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Metal Weekly!

Discussion in 'Music Reviews, Albums, Biography etc' started by death_metal_fan, Jan 3, 2005.

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  1. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Hello my fellow IGT members,

    With permission from the moderators (disturbed and bobby) I have decided to start my own column called 'Metal Weekly'. This column will feature a review of one metal album (new and old) each week, starting today. The review will constitute my own work.

    The purpose of this thread is to introduce metal and non-metal listeners to a variety of different types of metal which is why I will review albums from different genres of metal to show how diverse metal is as a genre. The exception to this is mallcore (or nu-metal or rapcore or whatever you want to call it). I will absolutely not review mainstream metal. That is unacceptable to me.

    Another request to IGT members: DO NOT reply to this thread.

    I wish this thread remain free of replies, so that anyone can browse through this thread and easily find the review they may be looking for. It would be even better if moderators lock this topic. Then I can PM them whenever I need it re-opened (the next Monday that is)

    Please note that this is not a light-hearted decision on my part and I plan to make serious commitment to this column and this will remain an IGT Exclusive as long as I am a member of this forum. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I do writing the reviews. Also for those who would like the review in a more stylish format, there is a PDF of the same review attached.

    I would very much like if this thread be made a sticky.

    Apart from that I hope you find this column interesting. If you like it or if you have any suggestions, be a dude and PM me but I don't want to hear any complaints. :p: Monday seems like a good day to begin so I present to you my first review; Iron Maiden's 'Dance of Death'.
     
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  2. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App
  3. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Iron Maiden - Dance Of Death Review

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    Artist: Iron Maiden
    Album: Dance of Death
    Year: 2003
    Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal

    Track list:

    Wildest Dreams (3:51)
    Rainmaker (3:48)
    No More Lies (7:21)
    Montségur (5:50)
    Dance of Death (8:36)
    Gates of Tomorrow (5:11)
    New Frontier (5:04)
    Paschendale (8:27)
    Face in the Sand (6:30)
    Age of Innocence (6:10)
    Journeyman (7:05)

    Line-up:
    Bruce Dickinson (vocals)
    Dave Murray (guitars)
    Janick Gers (guitars)
    Adrian Smith (guitars)
    Steve Harris (bass)
    Nicko McBrain (drums)

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 or so years you have heard of Iron Maiden. One of the pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), Maiden has made a classic comeback with ‘Dance of Death’. A lot of metal fans heaved a sigh of relief when Bruce and Adrian returned to Maiden after an abstinence of nearly 8 years. Maiden’s records during that period, ‘X-Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’ with Blaze Bayley on vocals were disappointing and not received well by the majority of metal fans. 2000’s ‘Brave New World’ with the classic line-up together again restored Maiden’s status in the world of heavy metal and ‘Dance of Death’ seems to have taken that one step further and given metalheads something to rave about in an age where mainstream is tarnishing the good name of metal.

    ‘Dance of Death’ sets the pace with a classic Maiden-style opener in ‘Wildest Dreams’. Trust me, 15 seconds into the song and you will not be able deny that the old Maiden magic is still working. ‘Rainmaker’ also continues in similar fashion with a fantastic opening riff and a splendid lead break in the middle somewhere. These two however are the shortest songs on the album, clocking in at just under 4 minutes each. Although great songs, the real good stuff comes in once you get those out of the way.

    Now we have the first of three epics; ‘No More Lies’ opens with a lovely intro that gives a nod to ‘Brave New World’ and then breaks into a galloping ride with Bruce giving a fantastic vocal performance even at his age. ‘Montségur’ which begins with a heavy driving riff that immediately took me back to ‘Piece of Mind’ and brought a tear to my eye. The first time I heard it, I could hardly believe that Maiden could crank out such a monster after all these years. It simply rips and is one of my favorites on this album. The second epic on the album, the title track is a complex intriguing piece that combines fantastic melody, story-telling and Harris’ trademark bass lines. Even though it starts off slow, ‘Dance of Death’ features some splendid solos with the triple-guitar effect being heard in its awesome entirety here. Despite its ‘epic’ length, the title track deserves to be heard. Do not even think about going near the skip button.

    ‘Gates of Tomorrow’ I admit starts off weird, almost like the Blaze-era songs, but before I was halfway through the song, I was singing along with the chorus. It’s fantastic and one of the best songs of ‘classic’ length on the album. ‘New Frontier’ follows in similar style with Nicko getting his first songwriting credit with the Maiden machine (about time too…he’s only been with the band 20 years!). ‘Paschendale’ is the final epic on this album. It starts off with a cool drum machine intro and some nice melody lines with Bruce telling a story about a soldier on the battlefield during World War I. The duel between soothing melody and crushing riffs is as fantastic as the triple-guitar solos around the 5 minute mark. This is my favorite epic of the three and one of my favorite songs on the album. ‘Face in the Sand’ opens with a magical intro that immediately reminded me of ‘Blood Brothers’. The atmosphere is brilliantly set until the bass drum comes kicking in setting the pace for the song. I had to play the intro at least 5 times because I was simply hooked by its catchiness and had to learn to play it on my guitar until I would allow myself to hear the rest of the song.

    ‘Age of Innocence’ is quite good as well but after 45 minutes of brilliance it is a notch lower than the rest but shows Bruce giving a great vocal performance. It sets the mood perfectly for the album closer ‘Journeyman’. This has to be one of the best and most mature songs Maiden has written for many years. Bruce’s voice has so much emotion and passion in this song and the flow of the song is unmatched by anything I’ve ever heard for a long time now. The keyboards in the background are a nice touch and the break in the middle is nothing short of mesmerizing. It is definitely the best album closer of all Maiden albums.

    ‘Dance of Death’ has it all, typical Maiden-style galloping riffs, fantastic leads, excellent songwriting and precise drumming. Production is crisp and very good. Overall, an absolute gem of an album, ‘Dance of Death’ is going to find a comfortable home in my collection right next to ‘Piece of Mind’ and ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’. ‘Paschendale’ and the title track are worth the price of the album alone. I for one am glad that Maiden did the right thing by getting Bruce and Adrian back as like many Maiden fans, I believe that Maiden were going nowhere with the range-less Blaze in front. Iron Maiden has become a source of inspiration to a new generation of fans and young guitarists like me by proving that it is possible to hold on to metal’s roots and still forge a sound that is unmistakably familiar and fresh at the same time.

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: Paschendale, Dance of Death, Montségur
     

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  4. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Children Of Bodom - Hate Crew Deathroll Review

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    Artist: Children Of Bodom
    Album: Hate Crew Deathroll
    Year: 2003
    Genre: Gothenburg Death Metal

    Track list:

    Needled 24/7 (4:08)
    Sixpounder (3:24)
    Chokehold (Cocked ‘N’ Locked) (4:12)
    Bodom Beach Terror (4:35)
    Angels Don’t Kill (5:13)
    Triple Corpse Hammerblow (4:06)
    You’re Better Off Dead (4:11)
    Lil’ Bloodred Ridin’ Hood (3:24)
    Hate Crew Deathroll (3:36)

    Line-up:
    Alexi Laiho (vocals/guitar)
    Alexander Kuoppala (guitars)
    Hennkka Blacksmith (bass)
    Jaska Raatikainen (drums)
    Janne Warman (keyboards)

    Children Of Bodom like their peers Dark Tranquility, In Flames and Kalmah are one of the pioneers of the classic Gothenburg sound. Founded by Alexi and Jaska in 1997, Children Of Bodom have an interesting history behind their name. Bodom is a region in Espoo, the 2nd biggest city in Finland. The band grew up near Bodom but they come from a region called Oittaa which is also located in the city of Espoo. There is also a huge lake called Bodominjärvi (Finnish for Lake Bodom) between Oittaa and Bodom. Lake Bodom is also the site of a gruesome murder and is famous throughout Finland because of it. In June of 1960, 4 children who had gone camping on the shores of Lake Bodom were brutally attacked in the middle of the night by someone or something. Three of the children were stabbed to death while the fourth barely managed to escape with his life. The horrific triple-murder launched one of the largest criminal investigations in the history of Finland. This is the main reason for the overbearing reference to the Reaper and the inclusion of at least one Bodom-related song in all of CoB’s records.

    Children Of Bodom have been getting a lot of publicity (both good and bad) in the metal scene recently because of their punk-like attitude, love for alcohol and insane musicianship. The amazing talent of lead ax Alexi Laiho and the wonderful finger work of keyboardist Janne Warman really sets the Children apart from other Gothenburg-style bands. The recent addition of ex-Stone guitarist Roope Latvala to the line-up adds to the band’s talent as Roope is renowned for his amazing guitar-playing skills (Alexi has often mentioned that Roope was one of his greatest Finnish influences and playing with him in Children Of Bodom is like a dream come true).

    ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ opens in style with the frantic opener ‘Needled 24/7’. It’s been composed to make the listener feel comfortable that Children Of Bodom have kept their sound intact. The opening track’s assault is unrelenting and the Children know it. It’s been a concert regular ever since. The track ends with an eerie spoken part (“Death? What do you all know about death?”) that is actually an intro for the crushing ‘Sixpounder’. One of the heaviest tracks on the album, its name is appropriately derived from the Sixpounder cannons used in the American Civil War and also during the 1857 Uprising in India. The crushing riff that forms the backbone of the track is very Pantera-like in structure and just kills; definitely my favorite track from this album.

    After those two killers, we have the least Bodom-sounding song. ‘Chokehold’ starts off with a strange but surprisingly fresh riff and unlike any CoB track before it features the rest of the band on backup vocals. The song structure itself is not like anything Children Of Bodom have composed before but it kills with a moody keyboard section, followed by a double solo (guitar &keyboard) attack in the middle. It’s unbelievable how skilled Janne is on the keyboard. The reason most Bodom keyboard stuff is so insanely difficult is because Alexi composes them on his guitar. So while Alexi plays a very fast solo on the guitar, Janne just repeats it with his keyboard and they often solo together like on ‘Chokehold’. It’s no wonder then that Janne has been ranked best keyboardist of all time by BURRN Magazine in 2000.

    ‘Bodom Beach Terror’ has a catchy chorus and nice riff to back it up and has become another concert regular although ridiculed for the rather stupid title and silly lyrics (“We'll pay you Bodom beach terror”…what the hell is that?). Just like Needled, this track ends with another speech, ("My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. I fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no escape.") which serves as an intro to ‘Angels Don’t Kill’, one of my favorite songs from this album and possibly the only Bodom song without Jaska’s pounding double bass. The slow pace of the song and the depressive heaviness (the band down-tuned the guitars for this song) really sets this song apart from the sheer pace of the rest of the album.

    ‘Triple Corpse Hammerblow’ is a Bodom-related song (makes sense one you remember that 3 of the 4 kids were murdered at Bodom) and in typical Bodom fashion it features fast guitar riffs and speedy drumming. But this is where the magic starts fading away a little. This and the next 2 tracks are not really the high points of the album (definitely not the first tracks I would recommend for getting anyone into Bodom). Although they are good, they get old quickly.

    ‘You’re Better Off Dead’ is supposed to be a Bodom classic, but I don’t find it very interesting. It just follows the tried-and-tested Bodom formula but has some fantastic soloing about halfway through the song. ‘Lil’ Bloodred Ridin’ Hood’ again is alright, but I regularly skip this one. Also what is with the title for this song? The thing that prevents this album ending on a low note is really the fantastic title track. Ultra-heavy riffs and brutal drumming makes this one of the heaviest CoB albums till date and one of the best such. Again the Pantera-influence is clearly evident and some of the lyrics are even similar to ‘Rise’. A great album closer and in my opinion second only to ‘Downfall’.

    The ‘Hate Crew’ has done it again. ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ has all the trademarks of a Bodom album. Crushing riffs, brilliant soloing, intense drumming, everything you except from the boys from Finland is in here. Production of course is good and each instrument stands out well. The Enhanced CD version of this album contains a cover of Slayer’s ‘Silent Scream’ which is worth checking out. If you are already a Bodom fan, then this will not disappoint although if you’re expecting another ‘Hatebreeder’, this is not it. It seems that Children Of Bodom are trying to steer away from the Gothenburg sound into a thrashier style (This is even more evident on the new single ‘Trashed, Lost & Strungout’). I would definitely recommend this album to anyone trying to get into extreme metal or even into Bodom. If you like this record, definitely check out ‘Hatebreeder’ and ‘Follow The Reaper’.

    Rating: 4 Stars

    Best Songs: Sixpounder, Angels Don’t Kill, Hate Crew Deathroll
     

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  5. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Death - The Sound Of Perseverance Review

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    Artist: Death
    Album: The Sound of Perseverance
    Year: 1998
    Genre: Death Metal

    Track list:

    Scavenger Of Human Sorrow (6:54)
    Bite The Pain (4:29)
    Spirit Crusher (6:44)
    Story To Tell (6:34)
    Flesh And The Power It Holds (8:25)
    Voice Of The Soul (3:42)
    To Forgive Is To Suffer (5:55)
    A Moment Of Clarity (7:22)
    Painkiller (6:03)

    Line-up:
    Chuck Schuldiner (vocals/guitar)
    Shannon Hamm (guitars)
    Scott Clendenin (bass)
    Richard Christy (drums)

    Where do I begin to describe the magic that is ‘The Sound of Perseverance’? The finest hour of the true legend of technical death metal Chuck Schuldiner, ‘The Sound of Perseverance’ is a metaphorical journey through Chuck’s heart and soul. This is the last work (under the Death label) of one of the greatest musicians of our time. Death was founded by guitar wizard Chuck Schuldiner in late 1984 out of the ashes of his previous project Mantas. Drawing musical inspiration from Venom and Slayer, Chuck made a vow to create a genre of music that was unlike anything the world had seen before (and boy did he deliver!). Death’s first 2 albums, Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy were the founding stones of the genre with emphasis on sheer speed and brutality. Those 2 albums were the main source of inspiration for countless other death metal bands.

    Chuck however was not content with his music and decided on a third experimental album labeled Spiritual Healing. Spiritual Healing was a small step away from the extreme brutality of the previous 2 records but saw Death take a more technical approach to the music and was critically acclaimed as ground-breaking. The next decade saw Death mature musically and the technicality just kept increasing with Chuck gathering unbelievable talent (the likes of drummer Gene Hoglan, bassist Steve DiGiorgio, drummer Richard Christy and guitarist Rick Rozz) to his project. Human, Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic were all increasingly complex and beautiful which resulted in the ultimate blend of brutality and technicality that is ‘The Sound of Perseverance’. It truly is the sound of Chuck’s perseverance.

    This magical journey begins with a ferocious drum intro to ‘Scavenger Of Human Sorrow’ by ex-Iced Earth drummer Richard Christy and what a drummer Chuck found. I thought Gene was a fantastic drummer but Richard’s near-perfect snare hits and sick blast beats just blew me away the first time I heard it. Following the drum intro is a guitar solo by Chuck which should give you some idea of the man’s guitar prowess. The crushing riff that enters is soul-wrenching and unrelenting. The chorus features some unbelievable double-kick drumming (it will definitely make you want to stand up and thrash around). The break is abrupt and stunning, where the song kicks into an amazing solo by new ax Shannon Hamm which finally leads into the climax of the song. The lyrics also are surprisingly thoughtful and philosophical in nature. For instance when Chuck screams “So you have traveled far across the sea to spread your written brand of misery”, it immediately brought the September 11th terrorist attacks to mind. Chuck has often mentioned that this album and Symbolic are the most personal as they contain his views and feelings. An absolutely fantastic 8 minute piece; it ranks among my favorite songs of all time, simply put it’s unbelievable. And it only gets better from here on.

    ‘Bite The Pain’ starts with a lovely guitar lead which just goes to show how accomplished Chuck was as a musician. I would not be able to write a sweeter riff if they gave me a hundred years. But Richard’s ferocious drumming keeps reminding you that no matter how melodious the passages get, this is death metal. The song only increases in intensity with Chuck’s vocals reaching out to the listener. Like most Death songs, this one features incredible musicianship with near-insane time changes.

    After the near chaos of the 2 openers, ‘Spirit Crusher’ starts off slow with a heavy bass intro. The build-up to the chorus is steady with some truly eerie lyrics (“Human at sight…Monster at heart…Don’t let it inside…It could tear you right apart”). The chorus is truly the focal point of the song. When Chuck screams “Spirit Crusher”, you can feel the emotion in his voice and are left with no choice but to scream along with him. Furious soloing accompanied by lightning quick drumming leaves the listener mentally exhausted by the unending tempo changes. Words are incapable of describing the grip this song has on you. It is possibly my favorite Death song (although Scavenger is incredibly close!). ‘Story To Tell’ is another masterpiece with some truly divine lyrics (“When you think of me in your multi-dimensional mind, try and wash the "evil" from your mind and open it”….unbelievable!). As can be expected from Death, the musicianship is top notch with some incredible pauses (and the massive sonic attacks a second after them!). The progressive nature of the music is strongly evident from songs such as this.

    One of the fastest and most brutal tracks on the album (and consequently the only track which hints that Death started as a gore-oriented band), ‘Flesh And The Power It Holds’ truly showcases Richard’s incredible drumming talent. His ferocious pounding on the skins is relentless and destructive. In my opinion he is able to utilize his skills to a far greater extent with Death than with Iced Earth (inspite of how talented Iced Earth are, Hamm and Schuldiner are in a class of their own). It is a shame then that Richard has decided to leave music and pursue a career as a comedian. What follows is an indescribable 3 and a half minute instrumental called ‘Voice Of The Soul’. The first time I heard this song, I almost started crying. My vocabulary is incapable of even attempting to describe how beautiful it is. No….it must be heard to be appreciated. The beauty of the acoustic riff and the leads played over it result in a magical harmony of musical notes. This truly is the benchmark for all instrumentals and one I believe will not ever be reached again, let alone surpassed.

    The last two Death songs are also quite amazing in the own right (although in my opinion not quite up to the mark of the six monsters before it.). Still, they are far beyond the abilities of most musicians in the world today. ‘To Forgive Is To Suffer’ is the better of the two by far with some of the best riffs Chuck has composed yet. His stand-alone solo in the middle is nothing short of breathtaking. Also features some superb blast beat drumming on the part of Richard Christy. ‘A Moment Of Clarity’ is the final touch to the album. A great effort no doubt, but I find this one does not hold my interest as much as the others do. Despite some brilliant (and I mean god-like) soloing, I find this track hard to get into. Maybe because it is quite long (7 and a half minutes) or maybe I’m just expecting too much. Nevertheless it is one you will definitely enjoy if you just play it as a stand-alone track (instead of playing the whole album at a stretch as I usually do). The double-kick drumming (similar to that on Empty Words) serves as an excellent outro to one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever. The last track on the album is a cover of Judas Priest’s Painkiller with some nicely improvised solos. Chuck does quite a good job covering it and even manages a few ‘Halford-only’ screams.

    Unless you have not realized it already, ‘The Sound of Perseverance’ is the ultimate zenith of all death metal albums in my books. The production is perfect and every note and hit is crystal clear. Chuck’s vocals have become quite high-pitched on this album which did not sit well with some fans. Maybe he’s been listening to too much black metal, but I for one would not have it any other way. This album is the perfect example of how a band keeps maturing until they have reached the point where there is nothing left for them to conquer. It thus cannot be compared to any other death metal album out there for it is so much more and will forever stand alone on its mountain of superiority. It is therefore sad that Chuck’s genius was not meant to last. After a 2 and half year fight with brain stem cancer, Chuck ‘Death’ Schuldiner passed away on December 13th, 2001. A legend of heavy metal, he will be forever missed but never forgotten.

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: Spirit Crusher, Scavenger Of Human Sorrow, Voice Of The Soul
     

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  6. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Megadeth - Rust In Peace Review

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    Artist: Megadeth
    Album: Rust In Peace
    Year: 1990
    Genre: Thrash Metal

    Track list:

    Holy Wars…The Punishment Due (6:36)
    Hangar 18 (5:14)
    Take No Prisoners (3:28)
    Five Magics (5:42)
    Poison Was The Cure (2:58)
    Lucretia (3:58)
    Tornado Of Souls (5:22)
    Dawn Patrol (1:50)
    Rust In Peace…Polaris (5:36)

    Line-up:
    Dave Mustaine (vocals/guitars)
    Marty Friedman (guitars)
    David Ellefson (bass)
    Nick Menza (drums)

    One of the ‘Big Four’ of the Bay Area Thrashers (the others being Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica), Megadeth were among the pioneers of advanced thrash in the mid 1980s. If there was one word to describe Megadeth’s ‘raison d'être’ it would be jealousy. As most people know Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica in early 1983 even before Metallica had put out their first record (although Mustaine helped write some of the songs that appeared on ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and even ‘Ride The Lightning’). Angry and jealous of Metallica’s success (and particularly jealous of his replacement Kirk Hammett), Mustaine forged a new band by the name of Megadeth with the sole intention of getting back at his former band mates who he still believes ‘betrayed’ him.

    Megadeth’s early line-up included Slayer guitarist Kerry King who helped Megadeth on tour in late 1983. Chris Poland was hired as Megadeth’s first full-time guitarist with Gar Samuelson on the skins. Megadeth’s debut ‘Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!’ was not as well received as Megadeth’s next offering ‘Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?’ in 1986 which has become a minor classic in its own right with thrilling songs such as ‘Peace Sells’ and ‘My Last Words’. Following Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson’s departure, 1988 saw Megadeth (with new guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Behler) release ‘So Far So Good…So What?’ which seemed to be just a rehash of the songs on ‘Peace Sells’. Many fans wondered if Megadeth had already stagnated and if the spark had gone out of Dave’s anti-everything attitude. More problems followed as Mustaine fired both Young and Behler and Megadeth seemed like a one-hit wonder. But Dave had a trick up his sleeve in the form of guitar wizard Marty Friedman and Nick Menza and released the speed metal masterpiece appropriately titled ‘Rust In Peace’.

    The opener ‘Holy Wars…The Punishment Due’ is a song that most metalheads hail as a God by now. A complex titan of a song, it takes different musical influences and combines the speed of thrash with the progressiveness that Marty Friedman’s unique techniques brought to the band. As evident from the title it criticizes wars in the Middle East. The first half, Holy Wars is an all-out thrash attack, destroying everything in its path. The main riff grips you with an iron fist and will stay in your head long after the song is over, I promise you that. The intro to ‘The Punishment Due’ is a wonderful Spanish solo by Marty. Punishment seems like a mid-tempo song until the abrupt transition into Mustaine’s solo which is truly punishing. One of my favorite solos and songs ever, I never seem to tire of listening to it.

    The relentless assault continues with ‘Hangar 18’ which has a ridiculously catchy opening riff. The song is loosely based on the tired tale of the United States government concealing its attempts to contact with alien life forms from the general public. But the truth is this song was designed with only 1 thing in mind…Face melting solos. Dave and Marty play some incredibly fast solos throughout the second half of the song (probably the fastest Megadeth have ever played). ‘Take No Prisoners’ is another fast thrasher, focused on the massacre in World War II. The opening riff is truly killer; you can almost taste the impending destruction. Fortunately the song delivers, although the backup vocals become a bit corny after a while. The songwriting though is brilliant with some fantastic riffs crammed into a mere 3 and half minutes. On this song, Megadeth seem to make even Slayer sound weak. It is unbelievably brutal and only makes wonder where Megadeth would have gone had they stuck to thrash instead of stepping off the gas like they did with ‘Countdown To Extinction’.

    ‘Five Magics’ is another all-out thrash machine. Megadeth really did get everything just right on this record. Although the first half is not really fast (not counting the frantic opening riff), the song progresses quite well and the speed it picks up during the last minute or so is completely insane (Marty’s giving it everything he’s got….the soloing is nothing short of brilliant). ‘Poison Was The Cure’ starts off weird. A minute of distorted bass before the actual speed kicks. Nevertheless the remaining 2 minutes is almost as much fun as driving 200 km/h (and it even seems as if the song is running close to that speed).

    After 20 minutes of ear-shattering speed, ‘Lucretia’ is where the speed kicks out a little. Unfortunately this was the first Megadeth song I heard and am in a way biased to it. After a heavy start it sort of fails to gather any steam and just settles as a mid-tempo rocker. The real highlight of this song is the solo; Beautifully executed, it’s what saves the song from a complete plummet. This also was the first indication of the direction Megadeth would take in the years to come. Almost thrash, but not quite. ‘Lucretia’ also seems to kick the band in the face for cutting the speed out, because the fantastic ‘Tornado Of Souls’ dispels any notions that Megadeth intend to slow down for the second half of the record (well, almost). A monster of a song with a fantastic opening riff, it builds up perfectly to the solo and Marty in usual fashion absolutely destroys the memory of any guitar solo you’ve ever heard before.

    ‘Dawn Patrol’ is the biggest surprise on this album. The first time I heard it I was like “What the hell was that?” Possibly filler or an intro to the title track or just something that resulted from Dave smoking too much marijuana, it is basically a speech about the world enveloped in nuclear winter. Speed is lowered to almost non-existent and this song frankly blows. Well I’ll forgive them this once, because the monster title track finishes things on a high note. Complex, fast, ultra-heavy with a great performance by Menza on drums, ‘Rust In Peace…Polaris’ is basically a song about the end of the world from nuclear war (hence the reference to the Polaris nuclear missile) and is a wake-up kick to whoever fell asleep listening to ‘Dawn Patrol’ (well I did!). Once again the solos kill and in typical Megadeth fashion it’s filled with more riffs than necessary with completely in-your-face playing (love it!).

    The last thrash effort by the mighty Deth and the best such ‘Rust In Peace’ has been forever showcased in thrash history as one of the most consistent ass-kicking metal albums of all time (great to listen to in the early morning). A major improvement has been in the vocals department. Dave’s voice is actually tolerable now and it is possible to figure out lyrics without having to refer to the booklet. A good thing because Dave’s lyrics are often interesting (even more so on ‘Countdown To Extinction’). It also seems that Megadeth have figured out the winning line-up and the talent of Marty Friedman is astounding. Nick Menza also in my opinion is a much more interesting drummer than Gar Samuelson whose lackluster drumming made the songs seem mechanical (check out ‘Peace Sells’ to see what I mean). Production also is a step-up from previous recordings. Not as polished as on ‘Countdown To Extinction’ but still good enough. Anyway there is no excuse for any metal fan not owning this masterpiece, so if you don’t get down to your metal merchant as soon as possible and pick this up for your collection. Trust me; it will make your day.

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: Holy Wars…The Punishment Due, Tornado Of Souls, Hangar 18
     

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  7. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution Review

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    Artist: Judas Priest
    Album: Angel Of Retribution
    Year: 2005
    Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal

    Track list:

    Judas Rising (3:52)
    Deal With The Devil (3:54)
    Revolution (4:42)
    Worth Fighting For (4:17)
    Demonizer (4:35)
    Wheels Of Fire (3:41)
    Angel (4:23)
    Hellrider (6:06)
    Eulogy (2:54)
    Lochness (13:22)

    Line-up:
    Rob Halford (vocals)
    Glenn Tipton (guitars)
    K.K. Downing (guitars)
    Ian Hill (bass)
    Scott Travis (drums)

    Hell Yeah! The Priest is finally back. About damn time too; I have been waiting 15 long years for this to happen. Angel Of Retribution is the first recording with Rob Halford back on vocals since Painkiller in 1990. The Priest is not a new band by any standards for all you young metalheads. For those of you who don’t know, Judas Priest is probably the most influential metal band of the very early NWOBHM movement. No doubt Black Sabbath laid the foundation for heavy metal with their doom/gothic song structures but it was Judas Priest who perfected the twin-guitar attack that has been so popular in metal ever since. Formed way back in 1970 by guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill, Judas Priest spearheaded the metal movement of the 70’s with classic albums like Sad Wings of Destiny and Stained Class. The 80’s saw Judas Priest lead the speed metal revolution with albums like British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith and in doing so sparked the thrash movement by inspiring bands like Metallica and Slayer.

    Priest’s catalogue for the second half of the 80s included controversial albums such as Turbo and Ram It Down because Priest picked up a glam influence (evident with songs like Love Zone and Hot For Love) and experimented with synthesized guitars. The Halford catalogue ended with Painkiller which was widely appreciated by Priest fans because of it was the most vicious album Priest had recorded yet (thanks in part to new drummer Scott Travis). So, Rob quit and in his place came one Tim Owens a.k.a ‘The Ripper’ (taking his stage name from the Sad Wings Of Destiny classic). Priest’s albums with Owens included Jugulator and Demolition. The music recorded with Owens changed considerably, taking on a slow thrash influence. Then in 2003, Halford returned to Priest and began work on their sixteenth studio album, Angel Of Retribution.

    The band makes a bold statement right from the start with the opening track Judas Rising. It starts with a pretty neat build-up to the song with some excellent double-kick drumming by Scott Travis. Not exactly speed metal but some brilliant soloing more than makes up for it. Next up is one of my favorite tracks from this album. Deal With The Devil is very much in the vein of Screaming For Vengeance or Defenders Of Faith. Relying on a catchy riff for an instant hook effect, it rocks on in usual Priest style. The backing riff is really quite brilliant; not The Sentinel or Electric Eye by any stretch of the imagination but still a fine song.

    Next we have the now-famous radio single and the controversy it stirred with fans saying how it sounded very unlike Priest. Let me set the record straight and say that Revolution is not representative of the rest of the album at all. Slow, uninspired with an extremely annoying and repetitive chorus, I’ve grown sick of it now. I think this is going to be a track I will regularly skip when I listen to this album again. The mid-tempo Worth Fighting For picks up where Deal With The Devil left off and while it is not fast, it displays some wonderful singing by Halford. To be honest, I prefer Rob singing at lower octaves than his trademark over-the-top falsettos. Anyway, this song is pretty cool but suffers due to an annoyingly short guitar solo.

    Demonizer is where the speed climbs back again. I don’t find this song spectacular in itself but it has a brilliant solo around the 2:45 mark. It’s definitely worth a listen. The song is also a bit darker and gloomier than Priest’s songs usually are indicating that the Ripper-era definitely left its mark. Next up is the stupidly titled Wheels Of Fire. Oh my God! Can you say cheese? With lyrics like “Born on the other side, Wild as a hurricane, Living in overdrive…Wheels of fire” this song oozes more cheese than a McDonald’s Big Mac. Of course that is not to say that this song sucks. In fact I think it’s pretty cool and shows off some decent (albeit short) twin-guitar soloing.

    The ballad Angel is structurally similar to old Priest ballads like Dreamer Deceiver or Beyond The Realms Of Death although it does not come even close to the greatness of those two classics. By the way the song refers to the angel that is featured on the album cover (pretty obvious). I quite like it though. It shows that Priest can still cut it old-school anytime they want. Hellrider is another speedy thrasher. The guitar solo is very quick by Priest standards, lyrics are cheesier than ever and singing is Rob Halford-good but there is nothing that really stands out. Once again the problem that plagues this album throughout makes its presence felt; the lack of standout tracks.

    Eulogy is a ballad with a lot of piano which I relate to Prelude (from Sad Wings Of Destiny) for some reason although the two tracks having nothing in common structurally (besides the piano). It’s very strange and has a doom/gothic atmosphere which is very unlike later day Priest. If this had appeared on Rocka Rolla I would not have been surprised but here 30 years later is astonishing. That being said that, I absolutely love it. Hopefully Priest will record more songs like this on their next albums. Too bad it is so short. It serves as an intro for the closer Lochness. A 13 and a half minute monstrosity of a song, I do not understand the purpose of its existence. Boring, depressive, very irritating chorus and most importantly TOO DAMN LONG!! In my opinion 8 to 9 minutes should be the moral limit for song length. The only part of this song that I can actually tolerate is the barely acceptable guitar solo around the 6:55 mark, before it sinks into the depressive boredom once again. Why Priest decided to close a decent album with a crappy song like this is beyond me.

    Overall I would say this is a good effort by Judas Priest although it leaves a lot to be desired. First of all the complete eradication of the closer would be very appreciated. Eulogy would seem like a fine album closer but without Lochness the album clocks in at just 36 minutes. Still I am prepared to make that sacrifice if it means I never have to hear that 13 and a half minute atrocity ever again. Otherwise for the most part, the songs on this album are worthy of being under the Priest label. Production is excellent as is to be expected of recordings from major metal bands these days. While it is not Painkiller 2 nor is it a return to Sad Wings Of Destiny, Angel Of Retribution is quite a fitting reunion effort but a couple of flunk shots like Lochness and Revolution drag its rating down. The upside is that the album is being released with a bonus DVD that features a 40 minute documentary and live footage of 7 classic tracks including Breaking the Law, Diamonds and Rust, Hellion/Electric Eye, Touch Of Evil, Metal Gods, Hell Bent For Leather and Living After Midnight. It is definitely worth your money. What are you waiting for? Order your copy today.

    Rating: 3 Stars

    Best Songs: Deal With The Devil, Eulogy, Worth Fighting For
     

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  8. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Metallica - Ride The Lightning Review

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    Artist: Metallica
    Album: Ride The Lightning
    Year: 1984
    Genre: Thrash Metal

    Track list:

    Fight Fire With Fire (4:44)
    Ride The Lightning (6:36)
    For Whom The Bell Tolls (5:09)
    Fade To Black (6:57)
    Trapped Under Ice (4:03)
    Escape (4:23)
    Creeping Death (6:35)
    The Call Of Ktulu (8:52)

    Line-up:
    James Hetfield (vocals/guitars)
    Kirk Hammett (guitars)
    Cliff Burton (bass)
    Lars Ulrich (drums)

    One of the most famous heavy metal bands in history, Metallica was formed in late October, 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist James Hetfield. They would never have guessed then that within a decade, Metallica would become a household name. Oddly enough, Lars stole the name Metallica from a friend who wanted to name his fanzine that. Enlisting the services of Ron McGovney and Dave Mustaine, Metallica began playing some local gigs and gained a sort of cult following in the underground through tape-swapping and word-of-mouth. Soon McGovney quit the band while Dave was fired after getting into a fight with James. To replace them, 4-stringer Cliff Burton and Exodus lead guitarist Kirk Hammett were hired and with that the classic Metallica line-up was ready.

    Metallica’s now-famous debut album Kill ‘Em All released in 1983 did quite well selling over 300,000 copies. Still holding onto a few blues roots, Kill ‘Em All was a preview of the things to come. Their next record Ride The Lightning saw Metallica lose all the blues touch from their music and prove to the world that they were a band that could do more than just play fast. Ride The Lightning was also one of the first albums that created the advanced thrash movement of the early 80s along with the likes of Slayer and Exodus. Ride The Lightning and its successor Master Of Puppets would forever cement Metallica’s place in heavy metal history. Sadly, Metallica today is but a shadow of its former glory, but back in the day this band pumped out thrash metal that was second to none and Ride The Lightning proves it beyond a doubt.

    Opener Fight Fire With Fire begins with a deceivingly happy acoustic intro which contains one of the most brutal transitions in thrash; a formula which was copied on its successor Battery. I absolutely love this song and it is really a shame that Metallica hardly play this song anymore at their concerts. The much underrated title track (which interestingly was co-written by Dave Mustaine) follows quickly. Ride The Lightning indicates some the progression that would be seen on Master Of Puppets & …And Justice For All. Fantastic tempo changes throughout the song and some very interesting lyrics make this one of my favorite songs. In case you did not know, this song is about someone sentenced to death by electric chair (which explains the electric chair and lightning on the album cover). The lyrics are definitely thought-provoking and worth a read.

    Mid-tempo For Whom The Bell Tolls is my absolute favorite from this album. It represents the first of 3 songs which would form what I like to call the ‘poor soldier boy’ trilogy (completed by Disposable Heroes and One on the next 2 albums), since they all lyrically revolve around the life of a soldier on the battlefield. This song is just amazing and is still regularly played at Metallica concerts. Next up is everyone’s favorite Fade To Black. I love it too but I believe it is not as ground-breaking as the rest of the album, since the song structure is extremely similar to Judas Priest’s Beyond The Realms Of Death. The most notable similarity is the style of the opening acoustic riff and how the verse is backed only by acoustic guitars whereas the chorus is supported by heavy distorted guitars. Being a Metallica song, it is naturally heavier and has a delightful solo by Kirk at the end but the inspiration source is quite obvious.

    Trapped Under Ice is another lost gem. Most people (including fans) hardly seem to give this track second thought although being an absolutely fantastic song. While it may not be as ground-breaking as the rest of the bunch here, it is a fine effort by any standard. Escape is a track I find rather weak; more standard thrash like its predecessor. Had this song been on any other album, it would have placed among the best but being stacked against legendary tracks like For Whom The Bell Tolls and Fade To Black, it is unable to hold its own.

    Meet the arena-stronghold Creeping Death. One of my favorite Metallica songs ever with an incredibly catchy main riff, it absolutely shreds. Kirk Hammett’s solo for this song is also excellent and includes a few variations to his traditionally pentatonic-based solos. Lyrically based on the Biblical story of the Lord slaying every first-born child in Egypt and helping Moses and the Israelites escape from the Egyptians, it is probably the band’s most popular pre-Metallica song (tied with Master Of Puppets). As I mentioned it is the band’s arena stronghold because it includes the “Die…Die By My Hand” part which is usually stretched out to get the audience involved in mass-shouting resulting in a great effect. Finally the album closer The Call Of Ktulu is an instrumental which is quite excellent but after having listened to it well over a hundred times over the years, it has become a bit tiring. Besides I have never had a liking for 9 minute instrumentals. That having been said, there is no excuse for considering this song as sub-supreme. It’s a fantastic way to close a great 45 minutes of grade A+ thrash metal.

    Ride The Lightning is in my opinion Metallica’s finest hour although some would give that honor to Master Of Puppets. Production is a step-up from Kill ‘Em All with guitars standing out well from the bass. Lars is still kicking ass behind the drum kit although he is not as prominent as he was on the debut. James’ voice has improved slightly (although it would not reach anything acceptable as good vocals until their self-titled album). There really is not much to be said about Ride The Lightning that has not already been said. So if the only songs you have heard by Metallica are Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters, it is time to find out what made them one of the greatest thrash acts in history. Giving it anything but the maximum rating would be a sin as would be not owning it (get the hint?). Get your copy today!

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: For Whom The Bell Tolls, Ride The Lightning, Fade To Black
     

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  9. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz Review

    This review is dedicated to Randy William Rhoads: December 6, 1956 - March 19, 1982.

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    A True Legend Of Rock 'N' Roll. R.I.P


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    Artist: Ozzy Osbourne
    Album: Blizzard Of Ozz
    Year: 1980
    Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal

    Track list:

    I Don’t Know (5:18)
    Crazy Train (4:56)
    Goodbye To Romance (5:36)
    Dee (0:50)
    Suicide Solution (4:20)
    Mr. Crowley (4:57)
    No Bone Movies (3:58)
    Revelation (Mother Earth) (6:09)
    Steal Away (The Night) (3:31)

    Line-up:
    Ozzy Osbourne (Vocals)
    Randy Rhoads (Guitars)
    Bob Daisley (Bass)
    Lee Karslake (Drums)
    Don Airey (Keyboards)

    An excellent debut album by the Godfather of metal, despite the uneven songwriting found within. Opener I Don’t Know is an instant classic; a perfect introduction to someone who has never heard an Ozzy song before (if such a person even exists). Truth is, the style of Ozzy’s songs has changed very little over the years and it is easy to recognize an Ozzy song after just one listen. Crazy Train is a ridiculously well-known song and begins with Ozzy’s maniacal scream “All Aboard”. You know you are in for a ride. Even non-metal fans can easily recognize Randy’s now-famous galloping main riff. The bass lines provided by Daisley for this track are nothing short of divine while Randy’s insane guitar solo almost seems out of sync with the rest because he plays nearly twice as fast as the rest of the band; just a small testament to his amazing guitar prowess and mere glimpses to what he could have accomplished in a faster band.

    Goodbye To Romance is one of my absolute favorites from this album. Beautifully structured with some amazing keyboards pinned by Don Airey, it is extremely soothing despite Ozzy singing in his most nasal voice. Randy once again amazes by pulling out a wonderful guitar solo seemingly out of nowhere. Dee is a short (sub 1-minute) instrumental with a lot of classical influence. Pretty as it is, it is not as interesting as the studio out-takes that were included on the Randy Rhodes Tribute album because I get to hear the master himself at work. The dull Suicide Solution follows quickly. Of course most people know about this song not because of its quality but because of the controversy it stirred up after a teenager blew his head off while listening to it. Ozzy always maintained that it was never the song’s intent (the song is actually dedicated to Bon Scott of AC/DC who died at the hands of alcohol) and that the incident caused him great sorrow. In any case I find it extremely dull.

    Mr. Crowley is possibly my favorite song off this album (although I cannot say that Crazy Train is any less supreme…they are tied dead equal). Absolutely divine keyboards open the song; my God is Airey great or what? As usually we have Ozzy singing in his whinier-than-usual voice which ruins the song to some extent. But the splendid lead break at 2:10 or so should shoot Ozzy’s voice right out of your head. I have no words to describe how great that lead break is. Listen to it and you will get it. The last lead break is equally brilliant; tapping licks galore. This is the song that actually inspired me to learn two-handed tapping because the first time I heard the song, I went “How in the world can anyone play that fast”? This is Randy at his magnificent best; highly recommended.

    No Bone Movies is a lost gem of sorts. Amusing lyrics; Ozzy basically rants about his addiction to ****ography. Enough said; on to the next song. Revelations (Mother Earth) is a mixed bag really. The song is outright boring for the first 3 or so minutes with Ozzy singing in his most mechanical voice. The second half of the song is much better first with some amazing keyboards by Don Airey followed by a spectacular lead break by Mr. Rhodes; amazing. Steal Away (The Night) is a good song too but I have never found it amazing. Maybe I have not played it enough for it to grow on me (blame Crazy Train and Mr. Crowley for that; I have played those two well over a thousand times). Still it ends the album on a very high note with another awesome guitar solo by the guitar God himself.

    As mentioned before, Blizzard Of Ozz is an awesome album but the songwriting is uneven. On the upside we have the classics like Crazy Train, Goodbye To Romance and Mr. Crowley. The rest of the songs are a notch below. Suicide Solution is frankly boring while Revelations has its dull moments. Steal Away and I Don’t Know are good but overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the 3 classics mentioned above. In my opinion this uneven songwriting is all that stops me from giving this album the maximum rating inspite of how divine the 3 aforementioned classics are. On the downside we have Ozzy who still cannot sing worth a damn. Truth be told, he does not really have to be able to do anything being who he is. I may as well tell you something most people will hate me for. I think Randy Rhoads is way too good for this band. I know he is commonly acknowledged with God status as is the Ozzy band as a whole but I think playing in a slow band like this is a waste of his talent.

    Anyway production sucks too which brings me to another point; DO NOT BUY THE 2002 REMASTER. It is not a remaster, it is a re-recording. Ozzy was involved with some legal battles with the original musicians Bob Daisley and Lee Karlaske and re-recorded those parts with his current musicians. Of course these re-recorded versions are ****ed up beyond belief for lack of a better phrase. I have lost a lot of respect for Ozzy for doing something like this. That having been said, it would be redundant to recommend this album because if you have any decency left in you, you already have this masterpiece in your collection.

    Rating: 4 Stars

    Best Songs: Crazy Train, Mr. Crowley, Goodbye To Romance
     

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  10. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Running Wild - Death Or Glory Review

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    Artist: RUNNING WILD
    Album: DEATH OR GLORY
    Year: 1989
    Genre: Speed Metal

    Tracklist:

    Riding The Storm (6:28)
    Renegade (4:29)
    Evilution (4:43)
    Running Blood (4:29)
    Highland Glory (The Eternal Fight) (4:52)
    Marooned (5:12)
    Bad To The Bone (4:46)
    Tortuga Bay (3:16)
    Death Or Glory (3:57)
    Battle Of Waterloo (7:48)
    March On (4:12)

    Lineup:
    Rock N’ Rolf (vocals/guitars)
    Majk Moti (guitars)
    Jens Becker (bass)
    Iain Finlay (drums)

    Now how about that album cover? I just love it. Often I just pick up my CD copy of this album and just stare at the cover for minutes wondering how anyone came up with such a brilliant cover. But with a cover like this, one expects the music to be equally brilliant. Fortunately DEATH OR GLORY delivers classic tracks by the cartload and is one of the most ass-kicking albums of the late 80s. Take opening Riding The Storm for instance. It just takes one listen to this song to understand the definition of the term ‘speed metal’. Unbelievable catchy chorus with a divine 2 minute intro, this song just destroys practically every other speed metal song you have ever heard. Awesome lead break, awesome drumming, awesome pirate lyrics…hell everything about this song is bloody awesome. Outstanding is not a powerful enough word to describe how much this song rocks. Without doubt one of my favorite RUNNING WILD songs ever.

    Renegade seems weak after listening to the monstrous Riding The Storm but it is still quite glorious in its own right. Brilliant backing riff with an amazing lead break by axeman Majk Moti at the 3 minute mark. You’ll know it is coming when you hear Rolf scream after his short Mustaine-like speech. Evilution follows in similar fashion, rocking without being overly spectacular. But I hardly ever play this track to the end. It opens well but fails to maintain my interest for long and I simply skip over to Running Blood. With a track name like that one would expect some real riff carnage and boy does this crew deliver. After a deceivingly slow introduction to the song, that monster riff (accompanied by thunderous drumming) comes in followed by that all-destroying guitar line that smacks you right in the face like a wave on the high seas. My God is Majk brilliant or what? If that doesn’t make you want to pick up your guitar (or air guitar) then I don’t think much else will. Full volume with lots of space to thrash around highly recommended.

    Highland Glory (The Eternal Fight) is an instrumental but it sounds tame by comparison to its predecessor and has that distinct “sweet” sounding feel to it. I still love it although I rarely ever play it to the end. I guess I find it too long; maybe a shorter version would have been better appreciated by me. Marooned again is quite brilliant. I’d rate it equal to Renegade but up against the aforementioned greats it fails to leave any lasting impression. Still it is vicious and Rolf gives an amazing performance as RUNNING WILD fans have come to expect of him and Majk once again pulls another magic captivating riff out of his pirate hat. And now Bad To The Bone…my God that main riff kills. Rolf once again puts in the vocal performance of a lifetime. The lyrics are as badass as they get (did you expect anything less with a title like Bad To The Bone?). Not one to lose steam, Captain Rolf and his shipmates churn out another monster in Tortuga Bay. The opening riff in typical RUNNING WILD fashion is classic headbanging material with brilliant soloing once again by guitar hero Majk Moti. I’m also quite sure that this riff was the inspiration source for SONATA ARCTICA’s Ruins Of My Life. In any case they sound extremely similar.

    The title track is unfortunately the only track here aside from Evilution that I actually don’t find interesting. It’s a shame because Death Or Glory is such an awesome title for a song. But the epic 8-minute masterpiece called Battle Of Waterloo more than makes up for it. Some divine guitar work here with some fantastic long instrumental sections. Every time I listen to this song I appreciate it more and I think the length for this epic is just perfect because I personally hate overly long epics. I actually had quite a tough struggle choosing between this and Running Blood for the 3rd spot in my Best Songs list but Running Blood won by a nose. Closer March On is also brilliant. Quite short and a nice way to close out the album although in my opinion the album could have ended on a higher note had Battle Of Waterloo been at the end. Nevertheless this track is still damn divine, very anthemic in nature with a lovely sing-along chorus. A great way to close out one of the best albums of 1989 as well one of the most furious speed metal albums ever created.

    RUNNING WILD are truly one of Germany’s greatest metal exports and their trademark piracy image has gone down in metal history as one of the defining characteristics of the speed metal genre. It is rather unfortunate that this band has not gotten the recognition they deserve, DEATH OR GLORY being one of the greatest speed metal albums ever forged as well as being (in my opinion) their Magnum Opus. Unfortunately this was the last album where guitarist Majk Moti worked his magic. Never again did the band achieve such glory although some would disagree (referring to BLACK HAND INN). Thankfully, DEATH OR GLORY has been remastered and is now available under a new label because this speed metal masterpiece should not be forgotten. Metal never got much better than this!


    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: Riding The Storm, Bad To The Bone, Running Blood
     

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  11. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Judas Priest - Sad Wings Of Destiny Review

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    Artist: Judas Priest
    Album: Sad Wings Of Destiny
    Year: 1976
    Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal

    Tracklist:

    Victim Of Changes (7:49)
    The Ripper (2:50)
    Dreamer Deceiver (5:52)
    Deceiver (2:46)
    Prelude (2:01)
    Tyrant (4:27)
    Genocide (5:49)
    Epitaph (3:16)
    Island Of Domination (4:16)

    Lineup:
    Rob Halford (vocals)
    Glenn Tipton (guitars)
    K.K. Downing (guitars)
    Ian Hill (bass)
    Alan Moore (drums)

    I have always wondered how I would review an album that defined heavy metal as a genre but here I am attempting what seems like an uphill task. Sad Wings Of Destiny; what a title…what an album cover…what music…and back in the inhospitable 70s this album broke the barriers of what was acceptable and forged a new sound that would be often imitated (but never surpassed in my opinion) in the future. Looking back to 30 years ago, it makes such perfect sense but regardless of whether Judas Priest knew it or not, this album would push the boundaries of rock music shaping the music of a generation to come and forever cement their place in heavy metal history.

    The forever classic Victim Of Changes opens with a vengeance. Originally titled Whiskey Woman this song features one of the most memorable riffs ever conceived. Classic as it is, there is hardly anything that has not been said about this song and it has been destined to be played at Judas Priest concerts even today. My favorite part of the song is the interlude when Rob Halford sings in a soft voice and as the instruments come crashing in, musters up one hell of a scream; just amazing. Next up is the ever-famous The Ripper. Ever wonder where Tim ‘The Ripper’ Owens got his alias from? Based on the story of the infamous ‘Jack the Knife’ prowling the streets of London, every self-respecting Priest fan has rocked out to this song at least once in their lifetime.

    Dreamer Deceiver; I wonder what I can say that would do this song justice. It ranks as my favorite Judas Priest song and one of my favorites by any band ever. Currently playing for the 625th time in my media player, I believe that I will never tire of hearing it. This song I can honestly say brings me to tears every single time I hear it. It also showcases what is in my opinion one of the GREATEST vocal performances by anyone EVER as well as an incredibly sad and evocative guitar solo from God himself (that’s Glenn Tipton for the rest of you). Generally ignored by Judas Priest fans in favor of Beyond The Realms Of Death, Dreamer Deceiver is definitely the shining gem on this album and I can guarantee that it will stay in my playlist for a long time to come; simply mind-blowing. Following swiftly on its heels is Deceiver; a fast-paced (for 1976) rocker in a rather short, to-the-point and effective style. It closes out with the main riff from Dreamer Deceiver which is a nice touch to this otherwise speedy song.

    Prelude is a lovely piano piece (played by Glenn Tipton) which is an intro for Tyrant. Interestingly, for many years now Prelude has been listed as Track 5 while on the original vinyl issue it was Track 1 (hence the title). I can imagine that when most people first heard the deceptively soft Prelude transform into the raging Tyrant, it probably scared the crap out of them (back in 1976 this was REALLY heavy). But back to Tyrant, well it is a classic; the main riff being a blueprint of heavy metal for many years to come, it could almost be considered a thrash forefather (not surprisingly Overkill have covered it on the Tribute To Judas Priest: Legends Of Metal album). Classic Priest it is, my favorite part being the end where Rob sings “Every man shall…” and then unleashes his trademark over-the-top scream; fantastic! Genocide is another fast-paced rocker very much in the vein of Tyrant. For the time this song was extremely brutal considering the title and lyrics like “Slice to the left, slice to the right, none to retaliate, none will fight; chopping at the hearts, snuffing out the lives this race departs, no one will survive; heads to the feet, feet to the air, souls in the soil, heavy in despair; end of all ends, body into dust to greet death friends, extinction is a must”.

    After those 2 heavy hitters Judas Priest calm things down with the delicate ballad Epitaph. Rob’s vocal performance here is unlike anything else he has ever done (or will ever do again). The emotion in his voice could break the hardest of hearts. Once again this song is piano-based (played by Glenn Tipton once again…is he great or what?) with emphasis on the mood and the lyrics which makes it fit so well into this album. It is connected to the closing Island Of Domination; a forgotten Priest classic. But the ultimate biker riff at the 2:20 mark has not been forgotten and will probably be forever associated with biking although most people have no idea that it is a Priest riff. Ending the album on a high note (pun intended), Island Of Domination is a superior cut that deserves to be played at every Judas Priest concert in my opinion.

    A wise man once called Sad Wings Of Destiny the ‘Mark II’ of heavy metal. That should pretty much give you some idea of what a landmark album it was in 1976 and still is today. Every song here is a classic with nostalgia for die-hard Priest fans (like me) and a new perspective for metalheads who have only heard Judas Priest’s later-day more simplistic work. If I must complain about something it would be the rather polite production and mixing by producer Jeffrey Calvert. He really did not allow these songs to show their true power as they would two years later on Unleashed In The East. But apart from that I think this is one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time (if not THE greatest) and as mentioned before an album that would influence a generation and more, regardless of whether Judas Priest knew it or not. Any self-respecting metalhead must have this in their collection. Buy it today (Dreamer Deceiver alone is worth the price of the album). This is music to die for!

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: Dreamer Deceiver, The Ripper, Victim Of Changes
     

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  12. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Judas Priest - Sin After Sin Review

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    Artist: Judas Priest
    Album: Sin After Sin
    Year: 1977
    Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal

    Tracklist:
    Sinner (6:45)
    Diamonds And Rust (3:27)
    Starbreaker (4:49)
    Last Rose Of Summer (5:37)
    Let Us Prey / Call For The Priest (6:12)
    Raw Deal (6:00)
    Here Come The Tears (4:36)
    Dissident Aggressor (3:07)

    Lineup:
    Rob Halford (vocals)
    Glenn Tipton (guitars)
    K.K. Downing (guitars)
    Ian Hill (bass)
    Simon Phillips (drums)

    Sin After Sin is without doubt the forgotten Judas Priest album. Released a year after the landmark Sad Wings Of Destiny and a year before the majestic Stained Class (and Killing Machine), I would say it has been denied the limelight because there are in my opinion some of the best early Priest songs to be found on this record. Groove-blasted Sinner opens with a frantic pace and one hell of a classic riff. Riff after riff, it is just pure metal. The solo section is also just fantastic with the solo being rather dark as is consistent with the nature of the album itself; lots of whammy abuse by Ken and the typical blues soloing you expect from the great Mr. Tipton himself. The second track is the famous Joan Baez cover Diamonds And Rust, a song that has remained in Priest’s live set even until today (although the one they play these days is a softer acoustic version more akin to the original). Needless to say it is great and much better than the original in my opinion. Judas Priest have made a habit of carefully choosing their cover songs and making the original sound completely different in comparison (as they would for Fleetwood Mac’s Green Manalishi and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode on their future albums).

    Starbreaker is a strange sort of song and does not fit in relation to the other songs on this album (in my opinion it would fit better on Killing Machine). It opens with a short drum solo (forerunner to Living After Midnight) and a bouncy guitar line (with claps in the chorus). The lyrics are rather weird and rooted in fantasy (but not in a power metal way…i.e. no dragons, elves etc.) which carries on the style Priest pursued since Sad Wings Of Destiny. The gentle love ballad Last Rose Of Summer shows the softer side of Judas Priest with Rob Halford displaying why he is undoubtedly one of the greatest singers alive today; his singing here is truly fabulous. Unfortunately it is neglected even by many so-called Priest fans; a shame indeed.

    Now we come to one of the first true speed metal tunes Judas Priest ever wrote. Tyrant should be considered the first but it didn’t have production on its side and it seems as though Priest will never remaster Sad Wings Of Destiny (because of its release on Gull Records) which makes Sin After Sin sound really fantastic because of the remaster that is now available. Let Us Prey is a distinctly sweet sounding intro for Call For The Priest which is an extremely heavy tune for 1977 and no doubt helped further the speed metal movement of the late 1970s. Experienced studio drummer Simon Phillips who in my opinion is the best drummer Judas Priest ever had (yes even better than Scott Travis) really shines here with some powerful double-kick drumming. Mr. Phillips was asked to stay on as a full-time drummer but he turned down the offer choosing instead to continue as a studio musician as a result of which he has played with practically everyone as of today. Raw Deal is an odd sort of track which is clearly second class to the other songs offered here. However the last two minutes beginning at 3:58 are completely kickass; one of the best song closers Priest ever did (Simon Phillips rules all over the place here). The Metal God himself also puts in an incredible vocal performance with his “raw” screams (pun intended for the knowing =)).

    Another moody ballad in the form of Here Come The Tears has plenty of acoustic guitar and piano (played by Glenn Tipton). Rob once again uses his vocal range to its full extent because the song calls for vocals that are extremely deep at certain points and very high at other points. The guitar solo at 2:20 is also masterfully executed by Glenn Tipton; sad and evocative with a gothic feel, it suits the song perfectly. But like Last Rose Of Summer, it is very much neglected even among Priest fans. As for the closing Dissident Aggressor, most people only remember it as the song that Slayer covered on South Of Heaven. The original of course is still a powerhouse of heavy metal as befits the name. An interesting little tidbit is that for one of Rob’s high-pitched screams, Slayer substituted a guitar harmonic because singer Tom Araya could not hit the same note!

    Overall I think Sin After Sin has not received the status it deserves because this was no less important than Stained Class in fuelling the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the early 80s. Its unfortunate placement between two landmark albums has resulted in it being neglected. Also while every track here is strong, there is no track that really stands out from the rest like say Beyond The Realms Of Death or Dreamer Deceiver. As far as production is concerned, the remastered edition of Sin After Sin is infinitely superior to the original not just because of the better sound quality but also because a mastering error in the original was corrected. The original vinyl had Let Us Prey marked as an intro for Raw Deal instead of Call For The Priest. Furthermore the first quarter of Here Come The Tears was combined with Raw Deal which was confusing at the very least. The remaster fixes these problems as well as vastly improves the sound quality, so there is no reason to prefer the original. Definitely a worthy buy for any Judas Priest fan.

    Rating: 5 Stars

    Best Songs: Let Us Prey / Call For The Priest, Sinner, Diamonds And Rust
     

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  13. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Download IGT Android App Hello IGT Members,

    As you no doubt have noticed, this thread has not been updated in a while. Some of you might know that I have my own site where I post these reviews as well (I will not post the link here). I find it redundant to post on both sites; therefore I have decided to stop posting here. I have requested this thread to be locked.

    Thanks for reading.

    Sincerely,
    dmf
     
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