CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up a third time!

All the CDs that I have bought online have finally arrived so I can finally put up a much delayed Hunt! One CD that I won on Ebay March 24th finally arrived just this week! I also went to the record store Tuesday for a couple of new releases that escaped me…..

Saints Of The Underground – Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner (2008) – $10: I had to go buy this because I wanted to hear if this project would be like the Contraband supergroup back in 1991. I also wanted to hear if this was going to be a train wreck because Jani Lane’s reputation over the last few years has been less than stellar. I’ve given this album a few spins this week and so far it’s a decent listen. I’m hoping for a more critical review soon.

Asia – Phoenix (2008) – $13: After reading all the mixed reviews online, I decided to wait a week to buy it and come to my own conclusion. The local shop had at least 10 copies and Best Buy down the street was also well stocked, so the promotion has gone well for a week. People can actually get the album. I paid a few dollars more by purchasing at my local shop rather than Best Buy because I always support local record stores. Haven’t given this a spin but a review will happen when I do.

Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad (2008) – $10: I pre-ordered this CD through Amazon about 3 weeks ago and it came Wednesday, one day after release. When I went to the local record store, there were dozens of copies available with promotional posters all over the store. The promotional blitz is there, just like the new Asia, so the album is available. I’ve been spending a lot of time with this album and I like it…..that’s my quick review, a real review to follow soon.

Y&T – Musically Incorrect (1995) – $10.51: There is a current reissue just released by the band called INCORRECT SPECIES (2008) that is a special 2 disc set of this album and ENDANGERED SPECIES (1997). The label this was released on (DeRock) went out of business a long time ago so the reissue from the band is long overdue. I always prefer the original releases and I passed on this when it first came out. Haven’t seen it in the used bins lately so Ebay was the place. This transaction was a major saga: the seller was within 50 miles of me but there was some confusion with the payment instructions. A dispute was filed with Ebay by the seller but my check was deposited…..I could go on and on but the bottom line is that is took a month for me to get my CD from a seller that lives about an hour away!

Y&T – Endangered Species (1997) - $8: Another Ebay purchase to complete some of my Y&T collection. Like I mentioned above, the new reissue of this album with MUSICALLY INCORRECT (1995), titled INCORRECT SPECIES (2008), was a major reason I had to buy this right away. I prefer the original issue and I used to see this in bargain bins everywhere. Unfortunately, the supply has dried up even on Ebay. This auction came a week after four other auction for this CD completed all over $10. I ended up being the only bidder at $3 but the shipping was $5…..highway robbery! Still it cost less than buying it new when it came out and the CD was mint.

UFO – The Best OF UFO ’74-’83 (2008) – $11.26: Another UFO compilation? Yes but this time a lot of the versions of songs are the 7″ single edits rather than the proper album tracks. This was released last week but I passed on it at the record store, especially at the $15 sale price! So I bought this based on the remastering and the 7″ single versions AND that this CD is from a seller that I do a lot of business with on Ebay so I knew the CD would be mint when I got it.

Tank – The Filth Hounds Of Hades: Dogs Of War (1981-2002) box set

Tank – The Filth Hounds Of Hades: Dogs Of War (1981-2002) box set (2007, Metal Mind)

Albums included:
Filth Hounds Of Hades (1982)
Power Of The Hunter (1982)
This Means War (1983)
Honour & Blood (1985)
Tank (1987)
The Return Of The Filth Hounds Live (1998)
War Of Attrition Live 1981 (2001)
Still At War (2002)
Live Bootleg DVD

Tank official website
Tank MySpace page
Metal Mind Productions

The Music:
Tank is one of the legendary Metal bands to come out of England in the early ’80s during the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement of 1979-1983. Their music has been compared to that of the legendary Motorhead but with a little more Punk thrown in for good measure. All of Tank’s classic studio albums are here, including their “reunion” record STILL AT WAR (2002), and both live albums. Each CD has all the classic songs plus bonus tracks that were either B-sides, non-LP tracks, or Japanese bonuses. Honestly, to capture all of these songs on one set is an amazing feat! Add to that a DVD of live performances spanning Tank’s long career.

The Package:
All the albums are remastered using 24-bit technology ion a gold CD. Each individual album is a gatefold digipak encased in a black sleeve box (see picture above). The thick 60 page booklet has tons of pictures, lyrics, liner notes, notes from the band, Tank biography, and discography information. As with all Metal Mind reissues, this is a limited edition set and it is numbered up to 1000.

Bottom Line:
I’ve had this set for at least a couple of months and it has taken exactly that long to listen to each album fully and enjoy some Tank! I had a couple Tank albums already (THIS MEANS WAR and HONOUR & BLOOD) so I was a little familiar with the Tank catalog. What makes this set is that everything is here in one package: all the albums, all the bonuses, and a solid booklet. Albums that I could never find in a record store, or pay top dollar for online, are all neatly remastered and packaged together. Well worth the $125 to $150 retail I’ve seen this go for depending on the place you find it. If you are a fan of Tank or of NWOBHM, then this is an essential box set. I enjoyed listening to all the Tank material I had never heard, especially the bonuses. What also makes this special is that the band got involved and put in their input to make this box set special. Kudos to Metal Mind for another job well done! 

Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007)

Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007, Think Tank Media)

  1. Into The Fire
  2. The Frozen Sea
  3. Capture The Sun
  4. Jessica
  5. Stepford, USA
  6. Shine
  7. Lazy Summer Day
  8. No Tears Left
  9. Save The World
  10. Angels and Magicians
  11. The Sheltering Sorrow
  12. Red Planet Boulevard

Band Lineup:
Lana Lane – Vocals
Erik Norlander – Keyboards & Bass
Peer Verschuren – Guitars
Ernst Van Ee – Drums

Producer: Erik Norlander

Total Time = 1:08:57

Lana Lane official website
Lana Lane MySpace page
Erik Norlander official website
Think Tank Media

Lana Lane has been churning out album after album of Symphonic  Melodic Hard Rock since 1995 and RED PLANET BOULEVARD is her first album of original material since 2005’s concept album LADY MACBETH. With a collection of covers in 2006 sandwiched in between the two (titled GEMINI), it’s clear that Lana and her band have continued to consistently release superb material. Along with her husband/producer Erik Norlander, and long time band members Peer Verschuren and Ernst Vann De, Lana Lane explores the same grand soundscapes she has on previous efforts with intelligent writing, beautiful vocals, and solid musicianship.

The album kicks off with the melodic rocker ‘Into The Fire’. The main riff is heavy and the vocals soar with Norlander’s keyboards providing a lush backing. A quiet acoustic guitar opens ‘The Frozen Sea’ until another heavy Verschuren riff kicks in and the song moves ahead with a melodic sensibility. It’s almost a little deceiving because Lana’s voice is so beautiful, the melodies and hooks are perfectly aligned, and the first two songs are uptempo and are both metallic and progressive. Continuing the heaviness is ‘Capture The Sun’, a song that could be termed as Progressive Power Metal, almost Dream Theater like.

Lana Lane is a talented singer, channelling the likes of Ann Wilson (Heart), Pat Benetar, and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), and her talent is beautifully displayed on the album’s first ballad ‘Jessica’. I especially like trade off between the guitar and the keys/organ at the solo. ‘Stepford USA’ is another uptempo rocker with a catchy chorus that tells the story that is the movie. ‘Shine’ is another uptempo song with soaring vocals and excellent riffs, and do I hear a talk box in the background? The music on ‘Shine’ weaves from subtle and almost ballady to an immeadiate heavy riff that maintains the Hard Rock tone of the whole album.

‘Lazy Summer Day’ is the album’s second ballad and sounds like an early 1960s slow dance from the high school dance until the chorus kicks in and the guitar does as well. Come solo time, the main riff picks up and Peer Verschuren plays a tight clean solo. It’s a definitely different than the rest of the album and shows some different influences. ‘No Tears Left’ is a mid-tempo rocker that continues to feature Lana’s voice against a superb musical backdrop while ‘Save The World’ continues the mid-tempo flow with a heavy guitar, marching drums, and intertwining keyboard melodies. There’s a subtle backing track on the chorus that gives it almost a “spooky” effect, very cool. The proceedings pick up again with ‘Angels And Magicians’ with a solid clean riff during the chorus that cuts out for the acoustic while Lana beautifully sings the verses. I could do without the “na na na’s” Lana employs but the acoustic guitar solo that easily moves to electric more than makes up for it.

‘The Sheltering Sorrow’ is another beautiful ballad that reminds me of Lana Lane’s earlier work and could easily fit on her BALLAD COLLECTION albums. It’s another prime example of Lana’s vocal talent as she easily sings with emotion and subtlety amid another lush musical landscape. The title track is last and I’m glad it is. It’s an instrumental that incorporates major elements of each song on the album, almost like a reprise for the entire record. It’s a nice listen but seems unnecessary, I’d rather have another proper song with vocals.

Bottom Line:
I wasn’t too keen with the last few albums, the last album I really enjoyed was 2002’s PROJECT SHANGRI-LA. The last few releases, aside from LADY MACBETH, were either live records or basically covers. I prefer original studio material and Lana and company surely delivery another superb album. The vocals are as powerful as they are beautiful while the music is grand, sweeping, and technically sound. The guitar solos by Peer Verschuren are superb and they weave in and out with Norlander’s keyboards perfectly as the two bond together to give each song a rich full sound. The drums are heavy when they have to be and are expertly done by Van Ee while Norlander handles the bass. Each song has excellent songwriting with soaring melodies, catchy hooks, and a lush full sound. Favorite songs here: ‘Into The Fire’, ‘Jessica’, ‘Lazy Summer Day’, ‘The Frozen Sea’…..actually, I think every song on the record is excellent and I would only change the ending instrumental to a song with lyrics.