Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Kenny Wayne Shepherd, "How I Go"

For a guy that once told me in an interview that he couldn’t seem to make everyone happy with his mix of blues and rock, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has done pretty well for himself.

Coming out of the gate as a 16-year-old kid schooled in the Stevie Ray Vaughan style of blues on his 1995 debut Ledbetter Heights, Shepherd met with mixed feelings in the blues community. There was no doubt that he had the chops, but some traditionalist blues fans felt that, as a teenager, he didn’t have enough life experience under his belt to play the music. Others thought there was a little too much rock in his sound. That seemingly ceased to matter in 1997, when he released the follow-up Trouble Is… which found huge mainstream success on the strength of the single “Blue on Black.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: Iron Maiden, "From Fear to Eternity"

I’m wondering if Iron Maiden mastermind Steve Harris is, for some reason, trying to alienate fans. First, the band goes on tour last year playing primarily songs from its last four records and largely ignoring the classic albums that made them one of the top heavy metal bands in the world. Then came the lazy and uninspired The Final Frontier. (Yes, I know not everyone agrees with me, but it was really flat.) Now, we’re presented with yet another compilation album to try to suck money out of fans’ wallets.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: Alestorm, "Back Through Time"

I’ve developed a theory that you can’t stay angry or be in a bad mood while listening to Alestorm. In recent months, that theory has been sorely tested, but every time, the goofy Scottish pirates have managed to conquer my frustrations after a few songs. So, along comes their third record, Back Through Time, just in time. I’ve used “Keelhauled” on the drive home after work so many times it was starting to lose effectiveness, so I needed some fresh piratey sing-alongs, and this record delivers a treasure chest-load of them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: WildeStarr, "Arrival"

I try my best to get at least a taste of as many records as I possibly can in a year, but with the sheer amount of music being released these days, it’s inevitable that a few pretty good records are going to slip past you. One of those for 2009 was WildeStarr’s debut record Arrival.

WildeStarr was formed by original Vicious Rumors bassist Dave Starr and studio vocalist and keyboardist London Wilde. The two met while working on Chastain’s In an Outrage. They formed a friendship and cut a demo in 2007 that did well on the Internet. They then added drummer Jim Hawthorn for this record.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: In Flames, "Sounds of a Playground Fading"

Upon hearing In Flames’ Sounds of a Playground Fading, one of my esteemed colleagues at Teeth of the Divine dubbed it Sounds of a Career Failing. I’m sure many fans will feel the same, but being the contrarian that I am, I’ve got a slightly different take.

I’ll say off the top that I happen to be a big fan of Reroute to Remain, which, I realize, automatically invalidates my opinion among a segment of In Flames fans. So, hardcore In Flames fans look away while I don my flame retardant suit and wade in.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Destruction, "Day of Reckoning"

Did anyone happen to get the license plate of the truck that just hit me? Over and over. For about an hour.

Growing up in a rural area long before the internet showed up in every household giving people access to music from around the world, I was a latecomer to Destruction. I was already familiar with their fellow countrymen Kreator and Sodom when I discovered them, but for some reason Destruction spoke to me more than those other two bands. I’ll admit I’m still not the biggest fan of the German thrash scene, but when the mood strikes me, I’ll probably be reaching for Destruction. And their latest, Day of Reckoning, is just as good an option as any from their catalog.