Average Rating: 3.41
Rating Variance: 0.64
Objectivity Score: 80% (Well Balanced)
Sort by: Rating | Release Date | Rating Date | Name5.0 classicAC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt CheapBon Scott at his bawdy best! DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP was actually AC/DC's second studio album and was released in
September 1976. It wasn't issued in the U.S. until five years later and sold well due in part to their success of 1980's BACK
IN BLACK. While it's initial reception wasn't tremendous, it is now considered by many fans (including myself) as a classic
Bon's lyrics contain a mixture of leering sexuality ("Squealer", "Big Balls" and "Love At First Feel"), menace ("Ride On")
and a tongue in cheek wink to let you know that he was just having a bit of fun with his listeners. The Young brothers also
deliver the goods with such now classic riffs as "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Problem Child" and even the manic rockabilly
of "Rocker". Angus Young plays an appropriately heartfelt blues solo for the mellow "Ride On". Although "Ain't No Fun
(Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)" grooves quite repetitively, the pay off is getting to hear Bon deliver the line, "Get
your f*king jumbo jet off of my airport."
DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP is easily one of my favorite AC/DC albums. When I think about the tragic loss of Bon Scott in
1980, I try instead to reflect on how much he made me laugh and smile on this particular record. What would a good drunken
singalong be without a rousing rendition of "Big Balls".AC/DC Back In BlackBACK IN BLACK has always been my favorite AC/DC album. This almost seems like sacrilege in a sense given how much
original vocalist Bon Scott brought to this band in terms of style and sense of humor. However, I knew little of this
history when the song "Back In Black" collided with my 11 year old ears in 1980. All I knew is that his was some really
fantastic stuff and wanted MORE of it!
In the years that have passed, I've learned to play every guitar lick on this album and have really come to appreciate
the craft that went into making it. As amazing as HIGHWAY TO HELL was, BACK IN BLACK presented the band playing heavier,
tighter and more inspired than ever. The songs are all razor sharp, catchy and plenty hard enough to stand tall alongside
any of the young metal bands that were on the scene at the time. Brian Johnson's shrieking vocal style was quite a
departure from Bon Scott's raspy spoken word approach, but it perfectly suited this music. However, Brian's sexual
innuendos do come off a bit creepier, perhaps because the knowing wink that Bon seemed to add are missing from his
Just listen to the rhythm section on this album if you want to learn how to groove. The band is all playing at the top of
their form and songs just kill. "Hell's Bells", "Back In Black", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Have A Drink On Me" are
easily highlights, but there really isn't a bad track to me found. Absolutely classic
stuff!Accept Restless and WildRESTLESS AND WILD is a savage album that seems more primal than what followed, yet was still delivered with great precision.
Wolf Marshall's buzzsaw Marshall amplified guitar sound is wonderfully overpowering and his neo-classical guitar ideas quite
inspiring. The overall sound of Accept on this record is quite reminiscent of some of Judas Priest's late 70s albums, yet
delivered with just a bit more ferocity. While Udo Dirkschneider may not possess the range of Rob Halford, his shrieking
delivery carries these songs more than capably.
The album opener "Fast As A Shark" could be called proto-speed metal with its double bass drumming and hyper speed guitar
solo. Lots of other amazing tracks to be found here including the title track, "Neon Knights" and "Princess Of The Dawn".
This was a solid album that possessed far better songwriting than their early records. The only criticism I'd make is that
the production and sound quality isn't quite as good as BALLS TO THE WALL, lending it more of a rawness that might be
comparable to Metallica's KILL 'EM ALL. Highly recommended.Aerosmith RocksAerosmith Toys in the AtticAlice Cooper Billion Dollar BabiesAlice in Chains DirtAmy Winehouse Back to BlackAnnihilator Never, NeverlandOne of my favorite speed metal records of all time. It just seems to get better with every spin. The musicianship is top notch and tight as hell! Jeff Waters turns out a great batch of tracks here. My highlights would include "Phantasmagoria", "Sixes And Sevens", "I Am In Command", "Stonewall" and "The Fun Palace". Love Coburn Pharr's vocals on this one too.Bad Company Bad CompanyBlack Sabbath Master of RealityMASTER OF REALITY is easily one of my favorite Sabbath albums of all time. It wasn?t overplayed as the PARANOID album and never seems to wear out its welcome. For me, it will always be an old friend that I always look forward to revisiting.Black Sabbath Black SabbathBLACK SABBATH was a groundbreaking and hugely influential debut record for an otherwise humble British blues rock band which is endearing for its raw and honest primacy. BLACK SABBATH slammed the door on the hippie pipe dreams of the 60s as they began weaving their tales of horror and societal ills that other artists seemed not so eager to address. I was stunned after first hearing the song "Black Sabbath" as a teenager. This song was literally a "vision of Hell" that bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler conjured up about the experience of having to stand before the Devil himself. Far from being a Satanic band as they were too often accused, it was simply a cautionary tale informed by horror movies and Catholic guilt. The music itself is brilliant in its simplicity. That devilish sounding three note guitar riff launched countless heavy metal bands. The dynamics of the arrangement (from quiet to loud) and that final manic closing section evoking our narrators escape from Hell, is perfectly woven. Ozzy's vocal tone was unique and even more nasal here than on later recordings. His distinctive delivery of these songs bore a piteous quality that seemed to express both a sense of fear and sorrow. Many would consider this to be very album that launched the genre of heavy metal, even if I wasn't critically well received at the time. They would improve upon their vision and execution with PARANOID, but these beginnings are still amazing to behold.Black Sabbath ParanoidBlack Sabbath Sabbath Bloody SabbathBlack Sabbath Heaven and HellCaptain Beyond Captain BeyondCount Basie The Complete Atomic BasieYou know for certain that these guys are NOT screwing around from the very start of the opening track, "The Kid From Red Bank". In fact, you may often wonder whether they are often playing all of this crazy shit and breakneck tempos because they are literally on fire? It was immediately clear to me that I was now immersed in the virtual presence of true virtuosity. I'll admit that I'm a newbie when it comes to Count Basie, but I doubt it took me 30 seconds to figure out whether this album should be included on the "1001 Albums list". Ab-so-lutely. You don't have to be a jazz aficionado to tell that these guys are masters of their art. Do yourself a favor and stop whatever you're doing to listen to this. You won't regret it. Favorite Songs: "The Kid From Red Bank", "Double-O" and "Splanky".Creedence Clearwater Revival Cosmo's FactoryThis was probably THE best CCR album - mainly due to the consistency of the material throughout. There are so many
great songs here that would be difficult to account for them all. Even the lesser songs are quite enjoyable. A fine
introduction to the band and a wonderful testament to what a great songwriter John Fogerty is.
Highlights: "Up Around The Bend", "Lookin' Out My Back Door", "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "Who'll Stop The
Rain", "Run Through The Jungle".Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Deja VuDavid Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From MarsDeep Purple Deep Purple In RockIN ROCK was a landmark album for Deep Purple and heavy metal music. It's an absolutely
ferocious and unrelenting album that pushed the record levels well into red, as evidenced by
the slightly distorted master mixes.
Everyone in the band is completely GOING FOR IT, making for some amazing solo duels between
Jon Lord & Ritchie Blackmore. Jon Lord is absolutely shredding his Hammond B-3 and pushing
his Marshall & Leslie cabinets to their limits. Ritchie Blackmore can be at the very end of
the album heard scraping his guitar across the control room window in “Hard Lovin’ Man”.
Blackmore seems particularly inspired on this record and has taken his showmanship to another
level, thanks in part to the influence of Jimi Hendrix. His manic solo breaks are a highlight
throughout the album.
Although the Mark II lineup's first album together was CONCERTO FOR GROUP AND ORCHESTRA, IN
ROCK was the first proper studio release for the classic lineup of Blackmore, Lord, Paice,
Gillan & Glover.Black Sabbath may have been heavy & menacing, but Deep Purple's impassioned
performances and virtuoso musicianship are utterly savage. One of my favorite records of all
time and a 10+ in my book.
Highlights: "Speed King", "Bloodsucker", "Child In Time", "Flight Of The Rat" & "Hard Lovin'
Man".Deep Purple Machine HeadElvis Presley A Date With ElvisFela Kuti ZombieFleetwood Mac Fleetwood MacFleetwood Mac RumoursGram Parsons Grievous AngelGuns N' Roses Appetite for DestructionIron Maiden The Number of the BeastTHE NUMBER OF THE BEAST is a classic album that only seems to gain momentum as it approaches its final dramatic climax. It was a more refined album than KILLERS and confirmed for most fans that Iron Maiden was among the most important new contenders in the burgeoning heavy metal scene of that time. New vocalist Bruce Dickinson (aka "The Air Raid Siren") who took Maiden to another level with his banshee screams and almost theatrical stage presence. The ex-Samson vocalist proved to be a perfect fit for the band and more than suitable replacement for Maiden's original singer, the also excellent Paul Di'Anno. Some older fans cried foul about the changing of the guard, but it became quickly evident that Bruce could handle the older material as well as the new stuff.Janis Joplin PearlJohnny Cash At San QuentinRecorded just a year after his classic set at Folsom Prison, JOHNNY CASH AT SAN QUENTIN is far from a rehash of that now
legendary show. Not only is the set list completely revamped, but Johnny's performance is even more engaging and often comedic
between songs. At one point he pays tribute to original guitarist Luther Perkins, who had died the prior year.
While many of the songs featured are related to prison life, Johnny and wife June briefly take a more spiritual tone towards
the end of the set without getting being preachy or overly pious. I would view this album as a perfectly complement to the
FOLSOM PRISON record because it is so different and can easily stand alone in it's worthy achievements.
Highlights: "San Quentin", "Starkville City Jail". "A Boy Named Sue".Johnny Cash At Folsom PrisonJohnny Cash was for Country music what Elvis was for Rock & Roll. He was simply the coolest guy who ever set foot on the Grand Ol' Opry stage. It wasn't just his booming bass-baritone voice his swaggering cocksure confidence that earned him this compliment. He was also a very spiritual & compassionate man who showed great empathy for his fellow man. His compassion is on display here on this recording made at Folsom State Prison in Represa, California on January 13, 1968. Given the conditions that these prisoners lived in, Johnny offers them a little hope, inspiration & lots of entertainment. Although he had performed at several other prisons, his performance at Folsom State Prison in California offers a prime example of why people loved Johnny Cash so much. His warmth and honesty permeates every minute of this album. He also chose a wonderful selection of songs that the prisoners would be able to relate to. You don't have to be a Country music fan to recognize the magic this album captured on this album. JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON set the bar high for anyone brave enough to follow Johnny's large footsteps. One of the finest Country albums ever made. Highlights: "Folsom Prison Blues", "25 Minutes To Go", "Cocaine Blues", "The Wall", "Jackson", & "I Got Stripes".Judas Priest Unleashed in the EastUNLEASHED IN THE EAST is an often overlooked gem that compiles much of the best of their earlier work and bring these songs to life in such an electrifying way that the studio versions failed to capture. It was my first real primer on Priest?s back catalog and a superb one at that!Kate Bush Hounds of LoveKing Crimson In the Court of the Crimson KingAn absolutely magnificent album that only seems to grow in stature with each listen. Robert
Fripp & gang unwittingly created what is now a masterpiece for Prog Rock fans. The title track
is both haunting and beautiful in its dynamics - moving from fragile acoustic ballad to almost
orchestral grandeur. Fripp couldn't have picked a better vocalist than Greg Lake to sell these
lyrics so passionately and with such wonderful tone. The more experimental moments during
"Moonchild" are not meandering, but full of inspired spontaneity.
Such a stunning debut would prove challenging for King Crimson to match on later records.
Although IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON follows this one nicely, it lacks that one remarkable song to
elevate it to this level. IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING possesses two amazing songs in the
title track & "21st Century Schizoid Man", with its stop/start time changes and wonderful
brass and woodwind accompaniments. And if the stereo version isn't great enough, you should
really make a point to hear the 5.1 mixes!
Highlights: "21st Century Schizoid Man" & "In The Court Of The Crimson King".KISS Alive!Led Zeppelin Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IILed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IVLed Zeppelin Houses of the HolyLed Zeppelin Physical GraffitiLove Forever ChangesFOREVER CHANGES is a psychedelic masterpiece that deserves much more attention in the 21st century. It's almost shocking how
much Love evolved since their DA CAPO album. The opening song "Alone Again Or" (which was excellently covered by UFO) is a
surprisingly well arranged song, very much in the vein of the Spaghetti western music that was showcased in movies from this
era. While not every track on the album amazes, the highlights are incredibly moving. "The Red Telephone" is classic
psychedelia and "You Set The Scene" is wonderfully arranged and contains some soulful & beautiful themes.
The diversity of their influences is startling and the arrangements are quite progressive and infectiously interesting to
the ears. Arthur Lee was a genius. A Timeless, ageless, absolutely beautiful stuff!Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel RoadMarillion Misplaced ChildhoodMegadeth Rust in PeaceMetallica Kill 'Em AllKILL 'EM ALL paved the way for an entire generation of thrash & speed metal bands to follow. While admittedly
inspired by their NWOBH heroes, Metallica's approach was far more savage and fueled by undiluted rage and sheer
adrenaline. Metallica's newly honed variation on heavy metal required a more skilled picking technique to play
these steroid injected riffs at such previously unthinkable tempos. Their aural assault left many a listener
wondering if they'd just been run over by a musical bulldozer. There was nothing else quite like it at the time.Metallica Ride the LightningMetallica Master of PuppetsNeko Case BlacklistedIt's true that Neko has been blessed with an amazing voice, but this is not her sole talent by any means. Her songwriting
is yet another important aspect of her powerful appeal. Her lyrics are dark and somewhat abstract or dreamlike in their
construction, but seem informed by her difficult early years and living with emotionally distant and indifferent parents.
Her subjects aren't always so clear on BLACKLISTED as they would be on later albums, but you can definitely feel the chill
and sense her pain. Yet her melodies almost seem like mantras to ward off the demons that try to pursue her. This is the
album that made a believer of me.Nirvana NevermindOverkill The Years of DecayTHE YEARS OF DECAY easily ranks among my personal favorite speed metal albums of all time. It was in fairly constant rotation when I first purchased in back in 1989. I always liked Overkill, but never expected them to deliver the goods in the way they had with this record. Sadly, this was the last album to feature Bobby Gustafson, as tensions between he and D. D. Verni lead to his departure. It?s a perfect coda for the end of this era for Overkill, as well as their finest work to date. They would rebound superbly with HORRORSCOPE, but no album beyond this point would ever be quite as flawless and consistent as THE YEARS OF DECAY.Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of OzzOzzy Osbourne Diary of a MadmanMax Norman's production on this album is a notable improvement upon BLIZZARD OF OZZ and just sounds better
overall. I know a lot of people are partial to BLIZZARD because it was such an amazing solo debut for Ozzy, but
for me it's a toss up. DIARY also has a great deal to offer, namely "Over The Mountain", "You Can't Kill Rock And
Roll" (a great anthem), "Believer" and the awesome title track. Randy's playing on "Flying High Again" and "S. A.
T. O." is also quite amazing. I suppose the lesser tracks are "Little Dolls" (with that great Lee Kerslake drum
intro) and the ballad "Tonight", but even these are enjoyable. Oh - and don't even bother with the 2002 version
featuring re-recorded bass and drum tracks by Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin. That was just a shameful move by
the Osbourne's to avoid paying Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake due credit for their substantial contributions.
Tampering with DIARY and BLIZZARD was simply sacrilege and should have never happened. The original band is all I
ever want to hear when queuing up this album or BLIZZARD.Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the MoonPink Floyd Wish You Were HerePrince Purple RainQueen A Night at the OperaRainbow RisingRamones RamonesRed Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex MagikRush HemispheresRush Moving PicturesSlayer Reign in BloodSteely Dan AjaTalking Heads Remain in LightThe B-52s The B-52'sThe Beatles Abbey RoadWhat differentiates ABBEY ROAD from SGT. PEPPER'S in my mind is the maturity and confidence each of the individual members
seem to have at this point in their career. The performances are all quite strong and arrangements (thanks in part to George
Martin) are so carefully considered & gracefully executed.
Unlike the other musical geniuses (namely Jimi, Janis & Jim) we would lose by 1972 due to "death by misadventure", The Beatles
were split by interpersonal acrimony & business differences. John, Paul, George & Ringo would each attain some level of
personal & creative success after the breakup, but none of their individual achievements would ever equal the sum of their
parts. ABBEY ROAD is a testament to my assertion and a perfect coda to their unsurpassed contributions to popular musicThe Beatles The BeatlesTHE WHITE ALBUM holds a special place in my heart for its warmth, playfulness, & humor. After having completed such a
challenging concept record with SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, here are the Beatles taking the opposite course by not
striving for perfection. Instead, they adopt a more daring approach by not conforming their songwriting to any one particular
style or concept.
While the songwriting might seem a little scattered and inconsistent in comparison to SGT PEPPER, there are more than enough gems
to satisfy. Many of the short ditties on this album are almost a tribute to traditional folk ideas with lots of acoustic guitar
sing-a-longs ("Rocky Raccoon", "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill", "Blackbird", for example).
With two long play records to work with, this exploration becomes a relaxed & playful journey through the imagination of John,
Paul, Ringo & George. An absolutely wonderful & challenging record.The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandThe Beatles RevolverThe Black Crowes The Southern Harmony and Musical CompanionThe Cars The CarsThe Dave Brubeck Quartet Time OutThe Doors The DoorsThe Doors 1967 debut seemed an obvious classic to me upon my very first listen. Their music possesses a magical, hypnotic and
sensual quality that seems to instantly resonate both intellectually and on a more primal level. Jim Morrison's shamanistic
approach to fronting a Rock & Roll band has inspired countless vocalists and frontmen. And while the often minimalist and jazz
influenced chemistry of Krieger, Manzarek & Densmore might seem a bit lightweight on the surface, their telepathic interplay was
often seething with subversive menace. In recording this 1st album, they established their own unique identity and a template
from which they would develop their sound from on later records. There should be no need to be convinced of the value of this
music. The Doors were a force of nature and this album was a perfect introduction to their magical world.
Highlights: "The Crystal Ship", "The End", "Light My Fire" and "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)".The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric LadylandEasily one of my favorite albums EVER. Jimi & the Experience camped out in the studio to create this sprawling double album that contains absolutely NO filler. After completing two irreproachable masterpieces in ARE YOU EXPERIENCED & AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE, Jimi sets his sights for the stratosphere in creating this wonderfully diverse and genius record that guitarists and recording engineers will be referencing for years to come. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You ExperiencedThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold as LoveAn absolutely gorgeous collection of songs. Hendrix had the unenviable task of following up one of the most brilliant debut records
ever and pulls it off with ease. While there are fewer radio staples on this album, every song is wonderful in its own way. After
proving what an innovative and devastating guitar player he was with his 1st record, AXIS is a more mature & relatively laid back
album. It contains some of Jimi's most beautiful ballads and balances his manic fury with more refined sense of finesse in these
Highlights: "Little Wing", "If 6 Was 9", "Bold As Love", "One Rainy Wish" & "Castles Made Of Sand". (Do I have to stop there?)The Pretenders PretendersThe Pretenders debut album bristles with such kinetic energy even three decades after its original release. Musically, they
created their own brand of brash, punky hard rock, while incorporating a melodic sensibility that helped their musical hooks
become so tasty and resonant. The chemistry of the original Pretenders lineup (Hynde with Honeyman-Scott, Farndon &
Chambers) made for a perfect musical marriage.
Chrissie Hynde may have been a reluctant and self conscious rock star when she originally made this album, but her
songwriting and overall performance provided the X-factor that makes this album so powerful. She combines an often sneering
rock & roll attitude with sexually aggressive lyrics ("Precious" and "Tattooed Love Boys"), while still baring her softer,
more vulnerable side on the ballads ("Stop Your Sobbing" and "Lovers Of Today"). Her warbling vibrato is smooth and
engaging on these songs. Chrissie's excellent songwriting and tough chick attitude would influence countless female Indie
rockers to follow in her footsteps.
This original lineup of The Pretenders would sadly be cut short after two albums after the dismissal of Pete Farndon,
followed by both his and Jimmy Scott's tragic drug overdoses within the space of a year. This outstanding debut album
remains a bittersweet testament to the potency of Chrissie's collaboration with these very talented young men. I've
listened to this album more times than I can count and it never grows tiresome to me. One of my favorite Rock albums of all
time.The Rolling Stones Exile on Main St.The Rolling Stones Let It BleedJust as their friendly rivals The Beatles were announcing their breakup, the Rolling Stones had finally solved their
identity crisis. During their formative years with original guitarist Brian Jones & manager Andrew Loog Oldham, the
band had struggled and experimented with various musical genres, but weren't always consistently great songwriters. The
results could vary between brilliant, decent and just plain mediocre. LET IT BLEED finds the Stones have finally
assimilated their blues, country & early rock and roll influences and were now blending them in their own unique and
special way. Their mastery is so refined that it is very difficult to decide whether some of these songs contain more
of one style than another. Every song here is amazing and there is no mediocrity to be found. This is when the
Rolling Stones truly became the band that we know and love today.
Highlights: "Gimme Shelter", "Love In Vain", "Live With Me", "Midnight Rambler", "Monkey Man" and "You Can't Always Get
What You Want".The Rolling Stones Sticky FingersThe Who Who's NextTHE best Who studio album - period. Their songwriting had finally coalesced into a sound that
they would find themselves trying to live up to on subsequent records. Townshend at his most
Highlights: "Baba O'Riley", "Love Ain't For Keeping", "Behind Blue Eyes" & "Won't Get Fooled
Again".The Who Live at Leeds (Deluxe Edition)Thin Lizzy JailbreakUFO Strangers in the NightSTRANGERS IN THE NIGHT captures UFO at their peak and contains a very well chosen track listing with absolutely no filler or mediocre material. There are so many great songs on this album that I feel a little guilty overlooking any one of them. One of the obvious highlights is Michael's tour-de-force guitar solo during "Rock Bottom" which is almost a master class in his guitar style. Remarkably, he's stated some interviews he was unhappy with the version they picked for this album! Another personal favorite is "Let It Roll" which is possibly my favorite Schenker solo ever. But it's really an incredible set with some of the finest UFO classics you could want. "Doctor Doctor", "Only You Can Rock Me", "Lights Out", "Love To Love", "Too Hot To Handle" and so many more. The 1999 reissue added several more cuts and re-sequenced the entire album to be more like their actual set list during that tour. UFO made some brilliant studio records during this era too (namely FORCE IT and LIGHTS OUT), but STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT is definitely the best starting point for anyone just starting to dig into their catalog. It's also one of my favorite live records ever for a hard rock band.Uriah Heep Demons and WizardsVan Halen Van HalenX Los AngelesLOS ANGELES is a perfect introduction to the crazy world of X. It's a fascinating and infectious musical gumbo that as
unique as the characters who created it. The punk tag mainly comes from the amphetamine energy of the band, as well as the
unorthodox harmonies of John Doe and Exene Cervenka. This is the sort of the album you can play in repeat mode, over and
over again. The song titles themselves are bits of scattershot prose with titles as great as the songs themselves - "The
World's A Mess, It's In My Kiss", "My Phone's Off The Hook, But You're Not", "Johnny Hit And Run Paulene" and "Sex And Dying
In High Society". There's also a cover of The Doors song "Soul Kitchen" which features their producer, Ray Manzarek of The
Doors joining them on the organ! I really adore all of the songs on this album, but the title track sounds almost anthemic
with its turbo charged rhythm. The song was actually inspired by Exene's roommate at the time, Farrah Fawcett Minor. They
were both hopelessly addicted to gin and Farrah just had to leave... This isn't any of the self-pitying nihilism and
psychopathic anger you'd hear from the hardcore punks. With X, there is disenchantment in certain realities of life, but
they are still able find small joys and romanticize upon the remnants of their tattered American dream. And this is why X
has so much more soul than most other punk bands. I'll always love this album.X Under The Big Black SunUNDER THE BIG BLACK SUN may very well be the finest X record ever made, even if must always seem to live in the long shadow
of their debut album. But where WILD GIFT largely repeated the winning formula of their debut, the musical growth and
emotional depth of UNDER THE BLACK SUN was undeniable. Much of the gravitas of this album was inspired by the tragic death
of Exene Cervenka's sister, Mirielle, which is referenced in "Riding With Mary" and the heartbreaking "Come Back To Me".
Even with the heaviness of Exene's burden felt and the dark tone of these lyrics, the frenetic, scorching rockabilly-on-
steroids riffing of songs like "Motel Room In My Bed", "Because I Do", "How I (Learned My Lesson)" seem more like a triumph
over despair. Every song is a winner here and not a dull track is to be found in this tightly wound 30-minute album.Yes Close to the EdgeYes FragileYngwie Malmsteen Rising ForceYNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE was the debut solo album from a then 21-year old Swedish guitar prodigy/virtuoso. This
album was tremendously inspiring to me and gave me the fuel to really practice hard and with monk-like devotion for the rest
of my teenage years. Yngwie’s virtuosity is seeping through every nook and cranny of this album, but seems most notable on
the soaring “Far Beyond The Sun”, the ridiculously fast guitar fills and solos in "Now Your Ships Are Burned", the
stop/start intensity of “Evil Eye” and the beautiful “Icarus Dream Suite Opus 4” (written for his cat, Moje) which is
possibly his most tasteful and restrained moment on the album. It’s a fabulous album that will probably find greater appeal
to musicians and fans of this genre, but is undoubtedly a remarkable album all these years later.
4.5 superbAC/DC T.N.T.AC/DC Let There Be RockAC/DC Highway To HellMany AC/DC fans consider HIGHWAY TO HELL to be the band's finest hour. Its profile has undoubtedly grown to legendary proportions in the years since it was first released. The iconic album cover highlights a sneering Angus Young looking a bit like Mick Jagger while clutching his pointed devil's tail. Having this image on your t-shirt during the 1980s was simply the epitome of cool. This faux Satanic imagery also earned them the ire of many Christian groups as their albums were added to many of their blacklists.rSadly, it was also the last album to feature original vocalist Bon Scott, whose death by misadventure briefly brought the band to its knees in February 1980. The album's title track was to become both a rock & roll anthem and Bon's sonic epitaph. The first side of this album is unarguably a perfectly construction of high decibel boogie rock played with their trademark sense of groove. "Walk All Over You" is one of the more aggressive songs and also one of my personal favorites for the band. "Beating Around The Bush" is a frantic, high tempo rocker I've always found impressive. rHowever, the second half of the album isn't quite as impeccable as the first half. "Shot Down In Flames" is a great cut, but the rest are somewhat average cuts in my opinion. For that reason, I'd consider this album to be at least a short of the more solidly constructed follow-up BACK IN BLACK. Still, it's undoubtedly one of the first albums any newbie should reach for if they want to discover the music of AC/DC.AC/DC If You Want Blood You've Got ItAccept Balls to the WallAerosmith PumpAl Di Meola Land of the Midnight SunAlice Cooper Love It To DeathAlice Cooper KillerAlice Cooper School's OutAlice Cooper Welcome To My NightmareAlice Cooper The Life and Crimes of Alice CooperAnthrax Spreading the DiseaseAnthrax Among the LivingAretha Franklin I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love YouI've never been the biggest Aretha fan, but hearing this record helped me to understand what all of the fuss was about. Her band is top
notch as is her delivery of each song on this record. Amazing stuff.
Highlights: "Respect", "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)" and "A Change Is Gonna Come".Bachman-Turner Overdrive Not FragileBadlands Voodoo HighwayBadlands debut album was very impressive, but I always preferred more natural sounding grooves of VOODOO HIGHWAY. Badlands always seemed to get lumped in with the hair bands by marketing people when they were actually more of a traditional, classic hard rock band. Their style was very much a tribute to 70s bands like Bad Company, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The James Gang, etc, but also felt very authentic. Ray Gillen could perfectly blend the styles of Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers and David Coverdale, yet make it is own. Sounds a lot like STORMBRINGER / COME TASTE THE BAND era Purple in spots, very funky, hard rock. Lots of great tracks including "The Last Time", "Shine On", "Show Me The Way", "3 Day Funk" and "Love Don't Mean A Thing". Love this album.Big Brother And The Holding Company Cheap ThrillsBilly Joel The StrangerBilly Squier Don't Say NoBlack Bonzo Lady Of The LightBlack Sabbath SabotageBlack Sabbath Mob RulesBlondie Parallel LinesBlondie Eat to the BeatBlue Oyster Cult Tyranny and MutationBlue Oyster Cult Secret TreatiesBlue Oyster Cult Some Enchanted EveningBlue Oyster Cult Extraterrestrial LiveFor me, EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIVE an essential live document for the band because it's from a strong era and seems a bit more comprehensive than the shorter, but wonderful SOME ENCHANTED EVENING. It?s Rick Downey playing drum on the majority of this record. He does such a remarkable job that you?d have to be paying very close attention to tell it?s not Al Bouchard playing here.Blur ParklifeBob Seger Night MovesBob Seger Stranger in TownBob Seger Against the WindBoston BostonBoz Scaggs Silk DegreesBruce Dickinson The Chemical WeddingBruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of TownBruce Springsteen Born to RunBruce Springsteen The RiverCandlemass Epicus Doomicus MetallicusCandlemass NightfallCheap Trick In ColorCheap Trick Heaven TonightCheap Trick Cheap Trick at BudokanCheech and Chong Cheech and ChongCheech and Chong Big BambuChic C'est ChicChicago Chicago Transit AuthorityConcrete Blonde FreeConcrete Blonde's 2nd album FREE was a sadly overlooked album that is easily one of their finest. Although their music has
since found a home on Alternative and College radio, it did initially defy easy categorization. Concrete Blonde's music
possessed a sophistication and intelligence that tempered even their most aggressively played songs. In that way, they were
something of an anomaly in the music scene at the time, which may explain why FREE failed to garner more attention.
FREE is a gorgeous collection of songs that vary between the angry "God Is A Bullet" (which is about police shootings & the
LAPD in general) and rocking cover of Thin Lizzy's "It's Only Money" to sparse acoustic numbers like "Sun" and "Little
Conversations". "Roses Grow" is an infectious and almost a capella sing-along type number featuring Johnnette over nothing
but a drum track. The dreamy "Scene Of A Perfect Crime" perfectly illustrates the well woven chemistry of Napolitano and
Although it would be their following record (BLOODLETTING) that would receive most of the accolades, FREE also deserves its
fair share of recognition. It's one of those albums you?ll come back to time and time again like visiting an old friend.
Highlights: "God Is A Bullet", "Scene Of A Perfect Crime", "Roses Grow" and "It's Only Money".Concrete Blonde BloodlettingCorrosion of Conformity DeliveranceCreedence Clearwater Revival Green RiverCreedence Clearwater Revival Willy and the Poor BoysCrimson Glory Transcendence Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Crosby, Stills & NashI can't say I was ever a huge fan of Crosby, Stills & Nash, possibly due to the overexposure they were given by album rock stations
back in the day. Hearing this now, I can't deny what a beautiful record this is. I do love many of the songs and it doesn't give
me the hives or another allergic reactions. Maybe I AM getting old if I like this all of a sudden...
Highlights: "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", "Marrakesh Express", "Wooden Ships" and "Long Time Gone".Danzig Danzig II: LucifugeDavid Bowie Aladdin SaneDavid Bowie Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)David Bowie Station to StationDavid Bowie Hunky DoryDavid Bowie Live In Santa Monica '72David Lee Roth Eat 'em And SmileDeep Purple Made in JapanDeep Purple BurnDeep Purple PurpendicularDef Leppard High 'n' DryThere is nary a dull moment on Def Leppard's sophomore album. It is chock full of tasty and cleverly crafted
guitar riffs that both sting and satisfy. Mutt Lange's production (and Elliot's vocals) has the band sounding very
much like AC/DC on the surface. Thankfully, these comparisons will quickly evaporate once that Def Leppard is more
than a 3 chord band. HIGH 'N DRY captures the band in a raw, yet inspired phase before the pretty boy posturing &
glossy production of "hair metal" they'd embrace on their following records. While most of the hits at the
beginning of the album, the deeper cuts near the end also satisfy.
Highlights: ""High 'N Dry (Saturday Night)", "Let It Go" & "Switch 666".Devo Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!Devo Freedom of ChoiceDiamond Head Lightning to the NationsDio Holy DiverDire Straits Making MoviesDoctor Butcher Doctor ButcherDokken Tooth and NailDr. John In the Right PlaceDream Theater Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a MemoryEagles Hotel CaliforniaElton John Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadElvis Costello My Aim Is TrueElvis Costello Armed ForcesElvis Presley Elvis PresleyThis was one of the records that got the party started for Rockabilly and even Rock & Roll itself. Elvis influenced a lot of my own musical rheroes (Led Zeppelin for one) and I can't help but think of Ian Gillan's cover of "Trying To Get To You" when I hear this. Elvis was adored rby many of the early British hard rockers. It's very easy for some to write off Elvis as an artist to due his massive overexposure and poor rcreative choices he made later in his career. That's why it's so important to go back and hear his earliest records to really understand what rall of the fuss was about. His silky smooth white-soul voice, the blending of R&B and Country ideas, those red hot rockabilly guitar licks rand that thumping (yet swinging) beat was a welcome contrast to the popular music of the early 50's. While Elvis' debut wouldn't be my top rchoice for his best album, it serves as a wonderful introduction to The King. Favorite tracks would be "Blue Suede Shoes", "I Got A Woman" & r"Trying To Get To You".Emerson, Lake and Palmer Brain Salad SurgeryEmmylou Harris Elite HotelEmmylou Harris Luxury LinerExodus Bonded by BloodExtreme III Sides to Every StoryFairport Convention UnhalfbrickingFaith No More The Real ThingFaith No More Angel DustFates Warning Awaken the GuardianFear of God Within the VeilWITHIN THE VEIL is a sadly overlooked Metal album that combines elements of Thrash, Goth and Heavy Metal. It's a painful
journey through the wounded and tormented psyche of vocalist/lyricist Dawn Crosby, formerly of Detente. Her layered vocals are
perfectly woven to support the haunted ambiance of these songs. Dawn's delivery is raw and unvarnished, but she is completely
invested in these songs of betrayal, pain and loss.
One standout track is "Red To Grey", which she allegedly wrote about witnessing the murder of a prostitute. Other highlights
include "Love's Death" and "Drift", but the entire album is fairly strong and only gets better with repeated listens. The sheer
pain of the lyrical content led me to ponder what sort of tragic experiences led Dawn to write such an emotionally bare heavy
metal album. It's this very facet that makes WITHIN THE VEIL such an interesting anomaly alongside the often emotionally
shallow lyrics you'd encounter within this genre.Flotsam and Jetsam No Place for DisgraceFoghat Stone BlueForeigner 4Frank Zappa Does Humor Belong in Music?Frank Zappa Joe's GarageGary Moore Victims Of The FutureGary Numan The Pleasure PrincipleGenesis Selling England by the PoundGenesis The Lamb Lies Down on BroadwayGrand Funk Railroad Closer To HomeHawkwind Space RitualHeart Dreamboat AnnieHeart Greatest Hits LiveHelloween Keeper of the Seven Keys Part IIan Dury and the Blockheads New Boots and Panties!!Ice-T O.G. Original GangsterIggy Pop Lust For LifeIron Maiden Piece of MindIron Maiden Seventh Son of a Seventh SonIron Maiden Iron MaidenIron Maiden PowerslaveIron Maiden Live After DeathJackson Browne Running on EmptyJanis Joplin Janis Joplin's Greatest HitsA superb collection of her finest moments and a wonderful introduction to her catalog. If I were to cite a favorite Janis album, it would actually be PEARL. But this is the one that got me in the door.Jeff Beck Blow by BlowJethro Tull AqualungJimmy Smith Back At The Chicken ShackThe warm, gurgling tones of his Hammond B3 organ permeate every nook and cranny of this wonderful set of instrumental Soul Jazz. This type of organ has been utilized by many artists for its distinctive sound, but in more sparing doses. Jimmy Smith proves here that the Hammond B3 doesn?t need to be relegated to just the occasional dash of novelty, but can also be used as a primary and dominant solo instrument in an ensemble. These groovy tones are supplemented by some really nice sax playing by Stanley Turrentine and the rhythmic pulse of Kenny Burrell & Donald Bailey on guitar and drums respectively. The mellow vibe that Jimmy & his band create her stays fairly consistent throughout and each song is worthwhile. A very nice change of pace amidst the Jazz selections featured on the 1001 Albums THBYD list. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts AlbumJoe Satriani Surfing With The AlienJohn Fogerty CenterfieldJohn Mayer Born and RaisedJoni Mitchell Court and SparkJourney EscapeJudas Priest Sad Wings of DestinyJudas Priest Stained ClassSTAINED CLASS is a superb heavy metal album and easily one of Judas Priest's finest works. The production isn't as refined as
their later records, but the performances and songs are very impressive. STAINED CLASS was still very much in the progressive
metal mode with its somewhat more complex arrangements and dual guitar work. The songs are still darkly aggressive, but also
somewhat catchy without veering too far into pop-metal as they later would.
The center piece for this album in my mind is the unforgettable "Beyond The Realms Of Death", which is an oddly empowering song
given the suicidal tone of its lyrics. It also contains possibly the finest Glenn Tipton guitar solo to date. "Exciter" provides
an early prototype for the speed metal bands of the 80s with Les Binks' double bass drum intro and speedy rhythm guitar
figures. It has a very melodic and impressive solo section from K. K. and Glenn. Rob Halford shows off his higher vocal range
and spews out lyrics like "Fall to your knees and repent if you please!" Another fan favorite that Priest has resurrected for
2018 tour is the excellent "Saints In Hell", a lesser known classic that really shows off Halford's formidable range.Judas Priest Screaming for VengeanceSCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE was a superbly crafted album that represents Judas Priest finally reaching an important career plateau on this eighth studio release. While some hardcore fans may cite other records as better examples of Priest's creative peak, this was inarguably their most commercially well received album attaining double platinum sales in the United States.
One of the key factors in the success of this album was the refined songwriting of Halford, Tipton and Downing. Where POINT OF ENTRY's restrained pop-metal experiments were at least a partial misfire, SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE takes a more balanced approach to its playlist. Fans of their earlier work will appreciate the inspired and adrenalized guitar workouts by Glenn and K.K. here, as well as the sheer aggression of "Electric Eye", "Riding On The Wind", "Bloodstone" and the off-kilter metallic groove of the title track.Kansas Point of Know ReturnKate Bush The Kick InsideKate Bush The DreamingTHE DREAMING was Kate's fourth album and the beginning of an era where she had much greater creative control. She was just 24
years old when she wrote and self-produced this album at Abbey Road and Townhouse Studios in London. At this stage, she had
become very enamored with the Fairlight CMI, which was a digital sampling synthesizer. It allowed her to capture record sounds
and trigger them as if they were notes on a piano keyboard. It's probably one of her more experimental and uncommercial
albums, which could be some of the reason it's so interesting to me. Kate?s work on this album laid the groundwork for 1985's
HOUNDS OF LOVE, which was actually her most successful album both critically and commercially. Therefore, THE DREAMING wasn't
necessarily her best album, but for me it was one of her more interesting and challenging records.Kate Bush The Whole StoryKing Crimson RedKing Crimson DisciplineKing Diamond AbigailKing Diamond ''Them''King's X Gretchen Goes to NebraskaKISS DestroyerLed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IIILene Lovich StatelessLinda Ronstadt Greatest Hits, Volume 2Little Richard Here's Little RichardOn his 1957 debut, Little Richard Penniman was serving The King notice that he wasn't the only one who could make Rock
music roll. Little Richard possessed an infectious energy that was almost impossible to ignore, even for a wallflower at
the high school dance. It?s during his most high energy numbers (such as "Tutti Frutti" and "Rip It Up") that he is
unstoppable. Richard sings and shouts with the fervor of a gospel choir. While his slower numbers are certainly decent
enough, these tend to be average quality songs that simply aren't as memorable as his barn burners. And thankfully,
there are enough of those on HERE'S LITTLE RICHARD to keep the party going from beginning to end. Favorite Tracks:
"Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally", "Rip It Up" & "She's Got It".Loretta Lynn Van Lear RoseLouis Prima The Wildest!A swinging gumbo of Jazz, Blues & R&B topped off with Louis' playful, almost comedic vocals. The opening medley ("Just A Gigolo"/"I Ain't Got Nobody") should be instantly recognizable to most people, thanks in large part to David Lee Roth's 1986 hit cover version. It makes sense that a "fun" guy like David would want to pay tribute to someone as entertaining and Louis Prima. Although the music is rooted in New Orleans Jazz and R&B music, many songs swing so hard it could easily sit alongside early rock & roll. I'm also impressed with the variety of ideas and tempos which keep this party hopping from beginning to end. Favorite songs: "Just A Gigolo"/"I Ain't Got Nobody", "The Lip" and "Jump, Jive & Wail".Lucinda Williams The Ghosts of Highway 20Lucinda Williams Down Where the Spirit Meets the BoneLynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-NerdLynyrd Skynyrd Second HelpingMarianne Faithfull Broken EnglishMarillion Clutching at StrawsMeat Loaf Bat Out of HellMegadeth Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?Mercyful Fate MelissaMetal Church The DarkMetallica ...And Justice for AllMike Oldfield Five Miles OutMonster Magnet PowertripMotley Crue Shout at the DevilMotorhead Ace of SpadesMotorhead OrgasmatronMotorhead No RemorseMr. Bungle CaliforniaNazareth RazamanazNazareth Hair of the DogNeko Case Fox Confessor Brings The FloodNeko Case Middle CycloneOverkill HorrorscopeOzzy Osbourne TributePantera Cowboys from HellPantera's 1990 breakthrough album COWBOYS FROM HELL remains my personal favorite for them. VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER
is probably Pantera's peak record and arguably a more solid album overall, but it was COWBOYS that I personally
connected with. When I first heard COWBOYS FROM HELL, I found it to be stunning work that was also something of a
revelation to me. They had managed to craft their own unique Texas vision of what thrash metal could be. It was
obvious here that they owned at least a small debt to Metallica for inspiring their new direction, but their tight,
complex riffs, rhythms and lyrical agenda offered a fresh and energized approach to heavy metal music.
With COWBOYS FROM HELL, Pantera had completely reinvented themselves in such a way that made their earlier work
almost completely irrelevant. In fact, the band didn't even acknowledge their 80s album when playing live and those
releases suddenly became very difficult to find. It was as if Pantera was rebooting itself while burying their past
as deeply as they could. Had their new fans realized they were once a "hair metal" band, some may have questioned
their sincerity here. Pantera ultimately won over much of the world and became one of the more popular American
metal bands of the 90s.Pantera Vulgar Display of PowerPat Benatar Crimes of PassionPat's finest hour for sure. A strong collection of songs that seems slightly more cohesive than her debut. A winning blend of tough chick hard rock with catchy pop/rock songs. "Hell Is For Children", "Treat Me Right" and "You Better Run" are probably my favorite tracks, although I also rather enjoy "Little Paradise". Superb album. She was never able to top this one.Pearl Jam TenPearl Jam Vs.Pete Townshend Empty GlassPeter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive!Peter Gabriel Growing Up: Live (DVD)Peter Gabriel SoPink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of DawnPink Floyd AnimalsWith such towering achievements as DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, WISH YOU WERE HERE & THE WALL surrounding it, ANIMALS
was for many an overlooked gem. What first struck me about this record was how venomous (but ever quotable)
Roger's lyrics were. So bitter, so misanthropic and yet he was SO truthful in his observations about these most
despicable specimens of humankind. Such dark and seething negativity might be a turnoff to more casual fans,
yet even more appealing to more dedicated and like-minded fans. It's this aspect that probably makes ANIMALS
feel so personal. It's as if by embracing this album, you've joined an exclusive club for those that concur
with Roger's jaundiced (but not inaccurate) worldview. Waters did make observations on DARK SIDE OF THE MOON,
but here he fully removes the kid gloves and goes for the throat.Pink Floyd The WallPrimus Sailing the Seas of CheeseQueensryche Operation: MindcrimeRacer X Extreme Volume LiveRage Against the Machine Rage Against the MachineRainbow Long Live Rock 'n' RollRamones Rocket to RussiaRenaissance Turn of the CardsRiot ThundersteelRobin Trower Bridge of SighsRobin Trower Twice Removed From YesterdayRush Fly by NightRush 2112Rush A Farewell to KingsRush Permanent WavesSantana AbraxasSarah Vaughan At Mister Kelly'sA wonderfully intimate live recording of torch songs and vocal jazz as performed by the divine Sarah Vaughan. Hearing
this album validates many of the criticisms I'd previously made about Billie Holiday's LADY IN SATIN, which featured a
legendary vocalist whose abilities were in decline. In that very same year, AT MISTER KELLY'S contains an amazing
performance that showed who the new diva was at this point in time. Sarah's balance of virtuosity and warmth permeates
this record. Her dialogue with this audience feels so natural, relaxed and humble given the stunning performance she
offers them. I was converted into a fan and admirer upon my first listen.
Favorite Tracks: "Willow Weep For Me", "Be Anything But Darling Be Mine", "How High The Moon".Savatage Hall of the Mountain KingSavatage finally focused their strengths and musical vision with the epic HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING album. With the assistance of
Paul O'Neill, the Oliva brothers were finally able to combine the best elements of their early sound along with more musically
ambitious ideas that forced their contemporaries, fans & critics take notice. The production and performances here are tight,
crisp and razor sharp. Criss Oliva's guitar playing technique on this album had a reached a plateau where he could now be
considered a virtuoso.
HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING was something of a commercial breakthrough for the band and did attain Gold record status in the
U.S., but Savatage still remained something of a cult sensation amount fans of heavy metal. The album did boost their profile
greatly and is one the best albums they ever recorded. While Savatage would go on to craft several other superb records, this one
will probably be the one most fans will remember them for.Savatage Streets: A Rock OperaSTREETS was Savatage?s most mature, diverse and well executed work of their career. While their technical achievements here are impressive and commendable, it?s the soulfulness of this album that make it most praiseworthy. There are some aspects of this album that might make it just slightly Broadway for some people?s taste. It is difficult to achieve perfection with any concept record, yet Savatage came very close with this superb album. Standout tracks include "Ghost In The Ruins", "Jesus Saves" and "Believe".Saxon Strong Arm of the LawScorpions BlackoutScorpions In TranceScorpions LovedriveSlayer South of HeavenSlayer Seasons in the AbyssSlayer Decade of AggressionSoundgarden SuperunknownSoundgarden BadmotorfingerSpinal Tap This Is Spinal TapSteely Dan Katy LiedSteve Hackett Voyage of the AcolyteSteve Miller Band Fly Like an EagleSteve Vai Passion and WarfareStevie Nicks Bella DonnaStevie Ray Vaughan Texas FloodStevie Ray Vaughan Couldn't Stand the WeatherSweet Desolation BoulevardT. Rex The SliderTemple of the Dog Temple of the DogTesla Mechanical ResonanceTestament The LegacyTestament The New OrderTestament Practice What You PreachThe Allman Brothers Band Idlewild SouthThe Allman Brothers Band Eat a PeachThe Beatles Rubber SoulThe Beatles Please Please MeThe Beatles Magical Mystery TourThe Beatles Let It BeThe Beatles A Hard Day's NightThe Beatles Help!The Cars Candy-OThe Clash The ClashThe Cult ElectricThe Doobie Brothers The Captain and MeThe Doors Morrison HotelThe Doors L.A. WomanThe Doors Box SetThe Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink RobotsThe Go-Go's Beauty and the BeatThe Knack Get the KnackGET THE KNACK is a finely crafted album of hard hitting Power Pop that I've been enjoying since I was 10 years old. At that age, I was
blissfully unaware of all of the controversy surrounding The Knack. Despite its meteoric success in 1979, the band had many detractors
who resented their inexplicably fast rise to the top, the tongue-in-cheek marketing nods to The Beatles and the seeming arrogance of
their band in not allowing interviews.
The unsung hero of this album is the late Bruce Gary on drums. Listen to his fills on "Your Number Or Your Name" for starters. All in
all, this is a truly enjoyable Power Pop album which remains timeless to me . Ignore the haters and give this one a spin, if you already
haven't done so hundreds of timesThe Mothers of Invention One Size Fits AllThe Mothers of Invention Absolutely FreeThe Police SynchronicityThe Pretenders Learning To CrawlThe Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones, Now!The Rolling Stones Tattoo YouThe Rolling Stones Some GirlsThe Stooges Raw PowerThe Velvet Underground The Velvet UndergroundThe self-titled 3rd studio album from the Velvets was a pleasant surprise for me. Although I'd loved their debut record, I wasn't so
keen on the chaos & cacophony of WHITE LIGHT / WHITE HEAT.
They recorded this relatively sedate album after the departure of violinist John Cale. It has been said that the acoustic "unplugged"
sound of these songs was largely influenced by the theft of much of the band's equipment (including amplifiers). Lou Reed's writing
and vocal performances are much more melodic and accessible than ever before, namely on the opener "Candy Says" and "Jesus". Still,
there is plenty of avant-garde experimentation happening throughout the record, but it's more carefully arranged than before.
There is a cohesiveness and sense of melody here that makes this overall record far more palatable than the 2nd album. I'm looking
forward to a 2nd spin.
Highlights: "Candy Says", "Jesus", "I'm Set Free" & "The Murder Mystery".The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & NicoThe debut record by The Velvet Underground has long been revered by hipsters and music critics as a primary milestone for all
of the Alternative & Indie Rock bands that followed. Unlike the hundreds of bands who jumped on the psychedelic bandwagon in
1967, the Velvet's didn't fit neatly into any of the ready made genres or niches that were being used to classify bands
stylistically. Instead, Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison, John Cale & Nico seemed to find their own unique and
starkly honest approach to musical expression. The simplistic & incessant drum beat of "Waiting For The Man" expresses the
impatience of a junkie waiting for his dealer. The alternating tempos that Lou Reed implies in his guitar figures for "Heroin"
are also quite potent. Their performances are raw, jagged and sometimes dissonant, but surprising in their emotional honesty.
While the imperfections of these rough diamonds gave me pause during my first listen, I was more forgiving on a 2nd pass and
started to see these gems truly shine. With patience, there are rewards. I was never the biggest Lou Reed fan, but this album
helped me respect & understand his original appeal.
Highlights: "Heroin", "I'm Waiting For The Man", "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "Run, Run Run".The Who QuadropheniaThe Who Live at LeedsThin Lizzy Black Rose: A Rock LegendThin Lizzy Live and DangerousTom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersTom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn The TorpedoesTom Petty and the Heartbreakers Hard PromisesTommy Bolin TeaserTori Amos Little EarthquakesTrouble TroubleTwisted Sister Live at the Marquee ClubU2 Achtung BabyU2 The Joshua TreeUFO Force ItUFO Lights OutUriah Heep The Magician's BirthdayUriah Heep Look At YourselfVan Halen Women and Children FirstVan Halen 1984Wanda Jackson Queen Of RockabillyWanda Jackson Rockin' With WandaWarren Zevon Warren ZevonWings Band on the RunX Wild GiftX The X AnthologyYes The Yes AlbumYes 90125It's taken me years to make peace with 90125. Upon its release in 1983, I felt very disappointed about the overtly commercial
direction they'd chosen to take. Their earlier records were fairly uncompromising affairs that would sometimes yield radio hits as if
by accident. This was more calculated approach let me and many other old Yes fans feeling suspicious about the band's future
trajectory and intent. The sudden overexposure of their new material via MTV and FM radio at the time only added to my feeling of
unease with this album.
30+ years later, my opinion of this contentious anomaly has softened a great deal, especially when considering the inconsistent quality
of the albums that followed. I think it's also important to set aside direct comparisons against their earlier work, since this lineup
was clearly a new animal with a somewhat different agenda. Trevor Horn's production is truly amazing here and most of these songs
contain instantly memorable hooks. The band always possessed a very distinctive style of harmonizing their voices and this is
showcased on 90125 more than ever. And while the three closing tracks aren't quite as compelling as their hits, I wouldn't consider any
one of them to be throwaways. With my expectations a bit re-calibrated, I can appreciate how superbly executed this album was. Yes YessongsZZ Top Degüello4.0 excellent10,000 Maniacs In My TribeNatalie Merchant is an enchanting vocalist with a very smooth and calming tone. While many consider this album to be
the band's peak, I'm actually a little fonder of BLIND MAN'S ZOO. Still, this a very well executed record with no
obvious faults that I would cite. My highlights would be "Like The Weather", "What's The Matter Here?" and the well
chosen cover of "Peace Train".10,000 Maniacs Blind Man's ZooABBA ABBA GoldIf Lemmy was brave to admit he was an Abba fan, I suppose I can do the same. However, my love for these ebullient Swedes is probably limited to a few of their more popular staples. Their 1992 compilation GOLD neatly compiles the best of the best along with a few second string hits. It's a tasty indulgence at first, but could lead a diabetic coma if you try to consume this whole album in one sitting.ABBA ArrivalAC/DC High Voltage (Australia)AC/DC High VoltageAccept Blood of the NationsAce Frehley Ace FrehleyAcid ManiacAerosmith Night in the RutsAerosmith AerosmithAEROSMITH isn't as a slick or refined as the albums that would follow, but it's an album that seems glimmer more brightly in hindsight. At the very least, it's a great album that lacked the more polished production values of the later records. But for my money, it's an excellent record that I enjoy from start to finish regardless of its minor imperfections. Highlights for me would include "Make It", "Mama Kin", "Dream On", "One Way Street" and "Walkin' The Dog".Aerosmith Get Your WingsAerosmith Permanent VacationAerosmith Pandora's BoxThis was truly the first Aerosmith box set. Aside from the nice packaging and liner notes, this collection alternated classic tracks with previously unheard demos, live cuts and even samples of some of their solo projects. While all of the bonus tracks obviously aren't stellar, they are quite interesting.Al Di Meola Elegant GypsyAlcatrazz No Parole from Rock 'n' RollAlcatrazz Live SentenceAlice Cooper Alice Cooper Goes to HellAlice in Chains FaceliftAngel AngelAnthrax Persistence of TimeAnvil Metal on MetalMETAL ON METAL is undoubtedly the album I'll always associate Anvil with. I was first introduced to Anvil by the drummer
in my first band back in 1985. While I'd never considered these guys to be a top shelf band, this album has enough
highlights to make it worthwhile listen. I will concede that they were among the progenitors of the whole Thrash movement
as evidenced by tracks like "666". "Metal On Metal", "Mothra" and "March Of The Crabs" are my personal favorites, but
"Tag Team" is pretty funny.April Wine The Nature Of The BeastApril Wine Harder... FasterAretha Franklin Lady SoulAretha Franklin was undeniably a force to be reckoned with in the late 60's. She was an extremely powerful vocalist, yet also quite dynamic and emotive when necessary. During this set, there is a bit more of a tendency for her show off her vocal talents. I'm sure her biggest fans won't mind this though. Great stuff, but I'm partial to her performance on I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU. Not essential for me personally, but recommended for fans of Soul music in general. Highlights: "Chain Of Fools" & "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman".Armageddon ArmageddonVery interesting final project from Yardbirds frontman Keith Relf that combines elements of prog-rock, hard rock & psychedelia. This reminds me a lot of Captain Beyond's debut album, but maybe just a tad less inspired. "Buzzard" is an obvious standout, but the other tracks are nicely compelling as well. This is always a rewarding listen.Armored Saint Symbol of SalvationAsia AsiaAudioslave AudioslaveBabe Ruth First BaseBad Company Straight ShooterBad Company Run With The PackBadlands BadlandsBeatallica Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub BandBerlin Count Three and PrayProduced by Bob Ezrin, COUNT THREE AND PRAY reinvents Berlin as guitar-fueled dance-rock band. John Crawford's synthesizers
still figure heavily in their sound, but are not entirely dominant here. The songwriting is also much improved over the
lackluster LOVE LIFE. These changes might be disarming to fans of their colder more European sounding synth pop and wasn't
received well upon release. Regardless, this is a solidly executed album with an interesting batch of songs. Highlights
for me would include "Like Flames", "You Don't Know", "Take My Breath Away" and the closer "Pink And Velvet", which has
some really fine Gilmour-esque guitar playing by Ric Olsen. I was pleasantly surprised by this album, especially since this
sort of music isn't usually my preferred cup of tea.Billy Idol Rebel YellBilly Joel 52nd StreetBilly Joel Glass HousesBilly Joel TurnstilesBilly Joel The Nylon CurtainBilly Joel Songs in the AtticBilly Squier Emotions in MotionBlack 'N Blue Black 'N BlueBlack Country Communion Black CountryBlack N' Blue Black 'N BlueBlack Oak Arkansas Ain't Life GrandBlack Sabbath Vol. 4Black Sabbath Live at Hammersmith OdeonBlack Sabbath We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' RollBlood Ceremony The Eldritch DarkBlood Ceremony Living With The AncientsBlue Oyster Cult Heaven ForbidBlue Oyster Cult The Symbol RemainsBlue Oyster Cult Blue Öyster CultBlue Oyster Cult Agents of FortuneBlue Oyster Cult Cultösaurus ErectusBlue Oyster Cult Fire of Unknown OriginBlue Oyster Cult On Your Feet or on Your KneesBlue Oyster Cult A Long Day's NightBob Seger The DistanceBob Seger Beautiful LoserBoDeans Love & Hope & Sex & DreamsBooker T. and The MGs Green OnionsGREEN ONIONS was the debut record for Booker T. & the M.G.'s. Little did they know that this record & many of their following
albums would later be looked upon as the primary milestones for creating the Memphis Soul sound. All of the songs on this
record are instrumentals, many of which are cover songs. Their formula is actually surprisingly minimalist with the tightly
knit rhythm section of Steve Cropper (guitar), Duck Dunn (bass) & Al Jackson Jr. (drum) laying down only the most basic
framework for Booker Jones (organ) to play his melodies over. Cropper does occasionally offer some highly tasty guitar bits
throughout, but is quite restrained for the most part. But it's this bare bones approach to their instrumental R&B that serves
to create such a wonderful vibe. GREEN ONIONS might sound a bit dated and less than earth shattering by today's standards, but
it remains a fine example of how less can often be so much more.
Highlights: "Green Onions" and "Behave Yourself".Brownsville Station School PunksBruce Dickinson Scream for Me BrazilBruce Dickinson Accident of BirthBruce Springsteen Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.Bruce Springsteen NebraskaBruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A.Buddy Holly The Chirping CricketsBudgie BudgieBudgie SquawkBudgie BandolierCandlemass Tales of CreationCandlemass Death Magic DoomCaptain Beefheart and His Magic Band Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)Carly Simon No SecretsCarly Simon Boys In The TreesCeltic Frost Morbid TalesCheap Trick Dream PoliceCheech and Chong Los CochinosCheech and Chong Up in SmokeCheech and Chong Where There's Smoke There's Cheech & ChongChic RisquéChris Stapleton TravellerChuck Mangione Feels So GoodCinderella Long Cold WinterConcrete Blonde Mexican MoonCourtney Barnett sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sitCoverdale and Page Coverdale/PageCream Fresh CreamCreedence Clearwater Revival Creedence Clearwater RevivalCreedence Clearwater Revival Bayou CountryCrimson Glory Crimson GloryCyndi Lauper Shes So UnusualDanzig Danzig III: How The Gods KillDanzig DanzigDavid Bowie The Next DayDavid Bowie LowDavid Bowie "Heroes"David Bowie The Man Who Sold the WorldDeath Angel Act IIIDeep Purple Deep PurpleDeep Purple FireballDeep Purple In Concert 1970-1972Deep Purple Who Do We Think We AreDeep Purple Live in LondonDeep Purple Perfect StrangersDef Leppard On Through the NightDef Leppard PyromaniaDio The Last in LineDire Straits Dire StraitsDire Straits Brothers in ArmsDokken Back for the AttackDokken Under Lock and KeyDon Henley Building the Perfect BeastDonald Fagen The NightflyDr. John Locked DownDream Theater AwakeDuran Duran Duran DuranDuran Duran RioDusty Springfield A Girl Called DustyElectric Light Orchestra A New World RecordElectric Light Orchestra DiscoveryElectric Mary Four Hands HighElton John Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt CowboyEmerson, Lake and Palmer TarkusEmmylou Harris All I Intended to BeEmmylou Harris Pieces of the SkyEric Clapton SlowhandEric Clapton 461 Ocean BoulevardEric Clapton JourneymanEurythmics TouchExtreme Extreme II: PornograffittiEZO Fire FireFairport Convention Liege and LiefFaith No More King for a Day... Fool for a LifetimeFastway FastwayFastway All Fired UpFates Warning Perfect SymmetryFleetwood Mac TuskComing to terms with TUSK has always been such a perplexing quandary for me. My initial impression was that the album as a whole was a bit of a snooze and that the highlights weren?t as remarkable as anything on their prior two records. I've seen many critics cite this album an underappreciated masterwork while offering it a solid 5 star rating. This perception gap will probably never close for me as I have a great deal of difficulty reconciling this assessment against the reality that TUSK doesn't even come close to the consistency of RUMOURS or even their self-titled 1975 album. I know this sort of comparison might seem unfair as TUSK certainly has a different agenda, but it is also unavoidable. rWith greater patience and more passive contemplation, I have begun to appreciate the understated charm of this album. It's the subtlety of these compositions and the way they serve the greater whole that makes the album such a pleasant journey. I would still regard TUSK as more of a flawed masterwork than an absolute classic. rFleetwood Mac Tango in the NightFleetwood Mac LiveFlotsam and Jetsam Doomsday for the DeceiverFoghat Fool for the CityForeigner ForeignerFrank Marino JuggernautFrank Zappa Sheik YerboutiFrank Zappa ApostropheFrank Zappa Zappa In New YorkFrank Zappa The Man from UtopiaFu Manchu The Action is GoGenesis Nursery CrymeNURSERY CRIME has some absolutely breathtaking, groundbreaking prog in three key songs - "The Musical Box", "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" and "The Fountain of Salmacis". Each of these songs is perfectly crafted with all sorts of unique and interesting twists and turns. I wasn't all that well versed in Gabriel era Genesis until the early 90s when someone played me the Pop Shop (Belgium TV) 1971 performance. I was just completely mesmerized by "Salmacis" and couldn't understand how I could have overlooked them.rI've never been quite as fond of the remaining tracks, although I wouldn't say that any of them are bad songs. They're nice songs for what they are, but not quite as enthralling as the three epics that define this album's legacy. It's an excellent record, as was FOXTROT, but those three main epics are easily among my favorite Genesis songs ever.Genesis FoxtrotGenesis A Trick of the TailGenesis DukeGenesis AbacabGenesis GenesisGeorge Thorogood and the Destroyers Move It On OverGeorge Thorogood and the Destroyers George Thorogood and the DestroyersGerry Rafferty City to CityGillan Mr. UniverseGirlschool DemolitionGirlschool Hit And RunGlenn Hughes First Underground Nuclear KitchenGossip Music For MenGrand Funk Railroad On TimeGrand Funk Railroad Grand FunkGrand Funk Railroad We're An American BandGuns N' Roses Use Your Illusion IGuns N' Roses Use Your Illusion IIHalford ResurrectionHall and Oates Private EyesHawkwind Hall of the Mountain GrillHawkwind Doremi Fasol LatidoHeart Jupiter's DarlingHeart Little QueenHeart Dog & ButterflyHeart Bebe Le StrangeHeart HeartThis is a solid and enjoyable album that's undeniably an improvement upon their prior two albums. I've always felt a little conflicted about this one for the fact that they were adopting this glammed up 80s image that felt a bit less genuine than the Heart I grew up with. Their MTV overexposure was also a factor in my initial skepticism about this album. Once I made peace with their transformation, I came to appreciate how consistently strong the material is here. Like you, I also lean towards the less overplayed pop-metal of "The Wolf" and "Shell Shock", but still find enjoyment in the trip down memory lane with this veritable parade of hit songs. Not my favorite version of Heart, but definitely their best offering from this era.Hexenhaus The Edge of EternityHumble Pie Smokin'Iggy Pop The IdiotIggy Pop Post Pop DepressionImpellitteri ImpellitteriImpellitteri System XIron Maiden Best of the BeastIron Maiden KillersIron Maiden Somewhere in TimeIron Maiden Maiden JapanIzzy Stradlin Izzy Stradlin & The Ju Ju HoundsJackson Browne Late for the SkyJanis Joplin I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!Jeff Beck WiredJeff Beck TruthJeff Beck Jeff Beck's Guitar ShopJefferson Airplane Crown of CreationJefferson Airplane VolunteersJefferson Starship GoldJenny Lewis Acid TongueJerky Boys Jerky BoysJess And The Ancient Ones Astral SabbatJethro Tull Heavy HorsesJethro Tull Songs from the WoodJethro Tull Bursting OutJimi Hendrix The Cry of LoveJimi Hendrix Hendrix in the WestJimi Hendrix Band of GypsysJimmy Page and Robert Plant No QuarterJoan Jett and the Blackhearts I Love Rock & RollA fully admitted guilty pleasure and one of my earlier vinyl purchases. Joan Jett's brand of punky hard pop
was infectious enough to make this album a huge commercial success. She her songs also seemed just edgy
enough to seem as if she might be sneaking in a more subversive agenda. I LOVE ROCK 'N ROLL was certainly
her most cohesive record to date and a modest improvement upon her work with The Runaways. The formula that
she had developed along with producer Kenny Laguna proved to be a successful one for many years to come.
Casual fans might cite her obvious successes on the pop charts (the #1 hit title track & her cover of Tommy
James' "Crimson & Clover"), but my favorite songs are the grittier, hard rock cuts like "Love Is Pain" and
"Victim Of Circumstance". The main guitar riff is simple, yet has that same stinging tone that we've heard
on AC/DC's BACK IN BLACK album. Joan also shows a great affinity for 60's pop/rock with her covers of
"Nag", "Bit & Pieces" and the aforementioned "Crimson & Clover". Her own songwriting also seems influenced
by this sort of early rock & roll (The title track and "I'm Gonna Run Away").
While there are a few cuts that aren't quite as strong, the only real misstep would be her closing cover of
"The Little Drummer Boy", which seems a bit lame and unnecessary. If not for that song, I may have bumped
this record to 4.5 stars. Still, I LOVE ROCK 'N ROLL's combination of more contemporary hard rock with
classic rock & roll influences keeps the album fun, balanced and always interesting. Joanne Shaw Taylor The Dirty TruthJoe Satriani Flying In A Blue DreamJoe Satriani The ExtremistJoe Walsh There Goes The NeighborhoodJohn Lennon Double FantasyJohn Mellencamp ScarecrowJon Anderson Olias Of SunhillowJoni Mitchell HejiraJoni Mitchell The Hissing of Summer LawnsJourney InfinityJourney DepartureJourney FrontiersJudas Priest Sin After SinJudas Priest Killing MachineJudas Priest British SteelBRITISH STEEL is considered by many heavy metal aficionados as one of the greatest albums for that genre. It was certainly
their most refined, well produced and commercially successful album to date, spearheading the fledgling “New Wave of British
Heavy Metal” as a force to be reckoned with. It was the right kind of album at this point in time for Judas Priest and also
paved their most successful era. But was it really Priest’s finest hour?
My personal favorites on this album would include “Rapid Fire”, “Metal Gods”, “Steeler” and the understated and lumbering “The
Rage”, which contains the best Halford performances on the album.
I wouldn’t begrudge BRITISH STEEL to be listed among the better Judas Priest albums in their career. This was unarguably a key
album for them. Ultimately, Priest are striving a little too hard for commercial acceptance on this one. I also don't believe
this is necessarily the best example of Judas Priest in prime form. It's well-crafted for what it is, but also too
restrained. I’ve always loved the album cover too, but artwork alone isn’t going to earn this album 5 stars from me. It is an
excellent record and definitely recommended.Judas Priest Defenders of the FaithJudas Priest PainkillerJunior Brown Semi-CrazyKansas LeftovertureKate Bush LionheartKate Bush Never for EverKate Bush 50 Words for SnowKate Bush Director's CutKate Bush Live At Hammersmith OdeonKate Bush This Woman's Work: Anthology 1978-1990Kate Bush Before the DawnKing Crimson In the Wake of PoseidonKing Crimson Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey MindKing's X Out of the Silent PlanetKISS KISSKISS Hotter Than HellKISS Rock and Roll OverKISS Love GunKISS Creatures of the NightKISS Lick It UpKISS Alive IIKraftwerk Trans-Europe ExpressKrokus The Stayed Awake All Night: The Best of KrokusKrokus One Vice at a TimeIt wasn't until their seventh studio album that Swiss rockers Krokus were able to get America to take notice of them. ONE
VICE AT A TIME is easily my favorite Krokus album, even though their following album HEADHUNTER was truly their commercial
breakthrough. It definitely deserves more love that what it seems to be getting on the Internet.
The very first time I heard "Long Stick Goes Boom", I wondered aloud whether this was something a new AC/DC album. Between
the big slashing cowboy chords through Marshall stacks, the plucked arpeggios (a la "Put The Finger On You") and Marc
Storace's banshee shrieking, it wouldn't be hard to convince your average layperson that it was indeed AC/DC. Krokus has
received a lot of guff from pundits for unashamedly co-opting the sound that the brothers Young made so iconic, yet they do
it so brilliantly here. In fact, Marc Storace's name has often been pushed forward in discussions about possible
replacements for Bon or Brian.
Although guitarists Fernando Von Arb & Mark Kohler (who first joined the band for this album) obviously have great love for
the AC/DC sound, their approach is a bit more metalized and European. Marc's vocals on "Playin' The Outlaw" are nearly
throat shredding, yet he sounds none the worse for the wear. Other standouts include "To The Top" and their well chosen
heavy metal take on the Guess Who?s "American Woman". There are a few less than stellar tracks, but the high points easily
make up for any lulls in the action. When Krokus have all cylinders firing, they can seriously kick some ass.Lana Del Rey Born to DieLana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell!Led Zeppelin PresenceLed Zeppelin The Song Remains the SameLenny Kravitz Let Love RuleLinda Ronstadt Heart Like a WheelLinda Ronstadt Linda Ronstadt: Greatest HitsLinda Ronstadt Simple DreamsLindsey Buckingham Out of the CradleLiving Colour Time's UpLou Reed TransformerLoudness Thunder In The EastTHUNDER IN THE EAST was North America's introduction to Japanese heavy metallers Loudness. Their lead guitarist Akira Takasaki
wasn't called Japan's Eddie Van Halen for nothing. His intricate and often flashy guitar solos are each separate highlights in
songs that showcase the virtuosity of this band. The opening song (and single) "Crazy Nights" sounded like a heavy metal classic
the first time I heard it.
I will admit that this album took me several listens before it completely connected with me. Minohu Niharu's vocals were a bit
of an adjustment for me, even his performance is mostly solid. It's too tempting to focus on the occasional awkwardness of his
English phrasing. I remember that Loudness was received by many English speaking fans as a bit of a novelty. In retrospect,
that perspective seems a bit shallow once realize how really great this band is. Their musical ideas are often quite intricate
and executed with meticulous precision throughout the album.
Check out the undeniably great playing on tracks like "Clockwork Toy", "Heavy Chains", "Get Away" and "We Can Be Together" and
"The Lines Are Down". I used to think LIGHTNING STRIKES was a better record, but that opinion has been changed after spending a
bit more time with THUNDER IN THE EAST. It's an excellent album and much better than I ever knew.Love The Forever Changes Live ConcertLoverboy Get LuckyLucinda Williams World Without TearsLydia Loveless Indestructible MachineLynyrd Skynyrd Street SurvivorsMadonna MadonnaMadonna True BlueMadonna Ray of LightMahogany Rush Strange UniverseSTRANGE UNIVERSE is a swirling and energized collection of songs that seem more potent when taken as a whole, rather than judging it by it's individual tracks. Each song IS quite impressive, but Marino's admiration for Jimi Hendrix pervades this album so thoroughly that its difficult to discern how many of these ideas can be called truly original. I've felt conflicted about this album for that very reason. However, I'm decided to make peace with STRANGE UNIVERSE and acknowledge that it is Hendrix re-imagined. The playing here is undeniably top notch and have come to realize this is a very loving and well executed tribute to a true guitar master.Manowar Into Glory RideMaria McKee You've Gotta Sin To Get SavedMarty Robbins Gunfighter Ballads and Trail SongsAn enjoyable collection of Cowboy songs that seem to define why Country music was once called Country & Western.
Marty's tales of life in the Wild West are the sort of tales you'd expect from a folksinger or contemporaries like
Johnny Cash. And who hasn't heard "El Paso" played in numerous TV commercials at one point or another? It's
certainly a fine example of what Marty did best. Marty croons in a velvety smooth voice than occasionally reminds me
of Roy Orbison, yet never so sorrowful. Instead he sings with a lilt that is more uplifting and optimistic, even when
lyrics impart a sadder tale. As much as I enjoy hearing Marty spin his tales, his shortcoming seems to his failure to
include a more of an emotional dimension to his performances. As beautiful as Marty's voice is here, his smooth
storytelling doesn't hit you in the gut like a good Johnny Cash song. I suppose this may some of the reason why Cash
& Orbison continue to have relevance in 2013, while Marty's star has gradually faded through time. Favorite Tracks:
"Big Iron", "Cool Water" & "El Paso".Mary J. Blige No More DramaMazzy Star So Tonight That I Might SeeMegadeth Countdown to ExtinctionMegadeth The System Has FailedMegadeth DystopiaMen at Work CargoMercyful Fate Don't Break the OathLots of classic tracks ("A Dangerous Meeting", "Desecration Of Souls", "The Oath" and "Come To The
Sabbath") here. It's too bad that Mercyful Fate wound up splitting up for nearly a decade after
this record, which captures them at the height of their creative powers.Mercyful Fate In the ShadowsMercyful Fate TimeMercyful Fate's second post-reunion era album TIME is a solidly constructed collection and well performed. My
earliest impression of this album was that it was very well crafted, but somehow lacked something inexplicable that
made their earlier records so special. I have come to respect TIME for its consistency and I rarely choose to
listen to any of their records beyond this point. It marked the end of a creatively potent era for Mercyful Fate.Mercyful Fate Mercyful FateMetal Church Metal ChurchMetal Church Blessing in DisguiseMetal Church The Human FactorMetallica MetallicaMetallica Death MagneticMetallica Jump in the FireMetallica Through the NeverMichael Schenker Group The Michael Schenker GroupMichael Schenker Group One Night At BudokanMick Jagger Wandering SpiritMisfits Walk Among UsMissing Persons Spring Session MMolly Hatchet Molly HatchetMonster Magnet Dopes to InfinityMontrose MontroseMotley Crue Too Fast for LoveMotley Crue's debut TOO FAST FOR LOVE was a razor sharp collection of infectious pop-metal that hooked me the first time I heard it. Their bubblegum hooks and fashion choices were obviously influenced by 70s glam rock, but their early look seemed as if they were enacting their own version of Rocky Horror Picture Show.rTheir songwriting formula seems fairly simple and obvious after a few songs, but still well crafted with an abrasive metal edge. Highlights for me would include "Live Wire", "Take Me To The Top and the title track. "Merry-Go-Round" has some wonderfully melodic guitar parts, but Vince's repetitive chorus very much weakens what would otherwise have been a standout track. Aside from that one criticism, it's a fairly solid record with few if any dull moments to be found.rThe more common Elektra version of this album was remixed by Roy Thomas Baker and does sound a bit more polished than the original 1981 Leathur records mix, which also includes the song "Stick To Your Guns". But I'd still recommend listening to the original raw mix of the album to glean some insights into the the history of this record. Highly recommended and easily one of my favorite Motley Crue albums. TOO FAST FOR LOVE and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL both possessed a certain edge that was buffed away or glossed over on most of their later records.Motorhead Iron FistMotorhead OverkillNazareth No Mean CityNazareth 'SnazNeko Case The Tigers Have SpokenNewsted MetalNick Cave and The Bad Seeds Murder BalladsNight Ranger Midnight MadnessNorah Jones Day BreaksOverkill Taking OverOzzy Osbourne No More TearsOzzy Osbourne No Rest for the WickedOzzy Osbourne Mr. Crowley Live EPPat Benatar In The Heat of The NightPat Benatar Precious TimePatty Griffin American KidPaul McCartney Tug of WarPearl Jam VitalogyPentagram First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection)Pete Townshend All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese EyesPeter Gabriel MeltPhil Collins Face ValuePink Floyd MeddlePortishead DummyPrimus Suck on ThisPrimus Frizzle FryPrimus Pork SodaPrimus The Brown AlbumPrince 1999Prince The Gold ExperiencePrince Dirty MindPrince Sign o' the TimesPurson The Circle and the Blue DoorQueen Queen IIQueen Sheer Heart AttackQueen News of the WorldQueen JazzQueen Live KillersQueen The GameQueen Queen on Fire: Live at the BowlQueensryche Queensryche EPThis first release from Queensryche was an impressive teaser that would set expectations fairly high for their first
full length album. In retrospect, it's probably the most metal recording they ever made, as later releases would
incorporate increasingly ambitious ideas to broaden their sound and expand their style beyond the aggression of that
Highlights:"Queen Of The Reich", "Nightrider" & "The Lady Wore Black".Queensryche Rage for OrderQuiet Riot Metal HealthRacer X Second HeatRacer X Street LethalRaging Slab Raging SlabRainbow Straight Between the EyesRamones Leave HomeRamones Road to RuinRatt Out of the CellarRatt Dancing UndercoverDANCING UNDERCOVER is a well crafted collection of Pop-Metal songs that seem more consistently written then their prior
album INVASION OF YOUR PRIVACY. Still, Ratt's 3rd album seems to have experienced a minor backlash and seems to be sadly
under-appreciated. Maybe it was glossy, commercialized sheen of Beau Hill's production? While DANCING UNDERCOVER might
have disappointed some with its decidedly hair metal formula, it's still an enjoyable listen and far better than the
albums that followed.Raven (ENG) All for OneRaven (ENG) Rock Until You DropRavi Shankar The Sounds Of IndiaLet's face it. Ravi Shankar was pretty much the closest that he could be to "rock star" status as an Eastern musician in the late 60s and early 70s. This virtuoso sitar player from India was one of key ambassadors for Eastern music during this time, thanks in part to an early endorsement from The Beatles. He would later appear at Woodstock to play in front of half a million music fans. This made perfect sense at the time given the influence that Indian music had upon Rock music during the Psychedelic era. This album is a wonderful introduction to Ravi & Indian music in general. His teaching narratives throughout the album are geared to help Western listeners understand the mechanics of this genre. The longer droning passages might wear upon the nerves of the uninitiated. However, those who can grasp the brilliance of Ravi's improvisations with fully acknowledge what a prodigious talent he displays here.Red Hot Chili Peppers Mother's MilkRed Hot Chili Peppers CalifornicationRenaissance Ashes Are BurningRenaissance Scheherazade and Other StoriesREO Speedwagon Hi InfidelityRick James Street SongsRiot The Brethren of the Long HouseRoadstar Grand HotelRobert Plant Pictures at ElevenPICTURES AT ELEVEN left many Zeppelin fans scratching their heads when it was first released back 1982. The overall sound of the album was quite mellow and also a bit eclectic sounding when compared against the brash hard rock of Led Zeppelin. However, Plant's new music was fully meant to redefine his creative vision and results are gorgeous once you set any preconceptions aside. He does continue his tradition of creating maddeningly oblique song titles which are so difficult to remember because they fail to reference the lyrics in any meaningful way. Robbie Blunt's appropriately clean Strat tone just shimmers. His very tasteful chord choices and delicate fills adorn these songs with an understated beauty that has only grown with time. Of course, Plant sounds wonderful as always and imbues these songs with all of the emotion that these songs deserved. Initially, I felt that the harder rocking tracks like "Burning Down One Side" and "Pledge Pin" were the standouts, but don't overlook the gorgeous subtlety of songs like "Moonlight in Samosa" and "Like I've Never Been Gone" or even the Middle-Eastern flourishes in "Slow Dancer". Robbie Blunt really deserved much more praise for this work than he has. Although there are subtle nods to Page & Zeppelin, Blunt makes it clear that he's his own man. Not just anyone can play a clean toned Strat and make it speak as magically as he does here.Robert Plant The Principle of MomentsRobin Trower Victims Of The FuryRod Stewart A Night on the TownRollins Band The End of SilenceRory Gallagher Calling CardRosanne Cash Right Or WrongRose Tattoo Rose TattooAussie hard rockers Rose Tattoo offered this fierce debut record that has sadly been overlooked in the States. It was too easy for some hard rock fans to write them off as a second rate AC/DC as they did tread some of the same musical ground of pounding out boogie rock licks at high volume. That was my initial appraisal until I had a listen to their first album. The first three songs are a powerful 1-2-3 punch that most hard rock fans should find to be impressive. My favorite song by far is the menacing, slow grind of "The Butcher And Fast Eddy". Vocalist Angry Anderson goes into storytelling mode as he relates the tale of two foes who wind up in a fatal knife duel. Although the AC/DC influence is undeniable, this isn't simply an imitation of their more successful mates. I'd rate this as at least a great record, but I'd be willing to nudge this up to a solid 4 star rating.Rossington Collins Band Anytime, Anyplace, AnywhereThe Rossington Collins Band was essentially Lynyrd Skynyrd's resurrection, as it contained 4 original
members (Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkeson & Billy Powell) of the band. This was their album
together since STREET SURVIVORS and the tragic 1977 plane crash that effectively ended the band for many
years. Leading the band on vocals is Dale Krantz (Rossington), Gary's wife, who has also been a backup
singer for Skynyrd. Dale's soulful & bluesy vocals ignite so many songs on this album and the band also
seem very re-inspired here.
Their debut album ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, ANYWHERE is an excellent record for any fan of Southern or bluesy
hard rock. There are many great tracks, but I'd cite the single "Don't Misunderstand Me", "Three Times As
Bad", "Opportunity" and "Prime Time" for starters. This album seems to be keeping a lower profile in the
21st century, so I'd recommend revisiting this one for sure.Rush SignalsSacred Reich The American WaySade Diamond LifeSaga (CAN) Worlds ApartSammy Hagar Standing HamptonSanctuary Into the Mirror BlackSantana SantanaSavage Master Myth, Magic and SteelSavatage The Dungeons are CallingTHE DUNGEONS ARE CALLING is a menacing and loosely construed concept album about the horrors of drug addiction. Many listeners may have simply taken the lyrical themes at face value and thought the band were just exploring occult and fantasy ideas. On later albums vocalist Jon Oliva's personal battle with substance abuse became more clearly stated. This six song EP was recorded at the very same January 1983 one day session in Tampa that spawned their debut album SIRENS, but was related over a year later. Of the two releases, DUNGEONS is actually the superior collection of songs. It's easily the heaviest album Savatage ever recorded due to the down-tuned guitar and bass, the dark lyrical content and simply ferocious performances. All all of the tracks are solidly written power/doom metal fare, but the title track, "Midas Knight" and "City Beneath The Surface" would be my picks for standouts. The only song that seems lacking IMO would be "Visions (Of Hell)" which just isn't quite as good as the other 5 songs. Still, a very solid EP indeed and a personal favorite.Savatage Gutter BalletGUTTER BALLET is a mature and confident album that successfully moves Savatage forward into the realm of progressive metal. While
HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING had one foot planted in the past, it also found them dabbling with more ambitious neo-classical ideas.
Produced and entirely co-written with Paul O'Neill, this album is a brave step forward towards a more dynamic, more musical sound
that utilizes their metal tendencies in a more sparing and balanced manner. Some fans argue that HOTMK was the beginning of their
shift towards progressive metal, but this album is truly that transitional record as it seems more fully committed towards broadening
their sonic palette.
The ever shifting tone and themes throughout the record provide a great deal of variety to the record, but also makes it a seem a bit
unfocused at times. For that reason, I've always thought that GUTTER BALLET was just a hair short from being on par with HALL OF
THE MOUNTAIN KING or STREETS. Still, it is an excellent album overall and one that continues to earn my respect in the years that
have passed since it's release.Savatage Edge Of ThornsMy initial impression of this album was that none of these songs excited me as the highlights from the first three albums and seemed to be of a slightly lesser grade. However, this may be a case where the value of whole shouldn?t be judged solely on the sum of its parts. In retrospect, I believe EDGE OF THORNS does deserve a badge of excellence. It?s a well-balanced collection of songs that exemplifies creative growth and has only grown more important and meaningful to me through time.Savatage Ghost In The RuinsSaxon Denim and LeatherSaxon Wheels of SteelScorpions Love At First StingScorpions Fly to the RainbowFLY TO THE RAINBOW was the first noteworthy studio album by Scorpions and the beginning of one of their most interesting eras. It?s a rather progressive sounding album that dabbles with a fusion of hard rock, flamenco, Acid rock and also traces of early prog metal and neo-classical metal. It?s much more focused than the meandering experimentation of their debut, but does contain some lengthy, but very enjoyable musical journeys. It may be a more challenging record for fans of their edgier, more raucous metal sound. I believe musicians will probably have a greater appreciation for the more progressive arrangements and stellar playing by everyone here. This is the perfect place to start anyone who wants to explore the more classic Scorpions albums.Scorpions Virgin KillerScott Walker Scott 2Feeling in the mood for something absurd? Well, I've got just the guy for you! Upon hearing Scott for the first time, you
might first ask whether he REALLY said that. Once you realize he actually DID say that, then you wonder whether he's
serious. Then you get a little frightened (or even amused) when you realize he IS serious. If you're feeling more amused
than disgusted, then your next step is to listen to SCOTT 2 all the way through.
Mind you, it's Scott's lounge lizard crooning and warbling over the over-the-top orchestral arrangements that serve to make
his saucy lyrics so completely unexpected. Musically, this album moves into territory that I'm not usually keen on. I've
never been a fan of syrupy strings and overworked orchestras behind some crooning pop vocalist that might have been a
fixture on the Vegas circuit. It's simply hilarious to hear him dryly deliver his cheeky and salacious stories, often
punctuated at the end of a phrase with a very lengthy and deliberately contrived vibrato. Ladies and gentleman, this is
the world of Scott Walker circa 1968. And at this point in time (or even since), there has been no one quite like him.Sepultura AriseShocking Blue At HomeSimply Red Picture BookSister Sledge We Are FamilySkid Row (US) Skid RowSkid Row's debut album catapulted this New Jersey heavy metal band from relative obscurity to one of the most talked about new acts
of 1989. Their combination of cleverly crafted hard rock riffing with infectious pop-metal hooks made them seem like an American
update of The Sweet. Their songs were catchy enough to appeal to girls, yet just edgy enough to appeal to a male audience.
Undoubtedly, it was their vocalist Sebastian Bach that provided the X-factor this band needed to rise so quickly among such stiff
competition in that genre. His brash, powerful vocals are confident, powerful and just a tad over-the-top here, although this would
prove to be more of a strength for him at this point in time. His performances got him noticed, but his prima donna antics and
belligerence also grew tiresome very quickly for his band and many of its fans. He suffered from the same "lead singer's disease"
that also made Axl Rose become so insufferable. Thus, Skid Row's quick rise would also become a very fast descent within just five
SKID ROW was a promising start and remains a great hard metal album to revisit from time to time. It's just sad that Skid Row
followed the same path as Guns 'N Roses and too quickly saw their fortunes evaporate almost as quickly as they came.Skid Row (US) Slave to the GrindSlayer Live UndeadSlayer Hell AwaitsSonic Youth GooSoundgarden Down on the UpsideMy opinion of DOWN ON THE UPSIDE has only grown in the 20 years that have passed since its release in 1996. My initial
impression was that it was a less consistent collection of songs than the two staggering releases that preceded it. My
primary complaint had always been that the second half isn't as compelling as the first. And while these observations
may still be valid, I didn't predict the staying power of such Chris Cornell compositions as “Blow Up The Outside World”
and “Burden In My Hand, which are now live highlights for them. Other great tracks include "Pretty Noose", "Tighter &
Tighter", the raging "Ty Cobb", the mellower "Dusty" and even the raucous "No Attention". With repeated listening, this
album seems much more satisfying than disappointing in any respect. As fans, we were dismayed with the band chose to
split up after this album, so it's likely that disappointment was also colored our view of the album in retrospect. It's
not a perfect record, but it is a solidly enjoyable one.Squeeze East Side StorySqueeze ArgybargySteely Dan The Royal ScamSteely Dan Can't Buy a ThrillSteppenwolf SteppenwolfSteve Forbert Jackrabbit SlimSteve Hackett Spectral MorningsStevie Nicks The Wild HeartStevie Nicks Enchanted (Box Set)Stevie Ray Vaughan Soul to SoulStormtroopers of Death Speak English or DieStray Cats Stray CatsSturgill Simpson A Sailor's Guide To EarthSturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds In Country MusicStyx The Grand IllusionStyx Paradise TheatreSuicidal Tendencies Lights...Camera...RevolutionSusan Tedeschi Just Won't BurnSweet Sweet Fanny AdamsT. Rex Electric WarriorTalking Heads Speaking in TonguesTalking Heads Fear of MusicTed Nugent Ted NugentTed Nugent Cat Scratch FeverTesla The Great Radio ControversyTesla Psychotic SupperThe Alan Parsons Project I RobotThe Alan Parsons Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination The Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers BandThe Allman Brothers Band Brothers and SistersThe B-52s Wild PlanetThe Beatles Beatles for SaleThe Black Crowes AmoricaThe Black Crowes Shake Your Money MakerThe Cars Heartbeat CityThe Clash London CallingThe Claypool Lennon Delirium Monolith of PhobosThe Donnas Spend the NightThe Doobie Brothers Minute By MinuteThe Doobie Brothers Toulouse StreetThe Doors Strange DaysThe Fixx Reach the BeachThe Golden Grass The Golden GrassThe Guess Who Canned WheatThe Guess Who American WomanThe Jam Setting SonsThe Jim Carroll Band Catholic BoyThe Joe Perry Project Let the Music Do the TalkingThe Kinks Face to FaceThe Mekons Fear And WhiskeyThe Motels All Four OneThe Motels Little RobbersThe Mothers of Invention Freak Out!The New Pornographers Whiteout ConditionsThe Pentangle Basket of LightThe Police Ghost in the MachineThe Police Zenyatta MondattaThe Pretenders Pretenders IIPRETENDERS II is an excellent album when appraised on its own merits, but does fall a little short in recapturing the magic of their fantastic debut. Once you've located all of those reasons why PRETENDERS II isn't equally as powerful as their debut, you may also begin to realize that it is still quite a fine record. Chrissie Hynde's lyrics are still quite alluring on the opening cuts "The Adultress" and "Bad Boys Get Spanked" or even wryly amusing on "Pack It Up". "Day After Day", a song about the seemingly never ending grind of touring, is another fine hard rocker showcasing some nice guitar work from James Honeyman-Scott. The ballads "I Go To Sleep" and "Birds Of Paradise" are so mellow they could easily serve as lullabies, but provide some balance to the album.
Time has only made me grow fonder of this album, especially given that this was the final artistic statement by the original incarnation of The Pretenders lineup. Losing Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott both to drug overdoses within a year still seems unfathomable. There was a wonderful chemistry here within the original band that would be forever lost to us with these dual tragedies. Therefore, I'm thankful to have this final full length album from the original band and have become more forgiving its minor faults.The Pretenders Extended PlayEXTENDED PLAY was an excellent gift from the band at the time, which now seems a bit less essential given that most of the tracks can be found elsewhere. However, the live rendition of "Precious" featured here has not appeared on CD as of yet, so collectors may want to take note of this one.The Reverend Horton Heat Smoke 'em If You Got 'emThe Rolling Stones Beggars BanquetGreat sounding record, but slightly overrated by many critics. It is one of the first albums by the Stones where you
can finally hear them establishing their identity, especially after being so completely LOST on the prior album (THEIR
SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST). While there are several undeniable classic songs and a great vibe throughout, most of these
songs seem 2nd rate when contrasted with the albums that would follow. The Country-Rock influence of Gram Parsons
begins to waft in to their writing in a pleasing way. Certainly a nice album with a great vibe, but not quite a perfect
one for me.
Highlights: "Sympathy For The Devil", "Stray Cat Blues", "No Expectations" and "Salt Of The Earth".The Rolling Stones The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones Out of Our HeadsThe Rolling Stones December's Children (And Everybody's)The Rolling Stones AftermathAFTERMATH was an important milestone for the Stones. After 6 albums of mixing cover songs with their own compositions,
this was the very first record where ALL of the compositions are credited to Mick Jagger & Keith Richards. Their
confidence is evident on such songs as "Under My Thumb" and "Paint it, Black", both of which have become classic radio
staples. Stylistically, you can sense the Stones are gradually outgrowing the early British Blues sound that was such an
early staple of their sound and have begun to experiment a bit more. 2nd tier tracks such as "Stupid Girl", "I Am
Waiting" (U.S. version only), "Out Of Time" (U.K. Version only) and the Elizabethan ballad "Lady Jane" are decent songs,
but the rest of the record isn't nearly as memorable. AFTERMATH was a very promising offering from the Stones, but not
Highlights: "Under My Thumb", "Paint It, Black", "Out Of Time" & "I Am Waiting".The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!The Sisters of Mercy FloodlandThe Sonics Here Are the SonicsThe Tea Party TransmissionThe Who TommyThe Who Meaty Beaty Big and BouncyThe Who Live at Hull 1970Thin Lizzy Bad ReputationThin Lizzy Johnny the FoxThin Lizzy FightingThomas Dolby The Golden Age of WirelessTift Merritt Another CountryTom Petty and the Heartbreakers Hypnotic EyeTori Amos Boys for PeleTraffic TrafficA fine album for sure with it's interesting blend of influences and genres. I've always loved Steve Winwood's voice, but have
never been able to put my finger on exactly why I was never a bigger fan of Traffic. Their songs are a really odd, but pleasing
blend of so many different sounds. Not quite essential for me personally, but I'll acknowledge that this is a very well crafted
record from start to finish.
Highlights: "Pearly Queen" and "You Can Join In".Triumph Allied ForcesTriumph Just a GameTriumph Thunder SevenTrouble Manic FrustrationMANIC FRUSTRATION was an excellent record, but not nearly as heavy as TROUBLE or PSALM 9. It's much more polished and varied stylistically, which is mostly a good thing. If they ever made a borderline commercial or sell out album, this was it. But it is very well crafted and probably their most successful release. This isn't the "Heavy Jesus Metal" that gave their first four albums some added novelty value. Without that overbearing influence upon their lyrical direction, the band seem liberated to discuss other topics. This change in tone was welcomed by many, but also probably disappointed some older fans. Their agenda from this point onward seemed directed more towards the Stoner Metal crowd. There's a good bit more psychedelia here in the lyrics and music. My faves are "Come Touch The Sky", "Scuse Me", "Memory's Garden" (which always reminded me of Santana's "Open Invitation" and "Hello Strawberry Skies". It's a solid album, but just doesn't pummel me as much as their earlier stuff. On this one, the doom factor was dialed down a notch and goes for more a psychedelic / classic rock sound. Still, a very solid and enjoyable album.Trouble Psalm 9Tubeway Army ReplicasTwisted Sister You Can't Stop Rock 'n' RollTwisted Sister Stay HungryType O Negative Bloody KissesUFO No Place to RunThis album is so much better than most critics give it credit for being. It's one of the better albums with Paul Chapman and there are plenty of great songs including "Letting Go", "Mystery Train", "No Place To Run", "Money Money". Great soulful singing from Phil Mogg and lots of great grooves. A criminally unappreciated record. Chapman wasn't Schenker, but he stood his own ground proudly. (Vinnie Moore is sure doing a helluva job these days too.)UFO ObsessionUFO The Wild, the Willing and the InnocentUFO Seven DeadlyUriah Heep FireflyUriah Heep Uriah HeepUriah Heep Very 'eavy... Very 'umbleUriah Heep WonderworldVan Halen Van Halen IIVan Halen Fair WarningVan Halen 5150Vektor Terminal ReduxVeruca Salt American ThighsVoivod The WakeW.A.S.P. W.A.S.P.This was one of those albums that I bought for the cover. Back then, "all metal was good metal"... or so we thought at first. This is a fun record with some great cuts - "L.O.V.E. Machine", "School Daze", "Hellion", "On Your Knees", "I Wanna Be Somebody"... For what it is, W.A.S.P.'s debut record is decent shock rock / hair metal fare along the lines of where Motley Crue was at during their SHOUT AT THE DEVIL phase. rVocalist/songwriter/bassist/guitarist Blackie Lawless was a scary enough front man and has remained the driving force for this band. Chris Holmes' lead guitar work here is passable at best, but not quite as catchy or memorable as Mick Mars' breaks. Still, this album was good, stupid fun for the era, even if their schtick did get old rather quickly by their 2nd record. W.A.S.P. The Headless ChildrenWanda Jackson Wanda JacksonWar (USA) The World Is a GhettoWarlock Triumph and AgonyWarren Zevon Excitable BoyWeen Chocolate and CheeseWeen The MolluskWeen White PepperWhite Zombie La Sexorcisto-Devil Music Vol. 1Whitesnake Slide It InWhitesnake WhitesnakeWings Wings Over AmericaWitchfinder General Death PenaltyX More Fun In The New WorldX AlphabetlandY and T Struck DownYazoo Upstairs at Eric'sYeah Yeah Yeahs Fever To TellYes RelayerYes DramaYes YesshowsYes Keys to AscensionYngwie Malmsteen Marching OutZZ Top EliminatorZZ Top Tres Hombres3.5 great.38 Special Wild-Eyed Southern Boys.38 Special Special Forces10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged10,000 Maniacs Our Time in Eden24-7 Spyz Gumbo MillenniumABBA The AlbumAC/DC PowerageAC/DC For Those About To Rock We Salute YouIn contrast with BACK IN BLACK, FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK (WE SALUTE YOU) possesses an upbeat, almost celebratory vibe that probably reflected the bands mood at this point in time. Although their formula was essentially the same, the tempos are a bit more relaxed. These songs are catchy with a subtle pop-metal vibe that seemed to make them ready made for FM radio. On the surface, this lively record seemed satisfying and delivered many worthwhile songs. With deeper scrutiny, minor flaws become more noticeable and much of gold in this album winds up being a bit more silver in value. Criticisms aside, I still enjoy the hell out of this album and can't deny I still get a charge out it with every spin.AC/DC BallbreakerAC/DC Who Made WhoWHO MADE WHO is a compilation of 6 classics and 3 new tracks released in 1986. It was assembled as the soundtrack for the Stephen King penned comedy-horror flick MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. To really appreciate why this collection works so well, you should really see the movie. Watching machines go amok while AC/DC plays in the background is both surreal and hilarious. The title track "Who Made Who" was a popular single for the band at the time and is really the main reason why fans would have bothered top pick this up at the time. The other 2 new tracks, "D. T." and "Chase The Ace", are both instrumentals. Of the two, "D. T." is probably a bit more interesting. But it's hard to go wrong with such AC/DC classics as "Hells Bells", "For Those About To Rock" and even one Bon Scott track - "Ride On", which really feels like a highlight here. Maybe not an essential album, but a satisfying one.Accept Metal HeartAll that glitters isn't gold. That's pretty much my feeling about METAL HEART. The production, performances and
overall sound of this record is top notch. This was definitely Accept's best sounding record to date, but the songs
are another matter. They've infused these songs with the slick, pop-metal sensibility that was very much in vogue
METAL HEART was slick and well executed enough that Accept could fool enough fans into believing it was as good as
their prior albums. It IS a great sounding and enjoyable album, but more of an overly polished guilty pleasure for
me. Accept BreakerBREAKER is a great record that I revisit regularly because it is still less familiar to me than their landmark
releases, yet possesses the aspects of Accept that I most enjoy. While their songwriting would continue to
improve, the high energy of this album makes it a worthwhile spin.
Highlights: "Breaker", "Son Of A Bitch", and "Run If You Can".Accept Russian RouletteAccept The Rise of ChaosAce Frehley Trouble Walkin'Adam Ant Friend or FoeAerosmith Draw the LineDRAW THE LINE has taken a lot of guff through the years as being the album where "the drugs were
starting to work against them". It's true that the boys were starting to let their partying get
the best of them, but that was more even more evident on the ragged performances they'd recorded
for the LIVE BOOTLEG album. This album just sounds a bit less focused than its predecessors, yet
still contains much of the classic era magic.
My main issue with DRAW THE LINE is that there are fewer exceptional tracks one could cite as
standouts. "Draw The Line" is an obvious pick, but ?"ings And Queens" and "Sight For Sore Eyes"
wouldn't rank all that high in listing of best Aerosmith songs ever. Still, it's a very good
ALMOST excellent batch songs that are still rewarding to revisit every now and then.Aerosmith Live! BootlegAl Di Meola Electric RendezvousAldo Nova Subject...Aldo NovaAldo Nova Aldo NovaAlice Cooper Muscle of LoveMUSCLE OF LOVE is an entertaining and enjoyable collection of songs, but is admittedly a disappointment as a follow-up to BILLION DOLLAR BABIES. Abandoning their successful run of semi-conceptual albums, this album is just a little too unfocused in terms of musical direction or compelling lyrical themes. Still, most of the songs do a certain charm that more dedicated Alice Cooper fans will appreciate. The absence of Bob Ezrin as producer and the growing cracks with the original Alice Cooper Group led to the inclusion of more session musicians and a less cohesive sound overall. I'd cite "Big Apple Dreaming (Hippo)", "Never Been Sold Before", "Man With The Golden Gun" and the title track as highlights. Despite it's obvious flaws, I've come to accept this raw gem warts and all. (I'd recommend tracking down the Quadrophonic version for an even more interesting listening experience.)Alice Cooper From the InsideAlice Cooper The Last TemptationTHE LAST TEMPTATION was a step in the right direction for Alice. It was best album he'd made in MANY years. Still, the songwriting wasn't thoroughly consistent and falls a bit short of excellence. A worthy effort though.Alice in Chains Alice in ChainsAmy Winehouse FrankAngel Helluva BandAngel Live Without A NetAnnihilator King of the KillAnthrax Fistful of MetalAnthrax Armed and DangerousAnthrax State of EuphoriaAnthrax We've Come for You AllWE'VE COME FOR YOU ALL is full of tightly wound ball of energy that showcases the band playing with a relentless passion and vigor. I
was initially dismissive of this album simply because I wasn't as impressed with the John Bush era albums I'd heard to date. It's
clear to me now that I wasn't really listening carefully enough. Charlie Benante is playing his double bass kicks so furiously in
places I think his legs just might have come off! Everyone is just giving it their all here. I'll admit that the songs are still
growing on me, but I will say that "What Doesn't Die" and "Think About An End" are my current favorites. This is an album that
shouldn't be overlooked. Give it a chance.Anvil This Is ThirteenAnvil Anvil Is AnvilArmored Saint March of the SaintThe first three songs are classic - "March Of The Saint", "Can You Deliver" and "Madhouse". The rest is quite good, but doesn't quite rise to the same level. John Bush does have a fine metal voice and Dave Pritchard's (R.I.P.) guitar playing is also quite tasty. Certainly a great album, but a few songs short of excellence.Audioslave RevelationsBad Company Desolation AngelsBee Gees Spirits Having FlownBerlin Pleasure VictimPLEASURE VICTIM is a great time capsule for fans of early 1980s synth pop & new wave. Much of the attention surrounding Berlin was elicited by their provocative vocalist Terri Nunn, as well as the racy lyrics for a few of these songs. The first single "Sex (I'm A)", which plays like a modernist of Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby". MTV exposure via promotional videos for "The Metro" (my favorite track) and "Masquerade" helped boost the band's profile even more. Musically, Berlin's synthesizer dominated sound was given a little extra edge here with some occasional backing guitar. The exploitative nature of Berlin's songs keep this from being essential for me, but I'd easily recommend this to fans of New Wave music.Bernie Marsden ShineBig Brother And The Holding Company Big Brother And The Holding CompanyBigelf HexBilly Idol Kings And Queens Of The UndergroundBilly Joel An Innocent ManAN INNOCENT MAN is a very retro-sounding pop/rock album that spotlights Joel as a vocalist, rather than a piano player. As much as I'm not a fan of this sort of Pop radio fare, I won't deny that it's a fine record for what it is. It's hard not to think of MTV years when hearing so many of the singles this album contains. Still, this change in direction made me a bit less attentive the albums that followed.Billy Squier The Tale of the TapeBilly Squier Hear & NowBlack Oak Arkansas Black Oak ArkansasBlack Oak Arkansas High On The HogBlack Sabbath Technical EcstasyBlack Sabbath Headless CrossBlack Sabbath DehumanizerBlack Sabbath 1313 is a rather deliberate attempt by the band and Rick Rubin to channel Sabbath's classic years in hopes of finding a bit of that "ol' black magic' once again. It's an enjoyable exercise that ultimately proves to be worthwhile. rThe downside though is that their imagination seems to be limited to trying to recreate something that's impossible for them to improve upon at this stage. The first half is most enjoyable with "End Of The Beginning" borrowing its vibe from the song "Black Sabbath". "God Is Dead?" is also a very strong track. "Loner" seems like the sort of track they might have written during the TECHNICAL ECSTASY era, while "Zeitgest" is most obviously a rewrite of "Planet Caravan". Finally, "Damaged Soul" revisits their early years with bluesy riffs that seem to recall the vibe of their debut album. See the pattern? rStill, it's a bittersweet album in that we know it will likely be their last AND because Bill Ward wasn't here to join them. This isn't a criticism of Tommy Cluefos' fine work on these tracks, but just the sad regret of a long time Black Sabbath fan.Black Sabbath Under Wheels of ConfusionBlack Sabbath Live EvilBlack Sabbath Live... Gathered in Their MassesBlackfoot StrikesBlondie BlondieBlood Ceremony Lord of MisruleBlue Oyster Cult SpectresBlue Oyster Cult Curse of the Hidden MirrorBlue Oyster Cult ImaginosBob Seger I Knew You WhenBoston Third StageBoston Don't Look BackBruce Springsteen The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street ShuffleBruce Springsteen Tunnel of LoveTUNNEL OF LOVE is an honest and reflective album that was done during the period that Bruce was going marital strife with his first wife, Julianne Phillips. Like NEBRASKA, this was officially a solo record for Bruce and only includes minimal involvement from his E Street band mates. Musically, it's mostly a mellow and introspective affair that is very nicely executed. This one may require a little more patience to absorb, but it is quality work. Highlights for me include "Ain't Got You", "One Step Up" and the title track. Buckingham Nicks Buckingham NicksBudgie Never Turn Your Back on a FriendBudgie In for the Kill!BulletBoys BulletBoysCandlemass Ancient DreamsCandlemass Psalms For The DeadCandlemass LiveCandlemass House Of DoomCarly Simon AnticipationChastain The 7th of NeverCheech and Chong Wedding AlbumCheech and Chong Sleeping BeautyChicago Chicago VIChristine McVie Christine McVieCinderella Night SongsConcrete Blonde Concrete BlondeCreedence Clearwater Revival PendulumCrosby, Stills, Nash and Young CSNCurved Air PhantasmagoriaCurved Air Air ConditioningDan McCafferty Dan McCaffertyDangerous Toys Dangerous ToysDavid Bowie LodgerDavid Bowie Young AmericansDavid Bowie Let's DanceDavid Bowie Diamond DogsDavid Bowie EarthlingDavid Gilmour On An IslandDavid Gilmour Live At PompeiiDavid Gilmour About FaceDavid Lee Roth Crazy From The HeatDavid Lee Roth A Little Ain't EnoughDeep Purple Shades of Deep PurpleSHADES OF DEEP PURPLE evokes a baroque rock sound that seems even slightly more dated than its 1968 release date. It has much more in common with the rock music that predated the psychedelic area than the acid rock that began emerging that same year. It would take a few more albums for them to start creating music that was a bit more cutting edge than yesterday's news. Still, this was an admirable start for a now legendary band.Deep Purple Concerto for Group and OrchestraDeep Purple StormbringerSTORMBRINGER, the second and final studio release by Deep Purple Mk. 3, it does at first seem to be a less inspired effort than its more solid predecessor BURN. However, it's the vocal performances by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes that really made me take notice of this album. It also seems that there is bit more of a playful, competitive tension here than on BURN. Although David and Glenn have different tones and approaches to singing, their voices blend in a wonderfully complementary way. Their performance alone make this record a joy for me.rI believe some of the reason that some Purple fans might not like STORMBRINGER as much is because of the shift from a heavier rock sound to a more playful and funky style at times. Rather than continuing to nitpick the minor shortcomings of this record, I've grown to appreciate this album more as time passes. We should be thankful to have this final offering from a very special Deep Purple lineup that existed for such a short time. Just shy of excellence, but definitely worthwhile.Deep Purple Come Taste the BandDeep Purple AbandonDeep Purple Rapture of the DeepDef Leppard HysteriaDevo Duty Now For The FutureDevo New TraditionalistsDio MagicaMAGICA was a very promising step in the right direction at the time of its release. As much
as I admire the hard work that went into making this album, it inevitably falls a bit short of
excellence when the musical content is appraised. It is no HEAVEN AND HELL or even HOLY
DIVER. There simply aren't enough great songs here for MAGICA to be even compared to his
finest work. Nevertheless, it was an interesting and praiseworthy experiment.Dio Dream EvilDio Strange HighwaysDio IntermissionDire Straits Live at the BBCDivinyls Make You HappyDoro DoroDread Zeppelin The Fun SessionsDream Theater Images and WordsDuran Duran Seven and the Ragged TigerDust DustDUST is one of those albums that only that only the hardcore hard/acid rock crowd seems to be aware of. The band was fronted by a singer/guitarist named Kenny Wise, who was also joined by Kenny Aaronson (best known for his later work with Billy Squier). The first half of this album wasn't all that impressive to me, but the latter half is a bit more adventurous and interesting to behold. "From A Dry Camel" and "Often Shadows Felt" are highlights for me and are fine examples of why this band was so promising. The manic instrumental boogie of "Loose Goose" is good fun too. Although it's a bit of a flawed gem, I will concede that the final tracks redeem this as a great record. Eagles DesperadoEagles The Long RunEagles EaglesEagles On The BorderEddie Money Eddie MoneyEdgar Winter They Only Come Out At NightElastica ElasticaElectric Sun EarthquakeElton John CaribouElton John Rock of the WestiesElvis Costello This Year's ModelElvis Presley Elvis Is Back!I was slightly disappointed with this selection for the 1001 Albums To Hear Before You Die list. For one, it doesn't
contain any of his more recognizable hits. What's worse is that this 2nd record with RCA finds Elvis stepping away from
the frenetic Rockabilly sounds of this earlier record. He is now backed by The Jordanaires, who often lend an almost Doo
Wop style to some of these songs.
What's worse is that material featured here is fairly mediocre by his prior standards. There are no blockbuster hits or
really any songs that a casual Elvis fan might instantly recognize (aside from covers of songs like "Fever" and "Such A
Night"). If you want to hear something ESSENTIAL from this era, I would instead recommend his prior album, A DATE WITH
ELVIS IS BACK is an enjoyable album, but otherwise relatively unremarkable once you've hear his earliest records. The
only reason I can figure they included this album was to highlight the change in his sound when he added The Jordanaires.
Favorite Tracks: "Make Me Know It" and "Such A Night".Elvis Presley ElvisEmmylou Harris Blue Kentucky GirlEmmylou Harris White ShoesEmmylou Harris The Ballad of Sally RoseEric Clapton BacklessEric Clapton Old SockEric Clapton Eric ClaptonExodus Fabulous DisasterExodus Pleasures of the FleshFaith No More Album of the YearFaith No More Live at the Brixton AcademyLIVE AT THE BRIXTON ACADEMY is a great live document from THE REAL THING era which is full of the sort of energy you'd expect from Faith No More. My only complaint is that Mike Patton chooses to sing every song in a goofy, affected tone. I have a sense of humor and enjoy most of the stuff he does, but this just comes across as "I know I'm great, so there's no point in me taking of this too seriously." At a certain point, he's just not that funny anymore.Fanny Fanny HillVery enjoyable collection of hard edged pop/rock from the 1st all-female hard rock band. Highlights include "Ain't That Peculiar", "Knock On My Door", "Blind Alley" and their cover of The Beatles "Hey Bulldog".Faster Pussycat Faster PussycatTheir debut album is a notable, but uneven slice of hair metal glory circa 1987. It's vocalist Taime Downe who seems to stand out most here. Taime spouts out his observations on the seedier aspects of the Hollywood club scene. Mind you, he's not the best singer by any measure, but he's full of the cocky attitude required to front a band of gypsies like these. The musicianship is a bit underwhelming, but the first half of this album is mostly solid. Fans of this type of hair metal might rate this one as excellent for the genre. I wouldn't disagree with that or even that it's probably the best Faster Pussycat album to date. But as a whole, the album is simply 'great' for what it represents and the memories it conjures up for me. It's just hard rockin' sleazy fun that was never meant to be taken too seriously.Fates Warning The Spectre WithinFates Warning ParallelsFats Domino This Is Fats Domino!Faun Fables Light of a Vaster DarkFight War Of WordsFleetwood Mac MirageFleetwood Mac Then Play OnFleetwood Mac Kiln HouseFleetwood Mac Bare TreesFlotsam and Jetsam My GodFlotsam and Jetsam When the Storm Comes DownFlotsam and Jetsam Flotsam and JetsamFoghat Rock and Roll OutlawsFoghat Rock and RollFoghat EnergizedFoghat FoghatForeigner Double VisionForeigner Head GamesForeigner Agent ProvocateurFrank Zappa Zoot AlluresFrank Zappa Frank Zappa For PresidentFreddie Mercury Mr Bad GuyFree Fall Power & VolumeGary Moore Corridors Of PowerGene Simmons Gene SimmonsGenesis Wind & WutheringGenesis ...And Then There Were Three...George Thorogood and the Destroyers More George Thorogood And The DestroyersGeorge Thorogood and the Destroyers Bad to the BoneGillan Glory RoadGillan Future ShockGillan GillanGirlschool Screaming Blue MurderGirlschool King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents In ConcertThis live set is from a January 1984 Nashville show supporting PLAY DIRTY. This performance is much better than the studio album they were supporting, but does suffer a tad from the inclusion of their newer material. Golden Earring Prisoner of the Night"Long Blonde Animal" is reason alone to check this one out - great riff!!Gram Parsons GPGrand Funk Railroad SurvivalGreat White Great WhiteProbably my favorite Great White release due to the more traditional heavy metal approach here. Several great tracks here including "Streetkiller", "Stick It", and their cover of The Who's "Substitute". Yes, the lyrics are pretty dumb, but the guitar riffs make this pretty rocking.Great White Once Bitten....Guns N' Roses G N' R LiesHall and Oates VoicesHall and Oates H2OHawkwind The Machine StopsHawkwind In Search of SpaceHeart Private AuditionPRIVATE AUDITION is a very pop flavored album that finds them dabbling with more playful fare, as opposed to the more hard rock driven sound they'd had up through BEBE LE STRANGE. This shift seems to have confused and disappointed a lot of their older fans, so this record gets panned an awful lot by critics. I have felt a little conflicted about why I like this record as much as I do, but believe it is a better album than most seem to think. Highlights for me include the hard rocker "City' Burning", the retro-cabaret of the title track, "This Man Is Mine" and "The Situation". Granted, the last four songs are lame, there are too many songs I enjoy revisiting here to go along with popular opinion. Probably closer to good than great, but I'm feeling generous.Ian Gillan Band Clear Air TurbulenceIan Gillan Band ScarabusIggy Pop FreeImpellitteri Stand in LineIron Maiden Brave New WorldIron Maiden A Matter of Life and DeathIron Maiden Live!! + OneIron Maiden The Book of SoulsTHE BOOK OF SOULS is an epic, sprawling monolith of an album that is tailor made for fans of their more progressive work. It reminds me a bit of the direction they took with A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH and is easily as good as that album. My main issue with many of the songs on this album is that they seem a bit to overworked and lengthy. Still, I will give Maiden kudos for their performances and for simply sounding so purposeful. My picks here would be "The Red And The Black", "Empire Of The Clouds" and the title track.Jack Bruce-Bill Lordan-Robin Trower B.L.T"No Island Lost", Robin's variation on Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile", is reason alone to own this album.Jackyl JackylJeff Beck Loud HailerJeff Buckley GraceJenny Lewis The VoyagerJess And The Ancient Ones Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Jessi Colter I'm Jessi ColterTHIS IS JESSI COLTER was a much more promising and well produced album than her 1970 debut. There are many of Jessi's trademark tender ballads (a la Tammy Wynette), but also a few up-tempo numbers ("Is There Any Way", "Come On" & "Love's The Only Chain") that sound a bit more like Memphis Soul than Country. These variations in style keep the album from becoming too weepy and sentimental. My favorite songs include the seductive "You Ain't Never Been Loved (Like The Way I'm Gonna Love You)" and the lesser known single "What's Happened To Blue Eyes". This album is best known for containing Jessi's sole Billboard Pop hit "I'm Not Lisa". It's a decent enough song, but not quite a highlight for me. Jessi's songwriting is very good overall, but not outstanding enough to award this album 4 stars. Jethro Tull Stand UpJimi Hendrix People, Hell, and AngelsJimmy Page and Robert Plant Walking Into ClarksdaleWALKING INTO CLARKSDALE was an enjoyable, but not entirely satisfying album. At this point in their career, Jimmy & Robert seemed to be balancing their own artistic aspirations against the expectation of Led Zeppelin fans. NO QUARTER was a compromise in that they revisited Zeppelin's back catalog, but reimagined the songs with a Middle Eastern sensibility. I think many of us hoped WALKING INTO CLARKSDALE would be more of a return to form, but once again balances their own modern preprogatives while summoning some echoes of their past. My issue with this album isn't so much the mellower tone, but more the fact that album does seem a little lackluster in the second half. I'd place it on the same level as IN THROUGH THE OUR DOOR. I just get this feeling when listening to this that they're holding back a bit on delivering the knockout punches they seemed to come so easy to them in the 70s. This album is more finesse and subtlety than the heavy metal thunder of their youth. It's at least a great record, but falls just short of excellence as a collection of songs.Joan Jett and the Blackhearts SinnerJoan Jett and the Blackhearts Bad ReputationJoe Satriani Not of This EarthJoe Satriani Dreaming #11John Fogerty John FogertyJohn Mellencamp American FoolJon Oliva's Pain 'Tage Mahal'TAGE MAHAL is an enjoyable, but somewhat inconsistent debut from Jon Oliva's Pain. Many song ideas, lyrics and musical motifs are deliberated lifted from Jon's past glories with Savatage as ear candy for his dedicated fans. This is most obvious on his self-tribute medley "People Say - Gimme Some Hell" which is spirited and fun, but also overwrought to the point of almost self parody. The energy level is high throughout and the musicians are certainly capable and adept at pulling on Jon's brand of progressive metal. My favorite songs here are "Walk Alone" and "No Escape". Admittedly, these aren't Jon's greatest batch of songs, but they are decent enough and played with conviction. Casual fans might fans might rate this between average and good at best, but Savatage hardcore's will probably nudge this to great.rJourney EvolutionJourney Trial By FireJudas Priest Point of EntryPOINT OF ENTRY was an experimental foray into pop-metal that succeeds more often than not, but still left many confused ror disillusioned metal fans in its wake. These same fans would be thankful that 1982 would find the band returning to rform once again. However, they would once again go even deeper into pop-metal with the 1986's TURBO. But that's a story rfor another time."Heading Out To The Highway", "Hot Rockin'", "Desert Plains" and "Solar Angels" are all solid rhighlights, but Priest runs out of gas on the last 4 songs. Still, an enjoyable album overall.Judas Priest FirepowerKansas KansasKate Bush The Sensual WorldKate Bush AerialKate Bush Kate BushKing Crimson LizardKing Crimson THRAKKing Crimson Larks' Tongues in AspicKing Diamond Fatal PortraitKing Diamond ConspiracyKing Diamond The Spider's LullabyeKing's X Faith, Hope, LoveFAITH, HOPE, LOVE is an ambitious and energized follow-up to 1989's GRETCHEN GOES TO NEBRASKA. While there are many infectious
musical ideas on display here, many songs would have benefited from some judicious editing.
Their trademark harmonies are on full display throughout the album, along with their quirky prog-metal inspired song
arrangements. Ty Tabor's guitar tone is unique, robust and really makes helps his guitar shine on extended solos such as
"Moanjam". "We Were Born To Be Loved" contains rather funky stop/start riffs that even Paul Shaffer would sometimes jam on with
David Letterman's Late Night band. There are many infectious musical ideas to be found on this album. The single "It's Love"
and "Talk To You" are other notable highlights.
Most off putting to me are the pair of anti-abortion songs, "Legal Kill" and "Mr. Wilson", which is especially creepy with the
chorus of children's voices. I've never had any issue with their Christian agenda until I heard these songs, which really
always seemed a bit much for my taste. Like their extended length songs, this is another case of not knowing when one ought to
As a whole, FAITH, HOPE, LOVE has always seemed a tad overreaching in its ambition and the songs not quite as well honed as
those on GRETCHEN. My personal reservations aside, there are undoubtedly plenty of great ideas to be found throughout the
record and the performances alone make this worth a spin. King's X DogmanKingdom Come Kingdom ComeKISS Dressed to KillKISS DynastyKISS RevengeKISS MonsterKrokus HeadhunterKula Shaker KL.A. Guns LA GunsL.A. Guns Cocked & LoadedL7 Bricks Are HeavyLady Gaga JoanneLana Del Rey Lust For LifeLed Zeppelin Coda (Deluxe Edition)Led Zeppelin CodaLed Zeppelin In Through the Out DoorLee Aaron Diamond Baby BluesLene Lovich FlexLene Lovich Shadows & DustLinda Ronstadt Mad LoveLinda Ronstadt Don't Cry NowLindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVieLike many Fleetwood Mac fans, I was really excited to hear what Lindsey & Christine might come up with for their first collaboration outside of the band. The resulting album fell slightly short of my own expectations. It's a collection of mostly sunny or sentimental pop/rock songs that are pleasant and enjoyable enough, but also playing it a bit too safe. Overall, it's a nice listen, but it took me several spins to appreciate the albums finer points. Best tracks for me are "In My World", "Too Far Gone" and the impressive closer "Carnival Begins" that ends the album on a very strong note. Lita Ford LitaLiz Phair Whip-SmartLizzy Borden Menace to SocietyLizzy Borden Visual LiesLizzy Borden Master of DisguiseMASTER OF DISGUISE was Lizzy Borden's most ambitious, mature and polished album of the 80s. It's his concept album about sexual deviant with a taste for blood, which really isn't much of a stretch for Lizzy thematically. Some elements of this album are vaguely reminiscent of Queensryche and Alice Cooper, but nothing too blatant or obvious. What I like most about this album is that he proves he's capable of offering something slightly more substantive and musical than just the standard heavy metal fare he was best known for. The performances are polished, the instrumentation more adventurous and Lizzy's vocals much more palatable. However, his songwriting has never quite been on the same level as his more successful contemporaries. This album is well executed for what it is, but none of these songs are quite strong or memorable enough to rate this any higher. For Lizzy Borden, it's excellent, but for the progressive or heavy metal genre, it's simply great.Lone Justice Lone JusticeLoretta Lynn Don't Come Home A Drinkin'Not necessarily the best album to represent Loretta on this album, but it at least gives you a good idea of why she tore up
Nashville in the 60's. I'm not a fan of the production values here which tended to make a lot these songs sound a little too
similar in their delivery. The title track IS classic Loretta at her feistiest, so I'd be willing to bend my rules to allow
this one on the 1001 Albums THBYD list (until I find a better pick).
Highlights: "Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)", & "I Got Caught".Loudness DisillusionSome really great playing by Akira Takasaki here, namely on "Crazy Doctor", "Esper", "Dream Fantasy" and "Exploder" (which could be considered his "Eruption"). Some great moments, but the songwriting still needed to mature a bit. Still quite impressive and very promising.Loudness Lightning StrikesLoudness The Law of Devil's LandLove LoveLove Da CapoLove/Hate Blackout In The Red RoomLoverboy LoverboyLucifer (DE) Lucifer IILUCIFER II is notable improvement over their less consistent debut. Their style is much the same, but the songs are have
greater potency and are more memorable to me this time around. The production is also much improved here. My main issue
with this collection of songs is that half of the songs seem to fall short of their full potential. It's as though the
basic ingredients of their songwriting formula (Doom riffs married with an early 80s Pop-Metal sensibility) aren't always
as smoothly blended as one might want. But there enough aural rewards here to warrant some patience with these lesser
moments. Recommended tracks are "Dreamer", "Faux Pharoah" and "Eyes In The Sky".Lucifer (DE) Lucifer ILucinda Williams Little HoneyLynch Mob Wicked SensationLynch Mob The BrotherhoodLynyrd Skynyrd Gimme Back My BulletsMachito and His Orchestra Kenya (Afro Jazz Cuban)If you're expecting more primal percussion based Afro-Cuban jazz in the vein of Sabu Martinez, think again. The
raging horns of KENYA evoke Hollywood Boulevard more than Havana. There are times I was just waiting for that
voice-over telling me "This is a Desilu production!" So yes, this is the sort of music that Hollywood studios were
really keen to use during this era.
But don't allow this whiff of Hollywood schmaltz immediately write this one off. The playing is top notch and
adeptly executed. There are times I wish the orchestra wasn't quite so overbearing so you could hear the soloists
a bit better. This is very lively and accessible instrumental jazz that shouldn't be too difficult for a novice to
grasp, but still challenging enough to impress musicians.Madonna Like a VirginIf Madonna's 1983 excellent dance-pop debut was her launch pad, then LIKE A VIRGIN were the rocket thrusters that launched her into Pop music notoriety. Her sophomore record helped establish her legend through its parade of hit singles and almost constant rotation of her promotional videos on MTV during this era. This was undoubtedly an important album for her, but as a whole it never seemed as consistent as her first album. And in retrospect, some of the gold she spun seems a bit silver in actual value now. It's a great album if you're in the mood to reminisce about 80s Pop. Aside from the singles, much of the remaining songs towards the end of the album are pretty much filler. (The addition of "Into The Groove" does help the album some, although many versions don't include this soundtrack single.) All that said, it is a very enjoyable dance-pop album that will bring back many memories for those who grew up during the 80s.Manowar The Triumph of SteelManowar Hail to EnglandHAIL TO ENGLAND begins powerfully with quintessential Manowar tracks like "Blood Of My Enemies", "Each Dawn I Die" (how can you not love that title alone?) and "Kill With Power". You would think that 1-2-3 punch would be enough to make this Manowar's finest record. However, the second half of the album isn't quite as potent and the whole record clocks in at just over 33 minutes, leaving me to feel that Manowar was just one epic short of making this as a solid an album as INTO GLORY RIDE. The obligatory Joey DeMaio bass solo "Black Arrows" is more noise than melody and almost seems like his comic take on "Eruption". Still, definitely worth checking out if you're into this sort of Power Metal.Manowar Battle HymnsManowar Battle Hymns MMXII'm usually not a big fan of bands re-recording their own prior studio album, usually because they fail to recapture the spirit of the original. In the case of Manowar's BATTLE HYMNS MMXI, this doesn't seem so bothersome to me. Given the adequate-at-best production of the original, I can see why they may have wanted to give these songs a sonic upgrade. Their performances are a bit more confident the 2nd time around as one might expect. I did revisit the original after listening to this and believe it's pretty much a toss up between them. The new version does improve certain aspects of the album, but I wouldn't go as far as to say its better as a whole. BATTLE HYMNS MMXI was really meant as a gift for the their fans, even if it offers little more than the original release did.rI'm not quite understanding the hate for this album here on Sputnik, aside from maybe perceived sacrilege or just hatred for Manowar in general. Aside from the sonic upgrade and different performances, it's the same songs played competently enough.Manowar Kings of MetalMartha and the Muffins Mystery WalkMcAuley Schenker Group M.S.G.Megadeth Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!Megadeth So Far, So Good... So What!Megadeth United AbominationsMegadeth EndgameMen at Work Business as UsualMetal Church A Light in the DarkMetal Church XIReally digging this so far. Very tight playing. Glad to hear Mike Howe's voice on a Metal Church record again!Metal Church Classic LiveMetal Church Damned If You DoMetallica The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-RevisitedMetallica Garage Inc.Metallica Hardwired... to Self-DestructMetallica's 9th studio album HARDWIRED ...TO SELF DESTRUCT is a thrashing and energized collection of songs that finds James Hetfield leading the charge. In fact, it's really James spirited performances that help the album find its pulse. This isn't to fault anyone else in the band, but you really get the sense that it's Hetfield in the drivers seat this time around. And this is GOOD thing.rLike DEATH MAGNETIC, the songs often seem at least a minute longer than they need to be. This is fine on tracks that have several interesting ideas to incorporate. However, it's the relative brevity of "Hardwired" that makes it such a potent opener. Still, the band do sound like they're enjoying themselves while viciously grooving on the lengthier songs.rInevitably, it comes down to whether these songs are strong enough to stand the test of time. I'll admit that I had bit too much of a love buzz for this album when it first came out. As the haze has been clearing, I've realize that this is a "great" album, but not quite on par with their first five records. In many ways, it feels like an homage to their earlier work. I think we'd be expecting a bit much to have them write another MASTER OF PUPPETS at this stage in their career, so I'm at least grateful that they're on the right track again.Michael Schenker Group Assault AttackMichael Schenker Group MSGMichael Schenker Group Built To DestroyMichael Schenker Group Written In The SandMob Rules Tales From BeyondModern English Take Me to the TreesMolly Hatchet Flirtin' With DisasterMonster Magnet Milking The StarsMontrose Paper MoneyMotley Crue Girls, Girls, GirlsMuch tougher sounding performance and better songs than THEATRE OF PAIN.Motley Crue Dr. FeelgoodMotorhead Overnight SensationMotorhead BomberNazareth Play 'n' the GameNazareth Loud 'n' ProudNazareth Expect No MercyNeil Young GreendaleNeil Young ZumaNeko Case Furnace Room LullabyNeko Case The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight...Neko Case Hell-OnNight Ranger Dawn PatrolNirvana In UteroNu Shooz PoolsideOverkill Under the InfluenceOverkill !!!Fuck You!!!Overkill Feel the FireFerociously played NY thrash with several great tracks, including "Rotten To The Core", "Hammerhead", "Feel The Fire" and "Overkill". There are many mediocre tracks that keep me from rating this even higher. Promising, but their best work was yet to come.Overkill The Grinding WheelOzzy Osbourne Bark at the MoonBARK AT THE MOON has slowly grown on me over years, even if did come as a bit of a disappointment when I first bought in 1984. Jake E. Lee's playing here is appropriately flashy and the title track is certainly an Ozzy classic. The main problem I've always had with this album was the songwriting was definitely of a lesser grade that Ozzy's first two studio albums. In retrospect, I do enjoy numerous songs here - namely "Centre Of Eternity" and "Waiting For Darkness", as well as the b-sides that appear on the expanded versions ("Spiders In The Night" and "One Up The B Side"). The highlights make up for the duller songs and I definitely prefer this to the more commercial album that followed (THE ULTIMATE SIN). This was Ozzy playing it safe by sticking to the original formula he concocted with Randy & Blizzard Of Ozz. If I could, I'd give this a 3.25 rating, but to be generous I'll nudge this slightly higher. I'd rather listen to this than most of his later solo records.Ozzy Osbourne The Ultimate SinOzzy Osbourne OzzmosisOzzy Osbourne Live & LoudWell played and nicely recorded tour souvenir from NO MORE TEARS tour. Decent set list, but no big surprises and heavy on the ballads. While there are no obvious flaws, LIVE & LOUD feels a bit redundant and not quite essential given the number of live albums that Ozzy's done through the years. Decent and enjoyable, but also nothing particularly special.Ozzy Osbourne The Ozzman ComethThe 1997 Ozzy compilation THE OZZMAN COMETH is mostly geared towards casual fans as the playlist focuses on his radio friendly fare and biggest hits. The majority of this collection would probably hold little interest for hardcore fans IF not for the inclusion of several previously unreleased Black Sabbath live recordings from 1970. Although the source of these tracks is not attributed in the liner notes, they are more than likely from an April 26, 1970 BBC session for John Peel's Sunday show. The standard release of OZZMAN COMETH includes "Black Sabbath", which has a different arrangement and lyrics than the studio version. Also features is a pre-PARANOID version of "War Pigs", which also has different lyrics and was originally titled "Walpurgis". Expanded versions of the album add performances of "Fairies Wear Boots" and "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" which are quite a bonus. These early tracks alone are really the only reason I'd bother with this collection - and they are definitely reason enough.Ozzy Osbourne Ordinary ManPat Benatar Get NervousPat Benatar TropicoTROPICO was a marked departure from the hard rock of her earlier albums towards something a bit gentler. Neil Giraldo co-
writes most of these songs with Pat and other songwriters. His guitar playing is prominent on this record, but finds him
experimenting with different styles to add some new textures to Pat Benatar's sound. The album did enjoy decent commercial
success as it went platinum and reached #14 on Billboard.
In retrospect, TROPICO is a good album overall and contains enough likable songs to make up for it's less inspired moments.
The choral pop song "We Belong" was a huge hit for Pat, while making hard rock fans groan loudly. The organ fueled retro of
"Ooh Ooh Song" is something of a guilty pleasure. Another song that received some FM airplay was "A Crazy World Like This".
I'd also include "Painted Desert" and "Diamond Field" as highlights.
Upon it's release, I felt quite disappointed in Pat Benatar's gradual shift towards a softer, more playful pop/rock sound.
In retrospect, it's not as bad an album as I'd remembered and certainly a bit better than the following record - SEVEN AND
THE HARD WAY. While not as commercially successful in the period following this album, Pat enjoyed a greater creative
freedom and seemed content with keeping a somewhat lower profile.Pat Benatar Gravity's RainbowPaul McCartney RamPaul McCartney Egypt StationPaul Stanley Paul StanleyPearl Jam YieldPeter Gabriel SecurityPink Floyd A Saucerful of SecretsPink Floyd UmmagummaPink Floyd The Final CutPink Floyd The Division BellPlasmatics Beyond the Valley of 1984Pretty & Twisted Pretty & TwistedPrimus Tales from the PunchbowlPrince EmancipationPrince Around the World in a DayPrince ControversyPrince LovesexyPrince The Black AlbumPsychostick IV: Revenge of the VengeancePublic Image Ltd. First IssuePurson Rocking HorseQuarterflash QuarterflashQuarterflash Harden My Heart: The Best of QuarterflashQueen QueenQueen A Day at the RacesQueen InnuendoQueen Latifah All Hail The QueenQueens of the Stone Age VillainsQueensryche The WarningThe band was clearly aiming to create songs that transcended the usual heavy metal cliches and forge their own distinct identity.
They've clearly accomplished that here, but also seem to be balancing their progressive yearnings with enough old school heavy metal
riffing to keep their older fans content. "Warning", "Deliverance" and the computer age paranoia of "NM 156" deliver the sort of
heavier fare that fans of their first EP would probably most enjoy. An ambitious and nearly excellent record, but just a little
too self-important for its own good. Still, quite enjoyable.Queensryche EmpireQueensryche QueensrycheRaging Slab Dynamite Monster Boogie ConcertRaging Slab Pronounced Eat ShitRaging Slab True DeathRainbow Ritchie Blackmore's RainbowRainbow On StageThe opening of this show is classic with brilliant renditions of "Kill The King" and "Man On The Silver Mountain". The problem is that the following tracks meander on for far too long, even for a dedicated fan. Also - the omission of "Starstruck" from this first live release was a big disappointment. Still, a great live album.Rainbow Down To EarthRainbow Difficult to CureRainbow Stranger in Us AllRam Jam Ram JamRamones End of the CenturyRatt Invasion of Your PrivacyRatt Ratt (EP)Red Hot Chili Peppers The Uplift Mofo Party PlanRed Hot Chili Peppers Freaky StyleyRed Hot Chili Peppers One Hot MinuteRenaissance Azure D'OrA nice album overall, if not as stunning as their earlier works. "Jekyll & Hyde" is one of the poppier songs in their catalog - in a good way. This one does grow on you after several listens.Rick Springfield Success Hasn't Spoiled Me YetRick Springfield Working Class DogRickie Lee Jones Rickie Lee JonesRilo Kiley More AdventurousRiot Rock CityRobert Plant Now and ZenRobert Plant Fate of NationsRobert Plant DreamlandI've reserved judgment on this album for many years because I never felt I could fairly valuate it against his earlier work. DREAMLAND is the sort of album that really has to be judged as a whole rather than sum of it's parts. Like Fleetwood Mac's TUSK, it's a journey you must take with a very passive and welcoming spirit. It was difficult for me to appraise this album on a song by song basis because each had it track has it's own more subtle beauty rather than many obvious standouts. There's nothing mediocre about the execution and it's a record deserving of respect for what he accomplishes here. It is a more challenging album that lacks any obvious hit songs and may not be as memorable for that simple fact.Robin Trower For Earth BelowFOR EARTH BELOW is a nearly excellent record that tries too hard to repeat the winning formula
of BRIDGE OF SIGHS. There are enough of funky grooves, gut-wrenching guitar solos and
ethereal vibes to satisfy anyone who loved the first two records. What it lacks is any highly
memorable standout tracks. For that reason, this album feels like something of a letdown when
compared with the amazing songs Robin unleashed on BRIDGE. The first two songs ("Shame The
Devil" & "It's Only Money") are nice for starters. But it's not until "Alethea" that my blood
gets boiling. "Gonna Be More Suspicious" also shows a lot of promise, but ends way too soon.
There are only a few truly 'ho hum' moments - "A Tale Untold" and the title track, which
simply tries to revisit the "Bridge Of Sighs" vibe without a compelling chord progression.
This record is for those fans that have heard BRIDGE OF SIGHS too many times and just want to
continue that vibe. It's at least a VG record and often a bit better.Rock Goddess Rock GoddessRod Stewart Tonight I'm YoursRoger Waters Is This The Life We Really Want?Rossington Collins Band Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere / This Is the WayRush RushRush's 1974 debut is a spirited effort that contains much more of a bluesy "back to basics" approach to hard rock than any of their
later albums. While it lacks the progressive song structures and heady lyrics that Neil Peart would later contribute, their sound
is brash and energetic. This was also the only album featuring original drummer John Rutsey which is yet another reason this album
remains something of an anomaly in their long catalog
Overall, the album falls somewhere between good and great, although I'd argue that there's plenty of greatness to be found with a
little patience. Admittedly, the first half of the album might be somewhat disappointing to the uninitiated, but it's the 2nd half
of the album that really cooks. (Namely "What You're Doing" and "Working Man")
Much of the problem with this album has to do with sequencing and alternating some of the weaker tracks with the 4 stronger cuts
might have helped some. Sonically, it's not quite as well produced or recorded, but such faults can be easily forgiven. It's hard
not to be a bit critical of this record when judged against their later works, namely the more polished follow-up FLY BY NIGHT.
Still, RUSH possesses an infectious, youthful energy that remains a joy to behold, even if the band's sound was still very much a
work in progress.Rush Caress of SteelRush Grace Under PressureRush PrestoRush CounterpartsRush All the World's a StageSaga (CAN) Heads Or TalesSammy Hagar Three Lock BoxSanctuary Refuge DeniedSantana Santana IVSantana SupernaturalSavatage The Wake of MagellanSavatage SirensSavatage's debut album SIRENS was a refreshingly dark & heavy album for an American metal band. Recorded and mixed in a single
day session at Morrisound Studios in Tampa, the album as a whole has too much of a sonic sameness from beginning to end, as
well as being a bit bass heavy and cavernous sounding.
Musically, this is aggressively played power metal with doom metal overtones, yet played a bit more briskly. Most of the
songs are propelled by aspiring shredder Criss Oliva who crams plenty of flashy fills into every nook and cranny. His
technique definitely contained elements of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads' styles.
The first half of the album is actually quite solid. "Sirens", "Holocaust" and "I Believe" are all great metal songs. "Rage"
is probably one of the more turbo charged tracks just barely edging into speed metal territory. Sadly, the somewhat muddy
sound mix does this track no real favors. It's the second half of SIRENS that isn't quite up to the same standard. Tracks
like "On The Run" and "Twisted Little Sister" are fairly straight forward and likable enough, but the songs are less
interesting as the album progresses. The ballad "Out In The Streets" is fine for what it is, but does seem out of place on
this record. [They would later re-record this song for 1986's FIGHT FOR THE ROCK, but it still failed to catch fire as a
SIRENS is still a great old school metal album as it was released, but one can't help but imagine how much better it could have
been with some of the DUNGEONS tracks they'd recorded at the same session.Savatage Power of the NightPOWER OF THE NIGHT was Savatage's first studio album after signing to Atlantic Records. Their earlier studio recordings with Combat records were rather raw and cavernous sounding, while POTN has a much crisp, clear and professional sounding mix by Max Norman. At this point, Max was best known for his work on Ozzy's first three solo albums. Musically, it's a more polished sounding take on the aggressive power metal style of SIRENS. The songwriting takes on a slightly more commercial trajectory, while stripping away the doom metal overtones of DUNGEONS.rOne of the main criticisms this album gets usually revolve around the creepy, sexual themes in such songs as the regrettably, cringe worthy "Hard On You", but also "Stuck On You" and "Skull Session". Like Motley Crue's SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, it's the sort of thing that shouldn't be taken too seriously if you expect to enjoy these albums. rAlthough there are many I could cite, I'd name the title track, "Unusual", "Warriors", "Necrophilia" and "Stuck On You" as my favorites. Slight flaws acknowledged and accepted, POWER OF THE NIGHT still remains in queue for my car audio system whenever a long road trip is at hand. I can still remember this era vividly and can appreciate the memories that come flooding back when I hear this album again. Saxon Innocence is No ExcuseScissor Sisters Scissor SistersScorpions Animal MagnetismScorpions Taken by ForceScorpions Savage AmusementScorpions Crazy WorldSeals and Crofts Diamond GirlShadows Fall The War WithinStunning musicianship and some really promising work from Shadows Fall at this point their career. The opening song "The Light That Blinds" has always been my favorite Shadows Fall track. It opens with some acoustic interplay a la Metallica's "Battery" before launching into some soaring guitar arpeggios, devilish tremolo picked guitar riffs and stunning double bass work by Jason Bittner. In fact, there are many great moments throughout the album including "What Drives The Weak", "The Power Of I & I" and "Those Who Cannot Speak". What ruins the party for me is Brian Fair's metalcore style of singing, which I suppose is a matter of taste. For that reason only, I've been unable to elevate this album as anything better than simply great. But the musicianship really is quite impeccable here and I won't deny I have great respect for what they'd accomplished here.Shocking Blue Scorpio's DanceSiouxsie and the Banshees The ScreamSiouxsie and the Banshees JujuSister Sin True Sound Of The UndergroundGothenburg's Sister Sin plays very tight, aggressive heavy metal while channeling the old school riffing of bands like Motley Crue. Vocalist Liv Jagrell is both confident and competent as their master of ceremonies and vocalist. Their TRUE SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND isn't groundbreaking musically, but it does manage to capture the true spirit of early 80s American metal. The title track, "Outrage" and their cover of Accept's "24-7" are my currents faves. Not earthshattering in terms of originality, but their energy is impressive.Sister Sin Black LotusSlayer Haunting the ChapelSlayer Show No MercySlayer Divine InterventionSlayer World Painted BloodSoundgarden Louder Than LoveSoundgarden Ultramega OKSplit Enz WaiataStan Getz and Charlie Byrd Jazz SambaStan Getz and Joao Gilberto Getz/GilbertoGETZ/GILBERTO was a collaboration between American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto which inspired an
International fascination with the Bossa Nova genre. It contains the song "The Girl From Ipanema" which put both this genre and
vocalist Astrud Gilberto on the map. The slinky, mellow vibe that Getz & Gilberto create here is quite pleasant and unobtrusive.
I'm hesitant to call this essential (at least for myself), but it's a certainly a nice record to have in your collection.
Highlights: "The Girl From Ipanema".Steely Dan Countdown to EcstasySteely Dan Pretzel LogicSteely Dan GauchoSteve Hackett Genesis Revisited IISteve Howe The Steve Howe AlbumSteve Miller Band Circle Of LoveSteve Vai Flex-AbleStevie Nicks Rock a LittleStyx EquinoxStyx Crystal BallStyx Pieces of EightSuicidal Tendencies Suicidal TendenciesT. Rex TanxT. Rex Futuristic DragonTalking Heads Little CreaturesTears for Fears The HurtingTears for Fears Songs from the Big ChairTed Nugent Free-for-AllTen Years After Ten Years AfterTestament The RitualThe Allman Brothers Band Enlightened RoguesThe B-52s Cosmic ThingThe Beatles With the BeatlesThe Beatles Yesterday and TodayThe Beatles Hey JudeThe Black Crowes LionsThe Buggles The Age of PlasticThe Cars PanoramaThe Cars Shake It UpThe Clash Give 'Em Enough RopeThe Clash Sandinista!The Cult LoveThe Cult Sonic TempleThe Doobie Brothers Takin' It to the StreetsThe Doors Waiting for the SunThe Doors The Soft ParadeThe Go-Go's VacationVACATION contains much of the same giddy pop/rock formula that made their debut such a delectable guilty pleasure. Released in
the summer of 1982, their first single "Vacation" seemed ready made to ride the waves created by MTV. The album as a whole is
fairly enjoyable, but there is a sense that the songs weren't coming as easily for them this time around. Aside from the title
track, other highlights include Jane Wiedlin's "Girl Of 100 Lists", "Get Up And Go" (which was also released as a single),
"Cool Jerk" and surf influenced "Beatnik Beach". It seems that many of the better songs showed their affinity for upbeat 60s
pop music, as if they all secret pined for an American dream they had begun to lose faith in at some point. Blondie also
followed a similar path from punk angst towards a need for pop perfection.
Unlike the 60s artists they idolized, The Go-Go's are all women playing their own guitars composing their own songs from a
female perspective. While their technical ability is somewhat limited, their spirited & joyous performances are engaging. The
simplicity of Charlotte's lead guitar lines would be one example, but their ability is certainly more than adequate for these
songs. As a whole, VACATION was something of a letdown for me, as there are simply too many mediocre tracks throughout the
album. It lacks the consistency & infectiousness of the songs on their outstanding debut, BEAUTY AND THE BEAT. It does have
enough good tracks for an occasional spin and trip back down memory lane to the summer of 1982.The Guess Who Share the LandThe Guess Who Road FoodThe Hooters Nervous NightThe J. Geils Band Freeze-FrameThe J. Geils Band Love StinksThe Kinks Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)Another small step upward for the Kinks, but still just a little too silly & British for my taste. I appreciate what Ray Davies was
going for here lyrically in his indictment of the British Empire. It's not as scathing as Roger Waters perspective on THE WALL, but
there are plenty of passive aggressive swings at the ways of his motherland. I may give this one a closer look at a later date, but
definitely not on my essentials list.
Highlights: "Victoria".The Kinks Give the People What They WantThe Knack Round TripThe Motels CarefulThe Oath (DE) The OathThe Police Outlandos d'AmourThe Police's first outing combined exceptional, high energy playing with mostly great songs. When they do connect on songs such as "Roxanne", "So Lonely" and "Can't Stand Losing You", it's a roundhouse punch to the jaw. The energy of their performances is infectious and was already of a higher caliber than most of their British Punk contemporaries. But it was Police's stylistic diversity that made them even more intriguing. Arguably, The Jam's Paul Weller was writing better songs at this point in time. Point being that the consistency of their songwriting here wasn't yet there, but would quickly mature over their following albums. It's during the second half of this record that the songs seem a bit more lightweight and forgettable. Still, I don't want to downplay the importance of this record and do consider it to be nearly excellent. This is a smashing start to The Police's career.The Police Reggatta de BlancThe Reverend Horton Heat The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds Of...The Reverend Horton Heat RevThe Rolling Stones Goats Head SoupThe Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones No.2The Rolling Stones 12 x 5The Rolling Stones It's Only Rock 'n' RollThe Rolling Stones Black and BlueThe Rolling Stones Voodoo LoungeThe Rolling Stones Sucking In The SeventiesThe Rolling Stones Bridges to BabylonThe Who The Who Sell OutTHE WHO SELL OUT always seemed vastly overrated in my opinion by critics. This was obviously rThe Who's first foray into British Psychedelia, while adding their sarcastic, but half-hearted rtwist. I applaud their experimentation and ambition, but the concept doesn't always seem to rwork. I think the silliness of their presentation also makes it difficult for the listener to rtake it too seriously. It all comes together brilliantly on "I Can See For Miles", but the rmajority of these song ideas aren't inspired enough to make the entire album essential rlistening. There are some interesting instrumental motifs from Townshend, but very few rbrilliant songs. It's certainly better than the Stones THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIC REQUEST from rthe same year and should be viewed as a stepping stone towards TOMMY. rHighlights: "I Can See For Miles", "Tattoo" & "I Can't Reach You".The Who Who Are YouThe Who Face DancesThe Who My GenerationThelonious Monk Brilliant CornersHere we are dealing with jazz musicians of immeasurable ability and inspiration. However, Monk, Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Max Roach (percussion), Ernie Henry (alto sax) and Oscar Petitford (bass) tend to lay back a bit more on the tempos and explore uncharted musical territory. Much of the phrasing you'll hear on this record might sound off key at times or utilize scales in a way you might not always expect, but here lies much of the appeal of this jazz exploration. They dance on their musical tightrope, but never fall off. Undoubtedly, this is slightly more challenging music and may not be for everyone. With patience, this can be a rewarding journey.Thin Lizzy Vagabonds of the Western WorldThin Lizzy NightlifeThin Lizzy Thunder and LightningThin Lizzy One Night OnlyTift Merritt TambourineTNT Tell No TalesTNT IntuitionWhile I'm a fan of some of the earlier TNT albums, I feel a bit conflicted about this one. There's no doubt that the musicianship is top notch and production is quite grandiose and almost Queen-like here on INTUITION. I also love Ronnie Le Tekro's guitar work throughout. However, Tony Harnell's histrionic vocal style has always been tough for me to embrace. I won't fault his ability as his range is often staggering, but more a question of his tone and delivery. Overall, I do applaud their ambition here and think fans of this brand of neo-classical hair metal will be impressed.TNT Realized FantasiesTom Petty and the Heartbreakers You're Gonna Get It!Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Southern AccentsA transitional album that finds Tom making steps away from the classic sound of his earlier albums with the Heartbreakers. While these stylistic changes might not be immediately appealing to the older fans, the first 5 songs are decent enough. It's the last half that finds Petty running out of inspiration. Still, this is a marginal improvement over the tired sounding LONG AFTER DARK album.Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Into The Great Wide OpenTommy Bolin Private EyesTommy Bolin's 2nd and final solo album PRIVATE EYES shows great strides in terms of production and the performances that it captures. For whatever reason, the songs on this album didn't appeal to me as much as those on TEASER. Highlights for me would include "Shake The Devil" and Tommy's guitar showcase "Post Toastee". While it may not contain as many obvious highlights, this is a smooth and consistently great collection of songs. Possibly an acquired taste for myself, as it tends to lean towards Tommy's jazzier inclinations and contains very little of the hard rock bombast of his work with Deep Purple.Tony Iommi The 1996 DEP SessionsTony Macalpine Edge of InsanityToronto Head OnToronto Get It On CreditToto HydraToto TotoTrapeze MedusaTriumph Never SurrenderTriumph Rock and Roll MachineTrouble The Distortion FieldTrouble Plastic Green HeadTwisted Sister Under the BladeTwisted Sister Come Out and PlayType O Negative October RustU2 WarU2 Under A Blood Red SkyUFO PhenomenonUFO No Heavy PettingUFO Walk on WaterWALK ON WATER was welcomed with open arms with UFO fans who just glad to see the original lineup together again after 17 years.
However, I do believe that in their zeal that some had overlooked the shortcomings of this 1995 offering.
There seems to be a conscious effort here to apply a more contemporary approach to the production. This gives the album a bit
of a formula smell, not unlike some of Schenker's own pop-metal albums prior to this one. I do really like "A Self Made Man",
"Dreaming Of Summer" and maybe even "Pushed To The Limit", but the rest isn't all that extraordinary.
WALK ON WATER falls somewhere between good and great for me, but nothing more than that. This album definitely isn't as good as
OBSESSION and doesn't quite warrant 4 stars. These songs just aren't the best work, even if they do sound good playing them. I
don't want to seem ungrateful though, because it was wonderful to see this lineup back together again in '95.Uriah Heep SalisburyUriah Heep Sweet FreedomUriah Heep Return to FantasyUriah Heep AbominogUriah Heep Wake the SleeperUriah Heep Live In Europe 1979Uriah Heep Living The DreamVan Halen For Unlawful Carnal KnowledgeVan Halen A Different Kind of TruthVan Halen Diver DownVan Halen Live Without A NetVandenberg Heading For A StormHEADING FOR A STORM was a notable step upwards for Vandenberg in terms of songwriting, performances and overall
production. You can tell a great deal more effort went into this record versus their relatively tepid debut.
Adrian’s playing is much sharper and is full of impressive guitar breaks. Bert Heerink also sounds more confident
with his vocals, which sounded a bit more stilted on the 1st album. This is somewhat understandable given that
he’s not singing in his native language (Dutch). This album is fairly solid throughout, but the highlights for me
are “Welcome To The Club”, “Friday Night” and “This Is War”. Even the Japanese bonus track “What You Need Is Love”
is quite good, sounding a bit like Whitesnake on that one. I liked this album a lot more than I thought I would.
I’m not usually too keen on anything that even sounds like hair metal, but this is one is well executed for what it
is.Veruca Salt Ghost NotesVince Neil ExposedI didn't have high expectations for Vince Neil's 1st solo record, but I'll admit that it was better than what I'd imagined. Much of the credit must go to guitarist Steve Stevens for his ear catching performances. Without Stevens, this would largely be a retread of Motley Crue's DR. FEELGOOD album. There are a several decent songs ("Sister Of Pain" and a cover of The Sweet's "Set Me Free") alongside some really great guitar breaks from Stevens on even the lesser songs. This is honestly somewhere between good and great, but I'm feeling generous today.Vinnie Moore Out of NowhereWarlock True As SteelWarren Zevon Bad Luck Streak in Dancing SchoolWeen La CucarachaWeen QuebecWhite Lion PrideMost hair metal makes me either nauseous or break in hives. This album actually doesn't seem like anything special until about midway, beginning with the obvious single "Wait. Only then does it become obvious that the band can deliver some decent hooks and also offer up some adept playing from guitarist Vito Bratta. Well crafted Pop Metal that is ultimately satisfying.White Witch White WitchWhitesnake Saints and SinnersWhitesnake Slip of the TongueWings Venus and MarsWrathchild America Climbin' the WallsWrathchild America 3-DY and T Yesterday and TodayYazoo You and Me BothYes Time and a WordYes YesGreat debut that shows that Yes had already begun established a unique identity, even when interpreting the work of others (on 3 songs here). Love Chris Squire's very in-your-face bass tone and style. An interesting amalgam of folk, jazz, pop and progressive rock sensibilities. My favorites here are "Beyond and Before", "Looking Around" and "Survival". A strong start even before the arrival of the other virtuoso's (Howe and Wakeman).Yes Going for the OneYes Tales from Topographic OceansTALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS should contain a warning label that reads "Do not try to digest all of this in one
sitting!" Emboldened by the success of their epic 19 minute track "Close To The Edge", Yes crafted four more epics for
this album which each inhabited one LP side. It was an incredibly ambitious undertaking that was courageous for its
pursuit of art over commercial considerations.
However, many critics viewed the album as the height of pretension and a prime example of how bloated and self important
progressive rock had become. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman was so disenchanted with the album that he was inspired to
concentrate on his solo career and wound up leaving Yes for a while after he'd fulfilled his touring obligations.
TALES is a concept album that was inspired by the footnotes for some Hindu scripture that Jon Anderson had been reading at
the time. Consequentially, the album possesses a strong spiritual or ethereal new age vibe. Each track seems to marry
Eastern musical ideas with an almost symphonic approach to rock music. It's challenging music that is much easier to
appreciate in small doses, such as listening to one or two tracks at a time.
Overall, I'd have to consider this album to be an enjoyable, but flawed masterwork. While there are some rather nice
moments throughout each of these songs, none of these tracks are quite as brilliant or musically inspired as their earlier
epics ("Close To The Edge", "And You And I" or even "Starship Trooper"). Of the four tracks, "The Remembering Science Of
God" and "Ritual" are most memorable to me. This is mainly for braver die hard Yes fans, who should pursue the 5.1 mixes if they haven't already. Casual fans would be recommended to start elsewhere in the Yes catalog before diving into these
deeper waters.Yes Fly from HereYngwie Malmsteen TrilogyYngwie Malmsteen OdysseyYngwie Malmsteen Fire & IceZZ Top Rio Grande MudZZ Top AfterburnerMany ZZ Top fans scoffed at AFTERBURNER as a step too far into the future for these Texas Boogie Rock merchants. With Billy Gibbons riffing away over mechanical sounding drum machines and synths, it's easy to see why some people felt album was some kind of sacrilege. It was obviously ELIMINATOR redux and attempts to recapture some of the magic of their 1982 mega-hit album. And as much as I might hate to admit it, it succeeded to a large degree.
The album is chock full of singles, including "Sleeping Bag", "Stages", "Rough Boy" and "Velcro Fly" and infectious tracks like "Can't Stop Rockin'". And while none of these songs might be regarded as ZZ Top's finest work, listening to them again is like riding a time capsule back to the mid-80s. I didn't think I'd enjoy revisiting this album as much as I did. The joyous giddy vibe of the album is hard not like. It's a reminder that rock & roll isn't really meant to be taken so seriously. It's a fun record that most will admit is at least good, if not great for having pulled this modern approach off one more time. ZZ Top Fandango!3.0 good10,000 Maniacs The Wishing Chair10,000 Maniacs Secrets of the I ChingAC/DC Flick Of The SwitchAC/DC The Razors EdgeAC/DC Stiff Upper LipAC/DC Black IceAccept PredatorAccept Kaizoku-BanAce Frehley Frehley's CometAce Frehley AnomalyAcid AcidAcid Engine BeastAcid's songwriting is a bit more melodic on ENGINE BEAST than their first two records. It's a likable record, but their more polished production has mixed results. "S.T.C." is the best song by far, but other tracks of note include "Lost In Hell" and "Warriors Of The Dark". "Big Ben" is interesting, but also a bit goofy at the same time. Many of the remaining tracks are somewhat catchy, but possibly too much of a departure for speed metal fans. ENGINE BEAST has always felt like a guilty pleasure of sorts for me.Adrenaline Mob Adrenaline MobADRENALINE MOB'S debut EP comes out swinging with all the grace of a giant on ballerina shoes. Russell Allen's overwrought vocals make it evident that he's aiming to be more righteous than the late Ronnie James Dio himself. And with Mike Portnoy's double bass kicks and Mike Orlando's swooping and diving across the fretboard, it's hard not to be dazzled by the over-the-top delivery. But with all of these huge egos in the same room, is there any room for substance? The songs are actually okay, but somewhat forgettable, although they are hardly the point here. If you've heard one, you pretty much get the picture right away. Adrenaline Mob are one of those bands that people will either love or despise. From a musician's perspective, I found some of the playing to be at least entertaining. Not as much fun as a good Manowar record, but also not as terrible as Nitro.Aerosmith Rock in a Hard PlaceAerosmith Done With MirrorsAerosmith Get a GripAlcatrazz Disturbing the PeaceAlice Cooper The Alice Cooper ShowAlice Cooper Easy ActionAlice Cooper Special ForcesAlice Cooper DaDaAlice Cooper Brutal PlanetAlice Cooper The Eyes Of Alice CooperAlice Cooper Dirty DiamondsAlice in Chains The Devil Put Dinosaurs HereAngel White HotAnnihilator Alice in HellAnnihilator In Command (Live 1989-1990)Anthrax Sound of White NoiseAnthrax AnthemsApril Wine Power PlayArmored Saint Raising FearAsia AstraAudioslave Out of ExileBABYMETAL BABYMETALI'd give this a few points just for the fact that it's so hard to be indifferent about this album. The contrast between the full-on speed metal of the backing band and ebullient J-Pop of the 3 young vocalists is amusing for at least a short while. Takayoshi Ohmura is shredding his head off in the background. This is one of those albums you should hear at least once just so you can have an opinion about it. Whether you think this is actually GOOD music almost seems to be beside the point. There's no other band quite like them (yet).Bad Company Burnin' SkyBURNIN' SKY is one of Bad Company's more laid back and understated offerings, but also a bit dull and disappointing after a string of great albums. The laid back feel of these songs would at first seem to provide Paul Rodgers with an opportunity to really shine as a soul singer, but he seems uninspired by most of these run-of-the-mill ideas. The melodic ballad "Morning Sun" sounds like it could have been another Bad Company classic, but inevitably falls victim to a lethargic performance. The catchy "Heartbeat" also could have been better with a punchier delivery, but saunters along just a little too carelessly. Only the title track and "Too Bad" give me reason enough to revisit this record. With it's swaggering hard rock groove, "Too Bad" serves as a hidden gem of sorts and wouldn't have been out of place on STRAIGHT SHOOTER. Mostly average, but the mentioned cuts convinced me to nudge this one to at "good". Badlands DuskBADLANDS 3rd and final studio album is actually a collection of unfinished studio demos recorded between 1992 and 1993. This
project was abandoned when their record company rejected these and the band disbanded shortly thereafter. After the untimely
death of vocalist Ray Gillen in 1993, these demos surfaced in bootleg trading circles in notably poorer quality. Japanese label
Pony Canyon remedied this by officially releasing this unfinished 3rd album in 1998.
I'll offer a "good" rating at best for Badlands fans who should be able to overlook the faults of this album, but it's probably
just an average record for the unacquainted. Much of the problem with DUSK is the dry, rather flat sounding production, which
reminds us again that these were "only demos" and not the finished product they'd intended. But there is also a lingering sense
that the band knew they were reaching their premature and very unfortunate end.Bang Mother / Bow To The KingBig Country The CrossingBillie Holiday Lady In SatinLegendary Jazz-Blues singer Billie Holiday sounds almost ancient at age 43 on these sessions
recorded just a year before her untimely death. Billie is joined by a full orchestra, which
often makes her sound like she's starring in some Broadway production. In terms of sound
quality, the recording is big & crystal clear given its 1958 recording date. Fans & critics
of Billie?s work seem fiercely divided over this somewhat controversial album that many feel
is not the most flattering representation of her abilities. By the time she recording this
album, her voice had been reduced to a quavering and reedy instrument. Although she still
does her best to imbue these songs with the dripping emotion you would expect, what makes you
saddest about this record is knowing she had reached the end of her road. For the
aforementioned reasons and my general distaste for these gaudy string arrangements, I would
suggest you look elsewhere for a better representation of Billie Holiday as an artist &
vocalist.Favorite Tracks: ?You Don?t Know What Love Is?.Billy Idol Billy IdolBilly Idol Whiplash SmileBilly Squier Signs of LifeBilly Squier Tell the TruthBlack 'N Blue Without LoveBlack 'N Blue In HeatBlack Oak Arkansas If An Angel Came To See You, Would You...Black Oak Arkansas Street PartyBlack Oak Arkansas X-RatedBlack Sabbath Born AgainBORN AGAIN remains one of the more contentious anomalies in the Black Sabbath catalog. It's an album that some fans have
hailed as an underappreciated classic. Others seem to feel that the Demon baby emblazoned on the front cover should have
been smothered in the crib.
Much of the disparity among critics comes down to misaligned expectations. BORN AGAIN was seen by many fans of both Purple
and Sabbath as an enjoyable novelty that shouldn't simply be judged against Sabbath's prior releases. Ultimately such
comparisons were inevitable and BORN AGAIN hasn't fared so well living in the long shadow of the Black Sabbath name. This
decision to retain this lofty moniker wound up adding some tarnish as Iommi made music with other collaborators that didn't
live up to the band's original standards. BORN AGAIN could be considered the first of these albums.Black Sabbath Never Say Die!Black Sabbath Seventh StarBlack Sabbath The Eternal IdolBlack Sabbath TyrBlack Sabbath Live at LastBlackfoot SiogoBlackmore's Night Shadow of the MoonBlondie AutoamericanBlondie Plastic LettersBlondie No ExitThe band Blondie has been an elusive chameleon stylistically. They were initially tagged as punk while rising up through the clubs
of New York, but their music always possessed a pop sensibility. Their willingness to experiment with different genres proved to
be a strength when they elected to cut a one-off disco track ("Heart Of Glass"), dabbled with reggae ("The Tide Is High" and "Die
Young, Stay Pretty") and capitalized on the power pop that made PARALLEL LINES and EAT TO THE BEAT so addictive. Their genre
hopping experiments began to backfire on the likable, but confusing AUTOAMERICAN and even disastrous on THE HUNTER.
Unrepentant, NO EXIT follows in this tradition with the fast ska beat of "Screaming Skin" or Debbie's rap-rock duet with Coolio on
the title track, which is thankfully not "Rapture" revisited. In fact, this record has a somewhat darker ambiance than their more
playful early 80s output. Their experiments occasionally catch fire, but never burn quite as hot as their glory days. Mostly
average with one great track ("Maria") and a few good ones ("Nothing Is Real But The Girl" and the title track).Blood Ceremony Blood CeremonyBloodrock BloodrockBloodrock's brand of primal Texas stoner rock was a bit too second rate to get them much notice alongside such contemporaries as Grand Funk back when first hit the scene. They've become something of a cult favorite for hard rock/heavy metal aficionados over the past few decades. "Gotta Find A Way", "Wicked Truth" and "Melvin Laid An Egg" are rather addictive in their boneheaded sort of way. Definitely worth a listen, but I'd be hard pressed to call music of this quality anything better than "good". Bloodrock Bloodrock 2Bloodrock Bloodrock 3Blue Oyster Cult MirrorsBlue Oyster Cult Live 1976LIVE 1976 was released in 1994 as a nostalgia piece for hardcore fans of the band. It was taken from a professionally recorded show in Largo, Maryland during the AGENTS OF FORTUNE tour, which was also videotaped. It's a fairly raw & somewhat average performance by B.O.C. standards that isn't as polished or interesting as the official live document ON YOUR FEET OR ON YOUR KNEES. The bass and drum solos towards the end of the show make this album get a bit long in the tooth towards the end. The first half makes this a worthwhile, if not essential purchase.Blues Pills Blues PillsBob Seger Like a RockBonnie Raitt The GlowBonnie Tyler Rocks And HoneyBoston Walk OnBruce Dickinson Tattooed MillionaireBruce Springsteen Human TouchBuck Dharma Flat OutBudgie ImpeckableIMPECKABLE has it's moments, but is fairly low key and "ho hum" for the most part. "Melt The Ice Away" is a great opener and "Don't Dilute The Water" has an interesting riff that reminds of something Michael Schenker would come up with. Not terrible, but somewhat disappointing.Budgie Power SupplyBulletBoys FreakshowWell performed stuff, but Ted Templeman's production does have the Bullet Boys sounding uncomfortably similar to his main act (Van Halen). There's a few decent tracks here ("Hang on St. Christopher", "THC Groove" and "Take To Your Daughter").Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band Safe As MilkSAFE AS MILK is such a weird variation on the 60's electric blues-rock sound. This is probably one of the more
accessible Captain Beefheart albums and probably a good place to start for the uninitiated. I may have to scratch my
chin on this one over a few more listens. It doesn't make me run screaming from the room, but is weird enough to make
me question whether or not I actually like this (or not). Good playing by Ry Cooder here.
Highlights: "Sure Nuff 'N' Yes I Do".Carly Simon Carly SimonCarly Simon HotcakesCarly Simon SpyCeltic Frost Vanity/NemesisIf you're not already a black or doom metal aficionado, I must warn you that the music of Celtic Frost is something of an
acquired taste. For starters, vocalist / guitarist Tom G. Warrior (credited as Thomas Gabriel Warrior here) absolutely
cannot sing in tune and really doesn't seem to care one way or the other. The same goes for his feedback guitar solos,
which are often fast chromatic or atonal runs. Once you've accepted the shortcomings of this band, you can begin to
consider their offerings with a mixture of bemusement and horror.
VANITY / NEMESIS attempts to pick up the pieces after the poorly received glam metal experiment that was COLD LAKE.
Original bassist Martin Ain had returned to the band and this album has hoped to be more of a return to the original
sound. Instead, Warrior continues his experiment by incorporating some Art Rock influences into the band's sound. When
it does work, the results are at least intriguing, as in songs like "Wine In My Hand" and "Wings Of Solitude." The
thrashy "The Name Of My Bride" even bears a passing resemblance to Megadeth in its chord progressions.
And while the cover songs are interesting choices (David Bowie's "Heroes" and Bryan Ferry's "This Island Earth"), their
renditions are fairly atrocious. I do want to applaud Thomas Warrior's ambition with this album and can find at least a
few worthwhile tracks to enjoy. Overall, the album is a bit of a mess, albeit an intriguing one.Chastain The Voice of the CultThe title track is great and Leather Leone has a great voice for this sort of aggressive, but mostly straight-forward heavy metal. The only problem is their formula runs about thin over the course of the album and the songs begin to blend together a bit.Cheap Trick All Shook UpCheap Trick One on OneCheap Trick Lap of LuxuryLAP OF LUXURY was an improvement upon the lackluster and even dismal records they made during the early 80s. Older fans might still be dismayed the lack of hard rock numbers here. But the focus here is on writing more polished pop/rock hooks while buffing away their rougher edges. Notably, there is a great deal of outside songwriting help from such writers as Holly Knight and Dianne Warren, which underlines the bands difficulty in coming up with the goods on their own. I'll concede that "The Flame" (written by Nick Graham and Bob Mitchell) is a well crafted ballad, but it's still a tad too twee for my own taste. Overall, the album is little more than a guilty pleasure, but I do enjoy the retro flourishes from Rick Nielsen on tracks like "Let Go", their cover of Elvis's "Don't Be Cruel" and the Leslie tones of his guitar solo on "Ghost Town". Not a bad record and just slightly better than average and probably on par with their last prior hit record, ONE ON ONE.Cheap Trick Cheap TrickI've reserved judgment on Cheap Trick's debut for many years. I really had finding as much joy in this music as Allmusic's reviewer seemed to have found when he gave this 5 stars. I just don't have that much love for this batch of songs, even if the performances are solid enough to pique my interest a little more. "ELO Kiddies" and "Oh Candy" are decent enough, but I'm a bit still underwhelmed by the rest of the album. I was much more excited about the following records (namely IN COLOR and HEAVEN TONIGHT) which contained much matured songwriting in my opinion. I just wasn't as amused by the lyrics of such songs as "Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School" or "He's A Whore" as others seem to be. The band chemistry is definitely happening here, just not the songs.Cheap Trick Woke Up With A MonsterCheetah CheetahAussie sisters Chrissie & Lindsay Hammond were the core of the hard pop/rock band Cheetah. Although they'd released several
singles in Australia between 1977 and 1981, ROCK AND ROLL WOMEN was their first and only full length studio album. It was
produced by Harry Vanda and George Vanda, who were best known for their work with AC/DC.
The first track and main single "Bang Bang" definitely has a bit of that AC/DC hard rock groove happening underneath the
sisters tag team vocal style. It's easily one of the more memorable tracks here and made it to #80 on the Aussie pop charts.
My own exposure to Cheetah came from seeing a promotional video for this track for them on MTV. I thought their style was
charming and exuberant, so I wound up picking up this album on vinyl years ago.
Other highlights include "Scars Of Love", which actually has more of a disco / dance-rock beat. "Rock & Roll Woman" is hard
rockin' shuffle in the vein of AC/DC. "My Man" is also a likable song. All of these were also released as Aussie singles,
but failed to chart. The rest of the album is fairly run-of-the-mill pop/rock. Hardly an essential album, but still a nice
curio for those who do still remember seeing the Hammond sisters on MTV back in the early 80s.Chic Real PeopleChickenfoot ChickenfootChuck Mangione Fun And GamesCirith Ungol King of the DeadThe best I'm willing to offer this album is a "good" rating. I do see value in songs like "Black Machine", "Master Of The Pit" and "Toccata in Dm" and can somehow manage to disregard Baker's yelling long enough to groove on the music. Still, this album can be challenging in the same way as a King Diamond record and won't be welcome in everyone's CD player. KING OF THE DEAD is probably best heard when stoned so you can suspend rational judgments for a spell. I guess I should be thankful that I can still find something worthwhile in albums that would drive my wife straight up the wall in less than 10 seconds. You'll never know when you need to whip something like this out, so I'll be sure to keep KING OF THE DEAD handy when the need arises.Concrete Blonde Walking in LondonConcrete Blonde MojaveConcrete Blonde Group TherapyConcrete Blonde Live in BrazilRecorded in Brazil after reuniting for GROUP THERAPY, this is currently the only official live document of Concrete Blonde in concert. Though there are plenty of great songs included here, none of these renditions are all that spirited or remarkable. This performance just seems a little too languid and laid back to really do even their best songs much justice. If I were introducing a new listener to the band's work, I wouldn't start with this one. It's not a bad album really, just not as exciting as I'd hoped it would be.Count Five Psychotic ReactionCoven Blood On The SnowThe disconnect between the band's proto-Goth Rock / Satanic image (which is also reflected musically on their debut) and the slick pop production of this album must have made this record a nightmare to market properly. It's also makes their actual intentions seem a bit unclear and difficult therefore to judge whether they actually achieved them. When I first bought this album, I thought it was little more than a 2nd rate novelty record. Judging it on the music alone, it's actually a half decent album. An interesting curiosity piece to scratch your head over.Crimson Glory War of the WorldsIf not for the vintage live tracks featuring Midnight, I wouldn't bother with this. The newer demos with Wade Black on vocals don't do anything for me.Curved Air Second AlbumCurved Air's SECOND ALBUM is a rather tepid and lifeless album overall. Although it reached #11 in the British charts, much of
that attention was likely garnered by the success of "Back Street Luv", which reached #4 as a single. That song deservedly
became Curved Air's most iconic track and serves as the most memorable highlight here.
The album was mostly written from scratch in a very short due to touring obligations. The songwriting also suffered due to a
tug of war between Darryl Way and Frances Monkman, which was settled by having giving each of them an album side for their
respective contributions. Monkman's compositions seem a bit more spirited and ambitious overall, especially the 13 minute epic
"Piece Of Mind".
Still, the album as a whole is somewhat dull and only possesses brief moments where the musicians seem really inspired by this
music.Danzig Danzig 4David Bowie Pin UpsDavid Bowie Space OddityDavid Bowie OutsideDavid Coverdale White SnakeDavid's debut solo album is actually an enjoyable listen. Musically, it's a far more laid back affair than the hard rock he'd done with Deep Purple and much closer in spirit to what Tommy Bolin did on PRIVATE EYES. The R&B / soul influenced opener "Lady" and the bluesy "Blindman" are my picks for highlights. It's obvious that his songwriting would still need to mature a bit. The worst that could be said about any of these songs is that they might be a tad bland in places. The overall vibe of the album is quite upbeat and welcoming. The title track "White Snake" is a tad goofy with its obvious innuendos, but now we know where the band name and future direction ("cock rock") originated from.David Coverdale NorthwindsThe performances here are strong a bit more polished than on David's "White Snake" debut, but the songs aren't terribly memorable. "Breakdown", which talks about the Purple breakup, is a highlight.David Lee Roth SkyscraperDeath Angel The Ultra-ViolenceDeath Angel Frolic Through the ParkI've had this album since it was first released and always wanted to like it more than I actually do. I have great respect for the musicianship and originality of Death Angel's take on thrash metal. I think some of the problem for me is that their ideas tend to be just a bit too quirky to stick in my memory for long. My favorite songs are probably "Road Mutants", "Open Up" and "Mind Rape". "Bored" is okay, but the riff is a bit, um, boring... Great playing, but the songs are simply good at best.Deep Purple The Book of TaliesynDeep Purple Made In EuropeDeep Purple Last Concert in JapanDeep Purple The House of Blue LightDeep Purple Slaves and MastersDeep Purple The Battle Rages On...Deep Purple Now What?!Deep Purple Gemini Suite LiveDeep Purple PowerhouseDef Leppard Songs from the Sparkle LoungeDef Leppard Def LeppardThe self-titled DEF LEPPARD from 2016 is a good album, if not a staggering great one. Many fans saw promise in the catchy hooks
of the three opening tracks, which are somewhat reminiscent of their HYSTERIA and ADRENALIZE eras. Although I was ready to write
this one off as another average Leppard album, it does eventually redeem itself by the end.
"Let's Go" utilizes a riff that is quite similar to "Pour Some Sugar On Me". The lyrics for "Man Enough" sounds like something
they could have written for ADRENALIZE, but it's musically more similar to Queen during their early 80s flirtation with dance-
rock and disco. The first half of the album is well executed and almost a bit too smooth for my taste. Joe Elliot doesn't
shriek like he once did during the early 80s, which in some ways is a GOOD thing. But there's also a pervasive mellowness to
their approach that makes the modern incarnation of the band seem to tame compared to the raw fury of their earliest records
Some of my favorite cuts are actually towards the end of the album. The acoustic strumming in "Battle Of My Own" is very much a
nod to Zeppelin ("Four Sticks" and "Kashmir"), but is a nicely adventurous change of pace. The guitar figures under "Forever
Young" seem almost a blatant rip of David Bowie's "Cracked Actor", but is an enjoyable tribute nevertheless. "All Time High" is
a decent arena rocker too. Devo Something for EverybodyDevo Oh, No! It's DevoDio Master of the MoonA good sounding record overall, but the songs aren't all that strong or memorable.Dio Sacred HeartDio Lock up the WolvesDio Killing the DragonDire Straits CommuniquéDokken DysfunctionalDYSFUNCTIONAL finds Dokken exploring a more serene neo-psychedelic style that is quite a departure from the sharp edged pop-metal of their prior albums. This new vibe is further enhanced by some occasional middle-eastern scales from George Lynch and even some sitar! The harmony vocals often make the band sound a bit like King's X, especially on the song "Hole In My Head". Their cover of ELP's "From The Beginning" suits the mood of this album and is an interesting surprise. As a whole, this album does possess a rather nice vibe overall and is an enjoyable departure, even if there are few songs that I'd easily commit to memory.Don Henley I Can't Stand StillThe catchy "Dirty Laundry" overshadows most everything else on Don's 1st solo record. The title track and "Johnny Can't Read" are also noteworthy.Drain STH Horror WrestlingDream Theater When Dream and Day UniteDuran Duran NotoriousDusty Springfield Dusty in MemphisDusty Springfield was undeniably an gifted and emotive interpreter of songs. While best known for her early "Girl Group" era pop
hits, Dusty was also something of a novelty for being a British female vocalist who could convincingly deliver R&B and Soul styled
The DUSTY IN MEMPHIS project looked great on paper, but Springfield herself was quite dissatisfied with the song selections offered
to her by the producers. In fact, she really only approved two of the songs ("Just A Little Lovin'" and "Son Of A Preacher Man"),
with the majority of the selections being penned by Brill Building song factory teams like Goffin & King and Weil & Mann.
In retrospect, Springfield was dead on with her assessment of this project. DUSTY IN MEMPHIS was not a commercial success at the time,
but was hailed later on by many music critics as one of the best albums ever. As much as I love Dusty's voice and performances here,
many of these songs seem ill chosen or unmemorable to me. There's no doubt that she sells even the lesser tracks with the warmth of
The hit single "Son Of A Preacher Man" deserves all of the glory it has reaped and is an example of what this album could have been.
The mood throughout is fairly sedate and Dusty's delivery is silky smooth. I'm not a big fan of strings, which could be some of the
reason that some tracks come off as a bit too sappy for my taste. It's a nice record for what it is, but seems to be enjoying a good
dose of hype in some critics circles.
Highlights: "Just A Little Lovin'" and "Son Of A Preacher Man".Elf ElfHearing Elf's debut was something of a shock for me the first time around. As a young fan of Ronnie's work with Rainbow, Sabbath & Dio, I wasn't at all expecting the boogie woogie piano grooves that propel the highly likable first song, "Hoochie Coochie Lady". Ronnie's trademark tone is still maturing, but very powerful and distinctive even in 1972. "Never More" is the only song that comes close to pointing the direction and persona he'd assume later with Black Sabbath. There's a touch of Rainbow in the main guitar riff for "I'm Coming Back To You". Elf's main problem was that their brand of hard boogie rock was just a bit too laid back and generic overall. If not for Ronnie's stunning vocals, most people wouldn't even give this a second spin. It's a enjoyable record that will always be more of a novelty than anything I'd recommend strongly. Emmylou Harris Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent TownEric Burdon Band StopAllmusic has this album with just ONE star, so I had to see what could be so bad about
this album. Actually, it’s somewhere between good and great for me. It's not Eric's
finest work, but it's actually quite likable with lots of Hendrix styled guitar and
funky grooves. It's hard not to like "The Man", even if it a little goofy.Eric Clapton Behind the SunEric Clapton Another TicketEric Clapton I Still DoEurope The Final CountdownFor me, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN is a well executed pop-metal album that is reduced to little more than a guilty pleasure by the sappy lyrics and keyboards high in the mix. However, John Norum's furiously adept guitar breaks that make these cheese worth enduring - at least for a few cuts ("Rock The Night", "Love Chaser"). The title track provides a perfect example of what makes this album both somewhat appealing and intrinsically garish at the same time. It's definitely pain and pleasure in equal doses.Extreme ExtremeFaith No More Sol InvictusFanny FannySpirited, but somewhat bland first offering from the alleged first all-female hard rock band. Highlights are the nice cover of Cream's "Badge" and the single "Seven Roads". Not quite deserving of the 4 stars Allmusic is giving this album as their best work was still to come.Fanny Charity BallFaster Pussycat WhippedFaster Pussycat Wake Me When It's OverFastway Trick or TreatFates Warning No ExitFight Small Deadly SpaceFight MutationsFleetwood Mac Say You WillFleetwood Mac Future GamesFleetwood Mac Mystery to MeFleetwood Mac Extended playFleetwood Mac Heroes Are Hard to FindBob Welch's last record with Fleetwood Mac has a rather mellow and subtle beauty. Christine McVie shines alongside the horn section for the title track and the even sweeter "Come A Little Bit Closer". Bob's instrumental "Coming Home" is a rather nice track in the vein of "Hypnotized". It is hard not to smile about his "Silver Heels" where Welch expresses his wish to sing like Paul McCartney or get funky like Etta James. It's a nice album overall, but just seems a bit too subdued for its own good. There aren't quite enough truly memorable songs here and they seem to be a pale shadow of the band they would become once Lindsey and Stevie joined the ranks for their next record. Flotsam and Jetsam CuatroFlotsam and Jetsam DriftFoghat Night ShiftFoghat Boogie MotelFoghat Under The InfluenceFoghat In The Mood For Something RudeForeigner Can't Slow DownFrank Zappa Waka/JawakaFrank Zappa You Are What You IsFrehley's Comet Live +1Gary Numan TelekonGary Numan BerserkerGenesis Invisible TouchGeorge Harrison Thirty Three & 1/3Ghost (SWE) MelioraGhost (SWE) PrequellePREQUELLE is easily the most commercial and least metal sounding album that Ghost has produced to date. It?s the sort of music that a younger, less developed palate might be willing to savor. It doesn?t seem that I?m really the target audience here as I have difficulty swallowing something that is often as faceless and generic as the Nameless Ghouls who perform this music. Ghost?s thinly veiled subversive agenda makes this even less palatable to me. This is just flavor-of-the-week level music all dolled up in scary costumes and trying to sell Satan to less discerning music fans.Girlschool Take A BiteStrong performances, but just average songs make this album a tad disappointing. It is aggressive like their era, but not as compelling. A well chosen cover of "Fox On The Run" is a nice, but obvious highlight. I do like the fact that Kim McAuliffe is taking the lead on vocals here once again.Girlschool Nightmare at Maple CrossNIGHTMARE AT MAPLE CROSS was a manic, energized effort that is much more in the spirit of their first two albums. It's certainly a return to form after the ill-fated experiment RUNNING WILD which meddled with their winning formula and band configuration. On this album, the band is once again a four piece with Kim McAuliffe handling lead vocals once again. The songs are catchy (namely "All Day All Night", a cover of Mud's "Tiger Feet" and a bashing "Turn It Up"), but not nearly as memorable as their earlier classics. Still, I'll give 'em points for effort here as the performances are aggressive and spirited. Good, almost great album.Girlschool LegacyGrace Slick DreamsAn admirable effort with at least a few ear catching moments, namely the Germanic sounding tracks "Dreams" and "Seasons", the Spanish flamenco stylings of "El Diablo" and the hard rocker "Angel Of Night". The songs are a bit more accessible than MANHOLE, but both albums use overblown production values to compensate for lackluster songs. Granted, the musicianship and performances are just fine and the songs aren't terrible - just a bit run-of-the-mill. Grand Funk Railroad Shinin' OnGrand Funk Railroad E Pluribus FunkGrand Funk Railroad PhoenixGrand Funk Railroad Born To DieGrand Funk Railroad Grand Funk LivesGrateful Dead Shakedown StreetGrateful Dead Grateful DeadGreat White ...Twice ShyGTR GTRGus G. I Am the FireHall and Oates Big Bam BoomHall and Oates X-StaticVery unfocused album that finds Hall & Oates flirting with New Wave, but not really delivering too many memorable songs. The single "Wait For Me" is an obvious standout, "Portable Radio" is likable, but the rest is just wallpaper. Heart MagazineHeart PassionworksHeart Bad AnimalsHeart FanaticHeart Live At The Royal Albert HallHeart always performs dependably well in concert, so it's not as if I can really accuse them of putting out a truly bad live album. However, they have issued their fair share of live recordings through their career and this one doesn't really overshadow the rest. Even having the support of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra can't make up for this somewhat disappoint set list which is a bit mellower and features some less memorable fare. The standout moment is yet another Zeppelin cover ("No Quarter") which is nicely rendered, but at least somewhat predictable. Heart going through the motions.Heaven and Hell The Devil You KnowHelix No Rest For The WickedHelix Walkin' the Razor's EdgeHellion Screams In The NightSCREAMS IN THE NIGHT is probably the most cohesive Hellion album and my favorite of the bunch. The songs here are a bit catchier than anything else they'd written, but still a bit too aggressive to be considered pop-metal. There is a great deal of energy in Anne Boleyn's vocals and Chet Thompson's flashy guitar theatrics. While impressive at first, the showboating becomes a bit tiresome after several songs as the musicians seem to be trying much too hard to sell these mostly average quality metal songs. "Screams In The Night" and "The Hand" are good tracks, but others like "Bad Attitude" are just too overwrought. (Check out the ending with Anne screaming while the double-bass drums pounding away for one example.) Not enough restraint or taste here to put this album on the top shelf.Hellion Postcards from the AsylumHerman Frank The Devil Rides OutHuntress Starbound BeastIan Gillan ToolboxIan Gillan Band Child in TimeIggy Pop New ValuesIron Maiden Fear of the DarkIron Maiden No Prayer for the DyingIron Maiden The X FactorIron Maiden Dance of DeathI was as pleased as any other Iron Maiden fan when the original band reunited for the worthwhile, but not quite staggering BRAND NEW WORLD album. By the time they released DANCE OF DEATH in 2003, I'd started feeling a bit weary of their formula and didn't pay this album much mind. In retrospect, it's a well played album with great performances from everyone in the band. However, there really aren't any songs here that I'd deem to be essential or classic. I'd cite "No More Lies" and "Paschendale" as highlights, but most of this is fairly run-of-the-mill fare, even if the band does sound so urgent and passionate here.Jackson Browne Hold OutJackson Browne Lawyers in LoveJackyl RowycoAggressively played rowdy Southern hard rock/metal from Georgia's Jackyl. Most of this is fairly run-of-the-mill fare, but "Just Because I'm Drunk" and their cover of Hot Chocolate's "Everyone 1's a Winner" make this worth a listen.Jeff Beck Crazy LegsJefferson Airplane Surrealistic PillowJefferson Airplane's 2nd album (and 1st with Grace Slick) has become revered as an essential psychedelic artifact. I won't argue
that "Someday To Love" and their 60s take on Alice In Wonderland in "White Rabbit" aren't worthwhile and great songs. Even if we've
all heard them to death by now, I will fully acknowledge that these were very special songs.
However, the rest of the album seems quite dull and unremarkable in contrast to these two shining diamonds. I felt the same way
when I brought this album home from the library when I was a young child, yet always blamed myself for missing something. After
years of exploring their catalog, I discovered that they were always a bit inconsistent in the songwriting department. There are
some really great moments of inspiration amidst a great deal of less than brilliant meandering and experimentation.
Maybe this requires a dose of Owsley's finest acid to fully appreciate? In the pale unflinching light of 2013, SURREALISTIC PILLOW
just doesn't seem as remarkable as the older hipsters have always claimed. I'm not saying it's a BAD record, but it does contain
some boring stretches that seem to last a bit longer than one would want.
Highlights: "Somebody To Love", "White Rabbit" & "Embryonic Journey".Jefferson Starship EarthJefferson Starship's 1978 album EARTH finds the band moving in a more commercial & radio friendly direction. While
some critics and fans were unhappy about this change in strategy, the results really weren't as bad as some have
claimed. While it's not a perfect record, it's one that I've revisited many times over the years. EARTH's often
ebullient pop/rock seems evocative of what radio stations were playing at the time and I do remember this well.
While the production may not have necessarily aged well, it's this dated sound that also gives EARTH a certain
charm. Jefferson Starship Freedom at Point ZeroJefferson Starship Modern TimesJefferson Starship Winds of ChangeWINDS OF CHANGE has been panned by a lot of critics for continuing Jefferson Starship's gradual shift towards radio friendly
pop/rock. In fact, much of this material fit comfortably alongside bands like Journey & Foreigner that were also dominating FM
radio at the time. Craig Chaquico's guitar work seems to stand out more and more on these early 80s Jefferson Starship albums and
contribute much to the formula they'd adopted during this era.
After guesting on MODERN TIMES, Grace Slick officially returned to the band for this album, but is found mostly harmonizing with
Mickey Thomas, namely on the title track which is a memorable highlight. Grace's only solo offering is the somewhat goofy "Out Of
Control", which she wrote with Paul Kantner. Mickey Thomas offers up some strong radio fare with the minor hits "Be My Lady" and
"Can't Find Love". Several songs are written by bassist Pete Sears and his wife Jeanette.
All in all, WINDS OF CHANGE is not as bad an album as some critics might have you believe and is pretty much on par with their
prior two albums. In fact, it was the last half decent Jefferson Starship record before they further devolved towards the
gratuitous pop of Starship.Jefferson Starship Dragon FlyJerky Boys The Jerky TapesJess And The Ancient Ones Jess And The Ancient OnesJethro Tull The Broadsword and the BeastJim Steinman Bad For GoodJimmy Page OutriderJoan Armatrading The KeyI've always loved the songs "Drop The Pilot" and "Call Me Names", both of which were released as singles. The rest of the album isn't quite as good as those two songs, but it is enjoyable enough. One of the highlights are the quirky guitar breaks by Adrian Belew. Although the album was a commercial success from Joan, some fans of her earlier work were put off by the more contemporary (almost New Wave) sound of this production.Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Pure and SimpleJoan Jett and the Blackhearts UnvarnishedJoan Jett and the Blackhearts Up Your AlleyJoan Jett and the Blackhearts Glorious Results of a Misspent YouthJoan Jett and the Blackhearts Good MusicJohn Fogerty The Blue Ridge RangersJohn Fogerty Eye of the ZombieJohn Fogerty Wrote a Song for EveryoneJohn Lennon Mind GamesJohnette Napolitano ScarredJon Lord Gemini SuiteJon Oliva's Pain Global WarningJon Oliva's Pain Maniacal RenderingsJoni Mitchell Wild Things Run FastJourney EclipseJourney JourneyThere are glimmers of greatness here on Journey's debut album, especially in the majestic opener "Of A Lifetime". The album does possess a great vibe and some extremely capable musicianship. Fans of their Steve Perry-era stuff may not dig this era, but musicians will. Style wise, this is somewhere between progressive rock & fusion.Journey RevelationREVELATION was Journey's first album with Filipino vocalist Arnel Pineda, whom Neal Schon discovered via YouTube. This chance discovery and the realization that Arnel was the finest Steve Perry doppelganger yet gave both the band and its fans cause for celebration. After seeing the new Journey live with Mr. Pineda made it clear that he was more than capable of filling those big shoes. Both his talent and the amazing Cinderella story of his sudden ascent from the clubs of the Philippines to the front man of San Francisco's journey have been quite amazing to behold.rThus REVELATION was released in 2008 to very high expectations. The overall sound here is and and glossy reboot of their ESCAPE era stylings. Schon's playing is speedy, dexterous and impressive as always, while Arnel meets the challenge of creating new Journey songs with grace. Unfortunately, the songs aren't as remarkable as I'd hoped. They are filled with positive, glorious platitudes that ultimately taste a bit too much like formula to want to revisit more than an occasional spin. "Never Walk Away" and "Wildest Dream" are decent songs, but not quite classics.rWhat truly redeems this album is the 2nd disc of re-recorded classics. For many bands, this could easily become another unnecessary rehash. Instead, this was a way for Journey to really show their fans why Arnel was truly capable of carrying Journey into the 21st century. This disc is much more impressive than the new songs and ultimately justifies the purchase. However, I am rating this album based on Disc 1 alone, since this is technically a bonus disc.Journey Raised On RadioJudas Priest Rocka RollaJudas Priest Ram It DownJudas Priest Angel of RetributionJudas Priest Redeemer of SoulsHaving already created a winning formula, the band seem unwilling to tamper with it much here, so don't expect much in the way of new innovations or experiments. The good news is the band is playing more straight forward classic metal here and not the pop diluted variant they had toyed with during the mid-80s. However, they are playing things just a little too safe as the songs tend to be somewhat generic and seem at least slightly contrived. The fault doesn't lie within the performances, as everyone seems engaged and doing their best to hit their marks. It's more that the sense they're trying to very hard to find inspiration during a difficult transition.
Their efforts here are generally praiseworthy as there are several decent tracks in "Dragonaut", "March Of The Damned", "Metalizer", the title track and the ending ballad "Beginning Of The End". The bluesy hard rock of "Crossfire" is probably the most unusual track, but does seems to point back towards their very early roots. It's a well played album, but there are few songs here that could be called essential additions to the Priest canon. In that way, REDEEMER OF SOULS remains a little too non descript and unexceptional when considered alongside their classics. Almost great, but just not memorable enough. Kansas MonolithKansas MasqueKansas Song for AmericaKansas Audio-VisionsKansas Vinyl ConfessionsVINYL CONFESSIONS is a transitional Kansas album with John Elefante replacing Steve Walsh on vocals for this and the following record, DRASTIC MEASURES. This change was initially a promising one with "Play The Game Tonight" being one of the strongest Kansas singles in several years. The rest of the album is palatable, but not much better than the tepid AUDIO-VISIONS album. "Chasing Shadows", "Windows" and "Crossfire" are probably the most memorable tunes, but these aren't quite on the level of their prior classics. Kerry Livgren's lyrics chronicle much of the spiritual tug-of-war that was going on in the band during this era, ultimately leading to his own departure.Kansas PowerPOWER marks yet a second re-invention of the Kansas sound, this time with original vocalist Steve Walsh. Like DRASTIC MEASURES, their musical direction bears little resemblance to original classic incarnations of the band which was best known for longer prog-rock song structures. The songs here are leaner, but possess more of a hard rock edge - thanks to the razor sharp guitar playing of Steve Morse. This is certainly an improvement, but old fans will still feel a bit alienated by the ongoing identity crisis Kansas grappled with during this era. The singles "Power" and "All I Wanted" are okay, but just seem quite dated and a little sappy in retrospect. Steve Morse really cuts loose on "We're Not Alone Anymore" and the opener "Silhouettes in Disguise" which has a bit of that Dixie Dregs vibe. A decent effort overall, even if does sometimes feel a bit average.Kansas Always Never the SameKarla DeVito Is This A Cool World Or What?Kate Bush The Red ShoesKeith Richards Main OffenderKick Axe VicesKing Crimson BeatKing Diamond The EyeKing Diamond The Dark SidesKISS Sonic BoomSONIC BOOM isn't a bad album. It's just a fairly average sounding Kiss album by their usual standards. The lead-off cut "Modern
Day Delilah" is easily a highlight with its muscular main riff and sounds slightly reminiscent of the LICK IT UP era Kiss. In
fact, the first four cuts are likable enough, but wouldn't be strong enough to be highlights on any other truly great Kiss album.
Paul's "Never Enough" is probably underrated a bit and is the sort of song that could have easily been a hit for them during the
Tommy's pseudo Ace licks are charming at first, but are obviously weaker than the real deal. It's this sort of contrived formula
that becomes more pervasive as the album progresses and just cheapens the overall package. PSYCHO CIRCUS was calculated in a
similar way, but at least had the original lineup copying themselves. Still, this is fun for what it is and most hardcore fans will
be willing to overlook this album's more glaring shortcomings.KISS Music from "The Elder"KISS Carnival of Souls: The Final SessionsKISS You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best!!YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST is mostly a compilation of previously issued live recordings from ALIVE and ALIVE II. This release was done to coincide with the 1996-97 reunion tour of the original 4 members. The selling point for this collection was the inclusion of four live outtakes from the ALIVE sets, all originally recorded between 1975 and 1977. This was obviously marketed towards the hardcore fans who were more than thrilled to finally be able to hear live versions of "Two Timer", "Room Service", "Let Me Know" and "Take Me". In the case of the 1975 tracks, its obvious why these didn't make the final cut, even if they are fun in a lighthearted way. The controversy about these tracks involves the fact that Gene & Paul re-recorded their vocal tracks in 1996 to help buff away the rough edges that were present in the original. This does cheapen their value a bit and detract somewhat from their novelty. However, most fans who hear this album will never know the backstory and find nothing wrong with this collection. I'll admit that I bought a copy when it came out and thought it was good fun at best, but only diehards will consider this to be an essential purchase.Kix Blow My FuseKrokus The BlitzKrokus Metal Rendez-vousKrokus' 4th album METAL RENDEZ-VOUS is the first to feature vocalist Marc Storace, whose raspy delivery has become one of the band's more identifiable trademarks. It's also the first Krokus album that belongs in the heavy metal genre, even if these songs are mostly amped up boogie rock (like AC/DC). The band possess an added edginess that is undeniably metal, especially with the addition of Storace's razor sharp delivery.rThe album starts out powerfully with the 1-2-3 punch of "Heatstrokes", "Bedside Radio" and "Come On", which all seem indicative of their future trajectory. It's just too bad that none of the songs that follow measure up to its promising lead off tracks. Only "Tokyo Nights" and "No Way" even raise an eyebrow for me. The rest isn't bad, but just wasn't the sort of fare they'd be playing live in years to come. Still, this album is an important transition towards the classic records they'd make during the early 80s.Krokus StampedeSTAMPEDE was probably one of the better Krokus albums from this era. Although Krokus continued to pay to the copycat game to some extent (borrowing liberally from AC/DC, Judas Priest and Accept), new vocalist Peter Tanner actually sells it well. The double bass fueled title track echoes past glories like "Headhunter" and is definitely a highlight here. The first half of the album is very likable, but they seem to run out of good ideas towards the end. Still, this was an improvement upon their prior 2 albums.Krokus Rock the BlockOverall, ROCK THE BLOCK is a fine improvement upon the releases that Krokus issued during the prior decade. This is mostly because Krokus is sounding more like themselves again, rather than just aping their contemporaries. The only original members on board for this one are vocalist Marc Storace and guitarist Fernando Von Arb. While the songwriting here isn't exactly stellar, the sound of this album does evoke their glory days enough to make it enjoyable.Krokus HardwareKrokus Alive and Screamin'A decent live album full of Krokus classics which still fails to become anything more essential for collectors of the band's back catalog. The performances are good, but don't quite eclipse the studio versions or offer anything much new to the songs. It didn't help that this was recorded on the tour for their abysmal CHANGE OF ADDRESS record. At least we can be thankful this is an improvement over the album they were promoting at the time.Lana Del Rey UltraviolenceLaura Nyro Eli and The 13th ConfessionLaura Nyro is best known as for writing such songs as "And When I Die" and "Stoned Soul Picnic". As a solo artist, she
was a highly energetic and passionate vocalist and piano player. She could be compared to Dusty Springfield or even
Amy Winehouse for being a white female dedicated to R&B and Soul music. Laura was managed by David Geffen early in her
career and is often lauded in critics lists, yet still she failed to capture a wider audience. This is probably
because her songwriting talents and actual vocal abilities were not equally strong.
As a vocalist, Laura tended to wail incessantly in a tone that could sometimes be a tad irritating. In some ways, her
showboating only proved she wasn't quite as good as singer as she may have believed she was OR she was overcompensating
for this shortcoming. For these reasons, she is probably going to be an acquired taste for many listeners.
Highlights: "Eli's Coming" and "Stone Soul Picnic".Lee Aaron Metal QueenLegs Diamond Legs DiamondWell crafted organ fueled hard rock (ala Deep Purple) that could easily be considered proto-Pop Metal. The songs aren't staggering, but certainly likable enough. "It's Not The Music" and "Can't Find Love" are my highlight picks here. One solid song away from great.Legs Diamond Town Bad GirlLene Lovich MarchLinda Ronstadt Get CloserLinda Ronstadt Living in the USALindsey Buckingham Go InsaneLita Ford Out for BloodOverall, there's too much style over substance here for my taste, as would be the case with a
lot of Lita's later records. However, it's not a bad record and I will commend Lita on her
first outing as a solo artist. Best tracks are "Rock And Roll Made Me What I Am Today" and
"Black Widow (Die For Me Only)".Liz Phair WhitechocolatespaceeggLizzy Borden Give 'em the AxeLizzy Borden Love You to PiecesLucinda Williams This Sweet Old WorldLynyrd Skynyrd Nuthin' FancyMahogany Rush Child of the NoveltyManowar Fighting the WorldMarianne Faithfull FaithlessMarillion Script for a Jester's TearMartha and the Muffins Metro MusicMC5 Kick Out the JamsNoisy, sweaty balls-out heavy rock posturing from the MC5. This might have been a novelty in 1969, but this sort of meathead biker rock became the de facto standard when heavy metal bands started forming. Amusing for a short while, but inevitably leaves me with a migraine.
Highlights: "Kick Out The Jams".McAuley Schenker Group Perfect TimingMegadeth YouthanasiaMegadeth Cryptic WritingsMegadeth Th1rt3enMercyful Fate The BeginningMetal Church MasterpeaceMetal Church This Present WastelandMichael Schenker Group ArachnophobiacMick Jagger Goddess in the DoorwayGODDESS IN THE DOORWAY tries to repeat the winning formula of WANDERING SPIRIT with a batch of decidedly lesser quality songs. "God Gave Me Everything" and "Everybody Getting High" are among the more memorable tracks here. Likable enough, but something of a disappointment overall.Mick Jones (Foreigner) Mick JonesMick Ronson Slaughter on 10th AvenueMoby Grape Moby GrapeMoby Grape's debut album is quite engaging at first. It instantly transports you back to "summer of love" in San
Francisco in your own customized Volkswagen hippy van. This is more up-tempo and optimistic rock & roll than what
the Jefferson Airplane was playing. After a while, it just seems like a blander take on the boogie rock that Grand
Funk would later reinvigorate. Maybe it'll grow on me.
Highlights: ""Hey Grandma".Molly Hatchet Beatin' the OddsMolly Hatchet Take No PrisonersMonster Magnet SuperjudgeMontrose Warner Brothers Presents... Montrose!Motley Crue Motley CrueMotley Crue Saints of Los AngelesMotley Crue New TattooDefinitely two steps in the right direction after the "lost in the woods" genre hopping of GENERATION SWINE. On NEW TATTOO, Motley Crue reclaims their GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS era persona and crafts some of their trademark pop-metal. While these songs aren't quite their finest work, they are generally likable if not earth shattering. Their cover of The Tubes "White Punks On Dope" is a highlight.Motley Crue The End: Live In Los AngelesTHE END: LIVE IN LOS ANGELES is decent enough fan souvenir for those that still care about Motley Crue. I'm not sure I even raised an eyebrow when they announced they'd be pulling the plug on the band. I enjoyed their first few records, but quickly got tired of their schtick sometime in the late 80s. The set list here is fairly predictable save a few newer cuts from their last studio record and "Louder Than Hell" from THEATRE OF PAIN. Not at a bad wrap up, but hardly an essential purchase.Motorhead Rock 'N' RollMotorhead Another Perfect DayMotorhead MotörheadMuddy Waters At Newport 1960Chess Records recorded this live set at the Newport Jazz Festival for the purposing of bringing Muddy's music to a wider (&
increasingly white) audience. Many British rock guitarists, including Jimmy Page & Eric Clapton, point back to albums like this
one as having influenced them greatly. While the appeal of such trademark songs as "(I?m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Baby
Please Don't Go? are immediately evident, I was a bit underwhelmed by the overall album. Muddy?s guitar playing is decent, but
not startling in contrast to his other blues contemporaries. Also, he quickly runs out of lyric steam with such songs as "Tiger
In Your Tank" and the seemingly never ending "I've Got My Mojo Working". (Many of the songs that Muddy played that day were
actually written by Willie Dixon.) Still, I was expecting something more here than what I got.
Favorite tracks: "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man? and "Baby Please Don't Go"Nazareth Malice in WonderlandNazareth NazarethNazareth Close Enough for Rock 'n' RollNazareth Rock 'n' Roll TelephoneNazareth BoogalooBOOGALOO is a good latter day Nazareth album with just enough interesting moments to make it a worthwhile listen. Highlights for me
include the opener "Light Comes Down", "Open Up Woman" and "God Save The South". I must concede that McCafferty's full on raspy
throat shriek (as evidenced on "Open Up Woman") may not go over with the uninitiated, but old Nazareth fans will probably be more
forgiving. Nice production and quite enjoyable overall.Nazareth The Fool CircleNazareth RampantNazareth 2XSNeil Young Re-ac-torNeko Case The VirginianNeko Case's 1997 debut THE VIRGINIAN is an engaging collection of originals & cover songs that is a bit
more playful, raucous and freewheeling than her later work. Her band, The Boyfriends, have a refreshingly
retro sound that walks the line between traditional country and rockabilly.
When combined with the retro sounds of her own material, THE VIRGINIAN often feels like a tribute album to
Neko's influences. It's playful and engaging mood is very charming and somewhat compensates for the fact
that most of these songs aren't all that extraordinary. And while this album may lack the moodier
introspective side of her songwriting that has captivated so many, Neko is clearly having a good time
here, as should you. Neko Case Canadian AmpNew England New EnglandNewsted Heavy Metal MusicNick Drake Five Leaves LeftNight Ranger 7 WishesNina Hagen Nina Hagen Band Nina Hagen UnbehagenOmen Battle CryOzzy Osbourne ScreamWell-played and heavy sounding album that ultimately feels just too contrived. It's not a terrible album, but there's little here that could be considered essential or even great. Raging with style, but has little soul.Ozzy Osbourne Down to EarthPantera Far Beyond DrivenPantera Power MetalPat Benatar Seven the Hard WaySEVEN THE HARD WAY is a good album (at best) full of glossy, overproduced synth heavy pop/rock fare that seems contrived or just plain uninteresting . The album reached #26 on the Billboard album charts, but just seemed to be a continuation of Pat's gradual creative decline during the 80s. All of the hits here were penned by outside songwriters. Four tracks (none of which I'd consider to be highlights) are collaborations between guitarist Neil Giraldo and drummer Myron Grombacher. Notably, Pat Benatar doesn't earn a single writing credit for this album. At least there is just enough hits here ("Sex As A Weapon", "Le Bel Age" and "Invincible") to barely redeem this album, but it remains something of a disappointment all the same.Pat Benatar Wide Awake In DreamlandPat Benatar InnamorataPat Benatar True LovePat Benatar's foray into Jump Blues on TRUE LOVE is actually much better than many critics seem to believe. It's soulful and energetic while allowing Pat to truly show off her musical range. I believe much of the reason this gets panned so often comes down to expectations. It's unlike anything Pat Benatar has done before or since and does seem like a rather unexpected detour musically. All that said, her performances are more lively and she actually sounds like she is enjoying herself a lot here. It's at least a good record, if not the one her fans hoped she'd make.Pat Boone In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice GuyPaul McCartney McCartneyPaul McCartney's 1st solo outing was actually a bit of a disappointment when set alongside John Lennon's highly emotive debut & George Harrison's ambitious double record ALL THINGS MUST PASS. I'll admit that I was scratching my head quite a bit when I first heard this album on vinyl years ago. Most of these songs are silly little ditties that sound more like demos & outtakes than a proper studio record from Sir Paul. I suppose he didn't really NEED the money and had decided to pursue his own fanciful whims here. It's a playful, lightweight affair that hardly qualified for the "essential albums" list in my opinion. Only the stunning "Maybe, I'm Amazed" really stands out amidst the silliness.Paul McCartney Pipes Of PeacePeter Frampton Breaking All The RulesBREAKING ALL THE RULES is mostly a run-of-the-mill Frampton album, but possesses a handful of tracks that make it a worthwhile listen. Peter rocks out on the title track, "Dig What I Say" and even his cover of The Easybeats "Friday On My Mind". I revisit this album every so often just to hear those songs.Peter Frampton Wind of ChangePeter Frampton Frampton's CamelPeter Gabriel CarPeter Gabriel ScratchPeter Gabriel's sophomore effort was one that he'd later be dismissive of, due partly to the rushed circumstances under which it was created. It's an album I've tried to connect with through repeated listenings, but the songs have always seemed rather unexceptional and honestly quite dull as a whole. The opening songs ("On The Radio" and "D. I. Y.") are enjoyable, if not quite up to his usual standards. The rest of the album is nice, but somewhat humdrum and uninspired as whole. Here he is still experimenting and meandering a bit too much with his song craft. It wasn't until the next album that Peter would develop a much more focused vision for himself as a solo artist. Picture Diamond DreamerPink Floyd Atom Heart MotherPink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of ReasonPink Floyd Obscured by CloudsPlasmatics Coup d'EtatPrimus Primus and The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi EnsemblePrimus The Desaturating SevenPrince PrincePrince Chaos and DisorderPurson Desire's Magic TheatreQuarterflash Take Another PictureTAKE ANOTHER PICTURE seems to have been crafted from the very same template that was used for Quarterflash's 1981 debut album. Husband & wife team Marv & Rindy Ross do their best to offer a varied selection of songs and front loaded the record with their single picks once again. Unfortunately, the overall quality of this album is not quite up to the same standard. Rindy's sassy vocals and tasteful saxophone breaks do help add some flair to songs like "Take Me To Heart" & "You Don't Move Me", which also features Joe Walsh on slide guitar. The title track is also amusing with its tale of a daughter pondering her father's stash of dirty magazines & the immortality that photography seemingly offers us. Beyond those songs, there isn't a quite enough memorable fare. Anyone expecting the Benatar styled hard rock of "Find Another Fool" (from the debut album) might be a bit disappointed, as there is nothing here quite that aggressive. These songs are mostly radio friendly pop/rock numbers, with only Marv's "One Round To Go" getting slightly more raucous. Highlights: "Take Me To Heart", "Take Another Picture" & "You Don't Move Me".Queen A Kind of MagicQueen Made in HeavenQueen The WorksQueensryche Promised LandQuicksilver Messenger Service Happy TrailsQuiet Riot Condition CriticalRaging Slab Slabbage / True DeathRainbow Bent Out of ShapeRamones Pleasant Dreams"We Want The Airwaves" and "The KKK Took My Baby Away" are just good enough to redeem this otherwise run-of-the-mill collection of 60s flavored punk-pop songs. I'd give this a 2.8 if I could.Ramones Subterranean JungleRamones Too Tough to DieRandy Meisner One More SongRatt DetonatorRay Charles The Genius of Ray CharlesAs much as I respect and enjoy Ray Charles, I really hate hearing him bathed in all of these strings and orchestral
arrangements. I realize this was the way albums were being made during this era, but accepting this fact doesn't
allow me to forgive these sorts of production values. Ray is a highly emotive performer and this clearly shines
through all of these gaudy adornments (courtesy of Quincy Jones). It also doesn't help that the album is dominated
by ballads when you might just want to hear Ray rock it a bit more. At this point in the list, I feel like I'm
crawling through a desert and simply NEED some rock & roll to change things up. You're not going to find much of
that here, but it's OK for what it is.
Favorite Tracks: "Let The Good Times Roll".Ray Price Night LifeA good early Honky Tonk / Country-Pop record of sad songs sung with grace and confidence. Willie Nelson played in Ray's
band for a time (even co-writing the title track here) before they fell out over Nelson's shooting of one of Price's
prized roosters! It?s likable stuff, but very much in the same vein throughout. I?m also a little conflicted about
whether Price's introductory voice over message to his fans is charming or maybe just a tad self indulgent? At first, it
makes you think that maybe you accidentally picked up a promotional version of that album!Red Rider NerudaRenaissance A Song for All SeasonsREO Speedwagon Nine LivesAn energetic collection of melodic hard rock songs that seemed a bit average on a first listen, but did grow on me with additional spins. These songs aren't as strong as the first half of HI INFIDELITY, but do possess a slightly edgier rock & roll spirit than the softer rock that would gradually infect their later releases. All of the songs are likeable enough, but "Back On The Road Again" is an obvious standout.Robert Plant Shaken 'n' StirredSHAKEN 'N STIRRED is easily the strangest solo record that Robert Plant has made to date. It's a highly experimental record which
is oddly fuses quirky New Wave sounding samples with dance-rock grooves that wobble and shift a bit too much to be played in any
dance clubs. It really is a strange patchwork of influences that?s difficult to describe, especially given how oddly arranged the
songs are. It was almost as if they were trying to create their own genre here, while also tampering with conventional song
After repeated listens, the odder songs become a bit of a laugh and also strangely appealing in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
It's hardly Plant's best work, but I respect his fearlessness in wanting to craft something quite unique. It is a bit of a mixed
bag with some of these experiments working better than others. I'm no fan of this style of glossy, very 80s sounding production
and do general prefer more guitar oriented material. SHAKEN 'N STIRRED is a rather curious album and strange chapter for sure.Robert Plant Manic NirvanaRobin Trower Long Misty DaysWith the release of LONG MISTY DAYS, Robin Trower takes his first steps away from the
signature sound that made his first three records so potent. There is a more conscious effort
here to write more memorable & songs, since this was the primary shortcoming of his prior
record (FOR EARTH BELOW). The overall sound of this record is brighter and more upbeat than
the first three, but also slightly more commercial. Also, Robin's playing is much more
restrained and less acrobatic than usual. The album starts with the excellent "Same Rain
Falls", an upbeat rocker that is far catchier than anything on FOR EARTH BELOW. "Long Misty
Days" is an overlooked Trower classic that finds him channeling his signature "Bridge Of
Sighs" vibe to nice effect. It is slow, somber and slightly heavy sounding with his guitar
tuned down below standard tuning to D. Aside from enjoyable rockers like "Caledonia" and
"S.M.O.", the rest of the album is bogged down by several mediocre ballads. Robin returns to
his roots with "Messin' The Blues" at the very close of the album, but even this is too little
too late. I respect the fact that Robin was trying to expand his horizons with the new
directions taken here. Sometimes it works and other times not. I would still recommend
buying this album for the first two songs alone. Robin Trower In City DreamsRock Goddess Hell Hath No FuryRock Goddess was an aggressive British metal all female 3-piece band that was very similar in spirit to their glitter influenced contemporaries Girlschool. Their attack is largely fueled by the talented Jody Turner whose ferocious vocals and ripping Les Paul guitar licks are the center point of the band. Their cover of Gary Glitter's "I Didn't Know I Loved You ('til I Saw You Rock & Roll)" is the most obvious standout here. The rest of the album is well played and aggressive pop-metal, but the songwriting is a bit run-of-the-mill. Just not enough great songs to make this album stand out to my ears. Promising, but not extraordinary.Rod Stewart Blondes Have More FunRoger Waters The Pros and Cons of Hitch HikingRough Cutt Rough CuttWell played pop-metal that often has a strong Dokken vibe. Paul Shortino's husky vocals provide a strong asset to the proceedings, as does Amir Derakh's edgy & slippery guitar work. "Take Her" and "Black Widow" are great metal cuts in the tradition of Ratt & Dokken, but maybe just a tad heavier. Their cover of "Piece Of My Heart" is certainly an interesting choice for a metal band, but doesn't work as well as it could. The rest of the songs are decent enough, but not so memorable. This album falls somewhere between good and great for me. Rough Cutt were undoubtedly a talented and very promising band, yet their songs just weren't quite compelling enough to bring them more attention.Rush Power WindowsRush Hold Your FireRush Roll the BonesRush Test for EchoSammy Hagar Musical ChairsSammy Hagar Nine On A Ten ScaleSavatage Handful of RainSavatage Dead Winter DeadSavatage Poets and MadmenSavatage Japan Live '94Saxon Power and the GlorySaxon CrusaderScandal The WarriorScandal ScandalScorpions Lonesome CrowScorpions Sting in the TailScott Walker Scott 4SCOTT 4 was a very earnest attempt by Scott Walker to make an album that would be taken
seriously. Most of the attention he had received from his SCOTT 2 album revolved around the
humorous & off-the-wall lyrics of those songs, many of which were composed by Jacques Brel.
Rather than develop himself as a sort of novelty act, Scott confused many of his fans by
abandoning this humor while still trying to write lyrics that were vivid & interesting. Also,
his crooning isn't quite as overbearing on this record. While his performances here are
admirable, much of the album fails to be interesting or particularly memorable. One exception
might be the opening track "The Seventh Seal", which was a tribute to his favorite director,
Ingmar Bergmann's movie of the same name.Screaming Lord Sutch Lord Sutch and Heavy FriendsSeals and Crofts Down HomeShocking Blue Live in JapanSiouxsie and the Banshees KaleidoscopeSiouxsie and the Banshees Through the Looking GlassVery interesting song choices and an enjoyable listen overall. As is the case with most covers albums, the new renditions rarely live up to the originals. Highlights for me here are the Sparks and Kraftwerk covers, plus "Strange Fruit was quite nice. Not amazing, but worthwhile.Sixx:A.M. Prayers For The Damned (Vol. 1)Skid Row (US) Subhuman Beings On TourSkid Row (US) Subhuman RaceSoundgarden King AnimalSoundgarden Screaming LifeSoundgarden's debut EP SCREAMING LIFE makes it quite clear that band had found their musical identity very early on.
Even at this early stage, they were creating music that was innovative and exciting. Thayil & Cornell's guitar riffs
were heavy enough to be called metal, but the music always felt much closer in spirit to punk and alternative music.
Its evident here that their songwriting abilities hadn't fully matured, but there are glimmers of future glories in
the menacing "Hunted Down". While melodically different, the main guitar riff does evoke the same vibe as "Gun" later
would. "Entering" reminds me a bit of early U2 with its propulsive rhythm section and quirky guitar ideas. "Tears To
Forget" is a raw, basher full of unbridled punk energy. One of the more memorable cuts is "Nothing To Say" which
grooves like "Slaves & Bulldozers", but also sounds like it might have fit on the LOUDER THAN LOVE album.
It's best to absorb this release for what it was, as opposed to comparing it with their later classics. While I
expected this to be more of a curio for dedicated fans, it was rewarding to revisit this one and much better than I'd
remembered it to be.Starcastle StarcastleStarcastle Fountains of LightStarcastle's 2nd album FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT showed great promise, but sadly falls short of true greatness. This has always disappointed me because I truly wanted this to be a better album than it is. I thought maybe in time I would have some revelation about that would allow me to see it through different eyes. "Fountains" is an amazing track that sounds like Yes circa 1977, but the rest of the album fails to impress me as much.Steel Panther Lower the BarSteeler SteelerSteely Dan Alive in AmericaSteely Dan Two Against NatureSteve Howe Quantum GuitarStevie Nicks Trouble In Shangri-LaStevie Nicks In Your DreamsStevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The VaultStone The Crows Stone The CrowsStray Cats Blast Off!Styx Man of MiraclesStyx Styx IIStyx CornerstoneStyx Kilroy Was HereWhile KILROY WAS HERE is a gloriously bad album for the most part, it is still fun to occasionally queue this one up, chuckle and wonder what the other guys in Styx were thinking when they had to perform this album live. I do believe this album does require a sense of humor to endure. I won't deny that I do still enjoy this album for the nostalgia it provides, but it is undoubtedly the cheesiest album Styx ever made. Styx StyxSurvivor Eye of the TigerSweet Level HeadedT. Rex Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of TomorrowTed Nugent PenetratorTed Nugent Scream DreamAfter releasing his classic DOUBLE LIVE GONZO live record, Ted's songwriting abilities quickly dried up and is evidence by the parade of mediocre studio albums beginning with WEEKEND WARRIORS. In fact, he never did make another album as good as his debut. STATE OF SHOCK is ever so slightly better than his prior records, thanks in large part to the unforgettable "Wango Tango". The title track and "Flesh And Blood" are also decent tracks, but the rest is fairly average, run-of-the-mill Nugent.Tesla Bust A NutTestament Souls of BlackThe Alan Parsons Project EveThe Alan Parsons Project Turn of a Friendly CardThe Allman Brothers Band Win, Lose or DrawThe Animals Winds of ChangeMy first impression of this album was favorable and I'm sure it will grow on me. Always love "San Franciscan Nights". I really like the stylistic variations on this album and psychedelic vibe.The B-52s Whammy!The B-52s FunplexThe Babys On The EdgeThe Beatles Yellow SubmarineThe Black Crowes Three Snakes and One CharmThe Buggles Adventures in Modern RecordingThe Clash Combat RockCOMBAT ROCK is an album that I've always wanted to like more. The obvious standouts ("Should I Stay Or Should I Go", "Rock The Casbah" and "Straight To Hell") aren't quite enough to overcome the mediocre songs that fill out the rest of album - namely the 2nd half. This should be have been a great album, but it falls just short of that. I'd much rather listen to SANDINISTA than this one.The Dead Daisies Burn It DownThe Donnas Turn 21The Doobie Brothers The Doobie BrothersThe Everly Brothers A Date With The Everly BrothersOn their 2nd album, A DATE WITH THE EVERLY BROTHERS, they rarely deviate from their well proven vocal approach.
Although they dabbled with a bit of Rock & Roll (as shown here on their own unique reading of "Lucille"), their music
wasn't as rebellious as the early rockabilly outlaws and had more in common with the safer pop artists of the 1950s.
The Everly's seemed to be selling a more innocent take on young love in contrast to Elvis' more passionate and
subversively sexual pleadings to his young female audience.
Thanks to the contributions of songwriters like Boudleaux & Felice Bryant (who wrote 5 songs for this record), the
Everly's have a good selection of well crafted songs to work from. One of those songs, "Love Hurts", has been covered
countless times since the Everly's recorded their rendition. Still, it is interesting to behold how well their
harmonies suit this now classic song.
It took me a few spins of this album before I could come to terms the sweet innocence of the Everly's sound. I won't
run screaming if I hear this again, but it's just a little too "nice" for my taste. If they had been willing to
change up their approach a little at times, I might have found them to be more intriguing. Instead, they play it very
safe on all fronts.The Firm (UK) The FirmThe Firm?s 1984 self-titled debut was released with high expectations and many proclamations about their Supergroup pedigree in the music press. Within the frame of those expectations, THE FIRM was something of an artistic disappointment. As a whole, the album is fairly predictable and laid back Album Rock without any the instrumental fireworks you?d expect from having a guitarist like Jimmy Page in the band. Tony Franklin?s fretless bass does add some character to the sound of the band, but the chemistry in their rhythm section is quite lacking overall. rAs much as I adore Jimmy Page as a player and songwriter, I felt underwhelmed by most of his contributions to this record. Paul Rodgers contributions really seem to carry this album. He creates some great hooks on songs like ?Closer? and ?Someone To Love?, but Paul?s sparks aren?t enough to create much of a fire. All in all, THE FIRM starts out as a fairly average rock album that eventually redeems itself to be at least a good one to revisit on occasion. The Fixx Shuttered RoomThe Go-Go's Talk ShowTALK SHOW was an even more tepid affair than the somewhat disappointing VACATION. That's not to say there aren't a few guilty pop pleasures in songs like the openers "Head Over Heels" and "Turn To You". The production just seems a bit too glossy and most of these songs are pretty forgettable. Like Blondie, they got the corporate rock makeovers that transformed these punk princesses into dance-pop dolls. It's still likable enough for their older fans, but just not quite as edgy or memorable. This album marked the end of the Go-Go's for a long while as they went on hiatus for over a decade.The Go-Go's God Bless The Go-Go'sThe Guess Who Wheatfield SoulThe Guess Who Power in the MusicThe Joe Perry Project I've Got the Rock 'N Rolls AgainThe Kinks State of ConfusionThe Knack Normal As The Next GuyThe Louvin Brothers Tragic Songs Of LifeMany Country artists (including Emmylou Harris) have cited the Louvin Brothers as an important influence upon their own music, yet their names may not be so familiar to casual Country music fans. Life did imitate art for the Louvin Brothers, as Ira sank into deeper into alcoholism, was shot by his wife & soon after died in a car accident. Their music blends traditional bluegrass song structures with close harmony stylings similar to the Everly Brothers, yet with traditional country melodies. This might be difficult listening if you're not much of a Country fan, as there isn't a great deal of variation within the basic musical ideas. You must dig a bit deeper into the lyrics of these sad "murder ballads" and gospel songs to really understand their appeal to those they influenced. In listening to this, I can't help but think of that Steve Martin skit where he claims it to be impossible to write a sad song to a G chord. "Oh death and murder and weep and sorrow..." That's much of what you'll hear about on this record. Favorite songs: "I'll Be All Smiles Tonight" & "Let Her Go, God Bless Her".The Monks (UK) Bad HabitsPunk parody done by members of British folk-rock act The Strawbs. Has a few amusing tracks ("Drugs In My Pocket", "Johnny B. Rotten" and "Nice Legs, Shame About Your Face"), but isn't hysterically funny and the schtick wears a bit thin by the end.The Motels MotelsThe Mothers of Invention We're Only in It for the MoneyZappa's social commentaries on this record initially seem daring & rebellious as he waves his freak flag high. The undiluted
sarcasm and general weirdness that follows is often more irritating than amusing. Of course, this was likely his original
intent. I much prefer the more polished musicianship and more incisive commentaries he made later in his career to the more
juvenile musings of The Mothers of Invention. An interesting artifact, but not something I would want to listen to very often.
Highlights: "Who Needs The Peace Corps?" & "Let's Make The Water Turn Black".The New Pornographers TogetherThe Power Station The Power StationThe Pretenders Get CloseThe Pretenders Last Of The IndependentsThe Pretenders AloneThe Pretenders Break Up The ConcreteThe Reverend Horton Heat Liquor in the FrontThe Rolling Stones Emotional RescueThe Rolling Stones UndercoverThe Rolling Stones Steel WheelsThe Rolling Stones Between the ButtonsThe Rolling Stones A Bigger BangThe Runaways The RunawaysLargely ignored in America when it was first released in 1976, The Runaways debut album has evolved into a cult classic.
Additionally, the novelty factor is a bit higher given the later successes of guitarists Joan Jett & Lita Ford, and to a less
extent, vocalist Cherie Currie. The band was assembled by sleazy svengali / producer / manager Kim Fowley, who assembled this
all-girl hard rock band as more of an exploitative venture. The original lineup dissolved within a few years, but the legend of
the Runaways has only grown in recent years.
Placing all of this drooling hype aside, the reality here is that The Runaways weren't the first all-female hard rock band, as
Fanny accomplished this milestone at least 6 years prior. The album is probably best known for the irritatingly catchy "Cherry
Bomb" which is a fine slice of teenage angst. However, there really aren't any other tracks I'd consider to be stunning or
noteworthy. It's a solidly played, but otherwise unremarkable collection of glam / glitter rock influenced hard rock. As a Joan
Jett fan, I can easily say that her best work was yet to come - and this isn't it. Good, solid hard rock, but not completely
amazing in any regard. More of a novelty than a true classic.The Runaways Queens of NoiseIn many ways (namely the production and performances), this is a better album than their debut. There is a bit of a tug of war happening between Joan Jett & Cherie Currie for lead vocals. Ultimately, there are still not enough great songs to make this album much more than a novelty. However, "I Love Playing With Fire" is a standout track.The Stooges Ready to DieThe Stooges The StoogesThe United States of America The United States of AmericaThe USA only made this one very noncommercial, but innovative album before splitting up. It's not easy to describe their unique sound but they seem to merge the experimentation of the Velvet Underground with the space rock sound effects of Hawkwind, yet also contains a softer pop sensibility not unlike the mellower Jefferson Airplane stuff. Interesting and possibly worth exploring, but not something I'd immediately embrace.The Who It's HardThe Who A Quick OneThe Who The Who by NumbersThe Yardbirds Little GamesThe Youngbloods Elephant MountainMaybe a tad better than the Fairport Convention, but still fails to excite me in anything meaningful ways. Jessie Colin Young is an engaging vocalist and the instrumental jams are decent, but tend to meander occasionally. Almost reminds me of a soft rock version of Grand Funk in places (possibly the lead guitar tone).Thin Lizzy Thin LizzyThin Lizzy ChinatownTNT Knights of the New ThunderThis was the first TNT album I ever owned. Although most of its songs are pretty average pop-metal fare, Ronnie Le Tekro's unique approach to neo-classical metal guitar remains influential to me. His playing on "Seven Seas" and "Ready To Leave" is particularly noteworthy and is reason alone to have this in my collection. A decent early effort, but their growth as players and songwriters on the following records would make this album seem immature in comparison.Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Long After Dark1982's LONG AFTER DARK is an album that I occasional revisit, if only to enjoy "You Got Lucky" and "Change Of Heart'. Unfortunately, the rest of the album sounds quite tired and uninspired alongside its superb predecessor HARD PROMISES. I've always wanted to like this record more, but it always seems a tad disappointing.Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers MojoMOJO seems more like a tribute to the 60s artists that inspired Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers rather an inspired, original work of their own. Even then, it lacks the spark and conviction that made their idols so much more compelling. The lead off tracks ("Jefferson Jericho Blues" and "Flrst Flash of Freedom") are a promising start before the album devolves into a fairly run-of the mill blues & country rock excursion. All that said, it is nice to hear Mike Campbell stretch out on some of these guitar solos. Also - the final track "Good Enough" is yet another worthy highlight. Refreshing in many ways, but lacks the energy and conviction you'd hope for.Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers The Last DJTori Amos Abnormally Attracted To SinToronto Lookin' for TroubleToto TambuVery well polished soft rock with well executed musicianship, so you'll find no bad or out of place notes. The first half doesn't give a lot of reasons to get excited about it because it's very smooth California adult contemporary, which also isn't my usual cup of tea. "Gift Of Faith" seems like a rather obvious single, but just doesn't quite rise above it's rather generic delivery, even if there are some tasty guitar fills from Steve Lukather. rHOWEVER, there are a few songs towards the end of the album that piqued my interest a bit more. The band seems to relax a bit and slip into a lightly funky groove on "The Turning Point". "Time Is The Enemy" is also quite infectious. But the real surprise is the more progressive instrumental "Dave's Gone Skiing" which provides an enjoyable musical workout. Not an astounding record, but not mediocre enough to deserve the harsh Allmusic review and 2 star rating. At least a good album with moments of greatness.Triumph I Can SurviveTriumph The Sport of KingsTriumph Edge of ExcessTrouble Simple Mind ConditionTrouble Run to the LightTrouble The SkullTwisted Sister Ruff Cutts: What You Don't KnowTwisted Sister's first release, featuring original drummer Tony Petri. Rough and relatively unpolished as the the title indicates, but not half-bad really. There is an amusing cover of the Shangri-La's "Leader Of The Pack" here that would be later re-done for COME OUT AND PLAY. Mildly interesting, but not essential. Mainly a collector's piece now.Twisted Sister Club Daze Volume 1: The Studio SessionsTwisted Sister Club Daze Volume II: Live in the BarsU2 BoyUFO UFO 2: FlyingUFO UFO 1UFO MechanixUFO Making ContactMAKING CONTACT was conceived during a difficult time for UFO and ultimately led to the band calling it a day, at least for a few years. With the band gradually sliding more into a keyboard led, pop-metal sound, old fans were a bit disenchanted with their new sound and many panned this album at the time.
The album actually starts strong with guitar driven tracks like "Blinded By A Lie" and "Diesel In The Dust". The other two songs that Paul Chapman co-wrote ("When It's Time To Rock" and "The Way The Wild Wind Blows") also are reasonably good songs. The keyboard dominated mixes do take the edge off even these better songs and the rest of the album tends to be a bit more ballad driven or somewhat mediocre.
In retrospect, MAKING CONTACT is a good record that is roughly on par with MECHANIX, but remains something of a disappointment for the decline and brief fall of the band that it represents. It failed to connect with old fans or even new ones for that matter. Still, I can find at least three songs here worth revisiting and it's still a better record than the ones that immediately followed.UFO High Stakes & Dangerous MenAlthough HIGH STAKES & DANGEROUS MEN still wasn't a full-fledged UFO reunion, it did bring bassist Pete Way back into the
fold. After several lack luster albums with Tommy McClendon on guitar, Phil Mogg changes the game once again with the
very capable (and much more tasteful) Lawrence Archer. Archer plays with a nice blend of firepower and soul that isn't
unlike their current guitarist, Vinnie Moore. The players here (now including drummer Clive Edwards) blend much more
organically then they had on MISDEMEANOR.
I felt a bit indifferent about this album when I first listened to it many years ago, but have come to recognize that it
was a step in the right direction for UFO. The songwriting isn't quite strong enough to really make this album stand out
too much in their catalog, but there are some fine moments with "Borderline" and "Running Up The Highway", which does
sound a bit like the old Easybeats song "Good Times". While not an exceptional album, HIGH STAKES & DANGEROUS MEN is
important in establishing the stylistic template that UFO would adopt for the next few decades.Uriah Heep High and MightyUriah Heep Innocent VictimUriah Heep ConquestUriah Heep Sea of LightUriah Heep Sonic OrigamiUriah Heep Into the WildVan Halen OU812Velvet Revolver ContrabandW.A.S.P. The Last CommandW.A.S.P. Inside the Electric CircusW.A.S.P. Live...in the RawWanda Jackson Cream Of The CropWhitesnake TroubleWhitesnake LovehunterWhitesnake Ready An' WillingWhitesnake Come An' Get ItWhitesnake Restless HeartWings Wings at the Speed of SoundWings Back to the EggX See How We AreY and T EarthshakerY&T Mean StreakYes TormatoYes TalkYes The LadderYngwie Malmsteen InspirationYngwie Malmsteen Trial by Fire: Live in LeningradYngwie Malmsteen EclipseYngwie Malmsteen The Seventh SignYngwie Malmsteen AlchemyYngwie's fingers are cooking the fretboards of his Stratocasters as always on 1999's ALCHEMY. There's plenty of jaw dropping guitar playing and even some fine vocals from Mark Boals, who also appeared on TRILOGY. Given that the formula is much the same as his classic albums, you would think this would be would be yet another turbo charged winner from the Swedish one. There's plenty of fireworks here for aspiring musicians to drool buckets over, but the songs just don't really capture my imagination. "Playing With Fire" and "Legion Of The Damned" are probably my favorites of the bunch, but these aren't quite essential when compared against his earlier work. Great playing, but forgettable songs that don't offer anything new. Just an inverted regurgitation of the same ideas he's been exploiting for years.Zephyr ZephyrZephyr was a short lived Boulder, Colorado act blended blues-rock, hard rock and even a touch of jazz in their often lengthy jams. The band showcased a Joplinesque front woman Candy Givens, although they are now best known for being one of Tommy Bolin's earliest projects. Their debut album is a decent and interesting curiosity piece for Bolin fans with lots of energetic improvisational work by the band. Candy's vocals are something of an acquired taste with her tendency to wail and screech in a style much like Janis Joplin, but without the same level of finesse or restraint. Overall, it's a likable enough album containing a few highlights in "Sail On" and "Cross The River".ZZ Top ZZ Top's First AlbumZZ Top El LocoEL LOCO was a little too slick and silly for it's own good. It comes as a disappointment after fiery, raw blues-rock energy of DEGUELLO. It also marks the beginning of ZZ Top's flirtation with electronics. There are several great tracks in "Tube Snake Boogie", "Party On The Patio" and maybe even the sleazy "Pearl Necklace". Unfortunately, these songs aren't enough to offset the average songwriting that populates the rest of the album.2.5 average.38 Special Rockin' Into the NightROCKIN' INTO THE NIGHT showed .38 Special to be a promising up-and-coming Southern Rock act at the dawn of the 80s, namely with the anthemic title track. The Skynyrd groove of "Money Honey" is also a highlight. The problem for me is that most of these songs are fairly tepid and the album is overall fair to good at best. .38 Special's radio friendly formulation of Southern Rock seems a bit too poppy and a shallow alongside some of their edgier contemporaries.10,000 Maniacs Love Among the RuinsAC/DC Fly On The WallAC/DC Blow Up Your VideoAccept Objection OverruledThe 1993 reunion album OBJECTION OVERRULED brought Dirkschneider, Hoffman, Baltes & Kaufmann together for the
first time since 1986's RUSSIAN ROULETTE. It's definitely the sound of a re-energized band who are focused
upon recreating their past glory (circa 1984), albeit with an elevated sense of urgency. Unfortunately, the
songs they'd written for this album were mostly average grade rehashes of their tried and true formula.
Regardless of how much conviction they mustered for these songs, there isn't a single track that can be called
grade A Accept.
OBJECTION OVERRULED is a fair to good record (at best) that finds the reunited Accept having way too much fun
with an average collection of songs. I know it seems almost ungrateful for me to rate the album as simply
average, since Accept fans (including myself) were quite happy to see them back together. I do applaud their
efforts and pure energy they put into these performances.Ace Frehley SpacemanAerosmith Nine LivesAerosmith Classics LiveAlice Cooper Pretties For YouAlice Cooper Flush The FashionAlice Cooper Raise Your Fist and YellThis was definitely a step up from CONSTRICTOR, but still nothing special. The songs are a tad heavier and a mite less cheesy, but it's still fairly generic stuff.Alice Cooper Hey StoopidA slick follow up to TRASH that doesn't make me want to puke as much, but still isn't anything special.Alice Cooper Along Came a SpiderALONG COMES THE SPIDER is an Alice Cooper by-the-numbers concept album about a serial killer looking for eight legs to complete his creation. It's the sort of record you'd expect Alice to make, while at the same time hoping maybe he'd come up with some better ideas?! It's well played straight forward heavy metal fare that is reminiscent of his mid-80s stint with Kane Roberts on guitar. This time around the songs aren't quite as cheesy, just somewhat dull. "Vengeance Is Mine" is probably the standout track, but still not anything I'd add to a favorites playlist. Very average and somewhat mediocre Alice.Alice Cooper ParanormalAnnihilator Set the World on FireAnnihilator RemainsAlthough marketed as an Annihilator album, REMAINS is actually a full fledged solo album by
band founder Jeff Waters. And while it?s true that both KING OF THE KILL and REFRESH THE
DEMON were also largely created by Waters with minimal help from other musicians, Waters
replaced drummer Randy Black with a drum machine for this album! Aside from minor
contributions to two songs by John Bates & Dave Steele, everything you hear on this album is
Jeff. What he's accomplished here is actually quite admirable and should be viewed for what
it is a solo album done almost COMPLETELY solo. Jeff takes this opportunity to experiment
with his songwriting choices, but really doesn't veer all that far from his signature sound.
Tracks like "Tricks And Traps" and the incredibly fast guitar riffing of "Reaction" are good
examples of the old Annihilator sound. The thrashing "Never" refreshingly takes skinheads and
racists to task for their ignorant ideologies. "Wind" is nice melodic track that is a better
example of Jeff's experimentation outside of his usual parameters. The ballad "It's You" is
placed at the very end of the record and is probably the biggest left turn stylistically.
While REMAINS has seemingly been ignored by some Annihilator fans, it does deserve a listen or
two before rendering judgment. I believe it would have been more interesting record had Jeff
been a bit more willing to work a little more outside his comfort zone.Armored Saint Delirious NomadArtillery LegionsAsia AlphaFollowing the success of their excellent debut, the original lineup (Wetton, Howe, Downes & Palmer) released their second album
ALPHA in 1983. ALPHA has always been something of a disappointment for me. There are way too many ballads and not enough of
the instrumental fireworks that made their debut so compelling. "Don't Go" seemed likable enough as a single at the time, but
seems a bit twee in retrospect, as did the follow-up single "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes". The only song that even comes close
to rekindling the fire is probably "The Heat Goes On". The band seems to have found a formula that they pretty much stick to
for the remainder of the songs, leaving little opportunity for interesting surprises. Almost good, but fairly average overall.Babe Ruth Amar CaballeroBaby Animals Baby AnimalsBachman-Turner Overdrive Bachman Turner OverdriveBerlin AnimalBerlin Love LifeBerlin's 3rd album LOVE LIFE is a much glossier sounding production than PLEASURE VICTIM, but also isn't as immediately appealing. Their collaboration with Giorgio Moroder "Dancing In Berlin" is a highlight, as is their single "No More Words". Berlin seems to have lost much of the edginess that made PLEASURE VICTIM such a guilty pleasure. Somewhat bland synth pop that sounds more L. A. than Germany.Big Brother And The Holding Company Be A BrotherBilly Squier Enough is EnoughBlack N' Blue Without LoveWITHOUT LOVE was a major letdown for me after their highly promising debut. It's likable
enough pop-metal on the surface, but there isn't a whole lot of substance beneath the glossy
production. If you're going to make a good pop/glam metal record, then you should have plenty
of memorable hooks in store. Sadly, there are very few of those to be found here. Their
tribute to vinyl - "Bombastic Plastic" - is probably the standout track for me. The title
track is a runner-up, but not quite good enough to my personal favorites playlist. The power
ballad "Miss Mystery" was also released as a single, but comes off a bit cheesy and wasn't
particularly special. Some listeners may enjoy this for the positive, sunny day at the beach
vibes and aren't as fickle about the songwriting as am. Still, I would direct people towards
their debut album for a stronger example of Black 'N Blue's music.Black Oak Arkansas Keep The FaithA bit weaker than their debut, but still has it's moments - like "Fever In My Mind".Black Sabbath Cross PurposesBlack Sabbath The EndBlondie Panic of GirlsBloodrock Bloodrock U.S. A.This actually isn't a bad album and is a nice listen overall. My problem with USA is that there aren't any real standout songs. It just seems a tad less interesting than the first 3 albums, but I wouldn't call it uninspired. The playing is decent. Maybe a 2.8?Blue Cheer Vincebus EruptumBlue Cheer's debut record VINCEBUS ERUPTUM has been cited on countless critic's lists as being one of the earliest
albums that might fit into the Heavy Metal genre. Undoubtedly, there is no subtlety in the screeching sustained
tones coming out of Leigh Stephens' guitar. Although their style leans more towards the Acid Rock of the day, their
sludgy Neanderthal delivery could easily sit alongside the early Metal godfathers. However, being a pioneer doesn't
necessarily mean that these guys were great at what they did.
Their cover of "Summertime Blues" is a wonderful slice of proto-Metal and remains that song that most people will
remember for them for. The rest of the album seems to find them being noisy for the sake of scaring the neighbors.
These lyrics aren't going to win any awards and their delivery is even more Neanderthal than a bad Ted Nugent record.
A fine case in point would be some of the lyrics for "Parchment Farm", which include the lines "I been sitting over
here on Parchment Farm" / "Ain't ever done nobody no wrong" / "Oh Lord, I bet I'll be here for the rest of my life."
/ "All I did was shoot my wife". / "She was no good!"
VINCEBUS ERUPTUM has been WAY overrated by the hipster critics. This is more of a novelty piece than an essential
album to own.Blue Oyster Cult The Revölution by NightHoping to capitalize on the success of FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN, the band hired producer Bruce Fairburn (Loverboy, Aldo Nova)
and former Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith to help them make their songs a bit more FM radio friendly. Original member,
drummer and visionary Albert Bouchard decided to leave the band before this album, which was part of the reason they'd begun
to lose the plot. The opening song "Take Me Away" (co-written by Aldo Nova) is probably the best on the record and is yet
another songs about their fascination with Extra Terrestrial life. Buck's "Shooting Shark" has some really nice slap bass
from guest bassist Randy ("Yo Dog!") Jackson. The overall sound of this record is really contrived and formulaic, while the
quality of the songs is also greatly diminished. They even stoop to name checking themselves on the silly "Let's Go". They
hadn't hit bottom yet, but were definitely falling fast at this point in their career.Boston Life, Love & HopeBrides Of Destruction Here Come The BridesBruce Springsteen Lucky TownBudgie You're All Living in CuckoolandBudgie If I Were Brittania I'd Waive the RulesBudgie NightflightBulletBoys Za-ZaCarly Simon Come UpstairsCase/Lang/Veirs Case/Lang/VeirsChastain In DementiaCheap Trick Found All the PartsChic Take It OffSlick and formulaic R&B that finds Chic gradually distancing themselves from their disco past. Although the performances here are tight and competent, the songs aren't really anything special. Not a bad album, just nothing extraordinary.Chicago Hot StreetsChristine McVie In the MeantimeConcrete Blonde Concrete Blonde y Los IllegalsCozy Powell TiltCreedence Clearwater Revival Mardi GrasDavid Bowie Never Let Me DownDavid Bowie Black Tie White NoiseDavid Bowie HoursDavid Bowie HeathenDavid Byron Take No PrisonersDavid Byron's first solo album was a somewhat disappointing collection of playful, but ultimately unmemorable pop/rock fare. "Man
Full Of Yesterdays" is a majestic and very Heep-like song with rather soulful, autobiographical lyrics. Sadly, the rest of TAKE NO
PRISONERS fails to match up to this one great track. David Gilmour David GilmourAside from "There's No Way Out Of Here", David's debut as a solo artist is a rather melancholy and disappointingly dull affair. I've listened to this album many times hoping I might feel differently, but his always seems to be my summation.David Lee Roth Your Filthy Little MouthDee Snider We Are the OnesDeep Purple BananasIt always pains me to pan a Deep Purple album, but BANANAS was something of a disappointment. I've listened to it many times through the years and it never really seems to grow on me as I'd hoped it might. It's pretty much the same formula as their prior work with Steve Morse and does possess that same charming delivery from Ian Gillan. This was the first album featuring Don Airey on keyboards, replacing founding member Jon Lord who'd decided to retire at this point. Airey does a good job at preserving the classic Purple sound, but there are noticeably less fireworks between he and Morse. There are some likeable enough songs, but I'd be hard pressed to cite any truly great ones here as most as fairly unremarkable. The single "Haunted" is a nice enough ballad and "Pictures Of Innocence" exudes more energy than the rest. "Silver Tongue" also features a nice guitar break from Steve Morse, but kind plods along a bit predictably otherwise. Not really a bad album, but rather bland and average by Purple's standards.Deep Purple inFiniteDeep Purple Nobody's PerfectNOBODY'S PERFECT is an enjoyable, but also somewhat disappointing compilation of performances from their 1987 HOUSE OF THE
BLUE LIGHT tour. With so many Deep Purple live releases in the market, this one always felt a bit underwhelming and even a
tad disappointing overall. The band is playing the songs accurately, but these is a sense of restraint throughout. There
are moments when Ian Gillan and Ritchie try to step out of their comfort zones, but not enough of them. What made the early
Purple live records so exciting was their fiery, unpredictability. That sense of danger seems to have evaporated here while
the band largely play polished "by the numbers" renditions of these fan favorites.
Yet another maddening aspect of this release is the inconsistency of the track listings between the vinyl, cassette and CD
versions. This was finally remedied with the 1999 2-CD remaster, which finally compiles all of the officially released
tracks that had been scattered around. The tracks also contain fades between, which kind of ruin the illusion of hearing a
proper Deep Purple show.
Also tacked on here is a 1988 rendition of "Hush" which is actually a small highlight and consolation prize for this
otherwise 'ho hum' live release, but still not necessarily worth buying the album for. Again, this album has its moments,
just not enough of them.Detente Recognize No AuthorityDokken Breaking the ChainsDisappointingly run of the mill pop metal that seems just a little too polished to sound as dangerous as good heavy metal should. I've always enjoyed the title cut and even the live version of "Paris Is Burning", but the rest of this material is fairly bland and unmemorable. The template for their later style is in place, but the execution and production isn't. George Lynch's guitar work is impressive as always, but isn't enough to save this album.Dokken Return To The East Live (2016)RETURN TO THE EAST LIVE is a new live recording of the classic Dokken lineup (Dokken, Lynch, Pilson & Brown) at some reunion
shows in South Dakota and Japan during 2016. They're obviously trying to recreate the spirit of their 1989 BEAST FROM THE
EAST live album 27 years later. While the band sounds razor sharp and the set list is packed with their finest moments, Don
Dokken's somewhat hoarse and understated vocal performances place a notable damper on the proceedings. His delivery is very
careful, delicate and far too gentle for heavy metal songs like these. It's true that he always had a tendency to approach
Dokken's songs like a hair metal balladeer, but he sounds both too soft and sometimes a tad sour. This just isn't a flattering
representation of Dokken as a whole and probably should have shelved. It's really a shame too because the rest of the band
does sound great here.
The only saving grace here is possibly the new studio track "It's Just Another Day", which sounds good from a musical
perspective, but also suffers from the same vocal issues as the live tracks. This one is more for the benefit of more
forgiving hardcore fans than casual ones. Duran Duran Big ThingEric Clapton AugustExodus Impact Is ImminentA mediocre followup to FABULOUS DISASTER with mostly predictable thrash fare, aside from the sole highlight - "Only Death Decides". These guys are capable of much better work than this.Faith No More We Care a LotThe title track and the instrumental "Pills For Breakfast" are the only tracks that resonate with me. Chuck Mosely's out-of-key vocalizing just wears on me after a very short while.Fates Warning Night on BrockenFates Warning Inside OutINSIDE OUT is an average album that possesses a few good moments, namely in Mark Zonder's performance on drums. Beginning with the excellent PERFECT SYMMETRY, the band began to increasingly temper their aggression while aiming for a more mature and accessible progressive sound. This strategy offered slightly diminished returns on PARALLELS and is even a bit less inspired here. The first half of the album is a fairly tepid affair, but starts to improve with the more old school metal riffing of "Down To The Wire" and even "Face The Fear". There are some fine performances by the band, but the songwriting just isn't all that compelling here. Fleetwood Mac Mr. WonderfulMR. WONDERFUL starts in spirited fashion with Peter Green's "Stop Messin' Round" and Jeremy Spencer's take on "Dust My Broom". The problems with this album become evident with several more Spencer cuts that are usually essentially the same motifs as "Dust My Broom", making the album become rather monotonous as it unwinds further. That said, there is some wonderful guitar playing here and it's not quite as horrible as some may feel. But there was certainly much better work to come from Fleetwood Mac.Foreigner Inside InformationINSIDE INFORMATION illustrates the disappointing creative decline of Foreigner during the late 1980s and early 90s.
During this era, it seemed that Foreigner, Journey and Bad Company were making albums that sounded so similar that it was
hard to sort out who was who! Their prior album AGENT PROVOCATEUR had been difficult enough to make peace with due to its
overt commercial aspirations, but this one was the final straw for many old fans. With no new hard rock anthems in their
songwriting well, Foreigner offers up several AOR hits with "Say You Will" and "I Don't Want To Live Without You". Casual
fans may have found no issues with these songs, but hardcore fans sniffed the formulaic songcraft and abandoned ship.
"Heart Of Stone" is OK and "A Night To Remember" is probably the only track that contains any elements of the original
Foreigner sound.Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin' Lovers!Frank Zappa Chunga's RevengeFrank Zappa Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning WitchFor an album with such a lengthy title, this one is a relatively brief affair following Zappa's several sprawling and more ambitious albums. STLTSADW also lacks any real theme or cohesion as it is largely a compilation of studio and live recordings . Frank had a tendency to cobble together some of his more second rate material into such releases from time-to-time as a way of pulling together various and odds and ends into another album he could sell.rRegardless of its disjointed nature, the album actually sold quite well and even reached #23 on the US Billboard album charts. This was due in large part to the success of the novelty hit "Valley Girl", showcasing a sarcastic rant from Frank's daughter, Moon Unit. It's an amusing song, but not quite one of Frank's prouder moments. The second "live" half of the album is somewhat better, namely "Drowning Witch" and the opera singing on "Teen-Age Prostitute". Still, this album comes up a bit short when compared against Zappa's other works from this era. Genesis We Can't DanceGenesis TrespassTRESPASS was a transitional album that finds Genesis marrying the acoustic folk textures of their debut with the more progressive song structures they would become known for. This features original guitarist Anthony Phillips and drummer John Mayhew alongside Gabriel, Banks & Rutherford. There are some nice moments early on during "Looking For Someone" and "White Mountain", but it is "The Knife" that really stands out and hints at their direction for NURSERY CRYME. Overall, TRESPASS may seem a tad dull in contrast to the studio albums that would follow. Much of this has to do with the mellower approach and lack of explosive dynamics they'd employ more frequently on later efforts. For me, it's an average album at best as the band is still very much a work in progress at this point in time.Ghost (SWE) If You Have GhostMoody pop cover songs dressed in doom metal garb. Well executed, yet none of the songs are
that appealing to me. These are the sort of songs that might appeal more to the goth crowd
or some suicidal, depressed adolescent than an aging metal head like me.
I will say that Papa Emeritus does sound rather good here, which leads me to wonder whether
his mission is make metal heads own up to their suppressed love for Abba. Also, I suppose the
title track and aptly chosen and somewhat enjoyable. I realize this one comes down to
expectations and shattering illusions, but I still fail to be that impressed by this EP. I
suppose you have to be a raving, drooling Ghost fan to really appreciate this one as anything
more than a novelty.Gillan MagicGirlschool WildlifeGirlschool Play DirtyOn their fourth album PLAY DIRTY, Girlschool is given a sonic makeover by producers Noddy Holder & Jim Lea of Slade. Keyboard textures have been added and and rougher edges of Girlschool's abrasive hard rock sound have been buffed smooth for a more radio friendly version of the band. This would seem to be an overt attempt to remold the band into the sort of pop-metal act that would be more palatable to U.S. audiences. The end result is quite disappointing as their overproduced sound removes the raw and honest urgency of their earlier records. The songwriting also isn't very good here with only a cover of T. Rex's "20th Century Boy" standing out as a highlight. This would up being the last album with Kelly Johnson and the beginning of an early decline for the band.Grace Slick ManholeGrace Slick's first solo album MANHOLE essentially marks the end of the Jefferson Airplane psychedelic era. Her collaborators here include both members of the Jefferson Airplane, as well as their new incarnation Jefferson Starship. This is a sprawling, ambitious (and sometimes quite self indulgent) collection of songs that seems to reach for the stars with its occasional orchestral accompaniment on the 15+ minute "Theme from The Movie Manhole" and "Epic #38". The bawdy & shamelessly crude "Better Lying Down" is a modern take on saucy 20s era blues. For me, the ambition of the production outstrips the actual quality of these song ideas. I believe this is the sort of record that would take a more dedicated Jefferson Airplane fan to appreciate.Grand Funk Railroad What's Funk?Grateful Dead Go to Heaven"Alabama Getaway" and "Don't Ease Me In" are decent cuts, but the rest of the album is a bit of a snooze.Great White Shot in the DarkSHOT IN THE DARK was a transitional record that was actually more indicative of the bluesier hard rock they would play during their post-hair metal era. Fans of their self-titled debut album may be disappointed to hear the smoother production, added keyboards and less edgier fare on this album which is fairly forgettable. The only standout for me is their well chosen cover of "Face The Day", which was originally done by the Aussie hard rock outfit The Angels. However, "Gimme Some Lovin'" was a poorer choice for a cover tune. Pretty lame really.Grim Reaper Fear No EvilMaybe a tad better than SEE YOU IN HELL (for the first half), but ultimately falls back on their typical heavy metal cliches. I do like the title track and Bowcott offers at least a few ear catching guitar licks. This one doesn't annoy me nearly as much as their debut, so I suppose that's progress....Guns N' Roses "The Spaghetti Incident?"Heart BrigadeHeart Desire Walks OnHeart Red Velvet CarHellion The Black BookHuntress StaticIggy Pop SoldierIt's Iggy's amusing lyrics that keep SOLDIER from being completely lame. Musically, this is pretty run-of-the-mill fare.Iggy Pop Kill CityIron Butterfly In-A-Gadda-Da-VidaIN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA is another way overrated album that I was reluctant to render judgment on
for many years, mainly because I never felt it was a good as everyone seemed to think it was.
It's clear to me now that Iron Butterfly were a better and more refined Acid Rock band than
Blue Cheer, but still quite lacking in inspiration.
And how many Iron Butterfly songs can YOU name? Most would only come up with the title for
their now legendary 17-minute title track, which in truth can be excruciating to endure. As
great as that fuzz-toned riff might be for the first few minutes, it starts to burn a hole
into your brain by the end. Making matters worse, we have to put up with a meandering,
uninspired guitar solo, a friggin' drum solo AND some fiddling by the keyboardist. Sadly,
there is no sweet release at the end of the interminable solo sections as that endlessly
droning main riff comes for us again. I actually feel relieved to be able to finally admit how
much I've come to despise this song!!
"Are You Happy" is actually slightly enjoyable, but still no great shakes. For the pain that
reviewing this album has caused me, I will revise my rating from a 3 stars to 2 1/2. Yes, I
will concede that the album does effectively evoke the excesses of the psychedelic era, but
this doesn't mean that we'd necessarily want to endure them again and again.Iron Maiden The Final FrontierJackyl Push Comes to ShoveI purchased this CD with high expectations after enjoying their 1994 debut and live show so much. It's the same formula but lacking any songs I'd even remember the next day. Very average and uninspired.Jeff Beck There and BackJeff Beck FlashJefferson Airplane BarkJessi Colter Diamond In The RoughJethro Tull War ChildJethro Tull AJethro Tull's 13th album A marked a curious chapter in their long history. What began as an Ian Anderson solo project
wound up as a Jethro Tull album. In addition, the musicians on the album also replaced the original Tull lineup, all at
the insistence of Chrysalis records. Only Martin Barre & Ian Anderson remain from the
prior lineup, while Eddie Jobson guests on keyboards and violin.
While the core Jethro Tull sound is still present on this record, Jobson's synthesizers lend more of an Art Rock touch
to the proceedings. There were only trace elements of the traditional folk-based sounds of their prior records here.
These changes to the classic Tull sound weren't received well by some long term fans, but the main problem was the lack
of any really standout songs to help sell this album. "Black Sunday" contains a well played instrumental break, but
rest of the songs seem only mildly interesting at best.
Whenever I reflect upon the A era, I can't help but chuckle about the white jump suits the band are wearing on the album
cover, as well as in live performance. What was the deal with that anyhow?Joan Jett and the Blackhearts NotoriousJoey Belladonna BelladonnaJoey Belladonna Spells Of FearJoey Tempest A place to call homeJourney NextJourney's 3nd album NEXT was the final record of prog & fusion that defined their original sound. The musicianship is of an undeniably high caliber here, but the dullness that pervades this collection of songs prevents this album from being much more than a footnote. "Spaceman" is a likable song, but just not memorable enough in the long run. There are some occasional instrumental fireworks here, but NEXT is decidedly less potent than their debut (and the albums soon to follow).Journey Look Into the FutureJourney Dream, After DreamJourney's soundtrack for the Japanese movie DREAM, AFTER DREAM is much closer in spirit to The Moody Blues than any of the arena rock that redefined their style upon Steve Perry's arrival. It's an interesting, but confusing return to a more progressive style dominated by pensive instrumentals. "Little Girl" and "Destiny" are highlights, but hardly of the same caliber as their other 70s hits. Mellow, dreamy and often dull.Judas Priest '98 Live MeltdownKing Crimson IslandsKing's X King's XKISS AnimalizeKISS AsylumKISS Psycho CircusKix Cool KidsAmerican Pop-Metal that sounds like Def Leppard-lite and often more Pop than Metal. There are some catchy hooks in songs like Nick Gilder's "Body Talk". Likable enough, but there's better stuff you could be listening to right now.Krokus To You AllTO YOU ALL abandons the progressive rock experiments of their debut for more polished sounding hard rock. Again, this is not terrible stuff, just not remarkable enough to stand alongside their later forays into heavy metal. The guitar playing here is actually quite nice.Krokus HoodooKrokus Dirty DynamiteKrokus KrokusIt wouldn't be entirely fair to compare Krokus' 1976 debut against the later work, for the original band had an entirely different agenda. Their musical direction was a hybrid of progressive rock ideas with hard rock. Songs like "No Way Out" even evoke a bit of CRY OF LOVE era Hendrix. While the vocals here are just adequate at best, the musical ideas are more adventurous than one might expect. This featured only two members that would partake on their later records. It's not a great record, but I also wouldn't completely ignore this either. It's definitely less mature and focused than their following album and is rated here as "poor" more as a matter of scale against their later work.Krokus PainkillerPAIN KILLER (aka PAY IT BACK IN METAL) finds Krokus honing a brasher, hard rock sound that is more focused than their first 2 albums. While their Swiss brand of hard boogie rock is more aggressive here, it still isn't quite pounding enough to call heavy metal. "Killer" is a decent song and there are some other strong tracks towards the end of the record ("Deadline", "Pay It" and "Bye Bye Baby"). Their single "Susie" almost sounds like an American Southern Rock ballad, which would seem to be an odd influence for a Swiss band. In some ways, this new sense of focus on hard rock is less interesting than their earlier experiments, even if does possess a greater urgency and polish. Chris Van Rohr's vocals are adequate here, but they definitely needed someone a bit more compelling...Krokus HellraiserLee Aaron Call of the WildLee Aaron BodyrockLee Aaron Some Girls DoLindsey Buckingham Law and OrderLita Ford Dancin' On the EdgeLita Ford StilettoLiz Phair Exile In GuyvilleWhat is the big deal about this album anyhow? Liz Phair's vocals are consistently off-key and the songs aren't all that interesting. The album sounds like a well produced songwriter's demo at best. I really wanted to like this album, but now I'm probably going to free up the space on my hard drive by deleting it. 5 stars it's NOT. I don't hate this album, but I can think of hundreds of other records I'd prefer to spend my time on. A real disappointment given all of the hype the critics have fueled. Why bother with this when you can listen to EXILE ON MAIN STREET?Lizzy Borden Terror RisingLoverboy Keep It UpWith an album title like KEEP IT UP, it leaves their fans whether Viagra was required for the making of this very formulaic follow up to GET LUCKY. While their prior releases are a more well balanced mix of hard rock and AOR Pop, this is decidely more of a calculated Pop record. The song titles alone should warn the listener what sort of dreck awaits them. While the hit singles "Hot Girls In Love" and "Queen Of The Brokenhearts" serve as guilty pleasures at the best, the rest of the material just isn't doesn't get me hard.Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991LYNYRD SKYNYRD 1991 was the bands first studio album in 14 years. It was finally time for them to set aside the sadness and tragedy
of that fateful airplane crash and make some new music with Ronnie's little brother Johnny on vocals. The legend of Lynyrd Skynrd
had only grown since that time, so expectations were fairly high for their return, but these wheels began turning before the 1988
live release SOUTHERN BY THE GRACE OF GOD. The question remained as to whether the band could offer any new songs that could stand
alongside their now classic back catalog.
On the surface, 1991 faithfully recreates their classic sound, replete with their trademark Southern Rock grooves, tinkling piano
keys and almost gospel sounding female choir behind them. "Smokestack Lightning" is a promising opening track which earned a great
deal of airplay on Atlanta FM radio back when this was released. The rest of the album has its moments and is certainly likable
enough. Ultimately though, the songwriting here is too tepid and fails to produce any new Skynyrd classics. While it's a still an
enjoyable album, this kind of substandard songwriting would lower the bar for Skynyrd's studio records from this point onward.Manowar Sign of the HammerMaybe it was too much too soon for Manowar when they released yet another studio album in 1984? SIGN OF THE HAMMER consists of the same Manowar formula of boastful Viking metal powered by Joey DeMaio's relentless bass virtuosity and Eric Adam's screams of power. "All Men Play On 10" is a worthy enough addition to their canon, but the rest of the album seems a bit thin on substance. "Mountains" is a promising, but slightly flawed epic, while "Guyana (Cult Of The Damned)" is pretty overbaked. Manowar fans might defend this one and damn me to Hades for suggesting this is anything less than classic Manowar. For me, it's a little short on inspiration.McAuley Schenker Group Save YourselfMeat Loaf Midnight at the Lost and FoundMegadeth The World Needs a HeroMercyful Fate Into the UnknownWith 1996's INTO THE UNKNOWN, there was a strong sense that the Mercyful Fate formula was beginning to run thin.
Musically, it was much of the same craftily arranged neo-classically laced Black Metal, but of a somewhat lesser quality
grade. Some fans may not have even sensed a real problem here, but it's plainly obvious to me they were capable of much
better work than this.
Much of the problem I have with this album revolve around King Diamond’s contributions lyrically and vocally. There is a
very overt sense that he wasn’t taking himself too seriously in general.Mercyful Fate 9Metal Church Hanging in the BalanceMetal Church Generation NothingMetallica LoadMichael Schenker Group Be Aware Of ScorpionsMontrose Jump on ItOverkill I Hear BlackOverkill W.F.O.W.F.O. sounds like every other Overkill album with it's thrashy guitars, venomous vocals and punchy, distinctive bass from D. D. Verni. Unfortunately, my opinion of this album hasn't wavered since I first listened to it back in 1994. It's full of explosive energy, but not a single song I'd care to revisit. I absolutely loved HORRORSCOPE, but this post-Bobby Gustafson lineup failed to deliver much in the way of decent songwriting after that record. Performance-wise, it's good, almost great. But for me, it always comes down to the songs. Aside from maybe "Bastard Nation" and "The Wait"/"A New High In Lows", there's not many that rise above average thrash fare.Ozzy Osbourne Just Say OzzyOzzy Osbourne Black RainOzzy Osbourne Under CoverPantera Reinventing the SteelDisappointingly formulaic. I'm hearing plenty of the trademark sounds and aggression from their classic records, but where are the songs??? "Yesterday Don't Mean Shit" is probably the only song that comes close to their classic stuff. "Revolution Is My Name" is a close second, but nothing else here could be considered essential listening.Pantera I Am the NightParliament TrombipulationPearl Harbor & The Explosions Pearl Harbor & The ExplosionsI first saw Pearl Harbor & The Explosions on a long forgotten Nickelodeon music program called Pop Clips back in 1980. They were performing the infectious "Drivin'", which is a quirky, but infectious slice of new wave dance-rock. With it's rolling bass lines and Pearl's vocal energy propelling it forward, "Drivin'" was reason alone for me to purchase this on vinyl many years later in a used record store. Sadly, the rest of the album fails to live up to the promise of that one minor hit. "You Got It (Release It)" and "Shut Up And Dance" are probably the best of this otherwise mediocre collection.Pearl Jam No CodePentagram PentagramPicture Heavy Metal EarsPink Floyd MorePink Floyd The Endless RiverPlasmatics New Hope for the WretchedPrimus AntipopI loved most of Primus' albums up to this point, but they started to lose me a bit with ANTIPOP. The songs are just a little too over the place and aren't as solid and interesting as their prior work. "Mama Didn't Raise No Fool" is reminiscent of the old Primus formula, but the rest of the album is either too aggressive or experimental for my taste. It's hard to accuse Primus of every making a truly bad album since their playing is always solid and amazing. I just don't love these songs.Prince For YouPrince's 1978 debut was an ambitious undertaking that found him playing all 23 instruments heard
on this album! At just 19 years of age, he was also the youngest Warner Brothers producer to
date. While this album has received fairly dismissive reviews in general, it is worth exploring
just to hear this budding genius at work. It is quite an accomplishment that he created such
atmosphere on tracks such as "Just As Long As We're Together" that do sound like a multi-person
band grooving together. Also notable are the a capella vocals on the opener "For You" and the
guitar playing on "I'm Yours". It's true that this songwriting skills needed sharpening, as the
single "Soft And Wet" was not really a memorable standout.
FOR YOU is worth exploring and isn't as a bad record as some reviews might have you believe. It's
an immature, but well executed blend of R&B and rock styles, not unlike his 70s contemporaries The
Brothers Johnson. Start with this album and listen to the growth in his songwriting and
performances with each consecutive release. This is the beginning of that journey.Prince ParadePARADE has always been something of a disappointment for me. Only "Kiss" really stands out as anything special, while "Girls And Boys" is a lesser highlight. The rest of the album finds Prince experimenting with different styles and sounds, but also sounding a bit too low key and relatively uninspired. While the production and execution is as slick and polished as one might expect, the songs just aren't all that compelling. Even Prince himself called this album a "disaster" in one interview, as he was divided between so many different projects while he was recording this album. PARADE seems to get a lot of adoration from other critics, but seems vastly overrated by my estimations.Prince BatmanPrince Graffiti BridgeQueen The MiracleQueensryche Hear in the Now FrontierRaging Slab Assmaster [Vinyl]Ratt Reach for the SkyRatt InfestationI love the fact that Ratt sounds so energized on the opening cuts - namely "Eat Me Up Alive" and "Best Of Me". As the album wears on, Stephen Pearcy's limitations as a vocalist (and a lyricist) become more than obvious. "Take Me Home" is so wobbly that it sounds like a demo that they included because they ran out of material. That said, it is one of their better recent albums.Red Hot Chili Peppers The Red Hot Chili PeppersRenaissance NovellaNOVELLA is almost a good record, but too often feels contrived. The pompous orchestral arrangements almost seem to be trying to hide the fact that the musical themes aren't as strong as they should have been. Only Annie Haslam's performance keeps me from rating this even lower. It seems the band had found a working formula that they chose not to tamper with just yet, but inspiration was lacking here. "Can You Hear Me?" certainly echoes some of the earlier Renaissance classics, but feels a little too subdued for its own good. Another missed opportunity is "Touching Once (Is Hard To Keep)" which has a few interesting musical ideas, but becomes tedious and overlong in its overly ambitious, meandering path from beginning to end. The album has many moments that seem promising, but the songs are too bloated and lacking in substance.Renaissance Time-LineREO Speedwagon Good TroubleRiot NaritaAside from killer final song "Road Racing", NARITA is fairly average hard metal. Mark Reale's guitar playing is noteworthy, but the songs well played, but also quite ordinary. I've never been as impressed by early Riot as some people seem to be. Always seemed second rate when compared with the European bands from this period.Robin Trower Caravan To MidnightRobin Trower Back It UpRobin's last album with James Dewar on vocals. Having James on vocals here offers at least the warm familiarity of Robin's original sound, but the songs are just a bit too lackluster overall. "None But The Brave" and "Benny Dancer" are standouts, but the rest is a bit too tepid. Almost good.Robin Trower PassionRobin Trower's 1986 offering PASSION suffers from the overly slick and stylized production that plagued so many artists during this era. Only his soulful lead breaks remind the listener that they are hearing a Robin Trower album, as the rest of the soundscape bears little resemblance to the records he made during the 70s. The album does have its moments with songs like "If Forever" that seems revisit a bit of that "Daydream" vibe. "Caroline" seems to be vying for FM radio airplay, but is a tad too Adult Contemporary to have probably earned much notice. The title track is another minor highlight, but nothing that would really stand up against his earlier work. PASSION has its moments if you approach it with lower expectations, but is inevitably just too smooth for its own good.Robin Trower Take What You NeedRoger Waters Radio K.A.O.S.Romeo Void Benefactor"Never Say Never" is a great track, but none of the other songs are quite as interesting Fair to good at best overall.Ron Wood Slide On ThisRough Cutt Wants You!Rush Vapor TrailsRush Snakes & ArrowsRush Clockwork AngelsYawn... No matter how many times I listen to this album, I can't help but pine for their far superior glory years (1976-1982). On the surface, CLOCKWORK ANGELS is a reinvigorated effort that makes it seem superior to their prior albums (which truly were a snooze fest). It reminds me of when they released COUNTERPARTS, yet these songs just don't connect with me in the same way. This remains the quandary for me with CLOCKWORK ANGELS - an album I'm told that I should love more than I do. Ultimately, I just don't care a thing about these songs. I'll take FLY BY NIGHT or HEMISPHERES over this any day of the week.Rush FeedbackFEEDBACK was a fairly mediocre vehicle for Rush to amuse themselves with playing songs by the bands that inspired them. It's one of those ideas that looked great on paper, but the reality failed to deliver anything truly worth revisiting. Playing cover songs has never been a real strength for Rush. The performances are a little too smooth, subdued, and rather unexceptional when viewed against their own original work. I suppose I've subconsciously avoided this album since it was released. Definitely the worst place to start for anyone exploring Rush's catalog for the first time.Saga (CAN) Silent KnightSammy Hagar Sammy HagarSamson Head OnMore of a novelty piece than a genuine NWOBHM classic. I can remember scratching my head about this album upon first listen 25 years ago and my opinion hasn't changed since. The songs simply aren't that great and the execution seems amateurish in comparison with Bruce Dickinson's later glories. "Vice Versa" is probably the only track I'd return for. The instrumental "Thunderburst" was pretty much swiped and retooled by Iron Maiden as "The Ides Of March" for 1981's KILLERS. More "meh", than "Yeah!"Samson SurvivorsSanctuary The Year the Sun DiedSaxon Rock the NationsScorpions Face the HeatScorpions UnbreakableShocking Blue AttilaSiouxsie and the Banshees A Kiss in the DreamhouseSiouxsie and the Banshees HyænaSkid Row (US) ThickskinReleased 8 years after their last album with front man Sebastian Bach, THICKSKIN is the first album to feature vocalist Johnny Solinger. It seems immediately apparent that the band is suffering through an identity crisis here. If you were to blindfold me, I wouldn't even know this was Skid Row. Instead, the band seems to be reinventing itself into an edgier version of Pearl Jam as Solinger adopts an undeniably Vedder-ish tone on songs like "Ghost". There are a few moments ("New Generation" and "Thick As The Skin") where you can hear their original sound coming through, but Solinger's delivery obscures their identity a lot. The overall approach seems to be influenced by the 90s alternative/grunge scene and just sounds a bit generic and the band becomes a bit faceless. Old fans will need to readjust their expectations quite a bit to embrace their new sound. Also, there aren't really any songs here that I'd cite as anything special - and that's the biggest problem.Slayer RepentlessSoundgarden FoppSteely Dan Everything Must GoSteve Howe TurbulenceSteven Tyler We're All Somebody From SomewhereStevie Nicks The Other Side of the MirrorStevie Nicks Street AngelNot a terrible album, just a bit run-of-the mill for Stevie.Stevie Nicks The Soundstage SessionsStyx CycloramaT. Rex Dandy in the UnderworldTed Nugent Weekend WarriorsWEEKEND WARRIORS was a definite letdown following on the heels of Ted's success with CAT SCRATCH FEVER. Although the
production and overall approach was similar to Nugent's earlier hit records, there are few (if any) truly remarkable songs to
be found on this album. Charlie Huhn replaced Derek St. Holmes on vocals here and does a serviceable enough job. The problem
here is that Ted was running out of inspiration in the songwriting department and this would only continue to be an issue on
the records that followed. Even Ted's fiery guitar playing couldn't save this one.Ted Nugent State of ShockTed Nugent Little Miss DangerousLITTLE MISS DANGEROUS is an easy album for Nugent fans to hate because it's such a departure from his stripped down 70s hard rock sound. But it's really not quite as terrible as some people seem to believe. It's largely a collaboration with Dave Amato, who retools Ted's soundscape with synths and drum machines while still trying to create something aggressive and contemporary. This experiment succeeds occasionally, namely when Ted lets loose on the albums final track "Painkiller". There's also an interesting cover of the Bacharach/David song "My Little Red Book". The vocalist on "Strangers" sure does sound like David King of Fastway / Flogging Molly fame to my ears.rI've never been a fan of the album's title track and lead single and was definitely thinking WTF when I first heard it. It's Ted trying to fit in with the whole hair metal scene that was so popular at the time. The title track is much of the reason his old fans hate this album so much without ever having listened to the whole thing. Still, the album is a bit of a head scratcher and is undeniably something of a disappointment as Nugent starts to lose his identity with this faceless 80s make over.rTesla Into The NowThe Alan Parsons Project PyramidThe Allman Brothers Band Reach for the SkyThe B-52s Bouncing off the SatellitesThe Cars Move Like ThisThe Cult CeremonyThe Firm (UK) Mean BusinessThe Firm's 2nd and final record MEAN BUSINESS was even duller and more non-descript than their disappointing debut record. Only the remake of Paul's solo cut "Live In Peace" and "Tear Down The Walls" really stand out amidst this rather average sounding fare.The Heads No Talking Just HeadThe Knack ...But the Little Girls UnderstandThe Knack's 2nd album was a huge disappointment after such an inspired debut. It's largely just a half baked rehash of the first album and most of the songs aren't compelling enough for a second spin. The main single "Baby Talk Is Dirty" re-purposed "My Sharona's" octave skipping guitar riff in a catchy way, but the Fieger's porpoise-like squealing and S&M fixated lyrics were just WAY too creepy for many casual fans. It's no surprise that the song rose no higher than #38 on the Billboard singles chart. Their failed single "Can't Put A Price On Love" is a bit more palatable, but still no great shakes. Plus, it probably wasn't such a great idea to have an album title that sounds like an apology. For many fans like myself, that was warning enough to spend my money elsewhere.The Motels ShockThe Motels promising run during the early 80s ended rather abruptly with the overly glossy SHOCK album. The punkier guitar fueled edges of their earlier work had been buffed away for these rather formulaic synth and drum machine dominated production which was so en vogue during this era. Martha Davis still offers impassioned and characteristically melodramatic vocal performances along with several reasonably good songs ("Shock", "Shame" and "Icy Red"). Almost a good record, but something of a disappointment overall.The New Pornographers Brill BruisersThe Pretenders Loose ScrewThe Rolling Stones Their Satanic Majesties RequestThe Rolling Stones Dirty WorkWith it's Dance-Rock flavored production, DIRTY WORK sounds more like a Mick Jagger solo album than a proper Rolling Stones album. It's ALMOST a good record with songs like "One Hit To The Body" and "Harlem Shuffle", but ultimately disappoints. Just not enough of Keith Richards' rock & roll influence to make this one a bit more appealing to older fans.The Rolling Stones Still LifeSTILL LIFE was an unexceptional live document of their 1981 American tour. The performances are too polished and even a bit mechanical sounding by their standards. The raw rock & roll danger of their earlier live recordings has been replaced with an almost corporate predictability. It's also a rather truncated sampling of their live set and only includes a single track ("Start Me Up") from the excellent TATTOO YOU record they were promoting at the time. Their cover of "Going To A Go Go" received a lot of FM airplay at the time and the album still sold well. In retrospect, STILL LIFE just isn't really a live recording I'd revisit too often. Not as terrible as Allmusic seems to think (just 1 star rating there), but disappointingly average.The Runaways Waitin' for the NightThis Joan Jett fronted incarnation of The Runaways actually sounds a bit tougher than they had with Cherie Currie singing. However, Joan was still finding her feet as front woman and doesn't quite possess the vocal strength she'd later develop. Also, the songs are fairly mediocre here. Joan would later resurrect "Wait For Me" and "You're Too Possessive" for her solo career. I want to like this more, but the execution just isn't there. (And the vocals make me cringe too often).The Velvet Underground White Light/White HeatPossibly the worst guitar solo EVER on "I Heard You Call My Name". While I do see recognize the historical importance of the
Velvet's contributions to what we call Alternative or Indie Rock today, this is NOT easy to get through. The title track is a
notable highlight and was later covered by David Bowie. However, things get much stranger as the album progresses. For example,
check out the lyrics to "Lady Godiva's Operation". This falls somewhere between interesting and masochistic for me.
Highlights: "White Light / White Heat" & "Lady Godiva's Operation".The Zombies Odessey and OracleThin Lizzy Shades of a Blue OrphanageThin Lizzy RenegadeRENEGADE has its moments ("Angel Of Death", "Hollywood" and "When We Were Young") but is somewhat dull by Thin Lizzy's usual standards. Not a terrible record, but it does find them going through the motions a bit. Almost good.Tin Machine Tin MachineTin Machine Tin Machine IITito Puente and His Orchestra Dance ManiaMore Afro-Cuban Jazz, but much more accessible and commercial than Machito or Sabu. This is probably because most of the
songs here contain vocals and the emphasis is more on songs rather than instrumental excursions. This is smooth, confident
and competent playing which focuses on the overall big band swing of the songs, rather than showboating by instrumentalists.
Also, there's a heavy dose of Mambo and Salsa on this album. I must admit to a little "mambo fatigue" after finishing this.
Fans of Latin Jazz will probably enjoy this, but it didn't excite me all that much. Maybe it?s that it seemed this band
were playing it a little too safe in being so smooth? Well performed, but just not the sort of thing I'd cue up for my own
pleasure.Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)Tony Iommi IommiIOMMI just isn't an album I'd choose to revisit very often. It plays like a side project that Tony had decided to do for fun, but maybe wasn't taking all that seriously? This seems unfortunate because his playing is actually very good here. I'm sure that many of these vocalists got to fulfill their childhood fantasies in appearing on this record. It's just too bad their involvement didn't serve to enhance this album.Tori Amos Strange Little GirlsTygers Of Pan Tang Wild CatU2 OctoberUFO The Monkey PuzzleTHE MONKEY PUZZLE was something of a quandary for me. What didn't make sense was that despite all of the superb guitar playing
and polished production I still couldn't find many reasons I'd want to revisit this anytime soon. Phil Mogg's vocals sound more
gravelly than usual, which only lends greater authenticity to these bluesy, laid back songs. The song "Drink Too Much" does seem
to resonate a little more than the rest. Overall, it's a pleasant and unobtrusive album to listen too. Although I can't really
find fault with how it's all put together, I just can't get all that excited about it. It's the dullness of these songs that
really keep THE MONKEY PUZZLE from being a more interesting offering. UFO SharksNot bad, but also not particularly good. UFO by the numbers on the second reunion album with Michael Schenker. I really do want to like this more, but the songs just aren't that memorable. In fact, I haven't bothered revisiting this album until I had to write this review.UFO CovenantThe bonus live tracks are the best thing about this album given that the studio songs are nothing special. Some fine playing by Michael Schenker throughout, but not the best batch of songs UFO has written.UFO You Are HereUFO The Salentino CutsUFO Ain't Misbehavin'UFO The VisitorUriah Heep Fallen AngelUriah Heep Head FirstUriah Heep OutsiderUriah Heep SpellbinderIt has taken me years to sit down and give SPELLBINDER a complete listen. Even a hardcore Uriah Heep fan like myself can become overwhelmed by the number of live releases that the band has put out over the years. I suppose I case a 'blind eye' on this record because it was recorded during the Shaw era and just seemed unnecessary. After listening to SPELLBINDER, I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality and overall performance by the band. Sure, I've heard better Heep shows and seen more interesting set lists, but this is a nice snapshot of the band around the SEA OF LIGHT era. My first complaint is that there is only one song from that record showcased here ("Words In The Distance"). The inclusion of "Devil's Daughter", "Rainbow Demon" and "Circle Of Hands" are certainly welcome. But how many more versions of "Gypsy", "Lady In Black" or "Easy Livin'" do we really need? That said, it is an enjoyable show. The bonus studio track "Sail The Rivers" provides completists yet another reason to add this to their collection. Very good overall, but not an essential purchase.Vandenberg VandenbergMy earliest recollection of Vandenberg was seeing their ?Burning Heart? video on MTV. Watching Adrian play that perfectly crafted neo-classical guitar solo in the middle was enough to convince me that he had the goods as a guitar player. Sadly, the rest of Vandenberg?s debut album just never really did much for me. Their hard rock / pop-metal formula was just a little too lukewarm and the songs here are nothing too special. A lot of people seem to rate this is as their best album, but I vehemently disagree. For me, this falls somewhere between average and good at best. Veruca Salt Eight Arms to Hold YouVeruca Salt's 2nd full-length album EIGHT ARMS TO HOLD YOU was something of a disappointment after their brilliant debut. Louise and Nina are playing more aggressively and energetically here as if to oversell these less potent hooks. I'll concede that their energy is still infectious and album will grow on you some with repeated listening. "Volcano Girls" and "One Last Time" are good songs, but nothing I'm dying to hear again anytime soon.Veruca Salt ResolverVince Neil Carved In StoneWhitesnake SnakebiteWhitesnake Good To Be BadWings Red Rose SpeedwayWings London TownX Ain't Love GrandX Hey ZeusY and T In Rock We TrustY and T Mean StreakAlways loved the title track, but the rest is fairly mediocre hair metal fare. Meh.Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your BonesYes Big GeneratorYes MagnificationYngwie Malmsteen Facing the AnimalYngwie Malmsteen Magnum OpusZebra (US) No Tellin' LiesNO TELLIN' LIES was a mostly mediocre follow-up to their somewhat promising ZEBRA album. They did manage to get a minor hit
from the mildly charming anti-hunting song "Bears". "Lullaby" evokes the baroque pop of the Beatles and "Wait Under The Summers
Gone" falls short of being another hard rock hit for them. Although I've always wanted to like Zebra more, Randy Jackson's
falsetto vocals wear on my nerves after a short while...Zodiac Mindwarp Tattooed Beat MessiahBritish hard rock group Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction sound like a cross between late 80s / early 90s Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie. It's interesting to note that Mark Manning was also a graphic artist (like Rob), so it's appears that both of them shared a very similar vision for a heavy metal band. Mark (aka Zodiac or Zed) wasn't as successful with this project, but they did achieve a sort of cult status through heavy rotation on MTV's Headbangers Ball. The style of the band is intriguing and well executed, but these songs fail to capture my imagination even after several spins. ZZ Top TejasZZ Top RecyclerSame formula as ELIMINATOR and AFTERBURNER with somewhat less interesting songs. Not a terrible album, just rather predictable and run-of-the-mill by their standards. The title really does say it all.2.0 poor.38 Special Rock & Roll StrategyDespite the Van Zandt pedigree, .38 Special was never strictly a Southern Rock band. Even on their earlier hit records, they always had more of a penchant for pop/rock slickness than the gutsier bluesy hard rock of Skynyrd. ROCK & ROLL STRATEGY finds the band drifting more and more towards Adult Contemporary and sounding far less themselves. "Second Chance" would have been a great Paul Carrack radio ballad, but is far from what I would have expected from these guys. "Innocent Eyes" sounds a bit like Survivor. The 80s production values and occasional synths give the overall album too much a much of a generic sound. Disappointingly lame.4 Non Blondes Bigger, Better, Faster, More!4 Non Blondes received a great deal of attention when their single "What's Up" began
dominating the airwaves in 1992. However, their album failed to generate any other compelling
singles and the public's love buzz began wearing off rather quickly. In retrospect, it's easy
to see why. Their songs were a fairly pedestrian mixture of rock, funk ("Superfly") and even
rockabilly ("Old Mr. Heffer") played with an Alternative Pop/Rock sensibility. Being somewhat
dull is one problem, but Linda's Perry overwrought vocalizing just becomes irritating after
several songs. It seems like she's trying to impress by singing full bore 75% of the time.
Her lack of restraint and dynamics just makes 4 Non Blondes rather tepid formula even less
palatable. Very disappointing album considering the original hype this received.AC/DC Rock or BustROCK OR BUST is mostly a bust for me. Newer fans might not immediately recognize the problem due to the slick production and likable performances by Brian Johnson & Angus Young. But once you unwrap the slick, glossy packaging, it's the same tired pop-infused hard rock that the band has been hawking since the mid-80s. If I chose never to listen to this album again, I can't think of a single song I'd feel bad about missing. The songs remind me a lot of the BLOW UP YOUR VIDEO album, but not quite as catchy. Even if the band does occasionally find an enjoyable groove, Brian's lyrics are just too goofy to really want to make me pump my fist and say "Yeah!!" They've just become embarrassingly bad through the years and it's hard to sell your song with such silly messages. I'll take a pass on this one.Accept AcceptUnfocused and inconsistent debut by German metal merchants Accept. There are small glimmers of future
promise here, namely in Wolf Hoffmann's very capable guitar work ("Free Me Now", for starters). The main
problem here is that the band are still in the process of building their own musical identity. The songs
vary from the charging metal rhythms of "Lady Lou" to the smoky, balladry of "Seawinds" (sung by bassist
Peter Baltes). Much of the material is of reminiscent of Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions hard metal, but their
ideas aren't yet so potent. Established Accept fans may be more forgiving of the shortcomings here, while
new listeners would be advised to start elsewhere.Highlights: "Lady Lou", "Seawinds", "Take Him In Your
Heart".Accept Death RowDEATH ROW is a dark, primal album that finds Accept mostly abandoning their classic sound for this experiment in sheer aggression. If you thought Udo sounded angry on the last album, he's absolutely furious on some of these songs. There is no reprieve for the listener as one heavy track after another pummels them. It's really difficult to cite highlights as they all of the songs are crafted so similarly. This steely aggression persists through most of the songs and renders the dynamics fairly flat. By the end, most of the songs seem fairly generic and try to overcompensate by being "heavier than thou". DEATH ROW winds up being even more disappointing than OBJECTION OVERRULED.Accept Eat the HeatAerosmith Music from Another DimensionSlickly produced formula that lacks any real flavor but leaves you with a bad aftertaste. Only Perry's riffing in "Out Go The Lights" elevates my blood pressure even slightly. It sounds more like a Stephen Tyler solo outing than a proper Aerosmith record. Pretty lame really...Airbourne No Guts. No Glory.There are plenty of bands who have built their careers upon the template that AC/DC created. The fact that Airbourne is an Aussie band doesn't necessarily grant them extra credibility or license, especially given that so many other non-Aussie acts have made much better albums in this style. It's mostly just an average album, but their lack of originality pisses me off enough to demote a half point. There's no good reason anyone should really want to listen to this anyhow, unless of course you just really enjoy the masochism of exploring 3rd rate bands.Alcatrazz Dangerous GamesGraham Bonnet's Alcatrazz unwittingly became a proving ground for virtuoso guitarists Yngwie Malmsteen & Steve Vai in
the beginning. Bonnet himself had worked with Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow on 1979's DOWN TO EARTH, so many of his
followers were guitarists.
Apparently, Graham decided he'd had enough of his guitar players stealing his limelight when he hired Danny Johnson
to replace Steve Vai. Johnson's guitar work seems flashy and capable enough on the few songs he's allowed to show
his stuff. It's clear that his role was more of a sideman and that his playing would not dominate the proceedings as
his predecessors had. Sadly, there are far fewer fireworks for guitarists to behold here.
Instead, the focus is more on producing catchy pop-rock songs that are just edgy enough to be fall into the hard rock
category. There's a decent cover of The Animals "It's My Life" to start the record, but the rest of the material is
fairly unremarkable. The performances are fine, but the songs are just too dull and ordinary to warrant further
attention. Only completists would want to bother acquiring this album.Aldo Nova TwitchIt's very easy to see why Aldo Nova was so unhappy with TWITCH. It's a prime example of how synthesizers and 80s production values completely neutered so many hard rock artists. While Aldo attempts to cut loose with some spirited vocals and spitfire guitar breaks, he is straight-jacketed by the glossy, formulaic production. What remains are only traces of the Aldo Nova we came to love on his debut album.Alice Cooper Lace and WhiskeyAlice Cooper Zipper Catches SkinAlice Cooper TrashBased on the songwriting and overall production, TRASH was a modest improvement over Alice's prior releases. However, Alice's musical direction at this point just made me nauseous at the time and I quickly disowned the free promotional cassette I was given. Although many people would at least give this 3 stars, I'm docking in 1 star for the fact that I've never enjoyed listening to this album. It was just too much like putting mascara on a pig.Angel On Earth As It Is In HeavenAngel indulges their glam rock side, thus transitioning themselves into one of the earliest hair metal bands. The more progressive sounding hard rock ideas they'd explored on their first two albums have been excised. Instead, we're left with a mediocre version of what Kiss was already doing so much better. "Can You Feel It" and "On The Rocks" are the best of this rather lame bunch of songs.Anthrax Stomp 442STOMP 442 was Anthrax's first album without Dan Spitz on lead guitar. Instead, Paul Crook and guest Dimebag Darrell share duties with Ian and Benante (?!) on the guitar solos here. Scott Ian said in one interview that drummer Charlie Benante wrote the riffs for this album, which may explain why there are so few memorable hooks in these songs. Instead, it's lots of bluster on top of fairly generic sounding groove metal riffing. Gone are the interesting melodic guitar breaks and most of the rap-metal influences. Instead, Anthrax's trademark attributes have been mostly stripped away and leave them sounding like just about every other metal band on the scene without a strong identity. Lots of energy, but no inspiration.Anthrax Volume 8: The Threat Is RealAnvil Forged in FireI've always loved METAL ON METAL and generally enjoy the tongue-in-cheek aspects of Anvil's music. Based on the reviews I've read for this album, I was expecting some equally great songs or at least something close. Boy, was I in for a huge disappointment. I actually had to hit stop on my Media Player in the middle of "Make It Up To You" because my patience had been worn so thin. There's nothing here even close to as good as METAL ON METAL. The title track seemed promising at first, but Lipps' overwrought vibrato made even this song a bit hard to take seriously. Even when the music does become semi-interesting, the vocals pretty much ruin every song for me. This is just too friggin' goofy and third rate sounding to my ears. I'm probably being pretty generous in giving this a whole 2 stars.Arch Enemy Covered In BloodI approach every tribute album with lowered expectations, as few even come anywhere close to matching the original songs. I've also never been a fan of Death Metal vocalists of any kind, so I knew beforehand this was going to be a challenging listen. This album almost seems promising when you look at the track listing, which includes songs from Priest, Manowar, Megadeth, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Kiss and even Tears For Fears. But the band just consistently annihilates each song into a horrid mess of overblown guitars and tuneless vocals. I'm definitely going to need a palate cleanser after this one.Bad Company Rough DiamondsBeatallica Abbey LoadBilly Squier Creatures of HabitCREATURES OF HABIT borrows liberally from Squier's past (and other artists) in a spirited, but ultimately uninspired manner. Overall, it's mostly average fare, nothing too terrible, but nothing especially good (except maybe "Facts Of Life"). For "Hands Of Seduction", he rips off Marc Bolan and T. Rex's classic "Buick Mackane" riff, but changes it just enough to avoid a lawsuit. Sounds OK on the surface, but has little substance beneath.Black 'N Blue Nasty NastyBlack N' Blue Nasty NastyProduced by Gene Simmons of Kiss, NASTY, NASTY contains some very spirited and aggressive performances by the band. However, it becomes fairly obvious after just a few tracks their material just doesn't have much in the way of substance. Of all the tracks on this record only "Kiss of Death" even raises an eyebrow for me. Sounds like Gene borrowed the main riffs from "Nasty Nasty" for Kiss' "Domino" a few years later. Also, Peter Criss makes a guest vocal appearance on "Best In The West". I was at least a little hopeful when I heard the band's intensity on the first four songs. By the time I got to the ridiculous "Do What You Wanna Do", it was all over for me. Jaime St. James sings: ?Don't ya know / I love sex and rock n' roll / Yeah, yeah, yeah I want it all / I'm getting' old / I don't like Cheerios / You know what I need to start my day.? Need I say more? ?I'll Be There For You" issues the final death blow for any remote chance that I'd ever want to hear this album again. Ugh!Black Oak Arkansas 10 Yr Overnight SuccessAlmost likable, but suffers from a lack of interesting material. Includes a decent cover of The Guess Who's "When The Band Was Singin' (Shakin' All Over)", but I would still prefer to listen to the original...Black Sabbath ForbiddenFORBIDDEN is often regarded as the worst Black Sabbath studio record ever made. I really can't disagree with that observation because I can't think of any album that eroded their reputation and credibility as much as this one. They made the unusual choice of having Body Count's Ernie C. produce the album. And while I wouldn't place all of the blame on him, the mix doesn't project the sort of power you'd expect from Black Sabbath. Iommi's usually thunderous guitar is turned down a bit and the overall mix just seems quite weak and unsuitable for this kind of music. Aside from a few minor highlights ("Can't Get Close Enough" and "Rusty Angels") the album does sound fairly tired and uninspired, paling even in comparison to the tepid CROSS PURPOSES. This definitely wasn't the album Sabbath's fans wanted at this point in time (or any other). But in retrospect, FORBIDDEN doesn't seem unforgivably bad, just rather misguided and uninspired. Blondie The HunterBlue Oyster Cult Bad Channels SoundtrackBlue Oyster Cult Club NinjaBob Seger NoahBoston Corporate AmericaWhat an appropriate title for an such a lame offering by Tom Scholz. This 2002 Boston reboot flies their outdated spaceship deeper into the trite Adult Contemporary Pop/Rock that they were beginning to explore on THIRD STAGE. However, the execution here sounds a bit more amateurish and the formula is well beyond its "sell by" date. Fans of Boston's early edgier 70s offerings are duly warned to accept no substitutes and avoid the pain of enduring this album.Budgie Deliver Us from EvilDeliver me from mediocrity! Very disappointing change in direction towards a more melodic keyboard dominated sound. Doesn't really sound like the Budgie I came to love during the 70s. The final song "Hold On To Love" is actually a decent track that is poorly sequenced and comes too late after sitting through the rest of this dreck.Candlemass Dactylis GlomerataChastain Sick SocietyChastain In an OutrageCheap Trick Standing on the EdgePretty lame overall. Cheap Trick veers even further from their Hard Rock roots with this overpolished product. Yawn.Cheap Trick Next Position PleaseCheap Trick BustedCheech and Chong Let's Make a New Dope DealChicago Chicago 16Crimson Glory Strange and BeautifulDanzig BlackacidevilBLACKACIDDEVIL was essentially a Glenn Danzig solo project done with new collaborators (including Jerry Cantrell) after the original DANZIG lineup split. The musical direction here is much more influenced by the Industrial Metal of bands like Nine Inch Nails than his prior work. It's an attempt to imbue this industrial sound with Danzig's trademark blood and gore creepiness. What he actually achieves is to create a monotonous, over saturated sound mix with buries his vocals in effects. There are few hooks that really sink in, aside from maybe "Hint Of Her Blood". His reinterpretation of Black Sabbath's "Hand Of Doom" is a half hearted mudfest that doesn't even bother to recreate the bridge section. The natural drums are nice to hear, but do seem almost out of place among the repetitive beats that dominate this album. I've heard worse, but it is the sort of record you just want to hurry up and end.David Bowie TonightDavid Bowie David BowieDavid Bowie's disappointing debut album is a collection of folk-pop whimsy that's a bit too half baked and silly to take very seriously. His lyrics for "We Are Hungry Men" are at least eyebrow raising and reminiscent of the approach that Scott Walker would later adopt with his own take on Baroque pop. The single "Love You 'Til Tuesday" is catchy, but just a bit too twee my taste. Hardcore fans might find some amusement in beholding this odd phase of David's career, but for me it's just an odd anomaly that shouldn't be regarded as a serious starting point for his career. Bowie's true artistic vision would begin with SPACE ODDITY and become a bit more focused on THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD.Def Leppard SlangSLANG finds Def Leppard floating adrift in the mid-90s in search of a new identity. This would seem to be a wise move considering how low they had sunk with the hair metal posturing of ADRENALIZE. While there isn't anything here that makes me that nauseous, SLANG does possess a somewhat soporific effect with it's lack of interesting hooks and ballad heavy track listing. It's a case where the desire for experimentation comes at the expense of leaving behind those key aspects that made the band so interesting in the first place. Instead, Leppard begins to show its limitations by veering too far off the main road in search of a persona while failing to deliver a single song we'd remember an hour later.Def Leppard XDio Angry MachinesANGRY MACHINES is brash, angry, heavy for heavy's sake & completely uninspired. This was Ronnie's 2nd album with guitarist Tracey G, whose riffing is aggressive here, but also quite forgettable. Their prior collaboration STRANGE HIGHWAYS was actually quite a good record. The lackluster songwriting here makes this album seem as if these songs were the outtakes! It may also be telling that this was the first album by Dio that failed to yield any singles. Ronnie's lyrics are also quite "out of gas" here as he lamely tries to address more contemporary themes. His vocals are as impassioned as ever and the band tries to make all of the right sounds behind him, but there isn't a single song here that you'd hear his fans crying out for on later tours. Hugely disappointing.Duke Ellington Ellington at Newport 1956 (Complete)Emerson, Lake and Palmer Love BeachFastway Waiting For The RoarFastway On TargetFats Domino This is Fats [Vinyl]Fear of God Toxic VoodooTOXIC VOODOO is a disappointing follow up to the amazing WITHIN THE VEIL album. After an aborted attempt to record an album
with original collaborator (and boyfriend) Michael Carlino, Dawn reformed Fear Of God from scratch with some younger
musicians. The new lineup (including Randy Bozien, Chris Kalandras, Rob Michael & John Grden) went on a grueling van tour of
various U. S. clubs before completing this album.
TOXIC VOODOO hearkens back to Dawn's earlier speed metal days with Detente, for better and worse. The Alternative & Goth Rock
textures of WITHIN THE VEIL aren't found here, as her new band is pretty much set upon playing straight out thrash for the
most part. Unfortunately, their song ideas are comprised of a fairly unmemorable barrage of speed picked pedal notes or slow
doom riffs. The production is obviously low budget, murky and places Dawn's layered vocals too low. Therefore, it's a bit
difficult to know what she's spewing venom about since you can't decipher her words without a lyric sheet handy. And without
knowing the words, gone is the emotional depth that made her prior record such a potent and interesting offering.
The opener "Beyond The Veil" easily stands out as the best track. I would be hard pressed to choose another highlight,
although the slow riffing of "Santismo" is worth a listen. The only reason I seem to pull out this CD nowadays is to remind
myself why I didn't enjoy it all that much when I first bought it. This opinion remains unchanged 20 years after its release.Fleetwood Mac Behind the MaskFleetwood Mac has endured countless lineup changes over its 50 year plus career (as of 2018). Sometimes these changes
brought new blood and inspiration, while other eras suffered from less than memorable performances and songwriting.
In the wake of their creatively and commercially successful TANGO IN THE NIGHT album, BEHIND THE MASK falls in the
latter category. The departure of Lindsey Buckingham left a gaping wound in this band that could really not be
adequately covered by stand-in musicians like Rick Vito and Billy Burnette.
Christine McVie's offerings were probably the best thing about this album. Her songs "Save Me" and "Skies The Limit"
are among the few true highlights in this somewhat mediocre collection of songs. Stevie Nicks was possibly at her
least inspired on this album and did little to improve things. Her duet with Rick Vito on "Love Is Dangerous" was
probably her best moment, but it's not a particularly memorable one.
The album as a whole isn't unpleasant to listen to, just rather dull and absent any real standout songs. This is very
tepid Adult Contemporary that rarely grabs or holds my attention, aside from maybe the aforementioned songs. Truly a
disappointment.Fleetwood Mac TimeFleetwood Mac PenguinOverall, PENGUIN is just a tad too dull and average to gain have gained it much notice alongside the rest of Fleetwood Mac's catalog. There are some nice songs from Christine ("Remember Me" and "Dissatisfied") that show her star is rising a bit in the band, but the rest is just a bit too run-of-the-mill.Foghat Tight ShoesFrank Zappa The Grand WazooGenesis From Genesis to RevelationGirlschool Running WildRUNNING WILD continues the makeover of Girlschool by replacing two members of the band. Founding guitarist Kelly Johnson chose to depart after 1983's PLAY DIRTY and is replaced by the capable Cris Bonacci. Her gritty guitar playing on this album is actually one of the main highlights of this record, which was the first of many albums she recorded with the band. What's more disturbing to the status quo is that Kim McAuliffe is now reduced to supporting vocalist, while new lead vocalist Jackie Bonimead handles most of these duties. Bonimead is a decent enough singer, but these changes seem to erode away the more distinctive attributes of Girlschool. What we're left with is well played, but quite generic sounding pop-metal. It's not really a bad album for what it is, just a rather average sounding collection of songs with few notable highlights. "Can't You See?" seems to stick out slightly which sounds a bit like Motorhead's "Deaf Forever". A cover of "Do You Love Me?" also isn't too bad, but also isn't earth shattering. As a Girlschool album, it is inevitably a bit disappointing. RUNNING WILD just isn't distinctive enough and lacks any truly memorable songs.Grace Slick Welcome To The Wrecking BallWELCOME TO THE WRECKING BALL was largely a collaboration between Grace Slick and guitarist Rick Zito. It is stylistically far removed from her more introspective solo albums MANHOLE and DREAMS. This album finds her in a more playful mood and dabbling with a more guitar centered formula of hard pop/rock, not unlike Jefferson Starship. The opening cut "Wrecking Ball" is amusing just to hear Grace singing in a harder rock context. Only on the mellower "Shooting Star" does she sound like her old self. It's both an amusing and disappointing album, but you can almost forgive her for just having some fun.Grand Funk Railroad All the Girls in the World Beware!!!Many Grand Funk fans may have wisely avoided this album based on its goofy, cautionary title alone. This lopsided collection places the two most memorable tracks ("Bad Time" and the very likable "Some Kind Of Wonderful") at the very tail end of the album. This poor sequencing decision places these sometimes spirited, but ultimately forgettable songs at the forefront of the album which only dedicated fans might want to endure. Not completely terrible, but quite boring to sit through.Grateful Dead Live/DeadCan someone wake me when this is over? Jerry Garcia seemed to have trouble composing actual phrases when taking these LONG meandering solos up and down his guitar neck, occasionally walking across the fret markers. You'll find him doing this throughout their signature song "Dark Star", as well as tuning his guitar mid-solo (and not quite getting it right). Thankfully, the party does kick up around mid-set with a rousing version of "Turn Up Your Lovelight". Not as bad as I imagined, but also something I wouldn't want to listen to again anytime soon.Grim Reaper See You In HellGuns N' Roses Chinese DemocracyMany fans saw the USE YOUR ILLUSION set as a bit overblown, but at least it had some great songs to redeem Axl's
megalomaniacal ambitions. CHINESE DEMOCRACY is immaculately produced and contains a few mind melting guitar solos
along the way. It's an overly ambitious attempt to eclipse the ILLUSION albums, but lacks any of the streetwise
charm or Stones-ish swagger that made their earlier work so appealing to their fans. Instead, Axl Rose steers his
new cohorts in a more modern direction, borrowing liberally Industrial acts like Nine Inch Nails for inspiration.
I've listened to this many times and have never grown even the slightest bit fond of this collection of songs.
CHINESE DEMOCRACY just leaves me feeling cold and indifferent towards this incarnation of Guns 'N Roses who can't
hold a candle to the original lineup. In trying so hard to prove their technical proficiency here, it just seems
this band is completely missing the point of why their fans once adored them so much. Regardless of how much money
was spent, how well produced the album is or even how slick the new guitarists are, this album is inevitably a
soulless failure.Heart Beautiful BrokenA rather dull experiment that combines several reworked (and originally overlooked) Heart originals with three brand new songs. Unfortunately, the reworked versions aren't as good as the originals and try to lift the bar with orchestration and denser production values. For me, this album just doesn't work in the way that it was probably intended. Bad idea.Hellion HellionHellion's self-titled debut EP is an aggressively played slice of early 80's L.A. metal with loads of style and confidence, but little real substance. Anne Boleyn's boisterous vocal delivery is reminiscent of Lee Aaron or maybe even Ronnie James-Dio at times. There's a lot of bluster and energy here, but the songs are fairly unremarkable. The comparably lo-fi production and sound quality of this release doesn't really help lift their profile either. Not just being a hater here. I just didn't enjoy this as much as I would have liked to.Iggy Pop Zombie BirdhouseIron Maiden Virtual XIJake E. Lee A Fine Pink MistJefferson Starship Nuclear FurnitureAlthough Jefferson Starship have always had something of an identity crisis, it seems more evident than ever on NUCLEAR FURNITURE. The album starts out okay with the tried and true arena rock formula of "Layin' It On The Line" and "No Way Out". Sure, they're a bit generic and saccharine sweet, better than the generic 80s fare that follows. Paul Kantner's offerings "Connection", "Rose Goes To Yale" and "Champion" attempt to pull the band back towards the socio-politics of his Airplane days. These sort of sentiments seem to ring hollow under the gloss and sheen of the new Jefferson Starship sound. The tug of war between Mickey & Paul's visions of the band make this record a bit of a mess. This also explains why they ultimately jettisoned the Jefferson moniker (and Paul Kantner) to travel even further south into pop/rock depravity with Starship.Jessi Colter A Country Star Is BornAn unremarkable debut from the first lady of Outlaw Country. The songs are just too ordinary and run-of-the-mill for anyone to really much notice of this record. The only song even came close to catching my attention is "I Ain't The One", but only because of Waylon's guest vocal appearance. Jessi still needed a few more years to develop as an artist and vocalist. Maybe this was one of the reasons she didn't make another record until 1975?Jimmy Page Death Wish IIDEATH WISH II is more of a curiosity for diehard Zeppelin/Page fans and should be approached as such. Given that this was a soundtrack album, it only contains three fully formed songs with vocals. Of those three, only "Who's To Blame" stands out, although Chris Farlowe's bellowing vocal tone doesn't really do the song justice. Overall, this is a rather dull affair possessing only faint glimmers of Page's greatness as a composer and guitarist.Judas Priest Priest...Live!Judas Priest JugulatorJUGULATOR has its moments, but gets rather goofy by trying to be too over-the top with the ultra violent lyrics, guttural backing vocals and downtuned guitars. Where PAINKILLER succeeded in taking things up a notch, this falls flat for me. It is one of Priest's heavier albums, but the heavier-then-thou execution makes it also seem a bit cartoonish. Ultimately, a lot of fans were judging this album by how well Tim "The Ripper" Owens could walk in the huge shoes left by Halford's departure. On the surface, his vocal chops seem plenty capable enough, but lacked the soul to sell these overwrought, mediocre songs.Kansas Freaks of NatureThis is Kansas sounding a bit more like themselves, thanks to the addition of David Ragsdale and Rich Williams moving forward as lead guitarist once again. It's just a shame that there's such a chasm between the well crafted performances and the sometimes awkward song craft that dooms this album to be little more than a curiosity for more dedicated fans.Kansas Drastic Measures"Toto, I don't think Kansas is Kansas anymore... I think maybe they sound more like... Toto?" Yep, that's exactly right, Steve Lukather's band. DRASTIC MEASURES was an apt title for an album that takes the Kansas in a gratuitously commercial direction. Gone are the long instrumental prog-rock suites and the violin of Robbie Steinhardt. John Elefante valiantly tries to salvage the band's future with songs that would be more radio friendly - and succeeds well with "Fight Fire With Fire". The songs range from average to rather poor album rock fare, but it's the abandonment of their classic sound that really had older fans looking for the exit door as fast as they could reach it. Kansas In the Spirit of ThingsSoulful and somber, but also a bit dull overall. I really want to like this one more, but the songs just don't commit themselves very easily to my memory. Bob Ezrin produced this one.KISS UnmaskedUNMASKED was a disappointing offering that only the most die hard Kiss fans may be willing to defend. While DYNASTY's slicker pop-oriented song writing left many in the Kiss Army feeling disenfranchised, UNMASKED was yet another step in that more commercial direction. For starters, it lacks any memorable first rate songs. While it may have been a hit in Australia, "Shandi" was a forgettable ballad and hardly worth purchasing this record for. Things only get worse during the second half of the record. The root of their problems was that they were far too distracted by internal conflicts and business concerns to come up with any decent material. In an interview for the authorized book BEHIND THE MASK, Gene & Paul went on the record to give this record only one star (out of five)! Ace wasn't as quite dismissive of this album and actually showed some pride in his contributions. Even when placed in a more forgiving context, UNMASKED was undeniably a creative misstep that tarnished the Kiss brand for at least several more years.KISS Crazy NightsKrokus Change of AddressA step too far into the realm of cheesy pop-metal. The drum sounds on this album are pretty awful, but pretty much state-of-the art for the synth dominated landscape of 1985. "Say Goodbye" and "Long Way From Home" are almost enjoyable if they weren't so cloyingly executed. "World On Fire" seems promising until the goofy sound effects and overall production ruin it's impact. "Burning Up The Night" is hooky enough to have given this album at least one single, but their cover of Alice Cooper's "School's Out" seems pretty unnecessary. Not completely terrible, but definitely misguided.Krokus To Rock or Not to BeTO ROCK OR NOT TO BE marked the return of Marc Storace and a parade of recycled AC/DC ideas. Well performed, but mostly uninspired. Meh.L.A. Guns CutsL7 Hungry for StinkLita Ford BlackLita Ford's 6th studio album BLACK was recorded in the mid-90s after a 4 year absence from the music scene. Like many other heavy metal acts during this era, Lita seemed a bit lost creatively and was trying to broaden her horizons by dabbling with both heavier and bluesier sounds, while somewhat abandoning her pop-metal seductress persona. Maybe she was searching for something a bit more soulful and honest here, but the songs and performances feel a bit half hearted. The instrumental "Smokin' Toads" invokes a very nice 60s vibe and provides at least a few nice glimmers towards the end of the record. But the final track "Spider Monkeys" is a a lame jam based on Cream's "Crossroads" that goes on longer than one might wish. Not so much a terrible album as an uninspired one.Meat Loaf Dead RingerDEAD RINGER is a disappointing and often annoying follow-up to BAT OUT OF HELL. While BAT certainly was criticized for its over-the-top campy rock & roll meets Broadway songwriting, it was superby executed and unique for 1977. Released after a lengthy four year gap, DEAD RINGER attempts to repeat the original formula but seems much more garish and just plain silly in comparison. "I'm Gonna Love Her Both Of Us" is probably one of the more palatable cuts. This album sounds REALLY dated in the 21st century and is more of a laugh than a joy to behold.Megadeth RiskMegadeth Hidden TreasuresMegadeth Super ColliderMercyful Fate Dead AgainMercyful Fate going through the motions. Aside from "Sucking Your Blood", most of these songs are completely forgettable. It's really a shame too because the musicianship is there. Just bland, uninspired and something only the diehards might bother with.Metallica ReloadI've always had an innate dislike of the LOAD / RELOAD era albums, so much that I've rarely listened to either album since they were
released. I was able to make peace with THE BLACK ALBUM over the years, but I've never had any appetite for the albums that
immediately followed. Of the two, RELOAD always seemed slightly more inferior. This is probably because there isn't a single song
on the album that I'd ever make a special point to listen to.
I won't deny that the album is quite slick and well produced. On the surface, your average metal fan might not find all that much
wrong with this album. The key problem is within the songwriting. These songs are unarguably of a lesser grade than what we'd come
to expect from Metallica. There is a spirit of experimentation here, as the band seems to be trying to outgrow its speed metal roots
and move towards a more alternative sound. Even if RELOAD does have a few moments that are at least intriguing (like the decision to
use Marianne Faithfull on "The Memory Remains"), the results seem mostly unsatisfying to an old Metallica fan like myself. In their
search for something new, they seem to have mortgaged their soul in the process.Metallica St. AngerMiles Davis In a Silent WayMissing Persons Rhyme & ReasonDull synth-pop that lacks the abrasive edges that made their debut so much more interesting. The singles "Give" and "Right Now" are fair, but not quite good enough to save this album from the overall mediocrity that pervades it.Motley Crue Theatre of PainTHEATRE OF PAIN was a disappointing record in 1985 and even less valuable to me in 2019. Some albums seem to improve with age, but this one just seems to annoy me a little more every time I hear it. I'd once considered this to be a guilty pleasure, but nowadays its more of an irritant. If you want some sage advice, just buy the first two albums and forget the rest. I should have heeded this album as a red flag, as the following records weren't much of an improvement.Nazareth ExercisesEXERCISES is a rather droll and melancholy album that finds the band indulging their folksier side. What makes this such a greater disappointment is that none of these songs even dabble with the hard rock fireworks that made their debut at least intriguing. Instead, we're left with a fairly depressing collection that only diehards would want to revisit. For what it is, it's not terribly executed, just a few steps in the wrong musical direction.Nazareth The CatchNight Ranger Big LifeOmen Reopening the GatesOZ III WarningOzzy Osbourne Speak of the DevilPantera The Great Southern TrendkillPat Benatar GoPaul McCartney McCartney IIEven "Coming Up" and "Waterfalls" can't redeem this rather dull, experimental record from Sir Paul. The jerky new wavish studio version of "Coming Up" pales against the live version that Wings performed 1979.Peter Criss Peter CrissPink Floyd A Collection of Great Dance SongsA COLLECTION OF GREAT DANCE SONGS is an incohesive compilation that appears to have been tossed together almost absent mindedly in order to pacify CBS records. Contractually, the band may have needed to fill the gap between THE WALL and THE FINAL CUT (released 4 years apart). The track listing almost seems to be a sort of compromise between casual fans ("Another Brick In The Wall", "Wish You Were Here" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond") and a few bones for the hardcores ("Sheep" and a re-recording of "Money"). Floyd were forced to re-record "Money" after EMI refused to license the song for use in this compilations. The 1981 rendition of "Money" is fairly faithful to the original and serves only as an enticement to collectors. As a whole, the album contains truncated versions of these Floyd classics which just made me feel maddeningly unsatisfied once I'd reached the end of this relatively brief and cobbled together album.Quarterflash Back Into BlueQuarterflash's 3rd album BACK INTO BLUE is a disappointingly dull affair that fails to produce few (if any) noteworthy songs. Their original AOR friendly sound which was punctuated by Rindy Ross's fluid sax playing and even a bit of hard rock is sterilized here by mid-80s production values and synthesizers. They've sacrificed their original personality here for the sake of pop radio aspirations which never really came to fruition. "Talk To Me" was an okay single that contains at least traces of their old sound, but fans apparently weren't too impressed as the song only reached #83 on the Billboard charts. The main departures from the serene soft rock that dominates this album are the tropicalia of "Come To Me" and the more playful rock of "Welcome To The City", but neither are particularly remarkable songs in their own right. Quarterflash disbanded for a while after this album tanked and didn't make another one until 1991's GIRL IN THE WIND.Quarterflash Girl in the WindQueen Hot SpaceQueen Flash GordonI've never had great fondness for Queen's FLASH GORDON soundtrack or soundtrack albums in general for that matter. For what it is, I'll concede that it was well executed for the purpose that it was intended for. But as an album listening experience, it's a big disappointment that only foreshadowed the creative misadventure that was HOT SPACE. rThe two key tracks are the goofy, but still somehow amusing "Flash's Theme" (the main single) and the sadly overlooked "The Hero" which closes the album. "The Hero" is only a brief song, but offers us a final taste of Queen's classic 70s hard rock bombast before they changed their formula up a bit for the rest of the decade. Sandwiched between these two songs are instrumental tracks full of movie samples that make the record play like a musical reenactment of the FLASH GORDON movie. This might find some appeal with those fans who actually enjoyed the movie (which actually had something of a mixed reception). But for Queen fans who never watched or cared for the movie, it all seems very hokey and rather boring to sit through.Queen and Paul Rodgers The Cosmos RocksRather dull and disappointing for such an illustrious collaboration. The performances are fine, but the songs just aren't anything special.Queensryche Q2KQ2K finds Queensryche completely lost in the northwestern woods and apparently trying very hard NOT to be the same (heavy metal) band that I loved in the early 80s. There are some heavy guitars and aggressive moments amidst the grunge inspired balladry ("Burning Man"), but there's little else here I'd choose to revisit. Q2K takes us further along the road they began with PROMISED LAND and HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER, but seems even more resolved to abandon their once winning formula. It didn't help their songwriting department to have Chris DeGarmo leave the band before this record, but he seemed equally clueless about where the band was heading anyhow. This all reminds of when David St. Hubbins chose to take Spinal Tap in a more improvisational Jazz direction....Quiet Riot Hollywood CowboysRatt CollageRaven (ENG) Stay HardRazor Evil InvadersRenaissance Camera CameraSavatage Fight for the RockCritics, fans and even the band themselves have almost unanimously panned Savatage's 3rd studio album FIGHT FOR THE ROCK. At
this point in their career, it appeared that the band was in the midst of a serious identity crisis. After defining their
sound with such fierce power metal albums as SIRENS and POWER OF THE NIGHT, Savatage are reduced here to meandering through
some rather tepid pop / hard rock songs that contain only scant traces of their original sound.
It isn't necessarily the fact that any of the songs are particularly terrible. They just that none of them are very
compelling. The album as a whole seemed ill conceived, right down to the goofy Iwo Jima flag raising on the cover. The
production is rather flat and the sound quality thin when compared with their prior records. Ultimately, it lacked the heavy
metal edginess of their early records which even their most devoted fans had come to expect. This album was definitely the
lowest point of Savatage's career.Scorpions Pure InstinctScorpions Eye II EyeEYE II EYE was a baffling left turn after years of creating hard rock anthems for arenas. Instead, Klaus, Matthias & Rudolf are collaborating with drum machines and electronics?! Thankfully, we do still have some guitars and real drums (thanks to James Kottak) to occasionally punch up the volume, but their musical agenda is a bit curious here with so much in the way of electronics and even dance-rock styled songs. Klaus Meine actually sounds really good throughout the album and one might ask why he didn't release this as a solo record instead. The remaining members were obviously in an experimental mood when they did this and the execution itself isn't bad. It's really a matter of ignoring their fans expectations, as these songs aren't sort of fare that would satisfy your average Scorpions fan. The ballads are probably the highlights, as the uptempo songs lack any real bite. It's a playful, but confusing collection of songs that only hardcore fans are likely to revisit.Scorpions Return to ForeverWell executed with shiny, glossy production and simply reeking of formula. Not something I'll revisit anytime soon.Siouxsie and the Banshees Join HandsSlayer God Hates Us AllSlayer Undisputed AttitudeSoft Machine ThirdSoft Machine's THIRD album is not an easy album to listen to. Imagine how difficult it would be to take in all 4 sides of the Yes album TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS in a sitting? This is even more daunting than that! This is highly experimental progressive rock that continually goes in and out of stylistic changes (electronic to jazz-rock) and atonality to short meadows of accessible melody. I can appreciate the level of musicianship required to even compose songs like these. Problem is, this matters little if the end result is to irritate the hell of the listener! Braver souls may want to try and navigate these stormy waters, right after putting TROUT MASK REPLICA away. It almost reminds me of an imaginary jam session between Frank Zappa & King Crimson. Not really my cup of tea though.Souls at Zero Souls at ZeroAfter the disappointing response to their two Atlantic albums, the members of Wrathchild America chose to change their name to Souls At Zero and signed to Energy Rekords. Their musical approach under this new moniker is a heavier, but less dynamic groove metal sound. With the exception of the sole highlight "Welcome To The 90s", they've chosen to abandon the unusual arrangements that made them such an interesting band in the first place. SOULS AT ZERO may be a tad more aggressive than their prior work as Wrathchild America, but its songs are fairly non-descript and lackluster.Starship Knee Deep In The HooplaSteve Howe BeginningsStyx Edge of the CenturyDominated by Dennis De Young's Pop agenda, this album neuters the band in a such a way that leaves them sounding quite faceless and generic. REALLY lame stuff. (Tommy Shaw was replaced here by Glen Burtnik.)Styx The Serpent Is RisingSweet Identity CrisisTed Nugent Nugent1982's NUGENT is an attempt by Ted Nugent to return to his classic era hard rock, which seems more evident by having Derek St. Holmes back on board along with Carmine Appice. The performances aren't all that bad, but you can hear those 80s production values starting to creep in. The real problem here is the lack of any truly standout songs. Only "Bound And Gagged" and "Tailgunner" even raise an eyebrow for me.The Allman Brothers Band Brothers of the RoadThe Allmans just sound tired on this album, especially on their single "Straight From The Heart". The production seems to be more geared for FM radio airplay, but the songs are barely good enough for consideration. Quite disappointing.The B-52s MesopotamiaThe B-52s Good StuffThe Billion Dollar Babies (US) Battle AxeThe Cars Door to DoorThe Doobie Brothers One Step CloserONE STEP CLOSER was a huge letdown after the huge commercial and artistic success of 1978's MINUTE BY MINUTE. The main problem
here was that the songs were far less inspired. The band's style had gradually shifted too far away from their rock & roll roots
towards a very formulaic soft pop/rock sound. Lineup changes and less input from guitarist Pat Simmons were key factors in
allowing this degradation to occur. Instead, the band banked on Michael McDonald's silky soul vocals to sell this one, but even
he could salvage most of this material. The singles "Real Love" and "One Step Closer" prevent this album from being a complete
disaster. Simmons would depart the band in 1981 and the band would go on hiatus for the next 9 years.The J. Geils Band You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' OddThe Knack Serious FunThe Monkees HeadquartersMuch of the hoopla surrounding HEADQUARTERS has to do with the fact it's the first album where the Monkees actually
played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. That's fine and good, but I think you'd truly have to be a
fan to care about this 45 year old fan debate as to whether they were better before or afterwards. As a passerby,
these songs seem quite 2nd or 3rd rate versions of what their contemporaries (namely The Beatles & The Byrds) were
doing 2 years before. I'd much prefer to listen to their earlier pop hits than this mediocre attempt to declare
their independence from "the machine". Meh...
Highlights: "You Told Me".The Pretenders Packed!Not a terrible album, just dull and uninspired when compared alongside other Pretenders records. "Never Do That" is a fair single that is just a little too reminiscent of "Back On The Chain Gang". The Hendrix cover "May This Be Love" is nice, but also a bit predictable given that she'd covered "Room Full Of Mirrors" on 1986's GET CLOSE. This is Chrissie Hynde going through the motions of making a Pretenders album.The Pretenders Viva el AmorThe Rods The RodsThe Runaways Live in JapanTom Tom Club Boom Boom Chi Boom BoomToronto Girls' Night OutUFO MisdemeanorMISDEMEANOR is essentially a Phil Mogg solo album, although Chrysalis likely insisted that he market it as a new UFO album. This was the first of two albums Phil did with Atomik Tommy McClendon, whose guitar acrobatics are rife with flash, rather than the intricate melodic phrasing of either Schenker or Chapman. The keyboard tones are nauseatingly 80s sounding and overall album is a bit cheesy. Phil Mogg's plaintive delivery on songs like "This Time" (one of the few highlights) just seems incongruous with the stylized, commercial production around him. Very disappointing.UFO Parker's Birthday - Live In TexasPARKER'S BIRTHDAY is essentially a bootleg that was put out by an official label (Griffin Records) in 1996. It's actually an
excellent quality soundboard recording from a show at Chaparral Center in Midland, Texas on March 21st, 1979, just a month
into the U.S. leg of the STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT tour. The show took place on drummer Andy Parker's birthday, which is
acknowledged just before "Only You Can Rock Me".
As you'd expect from a bootleg release, the songs aren't even tracked properly and are 13 songs split into only 4 parts?! That
seems like fair warning for the buyer to realize that this was definitely not a recording that deserved any kind of official
release. In contrast with the classic live album this show was supporting, it's something of a train wreck to listen to.
Michael Schenker had officially left the band before this tour, so Paul "Tonka" Chapman was left with the daunting task of
doing these songs justice. I'm a fan of Paul's studio work with UFO, but he was flailing badly here on many songs. He's not
the only one to blame for the bum notes, missed cues and stage feedback, but this is a rather embarrassing performance
overall. Maybe they were drunk? This recording is mainly a history lesson for the hardcore fans who wondered what the band
sounded like during this transitional era. While the CD itself sound good, the show was one the band would probably rather
forget.Uriah Heep Raging SilenceVan Halen BalanceVan Halen Van Halen IIIWinger WingerThere are probably plenty of hair metal fans who get all misty eyed about Winger's debut album in 1988. For me, it's a grim
reminder of a time when heavy metal was being emasculated by guys with poofy hairdos who wrote songs for and about chicks. Kip
Winger and company were among the prime offenders with "Seventeen", which has Kip lusting over some teen aged jailbait. The
only reason I even gave this band half a chance was because I was impressed with Reb Beech's guitar work.
Even great musicianship can't disguise the creepy agenda of these pop metal merchants. "Heading For A Heartbreak" is probably
more effective as a substitute for syrup of ipecac than many songs I've had to endure from that era. And should I mention how
much Kip Winger looked like a werewolf in the promotional videos? Or their soulless, godawful cover of "Purple Haze" (shivers).
My bottom line is that I need to this album annihilated from my MP3 collection pronto and deny every possessing a copy. This is
the sort of nostalgia I don't need.Witchfinder General Friends Of HellWitchfinder General's 2nd album FRIENDS OF HELL placed their limited capabilities in greater focus. Many metal fans got
something of a love buzz when they first heard the ragged proto-doom of DEATH PENALTY. Some of the appeal was in
discovering something so relatively obscure, yet promising. It was obvious to everyone that they were channeling old
Black Sabbath riffs to the point of blatant mimicry, but Zeeb Parkes always sounded much more like Joey Ramone than Ozzy
Osbourne to my ears.
Their shortcomings are more glaringly obvious here with the plainly dumb lyrics of "Music". Although I share its
sentiments, the words just seem corny when sung over heavy riffs. I suppose you could have replaced the title with the
word Cheerios and it may not made the song much worse. Their main single was "Love On Smack", which is a huge downer of a
song about a guy watching his girlfriend overdose on heroin. It leaves you with the same sort of feeling as having sat
through a really dreadful horror movie that makes you curse yourself for having bothered with it.
You may find some consolation in how heavy and dastardly Phil Cope's guitar riffs are on songs like "Quietus Reprise".
Still, I'd recommend revising the first album again and not wasting to much time on this one. There are so many other
bands doing the same thing so much better now.Yes UnionYes Heaven and EarthYes Open Your Eyes1.5 very poorAccept I'm a RebelAccept's 2nd album I'M A REBEL was even a greater disappointment to me than their debut. The somewhat improved
production would lead many fans to believe this record would be a step forward. However, Accept still hasn't
really found a winning formula yet and seem less inspired overall. Udo & Wolf have both acknowledged that their
unhappiness with the first two albums, which were misguided due to their producer's commercial aspirations.
Even the highlights aren't memorable enough for me to add to my own personal favorites playlists. With it's
repetitive gang chorus, the George Alexander song "I'm A Rebel" is somewhat indicative of their future direction,
but comes off just a tad too goofy to be considered a great song. The disco bass lines for "Save Me" & "I Wanna
Be No Hero" make it even more clear how deep in the woods these guys really were. Wolf's classical guitar
backdrop for "The King" makes this Peter Baltes sung ballad an unexpected highlight. "China Lady" is also
halfway enjoyable, aside from Udo's incessant shrieking. Casual fans shouldn't even bother with this one.
Highlights: "I'm A Rebel", "China Lady" and "The King".Adam Ant Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar...Alice Cooper ConstrictorI've forgiven most of Alice's misguided efforts, but this one was far too cheesy for me to stomach. CONSTRICTOR was his all too obvious effort to jump on the Pop-Metal bandwagon. Although it was good fun to see Alice's return in concert with muscle bound Kane Roberts on guitar, the studio album is simply a turd. "Thrill My Gorilla"? NEXT!!Alice Cooper Welcome 2 My NightmareAlice exploits one of his legendary albums with this piss poor and unnecessary sequel. What's next? SCHOOL'S OUT AT AGE 70?Bee Gees OdessaBelieve it or not, I have been a Bee Gees fan since I was first dazzled by their disco era records at the age of 9. I even had a poster
of them with colored markers that my Mom gave me as a present. Did I just admit that? Okay, In other words, the following review is not
simply a case of ME hating on the Brothers Gibb. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have always admired their talent and have
enjoyed music from many different phases of their career.
This was possibly the very first time I'd every listened to their concept album ODESSA, which was a mythological shipwreck. In writing
this ambitious album, the Bee Gees were attempting to broaden their stylistic horizons and possibly compose the masterpiece that eluded
them during their earlier pop days. Sadly, we learn that the REAL shipwreck is this very album! The concept isn't all that coherent to a
casual listener and their musical ambitions are a bit overreaching with this collection of songs. Sorry Barry, Robin, & Maurice...Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band Trout Mask ReplicaProduced by Frank Zappa, TROUT MASK REPLICA is a highly challenging piece of avant-garde experimental rock & surrealism
that only the bravest die hards will want to endure. Critical reaction to this album seems fairly polarized between
absolute love and hate. In any case, it is NOT an easy record to sit through given it's often chaotic arrangements and
double play record length. While I might have some respect for Zappa's radical bent in creating something this weird
and awful, it also seems to be something of a hateful act. Even as a fan of Zappa's work, many of these "songs" can be
painful to listen to.
Rather than give this a 1 out of 10 for it's sheer awfulness, I would elevate that rating by half a point because I don't
think it is completely without value. There IS something here, but achieving that epiphany might require a more masochistic
bent than I currently possess. [I had to bail out after listening to 20 out of 28 tracks. Good luck on matching my patience
with this record.]Cheap Trick The DoctorCheech and Chong Get Out of My RoomDanzig Black Laden CrownDef Leppard AdrenalizeADRENALIZE is a perfect example of everything I came to despise about Def Leppard. By 1992, they'd become a bit too comfortable within the cozy pop-metal niche they began constructing with PYROMANIA. They'd replaced the angst filled hard rock riffing of their first two records with drum machines and big choruses that aimed to be stadium rock sing-a-longs. It has always made me nauseous just reading the song titles for this album. Def Leppard was now pandering almost exclusively to their female audience and had emasculated themselves in the process. Even if you do actually like this sort of thing, their songwriting is too obviously based on the same formula they used on HYSTERIA, yet the songs are mostly second or third rate. Flawlessly executed tripe. I would rather listen to any other Def Leppard than THIS one.Devo Smooth Noodle MapsDevo updated their sound for the 90's with this garish, joyish and generally uninspired collection of synth pop
songs. The single was the rather lame "Post Post Modern Man" and there's also a cover of "Modern Dew" on here as
well. "When We Do It" is your typically Devo song about sex. With as many songs as they write about that topic,
you'd really have to wonder whether these guys were getting any! The song "Jimmy", about a hateful man who winds
up in a wheelchair, is mildly amusing, but beyond that song it's pretty a pretty bleak record. If this was the
only album I owned, I still wouldn't want listen to it again. It's no wonder they cancelled their tour and
disbanded after this one.Devo ShoutDisgracefully bad. Devo should have been at their peak during the synth dominated new wave landscape of the early 80s. Instead of expanding the frontiers of the genre they helped pioneer, they were tossing out this half baked synth pop drivel. Far too goofy and insipid, even for hardcore fans.Genesis Calling All StationsGrace Slick SoftwareSOFTWARE is Grace's collaboration with keyboardist Peter Wolf (NOT the J. Geils And front man) is her foray into New Wave & Synth Pop. It's obviously a drastic style change from her psychedelic roots and seems to be too obvious an attempt to become more commercial. Her single "All The Machines" did get some brief rotation on MTV, but this album was almost immediately forgotten by the general public after its release. She would continue in this direction with Starship for their KNEE DEEP IN THE HOOPLA, which would further estrange her older fans while attaining the hits she had been working for. Greta Van Fleet Anthem of the Peaceful ArmyThe only kind thing I might offer here is that at least Greta Van Fleet had to good taste to rip off one of the greatest hard rock
bands ever. But after swallowing them whole, they digested them and excreted a substance that's foul smelling and is nothing but
artificially composed byproducts. Any goodness or true inspiration that might have been gleaned from the mighty Zep has been
overlooked by these youthful imitators.
To make matters worse, Josh Kiszka's vocal tone is so horridly abrasive that you almost want to forgive Lenny Wolf and Kingdom
Come for their similarly derivative 1989 debut. Of course, we all know that Zeppelin weren't lilywhite when it comes to
originality. But once you arrive at a 3rd or 4th generation forgery, there's not much authenticity to be found in something that
professes to be "art".
Might be useful for interrogating terrorists, but not something I'd recommend sitting through for 50 minutes.Hole Pretty On The InsideI can think of too many other albums I'd rather listen to than THIS. To be fair, I probably don't fit into the 16-year old crack whore demographic, so maybe I just don't get it. For that I should be thankful.Isaac Hayes Hot Buttered SoulAn entirely self indulgent exercise. The posture of this entire record is to transform Isaac Hayes into some kind of "love god", much like what Barry White would more deservedly become. All of the songs have been extended far beyond my attention span for the limited musical ideas explored. The album supposed highlight is Isaac's 18-minute cover of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", where he spends the first half of the song talking over the most minimal bass pulse. Maybe the young girls were impressed back then, but this a waste of 45 minutes of my life.Judas Priest TurboJudas Priest DemolitionJudas Priest NostradamusKISS Hot in the ShadeKrokus Heart AttackAlthough the production and performances are better than the much hated CHANGE OF ADDRESS, the songwriting here is much more derivative. "Everybody Rocks" is an all too obvious rip off of "Rock Rock 'Til You Drop". "Wild Love" borrows its chugging F# groove directly from Judas Priest's "Another Thing Comin'". "Shoot Down The Night" is a retread of Zeppelin's "Rock & Roll". "Bad, Bad Girl" is an obvious rip of Whitesnake's "Crying In The Rain". And the fact that they'd also opted to re-record their 1981 song "Winning Man" makes it plainly obvious that Krokus was out of ideas. Some fans might prefer this to CHANGE OF ADDRESS due to improved production and more aggressive playing, but these songs are hardly an improvement. Disgracefully uninspired.Krokus Round 13Motley Crue Generation SwineAfter reuniting with Vince Neil in 1997, Motley Crue recorded this rather dull collection of songs that probably would have been better suited as a Nikki Sixx solo album. In trying to sound more contemporary, they've lost all of those aspects that made them appealing to their fans in the first place. They've adopted a new persona here while making themselves almost completely faceless and generic. It's no wonder I pretty much ignored this album when it first came out.Nazareth Snakes 'n' LadderzPeter Green The End of the GameQueensryche Take CoverRaging Slab Sing Monkey SingRatt RattRobin Trower Beyond the MistTed Nugent The Music Made Me Do ItThe Clash Cut the CrapThe Incredible String Band The Hangman's Beautiful DaughterWhat begins as an interesting novelty gradually becomes an irritant, mainly due to the questionable pitch and monotonous droning of the lead vocalist. Takes you back to medieval Britain and the songs the peasant minstrels may have written. More annoying than intriguing... If you REALLY want a sampling of this, start with "The Minotaur Song" which is at least slightly amusing.The Rolling Stones Jamming With Edward!TNT FireflyTwisted Sister Love Is For SuckersUriah Heep EquatorUriah Heep's 3rd album with Peter Goalby was a nearly career destroying collection of pop-infused dreck that left long time fans confused and even a bit embarrassed to own this. The main single "Rockarama" name checks MTV in a fairly transparent ploy to get some rotation for their own video. This is a chapter that the more dedicated fans have a good laugh over, while the band would probably rather forget it ever happened.Uriah Heep Different WorldVenom Calm Before the StormYes 9012Live: The SolosAnyone expecting a proper live album will be severely disappointed with this one, even if the length of this is nearly 34 minutes. 90125 LIVE: THE SOLOS does feel more like an Extended Play single with way too much filler or an album length release of live outtakes. The only real songs here are "Changes", "Hold On" and maybe even the short "Soon", but these aren't nearly enough special enough to bother with all of the self indulgent showboating that are being passed off as song for this release. Check out the proper DVD release from this tour instead. For collectors only.Yngwie Malmsteen World On Fire1.0 awfulBad Company Fame & FortuneFAME AND FORTUNE is one of those albums that record companies put out just to see whether their listeners still have functional rgag reflexes. I knew enough from looking at the sports themed logo on the front NOT to waste even a dollar on figuring out why rthis album was going to suck so hard. Was this some lame attempt at branding? rThe album is full of bland, faceless pop/rock that is geared for AOR playlists. It seems that Bad Company, Foreigner, Journey r(and even Uriah Heep) all essentially became the same band around this point in time because you'd to hard pressed to guess rwhose record was playing if you randomly queued up their mid-80's albums. And if sickening sweet pop-rock like the stuff that rDavid Foster was doing with Chicago and Peter Cetera around this time is your thing, you might actually like this. It's just radding insult to injury to trot this out as a Bad Company record and add such a blemish to their band's original spirit and rimage. Just put this in the trash bin and walk away.Black Oak Arkansas The Black Attack Is BackPossibly one of the worst albums I've ever heard!! Jim Dandy tried reviving BOA in the mid-80's as more of a Heavy Metal act to ride the current trends. None of his Boogie/Southern/Gospel Rock roots are in evidence here. This combination of tasteless heavy rock showboating and Jim Dandy's backwoods yodeling makes the entire record fairly laughable. It's almost SO bad that you keep listening to see if he was just joking with the first two tracks. NOPE. The whole record is pretty horrible. Their cover of "The Wanderer" takes the record to a new low. I do admit to sort of liking "Big Titties" though. I'll give it 1 star based on that one semi-redeeming track. ;)Danzig SkeletonsOne thing that Glenn Danzig is NOT is an interpreter of the classic hard rock and metal songbook. Maybe he was admiring Rod Stewart's recent work and fancied himself as just the guy to do this sort of project, mixed up with a bunch of other stuff that is equally mediocre. The end result is plain godawful. With production as murky as the early Misfits records, Glenn attempts to tackle such chestnuts as Black Sabbath's "N.I.B.", which is just a pointless plod here. for a prime example of how terrible this album is, just behold his cover of ZZ Top's "Rough Boy". My god, please make him STOP!Dee Snider Dee Does BroadwayFrank Sinatra In The Wee Small HoursLou Reed Metal Machine MusicMETAL MACHINE MUSIC is essentially one continuous hour-long exercise in noise and feedback. Listening to this entire album at high volume would be a quick way to induce tinnitus. There isn't all that much variation in the noise until about the last 5 minutes so. It's obviously Lou having a good laugh at our expense, so I wouldn't recommend enduring this unless you're just a masochist or enjoy writing contrarian reviews. Does this album possess any musical value whatsoever? Only if you need something to clear a crowded room quickly.Lou Reed and Metallica LuluNitro O.F.R.The Beau Brummels TriangleThe Darkness Permission to LandQuickly forgotten - and for good reason. My gut feeling at the time was that they were another band trying to get mileage out of classic AC/DC grooves (as The Cult did with Electric), but was transformed into self parody by the gratuitous showboating of Justin Hawkins. Disgustingly over-the-top and annoying vocals that even make John Sloman's performance on Uriah Heep's CONQUEST seem tasteful and subdued in comparison. It's difficult to keep the vomit in my stomach when I listen to Hawkins cheeseball Freddie Mercury imitations. This truly is pointless and unforgivable dreck. Who cares if it was meant to be a joke or not.The Great Kat Guitar GoddessAt just under 8 minutes, The Great Kat's GUITAR GODDESS EP still manages to overstay its
welcome. I'm well acquainted with her deranged hyper speed neo-classical & thrash hybrid and
actually enjoyed a bit of her 2nd album, BEETHOVEN ON SPEED. While her shtick would seem to
be a very dryly played attempt at comedy rock, Kat remains in character for all of her
interviews and seems dead set on her mission to revolutionize heavy metal music.
If this is truly the case, then GUITAR GODDESS is unlikely to attract any new devotees. The
two instrumental tracks (Rossini's "Barber Of Seville" & Sarasate's Gypsy Violin Waltz)
showcases Kat's prowess at whizzing up and down the guitar neck as if it were a violin while
her drummer slams out incessant death metal blast beats at insanely fast tempos. If sloppily
executed neo-classical licks are for you, then maybe you'll find something of value here.
However, Kat's overall objective would probably be to irritate and annoy, at which she
succeeds at brilliantly.
Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z