“The Chemical Wedding” (remaster) by Bruce Dickinson

Artist: Bruce Dickinson
Title: “The Chemical Wedding”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 6/21/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

“The Chemical Wedding” is a no holds barred return to the Hard Rock/Metal roots and an end to the experimental & avant-garde material that was being showcased on earlier solo efforts of Bruce Dickinson. The welcome change to his fans from the Iron Maiden years would be considered his finest and heaviest of the solo albums released and making it more special would be the presence of Adrian Smith and Producer Roy Z. on guitars. Dickinson was holding strong onto a very productive solo career and Iron Maiden had slowed down a little bit with singer Blaze Bailey on the microphone. Blaze while a good singer did not command the appeal that Dickinson did and the material would also not hold much of a sway on the audience either with the exception of “The Clansman”. The delivery of tracks like “The King In Crimson” and “Killing Floor” proved to many that Bruce was still capable of being heavy and these tracks had more punch to them than any of Maiden’s offerings of the time.
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Carl Palmer @ B.B. King Blues Club (6/6/2006)

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Artist: Carl Palmer
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 6/6/2006
Label: Sanctuary Records

If you grew up in the Seventies and followed Progressive Rock music then you certainly would have been aware of the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. For years they tested the limits of how Prog-Rock could be delivered and are held as legends in the genre for their accomplishments. Keith Emerson was super-human on his synthesizers while Greg Lake sang and played bass, the three-piece puzzle was complimented by the one and only Carl Palmer who was nothing short of a drumming genius. The mere mention of his name causes most percussionists to bow their heads and mumble utterances as to their lack of worthiness – all of it well deserved. Like most bands, people move on and ELP has not been around for about 10 years – allowing the individuals who made up the group to explore their own artistic direction and continue on the musical path. Tonight at B.B. King Blues Club, the legendary drummer Carl Palmer would be bringing a set of music to a sold-out room. Walking in we found tables for this one, and it was a shame since I know many people who were not able to get tickets for this. Seeing a drummer such as Carl perform in such an intimate venue is not something one would expect to do sitting down, so I snared a spot on the side and began to enjoy myself. The band would simply be Carl Palmer on drums and commentary, Stuart Clayton on bass and Paul Bielatowicz handling the guitar duties. Right off the bat I knew this would be interesting, as there is no keyboard player in the touring band. With so much of this in ELP music it would have to be piped in on tapes or performed somehow by the guitar player. The latter would be the case and the audience would find themselves treated to an amazing player on the axe with an almost Alan Holdsworth/Steve Vai level of skill. Song after song, he translated the Keith Emerson keyboard runs into guitar parts and the biggest surprise of all – he is 16 years old. Yes, Carl Palmer’s guitarist was the age of some of the kids who attended the show with their parents tonight and this kid was incredible to say the least. Despite the young man’s talent, everyone was there to see Carl, and he would be both drummer and emcee this evening. Sitting behind his blue vistalite Ludwig’s Carl would show everyone in attendance the level of play he is capable of and it is nothing short of astounding. Oddly enough it would be a much smaller kit than he ever used with both ELP and Asia, yet it worked on all levels for the set he would play with the band tonight.
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Slayer @ Continental Airlines Arena (6/16/2006): “Unholy Alliance Tour”

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Artist: Slayer
Venue: Continental Airlines Arena (East Rutherford, NJ)
Opener: Lamb Of God, Children Of Bodom, Mastodon, Thine Eyes Bleed
Date: 6/16/2006
Label: Def American Recordings

The show was billed as “The Unholy Alliance” tour and I cannot think of a better description especially for a tour that take the most exciting Metal bands of today and partners them up as openers for the one and only Slayer. The show in my area would be at The Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford NJ, and tonight it was labeled as the “theatre”. When they do this, areas of the venue are cordoned off by large black curtains. These drapes make the venue just a little more intimate. I first experienced this during the last Slipknot tour and was amazed at this aspect of the place with this setting being used.

Thine Eyes Bleed: Sadly, I missed their entire set and the result of this would be the very early start time for the show. When you have five bands performing this is the risk you take and a venue is under different restrictions from a nightclub so that was that. I did hear a couple of good things about them from surrounding people who rushed in to the place to get the best spot for the night and I will be looking into their CD as soon as I can get my hands on one.
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PiercingMetal Talks To Korpiklaani’s Jarkko Aaltonen (7/11/2006)

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How do you describe the band Korpiklaani to someone who has never heard of the name before? How do you possibly explain a Metal band that has a larger than usual lineup to best deliver their brand of Folk-Metal because the use of the traditional instruments is so necessary. Very simply, you cannot accomplish this task with any ease whatsoever as any discussion requires you to have a CD player or computer to offer immediate example of the cool brand of Metal these guys are delivering. Folk Metal has been around for awhile, and can be heard in bands like Finntroll and Skyclad among a host of others. Yet of them all Korpiklaani stands out a little more since the music has more of an accessibility than the others. The band has never toured the US and given their being based in Finland the easiest way to do this interview would be via email. I tried to keep the ideas to a degree where readers could hopefully learn more about the band and dig deeper into their music. Answering the questions would be the bands bassist Jarkko. Here is what he had to say.

KP: To begin this, I find that Korpiklaani really takes the aspect of “Folk Metal” to the next level. We have heard this type of music done in Finntroll and Skyclad but it truly seems that Korpiklaani “kicks it up a notch or two”. What are your thoughts on that and have you heard this before.

Jarkko: Of course we’ve heard a lot of different comments and comparisons. Quite often we’ve been compared to some bands that I’ve never heard before so I’ve then bought one or two of their albums and checked them out myself. Skyclad for example is one of those. I really enjoyed that album but I really couldn’t hear the resemblance, except that both bands have a violin. Musically and especially lyrically really different. Same goes to Finntroll. We’ve been categorized to the same genre but musically we’re quite different. Most of the folk metal bands are basicall metal bands with some folk elements thrown in when Korpiklaani’s roots are originally in folk music and the metal part has been added later. On the latest album the metal part became a bit more dominant without losing much from the folk melodies, so I guess we’ve found a right balance between those two and some people like you will find that combination quite interesting!
Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Korpiklaani’s Jarkko Aaltonen (7/11/2006)

“V” by Cactus

Artist: Cactus
Title: “V”
Label: Escapi Music
Release Date: 7/18/2006
Genre: Blues Rock
Rating: 4/5

It has been well over 30 years since Cactus has released an album, or for that matter, even been together. It’s my guess that some readers might be seeing this and thinking “Cactus?”, Who?”, “30 Years…huh?” Well, for those members of the readership allow me to explain that Cactus was a short lived “Supegroup” in the early 70’s. The band consisted of Carmine Appice (drums) and Tim Bogert (bass) the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge, along with guitarist Jim McCarty from Mitch Ryder’s
Detroit Wheels and The Buddy Miles Express, and singer Rusty Day from Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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