Monday, January 31, 2011

Freebies: Earth's latest album streaming now on NPR

Earth's upcoming album "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1" is currently streaming live on NPR through Feb. 7. The record is set for a Feb. 22 release through Southern Lord.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Yngwie Malmsteen, "Relentless"

I was a little disappointed with Yngwie Malmsteen’s last outing Perpetual Flame, primarily because of the underuse and uninspired performance of vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens. It was a combination I had high hopes for. Malmsteen’s latest outing, Relentless, doesn’t correct the underuse factor, featuring Owens on only six of the 15 tracks, but it does correct the uninspired portion.

The shift comes early on the first tune to feature vocals, “Critical Mass.” Malmsteen delivers an incredibly catchy Persian-flavored guitar riff and Owens gets a vocal line that not only is much more interesting than the generic melodies from Perpuetual Flame, but is one of the best lines he’s had since his departure from Iced Earth.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Freebies: Bob Wayne, Lazarus A.D., Social Distortion

Since I'm constantly getting notices about free streams of new records and the occasional free download from bands, labels and publicists, I thought I'd start trying to share them when I can. Everybody likes hearing music for free, right? So here's the first installment.

Streaming the full album of self-made outlaw country artist Bob Wayne's "Outlaw Carnie," due out Tuesday. And come back here for a review of the record in the next few days.

Stream thrashers Lazarus A.D.'s upcoming record "Black Rivers Flow" in its entirety.

Listen to Social Distortion's "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" in its entirety.

Enjoy, and drop me a note in the comments to let me know if you'd like me to keep it up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Negligence, "Coordinates of Confusion"

Normally when I go into a review listen on a band that’s new to me, I’m looking for something that I haven’t heard before. Sometimes, though, something very familiar that’s done very well can make an impact. That’s the case with the Slovenian thrashers Negligence.

There’s not really a moment on this album that will make your jaw drop or wow you in any way. On the other hand, there’s also not really a moment on this record that’s disappointing or unenjoyable. Sure, it’s by-the-numbers thrash. But it’s very well done by-the-numbers thrash.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blast Beats: Whitey Morgan, Hinder, Kid Rock

Before you read this, I know full well that two of the records in this edition of Blast Beats might be enough to have my metal card revoked, even after 30 or so years of service. But I’ve got a word or two to say about them, so bear with me, and I’ll make it quick. I’ll start with the good.

Whitey Morgan and the 78s, “Whitey Morgan and the 78s”
I heard good things about this record when it came out last year, but it’s taken me this long to finally get a hold of it and give it a good listen. Most of the praise that I heard is well-deserved.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: Holy Grail, "Crisis in Utopia"

With White Wizzard’s Over the Top being my favorite record of the year, I couldn’t help but look forward to the debut release from Holy Grail, Crisis in Utopia. What you have here is a band made up partially of former members of White Wizzard who moved on with a new name after an ugly split. While it likely wasn’t pleasant for those involved, the good news for music fans is that we got two damned solid traditional metal outfits out of it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Best of 2010: Top 10

1. White Wizzard – Over the Top. I keep returning to this record over and over. It came out early in the year, but I’ve listened to it regularly. It’s great old-school traditional metal, with just a little cheese, and it brings back happy memories of better times.
2. Overkill – Ironbound. Is it possible for a band that’s been around this long to release their best record ever? I don’t know if Ironbound is their best, but it’s definitely on par with any of their classic material.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Best of 2010: Honorable mentions

These are the records that didn't quite make the cut for the top 10. Normally, I hold this to around five, but this year, I'm going with 10.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best of 2010: Overview and disappointments

It's a rare year when my best-of list starts at 25 records and I have to whittle that down to 10. Typically, there aren't that many records that stick with me, and there have been years where I had to dig and include a few I wasn't really pumped about to get to 10. But metal fans have been pretty lucky in the last couple of years, and this year, at least for me, ended up being a banner year.