KISS – KISS (Review)

Can you guess which of these guys got someone else to do their makeup?

KISS, the band’s self-titled debut album from 1974, is loaded with more classics than any other studio album they would ever put out. The masked New York rockers were already making a reputation as an explosive live act and when you look at the tracks featured here, Strutter, Firehouse, Cold Gin, Deuce, Black Diamond and 100,000 Years, it’s no wonder few bands dared take them out as support act.

But it’s not all cut from that timeless cloth. The gimmicky single Kissin’ Time and the aimless instrumental Love Theme From KISS detract from the album. And the band were unable to capture the power and excitement of their live shows in the studio. KISS at their best put a spring in your step like no other band but the production and performance here is too tentative to quite achieve that.

KISS would eventually deliver definitive renditions of these songs on their mega-selling 1975 album Alive! But there’s a reason so many of that live album’s songs were drawn from their debut. KISS is a must-hear for fans of street-level, meat and potatoes hard rock. A flawed classic that planted the seeds of success with its pop-savvy mix of Humble Pie boogie, tasty heavy riffs and an array of songs that would become the stuff of legend.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

[KISS – Deuce]

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New Releases – 18th May 2018

It’s time to turn ze shpotlight on ze new releases! Hello new releasAAHHSSS!!

Amorphis – Queen Of Time

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Both of these bands are from the files of “Really Popular Bands I Never Got Into”. I’ve heard wee bits here and there but I’ve just never felt a compulsion towards either. If I ever feel inclined I’d probably rather start at the beginning and work my way from there. I’ve already got the early Amorphis demos on vinyl so that’s a start, and At The Gates debut was reissued recently too. Call me an old out-of-touch poohead if you like.

Coroner – R.I.P., Punishment For Decadence and No More Color

Wasn’t expecting this. These have been long out-of-print (unless you caught the brief CD reissue run on the band’s own webshop) but now they are reissued and remastered on CD, vinyl and download. If you don’t have these buy them right now, they’re totally essential albums from the Rush of thrash! I’ve got them on CD already but would like the new versions so the vinyl editions are quite tempting. Reissues of Mental Vortex and Grin will follow in June.

Avenger – Blood Sports and Killer Elite

Don’t know much about this band but I’ve been on a right NWOBHM kick lately and buying a lot of the Dissonance Production reissues. This band was relatively late to the NWOBHM party though so I’m not sure if I’m as excited about them as, say, Raven. But ones for the wishlist anyway. Also, there’s a cool looking NWOBHM box set coming out soon so I might dip my toes into that first.

That’s it for me but there’s an Overkill live set too, the Burn The Priest/Lamb Of God covers thing and a new FFDP for anyone that likes that kind of thing. And that’s about it for another week. Happy hunting!

New Releases – 11th May 2018

Friday already? It’s only been seven days since the last one! Hmm… So, what’s out today then?

De Profundis – The Blinding Light Of Faith

The impressive UK death metallers return with their fifth album and sound like they’re pulling out all the stops musically and having a good old-fashioned rant at organised religion while they’re at it. Yeahhh! Fuck off Jesus! There are some ripping, vicious riffs going on here. It’s dazzling and technical but put over with the ferocity of Bolt Thrower or Pestilence. This is state of the art stuff, mad playing and solos galore: like a brutal Rust In Peace. Definitely one to check out if you are even remotely interested in death metal.

The Body – I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer

Bit of an intriguing dark horse this one. Never heard this Rhode Island duo before but I know their name from their association with Full Of Hell, who I got into last year. And the title/cover really stood out too… turns out it’s a quote from Virginia Woolf’s suicide note. The album is supposedly a boundary-busting, sample-heavy cinematic woe and anxiety kind of affair. Sounds totes amazeballs!

And that’s about it. Quiet week but two very exciting releases so can’t complain! Few biggies out next week too. See you then!

New Releases – 4th May 2018

Happy Star Trek Day! I’m a doctor not an escalator! …Let’s see what new releases are out on this glorious day.

Ihsahn – Ámr

New releases from the prog/black metal wizard are always big news. But I’ve grown a bit wary. I really enjoyed 2010’s After and subsequent releases have been good but I’ve rarely went back to any of them afterwards. Don’t feel a pull there. Reviews for this have been good but… they always are. I might revisit the previous albums again first and see if they put me in the mood. Otherwise, might just pass.

Dimmu Borgir – Eonian

Another big name in black metal but I never got massively into this band. I’ve heard enough to want to hear more but I doubt I’d start here so I’ll likely pass on this one. Title is apparently all about the illusion of time and rifts (hehe) in time. I preferred it when black metal bands just spent all their time telling Jesus to fuck off.

Various Artists – We All Want Our Time In Hell

I don’t find tribute albums all that compelling and there aren’t many bands on this that I know about (Midnight and Joel Grind stick out though). But it is a tribute to Glenn Danzig’s less-celebrated “other” band Samhain which is cool. Cover is also cool. I might have plumped for a digital copy on Bandcamp but Fonzig has apparently forbade that option. Not so cool. Looks like it’s vinyl or nothing… I vote for nothing.

Dead Cross – Dead Cross EP

Dave Lombardo, Mike Patton and some other people drop this surprise EP. Dunno… found the debut album pretty underwhelming so can’t see me bothering with this. I mention it because I know you love them though. You totally love them don’t you? Not you… you.

That’s about the lot for me. Until next time, live long and prosper!

New Releases – 27th April 2018

Not a huge amount out today, compared to last week’s madness anyway, but there are a couple of important new releases at least!

Voices – Frightened

This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Comprised mostly of ex and current Akercocke members (with links to other great bands like Shrines and The Antichrist Imperium), Voices’ previous album London was a masterpiece and a very tough act to follow. But the two singles released since, Petrograph and Dead Feelings, were top dollar and bode well for a satisfying and different follow-up.

Aura Noir – Aura Noire

Another great band, one of the key black thrash bands, back with a much-anticipated new album. The three guys here have been in a wealth of great bands like Virus, Immortal and Mayhem (as well as a gazillion others) so there’s a lot of talent here. I’m a big fan of 2008’s Hades Rise and it’s been a good six or so years since previous album Out To Die so it’s exciting to have them back.

Anthrax – Kings Among Scotland

Glasgow crowds always goes totally ape-shit for Anthrax so recording a live show here was a good call. I reckon I’m done with these guys now though. I know their last couple of studio albums were well-received but they didn’t do much for me and I’ve got enough live Anthrax stuff to live without this. Usual bunch of formats available… take your pick.

Count Raven – Storm Warning and Destruction Of The Void

Couple of early-90s doom reissues here from Metal Blade. Only available on digital or vinyl so I’ll probably pass. The vinyl editions do look pretty sexy though.

And I think that’s as far as I’ll go, nothing else on my radar today. Let me know what’s on your shopping list today.

Ted Nugent – Ted Nugent (Review)

Ted Nugent – Ted Nugent (1975)

He’s a phenomenally exciting guitar player and intense live performer but there are a disconcerting number of patchy studio albums to wade through in “Terrible Ted” Nugent’s discography. This 1975 album, his solo debut after ditching the Amboy Dukes band moniker, is as close to filler-free studio greatness as he ever got. Outside of a compilation or live album, this is the most classic Nuge songs that you’re going to find in one place.

And what classics! Stranglehold is an audacious and timeless opener: a moody, psychedelic workout that brilliantly showcases the excellent band, Nugent’s guitar chops and that superbly raunchy Gibson Byrdland tone. Motor City Madhouse is a gonzo rager and the stunning hard rockers Just What The Doctor Ordered and Stormtroopin’ are two of my all-time faves. The lesser-known Hey Baby and Snakeskin Cowboys are catchy, swaggering rock n’ rollers that hold their own among the hits.

But the patchy criticism still applies and Ted doesn’t always hit the target here, running out of steam with a brace of comparatively forgettable closing tracks. But this is still the most consistently brilliant studio album of his career and a great place for newbies to start. Like the “murder capital of the world” referenced in Motor City Madhouse, Ted Nugent is loaded with killers.

HMO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

[Ted Nugent – Just What The Doctor Ordered]

Great reissue with quality bonus tracks

New Releases – 20th and 21st April 2018

With today’s new releases and all the Record Store Day stuff tomorrow, there are a gazillion and one albums to talk about today. So I’m going to ignore most of them! Yes, even Stryper!

Dokken – Return To The East Live 2016

A CD/DVD set capturing the classic lineup reunion in Japan. I’ve got a really good feeling about this and I’ve been looking forward to it a lot. I’m sure there will be flaws aplenty but I’m also sure it will be tons of fun. And the tracklisting looks like a slam dunk.

The Who – Live At The Fillmore East 1968

Pete Townshend – Who Came First [Expanded Edition]

I’m a big fan of The Who so both these releases are essential. The Fillmore set (2CD or 3LP) features a fabled pre-Tommy live set with a whopping 33min version of My Generation! Fuck yes. And Who Came First is a much-expanded version of Townshend’s Meher Baba tribute album, a treasure trove of The Who demos and alternate versions. Don’t chuck away your old reissues though as I don’t think all the previous bonus tracks have made it on to this reissue.

Vomitor – Pestilent Death

Australia’s Vomitor are back with their fourth album of ripping black thrash. The kind of stuff that takes you right back to Show No Mercy although not really quite as good. Definitely worth checking out though as the band’s riffing is pretty diabolical. In a good way.

Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed III

Well-regarded black metal from Belgium. Their second album was on my radar but fell through the cracks so now might be time for me to catch up. Not finding their new song Parool all that exciting though.

Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik – Hugsjá

Nordic stone-agery from the Enslaved and Wardruna mainmen. Not exactly a priority with so much else going on but I found the title track pretty stirring and deserving of further investigation. Intriguing.

RECORD STORE DAY 2018

I’ll keep this brief cause I’m not feeling enticed by the RSD offerings this year. The Noise picture discs are very tempting but a bit too pricey for EPs. The Def Lep looks very collectible but the tracklisting is a bit meh. There is some tempting non-metal stuff like the live Bowie, Led Zep and some T-Rex stuff but nothing that I feel like queuing up for or really need. Here’s a list of the more HMO-friendly metal releases on the roster but you can get the full list at the UK and US RSD websites. If you’re taking part, hope you have fun!

Celtic Frost – Tragic Serenades, Def Leppard Live At Abbey Road, Europe – Walk The Earth, Kreator – Behind The Mirror, Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained, Motorhead – Heroes, Saxon – Princess Of The Night 7″, Voivod – Too Scared To Scream, Whitesnake – 1987 30th Anniversary Edition

STOP PRESS

Sleep are reportedly surprise-releasing a long-overdue new album The Sciences today (the 4/20 date being appropriate and all that). It’ll be out on Third Man Records… don’t have much details other than that but look out for it anyway cause that’s a must-buy for sure! Big news!

… and classic rock too!