Archive for 1980’s heavy metal music

HALFORD IV “MADE OF METAL” – THE METAL GOD… Has Returned With A Vengeance!

Posted in Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

HALFORD – Oh, how The Metal God has cometh and made a Metal album that is mega-primed for satisfying my Metal hunger! Halford IVMade Of Metal, released on September 28, 2010, on Metal God Entertainment, is clearly a raised fist to the air hailing all things… METAL. If one has a difficult time understanding as to why Rob Halford is called… The Metal God… and one is clueless about Judas Priest and Fight, then all one needs to do is sink their ears and awareness into Halford IV – Made Of Metal and thy should understand what the hell The Metal God is all about.

Not detracting here from what has put Rob Halford on the highest level of the Metal hierarchy, Halford IV – Made Of Metal is like a symbol of what The Metal God is all about… singing his lungs out on exceptionally written songs, both in Metal music and lyrics. It would be too damn easy for Rob Halford to rest on his laurels and reap the decades of Metal glory that he has so rightfully earned. Instead, Rob Halford has come out with all guns Metal blazing and has released an album that should make the earth shift off of it’s axis, just a tad, when played at it’s maximum volume.

Now, there is a song on this new Halford album that just seems to be so unbelievably great to my Metal ears and soul, that I’m pinching myself to make certain I’m not dreaming as I listen to it. It’s an exhilarating experience, of a profound mega-Metal high when I listen to this song… Thunder And Lightning. Throughout all of my Metal lovin’ life, I have continuously searched out for the songs, albums and the bands that make me Metal high. Thunder And Lightning is that thunder strike of a song, that I shall turn to for inspiration and psyche-out therapy for the rest of my Metal guided life.

Rob Halford is simply classic on vocals during Thunder And Lightning, with Roy Z. and Metal Mike Chlasciak on guitars making it freaking soar, trading off their licks to Metal perfection. It’s the intensity and the non-stop groove that’s happening with this song that makes it so damn delicious to my Metal senses. When a song can capture and hold onto a psyche-out vibe like this, it is a song that is worthy of my telling the entire world about.

Honestly, I can’t count how many times I have listened to Thunder And Lightning in the short time that I have owned Halford IV – Made Of Metal. Whatever Rob Halford and Roy Z. have tapped into when they wrote this song, it is nothing short of mystical for me. This song only solidifies the fact that music is indeed… a language all it’s own. Let those Metal vibrations pour into my Metal soul!! Metal be thy name.

I Know We Stand A Chance, based on it’s lyrics, is a love song. This song plays out with both a Hard Rock and Metal feel, with Rob Halford’s vocal harmony streaming through the music flawlessly. A very memorable song, both for it’s music and lyrics. Three quarters through this song it kicks up a couple of notches with some electrifying and melodic fret work that I know I’ll be hearing in my sleep.

Like There’s No Tomorrow showcases Rob Halford, the Metal vocalist for the ages. Sure, Rob Halford has his vocal peers amongst him, the difference is, this is The Metal God we are listening to on this album. This song is incredibly memorable beyond belief. Is it the vocals of Rob? Could it be the dualing guitars? The imbedded bass thumping? The drum beats and cymbal smashing? Try all of the above. Melodic and soaringly heavy is this song, drawing it’s strength from the totality of the band.

Twenty-Five Years is a powerful and Heavy ballad, both with it’s music and lyrics. Rob Halford exemplifies why he is truly a remarkable vocalist as he sings Twenty-Five Years. By delivering this song through his emotionally charged vocals, in a story form, that lends itself as being deeply personal to The Metal God. This is by far not a depressing song for me, it is a serious break in the Metal experience that I cannot shun away. Lyrically there are life lessons that are taught here, making for a Metal reality check that has been handed down by this living Metal Legend.

We Own The Night and Heartless are melodic listen’s into just how Rob Halford and his band can play accessibly Heavy songs, one’s that probably would have been a huge hit if Heavy Metal ruled MTV and FM radio like it once did in those loud and colorful ’80’s. Even when Halford comes across with some commercial appeal, they are still damn Heavy as hell… flooded with Metal molasses. Rob Halford just sounds like he beamed up his vintage vocal self, from decades long ago, surpassing my Metal expectations on not just these two songs… the entire album.

Yes, The Mower is by far and large… the heaviest, meanest and most Metal song on this new Halford album. Even Rob’s vocals are screeching with an evil intensity that is downright scary on The Mower. I love it. This is the other side to Rob Halford’s vocals, piercing, angry and impressively dark. Speed Of Sound has the vibe and sound that is tailor made for a Judas Priest – Turbo Part II… if there ever was to be such an album. However, Speed Of Sound is Heavy and doesn’t get saturated with any synthetic sounds that the long past Turbo album radiates.

Alright, there is a “semi-stinker” on this album. I’ll give Rob Halford and his band a pass on this though. I owe ‘em that much for making my Metal world so deliriously fine from Thunder And Lightning. Um, well, this song is pretty much a stinker. Made Of Metal is the song. There are some bad flashbacks happening in my brain, each time I hear the techno-electronic voice that is part of the intro to this song. Mr. Roboto flashbacks that is. I still have never recovered from Styx messing around with electronica… and that goes too far back for my own liking. The “roboto” voice re-appears towards the end of this song too, not cool. It’s just a dated song that doesn’t fit the Metal mold of this album and I don’t like to use the word… dated.

Make the bad Mr. Roboto go away, make the bad Mr. Roboto go away, make him go now.

Undisputed is the one song on Halford IV – Made Of Metal that can be of “big time” commercial value for the future. The lyrics are borderline corny… this song is about an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, whoever that may be. This song would be perfect for the next (gasp) Rocky sequel or as an entrance theme for some WWE Wrestling Superstar. The Metal itself is brilliance on Undisputed, with scorching guitar leads and tough as nails riffs. Vocally, Rob Halford resonates with late ’70’s Judas Priest on Undisputed, capturing his very own classic self as only he can do.

For all intents and Metal purposes, Halford is backed up by one damned fabulous band. Mike Davis on bass and Bobby Jarzombek on drums hold it all together like a Heavy Metal pillar of unbreakable steel, giving each song an added dose of supercharged thump. I without hesitation, openly admit, that Halford IV – Made Of Metal has rolled into 2010 and taken me for a sensational Metal ride. This Metal ride I’m highly endorsing to fellow Metalheads, both young and old, stateside and worldwide. Don’t let this new Halford album be “the one” that you pass over for another day. Halford IV – Made Of Metal needs to heard… NOW… and forever.

* For more info on HALFORD, just click here: ROB HALFORD.com

Track Listing For HALFORD IV – MADE OF METAL:

Undisputed

Fire And Ice

Made Of Metal

Speed Of Sound

Like There’s No Tomorrow

Till The Day I Die

We Own The Night

Heartless

Hell Razor

Thunder And Lightning

Twenty-Five Years

Matador

I Know We Stand A Chance

The Mower

LONG LIVE HALFORD.

THE METAL GOD HAS RETURNED.

Stone.

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WHITE ZOMBIE “Make Them Die Slowly” – Reflecting On A 1989 CD I Can’t Part With

Posted in alternative metal music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

WHITE ZOMBIE – Released back in good ‘ol 1989, Make Them Die Slowly was the second full-length album from White Zombie, (the first full-length being Soul Crusher, released in 1987). The late ’80’s was an ultra-terrific time for Heavy Metal, only the “wave of glory” of commercial acceptance and attention was starting to drift swiftly towards the Grunge movement, by 1990. White Zombie came upon the scene in ’87 with their brand of Noise Rock, eventually indulging into various music styles, while still keeping the heaviness intact. Industrial, Groove, Funk and Heavy Metal were Metal styles that White Zombie incorporated together all so well. Many articles and Rock historians also refer White Zombie to the Post-Thrash genre as well.

I can openly admit, that this Make Them Die Slowly CD has been in my possession since it’s 1989 release and I cannot part with it. The first reason for this is I really, really, dig this White Zombie album and band. Even in it’s unpolished grandeur, this is White Zombie breaking down some serious status quo. This band was where it all began for Rob Zombie! The second reason is, it is out of print. My original 1989 CD version of Make Them Die Slowly is selling for $169.88 (U.S. funds) as a “used” copy on Amazon.com… and there is currently only “one” for sale there! Whoa, baby, whoa.

There is a 1993 reissue version of Make Them Die Slowly for sale on Amazon.com, selling for $99.99 as “new” and $16.99 as “used”, all in U.S. funds. That is a dramatic drop in the selling price, when comparing the “used” version from 1989 to that of the 1993 reissue. In all Metal honesty, I was not aware of the “actual” value of my CD discussed here, not until today. I always knew it was an original pressing from 1989 and the value would be a bit high… only this is far out amazing to me! In hindsight, I wish I had purchased a dozen copies or more of Make Them Die Slowly back in ’89!

My cousin Randy is to blame for my buying this White Zombie CD back in ’89. He used to manage a combination collectibles and record store that was very, very cool. I would go there just about every day for a number of years, from the mid ’80’s right up to the mid ’90’s. I would cash my paycheck at this store… leaving with enough money to buy beer and gas. The rest of my hard earned loot would go into buying CD’s, tapes, vinyl, sports cards and comics. Those were the days… I know. I no longer buy sports cards or comics, just in case you were wondering.

Randy would always have his finger on “the pulse” of Rock ‘N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. If there was a new and cool band to check out… Randy knew about ‘em. There was that one visit to his store, where he had Make Them Die Slowly on display… and Randy wasn’t talking me out of buying it. Thanks Randy! Man, this cool cousin of mine had landed me some fine picture discs of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motorhead too. Many bands he steered into the direction of my ears… Fight is one that stands out, back in ’93. When Rob Halford left Judas Priest, whoa… that was a big deal back then. Randy is still alive and doing just fine… just in case you are wondering.

When I first listened to Make Them Die Slowly, I realized rather quickly that White Zombie was not the stereotypical ’80’s Arena Rock or Heavy Metal Band. Rather, White Zombie was a band totally different from what I was used to hearing… this band wasn’t Thrash, Traditional Metal, NWOBHM or straight up Hard Rock. This White Zombie band caught me off guard and I initially liked what I was listening to. Sure, this band was “different”, only they were not lean on the heavy side of the Metal aisle and the vocals of Rob Zombie sounded too fiendishly bizarre for me to pass over.

Back in ’89, I felt like I stumbled on some “underground” band that not many people knew about. I never gave it a second thought, as to White Zombie becoming anything special anyhow. Listening to what I liked was the main priority then, as it is now. This White Zombie album was never going to be exalted as a masterpiece, no way. The production across the board is raw and steely on Make Them Die Slowly, arguably an album of demos… not anywhere near the overall sound and production that their 1992 studio album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 would radiate. (That album is a multi-million unit seller and still makes my prehistoric stereo speakers smoke).

In the midst of all the styles of Heavy Music that White Zombie seemed to tap into, there is always that “sliver” of Punk that I seem to catch onto with their music. Acid Flesh may have it’s non-stop groove and sparse funkiness about it, still it walks a fine line with the Punk flirtation. The same can be said for Power Hungry, only the guitar licks are crunchy enough to make any Punk comparison an extremely mild one. “Demonspeed” carries such a raw atmosphere of sound, it isn’t far fetched to think it’s a live recording during the first half minute it plays. If there is one constant to be heard on this album, it’s that this White Zombie band played with a fiery enthusiasm that my ears cannot dismiss away. “Demonspeed” is one Heavy mutha’ of a song and is my favorite on this album.

Revenge is fueled with enough kick ass, thunder-stomp Metal that it is dizzying. The repeated riff that gives Revenge it’s Metal bite, is extremely close to that of Tony Iommi’s signature riff from Zero The Hero, heard on the 1983 Black Sabbath album – Born Again. Godslayer plays at 7:14 long and is the “epic” on this album. Rob Zombie’s vocals on Godslayer gives way to the notion that maybe he was a fan of Glenn Danzig. I never picked up on the vocal similarities between Rob Zombie and Glenn Danzig, while listening to Godslayer so many years ago. This is the only song where I feel any vocal similarities between these two Metal heavyweights exists. I’m certain though, that it is all coincidental anyways. Maybe.

The overall Heavy Groove and styles that Make Them Die Slowly breathes was another solid building block towards the Metal that Rob Zombie was to eventually release as a solo superstar. Truthfully, listening to this White Zombie album is like listening to the Rob Zombie blueprint and dancing skeletons to his future. To usher in the ’90’s with a band as heavily diverse as White Zombie, probably means more to me now than it did then. I never cared to figure out really, the “fad” sound of any decade. White Zombie was no fad… this was as legit of a Heavy Band as any genre could grasp.

As I look back on the doorstep to the ’90’s, White Zombie was the band that snuck in through the front door and made themselves very comfortable in the hearts, minds and ears of more than just this Metalhead. This is “one of those” Metal albums that I appreciate more in 2010 than I probably did back in ’89. Maybe my growing appreciation lies in the fact, that White Zombie made me realize that it was cool to diversify the Metal menu, having me look upon them now, over two decades later, as Metal innovators.

WHITE ZOMBIE as they appeared on Make Them Die Slowly:

* Note: In doing my Metal research, I have read that John Ricci did not play guitar on Make Them Die Slowly. However, John Ricci is in the group photo found in the liner notes of this CD, with his name appearing below him. I have come across, through Metal research, that John Ricci left White Zombie the day Make Them Die Slowly was completed… due to having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am going with that he played guitar on this album… unless a credible source “close” to the recording of this album can tell me otherwise.

Rob Zombie – vocals

John Ricci – guitar

Ivan DePrume - drums

Sean Yseult - bass guitar

Track Listing For Make Them Die Slowly:

DEMONSPEED

DISASTER BLASTER

MURDERWORLD

REVENGE

ACID FLESH

POWER HUNGRY

GODSLAYER

* More Metal research about Make Them Die Slowly, revealed the following: that “some” CD’s were released with the printing on the liner notes “spine” being incorrect. The “incorrect” spelling or error is: Let Them Die Slowly appears on the spine. “Let” and not “Make” is the error. My CD version has this error on the liner notes spine… take a look at the pic below to see for yourself:

As you can also see from the above pic, Rob Zombie is one damn cool illustrator!

* Make Them Die Slowly was produced by Bill Laswell

* Make Them Die Slowly was originally released in 1989, on Caroline.

* As stated in the liner notes: All Lyrics – Rob Zombie, All Music – White Zombie and All Illustrations – Rob Zombie.

* The liner notes show “one” Special Thanks, it goes to… Rock & Punk Legend… Iggy Pop.

Here is the White Zombie band photo that is in the liner notes.

From left to right: Ivan DePrume, John Ricci, Sean Yseult and Rob Zombie.

Here is an illustration that is in the liner notes, drawn by Rob Zombie:

The above illustration has the words: “Bite Down Sucker” in top right corner. “Hell” is spelled out on the fist of the monster dude.

LONG LIVE THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL OF WHITE ZOMBIE!

Stone.

URIAH HEEP “HEAD FIRST” – 1983 HARD ROCKIN’ ALBUM FLASHBACK

Posted in classic rock, classic rock bands, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, rock guitarists, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

URIAH HEEP – Back in 1983, Uriah Heep released their 15th studio album – Head First. Granted, this was not the original Classic Rock lineup of Uriah Heep. The sound and style of Uriah Heep had changed considerably as the ’70’s came to a close and the colorful ’80’s came reeling in. With the 1982 Uriah Heep album – Abominog ushering in a new lead vocalist in Peter Goalby, Head First would be the second of three albums that this vocalist would be fronting. (Equator from 1985 would be the third and last Uriah Heep album featuring Peter Goalby as lead vocalist). For comparison purposes, the class of Rock/Hard Rock vocalists that best fits alongside Peter Goalby are: Lou Gramm, (Foreigner), Kelly Hansen, (Foreigner/Hurricane) and Brian Howe, (Bad Company/Ted Nugent), to name just a few.

I consider Head First, to be a Hard Rock swirling with early ’80’s commercial Heavy Metal album. Head First is AOR for certain and is not lacking with melodic Rockin’ songs. This is not a blockbuster of a heavy album by any means. Instead, Head First is an album of songs that gives off some cool vibes… vibes that I still find appealing after all these years. My favorite song on this album is hands-down: The Other Side Of Midnight. When I first heard this song played on FM back in ’83, I was hooked. This song is very much a psyche-you-out listen, with it’s up-tempo and melodic Hard Rock sound.

In 1983, I was a junior trying to survive in High School and working part-time as a grocery store bagger and shopping cart gopher. The supermarket I worked at was named Finest… only there was nothing very fine about it. One cool aspect about working for this dingy and depressing supermarket was it’s next door neighbor store… Bradlees. This department store had a semi-impressive records & tapes department, so I used to spend most of my $20 – $30 paycheck there on music. I bought this Head First album there… only I don’t have it on vinyl anymore. (itunes cured my hankering for this album though).

Stay On Top and Sweet Talk are two other extremely melodic and accessible songs that probably made it to the FM airwaves way back then. I just can’t say for certain. Stay On Top is “kinda like” an anthem represented on Head First. This song has a bit of toughness about it… early ’80’s Heavy Rock toughness that is. Sweet Talk is dominated by the keyboards played by John Sinclair. It’s the keys that really makes Sweet Talk elevate with it’s pumped-up tempo and mood. During his musical career, John Sinclair was also the keyboardist for The Babys and Ozzy Osbourne.

Bob Daisley plays bass on Head First and is most famous for his Rock ‘N’ Roll stints with Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne. Longtime Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake was on board for Head First. Lee Kerslake was also the drummer for Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 debut album – Blizzard Of Ozz and  1981’s Diary Of A Madman.

Lonely Nights is the Bryan Adams cover song that Uriah Heep plays a bit heavier than the original. Not by much though. Lonely Nights is from the Bryan Adams 1981 sophomore release titled – You Want It You Got It. Both the Bryan Adams and Uriah Heep version of this song just screams with that early ’80’s Rock sound, feel and… may I add vibe? No, no, no… I HATE the word “dated”. It makes ME feel… um, uh… old. Regardless of my rhetorical nonsense here, Lonely Nights is undisputedly a very emotional and  inspirational song, in my Metal opinion.

If there has ever been that #1 constant with Uriah Heep, since day one, it is lead guitarist Mick Box. A founding/original member of Uriah Heep, Mick Box seems to have quietly become a Rock legend in his own much deserving right. Ever since the 1970 Uriah Heep debut album – Very ‘eavy… Very ‘umble, Mick Box has been on lead guitar. Fast forward to 2008 and Uriah Heep have released their 21st studio album – Wake The Sleeper. Uriah Heep is still Rockin’ the lights out live in 2010 from what I have read and been told… a Rock historic band that I would love to see live sometime soon. Then, I could boast that I have seen Mick Box play guitar… in real time.

Classic Rock, 1980’s mainstream Heavy Metal & Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Progressive Rock and AOR fans should take a keen liking to Head First from Uriah Heep. This is a band that stretches across quite a few Rock genres, both past and present.

* For more info on Uriah Heep, just click on the link below:

URIAH HEEP – THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE

URIAH HEEP – MySpace Music Page

Uriah Heep, as they appeared on the Head First studio album:

Peter Goalby - lead vocals

Mick Box – guitar

John Sinclair - keyboards & backing vocals

Bob Daisley - bass

Lee Kerslake - drums, percussion

Original Track Listing For Uriah Heep – Head First:

The Other Side Of Midnight

Stay On Top

Lonely Nights

Sweet Talk

Love Is Blind

Roll-Overture

Red Lights

Rollin’ The Rock

Straight Through The Heart

Weekend Warriors

LONG LIVE URIAH HEEP!

40 years of Uriah Heep Rock ‘N’ Roll is something to celebrate.

Stone.

METALLICA – “MASTER OF PUPPETS” VS. “THE BLACK ALBUM”

Posted in hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal history, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, Thrash Metal, thrash metal music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

METALLICA – Just the band name alone explodes with pure Metal. Metallica is synonymous with Metal excellence, regardless of any Load or ReLoad moments in their bands storied history. Back on March 3, 1986, my Metal lovin’ life was transformed into a state of Metallidelirium… Master Of Puppets, the third studio album from Metallica, was released. I was already a proud and boisterous fan of Metallica in 1986, looking upon and listening to their debut Kill ‘Em All and sophomore Ride The Lightning albums as if they were Metal gospels.

Before I carry on any further… Master Of Puppets is my favorite Metallica album that this beyond legendary Metal band ever created.

Metallica was on quite a roll with their first three album releases, a generation of loyal Metallica fans was certainly bred from listening to them. I am one of those fans. The Black Album released in 1991 garnered a gazillion more fans, a whole new generation of them too. I can’t and never will dismiss The Black Album as a Metal goliath in the history of Heavy Metal. Often times, when “The Greatest Metal Albums Of All Time” lists are put together, I will see The Black Album in the top five. Truthfully, it doesn’t quite jive with me for Master Of Puppets is a more true measuring stick of the incredible career/catalog of albums that Metallica has created. Regardless, this is just my Metal opinion.

It just seems to appear this way, that Metallica fans that grew up in the “early” 80’s will lean towards Master Of Puppets, (or even Ride The Lightning), as their ultimate Metallica album. Metallica fans that I speak to, that are at least ten years my junior, will more often than not tell me The Black Album is Metallica’s finest. Am I “off base” here? I don’t think so, especially since I have the gift to gab about Metal with just about every person I bump into at fye, concerts, blogs and everywhere else I venture to in life. The topic of Master Of Puppets vs. The Black Album will “pop-up” more frequently than you can ever imagine.

The Black Album is undisputedly the biggest selling Metallica album of all-time. With that fact stated, The Black Album also spent four consecutive weeks as the #1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. I bought this album on or about it’s release date back in 1991, no mistaken. Enter Sandman was a melodically heavy, side-step of a song for Metallica and extremely addicting to my ears upon the very first listen. The same goes for Sad But True. Overall, the entire album was a sigh of relief for me, just knowing that Metallica did not have a song like One on it. Sorry, but any semblance of a ballad coming from Metallica, never mixed well for this lifetime Metalhead.

Back to Master Of Puppets. Battery. The opening track. Whoa. Whoa again. A scary fast Thrash Metal song. An angry sound with angry vocals. I fell in Metal love. Upon my very first listen to Battery, I felt as if the rest of the Heavy Metal world was now in the “catch-up mode”. Master Of Puppets was to the Thrash and Heavy Metal world back in 1986 what the iphone is to our world of communication today. Very, very, important. A cultural impact. Could not picture the world without this Master Of Puppets album… these were my Metal school of thoughts back in 1986. These same Metal school of thoughts I stand by still, in 2010.

The song Master Of Puppets, one word: excellence. My Metal memories of the Summer of 1986 is overridden with this song being blasted to it’s maximum potential at every single keg party, get-together, function or hang-out that my fellow Metalhead buddies and I engaged in back then. The entire Master Of Puppets album was played this way by me and my Metal peers, for arguments sake. The Master Of Puppets album felt like a victory back in 1986, a righteous fist being raised in the air, all in the name of Thrash Metal and all of it’s Metal genre cousins. A feeling that we Metalheads had finally, indeed, conquered all. In 1986, with the release of Master Of Puppets, we Metalheads along with the strength of Metallica behind us… really did conquer an era of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Wearing the Master Of Puppets concert t-shirt constantly, was like wearing a badge of Metal honor. As I wore this t-shirt, from 1986 until it finally met it’s final demise from over wear… wherever I may have roamed… people looked at it with either horror and disgust or they wanted to talk about it, as if Metallica were the Metal equivalent to the Beatles. My seeing Metallica twice on their Master Of Puppets tour wasn’t just bragging rights back then… it was as if I had been to see The Holy Grail itself and I had been anointed as a Metal prophet.

Now, it is July 3, 2010. I look upon both the Master Of Puppets and The Black Album with undeniable respect and reverence. It’s no secret that Master Of Puppets is the heaviest and fastest album out of the two, being a full-throttle Thrash Metal album. Yet, that is not why Master Of Puppets is my favorite Metallica album, the real reasoning for me is that Master Of Puppets was and still is the real heart and soul sound and energy of what Metallica was really about in the 1980’s. The other non-secret is that The Black Album is Metallica’s biggest seller. I only hope this is not the sole reason as to why so many professionally paid Rock critics put this album in their “top 5″ lists. A biggest selling album does not necessarily equate it to being the best offering musically, from that respective bands catalog of albums.

Any fan can choose any Metallica album to be their favorite, it’s a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer for fans. However, once major mainstream magazines begin to idolize The Black Album in “Top 5 All – Time” lists without even comparing it to Master Of Puppets, well, that just comes across as journalistic bias and purely following the status quo leader. The professionally paid mainstream Rock media ignoring Master Of Puppets and not including it on any “Top 5 All-Time” lists won’t make it go away.

It’s my thought that The Black Album became much more popular due to it’s semi-commercial accessibility. In reflection, could it have been the strength in popularity of Metallica as “THE” Metal band to beat and/or be measured against be the REAL reason for the strong record sales of The Black Album after all? The Metallica momentum was in full swing way before The Black Album was released and Master Of Puppets was a Metal historic building block and reason for this momentum in the first place.

What are your thoughts? Am I all alone in thinking Master Of Puppets is better than The Black Album?

* If you care to read about my seeing Metallica live, a long time ago, in a Metal world far, far, away, then click on the cool link below:

My greatest Metal memory/experience of my life.

LONG LIVE METALLICA!

Stone.

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP “ASSAULT ATTACK” – 1982 ALBUM REVISITED!

Posted in classic rock, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - Crazy good. That’s my “flashback review” for the Michael Schenker Group album from 1982, titled – Assualt Attack. Aw, heck, I guess I’ll carry on about just how crazy good this Assualt Attack album is after all. Michael Schenker has released some melodic albums in his career with The Michael Schenker Group and Assault Attack is no exception. 1982 was a time where Heavy Metal was growing into the gigantic and lovable monster that it did eventually become… and still is to this very day.

While NWOBHM Bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were laying down the thick, speed driven, dark and Heavy albums in 1982, with Screaming For Vengeance and The Number Of The Beast, respectively, The Michael Schenker Group was laying down the melodic side of Hard Rock colliding with Heavy Metal sound. And what an amazingly melodic sound at that. What Michael Schenker does with his guitar is he makes it sing… his guitar truly is a second lead vocalist in his band. On Assualt Attack, as with any Michael Schenker album in truth, showcases a lead guitarist who never tried to out-muscle a song with overpowering riffs, questionable leads or over zealous solos. Michael Schenker always makes the song work with his guitar.

Back in 1982, FM radio was MTV, itunes, satellite radio and the internet combined. The only other place on Earth you would have been informed of The Michael Schenker Group would have been through a local fanzine, Circus or Hit Parader magazine. (I’m talking about 1982 America here, so my magazine examples are what they are). The first time I was introduced to this Assault Attack album, it was hearing the two songs Dancer and Desert Song. FM radio was the medium from which I heard these songs initially, the call letters were either WHCN or WCCC out of Hartford, CT, take your pick. The FM nighttime radio show was appropriately called… Metal Shop.

The first two albums from The Michael Schenker Group along with Assault Attack I probably bought within a one year span around ’82… and I thought I had a ton of “catching up” to do back then! Metal be thy name. The constant Rockin’ theme of Assault Attack, is it’s melodic nature screams relevancy while nurturing my memories of younger days. Fans of the current Hard Rock/Melodic Rock movement should easily catch onto this album from The Michael Schenker Group, it’s an album worthy of 2010 rotation.

Back to the exquisitely melodic and still Heavy song… Dancer. The solo by Michael Schenker on Dancer is a listen in Heavy Metal art. This song can be looked upon by some, as slightly commercial for it’s own good, only it’s still a bona fide Hard Rock song from an era that was still escorting Disco out the back door. Graham Bonnet on lead vocals, just a few years removed from being the lead vocalist on Rainbow’s Classic Hard Rock gem, 1979’s Down To Earth album, is his stunning self, giving Dancer and the remaining 8 songs on Assault Attack their unrestrained emotion.

Desert Song finds it’s strengths in many parts, one part lyrics, one part Graham Bonnet on vocals and of course… Michael Schenker’s mouth watering end cap solo. Furthermore, Desert Song is structured with creative diligence, something that many of today’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs don’t normally exhibit. Ulcer is the instrumental where Michael Schenker lets it all air out and rightfully so. While I listen to Ulcer, I can’t help thinking of Joe Satriani… and how this song just might have been a definitive influence on his guitar playing. If there is to be a Heavy Metal guitarist and instrumental to emulate from 1982, Michael Schenker and Ulcer is a fabulous choice.

Rock You To The Ground has a bluesy sound both with it’s music and lyrics. A standout of a Hard Rock track, with Michael Schenker really letting loose with an energetic solo that finishes off this memorable song. It may sound cliche’, yet all the hooks and licks are abundant throughout Assault Attack and they haven’t lost their Hard Rockin’ luster going on three decades! Classic Rock? Hard Rock? Sure… only add Classic Schenker as well.

Broken Promises is a showcase of Michael Schenker’s guitar prowess, as he still leaves plenty of room for Graham Bonnet to leave his vocal imprint as well. This is a 1982 Heavy Metal song that seamlessly tied the knot with a Hard Rock sense of purpose. Broken Promises Rocks along with it’s hardened melody and thumping rhythm section of Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna on drums.

Girl From Uptown is a bonus track found on the 2009 remastered version of Assault Attack and it should have been an original song to this album… in my Metal opinion. Once again, a melodic Hard Rockin’ song that features the combination of Graham Bonnet’s vocal harmony and Michael Schenker’s luxurious guitar tone. Girl From Uptown just puts me in a cool mood, then again, this entire album puts me in great Metal spirits… with no let up in sight.

* I used to own Assault Attack on vinyl once. Yup, got rid of it for some insane reason. Anyhow, I’ve since purchased this vintage album on itunes… for under $5 (U.S.). That sure beats the asking price of the import CD version that is currently out there.

* To catch up on ALL things happening with The Michael Schenker Group, including their 30th Anniversary Tour 2010, just click on the link below!

MICHAEL SCHENKER HIMSELF.COM

The Michael Schenker Group, as they appeared on Assault Attack:

Michael Schenker – guitars

Graham Bonnet – lead vocals

Chris Glen – bass

Ted McKenna – drums

Tommy Eyre – keyboards

Track Listing For The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack:

Assault Attack

Rock You To The Ground

Dancer

Samurai

Desert Song

Broken Promises

Searching For A Reason

Ulcer

Girl From Uptown (2009 remastered CD bonus track)

LONG LIVE MICHAEL SCHENKER!

LONG LIVE GRAHAM BONNET!

Stone.

ALICE COOPER “CONSTRICTOR” – 1986 ALBUM REVISITED!

Posted in classic rock, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal history, heavy metal music, horror metal, metal odyssey, Music, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

ALICE COOPERConstrictor was released on September 22, 1986, on MCA Records. Constrictor was the ninth studio album representing the “solo” career of Alice Cooper. This was the album that marked the return of Alice Cooper, (The Nightmare Returns Tour soon began). A three year “retirement” of sorts had begun since Alice Cooper’s 1983 studio album – DaDa. This Constrictor album changed all of that “retirement” thinking… Alice Cooper was really back, on MTV and even at WrestleMania III on March 29, 1987.

Alice Cooper was in the corner of Jake “The Snake” Roberts as he squared against The Honky Tonk Man during WrestleMania III. I can remember watching this all unfold, seeing Alice Cooper in the ring, thinking to myself… man, Alice Cooper could kick some ass right now! (Honestly, I used to think Pro Wrestling was real… the WWF kind that is). I had bought tickets to WrestleMania III with my cousins, only it was tickets for the then extremely popular – closed circuit television at a large theatre.

Ah, Metal… I mean, WrestleMania memories. Now, back to this Constrictor album:

The Constrictor album cover itself is vintage Alice Cooper, shock and horror imagery really goes hand in hand with this Rock ‘N’ Roll icon. Aw, heck, compare this album cover to most Grindcore, Death and Black Metal album covers and you are looking at the age of innocence, with Alice Cooper’s neck and face being the fixture for this boa constrictor. I do love this album cover… it’s the persona and image of what Alice Cooper conveys as a performer.

The most commercial and late 80’s accessible Hard Rock song on this album is without a doubt – He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask). This keyboard dominated song was also a major song for the movie soundtrack – Friday The 13th Part Vl: Jason Lives. With all of it’s open air silliness, I still like this song. It’s different. Very different. Let’s face it, this song was written and recorded for a purpose, to promote both a major slasher film franchise and Alice Cooper as well. When the Metal goal is to intentionally make a commercial song such as this, (which is obvious), then I’m agreeable.

The Great American Success Story is another mainstream blast of Hard Rock, which teeters on Pop Metal by way of 1986. The Arena style guitar takes the upper hand in making this song navigate through it’s friendly swirl of lyrics and melodic undertaking. Even Alice Cooper himself sounds more amicable than formidable on The Great American Success Story.

Life And Death Of The Party takes a more harder and heavier turn for the Metal better. Alice Cooper even has a semi-sinister delivery with his vocals, a characteristic that is essential to his voice and persona. The more sinister Alice Cooper gets… the better. Thrill My Gorilla can either be construed as tongue-in-cheek or just plain Hard Rockin’ fun, take your Metal pick. This song can only work for Alice Cooper back in 1986… this song in 2010 would go down as ? and in 1978 this song would have been ? as well. Really, c’mon, it’s the Metal truth.

Give It Up, with it’s “Give It Up” chorus and open door friendly ambiance, was tailor made for a late ’80’s motion picture soundtrack about teens in love. The mid to late ’80’s was oozing with these type of flicks… and songs like Give It Up were all over them. There is nothing wrong with it’s appeal, plus it really does “fit” into this mainstream bag o’ tricks that Constrictor musically advertises.

Teenage Frankenstein… what more can be said than that? At first glance, this song title appears as one a Punk Rock novice might expect to find… on an early Misfits album. Alas, this song is actually the opening track on Constrictor. The lyrical rhyming coupled with Alice Cooper’s very slick vocals, makes this song actually work it’s Hard Rock wonder with me. Metal be thy name.

Once again, I am convinced that fun lyrical content can coexist in Heavy Music… Alice Cooper has proven this with Constrictor. The front cover of Constrictor may lead one to believe it’s a much heavier and darker album than it really is. What this album exchanges for heaviness, it makes up for with it’s good time 80’s feel and attitude. I’ve owned Constrictor for a very long time, upgraded it to CD without thinking twice, in all Metal honesty.

Sometimes it’s the atmosphere of an album of songs that mesmerizes me so. This Alice Cooper album is a fine example of that. I don’t feel a hint of hesitation in recommending this album to any fan of Classic Rock, Hard Rock or 80’s Heavy Metal. Constrictor is a mirror image of it’s pop cultural backdrop of 1986… lot’s of flash, swagger and accessible songs that one can crank up loud, in a church parking lot, without getting hit by lightning.

The Band Behind – Constrictor:

Alice - vocals

Kane Roberts – guitars, bass, keyboards, background vocals, drums

David Rosenberg – drums

Donnie Kisselbach – bass guitar

Kip Wringer – bass guitar

Paul Delph – keyboards, background vocals on “He’s Back”

Tom Kelly – background vocals on “He’s Back”

Beau Hill – background vocals

Track Listing For Alice Cooper – Constrictor:

Teenage Frankenstein

Give It Up

Thrill My Gorilla

Life And Death Of The Party

Simple Disobediance

The World Needs Guts

Trick Bag

Crawlin’

The Great American Success Story

He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

* Here is what the WrestleMania III promo poster looks like:

When I was a young lad, I witnessed both Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan wrestle live. It was in my old High School Gym too. (This was way before the WWF became super enormous, long before the WWF changed to the WWE). Andre The Giant was an incredibly large human being and Hulk Hogan… he had muscles growing out of his eyeballs for Metal sakes.

LONG LIVE ALICE COOPER!

Stone.

ALICE COOPER “LIVE AT TORONTO” – INDIE LABEL CD FOR DIEHARD FANS ONLY

Posted in classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock 'n' roll, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

Here is an offbeat Alice Cooper CD I found while moseying around a flea market in Quakertown, Pennsylvania recently – Live At Toronto. The exact year this Toronto concert was recorded is a Metal mystery to me, the info just does not exist within the liner notes… for there are no liner notes with this CD! The back of this CD does show the track listing, the usual record company info and a photo credit. Classic Sound, Inc. is the record company/distributor and the front cover photo of Alice Cooper is dated – 1993. I’ve seen this same CD available at Amazon.com, with sellers listing the starting price as low as 2 cents! (Must be Ebay sellers). As you shall read further, this Alice Cooper – Live At Toronto CD is for diehard fans only… for those fans who absolutely, must have every album/CD title out there, of this ultra Rock legend.

With no real liner notes, it is not definite as to who the musicians are backing up Alice Cooper. I would not want to make any guesses without having credible information regarding who exactly played on stage, with Alice Cooper for this recording. My Metal research has turned up nothing, in regards to this CD, other than the “basic” info that I am mentioning in this post. The overall sound quality of Live At Toronto is not going to blow anyone away… it does not impress me at all. The song selection does not contain Alice Cooper’s standout hits, nor even any standout deep album cuts from the Alice Cooper catalog. Listening to Live At Toronto gives my ears the impression that this was a concert in a smaller venue, not an Arena.

It’s really a shame, this live CD could be quite a vintage and Rock solid listen, if only some qualified sound engineer did some tweaking where necessary. There are many moments throughout, where I swear I’m listening to a 45 rpm being played as a 33 1/3 rpm… no kidding. Classic Rock should never be recorded to sound so old. I’ll say this many times though… this is NOT the great Alice Cooper’s fault. Alice Cooper cannot be held accountable for some indie label messing up with one of his concert recording’s and trying to cash in on his legendary and  Classic Rock.

There is a silent break between each song, so the continuity of the “live” concert experience is non-existent. Alice Cooper is not caught live talking it up to the crowd, nor are there any memorable moments that would make me want to recommend this CD to new fans of Alice Cooper. My best Metal advice is stick to the main titles of Alice Cooper, on the major labels. Sometimes these offbeat and indie labels that release live CD’s are not privy to quality standards in live recordings. My disappointment after listening to Live At Toronto is again, not any fault of Alice Cooper, it is obviously a failure on the part of the people behind mastering this live recording.

Track Listing For Alice Cooper – Live At Toronto:

Ain’t That Just Like A Woman

Painting A Picture

Medley: A.C. Instrumental – I’ve Written Home To Mother

Freak Out Song

Goin’ To The River

Nobody Like Me

Science Fiction

I’ll be keeping my Alice Cooper – Live At Toronto CD… and I will most likely listen to it again. My Metal admiration and liking Alice Cooper for so long, makes me one of those fans who finds it very cool, to seek out, find and keep his albums and CD’s within my collection. Even if the CD is a sub-par, indie-label, live recording. Part of being a Metalhead, is having that “gotta have it” Metal mentality… especially when an album or CD is priced dirt cheap.

LONG LIVE ALICE COOPER!

Stone.

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