Posts Tagged ‘PMRC’

Judas_Priest-Defenders_Of_The_Faith-FrontalWhen I think of definitive albums that have stood the test of time or best represent what heavy metal was really all about, Defenders Of The Faith by Judas Priest did just that. In my opinion, it is one of the most iconic records the band ever released in their whole career. If someone were to ask me what my favorite Priest record was, I wouldn’t hesitate to say Defenders Of The Faith. The band was on a role in their career as they released staple records British Steel and Screaming For Vengeance right before Defenders which was their ninth studio album. The album featured the usual suspects Rob Halford (Vocals), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), K.K. Downing (Guitars), Ian Hill (Bass), and Dave Holland (Drums). The album did so well in sales that it finished one spot below Screaming For Vengeance at number 18 on The Billboard Top 200 charts. The album cover was designed by Doug Johnson (he did the cover for Screaming as well) and as wikipedia describes it, “the Metallian, a ram-horned, tiger-like land assault creature with Gatling guns and tank tracks conceptualized by the band.” The back cover of the album had a quote on it that read, “Rising from darkness where Hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian… Master of all metal.” The album was produced by Tom Allom (Def Leppard, Krokus) and it was recorded in Ibiza, Spain.

1. Freewheel Burning– the face scorcher with Rob Halford spitting the lyrics in the third verse faster than a rapper opens up the album and I warn you do not listen to this while driving 5/5

defenders of the faith back2. Jawbreaker– The hypnotic guitar riffs kick off the track as some suspect that the lyrical content deals with oral sex. one thing is for sure and that is Rob Halfords vocals are put to the test on this track. 5/5

3. Rock Hard Rock Free– This track is my anthem for everything as it tells you to live life to the fullest and do not let anyone take you down. The riff is a little slower, but it’s metal madness at its best. 5/5

4. The Sentinel– This is one of the most iconic tracks that Judas Priest has down in their career about a man trapped in a world that is apocalyptic in nature as he tries to survive. The intro of the track is iconic with the guitar riff before the band comes right in with the sonic assault. 5/5 (if I could give it a 6/5 I would)

5. Love Bites– The song starts with a very eerie bass line as we begin the journey into vampires with this track. 4/5

6. Eat Me Alive– The PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) listed this track at number 3 on their filthy fifteen list declaring the song was inappropriate, but the riff is razor sharp and hammering. 5/5

judas_priest_defenders_of_the_faith_1990_retail_cd-cd7. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll– This was one of two tracks written by Bob Halligan Jr. for Judas Priest and it has that prototypical heavy metal riffage that is power chord heaven. The first guitar solo is played by Tipton while Downing does the second one. 5/5

8. Night Comes Down– This is a true gem on the album that is slow and bluesy mid-tempo track that sucks in you into the emotional landscape of the track. 5/5

9. Heavy Duty/Defenders Of The Faith– I combined the two tracks together because that’s what they did live. Heavy Duty is sort of in the same range as Metal God where it’s very machine like in feeling while the title track is more of an outro as we remember to defend our faith in Metal! 4/5

My Final Thoughts– As I said above this is the most iconic Judas Priest album that still stands the test of time. If you want to start anywhere with Priest, this is the perfect place to start and believe you will be hooked. I am giving the album five stars out of five for a final grade.

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1984This week’s album of the week is coming one day early because I plan to do absolutely nothing, but open presents, eat, and drink on Christmas. For this week’s album of the week, I chose what is in my opinion one of the most Iconic albums of the 1980’s in Van Halen’s sixth studio album 1984. The album was iconic because it would actually be the last full album that Van Halen would record with David Lee Roth until 2012’s A Different Kind Of Truth. The band which was made up of Michael Anthony (Bass), Roth (Vocals), Alex Van Halen (Drums), and his awesome and famous brother Eddie Van Halen (Guitar) would also try new things with this particular album as they heavily introduced synthesizers into their music. That is an important factoid because this album was different from the others. Eddie was dissatisfied with the way Diver Down had come out so he built his own recording studio in his backyard that he would called 5150 and it was there that he would compose the album with Roth and producer Ted Templeman. He would bring the band back to the big heavy sound they had become famous for, but his compromise was the synths instead of keyboards.

1984 2The album starts with the futuristic sounding intro 1984 which is just an instrumental on the record. Then out of nowhere the synths are in full force as the iconic intro to Jump kicks things into high gear. One cool rumour is that the producer spliced some parts of two different takes to make the guitar solo we hear on the track. Panama is the hard charging next track on the album that was written about a race car Roth had seen in a race once in Las Vegas. Top Jimmy hits your speakers next with a very sleek guitar riff before it picks up the pace on the verses. Drop Dead Legs has a really cool blues rock riff that has tons of swagger to it. Hot For Teacher has one of the most iconic drum intros and motorcycle like drum fills that right when you hear it you instantly recognize the song. It’s also a track that pissed off Tipper Gore and the PMRC for it’s sexually laced lyrics that suggested sex with teachers. The music video for the track must have pissed her off even more with the teacher that strips.

1984 3I’ll Wait was always one of my favorite tracks on the album for it’s melodies and for the fact I could relate to it in a strange way. It seems to me that the song is about a boy that stares at these magazines with beautiful women on them and he wishes they were his. I can relate to that because I used to stare at mags with beautiful women imagining myself having my arms wrapped around them. In reality the track is about a woman that poses in men’s underwear for a Calvin Klein ad.  Like Jump, the track features keyboards throughout the whole entire track. The next track on the record, Girl Gone Bad, has that slow epic 80’s build up that takes its time building up to the point where they unleash the fury. I think we can use our imagination as to what the track is about. House Of Pain closes out the album and it’s a track that is a full on rock blitz that continues to show off Eddie’s skills. It’s definitely one of my favorite Van Halen records next to their debut which still remains the ultimate release. So, i am giving this record four stars out of five.

danzigI remember when I first heard Danzig for the first time in my life, I thought the man was pure evil because the music sounded evil. Now I just think the music sounds bad ass and it still gives me goosebumps to this day every time I pop it in to my CD player or on my Ipod. Glenn Danzig was originally the singer for The Misifts before he left to start Samhain and then Danzig started his own solo group with his last name as the band name. This was the band’s first album and it featured John Christ (Guitar), Eerie Von (Bass), Chuck Biscuits (Drums), and of course Glenn on Vocals. The album was the first album released on Rick Rubin’s (he also produced the record) new label Def American Recordings back in 1988. The album also recently celebrated it’s 25TH anniversary back in August of this year and James Hetfield of Metallica appears on the record. You may not have known that and there’s a good reason for that. Due to contractual reasons, he wasn’t allowed to be credited in the album liner notes. He provides background vocals on Twist Of Cain and Possession.

danzig back coverTwist Of Cain is the first track on the record and it starts with a very evil like blues beat as the drummer pounds on the snare before the rest of the band kicks in. The lyrics explore a very biblical story of Cain and Abel. John Christ describes the recording of the track, “We started writing that song even before Biscuits joined the band. At first we started recording it in G, then at the last minute we decided that A was better. We kept the drum tracks as they were and re-recorded the guitars, bass and vocals. Not many people know this, but James Hetfield (of Metallica) came down and recorded some backing vocals on that track.” Not Of This World explores of the dark brewed blues with Danzig’s signature evil Elvis/Jim Morrison like vocal style. Sadly, the first time I heard She Rides was in a dingy strip joint and it’s very fitting as the song has a very sexual nature to it with it’s sleazy guitar. John Christ says, “Our first sex song…it’s such a stripped-down song, just a couple of guitar tracks and almost no bass. “She Rides” probably has the best vocal performance on the album, though. There are also some really weird background noises and moaning sounds on it.” A couple strokes of the bass and Danzig’s vocals kickstarts Soul On Fire and then it’s bluesy doom metal heaven for the rest of the track. Am I Demon is one of the coolest tracks on the record with it’s trailblazing guitar track that reminds me of classic metal like Diamond Head.

File:Danzig - Mother single cover.jpgMother may be one of the greatest Danzig songs ever written and it took five years for the song to become a radio hit. The song was a response to Tipper Gore and the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) who were trying to tell musicians what they could and couldn’t release. Possession starts with a backwards piano track and some weird demonic voices as it proves it’s the evilest track on the record. End Of Time starts off sounding like it could be the official soundtrack for doom and destruction with the ominous clean guitar track before it kicks into overdrive and it’s sludge guitar heaven. The Hunter is essentially a cover of the Booker T. and The M.G.’s track with some lyrics changed here and there. Evil Thing starts off sounding like a AC/DC fast as lighting rock track before it slows down and then it’s a Danzig blues rock track for the remainder of the time. It’s definitely one of my favorite Danzig albums of all time so I am going to give it four stars out of five.

danzig skull

File:Cherrypie.jpgIt’s the album that would change the lives of these California rockers as they were living off the success of their debut record Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinkin Rich. Warrant which was made up of Jani Lane (Vocals), Joey Allen and Erik Turner (Guitars), Jerry Dixon (Bass), and Steven Sweet (Drums) were the hottest thing in the 80’s since Poison had made it big a couple of years back and they were about to write what can quite arguably be one of their greatest albums in Cherry Pie. It’s their best known album to date and it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Top 200. There is a lot of debate as to what the album was originally supposed to be called since Joey Allen claimed that it was going to be called Quality You Can Taste while Lane claims that it was supposed to be called Uncle Tom’s Cabin. One of the other startling rumors about the album was the debate over whether Allen and Turner actually played a note on the record. It was rumored that EX-Streets guitarist Mike Slamer had recorded all the guitar parts because the producers felt that the riffs were too weak. Beau Hill confirmed later on that Slamer and a host of others had indeed played on the album and that the band signed off on it. Jani Lane’s brother Erik Oswald, CC DeVille, Bruno Ravel, drummer Steve West from Danger Danger, and singer Fiona had contributed to the album.

cherry pieThe first single off the album and the title track came to the band with a bit of controversy (well sorta). The label I guess was not very happy with the record as it stood so they told Jani that he had to write a rock anthem. In 15 minutes after listening to We Will Rock You by Queen, Jani had come up with Cherry Pie. A little cool fact about Cherry Pie is that CC DeVille is the guitarist that does the solo for the song. The next track on the record, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is perhaps the greatest song that Jani Lane had written in his career. The song starts off with a real southern drawl to it with steel guitars to it before it kicks into overdrive. I Saw Red is an amazing power ballad written that features pianos and was inspired by a real life incident. Jani had caught his girlfriend with another man which sent Jani into a nervous breakdown which ultimately delayed the release of their first record. Bed Of Roses starts off with some acoustic guitars before they kick into third gear in a track that is about giving that special woman nothing but the best. Sure Feels Good To Me is an absolute rocker from beginning to end whose theme is engulfed in sex. Love In Stereo is cock rock at it’s finest as the guitar riff is as sleazy as it wants to be as they explore more into themes of sex with this track.

warrantBlind Faith is another power ballad on the album that usually featured Jani playing the acoustic guitar live. The song is all about love and devotion, but more in the case that Jani can’t believe he found a woman that loves him so much. Song And Dance Man is the next track on the record that makes you think it’s going to be a ballad, but it kicks into heavy metal overdrive. The great thing is that the verses are with clean guitars and when the chorus kicks in it’s heavy distorted guitars. You’re The Only Hell Your Mama Ever Raised is a very bluesy track that reminds me of something Poison would have written for Flesh & Blood. Mr. Rainmaker is one of my favorite tracks on the record which tells those rainy days in your life when your depressed to go F*** itself because you found that person that makes everything matter. Train Train is a cover of a Blackfoot song which as themes of betrayal while Ode To Tipper Gore was  F*** You song to the PMRC and it’s leader Tipper Gore. The album is pretty amazing, but D.R.F.S.R is still the best album. I am giving this album four stars out of five.

File:Metallica - ...And Justice for All cover.jpgLast month we celebrated the 30TH anniversary of the release of Metallica’s Kill Em All and now we are celebrating a different release by Metallica. On August 25, 2013, …And Justice For All turned 25 years old which means it celebrates its silver anniversary (I believe). By the accounts of a lot of different people, this album signified that a lot of changes were going to come to the beloved Thrash metal genre and it signified the beginning of a new era. For starters, it was the first album to be recorded without Cliff Burton and the first with former Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted. It signified the end of a traditional thrash metal sound for Metallica as they took a more progressive metal approach with this album. Lars commented on the band’s change, “We took the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets concept as far as we could take it. There was no place else to go with the progressive, nutty, sideways side of Metallica, and I’m so proud of the fact that, in some way, that album is kind of the epitome of that progressive side of us up through the ’80s.” The albums lyrics were also very different and dark while being rooted in politics, inequality, and freedom of speech just being some of the topics. There is also a rumor that if you notice, you’ll barely hear the bass tracks because Metallica supposedly turned the bass down.

andOne of the most badass Metallica songs ever kicks off the album in the form of Blackened, a song that deals with the subject of the environment. I love the slow fade up tactic that Metallica chose for the track which signifies the beginning of the madness. It’s also the best drumming I have heard from Lars in my opinion and I love the breakdown after the 2:30 mark, it’s just punishing. …And Justice For All is the next track on the album and it’s a track that was inspired by the drummer Lars’s aggressive riff and drum patterns. Famed music critic Cosmo Lee once said that the song is, “”a linkage of blocks” rather than “a progressive opus”, because “the song is mid-paced and very playable. None of the riffs are that technical.” Eye Of The Beholder is another track that starts with a slow fade up as the track keeps building up and then it explodes into an all metal assault. The track is played at a conventional 4/4 rhythm while the chorus is famous for being played at a 12/8 time. The tracks lyrics deal with issues of limitations that are constantly placed on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It makes sense considering the PMRC was hammering down on Heavy Metal at the time.

oneI hate to call the next track a power ballad, but that is exactly what One is. It’s the Grammy award winning track from the album whose lyrics are very anti-war. The song was inspired by a book by Dalton Trumbo that was called Johnny Got His Gun which was released in 1939 and dealt with a soldier who had lost all his limbs in battle.  The song begins in 4/4 time before it gradually switches in 3/4 and even 2/4 time. My favorite part of the song is the machine gun guitar build up with the double bass madness. Here is what James told Guitar World Magazine in 1991 regarding B-G modulation, “I had been fiddling around with that B-G modulation for a long time. The idea for the opening came from a Venom song called “Buried Alive”. The kick drum machine-gun part near the end wasn’t written with the war lyrics in mind, it just came out that way. We started that album with Mike Clink as producer. He didn’t work out so well, so we got Flemming to come over and save our asses.”

harvesterThe Shortest Straw is the next track on the record with it’s stop and smash playing in the beginning, it’s a song that deals with the topic of blacklisting. According to wikipedia, Harvester Of Sorrow is a song about, “a man who descends into madness, taking out his anger on his family. At the end of the song, it is hinted his sanity snaps and he murders them.” The song is a live staple at any Metallica show and deservedly so as the track hits you like a sledgehammer when it kicks off. Frayed Ends Of Sanity is the next track and it deals with the subject of a man who cannot live with the mania inside his head as he tries to become stronger than the demons (at least that’s what I get out of it). To Live Is To Die is the only song on the album where credit is given to Cliff Burton. The song samples a lot of different bass lines that Cliff had done before he passed away, but they were recorded with Jason for the album.

and justiceDyer’s Eve is the last track on the record and it’s a straight forward, cut ‘n dry message to his parents with some awesome and crazy stop and play metal madness in the beginning. Then out of nowhere the madness becomes even more maddening as Metallica embark on all out metal assault. This is definitely one of my favorite albums that started off with Mike Clink as the producer because Flemming Rasmussen wasn’t available when they needed him. After not being happy with what Mike Clink was doing, Flemming was finally brought in as he saved the day. Happy 25TH Anniversary to …And Justice For All you get four stars out of five.

File:SabbathBorn.jpgThe album I chose for this week’s album of the week celebrated it’s 30TH anniversary on August 7TH and in my opinion is the most underrated album ever released by Black Sabbath. On August 7, 1983, Black Sabbath released their 11TH studio album Born Again which featured legendary Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillian. The band was originally supposed to be called Born Again, but their manager Don Arden suggested that the band used the Black Sabbath name because it was more recognizable. Before settling on Gillan, the band had considered other candidates like David Coverdale (Deep Purple/Whitesnake) and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) to replace Ronnie James Dio, but decided that Gillan was the best vocalist out there that was available. The album also marked the return of original Sabbath drummer Bill Ward who was living a new sober life. There was also a lot of controversy surrounding the album cover that the guys chose. The album cover was designed by Steve ‘Krusher’ Joule and was taken from a black and white photo of a baby that had appeared in a magazine. Bill Ward hated the album cover and had even said that Ian Gillan had vomited when he saw the cover for the first time even though Iommi approved the cover. Don Arden, who hated Ozzy Osbourne for marrying his daughter Sharon, would tease Ozzy by saying that his children resembled the baby on the cover.

born againThe first track on the album was called Trashed and the song was about how Ian Gillan crashed Bill Ward’s car during a alcohol fueled race around the grounds of the recording studio. It was also one of the 15 songs to make the PMRC’s Filthy Fifteen list. Stonehenge is just a weird and eerie intro track to the next song complete with a heartbeat and some soundscapes. Disturbing The Priest starts like a bat out of hell with Ian Gillan giving a menacing laugh. The song contains the best of both worlds for both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fans with the bluesy doom metal sound and some amazing, epic vocal screams from Gillan. The Dark is another intro track with some weird sounds, but it leads into one of my favorite tracks on the record. Zero The Hero is the prototypical Sabbath doom metal track that the band was known for doing with those deep notes that you feel in your guts when Butler and Iommi are together. Plus the track has an amazing guitar solo and it ends side one of your vinyl or cassette.

born again 2Digital Bitch shows that Tony Iommi can shred with the best of them and it kind of has a Deep Purple feel to it. Born Again, the title track, is very bluesy at heart and Gillan’s voice is just amazing throughout the whole track. Hot Line showcases  the fact the band can write a real hard rock song while still making it cool enough to be a Sabbath song. Keep It Warm‘s sleazy blues like ways close out the most underrated Sabbath album known to man. I know a lot of different people have talked crap about the album cover, but I think it’s kind of iconic at this point in the game. One last cool fact before I give this a final grade is that the fact Sabbath couldn’t use the life size replicas of Stonehenge because they wouldn’t fit into arenas inspired a scene in This Is Spinal Tap. For a final grade, I am going to give the album 3.8 stars out of Five. If you’re a fan of both Black Sabbath and Deep Purple then you need to check out this album.

File:Judas Priest Turbo.jpgAs I had said in a previous post that this is the first album I ever heard from Judas Priest when I was about five years old. You may ask that how can I remember something like that and I answer with that I was born with Metal in my veins. I have been worshiping at the altar of the Metal Gods for as long as I can remember except the years that Tim “The Ripper” Owens was there. That’s a discussion for another time, but right now we are hear to talk about an album (Turbo) that only a true Priest fan could love because it is considered their glam album. Glam Metal was the hottest thing in 1986 with bands like Motley Crue and Ratt selling out arenas so eventually almost every band came out with one of these. Heck, Ozzy did with The Ultimate Sin. Fans were upset over the fact that the band had over used synthesizers while making the album even though it went platinum by 1987. In 2008 Rob Halford told Kerrang!, “The only agenda we’ve ever had in Priest was to really give every album its own life and I think we’ve achieved that on everything from Rocka Rolla up to the new one, Nostradamus. That said, if ever there was a controversial record in terms of what people might have expected from us, it’s Turbo. It was the fact that we moved into a different atmosphere, but that’s where we were at at that particular time. Some of the technological advances like the pedal boards that Glenn and KK used were giving us options for different sounds and experimentation. Personally I think there are still some great tracks on that album … It’s one of the recordings that divide opinion.” The band which was comprised of Rob Halford on Vocals, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing on Guitar, Ian Hill on Bass, and Dave Holland on Drums.

File:Locked In.jpgTurbo Lover kicks off the album and as a kid I always thought of the beginning as an engine revving up before it takes off and the song starts. The guitars during the verse remind me of motorcycles that are just chugging along and then out of nowhere they’ll hit the throttle before they explode into the chorus. That is probably the best description of anything I have ever done. Locked In is the next track and in the beginning it seems that they’re going to lay off the synths, but they don’t. The song is a pure hard rock classic that features dual solos by Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing that are followed by some lead fills by Tipton. Private Property is probably one of the cheesiest songs on the record about keeping your hands off Rob’s junk, but I love the song. I can’t help, but chant “Hands Off” along with the band. Parental Guidance was their war song against Tipper Gore and The PMRC who attacked the band and had placed Eat Me Alive on the Filthy Fifteen list. Rock You All Around The World is the next track on the record that exemplifies the bands attempt to create arena hits with big riffs and big sing along choruses.

a2Out In The Cold is the ballad that Priest made for the album that has a real eerie feel to it with the synthesizers supporting it and it’s also the longest track on the record at 6:28. Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days is the next track on the record and it’s another attempt on a power chord heavy arena rock song. that features backing vocals from Jeff Martin.  Hot For Love and Reckless are definitely not my favorite tracks on the album. Those are the take it or leave it tracks on the album. It’s not a bad record if you can see past the fact all the synths, a lot of bands were using them back then. I am going to give the album 3.5 stars out of five.