Posts Tagged ‘Loudwire’s Top 50 Metal Albums Of All Time’

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.

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.

beneath the remainsWhen you think of heavy metal and the country of Brazil, there is one band that instantly comes to mind and if Sepultura is not that band then what are you 12? Sepultura which in 1989 was made up of Max Cavalera (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Andreas Kisser (Lead Guitar), Igor Cavalera (Drums), and Paulo Jr. (bass) was being considered at the time to be the Brazilian version of Slayer or the second coming of Slayer. Nonetheless, the band signed a deal with Indy upstarts Roadrunner Records (Now a major label) and released their third studio album Beneath The Remains on April 7, 1989 which means it celebrates it’s 30TH anniversary this year. The album was a major breakthrough for the band featuring better production while also giving the band the distinction of being the only band with two albums inducted into the Decibel Hall Of  Fame. On Loudwire.com’s 50 Best metal albums of all time list, they ranked the album at 21. There was a bit of controversy surrounding the album cover because originally the band wanted to use Michael Whelan’s cover art Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre which Igor started getting tattooed on his arm. Roadrunner decided that Whelan’s other artwork Nightmare In Red was a better choice and they convinced the band to use it. The funny thing about is that Roadrunner ended up giving the other artwork to Obituary who used it for their album Cause Of Death.

max1495495852-back-cover1. Beneath The Remains– The title track opens the album with a very melodic riff that is haunting in nature before it launches in an all out thrash metal blitzkrieg. The track talks about how senseless war is, but our world is plagued with it. Kisser lays down one killer solo on this track. 5/5

2. Inner Self-This track kicks off right where the title track kicked off in this classic thrash sounding track that reminds you of Megadeth, Testament, etc. The track is all about you being you and not allowing the government or anyone else dictate who you are. 5/5

3. Stronger Than Hate-a killer track whose lyrics were written by Kelly Shaefer of Atheist and features background vocals by him and John Tardy of Obituary. The track seems to be about someone who has lost all hope with the way society is and what he is feeling is stronger than hate. 5/5

4. Mass Hypnosis– an awesome track and one of the more famous tracks from the album about how the government breeds hate into the country which causes people to want war and to fight it. 5/5

5. Sarcastic Existence-The tracks opens up with a cool drum riff from Igor before the band joins in. The track’s lyrics are very interesting because they are talking about a man who hates life so much that he wants to end it, but he doesn’t really hate life he just loves death and destruction. 5/5

118080716-26. Slaves Of Pain– A very Slayer-esque track that is all about how we are slaves to what the government feeds us whether it’s in print or on the TV, but don’t let it define you. 4.5/5

7. Lobotomy-I hear a little bit of Anthrax in the track that’s mixed with the insane shredding that accompanies it. The lyrics seem to be about someone who has always fought for good, but some how has changed what he does like he’s received a lobotomy. 4.5/5

8. Hungry-a track that is all about all the slaves of the corporate world who are too concerned with masking money that they forget to live life. 4.5/5

9. Primitive Future– The last track on the album is kind of inspirational in a way because it’s all about how you have to forge your own future despite how bleak things can be and you can’t look to the past because that will set you backwards. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is truly an awesome album and a very awesome thrash metal record that shows you why people probably believed them to be the new Slayer. Sepultura were truly one of the greats and what a time the late 80’s to early 90’s would be for groove/extreme metal bands. My favorite tracks are the first five plus Primitive Future. That is why I am giving this album 4.8 stars out of five for a final grade.

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.

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.