CD Scavenger Hunt – quick update

As you may have read, I was on vacation last week. The cool thing about vacation is that you actually have time to do all the things that you really want to do. What did I want to do? Visit as many record stores as I possibly could. Did I do it? No…..not until last Saturday! Last Saturday my family and I went down to Newport, RI for the day and I was able to hit four different record stores and browse without my wife and kids pushing me out the door. It was great, I got to look at everything, check all the used bins, flip through vinyl and even check out some old buttons and posters. The first stop on my neverending quest for Heavy Metal was my childhood hometown record store: Luke’s Record Exchange. I have been going to Luke’s since I was old 10 years old and it used to be THE place to get your Metal back in the ’80s. A lot of good memories are there! A couple of months ago, I was trying to teach my 10 yr. old daughter about the culture of “mom & pop” record stores and I took her to Luke’s…..she was hooked. The only problem with Luke’s is that it’s always been disorganized but, if you know how to search, you can come up with some serious gems. After my daughter picked out vintage posters of AC/DC (circa 1990) and KISS (circa 1989) for her bedroom wall, I was able to check the racks of Heavy Metal wax for some vinyl. So what did I pick up?

One album…..

Girlschool - Hit And Run (1981)Girlschool – Hit And Run (1981) – $5: I checked everything but the only LP that caught my eye was this mint copy of Girlschool’s sophomore record. The cellophane was open but the record and sleeve on the inside were perfect. No ringwear or bent corners on the album either…..this was a steal! Here’s a little cool aside: the back of the album had a price tag on the cellophane from another old record store that used to be around when I was a kid: Midland Records. The regular price was $8.98 and it was on sale for $8.49!

So after the other three “mom & pop” record stores yielded nothing, I came home and decided to order a couple of things online…..

Tokyo Blade - Night Of The Blade (The Night Before)Tokyo Blade – Night Of The Blade (The Night Before) (1984/1998 reissue) – $26: Back in 1997, I read about this label out of Germany who were producing some great reissues of obscure Metal albums/bands. The label: High Vaultage Records. I started to collect High Vaultage releases but they were limited edition and became scarce as the late ’90s rolled into the early 2000s. Tokyo Blade is one of those unsung bands from the NWOBHM and this album has the unique distinction of being recorded with the original singer (Alan Marsh), scrapped, and re-recorded with the new singer (Vic Wright). High Vaultage re-released both versions with a lot of bonus tracks and great booklets. This version, THE NIGHT BEFORE, is the album recorded with Alan Marsh and includes the HAVE AN ICE DAY demo (1990) from Marsh’s post-Tokyo Blade project Mr. Ice. Of course, this demo would be released as a Tokyo Blade record of the same name in 1998 by Zoom Club Records. Confused yet?

greatestits_lgTed Poley – Greatestits (2009) – $22: this CD was actually a pre-order through Ted Poley’s website. The artwork and title are limited edition for the first 1000 copies, after that everything will be changed, so I jumped on the collector’s item. I always like Danger Danger and this 2 CD set features a wide range of Poley’s work outside of Danger Danger including Melodica, Poley/Rivera, Bonemachine and more. It looks like a good set…..and I’m not just talking about the cover!

WANTED: Cain’s Alibi – s/t (1996)

WANTED

cainsalibi

Cain’s Alibi – s/t (1996)

Do you ever just get fixated on a band just because you need that one album? It happens to me all the time! I’ll be very honest here…..I really know nothing about Cain’s Alibi except that they have two albums and that they are broken up. I own their second album, SANCTIFIED (2000), and it’s a decent record but I’ve read online that the debut is the better of the two. The problem is that this album is way out of print and commanding $100+ lately at auction and all I want to do is complete the set! If I get one, I’ll review it.

End of vacation Mixtape

Sadly all good things must come to and end…..and so must my vacation. It’s been a great week off from work: I spent time with the family, listened to a lot of music and did a lot of things I can’t do because work gets in the way…..like sleep! I have to go back to work today at 4pm so I decided to relax in the music room and shuffle the iPod one last time to see what comes out…..

  1. Queen – ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ (1986)
  2. Starz – ‘Violation’ (1977)
  3. Dokken – ‘The Hunter’ (1985)
  4. Autograph – ‘Send Her To Me’ (1984)
  5. Journey – ‘Send Her My Love’ (1983)
  6. Judas Priest – ‘Hard As Iron’ (1988)
  7. Accept – ‘Do It’ (1980)
  8. Judas Priest – ‘Solar Angels’ (1981)
  9. Quiet Riot – ‘Twilight Hotel’ (1986)
  10. Sammy Hagar – ‘Mas Tequila’ (1999)
  11. .38 Special – ‘Wild Eyed Southern Boys’ (1981)
  12. KISS – ‘Room Service’ (1975)
  13. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘No Bone Movies’ (1980)
  14. Manowar – ‘Fighting The World’ (1987)
  15. KISS - ‘Exciter’ (1983)
  16. Tim Owens – ‘Believe’ (2009)
  17. ZZ Top – ‘T.V. Dinners’ (1983)
  18. Motley Crue – ‘Hollywood Ending’ (2000)
  19. U.D.O. – ‘Infected’ (2009)
  20. Aerosmith – ‘Last Child’ (1977)

Bonus Track: UFO – ‘Diesel In the Dust’ (1983)

    Saga – The Human Condition (2009)

    Saga - The Human Condition (2009)

    Saga – The Human Condition (2009, SPV/Inside Out)

    1. The Human Condition
    2. Step Inside
    3. Hands Of Time
    4. Avalon
    5. A Number With A Name
    6. Now Is Now
    7. Let It Go
    8. Crown Of Thorns
    9. You Look Good To Me

    Band Lineup:
    Rob Moratti – Vocals
    Jim Crichton – Bass
    Ian Crichton – Guitars
    Jim Gilmour – Keyboards & Vocals
    Brian Doerner – Drums

    Produced by: Saga

    Country: Canada

    Total Time = 47:16

    Saga
    Saga MySpace page
    SPV
    Inside Out

    Canadian prog-rockers Saga have been churning out their special blend of AOR/Melodic Rock infused Progressive Rock for over 38 years. In January 2007 the band was dealt a major blow when founding member/lead singer Michael Sadler announced that he would leave Saga at the end of 2007 so he could explore other interests and focus on family. Sadler was one of the founding members since 1971 and replacing him would not be an easy task so, after Saga’s 36th anniversary tour (also Sadler’s farewell tour), the band got down to searching for a new lead singer. Enter ex-Final Frontier frontman Rob Morrati, who joined the band in 2008.

    THE HUMAN CONDITION is pretty much the kind of record you would expect to hear from a veteran band: top quality musicianship, intelligent songwriting and excellent vocals. The music is still based solely around the guitars and keyboards that together give Saga that balance between AOR and Prog Rock. The bass and drums are just as solid as they always are…..the only question mark being the switch from the identifiable Sadler to Moratti. The answer is that Moratti has done a superb job in filling Sadler’s shoes and he fits right in. The vocals do sound different but Moratti still provides plenty of range and power when needed but his strength is his sense of melody.

    The opening title track is pure Prog Rock instrumental with only one repeated vocal line from Moratti, both guitarist Ian Crichton and keyboardist Jim Gilmour weaving their instruments through each other’s sound to offer a spectacular wall of sound. ‘Step Inside’ is a lot heavier and almost into the Progressive Metal category following today’s contemporaries Dream Theater, Tiles or Shadow Gallery. While the song is heavier with more prominent guitars and drums, the song is still very melodic. Moratti provides a real classic vocal and the piano doesn’t overpower the rest of the band, it compliments it. The pace slows to a spacey kind of ballad on ‘Hands Of Time’ that sounds like something straight out of the Ayreon catalog with it’s swirling keyboards and mellow guitar. It’s definitely a change of pace but it fits weel in the context of the entire album. Things pick up again quickly with the more uptempo and majestic ‘Avalon’ and it’s about this time that the band has shown all it’s cards from pure Prog to Metal to Space Rock and now Melodic Rock. It’s a very diverse sound and there is really no way to know what to expect as there can be elements of all styles in a song. ‘Avalon’ starts more Melodic Rock but by the time the solos kick in both the guitars and keyboards take on a more Prog texture.

    More pure Prog comes wrapped in the quirky ‘A Number With A Name’ that is complete with power guitar and complex keyboards setting the tone and the vocal harmonies building the sound. The arrangement goes from this quirky melodic pop vibe to straight prog with all kinds of little guitar and keyboard parts sprinkled throughout…..a very interesting and complex tune. ‘Now Is Now’ sounds almost like danceable Pop music with an ’80s appeal. This one isn’t one of my favorites on the album mainly because it’s so dated and predictable, it sounds like any band from the early ’80s with a keyboard and a good singer. The only redeeming quality is the mid-song solo. “Let It Go’ get things back on track with a more classic Saga sound complete with heavier guitars and a more focused direction. ‘Crown Of Thorns’ dives back into the Prog Metal area with some really crunchy riffs from Ian Crichton and double bass pedalling from former Helix drummer Brian Doerner. ‘Crown Of Thorns’ reminds me of early Saga where the band easily blended their Prog with a specific heaviness…..one of my favorites off the record. Last song ‘You Look Good To Me’ is very interesting…..it’s explicitly ’80s Pop Rock oriented and is a possible twin track of ‘Now Is Now’ but there is something about it that has caught me. The chorus is definitely catchy and the beat is infectious but there are a couple of quirky breaks in the middle that detract from the song. The only way I can describe it is to take classic Saga and mix it with ’80s New Wave…..it’s good but not great, Saga but not classic prog Saga.

    Bottom Line:
    There were a lot of questions going into THE HUMAN CONDITION but Saga has answered the critics and fans with a solid new album that explores different styles rather than the usual Prog Rock stylings everyone is used to. I think this is the album Saga had to make to separate themselves from the Michael Sadler exit and move forward with Rob Morrati. Really nothing has changed as the band itself has remained the same, the question mark was at the mic and Moratti has shown that he is more than up to the task. His performance over the course of the album is superb and he shows definite flexibility in his voice. He sounds smooth and effortless and that is kind of the way I view THE HUMAN CONDITION, maybe a little experimental also. There are a couple of songs that are more Pop oriented and seem a little out of place but when you listen to the entire album they actually flow well. Personally, I would prefer more contemporary Prog Rock/Metal than the Pop stuff. Overall I would call this a solid comeback for a band that has never gone away!

    Favorite Songs:
    ‘ The Human Condition’, ‘Step Inside’, ‘Hands Of Time’, ‘Avalon’, ‘Crown Of Thorns’

    Ebay Madness: Kidd Wikkid – s/t (1992) strikes again!

    Just when you thought it was safe again on Ebay, the Kidd Wikkid CD strikes again! I’ve featured this CD twice before: October 2006 when it sold for $394 and June 2007 when it dropped to a mere $232.48! Everytime I come across this CD I always see it go for big dollars, even for bootleg CDRs! So here we go…..the latest Ebay Madness on Kidd Wikkid.

    Kidd Wikkid auction 1

    Kidd Wikkid – s/t (1992) sells for $464.36

    Seller: sgt 667 (Twisted Kite Records & CDs)
    Country: Missoula, Montana USA
    Starting Price = $9.99
    Bids = 13

    This seller is from the U.S. with 100% positive feedback and the auction lists verified questions from bidders as to the authenticity of the CD (sliver-pressed original or bootleg) so there are a lot of positives. For collectors, an original pressing is still a rarity but buyer beware of all the bootlegs that are damn close to an original. This auction got out of hand early: by Day 2 of the auction it was already over $200 and by the next to last day it was over $350.

    Kidd Wikkid auction 2

    Kidd Wikkid – s/t (1992) sells for $513 a week later!

    Seller: theclamiam
    Country: Butte, Montana USA
    Starting Price = 8
    Bids = $9.99

    Second Kidd Wikkid CD out of Montana in a week but this one is extra special…..it’s autographed! The owner of this autographed copy owned a music store in Butte and he was given an autographed copy by the band for his store. He says he may have a t-shirt also and, if he can find it, will throw it in! $513 for a CD and a t-shirt…..I wish I could spend that kind of money.

    Iron Fire – To The Grave (2009)

    Iron Fire - To The Grave (2009)

    Iron Fire – To The Grave (2009, Napalm Records)

    1. The Beast From The Blackness
    2. Kill For Metal
    3. The Demon Master
    4. Cover The Sun
    5. To The Grave
    6. March Of The Immortals
    7. The Kingdom
    8. Frozen In Time
    9. Hail To Odin
    10. Doom Riders
    11. Ghost Of Vengeance
    12. The Battlefield
    13. Blacksmith Of Thunder (limited edition bonus track)

    Band Lineup:
    Martin Steene – Vocals
    Kirk Backarach – Guitars
    Martin Lund – Bass
    Fritz Wagner – Drums

    Additional Musicians:
    Danny Svendsen – Keyboards

    Produced by: Iron Fire & Tommy Hansen

    Country: Denmark

    Total Time = 59:57

    Iron Fire
    Iron Fire MySpace page
    Napalm Records

    Iron Fire have been flying the flags of Power Metal for a decade now and not much has changed since THUNDERSTORM (2000) started things off. Iron Fire still plays Power Metal in it’s truest form: speed mixed with Melodic Metal, fantasy themed lyrics, fantasy album artwork and the true love of all things Metal. If I had to draw comparisons then Hammerfall would immeadiately come to mind, as would Manowar, Primal Fear, Mob Rules and Nocturnal Rites…..Iron Fire is part of the Power Metal resurgence of the last 15 years but are they progressing? The first thing you’ll notice when you put on TO THE GRAVE is that the band hasn’t really changed much in 10 years. It’s as if they have made the same album five times! Is that a bad thing? Ask a Power Metal fan and the answer will be “No” because Iron Fire still does what they do best: play well and construct good songs. The lyrics may seem a bit juvenile at times but you have to buy into the fantasy theme to really understand it.

    Every song on TO THE GRAVE has a lot of power to it, there just isn’t excessive speed riffs and double bass drumming, there is a wall of sound. The band has focused on trying to present a heavier feel to their music within the genre’s framework. Every song is melodic with plenty of speed and layered guitars, even the keyboards fit in well and don’t overpower the other instruments. Lead vocalist Martin Steene sounds like he has strengthened his voice and expanded his range a bit as he explores his mid-level and doesn’t always go for the highs.

    The album begins with ‘The Beast From The Blackness’ that starts with a keyboard-laden intro and burns intro full on speed riffs and machine gun drums but what pulls it all together is the vocals from Steene and the harmonies on the chorus. ‘Kill For Metal’ is a Manowar style anthem if I’ve ever heard one and it’s also one of the best songs on the album…..it follows the same path as ‘The Beast’ with it’s speedy riffs and big gang choruses but that main riff sounds really thick. There’s a slower pace to ‘The Demon Master’, along with some growling vocals supplementing Steene’s lead, and it breaks things up a little. The change of pace also goes for ‘Cover The Sun’ with it’s more prominent keyboards and slower groove, it lets you feel the power this band has.

    The title track kicks in like a good Primal Fear track with a solid main riff and rhythm section while the vocals are restrained for more impact. ‘March Of The Immortals’ is your typical cliched Power Metal track but with Steene sounding like Vince Neil from Motley Crue in some spots! I don’t dig the whiny singing and Vince can get on your nerves so I’d rather hear Steene keep to what he’s been doing. ‘The Kingdom’ is fast and seems a little out of control in the beginning but it speeds right into the bridge and chorus where things settle into a controlled, but fast, pace. The growling vocals return again to add to the chorus but there really isn’t anything groundbreaking here. ‘Frozen In Time’ is a pretty good song as Iron Fire find a slower (but not slow!) groove and really pound away with a heavy backline and those growling vocals to offset the higher singing. The song, especially the chorus, reminds me a lot of Kamelot.

    One thing you need to have when making a Power Metal album in 2009 is to have a song dedicated to the Norse god Odin, it’s like a prerequisite to join the Power Metal fraternity of something! ‘Hail To Odin’ is gets Iron Fire their admission to the club but I hit the skip button right away…..the song is just too much with it’s bad lyrics and simple structure. the only redeeming quality I like is when the band slows everything down mid-song and the music sounds almost haunting but that’s only about 30 seconds and it’s back to the hailing! The vocals on ‘Doom Riders’ sound like they can’t keep up with the guitar’s speed and it just seems like a something is out of sync for me right away but ‘Ghost Of Vengeance’ comes in and rescues things from getting to out of hand with it’s heavy riffs and controlled drumming. The last song of the proper album is ‘The Battlefield’, a song that sounds like all the others but with that Vince Neil whine on the lead vocal, but there is a bonus track for the limited digipak version called ‘Blacksmith Of Thunder’. Great title right? Don’t let it fool you because this song really kicks into high gear and has a lot of heaviness, one of the best songs on the album! Why do bands offer a bonus track that’s better than half the songs on the proper album?

    Bottom Line:
    The words “Power Metal” should tell you all you need to know about Iron Fire and this new album TO THE GRAVE. If you are a Power/True Metal purist, then you are going to love this album. If you like different styles of Metal that are heavier or more brutal then this might not be the record for you. I’m a big Power Metal fan but I like a little progression, a little growth, with the sound as the years go by. Kamelot has done it, Primal Fear did it with NEW RELIGION back in 2007, and even Hammerfall has mixed up their sound. This is what Iron Fire need to do, they need to take some chances, explore some new avenues and incorporate it all into the Power Metal framework. Overall this wasn’t a bad album, it got a little repetitive at times but there is still some solid music here.

    Favorite Songs:
    ‘Kill For Metal’, ‘To The Grave’, ‘Frozen In Time’, ‘Blacksmith Of Thunder’, ‘The Demon Master’, ‘Cover The Sun’

    Artwork, tracklisting and release date announced for new Ravage album, The End Of Tomorrow

    From Bravewords:

    Metal Blade Records has confirmed August 18th as the official release date for THE END OF TOMORROW, the new album from Massachusetts metallers Ravage.

    Ravage - The End Of Tomorrow (2009)

    The artwork was handled by the famed artist Ed Repka who is known best for his MEGADETH covers as well as cover art for DEATH, MUNICIPAL WASTE, TOXIC HOLOCAUST and AUSTRIAN DEATH MACHINE.

    According to a press release, “THE EDN OF TOMORROW seamlessly intertwines the sounds of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, late 80′s American Thrash Metal and late 90′s European power metal to showcase the band’s signature style. The album is sure to be enjoyed by metal maniacs young and old as it blends the soaring vocal and guitar melodies of IRON MAIDEN and HELLOWEEN with the raw power of thrashers like TESTAMENT and KREATOR, presented in a crisply modern production-style courtesy of producer Peter Rutcho.”

    Here’s what vocalist Al Ravage has to say; “This album has been a very, very long time in the making and we’d like to thank Metal Blade for giving traditional, no-bullshit, American heavy metal a chance again. Also thanks to Peter Rutcho for his great production work on the album (giving new life and freshness to a classic sound), and Ed Repka (for inviting you all to share a glimpse into Ravage’s corner of the singularly demented alternate reality he has created with mere brush strokes). ‘The End’ is finally near! Get ready to Ravage and we’ll see you on tour this fall.”

    The End of Tomorrow track listing:

    ‘The Halls Of Madness’
    ‘Reign Fall’
    ‘Freedom Fighter’
    ‘Damn Nation’
    ‘The Shredder’
    ‘Into The Shackles’
    ‘In Shattered Dreams’
    ‘The Nightmare’s Hold: Part 1′
    ‘Nightcrawler’
    ‘The Nightmare’s Hold: Part 2′
    ‘Grapes Of Wrath’
    ‘The End Of Tomorrow’

    Judas Priest, Whitesnake & Pop Evil live in concert at Comcast Center (Mansfield, MA) – 7/7/09

    Second concert of the season and it was a good one…..Judas Priest & Whitesnake! Same venue that I saw the Def Leppard/Poison show last week but what a difference in the crowd! Def Leppard and Poison packed the seats under the roof and the seats on the lawn for about a 10,000+ audience…..Judas Priest and Whitesnake didn’t even sell out the seats under the roof, I’d say anywhere from 5000 – 7000 in attendance last night. I was sitting center stage 20 rows back so I had a perfect seat for a night of BRITISH STEEL and an ’80s greatest hits set from Whitesnake.

    Pop Evil setlist:

    I have no idea who Pop Evil are and what songs they played. All I know is that they are from Michigan and they sound like Nickelback, Creed, Puddle Of Mudd and Godsmack all rolled into one. I’m not a big fan of those bands but Pop Evil weren’t that bad, I’ve seen worse openers, and they only played for 30 minutes.

    Whitesnake setlist:

    Bad Boys
    Fool For Your Loving
    Love Ain’t No Stranger
    Slow An’ Easy
    Lay Down Your Love (includes double guitar solo from Reb Beach & Doug Aldrich)
    Cryin’ In The Rain (includes a quick drum solo mid-song)
    Is This Love
    Give Me All Your Love
    Is This Love
    Here I Go Again
    Still Of The Night

    No big surprises here and it’s pretty much what I expected from David Coverdale and company. The band sounded tight and Coverdale had good voice but I could do without some of the over the top screaming he does. He still has a good voice but he likes to scream a lot live I guess. I could have done without the solos and gotten an extra song especially with ‘Slide It In’ missing from the set. Good to hear ‘Lay Down Your Love’ from GOOD TO BE BAD (2008), it came off well live and David’s intro mentioned that their label (SPV) went bankrupt. I’m not surprised the band kept it to their three most popular albums from the ’80s, unless of course you’re a diehard and recognize that ‘Fool For Your Loving’ (from 1980′s READY AN’ WILLING) and ‘Here I Go Again’ (from 1982′s SAINTS & SINNERS) were earlier tracks the band re-recorded. It was a good set and a solid performance that the crowd really got into.

    Judas Priest setlist:

    Rapid Fire
    Metal Gods
    Breaking The Law
    Grinder
    United
    You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise
    Living After Midnight
    The Rage
    Steeler
    The Ripper
    Prophecy
    Hell Patrol
    Victim Of Changes
    Freewheel Burning
    Diamonds & Rust
    You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

    This was the 30th anniversary of BRITISH STEEL (1980) and the band is playing the entire album (a trend I am enjoying from a lot of bands lately) from start to finish. Good to hear the band play the album with the original tracklisting, most of the crowd thought that they would open with ‘Breaking The Law’ but I educated more than a few people that the record company had changed the running order so ‘Breaking The Law’ & ‘Living After Midnight’ would be the first songs to start each side of the album and that ‘Rapid Fire’ was the true first song. Then I had a kid in his late teens ask me what I meant by a “side”. I gave up!

    Priest rammed right through the entire album almost without pause: Halford did his usual ‘Breaking The Law’ intro (“Breaking the what?”) and he spoke about the band’s biggest “hit” before ‘Living After Midnight’ but it was pretty much non-stop. Highlights from the BRITISH STEEL set were everything but the hits I’ve heard before at a Priest show except for ‘Metal Gods’, one of my favorites. I got to hear ‘Grinder’ and ‘The Rage’ and they went over HUGE with the crowd but the best was yet to come…..

    ‘The Ripper’ and ‘Victim Of Changes’ are classics from SAD WINGS OF DESTINY (1976) and I got to hear ‘Freewheel Burning’ from my favorite Priest record DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH (1984) that has to be one of the fastest they’ve done. Even the new NOSTRADAMUS song ‘Prophecy’ came out good live and there were a lot of people singing it word for word so I guess I’m not the only one out there who liked that album! The band sounded great as usual and Rob’s voice sounded stronger, he was also a little more animated on stage rather than his “stand in one place and look at my boots” phase he’s been in since 2006. Overall a great show and a diehard’s dream of a setlist…..maybe next year they can do a 20th anniversary of PAINKILLER (1990)!

    R.I.P. – Midnight (ex-Crimson Glory) (1962-2009)

    midnight

    From Blabbermouth:

    BLABBERMOUTH.NET has learned that former CRIMSON GLORY frontman Midnight (real name: John Patrick Jr. McDonald) passed away earlier today (Wednesday, July 8) from “total kidney and liver failure.” He was 47 years old.

    According to JON OLIVA’S PAIN guitarist Matt LaPorte, who played on some of Midnight’s recent solo recordings, the singer spent his final hours surrounded by his mother, brother, daughter as well as members of CRIMSON GLORY, SAVATAGE, and JON OLIVA’S PAIN. His death occurred at 3:45 a.m EST at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    “I will miss my partner Midnight — the greatest voice and friend I’ve ever known,” LaPorte told BLABBERMOUTH.NET. He added, “In spite of his demons, [Midnight] was a beautiful soul who constantly changed the lives of those he met and came into contact with.”

    Midnight sang on CRIMSON GLORY’s first three albums — “Crimson Glory” (1986), “Transcendence” (1988) and “Strange and Beautiful” (1991) — before going into self-imposed exile for almost a decade. He eventually rejoined CRIMSON GLORY in 2005 but was dismissed in January 2007 following the revelation that he was arrested in Sarasota, Florida and charged with “DUI [driving under the influence] with .20 [blood-alcohol level] or higher or having a passenger under 18″ years of age. Midnight, who gave his occupation as “painter” to the authorities at the time of the arrest, was also cited for driving with a suspended/ cancelled/ revoked license.

    Last fall, Midnight announced plans to release a new solo CD called “All Souls Midnight” which was to feature the “Acoustic Crimson” EP (four songs) along with the lost “Midnight Mass” recordings from the late ’80s/early ’90s plus some other “cool rarities.”

    Metal Church call it quits!

    (scroll down for the update…..)

    From Metal Church:

    July 7 , 2009

    To all of our fans and friends…

    We regretfully announce that Metal Church is calling it quits.

    The performance at Rocklahoma will be our last show. We have had to cancel the shows scheduled for August and that, among other things, has led us to have to make this decision.

    There has been far too much frustration and disappointment in trying to keep moving forward. The collapse of our record company, SPV, has made it next to impossible for us continue in any kind of professional manner due to lack of tour support. This decision was not made lightly.

    We do have unfinished business in the studio, and with any luck we will have something that will be of interest to Metal Church fans in the near future.

    We would like to thank all the fans that have stuck with Metal Church through all these years, the line-up changes and the ups and downs.

    We can’t tell you how much your support has meant to us, we appreciate each and every one of you.

    It’s been a great ride… thanks for being a part of it.

    Metal Church

    UPDATE 7/8/09:
    The band have clarified their statement: “The situation with SPV is NOT the reason that we have decided to stop, it is just one small part of the trouble this band has had in trying to keep going. SPV has always been great to us, and it’s very sad that they are not going to be around in the same capacity anymore. Our original statement didn’t make that point clearly, and we apologize to SPV for any confusion.”

    ——————————————————————————————

    I didn’t see that one coming! Metal Church was scheduled to play the Showcase Live ay Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA in August and I was going to head up there to see the show…..I guess I won’t be going! Maybe the SPV bankruptcy has a lot to do with this? I thought the last few albums were strong so I’m surprised they are calling it a day and not looking for a new label. Too bad…..a solid Metal band.

    — Steve

    Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (2009) live soundtrack

    Iron-Maiden-Flight-666-cd

    Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (2009, Universal Music)

    Tour Setlist (with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities)

    1. Churchill’s Speech (Mumbai, India)
    2. Aces High (Mumbai, India)
    3. 2 Minutes To Midnight (Melbourne, Australia)
    4. Revelations (Sydney, Australia)
    5. The Trooper (Tokyo, Japan)
    6. Wasted Years (Monterrey, Mexico)
    7. The Number Of The Beast (Los Angeles, USA)
    8. Can I Play With Madness (Mexico City, Mexico)
    9. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (New Jersey, USA)
    10. Powerslave (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    11. Heaven Can Wait (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
    12. Run To The Hills (Bogota, Colombia)
    13. Fear Of The Dark (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
    14. Iron Maiden (Santiago, Chile)
    15. Moonchild (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
    16. The Clarivoyant (Curitiba, Brazil)
    17. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Toronto, Canada)

    Band Lineup:
    Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
    Steve Harris – Bass
    Dave Murray – Guitars
    Adrian Smith – Guitars
    Janick Gers – Guitars
    Nicko McBrain – Drums

    Additional Musicians:
    Michael Kenney – offstage Keyboards

    Produced by: Kevin Shirley & Steve Harris

    Total Time = 102 mins

    Iron Maiden

    The FLIGHT 666 Soundtrack is the CD version of the live concert DVD from the FLIGHT 666 DVD set. It’s the same tracklisting as Disc 2 from the DVD and it’s the same performances, the band giving us one live song from 16 different cities on the first leg of the 2008 Somewhere Back In Time tour.

    While it’s nice to have a double live album from Iron Maiden, the problem is that they have so many now…..7 by my count and that’s not including the MAIDEN JAPAN E.P.! I like Maiden live so I like the live records but at least there is a continuity to them, that’s the overall problem of the FLIGHT 666 live record. If it was a single show, or a bunch of shows strung together with audience noise in between, then it might be a little better but having the fade in and out between songs/countries is a little annoying for me and not what a true live album is about. Then again, this is technically a live soundtrack.

    I think the overall problem for me is that I’ve watched the actual FLIGHT 666 film (Disc 1 of the DVD) so many times in the last month that I’ve just come to associate the song performances with the visuals of the band’s stops in the different countries. By the same token, I don’t enjoy the live DVD (DVD Disc 2) as much as I do the actual documentary DVD! For me, this isn’t the definitive live album from Iron Maiden and I probably won’t give it much playing time when I can reach for classics like LIVE AFTER DEATH (1985), LIVE AT DONNINGTON (1993) or ROCK IN RIO (2002). Then again, FLIGHT 666 is a bad live record in terms of performances and sound.

    Bottom Line:
    Would be better without the gaps between songs but that’s the point of the whole project: to give everyone a glimpse into the different cities and countries on the first leg of the tour. There’s no comparing it to LIVE AFTER DEATH but young/new Maiden fans will enjoy hearing the songs from the last tour. I bought it as the companion to the DVD set, which is exactly what it’s meant to be, but I’ll be watching the DVD more than I will listen to the CDs. Good for completing the Maiden collection but not necessary if you have the DVD.

    Favorite Songs:
    Like I said in the DVD review, if I have to pick a couple of favorites they would be ‘Powerslave’ (from Costa Rica) and ‘Fear Of The Dark’ (from Colombia).

    Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009)

    Iron Maiden - Flight 666 DVD

    Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009, Universal Music)

    DVD 1

    Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (Film Documentary) – (113 mins)

    DVD 2

    Tour Setlist (with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities) – (102 mins)

    1. Churchill’s Speech (Mumbai, India)
    2. Aces High (Mumbai, India)
    3. 2 Minutes To Midnight (Melbourne, Australia)
    4. Revelations (Sydney, Australia)
    5. The Trooper (Tokyo, Japan)
    6. Wasted Years (Monterrey, Mexico)
    7. The Number Of The Beast (Los Angeles, USA)
    8. Can I Play With Madness (Mexico City, Mexico)
    9. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (New Jersey, USA)
    10. Powerslave (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    11. Heaven Can Wait (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
    12. Run To The Hills (Bogota, Colombia)
    13. Fear Of The Dark (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
    14. Iron Maiden (Santiago, Chile)
    15. Moonchild (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
    16. The Clarivoyant (Curitiba, Brazil)
    17. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Toronto, Canada)

    Band Lineup:
    Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
    Steve Harris – Bass
    Dave Murray – Guitars
    Adrian Smith – Guitars
    Janick Gers – Guitars
    Nicko McBrain – Drums

    Additional Musicians:
    Michael Kenney – offstage Keyboards

    Produced & Directed by: Sam Dunn & Scot McFayden

    Executive Producer: Rod Smallwood

    (Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 3 hrs + 35 mins)

    Iron Maiden

    I was lucky enough to catch Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time world tour in Mansfield, MA last summer so I was really looking forward to this DVD documentary on the band’s first leg of the tour. FLIGHT 666 is named for the airline call numbers of Iron Maiden’s custom made Boeing 757 airplane (nicknamed Ed Force One) that the band, crew, families and gear flew in to travel over 50,000 miles across the globe to play 23 concerts in 45 days. Making the flights even more special was the fact that lead singer Bruce Dickinson, a pilot for Astraeus Airlines, was behind the controls…..talk about double duty!

    Disc 1 is the documentary that takes you behind the scenes from planning the tour to how the band travels and how they spend their time off. There are plenty of interview pieces with band members and crew but the most important part of the film is the focus on the fans and the hysteria that forms when Ed Force One touches down in different countries. Travelling with the band from England to Mumbai, India for the first gig you get hit with the reality that Maiden are a worldwide phenomenon and that Maiden fans are some of the most passionate in the world. Just watching the crowd from Mumbai swirl and sway to ‘Aces High’, and watching the pre-show fan hysterics, I am a bit jealous because I wish the crowds I am usually in here in the U.S. were just as passionate. You can definitely tell the difference between the faithful in India compared to the fans in the U.S. but the real story doesn’t come until the band travel to Mexico and South America.

    Iron Maiden has played all over the world and, as Bruce Dickinson put it, ‘The further south they go, the hotter it gets.” How true! Starting with the Mexican dates and moving into Costa Rica, Colombia, a string of dates in Brazil, Argentina and ending in Chile, you really see the height of Maiden fanaticism in the Latin American countries. From the crowds waiting at the airport and hotels to the crowds outside the arenas, you get a sense of just how important Heavy Metal is to these people and I could identify with them. Different fans that were interviewed made it clear that Maiden’s arrival for a show was an important event. You had fans talking about how the gig was “the thing” to see and that friends had quit jobs to be there, others in Colombia spoke about police oppression and how important the Maiden concert was to them. You could see the impact the concerts had with the crying fan in Costa Rica who caught a Nicko drumstick to the fans in Colombia who camped out a week in advance of the show with no food just so they could be close to the stage. It’s this fan interaction that makes the film and it’s exactly what filmmakers Sam Dunn & Scot McFayden have done with their previous films METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY and GLOBAL METAL. Seeing the band offstage, mixed with the fan reaction, mixed with parts of the stage performance in each country is a cool way to tell the story.

    I like seeing other things bands do on tour besides give the same old interviews with the same old tour stories. Seeing Bruce Dickinson behind the controls of Ed Force One was cool and seeing the band travel with their families was something you don’t immeadiately think of when you think of a Metal tour. There were some Metal dignitaries backstage at the U.S. performances in L.A. and New Jersey, some of them gave interviews or spoke to the cameras (Tom Morello, Kerry King, Lars Ulrich and Vinny Appice) while others were just quick sightings (Ronnie James Dio, Scott Ian, and Doro)…..I always like seeing who’s backstage because I never get there! There are also scenes with band members doing different things on their days off like Adrian Smith playing tennis with the pros in Australia while Nicko McBrain & Dave Murray played golf. There’s the quick soccer match footage in Brazil where I think I might have seen the guys from Sepultura with Steve Harris in a quick shot and there’s also the band exploring the temples in Mexico. I would have liked a little more in depth interviews with some of the band members, specifically the quiet Dave Murray and elusive Janick Gers, but the star of the offstage footage was Mr. Nicko McBrain…..he made the DVD! Just something about the madman behind the drumkit in golfing attire with his hair slicked back just seems so funny!

    Disc 2 is the complete setlist live in concert with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities around the world. The setlist is exact to the one I saw in Mansfield on the second leg of the tour so there are some really good Maiden memories attached to the performance but, like Disc 1, the quality of the performances are linked to the crowd reaction of the different countries. You can definitely see the differences between the crowds and how some are more rabid and Metal hungry than others. Watch ‘Aces High’ from Mumbai, India or ‘Powerslave’ from San Jose, Costa Rica and compare it to ‘The Number Of The Beast’ in Los Angeles…..it’s like two completely different worlds. The L.A. crowd seems tame compared to the chaos of any South American, Indian, or Japanese audience!

    The running order of the live set doesn’t correspond to the travelling but to the setlist itself. Just like the band criss-crossing the globe, the DVD is a criss-cross of different performances in different countries in order to keep the original running order intact. The L.A. show is sandwiched between Mexican dates and the New Jersey performance seven songs ahead of where it was in the tour itinerary. For me, I would have rather had the original itinerary but the band went with the best performances of their songs and mixed the country order. Not a big deal I guess. The live set is just as solid as all the other live Maiden DVDs but it doesn’t have the same impact as the actual film.

    Bottom Line:
    Iron Maiden is a legendary Heavy Metal band with an impact that truly is global. Everytime the band releases an album, a DVD or goes on tour, they give 110% and they never disappoint…..this is why they have been one of my favorite bands since I started listening to Metal when I was a kid. When you see an Iron Maiden show, you know you are getting a top notch performance…..and when they translate that live show into a DVD package, you know you are getting possibly the DVD of the year! Last year Maiden released the LIVE AFTER DEATH DVD and it took top honors as the best DVD of 2008, now they give us FLIGHT 666 and it will be hard to beat in 2009! For me, the band could have just released the film and it would still be the best DVD so far this year but they also made sure to give everyone the full Iron Maiden live experience with a 2nd DVD of the concert setlist. Overall, another successful world tour and another visual triumph.

    Favorite Songs:
    All the songs Iron Maiden played live on this tour were classics but the songs they filmed in India, Mexico and South America are the best because of the crowd reaction. If I had to pick one song that would be my favorite it would be a tie between ‘Powerslave’ (in Costa Rica) and ‘Fear Of The Dark’ (in Colombia).