Sunday Playlist – 9/14/08

Drove to work Saturday night and turned back halfway there because I forgot my MP3 player…..there is no way I’m working the graveyard shift without it! Here’s what I played to make 3rd shift a little easier…..

Yngwie Malmsteen – Marching Out (1985): Nothing beats ‘I’ll See The Light Tonight’ and Jeff Scott Soto on lead vocals. I’ve always thought that Yngwie’s earlier albums were more focused.

Alcatrazz – No Parole For Rock ‘N Roll (1983): Yngwie connection! Alcatrazz is one of my favorite bands…..and one that doesn’t get a lot of credit. Graham Bonnet is superb on the mic and Yngwie is controlled, not over the top.

Alcatrazz – Disturbing The Peace (1985): I love this album but I wanted to compare Yngwie’s playing on the first album to Steve Vai’s performance on this one. I think the album would have been better with Yngwie…..

Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982): From Yngwie to Bonnet to Schenker…..a solid connection! Another all-time favorite album of mine and probably MSG’s best.

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008): It’s not as bad as I thought it might be, definitely better than ST. ANGER!

Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Pt.2) (2008): One of the top albums of the year! I haven’t had much faith in Jon Schaffer after the band released the masterpiece SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES in 1998. Since then, I think all the albums have been subpar until 2007′s FRAMING ARMAGEDDON. This album is even better!

Danger Danger – Cockroach (2001): COCKROACH is the shelved third D2 album from ’93/’94. Original singer Ted Poley recorded the album with the band in 1993 but then he got fired. Lawsuits prevented the album from being released. D2 got Paul Laine to replace Poley and he re-recorded the vocals but the band’s label kept it shelved. The band finally got Poley and Epic Records to agree to release the album in 2001 but with both versions included. I’ve had this album for a while…..in a pile waiting to be spun. I was only able to get through the Paul Laine version and that version is very good.

Dirt Mall – Got The Goat By The Horns (2007)

Dirt Mall – Got The Goat By the Horns (2007, Daykamp Records)

  1. Hello Los Angeles
  2. Medicate (Today)
  3. Hopeless Bore
  4. Rows
  5. The Demons & The Damned
  6. Step Up
  7. I’m Not Saying What You Did Was Wrong But Your Timing Could Have Been Better
  8. Ghosts Descend

Band Lineup:
Johnny Anguish – Vocals & Guitars
Jason Murray – Guitars
Jamie Griffith – Bass
Derek Madeiros – Drums
Mike Quinn – Keyboards

Produced by: Dirt Mall

Total Time = 33:57

Dirt Mall official website
Dirt Mall MySpace page
Daykamp Records

Garage Rock.

This is simply the easiest way to describe Waltham, Massachusetts own Dirt Mall. Take a healthy dose of early AC/DC and add a little Punk and you get a fresh take on what current Rock sounds like. Forget all the spit and polish of traditional Hard Rock, Dirt Mall turns the amps up to 10 and bangs away with straight forward three chord precision. The music sounds dated but that is the genius of it all.

When GOT THE GOAT BY THE HORNS crossed my desk, I gave it a spin and wasn’t impressed. I passed Dirt Mall off as a relative of Jet (‘Are You Gonna Ne My Girl’) and Buckcherry…..but then I gave the CD a few extra spins a few weeks later and I realized that the music sounded fresh and different from my initial comparisons. Right in the middle of everything is a sense of melody and solid guitar work that makes songs like album openers ‘Hello Los Angeles’ and ‘Medicate (Today)’ stand out right away. The masterpiece of the album is the 9 minute plus ‘The Demons & The Damned’  that sounds nothing like the rest of the album. Of all the songs, this song is the closest thing you’ll get to traditional Hard Rock, it has a ’70s flavor to it with a guitar part that sounds similar to one in ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ from the Paul Stanley KISS solo album in ’78. I thought I was hearing things but if you play the Dirt Mall song to the 7 minute mark and chalk up the Paul Stanley tune to the 3:50 mark, the guitar part sounds close. I have no problem with that due to my KISS fanboy ways.

Another refreshing quality from this New England area band is that they are all about fun and not taking things too seriously. Is there a better song title than the Ramones/Led Zeppelin influenced ‘I’m Not Saying What You Did Was Wrong But Your Timing Could Have Been Better’? If this song was out 15 years ago, it would have been the soundtrack of my 21st year! Listen for the Jimmy Page lick from ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ halfway through the song. Taking a look inside the cover, the band boldly states that “No goats were harmed during the making of this record”, they call this debut “a landmark recording” and a “musical gift to the world”. For some reason I had a good laugh reading the basic liner notes.

Bottom Line:
I listen to a lot of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. So much of it, even the most primal Metal, can be slick and polished. Most of the bands take their image and music extremely seriously (insert any band name here) to the point where some of the fun is sacrificed. Listening to this Dirt Mall record reminded me of bands that play just to have fun…..that’s what it’s all about! Dirt Mall isn’t breaking any new ground and they aren’t dazzling us with their over the top image, they are simply playing. Maybe that’s why I like this disc because it is definitely not my usual brand of Rock. Definitely worth checking out.

Favorite Songs: ‘The Demons & The Damned’, ‘Hello Los Angeles’, ‘Medicate (Today)’

Press Release: Gamma Ray – Hell Yeah: The Awesome Foursome Live In Montreal DVD/CD release date, tracklisting, artwork details

From Gamma Ray:

Some events in the life of a metal act are simply the stuff that legends are made of: the first high chart position, the first nomination for an international award, a surprising victory in the readers’ polls of a renowned music magazine, the first magazine cover. Gamma Ray have encountered all these highlights, so there’s very little left that this band hasn’t achieved or experienced yet. Their first own American tour, however, has been one of Gamma Ray’s declared targets for some years. Their Majestic tour fulfilled this dream for Kai Hansen (guitar, vocals), Henjo Richter (guitar), Dirk Schlächter (bass) and Daniel Zimmermann (drums): Gamma Ray conquered the United States and Canada in a surprise coup and have captured for eternity those magic moments on their brand-new Double DVD and Double Live CD HELL YEAH – THE AWESOME FOURSOME LIVE IN MONTREAL!!!

Recorded in Montreal in front of a wildly enthusiastic audience, the band present their impressive potential as a live force, keeping fans and media alike in suspense for two hours, leaving the stage at the end of a furioso performance like heroic gladiators: victorious, happy and celebrated frenetically. Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome Live In Montreal is scheduled for release on 27 October 2008 (Germany: October 24 / USA: November 4 ) on double DVD and double CD and features the slightly curious subtitle …And The Finnish Keyboarder Who Didn’t Want To Wear His Donald Duck Costume… More on this interesting subject later. The DVD in Europe will include a bonus DVD with 4 new songs played live in 2008 during the Hellish Rock World Tour.

Let’s start with the fact that Hell Yeah! includes not only the 120-minute Montreal concert with its 18 songs (among them classics such as ‘No World Order’, ‘Man On A Mission’, ‘Valley Of The Kings’, ‘Somewhere Out In Space’, ‘Land Of The Free’ and ‘Rebellion in Dreamland’), but also a Gamma Ray history, a worthwhile road movie and unplugged sequences featuring Kai Hansen and Henjo Richter in Japan. In addition, there are a total of seven video clips from different stages of the band’s career and two live cuts from the W:O:A shows 2003 and 2006. The package is rounded off by a 40-minute bonus DVD with recordings from Barcelona and a road movie shot during the ‘Hellish Rock’ tour in Spain. Adds up to impressive five hours plus of playing time altogether.

Band leader Kai Hansen looks back at Gamma Ray’s first American tour with pride and great joy, saying: “We had played in the States only once before, so this was our first headliner tour of America. Of course we had no idea what exactly to expect, but the reactions were overwhelming. The tickets sold extremely well, and the atmosphere was amazing night after night. What you see on the footage from Montreal is what we experienced at almost every show.” No wonder that Gamma Ray decided to document that tour on a top-quality DVD, making it a permanent fixture on their long list of previous releases. Hansen: “We had been thinking about releasing a live DVD for a long time, especially as our faithful fans had been nagging us about one for years. Unfortunately we’d never had the time to plan and realise such a large-scale project. Well, here you go! This is a DVD the way we like it: diverse and multi-faceted, featuring a musical cross-section of the Gamma Ray albums recorded by the current line-up since 1998. The road movie speaks for itself, and those nice little extras are great mementoes of our band history to date.”

But let’s get back to the question of how the humorous subtitle … And The Finnish Keyboarder Who Didn’t Want To Wear His Donald Duck Costume… originated. First of all: the keyboardist in question is Eero Kaukomies from Finland, who plays in the Gamma Ray cover band Guardians Of Mankind from Helsinki and supported Gamma Ray during their whole American tour. Hansen: “During the tour, Henjo suddenly noticed that Eero has a somewhat duck-like walk. So the crazy idea developed to make him wear a Donald Duck costume at the show in Montreal and present him to the audience. Naturally, this great suggestion didn’t meet with much enthusiasm from Eero, and the whole thing became a running gag.” Hansen adds with a wink: “By the way, the ‘awesome foursome’ refers to Henjo, Dirk, Daniel and myself, in case you were wondering.”

And now all that’s left to say is that Gamma Ray will have embarked on another tour by the time Hell Yeah!!! arrives at the stores, adding more legendary performances to their band history. They will travel to Russia at the beginning of September and are scheduled to go to America and Canada again a fortnight later. And the rest of the year? “We are collecting ideas for our next studio album”, Kai Hansen gives away. “Quite a few of them have already piled up, so come autumn we will probably begin to sort through them and go to the studio in January 2009.” Sounds like everything should be set for a new studio album by early next summer. Hell Yeah!!! is a perfect appetizer to fuel your anticipation!

DVD Tracklisting:

DVD 1 – Montreal-Show 2006

‘Welcome’
‘Gardens Of The Sinner’
‘New World Order’
‘Man On A Mission’
‘Fight’
‘Blood Religion’
‘Heavy Metal Universe’
‘Dreamhealer’
‘The Heart Of The Unicorn’
‘Fairytale’
‘The Silence’
‘Beyond The Blackhole’
‘Valley Of The Kings’
‘Somewhere Out In Space’
‘Land Of The Free’
‘Rebellion In Dreamland’
‘I Want Out’
‘Send Me A Sign’

Total Running Time: Approx. 120 minutes

DVD 2

Road Movie:
- Documentary from the Northamerican Tour
Video Clips:
- ‘Space Eater’
- ‘One With The World’
- ‘Gamma Ray’
- ‘Rebellion In Dreamland’
- ‘Send Me A Sign’
- ‘Heavy Metal Universe’
- ‘Eagle’
- ‘Into The Storm’
Live At Wacken Open Air 2003
- ‘One With The World’
- ‘Last Before The Storm’
Live At Wacken Open Air 2006
- ‘Rebellion In Dreamland’
- ‘Heavy Metal Universe’
- ‘Somewhere Out In Space’
Historay:
Over the years private movies, backstage scenes and live performances
Unplugged:
Kai and Henjo unplugged in Japan

Total Running Time: approx. 156 minutes

DVD 3 (Bonus, only Europe)
4 Songs of Land Of The Free II live in Barcelona during the Hellish Rock-Tour
with Helloween in January 2008
Tracklist:
‘Into The Storm’
‘Empress’
‘From The Ashes’
‘Real World’
plus Backstage-Scenes, Soundchecks, etc…

CD tracklisting:

CD 1 Tracklist
‘Welcome’
‘Gardens Of The Sinner’
‘New World Order’
‘Man On A Mission’
‘Fight’
‘Blood Religion’
‘Heavy Metal Universe’
‘Dreamhealer’
‘The Heart Of The Unicorn’
‘Fairytale’
‘The Silence’

Approx. 62 minutes playing time.

CD 2 Tracklist
‘Beyond The Blackhole’
‘Valley Of The Kings’
‘Somewhere Out In Space’
‘Land Of The Free’
‘Rebellion In Dreamland’
‘I Want Out’
‘Send Me A Sign’
Bonus Tracks:
‘Into The Storm’
‘Empress’
‘From The Ashes’
‘Real World’

Approx. 65 minutes playing time.

For more info visit http://www.gammaray.org/.

New Release Friday: I’m a sheep…..I waited in line for Metallica – Death Magnetic!

Today was the big day! Metallica released their new album, DEATH MAGNETIC, today and I was in line outside the record store to buy the CD. When I say “line”, there were 5 people there! This wasn’t like one of those midnight releases that we used to have back in the old days, this was just a typical Friday. Usually I’m waiting outside the local store on Tuesdays for new releases because there are only a couple of copies of some of the more obscure new albums but I am happy to report that the new Metallica record was well-stocked.

I’ve been a Metallica fan since the release of KILL’EM ALL back in ’83 and I have been a disappointed fan since the LOAD and RELOAD albums. I just couldn’t get into those albums. ST. ANGER was just a horrible album! With over a decade of disappointment I was still out there waiting for the new Metallica album like a sheep! I could have easily waited, maybe even downloaded the leaked album earlier in the week, but I was out there at 9:45am waiting for the doors to the store to open.

Why?

Hope. Maybe this would be the album that brings the band back as close as they can get to their pre-BLACK album days. Or this could be the second biggest train wreck of their career! Either way, I had to hear it all for myself. Aside from a couple of full songs, I decided to ignore all the samples and album previews online.

So what did my trouble get me? The album for $12.88 and a free DEATH MAGNETIC pint glass. You can get the pint glass online from Newbury Comics while supplies last.

A review will be very soon…..

AC/DC – North American tour announced for BLACK ICE

From Bravewords:

AC/DC have announced their North American tour schedule in support of their new album, BLACK ICE. It is as follows:

October
28 – Wilkes-Barre, PA – Wachovia Arena
30 – Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena

November
3 – Indianapolis, IN – Conseco Fieldhouse
5 – Auburn Hills, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
7 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre
9 – Boston, MA – TD Banknorth Garden
12 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
13 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
15 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
17 – Philadelphia, PA – Wachovia Center
19 – East Rutherford, NJ – IZOD Center
21 – Columbus, OH – Schottenstein Center
23 – Minneapolis, MN – Xcel Energy Center
25 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
28 – Vancouver, BC – General Motors Place
29 – Seattle, WA – KeyArena
30 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome

December
2 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
6 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
10 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
12 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
14 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
16 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
18 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena

According to Billboard.com, tickets will go on September 20th via Ticketmaster and www.ACDC.com.

Press Release: Paul Stanley – One Live KISS DVD artwork and release date announced

From Paul Stanley.com:

Paul Stanley’s long-anticipated “Live To Win” tour movie is slated for a DVD release on October 21 under the title, ONE LIVE KISS, via New Door / Universal!

We’ll post additional details soon.

Press Release: Yngwie Malmsteen – Perpetual Flame new album artwork, tracklisting and release dates

From Yngwie Malmsteen:

The global rock guitar community will undoubtedly mark October 14th, 2008 on their calendars, as this is the exact date that Yngwie Malmsteen will be issuing his latest studio triumph, PERPETUAL FLAME. The album will be the first-ever Yngwie album to be released via Rising Force Records (distributed via Koch). It also marks the debut on an Yngwie album by ex-JUDAS PRIEST/ICED EARTH frontman, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens.

12 tracks of pure six-string metallic bliss (which stretches to almost 70 minutes total), the album was produced and engineered by Yngwie himself, and mixed by Roy Z (who has previously worked with Judas Priest and Bruce Dickinson, among others). Joining Yngwie and Ripper on the album is keyboardist Derek Sherinian and drummer Patrick Johansson (Yngwie contributed bass, additional keyboards, and vocals, as well), but on tour, Michael Troy will supply keyboards, and Bjorn Englen will be laying down the bass. A supporting tour of the US and Canada is slated to run through all of October.

Single-handedly, Yngwie Malmsteen trailblazed the classical metal movement in the 1980′s. During a time when the majority of guitarists were merely copying Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie was one of the few rock guitarists to create his own instantly-identifiable playing style – which has been subsequently mimicked by countless other guitarists. Yngwie is responsible for issuing some of the metal’s all-time great guitar classics, especially such releases as 1984′s Rising Force, 1985′s Marching Out, 1992′s Fire And Ice, and most recently, 2005′s Unleash The Fury.

In addition to the arrival of Perpetual Flame in October, another career highlight is slated for that same month – Yngwie will be inducted into the Rock Walk on Monday, October 13th in Los Angeles.

Additionally a new Fender/Yngwie Malmsteen custom shop guitar will be unveiled on November 28th (with a limited run of 100 instruments) and there will be a slew of CD reissues of Yngwie classics to soon be announced.

Complete tracklisting for Perpetual Flame: ‘Death Dealer’, ‘Damnation Game’, ‘Live To Fight (Another Day)’, ‘Red Devil’, ‘Four Horsemen (Of The Apocalypse)’, ‘Priest Of The Unholy’, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, ‘Caprici Di Diablo’, ‘Lament’, ‘Magic City’, ‘Eleventh Hour’, ‘Heavy Heart’.

WANTED: AC/DC – T.N.T. (1975)

WANTED

 

AC/DC – T.N.T. (1975)

While I was on my vacation, I decided to get all the AC/DC albums out and upload them to my MP3 player. I piled them all on my desk, uploaded to the computer, synched the Dell DJ 30 (which is dying slowly!) and put the CDs back on the shelves. I put the discs away quickly and, upon further review, I didn’t pay attention to their chronological order. A couple of hours later I was putting HIGH VOLTAGE (1975) back (it was in the stereo) and I fixed the proper order and found T.N.T. to be missing! I checked my desk and the CD shelves but I couldn’t find it! Is it possible that I didn’t have it? I checked my Dell DJ to see if I had loaded it in…..not there! I guess I don’t own it after all!

So why do I want it? First, it will complete the AC/DC collection…..I hate having a missing album in a band’s discography. Second, most of the songs appear on the international release of HIGH VOLTAGE but that album has the songs ‘Little Lover’ & ‘She’s Got Balls’ instead of ‘Rocker’ & ‘School Days’ (a Chuck Berry cover) that are featured on T.N.T. The studio version of ‘Rocker’ does appear on the international release of DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP and a live version is on the BONFIRE box set from 1997. ‘School Days’ appears live on the BONFIRE box set also. I have BONFIRE and DIRTY DEEDS so this is one of those albums that I want but I will take my time getting. In the end, I have all the songs except for the studio version of ‘School Days’ and this album can be found on Ebay for around 10 dollars (includes shipping).

Vacation Playlist – 8/31 thru 9/7

I’m back from a quick vacation! I didn’t realize that I had to use some vacation days up quick or I would lose them so i took a quick unscheduled vacation from work. I love being in a union! I decided that I was going to also take the week to get away from my dependence on the Internet and television and just concentrate on listening to music and reading a good book or two. I won’t lie and say I cut both totally out but I did limit my time to an hour for each every day. Sometimes I just need to tune out!

Some other things I did last week involved birthdays, my youngest daughter turned 5 and my mom turned 59 the same day, so there was a birthday barbecue. The return of regular season NFL Football came last Thursday with the reigning champion New York Giants facing the Washington Redskins. As many long time readers know, I’m a New England Patriots season ticket holder so I had the opening regular season game today (I am not discussing Tom Brady’s injury at this time), so I tried out a few new recipes on the grill for the pre-game tailgate in the parking lot. Add my 4 hour fantasy football draft Saturday morning and you can see that I may have been on vacation but I still had a lot going on!

I spent a lot of time with new albums and live albums this past week. I have to catch up on reviews and I want to do a “live album week” at the end of the month so I pulled out a few candidates for those reviews.

Metal Church – This Present Wasteland (2008)
Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (2008)
Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008)
Cloudscape – Global Drama (2008)
Maiden Heaven: A Kerrang! Tribute To Iron Maiden (2008)
Venom – Hell (2008)
Motorhead – Motorizer (2008)
Ayreon – 01011001 (2008)
Royal Hunt – Collision Course – Paradox II (2008)
Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008)
Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008)

These are the new albums that I have been rgiving serious rotation to the last couple of weeks. I’ve never really taken Avantasia and Judas Priest out of my weekly playlist, same goes for the new Ayreon but I’ve given it just a little more focus because there is so much to hear. The new albums from Royal Hunt, Motorhead, Cloudscape and Alice Cooper are all very good and I haven’t stopped enjoying them. I just picked up the new Venom recently (along with something else I know I’m forgetting, watch for an update on my purchases soon) and it’s…..well, Venom! Venom and Motorhead are so much alike in that they do the same thing over and over. Most of my listening went to advances of the new Iced Earth and Metal Church that I’ve had a few weeks now…..I’m preparing the Iced Earth review for this week, Metal Church next week.

KISS – Alive! (1975)
KISS – Alive II (1977)
Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)
Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)
UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979)
UFO – Werewolves Of London: Live In Wolverhampton 1998 (1999)
Royal Hunt – Live In Japan 1996 (1996)
Michael Schenker Group – Live Unforgiven World Tour (1999)
Black Sabbath – Live Evil (1982)
Black Sabbath – Reunion (1998)
Queen – Live At Wembley ’86 (1992)
Queen – On Fire: Live At The Bowl ’82 (2004)
Judas Priest – Priest In The East (1979)
Judas Priest – Priest…..Live! (1987)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed (1982)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Pt.2 (1998)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Pt.3 (2006)
Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)
Jeff Scott Soto – Live At The Gods (2003)

That’s a pretty good list of live albums! Some of these albums were instrumental in my discovering studio albums from the bands, some were important in my understanding of different eras of the bands, but all of them had a profound influence on me. The first two KISS ALIVE albums are cornerstones of my love for Heavy Metal and KISS but I would also have to put LIVE AFTER DEATH and WORLD WIDE LIVE right there with them because they were cassettes I played to death back when I was kid. I should probably add the Krokus and Judas Priest live records to that list too.

I did a lot of comparisons: PRIEST IN THE EAST vs. PRIEST…..LIVE!, LIVE EVIL vs. REUNION, all 3 Saxon live albums. Some are no brainers so I expect everyone to comment how bad PRIEST…..LIVE! & REUNION are to two all-time classic live albums. Some of these albums like the UFO records, the Royal Hunt, MSG and Jeff Scott Soto have become favorites over the years and you can’t dispute Queen’s legacy in the live arena. My plan for the “live album week” is to pick 7 out of this list, or maybe pick 6 and throw in a surprise, for reviews and memories.

On vacation

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am on vacation and that regular posts will resume Sunday, September 7.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned…..