Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cygnus and the Sea Monsters - One Night In Chicago 2005 (aka: Rush covers + old 70s children show = small masterpiece and a tear to my eye)

I have professed my love for the band Rush for most my life (late teens actually).  I'm not always onboard with bands performing cover songs of bands I hold in high regard (Rush being the biggest of them all). But there are two CDs which are exceptions to my rule;  Working Man (1996) which includes George Lynch, Jake E. Lee, James Murphy, Billy Sheehan and a slew of others....AND...this live show; Cygnus and the Sea Monsters - "One Night in Chicago".  I purchased the CD/DVD off Portnoy's website eleven years ago.  Time flies - crazy.  Looks like it's still available here: http://www.mikeportnoy.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=25 and Amazon too https://www.amazon.com/One-Night-Chicago-CYGNUS-MONSTERS/dp/B001156MXW

This was recorded and filmed (there is a DVD version and of course it's posted via YouTube - I posted the video below) back in 2005.  It consists of Mike Portnoy (I'm sure you know who he is) on drums, Paul Gilbert (Racer X) on guitar, Sean Malone (Cynic) on bass and Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Watchtower, Broken Teeth, Ignition) on vocals.  This hour long set is nothing short of incredible. The band blazes through 2112, Cygnus X-1, Hemispheres, and YYZ as if they were just warming up.  Mike, Paul and Sean are consummate pros and have more talent in the dirt on their fingernails than most people have at all.  The only low-light to this is Jason.  I love the work this guy does in his other bands, but his screeching and almost screaming/screeching until he's breathless did not fit this otherwise killer set.  There's more music than vocals, so another reason why I'm okay with this one.

It's a blast to listen to (and watch) the guys play pretty much note-for-note and not cringing hoping they'll do the songs justice, because they do them all justice and then some. And also capable of throwing in improv portions as well.  In showcase settings such as this (Drum Pad's 20th Anniversary) normally one person has the spotlight.  Even though Mike gets in a drum solo, it's not just the "Mike Portnoy Show".  I've been a fan of Paul's since the first Racer X was released in '86. He can play anything and proves how well versed he is in Rush and the styles of Alex Lifeson.  Same goes for Mike and his adaptation of Neil Peart.  NOBODY can play like Peart, but Mike does a fine job replicating many aspects of the songs. And Sean, who is an accomplished bass player and does an impeccable job nailing the songs.  No keyboards and that's okay because it would've taken away the rawness.

Note: I was pretty ecstatic over the fact Mike incorporated my beloved Sid & Marty Krofft 70s children show "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters".  I've included a video clip of the show's opening song at the very bottom. Ahhh, the 70s.

Cygnus And The Sea Monsters - One Night In Chicago (2005)

Scans of my physical CD:

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters opening song (1973-1975) - posted for good measure.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Almonds + Anthrax + Tesla = Almond Joy (aka: music with nuts but without coconut)

Busy work day always includes the best almonds EVER (https://wildsoilalmonds.com/)
 Some kick ass old-school music courtesy of Anthrax......
 ......and Tesla - Rare physical CD of their live Albuquerque, NM appearance opening for the Scorpions June 14, 2012.  These CDs were recorded day of concert and sold after their set at the onsite merch locations for $10.  I wish all bands did this.  Metallica and Pearl Jam are the only two I know of today who record their shows and offer them to their fans for a small price. 
Tesla - "Signs" LIVE - Albuquerque, NM June 14, 2012 [opening for the Scorpions]

Sunday, February 26, 2017

3 Legged Dogg "Frozen Summer" (aka: not the dog on Alice In Chains's self-titled album or aka: yes, there's an extra "g" in "dog" on purpose)

Not sure how many people are familiar with the band 3 Legged Dogg, but it's an album worthy of more attention than it received.  The band was <deep breath>:  Vinny Appice on drums, the late great Jimmy Bain on bass, ex-Quiet Riot/current Ratt guitarist Carlos Cavazo, ex David Lee Roth/Beau Nasty guitarist Brian Young, and vocalist Chas West (ex-Lynch Mob/Tribe Of Gypsies/Foreigner; currently fronting Resurrection King - which is a great band that includes Craig Goldy and Vinny Appice).  <exhale>

Every musician on here gives it their all.  I bought this when it was released in 2006 because I was a fan of each one of these guys.  I didn't know what to expect and was relieved that the entire album is ass-kicking hard rock and NOT middle of the road or average by any means.  I've never heard Vinny's drums recorded this loud before.  He always pounds the shit out of his kit, but it seems there was more at stake here.  These songs rip and I can never just pinpoint only one song when there are many that highlight this disc. Take you pick, "Give and Take Away" (a radio hit that never came to be - ugh), "Wasted Life", "One Good Reason", and "Long Way Back From Hell" highlight the entire band's tenacity and power.  But again, every song here is very well structured.  The guys came together and created some heavy-groove-melodic oriented tunes.

This group more-or-less fell apart because Vinny was called up by Ronnie James Dio because the Dio Sabbath group was getting back together [NOTE: 3 Legged Dogg debut was released Oct 2006 and Black Sabbath - The Dio Years was released April 2007].  Not a bad reason.

And who knows if this really would've gone anywhere in this shitty musical climate that began to get much worse in the 2000s. And so many musicians (normally well-known) are offered a sizable chunk of money by certain labels to get together and churn out an album hoping to hit paydirt.  Who knows what could've been.

3 Legged Dogg - Frozen Summer (2006) [Full Album]

3 Legged Dogg - Promo Clip (2006)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lemmy: The Definitive Biography (aka: wrong dickhead, trick question; Lemmy is god)

I finally got my hands on British music journalist/rock biographer Mick Walls' book  "Lemmy: The Definitive Biography".  It was released April 2016 and it took me until a couple weeks ago to land a copy of my own.  I was hoping for the hardcover edition, but I'm fine with the paperback.  What I didn't want was to read the Kindle version.  I read books on Kindle, but there are certain books that I want to read where I have to HOLD the physical book.  This is one of those books.

I'm a huge fan of music related biographies.  Have been since the early 80s and its only become worse since everyone and they're brother/sister is offered a book deal and spew their memoirs.  There are so many good ones out there.  Hook, line and sinker for me - so I'm not complaining.  TAKE MY MONEY!

I know there are many Lemmy books littering the market (pre/post his death), but this one is way above average.  Especially since it's a collection of interviews Mick had with Lemmy over the years; starting in the early 90s. And coincidentally, Mick worked as Motörhead’s publicist for a short period of time. This book started to take shape when Lem's health took a turn.  I believe Mick had a ton of tapes he had to transcribe.  He had Lemmy's blessing of course and dove into piecing this together using the words of the man himself.  I wouldn't go so far to call this extremely in-depth.  But, if you're familiar with the 2002 book "White Line Fever" (by Lemmy and Janiss Garza) then it does fill in some gaps left in that one. Plus there are friends/musicians who are brought in as well.

It does get hard to read towards the end of the book since this includes Lem's passing. So I spent the last portion of the book just gearing up for the inevitable.  It's like knowing the ending to a movie you've watched a hundred times. You know the ending but you still immerse yourself into it and become attached for a moment in time.

I wouldn't call this "definitive" because Mick does gloss over many areas/years, including Lem's side band The Head Cat (Google that band if you're unfamiliar - classic stuff).  So I wasn't too happy about that being left out entirely.

There are many gaps here too, but what this book does is it captures Lemmy’s own unique philosophy of life.  His life and the life which surrounded him.

From the 1994 movie "Airheads"
"Wrong dickhead, trick question; Lemmy is god....."

Weekend is now (aka: Metallica In Your Cup - this ain't no Folgers)

The weekend is upon us............

Go forth and consume.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Music Vids - Prt I (aka: this ain't your parents' MTV - but now I'm too old to say that)

Aside from the music, I love finding music videos that are hilarious, fucked up, and/or completely out in left field (all of the above is always a plus). And concert/studio footage/behind the scenes always peak my interest.  If I just flat out enjoy the song then that'll find its way here as well.

New band, old band, Metal, Rock, Punk, Thrash, Hard Rock, Gothic.....doesn't matter.

If it's here then I dig the band, the music, the video...it goes on...and on....and on....it's.....

Life Of Agony - This Time [Been into this band since 1989.]

Overkill - Goddamn Trouble [Their new album "The Grinding Wheel" is one of their best.]

Dimmu Borgir - Progenies of The Great Apocalypse [Classic Dimmu]

The Charm The Fury - Down On The Ropes [New album drops Mar 17th.]

Gojira - The Cell [These guys don't know how to suck at all. They're getting more popular these days.]

Misfits - Riotfest - Denver, CO Sep 4, 2016 [Misfits FINALLY reform and it's insane!]

Carcass - Unfit For Human Consumption [Always have and always will love this band. So melodic and heavy.]

Death Dealer - Hammer Down [ex-Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss still shredding.]

Ghost - Year Zero (Censored)  [The uncensored version was removed from YouTube].

Me And That Man - My Church Is Black  >> Great new band ft. Adam Darski [Behemoth]

Black Sabbath "Live at Hammersmith Odeon" (aka: the Sabbath bully album that beats Live Evil's ass)

"Sing me a song, you're a singer"
"Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil........"

I remember purchasing this one on the Rhino/Warner Bros. website in 2007.  It was a series called "Rhino Handmade" and it was limited to 5000 copies. I made a conscious effort to purchase two copies for a few reasons; they're limited edition, numbered, and I wanted to keep one factory sealed so I could open the other.  Normally my plan of attack as long as the item I'm purchasing isn't too expensive. If I remember correctly, these were $15 a piece.  And Rhino/Warner Bros. had just released "Black Sabbath - The Dio Years" a month prior to this one.  Knowing the Dio Sabbath lineup was back in business and ready to roll as Heaven & Hell made my year. Sweetening the pot with this collector's item was just icing (molten metal) on the cake.

Having been a Ronnie James Dio fan since his Rainbow days (I didn't know about Elf until the late 70s) and LOVING "Heaven and Hell" and "Mob Rules", buying this was a definite no-brainer. First and foremost, this was an unreleased concert from the Mob Rules tour. I did own (still do) a bootleg CD-R/silver copy; but the sound was pretty horrid.  I knew this mastered copy would sound incredible and probably better than the atrocious "Live Evil" quiet/no balls version (which wound up being true). I had only one gripe when I saw the track listing prior to buying it, "Where is "Sign of the Southern Cross"?!" But upon further inspection I saw two tracks not included on "Live Evil"; "Country Girl" and "Slipping Away", so that made up for it.  Threw my money at Rhino/Warner Bros., bought two copies and waited for them to arrive....patiently.

OK, not so patiently because I visited my favorite FLAC (Lossless audio) site and someone had already received their copy and uploaded it for the world to procure (one of my favorite words).  I couldn't help myself and had to hear it. So I procured the FLAC files, burned them to a CD-R, threw on some headphones and was blown away.  Yeah, this is way superior over "Live Evil"...no doubt about it.  You could actually hear all the instruments!  Holy shit!!  That crappy "Live Evil" had everything lost in the mix.  This one has Tony's guitar in your face, Geezer's bass slapping you in the head, Vinny's pounding his drums where you could feel it in your chest, and Ronnie singing his damn ass off and not mixed way up over everyone.  Finally!  Someone did this band justice and released a live album to be proud of for eons. Neon Knights, Black Sabbath, Slipping Away, The Mob Rules, Heaven and Hell, and Voodoo are all show stoppers here.  Yes, there's feedback and squelching going on during the show, but it doesn't take away from the performance at all.  No telling how many times I listened to this in one sitting (okay okay....five times).  One of my favorite live albums of all-time.....period.  And a hell of a nod to Ronnie who we lost in 2010 and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls who we lost this year (both to cancer).

Fast forward to delivery day.  They arrived!  When I removed them from the packing envelope I just sat there trying to figure out which one I should open and which to keep sealed.  They're both numbered, but the number is found INSIDE the packaging, not outside on the back insert like most. UGH! Such a dilemma for me. Then I started thinking about the newly burned CD-R I had just created.  I already know what it sounds like so should I even open these? My final decision?  Never opened them. They're both sealed to this day.  I have no clue what they're numbered.  Maybe I have #0001 or #5000...who knows. Or, maybe when I'm on my death bed I'll crack them both open.

Side note: "Mob Rules" was re-released in 2010 as a deluxe edition and includes this show as the bonus second CD.  I'm sure you can find it on YouTube if you haven't already gone that route.

I own this concert below and it's another favorite of mine. Tony's pre-Black Sabbath guitar interlude is nice and easy then he fuckin' riffs into the song.  Love it! Only one Tony Iommi.

Black Sabbath - Live Tokyo 1980 [Audio Only]

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Saxon "Unleash the Beast" (aka: unleash the denim & leather)

Where were you in '97 when Saxon unleashed the beast? < sung to "Denim and Leather" > Yeah, dorky, but that song popped into my head when I started typing.

Let me preface this by saying I'm a HUGE Saxon fan. Love the classic stuff from the 80s and everything leading up to "Battering Ram" (2015) and their 10th live album "Let Me Feel Your Power" (2016). 1997's "Unleash the Beast" is one of my favorite Saxon releases of all time (behind "Power and the Glory" which is my favorite).  Pretty bold, I know.  Especially since it was the first album without Graham Oliver (guitarist and one of the founding members).

New axe slinger Doug Scarratt was brought into the fold in '96 (his first appearance with the band was 1996's live album "The Eagle Has Landed Prt II") and that classic Saxon sound was nowhere to be found. Graham has his own sound and style which no one can replicate. Yes, a little devil's advocate here, but as I mentioned, this one is second to PATG.

Every song is incredibly melodic, in-sync with the next song, and pretty damn heavy (with the exception of "Absent Friends" - but heavy lyrically) and that's been missing in the Saxon repertoire from Rock The Nations (1986) through Dogs of War (1995).  Of course just my opinion, but I've listened to those albums a lot and they don't pack a punch like any of the tunes on this album.

Doug brought in some much needed ass kicking riffs and solos. Entire album is tops, but choosing some "listen to these now" songs I'd go with "The Thin Red Line, "Circle Of Light", "Cut Out The Disease" (written about Graham Oliver - ouch), "Ministry Of Fools", and the title track. That's half the album right there (Track 1 "Gothic Dreams" is a 90 second intro). The rhythm, back line, solos, Biff well, being Biff.....what's not to like?

I cannot begin to fathom that this album will be 20 years old this year on Oct 14th.  I had a golden opportunity to see Saxon on this tour March 22, 1998 at a local podunk country facility called Midnight Rodeo (full capacity was 1600).  Sold out day before the concert.  I was able to interview Biff and Doug (on camera) for a local public access cable show (cue Wayne's World - "We're not worthy!") which my buddy did once a week; from a studio, not his basement. Dream come true to finally meet the band - especially Biff (hence the signed CD booklet - they also signed my Power and the Glory, Crusader and Wheels of Steel too).

Interview went well. I was a tad nervous sitting next to Biff; a vocalist I've idolized since 1981. And I royally screwed up pronouncing Doug Scarratt's last name (sounds like 'carrot' with an 'S') and I mispronounced it....twice...on camera.  STOP TAPING! And proceeded to bury my face in my hands. Biff put his arm around me, laughed and said it couldn't get any worse from here. HA! Doug laughed as well.  At first he seemed annoyed, but he knew I was nervous and 100% fanboy.  Hell, I tried not to.  I've met a ton of bands in my life and always kept my cool, but Saxon was just one of those legendary bands - idols.

Got through the interview unscathed, took pictures, signed album covers, CD booklets, and off I went to stash the video camera (as in VHS - video tape recorder) so I could be up front for the show.  Of course back then, I bootlegged many concerts I attended with a cool little micro-cassette recorder that I could hide on me.  If the end product was being able to identify each song, then the cassette was a keeper.

The concert was two hours and they played most of Unleashed and of course the anthems that put them on the map: Wheels of Steel, Denim & Leather, Princess of the Night, 20,000 Feet, Dallas 1 PM, Motorcycle Man, Strong Arm of the Law, Power and the Glory and Crusader.  I'm sure I'm missing a few more.  But the guys were on fire and it was awesome to see them in such an intimate setting.  Saxon normally plays to 5,000-20,000 people in stadiums over in Europe.

That night I had the time of my life.  My bootleg recording came out okay too. There was so much shoving, crushing and shit going on up front (as usual), that the recorder mic was covered up too much in my pocket.  I didn't think to check on it because I was having way too much fun.  Normally I checked on the mic position, but not that night.

A moment in time I'll always remember.

Saxon - Munich, GER  May 20, 1998 (bootleg - AUDIO ONLY)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Saber Tiger "Project One" {aka: the heaviest album Keel never made)

Being a fan of Ron Keel (Steeler, Keel, and yes...even Iron Horse) I had to track this CD down. If you're a Keel fan, then this one should be on your list of lists. I guarantee it's the heaviest album he's ever made. 

I was always interested in Japanese metal bands in the 80s. I bought all the #Loudness #EZO #Anthem and #Lazy I could find. But when I read about guitarist Akihito Kinoshita's Saber Tiger with Ron Keel on vocals, Anthem founder Naoto Shibata on bass, and ex-Loudness/EZO Hirotsugu HonmaI on drums, I knew I had to find this one. Thorn in my side for too many years.

So, getting back to it, this is Saber Tiger's major debut Project One released in 1997. Some twenty years ago I had read about this in a metal 'zine, but I was never able to find a copy. Remember, this was back before the internet became the monster it is now. I could never locate the '97 release on Fandango Records, but I was able to locate a copy of the 2003 VAP release from a local store in Japan. 

Make no mistake, this album kicks MAJOR ass. This has the shredding, melodies galore, a huge fat bottom end, and the production is top notch. It's too damn bad this album went completely unnoticed outside Japan because it’s a phenomenal release. 

Saber Tiger - I'll Still Be Loving You (1997)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Angra "Holy Live" EP (aka: it's not the size that matters)

I've always been a fan of live albums. I'm sure owning KISS Alive allowed that to happen. Not all live albums are worth their weight, but there are many I enjoy listening to more frequently than others. Angra's "Holy Live" EP is one of them. 

Fortunately, I jumped onto the Angra boat early on when their debut album Angels Cry was released in 1993. I was writing concert and CD reviews for a local music fanzine and their label had sent me a copy to review (still thankful to this day because I also interviewed guitarist Kiko Loureiro - Megadeth anyone?). 

I'm skipping past Angels Cry, Evil Warning EP (1994), and Holy Land (1996) for now because this little pitbull of a recording has a huge bite. First, it's a short one clocking in at 35 minutes, but it's a pretty powerful snapshot of a band gelling so well. The musicianship is Dream Theater-Rhapsody-Helloween level. Not bad for a young band at the time. And vocalist Andre Matos....kills it live. Why he's not considered one of the top vocalists in the world is beyond my thought capacity. 

I wouldn't go so far to call Angra just power metal, because they're a bit prog too. Every time I listen to this, I crank it up loud and it feels like I'm transported back to this show in Paris in '96. My only complaint is that it's only 35 min and not maybe an hour. But their studio albums made up for that. Plus, Angra released a proper live album much later after a few members left (including Andre - ugh)....but I digress. 

Short, sweet, and to the Brazilian, prog-power metal point.

Angra - Carry On [Live Ludwigsburg 1996]

Monday, February 20, 2017

Soilwork kinda day (aka: just another melodic metal Monday)

I was on a complete old-school Soilwork kick today. I have nothing against recent releases (The Ride Majestic, The Living Infinite, The Panic Broadcast etc.), but they definitely don't crank out the ultra metal music they once did.

Which is why I started things off with their debut album Steelbath Suicide (1998). First Soilwork song I ever heard was #SadisticLullabye and the second was #TheAardvarkTrail Needless to say, I was hooked from there. The melodies are so insanely perfect.

Anyway, then it was onto The Chainheart Machine (2000). The second track #Bulletbeast" is such a phenomenal tune. Definitely one of my all-time favorites due to the minute and a half music interlude in the middle of the song. I'm sure I had that tune on repeat for a half hour.

Then it was on to their third release, A Predator's Portrait (2001). Floored by this one completely. Hard to choose a favorite, but #BastardChain #PredatorsPortrait, and #TheAnalyst come to mind. I'm a sucker for Swedish metal bands. And vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid has such a unique voice. He can scream and rage one minute, then sing clean the next. He's pretty remarkable and ranks up there as one of my Top 5 singer. Google/Wiki him and you'll see how many guest appearances he has on other albums outside of Soilwork.

Also, guitarists Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning lay down such intense fretwork and incorporate out of this world melodic overtones. It's a shame neither one of them are part of this band anymore.

If you've never heard of Soilwork, then now is a good time as any to check them out. I have a funny feeling I'll be listening to more Soilwork tomorrow.

Soilwork - Steelbath Suicide (1998)

Soilwork - The Chainheart Machine (2000)

Soilwork - A Predator's Portrait (2001)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Accept Some Y&T On Sabbath (aka: ASYTS)

Spending early Sunday afternoon with Accept. I was hooked on this band the day I heard "Fast As A Shark" back in he day.  Hollllllleeeeeeee shit! Been a fan ever since.

Accept - Blast From The Past Trailer (2002)

My mid-afternoon viewing pleasure. How can anyone not be a fan of Y&T? Dave Meniketti is such an underrated musician. The guy smokes on guitar (Rock, Blues - you name it) and capable of singing effortlessly (even to this day in 2017). Plus the late, great Phil Kennemore on bass. I'll never be able to watch this one enough. Definitely one of my favorite concert videos. And this CD/DVD was hard to come by as well. Was a thorn in my side for many years. 
Y&T - I Believe In You [Live: One Hot Night 2006]

Ended my afternoon with a look back at Black Sabbath's 2013 tour since today's Tony Iommi's birthday. Such a great show, even though Bill Ward wasn't onboard. So many fantastic songs here (aside from the classics). This was a nice little find. I had already pre-ordered the Blu-ray, then found out afterwards there was a CD/Blu-ray version released on the Vertigo label in the UK. Had to have it. The Deluxe Box set included three more songs, interviews and behind-the-scenes. Might have to get that at some point. And I'm looking forward to the package they'll be releasing later this year in regards to their final show (filmed a few weeks ago on Feb 4th). This time I'm waiting before I pre-order anything. 

Black Sabbath - Into The Void [Live 2013]

Happy 69th Tony Iommi (aka: the father of heavy metal)

Happy 69th birthday to Tony Iommi. The father of all that is heavy and the creator of Heavy Metal guitar. He's given us so many incredible riffs for 47 years (self-titled debut was released Feb 13, 1970). How insane is that? I don't know what "heavy" would even mean if it weren't for this legend right here.

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1970)

Dio Sabbath - Heaven & Hell - Live solo (2009)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Overdue Haul (aka: the over-haul)

Nice little haul today. Been wanting the Rock Candy remasters [Armored Saint, Vandenberg, and Krokus] for quite some time. I own the originals from the 80s, but the sound quality on these RC "Reloaded & Remastered" are far superior (normally the case with Rock Candy's releases). And I was able to get them for $10 a pop through RC's eBay store (last ones at that price too). Since they're based out of the UK, they're normally $18-$25 each. 

Haven't had a proper physical copy of Death Dealer and it's been out since 2013. If you're not familiar with this band, it consists of two Manowar alumni in its ranks; guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman and drummer Kenny "Rhino" Earl. Also includes Cage vocalist Sean Peck, guitarist Stu Marshall, bassist Mike Davis (Halford/Lizzy Borden). Such a MONSTER album. 

I finally have the new Kreator "Gods of Violence" in my clutches. I pre-ordered this months ago via UK because I wanted the Blu-ray edition of the 2014 concert instead of DVD. Usually if there's a CD deluxe edition that includes DVD then I'll opt for the Blu-ray instead. More for the sound quality than the video (but better video doesn't suck). Even if it means I have to order from the UK since many US distributors (including Amazon) won't carry the version I want. This also included an autographed Kreator CD booklet (which wa a bonus (talk about luck). 

And Hell Fire album "Metal Masses" released a strong album last year (March 2016). I didn't act on the pre-order so wound up grabbing the digi-album.  But they pressed new CDs and made them available last week. 

Some fantastic music today!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Playlist: Feb 12th-17th

I've listened to so much music this week.

Here are a few of my favorites.  They're worth searching YouTube, CD Baby, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and/or ReverbNation.

Happy New Music Friday!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Judas Priest - Turbo 30 (aka: Flair Metal God)

I received "Turbo 30 [30th Anniversary Edition]" a couple weeks ago and have been listening to it non-stop. Say what you will about the guitar-synths they used, but I had no problem with this when it was released back in '86.  And there are many Priest fans who wrote them off too.  Was it the follow-up to "Defenders of the Faith" I was expecting? Definitely not. I expected another guitar-driven, balls out, Glenn/KK all out guitar attack. Priest were having fun in the mid-80s, so this was their quintessential 80s party album.  It was light and had a lot of that pomp-and-flair.

Yes, I was surprised when I first heard Turbo Lover, Locked In, and Private Property.  But I listened to the album three times in one sitting, just to take it all in and not pass judgement on a band I've admired for so long. And suffice to say, I embraced this one wholeheartedly. Again, their party album during a fun period in their lives while riding another pinnacle of fan adoration.

This Turbo 30th anniversary edition (actually 31 yrs - ha ha) is remastered and includes the concert radio broadcast from Kemper Arena - Kansas City May 22, 1986. Oddly enough, this is a concert I have on cassette. I remember racing home from work so I could record it off the radio (ah, memories). Great package and it still sounds great. My hair still stands on end when I listen to Out In The Cold.

I also included my original ticket stub.  I saw them on the Turbo tour May 2, 1986.  And Raven was the support band (they had released "The Pack Is Back"....but I won't touch that one).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blast From The Past: Sword "Metalized" (aka: best eight bucks ever spent in 1986)

Without a doubt, this gem is one of my favorites.  Sword's "Metalized" is that nugget of gold you have in your collection that you cherish. Well, I had this album on cassette (never owned it on vinyl) and bought it as one of those "chance" moments.  The one where you look at the cover and think, "Hmmmm, maybe it'll kick ass."  Well, this was one of those back in 1986.  Probably the best eight bucks spent back in the day. I was ready for it to suck when I popped it into my tape deck.  And it didn't.....it blew me away.

All I heard was amazing heavy metal music blaring from my speakers. Guitarist Mike Plant was riffing and throwing down some insane solos. And vocalist Rick Hughes commanded such a presence on every song.  Screamed, sang, the guy had it all. His brother Dan Hughes on drums; a monster in his own right. And bassist Mike Larock (loved his last name) lays down some solid work here too.

The production quality is something to be desired, even for the mid-80s, but that didn't keep me from jamming this all the time.  All the tracks are standouts in my opinion.  Not one bad song in the batch, but if I had to pick favorites it would be FTW, Children Of Heaven, Stoned Again, Dare To Spit, and Evil Spell (Rick's scream was worth the price alone).

I also own their second album "Sweet Dreams" which was released in 1988. That one is on deck. After their 2nd album failed to make any impact (and this is following an opening spot on Metallica's Master of Puppets 1986 tour).  After Sword disbanded, Rick formed a new band in the early 90s called Saints & Sinners and released one self-titled album in '92 in the vein of Bon Jovi-meets-most late 80s early 90s flair bands (yes, flair).  I distinctly remember a few things about this band. 1) I freaked when I learned Aldo Nova had produced it.  2) The "hit song "Walk That Walk" made me cringe...HARD  3) I saw this band perform at a small bar in Albuquerque, NM and they were way better live.

Here's Sword's entire "Metalized" album - thanks to YouTube. And Rick Hughes' Saints & Sinners CD for good measure.

Sword - Metalized (1986)

Saints & Sinners (1992)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Metallica WorldWired Tour Presale (aka: wherever I may groan)

Ever since Metallica released this 10 second video "glitch" teaser on Feb 11th, many knew it was regarding a US Summer tour.  But the "when" and "where" had been left out completely.

Needless to say, speculation ensued and it was anyone's guess as to which cities they would actually be playing.  I knew it was a no-brainer for them to hit the big cities (Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, and so on).  But was hopeful there might be a stop here in Albuquerque, NM.  Only reason being?  Metallica makes it a habit of performing here every 8-13 years.  So if anything, we're overdue for a visit.

The dates were bestowed upon the masses yesterday morning at 7 AM local time and......yeeeeeaaaaahhhnnnnooooooo......no Albuquerque.  Well, so much for my hopefulness and throwing 58¢ worth of wishing pennies into the fountain (OK, street puddles). But they are playing all the cities I expected, plus some Canadian dates to boot, eh? (or is that..."a boot"?).  All ticket presale ticket dates were plastered across the internet.

Long story short - here's the link ➠ WORLDWIRED TOUR 2017 - NORTH AMERICAN PRESALES

Anyway, this just means the inevitable for me; ROAD TRIP!

Small nod to 'Wayne's World' which was released 25 years ago today.

Oh, and nice to see Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, and Gojira as support (Gojira replaces Volbeat a portion of the tour).  I'm a fan of all three and caught their live shows over the years. I have yet to be disappointed.  These bands actually have the fan base to headline their own shows, especially across the pond.  Some avid Metal/Hard Rock music fans for sure.  At least the international Metal/Hard/Rock fans don't follow music trends like many do here in the US.  Ugh......but I digress.

*cue Ennio Morricone's "Ecstasy of Gold"  [This piece of music made famous from the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".  But also used as Metallica's intro music before hitting the stage since 1983.]

Tues Feb 14th ➔➔➔ Pre-sale tickets went on-sale at 9 AM local time.  I was preparing for this since 7:30 AM.

☑ Presale website open in its own window and on a separate monitor.
☑ Presale code.
☑ Credit card info.
☑ Coffee - full cup...fuck it...brought the entire pot into my office.
☑  Go pee....not leaving my office for a millisecond.

It's 8:59 AM.....I watch the seconds countdown....clicked the presale button at precisely 9 AM (say that sentence using Doc's voice from "Back to the Future"), barely blinked and I'm immediately placed in an online queue "waiting room" due to high ticket demand. Damn, that was quick!  I had to wait 36 minutes already?  COFFEE....STAT!


The 36 minutes elapsed, I'm ready to get this done and........what's this?  A new waiting room and I have to wait another 12 minutes?  Ummm, WTF?  OK....OK.....deep breath.  More coffee. All is good.

Of course these 12 minutes took longer than the the original 36 minutes (new math).  Well, the heavens parted, the sun shined and the birds sang because I was directed to the purchase window and was able to choose any package I desired (with the exception of the Snakepit; area closest to the stage, around the catwalk, front stage, and sold in very limited quantities).  Always wanted to be in the Metalli-Snakepit over the years.  Oh well.  Maybe when they tour again eight years from now.  You know, when I'm pushing 60 and unable to be far from any exit because of poor bladder control.  Yet again, I digress.

I really wanted to do the Meet & Greet.  It's been too long.  But holy shit......$2500 to meet the band?  Love them, but not gonna happen.  Never thought they'd be priced higher than Black Sabbath or KISS.  I miss the old Met Fan Club days where a member could choose the show they were attending on the Metallica website and your name would be placed in a lottery, and 20 people would be randomly chosen to meet the band.  And it was FREE!  You did have to pay for an annual membership, but that was $40.  So, no Meet & Greet this time around.

I purchased the ticket package I wanted and beyond excited to see a band I've always deemed my Rolling Stones.  Been a fan since their early years and never turned my back.  Many believe the band died when Cliff died. I get it.  But that's never been the case for me.  I've supported the band through the years buying their albums, vinyl, picture discs, posters, cassettes, CDs, concert tickets, t-shirts, jackets, caps, box sets, limited edition everything....the list goes on.  I've acquired a lot over the years and 100% worth it all.

Wherever I May Roam.  That'll be to Denver.....in June.  And it better not fuckin' snow.

L.O.V.E. Machine (aka: VD Cards)

Best Valentine's Day cards I've seen in a long time.

And why not go for the gold and bust out this classic today.

W.A.S.P. - "L.O.V.E. Machine" (1984)

And the video - all 80s cheese.....perfection.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

And the Best Metal Performance goes to.......MEGADETH

After eleven attempts, Megadeth FINALLY wins a Grammy. Congrats to Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro, and Chris Adler because 'Dystopia' is a phenomenal album.  

Gojira and Baroness were up for the same category, as well as Korn and Periphery, but I was 100% Team Megadeth.  I'm a huge fan of both Gojira and Baroness, but their time will come.

(Photo courtesy of Dave Mustaine's Tweet tonight):

And of course the Grammy's screwed up in their normal fashion by having the house band play Metallica's "Master of Puppets" as Megadeth walked to the stage to accept their award. WTF?!  That music director should be fired, buried in sand and forced to listen to PSY "Gangnam Style" forever.

Megadeth Wins Best Metal Performance for 'Dystopia'
Feb 12, 2017
Acceptance Speech
59th Grammy Awards

UPDATE  Mon Feb 12, 2017:

Dave Mustaine responds to fan regarding Grammy house band playing Metallica "Master of Puppets" as Dave and the band approach the stage to accept award:

(Photo courtesy of Dave Mustaine's Tweet tonight):

Playlist: Feb 5th-11th

I've reacquainted myself with Bandcamp here recently and have listened to SO much music. It's amazing how many independent bands are out there doing their thing.  And aside from Bandcamp there's also Soundcloud, CD Baby, ReverbNation, Spotify, and the always uber-popular YouTube.

Some of the music I've been listening to last week:
  • Overkill - Grinding Wheel (2017)
    • Been a fan since their inception back in the 80s. They continue to release quality tunes, but with some filler tracks (just a couple). Their Thin Lizzy cover Emerald is pretty epic though.
  • Accept - Restless and Live (2017)
    • Can never get enough Accept in my life. This live one has so many classic songs. Even if you’re a diehard and can’t get past the fact that Udo doesn’t sing in this band anymore, you’ll dig Mark Tornillo (ex-TT Quick). He’s pretty damn close to emulating Udo without overdoing it.
  • Judas Priest - Turbo 30 [3-CD 30th Anniversary Edition] (2017)
    • The Priest album so many hated (or still hate). But I dug it immediately. Was it a change up? Absolutely. But I liked it right away when I heard “Locked In” and “Turbo Lover”. Plus this anniversary set comes with a 1986 concert; originally broadcasted over the radio live – I still have that on cassette too.
  • Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire (2017)
    • Can’t go wrong with this band. Especially having ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham involved. But the entire band are high caliber musicians. This is the band which was formed out of the ashes of Thin Lizzy in 2012. In my humble opinion, this is BSRs strongest release to date.
  • MutinyWithin - Origin (2017)
    • A band who had gone through so much turmoil – Google it.  Never thought there would ever be a third album and here it is.  I pre-ordered early enough to get a physical CD copy.  Happy about that since the MP3 files floating around online sound like absolute crap.
  • Big Wreck - Grace Street (2017)
    • Another band I’ve always liked since hearing “The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)” back in 1997.  Bandleader Ian Thornley is a genius.  
  • Witherfall - Nocturnes and Requiems (2017)
    • Formed by ex-members of White Wizzard, Kobra and the Lotus, and Into Eternity.  The music bears resemblance to Savatage and Nevermore.
  • Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry (2017)
    • Crazy damn crossover Punk Thrash band which includes members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, and Darkest Hour.
  • Zerozonic - Zerozonic (2017)
    • I’ve been a longtime fan of Norwegian guitarist Daniel "Død" Olaisen going back to the early 90s days playing in Satyricon and then forming Scariot in 2000 (power/prog Metal) and Blood Red Throne (death metal) in 2001.  Daniel possesses so much melody when he plays.  One can tell his influences are Chuck Schuldiner, Dimebag Darrell, and Joe Satriani.
  • The Offering - The Offering EP (2017)
    • It’s a solid EP. Call them melodic death metal, heavy metal…..I don’t know.  It’s a mix of everything.  I’ve listened to it like 10 times already.