Archive for May, 2009

Omigod! The 80’s Pop Culture Box/Part 3

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 310000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Hungry Like The Wolf [Duran Duran]—-The single that exploded the band on the American new wave movement. Specializing in pretty boy looks, incredibly racy videos and a groove that included R n’ B elements and rock guitar, the band has enjoyed mass success for years. At one time, the biggest band in the world, Duran Duran continue to record quality material today.

The Look Of Love [ABC]—-Combining British hooks, soul styled musical landscapes, tailored costumes and catchy hooks, ABC took over the American airwaves in early 83. Garnering even more mass appeal through slick video releases, the band continued in moderate success for a number of years before splitting and then reforming again in 2006.

Tainted Love [Soft Cell]—-Unfortunately, sometimes one single can define a band and everything that they do afterwards is compared to that single. Such was the curse for Soft Cell. This is, undeniably, one of the best known songs in the world. It has been rehashed, re-released and remixed more times than I can cite. A pure classic!!!

Rock This Town [Stray Cats]—-Combining a rockabilly soundtrack, greaser hairdos and enough tattoos to cover a neighborhood, The Stray Cats enjoyed big success in the 80’s with singles on the American charts. The Cats still tour and promote new material.

Lies [Thompson Twins]—-Neither Thompson’s nor twins, this English trio hit big with three top ten singles from their debut release. Featuring a new wavish soundtrack, combination of male and female vocals and a percussion sound that remains classic, the band split in the late 80’s.

Words [Missing Persons]—-Featuring a Cars meet Blondiemusical delivery, the band hit big based on lead vocalist Dale Bozzio’s squeaky vocal delivery and overtly sexual behavior. A proponent of big hair, heavy makeup and plastic bras, Bozzio left the band in the late 80’s.

Don’t You Want Me [The Human League]—-Again, perhaps one of the best known songs from the 80’s movement, The Human League specialized in dark, synth driven music, introspective lyrics and a distinct English sound. The Human League worked hard to overcome the hype of this single. The band has had numerous successes and still tours and records today.

Love Plus One [Haircut One Hundred]—-Releasing only one album, in 1983, Haircut One Hundred featured a soulful white boy English sound. Built on pretty boy looks and a nice horn section, the band imploded before it ever really got started.

Down Under [Men At Work]—-Exploding on the American charts in late 83, Men At Work enjoyed three top ten singles from their debut release. With a nice catchy feel, references to their home country of Australia and heavy video play, the band released a number of albums but none quite had the success of their debut. Vocalist Colin Hay continues to issue releases.

Steppin’ Out [Joe Jackson]—-Jackson enjoyed marginal success in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Nothing could have prepared him for the overwhelming success of Night And Day. Jackson had three top ten hits from this release. Although future releases did not live up to this chart success, Jackson has a huge fan base and continues to have a great recording career today.

I Want Candy [Bow Wow Wow]—-Considered by many as a novelty single, Bow Wow Wow featured a 16 year old Bohemian vocalist, a great video and a place in the hearts of 80’s fans everywhere.

Come On Eileen [Dexy’s Midnight Runners]—-Yet another one hit wonder band that consisted of Bohemian personalities and damn catchy hooks. Throw in fiddles [!], a damn interesting video and a real European sound and you have an 80’s classic. Kevin Rowlands continues to have a successful recording career overseas even today.

Mickey [Toni Basil]—-Again, so recognizable, most anyone could name this song. With a catchy hook that you can’t ignore, the video propelled this song to the top of the charts in the mid 80’s.

Twilight Zone [Golden Earring]—-Fitting into the rock sub-category of 80’s classics, Golden Earring delivers a great mixture of new wave and pop-rock. With another killer video to back it up, the band reached new heights with this single.

You Should Hear How She Talks About You [Melissa Manchester]—-Incredibly poppy and irresistible, Manchester broke out of her comfortable 70’s AOR space to deliver this funky and sexy single. Undeniably catchy and melodic, Manchester failed to follow up the success of this single.

Key Largo [Bertie Higgins]—-Appearing in late 1979, Higgins delivered a mellow catchy ballad. Featuring a nice Island sound, Higgins voice is pleasant and clear. The back-up vocalists add to the atmosphere of the song. Very nice…a guilty pleasure.

Pac-Man Fever [Buckner & Garcia]—-Know why you never heard of this song or these people? Because this song [?] is STUPID!

Total Eclipse Of The Heart [Bonnie Tyler]—-Written and produced by Meatloaf mastermind Jim Steinman, it has his trademark sound all over this sound. Grand and huge in style, the song is a masterpiece. Add to stellar production, the gravel voiced delivery of Tyler and you have a classic.

Africa [Toto]—-Combining all the ingredients for a successful 80’s single, Toto is at a high point in their career at the time of this release. Vocalist Kimballdelivers a fantastic performance, the band adds a great tribal percussion sound. Ecstasy!!

Goodbye To You [Scandal]—-A nice rock infused single, Vocalist Smith has a pleasant delivery and tone. The song was huge for the band, but once again they were unable to follow up and dissolved into obscurity.

Puttin’ On The Ritz [Taco]—-Another novelty recording, said artist Taco was a freak…both visually and vocally. A one hit wonder in every sense of the word, Taco quickly fell back into obscurity.

Like Omigod! The 80’s Pop Culture Box/Part 2

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 310000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Disc Two:

Dancing With Myself [Billy Idol]—-Stepping away from the ashes of Generation X and the English Punk scene, Idol detoured only slightly from his band’s sound. An unforgettable classic, Idol continues to tour and record to moderate success.

Workin’ For The Weekend [Loverboy]—-Helping to usher in the 80’s Hair Metal scene, Loverboy were mainstays on the rock charts in the early 80’s. Delivering catchy and power chord driven rock, Loverboy disbanded but their classics live on.

Jessie’s Girl [Rick Springfield]—-Riding high on his popularity based on his character on daytime soap General Hospital, Springfield began a recording career in the early 80’s that built him an even larger fan base. This is a classic and unforgettable song from the 80’s era that still included a rock base to their musical composition. Great.

Genius Of Love [Tom Tom Club]—-Featuring members of the Talking Heads, the Tom Tom Club delivered a freakin masterpiece of a song. Packing enough funk and dance floor appeal to please all members of the audience, this was the band’s only chart success.

Centerfold [J. Geils Band]—-Geared towards the pre-pubescent male, this usual ‘party band’ delivered a classic 80’s mainstay and a classic video as well. Still popular among the band’s early fans, they continue to tour and party!

At This Moment [Billy & The Beaters]—-Building on the success of the song’s inclusion on some soundtrack or another, this song flew to number 1 on the U.S. charts. Although it was the bands only chart success, Billy still tours on the strength of this single alone!

Harden My Heart [Quarterflash]—-Stealing from the Heart fan base, Quarterflash enjoyed huge success with this single in 1982. Featuring rough vocals and a rockin’ musical landscape, it was the band’s only chart success.

Hold On Loosely [.38 Special]—-Combining subtle southern fried rock with huge pop hooks, this band charted numerous singles in the early 80’s. Still true to their southern roots, the guitar style has that Skynard feel but also incudes pop overtones that are mind numbing and toe tapping.

Theme From Greatest American Hero [Joey Scarbury]—-The theme song to a popular television series, the song is classic late 70’s feel good pop. The voice is clear and pleasing, the music builds you to an emotional high. Great, but never to be repeated.

Take Off [Bob & Doug McKenzie]—-A really stupid song!!! Not even sure where it charted. The only redeeming quality of this song is that it features a vocal from Rush’s Geddy Lee. Forgettable and inane.

Super Freak [Rick James]—-Classic and unforgettable, this song both cemented and ruined the career of Rick James. He was never quite able to live up to the success and pressure of this huge hit. Battling drug problems, legal issues and financial problems…James died in 1999.

867-5309/Jenny [Tommy Tutone]—-Regarded as a classic among 80’s aficionados, this track etched Tutone a place in chart and musical history. Causing numerous problems for the phone company. this song epitomizes the 80’s movement. This is , by the way, a great album as a whole. If you get a chance…check it put.

Bette Davis Eyes [Kim Carnes]—-Featuring everything classic about 80’s pop. A sexy vocal delivery, an ode to a huge classic film star, unforgettable keyboard ‘claps’. Incredibly wonderful…..I’m so gay!

Time [Alan Parson’s Project]—-Alan Parson’s had a great vocal delivery. His band  had a mastery of pop perfection. Parson’s charted heavily throughout the 80’s, but sank to obscurity towards the end of the decade.

Gloria [Laura Branigan]—-Branigan released a masterful debut album in early 1983, driven by the success of Gloria. This song was HUGE in 1983/84. A huge gay anthem, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard this song…and make no mistake Branigan can sing. We all mourned her death in 2003 due to a brain hemorrhage.

Maneater [Hall & Oates]—-Timeless blue-eyed soul classic from Philly duo Hall & Oates. The 80’s were a very prosperous time for this duo…garnering them 10 top 10 singles and millions in sales. A great song with an unforgettable bassline.

The Theme From Hill St. Blues [Mike Post]—-Has anyone not heard this electronic instrumental at one time or another. As a fan of the show, it was as much a part of the show as were the characters. Post has a long and storied career of writing theme songs…this was one of the best.

Valley Girl [Frank Zappa]—-Riding high on the ‘Preppy Handbook’ movement and collar up polo shirt wearing country club types, mastermind Zappa teamed with his daughter Moon Unit [!] to record a hilarious and timeless classic to the ‘valley movement’. Unforgettable.

Da Da Da [Trio]—-Never really heard this song before this compilation! It surprises me that I am still discovering 80’s acts that I am not familiar with. A nice electronic, funk based song with a rap styled lyric that ushers in a catchy music line during the STUPID chorus. Not bad.

You Dropped A Bomb On Me [The Gap Band]—–Riding high on real funk fueled classics of the 70’s, The Gap Band delivered an unforgettable funk classic in early 1980. Featuring a great, great vocal, machine generated special effects and a bass line that is still used today, this track is indeed a classic.

Like Omigod! The 80’s Pop Culture Box/Part One

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 310000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Today, something a little different. Following is a 7 part review of Rhino Records excellent compilation of 80’s releases, one-hit wonders and novelty songs. Rhino continues to be a leader in quality compilation releases and the 7 disc set does not disappoint. This is purely a selfish review, as I love the era of 80’s music and it is always a joy to take a trip back in time.

Disc One:

Whip It [Devo]—-Two and a half minutes of pure quirky joy. The song, has an underlying positive message, was a departure from anything we had heard at the time. The boys from Akron, Ohio continued their spiel of De-evolution for another 10 years before disbanding. They left a permanent mark with this single. The band is currently reformed and recording a new CD.

Video Killed The Radio Star [The Buggles]—-Appropriate and best known for being the first video played on MTV, the band featured Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, both of whom became members of classic rock outfit Yes.  Downes went on to membership in the band Asia, while Hornreleased a second Buggles release before disbanding the group and becoming a ‘super-producer’ of such 80’s bands like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, The Bangles, Rick Astley and many more. A pleasant and catchy romp of classic 80’s fluff.

Empire Strikes Backl [Mecco]—-Featuring heavy synth effects, sound clips from the movie and a post-disco feel. this song was a mainstay of AM radio that refused to give up the disco soundtracks of the late 70’s. Catchy and melodic, it is wonderful display of excess.

Another One Bites The Dust [Queen]—-A different approach for this classic band, the single propelled the band to new heights and a new fanbase. Freddie Mercury displays a fantastic vocal and the bass line is one of a sampler’s dream. A classic song from a sorely missed band. We love you Freddie!

Celebration [Kool & The Gang]—-Kool & The Gang made huge marks in the late 70’s and early 80’s with a funky post-disco sound. With enough members to form a real ‘gang’, the band continued to chart with feel good singles through the mid 80’s. This remains the band’s biggest hit and a timeless classic.

The Breaks [Kurtis Blow]—-Heavy in the ‘Sugarhill‘ sound, Blow made a huge crossover hit that featured rap and funky R n’ B with a tale inside the composition. Countless rappers list Blow as influential and use samples of his work even today. The first real introduction of rap to the dance floor population of the 80’s.

Let My Love Open The Door [Pete Townsend]—-Shocking hardcore Who fans, Townsend stepped out from the band with this  solo release. A radical departure from the guitar heavy sound of The Who, Townsend proved to naysayers that not only could he rock like hell, he could carry a masterful tune and deliver a classic single.

Call Me [Blondie]—-Not straying far from their post-punk roots, Blondie took over the airwaves in the late, late 70’s and mid 80’s. With Debbie Harry displaying overt sexuality, a new wave musical delivery and a catchy melody.this song was a No. 1 hit for the band. Classic and fresh today!

Keep On Loving You [REO Speedwagon]—-After spending years digging in with their heels and paying dues, REO released Hi-Infidelity, a collection of songs that catapulted them to the top of the charts and worlwide stardom. Fans of the band, being quirky as they are, were slow to accept the band at it’s rocking best…instead placing all the slow ballads on the top of the charts. REO continues to tour in one form or another today.

Turning Japanese [The Vapors]—-Long rumored to be an ode to masturbation, The Vapors delivered a pogo styled new wave delivery that was  inescapable. Alas, The Vapors were short lived, but this song epitomizes the early new wave feel of the new decade.

Lost In Love [Air Supply]—-Flying into the U.S. from Australia, this duo charted with 4 singles from their debut release. Appearing in the late 70’s and staying obvious on the charts until 1982, the band continues to record and tour today. Featuring an irresistible AOR sound, the band delivered crystal clear vocals and understated ballad styled music. The clear tenor of Russell in unmistakable.

9 To 5 [Dolly Parton]—-The late 70’s and early 80’s were a very accepting time on the music charts. A huge crossover hit for this legendary country songstress, the song is the title track to the movie of the same name. Parton has had an illustrious recording career and huge chart success in the Country realm. This song introduced here to a new broader audience. Parton is currently penning new music for the stage production of the movie.

I Love A Rainy Night [Eddie Rabbit]—-Continuing in the crossover theme, Rabbit has had a long and storied career in the Country Music genre. Featuring a more mainstream feel, the song allowed those listening to pop radio a new experience and allowed Rabbit a new fan base.

Sailing [Christopher Cross]—-Released in 1979, this song immediately soared to number 1 on the adult and pop charts. Featuring a crystal clear vocal, a pleasant musical backdrop and soft-core lyrics, Cross scored a Grammy for this song as well as 3 others for this album.

Just The Two Of Us [Grover Washington Jr./Bill Withers]—-Bridging Jazz and the unmistakable voice of Withers proved successful for Washington as this song enjoyed huge success in late 1979 into early 1980. A beautiful and heartfelt composition, it transports you back to a different time and allows you a guilt free escape.

Cars [Gary Numan]—-A classic track from the Godfather of Electronic Music. Numan splashed everywhere with this cold, alienating masterpiece that captured all of us in late 1979. His only chart success in the US, Numan continues to record and tour to this day.

Ah! Leah! [Donnie Iris]—-Boasting membership in both Jaggerz and Wild Cherry, Iris hit big with this rock hit in the early 80’s. With a nice guitar sound, heavy bass drum and a decidedly 80’s vocal delivery, Iris was big on the charts and video channels with this gem.

Sweetheart [Frankie & The Knockouts]—-Screaming out the late 70’s pop feel, this song landed on the charts in 1980. A feel good love song that features a nice laid back AOR feel and a vocal that is easy to sing along to, this was the band’s only chart success.

Shake It Up [The Cars]—-Featuring the odd look of singer Ric Ocasek, a cross of rock/new wave musical styles and great videos, The Cars were mainstays throughout the late 70’s and 80’s. Ocasek has gone on to be a great producer for many up and coming bands, guitarist Benjamin Orr  died in early 2000. The ‘band’ toured recently with new members including Todd Rundgren on vocals.

General Hospi-Tale [The Afternoon Delights]—-Ok….so whatever right? I guess this song was one of those producer incarnations that came about during the huge Luke and Laura storyline on afternoon soap General Hospital. To me this is just embarrassing!

The Stroke [Billy Squier]—-Featuring a great guitar track and enough sexual innuendo to keep people’s attention, Squier hit huge with this single and the ensuing Album. Squier continues to record and tour today, but his appeal has waned.


Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 300000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Gene were at Alternative Rock quartet formed in 1993, Hailing from Britain, the band wore two labels upon it’s introduction to the world: Britpop and Morrissey. Although the sounds can be similair, they are very different. Gene was the darling of British Music Media upon the release of Olympian, winning numerous NME awards and Brit awards, as well as chart topping success. The media even went to calling lead singer Martin Rossiter , Roz in reference toMorrissey’s nickname Moz. The band released a strong 2nd CD, but fell usunder as it triede to evolve it’s sound. Olympian, the band’s debut was released in 1993, the band split in 2004.

Haunted By You—-Sounding remarkably Marr like, the vocal calls back to classic Smith’srecordings. The remarkable is the irresistible vocal of Martin that clicks with the musical landscape. Not Britpop by any means, this was something new and necessary. A really great song!

Your Love, It Lies—-Sounding completely different from the previous track, the vocal is strong and individual. The musical landscape projects a more intricate guitar that builds and ebbs. The lyric is overtly and un apologetically sexual. The chorus brings the entire thing to life and you feel alive and ecstatic.

Truth, Rest Your Head—-Beautifully British in delivery, you make no err in assuming these guys are from over the pond. The song features gentle laid back guitar, mixed with short bursts of genius. The vocal is subtle till the chorus kicks in and you are sunk with the feeling that you will not soon forget this song. A interesting lyrical content to think about. That if money calls you are forgotten….hum…?

A Car That Sped—-A nice vocal greets you from the onset…a gentle strumming guitar that slows and ebbs… The chorus builds and falls back into a refrain of quiet introspection…..but you feel that there must be something more. Oh yes, the content is dark and morbid. Think about it…

Left-Handed—-Noisy and Oasis in sound, the musical landscape is one of driving English guitar that magically slows to a whisper to allow the vocal refrain. A great Clashlike drive to the music makes the song pleasantly noisy and different. WOW!!

London, Can You Wait—-Beginning with the familiar jingle jangly of Brit music of the 90’s, the vocal is so subdued it is exquisite. The music remains a constant, despite the rather dark lyrics. Towards the end of the song, a magnificent animal overcomes Rossiter and he bemoans “….I was having the time of my life, why did you have to die. I’m lost again…”. It builds to an ecstatic frenzy and ebbs into gentle exclamations of “….I’m lost again…I’m lost again…” A freakin’ masterpiece!!!

To The City—-A much dirtier London romp. The music is bar bandy blues and the vocal seems pushed to the back. The rhythm section stands out as do the ebbs in the music that allows the vocal to the front during key periods of the song. Very nicely done.

Still Can’t Find The Phone—-Incredibly catchy and well done. The music is jingly andthe vocal understated yet emotive. The talent of the band was well recognized. The double vocal makes the song a British masterpiece.

Sleep Well Tonight—-Beginning slow and slowly building, the song explodes into complete ecstasy. Rossiter delivers a vocal that is so emotive, Moz could take a lesson. The ebbs and flows in the musical delivery matches the emotion of the lyric perfectly. Clearly a band at it’s height.

Olympian—-With a nice quiet intro, occassional piano keys shine through. The vocal is melodic andclear. The tempo of the song slowly increases to include many instruments and a emotive pleas to the loneliness of heartache. The song builds and builds on the refrain of “….I wanted to be there with you, for I can only be normal with you. I’ve given my all for you.” The song makes you collapse in pool of despair and spent energy. Absolutely Masterful!!! A highlight, if not standout track on the release.

We’ll Find Our Own Way—-Delivering a musical intro worthy of any 90’s Alt Rock band, the lyric is slightly understated and quiet. The tempo of the song seldom changes, adding some mellow piano and organ noise. A gentle ode to love, but not a favorite.

For The Dead [Bonus Track]—-Treading familiar, comfortable ground, the song does showcase brilliant turns at the chorus. I love the little growl that Rossiter manages to muster up. The refined British Gentleman lets loose. Yeah!

Be My Light, Be My Guide—-Sounding dirtier andmore British from the onset, the song falls into familiar territory upon the refrain. The chorus allows the band to come back full force and support the vocal that again is anthem like in delivery and unforgettable as hell.

****1/2 out of 5

Marilyn Manson/The High End Of Low

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 300000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Marilyn Manson is an alternative rock/shock-goth band formed in 1989. Specializing in lyrics and images that shock and enrage the public, Manson aka Brian Warner is a mass-media manipulator. Most of the bands success is primarily because of the controversies they cause…from the names of members to the outrageous lyrical content. Despite waningsuccess in the past few years, and declining CD sales, the band continues to flourish and produce classic shock rock. Recording for the first time with Twiggy Ramirez in a number of years, the band released the new album in May of 2009. This marks the bands 7th proper studio release.

Devour—-An odd mechanical sound gives way to an almost acoustic style guitar that welcomes Manson in all his disgustand sickness, The song is very different than what I expected. The vocals are clear and well delivered, the lyrics are full of hurt, contempt and a sense of retaliation. A magnificent start. I’m impressed. The song does come alive mid way through with a classic heavy sound. There is that familiar scream….how comforting.

Pretty As A [$]—-The above song segues quickly into another odd mechanical intro that immediatelycomes alive with an aggressive Industrial sound that Manson has disposed of lately. The lyrics are meant to outrage and upset the religious right, I’m sure. To me, it is almost predictable and laughable. This man knows how to get under people’s skins and does so majestically. I just wonder if anyone but me still cares.

Leave A Scar—-Really classic in sound, Manson delivers a vocal that hearkens back to Antichrist era tracks. The music is electric yet mechanical in sound. The vocal is great, it has not aged or tired a bit, despite the abuse it takes. Perhaps that is all marketing as well. Say what you will, the talent is apparent and the delivery is magnificent.

Four Rusted Horses—-Odd from the beginning, the lyrics are intense and angry. I’m sure it is all a metaphor for personal demons, they are effective. I love how he says “…I’m sure everyone will come to my funeral to make sure I stay dead…..” Truly classic Manson…..all hail the shock-king!

Arma-godd**n-motherf**kin-geddon—-What a great, great song title…Yes! Almost immediately, the classic sound is there. Not truly Industrial, not quite Metal. Majestically delivered and sung. The song has all the shock that is needed, and provides a landscape to the world we live in. The back and forth that plays out in the headphones is great, the vocal delivery is ABSOLUTELY CLASSIC!!!

Black And White—-In the onset, you are transported back to the band’s heyday. The language is meant to shock, the underlying message not to be misunderstood. The musical delivery is classic yet predictable. The vocal delivery remains strong and recognizable. A really strong song for the interesting guitar delivery alone.

Running To The Edge Of The World—-Really freakin’ odd acoustic guitar intro that just freaked me out. Some kind of odd, sadistic ballad that sounds at times like some 80’s metal band. Manson actually sings rather than just hollers his way through the song. I am taken aback by this track. The chorus has a recipe of ‘stick in your brain’ quality. WOW, YOU MUST HEAR THIS!!!

I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies—-A+ for the title alone 🙂 Manson begins the track with a classic lyric “….I want to fu*k you like a foreign film…” Awesome. The guitar is so much more pronounced and heavy, the vocal is eerie and pained. Classic Manson….not to be missed! Manson lets loose with some yells and moans that are, in an odd way, familiar and comforting.

WOW—-Careful Marilyn…..Sounds an awful lot like  classic NIN. Thankfully, for everyone involved, the lyrics are classic Manson. The manipulation of some of the vocals sends the song pummelling to the chorus. The musical landscape is again mechanical yet musical. This is by the way, not a bad thing.

Wight Spider—-Heavy and dark at the onset, Manson moans his way through the intro to the chorus. The lyrical content is almost laughable. At times some kind of emotion peeks between the outrageous content. The chorus has a nice double track vocal that is high and low at the same time and makes you want to sing along…even though you don’t want to. Great!

Unkillable Monster—-A pleasant almost poppy feel to the music is quickly interrupted by Manson spieling out rhetoric towards the frustrations of addiction. I can feel him hating the thing that he has become, so I guess the song is successful. The music speeds and slows fabulously. The vocal is more pronounced and pained. Fantastic song!!

We’re From America—-Sounding grungy and driving, Manson delivers a  spit that is so devastatingly political it hurts. We hate to hear the truth…one certain ‘spark’ could BLOW this CD up. Unwanted [or perhaps not] attention from some republican fascist could make this CD as big as Antichrist Superstar!!

I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell—-Greeting us with a banshee yell and a bluesy guitar delivery, the song turns dark and dirty. A song made for the Stripper Pole, the song has that sexy, bass driven  romp. Manson delivers an understated, at times majestic vocal that begs to be listened to again and again.

Into The Fire—-Beginning like the closing credits to a classic horror film, the vocal is eerie and pained. The music is understated, with a healthy dose of majestic keyboard. The song covers the familiar [?] ground of many Manson tracks….personal demons? Great song….a lesson is hidden in there.

15—-Wow….what does this song mean….give me an analyst couch. The song is noisy in a keyboard Industrial sound. A quiet song on the guitar front. Manson sings the song like a threat….love me or I will be gone?

Disc Two/The Alternate Versions

Arma-godd**mn-motherf**kin-geddon [Teddy Bears Remix]—-Bringing the vocals and the freakin catchy chorus to the forefront, this remix is better than the original by far! Employing more of an Industrial sound…the song drives and drives into you brain. Fann-freakin-godd**mnAwesome! The choir of voices is freakin fantastic….a must hear!

Leave A Scar [Alternative Version]–Really acoustic from the get-go. Manson is so clear and exposed. It is almost magical…..I don’t know that I’ve ever heard his vocal so stripprd down. Really good!

Running To The Edge Of The World [Alternate Version]—-Even more acoustic than the original, the song borders on sounding like Every Rose Has Its Thorn[!] musically. Vocally, again the voice is stripped down and vulnerable. The amazement is that Manson can sing if he really wants to….a great rendition.

Wight Spider [Alternate Version]—-Not differing much from the CD version, really not necessary to have on this release. Disappointed.

Four Rusted Horses [Opening Titles Version]—-Sounding more menacing and distorted, the vocal is a bit more fuzzy and the music more dark than before. The voice is so strong, we will have this guy around for awhile.

I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell—-A nice reinterpretation of the original. The vocal is consistent, the musical landscape is more Industrial and driving in sound. Great!

**** out of 5

Heaven And Hell/The Devil You Know

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 300000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Heaven And Hell is a collaboration between Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice. The band recorded and toured as Black Sabbath [with Bill Ward on drums] from 1980-82 and again from 1991-92. Originally planned as a one-off tour to promote Black Sabbath-The Dio Years in 2006, the band decided in 2006 to record new material and release it under the Heaven And Hell moniker as to distance themselves from Black Sabbath.

Atom And Evil—-Beginning heavy, dark and plodding the band retains it’s trademark Sabbath sound despite whatever name change has been made. Ronnie delivers an excellent vocal as always….this man is 68 years old!!! I love the moodiness and the despair of the bass playing. An excellent start.

Fear—-Displaying a more melodic intro, Ronnie shines with his vocal and medieval lyrical soundtrack. The double track of the vocal is a nice change…the turn to an more evil lyric is a little surprising, but the music is great. They manage to retain a trademark sound while expanding the sound to fit Ronnie’s voice.

Bible Black—-With a nice guitar intro, the songs segues into a tender voice styled ballad that has a unsettling lyric. An ode to the Satanic Bible, the song comes alive with the chorus and delves you into the past. When heavy metal was about exploring the darker sides of life. Although Ronnie has some limitations on his vocal ability these days, there is no mistaking the classic sound of his. The song has a nice Maiden styled bass delivery that pleases. Excellent! A magnificent opus.

Double The Pain—-Beginning with a HUGE bass line, the song opens up with an all familiar dirge of darkness. Ronnie delivers a vocal that soars and gives me what I have been waiting for. The chorus adds a double vocal that would be hard to produce live but sounds majestic in headphones. The lyrical content is dark and menacing…classic!

Rock And Roll Angel—-Delivering an epic sound, the song begins with massive guitars and drums. The vocal is even more clear and flawless. I feel like the vocal was moved up in front of the music where it belongs. The guitar delivery keeps the song moving and allows for some great breaks in the chorus. Seems funny for him to sing something like this, but his vocal overcomes whatever speculation you have. A nice soaring guitar solo mid-song is something you don’t hear much these days, but works incredibly well. Ending with a Spanish guitar flair, the song is epic and timeless.

The Turn Of The Screw—-Beginning with the familiar heaviness, the song allows for a nice guitar sound that takes breaks and features an incredible bass-line at times. The vocal is great but all the overdubs are unnecessary. Just let the man sing already!!! This song sounds more Dio than Sabbath, which is nice at this point in the CD. Epic in length and undeniably classic.

Eating The Cannibals—-Again, sounding like a fresh, new classic metal band, the music is paced really nicely with nice guitar highlights. Ronnie delivers a vocal that is classic and fast-paced. The tale of evil is believable and laughable at the same time. A really great song!! Damn catchy with a great hook and catchy chorus.

Follow The Tears—-With a nice sludgy sound, some keyboards and a plodding movement, the song is classic in sound. Ronnie delivers a slower, almost bluesy vocal that again in overlay ed upon the chorus. Emotive and dark, the song carries the Sabbath calling card, despite their name. Is as good as anything from Dehumanizer…a classic under appreciated release.

Neverwhere—-With a great intro, sounding almost like ‘I“, the song moves at a great speed. Ronnie sounds like it’s 1980. The voice is strong and you can see him throwing the devil horns in your mind’s eye. Dio’s presence is heavy and welcomed on the track. The song has nice quick, slow down bass heavy, guitar high moments which really appeals to me. A great, great song!

Breaking Into Heaven—-Ending the release as it started, with a trademark dirge of Sabbathheavy evilness, the song allows Dio to again rise to the occasion. The vocal is so clear and masterful, the music so heavy and dark, that you are magically transported back in time. The band has a clear vision and a pact with the past that really works for them. The CD is ‘classic’ to me, despite the critic’s dismissal of it’s meaning-fullness.

**** out of 5

Hammerfall/Steel Meets Steel-10 Yrs. Of Glory

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 280000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

The last Hammerfall review I posted got a lot of attention, so I thought I would try to revisit some of the classic tracks that Hammerfall recorded in their career. I’m not sure I can add anything new to what has already been said, but it sure is fun to listen to.

Disc One:

End Of The Rainbow—-Smacking you in the face with a great Maideninspired bass line, the choir of voices on the chorus makes this song an instant classic. Hammerfall clearly enjoys  heavy metal with a melodic flair and this song shines!

Legacy Of Kings—-Much more guitar based in the beginning with a stellar drum track, the song moves at a great pace. The vocal is so clear and understandable, the content medieval and viking oriented but listenable none the less. A stellar performance. The band at it’s best.A pure undeniable classic.

Let The Hammer Fall—-Heavier in sound, both bass guitar and drum wise, the lead guitar does carry the song at a good pace. Sounds almost to commercial to completely win me over. The vocal is so ‘eighties’ in sound that it is distracting.

Templars Of Steel—-The song builds to a silent energy that you don’t feel until it smacks you in the face. You are greeted with a rhythm section that is so Maiden and/or Priest that you shake your head in awe. Once the chorus kicks in with the chant-like choir of voices, you are convinced this is original as hell. An ode to the whole world of Heavy Metal, you actually believe that this band lives and breathes it.

Renegade—-Faster paced and less bass heavy, the melody is clear from the onset. The vocal seems a little flat to me…more the lack of energy. I like the double tracked style, but you can’t hide enthusiasm with that. Not a favorite of mine, but I’m sure it;s a crowd pleaser at a show.

Always Will Be—-Now…I’m sure that there are fans out there that live and breath this song, but to me…it is so far removed from the power of the band. They are capable of so much more than this syrupy crap. Rock on Dudes!

Keep The Flame Burning—-Moving at a stellar pace and bringing us back to pure heavy metal, the song just pummels you. Both vocally and musically the song is an assault on your senses. There is a lot going on all at the same time and it works really well. WOW!!!!SHIT!!!!

Riders Of The Storm—-Seeming more drudgy than other stuff, the bass is really heavy on this song. The vocals, as always. are incredible. The song has a subtle military feel and moves along at a nice pace.

The Abyss—-One of three new songs on this compilation. The song begins with a militaristic, symphonic overture that evolves into a stellar bass heavy example of pure power metal. Beautifully constructed, the guitar just soars and the bass gets dirtier and dirtier. Great instrumental.

Last Man Standing—-Sounding like a Dehumanizer era Sabbath, the song has that mechanical metal feel. The vocal is a tad more subdued, but the sing-along chorus is heavier. A shape of things to come.

Hammerfall—-Beginning at a stellar and incomprehensible speed, the vocal is odd at the onset but immediately warms up to what we expect. The song is so energetic, that I can barely type fast enough. The drum parts are stellar and the guitar keeps up wonderfully. The chorus again is a sing along type of choruses that makes you raise your fist and pump the air. Vintage and classic.

The Dragon Lies Bleeding—-Again, on this composition, speed is a factor. The vocal is stellar and amazing when you consider the speed of the music. It is amazing to me that he can keep up with the pace of the song. The drums absolutely pummel you and the rhythm guitar is vintage heavy metal.

Steel Meets Steel—-Anthe mic and powerful, the band never fails to deliver top notch sing along songs. The vocal seems a little lackluster to me, but the music is a heavier bass driven sludge that still shines. Awesome!

Glory To The Brave—-A ballad style delivery that works because of the sheer power of the vocal and musical talent. The vocal soars above everything and borders on Goddamn Beautiful. The musical delivery is majestic, understated yet effective. This is and will always be a classic.

Heeding The Call—-Coming through the headphones like a stampeding herd, the drums carry you to the vocal, which as always, is rewarding. The entire song is vintage Hammerfall. From the bass drum  to the sing along chorus…unforgettable.

Disc Two:

Fury Of The Wild—-Playing with your mind in the headphones, the guitars are on one side, the bass drum on the other. The soaring vocal takes over your brain. The delivery is so energetic and fresh. Incredible!

Never Easy—-Sounding a little bluesier than previous songs, the whole thing slows down to give us a ballad driven tale of loss, and sadness. The materialand delivery has been played out by countless bands. I expect more. The sonf does allow true emotion to play out at the chorus, which I like…but?

Threshold—-Beginning with a monk like intro, keyboards abound and the atmosphere begins to take place. The song speeds to an expected pace mid keyboard and the vocal soars. Jesus, I love this band!!! The chorus is full of sing along sentences that will stick to you. Exceptional.

Natural High—-A nice return to straight up heavy metal. All the necessary elements are here….the power chords, the majestic drums and of course the unmistakable soaring vocal. A nice positive song amidst all the crap. Nice!

Dark Wings—-Beginning powerful, than suddenly powering down into another unnecessary ballad from a band that is capable of so much more. I much prefer the power driven, high octane delivery.

The Fire Burns Forever—-A nice pummeling bass drum drives the song into pure power metal heaven. A great display of everything that makes this band great. The unforgettable chorus, the great vocal, the driving musical landscape. Awesome!

Restless Soul—-The last of three new songs recorded for this compilation, unfortunately it is more ballad driven sop that does not appeal to me. No matter how powerful the chorus is, I just think this band is capable of so much more. Perhaps it is fan demand, but I prefer the straight up power metal they do so well.

The Metal Age—-A nice addition of a live track shows just how powerful this band can be. The vocal is stellar, live or in studio. The lead guitar and bass drum drives the song along at a frantic pace. The crowd interacts well, and the band responds just as well.

Stone Cold—-Another live track that again explains why this band is so huge among it’s legion of die hard fans. The guitar soars, as does the vocal. The power is transported to a live setting so well. Masterful!

Hearts On Fire—-Again, how can you say anything despairing about this band. They ALWAYS deliver a stellar performance. The song has a trademark sing along chorus that is masterful in delivery, and a particular stellar drum performance!

Crimson Thunder—-With a nice down shifting drum delivery, the guitar is more relaxed but the vocal hits incredible highs. A tremendous display of everything that makes this band so great.

Hero’s Return—-Orchestrated and somber at the beginning, that does not last for long. The music and the vocal breaks out at an incredible speed that makes you wonder how the vocalist can keep up.  He never fails. Tremendous display of talent.

Blood Bound—-Muscle metal, the kind of metal that makes you want to sweat and flex and show off. The vocal is so inspiring, the drum so masterful. The chorus gets in you and sticks. MASTERFUL!

Secrets—-Beginning dark, with a great guitar intro, the song evolves into a familiar romp of power metal perfection. I find few faults with this band and question why they are not huge. Tremendous!!

***** out of 5

Franz Ferdinand/Tonight

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 280000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish band formed in 2002. Enjoying almost immediate success, Franz have won numerous Brit Awards and accolades. The band sports an impressive chart history, their first release garnering them 3 Top Ten hits in Britain, their second release allowed them a No. ! single as well as three top ten hits. Tonight, somewhat of a departure for the band, features a more danceable sound and has yet to chart in the U.S. The future remains bright for this up and coming band.

Ulysses—-An immediate difference is apparent upon first listen to this song. The electronics are more apparent, the song content is more party oriented. The delivery is vintage Franz though. You can not mistake Alex’s voice or his delivery. Great!

Turn It On—-Beginning with a nice funk styled landscape, the vocal is more mainstream. The chorus is a nice sing-along romp with keys, drums and guitars working together in tandem. The song develops a nice noisy point towards the end.

No You Girls—-I suppose half the world knows this song just because of all the commercials it has been it. A funky, danceable mega-hit, the song is vintage Franz. The deep bass line adds funk, the occasional guitar adds a nice lick here and there, the keys and drums progress the song and the vocal is sexy and dark. Masterful.

Send Him Away—-Grasping on and holding tight to the funkier sound of the band, Franz delivers another sexy romp through white boy funkdom. Alex sings in a nice occasional falsetto that adds to the sexiness of the song as well as the groovy bass line that runs through the song.

Twilight Omens—-With an almost subtle reggae sound, the song has a nice feel to it. I like how the vocal comes alive with the chorus and makes you sing along, then succumbs to the nice three beat styled guitar delivery. Really Great!

Bite Hard—-Beginning with a pure brit-pop sound, the track is quiet and introspective until the bass drum and guitar kicks in and brings it to life. Absolutely brilliant in construction and delivery. The vocal is so emotive…back and forth, up and down…the keyboard takes on a Doors like organ sound at times. WOW!

What She Came For—-Again feeling funky and danceable, the keyboards add to the funk fueled sound. The pace is moderate to slow and the vocal is haughty and rigid. Alex can deliver a robot like vocal or a Prince inspired funk like a pro.

Live Alone—-Really close to the purely Electronic edge, the song moves along with the spacey keyboard effects. The vocal is up and down…straight and falsetto. A pure example of pop mastery. This band has it’s hand on the pulse of what we need to hear.

Can’t Stop The Feeling—-A little more a spacey sound, the song has a background keyboard lines that grabs the back of your brain and brings it to the front during the musical interlude. The vocal is predictable, but the music fits the mood perfectly. I love how the electronics are added as an extra and not as a main component. Brilliant!

Lucid Dreams—-With a definite nod to The Beatles, the song has a slight psychedelic feel and then comes alive into some funk-fueled orgy of sounds from all directions. What was is no more..The Beatles give way to George Clinton…giving way to a tour de force of sound! Incredible.

Dream Again—-Again, giving nod to a sixties inspired musical landscape, Alex delivers a nice spacey and pleasantly removed vocal that somehow…somehow…somehow worms its way into your brain and plants it seeds. Days later the tune of the song is still in your head and growing…only satisfied by repeated listens over and over. A near masterpiece!

Katherine Kiss Me—-Whoa!!! Guitars…and acoustic guitars at that. Alex has a nice gently Brit-inspired vocal that is so damn pleasant. The song is gentle and sexy….an ode to modern punk rock chicks. Beautiful!

Hit The Lights/Skip School, Start Fights

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , on 280000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Hit The Lights are a punk band formed in 2003 in Lima, Ohio. It is reported they took their name from the song Hit The Lights off the Metallica release Kill Em’ All. The band had moderate success with their first release, but was faced with the loss of lead singer Colin Ross in early 2007. Since that time, guitarist Nick Thompson has taken over lead vocal duties. Skip School, Start Fights is the bands 2nd release. Hit The Lights will play on the Warped Tour in 2009.

Count It!—-Beginning with a nice piano entry, I would never call this band ‘punk’ as many critics have. Emo comes to mind at best…..the song quickly segues into….

Breathe In—-Which fits into the category musically somewhat. The vocal has the familiar whine of many ‘post punk’ bands that are prevalent today. The song is not bad…it moves quickly….the drums are great and the guitar has some practised stop/start highlights. The vocal is too whiny…but the great quality of the music makes amends for it.

Stay Out—-A somewhat of a hit for the band, the music begins with an aggressive sound almost from the onset. The vocal enters with the familiar sound of a typicalband in this genre. I am really impressed by the upfront quality of the music. It is in your face…make no mistake. I like the sing along chorus that causes the song to stick in your mind. Great!

Drop The Girl—-Weak from the onset, the only saving grace is when the music really kicks in. The vocal is way to predictable to be pleasing, to juvenile to me meaningful. The music moves…swift, sure and steady.

Tell Me Where You Are—-Beginning slightly spacey, the music kicks in and then slows to a nice bass driven pace. The vocal is again, what you would expect. The drums are nice….a nice ‘high-hat’ on the cymbals gives the song an almost poppy feel.

Hangs Em’ High—-Much more aggressive musically, the song slows to allow the vocal. I wish the band could just have free reign to really go for it and blast out what it is capable of. The drum is so great…the guitar is almost punishing. Great track save the lyrical content.

Back Breaker—-Fantastic musical beginning as each instrument seems to be introduced line by line. Everything slows down to allow for the vocal, but the instruments speed up again at the onset of the chorus. A great track that could stand up to anyone of the current ‘popular’ post punk/pop punk bands out there today.

Don’t Wait—-A slightly ‘fuzzy’ start that turns in to more of the same lackluster vocal drivel. The band needs a new stronger, more aggressive vocalist in order to survive. I have not heard the first CD, but feel a need to seek it out to hear the difference.

Cry Your Eyes Out—-Really, really nice at the onset… usual a great instrumental delivery has to take the back seat to a snotty drivel of a vocal. Only the drum seems to be allowed to remain in the upfront. The musical interludes between choruses is great.

Statues—-Pure pop punk nonsense. Nothing really redeeming about this track save for the way in the back aggressive lead guitar. The drum track is strong but muted by production. Again, the interludes between the choruses are great.

Say What You Wanna Say—-Another song ruined by snivelling vocals. I wish the band would be allowed to just let loose and kick my ass. Everything seems reined in and controlled, I believe a little out of control would be great for this band.

Winding Down—-This seems a little more aggressive in the vocal arena, there is a nice double track that please. The drums and short bursts of guitars are great. Not bad!!!

On And On—-Quieter and more introspective, what you would expect as a swan song on a CD. The melody is nice and the marching feet adds to the drama of the song. Nicely done!

*** out of 5

Satyricon/The Age Of Nero

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 280000005-04:00 12 by marky7235

Satyricon, formed in 1990, has emerged as one of the leading Black Metal bands from Norway today. Consisting of two key members, Satyr on vocals and Froston drums, the band uses various musicians from other bands to round out the roster when recording and touring. Satyricon has deviated slightly from the ‘true’ Black Metal sound, now opting to take on a more Industrial Black Metal. The Age Of Nero is the band’s 7th studio release.

Commando—-If you are all familiar with the Satyricon sound, you immediately welcome the beginning strain of the first song. Satyr spits venom and the drums are beyond human. The track again gives fans a unforgettable chorus that sticks to the membranes. The bass is heavy and the music as dark as it should be. Classic.

The Wolfpack—-Almost following the ‘recipe’ of recent releases, Satyr deviates little from the growl that he is most comfortable with. The guitar soars with a nice underlying melody. Frost gives the double bass a nice workout. The lyrics are comprehend able, evil and slightly medieval.

Black Crow On A Tombstone—-The title of the song alone causes discomfort. Makes me think of the opening of Six Feet Under! The song does not disappoint. A really nice, somewhat intricate drum track, pummeling bass driven guitar and a spitting vocal delivery….ah paradise!

Die By My Hand—-Beginning almost at the onset at a brutal pace, the drums are IN YOUR FACE. The vocal seems pushed to the back and you can only imagine how fast the bass player must be moving. The whole instrumental aspect of this song is pure brutality. The lyrical delivery and content is what you would expect but the musicians make this song. I like all the dramatic mood changes in the song…ala Black Sabbath styled recordings. AWESOME!

My Skin Is Cold—-Dark in sound and lyrical content, the song begins heavy and dark with immediate vocal. The song is perhaps an ode to sweet relief of death, or probably something completely different. Just my interpretation. The guitar is over run by a strong bass line that seems to constantly downshift. Great.

The Sign Of The Trident—-More bass driven, drum pummeling ecstasy. I never tire of this band and their unique sound. They have been brave is pushing away from the Black Metal table and taking on a different course than most bands. The song is pure metal, but has a machine like quality to it that I love. The drums are so fast at some points you almost think it was a machine…but Frost did play for Gorgoroth in the past. Excellent song…highs and lows and a medium that pleases.

Last Man Standing—-Sounding less produced, the vocal again is not as upfront. The lead guitar takes over the song and the drums are great as usual. The Bass player is excellent, moving from extended notes to short blasts of doom.

Den Siste—-Very Sabbath in sound, the song starts with heavy, heavy bass guitar. The vocal seems to snarl even more when it is not in English. The evil tones to the song are extreme…the bass drives you and pummels you. This is classic and vintage Black Metal. A really really great band live….I saw them this year with Cradle and they sounded fantastic.

**** out of 5