Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Blind Guardian, Ratt, Hendrix, Iced Earth, White Zombie

This week we travel from one of the earliest tunes of hard rock to one of the most recent ...

"Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)," Blind Guardian. From the album Nightfall in Middle Earth (1998). Just one of many majestic tracks from Blind Guardian's masterwork based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "Silmarillion." The song, which tells the story of the Noldor elves, has some nice changes of pace with huge, soaring chorus harmonies, blazing metal moments and some nice symphonic touches.

"Between the Eyes," Ratt. From the album Invasion of Your Privacy (1985). Out of the Cellar generally gets all the glory when people talk about Ratt, but I think Invasion of Your Privacy is a very underrated record. It was a favorite of my early years of metal. "Between the Eyes" has everything I love about Ratt, a great catchy melody and Warren DeMartini's signature guitar style.

"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," Jimi Hendrix. From the album Electric Ladyland (1968). Perhaps Jimi Hendrix's coolest riff, and certainly one of my personal favorites. The wah wah guitar on the opening is fantastic, but the verses are just tough as leather. A great, great classic rocker.

"Parasite," Iced Earth. From the album Plagues of Babylon (2014). The first part of Plagues of Babylon got kind of lost in the Something Wicked concept. "Parasite," though, is one of the stronger tracks on the record and part of a pretty good second half of the album. It's got those big riffs and melodies that I want from Iced Earth and were largely missing in the first half.

"Starface," White Zombie. From the album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. I (1992). Coming near the end of La Sexorcisto, "Starface" continues the theme of frenetic, high energy and memorable hard rock tunes that are found pretty much start to finish on the record. When you compare this record to what Zombie is doing now, you have to wonder if going solo was the right choice.

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