Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny Of Souls (2005)

Bruce Dickinson – Tyranny Of Souls (2005)

1. Mars Within (Intro)
2. Abduction
3. Soul Intruders
4. Kill Devil Hill
5. Navigate The Seas Of The Sun
6. River Of No Return
7. Power Of The Sun
8. Devil On A Hog
9. Believil
10. A Tyranny Of Souls

Anyone who has followed Heavy Metal in the last 20 years knows who Bruce Dickinson is: lead singer for one of the pioneers of the NWOBHM, and one of the most innovative bands in Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden. Bruce has had a solo career for some time now (since 1990) & Tyranny Of Souls is his 9th solo release.

This album would have been my top album of 2005 if Judas Priest didn’t release their reunion album, Angel Of Retribution (another post for another day). I thought it would be tough to beat 1998′s The Chemical Wedding but the team of Dickinson & guitarist/producer extraordinaire Roy Z bring some strong material to the table. Tracks like Soul Intruders, River Of No Return, A Tyranny Of Souls all sound like they could have fit nicely on any Iron Maiden album since the reunion. Actually, Bruce does Iron Maiden better on his solo records than Iron Maiden does lately, IMO. Fave track on this album is Navigate The Seas Of The Sun, Bruce showing his lighter side and ’70s roots. For me the acoustic guitar guiding this song is absolute perfection, allowing Bruce to just sing and not be the “Air Raid Siren” as he has been aptly named.

Many Metal scribes had this in their Top 10 of 2005 and it is well deserved. I put this at #2, behind Priest’s reunion opus and ahead of Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds.

Antiquus – Ramayana (2005)

Antiquus – Ramayana (2005)

Tracks:
1. Empire Rising
2. The Changeling
3. Tanlin Bridge
4. Battle Of Eylau
Ramayana: An Epic In Six Parts
5. Part I – Ayodha
6. Part II – A Beautiful Stag
7. Part III – The Hunt
8. Part IV – Hanuman
9. Part V – Sri Lanka
10. Part VI – He Who Makes The Universe Scream

Antiquus is a Power/Progressive Metal band from Vancouver that I found on CD Baby. When it comes to Power or Progressive Metal, people in the Metal community either love it or hate it, there is no in between. If you can’t get into subjects dealing with Fantasy (dragons, quests, wizards, et al), then this type of Metal isn’t for you. There also tends to be a song or 2 that are way too long (8-10+ mins) and there are a couple here, so beware if you like your tunes short & sweet.

I’ve only given this album a few spins so I haven’t been able to really analyze it. My initial reaction 2 fists up! This band has major chops, these guys can play. The guitars are in your face and there are SOLOS! Something extremely lacking in today’s popular music. The vocals seem pushed a slightly back in the mix but that is a small gripe. I like the fact that they dare to be different and they bring in the sitar, adding that Middle Eastern flavor to Sri Lanka.

This is Power/Prog but not by the numbers, it sounds fresh. Go check it out!

The pile…..

…..of CDs on my desk is huge!

I have exactly 150 CDs sitting here collecting dust because I have yet to give them an inaugural spin. Whether its at the few local shops I check out, Ebay, or some great online stores, I can't help but buy up what is out there. My collection is growing, I have somewhere between 2000 & 2500 CDs. I don't know the exact number because the master list I had was deleted a couple of years ago. It could be more.

Lets's run down a few of the band names:
Tora Tora, Black 'N Blue, Stormwitch, Marshall Law, Raven, Enertia, Keel, Grave Digger, Shadow Gallery, Malice, Schoolboy Crush, Icarus Witch, & Quota. There are many more but that gives you an idea of the broad spectrum here: from Hard Rock to NWOBHM to Power Metal to (what the mainstream now calls) Hair Metal.

I've scanned about half into my computer so I can send them to my Dell DJ 30. (No, not an Ipod, a Dell DJ. I could go on for hours about the evils of Ipod but we will stop at 2 points: The Dell was half the price for the same specs and not as restrictive as Apple's latest innovations.) I will take them all to work & listen to them one by one. Each album will get a fair spin, a good album sticks around a bit but the bad ones get filed in the cases.

I stopped any major CD hunting trips a couple of months ago, save for some essential new releases, but the online browsing continues. The "Want List" is ever growing! As I sit here typing this, CD Baby is on screen & I'm checking the new arrivals in the Hard Rock section. You're going to find a ton of independent bands on CD Baby, maybe even a few you've heard, at a great price, good customer service, and…..sound samples! This way you hear part of it and you can tell right away if it's shit!

Ken Snyder – One (2003)


Picked this album up on CD Baby months ago. It was doing a good job of collecting dust on my desk with the ever growing pile of CDs I need to get to. Its been so long since I bought this that I’ve forgot how I found out about Ken in the first place! Just figured out that it was thru his previous band, Cut Throat.

An independent release in 2003 – 12 tracks of pure instrumental Hard Rock guitar. Tracks include:
Opening Tip
Ball Buster
Throwback
Shredder’s Paradise
Electric
Little Princess
Return To Paradise
Mars & Venus
Slow Burn
March Of The Ants
Epic
Closing Credits

Ken knows how to play, very talented obviously, but he does one thing that I think a lot of new guitarists forget: he plays with feeling, with his gut. Technically sound with a blues flavor. I hear a strong Steve Vai/Joe Satriani vibe, adding some Yngwie Malmsteen as well.

Now this is a guy I can listen to and go “Wow!”. In this day of dead radio, Ken Snyder is one that could give it a kick in the ass!

Buy Ken’s CD thru his website – www.ken-snyder.com

First timer!

Welcome to Heavy Metal Addiction! 

I’ll take this moment to reveal my real name (Steve) and say that this is my mountain top and I’m going to shout it out loud. Whether it’s about Hard Rock & Heavy Metal, the state of the music industry, and/or collecting music, this is my place to discuss, vent, and rant. Hey, we all need an outlet, don’t we?

In the immortal words of Paul Stanley: “It ain’t a crime to be good to yourself. Lick it up!”