Archive for rock music reviews

THE CARS – DEBUT ALBUM FROM 1978 REVISITED

Posted in Album Review, classic rock, classic rock bands, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, metal odyssey, Music, new wave music, rock and roll news, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

The Cars have always been summed up and best described as a New Wave Band. Alright, I’ll let that jive with me, only on their first album, The Cars had some serious Rock in their Wave. Missing Persons were a New Wave Band too, so was Men Without Hats and neither of those two bands come even remotely close in sounding like The Cars. So, were The Cars really a New Wave Band after all? A Flock Of Seagulls… now that’s what I consider a New Wave Band from the 80’s to sound like.

Due to the timing of The Cars being released, I gather it is probably “convenient” to lump this band into the New Wave crowd too. The debut and self titled album from The Cars was perhaps, just a few hundred slivers heavier, than your standard New Wave Band of the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. Sure, Missing Persons had a few “heavier” songs for their New Wave sound and style, with very decent drumming from Terry Bozzio, his playing and songwriting really was standout with that band. (Plus, Terry Bozzio was and still is an excellent drummer and all around musician too… in my Metal opinion).

I can recall hearing the “first” single off of this album, it was Just What I Needed. Can I recall the actual year I first heard this song? Ugh. Maybe it was 1979. No, I think it was 1980. Who really gives a flying elephant crap about when I first heard Just What I Needed. The simple fact is that I loved this song from the opening note. Seriously, this song’s significance lies in it’s originality for no other song really sounded like it, back in 1978.

I’m trying to “think back” and remember if there was another band out there that sounded like The Cars did, at the time of their 1978 debut album. This was 1978, not 1988, when a decade later you could swoop up a hundred New Wave Bands or so and compare them all against each other. Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I just accepted The Cars and their sound without giving any thought as to what music genre they belonged to. (Now that I’m a cranky old man, I scrutinize music genres like there’s no tomorrow). As each new song from their debut album trickled onto FM radio, I became more of a fan of them and this album.

Out of the nine songs heard on The Cars, seven of them made it to FM airplay. Seven! That is nothing to sneeze at either… how many Rock or Hard Rock bands can any of us name in 2010, that can boast seven songs from one album, being accepted into FM airplay and becoming hits? A “debut” album no less! It’s not as if these songs on The Cars were “Poppy” either, they were mainstream certainly, still a far cry from sounding “bubble gum”. These seven songs were played so often on the Connecticut FM radio stations, (WHCN, WCCC and WPLR), that I am guilty of never having bought this album, many years after it’s release.

Elliot Easton played guitar on The Cars with an obvious hard edge, his solo on Just What I Needed is an example of what I mean. It’s guitarists like Elliot that really exemplify playing for the song unselfishly and skillfully, versus the household name guitarists out there, who have accentuated their fame through piles of average solo albums throughout the decades.

Ric Ocasek’s vocals were meant for The Cars. I know that sounds rather cliche, only it’s so true. Ric Ocasek gave The Cars a booming personality with his vocals. The “modern” vibe that The Cars pulsated with through their songs seemed to stick to Ric’s voice like glue. The late/great Benjamin Orr not only played bass for The Cars, he was the lead vocalist on All Mixed Up as well. Benjamin Orr’s vocals were perfect for this song, giving it that added emotion and personal element befitting of the lyrics. (His vocals on The Cars 1984 hit Drive, from their Heartbeat City album is another memorably gigantic performance from him as well).

The Cars presented an edgy futuristic listen into Rock’s eventual “wide-open” Pop feel of the 80’s, courtesy of Greg Hawkes on keyboards and an open mindedness of this band to create songs that were fabulously accessible. Regardless of the Rock/Pop direction The Cars did take into the 80’s, this debut album is by far, their best full-throttle, Rock teetering on Hard Rock effort… with a New Wave approach, let’s not forget.

Moving In Stereo can be the cornerstone New Wave song for The Cars. There was and still is something almost fantastically mystical about my never wanting to turn this song off, when I hear it on the radio. Could it be that The Cars really are moving me, through stereo? I feel semi-scared now. Good Times Roll has all the ingredients of bursting out of it’s seams with a loud guitar solo and a psyched out tempo that doesn’t relent. It does not happen that way though. It’s the keyboards that administer the melancholy antidote of calm, making this song still feel like the good times are rolling, nonetheless… in a Logan’s Run sort of cosmic way.

The Cars as I look back upon them now, were a mighty decent Rock, I mean, New Wave Band. After all these years, however, it is more beneficial for me personally, to call The Cars debut album a Classic Rock gem. If I was to recommend that “one” album from The Cars to a civilization outside of our Milky Way, it would no doubt be their debut album. For those on this planet, that are just being introduced to The Cars, I would recommend their debut album as well. These excellent musicians that decided to call themselves The Cars, as I look back now, are a symbolic example of their era, showing just how dynamic and memorable a band could become, by solidifying a unique sound from a Rock meets New Wave fusion.

THE CARS was released in June of 1978, on Elektra Records.

Track Listing For The Cars:

Good Times Roll

My Best Friend’s Girl

Just What I Needed

I’m In Touch With Your World

Don’t Cha Stop

You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

Bye Bye Love

Moving In Stereo

All Mixed Up


Rest In Peace, Benjamin Orr.

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.

BAD BRAINS – 1989 “QUICKNESS” ALBUM ENTWINES GENRES… AND BURNS

Posted in 1980's hardcore punk bands, 1980's punk rock bands, 1990's hardcore punk bands, 1990's heavy metal bands, 1990's punk rock albums, 1990's punk rock bands, 1990's punk rock music, 1990's rock bands, 1990's rock music, 1990's hard rock albums, 1990's rock albums, alternative rock albums 1989, collecting rock music, current heavy metal bands, current punk rock music, diverse metal music, diverse punk rock music, essential hardcore albums, essential punk rock albums, essential rock albums, hardcore punk rock history, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, independent record labels, metal odyssey, Music, old school punk rock, punk rock album covers, punk rock albums, punk rock history, punk rock music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

Bad Brains. Forget about music genres. If there ever was a band that fuses together multiple Rock genres and flips the bird at the status quo simultaneously, it is Bad Brains. When I’m in the mood to listen to a band that plays from the gut, the heart… Bad Brains. Punk Rock, check. Hardcore Punk, check. Reggae, check. Hard Rock, um, check. Some flashes of Thrash? Bad Brains can. Oh, don’t forget about some Funk in the rhythm either… Bad Brains will deliver. Ska and Heavy Metal… it’s been part of Bad Brains diverse musical identity as well. If you are totally new to Bad Brains and all of this sounds confusing, need not worry, Bad Brains is the antidote to stagnant music listening. In other words, you are never going to hear of or find another band like them… and if you do, it would have to be a cover band of Bad Brains, which in the end would never come remotely close to the original.

Since Bad Brains released their debut, self titled album in 1982, there has been untold “flavors of the month” in Heavy, Extreme, Alternative and Punk Music. Since 1982, there has only been one Bad Brains. To span three decades while releasing eight ultra legit studio albums is monument. (Granted, their 2002 release I & I Survived was/is an instrumental dub album, with H.R. not present on vocals. Regardless, it shall always remain as a unique musical representation of/from Bad Brains). Think of it this way, it is easier to span three decades and release fifteen albums, all the while just two or three are justified. As I see and hear it, Bad Brains has accomplished what the Beatles, Ramones, The Who and Led Zeppelin, (to name more than a few), before them already had… an astoundingly identifiable style of music, which sound is impossible to confuse with any other band.

Bad Brains will forever be regarded as a Hardcore Punk originator and rightfully so. Only at the end of the day, what really matters is the overwhelming uniqueness that flows from their songs hot as magma, ultimately creating a cooling down – experience in music listening, which once again gets ramped up from the Bad Brains ride you embark on… a Bad Brains trip never stays the same. Sound cool? Bad Brains is just that. In the sad event you have never listened to Bad Brains, there is still time to redeem your hijacked and commercialized, MTV and/or VH1 soul. I picked the Bad Brains album – Quickness, as my listening choice today. Quickness may not be heralded as the greatest Bad Brains album made, regardless, I am not into any unfair comparisons to their iconic, self titled, debut album either. Quickness is a listen into just how an album can encompass so many great qualities of heavy, hard and at times softer song structure. This fantastic Bad Brains album was, (and always is), a slap to my forehead reminder that a band does not have to sell out sports stadiums and win multiple Grammy Awards, in order to be appreciated and accepted as realistically legendary, genuine, unapologetically diverse and damn right hard & heavy.

Bad Brains – Quickness was released in 1989, on Caroline Records.

Bad Brains – Quickness Track Listing:

Soul Craft

Voyage Into Infinity

The Messengers

With The Quickness

Gene Machine/Don’t Bother Me

Don’t Blow Bubbles

Sheba

Yout’ Juice

No Conditions

Silent Tears

The Prophets Eye

Endtro

The original Bad Brains lineup:

H.R. – lead vocals

Dr. Know – guitar

Darryl Jenifer – bass

Earl Hudson – drums

U2 On Saturday Night Live… September 26, 2009, Some Metal Thoughts…

Posted in 1980's alternative rock bands, 1980's rock musicians, 1980's rock bands, 1990's alternative rock music, 1990's rock bands, 1990's rock music, alternative rock bands, alternative rock music, comedy shows on television, embarrassing rock music performances, late night television shows, political rock bands, Rock, rock & roll, rock & roll hall of fame inductees, rock and roll, rock and roll hall of fame inductees, rock guitarists, rock music, rock music commentary, rock music on television, rock music reviews, rock vocalists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

MetalOdysseyOh, what a wonderful world it is, especially when you have the extremely deep pockets of NBC. To dole out whatever millions of dollars it probably took to get the no longer relevant U2 on Saturday Night Live, hey NBC… whoopee do!!!! Hey Saturday Night Live and your big daddy NBC… getting U2 on your no longer funny show is not impressive, it’s a pity. Could someone please tell Bono that he did not invent Rock and Roll? The sunglasses are very dated, Bono. Could someone please remind The Edge that it is a guitar that he is trying to play? Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. have always known how to play their respective instruments, at least the rhythm section of U2 is able to keep any semblance of their music together, in some sort of respectable manner. The U2 of the early 1980’s was tolerable and/or semi-entertaining. Now as the decades go by, when U2 resurfaces, it is like a bad cold you can’t kick during beautiful Summer weather. Was that live performance from U2 a skit or was it supposed to be serious? Sorry NBC and Saturday Night Live, this is one viewer who woke up this morning and did not experience any life changing experience from your over rated, not ready for prime time musical guest.

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