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Ed "ANationalAcrobat" (North Yorkshire)

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Eternal Idol
Eternal Idol

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight Sabbath., 22 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Eternal Idol (Audio CD)
This album is easily the worst Black Sabbath release of the 80's and feels like a collection of songs that generally aren't good enough to have been on the `Seventh Star' album and what's more it doesn't have the masterful Glenn Hughes on vocals, instead we have Tony Martin, whose talents are limited by the fact that he has to sing Ray Gillen's parts. However I would still consider Tony Martin one of this albums saving graces. Yet still this album is being heralded as `a hidden masterpiece' and `Sabbath's best album', give me a break, it feels like the shaky follow up to `Seventh Star' which is the second worst of Sabbath's 80's output.

All things considered this album does has its moments the finest of which probably being `The Shining' which is a complete cheese fest (in the best possible way) and features some great riffs from Iommi, a catchy chorus and some perhaps unintentionally hilarious lyrics such as `the house is gonna haunt you!'. `Ancient Warrior' is another of the albums stronger tracks which has a slightly middle eastern feeling and a catchy chorus, but not a Sabbath classic by any means. `Born to Lose' could be the work of pretty much any 80's metal band and has some very generic riffs but is still a good enough song featuring a very good vocal performance on Tony Martin's part. My favourite song on this album without doubt is the beautiful instrumental `Scarlet Pimpernel' which is something we had not heard from Tony Iommi since `Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' (although there is a little instrumental at the end of `Heaven and Hell') and its well worth the wait, it serves as a reminder that Iommi is in my opinion the greatest guitarist ever. I can't help but feel a little bit let down by the albums title track as the verses are great very sinister and creepy not dissimilar to the bands self titled track then the chorus is a complete cheese fest (this time in a bad way) which completely ruins the atmosphere established by the verse, still it stands out as a song.

But generally this album is a mixed bag with some complete crap the worst of which being `Hard Life to Love' which features some sub-Zeppelin riffs and very clichéd
`living in the fast lane' lyrics. 'Nightmare' starts well with some atmospheric keyboards from Geoff Nicholls suddenly descends into dull riffs that in no way help convey the lyrics of being 'fooled by the devils hand' (which perhaps hints a the lyrical direction of the Tony Martin era masterpiece `Headless Cross'). `Glory Ride' yet again starts promisingly with Iommi deciding he wants to sound like himself again after the Jimmy Page rip-off riffs of the previous song but the song itself soon starts to feel less Sabbath and more generic 80's rock. Not a bad song by any means but not really Black Sabbath. `Lost Forever' is the albums fastest song, but fast does mean good (as many thrash fans may fail to understand) and this song is painfully average.

Musically this line up is a rather strange one, I like the addition of Bob Daisley on bass he plays well and could well be the best bass player Sabbath had outside of Geezer Butler, but the other half of the rhythm section, Eric Singer as good a drummer as he is, he's not suited to this band and he lacks any of the style of the great Sabbath drummers such as Bill Ward, Cozy Powell and Vinnie Appice. This is Tony Martins first Sabbath album and he is one of the albums redeeming features, but he isn't really aloud an influence on the material that would prove itself successful on the following albums;
`Headless Cross' and `Tyr'.

`Eternal Idol' is one of Sabbath's weaker albums but its not a complete waste of time it does feature some strong songs and will no doubt be of interest to die-hard Sabbath fans. Thankfully after this album things really began to pick up with the arrival of Cozy Powell and Tony Martin being allowed to contribute more to song writing. 5/10
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2009 12:00 AM GMT

Animal Magnetism
Animal Magnetism
Offered by dischiniccoli
Price: £20.91

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, 22 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Animal Magnetism (Audio CD)
The second Scorpions album to feature Matthias Jabs on guitar is generally considered a step down in quality, this isn't really fair. `Animal Magnetism' may be a weaker album than `Lovedrive', `Tokyo Tapes' and `Virgin Killer' but its better than most of Uli Roth era, some fans will tell you that all those albums are the pinnacle of music, but this simply isn't the case as the Hendrix inspired numbers with Uli singing tend to be quite embarrassing.

`Animal Magnetism' sees the Scorpions branching out and expanding from the Lovedrive sound, this has mixed results sometimes it works for instance when they try heavier material such as `The Zoo' and the title track, however it doesn't work as well on the dire ballad `Lady Starlight'. `Animal Magnetism' sounds a lot darker than `Lovedrive' and is less reliant on faster upbeat numbers than `Lovedrive' as well. So this album is less consistent than it's predecessor but still seven of these tracks are either good or excellent only the aforementioned ballad `Lady Starlight' and the rather unspectacular `Falling in Love' let the side down. `Make it Real' opens this album in excellent style with a classic Rudolf Schenker riff and some wonderful harmonised solos that are Matthias Jabs trademark featuring in many of the bands biggest hits such as `Rock You Like a Hurricane' and `No One Like You'. `Don't Make Promises (Your Body Can't Keep)' is an amusing rocker focusing on Herman Rarebell's favourite topic men masquerading as women, his obsession may be unhealthy but it's a great song. `The Zoo' is everyone's favourite from this album , there's a reason for this, it's a masterpiece with its really slow brooding verses and ever so catchy chorus and to top things off a talk box solo, they don't make them like this anymore that's for sure.

Performance wise Matthias Jabs is man of the match here, proving himself once again as an excellent player who is in no way in the shadow of his predecessors. However that said the whole band is on excellent form Klaus displays a versatility that few credit him for. His voice ranges from gritty on `Hold Me Tight' to mellow on `Lady Starlight'. Rudolf Schenker as usual plays very simplistically opting for a similar role as Malcolm Young does in AC/DC, strictly rhythm. This is perhaps why neither of them get any credit as players. Rudolf however does a particularly fine job here with `The Zoo' and `Make It Real' being amongst my favourite Scorpions riffs. Production wise this is album sounds perfect with the sound being crystal clear and the guitars have plenty of bite (or should I say sting! Ha what a imaginative Scorpions related pun, no one will ever use that again). Sadly as the 80's set in the Scorpions got a more and more polished production, with the standard to much reverb on the snare so appearing by `Love At First Sting'

So although this may not be the finest album the Scorpions put out, it certainly is worthy and far better than its reputation. So do yourself a favour instead of buying the latest Desmond Child album masquerading as the Scorpions get this instead. 8/10

Another Perfect Day
Another Perfect Day
Offered by GMFT
Price: £23.37

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Perfect Solo!, 20 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Another Perfect Day (Audio CD)
1983 was quite a bizarre year for two of the giants of hard rock and heavy metal namely Black Sabbath and Motörhead both experiencing very strange line ups in a one album situation what with Gillan joining Sabbath and erstwhile Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian `Robbo' Robertson replacing `Fast' Eddie Clarke.

Musically this album is a departure from the sound of the `Fast' Eddie albums which truth be told had become a little stale by the time of `Iron Fist' which although quite good wasn't up to the standard of the previous three classic albums. This can be put down to the more melodic sensibilities of Robbo's guitar playing but this is still a loud and fast rock `n' roll album, Motörhead haven't suddenly turned into Opeth, don't worry. Even if you don't like the change in direction surely any Motörhead fan can appreciate these are some of the best songs the band ever put out.

Particularly of note especially to me as a guitar playing is Brian Robertson's guitar playing, especially his lead work which is always astounding, clean and melodic yet energetic and never descending into pointless shred exercises. Lemmy said this album had `too much guitar' for once he was wrong, ok, there may be three or four solos in each song but these solos are always perfectly crafted and add to the songs instead of detracting. It could be said that Robbo was the wrong guitarist for Motörhead, maybe this was true on the following tour in which he refused to play other Motörhead classics, but as far as his work in the studio goes, he was an excellent choice for the band. This album, I feel has Philthy Phil's last truly great performance on drums and goes to show just as `Overkill', `Bomber', `Ace of Spades', `No Sleep till Hammersmith' and `Iron Fist' did that he was a phenomenal albeit unorthodox drummer in league with other mentalists such as Keith Moon. Lemmy's bass as per usual sounds like a plane taking off. This particular Motörhead line up had a unique chemistry with the combination of Robbo's musical force and Phil and Lemmy's force of nature.

Song wise this album is particularly strong with nine out of ten of these either being good or masterpieces. Only `Die you Bastard!' lets the side down, while not being a bad song, it's not up to the high standard set by the rest of the record. My favourites are the opener `Back at the Funny Farm' which is a fast, furious number with guitar solos reminiscent of Hendrix's `Purple Haze', Shine a upbeat melodic song driven along by harmonised riffs, the title track which as other reviewers have pointed out is strangely beautiful for a Motörhead song and `Dancing on your Grave' which has many guitar solos and a classic riff, which along with the excellent `I Got Mine' remains in the Motörhead live set to this day. The production on this album is also particularly good; crystal clear yet still giving the band its raw heaviness, it's a definite improvement on the thin sound on `Iron Fist' although not quite as heavy as the `Ace of Spades' production.

On this album Motörhead once again prove that they were not spent force after `Ace of Spades' (and they would continue to do so). Also they show a versatility that few would give them credit for. It may be their most hated album but its certainly one of the best.

Hall Of The Mountain King
Hall Of The Mountain King

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 80's Metal., 19 Aug. 2007
Occasionally I decide to discover bands I have little or no idea about, I'd heard of Savatage being a long time fan of 80's metal but had not actually heard any music from them. However I reasoned because the cover art is brilliantly cheesy the music must be great as well. Thankfully, I was right.

Savatage were one of those bands in the American metal scene who didn't fall into either the thrash or hair metal movements (however they apparently flirted with hair metal on their previous album). However I would describe the bands sound as King Diamond with a proper singer or Megadeth if they slowed down (and had a proper singer). Apart from the excellent songs on this album I was most impressed by Criss Oliva's guitar playing which like most players in the 80's was Van Halen inspired but imaginative rather than derivative and he clearly had the technical ability to do this. Their were few players in the late 80's metal scene who were shredding but actually doing something interesting in the context of a band, Andy LaRoque, Chris Poland and future Savatage guitarist Alex Skolnick spring to mind and Criss Oliva can easily hold his own against the aforementioned players. Vocally, Jon Oliva has a unique voice which is probably an acquired taste but he can clearly sing very well and his lyrics are dated yet enjoyable most of them being about `children of the night' and equally metal fare. The rhythm section is completely nothing to write home about pretty typical of the time and one of few weak points of this otherwise exceptional album.

This album has many memorable songs and is consistently good with no weak moments. However the albums title track is easily the finest yet it is confusingly not based on Edvard Greig's classical piece (`Prelude to Madness', however does as well as echoing Holst's `Mars, the bringer of war'), however Criss Oliva does provide some majestic guitar riffs and solos. Other notable tracks include opener `24 hours ago' which yet again is a guitar master class and perhaps the most commercially minded track, `Strange Wings'. The band show some heavier influences in `White Witch' which is reminiscent of Venom and could of easily be on their magnum opus `Black Metal'.

I really was surprised I hadn't heard this album before, it's a masterful 80's metal album with a lot going for it, songs, playing and an interesting neo-classical tinge. I can highly recommend this to any metal fan unfamiliar with Savatage. It has the right balance between heaviness and melody, which the band, although the ballads were good didn't get right on their following release `Gutter Ballet'.

Price: £11.53

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cripplingly Heavy, 14 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Dopethrone (Audio CD)
This is a monumental release from Electric Wizard, by far their finest work and one of the high points of the whole doom metal genre and metal in the 21st century.

Musically 'Dopethrone' occupies a sort of middle ground between doom bands who just try to sound like Black Sabbath e.g. Witchfinder General and the bands who tend to see just who slow they can play and how long their songs can be (e.g. Khanate). Because of this 'Dopethrone' is pushing the boundaries of the genre but not without influence of classic metal bands.

The first thing which struck me about this album was the crushingly dense guitar sound that sounds as if its coming from a tube amp pushed to melting point which is pretty much the polar opposite of the standard polished lifeless modern metal sound. Musically, it's hard to tell whether Electric Wizard can actually play or not, but all things considered I don't care whether they can because this album is about atmosphere, and it has it in spades, so whether or not Jus Oborn can sweep pick is irrelevant. For instance 'Funeralopolis' has a wonderful bluesy atmosphere (think Blue Cheer blues not B.B. King) that matches the apocalyptic images of the lyrics very well.

Lyrically, this album shifts from themes of drugs (really? I thought these boys had nothing stronger than a pint of bitter), general hatred to all humanity ('We Hate You') and more fantasy themed lyrics inspired by the likes of Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, which makes for a lyrically varied listen. Also of note is the very loose jamming feel dominant throughout the album that is evident in the albums shortest track 'Hills Have Eyes' which is just a short jam and in a lesser record could be considered filler but it somehow forms a integral part of the record.

This album also proves to be very consistent containing many of the bands finest songs (and yes, most of them have actual songs! Choruses and everything). Even the bonus track 'Mind Transferral' is a keeper, meaning Electric Wizard have not only delivered a heavy and atmospheric album but a consistent one with memorable songs.

So if you like the idea of Hawkwind played way too slow (see 'I, the Witchfinder' for the most dominant Hawkwind influence) and Black Sabbath pushed to melting point, I can strongly recommend this masterpiece. Easily one of the best albums of the last decade.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2010 8:16 PM BST

Somewhere In Time
Somewhere In Time
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £9.00

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Step Down in Quality, 14 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Somewhere In Time (Audio CD)
Iron Maiden were the greatest heavy metal band of the 1980's, however I can't help but feel that 'Somewhere in Time' is weak in comparison to the other Iron Maiden releases of the 80's.

'Somewhere in Time' marks a slight change in direction, not only because it is the first Maiden album to feature Synthesisers but some of the material is perhaps a little more commercial than on previous albums (with the exception of 'Run to the Hills'). The change in direction is emphasized by Martin Birch's unusually cheesy dated production, the guitars are very shiny and chorused and everything has just a touch to much reverb. However to Martin Birch's credit Nicko's drum sound is pretty much the same as previous releases and there's not a trace of the Def Leppard drum sound (which strangely appeared on 'Fear of the Dark').

Although this change in style is perhaps not my favourite, I would have no problem with this if the song writing was as excellent as the previous five albums, however the band (most notably Steve Harris) have had a slight slip in quality control. Also of note is that 'Somewhere in Time' features no writing credits from Bruce Dickinson, which is a shame really as he is and was undoubtedly a fine writer as displayed by previous writing credits such as 'Powerslave' or 'Revelations'. Shame really as I consider Br00se to be easily one of the finest songwriters in 'eavy metal, if you need proof check out the 'how the hell is this so damn good' Chemical Wedding album. 'Somewhere in Time' is also notable for featuring a lot more of Adrian Smith's songs which is suited to the more polished sound of the album as Adrian consistently writes good melodic songs which were two of the singles from 'Somewhere in Time', 'Wasted Years' and 'Stranger in a Strange land'. Yet again Dave Murray remains relatively quiet on the writing front only co-writing the rather uninspired Deja-Vu.

If 'Somewhere in Time' was somewhat of a let down in terms of song writing, the playing itself is as strong as ever. The guitar interplay between Adrian and Dave is as usual excellent, they provide wonderful melodic solos and some extremely catchy harmonies, which even in lesser songs is enough to keep me interesting. Nicko as per usual gives the songs more than a solid backbone with his imaginative and unique style. Bruce, although one could suspect him of being a tad disinterested as none of his songs are included still gives a passionate vocal performance.

Although this is a step down in quality after five albums of amazing material, 'Somewhere in Time' does still feature some classic Iron Maiden songs. 'Caught Somewhere in Time' is probably the best song here, featuring some great tempo changes and a fair few air guitar moments. 'Wasted Years' is a upbeat rocker and one of the bands most commercial songs but still excellent. 'Heaven Can Wait' yet again is very commercial despite its length but still was a strong enough song to remain in the set list for some years. Despite these excellent songs, at points during the album the band seems to be on autopilot doing things they'd already done much better. For instance 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' is just an average Iron Maiden gallop by numbers song. 'Alexander the Great' is a particularly confused number which comes off like a poor relation to 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. However unlike 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' 'Alexander the Great' feels overlong and comes across as self parody.

So although 'Somewhere in Time' is Maiden's weakest of the 80's it's by no means a bad album. I can still recommend this to Iron Maiden fans, who knows perhaps you'll like it better than I did. Thankfully Maiden had a rather stunning return to form with 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'. 7/10
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2014 11:56 AM BST

Down To Earth
Down To Earth
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £5.66

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pop Rainbow!, 12 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Down To Earth (Audio CD)
After three albums, Ritchie Blackmore decides he wanted commercial success and as such decided to play songs about and relationships instead of men on silver mountains. Ronnie James Dio (thankfully) decided that he didn't want to do this and as such left Rainbow, so Ritchie, after drunkenly trying to get Ian Gillan to join Rainbow found Graham Bonnet. Bonnet unfortunately looks like he should work in accounts, however he can sing these 'boy meets girl' songs quite well (albeit in a very cheesy fashion).

Musically 'Down to Earth' as the title may suggest is more basic musically than the Dio-era albums however it's not completely dumbed down as Ritchie still provides some brilliant classical influenced lead work and a fair few great riffs (well it is Blackmore after all). However despite this change in direction I would of not minded this if the song writing was on par with say 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll' or 'Rising' however there is a fair amount of filler here with some downright throw away material such as 'No Time to Lose' which is like 'L.A. Connection' but even worse. Perhaps surprisingly most of the good songs on this album are the more poppy numbers with 'All Night Long' being my particular favourite despite some absolutely absurd lyrics for instance 'You're sort of young but you're over age' which comes across as slightly creepy.

As with most Rainbow albums this features line up changes as previously mentioned Graham Bonnet is vocals and although he's not to my liking as vocalist he does a good enough job. Bob Daisley has been replaced on Bass by Roger Glover who for some reason plays rather boringly especially when compared with his groundbreaking playing on Deep Purple's masterful 'Machine Head' and 'Fireball' albums. Journeyman Don Airey is on keyboards and yet again although he is an excellent player he comes across as somewhat restrained as to keep with the albums poppy direction. So it can be said that no only is 'Down to Earth' a step down in terms of song writing quality but also the playing is not as good as previous albums with only Blackmore and Cozy Powell giving exceptional performances.

Some Rainbow fans see 'Down to Earth' as a transitional album between the epic hard rock of the Dio albums and the pop rock of the Joe Lynn Turner albums, I personally could see this point if this album had more songs like the excellent 'Lost in Hollywood' which is reminiscent of 'Kill the King' in places. However, songs like 'Since You been gone' are nothing but pop.

So this album can be seen as the point at which Rainbow stopped making great albums and became more of a singles band. This change in direction paid off commercially (as 'Since You Been Gone' was a massive hit single) but it definitely lost the interest of a lot of fans.

The Chemical Wedding
The Chemical Wedding
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times..., 10 July 2007
This review is from: The Chemical Wedding (Audio CD)
In the Abominable Void of 1998 the spirit of `Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' had lain dormant for a decade, ignoring a certain Accident of course. In 1998 would it's perturbed spirit erupt once again and destroy Pompeii? Or perhaps, it rebuilt Jerusalem with an album that truly was the Marriage of Heaven & Hell, taking the bulk and ferocity present in some modern forms of music and using an alchemist's touch to add a most vital and oft neglected ingredient, melody.

Lo, a shadow of horror is risen, a `King in Crimson' comes offering a proclamation;
"Yes I am heavy, but I do not suck and I needn't rely on your petty and weak deathly growls". Amongst the heaviness he also offered melody, majesty and might in his twin sons of multi-racial origin, Roy and Adrian. In the year of 1998 the guitar solo had been all but abandoned, left for dead...but just as heavy metal mummies struck from the grave so did these two sworn to avenge and deliver Old Testament heavy metal guitar. Chemically Wed, the title track emerged from a phase induced muddy haze of guitars, adding colour and depth which emphasised the nature of this marriage (one south of Purgatory, the other slightly to the north), from the vocals broke through the haze like the beams of all those lighthouses.

A gypsy lady gave me my tarot cards in `The Tower' as the guitars droned and spiralled in a manner most pleasing to these ears. The hangman may have indeed been smiling, but that did not match my own grin upon hearing the resurrected `Powerslave' styled melodic intricacy in the post-coital glow of the phallus shaped six string instrument's solo. Lord, they had remembered all those Christmas cards I hath sent to dearest Saint Nicholas requesting;
`Dearest Saint Nicholas,
Would you please tell Adrian Smith to resurrect the `Powerslave' styled guitar harmony.
Lots of love, your pal Ed.'
`Killing Floor' was indeed a much maligned track, are dearest reviewer thought to himself. But indeed their was much for the children to relish in, he thought. The guitar interplay as per usual was fantastic and a interlude keyboard lifted the song above the humdrum to a point at which it could view the cathedral spires and citadels below as nothing but greyish specs.

Dick Brucington had indeed been know to visit his local book van in the past, but never before had his listeners experienced such a unabashed display of wordiness before. The messages of Blake are rooted deeply in his `Chemical Wedding', with even a smattering of Shakespeare wickedly coming it's way through the lyrics...albeit not upon a Marriage hearse as Blake's did.

`Jerusalem', the highest point of this album, is based on the poem itself and the Giant Albion to who Blake and indeed those who have adopted his writings is the embodiment of Britain. Aptly enough the song itself is fiercely English as well. The folk elements that are a predominant feature of the song are so far removed in terms of dignity and grace from the plastic and shallow attempts of so many Scandinavian, musically inadequate `Vikings' (you drive a lorry and have yet to master the high seas yet alone touch another man's world serpent) and the guitars harmonies as melodious as a choir of angels, once again lifting the song into a whole new realm of brilliance.

Yet some poor spiritually deprived vagrants may never understand. Dearest Father, they sleep clutching their Vio-lence and Dark Angel. Thrashing in abject misery, while we, the Chemically Wed, crept out of are bedroom windows, into the night time world we wander with crummy Ipod headphones firmly in our fully lobed ears, remembering, that God is love and he gave us a son by the name of Adrian of Smith.

Have you not heard the splendour and glory of our `Chemical Wedding'? Well, you poor hapless child, take you father's keys to his cabinet and consume all the bottles of amber and crimson liquid you may find... drink child, drink from the crimson cup of wonder! Now, take your reaching stick and knock haphazardly around in mother's bathroom until you come across some white and surely delicious sweets, eat them all. Lo and behold! The outside city that entombed you has now transformed into England's pleasant and green land, run infant, run. The gift of second sight is truly upon you! Collect all your shiny pennies and go now to the Dark Satanic Mills of Virgin Megastore, pay the priestess at the till and take your copy of `The Chemical Wedding', before the drugs and alcohol in your system leave you infirm and dilapidated.

Give Me Your Soul Please
Give Me Your Soul Please
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Such a Polite Ghost!, 9 July 2007
King Diamond never disappoints and this album is no exception. Instead of trying to radically change and re-invent themselves King and Andy have gone about writing a consistent good old fashioned King Diamond album.

After the intro of 'The Dead' the album really begins with the excellent 'Never Ending Hill' with it's Judas Priest alike riffing and some phenomenal guitar work from the much underrated Andy LaRoque and Mike Wead (who have handled guitar duties together since Abigail II).
To me the excellent guitar playing really makes this album and it's as good as ever. The riffs are dark and heavy yet without losing any melodic sensibility and the solos are soaring and shredding without ever descending into to pointless 'betcha can't play this' exercises. Also Mike Wead's solos at points bear a resemblance to Michael Denner's, which is no bad thing.

It's striking that without any studio trickery King still hits those eerie high notes as well as he ever did, even after more than 25 years. Lyrically, of course this album is a concept revolving around little girls in bloody dresses, dead brothers and King's black cat Magic (that brought a smile to my face), which is all fairly standard King Diamond fair. Although if your looking for the more old school satanic Mercyful Fate lyrics you may be a tad disappointed.

Song wise this album is consistently good with all the tracks being worthwhile rather than just filler conceptual pieces. However standouts include the aforementioned 'Never Ending Hill', 'Is Anybody Here', 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Give Me Your Soul'.

So although the overall concept is not King's strongest this album is still exceptional because of the merit of the individual songs, playing and even the production. I is a great joy to know that 20 years after his masterpiece 'Abigail' King can still produce an outstanding album.

Humanity - Hour 1 [Limited Edition]
Humanity - Hour 1 [Limited Edition]
Offered by dutchtoni
Price: £18.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Desmond Child Not Enough Scorpions!, 6 July 2007
The Scorpions have reinvented themselves on this album, but what they have become I cannot bring myself to love. The Scorpions have drafted in Pop producer/songwriter Desmond Child and as such are have ended up sounding like a modern polished pop rock band.

The songs for what they are aren't necessarily bad, it's just the direction in itself which I find so Lacklustre. I suppose if I was to pick standouts on this album I would choose the opening track Hour I, The Cross and Humanity. However non of these songs are necessarily bad it's just the fact that their not Scorpions songs at all, for instance one could easily turn one the radio and find Kelly Clarkson singing 'The Game of Life' with its ultra poppy hooks. Perhaps rather worryingly or perhaps a tribute to the bands talent is that they seem very comfortable with this new modern, mature direction. Ah yes, the maturity, for this album gone the hopes of any big dumb rockers about Big City Nights or sexual conquest's and such. They have been all but replaced by lyrics based around, yes you guessed it, Humanity! So Lyrically this album is 'Winds of Change' updated for 2007.

However on the plus side instrumentally the performances on this album are very strong, with Matthias Jabs providing some very good lead work proving himself once again a exceptional and underrated guitar player in my book. Klaus, shows that his voice although perhaps not as strong as it once was is still in very good form. Also the new rhythm section of James Kottak and Pawe³ M¹ciwoda play solidly throughout leading me not to miss Francis Buchholz or Herman Rarebell with any particular intensity.

So in conclusion this is not a particularly bad album for a modern pop/rock band but it just doesn't feel like the Scorpions of the 70's and 80's that I love. But next time can we have a little more rock please? I feel really bad giving the Scorpions such a bad review but in light of such overwhelmingly positive reviews for an average album, I feel that it is neccessary. 4/10.

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