Category Archives: Uncategorized

WAMI-Kill The King

WAMI
All-star projects seem to be the rage in the rock/metal world these days. It seems like a new one comes out every other week. Usually they are put together to do an album and then everyone goes their separate ways. I guess the record company pays these guys enough for a couple weeks work and the label makes a couple bucks and just maybe, someone can catch lightning in a bottle. Interestingly, there are two new ones that feature each of the Appice brothers on them.
The not so imaginatively named WAMI, made up of singer Doogie White, drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Marco Mendoza, and guitarist Iggy Gwadera. White Appice Mendoza Iggy=WAMI, get it? Yeah, exactly. You may know Doogie from singing for Yngwie and Rainbow. Marco Mendoza was in Blue Murder and Whitesnake. Vinny Appice has spent time in Black Sabbath, Dio, and Kill Devil Hill. Izzy is an unknown Polish guitarist that Marco saw and was so impressed he wanted to work with him. The other guys followed and we get Kill The King.
Kill The King is made up of 11 classic sounding hard rock tracks. Since 3 of the 4 guys are veteran players, execution will not be a problem. Doogie White sounds like a mix between Dio and Biff Byford of Saxon and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s ends up sounding derivative. Maybe if he showed a bit more flair and power, it would have soundes better. It’s the same with Iggy’s guitar playing. It’s not bad it’s just not that engaging. I don’t know if it’s his lack of experience or maybe being intimidated by who he was playing with. Either way, he comes across as very unimaginative.
It’s a shame because there are some good bones here. “Young Blood” and “Heart of Steel” are a couple of nice rockers. “Exodus (The Red Sea Crossing)” is an attempt at doing a big epic song. The rest, while not bad are just kind of there. After listening to it a couple times, it comes across as unreleased Rainbow tracks.
The big drawback to these projects is that they’re not bands. One guy has most of the material, they maybe rehearse together, record it, and everyone goes there own way. If WAMI could have had a couple of months together to demo this and then record it, I think Kill The King would be a vastly different record. Alas, it is what it is.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-but it as a used CD
$1.00-streaming it on Spotify
$0-Not worth the drive space

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GWAR-Battle Maximus

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For a band like GWAR, releasing their new album Battle Maximus is an interesting quirk. They are well known as a visual live band, is new material truly necessary? If you saw them perform on AXS TV early this year, their over the top outrageous-ness is still evident. You also heard singer Oderus muttering gibberish instead of singing the actual lyrics but no one seemed to mind. The stage antics had already seeped over to the music side previously. GWAR had gone from being a metal band that played funny songs to a comedy band that played metal eventually becoming more of a punk act.

 

A couple years back they acknowledged the wrong path taken and went back to making some great sounding metal. Question is, does Battle Maximus continues that path or do they veer off track once more. There is some very heavy, catchy stuff here. “Triumph of The Pig Children” and “They Swallowed The Sun” are two nice heavy tracks that will get the heads bobbing. I think the highlight of the album is “ I, Bonesnapper” which features, not ironically, Bonesnapper on vocals. He has a much different style and sound than Oderus and it is pretty welcoming. Refreshingly, the title track is an unexpected and very well done instrumental. One of the more curious tracks is “Falling” which would be a hit on Octane from one of those Hot Topic metal bands.

 

On the whole Battle Maximus is kind of flat. Not coincidentally this is the first album since guitarist Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus passed away. Beside that, there is also a new Beefcake the Mighty aka the bassist. Besides the uninspiring music, the lyrics are not nearly as clever nor as funny as previous releases.

 

Battle Maximus is not an album one will play over and over again. It seems like it will be background noise while the band and its’ minions lambasts Kim Kardashian, decapitates the President, feeds audience members to the grinder.

 

In the end that’s why we all came in the first place.

 

 

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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Herman Rarebell & Friends-Acoustic Fever

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I guess it’s fitting that Herman Rarebell, the ex-drummer of The Scorpions, would do something so Scorpions. What I mean is that band has the tendency to release lots of unnecessary material. Others might say milking the cash cow. There are probably more live/best of albums from the Scorpions than there is original albums. That being said, Herman did give an interesting twist in releasing Acoustic Fever. The album is13-tracks of songs he co-wrote done acoustically and features a different singer on each song.

 

At first glance this does have Deadline Presents written allover it. There is Jack Russel, Don Dokken, and, Paul Shortino singing and they were staples of those awful “tribute” records. However, since Herman wrote these songs there is a strong attachment evident and he does a real nice job in converting the songs to acoustic. Accompanying him are guitarist Robby Lochner and Dario Seixas both of Great White. The Jack Russell version, as he takes the helm on “Don’t Make No Promises” from Animal Magnetism. It’s a good interpretation, retains feel of the original but nothing earth shattering. The title track from that album is done by Michael Nagy. Seemingly a local California guy Herman knows. It gets a flamenco makeover and comes out quite nice.

 

Some of the other highlights are “Loving You Sunday Morning” with Michael Voss of MSG. It’s like if Sheryl Crow did the version and I mean that in a good way. Someone apparently pulled John “Naughty Naughty” Parr out of his cave and his version of “Passion Rules The Game” is perfect for a soundtrack to St. Elmo’s Fire 2. He does a nice job in making the song fit his style and making it his.

 

The real standout of the album is “Is There Anybody There” with Alex Ligertwood of Santana fame singing. There is some orchestral accompaniment but his voice and Lochner’s guitar makes you forget about the original. Just a tremendous mix of power and lament.

 

As unnecessary as Acoustic Fever may have seemed, Herman Rarebell did a great job in making this album enjoyable. A lot of energy was done in remaking these tracks and it delivered. The problem is that while it is quite good at times it just makes me want to go dig out my Scorpions albums and listen to the originals.

 

I guess he wins either way.

 

 

Final Rating, I would be happy paying…

 

 

$14.99-Regular priced CD

 

$9.99-get it from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

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

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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Tracii Guns League of Gentlemen-The First Album

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It’s a shame.

It’s just a shame that so many people will not give this a listen because Tracii Guns name is forefront. I think longtime fans are tired of all the bullshit from his on again off again relationship with L.A. Guns and his formation of a second L.A. Guns, that they will not even bother.

It truly is a shame because Tracii Guns’ League of Gentlemen The First Album is one of the best releases of the year.

Seriously, I’m not joking.

You have to give Tracii a lot of credit. He could have formed another band and put out rehashed 80’s hard rock.

Instead he formed a group, a league if you will, of guys that wanted to pay homage to 70’s rock. The First Album is chockful of retro inspired goodness. Front and center in all of this is singer Scott Foster. His voice is very versatile as it can go from bluesy to straight rock and then powerful when needed. The band released a video for “The Sound” which is kind of a misleading indicator for what the rest of the album is. It’s slow and moody a little long but it does show that The League Of Gentlemen are going to be something different. Album opener “Everything, Everything” and “The Witch”really show off the band and their intent. And I do mean band because the organ playing is very crucial to the sound as is the rhythm. I don’t know where Tracii found bassist Craig McCloskey but thank God he did. His playing allows Tracii to venture out more and remind people what a great guitar player he is. From Stones-ish bluesy slide on “Painted Lady” to some absolute acoustic ripping on on the cover of Badfingers’ “Without You”. Scott Foster kills it on this song. Jumping ranges and feelings, it’s terrific. There is also a cover of “One” from Three Dog Night. When it started I wasn’t real enthusiastic but the band gives it a nice reworking especially drummer Doni Gray’s cymbals.

Some people may harp that there is a lot of Zepplin influence here, there is, but it’s not like Kingdom Come or someone else where they’re aping them. This is more of an homage to them and other 70’s British and American rock bands. It’s funny because Rival Sons are doing the same thing and they are critical darlings, and deservedly so. The shame is that so many people will not give this a chance because Tracii’s name is on it so they are automatically going to think it’s going to be L.A. Guns Mach 12. Unfortunate, because The First Album should be getting all kinds of praise from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. But because of the off stage idiocy attached to Tracii’s name it will be ignored.

Their loss. Tracii Guns League Of Gentlemen is one of the best albums of the year.

Seriously, I’m not joking.

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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King Kobra-II

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Boy does King Kobra have an interesting history. Formed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice and four peroxided L.A. unknowns, their debut Ready To Strike was tremendous with hits “Hunger” and “Ready To Strike”. Then came the second album Thrill Of A Lifetime. Granted it did have bad-ass album art and a big hit in “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)”. However the rest of the album was very synth heavy and shed any resemblance to the hard rock from their debut. Plus it had “Home Street Home”, the first rap-rock song EVER and it is atrocious. I mean absolutely horrendous. I m ean old people using slang to sound hip bad. The band was done and the revolving door opened. The big shock was when singer Mark Free announced he was having sexual reassignment surgery and became Marci Free.

 

Yowzers.

 

Times being what the were, Carmine got the original band back together and reportedly offered Marci the position of singer again. She turned it down so they got Paul Shortino, ex-Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot to man the mic. They put out King Kobra last year and it was pretty good. Shortino’s blues based vocals suited the bands’ new stripped down direction.

 

On their newest release II, odd since this is their 5 studio album but whatever, King Kobra maintains the back to basics approach. It starts off with “Hell On Wheels” a great fist pumper that really sets the tone. What is surprising about this track is that it is over 6-minutes long but does not get old. A lot of this album defies rationale. The second track “Knock Em Dead” is in theory a very cliché track but it is done so well that you can’t help but like it.

 

Same can be said of the ballad “Take Me Back”. It is not something we haven’t heard before but its sincerity is off the charts and really propels the track. There’s also a couple of real nice poppier tracks in “The Crunch” and “We Go Round” to lighten the mood a bit.

 

You have to give King Kobra a lot of credit. They could have done the easy thing and put out albums of re-recorded material or a “covers” album but they buckled down and have made a good album in King Kobra and a great album with II. Very rare that a band is able to remake themselves and release a career defining album in their 25th year.

 

Kudos.

 

 

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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Trouble-The Distortion Field

TDF

 

Trouble has always been one of those bands that not a lot of people know of, but those that do LOVE them. My introduction to them was their classic 1990 self-titled release. Their Sabbath inspired sludge instantly hooked me. What ended up setting them apart from other bands was singer Eric Wagner. He has a distinctive high pitched style that elevated their sludgy sound from their contemporaries.

 

However, like every other band Trouble has had a revolving door of band members. The core sound courtesy of guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell are still here. Wagner’s on again off again relationship with the band is in the off position. Replacing him is Kyle Thomas, formerly of thrash band Exhorder, who had replaced Wagner before but never recorded with the band.

 

Although it may be unfair, the success of The Distortion Field rests on the vocals chords of Thomas. The band did not go for a Wagner clone as Thomas has a much gruffer sound. The music is still the same awesomeness though. For those that have not heard the band before, Franklin and Wartell have a very distinctive style. While still sludgy, many times the songs have a bounce to them. The second track “Paranoia Conspiracy” is the perfect example of this. Thomas’ voice seems to work when he can get in that groove. Same thing can be said for “Sink or Swim”, these are two of the best tracks on The Distortion Field. They really crank up the Sabbath influence on “One Life” and “Hand Of Doom”. Two crunchers that make you forget all about Wagner.

 

There are a couple of times that Thomas’s voice turns a song into just a typical metal song. “Glass of Lies” could have been recorded by a hundred bands. Then there is “One Life”, a curious yet out of place ballad. Plus, Thomas sounds like Mike Howe from Metal Church here.

 

The first time I listened to The Distortion Field, I really did not like it. Maybe it was my loyalty to Eric Wagner or maybe this is one of those albums you have to give a couple spins to. I think the more you listen to the music you will adjust to Thomas’ voice. Either way, Trouble did a good job in retaining their core sound while adding a new flair with Kyle Thomas.

 

 

 

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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Hatebreed-The Divinity of Purpose

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Hatebreed, the modern day kings of hardcore, are back with another offering of angry yet uplifting music for the circle pitting masses with The Divinity of Purpose. With Hatebreed you know what you are getting. 3 minutes songs of intense energy with catchy riffs and Jamey Jasta’s barking vocals of inspiration.

In fact his lyrics should be considered as a member of the band with being as integral as they are. Without them these songs would be very cliché and boring. While he sings about well-treaded topics as self reliance, he does them in a way that don’t sound as dickish as other singers do. Take “Own Your World” which starts out with chanting “who has more heart than you/NO ONE”. Talking about burning the bridge and making a stand, very simple yet powerful lyrics that draw in the disenfranchised and wandering masses. Couple that with riffs that act as magnets and you have a rallying point.

With the title track’s subject of friendship, which sounds on corny in print, makes you want to hug your friend and start slamming into strangers when you hear it.

On those songs when everything is meshing, Hatebreed is one of the best. Yet when it isn’t, they are very tired and boring. Its at those times when you notice the limitations of the band. Simple riffs are great when they work, when they don’t it sounds like a beginners band. Having no solos underscores that on the bad ones too. The bad music then spotlights how these lyrics can be cheesy at times.

The Divinity of Purpose is a perfect representation of Hatebreed. When it works they are a mass of of fist pumping, me against the world, awesomeness. When it doesn’t, they become “didn’t they just play that?”

However, the good is just so Gahd Damn good.

 

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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Pig Destroyer-Book Burner

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There is nothing wrong with being chaotic, energetic, and very very quick. Normally I am trying to explain this to my girlfriend, but this time I am referring to Pig Destroyer. The grindcore legends are back with their newest offering Book Burner. I haven’t really listened to a lot of their stuff but when this was coming out the various metal websites and Liquid Metal were going ape waiting for it to drop. Well it was worth the wait as this is a fantastic work of dizzying metal awesomenss.

The reason why Book Burner is so good is that it defies its genre. The metal community has the burning desire to categorize everything and the break it down even further. Then break it down one more time. Grindcore is this strange concoction of thrash, punk, industrial, and noise. What sets Pig Destroyer apart from their contemporaries is that they seem to blend the styles together while others mash it. A lot of that has to do with Scott Hull’s guitars. He is a master riffsman that has some of the crunchiest tones this side of Dimebag.

It’s tough to do a normal review for Pig Destroyer. With the average song being a minute and a half long, it takes longer to type about the song than the actual song. To me some of the best tracks are “Eve” and “The Diplomat”. Both of those tracks are the most metal-like and will be an easy way for people to discover the band. There are also lots of sub-60 second tracks that serve as tasty appetizers til the “normal” track comes.

Book Burner is one of the best albums of the year. It has made me a Pig Destroyer fan and I think once you hear it you will be one too. I’m just mad that it took me this long to find out.

 

 

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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Europe-Bag Of Bones

What the Hell is going on?

First Trixter releases a good album and now this. If you would have told me that Europe, yes that Europe, would put out an album in 2012 that would make me forget about the “Final Countdown” I would eat my hat.

Well someone grab the Tony Chachere’s because Bag Of Bones is a great album.

When you think of Europe what immediate comes to mind is pop rock dominated by keyboards. Thankfully that has all changed and now Europe is a band more akin to UFO. Gone are the big keyboards on “Countdown” and “Carrie”. What is here is blues based guitar from John Norum that mesh so well with Joey Tempest’s voice that if this had another name you would not know who it was. Bag Of Bones starts off with “Riches To Rags” with its’ big riff and subtle organs. It is followed by the aptly named “Not Supposed To Sing The Blues” a slow, down and dirty number that has a dash of Zeppelin in it. There is some more Zep influence mixed with some D.A.D on “A Drink and A Smile”. The band does a smart thing and closes out the album with “Mercy You Mercy Me” a high energy fist pumper that leaves you wanting more.

Actually the album does not end there. It wraps up with “Bring It All Home” a very pedestrian ballad that reminded me of the movie Still Crazy and not in a good way.

Bag Of Bones is so good that I hereby forgive Eurpoe for making everyone listen to “Final Countdown” on every year end countdown special. That’s how good this album is. However, I will not forgive Joey Tempest for being 50 and looking this good.

Fuck you Joey!!! Your blowing it for the rest of us.

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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So I figures that I want to make a new ratings system. Granted, I do realize that I have not had a system in place as of now. Instead of doing the 5 or 10 star system, I want to implement something a tad more creative.

I am ranking a review by how much I feel someone would be happy paying for it.

The new guide is as follows:

$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

Hopefully everyone likes it, plus it helps with when I tally everything at the end of the year.

So I figures th…

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