Monday, April 30, 2012

Freebies: New music from the one and only Tenacious D

Take a listen to the title track from the upcoming Tenacious D album Rize of the Fenix below.

To stream the album in its entirety, head over to Guitar World.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Shooter Jennings, "Family Man"

Just a couple of years ago, it seemed that Shooter Jennings was done with country music. He had formed a new band, Hierophant, and put out Black Ribbons, a record with very little resemblance to country. It featured experimental and trippy numbers, art rock, industrial-tinged songs and even some heavy Black Sabbath-like guitar riffs. I did, and still do, really like the record, but I also thought it signaled the end of his country career.

Fast forward a few years, and he’s now trying to become the champion of underground country artists. His new album Family Man returns to roots with something very much in the vein of his first couple of records.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Quiet Riot, "Live at the U.S. Festival 1983"

As an 11-year-old kid in 1983, I would have given just about anything to see this show. I’ve already shared that Quiet Riot’s 1983 album Metal Health was the beginning of my journey into heavy metal — and for a few years there, in my mind, they were the kings. Sadly, that was a bit before my concert-going days, and I don’t believe I could have found any sort of acceptable chaperone for my parents who would have agreed to sit through a Quiet Riot show, no matter how much it meant to me.

So it was 16 years later before I got a chance to see the reunited version of the band, and they still put on a hell of a show. But this set at the U.S. Festival in 1983, well, it’s going to be tough to beat. I’m happy that I at least get to experience it in some form.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Three Thirteen, "Devil Music"

I’ll say this for Three Thirteen. They know how to appeal to me. The packaging of their last album, Full Tilt, caught my interest as much as the music. While their latest, Devil Music, a set of covers to hold fans over until the next record, arrived in a slip case, it came with lots of candy – a poster, some postcards and a cut-out and fold cardboard Three-Thirteen race car.

Normally, I’m not a fan of intros, but the one on this record, which is like a radio promo, is pretty awesome. That leads into a selection of rock covers that includes AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” Kiss’ “Rocket Ride,” ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers,” Anthrax’s “Caught in a Mosh,” Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: "Welcome to the Nightmare: An All-Star Salute to Alice Cooper"

Originally released as Humanary Stew: A Tribute to Alice Cooper on Deadline Records in 1998, this collection of covers has recently gotten a repackaging from Cleopatra Records with a few extra tunes from Iced Earth, Children of Bodom and Icarus Witch tossed in as a bonus.

Though most of the songs are done by a mish-mash of artists thrown together – as was the whole series of tribute albums released by Deadline in the late 1990s – there are representatives from some of the biggest names in hard rock and metal here. On the tracks, you’ll find members of The Who, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Megadeth, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Dio, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, the Ozzy Osbourne band, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Dokken and more. There are also a few names you might not expect, like sax man Clarence Clemons and bassist Stu Hamm.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review: Stephan Forte, "The Shadows Compendium"

Normally I’m not a fan of instrumental shred albums or guys that have too many strings on their guitars. Every so often, though, a record comes along that I make an exception for, and Stephan Forte’s The Shadows Compendium is one of the best I’ve broken my unspoken rule for in a long time.

I’ll admit that my aversion to these things springs, at least a little, from jealousy. I love playing guitar, but I’ve struggled and fought for every note that I’ve ever wrung out of the instrument — and truth be told, most of those notes probably should have stayed in it. So, when I see guys like Forte, whose fingers fly across the fretboard with preternatural grace and seemingly little effort, it raises in me this odd mixture of disgust and complete fascination.