Artist: King Diamond Title: “The Puppet Master” Label: Metal Blade Records Release Date: 10/21/2003 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 8/10
It only took me a couple of listens to King Diamond’s “The Puppet Master” to convince me of his being the Stephen King of Heavy Metal music. King is not only fearsome in his appearance but also with the stories he weaves from deep within his dark mind. For years he has given us tales of horror and villainy and with “The Puppet Master” we find him telling perhaps the scariest tale of them all. To sum up the story this time around King sings to us about an insidious Puppeteer who along with his wife uses real people as puppets to entertain audiences and make their money. King is the central character in this “play” that falls prey to the evil couple. One surely needs to read the lyric book along with this piece for it is very well thought out and delivered from beginning to end. Joining the King as his lineup for the recording are Mike Wead (Guitar), Matt Thompson (drums), Hal Patino (bass), and Andy LaRoque (guitar). Livia Zita joins in on background vocals and she adds a wonderful aspect to the music. I feel this is the strongest lineup that he has assembled in many years and this is also the second full recording that this same lineup has worked on. Continue reading “The Puppet Master” by King Diamond→
Artist: Armored Saint Title: “Lessons Not Well Learned 1991-2001” Label: Metal Blade Records Release Date: 5/4/2004
Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 6.5/10
Armored Saint decided to approach their 2nd DVD of rare and archival footage in a unique way. With “Armored Saint Magazine: Lessons Not Well Learned” the fan gets a great compilation of footage that has most likely never been seen before. It is positioned as a video magazine where Editor (and drummer) Gonzo or “Gahnzo” during the film does some humorous intro dialogue segments. It is done very tongue in cheek and you can tell that the band had fun making this. Another interesting aspect of the DVD is that all the footage seems to be audience shot, or done by the sound man from his mixing board. Pretty much simple one camera shoots from a specific angle all featuring Armored Saint appearances across a number of years (1991-2001). Sometimes footage like this suffers in either sound or visual quality and I have to give them credit that this does not fail on those counts all that much. The visual is pretty good considering it is amateur level and the sound is clear for the most part. You will notice clarity differences in the older portions against the newer ones without question. The group of concert shots are surrounded with some band goofing around antics or messing with the audience. There is also a fair amount of bonus material. The Armored Saint line up for the DVD stars John Bush (vocals), Jeff Duncan (guitar), Phil Sandoval (guitar), Joey Vera (bass) and Gonzo Sandoval (drums). At the time of this release Bush has remained a member of Anthrax. Continue reading “Lessons Not Well Learned” by Armored Saint→
Artist: Fates Warning Title: “Awaken The Guardian” (Remastered/Expanded Edition) Label: Metal Blade Records Release Date: 6/28/2005 Style: Progressive Metal Rating: 8/10
One cannot deny the contributions that Fates Warning has given to the Progressive Metal genre over the course of their career. They were one of the first to be labeled as such a band and if one listens to their release “Awaken The Guardian” you can easily see why. This 3rd release by the band is considered a masterpiece among fans of Progressive Heavy Metal music. Given their being a major staple in the Metal Blade Records artist roster it was fantastic to see this CD (originally released in 1986) be given the upgrade. This CD is special for a number of reasons for it is not only a careful and effective remaster of the original release; it is also a bonus CD and DVD as well. On the original CD, the music is clearer and everything just seems to have a little more punch. John Arch’s vocals slice through Frank Aresti’s guitar playing like a knife. The drums and bass are also nice and solid and seem to be a little heavier even on the updated version. You will feel as if you are listening to brand new recordings of songs like “The Sorceress” and “Guardian” when you first begin to absorb the CD. The bonus CD is more geared towards the type of fan who used to hunt for demos and alternate versions of tracks that were on an album. I remember endless walks through Greenwich Village in NYC with Friends who were like that. Comprised mainly of demos and live tracks this is sure to fill the need for those who hold this album in high regard. Continue reading “Awaken The Guardian” (Deluxe Edition) by Fates Warning→
Artist: King Diamond Interview Date: 10/7/2004 Label: Metal Blade Records Interviewer: Ken Pierce
King Diamond……..need I say more? King Diamond is truly the Master Of Terror when it comes to Heavy Metal music. The man is a legend in Metal and not only for his work with Mercyful Fate but also for the prolific solo career which he embarked on afterward. For years he has been weaving tales of despair and intrigue and like the mere mortals we are, we follow him into the Darkness on a continual basis. I had the sinister pleasure of speaking to King Diamond via the telephone about his recent release of “Deadly Lullaby’s – Live” and whatever else came to mind. Here is a transcription of that conversation.
KP – Hello King Diamond how are you today
King Diamond – Good how are you Ken
KP – Great man, I totally expected a different voice on the phone, you know something a little more sinister.
Title: “UFO: Shoot Out The Lights” Author: Martin Popoff Publisher: Metal Blade Records Release Date: 4/1/2005 Rating: 7.5/10
Martin Popoff has again delivered a well arranged and enjoyable tome about a bands history for the fans of such literary works. This time around he gives us the scoop on the legendary UFO. For decades this group has been referenced by band after band as a source of inspiration to their own careers. It’s very easy to see how this was the case as UFO gave us some killer rock anthems in their early years. Among the numbers include “Rock Bottom”, “Doctor Doctor”, “Lights Out” and many, many more. This band not only had the warm vocals of Phil Mogg, but also the guitar wizardry of Michael Schenker. Add the skills and creativity of Pete Way and you get the picture. As you will find when reading the book; UFO has had many different lineups over the course of their existence. Yet in most cases that allowed the material to grow and change along with the times. Continue reading “UFO: Shoot Out The Lights” by Martin Popoff→