Monthly Archives: June 2013

Black Sabbath-13

13

I did my best to approach Black Sabbath’s newest offering 13 with an open mind. As much as I love the Sabbath legacy there was a lot of turmoil surrounding this. The vile cunt that is Sharon Osbourne did her best to submarine this. She refused to pay original drummer Bill Ward a fair share even though she sued guitarist Tony Iommi for 50 % of the rights to Black Sabbath. See she sued for 50% to insure that all original member got 25% each. That right there is the definition of “fuzzy math”. Apparently Sharon 25% and the reported 4% she actually offered Bill Ward are one in the same. In his place we get Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine. To be fair, he does a stand-up job on the throne. We all know that Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler still have it, so the question is about Ozzy. He sounds good but you can tell that producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin processed the shit out of it. It sounds good but it sounds fake.

Everyone heard the first track “God is Dead” before the album release. I think that song is a perfect representation of what 13 is. Song opens with a nice slow doomy riff that is the epitome of the Sabbath sound. It’s a good song but it’s over 8-minutes long. Time length is a big problem on 13. Out of the 8 songs on the record there are 5 of them over 7-minutes long. They are not interesting enough to warrant the length. It comes across like they were stretching, just filling time. Especially when you add in Tony & Geezer always talked about how difficult Ozzy was when they did the 2 songs on that “reunion” album awhile back.

Plus we some recycled ideas too. “Loner” has a pretty cool riff but when Ozzy breaks out his “alright now” from “Sweet Leaf” it’s instantly deflating and you start feeling like you’ve been sold a bill of goods. It gets worse with the follow-up track “Zetgiest” which is an out and out rip-off of “Planet Caravan”. I haven’t seen anything that lazily self plagiarism since Metallica did “The Unforgiven II”.

One of the hurdles that Black Sabbath is unable to clear is that they have been such a huge influence on metal bands. Their sound has been reproduced so many times that when they do it, it sounds like everyone else. When you compare 13 to what Butler and Iommi did on the Heaven & Hell reunion with Dio, something is lacking here. Maybe it’s that Tony was going through cancer, maybe it’s Ozzy not having it and them trying to overcompensate, or maybe Rick Rubin made this a Rick Rubin produced album rather than a Black Sabbath record.

Either way, it stinks.

I guess 13 is an unlucky number.

PS

There is a deluxe edition with 3 more songs on the second disc but when has there ever been better songs as the bonus?

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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Megadeth-Super Collider

megasc

Growing up in the 80’s Megadeth main man Dave Mustaine was the mouth that roared. From his constant bashing of ex-band mates Metallica to his socially conscience lyrics. He had no fear in speaking his mind and we loved it. Plus his band created some of the greatest albums ever. Just like his Behind The Music, act 3 was not kind to Dave. Declining sales, drugs, and a hand injury broke up the band.

 

After rehab and becoming born-again, Mustaine reassembled Megadeth and has released some good material. Unfortunately it has been over shadowed by his mouth. Between him getting a band removed from a festival slot because he was offended by their name, to his latest tirade against the President. I will use the term latest because by the time I upload this we will have had at least two more. It’s a shame because that was something that we all like about him but it has now gone into the Alex Jones area and that’s one crazy fucking area.

 

Super Collider is the bands latest effort and hopes to put the music back in the headlines. It gets off to a great start with “Kingmaker” a perfect example of Megadeth. The band is tight and everyone knows how to play. Returning bassist Dave Ellefson and drummer Shawn Drover form a great rhythm section that allow Mustaine and Chris Broderick’s guitars to play off of it. You get some vintage thrash with “Dance In The Rain” and it’s classic riffs and politically tinged lyrics of disappointment. “Don’t Turn Your Back” has some nice riffing and shows how good Mustaine can be delivering pissed off words. The album closes with a cover of the Thin Lizzy classic “Cold Sweat”. They do a real nice job and Mustaine’s vocals really work here. Unfortunately the rest of the album is not as good. The title track is an out and out pop hard rock and seems like a leftover from Risk. There are banjos, yes banjos, on “The Blackest Crow” and weird blues infused song that seemed like it was a better idea than an actuality. For some reason they decided to have David Draiman appear on “Forget To Remember” and naturally the song is as good as the title is clever.

 

The past couple of releases from Megadeth have been pretty good but got over shadowed by Dave Mustaine’s mouth. Super Collider is a decent album with a couple of nice songs and some real head scratchers. Megadeth is in this weird space in that they have this great legacy but are not resting on their catalog. However the new stuff is average at best and the fans still come. It will be curious how it will play out as the aging audience may get tired of the sideshow and just listen to the old stuff at home.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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bbq

There must be something about the water in Finland. Between that country and its’ neighbor Sweden, they have had a renaissance of 80’s hard rock/glam. Even weirder is that a lot of it is rather good. So the newest addition to the Sunset Strip Wayback Party is Barbe-Q Barbies. They are an all-female quintet that is more Sass Jordan than Vixen. Just like their Finnish contemporaries, they seem to be very image conscience. Glancing at the album cover, lots of bare midriffs and lets just say they are all lookers. While that may be appealing in one way, it can make one very wary. We hard rock/metal fans have been deluged as of late with scantily clad female musicians that seem more interested in posing than playing. I guess I was spoiled growing up with Doro, Lita Ford, Girlschool, and Bitch. While they may have done an occasional provocative pose or two but you always knew they meant business. Nowadays, you have Huntress where there are more pics of her boobs hanging out than there are of them covered. The singer from In This Moment is good but it seems like she is Katy Perry half the time. Don’t get me started with Butcher Babies, two girls who perform topless to distract from their shitty music. The fact they are doing it is one thing but the fact that Revolver and Liquid Metal gives them any attention is another.

 

All that is a shame because it’s making it harder for Barbe-Q Barbies and others that are trying to be taken seriously.

 

Back story aside, how is Breaking All The Rules? Incredibly cliche titles aside, the band is good. The singer has a nice voice with some grit to it. Best comparison is to imagine if Gwen Stefani grew up 10 years earlier and listened to L.A. glam instead of ska. The rest of the band is capable but lacking. While the songs may be simple they are kind of catchy but there is something missing. It may be the producers fault because every song has the same tone. It really does a disservice because there is several real good songs. First single “STFU” is a great rocker with a little dance in it.

 

“One More (And I’ll Be Gone)” perfectly conveys the lyrical theme of drinking the break-up away. True to form there is a ballad, the maudlin titled “Gun In My Hand”. Here the singer cranks up a extra layer of grit and adds some nice emotion as well. The one glaring problem is she repeats the title almost 10 times per verse. Again, I think a better producer would have corrected this.

 

I think what Barbe-Q Barbies show on Breaking All The Rules is that there is a lot of potential here. The band seems to be in this for the music and if you look at their Facebook page they seem to tour regularly. Hopefully they’ll keep working hard and their label will get them a proper producer.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

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Black Star Riders-All Hell Breaks Loose

1a a a a a a a a a a a a a bsrAnyone that knows me knows that I love me some Thin Lizzy. I’m such a huge fan that last year I was seeing this woman and when she said that Lizzy was overrated I knew that it was doomed between us. I still slept with her a couple more times, but no relationship.

You have to have standards.

So you have to realize that when Thin Lizzy reformed, again, a couple years ago I was skeptical. I grew even more so when they announced they were going to record new music. Let’s be honest, no Phil Lynott no new Lizzy music. While this new incarnation had longtime members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, and Darren Wharton, the last two did not want to be part of this new act. The band has Ricky Warwick, who while his band The Almighty might have done well in the U.K, I never liked them at all nor his voice. I did appreciate that they replaced Vivian Campbell with Damon Johnson, I always thought that Brother Cane was a good band plus he wrote with some other acts as well.

Thankfully they decided to rename themselves Black Star Riders and their first effort is All Hell Breaks Loose. Even with the name change I was still skeptical about it until I heard “Bound For Glory”. It was a very Lizzy-ish song and Warwick’s voice seems to honor Lynott while still retaining some originality. Then I heard the rest of the album.

All Hell Breaks Loose opens with the title track and while it is alright, Warwick has this very annoying tendency to exhale at the end of every line. Let’s just say that it is very, very, very, very annoying. I mean really annoying. After that it’s just a lot of very average hard rock. Half the time the band sounds like a beefed up Smithereens. ie. “Bloodshot”. “Kissing The Ground” comes across as a very generic rock song. It was then I realized that Warwick also seems to ape Gary Moore’s voice a lot. Listen to “Hey Judas” or “Hoodoo Voodoo” and you get the feeling that the band seems to draw more from Moore’s music than Lizzy’s. I guess it’s no surprise that the best track is “Blues Ain’t So Bad”.

This band was like a roller coaster for me. Loved Lizzy, hated who was in it, loved they changed name, hated actually hearing it. It’s weird that even with the name change they still have the specter of Lizzy hovering over it. The band didn’t ignore it or pander to it, they seemed to try and do both. And in doing so failed themselves.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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Alice In Chains-The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Alice-in-Chains-The-Devil-Put-Dinosaurs-Here-600x600

Out of all the Seattle bands, I always thought that Alice In Chains were head and shoulders above the rest. Loved how they could go from heavy to acoustic, plus the harmonies of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell are legendary. Add in that they were not the dour babies that Nirvana and Pearl Jam were and actually enjoyed being in a band made them oh so appealing. Who couldn’t love them on Headbangers Ball at the water park?

 

 

Like everyone I was devastated when Layne died of an overdose. Then when rumors of Alice In Chains reforming I was very skeptical particularly because of the unique vocal interplay. Add in the first performance we saw of new singer William DuVall was the Heart special and he did a “suspect” version of “Rooster” I was worried. Fortunately they released Black Gives Way To Blue and all doubts were relieved.

 

So 2013 rolls around and the band has released The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. “Hollow” was released as the early single and it is a perfect representative of the AIC sound. Crunchy down tuned guitars and those ever distinctive harmonies. Second single was “Stone” and it highlights the Sabbath influence with its’ slower pace and DEEP string bends.

 

I think the stand out track is the title track. With its’ lyrical theme about devout Christians that believe the devil put dinosaur fossils to confuse the masses. Lyrics aside, its’ snails pace sludge sound and verse with the singer and guitar matching notes is heavenly. Pun intended.

 

One of the more overlooked aspects of AIC is their ability and willingness to go outside preconceptions. That is evident again on Devil with “Voices” a song that is pretty poppy and has a chorus that sounds right out of R.E.M.’s catalog.

 

Unfortunately Alice In Chains seems to have a problem evolving vocally. While Jerry and William do well harmonizing, they shouldn’t do it all the time. One needs to do lead vocals more or the songs are going to sound the same. There are several tracks where sonically they never seem to get started then you add on the bland vocals and the song is doomed.

 

Alice In Chains will always have a place in my heart. Their catalog is legendary, including AIC v2.0. However, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is very hit and miss. When it is good, it is good. You know the rest.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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