Artist: American Head Charge
Title: “The Feeding”
Label: DRT Nitrus
Release Date: 2/15/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
When I first got the “Feeding” CD by American Head Charge I felt that I was listening to a band that was moving away from the nu-metal style and instead were employing a more industrialized groove that at times reminded me of Marilyn Manson or even Nine Inch Nails. I was brought to this conclusion by the way singer Martin Cock handled his vocals from soft subtlety and then to raging yells. The riffing of the guitar and mixing in of keyboards transform this from being a run of the mill band. Kicking you right in the face with this is “Loyalty” which is one of my fave tracks on the CD. It’s a great mix of Metal attitude and Melodic harmony. “Dirty” is another fierce number and a staple in the bands live performance. The band is definitely versatile and on tracks like “Ridicule” I was almost reminded of Faith No More at times in the track. The lineup for the recording is as follows: Martin Cock (vocals), H.C. Banks (bass), Bryan Ottoson (guitar), Chris Emery (drums) and Justin Fowler (keyboards) and a solid lineup it is. Friends for years the band first unleashed their brand of mayhem on the world with 2001’s “The War Of Art” and appeared on that same year’s Ozzfest.
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Title: “Thunder Seven” – Remastered
Label: TML Entertainment
Release Date: 11/9/2004
Genre: Hard Rock
As I listened to the remastered CD for Triumph’s “Thunder Seven” I was instantly reminded of the tour they did to support it. In 1984 I had attended a performance of this show and The “Thunder Seven” tour was a great memory for me to recall. Not only was it to be a tremendous night of music which featured Mountain and Loudness on the bill, but it would also be the first time that I ever saw this Canadian Import. It was truly a great evening of music from some of Rocks finest artisans. When “Thunder Seven” was released Triumph was on top of their game and the consistent radio play of songs like “Spellbound” and “Follow Your Heart” gave strength to this even more. Rock radio was in full command of things at this time and as a result people who had never heard of these Progressive Rock Kings were hearing them on the air in regular rotations. Nowadays classic Rock is limited to one or two stations and you will be lucky to ever hear Triumph. Today you seldom see Rock bands making an impact as great as Triumph did in their day. This day and age is more about quick numbers and easy output, true talent often takes some searching. With this release we find some of the best guitar work and singing by Rik Emmet. Gil Moore proves that drummers can deliver not only powerful playing but also be great singers. Mike Levine as always provides his most solid bass work and backing vocals.
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Title: “Live Evolution”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 10/9/2001
Genre: Progressive Metal
Filmed at a comfortable sized theater in their hometown Seattle in 2001 this Queensryche DVD showcases the band not as aging rockers looking to cash in on a hits show but instead as mature and seasoned Elder Statesman of Progressive Metal. Queensryche has never failed to deliver to their fans a great live show and this DVD Film is a testament of that statement. The viewer can consider this a greatest hits show as looking over the set list; it is pretty much what it amounted to. Around this time, the group was on a tour that followed their appearance on a triple threat bill of Iron Maiden, themselves, and Rob Halford. That tour was in support of their ill-received CD “Q2K”. While I have long been a supporter of the bands efforts, this release was truly sub-par and perhaps one of the reasons was the fact that around the recording time for the record long time member Chris DeGarmo decided to leave. Replacing Chris on guitar chores for the DVD is Kelly Cray, a long time collaborator and friend of singer Geoff Tate.
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Title: “The Art Of Live”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 6/8/2004
Genre: Progressive Metal
It is seldom that I am unimpressed with a DVD that gets released by Queensryche but that was the case when I began to watch the release “The Art Of Live”. Perhaps I was spoiled by the releases “Live Evolution” or “Operation: Livecrime” DVD releases or perhaps this was just so lacking that it did not do much more than disappoint. Queensryche is one of the most exciting of the Progressive Metal bands to have existed but this live DVD is so toned down and unlive in its overall sound that you might has well watch a filmed and scripted video. The movie is shot entirely in black and white and while it looks cool for a little while I would have preferred to see some color. The light show that the group uses during their performances is lost entirely as a result of this filming method. Sound wise it seems to have been channeled right out of the soundboard and there is very little audience reaction heard. It’s practically a whisper and for a recording of a live show you want a little more on that end when possible. The band sounds top notch in their musicianship as they normally do but this recording method makes them sound more canned than I would have preferred.
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Title: “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 7/3/2005
Genre: Power Metal
The mighty Hammerfall are back and with a perfect follow-up to their live effort “One Crimson Night”. With “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken” the band has delivered a rock solid piece of Metal. Steeped in heroism and loaded with songs about Knights and honor you will surely find most of it to be true raise your fist in the air head-banging anthems. Starting off with the song “Secrets” you get the layout of the release and it sets the stage for the rest of the record. One aspect that impressed me was that it reminded me of the things I enjoyed about early Helloween when they first started. Hammerfall is one of those bands that are clearly influenced by Maiden and Priest in some overall styles, yet the manner in which they follow is clearly Manowar based. This comes across in tunes like “Hammer Of Justice” and “Fury Of The Wild”. I don’t draw the comparison based on the overall music quality for while both are interesting there are differences. Magnus Rosen is a killer Metal bassist but he does not do what Joey DeMaio does. Joacim Cans holds the front man position in the same sense of honor and glory that Eric Adams does even though their vocal styles are drastically different. So far this premise has worked very well for Hammerfall and shows that History can often repeat itself even when it comes to Metal music.
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