Friday, September 30, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?, by Megadeth

In 1986 Big Four thrash legend Megadeth put out its second studio album Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?; the last with its original line-up of Dave Mustaine on rhythm guitar and vocals, David Ellefson on bass, Chris Poland on lead guitar, and Gar Samuelson on drums. This was the band's first album to make a real impact and get the band's name out there, boosting them out from the woodwork that their debut album had kind of kept them in in the underground thrash community.

Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? has much better studio production than its predecessor Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!. This time around there is a lot less murkiness to the sound. Everything (the guitars especially) packs a lot more punch and sounds a great deal more crisp and defined. The lyrics in this record are also very aware of the great multitude of social issues going on in the world at the time, making it that much more relevant and poignant of a record.

The title track Peace Sells has one of the most iconic intros in all of heavy metal with that bass line and that simple stomping bass drum. Hell, MTV even used that intro as their intro for their news program for a while. Aside from that though, it talks about Mustaine's personal political/social beliefs and how the American political system needs a new structure. Even if politics aren't really your shindig though, it has some formidable riffs and some absolute killer guitar solos with hints of jazz scales here and there from Poland.

Wake Up Dead is another one of my personal favorite Megadeth tracks. Although the lyrics are less political, it's made up for in the riffage department. Mustaine uses a guitar technique called spider chords where he plays a power chord on one set of strings but has fingers free to play the lower ones, thus giving him more range and ability to play the harder stuff. As a guitarist myself I really admire it sheerly for its technical aspects, though aside from that it's one powerhouse of a tune that grabs you by the balls and won't let go.

Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? is definitely a Megadeth hallmark classic for a reason. From start to finish it is packed full of young Dave Mustaine's rage fueled riffs and lyrics while also featuring the astounding talents of three other hungry musicians. If you were to want to get started with Megadeth, this would be the record I would recommend going to as much as I love its predecessor. Plus, if you love blues it also has a Willie Dixon cover on it that the man himself actually liked.

Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Wake Up Dead
2. The Conjuring
3. Peace Sells
4. Devils Island
5. Good Mourning/Black Friday
6. Bad Omen
7. I Ain't Superstitious
8. My Last Words

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rainbow to Release "Memories in Rock" Concert CD/DVD Set of 2016 Shows

Fans of guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore will be getting a real treat just in time for the holidays. Those who weren't able to make it to the man in black's first rock shows in two decades will be getting a CD/DVD set of the shows performed this past summer in Germany and England by Rainbow with a new line-up of vocalist Ronnie Romero, bassist Bob Nouveau, drummer David Keith, keyboardist Jens Johanssen, and a couple of backing vocalists.

The set titled Memories in Rock will be available to the public on November 18th as a DVD/2 CD and Blu-ray/2 CD sets and will also be available in digital formats. The deluxe version of the set which will include the DVD, Blu-ray, and 2 CDs as well as a 48 page hardback book and a triple LP version will come as an import on December 2nd.

 In a BraveWords interview back in July, Blackmore talks about the set, saying:

“I noticed when they clapped, they weren’t clapping so hard for Deep Purple. They said, ‘We hear that every year,’ because Purple goes around. So the next time, if we go out and we do anything, I would do probably 95 percent Rainbow songs. That’s what they seem to want to hear. And it didn’t occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything.”

Somehow I'm not surprised by this. When people go to a Rainbow show they primarily want to hear Rainbow songs. Who'da thunk it, right? I love Deep Purple songs as much as the next Ritchie Blackmore fan, but in a Rainbow setting I would want to see him do primarily Rainbow stuff too. All that aside, I'm excited to get my hands on this new line-up of Rainbow's first and probably last release.

Memories in Rock - Live in Germany Track Listing:

1. Highway Star 
2. Spotlight Kid 
3. Mistreated 
4. 16th Century Greensleeves 
5. Since You Been Gone 
6. Man on the Silver Mountain 
7. Catch the Rainbow 
8. Difficult to Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth)
9. Perfect Strangers
10. Stargazer
11. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
12. Child in Time / Woman From Tokyo
13. Black Night
14. Smoke on the Water

Monday, September 26, 2016

Metallica Premieres Music Video for Second Single from Upcoming Album: "Moth into Flame"

With the release of Metallica's first new album in eight years Hardwired...To Self-Destruct coming up quickly on November 18th the fans are getting more and more pumped. Already having a taste of what is coming with the recent release of the single Hardwired the band has decided to give the fans even more by releasing a music video for another single: Moth into Flame (which can be viewed below).

The video for Moth into Flame is rather simplistic, as was the one for Hard Wired. The only thing that is really any difference is in addition to clips of the band playing there are occasionally clips of moths gradually gathering around an old fashioned TV set with the clips of the band playing. In a way I can see how it's a commentary on how we are all like moths gathered around the TV/media and getting burned by how controlled we are by it. At least that's my interpretation of it anyway.

The song itself has a Master of Puppets vibe to it in some respects. The guitar dual harmonies and the big thunderous bass and drum rhythms kind of give it that. I don't feel it's any of Metallica's more memorable work, but maybe I just need to give it a few more listens and some time to set in. After all, I'm sure that was the case for all of their good songs when they were new. I do like that it switches between fast picked riffs to more beefy ones. The chorus definitely has a slightly poppy melodic feel to it, but not overly so.

Overall I liked Hard Wired a little better but I'm still excited for the whole album to come out. I like what I've heard so far. I just hope it doesn't sound too much like Metallica trying to imitate Metallica, if you know what I mean. Some times older bands try to recapture their old sound to please their fans and sell more albums but end up just sound like cheap imitating cover bands of themselves. We'll just hope for the best.

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #90

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Hybrid Moments, by The Misfits

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Glenn Danzig is the best at being Evil Elvis. This sounds a lot like a 50's croon, but the band sounds so incredibly heavy that it takes the type of fun music we remember from that time period and just blasts it to a whole other level. I won't lie, if there was a sock hop and they were playing tunes like this I would actually put on my leather jacket, go, dance, and have a good time.

2. Heavy, by Glenn Hughes

Vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes is about to put out his first solo album in 8 years Resonate on November 4th. To get us all revved and ready for this release he has dropped a music video for the first single titled Heavy. It definitely lives up to its name. It's not the heaviest piece of music I've heard in my whole life, but it's the heaviest rock song I have ever heard him get behind the mic on if you don't count any of his work with Tony Iommi.

3. Into the Night, by Graham Bonnet Band

Former Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group vocalist Graham Bonnet has been rather busy lately too. He is also about ready to put out a new album with a brand new band he has put together. This definitely has some tones of his older work, but with a bit of a more modern edge to it. I like the video because it's one of those 360 videos that have been slowly working there way into the spotlight where you can click on the video, drag it, and see what's going on in a circle.

4.  Fool For Your Loving, by Whitesnake

Ever have a woman/man who has treated you just so crappy but always managed to somehow bring you back in until it got to a point where you were fed up with at all and were a fool for their loving no more? There are others who have felt your pain and this song is just for you and those other folks. There is a more metal version with Steve Vai playing guitar on it, but personally I think this original version is more warm, soulful, and organic.

5.  Clint Eastwood, by Gorillaz

This song is what got me into Gorillaz in the first place about 10 years ago. Rap usually isn't my style, but the lyrics are introspective and clever and I'm quite fond of the melodic vocal hook that acts as the chorus. There is a bit of a foreboding atmosphere to the song, but at the same time you can't help but have your spirits lifted a bit as the backing rhythm and synth kicks in. It's the good kind of cognitive distortion.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Windshield Wipers Sound Like Queen's "We Will Rock You"

It's a slow news day/night in the world of rock n' roll, but fortunately I still found something somewhat entertaining to tide you over till I have something a bit more newsworthy to write about for you. There exists a video (which is posted below) of a pair of windshield wipers making sound almost perfectly to Queen's classic We Will Rock You.

It's pretty amusing to see how spot on to the rhythm it is. Would have been cool though to have it synced up with the song itself rather than someone just mouthing out the vocal melody. Regardless, it's always cool when something from regular every day life sounds like something that reminds you of a song you love.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Megadeth is “Working Feverishly” on “Crazy Project”

Dave Mustaine and his brain child, the legendary thrash metal band Megadeth sure seem to be a busy bunch. It's only been nine months since they released their newest album Dystopia and already they have a big new project in the works according to Mustaine.

Mustaine recently sat down with Cry of the Wolf for an interview and Mustaine briefly went into the fact that the band is "working feverishly" on a "crazy project". In the interview Mustaine goes into a bit of detail, saying:

“We’re actually working feverishly with the hard drives to catalogue all the song ideas we have, to start working on separating them into new parts and so forth and so forth. We have a crazy opportunity of a project that I’m working on.

We have a lot of songs for that I’m working on. I can’t give you more details – but as soon as I can, I will start to record with these guys.”

I'm kind of wondering what this big secret project could be. If it were just another album it wouldn't be all that crazy aside from the fact that they did in fact just release a new album not all that long ago. Perhaps a soundtrack for a movie, TV show, or video game? Maybe a concept album? Perhaps a thrash metal opera? It could be virtually anything and quite frankly I'm intrigued to find out what it is asap.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Burn, by Deep Purple

In late 1973 Deep Purple had really broken through as one of the major heavy rock acts in the entire world. They had produced classic album after classic album. However, things almost came to an end for the band when singer Ian Gillan quit the band for various reasons and bassist Roger Glover was let go shortly after. The three remaining band members had to come up with some new talent and quick if they were going to keep on the high rise. Fortunately, with the arrival of virtually unknown (at the time) vocalist David Coverdale (who would later form and front Whitesnake) and bassist/backing vocalist Glenn Hughes (more projects than I can list) and a change in their sound on their 8th studio album Burn the band managed to get even hotter.

During Deep Purple's Mark II line-up with Gillan and Glover the band had a rather straight up hard rock/borderline heavy metal feel to it. However, with Burn things took a more bluesy, funky, and soulful feel. The sound was still bold, out there, and larger than life but this time it had a new direction thanks to the new blood. You can definitely still hear the Ritchie Blackmore/Jon Lord guitar/organ power house just tearing it up and Ian Paice is just as much of an insane rhythm machine as ever.

Burn in my opinion is one of the single greatest tracks to ever open an album. It's uptempo, got a killer main guitar riff, blistering yet melodic guitar and organ solos, intense vocals, and much, much more. This is probably the closest to a Mark II song that was on the entire album. More importantly, it was basically a song to give Mark II the finger and let the whole world know that even though Deep Purple was changing it was still the best damn rock n' roll band on the entire planet and wasn't going anywhere any time soon.

Sail Away is one of those tracks that in my opinion sadly gets often overlooked when people delve into and discuss the Deep Purple catalog. It has a lot of splendid funky synth work from Lord with some great back and forth lead vocals from Hughes and Coverdale. The guitar riff while rather repetitive is catchy and the slow mystical solos work into the mix absolutely great. It really does feel like you're being whisked away on a strange dark magical journey the moment you hear the first note of the song.

Burn is one of the most important and essential records of Deep Purple's entire career. It shows that the band was capable of doing so much more than just heavy or pop rock. Whatever they put their passion into they did absolutely phenomenal at. I personally love this record from start to finish, but most people will find at least a few tunes on here that stick with them in a good way. If you're the kind of person who likes genre fusions then this is definitely the album for you.

Burn, by Deep Purple receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Burn
2. Might Just Take Your Life
3. Lay Down, Stay Down
4. Sail Away
5. You Fool No One
6. What's Going On Here
7. Mistreated
8. "A" 200

Buy the album on Amazon:

Writer's Moment:

Sorry about missing yesterday's post. Some personal stuff came up and I wasn't able to do it. I'll make up for it by doing the post Saturday instead when I would normally take the day off. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rush Probably Not Over According to Guitarist Alex Lifeson

Legendary prog rock band Rush recently began a hiatus after calling an end to touring (after a HUGE 40th anniversary tour), but although they currently inactive they aren't completely ready to hang up their instruments just yet according to guitarist Alex Lifeson.

Lifeson and band front man bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee both attended a ceremony where they were both to accept a key to the city of Toronto from mayor John Tory, though afterward they were sat down for an interview (which you can watch in the video below) about what the band's plans for the future if any exist.

Lifeson says:
“We’ve been following up on some other interests that we both have, and we’ve been learning to get used to the idea, and it’s taken a while. But I feel very confident about a lot of things, and music is definitely still one of them. I’m sure we’ll do something in the future. We can’t just stop playing and writing music together.”
Lee says (after having been asked if he continues to keep up his musical chops):

“I play almost every day. I’ve been traveling a lot with my wife. We’re very big into seeing the world and taking advantage of this break in my career, whatever it may be. But I love playing, and I play a lot. And sooner or later, the right thing will happen.”
I'm not surprised that Rush will probably at least get together to keep writing and recording more music. They still have some kick left in them and will probably make music until at least one of them is dead. Even then, whoever was left would go solo. As for whether or not they will do any more shows even if it's not a big extensive tour, I'm not sure what I think will happen with that. To be fair, they aren't exactly spring chickens any more either. We'll see. Regardless, I'm glad they aren't throwing in the towel altogether just yet.


Monday, September 19, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #89

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week

1. City Lights, by The White Stripes

A week and a half ago Jack White opened up the vault and let one of probably countless unreleased White Stripes songs out into the world, putting the acoustic tune City Lights on his most recent album Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 - an album of many of White's acoustic recordings in some of his bigger groups as well as some remixed and unreleased stuff. This is a pretty little gem to put on if you're in need of a good relaxing chill out song. You can really feel the emotion in White's voice here.

2.  The Sails of Charon, by The Scorpions

The Scorpions actually used to be a reputable metal band back when they had Uli Jon Roth on lead axe in the 70's. This tune in particular is where Roth really gets to flaunt some of his tremendous skill that he would later further expose when he left the band. The shredding puts to shame so many of the other big name guitarists of the 70's and even many of today's. It takes you on a big epic mystical journey and actually also somehow manages to fuse funk and metal during certain moments in a way that is still dark and heavy. It's quite creative if you ask me.

3. Cold Hard Bitch, by Jet

If you've ever had a woman that has done you wrong and you just need to scream, shout, and get it all out of your system then look no further for the perfect song to do it to. Jet was always great at putting out those loud raw rockers that spoke straight to the soul about the experiences that so many of us can in some way or another relate to. That said, even if you're not down and out this is still a great to to crank to 11 and have a kick-ass good time to.

4. Don't Ask Me No Questions, by Lyrnd Skynrd

This has always been one of my favorite tunes from the Florida based band. It's pure raw rock n' roll (though with a horn section) but has plenty of Southern soul to it without it being overly twangy or heehaw. The subject matter is pretty straightforward. Being on the road in a rocking band can be wild and tiring and can involve a lot of unmentionable stuff, so if you don't want to hear any lies about someone you care about being good while on the road then you should probably not ask them any questions.

5. Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, by Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was always an odd one. He somehow managed to make humour and music come together in such a way that people could still get amusement out of it while still taking the songs themselves somewhat seriously. Even something as ridiculous as the concept behind this song was able to fly when you had all kinds of technical aspects thrown into the music to make it a bit more interesting than your typical pop rock radio friendly song. If that doesn't do it for you though, at least enjoy the chorus.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Steven Tyler May Be in a Guardians of the Galaxy Film

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler has done a lot in his life: front a legendary rock band, gone solo, act as a judge on a reality TV show, write a book, etc. However, he may now be in a Guardians of the Galaxy film according to director James Gunn.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Gunn talks about the possibility of having Tyler in the third film (as the second one is already filmed and in the can and set to be released next year). Gunn seems rather stoked about the idea, saying:

“Yes, I did hear that Steven Tyler wants to be in Guardians Of The Galaxy. The answer is, Steven, yes I am listening. And I’m a big fan of Steven Tyler’s. I had the pleasure of directing his daughter Liv in Super in 2010 in which she was fantastic, and I met him for a few seconds at a screening of that movie. He’s a cool guy. And of course I would love to work with Steven Tyler sometime.”

Personally I'm kind of curious to see what Tyler would bring to the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. However, I'm not always that big on celebrity cameos just for the sake of celebrity cameos (unless it's Stan Lee because no Marvel movie is complete without an appearance from the godfather of modern comics).

That said, if Gunn can actually write in a good part for Tyler I'd be down to see what happens. I'd be amused to see an interaction between him and Star Lord. I imagine it would be something along the lines of Star Lord thinking Tyler's character looked naggingly familiar but couldn't quite seem to put his finger on where he had seen him before.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Danzig, by Danzig

In 1988 Glenn Danzig had been through two bands: The Misfits and Samhain but did not have much of the commercial success he had hoped for. While both bands had had a great deal of artistic integrity things just weren't going the way Danzig would have wanted - that is until he decided to chuck it in the f*** it bucket and go the solo route. Bringing in John Christ on guitar, Eerie Von on bass, and Chuck Biscuit on drums the result was Danzig - his best selling album to date.

Danzig is much more of a heavy metal album than the horror punk type of stuff that most of Danzig's fan base had heard from him by that point. What is rather great about it is when it came out in '88 it was a great contrast to the kind of glam metal that was getting huge airplay on the radio. This stuff was dark, rumbling, and raw. A lot of it even had the kinds of bluesy overtones to it that a lot of heavy metal had to it back in its genesis in the late 60's/early 70's with bands like Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple, etc. The lyrical imagery is also rather dark to fit the music, but there are those old school Danzig vocal hooks that are so catchy and make the songs that much more memorable.

Twist of Cain was unsurprisingly inspired by the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Supposedly this song was originally written for Samhain but that never panned out. However, it was well worth the wait because this band blows this opening track out of the water. That opening riff and that pounding rhythm from the bass and drums let you know exactly what this band is about. When Glenn starts howling his hooks and lyrics it's hard not to feel like you've just put on one of the best heavy metal albums ever recorded. It's bluesy, yet heavy. It's catchy, yet dark. This is something you could put on and feel like a real tough guy while listening to.

Mother is without a doubt Danzig's most famous song of all time aside from anything he did in The Misfits. It almost feels like a bit of a ballad in some areas, but when the full band comes hammering in it's a definite headbanger of a tune. It almost feels like what The Doors would have sounded like if they were metal and went lyrically darker. You really feel like in this song that Danzig is a dark being warning mothers to keep their children away from him, lest he corrupt them and turn them into evildoers. Christ's guitar solo is also rather wicked. It's lightning quick and full of flash, yet at the same time full of raw passion.

Danzig is an odd record in that it's rather traditionally dark like a lot of heavy metal is, but at the same time you can hear all those old bluesy nuances and hear some 50's/60's croon style vocals that get howled through in a more aggressive manner than they might have normally been. That said, the album is more than the sum of its parts. Everything comes together so much better than you might have guessed going in with the info I just listed. It's a unique experience and it's a good record for fans of Glenn Danzig or heavy metal in general.

Danzig, by Danzig receives 3.7 out of 5 stars.


1. Twist of Cain
2. Not of This World
3. She Rides
4. Soul on Fire
5. Am I Demon
6. Mother
7. Possession
8. End of Time
9. The Hunter
10. Evil Thing

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bon Jovi Harbors No Ill Will Toward Former Guitarist Richie Sambora

Some times rock n' roll feuds get blown way out of proportion and can take years to finally reconcile (i.e. Slash and Axl Rose or Jerry Only and Glenn Danzig). Every now and again though, things get wrapped up peacefully rather quickly. Such is the case for Jon Bon Jovi and his former band mate guitarist Richie Sambora. Apparently Bon Jovi no longer bears him any ill will.

Sambora had quit the band he had been in for about three decades just before they were to start a world tour. He just decided to not show up to rehearsal or give any indication that he wasn't going to be part of things anyway. Understandably the two of them broke out into mudslinging each other in the press. However things seemed to start to look better when Bon Jovi invited Sambora to do the ALS ice bucket challenge back in 2014.

Things seem to look even better now that Sambora congratulated Bon Jovi on the release of Bon Jovi's new single This House is Not For Sale. In a recent interview with ET Canada Bon Jovi explains his current feelings on Sambora, saying:

“It’s evident that he has moved on in his life. One day he woke up and decided he didn’t want to be in the band anymore. Being in a rock band is not a life sentence and just because he chose not to come back that was his prerogative, end of story. There’s no ill will – the guy quit one day, he never showed up for work.”

I'm glad that fences seem to be on the mend between Bon Jovi and Sambora. The last thing rock n' roll needs is another extended heated feud that lasts for decades. Maybe if we're lucky we'll eventually get a reunion, but in the mean time I'm glad that both of them seem to have success with what they're doing. Hell, can't say I'm not the least bit jealous of Sambora for getting to have Orianthi in his band.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Motorhead's Mikkey Dee Joins The Scorpions as Permanent Drummer

It would be a crime to try to replace Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister, so it was no surprise when the band ended after his death December 28th of last year (2015). That said, the remaining members have needed to find other ways to keep busy. For drummer Mikkey Dee, that now involves being the new permanent drummer for The Scorpions.

Dee started subbing in as drummer for the German metal band on their most recent tour when former drummer James Kottak (who had been in the band since 1996) had fallen into substance abuse problems and spent eight months in jail. Now after seeing how well things have worked out, Dee is taking over the skins for The Scorpions full time.

The Scorpions released a statement about Dee's arrival, saying:

“We would like to thank James for so many years of lasting participation in the band and personal friendship. We understand and respect his need for time as he makes his way through the final stages of his healing process. After our incredibly successful shows in the U.S., Europe and Asia, we are sure to have found a fantastic drummer with Mikkey Dee. He brings a fresh energy to the band, and we look forward to the exciting time together that lies ahead.”

I'm intrigued by the notion of Dee joining The Scorpions because they aren't the first band that would have come to my mind when thinking about what band he might join or form post-Motorhead. I know he has jammed with Ronnie James Dio in the past, but even that seemed a bit surprising. I would have thought he would have joined up with something a bit heavier and uptempo than The Scorpions. Regardless, I'm interested to see just what they end up doing together from here on out.

Monday, September 12, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #88

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. We Will Be Together Some Day, by Robin Trower

Guitarist Robin Trower lost his wife within the past year or so. In order to help himself deal with the grief of losing his beloved, he kept himself busy writing music. One of the songs on the new album titled We Will Be Together Some Day not only shows that the man after all these decades still has his chops and his ability to put pure emotion into sound, but it also pays better tribute to his lost wife than anything else ever could.

2. Kill the King, by Rainbow

This was if I remember correctly one of if not THE first Rainbow song I ever heard. If you ask me, this song right here was the birth of power metal. It's powerful, driving, melodic in the guitar work from Ritchie Blackmore, and has killer vocals from Ronnie James Dio singing about taking down a tyrannical king. It just pounds and rumbles from start to finish. Had Rainbow and this tune in particular never existed then metal as we know it would be entirely different.

3. Back From Cali, by Slash

Before Myles Kennedy was hired on as Slash's solo band singer the two of them did a couple of tracks on Slash's solo debut record Slash. One of them was Back From Cali - a bluesy finger picked tune that then builds up into a powerful full band wall of sound kind of experience. It's not exactly what you would expect from the guitarist who was in Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver to play. However, if you actually give it a chance it's pretty good.

4. Wind in the Trees, by Joe Satriani

This has always been one of my personal favorites by Satch. It came from his 2010 release Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards. I highly recommend listening to this one with headphones because only then will you get the full experience of feeling like you're sitting up in a tree with the wind blowing gently through the leaves at night. It's such a calm, relaxing soundscape to get yourself lost in. It really is something you have to check out for yourself.

5. Doctor Doctor, by UFO

Doctor Doctor has to be UFO's biggest tune of all time. At least their most famous and most radio played anyway. It has this loud, proud, rumbling intro that builds up into an uptempo swing with dual harmonized guitar melodies going on. Surprisingly there is no guitar solo in a tune as epic as this, but I guess when you have enough of the right stuff you don't necessarily need to have on in there. Definitely some of Michael Schenker's best guitar work.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Concert Review: Black Sabbath Chicago 9/4/2016

This past Sunday (September 4th) thousands of people packed into the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre to be part of something that no one else after that night would ever get to say: they saw Black Sabbath in Chicago (Tinley Park if you want to get technical). Black Sabbath is currently on their final tour called The End and that night they made their Chicago stop.

I've been to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre multiple times, so there was nothing to really surprise me about it. It was perfect for the kind of gigantic high budget outdoor production Black Sabbath put on. You could easily see what was going on during the show on stage regardless of where you were sitting. It was also able to comfortably fit several thousand people in the seats as well as the lawn area. It also had multiple vendors all around for in case you wanted to buy an over priced refreshment or T-shirt.

Rival Sons were an excellent choice for Black Sabbath to have on as an opener. The styles of the two bands meshed rather well. Their old school made new approach to rock really got the crowd going. You could feel the passion and energy just dripping off of them like beads of sweat as they pounded their heavy blues rock n' roll into the packed to the rafters stadium. If I were to further describe their sound, imagine Led Zeppelin meets Black Sabbath meets Janice Joplin and then put all of that on steroids. I wouldn't say they blew Black Sabbath off the stage like Van Halen did back in the late 70's, but they definitely had a more youthful and energetic vibe about them.

However, after Rival Sons had warmed up the crowd and then some, it was time for the feature presentation to begin. When the lights went down and Black Sabbath took the stage adorned in flowy black garments the audience erupted in thunderous cheers and applause. After a brief video intro on the jumbotrons they wasted no time kicking off the opening number, the first song to the first album - the haunting classic Black Sabbath.

The stage set up was surprisingly minimal. They had a few jumbotrons accenting the songs, but that was about it. I would have thought they would have had some props and scenery of a macabre nature to add to the feel of the show, but apparently not. I guess when you're the greatest thing to ever happen to heavy metal you don't really need such things. The music naturally speaks for itself and you don't need much visual aid to enjoy it.

The band's sound was top notch as was to be expected. Tony Iommi was naturally on top of his guitar game, backed by bass legend Geezer Butler and Bill Ward's replacement/fill-in Tommy Clufetos. Together they flawlessly produced a great big wall of sound that knocked everyone in the audience off their feet (metaphorically). Ozzy Osbourne was overall still sounding ok, but there were moments where I felt he sounded strained or couldn't really produce any melody. Still, with his enthusiasm and effort he still managed to give a good performance.

One thing I will note that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but there was a moment where I could definitely tell the difference between Ward's and Clufetos's drumming styles. When Black Sabbath played Hand of Doom (a personal favorite of mine) the slower parts seemed to be lacking a lot of the jazzy drum nuances that Ward had originally incorporated into his part of the song. Clufetos just tapped on his hi-hat in rhythm with the song. I'm not knocking Clufetos's skills (as he has an abundance of them), but this is kind of why I wish Ward and the band could work out their differences and truly reunite before it's too late.

I was pretty satisfied with the set list. Sabbath naturally whipped out all the classics like War Pigs, Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Iron Man, Children of the Grave, N.I.B., etc. but they also pulled out some of their less radio aired gems like After Forever, Snowblind, Hand of Doom, Into the Void, Behind the Wall of Sleep, Dirty Women, etc. Sadly they didn't do The Wizard, Sweet Leaf, Electric Funeral or Never Say Die, but I think I'll manage to live. I wasn't expecting them to do as many of my favorites as they did, so it was still a marvelous experience.

I don't have too many gripes about this show. I do wish they could have played a couple more of my personal favorites, but I understand you can't always get what you want. They still put on a great show with what they did. Again, I thought Ozzy did have a few moments where his age really did show through in his voice but I can't really fault him much for that. I also would have liked if Tony Iommi had taken a guitar solo. Geezer and Clufetos both got solos. Why not Tony? Maybe he was just trying to be modest? Otherwise, the show was absolutely great.

That night Black Sabbath proved that they are definitely still the best heavy metal band to ever exist. Even in their old age they still rock harder than just about anyone else on the planet, putting countless younger bands/artists to shame. Hell, these guys didn't even have to move around much to impress us. Even just standing there and occasionally ambling over to a different part of the stage they were still able to wow us with their musical prowess alone. That kind of talent and presence literally speaks volumes about what true talent can really do. That said, if you are close by to any of the remaining tour dates for The End you NEED to get to the show. It will be your last chance and you will get plenty of bang for your buck.

This performance receives 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Walk Among Us, by The Misfits

In 1982 horror punk godfathers The Misfits put out their debut album (though it was the third to be recorded after 1977's Static Age (which didn't get released until 1995) and 12 Hits From Hell). This was the world's first real taste in a widespread way of what this band could really do. Unfortunately a year later The Misfits would disband until former members reunited with a new singer Michale Graves in 1995 and then finally in 2016 original singer and band leader Glenn Danzig.

What makes Walk Among Us special is that at the time while it fit sound-wise into the punk aesthetic, it followed almost none of the other conventions. There were no political statement songs, no social commentary, etc. It was just straight up entertainment, albeit in a rather macabre way. The songs have that low def raw edge driving punk sound while at the same time having the kind of catchy fun melodies that you often heard out of rock n' roll songs from the 50's and 60's. It's kind of a strange combination, but it works beautifully. Naturally all of the lyrics are rather dark (It's Danzig, go figure) with themes ranging from murder to vampires to zombies to sci-fi, and beyond.

I Turned into a Martian is by far my favorite Misfits song of all time. The lyrics are incredibly depressing. The meaning behind them is widely debated, but the most commonly brought up topics are puberty and the Ray Bradbury story Dark They Were and Golden Eyed. I personally lean more towards puberty or drug use, but don't discount the possibility of the Ray Bradbury story due to how much Danzig loves sci-fi and horror. Regardless, with its fun peppy melody and slashing chords it's hard to not crank this tune up and sing along. In some ways it creates a cognitive dissonance because the music is rather happy, but the lyrics are not so much.

As far as I can tell there isn't anything particularly profound about the lyrics to Skulls, but that makes it no less enjoyable. If you're into verbal imagery about hanging bloody bodies and skulls added to the decor of the home of a demon, then this is straight up your alley. With the driving feel of the song and the vocal melody though it's hard to not find this song oddly charming in its own way. Maybe that was Danzig's mission with the Misfits from the get-go?

Honestly, when I first got into the Misfits I never really thought I'd get into music with the kind of evil dark imagery the songs portray. However, with the other pleasing musical aspects of the music it didn't take too long before I was won over - especially with Walk Among Us. It combines all the best elements of rockabilly, punk, and classic horror and sci-fi. It's not an album for the squeamish or faint of heart, but if you have the stomach for it then you're in for a real treat.

Walk Among Us receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. 20 Eyes
2. I Turned into a Martian
3. All Hell Breaks Loose
4. Vampira
5. Nike A-Go-Go
6. Hate Breeders
7. Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight? (live)
8. Night of the Living Dead
9. Skulls
10. Violent World
11. Devil's Whorehouse
12. Astro Zombies
13. Braineaters

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Original Misfits May Continue On Reunion

2016 has been quite a year for rock n' roll. While there have been a sad number of rock deaths certain forms of history have been made. For example: this past Sunday (September 4th) the old line-up of The Misfits including Jerry Only on bass, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein on guitar and the biggest surprise of all - Glenn Danzig on vocals played together for the first time since 1983 at the Denver Riot Fest. To make things more interesting, it seems like they want to continue with the reunion.

According to an interview with Jerry Only in Rolling Stone, the band is considering carrying on with the reunion besides doing the Riot Fest shows. There may even be a new album in the works if they can let things progress naturally. Only says:

“I want it to continue. I know Doyle wants it to continue. I know Glenn wants it to continue. We just have to be big enough people to make it continue. And that’s where we’re at. Whatever it takes. We’re going into our 40th anniversary so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Eventually, Doyle’s got to write a new album; I’ve got to write a new album; Glenn’s got to write a new album. Why don’t we work together and make the greatest album ever? Now we’ve got different elements.

I think it’s got to evolve naturally. The thing is we’ve tried to plan things and then we stand there and wait and as it comes we’ll just do it.”
Personally I see this as Only being a little overly optimistic and hopeful, though I can understand why considering he has been carrying the Misfits banner for the past 15-ish years and before the reunion was the only original member of the band left - even deciding to take on lead vocal duties himself rather than worry about hiring and keeping another singer. However, I hope that he is right and we do get another album from what most fans consider to be the real Misfits. It would be cool to see what they could put together after this much time.

Writer's Moment:
For those of you who follow me on Facebook, I know I promised a review of The Black Sabbath show I went to this past weekend today. However, I've been feeling rather exhausted today and didn't feel able enough to give the review the attention and energy it and you readers deserve from me. That said, it WILL be up by Friday.

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week #87

5 Songs to Get You Through the Week is a feature I run on Young Ears, Fresh Perspective on Sundays/early hours of Monday morning where I pick out 5 tunes that I think are notable and tell you a bit about them. The point is to give you some rocking music to help you deal with your weekday blues. You can either listen to one each day, listen to them all at once, or any other combination that you feel. As long as you can get through the week without the man getting you down, that's all I care about. Without further ado, here are the 5 tracks I've picked out for this week:

1. Barton Hollow, by The Civil Wars

Want a little slice of Americana in your play list this week? This now sadly split up duo of folk singers bring some rather stellar vocal harmonies that will make the hairs stand up on your arms and neck and send a shiver down your spine. This tune in particular will get you moving, grooving, and swaying on your feet without there even being a rhythm section besides maybe a tambourine. Can't go wrong with a nice steel guitar either.

2. After Forever, by Black Sabbath

This is sadly a tune you don't hear too often from the godfathers of heavy metal (though I was lucky enough to see them play it at the second show of theirs that I went to). It's rather melodic in some areas, but straight up dark and heavy in others. It all flows together rather well. The lyrics are actually quite dark in terms of subject matter, even for Black Sabbath. I think one of my favorite parts of the song though is the synth intro done by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman that is then joined by that bluesy grooving guitar riff by Tony Iommi.

3. Roll Over Beethoven, by Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry in my opinion was the true King of Rock n' Roll. Can't really beat that rebellious rock n' roll attitude of his. His song Roll Over Beethoven back in the 50's was pretty much his way of telling all the old folks to get out of the way because a new generation of music that would take over the planet was coming through like a roaring blaze that had no hope of being put out. Though considered tame by today's standards back then this was pretty much THE way to tell the old fuddy duddies to eff off.

4. I Turned into a Martian, by The Misfits

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE songs by these horror punk legends. While in some ways the song does actually make a bit of sense, I think most of us (myself included) like it for the chorus and just how absurd it sounds overall. Who turns into a Martian when you're from Earth? Seems a bit outlandish. Regardless of what reason you listen for though, it's still a couple minutes' worth of pummeling fast paced punk rock fun.

5. Jailbreak, by AC/DC

For whatever unfathomable reason, this didn't get released in the US until 10 years after it was recorded and released as a single everywhere else in the world. Honestly, I feel it's one of AC/DC's crowning achievements and highlights the emotions and action of breaking out of prison quite well (at least from the perspective of one who has never even spent the night in jail). All that aside, it rocks hard and rocks loud. It's everything an AC/DC tune needs to be. What more do I need to say?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Bill Ward Calls Out Black Sabbath's "Dishonesty and Disloyalty"

The soap opera that is currently Black Sabbath is still well under way. The back and forth statements about original drummer Bill Ward's affiliation with the band on its final tour have heated up emotionally. This time Ward is claiming a statement made by singer Ozzy Osbourne is completely false.

In a recent report Osbourne says he is:

“sad that Bill never came through” for this last round of Sabbath dates. “Every time I reach out to Bill, I get yelled at for something,” he added. “If something can be worked out [for the last show], great.”

However, Ward in a Facebook post he recently made contests this statement (saying the band hadn't reached out to him since 2012), saying:

“Ozzy needs to look to those who stopped me from coming through. The contract was impossible to sign; the group rhetoric of 2012, 2013 and throughout, was fault-finding, condemning and full of dishonest evaluations of me as a person, including my so-called health issues. Had I signed the contract, I suspect I wouldn’t have been labeled as having poor health or having all the other judgmental character references.”

As for the final show in Birmingham, Ward woefully continues his statement, saying:
“To toss around ideas that I might play the Birmingham shows is both emotionally heartbreaking for me and spiteful,” he continued. “I think the Sabbath fans who have loved the original band have gone through enough in terms of disappointment and sadness. For me to play Birmingham only, would, I feel, be discriminating and elitist towards our other fans all over the world. My absence at the current shows and the future Birmingham shows reflects an undeniable and unseen misadventure that my accusers won’t bear. It’s called selfishness and self-centeredness; dishonesty and disloyalty. These are the culprits of Sabbath’s original lineup’s demise.”

I wish this mud slinging fest would come to a close already. The two parties need to just get together in a room, forget the lawyers and people in suits, and just kiss and make up. This final tour is supposed to be about celebrating the legacy these four men built together and give the fans a proper farewell before they call it a day. It's not supposed to be about the money. I don't disagree that Ward should get a fair deal, but contracts and money shouldn't be the big main factor in it that it seems to be. Come on, guys. Get it together. The world needs the full Black Sabbath one more time.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Raw Power, by Iggy and the Stooges

In 1973 one of the most important proto-punk albums ever put to tape was unleashed unto the world in all its primal fury: Iggy and the Stooges' Raw Power. Without Raw Power the punk movement as we know it today would probably have never occurred, or at the very least would have taken a much different shape and more time to get into full swing. Supposedly recorded in only a day and mixed by pop rock icon David Bowie, this album pulled absolutely no punches whatsoever and became what many fans consider to be the band's magnum opus.

Raw Power was mixed on what at the time was already old equipment - the kind that Elvis Presley might have used during his heyday. This gave the songs a much more raw (as the album is so aptly named for) punchy edge. With slashing chords, thundering rhythms, and howling rage fueled vocals this is the perfect combination of stripped down bare bones music with the kind of lo-fi sound quality that adds that much more punch, grit, and honesty to the music. No flash or frills here. Just pure raw power.

Search and Destroy is one hell of a way to kick off the album. This tune kind of lays out what The Stooges were all about: embodying angst, lust, anger, and other passionate emotions into as ripping and raw of a form of music as humanly possible. That cheap old tape really shines through so to speak during those blues tinged yet ever so furious guitar solos while your speakers are also blasted with drums ripping away in the back like a machine gun. Actually with the recording quality it almost actually does sound like a machine gun.

Raw Power is one of Iggy and the Stooges' most well known songs. At least well known among fans and others in the punk community. It has that upbeat over driven blues shuffle that is blasted into outer space by adding a more aggressive over tone to everything. David Bowie also appears as a guest musician in this rock n' roll ruckus by pounding away at a tinkering piano that fills out the pseudo 50's rockabilly motif it presents. It takes that style of music and makes it a bit more powerful, honest, and relatable to the younger generation of the time.

Raw Power is one of the crowning achievements of the proto-punk/early punk movement of the early 70's. It's not difficult to hear where so many bands like The Ramones, New York Dolls, Misfits, etc. drew their influence from. It's no surprise that decades later so many artists are following The Stooges' example by keeping the music at its basic most primal roots and doing it on equipment that sounds cheap for that DIY feel that appeals to a surprising number of listeners. It's definitely an album I would recommend.

Raw Power, by Iggy and the Stooges receives 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Search and Destroy
2. Gimme Danger
3. Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
4. Penetration
5. Raw Power
6. I Need Somebody
7. Shake Appeal
8. Death Trip

Buy the album on Amazon:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Glenn Hughes Turned Down Offer to Be Part of New Rainbow Line-Up

Former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore shocked many of his fans across the globe earlier this Summer when for three shows he returned to rock n' roll after nearly two decades of only Renaissance music with a new line-up of Rainbow. These performances were quite stellar, especially with unknown singer Ronnie Romero. However, what we didn't know until just now is that former Deep Purple vocalist and bassist Glenn Hughes was invited to join the group but turned down Blackmore's offer.

In an interview with Hard Rock Haven, Hughes goes into a bit of detail as to why he turned down what was probably a once in a life time opportunity to reunite with the man in black for the first time and probably only time since 1975, saying:

“He asked me to do it with him. And I said ‘no’ because he wanted to, funny enough, he wanted to use an unknown singer. I said, ‘It’s not me. It’s not me to do that.’ I’ve done that with David, and it was good.

I don’t want to do it again. I said very eloquently, ‘No thank you. I really would like to see you, but I can’t do this at the point where I am right now.’”

Personally, I have two different opinions on Hughes's decision to turn Blackmore down. My first one is: "WHAT THE #$@% WERE YOU THINKING, MAN?!?". Are you that full of yourself that you are going to turn down this enormous opportunity for you and your fans because you refuse to play with someone and be semi-backseat just because they aren't high up in public profile? Seems a little selfish and big headed to me. However, when I try to put myself in Hughes's shoes I sort of get where he is coming from. He doesn't want to have anyone take David Coverdale's place in terms of that kind of experience he had. It wouldn't feel right to him. I sort of get it, but at the same time I still can't believe that that outweighed the benefits of what could have come of this opportunity.