Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 15th October 2012

KISS – Monster This album’s been a nice surprise and it’s a shoo-in for the year’s best list here at HMO Mission Control. Maybe not quite number one… but it’s up there anyway. There’s been a lot of competition this year. The track Long Way Down is certainly a candidate for song of the year, at least. I’d like to hear the band explore that style more.

Samson – Head On A bit of classic NWOBHM for you. This was the first Samson album to feature “Bruce Bruce” on vocals who later adopted the ridiculous moniker “Bruce Dickinson” when he went on to join Iron Maiden. This is a really fun album, hints of KISS and Gillan at points and it has some hilarious lyrics. Manwatcher and Take it Like a Man being particularly suspect!

Jethro Tull – Crest of a Knave The greatest Heavy Metal album of 1989? The Grammys thought so and awarded it the gong for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance over Metallica’s …And Justice For All. Now, just to clarify, I really like Metallica but I never understood why everyone got so annoyed about this. While the decision was clearly ill-considered, Tull didn’t ask for the award and the pelters they received were unfair. While Crest wasn’t their best album by any means, neither was Justice Metallica’s best and it had no bass! The fact that Tull didn’t even bother turning up to the event makes them instantly more “Metal” than Metallica anyway.. At least it prompted Tull to put out their genius Billboard ad (below) and Metallica had the good humour to label future pressings of Justice with a sticker reading “Grammy award LOSERS”.

Gillan – Double Trouble (Studio Side) The half studio, half live album from Ian Gillan and band. A band which had only just acquired future Iron Maiden guitarist and stage-diver Janick Gers. I’ve never really paid enough attention to this period of Gillan and it turns out this is a storming album. Gers always seems more in his element as a lone guitarist and Gillan is in incredible voice here. It’s a more consistent and direct effort than previous Gillan albums but it does miss a bit of the gonzo chaos of the previous line-up with Bernie Tormé on guitar.

The Darkness – Hot Cakes Another contender for the HMO Album of the Year gong along with Monster, A Different Kind of Truth and… er… Crest of a Knave!

Manowar – Sign of the Hammer A stupendous blast of HM supremacy! Made all the more remarkable by the fact that is was recorded so quickly. Manowar realised, while recording their third album Hail to England for Music for Nations, that they were going to leave the label so they used the time and budget to sneakily record two albums! Brains and brawn! Hail would be given to Music for Nations and the band were able to shop around for a new label with an album already in the can. Happily, both the outgoing and incoming labels were gifted stone-cold Metal classics and saw that they were good.

Various Artists – Monsters of Rock The first compilation I’ve actually listened to since starting this blog. It also turns out I’m the proud owner of an album Mike Ladano didn’t know about! Haha. Anyhoo, you can read about it and look at it here.

13 thoughts on “Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 15th October 2012”

  1. Wow!You must really love the KISS to be declaring it to your Year End list. I agree, I prefer Bruce Bruce to Bruce Dickinson, as a moniker. Haha I didn’t know any of that Tull/Metallica story. Good for them both, sounds like they had fun with it, anyway. Justice has great songs. And there is bass! My buddy has the beautiful 180 gram neon green vinyls (he has all their albums in the special editions) and, on his good hi-fi, I heard bass! It makes a big difference. Maybe some day they’ll re-release it with the bass higher in the mix. We can dream. That Gillan is a neat idea too, splitting half studio/live. Better than tagging “bonus tracks” at the end! I still need to get to this Darkness that Mike gave me. I have a feeling I’ll love it. You’re really rocking the Manowar, lately. Good on you! And hey, if you can make Mike salivate over something he didn’t know existed, you are in a privileged position, mate. That guy is TOUGH to beat in this department. 😉

    So, did I miss your Rollins write-up? Or are adjectives still seeming inadequate?


    1. I’m well impressed by KISS I have to say. There’s one track on there I’m not so keen on but hopefully that’ll be a grower. The Tull/Tallica story is hilarious… a lot of people really didn’t see the funny side of it. There was booing at the event! Get a life people! Both great bands… so what’s the problem. I was really just being cheeky about the bass, I’ve got the half-speed vinyl box where the album is split into four EPs and there’s a hint of bass on that! Haha. I’d love to hear it with a new mix to compare but I suspect the lack of bass adds charm. It makes the whole thing very stark sounding, don’t you think?

      I’m definitely rocking the Manowar, and the “retail edition” of their new album came out last week so there will be plenty more to come! I’ve not been including Rollins in my listening notes because I wanted to give it a proper write-up but, to be honest, I can’t think of anything to say about it other than “It’s awesome!”. It’s definitely on my “to-do” list anyway!


      1. Yep, those are the Metallica discs my buddy has. Very pretty box sets! The only one he hasn’t bought is St. Anger. He hates that record. I tell him to give it time but he won’t haha. Justice is stark (and contains brilliant songs), but like Mike wants to compare apples to apples with that Twisted Sister, I’d be happy for the chance to check it out with the bass intact and properly mixed. So did you you read that, Lars, you gum-chewing twat? GET ON IT!

        And don’t worry on the Rollins, I know it’s awesome, and you know it’s awesome, and Mike knows it’s awesome. If it ain’t in you to write it up because AWESOE and KICK-ASS and OMG WOW just about covers it, we understand!


      2. Oh man, St. Anger took the longest time to get into! But it did happen eventually. Headphones were the secret! I discovered it sounded great on headphones and it was plain sailing from then on… I’d rate it over the Load/ReLoad stuff anyway.
        I got the Metallica vinyl sets up to …Justice. Always tempted to get the Black Album and Garage Inc ones too. But only if the price is right!
        Those three superlatives just about cover it! Haha. I think when I’ve lived with it a bit longer it’d be different. I’d like to hear the later studio albums too for a bit of context.


      3. It was the drums on St. Anger that got to me the worst. Fuckin’ Lars. I can’t stand that guy. The snare sound was TERRIBLE, and to my ear he’s ever so slightly off on some tracks. Ugh. I think SA was a natural progression from the Load/Reload gear-shift. I finally came ’round to it and now I enjoy most of the songs. Most people I know still don’t like it, but I don’t think they tried hard enough.

        Buy every Rollins Band album you can find. You will never, ever be disappointed. Each record is done with integrity, thought, verve and each one hits HARD. Not a bad one in the bunch, for either line-up. Yes I am biased, but in this case I am also right.

        You should be able to pick a lot of them up for cheap. There’s always utter morons selling them off for cheap.


      4. The amount of work Metallica put into that sound beggars belief! The Garage Days EP sounds better than most of their albums so I can never understand why they spend so long making them…
        The last two Rollins studio and Come in and Burn are definitely on my list to pick up. They seem like the biggest gaps in my Rollins collection.


      5. Can you imagine how much MORE Metallica music we would have if they weren’t so far up their own asses? Seriously, with those players, they could be putting out two records a year. Raw, edgy, loud as hell. With no sacrifice in quality, either! But no, they have to sit in a studio for three years and micromanage everything until the end product pisses people off. Gone are the days, I guess.

        If you mean Get Some Go Again and Nice, then yes yes YES. Buy those, like, YESTERDAY.


      6. Yep, I do mean those ones. I remember those albums all being given lukewarm reviews when they came out but after hearing that stuff live I don’t understand… what’s not to like?
        Your summary of Metallica is perfect.


      7. The only people who would give a Rollins record a lukewarm review are lukewarm people, or those who have no context or knowledge oh his recorded history. Not worth your time. They didn’t sell a zillion copies, sure, but that’s no measure of success. Only shit reviewers in the pay of the labels think like that. No, you know Rollins, and you know it’s unlikely he’d release anything bearing his name that was anything less than crushing.

        Man, I can summarize most bands in a few sentences. Punchy, you once said… Line ’em up, I’ll knock ’em down.


  2. You’re definitely making me want to hear the Kiss album. I’ve already added it to my wish list, so I should get it soon. Never understood the backlash against Tull for winning an award that they neither asked for nor rubbed in anyone’s faces. I’m glad you’ve defended them here. I happen to love that album…it came out during my senior year of college when I was in a huge Tull phase…but to me a lot of the songs remind me more of Dire Straits (something that probably makes Metallica fans even angrier). The only Samson albums I own are “Reading ’81” and “Shock Tactics.” Both are great, and Bruce Bruce sounds phenomenal (well played, by the way, with your comment about his later “ridiculous moniker”). I like both Darkness albums but they never reached the heights of bands I really love, so I’m skeptical about the new one. Will definitely keep an open mind whenever I have a chance to hear it. Glad you had a nice heavy week of listening (with the exception of Tull, of course). Cheers!


    1. And so, Rich, we meet again in the blogosphere. I started following your blog from Every Record… and this one from there as well or from your blog.

      I’ve read favourable reviews of the new Darkness album, saying that it is a follow-on to the first one and that one should forget the second one.

      I remember the Tull/Metallica clash. I think Chrysalis didn’t want to pay for Tull to attend since they thought they had no chance of winning. Alice Cooper accepted the award on their behalf. Apparently Metallica played for free at the ceremony—and then lost.
      I think what confused some people was that the award was for hard rock or heavy metal. Tull isn’t really a heavy-metal band, but definitely hard rock—certainly not soft rock. What was funny to some people and pissed off others was that the old codgers got it instead of the young dudes. (However, Crest is 25 years ago, and Ian Anderson was a young 40 at the time!) Dave Pegg commented in an interview that Metallica didn’t deserve to win since they weren’t even as good as Spinal Tap! The ad says it all!

      There is a video of Ian Anderson and Bruce Dickinson performing together on YouTube. If that isn’t enough heavy-metal cred, I don’t know what is. (To be sure, they are performing something by William Blake.) And, of course, Maiden covered Tull’s Cross-eyed Mary.

      I recently got into Maiden after having been kept away by the Eddie image for years. Don’t know if I can get past the makeup to get into Kiss, though. 😦

      Have either of you seen The Iron Maidens (Iron Maiden coverband, or should I say uncover band?) live? Despite the dodgy technical quality, I was really impressed by their musical ability (OK, not just that, but also) after seeing some clips on YouTube. If one closes one’s eyes, one can almost think it is Iron Maiden, but I doubt anyone closes his eyes watching them.


      1. Hi Phillip, thanks so much for stopping by and for your excellent input! Much appreciated.

        The Darkness definitely leans more towards the style of their debut but I’m a big fan of their second album too. Always thought that album gets a bad rep.

        Great facts about The Grammys, Phillip. The Hard Rock/Heavy Metal distinction did seem to pass everyone by! Everyone was talking about Tull like they were a folk band. I believe that this was the very first year that The Grammys did an award for Hard Rock/Heavy Metal and that might have been a big part of the negative reaction. Like they had made a good move in including the genre in the ceremony but then copped out with who they chose. I can see their point but, like Rich said, it wasn’t fair to blame Tull. I also think they were probably acknowledging Jethro Tull’s long career rather than the particular album anyway… Not seen the Anderson/Dickinson performance, I’ll have to check that out! Well remembered about Cross-Eyed Mary too, although I’m not particularly fond of Iron Maiden’s take on it.

        I’ve heard of The Iron Maidens but not heard anything. I’ll be sure to look them up on YouTube… for the music obviously…


    2. I hope you like the KISS album! And if you’ve never been sold on the past albums of The Darkness, then I doubt the new one would convert you to be honest.

      Thanks for joining in the Tull defense. I like how you put it, about them not asking for it etc… quite right! Crest was never a big favourite of mine but I really enjoyed revisiting it. I always liked the later Catfish Rising too. Definitely a Dire Straits vibe especially with Ian Anderson’s vocal style.

      If you like those Samson albums you should definitely pick up Head On. It’s a bit more ramshackle than those two but it’s great and you’ll know a few songs from the live set too. Always a pleasure to have you stop by, Rich!


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