Thursday, January 5, 2017

Album Review-Judas Priest: Turbo 30th Anniversary

Happy New Years everybody! We made it to 2017 and I gotta say, there is a lot to be excited about this year. With new music slowly but surely sprouting up, it definitely is looking to be a good one. However, I am starting this year of with a review of an album that is thirty years old. Yes like when I first began almost three years ago, I am going back to an album that I want to put my two cents in for and also it is having a 30th anniversary edition released this year as well. The album of course in question Judas Priests “Turbo” which was released on April 14th, 1986(not quite hitting the mark but close enough). Now a lot of people I know absolutely loath this album and others say it it is their favorite Priest album. I am going to dig into this new three disc edition and tell you if the album still is worth a listen and if the extra goodies really make it worth while.

Part 1: Turbo (official album: disc 1)

1.Turbo Lover- First off, the title track on the album today is still the most popular song and is the one that turned a lot of people off for one main reason: The major emphasis on guitar effects, mainly synthesizers. While yes there are synths used clearly here, I like how they are done in conjunction with Glenn's wickedly flanged out guitar tones. I think it adds a nice layer of musicianship and creativity. Not to mention, the build up and chorus are insanely catchy and just explode with its extreme gleaming 80's feel. This seems to be the only song that still makes it into their live set today but played without any flanger or synths(sad yes) but still does very well as a live song and is a very well written 80's heavy metal song even if it isn't quite as “heavy”.

2.Locked In- I always liked the riffs on this song and always found it to be one of the most catchy tunes on the album as well. It does kind of make Priest sound pop-ish however it still works especially when the razor sharp solo comes in with Glenn and KK having more distinctive sounds to their solo's especially on this album. It is a lot softer than say “screaming for vengeance” but the hooks are their and the super sharp production that I love from this era of the band.

3.Private Property- Glenn uses more more synth effects here as well and pulls of the hookiness of the song as well. I always love to blast this song when driving in the summer, its just one of those catchy tunes with an insanely big chorus as well. The solo has a bit more of a hard rock feel to it but overall this is one of those tunes I want to see make it back into their live set.

4.Parental Guidance- This song is borderline glam metal but still has that Priest edge to it and serves as a big F-U to the PMRC as well even though it kind of sticks to the “young forever” stigma a lot of bands were using at the time. Another tune with very catchy hooks and catches the band in an interesting period.

5.Rock You All Around The World- This is probably the fastest song on the album with that ripneck soloing we all know and love with really big hooks and possibly the best chorus on the whole album. This is easily in my top three tracks on the album for just how big it sounds alone. Another one I want to come back because I believe it would gel well with their earlier material as well as their newer stuff after this period.

6.Out In The Cold- This would be considered the ballad on the album and is a really epic song in my opinion. The synth composition at the beginning is really atmospheric and cool (coming from someone who thoroughly enjoys synth based music as well). It is a song that stays very mid paced throughout but that pace is done very well. One of the best Priest songs of the 80's bar none.
7.Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days- This song literally feels like a Poison song if it werent for Halfords voice. I dig the vocals in the verses and the bridge to the chorus but when that chorus hits it kind of falls flat to me. It just doesn't have as much of the creative flow I felt the other six songs really had. Still not a bad tune but not the best on the album.

8.Hot For Love-This song has more that speed metal influence to it but with that somewhat commercial flare to it. I still love the riffs and the really frantic synths at the beginning. The rhythm section just has that signature Judas Priest kind of bounce to it and is a great song to rediscover from this remaster.

9.Reckless- My favorite song on the album and one of their most underrated tunes of all time. The main riff is so damn infectious and the verses are written for being in a live set I swear. It is a great finisher to the album and I really hope they pull this out for the next tour it is just that good of an 80s heavy metal song.

Part 2: Judas Priest Live In Kansas City(disc 2)

Now for this live show, I am not going to look at each individual track but an overall presentation of how it sounds and the overall setlist as well. When I first saw this I was a bit skeptical because we already had “Priest...Live!” from this tour and I was worried that this show would just be a watered down version of the official live album from that tour. The production I have to say was a bit more on a bootleg-ish side with less bass output it felt like. However it was clear enough to not be a bootleg. “Out In The Cold” still has enough punch as the opener for the show and still has the energy we have seen from other live versions. This second disc I think holds the real meat of this package because it has more of the live tracks from “Turbo”. Some songs like Metal Gods felt a bit lacking in the mix but songs like Love Bites I really enjoy the more trebled versions of. I also like that on this show I can hear Glenn fiddling with his synth effects more and Desert Plains is also a really nice addition as well. I think this disc captures these songs in their live atmosphere very well and feels honestly more like you are at the show or listening on the radio more than say “Priest..Live” does.

Part 3:Judas Priest Live In Kansas City(disc 3)

This disc includes the last half of the Kansas City show and includes more older Priest tunes that we know and love. I really dig this version of “Electric Eye” I don't know why but it just is a really solid version of the song. I really dig this version of Turbo too because I really like the effects used live, it adds some really cool flair. The rest of the album is standard Priest fair but I honestly think this is the band in their prime in terms of energy and capabilities. Freewheel burning is a real treat and ending with an extremely energetic version of “Hell Bent For Leather” is awesome as well. Overall a solid disc to complete the live package even though it is sort of something we have heard before.

Overall, I give the album a solid 8 out of 10. The album I still think holds up with catchy hooks, good riffs and a very satisfying production that always makes me gush. Being someone that just loves the 80's, this album is a direct product of that time. It has the energy and the creativity that makes it stand out I think. It isn't for everyone I will admit because in 1986, we had bands become heavier and faster while the older guard was acting more experimental but still retained their main image, just with more 80's flair to it. This is an album that isn't as heavy as Defenders or Screaming, but it has enough substance to it to make it an at least enjoyable album to listen ot and captures Judas Priest in an interesting creative time in their history.

But what about the package overall? Does this 30th anniversary edition really satisfy what it really was suppose to achieve? In a way yes. It gave us the album(obviously) and a live show that captured Priest on that tour. It is a simple package but works and serves as a susceptible companion to the Defenders Of The Faith 30th anniversary edition. I only wish that they included the Dallas show on blu Ray or dvd which would have been awesome to see. Also, if you already have the early 2000's remaster and “Priest...Live!” then this version may just be something to gloss over. However, if you are like me and you go crazy for anything Judas Priest, then pick it up because more Judas Priest is never ever a bad thing and with the band working on a new album we can only hope they dig out some rarities from this album to resurrect on tour.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


What a year for Heavy Metal and Rock in general. As much new and very talented bands have sprouted up over the year, we have seen some bands that have been gone for years and putting out some of the best albums of their careers. With this list, because I could not narrow it down to ten albums, I had to make this a top twenty because I wanted to mention all these albums. Also, yes some of these I was not able to review this year but they get their chance to shine now. Just too many good albums this year and I will first begin this list with the top 20 sort of "runner up" albums of the year.


20.Artillery-Penalty by Perception

A terrific thrash album by a band that never quite got their due. This album really shows their true abilities to craft very well done songs.

19.High Spirits-Motivator

A very catchy NWOBHM influenced album with probably some of the most positive messages from metal in recent years. Definitely recommend it because you'll be humming these songs for weeks.

18.Wo Fat- Midnight Cometh

A great stoner metal release with some big riffs and very drawn out songs. Definitely recommend it because it is an absolute jam.

17.Sumerlands- Sumerlands

I always think of Witchfinder General with this album because it has the doom metal aspects but also has hints of early 80s metal like early Ozzy material. A very well written album that i keep coming back to and a heck of a debut.

16. Savage Master- With Whips And Chains

Part of the New Wave of Traditional Metal from the recent years, Savage Master have a minimalist yet catchy approach to their songs. Where the solos and rhythm may be simplified, Stacey Savages raw as hell voice is what really keeps you holding on til the last note.

15.Davie Allan/Joel Grind E.P

Cheating a bit with an EP but these four songs represent the awesome fuzzed out garage surf rock that practically inspired what heavy rock would become. Definitely one that has made constant trips to my record player in the recent months.

14.Testament-Brotherhood Of The Snake

A triumphant return for thew thrash legends with a good amount of catchy songs to it.

13.Hellfire- Metal Masses

The album cover says it all, catchy, raw speed metal from the early 80s and these guys pull it off well with the early Metallica influences shining all throughout. However, the musicianship is very tight and I still await for this sucker to be on vinyl.

12. Airbourne-Breakin Outta Hell

The fourth album from the aussie rockers and bringing more of their no holds barred rock n roll with possibly some of the sharpest production to date. I really love this album and has slowly become my favorite of theirs since I saw them live and wow, easily the best live band I've ever seen.

11.Seven Sisters-S/T

These guys are another traditional Heavy Metal band that came out this year and are one of my favorite new bands to debut this year. This album is epic in all sorts of ways, with amazing hooks, solo's and riff after riff, this album delivers a style of heavy metal that is almost long forgotten.


10.Duel-Fears Of The Dead

Image result for duel fears of the dead

What a great 70s rock revival album. Just some of the best riffs off any album this year. Basically if you mix a bit of Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and a dash of early KISS, you get this monster of a rock album.

9.Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper- Walking In The Shadows

An amazing return of one of the most epic vocalists out of the NWOBHM-era. Steve Grimmett returns with an all new band and delivers a traditional 80s heavy metal record and I think this one deserves to be called the comeback album because it easily can stand against Grim Reapers past three albums.

8.Blood Ceremony- Lord Of Misrule

An awesome album from the cult rockers with some heavy psychedelic thrown in the mix. I like the different directions some tracks take where it isn't all about being all doom but has more emphasis on the organ. A killer, haunting album from start to finish.

7.Demon Bitch- Hellfriends

Image result for demon bitch hellfriends

Cult 80s US Power Metal done right in 2016. From the muddy bassy production tothe incredible falsettos, this album has some of the best crafted epic speed metal I have heard in a long time.

6.Tygers Of Pan Tang-S/T

A great comeback even if the band is a lot of new musicians. I think this added to Tygers viability because they sound as lively as ever on this album with a lot of great very big hooks as well.

5.Metallica- Hardwired...To Self Destruct

I know some people will get pissy for me putting this album so high on my list but I genuinely really like the album. I like the mix of basically all era's of Metallica and even though the second half gets bogged down a bit by too many slow numbers. the last track really makes up for it with one of the best songs they have written in thirty years.

4.Quartz-Fear No Evil

Image result for quartz fear no evil

A band that has comeback at a perfect time and with undoubtedly one of their most solid albums. With a raw production and some awesome arrangements, Quartz are back roaring to life and I hope they have at least one more album in them because they definitely still have the chops and their new singer definitely holds his own as well.

3.Blues Funeral- The Search

One of the most creative releases of the year and for good reason. This album has 70s heavy rock mixed with jazz and slight hints of classical music as well  making for some amazing crafted songs. This band should be more well known especially for releasing such an amazing debut because this is what a creative band should sound like in the public eye to me.

2.Anthrax- For All Kings

Anthrax hit it out of the park again with an extremely focused, solid, well written thrash metal album. Their are some great melodies peppered throughout the album as well and I find it very rare for a lot of these older bands to write records still this good with this amount of musicianship and creativity.

1.Diamond Head- S/T

My number one album of the year by a band that should have been as big as Metallica. Brian Tatler has always been a very skillful guitarist in knowing how to make riffs that are just right and is one of my all time favorites as well. After losing Nick Tart, newcomer singer Rasmus Andersen who I believe is the best singer the band has ever had as well joined the band and created what I think is the true third Diamond Head album and really embodies what the band is about(granted I dig Canterbury but it isn't a Diamond Head album). Seeing them on tour for this album and meeting them really will always be one of my most treasured memories as well.

Well there is my top 20 albums of the year. This year is easily one of my favorites and shows that heavy metal is still alive and well. Here's to making 2017 just as fucking good thank you everyone for the support!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Album Review: Metallica- Hardwired...To Self Destruct

“Hardwired...To Self Destruct” is the tenth studio album by heavy, thrash metal quartet Metallica and is to be released on November 18th,2016. Finally the biggest heavy metal band in the world releases their next album unto the world. And Metallica definitely kept themselves busy as well with doing the Lulu collaboration, a big week long list of special shows to promote their thirty years together and they even made a movie akin to Led Zeppelin's the song remains the same. But finally they have graced us with not only a new album but a double album. However, with so much material does the album crumble under its weight or does it come out on top? Well lets wrap this Metallica-thon up by delving right in.

Track Rundown

1.Hardwired-Right off the bat, Metallica are going straight for the jugular and sound a lot more pissed off than they did on “Death Magnetic”. This song definitely is reminiscent of the early days and starts the album off just right. Very simple but very brash and very heavy with probably one of Kirk Hammetts most simple solo's as well.

2.Atlas, Rise!- This song is easily one of the more complex tunes on the album and is one of my favorites as well with “Death Magnetic” as well but the production I feel is a tad more slick here. James' voice also sounds just a lot more solid on this album as well and Kirk's solo in this is really good and really peaks during the melodic moment right before the song comes right around to the verses. The chorus is very Iron Maiden like as well and I dig it. So far the album is shaping up to be very lively.

3.Now That We're Dead- Whoa 90's Metallica has swept in! And it is the good kind with the big riffs and solid grooves. I love how this song groove's a long and slows the pace down from the past two tracks a bit. It has a bit of radio quality to it but mixes things up especially early in the game. James sings damn good here as well just as solid as he was singing on “Load” as well and the chorus is pretty solid as well.

4.Moth Into Flame- This song returns back to the more straight forward heavy metal moments but with a whole lot more melody to it and I don't think I have seen Metallica utilize melody like they had in this track. The chorus is extremely addicting on my 6th listen I still find myself singing to it. I also love Kirk's solo in this song as well, it is reminiscent of some of his old solo's from back in the day. I als0 have to compliment how much more audible the bass is on this record to, it rumbles a lot more than it did on “Death Magnetic” and I can dig that.

5.Dream No More- This song has a bit of “Sad But True” mixed in with the edge of a track like “King Nothing” and I really like it. The riffs are very simple but solidly done. The best thing about this song is easily James' vocals, it literally is James' voice off of “Load” and for good reason, he gives off a dark vibe to the song especially in the chorus. As simple as the song is it is catchy and is another one of the slower songs that I dig a lot.

6.Halo On Fire- This is sort of the epic song on the album with more of the softer guitars coming out during the verse and then a monumental chorus with James shouting the lines out and making this one of his strongest vocal performances I think ever. I enjoy the loose feeling of this song as well with Kirk kind of doing more simple but groove driven soloing throughout. Another great and emotional song off the album.

7.Confusion-The Diamond Head influence cannot be denied here and not in a  total ripoff way, although I do get major Am I Evil vibes in the beginning. There are some good riffs throughout this track but it falls short just a bit for me around the chorus. It just doesn't have the magic the first two sides had. It isn't a bad song but just falls short a bit.

8.Manunkind- I really like how the music video is a total black metal show, almost seems like a tribute to black metal band mayhem. The song is a slab of old school heavy metal with a bit of  seventies rock influence to it as well. It is a good more hard rocking tune again with the “Lead” era in mind with some strong vocals laid over the top as well.

9.Here Comes Revenge- Another one of my favorite songs with a darker vibe to it as well. I love the riffs in this song with the heavy chugging but at a mid tempo adding a bit more of a groove. This song sports another pretty damn catchy chorus as well. Kirk has a dirtier solo on this track that I dig as well.

10.Am I Savage?- Opening with a darker vibe, almost Gothic in tone which I really dig, it's something different. The riffs are again more simple but with some good grooves in the verses but again falls flat a bit during the chorus. It just feels a bit bored in some aspects.

11.Murder One- Metallica finally give their tribute to Lemmy (with a kickass video too). This song has more of a hard rock edge to it and some dirty bluesy sounds too. It definitely is more of a jam tune and a cool little inclusion on the album.

12.Spit Put The Bone- Holy Hell what the hell happened! Metallica literally exploded on this song and haven't done it this good since Master Of Puppets honestly. It is so unrelentless and James' vocals are amazing like holy hell this track alone makes the whole album worth it. It is catchy as hell as well all the way through the chorus. This is heavier than anything on Death Magnetic I honestly can't believe they had it in them to still play THIS fast and tight still but I applaud them for ending the album with a  huge bang and I love Trujillo's bass solo as well, a killer inclusion!

Overall, I give “Hardwired...To Self Destruct” a good 8 out of 10. Honestly it isn't an album that is a complete return to form for Metallica, hell Death Magnetic was more of a return to the style of “...And Justice”. However there are aspects that are done better than that album and the variety from straight forward thrash metal to more of their 90's hard rock sound is what really works here. The album does trudge a bit during the second half but the good songs are really good and then the average songs are there but being a double album, I think we get enough songs that would make a concrete single album with some songs that would have worked more as bonus tracks. Overall, it is a welcomed return once again for the boys at least to me and I also gotta say, spring for the deluxe edition if you want an awesome revamped version of “Lords Of Summer”. So that concludes my Metallica retrospective with all ten studio albums and their Lou reed collaboration. No matter where you stand, you cannot deny that Metallica are as big as they are for a reason, because they still can write good tunes. Long live Metallica!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Album Review-Tygers of Pan Tang: Tygers Of Pan Tang

Tygers of Pan Tang released their self titled twelfth album on October 28th, 2016. Known as one of the many groups that should have hit super stardom within the NWOBHM, Tygers of Pan Tang have finally carved out another new album since 2012. I myself have been a Tygers fan through the years but unfortunately physical copies of their music is very hard to come by especially in the US. But either way I have always dug their style regarded as “melodic hard rock”. Now with only original member Robb Weir, can Tygers still carve out a good album or is the magic that they once held so high fizzed out?

Track Rundown

1.Only The Brave- Right away this album opens superbly strong with easily one the catchiest songs in years. It has that very old school galloping metal feel to with with a lot of solid rhythm playing too. I also have to say that the production on this album is very slick as well and for the better. You can tell a lot of care went into making this album. Vocalist Jacobo Meille handles himself very well and delivers one of Pan Tang's strongest chorus' in years.

2.Dust- This song has a lot of that bluesy hard rock feel to it but still retaining a lot of catchiness as well. It almost sounds like a brand new hard rock band as well with how many fresh musicians are associated with the band now, it can either make a band sound stale or in this case gives them new life and I think it helps introduce them to a new generation. The chorus is very melodic but kicks a lot of ass as well. This song also has one of my favorite solo's on the album as well.

3.Glad Rags- This tune definitely has that 80's mainstream heavy metal feel to it especially in the chorus but it is still just as enjoyable. It is again pretty damn catchy and holds a lot of charisma behind it as well. Good drinking tune I'd say!

4.Never Give In- A heavier faster tune that hearkens back to tunes like “Wild Cat” and is a welcomed return honestly because they keep it really tight and still put out a lot of power. Definitely a kick ass heavy metal tune that needs to be part of their live set.

5.The Reason Why- definitely one of the more “ballad” like songs on the album but I think it's done well because it keeps things as a consistent pace it actually goes by quicker than I thought it would. It is again really catchy especially in the chorus and again sounds like a newer band, like you would never guess these guys came out of the NWOBHM but it's them and it is done very well.

6.Do It Again- This is another more melodic up beat hard rock song that definitely h]goes back to their early days. It is one of my favorite songs on the albums just for how straightforward and ballsy it sounds. The overall sound of this song just defines what the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was all about. Just about being kick ass and having huge hooks.

7.More hard rock goodness with more of a mid tempo to it. I really dig the rhythm to this song especially during the verses. The chorus gets a bit repetitive but the verses make up for it for me anyway. Not a bad tune.

8.Praying For A Miracle- Another more ballad type song opening with some nice acoustic riffs. I really like the emotion this song conveys and definitely has some radio friendly qualities to it. It has a very strong chorus as well and defines their whole “melodic hard rock” style. A solidly written melodic rock song with some very nice hooks peppered throughout.

9.Blood Red Sky- Another pretty solid hard rock tune with some nice galloping riffs throughout every verse. I really like the chorus on this song as well it is simple but works very well. Another one of those songs you just want to crank up high. I really like the quieter parts as well it adds a bit of variety.

10.Angel In Disguise- This is probably the softest song on the album that sounds very similar to the previous song. It is still welcomed I feel because it is done very well and sounds fresh. It serves as a very good prelude to my favorite song on the album.

11.Devil You Know- Opening with some heavy riffing and some of the most infectious riffs on the whole album, I just love how heavy the rhythm is in this song. The chorus is catchy as hell as well. Easily my favorite song on the album for how well it balances heaviness and melodic themes. One hell of a closer that ends with the growl of a tiger.

Overall this album get a strong 7.5 out of 10. I really dug this record it really is fun to listen to. It really is an album that showcases what Tygers of Pan Tang are really about and I think has the band really come full circle in their career. It is full of strong hooks, memorable guitar lines and songs that easily fit with Tygers older discography. Highly suggest picking this album up.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Album Review: Quartz- Fear No Evil

“Fear No Evil” is the fourth studio album by English Heavy Metal band Quartz and is being released on October 28th 2016 via High Roller Records. Quartz for the longest time have been one of those bands that I heard about but never experienced enough of. Even though they are considered part of my favorite era of music, The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, like many English metal bands, they actually predate the genre by a few years when they released their self titled debut in 1977. This album was pretty heavy for its time and they actually had some sort of underground success when they released “Stand Up and Fight” in 1980 which many consider to be their most classic album. Next they released the bit more commercial sounding but equally heavy “Against All Odds” in 1983 before unfortunately fading away. Most people know Quartz for being the band Geoff Nicolls of Black Sabbath fame had been in (and also sings on a few songs on this album as well) but they a lot more to them than meets the eye and with Fear No Evil, this is no exception.

Track Rundown

1.Fear No Evil-Opening with some ominous keyboards, the album definitely starts with a strong number with some Sabbathy vibes to it and the keyboards behind the galloping riffs really adds to the atmosphere as well. Their new singer David Garner has a very nice and melodic voice and fits with the band very well. The chorus to this song is extremely catchy as well and if you can find live footage online, I suggest checking it out because this song is prime NWOBHM reborn!

2.Rock Bottom- This song has a very Deep Purple or UFO vibe to with its infectious main riff and Nicholls sounds a bit like Ian Gillan at times as well. Damn good tune with another catchy chorus and a kickass solo as well.

3.The Stalker- This song is a bit more mid paced and has some good riffs to it I could see this one being a good tune to hear live it definitely is more on the bluesy side. I like the more ominous moments it almost sounds like a song Dio could have written. Definitely one of the more atmospheric tracks on the album.

4.Rapture- I love the keyboards all over this album it just screams the eighties to me but adds a whole layer of atmosphere which serves as a nice short prelude to the next song.

5.Zombie Resurrection- This song is definitely more of a fist pounding tune that is pretty catchy as well. There is a modern Sabbath feel as well that I dig. A good heavy mid paced song with some really cool melodic moments as well that really explodes toward the end as well definitely the highlight on the album it really offers a lot of variety and a lot of great heavy riffs.

6.Barren Land- Another short prelude to the next song and actually my favorite short instrumental piece on the album!

7.Walking On Holy Water- This song reminds me of Metallica's “Welcome Home(Sanitarium)” but doesn't come off as a rip off because Quartz really make it their own song. Geoff Nicholls sounds extremely good here too. This is a straight up heavy metal tune with an awesome epic chorus as well.

8.Dangerous Game- This song has more of that classic NWOBHM sound to it and is another one of my favorites on the album as well. The production really gives every component of the band to shine and is really raw yet sharp and is very well balanced. A really straight forward Heavy Metal song with a lot of catchy hooks to it.

9.Born To Rock The Nation- This song would be the best candidate for being a single to the album. It definitely has the straight eighties feel in the lyrics which are very easy to sing along to and I feel this song would work well live. One of the heaviest songs here as well with some nice heavy riff gallops during the verses. Damn good head banging song.

10.Riot In The City- I really like the melodies on this song, it almost boarders on power metal at times. This definitely has a bit more commercial feel to it or at least what used to be considered commercial but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The chorus is fairly strong with some nice backup vocals coming in. A good bit of a pace changer I dig it. One of the best songs on the album.

11.Dead Man's World- This song opens with some nice bass soloing which leads very smoothly into the main riff of the song. This song is another heavy hitter with a lot more of a lower tuned tone to it. Again this song is just pure early eighties Heavy Metal and these guys are still doing it well.

12.Scream At The Devil- This is easily one of the catchiest songs on the album with a good balance in heaviness and a sense of melody as well. The chorus is pretty damn catchy as well and overall I think this song is a good closer to a fairly strong heavy metal album this far into 2016.

Overall, I give this album an 8.1 out of 10. With all of the NWOBHM bands making a comeback this year, I think this album is hitting at the perfect time and Quartz are ripe for being one of the bands to come back. This album is very catchy, very heavy, and will keep you interested all the way to the last note. Like I said in my review of Grim Reapers newest album, It may not be groundbreaking but it is sure to be an album that blows your eardrums off. Now to go grab this sucker on vinyl...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Show Review: Airbourne/The Wild- The Bottom Lounge, Chicago Illinois 9/30/2016

On september 30th, I was lucky enough to Catch Australian hard rock group Airbourne and supporting rock band The Wild at Chicago's Bottom Lounge. Now everyone who knows me knows that I don't go see new bands too often unless I really like them. Airbourne is no exception to that as I have been a fan since "No Guts No Glory". After  missing them coming to Chicago two or three times I definitely was not going to miss them again.

Opening band: The Wild

The Wild are a Canadian hard rock group that take the simular "rock n roll" formula and add a hard rock flair to it. They were pretty good live and had almost a ZZ Top vibe to them as well. They had some fast songs, some slow song but overall were a fun band. The only problem I had was I oin't feel like I could establish them from a lot of bands that use this similar formula. They had a good stage presence too which kept the audience interested. Overall they were pretty good and very fun but nothing that totally blew me out of the water.


And then, like that, Airbourne were up next. With the lines of Marshall and Wizard stacks across the stage, I could tell that this was going to be a loud as hell show. Then, the terminator theme roared over the PA and the stage filled with fog, the anticipation was almost too much. All of a sudden like a loaded gun, everyone comes from stage left blasting into "Ready To Rock" and I was blown away immediately. I expected power but holy hell Airbourne exceeded my expectations and then some. Sitting second row watching them was one of the most awe inspiring things I have ever experienced. Their stage presence is easily the best I have ever experienced with mad frontman Joel O'Keefe
throwing beers to everyone, exploding beer all over first and second row, and even playing guitar through the crowd during "Girls In Black". I have to say that even though I always said Motorhead were the loudest band I have ever seen, Airbourne beat them slightly, almost a week later and my ears are still ringing. Their setlist had no filler and even included some new tracks off their newest release "Breaking Outta Hell" as well. The show was so good that it went so fast too. I literally could go on and on about how good they played, how good they sounded but it wouldn't do them justice, just go see them because it will change your life, and your ears too.

This was easily the best show of the year for me. With all the recent news of ACDC slowly falling apart, it is great to see Airbourne doing that Aussie pub rock the right way and I really hope they only get bigger in the states. Joel, Ryan, Justin and David, your guys' music helped me through some tough as hell times and I am happy I finally got to see you live. Here is to many more years to Rockin and Rollin!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Album Review-Grim Reaper: Walking In The Shadows

"Walking In The Shadows" is the fourth album by Heavy Metal group Grim Reaper and was released on September 23rd, 2016. I for one have always loved Grim Reaper especially since they are a band, if you took the core of what Heavy Metal is, it is these guys. Steve Grimmett has always been a vocalist I have admired because he utilized his voice very well. Now here we are almost thirty years since the release of "Rock You To Hell" with a fresh new lineup and Grimmett still in the front man position. I also will note that because Steve's name is above the title, I still consider this part of the Grim Reaper discography even if it is more of a reformation. But how does this album stack up compared the unholy trilogy? Lets find out.

Track Rundown

1.Wings Of Angels- Opening with the sound of a war plane soaring through the sky, this song goes right into that classic NWOBHM riffing. Right away you can tell that Steve doesn't sing as high as he used to. Some vocalists this is a make or break scenario. I think Grimmett carries enough charisma in his singing where it still fits, he still has a bit of that gruff as well. The production obviously isn't as reverbed as it was back in the day but it has more of a garage-ish feel here which I dig. The chorus is very strong which always has been a strong thing for the Reaper. The solo is pretty good but not mind blowing. I think this is an great opening song and it is great to hear this lost band from the eighties to come to rise again.

2.Walking In Shadows- The first single off the album and I have to say since the first day I heard it, it is just as catchy. Again the chorus carries that heavy melodic feeling which I never tire of. A great song that could be a classic in their discography.

3.Reach Out- This sounds a bit like it could have been on "See You In Hell" but that is what I expect from the band, this is their style of playing and its like AC DC or Motorhead, it it aint broke dont fix it. Another great rocking tune!

4.I'm Coming For You- I like the guitar that almost sounds its going backwards in the beginning it is a cool touch. The verses are pretty catchy and show of Steves more soaring vocals where it just glides so smoothly on top of all the instrumentation. It is another great song that really keeps the album going at a consistent pace.

5.From Hell- We got the Hell song! as we all know Grim Reaper are known for inserting Hell into all their albums themes. Hey who cares though its their thing.This song definitely has more of that old school speed metal feel that is of course always welcome. The new line up I think injects some life as well. I forgot to mention how good the drums sound they really bounce especially with headphones in. This is easily one of the best songs on the album with everyone giving it all they got. Definitely shows that Grim Reaper are alive and well.

6.Call Me In The Morning- Another very fast track that again keeps the pace going throughout the album. The verses are very damn catchy as well and it doesn't let up, its just pure headbanging fun plain and  simple.

7.Rock Will Never Die- This is a straight up fist pumping anthem and would work very well in Grim Reapers live set I believe. The chorus picks up the tempo a bit and really lets Grimmett belt it out and I again praise for how well he utilizes his voice on this album and he still sings very damn well.

8.Temptation-  A little bit of an Overkill feel here with the double bass drumming I dig it! It adds a bit of extra power and gets to excited right from the get go. This is another song I feel that would work very well in their live set hell the whole album would! This is one of the hookiest albums ive easily heard in a long time.

9.Thunder- A bit more of a mid pace on this song. Probably the most mid paced song on the album but it still works very well and has a ballad-ish feel to it which I dig. Not a bad song

10.Now You See Me- Right back into the no nonsense heavy metal this song goes and has one of the best chorus' on the album bar none. I dig this song especially this late into the album, I still am throughout enjoying it for the consistency that they pull off.

11.Blue Murder- Opening with another epic sounding heavy metal riff, this song is very vintage sounding as well, The really quick double bass drums during the bridge his very cool it adds some extra flavor. I really get heavy vibes of "DOA" in this tune which isnt bad just makes me want to pull out my other Reaper albums now!

12.Come Hell Or High Water- A very fitting up beat closer here. Actually it is one of my favorite songs on the album as well especially when Grimmett uses more of that grit when he sings through the chorus lines. The solo is really epic too with the chants behind it, it just adds so much power to the main bulk of the solo as well. Epic closer to a really faithful comeback.

Overall, I give "Walking In The Shadows" a very solid 7.5 out of 10. Obviously in the year 2016, there is so much music out there that nothing is mind blowing to us much anymore. However, with this album, I really enjoyed it because within its simplicity is a comeback from one of the most underrated bands of the eighties. it has the hooks, the musicianship and tons of charm. This is a heavy metal album and Grim Reaper can still do it very very well. It isn't mind blowing but it is a great return from one of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's best. I salute Grim Reaper and I salute Steve Grimmett especially for keeping the music alive after all these years.