It’s been awhile since I’ve posted what albums I have been
listening to, so here’s the speed review…
#nowplaying Roine Stolt “The Flower King” … The album that
started legendary neo-progressive band, The Flower Kings. There is a lot of
magic to this album, and some of the songs are still the Roine and band’s best.
Easy to see how this helped fuel the prog-rock resurgence. But, I will say that
there are later band albums that I prefer end to end and that have held up
better over time.
#nowplaying Bullet For My Valentine “Fever” and “Temper
Temper” … Two amazing albums with slightly different approaches to their sound,
but still 100% BFMV. Love how this band combines classic thrash-metal riffs
with modern glam-core vocals. Contemporaries are hard-pressed to match these
hooks and melodies.
#nowplaying Egypt Central s/t and “White Rabbit” … Two great
modern hard-rock albums with slightly different styles. Shame this band broke
#nowplaying Nasty Habit “Nasty Habit” … Modern hair-band
trying to pull off the same cliché riffs and vocals in the today. Not horrible
by any means, but not memorable.
#nowplaying Ninetails “Blue Bottle Flu” single, “Rawdon
Fever” EP, and “Slept And Did Not Sleep” EP …
#nowplaying Christopher Franke “Babylon 5: Sleeping In The
Light” … Easily my favorite soundtrack album. I loved the television series and
I’m an Tangerine Dream fan, so it’s only natural that I’d like Christopher
Franke orchestrating a series of B5 soundtracks. And the B5 theme (slightly
altered for each of the 5 seasons) really captured the drama of the show.
Ironically, this episodic soundtrack doesn’t contain the theme like all the
others do. “Sleeping In The Light” was the series finale where Captain Sheridan
joins the First Ones in the light. The episode didn’t have battle-scenes or
high drama, but was a perfect ending to the B5 saga and the love story with
Delenn, and this soundtrack captures all that emotion. This is one of my “get
in the zone at work” albums.
#nowplaying Circus Brimstone “Live – BrimStoned In…” … The
Flower Kings live without vocals. How could you go wrong? These classic TFK
songs minus the vocals are just as engaging.
#nowplaying James LaBrie “Static Impulse” … One of my
favorite albums. Such an incredible return to glory for the Dream Theater
#nowplaying Joe Satriani “The Extremist” … “Summer Song” is
easily Satriani’s best song ever and the entire album is engaging, but “The
Extremist” is not my favorite Satriani album.
#nowplaying Widek “Aurora Borealis,” “Multiverse,” and “2010
Songs” … Instrumental djent done right. Couple vocals tracks thrown in for good
measure, but the guitar riffage from this band grabs me every listen.
#nowplaying Bonnie Raitt “Souls Alike” … I have thoroughly
enjoyed every one of her albums since “Nick Of Time,” except this one. The
first track is engaging enough, but the album just has no energy, no groove.
It’s like Bonnie was too tired to record an album. Real shame.
#nowplaying Stone Sour “House Of Gold & Bones, Part 2” …
I have always liked Stone Sour. In fact, hearing Corey Taylor in Stone Sour
made me go back and listen to Slipknot again. Still like Stone Sour better, but
anyway… Corey’s vocals are amazing on this two part release. Energized songs.
Thought provoking lyrics. Strong recordings.
#nowplaying Bad English s/t … So the album has lost a little
of its luster since its 1980s heyday, but still some incredible sing-along
#nowplaying Badlands s/t … I was so excited when Adrenaline
Mob recently covering “High Wire.” This debut Badlands album was (and still is)
amazing. The second album took them away from heavy melodies to a more bluesy
sound, which was still solid; but after that, Badlands was never the same. RIP
#nowplaying Josh Groban “Closer” … Easily his best album,
preceded by too traditional of a classic opera album and then followed by
albums filled with opera masquerading as pop music. “Closer” is a masterpiece
of melody and emotion.
#nowplaying Anglagard “Viljans Oga” … Considered the band
that kick-started the modern prog-rock phenomena . And regardless of how
sporadically they release studio albums, Anglagard are pure genius.
#nowplaying Adelita’s Way s/t … Went back to this debut
album after liking the more recent “” album. More pop, less edge, but still
#nowplaying Steven Patrick “Red Reign” … I was a huge fan of
Holy Soldier, regardless of which vocalist. If you liked Holy Soldier’s “Last
Train” album, you’ll love Steven Patrick’s solo album. Soaring vocals over AOR
hard-rock music; not too different in style from the first two solo albums from
Michael Sweet (Stryper).
#nowplaying Anomaly s/t … Heavy but melodic prog-rock in the
vein of Tiles and other progressive bands in the late 1990s and early 2000s
that didn’t know whether they were prog-rock or prog-metal. Amazing songs and
introspective lyrics. Incredible Led Zeppelin cover track.
#nowplaying Dokken “Back For The Attack” … Such an epic
album, considered by many to be their last relevant release. 60 minutes of
music was a lot for a hair band album back in the day, often even by today’s
standards. And George Lynch was at his peak with impossibly catchy grooves laced
with ridiculous solos and virtuoso.
#nowplaying Depeche Mode “Violator” … In the 1990s, I
thought this album was the start of a new sound for the band; mach 3, if you
will. But listening to it 23 years after its release, I realize that it’s just
the perfecting of what the band started on “Black Celebration.” “Clean” is one
of my favorite songs of all-time for its simplicity and emotion.
#nowplaying Taproot “Long Road Home” … This is a band that I
rarely remember to listen to, even though I have most of their albums and even
though I thoroughly enjoy all of Taproot’s albums from end-to-end. Their first
two albums were in-your-face and raw, but so well executed; heavy, but melodic,
with the successful single “Poem” being the epitome of excellent songwriting.
Every album after that has been enjoyable, but at the risk of trading in that
intensity for more radio-friendly melody. If this was the first Taproot album I
heard, I would consider this a great hard-rock album. But I want them to return
to their more progressive emo-core roots.
#nowplaying Steve Vai “The Ultra Zone” … For the first five
tracks, this is a Steve Vai album, not unlike his first two solo albums that
took him out of David Lee Roth’s shadow and into the limelight. Expect
incredible guitar harmonies, weird guitar noises, and narrative voices on top
of brilliantly simply melodies. But the rest of this album is a prog-rock gem
with Steve dropping some excellent vocals. Who knew?
An idiot at a Melvins concert threw a bottle at Buzz Osbourne, hitting him the chest. Osbourne unplugged his guitar and ended the
show. Crowd members apprehended the perp and handing him over to security, who
handed him over to police for arrest. See video of incident.
#nowplayingThe Flower Kings “Flower Power: A Journey To The
Hidden Corners Of Your Mind” (1999) … This 2-disc, 1 hour 40 minutes epic was
my introduction to Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings, one of the albums that
took me from the outskirts of prog-rock fandom to spending the next decade
exploring as much as I could of the resurging genre. This is still one of my
favorite studio albums from the band, with probably my favorite band line-up.
One of the reasons I love this album is that the band really seemed to be
channeling Pink Floyd on this album (another one of my all-time favorite
bands). Incredible melodies, prog-rock mastery on the edge of psychedelic,
amazing bass-guitar throughout, and soaring vocal harmonies. I’d never ask The
Flower Kings to repeat the sound of this album, but if they wanted to release a
“Flower Power” sequel to other hidden corners of my mind, I’d be all for it!
#nowplayingMD.45 “The Craving” … the 2004 remastered reissue
with Dave Mustaine rerecording vocals himself. Lee Ving (Fear) provided vocals
for the original 1996 release of this album. I have to say, I bought the CD
back then, listened to it once, and then never spun the disc again. I just
couldn’t get into Ving’s vocals paired with Mustaine’s departure from Megadeth’s
signature thrash. But with Mustaine executing vocals, the album sounds great.
Several songs could pass off as Megadeth tunes, but for the more part, this is
an alternative metal and hard-rock album.
#nowplayingMutiny Within “2 - Synchronicity” (2013) … For
the record, Mutiny Within’s first self-titled album is one of my favorite heavy
metal albums of all time. And while I didn’t feel the same excitement about
“Synchronicity” on first list, after a couple repeat listens, I’m more than
happy with this follow-up release, which was originally supposed to be the last
for the band. Mutiny Within have an incredible ability to craft melodies,
whether using death metal vocals or soaring clean vocals. And then to hear
those melodies on top of such heavy and technically precise (dare I say,
progressive) music, puts this band at a level way above most of their contemporaries.
For fans of hard-rock, traditional metal, post-hardcore, death metal,
prog-metal, and power metal, really.
Guitar World magazine is running a contest to wine an
ESP/LTD Eclipse Guitar signed by Kamelot, along with 2 tickets to show on the
North American tour. Runner up winners can win a special edition CD version of
“Silverthorn” signed by the band. Enter by August 31, 2013.
Les Hotels Jaro just learned how not to handle
negative customer reviews online. A customer staying at L’Hotel Quebec
complained to the front desk about bed bugs, including bringing down some
specimens to prove what was biting him. Afterwards, the customer posts a
negative review recapping his experience on TripAdvisor.com. The hotel asked the customer to remove his review and is suing the customer for $95,000 (USD) in lost revenue. #FAIL. After the lawsuit made the local news, the story has
exploded on TripAdvisor.com discussion boards, on Twitter, and on Slashdot.org.
How much revenue do you think L’Hotel Quebec or its parent chain Jaro are
#nowplaying Hell:On “Re:Born” (2011?) … I have no idea where
I downloaded this, but it’s traditional death-metal. The music is highly engaging,
but the vocals have a little to be desired.
Metallica will be performing a private concert for SXM
subscribers at New York’s Apollo Theater on September 21, 2013. And “Mandatory
Metallica” will take over SXM’s Liquid Metal channel 40 on September 13 through
October 6. All of this is part of Metallica’s promotion engine for Metallica’s
“Through The Never” release in IMAX theaters.
Ultimate Classic Rock is giving away a copy of the new
6-disc Beach Boys boxed-set. Enter here.
Stryper has a new album, “No More Hell To Pay,” coming out
in November this year. All four original members are present: vocalist Michael
Sweet, guitarist Oz Fox, bassist Tim Gaines, and drummer Robert Sweet. Sounds
Watched “Adjustment Bureau” last night. I get what the movie is about, and I liked the concept, but I felt like the story really didn’t go anywhere. Would have been more interesting to me to condense the script to under one hour as the first half of the movie, and then have the second half explore David’s and Elise’s path after knowing what they have learned. On a side note, Emily Blunt is gorgeous.
I usually order water when I go out to eat, and try not to
drink during the day, but I do love me some bourbon or rye or Irish whiskey or
rum with a splash of Coke Zero. After reading this, I may need to drink
straight more often.
…followed by this scary headline: “New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise.” The Scripps Research Institute is testing drug
SR9009 on mice and finding it increases metabolic activity leading to lean mice
with larger muscles that can run longer distances, mimicking the effects of
aerobic exercise. Nevermind that it will probably cause several types of cancel
Lastly, do you know how to tell the difference between a
male and a female bell pepper? And did you know that the female pepper is
Revolver Magazine has contest to win a DW Signature Series
snare drum and Golden Gods 2013 poster, both signed by Stone Sour drummer Roy
Mayorga. Enter here.
Motley Crue are supposedly end-of-life in 2014 or 2015 so they can “go out on top.” Guitarist Mick Mars suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a
painful form of chronic arthritis, is probably a factor. But vocaist Vince Neil says
they may release one more album, possibly a soundtrack for the movie adaption
of their memoir, “The Dirt,” and Vince plans to continue his solo career.
Honestly, while Crue have put out decent material in recent years, nothing from
Vince has impressed me since his first solo album, “Exposed.” I think bassist Nikki
Sixx wins the prize for staying relevant with Sixx:A.M.
#nowplayingThe Amity Affliction “Open Letter” … this song
has one of the best choruses in the history of rock & metal, hands down.
Every time it comes on SXM, I smile and crank it up!
“I'm not searching the sky for a reason to live,
Cause I found beauty right here and found the passion to
So let me give you my heart, let me give you my tears,
Let me give you my life, let me give you my fears.”
#nowplayingCorrosion Of Conformity “Megalodon” (2012) …
I’ve had this EP on my iPod since it was released, but finally got around to
listening to it. As to be expected from this consistent leader of the Black
Sabbath inspired stoner and doom genres, all five songs are raw, energetic,
heavy, melodic, and just damn fun. In a field of artists that tend to sound the
sound like they are playing the same riffs from song to song, COC somehow
manage to sound even more fresh with each release, blazing a trail where other
bands can merely attempt to follow. Five great songs, and still available for free from Scion’s AV site.
#nowplaying Consecration “Aux” (2008) … call it crossover
prog, call it stoner, call it post-metal with vocals, but I just call it good.
Good mix of melody and aggressiveness, clean and blackened vocals, and
excellent guitars. Available as “name your price” so you have no excuse;
#nowplaying Cryptic Edifice “King’s Lament” (2012) … labeled
as a demo and released on cassette tape, this is melodic epic doom metal. The
production is raw, the vocals are more akin to yelling to a crowd, but the
songs are well written and the guitars are excellent. And it’s available as a“name your price” download, so why the hell not?
#nowplaying Chaos Lanes “EP” (2012) … modern metal with
traditional death metal vocals alongside clean vocals, lots of keyboards, lots
of melody, and lots of heavy groove. Soilwork would be a good comparison, just
not executed to the caliber of that legendary band, but still worthy of
blasting from your truck on the highway or main drag. Another “name your price”
download, so there should be no hesitation. Get it now!
#nowplaying Disforia “Our Time Defined” (2011) … progressive
power-metal from Utah. As with most USA based prog-metal bands, the songs seem
to strive for technical precision and the album is not as over-produced as most
European power-metal. Nothing ground breaking here; just very solid execution. “Awakening”
is my favorite track, with piano and more of a modern prog-rock feel. If you
like symphonic metal with clean vocals and lots of keyboards, you’ll like this
album, no doubt. The musicianship is of high caliber. The vocalist has a
unique, but welcoming tone. The lyrics have a solid storytelling quality to
them. Yet another “name your price” download, so highly recommended.
Stumbled upon this… did you know that Legacy released a
63-disc “Complete Columbia Album Collection” CD boxed-set for Johnny Cash last
year? Lots of material on CD for the very first time. And this is a lot of
music for a great price, if you do the per disc math. Officially added to my
Drinking on a budget? Here are supposedly the eight cheapest
ways to get hammered (I’m assuming in the USA). And if you follow this
frat-house poster, you’re guaranteed to have a headache, if not hangover, the
following morning! This is why I moderately consume quality whiskey.
#nowplaying Device (2013) … finally listened to the full
album from Disturbed vocalist David Draiman and Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo.
Much more on the industrial metal side than Disturbed’s melodic but heavy
nu-metal. With Draiman’s distinct voice and songwriting style, it’s hard not to
hear Disturbed in the mix, but that’s nothing to fault this album with. The
music is good, melodic, and with just enough heaviness; but the guitars and
drums sometimes drown each other out in messy electronic fuzz, and the album
losses steam after the halfway point. Maybe Clayton from Celldweller can help Device work out their sonic preciseness on the next album ... that would be an awesome guest appearance!
#nowplaying Arkham Witch “On Crom’s Mountain” (2011) … lumped
into the doom metal or stoner metal crowd, this album could have easily been
recorded during the NWOBHM. But unlike many of the bands revisiting this sound
today, Arkham Witch sound true and original, instead of cheesy, contrived, and
boring. Amazing album from start to finish.
#nowplaying Bakken “Death Of A Hero” … power-metal without
the excessive keyboards, without the excessive studio production, and with
normal vocals, instead of the high-pitched falsetto that began to plague this
otherwise fine genre. I hear some James Hetfield in the vocals and an
occasional classic Judas Priest in the guitar riffs. Bakken are not breaking
new ground here or blowing my socks off, but this is a damn fun album to turn
the volume up on. There’s some cheese metal that seeps through every now and
then, but I’m really enjoying this traditional heavy metal album.
…that was Dokken bassist Sean McNabb providing details on
why their private jet the band was riding with Ratt on needed to make an
emergency landing in Moline, IL (USA). Of course, they still made it to the
show by hauling it in SUVs in Wauconda, IL.
God Forbid have decided to disband after Doc Coyle removed
himself from the band in an open letter on his blog. Doc’s letter is worth
reading. It’s well written, sound in his reasons for leaving the band, and in
no way burning bridges. I, for one, am eager to hear his next project. God
Forbid had really expanded their sound in the last couple albums, and I hope
Doc stretches things even further.
I’m sure you love, can’t live without the technology we are
blessed to have today, but damn this shit gets expensive. Nike expensive (pay
$180 for shoes that cost $10 to product)! And all thanks to marketing budgets…
Text messages: Cost to consumer = $0.20 per text; Cost to
produce = $0
HDMI cables: Cost to consumer for brand-name 8 ft. cable =
$45; Cost to produce = $3
Smartphone devices: Cost to consumer for 16GB iPhone 5 =
$549; Cost to produce = $200
Printer ink: Cost to consumer = $80 per ounce; Cost to
produce = $10 per ounce
Wireless service: Cost to consumer for Verizon unlimited
talk/10GB data plan = $100 per month; Cost to produce = $37 per month
Cloud storage: Cost to consumer for Carbonite Pro Business
Premier = $1.20 per GB; Cost to produce = $0.10 per GB
Saw “Planes” at the drive-thru this past weekend. It’s “Cars”
reincarnated with planes and the same jokes. Entertaining kids movie, but “Cars”
was better. And watched “The Love Letter” last night. Budget production,
mediocre acting, and no character development beyond main character Helen,
which is a shame because the story was original and entertaining.
#nowplaying Worldengine “Dark Matters”
… amazing crossover prog-rock from Brazil with male and female vocals, heavy
darkness, but long atmospheric passages. This is the sound of modern
progressive music. Did I mention that the album is “name your price”? So you
have no excuse. Download it now!
Also #nowplaying Arida Vortex
“Invisible Tension” … melodic power-metal from Russia. Typical gallop, falsetto
vocals, keyboards, but some flamenco inspired jazz guitar thrown in here and
there. Above average and well produced, and only $5 from Metalism Records.