Monthly Archives: September 2010

Murderdolls-Women and Children Last

The musical landscape has become littered with the tacky billboards of sub-genre’s. This plague upon the world has been brought upon us by the musical aficionados that turn their noses up at rap that is from the wrong coast. Or country that is not played by suburban college kids or metal that had not been reclassified in a way that by the time it takes you to decode the style the song is over. Unfortunately this bane is a curse that will always be upon us no matter the quantity of silver bullets, garlic crosses, or whatever repels zombies. Good movie scripts seems to have worked lately.
At the risk of adding to our societal disease, comes Women and Children Last, the newest offering from Murderdolls. The reason why they are adding fuel to the tire fire is that just calling them metal is a disservice. I think the only label that applies is Splatterpop. I believe that term, that I plan on copyrighting unless Gene Simmons beat me to it, fully encompasses the experience of the album.

While every song has a lyrical aspect that centers around killing or drugs or killing or murder or killing, they are all insanely catchy and you quickly find yourself bobbing along to the shooting spree anthem of “Bored To Death”  That can only be equaled by the Romeo and Juliet inspired “Summertime Suicide” a snappy account of a guy finding he lovers suicide note and then offing  himself. Take that Frank Sinatra.
Do not think that every song is the equivalent of a Roger Corman movie, “Nowhere” is a damn the torpedos anthem to believing in yourself. You have to give a lot of credit to guitarist Joey Jordison. While he is better know as the drummer for Slipknot, he is the sole guitarist in Murderdolls. He displays a crude but catchy style that is part AC/DC and part punk. The band is rounded out by singer Wednesday 13 who has a style that could best be described as a hype man at a live B&D sex show in Vegas. That or if Captain Spaulding was more interested in tattooed strippers than killing.
People may simply dismiss the Murderdolls as just a goofy side project but Women and Children Last shows that it may be better than the main band and stands tall on its own.

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Iron Maiden-The Final Frontier

Metal stalwarts Iron Maiden have returned with the release on The Final Frontier. While most bands of their stature and age, are content with releasing Best Of’s and taking the easy payday with summer concerts. These guys have cranked out another stellar collection of songs that fit well with their classic catalog. Like many of their other album’s The Final Frontier has a loose theme, this one of  Space and exploration.. Hence the “Deluxe” package that resembles a porthole in a spaceship.
“El Dorado” was the first single released and it came out several weeks prior to the albums release. It served as a perfect taste of what was in store. This song along with the title track have a more “commercial” appeal that  “Can I Play With Madness” had which is great because it gives an easy access point for new fans. Let’s be honest with Guitar Hero and  Rock Band many of the classic metal bands are getting new looks from young fans from these video games. So by having tracks that are catchy and still showcase the band’s  trademark sound, everyone wins.
One of the hallmarks of the Iron Maiden sound is their lengthy songs that take the listener on a musical and lyrical journey. The latter half of Final Frontier is chockfull of these auditory adventures. To me the real standout is “Starblind”, a 9-minute trek that showcases some unique styling’s from Maiden.  What is so distinctive here is the off beat synchronization of Bruce Dickinson’s vocals to the music that the band is playing. At first is seems odd when heard but the genius of the track comes through the longer the song goes. The vocals are not always offbeat just on some of the choruses making it even more distinguishable and truly awesome.
The Final Frontier is another excellent chapter in Iron Maiden’s history. It shows that no matter a bands age, that creating good original music is a challenge that needs to be accepted and met.

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Vince Neil-Tattoos & Tequila

There is nothing more insulting than an artist trying to cash in. This is evident with the release of Tattoos & Tequila from Vince Neil. Of course do not confuse this with his soon to be released autobiography or his new club. I think it is called cross marketing or something.
He has hordes of cash that he bang porn starts on nightly and yet has to reduce himself to the same level as a “tribute” CD that kept Deadline records alive for way too long. Think about it, this is the same thing that Mark Slaughter and Marq Tourquin have to do. Add in the fact that two members of Slaughter are the backing band, guitarist Jeff Blando and bassist Dana Strum, and this has disaster written all over it,
Shockingly, it is not. Vince did a nice job in choosing songs that he obviously loved when he was a kid.  The admiration comes through loud and clear and it adds a layer of fun to it, Naturally there is the requisite Aerosmith track, “Nobody’s Fault”. This is done as the straight ahead rocker that it is but if you have heard the Testament version this really pales in comparison. After that he does a nice job of choosing the obvious band but doing the surprising song. Vince covers the Scorpions on “Another Piece of Meat”. Really superb choice of cover and it fits his style real well. His version of “ACDC” from The Sweet is a nice homage to a very underrated band. You could say the same thing for “He’s A Whore” by Cheap Trick.
There are some curious choices at the end the album. “Who’ll Stop the Rain’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival. To his credit, Vince’s version has more of a country feel to it so he at least tried something different with it. Lastly, there is “Viva Las Vegas”. I know Vince has a huge affinity for Vegas so a tribute should be in order. However, taking such an iconic song and re-working it like he has just comes off as real hokey.
The two original tracks “Tattoos & Tequila” and “Another Bad Day” are decent. The title track is a typical sexually charged song that pole dancers will be using for years. “Another Bad  Day” was written by Nikki Sixx and was originally supposed to be released on Motley Crue’s “New Tattoo” CD. This song is more of a mid-paced melancholy song that echoes what they did when they reunited years ago.
Credit needs to be given to producer Jack Blades, The Night Ranger singer/bassist does a great job in having the band not fall into the habit of sounding like the original or Crue.
All in all, Vince has done a nice job with this disc and if you get it at Best Buy for $8 like I did or iTunes for $10 then you should be happy. Anything more than that and only the hard cores will be happy.

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Skull Fist-Heavier Than Metal EP

There seems to be this rash of bands that think this is 1982 and we are in San Francisco hanging out at Ruthie’s. No matter how hard this wave of neo-thrashers tries, it is still 2010. Canada’s Skull Fist has debuted with an EP of said neo-thrash called Heavier Than Metal. The retro-ness of the album is obvious from the cover. With a skull headed monster towering over a city with the band’s lightning bolt font logo in the background I feel like I am in junior high and going through the bins at Texas Tapes & Records. The thing is I am not 13 and Texas Tapes has long been closed, and this is has been done.   Many times before and better.
Which I think is the inherent problem with this new wave of bands. To the younger crowd it will come off as fresh and a way to experience the scene that they read about in magazines and online. They can throw on their tight black jeans with puffy white sneakers and top it off with a sleeveless jean jacket covered in patches.  All of this will still not change what year it really is. Those that experienced it the first time can enjoy a band like Skull Fist a little but it comes off more like a thrash version of Steel Panther than anything.
Just in case you did not realize how metal this band is, they hammer home the point with the song titles. While only 5 songs in length, two of them have the word “metal” in their title. There is the title track plus the battle cry mantra of “No False Metal”. The bands sound evokes the past as they have the thin sounding guitars that dominated the henre back then. The real puzzling part is the lead singer’s voice. It is very high pitched but not in a good way. It maintains the same level in every song no matter the part and sounds more like Mark Slaughter than anyone.
It affects the bands sound so much that it makes the ironically titled track “Heavier Than Metal” comes across more as a hard rock song rather than a thrash battle cry. That is the best way to describe the EP. This band wants to be one thing but since they are not authentic they come across as the poseurs that they have are railing against.

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