Saturday, June 30, 2007

What's coming up?

Lately I have been watching a lot of Andy Griffith show episodes. I have been listening to a lot 80's metal of course. I am also working ahead and listening to candidates for the next few months worth of "Lesser of two evils".
This week I hope to have out:
-20 year album review of Def Leppard's Hysteria
-Wyzard-Knights of metal review
-Judge the album cover
-Heavy metal jukebox (a tribute to the anniversary of a great metal album)
-an announcement about an upcoming project that I will be doing with another music blog

*** Question for you, lets say you can get any one rock t-shirt you have seen in the last year for free. What would it be?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Bad lyric day

This is a new monthly feature I am going to try. The last weekday of the month I will search and find some bad lyrics, likely just part of a hard rock or metal song and post it. I will also write something brief about it.

They may not be the Kings in Satan's Service, but KISS are likely one of the kings of bad hard rock lyrics. Here are some lyrics from "Saint And Sinner" from the Creatures of the night album.

I'm getting off this carousel, you can do as you please, you can go to hell
You put my back against the wall
Well I'm not gonna fall on my knees, no not at all

Chorus:So you're a saint, I'm a sinner, but deuces are wild
Better wake up, it's break up, I ain't got the time
So (baby) you can kiss my heart bye bye
Next to you I feel I'm all alone, love's turned to stone, ooh yeah
Cross my heart and hope to cry, well I'm not gonna die
Without you it's aces high

Although a good song off a great album, it sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person. I mean really "Cross my heart and hope to cry"? They must have spent hours coming up with that gem. Now it's betteer when they are singing it because it's fairly fast and you can't easily catch it all. Yet when you read it you get the sense that it's a bit of a jumble of cliches all kind of tossed into the pot. That's my take on it anyway.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Heavy Metal nicknames

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Many musicians select stage names like Nikki Sixx. I guess he thought it sounded more like a rock star name and that's part of the business I guess. Then there are people that want nicknames thrown in the middle so you get something like Mark "the animal" Mendoza. Okay, that one was a bit generic, but okay I guess. However former Motorhead drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor has quite a spectaular nickname. I just wanted to mention a few nicknames and see what people liked or didn't like. I think one definite rule should be that if you pick something descriptive to your skill then you better live up to it. Case in point is Eddie "fingers" Ojeda from Twisted Sister. Okay, he's a guitarist, but by choosing "fingers" he sets himself up pretty high and even though I like that band he just did not live up to that nickname. Another rule is if you should be clever, funny or somehow amusing in choosing a nickname or else don't bother. That brings me to Ratt drummer Bobby "the Blotz" Blotzer. Seriously, that nickname was so lame that it was a waste of ink to have it printed on anything mentioning his name. Dokken drummer "Wild" Mick Brown has a sort of generic nickname, but I thought it fit when I assumed he got it for his drug use and being with women. However he later told a story that he got it because he made up silly lyrics so a roadie or something gave him the name to be like "Weird" Al. After hearing that story I didn't like the nickname as much. Then you have Pretty boy Floyd who were so into nicknames that three of the four members on their debut had them. There was singer Steven "Sex'" Summers, guitarist Kristy "Krash" Majors and drummer Kari "the mouth" Kane.

***So what do you think of band members using nicknames?
What are some you like?
What nickname would you give yourself if you were in a band?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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It's time again to play the Heavy Metal Jukebox. I give you three song choices and you select the one you like the most. This time it's three title tracks and they are:

Dokken-Tooth and nail
Motorhead-Iron Fist
Ted Nugent-Cat scratch fever

***So which one do you choose?

Big Cock-s/t, 2006

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This is the second album from a hard rock act that includes a couple of veterans. Guitarist David Henzerling (AKA: David Michael Phillips) has played with King Kobra, Lizzy Borden, Keel, Alex Masi and others. Behind the microphone is Robert Mason who has sang with Lynch Mob, Cry of love and others. Rounding out the band is Henzerling's long time friend John Covington on drums and a bass player named Colby. With song titles like "Second coming", "Ride on me" and "Every inch of my love" you can tell that subtlety is not what they are aiming for. A read a few reviews that refer to their music as a self-parody, but I have problems buying into that idea. If you are going to parody the music then it kind of needs to go all out and have some humor. It probably also needs to have some music that draws you in. To me this is just a very routine hard rock entry that for the most part, I have heard many times before. There are a few tracks that standout a little, but largely it's buy the numbers stuff that could have come out between 1987 and 1990. Robert Mason sounds strong at times, but just mediocre at other times. The music is just alright, but nothing spectacular. I really wanted to like this because I enjoyed the two veterans in some of their previous bands and that's why I bought it. I think both Henzerling and Mason spent years being hired guns having to play and sing what others told them to. So you would think when you finally get your chance to do what you want that you would go all out and run with it. Yet they choose to do a rather bland effort that doesn't really distinguish them from other bands. Now this might be slightly better than their debut "Year of the cock" just due to better production values. So if you want to hear Henzerling play then I would recommend King Kobra's "Ready to strike" and if you want to hear Mason sing then check out Lynch Mob's second release rather than wasting your money on this album.

***Allyson over at Bring back glam interviewed David Henzerling the other day so go check out the interview.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Judge the album cover

This week it's the cover of Twisted Sister's Love is for suckers from 1987. This one makes me think of Summer so that's why I picked it.
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**So do you like it, don't or is it just alright?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Captain Beyond-s/t, 1972

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These guys were a bit of a supergroup as each member had been in a known group. Its members were original Deep Purple singer Rod Evans, former Iron Butterfly members guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman plus former Johnny Winter drummer Bobby Caldwell .The sound here is early metal with touches of progressive rock. They mix it up with some different approaches and a generally loose song structure. The guitar alternates between a fairly clean sound and some light distortion. I also love how some songs just come on with guitar parts flying all over the place. The drums are very solid and at times the drummer takes an odd approach to the placement of his parts yet it works. I guess the fact that the drummer was one of the prime writers here gave him the chance to experiment a little. Rod Evans sounds better here to me than he did with Deep Purple. More energized might describe his vocals on this album. There are a few choruses here that sound a bit dated, but that's minor. The best thing about this album to me is that it does rock and there's no beating around the bush. It's complex enough to be interesting, but not so much that it takes away from the edge of the music. These guys are sometimes listed as an influence on modern stoner rock and I can see that. This album has sounded better to me each time I listen to it. I discover more about it each time and I get better feel for what they were trying to accomplish. Not one of the more known bands of their day, but their album shines more now than albums by a number of their peers. Worth checking out for sure.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What's coming up?

I won't posting on Sunday, but will be back Monday. Here is what I hope to have out this week.

-Captain Beyond-s/t review
-Big Cock-s/t review
-Judge the album cover
-Heavy metal jukebox
-Heavy metal nicknames (I think I promised this topic a while back, but hopefully I can get to it this week)

***Two quick questions, what upcoming cd that's scheduled to come out in 2007 are you most looking forward to?

Any upcoming dvd's you are looking forward to?

Top five hard rock/metal reunion albums

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1-Celtic Frost-Monotheist, 2006
Tom G. and his band came back after a fifteen year absence and put out a monster of an album. It not only picked up where they left off, but it broke considerable ground as well.

2-Deep Purple-Perfect Strangers, 1984
Deep Purple's reunion album was a stylish effort that put that right back on the map. Still holds up well 20+ plus years later as well.

3-Iron Maiden-Brave new world, 2000
Bruce and Adrian return and the band is instantly back on the right track. It was sad being without this line-up of Maiden for almost a decade, but they have almost made up for it since the reformation.

4-Mercyful Fate-In the shadows, 1993
Most of the original lineup was back after being apart for almost a decade. The sound was somewhat different, but none the less very good.

5-The Cult-Beyond good and evil, 2001
The Cult roar back with a heavy effort that puts to rest the idea that reunion album sound tired and old.

***That's going to wrap up Reunion album week. In July I will have "80's EP week" as my theme week.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Deep Purple-Perfect Strangers, 1984

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The Mark 2 line-up of Deep Purple had not recorded in eleven years by this point and the band had actually been broken up for almost a decade as well. Things had changed in music as heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest had rose in popularity and LA bands like Motley Crue and Ratt were on the rise. Yet Deep Purple made it work on this album and it sure didn't sound like this band hadn't played together for a long time. "Knocking At Your Back Door" is up first and it has a killer opening and it moves forward rather smoothly. "Under The Gun" has a moody feel to it and a straightforward approach. "Nobody's Home" is one of my favorites here with Ian Gillan's natural vocals and a tremendously thick sound to the music. "Mean Streak" is a bouncy track that allows Jon Lord some space to work. Although the beat does sound a little like Alice Cooper's "Schools out'. "Perfect Strangers" is fairly slow with a big drum beat and good control of the pace. "A Gypsy's Kiss" bursts on with swirls of music from everyone and it might be the most like old Deep Purple. "Wasted Sunsets" is a bit slow and rambling and although well played, it just isn't at the level of the rest of the songs."Hungry Daze" has a unique sound to it and there are several tempo changes and it may one of the most interesting tracks. "Not Responsible" is a tight, fairly simple sounding song yet the band milks it for all it's worth. "Son of Alerik" is a bonus track that's on the CD and not the vinyl. It's over ten minutes and has a whole lot of playing from Blackmore so it's certainly worth hearing. Overall this is a great album and I think it's best fourth best of their long career. I think it works as a reunion album because it manages to blend Purple's classic sound with what was going on in hard rock in 1984. They used the organ, Blackmore's flowing style and such but they also knew it was the 80's so they became a little more direct and heavier when needed. The year 1984 was a great, highly competitive year for hard rock and metal yet this album put Deep Purple rightback into the thick of things. A very strong album indeed.

***Saturday I will wrap up Reunion album week with a look at the "Top five best hard rock/metal reunion albums".

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Two Years

Somehow I have managed to keep this blog going for two years as of today. Thank you for reading and writing comments because your input makes it easier for me to continue doing this. Like last year I am going to give you the option of...

A) either asking me a question
B)make a suggestion on how I could make this blog better

***On Friday Reunion Album week will continue with a review of Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Judas Priest-Angel of retribution, 2005

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So Rob Halford parted ways with Judas Priest after the Painkiller tour in the early 90's and went on to do Fight and later Halford. Judas Priest seemed to cease to exist for a few years before hiring Tim "Ripper" Owens and returning with Jugulator in 1997. Then they released Demolition in 2001 also with Owens. By that point I think rumors were flying of the inevitable reunion with Halford. Finally Halford returned and they released this album in 2005. I am not very big on either Ripper Owens album and it's not because of the vocals as much as it is the poor songwriting. However Rob Halford had been done fairly well with Fight and Halford and I figured this might be a good a reunion album. I am not going to bother doing a song by song breakdown on this one. I can tell you that only a few tracks here are worth much and none of them are better than fair to decent. My initial reaction was that this album seems very forced, like the band is trying so hard to be their old selves, but it comes across as being rather hallow at times. It's almost like they are trying to force a sound that combines Painkiller, Defenders of the faith and Sad wings of destiny. I gave it a few listens and just couldn't get past that initial thought. I am a big Priest fan and was hoping for this to be good. Even Halford who has been so automatic and providing in the past just seemed to be going through the motions here. The last track "Loch Ness" was almost unlistenable as it just felt like they didn't have a clue. They have to try harder if they want to do a good album. This just sounds like they threw something out there so they could have an excuse to tour and print up new t-shirts to sell. I would like to think they have another good album left in them.However, at this point I don't know much to look forward to their next album. They shouldn't be so concerned about doing a concept and they should just concentrate on making a good metal album because at this point it's been 17 years since Judas Priest have done a good album.

**I will have a non-theme related post up tomorrow and then back to Reunion album week on Friday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Judge the album cover

These are both reunion albums so first up is Agent Steel's Omega Conspiracy from 2000.

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Next is Four by Kick Axe from 2004.

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**Do you like either one or not?

Lizzy Borden-Deal with the devil, 2000

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Much like early Alice Cooper, Lizzy Borden is a singer, but also the name of the band. Lizzy Borden did two ep's, three lp's and a double live album between 1984 and 1987. There was also another studio album called "Master of disguise" released in 1989, but Lizzy (the person) says this was a solo album rather than a band effort like all of the previous albums. In the mid-1990's Lizzy (the guy) had a band called Diamond Dogs that were reportedly more 70's glam influenced, but they never got beyond he demo stage. However by the late 1990's Lizzy Borden was a band again and back in the studio. Lizzy Borden was at the mic, Joey Scott was still at the drums and then there were four guitarists and three bass players playing on this album. "There Will Be Blood Tonight" roars on and it sounds like a cross between something from their 1985 album "Love you to pieces" and their 1986 album "Menace to society". "Hell Is For Heroes" could be described in a similar way only it's a little more accomplished with a very tight feel. "Deal With The Devil" is a bit more mid-tempo and basic yet they keep it keeps moving and it kept my attention for it's entire running time. "Zanzibar" begins with some light middle-eastern music and although good overall it feels like an idea that wasn't quite worked out all the way like they could have used more time to get it ready. "Lovin' You Is Murder" has some of the old Lizzy Borden sound, but some nice melodies and a great flow to it. "We Only Come Out At Night" dabbles with a light industrial sound and overall it's decent enough, but not overwhelming. "Generation Landslide" is a great song...when done by Alice Cooper yet it's a toughy to cover because it's very touch and feel. Although they got all the notes right here, they just couldn't capture the feel of it. It's just alright I would say. "The World Is Mine" again has a little of the early band's sound but it's more melodic in a good way and it's a good change of pace at this point. "State Of Pain" along with "Lovin you is murder" might be the most accomplished tracks on the album. Solid song writing and they play it with confidence. Next we get another cover song and it's Blue Oyster Cult's (this Ain't) The Summer Of Love. They fare better with this one as it's pretty good although I don't see the need for two cover songs. "Believe" is slow and it starts out sort of promising, but doesn't quite do enough to be that interesting. It may have been more effective had it not been the closer. So overall it's a pretty good album which makes it one of the few reunion albums that really is good. I think if I ranked the band's albums this one would beat out both ep's, the live album, Master of disguies and Visual Lies. Which would rank it as third best of the band's career so far (new album coming soon). I almost feel like this is the album that they should have done instead of Visual lies. Visual Lies attempted to be more melodic, but came across as lame mainstream hard rock. "Deal with the devil" does a decent job of blending metal, hard rock and it's memorable for the most part.

***I will have a non-theme related post Wednesday and then we will be right back to "Reunion album week" on Thursday with a review of Judas Priest's Angel of retribution.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ratt-s/t, 1999

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Actually "Collage" came out two years before this, but it was actually a collection of previously unreleased tracks and remixes. So this was Ratt's first album of all new music in nine years. There's no Robin Crosby as Warren DeMartini is the lone guitarist on this recording. Stephen Pearcy and Bobby Blotzer were back, but former Vince Neil bass player Robbie Crane took the bass slot formerly occupied by Juan Croucier. During their albums 1983 to 1990 I would say Ratt were one of the most consistent hard rock bands around. After that the first Arcade album that Stephen Pearcy did was pretty good as well. So I might have bet on this being a good reunion album. Fortunately I didn't bet money on that because I would have lost. I rescued this cd from the dollar bin a few years back. "Over the edge" comes on with a blues hard rock sound and although nothing new, it's interesting enough. Then I begin to drift because "Live for today" and "Gave up givin up" are both fairly flat and generic. "We don't belong" starts out promising, but they just don't vary enough for it to work plus it lumbers on for over six minutes. "Breakout" is a little better as the band moves ahead slightly yet it would be one of the weaker tracks had it been on any of their albums during their first run. Okay, "Tug of war" is fairly decent with finally some emotion from Pearcy and the band finally figured out how to sound fired up. "Dead reckoning" seems to tease me as it has moments where it seems like it might work, but then they lose it and falls into being dull and kind of sloppy. "Luv sick" sounds like it could have been on Detonator and why it rocks more than most of the other tracks it's also a little more repetitive than I would have liked. "It ain't easy" is probably my favorite track and it's far and away the best attempt of merging Ratt's old style with some slightly newer direction. It's light weight, but it's solid. "All the way" sound like something you would hear some bar band playing around 1986. Not awful per se, but it doesn't sound like premium material for anyone. "So good, so fine" tries to move, but it sounds very pale compared to any of Ratt's older material that's played at this tempo. Overall this is just an alright album and that's a shame considering I liked all of their albums from their first run. Much of the material here is just watered down and lacking any real distinct flavor. Considering the band line-up, I expected more.

***Reunion album week continues on Tuesday with a double dose. I will review Lizzy Borden's Deal with the devil and have up a reunion album version of Judge the album cover.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Reunion albums

I am starting theme week a day early because Father Day is tomorrow and I won't be posting then. It's going to be Reunion Album week here at my blog from this Saturday until next Saturday. Today I just want to talk briefly about why it's probably difficult for a reunion album to succeed. Now it can depend on how long a band has been apart and what the members have been up to in the mean time. I think fans tend can have high expectation from a band yet reunion albums rarely seem to live up to expectations. Why? I think largely bands are either unsure of the direction to go or the label pushes them in a certain. Too many bands try to force their old sound into a reunion album and then get a watered down or forced sound. Even worse are the bands that try sound "modern" and they end up alienating their old fans and pleasing almost no one. My best advice for bands attempting a reunion album is follow your heart instead following trends or just trying to redo your back catalog. I think the best reunion albums have been from bands that knew where they had been and kept some of that sound, but they also moved ahead as well and took some chances. So here's what coming up this week.

-Ratt-s/t, 1999 review
-Lizzy Borden-Deal with the devil review
-Deep Purple-Perfect Strangers review
-Judas Priest-Angel of retribution review
-The top five hard rock/metal reunion albums
-On June 21st I will have a non-theme related topic

***Any thoughts on why reunion albums work or don't work?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Looking for guest bloggers

I will be taking a brief vacation in late July and was wondering if anyone is interested in doing a guest post here at my blog? Just let me know if you are interested with a comment below. I did this last year both times when I went on vacation. You can write about anything hard rock or metal related.

Motley Crue-Too fast for love, 1982

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I think that I heard this and "Shout at the devil" around the same time. I probably prefer this album by a hair, but it's close. I think this album is more influenced by 1970's glam than any of their other albums. It has more of a groove to it and honestly I find it to fairly varied as far as the kind of songs that are contained on this album. "Live Wire" comes on strong and doesn't let up and Vince's vocals were a different style for the time. "Come on and Dance" is next and this seems to be a song that I have always liked more than most people. It's more upbeat and lively, but I love the drum sound here. "Public Enemy #1" is another highlight for Vince and he makes the most of it. "Merry-go-round" works with it's odd tempo and slightly downbeat feel. "Take Me to the Top" may not be as original in it's sound as other songs here, but it has a lot of energy behind it. The guitar tone and the pace for "Piece of Your Action" help to set it apart. "Starry Eyes" is probably my favorite track here and I like just everything about it. "Too Fast for Love" is a fun song with a great chorus and cool main riff. "On With the Show" is probably the best choice for a closer as the band really has a good handle on building up and maintaining the momentum of the song. I think this album came at a good time for the band and for the scene. Hard rock and metal were gaining popularity, but I think a band like this who were kind of fun and hard driving appealed to a lot of fans. The album sounds a bit under produced for the most part, but that works just fine because it gives it a more unique sound. Even though Mick Mars was never the most accomplished guitarist in the world, he still came up with some interesting guitar tones here. Tommy Lee is just amazing and Nikki Sixx does enough to keep up. It has also aged very well unlike something like "Theater of pain" which came out three years later. This is also the only Crue album where I don't skip past any songs because all of them are good. Even "Shout at the devil" although most of it is great, I can't often listen to all of "Danger". Motley Crue were still young, hungry and had some fairly inventive ideas here and it shows. Certainly one of the best hard rock albums of it's decade.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


It's time again for Over/Under. I name two bands and for each band you tell what think is the most overrated song by that band and then the most underrated. So this time it's:

Led Zeppelin

Def Leppard

***So what do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Judge the album cover

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This is the cover of Icon's 1985 album "Night of the crime". It has a shattered glass effect. So do you like it, don't like it or think that it's just okay?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grand Stinker

This is going to be a follow-up segment to "Lesser of two evils". I have done four "Lesser of two evils and plan on doing six more this year. Then in December I will take the albums by the ten losing bands and rate them. I will use a rating system with five categories and a scale of one to ten. Then I will do a post where I will show the scores of the ten ten losing bands and the one with the lowest score will get the title of "Grand Stinker'.

Sleep-Sleep's Holy Mountain, 1993

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Metal's popularity had fallen by 1993, but there was still a healthy underground in some places. Doom metal as we now know it probably started in the mid 1980's with band's like Saint Vitus, Trouble and Candlemass picking up where early Sabbath had left off. In the early 1990's even a few more bands who had grown up listening to Black Sabbath were starting to lay down some slow, heavy sludge. One of those bands was Sleep from San Francisco who were trimmed down to a trio by this their second full length album. The line-up was Al Cisneros on bass/vocals, Matt Pike on guitar and Chris Hakius on drums. This album is a bit more metal than their 1991 debut and although fairly basic at times, it would be a huge influence on the stoner and doom genres later in the decade and into this decade. Although much of the music is founded in Sabbath style from say 1970-75, there are still enough original ideas to lead one to believe that this band was building on metal's past. The vocals are at times both chaotic and fired up, but it works. The vocals and the sometimes lack of traditional metal song structure is probably what makes Sleep such an influence on stoner rock. Yet the thick guitar riffs and the pounding drums are very much doom metal. I think the biggest strength with this album might be that the band doesn't try too hard to push what they are. I think they are experimenting with their sound to some extent here. They were pushing the limits and seeing what would work so we get an album that starts with a basic slow heaviness on most songs, but they build up each track. They are also very good and doing a great deal, but still remaining somewhat subtle in their approach. Unlike a band like Cathedral who always seemed to me like they were trying too hard to be in your face. I think that Sleep's eventual peak would be the epic "Dopesmoker" in 1997, but this album was setting up the foundation for what was to come. My favorite tracks here include "Dragonaut", "Aquarian", "Holy Mountain" and "Rain's baptism". A must for fans of sludge and doom.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lesser of two evils

Welcome to Lesser of two evils, this is where I take two bands I am not too fond of and match up the albums to try and pick a winner. This time it's two albums from 1988. We have...
Kingdome Come-s/t,

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Zodiac Mindwarp and the love reaction-Tatooed beat messiah

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I listened to these two several times for this contest. Not because they were any good, but because both were so dull that I kept losing my focus and drifting away from the music. Yet I think I was able to eventually focus and figure out a winner. Here is the breakdown.

So we have Lenny Wolf from Kingdom Come going up against Zodiac Mindwarp himself. Lenny Wolf sounds like an uninspired Robert Plant. Only thing is I never heard Robert plant sound uninspired on anything. Wolf displays very little charm or emotion. Zodiac Mindwarp's voclas sound like a decent copy of 80's Alice Cooper.
-Point to Zodiac Mindwarp.

Danny Stag and Rick Steier are the guitarist for Kingdom Come and Cobalt Stargazer is the player for Zodiac Mindwarp. The KC guys are a little stale and reserved, but they can play some and they get some sparks going a little. You just have to listen for them which was tough at times. Cobalt Stargazer's playing is so basic and his rhythm's are better than his solos for whatever that's worth. He just does very little beyond what you would expect any bar band guitarists in any town could do.
-Point to Kingdom Come

Rhythm section
We have bassist Johnny B. Frank and drummer James Kottak for Kingdome Come against Kid Chaos on bass and Kid Thunderhide on drums. I don't much hear the bass on Zodiac Mindwarp and the drummer is about as blah as a drummer could be. Johnny B. Frank seems to be doing his job alright and James Kottak is fairly solid.
Point to Kingdome Come.

Kingdom Come are typically most known for being compared to Led Zeppelin. Zodiac Mindwarp's best song here is easily "Prime Mover" and the main riff is really a slight variation on Priest's "Living after midnight". So not much originality from either one. The production on Kingdom Come is far too slick, there is no edge to it at all. It almost reminds me of movie soundtrack instrumentals or something. The production on Zodiac Mindwarp is good enough.
Point to Zodiac Mindwarp

Who rocks more
As above, Kingdom Come are too slick in their sound. They can play enough, but they rarely come out of their carefully planned route. Just everything is far too safe. Zodiac Mindwarp are a mediocre garage band at best, but they have a few moments and some life to them.

Point to Zodiac Mindwarp

Okay, so by a 3-2 count Zodiac Mindwarp wins this one. This was the fourth Lesser of two evils I have done and in the previous three I found each of the winners to be better than I originally thought and even Steelheart (who lost) were slightly better. Yet I can honestly say these two bands I judged today were both worse than I remember them. Kingdom Come's album is so processed that it has very little life to it at all. Zodiac Mindwarp have an image that seem like they might be fun in a mindless sort of way yet they are far too boring to be fun. These were tough albums to make it through. I need to go listen to some Iron Maiden or Motorhead to rinse my ears of this crud I had to subject them to.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

CD packaging

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If you bought cd's back between the mid 1980's and the very early 1990's then you probably remember those carboard longboxes that the cases used to come in. They were a waste of packaging and probably a pain for record stores to display. I guess the original idea was that CD cases were too small and they needed the long box to better display the cover. Then they did away with those longboxes around the time vinyl was really being pushed out (or so we thought at the time). So then it was plastic CD cases until someone invented the cardboard digipack thingy. Okay, it won't crack like a plastic case, but much like vinyl covers it can get rubbed, scraped and worn because it's a paper product. The CD booklet used to be maybe a bit more standard as early on not many had a lot of pictures or details, but for the most part they have gotten better. I for one look at the booklet quite a bit depending on what's in it. Oftentimes I look at them more than once. I like the booklet to look at, I like credits, photos and artwork. The plastic CD cases can take up some room, but I like them. However, now with downloading music growing in popularity we could be looking at the ultimate end of CD's as we know them. Jeff over at wrote two posts on this topic and you should really check them out. I guess I fear change in CD's because I have become comfortable with them and have quite a few of them. Here are some CD questions for you.

-Do you prefer plastic cases of digipacks?
-Do you replace your plastic cases when they crack?
-Does the thought of CD's as we know them coming to an end bother you?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What's coming up?

It was a busy week at work and the kids have been more active than ever. I was thrilled to get the entire TV series of Buck Rogers on DVD for $20 because it had been like three times that for a while. I am also excited that season one of Welcome back, Kotter is coming out on DVD this week. Although I may be the only one who likes those shows. Anyway I hope to have out the following this week.

-Judge the album cover
-Lesser of two evils: Kingdom Come vs. Zodiac Mindwarp (and boy was it hard to make it through these two Cd's)
-Motley Crue-Too fast for love review
-Sleep-Sleep's Holy mountain review
-Something about CD packaging

Have a great week!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sea Hags-s/t, 1989

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San Francisco's Sea Hags only recorded one album, but have a little bit of a cult following. I used to have this on cassette, but it got eaten by a hungry and cheap tape deck. I was slightly excited when I heard that it was getting re-released on CD this year. However then I found out it was going to be on an import label and sure enough it's going for over $20 so I won't be buying it. However I did get to hear it again recently. This band tends to be known more for their connections and drug problems than for the music that's here. Kirk Hammett produced their demo and G-n-R producer Mike Clink produced this album. Reportedly their drug addictions caused a delay for this album and the tour. Bass player Chris Schlosshardt died of a heroin overdose in 1991 ending the band. The music here is normally labeled as sleaze glam and that's probably right. It's basic hard rock not completely removed from early Faster Pussycat with maybe touches of blues rock tossed in. There are a few parts where they sound like AC/DC and even some bits that remind me of 80's ZZ top. I love the vocals here as they are gritty and nothing is held back. The music although straight forward sometimes lacks enough punch and twists to really make it interesting. They normally start well, but were not able to sustain the energy for every song. It also seemed like the stronger tracks were towards the beginning of the album. They certainly were not an "A" list glam band like Skid Row or Faster Pussycat. It comes across as being good with some definite potential. Potential that unfortunately never got a chance to grow or at least as a group. There are some sparks here, but I wouldn't recommend spending $20+ bucks on the CD unless you have already heard it and know you love it. I love the band name though.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fill in the blanks

Here are a few questions for you.

1-One of the worst hard rock or metal albums I have ever heard was_____________________.
2-One of the most underrated hard rock/metal musicians of all time is_____________________.
3-One of the most underrated hard rock/metal vocalists of all time is_____________________.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Judge the album cover

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I have not purchased the new Ozzy and probably won't. However I did find it strange that the U.S. version only had a logo on the cover while the import had Ozzy on it. Ozzy has appeared on almost all of his album covers. Today's offering is one of the more elaborate cover. It's Bark at the moon from 1983.

**So what do you think of it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Celtic Frost-Into the pandemonium, 1987

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By this point Switzerland's Celtic Frost had already released two lp's and two ep's between 1984 and 1986. Their popularity had risen during that time and this was a fairly highly anticipated release as far as underground metal goes. They had taken off the ghoul make-up and there were some definite musical changes.
Initial Reaction-
I was big into this band when this time came out. When I first heard it I thought that parts of it were odd. It probably took me almost six months to really get it, but I did.
1. Mexican Radio-This is cover of a song that was originally done by Wall of voodoo. What a cover it is, it remains faithful enough to the original yet it adds the unmistakable Celtic Frost sound as well.
2. Mesmerized-This track has the old Frost heaviness, yet it's thicker and slower. There is way more of a doom feel to it and it just pounds away. The vocals are way different though as they are meant to sound kind of eerie and distant.

3. Inner Sanctum-More heavy pounding not totally removed from some material from their debut "Morbid Tales". Although it's a little different because the guitar has the sound like it's pulling back while plunging forward. That may not make any sense, but that's how it sounds to me. It's like a sort fast riff that has a thick, sludge feel mixed in with it.
4. Tristesses De La Lune- This song has an orchestral arrangement with female vocals. Very different to be on a metal album. It will make more sense later on in the album.
5. Babylon Fell (Jade Serpent)-The first of a two parter and it's somewhat similar to some material from their 1986 album "To Mega Therion". It has a huge monster riff that plows along.
6. Caress Into Oblivion (Jade Serpent II)-Fairly slow, it picks up and it's heavy through and through. I love the drum sound here.
7. One In Their Pride-This is like a drum machine with sampling of a rock launch. It's real dated and very repetitive. If it had been mixed in with some heavy music maybe it could have been something.
8. I Won't Dance (The Elders' Orient)-This is like hook oriented doom metal with female backing vocals and an eerie wall of drifting music. I don't remember anything like this before 1987. Immensely thick sound that's spoton with some sharp drumming from Reed St. Mark. Also love that hum on the guitar right before the chorus. Awesome song.
9. Sorrows Of The Moon-This song rips on and then slows down and has some odd vocals. Then it kind of goes back and forth and they actually do a lot here even though it's barely over three minutes long. The real kicker about this song is that it's really the same song as number four only done as a metal song instead of with an orchestra.
10. Rex Irae (Requiem)-This is a bit different as it has an orchestral arrangement mixed in with heavy guitars and drums. There are three voices here as one is female, one is a character who is supposed to be dying and then you have some grunts from Tom G. Warrior. It's a bit chaotic and you really have to try to stick with it.
11. Oriental Masquerade-This is a short orchestral piece with drums and guitar mixed in. Some people think it's a second part of the story from track ten.

Verdict-It's not every one's cup of tea and it wasn't twenty years ago as some reviewers loved it and some thought the band had lost their minds. Prior to this album Celtic Frost were normally lumped in with speed metal bands like Slayer, Exodus, Destruction and the like. Yet almost half of this album may not appeal to people who just liked straight-up metal. I can't pretend that every track works or that this is a perfect albums. I think the band had done as much as they could with their old sound once they finished "To Mega Therion" so they needed to progress. I think this was a start as some songs are very much like their earlier material, some are similar but show a greater doom influence and other tracks are way different from anything any metal bands were doing. I think it's very good, but it's certainly not for everyone. I think Celtic Frost had more influences that just metal and they themselves influenced different genres of metal. This probably isn't the CD you will be cranking in your car when you get out of work on a Friday. It's one that requires more attention and maybe more time. I think if they had followed the natural progression then the next album would have been incredible. Instead they choose to go a direction that almost killed their career. Fortunately their 2006 comeback "Monotheist" is in someways the album I think a natural follow-up to this album should have been.

***The 20 year old album review for July will be Def Leppard's Hysteria.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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The year was 1992 and metal was struggling due to the rise of grunge. Bill Clinton was voted into office, the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series and Tim Burton's Batman Returns stunk up theaters across the country. Your choices this time are all songs from the year 1992 so here they are.

Dream Theater-Pull me under

***So which one do you choose?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ten things I think about hard rock/metal in 1987

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1-Despite having numerous songs severely overplayed on the radio, Whitesnake's self-titled album has still held up pretty well.

2-It's a shame Possessed broke up because I think they were just coming into their own with the "Eyes of horror" ep.

3-I still don't understand why Anthrax thought it was a good idea to record "I'm the man".

4-The "Eternal Idol" was a pretty solid album, but I still have problems accepting it as real Sabbath.

5-The $5.98 ep still cost more than it was worth.

6-The Ozzy/Randy Rhoads Tribute album was easily better than the two Jake E. Lee studio albums.

7-I think Celtic Frost were really onto something with "Into the pandemonium".

8-Armored Saint put out another killer album in "Raising Fear" but went largely unnoticed.

9-This was the year I realized that Motley Crue were never going to get back to the level of "Too fast for love"and "Shout at the devil".

10-Guns and Roses' "Appetite for destruction" livened up the metal scene and probably extended the life of metal by a couple of years.

***What do you think about hard rock/metal in 1987?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What's coming up?

Summer is a busy time at my job, but I am still trying to keep up the almost daily pace of posting here at my blog. This week I hope to have out...

-Celtic Frost-Into the pandemonium 20 year album review
-Sea Hags review
-Heavy Metal Jukebox
-Judge the album cover
-Ten things I think about hard rock/metal in 1987

I have been enjoying the warm weather lately as I have gotten to do some gardening and lots of walks with my kids. Although we kind of need some rain now. Anyway I have been listening to a lot of music yet I have a copy of the new Shadows Fall CD checked out yet I just can't bring myself to listen to. I guess I wasn't too impressed with their last album. Hope you have a great week!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Crimson Glory-Transcendence, 1988

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I was going to do the Sea Hags today, but just didn't get time to listen it. However I did get time to listen to this one so I will do it today. This was the sophomore effort from Florida based Crimson Glory. They were most known for two things.
1-Those silly metal masks they wore.
2-Sounding a lot like Queensryche.
Indeed their self-titled 1986 debut was similar to pre-Rage for order Queensryche. Yet this album sees the band stretching out their wings a bit more and taking some chances. Also their playing and writing skills seem sharper and a little more advanced than on their debut. This album is perhaps less accessible than Queensryche, but more involved. I also hear some King Diamond and early Rising Force in their music as well. Midnight's vocals are fairly high at times which may not be for everyone, but he sings with emotion so that helps. Though the playing is involved, it is for the sake of the whole song. I don't feel that it is overdone in any way. I think they have a good sense of when to change things up and they manage to not be too predictable. This helps keep things interesting for the most part. As far 1980's progressive metal goes these guys tend to be a side note next to bands like Queensryche and Fates Warning and that not be fair because this is a strong album. My only big complaint is the ultra slick production. I think some traditional fans hear the term "progressive metal" and cringe because they think that means lofty playing and not enough "heavy" metal. Sometimes that's true and I would like to have heard a slightly heavier edge to this album. Still all in all a good album that's held up reasonably well.