CD Scavenger Hunt – July update

I’m way behind on keeping you updated about my purchases so here’s a long update for July…..

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The Scream – Let It Scream (1991) – $8.50 used
Johnny Lima – Shine On (2004) – $8.50 used
Shok Paris – Go For The Throat (1984/2010 reissue) – $12

Sister Sin – Dance Of The Wicked (2003/2013 reissue) – $10
Queensryche (featuring Todd LaTorre) – s/t (2013  limited edition box) – $14
Oliva – Raise The Curtain (2013) – $11.50
A World With Heroes: A KISS Tribute For Cancer Care (2013) – $25

All the way back to July for this set of purchases! There really wasn’t much I was going to buy this month but I managed to squeeze in a few new releases and some Ebay scores. I started off on a quick Ebay hit by winning both The Scream and Johnny Lima CDs from the same seller for $16 total. I was sure I had The Scream in my collection but I was wrong so I wanted to fill the void quickly and I’ve been on the hunt for any Johnny Lima CDs at a decent price. My third Ebay win was an official reissue from Auburn Records of the first Shok Paris album. I already picked up a copy back in May but it was a bootleg reissue and not officially sanctioned by the band or Auburn Records. I made an Amazon purchase shortly after of some new releases that I hadn’t picked up yet…..Sister Sin, Queensryche and Oliva (Jon Oliva’s solo project, not Jon Oliva’s Pain). I had been watching the sale prices at the local record store but Amazon just beats them out everytime. I’m all about supporting my local record store but it’s actually becoming a hassle going there especially when the selection is always the same and the prices are comparable, if not better, at Amazon. Not to mention that I’m an Amazon Prime member so shipping is free and no sales tax! Looking at my notes, I saved at least $10 by going through Amazon. My last CD for July was a benefit KISS tribute CD for cancer care, organized by major KISS fan and rock writer Mitch LaFon and distributed through Pledge Music. $25 got me a double disc of 40 songs, plus exclusive download and iTunes bonus content and my money went to a great cause. Please follow the link to read more about the project.

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Heaven & Earth – Dig (2013) – $16
Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods (2013 Deluxe Edition) – $16
Whitesnake – Made In Britain (2CD) (2013) – $0
Satan – Life Sentence (2013) – $16
Scorpion Child – s/t (2013) – $13
Sirenia – Perils Of The Deep (2013) – $0
Butcher Babies – Goliath (2013) – $13
The Winery Dogs – s/t (2013) – $13
Seven Witches – Rebirth (2013) – $0
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Sessions E.P. (2012) – $6
Geezer – Ohnwork (2005) – $0 used

I did make it out to the record store once in July for a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sale on all CDs so I made the 30 minute drive up to the Norwood, MA Newbury Comics to get a different selection from my two local Newbury Comics stores. I decided to get a lot of new releases obviously and I’m really out to stretch every dollar when I hit these type of sales so I went in with a budget of $100 and I spent $99! I got a bunch of great 2013 new releases and some of the free ones were actually on sale so I saved even more compared to the regular prices. My strategy is to group the highest prices together for maximum savings that way the higher priced CDs are free. I picked up the new Heaven & Earth and Amon Amarth albums for $16 each but I got the new Whitesnake live double disc for free saving the $16 sale price ($20 regular price). My next grouping was the new Satan and Scorpion Child albums for $16 and $13 and getting the new Sirenia for free, saving $13 on sale ($18 regular price) with the extra reward being that the Scorpion Child CD was on sale for $13 instead of the $18 regular price. My third grouping was the new Butcher Babies for $13 ($18 regular) and The Winery Dogs debut for another $13 ($16 regular) with the latest from Seven Witches for free and saving a straight $10. My last grouping was the Lynch Mob E.P. for $6, a CD for my daughter that cost $6 and the last Geezer record for free, saving $4 used. I wasn’t going to buy my daughter a CD because I have my own collection to think about it but how can you resist your kids? Plus, with sales tax, I would have gone over my personal budget so going a little over by buying my daughter a CD is OK!

Once I got home I decided to check my actual savings…..I’m a geek, what can I say? I selected every album and put them in an Amazon cart except for the Geezer CD which I found on Ebay and got a grand total of $122. I actually spent $93 on my CDs with $6 sales tax for a total of $99 at the record shop…..so I saved $23 going to the store. The savings continues when you look at the free CDs that totaled $43 and the sale prices that saved another $13. Had I bought all these CDs straight up at the record store it would have totalled $126. Did you get all that?

Total = $182.50

Total (year) = $1629

Average Price (per item) = $10.79

Total CDs (year) = 134

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =7

The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#1-#10)

We finally made it to the Top 10!

Something you may have noticed by now is that some of my favorite bands are missing from the countdown so far…..guess where they are?

2009 was another great year for new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums and I was lucky to have heard a great many of them. There were hundreds of new albums released by hundreds of bands over a wide range of Metal genres, it was very hard to keep up especially when I’m spending my hard-earned cash! Unfortunately, I can’t buy every new album so there are more than a few that I have missed. I am still very lucky to have many labels, PR firms, and bands sending in their CDs for review, to all of them I would like to extend a very grateful THANK YOU! Without these promotions I would have never heard some great releases and discovered some new bands. I have totalled up the CDs and there were 125 albums up for this year’s honors!

The only criteria I followed for my Top 40 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection AND the album had to be released in 2009. In the beginning of the year I decided that an album that was released in 2008, but was released in 2009 for the U.S., qualified as a 2009 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 40 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I more than doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into three posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here is part 3, my Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#1 – #10):

#10

Wolf – Ravenous (2009): I completely missed 2006′s BLACK FLAME so I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this latest album from Wolf. Needless to say, I was blown away and I immeadiately knew that this was going to be one of the best albums of the year. Wolf has this classic retro Metal sound with major influences from Iron Maiden, Helloween and Judas Priest so I ate this up immeadiately! The songs are all excellent and the twin lead guitars really make this album what it is, especially at the solos. I have been singing along, headbanging and playing air guitar to RAVENOUS since March and it definitely set the bar high to get into this year’s Top 10.

#9

Cheap Trick – The Latest (2009): THE LATEST album from Cheap Trick turned out to be the biggest comeback of the year from a band that never really went away! Cheap Trick has always been one of the most underrated Classic Rock bands coming out of the mid-’70s/early ’80s and I always make the huge mistake about waiting to buy their new records until a few weeks after they are released. This year was no different and I waited until I caught part of their opening performance on Def Leppard’s summer tour before I picked it up. The odds were against the band when they basically started the album off with a Slade cover (‘When The Lights Are Out’) but it turned out to be one of the best songs of the year for me! Cheap Trick has always been a band with excellent musicianship and songwriting skills and THE LATEST is just another example of how great this band is. If I could describe this album in one word: Beautiful. After I gave this album a full listen, I played it again to make sure my ears didn’t deceive me…..I knew immeadiately that this was one of the best records of the year.

#8

Sunstorm – House Of Dreams (2009): The Joe Lynn Turner factor! There is no doubt in my mind that JLT could sing me the menu at a McDonald’s and I would absolutely worship it! This is the best AOR/Melodic Rock album of the year without a shred of doubt…..it’s like it came straight from 1985. Now a lot of people are going to say that the album sounds too retro, too ’80s, too keyboard friendly but that is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Add in some awesome songwriter like Jim Peterik and Desmond Child lending a hand and you’ve got AOR gold, I swear if this record came out 25 years ago then it would have been a Top 10, multi-platinum album. The sound is Joe Lynn Turner meets Survivor meets Journey meets Pride Of Lions…..just plain old feel food melodic music that has great overall songwriting and musicianship (the guitars and keyboards complimenting each other perfectly) to go along with one of the greatest singing voices in all of Rock.

#7

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009): One of my most highly anticipated albums of 2009, Heaven & Hell (or Black Sabbath if you want) did not disappoint with their first true full-length album since 1992′s DEHUMANIZER. As many of you know, my favorite incarnation of Black Sabbath is the Ronnie James Dio era and it’s safe to say that Black Sabbath as a whole is one of my favorite bands of all-time. When I gave THE DEVIL YOU KNOW it’s inaugural couple of listens I was a little disappointed by the lack of fast and furious Metal songs like previous classic ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘The Mob Rules’ but I kept listening and it turned out that this is one heavy Doom record with a few well-placed fast numbers (‘Double The Pain’, ‘Eating The Cannibals’) to break the heaviness up a bit. Tony Iommi continues to write the best Metal riffs and Dio continues to sing better than vocalists half, even two-thirds, his age! The rhythm section of Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice are still as high-powered and brutal as ever and hearing them in concert proved to be a thunderous experience. Say what you want about this album not being HEAVEN & HELL (1980) or MOB RULES (1981), THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is definitely a great Black Sabbath Heaven & Hell album that can easily sit alongside those classics.

#6

UFO – The Visitor (2009): Another one of my favorite bands…..one of Top 5 in fact! There is now way I could have a Best of 2009 countdown without putting in THE VISITOR because it was easily in the running for my favorite record of the year since I got it. You have to give UFO credit, they have been doing it longer than most of their peers (40 years and counting!) and they consistently put out solid records. Since the band reunited in 1995 with the classic lineup, there have been many lineup changes but the mainstay is founder and singer Phil Mogg who puts in a brilliant performance vocally and as a songwriter…..no one writes or turns a clever phrase quite like Phil. The lineup still isn’t stable with founding bassist Pete Way out again due to health reasons and founding drummer Andy Parker coming back again to replace Jason Bonham when he left for Foreigner. Vinnie Moore proves that hes is more than capable of handling the guitar duties and holding back the Michael Schenker legend while Paul Raymond continues to be an integral part of the UFO sound on keybords, guitars and harmonies. Not a bad song on the album and well worth checking out.

#5

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): I received the promo for INTO THE LABYRINTH in December 2008 and I reviewed it mid-January…..I almost declared this the album of the year right there! Saxon has been one of the most consistent bands from the early days of the NWOBHM movement and, since 1997, have released some great albums that combine pure Power Metal with that classic NWOBHM style. Take the first two songs from the album, ‘Battalions Of Steel’ and ‘Live To Rock’: the first is Traditional/Power Metal and the latter is pure NWOBHM as if it was 1981. What Saxon is doing is what I keep emphasizing throughout this year’s countdown…..they are expanding/enhancing their trademark sound. You have to evolve and Saxon is showing a lot of the younger Metal bands out there just how to do it. Any other year and this would be my favorite album but there was stiff competition this year and a Top 5 showing is not bad at all.

#4

Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009): I had been reading all about Johnny Lima and this album for a couple of months before i actually broke down and ordered it from Johnny’s website. First, let me give Johnny a ton of credit for emailing me within 10 minutes of my order and personally thanking me and then sending the CD out same day including an autograph. Then he emails me a couple days later to make sure the album arrived! Keeping a connection with the fans is what it’s about and Johnny Lima gained an instant fan. And the music is good too! After spinning this once I knew this would be the best Glam/Hard Rock album of the year. If you like Poison, Def Leppard, early Bon Jovi, Dokken, Ratt, Cinderella and Motley Crue then you are definitely going to find a song on LIVIN’ OUT LOUD that could easily fit into any of the bands’ catalog. That’s not to say that the album is a carbon copy of what these big bands have done in the past rather it’s a statement that revisiting and reinterpreting the classic ’80s Hard Rock style is OK. That’s something that these bigger bands are afraid to do! Every song is catchy with a ton of hooks, big harmonies and great guitar…..this is the kind of record that is so infectious that you can’t help but sing along and have a great time. This was a major contender for the top spot for 2009.

#3

Sacred Oath – s/t (2009): Early in the year I started to read more and more about Sacred Oath and their forthcoming new album being an iTunes exclusive…..I don’t download, I buy CDs, so I didn’t pay much attention to the press releases. Then I read that the band was releasing the album on CD on their own label so I emailed the band for the release date. I received a promo copy in late May/early June and was completely blown away! Like I said in the review, if you took Metallica, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Judas Priest, Armored Saint, Diamond Head and Metal Church and rolled them all into one, you would get Sacred Oath. The band takes influences from all the great bands and blends them together for an American Metal feast that goes from Heavy Metal to Power Metal to Progressive Metal and then the NWOBHM. It’s a huge sound to live up to and the album does just that. Searing riffs, pounding rhythm section and soaring vocals added to great songwriting…..it’s a wonder why the band broke up 20 years ago, I’d bet they would have been huge. Well, they are huge this year because this was my #1 album hands down until the next two in the countdown showed up. This record is still in my weekly playlist, I don’t see it leaving anytime soon, and ‘High And Mighty’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#2

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): Ace Frehley has always been my favorite member of KISS and, with KISS being my favorite band, anything a current of former member of KISS does is a big deal. The last time Ace released a solo album was TROUBLE WALKIN’ in 1989…..20 years later ANOMALY has finally arrived! I have followed Ace’s career in and out of KISS since I was a little kid and he has talked about a new record since the early ’90s but nothing has ever come of it. Then there was the KISS reunion that lasted 6+ years and Ace started talking about a new solo record after he left the band in 2002 but nothing was released again. The only time I believed that Ace was releasing anything was when the album cover was released in June…..but would an actual record come out? September 15, 2009…..I was outside Best Buy before the store opened to get my hands on ANOMALY. One listen was all it took to hear that Ace Frehley had made a huge comeback with his solo career, ANOMALY is a well-written Hard Rock album and Ace sounds as focused as ever. Of all the albums he’s released as a solo artist or in Frehley’s Comet, ANOMALY ranks just below his KISS solo album. ‘Foxy & Free’, ‘Outer Space’, ‘Pain In The Neck’ and even the cover of Sweet’s ‘Fox On The Run’ are all solid Hard Rock songs that are catchy and full of that signature Ace guitar tone. The surprises here are the acoutically driven ballads like ‘Change The World’ & ‘A Little Below The Angels’ that show Ace’s diversity. This whole album is top notch from the music, to the album cover Ace designed to the special digipak packaging that tuens into a pyramid. I gave this album a ton of listening time and I still haven’t taken it out of my daily rotation! When I started to make this year end best of list I installed ANOMALY near the top because I enjoyed it so much. The bottom line on this list is that I enjoy the album and, between the excellent songs and my KISS worship, Ace Frehley has gained the #2 spot for 2009.

One album to go everyone! The #1 album is next but before I get to it let me say again how great this year was for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal…..my Best of 2009 list, along with the other websites’ lists, will attest to that. I’ve listened to more new releases this year than any other year that I can remember and this year’s list was a hard one to make, there were so many really good albums that got left out of the countdown so maybe next year I will expand again to a Top 50. Let’s move on though to my pick for the Top Album of 2009…..

#1

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009)

So what album did you all expect? Of course my top album for 2009 is the new KISS record! I’m a KISS diehard after all! Seriously though, of all the 2009 albums I listened to this year, SONIC BOOM was the one I wanted the most, listened to the most, and enjoyed the most. Any year that your favorite band releases a new album is a good year but I had no hopes that KISS would actually follow through with releasing an album of all new material. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have been saying that they weren’t interested in releasing a new album for the last 7 years and I had no reason to doubt their conviction. Who knows why they did now? Maybe Paul Stanley liked working on his solo album a couple years ago? Maybe the Wal-Mart deal was in place ahead of time? Maybe they were just bored? Who cares! The bottom line is that KISS has released an album that is their very best since REVENGE (1992) and it completely blows away the reunion album PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998). I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from SONIC BOOM because most KISS albums are half good songs and half filler. If the band was dead set against releasing a new record, why should they release a quality one? First thing the band did right was give Paul Stanley full control in the studio…..he’s the one that guided the band from 1983 to 1992 and his track record as a producer, performer and songwriter are proof enough. Ever notice that all the singles in the ’80s were Paul’s songs? After Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley is my favorite and I have always told people the he is the talent in KISS. The second thing the band did right was actually write. Paul & Gene actually wrote songs, and performed them, together for the first time in a long time in addition to what they brought in individually. The songs are high quality, catchy and there is an element of true ’70s KISS mixed with the KISS of today. Third thing the band did correctly was to involve Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the writing and in the singing to make it a true band effort. Nothing beats a band unit, compare SONIC BOOM and the sham that is PSYCHO CIRCUS and the winner is clear. I bought this album at my local Wal-Mart on October 6 (day of release) and I have played it everyday, many times more than once. I have been a diehard KISS fan since 1978, I’ve lived and died with this band and I am actually proud of them for releasing such a great record. I haven’t felt this good about KISS’ future since REVENGE and the 1996/1997 Reunion Tour…..SONIC BOOM is my favorite album of 2009!

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Please check out The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#11-#25) and The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#26-#40) for the rest of this year’s countdown.

Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009)

johnny lima - livin out loud (2009)

Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009, Shock Pop Records)

  1. All I Wanna Do
  2. Wildflower
  3. Hate To Love You
  4. I’m On Fire
  5. Somebody To Love
  6. Caught In The Middle
  7. Gimme Some Rock So I Can Roll
  8. Livin’ Out Loud
  9. Still Waiting For You
  10. Long Way Down
  11. Hard To Say Goodbye
  12. ‘Til Love Is Gone

Musicians:
Johnny Lima – Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Craig Takeshita – Lead Guitar
Bernie F. Diaz – Drums
Danny Danzi – Lead Guitar (2nd guitar solo on ‘Wildflower’ and solo on ‘Caught In The Middle’)
Christian Wolff – Lead Guitar on tracks 4, 5, 9, 11
Brandon Baumann – Backing Vocals on tracks 1, 2, 7

Producer: Johnny Lima

Country: USA

Total Time = 42:21

Johnny Lima
Johnny Lima MySpace page

As a fan of AOR and Melodic Hard Rock (MHR), Johnny Lima’s name has come up more than a few times. In the last 13 years, I’ve seen Johnny’s name mentioned not only as a solo artist since 1996 but as a producer for up and coming bands like Miss Crazy, Freakshow and Dirty Penny. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t really bother to check Johnny’s music out until now. I’m not sure why I haven’t come across one of his previous albums, I’ve read plenty of glowing reviews over the years saying how Lima’s music is full of classic ’80s Hard Rock influences and styles…..that’s the type of music I like! Imagine Def Leppard, Poison, and Bon Jovi in their ’80s heyday brought together, that’s the Johnny Lima sound. LIVIN’ OUT LOUD was released back in May but I didn’t pick it up until late July…..I have been enjoying it daily ever since!

Opening track ‘All I Wanna Do’ starts the album off sleazy and uptempo with KISS inspired lyrics and an early ’90s KISS sound, plenty of dirty guitar mixed with big harmonies and that ever present hook that sucks you into the song. That’s exactly how Johnny Lima gets you to keep listening, he sucks you in with a big ’80s party rock sound that is so catchy you can’t help but start to sing along. Second cut in is ‘Wildflower’ and this is one of the best songs Poison, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Slaughter, etc never recorded. The main riff is your basic ’80s Hard Rock riff that catches your attention and leads you into the infectious chorus full of harmonies that would make the Leps proud. ‘Wildflower’ is like a combination of commercial Motley Crue with a Slaughter chrous and Leppard harmonies…..it sounds like a carbon copy of what came decades before but the music sounds fun and current, one of my favorites on the album. ‘Hate To Love You’ gets a little heavier despite the obvious keyboards following the main guitar. It’s still a melodic song with the big chorus and solos while Johnny shows he could easily step in vocally for any number of famous ’80s rockers.

If the first three songs on LIVIN’ OUT LOUD didn’t hook you then one listen to ‘I’m On Fire’ should easily do the trick…..it’s probably the best Bon Jovi or Def Leppard song those bands never recorded!  It’s another uptempo song but I’d say it’s a shade slower than the rest because of the thick basic main riff but you add the thumping bassline and catchy melody and you’ve got another winner. Definitely Bon Jovi influenced all the way through, Johnny even sounding more like Jon Bon Jovi than he does himself, but the harmonies on the chorus are pure HYSTERIA and ADRENALIZE era Lep. ‘I’m On Fire’ is my favorite song on the album and would have easily been a huge hit back in the day. Lima slows things down with the mid-tempo ‘Somebody To Love’ that recalls all the Pop Rock majesty of Def Lep at their love song multi-platinum success and then brings the harder Rock back with ‘Caught In The Middle’. I have to put ‘Caught In The Middle’ in with the rest of the uptempo rockers as far as influence but adding in some vintage non-makeup KISS for good measure.

Every album like this needs an anthem and Johnny Lima gives us just that with ‘Give Me Some Rock So I Can Roll’. The song pays tribute to the bands and music that made hard Rock what it is, name checking Motley Crue and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, while critcizing the current trends of manufactured pop successes and the poor state of the industry. It’s another fast paced rocker that is pretty basic when you sit down and listen to it closely but it’s comes out so good because it’s so infectious with it’s hooks and anthemic chorus…..another album favorite. The title cut is a little slower, a little dirtier, a little heavier and Johnny does another Jon Bon Jovi/Vince Neil combo on the vocal with more Leppard harmonies. I like this song because it breaks away from the party rock somewhat and gets a little more gritty with a really heavy main guitar. The pace slows down to mid-tempo with ‘Still Waiting For You’ but the song still has a heaviness mixed with it’s melodic style…..this could easily have fit onto any of Bon Jovi’s albums since 2000 and been a HUGE hit. Seriously, put this out with the Bon Jovi name on it and the album goes platinum! It just proves that the industry has no clue because Johnny Lima outdoes Johnny Bon Jovi easily, JBJ should take notes!

‘Long Way Down’ moves back to the melodic Hard Rock that flows through this album and sounds just as good as the other songs even though it’s a little repetitive at the chorus. Remember Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway’? Tell me ‘Hard To Say Goodbye’ isn’t it’s long lost brother! The song isn’t a pure copy but you can definitely hear the influence with that catchy keyboard line and Johnny Lima’s similar vocal sound. What sets this apart is the chorus, it’s not completely over the top with the harmonies like other songs, it’s just melodic and easy to sing along to. Another huge hit if the industry didn’t have it’s head up it’s ass! Closing out the album is the slower, mid-tempo pace of ‘Til Love Is Gone’ and it’s another song that follows the ballad boundary close but still has that heaviness and slightly quicker pace to keep it from pure ballad.

Just a quick note here…..I’ve been listening to the album as I’m writing this and I’m picking up the influences from some of the big names in Hard Rock (Def Lep, Bon Jovi, Crue, etc.) and I’ve been hearing Johnny’s similar vocal style to some of these iconic frontmen and it just dawned on me that there is a huge similarity between Tony Harnell (T.N.T./Westworld) and Lima. I’m listening to ‘Til Love Is Gone’ and I’m trying to place the sound because it sounds so familiar and that first Westworld album immeadiately came to mind.

Bottom Line:
Hands down this is one of the best albums of the year! I’ve had this album since July and there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t played it! LIVIN’ OUT LOUD has that big ’80s Hard Rock sound that I grew up with and it sounds completely fresh in 2009. You’ve got all these big name bands, these big ’80s/’90s successes, that are afraid to revisit their old sound, their classic sound, and then you get a talented independent musician like Johnny Lima and he blows them out of the water. Seriously, bands like Poison, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard should be taking notes and fans of these bands should be picking this album up. The songs are all about having fun, rocking out, falling in and out of love and they are all catchy so you immeadiately start singing along, playing your air guitar and rocking out! Now I have to go and buy up all of Johnny’s previous albums at his website because if they are as good as this record is then the money is well spent. Don’t be surprised if you find this at the top of my Best of list for 2009.

Favorite Songs:
I like every single song, not a weak track on the record. If I had to pick a couple of ultimate favorites…..’I’m On Fire’ and ‘Wildflower’.

Current Playlist

I may have let the blog go downhill a little but I have definitely been listening to a lot of music…..a lot of new releases that I’ve picked up recently. This has been another great year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal! Here’s a sample of what I’ve been spinning…..

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): Of course I’m listening to the new KISS record! Nothing is better than your favorite band releasing a new album and this is 11 years in the making. I have to admit that I didn’t really get into SONIC BOOM after the first couple of spins but I’ve given it a lot of time and I’m starting to really enjoy it.

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): Of course I’m listening to the new Ace album! So far I like it a lot better then KISS’ SONIC BOOM, he beat them to the punch by releasing his new album first. Ace always had the talent, he just lacked the focus, ANOMALY proves that.

Queensryche – American Soldier (2009): I have this annoying habit of picking up albums when they are released and not listening to them, this is the case of the new Queensryche record. I’ve had it, it’s been sitting on my desk, it’s was still wrapped in the cellophane. I ended up putting it in and was impressed with the overall concept and performance. I wasn’t digging the idea of another Queensryche concept album but I’m really enjoying it.

Immortal – All Shall Fall (2009): I wanted to start getting into more extreme styles of Metal so I started picking up different Death & Black Metal bands up over the last few weeks. I’ve given this only a couple of spins and I’m not really sure what to make of it. Black Metal isn’t my first genre of choice but I’m keeping my mind, and ears, open.

Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009): I’ve been listening to this a lot over the last few weeks. It’s really good melodic hard Rock that leans toward Def Leppard, Poison, Dokken and Bon Jovi…..one of my favorite albums this year.

Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland (2009): The Queen Of Metal’s big comeback! I’ve given it two spins and I’m not overly impressed. Could be a grower so I’ll give it some more time.

Spinal Tap – Back From The Dead (2009): Love the movie, love the soundtrack, love BREAK LIKE THE WIND (1992). I’m not sure if Tap’s brand of comic Metal is what we need in 2009 but it’s a cool break from the ultra-serious way the scene usually is. I could have gone for a straight up new record but I’ll take the re-done classics as a bonus.

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009): I still can’t get enough of this album, one of my favorites of the year. I still wish there were more faster songs though.

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): One of my top albums since it came out back in January. Saxon is one of those bands that I can never get enough of and INTO THE LABYRINTH satisfies both the old school NWOBHM fan in me as well as the Power Metal fan in me. This will definitely be in the running for this year’s best.

Ted Poley – Greatestits (2009): Search for the cover and you’ll understand the spelling! 2 CDs, 23 songs, all spanning Ted Poley’s career after Danger Danger. There are some excellent songs here and now I’m making a list of all the Poley projects I don’t have and need to buy.

CD Scavenger Hunt – 8/31/09

Another update on what I’ve been able to pick up on Ebay and the record store in the last month or so. I really haven’t bought that much lately but I have a MAJOR want list going so I can concentrate on picking up certain releases.

Sea Hags debut album (1989)Sea Hags – s/t (1989) – $13: Another one of those albums I thought I had on CD but really had on cassette. I’ve kept an eye on Ebay for this one because I wanted the original pressing from 1989 and not the new reissue from Rock Candy Records (although I hear it’s a great reissue, Rock Candy puts out great product). I got lucky on this auction because there were three other Sea Hags auction ending around the same time and the supply outweighed the demand.

wild-boyz-unleashedWild Boyz – Unleashed! (1991) – $32: I finally got my hands on this rare Hard Rock indie after years of watching it on Ebay. UNLEASHED! used to go for hundreds of dollars in the late ’90s/early 2000s but the price has come down considerably over the last few years. Usually the CD runs between $50 – $75 at auction so I was psyched to get this at $29 with $3 shipping. This also replaces the cassette copy I bought a couple years ago for $4 at a local record store.

johnny lima - livin out loud (2009)Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009) – $13: I have read a ton of good reviews on this album so I decided to get off my ass and pick it up! A lot of the online shops I usually order from were carrying this between $15 – $17 plus shipping so I Googled and found it a CD Baby.com for $12.99 plus shipping. That still wasn’t good enough so I went to Johnny Lima’s website and ordered it for $9.99 + $3 shipping AND he personally autographed the insert for me! Now that’s a cool thing! I’ve played this non-stop since I got it in the mail…..within 2 days of ordering, great service! I’ll be buying up the rest of Johnny’s CDs thru his website soon.

Anvil - Hard 'N' Heavy (1981)Anvil – Hard ‘N’ Heavy (1981) – $13: I walked into my favorite local record store a couple weeks ago with my Anvil tour shirt on and one of the guys behind the register asked me if I had heard this album. I told him I had it on cassette from back in the day (I’m old!) but I would take that brand new CD copy he had in front of him! Not a bad price for the CD, especially when it’s a Canadian import and the online stores are charging close to $20!

forged2_bigAnvil – Forged In Fire (1983) – $13: Seeing that I was buying HARD ‘N’ HEAVY I figured I might as well replace the cassette copy of FORGED IN FIRE as well! Again, $13 in the local store but close to $20 online for this Canadian import. Who knew that a Canadian import would be as expensive as a European? Just goes to show you that the Anvil resurgence is loud and proud! I would have grabbed METAL ON METAL (1982) too but that one had been bought earlier that morning.

behemoth-evangelionBehemoth – Evangelion (2009) – $9.99: When I picked up the two Anvil CDs, the real reason i was in the record store was to pick up the new Behemoth album. I didn’t want to miss out on the sale price for the limited edition that included a bonus DVD. Now I’m not the biggest Behemoth fan but one thing I promised myself was that I was going to check out more extreme genres of Metal, specifically Black Metal. I caught the video for ‘Ov Fire And the Void’ online and I thought the music was cool so I decided to pick this up.

gwar-lust_coverGwar – Lust In Space (2009) – $9.99: nothing beats a new Gwar record, especially when you get it the day it comes out for a sale price! Gwar have been one of those cult bands I’ve followed since high school. Back around 1988-1990 when I was a junior & senior, Gwar had released their first two records and were on MTV, we all dug the image and the tunes. LUST IN SPACE is my first new Gwar album since 1999′s WE KILL EVERYTHING, I’ve missed a few in between that I’m going to have to pick up soon.

Ravage - The End Of Tomorrow (2009)Ravage – The End Of Tomorrow (2009) – $9.99: You gotta love the $9.99 sale prices on the new Metal Blade releases! Ravage are from the Boston area so they are a local band for me. The band has been around since the late ’90s releasing demos and E.P.s most of the time, although they have 5 self-released live albums! This is their second proper full-length album, the first one being SPECTRAL RIDER (2005). Check them out!

Swedish Death Metal bookSwedish Death Metal (by Daniel Ekeroth) (2009) – $35: I have been eye-balling this book for a couple months now but the price tag has always discouraged the purchase. My birthday was 8/16 and I received a nice $40 gift card to the local record store so I made it a point to get over there and buy the book. Guess what happened? The copy I had been watching for months had sold! I ended up having the store order one and I had to wait another week. I’ve been reading this for the last week and it’s going to take me a while because Death Metal isn’t my usual thing and I am constantly stopping mid-page, running to the computer and Googling the bands so I can get some music samples…..the Want List is growing!