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Ronny Munroe “The Fire Within” – Metal Church vocalist roars on solo debut

Posted in Album Review, Century Media, century media records, classic metal, cover songs, current heavy metal albums, current heavy metal music, dio, essential heavy metal albums, Guitar, guitar solos, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album covers, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal music 2009, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal solo albums, heavy metal solo artists, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, Metal Church, metal music, metal music today, Metal Reviews, Music, new heavy metal album, old school heavy metal, rainbow heavy metal band, ronnie james dio, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

30649First of all, I am a fan of Ronny Munroe, the current lead vocalist for Metal Church. I just happen to gravitate towards the Old School Metal sound, both vocally and musically. Ronny Munroe in my Metal opinion, has the unmistakable Old School Heavy Metal vocals… and in no way do I subscribe to the opinion that this sound is dated. This brand of Old School Heavy Metal has been proven successful for decades now. For me, it is another Metal genre that lives on. With that said, I have obtained a copy of the new Ronny Munroe debut CD… The Fire Within, (released 2009), I am impressed by the total package of music here. This is Heavy Metal made the old school way, no frills, bells or whistles get in the way of the straight ahead approach that Ronny Munroe has taken on with “The Fire Within”. Honestly, Ronny Munroe comes with his Metal Church – front man credentials… he delivers a mightily solid twelve tunes alongside some talented friends. Rick Van Zandt of Metal Church, plays lead and rhythm guitars superbly throughout, with Michael Wilton of Queensryche delivering a solo on two tracks I will mention.

“Across The Sea Of Souls” is the song I feel Ronny Munroe is at his finest, his vocals sound sharp, as if he has been singing this song his entire life. The Michael Wilton solo on this song is cool, I cannot ignore or resist his guitar talent. “Ivory Towers” and “Evil Genius” are tracks that showcase moments of the higher extreme of Ronny’s vocal range, (yes, think of Rob Halford), these songs are groove laden with images of 1980’s Arena Metal concerts in my mind! “Ride Me” is a Metal-macho tune that rocks heavy, the lyrics are tailor made for a Hair Metal band… Ronny makes this song work, Randy Cooper kicks in with a lean & mean solo, a Heavy Metal tune with plenty of swagger. “What You Choose To Call Hell (I Call Home)” comes across to me, as the signature track for Ronny on this album. It is dark, heavy, moody and effectively bridges the gap between Metal Church and Ronny Munroe’s solo career. Michael Wilton appears again here, providing another memorable solo.

After listening to “The Fire Within”, it is my Metal opinion, that Ronny Munroe places Old School Heavy Metal high on a pedestal. I hear while listening to this album, the influences of Judas Priest, Dio and Dio era Rainbow. My opinion could not be better solidified, after listening to “Man On The Silver Mountain” (a vintage Rainbow song), covered by Ronny Munroe. This being the last track, it fittingly closes out a fine Heavy Metal album of creative tunes. Ronny does a terrific cover of this song, I really enjoy this version a whole bunch. This cover version found here, is a fine tribute to an everlasting, Heavy Metal classic of a song. Ronny’s vocals at times, do have comparisons to the legendary Ronnie James Dio, especially on this classic Rainbow cover. I will say, my favorite will always be the original “Man On The Silver Mountain” as sung by Dio himself. In summary, “The Fire Within” will be an album that I will tune in to on a regular basis, it is what I like. I was looking forward to this solo album from Ronny, I have not been disappointed. I recommend Ronny Munroe’s debut solo effort to any fan of Old School Heavy Metal, 1980’s Heavy Metal, Rainbow and of course, Metal Church. New fans should just dive in… this brand of Metal needs to be passed on!

Upon searching for “The Fire Within”, I did locate this CD on the worlds greatest online record store… Century Media Records… aka… CM Distro.com. (I highly recommend CM Distro.com). “The Fire Within” is on an independent record label called Ratpak Records. *Not to leave out the cool musicianship of the following on this album: Izzy Rehaume on bass guitar, Rick Pierce on rhythm guitar, Johnny Ringo and David Van Zandt on drums.

Ronny Munroe "The Fire Within"

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Rainbow “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” long lives indeed!

Posted in 1970's hard rock, 1970's heavy metal, 1970's Rock, Album Review, classic rock, cool album covers, dio, essential hard rock albums, essential heavy metal albums, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock guitarists, hard rock songs, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, Metal Reviews, Music, rainbow heavy metal band, Rock, rock music, rock music vocals, ronnie james dio, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

There never seems to be a day that goes by, where I do not peruse my Heavy Metal collection of albums and/or CD’s. One album in my collection, that recently caught my attention and reminded me of genuine Heavy Metal greatness is Rainbow “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”. When I first bought this album, I did so when Ronnie James Dio was the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath, sometime between 1980 and 1982. I needed to, at that time, catch up and become familiar with any or all of Ronnie James Dio’s music and bands. This album, without any doubt in my Metal mind, is a keeper for life.

Released in 1978, this album upon my first complete listen, had me in awe. It still has that same affect on me, more than 25 years later. It just seems that the true elite of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal will shine on forever, keeping the flame of Heavy Music burning for decades on end. That is exactly what “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll does for me, it keeps it’s Heavy Rock sheen glistening, no matter how many times I listen to it. It is my opinion that this album deserves to be in any all time great lists. The two songs “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “L.A. Connection” alone are reason enough to add this album to your collection of Heavy Music. These two tunes pound away at a pace that is classic 1970’s Heavy Metal, yet the unmistakable sound is vintage Rainbow. Here is an album, that boasts strong and heavy music for it’s time, with intelligent lyrics and arguably one of the premiere lead guitarists and lead vocalists in all of Heavy Rock, back in 1978.

Fast forward to Ronnie James Dio joining forces with Black Sabbath, then decades later Heaven & Hell, we are all living in the present with the unstoppable Metal tandem of Tony Iommi and Dio. What is such a thrill to revisit, each time I listen to this album, is there was at one time, an incredible Heavy Metal duo of Ritchie Blackmore and Dio. Listening to Dio sing at this pertinent stage of his career, is hearing an emboldened vocalist, rich with sincere emotion and hunger that elevates the totality of this albums music. Ritchie Blackmore on guitar gives the songs on “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” their creative and at times medieval signature sound. “Gates of Babylon” is a fine example on this album, of what I mean, in mentioning a medieval guitar sound. What words can I truly use to compliment the guitar playing and skill of the legendary Ritchie Blackmore on this album? Let’s leave it that Ritchie Blackmore is guitar elite. The pair of Dio and Blackmore together in Rainbow may have been short lived, however, just as the title of this album states “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” – this album without question long lives.

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Metal Church – Heavy Metal to the core

Posted in 1980's heavy metal music, 1990's heavy metal music, Album Review, classic rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, Metal Church, metal music, Metal Reviews, rainbow heavy metal band, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

I have a long list of Metal bands that I simply cannot get enough of. Metal Church is on this list. Actually, Metal Church is at the very top of this list. The reasons are many: the musicianship (first & foremost), the lead vocalists throughout this bands career  (the late David Wayne), Mike Howe and current lead vocalist Ronny Munroe. The music of Metal Church has always been heavy, they have never tried to sign on to the flavor of the month when it comes to Heavy Metal. Metal Church has always been as great of a representation of Heavy Metal music, as you can possibly get. (In my Metal opinion). I will say this now, Ronny Munroe for me, is what I consider the most underrated lead singer in all of Heavy Metal music today. I definitely feel Ronny is a Heavy Metal flashback, old school if you will. That is a compliment, for Ronny does not over reach vocally nor does he try to. Ronny Munroe is the only lead vocalist today, that reminds me of the legendary Ronnie James Dio. Sometimes comparisons are cool, especially when you get compared to DIO. *Ronny Munroe has his brand new solo album out now titled “The Fire Within”… with Kurdt Vanderhoof and Ronny producing it. Ronny does a cover of the Rainbow – Ronnie James Dio classic – “Man On The Silver Mountain” – I ordered my copy today, man, I cannot wait to get it. Michael Wilton from Queensryche and Rick Van Zandt from Metal Church both play guitar on Ronny’s solo album too. 

Kurdt Vanderhoof, the founder, guitarist and leader of Metal Church, along with all the musicians that have been part of Metal Church, both past and present, have proven to me that perseverance with musical integrity can bring about incredible Metal music. The proof of this belief are the catalog of albums from Metal Church. Plus, Kurdt Vanderhoof has a pretty darn good side project of a band called Presto Ballet as well. (I will save Presto Ballet for another future post). Going back to October 27th of 2008, a statement on the Metal Church website informed fans that Kurdt Vanderhoof was going to correct/rehabilitate bulging discs in his lower back. The statement went on to say this situation could take up to 6 months for Kurdt Vanderhoof. Man, I truly hope and pray that Kurdt Vanderhoof does rid his body of all the pain these bulging discs have caused. I am hopeful that everything goes well for Kurdt. 

During this past year, (September 23, 2008), Metal Church released their new album “This Present Wasteland” – one rock solid chunk of Heavy Metal that every fan of quality Metal music should own. It is an album that I consider to be one of the very best in Heavy Metal releases from 2008. I personally feel every tune on this album is heavy and of equal worthiness. “Monster” is a great track, lyrically taking on the dark side of cyberspace addiction. My favorite tune on this album is without a doubt, “Crawling To Extinction”, this song has all the old school, Heavy Metal flare, musically happening. If you are even remotely interested in checking out what Metal Church is all about, buy any album/CD of theirs and become an instant fan. The debut album of Metal Church is heavier, faster, more of a Thrash Metal work, in my Metal opinion. Comparing one Metal Church album to another is ridiculous, based on there being 3 different lead vocalists over the years. Besides, my being a gigantic advocate for Metal Church will not allow me to nit pick any of their music they have ever created. Check out Metal Church at http://www.metalchurchmusic.com

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April 28, 2009 is Heaven & Hell Day for the world of Heavy Metal!

Posted in 1980's heavy metal music, Black Sabbath, dio, Hard Rock, heaven and hell heavy metal band, Heavy Metal, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, Music, rainbow heavy metal band, Rock, rock music, ronnie james dio, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

92776861Mark your Metal calendar – April 28, 2009 – the NEW studio album release from HEAVEN & HELL shall be unleashed to the world of Heavy Metal!! “The Devil You Know” is coming, what a glorious time to be a Metal fan!! I cannot, without doubt, wait for this new Metal material from this prolific, historic, important, musically talented beyond my wildest praise – band. (phew). Can you tell I really, really like Heaven & Hell? I actually find myself referring to them as Black Sabbath more often than not, for that is who they really are. Despite what we Metal fans cannot control in regards to the legalities of – Metal band name rights, Heaven & Hell is one surefire-cool name for this group. Aw, heck, they could call themselves anything they want and I still will be blown away by their Metal tunes, both past and present stuff!

Really, in my honest Metal opinion, how can anyone not agree that this Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell lineup released 5 insanely great albums? “Heaven and Hell”, “Mob Rules”, “Live Evil”, “Dehumanizer” and  Black Sabbath “The Dio Years” (greatest hits – with 3 new studio tracks) make up the catalog of albums from these super Metal veterans. The combination of Ronnie James Dio on vocals, with Tony Iommi on lead guitar, Geezer Butler on bass guitar and Vinny Appice on drums created what I feel is the ultimate Heavy Metal formula for success. I felt that way since “Heaven and Hell” was released in 1980. Back then, I was in a state of Heavy Metal euphoria! Here was this scenario: the superb frontman of Rainbow is going to join forces with the remaining 3 members of Black Sabbath! Whoa! That was my initial reaction back in 1979/1980, of hearing the news about the new Black Sabbath lineup and that is my reaction now – hearing the solid and factual news that the brand new studio album from Heaven & Hell is coming out on April 28th! 

I really feel the 3 new tracks from Heaven & Hell on “The Dio Years” greatest hits album are Metal worthy and showed that this band still has everything it takes to make quality Metal music. I read about the rumors and hints that maybe a brand new studio album would be released by Heaven & Hell, well, the wait and anxiousness are finally over!! All I can say it this: if you are already a Black Sabbath, Dio and/or Heaven & Hell fan, then you know and can relate as to why I am so incredibly excited. In the event you are unfamiliar with Black Sabbath fronted by Dio and Heaven & Hell, please do yourself the biggest Metal favor – get your hands on this bands material and find out what you have been missing since 1980! Plus, I always live by the motto: quality is far better than quantity – I appreciate the 5 albums that Black Sabbath with Dio have created, their Metal music has been with me for 3 decades now. Album #6 from Heaven & Hell is going to be one terrific milestone for this band and all of their fans worldwide! This new Heaven & Hell album is proof that – Great Metal things happen to those true Metal fans who wait!!

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