Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 29th October 2012

Alice Cooper – Killer One of the HMOverlord’s Top-20 albums of all-time and the best of the enviable run of amazing records that the classic line-up put out from Love it to Death to Billion Dollar Babies. Anyone reading this blog that hasn’t heard this album should remedy that forthwith.

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story and Never a Dull Moment  Good old Rod’s got his book out so he’s been getting lots of press attention. He has also been greetin‘ at the fitba. I’ve seen a couple of articles imploring everyone to cast their minds back to the time when Rod was God. Any inquiry into Rod’s godliness should involve listening to these two 70s classics. Praise Rod!

Twisted Sister – Under the Blade (Secret Records version) I talked about this last week. This is the HMO-approved original mix of Twisted’s debut album.

Riot – Narita and Riot: Live Two brilliant albums from the US should’ve-beens. Narita is one of those Rock Candy reissues I like so much. Great guitar and songwriting and Guy Speranza’s vocals are fantastic. Listen to tracks like Kick Down the Walls and Road Racin’ and marvel at Riot’s lack of success. It’s a sad fact that sheer talent is just not enough. (Check this post out if you want to hear a splendid live performance of Road Racin’)

Sodom- Obsessed By Cruelty On the subject of talent… German Thrash/Black Metal giants Sodom happily operated in a sphere where talent wasn’t even necessary! They were offered a record deal with the words “you guys are so shit I have to sign you”. Pure, primitive savagery was the order of the day here and Sodom’s raw assault launched a trillion corpse-painted devotees. And rightly so.

Black Sabbath – Headless Cross Great album from the undervalued Tony Martin-era of the Sabs. I’ve had to rely on an mp3 copy of this. Hopefully this will get a well-deserved reissue soon or maybe I’ll be able to buy a reasonably priced copy on eBay when no-one’s looking. A vinyl copy is top of my wish-list.

Robert Plant – Fate of Nations One of my favourite albums of Plant’s career and that includes the Zep stuff. Although, I have to say, I do consider the last two songs optional. They’re not bad but I’m usually done by the time they roll round.

Manowar – Lord of Steel (Retail version) So good I bought it twice, having already bought the “Hammer Edition” that came out earlier in the year. I’m usually a bit stingy for this sort of behaviour but Manowar are special. The new mix is more grandiose sounding than the Hammer mix and has more studio bells and whistles. Both versions are very different and both are worth having. The extra song The Kingdom of Steel on the Retail edition is very welcome, being the kind of sweeping Manoballad that the Hammer version missed.

Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark Like Sodom’s Obsessed By Cruelty, this is a seminal work of early Black Metal and a must-have for anyone interested in the genre. By the time the infamous Norwegian “Second Wave” started making headlines, Bathory had arguably already done it all.

The Dictators – Every Day is Saturday Excellent compilation of unreleased demos and radio spots from the NY band’s career. Many of the versions here are considered superior to those that would subsequently end up on their albums. I only have this and Go Girl Crazy so I can’t really comment on that but it is a great album. The esteemed Martin Popoff rates the band’s later albums and they can be got pretty cheaply over here so I should get round to buying them soon.

SONG OF THE WEEK I’ve chosen Black Sabbath’s Kill in the Spirit World. Probably not the best introduction to the Headless Cross album but… do you know that way when you’re walking around the shops listening to music and a song comes on that totally puts a spring in your step and makes you feel like you’re in an amazing movie about how amazing you are? This song made that happen.

[Black Sabbath – Kill in the Spirit World]

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11 thoughts on “Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 29th October 2012”

    1. Glad you like Killer and Halo of Flies! Your tribute song?

      Headless Cross was amazing! It may not have been a hit but it’s stood the test of time and I think more and more people are coming around to this period of Sabbath. There’s a lot of stuff that would have been a hit then that probably sounds laughable now!

      I’ve not read Rod’s book. I quite fancy it though, he’s a personable guy and I’m sure he has plenty of stories to tell! Depends how interested you are in him I suppose. There’s a good review here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/07/rod-stewart-the-autobiography-review

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  1. Nice diverse week of listening. No doubt that “Killer” is one of the best Alice albums. I think that band gets sorely overlooked when it comes to rating great ’70s rock bands, since Alice Cooper is now known as just the singer, but they were kick-ass musicians and wrote some of the most enduring songs of that era.

    Until I revisited the Sabbath catalog last year (or was it earlier this year?), I was unaware of the Tony Martin era. Not everything they did was great, but I think “Headless Cross” is the most consistent album, and “Nightwing” is undoubtedly the highlight for me. It’s the best Whitesnake song Coverdale never wrote.

    I think we discussed Plant’s “Fate Of Nations” already. It’s certainly a strong album but definitely not among my Top 4 or 5 of his. Still, it’s nice to see him include the brilliant guitar playing of Richard Thompson and Francis Dunnery. The latter’s solo albums and work with It Bites continues to inspire me…although it’s not for everyone.

    It’s hard to convince kids that Rod Stewart was one of the most bad-ass singers in the world. It’s been sad watching his fall from grace over the last 30+ years, but the albums you chose are close to perfect.

    Riot is one of those bands I’ve never heard but I will add them to my list of artists to check out. Which is the best one to start with?

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    1. Many thanks! Funnily enough, it was your review that inspired me to check out Headless Cross (although, I was always a big Tyr fan)! It took me ages to get a decent quality copy though. I can definitely hear the Coverdale in Tony’s voice. In fact, I think Sabbath did approach Coverdale at one point, although they probably approached just about every singer going in the 80s!

      Rod was definitely a bad-ass singer back then. Those two are great albums, The Faces were amazing and he even had a small part in HM history by singing for the Jeff Beck Group too! I know you’ve been talking about compilations a lot – I bought Rod’s Storyteller recently as a good way of getting the best songs from the rest of his career. There’s a good dose of cheese on there but I love it.

      Riot are a real find! Check out Narita or Fire Down Under. There’s a good touch of the Montrose about them coincidentally enough! You can stream a track on my Monsters Of Rock post if you want to have a wee sample before parting with any cash.

      The Alice Cooper band’s contribution definitely gets overlooked too much (especially Michael Bruce’s writing) so I’m glad you mentioned that! I can’t knock you for not rating Fate of Nations higher, it just hits me where I live for some reason!

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  2. Sadly I am one of those who needs to hear all of an Alice record, Killer or otherwise. I’ve heard the hits, sure. But I’ve never owned an Alice record. There you go, feel free to shun me as uncool! I can take it.

    Rod Stewart, man. I dunno. Some great stuff, and a whole lotta schlock. Gotta get me some Faces, methinks. And Robert Plant! I have to admit, I have not given his solo work the attention it deserves. I probably know songs to hear them, but not to name them or know which album was which.

    The Twisted Sister you mentioned before, and yer still on the Manowar! Awesome. You surely are enjoying the longest sustained listening to their music of anybody I’ve ever known.

    Riot is another one I need to look up. Sodom and Bathory in the same week… NICE! I’m sure the neighbours LOVED you! Hahahaha.

    It’s really hard to go wrong with Sabbath. I mean, sure, they switched singers and players and blah blah blah. But every record had its merits.

    But it’s the Dictators, here, that make me happy! Woo! Such cool stuff. I used to have some of it, but of course I am a tool and, like many records I now regret, I got rid of it when I needed money.

    And thanks for reminding me of “fitba!” Man, it’s been years since I heard that spoken by a Scottish person, but even just reading it put a smile on my face.

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    1. I think with your tastes then Killer would be right up your street. Definitely his grittiest, edgiest record. Rod definitely brings the schlock (although I do have a soft spot for much of that) bit he was an undeniable talent back in this period. The Faces are awesome and these two solo albums are essential too as they feature The Faces, and especially Ron Wood, on most of the tracks. Never a Dull Moment is pretty much a Faces record in disguise. Every Picture… is more acoustic leaning. I did spot the Jeff Beck Group in your LPs so you’ve already got some Rod yourself I see!

      I’m gonna need to get more Dictators stuff. That album I listened to here is a gorgeous 2LP edition with tons of liner notes and photos. Really nice. And, don’t forget, The Dictators guitarist Ross the Boss went on to form… Manowar!

      Not a big fan of the fitba myself but glad you liked the expression!

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