Snake Eyes Seven – s/t (2007)

Snake Eyes Seven - s/t

Snake Eyes Seven – s/t (2007, Chavis Records)

  1. Hell Or High Water
  2. Comin’ Down
  3. Love For A Moment
  4. Bitter Pill
  5. Be Leaving
  6. Bullets & Booze
  7. Breakdown
  8. Devil With A Rosary
  9. You’re To Blame
  10. Photos Of The Dead

Band Lineup:
Victor Langen – Bass, Vocals
Daniel Nargang – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Cole Stevens – Guitars
Johnny Bland – Drums, Percussion

Total Time – 43:17

Snake Eyes Seven official website

Snake Eyes Seven released their self-titled debut back in February and the band has shown the Metal community that there is still room for a fresh new sound. Described as “vintage Black Sabbath infused with Rammstein”, this Canadian band is trying to bring the classic old guard in line with the new trends in Metal today. While I don’t really hear the Rammstein connection, I can hear the Sabbath influence on the guitar and drums. I would describe this band more as a blend of Black Sabbath, Ozzy solo, and Black Label Society. There are a few Industrial Metal moments on the record but not enough to really get a Rammstein feel.

It’s definitely a heavy album, full of guitars and pounding drums, but the vocals give off a melodic style. I’m not saying it’s melodic like Journey but there are some good vocals here that blend well with the heaviness. No doubt the band has a big sound, the musicians are experienced coming from bands like Into Eternity, Wrathchild, and Kick Axe. There’s a power and a groove but the band isn’t breaking a lot of new ground, their music actually sounds a bit dated. I get a “retro” feel, something out of the late ’80s/early ’90s Hard Rock and Metal scene. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I think it’s more a nod to the band’s influences.

Bottom Line:
A heavy debut that sounds like different incarnations of the Ozzy sound over the years. Good musicianship, good vocals but a slightly dated sound. Very good production, definitely gives the band a larger than life/BIG sound. I would like to see how Snake Eyes Seven grow and what they do for album #2, this debut is a solid launching point. Favorite tracks: ‘Hell Or High Water’, ‘Bitter Pill’, ‘Love For A Moment’

VH-1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped – Vol. 3 (2007)

VH-1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped - Vol. 3

VH-1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped – Vol. 3 (2007, VH-1 Classic/Sidewinder Music)

  1. Poison – Unskinny Bop   (from MTV Unplugged)
  2. Shaw/Blades – High Enough   (new recording)
  3. Tesla – Signs   (from Live At The Trocadero)
  4. Kip Winger – Headed For A Heartbreak   (new recording)
  5. Dokken – In My Dreams   (from One Live Night)
  6. Firehouse – When I Look Into Your Eyes   (from Good Acoustics)
  7. Ratt – Way Cool Jr.   (from MTV Unplugged)
  8. Jani Lane – Heaven   (new recording)
  9. Steve Plunkett – Turn Up The Radio   (new recording)
  10. Tom Keifer – Nobody’s Fool   (new recording)
  11. KIX – Don’t Close Your Eyes   (new recording)
  12. Eric Martin – Just Take My Heart   (new recording)
  13. Queensryche – The Killing Words   (from MTV Unplugged)
  14. Slaughter – Up All Night   (live from The Key Club)
  15. Accept – Balls To The Wall   (new recording)

Total Time – 61:59

VH-1 Classic
Sidewinder Music

I don’t know what it is about these compilations that attracts me but I always seem to buy this type of stuff. Call it a love of 80s Hard Rock, call it being nostalgic, call it being a sucker…..who knows?

So what is so great about VH-1’s new Stripped comp? Not much. There are some new recordings and some unreleased MTV Unplugged material but I find the format and concept already outdated. There are also some songs that have been released previously on the bands’ albums, so fans get milked again! Let’s look at the songs:

‘Unskinny Bop’ is the most annoying song Poison ever did, do we really need an acoustic version? Better yet, this was released on Poison’s CRACK A SMILE…..AND MORE album from 2000. Just release the full MTV Unplugged performance already! But do we need that either?

Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades recorded a nice remake of their Damn Yankees hit ‘High Enough’. The duo is in prime acoustic mode with the recent release of their acoustic covers album, INFLUENCE, and their new tour. I like this new version, very good.

‘Signs’ is Tesla’s ‘Unskinny Bop’. Why a good band like Tesla has to ride the coattails of a cover tune is beyond me. Isn’t this on FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM (1990) already? Sad thing is that the band released the excellent INTO THE NOW in 2004 and it got virtually no airplay but Tesla’s version of ‘Signs’ still gets on Rock radio. I like The Five Man Electrical Band’s original from 1971 better.

Kip Winger has been out doing solo acoustic shows for a number of years now so his new acoustic version of ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ is dead on. I always thought the song was boring but I have to give Kip credit for giving the tune a fresh sound.

If you want to hear Dokken’s ‘In My Dreams’ acoustic, go buy ONE LIVE NIGHT (1995) and enjoy the whole show. It’s good but it’s better within the context of the live album.

I never got into Firehouse. I liked parts of their debut but I never followed them much. I remember not liking ‘When I Look Into Your Eyes’ when it came out in 1992 so I still thought that it sucked when the band released GOOD ACOUSTICS in 1996. It’s already been released so it’s not new.

An MTV Unplugged that should be released. Ratt keeps the sleaze of the original ‘Way Cool Jr.’ on this acoustic version. Very good.

Jani Lane has stated in countless interviews over the last few years that he doesn’t like to perform songs like ‘Heaven’ or ‘Cherry Pie’ anymore. I can respect the guy for saying that and trying something new live but why does he go against his own words and perform these songs when cash is involved? Never a huge Warrant fan anyway but I dug ‘Heaven’ back in the day. Too bad Jani left his singing voice back in the day too.

Autograph’s ‘Turn Up The Radio’ was a complete surprise to me. Finally, an artist takes a risk and gives a tune a new arrangement. The original was a Hard Rock anthem back in ’84 and it still gets some radio play from time to time. Steve Plunkett did a good job with this new version and it still rocks. One of my favorites on the album.

Tom Keifer butchers ‘Nobody’s Fool’. It’s obvious his voice is shot, maybe that’s why Cinderella never released that reunion album?

KIX never gets the credit they deserve, I’m glad to see them on this mainstream compilation. This is a good rendition of ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ but I prefer the original over this new version.

‘Just Take My Heart’ by Eric Martin (Mr. Big) is OK. It’s a new version so I have to give credit for the recording but the song bores me just as much as the original did in 1991. Mr. Big is in the same boat as Firehouse & Warrant, I dig a few tunes but not enough to enjoy the band.

Queensryche was just a great band and I was a fan right from the beginning. I always thought that RAGE FOR ORDER (1986) was a solid record but it seems to be the “lost” Queensryche album. Nice to see VH-1 didn’t play it safe and released ‘The Killing Words’ instead of ‘Silent Lucidity’. Another good MTV Unplugged show that should be released.

Not sure if ‘Up All Night’ acoustic has been officially released by Slaughter already but, after hearing this version, I wouldn’t pay good money to buy it if it was released. This does nothing for me except hit FFwd.

If there ever was a Euro-Metal anthem from the early ’80s, it was Accept’s ‘Balls To The Wall’. The original song is a serious Metal feast and Accept was a serious German Metal band. Out of all the bands, Accept could never be considered a “hair band” or mainstream, I was very surprised to see them included. I couldn’t believe this version on piano and strings! A totally different arrangement and it comes off well. A true surprise and BEST TRACK on the whole compilation!

Bottom Line:
An OK and average release. Only four songs were previously released, three were unreleased, and eight were new versions…..not bad for the casual fan. For the collector, I advise that you buy this for the Accept, Autograph, and Shaw/Blades tracks. After that, go out and buy the respective albums for the previously released music and trade for the MTV Unplugged shows. Also, get it used because it’s certainly not worth the $15.