Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Def Leppard-Yeah!, 2006

I had not planned on reviewing this, but I think I will. I checked this out from the library and just listened to it. I didn't have high expectations because I have not been thrilled by a Def Leppard album since Pyromania and I am not big on cover albums. Having said that, I do have to give credit where it is due and say that if you absolutely feel the need to do a cover album then learn from Def Leppard because they have done it right. Here is what they did and what any band wanting to attempt a cover album needs to remember.

1)Pick songs you truly like. I know that sounds simple, but I think many times bands pick songs or artists that they think fans want to hear rather than what they like. I think Def Leppard picked songs they enjoyed and artists they liked no matter what their fans may think.

2)Put your own sound into it. Again this sounds simple, but too often bands try to do a note for note cover and forget to put their own style into it. If you can't add something to it then you should not be recording it because there is no point to just repeating a song.

3)Have fun with it. This goes hand in hand with number one, but if you are not excited about it then that will come across. I have heard so many dry, lame cover songs that I cannot even make it all the way through because the bands sound they are just trudging through it. I am talking bands I normally like as well. Again if you can't get excited about the song then choose another song.

4)This is more a production issue, but there is no need to make a song too slick. Particularly if the original had a raw sound. Ozzy's cover album from last year did this and it was just horrible (although not the only thing horrible about that album).

I don't normally see the point in doing a cover album because I would rather hear a band work on originals. This album is not great, but it is good and it sounds like they had fun doing it. So hats off to Def Leppard for this.

Almost halfway through the year

I know it's a month shy of being halfway through the year, but I have been thinking of how the year has been so far for music. So far this year Axl Rose has been showing up all over the place, Queensryche released a sequel to one of their most popular albums, Celtic Frost's first album since the early 90's just came out and that's just for starters. I really have not heard a lot of releases yet this year. The two biggest standouts so far to me have been the Sword's Age of winters and Wolfmother. Both bands that received a lot of hype, but both acts deliver as far as I am concerned.

So how do you think 2006 has been so far for music?

So far I am not sure it has been as good as last year, but there still a lot of time left. Iron Maiden will hopefully have an album out this year, Trouble have a reunion album due soon and maybe some other surprises will pop up as well. Who knows the best album of the year may be yet to come and perhaps it could even come from an unexpected source.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It came from the pages of Hit Parader

I have in front of me a copy of Hit Parader from August of 1986 and this time I want to focus on the cover story. Robert Plant is on the cover with a headline of "Led Zeppelin-Born Again?". After Plant, Page and Jones played at Live Aid in the summer of 1985 there were a lot of rumors of a Zeppelin reunion. In early 1986 the three remaining original Zeppelin members and session drummer Tony Thompson did go into the studio and knock about some ideas as reported in the is article. Jimmy Page tried to downplay it by saying it as just some friends getting to play music and he emphasized that all of them were involved in other projects. The article leads one to believe the reunion was in full swing and something would come from this. Well, Tony Thompson was in a bad car wreck and that put an end to this possible new Zeppelin album that some people were hoping for. The three original members with Jason Bonham on drums would play for Atlantic records anniversary show in 1988 and Page and Plant did two albums and tours together in the 1990's. Still the Zeppelin reunion album that people thought was a possibility in 1986 never came around. I wonder how good it would have been, but in the end I am glad that the Zeppelin name ended as it did. Page and Plant had the smarts and the respect to call their projects after their names and not use the Zeppelin name.

Monday, May 29, 2006

New Look

Thanks to pixie for creating the new look for my blog. I was wanting something new, but didn't know how to do it. It took Aerosmith a few attempts to find the right logo for them and Judas Priest as well so I don't feel bad about making the change. Besides I think it looks great and suits me better than the old look.

Have a good Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I wouldn't say that

Ten things that you will probably never hear me say (or see me write).

1)That's da bomb.
2)Iron Maiden are overrated.
3)I respect Vince Neil and Axl Rose a lot.
4)Van Halen were so much better without that Roth guy.
5)It's too loud.
6)Judas Priest should have made more albums like Turbo.
7)Man, that nu-metal is cool.
8)Vinyl wasn't so great.
9)That Brian Johnson sure can sing.
10)I am glad I am over that heavy metal phase of my life.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Battle of the bands

This time the battle is between two long time LA bands. Both had success in the 1980's and both are still going today. So it's:

Motley Crue vs. WASP

I will go with WASP for sure. I like the first two Crue albums and Dr. Feelgood is decent enough, but other than that they are just okay or worse. WASP are probably the opposite as most of their albums are very good (the debut, Inside the electric circus, the Neon God albums) or great (the Last Command, Headless Children, Crimson Idol and Unholy Terror). Only a few of their albums are sub-par (KFD and Helldorado come to mind). Blackie Lawless has made real effort over the years to grow as a songwriter and he has taken some chances, but that's what has made this band stand out.

Who do you pick?

Unlikely events in metal

I was thinking about my post from yesterday and a lot of people doubt any of those things can happen and I understand that. However a lot of unlikely things have happened in metal before. Here are some things that have happened that may have seemed unlikely at one time.

-Ozzy gets fired from Black Sabbath in 1979. His solo band becomes more successful than Black Sabbath are without him.
-David Lee Roth is replaced by Sammy Hagar and 5150 hits #1 on the billboard charts. Something the band didn't do with Roth.
-The Kiss reunion in the mid-90s. Did anyone really think that would ever happen?
-AC/DC have more commercial success (at least for the first two albums) with Brian Johnson than they did with Bon Scott.
-Vince Neil leaves Motley Crue in 1992.
-Rob Halford leaves Judas Priest in the early 90's.
-Alice Cooper manages a comeback and fits into the genre of metal in 1986 after almost a decade of trying pop, new wave and other forms of music.
-Metallica's rise in popularity after Master of puppets was released. In say late 85 speed metal was still mainly underground. Even though Metallica had already done one release on their major label this was a huge step.

Can you think of any events that once seemed unlikely that have happened?

What's coming up?

This coming week I hope to have the following out.

-Scorpions-Blackout review
-Kreator-Coma of souls review
-Another Battle of the bands (I probably won't know who the contestants are until I sit down to write it).
-A tales from the pages of Hit Parader or Circus

There may also be something relating to summer tours or being almost halfway through the calender year.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Likely or unlikely

Okay, here is a little test, but it's all based on opinion. So I have listed five statements below in alphabetical order. All you have to do is take them and put them in order from 1-5 with 1 being the most likely to happen and 5 being the least likely.

*Guns and Roses release Chinese Democracy.
*Heavy metal makes a comeback.
*Hell freezes over.
*Metallica's next album will be very good.
*Van Halen do a reunion show with David Lee Roth.

Here is mine.
1)Metallica's next album will be very good.
2)Heavy metal makes a comeback.
3)Guns and Roses release Chinese Democracy.
4)Hell freezes over.
5)Van Halen do a reunion show with David Lee Roth.

So how do you rank them?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Festival time

The other day I wrote a little about bands like Ratt and Skid Row and how if these bands tour here that they have to get three or four of them to make a package in order to draw a crowd for a summer tour. Another kind of summer gig that goes on are the festivals in Europe that seem to be getting more and more plentiful each summer. Something I find odd about these festivals is that there are some older American bands, normally heavier bands like power or speed metal bands that get to together for a reunion and they skip the states to go straight over to do the European festivals. Last Year Anthrax, Testament and Nuclear Assault all had reunion tours. Each band played just a couple of shows here in the states and then bam they were off to Europe. I can't say I blame them as a band like Nuclear Assault probably couldn't draw flies over here except maybe in the New York area, but they could be slapped onto a festival in Europe and play in front of a 1,000+ people. So anymore if older band who plays heavier music puts out an album in the spring or early summer, don't expect to see them playing here until fall because they will hit the festival circuit first.

Budgie-In for the kill, 1974

Like most people on this side of the Atlantic, I got into Budgie after hearing Metallica cover their songs "Breadfan" and "Crash course in brain surgery". Of course after hearing the originals, I realized that Metallica's versions were just average covers. During the 1970's Budgie were actually a bit ahead of their time and really a special band that gets overlooked at times. The first four albums are particularly interesting and "In for the kill" was their fourth album. Oftentimes they are referred to as sounding like both Black Sabbath and early Rush. The Black Sabbath comparison is not without just cause, but they only sound like Sabbath here and there. The early Rush comparison is a little more accurate except that it should actually say early Rush sounded like Budgie since Budgie came first. Budgie are not what you would call accessible to everyone because they obviously didn't write songs for everyone. They may be off the wall at times, but they were also quite brilliant and probably a bit ahead of their time. "In for the kill' may be a bit more focused than some of their other albums in that the songs tend to wander off a little less and be a bit more on track. Budgie always amaze me because of the amount of sound they were able to get from just three instruments. They are easily able to blend heavy pounding riffs with blues rock and they are able to go from a simple riff to an involved jam at the drop of a hat. They had their own take on what the music should be like and that's a lot of what makes them special more than thirty years after the fact. Metallica loved them and I think Rush were likely influenced by them early on and Budgie were probably a big influence on a number of New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands as well. My favorite songs include the title track, "Crash course in brain surgery", "Zoom Club" and "Living on your own". If you have never heard Budgie before then I would recommend this album or their third effort "Never turn your back on a friend".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fun, fun, fun

Check this out. No it doesn't take much to amuse me. I found it as a link off of chaosbeard's very cool blog.

80's metal fan

Ten things you had if you were a metal fan in the mid-late 1980's.

1)Long hair of course.
2)Denim jacket.
3)Big back patch of a metal band on the back of the jacket.
4)A bunch of buttons of metal bands on the front of the jacket.
5)Lots of concert shirts almost all of them in black.
6)Posters of metal bands on your wall.
7)Pin-ups from Hit Parader, Circus, Rip and Metal Edge on your wall.
8)Ripped jeans.
9)Some type of metal footwear. Probably either worn leather Nikes, Chuck Taylors or combat boots.
10)A notebook with band names and logos drawn all over them.

And of course lots of us thought it as cool to smoke. However I finally kicked that bad habit in 1998. It got to a point where I either needed to give up smoking or give up running because the two habits were not working out together.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Megadeth-So far, so good, so what?, 1988.

In late 86 and into early 87 Megadeth were rising up to the top of the surging speed metal scene. Their "Peaces sells, but who's buying" album had hit and they had found their audience. Then less than a year after the release of Peace sells news came that guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson were out of the band and they had been replaced by guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Beehler. I remember my friends and I being very surprised at this turn of events. Things seemed to be going well and then half of the band got the boot. To their credit, the band was quickly back in the studio and their third album hit the shelves in early 1988. I raced out to buy it the week it was out. The oddly named, but appealing instrumental "Into the lungs of hell"kicks things off. Then comes "Set the world afire" which is impressive overall, but I was struck by how different it was from anything on the other two albums. Then things get a little strange as they do an exceptionally poor cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK". Then they bring on "Mary Jane" which is just plain dull and almost laughable once you hear Mustaine belting out the chorus. The album picks up a bit with "502" which is probably the closest to the previous two albums that any of these tracks come. I actually like it more now than I did back then. "In my darkest hour" is next and it's not the complete misfire that "Mary Jane" was, but it really feels like it's not quite fleshed out. I get the feeling Mustaine wants it to be this pained, dark song , but instead it feels uneven and overlong. "Liar" comes on and it's got some energy, but it might be a bit thin in places. It's a song that I enjoy enough while it's on, but that fades once the track ends because it's not terribly memorable. Then the album ends on a major high note with "Hook in mouth" which is just a terrific, fast song and the band puts everything into it. I like the album slightly more than I did in 1988, but ultimately not great as an album although it has a few very good songs. Probably falls in the middle of their albums as it's still better than most of the post "Countdown to extinction" albums. I don't know if the album suffered from the line-up changes, a rushed writing, recording schedule or just a lack of musical direction. Young and Beehler would be out of the band less than a year and a half later and Megadeth would see better days in the early 1990's.

Monday, May 22, 2006

When should a band call it a day?

This question is kind of related to the other two topics of the day. I was thinking about Stephen Pearcy and about how unlike the bands that just do a summer tour, he has been going at it all year. I admire him to some extent, but at this point in his career I have to wonder if it's worth it. I don't think this kind of music is growing on young people and older fans generally want to hear the stuff from the 80's not the stuff off their new albums. So my question is when do you think a band should could call it quits? Should they tour until one night they take the stage and there is no one there? Or is it an age thing? Then again you have people like Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent who are well into their 50's and Lemmy turns 60 this year and these guys are playing hard and still getting an audience.

Skid Row reunion?

That's the rumor that's been going around lately. Every year there is always some kind of band reunion rumor and more times than not it turns out to be just A rumor. Although this one seems to be getting a lot of mentions lately. In a recent interveiw Sebastian Bach was asked about a possible reunion and his response was "You would have to ask the band about that". That's not a denial and hardly a confirmation yet it's different than what his response has been in recent years and it also makes it sound like it's a possibility. I had always thought that a reunion depended on Bas. If he wants to do it then the other original members should more than likely give their current singer the boot and and do the reunion. No offense, but they have mainly been playing dinky clubs or sitting around hoping that some bigger band will have mercy and give them an opening slot. Skidrow with Sebastian Bach could play decent size venues and probably get good crowds for a summer tour. We will see if it happens or not.

Will play anywhere

Remember that part from This Spinal Tap where they play as support for that puppet show? Yes, that was funny, but now a lot of 80's metal bands are probably having to play at places that are not a whole lot better. I recently saw that Tracii Guns and original LA Guns singer Paul Black were playing some club in Gaithersburg, Maryland which is and hour or so from where I live. I have never heard of too many hard rock bands playing there. Former Kix singer Steve Whiteman's current band Funny Money have played at Genova's Pizza which is near where I live and it's not that big. I happened to be looking at Stephen Pearcy's website and saw that he is scheduled to play the Paducah Summer Festival in Paducah, Kentucky this summer. I lived in Kentucky for a few years and I have been through Paducah and it's not that big. I guess the thing is that if these guys want to keep making a living as musicians then sometimes they have to take what they can get. I just hope that they make sure to learn from Spinal Tap and assure that they get billed above the Puppet Show rather than below it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The nap

It was early in the Summer of 1988 and I was going to be graduating from high school very soon. In fact the only thing I had left to do at school were a few graduation practices and then the actual graduation ceremony. The graduation practices were only half a day, but I had a job after school. I didn't have a car yet so I told my parents that after graduation practice I would just hang around the town and walk to work. Since I worked at the same place as my dad then I could catch a ride home with him. The graduation practice that day was really dull, stand up, sit down, walk here, walk there. I am glad that twelve years of education had prepared me for this. Anyway I wastired so instead of walking into the town I walked over to a bridge that went over the railroad tracks. I went down the bank below the bridge, but kind of off to the side and found a nice grassy place to lay down. I set my watch to wake me up in an hour and a half so I could get to work. Then I laid back and stared at the inside of my eyelids. I didn't expect to sleep much, but I woke up and looked at my watch. I leapt up because I had slept over an hour and a half and I had to start walking to make it to work on time because work was about a mile and a half walk away. I grabbed my gym bag that held my red cap and gown in it and began my walk down the railroad tracks. The tracks went right by my work. I was probably just a quarter of a mile down the tracks when I heard sirens behind me. I turned and saw an ambulance going over the bridge that I had just been under, but then instead of going straight they went to the right where I couldn't see them. I thought there had to have been an accident at the factory that was over there. To my surprise two men carrying bags and wearing uniforms came racing down the bank where I had just been, how odd. I thought that they looked like paramedics and I also thought that they seemed to be looking for something. Then I turned to look the other way and realized that ahead of me in a small parking lot a crowd of about twenty onlookers had formed and they were looking down at the bridge. Yet I was in between their vision and the bridge and some of them seemed to be looking at me. Then a figure came out of the group and headed towards me. I recognized the hat right away that marked this guy as a Maryland State Trooper. I kept walking towards him now realizing that he was definitely coming to talk to me. My heart was beating fast and I was beginning to get an idea of what was happening, but I walked on to meet the officer. When we met I asked him if anything was wrong. He asked if I had been by the bridge and I said yes I had been there, but now I had to go to work. He asked what I was doing at the bridge and I told him about graduation practice, my job and my nap. He removed his hat and wiped his head and smiled a little. He proceeded to tell me about how a person in one of the nearby houses had seen my unmoving form and called the ambulance because they thought that I had been hit by a train. He had been notified because he happened to be in the area. I informed him that I had not been hit by a train and he asked that I not take naps near the railroad tracks anymore. Then we parted and I went to work. The crowd in the parking lot dispersed when they realized there was nothing more to see. The moral of the story is you should poke a body with a stick before calling the ambulance. Well, maybe that's not the moral perhaps it's choose your napping places carefully. Or maybe it's just a mildly interesting real story with no moral at all.

I will be back Monday with more metal stuff. Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What's coming up?

The first thing that's coming up is my birthday which is this Sunday. That means no post on Sunday. My birthday present to myself is that I will allow myself to do a non-metal post tomorrow. It's like one of the few interesting things that has happened to me although it may not be that interesting to anyone else. So I will have that real story out tomorrow. For the rest of the week I do have a few ideas and here they are.

Budgie-In for the kill review
Megadeth-So far, so good, so what? review

I will also have another segment of "It came from the pages of Hit Parader" or "It came from the pages of Circus", I am not sure which one yet.

There will probably be a few other items as well, but I don't know what for sure.

Bad lyrics

As promised here is a topic on bad lyrics in metal. As with song titles, it can vary as to what one thinks is bad. Here are some that I consider to be either bad or at least odd or confusing.

From "Dancing in the moonlight" by Thin Lizzy

"Now we go steady to the pictures
I always get chocolate stains on my pants"

This is a very good song, but I can't get past that chocolate stains part. It just feels like it was thrown in at the last mintue.

From "Slip of the lip" by Ratt

"I could tell you wanted someone to call your own
Sweet sixteen, you couldn't see straight
You couldn't let go
Now you're eighteen and you barely make a sound
You're getting older, a little bolder
You're in the lost and found"

It's mainly lines four and six that just make me scratch my head, It just doesn't make sense to me

From "Any way you slice it" by Kiss

"I caught the tail of a hurricane and I've never ever been the same
I went out on a limb, gotcha under my skin, well alright
You got dirt under your fingernails
What I'm thinkin' can land me in jail
Well, you're caught in this trap and you can never go back
Well, oh no no
I know you wanna cross the border and you know the doctor's orders
Well it's better late than never, can't stay innocent forever
It's alright, it's alright, yeah"

When "It's alright, it's alright, yeah" is your best line then you know that you are in trouble.

From Rock-n-roll rebel by Ozzy

"God only knows why they couldn't see the obvious
Is it because they manifest the incubus
The ministry of war that got caught in the draft
The ministry of joy that still hasn't laughed
When it's all boiled down and the day's at an end
I'll give you no bullshit and I'll never pretend"

This was in 1983 so Ozzy hadn't reached his brain dead stage yet. However most of this doesn't make sense.

Do you know of any bad, odd or confusing metal/hard rock lyrics?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Theme weeks

Having finished Iron Maiden week not too long ago, I was thinking what other theme weeks I may tackle this year. "Underrated band week" will definitely be in early June. I also think that I will attempt a "Live album week" later in the summer because I have yet to write a review on a live album. Then in October it's likely that I will have "Black Sabbath week" and that seems appropriate for that month. Then in December I plan on doing my top ten countdown of the best albums of 1986. I will reveal one a day for ten consecutive days and then I do the best/worst album covers on day eleven and conclude with my "Golden Turd of 1986" award on day twelve. If you did not read any of my top ten album lists last year, the Golden Turd is the award I give to an album I think was really bad and disappointing. That's the schedule that I hope to stick to concerning theme weeks for the rest of year.

Please release me

The topic of this post was originally inspired by a release I read about Displeased records planning cd releases for a lot of speed metal cd's by artists including Sadus, Toxic and Sacrifice. Well, only a few hours after this release came a release from the band Sacrifice saying the rights to their albums are through another label and they were looking into taking legal action against Displeased records. Oh, well maybe one day I can get the first Sacrifice on cd for less than $20. Still this topic had me thinking about what old albums I would like to see released on cd or what out of print cd's I would like to see get re-released. The complete list would probably be long so I will just jot down a few that I can think of.

Tigertailz-Young and crazy
I have it on lp, but still would love it on cd. However, I know legal complications will keep this from coming out.

Four Horseman-Nobody said it was easy
I once had it and sold it and now it's out of print.

Executioner-In the name of metal and Break the silence
Great almost unknown speed metal. I do have them on vinyl. I know their record label holds the rights and doesn't seem to think that it's worthwhile to release them.

Is there anything you would like to see get a cd release or re-release?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Concert questions

With Axl Rose and his hired band finally doing shows again, I was inspired to come up with a few concert related questions so here they are.

1)Have you ever been to a concert where a band didn't show up?

2)Have you ever been to a show where a band came on way later than scheduled?

3)Have you ever seen a crowd cheer for a band that you thought were poor?

4)Have you ever seen a crowd not cheer for a band that you thought were good?

My answers:
1)Yes, Wrathchild America
2)Yes, Van Halen came on at least an hour after they were scheduled due to technical problems.
3)Jackyl, Death by radio and Life, sex and death. All were lame and all got cheered although Death by radio did get a few well deserved boos mixed in.
4)Helloween and Cry of love. Helloween were opening for Anthrax and their music is just different from Anthrax. Cry of love opened for Aerosmith and they were good, but most people just sat there staring.

Overkill-Horrorscope, 1991

I loved a lot of speed metal bands back between say 86-93. However not all of them have aged well, at least not according to my ears. Now don't think that I am getting old and can't tolerate the speed or heaviness although I may be getting old. It's actually that I have become a little more particular and some of these bands just sound a bit too generic now. Of course there are plenty of them that have actually managed to age well. By 1991 Overkill were set to release the follow up to their 1989 album "The years of decay" which was great and did well. The band also went through a major line-up change between 89 and 91. Long time guitarist Bobby Gustafson was gone and stories vary about whether he quit or was fired. The band decided to go with the popular trend and bring in not one, but two guitarists to replace him. I was hesitant about the new line-up because Gustafson could shred and he had gotten better with each album. However it took about two minutes of the opening track "Coma" to convince me that there was life after Gustafson. Horrorscope is overall like a controlled frenzy in that it's full of blazing riffs and pounding beats, but there are plenty of hooks to make it interesting and those hooks were not as strong on Overkill's earlier efforts. This is one of those albums that still makes me bang my head and an old geezer like me doesn't do that for just any album. Everything about this album is just so dead on.The band have had a great career, but this will go down as their greatest moment for sure. It's easily as much of a killer today as it was when I first it in the summer of 1991. Favorite tracks include Coma, Infectious, New Machine and Blood Money which might very be the single best track this band has ever done.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bad song titles in heavy metal

This is one of two topics that I will be doing this week that are kind of connected. The other topic will be about bad song lyrics in metal. So the topic of song titles is a little less involved than lyrics just because it's less to read. Of course it's all subjective as to whether you think a song title is good or bad. It's also ultimately not that important because it's the actual song that matters. British hard rockers Budgie had some crazy song titles like "Hot as a docker's armpit", "Napoleon Bona parts 1 and 2" and "You're the biggest thing since powdered milk", but they were really good songs. Yet you have to laugh or just shake your head when you first see or hear some song titles. I am just going to throw out a few and I am sure some of you will supply more because there are likely plenty to choose from. Here is my contribution of bad song titles and I am only judging the title here not the song itself.

Keel-"You're the victim, I'm the crime"
What? This sounds like an awkward pick up line from some desperate guy in a bar.

Kiss-"Let's put the X in sex"
Same reason as the Keel song except that the guy using this line would get slapped while the guy using the Keel line would just get a drink thrown in his face.

Quiet Riot-"Stomp your hands, clap your feet"
I am sure all the teenage metal fans were singing this one out loud (yeah, right).

**Just so it won't look like I am picking on certain bands here is one by an artist that I like a lot.

Dio-"Death by love"
It sounds like something a heart broken 15 year old would write.

So what song title(s) do you think are really bad? Keep in mind this is only song titles as I will do bad lyrics on a different post later in the week.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Kix, 1981

If you live in a state besides California or New York then perhaps there has been a local band with a huge following in your area, but not so much of a following outside of that area. Well, Kix were that kind of band in my area. If you grew up in central or western Maryland in the 1980's then you were probably handed a copy of this album when you started high school. Actually that didn't happen, but Kix were played heavily on the radio and they were big in this area. This was their debut and it's pretty good overall. A little silly at times with singer Steve Whiteman having a voice that sounds somewhat mechanical. Song titles like "Kix are for Kids", "Contrary Mary" and "Yeah, yeah, yeah" should tell you that these guys aren't exactly on the level of say Rush or Iron Maiden when it comes to lyrics. Still it's fun and the songs are catchy for the most part. This album came out on Atlantic records in 1981 which is a little odd because that means that while Motley Crue and Ratt were forming that Kix were already signed to a major label. They also didn't have to move to a big city to get the deal either as they were based out of Hagerstown, Maryland. So if they had a debut on a major in 1981 then how come they never got that big? I think one of the major reasons was that their second album "Cool Kids" was a real misfire that had the band doing a bizarre mix of pop and a little hard rock and I think it set them back quite a bit. Anyway their debut is pretty decent with most of the album being memorable and it's my favorite of theirs. Last summer in the middle of the night I had to chase off a pick up truck that had slowed down at my mail box and I am guessing they had hoped to bash it in. Anyway they were blasting this album at the time so it looks like young people of today still listen to this album as much as I did back in the 1980's.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Axl shows up

Apparently G-n-R showed up in New York last night and played their first show in three and a half years. There are some pictures from the show here.
The set list is here if you scroll down a few topics.

Hibria-Defying the rules, 2005

This album came out last summer, but I have just now gotten around to writing about it. Actually I listened to it while in my car yesterday and felt the need to write about it because it really is that good. They have an odd band name and the cover is a bit on the cheesy side and they sound a lot like two other established bands. None of that really matters once you slip the disc in because Brazil's Hibria are astonishingly polished and remarkably tight. The major influences here are are power metal greats Helloween and Gamma Ray and you can hear the influence right away. Although I would say they sound more like Helloween and Gamma Ray between say 95-99 rather than what those bands have done recently. Yet Hibria are not merely a straight copy of those bands. The big difference is that Hibria are much more straight ahead as most of the songs fall into the medium fast paced speed. They are also a bit more aggressive than Helloween and Gamma Ray have been in a long time so fans of those bands (like myself) would love these guys. They also have the occasional classic metal influence as well because Iron Maiden and Dio come to mind here and there. So they may not be the most original band around, but they play with a lot of fire and enthusiasm and that goes a long ways with me. A friend of mine gave me like a dozen promo cd's that he had doubles of last year and while some of the others were good, this one just blew the rest away. I am not going to say that I prefer this band to Helloween or Gamma Ray. However I will say that Hibria, Helloween and Gamma Ray all released albums last year and I own all of them, but Hibria is the one I listen to far more than the others. I hope this band keeps at it because it would be interesting to hear what they sound like once they start adding more of their own sound.

Mother's Day

This might be one of the last blogs where you would expect to find a topic about Mother's day, but here it is. My mother and I had a lot of go arounds when I was teenager about the music I listen, my hair, the pictures of bands I had on my wall and my grades in school. This went on for about the entire four years of high school and sometimes I got so mad at her. I considered moving out and I considered quitting school, but I stayed and graduated. After high school I got a job, but continued to live at home and the situation with my mother calmed down a lot because I didn't see her as much. When I was 22 I was tired of working in a warehouse, but didn't think that I had many other choices. My mother urged me to go to college, but my grades were horid in high school. She urged me to try because it would give me more options. I grudgingly tried and got accepted to a school I didn't think would take me. My freshman year was rough from being out of school for so long, but I stuck it out. During that year I had a lot of phone conversations with my parents and they helped me out just by talking to me. Anyway I made it through college and now I actually live down the road from my parents and see them every day even though I once wanted to move a long ways from my mother. I am glad that I live close and when I go to visit and my mother reads to my two year old daughter every time we go over. I had a period of years where my mother and I argued, but it passed and I appreciate her pushing me to believe in myself and to try and take risks. So happy Mother's Day to her.

My wife is far more patient with our kids then I am and she tries very hard with them. To be honest it took a long time for us to have our first child and we were thrilled to be parents. My wife had to wait a while to become a mother and I knew she would be good at it even if it would not be easy. Now that we have two children it is more difficult at times, but my wife tries hard and she puts up with me. So Happy Mother's Day to her as well.

And a Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers who may be reading this!

Friday, May 12, 2006

What's coming up?

Normally I stick this topic up on Saturday or Sunday. I did it on Friday this time because I might write something more involved tomorrow. Please notice that says "might". I will be writing something about mother's day on Sunday. Don't worry it will contain some kind of reference to metal. Other than that I am probably going to do these topics as well next week.

Kix review
Overkill-Horrorscope review

That means I will be reviewing albums by two bands with green logos on their albums and neither one is Poison. What are the odds?

I will also be doing something about bands re-recording their own songs.
I may have a short list of questions to throw out as well. I might even get around to doing a bad lyric or bad song title topic as well. I read metal news sites to get ideas so sometimes I read news or a rumor and get an idea that way. There have been a few new people posting here over the last so if I forgot before then please let me say "Welcome" now and I hope that I don't scare you off with my scattered writing and numerous typos.

Current Playlist

Currently I have been listening to:

Dokken-Back for the attack
Thought Industry-Songs for insects
Sweet Cheater-Eatin' ain't cheatin'
Prong-Rude Awakening
Accept-Metal Heart
Fu Manchu-In search of
Rush-Grace under pressure

What are you listening to?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Xciter, 2006

Not to be confused with Canadian speed metal band Exciter, this Xciter is the LA band that featured George Lynch and Mick Brown who both later went on to join Dokken. It seems that in recent years many artists are raiding their basements, closets or wherever to dig out tapes that might be cleaned up and slapped together to make an album of rarities or demo tracks. Sometimes you get a gem, but most of the time you find out very quickly why the material wasn't released right after it was recorded. This album is actually has gems and forgettable material that probably should have stayed on the shelf. Even though the album is called Xciter and 3/4 of the band plays on all eight tracks, it is still like two entirely different bands. The first half is four tracks that were recorded in 1977 and they are surprisingly decent for the time. Maybe a little like Rocka rolla era Judas Priest with some touches of early Van Halen thrown in. Some impressive guitar licks from a young George Lynch. The singer on these tracks was a guy named Greeg Sanford(that's not a typo on the first name) and quite honestly he's pretty solid although I never heard of him doing anything else. The real main attraction from these songs is an early version of "Paris is burning" some five years before Dokken would record it live and slap it on their debut "Breaking the chains". I am sure Dokken fans would find it very worthwhile. Well, the band didn't get signed at this point and apparently they changed singers and brought in a female vocalist named Lisa Furspanker (not a typo either). This line-up recorded four songs in 1979 and they make up the second half of this album. To be frank it's a bit of a train wreck other than a few interesting guitar bits here and there. The music is much more low key and commercial and the vocals are screechy and tough to take. The first version of Xciter sound like a band I can imagine playing on the Strip to decent crowds. The second Xciter sounds like a band that would be playing some dive in a nowhere town to a crowd of five people. Even though just half of the album is good, I found it worthwhile enough. I have listened to the first half several times already. So there are some gems sitting on shelves waiting to be released and there are other tapes that should maybe never see the light of day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Guns and Rumors

How is it that a band that hasn't done an album in 12 years gets more press than bands that have been consistently doing something? Why is it that Axl Rose sets his foot in a club and it's a big story? I don't know, but here we are not even half the way through 2006 and there have been so many stories flying around this year concerning Axl and his band. The album was originally rumored to be out in March and then late Spring and now apparently Axl has said it will be out in the fall. Well, it's been promised for ten years now so no surprise that it's ready being pushed back again. There were rumor about Slash re-joining the band and then apparently Axl shot that down. There are recent rumors that Axl has been talking to Izzy Stradlin, but that remains a rumor at this time. What is fact is that G-n-R are set to play four dates in New York soon and a number of festivals in Europe during the summer. We will see if Axl can keep to the schedule and not have a repeat of the 2002 tour. I have heard that the four New York shows sold out in three minutes and I believe that I heard the price was like $60 a ticket. Is it possible for that people to be willing to pay that kind of money to see Axl and his hired band at this point? It kind of feels like a big soap opera and if the album doesn't come out this year then like most other soap operas it will continue on for another year.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Battle of the bands

Just pick the band your prefer and stating your reason why would be great too. This time it's two hard rock bands who for the most part have been run by their lead singers. Both are somewhat commercial in their sound, both had some real success in the 80's and both are still going today. So here are your choices:

Dokken vs. Whitesnake

I have never been huge on either band, but I will take Dokken. I probably like them more now then when I was teenager and other than Slide it in, I just think Whitesnake were okay. Both bands come across as trying to be a little too serious despite some really lame, sappy lyrics at time. Coverdale is a better singer than Don Dokken and there have been a lot of talented people in Whitesnake, but I think that Dokken generally rock a little more. I think at their best, Dokken were about having good tight songs.

So who do you prefer?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Wolfmother, 2006

This band started receiving some real hype late last year. I heard their Dimensions ep a few months ago and although I liked I do have to admit to being surprised that these guys were getting so much attention in the indie rock scene. Well, now the self titled album from this Australian three piece has been released here in the states and we can see if these guys are for real or not.

I guess the major questions should be:
Are they anything new?
Do they live up to their hype?
Are they any good?
Who do they sound like?

My answers are:
Not exactly.
Yes, to some extent they do.
Yes, they certainly are.
The major influence is Led Zeppelin with touches of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Blue Cheer thrown in. The singer sounds like a cross between Robert Plant and Lizzy Borden.

For some reason this band seems to be getting a real push towards indie rock fans, but it's certainly heavily influenced by classic early 1970's hard rock bands with some of their own energy thrown in. Not all that original in some ways, but they make it work. Most of the songs are short and cut directly to the meat of the song and this works for me. There are a few songs that might start off a bit heavy handed or may be a little too strong on the Zeppelin riffs, but in the end they pull it off by not trying to be serious and by throwing in some nice hooks and taking control of the pace of the songs. It certainly has a fuzzy tone to it and oftentimes a spacey feel that makes the album sound more like an album from say 1973 rather sounding like a band that is just influenced by 70's music.
My only real problem with this band and I may be nitpicking by saying this but here it goes. They are getting pushed hard to indie rock fans rather metal fans or even classic rocks. I don't mind that, but what I mind is that there are plenty of bands who are labeled stoner rock who have playing this 1970's fuzzed out hard rock for years. Yes, Wolfmother are different from these bands in some ways. However it irks me a bit that I sure a number of critics are going to praise these guys as doing something revolutionary without giving an mention or acknowledgment to an entire sub-genre of bands who are doing this style of music while getting no hype and very little notice from the mainstream. Yes, perhaps I am being petty, but I feel better now that I said it. Having said that, I must say that this an interesting and fun album that may not be for everyone, but I like it a lot and plan on giving it a lot of spins in the upcoming months.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The prize

I actually wrote this almost a year ago, but decided to reprint it because hardly anyone was reading my blog then. It's a bit long, but I hope you can make it through.

Summer is almost here and carnivals will be going on so this made me think of carnival prizes and one summer years ago. If you have been to a carnival then you know the type of cheap prizes they often had. Some of the prizes years ago included long neck, twisty bottles with colored water inside, tacky pillows and of course mirrors of rock bands. Now these things look pretty cheap now if you have somehow managed to hold onto one and it hasn't broken or turned some weird color. However, back then these mirrors were shiny and new maybe a bit like the carnival itself with all the bright lights and the excitement that comes from a once year event. Now the carnivals around here are run by the local fire departments which means the games are legitimate unlike some traveling carnivals. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not because that means you might actually win some of this stuff have to take it home with you and find a place for it. When you are a kid or a teen then you wanted this stuff and knew where you were going to put it in your room and you knew just how cool (you thought) it would look in your room. So it was just a matter of playing the game and winning the prize, right? Not so easy as I would have hoped. Yes, they are legitimate so you can win, but they still make it hard to earn these hunks of junks. I went to a few carnivals with my father when I was little, but the first and I believe the only one I went to as a teenager was when I was 15 years old. It was late in the afternoon and my father asked me if I wanted to the carnival that night and of course I wanted to go like there was much else to do except sit around, sweat and watch TV. At least at the carnival I could walk around, sweat and try to earn tacky prizes. Well my father gave me some money and told me he would be off playing bingo and we agreed to meet outside the bingo tent in two hours. Lots of time to walk around and see what was going on. It didn't take me long to find the games with the metal prizes, that's metal as in heavy metal not iron or steel. There was one where you have to throw darts and pop balloons, but I forget how many you had to throw to win a prize. The other game was a ring toss with a bottle you had to get the rings around. Neither game looked easy, but without looking much at the prizes I decided to try the darts first because it looked easier. Again I am afraid that I have forgotten exactly how many balloons you had to pop to get a prize, but you had to get several to get any prize. Then there were levels of prizes like if you got a couple balloons popped then you get a tiny rock mirror which was actually just a very small mirror maybe the size of two baseball cards and it had a very cheap sticker slapped on it. I seem to remember ones like Duran Duran and Wham (yes it was that bad) and the best one they had was David Lee Roth, but it was like a green and white Diamond Dave that looked like his face was kind of warped. The best prize at this stand was a Twisted Sister muscle shirt and I was set on earning one. I do not throw darts very often, but after several tries I was getting the hang of it and after about $3.00 I had won a Twisted Sister shirt. So now I had a major prize, I had some confidence and most importantly I had money left. So I was ready to attempt the ring toss and see what else I could win. I stood back a minute and watched some other guys trying the ring toss. Again I cannot remember the specifics, but it seems like the hardest part was that the ring had to go over the bottle and then go all the way down to the floor. The bottle did not make this easy and rings would catch half way down hang there taunting you, but they wouldn't go all the way down. I was ready so I began playing and was struggling right away. I tried to relax, but I was spending a lot of money and winning nothing. Then finally a break through and I had won one of their small prizes. These mirrors were different because they actually just a wooden frame with glass over a small poster so it was at least a real image rather than a green David Lee Roth. I selected a small Twisted Sister mirror so maybe it was time to quit. Wait a minute, wait a minute, they were changing some of big mirrors and bringing out some different ones. There I saw it, the Holy Grail of carnival mirrors, it was a large Ratt-Out of the cellar mirror. Yes, it had the cover of Out of the cellar in all it's glory and as a bonus it had the Ratt logo that had the rat with wires connected to it's head down in the corner of the mirror. My mind was set, I had to have that mirror and oh, yes it would go on my wall! I knew it would be hard to convince my parents to let me put it up. If I won a big mirror then maybe I should play it safe and pick a Van Halen mirror or the Scorpions because they just had the band rather than the woman on the Ratt mirror. No, I must have the Ratt mirror because it was calling to me well, actually I think being a teenage boy is what made me want that mirror and it was really my hormones calling to me. It took about $4.00 more, but I won that Ratt mirror. So for a mere $10.00+ I won a shirt that would fade bad after two washings, a small Twisted Sister mirror and the king of all carnival prizes the Ratt mirror. After many attempts of pleading I was able to talk my parents into letting me hang this Ratt mirror in my bedroom. Although I one day believed that I would have it on the wall of my living room like some trophy where I would point to it and say "Yep, I won that beauty at the carnival". I had it up in my bedroom for maybe a year before I took it down because my musical tastes were changing and Ratt were no longer towards the top of my list. The mirror set in my attic for several years and then in the early 90's I passed it on to Bob telling him to take good care of it because one day I might want it back for my living room. I have never wanted it for my living room, but I am greatly relieved to know that Bob still has it and it is still safe. Who knows, maybe in another 20 years I will want it back to put in my living room. Well, then again maybe not.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What's coming up?

With Iron Maiden week over with now I will be going back to my regular format. Here is what I hope to do this week.

Xciter review
Wolfmother review

Since Summer is almost here I am reaching into my vaults and pulling out an old post about a rock mirror I won at a carnival years ago. It's very long so I may re-write it or just cut it in two and post it over a two day span.

Other than those topics I am entirely sure what else I will write about.

The importance of Iron Maiden

I think Iron Maiden were without a doubt the best metal band of the 1980's. How can I make such a claim? Well, they did seven studio albums in that decade and I think every song on those albums was good. Not only no bad songs on seven consecutive albums, but no average ones either because to me every song was above average. I think this streak of consistency during metal's prime decade ensured their legacy before 1990 even rolled around. That's without even mentioning the fact that Live after death is possibly the best live metal album of all time and their reputation of being a great live band. I think Maiden are very well respected in metal circles and by guitar magazines. Many bands from various genres including power, speed and classic style metal bands have listed Maiden as an influence. I think that Iron Maiden will be highly regarded years from now. They have been a huge influence on many bands and it think that their incredible paying and writing abilities, their consistency in the 1980's and their willingness to progress have helped them to make a permanent mark in the music world. That wraps up Iron Maiden week.

In early June I will be doing "Underrated band week". Right now I think that it will include reviews of albums by Metal Church, Armored Saint and Tora, Tora. Let me know if you think of any other topics that you would like to see included in Underrated band week.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Where is everyone?

It's great to get to know new people through their blogs, but it also sad when people either run out of time or lose interest so they stop writing their blogs. Lately it seems like a lot of people whose blogs I read have stopped posting or have pressing problems that have caused them to take a break. I hope everything works out for for everyone. I plan on trying to keep my blog around at least until the end of the year and after that I will see. Maybe I will keep it or going or perhaps I will move on to something else. In the meantime I will be trying to occasionally write more stories about things that happened in my life concerning metal. It was very much a part of me while I was a teen and growing up.

Iron Maiden-Brave new world, 2000

After two albums with Blaze Bayley the time that Maiden fans had been waiting for had come. Well actually two things happened. Bruce came back and perhaps even more surprising was Adrian Smith came back. Bayley was gone, but Janick Gers stayed on making the band a six member band which was very rare for hard rock bands who didn't have a full time keyboard player. Anyway the stage was set for a reunion, comeback or whatever kind of album you want to call it. Of course whenever one of these albums are released there are always expectations from the fans. As far Maiden goes it had been eight years since the last album with Bruce at the helm and 12 years since both Bruce and Adrian were in the band. Certainly the album cover was their best since 7th son, but what about the music? I think that I probably rate this one higher than most people. I am confident in my belief that is their best effort since "7th son of a 7th son", but that may not be saying a great deal. I do feel that the overall feel of the album is closest to Somewhere in time and 7th son however it's not quite as consistent as either of those albums. Most of the tracks have that layered Maiden sound with the chugging bass lines, Nicko's pounding beats, the double, ooops I mean triple guitar attack and Bruce's vocals are almost as impressive as ever. I think that I have two problems with the album. One is that there is filler here like the Nomad which like it's title just kind of wonders around and never really ends up anywhere. My other complaint is that almost every song is trying to be very long and involved. I have always felt that one of the great things about Maiden in their prime was their ability to do epic songs and "go for the throat" style songs on the same album. This album feels like most of the songs are trying to be epics and some work while others only work in parts. Still it's great that Maiden came back and I think they are still going pretty strong. Favorite songs are the title track, Wicker Man, Blood Brothers and Out of the silent planet.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

20 years from now

Iron Maiden are due to have a new album out later this year. I think they are highly regarded and have had a great career. However I think that they are only really highly regarded in metal circles. my question is how will Iron Maiden be remembered 20 years from now? By that time will their skills be enough for them to be highly regarded in rock circles or will their legacy only live on in metal circles?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Iron Maiden-Somewhere in time, 1986

Background-When Powerslave came out in early 1984, Iron Maiden were big, but not huge. Their long World Slavery tour ended in the summer of 1985. They then released the double live effort Live after death in late 1985 and it was very successful. So by the fall of 1986 they were huge and they were set to release their first studio effort in two and a half years. I think that more than ever there were expectations on Maiden because they had become one of the truly big metal bands of the time. The other factor may have been that in between the release of Powerslave and the release of Somewhere in time, metal had changed. Speed Metal had really grown and bands were popping up all over the place in 1985 and early 86. Also bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Metal Church and Slayer were now even on major labels and their heavier, faster style of metal was catching on.

First impression- I first heard this the week it came out and I liked it a lot, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. Whether you call it more commercial or more accessible, it was decidedly lighter than any of their previous efforts. It has grown on me over the years though.


Caught somewhere in time-The opening riff comes on and it's actually somewhat simple, but the song moves ahead with a great pace and you get sucked in by it's momentum. Really strong vocals on this one.

Wasted Years-The music is solid, but a little light. Overall very sharp with some slick vocals and it moves along nicely.

Sea of madness-Almost a leisurely start to this track. It's smooth, but not as interesting as I might like. It never quite takes or tries to do a lot so it comes across as a bit of a filler track. I like the chugging bassline a lot, but not a real memorable song.

Heaven can wait-A simple, but tight riff starts this one off. The music is a little bit simple for Maiden, but some nice vocals and the chorus will stick in your head for a while.

The loneliness of the long distance runner-I love the quick pace change at the beginning. You can almost feel like you are running and picking up the pace along with the song. It has a different type of feel to it, but you can tell that the band is very comfortable with it.

Stranger in a strange land-Kind of a thick chunky sound to the music, but not exactly heavy. Starts out decent, but after about two minutes it begins to drag a bit and really overstays it's welcome for me.

Deja Vu- Wow, this song is way better than I remember. Not as heavy as maybe it could have been, but that's not important. The pace is good, but what's more important to the success of this song is how is how the changes are punctuated. The band manages to be ultra smooth, but still have a nice edge going at the same time with this song. Very nice.

Alexander the great-The epic song on this album and it is just very tight overall. The music and vocals are so strong that I get very vivid images of what this song is about. I don't think for a second that this is as easy as it may sound.

Verdict/Final Word-
Some of the songs took on a very different tone from their previous works. I don't blame them for trying something different, but as a fan I can't say that I was thrilled by every song. Still it is overall very, very good. It's probably their fifth best album, but considering who we are talking about that is still an honor. I think it still holds up well. Like most of Maiden's material it doesn't sound dated even 20 years later.

***Next Month's 20 year album review will be Metal Church's the dark. It will also be part of a theme week which will be "Underrated band week". That will be in June.

***I was going to take Thursday off, but I thought of a question concerning Iron Maiden so I will post that tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Top Twenty favorite Iron Maiden songs

I listened to a bunch of their albums and narrowed down my choices to twenty and then I ranked them. There is only one post-80's song that made the list although there were others from Fear of the dark, Brave new world and Dance of death that I considered. So here is the countdown.

20)The Clairvoyant(Seventh son)-This song grew on me.
19)Afraid to shoot strangers(Fear of the dark)-I remember listening to this a lot back in 92.
18)Ghengis Khan(Killers)-Yes, it is an instrumental but it shows Maiden's musical growth at the time.
17)Flash of the blade(Powerslave)-A very smooth song.
16)Loneliness of the long distance runner(Somewhere in time)-As an avid runner I have a bias towards this track.
15)Running Free(s/t)-Very good Dianno song.
14)To tame a land(Piece of mind)-Underrated song.
13)Wrathchild(Killers)-Another song that worked well with Dianno.
12)Caught somewhere in time(Somewhere in time)-Very good song for Bruce's vocals.
11)The evil that men do(Seventh son)-Just very memorable.
10)Revelations(Piece of mind)-One of the first songs I ever heard by Maiden.
9)Run to the hills(The number of the beast)-Never gets old no matter how many times I hear it.
8)Aces High(Powerslave)-Fantastic opening track.
7)The Prisoner(The number of the beast)-Not a typical Maiden song, but one that I have always liked.
6)Killers(same title)-I love that riff.
5)Where eagles dare(Piece of mind)-Very interesting song that always gets my attention.
4)Hallowed be thy name (The number of the beast)-Kind of a haunting, well written song.
3)Phantom of the opera(s/t)-Love that kind of winding sounding riff. This might be the one song on the debut that shows the direction the band would head in.
2)Rhyme of the ancient mariner(Powerslave)-Quantity and quality.
1)The Number of the beast(same title)-I have always loved that riff and the whole feel of the song. I remember being 14 and laying on my bed listening to this and just being amazed.

What are some of your favorites?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Iron Maiden-Killers, 1981

Iron Maiden's sophomore effort features the first appearance of guitarist Adrian Smith and it is immediately obvious that Smith and Murray were going to be great working together. Nothing against Dennis Stratton, but the band really opens up on this album. I like Paul Dianno, I really do and today I think his contributions to Maiden get overlooked. Yes, the band would be at their peak with Bruce Dickinson and maybe they wouldn't have hit that kind of a peak had Dianno stayed in the band, but he was very much a contributor and he sounds really good on this album. There are a few songs that are more like the raw style from the first album, but on Killers there are far more songs that have that layered feel that would become a Maiden trademark. Steve Harris certainly becomes more of a presence on this album as you can hear the bass lines far more than you did on the debut. Clive Burr works like a madman at times just laying down some driving beats. The debut was very good, but this is the first of a string of great albums. I loved this album the first time I heard which was I believe in 1985. It still holds up well today as I gave it a listen last week and it's still just amazing. No weak links or clunkers here just solid metal and being as it was 1981, Maiden were well ahead of other bands. This of course was trend that would continue throughout the decade.

This is definitely a Metal Mark must have. Hell, buy two just in case the first one messes up because you don't want to be without a copy.

***Tomorrow I hope to have out my top twenty favorite Maiden songs. Be forewarned I like Paul Dianno more than most people and I think that the material on their first seven albums is far better than their last six efforts.