Monday, May 27, 2013

Still Spinning: Shotgun Messiah, "Violent New Breed"

In 1993, I had little to no interest in Shotgun Messiah.

I considered them one of the also-rans of the late 1980s glam metal scene. Their previous two albums hadn’t connected with me, and they were part of the great same-looking, same-sounding mass that I considered responsible for the downfall of the 1980s hard rock scene.

Then I heard the title track from this album, and I immediately sat up and paid attention. “Violent New Breed” was definitely apropos for the sound of this record. The song opened with a thumping industrial drum beat and exploded into a guitar riff heavier than anything that had been heard on any previous Shotgun Messiah album. Singer Tim Skold traded in his glam style for a distorted, attitude-laden snarl, and then there was that huge, powerful chorus. It just makes me want to raise a fist in defiance, and 20 years later, I can still not listen to this song at anything less than the maximum possible volume.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Bon Jovi, Queen, Aerosmith, King's X, Shooter Jennings

A couple of classic favorites trapped in the middle of this shuffle ...

Bon Jovi, “Wild in the Streets.” From the album Slippery When Wet (1986). OK, I knew we had to get into some marginally embarrassing music at some point, and here we go. I actually do enjoy some Bon Jovi. This track, though, is about as cheesy as 1980s rock comes with lots of glitz, heavy keyboards and that radio rock sound that is most definitely of its era. Not the best song from this record.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Tom Keifer, "The Way Life Goes"

A 10-year long journey for Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer came to fruition with the release of his first solo album, The Way Life Goes. A long time in the making, the album is probably the most varied effort of Keifer’s career, and covers a wide range of feelings, emotions and life events during that time.

The album starts, really, where it has to with first track “Solid Ground,” a hard-driving rocker that would have been right at home on a Cinderella record — Long Cold Winter, perhaps. After that, though, it takes a more personal direction, with styles ranging from heartfelt ballads, to pop pieces, to blues rock, to even some country-flavored numbers. There’s a lot of Stones, a lot of 1970s Aerosmith, some Cinderella and a little bit of twang, too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Rainbow, "Live in Munich 1977"

If you have any doubt who the greatest singer in the history of metal, heck, maybe in the history of rock ‘n’ roll is, just pop this DVD into your player and fast forward to the second song.

When Ronnie James Dio belts out the vocal of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated,” an in-his-prime Robert Plant bows to the mastery and original singer David Coverdale quickly ducks back behind the curtain.

There’s so much power in the performance that song alone would be worth the price of this movie, but then you get seven more.

Don’t think that just because there are only eight tracks you’re getting cheated either. There’s a lot of free form jamming and improvisation. They pull 12 minutes out of “Mistreated,” nearly 20 out of “Catch the Rainbow,” around 16 each out of “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Do You Close Your Eyes?” and a whopping 27 minutes from “Still I’m Sad.” The last one also includes extended drum and keyboard solos.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Motorhead, Nirvana, Blind Guardian, Primus, Thorogood

It's kind of all over the rock world this week ...

Motorhead, “Ace of Spades.” From the album Ace of Spades (1980). How easy does it get? I really don’t think I need to say anything about this tune. Just push play and let Lemmy and Co. rip your face off.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Chili Peppers, TSO, Hardcore Superstar, Uncle Nuge, Girl

A huge hit, a dark signature moment and a couple of overlooked gems in this week's shuffle ...

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give it Away.” From the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991). I’d much rather the shuffle hit “Suck My Kiss” or “I Could Have Lied,” but this one will do, too. Sure, this album, “Under the Bridge” in particular, marked the beginning of the Chili Peppers’ descent into commercial mediocrity, but there are some great songs on it, too.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Flotsam and Jetsam, "Ugly Noise"

After 1995′s Drift, Flotsam and Jetsam seemed to do just that — drift off the musical map — with a series of disappointing records and a couple of long hiatuses between records. Then came 2010′s The Cold. Though it didn’t grab metal headlines or vault the band back to popularity, it was most definitely a return to form and the best material they’d released in 15 years.

If the band’s latest release, Ugly Noise, doesn’t put them back on the radar, there are a lot of metal fans out there who need their ears cleaned out.

The album, which was released to fans who helped fund it in December and got an official release on Metal Blade Records last month, finds the band refocused and re-energized.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Anthrax, Misfits, Alice Cooper, Queen, Testament

Another shuffle, in which we encounter one of the darker moments of Alice Cooper's career ...

Anthrax, “Caught in a Mosh.” From the album Among the Living (1987). The best album of the Joey Belladonna era and one of the band’s truly classic songs. I’ve always thought it funny that one of the chorus lyrics is “which one of these words, don’t you understand?” when at the time, there were a whole lot of people who wouldn’t have known what a mosh was. Great, great song.