“Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead” by Skinless

Artist: Skinless
Title: “Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead”
Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: 6/13/2006
Genre: Grindcore
Rating: 5/5

To Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead should be the mantra of every technically inspired Grind outfit on the planet. The bombastic approach that defines the genre is as much about the imagery as it is of the end-result on the listener’s tympanic membrane. Leaving the ear-bled ruins of Death Metal’s underbelly gasping for their own survival, Skinless has returned with what might be a new benchmark for the genre.
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“The Truth” by Bleeding Through

Artist: Bleeding Through
Title: “Truth”
Label: Trustkill Records
Release Date: 1/10/2006
Genre: Metal Core
Rating: 3

The Truth. Sincerity, integrity and a fidelity to an original standard. The Truth is Bleeding Through’s latest offering and their attempt at living up to the boldness of their title in an Orange County frame of mind. The Truth is also Bleeding Through’s pick up right where they left off on This is Love, This is Murderous, (their Trustkill Records debut) with a predictably solid offering of riff-laden romance gone wrong. It features an even more polished production and an even tighter delivery with more focused song structures. The Truth builds upon the breakdowns, the keyboard undertones and blackened hardcore that the quintet has become known for. Bleeding Through are designed to evoke passionate responses and one can not help but feel during the record the seismic pain that the band expresses. However, unlike the rawness of their debut this is paved over by an opportunity to share it more with the masses. The choruses are more prominent and the definition features a simplistic sensibility in the tried-and-true of the current scene.
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“Rockford” by Cheap Trick

Artist: CheapTrick
Title: “Rockford”
Label: Big3 Records
Release Date: 6/6/2006
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4/5

Cheap Trick has always proved to be a consistent source of quality Rock and Roll and with “Rockford”, they have done it once again. This album would be their third release outside of the major label arena and come to the fans care of Big 3 Records. “Rockford” starts off with “Welcome To The World” and it’s a jumping opener that delivers the same kind of energy that the band gives their fans on the concert stage. “Come On” is one of those quick typical sing along tracks that the guys excelled at and while radio has not seen a Cheap Trick hit since “The Flame” I found “Perfect Stranger” and “If It Takes A Lifetime” would have been perfect material for the medium. The terrestrial radio world is far different from the time it regularly had Cheap Trick music showcased on it and now as a result perhaps the growing Satellite stations and cable music feeds is the best idea for this band going forward. The lineup is again the originals with Robin Zander (vocals), Rick Neilsen (guitar), Tom Petersson (bass) and Bun E. Carlos (drums) – I think it’s fantastic to see that after all these years that the band still delivers and has not been through 10 membership changes. It keeps the vibe that they started long ago running just as fresh and fun as it always had been. There is a cute booklet that features the animated caricatures of the group and despite their music and lyrics being very catchy and easy to remember they did not include lyrics to the songs. I feel this would have locked the piece up for me yet overall it is a very consistent album and for a band around as long as Cheap Trick there is nothing else that I expected of them.
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Spock’s Beard @ B.B. King Blues Club (5/5/2006)

Logo - Spocks Beard

Artist: Spock’s Beard
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: n/a
Date: 5/5/2006
Label: InsideOut Music

Progressive Rock stalwarts Spock’s Beard would return to New York City after a several year absence and as one would expect the group would perform at the reputable B.B. King Blues Club. It was a smart move on their part for while the venue has been the host to a myriad amount of Heavy Metal bands over the last few months; they have also made sure they were the place to where the Progressive Rock and Fusion legends can drop by to entertain their fan base. Their performance was billed as “An Evening With” and this would find Spock’s Beard to be the only band on the bill. This gave fans an early show, which was a welcome change for me. A Tool tribute band would come in at Midnight to perform for an entirely different crowd. If you have ever been to B.B. King Blues Club in the past, you will be amazed at how fast the staff manages to clear you out in order for the next performance to run smoothly. This would also be a sit down show, I noticed a larger amount of tables for the event, and this meant no photo pit for me. The lack of a photo area would also have me finding this a little bit annoying for a Progressive Rock crowd is a lot different from a Metal crowd and I find them a little more uptight than you would expect to find in any concert setting. Granted you want to be able to enjoy the set as the band performs, but I am amazed at the absolute level of silence while the groups play. I saw this at Marillion the last time they played and I was shocked that I was actually told to “shush” a couple of times. The part that drives me crazy is the lack of compliance when you are trying to bring the music to the larger public, no one wants to move and you are constantly in the way. Despite this level of dramatic, I was ready to have a rocking time and no one would be able to stop me.
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“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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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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