“The Neon God: Part 2 – The Demise” by W.A.S.P.

Artist: W.A.S.P.
Title: “The Neon God: Part 2 – The Demise”
Label: Sanctuary Records Group
Release Date: 9/28/2004
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

Chapter 2 of Blackie Lawless latest opus has just been released and it is a continuation along the same lines musically as the first. Guitarist Darrell Roberts not only manages to kick some serious guitar ass on the CD, but he is very involved in the production of the piece. Originally I was hesitant at his replacing Chris Holmes who I am so used to even a couple of years after his departure. However, hearing these now 3 albums he has done with the band and seeing them live makes me say what a great addition he is to the lineup. He is a commanding presence onstage as well.
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“Tuesdays and Thursdays” by ZO2

Artist: Z02
Title: “Tuesdays And Thursdays”
Label: Splivey Cool Ent.
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Melodic Rock
Rating: 8/10

Z02 is the brainchild of the Brothers Z, Paulie and David along with drummer Joey Cassata. The members of this group are not strangers to the performing world by a long shot. David is the touring bassist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra while Paulie and Joe are members of the popular KISSNATION (a NYC Based KISS Tribute band). The CD “Tuesdays And Thursdays” is quite the tasty piece of Rock and Roll. It also sports an amazing production for a group of guys who are releasing this independently without major label backing. One does not always see the level of quality that they have made sure to place on this piece. It even sports a fully colored and lyric filled booklet that is covered with artwork. Really nice looking and well-thought out.
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“Rev It Up” (remaster) by Vixen

Artist: Vixen
Title: “Rev It Up” (remaster)
Label: EMI Music
Release Date: 10/2004
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 5/10

It seems as thought EMI wanted to take advantage of the VH1 Program “Bands Reunited” when it thought to re-issue the two albums by the all-girl “Metal” band Vixen. The sophomore effort by the band really was nothing all that special, and simply contained more of the same thing that the band featured on their self-titled release. Granted the girls knew how to play, but it was simply just “nice rock” if you needed a title. This record suffers from sounding a little too much like the manner of music that Heart had been playing for a couple of years so it loses a little based on that. Also when you held them up against the Pat Benatar or Lita Ford’s and Joan Jett’s it simply did not cut the mustard.
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“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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