Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Band Names: Part three

When I wrote about band names back in the summer I wrote lists of ten I liked and ten that I didn't. Here are ten things I think about some specific band names.

10)I think Crimson Glory was a great name, it's just a shame they wore those silly masks.
9)I think Danger Danger should have spent more time picking out a name.
8)I think that Dream Theater is a simple, but effective name.
7)I think that Saigon Kick sounds like the name of a sauce you would use for a stir-fry.
6)I think Kix sounds silly at first, but grows on you after a while.
5)I think that Circus of power sounds like someone was trying to hard too seem cool.
4)I think that Fastway was a good way for "Fast" Eddie Clark to name the band after himself.
3)I think Waysted was a lousy way for Pete Way to name the band after himself (note: Pete Way was going to be in Fastway with Clark, but pulled out and Clark decided to keep the name as it was anyhow).
2)I think Prong is one of my favorite band names of all time.
1)I think that Dokken doesn't really rhyme with Rockin'.

Feel free to list any band names you like or don't like.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Steve Vai- Passion and warfare, 1990

I can't believe that 1990 was that long ago, but it was. I remember in 1990 when a friend loaned this to me on tape. I enjoyed Vai with David Lee Roth and had heard his previous solo album Flexible, but I wasn't fully prepared for this all instrumental album. I was listening to the whole cd just the other day to prepare for this review and it's still as fresh as it was almost 16 years ago. A few guitarists just make it look so easy and Mr. Vai is one of those people. It's not just about technical skill either because this album is just so alive as Steve is able to create so many moods in this collection of songs. Tracks like the Audience is listening and Greasy kid's stuff are more straight rockers while tracks like Ballerina, The riddle and Alien Water kiss allow Vai to explore more offbeat directions. My favorite track is probably Sisters which is a prime example of Vai not just playing, but pulling and milking so much out of individual notes, it's simply beautiful. I think Steve Vai is essentially and avant-garde guitarist first and he seems very comfortable doing that as when he played with Frank Zappa and on some of his solo albums, but he also enjoys playing hard rock too. He easily made the transition in playing with David Lee Roth, Whitesnake and Alcatraz. It's not all about possessing technical skill although Vai certainly does have great skill, it's his strong songwriting and his ability to create moods with his music. It's not always about speed, but about technique and the ability to pull the most out a simple bend or a single note and this where Vai surpasses people like Satriani, Malmsteen and Eric Johnson. A truly amazing talent all the way around. This is a Metal Mark must have.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Chinese Democracy: Do you care?

Okay, I know this topic became a joke about three or four years ago and it's still going on. Axl and his Guns and Roses had virtually no activity last year. However, now there have been recent Axl sightings, rumored interviews and the big rumor that this album is going to come out soon. So here are some simple questions:

Will this album come out in 2006?
Will you try to buy or borrow it if it does come out?
Can this album possibly be any good?

My answers are:
Yes, I think it will come out. I am probably wrong, but have nothing to lose by saying that.

No, I won't buy it, but eventually I would probably borrow it from someone.

I think this album is bound to stink like a mound of garbage on a hot day. I think there's just been too much drama and not enough results for me to believe that anything good is going to come from Axl's camp at this point.

So what do you think?

***Coming up***
I start my new position on Monday so I may be limited in what I get to write this week. However, I will try to do band names part three plus I am planning reviews for the following:
Fireball Ministry-Their rock is not our rock
Poison-Look what the cat dragged in
Steve Vai-Passion and warfare

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Band names part two: How to pick them

There are a lots of ways to pick band names, but I was going to try and narrow down some basic rules that I wish bands would follow.

Misspellings- Spelling a word or phrase different from the traditional way is a common practice in band names. Some times it works well such as Led Zeppelin or Def Leppard. Somehow they look right, I think it's that the phrase is not that silly and it works. Then there are misspellings like Motley Crue and Ratt which are okay. They are not spectacular, but not quite silly either. The problem is when you try to get too cute such as Tuff, Tigertailz and Rough Cutt. Names that sound like something a 12 year old would think is cool.

Words not to use- Anyone could probably make fun of a name if they try hard enough, but don't make it too easy for them to do this. Avoid putting words like Awful, Horrible or something like that. Also avoid combinations that make it too easy like death metal band Brutal Truth as it's just too easy for someone to yell "The Brutal Truth is you suck". A good non-metal example is Hootie and the blowfish. Hootie is bad enough, but it's never a good idea to put the word 'blow' in your band name.

Movie titles- It's not done that often, but normally it works and some examples are Black Sabbath, White Zombie and Faster Pussycat. It's normally done because someone in the band liked the film and they were inspired by it. Of course you want to pick a cool film because you don't want to call your band 'Ishtar', 'Gigli' or 'Leonard Part 6'.

Joke names-If you wanna be funny then that's fine, but just remember that it may be difficult if you try to change styles down the road. Ugly Kid Joe chose their name as a joke and they got started with a joke song. Then they tried to make it with semi-serious songs and it was hard because they had established themselves as a joke band and people didn't want to hear serious songs or maybe they just weren't that good to start with.

Colors- Not too many bands use just a color without an object, but the best example is Deep Purple. Deep Purple is just a solid classic name. Another color combination is Black and Blue who I liked, but it sounds like a bruise. You want to use cool colors so a name like Salmon Pink may not be advisable. The more popular use of colors in band names is to combine a color with something else. Some that I like are White Lion, Crimson Glory and Blue Oyster Cult. Some color-object combinations that may not work would be 'Yellow Snow', 'Brown Stain' and 'Blue Balls'.

There's my advice on picking band names. I think that I will do a band names part three that will have some more good and bad band names.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Band names part one

I am actually doing a bit of a cheat here, but I have a good reason. I actually wrote the part below for my blog back in July. I am reprinting most of it here because
A)I thought it was a good post, but very few people were reading my blog at the time.
b)Because I want to write a band names part two and I thought it would be good to show part one and then write part two within the next few days.
So everything below was written back in the dark, early days of my blog and there will be another entry on band names fairly soon.

There are all kinds of stories of how a band came up with their name and some are great while some are just dull. Black Sabbath was an Italian horror movie from the early 60's and the band known as Earth decided to take it thinking it was a great name and they were right. Megadeth came from changing the spelling of a term found on a flier about the threat of a nuclear war. Then there are bands who are forced to change their name or even fight over a name. Below are a few examples of these kind of events plus others that are strange, but true.

Florida death metal band Xecutioner played under this name for a few years until they found out there was a Boston based band called Executioner who had released albums. The Florida band decided it would be in their best interest to change their name to avoid confusion with the Boston band. So Xecutioner actually chose a better name and became Obituary. They would go on to have some success between 89-95.

Wrathchild were a band from near where I live and they had played under that name for years. Then they signed to a major label and before they could release their debut album they ran into name problems. The British glam band of the same name threatened them with legal action so they changed to Wrathchild America and released two albums before changing their name to Souls at Zero. If you are going to change your band name then please change it to a better one.

Stephen Pearcy was in court as he fought Bobby Blotzer and Warren Demartini for the right to the name Ratt. Pearcy lost, but even playing solo he probably still gets as big of a crowd as the band now called Ratt. However, I am not sure at this point that the name Ratt was actually worth going to court over.

Mike Tramp went out on the road earlier this year and he was wanting to call his group White Lion, but he was threatened with legal action from his former band mate Vito Bratta. Tramp then had to call his touring band Mike Tramp's White Lion. That name really flows from your lips.

Saxon originally started as Son of a bitch back in the mid-70's, but changed to Saxon before releasing their debut in 1979. Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson were founding members then both left the band for various reasons with Dawson leaving after being the band for 10 years and Oliver for 20. In 1996 these two decided to form a band and they adopted the original band name Son of a bitch. Meanwhile Biff Byford and Steve Quinn were also founding members and they kept Saxon going. Then Oliver and Dawson decided to sue Byford and Quinn for the name Saxon. In 2003, Byford and Quinn won the right to keep the name and the other side was allowed to call their group Oliver Dawson Saxon. This one sounds like a soap opera.

German power metal band Grave Digger were advised by their label to change their name to something less dark with the thinking being that their name gave them an evil image. Even though they had played under this name for several years and released a couple of albums under this name they agreed thinking the label knew best. They changed the name to the very creative Digger and changed their logo to a brighter color. The result was it sold far less than any of their previous releases so they switched back to Grave Digger and they still go by that name today.Once a band even had their name changed for them.

Kick Axe recorded two tracks for the Transformers soundtrack, but the label changed the band's name on the record and listed them as Spectre General. This was done without the permission of the band and apparently the reason was that the label thought Kick Axe was too violent of a name to be included on a soundtrack for a kid's film.

Laaz Rockit had gone by that name for nearly ten years and several releases. Then in the early 90's their sound began to change so they changed their name to Gack and released one album before breaking up. Laaz Rockit was a little odd, but Gack sounds like some kind of kid's goo-type toy you would buy at the store.Band names mean more to some people than to others. We all know it's the music that matters, but some names can keep people from buying your stuff and some might draw more people in.

And this is a tribute?

Everywhere you look nowadays there are tribute albums to almost every metal band who was even slightly successful. Perhaps this is an uninformed opinion, but I don't want to waste time money listening to these albums just to know for sure. I am under the belief that about 70% of cover songs by hard rock and metal bands are average or worse. Just my opinion, but having said this, why I would want to purchase an entire album of cover songs? When the Black Sabbath tribute Nativity in black came out like 12 years ago it was sort of a big deal. However it had artists who still had careers outside of doing covers. Nowadays there are a lot of hasbeens and never weres that are spending more time doing songs on tribute albums then they are doing their own originals. I think that's sad because it's like the only recording deal they can get is doing someone else's songs. Neil Peart was asked about a Rush tribute album a few years ago and he had heard it and said something like "it sounds like a bunch bar bands covering Rush songs". That may a little blunt, but it's not far from the truth in many cases. Maybe there are people out there that love cover songs and think tribute albums are fantastic, but I fail to see the point and just see it as a waste or recording time for the most part.

In other news Kiss defeated AC/DC 8-6 in the Battle of the bands. This was such a popular topic that I will do it once a month although I may do it at the middle of the month. So in about two weeks there will two more bands squared off against each other for the March edition of Battle of the bands.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Enya Story

No, wait please hear me out, this story really does to have to do with metal in a way. My wife is not a metal fan, she might like Zeppelin, Rush or Van Halen a little when I play them, but she would never put them on just for herself. She likes a lot of oldies kind of stuff, but she also likes Enya. The other day she asked me if I would pick up the latest Enya cd and I agreed because I will jump at any chance to go to the record store. Well, I got her cd and some metal cd's for myself. She put the Enya cd while my daughter the Metalgirl was eating. Now I try to play a lot of music for my daughter and not just metal either because she also seems to enjoy the Ventures and Elvis a lot as well. Normally my daughter moves her head or grins or something while music is playing, but she didn't react at all although she was in her seat at the dinner table when the cd started playing. After she was done eating we got her down and she looked at the stereo and made a face. My wife picked up the Enya case and showed it to her and Metalgirl shook her head and said "no,no". A few minutes later my wife held up the cd again and this time my daughter said "poo!" and pointed at the Enya cd. So after the next song, I stopped it and put Deep Purple's In rock on. As soon as it came on the Metalgirl grinned and started dancing and waving her arms. It was a proud moment for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Battle of the bands

Here is something new that I may do once a month. It' simple, I pick two bands that are somewhat similar in style and you pick who you prefer and why. The winner might be matched against another winner at a later date. Today's contest is between two veteran bands.


Both began around the same time and their prime in the 70's, but managed to keep audiences in the 1980's. My pick is AC/DC. I have been very big on both bands at times, but I prefer the energy and rawness of early AC/DC. The Bon Scott albums still hold up today far better than early KISS. I could listen to a number of AC/DC albums at any given time, but I have to be in a certain mood to listen to KISS. So who do you pick?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Armored Saint-Symbol of salvation, 1991

In the summer of 1991 many critics were raving about Metallica's black album and it was selling like crazy. A lot of people seemed to think it was a "real" heavy metal album that was just very accessible. While all of this was going, the best album of 1991 had been released by a band who had been through the wringer. Armored Saint had lost their major label and then lost guitarist Dave Pritchard to leukemia in early 1990. Phil Sandoval who had left after the debut rejoined and they hired former Odin guitarist Jeff Duncan so now they had two guitarists. It takes maybe thirty seconds of the opening track Reign of fire to realize that this was a special album. Saint had spent their other three albums building off of each previous release and by Symbol of salvation they had reached their pinnacle. This album contains 13 tracks and all of them are either great or very good so it has quantity and quality, what more can you ask for? Hanging Judge, Another Day and Tainted Past are just a few of the killers on this album. John Bush has long been one of my favorite singers and he was completely on with this entire album. By 1991 not a lot of bands were playing the classic style metal that had been so prevalent in the early to mid-80's but Armored Saint were doing it and doing it better than it had been done in several years. This one is a Metal Mark must have.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Spinal Tap in real life

It's time to wrap up movie week and what better way to do it then to talk about it the best hard rock/metal movie of all time? That of course is Spinal Tap and anyone who has seen it probably has done some speculation on whether or not the events are about anyone specifically or not. There are all kinds of rumors and guesses as many people think Saxon were an influence as some people connected to the film supposedly followed them on tour before the film was made. That would explain some of the macho stuff because Saxon were definitely that way in the early 80's. Another guess is that Status Quo were a big influence due to the band's long history, line-up changes and the band may have been forgotten in the states even though they still had somewhat of a following in the UK. Uriah Heep were another one that has been mentioned probably due to the line-up changes and there was a story about them playing at an Air Force base.
Then there are specific events in the film. Stonehenge is most often connected to Black Sabbath who had the opposite prop problems from Spinal Tap. In 1983 they had a prop of Stonehenge that was too big to fit in some venues. Steven Tyler told the story that he went to see This is Spinal Tap and loved it until he saw the Stonehenge part. He thought it was a poke at Aerosmith because they had Stonehenge on the cover of 'Rock in a hard' place in 1982.
Paul Stanley thought the part where Tap can't find the stage in Cleveland came from something that happened to Kiss. Apparently in their early days they played a venue that was part of an old high school. The dressing room was not on the same floor as the stage and Kiss had trouble finding the stage area.

So feel free to share your stories, views and opinions on who Tap was based on

This concludes movie week so now I will be back doing reviews and various rants and views on hard rock and metal. I may do a theme week maybe once every other month.
I have considered doing a second movie week perhaps later in the year. So far I am considering doing:
The song remains the same
Wayne's World 2
Detroit Rock City (I have not seen this one yet)
Let me know if you of any others that are out dvd. I wanted to do Kiss meets the phantom of the park, but it's not out on dvd and I no longer have it on vhs.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Trick or treat

Trick or treat, 1986

Starring:Marc Price, Lisa Orgolini, Doug Savant, Tony Fields

Musician appearances:Gene Simmons as a dj, Ozzy as a tv preacher

The Plot:A teenage metal fan named Eddie Weinbauer (Price) is picked on by jocks at his school. He gets upset after his idol metal star Sammi Curr dies, but Eddie brings back Curr by playing his records backwards. Curr initially helps Eddie get revenge on the jocks, but then he gets out of control.

The good-Marc Price does a good job as playing the misfit while still seeming grounded enough to be a real kid. Gene Simmons is believable as dj "Nuke" in his small role. Eddie's room is great in the opening shots with all of the great classic mid-80's metal posters, but it's very sad when he rips them down. The soundtrack by Fastway is great and put to good use in the movie unlike some soundtracks that get lost in the action. I think the film is overall very respectful to metal fans. Wayne's World and Airheads show metal fans as a bit dim while Rock Star had it's main character totally getting out of metal. Eddie gets obsessive with metal, but he comes back to earth yet never gets out of metal. It would have been very easy for this film to end with a scene of Eddie swearing off metal, but it didn't. We are left to believe he still loves it although his priorities may change some. I think anyone who was a metal fan can relate to Eddie. I also like that quite a bit of it was filmed in North Carolina as so many rock films feel the need to be in California. Even films like Wayne's World and Rock Star are supposed to be set in other places, but the stars weren't there because they just had crews filming a few location shots while the stars were filmed out in LA. So many metal fans grew up in nowhere away from big cities and that's another thing that makes it easy to identify with Eddie.

The bad- I only have a few things and they would be more under the heading of weak instead of bad. Some of the special effects are weak, but it's low budget and 20 years ago. The ending is also a bit far fetched.

The ugly- I guess the demon in the scene in the backseat of the car is the worst thing that this film did. It's a low budget film and most of the effects were acceptable for that level, but this part was really lame and the camera stays on it too long so we see how cheap it really is.

Final word: This is a horror film first and foremost and I love horror films. I have probably seen this movie 25 times at least and still enjoy it. It's an enjoyable film that combines love of metal, horror, idividuality, the downfalls of idol worship and there are even a few funny parts mixed in as well (mostly delivered by Eddie's friend Roger). It cost me $5.50 at Wal-mart. Some people whine that the dvd has Ozzy and Gene Simmons on the cover and lists them as the stars yet they both only have small parts. However if you read the case or just pop over to IMDB then you would know Ozzy and Gene are not the stars. Marc Price was probably best known for playing Skippy on Family Ties. Actor Charles Martin Smith made his directorial debut here and he has a cameo as the school principal. He is probably best known as Terry the toad from American Graffiti and he was no stranger to music related films because he played a member of Buddy Holly's band in the excellent Buddy Holly story.


Movie week is almost over, but I hope to have one more item about Spinal Tap on Saturday.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Airheads, 1994

Plot-A band called the Lone Rangers (hey, you can't pluralize that, can you?) breaks into a radio station in the hopes of having their demo played, but they end up taking the employees hostage instead.

Starring-Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Michael McKean

Musician appearances-Lemmy has one line, White Zombie appear as themselves playing in a club.

The good-This exchange between Chaz (Fraser) and a cop posing as a record executive (Harold Ramis).
Chazz:Okay, lemme ask you a question: who's side did you take in the big David Lee Roth-Van Halen split?
Chazz: Who's side did you take: Halen or Roth?
Cop:Van Halen
Chazz and others: HE'S A COP!

There were a few good lines here and there about working hard trying to get signed, but not quite enough of them to mean that much. Steve Buscemi was far and away the best of the three band members. Joe Mantegna was overall one of the more interesting characters in the film as DJ Ian who still seems to have some respect music and musicians left in him. Chris Farley was starting to hit his peak at that point, it's a shame he didn't get a bigger role in this film.

The bad-Despite the fact that Brenden Fraser looks like Dave Mustaine here, you will soon realize that is the same guy who was outacted by Daffy Duck in that Looney Toons movie a few years ago. Yet Fraser has some moments where he is not too bad. Adam Sandler is far worse, this guy has skated by for like 15 years by sticking his chin out and talking like a little kid. He is just not funny often enough although Happy Gilmore and the Wedding Singer managed to be good. Sandler would be the worst character in the film if it wasn't for an even worse actor being present. That would be David Arquette who has a small role as a surfer dude, but he just can't even pull off a simple small role. There are way too many jokes that fall flat in this film.

The ugly- I think that after the band takes over the radio station that the script just falls apart and it never comes back together again. The lines that Adam Sandler says about black people not liking him are lame and just in poor taste.

Final Word- How could a film with Steve Buscemi, a Spinal Tap member (Michael McKean), two Ghostbusters (Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson) plus Chris Farley, Michael Richards and Lemmy not be good? Two words-poor writing. The script zips back and forth between comedy, drama, romance and some dribble about musical integrity yet it never does enough with any of those things to be very successful. The main characters are not that likeable and the film eventually becomes a little hard to watch. It cost me $5.50 at Wal-mart and it may have been worth that much, but that's about it. You are better off watching Wayne's World or This is Spinal Tap for the 50th time instead of watching this.


Next up it's a heavy metal horror movie starring a bunch of people you never heard of, but it does have small roles from Gene Simmons and Ozzy. It's Trick or treat, a low budget film from 1986. Maybe it might just be better than you think.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Special edition: Spinal Tap review-The Sun never sweats

Were you aware that Spinal Tap did other albums besides Smell the glove and Break like the wind? Well, of course they did or at least some die-hard fans made up names and track listing. You can actually read reviews on three of these lost gems. One is here and the other's are Rock and roll creation and Brainhammer.

Spinal Tap-The Sun Never Sweats, MegaphoneRecords, 1975

This was Spinal Tap’s big concept album that was supposed to be about the history of the British Empire. However it comes across as more of a collection of outtakes. ‘Daze of knights of old’ is almost as confusing as it’s title as it seems to be trying to fuse blues rock (ala Zeppelin) with progressive rock of some sort (mainly Yes), but ultimately falls flat. Both the ‘Princess and the unicorn’ and the ‘Obelisk’ seem like leftovers from the bands gentler hippie stage of the late 1960’s so they seem a bit out of place at this point in Tap’s career. The title track works to some extent as it’s enjoyable despite being a bit of self-indulgent piece of fluff. It’s a good example of Tap being able to help a song through displaying some attitude although it’s a shame that there wasn’t more of that attitude throughout the entire album. The Nigel Tufnel penned Stonehenge is a bit like the structure it’s named after in that it’s a big rock thingy that kind of sits there serving no apparent function. There are some reports that songs called ‘First time again’ and ‘Square balls don’t roll’ were recorded during sessions for this album, but were later scrapped when the band couldn’t figure out how to work them into their “concept”. The title is supposed to be a reference to the phrase “The sun never sets on the British Empire”, however bass player Derek Smalls misheard it yet no one saw fit to correct him until after the album was printed up. Fortunately the sun didn’t completely set on Tap’s career and they had some brighter moments yet to come.

Hope that you are enjoying movie week here at my blog. Thursday I will have out my review of the movie Airheads.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Decline of western civilization 2:the metal years

Decline of western civilization 2:the metal years, 1987

Starring:Ozzy, Lemmy, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Dave Mustaine, Chris Holmes, Poison, Faster Pussycat, Odin, London, Lizzy Borden, Seduce and some struggling musicians.

The plot:This is a documentary about the world of Heavy Metal. It mainly concentrates on the LA metal scene, but they interview some established acts from other locations as well.

The good- The best interviews are with Lemmy, Alice Cooper and the Toxic Twins Tyler and Perry. All of these guys are honest and sincere. Good live performance from Faster Pussycat who showed a lot of energy. Putting veteran LA band London on here was a good idea. Their songs were mediocre, but it was interesting to show a band who had been on the scene for eight years and were still going at it trying to get somewhere. I also thought Seduce were interesting because it showed how a band could be at the top in their city (Detroit), but they were just another fish in the sea when they came to play in LA. Some of the comments from unsigned artists were interesting and you could see the enthusiasm in their eyes. Interesting to note that members of Vixen and Tuff appeared in this movie and both bands eventually got major label deals.

The bad- Too many of the interviews were the same thing you can read in Hit Parader. Seeing Gene Simmons stand in front of a lingerie shop and Paul Stanley laying on a bed with girls all around him is the same nonsense these guys always did. Poison tried to be honest, but they came across like a bunch of giggling teenagers. Dave Mustaine was about as cool as a turd in a swimming pool and I normally like him. Lizzy Borden had a chance to showcase their talent on a film and they do a lame cover of Born to be wild. Megadeth's In my darkest hour is the same clip they show as their video so my guess is that is wasn't filmed live, but was actually just staged. Seduce sounded good, but look closely and they are playing on a stage and they never show an audience. My guess is they didn't want to actually be filmed live so like Megadeth it's another fake. Too much of this film is spent on the same old questions and nonsense instead of live performances and the work that goes into the music.

The ugly- The whole Chris Holmes part was unnecessary and I think it was staged. Hearing stories of addictions from Alice, Tyler and Perry made a far greater impression than the spectacle of seeing Chris Holmes acting drunk.

Final word- This film is a mixed bag overall, but worth seeing if you get a chance. It's not out on dvd yet so I had to watch my vhs copy that I bought in like 1990. Director Penelope Spheeris directed this film as well as Wayne's World. On the commentary for Wayne's World she said that she was offered the chance to direct This is Spinal Tap and declined because she respected the music too much to do a film making fun of it. Then several years later she does this film which is supposed to be a documentary yet it makes metal look just as silly as This is Spinal Tap yet it's not nearly entertaining and it's supposed to be a documentary. I will buy it if comes out on dvd because there are some good parts, but it could have been better.

Grade: C

The next movie that I will review is Airheads, but it may be two days before I get to it. Oh and have a Happy Valentine's Day. Just be glad that you are getting red letters because there is no way in hell that I am putting pink on this blog entry.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rock Star

Rock Star, 2001

Starring:Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Anniston, Dominic West

Plot-Chris Cole is the singer of a tribute band to a popular heavy metal group called Steel Dragon. Then he gets the chance to replace his idol and be the singer for Steel Dragon.

Musician appearances-Steel Dragon includes Zack Wylde(Ozzy, Black Label Society),Jeff Pilson(Dokken, Dio) and Jason Bonham(son of John Bonham and drummer for Bonham, UFO). The cover band Blood Pollution included Brian Vander Ark (the Verve Pipe) Blas Elias (Slaughter) and Nick Catanese (Black Label Society). Stephen Jenkins (Third Eye Blind) played Bradley the singer of the rival tribute band. Vocal voiceovers were done by Michael Matijevic (Steelheart) and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen and like fifty other bands).

The Good- Wow, a metal film with a real budget and it was made in this decade, that's a surprise. The arena scenes looked very good and brought across the feel of a 1980's heavy metal stage without being overdone or tacky. I think the story had a lot of cliches and anyone who read metal magazines was already aware of the implications of what goes or went on with a number of bands behind the scenes. However, the overall pace of the film was very good and perhaps kept the cliches from sticking in your mind for too long. I think the whole idea was to show the tour as something that could change your life quick so the director had everything moving along and it worked. I think overall that Mark Wahlberg was pretty good in his role, Although he was a bit more believable when he was struggling Chris rather than the successful "Izzy". Having real metal musicians as 3/5 of Steel Dragon was a good idea because it just felt and looked right with these guys up on stage. Michael Matijevic has an incredible vocal range and this was almost a decade after those Steelheart albums, what a talent.

The Bad- I am sorry, but Jennifer Anniston is just such a lightweight to me and she plays the same character way too often. I just felt like they had her there for her looks and her name.

The Ugly- The ending is a real problem for me. The ending seems to imply that metal is a phase while the Seattle music of the early to mid-90's is real. The Seattle scene didn't even last a whole decade while metal has been around at different levels for about 35 years and it's stronger now than it was ten years ago. If this movie had been done in say 94 or 95 then it might have made more sense, but it was made in 2001 after the Seattle scene had gone and proved to be a short lived fad. It's like the films was saying "Oh, I am so glad that I am past that fake metal slop so now I can not wash my hair and wear sweaters from the Goodwill store".

Final Word- This film has grown on me because I wasn't that big on it after the first viewing just because of the whole fairy tale/soap opera style of the story. Now I realize that overall it worked and despite the ending the bulk of the rest of the film took some effort to show the work that can go into music and that certain people are not cut out for it. I got my copy for a whopping $4.88 at Wal-mart back in the summer. The director's commentary is worth listening to .

Grade: B-

Next up will be the Decline of western civilization 2:the metal years. A very different film because it is or at least claims to be a documentary.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wayne's World

In case you have missed the warnings I posted last week, this is the start of movie week here at the machine. Not your usual crappy films, but rather crappy films that relate to hard rock or metal. So first up is........

Wayne's World, 1992

Starring:Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere

Musical cameos:Alice Cooper and his band from the Hey Stoopid album played themselves. Meatloaf as Tiny the bouncer at the Gasworks. Tia Carrere's band Crucial Taunt included Anthony Focx as the drummer who is actually a guitarist and has played with Bang Tango and Beautiful Creatures. Guitarist Marc Ferrari played with Keel and Cold Sweat.

Plot:Wayne and Garth are in danger of having their local cable access show taken over and exploited.

The Good- The film knows it's a goofy comedy and doesn't try to be anything else. This is good because too many music related films just try to do too much and fail to be very good at anything. Wayne's World is one of the very few Saturday Night Live skits that made a good transition to the big screen and I think that comes from not trying to do too much. Dana Carvey was great as Garth, just very funny throughout the whole movie. Alice Cooper was actually very good in his small role. Some good supporting roles as well from Brian Doyle-Murray, Ed O'Neil and Lara Flynn Boyle. The three endings was a perfect ending(s) to this film. The film just fits a lot of off-beat comedy bits into the film. There are a few that don't work, but you don't notice them much because a funny one will come along a minute later and then you do laugh.

The Bad- The soundtrack is overall good, but the old songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Foxy Lady and Dream Weaver got prime space, but new songs like Black Sabbath's Time Machine and Cinderella's Hot and bothered were just kind of stuffed in where you couldn't hear them. Mike Myer's Wayne wore on me after a while. Not that he was bad, but he always been a bit one dimensionial in all of his skits and that came through after a while. The movie does laugh with the hard rock/metal fans, but it also laughs at them a bit more than it needed to. I realize it's a comedy, but that's the way I felt in 92 and the film still comes across that way at times.

The Ugly- Tia Carrere singing Sweet's the Ballroom blitz. Dear God, she looks great, but sounds like my cat when I accidentally stepped on her tail. It was really painful to listen to (Tia Carrere more than the cat).

Final words- Wayne's World is like the Citizen Kane of rock music films.....Not! Didn't you just know that I was going to work that in somehow?
It's funny, enjoyable and moves along at a nice pace. I got my copy for $7.50 at Wal-mart. Don't bother listening to the commentary with director Penelope Spheeris unless you just want to hear how much she thinks of herself.

Grade: B

Up next will be Rockstar.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Suggestions for theme weeks?

I will start movie week tomorrow and I recently completed vinyl week. It will probably be a while until I do another theme week because doing them too often would wear out the novelty if indeed there is any novelty in doing them. However, I do plan on doing a few other theme weeks during the year. I am considering Black Sabbath week, Iron Maiden week, Metal guitarist week and 1970's metal week. Let me know if you have any other suggestions, but be forewarned that if you suggest something like "Warrant week" or "Vinnie Vincent week" then you will receive a chewing out from me.

Two of a kind

I have talked before about band names, but this one earns a post unto itself. Tigertailz were a glam band from Wales and quite honestly one of my favorite glam bands. They were a little like Poison and Motley Crue, but with some heavier influences as well. They formed in the mid 80's and released an album called Young and Crazy in 1987. Shortly afterwards they kicked out their singer Stevie Jaimz and replaced him with a guy named Kim Hooker. Jaimz was supposedly kicked out for substance abuse, but his version is they were all doing the same things and that his exit had more to do with control in the band as he had written a lot of their material. They continued on doing a few albums and had some success in the early 90's, but eventually called it a day around 96. Then in 2003 Jaimz met with Ace Finchum who had been the drummer for Tigertailz and they decided to resurrect the band and they hired a new bass player and guitarist to do so. Jaimz also released an album of Tigertailz demos from 86-88 called Original Sin in 2004. Well, in 2004 the other original members bass player Pepsi Tate, guitarist Jay Pepper plus second singer Kim Hooker also decided to reform Tigertailz. So now there are two Tigertailz both playing shows in the UK and guess what, both are set to release albums in the next few months. I don't know the specifics, but my guess is that both parties have rights to the name or else one would have been stopped by now. You wouldn't think one set of people would want the name Tigertailz let alone two, but that is the case. However, I liked these guys and wish both sides the best although I always thought Stevie Jaimz was a better singer than Kim Hooker, but they had more success with Kim Hooker.

Just a reminder that Movie Week starts tomorrow. I will be kicking things off with a review of Wayne's World, yes, Wayne's World, party time, excellent.

Friday, February 10, 2006

What's up with Metal Mark?

Next Wednesday my wonderful paternity leave ends and I have to go back to work (boo!). I have also accepted a new position and will be starting that in about two weeks. It's working for the same organization I work for now, but it is way closer. The downside is I have to take a pay cut to move closer to home, but I decided to make the move. After gas prices and other expenses the difference isn't that great, but my drive will be 1/4 of what it is now and I will love to have that extra with my kids instead of spending it in traffic. These two things may cause me to post less here or shorten my posts, but I will be trying to post as regular as possible.
I also plan on making next week movie week. That's right the time machine is going to the movies and I will be reviewing 4-5 metal related movies plus some other special writings related to metal movies. I plan on doing my reviews relating to one of my favorite films of all time. That would be the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. So I give a brief description of the plot of the film then I will briefly list what was good, bad and ugly about the film and then give it some kind of final grade or score. You may be asking how bad and ugly differ from each other. Well my interpretation will be that bad is something in the film where I understood what they were trying to do, but it just didn't work. Ugly would be something where the makers of the film should have known better than to even try it or put it in their film. Movie week will start on Sunday so get your soda, popcorn and whatever else and get ready.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dictionary of reviewer terms

I used to read a lot of metal magazines and sometimes the writing was straight forward, but other times is was pure crap. One of the things that bothered me the most was when writers would use phrases that didn't quite give the real meaning. So I will list a few here then I will show the context in which they are normally used and finally I will tell what I think the term really means.

Groundbreaking- used in sentences like "Their new album is groundbreaking."
Real meaning: It sound like albums from half a dozen trendy bands so we hope that it can cash in.

Legendary-used in sentences like "This legendary band is set to release their reunion album."
Real meaning: Prior to about 1999 this normally was used to refer to bands who had done a lot of albums and made a real impact on the scene. Then in the late 90's reunions started happening so now oftentimes legendary means - these guys did two albums back in the 80's and they didn't really sell much, but being old gives them the right to be called legendary. This term is used far too often today.

Melodic Turn- used in sentences like "The band takes a melodic turn on their new album".
Real meaning:Not used as much today as it was in the late 80's and early 90's. What it really means is we want to sell albums so we are wussing out and hope we get played on the radio.

Mature effort or mature work-used in sentences like "Their new album is a more mature effort (work or album) than their previous material."
Real meaning: What this really means is they are not as creative or energetic as they used to be so they have slowed down a bit.

Musical differences-used in sentences like "Their singer left the band over musical differences."
Real meaning:This one can mean different things, it could mean one of the following.
A) he was kicked out because of addictions
B)he was kicked out because we found someone better
C)he was fooling around with the wife or girlfriend of another band member (this happened with Poison).
D)We really did have musical differences.

Radio friendly-used in a sentence like "Their new album is more radio friendly than their previous efforts".
Real meaning:What it means is the band tried real hard to put some sappy and weak songs on this album with the hopes of getting played on the radio and selling more albums.

I know that I am being silly about some of these, but some reviewers and writers do use these terms rather than saying what is really going on. Press releases from the band or record labels are far worse though.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Current playlist

Lately I have been listening to:

Rough Cutt-s/t and Wants you
Fireball Ministry- The second great awakening and Their rock is not our rock (soon to get a review from me)
Deep Purple-Who do we think we are?
Sleep-Sleep's Holy mountain
Electric Wizard-We Live
Wishbone Ash-Argus
Scorpions-Crazy World

What are you listening to?

The big back patch

Back in the mid 1980's it just wasn't enough to have a black concert shirt plus tons of metal band buttons pinned to your faded denim jacket. No, you also had to have the big backpatch with a metal band logo sewed to the back of your denim jacket. I learned how to sew by hand due to these patches. My mother didn't approve of my love of metal so she said she would not sew the patch on for me. So I learned on my own and eventually sewed on a Metallica-Ride the lightning patch that I bought at the beach. Unfortunately it was a cheap one and the design started to rub off after a few months. So then I bought an Anthrax-Spreading the disease backpatch from a mail order catalog that advertised in the metal magazines. This one held up better and I had it on there for a few years. I stopped wearing that jacket around the early 90's. I recently discovered my Anthrax backpatch and it was still in good shape. I am saving it with the hopes of passing it on to my kids and maybe they will like it. Although perhaps it would have been better if I had a Guns and Roses backpatch. By the time my now two year old daughter or newborn son get to high school is probably about the time that Chinese Democracy will be released.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rough Cutt-s/t and Wants You

Rough Cutt were an LA band with some ties to Ratt. Three of the members were in an early version of Ratt along with Stephen Pearcy and Jake E. Lee (Ozzy, Badlands). Ratt went through changes and the ex-members recruited new members and became Rough Cutt. I guess those three guys were intent on being in two bands that couldn't spell. This CD was released last year on Wounded Bird records (great name) and it has the band's two studio albums on it. They were previously only available on CD as Japanese imports and they fetched high prices on eBay. Well this two on one CD cost me a whole $13.00, thank goodness for re-releases. Rough Cutt were managed by Wendy Dio and because of this they got some major openings for Dio. However their second album failed to hit and Warner Brothers dropped them and Wendy Dio dropped them soon after.
I know, cut to the chase and tell if they any good or not. They are definitely commercial metal and fairly dated, but they don't pretend to be anything more than that either. Rough Cutt don't exactly sound like any other band I can think of, but they are generally on the same heaviness level of Dokken. The first album is a shade heavier and I prefer it. Titles such as "Dressed to kill", "She's too hott" and "Kids will rock" make one think that the music had better be good to make up for the lyrics. And it is for the most part, they may not be terribly overwhelming, but they are solid, competent musicians. I would like to have heard a few more hooks here and there, but that's okay. Vocalist Paul Shortino is the real stand out here as he has a good raw rock voice and the songs make good use of this. The second album Wants you is more of a mixed bag. You can tell they were hoping to score some radio play as there are some more "radio friendly" tracks here. I remember "You wanna be a star" getting some airplay around here on some of the metal radio shows. The second album is good, but you can tell why Rough Cutt never caught on. They just were not quite memorable enough for the masses. The first album came out in 1985 and the second album followed a year later. If you like Dokken, Ratt and other LA hair bands of the mid-80's then it's a good chance you might like these guys. Twenty tracks that clock in just shy of 80 minutes for $13.00 is a fair bargain as well. I have some other CD's of lesser known 80's hair bands that I may reviewing some time soon. These include Blacklace, Icon, Law and Order and others.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The crime of Operation Mindcrime 2

I think there are few Queensryche fans who post here so there may be some good varying views on this topic. I think Queensryche are overall a good band, but not great. I first heard them when the Warning came out in 1984 and heard Operation Mindcrime right when it came out in 1988. I liked the music and thought the story was okay. The topic here is the second part of this story which is due out April 4th so it will be over 18 years since the first part. I know that I cannot judge the album yet because it is not out, but I have a problem with Queensryche doing this album. It's just that doing a sequel to a concept album that's almost 20 years after the original makes them appear desperate. Operation Mindcrime was one their two most popular albums and doing this sequel makes it sound like they don't have any good original ideas so they are going to cash in on a concept that worked for them before. It also bothers me because no matter what you thought of the finished product of Operation Mindcrime, I think you would have to say that it was a genuine attempt rather than a cash-in. I mean it's not like heavy metal concept albums were all the rage. These guys have been seen as a progressive metal band and in the past they have at least tried to act like they are always writing to move ahead in a different direction. Yet where's the progress in doing a sequel album at this point in your career? I don't mean to pick on Queensryche either because in recent years King Diamond did Abigail 2 and WASP's two part Neon God is really just a rehash of their Crimson Idol album. I know the music is what matters and maybe OM2 will come out and be outstanding, but my guess is they will try to gear the style to be very much like the first one and the result will be a watered down imitation of an 18 year old album. Just like with films, the only thing worse than a bad sequel is a bad remake and that is what I fear this album may turn out to be. Am I being to hard on these guys or not?

I don't mean to harp on these guys, but this does bother me. However in honor of the release of Operation Mindcrime 2, my 20 year old album review in April will be Rage for order. An album that seems to be nobody's favorite Queensryche album, but we'll see if maybe time has been kinder than we thought to this album.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sheavy - Republic?

I make no secrets about my love for early Black Sabbath so I also tend to like a lot of bands that are influenced by them as well. This album came out back in September and I actually heard it two months ago, but just now got around to writing about it. This is the fifth album from Canada's Sheavy who have been around for over a decade. They are on England's Rise Above records which normally means stoner or doom metal like Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin. While they are not totally removed from either of those genres, Sheavy are different from most bands that receive those labels. The first thing you'd have to notice upon hearing this is how Steve Hennessey sounds a lot like Ozzy say around 72-75. Black Sabbath are probably the most influential metal band of all time, but normally it's the music not the vocals that makes a band sound like Sabbath. Sheavy do have a little bit of a Sabbath sound sprinkled here and there, but not as much as a lot of other bands. Most of their songs get close to a mid-tempo range, but maintain some heaviness. A lot of bands that emulate Sabbath tend to have a 70's kind of fuzz sound to the guitar, but these guys have a very clear, sharp sound that reminds me more of say early to mid 90's bands like Soundgarden. Most of the songs are simple and to the point, but I find myself drawn in by how straightforward they are and that's why I have listened to it quite a bit since I bought it. Along with Fireball Ministry these guys are a little more like stoner lite, but very catchy. They don't break a lot of new ground, but they are confident in what they are doing and fairly memorable. They have recently released a live dvd as well, but I have yet to see it. They also don't seem to update their website very often which is a shame.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ozzy-The Ultimate Sin

Background/first impression
During the Bark at the moon tour in 83-84, Ozzy started to really get the reputation of being a madman. However stories of his addictions were becoming very famous and although the tour did well, Bark at the moon the album drew some harsh criticisms about heavy use of keyboards and mediocre songwriting. By early 1985, Ozzy had been in and out of the Betty Ford clinic and he was claiming to be clean. He reunited with his old mates in Black Sabbath to play a short set at live aid in the summer and he was looking better than he had in about four years. He had a new album on the way and the album was going to be called Killer of giants and it was originally supposed to be out in early fall of 1985, but it got pushed back to early 86 and the title became the Ultimate Sin.

I heard this probably the week it came out and I liked it, but found it to be decent rather than great. Strong production, but just overall decent. A lot of people loved it. I began to like it a lot more around the early 90's when I bought it on CD and listened to it fairly often in college. It has been at least four years since I have heard the whole thing. I pulled out my vinyl copy of this on Friday evening and stuck it on the turntable. Metalgirl and I were cutting shapes out of playdoh with old cookie cutters while we listened and here is what I heard.

1. The Ultimate Sin
The drums come on with a solid simple beat and the heavy, but smooth lead follows and the title track kicks off. Ozzy tries his best to sound semi-sinister and it works enough for the song. Fairly strong opener that gets your attention.

2. Secret Loser
The next track rolls on fast and goes straight to work. We get to hear a bit more of Jake E. Lee's solos and lick here and they are fairly sharp. The song is overall good, but seems a little rushed for the most part.

3. Never Know Why
Track three comes on and the lead isn't terribly memorable, but everything else about the song works right away. Ozzy sounds very comfortable and there are really nice tight licks from Jake in this one. The only other problem is the chorus that goes "You'll never know why we rock". Yuck, those lyrics were dated by 1986 standards. Still a strong song for the most part.

4. Thank God For The Bomb
This song is a little slower than the previous tracks. It feels like there is a real stretch for this song to have some sort of dramatic impact, but it falls kind of flat. It feels like someone though Ozzy should attempt to be sort of political and it sounds like someone wrote one draft and handed it to Ozzy and he tried push through it. Doesn't work for me I am afraid.

5. Never
The last track on the first side rushes on and the lead isn't that memorable. Ozzy seems almost to be hurrying through it and has a real jumbled sound to it. Not a bad song, but certainly a filler track.

6. Lightning Strikes
The second side starts out with a simple, but cool riff from Jake E. Lee.
The Metalgirl was banging her head to this one so it earns points for that. It is also one of the heavier songs so far along with the title track.

7. Killer Of Giants
The second of two songs that people said were political. This song works far better than Thank god for the bomb. It's a tad slow and polished, but has almost haunting quality to it. Certainly one of the more memorable songs so far.

8. Fool Like You
Some nice guitar effects on this song, it's not overwhelmingly complicated, but this has a strong structure that flows nicely. Ozzy sounds varies strong here as he delivers his lyrics with greater feeling than most of the songs on the album.

9. Shot In The Dark
This one starts out like movie soundtrack music rather than metal. Ozzy sounds confident and the song flows nicely although it's a bit light. I would liked to have seen the album end on a heavier note, but it's still a good song.

Final Judgment- The Ultimate Sin is really kind of a bit of fluff in Ozzy's career. I think it was very carefully planned out and geared towards bringing in some of the audience that were enjoying mainstream metal. However, it is enjoyable fluff because there are enough good licks in there and it doesn't overstay it's welcome. In Ozzy's solo career, I would say this one ranks fourth after Blizzard, Diary and No more tears. It was a very successful album commercially as it #6 on the charts and Shot in the dark cracked the top ten. The tour was huge as well and greatly helped Metallica who were the opener for most of the tour.

That concludes vinyl week. The voting for my March review is still open. The current tally is:
Poison-Look what the cat dragged in: 6 votes
Ratt-Dancing Undercover:4 votes
Stryper-To hell with the devil:0 votes
If you not already voted then you have until the 15th of this month to add your vote. You can just put it in your comment on this if you want.

What's up my sleeve?

I am taking a one day break from vinyl week to update what I am working on. My wife and I have two large jars that we put our change into and when we fill them up we go and splurge on something. The other day we had filled the jars after about a year and a half of saving. After cashing the change at the bank we decided to buy a new TV. We have had a 19 inch TV for almost seven years. So we bought a 27 inch flatscreen one. How does this relate to my blog? Well, now the new TV has inspired me to do Movie Week. Not just any movies, but hard rock and metal movies. It will probably be in two weeks from now because that will allow me time to watch the films. I believe that I am going to review Airheads, Rockstar, Wayne's world, Trick or treat and Decline of western civilization 2. Plus I will probably write up something about This is Spinal Tap, it doesn't need a review because we know it's good, but I will write something relating to it. So that is on it's way.
The next big thing started with the list I wrote on Monday about rare vinyl bargains I have. One of my choices was an album by a band called Medieval. After making the post, I was searching and found that they recently got back together and are planning on recording. One of my friends suggested I contact them and try to see if they would do an interview for my blog. I asked them if they would and they said yes. Wow, a chance to interview a band that I loved almost 20 years ago. Now I need to come up with some questions, send them off and see what happens. I am very excited about this. You can check out their website here.
Tomorrow I will have my review of Ozzy's The Ultimate Sin on album. That will conclude vinyl week.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Vinyl Countdown: the 1980's

Here is the list of 15 essential albums from the 1980's. I took into consideration the music and the cover. I only allowed myself one album per artist. It was fairly easy to pick this, but a little tough to rank because their were so many good albums.

15.Ratt-Out of the cellar
I might get some flack for this choice, but I stand by it. Not overly talented except for Warren DeMartini, but they were consistently good and they were fun to listen to.

14.Wasp-The last command
Like a cross between hair metal and classic metal. Blackie Lawless was always trying to grow as a songwriter and most of the time it worked.

13.Motley Crue-Too fast for love
A good raw sound with rough vocals. A big influence on the LA scene that begin to overflow shortly after this album came out.

The Scorps were able to do strong rockers and good ballads as well. Plus it has a crazy cover.

11.Anthrax-Spreading the disease
Anthrax always had a speed metal sound that was different from the pack and a singer who actually sang.

10.Ozzy-Diary of a madman
I remember sitting in my basement listening to this on album over and over. A bit darker than Blizzard of Ozz and easily better than anything Ozzy did during the rest of the decade.

9.Def Leppard-Pyromania
Maybe the perfect blend of hard rock and pop. Manages to be sharp and catchy at the same time.

8.Dio-The last in line
It didn't matter that Ronnie James Dio was singing gibberish about dragons, rainbows and wishing wells just because he had such a good voice. He could be singing about septic tanks and moldy cheese and it would probably still sound good. Great cover as well.

7.Motorhead-Iron Fist
Their last album with Fast Eddie Clark on guitar. Motorhead managed to inspire bands and then road the wave as metal peaked and then they kept on going as other bands fell by the wayside. They proved that attitude is just as important as talent. They are also probably one of the most consistent metal bands of all time along with the Scorpions and Iron Maiden.

6.Guns and Roses-Appetite for destruction
Hard rock was in danger of becoming very stale by 1987, but this album gave the whole scene a well needed kick in the ass. The pace changes were fresh and they talked about the dark side of living and playing in LA.

5.Metallica-Master of puppets
After Kill 'em all these guys learned how to improve as writers. They figured out to put in seamless pace changes without losing their heaviness and energy. Ride the lightning might be a hair better, but the album cover and the impact of this one makes it the one to choose.

4.Slayer-Reign in blood
Not just Slayer's best album, but the best speed metal album of all time. It's like a storm coming out of your stereo. No notes were wasted in making this album because everything about it works. Not the most difficult guitar riffs, but Dave Lombardo is the master of the double bass drum and Tom Araya has the perfect voice for this kind of music.

3.Van Halen-1984
If you were into metal in 84 then you probably played this one to death. I mean Panama, Hot for teacher, Drop dead legs, what's not to like about this album? Also it has perhaps the best non-Iron Maiden cover of the decade.

2.Judas Priest-British Steel
I could have just as easily picked Screaming for vengeance or Defenders of the faith, but I think this was where Priest made a big transition. They took what they had begun in the late 70's but they became more focused and little more aggressive. Guess what? It worked as they became probably the second best metal band of the 80's next to the band that takes the number one spot here.

1.Iron Maiden- The number of the beast
I probably could have picked Killers or Powerslave for this spot too, but I think this is their best album. They still have some of that unbridled power from the early albums, but the structure that they would later rely so much begins to take shape here. These guys knew how to play with passion and skill yet still keep things sounding fresh. This is one of a handful of albums that I could listen to over and over. Actually I have and probably will continue to do so.

There you have it for my 80's list. I have my review for Ozzy's the Ultimate Sin coming up on Friday or Saturday. I just have to find time to listen to the album.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Vinyl Countdown: the 1970's

Originally this was going to be a list of ten 1970's albums that I would recommend you own. Well, I couldn't limit myself to ten so it grew to fifteen. So first my rules were no greatest hits, no live albums and only one album per artist. These are vinyl so the big cover means something so I first looked for cool music then I also considered the album cover as well. I have always been more a fan of the whole album rather than just individual songs and this probably has to do with the fact that I listened to albums more than the radio while growing up. So here they are and why they made the list.

15.Judas Priest- Sad wings of destiny
The riffs get heavier and Rob Halford finds his style. Great cover and just a real solid stripped down sound to the guitar at times.

Aerosmith at their all too short peak. Songs like Back in the saddle, Nobody's Fault and Sick as a dog showed how good these guys could be.

13.Thin Lizzy-Jailbreak
At times it sounds like the lyrics were made up on the spot, but the music is solid hard rock. Cool 70's comic book style cover as well.

Guitarist Ronnie Montrose released two solid rock albums before going off into jazz rock obscurity. It also featured a young singer named Sammy Hagar. This one is highly recommended although the cover is just the band standing there.

11.Sweet-Desolation Boulevard
This British glam rock band were a huge influence on 80's hard rock bands. They had solid music and some interesting lyrics as well.

10.Kiss-Dressed to kill
You can't mention the 70's without mentioning Kiss. Never the greatest musicians, but they never pretended to be either. Just solid, basic hard rock, but oftentimes very catchy. Four guys wearing kabuki make-up and suits on the cover is always a plus.

9.AC/DC-Let there be rock
All of the Bon Scott albums rocked, but this might be the most raw of the bunch. Angus Young showed that playing with energy makes all the difference in the world.

8.Ted Nugent- Cat Scratch Fever
The Nuge could throw out some monster riffs. By his third album, he was pumped and ready to show what a maniac he was.

7.Deep Purple- In Rock
One of the real pioneers of metal. These guys could start out a song in very basic fashion, but then it would into this great jam that just go off for a while before coming back. Awesome cover as well.

6.Rush- Fly by night
Rush began to settle in to a style that they were comfortable with and it worked. My favorite period of their career is their this album and Caress of Steel and 2112. Better album cover gives this one the nod over 2112.

5.Van Halen-s/t
This album was huge in saving guitar based rock and also launched a lot young guys to start learning the guitar. Van Halen also made it look like they were having a lot fun doing what they did.

4.Alice Cooper- Killer
Alice the man has been going for a long time, but his prime was with the original band that lasted from the mid 60's until 1974. I picked this album because it really showcases their brand of offbeat hard rock with even more offbeat lyrics. They managed to be brilliant and odd at the same time.

Amazing album with Ronnie James Dio delivering the best performance of his career and Ritchie Blackmore just letting the music flow from his fingers. Side two of this album is incredible. Also great artwork by Ken Kelley who also did artwork for Kiss-Destroyer, Lovegun and a whole lof of fantasy book covers.

2.Led Zeppelin-Houses of the Holy
This album shows how versatile Zeppelin could be and they are pretty strong with all the different styles represented here. Not as much hard rock as some of their other albums, but a very solid album.

1.Black Sabbath-s/t
Probably the most influential heavy metal band of all time. They created heavy and their serious slowness just added to the mood. Ozzy's nasal vocals were fitting, Tony Iommi could seamlessly go from one brilliant riff to the next, Geezer Butler's bass lines sludged along in the background and the criminally underrated Bill Ward pounded the tar of the drums. Their music could shivers down your spine one minute and make you glad that you were alive the next. The album cover is also fantastic with the women staring at you with those dark eyes. The cover is creepy and fascinating at the same time. This is an album where you just want to slap it on the turntable and just lay back and really let it soak in and not every album makes me want to do that.

The next post will be the 1980's version of the vinyl countdown. If you have records and a turntable then play them as vinyl week continues.