Posts Tagged ‘Videos’

I went to Ozzfest a few weeks ago at the Comcast Center on 8/24…..I’m just getting around to reviewing it now because there really wasn’t much to review. Let me explain…..

I am an Ozzfest veteran, I have been to the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 shows at the same venue. Each time I was in as soon as the gates opened and I caught as many Metal bands as possible. When the 2003 Ozzfest lineup was announced, I made the concious decision NOT to attend because of the ticket prices vs. what I thought was a poor lineup. Since that missed show, I didn’t attend another Ozzfest until this year. Maybe it was the small run of tour dates (six U.S. shows) or maybe it was because I was going with a group of friends, either way I put down the $100 for a ticket. None of my friends were interested in the smaller bands so the whole point of going was to see Black Label Society, Halford, Motley Crue and Ozzy. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Kataklysm, Skeletonwitch or Kingdom Of Sorrow but they weren’t top priority. So we get to the parking lot and the sky opens up with a steady drizzle that made the tailgate BBQ nice and soggy but I put up the tent and we had a decent feast. The plan was to head in around 4:15pm for the BLS set at 4:30 on the second stage…..we got to the gate about 4:25pm and found out the entire second stage schedule was cancelled due to inclement weather! Now I have been to Ozzfest many times, and I have been to a ton of outdoor shows in rain worse than what was coming down so I was shocked that a full cancellation was in effect. With nothing left to do it was off to the covered pavilion to our seats so we could dry off a little and wait for the main attractions.

Nonpoint & Devildriver

I don’t like either band but, I’ll be honest, I also never really heard their music. Actually, I saw Nonpoint at Ozzfest 2001 and I gave the first song off their new album, MIRACLE (2010), a spin when I got a free promo copy from their label. Like I said, not a fan of either band and both performances didn’t help the cause. All I heard was noise and unintelligible shouting and there was nothing extraordinary about Nonpoint or Devildriver for me. That said, I can tell you both bands had large followings and got a ton of applause, I assume that they get played on local Boston radio station 107.3 WAAF and Providence, RI’s 94.1 WHJY. I don’t listen to current Rock radio so I don’t get the appeal but I will listen to the new Nonpoint and review it at some point before the end of the year and I will grab a Devildriver CD if I find it used at a really low price.

Halford setlist:

Resurrection
Made In Hell
Locked And Loaded
Nailed To The Gun (Fight song)
Golgotha
Crystal
Drop Out
Made Of Metal (new song)
Cyberworld
Heart Of A Lion (Judas Priest song)
Never Satisfied (Judas Priest song)
Saviour

Like I mentioned before, we were there to see the four headliners but I know I was the only Halford fan. I knew going in that the band was going to play mostly from the Halford band catalogue and maybe we would get a Judas Priest song or two. I am a huge fan of Rob’s solo career so I was psyched to get all the RESURRECTION and CRUCIBLE songs but the highlights for me were the lone Fight track, ‘Nailed To The Gun’, and the new song, ‘Made Of Metal’, from Halford’s upcoming new album of the same name. It wouldn’t be a Rob Halford performance if he didn’t touch upon Judas Priest so he pulled out two deep tracks with ‘Heart Of A Lion’ (a song demoed in 1985 for the TURBO album) and ‘Never Satisfied’ from SAD WINGS OF DESTINY (1976). Those two songs were unbelievable! Turns out that this show was on Rob’s birthday so, at the end of the set, the crew brought out a cake and the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Rob Halford…..a cool moment that ended a flawless performance.

Motley Crue setlist:

Kickstart My Heart
Wild Side
Shout At The Devil
Saints Of Los Angeles
Looks That Kill
Live Wire
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation
Home Sweet Home
Mutherfucker Of The Year
Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)
Primal Scream
Dr. Feelgood
Girls, Girls, Girls

Of all the headliners, the one band I knew would definitely get the arena rocking was Motley Crue. I’ve seen just about every tour since the GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS tour back in 1988 and they Crue deliver each time. Forget the fact that Vince Neil sings only have the words most of the time, the band has a ton of hits and always plays a deep track or two in their set and the musicianship is usually flawless. The bottom line is that the Crue put on a great show and this one was no exception. The band came out to the high-powered opener ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and put the pedal to the Metal! Look at the setlist…..it’s just hit after hit along with two songs from their last studio album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES (2009), and a deep cut from SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1983) with the Beatles’ tune ‘Helter Skelter’. I’m an old school Crue fan, I was there at the beginning, so I love hearing tracks from the first two recordsso ‘Live Wire’, ‘Looks That Kill’ and ‘Shout At The Devil’ went over huge with me but I would have liked another track or two…..maybe if the set was longer because you can’t cut any of the other hits out! Like I mentioned, Vince Neil still only sings half the words but he sounds better (if that’s possible) and the band was tight and dead on. I would say the performance of the night fell to guitarist Mick Mars…..it’s hard to watch that guy stand up or walk but he played flawlessly! The other three guys may be the faces of Motley Crue but Mick Mars is definitely the backbone. All in all, I’d say this was a solid performance and the band had the crowd looking for more.

Ozzy setlist:

Bark At The Moon
Let Me Hear You Scream
Mr. Crowley
I Don’t Know
Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)
Fire In The Sky
Suicide Solution
Road To Nowhere
Into The Void (Black Sabbath cover)
Shot In the Dark
Rat Salad (Black Sabbath cover)
Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)
I Don’t Want To Change The World
Crazy Train

Encore:
Mama I’m Coming Home
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)

Here’s the thing about Ozzy…..his performances are hit or miss. I’ve seen Ozzy mulitple times on every solo tour since NO MORE TEARS (1991) and he is usually really good, the one exception being the 2001/2002 tour for DOWN TO EARTH. As I mentioned before, I’ve seen Ozzfest from 1998 to 2002 and now this one (that’s 6!) and he has performed solo on four of them, each one hit or miss. The two Ozzfests that I saw with Black Sabbath headlining were really great so is it a case of Ozzy being too comfortable in his own material or that ultimately Black Sabbath is more than just Ozzy? Either way, I was excited to see Ozzy because he finally released a new record that wasn’t a letdown, SCREAM being the best album since 1995′s OZZMOSIS.

First thing I noticed was that Ozzy sounded great…..he opened with the classic ‘Bark At The Moon’ and his vocals were the best I’ve heard since the OZZMOSIS tour. The new band was really powerful, especially new guitarist Gus G. (Firewind, Dream Evil) who added a new edge to the overall sound. Nothing against Zakk Wylde but sometimes a new member can add a new spark. Same thing goes for bassist Blasko, drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman…..these guys all had an energy to them that seemed to revive the Prince Of Darkness to put on an inspired show. The Blasko/Clufetos rhythm section is solid, no surprise as they have worked together in Rob Zombie’s band, giving them a modern sound and Adam Wakeman is a solid keyboardist/guitarist much like his father Rick Wakeman of the Progressive Rock band Yes. If I had to pick a standout performance it would definitely be Ozzy because his singing is much improved this time around but Gus G.’s guitar playing was dead on to Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde proving that he is a versatile young guitar player.

The setlist was pretty good although a little predictable. All the usual hits were there (‘Bark At The Moon’, ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Crazy Train’, and ‘Mr. Crowley’) but I was a little surprised by ‘Shot In The Dark’ because usually Ozzy & Sharon dismiss THE ULTIMATE SIN (1986) so much so that it’s the only Ozzy studio album deleted from the available catalog! Ozzy played two deep tracks with ‘Fire In The Sky’ from NO REST FOR THE WICKED (1988) and the excellent ‘Road To Nowhere’ from NO MORE TEARS. As with any Ozzy concert, the setlist had some Black Sabbath songs included…..this time around five but one was a solo section for the rest of the band when they did ‘Rat Salad’ from PARANOID (1970). ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and ‘Into The Void’ were excellent, so were ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ but I am sick of those two songs after so many years. Bottom line…..one of the best times I’ve seen Ozzy live in a long time!

Alestorm - Black Sails At Midnight (2009 limited edition)Alestorm - Black Sails At Midnight (2009 original)

Alestorm – Black Sails At Midnight (2009, Napalm Records)

  1. The Quest
  2. Leviathan
  3. That Famous Ol’ Spiced
  4. Keelhauled
  5. To The End Of Our Days
  6. Black Sails At Midnight
  7. No Quarter
  8. Pirate Song
  9. Chronicles Of Vengeance
  10. Wolves Of The Sea

(The limited edition includes a bonus DVD – Live At Wacken Open Air 2008)

Band Lineup:
Christopher Bowes – Vocals, Keyboards, Tin Whistle
Dani Evans – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Ian Wilson – Drums, Percussion, Vibraslap, Backing Vocals
Gareth Murdock – Bass
Migo Wagner – Session Drums
Lasse Lambert – Session Guitars, Backing Vocals

Producer: Lasse Lammert

Country: United Kingdom (Scotland)

Total Time = 46:17

Alestorm
Alestorm MySpace page
Napalm Records

Alestorm have set sail on their new voyage across the Metal seas to bring us their new album, BLACK SAILS AT MIDNIGHT, the follow-up to last year’s adventurous debut CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE. Alestorm is a band of Scotsman who really enjoy their fantasy realm of pirates, pillage and plunder and they use their Power/Folk Metal sound to create what they call “Pirate Metal”. Their music has elements of Thrash, Folk, and Power Metal mixed with orchestration and symphonics to give it a high seas sound. I have to admit I like the pirate gimmick because it’s something different, usually it’s all dungeons & dragons, but the fact that Alestorm are really good musicians makes the gimmick work.

‘The Quest’ opens the album with furious riffage and double bass drumming mixed with folk, it’s a seriously fast and heavy song that starts this pirate tale, a solid straight forward opener. The band immeadiately shows off it’s epic side with the equally heavy ‘Leviathan’ with it’s rolling riffs and symphonic orchestration to narrate the story of hunting one of the high seas’ legendary beasts. Christopher Bowes sings pretty much clean throughout the entire record but there are some aggressive growls on the bridge and chorus, especially the backing vocals, and adds to the diverse sound.

A pirate likes his rum and Alestorm likes it too, ‘That Famous Ol’ Spiced’ is their power tribute to the drink. It’s another speed riff song with the hook filled chorus and orchestration to bolster the sound. I like the tin whistle that mirrors the lyrics on the chorus, if you listen to the album closely you can hear that whistle on almost every song. So what do you do after you drink all that rum? You make a traitor walk the plank! ‘Keelhauled’ is a more traditional pirate sounding song with all the bells, whistles, bagpipes and violins thrown into the Power Metal mix as the band sends their tied traitor overboard to be drowned along their ships’ keel. Sounds like a brutal way to die but the pirates in Alestorm make it sound more of a celebration with a lot of “yo-ho-hos” in for good measure!

The voyage slows down for a ballad…..yes, a ballad! ‘To The End Of Our Days’ is slow and epic and uses the orchestration and some sounds of the sea to create the musical landscape. The song sounds like something Manowar would do but with subpar vocals. Bowes is no Eric Adams and his aggressive snarl doesn’t really fit a ballad but I guess pirates get sentimental at times too! The title track bursts in to keep the album going strong with another power riff feast mixed with complimentary keyboards and heavy drums while ‘No Quarter’ is the same type of song but with more prominent keyboards and no vocals except for a couple of “heys”. I’m not always a big fan of instrumentals because I always feel like it’s an unfinished song…..the band couldn’t come up with any words? The key is to keep the listener interested and ‘No Quarter’ has enough musical layers to keep my attention and it’s pretty good. Now you know there is no way that Alestorm was going to go a whole record without having a song with “pirate” in the title did you? ‘Pirate Song’ is a little to pirate for me and it suffers from the weakest guitar performance of the album until the duelling guitar/keyboard solo. I think the pace has more to do with it because it’s more mid-paced and the pirate theme really works well when the band moves at breakneck speed.

Alestorm moves into epic territory again with ‘Chronicles Of Vengeance’, a tale of battle on the high seas full of powerful guitar and symphonic composition. I have to pair this up with ‘Leviathan’ as two of the top tracks on the record, not just because they are both epics but because both songs are examples of how Alestorm uses a variety of sound to give their songs such an adventurous feel. The closing song, ‘Wolves Of The Sea’, is actually a cover song of the Latvian musical project Pirates Of The Sea, who performed at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. There are a lot of “hi hi ho’s” and “hi hi hey’s” in this song that set the pirate feel right away but the song is another Power Metal feast…..the gang vocals are really catchy and it’s pretty much straightforward Metal until a quick middle solo that has a Caribbean flavor. If there was ever an anthem for Alestorm, this would be it! I can just see this being a concert favorite complete with audience participation on the chorus. I know it’s a cover song, and I can’t stand that, but it’s a really catchy tune…..the hook in the chorus is what gets you.

Bottom Line:
I’m a sucker for a good gimmick and Alestorm have sucked me in with their lyrical imagery of all things pirates! The concept is still pretty fresh when you consider how much swords & sorcery there is in Metal today, there really are only a few bands out their flying their jolly roger high for Pirate Metal. Alestorm has stormed back with a sophomore album that really doesn’t stray too far from the debut’s direction but I guess that’s the whole point. When you’re do something well then you keep doing it until it’s not successful. There’s enough different styles of Metal to please a wide range of fans but the core focus is probably on the Power, Epic and Viking Metal fans. There are some diverse songs with different sounds and tempos but there are also couple that sound like they’ve been done before. I really like the album and I haven’t stopped playing it since I bought it…..I guess you could say I’m “hooked”! Definitely a really good solid fun record, one of my favorites of the year so far.

Favorite Songs:
‘The Quest’, ‘Leviathan’, ‘That Famous Ol’ Spiced’, ‘Keelhauled’, ‘No Quarter’, ‘Chronicles Of Vengeance’, ‘Wolves Of The Sea’