Archive for the ‘CD Review’ Category

war of kiEveryone’s favorite Swedish rock band is back with their tenth studio album War Of Kings which continues the direction the band has been in since they returned in 2004. What is incredible about this album is that the original Final Countdown lineup of Joey Tempest (Vocals), John Norum (Guitars), John Levén (Bass), Mic Michaeli (Keyborads), and Ian Haugland (Drums) are still making music together after all these years. That is an impressive statistic considering most bands from that era are missing multiple members. One of the things I was most impressed about with this album is the fact that Joey Tempest has reinvented himself vocally and I love it because it adds a different dimension to their music like in the first track which is also the title track. It has a very Deep Purple-esque sound to it and Norum’s guitar solo is impressive. Hole In My Pocket heads more in the rock and roll direction with a little stank added to the guitar sound while Second Day gets epic like a Led Zeppelin track. Praise You gets real garage band ballsy with elements of Sabbath-esque riffs while  Nothin’ To Ya has some monster riffs that will make you turn it up way past 11. California 405 continues the lesson in what real rock and roll is for all the kids of America with it’s Deep Purple-esque monster riffs matched with the keyboards that would make Jon Lord proud. Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll is the second single off the record and it’s another rocker with Europe adding their flavor to it while Children Of The Mind had a Dio/Black Sabbath feel with the monster bass riff to accompany the guitars. Rainbow Bridge has this Middle Eastern like sounding keyboard riff with that power chord heavy guitar riffs while Angels (With Broken Hearts) is very bluesy, but the tempo is slowed down and I love Norum’s playing on this track. Light It Up is the last track on the album and the bass playing is very impressive on the track while the song is a rocker that closes out the album right. This album is a lesson on what real rock is supposed to sound like, so kids grab a pen and paper and take some notes. I am giving the album four stars out five for a final grade. Check out in stores or online now!!! The band is also touring this spring so check out the dates below to see if you’re one of the lucky ones.

EUROPE U.S. Tour Dates:

4/18 – 4/22 – Miami, FL @ Monsters of Rock Cruise

4/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Potowatomi Casino – w/ Black Star Riders

4/25 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues

4/26 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue

4/28 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues – w/ Black Star Riders

4/30 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza – w/ Black Star Riders

5/1 – Niagara Falls, NY @ The Bears Den

5/2 – Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – M3 Rock Festival

5/3 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun

full devil jacket frontFull Devil Jacket is a name that may not be familiar to some, but that may be due to the fact that the band hadn’t been active for 12 years. Their only album which was self titled was released back in 2000 and featured amazing songs like Now You Know and Where Did You Go? The band was on top of the world back in the day touring with the likes of Slipknot, Sevendust, and so many more until their singer Josh Brown overdosed and almost died. He had to go on a personal journey which saw him win a dove award, but now he has resurrected the band from the ashes like a rock and roll Phoenix. The band which is now made up of Josh Brown (Vocals), Keith Foster (Drums), Moose Douglass (Bass), and Paul Varnick (Guitars) are back with a powerful new album called Valley Of Bones which was produced by Justin Rimer (12 Stones) and is due out March 31, 2015 via eOne Music. The album kicks off with the supercharged/groove laden opener Killers and the band sounds better than ever almost like they never lost a step. Valley Of Bones is a high energy scorcher that is one of the most kick ass tunes on the record. 7X Down explodes out of your speaker as the band lays down the grooves that will have you headbanging while The Moment slows the tempo down, but Josh Browns vocals are incredible on this track.

full devil jacket cd backWe Got The Love turns the tempo back up with a kick ass bass line and a hard rockin chorus that’ll have you singing along. What If I Say is an amazing song with some orchestral arrangements behind it to add some layers while Blood Of The Innocent is a berzerker of a track that pummels anything it’s path. Picturebox Voodoo represents everything that was great about Nu-Metal while paper Crown shows a lighter side of the band. August closes out the album and it’s epic in sound as Josh Brown pours his heart and soul into the track. Even though the band hasn’t been around for 12 years, it seems like they never lost their touch and I would go as far as saying that this may be their best album yet. There’s no sophomore jinx for this band and with that said, I am giving the album four stars out of five for a final grade. Check out the album when it’s released and check out the guys on the road as they tour with Drowning Pool and Adrenaline Mob. Tour dates are below:
Full Devil Jacket With Adrenaline Mob and Drowning Pool Tour Dates

3/12/2015 Daytona Beach, FL Main Street Station
3/13/2015 Melbourne, FL County Line Saloon
3/14/2015 Jacksonville, FL Beach Blvd Concert Hall
3/17/2015 Clarkesville, TN The Warehouse Bar and Grill
3/19/2015 Baltimore, MD Fishhead Cantina
3/20/2015 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
3/21/2015 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
3/22/2015 Beckley, WV Muncheez
3/24/2015 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
3/25/2105 Kent, Oh The Outpost
3/26/2015 Fredericksburg, VA Hard Times Cafe
3/27/2105 Lancaster, OH Mickey’s Bar & Grill
3/28/2015 Flint, MI The Machine Shop
3/31/2015 Racine, WI Rt 20 Outhouse
4/1/2015 La Porte, IN Johnny’s Roadhouse
4/2/2015 St Louis, MO The Mad Magician
4/3/2015 Dallas, TX Trees
full devil jacket band
File:Opus eponymous.jpg

Courtesy of wikipedia

I chose the first album by Swedish Metal band Ghost because they’re getting ready to release their sophomore effort very soon. They’re a band that absolutely does not want you to know they’re true identity as they preach the word of the church of Satan, but they are lead by a man with a skull painted face and an outfit the Pope would dawn and he calls himself Papa Emeritus II and his band is simply known as the Nameless Ghouls. They released the début album entitled Opus Eponymous on October 10, 2010 and their popularity has sky-rocketed and their respect within the Metal community has grown immensely. Phil Anselmo of Down performed at the Download festival wearing a Ghost t-shirt and he even invited three of the Nameless Ghouls on stage to perform with him. He even changed the song title of Bury Me In Smoke to Bury Me In Ghost before Ghost took the stage. The band’s sound is very similar to Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Witchfinder General, and Mercyful Fate.

Courtesy of userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/77298880/Ghost.jpg

The first track on the album is actually an intro called Deus Culpa and it reminds me of walking into a Sunday mass to hear the sermon with the organs playing before it kicks into the next track. Con Clavi Con Dios starts with a very cool bass riff before the track becomes suspensful and chaotic at the same time with a very eerie sounding verse and just when you think things are a little calm, it becomes chaotic again. The track Ritual is very different from the last one where you see them flex their musical abilities channelling B.O.C and Sabbath. Elizabeth is a very straight up metal song with vocal harmonizing and strong organ playing in the chorus. The song has a very seventies metal feel to it especially in the guitar solo (which is pretty good). Stand By Him starts off with a drum beat that is very similar to Starry Eyes by Mötley Crüe, but other than that it is one of my favorite tracks on the whole album. The guitar riff is very chunky and bad ass and even though I am not a Satanist, his lyrics are very fitting for the song. Believe in Ghost, you will be head-banging  just not as hard as you would at a Pantera concert. Satan Prayer is doom metal at it’s best and it would make Sabbath very proud. Death Knell is very much the same style as the last, but more sludge metal pace with its very gloomy and creepy lyrics and singing style. Prime Mover starts off rocking and then it gets funky for a bit with the bass before it rocks again. I really love this bands technique of going pretty smooth with the verse before it goes chaotic like a cherry bomb that just exploded in your stereo. If you had the American release then Genesis was the last track on the album where the organist gets to flex his muscles before the band comes in like a freight train coming in at a 1000 MPH. The song reminds me of the technique a lot of NWOBHM used when they were writing songs like Iron Maiden with it’s epic guitar playing for example. It’s one of my other favorite tracks because it’s an instrumental. 

ghostNow if you were lucky to get your hands on the Japanese release of this album then you had a bonus track on the album. They do an amazing cover of the Beatles track Here Comes The Sun which was written by George Harrison. They make the song very evil and doom sounding which is right up my alley and it sounds like a track that was released 40 years ago. They do a terrefic job and I know that because a friend of mine is a Beatles aficionado and he doesn’t like a lot of Beatles covers and he enjoyed this one. This album overall was amazing and they were clearly the band of the year in 2010 and 2011 and I cannot wait to hear the new release entitled Infestissumam which is due out in April of this year. As far as this release is concerned I am giving it a 4.5 stars out of five. You should definitely check this album out before you divulge yourself in the new one.

File:Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time.jpg

I’m not sure exactly how many people were a big fan of this album and what the initial reception was because I was only four years old when the album was originally released. As a child with significantly older brothers that were into metal, I could name the beast on the album cover because we shared the same first name, but I couldn’t name any of the members at the time. I remember it was the summer of 1990 and I went with my mother to a flea, hoping that she was going to buy me something cool. Instead of wanting a toy at the age of 8, I asked her to buy me three cassettes. She bought me Kiss’s Asylum, Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood, and Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time. I was a huge nut for Motley Crue (believe it or not) when I was a little kid, but there was something about this album that just amazed me when I placed it in the tape deck.

The Full Album Cover
Courtesy of Weareprivate.net

The album was a little different for Iron Maiden in that it was the first time they had used synthesizers and it was the first album with Bruce Dickinson that he didn’t have one song credit to his name. Bruce, I guess had written some acoustic versions of songs that ended up getting rejected by the rest of the band during the writing process. The album is very notable for having full songs that were written by Adrian Smith, who wrote the albums two singles. It amazing too because the two songs he wrote were my two favorite songs on the album (Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land)It was also the first album not to be released a year after the last one as Harris had stated that he wanted to band to be able to have time to do the record right. Sadly, Iron Maiden pretty much abandoned the album when it came to live shows only playing Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait.

Back Cover
Courtesy of Flickr

The artwork for the album is what really got me interested in buying the album because Eddie was made into a cyborg like hunter. The regular artist of the band Derek Riggs in my opinion made an album cover that could hold a diehard fan’s attention for a longtime as you found all of the goodies that were laid on the cover. I’ll give you a couple of examples. A banner with the words, “This is a very boring painting” is displayed backwards within the lobby of the Bradbury Towers Hotels International. This can be seen to the left of Eddie’s right leg. The last example is An Eye of Horus neon sign at the top of a building, is a reference to the song, “Powerslave”. Those are just two examples of many that can be seen and as an eight year old kid, it sure as heck kept me busy for a long time. One thing that I will say before I get into the songs themselves is that I felt that a lot of Iron Maiden songs were like history lessons and this album had an example of that right in it.

File:Stranger in a Strange Land.jpgAs I had stated before, my two favorite songs on the album were the Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land. Wasted Years starts out with Adrian’s trademark intro riff that displays what a masterful guitar player he is before you hear it kick in to the song about how the last tour had brought so much baggage, but in the end it was a decision the band doesn’t regret. It’s a song that no matter how many times I hear it, I still enjoy playing air guitar to. Stranger In A Strange Land contains some real epic riffs from Smith and even though it doesn’t feature Harris’s galloping bass lines, his playing in the intro of the song is still amazing and it gets you in the mood to head bang. The track is about a man that gets frozen in ice only to be discovered 100 years later by other explorer’s. Caught Somewhere In Time is another great track that starts the album which features some epic riffing and some galloping bass. Sea Of Madness featured more epic and funky bass playing from Harris with an amazing pre-chorus and some blazing  power chords. Alexander The Great starts with the King telling his son to conquer more land for a bigger kingdom before it breaks into the very slow guitar riff with Nicko playing a cadence military style drumming.  Then the epic guitar playing comes in before the madness begins. It’s a great history lesson from the professors.

Deja-Vu starts the same way as Alexander The Great did without the intro and military drumming. It’s a song that is about exactly what the title suggests, feel like you’ve been here before? Heaven Can Wait  is another epic song about realizing that you’re slowly dying, but you fight death because you refuse to die and their’s a part after the chorus that just makes you want to chant along with Maiden. The only song I was never crazy for was The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner because I never felt a song about track was cool enough for Metal. Overall, I give this album a final grade of 4 stars out of 5 as this was the last album from Maiden that I enjoyed from beginning to end until A Matter Of Life And Death.