Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Anthrax, "Worship Music"

I didn’t have high hopes for this record. First, there was all the drama surrounding it. They bring in new singer Dan Nelson. The album’s recorded and ready to go when Nelson is canned, so it’s shelved. Then, much to my pleasure, John Bush is performing with the band again. But, wait a minute, he doesn’t want to re-record Worship Music because he feels like he doesn’t have any stake in the songs. Then, Anthrax shows up to play the first Big Four show, and who’s on stage with them but 1980s singer Joey Belladonna. He’s happy to re-record the album, and so Anthrax and Belladonna are reunited … again.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Seven Witches, "Call Upon the Wicked"

It’s been four years since we’ve heard anything from Seven Witches, but Jack Frost is back with a new lineup and a familiar voice. James Rivera of Helstar, who sang on two of the band’s earlier albums, returns to record Call Upon the Wicked.

There’s a very heavy Judas Priest flavor early in the record, as you hear quickly on “Fields of Fire,” which finds Rivera nailing those Rob Halford shrieks on the chorus. That direction continues on second track “Lillith,” with Rivera delivering some nice vocal melodies and interludes. The Priest pops up again late in the record on “Eyes of Flame,” which features a nice riff early and Rivera in Halford mode for most of the song.

The next few songs take things back to a simpler heavy rock time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: White Wizzard, "Flying Tigers"

White Wizzard’s last outing, Over the Top, was my favorite record of last year. It was a great fun throwback record that hit me immediately, and some of the songs from that record are still on my everyday playlist. I gushed about it every time I got the chance. So Flying Tigers was one of my most, if not the most, anticipated record of the year for me. Admittedly, I already had it penciled in for a spot atop my best of list for this year, so perhaps my hopes were a little too high, but after spending a few weeks with it, my reaction is a resounding “meh.”

It’s been a turbulent year and a half since the release of Over the Top. Singer Wyatt Anderson left the band, then returned to record this album, then left the band again. Guitarist Erik Kluiber is also out. The lineup for this record included founder/bassist Jon Leon, Anderson, drummer Giovanni Durst and producer Ralph Patlan.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Alice Cooper, "Welcome 2 My Nightmare"

Alice Cooper promised a sequel, and he delivered in a surprising way. The shock rock pioneer went into the studio with the intention to record a follow-up to 2008’s creepy serial killer concept album Along Came a Spider. Once he got in the studio with long-time producer and collaborator Bob Ezrin, they decided to delve farther back into his catalog to the record that is, arguably, his finest moment, Welcome to My Nightmare.

I admit the move left me puzzled. It’s a tried and true recipe for failure. Usually a failing band slaps the title of its most popular work on its latest album and puts a “2″ behind it to draw some interest from fans who have wandered away. It’s never a good idea because it creates a certain expectation that the new record can never match. In fact, most of them suck.

Of course, there are a few differences between most bands and Alice Cooper.