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Paul Dianno “The Living Dead” is very much alive with Metal Music

Posted in 1980's heavy metal music, 1980's metal music, Album Review, cool album covers, essential heavy metal albums, Extreme Metal, heavy metal album covers, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal solo albums, heavy metal solo artists, heavy metal solo vocalists, heavy metal this decade, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, metal music today, Metal Reviews, Music, recent heavy metal albums, spooky metal album covers, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Paul Dianno “The Living Dead” was released on May 16, 2006. Why I lead with this, is due to my impatience for waiting on this album… I counted the days leading up to it’s release. It was like I was eight years old again, waiting for Christmas morning to come. For the few who may not know, Paul Dianno was the original lead singer for Iron Maiden. Paul Dianno was lead vocalist on the debut “Iron Maiden” album and the “Killers” album. Of course you can count bootlegs and the “Maiden Japan” EP as well, with having Dianno as lead vocalist. If it wasn’t for Bruce Dickinson taking over as lead vocalist for Iron Maiden, starting with the “666 The Number of the Beast” album, I would say that Paul Dianno could never be replaced as lead vocalist. However, It is my Metal opinion that comparing Paul Dianno to Bruce Dickinson is apples to oranges. Why compare? They are both completely different vocalists, both in style and range. The Paul Dianno fronted version of Iron Maiden, with the first two studio albums, (mentioned above), are undisputed Metal classics, that are revered and influential to countless Metal fans and/or Metal musicians. I feel Paul Dianno shares the same equal glory among the other original members of Iron Maiden for these albums being so iconic. (Phew, I got that off my chest, now I can blab about the actual album – “The Living Dead”).

The opening track “The Living Dead” is sung with power and emotion from Dianno – yeah, you can have emotion in Metal music. Lyrically, this song tackles loneliness, hunger and human despair. (Nope, this song is not about the cult horror film classic). This tune is a heavy – very heavy ballad if you will. For every song I mention on “The Living Dead”, bear in Metal mind, that this is a very, very heavy album. Dianno sounds more hungrier, angrier and confident than ever. (That is what my Metal ears are telling me anyways). “Mad Man In The Attic” has Dianno doing a little exploring, into the world of Death Metal vocals. These growling vocals are not constant throughout, Dianno apparently was looking for some vocal horror texture and he succeeds here, in my Metal opinion. I find Dianno to be a touch reminiscent of the legendary Alice Cooper on this song. “War Machine” is a tune built on speed and dark heaviness. “Brothers Of The Tomb” has Dianno hitting the extreme high notes vocally, with some angry gang vocals added into the mix as well. “P.O.V. 2005” is a down right Thrash Metal tune… excellent riffs and a very cool solo as well.

Dianno does a cover of the Megadeth classic “Symphony Of Destruction” – it is structured and arranged differently than the original version. The biggest difference is the vocals, plus this version is not nearly as fast overall, as to what Megadeth delivers. I like this cover for it’s diverse Metal approach though, the Megadeth original will always be the best. Two legendary Paul Dianno era – Iron Maiden tracks are included as live bonus tracks: “Wrathchild” and “Phantom Of The Opera”, the liner notes do not suggest that these live recordings were done with Iron Maiden, rather with Paul Dianno’s band. Dianno is all over these two tunes… the quality, musicianship and vocals of Dianno make these bonus tracks a worthwhile addition to “The Living Dead”.

The copy of “The Living Dead” I picked up back in 2006, has a bonus DVD that includes the video for the song “The Living Dead” and an interview with Paul Dianno. The video is dark, almost haunting with it’s imagery. Paul Dianno is shown alone, singing against the backdrop of images of strife, humanity and despair. The interview with Paul Dianno is very interesting, with really no details as to why he and Iron Maiden split ways decades ago. One neat bit of info that Dianno shared is that he feels Max Cavalera (of Sepultura & Soulfly fame) is currently the best lead vocalist in Metal today. Hey, I really like everything that Max Cavalera has done with Sepultura and Soulfly myself. I definitely recommend “The Living Dead” to any fan of Metal, especially Iron Maiden fans who want to hear some recent Paul Dianno, he did a fabulous Metal job with this album.

The Metal musicians behind Paul Dianno on “The Living Dead” are: Paulo Turin, Chico Dehira, Javier Cuevas and Claudio Duliba on guitars * Felipe Andreoli & Marcelo Bracalente on bass * Aquiles Prieser & German Rodriguez on drums.

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Enslaved “Vertebrae” – Progressive, Black Metal raises the bar

Posted in Album Review, Black Metal, black metal 2008, black metal 2009, black metal from norway, cool album covers, current heavy metal albums, current heavy metal music, current progressive metal albums, essential heavy metal albums, Extreme Metal, 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 vocalists, Metal, metal music, metal music today, Metal Reviews, Music, new heavy metal album, norwegian black metal, progressive metal, progressive metal albums, progressive metal music, recent heavy metal albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Enslaved, from Norway, has created quite the exquisite Black Metal album with “Vertebrae”. Why do I use the adjective exquisite to describe this album? Well, I revere the Progressive Metal of Mastodon and Dream Theater, the legendary Progressive Rock of Pink Floyd and the groove infested Black Metal of Satyricon. Enslaved encompasses the most Metal and progressively delicious elements from these favorite bands of mine, while incorporating them into their very own startlingly, mind popping sound. What Enslaved has done here, is taken Rock and Metal influences to a new level, creating an album that embraces everything that is brilliant about Heavy and Progressive music. (I am not saying Enslaved actually looked to these bands for inspiration, this is just my musical and Metal interpretation and/or opinion). Enslaved has their roots in Black Metal, a musical track record that overflows with Metal bragging rights… “Vertebrae” by no means exemplifies this band as not being original. This album is as original as it gets… I cannot truly count how many Metal bands there are, that dare to experiment with music so valiantly.

Black Metal has gone through a bit of a metamorphosis over the years… so have the other Metal genres. There will always be the blue collar – true to the roots style of Black Metal, it deserves it’s rightful place in the Metal universe. Enslaved, like their counterparts Satyricon, have taken the Black Metal stylings and tweaked them, in this case, Enslaved progressively tweaked. As with anything in life, change is a natural necessity that either is accepted or rejected. Change in the musical circles of Metal can often times be equated to selling out or mellowing down, every fan of Metal has their own right to personally object or accept what they want from their music. My point I am trying to make here is, Enslaved has not deceived me or let me down with their brand of Progressive, Black Metal on “Vertebrae”. Vintage Venom and Mercyful Fate will forever and always be at my Metal reach, Enslaved “Vertebrae” is an extension of what happens when musical and Metal barriers are broken down. 

In an all encompassing summary of the seven songs on “Vertebrae”, I hear the nod to the forefathers of Black Metal, with especially the lead vocals and the dark, macabre and searingly moody ambiance, coming from the musical background elements. The keyboards and organ can create Black Metal which pays homage to the original sound of this band and genre, it can also create the progressive path in which “Vertebrae” aims for as well. Herbrand Larsen is simply unreal on the keys, organ and vocals. The same can be said for each member of Enslaved… as a cohesive unit they have connected not only with each other with their Metal skills and prowess, they have also raised the bar musically, in a Metal world that is rapidly interconnecting with each others genres. I cannot resist myself by recommending highly “Vertebrae”, Enslaved has created an album that will be at the top of my Metal list for decades to come.

The members of Enslaved are: Ivar Bjornson on guitars, Grutle Kjellson on vocals & bass, Herbrand Larsen on keyboards, organ & vocals, Cato Bekkevold on drums and Ice Dale on guitars. Enslaved has given the Metal world seven brilliant new songs with “Vertebrae”, thus inspiring me to delve and journey even further into the vast genres and sub-genres of Metal music.

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