Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ministry-The last sucker

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13th Planet/Megaforce

My interest in the Ministry has always been somewhat minimal. A lot of people liked them, but I normally got more into bands like Prong and Helmet who were less mechanical in their sound. I have heard some of the Ministry's songs over the years and even liked a few. Yet they never made enough of an impression on me to go and purchase one of their albums. The tagline accompanying this release as being “the final Ministry album” didn’t exactly reel me in either. It had me thinking of the kind of massive hype that normally surrounds the finale of long running sitcoms when they finally go of the air. Still when I had the chance to check this out I decided to give it a shot and I am glad that I did. When this band has hit, it’s always been because of a crunching straight ahead sound that at it’s best hits like a jackhammer. Fortunately this album is full of that type of approach as it easily kept my attention. By and large the music is fairly killer with just enough massive grinding music mixed with jarring sounds and noises to keep it interesting. It may slip into being slightly repetitive at times and that has always been one of major gripes about this band.That does take place on this album, but for the most part it moves along rather smoothly. The samples and sounds between tracks are a little distracting, but again that also minor because it’s normally brief. Al Jourgensen has managed to put together a fine swan song for his long time project. That is if indeed he does not resurrect the band at some point in the future.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Danzig-The lost tracks of Danzig

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Danzig (the person) went through a transition when he started Danzig (the band) in the late 1980’s. Much of the mystery that had previously surrounded him when he was fronting the Misfits and Samhain seemed to disappear as he emerged into the limelight. He seemed to do a lot more posing and taking himself seriously and unfortunately the music seemed to suffer as well. This band has been around for about twenty years and this is a two-disc collection of rarities and outtakes. I wasn’t aware he had this many leftover songs, but perhaps many of them were left off because they didn’t have “dark” or “black” in the song title. The set comes with a booklet that has plenty of pictures for what that’s worth, but more importantly is has background on each track and why it wasn’t used. I always find that type of information interesting because I am always wondering why certain songs were left off of albums. The music is what matters and largely it seems like these songs are very much typical Danzig songs. I don’t think they were left off because they were inferior, but rather because they didn’t fit in with the bulk of whatever album they were intended for. However, I have never been that big on this band. The music this band churned out always seemed to be thinly disguised, second-rate AC/DC riffs and largely the success of the song is primarily dependent on Glenn’s vocals. That wasn’t always the case in his two previous bands although his voice had always been a huge part of every group he has been in. There were some tracks here that were decent enough because Glenn kept his vocals strong and managed to maintain the momentum throughout the entire song. However there were other tracks that were so painfully dull that I had to shake off oncoming drowsiness long enough to find the remote and move to the next song selection. My biggest problem with this band might actually be that Glenn finally had the control and support to get decent musicians yet the music here was always lukewarm at best. Even when he got a good musician in the band like punk legend Chuck Biscuits or Prong leader Tommy Victor it just seemed like their energy was sapped and they became zombies churning out cheesy crud. Back to the CD’s at hand, if you like Danzig then you will likely love this because it’s the same old thing and a whole lot of it fitted into decent packaging. It wasn’t as bad as I feared, but it did indeed take me several sittings to get through this much Danzig.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ron Keel interview

I recently interviewed vocalist Ron Keel and asked him about Keel, Steeler and what he is currently up to.
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MM-What prompted you to pick up and move from Tennessee to LA?

RK: In 1981, my band Steeler was the only hard rock band in Nashville. I hadn’t been to LA, but had a gut feeling that it was where we needed to be - so like a lot of other young rock n roll dreamers at the time, we migrated there in search of the promised land, and damned if we didn’t find it – Hollywood in the early 80’s was like no other place on earth or time in history. The women were hot, the music was hotter, the party never stopped – at least until the 90’s came along.

MM-What were some of the highs and lows of being in Steeler?

RK: There were so many highs – heading west with the original band to follow our dream, all the hard work and fun realizing that dream, holding my first album in my hand, being a part of that legendary time in history in LA in the early 80’s.. There were countless wonderful experiences in that three year period for me, and the only real low point was when I realized it wasn’t going to work and had to move on. Luckily, my next band KEEL hit the ground running and I was fortunate to accomplish a lot of the goals I’d worked so hard to achieve.

MM-Could you have worked for a long time with Yngwie if he had stayed in the band?

RK: I think if we’d have some strong guidance – perhaps in the capacity of a high-powered manager and a big-time producer – we could have. At the time, we were both young, immature, stubborn, and myopic in terms of having our own separate visions and not being smart enough or creative enough to combine our talents. I wanted a classic leather and studs American Metal band, and he wanted to pursue his classical influences, and unfortunately we didn’t work together long enough to figure out how to meet in the middle.

MM-I have heard varying stories about you and Black Sabbath. I understand you had an audition with them around 1984. How did that go and did you get the job or not?

RK: This is a pretty well documented story – I suggest fans visit
to clarify details of my short tenure with Black Sabbath in 1984.

MM-How did Keel land a major label deal so quickly?

RK: I put the band together in March ’84, did our first gig in April, and it just exploded. That first show had 1700 Keelaholics and we never looked back from there, building a buzz and a reputation that couldn’t be denied. By summertime, we were working on our first album “Lay Down The Law” in northern California when our management called us back to LA for a round of showcases; Burt Stein from Gold Mountain/A&M Records liked what he saw and pretty much signed us on the spot. We went ahead with finishing “Lay Down The Law”, and almost immediately after that we were in the studio with Gene Simmons recording “The Right To Rock”, which came out in January 1985. So within 10 months of forming, we had two albums out and were on the charts and on tour.

MM-What was it like working with Gene Simmons when he was producing albums for you?

RK: When we got the record deal, they gave me a list of potential producers – some of the hottest names in rock at the time – but the only one that caught my eye was Gene’s. I thought it would be awesome to work with him, and it was – he really took us under his wing, worked extremely hard for us in and out of the studio, taught me a lot. By working with him, KEEL became a small thread in the history of KISS and for that I’ll be forever grateful. Gene was great with songs, melodies, harmonies, and generating powerful tracks in the studio – plus he was always surrounded by beautiful women.

MM-Keel seemed to be getting more popular with the self-titled release. Why didn’t you get any bigger after that?

RK: That’s not the case. KEEL peaked with “The Final Frontier”, which was so strong and such an epic 80’s rock album that nobody really wanted that self-titled album. We were touring with Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, and fans were coming up to us with copies of “The Right To Rock” and “The Final Frontier” for us to autograph – nobody was buying the new record. I believe part of the problem was the choice of the debut single, “Somebody’s Waiting”, and also the fact that there was never a second single to help lift that release to the next plateau. The bottom line is, MCA Records – whom we were signed to at the time – made a lot of the wrong moves. Maybe I made some wrong moves myself. But I know that was a great album, and the band was tearing it up on stage opening for bands like Bon Jovi and Crue, and that album did not get a fair shake.

MM-You had a band called Fair Game that was you and four female musicians. I remember the band getting some mentions in the metal magazines. Why do you think you didn’t get signed back then?

RK: Between 1990 and 1992, when I was trying to cultivate the Fair Game project, rock music was undergoing a transition – and most 80’s artists like myself either couldn’t see it, or we were in denial. You gotta realize, while 80’s metal was ruling the world, we all though it would last forever – nobody dreamed that it would burn itself out and be replaced by grunge. Fair Game was a great band – some of the best vocals and songs of my career, with a killer band of hot female musicians behind me. I thought it was an awesome concept, but the fact that female acts are generally considered unstable and the fact that we were playing melodic hard rock with great hooks and and great musicianship led to our demise.

MM-What prompted you to call yourself Ronnie Lee Keel and start doing country music in the 1990’s?

RK: The end of the era hit most of us pretty hard – you had to be Aerosmith, Van Halen, or Bon Jovi to survive. Most of the bands that are reunited and touring now were in shambles in the early 90’s after the industry, and many of the audience, turned their backs on us. I lost my record deal, my house, my stuff…underwent a traumatic period in my family life…and it was a long hard fall. Country Music gave me a soft place to land – without all the glitz and gloss, you strip everything down and what you’re left with is words and music. Country gave me the opportunity to express myself, to sing about real life, heartbreak, love, drinkin’ & cheatin’ – and those kind of songs just started pouring out of me.

My father had played country music, it had a very strong presence in my house when I was growing up. It truly has to come from the heart – you can’t just put on a hat and ‘become’ country, you gotta have it in you. And the country scene in the 90’s was very similar to the metal scene in the 80’s – there were a lot of opportunities, I did some great gigs across America and Europe, the musicians were world class, the audiences were great, the women were hot, and the songs really say something that most everybody can identify with if they give it a chance.

MM-You have a double CD out called Ron Keel-The Ultimate Collection which spans your career from Lust in 1980 up to last year. What has been the response to that album so far?

RK: I have a great loyal fan base that has been waiting as long as I have for my two latest projects – The Ultimate Collection Double CD, with 30 of my favorites and fan favorites from throughout my career – my very first rock recording, rare and unreleased material, a little bit of everything. And the companion DVD, The Ultimate Video Collection which also has a lot of rare and unreleased footage. Both of these projects have been a real labor of love for me – and while the response so far has been great, it’s way to early - the intention of these releases is to compile my life’s work into one comprehensive package, and for me, my fans, friends, and family to have something to show for all the years and all I’ve done.

MM-What are you currently doing in your music career?

RK: I am producing my own Las Vegas show, in the Events Center Showroom at Fitzgerald's Hotel & Casino – which is really a dream come true, how many people ever get to produce their very own Vegas show? It’s called “Country Superstars Tribute”, and is a live country concert event featuring a killer band and celebrity impersonators paying tribute to Brooks & Dunn, Shania Twain, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. In addition to playing the role of Ronnie Dunn from Brooks & Dunn in the show, I am involved in all aspects from promotion and marketing to accounting, I am the musical director, you name it, I have my fingers in it. I am also expanding my company, Keel Entertainment, into booking other acts and artists and I’m moving more into the business side of things while still performing at least 20 shows a month.

On the rock front, in addition to my new CD and DVD releases, I have just finished work on a couple of tribute albums for Versailles Records – I sang “Lick It Up” for their upcoming KISS tribute which was a real honor for me after having worked with Gene and my history with them. I also sang “Don’t Cry” for their new Guns N Roses tribute, which came out absolutely amazing – what a great song, we treated it as a haunting piano ballad with Robby Cantor on piano. We have the forthcoming release of KEEL’s debut album “Lay Down The Law” on CD for the first time. As far as performing rock, I recently sang at the opening of Vegas’ killer new club Rox and I’m planning some more rock and acoustic dates as my schedule will permit.

MM-Any regrets in your music career?

RK: Everyone has regrets, things they would’ve done different if they could do it again. I look back on the last 30 years as one wonderful wild ride, I’ve enjoyed it immensely and I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve worked my ass off, partied my ass off, been loved and hated, and when it’s time for me to check out I’ll leave behind some music and some memories. I don’t have time for regrets – I have a show tonight.

Thanks to Ron for doing this interview. You can check out his site here.

Check out his Myspace page here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Glasspack-Dirty Women

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Small Stone

The Glasspack hail from Louisville, Kentucky and they are churning out a rather high-energy brand of music. They attempt to combine large doses of heavy, fuzzed out riffs with a punk rock pace and attitude. Really it boils down to being a bit of a mixed bag, but leaning more towards the positive side. I love the guitar sound as hits me head on has me thinking of psychedelic late 60’s pre-metal mayhem and early 1980’s punk rock at the same time. However a huge chunk of the band’s energy seems to be in say the first minute or so of each song. After the energy level drops some as many tracks just settle into being repetitive and they seem to be waiting for the song to end. Also the vocals are terribly low and I tried playing it on different players hoping one of them would help, but it didn’t. To me this type of music needs some aggressive vocals to compliment it. Unfortunately, the vocals tend to be muddled and difficult to hear so they sort of rob the overall sound of some of the energy that it could have had. That might actually be intentional, I really don’t know. I think they control the pace and have somewhat of a handle on a slightly unique guitar sound. Still they really need put more into it and find a way to make the tracks a little more interesting if they hope to be more than moderately entertaining. Certainly above average and they have some potential so I hope they keep reaching and pushing for the next time they record.

Prong-Power of the damager

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13th Planet/Megaforce

The 1990's certainly wasn't the best decade for metal, but there were bright spots. New York based Prong were one of if not the best metal band of that decade. Between 1990 and 1996 they churned out four consecutive albums that were all either very good or great. In the 1980's they put out a couple of albums that were kind of lukewarm speed metal, but by 1990 they found themselves and started putting forth their trademark brand of tight, crunching metal. The band unfortunately broke up in 1996, but guitarist/vocalist Tommy Victor resurrected the band a few years ago. The comeback album "Scorpio Rising" was decent, but left me a little disappointed because there were merely traces of the sound that Prong had perfected in the previous decade. The band have put forth another effort in the form of "Power of the damager". The bottom line is that they have come closer to their old sound and energy than they did with the previous album. The riffs are crunching, Victor's vocals are overall sharp and the rhythm section are fairly solid. The new release sounds most like 1990's "Beg to differ" and perhaps a little like 1991's "Prove you wrong". However, although the sound is like their old style to some extent, I would say it's only around 85% as good as their prime albums. One problem is that the best songs seem to be crammed into the first half of the album. This gives the impression that they are running out of steam as some of the tracks in the second half just are not as interesting. I have no doubt in the abilities of Tommy Victor both as a player and a writer. However I think Prong were on a roll in the 1990's and unfortunately they ended too early. I think now he is trying to recreate that sound from their glory days. The problem is that you can play the riffs, growl the growls and plug-in the formula, but you can't recreate the momentum and the fire that comes from building from one album to the next. I think that's why Prong's four albums from the last decade were so spectacular while this one is merely good. Now I don't mean to downplay the new album because it's likely in my top 15 albums of the year and I am glad they tried this sound. If Prong follow this album up with say another release a year and a half from now and keep going in the same direction then they may just begin another successful run.

Bob Vinyl is reviewing this album today as well so hop over and check out what he has to say.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crimson Orchid interview

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I recently interviewed Baltinore based metal band Crimson Orchid to find out more about their music and what they are currently up to.

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MM-On your site it says that the band "formed around the idea of death". Can you tell us more about that?

Well one thing that you have to understand is that life was a great deal different back then. Perhaps not as much as you'd think but we were all different people. It was only five years ago but it seems so very much longer. That was when Jacob still lived in his first apartment. Let's just say that life was filled with drugs, alcohol, sex, scandal, violence, and illegal activities. Not to mention the rest of the band still lived at home and a couple of them still doing college and such. A million life stories were taking place there in that first year. I think that the best way to answer this question is to give you a few of those gems. Oh, shit where to start. Well, ... one night Ryan and Jacob were out about three in the morning delivering newspapers. That was one of Jacobs odd jobs at the time and he was usually able to drag Ryan along to make it quicker. They were on their usual route and were reaching the end of the night, when they came to the apt complex that always ended it. They would park the car and run inside to shoot the papers to all the floors. Before they did that that would always park in the same spot and smoke a few cigarettes or other smoke able substances. Then they’d continue.While they were running the course they saw that there was another car driving around the parking lot. He almost seemed to be following them. The two watched him close until eventually he went away. They thought maybe he was trying to get a chance to snatch Jacobs car while they weren't looking. But he just left and the two boys thought nothing more of it. A few days later Jacob and Ryan find that two men; one of whom is matching his description and driving the same color make and model car he had been, was being hunted. A body had been found in the car right next to their nightly smoking spot. Of course they thought of the strange man the other night, but even though it was coincidence it couldn't have been him cause he was alone. However they were wrong. It was he. Apparently Jacob and Ryan both had been there the night the man dropped off the body. Where was the second man, who knows? But they were there. Not long after that Jacob had moved to Baltimore. He was living in pig town. The second week he was there this fool gets gunned down right in front of Jacob and Ryan as they were going to Jacobs car. Well not to be too dramatic it was at least 40 feet way. Then one night after some serious cocaine abuse, (only Jacob) they were heading back to Baltimore and Jacob, being in the lead car, happened to be the first person on the scene of a vicious accident. He got one of the broken up men out of the first car, but all he found in the second car was a still beautiful yet all too young, dead girl. He took her pulse and prayed to god as he reached for her cold flesh but to no avail. She was gone, and there was another boy that had been thrown out of the car. The perimedicts did not want to listen to Jacob so he and Ryan left the scene. Later the authorities found the missing boy barely alive about a hundred yards away off the side of the road. There are many stories like this from the years before and during the band. Too many suicides both in and out of families. Even more car crashes, and a slew of bad fuckin circumstances. This is what it means. "Around the idea of death". Those were the ideas that seemed to beckon to us at the time. Death and problems were all around us. Not forever though.

MM-Who are your influences?

That is a difficult answer. Everything would be a good way of cheating this. Each of us is very different and have molded with our interests. We all take turn showing eachother new music. Jason loves opeth and introduced them to us years ago. Thank god... and Metallica used to be his gods. He also loves some country, flogging molly, and beatallica. Donald also used to bow to metallica. He loves Evanescence, Cellador, Dragon force, Leaves Eyes, and Seether. He gets down with the classics too, plus things like through the eyes of the dead. David is most unlike the rest of us I suppose. He is a huge fan of Dredge. I might be wrong but I think his favorite next to dredge would be Tool. He also gets into some great bands like Spiral Architect. Ryan still has a huge heart for rap and hiphop music. From Twiztid, and Technine to atmosphere, and Sage Francis. He adores Lamb of god and the likes of As I lay dying. He probably listens to the most hip hop and metal next to Jacob. Jacob listens a lot of shit too. His gods are Black Sabbath. Then he goes in all directions. His greats are King Diamond, Sentenced, Age of silence, Opeth, old Sepultura, old Fear Factory, Despised Icon, Vital Remains, the list goes on. When it comes to hip hop he'd have to say, black star, talib kwali, nas, sage francis, and so many more. We all listen to almost everything each other listens to. But, we all have our own personal flavors that we prefer.

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MM-Tell us some about the concept behind your "Nightmares and fairytales" CD?

When it comes to writing the songs, they usually come out in whatever form they seem destined to be. Rarely do we say I want this and make it happen. Typically when we set out to just sit down and write we come up with nothing. But, when we're bored and we dont' know what to play and we've played most of our songs and it's like what's next motherfucker... we just come up with something. For example we "wrote" darker shade of bruise something like three times. Jacob even has a completely different set of lyrics for it. There are times when we had goals. We had a number of type designs that we wanted and they came slow but sure. For example we wanted to do something with a tribally feel to it and that became mothers tears. We wanted to do something just fast and aggressive and that became broken cross. Now, how these songs wound up being written were usually interesting. For starters you must understand that there are little to no coincidences in our songs. From the first album to the ep that's coming, to the album we'll have in 08/09, things connect. Perhaps in a way that will never be noticed or make sense but it's there if you look hard enough.Nearly every song was written about or inspired by a real life experience. They were named fairytales if they were based on one of our personal dedications or nightmares if they were part of the "regrettable", or "predictionary" basis. As is probably true for a lot of people we or those we know tend to get in a lot of larger then life, moviesque situations. Some songs such as believe could be called "dedications" to folks we were in contact with that were among these crazy lives. Jacob knew of a woman, who had come down with horrible sickness and was in the hospital recuperating. While in there she received an even worse staff infection that rendered her body into a vegetative state. As she was in that coma, cancer that she had dealt with years ago had reawakened. They wound up taking her legs before she awoke. So, after six months of darkness she comes to, and the world as she knew it is no more. This all started with an aggressive viral infection. Not to mention that on top of all these heavy tragedies she was raising six children.Thus this is a story that people would be saying.."No Shit!!"... if you brought it up by the water cooler. So among others it became a "fairytale". On the other end of the spectrum the nightmares were written about tragic happenings or Jacobs thoughts of tragedies to come. Again, most of them were based on true-life events. For example, Broken cross of daneyeal was written about a nazi that the group had come into contact with. More then once now reviewers have referred to the lyrics as being "tough guy"... It didn't make sense at first but we guess the direct threat of violence would lend to it's being called that. This "girl" had brought her new boyfriend and some of her other friends over. A few members of the band and myself and some friends were at my old house. They all walked in with beers in hand and just stood there. We said our hellos and the conversation started with "man you should have been at the rally today it was great". Let's say that the meaning behind that rally quickly unfolded and a great and heated debate began. Jacob continued to step out of the room and regain composure with his devil bong. Then returning to continue to make this small-minded sheep look the fool to his entire posse. Soon thereafter they were given the boot, and without one fist swung. No less then two days later he received justice at the end of a boot. A series of boots actually and we all felt better for maintaing composure and simply kicking them the fuck off the property. Never the less about five minutes after they left, we wrote broken cross of daneyeal. So those tough guy lyrics that people complain about are simply the fruit of a tough fuckin moment. Song after song this is what the album is. Every song has a story and every story is true. The point of each album is simply us connecting with the world. True emotions bleeding into truly passionate music.

MM-About how many shows are you playing monthly?

We play anywhere from 1 to I think 8 was the most in a month. We average 2 to 4.

MM-What’s the biggest crowd you have played in front of?

That would be at the Recher theatre in June of last year. We blew up the stage in front of about 1000 people. Not much for a lot of big bands but a hell of a show for us.

MM -Where do you hope to be in three years?

Doing what we're doing now, but better and with more success. We hope to be touring with bands that we love, not just opening up for them time to time. We'd like to be able to play where and when we want without a problem. Then maybe, maybe, just maybe, one day we'll be able to survive simply off of our music. That would be nice.

MM-What band would you love to open for?

One answer is hard, so we’ll give you several in no particular order. Opeth, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, King Diamond, Dredge, Lamb of god, and many more.We've already opened for Emmure, From a second story window, Endwell, Anal Cunt, Mnemic, Goatwhore, My bitter end, Arsis, Overkill, the Rhandies (funny story), Abysmal Dawn, Decapitated, Krisiun, God Forbid and so on...many more to follow....

MM-Rate the Baltimore metal scene on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being incredible.

Again that is kinda hard to say so we’ll give it a 5. We have the metal, and we have the people, but we don’t' have the clubs or the backing.

MM-What do you feel makes your band unique?

....hard to say. We just try and be true to our selves and treat others, as we would want to be treated. Respect everyone and gain respect. Show love and maintain standards. We’re not sure what to say... Come out, see a show, and say hello. Judge for yourselves...

Thanks to the band for the interview providing me their logo and pictures. You can check out their My space page here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heavy metal jukebox

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Get your quarters ready because it's time for the heavy metal jukebox. I list three song and you pick the one that you like the best. I tried to think of a good theme, but I kept coming up with only two songs instead of three for each theme I came up with. So finally I decided to just pick three bands who have never been on this feature before. So here they are.

Accept-Balls to the wall
Cinderella-Gypsy Road
Def Leppard-Photograph

**Which one do you choose?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pulling Teeth interview

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I recently had the privilege of interviewing Baltimore area band Pulling Teeth to find out more about them and what they are up to.

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MM-Can you tell us a little about the history of your band?

We started PT in 2005. We were all friends beforehand, and just wanted to do something cool together. Things took on a life of their own pretty quickly and here we are today.

MM-Who are your influences?

Musically I'd say it's a four way cross between Integrity, Haymaker, Slayer and Black Sabbath. Things are starting to change up a little though, new influences are creeping in. None of us want to make the same record again, so things should progress into something interesting.

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MM-You have a number of shows lined up for the next several months including dates on the west coast. What’s the biggest crowd you have played in front of?

Yes, we'll be on tour for a month with our friends Frightener from the UK. They are an incredible band, I'm thrilled that they are going to be playing over here. As far as good shows go, both Sound And Fury and This Is Hardcore fests this past summer were incredible.

MM-Where do you hope to be in three years?

Who knows, ask me again in 2.9.

MM-What band would you love to open for?


MM-Rate the Baltimore metal scene on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being incredible.

There are a lot of great bands in both the metal and hardcore circles. Pig Destroyer, Misery Index, Triac are great heavier bands. Ruiner, Surroundings, Trapped Under Ice, Harsh Truth, Deep Sleep are all great hardcore bands. Shows can be hit and miss, but are good for the most part. It's kinda like that anywhere. DIY ethics are alive and well in this city, I think everythings fine.

MM-Any upcoming plans for recording?

We just recorded a new full length called 'Martyr Immortal' which will be out this fall on Deathwish Inc/A389.

MM-What is your band doing that sets you apart?

Umm I don't know how to answer that without sounding like a douche. We just do what we do and it works. When it stops working, it's time to do something else.

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Thanks a lot to the guys in Pulling Teeth for the interview and thanks to Nicole at Deathwish Inc. for providing me with the pictures. You can check out the band's myspace page here

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Revised schedule

Here is the revised schedule for this week.

Monday-Pulling Teeth interview
Tuseday-Heavy Metal jukebox
Wednesday-Crimson Orchid interview
Thursday-Prong-Power of the damager review
Friday-Ron Keel interview

At some point I will have to double up so I can squeeze The Glasspack-Dirty Women review in and maybe one other review if I can get to it.

Dysrhythmia/Rothko (split ep)-Fractures

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Acerbic Noise Development Inc.

This is a split album consisting of all instrumentals with Dysrythmia contributing one 14 minute long track and Rothko providing two tracks that are over 12 minutes combined. New York based Dysrythmia starts it off with "Earthquake" which a rather abstract combination of progressive metal, avant-garde and just some instrumental wizardry. The track goes from minimal sounds to complete musical mayhem with notes flying all over the place and then back and forth again. At times they remind me of a less organized Dream Theater. This song was originally done in 2000, but this is a re-working of it. Rothko's first track is "Tell your story to the winds" and it's easily the stronger of their two offerings. They have no guitarist, but instead have two bass players to go along with their drummer and keyboard player. So they rely a bit more on sounds and tones rather a traditional song structure. The song is largely made up of very singular notes and beats with lots of echoes and gaps between them. Yet they manage to do enough to make you wonder what's coming next. I think that they succeed by causing large shifts with only slight changes in the music. I won't pretend for a second that I think this is easily accomplished, but they do it several times. The second song "Torch" honestly fails to really establish any presence or real purpose. There are a few moments where it begins to work, but just doesn't ever quite do enough and my interest was fading rather quickly. Still the first two tracks did more than enough to justify this as being a worthwhile album. It's a given that this is the kind of music that where you really need to limit outside distractions in order to really hear and enjoy all that's taking place here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's coming up?

It's been slightly rough week with everyone in the house having cold. I was also saddened by the death of Pepsi Tate of Tigertailz earlier in the week as he lost his fight with cancer. I will likely be doing more current album reviews and some interviews here on my blog. This week I will be having interviews with two up and coming bands from the Baltimore area (not far from where I live). I will have an interview with Pulling Teeth on Monday and Crimson Orchid on Wednesday. I will also have these topics-

-Heavy Metal Jukebox (probably Tuesday)
-The Glasspack-Dirty Women review
-Megadeth-That one night: Live in Buenos Aires CD review

and maybe one other review and/or another topic as time allows.

Here are some questions for you.

***What's the worst album you have heard so far this year?

***If I gave you $15 to buy one CD released in 2007 what would it be?

Friday, September 21, 2007


When I was in college I had a friend who got a free CD at a local show. I don't recall the name of the band, but it sounded like third rate Alice in Chains. Anyway my friend used it as a coaster for his drink . Not that he cared about making water rings on the table, but rather he thought it was funny to do that to a CD that he thought was terrible.

**Do you have any Cd's in your collection that you think are so bad that they should be used as coasters?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amplified Heat-How do you like the sound of that

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Arclight Records

This Austin, Texas based trio are comprised of the Ortiz brothers with Jim on guitar and vocals, Chris on drums and Gian on bass. Chris and Jim have actually been playing in bands together for almost twenty years. The band member have a love of blues, boogie and some heavier influences as well. The ones that stand out the most to me are Blue Cheer, Hendrix and perhaps early ZZ top. At times the music sounds like it could have come straight from 1971 or so. In fact it wasn't until maybe the fourth track that you could begin to hear some more modern influences mixed in. At times the vocals contain a more modern flavor and it largely works, but at times might be a bit below the music. There are also bits and pieces of the music that let us know that these guys have heard some hardcore albums at some point as well. The playing and especially the rhythm section are amazingly tight for the bulk of the record. It's an album that pulled me immediately with it's huge grooves and easy feel. It's obvious that they have spent quite a bit of time in basements, garages, clubs and the like sharpening their skills. My biggest concern is that they do stick so much to a retro sound and personally I would like to see more blending of modern influences. I think they need to define themselves a little more so they don't get labeled as being just a "retro band". However they obviously have the talent to do more so they may on their way to establishing themselves.

Check out their site here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gypsy Pistoleros-Wild, Beautiful,Damned

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Evil Boy Records

Gypsy Pistoleros have called themselves "the Renegade Gypsy Flamenco Rock 'n Roll Glam Sleaze Punksters". Aside from being a mouthful, that's also an awful tall billing to live up to. I read this description before hearing the album so I had my doubts about them being able to live up that description. They don't totally fulfill that label, but that doesn't really matter. What matters is that they attack their material with a lot of confidence. Like all younger bands, they have their influences. Yet I have heard too many bands that try so hard to sound like Motley Crue or Ratt or whoever. Gypsy Pistoleros have shades of Guns and Roses, Hanoi Rocks and other bands mixed in. Still they have certainly added their own flavor as well. Their flavor is a highly charged brand of hard rock that plunges ahead and pulls you along with it. The flamenco and punk sound they mention are fairly slight. Still that's okay because what they do use works so I hope they don't try to force something into their sound just to live up to a description. My feeling about glam and hard rock in recent years was that if there was going to be a future then there needed to be bands who had the talent, energy and guts to do something a little different. I think Gypsy Pistoleros have taken the first step towards doing that and I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

Check out the band's site.

Over at Myspace

For what it's worth, I am now over at Myspace, here is the link.

Actually I set up an account a few months ago, but just now got around to doing something with it. It's a little drab so far, but I am working on it. If you have any suggestions then let me know.

Everyone in my house is still sick so I am going pretty slow right now. I will back with the Gypsy Pistoleros review on Wednesday.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hanoi Rocks-Street Poetry

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Wolfgang Records

My thinking about vocalist Michael Monroe and guitarist Andy McCoy has always been that everything they have done has seemed genuine. That doesn't mean I have liked every project either of them have been in. Yet I do believe everything they have done has been because it was what they wanted to do. As opposed to the far too many bands who do what they think the public or the media want them to do. Monroe and McCoy have always seemed like the real deal and when they get their creativity going strong as well then look out because they will be on fire. The new album "Street Poetry" is a blaze of 70's glam, hard rock, pop, funk and other styles blended together into a seamless display. I think that prior to this album that a good chunk of the material from this decade was sounding more like Michael Monroe's solo material from the late 80's. I like those albums, but not as much as prime early 1980's Hanoi Rocks. However the new album is very much an album for Hanoi Rocks fans. It's a not a re-hash though by any stretch of the imagination. I think that their sound is extremely fresh despite the fact that it's influenced by various bands from the past several decades. That's always been a plus for this band, the fact that have some truly varied influences yet they have no fear about them together. Hanoi Rocks play with a tremendous amount of fire, soul and conviction on every track on the album. Absolutely no clunkers as every song has something to offer. It's absolutely fantastic to see artists who have been at it for so long still able to bring such passion to their craft while so many of their peers are just going through the motions. An absolutely amazing album that you really need to check out.

Check out their site.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What's coming up?

It's been a busy week at my job and at home. Everyone in my family has been sick the past few days though. This week I hope to have out these topics.

-Who were they? Blind Illusion
-Hanoi Rocks-Street Poetry review
-Gypsy Pistoleros-Wild, Beautiful, Damned review

Plus two others topics to be determined.

***Here are some questions for you.

-Name one album that has been released this year that you have yet to hear, but want to hear it.

-Name one album that is still scheduled to come out in 2007 that you will definitely buy.

Friday, September 14, 2007


It's time for Over/under. It's simple, I list two bands and for each you say what you think the most overrated and most underrated song by each artist is. So this month it's...

Guns and Roses


***So what do you think?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dave Henzerling interview

I recently interviewed Big Cock guitarist Dave Henzerling (a.k.a. David Michael-Philips). He has also played with King Kobra, Lizzy Borden and Keel.

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MM-You played in bands in Arizona for a while during and after high school. What motivated you to pick up and go to LA? How did you get the job with King Kobra?

DH-In the early 80s, I played in a band called the Schoolboys with Big Cock drummer John Covington and some other high school friends, Dan Wexler, Tracy Wallach and Steve Clifford. This group later became Icon. I left Arizona to play with Ron Keel in L.A. who was starting his own band called Keel after the demise of Steeler (with Yngwie Malmsteen). As soon as I arrived, Ron told us he was auditioning to be the lead singer in Black Sabbath and we’d better start looking for other opportunities. I found King Kobra, but Ron never got the gig and soldiered on with Keel.

MM-Why do you think King Kobra failed to make it big?

DH-The band was put together as a project by Carmine Appice and never really gelled into a real unit. Our first album, although popular with some metal fans, never garnered the airplay of Ratt or Quiet Riot and around that time, popular music started to change back to groups like Foreigner and Jefferson Starship. We got lost in that shuffle and died off before the next wave of hair-metal came around again a few years later.

MM-At one point 3/5 of King Kobra left to go and form the Bullet Boys. Did you ever have the option to go with them or did you just decide to stay with Carmine Appice and try to keep King Kobra going?

DH-Actually, it was 4/5 of us (minus Carmine) who started what was to become the Bulletboys. In fact, the last version of King Kobra was already playing the songs “Hard as a Rock”, “Kissin’ Kitty” and an early version of “Smooth Up” which later showed up on their first record. Marq Torien and I never quite saw eye-to-eye and I elected not to continue on with them. King Kobra had already recorded a fair amount of material that Carmine and I eventually finished and released as King Kobra III. Some of those songs were originally recorded with Marq Torien singing and were later replaced by vocalist Johnny Edwards.

MM-You had a band called Geronimo in the late 1980’s. What was the music like with that band? Why do you think that you didn’t get signed while so many other acts were getting record deals at the time?

DH-Geronimo was one of my favorite bands. My current band Big Cock is probably the next generation of what that band started out to be – fun, energetic and irreverent. As far as getting signed, I think it was just timing. By then it was almost 1990 and there were already a million other groups of the same genre putting out records. As we all know, that era came to a quick and decisive end about a year later when Nirvana hit the airwaves.

MM-Were you trying to get any music projects started during the 1990’s or did music take a backseat for you due to the change in musical trends?

DH-I left L.A. in 1994 and moved back to Arizona with my wife. We had 4 kids and I went back and finished college, getting a degree in Engineering, which I had started before I moved to L.A. in the first place.

MM-How did the idea for Big Cock come about?

DH-Once you’re a musician, it never gets out of you. I stopped playing completely for about 6 years and then one day I got an email from Metal Sludge, asking what the hell I had been doing all these years. After finishing the interview, I realized I was still a rocker at heart and started playing again with a renewed vitality. At first I played in a few cover bands with Robert Mason, who lives here and also Troy Lukketta from Tesla. We had a bad-ass 70s band called Alive!. I had never stayed out of touch with my old friend John Covington, and didn’t have much trouble convincing Robert that the world needed a band called Big Cock. The band started out being fun first, and it still is.

We put together Big Cock to have fun and do the type of music we always loved playing, but somehow lost sight of along the way. People say, “You’ll never get signed with that name” or “Good luck getting anybody to book your gigs”, but you know what – labels weren’t going to sign us anyway, even if the name was something benign like “Knightwing”. The fact is that rock is once again and has been for a while now, music’s bastard child, the anthem for the underdogs and the downtrodden and the throw-backs. We put out the first two albums with no expectations, and received generous praise from rock fans all over the world. I get letters and emails all the time telling me that they listen to Big Cock in their cars, with the windows down, blasting out the song “Bad Motherfucker”. That’s what I continue to play music for. It’s a great feeling to know your music has been the soundtrack for someone’s summer vacation.

MM-In many of the previous bands that you have been in, it seems that you were hired for one album or your input was limited. Is that accurate? How does the amount of control and input you currently have in Big Cock differ from previous projects?

DH-Actually, I wrote most of the material for all three King Kobra albums, but being young and naïve at the time, much of the credit was wrested from me by producers, managers, record labels and fellow band mates (…probably heard this cliché story before…). The good thing is that I was too stupid to know at the time, and I had a few years of great experiences traveling the world and making music that I will never forget, although my bank account never quite grew to the level I had hoped. Looking back in hindsight, the good times far outweighed the bad, but in truth, music is a cut-throat business and you have to have both a thick skin and a killer’s instinct just to survive. With Lizzy Borden, he asked me to play on the record and join the band, but I didn’t want to join the band permanently. I was happy to contribute my playing to his vision for the “Master of Disguise” album. With Big Cock, I pretty much steer the direction thematically and creatively, but all of us are involved in the party-planning, so-to-speak.

MM-How does the upcoming third Big Cock album compare to the previous two releases? Why should people buy it?

DH-I think you’ll hear a little more of our true influences and roots in this next album. There’s a little Van Halen, AC/DC, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Montrose and a pinch of Guns ‘n Roses for good measure. We make albums that we ourselves would want to listen to, and it’s not what we’re hearing on the radio right now. But we’re also not just rehashing old shit; we’re hopefully giving a new take on a tried-and-true theme. Clearly, it will not in any way be reminiscent of Nickleback, 50 Cent or Fergie.

MM-Any regrets in your music career?

DH-None. Everything has led me to where I am today – in your face and ready to kick ass!

Thanks to Dave for doing this interview. You can check out Big Cock's site here

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lesser of two evils

It's another edition of "Lesser of two evils" where I take two albums that I am none too thrilled by and match them up. This month it's

Kik Tracee with "No rules" from 1991
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Vixen's s/t debut from 1988

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Two truly underwhelming releases ready to do battle. So let's compare and see which one is more tolerable.

Vocalists-We have Steven Shareaux for Kik Tracee going up against Janet Gardner of Vixen. Steven Shareaux just tends to go off on tangents at odd times. He's helped a bit by some decent backing vocals at times, but often he just sounds like he's not sure how to sing. Janet Gardner doesn't exactly sing with much power, but her voice is even and in tune.
Point to Vixen

Guitarists-For Kik Tracee it's lead guitarist Michael Marquis and rhythm guitarist Gregory Hex against Jan Kuehnemund and Janet Gardner of Vixen. Both pairs hit some decent solos at times, but not much else. For a genre that really needs the guitar these two bands seem to be providing very little to get excited about. I think Vixen had a couple of solos that I sort of remembered.
Point to Vixen

Rhythm section-We have bass player Rob Grad and drummer Johnny Douglas for Kik Tracee versus bassist Share Pederson and drummer Roxy Petrucci for Vixen. This kind of goes along with the production because Vixen have a smoothed out sound that is ultra-slick and that unfortunately effects the drum sound far too much. Johnny Douglas is merely average, but the sound of the drums is how it should be for a hard rock band.
Point to Kik Tracee

Production/originality-Both albums have fair enough production values, but ultimately Vixen is robbed of any kind of edge. As far as originality goes, it seems like Kik Tracee sound like they once heard G-n-R and Bang Tango and thought they could re-create that sound. However they forgot about the fact that they did not have the talent to even attempt this kind of music. Vixen seem to be having a go at being as completely dull as they possibly can.
Point to Kik Tracee

Who rocks more?-It's a case of the absolutely boring (Vixen) against the thoroughly annoying (Kik Tracee). Vixen wouldn't have had to do a lot to take this one, but they played it far too safe. Neither band could rock themselves out of paper bag, but Kik Tracee do a better job of pretending to be a rock band.
Point to Kik Tracee

I can't believe that Kik Tracee could win anything except a stupid band name competition, but they win this contest 3-2. This was more difficult for me to get through than I figured it would be. Both albums had me looking at the time hoping they would soon be over.

***Only two match-ups left on the year and then it's time to determine the grand stinker in December.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mick Sweda interview

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing former King Kobra and Bullet Boys guitarist Mick Sweda. I got to ask him some questions about his past, current and future projects.
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Here is Mick in the middle front when he was in the Bullet Boys.

MM-What inspired you to start playing the guitar and how old were when you began playing?

MS-I was inspired by seeing a new kid in town playing on his front porch. I was hooked and it was all over after that. Plus it was summer and there was no hockey.

MM-How did you get the job with King Kobra?

MS-I was initially approached by the manager who then had Carmine come to see me. I auditioned and laid some tracks down on their songs. I think we did one rehearsal after that and I was offered the gig.

MM-Why was King Kobra’s second album”Thrill of a lifetime” more of an AOR sound than the debut “Ready to strike”?

MS-Capitol Records was unimpressed with the reception of the first album, and it’s poor showing at retail. Since they’re in the business of selling records, they wanted one that would do just that. It was suggested that, if we wanted to remain with the label and wanted to write our own songs, we should take a different approach. Personally, I was in favor of more melodic, mature and thought provoking music but the entire King Kobra experience was fraught with the interference of people who had no business being in the business. And shortly thereafter, they weren’t.

MM-How did the decision to leave King Kobra and form the Bullet Boys come about?

MS-I remember having done yet another demo of insipid and tired songs and Carmine was intent on shopping it. At that point and with great effort, I finally talked some of the others into moving on. It seemed to work out.

MM-How was playing and writing in the Bullet Boys different from King Kobra?

MS-It was better for me because I was doing the majority of writing. It was far more focused and cohesive, something KK could never be. It was a bit intimidating being the only guitarist at first because I always wrote for two guitars. Ultimately, it was a great learning experience and did a lot to boost my skills and confidence.

MM-The Bullet Boys’ debut did well, but why do you think band didn’t get a whole lot more popular after that point?

MS-It was a combination of the singer not taking care of his instrument (which lead to the record being delayed, which lost any momentum), our outlook and material being darker and the fact that music was in a much needed state of purging at that time and we seemed to have been caught up in it. But then it could have been our manager.

MM-What are the biggest high points and three worst low points of your music career?

MS-High points were finally getting to see my heroes Cheap Trick when we opened for them, playing on a bill with Kim Mitchell and seeing the effect we had on people who loved what we did. Being in between bands was a low point. Knowing the success of my band was in spite of some of the members was, and is, the lowest. Selling my 50 watt Marshall combo is another story.

MM-Tell us about what you are doing now in your music career?

MS-I just finished a record of cool tunes for kids. You can check it out at and I’m currently working on a new record of original material for mature audiences. You can stay in touch at

MM-Any regrets in your music career?

MS-I regret not being more hands on in band management and not looking out for myself more when it came to band decisions but I’ve always been a team player to a fault. Just part of the package, I suppose. Other than that, I wish I’d joined the Secret Service.

Thanks to Mick for doing this interview. Again you can find out more about "Mick Sweda and the candy bar band" over at

Monday, September 10, 2007

Deep Purple-The house of the blue light

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Background-Deep Purple had reformed in 1984 to record the reunion album "Perfect strangers". It was a solid release and sold pretty well. The band took their time and by 1987 they released another album.

Initial Reaction-I heard this shortly after it's release. I thought that it was decent, but I wasn't really satisfied with it overall. It wasn't as heavy or as catchy as "Perfect Strangers". I never owned it back in the day and only heard it a few time in the 1980's. I picked up a copy on CD cheap to do this review. This was the first time I had heard the whole album in about 18 years.


Bad Attitude-The opener comes on well enough. The vocals are strong and it moves along nicely, but a little light in the overall sound.

The Unwritten Law-This is a little odd in it's approach. Not bad, but a little poppy and bouncy. Has a good guitar solo though.

Call of the wild-Lots of keyboards in this one. Not bad, but it's almost like the band are sounding their age and aiming for an older crowd as well.

Mad Dog-Starts out alright, but a bit like they are holding back. Unfortunately more repetitive than it needs to be.

Black and White-A harmonica intro leads into a more blues oriented song than the band normally does. The song hits a little more on the classic Purple sound for a minute, but doesn't quite do enough.

Hard Lovin' Woman-A simple straight up rockin' track. Nothing special for this band, but it stands out on this album.

The Spanish Archer-A medium slow pace, but plenty of winding guitar passages and a big thick sound overall. A shame there wasn't more of this fire on the whole album.

Strangeways-This song has more of a feel of old Purple than other songs, but it takes a little time to warm up to.

Mitzie Dupree-Like Strangeways, it takes a little while to get going. Hold on though because it heats up and eventually has some of the best playing on the album.

Dead or Alive-This is moderately fast and they plunge right into it. Yet I can't help but feel that I have heard this band do this style of song much better on more than one previous occasion.

Final word-It's decent overall, but about the same as I remember it twenty years ago. The second half of the album is certainly stronger than the first half. The biggest problem is that it has an overall lighter sound than "Perfect Strangers" or most classic Purple. I really didn't see the reason for toning it down. Not a bad at all and it deserves to be played every now and then. However if you are in the mood for some great Deep Purple then this likely will not be at the top of your list.

***The twenty year album review for October will be Helloween's Keeper of the seven keys pt.1.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What's coming up?

More football today which is always a good thing. This is the schedule for this week and I hope to stick to it.

Monday-Deep Purple:"The house of the blue light" review

Tuesday-Interview with former King Kobra and Bullet Boys guitarist Mick Sweda

Wednesday-Lesser of two evils: Kik Tracee vs. Vixen

Thursday-Interview with Big Cock guitarist David Henzerling


Saturday-Gypsy Pistoleros:"Wild, Beautiful, Damned" review

***Have a good week.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Vote for a review

Okay, I need your help to decide what album you want me to review for the 20 year old album review for November. Two of the choices here are getting second chances because they had high votes, but both were beaten out in previous vote for a reviews. I threw in Aerosmith to have three choices. So here are the choices.

Aerosmith-Permanent vacation
Black Sabbath-The eternal idol
Dokken-Back for the attack

***Which one would you like me to review in November?

Ted Nugent-Love Grenade

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Originally I was going to do Deep Purple's House of the blue light today, but time constraints made me have to do a switch. So that will be next week and Ted's new one will be today while it is fresh in my mind. The Nuge's real prime was from about 1975-1980 excluding a large chunk of the inconsistant "Freeforall" album in 1976. Since then he has largely been hit and miss with the misses coming from trying too hard for commercial success. Even the hit albums have been different from that early sound I enjoyed so much. He has remained a decent draw due to his big mouth and reputation of being a great live performer. Now it appears that for the first time since 1980's "Scream Dream" that the Nuge actually has a really solid guitar rock album to support on his tour. I think that Ted doesn't always get the respect he deserves as a guitarist. Although perhaps not the greatest technical player, he certainly has his own distinct style and many guitarists do not. Ted has a very flowing style when he hits and he really hits it in fine fashion on his new album. The lyrics are the same old cheese about women, guns and the Nuge's political views as they are. However the music hasn't been nearly this alive in far too many years. There are moments where the songs fall into being typical, but largely there's plenty slabs of great big riffs and the Nuge's consistantly amuzing vocals. I remember back in the early 1990's listening to a bunch of Ted Nugent's early albums on my turntable and wishing he woudl return to that style. Well, it's been far too long and it may only be a partial return, but Love Grenade is an enjoyable album.

The Nuge's site is here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Clash of the album covers

This is the debut of a new monthly feature. It's simple, I show two album covers and you just state which cover you prefer and why. I decided to start with two early metal album covers so here are...

Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum

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The Jimi Hendrix experience's Are you experienced

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***Now remember you are just judging the cover, not the music. So which cover do you prefer and why?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Scorpions-Humanity Hour 1

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New Door

The Scorpions are probably one of the most consistent long running hard rock/ metal bands of our time. They have kept plowing forward over the years despite of line-up changes, label changes and the many changes in style of music is popular at the time. So when a new album is released by them then you know it's likely be good. This release is no exception despite the fact that I hesitated to pick it up at first when I saw Desmond Child's name on the credits. My fears were for nothing though and this album is steadily moving up my favorites of 2007 so far. The majority of the album certainly isn't new territory, but it is comfortable territory. Sometimes comfortable is good because on most of the songs here it just takes a few seconds for the song to pull you in. Now don't get the idea that it's just rehashed material either. The bulk of this album manages to be both familar and fresh at the same time. No small task for sure, but I think the Scorps have taken their sound and added just enough of a modern touch to make it sound sort of new yet their old fans will find plenty to like as well. Perhaps more than anything the new has an excellant flow to almost every single track. There is very little build-up or intros as most songs just charge forward into the meat of the song. That certainly works for me and gives the album a rather smooth feel as a whole. If you are not a fan of the band then there is nothing here that will likely change your mind. However serious and casual fans will likely eat this up because Humanity Hour 1 is a huge helping of the kind of rock that the Scorpions have done so well for so long.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Heavy Metal Jukebox

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I am not being very creative on the theme this week because it's just bands that start with the letter "s". However two of the three bands are making their debut on the jukebox. So the choices are...

Skid Row-Youth gone wild
Slayer-Angel of death

***Which song do you choose?

Monday, September 03, 2007


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Cruz del sur

North Carolina based band Widow would initially seem to be a band that would be right up my alley. Their sound is firmly founded in the 1980's, their cover looks like an 80's album and the band themselves even look like they walked right out of 1987. In fact I listened to this album some seven times hoping to find something I could say really set them apart. Widow play a style that's maybe 80% classic style metal and 20% early speed metal. I would say the music is comparable to bands like Omen and Savage Grace with some traces of early Iron Maiden and Crimson Glory. The playing and the vocals are largely competent and they waste little time getting into the heart of the music. It's very much pure metal and most of the songs are fairly short and to the point. However there were two items that troubled me about this album. One is the lack of heaviness on the album. It's solid metal, but the production and maybe lack of definite hooks make it sound a little thin. The bigger problem was that I kept asking myself what is there that about Widow that sets them apart from their influences? The answer is very little or perhaps not enough. So even though they go through the paces well, there just isn't enough going on here to set this band apart. There just isn't enough here to make me reach for it instead of reaching for an album by one of the 80's band that are trying to emulate. It's above average, but I think they need try harder and dig deeper on the next album to try and define their sound rather than just mixing the sounds of others.

The band's site is here

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Warp 11-It's dead, Jim

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Being a gimmick band might be a bit of a double edged sword. The negative would be that it could limit a band's direction and the positive (in this case) is that the gimmick can provide the band with a built-in audience due to the topic of the gimmick. Warp 11 have released their fourth album of hilarious songs all about Star Trek. The topics here range from masturbation (Jerk my Kirk) to substance abuse (Tribbles and ecstasy) to dealing with the lack of a Trek series on TV (the title track). The music is largely power-pop, but they manage to change the pace frequently and mix things up nicely. The music is catchy enough, but the lyrics are the real drawing card here. Most of the references are to the original series and the Next Generation, but there are a few references to the other series as well. The opening track "Make it so" has a line that goes "I have an alien race sitting on my face". That was enough to convince me that this was one of the funniest albums I have heard in a long time. Now the question that is likely going to come from non-Trek fans is "do I have to be a Trek fan to understand it?". I would say the answer is it helps and longtime Trek fans like myself will get the jokes right away, but I think that most of the songs are not so in depth that they will discourage casual fans from getting the jokes. It has been is regular rotation in my player since I got it. Warp 11 have played clubs, but of course they also get booked fairly often at Star Trek conventions. For more information check out the band's site.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What's coming up?

This past week seemed to fly by and now the holiday weekend is here. I have been listening to a lot of music this past week. Surprisingly a lot of new releases so this coming week will include reviews of some of those. This week I hope to have out the following...

-Heavy metal jukebox
-Clash of the album covers
and the following reviews

-Deep Purple-House of the blue light/ 20 year old album review
-WARP 11-It's dead, Jim (This one isn't metal, but it fits in with another interest of mine so I will give it a review)
-Scorpions-Humanity Hour 1

Here is a question for you-

***What has been the most surprising hard rock/metal related thing to happen in 2007 so far?
(This can be something surprisingly good, surprisinly bad or whatever you think. Could be an album, a concert or some other event)