All posts by Ken Pierce

Ken Pierce is an NYC based Music Journalist and the Editor In Chief of; He's been documenting the live Metal and Rock scene of the Big Apple since 2003 and believes that there is always something exciting happening in this Metropolis.

“Oculus Infernum” by Van Helsing’s Curse

Artist: Van Helsing’s Curse
Title: “Oculus Infernum”
Label: Koch Records
Release Date: 10/7/2003
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 8/10

Halloween 2003 saw the coming of Van Helsing’s Curse to the world of symphonic power rock (I will refer to them as “VHC” for the remainder of this writing. The best way to describe The VHC, is to think of them as a Halloween version of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO for short). Most of you are probably aware of or have heard of the TSO by now, this is a group that covers the Christmas Season (and does it amazingly well I might add).

The VHC have made it the time to address the long overdue Halloween Season. Granted, we have Alice Cooper, Misfits and other great performers that have a spookified theme to the shows, this however takes us on a different journey altogether. VHC is the brainchild of Dee Snider (Twisted Sister’s frontman) and Joe Franco (who many people will remember as Twisted Sister’s drummer for the “Love Is For Suckers” album as well as Widowmaker and the Good Rats if I can pull a reference from way back in time). Joining VHC is Mark Wood who also plays live with the TSO on lead violin. He is amazing, and does this group credit.
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“Anywhere But Home” [CD/DVD] by Evanescence

Artist: Evanescence
Title: “Anywhere But Home”
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 11/23/2004
Genre: Alternative
Rating: 8/10

Break out band Evanscence have released their first live DVD entitled “Anywhere But Home”. This piece follows up their award-winning release “Fallen”. The lineup consists of Amy Lee (vocals) along with Rocky Gray (drums), John LeCompt & Terry Balsamo (guitars) and William Boyd (bass). From the initial recordings of Evanescence, Amy Lee is the only remaining member and principal songwriter. Guitarist/co-Founder Ben Moody left mid tour last year. The DVD comes with a companion CD of the same concert, given you a double shot for the dollar.
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“Nailed To Metal: The Missing Tracks” by U.D.O.

Artist: U.D.O.
Title: “Nailed To Metal” – The Missing Tracks
Label: AFM Records
Release Date: 11/2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7/10

The release of U.D.O.’s “Nailed To Metal – The Missing Tracks” is a really good live recording. While I have never really been a fan of Udo Dirkschnieder’s voice, I found myself really feeling the intensity he delivers his songs has been kept throughout his career. I first saw Accept when they opened for KISS on the “Lick It Up” tour and the fans were Legion at this performance. Yet for some odd reason I was not into them yet. I would change that opinion after a few more listens to the “Restless And Wild” and “Balls To The Wall” albums.
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Amorphis @ B.B. King Blues Club (3/20/2005)

Logo - Amorphis

Artist: Amorphis
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club – NYC
Opener: Into Eternity, Beyond The Embrace
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Date: 3-20-2005

Finnish legends Amorphis returned to New York City for one show to support their latest release entitled “Far From The Sun”. This release on Nuclear Blast Records finds the band with a new lead singer and an entirely different approach to their brand of metal. When one looks at band tour schedules, you will see that B.B. King Blues Club seems to be getting every single metal act that is on the road. It’s pretty interesting touring nowadays. I think I have been to this venue over a dozen times to cover shows and it does not seem to have a slow down yet. Always a good thing to have one venue at least you can trust to bring you the latest and greatest in Heavy Metal performances.
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“Positive Rage” by Eternal Flight

Artist: Eternal Flight
Title: “Positive Rage”
Label: Cruz Del Sure Music
Release Date: 10/24/2004
Style: Progressive Metal
Rating: 7/10

The second that I placed this CD in the changer I was reminded of the first Dream Theater album “When Dream And Day Unite”. Since I really enjoyed that piece of “forgotten metal (as not many Dream Theater fans choose to recognize it), I knew this would not be a bad listen. The band comes to us out of France, and I was surprised for the Country is not known for power or progressive metal as much as Finland or Sweden are. There are some very good hooks on this CD, and the fans of the genre will be happy that nothing is lost in the area of technical ability. Everyone in the group plays their instruments very well, and the singer has a truly passionate voice that is very similar to a younger Geoff Tate. Never a bad comparison.
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