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.

“Visions Of The Beast” by Iron Maiden

Artist: Iron Maiden
Title: “Visions Of The Beast”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 7/15/2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 5/5

When you look back on the body of work that Iron Maiden has issued over the course of their career it the results are very impressive. Holding strong at over 20 albums consisting of studio efforts, live releases and greatest hit compilations Iron Maiden has always held the banner of Heavy Metal high this something that all fans should own. The double DVD Edition features all of the videos from the very beginning of their career until the album “Brave New World”. Fans get presentations by every singer in the group, which started out with Paul DiAnno, who was replaced by Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson has the most videos since his tenure was the longest and only briefly interrupted by his departure a few years ago. Blaze Bailey took on the mantle from there until Bruce decided to return to the group in 1999. Given their time of recording, many of the videos might seem sub-par based on their simplistic nature and overall campy nature. Songs like “Run To The Hills” especially come to mind as they include silent movie Cowboy vs. Indians footage as well as band concert imagery. Many of the videos also seem to be focused on Maiden being on stage doing lip-synching to the tracks. There are some cool animated menus to navigate around and for those that want a comprehensive example of the band historically in terms of videos – then you must grab a copy of this release. Everyone has a favorite Iron Maiden song and I think that this release caters to the larger public in that respect. Some of these clips will take you back in time, especially if you grew up along with the band. My favorites remain with “Wasted Years”, “Can I Play With Madness” and “Number Of The Beast”.
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“Storm” by Theatre Of Tragedy

Artist: Theatre Of Tragedy
Title: “The Storm”
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 6/27/2006
Genre: Gothic Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Theatre Of Tragedy returns with new recordings and most important of all – a new lead singer has joined the group. Stepping into the shoes of Liv Kristine comes Nell Sigland who really brings a lot to the table with her first outing as a member of the outfit. Kristine left a couple of years ago and now fronts Leave’s Eyes with her husband Alex Krull and the members of Atrocity. The style she adopted became a more Atmospheric Gothic Metal, while the ToT material remained more Gothic Hard Rock. There is a certain commercial feel to a lot of the songs on this album and when this is coupled up with the vocals of male singer Raymond Rohonyi the resulting formula works very well. There is a good chance that fans of Evanescence and Lacuna Coil will lean to the new sound of the group more than the sounds that their former singer took on. It’s a lot more accessible given its being rooted in a more conventional style of Hard Rock, there is a clean Male vocal which is almost mechanical at times and a lot of great keyboards running along with the guitars. Nell herself has a beautiful voice and her melodies add a dreamy quality to the tracks. Fans might feel that Liv Kristine would be a tough act to follow but I think after listening to this album that Sigland will have a large fan base as well. Title track of “Storm” mainly has Nell singing backup but as the album progresses she does more lead parts and really makes this album a pleasure to listen to. As a new listener to the bands material I found it very easy to follow and appreciate the sound and direction they were following and determine that many others who follow this Gothic branded sound will also find something they like about it.
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“Screaming For Vengeance” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Screaming For Vengeance” (remaster)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 5/29/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 5/5

The power and majesty of Judas Priest instantly hits you when the opening chords of “The Hellion” begin and the mood set by “Electric Eye” leave little denying that you are listening to one of the best Heavy Metal bands of all time. “Screaming For Vengeance” would follow the blockbuster hit making “British Steel” and to fans delight the record would not be as largely commercial as its predecessor would. Primarily a Heavy Metal album, the band was more and more moving from Hard Rock displays and showing the world just how it is done with this genre. The very popular album had an imposing feel that worked along well with the bands image of leather and spikes in songs like “Chains” as well as “Pain & Pleasure” but the bottom line was continually about Metal delivery. Personal favorites of mine include “Screaming For Vengeance”, “Devil’s Child” and “Bloodstone” for I felt the guitar work and Halford’s vocals were simply exemplary during them. The band would also find another radio hit in “Another Thing Coming” and this track would join its brothers from British Steel as concert mainstays. The guitar wizardry of Downing and Tipton was relentless on this release while the drumming of Holland plugged along a little better than it seemed to on Steel. Still mainly 4/4 time but worked in the context of the tunes a lot better on this one. I recommend this remastered edition to any Metal fans who might not already own the album, for a 1982 release it still sounds great and is one of the best from the bands back catalog.
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“Priest Live” (remaster) by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Priest Live”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 3/19/2002
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3/5

“Priest Live” was recorded during the bands tour for their album “Turbo”; the lackluster fan response to this release on its own made fans quickly choose sides when it came to a live album based on this tour. “Turbo” was a lot more commercial than many fans were ready for and the style-look of the group members was very “flashy” or “glam”, which caused a stir among the believers in their Heavy Metal gods. “Turbo” followed “Defenders Of The Faith” which was a monster of a record and much along the style of “Screaming For Vengeance”, so when the group suddenly delivers keyboard-laden guitar synth sounds you can see where the confusion begins. It would have been smarter to release some live release from the “Defenders” tour but they had just released “Live In Concert”, a VHS recording of the “Screaming For Vengeance” tour. During this time in history, live concert videos were few and far between, as bands did not release every single tour on video like we see done today (Iron Maiden, Dream Theater etcetera). I saw this tour and had a problem with the song selection that they did for it, but of course, it was geared towards the new album. Outside of “Out In The Cold” and “Locked In”, I felt the album was sub-par and was aiming in the wrong direction. It was a view that songs like “Private Property” and “Parental Guidance” made stronger every time they would be played on the radio. For a live recording this does sound good and Priest still makes sure to get heavy on the no nonsense numbers such as “Freewheel Burning”, The Sentinel” and “Screaming For Vengeance” but the lackluster tracks from a Metal fans standpoint truly take more away from this release than they bring to it. This is an album that is more for the completeist who wants no gaps or perhaps those that found “Turbo” to be their very favorite of the Judas Priest back catalog.
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Crashbox @ Crash Mansion (6/26/2006)

Logo - Crashbox

Artist: Crashbox
Venue: Crash Mansion (New York, NY)
Opener: Core Records
Date: 6/26/2006
Label: Independent Artist

Tonight at the Crash Mansion would be an open invite to media and band friends as the group Crashbox performed a set of material in celebration of their album “Crashbox”. To be honest, I had never heard of the young group before and since I was not much the follower of your up and coming Power Pop outfits I had the idea that I would enjoy some music and a couple of beers with my counterparts in the industry. I had also never been to the Crash Mansion before and had some curiosity about the venue itself. The name was known to me from the band ZO2 who performed there very often but despite being a fan of the band I had yet to find myself inside its doors. The show was in the downstairs portion of the club and I loved the look of the place. As you walk through its dramatic halls to the main bar you soon find yourself near the stage where several couches and other chairs to sit on are available should you want to actually sit down while a rocking band is doing their stuff. Crashbox hit the stage rather close to the specified time and since this was a showcase of their material one expected the group to be timely as opposed to otherwise.
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