Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Alice Cooper, "The Strange Case of Alice Cooper"

Though certainly not the wildest of Alice Cooper’s live shows, the performance captured on The Strange Case of Alice Cooper is definitely one of his most interesting.

Originally released on VHS in 1979 and out of print for decades, the show has recently been re-issued on DVD by Shout Factory. It was recorded shortly after his famous stay in a mental hospital, and features a healthy dose of songs from his 1978 record From the Inside, which documented that experience.

It opens with a spoken bit from Vincent Price – in the guise here of a strange-looking Cyclops in a doctor’s outfit that I can’t explain, and listening to the commentary, apparently Alice can’t either. From there, he launches into a few energetic rockers in “From the Inside,” “Serious” and “Nurse Rozetta.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New music from Testament

Click below to listen to "True American Hate," the new song from classic thrashers Testament.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Firewind, "Few Against Many"

While Gus G’s debut with Ozzy Osbourne was a pretty disappointing mess, with Gus as primarily a hired gun playing other people’s riffs, his other outfit, Firewind, has yet to disappoint.

It’s not that they do anything out of the ordinary or innovative in the power metal world. It’s just that they do what they do so well. It’s a very guitar-driven, traditional-influenced power metal sound, and they’re one of the most consistent acts out there doing it.

Few Against Many gets started right where you expect it to with first single “Wall of Sound.” There’s a very awkward part in the first verse where vocalist Apollo Papathanasio delivers this strange “yeah, yeah, yeah” line. After that it recovers quickly and settles into the band’s niche with a big chorus. It might not be their best effort from a lyrical standpoint, but gets things started on a good foot.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Accept, "Stalingrad"

Accept’s 2010 album Blood of the Nations, one of my favorite records of that year, served as sort of an introduction to the new incarnation of the band and featured some departures from what I expected going in. Stalingrad, on the other hand, takes a small step back toward the band’s history with a sound that’s more along the lines of their classic material.

Album opener “Hung, Drawn and Quartered” announces the intention quickly with aggressive riffing, a big gang vocal chorus and singer Mark Tornillo delivering some of the lines in a more Udo-esque snarl. It’s a great way to start the record, but the energy doesn’t hang around the way it did on Blood of the Nations. I’m not sure if the band felt fans wanted more of the old sound on this one or what, but the regression is, at times, a little disappointing, especially given how awesome the last record was.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: Prong, "Carved Into Stone"

I was less than impressed with Prong’s last outing, Power of the Damager. I preferred it to the more industrial stuff they’d been doing, but it hasn’t returned to my rotation in the nearly five years since it came out. I thought it was OK, but didn’t have a lot of passion or energy.

So I approached the new record, Carved into Stone, with only moderate interest. Tommy Victor and Co. fixed my lack of interest with the first track “Eternal Heat,” which blasts out of the gate with a squealing, energetic guitar riff and pummels the listener over the head for about four minutes. The message at the end of the song is clear – the energy and fire are most definitely back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Slash, "Apocalyptic Love"

After being less than impressed with Slash’s last solo album and its parade of guest stars, and being only a marginal fan of Velvet Revolver or Slash’s Snakepit, I didn’t go into Apocalyptic Love with my hopes too high.

Sure, I figured there would be a few good songs among a lot of uninspiring filler, but I was completely unprepared for what I got: This, friends and neighbors, may well be the best record that Slash has been involved with since Appetite for Destruction.

I’ll admit up front that I’m not sold on Myles Kennedy as a vocalist for this style. There’s no denying that the guy has a fantastic voice, but there are still times here when I’d much rather he use a little less range and a little more attitude. That said, I think he manages to provide a very good foil for Slash, and the record is much the better for it.