Reissue Report: Kamelot to release Ghost Opera – The Second Coming

From Bravewords.com:

Kamelot - Ghost Opera: The Second Coming (2008)

One of music’s premier and prestigious rock/metal acts Kamelot will reissue its classic Ghost Opera. For countless Kamelot fans, Ghost Opera is a milestone in the band’s history.

March 28th, 2008 (Germany), March 31st, 2008 (Europe) and April 8th, 2008 (USA/Canada) will see the re-release of this classic recording under the title of Ghost Opera-The Second Coming, enhanced with lots of interesting features. The album will be released as a double CD limited edition slipcase design, proving again that Kamelot is among the most important representative of its genre worldwide.

This sophisticated and comprehensive package includes the CD featuring all the songs from the regular album, plus ten additional live tracks recorded live in Belgrade Serbia during the bands Worldtour 2007, plus the bonus tracks – ‘Seasons En’d, ‘Pendulous Fall’, ‘Epilogue’ and the remix of ‘Rule The World’. Additionally the two videos for ‘Human Stain’ and ‘Memento Mori’ (live) and on top of that, the package features new artwork and a comprehensive booklet.

CD1 : Ghost Opera
‘Solitaire’, ‘Rule The World’, ‘Ghost Opera’, ‘The Human Stain’, ‘Blücher’, ‘Love You To Death’, ‘Up Through The Ashes’, ‘Mourning Star’, ‘Silence Of The Darkness’, ‘Anthem’, ‘EdenEcho’, ‘Memento Mori’ (enhanced Video Live Belgrade, Serbia),
‘Human Stain’(enhanced video).

CD 2: Live from Belgrade
‘Solitaire’, ‘Ghost Opera’, ‘The Human Stain’, ‘Mourning Star’, ‘When The Lights Are Down’, ‘Abandoned’, ‘The Haunting’ (with Simone Simons/EPICA), ‘Memento Mori’, ‘Epilogue’, ‘March Of Mephisto’.
Studio cuts: ‘Seasons End’, ‘Pendulous Fall’, ‘Epilogue’, ‘Rule The World’ (Remix).

CD Scavenger Hunt – Two week update

I may have disappeared from writing but definitely not from BUYING! I’ve had to hit the stores and Ebay to pick up some mandatory new releases and I won a CD that I needed to add to my collection. This is two weeks worth of hitting the stores, it’s a small list but definitely big on quality!

Brainstorm - Downburst (2008)Brainstorm – Downburst (2008) – $10: Good thing comes to those who wait! I tried to pick this up the day of release two weeks ago but the local shop only stocked one copy. I didn’t understand this because it’s a Metal Blade release and they are usually well-stocked. I still got the sale price because there were two price tags and I asked for the lower one. Saved $5!

Ayreon - 01011001 (2008)Ayreon – 01011001 (2008) – $18: When Arjen Anthony Lucassen puts together an Ayreon project, it’s usually one of the best releases of the year. I got into Ayreon late but I’ve started to go back and collect all the back catalogue, it’s hard to find all the limited editions with the bonuses. This album had 3 versions: the regular 2 CD version, the limited edition 2 CD & DVD in a small box, and the deluxe edition with the 2 CDs, DVD, and expanded booklet in a special case. I opted for the limited edition at $18 so I could have the special DVD. I would have paid for the deluxe edition but the extra $12 was all for packaging. I know this will compete for Album of the Year on many lists.

Avantasia - The Scarecrow (2008)Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008) – $10: Edguy’s Tobias Sammet really has a great side project in Avantasia. Another concept project chock full of guests, kind of like Ayreon, I’ve been lookin forward to this release for a while. What I find interesting is that there were over ten copies of this stocked at the local shop. Either Avantasia is a huge seller in Rhode Island or the person doing the ordering is a huge fan! Actually, the guy running the Metal section is a big fan and I was able to listen to most of the album while browsing.

Iron Maiden - Live After Death DVD (2008)Iron Maiden – Live After Death DVD (2008) – $14: This is an absolute must fave DVD! I have been waiting for this to be released for years, I had a copy of the VHS a friend made me but that died years ago. Disc 1 is the original concert. Disc 2 has the History of Maiden Pt.2, the documentary Behind the Iron Curtain, Rock In Rio ’85, and a 15 minute ‘Ello Texas. Maiden really knows how to put together a DVD package because this is way over five hours of classic footage. This DVD will be hard to take from the #1 spot of my Top DVDs of 2008 in December. I think I’ve watched it four times already!

Dio - Intermission (1986)Dio – Intermission (1986) – $15: Picked this up from a great seller on Ebay that I’ve dealt with many times. This is a Japanese pressing of Intermission and is in mint condition. There are more than a few copies on Ebay but they have prices in the $20+ range for the regular release, I got a deal of the Japanese import. The CD was $10 and the shipping $5, very affordable from Japan. This purchase takes Intermission off the WANTED list.

Gypsy Pistoleros – ‘Un Hombre Sin Rostro, Pistoleros’ (video, 2008)

Check out the new video by Gypsy Pistoleros, a band that is leading the charge in today’s world of Glam. There is a better quality video on MySpace but I couldn’t get it to work in this post. Thanks to Lee Pistolero for coming in and posting the link in the comments. Now watch the video!

Gypsy Pistoleros – ‘Un Hombre Sin Rostro, Pistoleros’ (video, 2008)

Lillian Axe – s/t (1988/2007) reissue

Lillian Axe - s/t (1988)

Lillian Axe – s/t (1988/2007 reissue, Metal Mind)

  1. Dream Of A Lifetime
  2. Inside Out
  3. Vision In The Night
  4. Picture Perfect
  5. The More That You Get
  6. Misery Loves Company
  7. Nobody Knows
  8. Hard Luck
  9. Waiting In The Dark
  10. Laughing In Your Face

Band Lineup:
Ron Taylor – Lead Vocals
Stevie Blaze – Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
Jon Ster – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Rob Stratton – Bass, Background Vocals
Danny King – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Michael Dorian – Keyboards
Nate Winger – Background Vocals
Paul Winger – Background Vocals

Producer: Robbin Crosby

Total Time – 48:43

Lillian Axe official website
Lillian Axe MySpace page
Metal Mind Productions

Lillian Axe is one of those Melodic Hard Rock bands from the late ’80s that I thought was going to be huge but somehow success bypassed them. I heard about the band because Robbin Crosby from Ratt was producing their first record. I was a big Ratt fan so I kept an eye out for the debut album. I bought this album on cassette way back when but I never replaced it with a CD. The original release was on MCA Records and the first (and only) pressing of the CD is hard to find and commands big bucks in collector’s circles. There is an official Japanese issue from 1992 but this is widely bootlegged. What is interesting to note is that the Japanese version and the bootleg contain five additional songs/demos from the band’s pre-Lillian Axe days as Stiff. It seems that Metal Mind has produced two versions of this reissue: the regular 10 song album (that I am reviewing) and the version with the five Stiff songs. I haven’t received any additional information from the label as to why there are two versions but I have noticed that there are copies for sale on Amazon and Ebay. The photos clearly show the extra songs.

The Package:
Like the other reissues from Metal Mind, each reissue is limited to 2000 copies (mine is #410). I have noticed from the Ebay photos that the copies with the extra tracks start after #1000, not sure if that helps. Full-color digipak and color booklet with additional liner notes. The music is remastered using 24-bit technology on a gold disc.

The Music:
Lillian Axe’s self-titled debut has been considered a lost classic for a long time, I remember seeing the video for ‘Dream Of A Lifetime’ on MTV and thinking what a great song it was. The music is what you expect from Melodic Hard Rock from the late ’80s: guitars, excellent vocals, solos, melody, catchy hooks, and big background harmonies. You can compare the band’s sound to their peers of the decade: Dokken, Winger, Black ‘N Blue, and Hurricane. The first single, ‘Dream Of A Lifetime’ still rocks like I remembered it and ‘Picture Perfect’ has to be the catchiest song on the album. Take a listen to the opening riff of ‘Misery Loves Company’ and tell me that it’s not a close rendition of the main riff from Dokken’s ‘Breaking The Chains’. A small complaint on “borrowing” the riff but the Dokken influence is obvious, not a bad thing in ’88 as Dokken were pretty successful. ‘Nobody Knows’ is one of the best ballads no one knows and ‘Hard Luck’ is a heavy mid-tempo rocker that is almost a throwback to the early ’80s if it wasn’t for the Europe-esque keyboard intro.

Bottom Line:
Lillian Axe is a great band that is truly under-rated and relatively unknown compared to their peers. The reissue is top notch, as are all Metal Mind reissues, and the music takes me back to a really fun time from my youth. The album rocks a little more than I remember and there are some really great songs here: ‘Dream Of A Lifetime’, ‘Picture Perfect’, ‘Nobody Knows’, and ‘Waiting In The Dark’. It’s an album of really good Melodic Hard Rock with strong vocals, melody, and excellent guitar. I would have liked to review the version with the Stiff songs/demos because I’ve never heard them but it’s been great rediscovering this album.

Press Release: Loudness – Metal Mad album artwork and tracklisting

From Bravewords.com:

The cover art for Loudness’ forthcoming album, METAL MAD.

Loudness - Metal Mad (2008)

It is due for a February 20th release in Japan through Tokuma Communications and is now available for pre-order at this location (top of page, currently listed as “untitled”).

Metal Mad features the following tracklist: ‘Fire Of Spirit’ (instrumental), ‘Metal Mad’, ‘High Flyer’, ‘Spellbound #9′, ‘Crimson Paradox’, ‘Black And White’, ‘Whatsoever’, ‘Call Of The Reaper’, ‘Can’t Find My Way’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Transformation’.

The Donnas – Bitchin’ (2007)

The Donnas - Bitchin’ (2007)

The Donnas – Bitchin’ (2007, Purple Feather Records/Redeye)

  1. Bitchin’
  2. Don’t Wait Up For Me
  3. Wasted
  4. What Do I Have To Do
  5. Save Me
  6. Like An Animal
  7. Here For The Party
  8. Better Off Dancing
  9. Love You Till It Hurts
  10. Smoke You Out
  11. Girl Talk
  12. Give Me What I Want
  13. Tonight’s Alright
  14. When The Show Is Over

The Donnas 2007 

Band Lineup:
Brett Anderson – Lead Vocals
Torry Castellano – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Maya Ford – Bass, Backing Vocals
Allison Robertson – Guitars, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Jay Ruston & The Donnas

Total Time = 44:47

The Donnas official website
The Donnas MySpace page

I’ve never actually taken the time to listen to a Donnas album but I have heard a few songs over the last few years. My first exposure to The Donnas was their cover of the Ace Frehley classic, ‘Speedin’ Back To My Baby’ (1998) and their version of ‘Strutter’ for the Detroit Rock City movie (1999). I’m not a big Punk fan but I thought the covers were good. I never really got around to checking out a full album until now…..

I picked this CD up on the recommendation from a friend but what really did it for me was the ’80s Hard rock cover art. To this day, I still get suckered in by a good album cover, sometimes to my displeasure! I’ve been spinning BITCHIN’ for a few weeks now and what I like is the blend of Punk, Hard Rock, and Glam. It’s like taking Joan Jett, The Runaways, AC/DC, The Go-Gos, NWOBHM, and the ’80s L.A. sound and combining it into a unique sound. The gimmick of being a girl punk band all named “Donna” is gone and the band really steps up to blow the listener away.

The first song, ‘Bitchin’, has an intro that is straight out of the NWOBHM from the early ’80s. ‘Save Me’ has a KISS-like guitar tone and a catchy hook. ‘Love You Till It Hurts’ has a creepy, sleazy feel to it like it came from the gutter and is stalking you. I could go through every song on the album and point out the influences but what you really need to know is that this is solid Rock ‘n Roll music full of catchy lyrics and good melody. The record has a big sound, very rich, and the band really plays well. A lot of harmonies here and some impressive guitar playing.

Bottom Line:
I’m impressed. I took the Donnas for a gimmick Punk band but these women can Rock with the best of them. There is still a Punk vibe but it’s blended in with enough Hard Rock, Glam, and Pop to create something fresh AND a nod to the old school ’80s Rock. I’ve giving it a lot of spins and I haven’t grown tired of it. Favorite songs here: ‘Bitchin’, ‘Don’t Wait Up For Me’, ‘Save Me’, ‘Love You Till It Hurts’.