Title: “Wrecking Everything Live”
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 6/18/2002
Genre: Heavy Metal
Overkill’s live CD “Wrecking Everything Live” comes as a direct companion piece to the live DVD of the same name. However, this comes with some disappointing differences. While the DVD is two pieces, one being a full concert running some 22 numbers, the live CD comes as a single disk that cuts many numbers off of it in order to meet one disks time constraints. This immediately turned me off to the disk as I had just watched the video of the same thing and would have enjoyed being able to crank many of the same numbers in the stereo. This could not be the case due to the cutting done. I am not sure why the band chose to release two different items, but perhaps the thought was that many of the other songs exist on a live media already. I owned a copy of the first live Overkill release and I hated the production so much that I think I even passed it along to a bigger fan. The level of production on this was so good that it made me wish the entire DVD performance was also featured here.
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Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Blackmore’s Castle Vol. II”
Label: Lion Music
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Hard Rock
The great thing about a Tribute CD to Ritchie Blackmore and Rainbow is the fact that not only are these influential tunes still fresh when listened to today, but you can see a progressive growth from the original years later in the bands that participate on the release. Each band makes sure to take you on an interesting journey with their interpretation of the music. There is certainly a wide variety of this going on across the length of the CD. However, like all tributes, there is good and there is bad. This piece in particular offers far more on the good side than that of the bad. I also like the fact that one gets an interesting interpretation of the music. There is quite a wide variety of this on the CD; some are good while some are outstanding. The other aspect of this piece is that it really gives you a great sampling of The Lion Music’s artist roster. These are bands that have numerous releases in the Progressive Rock and Metal style and here in the USA you might not get the level of exposure to them that you might desire.
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Artist: Star One
Title: “Live On Earth”
Label: Inside Out Records
Release Date: 4/29/2003
Genre: Progressive Metal
The first time I had heard “Space Metal”, by Star One I was totally floored. This masterwork was created by Arjen Anthony Lucassen whom Progressive Metal fans know well for his work from his creation Aryeon. This double CD/DVD package immortalizes the final show of the tour from the album “Space Metal”. Fans of the release of the studio record will be glad that he decided to do this. He also created 2 separate releases of this release (the copy I am reviewing includes the DVD and is considered the special edition).
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Label: Olympic Recordings
Release Date: 10/11/2004
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Proving themselves that they are a force to be reckoned with in the genre of Death Metal music comes Krakow Poland’s own “Behemoth”. The release of “Demigod” on Olympic Recordings (a subsidiary of Century Media Records) is a pummeling assault to all of the senses in the most brutal of fashions. The difference between Behemoth and other purveyors of the genre is apparent right off the bat. The band lays down the power as soon as the CD begins for the band holds a stark difference to many others in the technical precision. What I heard on the CD has yet to be matched and clearly they are out to raise the bar on the Death style as much as Dimmu Borgir has raised the expectations of those who follow the Black Metal stuff. Most impressive to me was the intense drumming by Inferno. He holds the record in my book on faster double-bass drums recorded if you ask me. I think he even is faster than the mighty Dave Lombardo of Slayer. Nergal growls with the best of them about the Dark Gods they follow and it is definitely a bleak world they sing of. One expects that in Death Metal after all. The lineup on the CD is rounded out by Orion on bass, and Seth on guitar.
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Artist: Ed Guy
Title: “Hellfire Club”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 4/2004
Genre: Power Metal
Leave it to Tobias Sammet and his partners in “Ed Guy” to always deliver powerful and yet deftly creative heavy metal. My first exposure to EdGuy was for the live masterpiece entitled “Burning Down The Opera”. The entire thing kicks and makes you wonder why there are not more bands taking power metal to the level that they choose to. This is one bad thing about being Stateside musically as we sometimes miss some great stuff that is pretty much the standard in the European countries. However, the recent EP “King Of Fools” and the newly released “Hellfire Club” are available readily in the United States thanks to Nuclear Blast Records so fans of this band and genre of metal can easily enjoy them without killing their pocket on expensive imports.
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