Monday, July 30, 2012

Nuclear Death Terror-Chaos Reigns

Southern Lord

Copenhagen's own Nuclear Death Terror (a perfect name if ever there was one for a crust punk/death metal outfit!) offer up this CD compilation of ten tracks from some of the band's vinyl releases. For those of you not in the loop when it comes to this seriously heavy & metallic crust-punk band (if your not I must ask why?) they were formed in 2003 and sound like the unholy union of Amebix, Motörhead, Discharge, Crass, The Exploited, Antisect, Doom (English crust band), Extreme Noise Terror, Death (early Death) and Slayer. So, crust-punk, hardcore, death metal and even some thrash (hence the Slayer). Considering all those elements (and who wouldn't want to take the time to consider all those nasty little creatures in one room?) that have been thrown in this is truly some angry, street-level, punk-ridden messed up metal. And yes, it is glorious indeed.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Klaus Schubert-Desperados On The Run



Austrian guitarist Klaus Schubert will (most likely) be an unknown name to most Americans. Those living in Europe will have no doubt know him thanks to his work with the heavy metal/hard rock outfit No Bros. No Bros were/are a well known and respected band. Klaus Schubert also had his own outfit (Schbert were another heavy metal act) as well as the Titty Twister Band (improv/live-project) and the Klaus Schuberts Blues Bunnies (later known as Klaus Schuberts Rock Bunnies). So, this guitarist has had his hands in a lot of bands/projects and for good reason-the guy can play. There are some seriously mad skills on display here. "Desperados On The Run" is mostly a collection of instrumental songs running the gamut of Schubert's career with these various acts. The list of players is long, but the music is what matters most so let's take a quick peek at that and then move on. Over the course of almost 60 minutes your treated to some excellent instrumental rock (well, mostly instrumental rock) that will appeal to those that love Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman, Shrapnel Records or, yeah this sounds weird I suppose, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. So, you should get the vibe if your familiar with any or all of those groups/artists/labels. This is shred/neo-classical/jam...whatever. It's good though so, as much as this would normally probably bore me to death, there was a lot of it I enjoyed. It helps that there is some variety present (the great blues-rock title cut for one) and some "traditional heavy/power" tracks like "(Angst) Let me put my finger" (from Schubert's self-titled outfit) to keep things "spicy" as it were. My best guess is fans of instrumental rock/shred guitar will eat this up/snort this down. The rest of you though? Hit or miss would be my bet.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

French Metal Friday: Nomed

Thrash metal from France. Or at least that is all I had to go on when I initially downloaded "Like" online. Sure enough this band (who hail from Le Havre, Upper Normandy) offered up excellent thrash but there was so much more to the picture that writing them off as "thrash" is criminal. Nomed was "officially" born in 1986, but the roots actually go back further to 1984 and a young band called Sword. Without diving too far into the deep end (the band's history can be found online if you look hard enough or just do what I did and pick up the "Thrashing Insanity" compilation which has a nice run down on the group, pictures, etc.) Sword became Oxyde in 1985 (as there were already too many bands known as Sword in reality) and then Oxyde became Nomed in 1986. Once Nomed was unleashed upon the French countryside I'm not so sure anyone would have known what just hit them. Not since the Beast of Gévaudan had there been sure a vicious onslaught of violence and mayhem...or at least music wise. More then mere "thrash" the band were the very definition of "crossover" in all of it's glory. The band combined enough hardcore, metal, thrash and even death metal to cause a new revolution. After several demos the band released the "Troop Of Death" EP in 1988 followed by "Like..." the following year. Both of these releases are collected in the 2011 "Thrashing Insanity" compilation (again a very high recommended purchase folks). After the release of "Nomed-Live" in 1989 the band would split up. Two years would pass before they came charging back with the demo, "Requiem". The band's last full-length recording was "A Vision Of God" (2000) although several EPs would follow. Sadly one of the band's members, guitarist André Lemesle, took his own life in 2008 which put Nomed to eternal rest. It is unfortunate that so many musicians seem to die before their time (whether by suicide or drug overdose) and André Lemesle is no different. As a whole the band was a well-run unit, but André Lemesle guitar skills were over the top and insane. He brought epic solos to Nomed seldom seem other then in acts like Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer. Whatever drove him to take his own life he did leave a lasting legacy with Nomed. Fans of French metal might find Nomed a bit too extreme for their tastes, but crossover/heavy thrash freaks would do well to track down a copy of "Thrashing Insanity" or at least the "Troop Of Death" EP and "Like..." LP.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Current playlist

 Here you go.


Listening to:

Sumerian Records Summer Sampler 2012
Haircut 100-Pelican West Plus
Mythra-The Death & Destiny LP
Ostrogoth-Ecstasy and Danger
Nomed-Troop Of Death
Killer-Shock Waves
The Exploited-Death Before Dishonour
Killer-Fatal Attraction
Killer-Ready For Hell/Wall Of Sound
Queen-Greatest Hits Vol. I and Vol. II


Don't Look Now
Eye Of The Needle

Agatha Christie's Detectives

Metal Mark-

Baroness-Yellow and green
Blood of the black owl-Light the fires
Wotan-Carmina Barbarica
Xcursion-Ready to roll
Axatak-Sneak attack
Gideon's Army-Grace
Blondie-Parallel Lines
Gypsyhawk-Revelry and resilience
Decrepit Mind-Chemical Interrogation

Firefly entire series
Three Stooges the movie
John Carter

The building of Westminster in Maryland
Vegan Celebrations

***What are you listening to, watching and reading?

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Melvins Lite-Freake Puke



My first run in with the Melvins came by way of "Honey Bucket" on a mix tape. Mix tape you say? If your too young then ask your parents. I'm almost positive it was my old friend Mike Myers from my old McDonald's days. After that little slice of love I tracked down not only "Houdini" (sinister album by the way), but the band's earlier releases. With the Melvins it seems it is a love 'em or hate 'em group. Guess the same can be said for a lot of groups like that who live on the fringe of society (Butthole Surfers anyone?). Melvins Lite is pretty much the Melvins. The line-up for what it's worth is King Buzzo (Guitar & Vocals) , Dale Crover (Drums & Vocals) and Trevor Dunn (Standup Bass & Vocals), but the song remains the same. Crover might not be an original member of the Melvins (if memory serves me correct that is), but he has been around a long, long time with King Buzzo so it is what it is. Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, etc) just adds his only little "twist" to this side-project and suddenly "boom" you have some interesting but oh so familiar. What it comes down to is that I could give you a long list of reasons why you, as a Melvin fan, should get this. Really though I will just say that if the Melvins and other sorts of similar acts butter your toast as it is then grab this project. You won't be disappointed.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First time


The debut, it's a that can carry a lot of weight for a band. They want to impress people from the start. A lot of times a band will get the response "they have potential" which translates to "pretty good, but hopefully you'll get even better". However on occasion a band steps up on their debut and it's so good that no only does it make people take notice, but it turns out that their first ends up being better than anything else they do in their career. This of course depends on which album you prefer by said artist. Black Sabbath and Van Halen are well known artists who plenty of fans point to as bands whose debut was their best work. I don't agree on those, but can certainly how a case can be made for both.  Here are some for me where the debut is my favorite.

Metal Church-s/t
Despite a mostly solid career after this they never quite came close to touching their debut.

Flotsam and Jetsam-Doomsday for the deceiver
One of the best albums of 1986. Their career after this was very hit and miss, but they had it all together on this one.

Cirith Ungol-Frost and fire
They were raw and rough on their debut. They ironed out some of the edges on the next two albums, but I prefer the mix of 70's and 80's metal on this album.

Overkill-Feel the fire
That's right I said it. Despite playing forever I don't think they ever matched the fury of this album. They have had a lot of drummers and guitarists over the years, but their best ones were on this album.

Motley Crue-Too fast for love
Yes, I know most people prefer their sophomore album. For me this one was a combination of 70's glam and 80's hard rock. They lost that feel to their music after this album.

There's more, but I'll let you chime in now.

***What debuts do you love?

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Sacred Oath-Darkness Visible


Sentinel Steel/Angel Thorne

Reunion or comeback albums are always a tricky deal. Sacred Oath entered into a touch one a few years ago. They recorded "A Crystal Vision' in 1987 and it was released the next year. The album was highly regarded, but the band had already split due to various problems. The band did a re-recording album of their debut called "A Crystal Revision" in 2005. Almost two decades after their debut they were ready to knocked out an album of originals. Honestly it lacks some of the raw aggressiveness of their debut. However the style is similar and they rely on a more slick delivery that requires a little more patience from the listener, but after a few plays it sinks in that Sacred Oath deliver a very worthy follow-up to "A Crystal Vision". The influences are the same as the debut with early Maiden, Queensryche, Crimson Glory and others coming to mind. Their style is a mixture of classic, power metal and even a few almost  thrash bits. Tracks like "Battle Cry", "Queen of the night", "Unholy man" and "Prophecy" are good examples of  the strongly crafted metal on this album. When I listen to this album I do briefly wonder what this band would have sounded like had they not broken up in the late 80's. It's a shame they stopped then, but at least they go back together and soldiered on in a direction that fans of their early material can appreciate.

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Mythra is by all accounts considered a minor NWOBHM act. For all intensive purposes the band never achieved much success and there is not too much of a catalog from which you can pull from. And yet this NWOBHM band (who were formed in South Shields, UK around 1975 by a few school mates) had far reaching influence. They were name-checked by Lars Ulrich though for a reason. When Lars was doing his best to hype the NWOBHM scene for all who would listen it must have been interesting to put on "Death and Destiny" side by side with "Kill 'Em All". Those early works of supposed metal magic reek of Mythra. As I listened to the "Death and Destiny" LP over the past few days (in anticipation of this review) I was amazed by how much Metallica owed to this band. The fact is this South Shields band was the best of what British heavy metal had to offer. Yes, Mythra themselves borrowed from Black Sabbath and Motorhead. The band was one of those groups that should have made better for themselves though because the sound here is varied and quite exceptional. After releasing the excellent "Death & Destiny" EP the first time around (1979 to be exact and yes, for 1979 this is some fast, heavy and crazy shit let me tell you!) that should have been enough to knock these guys up the ladder to success. Why it didn't happen is a real cluster f**k all in all. The EP feature such killer works of Britsh steel as "Death and Destiny" (nice), "Killer" (which does sound a bit like "Breadfan" by Budgie", "Overlord" and "U.F.O." (which both should be of great interest to Diamond Head fans and Holocaust Fans). Sadly it didn't happen for the group. Instead of going too far into the how and why of it all I am instead going to suggest you just go pick up a copy of the 1998 re-release of this EP. Also called "Death and Destiny" it is a collection of all of the music they recorded in their way too short career. You get the EP, a single and various demo cuts. It is 13 tracks of epic NWOBHM that has been remastered and given a new life. Other then the fact that the song titles are wrong (I pulled this directly from the Metal Archives page):
"Due to the band's inactivity at the time of the release of The Death And Destiny LP some songs have been given the wrong name on the album.
Track 1, titled "Paradise" on the CD is actually called "New Life".
Track 4, titled "Vicious Bastard" on the CD is actually called "Vicious Bastards".
Track 6, titled "At Least They Tried" on the CD is actually called "At Least I Tried".
Track 7, titled "The Death Of A Loved One" on the CD is actually called "Together Forever".
LP released by Buried By Time And Dust 2012 as "Death & Destiny" The track list is as follows and, as I stated, this is a must have for NWOBHM fanatics!
01. Death & Destiny
02. Killer
03. Overlord
04. U.F.O.
05. Warrior of Time
06. Heaven Lies Above
07. At Least I Tried
08. Together Forever
09. New Life
10. England
11. Vicious Bastard
12. The Age of Machine
13. W.A.S.A.

To put it mildly this is one of the best albums/collections I have heard in a LONG TIME. Starting with "Paradise" (a cut that would make Lemmy proud!) the album moves between Diamond Head/Black Sabbath numbers, then to Hollow Ground/Holocaust or A II Z before it moves back to more Motorhead love and so on. To the extent that I don't want to over hype this this excellent collection I will just say it has to be heard to fully appreciate it's strengths. Listening to it again, as I type this morning, I pick up not only the above masterful moments but some AC/DC appreciation and Tygers Of Pan Tang love. Who came first is beside the point really. All that matters in the end is how well everything comes together for the band. Now, Mythra did release "The Darkener" in 2003 although I have yet to hear it. As far as I know they are no more, but as it seems that all good NWOBHM acts eventually get back together there might still be hope for this classic underground act. Whether it was melodic numbers, slower doom-like cuts or fast and aggressive heavy metal it all sounded good. Mythra is a highly recommended outfit to check out.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Mistreater-Hell's Fire


As if anyone needed more proof here it is. Cleveland, Ohio has given the world more kick ass heavy metal bands and Mistreater are not just "one more" to add to the pile. Rather, these guys should be on top of that pile! Formed in 1980 this four piece act drew from British heavy metal as much as they did the American heavy metal scene at the time. My first exposure to the band came by way of a blog site (link below) where I was intrigued by the blogger description of lead vocalist Curt Luedy "The vocals kind of remind me of if Paul Di'Anno was in a drug induced trance or something" and the band itself as a sort of UFO inspired act. The Paul Di'Anno part was the real draw for me and sure enough Curt does have that same sinister vibe. Interesting enough this also has much of the same sort of raw edge that Iron Maiden's first two albums had (I have always felt like those two albums were more in line with the punk scene thanks to Paul's approach) although Mistreater are much more evil sounding. As hinted at the band does seem to have been influenced by UFO and Iron Maiden although the American hard rock/heavy metal of the time comes shinning through. Fans of eighties metal will love this as will those that love their heavy metal a bit more on the raw side of thinks. Sadly the band's follow-up, 1987's "Swami", does not even come close to "Hell's Fire". The CD I have now of the band collects these two albums, but if I am to be honest (and I like to be!) the link below is just as good (if not better!) as it contains the 7 tracks from 1981's "Hell's Fire" LP along with the B-side from the "Hell's Fire" 7", the band's appearance on the "Cleveland Metal" compilation and and a cut from "Mitch Capka's CLEVELAND'S HEAVY METAL : ETCHED IN STEEL" compilation LP! That is a nice collection of material and I tip my hat to the original poster for not only gathering such great material, but also for turning me onto this great band to begin with! You can see for yourself why Mistreater gets me excited at the link below.

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Stutz 3 CD Box Set

Stormspell Records

Stutz are yet again more proof that Cleveland, Ohio was a goldmine when it came to music. Scratch that it still is a goldmine. Stutz (who were formed in 1978) were one of those bands that did everything right and yet fell just a hair short of achieving success. Despite never signing that one major label deal (the band was said to be on the verge of signing a major deal with Geffen records at one point) the band maintained enough of a cult following that it was only a matter of time before some label came along and repackaged their material. This 3CD box set was actually a gift for my birthday (July 11th) from my children. Of course they did have a little help with ordering this set as they are only 14 and 12 after all! Anyway, this 3CD box set gathers up all music that Stutz recorded during their career (1981-1990) and presents it in a nice package with lyrics, history, photos, etc. Each CD can also be purchased separately, but considering the fact that there are hidden gems on each album I'm personally glad to have had the chance to hear the whole set. The first CD contains their 1983 "Made in USA" LP (it is retitled "Killer" now) along with the band's rare 7" EP and bonus material. All in all this is a good album although for my money it is the band's 1986 album, "Tearing Up The Night" (retitled "Marching Into Hell") where things get interesting. The band's sound was a little too polished and pop on album number on. The second CD shows the band (who have a sound that falls along the lines of Stryper, Great White, Kiss, Messiah Prophet, Whitecross, Y&T and Motley Crue) really getting into gear. Songs like "Tearing Up The Night", "Marching Into Hell" and "Make Love" are great hard rock/melodic metal with just enough hair metal thrown in to appeal to a wider audience. At times the band flirts with a heavier sound (similar to maybe Bloodgood?), but for the most part this sounds like late eighties hard rock/hair metal. CD number 3, "Keep Runnin'" contains previously unpublished songs recorded from 1988 to 1990 and it hit and miss. Of the three CDs it is "Marching Into Hell" that I have listened to the most, but to be fair all three do have there moments. Each CD is 60 minutes and each CD comes with (per the promo) "12-page booklet crammed with archive photos, band story, liner notes, lyrics, custom artwork, etc.". All in all at $25.00 or so for the box set (limited time offer and only a few of the box sets at that price remain) this is a great pick up for melodic rock/hard rock/hair metal fans.

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Heavy metal and hard rock posters in movies

I wrote a post in record stores in movies some years ago and of course some of those record stores had metal and hard rock posters on their walls. This time around I was thinking about movies that have scenes where the bedrooms have metal or hard rock posters on the walls. I was thinking of this topic I was watching some 80's movie the other day (I think it was the not so impressive Valley Girl) where next to the pop band posters was a poster for Coney Hatch's first album. I tried thinking of movies where characters had hard rock or metal posters on their wall. So you'd think the 80's would be the time to focus on for finding these in movies. Trick or treat from 1986 is the main film that comes to mind for metal posters. Marc Price's character Eddie had metal posters everywhere including Anthrax, Raven, Lizzy Borden, Ozzy, KISS, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Motley Crue. A cool part except *spoiler alert* he eventually rips them down which was a heartbreaking scene for any metal fan. In Wayne's World Garth had posters of Judas Priest, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin. In Rock Star Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) has posters of Ted Nugent, Metallica and Anthrax in between a bunch of posters of the fictional Steel Dragon. Most 80's films had more mainstream characters who if they had posters of any bands on their walls it was pop bands. So without trying to watch a bunch of other movies right now I'm wondering if there were many other examples of this.

So when you were watching movies did you notice any metal or hard rock posters on any of the walls?
If so then what posters and from what movies were they in?

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2012 so far

Here we are more than half a year into 2012. As far as hard rock and metal releases go this year I was impressed early on. The last say three months have not been as quite as productive to my ears as were the first three months. That being said I didn't get around to hearing the new Rush yet because my interest in them now isn't what it once was. Although I have heard mostly good things about it. I am in the middle of collecting my thoughts on the new Baroness album and hope to review that soon. In other years I have looked ahead to see what's coming out soon. To be honest I don't really do that anymore. That's probably partially out of laziness on my part and in part due to not wanting to get caught up in any pre-release hype. Anyways I am spending some time sorting through 2012 releases and thinking about what albums I'll consider for my top 25 albums list that I'll compile at the end of the year. For the year so far I'd say that quite a few of the best releases have come from unexpected sources.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Inconvenience Store Interview

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with the new band Inconvenience Store (I.S.). This young group features (among others) former Cynic The Old Man member Jonah.

Andy-Tell us how Inconvenience Store came about.
I.S.-There's actually a story behind the name Inconvenience Store.
Me, our drummer William, and our friend Charlie were all walking
down the street one night after a show with Will's then band
,Awesome Express, when we were in downtown Natick. We were
searching for a convenience store, cause we wanted to
buy some stuff. But then we pretty much just got lost
in the middle of downtown Natick at night just searching
for this convenience store, and then eventually Will's
parents picked us up, and Will proposed to me the
idea of a new band he wanted to form, and that's what
spawned the name Inconvenience Store. I was, at first,
skeptical about the project cause I really just wanted
to focus on my last band,Cynic The Old Man, so it kind
of got pushed aside for a while but as of March
2012, we've been making awesome progress.

Andy-Who all is involved in the project?

I.S.-Myself, our drummer William Maranci,
our bassist Blake Johnson, and our
lead vocalist, Beatrice "Bamma" Puzikov.
I've known Will for at least a year now, I've
known Bamma for one year and I've known Blake
for two years. Me and Blake
played at this camp called Dayjams
together in 2010, that's where I met him. We
also played in Cynic The Old Man together, and in fact,
Bamma was our original
lead singer.

Andy-How does this compare to your last outfit?

I.S.-We're definitely making a lot more progress
than my last band. Our current
setlist is 7 songs, which is more than I think
I've ever had with a band before and I
feel like our music is becoming just a tad bit
more abrasive than Cynic The Old
Man. That, and it feels better. When Cynic
The Old Man was crumbling, I was just
sort of miserable and frustrated, but with
this's exciting.

Andy-As your still in high school and
involved in other projects how do you find the time
for the band?

I.S.-We practice in Needham at this "teen band program"
called Plugged In. We
have dates assigned as our practices each
"session" at Plugged In. But it most
definitely can be difficult. Especially
since I live rather far from Needham. I live in
Framingham, which is at least 30 minutes away
from Needham. Will and Bamma
are the two that live in Needham, and Blake's
from Newton, if I'm not mistaken. As
for other projects...well Blake plays in other
bands as well, and as for me...I create
art and graphic design. I've been doing graphic
design since November 2011, and
I've always been interested in art ever since
I was a kid. So I guess those two
things can be considered projects themselves.
However, another problem that
arises is the fact that I don't have my license,
so It's not like I could drive to
practice. And my parents don't really have
the time to drive me from Framingham
to Needham during the week, my dad's
a teacher and I'm fairly certain my mom
works at a software company. So Inconvenience
Store is kind of like my weekend
hobby...for now, that is.

Andy-What would you like to see happen with this band?

I.S.-I'd definitely like to see us last. I really want
to see us just grow and develop
as people and musicians over the years. I really
want to see us continue past high
school, if that's possible. I'm a senior
in high school and Blake and Will are both
juniors this year, I think. Bamma also
might be a senior as well. But I truly want to
see this project grow and last for, hopefully, years
to come. That, and of course,
write, record, and play more music! I really want to
release a demo in the near
future though. I also might be making t-shirts for us in the fall.

Andy-Is your aim to write and play only original material?

I.S.-Our current setlist is 7 songs, and
4 of them are cover's, and the other 3 are
original songs. Blake seems like the one whose
really interested in cover songs,
but I have a strong desire to write and
play a lot of, and hopefully, mainly original
material. Two of our original songs are from me,
Blake, and Bamma's last band,
Cynic The Old Man. And our third original song so far,
was written by me and

Andy-How would you describe the sound of your
group to those not familiar with your sound?

I.S.-You could call us an alternative band.
That or punk might do the trick. Some
people call themselves punk when I don't exactly see
them as punk themselves.
Me and Will have a real punk rock kind of attitude.
However, I really want to create
experimental and abrasive avant-garde music mixed with
punk or metal or
hardcore or something...maybe that'll happen.
Maybe you could also call us an
experimental band.

Andy-What has been the band's biggest influences so far?

I.S.-Our influences are actually rather eclectic.
We're all into different kinds of
music. Blake's into bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Audioslave, System Of A
Down, and Rage Against The Machine. And Will's
into bands like Tool, Kyuss, The
Beatles, Black Sabbath, Kraftwerk, King Crimson,
and things of that nature.
However, he's pretty eclectic like me...I've seen
his Spotify and he has bands and
artists like Converge and Wesley Willis, who we both like.
He used to play in a
band called Awesome Express where they played
music similar to classic rock like
Styx and Queen. And as for Bamma...well she seems
like she's into things like
mainstream metalcore, screamo, etc, I really don't know,
hahahaha. But I know she
likes some pretty sick music like Breaking Benjamin,
who I also like. And as for
me...well I'm rather eclectic myself. I like a
lot of abrasive and experimental music.
Converge, At The Drive In, Glassjaw, Tom Waits,
Sigur Ros, Pendulum, The
Chemical Brothers, Porcupine Tree, Mr. Bungle,
Isis, Oxbow, Between The Buried
And Me, things like that. I enjoy everything
from metalcore and hardcore to
electronic music. In fact, I'm listening
to Porcupine Tree right now.

Andy-What are some of the challenges you've run into so
far? I have to assume being in high school still
must make things more challenging correct?

I.S.-Yeah, being in high school can be considered a
challenge itself. That and as I
explained above, me living rather farther
away from the others and me not having
my license yet to really drive to practices and
shows and things of that nature.

Andy-Final thoughts?

I.S.-Thanks for interviewing me, and lastly...
dear I'll stay gold. Forever gold.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stalion Four-Rough Times

Pure Rock Records

There is indeed a God (and it's quite obvious by now that he loves good rock and roll as much as the rest of us) because this latest Swedish hard rock/heavy metal act offers some sweet, soul-kicking rock. Prior to to this the band released three demos and a 7“-EP, "Devil In Me". Again, with this sort of group there is no need to get fancy or cute with a long-winded review. Instead cut your your teeth on this: Krokus, AC/CD and early Accept ripping through 10 tracks of hard rock that fans of those three groups (or for that matter Bullet or Airbourne) will dig. This five piece is lead by Björn (or Brian Johnson possessed by the late, great Bon Scott) and offer no-frills rock that sounds more like AC/DC then anything although AC/DC never had as much of a punk vibe as these guys do. Not punk in a Sex Pistols kind of way, but punk as in "bar room, blue jeans, cheap beer, loud guitars and a D.I.Y. attitude" kind of way. Might be a bit of a love for all things Lemmy as well, but more then anything it's AC/DC do or die love and thankfully they pull it off better then both Bullet and Airborne. This is one release I'll be adding to my play list.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Kill Devil Hill-Kill Devil Hill


I have to say (or rather start off this review by mentioning) that I have no idea why so many people, critics or fans, are hating on Kill Devil Hill. Yes, given the fact that you have Vinny Appice and Rex Brown in this band you could be forgiven for thinking this was going to be epic. It isn't. It does not sound like any of Vinnie's old acts (Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, Dio, etc) or for that matter Rex's (Pantera and Down), but instead sounds Kill Devil Hill. OK, that is a cop out answer, but honestly this is not a super group so why judge it as such? Joining Rex and Vinnie is guitarist Mark Zavon and lead singer Jason "Dewey" Bragg. If your asking who then I am right there with you. But the pair (who were in W.A.S.P. and Pissing Razors respectfully) have joined forces with Vinnie and Rex and the end result is a pretty solid hard rock band. Arguments could be made that this group is the sum of it's parts (except for the fact I don't hear much Pissing Razors in Kill Devil Hill), but there is also some Alice In Chains, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, Black Label Society, AC/DC, B.O.C. and countless other classic bands. In other words some of this and some of that with the end result being a band that sounds like-Kill Devil Hill. Four guys playing hard rock with just enough doom, traditional heavy metal and classic rock riffs to make this a interesting album. With that said who cares if this isn't brilliant? It's down right fun and that's good enough for me.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Current playlist

Here you go, like it or lump it.


Listening to:

Geordie-The Singles Collection
Dire Straits-Brothers In Arms
Afterlife-In The Shadows
Kill Devil Hill-Kill Devil Hill
S.N.F.U.-If You Swear, You'll Catch No Fish
AC/DC-Highway To Hell
Testament-The Very Best Of Testament
Iron Maiden-Killers

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Comic Art Propaganda

Metal Mark-

Ozzy-Diary of a madman
7 Seconds-The crew
Stanley Clark-The toys of men
Sacred Oath-Darkness Visible
Eldorado-Antigravity sound machine
Baroness-Yellow and green
Ray Charles-Genius loves company
Liege Lord-Master Control

Message from Space
Disney's Hardy Boys

Midnight at the well of souls
Fresh at home

***What are you listening to, watching and reading?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Down by law-Champions at heart


DC Jam

 Dave Smalley formed Down by law back in 1989 after he left All. The band had several line-up changes along the way, but released  eight albums between 1991 and 2003This is the first album from Down by law in nine years. However they have been active in the last few  years as they released a free song on their website called  Bullets in 2008 and they toured sparingly in 2009 and 2010. They stick to the path of the previous albums pumping out pop infused punk that's simple and melodic. The sound reminds me of their 90's material. That's fine in that they consistent and easily enjoyable then, but of course they don't break any new ground here. Tracks like "Bullets", "New song" and "Tiny answers" show the band's ability to mix steady, semi-fast punk with catchy melodies. I was really into this album after ten tracks, but the last six tracks fall into one of two categories-just alright or they sound a whole lot like one of the first ten songs only not as powerful. This gives it a bit of a front heavy heavy feel. It didn't finish as well as it began, but still a decent album.

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Midnight-Complete And Total Hell

Hells Headbangers

After reviewing Midnight's "Satanic Royalty" back in January (and having been blown over by it) I was quite anxious to jump right into "Complete And Total Hell". The promo material sates that this is "Exactly what it says on the tin, the exhaustive, 21-track "Complete and Total Hell" collects all of MIDNIGHT's entire pre-"Satanic Royalty" back catalog, much of it long out-of-print and highly sought-after. Hear where Black Heavy Metal first became law, when MIDNIGHT began their subjugation of all subjects at the very start of their Satanically royal reign: the cult is alive and well with MIDNIGHT!". Needless to say that is pretty freaking sweet and yes, epic as all get out. Raw and primitive, Midnight play black thrash that sounds somewhat like Tank getting raped by Venom in a dark alley while hellfire rains down from the heavens. This one is not for the lightweights or, quite obviously, the weak of heart. This is grueling, pissed off, violent black thrash with enough fuzzed out punk rage to make you feel like a long hot shower is in order afterwards. Yeah, it's that good.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ozzy Osbourne-Speak of the devil DVD


Eagle Vision

Not to be confused with the live album that had all Black Sabbath tunes, this DVD is from a show that was filmed at Irvine Meadows, California on Junee 12, 1982. The show was also shown on MTV on Halloween back in 1982. So we know the back story for this. That being that guitarist Randy Rhoads was tragically killed in a plane crash in early 1982. This also happened shortly after Ozzy had begun his tour in support of 1981's Diary of a Madman. Ozzy decided to soldier on and continue the tour. By the time this show was filmed Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) was Ozzy's guitarist. Filling out the live band were Rudy Sarzo on bass,tommy Aldridge on drums and Don Airey on keyboards. The set list relies heavily on material from Ozzy's solo debut "Blizzard of Ozz". There are also a few songs from Diary of a madman and a few Sabbath songs towards the end of the set. The video and audio quality are similar to that of a VHS tape, but I'll cut them some slack since the show was filmed 30 years ago. Let's get the negative out of the way first and then we'll get to the positive. Brad Gillis had some huge footsteps to fill following Randy Rhoads and trying to handle Tony Iommi's riffs on the few Sabbath classics that are on here. He handles the rhythms well enough, but his solos are rather average. As I said I am sure it was tough to follow Rhoads, but when I compare how Gillis plays the Rhoads/Ozzy tunes and the Sabbath tracks I fins myself thinking that he tries his best go note by note on the rhythms with no real music personality of his own. Perhaps he was told not to improvise, but either way his playing is rather average. It's not Brad Gillis' name that appears in great big letters on the front of this DVD so the madman himself is open for some criticism as well. This was during a time where Ozzy was probably living pretty wild and I am sure the death of Randy Rhoads took it's toll on him as well. He looks extremely tired here and it's funny to realize that even thirty years ago Ozzy moved like an old man as he shuffled about across a limited range on the set. I am not sure if his struggles with getting the mic in the stand was due to the equipment iteself or Ozzy not being sober, but either way he struggles and fiddles with said equipment all through the show. Now that the gripes are out of the way lets get to why this disc is worth seeing. There is a lack of spectacular solos and the keyboards being more prominent than needed on a few songs, but other that is an overall tight set with a solid song selection. Ozzy's band sticks in there and show a considerable amount of enthusiasm all the way through. Ozzy himself sounds in good form. He may look and move like he was on his last leg, but his vocals were all that I hoped for. Despite looking fatigued he sure doesn't get tired as the show goes on, in fact he gets stronger and sounded even better as he went along. The stage set is a parts of a huge castle which look great even though we know Ozzy isn't going to be doing any running around out there. Maybe this shows my age, but I really liked the simple camera work that was typical of that time. There are only a few cameras and no quick cuts. I felt like I was really to getting to see a lot this way as opposed to some videos of recents years where they switch angles every few seconds. Ozzy wasn't perfect on this set, but he was good and seeing this show I am reminded of why he once held in such high regard in the metal community once upon a time.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Sacred Oath-'Till death do us part

Angel Thorne

 'Till death do us part captures Sacred Oath live at the Keep it true Festival IX in Dittigheim, Germany in 2007. Back in the 80's when Sacred Oath were preparing and then releasing their debut "A Crystal Vision" they had developed a reputation as a really good live band. Even though this show was around two decades after that time it still proves that they were indeed able to bring the energy to their live show. This set draws tracks from 2007's Darkness Visible and 1988's Crystal Vision. Listening to the tracks live it's hard to believe theses tracks were done almost twenty years apart because they certainly have the same flavor and are played with the same high skill level. By this time vocalist/guitarist Rob Thorne and Kenny Evans are the only ones left from their debut album. Bill Smith fills the other guitar slot and Scott Waite is on bass on this live album replacing Lou Liotta who had played on "Darkness Visible". Despite only having two albums at the time these guys just go into it like a band with a dozen albums as rule the show and control all that's going on. Rob Thorne keeps the introductory banter to a minimum between songs as the band instead just lays song after song with the right amount of energy and precision. I don't know how much the show was touched in any post-production, but the sound quality is very strong here. Perhaps I would have also have like to have heard what they sounded like live say around 1987. Still I have no complaints with this album. The highlights for me include "The omen", "A crystal vision", "Prophecy" and "Battle Cry". This disc also includes the video "Words upon the stone".

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Ichabod Crane-Rot Your Brain


I remember I used to have this mix tape back in high school (or maybe college) with a cover of "Our Lips Are Sealed" (Blondie) by this punk/hardcore band. Man, I wish I still had that tape. For the life of me I can't recall the band's name. I mention this as way of an introduction to state the fact that not only do I love eclectic cover choices, but I love Blondie. So, with a band that I happy to get all warm and fuzzy about (Ichabod Crane) opening up their new EP with a cover of "Call Me" well, that makes for a hell of a good time my friends. "Grease Lightning" (Grease") done up hardcore/death metal style is also beyond epic folks. All of the tracks on this EP are
covers except for the excellent track "Huddled Masses." The lone original number sounds as if it has been performed by a horde of raging heavy metal demons. If it was not for the fact that that I can see their smiling faces I would be half tempted to think that "Huddled Masses" was assembled in a secret lab somewhere with the ultimate goal being nothing less then the enslavement of the human race! For a local band these lads lay down some of the sickest and most vile riffs imaginable. Thrash, hardcore and death metal always make for a wicked cocktail anyway so for Ichabod Crane to create something that sounds like C.O.C., Slayer and Megadeth all doing shots together with Satan that says something. It's interesting to note that these lads can take a track like "Plowed" (Sponge) and not only make it their own, but make it sound like the most METAL THING EVER is epic with a capital "E"! Of course, nothing beats hearing a hardcore thrash version of the Saved by the Bell theme. What a way to finish off this (way too short) killer EP. It's truly a shame that I am late to the game when it comes to this Ohio act because this is another case of a local band that sounds better then a good chunk of the music that comes through my inbox these days. You can find out more about the band at their Facebook page and according to band member Scott the EP will be a "pay what you want" download on the band's bandcamp page after the release show which is coming up this week if I am not mistaken. (Review of the band's excellent album "Brimstone")

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Records at Goodwill

I remember around ten years or so ago I would some good vinyl bargains at Goodwill every once in a while. I found copies in good shape of AC/DC-High Voltage and Let there be rock, Iron Maiden-Powerslave, Black Sabbath-s/t,Judas Priest-Point of entry, Ted Nugent-s/t, Y&T-Black Tiger,Ozzy-Speak of the devil and others. However in recent years my local Goodwill's record selection has certainly fallen in quality. Either that or someone swoops up the good stuff before I can get there. I check out the records at the closest Goodwill every time I go there, but it's always like a selection of the worst music made in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Recently a friend told me the Goodwill store near him always had good records.Today my daughter had a birthday party to go to. Since I didn't have to stay my son and I went to the Goodwill store my friend mentioned. Sure enough I found a copy of Aerosmith's Rocks in great shape for a $1.79. Glad to see that not every Goodwill store's record selection looks like the yard sale of some musically clueless oldster.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Forgotten Gems-Dr. Know-Wreckage in flesh


The year 1988 was not a great year for metal, in many ways it was a year of letdowns from bands a number I liked. Let's see Metallica, Megadeth, Overkill, Death, Anthrax and of course Celtic Frost all came up short in 1988. Now one album that I had in the above group in 1988 was Dr. Know's "Wreckage in flesh". I had gotten into them on their 1986 masterpiece "This island earth". After hearing that I went back and bought their earlier albums which were good although more of a raw hardcore sound. When "This Island earth" came out the band was a trio. During the tour they changed bass players, added a second guitarist and eventually changed drummers. After the tour they changed second guitarists again. So heading in 1988 vocalist/guitarist Kyle Toucher was the only member left who had played on "This island earth" and the only original member left in the line-up. However I still had reason to believe the next album wouldn't be good. In 1988 while at the record store I saw "Wreckage in flesh"  and grabbed up a copy. I slapped that baby on the turntable and sat back waiting for some hardcore or crossover to overtake me. Opener "War theatre" came on with a very thrash sound backing up Kyle Toucher's quirky vocals. I was in shock right away and disappointed. Now, wait you are probably asking how could "Metal Mark" not like a band taking a metal turn. Fair question. My feelings back in the mid-80's were that I liked the blending of metal and hardcore in the short lived crossover movement, but by 1988 a number of bands from that sound or even bands that had a more hardcore sound like DRI, Crumbsuckers, The Exploited and Agnostic Front were all crossing over to the metal side and giving up their hardcore/punk roots to an extent. Now that is definitely the stance I took back then and some of those albums still hit me that way. Going more metal may have been just fine it were good or great metal. Now back to this album; back in 1988 this album sounding a bit generic for thrash of the time. Granted at the time my tastes were moving from thrash into early death metal so slower wasn't going to appeal to my tastes then. However in recent years I gave "Wreckage in flesh" a few more spins. Okay, it's not this Island Earth, but in it's own way it's pretty good and maybe even a little different in 1988 terms. When I heard this back when I came out it came across as so-so thrash. I listen to it now and I hear the mix of thrash, sludge and hardcore. Some of the highlights include "Master Mind" which features a healthy dose of sludge before launching into some a focused thrash attack."City Wheels" is almost ten minutes long and centers around slow and heavy passages and includes  a ton of guitar solos.
A few years before covering a Sabbath tune became commonplace this band took on "Into the void". Really it's one of the better Sabbath covers I have heard. They manage to be faithful enough to the original, but add their own spin to it as well. I was wrong this album back then, it happens every once in a while but not often. It's a definite change from their previous work, but mostly it pans out.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Current Playlist


Listening to:

The Unjust-Hammerhead
B.O.C.-Club Ninja
The Lydia Taylor Band-The Lydia Taylor Band
Mania-Changing Times+Wizard Of The Lost Kingdom
The Beatles-Let It Be (Naked)
Ichabod Crane-Brimstone
Metal Church-The Dark
Afterlife-In The Shadows
Dawn Of The Dead-Unreleased & Incidental Music
G.B.H.-The Punk Singles 1981-1984


Dawn Of The Dead (original)
Chicken Run
The Chronicles Of Narnia-The Voyage Of the Dawn Treader

Metal Hammer (August 2012)

Metal Mark-


Sacred Oath-bunch of re-issues
Dio-Holy Diver
The best of Patsy Cline
Bomboras-Head shrinkin' fun
Executioner-In the name of metal
Post Mortem-The missing link
Warhorse-Read sea

Friday the 13th season 1
Star Knight

Weird Florida
various cookbooks

***What are you listening to, watching, reading?

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Afterlife-In The Shadows

Self Release/Independent

Heavy metal act Afterlife (a name that admittedly has been used way too much) were technically formed in 2011, but there is a little more to the story. Hailing from Sweden (Söderhamn to be exact) this group traces their roots back to the eighties and to a killer cult band known as Razorblade. When Razorblade released "Run For Your Life/Ready To Fight" in 1985 who could have foreseen that some 27 years after the release two of the band's members (bassist Fredrik Gunnarsson and guitarist Jompa Gustafsson) would release an album that rival's the excellence of that one single? Of course Afterlife actually cover "Run For Your Life" as well as pull off a killer cover of the classic Demon track "Don't Break the Circle" on "In The shadows". We are getting too far ahead of ourselves though. With Gunnarsson and Gustafsson originally meeting up with the idea of playing a few shows the duo actually transformed into Afterlife and, with the addition of drummer Pether Svedjewik, went about the process of recording what would ultimately be an instant heavy metal classic. Admittedly now the band does recycle a lot of old NWOBHM riffs (listening to this I am reminded of everyone from Angel Witch to Demon Pact to Cobra) as well as traditional heavy metal/power metal (Armored Saint, Riot, early Metal Church) without every actually sounding like any particular band in general. Does that fact matter? Probably not as much as people will make it out to be. It's the end result that counts or, just as with life boys and girls, it's how you play the game. Afterlife play for keeps. "Falling To Pieces" is so good it's actually unreal. "Buried Alive" is the way heavy metal should be-crunchy, heavy, dark and with just enough speed to make you want to bang your head. I'm not saying that the band's two opening numbers (the title cut and "End Of Days" are both quite good), but man does this album ever seem to get only better with each unfolding track. "Dying Alone" sounds like older 80's metal with enough of a modern power metal punch to really get your blood pumping. With Jompa Gustafsson now handling lead vocals (as well as guitars) the gritty factor has been turned up a notch or two (OK, a lot!). Jompa's vocals are just raw enough to make this feel raw without every going into Lemmy territory or anything. Both the vocals and guitars seem almost perfect as does the rhythm section. These three are the definition of a power trio. "Why" and "Toxic" sizzle and crack with heavy metal fire. As stated the Demon cover is simply epic, but then ago so is the old Razorblade cover. It's been given a modern tweak that makes you see this old cult number in a whole new light. Fact is this album just might end up making my best of for 2012 it's just that good. Managing to sound both classic and modern at the same time is not the hard part. No, the hard part is pulling those two things off and sounding timeless and epic at the same time. Afterlife manages all of that and more. I have not been this excited about something wonderful just falling into my lap since...well, other then my girlfriend Carrie, I can't honestly remember. "In The Shadows"is available to buy at their website and can be picked up on Ebay as well:

Just a small head's up though. I can't be certain, but (just like with the three loves of my life- my kids and girlfriend) this looks to be a limited edition run. In other words, you snooze you lose. I wouldn't suggest then that you sleep on this one especially if your a fan of classic/traditional heavy metal (with hints of NWOBHM and power metal). In a word, this one is "epic".

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Samothrace-Reverence to stone

20 Buck Spin

So  the pre-spin numbers say this-two tracks with a total running time just under 35 minutes and a breakdown reveals track one is under 15 minutes and track two is under twenty minutes. I don't always look at track times before playing an album, but I did this time around. So even before I heard a note I knew that I was likely going to have to be patient and I was expecting that this band to really deliver solid song structure and some varying tones and moods to pull off this album. That's a tall order and as a lover of sludge/doom/drone I set my expectations high on this style. On almost all albums I review they get at least two spins before judgement was passed. This album was no exception to that rule and actually I gave it three plays before coming to any conclusions. "When we emerged" spends a long time winding up and in the early part of the song is lead by thick yet basic drum beats. Eventually they song begins to develop some direction around half-way through. The other instruments step up and they integrate a more multi-leveled approach. The vocals are of the growling variety and truthfully they added very little to this song. The second track track "A horse of our own" is far more consistent. It opens with more build-up but eventually transitions into a slow, hard driving passage for most of the first half of the song. During the second half of the track we are treated to swirling sounds and tones that really show this bands ability to get the most out of everything they play. Not a perfect album, but certainly one with plenty of promise.

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Heretic-A Time Of Crisis

Metal On Metal Records

Cult speed metal/thrash act Heretic sure took their sweet time in reforming. For a band that made their debut on 1986's Metal Massacre VII ( before releasing the 1986 EP "Torture Knows No Boundary" and the 1988 LP "Breaking Point"-both released on Metal Blade Records) it sure seems as if a lot has changed since their last LP. Somehow though this LA band seems to have picked right up where they left off. Featuring original band members Brian Korban (guitar) and Julian Mendez (vocals-Julian appeared on the group's debut EP, but was replaced by Mike Howe for the "Breaking Point" LP) the band has been joined by renowned guitarist Glenn Rogers (ex-Hirax, ex-Deliverance, ex-Steel Vengeance,etc.), bassist Angelo Espino (Bitch, ex-Reverend, ex-Hirax, ex-Anger As Art, ex-Uncle Slam,etc.) and drummerIgnazio Coppola. With the following track list in tow (see right below) the band pulverizes their way through this album:
1. The Divine Inquisition
2. Tomorrow’s Plague
3. Betrayed
4. Remains
5. A Time Of Crisis
6. For Your Faith
7. Raise Your Fist
8. Heretic
9. Child Of War
10. Police State
11. The End Of The World
12. Let Me Begin Again

Now, this is not trendy modern thrash or even retro sounding thrash. Rather, "A Time Of Crisis" sounds like a band that has simply evolved with the changing landscape of thrash while still retaining their root vision. And yes, quite honestly, it does sound as if the band just picked right up where they left off. Heretic offer an album that no-frills and yet full of tasty licks and soaring leads. It's heavy, crunchy and offers just enough of punch in the gut to wake you out of your slumber while still reminding you why you love speed/thrash to start with. Welcome back guys. Here's hoping this is just the start of many great things to come!

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Monday, July 09, 2012

Knight Fury-Time To Rock


This album was actually recorded back in 2011, but it seems as if Pure Steel got a hold of it and decided to give it a
vinyl-release (it was released on CD in 2011, but honestly this is the first I've heard of it). That's cool as this 40 minute affair does sound like it belongs on vinyl as it has rather classic vibe to it. The promo brings up bands like Fifth Angel and Leatherwolf. Man alive, does this ever remind me of Fifth Angel. Granted this release does feature ex-Fifth Angel drummer Ken Mary (Ken also played in bands like TKO, Accept, Chastain, House Of Lords and Strike as well as playing with Alice Cooper) so there is a connection there. Thing is more then anything this just reminds me of classic heavy metal/hard rock from the 80's. Now, a big part of why people will get excited about this release I figure is because it features Megadeth bassist David Ellefson. Also along for the ride is ex-Lizzy Borden guitarist Chris Sanders and ex-Metal Knights keyboardist Adam Emmons. The vocals are handed by William King. No mention is made of where he has been hiding himself, but wherever it was he must have been studying the 80's metal scene here in American and overseas because he has that 80's vocal vibe down to a tee. Ever heard one of those releases where the lead singer just nails everything just right? King does that. His vocals fit perfectly in with the old school vibe of this release. Unlike a lot of these retro acts though this release does not sound dated at all. It's just timeless classic heavy metal. It says something about how smooth this is when even my 12 year old son (who does not do metal) says that this is great. I might just have to track down a copy of this CD. Hopefully this is also more then a one off project, but given everyone involved that might be a bit much to ask for. either way classic heavy metal fans who love all thing traditional heavy metal (American metal or even Swedish metal) should scope this one up.

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sacred Oath-A crystal vision


Angel Thorne/World Sound
2012 re-issue

In the mid-to late 80's it seemed like every long haired dude who owned an instrument seemed to be trying to form a metal band. In 1985 a couple of high schools kids in Connecticut decided to form a band. Unlike a lot of other clueless teens these guys had some talent. They became Sacred Oath and pretty soon they were playing shows even recorded a demo. Following a second demo they signed a record deal and recorded their debut album "A Crystal Vision" in May of 1987, but it wasn't released until 1988. I didn't hear this album until recent years. I'm not sure that I would have been as impressed by it in 1988 as I am now because I was a thrash first metal fan back then. So maybe it's good that I didn't hear this album until now. Even on their debut the music was tight and well thought out with enough tempo changes to make it interesting. Beyond that they had the skill to not just pull it off, but make it look easy. The style is what qualified as progressive leaning metal in the 80's. Think Fates Warning's  first three albums, Crimson Glory and Queensryche before Rage for order. They also have some classic metal mixed in as well along the lines of someone like Omen. The vocals of Rob Thorne alternate between a deep but clean style and some high pitch screams that he lets loose as needed. It's difficult to pick favorite tracks here as every song is good. If forced to choose I'll go with "The beginning" with it's swirling riffs, the hard hitting "The ferryman's lair" and "Message to the children" which runs six minutes, but feels like they put ten minutes worth of music into it. Fans of 80's metal always seem to have some lesser know albums that they hold up as great albums that most people missed out on. This album doesn't seem to be mentioned in those conversations very often. That's a shame because it should be. Unfortunately the band would break up not lone after this was released. However they years later they reformed. They had the sound down early as this album proves. The re-issue includes a lyric booklet.

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Seizure Crypt-You've been had


316 Productions

New York's Seizure Crypt return with their fourth album. Right away this album is more punk rock than some of their previous work which is fine. They have always had a prominent sense of humor and that trend continues here. I like that these guys are influences by a lot of 80's punk rock. They keep it short and simple plus they can be quirky at times. However considering these songs are all very short this album became very tedious for me on several occasions. They don't always go straight ahead which is fine except the direction. The problem being they frequently change it up yet when they do it tends to drag. It rarely feels natural or adds a great deal to the sound. Instead when they do this it tends to slow down the momentum. They would get it going, throw in a change up and then just ind of stew around for awhile until they go back on course and wrapped up the song. They energy start with frequently got sidetracked here all to often. Overall this album was a real mixed bag where the average and just decent songs outweigh the good ones.

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Joanna Dean-Misbehavin'

Yesterrock/ Universal


Have you ever laid awake at night when you couldn't sleep and thought to yourself "I wonder what Janis Joplin would have sounded like fronting a hard rock outfit in the 80s" only to realize that A) It would never have happened since Joplin went to Rock and Roll Heaven at way too early an age and B) You really need to get a life? Me neither. So, with that said then raise your hand if your curious now? I understand why you would be because that thought is a rather interesting one to ponder. Now, I've got to be honest and say I had never heard of Joanna Dean before getting this promo in my Inbox. The promo let me know that Joanna had "A delicious combination of Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt and Maggie Bell" and that "Joanna’s voice and the southern bluesy hard rock approach of her songs made more than a few people stand up and take a lot of notice." It must have not been much of a pressing then the first time around because I had never heard of this lovely lady with talent to burn. Either that or that rock I was living under in 1988 was really well insulated. Let's see, I would have been 15 or so yeah, this wouldn't have appealed to me then as I was a Megadeath/Metallica/Slayer or S.N.F.U./S.O.D./C.O.C. kind of lad. Too bad as this is some well crafted and catching blues based hard rock with a leading lady/guitarist who, to these ears at least, sounds like Janis Joplin if she had been raised on both the blues and 70's hard rock. Thankfully Yesterrock (with the help of Universal Music Germany) is giving everyone a chance to hear this gem in a re-mastered version. From the sounds of it this was a rather rare album. Amazon does have several used copies for sale starting at around $15.00, but one has to wonder if that has more to do with the fact that this album is being re-issued now in a much better sound then how rare it is. Who knows. All I know for sure is that tracks like the title cut, "Kiss This" and "Once Is Enough" are killer tunes. Now, Joanna did play with the band Bad Romance (who released "Code of Honor" in 1990) and she did have a record deal with Polydor at one point. Otherwise there does not seem to be much in the way of information about her online. She had a great deal of talent too so that is a shame. This record offers everyone a good chance to hear a woman who had a killer set of pipes and could, simply put, rock out. It's fun and one of those deals where you can just sit back and enjoy an album with little in the way of investment other then emotions.

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Join The Dead-Join The Dead

Roxx Records

Join the dead? Well, I might feel like the dead first thing in the morning before my coffee (just fair warning to everyone out there-PLEASE do not approach me before I've had my coffee! I am dangerous when cornered!), but life does hold so much promise so maybe I'll hang on to the living for awhile. In reality what we have here is not so much a plea towards death or even an acceptance that you might become one of the walking dead (what with the zombie apocalypse in full bloom!), but rather a new thrash band from Roxx Records. This Northern California based thrash band features Michael Phillips (Deliverance, The Sacrificed, Fasedown) Paul White (Decadence) and Tim Kronyak (Deliverance) meaning while they might be "new" there is a lot of back bone to this outfit. This is full-on thrash meaning a bunch of guys moshing it up the old school way. Exodus, Forbidden, Vio-Lence, Death Angel, Testament, early Metallica, etc. Too be honest none of this is new as Join The Dead recycle a lot of classic thrash riffs. On their debut release the band blasts through four tracks of old school metal and what it lacks in originality it makes up for in epic thrashing. These four tracks will be released in digital format. That said, the EP will also be available in a "Limited Edition" CD pressing that will include 13 bonus tracks. This might just be the one to spring for if you are a Christian thrash freak. The bonus material features previously unreleased demos and live recordings that, more or less, tell the story of Join The Dead. These early recordings features material from some all time greats from the Christian thrash scene including The Crucified's Greg Minier (who by the way released one killer self-titled EP worth hunting down), Tim Kronyak, Michael Phillips, Paul White, Jim Chaffin and Jimmy Brown. The CD release will include a full color booklet telling the story and history of Join The Dead and offer up insight into the unreleased tracks. While all I had to review was the simple four track EP my gut tells me the CD release will be even better considering the who's who involved in it's making.

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Current playlist



Mad Max-Rollin' Thunder
Midevil-Forced To Believe
Black Sword Thunder Attack-In Hell's Reign
Heart Of A Coward-Hope And Hindrance
Saxon-Heavy Metal Thunder
Metal Madness Vol. I and Vol. II
AC/DC-Let There Be Rock

The Zombie Survival Guide


The Amazing Spider Man

Metal Mark-
DOA-The Northern Avenger
Roadsaw-Rawk 'n roll
Armory-The dawn of enlightenment
Salems Wych-Betrayer of kings
Overlorde-Medieval Metal demo
Phantom of the paradise soundtrack
Matakopas-Coming out ahead
Budgie-Live at the Marquee 1974

White Collar-season three
Welcome to blood city
Future Hunters

Reading-Peas and thank you

***What are you listening to/reading and watching?

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Striker-Armed to the Teeth

Napalm Records

Edmonton, Alberta act Striker are one of those bands where you can hear a thousand other acts in their music and yet, it does not sound like any one band in particular. For the record this young band (they were formed in 2007) are now on their second album with "Armed to the Teeth". Something along the lines of speed metal/power metal with the mix of traditional heavy metal/nwobhm is what you can expect. Parts of Samson, Dio, Saxon, Armored Saint, Iron Maiden, Annihilator, Anthrax, Judas Priest and even Exciter work in and out of the band's "stay put and stand your ground" style of metal. It's heavy and forceful and filled with enough youthful energy to stop you in your tracks. "Armed to the Teeth" is not going to blow anyone away with it's originality, but having a band that lives and breaths heavy metal is always a welcome site. This is another album fans of heavy/speed will want to pick up for the summer months ahead. Good stuff.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Mortal Infinity-District Destruction

 mortal inifinity
Digital Media

Normally I see an old style thrash album coming and I don't get to thrilled. Not that I don't like thrash, in fact I love it but I heard so much back in the late 80's. Add to that the fact that most young bands playing that style today just rehash the sounds of the thrash act from the late 80's/early 90's. I still think that although doesn't mean all. Mortal Inifinity are in the minority because they are a band who take the best elements of old school thrash yet they manage to keep it fresh enough to make me care about what they are doing. The album opens with the rather average Intro., but is quickly followed up by "Thrill to kill" which is a devastatingly heavy monster in the style of Slayer and Kreator. Just from this one song I could tell that this band had a tight grasp on this style. They immediately showed a great deal of skill for using and manipulating rhythms as well twisting the hooks to their advantage. "At dawn of death" comes on next and is equally explosive. It also shows that the previous track was no fluke because again they mix technical skill with pure brutal heaviness. "Wake of devastation" marches on and we a different dimension to this band. Instead of blasting ahead thy maintain control and stomp forward. This track reminded me some of early Testament. Next up is "Retribution" which has riffs and beats flying and crossing all over the place. Yet eventually they all meet and the band channels them into another crushing assault on the senses. "District Destruction" slows to a grinding level for almost the entire first half of the songs before exploding into a more ferocious thrash attack. The best is yet to come on the final three tracks. "Condemned Rising" reminds me of a cross between Slayer and Exodus with sounds bursting out and the vocals growl and scream along accordingly. Just when i thought that song was tough next comes "Radical response" which is a mean and nasty monster that comes out swinging with all the band has. There's a slight  hardcore edge mixed in and a terrific moshing style blast that begins right before the three minute mark. Last up is the appropriately named "Sound of brutality". Now this is how thrash is done so take note. This song is a clinic or to rip into a song and never let up. Fans of killer thrash should be impressed by and thankful to Mortal Infinity for creating this album. Very impressive indeed.

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Few NWOBHM bands have made such an impact with so little in the way of "official" releases and yet that is the case with Demon Pact. Formed in 1979 (and formerly known as Fenris Wolf) the band became well known for their 1981 single, "Eaten Alive". Said single explored the joys of cannibalism and, no doubt at the time, must have caused a bit of an uproar among the high and mighty. Still though their is more to the band then just that one single. That is why I am so thankful for a label like High Roller Records. Although the band only official released a handful of tracks High Roller Records someone managed to gather up enough material for a full-length compilation entitled "Released From Hell". Initially this was released on vinyl and, as much as I love my LPs, I had high hopes that sooner or later it would get a proper CD release. Sure enough it has and a mere week or so after ordering my copy from overseas I was enjoying some of the best raw heavy metal the time period had to offer. The bands story is a bit too long and winding for this early in the morning. The best I can offer is to suggest that if you love raw metal (Venom, Motorhead, Tank) then Demon Pact is a must own. This collection gathers demos, singles, live cuts and unreleased material and is a killer look at an act that was just a little ahead of their time for their own good. Thankfully bands like Demon Pact now get another chance at life thanks to dedicated collectors, fans and record labels.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Forgotten Gems-Dr. Know-This Island Earth


Dr. Know formed in  California  in the early 1980's. Dr. Know  were part of the Nardcore scene that came from Silver Strand Beach, Oxnrd, Port Hueneme and also included RKL, Ill Repute, Aggression and other bands.They knocked out some releases on Mystic records. Eventaully they parted ways with vocalist and former child star Brandon Cruz. Guitarist Kyle Toucher stepped into doing vocal duties as well. By the time they signed to Death records (a short lived subsidiary of Metal Blade) they were a trio. In 1986 they released "This Island Earth" on said Death records. They decided to open it with a cover DOA's "The Unknown". Now doing cover songs on an album in 1986 wasn't as commonplace as it has been in say the last almost twenty years. So as I first looked at the album sleeve and before playing the album saw I the cover track was coming. I wasn't hopeful because DOA's version was a great song, but  Dr. Know nailed it and added their own touches. After that we get quite a few of the band's old songs that originally featured Brandon Cruz only now they were re-worked. "Plug in Jesus" was up first and it's a good example of what this band did with all their old songs here. It's heavier, tighter and it took seconds for me to realize that Kyle Toucher's vocals added a dimension to this band that they never had when Cruz was the vocalist. Brandon Cruz was adequate but a very typical early 80's hardcore singer where as Kyle Toucher had a sarcastic tone to his voice that worked very well with the band's lyrics. The music here received a much tighter production job than the band had ever had. Also while still a hardcore band they do tend to lean just a little towards a metal edge on this album. I could  certainly see this album being considered a crossover album. There may be fans of Dr. Know's earlier work that cringed at this album with it's quirky vocals, heavy drums and more prominent guitar rhythms. I think they began leaning towards a crossover style before this album, but the metal elements were even stronger on this release. I for one definitely think it was their best work and consider it to be a great album even 26 years later. I think Dr. Know and particularly this album never got the attention from metal fans that say COC or DRI did back then, but they should have.

***Unfortunately changes were coming soon for Dr.Know with both their line-up and musical direction. I hope to cover that soon in another Forgotten Gems.

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Monday, July 02, 2012

Various Artists-Summer Sampler 2012

Roxx Records

This was a nice surprise to find in my inbox last Friday. I mean first off all I really like sampler albums and secondly I really like a lot of what Roxx Records has to offer. A few of these artists I've reviewed in the past like The Sacrificed and Jump Ship Quick. Some I know of (Ultimatum for one is lead by my freind over at No Life 'Til Metal, Scott Waters) while the rest were new to me like ForChristSake and Ascendent. Overall this is a nice little sampler covering everything from hard rock to punk to thrash. The track list is as follows:

The Sacrificed – Behold The Power of God
* Taken from the Roxx Records Release ‘III’ (Now Available)
Liberty N Justice – Get Down
* Taken from the Roxx Records Release ‘Hell is coming to Breakfast’ (Now Available)
Jump Ship Quick – Hollywouldn’t
* Taken from the Punk Roxx Records Release ‘Where thieves cannot tread’ (Now Available)
Join The Dead – Out of Breath
* Taken from the Roxx Records Release ‘Join The Dead’ (Release Date August 7, 2012)
Liberty N Justice – Jesus Love Shout
* Taken from the Roxx Records Release ‘Before the Revolution - Best of LNJ The Early Years’ (Available Fall 2012)
Ultimatum – Heart of Metal (Metal Pulse Radio Mix)
* Taken from the Roxx Records BONUS DISC version ‘Heart of Metal – 20 years of Ultimatum’ (Available Fall 2012)
ForChristSake – Red Moon
* Previously unreleased live version recorded on the 11th of May in Midtown Wales UK! Watch for their debut album on Roxx Records ‘Apocalyptic Visions of Divine Terror’ (Available Fall 2012)
Ascendant – The Alteration
* Taken from the album ‘The Alteration’ with US Distribution through Roxx Records (Now Available)

Per the promo:

"If you like what you hear jump over to our website or any of our retail outlets and pick up a copy to support the cause! Roxx Records titles are available at Amazon, Century Media, CD Baby, iTunes and wherever fine indie music is supported!"

Indeed, good stuff folks!

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Interview with Woody from Mighty High


The last time I interviewed Woody from Mighty High was around three years ago . Now that they have a new album out I thought it was time to see what the band was up to.  So here you go.

MM-You have a new album out called “Legalize Tre bags”. Tell us about it.

Woody-It's 11 songs in 34 minutes. If you like The Rods or Eddie & The Hot Rods you'll dig it. If you like both of those bands you'll love it.

MM-What are some of your favorite songs on the new album and why do you like those songs?

Woody-I love all the songs equally but "I Don't Wanna Listen To Yes" deserves special mention. It was a very spontaneous group effort and a message we all stand behind 100%. "High On The Cross" is another favorite. Kevin sings the intro and everyone thinks it's me.

MM-How did the writing process on this album go? Was it done over a long time or do you all just sit down and say let’s crank out this many songs and work from there?

Woody-Some of the songs were written as long as 4 years ago and a few others were written specifically for the album last year. Long story short, in 2010 half the band quit and we had a quite a few songs recorded with them but not enough for an album. When Kevin Overdose (guitar) and Labatts Santoro (bass) joined, they learned all the songs. We went into the studio and erased the old parts and replaced them with new & improved ones. I was prepared to scrap the old recordings but figured it was worth trying. It turned out great, way better than I expected. So even though the majority of the album were songs that had been around for awhile they were given a new life.

MM-The artwork for your new is great (as always). Who did the artwork? Did you give them an idea to work with or did they just go with it?

Woody-The artwork was once again created from the twisted mind of Wayne "Braino" Bjerke. We've been friends for over 30 years. I can just give him a title and he'll take it to it's most ridiculous extreme. We have so many inside jokes together that the only suggestions I ever have is to add some kind of minimal element that only the two of us understand. We're both big fans of the unique artwork Cal Schenkel did for Frank Zappa, that Joe Petagno did for Motorhead and Pedro Bell did for Funkadelic and try to carry on in that tradition.

The title "Legalize Tre Bags" was conceived at the same time as our 7" single "Mighty High Drops A Deuce." In the spring of 2008, not long after the release of our first album "Mighty High…In Drug City," we got to attend an early screening of the Anvil documentary. Before the movie I was telling him about how I intended to put out a two-song single and a full length album and blurted out both titles. We were high.

MM-How did you come to be signed by Ripple Music? Are they easy to work with?

Woody-Signing with Ripple was inevitable. They're the only ones dumb enough to want to run a label in this day and age. I'm dumb enough that I keep wanting to put out records. We're all in the same age group (old) and have the same values and cultural references. I originally got in touch with those guys when I was promoting the first album and that evolved into me writing for their blog on a weekly basis. When they told me they wanted to start a label I said they were nuts but it's worked out great. And it's an honor being affiliated with awesome bands like Poobah, Grifter and Stone Axe.

MM-You were on a split seven inch and a compilation in recent years.  Any plans in the near future to do contribute anything else like that?

Woody-We did a split 7" with Stone Axe in 2010 ("Don't Panic, It's Organic" was our side) and were on the Heavy Ripples double 7" compilation with Stone Axe, Grifter and Sun Gods In Exile in 2011. Doing another split single would be cool but I really want to do a collaborative single or EP with another band like what Motorhead and Girlschool did on the "St. Valentines Massacre EP." It would be awesome to go into the studio with another band and lay down a cover song that we all love and then come up with something unique for the flip side. 

MM-I know you are playing in New York all the time. You ever play any shows outside of that area?

Woody-Playing outside of the NYC area was a goal of mine ever since I started the band in 2002 but none of the former members would ever go for it. Once Kevin and Labatts joined we started going to Philadelphia, Rochester, Albany, Boston and Columbus, OH. We're all old and have hectic lives but we plan on doing some more road trips in the future. We're going back to Philly in August to play some insane keg party in a barn. 

MM-What are some of the most memorable shows that your band has played?

Woody-In March of 2011 we played in a weird little venue called Motel Hell in south Philadelphia. It's a totally illegal spot and there was a lot of underage drinking going on. That's always a good thing. A recent show in Rochester was really special. Two of the guys are from there and I went to college nearby so it was like a big family reunion. Probably the most memorable show was July of last year. We played a dumpy little club in the East Village on the hottest day of the year and there was no air conditioning. As we were playing we noticed all these people showing up in weird outfits. There was some sort of bisexual Star Wars fetish party going on after the bands were done. There was also some guy wrapped up in a carpet laying down in front of the bar with a sign urging people to stand on him. I was glad to see that there are still a lot of freaks in the city but I was very glad to get out of there after the show.

MM-What bands have you not shared a stage with, but would love to?

Woody-Motorhead, but that's not realistic. If anyone has a time machine I'd love to open for Grand Funk Railroad and Humble Pie at Shea Stadium in 1971. I'd also love to see if we could rile up a Twisted Sister crowd circa 1982. It's worth mentioning that Mighty High is the only band to have played with both Thor and Valient Thorr.

MM-You seem to stay busy with recording and playing shows. How do you keep yourself motivated? Does it ever get old?

Woody-Shit gets old all the time. It's a constant struggle for everyone to carve out a small amount of time to practice a few times a month and play shows. I've financed all of our recordings single handedly and it's caused me enormous amounts of grief. I think about stopping all the time but once I plug my guitar in, turn up the amp and start playing with the rest of the guys all that shit goes out the window. Being in a band at my age is a dumb thing to do but I have TONS of pent up hostility and aggression. Playing music is the best way to get all that out of my system. 

MM-What are some of the best albums you have heard so far in 2012?

Woody-I love the new album by Cortez from Boston. They're heavily influenced by Black Sabbath but incorporate elements of all my favorite classic rock bands. Corrosion Of Conformity's latest album is also a real favorite. I was a huge fan of Animosity/Technocracy and I think it's awesome that the original COC recipe is back together, still kicking ass and making great new music. I just discovered a band called Superchrist that has a killer new album called Holy Shit that's a must hear for fans of Motorhead, Tank, Raven, and The Rods. The reissue of VoiVod's 1984 demo To The Death this year made me very happy.

MM-If you were stuck in a room for one month and could only pick three albums to listen to for that time then what three would you pick? Why?

Woody-Does the James Brown box set Star Time count as one album? Either way, thats mandatory. I'd definitely bring Black Saint & The Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus. That's such an incredible piece of music that you don't want to listen to anything after that for awhile. That would help me cope with the lack of choices. For my rock choice, Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. That would keep cover my metal and classic rock interests until I could be reunited with the rest of my collection.

MM-You can have any back patch imaginable to put on your denim jacket, what would it be?

Woody-Acrylic paint is the only thing allowed on the large portion of my denim jacket. Motorhead's Overkill would go in that spot. A small Black Sabbath patch under it would be acceptable.

MM-How many games do you think the Orioles will beat the Yankees by when the O’s win the division this year?

Woody-Ha! No idea and I don't really care. The only reason I pay attention to baseball is to make fun of my friend Brucie who loves the Red Sox and hates the Yankees. Is Boog Powell still playing for the Orioles? I always thought he was cool and had a great name.

MM-Pick the bands from the following match-ups that you prefer and tell why you picked them.

Woody-Oh jeez, you saved the hard questions for last. 

The Stooges or MC5

Very difficult. Two of my all time favorite bands that have taken turns at #1. Today I'll go with the MC5, but tomorrow it might switch. I've been listening to the live MC5 album called Thunder Express a lot lately. Too bad they never got to make a fourth album. There's also been some killer live Stooges shows from 1970 and 71 released the past few years. Another band that should have made a fourth album.

Cactus or Humble Pie
Humble Pie. Both bands studio albums from their classic eras have some filler but Humble Pie's studio albums are stronger. Plus Steve Marriott's hard to beat. Humble Pie's Rockin' The Fillmore is one of the best live albums of all time. I recently heard there's going to be a box set coming out of all the shows recorded for that album. Their King Biscuit Flower Hour show from 1974 is unbeatable. Jim McCarty of Cactus would have been a good replacement for Frampton when he quit the Pie, but I like Clem Clemson a lot, too. Those live Cactus CD's that came out a few years ago ("Fully Unleashed: Live Gigs") are excellent. Rusty Day was a killer harmonica player.

Misfits of Ramones
Finally, an easy one - The Ramones. I saw them well over a dozen times in the 1980's. Love the Misfits, too, though.

Raven or Saxon

Good lord, another hard one! Saxon's classic run of albums in the early 80's has the advantage but as a live band in 2012 it's impossible to top Raven. 

MM-Is there anything else that you want to add about your band, music or anything else?

Woody-Stay high & survive! Many thanks to you, Mark, for all your support over the years. Your blog has given me a lot of laughs over the years and introduced me to some cool music, too.

***Thanks to Woody for doing the interview. If you have not heard Mighty High's new album then you seriously need to.
   - Metal Mark

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