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.

“Grime Vs Grandeur” by Falconer

Artist: Falconer
Title: “Grime V.s Grandeur”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 5/3/2005
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 8/10

The newest release by Falconer is certainly a great follow up to 2003’s “Sceptre Of Deception” as once again Stefan Weinerhall has composed a solid slab of Metal for fans new and old. If this is your first time even hearing the name then this CD is something that will definitely make enjoying them a very easy task. There is so much in the terms of kick ass song writing and riffing that even I was impressed at first listen. I admit that I liked “Sceptre” and the band but one must take each release as a separate entity these days. There are a couple of differences that listeners should be aware about the band this time around. For starters the line up has changed with the mutual quit/firing of Anders and Peder from the last recording. They are ably replaced by Jimmy Hedlund (guitar) and Magnus Linhardt (bass). The other difference is that this is straight ahead Metal and not an epic story like the last one was. There are individual songs rather than connected segments that require a full CD listen to get the impact of. Weinerhall and Gobel each split the writing for this album and I feel that this allowed Gobel to really develop his own identity in the band this time around. On “Sceptre” he was new to the line up and performing ready to record material. Being responsible for 25% of the album makes this better for him and the group as a whole. “Emotional Skies” kicks the release off and lets you know that you are in for a metal treat. Great chops and a sing along chorus that will make you raise a glass of whatever very high as you join in the vocals. Weinerhall’s guitar work is just as good as the last release and on “Power” both axe wielders showcase their skills. On “The Assailant” I was reminded of early Krokus from around their “Headhunter” years due to the drive this track held. “Child Of The Wild” closes the recording with a slamming dose of double bass and lightning guitar that I think even the most discerning critic will like. It’s a consistent recording and shows a musical skill that should gain a lot of fans for Falconer. They join a sad number of bands that are excellent but under exposed due to the ever-changing Music Industry. Let’s hope that bands like Hammerfall and EdGuy see it in the cards to bring them over when they again tour.
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“The Dirt: Confessions Of The Worlds Most Dangerous Band” by Motley Crue with Neil Strauss

Title: “The Dirt: Confessions Of The Worlds Most Dangerous Band”
Author: Motley Crue with Neil Strauss
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishing
Release Date: 7/1/2002
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 10/10

If you were to take all of the musical tomes available today you will find that this one will stand out substantially higher than the rest of them. It makes sense when you consider the often turbulent history of Motley Crue themselves for as a band their music was as volatile as their offstage personalities. Truly Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil and Mick Mars were Rock Stars to the very essence of the word. By now it’s safe to assume that most fans of the band have seen the VH1 episode of “Behind The Music” which delved into their chaotic history but since it’s only a one-hour program how can it do anything more than touch upon some of the most famous points. The 448 page book is broken up into chapters that are lined out by each individual member. You might start off with Tommy speaking on something and then it catches Sixx around the same topic and so forth. This made it a fascinating read as it came off much like an in-depth interview as well as a biography of the notorious musicians. I found that with the group having such a level of input into the content of the book that this made the read far more gripping and pure. When you reach the more poignant moments such as when Vince’s daughter succumbed to cancer it pulls at the very heart strings and you will find yourself reaching for the Kleenex. The book begins historically at the earliest recollection and leads up to the actions of only a couple of months before print of the book. It even features sections by their replacement members and this makes it more on target. Everything you had ever heard about Motley Crue the band and the members is in here, the good times and the bad, the lives and the deaths that surrounded them and when you close it you will wonder how any of them are still alive.
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Finntroll & Sodom @ B.B. King Blues Club (1/8/2006)

Logo - SodomLogo - Finntroll

Artist: Sodom
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Finntroll
Date: 1/8/2005
Label: SPV Records

The arrival of Finntroll and Sodom proved that it would be one of those interesting nights at B.B. King Blues Club once again. The two bands would be the only groups performing and while Finntroll preceded Sodom, this was clearly a co-headlining show without any question with a seemingly larger audience presence than that of Sodom. From Germany, Sodom brings one of those classic Thrash sounds and it has rarely changed much over the course of their history. Finntroll is a different story altogether as the band mixes Black and Pagan Metal styling with Finnish Polka or Humppa. The end result delivers a far different taste of music. To be honest I was primarily there for Finntroll and many reports had come in saying that the line up should have been switched with more audience showing support for this Finnish export. Here are some details on the evening’s fun.
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“Operation: Live Crime” (DVD) by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Operation: LIVE Crime”
Label: EMI Music
Release Date: 11/20/2001
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 9/10

Queensryche truly delivered a masterpiece with their third album and signature release “Operation: Mindcrime”. Originally presented to the fans in 1988 this album raised the bar of Progressive Metal to levels that have yet to be matched or surpassed. The songs have withstood the years and with this DVD recorded in 1991 Queensryche takes the entire album to the concert stage. “Operation: LIVE Crime” is an excellent video and presents to the viewer the “Mindcrime” album the way it is supposed to be experienced; in it’s entirety from beginning to end. The album is quite possibly the Metal genres own “Dark Side Of The Moon” or “The Wall” and the video combine some animations shown on screens above the band along with their energetic performance and drama to a great result. The production is very clear on this and the photography on target but since this is from 1991 there are some limitations in the overall video presentation. It is a straight visual of the show and while you have some great close ups there is no option to switch angles or players or things that come out in today’s DVD’s. The full original Queensryche lineup is present with Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton, Chris DeGarmo, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson who were still incredibly hungry with this release and perform it as such. The band is complimented by the lovely Pamela Moore on “Suite Sister Mary” as she was also on the album. I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite albums live so much that it’s difficult to pick out my favorites. However I always seem to lean to “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “I Don’t Believe In Love” the most.
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“All For One” by Raven

Artist: Raven
Title: “All for One” – Remastered
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 8/8/2000
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

In the early years of Spitfire Records existence they began to bring back some of Heavy Metal’s most popular releases from some of the world’s most interesting artists. One band who brings back Metal’s early years was Raven and this remaster of “All For One” is a fantastic take on the band. Those who were fans will tell you that this is probably the bands magnum opus or most favored release. The music of Raven was pure and solid and from a time when Heavy Metal was not Hard Rock and still a far cry from some of what would follow in the path (Glam Rock, Thrash Metal, Death Metal etc). The group was made up of the Gallagher Brothers (Mark and John on guitar/vocals and bass) who were supplemented by the maniacal drumming of Rob “Wacko” Hunter. Hunter was most known for his donning of a hockey mask for shows and he also was prone to slamming his head into the drums during performances. Mark Gallagher was a good guitarist by the standards of some others and had a scream that would break glass if you had it too loud. The album itself is full of the best head banging material that one could find from this era in the genre. Among the standout tracks are “All For One”, “Run Silent Run Deep”, and “Mind Over Metal”. It’s incredibly tame by today’s standards of the form but without the early adventurers the artists of today would not have anything to inspire them.
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