Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blue Oyster Cult - Fire Of Unknown Origin

I picked up this album after seeing that I knew and liked three of the tracks, which are on albums I've previously reviewed. On the whole I'm really glad I did. While this album isn't the perfect album, it's a great representation of a band that I have developed a huge respect for.

The album opens with the title track, which has one of the best opening lyrics I have ever heard. "Death comes sweeping through the hallway, like a lady's dress". Really conjures up Death as a figure perfectly. This song comes very close to that fine line between decent track and sad cliche done well. It all depends on how you want to hear the music.

I remember diggin' Burnin' For You as a kid, but it took my daughter performing it on Guitar Hero for me to fall in love with it. Now everytime this song comes on she can't help but sing along. It's one of those moments when as a parent I know I raised my kid right with music. It's the perfect kind of Metal/Hard Rock for a girl to really enjoy. If you want to read a little more about what I think of this song, check out my review for their best of album.

I have loved Veteran Of The Psychic Wars since the first time I heard it in Heavy Metal, the animated film. It's classic BOC doing that wild Sci-Fi Metal I really have discovered I love. And the lyrical imagery is amazing, even without the sweet, sweet music. "You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars / I've been living on the edge so long / Where the winds of limbo roar / And I'm young enough to look at / And far too old to see / All the scars are on the inside / I'm not sure if there's anything left of me / Don't let these shakes go on / It's time we had a break from it / It's time we had some leave / We've been living in the flames / We've been eating up our brains / Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on / You ask me why I'm weary, why I can't speak to you / You blame me for my silence / Say it's time I changed and grew / But the war's still going on dear / And there's no end that I know / And I can't say if we're ever... / I can't say if we're ever gonna to be free / Don't let these shakes go on / It's time we had a break from it / It's time we had some leave / We've been living in the flames / We've been eating out our brains / Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on / You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars / My energy's spent at last / And my armor is destroyed / I have used up all my weapons and I'm helpless and bereaved / Wounds are all I'm made of / Did I hear you say that this is victory? / Don't let these shakes go on / It's time we had a break from it / Send me to the rear / Where the tides of madness swell / And been sliding into hell / Oh, please don't let shakes go on / Don't let these shakes go on / Don't let these shakes go on".

The only song on this album I flat out don't care for is Soul Survivor. This sounds like a bad early eighties soundtrack filler. Maybe even a cheesy opening credits track that's supposed to set the mood. Basic problem, way too heavy on campy sounding synths.

Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver is next up. This is a really decent track. Pretty much can be considered a bit stock, and cliche, but the better kind, and only by people that are mildly casual listeners.

Vengeance (The Pact) is Blue Oyster Cult kicking it with some Iron Maiden gallop. This is a huge cinematic like piece.

If it wasn't for how far forward in the mix the keyboards have been pushed, I would enjoy After Dark a lot more. I find it really cheeses up the mix. However, it's still a fun track to sing along with.

Next up is a song I only recently discovered and have really come to love. I've reviewed it before and that review covers what I have to say so I'm just going to repost it here.

I can't even begin to describe how crazy, ahead of it's time, and wild Joan Crawford is. For starters, this song was so ahead of it's time that it would have been considered complete cheese instead of the genius Proto Goth piece that it really is. I mean there is a part of me that's surprised Type O Negative never covered this one just for the fun of it. Then I listen to the complex musical pieces and remember why they couldn't, especially with the speed the piano moves at. I mean this is some serious musicianship mixed with some dark lyrics. "Junkies down in Brooklyn are going crazy / They're laughing just like hungry dogs in the street / Policemen are hiding behind the skirts of little girls / Their eyes have turned the color of frozen meat / No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Catholic school girls have thrown away their mascara / They chain themselves to the axles of big Mac trucks / The sky is filled with herds of shivering angels / The fat lady laughs, "Gentlemen, start your trucks" / Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Christina / Mother's home / Christina / Come to mother / Christina / No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen".

The album finishes with Don't Turn You Back, which is kind of Bluesy in a dark thick West Side Story kind of way. I would have used the last track as the closer, and moved this one up in the mix. It's more of a really solid filler, and less of a closer.

I know there are points where I take a few cheap shots at the songs on this album, but it's really a good album, exspecially for one that came out in 1981. When most bands were getting lost, this one had found parts of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal that worked for them and then exploited it very well, just by doing what they always did.

I don't want to say that it's the best five dollars I've ever spent on a used album, but track for track and dollar for dollar I got more than what I paid for. So much so that when the day comes, I'll most likely give this copy to my daughter, and then pick up the digitally remastered version for myself.

7/10 - content

8/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Slash - Made In Stoke - featuring Myles Kennedy Live - Special Edition

If you've read my reviews for both of Slash's solo albums, you'll know how I feel about Slash and Myles Kennedy in conjunction with Slash. Kennedy is a top notch vocalist, and the band that backs Slash finally gets a little time to shine.

What I like the most about this album, is how it allows you to see that even though I'm not a fan of Kennedy's work with Slash, I am a huge fan of him as a vocalist. There are so many songs on this album that are sung by a variety of different vocalists. Axl, the Snakepit dude, plus all the tracks from everyone on the first Slash solo album. I only focus on Myles because Myles is the front man, and in a live album that makes him the focus.

I'm surprised that Slash would open a concert with a song that I had never heard of, figuring that most of the time they open with a hit single or something along those lines. Instead they open with Been There Lately, which after some research, I discover is from Slash's Snakepit's second album. Which I have never heard. This song makes me sort of understand why.

So we hit the first G'N'F'N'R song, which is the second track and it's Night Train. It's a really good rendition of the song. Kennedy really can do a kick ass job on Guns N' Roses songs. I often say that the original line up should get back together and tour with Myles doing the vocals and this song helps solidify that theory. Then there's that whole Slash bustin' out that killer solo live. There is a little something that seems to be missing in this song, from the original, but it's either in the production or in the rhythm section.

Ghost was one of those songs that I like, but it's not a big grab for me. This is a good version, it's just the song that leaves me feeling a little "meh."

I had to google Mean Bone. I had no clue what album this originally came from, which is surprising because it's a pretty bitchin' tune. This is from the second Slash's Snakepit, Ain't Life Grand. I have never heard the original, but this song makes me want to.

Back From Cali is the Myles Kennedy track from the first Slash solo album, and to be honest, I like this live version much better. It has a much cooler energy to it. I find Kennedy works the crowd a little harder than is needed with some cheap grabs and pops, but hell, that's what a good front man does.

Then it's on to one of my top three G'N'R tunes, Rocket Queen. We all know that Slash rips it up, and rides it through on this one, but this song has never been about the guitar. Yes, Myles give great vocals on this track, that once again have me saying, go on tour with the original group and this man. But, that's not what this song is about either. It's the drums and bass that make you want to get all nasty on this track, even when Slash is laying down an extended solo. Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz lay it down like you wouldn't beleive. Brent Fitz gets the task of replicating Steven Adler and he does it very well, while Todd Kerns tackles the Duff lines with good grace. They make it so dirty and naughty you'd think you were listening to the original band live. Which means I should also mention Bobby Schneck, he has to play Izzy's parts, and that is no easy feat. Though he does it well.

Next up is Civil War. Let's just say that the band rises up to the occasion and knocks it out of the park. The only thing that stands out from the original is the little mini fuck around section at the end of the song. Which is a bit of a tease, because you think they are going to go into Voodoo Chile.

That is followed by Nothing To Say instead. Which is a good track, but I do actually like this version a bit better. Once again there's a certain sound and energy to it that really kicks it up compared to the studio album version. After that is the next Myles Kennedy song Starlight. I like this rendition about as much as I like the studio version. It's okay, but that's about it.

Promise is the last track on the first disc. This was originally a Chris Cornell vocal track. I like Myles better, and once again this track has a great vibe that makes it pop more for me on this album than it does on the original album. Slash introduces Todd Kerns as the Vocalist for Doctor Alibi, which was co-written by a man born in Stoke. Lemmy Kilmeister, can not be replicated by anyone, but I love how Kerns busts it out. I have a special affinity for Todd, because I enjoyed the few songs I heard from his earlier group Age Of Electric.

Speed Parade is a forgetable track that follows, which also lowers the chances that I will pick up the second Snakepit album. Next up is Watch This, which was the killer instrumental from Slash's first solo album. It's the perfect track to have in this live set and the band really rocks it out.

Beggars & Hangers On, the only song I distinctly remember from the first Snakepit album, is the next track. I don't really remember the original that much, but this version may help explain why. It's a good solid filler, with a catchy chorus, and not really mush else.

Myles explains he can't whistle and asks the crowd to join in on Patience if they like. I personally just want to skip the song, as I always do. I really don't understand why Slash felt the need to include this track in the live set.

That is followed by Godfather Solo. Slash on one of his well planned and perfected solos. It's always a little on the brilliant side, and a little sexy. There are even times when it sounds like he may shred Eddie Van Halen's Eruption. I'm glad that wasn't the case. The only down side is that Sweet Child O' Mine follows that up.

If there are three Guns N' Roses songs I could spend the rest of my life never hearing again, or hearing live, it would be Sweet Child O' Mine, Don't Cry and Patience. If it weren't for that wicked solo on the previous track, this whole section of the concert would be bothersome. All personal feelings aside, it's a good live version.

Then it's on to the only Velvet Revolver track to make the album. Slither is a great track, but if there was only going to be one song from VR it should have been one of the faster tracks. At least based on the placement in the set list. However, this is the time they use to introduce the band, and then rip into a great rendition of the song.

One song flows seemlessly into the other when they go into By The Sword. This is a very good and faithful version of the song. If you like the original, you should like this one. To be honest I found that the last part of this set list has been too laid back, and by the time we get to the end of this song I am really thankful, just because the pace is going to pick back up again.

If you are a former member of Guns N' Roses and you have to pick two songs to close out the night, the next two songs are the ones to do it with.

First comes the amazing and always fun and wild Mr. Brownstone. One of my favourite Gunner tunes. This is the only track where Myles fails with trying to do Axl. It's not a huge fail, it's just that his voice doesn't hit it right. Then again this isn't exactly the easiest song to sing. But either way it's a great way to begin the ending of the night.

The last track of the night has a fake intro. Slash would almost make you think Patience was coming back or maybe The Rolling Stones Wild Horses. That is until Mr. Kennedy decides to throw down the gauntlet and say flat out, "This is Paradise City." Then it's into what I think is the most popular G'N'R song. I know people like Sweet Child O' Mine better, but people are stupid. Okay, I'm sorry that's rude, but there's a reason why Slash closes the night with this track. Leave 'em on a high note.

Given a choice between the first disc and the second disc, I will always pick the first disc in this set. I find the second disc really causes it all to drag out longer than it is. I think part of that also comes from the fact that this is a two and half hour live set, featuring twenty-two live songs. This is for the hard core fan. Especially when you throw in the bonus DVD as well.

I will probably listen to this one a lot. And when I'm in the mood to "Liven" up the CD player this one will most likely end up in the mix. However, in the grand scheme of live albums, this is a pretty basic one. Nothing overly special or crazy, just good old fashioned Rock 'N Roll.

7/10 - content

6/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alice Cooper - Pretties For You

Every band starts somewhere, and in the Sixties you could get signed to a label with the intensions of being able to grow. Someone would see something in a band that could be nurtured, and in many cases exploited. In the case of Alice Cooper, it was Frank Zappa and the label that allowed the original Alice Cooper Group to take root and grow.

Let me be clear about two things with this album. It is an album for those that consider themselves true Alice Cooper fans, or for people that are a fan of sixties Experimental Rock. This is like listening to early Pink Floyd, or the Beatles' raw demos from the psychedelic period, or early Frank Zappa even. This is just one of those kind of albums.

Titanic Overture opens the album up with a keyboard/organ number that is pretty cool. It's creepy, ominous, haunting, and has just the right amount of chill to it. It then moves into a piano piece that fades out.

It starts getting all weird and experimental and Noise Rock on 10 Minutes Before The Worms. This is totally for a certain kind of person. On the experimental noise side of things, it's pretty cool.

Sing Low, Sweet Cheerio is musically cool. It's hard to believe that it's the same band as the last track. If you can get over the sounds of the prodution which suffers in part due to when it was recorded, it's a really decent track. Also, to be honest the vocalist which was then listed as Vincent Furnier sounds kind of shitty. But seriously, musically this is really damn sound. What stands out to me the most in this song is Neil Smith's drumming. I would love to have heard it recorded with the amount of tracks available today.

The rawness of Today Muller is what holds this song back. It's a song that was way ahead of it's time and would be a great starting point for a band to expand on in this day and age.

Living is the first song on the album that the average listener could get into. This could have easily been a radio single. This is a track I would have expected from The Monkees, middle era Beatles, many of the West Coast psychedelic bands, but really well done.

Fields Of Regret is another song that suffers from not having the time of being further developed, or having better recording equipment. This is one of those tracks that could have been a huge favourite of the underground circuit if it had had the chance to be produced the same as Black Juju, which came out only two years later. However, one could argue that Black Juju pretty much was this song rearranged.

No Longer Umpire is one of those songs that started in the early days and continued into the first studio album, and probably should have been. It's just one of those songs that comes across as a first song ever written.

There was an Alice Cooper song I saw a very early promo video for, and I spent forever trying to find it. Eventually I came across Levity Ball (Live at the Cheetah) on this album and I couldn't understand why the studio version wasn't used. I still don't get why a proper version of this song wasn't released. I heard a demo that made me understand a little, but it pisses me off because there's a version on an unofficial release called Live At The Whiskey A-Go-Go which is fantastic. But instead, this album has some piss poor live recording. It really bugs me because this song is awesome. I love the lyrics even. So much poetry. "I got my invitation to the annual levity ball / Seeing the location is within the mirrored room / Walking in my room I found I had nothing to find / I got into my evening wear and left my clothes behind / I sat down on the stairway seven hours at a time / Writing all of this poetry that I knewq would never rhyme / The memory I knew I must have had when I came in / Was of some varied places where I've never ever been / And then in came a cake all decorated in my name / With four paper brown candles are all spelling out this name / The clock was passing out from time to time I saw it all / The beginning of the ending of my first levity ball".

I'm in the middle with B.B. On Mars. It's one of those early sounding songs that should have stayed that way, but on the other hand it does seem well developed. It's a song for those that like it raw.

If you read my review for Billion Dollar Babies you will already know the future story of Reflected, and how it would evolve into one of the great songs of the seventies, it started off here in rough and raw style. I honestly still really dig this track, and would have loved to have heard a version of it fully remastered to the fullest degree.

Apple Bush is a little too Rainbows and Unicorns kind of Hippy Rock for me. I mean this track is interesting, but not my cup of tea.

Earwigs To Eternity is a song that suffers from a lack of proper development. I think if it had been put into the hands of Bob Ezrin for a little time it could have become something a little more interesting. I can't really suggest this one to anyone other than the fans.

Okay, it's clear with Changing Arranging that the band understood from day one that an album needs to be closed out just right, and if it's hard and heavy that's all that much better. I really wish Dennis Dunaway's bass was pushed further ahead in the mix, and the drums were mic'd better, but it would have given this song a fuller sound that would have been killer. This is a track that Bob should have pushed to redo with the band later.

All in all this album is actully pretty decent for it's time. I really think some of these songs should have been given a second life in Bob Ezrin's producer hands later on. Maybe as a bonus album to the original Greatest Hits album, if it could have been done.

7/10 - content

6/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rammstein - Made In Germany

The reviews I hate writing the most are Rammstein reviews, and that's because I feel that I can never do them justice. For starters, I don't know the language, for which I am sorry, so I have to rely on internet translations. There are some exceptions to that rule, those being songs with English lyrical content, and any track found on the video collection Lichtspielhaus. If you put on the subtitles, you can get the English lyrics to those songs. My son taught me that trick, after he stole my DVD a few times.

However, it's in trying to translate the songs to English where I feel I cause the most damage in my reviews. Those are German words and they are meant to be German words, and sometimes other languages, because that is how Till Linderman delivers his amazing operatic style. I'm not talking about the high soaring vocal stylings of Bruce Dickinson. This is more like a classic Viking or Barbarian Warlord singing of his pain and pleasure and triumphs and failures. I don't need to know the words to let them take me away.

As for the album Made In Germany, it's a best of I picked up for my son for his birthday. I own all the albums and didn't need this one, but my kid sure is happy to have it. Which makes me happy.

Engel leads off the album. This is a good song, but never one of my favourites. I understand why it's on here, but I would have personally thrown it in the middle of the album and opened with the next track instead.

If I had been in charge of selecting the lead off track to this album it would have been Links 234. First off, it's quick, and it has such a steady gripping marching rhythm that it instantly pulls you into the album.

I've never been able to make up my mind about Kein Lust. Part of me loves the track, and enjoys politely banging my head at a gentle nod, while the other part of me will skip it and move on to something I enjoy a little more.

The first song on this album I find truly powerful is Mein Teil. Musically it has a little of everything. Tempo changes, vocal changes, dynamic fluctuations and fantastic timing are all perfectly spread through this song. The constant build ups to the pre chorus and chorus are top notch, while the explosion delivered during the mentioned sections gets the heart pounding and the fist pumping.

If you know any song from Rammstein it's most likely Du Hast. This was the song that truly opened the band up to the North American mainstream. I know the language barrier hasn't helped in the U.S., even though the band does have a strong following there. I personally found that Canadians tend to be more accepting, but no where near as accepting as much of Europe. To be honest I'd rather see Rammstein in Germany where they can do a proper stage show than see a tamed down one in North America. As for the song in question, it's a good track to get you pumped, but I would compare it using the idea of songs one might find on Iron Maiden's self titled album compared to tracks that would be found on Number Of The Beast. Fast, furious, but minimalistic and not as lyrically in depth as songs that were released later.

I often wonder is Du Riechst So Gut has become one of my son's favourite songs, just because of how much he loves singing the English lyrics in a sly mocking manner.

Ich Will has been one of my favourite Rammstein tracks since I first heard it. I love the sound and production on this track. I love the delicate textured layering of the instruments and the way the keyboard is being sprinkled through out the entire song. Christian "Flake" Lorenz may be the most underlooked member of the band when it comes to the actual music. His textures and sounds add so much flavour to so many of this band's songs.

It was only inevitable that eventually the band would try to get more and more orhestrated, and they show that with full luxurious style on Mein Herz Brennt. There's a full sounding string section that powers off the choruses while the verse tends to stay more to accoustic sounds, and then during the pick up leading into the chorus the band turns it up to eleven.

The album finally slows down and gets real mellow dramatic when Mutter starts up. This is a very slow and pretty song when it first starts. Musically it's like a music box with a ballerina in it, if it was played by a full band. The chorus reminds me of a warriors mournful howl for their fallen comrade, and pretty much the only word spoken during those choruses is "Mutter", which you can't help but sing along to.

I don't want to say that Pussy is one of my favourite Rammstein songs, but it really is. I love the complete and utter hilarity of this song. The way that they mock English speaking women, and their obsession with bad boy foreigners is just genious. At least that's how I take it. If I were the same dumb ass kid that got into Rammstein I would love this song for the cheap reasons msot people do. It's fast, fun, and all kinds of dirty.

Rosenrot is only the second song on the album that I could either take or leave. It's not a bad song by any means, but I think it's one of those ones that suffers because of the language barrier.

Halfisch is full of so much fun and bouncy energy. This song is like some German beer polka meets the heavy depths of Metal, with a little whimsical texturing for the tongue in cheek fun. It's also a really good pick up after Rosenrot, and is an even better warm up for the next track.

I hate to come off sounding anti-American but I do have a bias towards them, which is why I love Amerika so much. I love it even more when you think about how popular this song got in the U.S. because Rammstein was using English lyrics, even though those lyrics were meant to be mocking. "We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / Wenn getanzt wird will ich führen / Auch wenn ihr euch alleine dreht / Lasst euch ein wenig kontrollieren / Ich zeige euch wie's richtig geht / Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen / Die Freiheit spielt auf allen Geigen / Musik kommt aus dem Weißen Haus / Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus / (We're all living in Amerika) / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / Ich kenne Schritte die sehr nützen / Und werde euch vor Fehltritt schützen / Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss / Weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss / Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen / Ich werde euch die Richtung zeigen / Nach Afrika kommt Santa Claus / Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / We're all living in Amerika / Coca-Cola, Wonderbra / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / This is not a love song / This is not a love song / I don't sing my (mother's) tongue / No, this is not a love song / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / We're all living in Amerika / Coca-Cola, sometimes war / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika ". I especially love the part where he says "This is not a love song". That mixed with the chanting that's like a fucked up paraody of It's A Small World from the Disney World theme park, makes this song so much humorous fun.

Sonne was the very first Rammstein song that made me look at the band as serious contenders in the grand scheme of music. While every song from this German powerhouse group tends to be as heavy as Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, Metallica's Thing That Should Not Be, or Iron Butterfly's Heavy, this song is full of so much emotion that the heavy only gets deeper and darker. This song is the true description of beautiful Metal.

Take everything I just said about Sonne and then make it into the epic sound genious of the already mentioned Kashmir, or Metallica's Orion (if it had words), or Iron Maiden's Fear Of The Dark and you get Ohne Dich. This song is the perfect way to cap off all the already widely avaiable material.

Mein Land was released specifically as new material for this album. It's an okay track, but not how I would have ended the album. I really think ending the album with this track makes it seem very last minute, which the song does enough on it's own anyway.

All in all this is a pretty good collection. I think it represents the band decently. To be honest this could have easily been a double album, and maybe it should have been. I can think of five or six songs that should have been on here, two of which were actually singles, and that's just off the top of my head. But if you have never owned anything Rammmstein and don't want to go and pick up every album, as you really should, then you can go with Made In Germany and rest easy that you made a good choice to start with.

8/10 - content

8/10 - production

9/10 - personal bias

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shocker - No More Mr. Nice Guy - The Music

In 1989 Wes Craven released a movie called Shocker. The idea behind it was kind of interesting, but on the whole it kind of came off as a second rate Nightmare On Elm Street. Along with the movie came a soundtrack, that for reasons that only my friends can understand, and Alice Cooper fans could half ass respect, I traded Zeppelin IV for years later. Early in the summer of 1995, which makes a difference when it comes to one of these songs.

A friend of mine from an area of Quebec called Saddlebrook, which is a sub section of Saint-Lazare, by the name of John, traded me this copy of a CD that I would define as being rare for obvious reasons. As I go along I will explain why I traded for this disc. I'll also explain why I have only one friend that could love this disc more than me.

Let me start by saying Desmond Child was the music supervisor for the movie. He also co-wrote most, if not all, of the original material on this album. I'm sure that my buddy Pat is already sporting a little chub upon reading this. I should also warn you good sir (Pat) that most of this review will be directed at you.

The album opens with Shocker which is chocked full of late 1980's creepy ambiance, as well as vocals by both Desmond Child and Paul Stanley. I mean this thing is produced to be Arena Rock greatness. Then you have to add in drums by Tommy Lee, Rudy Sarzo on Bass and guitars by Vivian Campbell and Guy Mann-Dude. I'm not sure why there was a need to put some big uplifting section into the track, but why the hell not. It's 1989 and people dig that shit. I think I need to make a copy of this album for you to enjoy Pat, you would really love The Dudes Of Wrath.

Iggy Pop and a song called Love Transfusion makes total sense, but this sounds totally like a left over from the keyboard heavy section of Alice Cooper's Trash album. Thank you Desmond Child. In all honesty this one isn't that bad.

When I first traded for this album I had no clue Megadeth would be releasing Hidden Treasures in July of 1995. I traded for the album in late June, I believe. So, getting a copy of No More Mr. nice Guy covered by Megadeth seemed like a pretty big deal to me at the time, it was like one of those hidden gem kind of finds. It's a great cover and I love the way Mustaine handles the song.

Okay, Pat, this next song is totally for you. Bonfire's Sword And Stone is so damn fucking powerful and rockin' and you will sing along with this bitch and love it. Totally serious dude. Okay, the lyrics might be a little cheese, but I don't give a shit. This is that crazy arena shit mainlining cocaine.

You want power ballad, well, here you go. I give you the mother of power ballads. Sandi Saraya belts out Timeless Love so carazily that it causes the computer to start skipping and can't continue broadcasting an audio signal. I kid you not.

Next we move on to the reason I had to have this album. Shockdance which features Alice Cooper rapping. I fucking shit you not. One could argue it's spoken word, and I could be one of those, but this piece is fucking so awesomely cheesy that as I listen to this I bang my head, and want to go out killing. "He drags his foot and he clutches his knife / As the people in the city wait in fear for their life / He's a maniac, heart attack, wired to kill / A cold blooded lunatic, hungry for a thrill / Love is the victim in the world gone bad / Hate is like nitro when you're stark raving mad / Electrocute, execute his evil is relentless / Repentless, senseless, and you're defenless / In the name of the fater, in the name of the son / This unholy ghost has only just begun / Bless our souls when we take a last breath / Deliver us from evil in this valley of death / Shockdance, hey! Shockdance, hey! / Stone cold monster of the man / Half Jack the Ripper, a pinch of Son of Sam / Gashes, slashes, he's malicious and vicious / He's a killing machine and he never does the dishes / Once I'm inside you. Im gonna smoke you, / I'll choke you, he's gonna croak you / "Pinker the stinker" the headlines begin / The on the scene reporter says he's gonna do you in / In the name of the fater, in the name of the son / This unholy ghost has only just begun / Bless our souls when we take a last breath / Deliver us from evil in this valley of death / He's a shocker, a rocker. he's a heavy metal mean / unjustifiable, combustible his blood is kerosene / Throw away your guns, forget about mace / 'cos now he's on TV, right in front of your face / Shockdance, hey! Shockdance, hey! / When I was born / I was born a bad seed / Everybody cut me down / Now I'm making them bleed". The other vocalist on this track is the dude that plays Horace Pinker. The band is once again The Dudes Of Wrath.

Okay, at this point I have to admit this album is so fucking horribly cool it's going into the CD player when I reload it. My son will probably think it's some killer new album. Hell, this might warrant a follow up article.

Demon Bell (The Ballad Of Horace Pinker) is so fucking Metal! I mean this is some of that crazy ass Dungeons & Dragons Metal. Oh, and if you know bands that you only know because you remember a very specific time in music, Dangerous Toys may ring a bell. Drew, stop laughing. No, seriously stop laughing. Matt you too.

Voodoo X anyone? Come on I want to hear it for Voodoo X and their smash hit The Awakening! I shit you not, there's no reason this song couldn't have been a hit, if this soundtrack had gone somewhere. Oh wait, there was a band that did this kind of thing, they were called Whitesnake. I mean seriously this is a band that totally was inspired by Whitesnake and Today would be able to cash in on camp value.

Different Breed from Dead On follows that up. Okay, this band reminds me of Annihilator. I mean this is some serious head banging shit that's bitching crazy. This track cements it. This album is so going in the CD player. Holy crap, Desmond is a damn artist as a producer. This album has been way too under valued. "He sees himself apart from you and I / Is he from down below,or is he from the sky / They've got their eyes on you / Patrolling what you do / They only want to govern your soul / Now your time has come to stand, / Fight or run / No,you can't chosse you'll lose / Now the real test begins to see if good or evil wins / You can't change the hands of fate / You're locked in tight ,you see your might / You can escape what can't be real / Now your time has come to stand / Or fight or run / No, you can t choose ,you fucking loser / Breed different breed / Breed different breed / His eyes burn through you, it's time to go / On your little red vacation down below / You enter a new state of mind, no help / from a prayer / Little do you know,you ll entered the demons liar / No,you can t chosse you ll lose / Breed different breed / Breed different breed".

Shocker (Reprise) finishes off the album, and this is that big happy, shiny, rainbows and kittens part of Shocker, that I didn't understand in the first place, but picture that cranked up to eleven. I mean seriously Desmond Child hit the true eleven, and the soloing is awesome. I mean the solo being buried under that heavenly chorus is jaw dropping. This is pure studio wizardry at it's most amazing.

Dude (Pat) seriously, if we currently owned and operated our own version of Wheels, this disc would get played on a Thursday night or something like that. I mean this is some serious stuff that would throw people for a loop if introduced now. It would blow minds.

Realistically speaking this album is a production dream, and I would love to try and make it become the most sought after album, and become some type of cult classic, but I don't think it will happen. But it should be. This album is an album you need to own for no reason at all except for that it needs to be owned and used to fill out the perfect 1989 night. That being said I really have no clue what to rate the content. No clue at all.

?/10 - content

10/10 - production

10/10 - personal bias

Friday, November 1, 2013

Madonna - The Confessions Tour

So, it's Saturday morning, closing in on noon, and Andria and I are starting out the day. I have a monster list of reviews I want to write, and she wanted something to sing while she makes brunch. Which means I am now writing a review for The Confessions Tour.

I am not a Madonna fan and I will take some cheap shots at her in this review, however I've watched the concert and it was amazing. I give the woman her props and totally respect her as a showman. I also respect her artistry. The way she has many of the songs on this live show reworked is fantastic. It creates a fantastic story of sorts. You don't quite get the full effect with the audio cd, but what are you going to do?

The album opens with Future Lovers / I Feel Love. To me this is an over extended music loop. This is something that would go over great at raves, gay clubs, or bars that no self respecting straight white male would want to be at(this is coming from a guy that is a fan of the original Melrose Place). It's fucking awesome to watch live, but has you questioning why it needs to be so long when you listen to it.

That being said, I even want to bop around the house to the Disco inspired reinterpretation of Like A Virgin. It's fun, it's bouncey, it's all well performed musically. There are musicians that do perform on these songs, or at least they make it look that way.

It's when the next song starts that you really hear what's going on. Jump which is a club kind of track originally, even get's a musical vibe change to "Disco" it out. It's still very dance club for my liking, but it's easy to figure out why so many people enjoy it.

Next up is Confessions. This is a gripping and moving piece of musical art. It contains various spoken word pieces with different people saying "confessions", which are set to music. I have no clue if this was done for just this tour, or if this had been on an album, but for artistic purposes of an album, it works as a fantastic interlude kind of piece. However, that doesn't mean I don't skip it when given a chance.

Next up is a song that gets stuck in your head, Isaac. This is a really cool song, and you can hear how it grabs the audience and get's them moving. I love all the different musical variations on this track as well. It get's a little too dance club sounding for me, but whatcha goin' ta do, girls wanna dance and sing, and boys wanna watch and smile. I should also mention that this song does seem to really run on for a while. I'm thinking it was meant for users of E, or maybe other stimulants.

I only know Sorry from this album. I just had to check which album this was originally on, because I had no clue. But I've heard this version so many times now that I guess I just know it like it's the original, which I've never heard.

Then there's the Sorry (Remix). Skip it. This should have been left off the album.

Madonna doing a song called I Love New York makes total sense. Madonna pretending to be a guitarist on the song is a joke. Also, I don't get the need to preserve such a cheap shot at George Bush. Sure I think he's the hand puppet of Satan (not really), but that's saying that people can go to Texas and suck his dick is just silly to keep on CD.

Let It Will Be is a nifty little tune. It will help you get your groove on. It feels a little long and repetitive to me, but what you going to do.

For the next song we are treated to a bunch of radio channels switching until we get to the music. Disco Inferno meets Madonna's Music. It works. It works really well. I honesty dig the song Disco Inferno, so the fact that it's used as the new main riff to a tune I normally don't care for is a great mash-up, before mash-up's were really a thing, and Madonna was doing it live. My props to you.

I find a lot of the songs on this album run long, but when you watch the live show you don't notice it at all. I really do think that this album could have greatly benefitted from some editing. I understand preserving the artistic integrity, plus it allows the music to get a little spot light, but in a lot of cases I find it drags out, which prevents other song from being included. At the minimum with a little editing they could have snuck La Isla Bonita into there as well.

I'm not a fan of Erotica, which is the next song. It's one of those songs that's just too Dance for me.

There are four songs on this album I can sing along to; Like A Virgin, Music Inferno (because of a cover by a group called Out Of Your Mouth), Lucky Star and Hung Up. Those last two are the last two songs on this album. Lucky Star is Lucky Star on Disco extended jam. It's enjoyable.

Hung up is honestly a great album closer even though it drags on for ever. It's one of those songs that works great in concert, but has you asking "Why does it drag on for so long?" Then Madonna answers with "Time goes by / So Slowly" over and over again. You work the crowd Madonna. You work that crowd like the artistic porn merchant that you are. I mean that in the most sincerly flattering way possible.

Would I ever own this album without Andria's intervention? Hell no! Would I have ever seen the concert without her? Probably not, but who knows. It was played on Network Television. But let's be clear that just because this music for the most part just really isn't my thing. Doesn't mean it doesn't deserve some respect, though.

8/10 - content

8/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Green Day - Bullet In A Bible

If you asked me how I would describe Green Day the best description I could give you is Bubble Gum Punk. It's like taking everything that the Ramones tried doing and then doing it all fucked up and wrong. I remember when Green Day Came out, and I couldn't stand them. Firstly I was listening to the likes of Metallica, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, and various other Hard Rock/Metal bands at the time, and these guys were cheap amateur Punk. They didn't even have the rawness of the Sex Pistols, the passion of The Misfits, or the honesty of the Ramones. The only Punk bands I've ever been into. I understand and respect groups like Black Flag and other groups that were Punk because they were just being themselves, it wasn't about image.

Flash foward a decade or more after my introduction to these guys and they are now back in front of the music scene and they are rocking it Emo style. The days of the Punk Rock are done and now it's all about a new form of teenage angst. However, it's still just Bubble Gum Punk, but now wearing mascara and trying to say something. I'm fine with that. I wasn't big on American Idiot, but that's just me. Then they release Bullet In A Bible, which is a live album that documents one of the two biggest shows that Green Day have performed in their career, up to that point. Playing to over 130,000 people at the Milton Keynes National Bowl in the United Kingdom. While that should impress me, it really doesn't.

The album opens with American Idiot, a live track that clocks in at 4:32. I thought Green Day was supposed to be a Punk band. I know this is what the media have been telling me for years. But here I am listening to a song that's long, has a cheap guitar solo, and one riff that runs pretty much the entire thing. I mean what the hell. The riff is a bit catchy, though.

Then we move on to Jesus of Suburbia. This song clocks in at 9:23, and this has nothing to do with it being live. I know that the original version is the same damn length, or close to it. That's epic-ish for many normal Rock bands, for a Punk band this is a magnum opus. I do find this song interesting as I listen to it now. The change ups actually make the band sound somewhat musically inclined.

Then it's on to Holiday. Of all the songs I was forced to listen to from American Idiot, this is the one I minded the least. This is just a live sounding version of that song, and it's nothing overly impressive.

Are We the Waiting, is the first song on the live album that clocks in under three minutes. I can understand why so many teens of the time identified with this song. I also understand why this song has been forgotten over the years.

St. Jimmy is some classic Punk styling. In the most basic generic definition of the word.

I have a slight affection for Longview because I like the bass riff, as simple as it is, it a great jam kind of thing that he's got going on, but I will have some fun and karaoke this one from time to time.

If you aren't paying attention it's real easy to overlook Hitchin' a Ride. It just sounds like another classic standard riff being popped out by this band.

I have no clue how much time my friends and I spent mocking Brain Stew. While I listen to this I remember why. In my passage of time I've grown slightly nostalgic about Basket Case. It's sick and wrong to feel this way, but all the same it's at least making the song enjoyable.

From a live perspective King for a Day / Shout is a great live medley. This being Shout written and originally performed by The Isley Brothers, not the one by the British band. It's Green Day working the crowd in a really good way that works with what they like to do.

Then it's on to the one song that makes me hate this band. Wake Me Up When September Ends, was one of the most over played radio ballads I've heard since the eighties. Really this is just like all those power ballads by Poison, or White Lion.

Then it's on to Minority. It's a much better live track than it was as a studio track, you get the true vibe of what the song is supposed to be.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams isn't a bad track in retrospect. It relies entirely on the guitar's tremelo effect.

Talk about ending the show with the most over played song ever by this band. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) sadly is going to be one of those songs that people remember for a very long time, and it's all for the wrong reasons. Mainly how over played it was that it just got forced into the mainstream culture like a pig on a spit. But it's the perfect way to end the show.

I would never own this album. I clearly don't care for Green Day and my prejudice is showing. On the other hand I feel that I am at least half fair about how overly simplified this band is, while dragging it out way too long at times.

However, to be fair as a live album it works, and if I were into Green Day I would feel a need to own this album, because it would be worth it. I don't score the production well, but that's mainly because this is a very basic live recording I find.

7/10 - content

6/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias

Monday, October 21, 2013

AC/DC - BallBreaker

AC/DC's Ballbreaker is one of those albums I love because of warm fuzzy memories, not so much because it was a great album. To be honest, this album is pretty much a teenage wet dream with a few other songs thrown in for texture. I realize that the band is known for releasing the same album over and over again, and to the casual listener that's true, but when it comes to this album it gets a bit generic.

Once I get to my favourite song on the album, you'll question what was said above. However, that doesn't happen for quite a while.

The album opens with Hard As A Rock, which lyrically is juvenile at best, and I don't care, but musically has a great build up and musical presence. Right away the musical production grabs me. It's simple, but effective. Everything sounds clear and the bass really fills out the low end giving a very full sound.

Cover You In Oil is basically soft core porn, with a very basic AC/DC boogie woogie back beat. "I like to slip into something good / I see a young girl in the neighborhood / The way she move, I must confess / I like to run my hands up and down her legs / The way she dress, she look so fine / I'll make her wet, gonna make her mine / She like it hard, she don't like it slow / All right honey, come on lets go / Baby, feel what you want, it's the way she move / Baby, feel what you need, so come on let's go / Cover you in oil / Let me cover you in oil / I wanna cover you in oil / Let me cover you in oil / Yeah / Pull on the zip, she give good lip service / It's nothing for the show, I just pay to see her go / She make you hot, you spray your lot / So come on in honey, we're headin' to the top / The way she push, she don't give a dime / Abuse your life, gonna make you satisfied / She's kinda rough, she give it tough / Come on honey and strut your stuff / Baby feel what you want, it's the way she move / Baby, feel what you need, come on let's go / Cover you in oil / Cover you in oil / I wanna cover you in oil / Let me cover you in oil / Let's go / Ooooh yeah / Yeeeeeeeah / Feel what you want / It's the way she move / Feel what you need / So come on let's go - yeah / Cover you in oil / Cover you in oil / Let me cover you in oil / I wanna cover you in oil / I wanna cover you in oil / Cover you in oil / Cover you in oil / Cover you in oil / Cover you / In oil".

I enjoy the dark vibe and feel to The Furor, it has a great S&M overtone to it, or maybe you could look at it more as D&S in some dark Rock club. This is some really good Rock, though. In the grand scheme of Hard Rock it may be deemed as forgettable, but it's still enjoyable when it's on.

Boogie Man is great as a live track, but on the album it's a bit of a cliche. Enjoyable, but such a typical song from the boys from down under.

I totally forgot The Honey Roll was on this album.

Burnin' Alive is a really good album track. If this song had appeared on Back In Black, or Highway To Hell, For Those About To Rock or even High Voltage it would have been a fantastic filler track. On this album it's still a fantastic filler track, but it's fantastic filler on an album that could be mainly considered decent filler.

Hail Caesar is honestly the first song on the album that I would have considered a full fledged single worthy song. It wouldn't have been a top ten song, but it would have been a solid top fifty, maybe a top twenty. It would be a weaker best of track, if you went for total band coverage, but only because of the greats it would be going up against.

Musically, Love Bomb isn't bad. Lyrically, I don't want to really get into it. I think this song really suffers from that content.

Caught With Your Pants Down is a decent enough album filler. The lyrical content gives you a good clue about what's going on with this song, but it's not as raunchy as other tracks can be. This is more like a taunting kind of track. Like the guys in the locker room are making fun of the guy caught cheating on his wife.

Whiskley On The Rocks is honestly a really decent AC/DC drinking tune. This is another song that could easily be switched into another album from this band and it would work just as well as, or if not better than, the song you are subbing this for. Based on switching it for another drinking tune of course.

Now I like when an album ends on a high note, and as far as I'm concerned this album does. It saved the best for last. The most naughty, dirty minded, Hard Rock, ball bustin' and callin' it a good time track finishes off this album with flying clolours. "Breakin' balls, Bangin' walls / Work hard and tough, and I want some rough / Unpack my bags, and take a drag / When bang on nine, and [I'm] dead on time / Open up the door / And lay upon the floor / She open her overcoat / Livin' out her dreams / Rippin' off my jeans / You are a Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Engine roll, and time to go / A razorback, a hog attack / [I'm] Buildin' steam, [for] whippin' cream / She likes a fat, smokin' stack / Hangin' off her legs / She threw me on the bed / Her hand went for my throat / As I began to choke / She said, Honey shoot your load [Honey shoot your load] / You are a Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Yeah / Wreckin' ball, let it roll / You are a Ballbreaker / Buildin' steam, for whippin' cream / You are a Ballbreaker / Hangin' off her legs / She threw me on the bed / Her hand went for my throat / As I began to choke / Honey shoot your load / You are a Ballbreaker / You are a Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker / Ballbreaker". I'm sure my love for this song says a lot about my character, but when you mix in the music, the solo's not anything to write about, but the rest of the instrumentation is punchy, heavy, thick, and full. This is my You Shook Me All Night Long, except for darker and dirtier.

If this album contained only Hard As A Rock, The Furor, Boogie Man, Hail Caesar, Whiskey On The Rocks, and Ballbreaker, I would rate it higher than I feel it deserves now. However, there's only two tracks on this album I ever go out of my way to listen to at all and those are the last two tracks. To me the biggest draw to this album is the production. I would have loved to have heard the band re-record some of the Bon Scott era tracks during the studio time, just to get that sound on classic tunes. It would have sounded like the perfect modern adaptation.

6/10 - content

8/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Birth Of Surf

I have a thing for Surf music. Most of it comes from an early love of The Beach Boys, that could be described as slightly obsessional at the time. However, over the years I supressed that love due to bowing under the pressure of my peers. Finally I broke down one day and picked this album and decided to let surf fill my heart and mind. I'm very happy that I did too.

One of my favourite parts about the album is the fact that the album is completely instrumental. It's great to hear all the clear and distinct lead guitar work, and early soloing. Almost every song is done by a different artist, and every track has a clear connection to the beach, and it's mystical surf. I should cover the artists/musicians that make up this album, but I really would rather focus on just the music. If you want to know about the artists you should pick up the album, and read the large booklet inside.

Ramrod opens up the album setting the tone for things to come. This is the type of track that should get you moving and shaking and if it doesn't there's something wrong with you. Sure it sounds dated production wise, but that doesn't change how much boogie there is in this one.

Crossfire follows that up. This is a track you should instantly recognise if you have watched any movies featuring sixites music, or if you are a Quinton Terintino fan. The track brings fast, furious and with some full and pure musical pleasure, all in under two and a half minutes.

Bulldog sounds a bit too much like Beach Blanket Party With The Bingo Mama's, or something like that. This is one of those tracks that I feel doesn't do Surf music the justice it's due.

Moon Dawg is totally wicked cool. I mean this song takes you somewhere, and it's fantastic. This is the type of moving music that make this type of Rock so appealing to me.

Lullaby Of The Leaves I feel defines the true sadness of surfers in places where Autum exists. It illicits emotions like good music should and conjures images of leaves gently falling on the ocean while hot rods pull away into the cool air.

Mr. Moto is enjoyable, but I feel it's just decent filler, or an unintentional lead into the much more musically interesting Jack the Ripper. This one really sounds like some wave shredding, but like the surfer is stalking the waves before taking them down.

Latin'ia is wicked sweet with some reverb that is killer for effect, especially for it's time. This one has me thinking of moon light dancing on the gentle night water ripples, and that special woman wearing a sheer light material dress.

Bustin' Surfboards is another classic that has been in a Terintino flick. This song is just some good honest fun.

El Toro is another track that doesn't do much for me. I know this one from a few different places, but I've never been very big on it.

Miserlou is a song that I do agree could be classified as the true birth of Metal. It's fast, furious, blisteringly in your face, and totally rapid fire mayhem. It's pure musical genious wrapped up with a horn section that lets you know you are going to like being slapped around by this track.

Pipeline is a great go between for the last track and the next track.

There is one instrumental Surf song that everyone should know and that's Wipeout. If you don't know this one your parents have done something wrong in your upbringing. I love this song. I know many people that don't and many that mock, but they don't know shit about shit and can piss off.

Surf Rider is the longest song on the album coming in at 3:19, while some tracks don't even crack two minutes. This is another track that's pretty well known. This is a great tune and totally enjoyable. Another track I know that Quinton fans would know well. I also love how much of a journey this song just naturally take you on.

Latin Soul sounds a little too militant for me. It's like "The Man" is trying to crash the big luau.

Jezebel is a little basic with it's sound only in the sense that it contains a little of everything, and it works as a great blend.

Baja kind of blends into the mix in a way that with the last sound just seems like an on running generic track. Earthquake has a little more passion and vibe to it. This is a track that does stand out, but it's not one that I find personally appealing.

Beaver Patrol is one of those songs that sounds like it clearly inspired the Ramones instrumentally. At least from my point of view. However, on this album it just sort of blends in.

Squad Car is back to more of the music telling a story and less of the sound Surf for the sake of sound Surf. It's a little too slap stick comical sounding to me, but it's great all the same.

I'm not sure what to say about Fiberglass Jungle, other than it kind of disappears into the mix. This goes with the next track Gypsy Surfer as well, and carries on with Let There Be Surf. But Let There Be Surf is another song that you may remember hearing in various movies over the years. It's very beach associated.

Next up is El Gato which is another track I know I know but I'm not sure where from. This is one of those tracks that I could do without. It's Surf for the sake of being Surf.

Penetration is yet another one that I know I know. I really dig this one, though. To be honest this one is all kinds of surfing sexuality.

Surf Creature finishes of the album. This track was a total discovery and I'm so glad I did. This track is totally mystic and sweet. I love the way it flows and feels and the inner call that it brings. This is the story of the Creature that protects the surfers rest at night.

I was so happy I picked up this album. It was a guilty pleasure I decided to indulge in and have taken a whole new frame of mind away from it. It's like returning to my early roots of musical influence.

For it's time the production on a lot of these tracks is really killer. I would personally love to record covers that at the bare minimum is directly inspired by some of these songs, if not exact replications. Just to be able to have access to the range of tracks that they didn't. The remastering on these tracks is decent, but you can only take the original recording so far.

8/10 - content

7/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies

There are some albums you listen to over and over, and some albums that just naturally get ingrained in your head without even trying. If you catch me on a good day when the wind is blowing right down through Mexico, oh, ohh, ohh, I can sing this album note for note. Not just word for word, and I'll even include some of those hidden moments you can only catch with head phones.

Is this Alice Cooper's best album? I don't think so. If you've read some of the past reviews in regards to albums by my heroes, the group that inspired me to want to be a musician and a performer, you should know what I consider Alice Cooper's crowning achievement. This album, however, is an album that any serious music listener should own.

There are some flaws to this album, and I want to point those out right at the start, just so we can get it out of the way. The first is that this album is missing the musical depth of it's predecessor, School's Out. This album, for the most part, is a straight ahead Rock album. There are a few exceptions, because every Alice album must have a few. When that follows an album with some really smokin' Jazz inspired riffs, it's a bit of a let down for the musical snob in me. However, it's time to get into the album, which covers my only other problem.

"Hello! Hooray! Let the show begin / I've been ready / Hello! Hooray! Let the lights grow dim / I've been ready / Ready as this audience that's coming here to dream / Loving every second, every moment, every scream / I've been waiting so long to sing my song / I've been waiting so long for this thing to come / Yeah - I've been thinking so long I was the only one / Roll out! Roll out your American dream and its rescuits / I've been ready / Roll out! Roll out your circus freaks and hula hoops / I've been ready / Ready as this audience that's coming here to dream / Loving every second, every movement, every scream / I've been waiting so long to sing my song / I've been waiting so long for this thing to come / Yeah - I've been thinking so long I was the only one / I can stand here strong and thin / I can laugh when this thing begins / God, I feel so strong / I feel so strong / I'm so strong / I feel so strong / So strong / God, I feel so strong / I'm so strong". Really, can you think of a better way lyrically to kick off an album. I will admit this is an Alice song I could do without (my last complaint), but it is an amazing opener. Even live it gets you up on your feet and pumped up. I guess I should also mention this is a cover, the original was done by Rolf Kempf. This may be part of the reason this isn't one of my favourites.

Next up on the album is Raped And Freezin'. Musically this song is bit on the light hearted side, while the lyrical theme is actually quite serious and a bit frightning, as well as ahead of it's time. The production, though, really has you believing that Alice is running for his safety in a gender bender well before it's time. "Finally got a ride, some old broad down from Santa Fe. / She was a real go-getter. / She drawled so sweetly, "I think, child, that things'll get better." / We pulled off the highway, night black as a widow. / "Yes, I read the Bible," she said, "I wanna know of you." / Hey, I think I've got a live one, / Hey, I think I've got a live one, Yeah, Yeah, / I think I've got a live one. / Felt like I was hit by a diesel or a greyhound bus. / She was no baby-sitter. / "Get up, sugar, never thought you'd be a quitter." / I opened the back door, she was greedy. / I ran through the desert, she was chasin'. / No time to get dressed, so I was naked, stranded in Chihuahua. / Hey, I think I've got a live one, / Hey, I think I've got a live one, / Hey, hey, I think I've got a live one, / Alone, raped and freezin', / Alone cold and sneezin', / Alone down in Mexico, / Alone."

Elected proves that sometimes it's okay for a band to rip off their own music. On the first Alice Cooper album, Pretties For You, there is a song called Reflected. It was a very wicked and cool track all on it's own. However, the band opted to pull the core riff from that song and re-use it to create a whole new song, that generations can easily enjoy. You don't even have to be American, like one might think, based on the lyrics.

By musical trade I'm a Drummer first, vocalist second and bassist third. Billion Dollar Babies is one of those landmark songs that belongs in that first group. The drum riff in this song may be one of the greatest, and toughest Rock beats to play. I don't try to do it often, as it's a pain in the ass, but from time to time I give it a go and shake my head and remember why Neil Smith is one of the most under rated drummers in the industry.

For many people a trip to the dentist is a horrifying ordeal. Unfinished Sweet not only captures the nightmare of that experience, but I also find it adds a fun bounce trip to it as well. There's this really fun springy, spronging kind of noise, that almost sounds like someone twanging on an elastic band. I actually like to think of this song as poetry in motion. "Candy everywhere, got chocolate in my hair / Aching to get me / Stickly sweet suckers in the Halloween air / Aching to get me / Saint Vitus dance on my morals tonight / Aching to get me / Aching to get me, get me oh... / Take it to the doc, I guess he ought to know / La, la, la, da / Which ones can stay, which one gotta go / He looks in my mouth and then he starts to gloat / He says me teeth are O.K. / But my gums got to go / Oh oh... / I come off the gas but I'm still seeing spies / Aching to get me / I can see them all through a glassy pair of eyes / Aching to get me / De Sade's gonna live in my mouth tonight / La, da, da, da, da / And the rotten tooth fairy is satisfied / La, da, da, da, da / Aching to get me, get me oh..."

Now if you are a basic run of the mill listener, and it's vinyl that you are using as the medium for your audio worship you'll most likely throw on side one and then call it a day. However, as a hardcore Alice Cooper fan I go straight to side two. That's where the real good stuff is. The real art, skill and talent of The Master.

I love No More Mr. Nice Guy. This is the ultimate losin' it and getting even kind of song. This is bad ass bad boy Rock at it's wildest. Lyrically I can relate to this one, like only the weird kids in the school can. "I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing / Until they, got a hold of me / I opened doors for little old ladies / I helped the blind to see / I got no friends 'cause they read the papers / They can't be seen, with me, and I'm getting real shot down / And I'm, feeling mean / No more Mister Nice Guy / No more Mister Cle-he-he-hean / No more Mister Nice Guy / They say he's sick, he's obsce-he-he-hean / I got no friends 'cause they read the papers / They can't be seen, with me, and I'm getting real shot down / And I'm, I'm getting mean / No more Mister Nice Guy / No more Mister Cle-he-he-hean / No more Mister Nice Guy / They say he's sick, he's obsce-he-he-hean / My dog bit me on leg today / My cat clawed my eye / My mom's been thrown out of social circle / My dad's had to hide / I went to church incognito / When everybody rose, the Reverend Smithy / He recognized me and / Punched me in the nose, / He said,No more Mister Nice Guy / No more Mister Cle-he-he-hean / No more Mister Nice Guy / They said, your sick, your obsce-he-he-hean / No more Mister Nice Guy / No more Mister Cle-he-he-hean / No more Mister Nice Guy / They said, your sick, your obsce-he-he-he-he,-he-he-he-he, / -he-he-he-he-hean".

Next up is Generation Landslide. The original version. While I'm not a huge fan of the song I do love singing the lyrics, especially during the "La da da da daa" part. It's one of those songs that's just a great slap in the face to all those annoying money hungry nut jobs that have no clue that there is a bubble that can and will pop.

The very first Alice Cooper song I could ever sing and play musically at the same time was Sick Things. To this day I'm still pretty solid at handling the bass and the vocals at the same time, and if I had another two arms would try and do the drums at the same time. This isn't a complex song, and to the casual listener it sounds like Alice just being creepy. However, this is one of those songs that I truly believe was meant to be played live and to freak the audience out.

Mary Ann, is a great dynamic shift that has a real bite of humour to it. "Mary-Ann, I'm really crazy about you, deed I am / I just can't live without you, Mary-Ann / Mary-Ann / Mary-Ann / My life was built around you / Stars and sand, your eyes were pools of laughter, Mary-Ann / I thought you were my man". This song is also the perfect way to break up two very dark and ominous songs.

The album then ends with one of my favourite songs. I Love the Dead is one of the greatest tributes to one of the most depraved sexual taboos, Necrophelia. It's not even tongue in cheek like other tracks with the same subject matter, this one slaps you right in the face with one of the happiest chorus' I've ever heard. I mean you can hear the ear to ear loving smile with every repeat of the line "I love the dead". The verses on the other hand are creepy as fuck. "I love the dead before they're cold / Their bluing flesh for me to hold / Cadaver eyes upon me see nothing / I love the dead before they rise / No farewells, no goodbyes / I never even knew your now-rotting face / While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave / I have other uses for you, darling!", then there's the repeating "I love the dead" which is sung around eighteen times. Then it's back to the creep show. "I love the dead before they're cold / Their bluing flesh for me to hold / Cadaver eyes upon me see... nothing!" Then the album ends.

By the time this album ends everytime I put it on I feel used and empty, at least when I'm home by myself. I don't just listen to this album, I perform along. Seriously, this is an album you should own. Ney, must own, or else you can't be considered a true fan of music. You see I had to get past all the gushing about the obvious BS before I could get into the best part about this album.

Michael Bruce delivers top notch guitar work on this album, and if Glen Buxton hadn't been in such a state because of substance abuse the guitar parts might have had more punch. However, instead the ledgendary producer opted to pull the guitars back a bit in the mix on many songs for vibe and ambience, which was genious. Especially when you add in the extra guitar efforts of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter.

I know I mentioned Neil Smith's drumming on Billion Dollar Babies, but that's not the only track where he shines. His rhythmic, yet far from standard, approach is what helps bring so much of this album to life. This album is one of the reasons that man is one of my favourite drummers of all time.

Then to round out the musicians is Dennis Dunnaway. The only reason Dunnaway is not my favourite bassist of all time is because of Geddy Lee and Cliff Burton. This is also a bassist that understood the bassist drummer dynamic so well that he would boast that he didn't need to hold down the low end, because Smith did it well enough. Instead Dennis works the entire bass and keeps the rhythm very tight and full.

Bob Ezrin is the name I will use to finish off talking about the album. The man is a production genious and if ever there was a time I was able to record an album he is the man I would want. The album is full of texture, vibe, passion, mood, mood, and yet still more mood. Every song comes across as surealist audio painting and it is a hundred percent because of this Canadian Producer. Just listen to the last track with headphones on and you will quickly understand what I'm talking about.

Now please, just go buy the album and enjoy.

9/10 - content

10/10 - production

9/10 - personal bias

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Iron Buttery - Scorching Beauty

My dad introduced me to Iron Butterfly, and of course the album he used as my introduction was In-A-Godda-Da-Vida, which is a great album. It has so many warm fuzzy memories for me. Then I later found Heavy on my own. An album which I find so much more enjoyable and heavier, which is funny since is was the bands first album. So, when I picked up Scorching Beauty I should have known that even more of the heavy would have been stripped out.

Scorching Beauty isn't a bad album, but it does suffer from a few problems. The first is that the only actual original member of the band at this point is drummer Ron Bushy, and none of his drumming sounds as inspired as it had on the band's first two albums. After that is the fact that keyboardist Doug Ingles isn't on this album and you can't help but notice the difference that makes. Finally, there is also the fact that this album sounds like it could have been recorded by any Hippy West Coast band, instead of one of the heaviest bands to ever come out of the U.S. Seriously, if Heavy and In-A-Godda-Da-Vida had been released in the 1990's it would have made anything Metallica released sound like kids music. That's not the case with this album, though.

This album sounds more like Jefferson Airplane if they had started in the seventies instead of the sixties, and didn't have any female vocals. Promissing to some I'm sure, but not inspired at all. Well, that might not be totally fair. There is real thought behind some of the tracks, and if I'm wrong I'm mistaking cheap gimmickery for musical thought, planning and production.

The album opens with 1975 Overture which sounds like the bunny rabbits and unicorns are marching off to war against raccoons and pandas. Their weapons will be rainbows and non-allergenic flowers. Really this song sets a bad tone for the album, and really sounds like it should be at the end of the album instead.

Up next is Hard Miseree sounds like it could be right out of the Grandfunk Railroad catalog. The bass rumbles, the drums drive, and the guitar lays down some sharp chorded riffs. My only complaint about this track is how far forward the vocals are in the mix. Everything else sounds slightly compressed, including the keyboards, which have a pretty cool solo that should have been exploited better.

High on a Mountain Top is a complete waste of album space. This track features a vocal change up for the worst. I have no clue what they were thinking with this song, but it wasn't about releasing quality material. I mean this one is seriously a steaming pile, that can only be best described as a left over from Ringo Star's worst album post Beatles. Also, please keep in mind Ringo had nothing to do with this song.

Am I Down is the first song that reminds me of the Iron Butterfly that I know, but mellower and more relaxed than you would have found on the album from the previous decade. It's like listening to Are You Happy or Possession, but with slide guitar and a slightly Pop-ish vocal presentation. Still a decent enough tune all the same.

By the time the first half of the album has completed I'm kind of doing a big WTF!? Am I Down is the only song so far I'm really digging on, and the rest of the album doesn't sound anything like Iron Butterfly. It's almost a giant slap to the face to the fans. It makes me very happy I became a fan at a later time.

People of the World kicks off the second half of the album. At this point it's like a full flight on wild ride that's a mix between Jefferson Airplane and Nazareth. I'm not talking about the good Rock stuff either. It's more like the cheap album filler stuff, that's meant for an easy radio grab.

By the time I reach Searchin' Circles I'm shaking my head and wondering what the fuck is up with the heavy tremelo on the vocals. They have a great effect on this specific song, but because of the over use I'm a bit annoyed. My only complaint with this song is that the organ is a little too funeral like. Not in a cool gloom way either. More in the really quiet and boring let's not disturb anyone sort of way.

Pearly Gates reminds me of Jethro Tull, and good Tull at that. This song actually may be the one song on this album that I find impressive. This is the direction I see this band going in after In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Once again the vocals are way too far forward in the mix, but other than that it's a good solid tune.

I don't mind Lonely Hearts. It's a decent enough song, but most definitely out of time. It reminds me of 1950's Rock (think Jerry Lee Lewis), mixed with a late sixties Garage Rock sound, and some intense rocking out found in seventies Prog.

The album ends with Before You Go. Which doesn't do much for me. It's like one of those really slow and drawn out Eagles tunes, if it was produced to sort of sound like The Beatles. Musically the song does get really good around the mid section and turns into a great jam. This instrumental section may be one of the best parts of this album.

It's easy to see why this album ended up being a commercial flop. It never should have been released under the Iron Butterfly name. From my point of view it isn't a Butterfly album, and it's pretty much a few guys sponging off the name. In fact the perfect way to describe this album would be expensive demo. I think what hurt this album the most was production, and song selection. I will have to find the other album that was released the same year as this one and find out if that is where all the good music went.

5/10 - content

4/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Friday, September 27, 2013

Type O Negative - October Rust

Type O Negtive's October Rust was the first album I picked up from this band on a release day. I didn't discover this Gothic Metal band until after Bloody Kisses was released, and this was the first album to follow that. Because of that, this album has a special place in my heart. I also have a certain longing for this album as well. I'm not sure what happened to my original copy, but it ended up so messed up that I didn't have a proper working copy for years. Partially because I was a little hard headed about having to replace it, and a little because I was buying other discs in that time. Either way I have a new fully working copy now, and that's good, because I forgot how much I really liked this album.

The first two tracks on the album are just that, tracks. Bad Ground and a nameless introduction track are used to kick off the album. Bad Ground is just what it sounds like, the recording of electric hum, to make you think something is wrong with the CD. Which is followed by the band saying hi, and thanking the fans for buying the album.

The album musically starts with Love You To Death which is a very typical Goth kind of song. It's very dark, classic, and has a whole lot of somber meloncholy strung through out it. There are people that are going to love this song and say it's one of Type O's best tracks. I'm not one of those people. This song is a get pussy song. It's like listening to an eighties Glam band doing a power ballad. Not a song I would have picked to lead off the album, but not a bad song either.

Be My Druidess is the perfect way to follow after the last track. Lyrically it's still Peter Steele talking some sweet pillow talk, but musically it's all sexy and totally danceable. No need to dance mix it either. There's really just a great underlying boogie and rhythm to the track. Also, when you get to the part when Pete starts going on with "I'll do anything to make you come," you just can't help but giggle a little bit, unless you are a female. In that case it may get you a little wet.

The first song on the album I really don't care for is Green Man. To me this is a bit of filler. There's really nothing new or special to this track, and I'm not overly fond of the production on the vocals either. It sounds way too much like he's coming through an old tiny speaker.

When it come to Christmas music I always have the same bitch. It's depressing, too mellow, and in no way is festive or celebratory like the time of year should be. Red Water (Christmas Morning) is by far the most shining example of that ever. The only difference is this song is meant to be like that. It's a complete longing for those loved and lost during that most depressing day of the year. It's also one of my favourite modern Christmas songs. "Wake up, it's Christmas mourn' / Those loved has long since gone / The stockings are hung but who cares / Preserved for those no longer there / Six feet beneath me sleep / Black lights hang from the tree / Accents of dead holly / Whoa mistletoe / (It's growing cold) / I'm seeing ghosts / (I'm drinking old) / Red water / Red water / (Red water) / Red water chase them away / My table's been set for but seven / Just last year I dined with eleven / God damn ye merry gentlemen / Whoa mistletoe / (It's growing cold) / I'm seeing ghosts / (I'm drinking old) / Red water / Red water / (Red water) / Red water chase them away".

My Girlfriend's Girlfriend is the perfect male pornagraphic fantasy wrapped up in an uber fun melody and playful spirit. "It's no secret we're close / As sweaty velcro / Like latex, fur and feathers / Stuck together / Now / In their '62 'Vette / Sharing one cigarette / In a black light trance then / Go go dance / Then / Go go trance / Then / They keep me warm on cold nights / We must be quite a sight / In our meat triangle / All tangled / Wow / My girlfriend's girlfriend / She looks like you / My girlfriend's girlfriend / She's my girl too / Her and me and her and she and me / An uncrowded couple; are we three / Hey we don't care what people say / When walking hand in hand down Kings Highway / Two for one today / My girlfriend's girlfriend / She looks like you / My girlfriend's girlfriend / She's my girl, too". Now picture those words done with music that I think can best be described as Goth Pop Bubble Gum Rock. My only complaint about this song is that it makes you think that for some reason these things could be possible. But the truth is women can't really share like that.

It's back to the sweet loving mellow, pretty music meant for love with Die With Me. You would think a band known for being creatures of the night wouldn't release so many songs packed full of sunshine. I mean seriously, picture a couple laying in a field of wild flowers in the middle of the day. All sweet and blissful, and yet lyrically it's so sickening romantic, while being completely depressing. Only Type O Negative can do such things.

That's followed by Burnt Flowers Fallen. Now by the time you get to this point in the album, you come to a couple conclusions. Especially if the only albums you knew before this were Origin Of The Feces, Slow, Deep And Hard, and Bloddy Kisses. What you can't help but notice is that Peter Steele seems to be on happy pills. Either the music is all happy, which means it might be Josh Silver on the happy pills, or Pete is singing about love, and not in the normal way in which he expresses monsterous amounts of murderous rage.

I feel the exact same way about In Praise Of Bacchus as I do about Green Man, right down to the vocal production. I'm not a Neil Young fan, I enjoy his music, but truth be told this cover of Cinnamon Girl to me out does the original. My mother disagreed, and I can see why. While the original was your normal, cool, acoustical Neil Young rough and ruggedness, the Type O Negative version is not. This cover is bouncy, playful, danceable, fuckable, and down right sexy. This Brooklyn Goth band really knows how to mess with covers and make them totally their own while perserving pieces of the orginals songs so you know what you are listening to.

The longest Type O Negative track title released is The Glorious Liberation of the People's Technocratic Republic of Vinnland by the Combined Forces of the United Territories of Europa. The funny part is that it's just a little musical interlude with some military vibe that lasts no longer than two minutes. The average person can't memorise the title of this songscape (song plus soundscape) in the short time this plays out.

Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia) Is song classically typical Type O Negative, as long as you shift from vampirism to werewolfism, and then get all kinds of naughty nasty. For the most part not a big part of the album for me. It's sexy, and dark, but that's about it for me. I'm not that big on the whole menophilia thing.

Haunted finishes off the album musically. It's not exactly my first choice of songs to use to close the album, but then again it's not my album. I personally just find the track a little slow and drawn out to be considered a solid closing track. As an actual song it's okay, but nothing special either.

The last track on the album is also nameless and this is basically the band saying good bye.

This isn't my favourite Type O Negative album, but October Rust is a classic that I think should be in any serious music listeners collection.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blue Oyster Cult - The Best Of Blue Oyster Cult

I was raised on Detroit Rock 'N Roll. I know Mid West Rock just as well as I know British Hard Rock based out of American Blues and Jazz. When you grow up in the broadcast range of a city that has more songs about it than other songs in Rock, you grow up knowing your Rock well. Then when you have a dad like mine, you get to know it even better. While I don't remember my dad being any type of real Blue Oyster Cult fan, I do remember him cranking up certain songs enough for them to stick in my head.

It took me a few years to finally find a best of collection I was willing to use as a starting spot to start discovering a great band. I was really hoping for more than I got from this album, but at the same time this album serves it's true prupose, while giving me a point in the right direction for further exploration. The true purpose of this album is to give a little bit of everything, while still allowing the true band to shine through.

City On Flames With Rock And Roll opens up the album and my biggest issue with this song is how much it's like Kiss. Musically that's insulting to this song, but lyrically it's just so American Rock 'N Roll. The Cheesy cliche part of it.

The Red & The Black is not a song I was expecting from this band at all. There is this great boogie woogie beat, with a quick shuffle that reminds me very much of The Amboy Dukes. That Mid West Rock with heavy Chuck Berry and Bo Diddly influences. The best part about this song on this album is that it show the range that the band really has, especially in comparison to the lead off track. This to me is some of the best parts of good old fashion Mid West Rock.

The first taste of what made BOC great and amazing in their own right comes with Flaming Telepaths. This is Sci-Fi Metal at it's finest. I mean it's easy to over look the amazing musical arrangements when you are listening to lyrics like these. "Well I've opened up my veins too many times / And the poison's in my heart and in my mind / Poison's in my bloodstream / Poison's in my pride / I'm after rebellion / I'll settle for lies / Is it any wonder that my mind's on fire / Imprisoned by the thoughts of what to do / Is it any wonder that my joke's an iron / And the joke's on you / Experiments that failed too many times / Transformations that were too hard to find / Poison's in my bloodstream / Poison's in my pride / I'm after rebellion / I'll settle for lies / Yes I know the secrets of the iron and mind / They're trinity acts, a mineral fire / Yes I know the secrets of the circuitry mind / It's a flaming wonder telepath / Well I've opened up my veins too many times / And the poison's in my heart and in my mind / Poison's in my bloodstream / Poison's in my pride / I'm after rebellion / I'll settle for lies / Is it any wonder that my mind's on fire / Imprisoned by the thoughts of what to do / Is it any wonder that my joke's alive / And the joke's on you". But overlooking the keyboard work in this song would be a travisty of justice because it's great.

The last song flows so naturally well into the next song that it's like hitting the wall as if you were soft rubber. I mean it's a sudden drastic change that you just absorb and seemlessly move on from. That next song is Astronomy, a song I was introduced to by Metallica, and reviewed before in my coverage of Full Metal Garage. The following paragraph is exactly what I wrote before.

I've been into Blue Oyster Cult for a very long time. In fact I was a fan of BOC before I was a fan of Metallica. However, I never knew about this beautiful piano track. At least that's how it starts off, and I'm not talking about some stupid keyboard sounding crap either. I mean a real piano that has just the perfect amount of reverb on it. However, once that piano stops the Metallica cover becomes a lot better. It's amazing how much production can have an effect on a song. If this song had been re-recorded by the original group in the modern age I think it would be just as heavy, if not heavier than the Metallica version. After all this is the same band that gave us Godzilla and Don't Fear The Reaper.

On a more personally related note, if you were to ask Andria (The Editor) she would tell you that the Blue Oyster Cult version of Astronomy is the better version of the song the whole way through, and she actually knew the Metallica version first and better.

This Ain't The Summer Of love for some reason always has me thinking it's Iggy Pop. Part of it I know is because of the vocal delivery, and part of it is that raw aggressive steady beat, that just keeps you on edge. This is like listening to Hippy music gone storm cloud gloomy.

Then it's on to what is arguably BOC's most popular song, (Don't Fear) The Reaper. I would like to start by saying the song doesn't need more cowbell. Also, if that is the only reason you know this song, you should be ashamed. There's a reason this song with be remembered for years to come, and it has earned it's place in Rock legend. Just youtube it.

I Love The Night doesn't do much for me. It makes me think of a romantic scene in Paris at night in some Romantic Comedy starring the latest flavour or the week in Hollywood. It has all the best parts you would want in a very well written and arranged song, but at the end of the day still not my cup of tea.

Goin' Through The Motions is everything I said about the last song, but very specifically in an eighties movie. This song could have been in The Breakfast Club and totally worked. It's a fun and playful upbeat number, but just a little too Pop without enough of the Rock back bone.

Then we come to Godzilla. After the last couple songs you wouldn't think this song could be so bad ass, but then I have to ask "Why don't you know this song already?" This is a song that everyone should love to crank and air guitar to, even if you don't really like this type of music. This is a heavy song for everyone. The subject matter is cool as anything, the music is heavy and totally rockin' without being overboard or forceful. It's meant to purely back up the subject material.

I'm not sure why the hell there are so many romatic songs on this album. By the time you reach In Thee you have to wonder who this album was put together for. Astronomy is the only romantic ballad like song on this album that isn't just some time of basic run of the mill cheap grab at a female audience. I just don't get why so many had to go on here. This is supposed to be a best of package and these are more like greatest hits.

The Marshall Plan reminds me of Grandfunk Railroad, mixed with the harder side of Bruce Springsteen or John Melloncamp. Musically it's heavy and rockin' and totally awesome. Vocally it's basic Mid West Americana, which appeals to a more select audience I find. If it were not for the vocals I may find the song more enjoyable because it is really well done. It's not that the vocals are bad either, they just sound like every other band from the area from that time.

Black Blade brings us back to why most people don't like Blue Oyster Cult, but why I love them so much. It's total Sci-Fi Metal on this track through and through. The vocals have the right phase, echo, reverb, plange, you name it, while the music just drives it all home. I mean this music takes you on such a ride, that you can't help but want to hit the hyper drive just a little, and then maybe do a little casual flying.

I can't even begin to describe how crazy, ahead of it's time, and wild Joan Crawford is. For starters, this song was so ahead of it's time that it would have been considered complete cheese instead of the genius Proto Goth piece that it really is. I mean there is a part of me that's surprised Type O Negative never covered this one just for the fun of it. Then I listen to the complex musical pieces and remember why they couldn't, especially with the speed the piano moves at. I mean this is some serious musicianship mixed with some dark lyrics. "Junkies down in Brooklyn are going crazy / They're laughing just like hungry dogs in the street / Policemen are hiding behind the skirts of little girls / Their eyes have turned the color of frozen meat / No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Catholic school girls have thrown away their mascara / They chain themselves to the axles of big Mac trucks / The sky is filled with herds of shivering angels / The fat lady laughs, "Gentlemen, start your trucks" / Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Christina / Mother's home / Christina / Come to mother / Christina / No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen".

Thanks to Guitar Hero Brunin' For You can not come on in the house without my daughter singing along. In fact as I write this she is happily decked out in attire totally befitting a young adult, semi Goth, on a chilled fall day and singing along. This is a song that I think will always transcend generations because it already has. This is pure music and love and life and what innocence is really like. This is the fan's side of love created through music made by excess and decadence. This song is what Rock is really about, for those that truly love Rock.

Shooting Stark is a good song, and very enjoyable, but way too heavy on the synths. It sounds like it's going to bust into Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners at any moment. The saxaphone work in this song is impressive, though.

Take Me Away closes out the album on a great note. This is a straight ahead rocker that musically just gets you groovin' and then when you finally mellow out enough to pay attention to the lyrics you notice that you are listening to yet another great song about aliens. Well, more specifically about being taken away by extra terrestrials for good and not experimentation. You want to end an album with a song that adiquately represents the band, and this song does just that.

On the whole I'm not overly happy with this collection, there's too many songs on it that just aren't Blue Oyster Cult to me, and not enough songs that are. That isn't to say that it isn't a good album, but for a band that is supposed to be America's answer to Black Sabbath, it seemed like I got more of an answer to the most basic Deep Purple equation.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

/10 - personal bias