Weekend Playlist – 10/11 & 10/12

It’s been awhile since I had a long weekend off so I decided to do my best and relax, listen to some music and get back on track with the website. The good news is that the laptop is fixed, all it needed was a little compressed air into the fans and it works! So here’s what I’ve listened to this weekend and what I have on tap for late night tonight…….

Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008): Alice is one of my favorite artists but I really haven’t given this album much play since it’s release. I’m really not sure why because he has had an excellent track record with his last 4 records. I’ve been spinning this more than any album lately and I’m really starting to get into it. Alice is just creepy and this serial killer concept is great.

J.C. Cinel – Before My Eyes (2008): Very cool acoustic melodic rock from singer/songwriter J.C. Cinel. This is kind of light because it’s all acoustic and it has a lot of Country influences in it. It kind of has a Jon Bon Jovi/bret Michaels solo vibe to it but a lot better. I’m a sucker for good acoustic guitar and there’s plenty of it here!

Uriah Heep – Wake The Sleeper (2008): I picked this up a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t tear the wrapping until today. Heep is one of those legendary bands that I always try to get into but I never buy their albums because I find something else. I read some reviews online and grabbed it. Too early to make a judgement after one spin.

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008): I bought this the day it come out, listened to it a half dozen times and moved on. I really want to like this album but I haven’t been able to get into it.

Judas Priest – Jugulator (1997): I thought that this was a great album when it first came out. It’s very heavy and Tim Owens does a great job singing, even if the Halford comparisons are there. With all the news on Owens leaving Iced Earth and joining Yngwie Malmsteen for a new record, I decided to go back 11 years and hear how everything started. Some solid tunes here: ‘Burn In Hell’, ‘Jugulator’, ‘Cathedral Spires’…..the whole album is top notch, I just think people couldn’t get by the Owens vs. Halford debate.

‘Burn In Hell’

Two – Voyeurs (1998): Rob Halford + Trent Reznor + John 5 (John Lowery) = one big mess! I bought this in the hopes that Halford would answer Priest’s JUGULATOR but this ended up being one of the worst albums I’ve ever bought! I give Halford credit for trying something new but Industrial Metal isn’t his thing, he was trying to emulate Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails and failed miserably.

Round 1 to Judas Priest!

Halford – Resurrection (2000): A huge comeback! The Two project sucked and I think Rob Halford knew it so he went back to his Metal roots and made sure everyone knew it. The title track signals the return but ‘Silent Screams’ is a gem. I also really dig the duet with Bruce Dickinson on ‘The One You Love To Hate’.

Judas Priest – Demolition (2001): Priest was in the middle of making this album when Halford dropped his RESURRECTION bombshell, after hearing that comeback I just knew that Priest would have a tough time competing. Some good tracks here, ‘Feed On Me’ is the best, but the album feels disjointed. This doesn’t even compare to JUGULATOR so forget the comparison to RESURRECTION. When I went to get this album out I noticed that I have four copies: the promo advance, the regular U.S. CD, the Japanese pressing (1 bonus track) and the Australian Tour Edition (3 bonus tracks, one being the bonus from the Japanese release).

Round 2 to Halford!

Rose Tattoo – Blood Brothers (Special Tour Edition w/DVD) (2008): I only gave this one spin but it was good to hear Angry Anderson and the boys again. This one is on my list for late night listening.

Girlschool – Legacy (2008): This album is out out in a couple of weeks, in a month for the U.S. I always liked Girlschool, they came in with the NWOBHM and I always seem to acquire their albums. This is the album I’m holding for later tonight after the NFL game…..I’m betting it’s good.

Kerrang! – Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden (2008)

Kerrang! – Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden

  1. Prowler (Black Tide)
  2. Remember Tomorrow (Metallica)
  3. Flash Of The Blade (Avenged Sevenfold)
  4. 2 Minutes To Midnight (Glamour Of The Kill)
  5. The Trooper (Coheed And Cambria)
  6. Waysted Years (Devildriver)
  7. Run To The Hills (Sign)
  8. To Tame A Land (Dream Theater)
  9. Caught Somewhere In Time (Madina Lake)
  10. Wrathchild (Gallows)
  11. Fear Of The Dark (Fightstar)
  12. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Machine Head)
  13. Iron Maiden (Trivium)
  14. Running Free (Year Long Disaster)
  15. Brave New World (Ghostlines)

Total Time = 1:14:02

Kerrang!
Iron Maiden

I have explained my disdain for cover songs many times in the almost three years I have had this website but I’ll do it again so all the new readers understand my position. It’s not that I don’t want to hear a band’s interpretation of a classic song, I just don’t think that a cover song should be included on a proper album in place of original material. It could be the greatest rendition of the greatest song ever but, if it takes the place of an original song on a studio album, it bothers me. Now that this is clear, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for tribute albums and I own a lot of them! Makes no sense does it? I agree.

MAIDEN HEAVEN was released as a bonus CD to the July 16, 2008 issue (#1219) of Kerrang!, the legendary Rock magazine from the U.K. Now I haven’t read an issue of Kerrang! in years, and the price for an imported copy is around $10 here in the U.S., but for some reason this tribute album intrigued me. I wasn’t sure I would be able to score a copy at my local Barnes & Noble bookstore (the only one that stocks the weekly Rock mag) so I went online and ordered it from the Kerrang! webstore. Exactly a month later, it arrived! I thumbed through the magazine and realized why I stopped reading it years ago but the CD is pretty good.

Starting things off are newcomers Black Tide with their version of ‘Prowler’ that is spot on to the original and legends Metallica who also stay true to the original on ‘Remember Tomorrow’. It’s always good to hear the Paul Di’Anno era of the band, an era that sometimes gets overlooked. Both bands start the album on major high notes with solid performances. Fast forward to the POWERSLAVE era for the next two tracks, Avenged Sevenfold (who I can’t stand BTW) do a decent job with my personal favorite from that Maiden record ‘Flash Of The Blade’ while Glamour Of The Kill perform ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’. The vocals just kill this classic song, there is no aggression to the singing and the singer whines through the chorus. Musically, it’s good but the singing ruins it for me. I have the same problem listening to Coheed And Cambria’s version of ‘The Trooper’, the vocals kill it. Much like Glamour Of The Kill’s Davey Death, I can’t get by the whiney style that Claudio Sanchez brings to the table on this song. I’ll be honest, having never heard Coheed And Cambria before this song, I thought it was a woman singing! The backing tracks are dead to rights so I am impressed by the band getting the music down.

Devildriver is the band that features former Coal Chamber frontman Dez Fafara and they take on ‘Wasted Years’. While I’m not a fan of Devildriver and the screaming vocals, I’ll give the band credit for mimicking the guitar parts very well. ‘Run To The Hills’ is absolutely butchered by Iceland’s Sign with a danceable version of this galloping classic. At least it sounds like you could dance to it, the arrangement is awful and I have a hard time getting through it a second time for this review. By this time, I’m ready for something good. After 5 newer bands, Progressive Metal legends Dream Theater make things better with ‘To Tame A Land’, a song not often heard but definitely a welcome surprise! My favorite album from Maiden is PIECE OF MIND so right away I’m psyched and I know that Dream Theater can put together a seriously good version of the song because they have done full Maiden albums live in concert.

Like Avenged Sevenfold, Devildriver, and Fightstar, Madina Lake is one of those newer bands that Kerrang! drools over. Maybe it’s just me but this down-tuned, programmed, hardcore and Nine Inch Nails cloning is not my cup of tea and ‘Caught Somewhere In Time’ suffers for it. Same goes for Gallows and there rendition of ‘Wrathchild’, I’m not digging the Punk/Hardcore/Garage performance but I give the band credit for taking a Di’Anno song (from KILLERS). Even though Fightstar is another of these hybrid Hardcore bands I kind of like their version of ‘Fear Of The Dark’. I’m a little surprised by this because ‘Fear Of The Dark’ is in my Top 3 Iron Maiden songs of all-time and I was prepared to hate it but it’s turned out to be the surprise of the album for me. It’s kept to the original as much as possible but there are some guitar flourishes that stray a little. ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ from Machine Head is pretty good also and stays true to the original. 

I never get tired of the Di’Anno era of Iron Maiden, both IRON MAIDEN and KILLERS are superb records and they get overlooked all too often. Trivium is a band I haven’t gotten into yet but the buzz from their last album, 2006’s THE CRUSADE, has them poised for greatness. That remains to be seen and heard but the band does handle Iron Maiden’s signature song very well. It’s mostly spot on musically with aggressive growling and clean vocals and a few added guitar enhancements added in. It seems that Iron Maiden’s debut has stood the test of time because Los Angeles hard rockers Year Long Disaster do a great job with the punk filled ‘Running Free’. ‘Running Free’ is the song I hear in my head when I think of Paul Di’Anno and the band stays true to the original, I’m not sure you could stray from it anyway because it’s such a straight forward Rock song. If you want something totally different then Ghostlines’ version of ‘Brave New World’ will do the trick. Ghostlines describes their sound as acoustic/electronica/alternative and that’s what their interpretation of ‘Brave New World’ is. I didn’t like it on first listen because it’s so different but, after giving it a few spins, it’s grown on me.

Bottom Line:
Overall…..MAIDEN HEAVEN is a decent tribute album, especially when it’s free from a magazine! There are enough classic Iron Maiden tracks representing all eras and most are done very well from older and newer bands alike. I would have preferred a few more deep tracks to some of the more obvious classics but that’s not too big of a deal. I also would have preferred a couple more older bands like Metallica, Dream Theater, and Machine Head but I understand that the trendy new blood is what Kerrang! focuses on these days. I already like Black Tide but the performances by Trivium and Fightstar were good enough for me to get a little interested about their original music.

Favorite Songs:
For my money, the best tracks are the ones that stay true to the original versions like the Black Tide, Dream Theater & Metallica songs but a couple of different interpretations did impress, like ‘Brave New World’ from Year Long Disaster. I also really enjoyed Fightstar’s ‘Fear Of The Dark’ and Trivium’s ‘Iron Maiden’.

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.

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…..

Metallica joined by King Diamond on stage at Ozzfest 2008, setlist and video footage of new song ‘Cyanide’ also posted

Metallica played Ozzfest 2008 this past Saturday and were joined by the legendary King Diamond for an encore of the Mercyful Fate classic ‘Mercyful Fate’.

Why can’t this happen more often? Metallica should bring a band like King Diamond or Mercyful Fate out on the road with them. It’s nice to see the band stay with a classic set as well, here’s their setlist:

‘Creeping Death’, ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Ride The Lightning’, ‘Harvester Of Sorrow’, ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’, ‘Cyanide’ (a new song), ‘…And Justice For All’, ‘No Remorse’, ‘Fade To Black’, ‘Master Of Puppets’, ‘Damage Inc.’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Sad But True’, ‘One’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Mercyful Fate’ (with King Diamond), ‘Seek And Destroy’

Here’s the live performance of their new song ‘Cyanide’:

Metallica confirm the release date and tracklisting for Death Magnetic (2008)

From Bravewords:

METALLICA have officially confirmed the tracklisting for Death Magnetic, which will be released on September 12th in the U.S., September 10 in Japan. It is as follows: ‘That Was Just Your Life’, ‘The End Of The Line’, ‘Broken, Beat & Scarred’, ‘The Day That Never Comes’, ‘All Nightmare Long’, ‘Cyanide’, ‘The Unforgiven III’, ‘The Judas Kiss’, ‘Suicide & Redemption’, ‘My Apocalypse’

Press Release: Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008) artwork, packages, wallpapers, samples revealed

From Bravewords & Metallica.com:

Metallica have revealed the artwork for their forthcoming new studio release, DEATH MAGNETIC. Head to here for wallpapers, PDF download, and buddy icons.

As previously reported, the following Death Magnetic packages (due in September) will be available in North America:

Digital Death Magnetic:

Digital Death Magnetic first – at 320 KBIT/S delivered at midnight on street date
Downloads of two entire shows from this summer
Almost 2 hrs of additional exclusive fly on the wall footage
250 additional exclusive photos
Ringtones of riffs from the new album
Exclusive Contests: Airfare, hotel, tickets and meet + greet passes for Ozzfest, Reading UK and special listening party for the new album at Band HQ!
$10 off merch or Fan Club membership at Metallica.com or MetClub.com

Death Magnetic CD + Digital Death Magnetic:

The Death Magnetic CD with free shipping
Digital Death Magnetic first – at 320 KBIT/S delivered at midnight on street date
Downloads of two entire shows from this summer
Almost 2 hrs of additional exclusive fly on the wall footage
250 additional exclusive photos
Ringtones of riffs from the new album
Exclusive Contests: Airfare, hotel, tickets and meet + greet passes for Ozzfest, Reading UK and special listening party for the new album at Band HQ!
$10 off merch or Fan Club membership at Metallica.com or MetClub.com

5LP + Lithograph + Death Magnetic CD + Digital Death Magnetic

5 LP 180 gram box with 5 individual sleeves
Mission: Metallica Lithograph
The Death Magnetic CD
FREE shipping on all!!
The Death Magnetic CD with free shipping
Digital Death Magnetic first – at 320 KBIT/S delivered at midnight on street date
Downloads of two entire shows from this summer
Almost 2 hrs of additional exclusive fly on the wall footage
250 additional exclusive photos
Ringtones of riffs from the new album
Exclusive Contests: Airfare, hotel, tickets and meet + greet passes for Ozzfest, Reading UK and special listening party for the new album at Band HQ!
$10 off merch or Fan Club membership at Metallica.com or MetClub.com

More details can be found here.

Death Magnetic is “a stunning, overdue return to the shock and rush of the band’s speed-metal monuments, 1984’s Ride The Lightning and 1986’s Master Of Puppets,” according to Rolling Stone.

According to BW&BK sources, the album will be preceded by an eight-minute single which is being described as “a tour de force that features some of their fastest playing ever.” The record is being produced by Rick Rubin (SLAYER, RED HOT CHILI PEPERS) and mixed by Greg Fidelman.

Listen to Death Magnetic samples below:

Teach’em All – A High School Tribute To Metallica (2008)

Teach’em All – A High School Tribute To Metallica (2008, independent release)

  1. Master Of Puppets
  2. Seek And Destroy
  3. Sad But True
  4. The Thing That Should Not Be
  5. Enter Sandman
  6. For Whom The Bell Tolls
  7. I Disappear
  8. Am I Evil?
  9. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
  10. Eye Of The Beholder
  11. Creeping Death

 

The Singers:
(L-R Top) – Cassandra Markey, Nicholas Maurais, Dakoda Drouin, Jessica Scalabrini
(L-R Bottom) – Cassandra Goudreau, Maxime Riendeau, Bianka Fontaine, Jimmy Roy-Rodrigue, Nadia Goudreau

The Band:
David Bérubé – Bass (except #5), additional vocals
Ghislain Fecteau – Drums (except #5 & #6), additional vocals
Pascal Madore – Guitars

Special Guest Musicians:
Angelo Coppola – Drums (on #5 & #6)
John JD DeServio – Bass (on #5)

Producer: Patrice Beaudette (and additional vocals)

Total Time = 1:16:29

High School Tributes
High School Tributes MySpace page

Teacher/Producer Patrice Beaudette and his group of talented young men and women have come back again with another tribute album: TEACH’EM ALL – A HIGH SCHOOL TRIBUTE TO METALLICA. The concept is simple and unique: take talented high school students, put them in the studio, and have them play and sing cover versions of a particular band’s songs. It worked well for both KISS tributes (Christine Sixteen and Christine Sixteen 2) and now the kids have taken some of the recorded works of Metallica and put them to CD.

Now I know some of you are going to point out that my biggest pet peeve is cover songs and/or cover records. So why have I been a big supporter of the High School Tribute projects? Simple. For once, actually three times now, there is a unique approach to doing a tribute record. Who would have thought to take high school students and put them in the studio? A project of this kind shows a committment of a teacher to his students and the students to their teacher. With all the news about music programs being cut here in U.S. schools, it’s pretty cool to hear the result of hard work and dedication from these Canadian students.

Let’s take the concept aside and look at the music…..

First, I like the tracklisting. The first five Metallica albums are represented, nothing from LOAD, RELOAD, or St. ANGER, the only post-black album track being ‘I Disappear’ from the movie “Mission Impossible 2″. Nice to see the inclusion of ‘Am I Evil?’. I’m a big Diamond Head fan and it’s always good to hear that song…..it’s a cover of a cover! The musicianship on all of these songs is top notch, the band is tight and absolutely nail every song note for note. Listening to the opening ‘Master Of Puppets’, I found myself wondering who was playing: the kids or Metallica? It was the same way on the two KISS tributes, the band is tight and dead on to the originals. The vocals are solid, each vocalist bringing their own intepretation to the song while staying true to the original form. These young men and women are not professional Metal singers, they are students who are learning, and they are doing a fine job. As are all the students involved in the project…..they may not be be professionals (yet) but they are learning the craft and putting in a superb effort!

Bottom Line:
I rarely listen to Metallica anymore. They get tons of radio airplay in my area and it is very common to hear any/all of these songs at least once or twice every few days. Then a project like this comes along and provides a fresh outlook on the music and making me take a good listen once again.

In the grand tradition started by the Christine Sixteen Tributes to KISS, TEACH’EM ALL has once again exceeded expectations. I admit to preferring bands doing original material but I do enjoy a good tribute album, especially one that is done as well as these young people have done. Each and every individual involved has put every ounce of energy and talent into making a superb album. It makes me wonder just how many of these young adults will be the part of the next wave of musicians. If you are a fan of Metallica, or you have heard the previous two tribute records, then this is a must have. If you are a supporter of music programs in schools across the world, then it is essential that you check this CD out. The next great talents have assembled, hear what they can do. Favorite songs here: ‘Am I Evil?’, ‘Master Of Puppets’, ‘The Thing That Should Not Be’. Actually, I like all the songs, they are performed at the highest level with great enthusiasm.

Special thanks again to my friend Patrice Beaudette for including me in the liner notes and also posting a banner and link for Heavy Metal Addiction. When a project this special comes around, it is an honor to help spread the word. My congratulations to all the kids involved, another great project! I can’t wait for the next one…..

Only 600 copies were pressed, so this is a limited edition release. You can order a copy directly from High School Tributes.

Teach’em All – A High School Tribute To Metallica now available for purchase

I’ve been a big fan of the High School Tributes series and my friends in Canada have created another cool album. If you thought the last two Christine Sixteen KISS tributes were good (and they were!), then this Metallica tribute will be awesome!

High School Tributes has pressed only 600 copies of the new CD so I would get it quick before it sells out. Trust me, it will sell fast! Click here for the order page.