Posts Tagged ‘Album Of The Week’

maxresdefaultWhen it comes to the genre of melodic death metal or the Gothenburg scene as it is famously known, there is one band that has always been at the forefront of the genre. That band is Gothenburg’s own At The Gates which was made up of Tomas Lindberg (Vocals), Anders Björler (Guitars), Martin Larsson (Guitar), Jonas Björler (Bass), and Adrian Erlandsson (Drums). On October 3, 1995, the band released their fourth album Slaughter Of The Soul via Earache and has often been considered a genre defining album alongside The Jester Race by In Flames and The Gallery by Dark Tranquility. Unfortunately it was the last album the band would release for 19 years (2014’s At War With Reality) as they broke up for 11 years in 1996. The album wouldn’t chart in the states, but it peaked at 200 on the Oricon which is the Japanese charts. It would receive other forms of accolades as Rock Hard magazine ranked it 300 on their The 500 Greatest Rock and Metal Albums of All Time book, Metal Injection ranked it 8TH on their Top 10 Influential Heavy Metal Albums, and Loudwire ranked it 30TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list. Decibel Magazine inducted the album into their Hall Of Fame which is only the second album ever to do so in 2005.

CS691133-01B-BIG1. Blinded By Fear– Some unique sonic sounds start the track off before launching into an all out assault as the lyrics tackle the idea of being faced with the idea of having to make hard decisions. 5/5

2. Slaughter of the Soul– an amazing metal track that tackles the idea of someone who is fed up with listening to another and always doing what they say. 5/5

3. Cold– an awesome metal track from beginning to end that features what is considered the greatest metal guitar solo ever from Andy LaRocque who is famous for being King Diamond’s guitarist. The track is all about waking up and smelling the coffee and pulling the veil from over your eyes and finally living life. 5/5

4. Under A Serpent Sun– A bad ass track that tells you to stop believing in their God and just make your own decisions because we are all equal and we do not need religion to rationalize for us. This may be musically one of my favorite tracks on the album. 5/5

5. Into The Dead Sky– an instrumental track from the band and Anders Björler plays phaser drums on the track. 4.5/5

6. Suicide Nation-an intense track that talks about a society that was perfect until all of it’s flaws were exposed and it turned to chaos. 5/5

7. World Of Lies-Musically this is one of the most bad ass tracks that makes you want to enter a pit to just mosh it out. I’m not sure about the lyrics, but it seems to be someone who wakes up and sees things differently than all the sheep. 5/5

slaughter-of-the-soul-4fcf9d0967cfa8. Unto Others– I believe this in your face track is definitely based in religion lyrically, but I think it’s about mocking organized religion and everything that comes with it. 4.5/5

9. Nausea-a track that kind of takes a look at our society which has really just become nauseating to look at and think about. 4.5/5

10. Need-a track that takes another unique look at society and how we are enslaved to our every day hells and how sometimes it feels like there is no way out. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. 4.5/5

11. The Flames Of The End– a short instrumental of sorts that only has a few lines in it, but it’s a cool end to the album. Humanity sucks because it’s enslaved to the madness that has been ruling the earth. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts- This is an excellent album and I can definitely see why it was so influential and important to so many in the coming years. My favorite tracks are the first six tracks or so, but Under A Serpent Sun may be my favorite overall track. I am going to give the album 4.77 stars out of five for a final grade.

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Images_and_WordsAfter taking a break last week from Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list to cover Aerosmith, I thought it was time to return to the list and continue chopping it down. This week we are looking at a band that is musically gifted and probably the bets musicians band out there in Dream Theater. The Long Island band that met while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston were made up of Mike Portnoy (Drums), John Myung (Bass), John Petrucci (Guitar), and Kevin Moore (Keyboards). To fill you in on the last piece of the puzzle, the band had recently lost their lead singer Charlie Dominici so they tried out over 200 singers, but they chose James LaBrie, who at the time was in an Canadian Glam Metal band called Winter Rose. With the news, the band was signed to a seven album deal with ATCO Records and they released what Loudwire ranked #25TH on their list in 1992’s Images And Words. The album was so successful for the band that it remains their most successful commercial record to date and it also features their only top 10 radio hit to date as well. It peaked at number 61 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while being certified Gold in 1995.

CS495513-01B-BIG1. Pull Me Under– A very melodic opening of a track that remains to be the band’s only top 10 radio hit of their careers. Portnoy commented saying, “it was just an 8 and a half minute song, and it was just a fluke for MTV and radio play to happen.” The track I believe is about Hamlet as their many references to the play in the lyrics. 5/5

2. Another Day-a touching song that was written by Petrucci who was dealing with the fact that his father had cancer. Musically this is a beautiful track which features Jay Beckenstein playing the Soprano Saxophone on the track. 5/5

3. Take The Time– A very Rush like beginning complete with some insane bass playing from Myung. Portnoy says this about the track, “We decided to write a song about everything we’d been going through for the past three years – looking for a new singer, a new label & new management – just all the changes we made & all the frustrations we went through…but, have it coming from each of our four different perspectives.” 5/5

4. Surrounded– A track that starts off sounding like a ballad, but then takes a Styx like turn in my opinion at some points. I think the song is about someone who with the fact that they have to make difficult decisions. 4/5

6b4e656d21158879db41b977f381a9a15. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper‘-a nine minute epic track from the band that was called part 1 as a joke by Petrucci. The song is about dealing with loss and finding that thing like religion that keeps you going. 4.5/5

6. Under A Glass Moon-a seven minute track that starts with some cool riffs by Petrucci before Portnoy comes in with his bad ass drumming. The track in my opinion could be about someone coming to terms with the end and having a religious epiphany. 4.5/5

7. Wait For Sleep– The shortest track on the album which is a keyboard driven track that Moore has said in interviews is about a lost girl. 4.5/5

8. Learning To Live– The last track on the album clocks in at 11 minutes long and starts with Moore again before Portnoy and the gang catch up in a very Rush like fashion. The track is all about learning to live with all the difficulties and sorrows that life throws you. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– Before listening to this album, I was admittingly not a Dream Theater fan, but after listening to the album, I have a new found appreciation for them. Musically, their only match was Rush and I felt that Dream Theater was adding to the genre with some of their other influences. My favorite tracks are Under A Glass Moon, Pull Me Under, Another Day, and Take The Time. Surrounded was my least favorite track on the album. I am giving the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

earache-entombed-wolverine-blues-lpWe started on a journey where we looked at Loudwire.com’s list of 50 Best Heavy Metal Albums and we started covering them week after week. We have done almost every single album from 50 to 30, but today, we are traveling into the 20’s to check out an album by Swedish Death Metal outfit Entombed. In 1993, the band made up of Lars-Göran Petrov (Vocals), Uffe Cederlund (Guitar/Tambourine), Lars Rosenberg (Bass), Alex Hellid (Guitar), and Nicke Andersson (Drummer) would create what Loudwire ranked number 27 on that list in Wolverine Blues. The album was an epic boom for the band as they had started incorporating more of a groove metal oriented sound like what Pantera was doing and match that with a commercial attempt by their label Earache in changing some of the album covers was huge. The label had scored a deal with Marvel Comics in allowing them to use the Wolverine character to try and boost them into the mainstream despite the band not wanting that. The edition of the album with the artwork featured a mini comic and a heavily edited album that even left out a track. In Rock Hard Magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time the album was ranked 494 while Guitar World stated, “1994’s best death metal effort and quite possibly the finest death metal album of this decade.”

entombed1. Eyemaster– Some guitar feedback and some groove oriented kick off the album before the death metal fury takes over for the verses in this track that I think is about a man that feels he is the master of his own domain and that he is not afraid to question things that have been in place. 4.5/5

2. Rotten Soil– I think this in your face metal track is about a man that has chosen to walk with hell so now he pays the toll of his decision. 4/5

3. Wolverine Blues– a cool sludging track that I believe is entirely about the actual wolverine animal which is a vicious animal. 4.5/5

4. Demon-another in your face track whose lyrics are actually pretty interesting in a horror kind of way. The person in the track has obviously lost their mind as he wants to be possessed by a demon. 5/5

5. Contempt– Some bomb droppings kick off this doom inspired track that looks at how society has been destroying the world as we know it. 4.5/5

6. Full Of Hell-a bad ass song that is all about a man who is just one bad dude that you do not want to mess with because he has no care for human life. 5/5

wolverine-blues-by-entombed7. Blood Song-The opening drum riff to this track is identical to Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper, but right when the music kicks in it changes. The track’s subject matter is all about vampires. 4.5/5

8. Hollowman– I feel the track is about someone who is void of any real feelings towards anyone as he goes through the end of times, but he has faith in what he is doing. 4/5

9. Heaven’s Die– I’m not 100% positive on the meaning of the track, but I think this groove heavy track is about drug use. I could be wrong. 4/5

10. Out Of Hand– The last track is a thrash/groove inspired track that looks at all the religious freaks and how they have taken one’s mans words to heart and that sickens them. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– This was actually a pretty decent listen especially if you love that early 90’s metal sound. It’s not my favorite album that I have checked out on the list, but it’s definitely up there as I appreciate what Entombed brought. Full Of Hell and Demon are my favorite tracks on the album while Heaven’s Die and Hollowman were not bad, but not my favorite. I am giving the album 4.45 stars out of five for a final grade.

1000x1000 (1)If there ever was a release in Judas Priest’s vast catalog that helped launch the band fully into the 1980’s then it was 1980’s British Steel which is this week’s album of the week. The album was released on April 14, 1980 and it was the first album to feature Dave Holland on Drums while the rest of the line up was rounded out by Rob Halford (Vocals), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), K.K. Downing (Guitars), and Ian Hill (Bass) while the album was produced by Tom Allom. One of the cool facts about the album was that it was recorded at Tittenhurst Park which was the home studio of Beatles legend Ringo Starr and it was picked because the band had a rough experience at the previous studio. The album was a huge success for the band as it is often credited with solidifying the Heavy Metal genre and giving it the kickstart it needed in the 80’s. The album peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts as it went platinum selling 1 million copies. It’s one of the albums listed on the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die list and Loudwire.com ranked the album 31 on their 50 Best Metal Albums of all time.

judas_priest-british_steel-trasera1. Breaking The Law– If you grew up in the 90’s, but you weren’t familiar with Judas Priest tracks, then you definitely learned this classic courtesy of Beavis & Butthead who loved the song. The song is about a guy who is down and out on his luck and he has no choice but to turn to crime in order to survive. 5/5

2. Rapid Fire-an in your face Judas Priest that I believe is part of the blueprint of Thrash Metal with it’s razor sharp riffs. I believe the track is about various weapons of mass destruction and the chaos they can cause. 5/5

3. Metal Gods-One of my favorite tracks to hear performed live where the riffs almost feel robotic like heavy metal killing machines. I believe the track is about how man worships their creations when they could be their downfall (i.e. Terminator). 5/5

4. Grinder-a track that carries a certain swagger to it and I haver to say one thing before I explain the meaning. I dislike people that believe that every track Halford has written is about his sexuality which was secret in the 80’s, but this track just screams it just look at the opening verse. 5/5

5. United-a track that could be considered a battle cry for all metal heads out there in the world as we all stand united in our love for metal. “United We Stand One and All.” 5/5

judas_priest-british_steel_(2001)-cd6. Living After Midnight– The second single off the album and a classic track to hear live as well that is all about the hedonistic and rebellious spirit of the 70’s. The song title came when Tipton work Halford up one morning at 4AM as Halford told him that he was, “really living after midnight” and Tipton thought it would make a great song title. 5/5

7. You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise– This track has that classic sonic spirit in the guitar riff that we will hear for albums to come. The track is all about knowing exactly what you want to do with your life and you’re not willing to listen to those older than you that you feel are holding you back. 5/5

8. The Rage– Ian Hill opens up the track with a cool bass riff before Tipton and Downing come in with monster riffs. I Think the track is just about that animalistic  rage that lives deep inside all of us. 4.5/5

9. Steeler– a track with plenty of metal swagger that is about being careful who you decide to trust in this life. The track has a pretty awesome guitar solo after the first verse. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– If I was to have a top 5 Judas Priest album list, this would definitely be in that list for sure. I just have other albums I would rank ahead of it, but I understand why they chose it because it defined who they were in the 80’s much like Sad Wings did for them in the 70’s. There are a lot of great tracks on this album so definitely do yourself a favor and check it out. I am giving the album 4.9 stars out of five for a final grade.

human by deathFor this week’s album of the week, we are looking at an album that from one of the founding fathers of the Death Metal genre in Florida’s Death. The band that featured the late and great Chuck Schuldiner (Guitars/Vocals), Paul Masvidal (Guitar), Steve Di Giorgio (Bass), and Sean Reinert (Drums). On October 21, 1991, the band would release their fourth album Human which Loudwire ranked 34Th on their Top 50 Metal Albums Of All Time list. The album was a huge change for the band as they decided to focus more on being more progressive and technically sound than they had been on their previous three albums and the lyrics were a lot more introspective than before where the lyrics focused on more gore related topics. This was also the last and only album to feature Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert while it was the first appearance of Steve Di Giorgio. Funny enough, Steve would leave the band right after the recording of the album only to return to record the next album. This album was very instrumental in the birth of the technical death metal genre and the extreme metal genre in general. It peaked at number 34 on the heatseekers chart on Billboard, but it didn’t crack the top 200 charts.

human back cover by death1. Flattening of Emotions– Reinert’s drum playing starts off the track as it fades in before the band follows suit in this absolute headbanger in this track that is about a man who is just unraveling in insanity. Incredible guitar work and solo in this track from both Schuldiner and Masvidal. 5/5

2. Suicide Machine– Another track that just flattens you like a bulldozer that Di Giorgio shines in as well with his incredible bass work in this track that is about euthanasia and the suffering someone goes through before going through with euthanasia. 5/5

3. Together as One– a pummeling track that is all about Siamese twins that are looked at differently by society even as they live life together as one. More incredible guitar work and solo from Schuldiner. 5/5

4. Secret Face-a thrash like track that is all about how no matter who you meet in life, they all put up a facade that protects them from you until you break through that mask. The incredible aspect of the song truly is Chuck’s solo. 4.5/5

human-4de0d979669115. Lack of Comprehension– A very melodic intro starts off the song before the band explodes onto your speakers. The track is very interesting lyrically because it’s about the insecurities of some. It’s about those people who are so insecure about themselves that they put down others to make themselves feel good. 4.5/5

6. See Through Dreams– an incredible face shredding track that is all about a person who is born blind, but can make up images just by the sound of them in his head. This track features an amazing guitar solo. 5/5

7. Cosmic Sea– an instrumental track whose bass parts were mostly recorded by Di Giorgio’s replacement Scott Carino. I usually don’t give instrumentals a good grade other than four, but this instrumental kicks ass. 4.5/5

8. Vacant Planets– The last track on the album that just absolutely shreds as this might have been the best metal album of that year. The track is about how humanity can be stupid as we are ruining the planet to a point that it could be vacant one day. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– As I said, this might be one of the best metal albums of 1991 besides the commercially obvious ones. I loved every single track on the album as it never took it’s foot off the pedal at all. I love all the tracks, check this album out for yourself. I am giving the album 4.8 stars out of five for a final grade.

megadeth-rust-in-peaceWhile everyone waits for the brand new track that Dave Mustaine has promised Megadeth fans, I figured we would check out one of the seminal Megadeth releases from 1990. Loudwire.com ranked Megadeth’s fourth album Rust In Peace at number 33 on their Top 50 Metal Albums of All Time list which beats out Metallica’s biggest release ever (The Black Album). Rust In Peace which was released on September 24, 1990 was a very special record for Frontman/Rhythm Guitarist Dave Mustaine because it was the first album to feature the line up of Nick Menza on Drums and Marty Friedman on Lead Guitar as well as original member David Ellefson on Bass. Dave found Nick Menza who was previous drummer Chuck Behler’s drum tech and replaced him exactly the same way Behler had replaced predecessor Gar Samuelson. Marty Friedman was found when he dropped a record off to Dave’s manager at the time requesting a shot at the job which he eventually won. The album has often been described by critics as one of the greatest Thrash Metal albums of all time that helped set the tone for metal in the 1990’s. It was Megadeth’s highest selling album at that point as it shipped one million copies going platinum as it peaked at number 23 on The Billboard Top 200 Charts.

51mhcxl9rxl1. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due– This absolute shredder was a song that was written due to an incident that occurred at a show in Northern Ireland. Dave had a little too much to drink and right before he sang Anarchy In The UK, he dedicated the track to the cause and a riot between Protestants and Catholics broke out. This was Dave’s apology for what had happened. 5/5

2. Hangar 18– Another shredder that hits a 1000 right from the start on a lyrical subject matter that was presented by Nick Menza discussing the idea of UFO’s and Area 51 and this is the result. 5/5

3. Take No Prisoners– Another shredder on the album that really showcases what Nick Menza brought to the table playing along David Ellefson. The track is about Prisoners of War. 5/5

4. Five Magics– an in your face track featuring some amazing bass playing from David Ellefson whose lyrics take on a different subject matter in more of a fantasy sense. 5/5

5. Poison Was The Cure-An amazing track driven by Ellefson’s bass playing, it’s a track that takes on a more personal tone as Dave talks about his personal drug use and the stranglehold it had. 5/5

megadeth-rust-in-peace-2-cd6. Lucretia– One of the best opening riffs on the album as they shred through the intro and into this track that is all about a ghost that lives in Dave’s attic. 5/5

7. Tornado Of Souls– One of my favorite tracks on the album that was written after Dave had to break off a relationship with a long time girlfriend and how he did it out of necessity because the relationship was too toxic. 5/5

8. Dawn Patrol– a different kind of track on the album that starts and is driven with an excellent bass riff from David Ellefson playing alongside his rhythm partner Nick Menza. The song is all about global warming and how we are destroying the planet. 5/5

9. Rust In Peace…  Polaris– Nick Menza flexes his stuff much like how Judas Priest’s Painkiller starts off before the band comes in for a track that is all about nuclear war hence the name Polaris at the end which is the cold war era Lockheed UGM-27 Polaris intercontinental ballistic missile. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– The way Dave thought of the album title is a little funny as it was a bumper sticker he saw while on the road one day. He liked the imagery that popped into his head and he used it. This is one of the most complete albums that Megadeth had ever recorded which shouldn’t surprise people that it’s featured on the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and why it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. That is why I gave the album five stars out of five for a final grade.

powerslaveIt is 2019 and I wanted to open up the album of the week with a bang with one of what could be argued as one of the great Iron Maiden records of all time. The band’s catalog speaks for itself, but when think back to the Bruce Dickinson years of Iron Maiden, you might agree with me on this assessment. Loudwire.com ranked today’s album Powerslave by Iron Maiden 35TH on their Top 50 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list ahead of the self titled, but behind Dickinson’s debut. Powerslave was released on September 3, 1984 via Capitol Records and featured Dickinson (Vocals) for the third time, Steve Harris (Bass Guitar), Dave Murray (Guitars), Adrian Smith (Guitars), and Nicko McBrain (Drums) while the album was produced by Martin Birch. One of the major accomplishments of this album is that it’s the first Maiden record to feature the same personnel on a second album. The album did very well for the band as it peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while also peaking at number two in the UK while also going platinum in the US.

powerslave back1. Aces High-I always loved the beginning of the track with the guitar riff that opens with the drums and bass doing a call and response before we launch into the band’s signature galloping sound. the track’s lyrics follow an British RAF pilot during the Battle of Britain in 1940. 5/5

2. 2 Minutes To Midnight– The first single off the album that was a protest song against Nuclear War by Smith and Dickinson. The song references a doomsday clock that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists used to predict the big global catastrophe they thought was coming. 5/5

3. Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)– The last instrumental track that would be featured on an Iron Maiden record as we speak. 4.5/5

4. Flash of the Blade– One of my favorite Maiden songs about a knight or soldier who lives by the sword and will probably die by the sword like the old saying. 5/5

5. The Duellists– another galloping charger that is all about a man who duels with someone he knows he will be defeated by, but his honor is on the line. Another great track right here. 4.5/5

powerslave-bonus-cd-cd16. Back In The Village– an interesting track that I believe is about a soldier that has been so battle tested and worn that he is sick of the life. He feels that he is being treated like a number and not a person by the government. 4/5

7. Powerslave– The title track starts with some howls and what sounds like a mummy before the music kicks in this song that uses the Pharaoh as a symbol of why power does not last for any leader. 5/5

8. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner– For over 30 years, this was the longest ever Iron Maiden track the band had ever recorded until 2015’s Empire Of The Clouds. The song is based off of the poem of the same name by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 5/5

My Final Thoughts: This album is one of the best in the band’s catalog and it’s not a surprise that it’s one of three Iron Maiden records to make that list. It’s an album where some of the deep cuts are just as amazing as the singles. My favorite tracks are Powerslave, Flash Of The Blade, and the two singles. I picked Back In The Village as my least favorite track, but not because it’s bad, but just not my favorite on the album. I am giving the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade.