Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stuck in my Head: Jorn, "Ride Like the Wind"

Who could have guessed that a Christopher Cross song would have so much traction in the metal world? 

This is at least the third heavy cover of the song that I’m aware of. British metal icons Saxon recorded it in 1988, and the extra-vowel-loving thrash act Speeed, featuring members of Annihilator and Seven Witches, remade it in 1999.

Of the three, this cut from Jorn’s recent Frontiers Records release, Bring Heavy Rock to the Land, is also my favorite.

Norwegian wailer Jorn Lande is, in my opinion, one of the top hard rock vocalists out there today. He mixes the best elements of big voices like Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale for a bold, powerful and classic delivery. That voice brings some much-needed power to the song.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: ZZ Top, "Texicali"

Now this is more like it.

When we got our first taste of new ZZ Top music a few months back with “Flying High,” I was seriously disappointed. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t even close to what I was hoping for from the pairing of Top and Rick Rubin.

Then came the Jeremiah Weed spot featuring “Gotsta Get Paid,” and my interest level immediately jumped back up. After watching the commercial a couple of times, I couldn’t get the “25 lighters on my dresser, yessir” refrain out of my head and searched in vain for a full version of the song to hear, right up until the four-song EP Texicali dropped.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stuck in my Head: Metallica, "Escape"

The decision to play 1984’s Ride the Lightning in its entirety a couple of weeks ago for their inaugural Orion Music and More Festival brought a historic moment for Metallica. It intrigued me so much that I tuned in to Fuse TV’s live stream of the concert online to see it.

The sixth track on the album, “Escape,” is one of only a handful of songs from their catalog that the band has never played live. Oh, there’s been a snippet of it in a medley here and there over the years, but they’ve never played the whole song, and it’s said that no one in the band really likes it. I can’t understand that since it’s one of my favorite tunes on the album.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Review: Twisted Sister, "Club Daze Vol. II: Live in the Bars"/"Live at Hammersmith" (remasters)

It’s been a good few weeks for Twisted Sister fans. First, Dee Snider’s Dee Does Broadway hit the shelves, now the Armoury Records Remaster Series delivers a double-dose of live music for the band’s SMFs.

First up is Club Daze Volume II: Live in the Bars, remastered by bassist Mark Mendoza. Originally released in 2001, the album starts with a pair of 1984 studio tunes that didn’t make the band’s classic Stay Hungry album – “Never Say Never” and “Blastin’ Fast & Loud.” Both were finished and recorded for this album’s original release. Neither are as strong as anything from Stay Hungry, but both are solid tunes. “Blastin’ Fast & Loud” is the winner between the two, capturing a little more of the raw sound.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Dee Snider, "Dee Does Broadway"

You can thank a couple of warped senses of humor for this gem: The idea for Dee Does Broadway was born out of voicemails that the Twisted Sister frontman and Alice Cooper exchanged, each singing show tunes to the other.

Snider decided to take it a step further and record rock versions of some of the biggest songs from Broadway. His only criteria was that they couldn’t be rock songs to start with – nothing from shows like “Jesus Christ Superstar” or “Rent.”

My only complaint is that, among the guest stars on this record, he couldn’t get Alice to drop by and do something with him. The prime candidate for a Cooper/Snider duet?: “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” If ever there was a show tune made for a creepy, crazy metal treatment, this is it, and Snider’s version is fantastic.