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In this issue: Music CD/DVD reviews of David Bowie, Crashdiet, Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles, Giant X, Hatriot, Iggy and the Stooges, Iron Maiden, Jorn, Kiss, Malice, Moss, Motörhead, New York Dolls, Opeth, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Cream 69, Queensryche, Redd Kross, Royal Hunt, Satyricon. Skeletonwitch, Snake Charmer, Starkill, VoiVod, Watain,

Reviews by: KK, Sunset Vampyre, Dark Winter, Metalhead Sam, Sukekiyo Izumi, Christopher Lee, Lexa Vonn, David Necro

Hatriot
Dawn of the New Centurion
(Massacre Records)



     This is the first time I have had the opportunity to check the band Hatriot and let me say this is a nice treat for me to hear a newer Thrash Metal band that sticks to the core sound of the genre, but at the same time keeping it fresh. First impression on me was like someone melding the sounds/styles of bands like Overkill and Exodus but with the thick drive of Rob Halfords Fight. Now the what is funny about me mentioning Exodus in there is that I just found out while writing this that the lead singer of this band is none other than Steve "Zetro" Souza. Alright just in case you are not familiar with that name he is a Thrash Metal legend that fronted the great Exodus during these years (1986-1992, 2002-2004). Steve Souza also has his 2 sons with him in this band bassist Cody Souza and Nick Souza on the drums. Now the guitar players are also not a force to underestimate a fire driven thunder force of Thrash 6 string madness provided by Kosta V. and Justin Cole.

     As a whole the cd feels like a heavy metal skate park  with the sensation of flying up a ramp at high velocity just to go grinding down the rails. Every element of this album just seems like it was just meant to be with ever member of the band doing their job like a well oiled machine. Everything feels well time and planned out so it does not leave those empty spots where you think " Oh I wish they would have down that there" thought in your mind. Now unlike bands like Overkill where it has that really tight hard hitting "BAMP BAMP BAMP" cymbal crash/guitar crunch sound which is cool an all but instead they give this slam the gas pedal and lets go drifting with the car on fire full on down the mountain.

     Every track on this release is killer (no rotten eggs here) but all pretty much equally as good so it's kind of hard to pick a favorite. As for me I think if I had to pick my favorites I would have to go with track 6 " Silence in the House of the Lord" as my 2nd and track 8 " Dawn of the New Centurion" the title track as my  #1 choice. Dawn of the New Centurion is just the fucking ultimate song of this release it just shows the best diverseness in the band's sound with a display of wild yet blissful thunder.

     Production is totally top notch I can't find one thing to complain about on the sound quality at all which is very odd for me I know but I swear even the mix/ levels are just fucking perfect enough to match this bands essence. Now from what I read over at Metal-Archives the digipak of this cd offers a bonus track which is Krokus cover: Midnite Maniac but I have not had a chance to hear so I might have to order that just to check that out.  As for the Digipak version I am going to recommend ordering that instead since from what I have seen if you order it from Amazon it is cheaper the standard release and then you can get the bonus track. Dawn of the New Centurion is also available on  import vinyl though I don't know what the track list on that looks like and digital purchase are offered by Amazon / iTunes does but again not the bonus track as far I can see so like I said ordering the digipak is the way to go.

Anyway I think if you are a fan of old school Thrash you will definitely fucking love this band and cherish this album as a instant classic but hey don't take my word for it grow some balls and buy it and if you still are not sure thats is ok this up for streaming on Spotify so you can listen to it in full first with no fear.

Well, I hope you enjoy it and thank you to this band for putting so much of themselves into this killer album.

-Sukekiyo Izumi

Homepage                           http://www.hatriotmetal.com/
facebook page                    https://www.facebook.com/hatriot?fref=ts
Reverbnation  page            https://www.reverbnation.com/hatriot
Twitter                                  https://twitter.com/hatriotmetal
Encyclopaedia Metallum   http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Hatriot/3540358820


Motörhead
Aftershock
(UDR Music)

Sorry to say, but I'm not diggin' this new Motörhead cd all that much. It really pains me to write this as I'm one of the biggest Motörhead fans around. Let's start with the production. The production is pretty bad with a very muddy mix and mastering. The bass is overblown and mucks up the midrange and high frequencies. The guitars are fairly good sounding but with not too much impact, but the drums don't hit you where it counts; they sound flat and insdistinct, and the cymbals aren't loud enough. They sound soft and phasey.
It certainly isn't the Crypt Magazine audio system talking as it utilizes high end components from the likes of Technics, Onkyo, Bryston, and JBL. Past Motörhead albums sound much better on the Crypt Magazine system. So it definitely is a problem with the cd.

Production issues aside, hows the playing and songwriting? The playing is pretty top notch (what I can hear of it,) and this comes as no surprise for a Motörhead album. But again, sorry to say, the songs aren't there this time around when compared to the last album, 'The World is Yours.' Nothing has really grabbed me and this is unusual for a Motörhead album. Usually, the great albums in the past, and even the last 3 would be loud and full of impact with melodies that would take over your heart and mind and cause you to practically sing a long. Also, the riffs aren't really there, and they're rather generic. None of the riffs really stand out as being killer. Actually, they're some of Motörhead's worst riffs ever.
And Motörhead is known for their catchy killer riffs on a par with classic Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The only saving grace are Lemmy's vocals (which are kind of buried in the mix) and lyrics, which are about as good as you can get.

Look, I really, really wanted to dig this album. And maybe further down the road, I will. I'm not getting rid of it because I'm a Motörhead collector. This album sort of drags and stumbles along. I'm sure that Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey put their heart and soul into this, but the end result is lacking in both sound, performance, and songwriting. And it is better than 99 percent of what is considered metal or hard rock. I'd say what they need is a better producer, as well as mixing and mastering engineers to get back the great sound and impact of past albums. They also need to work on the melodies and riffs a bit more. As well as the overall songwriting. Anyway, sorry boys, better luck next time! -DN

Watain
The Wild Hunt
(Century Media Records)


Watain, Sweden's heirs to the throne of melodic black metal a position they inherited from the now defunct (for obvious reasons) Dissection are back to pervert your soul with more darkness and metallic praise of the beast! Black Metal has become almost a parody with many of the current bands lacking the spirit and creativity that this music once had, and furthermore are hardly convincing or threatening in their approach, it becomes merely an "act" and one that comes off very contrived, and then there's Eric Danielson and Co. whose message and delivery is quite convincing which can be witnessed throughout the new release that stands before me "The Wild Hunt" released domestically through Century Media! The problem with so many bands nowadays like Ghost for example, is that fans and press are all too quick to heap praise on them that they can't live (or is that die?) up to! Watain have always been the real deal, a mixture of melody and primitive brutality that keeps the black metal ideology in tact paying tribute to all things unclean, unholy, and inverted! And their stageshow is like the black metal answer to KISS! HA HA! So with that, how is "The Wild Hunt" you ask!? A very enjoyable listen, I think they sound more hellbent than ever, especially Eric's vocal's which at times remind me of Cronos of the godfathers Venom, delivered with a hateful ferocity that makes the experience that much more real to the listener! Starting off with instrumental "Night Vision", before dragging your soul on a hellride through 11 tracks with lots of peaks and valleys with every song different than the last, with lots of new ideas added to the Watain sound, where most bands are used to playing it safe and repeating themselves! Which is what I was expecting from this release to be honest, always nice to be proven wrong! So with that, if you are not familiar with Watain and want to hear what all the fuss is about, here's a great place to start, and longtime fans will be pleased as well, cause Watain are synonymous with HELL! Sometimes these things write themselves! It's a definitely an album that needs to be listened to in its entirety as any great album should, it seems to paced very well too! But I must warn you some songs are of epic length such as the 8:42 track "They Rode On", all the tracks are good but the standouts for me are "Sleepless Evil" with its great hardcore punk influenced riff and downbeat much like old Bathory, and "All That May Bleed" which lyrically comes off like an invocation! A great record from start to finish, and a welcome addition to the collection of all Watain completists and black metal fans! And remember only lowlifes download music, real fans PAY FOR IT! WITH BLOOD MONEY! -CL

SATYRICON
Satyricon
(Nuclear Blast Records)


It's the year of our lord, anno domini 2013. and as our civilisation slowly teeters on the brink of decay, Satyricon, Norway's reigning gods of black metal, return from the abyss with their self titled 8th release to provide the soundtrack! And it couldn't come at a more appropriate time, hard to believe it's been nearly 5 year since the release of the brilliant "The Age Of Nero" record, where the hell does the time go!?

Satyricon, have never been ones to rest on their laurels, unlike so many of their contemporaries who have willfully died at their own hand from artistic stagnation, the duo Satyr (Vocals/guitar) and inhuman drummer Frost (battery) have been absolutely fearless in their quest to try everything once, while alienating fairweather fans in their attempt to expand on the idea of what classifies something as "black metal"! Satyricon have always been leaders in the genre defying its confines with a sound that is unmistakeable, so much so that when first giving the record a listen, my gf who doesn't like any of this stuff, yet was subjected to countless listens of "The Age Of Nero" asked "is this that tombstone band?" referring to the track "Black Crow On A Tombstone" from the record, THAT is how recognizable and unique their sound is!

I will admit, Upon first listen to the record, I didn't hear anything that immediately grabbed me by the throat, but that is not the intention of this record, since records that go for the "immediate" never last, its the records you absorb over time, where you hear something new with each repeated listen that become "classics"! And "Satyricon" is a record that clearly needs to be given countless spins!

The record begins with the funeral march intro "Voice Of Shadows" before proceeding into the 6 minute long "Tro og Kraft" (which means Faith and Power in english) which is classic Satyricon, which sets the tone for the rest of the record, slowly crawling, alternating between distortion and somber clean passages! From there its on to the very catchy "Our World, It Rumbles Tonight" the first track which was leaked weeks ago, which proceeds into the black n' roll of "Nocturnal Flare" bringing to mind the "Volcano" album, another track reaching the 6:00 mark!

One thing that becomes evident when listening to the album, none of the tracks have your standard rock or metal format, these are unpredictable, dramatic pieces of music that are very personal, making it clear that this is the record Satyricon needed to make to appease themselves, not their critics, or even their fans!

Such as the case with the track "Phoenix" which is almost dare I say, an uplifting song about redemption with a choir like chorus, and clean vocals courtesy of Sivert Hoyem former vocalist of fellow Norwegian act Madrugada, brilliant stuff! From there things pick up and descend into chaos "Walker Upon The Wind" which will appease long time fans, with its old-school Bathory downbeat! "NekroHaven" is a totally demonic yet very catchy in the mold of the classic track "Fuel For Hatred", great stuff with those patented Satyricon riffs!

Due to the fact it was recorded on tape (analog), unlike so many records in this day and age, everything sounds natural, the guitars have beautiful warm tones, and Satyr's vocals sound great, giving the album an additonal
charm! I have always said when death or black metal is done right, it goes beyond being music, and becomes an artform unto itself and Satyricon are an artform unto themselves! With that, I will say "Satyricon" is a future classic that fits nicely into their catalogue along classic records!

"Satyricon" is a record that demands your undivided attention, shun all modern conveniences, phones, etc, and tune out the world when giving the record a listen, I recommend doing so with headphones to hear it the way it was intended! It is sure to create controversy amongst black metal purists who have a problem with experimentation of any kind, while receiving praise from fans who have always championed the bands sense of adventure!

Be sure to check out the album when it comes out domestically on September 17th, I will have to add this to my collection, there are FEW metal bands in existence who rival the mighty Satyricon!!!! -CL

Queensryche
S/T
(Century Media Records)


After the much publicized and very acrimonious firing of Geoff Tate, the voice of Queensryche, by the existing members, the result of years of turmoil between him and the band due to his treatment of his now former bandmates with the both camps now fighting over the right to own the name. If forced to choose, I know which one I would go with, I'll take the lineup consisting of original members Scott Rockenfeld (drums), Michael Wilton (guitars) and Eddie Jackson (bass), who are in integral part of the Queensryche sound (along with long departed guitarist and songwriter Chris Degarmo) that spawned classic albums, such as "Operation: Mindcrime" and the multi-platinum "Empire" which made them superstars! I have to say I lost interest in the band with the release of "The Promised Land" record in the mid 90's and I will confess I have had no desire to hear anything they have released since. until now. I was never a fan of the progressive melodic brand of metal except for QR who have always done it well and with a degree of class. So with that, Queensryche wasted no time in recruiting new vocalist Todd Latorre (Crimson Glory) and releasing a brand new album self-titled release through Century Media Records. I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason, as with the case of Todd La Torre, because how else does a band find someone who is a perfect, fitting successor to Tate, like La Torre who possesses a range that is very similar yet still with his own identity, while employing the trademark vocal style Tate made famous! What are the odds!? When I heard the track "Redemption" months before the records release I was quite surprised by Todd's voice, the trademark classic Queensryche chorus, and the sound of a band returning to the sound they are known for, and you know what? Morbid curiosity made me want to actually hear the whole record that stands before me, just like it made me watch various live clips online of Todd fronting the band singing some of their classic songs, and I was amazed by how good he is as a performer and how he does the old QR songs justice! So how is the record you ask? The record features 11 tracks that are unmistakeably Queensryche, starting off with the ominous intro "X2" which leads into the first track "Where Dreams Go To Die" through to the single "Redemption" a wise choice, all the classic elements are there, especially on tracks like "Don't Look Back" and the albums closer "Open Road", you can tell these guys worked their asses on this record and they are playing like they haven't in years! This will satiate the hunger of Queensryche fans waiting for a release that harkens back to the sound that made them famous to begin with, some tracks are good, some are great and there are LOTS of nods to their classic records! A very good solid release from a band that has allot to prove, and it sounds like they are ready! See them live when they come to your town, you will be pleasantly surprised! Oh, and Geoff Tate...YOU BLEW IT! -CL

David Bowie
The Next Day
(Columbia)


When I saw the video for the first single off this album, "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," I was very excited to receive my promotional copy of the release in its entirety. "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" is a the perfect blend of creepy and catchy, and the lyrics can be interpreted in so many various ways.  This theme continues to run throughout the rest of the songs on 'The Next Day'.  During my first listen, I felt the album was a bit too slow for my taste. I usually prefer albums with a mix of both upbeat or heavy and slow moody songs.  However, when I really got the chance to listen closely to this album, paying attention to every word and every melody, I found it to be epic. 

It begins with the poppy title track "The Next Day," but after that the rest of the album is somewhat melancholy with hints of tragedy and romance.  The tone of Bowie's vocal deliverance in songs like "Valentine's Day" and "If You Can See Me" range from yearning to frantic with a storyline that begins to mysteriously emerge. I'm not quite sure I can label it a concept album, but there definitely seems to be a theme that I would describe as a personal story entwined with a bit of social commentary on the modern world and the attitudes of the emerging generations.  By the time I got to "Boss of Me,"I recognized an old story… one of the inevitable destruction of our world caused by shallowness, war, greed, and other human flaws mixed with the hint of hope of salvation, if only for a moment, by the love of a girl who just wants to be saved and ends up ruling the world, or perhaps the heavens as the next song, the other upbeat one on the album, "Dancing Out In Space" may suggest. 

David Bowie is such an amazing influential artist to me that I don't even feel quite worthy of deciphering the true meaning behind the lyrics on this album, but I can tell you that they are there.  In fact, at times I feel like he is talking directly to me, which is both spooky and almost expected considering my personal connection to music. "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die" is simply heart-wrenching and sounds almost like it would be in a rock musical on Broadway.  The theme of pain and possible assassination being inflicted on the character without apology for crimes not specified could be a metaphor for the death of our entire existence or a secret code for something else.  There are layers to this album and I think I know what it is about, but I don't think I should say too much.  This kind of art should be interpreted and pondered by the individual listener. I think some people will catch on to what I'm getting at here and some won't. 

If you are just looking for an album to bump in your car on the way to work, I wouldn't recommend it and would suggest sticking with Bowie's 80's catalog. But if you are one who enjoys an emotional, mysterious, and sometimes eery journey into a land of wonderment or knowingness, you are sure to enjoy this album, that I can only describe as an experience.  There are nice hints of backing vocals, saxophone, and a harpsichord, I believe for those that appreciate the surprise of subtle embellishments. The album was also co-produced by Bowie along with Tony Visconti, so it's evident that he put a lot of himself into this record.  I'm sure people will have different opinions on its meaning as being something lesser than the feeling it gave me. But the ending track "Heat" definitely reveals that Bowie is talking about something on a larger scale than his own day to day life or personal relationships when he sings, "I am a sear, I am a liar, my father ran the prison."  Is it all a metaphor?  Or is the man who fell to earth trying to tell us something? -LV

Crashdiet
The Savage Playground
(Frontiers Records)

Swedish rockers Crashdiet will be releasing their fourth full length album entitled, "The Savage Playground" in January 2013.  It will be the first time they have ever released an album to the entire world simultaneously.  Although, the band has yet to tour in many countries, they have managed to obtain and maintain a large cult following.  Even in the wake of changing singers throughout the years, which would destroy most bands, Crashdiet continues to satisfy old fans, as well as attract new ones.  I think this is due to the fact that they know how to experiment with new sounds and lyrical subjects while remaining true to their roots.  They have always reminded me of a heavier version of Hanoi Rocks, blending the best elements of glam, punk, and metal.  With Crashdiet, we get 80's glam rock without the cheesiness.  We get punk without the simplified elementary musical arrangements.  We even get classic metal guitar solos!  Tougher than Poison, prettier than The Sex Pistols, more lyrically insightful than Motley Crue, we finally get our message of rebellion from songs with enough ferocity to spark revolution, enough depth to make us question reality, and  enough debauchery to remind us to party while we're doing it. "The Savage Playground" begins with a post apocalyptic dialogue that sets the stage for what seems like a concept album.  The opening track, "Change the World" calls out to reveal the dark truths of the society we live in and fight against it, including our own egos and delusions.  It reminds me a bit of Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime" album at first.  Then suddenly, a bluesy guitar riff leads us into the second track, "Cocaine Cowboys," which mimics the beat of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People,"perhaps an intentional analogy of subject matter.  "Anarchy", "Circus", and "California" are a little more melodic and sound a bit more similar to current radio rock bands, however keeping hints of their signature 80's guitar stylings present.  I can hear the influence of Skid Row's "Slave to the Grind" album here and there throughout a few of the songs as well, especially vocally. "Got a Reason" and "Drinking Without You" are the ballads of the album, but have an almost anthem like element mixed into their sadness.  However, "Damaged Kid" will most likely be the favorite of the ladies because the lyrics describe just about every diehard rocker girl, who will feel as though the song was written about her.  Brilliantly, they place the track, "Excited" right after it, a love song enticing the heroine of the story to have the courage to emerge from the shadows of darkness and into the arms of… Simon Cruz?  At least that's what the female listeners will be envisioning.  Of course, the album wraps up as the hero and heroine unite in "Garden of Babylon" where they embrace the new reality that is left after the destruction of the world.  Or was it the destruction in their own minds?  Time elapses as the musical genres of past, present, and future all become one to deliver a powerful message.  A concept album for the times.  When you get to the end, you won't care what style of music it was, as you will be too busy pondering the storyline.  Is it literal?  Is it metaphorical?  Is it a prophecy of the impending doom of our society? Or is it a call to invoke the destruction of reality as we know it through the only way we really can.. by that of our own perceptions?  I feel "The Savage Playground" is Crashdiet's strongest release yet.  I hope that there is a theatrical live show to go along with it. -LV

Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles
A Vulgar Display of Obscurity
(Slinging Pig Records)

The newest arrival from Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles A Vulgar Display of Obscurity continues a fine tradition of tasteless vulgarity in fashion of the classic joke of the vaudevillian era, “ the Aristocrats ”. In the contemporary sense, A Vulgar Display of Obscurity is as much the anti-joke as its cousin within the stand-up comedy circuit. Complete with thematic skits consistent with the songs they preface, DDTT address some of the more pressing issues and concepts plaguing the conscience of modern man. Pornography, the debate against fingers in ones butt, solutions to the problem of homeless hunger, as well as pointing out the need to kill Fergie and The Black Eyed Peas are just some of the topics dealt with in this crucial assemblage of musical punch lines.

For the most part this album sounds like metal applied to an unfunny joke that you’ve heard on more than one occasion from more than one person. Laden with dick, fart, sex, poop, and poop-sex humor along with some played out punch lines delivered with the intention of providing shock value, this album proved to be neither, shocking or humorous to me. This collection of laughless skits and songs that lack the type of thought provocation I require to be engaged and entertained. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of smut-rock, but after listening to A Vulgar Display of Obscurity , my brain feels lobotomized, and my ears have been left with a yet to be identified bacterial infection.

This effort, if I may call it such, just lacks…Sorry to be the hater guy...maybe it’s ‘cause I have all my chromosomes…I dunno… I don’t get it…And despite accolades from the Great One, himself (Howard Stern) and   support provided by the AVN awards show, neither Stern, nor the porn industry have ever effectively served me as a litmus test so far as the advocacy of quality music is concerned. Upon occasion there are some rhythms within Vulgar Display of Obscurity that lend to a nodding head, but the sparse crumbs of gold will have to be sifted through for yourself. And there is much sifting to be done as Vulgar Display of Obscurity provides a collection of forty tracks worth of politically incorrect skits and smut laden anthems.   But with all the heavyweight contribution to this collective, I’m surprised that a product of more substantial value did not materialize.

Joining the band after hearing the rough mixes during the recording process, Grammy-nominated guitarist Ruyter Suys, of Nashville Pussy became a full time member. Also stopping by to lend some unexpected hands to Delicious Dick’s , Vulgar Display of Obscurity , Brent Hinds ,   Troy Sanders   and   Bill Kelliher   of   Mastodon , as well as,   Kevin Sharp   from Brutal Truth , and   Blaine Cartwright   from   Nashville Pussy , who all contributed tracks to this opus.   The fourth studio album from Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles, Vulgar Display of Obscurity from Slinging Pig Records is available now. Be sure to wear a condom. -MS 

Giant X
'Giant X'
(Steamhammer/SPV)

THIS BAND, and the CD of the same name, will soon garner an impressive following by bringing hard-rocking, guitar-driven anthems to a new, hungry audience. There is a dearth of talented musicians able to rise above the heavy competition - Giant X is one of those bands. They have a truckload of experience, crafted in the best Classic Rock genre - new songs that will give the radio stations something other than Kiss/Queen/Van Halen to play - these bands and others have been a huge influence on Giant X, but new blood is the driving force of Rock - without it, it's all c(RAP).
This may be a new band, but these guys have been around for a while. Rolf Kasparek is guitarist and vocalist for German metal band Running Wild, and Peter J Jordon, who is also a guitarist in the same band, is also a producer for other musicians, including Francis Bucholz ( Ex-Scorpions ).
This band is incredibly talented, and the music is not just a hearkening back to when cock-rock was at its peak ( although what's wrong with that? ) It's a genuinely fresh take on what was and is so good in Heavy Metal - a blast of the familiar in new songs that will give you that "Fuck, Yeah!" feeling.
So to conclude, I guarantee fellow metal-head that if you are at a gig where this band is playing, you will be up on your feet rocking out, then heading straight to the merch stall saying "I want a CD of that band Giant X. And while you're there - give me a T-Shirt as well!" -SV


Tracklisting:
 
01. The Rise Of The Giant X (Intro)0:34
02. On A Blind Flight 3:29
03. Don`t Quit Till Tomorrow 3:57
04. Badland Blues 4:30
05. Now Or Never 3:35
06. Nameless Heroes 4:16
07. Go 4 It 3:42
08. The Count 3:23
09. Rough Ride 4:24
10. Friendly Fire 3:27
11. Let`s Dance 2:59
12. Soulsurvivors 3:52
13. R.O.C.K. 4:06

IGGY AND THE STOOGES
Ready To Die
(Fat Possum Records)

After all these years, you'd think Iggy would be ready to die as the title of Iggy and the Stooges' upcoming release suggests, but it doesn't sound like they'll be quitting anytime soon.  While this album expresses plenty of disillusion and frustration with society lyrically, the first half of the album is packed full with fun, upbeat, catchy music reminiscent of classic 70's Iggy and the Stooges. It's hard to tell if Iggy is speaking from an autobiographical standpoint or reflecting upon the general feelings of people today.  There is certainly a lot of nihilism towards the system in this album, but it's a more mature take on things rather than the old school punk rock mottos of banding together to change things. There's definitely plenty of humor as well in songs like "Job," which I can't help snickering as it reminds me of the scene in Sid and Nancy when the roadie is trying to pitch a song to Johnny Rotten by singing,"I wanna job, I wanna real job, I wanna job that satisfies my artistic needs." In Iggy and the Stooges'"Job" Iggy sings, "I gotta job, I gotta job, but it don't pay shit!" That's something we can all relate to these days! A lot of us can also probably relate to "Gun," which sings about wanting to kill everyone… well, we can relate to it when we're having a bad day.

But turning on some punk tunes and dancing around the house is a better way to get your frustration out and this is a great soundtrack for that. There's some slow songs on this album, too.  "Unfriendly World" is both romantic and sad at the same time. You'd think Iggy was channeling Leonard Cohen on this one, both lyrically and vocally. I absolutely love Leonard Cohen so I highly recommend that song to fans of both artists. The album is mostly pessimistic, but realistic in it's expressing of the ills of humanity and wanting to get the fuck out and away from it all. But you gotta love Iggy for the only solution he offers in the one positive song on the album "DD's,"an anthem to his fondness for big boobs. Since I have DD's and Iggy pulled me onstage and made out with me when I was a teenager, I got to say I endorse this message! I'm sure it will be a hit at strip clubs everywhere. Boobs do make life better for sure, as I have yet to see a guy not smile when he's getting a lap dance. Oddly, that is the only escapism offered on this album.  It ends with another ballad, "The Departed." Have you ever heard Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt?" "The Departed" will leave you with the same feeling. We are basically living in a crapshoot and there is no way to change it. We are merely waiting for mass destruction caused by our own selfishness and/or stupidity or individual death. But in the meantime, let's dance to some clappy beats and saxophone, break some shit, and play with some titties. Works for me! Simple, short, to the point, both classic and insightful. Punk rock for the new millennium by the band who basically invented it. -Lexa Vonn 

Iron Maiden
The Final Frontier
(Universal)


If THE FINAL FRONTIER is actually Iron Maiden’s ‘Final Frontier’, they’re going out on a relatively high note.
This album beats the snot out of their last offering, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, which they claimed to be a “Progressive” album (One that got ‘progressively’ worse with each song, I thought.). THE FINAL FRONTIER isn’t their best work—that would be PIECE OF MIND, which Steve Harris rightfully feels is their best studio album—but it actually is progressive. Iron Maiden used to start every album with a fast, barn-burning thrash song such as “Be Quick Or Be Dead”, “Invaders”, “Aces High”, et. al. This time opener “Satellite 15—The Final Frontier” begins with a strange but catchy jazz-like instrumental, then detonates into a mid-tempo sci-fi epic with an irresistible groove. The song’s got a beat as thick and juicy as a porterhouse steak, and Bruce Dickinson’s voice is strong as ever as he delivers the highly emotional lyrics—a doomed yet resolute astronaut’s last thoughts. Messrs Gers, Smith and Murray grind out magnificently original solos throughout it and every song that follows. Next up is “El Dorado”, which is appreciably faster, although not as fast as “Killers” or “Sea of Madness”. “El Dorado” hearkens back to their deal-with-the-devil tale “Caught Somewhere In Time”, and may be the best song on the album. From then on THE FINAL FRONTIER goes into ‘power ballad’ mode, with gentle acoustic intros heralding big, stomping anthems. “Mother of Mercy”, “Coming Home” and “Isle of Avalon” pound their slow riffs into the ground, but they’re expertly crafted and glisten with studio polish—definitely hard to dislike. If you’re a fan of the faster Iron Maiden fare, “The Alchemist” and “The Talisman” will have to do. Again, they’re not as fast as their earlier thrashers, but still decent. Iron Maiden normally close out with some grandiose epic such as “To Tame A Land” or “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”; this time it’s “When The Wild Wind Blows”, a rather depressing end-of-the-world saga…where people commit mass suicide via media-induced rumors. It’s clear that Iron Maiden took their time recording THE FINAL FRONTIER; the album has a huge sound and glistens with class throughout. The various guitar solos—from three different and highly skilled guitarists (something you can’t get from any other band except Leatherwolf) elevate every song from average to highly listenable. The average Iron Maiden fan should be satisfied with THE FINAL FRONTIER; others should simply appreciate a finely-crafted heavy metal album. -KK

Jorn
Symphonic

FAIL
If rock & roll cliches are your thing then have I got a band for you!

Jorn gives us "Symphonic" which is a crossbreed of the Maestro Yngwie Malmsteen and those pied pipers of cheese rock, Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a little influence of Whitesnake.

The whole album together is all stuff you've heard before a billion times over and done better, yet then again if you're in the market for something along the lines of the "Yngwie Orchestra" (not such a far fetched idea),then you'll enjoy this CD of 80s style cock rock with a strings heavy orchestra ( the singer tries so hard to sound like David Coverdale ). Again,this is not my thing but it has its small niche audience. -SV 

Kiss
Monster
(Universal)


I originally received an "efolio" of MONSTER back in late August, which
allows you to stream an entire record about 5 times before the link expires,
these are the precautions that labels are forced to take when the public thinks
everything on the internet is FREE! Not to mention that doing so kills the
anticipation of such an album and litters the internet with opinions that don't
matter from people who didn't PAY for the material!

Which brings us to what is now officially Rocktober with the release of the album
on October 9th, which I bought immediately (did you?), allowing me time to give the
record repeated listens, I ask, HOW do you objectively review a record by one of
your all-time favorite bands!? Your about to find out!

A wise man once said "music critics are a bunch of guys who look like Elvis Costello",
never trust a journalists opinion, I don't get paid for my reviews, I do them
"All For The Love Of Rock & Roll"!

For the past few month's I have seen various interviews with the God Of Thunder
himself, Gene Simmons stating that Monster is "KISS going where no band has gone before", and Gene Simmons knows better than anyone, if your going to make such boisterous claims, you best be prepared to deliver the goods!

Although The Demon is one HELL of a salesman, his word's don't fall on deaf ears, they
crash down upon you loud, clear and damn accurate, cause Monster is very close to
everything The Demon described it as! I had "Great Expectations" for MONSTER and KISS
delivers like few veteran acts can OR WILL!!

The album, produced by Paul Stanley, opens with the track Hell Or Hallelujah, which
I liked upon first listen! I didn't think it was amazing, but a solid teaser for the album,
which I have grown to love, it goes over very well live and is the perfect opener for
the record, telling you to "Buckle Up"!

From there it's on to "Wall Of Sound", first time I heard it I yelled "WOW", Gene sounds
great and the song has an amazing rhythm! Next is "Freak" the first Paul song on the
record which I honestly didn't care for the first 9-10 times I heard it, which I now
love! It's reminiscent of classic Alice Cooper ala Eighteen!

Shout Mercy is a great Paul song, and Eat Your Heart Out is classic KISS and sounds
like something that would have fit in very well on say, Rock And Roll Over!

They wear their influences proudly on this album with subtle nods to rock n' rolls
past such as on the Paul track "Long Way Down" which has a very Zeppelin like attitude!

Out Of This World featuring Tommy Thayer on vocals, is a brilliant track, he sounds great,
his delivery in the verses is a 10 and the chorus will repeat over and over in your head,
you will be singing it everywhere! I hope to hear it live! The riff brings to mind the
Mountain classic Mississippi Queen

And let's not forget the Eric Singer's contribution "All For The Love Of Rock & Roll"
one of the best tracks on the record, Eric sounds great, the song has a very soulful
feel to it, ala The Stones!

Believe you me, at first listen the record may not strike as you a classic KISS record,
but if you really give it some good listens and absorb and dissect it all, theres allot
of classic KISS elements and some great songs on display! After the first 2 listens of
Monster back in August, I could differentiate one song from the other by the memorable
choruses, there lots of variation running through the course of the record! With repeated listens, you will be humming these songs in your head, the true sign of greatness! Maybe these guys are geniuses and we are the stupid ones!?

There is a definite live feel to the record, and one can only hope that some of these
songs get find a home in the setlist for the upcoming tour!

I'm not saying it's the best KISS record ever, BUT it is the best thing they have done
in years and they are certainly fired up, which you can't say about any band whose career
has spanned almost 4 decades! ALL of KISS contemporaries lost that fire aeons ago, and
have been phoning it in since! But no ones Calling Dr. Love!

There is a definitely a renewed energy with the whole band contributing! And concerning
Steven Tyler's recent comments levelled at KISS being  "a comic book band", if Aerosmith
thinks they are gonna give KISS a run for the money with their new record even
WITH the legendary Jack Douglas producing (Alice Cooper)...DREAM ON AND BITE YOUR TONGUE! MONSTER is one HELL of a ride, the band pulls out all the stops! GET YOURS NOW! -CL

MALICE
New Breed Of Godz
(Steamhammer/SPV)
Release: 28 May 2012


   Ok well here I was all sitting down to do the review for the new Overkill cd and then realized that they wanted me to review it from a fucking stream sorry guys I love Overkill but if you want me to do a full review on a band I like to include a quality check on the production of final release not a stream of. I won't settle for anything less for a band that deserves to have their shit reviewed in a fair manner!

Next time send us a cd or make a flac or 320 bitrate mp3 available to us so that way we can give you a fair review of the product.

   So here I was all bummed out on not being able to check out Overkill in full quality glory, then saw that they sent me a copy of the new Malice cd! I was Like WTF does that say Malice... "holy fucking horse shit on a Pop-Tart eating Christ" it does say Malice!!!!!!!!!

Man the fucking memory of seeing the movie Vice Versa with Judge Reinhold ,Fred Savage and featuring  Malice in that scene that was just epic as Hell! I remember being a teenager and hearing that song "Crazy in the Night" thinking "damn this song is just fucking great" It stills hold true to me toda.y I just can't get enough of that solid 80's sound, they were like a mix of Judas Priest, Helloween, and Twisted Sister. Unfortunately as soon as I saw that the recording company had sent me this I went dashing to see if I had my copy of the "Crazy in the Night" ep cassette tape and then I was saddened to  find out that it was no more. Oh well looks like I'll have to see if I can order a cd version of it as soon as I can but till then let's move on to the matter at hand.

   Now the last solid re-lease they had was 'Crazy in the Night' (EP) back in 1989 and then they had a one i didn't know about 'The Rare and Unreleased' in 2008 a best /collection cd. Now the first thing I noticed is that there are a few lineup changes that are making me nervous about playing it, like the absence of singer James Neal. His vocals was one of the things that drew me in to this band, so to me this could be a drastic change that could only go one of two ways horribly wrong or there could be a epic miracle and he could be even better. Well let's find out!

Wait.......  hold the phone Chuck this is fucking awesome!

    Oh yeah this cd just jumps in like there was never was a 25 year gap at all! New vocalist  James Rivera has a talent of his own; in a way he kind of reminds me of Ripper Owens with his unrelenting whiplash strike attacking screams. One of the other new qualities is that their rhythms seem to have more a Motorhead meets Judas Priest but with a slight touch of Manowar deep in its essence to drive them that just explodes one after another. The thing that gets me the most is how they managed to keep that sound musically and in a recording sense that makes you think that this album was released maybe only a year or 2 after 'Crazy in the Night.' Most bands that try to either go back to their roots or pick up where they left off never seem to recreate that essence almost like they try too hard to re kindle a lost spirit but somehow Malice pulled it off, and after 25 years. Now that is just amazing in every sense of the word.

  So far every song seems to be equally good all the way through, musically just good, and it jams all the way. Now on the production end, the audio quality is a little gritty sounding but in a good way. Ok yeah, it's not crystal clear but kind of like listening to a old record. But on the other hand, it could be they sent me this release on a 198 bitrate mp3. Who the hell uses 198? That's so weird. Again, I can't stress enough to send us better quality. We are reviewing your product to help the fans decide if they are going to buy it or not. Anyway, for the quality they sent us that's the best I can give you on the quality on the production but soon as I grab the cd I'll post a update to this. But don't let that stop you from checking this out. This a superb cd without a doubt. Well, if you're a old school Malice fan this album is right up your alley and for those haven't tried out Malice I recommend that you do. Yeah they aren't as heavy as Cannibal Corpse but none the less they have classic heavy metal sound that just can't be denied. So in the end, I totally have to give this cd my complete recommendation. So, go check it out for you self, it won't let you down!

p.s. Thank you Malice for coming back with an epic release. I missed you guys and my favorite song so far is Winds of Death (Angel of Light.) Anyway, keep going guys I am still a true fan -SI

http://www.facebook.com/MALICEofficial

MOSS
Horrible Night
(Metal Blade/Rise Above Records)


I for one, have never been much of a fan of "doom metal" with the exception of a few of the genre's more influential/versatile acts like Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Winter, and Cathedral, who's vocalist Lee Dorrian, coincidentally enough owns the Rise Above imprint!
 
For me it has always been something of an acquired taste... Never have I been able to comprehend what would make a band choose to play in this style, but I have a deep respect for people who are passionate about anything, such as their dedication to this genre for example!

As it sure as hell is not a fast track to "riches" in the music business, it is music played out of sheer devotion to the art form, on par with the blues, and I have immense respect for that! After all, didn't Sabbath start off playing blues!?

But, the problem with modern doom bands for me, is most of them play way too slow with songs that are way too long that seem to have literally 0 variation and go nowhere! Slowly of course! Verrryyyy slowlyyyy!

Just because your "doom" doesn't mean you can't break things up as far changing tempos and channeling into a real rock n' roll vibe much like Pentagram do, while staying dark and remaining true to the spirit!
For me, Doom isn't about how slow you can play, its about evoking emotion and keeping the vibe regardless of the pace...

So with that, UK doom trio Moss, are naturally a band who have escaped my radar despite being around since 2000, releasing 3 prior full length records and various EP's shockingly enough!

On Horrible Night, you get 6 tracks that average 10 minutes in length with a combined running time of 55 minutes that will be the longest of your life...if your not dead before the record concludes!? What can I say, not one track differs from the next, while the singer does his best/worst Ozzy impersonation
while repeating the song titles over and over, with a drummer who only seems to know one beat that he uses on all 6 tracks...

Best thing about this whole record is the buzzsaw guitar tone which kicked off the title track and could have made for a more interesting listen if the guitar player could at least create some great riffs and harmonies, but he just plays different variations of the same boring riff thoughout the recording!

Ironically enough, I have to laugh at the advert for the record I just saw that refers to their "unique brand of extremity and terror, reach new depths as monolithic riffs and gutwrenching vocals offset with an added sense for the melodic"? Are you sure we are talking about the same record? If this record has any of those characteristics, this would be a very different review! Sometimes there is no truth in advertising! CAVEAT EMPTOR!

I understand this is not a style for everybody but I can't see how even ardent doom fans would enjoy this, but I CAN picture the beardo hipsters who buy every relapse records release freaking out over this! -CL

Motörhead
The World is Yours
(EMI)

O.K. I admit it - I'm a NEW Motorhead fan. Yes, I know they've been around since 1975, and no, I never did like "The Ace Of Spades"!!!, BUT, in my defense, I did love NIN and AC/DC so they kept me kind of busy over the years. Then, the Editor of Crypt Magazine, the ultra-cool    (read: embalmed) David Necro (who just happens to be the biggest Motorhead fiend on the planet) came to L.A. from Las Vegas with a stack of Motorhead CD's in his hand and ordered me to play them in my car. And so began my conversion to what should have been a life-long love affair with Lemmy and the boys instead of the first flush of true love I'm now dazzled with, and this (call yourself British?) lass now hangs her head, utterly ashamed.
So here I am, remorsefully contrite, and now I have to tell you a little something about the new album.
And here it is.
I'M BUYING THIS ALBUM!!! AND SO ARE YOU!!!
Lemmy and his band of miscreants have produced an absolutely outstanding hard rock album that will be fighting off the competition all year! This album - 10 tracks of Bone-Shakin' R'n'R full of guitar riffin', heart-stompin' drumming with that killer voice of the Devil himself is THE must-have album of the year - and I don't care if it's January or December. This album raises the bar so high most other bands will be on their knees looking up at it. As well as in the Arena's of the world its going to find itself being played at parties, in clubs, and down the pub. And hearing it live will get the mosh pit heaving with synchronized headbanging, Devils horns high in the air, the temperature a million degrees from all those hot sweaty bodies stompin' to the driving beat. This album from first to last is Hard, Fast Rock and Roll all the way.
MOTORHEAD - THE WORLD REALLY IS YOURS!

TRACK LISTING

1. BORN TO LOSE - Great opener for this album - sets the pace with its fast, energetic drum    work.
2. I KNOW HOW TO DIE - Short but Cardiac-Arrest inducing - the perfect loosen-up-the-body party song!
3. GET BACK IN LINE - Overtures of good time Rock'n'Roll that's a cross between Status Quo and AC/DC!     
4. ROCK N ROLL MUSIC - Anthemic Rock-N-Roll Stadium music! Try standing still while THIS songs playing dude!
5. WAITING FOR THE SNAKE - Do I hear Led Zeppelin opening this song? No, I hear the echoes of Lemmy & Co's influences, old-school, timeless, classic rock - an instant hit.
6. BROTHERHOOD OF MAN - Definitely gonna have thousands of headbangers all moshing in unison!
Heavy Metal Rules!
7. THE DEVILS IN MY HEAD - AWESOME song - this will be blasting out of car stereos at the end of every Motorhead gig for the next Millenia!
8. OUTLAW - Classic Heavy Metal, blinding guitar riffs. Perfect Slam Pit Music!
9. I KNOW WHAT YOU NEED - This song, like the rest of the album is unrelenting, forcing you to keep rockin' out until you spill your beer (or your bladder!) 'cause you didn't want to risk missing anything by leaving the gig just to have a pee!
10. BYE BYE BITCH - This is an awesome ending to a brilliant album - it's guitar-heavy central riff is the perfect ending to a perfect album. THIS is the reason why dials were designed to crank all the way up to "The Stack Of Amps Are IN MY CHEST!!!
K, that's it - you've read the review - now F*** Off and buy it!!! -SV

NEW YORK DOLLS
Dancing Backward In High Heels.
(429 Records)

WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T RE-INVENT THE WHEEL?
This album is the sound of the 60's and 70's re-packaged and polished to a sparkle. It will appeal to a lot of people in their 40's, 50's and 60's who want a return to the 'Unobtrusive' sounds that epitomized another world - one of long-haired girls with their hair flicked up at the ends, and guys with polished shoes and manners to match; and music you could have a conversation over. This is a very 'relaxed' album, one that can be played anytime, anywhere, PRECISELY because it is so laid back.
The New York Dolls are not an in-your-face 'Keep Your Eye On Me' kind of a band; you can go to a Dolls concert and dance with your lover looking into THEIR eyes, not David Johansen's - and he won't mind a bit.
The current line-up of the Dolls has Two original members, the aforementioned David Johansen and lead guitarist Sylvain Sylvain. A Third original member, Arthur Kane, died shortly after the band re-formed in 2004. Current bass guitarist Jason Hill has worked with the Killers and David Bowie, among others. The second guitarist in the band is Frank Infante, who was in the original line-up of Blondie. Drummer Brian Delaney completes the band.

The album as a whole is completely different to whats out there, which makes it stand out in a class of its own. There are overtones of Billy Idol in 'Fool For You Baby', and you can easily visualize Bob Hoskins and Roger Rabbit ( I kid you not! ) all dressed up in gangster gear on ''Round And Round She Goes'.
Want something different? 'You Don't Have To Cry' could easily be a Bruce Springsteen number.
The New York Dolls have nailed a sound no longer heard - middle-of-the-road classic pop that will appeal to a wide range of people.
There isn't one filler track on the album; every song has been carefully crafted and selected for this record. The Dolls have put a lot of skill and talent into this 'effortless' recording, and I think their hard work has paid off with another fitting album that has earned its place among its illustrious brethren.
I just want to mention the artwork for the album - the cover is very eye-catching, with a poster of a sexy girls legs wearing high heels pinned up on a wall outside a club, with New York Dolls graffiti-ed over it in red.
Makes me want to strap on a pair of Stilletos and drive a Thunderbird up Pacific Coast Highway.......!!! -SV

TRACK LISTING

1. Fool For You Baby
2. Streetcake
3. I'm So Fabulous
4. Talk To Me Baby
5. Kids Like You
6. Round And Round She Goes
7. You Don't Have To Cry
8. I Sold My Heart To The Junkman
9. Baby Tell Me What I'm On
10. Funky But Chic
11. End Of The Summer

OPETH
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003 DVD
(Music For Nations/The End Records)

Swedish shape shifters Opeth, who through the course of their illustrious career have made the transition from experimental death metal with classic records like My Arms, Your Hearse, progressing to where they are now, a full on progressive rock band...

I will admit I have not kept up with the band in years and had not heard any of the material in their present form, although I was aware that their current sound leaned on the progressive rock side of things, which I am not the biggest fan of, and was curious what I would think. Would I be bored to tears?
 
Here is the Lamentations "Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003" concert DVD originally released in Europe by Music For Nations the same year, but finally released domestically in 2012 by the fine folks at The End Records.

This deluxe 3 disc edition gives you more misery and value for your buck, a beautiful package containing 2 audio CD's of the show where the band played 2 sets, the first being the latter progressive material, and the second set featuring the earlier death metal material! You also get the DVD of this historic performance as well a documentary about the making of the "Deliverance" & "Damnation" records as an added bonus!

The show opens with the band performing the ghostly track "Windowpane" from the Damnation record to a sold-out crowd, where they proceed to perform other well known tracks like "Death Whispered A Lullaby" and "Ending credits", I will say a lot of this material has a very hopeless chilling feeling to it. And was actually a lot more interesting than I imagined, it's always good to be proven wrong!

The band then changes the mood by performing 5 tracks of the earlier death metal era material starting with "Master's Apprentices" and ending with "A Fair Judgement"! It is clear watching these guys perform that they can really play, and there is a jazz-like feel to their playing, especially drummer Martin Lopez.
 
One thing I will say is that the more progressive material doesn't leave much room for audience interaction, and I for one, believe there has to be that exchange of energy between the band and the crowd, or something is missing which is why a band performs live to begin with, or at least in my opinion!? But that is to be expected when performing this type of material I guess, which is not a blight on the band, just making an observation, because lord knows these guys have become quite successful doing this! Yet the band does get very "animated" when performing the more metal material! And for all their technical proficiency, I will say Opeth manage to reproduce their music perfectly live!

The 2 documentaries give you up close and personal interviews with mastermind guitarist/vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt and the rest of the band members discussing the torturous process in recording what have become 2 of their most acclaimed records!

Overall, this collection will satisfy the needs of those obsessed with these swedes, while serving as a crash course for the uninitiated into the world of Opeth, with hours upon hours of material to please your eyes and ears! Even yours tru-LEE wasn't sure if I could watch the entire DVD in one sitting, but I did and I felt accomplished! If you are a hardcore Opeth fan and do not have this DVD set, pick it up immediately, and before you watch it, make sure you have a lot of time...TO KILL! -CL

Ozzy Osbourne
30th anniversary deluxe box set
(Epic Records/Sony Music)

   Pinnacle moments in metal history; you know the one that that make you stand back and say "mother fuck yeah" are what releases like these are about! Now for some of you that are younger and newer to music from this era in time this may not be as ground breaking as it is to us crazy ass old metal farts, but for us this is like going from the invention of the wheel to fucking 12 Playboy Bunnies on the hood of a lamborghini! I remember being 5 years old and hearing Crazy Train for the first time on the radio while being told that he was the crazy singer formerly of Black Sabbath that now bites the heads off of bats, and thinking "wow, this is the fucking best thing ever!" Hell, some of us have heard these on every format available from Vinyl, 8 track, cassette tape, first generation cd, crappy re-masters, those shit fuck rerecorded bass/ drum versions, and now finally a totaly bad ass re-master of the original master tapes of 'Blizzard of Ozz' and Diary of a Madman.'

   Ok, lets jump straight in to these luscious releases of metal orgasmic thunder. Now i'm gonna compare both Blizzard and Diary to the sound quality of the last re-masters of these releases just to be fair on how fair of a evolution of sound quality it has undergone. The First and biggest noticeable difference is the volume. In the previous re-masters, yes it was cleaner and clearer than the orginals without a doubt, minus the handicap of course of a cd's sample rate but that's a whole other issue by itself, but anyway the points is the volume was just piss fucking poor. Volume is more than acceptable on both Blizzard and Diary; since like i said it was a huge problem on the last releases if you tried to put them on a portable device such as a ipod you just could not get it to a comfortable jamming mode. Well ok, so we can now jam it loud but what about the sound quality? HA HA  I'm glad you asked, let me just say -
 
"It's the devil screaming..."
"It's an angel singing!"
"It is the pounding of creations hammer, on the anvil of time!"
"It's fucking awesome!"

-quote from the video game 'Brutal Legend'

Yes it is 99% fucking perfect and maybe 100% ; "WAIT WTF DO YOU MEAN MAYBE?"  ok let me explain what I mean here, all the sound quality in the re-mastering including the mixing volume leveing are flawess but I found a possible flaw in the first track of Blizzard ("I Dont Know") at 17 seconds in that sounds like a popping sound but im not sure what is, since I can't hear in the last remasters, and I dont have onther copy of the disk to compare it too, I can't tell if it is a imperfection in the disk that Sony sent us or a problem in the pressing. Hopefully, if i can get my hands on another copy I will add to this review later to update you on this, but for most of you without dog ears like me you wont even notice!

Now moving forward, now we now know its loud and it is clean and crystal fucking clear but what effect does it have on us now? Well let me tell you, ever since the incident of those fucking rerecorded atrocities of the bass and drum tracks on blizzard/diary I was exteamly turnned off of any Ozzy of any kind, not to mention the whole Sharon Osbourne/ Iron Maiden soap opera which just drove the nail into the coffin which in turn iced the preverbal cake into me totally not listening to any Ozzy since about 2005.

Until I started playing Brutal Legend, which i would like to thank King Diamond for suggesting to me, because with out him telling me about the games developing being under way at the time I had interviewed him, I would have probably never had cared enough to take the time look at the game let alone the Xbox 360. If it were not for playing Brutal legend and hearing "Believer" again for the first time in a long time, I would not have had the urge to get back into listening to Metal again let alone want to hear Ozzy; thus me asking to check out this release. So thank you to all of those in those chain of events from editor Dave Necro to King Diamond, the developers of Brutal Legend, Ozzy/Randy for making such beautiful music to begin with, and those all who worked on the re-mastering process of this box set for renewing my faith in the Ozz-man!

   Ok, lets see if we can get back on track here LOL! The point here is this hearing these Cd's in such a brilliant yet crisp aspersion of pure nostalgic bliss in the presentation of sound that almost makes it sound like it was recorded yesterday thus giving the feeling of a 1,000 year classic born yesterday, and in turn giving you the feeling of need to change your pants because you just made stains of complete joy in them. Also in this release, is the release of both Blizzard/Diary on re-mastered vinyl but unfortunately we were not able to obtain a copy of these from the recorded company. So, I cant say for sure what those sound like, but if it is at least 1% of the quality went into these that went into the cd's, all i can say from that guess is that you would be in for a treat of epic proportions!

   More; Wait More? Yes much more LOL!

   A live cd frome the 'Blizzard of Ozz' tour is also included in this box which just sounds so raw but rich in a powerfully nostalgic way that just wisps you away from the fuck of the world we live in but instead get the feeling of being transported back in time to a Ozzy concert you wanted to go to when you were a kid and for some reason missed, but now you are given a ticket to that concert any time you want so just close your eyes and enjoy your special seat in the arena of the past. So far it seems like a totally justified rerelease box set that is worth it no matter the price as far as im concerned, minus the possible flaw in Blizzard, but even if that is a fuck up it is still by far the best release of the first 2 albums that has ever been assembled.

  Now besides the bonus of the live cd and the 2 vinyl's, there are other jewels in here such as the 100-page Coffee table and the full-sized detailed replica of Ozzy's iconic cross. Which I would love to tell you about, but like the vinyls we didn't receive it. so i can't tell you anything about them but I'm sure it is got to be at the least a nice addition to your Ozzy collection.
  
  Here is something I found to be a little considerably out of place in this re-master themed box set, and that is the dvd special that is included. I know what you're thinking, "what's wrong with getting a a bonus dvd special in a re-mastered box set?" Well let me tell you, everything I have heard has been cleaned to the point in quality that it matches the whole brought to you in hd feel until this point and here is what i mean - if they had just taken a little more time and effort they could have cleaned some of this old footage just a little bit more, and the same for the newly shot footage just for this vid; they could have at least pressed a standard 720p BD. Now that would be a little more acceptable considering that everything else is so in the now sound, that I think if I would play any thing else from this box for my 12 year old son he would be like, "wow dad, this Ozzy cover band sounds flawless." But even the footage of the recent interviews in this dvd just wont hold a passable mark on a standard hd tv.

   Though the video is a dvd insted of a BD dont let that disstract you to much from what is contained in the contents of this 41 minute special about the begings of on how these first 2 ozzy cd's came to be and here what people like Steve Vai, Lemmy, Rob Halford, Bill Ward, and others have to say about Ozzy and Randy's influence was on them, not to mention on the world itself. Ok, the fact that Sharon Osbourne pisses me off in multitude of ways is no secret, but even I will say that she was very good in these dvd but just for the fact that she was very informative and yes if it wasnt for her Ozzy probably would have never come back after Sabbath. So yes, I understand that, though I still cant fucking stand for a lot of the shit she has pulled over the years. But, that is just me, I give her credit where credit is due. One of the things I liked the most on the dvd was watching Ozzy sitting down and listening to the old raw takes from albums. Especially when it came down to them listening to "Suicide Solution" during the part where Ozzy was blamed for using the oh so infamous technique of Hemi-Sync where they claimed Ozzy said "you got to get the gun, shoot shoot shoot" and actually hear what was said! LMAO WOW!

    Now I am going to wrap this up with the best part of this entire box set, and that is the bonus track included on the 'Blizzard of Ozz' cd. Ok out of the 3 bonus tracks one of them is the whole reason to buy this box; wait - what's that? you want to know which one? well sit down and shut the hell up and i might be nice enough to tell you, but first we are going to start with track #10 which is entitled (You looking at me, looking at you) which was previously unreleased in the U.S until now. But either way I had never heard this track before and to be honest it's not bad at all but it's not going to make love stains in you pants though. Next Skipping track 11 (becuase i am saving the best for last) is Track #12 a little Randy Rhoads solo outtake which is fucking great to hear something from randy you haven't heard before! Now for best part, and that is unless you have forgotten how to count, is track #11 (Goodbye to Romance - 2010 guitar & vocal mix). From the moment this track starts, it feels and sounds like dream come true; a ascension to a magical land where Ozzy and Randy have reunited to jam this song one last time just for you. Let me tell you, I have played the shit out of this song, and everytime I hear it the more it feels like I am sitting in the studio right now hearing it as it's being recorded! And with that said, all thats left is to say is buy it! It is so worth it! -DW

Pink Cream 69
Ceremonial

FAIL

When the offer came across the wire for me to review this CD, I had envisioned this band and the music within to sound like Pink Floyd, Cream & Jimi Hendrix jamming on an acid trip.

I could not have been more wrong.

Upon listening to this album, it reminded me of old school 80s metal in the same vein as Testament. I've never heard this band before so I don't have any frame of reference against their other albums & I have to admit that this is not my cup of tea musically but I can see how they might appeal to those that are missing 80's metal because their old cassette tapes have all worn out from decades of play. I guess its a good album but it just sounds dated to me. -SV

Redd Kross
Researching The Blues
(Merge Records)


Welcome to the age where your average so-called music fan has no problem with downloading records
illegally, and an artists life's work is now reduced to a meaningless digital file known as an MP3, while record
labels have gone the way of the dinosaurs! Rock is not soon behind!

Music will continue to suck when the surviving corporations are afraid to take a chance on anything that isn't palatable
to the masses or a guaranteed kill, because they can't afford to take risks!

And thats where smart labels like Merge Records come into play by being ambitious enough to sign legendary
bands like Redd Kross, which in the process, can surely mean BIG success for a small label, increasing their roster!

And a brilliant move on Merge's part, as power pop legends Redd Kross fronted by brother's Jeff & Steven McDonald, on
Vocals and Bass respectively, have always been a band I have enjoyed since I discovered them in the early 1990's thanks to the brilliant "3rd Eye" album which I proudly own on all 3 formats!

Mainstream Success always eluded the brothers as it has with many greats (Ramones) because as I have always stated, casual music fans are robots and don't want anything that is original, or honest in its intent, just a facsimile of whatever is popular at the time! And furthermore, they don't live and die for their music, its just "stuff" to them!

So here we are 3/4 of the way into 2012 and Redd Kross return with "Researching The Blues" their first new album in 15 years and a welcome return to form from The Brothers McDonald! A nice surprise for me as I had no idea they recorded a new album when I recently stumbled upon the video for the record's first single, the brilliant "Stay Away From Downtown"!

"Stay Away" is a great way to debut an album, while many bands release a godawful tracks as the lead, probably at the
assistance of clueless label people who never "get it"! A great song that is infectious, with those beautiful dual harmonies of Jeff & Steve and a great chorus that will get inside your head and have you singing it with your brain on autopilot! After multiples listens
my own girlfriend even started singing it asking "why am I signing it now"? to which I replied "because its brilliant, that is what a perfect rock song should do"! It is most certainly a top contender for best rock track this year! THIS IS POWER POP AT ITS FINEST! Bow at the altar of rock and roll and make the sign of the guitar!!!!

*I encourage you to check out the amazing video for the song on youtube! Proof you can do things inexpensively and with some creativity make something thats a work of art!!!!

"Researching The Blues" is an album that showcases the bands various influences, with a definite 60's garage rock feel bringing to mind everything from Flamin' Groovies to The Stones, its apparent that regardless of the lapse in time, the band haven't lost that spark to write great songs, while lesser bands would!
 
The title track makes for a great way to start an album and I can see this being the opening track to the current Redd Kross live show, its perfect and lets you know what you are in store for!!!!

From there on Redd Kross take you on a journey through a record that is the perfect length for those with ADD, 10 tracks each different than the last, some good, some great like "Stay Away From Downtown", "Uglier", and the urgency of "Choose To Play" where Jeff McDonald vocally evokes the spirit of George Harrison!

You know an album is good when mere words to describe it just roll off your tongue as they have in this case, the songs grow on you with each consecutive listen, which is the sign of a record that you will come back to again and again for years to come!

If you are a Redd Kross fan, I urge you to pick this up, as it will make a welcome addition to your collection, and if you are unfamiliar with the band do some "researching" and discover a great band who have been writing "hits you haven't heard" for years and then pick up the record! The band is currently on tour and after all these years I await the opportunity to finally see them and lose my mind in the presence of greatness! I better bring a towel cause it's gonna be the Chris Lee rock n' roll workout!!!! HA HA! -CL

Royal Hunt
20th anniversary- Special Edition


FAIL

Being in the business of judging new release albums, I hear stuff that inspires me & I also hear a lot of crap that makes me wish for deafness.

This sad collection is just so, that I'm surprised it hasn't been satirized by Saturday Night Live ( "More Cowbell!" ) It isn't that there's no talent here but its buried under symphonic metal cliches & wannabe Trans-Siberian Orchestra fluff.
If you're a TSO fan then you'll get much enjoyment from this (Not-So) Special Edition release, but I'm afraid I did not. -SV

Skeletonwitch
Forever Abomination
(Prosthetic Records)

     Truly hailing from Athens, Ohio since 2003, Skeletonwitch has been of the more refreshing reminders that the true spirit of metal persists amid the great awash of trends, gimmicks, and genre locked artistry found in metal today. With an eclectic blend of classic and contemporary metal influences of the highest caliber, Skeletonwitch has been unleashing one onslaught after another. From their self-released full-length debut in 2004,   At One with the Shadows , followed by a relentless assault of underground tours, Skeletonwitch in 2006, self-released, Worship the Witch, and demonstrated a refinement to its musical arsenal. In 2007 their efforts warranted the attention of Prosthetic Records , who would release, Beyond the Permafrost , which would receive its necessary praise within the domestic metal community as well as abroad. Reinforcing its commitment to pure unadulterated metal, Skeltonwitch , in 2009 released the follow up full length, Breathing the Fire , and further entrenched within the hearts of metal fandom itself while making appearances in various “Best Of” lists and charts including the Billboard Top 200.

     Forever Abomination (Prosthetic Records, 2011) the most recent effort of Skeletonwitch will undoubtedly satisfy metalheads in need of their WITCH fix, while enthralling those previously unfamiliar. Forever Abomination assures that Skeltonwitch will continue to be a driving force in the future of metal as they consistently deliver volatile composition in every damn song on the album. Those who’ve been watching this band progress would agree, Skeletonwitch has always been a highly explosive ordinance, and Forever Abomination , proves their newest release to be a weapons development comparable to the, “Fat Man and Little Boy” of World War II fame.
     

Skeletonwitch open Forever Abomination with the serene acoustical prelude of, ”This Horrifying Force(The Desire To Kill)” and blasts into its hellacious descent with a riff heavy coaster ride of some pretty serious fuckin’ metal here folks. Like, for real-for real… There’s not a bad song on the album if your tastes in metal embody anything that could be confused with good. Forever Abomination produced and recorded by Matt Hyde, (Slayer, Hatebreed) comes equipped with eleven songs and each provides its own unique array of elements found within the various extreme metal genres. Though I did enjoy the whole of Forever Abomination, there were some songs that I was particularly drawn to. Reduced to the Failure of Prayer was as tough as you might anticipate as was Of Ash and Torment , while the thrash of Choke Upon Betrayal had my head nodding enthusiastically as I typed this sentence. The breakdown offensive of Cleaver of Souls is so intense it’s bound to be the inspiration for pit injuries the world over. Skeletonwitch rips it straight up with Forever Abomination . To the members, Nathan Garnette (guitar), Chance Garnette (vocals), Evan Linger (bass), Scott Hedrick (lead guitar), and newest arrival to the ‘WITCH, Justin Boltjes (drums), the hat is off and the horns are up! To you the reader, check it out and see for yourself. Skeltonwitch is that shit… Forever Abomination… Get Some! -MS

Snake Charmer
Snake Charmer


PASS

Ok, when I saw the cover of this album which is a Fender amp with a guitar cable that resembles a snake, I was expecting an album full of cliche 80s cock rock glam band from Hollyweird California.  As I read through the liner notes, I see this band are actually original members of Whitesnake,sans David Coverdale and his amazing voice and  Mr Jon Lord's (Rest In Peace) awesome keyboard work.

After my listen through, I fell in LOVE with this catchy collection of blues influenced ditties that hearken back to the days when bands cared more about the music than the money they'll make and the image they represent. Does it sound like Whitesnake? Well, yes & no. It sounds like Slide It In and the albums they did before that, but the best part is that it doesn't sound like the 1987 (Still Of The Night) sellout era of the band.

I will be buying this CD for 2 reasons:

Reason #1- The music contained in this album is bonafide good.
Reason #2- I believe in supporting a band that makes good music, especially in this day & age when it is so easy to just download it and cheat the band and thus cheating the music you like from ever being signed so you'll never get to hear it.
I only have one issue with this band & that is the singer. Laurie Wisefield is no David Coverdale - he needs to have his own sound. I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not in the music business! -SV 

Starkill
Fires Of Life
(Century Media Records)


Hailing from the windy city Chicago, the new murder capital, comes Starkill, a new breed of young assassins, recently signed to Century Media Records and sure to set the world on fire with the release of their first full length album "Fires Of Life" next month upon an unsuspecting world!

Starkill (why do I think of Starkist tuna when I hear that name? Sorry Charlie!) play melodic technical death metal interwoven with keyboards and  atmospheric passages making for quite a listening experience that brings to mind trendy, commercial black metal acts at times, ie: Dimmu Borgir as well as bands like Children Of Bodom! Fans of those bands will eat this up!

"Fires Of Life" will take you on a journey through 10 blazing of tracks produced by none other than guitar legend James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Disincarnate, Testament) who knows exactly how a guitar should sound!

It's a testament (no pun intended) to their ages, that for a band with some members not even legal drinking age, these young men will wow you with their playing! The guitar team of vocalist Parker Jameson and Charlie Federici will blow your mind as evidenced by their soloing on tracks like "Below The Darkest Depths", they are on "Fire"! Notice a theme here!?

But are the songs good? Is it an easy listen? Um, not really... I will say its hard to distinguish one track from the next, there is nothing all that memorable on first listen, but that is just my humble opinion! But it is worth a listen! It's nothing that hasn't been done before, but they certainly put their own individual stamp on the style, or do they? It's hard to tell with so many bands playing this style nowadays, where songwriting has become a long lost art. You can still rage and be technical yet write memorable songs that stimulate the cerebral cortex, as is the case with rising stars and soon to be legendary sci-fi thrashers Vektor for example!

If your a fan of the aforementioned bands and this style, be sure to pick up the record when it is officially released domestically on April 30th, and decide for yourself! -CL

VOIVOD
Target Earth
(Century Media Records)

The mighty VoiVod, one of the most original, innovative, and in my humble opinion, underrated bands of all space and time... I have been a fan since 1986 when I discovered them in no small part due to the amazing artwork of drummer "Away" (Michel Langevin) who illustrated their various album covers that brought to life the story of the VoiVod, a futuristic barbarian creature who survived nuclear war and made way for space only to encounter a technological future with no room for man, only machine! Remember when people BOUGHT records by bands they never heard of strictly because of the artwork!?

An acquired taste for some, but always a great test of just how "metal" someone really is all depends on whether they worship at the marvel of this great machine of a band, who created a sound and identity all their own, that is VOIVOD!

The mark of any true great band, you know its VoiVod the minute you hear them as they sound like no one before or after, the sound of a cold mechanical future, whether its the unique vocals of "Snake" ( Denis Bélanger), the tribal drumming of Away or the patented, discordant axe work of late guitarist "Piggy" (Denis D'Amour) who passed away in 2005, just one of countless ups and downs the band has encountered throughout their decades long career that would have killed lesser bands and still...VOIVOD LIVES!

Following the 2009 release of the record Infini, which displayed songs constructed out of recorded riffs Piggy created for the band before he passed, the band releases the follow up Target Earth the first record with new guitarist Dan Mongrain which also welcomes the return of original bassist Blacky (Jean-Yves Thériault) back to the fold!

Target Earth is easily one of the most anticipated releases of 2013 after seeing live clips of the band performing new tracks and hinting at what is to come in the shape of the Mechanical Mind 7" released months ago! Kudos are in order to Century Media for being smart enough to sign the band and release their 13th studio album!

So how is the album you ask in your best robot voice!? Target Earth surpasses anything they have done in ages, with 10 tracks building on the modern VoiVod sound and updating it with new ideas forsaking conventional song structures, with LOTS of unexpected twists and turns, there is NOTHING predictable here! You've got a variety of songs bringing to mind the different classic VoiVod era's, from the more rock elements of records like The Outer Limits with songs like Resistance, to the chaos of Dimension Hatross with the title track! Only thing missing is a song reminiscent of the criminally underrated Angel Rat era, an album often misunderstood that I personally f#cking love!

There is a great selection of sounds, and Mongrain is so good at working within the VoiVod context with his riffs, chords and ideas, he picks up exactly where Piggy left off, doing the bands legacy proud!
 
Songs like Empathy For The Enemy bring to mind VoiVod masterworks like NothingFace, this record is totally sensory overload and will take repeated listens for your brain to process... After all, YOU'RE ONLY HUMAN!!!!

All self-respecting VoiVod fans are ordered to pick up this record NOW, you will not be disappointed! And for those unfamiliar with the bands sound/history, Target Earth is a great starting point to discover one of metal's more importantly, music's true innovators! -CL

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