These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.
Killswitch Engage: “As Daylight Dies” (Roadrunner Records)
You can say with levels of certainty that bands like All That Remains and Burn In Silence along with a laundry list of others owe a debt of gratitude to Killswitch Engage for both their music and their efforts on the Heavy Metal genre as a whole. It was Killswitch who made it clear that both the intensity of Metalcore and the traditional melody of conventional Metal could and would work together with a bombastic result; now with As Daylight Dies, the band continues to show why they are the undisputed masters of this formula for many years. As you listen, you find that the aggression is still there and you find it prominently displayed on “Unbroken” where Jones rails against the world in anger only to break into the melodic parts with ease and perfection. Tracks like opener “As Daylight Dies” and “This Is Absolution” remind you that you are listening to professionals who have really grown into their role as a leader for this brand of Metal. The success that they have achieved over the past few years have really given the format a massive push ahead the rest and with every tune on the new record you can see why they have become so influential in this kind of sound. Instead of choosing to rest upon the laurels of success, we find the new album once again taking the band in a venture ahead to new again and focusing a little more on the melodic side than ever before. This might cause some dismay in the folks who wanted a non-stop brutality fest and they should be aware that the use of melody does not mean that they have grown soft by any stretch. This is actually a very killer album and I expect that when its numbers come back that it turns more people onto the group than it does turn off. In Metal, the only constant is change and since they deal with so much in the way of competition, I am glad to see KE opting to lead the charge one more time. One of my favorites is “Still Beats Your Name” which is an intensely dynamic number with throttling drums by Justin Foley, while “Reject Yourself” closes out the release with a punch that is as hard as only Killswitch Engage can deliver. As Daylight Dies, the power of KE grows all the stronger.
KISS: ”Alive 1975-2000” (Universal Music)
It’s been over thirty years and KISS is still one of the most visually exciting bands ever formed and the levels of spectacle and entertainment at their concerts have given millions of fans worldwide experiences that are forever remembered. This CD collection celebrates the performances of KISS by featuring all three of their Alive releases as well as a special bonus disk. Alive was the album that saved KISS’ career for it was not until the band took the risk of releasing a double live album that their true powers over the listener were realized. Yes they had an ever-growing fan base but the albums were not selling. Instead of the career suicide many predicted with this effort it became a blockbuster that many live recordings are measured against. The band’s anthem would officially claim that status as a result of Alive and soon “Rock And Roll All Nite” was on radio stations everywhere. Alive II was culled from three shows at The Forum in LA and the increase in technology allowed KISS to make this release much more of an in your face listen than its predecessor. The third side would give the listener five new studio tracks to enjoy. “R&R All Night” is presented as a bonus on this set. Alive III finds a long unmasked and different roster KISS (Peter Criss and Ace Frehley were long gone). In their place were Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer (Singer had joined shortly after the passing of Eric Carr). Also released on video the album was met with approval but dissent at the one CD instead of two. The bonus CD is the long missing Millennium Concert, recorded in front of 45,000 fans during the bands “Farewell Tour” and once again featured the founding four members. Continually delayed, this album would simply vanish from the radar of fans. Some tracks made their way to the Boxed Set but that would be it. It would also be the final live recording to feature completely original members, as Ace would leave again and be replaced by Tommy Thayer. Wrapped in a highly decorative deluxe digipack it includes a booklet that features every insert found in the original albums as well as a score of bonus photos. It’s time to get out the greasepaint and stick out your tongue once again for KISS – “The Hottest Band In The World”.
Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 6