Here are some more observations on my recent listening. I had the new Triptykon and Manowar offerings to contend with this week but I’ll save my judgement on those for my next Buying Round-Up.
Magnum – Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow
Ok, I started off on a ropey note here. This is the most recent Magnum album I own and I wanted to check it out and see if it put me in the mood to buy their new one, Escape From the Shadow Garden. It didn’t really. I have a lot of time and affection for Magnum but this just strikes me as bland and obvious. I’d love to know how the new one compares to this if there are any Magnum enthusiasts out there?
KISS – Dressed to Kill
KISS blast through ten tunes in 30 minutes in proto-Reign in Blood fashion. I reckon this is the closest the original line-up ever got to their live sound on record. The band probably don’t agree but what do they know?
Grand Magus – Triumph and Power
I wasn’t too fussed about this when I first bought it but it has slowly wormed its way into my good books. The feeling that it’s all a bit safe still lingers but I’d happily recommend it to fans of Priest/Manowar even if it doesn’t scale the giddy heights those bands achieved. And I can’t help mentally continuing the Dominator/Freedom Hater/Amputator/Lacerator etc… rhyming scheme with suggestions of my own. Like Masturbator and Mashed Potator. I think Boaby Halford would be proud of me.
Be-Bop Deluxe – Axe Victim and Futurama
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this band over the last few years and I’m still getting a kick out of them and Bill Nelson’s sublime guitar work. Wondering if I should investigate Bill’s solo work but I’m not even sure where I’d begin. The recent BBC set that I bought last year also has a brilliant DVD of their Old Grey Whistle Test performances that I’ve been watching repeatedly.
Various Artists – Grind Madness at the BBC
A massive 3CD collection of Peel Sessions. I only listened to the first two Napalm Death sessions here, not the whole thing. It’s absolutely essential stuff for Napalm fans. Pretty much white noise for everyone else. It struck me that, even through the intense din, they still somehow manage to sound British. And Napalm aside, this is an essential collection for Earache fans. As well as Napalm there are sessions from Carcass, Extreme Noise Terror, Bolt Thrower and more! Delight your family and friends!
The Meads of Asphodel – Jihad
Easily the best Black Metal release I’ve heard in the last few years… possibly ever! It’s an absolute hoot. Further investigation into this band is massively overdue.
Anthrax – Worship Music
Like the Grand Magus album, I’m enjoying this one with reservations. Plenty of good stuff here (and Joey Belladonna is in heartwarmingly good form) but some of the songwriting choices leave a bit to be desired. In particular, there are some radio-friendly choruses that just don’t gel with the rest of the material. Still a good album though and, giving them the benefit of the doubt due to the album’s troubled birth, I await their next move with interest.
Hell – Curse and Chapter
I still can’t get enough of this 2013 belter. It’s an absolutely stunning effort from a band that seems to be overflowing with ideas and delivered with a killer combination of theatrical flair, quirky charm and Megadeth-style precision. Awesome.
SONG OF THE WEEK
Darkhangel, the standout track from Hell’s Curse and Chapter still manages to take my breath away. Shaping up to be the song of the decade! And any song that name-checks Shub-Niggurath (The Goat with a Thousand Young) has got to be good.
[Hell – Darkhangel]