“Ten Thousand Fists” by Disturbed

Artist: Disturbed
Title: “Ten Thousand Fists”
Label: Reprise Records
Release Date: 9/20/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 9/10

I remember the first time I heard of Disturbed, it was this weird “ooh wak ka ka ka ka” thing he did that stuck in my mind at first and then of course the quality of their music remained. Songs like “Down With The Sickness” and “The Game” had the band quickly establishing themselves a dedicated following. “Ten Thousand Fists” is probably the most traditional in the Hard Rock/Metal sense as there is little experimentation present and instead rock solid performance and song-writing. There is also very little of the synthesized sounds from the debut and previous effort as this record aims mainly at knocking you out with Hard Rock power. There are songs that call to mind the speeding train of Motorhead in their consistency and overall this proves that Disturbed has what it takes to keep the attention of an often wavering music audience. I enjoyed most of the album to be brutally honest and this does not happen for me all the time. I listen to too much music and so much crosses my path that giving CD’s more than the normal reviewers listen of a couple of spins is impossible. “Ten Thousand Fists” has remained close to my changer since I received it. Some of my most referred to tracks are the title itself, along with “Just Stop”, “Deify” and “Decadence”. I also liked “Guarded” since that was as close to vintage Metal as one could find present. The guys lend their style to the classic Genesis track “Land Of Confusion” which the Progressive fans will probably hate – but then again that is not the audience of Disturbed in most cases. However, this might spark some interest in Genesis themselves based on the band covering the song. The Disturbed rendition is closer than you might expect and does not do the original any disrespect. Photos lyrics and artwork make up the included booklet which features art by Todd McFarlane.
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“See You On The Other Side” by Korn

Artist: Korn
Title: “See You On The Other Side”
Label: EMI Music/Virgin Records
Release Date: 12/6/2005
Genre: Nu-Metal
Rating: 7/10

The new Korn release “See You On The Other Side” is an interesting journey into their dark aspect of Heavy Rock. Often labeled “nu-metal”, I admit that I never thought this of them at all. Korn was always a band that pressed the buttons and pushed the envelope into a different direction from the bands that were truly Nu Metal. The result of their experiments gave Korn a unique mix of some Funk and often Industrial feels as well as a healthy dose of traditional Metal. Their new album would also find them minus one member as their previous guitarist Head decided to leave and pursue religion. Given Korn is not some extreme Black or Death Metal group I felt he could have remained and still made music. Despite the loss of a member the band did not slow down their pace and still deliver a solid album. I admit that I never really followed them but I was able to enjoy “Throw Me Away”, “Twisted Transistor” and “Souvenir”. “Love Song” was also a good one but I liked that more in the concert setting (I had just gotten to see their show). Jonathan Davis has a unique voice and it adds a large sense of mood to their already dramatic levels of music. This album in particular has a lot of Funk feel to it and is not as heavy as some of the earlier material I had heard. The musical prowess of Fieldy (bass), David (drums) and Munky (guitars) works very well across the album. Davis also provides some bagpipes which adds an interesting twist on the bands sound.
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“Holy Diver Live” by Dio

Artist: Dio
Title: “Holy Diver Live”
Label: Eagle Records
Release Date: 4/18/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8.5/10

Ronnie James Dio is one of the founding fathers when it comes to Hard Rock music. His three-decade plus long career began with work in Elf which continued into Rainbow alongside Richie Blackmore and Cozy Powell. This partnership gave the world songs that are still amazing today. When he replaced Ozzy Osbourne in the legendary Black Sabbath the fans of the band were given two very powerful recordings and showed that Dio was not only amazing at Hard Rock but also a true artisan of Metal in its purest form. The formation of Dio; the solo group that would tour under his name alone would be a Metal force to be reckoned with for years to come. The debut “Holy Diver” was also something magical in terms of what was in its grooves. The great guitar playing and drumming courtesy of newcomer at the time Vivian Campbell and Vinny Appice (Brother to the famous Carmine). Jimmy Bain held it together and played keys as well as bass all while Ronnie belted out one of the best albums in Heavy Metal history. Line up changes are nothing new in bands and fast forward to 1995 where Dio decided his fans not only demand but deserve a full performance of this legendary recording. The original concert found this executed later in the set but for better CD layout it is presented as the entire CD 1. The players on the album will be Doug Aldritch, a player with a lot of John Sykes qualities to him as well as drummer Simon Wright who performed with AC/DC and UFO.
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The 69 Eyes @ The Bowery Ballroom (3/5/2006)

Logo - The 69 Eyes

Artist: The 69 Eyes
Venue: Bowery Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Damone,
Date: 3/6/2006
Label: 456 Entertainment

Gothic Rock & Roll would make a triumphant and long overdue visit to New York City as The 69 Eyes arrived on our shores for the very first time in their career as a band. Singer Jyrki69 has long been an admirer of the “New York Scene” and sounds from the seventies and eighties and from them formed the band that we are finally able to enjoy for ourselves. Hailing from Finland the guys in the group take a far different approach to their music and instead of blistering displays of Power Metal, have brought a more streetwise sound that has influence in the Rock greats of the past. The 69 Eyes have more in common with KISS and The New York Dolls than they do with Nightwish and Sonata Arctica and give the whole thing a dark monster movie feel. The scene for tonight would be the Bowery Ballroom and this great venue with its capacity of almost 600 was crowded but not over-packed. While I had hoped for sold-out status I still felt this was great for the band, as with the newest album “Devils” hitting our shores only recently it would still be a round of positives. Having reviewed the album and knowing a handful of numbers previously this would not be a night of confusion in terms of the material. I was happy to have the heads up advantage.
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“Operation: Mindcrime 2” by Queensryche

Artist: Queensryche
Title: “Operation Mindcrime II”
Label: Rhino Records
Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 8.5/10

Do you remember how it started? Do you remember that he was only doing what they told him? Well a full 18 years have passed and Nikki has returned to give us the second chapter to his tale which began in the classic “Operation: Mindcrime”. A lot of their original fans might lambaste Queensryche for choosing to revisit the themes of their most popular release but since so many years have gone by there is an entirely new audience available to their music. I admit at first I was one of the detractors who screamed “How could they do this”, fearing that the original release and its premise would suffer as a result but after a couple of listens I am happy to report that I was wrong. “Operation: Mindcrime II” picks up almost two decades later as Nikki now out of prison goes seeking revenge on the man who both put him there and was the cause of all his problems in the first place. The mysterious Doctor X. appears on the album in the form of the legendary Ronnie James Dio but his talents are sorely under utilized. He appears in only one song and could have been effective at least in dialogue in other areas of the album. Pamela Moore returns as Sister Mary (whether in his mind or in spirit I have not determined yet) and she shines on a number of tracks. After so many listens to Ms. Moore as this character I am interested in hearing her solo work. Tate is once again on top of his game proving that his pipes are still able to deliver even after over 20 years in the business. I also found the band to be above par and playing the best that I have heard them do in a number of years. Guitarist Mike Stone seems to have really stepped up for this release and is no longer relegated to the shadows left by Chris DeGarmo who left the band a number of years ago. As one might expect, members Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson do not disappoint at all.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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