Monthly Archives: July 2014

Entombed A.D.-Back To The Front

entombedbacktothefrontcd
To paraphrase that creepy Selena Gomez fan, Entombed came along at a very important time in my life.

When they released their classic Wolverine Blues in 1993 the metal world was awash in Seattle grunge. Bands of the heavy ilk were few and far between. But along comes Entombed and their new take on Death Metal and I was hooked. Up until that time I was not that big of a fan of that genre as the vocals turned me off. However, with the way Entombed played it I was a believer. The music was so catchy, yet brutal, that I was able to digest the vocals easier. Nowadays I don’t know if one can appreciate how great that album and revolutionary the style was.
It’s been over 20 years since Wolverine Blues came out, man I feel old, and Entombed has just released their newest offering Back To The Front.
Sort of.
The band is now referring to themselves as Entombed A.D. after some very L.A Guns-ish band name rights dealings. This band is composed of longtime vocalist Lars-Göran Petrov, guitarist Nico Elgstrand, drummer Olle Dahlstedt both of whom have been in the band since 2006. They are rounded out by bassist Victor Brandt who’s been with them since 2010. So you can somewhat understand why the original members don’t want Lars running around in a band called Entombed like he was Tony Iommi in those dark days of Black Sabbath.
Legal mumbo jumbo aside, what does Back To The Front sound like? I was a but apprehensive since the key to Entombed’s “Death N Roll” sound was former member Nicke Andersson who hasn’t been in the band for 17 years. Now it doesn’t have the same swing as classic Entombed but it’s still pretty good. Songs “Bedlam Attack”, “Second To None”, and “The Underminer” have that super crunchy guitars that everyone will recognize and a certain catchiness that their cohorts don’t have. Most of the album has more of a traditional Death Metal sound. “Bait and Bleed” and “Waiting For Death” while both adequate could have come from almost anyone. It is possible that this split personality is due to Entombed A.D. being a band in transition. While they are obviously drawing from their past but since they have a rather new roster they are trying to figure out their own path.
(Insert Left Hand Path joke here)

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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RETRO REVIEW-Big Mouth-Quite Not Right

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I am a sucker for record shows. In the past couple of years I have gotten back into vinyl and those shows are the best. Especially when there are dealers that have dollar stuff. It allows you to take a chance on something you’ve never heard before just off the band name or cover. This is how I came across Quite Not Right by Big Mouth. Seeing a bunch of long hairs in spandex usually means “here’s my dollar”. The clincher was on the back cover I could see that one of the guitar players was Chris Caffery who would later join Savatage. How could I go wrong?
Actually the back cover should have been a big warning. The other guitar player, Johnny “Jinxx” Millan, is wearing a hat that I think he stole from Queen Latifah. Alas, that was not the only warning sign. Because if you look underneath Mr. Millan and his “hat” you see he is referred to as Kevin Hupp-Drums even though he is clearly holding a pink guitar. So is the guy referred to as Johnny Millan the real drummer? The final “I know it was only $1 buy maybe I should have passed” was the singer. He was clearly decked out in the appropriate rock attire but his short hair cut made him look like he thought he was the bad guy in a John Hughes movie. Also his name is B.S..
Seriously. B.S.
Typos aside, what really counts is when you put the needle to down, The Sunset Strip looking band on the back are cranking out some LA. Sound rock but B.S is dropping some mid-80’s whiteboy rap.
Yes, rap. Bad white guys rapping in the 80’s. Not Anthrax “I’m The Man” rap but Tom Hanks Dragnet rap. It is awful. It sounds like it was crafted for some bad T&A teen movie. Besides the rapping over hard rock riffs, the lyrics are dreadful. Really immature stuff. The first song is about needing an I.D to get into a club. “Food Fight” is about, well you can guess. So bad, B.S is rapping about how your pizza can be used as a Frisbee. The only thing worse is “X-Mas Rap”about Santa and Christmas and Big Mouth and at the end of the song you pray there is a War on Xmas.

However, the crème de la crème is their cover of BTO’s “Takin’ Care Of Business”. Just atrocious. Shocked it wasn’t in a Jim Belushi movie. It is so bad you would understand if Canada would have declared war on the USA for the insult.

There is that saying about never judging a book by it’s cover. However when you look at Big Mouth and see the mistakes on the back, you could have and rightfully should have been wary. At the end of the day it was only a $1.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon purchase
$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on a MP3 sale
$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop
$0-Not worth the drive space

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Aerosmith vs Van Halen-1st 6 LP Challenge

The other day on Twitter someone retweeted an article from Ultimate Classic Rock. This article was a list of the Top 10 American Rock Bands. The Top 3 were Aerosmith, Van Halen, and ZZ Top. Noted Van Halen enthusiast and author of an upcoming book on them, Greg Renoff had VH number one ahead of Aerosmith. His reasoning, not biased in the least I’m sure, was that the first 6 LP’s of VH outweighed the first 6 from Aerosmith. At first glance I agree but started thinking how many great Aersomth songs there are and how padded some of the Halen albums are. So in an excuse to listen to those albums again let’s put them head to head.

1st Album

aero1Aerosmith’s self titled debut is only 8 songs but it contains arguably their biggest song “Dream On”. Ironically the song was not a hit when the album first came out, it took a couple years later for the public to discover it. That’s why you will see some versions that has “featuring Dream On” on the cover. Another highlight is “Mama Kin” a song that is still in their live set. The rest of the album is good but you can tell that it is a first album but the potential is obvious.

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Van Halen’s debut is a mother trucker. You know every song on this album. From “Runnin With The Devil” to “You Really Got Me” to “Ain’t Talking About Love” they are all classic rock radio standards. Add in what “Eruption” and the immeasurable influence of Eddie’s playing on the next generations and it’s a no-brainer.
Winner: Van Halen by QUICK KO

2nd Album

Aerosmith_-_Get_Your_Wings
On Get Your Wings you are starting to get more of a sense of what Aerosmith would become. It has a couple more classics with “Train Kept A Rollin’” and “Same Old Song and Dance”. The sex theme shows up on “Lord Of The Thighs” along with underrated track “Seasons Of Wither”.

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On the imaginatively titled II, Van Halen does not ease up with “Dance The Night Away”, “Somebody Get Me A Doctor”, and “Beautiful Girls”. The band starts flexing its’ personality more with a heavy dose of Diamond Dave on “Bottoms Up” and more guitar greatness on “Spanish Fly”.
Both albums are great but the Van Halen one is deeper.
Winner: Van Halen by late round stoppage

3rd Album

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Now this is where it gets interesting. On the third album both bands have had a chance to record and tour so they know who they are. At this point of their careers Van Halen is a bigger band. Toys In The Album is a true classic with 3 monster songs in “Walk This Way”, “Sweet Emotion”, and the title track. Add in “Big Ten Inch”, “Uncle Salty”, “You See Me Crying” and this album that will live on your turntable.

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Women And Children First is no slouch though. “And The Cradle Will Rock” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” are two Van Halen staples. There are a couple of other tracks that everyone knows in “Take Your Whiskey Home” and “Romeo’s Delight”. However when push comes to shove, I think Toys is a much better album.
WINNER: Aerosmith by late round KO.

4th Album

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At this point in their careers both bands are pretty big. Aerosmith released album #4 with Rocks. It’s a pretty solid offering. Kicks off with “Back In The Saddle” and “Last Child”. One of my favorite tracks on here is “Nobody’s Fault”along with another underrated track “Sick As A Dog”. Almost forgot about “Lick and A Promise” one more Steven Tyler track dripping with raunchiness.

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Van Halen brought us Women and Children First. The biggies here are “So This Is Love?”, “Unchained”, and “Mean Streets”. All three of those are songs any band would kill to have created. What is interesting is Van Halen’s albums are becoming shorter. The first had 11 tracks now we’re down to 9 with two of them being under two minutes and one of those an instrumental. In a match up between the two albums I think that is a big factor.
Winner: Aerosmith by unanimous decision

5the Album

draw
So by the time we get to album #5 both bands are still huge and if you read Aerosmith’s book you know how far gone the whole band is. The Toxic Twins moniker has clearly been earned. Van Halen is still the party band of their time but don’t seem to be showing the cracks Aerosmith does. The band from Boston released Draw The Line and just like Toys the title track is a killer. The other big track is “Kings and Queens” but “Milk Cow Blues” should not be ignored. Plus it has “Get It Up” a highly ignored rocker.

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The fifth offering from VH was Diver Down. This is kind of an odd album in that it has 12 tracks but 5 of them are covers. And 4 of the remaining are instrumentals. Normally this would be seen a screw job to fans but it’s Van Halen. “Pretty Woman” and “Dancing In The Streets” are pretty iconic covers. As is “Where Have All The Good Time Gone” even though this is another Kinks cover. I guess if it worked once try it again. Right Quiet Riot?
Anyway. Those are all keepers as is the instrumental “Little Guitars”. I must point out that the original songs are stinkers. I don’t know what was going on in the VH camp but this seems like a rush job. I could see someone choosing Draw The Line since they are originals but I got to to with VH.
Winner: Van Halen by split decision

6th Album

ruts

There is something interesting about the first 6 albums from these bands. 1 through 5 came out a year apart but there was a 2-year gap in between 5 and 6. Plus album number 7 had big lineup changes for both. The mighty Aerosmith were in full drug hell by this time. They were a mess and it is kind of evident here. Night In The Ruts is not a bad album but there is not a hammer here. The band seems to have wanted to get back to the blues rock/Zeppelin influence. “Cheese Cake” and “Reefer Headed Woman” are perfect examples. The best track might be “Bone To Bone” but there’s no definite one.

Van_Halen_-_1984
I can still remember when 1984 came out. During lunch break at high school some classmates ran out and bought it and were listening to it before 4th period. It was the first Van Halen that took advantage of MTV. “Jump” was a big hit but “Hot For Teacher” knocked it out of the park. Add in that it has “Top Jimmy” “Drop Dead Legs”, and “Panama” and the last album by the original 4 was just as gi-normous as their first.
Winner:Van Halen by QUICK KO

Depending on how you scored the 5th album, you either have a draw or 4-2 in favor of Van Halen. I had an idea of how it would go before I wrote this but am kind of shocked how close it ended up being. I love Aerosmith but I think Van Halen is the bigger band. Even if you include the sober Aerosmith you then have to include the Van Hagar years and those were pretty good for them. The first and last album for Van Halen are just monstrous. So many classic songs. However in the middle ones, Aerosmith’s were a lot deeper. I don’t know why Van Halen coasted.
Either way that is a quality catalog that any band would be happy with.
How did you score it?
PS.
I had the top 3 American rock bands as KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith.

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