Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Motley Crue - Red, White & Crue

I'll be honest, I'm not a real Motley Crue fan. I'm a greatest hits fan, that can appreciate that these guys are the only 80's Glam band that's worth the platinum they've been issued. Also, just to clarify, I DO NOT consider G'N'F'N'R an 80's Glam band.

Of all the Ratt's, Poison's, Wasp's, and countless other 80's Glam bands, Motley Crue is the one worth knowing. All those other bands have one, maybe two decent songs, and on their best day could not honestly pull off a greatest hits album. If they were lucky, they could maybe do a best of, but who would buy them. The Crue, on the other hand, successfully pull off a double CD best of package that makes me want to be a better fan.

The cool thing about Motley Crue is that they got their asses handed to them in the 90's, and were up shit's creek until 2005 when they got their shit together enough to pull off this collection, plus record two new songs.

Red, White & Crue is the first Motley album I've ever bought myself. I use to borrow Decade Of Decadence from my dad's CD collection. He wasn't much of a fan, after all Glam was just a shitty rip off of all the great things from the 70's. However, my step-mom seemed to enjoy 80's music more than the classics at times. Now it's all classic, and that's kind of scary for me. However, I digress.

To this day I don't own a regular studio album. I should, but I'm lucky enough that I can just buy them for my son now, and borrow them when I want. He's become quite the Motley fan all on his own, also because of this CD.

The album opens with Live Wire, which is a bit of a rip off of a classic track by AC/DC. It has that same vibe, shares the same title, and lyrically shares quite a few markers. "Plug me in, I'm alive tonight / Out on the streets again / Turn me on, I'm hot to stop / Something you'll never forget / Take my fist to break down walls / I'll top tonight, no, no / Better turn me loose / Better set me free / 'Cause I'm hot, I'm young, running free - little bit better than it used to be / ('Cause I'm alive) Live wire / ('Cause I'm alive) Oh live wire / ('Cause I'm alive) Live wire / ('Cause I'm alive) I'm a live wire". But, a great track to open the album with. Then it's on to Piece Of the Action which is okay. I've never been impressed by this song and always considered it one of those songs that proved my dad was right. After that, Toast Of The Town comes kicking in. This one is a good pick me up after the last track, it's solid, rockin', and easily enjoyable.

Too Fast For Love is the first song on the album that I full out like, and will put on my Mp3 player. It's not musically great, but it's still fun all the same.

There are a lot of songs on this album that surprised the shit out of me when I bought it. Black Widow was one of them. I was expecting some kind of cheap Alice Cooper like knock off, after all Live Wire was a bit of a knock off of the AC/DC song with the same title. That's all cool with me too, because it shows where the Crue came from. But that's not the case with Widow. It is it's own beast, that only shares a title. Also, it's a rather beautiful song and Mick Mars' guitar work is top notch. This has actually become a favourite of mine.

I feel that I should mention that all of the songs have been digitally remastered, under the band's supervision. Which is why I all of sudden like Looks That Kill, even though I had always thought it was a weak sounding song. This was one of those songs that had turned me off of Motley, but on this collection it sounds awesome, and the production really makes a difference. The song doesn't sound flat, but instead has many mountains and valleys.

Too Young To Fall In Love (Remix) is my son's favourite Motley Crue song, or it was last I heard. You know how kids change their minds. Although, Ryan's been a fan of this one since we picked up this set. Personally it doesn't do too much for me, but that's because I'm a romantic, and think there's nothing better than being in love. There are two songs in The Beatles catalogue that I love and would cover any day of the weak. Helter Skelter is one of them, which caused some panic when I saw they put a cover of it on here. I had never heard their version, but to be honest it's pretty damn good. They did the song in their style, but it still sounds faithful to the original. I'm surprised that they didn't try getting a little heavier with it, but they did truly make it Hard Rock.

So, when I say what's you favourite Motley Crue song, to the average every day Joe, he's going to most likely say Dr. Feelgood or Shout At The Devil, which is the next track on the collection. Is it a good song? Damn skippy it is. Is it as good as people would claim? Not really, but when you think about it neither was Smoke On The Water, Paranoid, or We Will Rock You. But sometimes the best songs are the simple ones.

If you were wondering, Jane would most likely say "Home Sweet Home", but we're not there yet.

Instead we go to another cover with Smokin' In The Boys Room. I do like this song, but it's not one of those songs that I like the Crue for. In fact this one also turned me off of Motley for a while.

Use It Or Lose It is a rather heavy track, and I'm sure the remastering has a lot to do with that fact. When originally released in 1985, this song would have actually been a little ahead of it's time, and the production was not designed for that much double bass drum action.

Motley Crue was born in the strip clubs, and Girls, Girls, Girls is their tribute to those days. This song just reaks of all that dirty, sexy, smut that makes the mind race to tight little bodies with great curves swinging around from the brass pole. Wild Side is one of those songs that everything that is Rock N' Roll to me. This song is founded on the Alice Cooper laws of Sex, Death and Money, but it also contains the magic words laid down for me by my dad and uncle Paul, Drug, Sex, Rock N' Roll. "Name dropping no-names / Glamorize cocaine / Puppets with strings of gold / East L.A. at midnight / Papa won't be home tonight / Found dead with his best friend's wife / Take a ride on the wild side / Wild side". The track if fast, dirty, and comes right from the heart.

I like it better when Motley is being all Too Young To Fall In Love, because when they do fall in love we get songs like You're All I Need. I can only shake my head for so long, but in the case of this song I shake my head for about four and half minutes.

All In The Name Of feels exactly like a Kiss song. Hell, I wouldn't be surprise to hear that Vince and Nikki had been listening to the Love Gun album for two days straight before writing this track. That being said, I did enjoy the Love Gun album myself to some extent.

Of all Motley Crue songs the only one that absolutely must be on my Mp3 player at all times is Kick Start My Heart. There is nothing I enjoy more than barrelling down the street on my bike, knuckles white with a death grip, as I go flying along, heart pounding out of my chest, while Tommy's drums just drive me. To be honest this song makes me want to be an adrenaline junky. This also marks the first of five tracks on this collection that come from the Crue's greatest album.

Without You is another one of those ballads that I just shake my head about. Yes, it's pretty and nice and sappy, but that just isn't enough for me to let the song play. If you've read any of my reviews it shouldn't be surprising that I skip this one.

Don't Go Away Mad has got to be the greatest, polite, fuck you, I have ever heard. Even though a part like "That's alright, that's okay / We were two kids in love / Trying to find our way / That's alright, that's okay / Held our dreams in our hands / Let our minds run away / That's alright, now that's okay / We were walkin' through some youth / Smilin' through the pain / That's alright, let's turn the page / And remember what I say girl / And it goes this way", mixed with the softish vocals, and accoustic guitar could easily be mistaken for a sweet song. But when you pay attention to how Vince sings "Girl, don't go away mad / Girl, just go away / Girl, don't go away mad / Now girl, just go away / Here we go", you can clearly tell this song is him telling some specific woman out there "Yo! She bitch! Have a nice life! I'm going to get me some fresh pussy and another beer."

After all these years I'm really still not sure how I feel about Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.). It is a good track, but it's a little stock, especially in this collection. That being said, crank this bitch and sing along with the choruses.

The first disc of this double album collection ends with the title track from their biggest and best album, Dr. Feelgood. You should know this song, and if you don't "What is you major malfunction!?" How have you not got some groove on to this dirty little number, that makes drug dealers sound so sexy, in a very fun naughty way.

The second disc opens with a cover of Anarchy In The UK, which had been recorded for the band's last greatest hits package, Decade Of Decadence. It's a decent enough cover, that I find rather enjoyable. But, for the most part it's just another band covering Anarchy. It's hard to go wrong.

The one thing I both like and dislike about these discs is that the songs are all in order of original release dates. The down side is they use it to slip an older track in the second disc, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Primal Scream is the second track on the the second disc. It's also from the Decade colletion mentioned above. It's a decent enough song, and I'm pretty sure it's just a left over from the Feelgood sessions. It's one of those tracks that would have ended up sounding like filler, because of everything around it.

Now, it's on to a wee bit of dirty cheating. Home Sweet Home is the ('91 Remix). I never owned Theatre Of Pain, so I don't know much about the original. I'm just not cool with the fact that they stuck this song in here, and it's the only one out of order, remixes shouldn't count. Other than that I really do dig this song. It's honest, except for the placement in this collection, and it's pretty. I love a song that knows how to use a piano.

I like the fact that Motley didn't do anything different to the tracks that did not include the four core members. I think it's even cooler how many tracks they included from the time with John Corabi.

The first song is Hooligan's Holiday, which I love when riding my bike. It just get's the heart pumping and it's really good. It almost makes me feel bad that I was snotty about them replacing Vince, even though I really didn't care about Motley one way or the other at the time.

I'm not a fan of Misunderstood. It's okay, but it sounds like the Crue was trying to get themselves a piece of that unplugged/alternative movement. Think Mr. Big doing a Red Hot Chili Pepper's cover, and that might give you a good idea. I'm even willing to say it's a bit Extreme sounding, but without the insane guitar work.

I'm not sure why Planet Boom is on here. I do find it interesting enough to consider enjoyable, but I'm guessing Tommy needed his ego stroked a bit, to allow a song without him to get on here.

I am so glad Bittersuite was put on this collection. Holy shit is it fucking amazing. Getting to hear Mick Mars open up and let fly is just way too cool. It makes you truly understand how much his skills are wasted in Motley, and he could easily be out there playing some real musicians music.

Afraid is pretty bad ass. It's a little Alternative, but not horribly so. In fact it makes it sound Pop like, but in a creepy sadistic way. I think I would have liked to have heard Corabi sing this one instead of Neil.

When it comes to Beauty you can take what I said above, and apply it here. Then make it a bit more boring.

Generation Swine is a really fun song. Of the three tracks that made it on here from that album, this is the best.

I had no clue that Motley Crue released a Greatest Hits in 1998. When I think about it a bit I think I can picture the album cover, but I know it never impressed me much. It seems that the album contained two new tracks, and both were put on here. Bitter Pill and Enslaved are both okay, but they are filler songs. It's easy to see why Tommy left after this album. Not so easy to see why he did what he did after he left.

Based on the two tracks this collection offers from the New Tattoo album, I may be interested in checking it out one day. Hell On High Heels is very typically Motley, but it's one of those songs that captures the true flavour of the band. I also don't find myself missing Tommy's drumming at all on this one.

The track New Tattoo is a bit cheesy, but within the realm of 80's Glam Metal it makes perfect sense. I like the romantic sentiment behind the song, and can even overlook that it's a bit of an "A" typical ballad. It even has that accoustic twang to it.

After that the album finishes off with three new songs, one of which is a cover. The first is if I Die Tomorrow, which is a ballad, but only in lyrics. "I wake up to find myself / After all these years / And where all the time has gone / Still seems so unclear / 'Cause there's no one else / Since I found you /I know it's been so hard / You should know / If I die tomorrow / As the minutes fade away / I can't remember / Have I said all I can say? / ou're my everything / You make me feel so alive / If I die tomorrow". However, musically there is very little in the way of a ballad about this one. For the most part it's very thick and heavy. I can almost overlook the fact that Simple Plan is credited in the liner notes as well.

The next track, Sick Love Song is a lot more of what I'm talking about, when it comes to Motley Crue. It's fast, dirty, full of testosterone, and is what a love song should be. "Wake me up in the morning glory / can't get straight your lies and story / How do you mark your territory / When your trash becomes your treasure / Your immorals are my pleasure / Lose your mind and that's your lesure / Simply said, you're complicated / Understand you're overrated / More you talk the less you seem to say / We are miserable / You are drivin' me insane / This could be our sick love song / This could be your sign that things are going wrong / This could be our sick love song / Sick love song / Sick love song".

The album should have ended there. I'm not a huge fan of The Rolling Stones, and even less of a fan of Street Fighting Man. Motley's cover is okay, but what a weak finish to me.

All in all I really like this collection. I find the first and second disc are pretty interchangeable and depending on the vibe or feel you want depends on which disc you should listen to. I personally don't mind listening to both back to back.

8/10 - content

8/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Monday, October 29, 2012

We're A Happy Family - A Tribute To Ramones

I've mentioned before how much I love a good tribute album, and by good I mean faithful, yet diverse. I don't want to hear an album full of exact knock offs, nor do I want to hear an album full of songs that I should know, and don't recognize.

When I found We're a Happy Family, which I had seen was coming out before I bought it, I was instantly intrigued because I love many of the bands on the album. Some make sense, like The Offspring and Green Day, but others are a bit more surprising and add extra flair, like Marilyn Manson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

In fact RHCP open up the album with Havana Affair, which is a good track, and they do it very well, but it's a song I just don't care for. That being said, if you are a fan of the Chili Peppers, you should like this song. If you like the original cover, you should also like this song. If you are like me you'll just want to skip to the next song.

This album was produced for release by Johnny Ramone and Rob Zombie. So, it's no surprise that Rob got to pick the most popular Ramones song, Blitzkrieg Bop, to cover as his own. Let me start with Rob's cover is fucking balls out amazing. I love the fuck out of it. I love it more than the original. It's like Zombie took the original and added some real insane guitar work to it. It's what the Ramones may have done, if they had wanted to get all fancy, instead of just being a bunch of punks.

Eddie Vedder is a real Ramones fan, and his cover of I Believe In Miracles is top notch. It's done with Zeke, which I know nothing about, and have no interest in looking up. They get the song done right, and that's good enough for me.

When I heard Metallica was going to be on this album I was totally psyched. I was expecting some big, bad ass, heavier than hell, monster of a cover. Instead what we get is a very authentic cover. The sound is very similar to what the Ramones actually sound like, and the over all quality just has that perfect punk tone. This one almost sounds like it could have been on the Garage Day Revisted E.P.

I didn't know how I was going to feel about U2 covering Beat On The Brat, but it's not bad. It sounds like what you'd expect U2 to sound like doing such a cover.

I've never been a fan of the song Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio. It's okay, but not my thing. The Kiss version kind of makes me want to punch Gene and Paul in the face. I can totally picture Gene trying to act all punk in that dorky way of his, while Paul tries to make the song way too flashy. This is the worst song on this tribute as far as I'm concerned.

Of all the bands on this album the only one I was panicked about was Marilyn Manson. He's been known to get some covers spot on, and totally fucking up others. The KKK Took My Baby Away is not a fuck up, but it's not a win either. I love the song as it's own song, and I think Manson should have tried to adopt it as his own that way. Like he did with other covers. However, I like the original much better, and this one doesn't give it the same justice I think. Andria, I know disagrees, and really likes this song.

I am not a fan of the band Garbage, but I respect the hell out of them. I really enjoy Shirley Manson's singing style, especially when she's doing her soft crooning thing. That being said, i love the way she rocks out on I Just Wanna Have Something To Do. Garbage does a great job covering this one and it totally captures the vibe of the original.

Green Day performs Outsider. It sounds like a Green Day song, and I was never big on the original, so I just skip this one.

The Pretenders offer up a slightly slower version of Something To Believe In. I think this is very well done in it's different approach. It's also the only song on this album to go over 4 minutes. The only other song that gets close to this in time is Manson's track.

Rancid sounds like Rancid on their cover of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker. This is probably the most Punk cover on this album dedicated to Punk rockers.

Pete Yorn sounds almost exactly like the original on I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. I was a bit let down by the version of I Wanna Be Sedated on this album. It was covered by The Offspring, and they do a good job, but it sounds way too much like the original. I mean so much so that it could be mistaken by someone that doesn't really know better. I really would have liked to have heard this one jacked up by Rob Zombie or Metallica. Just for that wicked cool heaviness.

I don't know who Rooney is, and after the cover of Here Today, Gone Tomorrow I'm not interested in finding out either. It's a really well done cover, but they are not my type of band, at least going on how this sounds.

I'm a bit impressed by the Tom Waits cover of Return Of Jackie & Judy. It's more underground sounding than anything the Ramones ever released, and captures everything that Punk started as.

The bonus track on this version of the CD is pretty damn good too. It's Eddie Vedder and Zeke again and this time they do Daytime Dilemma (Dangers Of Love). It's a really good way to finish off the album, and I can't stress enough how much I have to respect Eddie's vocals on both covers. It's a bit refined sounding, but good all the same.

I know it sounds like I've ragged on this album a lot, and that I must not like it much, but that's not true. I really love this collection, and after owning it for almost a full decade at this point it still gets regular play in my CD player.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Friday, October 26, 2012

Priestess - Hello Master

This is going to read like a pretty quick review, but that just due to the album having such a quick feel to it. Of the twelve tracks that make up this album, only two of them are more than three and half minutes.

Also, this album is one crazy Rock N' Roll audio show. I was actually lucky enough to see the band when they were touring promoting this album and even got to meet them. They're a great bunch of guys that just were able to write some great music. Their term was "Camero Rock".

I am The Night, Colour Me Black is one heavy, high aggression, lead off track. I mean this song is head pounding against the wall angst, all wrapped up in a wicked little tune.

I totally love Lay Down, and am still impressed that it made it on to Guitar Hero III. Not bad for a Canadian band's first album.

My favourite song on this album is also the song that introduced me to the band from Quebec. Run Home is a great song with a simple beat, and a great attitude. I also love the chorus, and how I always enjoy singing it wrong. The line goes, "Run home, I'm gone", but I swear that it sounds like "Run home, asshole". Which does work within the context of the song, sorta. This is one of those songs that I'll be listening to for years to come with the same enjoyment.

The shortest song on the album is Two Kids. This is another great simple song. It seems very Ramones influenced musically. Lyrically it cuts pretty close to the bone. "Two kids found dead in the water / Beside each other / I don’t think they drowned / Ring up the mother and father / From the gutter / They didn’t want kids around / Hell no I ain’t on your side / But I’m sticking around until I die / Feeling bad ‘cause they bought her and sold her / To the order / Of caring takes too much time / If you want some weight on your shoulders / Create a border / I'd rather be blind". Talk To Her has a great bounce. To be honest this is a complete get it on song, with it's groove. You could rip this one out at the club and totally get your moves on. It's a real killer track.

The longest song on the album is Time Will Cut You Down. This is one of those slow, and slick tracks. It has a vibe that reminds me of AC/DC's Night Prowler. There aren't many lyrics in the song that runs 5:05, "That face I saw and thought of love is gone / And if you thought you'd end on top / You're wrong / You'll realize when I'm standing over you / Time will cut you down / Time will steer your path from your precious dreams / And I won't be around / No souvenirs or guilty tears / Or anything / My trust is lost and it will cost / You everything / There's a lot of lies but I'll tell you one thing that's true", cool guitar solo, "Make no mistake, the hearts you break / Grow strong / I know this shame will bring you pain / So long / I know this memory will haunt you till the end/ Time will cut you down / Time will cut you down / Time will steer your path from your precious dreams / And I won't be around". After that it's some adlibbing with the last line repeated, until fade out. It's that classic Rock approach, and they do it well.

The first song on the album I'm "Meh"about when it comes to is Everything That You Are. It's not a bad track, I just find it a bit typical, from the band at this point. It has a very standard kind of sound to it. There's also a couple of parts in here where the song is intentionally dragged out, but the problem is that it actually makes the song feel longer in a bad way to me. However, I love the small solo tucked into the middle. Just enough to say, "Hey, I can play."

I pretty much feel the same way about The Shakes. It's a cool little filler song. Performance is one of those song that I still can't make my mind up about. Part of me enjoys the song, and the other part wants to call it filler. The problem with this one is that it's just a little bit too weak to be a heavy hitter, and it takes away from the song on the whole. I do love all the little guitar fills and the solid choruses.

Musically, Living Like A Dog, sounds like most of the other songs. The way the vocals are delivered and produced (with a slightly distant echo), that helps makes this track stand out. Also, there's a really cool trippy part that starts around the 1:40ish marker that's really cool. It's almost Floydian.

No Real Pain is the last of the standard Rock tracks on this album. It's another one that you just feel a need to bang your head too. It's a bit basic musically, but it has depth not found on some of the other filler like tracks. Also, it once again has a solo that makes you take some notice.

If memory serves I believe Blood is Andria's favourite song from this album. It's real easy to understand why, it's a fucking fantastic song. "You wanted to take your time with him / You wanted to suck his blood / But before you can rip into his veins / You'd better take the reins / 'Cause he's riding into the sun / Since it's been going on / You know there's something wrong / It all started because / She wants to drain his blood / It's far too late to hesitate / Too hard to part / Just drive it through her heart / 'Cause if you can't / She's got you in her hand / 'Cause he's riding into the sun". The coolest part about this song for me was getting to watch the drummer bash this one out, while singing. It's a real quick to run out of breath doing that on this song, I've tried.

There are only three tracks on this album that I don't care for, and I find they slow down the album a bit, which is why I rate it a bit lower than it should be. Aside from that, I would say this album should be in any Rock fan's collection.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Billy Talent - Dead Silence

There were two CDs I bought my son for his thirteenth birthday back in September. The first one was a classic, that both he and I got to discover together. The other is a brand new CD from a band that my entire family loves.

Billy Talent's Dead Silence was released September 11, 2012, and it would seem that I bought it that week, not even knowing that it was out until I accidently stumbled across it, and gave it to my son the following week for his birthday.

Let me start by pointing out that I'm surprised that the band actually took the time to name this album. I really figured we'd be getting a Billy talent IV, which is why they probabbly didn't do it. Too many dumbasses now a days don't know their Roman numerals. After that there aren't too many surprises.

Lonely Road To Absolution opens up the album, with a track that is a bit surprising. It's like the album is opened with a little ditty. It's like a scene out of a Charles Dickens movie.

Viking Death March, it would seem, was the first single to come off this album (almost four months before the album came out) and has so far peaked at #3 on the Canadian Rock/Alternative charts. Although, I don't know why they are getting mixed in with that Alternative crap. These guys are Rock. But I digress. This is one of those tracks that gets the heart pumping and has a call to arms for the average man. Also, I love the line "Down on your knees you don't look so tall!"

So, you got a car. You're on the 401. This one comes on the stereo, and you have only one choice. Surprise Surprise, is meant to gun it full throttle and laugh your way to eternity. The verses aren't so much where the speed comes from, but the pre-chorus and chorus are full out balls to the wall, muscle car mayhem. I will be cranking this track for years.

There's something just basically Rock about Runnin' Across the Tracks, but the band makes it work. It's got some great riffing, a lot of open space filled only with the drum's tempo, and a chorus that has a whole lot of tempo to it.

I have already fallen in love with Love Was Still Around. "And I can hear the sirens still calling your name / And I can see the ashes rise up from the flames / When love was still around / When love was still around / One day before it all came crashing down / And I can see the flashing lights take you away / And now the tears are rolling down your mother’s face / When love was still around /When love was still around / One day before it all came crashing down / When love was still around /When love was still around / Someday you’ll see the life that you turned down". Take this extra extended chorus and put it to music that makes me think mid AC/DC and you have a fantastic song. I mean this one really grabs you, throws you around for your fun and pleasure.

Stand Up And Run may be the lightest song Billy Talent has ever released. It's not light and fluffy, but it's a lot gentler than anything they've ever released before. However, it's not a ballad, it's more like a Bryan Adams Summer Of '69 kind of track. And eventhough it's not really my type of song, it's still a really good tune.

Crooked Minds is a very typical song from the band, except for that it's got a bit more of a heavy Blues sound. In fact this whole album has an overall sound that reminds me of the 70's bands that took the Blues and went really heavy with it. I would say this is the first song on the album that has that filler mentality to it. It's just a bit too typically Billy Talent to be ignored.

I never thought I'd hear Rock N' Roll boogie in a song from this band, but Man Alive! has a great back beat that makes you want to get up and dance classic old school. This is another track that also has that sound that makes me think AC/DC. I mean there is a lot of that kind of hidden within a lot of the songs on this album. I think D'Sa, who was the producer for this album, was taking tricks and tips from Albert Productions.

Hanging By A Thread is another typical Talent song. It's nothing special, but it's still a really good filler track. Hell, I'm sure that I'm going to piss off a fan of the band with that statement at some point.

I get vibes of Iron Maiden (the Blaze Bailey years) from Cure For The Enemy. There's something that sounds distinctly European about this one, and I don't mean British, I mean real European. Maybe it was written in Venice or Paris or Barcelona, or maybe even Vienna. I'm just not sure, but it sounds like that.

Don't Count On The Wicked has a different vibe and sound than I'm use to with this band. There's a real sense of growth on the second half of this album. Sure, there's the typical tone that's clearly the Billy Talent that we all know, but musically it once again sounds like they went into an exploration of a time not their own. The drum work sounds very much like John Bohnam, or Neil Smith, or Keith Moon. I'm not sure how to describe the guitar, and the bass holds down the low end just like it should. This is not going to be a song for everyone, but that makes it that much cooler to me.

So, we go from 70's Rock to 80's Pop. Show Me The Way makes me think of Breakfast At Tiffany's, or one of those other distinctly British sounding Pop tracks that you can't help but dig from that time period. I also can't get over how this band now has an uplifting song. I mean this one really leaves you feeling good by the end of it.

Okay, Billy has Piano now. I can deal with that, since it sounds cool. The tone of the piano has me thinking Van Halen's Right Now, and there's a little more to the music that makes me think that even stronger. However, when we get into the chorus it turns into something better, at least for me. It just becomes such a powerful Rock tune.

The album finishes with Dead Silence which is a little more typical of the bands style, but they add the famous Maiden Gallop to turn it into one of those songs that you'll never be able to drive the speed limit to. You'll always want to go barreling down the road at top speed until you hit oblivion while this song is playing.

I'm still pleasantly surprised by how much musical exploration the band has put into the second half of this album. The first half is a great solid start, but it's in the second half that there's real growth. I was worried about how much this album would sound like the other three, but instead I've been treated to a really cool album, with some kcikin' tracks.

The only downside to this review is that I don't think I've given the album enough time to grow on me properly, and I think over time my rating on this album may even change. But for the time being it will have to be as it is.

7/10 - content

8/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kiss - Kiss

My son just celebrated his thirteenth birthday in September, and we bought him two CDs. One was brand new, and from a band that everyone in my house loves. The other was a classic, that I thought he would love the shit out of. Kiss' very first album remastered.

Kiss is one of the bands that I share pretty much exclusively with my son, I think it's almost a right of passage, because it was my dad that got me into Kiss. I actually think Ryan is more into Kiss than I am, but I will say that I am a big fan of this album.

I never owned this one. I was alway more of a live and greatest hits fan. Most of the Kiss studio albums I own are the ones that came out in my teenage years. However, I'm very glad I bought this one for my kid.

The album opens with Strutter which everyone reading this review should know. If you don't, something went really wrong with your life and I'm sorry. It's a cool fast song.

What the fuck is a piano doing in a Kiss song, and why does it sound so damn fitting? Nothin' To Lose is really a good song that I think has been lost over the years. It's a really good Jerry Lee Lewis, kind of Rock and Roll song.

Firehouse is one of those songs that's so much better live. The studio version of this song is way too slow and boring. It's just so flat sounding, and lacks all the passion that I'm use to hearing. Even the fire alarm at the end of the song sounds lamer than it does live.

My favourite Kiss song comes from this album. Cold Gin is the one song from Kiss that's a must have for me, and it's all Ace Freely, right down to the vocals. This song is such a great tune that I've even perfected my own way of singing it for Karaoke. I just love singing the chorus "Ooh, it's cold gin time again / You know it'll always win / It's cold gin time again / You know it's the only thing / That keeps us together, ow". Also, Ace's simple, yet very effective solo is great fun. This is also only one of two songs to breach the four minute marker.

Let Me Know is a song that I now know why I barely know it. I do have a live version of the song that I've had for years, but it's one of those tracks I tend to ignore or skip.

I'm not sure how I feel about Kissin' Time. Part of me thinks it's a complete piece of cheesy camp, but another part of me is actually digging on it. It definitely has a sound that's very New York to me, and that's the only reason I don't want to skip it. It just kind of works in a way that makes the cheese forgiveable.

After that it's on to another uber popular, mega, Kiss track. Deuce is also on the first album. I don't feel a need to talk about this track because it's one of those songs everyone should know. If not there's a million versions on youtube you can go listen to. Actually it's 7,590 as of the moment I'm writing this.

There were only three tracks on this album that I didn't really know when I bought it for my son. The last of those three is Love Theme From Kiss which is an instrumental piece, that actually showcases a Gene Simmons that knows how to play his bass with a little flair. Other than that, it's just a 2:24 time filler that's enjoyable to listen to.

Then it's on to the two tracks on the album, and they are arguabley two of the best Kiss has ever done.

The first is 100,000 Years. A song that when Ryan and I were discussing this album on his birthday trying to figure out which tracks he knew and he's like "Oh yeah, I know 100,000 Years" with a big ass grin on his face. Then we both happily hollered along to the lyrics "I'm sorry to have taken so long / It must have been a bitch while I was gone / You mind if I sit down for a while / You'll reacquaint yourself with my style / Well, how could you have waited so long / It must have been a bitch while I was gone / All this time you put up a fear / For a hundred thousand years". Which I would like to point out has some of Peter Criss' best drumming.

Then it's on to Black Diamond which is such a fast paced barn burner of a song, when it's not being all big and heavy and mellow dramatic. This is the type of song that is meant to end an album, not only with style, but with class. It's the longest song on the album. The only song over five minutes, and even though it has a moment where it starts to feel like it's dragging and unwinding, that's okay. It's supposed to sound that way. My only gripe is that it's a production trick and not being done musically.

At the end of this album I'm just totally impressed, and can't believe I never picked this album up for myself. It's really a good album and I think that if you are going to start buying Kiss albums this one is a must.

7/10 - content

6/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Monday, October 22, 2012

AC/DC - Stiff Upper Lip

I can't say with certainty, but I think Stiff Upper Lip is my Editor's favourite AC/DC album. Andria is always suggesting that I put this album in the CD player, and it's always the first one I hear her suggest. I can't blame her. It's a really good album.

When the Ballbreaker album came out I was a huge fan, but over time that album has fallen out of graces with me. I blame part of it on growing up, and that album being very juvenile lyrically. However, Stiff Upper Lip has held up better over the years with me.

The album opens with the title track, which is a very standard AC/DC tune. It's got a great vibe, amazing feel, and spectacular tone, but it's very typical AC/DC. But, as I stated it's in all the best ways.

Then it's on to Meltdown. This is a bit old school sounding. There's a little boogie woogie to get the tushies wiggling, and the honey running, but you've heard this song from the band before in a dozen other songs. However, still good all the same.

House Of Jazz is the first song on the album that actually has me picking up my ears. This has all your typical AC/DC elements to it, but it's thick and heavy like a track from Razor's Edge. I mean this is one of the bad ass songs, that can kick your fucking ass when you turn up them heavy Blues. "Humdinger / Bell ringer / Got a nasty stinger / To slow you down / Mud slinger / Gold digger / Who point the finger / And do you down / Kickin' and a fightin' on a TV show / Lightin' blindin' in the middle of the road / Are you comin' in / Are you comin' in / I said come into the house of / Come into the house of / Come into the house of jazz / Come into the house of / Come into the house of / Come into the house of jazz". Also those choruses are so catchy that by the time you hit the third one your fist is pumping, your heart is racing, and your ripping your throat raw trying to sound like Brian Johnson.

The next track, Hold Me Back, is pretty good, especially if you are into mid 80's AC/DC. This one sounds like it could have easily been on the Who Made Who album as a new track, or from Fly On The Wall. My only complaint about this one is that it feels like it runs a bit long.

In 2000, when this album was released, no one would have thought a song like Safe In New York City meant much. After all, the Big Apple isn't exactly known for being friendly. After 9/11 this song developed a whole new meaning. In fact, I hope the band plays the shit out of this song everytime they are there. I'd be cool with them playing this song anywhere, but they shoud really still play it there. I think my favourite line in the song, though, is at the end when Brian says "I feel safe in a cage in New york City".

Can't Stand Still is some basic stock AC/DC. It's good like any other AC/DC song, but it's nothing special. Part of me even thinks they ripped off and modified Thunderstruck's main riff to do this song.

It's another standard track with Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll. Like many of the other standards this one is really cool and groovy. I can bitch all I want about how it seems like AC/DC just made the same album again, but they opted to use all their best skills and techniques to make a great album of it all.

New Satellite Blues is a whole lot of innuedo wrapped in a clever new guise, and presented in the same old clever wrapping paper.

Basically, by the time you get to Damned it's very clear that the band is channeling their mid 80's through early 90's style and tone. Lyrically it's basically a commentary about how no matter what you do you're damned.

I always forget Come And Get It is on this album, but that's because it sounds like it's really from Razor's Edge. It's like If You Dare part two.

I'm not entirely sure if the album needed the last couple tracks, but then again they are really good. See the biggest probelm with this album is that it sounds so much like everything they've already done. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that it's a really well done album, the bad part is that they did the album at least ten other times prior to this one. If this album was switched in time with Razor's Edge, I'd be making those complaints about that album instead of this one. I could say the same thing about switching it with For Those About To Rock as well. This album reminds me of both of those, and the song All Screwed Up belongs on either of those albums as much as this one.

The album ends with Give It Up and that wasn't a good idea. This album doesn't have a strong closer, but the previous track and this one should have been switched. It would have ended better. This song is probably one of the weaker on the album and should have been jammed in the middle as more of a filler.

I think I've covered how I pretty much feel about this album. But, just to sum it all up, this album sounds very much like The Razor's Edge, especially in production if you compare it to the digitally remastered copy I reviewed a while ago. The music also reminds me of the For Those About To Rock album. Both of those other albums I think are top notch albums, and with the exception of the title track of the latter album, this album could easily replace either of those. I also see some simularities to the Fly On the Wall album, and the mid 80's material found on the Who Made Who album.

I'll give you a second to process all that.

So, basically it's only because of when this album was released it has an issue with stock or filler sounding songs.

7/10 - content

8/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Friday, October 19, 2012

Alice Cooper - Killer

If I were forced to pick one album as my all time favourite album, it would have to be Alice Cooper's Killer. This album not only reads like a best of package, but it is actually an original studio album that will blow your mind. Dead Babies, Under My Wheels, Desperado (The cool song with that title, not some stupid Eagles track that's boring as all shit), Be My Lover and Halo Of Flies all come from this album. Of that list the only song people are excused from not knowing is Halo Of Flies, because it never get's radio play, but is a live favourite.

If you notice I listed off five songs above, you are about to be pleasantly surprised by the fact that You Drive Me Nervous, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, and Killer are the only other three songs on the album, and the last song listed is one of the album's best cuts. The two other tracks are fantastic tracks, that only come off sounding like fillers on this album.

The album opens with the classic line, "The telephone is ringing,..." then the music punches in before, "You got me on the run / I'm driving in my car now / Anticipating fun". From there it just turns into a great energy pumping song, that has you bouncing. Then it continues with, "I'm driving right up to you, babe / I guess that you couldn't see, yeah yeah / But you were under my wheels honey / Why don't you let me be? / Cuz when you call me on the telephone, sayin / Take me to the show / And then I say honey I just can't go / The old lady says You can't leave her home. " Those lyrics make up the first three verses, which pretty much just repeat as the song goes on. This is the type of Rock that inspired bands to keep songs short, sweet and simple. However, the musical work on this song is far from simple.

I love songs where Alice reverses the rolls on women, and Be My Lover is one of those song. "She struts into the room / Well, I don't know her / But with a magnifying glance / I just sort of look her over / We have a drink or two / Well, maybe three / And then suddenly she starts telling me / Her life story, she says / "Baby, if you wanna be my lover / You better take me home / 'Cause it's a long, long way to paradise / And I'm still on my own" / I told her that I came / From Detroit City / And I played guitar / In a long-haired rock 'n' roll band / She asked me why / The singer's name was Alice / I said, listen baby / You really wouldn't understand, then I said / "Baby, if you wanna be my lover / You better take me home / 'Cause it's a long, long way to paradise / And I'm still on my own, on my own". Musicly this song has such a great Jazz Lounge kind of vibe to it. I could easily picture a woman like Ette Jones singing this one. In fact, I always like this song better when sung by a female, but that's just because I'm a straight man. Also, listen to all that bass on this song. Dennis Dunnaway is the man when it comes to bass between 1970 and 1974. His work since then is just as good, but those years marked his true genius.

The first two songs at one point or another were radio singles, or at the minimum, very radio friendly. I remember both of them still getting regular air play in the 80's. However, the next song is purely an album cut and crowd favourite when played live.

Halo Of Flies has a title that rings of Satan, but is actually totally James Bond inspired, although not officially like The Man With The Golden Gun (from Muscle Of Love). This song is an epic spy movie, with a killer score. "I've got the answers / To all of your questions / If you've got the money / To pay me in gold / I will be living / In old Monte Carlo / And you will be reading / The secrets of soul / Daggers and contacts / And bright shiny limos / I've got a watch / That turns into a lifeboat / Glimmering nightgowns / And poisonous cobras / Silencer under the heel of my shoe". And that just gets the song started. To be honest most of this song is the awesome music. I mean really, really awesome music. It's smooth, sexy, stylish, explosive, basically everything that you'd expect to hear from a spy movie.

The fourth track on this amazing album is Desperado. Now, if you don't know this song, and you should be ashamed of yourself if that is the case, don't go Googling just the song title. This song won't even show up on the first page. The first thing you get is a couple of entries for the movie starring Antonio Banderas, then a few other things, and somewhere in that mess is a song by the same title that was released by The Eagles in 1973. That's two years after the much, much, much, better Alice Cooper track. Hell, one could easily argue that the movie starring two of the sexiest actors/actresses ( Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek) in Hollywood at the time was based on this song. Part of me was upset not to hear at least a cover of this song on the soundtrack. It's just that sweet, and would have been great during one of the shoot out scenes.

The first song on this album that would be considered a filler is You Drive Me Nervous, and only because it's simular to Under My Wheels in feel and vibe. However, I still love this song and Alice's vocal performance is what makes it top notch. The way he sings the song in an actual nervous manner is just something no one has the brains to do anymore.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, is just a great crazy ass song. I love every second of it, right down to the wicked harmonica solo. Also, Alice has some great screams on this one and I would only ever call this a filler track because it's the second weakest song on the album. That being said I would score this song alone an 8/10 without a second thought.

From the two weakest songs on the album we go to one of the greatest songs I have ever fallen in love with. Dead Babies may be the one song on this planet I couldn't live without. Everything about this song is just magnificent. The bass line that drives the song is totally captivating, and is played with the same kind of ominous feel you get from Led Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused. Neil Smith's drumming is a beautiful controlled chaos. Micheal Bruce and Glen Buxton's guitar work is mesmerizing and Alice delivers both a sweet lullaby and a harsh awakening. Then the song ends with a slap in the face to the poor neglected child. "Goodbye, little Betty / Goodbye, little Betty / So long, little Betty / So long, little Betty / Betty, so long / Dead babies can't take care of themselves / Dead babies can't take things off the shelf / Well, we didn't need you anyway / La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la". This is one of my top three favourite Alice Cooper songs, and I can say with 90% certainty that this song is probably number one. Also, it's only one of two Alice songs I can play on more than one instrument (bass or drums, but not at the same time) and sing while playing both instruments.

Then it's on to the last song on the album. Killer is the gripping tale of a man facing the charges brought before him. You can almost see Alice in the witness box giving this testimony. "What did I do to deserve such a fate / I didn't really want to get / Involved in this thing / Someone handed me this gun and I / I gave it everything / Yeah, I gave it everything / I came into this life / Looked all around / I saw just what I liked / And took what I found / Nothing came easy / Nothing came free / Nothing came all until they / Came after me / Yeah-hey, yeah". Then it's on to music that sounds very much like it's the court case being played out. I mean this is really pure musical genius. Bruce and Dunnaway wrote music that was so well produced by Bob Ezrin that the music actually sounds like the complete case being played out for your ears. Then the wailing and moaning kicks in before the first verse is quietly repeated in a state of reminiscence. To which we are then lead to the gallows, while a priest performs the last rights in latin. Then slowly the music picks up and the lever is thrown, and then there's a whirlpool of memory and then PoP. It's over.

If you only ever pick up one Alice Cooper album I would say this needs to be that album. Musically it's beyond amazing. Lyrically it tells a great set of stories. Over all it's everything that you want from really good music. The musicianship of albums like this are just too over shadowed by "The Show" that people sometimes don't know how amazing that original band really was.

10/10 - content

10/10 - production

10/10 - personal bias

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ozzy Osbourne - Ozzmosis

I remember when Ozzy retired after the No More Tears album. He said he was done with the industry and walked away after releasing the biggest album of his life, 1991's No More Tears. Four years later he couldn't handle sitting around all day being a retired old man, so he released Ozzmosis.

Ozzmosis was not a mistake, or a bad release with only a killer opening track. It's an album full of songs that reflected a time that was off for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and this album belongs in the first catagory.

This is not a Metal album, let me be very clear about that. There are only few songs on this album that are Metal in any way, and the lead off track, Perry Mason, is the most Metal of them all. I also have to say that a song based on an old crime drama is a surprise. Even more surprising is the song is really good.

I Just Want You is the first ballad on the album. It's not completely a ballad, but it's meant as one of those pretty songs. I'm presonally a fan of skipping this song. The song Ghost Behind My Eyes is one of those songs that has me shaking my head and asking, "Ozzy, why? Why do you keep releasing these silly love songs?" I know there's supposed to be something romantic about these spawns of Satan, but the truth is that this song shows that Ozzy really isn't that much of a bad guy after all.

Thunder Underground grabbed my attention right away, when I first heard it. It's thick, heavy, and sounds like the title would suggest. I shouldn't be surprised either, and when I first saw the writing credits it all made sense. Ozzy, Zakk Wylde and Geezer Butler are the three responsible for this creature.

I should mention that Geezer is the bassist for the whole album. This was Zakk's last album with Ozzy, as he was leaving to go play with Guns N' Roses, which never ended up happening, and in return was the last straw for Slash, and that's when he left G'N'R officially. I'm okay with all of that though. Black Label Society was releasing shitloads of better songs and more often than Ozzy was, and Slash went on to much better as well. Like I said, it was a weird time for the music I loved.

It's time for another balladesque song with See You On The Other Side. It's not all slow and boring, but it's mushy and sappy. It's not exactly exciting either, but It's still better than the first ballad this album treats us to. However, this song runs way too long. It's just over six minutes long, and could have easily been cut off around the 4:30 marker.

Tomorrow has a bit of a Grungey/Alternative sound to it, which is decent enough, but I'm just thankful that this song starts showing this album has some real balls. It has a bit of a mellow lead in verse, then it moves to a heavy second verse which has Ozzy doing his Godfather of Metal thing, then there's the chorus which turns into some type of church sermon complete with an ominus organ of fear. This isn't a fast song, and it has a slower slicker vibe to it, but it's a great vibe. This has been a constant fave of mine, in regards to this album. In the grand scheme of Ozzy, it's still pretty decent.

After that it's on to Denial, which is not as cool as the last track, but still has some flair to it. However, there a certain feel to this song, that makes it seem like they weren't even trying. It's got the vibe of a decent song, but the sound of something stock.

So, when a song has Steve Vai as a co writer I'm expecting to be blown away, sadly that's not the case so much with My Little Man. It's more like John Lennon's Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy). Not what I really want to hear Ozzy kicking out, but musically this song is really cool. This sounds like it could have been Ozzy covering a Beatles tune, right down to the sitar sounding guitar.

My Jekyll Doesn't Hide is really cool, and has a great sound to it. Not a surprise since it's another Geezer Butler co-written song. To be honest, two of the three best songs on this album, and the only ones I regularly listen to in any way, have his name on them. This isn't an overly strong song, but it has a wicked cool vibe, and that's good enough for me.

I really hate that this album ends with Old L.A. Tonight. It's a pretty enough song, and I do like it, but it's the third ballad on the album. What the fuck!? Then it's capping off an album that's supposed to be Ozzy's big return. Just not cool. However, the song itself is really cool. There's also a point where Ozzy is singing "I'm falling to pieces, pieces" and I swear he's singing "I'm fallin' 'nto reeces pieces".

All in all I do enjoy this album, but I don't think Ozzy's releaseds one solid album since No More Tears. This album set the standard for what would become his normal album pattern. One song on the album would be a single, that sounds fantastic, then there would be two or three other good album cuts. The rest would be ballads or stock material, and one of those ballads has a good chance of being a single too.

Half of this album is pretty decent, or at least decent enough for me to suggest checking out the Ozzmosis. The other half is decent enough filler to not be overly upset about buying this album unheard when it first came out. In retrospect four ballad-like songs on one Metal album is not cool, and is the only reason I would say buyer beware.

6/10 - content

8/10 - production

10/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kiss - Ace Frehley

On September 18, 1978 all four members of Kiss released solo albums. Part of this was to help satisfy bruised egos, part of this was a major cash grab, and part of it was showcasing who actually was a musician and who was merely a performer.

Of the four albums, Ace Frehley's did the best, and is still the most respected of the solo albums. Let me start by saying that Eddie Kramer and Ace produced a really good rock album. It's really one of the best in the entire Kiss catalogue as far as production goes. At least in the 70's.

Rip It Out opens up the album in the way a good Rock album should be opened. It's quick, get's your heart moving and makes you feel alive. Although, that's a bit funny considering the lyrical content. Basically, this is one of those "my woman left me and I'm going to take it out on my instrument" kind of songs. It's a bit angry, a bit sad, and a bit resentful. This song is a man after a break-up.

Speedin' Back To My Baby is your typical upbeat "Hey, baby" kind of song. It's a bit cheesy, in that 60's The Monkees kind of Pop Rock way. Well, the song has a bit more balls than that, but it's not to be taken seriously.

Okay, when a song is called Snow Blind it's pretty easy to guess what the song is about. Which is the only thing that explains why this killer cut never made an official Kiss album. I just can't see Gene playing a song about cocaine, if you need me to clear those last two sentences up. But the truth is, songs about cocaine have a tendancy to end up being really well played. Look at Clapton's Cocaine, or Black Sabbath's Snowblind. I'm not saying that this song is just as good as those two, but I'm not saying it's any worse either. It's on the same wave length, and it kicks some major ass.

After that it's on to my favourite song of the album Ozone. The music is so fucking cool. It's smoothe, sly, and stylish, but not overly flashy. But there's a whole brooding kind of feel to it too. Yet another song that was too much of a party for it to ever be a real Kiss song. "I'm the kind of guy who likes feelin' high / Feelin' high and dry, and I really like to fly / I'm your kinda guy, girl I'm not too shy / And I want you to fly, so I think you oughta try / Ozone, ozone, ozone, ozone / I'm your kinda guy and I'm not too shy / Feelin' high and dry, and I want you to be mine / So I think it's time, girl, to start feeling fine / Feeling good all the time, so I think you oughta try / Ozone, ozone, ozone, ozone". It's not much more complex than that lyrically, but those lyrics mixed with it being musically challenging makes it easy to see why Ace had to do it separately from the rest of the group.

What's On My Mind? is a bit of a your standard Rock tune if it had been released in 1982, but the fact that it was from 1978 keeps me from calling it typical stock crap, although that's the best way to describe it.

I should mention that most of the musical work performed on this album is actually Ace. Everything from the expected Guitar, to the Bass, to the guitar sythesizer, and all other variations of the guitar found on this album. There are a few other tracks that have other musicians, but the only instrument Ace doesn't play on this album is drums/percussion and that makes me happy. It shows where so much of Kiss' original talent really came from. Ace and Paul, if anyone needs me to clear that up.

New York Groove was Kiss' biggest single as of 1978, and it wasn't even a Kiss song. It's a cover of British Glam Rock band Hello. I love this song, and it was the reason I bought this album in the first place.

Of all the songs on this album I find it surprising that I'm In Need Of Love is not a Kiss tune. It really sounds like it would be a Gene Simmons kind of song. In fact part of me thinks it was a left over from Destroyer or Rock And Roll Over, where it would have been a filler. A really good filler, but a filler.

Wiped-out is clearly inspired in part by Wipe Out from The Ventures. However, for the most part this is a Wah heavy trip, that sounds like The Nuge if he did copious amounts of drugs. This is a pretty bitchin' tune and it really makes me groove, although not my normal kind of song.

The album finishes with Fractured Mirror. This is a 5:26 exercise in guitar beauty. This was one of the more celebrated instrumental pieces I remember reading about growing up. I'm not sure if it would still hold up by todays standards. To be honest the song is a bit repetative, and were it not for the giant arena sized chords that come thundering through this song, I wouldn't get much past the two minute marker, which would suck. There's this really cool part that starts around 2:30 and goes until about 3:00 that's really wicked sounding, and I swear the rest of the song was worked around that. I also sound as if I'm ragging on this piece. There wasn't much being released in the mainstream in 1978 that sounded as cool as this. And the fact that it comes from one of the most under rated members of Kiss, and one of the most over rated guitarists, is really cool. I also think it's the perfect way to finish an impressive album. It's a shame it was the best solo album he's released. At least the best that I've heard to date.

7/10 - content

8/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution

I will be the first to say that I was never a Judas Priest fan. I respect their music, their style, and their talent (the last one being monsterous), but they weren't my thing. Most bands in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal flew under my radar until my late teens, and even early twenties. The only exceptions were Iron Maiden and Diamond Head to a limited extent. I didn't even own my first Motorhead CD until my first year of college, and that's if you want ot include them in NWOBHM.

As of my writing this Angel Of Retribution is still the only Priest album I own, and the only reason I picked it up in the first place was because of how hard my daughter was digging on the music for the video of Revolution. It was the big comeback video, and my kid (nine at the time) was all singing along with the chorus as if she had been a Judas Priest fan since British Steel. That may seem like an odd reason to pick up an album, but it worked for me.

The truth of the matter is that this album sounded like Judas Priest had spent the few years prior dining on a large diet of Type O Negative, and other various heavy down tuned guitars. It's a sound that just totally blows my mind.

The album opens with a mild shred fading in, then it has this nice slow noted electric guitar playing over top which doubles, while fading in the whole time. Then there's a faint noise that starts rising in the background using the same pattern. Then it all stops except for the background noise for only a moment. The drums come thundering in with the rest of the instruments roaring and that background noise turns into Rob Halford's wail. The song is Judas Rising, and this is Metal. Oh! My! God! This is Metal! This is the Metal I always dreamed of. It's Heaven And Hell if they had come out in 2004, instead of being Black Sabbath with Dio 1980.

All the songs on this album were written and arranged by Tipton, Halford, and Downing, or basically the guitarists and vocalist. The only exception is Deal With The Devil, which includes Ramirez. However, this isn't a member of the band. That's Marilyn Manson's one time bassist. The song itself is decent.

After that comes the song that brought me to the album. Revolution is hard, heavy, simple, blistering, and there's a reason Rob Halford is one of the greatest vocalists alive. He's not the type of guy to go running around the stage, but his voice commands the audience in ways that makes my heart pound. When you hit the 2:30 marker and the repeating riff kicks in, just so he can repeat "Here comes the revolution" quietly, you know all hell is going to break loose. Then when it does, I can't help but crank the hell out of this beast.

Worth Fighting For is one of those tracks that is very typically early 90's Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. It reminds me a lot of the production on the AC/DC Razor's Edge album, specifically the digitally remastered version. However, the song itself is kind of typical filler. I'm a fan of the song, but it's a bit typical. "Desert heat can wear you down / But still I'm rollin' through / Did I see your figure in the haze? / I am driven by a thirst to quench myself of love / The sun beats on me for the price I've paid / So I wander on / Asking where you might have gone / From what I knew before / Some things are worth fighting for / Yeah!"

So, I decided to quickly check who produced this album, because in all honesty it's the production that really helps make this album. If it sounded like British Steel, I probably never would have picked it up. But, I've already described how the album sounds, and when I see the producer I see it's someone I'm already a fan of, Roy Z. This was Bruce Dickinson's guitarist and producer for at least his last two solo albums, Accident Of Birth and Chemical Wedding. Both of which are amazing albums. That brings me to Demonizer. This your typical, blistering fast, ultra shredding, chestbeating case of testosterone. In other words "it's fucking awesome!" A little standard for Priest, but awesome all the same.

Wheels Of Fire is pretty stripped down lyrically, but it's because this is one of those bad ass driving songs. I personally picture Ghost Rider cruising through the desert at night, for his own personal enjoyment, but it's just my vision. I could easily see a semi roaring down the highway, or a hot rodded American muscle car. It's just that type of song.

Angel is rather pretty, and is pretty much the ballad of the album. Normally I would bitch about a song like this, but this is not that type of song. It's not a panty wetter, it's a person seeking solace from a dark place. "Angel, / Put sad wings around me now / Protect me from this world of sin / So that we can rise again / Oh angel, / We can find our way somehow / Escaping from the world we're in / To a place where we began / And I know we'll find / A better place and piece of mind / Just tell me that it's all you want / For you and me / Angel won't you set me free / Angel, / Remember how we chased the sun / Then reaching for the stars at night / As our lives had just begun / When I close my eyes / I hear your velvet wings and cry / I'm waiting here with open arms / Oh can't you see / Angel shine your light on me / Angel we'll meet once more I'll pray / When all my sins are washed away / Hold me inside your wings and stay / Angel take me far away / Put your sad wings around me now / Angel take me far away / Put sad wings around me now / So that we can rise again / Put sad wings around me now / Angel take me far away / Put sad wings around me now / So that we can rise again".

Now, I'll be totally honest Hellrider is pretty much Judas Rising, Revolution and Demonizer all rolled up into one song, and holy shit does it work. Not only should one bang their heads to this beast, but they should hold the evil eye up high. The evil eye is what the devil horns originally were, for anyone that may be confused. This is also the last song on the album to have the heart pounding speed that only Metal can give you. There is no way you can drive the speed limit and listen to this song. This was designed for crazy shit like the autobahn, and this goes on for almost six and half minutes.

Now it's the point in the album where things get fun. The album slows right down again, to ballad speed again, but instead of another pretty song, we get a scary little story. The lyrics of Eulogy, "And so now it comes to pass / By the eventide on mass / See them gather yet alas / They remain still as stained glass / For they know only too well / That the story they will tell / Conjures up an ageless spell / Guarded by the sentinel / So it goes forevermore / Ever steady to the core / That the sign that they came for / Waves majestic from the floor", are delivered with this amazing haunting music, that's simple and as scary as a clown in a sewer, talking about floating ballons.

Then it's on to epicness for the conclusion of this bad boy of an album. Lochness is about the big beast in the water. Don't take my words for it, the first two verses set up the story well. "Grey mist drifts upon the water / The mirrored surface moves / Awakened of this presence / Dispelling legends proof / A beastly head of onyx / With eyes set coals of fire / It's leathered hide / Glides glistening / Ascends the heathered briar". Now there are two major sounds to this song. The first is a super dark and heavy beast of a song. It sounds like a plesiosaurs thrashing about with monsterous weight. The other sound in this song is one of rising fanstasy. During the section of "Lochness confess your terror of the deep / Lochness distress / Malingers what you keep / Lochness protects monstrosity / Lochness confess to me", it sounds almost like the Choir of Angels were calling the beast up. It's like some type of great bi-polar duality in the music, and it makes the 13:30 that this song clocks in at move along with little notice.

This is the type of album that you are so happy to have discovered because it just really brings you back to what a great album should be. Sure there's filler on this album, but that filler kicks ass. This album contains the classic formula and tools used to make the greatest classic Hard Rock / Heavy Metal albums, and modernized it into a new breed of classic music.

8/10 - content

8/10 - production

10/10 - personal bias

Monday, October 15, 2012

Billy Talent - II

I've been a fan of Billy Talent's music since the first album. The best part about this band is that they only get better with every album. On their sophomore album they came out swinging with a much more focused and harnessed punch than they had on the first one.

The first song I got to hear/see from this album was the lead off track, Devil In A Midnight Mass. I wasn't overly impressed with the track at first and I actually ended up waiting until I heard Fallen Leaves before I picked up the album. The first one was good, but not good enough to go diving into this one right away.

Devil In A Midnight Mass is a great starting track. It's fast, wild, and totally reeking of the evil of which Ben Kowalewicz sings. This is some really good Hard Rock / Heavy Metal on this track. At first I didn't care for it, because it sounded a bit too Emo to me at first, and at the time I wasn't exactly fond of that style, so anything that sounded remotely close to it annoyed me. After an actual listen to the CD my opinion changed.

There is something to Ian D'Sa's guitar style that is totally cool. Red Flag is a good song to showcase his unique flair. It's got a little of everything, and is totally rockin'. It just gets the heart pumping, and that's all that really matters. It has old fashion Rock N' Roll.

Now, I'm going to say that when it comes to Billy Talent lyrics you have one of two choices, either pay attention and understand what's going on, or just get swept up in the music and hope you pick up enough to know what's going on. When it comes to This Suffering I suggest paying attention to the lyrics. It's one of those songs that's real, honest, and very well written. "Like a target drawn across my chest / She's a bullet in Russian Roulette / You said you'd never turn your back on me / (Rescue me, rescue me) / Would you stand by me or bury me? / (Bury me) / Why don't we end this lie, / I can't pretend this time / I need a friend to find, my broken mind, / Before it falls to pieces / Every time you try to leave me blind / You'll never close my eyes / You'll never close my eyes and watch me die". This is just the first verse and chorus, but it's enough to back up what I've said, as far as I'm concerned.

Worker Bees is a song that I enjoy, but it is not for everyone. Jon Gallant's bass line drives most of this song, and Ian's Guitar sounds great but Ben's vocals will turn people off. It's one of those songs when he let's his scream fly. Which I must admit sounds a bit like a chihuahua. However, it's actually a really good tune.

There's something to the stripped down electric guitar on Pins And Needles that's wicked cool. It's like D'Sa is just letting his fingers dance around the fret board, in a very classic kind of way. Which leads to the song being the slowest track on the album, and yet it's still heavy. Gavin Brown, with Ian D'Sa produced one hell of a thick, full, and heavy album.

The next track is the one that got me to buy the album. Fallen Leaves is fast, fun, and totally bouncey. When the chorus comes on you can't help but sing and bounce at the same time. "In a crooked little town, they were lost and never found / Fallen leaves, fallen leaves, fallen leaves... on the ground / Run away before you drown, or the streets will beat you down / Fallen leaves, fallen leaves, fallen leaves... on the ground". The best part is that this is not the type of song you should want to so easily and freely sing.

Where Is The Line? is another song that you can't help but sing along to. Not because it's some catchy Pop crap either. I want to say that it's like listening to more skilled Ramones playing a much more skilled style of music.

Covered In Cowardice is a bit of a filler. I enjoy the song, but it's not one of the stronger tracks on the album. It runs a bit long, at least it feels that way, and sounds like it's a song that was wrapped around lyrics, and not built up together, as a complete entity.

To this day I still don't know how I feel about Surrender. It's a decent enough song, but I feel it's placement on this album was wrong. Placing it after Covered In Cowardice makes it seem slower and more drawn out than it really is. On the other hand, it feels like a song that was built up from the lyrics, and the music was just added to make it fuller. That doesn't mean the music is not as good, it just sounds a bit stock is all.

The Navy Song is a bit of a pick me up after the last couple of tracks. It's still has a bit of that stock sound used to push the lyrics, but this one is much more enjoyable in the choruses. However, it has the weird, "Should we really want to sing this out loud?" "I gave my life to save her / The ocean turned to red / In the fall, in the fall, when the tide took them all / In the fall, in the fall, when the tide took them all / Cut down like lambs at slaughter, / Good men were left for dead / In the fall, in the fall, when the tide took them all / In the fall, in the fall, when the tide took them all". It's just amazing how well they work that gangland style chorus chanting, and how it really carries this song that much more, which really helps because this is the longest track on the CD, but feels shorter than the last two.

The next track, Perfect World, opens up really well, and then kind of drifts of into something a bit gentle and mellow, with a great rhythm. Then when the chorus kicks in the song gets all heavy and awesome. However, most of the song I find a bit boring. This song relies way too much on the constant build up, that doesn't hold steady for any significant amount of time until it hits the 1:50. At which point it stays constantly rockin' until the end of the song.

Sympathy is a bit stockish as well. It's a really good song and I love it in the mix of my CD player, but it sounds like other tracks, and has the typical Billy Talent form to it. However, at the two minute marker the song takes a great musical twist, which lasts about thirty seconds.

The album finishes off with Burn The Evidence. I'm not sure I would have made this the last track on the album. It's a decent enough song, but it's not a strong closer. It would have been much better in the middle of the album. But, to be honest, there isn't a song on this disc that would have been a strong closer.

At the end of this album I have come to a couple of conclusions. The first is that the track planning wasn't done well. There's a very distinct flow change from track seven to track eight. The first seven songs are all solid numbers that sound really well formed and planned out. The last six songs seem more to rely on using their basic skills to get the lyrics out there. It's a bit like an AC/DC album that way. I personally think the album should have had the tracks arranged a bit differently. Make it a strong start, middle and finish.

With all that said, I would still suggest this album to people looking to check out some newer bands, is we can still consider an album from 2006 to be newish. I do think they are very talented Canadians, and I wish them all the best with their future success, because I know they have only gotten better with age.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Friday, October 12, 2012

AC/DC - '74 Jailbreak

In 1974, AC/DC released High Voltage in Australia, but it wasn't the album North America came to know as High Voltage, that album was called T.N.T. Also, the Austarial release of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap wasn't the same as the one we know as well. There were 5 tracks recorded for those two albums that never made it to the North American market (not officially) until the EP (extended play) '74 Jailbreak was released in 1984, in the United States, Canada and Japan. It would be remastered and re-released in 2003 along with the rest of the North American catalogue. I've even covered a couple of reviews from those CDs already. However, this review is for the exact same CD I originally picked up in 1993 or 1994.

I had been on a heavy AC/DC binge for a couple of years. It all started with my swiping my Uncle Matt's Highway To Hell and Back In Black cassettes, followed by getting a CD player for Christmas, and then I was out of control. Sure, I bought some other CDs in there, but over the course of maybe two years I managed to put together well over half the AC/DC catalogue and I only had Birthday and Christmas money to work with most of the time, (both of which are in the same month). I was also supporting a brand new smoking habit. But somehow I still managed to also feed my growing AC/DC obsession.

Thakfully it has toned down over the years, and there are still even some old albums I don't own. Some of which I will never own. However, before I go too much further into memory lane, let me get to the reason we are all here.

I remember Much Music playing a Spotlight on AC/DC sometime between Razor's Edge and Live, and it was a two parter that opened with the opening track from this album. Jailbreak is one of those songs I love, and I'm pissed to find out that it had been on Dirty Deeds in Australia, but not over here. That would have made the album so much more bad ass. This is one of those songs that you can hear the normal blues influence found in AC/DC, but it also has the gangland, rough and tumble, take no prisoners attitude of The Rolling Stones. To me this is still one of AC/DC's best songs. It's a bit simple, but at the same time it contains writing that is very musically expressive.

Now to be honest out of the three songs on this EP only two of them get regular play from me, Jailbreak and Baby, Please Don't Go. These are the first and last songs, repsectively, on the album. The three tracks that make up the middle don't do as much for me.

You Ain't Got A Hold On Me sounds like the left over that it is. It's not that it's a bad track, it's a really good Blues Rock track, but it's a bit typical and standard for AC/DC. That doesn't mean you shouldn't check out this track. For a song from 1974 it has a hell of a lot of boogie and danceablity to it.

The exact same thing that I wrote in the paragraph above could be applied to Show Business, except that this song sounds more like Big Band Rock, and less like Blues Rock. This is a song I could have seen Aerosmith doing, and to be honest I think the Boston natives could do the song more justice. Hell, if AC/DC had thrown a few horns on this track it would have been totally kickin'. Shit, I'd have settled for bag pipes, just to help give it that certain feel.

To this day I'm still out on Soul Stripper. Once again there's a weird danceability to this song. If it wasn't for the fact it had been recorded in 1974 I would have thoguht AC/DC was trying to get in on the Disco raquette, but that's not the case. It's the longest track on the record at 6:23, and that's the part that tends to get me most of the time. It's one of those songs when you notice the time a bit, but you want to excuse it, because the story is told well. "Well, I met her in the garden / Underneath that old apple tree / Sitting with a handful of flowers / Looking as cool as can be / We talked away a couple of hours / Then she laid her hand on my lap / Oh, I thought I got to be dreaming / I didn't know I fell in her trap / Then she made me say things I didn't want to say / Then she made me play games I didn't want to play / She was a soul stripper, she took my heart / Soul stripper, and tore me apart / She started moving nice and easy / Slowly getting into my spine / Killing off this nice little feeling / Ooooh, everyone she could find / And when she had me hollow and naked / That's when she put me down / Pulled out a knife and flashed it before me / Stuck it in and turned it around / Then she made me say things I didn't want to say / Then she made me play games I didn't want to play / She was a soul stripper, she took my heart / Soul stripper, and tore me apart". Other than that it's a lot of guitar masterbation, which very few do as well as Angus Young, and a bunch of chants of "Soul stripper".

The album then ends with a rapid fire version of Baby, Please Don't Go. I've heard many versions of this song over the years, but none as fast as this one. It's not much faster than normal, but just enough to say that these guys know how to play fast really well. Most people go for faster and it gets sloppy, AC/DC doesn't ever suffer from that issue. In fact the song moves at such speed that you don't even notice that the song runs just shy of five minutes, and it doesn't contain three tons of Angus solo filler. Although the last half of the song is a bit filler sounding, but only in the sense that it has a lot of fills.

All in all this is a really cool and quick album, which might have something to do with it not being a real album. However, since I know this came from a ten dollar section, and normally can still be found there, I would suggest picking it up for at least the audio sampling enjoyment of it. I would also suggest getting the remastered reissue if possible, because the sound on that is so much better. Although surprisingly this album does sound pretty good without it.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Doors - Asbolutely Live

The Doors are one of those bands that I find are highly misunderstood. For starters, Jim Morrison was not the band. He was the poet and the voice of the band. No one can deny that. However, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore were all just as important to the band as Jim. In fact, of all the members of the band Robby Krieger could be said to have the easiest job after Morrison.

Let me start by saying that this album is not for everyone. It showcases Morrison as a Poet, not just a front man. The rest of the group are seen as an exploritory, free-for-all, jam band, and if all that isn't enough, when this album was originally put together it was an art form all of it's own.

Producer and longtime collaborator Paul Rothchild edited Absolutely Live by splicing together the best parts of every show they recorded. But he didn't just do track by track. He had to edit every single song for the most part. So, if one song had been recorded in L.A., the mid section may have come from Atlanta. This wasn't done to be cute ethier. I've mentioned in many live album reviews before, recording technology sucked for live shows prior to the 1990's, and the further back you go the worse it gets. What that boiled down to for Paul as he put this album together is that most of the songs had parts where audio secetions would drop out on the tapes. In the past Rothchild has said that he put over 2,000 edits into the making of this album.

The idea behind this first ever live album for The Doors was to recreate as much of their actual live show as they could on vinyl. The version I'm reviewing is the 1996 compact disc re-release, that I'm pretty sure has been digitally remastered, although it doesn't officially say.

The album opens with House Announcer, which is exactly that. Way back in the day they use to have these guys that would come out and warm up the crowd or calm them down as the case may be in this track. I'm not sure why this track was included. I don't know if it was to show The Doors as being a responsible group, or it was to show "The Man" holding the people back. Either way, I find it a bit long and drawn out, for no real gain, except maybe to set some mood.

Also, before I go any further I want to make it clear that this album is not for everyone. This album is for fans of the band, and maybe a few others. I consider myself a decent fan of the band, but most of the time I over look this album myself.

The first track of music on this CD is a cover of Who Do You Love. I know this song best as covered by George Thoroughgood, and compared to that version this one doesn't have the same passion or life. This cover instead has more of a snake in the desert feel to it. It's smooth, flowing, and just kind of slithers back and forth. When it should sound punchy it comes off more like a snake's strike instead.

After that it's on to a bit of a medley, but it's not a real medley, more like a bunch of partial tracks cut together to form a medley of sorts, but you can hear the clear changes from one track to another. For starters the medley opens with Alabama Song, which is very clear and crisp sounding, like everything was balanced really high in the mix, but when it switches to Backdoor Man, it sounds like everything has been pulled back. However, that matches Love Hides, which comes up next. However, I don't like the way it slows down the pace. Then the medley finishes off Five To One and this is the only track that resembles the running length of the original song.

Also it should be mentioned that only one song in that medley is actually a Doors tune. Five To One is one of my favourite songs from the band. I love the simplicity of the music, but the complication of the arrangements. This is one of those crazy songs that would have been Prog Rock if it had come out when that term existed.

Now, if you had the original vinyl release of this album it was a double album and the entire first side, except for 4:35 in a medley was all cover material. Great if you have all the album tracks up to this point, and want to hear the band do something different. It sucks if you are trying to discover The Doors.

Side Two of the first record is only two songs. The first one is Build Me A Woman, which is not available on any studio album from The Doors, and I can see why. It's a bit stock, and pretty much comes off as Jim on one of his tirades.

Then it's on to a 16:16 version of When The Music's over. This is about 6 minutes longer than the original and they even make sure to let you know during the song, as they start droning on for way too long, and lose cohesiveness around the eight minute marker. Until that point happens the track is really solid and awesome. I love the journey the music takes. After that point it takes a bit before the song starts to pick up again. You'd think with all the edits Rothchild may have sped this up just a bit. I mean I'm all for playing to the crowd, and playing for yourself, but this is just being done in excess. However, if you can make it through the two minutes that seem as long as a floride treatment, the song does pick back up and get exciting again. Then there's a bunch of crap for the last minute of the song. It even sounds like the pandering was taken from a completely different live event, and was added to fill time.

After that it's on to Close To You which features Ray Manzarek on the lead vocals, instead of Jim, and it's a bit of a nice change. Sadly this is yet another cover. It's also a Dixion original, which is the same as Backdoor Man and Love Hides. Thankfully, it's the last cover, because as much as I love the Blues, The Doors don't always do it justice. This is also the first track on the second record.

Then it's on to Universal Mind, which is an original to this album as well. It's the type of Blues that The Doors do well. It's loose, flowing, and has that snake vibe that the band does so well.

That's followed by Petition The Lord With Prayer, which I'm not sure if it's a spoken word piece, or just Morrison ranting, but it's not really needed. I don't think it does anything for the album.

After that it's on to another medley this time it's Dead Cats, Dead Rats and Break On Through #2. Basically it's all Break On Through, with an extended intro and Jim performing a bit of Poetry as a lead in. The track works for me on the whole, but I don't like how the mix sounds on it. Everything sounds too pushed back.

Then it's on to side two of the the second album, which is made up of only two songs as well. But before I get into that I should explain that when all the medley's were put together on this CD each individual part of a medley was turned into it's own track, so you could pull some of this mix apart for mp3 player purposes if you wanted.

Celebration Of The Lizard is an epic performance piece of Jim Morrison's Poetry performed and mixed with music. The band tried recording this track as a single side to a studio album several times, but they could never get it to sound right. Instead Not To Touch The Earth was removed and recorded for Waiting For The Sun. This was originally the only way to get this track in it's entirety. This is one of those songs that requires close attention, and an open mind. If you don't have either of those, this just seems like artistic tripe.

The double live collection finishes with Soul Kitchen, which is also extended past the original album length. For production purposes it's designed to sound like the encore, and that's really cool. This is another one of those tracks that I really dig. Also most of the extra time comes in the intro. The band works it's way into the song, and from the jamming around in the middle. All in all it's actually my favourite track on this live collection.

As I said early on in this review, this collection is not for everyone. In fact part of me thinks you have to be pretty hard core to really get into this album. Celebration Of The Lizard, does make this album worth getting, but only because I'm into that kind of stuff. It's not for the casual listener.

Actually one of the best redeeming qualities to this album is the fact that there are so many tracks that never appeared on any of the studio albums. It makes this a pretty original album. But it was an album made for the fans, not for the normal listener.

7/10 - content

6/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marilyn Manson - Holywood

I was noticing that I have only reviewed one Manson album, and it was the worst album in the days before Mobscene. I've now decided to go the other way and look at what I believe to be the best album.

Let me start by saying that I think Holywood, is the best Manson album released to date. However, Mechanical Animals is my personal favourite. I think this album captured the end of the best years of Manson's career, at least so far. My only complaint is that the album may have been a slight bit over stuffed. However, this is one of the few albums I have on my Mp3 player in it's entirety on a regular basis. I have spent more time listening to this album while riding my bike than I have to any other album I own. The pulse of the album, mixed with the constant drive, moments of complete madness, and energetic surges that send the mental transistors into overload. Which makes the legs pump hard and steady.

There are nineteen tracks that range between 2:19-5:59, with the majority of the songs being around 3:30, give or take a few seconds. Which wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't for the fact that some of the tracks tend to feel like they are really being dragged out.

The key thing to remember about this album is that it's a mix of Marilyn Manson channeling David Bowie, Alice Cooper, the commercial part of Satanism, and Sunday morning Television Gospel service.

The album opens with Godeatgod, which opens with a gun being loaded. For the most part this song sets the mood for a bunch of Anti-yet-wants-to-be-Christian worship. Basically the theme to grab here really quickly is that this album is about Manson rubbing the Christian's noses in their own religion. Then the truth of this album c0omes out over the next couple songs.

The Love Song for example is only the beginning of Manson going off about being accused of being responsible for the Columbine massacre, because of his music. So, we are treated to Marilyn yelling "Do you love your guns?!" at the top of his screaming ability.

Which is then followed by The Fight Song, which is just calling all of the haters out. The anger has spent so long building up that it's just time for the Hollywood monsters (Those that choose to play the roll) to take out the real monster (Religious leaders, Polliticians, Corporate Mogels). Also if you take this song all on it's own, it's just about the most adrenaline overloaded testosterone fest that Manson has ever released.

Then it's on to the truth of what we all learned from most of the 90's, we're nothing but Disposable Teens. Here's up until the first chorus "And I'm a black rainbow / And I'm an ape of god / I've got a face that's made for violence upon / And I'm a teen distortion / Survived abortion / A rebel from the waist down / Yeah, yeah / Yeah, yeah, yeah / Yeah, yeah / Yeah, yeah, yeah / I wanna thank you mom / I wanna thank you dad / For bringing this fuckin world to a bitter end / I never really hated a one true god / But the god of the people I hated / You say you wanted evolution / The ape was a great big hit / You say you want a revolution, man / And I say that you're full of shit / We're disposable teens / We're disposable teens / We're disposable teens / We're disposable". The truth of the matter is I wasn't even a teen anymore when this song originally came out, but I still totally identified. I grew up feeling exactly as this song indicates.

Target Audience (Narcissus Nacrosis) is totally an art piece. It's all over the place musically, and is filled with all that great symbolism, and musical styling one kind of expects for Marilyn Manson, but not the good upbeat stuff. This is more of that droning Industrial Grunge that I found annoying on past albums.

I will say that it's just another filler with President Dead. It's a pretty standard track for Manson, and for as much as I dig the song myself, it's not a song I would ever suggest as "must hear" Manson. That being said, it spends a fair amount of time on my Mp3 player.

In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death has one very key defining feature to it, and it constantly is driving me up the wall. In the background there's a baby crying, and if you are tuned out, or focused on something else you all of sudden find yourself goin "Where the fuck is the baby cry coming from?" Other than that, this is your basic slow and moody Manson song.

There are times when I find Manson's Jesus personification and imagery just as annoying as Sunday Morning Televangelist. Cruci-Fiction In Space is one of those songs that really gets under my skin a bit. I understand the sentiments of Manson's "this is evolution / the monkey / the man / and then the gun / if Christ was in Texas / the hammer / the sickle / the only son / this is your creation / the atom of Eden / was a bomb / if Jack was the Baptist / we'd drink wine / from the head". I've even echoed these statements by saying that my born again/Catholic family would be the first in line to nail Jesus to the cross now a days. However, I don't think The Anti-Christ Superstar has the right to say shit about shit on the subject. He uses it as a tool of attack, as if to justify his own stance as a pompous ass.

A Place In The Dirt keeps on the theme of Marilyn Manson living out the fantasy that he's JFK, and should be worshipped as a god because of it. This is the one song on the entire album I will flat out skip, if near the player, or the remote.

Of all the songs on this album The Nobodies holds the biggest place in my heart. I will always and forever associate this song with The Editor, Drewcifer, and myself bashing this one out in a tiny cramped space made for little people (5'8" or less). It's really a simple little number, but it's so well done, and there's just something eloquent about it.

"We're on a bullet / and we're headed straight into god / even he'd like to end it too / we take a pill, get a face / buy our ticket / and we hope that heaven's true / I saw a cop beat a priest on the TV / and they know they killed our heroes too / We sing the death song kids / because we've got no future / and we want to be just like you / and we want to be just like you / Let's sing the death song kids / we light a candle on an earth / we made into hell / and pretend that we're in heaven / each time we do we get / the blind man's ticket / and we know that nothing's true / I saw priest kill a cop on the TV / and I know now they're our heroes too / We sing the death song kids / because we've got no future / and we want to be just like you / and we want to be just like you / we write our prayers on a little bomb / kiss it on the face and send it to god / We sing the death song kids / because we've got no future / and we want to be just like you / and we want to be just like you / We were the world / but we've got no future / and we want to be just like you / we want to be just like you." The lyrics to my absolute favourite Manson song, The Death Song. It's 100% pure unhinged honest insanity. The rage and anger that boils out of this song is just pure animalistic instinct, and that animal wants to destroy it's attackers.

Now, The Death Song has some obvious religious content, and I acknowledge and accept this fact. But, like I said, it's an honest attack. Lamb Of God on the other hand is a bit of a snore, and it's pretty much Manson trying to play the preacher man. However, it's just him corrupting a religion that he keeps claiming is corrupt, so I personally find it a bit counter productive. I instead just let the simple melody take me away, on the calm waves of music.

I have to say that I do understand much of the rage found in Born Again. I have watched my family go born again, one of the biggest Manson fans I've personally known has even gone born again, and all I want to do is lose my mind in his direction. It's really a horrible concept that brings so much anger, because it's so fake, and only being done as a substitute drug that allows them to falsely feel better about themselves.

Burning Flag is pretty much the same as Born Again, except this time the rage is against the political machine, and how it's making us all into a bunch of tools. Well those that are trapped within the social media, and what it dictates.

Coma Black: Eden Eye/Apple Of Discord sounds a bit like a left over from Antichrist. It has more of a natural energy and less of a Trent Reznor overprocess. If it were not for the pick ups in the song I would probably find it a bit more boring, but the choruses inject just the right amount of juice into the song to keep it from falling flat.

If this album were a movie Valentine's Day would be the song right before the climatic ending. It would be the funeral before the main character loses their mind, and kills themselves, or someone else. Hell that could be even done during this song. It's just one of those songs. Oh, it would have to be raining in a dark street while this was all going on.

The Fall Of Adam is a soundscape for the most part. At some point every band has to do a track that sounds like the Pink Floyd's Waiting For The Worms, not entirely, but the whole thing sounds like it's done as a rant through a megaphone. This track even goes one step further by adding fly sounds, since maggot sounds would be hard. King Kill is that final climatic moment of violence when it all comes crashing down, and then it's on to a revolver having the barrel being rolled over and over. Then as Manson start singing the lyrics to Count To 6 And Die, you know it's all over and that gun is just a moment before a rigged game of Russian Roulette brings it all to a close, with the silence of a shot never heard.

The reality is that this album is disturbing on so many levels. To me it's like Manson knew his time was done, and that this was his last great moment to shine. So, he tried to make himself into a figure to be worshipped and sadly he failed. However, that doesn't mean he didn't create one hell of an album in the processs.

7/10 - content

9/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias