and fairly memorable material. I could easily imagine these guys being a good live act as their songs are strong and roll along well.Another minor complaint might be that if someone played this for me without telling me what year it was made then I might guess about 85 or 86, but you can see up top it came out in 89. That means they were maybe a little behind when this was released and that may have kept them from getting very far. Still I have listened to it three times in the two days since I bought my new copy on cd so that should say something.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rocklahoma: My view

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In case you have not heard there is a three day concert taking place in Oklahoma this summer. I first heard about it over at Hard rock hideout and Rob has writtern a few posts about it. Allyson over Bring back glam is going and so are some of the guys over at Mama's fallen angels. Both of those blogs have had multiple posts on this topic as well. So here's the current list of band's and set times.

Friday, July 13:
12:45 - 01:15 ZENDOZER
04:15 - 05:00 WHITE LION
05:30 - 06:30 Y&T
07:00 - 08:00 SLAUGHTER
08:30 - 09:30 QUIET RIOT
10:00 - 11:00 RATT
11:30 - 01:00 POISON

Saturday, July 14:
10:00 - 10:45 36 INCHES
11:55 - 12:40 BANG TANGO
01:00 - 01:45 BULLET BOYS
02:05 - 02:50 FASTER PUSSYCAT
03:10 - 03:55 ENUFF Z’NUFF
04:15 - 05:00 FIREHOUSE
05:30 - 06:30 WARRANT
07:00 - 08:00 SKID ROW
08:30 - 09:30 WINGER
10:00 - 11:00 DOKKEN
11:30 - 01:00 VINCE NEIL

Sunday, July 15:
10:30 - 11:00 PEDAL POINT
12:20 - 01:10 TBA
01:30 - 02:15 BRITNY FOX
02:45 - 03:45 L.A. GUNS
04:15 - 05:15 GREAT WHITE
05:45 - 06:45 JACKYL
07:15 - 08:30 W.A.S.P.
09:00 - 10:30 TBA

There are a couple of openings left so there are still a few more bands to squeeze on there. There is a rumor going around that Twisted Sister may be added to the bill and there is that headlining spot on the final day still open.
Anyways, I have been thinking about this event and here is my list of positives brought to you in Poison green.

-It's a hard rock festival in the United States. Good to see that.
-It's in a location that maybe doesn't get that many big shows like this.
-The ticket prices (at least early on) weren't too bad for the amount of bands that were playing.
-You could buy tickets for a single day if you wanted.
-It's seems to be getting promoted well.
-No Adler's Appetite or Jani lane on the bill (so far). These guys aren't worth the risk.

Okay, now here are the negatives brought to you in Skid Row red.

-This line-up would be huge if it was 1990, but it's not. These bands are way past their prime and some weren't that special even when the scene was at it's peak.
-Many of these bands are going to be like tribute bands to their former selves. Bang Tango, the Bulletboys, White Lion are all really the singer with some hired guns backing them up. Vince Neil can draw by himself. Even Stepehen Pearcy could have drawn some people too if he hadn't had rejoined Ratt. However guys like Joe LeSte and Mike Tramp have to hide behind a band name to draw anyone.
-Faster Pussycat is what, the version without Taime Down? That sounds like a tribute band not even worth seeing.
-Skidrow without Sebastian Bach? Time to go to the bathroom during their set.
-LA Guns is the version with Tracii Guns (at least that's what I read at one point). Which means it's him, his son and two old guys who were in the band before they did an album. Yeah, I want to stand around and see Tracii and his son wearing matching headbands.
-Britny Fox had in recent years had a 3/4 original line-up. Yet right after they announced the dates for this summer they said they playing them with a 1/4 original line-up. Is it really Britny Fox then?
-It just seems too much like it should be "hasbeenapalooza" or "oldmanfest 2007".
-Lack of younger bands. Put some more acts on there that want to go out and blow their idols off the stage.
-Having just all these old bands is just like admitting the scene is way past being dead and maybe it is. Although I wish it wasn't.
-Vince Neil coming on at 11:30 at end of a long day where he has nothing to do, but sit around and drink. You are asking for trouble and I pity the people in the front row that paid good money just to have Vince Neil fall on them.
-A Tesla or a Cinderella would help the show a lot. Two of the best bands in the genre still going.

I don't mean to be so hard, but seriously this reeks too much of a bunch old geezers cashing in on an easy paycheck. Some of the bands might be up for it, but a lot of them will just go through the motions. I just hope the promoters have lots of wigs and oxygen tanks on hand for some of these bands.

Here are some predictions.

-Band most likely to get booed: Vince Neil if he comes out tanked. If not then maybe Warrant as there have been stories about Jaime St. james having trouble singing Jani Lane's songs.
-Band most likely to come on very late: WASP because of the silly, gigantic mic stand that needs to be set up.
-Band most likely to put on the best show:WASP would be my favorite band on the bill. They may be good, but without Darrell Roberts and Blackie's age I am just not sure. Dokken have two original members and tour fairly often so I think they will be solid, but I am not sure Don can still hit all of those notes. If Twisted Sister gets added as the headliner on the last day then I would go with them. Largely because Dee has a big mouth and lots of energy.

***That's my take on this event. I do hope it goes off without a hitch and that everyone going has a good time. However, I wish there were more of an emphasis on the future of this kind of music rather than just the past.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The last of...

A few simple questions for you.

-What was the last album you listened to in it's entirety?
-What was the last cover song you listened to?
-What was the last rock band shirt you had on?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


It's been rough the last two days and I just get myself in the mood to write a review of Megadeth's Killing is my business. It just might take me a few days to get back into a writing mood. So I am going to throw out an Over/under for today. It's simple I list two bands and you say what you think are the most overrated and underrated songs by that band. I decided to choose two LA bands so this time it's:

Motley Crue

**So what do you think are the most overrated and underrated tracks by each band?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chris Poland-Return to Metalopolis, 1990

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This ten track all instrumental album from former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland has a little bit of an odd story behind it. This album came out on Enigma records in late 1990. I remember reading an interview from spring of 1991 with Chris Poland. He said that around late 1989/early 1990 he was working on material with his brother who was a drummer. He had some rough instrumentals recorded and out of the blue he was contacted by Enigma records. He played his tapes for them and they offered him a contract. He had been planning on this music being songs with vocals, but had not hired a vocalist yet. He explained this to Enigma, but they said they wanted the music as an all instrumental album. Even though this wasn't his original artistic vision, it was a chance to release his music on a major label so of course he took it. He played all guitars and bass while his brother played drums. So what's the album like? Well, like I said it more like music in song structure rather than the normal guitar instrumentals that are on that type of album. It's certainly a blending of styles as I would say it's a mix of classic, speed and progressive metal. It doesn't sound much like Megadeth, but there are lots of pace changes, different tones and plenty of finger bending riffs. The music is closer to what he would later do in Damn the machine than it is to Megadeth. Still it's less jazzy and more metal than Damn the machine. I originally had this on cassette and wore out my tape because I played it so much. I picked it up on CD about ten year ago. It's a fairly unique album that stays active, draws you in and keeps going along. It is in print and runs about $11-13 new.

***On Sunday my supervisor at work passed away very unexpectedly. I don't know how much I will be writing this week because I need to go the viewing, the funeral and things at work will be extra busy this week. Right now I am still kind of in shock because it was so sudden and she was such a nice person and a great worker.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Judge the album cover

This is the start of "Chris Poland half week". In 1993 Chris was in a band called Damn the machine and they released their one and only album. Here is the cover.
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Do you like it, don't like it or think that it's just okay?

Friday, April 13, 2007

What's coming up?

Recently there has been an invasion of cats outside my house. You can read more about that over at my wife's blog if you want to. I got Uncle Buck out of the bargain bin at Wal-mart the other day and have been enjoying watching that this week. I have decided to dedicate the first three days of next week to former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland. So you will get a "Chris Poland half-week" consisting of:

-a Christ Poland themed judge the album cover on Sunday
-a review of Chris Poland's Return to Metalopolis on Monday
-a review of Megadeth's debut Killing is business and business is good on Tuesday

After that I will have:
-another segment of Over/Under
-my take on Rocklahoma
and maybe one other topic.

Enjoy the week!

Raven-Rock until you drop, 1981

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Long before they donned athletic equipment on stage, long before drummer Rob Hunter called himself "Wacko" and long before Atlantic records sucked the life out of this band. Long before all of that these guys were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. I would say they were a major part as well. They would unwittingly come to be a big influence on the soon to be flourishing speed metal scene. Between 1981 and 1984 they were one of the best early speed metal bands around and there was once a time when Metallica opened for them(!). Like Venom, I think Raven stumbled upon a sound and excelled at it for a while. Brothers John (bass and vocals) and Mark Gallagher (guitar) formed this band along with drummer Rob Hunter in 1979. By 1981 they were signed to Neat records and released their debut "Rock until you drop". From the opener "Hard ride" you know right away that this band plows through their songs with lots of energy. They had their own sound yet I think they sound a little like some of Judas Priest's faster material crossed with the straight ahead romps of Ted Nugent. There are a lot of fast pace changes and some unexpected twists here and there. The frequent guitar runs and the pounding beats that are prominent here. Their style was easily a huge part of the blueprint that many up and coming speed metal bands would use between say 1983 and 1986 when speed metal was really emerging. Another thing I really liked about Raven was that their music felt fun. There came a time later in the decade when so many metal bands thought that wearing all black and frowning made them a real metal band. Raven's early material showed a band can play real metal and yes, it was okay to have fun with it. For me I think I actually enjoy Raven's earlier stuff more now than I did back in the 80's. I take it for what it is and both respect and thank them for their huge contribution to the metal world.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Current playlist

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I have a fairly short commute so I don't get to listen to much except at home. Sometimes I get to hear very little depending on how my kids are behaving at the time. I considered getting the Black Sabbath Dio years when it was $9.99 last week at Wal-mart, but I passed because it's just three new songs. I am counting down the days until the new Rush though. I just got a $10 Wal-mart gift certificate for doing something extra at my work. So I am going to set that aside to use towards getting the new Rush. Lately I have been listening to:

Artillery-Terror squad
Metal Church-The dark
Raven-Rock until you drop (review on Friday I hope)
Iron Maiden-Powerslave

Chris Poland-Return to Metalopolis (I think that I will be doing a Chris Poland half-week soon on my blog)
Black eyed Susan-Electric Rattlebone
Smash Alley-Too late to say no (This one has really grown on me lately. Like a cross between late 80's Aerosmith and early LA Guns)
Megadeth-Rust in peace

****What are you listening to?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Vote for a review

This is the second of three vote for a reviews that I will be doing this year. The winner of this one will be reviewed as my 20 year old album review in June. There are some heavier bands this time around so the voting might be lower, but please cast your vote. Here are your choices.

Celtic Frost-Into the pandemonium
Kreator-Terrible certainty
Overkill-Taking over

**So which one do you want me to review in June?

Who were they?Jaguar

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The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (or NWOBHM) movement produced a lot of bands during it's prime which was about 1979 to 1984. Some like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard made it big, but many didn't other than a cult following. One of those is Jaguar and I say is because they are still around. They first formed in late 1979 with a lineup of Garry Pepperd (Guitar), Jeff Cox (Bass,Vocals) and Chris Lovell (Drums). Shortly thereafter Rob Reiss was added as vocalist/frontman. They recorded some demos in 1980 and struck a deal with Heavy Metal Records. In 1981 they released the single Back Street Woman which sold over 400,000 copies. Then the band had some problems with their label,Reiss quit and was replaced by Paul Merrell. In 1982 they landed a new deal with Neat Records and released another single called Axe Crazy. By 1983 they released their debut lp "Power Games".
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They established a little bit of a following, but the follow up album "This Time"came out in 1984 and was a marked change of direction, showing a dance music influence. Drummer Lovell left and was replaced by Gary Davies.
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Reportedly the change in musical direction hurt the band's following and they folded in 1985.
In 1998 the band reformed with two original members (Peppard and Cox) and released the album "Wake me". In 2000 Peppard was the sole original member left and the band released"Run ragged". A best of called "Power Games/Anthology" was released in 2002 and just this year a live album called "Holland 82" was released.
They are really just one of a number bands that never made it that big. A lot of the bands from this scene were good, but didn't stand out from the pack. Jaguar's Power Games is somewhat like Iron Maiden's debut in ways. It's very much solid no-frills metal and worth getting as it goes for a cheap price if you look around. I have never heard "This Time" and probably won't bother tracking it down based on the descriptions I have read. Even band members later referred to it as "dance metal" and that may be two words that shouldn't be put together. They stand out to me because I heard a song by them on a late night metal radio show back in 1985. I liked it, but don't remember what song it was. Shortly after that I remember seeing their album in my local record store. I looked at the cover on several occasions, but never bought it. I actually just got it on cd a few years ago.

I was surprised to learn that these guys are playing at an upcoming
festival in England with some other NWOBHM bands
The official
Jaguar site is here.

**Next month's "Who were they?" will be on a speed metal band from Puerto Rico called Cardinal Sin. An interesting, but sort of sad story that tells how tough the music business can be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Anniversary and fill-in the blanks

Today is my wedding anniversary. Which means my wife has somehow managed to put up with me for eight years. I am glad she has though because life with her has been way better that it was before she came into my life.

Here are some fill in the blanks for you.

1)The most consistant hard rock/metal band of all time is____________________.
2)The most inconsistant hard rock/metal band of all time is____________________.
3)The band I would most like to see live in 2007 is _________________________.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Judge the album cover

Hope everyone had a good holiday. I am going to do a double dose of 80's album covers today.
First here is the cover of Keel's 1985 album "The right to rock".

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Next up is the cover of "Every dog has it's day" which was done by Ohio based band Damien in 1987.
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**So do you like either one, don't like them or are they just okay?

Friday, April 06, 2007

What's coming up?

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Well, Easter is coming up so I won't be posting over the weekend and will be back on Monday. My daughter is looking forward to Easter. We have been watching "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" and "The Easter Bunny is coming to town". I think we are going to an Easter egg hunt on Saturday then church and dinner with my parents on Sunday.

Here are the topics I hope to have out in the upcoming week.

-Judge the album cover on Monday
-Vote for a review (I didn't get to it this past week)
-Who were they? Jaguar
-Raven-Rock until you drop review
and one more topic.

***Here's a question for you. If you had to re-name your blog then what name would you choose?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The lost James Bond song

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Well, first let me say that Ray over at Pulses, verses and other flotsam is writing a great segment this week about the actors that played James Bond. He is ranking them and listing his reasons so go check it out. His topic inspired me to write about a lost James Bond theme song of sorts. Alice Cooper was originally contacted about doing the theme song for "The man with the golden gun". He was thrilled because he was a fan and he and his band recorded a song under that title. However the makers of the film decided not to use it because they were concerned that having Cooper's name associated with their film due to him being somewhat controversial. So they played it safe and brought in Lulu to do the theme song instead. Cooper, not wanting to waste his song stuck it on his band's Muscle of love album.

Guns and Roses-Appetite for destruction, 1987

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Background-Band members here had been working in different line-ups until things started to come together around 85-86. Then the line-up was complete and they released an ep called Live like a suicide in 1986. Geffen records then signed them and by Summer of 1987 this album was released.

Initial reaction-
I first saw Welcome to the jungle on the Headbanger's Ball that Summer and loved it. Yet it was the first week of school in 1987 when a guy I worked with played the whole album for me. I was hooked and bought it the next day.

1. Welcome To The Jungle-Overall kind of a medium paced song with some unique vocals. However if you listen closely you may be amazed by how many pace changes there are here. It's sometimes frantic, but very enjoyable and different.

2. It's So Easy-This song cuts straight ahead with some odd vocals and a steady yet unrelenting pace. Whether G-n-R were real or not, their lyrics and attitude was far more harsh than other LA bands. Yet that was part of their initial appeal.

3-Nightrain- Starts out with this nice mid tempo sound and some good chunky guitars. It's perhaps a little more basic than some of the other songs yet they play it with a lot of confidence and feeling.

4. Out Ta Get Me-This is a big old in your face kind of song. Nothing fancy, but very memorable and it has some interesting riffs. This song really drives forward too.

5. Mr. Brownstone-I love that intro and then it blends write into the main riff and everyone else comes in. Very offbeat approach with an amazing groove to it. Axl delivers his vocals and a very fast rate and I don't imagine it was easy, but the song wouldn't have been as good if he couldn't hit it.

6. Paradise City-A very different song at this point that starts a big clean sound yet it soon works into a mid tempo and then goes back and forth a bit. A tad less raunchy than their other songs, but no less original.

7. My Michelle-A very simple intro and then a blast into a thick wall of sound and some screaming vocals. It's fairly heavy and dark, but one of my favorites here.

8. Think About You- Very straightforward song with some of my favorite guitar parts on the whole album. This song seems to get overlooked at times maybe due it's simple approach.

9. Sweet Child O' Mine-Along with Paradise City this is one of the more accessible songs perhaps. It has a nice big beat behind it, a good flow and a cool solo. The last minute or so might be the best part of the song as they really bring up the energy level a notch at that point.

10. You're Crazy-For most bands this would be the required simple, fast song yet this track is just as different as the rest of the album. It's good change of pace at this point as well.

11. Anything Goes-As much of a fun song as there is here and just blasts through. You will be singing the chorus and humming the music well after it ends.

12. Rocket Queen-The final track comes on with a big build-up and then a tight little riff. It's larger than life with off beat pace changes and enough interesting parts to make three good songs. My favorite track here and that is saying something.

Verdict/Final Word- Hard rock was getting a bit stale before this album and I think it gave the music world a much needed kick. I also think it helped hard rock continue on longer than it would have had G-n-R not arrived on the scene. This album is very original and one of the best albums of the 1980's for sure. It wasn't the same old slickly packaged, over processed slab that the recorded companies were beginning to churn out. It was fresh and it still holds up well today. So don't let what Axl has done to this band name tarnish what this album did. This album should still be held up a pedestal despite the fact that the band didn't live up to their potential after this. I also feel that this album had a broad appeal to fans. Probably due to how original it was and the different speeds and styles of the tracks.

**My 20 year old album review for May will be Alice Cooper's Raise your fist and yell.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Guns and Roses challenge

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When the Use your Illusion albums came out in 1991 I think most people felt there were some good songs there for sure, but there was some filler. Many of us had hoped that the follow-up to Appetite for destruction would be as good or better than that 1987 album. However that wasn't the case. Yet what if you had the chance to put together one full length album out of the two existing Use your Illusion albums? Well, here is the chance as I am asking anyone who wants to participate to take the next three weeks to:

1)Listen to the two Use your Illusion albums.
2)Narrow them down to a list of one album's worth of music. So you need to trim off anything you think is filler, too long or just doesn't belong.
3)Put the song titles in the track order that you think would work best.

-Then three weeks from today on April 25 I will post my list and you can either post yours in my comments section or your put yours up at your own blog.

How many songs you pick for your album is up to you, just use your judgement as to what you think the length of this one album should be. So are there any takers or any suggestions on how to make this better?

**My twenty year old album review of Appetite for destruction will be up on Thursday.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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Time again to play the Heavy Metal Jukebox and there are no quarters required. I list three songs and you say which one you like the most. This time it's songs with the word black in the title. So your choices are:

AC/DC-Back in black
Megadeth-Good mourning/Black Friday
Metallica-Fade to black

***So which do you choose?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Vains of Jenna-Lit up/let down, 2006

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Vains of Jenna are from Sweden and formed around early 2005. They quickly caught the attention of the Metal Sludge website and that's where I first heard of them. Tuff vocalist and Metal Sludge head honcho Stevie Rachelle is now their manager. As a result the band relocated to LA and released this album in the fall. They are receiving quite a bit of hype in some circles. So I will cut to the chase and say that I like this album and it's good. There are some problems and concerns though. What I like about it is that it's fairly raw sleaze glam that at times reminds me of Guns and Roses, Faster Pussycat, Hanoi Rocks and a somewhat obscure band called Star Star. I like the raspy vocals of Lizzy Devine quite a bit. The band is fairly adept at handling different paced songs and their slow songs are just as strong as the faster ones. That's the good so here's the other side of the coin. Let's get what isn't their fault out of the way first. That is the thin production that drags this down a little. Vocals are fine and maybe the drums are okay at times, but overall the mix is very muddy and the guitar suffers from this. Crank it up because we want to hear it and this kind of music needs a sharp production. Also I felt like at times they lacked the hooks of the big league bands of yesterday. Along similar lines is the fact that maybe they didn't have enough of their own sound here. Most younger glam bands that pop up today suffer from this last problem. Is it unfair or unreasonable of me to expect more originality? I don't think so because I don't believe everything has been done and I also don't want to believe that glam is dead. I want to believe that there is a scene ready to happen and there are bands out there that are going to put out albums that are going to floor me. Now I certainly don't think Vains of Jenna deserve any glam crown at this point because they have a lot to prove. Yet there are three reasons why I think this band could yet be something great.
1)I think having Stevie Rachelle as a manager is a good thing. He runs a major website and he knows the business both good and bad.
2)They undoubtedly have some energy as evidenced by parts of their album.
3)They are very young and there is still plenty of time for them to grow. I take into account the fact this album recorded after the band had been together for just over a year.

Here would be my advice to this band.
1)In the words of Dee Snider "Stay Hungry", keep clawing and pushing ahead.
2)Don't buy into your own hype, you are not there yet.
3)Don't be afraid to put your own ideas in. You don't have to just be a copycat band.
This is a ten track album, but the last two songs are acoustic versions of previous tracks. They are not the saviors of glam yet and maybe they won't be yet I would recommend it for fans of late 1980's to early 1990's glam metal.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Judge the album cover

Here's the cover of Night of the blade by Tokyo Blade from 1984.
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So do you like it, don't like it or think it's just alright?