Artist: Black Label Society
Title: “Kings Of Damnation: Era 1998-2004”
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 10/4/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Even though Zakk Wylde has left the Spitfire Records family he did release a total of seven albums under their banner. Five of these were with Black Label Society and the other two are Pride & Glory and Book Of Shadows. Resulting from that partnership was a lot of great guitar laden Metal and it spawned a legion of supporters for Zakk. It was a smart move of Spitfire to offer the fans a compilation based on these albums and it’s the perfect introduction to you should you be interested in knowing more about Black Label Society if you have not already been exposed to them. The material that Black Label Society doles out is pure and simple aggressive Metal. Their music trudges along with Doom-like qualities and has some similarity to Black Sabbath in riffing. Perhaps a lot of the BLS sound was influenced by all of the years Zakk worked along side Ozzy Osbourne. The Pride & Glory stuff has more of a heavy Southern feel to it. Almost as if Southern Metal was preparing to make a comeback. The samplings from Zakk’s time with this band are good and the CD itself is worth looking into. In the case of the BLS material they included a lot of the tracks that you would expect them to have and among them are my personal favorites of “Bleed For Me” and “The Blessed Hellride”. The gentler side of the New Jersey giant can be found on the tracks from “Hangover Music”. In addition to the recorded previously released stuff there are two new tracks to be found in “Doomsday Inc.” and “SDMF”. The new tracks continue along the natural progression of the band. Musicians who take part in the tracks are James Lomenzo (bass) and Craig Nunenmacher (drums).
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Title: “Greatest Hits: Back To The Start”
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 6/28/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Dave Mustaine has finally given the Legions of Megadeth followers the single most requested CD of all. A compilation of the bands greatest pieces all in one easy place to find them. There is no questioning the genius of Mustaine when it comes to putting together a great metal song, and he has many of them which make this piece a welcome addition to the catalog. Before this arrived the closest example of this we would have would be with the live CD/DVD “Rude Awakening” and the 2000 released “Capitol Punishment”. While the older hits piece was good and shares similar numbers from the new package, the live piece in particular had an amazing selection and was almost as good as a career compilation. It served as a better example until now. However, it with “Back To The Start” we have more tracks included and a little cleaner production than its predecessor. For me this was a plus since it included almost all of the Megadeth tracks that I have enjoyed over the years. Dave made sure to have a great amount of material on this piece and with 17 tracks you cannot go wrong. This CD is even perfect tailgate party music. There is nothing better than kicking back some beers with your Friends at a show, and cranking up the Megadeth (that is provided you are legal drinking age of course).
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Title: “Greatest Hits”
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 11/23/2004
Creed was one of the few nu-rock/nu-metal bands that always seemed to get a large amount of airplay on most stations that featured rock as its format. It also seemed like any fan of rock music, all knew the songs of Creed. There were those folks who griped that there was too much Eddie Vedder in Scott Stapps voice, and of course that was bound to happen since the Seattle Sound gave way to that being a standard in modern rock music. The band had an illustrious and interesting career from their first record “My Own Prison” to their last piece “Weathered”. Each CD the home of numerous songs that not only became hits on the radio, but also became staples in the clubs as well as in many local band repertoires.
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Artist: Def Leppard
Title: “Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Collection”
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 5/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
In reviewing the 25 year history of Def Leppard it was quite the treat to listen to this Anthology piece. Entitled “Rock Of Ages” after one of their biggest hits this 2 CD set contains 35 tracks from their long and prosperous musical career. In an instant I felt that you cannot go wrong with a CD that gives you this much music for the dollar. Especially when many bands place these items on the shelf and load them with new songs or the selection of real hits is limited. I feel that the fans that have followed the group from the very beginning will enjoy this the most for there is a large amount of emphasis placed on the bands first three releases. Most prominently figured and almost an expectation is the album “Pyromania”. The record broke ground for Hard Rock music and back in 1983 it achieved a chart position of #2. This is impressive since we were just coming off the Disco craze and Rock music was again taking hold based on that new thing we were calling “MTV”. Seven tunes from this album are present but there are also many of the staple tracks from “High & Dry” and “Hysteria”. It seemed you could not turn on this music video channel (as it really did play videos once) and not see Def Leppard in every half hour of broadcast.
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