Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Metal’

Adrenaline Mob - Coverta (2013)

Adrenaline Mob – Coverta (2013, EMI/Elm City Music)

  1. High Wire (Badlands cover)
  2. Stand Up And Shout (Dio cover)
  3. Break On Through (The Doors cover)
  4. Romeo Delight (Van Halen cover)
  5. Barracuda (Heart cover)
  6. Kill The King (Rainbow cover)
  7. The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
  8. The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath cover

Adrenaline Mob 2013

Band Lineup:
Russell Allen – Vocals
John Moyer – Bass
Mike Orlando – Guitars & Bass on ‘The Mob Rules’
Mike Portnoy – Drums

Produced by: Russell Allen, Mike Orlando & Mike Portnoy

Country: USA

Total Time = 34:30

Adrenaline Mob
Adrenaline Mob Facebook

Buy Coverta on Amazon
Buy Coverta on iTunes

Here’s another easy album review to do because it’s another covers album! Just like Anthrax, Adrenaline Mob has released an E.P. of cover songs as well titled Coverta. Just like Anthrax, Adrenaline Mob released and awesome album with 2012′s Omertà and then they quickly released this covers collection. Adrenaline Mob is a solid band, a supergroup if you will, that includes Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) and Russell Allen (Symphony X). Right there, you know you’re going to get quality music because the reputations of these two men in the Metal world is legendary. Omertà was one of the best albums of 2012 so it stands to reason that Coverta should really good despite it not being original material. Now if you’ve read the website for any length of time, you know my feelings about cover songs. For those who don’t know, I’m not a fan of covers on a proper album (even if they are good) because I would like more original material. However, I do like covers albums and/or tribute albums because the cover songs are made for the context of that specific kind of record…..let’s see what Adrenaline Mob has in store for us.

What I like about Omertà is that the song selection is pretty good, with a couple of curveballs thrown in, and the performances are pretty straight up renditions of the proper songs but heavier in some cases. Let’s get a couple of the “safer” songs put of the way, the Classic Rock radio staples, because I’m just tired of hearing them. At any point of the day, in some city in the U.S., there’s a radio station playing The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’, Heart’s ‘Barracuda’ and Zeppelin’s ‘The Lemon Song’ (this one is a deeper cut but it’s played all the time here in Rhode Island)…..the inclusion of these songs bore me already. The band does a solid job covering these three classics with the standout track being ‘Barracuda’, a Metalized version if I ever heard one! If local radio would substitute the Adrenaline Mob version instead of the classic Heart original then I wouldn’t mind the song as much. Good song Wilson sisters, just overplayed.

Obviously the guys in Adrenaline Mob love them some Ronnie James Dio because they covered three songs by the master, one from each major band: Dio, Rainbow & Black Sabbath. Can you really go wrong with any era of Ronnie’s career? Picking ‘Stand Up And Shout’ was a good crowd pumping choice with it’s uptempo Metal style, same with ‘Kill The King’, one of the fastest Dio era Rainbow songs. My favorite is Sabbath’s ‘The Mob Rules’ because I’m a huge post-Ozzy Sabbath freak, the Ronnie led lineup being my favorite, and I really love that album. All the performances of the Dio tracks are dead on and heavy but listen to Allen’s voice on these songs, there are certain lines he sings that you swear it’s actually Ronnie singing…..Russell Allen has that tone, that sound, that mystique during those songs and he sounds very similar at times. Including Badlands’ ‘High Wire’ from their 1989 debut was an awesome choice! Seriously, who remembers Badlands? I do……Jake E. Lee on guitar, Eric Singer on drums, Greg Chiasson on bass and the late Ray Gillen on vocals…..another “supergroup” of sorts. That debut self-titled album is one of my favorites of the late ’80s and Adrenaline Mob could have picked any song off it to cover on Coverta. I like how they stayed away from the proper single ‘Dreams In The Dark’ and just went with ‘High Wire’ (the album opener). Same thing with ‘Romeo Delight’, good on the band for picking an early Roth era track from Van Halen’s 1980 seminal classic Women And Children First. ‘Romeo Delight’ is a tune I NEVER hear on my local rock stations and it’s such a great song, Adrenaline Mob do another solid job remaking a classic.

Bottom Line:
Just like Anthrax’s Anthems, Adrenaline Mob’s Coverta is a solid E.P. of cover songs. And like Anthems, the problem will be that I won’t reach for it that often, I’d prefer to listen to the studio album Omertà instead. That’s not to say that people shouldn’t check Coverta out, there’s some great songs on here and the performances are top notch. I recommend buying Omertà
for the true Adrenaline Mob experience and use Coverta as a nice compliment.

Anthrax - Anthems E.P. (2013)

Anthrax – Anthems (2013, Megaforce Records)

  1. Anthem (Rush cover)
  2. T.N.T. (AC/DC cover)
  3. Smokin’ (Boston cover)
  4. Keep On Runnin’ (Journey cover)
  5. Big Eyes (Cheap Trick cover)
  6. Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover)
  7. Crawl
  8. Crawl (remix)

Band Lineup:
Scott Ian – Guitars
Charlie Benante – Drums & Guitars
Joey Belladonna – Vocals
Frank Bello – Bass
Rob Caggiano – Lead Guitar

Produced by: Anthrax & Jay Ruston

Country: USA

Total Time = 33:45

Anthrax
Anthrax Facebook
Megaforce Records

Buy on Amazon.com
Buy on iTunes

This is going to be an easy review to do because Anthems is your typical covers record, the only caveat is that it’s an Anthrax covers album and Anthrax always does great covers. Now if you’ve read the website for any length of time, you know my feelings about cover songs. For those who don’t know, I’m not a fan of covers on a proper album (even if they are good) because I would like more original material. However, I do like covers albums and/or tribute albums because the cover songs are made for the context of that specific kind of album. Confusing? I know, I’m contradicting myself a little bit but it’s just how I feel. Now Anthrax has a long history in adding covers into their proper records (‘I’m Eighteen’, ‘Antisocial’, ‘Got The Time’) and they always add a cover here and there for E.P.s, greatest hits packages and singles. The thing about Anthrax covers is that they are always really good, especially their KISS covers! So it really is no surprise to get an Anthrax covers album in 2013.

Anthems is a pretty solid album, more an E.P. actually, with solid remakes of Rush, AC/DC, Boston, Journey, Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy songs along with ‘Crawl’ from 2011′s awesome Worship Music reunion album and a remixed version of ‘Crawl’. All the cover songs are really solid performances that stay true to the original versions but, for me, played a little safe as far as the song selections. I have no problem with the performances at all but half of the covers are really safe choices: ‘T.N.T.’, ‘Smokin’ and ‘Jailbreak’ are virtual Classic Rock radio staples that you can hear almost on the hour, so why do I want to hear them again? Granted, solid performances but maybe we could go a little deeper into those bands’ catalogues? I get the point that if you don’t put some recognizable songs on the CD then people outside the diehards might not pick the album up so I can’t fault them too much. My favorite covers here are Rush’s ‘Anthem’, Journey’s ‘Keep On Runnin’ and Cheap Trick’s ‘Big Eyes’. When do you hear these songs on the radio? Never…..good on Anthrax from pulling out some deeper cuts.

As far as the inclusion of ‘Crawl’ twice…..well, I get that you want to put some additional promotion behind Worship Music seeing that it came out in Fall 2011, no problem there. I also don’t care about an alternate remix of the song, something different. ‘Crawl’ is a solid song from an awesome album so add it in and give fans that didn’t buy Worship Music a taste.

Bottom Line:
Anthems is a good album for what it is…..a covers album and, like I said, Anthrax does great covers so I knew this was going to be a solid release. The only problem for me is that I won’t reach for it that often, I’d prefer to listen to a studio album instead. That shouldn’t deter Anthrax and Heavy Metal fans from buying Anthems, it’s a nice diversion, it’s something different and done well. If you’re going to buy this album, definitely pick up the last studio album, Worship Music, too so you can get a true idea of where Anthrax is musically after almost 30 years.

February may have been slow but I certainly made up for it in March with some great new releases, some used bargains and more than a few deals on Ebay and Amazon. Get ready, this is a long update!

Newbury Comics

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Krokus – Dirty Dynamite (2013) – $13
Hatriot – Heroes Of Origin (2013) – $9 used
Halcyon Way – Building The Towers (2010) – $6 used
Jeff Scott Soto – Live At Firefest V 2008 (2CD) (2010) – $6 used
Mass – ’84 Unchained (1985/2010 reissue) – $4 used
DC4 – Electric Ministry (2011) – $4 used
Psycho Motel – Welcome To The World (Japanese import) – $2 used

Flotsam & Jetsam – Cuatro (1992) – $3 used
Firewind – Allegiance (2006) – $6 used
Skid Row – Revolutions Per Minute (2006) – $7 used
Witch Mountain – Cauldron Of The Wild (2012) – $9 used
Anthrax – Anthems E.P. (2013) – $7
Adrenaline Mob – Coverta E.P. (2013) – $7
Clutch – Earth Rocker (2013) – $10
Lordi – To Beast Or Not To Beast (2013) – $13
Orden Ogan – To The End (2012) – $14
Rival Sons – Head Down (2012) – $14

Sinergy – To Hell And Back (2002) – $4 used
Ram Jam – Golden Classics (1996) – $4 used
Delain – April Rain (2009) – $6 used
Lost Horizon – A Flame To The Ground Beneath (2003) – $6 used
7th Heaven – Silver (2CD) (2003) – $6 used
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Dreams Of Fireflies E.P. (2013) – $7
Firewind – Few Against Many (2012) – $8 used

TNT – Tell No Tales (1987) – $10
DeAllen – Deceptions Of Reality (2002) – $6 used
Trivium – The Crusade (2006) – $6 used
Evergrey – Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy (1999) – $4 used
Evergrey – A Night To Remember Live 2004 (2005) – $4 used
Saxon – Sacrifice (Limited Edition) (2013) – $12
Stryper – Second Coming (2013) – $12

Enforcer – Death By Fire (2013) – $13
Sebastian Bach – Abachalypse Now (2CD/DVD) – $16
Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2CD) (2013) – $20

Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (DVD) (2013) – $15

Like I said…..this is going to be a long update!

The first trip to Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI was your basic run of the mill shopping trip, I was heading there to buy the new Krokus record, Dirty Dynamite. The cool thing about this trip was when I walked into the store, I noticed a new section labelled USED NEW ARRIVALS. I got the Krokus disc and went over to the new bin and found some great deals, the first of which was the new Hatriot album for $9 used. I went back over to the METAL section later and found a brand new copy of the Hatriot CD in the rack for $17, so I saved almost half! Other great buys from the new section: Halcyon Way, Jeff Scott Soto, Mass, DC4 and Psycho Motel. The Psycho Motel was an awesome find for $2 used because it was a Japanese import complete with all inserts and the OBI strip. I had just put the Psycho Motel records on my want list because I never really got into Adrian Smith’s work outside of Iron Maiden and then I find one extremely cheap…..not a bad deal!

My second CD hunt of March was a return to the scene of the previous week’s crime, I had to go back to the Newbury Comics in Warwick because of the great deals in that USED NEW ARRIVALS bin. Unfortunately, that bin had no new Metal in it and it was basically everything I already owned so I had to head over to the Metal section and see if any bargains came in during the week. Sure enough I found used copies of Flotsam & Jetsam’s Cuatro and Firewind’s Allegiance right away but the real gems were the Skid Row and Witch Mountain albums especially since they were both added to my want list within the last couple of weeks. The Skid Row CD was the only one I needed to complete their spot in my collection and I hadn’t seen a copy in the local stores in years but this one was actually sealed but marked used…..even better! I read about Witch Mountain online and sampled some of their songs so I put them on the want list too but I’ve held off because the regular price was between $15 – $17 depending on the store. I found this copy on the hunt for $9 used and saved around $6 compared to the one new copy that was also there. I also picked up some new albums as well from Anthrax, Adrenaline Mob, Clutch, Lordi, Orden Ogan and Rival Sons…..all on sale.

My third and fourth trip out on the hunt were on the same Sunday in March when my family and I headed to the closest Ikea store about an hour away for a bookcase. In the back of my mind, I know that there was a Newbury Comics near the entrance to the Ikea about a quarter mile away so, after the trip to Ikea, I was able to get to the Avon, MA Newbury Comics store and look for treasures. Now Newbury Comics is an independent record store chain in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area that I’ve shopped at for the last 18 years, they are the closest thing we can get to “mom & pop” record stores in this area. Unfortunately, the Avon Newbury Comics sucks…..no selection at all. You can usually tell how a store is when you walk in and see their inventory size…..when the t-shirts, toys, comics and other paraphernalia has more floor space then the CDs & DVDs, you know you’re in trouble. I found used CDs from Sinergy, Ram Jam, Delain, Lost Horizon, 7th Heaven, and Firewind all for decent prices so there was a few things there but the gem of this rare visit was the latest Trans-Siberian Orchestra E.P. that I blew off when it first came out and I haven’t seen it since.

After the Avon store visit, it was time to head for home but I knew that if I went a certain route, I would drive by the Newbury Comics Norwood, MA store (basically the biggest one they have). I wasn’t going to leave without buying something but I found a few used bargains from TNT, DeAllen, Trivium, and Evergrey but I also decided to buy the latest from Stryper and Saxon (Sacrifice limited 2 disc edition) for $12 each.

The last trip of the month was back to the Warwick location for the new Enforcer, Sebastian Bach and Iron Maiden releases, all of which were new and on sale. Here’s my one complaint: Why do some bands decide to put out live releases with the CDs & DVDs packaged together and some who separately release each format? And a second complaint: Why are double CD live albums more expensive than double DVD live videos? The case for my arguement is Sebastian Bach vs. Iron Maiden. Sebastian Bach’s Abachalypse Now was released around the same time as Maiden England ’88 and it was a very similar package, a 2 CD/DVD package vs. Maiden’s separate 2 CD release and 2 DVD release. Now it’s probably a label thing but why can’t it be packaged together? $16 for Sebastian Bach and $35 for both Iron Maiden releases. It’s more than double for the complete Iron Maiden package! Then you add that the Maiden double CD is $5 more on sale than the Maiden double DVD! It’s just one of those things that bother me but I still spend the money anyway.

Best Buy, Amazon, Ebay and Bandcamp

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KISS – Monster (Exclusive Best Buy edition with 3D cover) (2012) – $12

Saxon – Saxon, Wheels Of Steel, Strong Arm Of The Law, Denim And Leather, Power And The Glory, Crusader, Rock The Nations (2009 remasters with bonus material)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Live (2006 remaster)
Triumph – Live At Sweden Rock (CD/DVD) (2012)
Steel Panther – British Invasion DVD (2013)

(Total Amazon order = $119)

Helix – Back For Another Taste (1990) – $12 used
Killer Dwarfs – Dirty Weapons (1990) – $9 used
Loudness – Lightning Strikes (1986) – $10 used
Return Of The Comet (A Tribute To Ace Frehley) (1997) – $15 used
Corsair – s/t (2013) – $9

Dreamer – Turn It Up (2011) – $10

So we start off the miscellaneous purchases with another version of KISS – Monster, this time from Best Buy with the 3D cover and supposed bonus track. Unfortuately, there is no bonus track on this edition, all the Best Buy CDs are just like the normal version. Bonus tracks were included on the iTunes download of the full album and the Japanese release. I have the regular CD and the Wal-Mart version in the special tour magazine so why not have all the versions? All I need now is the vinyl LP, the picture disc and the Japanese import!

I decided that I wanted to complete my Saxon remasters collection from 2009 and get all those bonus tracks so I put aside a few dollars from my tax refund and I picked up the 7 studio albums I needed to get it done. I also picked up The Eagle Has Landed Live 2006 remaster because they never re-did it in 2009. I also decided to get a couple of items off my Amazon wish list with the Triumph live release and the Steel Panther live DVD. The total came to $119 (less than $12 each item) and the Triumph and Steel Panther releases were priced significantly lower than the advertised sale prices that Newbury Comics had!

Ebay was another great way I picked up some older albums from Helix, Killer Dwarfs and Loudness but the two gems this month were the Ace Frehley tribute album and the latest album from Corsair. I read good things about the Corsair album so I decided to give it a try but I kept passing it over at the record shops because the regular price was $14. When I saw a brand new sealed copy going for $9 plus free shipping, I placed the bid and won the auction. The Return Of The Comet tribute album is one I’ve been searching for since 1997. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick this up when it first came out in 1997 during the KISS reunion hype and I’m not sure why I didn’t pull the trigger, I was devouring anything KISS at that time! I remember seeing it at an old mom & pop store back then but I passed probably figuring I could get it anytime and no one really cared about an Ace Frehley tribute CD. The the label, Shock Records, went under and the CD went out of print and that’s when I had to have it! I’ve been watching Ebay for years but have been unwilling to pay the $40 to $100 I’ve seen it end for. I started watching a certain auction for this CD back in January and it was going for $75 Buy It Now. I watched as the seller relisted the CD four times and lowered the price four times until the disc was $50. That’s when I stepped up and put in a “best offer” of $30…..the seller countered with $47. I waited again for the auction to end and the seller relisted the same CD again but back up to $75! I offered $30 again and was countered $65. Auction ends, no buyers, relist $70. Offer $30 again, auction ends, relist $70 again! finally I just shot the seller a nice email through Ebay saying that he was obviously not selling the item and I had been watching for almost two months and I was willing to buy it for $30 plus $5 shipping. I made the case that the CD wasn’t that rare (you can get it at KISS expos) and that it was way overpriced but I was willing to pay half. Basically the response was a “drop dead” sort of reply. About a couple of days later, a different seller listed a used copy of the same CD with free shipping for $15. It was a 5 day auction, I bid $30 and won it for the listed $15. After I paid via Paypal and secured the deal, I then emailed the first seller direct with a link to the completed auction…..needless to say, that first seller ended up relisting for the umpteenth time but this time at $35…..there are still no buyers! The last purchase was through Bandcamp.com for a local Rhode Island band Dreamer and their latest CD, Turn It Up. I always like to support local music, especially good local Rock music.

Total = $489

Total (year) = $867.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.43

Total CDs (year) = 87

Total BluRays or DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

February turned out to be a bit of a slow month but I was able to catch a good sale mid-month and I grabbed a couple CDs of Ebay…..no matter how slow it is, there are always bargains to be found!

Newbury Comics, Best Buy & Ebay

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Hammerfall – Gates Of Dalhalla (2CD/DVD) (2013) – $25
Holy Grail – Ride The Void (2013) – $12
Pink Cream 69 – Ceremonial (2013) – $18
Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell (2013 Deluxe Edition) – $17
CrashDiet – Savage Playground (2013) – $0

Dio – Stand Up & Shout (The Anthology) (2003) – $16 used
Christian Mistress – Possession (2012) – $14
Rival Sons – Pressure And Time (Deluxe Edition) (2011) – $0
Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall (2013) – $12
T&N – Slave To The Empire (2012) – $10
Rammstein – Sehnsucht (1997) – $0
Lordi – The Monster Show (2005) – $6 used
Lordi – Get Heavy (2002/2008 reissue) – $5 used
Lordi – Deadache (2008) – $0
Buckcherry – Confessions (2013) – $7
Michael Schenker Group – Michael Schenker Group (1980/2009 reissue) – $12
W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children (1989) – $6.50 used
Y&T – Contagious (1987) – $6.50 used

There wasn’t really much action in February, the holiday releases are over and bands are looking to mid-year for new albums so they can promote on tour in the Spring and Summer months. There were a few good new releases that came out and I hit the Newbury Comics in North Attleboro on 2/7 for the new Hammerfall live package and the latest album from Holy Grail. I’ve been a Hammerfall fan since they started in 1997 so I’ll buy every new release they have right away and Gates Of Dalhalla was no exception especially when it’s on sale! This is a cool live double CD with the show also on DVD in one package on sale for $25 (regular $30). I like getting these type of releases where its a package with both the audio and video, nothing is worse than a band releasing each format separately and charging MORE for the CD version (are you reading Iron Maiden?). I also picked up the new Holy Grail album on sale for $3 off the regular $15.

The second trip a week later found me banging on the door of the Newbury Comics Warwick location at 10am. Why? Buy 2, Get 1 Free on all new and used CDs! I will always take advantage of a sale like that so I was first in the door and immeadiately started snapping up some new releases I passed by so far this year. Unfortunately, the store is smart and they take any sale stickers off older new releases (does that sound right?) to make us pay the regular price but I’m slick and scouted the store out the day before. I immeadiately grabbed the new Pink Cream 69, Helloween and CrashDiet albums because they were all high priced. $18 and $17 are high prices for CDs but they are imports and I got the CrashDiet for free when it was also $17 regular price…..that ends up working out to just under $12 per CD. I picked up the Dio anthology used to complete the collection even though I have all the songs already on the proper albums and I was able to pair it with the latest Christian Mistress album and the freebie being the latest Rival Sons album, Pressure And Time, a deluxe edition that was priced for $12. After I bought the new Circle II Circle and the latest from the ex-Dokken members in T&N (Tooth & Nail), I added the only album I know from Rammstein for free instead of dropping the $10 on the used sticker. I also decided to pick up the rest of the Lordi albums to fill out my collection and I got Deadache for free ($4 used).

My last trip on the hunt for the month was to my local Best Buy to use up a $5 off coupon that was about to expire. There’s not much music in Best Buy anymore so it came down to buying the new Buckcherry album and saving the $5 off the $12 regular price. The good thing is that I love Buckcherry so this wasn’t a desperation purchase, I’ve been a fan of the band BEFORE the first album got released and BEFORE everyone got on the ‘Crazy Bitch’ single years later.

Of course, no month would be complete without a couple of Ebay purchases. I ended up scoring the 2009 reissue of the first Michael Schenker Group record with a ton of bonus material for a “better than Amazon” price of $12 (includes shipping). I also picked up original pressings of W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children and Y&T - Contagious for $6.50 each (that’s with shipping included!). The Y&T album was one of those CDs I just kept putting off for a great price but the W.A.S.P. album was a search that had to be fulfilled because I sold all my original pressings of the first six W.A.S.P. albums years ago when the remasters came out. The remasters sound horrible when you compare them to the original (something I didn’t really do back 10 years ago) so I’m on the search for all of them, the problem is that the original pressings are hard to find now.

Total = $167

Total (year) = $378.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.46

Total CDs (year) = 37

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

MULTI-PLATINUM ROCK BAND WHITESNAKE TO RELEASE NEW DVD/LIVE CD PACKAGE: “MADE IN JAPAN” DUE OUT APRIL 23RD IN NORTH AMERICA VIA FRONTIERS RECORDS

Whitesnake - Made In Japan (2013) Whitesnake - Made In Japan (2013) DVD & Blu-Ray

Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of legendary rock band Whitesnake’s new DVD/live CD package, MADE IN JAPAN. MADE IN JAPAN is set for release on April 23rd in North America and will be available in several formats: a deluxe 2CD/DVD edition, Blu-ray and a standalone DVD. The performance footage is shot in stunning HD in 5.1 and stereo and is taken from Whitesnake’s co-headlining set at the “Loud Park” festival on October 11th, 2011 held at Saitama Super Arena in Japan during their “Forevermore World Tour.” The performance was initially recorded only for Japanese TV and future Loud Park promotions, but after three songs were broadcasted on a Loud Park highlights program in Japan, Whitesnake received unprecedented requests for this performance to be made available to the general public.

MADE IN JAPAN contains songs from Whitesnake’s most recent studio album, FOREVERMORE, as well as classic hits such as “Is This Love,” “Still Of The Night” and “Here I Go Again.” The bonus CD also includes never-before-heard outtakes and acoustic versions of material from the award-winning FOREVERMORE album that were recorded during soundchecks on the 2011 Japanese tour. Additional DVD content includes various band photo slideshows and fan-shot videos. Please see below for the full content listing.

Formed in 1977, and steered by the legendary David Coverdale, Whitesnake carry a rightful reputation as one of the world’s leading rock bands. Coverdale’s blues roots, combined with a feral sense of rock and roll, have consistently shaped the ‘Snake’s sound along with Coverdale’s love and appreciation of impeccable musicianship. Whitesnake’s ascent to the very top of the rock n’ roll heap was confirmed with 1987′s self-titled mega-platinum album, which saw two massive Top 10 hits, two #1 singles with “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love” and a virtual 24-hour domination of MTV around the world. David Coverdale was recently named one of Revolver’s “100 Greatest Living Rock Stars” and the UK’s Kerrang voted Coverdale the “Last Great Rock Star.” Musicians on MADE IN JAPAN include David Coverdale (vocals), Doug Aldrich (guitars), Reb Beach (guitars), Michael Devin (bass), Briian Tichy (drums) and special guest Brian Ruedy (keyboards).

MADE IN JAPAN track listing:

CD 1

1. Best Years
2. Give Me All Your Love Tonight
3. Love Ain’t No Stranger
4. Is This Love
5. Steal Your Heart Away
6. Forevermore
7. Six String Showdown
8. Love Will Set You Free
9. Drum Solo
10. Fool For Your Loving
11. Here I Go Again
12. Still Of The Night

BONUS CD 2

1. Love Will Set You Free
2. Steal Your Heart Away
3. Fare Thee Well (acoustic)
4. One Of These Days (acoustic)
5. Lay Down Your Love
6. Evil Ways
7. Good To Be Bad (acoustic)
8. Tell Me How (acoustic)

DVD & BLU-RAY: TRACK LISTING

1. Best Years
2. Give Me All Your Love Tonight
3. Love Ain’t No Stranger
4. Is This Love
5. Steal Your Heart Away
6. Forevermore
7. Six String Showdown
8. Love Will Set You Free
9. Drum Solo
10. Fool For Your Loving
11. Here I Go Again
12. Still Of The Night
13. Forevermore (fan video)
14. Steal Your Heart Away (fan video)

For more information, please visit:

www.whitesnake.com

www.facebook.com/Whitesnake.official

www.twitter.com/davidcoverdale

www.frontiers.it

The first month of the new year is off and running with some great shopping trips to the record stores and some great Ebay finds…..I grabbed a lot of 2012 releases I missed and I grabbed a few used bargains and hard to find albums along the way. I crossed a lot of my want list!

Newbury Comics & FYE

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Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $2
Black Country Communion – Afterglow (2012) – $2
Graveyard – Lights Out (2012) – $8
Sepultura – A-Lex (2009) – $5 used
Lamb Of God – New American Gospel (2000) $6
Alice Cooper – Old School box set (2012) – $50
Iced Earth – Dark Genesis box set (2001) – $25 used
Kix – Live In Baltimore CD/DVD (2012) – $0
UFO – Live Throughout The Years box set (2011) – $20 used
Doro – Raise Your Fist (2012) – $14
AC/DC – Live At River Plate CD (2012) – $0

Well the month started out with one last gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I went to my local Newbury Comics store in North Attleboro, MA and immeadiately put that $25 card to the test. Easy pickings on this trip as I grabbed the new Devin Townsend Project and Black Country Communion albums. The DTP album, Epicloud, was a limited edition that came with a bonus CD and there was still a sale sticker on one copy for $15! Regular price for the other three copies of the limited edtion was $22 so I saved $7 straight away and another $13 when I split the gift card up. Same thing with Black Country Communion’s Afterglow, there were a few copies available but only one still had a sale sticker on it for $14. Regular price was $19 so I saved $5 right away then another $12 with the other half of the gift card.

My second trip to the same Newbury Comics was prefaced by a quick trip across the mall to the FYE store to burn a $3 off coupon. When I walked in, I noticed there was a Revolver Magazine display with a bunch of 2012 Metal releases on sale for really low prices, something about the magazine’s year end awards issue. I owned most of the CDs already, or I had a promo download from the label, but one release caught my eye…..Graveyard – Lights Out. I’ve had that Graveyard record on my list since it came out but I never got around to buying it and, when I did, it wasn’t at a sale price. Regular price at FYE was $12 but it was on sale for $7.99 so I saved $4. Unfortunately my coupon required a CD priced at $12.99 or above to get the $3 off so I found a copy of the latest Grave Digger album, Clash Of The Gods, on sale for $15. Regular price was $18, then add the $3 coupon, and I scored it for $12. I went up to the Newbury Comics to do a quick check around and there was nothing new that I wanted but I did find a used copy of Sepultura’s 2009 album A-Lex for $5, which officially replaces my simple promo copy from the label, and Lamb of God’s first album from 2000, New American Gospel, for $6 brand new and sealed. I’ve been trying to pick up all the Lamb of God records I’m missing and this was a steal because there was another copy at a regular price of $15, I saved $9 on a brand new CD!

Last trip to the record store took me to the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI for a “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale on all CDs new and used, I wanted a little variety so I was hoping that the Warwick store had a decent selection. My daughter and I were outside the store at 9:50 on a Saturday morning waiting for the doors to open so we could be first inside to snag any bargains. By 10:10, my daughter had her CDs ready but my list is longer and more specific and I was armed with $100 in spendable cash! By 10:20, I had gone through the Rock, Metal and boxed set sections and I came away with some great stuff. Box sets were included in the sale so I grabbed the CD version of the Alice Cooper box set Old School for $50, a $25 used copy of Iced Earth’s Dark Genesis box set and a used copy of the UFO – Live Throughout The Years box set. Old School was on my list of 2012 releases so I grabbed it immeadiately because of the sale tag (regular price was $75) and I have been searching for a used copy of Dark Genesis for years. I could have bought it on Ebay a number of times but they go upwards of $30 + shipping. I’d never seen the UFO box set before but it’s UFO and it was $20 used but still factory sealed. I already had the Doro and AC/DC albums in my hands (both on sale for $14 and both regular priced $18) so I decided to spluge and pick up the Kix – Live In Baltimore CD/DVD package for $22. I saved an extra $2 by pairing the Kix set with Alice and Iced Earth and I got AC/DC for free paired with UFO and Doro. I went a little over budget but the cash was basically money that could be spent wildly so the extra $9 was all that come out of my bank account.

Ebay

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Cutty Sark – Heroes (1985/1997 reissue) – $26
Bullet – Execution (1981/1997 reissue) – $6.25 used
MP – Bursting Out (Beast Becomes Human)/Get It Now (1986 & 1987/2006 reissue) – $6.25 used
Herazz – Yet To Come (1985/2006 reissue) – $6.25 used
Intrinsic – s/t (1987 & 1988/2008 reissue) – $6.25 used
Odin – Fight For Your Life (1988/2001 reissue) – $6.25 used
Steel Assassin – From The Vaults (1997/2003 reissue) – $6.25 used
Lizzy Borden – The Murderous Metal Road Show (1985) – $6 used
Lizzy Borden – Menace To Society (1986/2001 reissue) – $5 used
Lizzy Borden – Visual Lies (1987/2002 reissue) – $5 used

Nothing beats a good Ebay win and I scored more than a few this month. One of my goals is to complete my collection of High Vaultage reissues from the late 1990s/ early 2000s but it’s getting harder with the label out of business and the years going by. I found out about High Vaultage in 1997 from the Metal Dreams fanzine and I started collecting the releases I could find in the record shops but I missed out on most of them. I can get any of the releases on Ebay but it’s the prices that have kept me from buying all of them. There’s one seller in particular that I buy from all the time and they have pretty much the entire catalog for sale but at $23 each + shipping. That’s where I bought the Cutty Sark reissue from, I just couldn’t let it go by at that price when other copies were going for double.

In my quest for High Vaultage reissues, I found a seller basically dumping his/her collection. The saved search for Bullet’s Execution came up in a 6 CD lot from this seller including the MP, Herazz, Intrinsic, Odin and Steel Assassin reissues. I checked my usual seller of High Vaultage releases and he had this particular Bullet CD at the same $26 total so I figured if I could snag this CD lot for under $50 it would be worth it. The main concern was the Bullet album but the rest of the CDs were all ones I didn’t currently own and they were all names I didn’t know (except for Odin and Steel Assassin) so I could discover some new music along the way. The MP disc was interesting because it was a 2 on 1 CD and, although I would prefer to have each on a separate CD, it was another bonus to this really good lot. I topped out at a $50 bid and won at $37.50 (includes shipping) so I only paid $6.25 per CD. Moving to the three Lizzy Borden albums, I found that lot with the same seller so I put in a bid of $20 and won for $16 (includes shipping). Surprisingly, I really only have the later Lizzy albums so I really needed to get the early stuff in my collection.

Total = $211.50

Total (year) = $211.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.61

Total CDs (year) = 19

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

One of my teenage daughter’s favorite bands in the Black Veil Brides and I took her up to Worcester, MA to the Palladium for their show about a week and a half ago, billed as The Church Of The Wild Ones Tour. We had the tickets since November as they were a birthday gift for turning 14 so she was pretty excited. I, on the other hand, was not at all. Don’t get me wrong, I always love going to live shows but this wasn’t one of my bands so I was there to support my kid. I do have the band’s first two albums on my iPod but I’ve never given them much attention save for a couple of songs so I didn’t really know what to expect. What I didn’t expect was the extremely long line we had to wait in to get into the venue! It stretched down the side of the building for the better of three blocks and turned right another block getting close to the major concert hall, the DCU Center. I’ve been to my fair shre of shows at The Palladium and I’d never seen a crowd like this, it was almost old school like when I was 14 back in 1984 so I knew that there would be some serious energy in there. The crowd was mostly young kids, ages 12 to 20, a ton of parents with them (like me!), and some older metalheads sprinkled throughout. Once we got in, it was off to the merchandise booth to hook my daughter up and the t-shirts were flying off the tables. The place was jam packed for the openers and the kids were getting rowdy…..the lights went down for Silent Season and the place went mental!

Silent Season setlist:

I have no idea what Silent Season played but I do know they were on for a good half hour or so and played 5 or 6 songs. We were in line at the merch booth when the band came on so I was a little busy buying shirts for my daughter to pay attention but, when we were done, I got to catch some of their set. They are a local Massachusetts band and they play a heavy brand of current modern Metal, I liked them enough to check the merch tables for a CD but the band had nothing out. I like picking up CDs from opening acts I’ve never heard of so I decided to check the band’s website when I got home. They put on a solid performance so I suggest checking them out at….. http://www.silentseasonmusic.com/ or http://www.reverbnation.com/silentseason

William Control setlist:

Again, I have no idea. I’ve never heard of William Control before and, from what my daughter told me, the band was like a Goth and Dance hybrid. I knew it was going to be interesting when I heard ’80s hits from Billy Ocean playing over the P.A. system as the crew tore down Silent Season’s gear and set up William Control’s…..extremely odd to hear ‘Caribbean Queen’ at a Metal show! Once the band started playing, the crowd down front went wild. When I mean band, I mean 2 guys (the singer and bass player) playing to a backing track of music and samples. The overall music sounded Goth,  dance, electronica and 80s synth pop, almost like a cross between Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys mixed modern metal. It was very ’80s New Wave but called Dark Wave by the younger crowd. I’ll give the band credit, they had the crowd going and the house was still packed. They played about 6 or 7 songs which all sounded similar, kind of like a bastardised ’80s soundtrack to a Jon Hughes film. Aside from the dance moves and mic twirling the singer did, there wasn’t much to the performance but it was interesting, definitely a different take on Metal that I hadn’t heard before! You can check out William Control at http://williamcontrol.com/

Black Veil Brides setlist:

Exordium (intro)
I Am Bulletproof
New Religion
Wretched And Divine
All Your Hate
God Bless You
Children Surrender
Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)
Love Isn’t Always Fair
Overture
Shadows Die
Nobody’s Hero
Youth And Whiskey
Rebel Love Song
Resurrect the Sun
Perfect Weapon
Knives And Pens
The Legacy

Encore
Fallen Angels
In The End

So the lights go down and the banner goes up for Black Veil Brides and the crowd goes completely insane…..my daughter is screaming and holding back tears and I’m just in awe of what’s happening. Is this how it was back in the day when I started going to shows? Was I crying at the KISS reunion show in Boston in 1996? I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! From the opening music of the ‘Exordium’ intro into the opening song ‘I Am Bulletproof’, the 2000+ in attendance were jumping up and down, screaming and singing…..there was so much energy I couldn’t believe it.

Before I get into the setlist, let me describe the stage setup and show. The palladium is small so this wasn’t an all out production show but the band had a small drum riser flanked by eight rotating lights on stage that really added to the show. A bit of fog and decent lighting from the above rig, there were no fireworks or screens so basically it was the lights and the band’s own merits to carry the performance. For a young band, it’s better to stand on your performance, that way you can win over some new fans and keep the respect of your current fanbase. I’m sure if BVB makes it to larger arenas, they will enhance their show. now because this is a general admission arena, I was glad to see the band had a stage length riser up front that the band could stand on so everyone could see them, this way the floor gets what the raised floor and balcony got. There was also a simple Black Veil Brides banner that went the length of the back drum riser, a simple backdrop and the band had their costumes on that reminded of Motley Crue circa 1984.

On to the show…..

The band was completely energetic and held the crowd in the palm of their hand. It did remind me of the Crue in ’84 or Guns ‘N Roses in 1987, they had that kind of command at the throngs of teenagers screaming every word. Thank god for Setlist.fm or I wouldn’t have known most of the songs. The crowd did and they sang every single word, at one point I tried to interrupt my daughter’s emotional screaming to ask what song it was and she abruptly ignored me! I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from the band but they play so well and so tight that I became a fan by the end of the show. For a bunch of guys in their early 20s, they played like seasoned veterans, absolutely great musicianship, that’s what won me over. I did know a few songs from my sporadic listens to their first two records (‘Knives And Pens’, ‘Fallen Angels’ and ‘Youth And Whiskey’) and I also new a couple new tunes from the new album, Wretched And Divine: The Story of The Wild Ones (‘I Am Bulletproof’ and ‘Resurrect The Sun’) so they were all highlights. I was surprised to hear the band do a cover of ‘Rebel Yell’ by Billy Idol but they did a really good job staying true to the original while beefing it up just a bit to the modern Metal standards. After the band left the stage, the crowd continued to go nuts and BVB came out to play a two song encore: ‘Fallen Angels’ and ‘In the End’. The venue exploded for ‘Fallen Angels’, which I assume is there signature hit, and it was the song of the night for me and there was a quick guest vocal from the singer of William Control (who I just figured out is named William Control).

All in all, a solid concert. All the bands played really well, it’s good to see a new generation of bands grabbing the Metal torch and giving the fans some high energy music. I’ll be checking out Silent Season’s CD and I’ll be giving the Black Veil Brides a little more time…..not sure about William Control, not my thing but they were a good alternative for an opener. It’s always good to open up to something new and I’ve got my daughter to thank for my discovery of two new bands.

You can check out the Black Veil Brides at http://www.blackveilbrides.net or http://www.officialbvb.com

2012 is over so that means it’s time for my year end awards! It’s been another awesome year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with so many releases on CD, DVD, Vinyl and Digital formats, not just new studio albums but also live records, reissues and special edition releases. I have had more albums submitted for review this year from bands, labels and PR agents as digital promos have taken over as the easiest way to get the word out as quickly as possible and I have done my part as a consumer and purchased plenty of new and old albums & DVDs from record stores, Ebay, online vendors and direct from bands and labels. The only problem has been finding the time to do through everything!

With all this music it’s been every hard to keep up so this has been the worst year for posting but I have made a serious push in November and December to listen to as many CDs, and watch as many DVDs, as possible to prepare for my year end lists. I said the same thing at the end of 2010 & 2011 but 2012 was in fact the worst year for posting at Heavy Metal Addiction…..I only managed to post 19 times! I couldn’t even break 20 posts on a blog I started 7 years ago as an extension of my hobby! Pathetic! Obviously sitting in front of a computer writing wasn’t something that interested me again this year.

I did listen to a lot of albums this year but I stayed mainly with albums in my collection even though I have piles on my desk, and in boxes right next it, chock full of CDs and DVDs released in 2011 and 2012. I bought a ton of new releases as they came out and I’ve spent some time listening to them, I just didn’t get around to writing about them. I haven’t completely abandoned this website as I plan to continue it because there’s a lot to write about and I will try and catch up on as many reviews as I can but the reality is that there’s no way to “catch up”. I think it’s best to try and concentrate on 2013 and add in what I can from previous years.

I have been re-listening to as many 2012 albums that I can since November so I can post my year end awards. Usually I break this up into a week’s worth of posts but I decided to take advantage of a couple new WordPress features and do it all as one big article. I’m pairing down my lists a bit to give you the absolute cream of the crop in each category and I’ve also decided to re-define a couple categories. This year the Best DVD category will include DVDs that came with CD releases, because that seems to be the current trend,  and the Worst Album category will get a name change to Most Disappointing Album so I can try and maintain some positive spin…..but if an album makes it into this category, then I thought it sucked! Last is the Miscellaneous Release category, that stays the same but there could be some crossover between this and the Best DVD category with all the multiple CD and DVD or Blu-Ray combo releases coming out. I tried to limit the crossovers but the best package is going to get on both lists.

That’s all I’ve got for changes so I hope you enjoy the 2012 awards, please leave comments and give me your thoughts on what was the best & worst of the past year. I’ve got my sights set on 2013 and I expect and even bigger year in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal as I keep checking out new releases and catching up on things I missed from the last couple of years.

The Top 15 Albums of 2012

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  1. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
  2. UFO – Seven Deadly
  3. 3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal
  4. KISS – Monster
  5. Accept – Stalingrad
  6. Nightwish – Imaginaerum
  7. The Darkness – Hot Cakes
  8. Kamelot – Silverthorn
  9. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
  10. Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
  11. Rush – Clockwork Angels
  12. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last Of A Dyin’ Breed
  13. Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway
  14. L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever
  15. Lamb Of God – Resolution

There were a ton a great albums in 2012 but only one album can earn the top honor of being the best of the year and that is reserved for A Different Kind Of Truth from the “reunited” Van Halen. By reuniting with David Lee Roth a few years ago, the only thing the Van Halen brothers had to do was release a new album with Diamond Dave on lead vocals. Let’s call it like it truly is: this isn’t a TRUE Van Halen reunion because Michael Anthony is out of the band and replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang. The good news is that A Different Kind Of Truth is a great album! Forget the fact that Eddie and Alex went through the Van Halen tape vault for ideas because EVERY band does it…..hasn’t the father of Heavy Metal, Tony Iommi, stated often that he has tapes of riffs for miles? Every band looks for ideas and revisits demos and music they created years before, it’s the updating that counts. This album has that unmistakable classic Diamond Dave/Van Halen sound circa the late ’70s and early ’80s and, even though he’s a bit older, Dave does a great job on the mic. The first single, ‘Tattoo’, wasn’t the best song on the album and might have been better suited to a follow-up single but everything after is classic Van Halen. ‘She’s The Woman’ is a re-worked demo from the ’70s that is clearly the best song on the album for me and it definitely fits that 1984 album era well. ‘China Town’, ‘Blood And Fire’, ‘Stay Frosty’, ‘Big River’…..all new Van Halen classics that sit right up against anything in their back catalog. A Different Kind Of Truth is the true follow-up to 1984, unfortunately 28 years after the fact, and it’s my top album of 2012.

Taking a look at the rest of the Top 5…..UFO released Seven Deadly and earned the 2nd spot with another excellent album of bluesy Hard Rock. UFO has done much wrong since they came back in 1995 and I can’t find a weak track on the album. Phil Mogg’s lyrics are modern poetry and there is no slack in the guitar department because Vinnie Moore has more than a few albums under his belt with the band. Hard to pick a favorite track here but ‘The Last Stone Rider’ is my favorite this week! Had Van Halen not released their new record, UFO would easily be #1. The third best goes to 3 Inches of Blood with Long Live Heavy Metal, probably the best pure and traditional Heavy Metal record of the year. Take one listen to the opener ‘Metal Woman’ or the Judas Priest influenced ‘Leather Lord’ and that’s a great example of not only this record but the band’s career. Of all the Metal albums I heard this year, 3 Inches of Blood got the most rotation on my stereo and iPod. My favorite band KISS comes up a bit short of the top spot but still maintains the #4 album with Monster. When it comes to KISS, I’m extremely critical because they are my favorite band and they have barely released anything since new in 15 years. We got Sonic Boom in 2009 and it took the top spot that year and Monster is just as good but I had a harder time getting into it like I did with Sonic Boom. Maybe it was the anticipation of the previous album, or the travelling circus atmosphere that KISS creates with everything they do, but after repeated listens the album is just as good if not better. Anyone worrying about Dave, Eddie and Alex recycling should give Gene Simmons grief too because it’s obvious he does it but his songs are the better ones on the album. Paul Stanley has great moments too but I worried about his vocal issues going in and Gene hasn’t lost a step vocally. a lot of good songs here: ‘Wall Of Sound’, ‘Back To The Stone Age’, ‘Shout Mercy’ and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’…..here’s hoping they give us another one! Rounding out the Top 5 is Accept’s Stalingrad, the second record to feature new vocalist Mark Tornillo (formerly of TT Quick). The last Accept album with Mark debuting on vocals, Blood Of The Nations, was a superb record and Stalingrad is a great follow-up and it might be more powerful. I think Accept shares the same fate as KISS here, the anticipation for the first new album was so high on my part that a second release suffers just a little. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’, the title track, and ‘Shadow Soldiers’ are awesome tunes but can anyone explain the meaning behind ‘Flash To Bang Time’?

Rounding out the Top 15…..Nightwish’s Imaginaerum was very close to the Top 5 but came up short because they first 5 albums were so good. I expected nothing from The Darkness but I bought Hot Cakes when it came out and I loved it immeadiately, same thing with Silverthorn from Kamelot despite the change at singer. Gojira was a surprise of the year because I’d never bought an album from them before and L’Enfant Sauvage kicked major ass, so did the new Testament album at #10 and the new Lamb of God at #15, giving the more extreme side of Metal a presence. Rush picked up #11 with Clockwork Angels but I expected a great album so their was no surprise there but Lynyrd Skynyrd surprised with their latest album proving that good music always prevails despite the genre, time or legacy. Lita Ford had a great comeback with Living Like A Runaway, a very introspective Hard Rock record, especially after the debacle of Wicked Wonderland and L.A. Guns proved that they still write great songs and that usually the lead singer’s version of the band will always out do the founding guitarist’s version because the singing voice is the most identifiable thing to most fans.

The 5 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012

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  1. Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension
  2. Steve Harris – British Lion
  3. Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves
  4. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
  5. Great White – Elation

Usually I call this “the worst albums” of whatever year it is but I wanted to keep a positive spin on this category because who am I to say an album sucks? I have no musical talent, I don’t write songs or play an instrument. I could change it back next year if a bunch of albums do indeed suck but, for 2012, these are the most disappointing records of the year. I heard the first two singles from the new Aerosmith album and I was hooked right away, especially with ‘Lover A Lot’, but the bulk of Music From Another Dimension sounded formulaic and forced. Too many outside writers, too many ballads, too many predictable songs. Do we need another Diane Warren ballad? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and the ballad is what gave the band ultra-success from the Pump record straight through Nine Lives. I was really looking forward to a reunited Aerosmith and a bunch of rocking songs but there’s too much filler. Take a page from KISS…..lock the band in the studio and do it mostly yourself.

There was a lot of surprise when it was announced Iron Maiden’s founding bass player, Steve harris, was releasing a solo album that he had been working on for a long time. With Maiden’s hectic schedule, who knew? Apparently Steve did and he enlisted musicians from a band he had been producing called British Lions, to create the British Lion record. It’s supposed to be a throwback album to the days of classic Thin Lizzy and UFO that had a big impact on a young Harris but, aside from the hard Rock style, I didn’t hear much of the influences. Let’s call it like it is: anything Steve Harris does outside of Iron Maiden will always be compared to Iron Maiden. There’s a different style to the music on this album compared to Maiden but I expected the same excellent quality from Steve. The songwriting seems too pedestrian, too simplistic……then again, we are used to epic lyrics on Maiden albums. The band can play well but Steve seems pushed back purposely in the mix (probably due to the Hard Rock style) and the singer has no range…..then again, we are spoiled with Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. There’s no helping the comparisons to Iron Maiden but the quality of the material just lacks on this solo album from Steve Harris.

Rounding out the Top 5 here…..Geoff Tate’s new solo album comes on the heels of his split with the Queensryche camp, who are no strangers to this category! In the back of my mind, I knew this wouldn’t be good but I had hope but Kings And Thieves was just plain boring. Same thing with Apocalyptic Love from Slash. Slash is an iconic guitarist and hopes were high for this album with lead singer Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) but it was just boring. remember that Izzy Stradlin and Axl Rose were the creative forces in Guns ‘N Roses, not to say Slash didn’t contribute, but anything he does will always come back to Guns…..and even then, Guns only had two albums of classic material with Appetite For Destruction and if you cherry pick off the Use Your Illusion albums. Last album in this category is Elation from Great White, featuring former XYZ singer Terry Ilous on vocals replacing the fired Jack Russell. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on this album but, for me personally, it comes down to the voice and Jack Russell’s fits the bluesy Hard Rock of Great White’s music better than Terry Ilous. It’s by no means a bad album and, considering the vocalist change, it a solid effort. I just couldn’t get into it and I expected a bit more after the last two records, Back To The Rhythm and Rising.

The Top 5 DVDs of 2012

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  1. Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout
  2. Iron Maiden – En Vivo!
  3. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  4. Queen – Days Of Our Lives
  5. Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82

This year I decided to included DVDs and/or Blu-rays that came with CD releases or box sets because this seems to be the way bands and labels are adding something extra for fans. My favorite DVD of the year is also the first Blu-ray release I ever bought…..Scorpions – Live In 3D: get Your Sting & Blackout. An excellently produced concert film with plenty of extras, this got the top spot because I saw this tour live over the summer and that put Live In 3D over the top. The Scorpions needed that emotional attachment because iron Maiden delivered another excellent DVD in a long line of excellent DVDs with En Vivo! Does Iron Maiden ever do anything wrong went it comes to video releases? Plenty of awesome concert footage from Santiago, Chile and plenty of documentary film as well the only thing I could complain about is to package the DVD or Blu-ray with the double CD live album for a special package (that’s the next category). The new Saxon DVD is solid and part of the Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 release, the DVD incorporates the band’s best performances from the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany for 2004, 2007 and 2009…..that’s 31 songs! and some behind the scenes footage and you’ve got a Saxon fan’s dream DVD, only bettered by the super limited edition box set of this release that included separate DVDs of the full concerts. Had I been able to get one of those, Saxon would own the top spot easily. Rounding out the Top 5 is the Queen documentary, Days of Our Lives, finally getting a proper DVD release and the famous often duplicted, VHS only Ozzy Osbourne concert Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82.

The Top 10 Miscellaneous Releases of 2012

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  1. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  2. UFO – The Chrysalis Years (1980 – 1986)
  3. Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else
  4. Motorhead – The world Is Ours Vol.1: Everywhere Further Than Everywhere Else
  5. U.D.O. – Celebrator
  6. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance (30th Anniversary Edition)
  7. KISS – Destroyer Resurrected
  8. U.D.O. – Live In Sofia
  9. Dio – The Very Beast Of Dio Vol.2
  10. Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival ’83

I never like to put these kind of releases into my top albums category because I like to reserve that for albums of new material but there are always other great new releases aside from new studio albums and 2012 was no exception.

The #1 spot goes to the 2CD/DVD release from Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 because that was my favorite release with the DVD of the best of the band’s last 3 appearances at Wacken Open Air and the double audio CD from Glascow on the Call To Arms Tour in 2011. My only regret is not knowing about the preorder for the limited edition that came with extra DVDs and CDs but it was also a couple hundred bucks. The second slot goes to the second volume of the UFO back catalog on Chrysalis Records from 1980 thru 1986. You get 5 CDs that include the 5 post Michael Schenker albums (No Place To Run, The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent, Mechanix, Making Contact, & Misdemeanor) all with bonus tracks, plus a full BBC In Concert from February 1980 and the live tracks from the Headstone compilation from Hammersmith 1983. I was lucky to have the label send me a copy but to get all this at retail for around $50 is a steal! I already have all the UFO albums on Japanese import with bonus tracks but this is another great compilation for a great band.

The #3 and #4 spots belong to Motorhead with The World is Ours Vols 1 & 2. I couldn’t decide which was better so I put the second volume first because it was fresher in the memory. Both sets have 2CD live sets and a live DVD in great packaging just like the Saxon set. Their label UDR is really putting out great stuff! U.D.O. also gets 2 slots in this Top 10 with the Celebrator two disc compilation of rare tracks and the Live In Sofia 2CD/DVD set. I put Live In Sofia at #8 but it’s a solid live package, AFM Records doing what UDR is doing and, for $14 on sale, it was a no brainer. The Celebrator album is really great because it collects all those hard to find Japanese bonus tracks remixed, some previously unreleased songs and a few songs from various tribute albums. I could have done with out the remix treatment and had the originals but I’m sure that was done to get thru legal label red tape. Its a great compilation of 25 songs on two discs with a great full color booklet. I put the Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition in at #6 more for the DVD from the US Festival ’83 than anything else, same with Quiet Riot at #10…..now that makes three bands that have released live DVDs of their US Festival performances (Triumph did it a few years ago). KISS released Destroyer Resurrected and it made #7, basically it was a 36 year celebration release restoring all the original artwork and having producer Bob Ezrin remix the album. It’s a nice novelty to have especially for the original guitar solo on ‘Sweet Pain’ as a bonus track but I will admit that my KISS fanaticism pushed this higher. Last to mention is The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 covering the best of the Dio band’s work from the ’90s up until Ronnie’s death, the track here to have is ‘Electra’ the first completed song from what would have been from the Magica II album that the band was working on when Ronnie James Dio passed away.

3 Releases I Missed In 2011

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  1. Royal Hunt – Future Coming From The Past DVD
  2. Benedictum – Dominion
  3. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination

Just a quick note on a couple releases I missed out on in 2011…..the Royal Hunt DVD is a formal worldwide release of the Japan only video release of Live 1996 and, even though it’s all over Youtube, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. Benedictum keeps churning out great albums and their third, Dominion, is awesome as is Forever Abomination from Skeltonwitch, a band I finally got around to checking out in 2012.

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here at Heavy Metal Addiction…..a real long time! Sorry to all my loyal readers but I just haven’t had the time or the inspiration to write about anything Hard Rock or Heavy Metal but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been buying my fair share of music! Seeing that we are at the end of the year, I figured it was about time I posted something and why not be a full update of everything I’ve bought since August? Enjoy and please leave some comments…..

(WARNING — This is going to be a long post!)

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August update

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Rainbow – Difficult To Cure (1981/1999 remaster) – $8
Fozzy – Sin & Bones (2012) - $13
Loudness – Eye To Dawn (2012) – $13
In This Moment – Blood (2012) – $10
Jackyl – Best In Show (2012 Best Buy Deluxe Edition) – $10
MSG – The Michael Schenker Story Live (1997/2001 re-release) – $0
Loverboy – Rock N Roll Revival (2012) – $0
Baroness – Red Album (2007) – $0
House Of Lords – Sahara (1990) – $0
Marshall Law – Power Games (1992) – $0
Headcat – Walk The Walk…Talk The Talk (2011) – $0
Exciter – Unveiling The Wicked (1986) – $0
Enuff Z’nuff – Welcome To Blue Island (2003) – $0
Zyklon – Aeon (2003) – $0
Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (Tour Edition) (2007) - $0
707 – The Bridge (2004) – $0
707 – Anthology (2009) – $0
Starz – Brightest Starz (2000) – $0
Petra – Still Means War (2002) – $0
Rob Zombie – The Sinister Urge (2001) – $0
Sentenced – The Cold White Light (2002) – $0
Frameshift – An Absence Of Empathy (2005) – $0
KISS – Destroyer Resurrected (2012) – $13
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (1975) – $0
Helix – Breaking Loose (1979) – $26.50 used
Mass – Voices In The Night (1989) – $9 used
Tokyo Blade – Camp 334 E.P. (2012) – $3 (iTunes download)

Where to begin? Obviously August was a good month! One thing that happens evey August is that my birthday rolls around and I get a lot of gift cards to Newbury Comics, my favorite record store, so that will account for all the CDs with zeros for amounts. Let’s analyze these purchases…..

I bought the new albums by Fozzy, Loudness, In This Moment, and KISS on the day of release and on sale…..I had to have the new Destroyer Resurrected the moment the doors to Newbury Comics opened because my KISS collection isn’t complete without the latest new album! The Bruce Springsteen disc was a gift from my best friend’s son who loves Springsteen and is trying to turn me on to his music. I like myself some Bruce, mostly the stuff I hear on classic rock radio, but this is the album I would pick to start getting into The Boss if I were buying it myself. The Helix and Mass CDs were auctions I won on ebay from the same seller, both are original pressings and the Helix album is especially rare and it’s been on my radar for a long time. The last album listed is a digital only E.P. by NWOBHM legends Tokyo Blade that I got from iTunes. I have NEVER bought anything from iTunes because I believe in physical media but there are no plans to release this on any other format so I had to bite the bullet and spend the $3. On to the freebies…..

Birthday = gift cards. I decided to head up to a different Newbury Comics, this time Norwood, MA, to see if there were any bargains to be had. Now this is the BIG Newbury Comics so they have excellent selection when I make the 45 minute trip a few times a year and right off the bat I found a used copy of Baroness – Red Album (2007) for what would have been $10 ($14 for the regular priced one that was there. Among the other highlights from this shopping trip, the Michael Schenker Group live double disc rerelease that would have been $14, the new Loverboy album that would have been $13 on sale ($20 regular price!), and a tour edition copy of Ozzy’s Black Rain used that has all the bonus material for all the different versions of the original album for a mere $6 used price. Of course I padded the collection with used CDs that ranged in price from $2 to $8 but they were all free for me.

September update

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last of a Dyin’ Breed (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $10
Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition (2012) – $14
The Darkness – Hot Cakes (2012) – $16
Cloudscape – New Era (2012) – $15
ZZ Top – La Futura (2012) – $0
Steve Harris – British Lion (2012) – $13
Bullet – Full Pull (2012) – $13
Dokken – Broken Bones (2012) – $0

As September hits we have back to school for the kids, house preperations for winter, the beginning of football season and fantasy football and starting to think of the holidays…..that means money is at a premium and CDs have to wait. I was able to pick up some new releases in my two trips to the record store in September and I caught a great sale at the end of the month – Buy 2 get 1 Free on all regular and sale priced CDs.

On my 1st trip of the month, I had to have the deluxe edition of the new Lynyrd Skynyrd CD to get the 4 bonus tracks and was lucky to grab the last sale priced copy they had for $10 which saved me $7. Take a listen to the Skynyrd records with Johnny Van Zant on vocals, they are all excellent and rival the classic 70s era of Skynyrd with his late brother Ronnie fronting the band. Of course the legend of Skynyrd back in the day overshadows everything newer but the quality is definitely there. The other major purchase was the 30th Anniversary Edition of the classic Screaming For Vengeance from Metal legends Judas Priest. I love all the bonuses on these special anniversary releases and it makes it worth it to re-buy the album, this time around the big deal was the included DVD of Priest’s performance at the US Festival in 1983 but the live tracks and the bonus studio track ‘Prisoner Of Your Eyes’ add to the value. You can’t beat $14 for a CD/DVD combo and I still saved $3 buying it on sale.

The 2nd trip of the month was towards the end but that’s where I caught the special sale and picked up a bunch of new releases I was waiting on. My strategy is to always group the CDs by price from high to low so when I get to the register I get some of the higher priced CDs free. I had been waiting on Hot Cakes from The Darkness and missed the sale price so I had to pay the full $16 regular price and the new Cloudscape was the same deal at $15 regular price but I put them together with the new ZZ Top to get that one free and saved $14 right off the bat! The $14 was the sale price for ZZ Top but regular price was $17 so I really saved $17 in the long run. My second grouping was the new Steve Harris solo album ($13 sale/$17 regular) + the new Bullet ($13 sale/$17 regular) with the new Dokken ($12 sale/$18 regular) for free and saved more money. You have to love those Frontiers Records albums that are $17+ regular price, I would have choked if I had to pay that much for the new Dokken! At least I got it on a double sale!

October update

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KISS – Monster (2012) – $12
KISS – Monster (2012) – $15 (Wal-Mart exclusive limted edition zine-pak)
Arch Enemy – Stigmata (1998) – $4 used
Allen-Lande – The Revenge (2007) – $8 used
Dream Evil – Evilized (2003) – $8 used
Rob Rock – Garden Of Chaos (2007) – $8 used
Motorhead – March Or Die (1992) – $4 used
Cloudscape – Crimson Skies (2006) – $4 used
Kotipelto – Serenity (2007) – $4 used
Dragonforce – The Power Within (2012) – $13
Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2 (2 CD/DVD/Blu) (2012) - $18
Ten – Heresy And Creed (2012) – $12
Sister Sin – Now And Forever (2012) – $12
Night Ranger – 24 Strings & A Drummer (CD/DVD) (2012) - $10
The Sword – Apocryphon (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $12
Praying Mantis – Time Tells No Lies (1980/2011 remaster) – $13.50 (Ebay)

September was a slow CD buying month but October’s prospects improved and there were a few new releases that were must haves. Starting the month of right was the new KISS album…..Monster. I was out front banging on the door fo the record store so I could get this album as soon as the store opened, got it on sale for $12 and saved $4 off the regular price. Of course, KISS is my favorite band and they can’t do anything simple so I ran over to Wal-Mart right after to buy the limited edition zinepak exclusive to Wal-Mart.

My second CD hunt was at the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI (about 20 mins from home) when the family and I were out for the day and they allowed me to go and search. Actually, they dropped me off and went to the Target down the road! Nothing is better when you walk into a record store and you start to find a lot of cheap CDs that you’ve been looking for…..obviously, I hit the store after someone dumped part of their collection because I’d never seen these CDs at this location before. Right away I found a copy of the latest Dragonforce record, The Power Within (2012), still on sale for $13 while the other two copies with it were regular price at $19. Then I started through the Metal section in alphabetical order and I found the Allen-Lande, Cloudscape and Dream Evil all used and immeadiately crossed them off my want list. I only had $60 in disposable CD income so I had to make wise purchases and I already had $33 worth of discs in my hand so I had to ignore some more higher priced used gems but I did make my way over to a sale table towards the front of the store. Score! Arch Enemy for $4 used, Motorhead for $4 used and Kotipelto for $4 used and Rob Rock for $8 used…..the Motorhead – March Or Die was a missing album in my collection and both the Kotipelto and Rob Rock CDs replaced very plain promotional CDs I received from the record label years earlier. I spent $53 on this trip so i was pretty psyched to come under budget just a little.

The last trip of the month also included an Ebay auction I actually won while I was in the record store! New releases everywhere during the last week of the month: the new Motorhead, Ten, Sister Sin, Night Ranger and The Sword were all high priority buys and the Ebay auction was the Praying Mantis reissue from Rock Candy Records. I saved $35 off the regular prices of the new releases by buying them on sale the day of release with the biggest savings coming from the Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2 release at $12 off. I also saved $6 on the Ten CD and $8 on the Night Ranger (both imports from Frontiers Records), $3 on the new Sister Sin and another $6 on the limited edition of the new CD from The Sword.

November update

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Mob Rules – Cannibal Nation (2012) – $14
Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $20
Kamelot – Silverthorn (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $0
Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves (2012) – $13
Twisted Sister – A Twisted Xmas Live In Las Vegas (2012) – $0
Butcher Babies – Butcher Babies E.P. (2012) – $5 (from Butcher Babies merchandise website)

Another slow month with the holidays looming…..I only made one trip to the record store but I made it count when they had a “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale on all CDs. Of course they ring the CDs from highest to lowest so I paid for the limited edition version of the new Aerosmith record and the new One Direction limited edition new album (I have a daughter that loves that boy band!) for $20 each and I got the new Kamelot – Silverthorn limited edition for free. I forget what the regular price on the One Direction CD was but that wouldn’t count here but the regular on the Aerosmith was a crazy $29 and the new Kamelot was on sale for $18 but the regular price would have been $22. My second bundle at this sale was the new Mob Rules album for $14 and the new Geoff Tate solo album for $13, both on sale, and I got the new Twisted Sister live Xmas album from Las Vegas for free. The Twisted Sister CD was on sale for $12 with a regular price of $16 and both the Mob Rules and Geoff tate albums had a regular price of $18. The last purchase I made was the debut E.P. from the Butcher Babies for $5. I had been hearing a lot about the band on various podcasts and I finally decided to pick up the E.P. towards the end of the month.

December update

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King Kobra – Ready To Strike (1985) – $8
King Kobra – Thrill Of A Lifetime (1986) – $8
U.D.O. – Live In Sofia (2CD/DVD) (2012) – $14
Bloodbound – In The Name Of Metal (2012) – $14
Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive (2009) - $10 used
Ring Of Fire – The Oracle (2001) - $10 used
Tankard – Beast Of Bourbon (2004) – $0 used
Avian – Ashes And Madness (2009) - $10 used
Overkill – Feel The Fire (1985) – $9 used
Doro – Classic Diamonds (2004) – $0 used
Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Pt.2) (2008) – $8 used
Municipal Waste – Hazardous Mutations (2005) – $8 used
Tristania – Midwinter Tears (CD/DVD) (2005) – $0 used
Grave Digger – 25 To Live (2CD) (2005) – $7 used
Grave Digger – Rheingold (2003) – $7 used
Gwar – Live From Mt. Fuji (2005) – $0 used
Scorpions – Taken By Force (1977) – $6 used
Overlorde – Return Of The Snow Giant (2004) – $6 used
Tristania – Ashes (2005) – $0 used
Straight Line Stitch – When Skies Wash Ashore (2008) – $6 used
Fates Warning – Inside Out (1994) – $4 used
Tristania – World Of Glass (2001) – $0 used

With the Christmas holiday looming, there was no extra money for CD shopping during December but that’s OK because the end of the year is always the slowest time for new releases. I knew there was a shopping spree coming at the end of the year because of all the gift cards I get to Newbury Comics for holiday gifts. This year was no exception, I netted $135 in gift cards so I held out as long as I could after Christmas (3 days!) and I was able to catch a year end used CD sale, Buy 2 Used CDs and Get 1 Free! The strategy for gift cards and a great sale was to get as much music as possible and to get some of those used CDs that I’d been passing over in my travels and, seeing that everything was basically free and nothing coming out of pocket, I spent a long time combing every rack in the Warwick, RI Newbury Comics. I put up all the prices above, including the sale freebies, so you could get an idea of what I would have spent.

I couldn’t pass on the King Kobra CDs because both were recent reissues in album style cardboard sleeves and brand new sealed at awesome cheap prices…..turns out they should have been $17.99 instead of $7.99 but that’s OK with me! I also couldn’t pass up the latest U.D.O. 2CD/DVD live release, Live In Sofia (2012), or the latest release from Bloodbound…..both were still on sale and they weren’t at my normal closer location. Both of these were $18 regular price so I saved $4 on each theoretically. So those are the new CDs, on to the used!

I put everything up by price because that’s how the store separates them and denotes the free ones. I like the fact that they give you a free CD closest to the price of the ones you buy so the Tankard CD should have been $10 used but it was free because the Municipal Waste and Ring Of Fire CDs were the same price. Obviously, I picked up a lot of back catalog from Municipal Waste, Grave Digger and Tristania with the biggest bargains being the two Municipal Waste and two Grave Digger CDs because you never see these albums used and, if you do, they are $12+ used because of the demand for Municipal Waste and Grave Digger is usually imports. Of the $0 CDs, the Tankard shuld have been $10, Tristania and Doro were $8 each, Gwar and another Tristania were $6 each and the last Tristania was $4 used. The final total on this hunt was $135 all paid with gift cards so I paid nothing out of pocket and I saved an additional $42 on the free used CDs!

Final 2012 Totals

Total (year) = $1804

Average Price (per item) = $7.71

Total CDs (year) = 227

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Total iTunes Downloads (year) = 1

Just a quick analysis…..

Compared to 2011, I bought 85 more items (227 this year and 142 last year) and I spent $659 more than I did the previous year. My DVD total is low because a lot of bands/labels are packaging DVDs or Blu-Rays with live CDs now and I count those as CD packages. Also, 2012 was the first time I bought a Blu-Ray and paid for an iTunes download. I’m not sure what 2013 will hold for CD hunting but I’m hoping that I find more gems, fill a lot of holes in my collection, acquire more and spend less.

Let the hunt continue!

Nightwish – Imaginaerum (2012, Roadrunner Records)

  1. Taikatalvi
  2. Storytime
  3. Ghost River
  4. Slow, Love, Slow
  5. I Want My Tears Back
  6. Scaretale
  7. Arabesque (instrumental)
  8. Turn Loose The Mermaids
  9. Rest Calm
  10. The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
  11. Last Ride Of The Day
  12. Song Of Myself
        1 – From A Dusty Bookshelf
        2 – All That Great Heart Lying Still
        3 – Piano Black
        4 – Love
  13. Imaginaerum (instrumental)

Band Lineup (The Imagineers):
Anette Olzon – vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards, piano
Emppu Vuorinen – guitars
Marco Hietala – bass, vocals (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12 )
Jukka Nevalainen – drums, percussion

Guest Musicians (Fellow Imagineers):
Troy Donockley – uilleann pipes (on track 5 & 13), tin whistle (on track 1, 8 & 10), vocals (on track 10 & 12), bodhran, bouzouki
Dermot Crehan – hardanger fiddle
Dirk Campbell – sorna
Guy Barker – solo trumpet
Paul Clarvis and Stephen Henderson – ethnic percussion
Pekka Kuusisto – violin
“The loved ones & the fellowship” are credited for reciting the stanzas in track 12.

Orchestra & Choir:
The Metro Voices (led by choir mistress Jenny O’Grady)
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, called “The Looking Glass Orchestra” (led by Thomas Bowes and conducted by James Shearman)
Pip Williams – director of orchestra & choir arrangements

Producer: Tuomas Holopainen

Country: Finland

Total Time = 1:14:50

Nightwish
Nightwish Facebook page
Roadrunner Records

(NOTE — This album was released worldwide in late 2011 but January 2012 for the U.S.)

Nightwish is a band that I never really got into until recently…..and by recently I mean since 2007′s DARK PASSION PLAY, the debut of Anette Olzon (formerly of Alyson Avenue) as frontwoman. Up until 2007, I only knew of Nightwish from the press the band received and the reviews I read online and, even though I enjoy female-fronted Metal of all kinds, I was completely unsure of former vocalist Tarja Turunen’s operatic style. The only Nightwish album I own from the Tarja era is WISHMASTER (2000) and I think I only bought it because I found it cheap in a used bin somewhere. DARK PASSION PLAY and Anette opened my ears to the excellent Symphonic Metal that Nightwish creates so I was pretty excited to hear that the band was releasing a new album, IMAGINAERUM, internationally in late 2011 and the U.S. in early January. Unfortunately, that excitement was slightly cancelled when I read that the new record would be a concept album with a movie based around the album.

Now I’m all for concept albums, if they are done right. Too many albums released today are deemed “concept albums” just because they have a running theme throughout. Nightwish, mainly composer/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, have taken it to another extreme by developing a film of the same name and each member having minor roles as themselves in the film itself. That makes IMAGINAERUM the soundtrack to the film that is being made…..sounds a lot like the idea behind KISS’ concept album (MUSIC FROM) THE ELDER (1981). At least Nightwish are making the movie, KISS never got that far! So what is the concept? Holopainen’s story revolves around a dying composer who is reminiscing about memories from his youth while his adult memories slowly fade. Interesting but it sounds very Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

The first song on the album is ‘Taikatalvi’, a song sung primarily in the band’s native Finnish by Marco Hietala and translated as “magic winter” in English. The song is very basic with minimal music accompaniment from Holopainen’s piano giving the song a children’s lullabye feel to it and it’s basically an intro to the actual album. I consider the track a throwaway and I skip it everytime I listen to the CD. The real opening song is ‘Storytime’ and it is everything that Nightwish is: bombastic and powerful full of orchestration and plenty of crunching guitars to go along with Anette’s vocals. This is the song that sets the album up for me and dashes any doubts as to the quality of the rest of the songs. Once I heard the huge symphonic sound of ‘Storytime’, I felt a little better about the whole concept, the film project and the rest of the record. Judge for yourself, here’s the video…..

‘Ghost River’ continues the bombastic Metal style but with a little more edge to it when Marco’s harsh vocals come in for the chorus. What I like here is that it’s not as “clean” a track as ‘Storytime’, there’s some added aggression in the vocals and guitar and it gives the band another dimension. There’s still plenty of orchestration and a children’s choir but there’s something haunting about this song and it gives off a sinister vibe at times. Just when I think that I know what the album is going to sound like, Nightwish throws in a curveball with the ballad ‘Slow, Love, Slow’ that sounds like it’s straight out of a Vegas lounge piano bar, it’s jazz vaudeville style reminds me of something Bette Midler might sing. The focus here is Anette’s voice and she is without a doubt one of the best singers in the genre…..the song segues right into ‘I Want My Tears Back’, a tried and true Power Metal feast that has a Celtic feel to it with bagpipes throughout. The guitar riff that opens ‘I Want My Tears Back’ is solid and the bagpipes kick in immeadiately on the main riff. There’s a beauty to Anette’s voice that has me in a trance at this point…..I could listen to her sing the telephone book to me (do they actually make those?). The only way I could describe the sound is like pure Power Metal meets the Renaissance sound of Blackmore’s Night…..Folk Metal maybe? It’s a great song and has plenty of power and the album has shown a lot of diversity so far and that’s obvious by the various styles on the uptempo metal nightmare that is ‘Scaretale’. The song is a nightmare scenario in the overall concept and it goes from all out Power Metal to an animated movie feel in the middle…..maybe something from my kids’ favorite A Nightmare Before Christmas? It’s a very diverse song and both Anette and Marco deliver very different vocal performances, Anette does a shrieky, scary vocal while Marco does a ring announcer/carnival barker vocal in the “animated movie” sequence. It’s an interesting track and keeps the listener guessing as to what they will hear next.

‘Scaretale’ moves directly into the instrumental ‘Arabesque’ which also has a movie soundtrack sound to it, I actually think of the old Conan movies when I hear it. Instrumentals don’t really grab me as they did back when I was younger so ‘Arabesque’ is more of a throwaway to me but it does tie the songs together and acts like a bridge to the ballad ‘Turn Loose The Mermaids’. If you want to hear what Blackmore’s Night sounds like, then this is the song! Anette does her best Candice Night impression and the band sounds just like Blackmore’s Night again with that Renaissance music sound. It’s actually a pretty good song and really focuses on Anette’s vocals, and let’s face it, she is the selling point of the band as Tarja was before.The band continues in the dramatic mid-tempo direction with ‘Rest Calm’ that has a solid main riff and good trade-off vocals from Marco & Anette while the song does from heavy to soft once the chorus kicks in. Reminds me of a Balance Of Power song from one of their records but with female vocals…..again, the beauty of the track is in the angelic voice of Anette Olzen. ‘The Crow, The Owl And The Dove’ is another slow ballad that builds dramatically while maintaining it’s calm pace with acoustic guitars, piano and subdued drums to go along with the vocals while ‘Last Ride Of The Day’ builds up immeadiately with choral vocals into a soft Anette purr as she builds up with the song, it kind of reminds me of ‘Storytime’ with it’s fast tempo and grand sound.

Nightwish is a band that thrives on their grandiose style and their bombastic approach, the band uses different orchestrations, choruses, tempo changes and arrangements to build their overall sound. This is extremely evident on the 13+ minute ‘Song Of Myself’, which is technically broken up into four sub-songs. The problem with this song is that thew first half is a proper song that runs into the same vein as other uptempo numbers on the album but the second half is mostly spoken word narration. This is where the overall concept gets in the way, who cares about the movie, just make a good record! If you edit the spoken word narration and cut ‘Song Of Myself’ in half, then you’ve got a solid album track. I understand the point that this is a concept record and the spoken word part follows that direction but there’s a point where it goes to far and it becomes pointless. The title track is the last song and it’s another instrumental of parts of every song on the album. It’s a nice way to roll the crdits on the upcoming film but nothing to really get excited about as an album track.

Just on a side note…..IMAGINAERUM was released as a single CD or a special limited edition double disc that included a bonus CD of just the instrumental version of the album. I decided against buying the limited edition version because I already knew that I would never listen to just the instrumental version. Only the absolute diehard Nightwish fans will enjoy that, I’m a fan of the entire package and especially Anette Olzen, so I found it unnecessary.

Bottom Line:
I’ve been honestly listening to this album since it’s early January release in the U.S. and I have really enjoyed it. I listen to the record and I hear new sounds all the time so it’s an album that is very complex and epic. The musicianship is above top notch and the vocals of both singers are awesome, Nightwish continues to get better with every album. My only complaint is that the album follows the movie concept on some songs more than others and that hurts the overall flow of the album. The good news is that Nightwish are so talented as musicians that they are able to evolve further with every release. At this point, the band is hitting it’s creative stride and they are poised to become one of those bands we talk about 20 years down the line. IMAGINAERUM is a solid album and one that I recommend, it’s surely in my end of the year top albums list.

Favorite Songs:
‘Storytime’, ‘Ghost River’, ‘I Want My Tears Back’, ‘Scaretale’, ‘Turn Loose The Mermaids’

Here’s what’s been assaulting my ears this weekend!

KISS – ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’ single (2012): I finally broke down and purchased a song from iTunes for the very first time because I just couldn’t wait for the new KISS album, Monster, to hear this new single. I paid my $1+ and downloaded the tune and it’s been non-stop because it’s a great song! This is the KISS I like: heavy, fast, blazing guitars and Paul sounding great. If this is any indication of how the rest of Monster will sound, then it’s going to be a great record.

Motley Crue – ‘Sex’ single (2012): Thanks to the Crue for letting the fans download the track for free on the day of release. Just like the new KISS single, I’m playing this nonstop to get a handle on how the new album will sound. Seeing that both bands are touring together this summer it’s no surprise that both bands threw a teaser track out there to promote while on tour. ‘Sex’ isn’t bad (is it ever?), it’s a good song more along the lines of the Saints Of Los Angeles album from 2008. It’s hard to believe that album is 4 years old! ‘Sex’ didn’t impress me at first but it’s growing on me kind of like Van Halen’s ‘New Tattoo’ did.

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012): There’s just no getting over it…..this is one of the best albums of 2012! Say what you want about it not being a full Van Halen reunion, the recycled demos from the early years or David Lee Roth’s merits as a singer, this sounds like the album that would have come after the landmark 1984! I can’t stop playing it and I won’t miss their next stop in the New England area when they continue the tour.

UFO – Seven Deadly (2012): This new UFO record has been cemented into the stereo from Day #1! This is another awesome album from the band and it proves that good bands never age. Right now, this is a Top 5 album for me this year.

Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway (2012): I’m missing the Def Leppard/Poison/Lita Ford concert on August 18 because that’s the day of my 40th birthday party but Lita is doing a signing and performance the next day at the Newbury Comics record store in Norwood, MA. My daughter and I are definitely there so I’m listening up on the new album…..it’s pretty good, very introspective and reflects Lita’s current personal life. Without a doubt, this is a far better album than Wicked Wonderland…..that was a pitiful record!

Lita Ford – Lita (1988): This was Lita’s big platinum seller back in the ’80s and the bulk of those sales came off the high MTV rotation of lead single ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and her duet with Ozzy Osbourne ‘Close My Eyes Forever’. I figured that I’d re-listen to the hit record prior to the meet & greet at Newbury Comics and I just realized that it’s really a mediocre album. Is it the better wisdom of 24 years gone by or does the album have a staying power? I’m still listening and trying to decide.

Black ‘n Blue – Nasty, Nasty (1986): I had my iPod on shuffle the other day and the title track came on, I forgot that this was a Gene Simmons produced record and that gene used the main riff from this song for ‘Domino’ from Revenge (1992). I went back and gave all the Black ‘n Blue a fresh listen but Nasty, Nasty has stayed in my rotation…..what a great band they were, they should have been bigger.

Big Time Rush – (various songs): Yes, I’m talking about the boy band from Nickelodeon. I have two daughters and these guys are the biggest deal right now so we went to the concert yesterday (Sunday) at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. I already know most of the songs from my kids’ iPods & CDs and the TV show but I got in a few more songs so I knew the tunes for the concert. My wife & I are cool parents and we shelled out the bucks for our kids to have a great time. I kept it Metal in the parking lot as we tailgated…..

I’ve been catching up on my podcasts as well…..definitely check these out on iTunes or head to their websites…..

Iron City Rocks — http://www.ironcityrocks.com/
Focus On Metal — http://www.focusonmetal.net/
Radioactive Metal — http://www.facebook.com/radmetal
Decibel Geek Podcast — http://dbgeekshow.blogspot.com/
Metalcast — http://www.metalcastshow.com/
Talking Metal — http://www.talkingmetal.com/2011/

The Heavy Metal train keeps rolling to my 30th Anniversary of being a proud Metalhead (August 16th I turn 40!) and there is always plenty to buy! Lots of new releases, used CD treasure and great sales made of another productive, and expensive, month…..

Newbury Comics North Attleboro and Newbury Comics Warwick

Jorn Lande – Bring Heavy Rock To The Land (2012) – $13
Nile – At The Gate Of Sethu (2012) – $12
Machine Head – Unto The Locust (CD/DVD) (2011) – $15 used
Savage Messiah – Plague Of Conscience (2012) – $0 used

My first trip into the North Attleboro store was to take advantage of the sale price on the new Jorn Lande CD. Knowing it was out on Frontiers Records, it was an easy $20 but the sale price saved me $7. I didn’t have to run out for it because the label sent me the promo download but I always support my favorite artists and Jorn is one of the premier Metal singers out there. My second trip was to pick up the new Ozzy DVD and the new Nile album. When I got there, the two copies of the Speak Of The Devil ’82 DVD were sold out so I opted to take advantage of the “buy 1, get 1 free” sale on used discs…..I grabbed the last Machine Head album, Unto The Locust, and the new Savage Messiah record. The Machine Head cost me $15 used but I got the Savage Messiah free so what could have been $35 at regular price, or $23 used price, only cost the $15…..saved more than half on albums I needed. I snagged the new Nile on the way to the counter…..I never got into Nile back in the late ’90s but I’ve always wanted to pick up their 1998 debut full-length Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka. Everytime Nile releases a new record, I get the same urge to buy up some of their CDs so I fired up Spotify this time to stream their back catalog…..real solid Death Metal with Egyptian themes…..and the aren’t Egyptian, they are from South Carolina! Saved $6 buying the day of release and got the deluxe version with the two bonus instrumentals.

Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil (Live From Irvine Meadows ’82) DVD (2012) – $13
Icarus Witch – Rise (2012) – $16
HellYeah – Band Of Brothers (2012) – $12
Defender – They Came Over The High Pass (1999) – $2 used
Glenn Tipton – Baptizm Of Fire (1996/2006 reissue) – $3 used
Broken Teeth – Viva La Rock Fantastico (2009) – $4 used
Superjoint Ritual – A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred (2003) – $4 used
Agent Steel – Skeptics Apocalypse (1985/1998 reissue) – $5 used

My trip into the Warwick store in mid-July was to get the new Ozzy DVD because it was out of stock in North Attleboro. While I was there, I picked up the new Icarus Witch and HellYeah albums. Ozzy and HellYeah were on sale so I saved a few bucks but I had to pay full price for the new Icarus Witch…..it was a must buy because they are one of my favorite traditional Heavy Metal bands of the last 6 years and I’ve been following them since their first E.P. While I was there, I decided to grab a few used CDs that were low in price and I had put together in a certain section of the used Metal CD racks…..the Defender CD was nice and cheap for a Power Metal album and I’d been watching it for awhile, same with the Superjoint Ritual album, but I scored a great newer album with the used Broken Teeth CD. The Agent Steel CD was set aside in my hiding spot because I thought I already owned it but I didn’t and I grabbed the Glenn Tipton reissue because I passed on it when it came out in 2006. Baptizm Of Fire wasn’t that great of a record back when it was first released in 1996 but I can’t resist bonus tracks forever!

Luca Turilli’s Rhaposdy – Ascending To Infinity (2012) – $12

Is it Rhapsody, Rhapsody Of Fire or Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody? The whole Rhapsody name change saga is a big pain in the ass: first they were Rhapsody and I got into their Symphonic/Epic Metal, then 10 years into their career they got sued by another band named Rhapsody for copyright issues and they went on as Rhapsody Of Fire to avoid confusion. Now founding guitarist Luca Turilli has left on good terms and formed a new Rhapsody as Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody and Rhapsody Of Fire is continuing on their own path. Did you get all that? All I know is that I like the Metal and I have two band’s to get my fix from. I went to the North Attleboro store quick while running a few errands and I grabbed this because it was the last copy I saw…..they had stocked at least 6 or 7 when it came out and I grabbed the last one with the sale price tag on it to save $6.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (2012) – $18
Running Wild – Shadowmaker (CD/DVD) (2012) – $18
Baroness – Yellow & Green (Deluxe) (2012) – $0
Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth (CD/DVD) (2012) – $16
Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage (2012) – $12
Crucified Barbara – The Midnight Chace – $0

Last day of the month and an awesome sale…..”Buy 2 get 1 Free on new & used CDs”. I got in the man-van (my rockin’ Kia Sedona!) and raced to North Attleboro when Newbury opened. Everytime I buy on one of these sales, the clerks always group like priced items together so I knew I had to pay a few extra dollars on a couple of CDs to get a similar one for free. Like the Jorn Lande album, I already had the digital promo of the new Crazy Lixx album from Frontiers but I wanted the actual CD for my collection and the new Running Wild disc has been on my list ever since Rock ‘n’ Ralf decided not to retire the band. Both of those CDs were regular price at $18 each but I scored the new Baroness double album for free. Yellow & Green just came out and I have the latest issue of Metal Hammer to thank for adding them to their free sampler CD, so I splurged on the deluxe packaged double disc album and saved the full $17 sale price ($22 regular). The new Testament album was the big release of the week so I bought the deluxe version on sale for $16, added the last copy of the new Gojira album that came out a few weeks ago (thanks again Metal Hammer!) and got the new Crucified Barbara CD for free and saved the full $10 sale price ($18 regular). I was going to buy the latest Dragonforce album that I didn’t get earlier in the year but I opted for the cheaper, and less available, option with Crucified Barbara.

Ebay

White Tiger – s/t (1986/1999 reissue) – $16 used
The Rods – Wild Dogs (1982/1997 reissue) – $12 used
Venom – Cast In Stone (1998) – $6 used

I got an Ebay alert for The Rods – Wild Dogs and I decided to finally try and win one of these CDs. I collect the now defunct German reissue label High Vaultage because of the genuine fan enthusiasm they put into each reissue, each one is chock full of bonus tracks, pictures and extensive liner notes. I noticed the same seller had a copy of Mark St. John’s post-KISS band White Tiger up for auction too so I bid and won on that as well. I added in the Venom album when I did some research and found out it was a 2CD set. All total with shipping was$34 for three albums I didn’t own.

Human Cometh

Human Cometh – HC II (2011) – $13

I was going through all my saved emails and I happened upon my email from the band Human Cometh promoting their second album, HC II. I ended up getting a promo download for review but I like to support the bands so, even though the band already sent me the digital download last year, I decided to go and ourchase the actual CD from the band’s website. Can’t beat any CD that has free shipping so I paid with Paypal and it was a done deal. Unfortunately, the CD hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but I checked and it’s on it’s way!

Total = $222

Total (year) = $1393

Average Price (per item) = $8.99

Total CDs (year) = 149

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1