Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Sabbath, III, Queensryche, Hellbound Glory, Soilwork

The "triumphant" return of the Saturday Shuffle? A nice mix of heavy and hick anyway ... 

"Hand of Doom," Black Sabbath. From the album Paranoid (1970). This dark song about drug use is one of the oft-overlooked gems from Black Sabbath's most famous album. Geezer Butler delivers a mesmerizing bass line that's just perfect for the tone and subject matter of the song.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: The Pretty Reckless, "Going to Hell"

If I’d heard of The Pretty Reckless before I stumbled across the title track of their latest album, Going to Hell, I likely would have written them off as soon as I discovered that their singer was one Taylor Momsen, an actress from the TV show “Gossip Girls.”

Admittedly, I know nothing about the show, but I’m not inclined to carve out time for an actor trying to cash in on her TV fame with a bad record. I can be like that.

So, I’m glad that I heard “Going to Hell” before I knew that fact about The Pretty Reckless. The song got my attention right away with a big, catchy opening guitar riff and an energetic, punk-influenced verse. That riff comes right back on the chorus, and there’s something in the melody of that chorus that puts me in mind of Alice Cooper. It’s a ripping tune from start to finish, and sent me looking for more from the band.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stuck in My Head: Metallica, "Lords of Summer"

For the past nearly 25 years, there’s been no more polarizing band in metal, or perhaps all of rock, than Metallica.

Since the release of that monstrous self-titled album in 1991, fans have been thrown into three different camps. There are the loyalists that have followed and defended them faithfully through all of their ups and downs. The folks, like me, who have mixed feelings about their work since that time, but try to keep an open mind despite some disappointments. Then, there are the people who will never be satisfied with anything the band does again and take every opportunity to criticize.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review: Van Canto, "Dawn of the Brave"

As bizarre as it is, I wasn’t sure that I was going to review this latest record from a cappella metallers Van Canto. Then I got to the final song on the record, a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” and I just couldn’t resist.

“Paranoid,” as we all know, is a fairly simple three-chord tune and wouldn’t seem to lend itself to the multi-voice a cappella treatment as well as a more complex composition, but Van Canto gives it the old college try. The results, with guys going “bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom dah dum doo” is at the same time sort of ridiculous and, strangely, absolutely entrancing. I had to listen to at least three times in a row, and I’m still not sure what I think about it. But I think you need to hear it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Something Borrowed: "Can't Find My Way Home," House of Lords/Blind Faith

In 1990, my music listening habits ran the "gamut" from hard rock to thrash. If it didn't have a loud guitar, I wasn't interested. Classic rock radio was also a fairly new concept as. So, I suppose, I can be forgiven if I didn't know this tune was a cover when I first heard it, even if the original band included a few rock heavyweights.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Grand Magus, "Triumph and Power"

After several friends highly recommended Grand Magus’ latest record, I decided to give it a quick listen. I tried out the first two tracks on the record, “On Hooves of Gold” and “Steel Versus Steel,” and thought the retro metal sound wasn’t bad, but it didn’t immediately connect with me.

Three or four hours later, when the chorus of “Steel Versus Steel” was still running through my head, I decided that it was time to more fully explore Triumph and Power. The tune wouldn’t have been at all out of place on a classic Judas Priest record, and it kind of sets the tone for what Grand Magus delivers on this record.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: N.E.R.D., Disturbed, Cypress Hill, ZZ Top, Aerosmith

A shuffle with two hip-hop tunes in it? What are things coming to here ...  ;)

N.E.R.D., "Lapdance." From the album In Search of ... (2002). This tune is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Well, more than a bit of one, I guess. I might be the only person on the planet that liked the "Daredevil" movie. And I absolutely love the scene where the camera pans up on Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin in that suit, leaning on his cane and puffing a cigar. That scene is the whole reason this song is in my collection. I could live without the more typical rap toward the end, but otherwise, I have to admit I like it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Bruce Dickinson, Savatage, Suicidal Tendencies, Shooter Jennings, Queensryche

After a few weeks of wildly varied shuffles, we're back to something a little more metal, minus one country tune, of course ...

Bruce Dickinson, "Kill Devil Hill." From the album A Tyranny of Souls (2005). Man, we're long overdue for a new Bruce Dickinson solo album. His solo work, at least for me, has been far better than Iron Maiden's records in recent years. My shuffle seems to love this song, which naturally, deals with the Wright Brothers' first flight. It's one of those great, dramatic Dickinson tunes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Scott H. Biram, "Nothin' but Blood"

I’ve always imagined that a one-man band would have to have something of a split personality, and Scott H. Biram certainly seems to back that theory up on his latest album on Bloodshot Records.

On Nothin’ But Blood, Biram shifts from solemn and sacred to loud and profane in the blink of an eye.

The second track on the album, “Gotta Get to Heaven,” sets the stage. The tune is a very old-school country number with some gospel overtones that tells the story of a man that walks the line between the wild life and redemption. Biram throws his soul into the hallelujahs on the chorus, but keeps a fittingly rough edge on the song.