Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Metal’

1000x1000In the heavy metal and rock world, the late and great Ronnie James Dio was quite the journeyman having first appeared with Elf before joining Rainbow for most of the mid to late 70’s before replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. It was this journey that brought Ronnie the recognition in the music business so when he was done with his first stint with Sabbath, it was time to unleash everything he had that would change the metal world forever. Along with Vinny Appice (Drums), Dio would create his solo band with former Rainbow bandmate Jimmy Bain (Bass), and with former NWOBHM Sweet Savage guitarist Vivian Campbell (Guitar). On May 25, 1983, the band would unleash what would be wildely considered Dio’s greatest album and what Loudwire.com ranked 17TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list in Dio’s debut solo album Holy Diver. This album was Ronnie fully unleashing what he had started in Black Sabbath lyrically with all of the fantasy themes and it worked because the people loved it. The album was certified platinum by 1989 selling over a million and it peaked at 56 on The Billboard Top 200 charts.

holy diver1. Stand Up And Shout– an all guns blazing track that kicks ass and is basically about standing up for what you believe in and make sure they hear it. 5/5

2. Holy Diver– The first single off the album and probably one of the most recognizable tracks Dio ever recorded is according to him about a Christ like figure on another planet that sacrifices himself in order to save his people, but when they find out they selfishly want him to stay. 5/5

3. Gypsy– a track that to me is about a gypsy that has the ability to fool anyone and you have to believe that considering he used a lot of fantasy-esque stories for lyrics. 4/5

4. Caught In The Middle-a rock track that is Dio telling yourself that you need to believe in yourself and free yourself from the dull zombie like life that you’re living. 4/5

5. Don’t Talk To Strangers– I always loved the clean channel guitars in the beginning of this track before it launches itself into heavy metal overdrive. The track seems to be him telling you to truly find what brings true meaning into your life and not instant gratification. 5/5

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA6. Straight Through The Heart-Big Sabbath like riffs kick off this track into style as he talks about how sometimes people sugar coat what life is all about until you get kicked in the mouth figuratively by reality. 4.5/5

7. Invisible-a reality check of a track whose lyrics deal with people who felt invisible to the world because of the problems they had and the situation they were in. A very 70’s like sound to the track with it’s Nazareth Love Bites like guitar riff and weird effect on Dio’s vocals before the track goes into Sabbath like heavy metal mode. 4.5/5

8. Rainbow In The Dark-The second most popular Dio solo track ever and the second single off the album complete with keyboard parts. I think it’s a track that is all about being stuck in a place where you feel nothing is going right and so you search for that Rainbow In The Dark or ray of hope. 5/5

9. Shame On The Night-The last track on the album and certainly an interesting one which I think is about how devious the night can be and I think you know what I mean. I love the bass riff during the verses and how it’s the main instrument. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-This is probably one of the greatest Dio albums and I think a lot of it has to be with the fact that you can hear a lot of Heaven & Hell by Black Sabbath in this album. I definitely find that it’s certainly the strong point of the album besides the lyrics and his vocals. I wasn’t a huge fan of Gypsy and Caught In The Middle if I am being honest and Shame On The Night was out of nowhere for me as far as how really awesome the track was. I am going to give the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

61AChrVmRDLWhen I think of the genre of Heavy Metal and the one band that I think took the flag and it became it’s standard bearer, it always comes back to Birmingham, England’s own Judas Priest. In my opinion, no band better represented the genre then they did and they inspired a whole slew of bands along the way in there 50 year career. That’s right, Judas Priest is celebrating 50 years as a band and we are celebrating it by checking out what Loudwire.com ranked as 18TH on their list of 50 Best Metal Albums of all time in 1976’s Sad Wings Of Destiny. The album was the band’s second overall release and it featured Rob Halford (Vocals), K. K. Downing (Guitar), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), Ian Hill (Bass), and Alan Moore (Drums) who was the band’s third drummer by this point. Unfortunately, when the album was released, it had a hard time getting noticed due to the rise in popularity of punk rock music at the time. With a little bit of touring in the UK, the album eventually peaked at number 48 in the UK and it eventually achieved Gold in 1989.

gulp1015-label-pye-version1. Victim Of Changes-This almost 8 minute epic that was the product of two different tracks kicks off the album that was inspired by Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog. The track is about a woman who drinks too much and loses her man to another woman. The thing I love about this track is all the tempo and mood changes that occur in the song itself over the course of the track. 5/5

2. The Ripper-This Queen inspired chugger brings us into the mind of the great Victorian killer Jack The Ripper as we hear it from his perspective. 4.5/5

3. Dreamer Deceiver-a ballad track where we get some crooning vocals from Halford, but this serves as an intro of sorts for the next track. 4/5

4. Deceiver– A track that features more of that fast paced chugging sound that borders on being the inspiration for speed metal on the track. You can definitely also hear some influence from Black Sabbath in the track which was expected at the time. 5/5

CS487713-01B-BIG5. Prelude– An intricate instrumental track done in the E♭ Aeolian mode, but it has nothing to do with the next track. 4/5

6. Tyrant-Such an intricate track with so many parts, but it definitely kicks a lot of ass in a very short amount of time. It’s a track that is all about going against the grain. 5/5

7. Genocide-a cool riff heavy track that takes influence from Deep Purple tracks like Women From Tokyo and Burn (you can hear it). I guess Rob wanted the track to be thought provoking and controversial, but not sure if it did the trick. 4.5/5

8. Epitaph-a piano track that has been described to be Queen like as far as the vocals are concerned due to how they are layered. The song is basically Halford describing his frustration for how there is no place for the old. 4/5

9. Island Of Domination– The other track bleeds into this one, but the heavy electric guitars take over in this song that Tipton has joked is a little personal to Halford. The very Sabbath like track could have some innuendos contained in it which is what Tipton was joking about. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts-This is a very different album than what came in the 1980’s and that is what I like about this album. It definitely has a very 70’s Priest vibe to it and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. My favorite tracks on the album are Tyrant, Deceiver, and Victim Of Changes. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

51qMElGc5NL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_It is Motley Crue week here on Moshpits and Movies as we continue to celebrate the release of the new Netflix rock biopic The Dirt which is based off of one of the best selling rock autobiographies The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band that was written by Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, and Nikki Sixx alongside Neil Stauss and we are covering here for Heavy Metal Book Report. The way the book works is that each member of the band gets their own chapter to tell some wild and insane stories that also features chapters from Doc McGhee and Tom Zutant as well. The book tells the wild and insane story of the one of the 1980’s most decadent and dangerous bands in the world as they take you on a true journey through sex, drugs, and good ole fashioned rock and roll Motley Crue style. You get to travel alongside the band as they describe all their triumphs alongside all the tragedies that made the band notorious all over the world. It’s a one way ticket through hell and back so you better make sure that your strapped in because it’s a journey that you’ll never forget. Hear all the stories that made the film like the story of Bullwinkle, the tragic death of Razzle and everything that happened while Vince was in jail to the night that Nikki Sixx died and came back to life and so much more.

91S8-v4yBBLFor anyone that has read this book, there is so much that I would have loved to have seen make the film, but I understand how screen writing works versus writing a novel. One of the things that is probably going to happen to you is that if you had a favorite member before, it could possible change during this book. That was one of the things that happened to me when I read this book. I was a huge Vince Neil fan growing up because I thought he was the coolest frontman ever, but after reading the book I instantly became a fan of Nikki Sixx who is the unsung hero of the band. You have to read about his journey as a kid to adult that was toned down heavily in the film because it will shock the hell out of you. There is one story that just tugs on your heart strings and it’s about a sister that he never knew he had and the tragedy behind that story will bring a tear to your eye. One of the things that made me laugh at times was how every member had plenty of pages per chapter and then there’s Mick Mars who at times wouldn’t write much. He lived up to his persona even in the book, but he has some pretty interesting info as far as his backstory is concerned. As I said before in the previous paragraph, this book takes you on one hell of a ride and you’ll feel so dirty when it’s done that you’ll need a shower (just kidding, but seriously though). This is probably my favorite rock autobiography of all time that has never been duplicated and with that being said, I am giving the book five stars out of five for a final grade.

cc6-g9When it became time to decide who was going to be included in the metal album of the year category, it was tough to decide because there were a lot of great choices. You had amazing albums from Visigoth, High On Fire, Judas Priest, and so many more. Out of all those bands, I couldn’t leave Judas Priest out of the category because their 18TH studio album Firepower left quite the mark on 2018 as it debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts selling 49,000 units in it’s first week. So, it came as no surprise when the album won the award for Metal Album Of The Year at the 8TH Annual Monster Entertainment Awards. The album once again featured Rob Halford (Vocals), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), Ian Hill (Bass), Scott Travis (Drums), and for the second album Richie Faulkner (Guitars). The album also marked the first time that Tom Allom would be the producer of a Judas Priest record since 1988’s Ram It Down and it’s also the first Priest album to have Andy Sneap as a Co-Producer. The album was widely successful as WJCU out of Cleveland voted it number one on their Top 25 Albums of 2018 list. Rolling Stone ranked it number 3 on their 20 Best Metal Albums of 2018 list while Loudwire ranked it number three on their The 30 Best Metal Albums of 2018 list.

71xJkQG4-dL._SL1200_1. Firepower-The title track opens up with a heavy metal fury that is unlike no other that just rips your face off in what seems to be a track about how the governments are just arming themselves with deadly firepower. 5/5

2. Lightning Strikes-a track that just screams of classic Judas Priest that is exactly what the Judas Priest fan ordered here. It has a very Ram It Down sound to it and it might have to do with Allom’s influence on the track. 5/5

3. Evil Never Dies-Richie Faulkner brings the heaviness to this track as it just hammers through in a track that is all about how no matter how we try to deny him, evil does indeed exist. Around the 2:28 mark, there is a very cool melodic break int he music that just leads into some awesomeness. 4.5/5

4. Never The Heroes-a cool and heavy track that is very melodic during the verses in a track that talks about how soldiers are forced to be thrown into war which in turn makes them heroes. Scott commented saying, “”Never the Heroes” is a great, meaningful song in the sense just lyrically, even though I had nothing to do with the lyrics, but it’s a great song [with] a great hook.” 4.5/5

5. Necromancer-a cool ass metal track that is about you guessed it a Necromancer who is someone who practices the dark arts and communicates with the dead. 4.5/5

6. Children Of The Sun– I hate to think that every track like this one is about the end of the world, but that’s what I get from the lyrics. The track kind of brings that Sad Wings feel to it at times which I thought was cool. 4/5

7. Guardians– An instrumental track on the album 4/5

judas-priest-firepower-6-ab8. Rising from Ruins-a cool track whose message may seem religious to some just because of the content, but I think it’s more than just that. I think the song is just telling you that no matter how many times life knocks you down, you have to keep getting back up. 4.5/5

9. Flame Thrower-Priest adds a little bit of a rock swagger to their music with this track and I don’t think the song is being literal in it’s meaning, but I also don’t think it’s an apocalypse song either. 4.5/5

10.  Spectre-I never thought that I would ever read lyrics from Judas Priest and think they were about a James Bond film and villain, but that is what it seems to be about. 4/5

11. Traitors Gate– a very melodic intro begins the track before the band launches into overdrive with this track about a man who is about to be executed for his rebellious nature, but he’s OK with it because he’ll be a martyr. 4.5/5

12. No Surrender-Another track that is similar to Flame Thrower as far as the rock swagger is concerned, but this is a very cool track. It seems to be about someone who knows that he is willing to do anything to accomplish his goals no matter what. 5/5

13. Lone Wolf– A very Sabbath-esque track and they do a fantastic job with it in a track that speaks about those of us who are lone wolfs. We live and do things by our rules. The chorus is very Priest like, but when it goes to the verse it turns back to the Sabbath like riffage. 5/5

14. Sea Of Red-Richie Faulkner said that this was one of his favorite tracks on the album and it’s the closer. The track seems to be about honoring those that sacrificed so that we may live our lives to the fullest, but it reminds us to not forget. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts-There are a lot of great tracks on this album despite all the questions of how much did Tipton really contribute to the album since he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s shortly after it’s release I believe. My favorite tracks on the album are 1, 2, 12, and 13 with Spectre being my least favorite track. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

rainbow-rising-1976-album-coverWhen you think of the genre of heavy metal, there are certain faces that are immediately associated with it and those people are Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and the late and great Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie was one of those guys that just embodied the genre of heavy metal and he did it with Elf, Black Sabbath, his solo band Dio, and the legendary post Deep Purple band Rainbow. Richie Blackmore had left Deep Purple and he wanted to start a new band that was his vision and he did so with Ronnie on vocals. On May 17, 1976, Rainbow with only Dio and Blackmore remaining from the previous album would release their second album Rising which would now feature Tony Carey (Keyboards), Jimmy Bain (Bass), and Cozy Powell (Drums) while the album was produced by Martin Birch. The album was a huge success for the band as Kerrang Magazine stated in 1981 that it was the greatest Heavy Metal album ever recorded while Rolling Stone ranked it 48TH on their 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list while Loudwire ranked it 20TH on their Best 50 Metal Albums Of All Time list. The album peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts while going gold in the UK in 1979.

rainbow-823-6552-cd1. Tarot Woman– The track starts off with a cool spacey keyboard playing by Carey before the band eventually comes in led by Dio’s powerful vocals. I believe the track is about someone who is afraid of what the fortune teller has told them. The tarck features a cool solo by Blackmore. 5/5

2. Run With The Wolf– A track that kind of has a funky rock swagger to it as Dio leads the charge in this track that is all about werewolves I believe. I definitely am a fan of how the keys mix in very nicely with the guitars, they make a great pair in this track. 4.5/5

3. Starstruck– A cool rock track that is all about every rockers favorite types of fans in groupies, but this is apparently about one that took it a little too far and found out where he lived. 4.5/5

4. Do You Close Your Eyes-This is a cool rock track that seems to be about a girl that he knows that he can’t seem to figure out what her deal is, but all that he hopes is that she is into him like he is into her. 4.5/5

RAINBOW_RAINBOW+RISING-233360b5. Stargazer– An epic track on the album that starts off with a drum solo by Powell before Blackmore and company bring the thunder in a track that also features the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, a Vako Orchestron, and a turkish string instrument. The song is apparently a moral song that was written in the perspective of an slave in Egyptian times  that is forced to build something because a wizard becomes obsessed with flying to the stars. 5/5

6. A Light in the Black– The last track on the album that is another 8 minute epic track that is the sequel to the previous track that still follows this slave who attempts to try and fly home now that the wizard has fallen. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– The weird thing about this album is that side two is so drastically different than the first side. The first side is a little more Purple rock side while the second side is more of that Dio awesomeness that we all love. Stargazer is definitely my favorite track on the album, but A Light In The Black is great and Tarot Woman is great too. I am going to give the album 4.75 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.

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.