It’s a new year, and with it, a new format for Metal Sludge’s CD reviews. Actually we’re not doing anything differently than in the past, except we’re now highlighting our newest reviews right at the top and you’ll have to scroll down to see the archive. Also we’ll try to include a picture of the CD cover whenever we can. That’s how awesome we are.
So before you head to the store and spend your food stamps on the latest CD, check out our reviews so you know what’s worth buying first.
New to our CD Reviews page? Then read the introduction to the Metal Sludge CD Reviews Rating System first so you know how all this works. Reviews are in alphabetical order below, bitch.
JUNE 2005 CD REVIEWS!
Death Angel, Hollywood Rocks Box Set, Judas Priest, Joe Perry, Rotting Christ, Sammy Serious, Shy, Zan Clan
DEATH ANGEL ? Archives and Artifacts (box set)
by Nikki McKagan
Cover: 4 Spiked Bracelets out of 10
You would think that a legendary thrash band would come up with something a little more creative for the artwork to their box set than this. Not saying every album out there has to have an Eddie or an Allister Fiend or even a Y&T robot, but this just looks kind of like a cross between a, um…a compass and a Lifesaver. A captain’s wheel and a donut. A tire and a manhole. Much like Gene Simmons in the volunteer line at a soup kitchen, it just doesn’t fit. Luckily the discs inside faithfully reproduce their original album art, just like AC/DC faithfully reproduces their original albums.
Booklet: 7 Cousins out of 10
There is no separate booklet that comes with this, which I would have liked, a book telling the band history or something. But the insert to The Ultra-Violence has old band pics and pics of a bunch of old show flyers, the insert to Frolic Through the Park has more flyers and a nice writeup about the band, and the insert to the rarities disc has a little writeup about the songs by band member Rob Cavestany, and that’s pretty cool.
Songs: 10 ?Are You Paying Attention Metallica, This Is What Bay Area Metal Is Supposed To Sound Like?s out of 10
There is nothing at all to complain about here. In this set, you get their debut album The Ultra-Violence, its followup Frolic Through the Park, a disc of unreleased material from 1982-1989, and a 6-song dvd which has early music videos and footage of them in their old practice space. The cds are fully remastered, and contain bonus tracks including the classic and obscure Kill As One demo. This is old school thrash at its finest. It combines the ferocity of punk with the chops of metal and still sounds current today.
Comments: Whether you’re an old school fan of Death Angel or just curious about their music or about old school thrash metal, you can’t go wrong here. While some other music of that era doesn’t seem to hold up as well today, this stuff still delivers the goods. The bonus tracks are great, and the remastering sounds excellent. I didn’t make it halfway through disc 1 before I was looking for my old denim jacket with the patches all over it and my spiked bracelets and jumping around screaming "Kill as one!" Unfortunately I was at my girlfriend’s jazz recital at the time, which explains why I’m typing this from the library right now. Hopefully she’ll let me back in the house soon so I can watch the dvd again.
HOLLYWOOD ROCKS ? The Audio Companion (box set)
by Chip Keifer
Cover: 5 Gazzaris out of 10
It is not really a cover, it is a box and this is just a box top. On this box top are the gold letters Hollywood Rocks. Wow, how inspired was the art department with this one ya know? The back of the box makes up for it, but still?
Booklet: 10 Red Light Districts out of 10
Now this is where somebody came in, slapped some people around, and told them to make up for the cover. This is a well put together booklet, all how many pages there are. It?s a pretty thick book and it gives some seedy story behind each track and the band that whipped the song out. This is pretty thorough ? it seems like the Cleopatra people actually put some effort into this and did some research on these bands. I am impressed.
Songs: 10 Cathouses out of 10
This is probably one of the most comprehensive compilations on one of the biggest movements in American metal history. No other genre can claim to have had the scene that 1980?s era Hollywood had and never will. The bands represented here on these four discs only really scratch the surface of the Sunset Strip scene as I see that quite a few bands are missing, so maybe the people at Cleo aren?t as thorough? So many rare tracks by so many rare bands is what makes this box set worth paying what the fuck ever they are going to charge for this and you will buy this. Where else are you going to get a copy of a track by Sin, which is another one of Rik Fox?s failed bands, or a Virgin track with Mr. Headbangers ball himself fronting. I would like to bash Riki but he was not a half bad vocalist and they could have gone somewhere. You know what is missing? Where is Chained Angel? One? Taz? I could go on and on, but I won?t. I am way too lazy for that, but still. There are tracks by Hardly Dangerous, which was one hot ass female band? I would like to have gone to one of their after show parties. There?s also Lypswitch and Slut, two more bands that could have made it off the Strip. There is also TUFF here but Stevie makes sure his shit shows up everywhere, so I am not surprised with the slut. So many more bands that were names that have demos here like our best friends at Sludge, Dokken. Also early tracks by Great White, Faster Pussycat, RATT and Mickey Ratt (With Jake E Lee), which is Rat on this set for some stupid ass legal reason.
Comments: I am into this set, not like I am into pussy but it is worth me putting on and spinning for several hours. I commend Cleopatra for putting this ?companion? to the Hollywood Rocks book, which was pretty well thrown together as well. Being a companion to a book is a weird thing though, I thought I had to follow along but I was wrong, oh well. This thing is out so if you are one of those weird people that has to have every little track out there by every obscure ?we are gonna make it? strip band, then you must give out your dough for this. To bad Taz is not here though, I do have their Jap cd so who really cares in the end. Oh yeah, they are doing a DVD as well, so this ain?t over.
NOTE: Intrigued? Of course you are! Luckily for you, you can purchase the Hollywood Rocks RIGHT HERE from your good friends at Metal Sludge. We’re always here to help!
JUDAS PRIEST ? Angel of Retribution
by Clifford ?Junior? Newsted
Cover: 5 ?Originators? of Old School Metal of 10
The cover itself is uninspiring. People on the Sludge Forums have heard me say this once or twice. The cover looks a tad too close to the ?angel? on the ?Metal Works? compilation or even the robot on the ?Painkiller? record. These guys had the money and the time to come up with a better cover! Instead we get this Arobotic angel in a ?Jesus Christ pose?!? Looks more like an Autograph cover! I don’t like the new logo. They have one the most recognized logos in heavy metal history! Why fuck with it?!
Booklet: 5 Demonizers out of 10
All the stuff is in there. Thanks you=s, the where, the when, and lyrics. But there?s no shots of the band! Again, what gives?! Priest has the cash and the time to come up with something great for the reunion record! This looks about as half assed as the Demolition record! (Sorry Tim, I’m a fan just didn?t like that disc.)
Songs: 8 Metal Gods out of 10
This record is a far cry from Painkiller, which I see as the measuring stick for all Judas discs that are to come after it! This record is mid-tempo ? there isn’t any fast paced, near thrash metal tracks like on Painkiller; this is closer to the late 70’s early 80’s era Priest. Which isn=t a bad thing, but isn’t ?epic? or an instant classic. I like that they didn’t ?bloat? the record and stayed with 10 tracks, of which 8 are strong and well written, and two are filler. Buy the record and figure it out! Rob’s voice sounds tired and worse for wear in some spots, then top notch in others. I find it hard to believe that Rob’s lost it. I mean if you listen to the last two Halford records he sang like a banshee! Roy Z made this record sound a flat and bland. Roy Z is also likely to blame for not pushing Rob and getting the best out of him. I hope they use someone else next time around. Please check the sound on the live tracks ? Tom Allom?s production is crisp and punchy. Suspected to sell about 70,000 copies in its first week out, Angel of Retribution is proof that metal fans still go out and buy records! I hope they score a gold plaque off this record ? that would be making a statement to the music industry, wouldn’t it?
Comments: This is one of the many dualdiscs that have been pressed recently. They have an audio only side (CD) and a visual media side (DVD/DVD Audio). You can play the disc on traditional CD players and flip it over to watch the ?documentary? that they filmed specially for this release. Also included are chopped up versions of Priest tracks that were filmed in Spain last summer (2004). I would highly recommend you skip the dualdisc version and go for the separate CD and DVD set, as that version has a longer documentary and the songs are left in their entirety. I don’t know if these dualdiscs will stick around or just a trend, but I can’t say I much care for them. Overall, a great outing by Judas Priest. I can’t wait to hear what the ?Heavy Metal Homo? (this is goof people, no hate mail please!) and his crew have in store for us on the current tour and for their next record!
JOE PERRY ? Joe Perry
by Clifford ?Junior? Newsted
Cover: 8 Guitarists Gone Solo out of 10
The simplicity of the cover shot of Joe rockin? out is just so cool. Joe standing in a red background with Joe Perry written above the shot of ? of the ?Toxic Twins.? No frills –just Joe selling you a solo release. Less can be more.
Booklet: 7 Bone Yards out of 10
The booklet features several shots of Mr. Perry, taken by one of the best rock n roll photographers ? Ross Haflin. It opens up and has four panels. It?s got the words ?Joe Perry? extended throughout the booklet in glossy lettering on the paper?s matte finish. Very cool looking. Unfortunately there are no lyrics, which is the only downside of this booklet. All the other stuff you?d expect is in there.
Songs: 8 ?Honkers? on Bobo out of 10
As stated in the DVD portion of this dual disc, by Joe himself. He?s not a singer, he?s a guitarist first. Don?t expect Joe?s singing to be compared with Steven Tyler?s. He doesn?t give him a run for his money. Joe is a better singer than his contemporaries though, better than Keith Richards, better than Joe Walsh, better than Satriani and definitely better than Ronnie Wood. Enough said in the vocal department. Joe has mixed it up quite a bit on this record. You?ll hear a variety of tracks and while they aren?t in the vein of ?Aerosupply,? they don?t stray too far from what you think he?d deliver on a solo outing. Personally, the best track on the record is the opener ?Shakin? My Cage,? a crunchy, contemporary boogie track, ?Can?t Compare? is a mellower track, it?s catchy and probably the track that best showcases Joe?s pipes, ?Push Comes to Shove? is another favorite of mine, again Joe shows off what he has going on vocally, two tracks that I can?t go without mentioning are the instrumentals ?Twilight? and ?Mercy? Joe throws the rule book out the window and truly shines on both of these numbers!
Comments: Maybe 13 tracks is a tad too many. 10 would have done the job just as well. The dual disc version offers the most bang for your buck, featuring a informative documentary on the making of ?Joe Perry.? You can play the entire record on your DVD player and hear it in 5.1! In addition to that, you can also play around with mixes of a number of tracks using the ?Umixit? program that is in the DVD portion of this release. Listen, Joe isn?t the best singer, but he is one hell of guitarist and songwriter, and this solo record demands to be heard. I, for one, would love to hear what he has up his sleeve for the next one. Lord knows this has more punch than the last two Aerosmith records combined.
ROTTING CHRIST ? Sanctus Diavolos
by Lord Satyr Filth
Cover: 10 Horned Corpses out of 10
This is a sick, dark cover. The kind that if your mother saw it she would be throwing holy water on you while you were at confession. The booklet is a picture of a decaying corpse with goat horns shrouded in darkness. How much more evil can you be? I think it is subtle though, not trying to be overly blatant about it but tat he same time just grimly evil.
Booklet: 10 Shades Of Evil out of 10
As I flip through this booklet, even I feel a shiver of coldness and I am just pure evil. The artwork is more of what is on the cover but different takes on the theme but just as spooky if not spookier. The booklet does include all credits, lyrics and what nots along with a pic of the band shrouded in darkness. This band is a scary bunch of freaks already and this smacks your face with it when you open the booklet.
Songs: 10 Doctrines Of Evil out of 10
Century Media must be sucking a lot of dick because they are getting and releasing the best black metal bands from Europe lately. How can I bash this? How can I make this review worthy of the sludge readers? Well, screw that and screw you, I can honestly say this ranks up there with the best shit coming out and that is no sludge. As far as true black metal goes, this is it. The haunting orchestrations that wind its way through the songs just raises the hairs on the back of the neck and makes you keep the light on. Did you get that? I hope you did and then go out and fucking buy this disc and scare your mother.
Comments: Like the name implies, I am the dark lord of black metal so you should fucking listen to me. Why are you still reading this and not going to Tower and buying this? This is, along with label mates Borknagar, some of the best black metal out right now and this scene should be recognized. It is growing so get on now or be blamed later on as a bandwagon jumper.
SAMMY SERIOUS ? Last Stop O.P. Hotel
by Josie Hilton
Cover: 7 Pina Colada Bangs out of 10
Sammy certainly doesn?t look as svelte as he once did, but the plaid jacket he?s wearing in the cover shot does compliment his hair nicely and makes him look rather figurish. With a shopping cart full of stage props and shit like a Teletubbies suitcase and orange boots parked next to him it?s bound to make some wonder what the fuck he was smoking when he picked this for his cover art. Well it made me wonder too, and at first I was convinced Sammy was now homeless (and probably had some hobo take his picture with a disposable camera in exchange for a bottle of Mad Dog), so I searched for the significance and found the answer on Sammy?s website. Fortunately he is not homeless and this photo really just represents the various memories hovering in Sammy?s head.
Booklet: 6 Bottles of Manic Panic out of 10
The booklet takes us deeper into Sammy?s journey of self-reflection. It?s quite philosophical, but done in a fun way, just as I?d expect from Sammy. Various pictures line the booklet (including one of Sammy?s naked belly), along with lyrics, credits and the address for the Sammy Serious fan club!
Songs: 7 Double Doubles out of 10
Typically Sammy is a man of few words and ?Last Stop O.P. Hotel? is of no exception. The CD is consists of eight songs that range from the pop rock power ballad style found in ?I Love You? to comedy, like in ?I Might Be Fat?, ?Everybody Thinks They are John Lennon? and ?Trauma Hell?, but overall it stays pretty true to the traditional glam rock style of The Zeros. One song that stands out is ?American Vets? which is dedicated to Sammy?s father, a veteran of WWII, and is an uncomplicated reminder that our vets risked their lives protecting us and they should not be forgotten. It is also noted on his website that a portion of the proceeds will go to American Vets. To sum it up, if you dig any of the following you?ll like ?Last Stop O.P. Hotel?: The Ramones, Faster Pussycat, Bowling for Soup, Fizzybangers, Weird Al, and of course The Zeros.
Comments: If you didn?t already know, Sammy Serious is the singer for LA Glam legends, The Zeros, who have recently reunited! The Zeros can be found on the Hollywood Rocks Box Set (which you can buy RIGHT HERE) and will be playing the Hollywood Rocks Record Release Party at the Key Club, June 22, 2005. For more information check out 20 Questions with Sammy Serious or visit his website at www.sammyserious.com!
SHY ? Sunset and Vine
by Dana Brittingham
Cover: 5 Vacant Buildings out of 10
The cover looks like a video still showing the building at the corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. (These guys are from Birmingham, England by the way.) It?s got the same logo Shy has used since the early 80s, so that?s cool. Consistency is a good thing.
Booklet: 6 Pirate Radio Transmitters out of 10
Eight pages of lyrics, photos of all the players, and thank you lists from the band, all overlaying screened-back photos of that street corner again. The photos are all grainy and some of the lyrics are hard to read. Not horrible though, and I suppose photos of palm trees in Hollywood are happier than photos of rainy old Birmingham. This is, after all, an upbeat, happy album, so depressing scenery probably just wouldn?t work.
Songs: 7 Rooftop Fires out of 10
Right off the bat, it?s necessary to mention that Shy is by all standards an ?AOR? band. What the fuck does ?AOR? mean? ?AOR? supposedly stands for ?Album Oriented Rock? and is a label slapped on bands that continue to produce melodic rock that is, for the most part, somewhere between Journey and Dokken. ?Metal Light? so to speak: lots of keyboards, perfect performances, virtuoso guitar playing but with minimal shredding? you get the idea. Shy falls within to this category of polished, well-crafted rock that isn?t quite ?metal? but still harkens back to the bands in the late 80s and early 90s that were churning out this sort of melodic hard rock on a regular basis. That being said, I?ve always liked Shy, and barring a few albums in the early 90s, they have remained surprisingly consistent. Shy broke up and remained on hiatus for most of the last decade, but reformed at the tail end of the 90s, finally putting out their reunion album ?Unfinished Business? in 2002. This new album, ?Sunset and Vine,? continues where that last album let off. Most of the songs are happy-sounding. I can?t say any song in particular ?kicks ass? but what does kick ass is the band. These guys are top-notch musicians: the decades they?ve been together have only resulted in a seasoned, mature bunch of songwriters and master performers. Singer (and recent 20 questions victim) Tony Mills has one of the most distinctive voices in hard rock, with a unique sound and incredible range; guitarist Steve Harris (not to be confused with Iron Maiden?s bass player of the same name) is one of the most underrated rock guitarists in history. Seriously! He smokes. He?s honestly been one of my top 10 favorite guitar players of all time, and has remained on my list since around 1987. His Satriani-esque leads are more than enough to make guitar aficionados cream their jeans with delight, but he never goes completely nuts, always playing within the structure of the song. Overall, I probably liked their ?Unfinished Business? CD better than ?Sunset and Vine,? but this is not without a few stellar moments: the song ?You Could Be Dreaming? is probably one of the best of Shy?s career, and ?Don?t Jump The Gun? has one of the tastiest guitar solos that Steve Harris guy ever laid to tape. Play those two songs over and over like a fool and you?ll find yourself in your own Zen-like happy place.
Comments: What?s the significance of Shy calling their 9th studio album ?Sunset and Vine?? Beats the piss out of me. I?ve been to the corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood and all that?s there is an abandoned building called, surprisingly, the ?Sunset & Vine Tower.? Built in 1963, the 18-story tower was the first skyscraper built in Los Angeles after the city repealed its 14-story building height limit. The building is probably best known for being the focal point of the 1974 disaster film ?Earthquake.? The top of the Sunset & Vine Tower is also known to have secretly housed the transmitter of the legendary pirate radio station KBLT, which broadcast for years until the FCC figured it out and shut it down. Since December 6, 2001, the building has been vacant. A fire destroyed the main electrical room in the basement and the building was evacuated, and no one?s been back since. Coincidentally, on May 31, 2005 (just a few weeks ago at the time of this writing), the roof of the tower caught fire. Apparently there was a bunch of shit up on top of the tower leftover from the building?s ongoing renovation and it went ablaze, but it was quickly put out and the day was saved.
ZAN CLAN ? We Are Zan Clan Who The Fuck Are You?
by Jani Bon Neil
Cover: 4 Ikeas out of 10
Not much to speak of. Just the band?s metal-riveted logo on a cement background. They should?ve put some fully nude Swedish chicks on the cover if they wanted this disc to stand out even more.
Booklet: 6 Swedish Meatballs out of 10
The booklet?s a bit better, but still isn?t perfect. There are nice full-color photos of everyone in the band, including the 2 center panels of frontman (and 20 Questions survivor) Zinny J. Zan, since he?s the star and all. There?s some brief credits and thanks, but no lyrics to speak of. What if I wanted to sing along at home with the Zan Clan? I guess I can?t. Lame.
Songs: 9 Ways to Cook Salmon out of 10
Now this is how it?s done! This CD kicks ass from the opening notes til the last song is over, and not one bit of filler at all. If you?re not hooked by the second song, then you can?t call yourself a fan of the whole hard rock/glam metal genre. The entire album sounds like old school party rock, not unlike Ratt, Wildside, L.A. Guns, etc., but still modern enough so that it doesn?t sound like the nineties never happened. Some may say that Zinny J. Zan?s not the world?s greatest singer, and I can?t argue with that, but he without a doubt has a perfect sleaze rock voice. If you?ve never checked out the first Shotgun Messiah CD, then don?t bother, because this is way better. And that?s hard for me to say, because I liked that CD a lot. But seriously, you should do yourself a favor check out the Zan Clan. Highlights include the opening track ?Go Go Go,? ?Heart N Soul,? ?Mess Ya Up,? and the cover of Cheap Trick?s ?Surrender,? which has been done to death by other bands but one more won?t hurt, especially when it?s done well.
Comments: If you didn?t already know, Zinny J. Zan used to be the singer in Shotgun Messiah. He appears on their 1989 debut album, but they kicked him out of the band after their first tour and that was that for Zinny and the Shotguns. Zinny went back to his native Sweden and formed Zan Clan in the early 90s. This is actually the second CD by Zan Clan; the first (?Citizens of the Wasteland?) came out in 1994 but this is like an entirely different band. Maybe that?s because Zinny got all new players for this version of his clan. Zinny took a number of years away from the spotlight, but now he?s back to show younger bands just how it?s done, and believe it or not, he succeeds. I don?t stroke anyone?s cock for any reason, but I really dug this CD and can?t stop telling people about it. This is everything you want in a sleaze rock album, so don?t fuck around and check it out.
MARCH 2005 CD REVIEWS!
3 Doors Down, American Dog, Fozzy, Mercenary, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, VH1 Classic Metal Mania’s Stripped, Wednesday 13
3 Doors Down ? Seventeen Days
by Rikki Nugent
Cover: 2 Clear Channel stations out of 10
Um, well it?s baby sitting on a table with a bunch of food and the head of a wolf or coyote or something. A naked baby at that. What gives? From the kid?s hair I?m guessing it?s a young CC DeVille possibly? I have no idea what this cover means.
Booklet: 3 platinum records out of 10
When you open the booklet up you get the whole band sitting at the same table of food and wolf?s head! And they look sort of pissed, but can you blame them? Who set-up this photo shoot? Did they eat the baby? Did they sacrifice the baby to the Clear Channel gods for another platinum CD? I haven?t been this confused by a non-Pink Floyd CD cover in some time. It does bear a resemblance to the inside photo of Metallica?s Load CD for what it?s worth, maybe that?s what they?re pissed about.
Songs: 3 corporate rockers out of 10
They called this CD Seventeen Days for the amount of time the band had to write the songs, thanks to a deal their manager signed with Wal-Mart that guaranteed a large purchase of the album but created a nearly immovable deadline. I?m not making this up. Well, too bad they didn?t have 18 days, or even 19 days maybe! Although actually they probably could have written the songs in 2 days and still had a good 12 hours to play Halo 2 (or in their case I?m guessing one of the Sponge Bob games). How hard can it be to write the same songs one album after another? This is no different from the corporate rock they cranked out 5 years ago, duller than a Peter Criss drum solo. Brad Arnold continues his best Scott Stapp/Eddie Vedder basso voice impression crooning about love lost and blah blah blah. Somebody fuck this guy please before they make another CD! I have to admit, I was sort of excited to hear the Bob Seger cameo on the track ?Landing In London? but he barely gets to warm up his pipes before Arnold trounces all over him again. What a waste of a guest appearance by a legend! Do you have the other CDs they?ve done? Yes? Well then you have this CD.
Comments: Of course, this CD debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album Chart last week, but it could very well be because a lot of people heard some tracks on the radio and thought it was the new Creed or Nickelback CD. Who the fuck could tell?
American Dog ? Scars N? Bars
by Yngwie J. MacAlpine
Cover: 7 Hee Haw Cast Members out of 10
The cover art is pretty simple really ? a mountain of beer cans and the three drunkards from the band leaning up against the wall after drinking their way to the top of the mountain. That may sound a little lame, but given the fact that these guys actually took the time to drink up enough Milwaukee?s Best to build this mountain of waste, they have to get some credit. Oh? more credit for the modified redneck flag as well ? nice touch!
Booklet: 8 Moles on Lemmy?s Chin out of 10
Sometimes, you really don?t need to get to inventive with the booklet to do it right. A simple collage of live shots and the general mayhem that surrounds any band is always cool. Generally, when the band are a bunch of alcoholic lushes like American Dog, the photos are even funnier. This would have been better if they would have had the obligatory pictures of a chick or two flashing their tits (and yes, I examined every photo looking for it), but I guess no one really wants to see the flapjacks on the chests of the trailer park trash whores that this band attracts anyway, do they?
Songs: 9 Redneck Punks out of 10
American Dog have a few things going for them. The first is that they don?t have any label standing over them trying to force them to make something ?commercially acceptable? or ?radio friendly?. The second is that they make music that has maximum enjoyment value after a six pack of cheap beer. The third is that they don?t use a lot of studio gimmicks when they record. Not only are these the best songs the band has ever done, but when you hear them live, they don?t make you think that the band on the record is a fraud in any way. This old fashioned shitkickin? rock n? roll has a huge, fat sound and some of the best guitar riffs to be recorded in a long time.
Comments: Sure, bands like Motorhead and Jackyl get the lion?s share of the attention from the crowd that likes this kind of music, but people had better start paying attention to American Dog as well. SCARS N? BARS is a real kick in the ass for music fans that have had enough of the spoonfed, cookie-cutter radio shit that bombards commercial radio today. If you like to party, and you like to drink, then you?ll like American Dog?s latest.
Fozzy ? All That Remains
by Clifford ?Junior? Newsted
Cover: 9 Fictitious Bands out of 10
The cover is very metal. It features a half buried human skeleton, that has been unearthed. Has the band logo on the upper left corner & the title on the bottom right hand side. I like the cover, there?s no cheese here & has this a more "dangerous" look to it that the last two Fozzy covers.
Booklet: 8 Wig Wearing Band Members out of 10
This booklet is very professionally done, considering that it has been put together by an indie label like Ash Records. Have you even heard of this label? Neither have I, but I know it has all the essentials of a booklet. You can put this next to the last major label release and you?d never know this was done on a tight budget. Great work.
Songs: 9 Singing Stunt Men… errrrr, Wrestlers out of 10
We all know that Chris Jericho can carry a tune. I?m sure you?ve heard the cover records, or at least a track or two. If you?re expecting a lazy slacker like a Vince Neil, then your jaw will hit the floor. If you?re expecting the gimmicky Fozzy of old you?ll be disappointed, as they have pretty much dropped the Fozzy ?act,? instead taking a huge leap in the right direction ? they have become a real band. Fozzy adopted a rather contemporary sound, one that I might compare to Disturbed meets Stuck Mojo with a very melodic singer. The tracks are strong and memorable. Nothing about this project comes off as half baked in the least. Overall this is a solid record.
Comments: There are a couple of guests that the metal fans should be aware of. For instance, Zakk Wylde lays down some mad guitar work on the track ?Wanderlust? and reclusive former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman plays on the closing track ?Born of Anger.? Both songs are great in their own right, but the addition of those two metal heavy hitters just adds to the already monster tracks. In short, Fozzy has dropped the goofy Spinal Tap image and evolved into a rather impressive band. If you?re looking for something heavy with old school metal influences and not Nu-Metal in the least, look no further than the new Fozzy disc.
Mercenary ? 11 Dreams
by Clifford ?Junior? Newsted
Cover: 6 Danish exports out of 10
The cover is the basic death metal cover with wicked artwork ? two pale faces take up the majority of the cover. It?s artsy, but wouldn?t stand out from the pack. These days, most metal bands seem to have these kind of covers. There?s no new ground covered here.
Booklet: 3 Metal Indie Labels out of 10
Again, Century Media only sends their review copies in cardboard slip covers. Let?s face it ? it cuts down on costs and ?it?s about the music, isn?t it?? The slip does have the art work on the front cover and features a mini-bio on the band on the back, along with personnel and track listing.
Songs: 9 AOR Killers out of 10
Mercenary are some kind of a ?hybrid band? that culls the best from the thrash metal, power metal, and progressive metal genres. They would easily appeal to fans of bands such as, say, In Flames, Soilwork, Arch Enemy and Nevermore. The songs are strong and well written. The musicianship is top notch, and the vocals range from ?clean? heavy metal to melodic rock. While the record will take a couple of spins to really get into, you?ll possibly find yourself enjoying 11 Dreams more and more with each listen.
Comments: This is a very diverse band? it?s unfortunate that this type of rock music isn?t ?en vogue? right now. It would be ?most excellent? if they were heard actually in America.
Mötley Crüe ? Red, White & Crüe
by Baz Von Poley
Cover: 6 Facelifts out of 10
Hey man, it’s my first CD review for Metal Sludge! I begged them to let me do this one. Anyhow, on the cover is a picture of a red and white flag. The stripes are interwoven with the silhouette of what appears to be a naked chick. You can easily tell she’s supposed to be naked, but the stripes of the flag cover up all the good parts. The rating would be a few points higher if you could see a landing strip or even a nipple, but overall it looks pretty hip. Speaking of hips…
Booklet: 7 Hip Replacements out of 10
The whole thing comes in a 2-disc digipak kind of booklet. So it’s got the hard cardboard cover on the outside with 2 discs in the plastic inlays, and a 16-page booklet tucked away in the fold of the front panel. Complicated? Fuck off, that’s what it looks like. Oh yeah, the little booklet inside has a bunch of black and white headshots, a group shot, song credits, and 4 pages dedicated to a foreword written by David Wild. Who? Some guy who writes for rolling stone. The red, white and black color theme runs throughout the booklet. The last 2 pages hypes presale ticket packages, incites membership in the S.I.N. fanclub, and shows pics of some t-shirts for sale at motleycrue.com. Overall the booklet is modern looking, almost ‘artsy,’ but still looks ‘Crüe.’
Songs: 10 F-Bombs out of 10
How can anyone from the most casual Mötley fan to the true Crüe completist not dig this? You’ve got a 2-disc retrospective set of all things Mötley, beginning with "Live Wire" and ending with their new cover of the Stones’ "Street Fighting Man." And everything in between ? even the stuff from the Crüe ’94 days with John Corabi. You’ve practically got all of the hits, a bunch of B-sides, a few alternate versions and of course a few new songs, including "Sick Love Song" and "If I Die Tomorrow." Basically, there’s shit here from every album in Mötley’s catalog. There’s stuff from Too Fast For Love, Girls Girls Girls, Decade of Decadence, and even Generation Swine and New Tattoo. Plus 3 new songs! How cool is that?
Comments: Yeah, yeah, I know, Mötley already has more than a few ‘greatest hits’ albums out. There was Decade of Decadence in 1991, Greatest Hits in 1998, 2 box sets including Music to Crash Your Car To, the live material and everything else. What makes Red White & Crüe any different? Well, the 3 new songs, that’s what makes this different! Besides, if you’re like 14 years old and a new Crüe fan, this is definitely a good place to start. And if you already have everything, buy it for the new songs until you get sick of them, then give it to some random pre-teen who’s just starting to listen to music. You can save them from a life of nu-metal, hip-hop, rap, and god forbid country by introducing them to Mötley at an early age, thus doing your duty as a citizen and pledging allegiance to the Red White & Crüe.
Quiet Riot ? Live & Rare Vol. 1
by Clifford ?Junior? Newsted
Cover: 7 Sludgettes of the Month out of 10
The cover has the QR logo inserted over a brick wall that has a picture of the band circa ?83. The image is made to look like a poster that?s been plastered onto the wall. In the far right hand side, there?s a naked chick walking toward the ?backstage? area. Holy shit, it?s February 2004 Sludgette of the Month Jen Hilton! How?d she end up on there? Actually, the whole thing looks pretty cheesy, but it will grab your attention, simply for the fact that there?s a nude chick on the cover. What can you say bad about that?
Booklet: 3 Mouths out of 10
There is no booklet. It?s just two pages with some information tracking, personnel etc. The end result looks like it was issued by an unsigned band. It sort of looks like a demo! I was disappointed, but Deadline isn?t known for supplying extensive liners.
Songs: 7 Played-out Hair Jokes out of 10
The disc is comprised of what appears to be an entire set list from the Condition Critical tour. It?s cool to hear the live material, as may people never got a chance to see this incarnation of the band live. It is what it is, and would make a welcome addition to any Quiet Riot completist?s collection. I think the true gems in this compilation are the three demos: ?Thunder Bird,? ?Love?s A Bitch,? and ?Let?s Get Crazy.? The down side is that there is a slight delay (pause) between tracks so it doesn?t keep with the continuation of a live show.
Comments: This is stuff we haven?t heard before, so, in a sense, it?s something new. Probably only for the die-hards, though. If you?re new to Quiet Riot, start with Metal Health or one of the various Greatest Hits packages like Winners Take All or whatever that was called.
VH1 Classic Metal Mania: Stripped
by Rikki Nugent
Cover: 2 Lighters out of 10
Not much to it except for some artsy fartsy looking close-up of a guitar and the title. 1 extra point for a tiny skull dotting the "i" in "stripped." 1 point taken back off for no ümlaut üse.
Booklet: 5 Pairs of Ripped Jeans out of 10
Although not a whole lot of information, what’s here is pretty cool. There’s a page called "Remember" with a few paragraphs reminding you of spandex, air guitar and humping in the backseat of El Caminos which defines power ballad for you. Of course you get the track listing and credits but as a bonus you get a picture of a dude wearing shredded jeans and a leather wristband sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar! And if that’s not enough he’s got long hair! I would like to have seen a short quote from each artist on their track or something but oh well.
Songs: 9 hair plugs out of 10
I’m not sure if fans of 80s metal could really ask for more than this. Obviously it’s all acoustic style and 6 of them are even new recordings. Great White debut their new guitarist Tyler Nelson on "Save Your Love," taken from Live At the Palms in Las Vegas due later in the year. The new version of LA Gun’s "Ballad of Jayne" features new guitarist Stacey Blades. There are also new versions of "When the Children Cry," "Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)," "Sister Christian" and "More Than Words Can Say" by Alias. The other tracks are from existing CDs and imports like Queensryche?s "Silent Lucidity" (from "MTV Unplugged"), Scorpions? "Wind Of Change" (from "Acoustica Live") and Firehouse?s "When I Look Into Your Eyes" (from "Good Acoustics"). The new studio stuff sounds great and most of the old songs don?t even seemed to have aged much.
Comments: A lot of tracks on here, if not all, were written on acoustic guitar or piano but were made more grand for arena anthems. These intimate versions sound very natural and intended. Sure, pretend you don’t know them but in the 80s you sang them to your best gal like everybody else and proclaimed them "your song" at some point. Admit it.
Wednesday 13: Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying and the Dead
by Yngwie J. MacAlpine
Cover: 3 Murdered Dolls out of 10
This cover makes you think that Wednesday 13 hangs out around Rob Zombie?s haunted mansion picking through the trash on a regular basis. Lame, Frankenstein-wannabe mad scientist standing over top of a dead chick celebrating the wire he used to strangle her with. Big, dumbed down lettering, and use of the ?frightening? word ?Transylvania?. Oooohhhh ? how fucking scary!
Booklet: 1 Guy Hoping For Slipknot?s Failure So His Career Can Start Again out of 10
This booklet blows! From the ?we wanna be scary? look of the band to the dumbass skeleton leather jackets they are wearing, the band looks ridiculous. The lyrics are here, but they?re turned all sorts of directions so that you?re turning the booklet all kinds of ways to read them. This is just more dumb ?50s looking shit, which gets even less credibility for it?s ?Special Thanks To Ed Wood? in the credits.
Songs: 9 Superbeasts out of 10
For as bad as the art is, CDs aren?t made for looking at the pictures. These songs rock hard. Wednesday has long acknowledged his love for 80s metal, and there?s a lot of that influence here. He screams a lot a la Sibitchian Bach, which is always cool. They score big points for the big, fat guitar sound and the driving pace of the album. Songs like ?Rot For Me? or ?Look What The Bats Dragged In? are heavy, fast and violent; all which makes them worth experiencing over and over again.
Comments: The artwork may be tired as fuck, but really it?s what?s on the CD that matters. Musically, this album packs a mega-punch of musical violence and driving force ? even if the artwork looks like it?s from some cheeseball b-movie convention.
CDs released in 2004
CDs released in 2003
CDs released in 2002