Archive for the ‘Album Of The Week’ Category

disturbed-believe-album-cover_552510Now that we are done with all 50 of the best metal albums of all time list according to Loudwire, I thought it was time to move on to cover albums that I love or I am curious about discovering. The album that I chose for this week’s Album of the Week comes from one of the most intense metal albums to be spawned from the Nu-Metal scene in Chicago’s own Disturbed. The band was coming off of their breakout debut album The Sickness that was released in 2000 and add to that the death of singer David Draiman’s grandfather and the events of 9/11 and you have 2002’s Believe, the sophomore effort from the band. The band which consisted of Draiman (Vocals), Dan Donegan (Guitars), Mike Wengren (Drums), and for the very last time Steve “Fuzz” Kmak (Bass) who was fired from the band in 2003. Once again with the help of producer Johnny K, the band would release their first album to ever debut at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Charts as it sold over 284,000 copies in the first week. Behind three singles, the album would go double platinum as it also peaked at number one in New Zealand and number two in Canada.

00073601. Prayer– The first single off of the record was a culmination of two events with one being the death of David’s death and the second being the clergy’s response to 9/11. David explains saying, “Instead of consoling their flock, people [of the clergy] like Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts chastised them and used the situation as a means of empowerment, saying it was our own fault because we’re a decadent and promiscuous people. I just thought that whole notion is ridiculous.” So essentially the song is about David having a conversation with God. 5/5

2. Liberate– This was the third single off of the record and it features elements from the first record in the track as David tells you that you it’s OK to believe in God, but he also tells you to have an open mind towards other possibilities or other people’s beliefs. 5/5

3. Awaken-an intense track right from the start with a very melodic verse and heavy chorus style, the song is all about America’s obsession with cookie cutter/wallpaper music. 5/5

4. Believe-An interesting track lyrically from the band that deals with the idea of people who think that just because they are religious or believe in God, does not mean that they are absolved from their sins. 4.5/5

5. Remember– The second single off of the album and one of the best tracks on the record that lyrically deals with how cutthroat the music industry can be and how David has stayed away from the various temptations the industry can offer. 5/5

6. Intoxication-This is one of two tracks on the album that deals with the difficulties that David has faced when dealing with relationships. This one is more in the sense of how relationships can be intoxicating and how it can blind you from people’s true intentions. 4.5/5

believe(ltd)-disc17. Rise– This was one of the coolest songs to hear live when it was being performed by the band at the time. I like the lyrics to the track because it’s all about being yourself and not someone you wish you were. Rise and be you! 4.5/5

8. Mistress-Musically not my favorite track, but I do like the lyrics as it deals with how a lot of men have idolized women and the hardship that comes with the result of doing so. 3.9/5

9. Breathe-a decent track on the record that’s all about someone who is so self centered that when he finally realizes it, it’s way too late for him to change. 4.2/5

10. Bound– This is the other track that focuses on David’s troubles with relationships in the sense that because he is bound to his beliefs and who he is, it’s hard to maintain relationships when they want to change him. 4.5/5

11. Devour– a track that is all about David telling someone that no matter what he will be there for them whether they think they need it or not and that he will devour their problems. 4/5

12. Darkness– a very melodic track that features piano, very different vocals by David, and Alison Chesley playing cello on the track that is all about David’s personal journey following the death of his grandfather. 4/5

My Final Thoughts-This was definitely one of my favorite releases from Disturbed in where almost every track is a banger with a few exceptions like Mistress. Nonetheless, this was the growing up stage for Disturbed as things only got bigger for the band from here. That is why I am giving the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

LAs I had said before, back in September of 2018, we started tackling Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list and 35 albums later and we are finally at the finish line. Back when I reviewed Metallica’s Ride The Lightning, I said that was the greatest thrash metal album of all time because it still had the fury of the first record matched with the talented writing of Cliff Burton. Now I present to you what could be considered one of the greatest metal albums in Metallica’s third album Master Of Puppets. The album once again featured James Hetfield (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Kirk Hammett (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), but unfortunately this was the last album to ever feature Cliff on Bass Guitar as he died in the bus accident. It was rather unfortunate because this was Metallica in their musical peak as far as being a metal band was concerned. Cliff was an amazing contributor to the band and this was the pay off of all that work. The album was such a success for the band that it peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts and was the first thrash metal record to go Platinum as it did six times.

metallica-master-puppets-digipak-imported-cd-discplayer-1809-13-F1198959_21. Battery– The track starts off with an acoustic guitar intro before it kicks into metal overdrive in this track that is all about battery as in assault and battery. 5/5

2. Master Of Puppets– The title track and one of Metallica’s greatest songs that features a song structure similar to The Four Horsemen as far as how it is set up (2 verse/chorus set, lengthy interlude, verse/chorus set). The track is bad ass, but it’s about cocaine addiction. 5/5

3. The Thing That Should Not Be– The heaviest track on the album with it’s down tuned Black Sabbath influence is all about the monster Cthulhu made famous by H.P. Lovecraft. I read that the main riff is supposed to sound like the beast dragging itself back into the sea. 5/5

4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)– Metallica set the pace for Power Ballads with Fade To Black and they crushed it with this track that alternates between 4/4 and 6/4 time signatures. The track’s lyrics are based off of the book One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey referring to patient trapped in a metal institution. 5/5

119071737-35. Disposable Heroes-a track that is just absolutely in your face intensity from start to finish that is an anti-war song about a soldier whose fate is decided by his superiors. The cool thing I read is that the end of each verse, the riff Hammett plays is supposed to imitate music found in war films. 5/5

6. Leper Messiah– The track starts with the band counting down until the freigh train intensity hits you in this song that is all about the explosion of TV Televangelists in the 1980’s and how people were so blindly willing to throw money at these frauds. 5/5

7. Orion-an instrumental track on the album that is meant to highlight the brilliance of Cliff Burton and his amazing bass playing featuring parts that were written and orchestrated by him. 5/5

8. Damage, Inc.- The last track on the album that starts with bass riffs that were based on parts of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Come, Sweet Death before exploding into a riff written in E that was influenced by Deep Purple according to Hammett. The song is all about senseless violence. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-As I said before that this may be one of the greatest Metal albums ever written as Loudwire ranked it 2nd on their 50 Best Metal Albums of all time list. Every track on the album kicks ass so back and enjoy this lesson in metal greatness. Thew album gets Five stars out of five for a final grade.

Number-of-the-beast-album-coverBack in September of 2018, we started a journey covering all the albums that were listed on Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list. Before we started, we had already covered 14 albums which meant there were 36 albums to discover and explore and now we are down to two. By 1982, Iron Maiden was already a pretty established band having already released two albums (Self Titled & Killers), but the band had just released their singer and now were embarking on a new journey with a new lead singer who would sweep the metal world off it’s feet. Bruce Dickinson was the new lead singer of Iron Maiden and he was joined by Steve Harris (Bass), Dave Murray (Guitars), Adrian Smith (Guitars), and for the very last time Clive Burr (Drums). On March 22, 1982, the band would release their epic third album The Number Of The Beast and it was a huge success for the band as it established Bruce as the leading frontman of Heavy Metal. The album was such a success that it was the first Iron Maiden record to go number one in the UK and it peaked at 33 in the US Billboard Top 200 Charts as it went platinum selling over 1 million copies.

number-of-the-beast-album-cover-back1. Invaders– Burr and Harris kick off the track before the band kicks into overdrive for the opening track that is all about the Viking’s Norman conquest of 1066. Harris believes that the band could have chosen a better track than this for the album. 4.5/5

2. Children Of The Damned-a very melodic intro and pretty mellow track that Dickinson has admitted was based off of Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Sea track. The lyrics were based on the films Village Of The Damned and Children Of The Damned. 5/5

3. The Prisoner-a cool track that is based off of the television series of the same name and even features an audio clip from the show that the manager of Maiden Ron Smallwood said he had to call Patrick McGoohan just to get permission to use it to which McGoohan agreed. 4.5/5

4. 22 Acacia Avenue– This is the second track in the Charlotte The Harlot saga and how she shouldn’t continue her life of prostitution because of the things that could happen to her if she continues. 5/5

the-number-of-the-beast-ltd-1a-600x6005. The Number Of The Beast– The most famous title track and a live staple for many years in this track that was inspired by a bad dream that Harris had after watching Damien: The Omen II and he has also stated that the track was also inspired by Tam o’ Shanter by Robert Burns. The spoken word in the beginning of the track was from The Book Of Revelations and was read by Barry Clayton because the band refused to pay Vincent Price asking price of £25,000. 5/5

6. Run To The Hills– This is probably the most famous and overplayed Iron Maiden track of all time in this track that is all about European white males who started invading the land that would later be known as the United States of America and what they did to Native Americans. 5/5

7. Gangland– This is probably the weakest track on the whole album and it’s even agreed by Steve Harris who said the choice was made in a rush in this track that I believe is about a man who leaves the gang life behind, but it never really leaves him as it haunts him. 4/5

8. Hallowed Be Thy Name– One of the most legendary tracks in all of Iron Maiden’s catalog as it is the most covered Maiden track. The track is about a prisoner who is about to be hanged. There is a little bit of controversy surrounding the track as the band was sued for songwriting credits. For more info on that, just click here. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is not my favorite Iron Maiden record ever, but it is definitely up there. It’s that album to Maiden that Back In Black was to AC/DC or Blizzard Of Ozz was for Ozzy, it’s just the standard. A track to avoid on here is definitely Gangland while the rest of the album is more than listenable so rock out with your… well you know what I am saying. I am going to give the album 4.7 stars out of five.

jpriest-screamingveng-coverThe album that I chose for today’s Album of the Week always held a special place in my heart because one of it’s lead singles was my introduction to the band and every time I hear it I still can’t stop rocking out to it. The other reason being that Judas Priest’s Screaming For Vengeance was released on July 17, 1982 which was the year I was born. Screaming For Vengeance was the band’s eighth studio album and it once again featured Rob Halford (Vocals), K.K. Downing (Guitars), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), Ian Hill (Bass), and Dave Holland (Drums) while the album was produced by Tom Allom which this was his fourth time with the band. British Steel was always considered the band’s marquee record, but the truth of the matter is that they didn’t sell well in the US until the release of this album which rose all the way up to two times platinum which made it the first Priest record to do so. It was a huge commercial success here in the US as it peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Top 200 charts as well as peaking at number 11 in the UK. The album has received numerous accolades over the years including being listed number 7 on Loudwire.com’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list.

judas-priest-screaming-vengeance-2-cd1. The Hellion– One of the greatest opening instrumental tracks to an album that when I would play it on my college station I would accompany it with the next track. 5/5

2. Electric Eye– Picking up right where the last track took off, this classic track about big brother and the paranoia that went with the idea of the government watching you. Played in E minor the track is based off George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four book. 5/5

3. Riding On The Wind-I love how the track opens with the drums before it goes to the answer/call effect by the twin guitar attack in the beginning in what I believe to be a motorcycle track as far as the lyrics are concerned. 5/5

4. Bloodstone– The guitar riff is slowed don a bit before the track kicks off in this song that I think is about all the blood that has been spilled in the world and how it seems like it’s never ending. 5/5

5. (Take These) Chains– One of my favorite power ballads that I think has a deeper meaning than just about love. I think it was Halford crying out that he just wanted to be free and not have to hide his true feelings. 5/5

6. Pain And Pleasure– a slowed down tempo leads this track that has the same kind of sound as Metal Gods as far as drums are concerned in this track that is all about S&M and how even though it hurts that is what is enjoyable about it. 4.5/5

judas-priest-screaming-for-vengeance-columbia-38160-lp-vg--2_442943527. Screaming For Vengeance– The title track is next and it hard charging/chugging riff in this song that is all about injustice and how the man always tries to keep you down. 4.5/5

8. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’– This is the one track that every time I hear it I can not stop playing air guitar to. The very first single off the record written in F-sharp minor is the only Priest track to ever chart in America. The track is about doing what you want to do no matter what others say! 5/5

9. Fever– A very melodic track much like (Take These) Chains, in this track that is all about two lovers who become re-acquainted. The real highlight of this track is Rob Halford’s vocals in this song and how he smoothly fits right in with the music so effortlessly. The guitar solo in the track is pretty bad ass too. 5/5

10. Devil’s Child– The last track on the album is an absolute banger in the same sense as any of their other popular tracks. It’s about being in a relationship/friendship with someone that you know is bad, but it’s very much a necessary evil. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is definitely one of my top Judas Priest albums ever and that is why it holds such a special place in my heart. The only unfortunate thing is that 8 out of the 10 tracks is a 5, but that they are not too far behind because the album gets 4.9 stars out of five for a final grade.

118933420One of the greatest thrash albums of all time in my opinion has always been Metallica’s second album Ride The Lightning which was released on July 27, 1984 via Megaforce Records (later re-released by Elektra Records). The album in my opinion still featured some of the fury and rawness of the previous effort Kill ‘Em All, but it was a step forward in their sound that would eventually be featured on their next effort Master Of Puppets. The album also still featured traces of former guitarist Dave Mustaine of Megadeth who has writing credits on the album. The band once again featured James Hetfield (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Kirk Hammett (Lead Guitar), Cliff Burton (Bass), and Lars Ulrich (Drums) while the album was produced by Flemming Rasmussen as well as Metallica. The album was a critical success for the band as it established that they were the alphas of the Metal scene that was emerging in the US as it charted at Number 48 on the Billboard Top 200 while being certified platinum six times. The change in style of this album to the previous was all due to Cliff Burton who apparently introduced musical theory to the band and they allowed him to have more input as far as writing was concerned.

main_1525890639-James-Hetfield-Jason-Newsted-Signed-Metallica-Ride-the-Lightning-Vinyl-Record-Album-Inscribed-04-2013-JSA-COA-PristineAuction.com1. Fight Fire With Fire– The opening track starts with an acoustic riff that Cliff Burton had been playing around with before the all out metal assault hits you like a freight train. The track is all about denouncing the idea of an eye for an eye with the fear of nuclear attacks being an option. 5/5

2. Ride The Lightning– the title track is one that Mustaine helped write, but that Metallica had to slow down because neither Hammett or Hetfield could match the speed of Mustaine. The track is about the corruption of the justice system as told by a man facing the electric chair. 5/5

3. For Whom The Bell Tolls– a church bell kicks off the track that is one of my personal favorites and the opening chromatic riff that you hear is actually Cliff Burton playing with distortion and a wah wah pedal and not the guitars. The lyrics and track were based off of Ernest Hemingway’s book of the same name in the matter of the dishonor and all of the horrors associated with warfare. 5/5

4. Fade To Black– The track is a ballad of sorts, but it deals with a very touchy subject matter of suicide. Apparently. the track is about the emotions that Hetfield went through when he and Metallica had discovered that someone had stolen all of their equipment before a show in Boston, MA in January of 1984. 5/5

118875110-35. Trapped Under Ice– This was a track that was based off of a demo that Hammett had written with Exodus called Impaler. They tuned it up and fixed it and turned it into this track that is all about a man that wakes up after being trapped in a cryogenic state and the helplessness that he goes through after. 5/5

6. Escape– While I am a fan of this track, apparently James Hetfield hates this song because this track was the result of the label telling them they had to write a more radio friendly song. I really like this track. 5/5

7. Creeping Death-This is probably the most famous Metallica song ever written besides Fade, Bell, and even Master Of Puppets. The track is about the story of Moses and the plagues that engulfed Egypt. 5/5

8. The Call of Ktulu– The instrumental track was named after the H.P. Lovercraft book The Call Of Cthulhu and features the intro written in D Minor by Mustaine (He used again in Hangar 18) and is followed up by a bass solo by Cliff Burton. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– There is a reason that Loudwire ranked this album 8TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of all time list and that is because it is one of the greatest albums written by Metallica. The album gets five stars out of five stars because it belongs in the five star album club.

R-1113013-1349122345-6756.jpegThere was once a time when four bands in the thrash metal world would each release an album that would go down in infamy and put the scene on the map. You see those bands would go on to be known as the Big Four of Thrash Metal and those bands are Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Metallica would release Master Of Puppets, Slayer would release Reign In Blood, Anthrax would release Among The Living, and our album of the week this week was Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? by Megadeth. The album was released on September 19, 1986 and it was the second album to feature Dave Mustiane (Lead Vocals/Guitar), David Ellefson (Bass), Chris Poland (Guitars), and Gar Samuelson (Drums). Unfortunately, this was the last album to ever feature Gar on Drums as he would pass away in 1999 and this was also the last to feature Chris Poland until 2004’s The System Has Failed Us as a session guitarist. The album was hugely successful for Megadeth at the time as it charted and peaked at number 74 on the Billboard Top 200 Chrtas as well as being listed in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Martin Popoff’s  Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time. Most importantly the album was ranked 9TH on Loudwire.com’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list.

megadeth-peace-sells-but-whos-buying-3-cd1. Wake Up Dead-The song just kicks right off into overdrive with Ellefson’s help as Dave tells us a story of a man who is cheating on his wife, but is afraid that if she finds out she’ll kill him. The track is autobiographical of a situation that Mustaine was in at one time. 5/5

2. The Conjuring-An interesting track that is all about black magic and according to Dave even has instructions on how to perform hexes. 5/5

3. Peace Sells– That world famous bass riff starts off the track before Mustaine and co. come in with one of the fiercest riffs in this track that is all about Mustaine’s distaste for the way American culture was at the time. That last stanza of the track where Dave sing Peace Sells along with all the guitar solos is one of my favorite moments in a track. 5/5

4. Devil’s Island– They are relentless as the fury continues into this track that is all about the French prison island French Guiana about a man who was imprisoned there, but after being spared by God he is forced to live out the rest of his days there. 5/5

megadeth-peace-sells-but-whos-buying-4-cd5. Good Mourning/Black Friday– The very melodic and eerie Good Mourning is the instrumental part of the track before it leads into Black Friday which is a track about a serial killer. The track was apparently inspired by the band’s original drummer Dijon Carruthers who had friends that practiced Occultism. 5/5

6. Bad Omen– The song is about Occultism as Mustaine once described the track as being about, “two happy campers who have stumbled onto a Satanic orgy in the middle of the woods.” He basically ends it by saying that, “they see these fools waiting around for Satan’s blessing.” 5/5

7. I Ain’t Superstitious– This is Megadeth’s cover of the Howlin’ Wolf track that was written by Willie Dixon. I love how Megadeth put their own twist on this bluesy track. 5/5

8. My Last Words– Is the last track on the album and a track that a lot of people believed proved that Megadeth were purveyors of speed metal and some of the best at it. The song is about the game of Russian Roulette and the fear that goes into playing this interesting game. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– I will always argue with anyone that I truly believe that this is the best Megadeth record ever released because this was a band that was hungry and ready to prove all the naysayers that they meant business. Listen to the whole damn album because this gets the perfect five score and is in the perfect five album club.

0000329891I remember when System Of A Down first came out with their self titled album in 1998, they were a band that just stormed the scene out of nowhere with their whacked out in your face alt metal assault. They were the right kind of band to come out when they did because soon enough Rage Against The Machine would be no more and we needed a new band to take over the activist mantra and they did just that with their second album Toxicity.  The album which once again featured Serj Tankian (Vocals/Keyboard/Strings), Daron Malakian (Guitars/Sitar/Vocals), Shavo Odadjian (Bass), and John Dolmayan (Drums) released the album September 4, 2001 and it was produced by Rick Rubin as well as Serj and Daron. The album was a huge success upon it’s release as it peaked at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Charts in the US and in Canada as it sold 220,000 copies in it’s first week. The album was certified triple platinum a year later as well as finishing at 101 on the Billboard Year End charts in 2001 and then it finished 28TH in 2002. Another achievement from the album is that every single released charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as having a single finish number one on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Modern Rock Tracks charts. Loudwire ranked the album 13 on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list.

System of a Down - Toxicity back1. Prison Song– an in your face track kicks off the album in this track that was said to be written about how our prisons are overflowing with Americans and so we keep building more prisons. 4/5

2. Needles– an interesting track where one may feel that they are talking about drugs and how can I blame you with a title like that. But I saw someone explain that the song is about euthanasia and the idea of how tough it is to grow old especially when the body begins to fall apart. 4.5/5

3. Deer Dance-a relentless track that is all about the protests that happened during the 2000 Democratic National Convention. 4/5

4. Jet Pilot-SOAD does not take their foot off the pedal going into this track which I ultimately think is a metaphor for the environment 4/5

5. X– a track that is all about how oppressive a government can be especially when it starts telling the people what they can and can’t do. 4.5/5

6. Chop Seuy!– This was the first single off the record and controversy followed it due to the fact that it was released during the week of 9/11. Daron explains the meaning to the lyrics saying, “The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ‘I cry when angels deserve to die’. The lyric passages ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ and ‘why have you forsaken me?’ are a reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, as, according to the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while dying.” 5/5

7. Bounce-an in your face track that surprisingly is about group sex. I love how it goes crazy during the chorus and calm during the verses. 5/5

toxicity-589cd99826a8a8. Forest-a great track that I think is about how the original concept of religion has been ruined by the people who take something that should be about peace and love, but have created war over it. 5/5

9. ATWA-One of my favorite tracks on the album that starts calm with the clean channel playing before they kick it in overdrive for the choruses. The song is based off of Charles Manson’s views on the environment. 5/5

10. Science– an interesting view on the world of science and the age old topic of science vs religion. It tackles the idea of how science without a moral/faith based view and  understanding could destroy the earth, but also could lead us to the promise land. 5/5

11. Shimmy-an interesting track that looks at the idea of how school instills what the majority believes is the right thing for you to believe in like education, marriage, etc. 4.5/5

12. Toxicity– Another one of my favorite tracks on the album. According to wikipedia, the track is played, ” predominately in triple meter, alternating between 6/4, 12/8 and 4/4 time. The guitar during the verse plays in 6/4 using a 2+2+2 phrasing while the heavy part (“somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep”) makes use of a hemiola with the guitar switching to a 3+3+3+3 pattern while the drums remain in compound duple meter until the bridge.” According to John the song is about, “your poisonous content. Your toxicity level. But toxicity doesn’t necessarily mean the toxicity of a person, it can be the toxicity of a city. Or the toxicity of a nation. The toxicity of a speech. It’s just toxicity in general or whatever.” 5/5

13. Psycho– A great track to hear and sing along with live in this track that is all about drugs and groupies. 5/5

14. Aerials– The best song on the whole entire album with it’s clean channel guitar intro and incredible guitar riff during the chorus that is intoxicating to listen to. The track is about how ignorant we can be as a society when we close our minds to those who are different or have different opinions. An incredible track that still translates well today. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Besides the Mezmerize/Hypnotize albums, this might be the best piece of work that System Of A Down ever put out as almost every track is brilliant. I have always favorite the mid to late tracks on this album more than I did the opening tracks hence the grades. Check out the album and I am giving the record 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.