Stand up on top of your seats and raise your fist in the air and light that lighter to its highest flame because KISS “Alive II” has reached its fortieth anniversary and was released on this date back in 1977. As this is one of my very favorite albums of all time I am pretty stoked to reflect upon its awesomeness. Here we go.
In some sense it began for me with the opening line that shouted “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best! The Hottest Band In The World —- KISS!!!” From the moment this album began with that intro I started my first truly full exploration into a band that I had only heard every now and again at that point in history. I would sometimes hear them if my parents had the Rock radio station on in the car and songs like “Rock and Roll All Night” or “Strutter” came across the airwaves. I liked those songs enough to the best of my recollection but that was all I was able to absorb since I was still at a pretty young age. When KISS “Alive II” came out I was still in grade school and for some reason I can still recall seeing a double page advertisement for it in one of the major newspapers of the day. Since money was not really in my own control around those years it would be a couple of years later when I finally got my own copy of the album but of course I had heard it quite a few times by then since some older friends had it and allowed me to indulge in its greatness and be schooled in a sense with what truly was “The Hottest Band In The World” to my young ears. To me, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were Rock and Roll superheroes and their wild image was like watching the comic books that I was reading come to life.
Artist: Michael Bolton Title: “Michael Bolton” Label: Sony Music Release Date: 10/25/1990 Genre: Melodic Rock Rating: 3.75/5
You might be thinking that I’ve lost my wits as you glance upon a review of a legacy piece by crooner Michael Bolton on a Metal and Hard Rock reviews website, but believe me there is a sound reasoning for my opting to do so. The self titled recording “Michael Bolton” is historic for a number of reasons, even though the original 1983 release that hit the shelves was the singer’s third actual solo album. The first piece of historical note was that this was the singer’s first usage of his stage name on a recorded work and the second was based on his music actually being a very melodic and catchy Hard Rock as opposed to what he eventually became known for. The album open’s up with “Fool’s Game” which is a pumping track for its time period and has a great “big” chorus that finds you singing along at the first listen. The tune was actually covered by the German artist Axel Rudi Pell a couple of years ago and this was part of the reasoning for my digging the album out of my musical archives. I always liked the basic groove of the opening track and the anthem-like “She Did The Same Thing” which seems to find a pair of guys comparing negative notes on a recent love. “Hometown Hero” is a solid number and could have worked on the conventional radio of the time period and it even had a great guitar solo. I’m not sure which guitar players did exactly what tunes on the release but the album features several of them in Bob Kulick, Aldo Nova, and Al Pitrelli. Perhaps you have heard of a couple of them and if not, do a little Google searching because they’re all worth learning a little more about. Continue reading “Michael Bolton” by Michael Bolton→
KISS seems to be getting more attention than ever thanks to their smoking new CD “Sonic Boom”, the “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” TV show and the always rousing concerts that they do for sold out audiences worldwide. With this being the case, I felt that I should go back into my personal archives and add some fun never before seen images to the PiercingMetal Blog so the readers of our adventures can enjoy them in terms of some KISS related fun. After all, they do no real good by being in a random folder on a hard drive only seen once in a blue moon by the occasional curious visitor to the Metal command center.
That being said, this little side story is not about KISS themselves but more about an event that was called the NY/NJ KISS Expo. It was an annual affair that was put together by Richie Ranno (of the band Starz) and was the means for those who sold KISS memorabilia and those who collected it to mingle together along with musicians that had some part of their history connected with KISS or were just interested in being a part of the fun. My friends had been going to this convention for years already but my first go round would be in 2002 but I could not find any photos outside of the scanned ticket below.
This event was in Hackensack, NJ and only $16 bucks to get in. That was cool to know since you would end up spending hundreds more in terms of KISS things you might have had interest in. If I manage to find any photos from that event I will edit the narrative to allow them to fit in. So far there seems to be only one which you get below. Continue reading Reflections & Photos From KISS Expos Past (2002-2004)→
Artist: Various Artists Title: “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” Deluxe Edition Label: Armoury Records Release Date: 9/14/2010 Genre: Holiday Metal Rating: 4/5
A couple of years ago the folks over at Eagle Records gave the Metal fans a holiday album that was really something up their alley. Though not as much a story-telling enterprise as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra or as tongue in cheek a delivery as a Twisted Christmas, this really had some interesting and fun stuff to enjoy. Having reviewed the original CD and then its EP follow-up, I decided to combine and slightly rework those thoughts based on Eagle Records re-releasing these albums in time for the 2010 holiday season as one package.
“I’ve been a fan of the holiday juggernaut that is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for several years now, but there was no way that my experience with that would have prepared me for how Twisted Sister would deliver their “Twisted Christmas” release. I bring them up as it originally hit me as one of the most absurd items in reviews to do pile but after several listens I found myself intrigued at just how well the conventional Metal vibe worked when crafted together with Holiday classics that they chose. It was an album that left you hungry for more and that made the arrival of the “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” release something I was eager to dig into. The players on this one are as vast as the Metal genre itself and as result finds legends like Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio performing along with the likes of diverse quality players like Steve Lukather and Ray Luzier and many, many more. The vibe of this release is rather heavy which was good and I admit it that it almost felt like a Motorhead track when Lemmy gave it a go at “Run Rudolph Run”. Shock master Alice Cooper and John 5 delivered the creepiest “Santa Claws Is Coming To Town” I’ve ever heard and believe me at the end of this one, the fact that he knows when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake will scare the Charles Dickens out of you. Winners come shining through during a few numbers like “Silver Bells” which has a powerful modern Metal drive to it and Geoff Tate singing and I felt the same way about the albums opening title track that gave us the magical voice of Jeff Scott Soto, a singer I have always been able to enjoy. Dio is at his ominous best with Mr. Iommi and company for “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and the best way to describe this one is as imagine the band Heaven And Hell doing the track. Weird huh, but it does work on some levels. I had to say that I was put off by the Death Metal growls of Chuck Billy and Thrash treatment given to “Silent Night”, as this is a track that I like to much to see given such a reworking. Of course there are some who might enjoy the chance to finally hit the circle pit to this one, so here you go folks. Former Judas Priest/Iced Earth front man extraordinaire Tim Owens hits it out of the park with “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” and he sounds like he is having a blast and the same can be said for King’s X vocalist Dug Pinnick during “Little Drummer Boy”. It wouldn’t be fair for me to ruin every single surprise on the album so I shall leave the remaining tracks to your own surprise as you unwrap this present with glee after you taking it from the spiked leather stockings that are hanging on your mantle. It does end with a rousing rendition of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and I love this tune and felt the guitarist/singer did a fantastic job of it. He is joined by Toto’s own Steve Lukather who can deliver the goods in any situation it seems. Continue reading “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” (Deluxe Edition) by Various Artists→
Artist: Meat Loaf Title: “Bat Out Of Hell The Original Tour” Label: Eagle Vision Release Date: 11/10/2009 Genre: Epic Theatre Rock Rating: 4/5
For over thirty years “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf has not only remained one of the top selling Hard Rock albums of all time, but also been one of my very favorites based on its bombastic song-writing and execution. It was the album that introduced the world to the collaborators Jim Steinman and Marvin Lee Aday who we lovingly refer to as Meat Loaf and forever changed the lives of many who heard their work. Growing up in the seventies I very vividly remember how one of the LP’s signature tracks “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” was the favorite song of almost my entire eighth grade graduating class. Thinking back on it I find it an amusing memory especially when one considers how far from these experiences we all were at the time. My favorite song was “Rock & Roll All Nite” but I digress. It was an album that really impacted the Rock scene and has resonated for years after and that made the chance to enjoy a performance of its content on a classic live film quite a treat. Filmed in Germany circa 1978 for the television show “Rockpalast”, “Bat Out Of Hell The Original Tour” captures the band on their climb to fame and delivering almost the entire album. The songs “For Crying Out Loud” and “Heaven Can Wait” are omitted from the set but that will hardly matter once you get into the groove of the film based on just how rousing it actually is. Continue reading “Bat Out Of Hell The Original Tour” [DVD] by Meat Loaf→