Archive for the rock music reviews Category

Metal Odyssey’s Rock Music Book Pick: “A Brief History Of Album Covers”

Posted in album covers, book reviews, classic rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, metal odyssey, Music, punk rock music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALBUM COVERS – I recently discovered and bought a book that is about one of my favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll topics, that being album covers. A Brief History Of Album Covers set me back just $5 (U.S. funds). The store where I bought this cool book sells nothing higher than $5, hence the store name: Five Below. Now, this is not a used book store, nor a thrift store, all the variety of merchandise is sold as “new” at Five Below. There are a few of these Five Below stores in my area of Eastern Pennsylvania. Finding a book that interests me seems to be the norm, each time I visit a Five Below.

A Brief History Of Album Covers is an entertaining and insightful book to read. Author Jason Draper covers nearly 200 classic album covers, all in chronological order. From the debut and self-titled Elvis Presley album from 1956, to the (best of) Oasis album from 2006 – Stop The Clocks. From the Fifties to the “Noughties” as Jason Draper refers to the Millennium decade, he chooses album covers that are “the most iconic, unusual or representative” of each respective decade. It’s interesting and simply fun to see the album covers which Jason Draper has chosen for this book.

Each album cover has a brief write-up, with an anecdotal approach that works just well with me. Every album that is revisited has it’s respective cover pictured, in full color, along with it’s record label, release dates and songwriters. I find this book to be extremely helpful with it’s details that it offers. A Brief History Of Album Covers could have easily been a mammoth sized coffee table book, however, in this instance, the “less is more” school of thought comes together very attractively. This book has a soft cover and is 384 pages long. The oddball measurements (approximately) for this book are: 6 and 5/8″ x 6 and 1/4″.

There are not an abundance of Heavy Metal album covers found in Jason Draper’s research here and I quite honestly can live with it. Not everyone will submit the same list or book of what they consider to be the standout album covers that span 60 years. Iron Maiden’s third studio album from 1982, The Number Of The Beast is included, along with Van Halen’s 1984 and Led Zeppelin’s ultra-legendary sixth studio album – Physical Graffiti.

(Led ZeppelinPhysical Graffiti)

The diversity is seen here in A Brief History Of Album Covers that lends itself as a tribute to many Rock Music genres, only not all of them. From Frank Sinatra to Lynyrd Skynyrd with Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols in-between, Jason Draper has accomplished a tidy celebration of album cover art. Sure, if it were my book on a history of album covers I would include representations from Black, Death and Thrash Metal without blinking a Metal eye. As I mentioned earlier though, not everyone will share the same opinion on an absolute list of decade defining album covers.

Even with the lack of Extreme Metal being represented within A Brief History Of Album Covers, I still strongly endorse this book and applaud Jason Draper for revisiting such a tremendous catalog of album covers. His interpretations of the album cover art he compiled, has made me look at these covers with an “open mind” once again. I also commend Jason Draper for paying homage to what is now quickly becoming an obsolete experience for younger generations of music fans, of being able to view and enjoy the album cover art that so often represents the respective music of the album and it’s creators. The LP does live on though, thanks to Jason Draper’s brief journey with all of these cool covers.

There are many interesting facts found in A Brief History Of Album Covers, both historic and artistic. One fact that I was reminded of, (due to my blatantly forgetting about), is the design similarity between Elvis Presley’s 1956 debut album and London Calling by The Clash, which was released back in 1979. Jason Draper refers to The Clash cover as “parodying” the Elvis Presley debut, only I beg to differ. My interpretation is The Clash are paying tribute to a true pioneer of Rock ‘N’ Roll, regardless if the initial intent was to be that of parody or not. Both the Elvis Presley debut album and London Calling are serious representations of their respective Rock genres, therefore the tag of “parody” realistically does not apply. Take a look for yourself below:

Elvis Presley (debut/self titled) – RCA Victor – 1956

The Clash (London Calling) – CBS Records (UK), Epic Records (U.S.)

* Jason Draper is the Reviews Editor for Record Collector Magazine, the United Kingdom’s longest running monthly music magazine, with distribution in the UK and worldwide. Jason Draper is described as a “true collector” on the inside back cover panel of this book… I would tend to agree he surely is, without knowing him.

* The foreword for A Brief History Of Album Covers was written by Paul Du Noyer. As the founder of Mojo (music magazine based in the United Kingdom), Paul Du Noyer has also edited many Rock Music reference books and is an author himself.

* A Brief History Of Album Covers was first published in 2008, by Flame Tree Publishing, based in the United Kingdom.

LONG LIVE ALBUM COVERS.

LONG LIVE THE POWER OF MUSIC.

Stone.

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ALL THAT REMAINS “… For We Are Many” – A Formidable Album From One Of Metalcore’s Finest

Posted in hard rock albums, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, heavy metal songs, metal music, metal odyssey, metalcore bands, metalcore music, Music, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

ALL THAT REMAINS – From the very onset, with the intro Now Let Them Tremble… All That Remains establishes the Metal fact they are not going to sugarcoat a damned note on their fifth studio album – … For We Are Many, released on October 12, 2010 on Prosthetic Records/Razon & Tie. I would never expect anything less than a fast, furious and angrier than a yellow jacket wasp sound from All That Remains, on their new album. That intro really did lead me down the path to an excellent Metalcore storm that … For We Are Many is all about. The Metal pride of Western Massachusetts has fabulously delivered on their new album, making it very difficult for me not to write a 5,000 word review on it.

For We Are Many has Philip Labonte belting out vocals that more than border on Death Metal, he exhibits some ear popping vocal noise that is a welcomed part of All That Remains brand of Metal, to my ecstatic ears. Philip can diversify vocally, like a Metal chameleon he resonates with gritty harmony on The Last Time, a straight edged Metalcore song that exemplifies why this genre can claim it’s Metal legitimacy in my Metal History book. If there could ever be an accessibly Extreme Metal song, then The Last Time is it.

If I have said it once before, I shall say it once again… Oli Herbert is a Metal asset to All That Remains. It’s just a matter of time before Oli becomes a household name amongst the Metal masses, if he hasn’t become one already. Oli can shred, just listening to the leads he comes out with is reason enough to become a fan of All That Remains. Plus, when I listen to Oli on any song, it’s listening to a guitarist who obviously reveres Old School Metal and Hard Rock, by incorporating the vibe of yesterday into the Metal of today.

Not to ignore Mike Martin on guitar, he has more devastating licks in his Metal bag of guitar tricks than I can count. Anytime I listen to All That Remains, especially now with their latest album, I want to scream out to the Metal community that Oli and Mike are a Metal guitar duo that can’t be contained… they have been unleashed unto the here and now and listening to these guys is a Metal reality check. From The Outside is a song that exemplifies exactly what I’m trying to convey here, Metal be thy name this song explodes with guitar driving force.

Now, try to name off five bass guitarists in all of Metal that are female. Nice try. Jeanne Sagan has been the Metal thunder glue for All That Remains since the 2006 diamond in the rough… The Fall Of Ideals. Jeanne isn’t gonna shy away from letting her Metal presence known… she plays stompingly tight alongside drummer Jason Costa, making this All That Remains band a formidable force. I really liked this band lineup on 2008’s Overcome, now I really, really, like this All That Remains lineup.

If Keepers Of Fellow Man doesn’t get your adrenaline fired up, then your probably in a frozen state of consciousness. Melodic driven, with the heaviness of duo guitars, a rhythm section spiraling out bombastic beats and Philip’s barbed wire vocals, carries this song in unison, to stadium crowd heights. Uh, yeah, Keepers Of Fellow Man is more than likely my favorite song on this album. This song is just one of twelve, that truly are all Metal encompassing, like an impermeable net dropping down on my brain and making me succumb to it’s Metal stranglehold.

The Waiting One is such a fantastic song that having it be the album closer is genius. This song is Heavy, even with it’s breakdowns and intervals of acoustic guitar. The layering affect of The Waiting One is what gives it it’s Metal brilliance. Plus, Philip Labonte exhibits a vocal soft side that quite frankly should be exposed more often. Philip gives off the same Metal cool when he croons as he does when he growls and shouts… in my Metal opinion.

All That Remains makes their Metal flow with plenty of melodic moments married with their trademark Metalcore sound throughout … For We Are Many. The heaviness is apparent, like a supercharged continuum, therefore, loyal All That Remains fans can’t possibly be disappointed with their new album. As each All That Remains album gets released, I hear more strength and confidence in the songwriting and music across the Metal board from this excellent band.

Adam Dutkiewicz returns as producer for this new All That Remains album. (Jason Suecof produced 2008’s Overcome). Adam is like a New England “National Metal Treasure”… he has that “knack” for bringing this Metalcore sound and vibe into a state of exceptionality. Anyone familiar knows Adam is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer that has helped catapult his band, Killswitch Engage, into mega-Metal notoriety.

The Metal accolades I have bestowed upon this new All That Remains album, is due to the sheer fact that this album finishes what it started, a heightened sound and feel to what these twelve great songs give off. With acute care into the songwriting and lyrics, while succeeding in the balancing act of melodic and Heavy Metalcore on … For We Are Many, Philip Labonte, Oli Herbert, Jeanne Sagan, Mike Martin and Jason Costa should by now, have some Metal swagger in their steps.

* For more info on ALL THAT REMAINS, just click the link below:

ALL THAT REMAINS – myspace music

ALL THAT REMAINS:

Philip Labonte – vocals

Oli Herbert – lead guitar

Mike Martin – guitar

Jeanne Sagan – bass

Jason Costa – drums

… For We Are Many – Track Listing:

Now Let Them Tremble

For We Are Many

The Last Time

Some Of The People, All Of The Time

Won’t Go Quietly

Aggressive Opposition

From The Outside

Dead Wrong

Faithless

Hold On

Keepers Of Fellow Man

The Waiting One

LONG LIVE ALL THAT REMAINS.

Stone.

HEART “RED VELVET CAR” – IS 100% PURE CLASSIC HEART!

Posted in classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock music, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

HEARTAnn and Nancy Wilson have revived their very own Classic Rock roots, to such an extent that Red Velvet Car is unmistakably 100% pure Heart Classic Rock. I don’t think I can hear a single note on this new Heart album to tell me otherwise. Released on August 31, 2010, on Sony Legacy, Red Velvet Car is the thirteenth studio release from Heart. This new album of Heart songs won’t reveal an Even It Up from 1980’s Bebe le Strange, nor will you hear anything remotely close to What About Love, from their 1985 self titled album Heart. What I hear is Ann and Nancy Wilson making a triumphant return to the sound that captured my very own heart, some thirty plus years ago.

Throughout the decades, I’ve listened to so many bands try to reinvent themselves, through sound, style and/or persona. Sure, Heart may have dabbled in some of their very own “change” in the mid 1980’s, only it was never drastic enough for these two incredibly talented sisters to cease making memorable Rock Music. I went along for that stylistic ride back in 1985… seeing Heart in the arena setting of The Hartford Civic Center, with the ever charismatic Autograph as the opening act. There was always a place for Heart… in my Metal heart, ever since my first album of theirs was spinning on my turntable, that album being Bebe le Strange.

While there are those bands that changed and never recovered, there are still other’s that seem to have forgotten their Rock ‘N’ Roll roots with an almost defiant glee in their eyes. Not Ann and Nancy… not Heart. These two gals have taken not just a piece of their Rock ‘N’ Roll past for Red Velvet Car, they have taken it all and this album essentially salutes it with a double high five… throughout all ten songs. As I took a ride inside the Rock Music of Red Velvet Car, I not only took a ride into the Classic Rock past, I am also taking a ride into the Classic Rock present of Heart for as the legendary Bob Seger has sung… “Rock ‘N’ Roll never forgets”.

Ann Wilson’s vocals on each and every song she sings comes through with the same spirit and resonance as the earliest of Heart albums. To listen to Heart’s 1976 debut album, Dreamboat Annie, immediately following Red Velvet Car is quite the Rockin’ treat, realizing that both albums are nearly 35 years apart is astonishing. The same can be said for Nancy Wilson’s guitar, being over three decades removed from Dreamboat Annie doesn’t seem real when the similarities in sound, style and fresh energy are so comparable.

There is even a slight demo-esque feel and quality about Red Velvet Car that makes it all the more alluring to me, whether this is intentional or not, the end result separates this album from having that overly polished and deliberate commercial gloss. From the onset, There You Go sets the tone as to the exact direction Red Velvet Car steers towards. There You Go is acoustically brash with an attitude usually reserved for a hungry up and coming Rock band, only this is Heart in 2010 and thus they are rejuvenated with their song writing. It only get better…

WTF has Nancy’s guitar tone emanating the feeling and desire of 1977’s Barracuda, making me wish I owned a vintage Chevy Nova jacked up and ready to go for that Summertime road trip to the beach. If WTF doesn’t grab you, then you have never listened to Heart before. Ann sounds as invigorated and Rockalicious as ever on the song Red Velvet Car… velvet vocals and all. If I am to drift off into Heart never, never land… then this is the song to bring me there.

Alright, this is the “stand up” and get your groove on portion of Red Velvet CarQueen City is now playing. When Ann cry’s out – “yo-ho, yo-ho gotta keep afloat” it’s enough to make me feel like Heart has taken back what once was old and made it new again. Let’s not forget that Nancy Wilson can sing with a sparkle like a dew covered peach in the morning Summer sun. Hey You is an acoustic, up-tempo, semi-sweet ballad that carries it’s Rock fragrance of Heart with it’s infectious melody and Nancy’s sweet harmony.

Wheels and Safronia’s Mark both have the atmospheric sound and sensory feel of all things glorious about Classic Heart. Ann and Nancy please, take a bow now for you both have put me on a Classic Rock cloud that is drifting me further away from the lame-o and negative laced Rock Music that devoured everyone in the ’90’s. Hallelujah and Metal be thy name.

I’m going to make it a point to listen to Death Valley and Sunflower, while laying on the grass of my backyard on one of these last hot Summer days… and stare up at the blue sky and puffy white clouds with a retro grin on my middle-aged face that stretches from ear to ear. Is it wrong for my classifying Red Velvet Car as a Classic Rock gem? Calling out Heart’s return to Classic Rock prowess? I don’t think so. Exemplary Rock Music will always rise to the top, despite what is being played on radio or (gasp) MTV. Classic Rock exists for it will never go away, as it rears it’s triumphant head whenever a legendary band such as Heart brings it to life through their albums… both past and present with Red Velvet Car.

Classic Rock has rescued me once again, thank you Ann and Nancy. Red Velvet Car has the Classic Rock ‘N’ Roll fuel and I’m telling anyone whose listening to hitch a ride. Heart has pulled up in their Red Velvet Car and taken me for ride that I’m looking forward to taking again on a consistent basis… for a very, very, long time.

* I have not yet obtained any bonus tracks from the European release of Red Velvet Car, nor was I aware of the two bonus tracks found on the Target version of this CD, until it was too late. (I bought Red Velvet Car at f.y.e. before knowing of the “Only At Target” release).

* For more info on HEART, just click here: HEART-MUSIC.com

Track Listing For Red Velvet Car:

There You Go

WTF

Red Velvet Car

Queen City

Hey You

Wheels

Safronia’s Mark

Death Valley

Sunflower

Sand


LONG LIVE HEART!

Stone.

MADINA LAKE “THEY’RE COMING FOR ME” – NEW SINGLE RELEASED AND IT’S IMPRESSIVE!!

Posted in alternative rock bands, alternative rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock bands, hard rock music, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

MADINA LAKE – The brand new single They’re Coming For Me from Madina Lake is currently available on itunes… and it is a winner. It’s the heightened chorus of this song that I can’t get enough of. Nathan Leone on lead vocals gives an emotionally powerful feel to this song’s lyrics. The guitar play of Mateo Camargo impacts They’re Coming For Me with an energy all it’s own. Mateo’s guitar parts seem to come in at the perfect time throughout this entire song. This new song explores the desperate side of the human spirit, They’re Coming For Me can be as inspirational as it is realistically moving.

A lost soul crying out for help can be disguised in social settings, to the point where no one on the outside could possibly detect there is anything wrong with such a troubled soul. This new single just may perhaps, make a lost soul out there feel that maybe they are not alone after all. Madina Lake has proven to me once again, that they are a band that takes great pride in not just their music, they take great pride in their lyrical content as well. Songs can be written with deep meaning behind their lyrics, while still having an irresistable Rock feel and melodic flow. They’re Coming For Me is a perfect example of this, in my Metal opinion and personal interpretation.

If you are a fan of Rock and/or Alternative Rock that touches on the human factor, this new Madina Lake single should be a song you can’t possibly pass over.

* The Dresden Codex – is the forthcoming album from Madina Lake. I have not seen an actual release date just yet for this album… still, it’s gonna be worth the wait for Madina Lake fans.

* For more info on MADINA LAKE, and to stay updated on the healing progress of Matthew Leone, just click the links below:

MADINA LAKE – Official Website

MADINA LAKE – myspace music

* To make a pledge by buying Madina Lake merch and music to help defray the medical costs for Matthew Leone, just click on the link below:

PLEDGEMUSIC – Madina Lake’s Matthew Leone – Sweet Relief Fundraiser

MATTHEW LEONE IS A HERO.

Stone.

RAY LAMONTAGNE and the PARIAH DOGS – “GOD WILLIN’ & THE CREEK DON’T RISE” CAPTURES STORYTELLING THROUGH SONG

Posted in classic rock, folk rock music, metal odyssey, Music, music reviews, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

RAY LAMONTAGNE and the PARIAH DOGS – If music is the soul of mankind and a man needs to mellow out his soul, then Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs are a band to drift off to. With that said, anyone who really knows Stone, realizes that besides being a Metalhead-Rockaholic, I’m also an admirer of quality music of any genre. Doesn’t the word “genre” come across as intellectual sometimes? It is a “must” word to use when you have a blog about… music. I’ve never been bashful to use this word, Metal be thy name. Well… onward to Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs album – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise.

There are those moments in my life where I turn to some good old fashioned Easy Listening music to chill out my senses. Why do I need to “chill out my senses”? Really, I don’t have a clinical answer for this, other than soothing sounds of music and vocals can relax me and make me look at my life from a different angle. The vocals of Ray LaMontagne I find to be somewhat captivating, it’s almost as if he sings the way he damn well feels and never gave a damn about trying to fit in with any specific group of contemporary male vocalists.

Besides being the vocalist for his band The Pariah Dogs on this album, Ray LaMontagne also plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. The acoustic guitar can justifiably emit as distinct and powerful a message through it’s tone as it’s muscular counterpart… the electric guitar. Soft Rock or as it’s also called, Easy Listening, has always benefited from the mellow side of an acoustic guitar. Folk Rock’s foundation is centered around the acoustic guitar and this new Ray LaMontagne album exploits the easy listening sound of Folk Rock to it’s ultimate potential. Ray’s vocals and the acoustic guitar are like soul mates to one another, the combination of the two brings about reflections of what the song is conveying lyrically as well as emotionally.

As I listen to New York City’s Killing Me, the mental imagery of the New York City sky-scape stays with me. I see the subway, crowded streets and Summer time smog as Ray sings about how this city is killing him. I love New York City myself, still I can understand how some visitors to The Big Apple could easily not become acquainted with it’s social pace and maximized energy. God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise has a Pedal Steel played by both Eric Heywood and Greg Leisz, it’s a sound that just hits me perfectly. I just seem to experience that “open country field” feeling while listening to this song, the Pedal Steel only helps to interpret this all the more for me.

Beg Steal Or Borrow is as blatantly fabulous of a song as there could be on this album. The tempo, beat and totality of sound resonating from The Pariah Dogs reminds me of an early ’70’s Fleetwood Mac. I can easily understand there being some Fleetwood Mac influence within the musical veins of Ray LaMontagne or any of his band members.

Are We Really Through is a somber ballad that is about… breaking up with someone. Ray’s vocals on this sad sounding song has an unbelievable Joe Cocker quality. Trust me, Ray LaMontagne is no copycat vocalist to my ears. Just think for a second as to how difficult it would be, to even try to sing like the legendary Joe Cocker. The vocals of Ray LaMontagne spill over these songs, as natural and free as a waterfall spilling over moss covered river stone. Often times, the word “unique” is overused, therefore, I shall state Ray’s vocals are stunningly unique.

To think that maybe Ray LaMontagne is a fan of Neil Young’s Harvest album is a credible thought. The mellowfied Country Rock that sticks it’s happy face out during this album during such songs as Old Before Your Time and For The Summer, comes as a welcomed listen for my retrospective ears and thoughts. These two songs would have been a smash for AM radio back in those satin days of the ’70’s. The interesting aspect of Old Before Your Time and For The Summer is that they are realistically relevant now.

Like Rock & Roll And Radio opens with Ray playing the harmonica, setting the stage for what I would consider his best vocals on this album. Ray is a storyteller and he tells stories through his songs like he has been doing this for decades. There are moments when I have to look at the liner notes of God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, look at the photos of Ray and make sure he’s not a legend from the early ’70’s.

Devil’s In The Jukebox is a glistening finish to an album that was already glistening. The back country woods sound, feel and foot stompin’ character to this song makes it a prize worth listening to repeatedly, making me wish this song would just carry on for another five minutes or more. It’s quite obvious that Ray LaMontagne has a skilled band of musicians behind him. The Pariah Dogs compliment Ray’s vocals as if it was meant to be and it was written to happen this way, hundreds of years ago, on a scroll.

Not to sound as a wise guy here, yet as I listen to God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, the feeling that overrides me from these ten songs are that of AM gold. These songs, practically this entire album is one big hit. If I am to point out one song that doesn’t “do it” for me, it’s Are We Really Through. Regardless of how I feel, this sad song might just touch someone differently with it’s meaning. These are the songs that I don’t mind hearing while taking a long ride in the country or while reading a good book. To listen to this album while sitting on my back patio and staring up at the blue Summer sky, while looking over my gardens and enjoying a couple of cold brews, is on my to-do list.

* God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise was released on August 17, 2010, on RCA. This album is the fourth studio release for Ray LaMontagne and first album being named alongside his band The Pariah Dogs.

* For more info on Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, just click the link below:

Ray LaMontagne – Official Website

Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs:

Ray LaMontagne – vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Eric Heywood – pedal steel, electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Greg Leisz – pedal steel, lap steel, acoustic resonator, steel guitar, mandola, banjo, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric baritone guitar

Jennifer Condos – bass

Jay Bellerose – drums

Ryan Freeland – accordion on For The Summer

Patrick Warren – keyboards on This Love Is Over

Track Listing For God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise:

Repo Man

New York City’s Killing Me

God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise

Beg Steal Or Borrow

Are We Really Through

This Love Is Over

Old Before Your Time

For The Summer

Like Rock & Roll And Radio

Devil’s In The Jukebox

Stone.

METAL ODYSSEY’S TOP TEN HARD ROCK ALBUMS OF 2009

Posted in 1970's hard rock, 1970's Rock, 1970's southern rock bands, 1980's hard rock bands, 1990's hard rock bands, Album Review, best of album lists, best of hard rock albums list, best of rock list, classic hard rock bands, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic southern rock, cool album covers, current hard rock albums, current hard rock bands, current hard rock music, current hard rock songs, essential hard rock albums, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock albums 2009, hard rock bands 2009, hard rock music, hard rock music 2009, hard rock songs, hard rock vocalists, heavy metal music, lists, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, rock & roll, rock album reviews, rock and roll, rock music, rock music reviews, top ten album lists, vintage hard rock bands with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Welcome to Metal Odyssey’s 1st Annual Top Ten Hard Rock Albums list! This list is for Hard Rock albums released in 2009. These albums are my favorites that I listened to most consistently this past year, while hearing the best in overall musicianship and songs. For sure there are Hard Rock albums released in 2009 that I have passed over, (time and money plays a factor). *Please note the links throughout this list, navigating you to a more detailed review, that I have written for past Metal Odyssey posts during 2009, regarding the respective album.

#10 – CHICKENFOOT – CHICKENFOOT

The more I listened to this Supergroup lineup of Sammy Hagar (lead vocals), Joe Satriani, (lead guitar), Michael Anthony, (bass guitar) and Chad Smith, (drums), the more it dawned on me… I was probably more star struck at the initial release of this album, (June 5, 2009), than I am in December, 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really like Chickenfoot. This album takes me back to the late ’80’s Hard Rock vibe of Van Hagar, uh, Van Halen, plus the songs remind me of good time Summer days. For me not to have these guys in my Top Ten of Hard Rock Albums for 2009 – would be an insult to myself. This Chickenfoot album I will without question, listen to time and again… especially during the Summer months. For more stuff I wrote about Chickenfoot on May 1, 2009, click on the heading below:

Watch out Metal & Hard Rock fans – Chickenfoot is coming!

#9 – MADINA LAKE – ATTICS TO EDEN

Yeah, sure, there is some slight Pop in the music of Madina Lake, with an overlying style of Alternative Rock, still… the hard edge heard inside the inner linings of the songs, on Attics To Eden, is what still lures me in. Madina Lake convinced me, that they give a damn about song writing and lyrics, not caving in to being too hard or too soft at the same time. Call me corny, Madina Lake created one heck of an inspiring album, with Attics To Eden. My detailed review I posted on August 13, 2009, can be yours by clicking you know where – below:

MADINA LAKE – “Attics to Eden” is an Alternative Rock detour to take

#8 – PAPA ROACH – METAMORPHOSIS

Jacoby Shaddix makes this album so appreciable for me, with his vocals not overpowering the band, instead they distinguish the individual songs heard on Metamorphosis. Papa Roach is not a band trying to be something they are not… instead Papa Roach mixes Rock styles into a menagerie of hard and at times, heavy songs on this album. Papa Roach may have given a nod to some decades old, retrospective melodic heaviness, yet still kept the relevancy factor at full throttle. O.k., I’m guilty of calling the most accessible song on Metamorphosis my favorite… Lifeline more than rivets me, it lifts my spirits high. I posted just how much this album thrilled me, on April 7, 2009… click below to see what I blabbed.

Papa Roach “Metamorphosis” – leave your stress behind!

#7 – DOMMIN – EP

Sure, this is just an EP from DOMMIN, subsequently titled – EP, nonetheless, it had such an impact on me that it made my Top Ten Hard Rock Album List. Kristofer Dommin has quite the vocals and can write some catchy, moody and dark songs. There are four songs on EP, in my Metal opinion they are dynamite. I am really looking forward to the complete studio album from DOMMIN, Love Is Gone, to be released on February 10, 2009. On October 19, 2009, I let everyone in the world know, just how thrilled I am about EP… check out what I ranted and raved about by clicking below:

DOMMIN – “E.P.” Has Me Hooked

#6 – FOREIGNER – CAN’T SLOW DOWN

The album title for this 2009 version of Foreigner is extremely fitting for founding member Mick Jones. Kudos to Mick for not slowing down at all. The Foreigner brand and band is at the top of their Hard Rock game musically, making an album that should not only catapult this current Foreigner lineup but spotlight the Hard Rock history of this band as well. Foreigner has been a mainstay band for me since the late 1970’s, following my heart is not what I am doing here… this is a very good album. Kelly Hansen fits right in with Foreigner, he even sings the bands classics like they were intended for him. I could never compare him to Lou Gramm, there forever will only be one Lou Gramm. It doesn’t hurt that Jeff Pilson is the bass guitarist with Foreigner either. I definitely recommend this album, Foreigner 2009 is not an anomaly, they are for real… just as they ever were.

#5- WOLFMOTHER – COSMIC EGG

Yes, I am a Wolfmother believer, one who could not wait for them to release their sophomore album. Cosmic Egg is NOT a carbon copy of the debut Wolfmother album, instead the songs take on a more melodic and streamlined sound. There is definitely MORE happening on this second album from Wolfmother, with song structure and production seeming to take on a prominent role. The songs on Cosmic Egg sound beefier than that of it’s predecessor. Wolfmother carries on with their psychedelic whomp on Cosmic Egg, carrying over the Old School riffs and chops that remind me of the early to mid 1970’s Hard Rock world. I may never know for sure, if there are those Old School Hard Rock influences coming into play with Wolfmother, regardless, this album never ceases to send sensory shock waves of heavy glee through me, with each listen. Simply, a super all around Hard Rock album.

#4 – THE MARS VOLTA – OCTAHEDRON

Call it my insatiable appetite for Progressive Music… Progressive Hard Rock 101 = The Mars Volta. There are layers and whirlwinds of musical innuendo to be heard on Octahedron. Could anyone familiar with The Mars Volta have expected anything substandard? Never. It will most likely take me another fifty listens to this album, to finally come close in hearing every piece of music, that radiates from within it’s unreal great core. The Mars Volta could go into a time machine and make relevant Rock and Roll, Rock or Hard Rock in any of the past six decades. Octahedron is not math Rock… it is genius and Progressive Hard Rock. The Mars Volta have done their homework in Progressive Rock history and appreciation, now I am forever appreciating this band and Octahedron. Oh, yeah, I did praise The Mars Volta up and down, on July 7, 2009. Just do a quick click below to read what I mean:

The Mars Volta “Octahedron” – A Progressive Hard Rock mind pill

#3 – CHEAP TRICK – THE LATEST

Cheap Trick. I became a lifelong fan of this band a long time ago, in a very expensive state called Connecticut, far, far, away. The album opener Sleep Forever is what grabbed me emotionally from the onset, a somber intro/prelude to a Cheap Trick bevy of Rock and Roll delight. Cheap Trick has maintained their elite status in the history of Rock Music… for me and I’m convinced many others as well. The Latest is just that – the latest great blend of Rock and Hard Rock Music from a band that DESERVES TO BE IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME. On July 26, 2009, I was blogging away as to how enormously great this new Cheap Trick album is… lookie below and click away to read it!

Cheap Trick “The Latest” is their latest great album

#2 – CKY – CARVER CITY

During the early half of 2009, I found it easy to slap the Metal label on CKY. Then, upon my listening to Carver City on numerous occasions, I decided this band is in fact, a Hard Rock Band to my ears. I never professed to be a music genre genius… just a music genre blabber. Yes, CKY can and has proven the excellent ability to play very, very, heavy, (Old Carver’s Bones, for example), yet songs such as A #1 Roller Rager and The Era Of An End solidifies my belief as CKY being Hard Rock. Carver City is as muscular with great songs and invitingly macabre as any album I could possibly wish for. I willingly became a CKY fan in 2009, prompted by this unreal great album. I really laid it on thick as to why CKY and Carver City made me so ecstatic… yes I did… on May 21, 2009 and if you want to, check out the details I blabbed by… uh, huh… clicking the heading below.

CKY “Carver City” is diverse, macabre Metal at it’s finest

Here is the front cover to CKY – CARVER CITY… spooky scene there, one of my favorite covers of 2009.

Here is the back cover of CKY – CARVER CITY… again, very spooky, this stuff I can’t get enough of.

#1 – LYNYRD SKYNYRD – GOD & GUNS

Upon my very first listen to Lynyrd SkynyrdGod & Guns, I realized I was listening to something very special. An American Rock Music icon… survivors, Southern Rock legends… Lynyrd Skynyrd. When choosing a #1 album, for me, it is all about total song quality. ALL 12 songs are a journey into a world of Southern Hard Rock musicianship at it’s upmost finest. Yes, this album does dabble in Country Rock with Unwrite That Song and That Ain’t My America… and why shouldn’t Lynyrd Skynyrd go in that direction if they so choose? This great band is deserving of creating any damn song they want, they have earned it. Trust me, this is an album that will be appreciated by skeptics and critics more for it’s total sum than it’s parts… ten, maybe twenty years from now. The Hard Rock parts are all there to be heard, with Southern Rock and Country Rock roots swirled into the mix. God & Guns is patriotic and I am proud to be an American. Long live Lynyrd Skynyrd. Metal Odyssey applauds this band for creating God & Guns.

Don’t hesitate to read my fully detailed review on God & Guns, I bellowed through my blog just how much this album means to me on October 2, 2009:

LYNYRD SKYNYRD – “GOD & GUNS” IS ALREADY A SOUTHERN ROCK CLASSIC

Thank you for visiting Metal Odyssey and checking out my Top Ten Hard Rock Album List for 2009!

*Be sure to also check out these fellow Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Music blogs for their Best Of Lists for 2009, they are fabulous blogs all… believe me, it is worth the time, plus it’s darn good fun:

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Excess — http://metalexcess.com/

The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/

Rock Of Ages — http://rockofages.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/



FOREIGNER – DEBUT ALBUM FROM 1977 STILL PULLS ME IN

Posted in 1970's classic rock albums, 1970's classic rock bands, 1970's classic rock songs, 1970's classic rock vocalists, 1970's hard rock bands, 1970's hard rock, 1970's Rock, 1970's rock music, 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's hard rock, Album Review, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic rock music 1977, classic rock songs, cool album covers, essential classic rock albums, essential classic rock songs, everyday social experiences, family, family pets, hard rock music, life, life stories, metal odyssey, Music, real life experiences, Rock, rock & roll, rock album review, rock and roll, rock music, rock music reviews, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Foreigner "Foreigner" small album picThe debut album by Foreigner, (self titled, released on March 8, 1977), was one of my first vinyl record albums that I ever owned. I actually bought the first Foreigner album shortly after receiving their Double Vision album as a birthday gift, back in 1979. (The Double Vision album was released on June 20, 1978). So it is safe to say, that the debut Foreigner album was playing on my turntable sometime in the Spring of 1979. Being an eighth grader in 1979, my exposure to Heavy Metal Music was at it’s most infant state, KISS was the only Heavy Metal Band I owned on album at this time. I always bring up my past history, as to the year of purchase of a said album and what bands I was into at the given time, so to make clarity to the evolvement of my becoming a Metalhead. It was a progression of listening to different Rock genres for me, since I was a kid. This Foreigner album is as integral a piece to that progression, as any other Rock album I ever listened to. Just as the Double Vision album, Foreigner’s debut album had me wanting more and that was a good symptom to have. There definitely was some psychological imbedding that happened to me with Foreigner at a young age, whenever I listen to their albums, (especially the first four), I feel like everything is alright.

What prompted me to blog about this Foreigner debut album is hearing the song Feels Like The First Time on the radio this past Sunday. My family and I just had to endure visiting a sad animal shelter that morning, (we are currently looking to adopt a cat), and all four of us were in quite the funk. I decided to bring my wife to a store that has 70% off of all their Christmas decor, what bargains were truly found – no kidding here. This stop to purchase Christmas decor was just the elixir of happy that my wife and daughters needed after a somber morning of seeing so many poor and sickly cats. My elixir of happy was hearing Foreigner on the store’s radio. As I have stated, Foreigner puts me on the – everything is alright trip. I actually felt my face give off a smile and get all flushed while I heard this Foreigner song. On the drive home from this store, I wished there was a Foreigner CD in the car… trust me, there has been many times.

This experience is just a fine example of how a band and their album can pull me right in… and take me back, while making my mood alright again. That is the magic of Rock and Roll, these are the benchmarks of an album and/or song that cannot be critiqued by lazy Rolling Stone Magazine writers who have not a clue. The personal memories and feelings that are stored within oneself, due to the impact from a Rock Band of any genre, their albums, an individual song or a concert experience from such band… money cannot buy, man. Listening to Foreigner’s debut again, reminds me as to why the Classic Rock genre exists. This album is a Rock Classic. Foreigner is in my Metal Odyssey Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Too bad that big, pompous building in Cleveland, Ohio, doesn’t get it.

I grin each time I stare at the front cover image of the band, on the Foreigner debut front cover. The first impression is – these are gentlemen. Hard Rock gentlemen, that is. The maturity that this front cover image evokes, also mirrors the maturity of the music heard from this Foreigner album. It wasn’t about boobs and beer, rebellion or political commentary, it was about quality Rock and Hard Rock songs. From the lyrics to each songs structure, Foreigner presented to the world a sophisticated, yet Hard edged sound, that could be radio friendly and street cool at the same time. Two of my favorite songs from Foreigner are not even considered to be hits at all. Headknocker and Starrider are two songs from this album that are individualistic and represent the two sides of Foreigner’s Rock style. Headknocker being the Hard Rock cranker and Starrider introducing Foreigner’s adoration for a more melodic, Rock ballad. I really like Starrider for it’s almost cosmic musical ambiance, the keyboards and chorus are what sets this song apart, for me. This is just me, yet it would be a kick to hear W.A.S.P. or Judas Priest cover Headknocker.

Long, Long Way From Home is without doubt, Lou Gramm singing at his very finest. Man, his vocals alone, makes this song resonate with powerful emotion. Cold As Ice will always be the hit staple from this Foreigner album… rightfully so. I would not argue that it is as important a Rock single as any from the 1970’s. Regardless of decades passing by, this Foreigner debut album is, yes, timeless. It may sound cliche, still those Rock and Hard Rock albums from days gone by, like this very album, need to be revisited and remembered for their Rock and Roll historical importance and sheer quality.

Foreigner "Foreigner" large album pic

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