Monday, December 21, 2009

Retrospective: Blind Guardian (Part 2)

Continuing the discography breakdown of the thrash/power metal band Blind Guardian:


Discography - Part 2

  • Somewhere Far Beyond (1992)
Somewhere Far Beyond is Blind Guardian's first album that sounds (to me) as a 'Blind Guardian album.' Continuing with the blending of genres that was seen in Tales From The Twilight World, this album is a seamless collection of thrash-influenced power metal. The operatic elements are present, as well as a slight progressive feel within a handful of songs. This album is also the first Blind Guardian album to host an acoustic, 'campfire song,' a song that one could see being sung for generations; "The Bard's Song (In The Forest)." There is a second part, "The Bard's Song (The Hobbit)," but this song incorporates drums and electric guitars. It still is the dame basic tune and rhythm, but the sound is drastically different. On the special edition album there are two covers added to the track listing, "Trial By Fire" by Satan, and "Spread Your Wings" by Queen. While "Trial By Fire" is forgettable, "Spread Your Wings" is one of my favorite covers; once again Blind Guardian show us their love of Queen, and pull off a fitting tribute. This album embodies what I like about Blind Guardian, and while the previous works are decent, I feel that this is where the band grew into something to be reckoned with. The later works only get better.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Retrospective: Blind Guardian (Part 1)

Starting with their first release, Blind Guardian is a power-influenced thrash metal band, with alot more straight drum and guitar then the melodic, multi-layered sound that the group would be known for. Later albums move more into the power metal sound, but almost all of their albums still hold onto their origins of thrash - which is great if you have been listening to them from the beginning, but if you came in half-way (like myself) the further back you go, the less and less the band sounds like the band you love.
But aside from that, Blind Guardian is one of my favorite bands within the power metal genre. Their combination of speed, melody and epic vocals (especially in the later albums) are something of legend. Hansi Kürsch, the lead singer, has one of the most amazing voices in all of metal. His vocal range and ability to sing harsh and operatic within seconds of each other are truly amazing. This band is worth it, just to hear his voice and style.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Favorite Albums: Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes

Continuing with my trend of listening to my foundation of my metal tastes, I'm going to look at the partner (in my mind) to Blind Guardian's Nightfall In Middle Earth, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Iced Earth; seen this way because I bought them both at the same time, around five years ago.

Now I've already gone into this album a bit, with my comparison of the two spin-off albums, the Something Wicked Series, but that was only a basic look at the last three songs, that make up the original 'Something Wicked' story. In this, I'll go more in-depth about the entire album.
First, the album is broken into two parts, the first ten tracks make up the 'album proper,' the stand alone songs, with no story throughout them, just random songs. The second part is the Birth Of The Wicked series, and that begins on track 11 and goes to the end of the album (track 13). I'll go into each separately.
The first few tracks are my favorites on the album, they are all good but some are better. Most of the songs touch on some ulterior motive, either by damning someone or group within the song ("Disciples Of The Lie" and "Melancholy (Holy Martyr)"), or are very heart-throbbing ("Watching Over Me" and "Blessed Are You"). All of the songs are very heavy and a great blend of Jon Schaffer's superb guitar and lyrical writing and Matthew Barlow's (the 'voice' of Iced Earth) amazing vocals.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Video: The Muppets

Ok not metal, not rock(well one is), but it is music and it had me laughing. Here is a collection of some new Muppet shorts that started popping up online a few weeks ago, all Muppet versions of famous songs. It's mostly classical, but they do cover Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and that song is epic.
So please enjoy The Muppets:

More after the break.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Favorite Albums: Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle Earth

This month I've been revisiting the bands that got me into metal - both originally and my current tastes. I've been listening to alot of Manowar, and Type O Negative, and I'm now getting into Iced Earth and Blind Guardian. While I grew up with Manowar, Type O Negative, Iron Maiden and Metallica (thank you Dad), both Blind Guardian and Iced Earth are fairly recent additions to my musical tastes, only discovering them about four years ago, shortly after my joining of and my discovery of this wonderful thing called 'power metal.' One thing I have noticed over my illustrious music career, is that more often then not the first album I hear by a band becomes my favorite. Manowar's The Triumph Of Steel, Type O Negative's Bloody Kisses, and Iron Maiden's Best of The Beast (greatest hits) all fall into this category. As do Iced Earth's Something Wicked This Way Comes (which will probably become it's own article eventually) and Blind Guardian's Nightfall In Middle Earth.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Retrospective: Queen - Queen (1973)

**Because of the awesomeness of the Queen collection (at least the first half of the discography), I'm going to be breaking the band's releases down in manageable segments**

The first release by the band that would eventually define arena-rock, Queen (the album) is straight progressive rock, with hints of Christianity strewn throughout, just a little more accessible then some of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's releases, they keep it in the realm of understandable.
These first few releases (Queen, Queen II) had almost no fanfare, truly very few people even know they exist, especially within my generation, but they are some of the best of the band's releases. The blending of progressive elements and the eventual operatic vocal style and arena-rock that was to come, make for a vividly unique and memorable experience. If given the option, please give these early attempts a try.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Video: ED's Furry Fucking Guide To Metal!!!! (Take 2)

So this was one of my first posts, but Youtube took it down, so instead of just updating the original post, I decided to re-post the whole thing for the newer viewers of my site (which is everyone). So everyone sit back and enjoy, one of the most clear-cut explanations of metal ever offered

ED's Furry Fucking Guide To Metal!!! - Awesome video clips here

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Albums Listened To In November

Damn November was a good month! My birthday, three months at the new job, a few lady-friends, a new writer for The Guide, some good shit.
Another month of near-record numbers - 94 albums total, 35 new! I spent alot of time re-listening to good bands, albums and complete genres. You'll notice a heavy stoner resurgence, as I decided to listen to every stoner album that I have listened to in the recent months (that I liked anyway). Bands like sHEAVY, The Atomic Bitchwax, Fireball Ministry, Five Horse Johnson, and Hermano, Monster Magnet, all had their entire discographies listened through again - all stoner.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Retrospective: Avantasia (Part 2)

Continuing from the last installment of the Avantasia Retrospective:

Lost In Space are another pair of releases in close succession by the band Avantasia. These two are not as closely-entwined as The Metal Opera was. They are collections of new songs to be released on the upcoming (at the time) album, The Scarecrow, cover songs, and some variations of songs previously released. Most of the covers are pretty good, with the ABBA and Freddie Mercury songs taking the limelight, but again as will most singles and EPs, you should wait for the full-length album to hear most of these songs. One peculiar detail is that both EPs contain the exact same title track - no variation on recording or length, the exact same song. This to me seems like a bit of a cop-out/spit in the face to anyone willing to purchase these two EPs. But seeing as I didn't, I can't really complain. If you're a mega-fan of Avantasia then go pick up these EPs, the variations in songs and the covers make it worth it. If you're not a Avantasia-head then just stick with acquiring the covers, and wait to get The Scarecrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Video: Cannibal Corpse Lounge Cover

 Just some stupid video I found online. I dislike death meal over all and really don't like Cannibal Corpse, but this guy does a pretty funny 'Lounge' style version of one of their songs.

Part 2 of Avantasia coming soon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Retrospective: Avantasia (Part 1)

I was scrolling through my music library last week (over 35,000 songs and counting) looking for something I've heard before but not in a long time and I stumbled upon Avantasia. About two years ago I whipped my hard drive clean and had to re-upload all of my music (from my external) which reset all of the song listen counters. From that time I have not listened to any Avantasia except their newest release, The Scarecrow. I decided to rectify this situation and gave the entire discography a listen.
The interesting thing about Avantasia is that there is only one real member of the band, Tobias Sammet, who plays various instruments and the majority of the vocals for all the releases. This requires Avantasia to have an ever-revolving cast of players, with upwards of more than ten vocalists for each album, with several different session instrumentalists - often times not for more than one song. It gives the group a very unique feel and tendency into the unknown.
One problem I have with this group, which is a problem I have with almost all the 'Project Bands' (bands with no real set cast or crew) is that every album is significantly different than the one before it. Sometimes this works, The Metal Operas are pretty damn good, and sometimes this doesn't, The next full-length release, The Scarecrow, sounds like a completely different band, it all is seemingly random.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Liquid Trio Experiment 2 - Universal Mind (When the Keyboard Breaks)

First off I need to make a clarification about the band.  When the album was released, it was released under the title of Liquid Trio Experiment 2.  But it is just Liquid Tension Experiment with the absence of Jordan Rudess.  His Roland keyboard decided to crap out in the beginning of the first song.  Every 4th key would play the note a half step higher.  This is clearly evident in the very first song within the first 5 seconds of hearing the track.  I can only imagine what the band's faces looked like onstage when they heard what they heard.  I know when I listened to it the first time, I wasn't really expecting it and I'm sure I had a "WTF am I hearing" kind of face.

Scorpions - Moment of Glory

Another retrospective review within my favorite genre, Orchestral Rock.

(The) Scorpions, formed in Germany known for their singles such as Rock You Like a Hurricane and No One Like You.  For this album they come together with the legendary Berlin Philharmonic to give you a pretty decent album.

One thing you may notice is that they might sound a little out of tune compared to other bands/orchestras.  In Europe, they tune slightly higher than their counterparts across the big lake.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Metallica - S&M

I have to preface this post with that while I am not a die-hard Metallica fan, I do thoroughly enjoy their music.  Having never actually bought one of their albums (I got most of them from The Klepto) and a one or two from another friend, I have to say I was overall very satisfied with their music.  I listened to St. Anger (the song) and was never motivated to listen to that album, and from the looks of things I'm glad I didn't.  Though they did make a comeback with Death Magnetic, as you will find in a previous post.

However I would like to focus on their live album S&M.  S&M stands for Symphony and Metallica.  The San Fransico Symphony, conducted by the late Michael Kamen, lends their sound to Hetfield and pals.  The result, and I quote from Battery, is a "powerhouse of energy".

New Genre Added - Orchestral Rock

I wanted to familiarize the readers of this blog with a Genre that hasn't been previously established on this site.  Orchestral Rock.  Basically it is a rock band with an orchestra behind it.

Some artists that have done this include but not limited to:

Elton John
Dimmu Borgir

I have reviewed Metallica's "S&"M and Scorpions' "Moment of Glory".  Hopefully I will be able to review Kiss's album specifically, and any other I come across in this genre.  If you know of any that I have missed or have any suggestions, please feel free to comment.

-The Pyro

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Writer: The Pyro

A good friend of mine, The Pyro, has agreed to add his own personal view of music to my wonderful site. Hopefully he will bring something more to this blog and make it better overall; add on to my own work, or create completely new material. I gave him free reign and control, lets see what he puts out.

Keep on keepin' on, being metal.

The Klepto

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Video: Heavy Metal Mario

It's been a while for a video, but I found this and couldn't pass it up.
It's some death metal band I've never heard of (and have no want to hear) playing the classic Mario dungeon theme song. It's pretty decent and the video isn't bad either. If you ever played the original then this will bring a smile to your face

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Classics: Witchfinder General

I like doom for the most part, I can't really listen to it all day but it still is one of my favorite genres of metal. So imagine my surprise when I started listening to Witchfinder General, one of the 'founders' of doom metal, and found out that they are pretty crap. Maybe because they were one of the first, but I would not really call their sound 'doom' by any means. The majority of their tracks are not slow (just slower then radio-songs), there are almost no drudging guitars, instead focusing on hair-metal guitar solos and riffs, and the overall feel of their songs was not depressing in the least. In fact I found almost all of their songs pretty dull and boring.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Band: Bigelf

Listening to at school, under the 'Dream Theater' tag, Bigelf came up several times and I was impressed with what I heard. I decided to follow this up by 'acquiring' their discography (four albums, not too difficult), and giving the whole thing a listen.
One thing I have to say right out - Bigelf is different. It is solid in the progressive rock genre, but it also mixes in pop-ish sounds and eclectic stylings, giving each album the feel that you're listening to three different bands at once. There is the modern progressive rock sound, something you'd expect from Emerson, Lake and Palmer(their more radio-friendly stuff) or The Alan Parsons Project, then there is the 60's/70's trippy progressive sound, at times you'd swear you were listening to Pink Floyd, and as a final flourish they add in The Beatles, more The White Album era then anything else. Different right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bands I Love: Weezer

I just got the new Weezer album, and through some sort of coincidence (because I didn't know their new album was coming out yet) I began listening to their discography this week. Once I had the new album, Raditude, I decided to go the whole nine-yards and just listen to all of their albums (except their Christmas album, honestly I don't care that much) and I got to hear the different sounds the group experimented with.
What I have noticed, that throughout their works I normally only like the singles. The weakest albums were Pinkerton, with only the single, "El Scorcho" and another song I enjoyed, "Why Bother?" and Maladroit with only the song "Dope Nose" (which brought me back to my grade-school days). The strongest efforts, which also have a couple of good songs which were not singles, are their first and most recent album (not including Raditude, as I haven't heard it), both named Weezer oddly enough.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Album: Queensrÿche - American Soldier

I like Queensrÿche, I've seen them live with Alice Cooper and Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath with Dio) and it was a good show. But I have only really listened to two of their albums repeatedly, throughout my life; Empire and Operation: Mindcrime, both simply superb albums. A few months ago (maybe a year ago at this point), I listened to their debut EP/album (depending on the version), Queensrÿche, and more recently I listened to their cover album, Take Cover, and last week it was Operation: Mindcrime II, which was pretty decent, a far cry from the original, but who really expected something of that level?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Completely Unrelated: Birthday Time Again!

Another year, another birthday. I'm 23 today and I have rocked harder then most on this world.

Thanks for reading, and until next time...

The Klepto

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Album: OSI - Blood

Just finished listening to the new OSI album, Blood, and I am disappointed. After so many months of nothing but really good music (with the odd stinker thrown in occasionally) it feels odd to get so many lackluster albums in a short time (Wolfmother, Austrian Death Machine, and Transatlantic).
OSI (standing for Office of Strategic Influence, so says their debut album) is a progressive metal band sporting two main members; Kevin Moore, originally from Dream Theater, and Jim Matheos, from Fates Warning, which has released three full-length albums and one remix EP. Along with Moore and Matheos there is a hefty collection of guest drummers, guitarists, and vocalists coming from a varied collection of bands ranging from another Dream Theater alumni, Mike Portnoy (which is how I found OSI to begin with), members of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, No-Man, and many others. An eclectic group and a great lest of great performers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Band: Sunstorm

Sunstorm is a new supergroup project by some heavy names in the industry. I discovered this project looking through the album lists on the blog The Metal Minute. You see, ever week Ray Van Horn, Jr. compiles his list of albums listened to and posts them as Whattya Listenin' to Wednesdays (I did not steal his idea, we had it independently), he also gets alot of other people to post what they have been listening to as well. Every week I post my list and look through all the others posted and if any bands tickle my fancy, I look them up. Anyway, this past week I saw one of the posters had listened to Sunstorm, and hearing the cool name I looked them up.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Albums Listened To In October

Wow, a month with record numbers. 112 albums in 31 days! Apparently all I did this month was listen to music, and I'm quite alright with that.

Unintentionally I focused on entire (or large portions of) discographies by classic rock groups; Cream, Traffic, Blind Faith, Kiss, The Jeff Beck Group, Styx; and alot of modern bands; Alestorm, Ogre, Primus/Les Claypool, Blind Dog, John Mayer, and Disturbed. All fell beneath my mighty (albeit slightly worn) speakers.

With brand new releases (or soon to be released) by Shrinebuilder, Transatlantic, Wolfmother, 3, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Black Robot and Austrian Death Machine, this month was also rife with unheard music, some to be future classics, some to fall forever from grace. I'm going to try to write reviews for most of these, at least the Wolfmother and 3 releases, in the near future. I want to listen to them again to get a better understanding of the works.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One Year!

Today, October 15th, makes The Klepto's Guide To Awesome Music one year old. I made it! I have never followed a hobby for a year, hell I barely make it three months (like my previous website). I have been trailing off a bit lately, but I hope to re-emerge with more articles and more eclectic bands. I think I bring something a little different with my odd musical tastes, something between a metal fan-page and a pop site. I hope you all have enjoyed the past year, and I hope you grab friend to follow me for another one.

Much thanks, much love

The Klepto

Monday, October 12, 2009

Albums Listened To In September

Another month down, and another month of me posting this article way late. It's almost been a full year for me on blogger, and through that this site. I've enjoyed what I've done tremendously and I plan to continue it for another year. Thanks to all my readers.

The best albums of this month are Baroness' Blue Record (read more about that here), Cheap Trick's live tribute to The Beatles, aptly named Sgt. Pepper Live, and the self-titled debut EP from the Australian rockers Mammal (more on that EP here). I really like when band's do tribute albums, even when live. Sgt. Pepper Live sounds enough like the original to be a proper tribute, but just different enough to be Cheap Trick. A good performance to be sure. Other tribute live albums I like are the official bootlegs from Dream Theater of Master of Puppets (Metallica), Number of The Beast (Iron Maiden), and Dark Side of The Moon (Pink Floyd). All of these capture the essence of the original bands as well as Dream Theater's prog feel. One more live album tribute, which will be on next month's list is Colonial Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade's redition of the entire Animals album (Pink Floyd again) on their Live Frogs: Set 2 album.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Band: Ogre

I've been continuing my trend of listening to mostly stoner rock/metal (except for the discography of Kiss I've been enjoying) with several new bands; among them Beaver, The Mushroom River Band, and Ogre. Out of these three Ogre is by far my favorite The Beaver album, 13eaver, was pretty bad).

Ogre is an interesting band that follows the stoner mantra of mixing doom, psychedelia and hard rock, but focuses a bit more on the doom. Most of their songs are long and a little on the slow side (but often have quicker intros or breaks), and their lyrics are either very deep or plain silly, I can't really be sure.
Reading what I've written above, Ogre sounds like just an average band. Like any stoner band out there, but they are not. I don't really know how to explain it, but I really enjoy this band - above many of their more known competitors.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Awesome Websites: Blind Dog's Final Album Available For Free

One of my favorite stoner rock/metal bands, focusing on the psychedelic brand of stoner, is Blind Dog. I really like their mix of droning vocals and guitars, and long passages of music. I am currently re-listening (except for the new album, which will be a first-time for me) to their entire discography (only three albums), and I am enjoying it more now then the first time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Album: Candlemass - Death Magic Doom

Another new album, another new article - I am having a productive week.

I haven't heard much of Candlemass' newer works. I love Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (it really got me hooked into Candlemass, and even more so into doom metal), and have enjoyed many a listen to Nightfall, Ancient Dreams, and Tales of Creation, all stellar works within doom. And besides some tracks from King of The Gray Islands, that is it. So that means that I have a 20 year break within the Candlemass I know and the Candlemass of today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Album: Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue

I'm currently listening to the new Alice In Chains album, and although I've never been a huge fan of them, this new album is pretty decent.
I know they have a new singer (after the other one overdosed a while back) but it really sounds similar to their older stuff. The music is all the slow, grinding riffs with light drums, and the vocals are still a bit whiny, but in a good way. The whole album pulls together fairly well.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rant: Why Are EPs So Different?

I've noticed a trend; band's first release - often an EP - is very consistently different from the sound of their first album, many times for the worse.

When I find a new band I normally don't like to start with their first album, especially if the group has been around for awhile and released several full-lengths. I like to either begin with the most current album and work back, or start from album three, after the group has discovered their comfort level with their sound.
I do this because alot of times the sounds between albums vary drastically; either the band moves towards a more commercial sound, or the opposite, where the band dislikes the way it tried to posture itself for the masses and moves off the deep end. Very few groups keep the same sound all the way through their career.
And I'm not saying that a little bit of experimentation is bad, I like bands that let their sound grow with each release. Look at Clutch, they moved from a stoner metal/rock group to a funk rock sound and now they are cemented heavily within the blues. But the steps were small from album to album, not one album they are metal, and the next one they are blues.

The three groups I want to focus on - the examples where it is the most obvious - are Fishbone, Mammal, and Mechanical Poet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Band: Baroness - Out of My Comfort Zone

If anyone was to look through all my music I listen to, and all of my posts on here, there would be certain patterns emerging with what sounds I enjoy: I like mostly melodic music of a heavy variety. There are a few thrash bands that make the cut, but it is mostly genres like power, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, doom/sludge, and - most recently - stoner. I have never been a fan of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, it's just too screamy, which also leaves out anything with -core on it. But one band that is an odd screaming band (but not NWOAHM or hardcore) that I really enjoy is Baroness.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Albums Listened To In August

A short month this time, I didn't get anywhere with my British Invasion plan. Got a new job which has me working 40 hours and school started up again which is another 20 hours taken. So all my free time is spent sitting on my couch watching TV, oh and going out with friends - gotta keep the social up as well.
So only 30 albums this month, my lowest amount since December, I just haven't had the patience to sit there and listen to an entire album. I've been listening to alot of music I already have heard, so I don't have to pay that much attention to it, it's easier as muzak.

The best new album of the month was the self-titled album by The Allman Brothers Band, I really liked their use of blues rock mixed with the country/bluegrass feel. Their following album, Idlewild South, wasn't nearly as good, but I am working on the rest of the discography (at least the good years).
The worst was There's A Riot Goin' On by Sly & The Family Stone. I was disappointed because I really like Sly & The Family Stone, and their Dance To The Music was really good (as well is their Greatest Hits, which is the only other album of theirs I have), but this attempt was not. I think it was because it is really heavy in the political agenda and racism. I can understand why, from the era that this album was released, but I still like their happy-days music much more.

Well that's it, I'd like to say that the next month will be better, but I will be doing these 60 hour weeks until December, so for a time - while I adjust - it's going to be difficult to keep this updated frequently.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Retrospective: The Beatles 1963-1964

The first Beatles album, the beginning of the British Invasion Revolution. I'm not a fan of this style, I like a few songs sure, but overall the genre is dull and boring. I guess I just grew up in a different age and it taints my view. Although all the groups did it in this era, I dislike how over half of the tracks are covers - some of the songs covered were barely a year old at the time. It strikes me as very odd. Out of this release six of 14 songs (at least) were covers. Some of old blues melodies, but some from rival bands, who were tearing up the charts within the past year. I'm glad we got away from this practice.
Another British Invasion album. I'm sure to someone who grew up in this era (such as my mother) or someone who enjoys this style (like my friend Clayzone) it's a good album, but With The Beatles strikes me as more plain then Please Please Me was. The songs seem very repetitive and similar sounding. I look forward to the rock/experimental phase that The Beatles went through, something new and different. The album does pick up a bit in the second half, but that could be due to all the covers that grace the second side of the album. Covering old blues-rock songs seem to be a help to the group. Their next album is their first 'all original' release, and so I look forward to what that brings.
As the first all-original Beatles album, A Hard Day's Night is a solid effort by the band. It's a soundtrack to the movie of the same name, but it doesn't sound like a planned soundtrack (as in it's not full of songs that don't make much sense without visual cues), more like a full album. Many of the songs are slower then previous efforts, and the sound seems more stripped then their other works in this era. More focus on the vocals and less on the instrumentation - often the only instrument that is easy to hear is the drums and the backing line of the bass, very little guitars overall. Although Beatles For Sale seems more of a transition album then this one (see below), A Hard Day's Night seems to be the transition album for the transition album.
I'm going to call this album a transition album. It still holds to the British Invasion mentality, but it also begins to showcase the sound that The Beatles would soon be releasing. This first and last quarters of the album are mostly originals, and they are actually good originals. The middle of the record is another collection of covers, and while they are pretty decent, they fall behind the other tracks - a first! All in all, this is the first Beatles recording that I enjoy, something that I could listen to again without any negativity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Band: The Reverend Horton Heat - The Best In Psychobilly

...Well I guess it's the only in psychobilly, that I know of anyway. Looking it up on Wikipedia, I see a long list of bands through the ages, but as it stands, The Reverend Horton Heat is the only one I've ever heard.
Now, Psychobilly is a blending of genres, seeming to spawn from country/southern rock and punk rock. It's hard to accurately describe, but to me it sounds like a modernized Elvis. If you took his sound, added a bit of the punk sound, and kicked up the volume, that is psychobilly. While it isn't anything I could really see myself getting attached to, swing-rock is a nice sound to turn on while you walk around the house, making food or cleaning. It's amped-up chill, if you can imagine it. 60's with a kick.

I only know of The Reverend Horton Heat from the Playstation 2 game, Guitar Hero, their song "Psychobilly Freakout," was a catchy but difficult song to master. Here we are almost five years later, and it is still just as catchy, but as the game series increased, so did the difficulty (to a level where I don't enjoy it anymore).
But that's neither here nor there. I enjoyed this song quite a bit, and I also liked any other song by them I heard over the years (few and far between, but that's why I have "Psychobilly Freakout" appears on the first TRHH album, Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, and cements their sound throughout their career.
At the time of this article, I am only half-way through their discography, listening to two of their earliest album, and then two of their most recent, and I am liking what I hear. Their beginning tracks seem more laid-back, living more in the southern feel, while their most recent album is much more heavy and rock oriented. Every album (so far) has had at least one instrumental, sometimes they are just filler songs, and sometimes they are full-blown works of art. And most of the discs have some sort of 'joke track' in some from or another, whether it be a humorous-lyriced work, or a 'sermon' about how a man is addicted to women. It all seems like good fun.

So if you have some free-time, a couple of bucks, and want to hear something old become fresh again. Check out The Reverend Horton Heat.

Needless to say, this has slowed down my speed in which to listen to The Big Three of The British Invasion a bit, but I will get around to it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

British Invasion - The Singles

Alot of songs that I know and love by the big three of the British Invasion - The Who, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones - never made it onto an actual album. I guess it was the style then (and a style some feel we should get back too) to release just singles, with no tie to an album. The only way I hear these songs is randomly on classic rock stations or on greatest hit collections. I'm not going to go into depth into these singles, and I am 100% sure I am missing alot, but these are the singles that I have (from greatest hits collections) and have listened to:

  • The Beatles
  1. Hey Jude - One of my favorite Beatles songs. It is a beautiful song about love. Also at the time it was the longest radio-single released, clocking in at over seven minutes
  2. From Me To You
  3. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  • The Rolling Stones
  1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - One of the best known Stones songs, I am very surprised this never made it to an album. It would have really helped sales, instead of making the five dollars for a single (or whatever it was then), you could be pulling in fifteen for the whole album.
  2. Honky Tonk Woman - A great blues-inspired rock song. Covered many times by bands like Humble Pie to Tesla
  3. It's All Over Now
  • The Who
  1. Substitute
  2. I'm A Boy
  3. Happy Jack
  4. Pictures of Lily
  5. Call Me Lightning
  6. Magic Bus - All the songs above (including this one) are very much British Invasion pop. Some are decent, but I like Magic Bus because of the meaning behind it - a man going to see his gal by means of the bus. And so he falls in love with the bus, that 'magically' takes him there every day, so much that he buys the bus to continue up the drive.
  7. The Seeker - A song I continuously get stuck in my head, The Seeker is a great rock song. It is a tad confusing, one second he is saying how everyone hates him and then in the same line he states that they want to shake his hand (while he ransacks their homes). I like this version, I like the Rush version, I think I'd like any version.
  8. Summertime Blues - A cover from Eddie Cochran, who originated it as a blues-rock song. I think this version is a cover of a cover, it is very close in style to that of Blue Cheer, but that is a good version to take your influence from.
  9. Let's See Action
  10. Join Together - Let's See Action and Join Together are two of my favorite songs by The Who, and they both are semi-similar in meaning. They are hippy-rock anthems (as much as hippies can have an anthem) about sticking together and getting stuff done. Good driving music (I'd say good walking music, but who walks anymore)
  11. Long Live Rock

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Albums Listened To In July

God this was a long month - although it has been my only good month so far this summer - got a new job, moved into the new place, graduation is four months away, its all looking up. Musically, it was brutal as well. My "Month of Dio" plan sounded grand at the beginning, but by the end it was like homework, something I knew I had to do but I had no drive to do it. I did like setting a goal though, I'll have to do that one again, just something either not so grandiose, or at the very least something with a little more options. I'm thinking a month of the Big Three of the British Invasion - The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Who. The original idea was for a month of 90's alt-rock that I listened to growing up, but after listening to a couple discs (see below), I found out that these bands suck. I only like the singles for the nostalgic value, but the rest of it is garbage. So that one is out the window. I still have some time, I'll think about it.

For the best of the month, nothing really stood out. I really enjoyed listening to the rest of the sHEAVY discography (not too much Republic? but Synchronized was pretty kick ass), and the second disc of the new Dream Theater album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings. It's a cover disc of some killer heavy metal staples (Rainbow, Queen, Iron Maiden), as well as some I have never heard (Zebra, Dixie Dregs) and one song from the grand-daddy of prog, King Crimson. The Abramis Brama album was pretty solid too, I wish they had more then just two English speaking albums. Also, as a parting note, Black In The Mind is a band I saw at a live show in Orlando, and they gave me a free disc. That was pretty cool, and their music has a couple of good licks throughout. Give them a listen if you can.

So I had that post of the Mastodon video a while back, saying I'd give them a shot. Well I did, and I have to say I really didn't enjoy them too much. They had the decent song here or there, but nothing that really stood out. I only listened to two albums, so I'll try out some more and see if it grows on me, but I'm not holding my breath. I did like Crack The Skye alot more then Remission though, I have heard that this new album was a new style of the group.

PS 2 Things: 1) This is the most albums I've listened to in a month (57), the previous best was 55 in February. 2) This is the soonest I've had an 'Albums Listened To' article completed in the month. Kudos for me on both accounts.

  1. A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms
  2. Abramis Brama - Nothing Changes - Newly Listened!
  3. AC/DC - Back In Black
  4. Alabama Thunderpussy - Fulton Hill - Newly Listened!
  5. Barenaked Ladies - Stunt
  6. Black In The Mind - Black In The Mind - Newly Listened!
  7. Black NASA - Deuce - Newly Listened!
  8. Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer - Newly Listened!
  9. Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell
  10. Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
  11. Black Water Rising - Black Water Rising - Newly Listened!
  12. Chumbawamba - Tubthumper
  13. Dio - Angry Machines - Newly Listened!
  14. Dio - Dream Evil
  15. Dio - Holy Diver
  16. Dio - Killing The Dragon - Newly Listened!
  17. Dio - The Last In Line
  18. Dio - Lock Up The Wolves - Newly Listened!
  19. Dio - Magica - Newly Listened!
  20. Dio - Master Of The Moon - Newly Listened!
  21. Dio - Sacred Heart
  22. Dio - Strange Highways - Newly Listened!
  23. Dozer - In The Tail of A Comet - Newly Listened!
  24. Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings (Disc 2) - Newly Listened!
  25. Elf - Carolina County Ball
  26. Elf - Elf
  27. Elf - Trying To Burn The Sun
  28. Firewind - Forged By Fire - Newly Listened!
  29. Five Horse Johnson - The Last Men On Earth - Newly Listened!
  30. Guns N' Roses - "The Spaghetti Incident?"
  31. Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
  32. Hawkwind - Quark, Strangeness And Charm - Newly Listened!
  33. Helloween - Walls of Jericho
  34. Judas Priest - Defenders Of The Faith - Newly Listened!
  35. Kyuss - ...And The Circus Leaves Town - Newly Listened!
  36. Mastodon - Crack The Skye - Newly Listened!
  37. Mastodon - Remission - Newly Listened!
  38. Nanowar of Steel - Triumph Of True Metal Of Steel (Demo) - Newly Listened!
  39. Opeth - Damnation
  40. Pavlov's Dog - At The Sound of The Bell - Newly Listened!
  41. Pavlov's Dog - End of The World (EP) - Newly Listened!
  42. Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother - Newly Listened!
  43. Rainbow - Rainbow Rising - Newly Listened!
  44. Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
  45. Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
  46. The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed - Newly Listened!
  47. The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers - Newly Listened!
  48. sHEAVY - Blue Sky Mind - Newly Listened!
  49. sHEAVY - Republic? - Newly Listened!
  50. sHEAVY - Synchronized - Newly Listened!
  51. Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards
  52. Warrel Dane - Praises To The War Machine
  53. Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album)
  54. The Who - Tommy
  55. Whole Wheat Bread - Hearts of Hoodlums
  56. Whole Wheat Bread - Punk Life (EP)
  57. Whole Wheat Bread - Minority Rules

Friday, July 31, 2009

Video: Heaven And Hell "The Bible Black"

Keeping with the Dio theme, and as my last post of the month I thought this was good. It's the first single from Heaven And Hell's debut album The Devil You Know. It's kind of a simple video, cartoony with little detail. Not my favorite video, but it is one of the best songs off of the album.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Retrospective: Ronnie James Dio - Solo (Part 2)

Lock Up The Wolves marks the solid end of "The Golden Age" of Dio material. While it still follows the same formula of wizardry and wars, it seems like the heart is out of it. It shuffles on from song to song - doing nothing bad, but nothing really well either. If this was a release from a different artist/band, the group would quickly be swallowed up by mainstream media, but because it is an act so well known, it keeps on.
This is my least favorite Dio album. With almost every other of his releases, there is at least one track that I can get behind and really enjoy - but not this one. It's all just average song after average song, eleven times in a row. I don't think he was really trying too hard for this one. Even the album artwork is lackluster. Disappointing Ronnie, disappointing.
This is Dio's search for a resurgence into the market. This album focuses on technology and the evils within. While it is better then his previous effort, it falls short on many instances. I view this as the rise, towards what would become on his next few releases.
Now Magica is the closest yet to the glory days (the 80's) of Dio's music. It is a concept album with moving lines and interesting music. All and all a pretty good album, compared to the last few efforts at least. But what kills the album for me, is the 18 minute long spoken track, explaining the story of Magica, in semi-poetic form. Ok, I get that you want all the subtleties of your project realized, but concept albums are known for not knowing the full meaning on the first try. You are supposed to listen over and over again to hear the variation in stories, not have it handed to you. (Check out my article on Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory or my one on Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes for a more in-depth view of a concept album.) While Magica is a call-back to the good Dio-era, the ending explanation is a poor (and very boring) way to finish up a project.
Following Magica, and in the same vein (without being a concept album), Killing The Dragon is a continuation of the NWOBHM/power metal sound that the classic Dio albums are known for. While it still isn't measurable against Holy Diver or The Last In Line, it is one of the strongest within this article. A seemingly resurgence of the Dio sound.
Dio's last album - finally. I was surprised with how much I liked this album. It is definitely one of my favorites from the latter dio-era. The songs are slower, but not too slow. Alot of the songs have a pulsating guitar and drum combo, with simple riffs and 4/4 drumming. It is very groove heavy, and relies alot on the lyrics and vocals, which in Dio's case is a good thing. It's a really strong album, slightly repetitive, but acceptably so. As I said, I am surprised with how strong this release actually is, it sounds like a new band then the previous albums. I would look forward to another Dio album, if it was like this one.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Top 10 Songs By The Greatest Metal Artists

Kind of a neat little website that has an updating list of metal artists and their ten best songs. Now I don't know who is ranking these, but from what I checked they seem to do fairly well. I don't listen to alot of these artists enough to tell if the lists are accurate, but I like the ones I do know.

Top 10 Songs By The Greatest Metal Artists

I seems to be powered by Nutsie, which is a semi-interesting site for lists and hearing new music.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Video: Megadeth "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)"

Very simple this one:
Megadeth - awesome band (If you don't know them and you call yourself a fan of metal smack yourself in the face at least once for me)
"A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" - my favorite Megadeth song.

"A Tout Le Monde" was actually originally on the album Youthanasia, but was re-recorded with Christina Scabbia, the lead singer of Lacuna Coil, and re-titled "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" for the latest Megadeth album (until the end of the year), United Abominations.

I've been finding my videos at, which is a great site for finding new and old metal music videos (seeing as youtube is so watered down with crappy cell-phone live songs or stupid people who think they can nail a solo), but when you embed it onto another page the video player is so small, it's rather annoying. I assume it's to encourage people to make it all the way to their site, but it is still a pain in the ass.

If you want to see it full sized go to Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Retrospective: Ronnie James Dio - Black Sabbath...Twice

Really a superb album. This was Dio's first release with Black Sabbath (after the firing of past singer, Ozzy Osbourne) and he makes an amazing first impression. Every song is decent, with only one or two not being amazing. If Black Sabbath could release more albums like this, they would still be #1.
While not quite as good as Heaven And Hell, Mob Rules was still a pretty solid album. Holding the singles "Sign of The Southern Cross" and "Mob Rules" this album was a valiant effort by the group to remain in the public's eye, after their renewed popularity from their previous release. The only weird song is the odd instrumental "E5150" with bears little significance to anything else on the album.
This album is....well average to say the least. While it really isn't horrible, it's nothing that stands out. When you have greats like Dio, Tony Iommi, Vinny Appice, and Geezer Butler all on one project, odds are it's not going to be just might not be that good. It's easy to see why the Dio-led Black Sabbath only stayed together for this one album. I'm glad they figured out the winning formula for their newest project, Heaven And Hell.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Retrospective: Ronnie James Dio - Heaven And Hell

  • The Devil You Know - 2009
I've already gone in detail about this album, so this will be a shorter post then my others. Now that I've listened to the album a couple of times, I can say that it is a classic album. The first half is amazing, the mixing of the styles (of Dio and Black Sabbath), with the latter part lagging a bit, but still coming in strong.Heaven And Hell is a collaboration of the Dio-era of Black Sabbath, but not just a re-hashing of old songs. That's why they made the new name, they wanted to release new music - the first for Sabbath sense 1995's Forbidden (ugh), and Dio's first sense 2004's Master of The Moon.

All-in-all, if you like Dio, if you like the classic-era of Black Sabbath, Heaven And Hell's The Devil You Know is a keeper, go out and buy it!

See full length review here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Video: Clutch "50,000 Unstoppable Watts"

Now I wanted to put this as my last video, instead of the Mastodon song, but it hadn't been released yet. If I had known that it would be out a week later I would have waited. So now you get two videos this week!

I love Clutch, and while I am still up in the air about their new album, this is a good song. The music video is kind of interesting, mixing the story in the lyrics with the idea of a band recording a song. It's pretty laid back - at least as far as most of their music videos are concerned.

So go enjoy the first single off their new album (just released today), Strange Cousins From The West, "50,000 Unstoppable Watts."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Retrospective: Ronnie James Dio - Solo (Part 1)

This is it: the definitive Dio album. Everyone knows the title track - even if you don't listen to this style of music, you know it. This album produced several singles that are still heard on the radio; "Holy Diver," "Don't Talk To Strangers," "Straight Through The Heart," and "Rainbow In The Dark." This is by far the most popular album in Dio's catalog, deservedly so, and it helped launch his hefty solo career off right.
This album was released on the tails of Holy Diver, and it is decent - it's no Holy Diver - but it is pretty good. It still plays into the "Swords & Sorcery" theme that was present in the previous album. You can see how much of an impact these first few albums had on the blossoming sub-genre power metal, many bands still reference Dio as a major influence, and many more pay homage through covers. If you like Holy Diver, you will probably find something to enjoy in The Last In Line.
Sacred Heart still lives in the fantasy realm, but is also more radio-friendly then The Last In Line. Songs like the title track, "Rock N' Roll Children" (one of my favorite Dio songs) and "Hungry For Heaven," all saw radio play (not to much anymore) and the album broke the Billboard Top 200. This was the last Dio album to be rated Gold or higher (the previous albums both went Platinum) until his greatest hits in 2000.
Dream Evil kept some radio-friendly songs, but it also dove back into the story-telling aspect of Dio's music. These songs were longer, and several of them had different sections to the song - periods of tempo shifts and musical changes. In my mind this album signaled the end of the Dio hey-day of the 80's (being his last album of the decade). While the latter albums are pretty good, they just don't hold up to the 80's thunder of Dio. Also as a side-comment, the pseudo-spoof power metal band Dream Evil takes it's name from this album (their Evilized album is one of my favorites).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Video: Mastadon "Divinations"

I've never really listened to Mastodon, figuring them for another growly NWOAHM band. But I stumbled upon their new video and it was pretty damn good. If the rest of their music is like this then I have found a new artist to enjoy. I'm working on getting all the albums to give them a serious listen. But until then, here is the first single from their latest album Crack The Skye, "Divinations"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Retrospective: Ronnie James Dio - Rainbow

Rainbow was supposed to be the title of Ritchie Blackmore's first solo album, not the name of a band. Blackmore was still a member of Deep Purple, and Dio was still the front-man of Elf (his previous band). But, after the success of recording, Blackmore decided to make Rainbow a full-fledged band, and this album their first release. The record companies would not release the album without putting Blackmore's name in the title, hence the album being Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and not just Rainbow. This album is alot more bluesy then the following releases, and that is because the backing band for this release was the group Elf, who had been opening for Deep Purple on the road for a number of years.
This is my favorite Rainbow album, it still has soul, with the moving bass and story-based lyrics, it held my attention without becoming boring or preachy. "Man On The Silver Mountain" is one of the few Rainbow songs you will hear on a classic rock radio station (albeit rare indeed), and the song "If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll" is downright funky, with a sort of swing feel to it. Great stuff.
Rainbow Rising is claimed to be the definitive Rainbow album, with longer songs then the other albums (the entire second side of the record was taken up by two eight-plus minute songs), which allowed Dio to fully tell his stories of magic and mysticism. While not my favorite album (see above), it is pretty damn close. This release is much more straight-forward rock then it's predecessor. This is more due to Ritchie Blackmore disbanding the group (save for Dio) that recorded Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and reforming it with artists he saw as a better fit, then anything else. I'm not sure if that is a good this or not, as this album is great, but as I look more into Ritchie Blackmore's past, I see him as a bit of a pre-Madonna, with firings and disbandment in any band that he is a part of. I'd say he has Axl Rose Syndrome, but he shows up to acts, and he predates Gun's 'N' Roses by two decades. Oh well, if the shoe fits...
While this album does have my favorite song on it (the title track) it is my least favorite of the Dio-era Rainbow catalog (everything after Dio is barely classified as rock). The title track and "Kill The King" are favorites of heavy metal bands, they cover these two more then any other Rainbow songs. This album is the beginnings of the mainstream-style that Ritchie Blackmore wanted for his "solo project." While it still focuses on "wizards and sorcery" the songs were much more straight forward - even including a love ballad, "Rainbow Eyes." After this release Blackmore wanted to further move the band mainstream, prompting Dio to quit, later joining Black Sabbath, and making heavy metal history.

There were more releases after Dio left the band, although none even as close as awesome as the original three albums. The mainstream style landed the group a few hits and increased album sales, but Blackmore sold out (I would say the band Rainbow sold out, but Blackmore replaced most of the musicians after every release, so you can't call it a "band" per-se). The Dio-era was by far the best, but he left for greener pastures, landing the short gig as Black Sabbath's frontman, preceding his long solo career. A good trade if you ask me.