A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What can I say? After their satisfying comeback cd "Savior $elf" and our feature of the band in issue #5, only one year later they release another piece of HADES Metal. First of all, they come up with their best production they ever had, the difference to previous records are the insane punching drums and the overall pressure. Well done. Secondly, the music is not very different to the predecessor, it simply sound like HADES and no one else. And in times of countless copycats already that point is enough to stand out from 99% of all other bands. Alan Tecchio and Dan Lorenzo know what they can do best and these two perfect musicians deliver to us some of the most impressive HADES tunes they've ever written, from the traditional "Ground Zero NY.C." to the powerful "Hail To The Thief" and the untypical crossover "Pay The Price" (with a guest appearance of Billy Milano). I have always liked their kind of playing because of their uniqueness and their intelligent lyrics, this album gives us their goods.
I never really liked any of HADES previous releases but this one kind of has me changing my opinion towards them. I would not call this a killer release by any means because only half of this album offers first class ripping material ("Absorbed", "Biocaust", "DamNation", "Bloast") to very enjoyable stuff ("California Song"- featuring some total SABBATH like riffing) but the other half is just in my opinion average/ filler tunes that have no real identity unlike the others I cited before. Of course they are very heavy sounding tunes and stuff but this is the kind of stuff that doesn't have the capacity to make you want to break your fuckin' skull on a concrete wall. This said, I would still give WAY MORE praise to this release than to the new ANVIL for example as Lorenzo/ Tecchio have managed to come up with a bunch of excellent Metal songs here unlike the Cannucks on their absolutely disappointing last release. Uncompromising material all the way here.
No One Gets Out + VICIOUS Demos
(Molten Metal USA)
HALLOWEEN has always been one of my all time favorite bands in the heavy metal scene. They mix great metal music with a creepy horror show. Their "Heavy Metal Horror Show" can be seen as a legendary event. We already saw the release of the "Don't Metal With Evil" album on CD. And of course a lot of you readers out there will know the "Victims Of The Night" and "No One Gets Out" CDs. Well, the "No One Gets Out" CD is now re-released with five bonus tracks. And this is really a must for all the fans of these pumpkin animals from Detroit, 'cause these five songs are the well known VICIOUS demos. When these were recorded, the band consisted of Tommy Scott Stewart on drums (now in GODSMACK), Billy Gray on guitars, George Neal on bass and Brian Thomas (who else?) on vocals. The CD booklet got totally new artwork from Craig Simpson, and it looks even more scary and evil than the first release already did. Then the five bonus tracks on this CD, "I Confess", "Vicious Lies", "Evil Nation", "Agony" and "Black Skies". They were recorded for promotion only during their shows. What a shame they had to be in the dark vaults for so long because they can easily compete with the songs that did come out on the regular releases of the band. Ultra rare recordings that will simply make you beg for more. These twenty minutes of the finest US METAL should already make you decide to run to your local record store right now. Together with the "No One Gets Out" recordings we're talking about over seventy-five minutes (!!!!!) of the most evil heavy metal on this CD. Hopefully, the future will bring more of these goodies. Maybe a live CD?!?? When you have difficulties finding this release you can go to http://members.aol.com/jbmestad or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. "NO ONE GETS OUT" a must for every metal fan!
Toine van Poorten
I Want Out (MCD)
(Nuclear Blast Records)
This ain't really value for money, cause there's only three tracks on this mini CD, and two of them are already available somewhere else at the time it gets released ("At The End Of The Rainbow" was featured on the last HAMMERFALL full length and "Man On The Silver Mountain", the RAINBOW cover, you'll get on the DIO tribute). The titletrack, a cover of the old HELLOWEEN classic "I Want Out" (feat. Kai Hansen on guest vocals), will be on an upcoming HELLOWEEN tribute, so all in all this is only for HAMMERFALL die hards or collector maniacs... The additionally added video for "Glory To The Brave" is a nice bonus, but only for people who own a computer that also plays CD-R's, so... I would rather spend my money on the band's next full length, instead of this here.
The Temple Of Theil
Based on first glance at Eric Philippe's warrior laden painting, I'm expecting some epic power metal with classical/ symphonic touches. And while this Italian sextet have an army of people awaiting to hear the next big thing to follow the tradition of RHAPSODY and LABYRINTH, "The Temple Of Theil" doesn't satisfy my ears. Following the bombastic instrumental intro, "Follow The Signs" bursts forth in the style of HELLOWEEN and BLIND GUARDIAN- and soon vocalist Claudio Gallo shows his limitations by delivering monotone verses that are heavily accented and slightly off key. His painful melodies make a ballad like "Fall In Tears" unbearable, no matter how strong the instrumentation is. Lyrically this is a concept album based on a warrior fighting to free his girlfriend who was captured by a wizard- in conclusion the warrior kills the wizard who is really his girlfriend. Confused? Indeed- I'm sorry to say that HEIMDALL need a better vocalist plus more ideas instrumentally or they will forever reign in the land of a second rate HELLOWEEN clone.
Graceful Inheritance (re-release)
Needless to say I was pleased to see this reissue come out on the market- as "Graceful Inheritance" appeared originally in the mid 80's when American metal was taking its cues from overseas and creating some classy, power driven material for the ages. HEIR APPARENT helped put Seattle on the map before grunge was even an idea, and with this reissue you'll understand how great this band is at marrying melody, ingenious instrumentation and dynamic song arrangements all at once. They weren't afraid to add keyboards to their music like in songs such as "Tomorrow Night"- because they were still heavy and mystical in their presentation. A slower build up like the intro to "Another Candle" would quickly kick into high gear as guitarist Terry Gorle throws up a bevy of riffs and solos unlike most American guitarists of his era- his playing seemed very Euro/ English infused. You'll get bonus tracks as well including Paul Davidson's vocals on "We, The People" that appeared on HEIR APPARENT's second album "One Small Voice ". The remastering makes the songs sound as interesting in 2000 as they did when originally heard in 1985- a measure for the timelessness great metal records have. You'd be remiss without this album- a fine delight for metal aficionados worldwide!
These 13 tracks were recorded live at Triad Studios on January 17th,1988- featuring all of the songs that would appear on "One Small Voice" plus Steve Bonito's take on the older "Keeper Of The Reign" and 3 other bonus tracks for your listening palate. Faithful readers know of Terry Gorle's disdain for the overall keyboard/ vocal heavy production on HEIR APPARENT's 2nd album- well "Triad" gives the listeners a chance to hear the material with the correct balance. No doubt new vocalist Steve Bonito had a range that rivals Geoff Tate- listen to his 20 second plus high pitch last note in "We,The People" and show me another vocalist who can pull that off convincingly like he does. The album showcases HEIR APPARENT's knack for building up songs with firm melodies, clean/ heavy guitar interplay and occasional allowance for bass heroics ("Keeper of the Reign"). I always thought it unfair to consider this band QUEENSRYCHE clones- as both acts were influenced by great acts from IRON MAIDEN to RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH to UFO....so how can they not have a similar musical framework? Another worthy purchase- let's see if the recently revived HEIR APPARENT knocks them dead at the 2000 European festivals...
The Witching Hour (MCD)
(New Renaissance Records)
No, this ain't a preview of the forthcoming new HELLION / ANN BOLEYN album. This is just old HELLION demostuff that (according to the band / label) had to be released officially due to some poor quality bootlegs that are supposed to circulate already. I'm not sure whether this is reason enough or not to spend money on just four songs that got recorded back in the 80's with the intention to find a major label. Well, as you all probably know this never happened and HELLION had to finance and release the album in question "Screams In The Night" themselves. "The Witching Hour" features two songs that later on got re-recorded on the aforementioned album ("The Hand" and "Children Of The Night"). The other two ("The Witching Hour" and "Morning Star" are previously unreleased, yet typical HELLION songs). The funny thing about this release is the production. To me the sound on this recording compliments the material way better than on the actual album, so all die hard HELLION fans should probably consider buying this. But don't hesitate too long, cause as with most New Renaissance releases, this is another limited edition disc (lyrics included) and therefore could become a collectors item pretty quick.
Live And Well In Hell (re-release)
(New Renaissance Records)
I don't really know why there's already two different CD versions available of this particular HELLION live show - one being called "The Live Uh Oh Album" (which is supposed to be limited strictly to 500 copies and features a different packaging) and this slightly more popular "Live And Well In Hell" disc (circulation 1.100 copies). Fact is, that the show that was used for both of them was recorded when the band supported ROUGH CUTT at the "D'Anza Theater" in Riverside, California on March 30 in 1984. The sound quality may not be the most professional (it was simply taken from a cassette recording that their sound engineer had made at the time), but HELLION fans will get a kick out of it anyway as it still sounds enjoyable and comes across with a pretty honest and authentic feel to it. And with tunes like 'Break The Spell', 'Backstabber', 'Run For Your Life', 'Don't Take No (For An Answer)' and 'Driving Hard' the setlist features some of HELLION's best compositions from that period. To understand how impressi ve HELLION really were that particular night you oughta know that they had to go on stage without a soundcheck but still got offered a management deal by no one else than Ronnie James Dio and his wife Wendy afterwards! Good stuff, indeed!
(Raw Power / Castle Music)
Where the heck are we heading to these days? Has the time for Metal come to end up in a deadend after all, just like enemies of the genre were always proclaiming? Well, at least it seems to me that more and more bands are quite obviously lacking in new ideas and go for covertunes instead. Just have a look at all the new releases. You will quite often find at least one coversong on them, not to mention all the tribute albums that are circulating. Now even HELLOWEEN released an album full of covertunes and I don't really see the need of it. Ok, the coverartwork is kinda amusing and their metalized versions of "He's A Woman, She's A Man" (SCORPIONS), "Faith Healer" (ALEX HARVEY BAND) and "Locomotive Breath" (JETHRO TULL) turned out pretty cool, but to go for material by ABBA, THE BEATLES and FOCUS (...) was certainly not their best decision as the result isn't convincing at all! DAVID BOWIE's classic "Space Oddity" had been done way better by SAIGON KICK years ago and FAITH NO MORE's "Out Of Nowhere" is way too close to the original. The rest is stuff by FRANK MARINO, CREAM and ALAN SHACKLOCK which I never heard the originals of, so I am not the right person to judge them. So, all in all thisis definitely not a necessary item to purchase, neither for fans nor for people on the lookout for some new music. Go for some classic HELLOWEEN instead.
The Dark Ride
After MANOWAR, HAMMERFALL, STRATOVARIUS the fourth big seller in the traditional Metal field signed with Nuclear Blast. A lot of $$$ to spend for the Donzdorf label. And I bet my ass that they earn a lot of $$$ with "The Dark Ride". Roy Z (Halford, Dickinson producer) produced the album and for the first time in years the sound rocks and rolls on a HELLOWEEN release. The first positiva. Then the material is more basic and straight and by far not as fast as on the "Better Than Raw" one. For singer Andi Deris the right songs to perform to because he sings in the same way as on the PINK CREAM 69 debut with its Hard Rock pearls. The melody lines are not as happy sounding as on the previous albums, with some exceptions ("We Damn The Night"). Even some more modern parts were added, the piano line on "If I Could Fly" or the staccato riff on "Escalation 666" and on the weak "Mirror Mirror" for instance. The groove of the songs is astonishing and the band wanted to sound straight on that album that's obvious. The commercial "Immortal (Stars)" with its keyboard lines and the catchy hook is a different HELLOWEEN track as well. It's still a rather typical HELLOWEEN album with some traditional Metal tracks that could have been released ten years before ("The Dark Side") but maybe the band wanted to show their countless copycats that music should be more than just happy. They were partly capable in doing it. Not more.
The James Rivera Legacy
This is again a release of HMG Records, which stands for Hidden Metal Gems. These recordings are from 1990 and 1991. The first four songs are from HELSTAR, from the time that James Rivera sang for this great US METAL band. They then consisted of James on vocals, Jerry Abarca on bass, Russell DeLeon on drums and the twin guitars were played by Larry Barragan and Aaron Garza. "Sirens Of The Sun" is a perfect opener with ditto twin guitar solos. But the ballad "Changeless Season" was a bit too soft in my opinion. The other two songs were again in the best HELSTAR tradition. The other six come from VIGILANTE, but this is in fact the same band as HELSTAR. The only change in the line up was that Larry Barragan left the band and was replaced by Rob Trevino. I think that these six songs come from their 1991 released demo. And they are in the same style as the HELSTAR songs on this LP. This release is also printed on CD, but as a vinyl freak I decided to buy the LP which comes with a lyric sheet. There's no need to tell you that this is a very interesting release for all the HELSTAR fans out there. Especially now the band has proven to be back on earth again, with a stunning performance on this year's Bang Your Head festival. I hope that they will continue to play as HELSTAR for a long time, because if you're honest and you're comparing these songs with the stuff that James Rivera has recorded with his band DESTINY'S END, then your preference must be obvious I think. The DESTINY'S END stuff is very good, but these recordings have got the magic that the DESTINY'S END recordings simply don't have.
Toine van Poorten
Japanese melodic speed metal- revered in Greece, Germany and their homeland because it infuses the theatrical/ classical with high pitched vocals and harmonies that recall prime HELLOWEEN. HERITAGE hail from the land of the rising sun, forming in late 1993 and releasing 4 demos previous to this debut 6 song EP. Expect the best of "Keeper" era HELLOWEEN on songs like "Wild Wing" and "Requiem for Mankind"- while guitarists Kei Tanaka and Takashi Satou spit out layered harmonies and solos with plenty of hook lines. My favorite song "Fire in the Sky" slays with its descending spiral styled speed riffing and equally challenging melodies courtesy of Kaoru Iihama (listen to the high note he sustains in the chorus through 4 measures). Those who love EDGUY and bands in the second tier of HELLOWEEN tradition will need this EP- it's not original but it's well done and that's good enough for me. Contact: Eternal Energy, #104 Wingkuden, 2-22-30 Niikura, Wako-Shi Saitama 351-0115, Japan Web: http://members.aol.com/heriletter
Barrage Of Noise
(Deep Six Records)
As you certainly remember, I had not been impressed to say the least by the "El Diablo Negro" demo that HIRAX released last year (which has also been released on CD and 7" by Deep Six Records recently) and it was a huge disappointment for the HIRAX fan I am, something Katon was really disappointed to hear and having been informed lately that Tabares plus Monardo had left HIRAX to be replaced by some new musicians (Justin Lent/ James Joseph Hubler on guitars and Nick Seelinger on drums), I must admit I had some fear about the new material. "B.O.N." features eight numbers and starts with "Murder One", a tune sounding ALOT like early DISCHARGE musicwise and vocalwise featuring also some short but excellent slower heavy parts, a great start. The title track is another old DISCHARGE/ NEOS like tune, totally hardcore sounding - I'm talking about REAL Hardcore here of course. On the other hand "Walk With Death" starts like a total Metal affair and happens to be a great medium paced affair. "Broken Neck" sounds exactly like an outtake from the "Blasted.." sessions, excellent vocals from Katon done the old way coupled with effective Metallic riffing. "Jade" is a two min instrumental, somewhat surprising- "French Pearl" being the other instrumental closing the album in an even more surprising aspect, but extremely well done. "Mouth Sewn Shut" is an ultra heavy number in the early MASTER fashion so you know what I mean when I say heavy! That song could have been even better without a really average medium paced break, but it's still a great song. Next is "Beyond The Church", an unreal somewhat fast song featuring razor sharp riffing all the way, having only a few great vocal lines at the start and then being just instrumental, excellent. So I had fears about that new EP following the poor "El Diablo.." release but it turns out that HIRAX are back with a vengeance and with Jim Durkin having finally joined them, there's chances that we're gonna hear more blasting Metal in upcoming months! HIRAX are back! Contact: www.deepsixrecords.com, Deep Six Records-P.O. Box 6911- Burbank, CA 91510- USA, vinyl available from www.badman-records.hyperlink.com , Badman Records-Nebrehovice 7- 38601 Strakonice- Czech Republic . HIRAX contact: www.hirax.org , HIRAX- P.O. Box 1474- Cypress, CA 90630- USA.
Mike Tirelli (formerly BURNING STARR) and his mates are back, undoubtedly stronger than ever. Their traditional Power Metal has become heavier than on "Toxic Rain". The production, in particular, is more compact and the double basses dominate the rhythm sound, supported by fast forward driving riffing and the fabulous vocal performance of Tirelli. The aggressive factor of the music improved a lot, comparable to a more into the face version of VICIOUS RUMORS in 1993 (would be fine, if they would also sound this way in 1999). The DIO cover "Holy Diver" complement the positive impressions, though the original solo from Vivian Campbell remains inaccessible. I am fond of hearing all twelve tracks , most of all the fast "The Rage" and the tough "Turned In Your Gun". I never understood why many people said that HOLY MOTHER would exactly sound like JUDAS PRIEST and with this album the simil arities are obviously all gone. A pitiless output full of firm steel.