Posts Tagged ‘Album Of The Week’

emperorWe are moving right along the list that Loudwire released a year or so ago as they named their Top 50 Metal Albums of All Time. One of the things I noticed about their list is that there is quite a few black metal bands on the list as we already covered albums from Mayhem, Bathory, Darkthrone as well as the godfathers of Black Metal in Venom. One of the most influential bands in the second wave of Black Metal is Norweigan band Emperor which in 1997 was made up of Ihsahn (Vocals/Guitars/Synthesizers), Samoth (Guitars/Arrangements), Alver (Bass), and Trym (Drums). The album that I chose from the band is their second studio album Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk which was released on July 8, 1997 via Candlelight Records and Century Black. Loudwire ranked the album at 37 on their Top 50 Metal albums list, but they also ranked it as the best black metal album of all time. The album is considered very influential in the black metal scene for carrying the torch as the band recorded the album at The Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway which is a 1,500 seat concert hall which definitely helped with the symphonic sound you hear.

emperor back1. Alsvartr (The Oath)– The track opens with a very melodic riff and the occasional sounds of what appears to sound like an owl. It sounds like the beginning of a horror film as an evil sounding voice recites the lyrics with the sounds of shrieks that help guide them. a truly bad ass metal track right here. 5/5

2. Ye Entrancemperium– The opening riff to this track is actually that of an unreleased (at the time) untitled Mayhem track, but this when the fierceness of black metal with a little bit of a symphonic feel comes in. This is definitely an epic track from the band that pushes the boundaries of black metal. 5/5

3. Thus Spake the Nightspirit– an interesting track that is all about embracing the darkness that rules our lives whether in this life or in the after life, but by embracing it you are less ignorant than those who mock it. 5/5

4. Ensorcelled by Khaos– Beautiful chaos could be a word to best describe this track that is an absolute sonic face melter in this track about a man who has done everything he believes he could have done to please the dark lord, but yet he feels he hasn’t. You can definitely see some of the influence this album has had on bands like Dimmu Borgir, etc. 5/5

R-1435191-1232291733.jpeg5. The Loss and Curse of Reverence-Another great track that just shows off how ahead of the time Emperor was and how great they were musically. The symphonic parts contained within the track are so dramatic and epic, it’s excellent. The track is about a man who shuns Christianity even though he was brought up to follow the faith. 5/5

6. The Acclamation of Bonds-I truly believe that the lyrics to the track are about a fallen angel who is telling his believers to fear not because their bond is unbroken like that of Gods. Musically this song is another knock out for the band in my opinion. 5/5

7. With Strength I Burn-another interesting track on the album that is about a man who goes on a journey for the truth, but when he is back where he started he feels more empowered than before. 5/5

8. The Wanderer– The last track on the album is an instrumental track showcasing the ability of the band which is amazing as this one was written by Samoth. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-I honestly and truly believe that this was an absolutely amazing record and I wish I had heard this sooner. This was the building blocks for every other band that has followed the Symphonic Black Metal route. It’s a shame that these guys are not really together anymore. The album gets a perfect five out of five for a final grade which means it’s part of the five star club. Do yourselves a favor and check this out!

 

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mercyful fateOne of the most influential bands in the history of heavy metal has got to be Mercyful Fate and what they brought to the table. In a time that was about to be ruled by spandex and lipstick, a band from Denmark with a very theatrical lead singer was about to turn the metal world upside down. Mercyful Fate who were fronted by the very theatrical falsetto singing sensation known as King Diamond were about to release in 1984 what is considered to be a very influential record in Don’t Break The Oath. The album that featured heavy metal elements with progressive elements also featured Hank Shermann (Guitars), Michael Denner (Guitars), Timi “Grabber” Hansen (Bass), and Kim Ruzz (Drums) while the album was produced by Henrik Lund. Metal-Rules.com called it the greatest Extreme Metal album of all time because it’s lyrics which dealt with Satan and the Occult would influence the black metal scene while Loudwire.com ranked it 38TH in their top 50 Metal albums of all time. While the album may not have charted for the band, it’s influence in the metal community is obvious.

mercyful fate 21. A Dangerous Meeting– an absolute face melter right from the start helps set up this track about seven people who will hold a deadly séance that will claim their lives. 5/5

2. Nightmare– an amazing song about a man who is trapped in these nightmares with witches which strikes a resemblance to Dreams In The Witch House by H.P. Lovecraft. You have to love the guitar work as Denner and Shermann were amazing. 5/5

3. Desecration of Souls– an interesting track on the album that talks about lovers and Copulation in the graveyard, etc. A pure metal track from beginning to end that could have easily influenced the thrash crowd as well. 5/5

4. Night Of The Unborn– Musically this might be one of my favorite tracks on the album especially if you love guitar playing. King Diamond also does his best vocally combining all of the various vocal ranges his possesses. Not sure what he is talking about lyrically on this one, but it still kicks ass. 5/5

mercyful-fate-rr-34-9835-2-cd5. The Oath– The first track on side two may have been one of the most controversial songs back in it’s day with it’s lyrical content being about denying Christ and accepting Satan as your dark lord. I love the elements like the organ playing, the rain and thunder effects to go with it just helps and then the music starts and you are just blown away. 5/5

6. Gypsy– One of the more famous Mercyful Fate tracks that King continued to play in his solo career that has a killer groove to it. The track also has a killer guitar solo in it as well. 5/5

7. Welcome Princess Of Hell–  King’s vocal deliveries help make a track sound so much more evil just like this bad ass tune. Even though the track is listed as Princess, I think it was suppose to be Princes as King summons the sons of Satan. 5/5

8. To One Far Away– A short instrumental track with some chanting styled singing to give it that evil feel with some good guitar playing as well. 5/5

9. Come To The Sabbath– a very cool track that the guitars sound like people are racing to get to the sabbath, the annual meeting of witches and demons. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-I honestly thought from beginning to end that this was a perfect album that had everything you would want from a metal album. It had the face melting riffs along with the more eerie clean channel guitar riffs in the track To One Far Away. King Diamond was truly the ringmaster showman that he always is and he doesn’t disappoint. Check out the album for yourself as it enters the five star club (it gets five stars out of five).

1000x1000This past week, we posted an article where we had discussed that Venom has often been considered the founders of Black Metal music simply because they named an album Black Metal. If there was ever a band in the genre that could take credit as one of the founding fathers of Black Metal, it would be Sweden’s own Bathory who took what Venom had done with the recording quality and they molded the sound that would spawn a generation. The band which was made up of Quorthon (Vocals/Guitars) a.k.a. Thomas Börje Forsberg, Stefan Larsson (Drums), and Rickard Bergman (Bass Guitar) released their self titled debut album in October of 1984 via Tyfon Grammofon originally. The band originally gained notoriety when a band dropped out of a compilation album so the label asked it’s employee who was Quorthon to record a couple of tracks. After it was all said and done, the band’s two songs were the most popular on the album and the label asked Bathory to record a full album. The album artwork was originally released with the yellow look goat known to passionate fans as Gula Geten because it was originally supposed to be in Gold, but that was deemed too expensive. Quorthon asked them to get it as close to Gold as possible, but when he saw the final product, he hated it and after a printing of 1,000 copies, he changed  it to the B&W version we all know today.

MI00021198661. Storm of Damnation (Intro)– an ominous instrumental opens up the album sounding as if you are walking through the depths of hell. 4/5

2. Hades– It leads right into this track that kicks off with that in your face death metal fury in this track about where Hades dwells which is the underworld. 4.5/5

3. Reaper-another facemelting track that is all about the one and only Grim Reaper and what he can do which is taking your soul when he choses. 4.5/5

4. Necromansy– a thrash sounding track that is all about sacrificing in the name of Satan in the art of Necromancy. 4.5/5

5. Sacrifice-a song that is bad ass musically as it’s more of a metal track that is unrelenting and I love it. Another track that is all about sacrificing in the name of the lord of hell. 5/5

40127430101126. In Conspirasy with Satan– The first track on side B or the side titled Evil. The track is an in your face, I will rip your face off track that is all about claiming your allegiance to Satan. 4.5/5

7. Armageddon-a bad ass metal track that has a bad ass bass riff to go along with the guitars in a track that is all about the end of the world from the demons perspective. At the 1:20 minute mark, you can hear Bergman’s bad ass bass playing real well. 5/5

8. Raise The Dead– The church bells kick off this track before more bad ass extreme metal smashes through your speakers in this track about someone coming back from the dead for vengeance. 5/5

9. War– War is officially called for and declared against the heavens in this hellraiser of a track that combines elements of Motörhead with GBH and some extreme metal. 5/5

10. The Winds Of Mayhem-Outro-The sounds of hell see this outro track through to signify the end. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– While Quorthon claims that he was influenced by Black Sabbath, Motörhead, and GBH, a former drummer of the band claims that Venom was a total influence. Nonetheless, you can definitely hear the elements of Venom in this album, but Bathory very much made the sound their own. My favorite tracks on the album are War, Raise The Dead, and Armageddon. I am going to give the album which was voted number 40 on Loudwire’s Top 50 Metal Albums of All Time an 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

iron maidenWe are continuing our journey through Loudwire.com’s list of the top 50 Metal albums of all time by checking out a true classic and game changer. When I was deciding on what album to choose, it was almost a no brainer because I had not yet covered an Iron Maiden record that featured my favorite singer Paul Di’Anno. He was the original lead singer of New Wave of British Heavy Metal titans Iron Maiden and we are checking out the band’s self titled debut record. The band which was made up of Di’Anno (Lead Vocals), Steve Harris (Bass Guitar), Dennis Stratton (Guitar) in his only appearance, Dave Murray (Guitar), and Clive Burr (Drums). According to some sources, this was the only album that was ever produced by Will Malone as the band expressed he showed no interest in their project. Due to the lack of interest, they claim to have produced most of the album themselves and they completed it in only 13 days. Although the album did not peak in the US on the charts, it did peak at number four in the UK in 1980 and then peaked at number 71 in the UK in 1985 and it has since been certified platinum in the UK. The album is listed at number 45 on Loudwire’s list, it is one of two Iron Maiden albums featured int he book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (The Number Of The Beast is the other), and it’s number 13 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.

1front1. Prowler– The first track off the album and it’s a classic in this track that is all about a pervert walking around spying on girls, etc. 5/5

2. Remember Tomorrow– a more mellow track from the band in this track that is believed to be about World War II and his grandfather. 4.5/5

3. Running Free– An awesome track and probably one of my favorite Di’Anno sung tracks from Maiden that is all about being 16, rebellious, and free according to Di’Anno. I love the beginning of the track which the drummer kicks off before Harris joins in with his signature bass sound.  5/5

4. Phantom Of The Opera– a seven minute epic that was written by Steve Harris who says that the track is, “the first song I’d written that was a bit more proggy.” It’s a track that has endured time and is still performed live to this day. 5/5

5. Transylvania– An instrumental track that was written by Steve Harris. 5/5

Encartes (16)6. Strange World– a very cool track that is very mellow, but not ballad like. it just has a slower tempo than most tracks and is musically and lyrically amazing. I thin the track is about a vampire getting used to the new world he lives in which is strange and lonely. 5/5

7. Charlotte The Harlot– This was the only track ever written solely by Dave Murray which is about a fictional prostitute named Charlotte even though he claims it’s based on a true story. 4.5/5

8. Iron Maiden– A staple of the band’s live set and it is named after them after all so it’s their signature song. The song is about two things with one being the medieval torture device of the same name and it’s about the band themselves. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– There is a reason these guys are so amazing and that is because of their great writing leader in Steve Harris who has been the x-factor of the band. Check out this classic album because it’s pure brilliance from a band that has a discography full of it. My favorite tracks are all of them, but I have fallen in live with Strange World today. I am giving the album 4.9 stars out of five for a final grade.

 

51fFdbuz0QLWhen you think of American Garage Punk bands or even rockabilly punk, there is one band that immediately comes to mind and that is The Cramps. The band which was made up of Lux Interior (Vocals), Poison Ivy Rorschach (Guitar), Bryan Gregory (Guitar), and Nick Knox (Drums) were one of the pioneers of the early CBGB’s Punk scene that rules the late 70’s and 80’s as they are often considered the founders of the Psychobilly genre. While their sound might have been influenced by rockabilly, R&B, and Rock N Roll, their lyrical content was definitely influenced by camp humor, sexual double-entendre, and retro horror/sci-fi b-movies. That is why for today, I chose to check out and review the band’s debut album Songs The Lord Taught Us which was released in May of 1980 through Illegal Records in the UK and I.R.S. Records in the states. While the album may not have charted, it definitely left it’s mark on the world of punk and Rockabilly music.

the-cramps-songs-the-lord-taught-us-lp--2_35905071. TV Set– Nick Knox kicks off the track with his drum beat as the guitars begin to follow up a with a cool 50’s era styled riff in this track that is about a man is who obsessed with killing a girl because he sees her everywhere. 5/5

2. Rock on the Moon– The band’s cover of the Jimmy Stewart song that is all about rocking out as far as it can take you. 4.5/5

3. Garbageman– An interesting track that is about a drug dealer talking crap to a kid who obviously doesn’t understand who he is in this rockabilly track. 4.5/5

4. I Was A Teenage Werewolf– One of my all time favorite Cramps track and a song I love listening to that has this swagger to it when it comes on. The song may make you think it’s about a teenage werewolf, but it’s all about the changes a man goes through when he hits puberty. 5/5

5. Sunglasses After Dark-an ironic lesson in how to be cool as he claims the first step is wearing Sunglasses after dark even though he and the whole crowd of punks got their asses kicked because they were wearing sunglasses after dark. The track is a cover of a Dwight “Whitey” Pullen song. 5/5

6. The Mad Daddy-A track that Lux claims that he is the coolest around, The Mad Daddy baby!!! 4.5/5

thecramps-songsthelordtaughtus(6)7. Mystery Plane– A very cool track that Lux tells you that it’s OK not to fit in with everyone else and that it’s OK to be different. Conformity is not OK, just be yourself. 4.5/5

8. Zombie Dance-a psychobilly track that Lux talks about all the people that just don’t get it at his school. He talks about how everyone is just programmed to do the same things instead of just being free hence his use of the word Zombie. 4.5/5

9. What’s Behind The Mask– A great track about how a girl he likes won’t show her true self to him and he wants to know why she hides behind the mask. 4.5/5

10. Strychnine– This is the band’s re-imagining of the classic track by The Sonics. 5/5

11. I’m Cramped– Fast strumming of the guitar starts off the track before the band gets into it with a cool rockabilly riff in this track where he just repeats, “Im Cramped” throughout the whole track. 4.5/5

12. Tear It Up– The band’s re-imagining of the classic track by Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio and you gotta love it cause it gave the track a more modern sound while staying true to it. 4.5/5

13. Fever– The band’s re-imagining of the classic track by Little Willie John and I thought it was the perfect way to end the album with it’s Doors feel to it. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is definitely one of the coolest punk/rockabilly albums that I have ever heard and let’s just call it rock and roll cause that is what it is at the end of the day. At the end of the day, Lux had an incredible voice and I am glad that he was able to find a way to get it out there before he sadly passed away in 2009. My favorite tracks on the album are Sunglasses After Dark, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, TV Set, and Fever. I don’t have a least favorite track on the album because they are all awesome. I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

screen-shot-2017-10-19-at-9-53-06-am.pngWhen it comes to Italian horror films, there is no name more synonymous with it then Dario Argento who made films like Opera, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Zombi, Demons, and the film that is receiving the remake treatment in Suspiria. The same could also be said for Italian soundtrack kings, the progressive rock wizards known as Goblin who in 1977 were made up of Agostino Marangolo (Drums, Vocals), Massimo Morante (Electric Guitars, Acoustic, bouzouki),  Fabio Pignatelli (Fretless Bass, Fretted Bass, Acoustic Guitar, tabla, vocals), and Claudio Simonetti (Mellotron, Elka organ, Logan violin, Celesta, Fender Rhodes electric piano, grand piano, Moog synthesizers). To keep up with the theme of Halloween on the blog, we chose the band’s soundtrack to Suspiria that they released on June 15, 1977. Suspiria was a very successful film in it’s time and the soundtrack to the film flourished as well, but right now I do not have any numbers as far as how successful the soundtrack really was.

91mpGZPPPKL._SL1500_.jpg1. Suspiria-The title track opens up with some amazing sounds of the Mellotron, but then it switches in tone and the pace picks up as the rock side of the song comes alive with the brilliance of Simonetti and his keyboard playing. 5/5

2. Witch– The track starts off with a more tribal feel because of the drums, but it has that ominous feel to it especially with the weird chanting. You can definitely tell during the track all the suspenseful moments with the changes in tones. 5/5

3. Opening To The Sighs– an intro track which is 34 seconds in length 4/5

4. Sighs-I love how the track starts with people sighing with some screeches thrown in there as well before we get this instrumental  and I believe this is where we get instruments like the bouzouki in it and some of the various organ sounds. It has a very hypnotic element to it as well like we are presented with a witch. 5/5

5. Markos– It opens with some keys and a very unique bass sound that sounds like it’s being manipulated through a synthesizer. 4.5/5

Suspiria_116. Black Forest-a more straightforward prog rock track that sounds like something that Pink Floyd would conjure up and it features Antonio Marangolo playing the sax on the track. 5/5

7. Blind Concert-The track begin with some ringing of bells before it goes into a little bit of a funk kind of rhythm complete with some unique sounds from Simonetti. 4.5/5

8. Death Valzer– The last track off the album is one of those old time classical piano tracks that is Simonetti flexing his musical muscles. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– As far as Horror soundtracks are concerned this is one of the best of the best and you could understand why Dario hung on to them. My favorite from Claudio Simonetti is still the work he did on the soundtrack to Opera, but this ranks right up there for me as far as Goblin is concerned. My favorite tracks are Suspiria, Black Forest, and Sighs. I don’t really have a least favorite track, but if I was to pick one it would be Death Valzer. I am giving the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

HELLOWEEN-Keeper-of-the-Seven-Keys-Part-1-LPWhen you think of European Power Metal, there is instantly one band that should come to mind and that band is Germany’s own Helloween. We chose Helloween for this week’s Halloween inspired Album of the Week because Halloween is in their name and it was voted number 43 on Loudwire’s 50 Greatest Metal Albums. The band that in 1987 was made up of new vocalist Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen (Guitar), Michael Weikath (Guitar), Markus Grosskopf (Bass), and Ingo Schwichtenberg (Drums) released their second and most pivotal album that some experts say spawned the Power Metal genre in Keeper Of The Seven Keys: Part 1. It was the first album for the band that cracked the Billboard Top 200 charts as it peaked at 104 and it was also the first album to not feature Kai Hansen on vocals. The reason for this was for the fact that he was having trouble singing and playing guitar at the same time so they brought in Kiske. While the album did feature Michael Weikath on guitar, it wasn’t much due to an injury he suffered during recording sessions for the album so the album is dominated by Hansen. Originally, the album was part of what the band had planned as a double album, but the label refused and made them separate it as the next part would come in 1988.

HELLOWEEN_KEEPER+OF+THE+SEVEN+KEYS+PART+1-566793b1. Initiation– An instrumental intro that kicks off the album that was written by Kai Hansen. 4/5

2. I’m Alive– A great track that I feel is an amazing anti-suicide song or at least that is the message that I get from the track that shreds through out. You gotta love the gang vocals for the chorus. 4.5/5

3. A Little Time– a great track that features some killer riffs and even some clock sound effects in the is song that is all about chasing your dreams and to aim higher. 4.5/5

4. Twilight Of The Gods– If you want to listen to some insane playing like one of the best solos on the album then check out this track that I think is about how we create Gods just to have war. 4.5/5

61i0nWQMGvL5. A Tale That Wasn’t Right– The track is a ballad type track, but in the sense that is a slower tempo track than the previous on the album. The track could be interpreted as the tale of a relationship that comes to an end or the tale of a backstabbing friend. 4.5/5

6. Future World– The lead single off the album that I feel is about a guy who is visiting this world telling a person about the future world and how great it is, but in reality how great is the world. Another great solo on this track from Hansen and company. 5/5

7. Halloween– This is the 13 minute epic track that was dedicated to the greatest holiday on the planet which is also the song title. It can be pretty cheesy at times, but it’s Halloween!!! 5/5

8. Follow the Sign-The track is more of an outro that you can tell is the bridge between parts one and two. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– While I am more of a fan of part two than one, there is no denying that this was the stepping stone of the band that would launch them into metal stardom. My favorite tracks on the album are Future World and Halloween while my least favorite track would be Follow The Sign. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.