All posts by Ken Pierce

Ken Pierce is an NYC based Music Journalist and the Editor In Chief of PiercingMetal.com; 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.

Fear Factory @ Irving Plaza (11/8/2005)

Logo - Fear Factory

Artist: Fear Factory
Venue: Irving Plaza
Opener: Soilwork, Strapping Young Lad, Darkane
Date: 11/8/2005
Label: Calvin Records

Hot off the heels of their support of Megadeth with their appearance on Gigantour, Fear Factory was back with a headlining set. For the fans this band has this would be a welcome thing as Fear Factory was one of those Gigantour bands that was only afforded 30 minutes of performance time and this is just not enough to have when you are a band of this capacity. They also made sure to bring along some incredible groups as support and to give every fan their money’s worth without question. They labeled this “The Transgression Tour” which was smartly going to keep the name of their new album fresh in your mind. Joining Fear Factory on the tour would be Darkane, Strapping Young Lad and Soilwork. All of these bands are under the Century Media Records family in some fashion. Here is a little about each band for easier reference.
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“Rock The Nation” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Rock The Nation”
Label: Image Entertainment
Release Date: 12/13/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

KISS returns to the small screen following their “Rock The Nation” tour with a concert film that is sure to satisfy a large amount of their fans. The KISS of today is a little different than legacy fans might remember as Ace Frehley and Peter Criss have been gone from the group for a couple of years. In their place and their signature makeup is Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer on guitar and drums respectively. When this first became practice the original KISS fan in me was annoyed at this aspect but it was clear after some time that Ace and Peter simply were not going to be able to cut it or follow the directives lined out by Simmons and Stanley to keep this group running. I would have preferred these fine musicians join in and KISS carry on without the greasepaint, but in truth KISS in makeup is what fills the seats and allows them the larger than life personas that so many recognize. Having seen them in the live setting I can say that they do the original members justice and perform with an enthusiasm that Peter and Ace no longer seemed to have during their final appearances of their tenure. This DVD takes us to the front row of one of their performances on the “Rock The Nation” tour and it is a great follow-up to their last release of “Alive IV: KISS Symphony”. That particular DVD still had Peter but Thayer was already made up as the Spaceman. “Rock The Nation” was a show that if you were able to get by the other cast members now in famous makeup you were able to enjoy the concert as it featured a large amount of songs that had not been played in years. Songs like “Parasite”, “Love Her All I Can” and “Makin’ Love” had not been part of the live set for a long time and it was indeed a treat to hear them performed again. KISS also had begun the practice of adding non-makeup era songs to their set and this was a welcome change since so many good songs came out after their makeup removal in 1983. As a result we find “Lick It Up”, “Tears Are Falling” and “Unholy” on the film and these were MTV Staples at the time of their release. During this tour there were all sorts of added tunes and I felt KISS could have found a place for them on this double DVD. Sadly they did not and while the concert itself is done and shot well they did not add more of the tracks for the ardent KISS fan to enjoy.
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“The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: Vol. 2 – The Eighties” by Martin Popoff

Author: Martin Popoff
Title: “The Collector’s Guide To Heavy Metal: Vol. 2 – The Eighties”
Publisher: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 11/28/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

Martin Popoff follows his successful “Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal” with a second volume that focuses exclusively on the Eighties. Mister Popoff is certainly someone who knows the music business and is well known for his work on his other books as well as work with “Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles” as Editor In Chief. Metal fans will in most cases agree that this particular decade was seminal for the genre and perhaps the most productive in terms of band signings, record and video releases as well as bombastic shows from some of the industries greatest bands. With “The Collectors Guide To Heavy Metal V2: The Eighties” you will find 3700 reviews in it’s 540 pages. There is not much in the way of photographs with the exception of some albums being represented but by excluding this they are able to keep the book at a reasonable size. Those that enjoyed the first volume of this guide will appreciate the fact that many reviews not present in the 1st book have representation in this one. As a matter of fact, Popoff even has given an update to many of the ones that made their way to this volume. This ties the whole idea together a little better. This is not a book that you can expect to read from beginning to end in a single sitting but instead something that you can enjoy comparing his views on the releases against your own and taken as a valid reference point on the decade. Of all the vast and varied artists included you will find a good sampling of releases by KISS, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Savatage and Ozzy Osbourne. In addition to these giants you will also find many cult favorites such as Vandenberg and others who while releasing killer recordings somehow missed the audience that they deserved. If you bought a lot of Metal vinyl or cassettes during this period then you have a good chance of finding a lot of what you spent your money on in this book. My thanks go out to Martin for reminding me of how few of some of my cult favorites remain on vinyl and never getting the CD treatment. I feel that a lot of readers will go digging through the vinyl in their basements after reading this book.
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“We Will Take You With Us” (DVD) by Epica

Artist: Epica
Title: “We Will Take You With Us”
Label: The End/Transmission Records
Release Date: 8/9/2005
Genre: Symphonic Gothic Metal
Rating: 7/10

Released in tandem for the CD bearing the same name Epica gives us the visual side to “We Will Take You With Us”. Filmed in the studio as the band recorded the CD, this DVD shows the group playing their hearts out in a very non-descript room with their full choir and string sections. Fans of the CD or their debut release “The Phantom Agony” will enjoy this right off the bat but I feel that new fans might not be so taken with it. It is a simple reasoning on the way this is laid out for given that this is a studio session recording it does not offer you much in the visual sense and can come across as quite boring when you realize you are just watching them play with limited motion or sitting. Mark Jansen speaks before almost every song but this is in Dutch with no subtitles. This should have been addressed before issuing this product on the world at large as I know that I would have found it nice to understand what he was talking about before each song. Performance wise this is a great product as their level of play is incredible and while the acoustic numbers are nice I leaned towards the full band and symphonic pieces that make up the early section of the performance. There is one main difference in the DVD from the CD and that is in the omission of the German version of “Run For A Fall” which was included as a bonus on the CD. It should have been left on the DVD to be honest, there was no reason to cut it.
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PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2005: Music – Video – Concerts

Having only launched PiercingMetal.com in April, this list is not a super long one. However, it does feature some of the releases that we found most favorable along with the shows that we enjoyed the most. Maybe you agree with us on some so please take a look.

Logo - The Best Of

The Best CD’s of 2005:
Mercenary “11 Dreams” (Century Media Records): One of the finest mixes of Metal genre to come out of Century Media records this year

Soilwork “Stabbing The Drama” (Nuclear Blast Records): This CD made a fan out of me, and is likely to do the same for you.

H.I.M. “Dark Light” (Sire Records): First official US Release and mixes elements of their previous work to a fine blend. Try this melodic gothic act out and you will not regret it.

Judas Priest “Angel Of Retribution” (Epic Records): Reunion, simple as that, they show why they are Metal Gods to this very day.

Iron Maiden “Death On the Road” (Columbia Records): The 40th live album from Iron Maiden shows up their last try and is quite enjoyable.

Korpiklaani “Voice of Wilderness” (Napalm Records): Ever hear Folk Metal? You will be a changed person when you do.

Leaves Eyes “Vinland Saga” (Napalm Records): Atmospheric Gothic Metal and this CD take you to another world.

Journey “Generations” (Independent): Anyone who stopped supporting Journey because of Steve Perry leaving is an idiot because Steve Augeri rocks. This is one of the best Rock records of the year.
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