“Live At The Whiskey” by Paul Di’Anno

Artist: Paul Di’Anno
Title: “Live At The Whiskey”
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 11/21/2000
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 6/10

Original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno released this live album to commemorate his tour which touched down in Los Angeles California as one of its stops. “Live At The Whiskey” is not a bad selection of his solo material as it has a very traditional feel to it’s makeup. One could expect no less from the singer that fronted Maiden for two amazing albums before Bruce Dickinson took over the role. Songs like “Marshall Lokjaw” and “Impaler” actually sound like they could have been on an early Maiden release themselves since the same groove that made us love that band is rooted deep in his solo material. The band is made up of Graham Bath, Gavin Coopers, Cliff Evans, and Steve Hopgood who do a good job for the most part but with such a strong Iron Maiden feel to the original stuff it is difficult to see them shine more than as great cover players. I admit that I did not follow Paul’s career after Maiden and when I heard a live album would be released I expected it to be a lot more of the classic band than was actually present on this release. The whole group does a knock down job of the four classic Iron Maiden songs present and these were particularly good choices for his set list. From his original material in addition to the songs I referenced above I enjoyed “Three Words” and “Die By The Gun”. Fans of the singer will be impressed at the limited change in his vocal register over the years. He can still handle the classic material and does a great job on his own stuff.
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“Live Vengeance ‘82” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Live Vengeance ‘82”
Label: Columbia Legacy Music
Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

Judas Priest is screaming for vengeance once again with the release of this vintage concert performance from 1982. Originally presented on VHS cassette, this concert was unseen for decades until the release of the “Metalogy” boxed set where it was included as a bonus DVD with the first editions. The reunited and touring Judas Priest of 2004 made a lot of this type of product seeing release once again which is a great thing for the fans. This concert itself was quite enjoyable and shows a very sparse set with only the banner of the album cover as a backdrop while Priest just play their hearts out. The camera work is limited to close-ups and far away shots but it finds a very in-prime Judas Priest performing a great set from their new album of the time which was “Screaming For Vengeance” in Memphis, TN. This album would be a lot heavier than its predecessor “British Steel” and find the band once again on top of the Heavy Metal Mountain. Since this album was being showcased an ample amount of the set list would revolve around its content from “Electric Eye” to the mega-hit “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”. The younger fans of Priest will enjoy this as almost a historical film and be shocked to find out that this same video received ample rotation on MTV Networks in the long years ago. Headbanger’s Ball was not even an idea yet, but at the time the showing of Rock and Metal on the video channel was commonplace. Seeing a full concert such as this was cool, but nothing unexpected of them. Surrounding the killer new songs is a healthy amount of Judas Priest classics as well such as “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking The Law” and even older material like “Sinner” and “Diamonds And Rust”. The lineup was Halford, Tiptop, Downing, Hill and Holland. The one thing this reminded me of especially was how little I enjoyed the drumming of Holland. His level of play on some of the earlier material of the band just had no kick to it. I am glad the Judas Priest of today finds Scott Travis in the driver’s seat, for he allows them to maintain levels of heaviness and speed that would otherwise be unattainable.
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“Overkill” (remaster) by Motorhead

Artist: Motorhead
Title: “Overkill” (remaster)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 10/25/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

To celebrate the band’s 30 year career, Sanctuary Records is re-issuing expanded and remastered versions of some of their best albums. The two CD sets come with the original album remastered, along with a second CD that is loaded with bonus and unreleased tracks. The jewel cases are slip-cased and include full-color booklets that are packed with topical information on the release as well as photos and notes from the time of the album’s release.

Motorhead’s 1979 release of “Overkill” was going to be the album that found Lemmy, Philthy and Fast Eddie coming into their own unique sound and execution of their music. Cited by the band’s founder as “we are simply a Blues band that plays their music at 1000 miles per hour” the wheels were officially in motion as Motorhead began to dominate the building Heavy Rock scene. Those who were fans in the beginning realize that the band was never Metal, but more fast-paced and thunderous Rock and Roll in the purest form. I think this combination of straight forwardness and power met the level of appeal that it did purely because it was never masked as anything other than what it was. “Overkill” is filled with a number of classics that still remain a part of the bands set to this very day and the band’s playing was growing tighter with each album. Favorites on the album include “Stay Clean” and of course the title track as well as “No Class” and “Metropolis”. There was nothing subtle about Motorhead as a band and the music on this album celebrated that fact. The release year of 1979 also found this being a fitting headstone of the world of Disco music. Motorhead would open up the door for the 80’s Rock bands a little bit and their influence would begin to resonate in musicians all around the world.
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“Embrace The Storm” by Stream Of Passion

Artist: Stream Of Passion
Title: “Embrace The Storm”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 10/25/2005
Genre: Gothic Melodic
Rating: 8/10

Proving that he is never one to rest of his laurels Arjen Lucassens has done it once again. His last album was the epic “Human Equation” (released with Ayreon) and it would be received with considerable acclaim and justifiably so. He would put aside Ayreon for the next musical adventure and bring us a totally new band entitled “Stream Of Passion”. The band would be new but listeners would not be a stranger to some of the players for joining Lucassens would be Mexican singing sensation Marcela Bovio who recently recorded with Ayreon. The remainder of the band would be filled by an internet contest and with members residing all around the world a truly unique musical experience was the end result. Marcela is an amazing talent and her voice will instantly appeal to those who enjoy the presence of a beautiful female vocal on top of their rock. It’s a Gothic meets Progressive meets Atmospheric group that will appeal very much to fans of The Gathering more than something like Nightwish. Ms. Bovio’s voice while powerful is not one of the operatic styled ones. The other members of the group are Davy Mickers (drums), Lori Linstruth (guitar), Alejandro Milan (piano), and Johan van Stratum (bass). Arjen himself is of course a member not only providing guitars but also largely responsible for the music composition. For this release he centered his composition on Marcela’s voice and ideas in order to make her shine as much as possible. The result is fantastic and with songs like “Passion”, “I’ll Keep On Dreaming” and “Spellbound” there is a very positive result for the listener. I enjoyed these particular songs as well as “Out In The Real World” and “Calliopeia” since there was a lot of the heavy vibe I enjoy.
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“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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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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