Saturday, September 30, 2006

What's coming up?

Well, it's about time to say so long to September and welcome to the Great Pumpkin or something like that.

This week I hope to have out the following.
King Diamond-Fatal Portrait-20 year old album review
Helloween-Better than raw review


-Make them yourself heavy metal Halloween costumes
-Satan and metal
-Halloween now and then
-Battle of the bands

To get you in the mood for October here are some choices. Just pick the one you prefer.

1-candy apples or caramel apples
2-Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street

3-Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe
4-rubber masks or facepaint
5-carving a jack o lantern or just buy one of those plug in pumpkins

Friday, September 29, 2006

2007 is coming

I am trying to think ahead so even though there are still several months left to 2006, I am already planning my 20 year old album reviews for next year. So once next year rolls around I will of course say goodbye to 1986 albums and instead be reviewing albums from '87. I do one of these per month and I think I know what I will be doing in the upcoming year. So here are nine albums I will be reviewing in 2007, they are listed in no particular order.

Def Leppard-Hysteria
Death-Scream bloody gore
Dio-Dream Evil
Alice Cooper-Raise your fist and yell
Helloween-Keeper of the seven keys part one
Guns and Roses-Appetite for destruction
Anthrax-Among the living
Deep Purple-House of the blue light

That accounts for nine months and the other three will be determined by "vote for a review". Where I offer three choices and you get to vote on the one you want me to do. If there are any albums from 1987 that you think I should review then let me know because I may be able to squeeze them in as choices for "vote for a review".

Probot, 2004

I remember hearing that Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) was going to do a metal album and I probably laughed. Then I heard that he was having guests and a lot of the names I heard were guys I grew up listening to between 85-90. After it came out several people said it was good so I picked it up when the price was right. Overall the music is good and much of it is geared toward the style of the guest vocalist. The music is somewhat basic and lacks guitar solos, but it's overall mid to late 80's styled metal. My main concern was that it would be nu-metal or something and it's not. It's not spectacular, but true enough to underground 80's metal. So since the music is overall decent, how good a song is here ultimately depends on how good the vocals are. So here is a song by song breakdown of the vocals.

1. Centuries Of Sin ( W/ Cronos / Venom)
Cronos' voice has gotten a bit deeper than it used to be. It's not bad at all, but just not as distinct as it once was.

2. Red War ( W/ Max Cavalera / Soulfly, Sepultura)
I never saw the huge deal with Sepultura. Yet Max sounds pretty good.

3. Shake Your Blood ( W/ Lemmy / Motörhead)
Lemmy is always on, count on it.

4. Access Babylon ( W/ Mike Dean / C.O.C.)
Mike Dean has been C.O.C's bass player for all, but one album. Yet he only sang on one lp and one ep and both were done in the mid-80's. I loved his vocals then, but here he sounds like he has nothing left to give.

5. Silent Spring ( W/ Kurt Brecht / D.R.I.)
Never a singer with a lot of range, but he sounds about like he did in 1988 so his voice has aged well.

6. Ice Cold Man ( W/ Lee Dorrian / Cathedral / Napalm Death)
Dorrian does his Cathedral vocals here and it sounds like early Cathedral which means it's a little dull.

7. The Emerald Law ( W/ Wino / Place Of Skulls / The Obsessed/ Saint Vitus/ Hidden Hand)
Wino's voice has changed a little over the years depending on which project he is with. He sounds fairly solid here.

8. Big Sky ( W/ Tom G. Warrior / Celtic Frost)
I was actually surprised how good Tom G. sounds on the new Frost album because he sounds very weak here.

9. Dictatorsaurus ( W/ Snake / Voïvod)
Never been a huge Voivod fan, but the vocals are strong here.

10. My Tortured Soul ( W/ Eric Wagner / Trouble)
Wagner sounds good overall, but a little less agressive than in his prime.

11. Sweet Dreams ( W/ King Diamond / Mercyful Fate)
The King doesn't have the crazy range he once had, but still very on.

I like the album, but it's not one I listen to all that much. My fear is that non-metal fans would think Grohl was throwing a bone to some metal hasbeens. Keep in mind that all of these vocalists are now and have been active in the metal scene.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It came from the pages of Hit Parader

I am looking at the January, 1987 issue of Hit Parader. The article I am looking at is Hit Parader's annual Reader's Poll results. Here are the top ten most popular bands that readers voted for from 1 down to 10.
1-Motley Crue
5-Judas Priest
6-Van Halen
7-Iron Maiden
9-Bon Jovi

Now around 84-85, I thought these awards meant something, but a year or so later it was just kind of a joke. You would often times see bands get high rankings even though they did not release an album that year or barely toured. I think they stopped doing them maybe around the early 90's or so. Then again I took Hit Parader serious when I was 14 and 15 then after that I began to see that it was kind of fluffy. Metal Edge was even more fluffy, it was like a teen metal magazine in it's approach. I remember thinking Rip and Metal may have been my favorite magazines at the time. Hit Parader did put out a magazine called Power Metal and it was better as I remember. It was mainly speed and thrash bands and it may have run between like 87-90.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Current Playlist

Lately I have been listening to:

Iron Maiden-A matter of life and death (Yes, still listening to it)
AC/DC -High Voltage
The first two Artillery albums
Laaz Rockit-The annihilation principle

What are you listening to?

Ratt-Out of cellar, 1984

In the 80's the LA scene became really hot with a lot of glam or hair bands or whatever you want to label them. Ratt started to take shape around 1981 and they begin to earn a reputation through their many shows. By 1983 the band was getting some attention and they signed to tiny Time Coast records and released a self-titled, six song ep. This got the notice of Atlantic records who signed the band to a deal. By 1984 the band released their first full length album "Out of the cellar". I used to listen to this on tape over and over back when I was in ninth grade. I only own this one on vinyl now so that's how I had to listen to it. When I put it on the first thing I noticed was that is sounded faster and higher pitched than I remembered. Then I realized that Metalgirl must have switched the speed on my turntable from 33 to 45. So I reset it and started again. I have probably not heard this album in it's entirety in at least four years. You know, I actually think it's almost as good as I remember it being. Ratt were never overwhelming, but they were solid enough. They could write good enough straight ahead songs, but nothing too complicated. "Back for more" might be about as complicated as they get with it's intro and brief pace changes. Then again, hearing this now I can see why they got some notice then because they were more solid than a number of other bands. Ratt's biggest plus was that they were consistent. No clunkers on this album and everything is at least good if unspectacular.
It seems Ratt are one of the bands from the 80's that really gets a reputation as being "cheesy". Or at least that seems that they don't the respect of someone like Motley Crue. I am not totally sure why that is maybe it's because they peaked so early in their career. By peaked, I mean a commercial peak because they kept playing good albums for another six years after this. My favorite songs on this album are "You're in trouble", "She wants money", "Lack of communication" and "The morning after". I may have to get this on cd at some point.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Picture Discs

For my Heavy Metal memory I chose to write about picture discs as in on vinyl. I don't know who came up with the idea, but picture discs were around quite a bit in the 80's, more in the second half of the decade. I would say that I have between 25-30 picture discs, all metal or hard rock bands I believe. I probably have far more singles than lp's though. Almost half of the ones I own were probably bought at discounted prices. Here are some of my favorites:

Raven and Udo-Born to be wild, seven inch single
I got this probably in 85 or 86 new for $2.oo.

Judas Priest-Sad wings of destiny lp
I got this at a yard sale in 1992 for maybe $3.00. Used, but in perfect shape.

King Diamond-Halloween ep
I bought this in 88 or 89. I think it was a limited pressing and it was like $7 new. Has King with a skull on one side and the band looking at a ghostly vision of the King on the other side.

Twisted Sister-Under the blade lp
Got this for $3 new at a place that was going of business around 1990.

Dio-King of rock and roll seven inch single
Has the dragon from the cover of Sacred Heart. Got this at a store that was clearing out their vinyl so it was around 91 or 92.

Really picture discs were just a bit of a novelty. Just pictures to look at, but I thought they were cool. I never played them much because I didn't want to risk scratching them. I have not bought any in probably 13 years as you probably won't find any for bargain prices anymore.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Artillery-Fear of tomorrow, 1985

***Okay, I stayed up late tonight watching my Broncos pull out a tough game over the Patriots. I didn't have time to write anything so I reached into the vaults and pulled out this post from July of 2005. It's about a really good album by Artillery. I will add in the comments later as to how my views have changed on this album over the last year. I will be back to speed with an original post on Tuesday.

Not exactly a proper review per se, but just an album I had to talk about. Anyway, this was the 1985 debut from Artillery who are from Denmark. I think that I may have heard one song by them on a compilation in the mid 80's, but I remember very little about it. What I do remember are some good reviews on this album and their second one as well. Artillery were a band whose albums never showed up on the shelf of any store I went to and I may have bought them if they had because I was aware of their good reputation. However, they were a band whose albums I often considered ordering while looking at catalogs such as Metal Disc. For one reason or another, I always chose something else. The other day I was surprised to see this cd at the record store for a decent price because I was under the impression it was out of print and was an import. I bought it knowing with my luck that it may not be there when I came back again. My expectations were that it would be good if not spectacular and that's close but not entirely true. Right away I was surprised at just how heavy these guys were. Not heavy by today's standards, but when compared to other 1985 releases by bands like Slayer, Exodus and Destruction it was heavier than those guys at times. There were songs that dragged, the vocals seem a bit dated by today's standards and there are times where the production is a little fuzzy, but there were times when they were spot on with riffs and double bass drums were sounding like thunder. More than half the songs have some really heavy riffs going on and not just noise like Possessed, but rather really tight riffs. I can't help but think this album had some influence on Slayer's Reign in blood. You have to listen very closely to a few songs and realize that this album came out in between Hell Awaits and Reign. The other band this album may have influenced is Sodom. Sodom's first two releases were average at best, but by 1988's Persecution Mania they had adopted a heavier, sharper sound. The sound that dominates Sodom's Persecution Mania and Agent Orange can be heard on a few songs on Artillery's debut. Artillery's second album Terror Squad is supposed to be even better, but it is out of print. Their third album 1990's By Inheritance received generally average reviews. The band broke up in the early 90's but came back just a few years ago with a reunion album called B.A.C.K. Artillery's Fear of Tomorrow may not be a classic, but it has a lot to offer. For one reason or another they may not have gotten the credit they deserved for being an influential early speed metal band. Still they have impressed me enough to keep a lookout for their other releases.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What's coming up?

This week I hope to have out the following.

Probot review
Ratt-Out of the cellar review

It came from the pages of Hit Parader
A Heavy Metal memory

And maybe a couple of more topics if I can think of any.

I just found out that WASP will release a new album in November. Which means there is at least one more new album I will buy in 2006. It is getting late in the year, but are there any new releases coming out in 2006 that you will definitely buy?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Halloween question

Okay, here is an early Halloween question. Pretend you have to dress as one of the following for a Halloween party.

-Ace Frehley
-Peter Criss
-Paul Stanley
-Gene Simmons
-Dee Snider
-Alice Cooper

Which one do you choose?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Coming up in October

October is probably my favorite month of the year because of Halloween. So in keeping with the holiday I will do some scary type topics during the month. During either the second or third week of the month I will do "Black Sabbath week" here at my blog. My 20 year old album review will be King Diamond's Fatal Portrait. I am sure that I will review albums by Helloween and Halloween. I would review one by Hallow's Eve, but I no longer own any. I may do list of ten songs to listen to on Halloween. I might have to toss a few non music topics in as well. Something on horror movies for sure and probably my top ten Scooby Doo episodes for anyone who cares. If you have any other suggestions for topics for October then let me know.

Death Angel-The art of dying, 2004

Death Angel did three studio albums between 1987 and 1990. The band were all in their teens when they released their debut "The Ultra Violence". The debut was raw, but showed a strong speed metal sound. The second album 1988's "Frolic through the park" was more organized, but toned down a little. Then in 1990 they released "Act 3" which puts in funk parts and has more pace changes, but it works overall. The band then had some line-up changes and some of the members continued on as the Organization which is also the title of a song off of their third album. Then in 2001 the band was asked reform to play a one time show at a benefit for Testament singer Chuck Billy who was suffering from cancer. They played the show and over the next few months entertained thoughts of reforming. They decided to reform and they had four of the five original members in the new line-up. In early 2004 they released this album "The art of dying". This album for the most part, picks up where "Act 3" left off. It had the band's solid, tight chugging speed metal riffs plus it has various other styles and pace changes tossed in. The album actually shreds for the first three tracks and I thought at that point that it might be the band's first great album. However after that it slows down a little and goes back and forth between dazzling songs and decent ones. For the most part it's late 80's/early 90's style speed metal, but fresh enough to keep my interest. They sound comfortable with what they are doing and it is heavy enough. I think the fact that they were so young when they started does help now. All things considered I think it is their best effort as it's just a hair better than Act 3. Most reunion albums tend to be gigantic disappointment and that's if anyone cares at all. However with "The Art of dying" Death Angel showed that they still had something left to give.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Failure to reach potential

In thinking about Krokus the other day, I couldn't help but think of bands that seemed on the right track yet they didn't seem to reach their full potential. Krokus were heading there, but took a more commercial approach. Another band I will write about this week is Death Angel. I think around 1990 they were heading towards doing something great, but they broke up before being able to follow up on it.
I thought of Metallica of course and the changes in direction they took. Yet I think they reached their peak with Ride the lightning and Master of puppets. So perhaps they hit their potential, it just didn't last for as many albums as fans wanted it to.

So what bands do you think were heading towards a peak, but failed to reach it for one reason or another?

Mastodon-Blood Mountain, 2006

I was really looking forward to this album. I saw Mastodon last year and they were phenomenal. I liked their last album Leviathan, but to me it had some problems. Even though I liked it, I really don't listen to it all that much. I was hoping the new album would be a bit tighter. Blood Mountain seems a bit more concise at times than Leviathan. The band still manages to bring across their classic metal influences as well as their own energetic bursts. This album drags a little less than the previous album as well. Yet I am afraid that I am a little disappointed over the new album. There were definite moments of greatness, but it stills feel uneven more times than it should. These guys are talented for sure because the sparks are there yet there are times where they seem to choose to be quirky rather than being heavy. Perhaps it's just a matter of preference, but it just seems to me that it wouldn't take much effort for these guys to be more direct with their sound. By doing that, I think they would not be any less powerful and they would be more to the point. There are times where they just go at it with a big wall of sound and there are times where they just sound frantic and a bit like they are grasping for something. As it is I think they put out another good album instead of the great album I was hoping for. I will keep listening to it though and perhaps it will eventually click and I will upgrade it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I bought three CD's last week and all are decent, but none of them are great. So I decided to toss them all into one post.

Smashed Gladys-s/t, 1985
They kind of sound like early 80's AC/DC with a female singer and she has a good, rough rock voice. The first nine tracks are solid hard rock. However the next six are a very average cross between hard rock and 50's music. I don't know if these are bonus tracks that were not on the original release or not. So it's almost like you one good lp and one mediocre ep on one CD.

Trixie-Shelter, 2006
The third and most recent effort from Trixie is about three parts Def Leppard and one part Motley Crue. They are not terribly original, but have a professional sound and sharp production. Somehow I see this as the one of these three albums that may grow on me the most. I think this is due to the production values and the band's attention to details.

Viking-Do or die, 1987
I used to have this on vinyl back in the late 80's, but sold it. It's almost like they heard Slayer's Reign in blood and said "hey, let's do this". It's very much Slayer style thrash, but it's better than some as they manage to maintain a good deal of heaviness to their sound. I remember their second album "Man of straw" as showing more of their own sound. Guitarist Brett Eriksen joined Dark Angel after Viking folded.

So what's the most recent album you bought or downloaded?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Krokus-Headhunter, 1983

I first heard this album back in the mid-1980's and "Screaming in the night" was a late night staple on the local radio station as well. Still this album didn't make an impression on me then. Just recently I have come to realize that they were a decent band at one time and this is a good album. Marc Storace has a strong voice and there are some impressive guitar licks here and there on the album. There are a few moments where I am reminded of AC/DC, but the closest band to compare them to might actually be Accept. Only it seems like Krokus are a little more on the hard rock side of the fence while Accept where a little more on the metal side. This is fairly no-nonsense hard rock and there is a place for that style. The title track kicks the album off in good fashion and "Eat the rich" is a solid enough anthem. I think that I can only listen to "Screaming in the night" every so often because I heard way too often growing up. My favorites tracks are probably the title track, "Night Wolf", "Stand up and be counted" and the really cool "Stayed awake all night". My only real complaint is that there were times I wished it were a little heavier and louder than it was. I think that in '83 Krokus seemed poised to do something, but the next album "The Blitz" went a different direction to some extent. Also so many other bands emerged in 1984 that Krokus became one of many trying to get somewhere. Still this album holds fairly well for it's age and I have been giving my copy some playing time as of late.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Battle of the bands

It's time for battle of the bands. I list two bands and you state who you prefer and why. So this month it is:

Deep Purple vs. Scorpions

The Scorpions are probably one of the most consistent bands of all time. Yet I would go with Deep Purple as I tend to find them a bit more unique when they were in their prime and I think they have had a bigger influence on the scene.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What's coming up?

Back to normal this week. I hope to have these:

Death Angel-The art of dying

It came from the pages of Hit Parader
Battle of the bands

And maybe a couple of other topics if I can think of some.

Here is a question for you.
Do you listen more or less music when the weather gets older? Or is the weather not a factor?

I would think maybe people would be in more in the colder weather and be more likely to listen to more, but who knows.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Penelope Spheeris and Spinal Tap?

Penelope Spheeris is a director who among other things directed both Decline of western civilization films, the first Wayne's World and a documentary on Ozzfest that I have never seen. In her commentary track on Wayne's World she said that in the early 1980's she was offered the chance to direct "This is Spinal Tap", but turned it down because she didn't think the film could be done and be respectful to the music scene and she didn't want to make fun of the music in that way. Now my first thought is how does she think Wayne's World and DOWC 2 are respectful to music? I think both make more of a mockery of the music that Spinal Tap. The question I wanted to ask was how would "This is Spinal Tap" have been different if she had directed it instead of Rob Reiner?

From hearing speak and from watching her films, I think she could have made Spinal Tap and it been funny, but I am not sure she sees the sense in doing subtle humor and I think this may have been lost if she had done "This is Spinal tap".

Friday, September 15, 2006

High Fidelity, 2000

The plot
Record store owner Rob (Cusack) talks about his top five break up lists (and other lists) even though he still in a relationship.

The cast
John Cusack, Iben Hjlele, Todd Louiso, Jack Black

The good
The record store if really cool, this reminds a lot of three different record (mainly vinyl) stores that I went to in the 1980's (only one of the three still exists today). John Cusack is very good and Black and Louiso are strong as his employees. I think it manages to be clever overall with Cusack's obsession with top five lists and speaking to the camera.

The bad/complaints
It's low on plot and although it has some clever dialog there are still some wholes here and there where people are talking, but it's not really building towards anything. I know it's not a total comedy, but I found much of the parts about the relationship between Rob and Laura to just be kind of muddled at times.

3.75 out of 5

Final Word
Okay, you can set much of the film in a record store, have a male lead and initially talk bad about relationships yet you can't fool me because it's still a romantic comedy. Not normally my thing so it's going to have to be strong somewhere for me to like it. I think Cusack's performance and the list thing are enough for me to be interested. It loses me a little at times with the relationship as it just has a real uneven feel to it. Now I must add that I have only seen this film once so I may look it more were I to see it again and I do want to see it again at some point.

***On Saturday the Rock Movies week will wrap up with a topic about a certain director who made two music related films and could have made a third.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Almost Famous, 2000

It's the early 1970's and teenager William Miller gets an assignment to travel with a band called Stillwater. While on the road he learns more than he ever knew about the band and what life is like while on tour.

Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand and Billy Crudrup.

The good
Kate Hudson was truly very good and I don't think this was an easy role to pull off. Patrick Fugit was good although it took a little time for his performance to grow on me. The soundtrack is fantastic and played at the right times during the movie where you actually here it. The concert scenes looked very good to me. Overall a very nice looking film with lots of bright locations.

The bad/complaints
Billy Crudrup slightly underacted his role and Jason Lee was just okay. Yes, I realize the band was less of a focus, but those two characters bothered me some. The film as a whole is little too cut and dry with things being resolved a bit too smoothly for me.

4.25 out of 5

Final word
I avoided seeing this film until recently because it received so much hype. I certainly think it was a strong film overall. Yet it's almost like a fairy tale version of the 70's rock scene in some way. I like it, but in some ways I think it tries to make things seem more meaningful and deeper than they really are. Having said that, it's still one of the best music related films in a long while and the best film I am reviewing this week. There is a definite tightness to the film and a bit of magic that doesn't happen enough in films in my opinion.

***Rock Music Week continues on Friday with a very different kind of rock movie and it's High Fidelity.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guest Beast

I am playing the role of the Beast today over at Beauty versus the Beast if you want to check it out. The question has to do with movies this time.

School of rock, 2003

The plot
Guitarist Dewey (Black) gets kicked out of his band and needs rent money. He receives a call from a school asking for his roommate to come and substitute at a private school. Dewey decides to imitate his roomie Ned and takes the job. He then tries to use the class as his band for an upcoming Battle of the bands contest.

Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White and Sarah Silverman

The Good
I am not always a fan of Jack Black, but he made this film work with a very strong comedic performance. Joan Cusack was very good as well and she is too often underused in some films. The soundtrack was great. The kids were overall good, I was apprehensive about them at first but they did well for the most part. The ending because the main characters don't always have to win for things to work out right.

The Bad
Like most films with a lot of kids, it was a little sappy. The kids took to the changes and the band project maybe a little easily. I may be nitpicking with that one, but I felt that way. The only other minor gripe is how Dewey is shown as being a little dim which seems to be an all too common stereotype with characters who like hard rock in movies.

4 out of 5

Final Word
It's a good fun film that manages to be respectful to the music and some comedies are not that way. Overall good performances and I think it's a film that may get better with each viewing.

***Coming up Thursday is Almost Famous as Rock Movies week continues.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Record stores in the movies

This week I am reviewing two movies that have record stores in them. Empire Records is almost entirely set in a record store and High Fidelity has a number of scenes in a record store. So I have two questions for you.

The first is are there any other movies that you can think of with record stores in them, even if it's just one scene. Do you know of any?

The other is what is the coolest record store in a movie?

Wayne's World 2, 1993

Jim Morrison comes to Wayne in a dream and urges him to put on a concert in his hometown of Aurora, Illinois. So then Wayne sets outs to do this, but runs into numerous problems along the way.

Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere, Christopher Walken, Ralph Brown

Musician appearances
Aerosmith and uh.. Jim Morrison, oh wait that wasn't him, just an actor playing him.

The good
If you like the humor in the first film and the SNL skits then you should like this because it's the same style of humor. Christopher Walken was a big step up from Rob Lowe who was in the first film. Tia Carrere seemed far more comfortable here than in the first film. Chris Farley was hilarious in his limited role as Milton the slightly deranged friend trying to learn to be a roadie. The Charlton Heston cameo-good actor/bad actor part was great in large part because I am a big Planet of the apes fan and like Heston. It may just be me, but I loved the fight scene between Wayne and Cassandra's father.

The bad/complaints
When it first came out is just seemed like I would have appreciated it a little more if they had waited longer to do a sequel. I am not sure they needed all of the cameos that were thrown in, it almost feels a bit cluttered. Not as many huge laughs as the first film and I didn't like the soundtrack as well as the first film.
And of course.......
I felt that it was a trifle unnecessary to see the crack in the Indian's bottom. (You have to have seen the film to get this).

3.5 out of 5

Final Word
I think this film is like Airplane 2 in that's good, but so similar in style to the first more popular film that it often gets overlooked. Mike Myers is not a very versatile comedian, but there are enough jokes here that work. I probably saw the first film so many times when it first came out that I am more likely to watch this one now.

***Rock movies week continues with School of rock tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Empire Records, 1995

The Plot
This movie takes place almost entirely in and around an independent record store. An employee discovers the store will be turned into a big record chain store. So he bets the money and loses. The owner Joe then tries to figure out to explain this to his boss. Other than the opening scene, the entire takes place over the course of one work day.

Liv Tyler, Anthony LaPaglia, Maxwell Caulfield, Renee Zellweger, Rory Cochrane and Johnny Whitworth

Musician appearances
Gwar as themselves, Coyote Shivers as Berko

The good
I like this record store although I have never seen an indie record store that large. Maxwell Caulfield was great as Rex Manning, a David Cassidy/Donnie Osmond kind of singer. Anthony LaPaglia was very believable as Joe the manager of the record store. Of the younger cast members, I thought Rory Cochrane really stole the show as Lucas. Although I actually knew a guy in college who acted a lot like the Lucas character. The film is overall very funny and moves along fairly quickly. Actually I like just about all of the performances here.

The bad
There are some frantic melodramatic parts here and there and it's a little hard to take, but they are quickly resolved. There is not that much of a plot really, but I think the humor is strong enough that it's not that important.

3.5 out of 5

Final word
I got my copy for $4.88 at Wal-Mart a while back. I have seen this film easily ten times and it gets little better with each viewing. It's far from perfect, but easy to take. The new version has a few added scenes that add more to some of the characters. My favorite character might be Eddie because of his love of vinyl.

***Up on Tuesday will be Wayne's World 2 as Rock Movies Week continues.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What's coming up?

This week is Rock Movie Week. So I will be reviewing five rock movies and here they are in no real order.

Empire Records
School of rock
Almost famous
High Fidelity
Wayne's World 2

I did a heavy metal movies week back in the spring and enjoyed it so much that I decided to do this in the fall. There will probably be one other topic this week as well, but I don't know what it will be yet. Hope you enjoy this theme week and either Empire Records or Wayne's World 2 will be up on Monday.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

David Lee Roth-Eat 'em and smile, 1986

Background-Diamond Dave parted ways with his old outfit Van Halen in 1985, but he wasted no time in recruiting a supergroup of sorts. In his band were former Zappa and Alcatraz guitarist Steve Vai, former Talas bass player Billy Sheehan and drummer Greg Bissonette. In the summer of 1986 he released Eat 'em and smile.
I first this the week it came out and I liked it. I have not heard in at least two years.

Yankee Rose-The opener and first single manages to be stylish without being overdone. It heads and straight on and gets your attention right away. Very big and in your face which works for Dave.

Shyboy-I used to love this song, but now it seems a little repetitive and overlong. It's still good, but certainly not special and not as good as this band is capable of.

I'm Easy-Not all hard rock fans are going to like this swing kind of song. Yet this is very much Dave's kind of thing and it works.

Ladies nite in Buffalo?-I like the bass line and Dave sounds smooth. Yet it immediately sounds slightly dated and it overstays it's welcome just a little.

Tobacco Road-A good song choice for Dave and his band. It's a very tight version and really memorable.

Elephant Gun-Another fast song, but it's far stronger than Shyboy. It has that Diamond Dave sense of humor to it. A good change of pace at this point in the album.

Big Trouble-Before playing the album, I was looking at the sleeve and could not remember this song. Now I know why as it is very average and feels like a real filler track.

Bump and Grind-A mid-tempo song with a nice sharp sound at first. It's good, but not real memorable. Doesn't really do a whole lot after the first minute or so.

That's Life- Like I'm easy this may not appeal to hard rock fans, but it's a good choice for Dave as it's very much his style. The band sounds sharp and it's a fine closer.

Verdict/Final word-I think it's still good, but not as good as I thought it was back then. It's a bit dated and simplistic at times. I think Steve Vai is a little restrained and doesn't show enough of his true playing style. I think Dave chose songs he was comfortable with and that comes across. It's not as good as any of the first six Van Halen albums. Yet in 1986 the score read Roth-1 Van Halen-0 because this album is better than 5150.

****Next month's 20 year old album review will be King Diamond's Fatal Portrait.

***Next month's twenty year old album review will be King Diamond's Fatal Portrait.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A site for sore eyes

What music related websites (not blogs) do you check out on a daily or at least more than once a week?
What non-music ones do you check out?

***I will definitely have my 20 year album review of David Lee Roth's Eat 'em and smile out on Saturday. I only have it on vinyl so it has taken me a while to get around to listening to it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Theme weeks

I have just a few more theme weeks left this year. Next week is rock music week then I will do Black Sabbath week in October and Oh, Canada week in November. I don't do one in December because I am doing my top ten albums of 1986 countdown. So I am already thinking of themes for 2007 and I need 11 because I won't be doing one in December. Here is what I have so far.
Motorhead week
AC/DC week
Kiss week
70's hard rock week
Metal around the world week
Guitarist week
Underrated singer week
Slow as hell week (doom metal and stoner rock)
New wave of British heavy metal week

So I need two more, let me know if you have any ideas. I was thinking about doing a week dedicated to punk rock albums I would recommend for metal fans, but I am not sure on that one.

The Fall

I am sad to see Summer go because it was a good one this year as I got to do a little more than usual with my family and in the garden. However I am very much looking forward to the Fall. I like the Fall because of the cooler weather, Halloween (my favorite holiday) and the start of the football season. I always take off from work for Halloween and I try to cram in as many horror movies as I can during the month of October. The only real bad thing about Fall is when the times change rolls around because then I can't get outside with the kids when I get home from work. I think that I like all of the seasons to some extent except that in Maryland spring doesn't always really happen as oftentimes it just kind of goes straight from winter to summer. To squeeze music in here, I remember several years where the best releases of the year seem to come out at the end of the year rather than in the summer. Also I guess that I get to hear a little more music in the Fall as I may be inside a little more.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blog plug

There is a bit of a sad story, but you may want to read it over at my wife's blog.

Current playlist

So what are you listening to?

I am listening to:
Iron Maiden-A matter of life and death (of course)
Electric Wizard-Come my fanatics

Gamma Ray-Majestic, 2005

There was a point last year when I knew that both Gamma Ray and Helloween had albums coming out soon. I firmly expected that one of the two would be the best album of the year, but I was wrong. They weren't bad, in fact both were in my top ten, but neither quite hit the great level I was hoping for. I think that Gamma Ray progressed some over the previous albums and I was expecting more of the same this time around. About 1/3 of the songs are great and the rest is decent to good. I think the band excels at straight ahead fairly fast tracks. However their more mid-tempo songs sound a bit dry or take some time to warm up and get going. It almost comes across like they are more comfortable with the faster tracks and not as much with the others, but they throw them in to have a balance. Maybe it's just that they reached a peak and it's going to be difficult to grow unless they change styles a little or integrate something new into the mix. They are doing some songs very well, but overall they are not doing a whole lot that they have not already done. I think power metal of this sort is tough because it's hard to say where a band can possibly go to expand. Especially for a band like this that have been around for 15 years and a player like Kai Hansen who has been doing this for well over 20 years. I think I was hoping almost every song would be a highlight, but that didn't happen. It's a good album overall, but I find myself reaching for the skip at times both to get to a great song and to get past a song that is merely decent. Maybe they have peaked or maybe they have another great album left in them ready to come out in a year or so.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Iron Maiden:Too many epics?

When "Brave New World" was released some six years ago, initially fans were thrilled that Bruce and Adrian were back in the band. However after the album's release one big complaint that a lot of fans and reviewers made was "too many epics". I think that 2003's "Dance of death" was a tighter album, but it still got the "too many epics" tag put on it by some people. The new album "A matter of life and death" is Maiden's longest album to date and again many people are saying "too many epics" or "just too long". We fans are a selfish lot to some extent, we aren't always content with good because we want great. I too have said that maybe they are doing too many epics, but I accept it because overall I like the songs. I don't think they are doing epics just to do epics, but rather that their ideas require more than six minutes to do what they want to do in a song. I think most fans and reviewers will agree that this decade has been far, far better for Maiden than the 90's were. Yet we fans are not content with that. Some people may not admit it, but I think that when some fans say the new material is too long or there are too many epics that really they are wishing for the new album to be another "Number of the beast" or "Powerslave". I may be wrong on that, but I think it's possible. I think Maiden are one of the few bands who have been around for more than 20 years that are actually putting out music that is still relevant to today's metal scene. I think they have shown what their current style is and they are content with it and so am I.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The package

I had to work today and it was busy because of the rain and the fact that we are closed on Monday. When I got home my wife said I had a package. I couldn't imagine what it was, but then I saw the Sanctuary records label on it and realized that the new Iron Maiden had arrived. This means that the Probot review I promised in pushed back aways because I wanted to hear the new Maiden. I listened to a few seconds of each song and then I got to hear all of the first three songs in between washing kids, folding laundry and playing with Metalgirl and Metalboy. It will take some time before I can give a real accurate opinion, but I will give you my initial reaction of what I heard. Of course I like what I have heard so far. It reminds me a little of the last album and also of Seventh son of a seventh son. It's more of a methodical approach that really builds within the song yet it is very tight. The songs I have heard are very interesting and perhaps a little more straight forward than on the last album. There seems to be a lot going beneath the surface of the music on what I heard here. I think the last album was kind of like that, but Brave New World wasn't quite as much that way. Bruce sounds as great as always, maybe even a little more spirited than usual. Oh and the album cover is really cool as usual, kind of like a cross between Army of darkness and a Sgt. Rock comic book. I have decided to devote today and Tuesday to Iron Maiden topics. So I will rank the covers of the studio albums in order of preference. Here they are:

Top Maiden Studio Album covers
1)The number of the beast-Eddie rules over the devil
2)Killers-Great background and a great expression on Eddie's face
3)Powerslave-Fantastic detail
4)Somewhere in time-Great concept
5)Piece of mind-Crazy Eddie
6)Seventh son of a seventh son-A little odd, but somehow fitting
7)A matter of life and death-Back to the great detail
8)Brave new world-Good idea and great sky
9)Fear of the dark-A little strange, but cool
10)Iron Maiden-Eddie was still being formed, but nice shading and background
11)No prayer for the dying-Looks like a high schooler's concept of Eddie
12)Dance of death-Looks like bad CGI
13)X-factor-Could they have a worse cover?
14)Virtual whatever-Why yes they could.

No post on Monday. Have a good holiday and I will be back Tuesday with another Iron Maiden topic.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Too many projects?

Blabbermouth printed an interview with Alex Skolnick and he mentioned that there are plans to record a Testament album early in the year. They have been touring here and there for the last couple of years, but have not done an album in a long time. I liked the band back in the day and might be interested in a new album, but this brought a concern with me. Skolnick talked about all these projects he is doing and that's great at all. Yet, I think a lot of metal musicians whose prime was years ago are involved in multiple projects at the same time now. I appreciate that and understand that they get to do what they want and they do what they can to make money. However, I can't help but feel like these people with all these projects don't give their all to any one project. Maybe I am being selfish here, but I would rather see an artist concentrate on doing one great album instead of playing decent on three separate projects. Perhaps I am being skeptical, but I am taking into consideration the lack of great reunion or comeback albums in recent years as well and the number of artists who seem to talk more about their tour plans than about their new album.

What do you think?

What's coming up?

Originally I thought that I would have my Probot review posted today. However, I wanted to listen to it one more time before reviewing it and that just didn't happen because I got a new batch of CD's I wanted to hear instead and there was a lot going on today. I will try to have the Probot review out Sunday and I won't be posting on the holiday Monday. So here is what else I hope to have out in the coming week.

David Lee Roth-Eat 'em and smile 20 year album review
Gamma Ray-Majestic review

-On Tuesday I will have something about Iron Maiden in honor of the release of their new album. Probably not a review, but something about them.
-Perhaps something about the years you liked best in metal.

I really don't know what else I will write about, but there will be something else. Also the following week will be "Rock movies week" so I need to start watching some movies again to prepare for that.

****Here is a question for you. Pretend that you can play any music that you want to. What style would it be and why?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Do you care?

Using a number system from 1-10 with "1" being I could care less to "10" being I am very excited, rate these upcoming releases as to how excited you are about them.

*If you have already heard the new Maiden then just rate it going by how you felt before you heard it.

Iron Maiden-A Matter 0f life and death
Mastodon- Blood Mountain
Black Label Society-Shot to hell
Megadeth- United Abominations
Metallica-(the album that will probably be out next year)
Guns and Roses-Chinese Democracy (pretend it is due to come out)

Pick any upcoming album that you would rate at least an "8" and tell us what it is.