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Kingcrimsonprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England)

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Sign Of The Hammer
Sign Of The Hammer
Price: £6.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manowar - Sign Of The Hammer, 5 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sign Of The Hammer (Audio CD)
In 1984, just two years after their debut, the legendary US Heavy Metal band Manowar released their fourth full-length studio album, Sign Of The Hammer. This was no rushed affair, just the shining output of a prolific and incendiary band hungry for success.

The album opens with the absolutely brilliant “All Men Play On Ten” which is like some kind of Heavy Metal mixture between Kiss’ “I Love It Loud” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Working For MCA” with its storytelling approach and behind-the-scenes setting, coupled with the love of high amplifier volumes. Musically, a bit of a slow groover, with lots of neat guitar work and a chorus designed for singing along to.

The rest of the album, with the exception of the brief guitar solo “Thunderpick,” is all pounding, exciting, varied and interestingly structured classic Heavy Metal.

Tracks like the catchy “Animals” and the thunderous Title Track, alongside the Speed Metal of “The Oath” and the absolutely superb album-highlight “Thor (The Powerhead)” are some of the most consistent and enjoyable tracks you could hope for. The band sound so right, but so unique. There’s no messing about, no filler, not even any ballads this time either. Instead the diversity comes from within the tracks themselves, with tunes like “Mountains” containing enough exploration and deviation from the norm to stop it all feeling samey.

If you look at the back of the record and see the title “Guyana – Cult Of The Damned” you’d be forgiven for thinking this was also a track about Greek Mythology… “Who is Guyana? She must be the goddess of cults or something” but it turns out that the track is about the Jonestown mass suicide where over 900 people died – “Thanks for the Cool Aid, Reverend Jim” – and then you remember where Guyana is. The track itself is an interesting, theatrical, seven-minute mini-epic that tastefully explores a lot of ground and is a fitting closer to the well-crafted album. All the choral sounding backing vocals and the “grand” sound of the production really makes it feel like something important.

Overall, Sign Of The Hammer is a concise, interesting and entertaining album from Manowar that is both surprisingly tasteful and still good honest fun. It may not feature any half-naked barbarians on the cover but it should be in every Manowar fan’s collection without exception.


Fighting the World
Fighting the World

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manowar - Fighting The World, 3 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Fighting the World (Audio CD)
Manowar released their fifth full-length studio album, Fighting The World, in 1987 on Attco records. It was the first album of theirs to be self-produced by the band. It can definitely be seen as something as a transitional or experimental record, sitting interestingly between the excellent albums which would follow it and the classic run of the rawer first four albums.

In many ways, not least the artwork, the album feels a bit like Kiss’ Destroyer. After the rawer early stuff, the band start throwing in samples of speeding cars, adding lighter sing-along anthems and in many ways taking a bigger, more commercial sound designed to elevate them to new heights.

At least, that’s how it initially feels. The title-track feels like Manowar only watered down a tiny bit…. “Blow Your Speakers” feels like Manowar lyrically but the sound sounds a bit, dare I say, almost glam? …then “Cary On” seems like an even bigger step too far. Was this the same band who wrote “All Men Play On Ten” and sang about priding themselves on never selling out or having a thin sound? – In reality its just an anthem in the Judas Priest sense, ala “Defenders Of The Faith,” “United” or “Take On The World” but on first impressions it might throw people for a loop.

Even though this first half feels like the mighty Manowar might’ve been considering selling out (and luckily history tells us this didn’t happen, judging by the excellent albums that followed) the second half of the record puts to rest such notions. There’s the epic, grandiose “Defender” and the speedy crushing “Violence & Blood Shed” “Holy War” and especially “Black Wind, Fire And Steel.” These exciting, vital sounding, furiously catchy Heavy Metal tunes are everything that’s great about Manowar… the guitar solos, the double kicks and unusual drum fills, the varied and impressive vocals… the sheer triumphant attitude and entertaining energy. Yes… this is top quality stuff indeed.

The other two tracks are essentially just the slow moody intros to the aforementioned “Holy War” and “Black Wind, Fire And Steel” and to be honest you could easily consider them to be part of those songs if they weren’t written down separately. They provide a little bit of variety and are entertaining, and certainly they augment the tracks which they seem paired with, but don’t feel overly worth writing home about in and of themselves.

When you think of the half-hour album in terms of containing three fantastic, powerful and varied classic Heavy Metal tracks, alongside one vastly entertaining epic, then the fact that the first three songs are of an unexpected musical direction isn’t really too much of a problem. That and well, even if they are stylistically not what you’d go and ask for, they are actually pretty damn catchy and enjoyable once you give them a few listens. Eric Adams goes a bit more Paul Stanley than Rob Halford here, but hey… at least the band isn’t just putting the same record out again and again.

Overall; a lot of people are a bit suspicious and put-off by this album. Despite this if you are into Manowar you should still absolutely give it a chance. If not you’d be missing out on some blindingly good Heavy Metal tunes like “Violence & Bloodshed” & “Black Wind, Fire And Steel” and a bit of diversity.


Kings of Metal
Kings of Metal
Price: £9.38

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manowar - Kings Of Metal, 1 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Kings of Metal (Audio CD)
Kings Of Metal was the self-produced classic sixth full-length album by the legendary US Heavy Metal veterans Manowar, released on Atlantic in late 1988. It is one of the fan favourite Manowar albums that contains some of their most beloved and best known tracks that still endure in the setlist to this day.

If you aren't familiar with Manowar, this album would make a fine first step on the journey towards fandom. It is a powerful, grand and impressive sounding `80s Heavy Metal album that contains elements of Thrash and Power Metal at different times, but more or less serves as the distillation and perfection of the original Heavy Metal ideals.

Its got a mix of fun and serious lyrics. Sometimes boastful and silly, sometimes story-telling and evocative. Its got a mixture of all sorts of speeds. Its got aggression and restraint. Its also got a fair deal of variety on here, its not just the same type of thing over and over again.

"Sting Of The Bumblebee" is on there for example; which as you've probably heard is Joey DiMaio's frantic bass solo/instrumental track (even though its essentially a bass solo there are drums in there too at times) based on the famous Classical Music piece "Flight Of The Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

There are also three different ballads/slow tracks/orchestral tracks in the form of "The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings)," "Heart Of Steel" and "Kingdom Come." They are all very different versions of the whole Metal band being quiet theme. Normally three such tracks on one album would be overkill, but somehow the variety and difference in style between them lets it work.

Then there's also "The Warrior's Prayer," which is essentially a four-minute intro. It's a spoken word story, with some sound effects. No music. Overlong in my personal opinion, but I can't knock them for variety.

"Pleasure Slave" is a slower number. Heavy, but slow. Kind of Sabbathy. The lyrics are beyond ridiculous to the point, I assume, of parody. Still, it's a strong track that's got a nice doomy mood going on. Just not one to listen to with any feminists in the room.

All of these of course augment the faster, livelier, more bombastic tracks on the album: "Wheels Of Fire," "Kings Of Metal," "Hail And Kill," "Blood Of The Kings." These are some of the finest tracks on the album, the band's career, or the genre overall. These are catchy, enjoyable, impressive tracks that are really impactful. The sort of stand-up-and-take-notice "did you hear how awesome that was?" Heavy Metal that you've been longing for since you first got into this sort of music. You want to know if you should listen to Manowar? Give one of those a listen!

If like me, you weren't recommended Manowar straight away, or stayed away from the band out of fear that their internet-meme status was ill-deserved and their death-to-false-metal war cries would either ring hollow or obnoxious, then you should right that mistake as soon as possible and fill this clear and obvious gap in your collection. If not, you'd be missing out on some of the finest Metal music ever released.

Do you sometimes get an album and listen to it for a few weeks then sort of forget about it, and most of the time get an album and keep it in regular rotation for a few months then let it slip out slowly too? This is one of those ones that you can constantly hammer for half-a-year or more without getting even slightly bored with. This is the bee's knees. Do yourself a favour and at least give it a try.


The Triumph Of Steel
The Triumph Of Steel

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manowar – The Triumph Of Steel, 26 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Triumph Of Steel (Audio CD)
In the same year that Grunge was well and truly selling billions of CDs worldwide, US Heavy Metal legends Manowar released their seventh full-length studio album – 1992’s The Triumph Of Steel.

It must have been no easy task following up their immensely popular and loyally beloved 1988 release Kings Of Metal, nor must it have been easy having to train up a new drummer and guitarist after losing Scott Columbus and Ross “The Boss” Friedman. In fact, nor can it have been fun trying to promote an album of blistering, powerful, OTT Heavy Metal after “Man In The Box” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” changed what must’ve felt like every journalist on earth’s priorities in the pre-internet culture of the day.

Despite all that was going against them, Manowar released what must surely be one of their greatest ever albums (certainly its my personal favourite at any rate). Call it ambition, or call it arrogance, but the band even opened up the record with a twenty-minute long song. A song with a bass solo, a drum solo so indulgent that it has a separate solo for the cymbals and for the drums, two minutes of somber guitar violining… all telling the story of Achillies and Hector from Greek Mythology. The world wanted “Touch Me I’m Sick” …Manowar gave ‘em “Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts.”

Despite how easy it is to skip a twenty-minute album opener with three solos in it, the song isn’t poor. In fact, some sections of it are absolute genius, such as the furious Thrashy “Death Hector’s Reward” part, which feels like the musical equivalent of being battered upside the head.

After that, the first normal-length track comes in. Its my favourite track on the album, or by the band. “Metal Warriors” is the most perfectly-pitched, sing-along tribute to Heavy Metal that’s ever been written. Ludicrous to the point of featuring the lyric “If you’re not into Metal you are not my friend” and yet musically out of this world. Its some kind of supercharged version of Kiss’ “I Love It Loud” filled with Painkiller screams, mountain-top chants and the screech of guitars that feel only-barely in control.

There’s more blistering speed, in the sword-and-scorcery realm of “Ride The Dragon” with its constant double-kicks and incredibly catchy chorus.

The band then take a different tack, choosing to sing about Native Americans in a surprisingly tasteful way, in an interesting mid-paced affair that sonically evokes cowboy movies subtly, but doesn’t loose that Manowar sound. Maybe they were jealous of Anthrax? Who cares why they did it, but it works, really well!

Then they follow it up with another mid-paced track called “Burning” which you’d imagine might be a momentum killer, but is actually one of the more interesting compositions in the band’s catalogue. It’s a bit different than their usual any of their usual directions… epics, ballads, rousing anthems or blistering speed. It’s a nice change of pace. Sort of experimental, with a lot of emphasis on dynamics and Eric Adams trying out as many vocal techniques as he can imagine.

“Power Of Thy Sword” comes next, and its what I would consider the quintessential Manowar song. If you wonder if the band are for you, this is one of the tracks you should use to decide. Its got everything that’s great about the band in spades. Its so powerful, OTT and fun. Its beyond catchy, the solo is awesome, there’s slow bits, fast bits and there’s a touch of the orchestral epic-ness that the band aspire to. With this one song, you get a good musical, technical and lyrical picture of Manowar… oh, and by the way its a great song too!

Even if the last one felt good enough to be an album closer, it doesn’t stop there. There’s more Metal in the form of “The Demon’s Whip.” A robust, interesting track which is half crushing Sabbath-inspired Doom and half double-kick Thrash attack, almost-ending the album with a jarring reverse-whiplash effect as the too-slow doom accelerates out of control to the tune off way-too-loud whip samples.

It all closes with the grand, cinematic, vocally-impressive “Master Of The Wind” which kind of evokes Greg Lake-era King Crimson with its chiming bells, big reverb, dynamic production and haunting singing. Its probably the best ballad/orchestral-track that Manowar ever did. Not something to be skipped, but a genuine album highlight in itself.

Overall; Triumph Of Steel is a really diverse and almost strange album. Despite its seeming lack of focus, it really feels like Manowar just doing everything they could think of to absolute perfection. Anthem – nailed. Ballad – absolutely nailed. Fast bits – nailed. Slow bits – nailed. Exploring new ideas – nailed. Keeping true to what makes Manowar, Manowar – nailed. It might not have gotten the attention it deserved at the time, but for my money this album is a straight up-and-down masterpiece that shows what superb musicians, performers and songwriters Manowar are from every possible angle. Highly Recommended!


Louder Than Hell
Louder Than Hell
Price: £9.56

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manowar – Louder Than Hell, 26 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Louder Than Hell (Audio CD)
1996’s Louder Than Hell album was the US Heavy Metal legends Manowar’s eight full-length opus, and served as a grand and defiant championing of Heavy Metal that was simultaneously both ahead of and behind its time. Manowar in steadfastly focusing on what could be argued as the “true” (the band certainly argue that themselves) aspects of the original Heavy Metal sound were throwing back to the early ‘80s heyday of Metal from which the band themselves came, something very uncool in the eyes of the Grunge and Alternative focused public at the time, and in so doing were setting up the future, predicting the soon to be popular Power Metal movement that had been brewing happily away for a decade but really exploded when bands like Hammerfall would break just a year or two later.

This album sees the return of drummer Scott Columbus, who was absent from the band’s superb previous album, 1992’s Triumph Of Steel, as well as seeing the introduction of new guitarist Karl Logan who’s muscular sound fit nicely into the band. It was self-produced by the band and released on Geffen. Just cast one eyeball at the album’s art and that should tell you whether or not you’ll love this album. Embarrassed by “cheesy” D&D bands? Think singing about being in a band is dated? Then step away! However…Think that close-up shot of ‘roided-out barbarian thumping an anvil is awesome? Then buy a copy without hesitation!

Musically, Louder Than Hell is another step down the road that the band have always been headed in. Manowar don’t make the same album over and over again, but they never make a head-scratching left turn either. This is the logical successor to Triumph Of Steel. You can see how Thrashy tracks like “Death Hector’s Reward” and “Ride The Dragon” from that record begat “Outlaw” on this record. You can see how tracks like “Wheels Of Fire” on the album before that, begat the tracks on this album such as “The Power” (sonically, with the bombast and absolute over-the-top performance) and “Return Of The Warlords” (thematically, with the biker imagery and don’t-care attitude).

Manowar also always have a lot of lyrical fun boasting about how awesome they, and Heavy Metal in general are, and in the fine tradition of tracks such as “Metal Warriors,” “Kings Of Metal” and “All Men Play On Ten,” this album lets rip with an absolutely storming, fists-to-the-sky anthem in the form of “The Gods Made Heavy Metal.” A track so charged with pride, power and the demand that you sing along that you can almost picture the band in the studio laughing to themselves that they’ll never get away with being so obvious….and yet you forgive them, because, well dammit, its just THAT GOOD.

There’s also spots of variety to break up the oily, red hot ‘80s-Hollywood-masculinity that the band love to exude so much (to the point of constantly singing about power, strength, challenge, muscle, fighting and having all that bodybuilder imagery in photoshoots and album covers) in the form of a nice piano-ballad called ‘Courage’ (because you can tender AND manly!) as well a guitar-only solo track, and a dense, 9-minute Prog affair called ‘Today Is A Good Day To Die” which sounds like some kind of Power Metal version of Pink Floyd’s “Empty Spaces.”

This album has a nice production job, with a nice crunchy chug to the palm-mutes, a nice amount of drive, audible bass-guitar, and a clear separation of all the instruments (toms merrily dance from ear to ear during fills, and you can accurately feel how the band would be standing relative to one another in the practice-room). Add to that, another fantastic vocal performance from Manowar’s secret genius Eric Adams who can sound equal parts Rob Halford or Paul Stanley influenced depending on his mood, but with a distinctive identity all of his own most of the time.

Overall; It sounds great, the band play/sing great, there’s a bit of variety but not too much in the way of interludes or nonsense shenanigans, and just a general feel of consistency and craftsmanship. Its a strong whole for sure – and on top of that there’s some absolutely superb standout tracks that elevate it even higher – just try not enjoy “Brothers Of Metal,” “King” or “The Gods Made Heavy Metal.” If you thought Manowar were done after the first four albums, you thought wrong! Louder Than Hell is absolutely worth your time and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Thrash, Power Metal, NWOBHM, or good old Heavy Metal.


Down IV - Part 2
Down IV - Part 2
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Down - Down IV Part II, 2 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Down IV - Part 2 (Audio CD)
Down IV Part 2 is the American Metal super-group Down’s 2014 release. As its title suggests, it is the second in a series of EPs released under the Down IV title, following up 2012’s “Down IV Part I – The Purple EP.” It was produced by Michael Thompson along with the band themselves and released independently.

This was the band’s first official release without longtime member Kirk Weinstein of Crowbar fame, who is replaced here by Bobby Landgraf. Ironically, this EP is probably closer in sound to Crowbar than to Pantera, Eyehategod or Corrosion Of Conformity (the other groups besides Crowbar that the band are usually associated with).

First up, for an EP, this is actually pretty substantial, a total running time of almost 37 minutes leaves it longer than many albums anyway.

The focus of songwriting this time around seems to focus on the heavier, mid-paced side of the band’s repertoire. I don’t think the distinction between EPs 1 & 2 is all that strict, as in, its not a clear cut case of one has all the fast songs, one has all the slow songs, or one has all the basic songs and the other has all the progressive songs. This EP is essentially more of the Down mid-ground. Its not the most “instant” release in their catalogue, and may take a few spins to really get to grips with, but if you give it the time it asks for, you’ll get the rewards it promises.

Highlights include the brief “Hogshead/Dogshead,” and “Sufferer’s Years,” which is particularly catchy with its “I hate this time of year” sing-along, and the fat ‘60s/’70s sounding riffs in the pre-chorus. It is a nice mixture of the bands Doom, Sludge & Stoner sides, approaching vintage Hard Rock in 2014 from multiple angles. This is perhaps the most definitively “Down” track on the album, and hopefully it will become a concert staple.

The record ends with the almost nine-minute long “Bacchanalia,” one of the looser and more jam-feeling songs on the record. You imagine it got its title from the drunken party in which it probably spawned (as opposed to a secret love of Batman No Man’s Land). This track in turn ends with a softer acoustic moment, likely foreshadowing Down IV Part 3 as the promised all-acoustic EP originally mentioned when the band come up with splitting the album into different EPs.

Overall; this is not necessarily bold new ground for the band, and the focus on mostly similar direction material may leave some fans feeling an acute lack of variety or excitement, but for what it is, to me personally, Down IV Part II is an entertaining collection of Down songs and a worthy addition to the catalogue. If you’re burned out by the formula, or want something fresh and new from these guys, maybe give it a miss, but if you can’t get enough Down, then by all means jump on board.


Blind Rage
Blind Rage
Price: £13.19

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accept - Blind Rage, 30 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blind Rage (Audio CD)
Blind Rage is the 14th full-length studio album by the legendary German Heavy Metal band Accept, and the 3rd since their triumphant reformation with the new Mark Tornillio-fronted line up. It was released on Nuclear Blast Records in 2014 and was masterfully produced (as with their previous two records) by veteran British producer Andy Sneap.

Right off the bat, let me just say that I absolutely love this record and would highly recommend that any fan of the bands previous two records buy it without hesitation. Moreover any fan of the band or even just the genre should consider buying it. On my initial listen, it sent giddy shivers up my spine and had me thinking of phrases like “album of the year” and “career highlight” straight away, and even now when the early excitement has been tempered and attempts have been made to be rational and objective, this still feels like a very strong and important record on every single listen. It is at once both an immediate hit and a massive grower.

The style on the album is more-or-less the same style of modernized pure Heavy Metal from the last two albums; teetering smoothly on brink of early Power Metal and Hard Rock, topped off with the cherry of Mark Tornillo’s gravely Udo Dirkschneider-meets-Lemmy Kilmister (by way of Brian Johnson) vocal style. If you like pounding double-kick drums and guitar solos you want to sing along to, this is the sort of stuff for you. There are big riffs and chant-along backing vocals all over the place designed to make everything feel memorable and make you want to pump your fists in the air.

There are tracks here that could neatly slot into either of their previous two albums without looking out of place at all, and so in many ways, the album is partly a continuation of what the reunion line-up has been doing so far.

In other places however, the album has its own identity and overall it isn’t just a carbon copy of either Blood Of The Nations or the superb Stalingrad. Blind Rage diversifies into softer, more melodic and anthemic directions as well. Tracks like “Wanna Be Free” and “Dark Side Of My Heart” almost harken back to the Metal Heart spirit in a way. This makes sense as the band mentioned the classic Accept sound a lot in interviews at the time of this album’s promotion and the climax of the album-closer “Final Journey” sonically references the track “Metal Heart” itself.

Highlights include “Dying Breed” – a mid-paced number which lyrically pays tribute to other legendary bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon etc. – as well as the catchy single “Stampede” (a real grower indeed) and the speedier “Bloodbath Mastermind.” That being said this is an absolutely rock-solid album with no filler or weak moments at all.

Overall, Blind Rage is an absolutely stunning record. There are so many memorable moments and catchy riffs on here that it almost doesn’t hit you right away just how very well-written and impressive it is. The performances are great, the production is immaculate and I have nothing but praise for the songs themselves. I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy if you are in any way interested.

****

The edition I bought comes in a fat digipak contained within a slipcase. It is packaged with the Live In Chili 2013 concert on Blu Ray.

The tracklisting is as follows:
Intro/Hung Drawn And Quartered/Hellfire/Restless And Wild/Losers And Winners/Stalingrad/Breaker/Bucket Full Of Hate/Monsterman/Shadow Soldiers/Amamos La Vida/Guitar Solo/Neon Nights/Bulletproof/Aiming High/Princess Of The Dawn/Up To The Limit/No Shelter/Pandemic/Fast As A Shark/Metal Heart/Teutonic Terror/Balls To The Wall

Here are the Blu Ray specs:
Resolution 1080p, Sound PCM Stereo, Region All, Running Time 121mins.

This is excellent value for money as it isn’t the usual low–quality bonus disc; the performance is great, it sounds pretty decent, the editing is fairly tasteful and in all honesty it almost feels like a proper release that could stand up as its own product if it had more sound options and a few extras. Very occasionally it looks overdubbed or there’ll be a silly editing choice, but it is for the most part well-made. It is great to see the reunion line-up absolutely tearing it up live and the mix of newer material with the usual concert-favourites makes it feel vital and exciting.

If the price difference isn’t too much I’d definitely recommend getting this version.

****


Grey Britain
Grey Britain
Price: £19.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Gallows - Grey Britain, 19 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Grey Britain (Audio CD)
2009's Grey Britain is the seminal sophomore album (and Magnum Opus) by the unique British Hardcore Punk band Gallows. It was their major label debut and final album to feature original singer Frank Carter.

It was released through Warner Brothers, who gave the band a substantial budget which allowed them to hire an orchestra, and despite now being beholden to a major label, Gallows somehow managed to turn in something nastier, more artistically relevant and furiously biting than anyone could want or expect. It was produced by Garth Richardson (of Biffy Clyro, Rise Against, Mudvayne, Sick Of It All and Testament fame) and featured guest appearances from Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil and Black Hole's Richard Carter.

The album, in terms of quality, is an absolute gem. The combination of monster riffs, savage and politically astute lyrics, passionate energetic performances and the great deal of variety and clever ideas make this album feel like an absolute classic.

Everything; from the crushing sludgy intro "The Riverbank," to the catchy "The Vulture" and the almost Mastodon-esque album closer "Crucifucks" this album is excellent. Pianos and string sections mix with Metalcore influenced breakdowns, ragged Hardcore power and some of the best lyrics going. Its all absolute gold. There is no filler, no weak moments and an absolute feast of memorable moments. Moments like the `beat by beat as the blows reign down' section in "Death Voices" or the ending to the anti-Knife Crime anthem "Queensbury Rules" are utterly unforgettable and really connect on a raw, gut level. When Frank venomously spits out the lyrics to "Misery" you practically fear for his life.

Its hard to pick stand-out moments because this is such a powerful, effective and consistent album that every song can be your favourite song at one time or another. It also gets better and better with each new listen and is a real grower. Every song is excellent on its own, but when combined they come together as a sort of menacing black-hearted semi concept album that is even better than the sum of its parts.

Overall; this is an utterly superb album on every level and I highly recommend that you pick yourself up a copy. The sheer raw passion oozes through every moment of the album and the themes of urban discontent, violence and the breakdown of society all come across as brutally visceral and honest, never for a moment feeling contrived. This is an artistic masterpiece and deserves to be hailed as a classic album from this point on.


Shot To Hell
Shot To Hell
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Black Label Society - Shot To Hell, 19 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Shot To Hell (Audio CD)
Shot To Hell is the seventh full-length studio album by the American Heavy Metal band Black Label Society, the biker-themed band started by ex-Ozzy Osbourne virtuoso guitarist Zack Wylde.

It was their first release on Roadrunner Records, and it was released in 2006, one year after their successful Mafia record. The album was co-produced by band leader Zakk Wylde and Michael Beinhorn (of Korn, Marilyn Manson, Soundgarden and Ozzy Osbourne fame).

The band are purveyors of big meaty riffs, frequent guitar slide and squeals, and Zack’s blistering solos. The mostly guitar based songwriting is accompanied by Grunge-tinged singing, solid uncomplicated rhythms designed for head-banging and fist-pumping and a mixture of fast or mid-paced Metal songs with acoustic numbers (often with a slight Southern Rock hint or the inclusion of piano).

The vocals here have gone from a sort of blend between Neil Fallon and Layne Staley to having a larger Ozzy influence this time around. Other than that, this isn’t one of the band’s most talking-point albums. Not the rawest, the fastest, the doomiest, the most quiet, or anything else. This is just Black Label Society, doing their thing (meaty, simple, enjoyable Metal songs). It could be argued that this is a slightly more commercial effort due to the mostly shorter song durations and frequency of ballads, as well as the inclusion of the MTV friendly hit single “Concrete Jungle.” So; if you aren’t into the bands rawer, doomier side, skip their debut and start here, and vice-versa; if you want the band at their gnarliest start with the early stuff and work forwards.

No matter what direction you prefer from the band however, there are some really killer BLS songs on here; especially towards the end of the record. “Faith Is Blind,” as well as the acoustic-but-bouncy “Blood Is Thicker Than Water,” and especially the speedy “Devil’s Dime” are all particularly strong.

If you are a fan of Clutch, Alice In Chains, Pantera, ‘90s Corrosion Of Conformity, ‘90s Metallica, ‘90s Ozzy Osbourne, or even Soil then Black Label Society are well worth your time checking out. This album, while not boasting any easy descriptive label, is a good addition to the collection. I would also recommend Sonic Brew and Order Of The Black too if you haven’t heard them already.


Live In The Devil's Triangle
Live In The Devil's Triangle
Offered by reactive6
Price: £1.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Pissing Razors - Live In The Devil’s Triangle, 14 Aug. 2014
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You can tell from the very first seconds of Pissing Razors’ first and only official Live Album, Live In The Devil’s Triangle, that the band mean business. It kicks off instantly into a noisy powerful fury, and from that point onwards scarcely lets up in intensity at all for its sixteen-tack, hour-long duration.

With the enthusiastic crowd riled up, tracks like ‘Burning Bridges,’ ‘Dodging Bullets,’ ‘Mass Corruption’ and ‘Cursed’ are blasted through with a fiery and sincere performance that is at once razor sharp, but still utterly teeming with energy and passion.

Do you know those rare brilliant live albums where the songs are just even better than in the studio? Live albums that make you feel like you are at the actual gig and aren’t overproduced but still sound fantastic? Albums like Pantera’s 101 Proof? This is such a live album. If you were only to get one Pissing Razors album, you could happily chose this and get a stellar, no-filler collection of their brightest moments, all put together in a great performance.

The album features the then-new singer Andrew Acosta on vocals on his first recorded appearance with the band, as well as Cesar Sota on guitar filling out the line-up alongside long time member Rick Valles on bass and absolute virtuoso drummer Eddy Garcia. The 2002 record features a career spanning setlist that, more than any other release, really shows what this underrated Texan Groove Metal band were capable of. The band have a superb formula, and here that formula is made manifest, and elevated beyond its station to become greater than the sum of its parts for once, and it is really worth your time checking it out.

Do you like bands like Pantera, Machine Head, Fear Factory, Prong and Soulfly? You may love Pissing Razors too if you give this album a try.


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