Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Testament, Crue, Danzig, Pantera, Anthrax

This week's shuffle is a pretty hard-hitting lineup ...

Testament, “Electric Crown.” From the album The Ritual (1992). Testament never got the press of the Big Four of thrash, but they can stand with the best of them. This album was a bit of a shock at the time with a couple of ballads and, at times, a more accessible direction. Over time, I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for it. This is just a great heavy metal tune, not as thrashing as perhaps what we expected from them, but with a great hook.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Aerosmith, Infectious Grooves, Slayer, Van Hagar, Dee Snider

A couple of overlooked gems, a song that shouldn't be in my shuffle and Dee Snider on Broadway ...

Aerosmith, “Hangman Jury.” From the album Permanent Vacation (1987). Permanent Vacation was really the record that started Aerosmith down the sordid pop rock path that led, ultimately, to atrocities like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” That said, the album had its moments, and this is certainly one of them. It’s one of the few songs on the record where you really hear the blues rock influence. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Something Borrowed: "Tobacco Road," David Lee Roth/The Nashville Teens/John D. Loudermilk

Every now and then my shuffle hits a song from David Lee Roth’s Eat ’Em and Smile album, and I remember how much I loved that record.

Sure, it’s silly, corny and completely over the top, but that’s precisely what I want from Diamond Dave. That flamboyant, and at times, yes, goofy personality is part and parcel of why I’ve always loved him and why, in my mind, Sammy Hagar was never a replacement for him despite really being the better singer. 

Roth also has a knack for surrounding himself with great musicians, and that was especially true of this record, which featured the likes of Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Gregg Bissonette on drums.

At a time when Van Halen with Hagar was moving toward a more pop-oriented sound, Eat ’Em and Smile was a loud blast of wild-eyed rock ‘n’ roll that was essentially a middle finger to what Roth’s former band was doing. At least that’s how I saw it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Soilwork, Tesla, Anthrax, Scatterbrain, Alestorm

Pretty heavy lineup this week -- some new stuff, some old stuff and ending with some fun ...

Soilwork, “Memories Confined.” From the album The Living Infinite (2013). One of the tracks from the mellower, more melodic side of last year’s Soilwork double album. It’s not really one of the more memorable, but it’s not bad, either.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Skid Row, "Rise of the Damnation Army: United World Rebellion, Chapter 2"

United World Rebellion, Chapter 2 marks the first Skid Row record that I’ve actually had some anticipation for since Subhuman Race.

That’s because Chapter 1, released last year, was such a great EP. It was the first to really recapture the feel of their classic material. Rise of the Damnation Army follows that well. I’ll admit that I don’t find the songs on this EP as immediately catchy as some of those on Chapter 1, but they’re solid rockers, and they’ve grown on me with each listen.

This one follows the same basic pattern as the first one. There are four hard-driving rock tunes and one ballad. This one adds a couple of cover tunes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Alestorm, "Sunset on the Golden Age"

Though lots of pirate metal bands have popped up since Alestorm’s 2008 debut album Captain Morgan’s Revenge, none have captured the feel and spirit of it better than these Scots.

On their fourth full-length album Sunset on the Golden Age, Alestorm has just as much fun as on the previous three. By now, you mostly know what you’re getting from the band — thrash-influenced songs about wenching, plundering and grogging, a stray sea shanty here or there and plenty of bombastic symphonics worthy of a pirate movie soundtrack.

I’d like to begin this review by thanking Christopher Bowes and company for immortalizing me in song on my personal favorite track (for obvious reasons), “Mead from Hell.” I’m joking, of course, but it adds to the fun since I don’t hear the name Fred in the music I listen to much. It’s just not a very metal name. That aside, the song is just a great, catchy romp across the sea, as is most of the record.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Shuffle: Savatage, Skynyrd, Billy Idol, Red Eye Gravy, Pantera

Jon Oliva hits a high note, Skynyrd goes creepy with John 5 and Pantera shreds this week ...

Savatage, “Somewhere in Time/Alone You Breathe.” From the album Wake of Magellan (1997). Can I get a hell yeah? Jon Oliva and a piano performing a medley of “Somewhere in Time” from Streets and “Alone You Breathe” from Handful of Rain. This bonus track, for me, is easily one of the strongest performances on Wake of Magellan, and I love the record.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: Buckcherry, "F**k"

Sometimes there’s a fine line between throwing a middle finger to the world and a desperate plea for attention. It doesn’t take much thought to decide which category Buckcherry’s EP Fuck falls into.

A concept album of sorts, if having the f-word in every song title can qualify as a concept, this EP seeks to play on the somewhat dumbfounding success the band had with the single “Crazy Bitch.”

When Buckcherry released their self-titled debut in 1998, I bought it. I still own it and listen to a couple of the songs on occasion. I thought it was a fun little bit of retro hard rock. Like most of the rest of the world, I promptly forgot about the band until 2006, when all of a sudden, you couldn’t seem to escape them.