Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 27th August 2012

Paradise Lost – In Requiem Paradise Lost have had a remarkable career and this is one of their greatest releases. Classy Doom Metal with great melodies. Vocalist Nick Holmes gets better with every release and sounds particularly Hetfield-esque on this one as does the mighty guitar crunch.

Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power and The Great Southern Trendkill Vulgar Display is another album with the Hetfield “mega-crunch”, as Phil Anselmo would say. Got right into this so I stuck on the less familiar Trendkill too as it features Drag the Waters, one of my favourite tracks of theirs.

The Darkness – Hot Cakes It’s great to have this band back. I really enjoyed One Way Ticket a lot so I had high hopes for this. As with their other records it takes a while to fully reveal its charms but this is already an album of the year contender. Absolutely loving this and it’s been getting played a lot. She’s Just a Girl, Eddie is possibly one of the best songs of the year so far, along with Van Halen’s You and Your Blues and Ginger’s Forget About It.

Danzig – IV Got to love Glenn Danzig. For all he’s become a sort of walking meme (I especially like that he appeared on Google Street View), he’s had an enviable career and been a massive influence in Rock and Metal. I have to fess up and admit I’ve not followed his career beyond this album though as this was the last to feature the classic Danzig line-up that featured John Christ on guitar. Am I missing much?

Ginger Wildheart – 555% Been listening to the first Disc of this a lot but I’ve finally progressed to the weirder second disc which is… weird. If the third CD of this album continues to be weirder it might just be an hour of Spooky Halloween Farts or something like that but we’ll see. You can pledge money for the prolific Ginger’s next two projects(!) here. One of these, Mutation, is going to be Ginger’s first venture into Grindcore which I’m pretty intrigued by.

Queen – News of the World (and Bonus EP) Is it possible to say the phrase “Classic Queen” without doing it in Alan Partridge’s voice now? Not for me. Anyway, this is “Classic Queen” and went down a storm this week as did the stingy but enjoyable bonus EP.

Def Leppard – X Er… I quite liked this when it came out. A shameless but failed stab at pop stardom. There are good tracks on here but it really could do with a bit more beef and a lot of the tracks are just a bit doleful sounding. They also show themselves up by channelling Steve Clark on the track Scar at the end of the record so you come out of it wondering why the whole album wasn’t that good. An uncomfortable entry in the Lep canon.

Rollins Band – Hot Animal Machine Been on a real Rollins kick so thought I’d revisit his debut solo record. It reminded me of Discipline-era King Crimson. Angular and jazzy with Henry’s righteously angry vocals and lyrics. More listens required so I think this’ll be showing up here again.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis Bold as Love My favourite Hendrix album. This is perfect bliss and a great late-night listen. Dug this out after reading a great piece on it in Record Collector.

Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation Only managed Side A of this and I was done. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love the song Magic Touch.

Hirax – Not Dead Yet Gave this a good whirl while writing up my Buying Round Up last week. Fun stuff but I can’t remember anything about it other than the opening track, the excellently named Demons Evil Forces!

Live After Live After Death: Sammy and the Wabos – Live Hallelujah

I’ve been wondering what happened to the live album and if Iron Maiden’s Live After Death is the last truly classic one. I’m going to be looking into some post-1985 live releases to see if there are any overlooked belters out there

I’m not the biggest Sammy Hagar fan in the world but I particularly enjoyed the period that followed his (initial) acrimonious split from Van Halen in the mid-90s. Having put together a great backing band called the Waboritas he proceeded to bring out a trio of  joyous Rock albums – Red Voodoo, Ten 13  and Not 4 Sale. With the Waboritas, Sammy had also become a formidable feel-good live act too and following a very competitive jaunt with Dave Lee Roth (the Sam and Dave tour) it was decided to capture the fun on CD.

The first thing that has to be said about Live Hallelujah is that it is LOUD. I actually can’t think of a live album that sounds more like being in the front rows of a concert than this one. Sammy’s older tracks are bristling with the kind of unhinged guitar assault that would make Ted Nugent proud and the Van Halen-era tracks are feel-good bliss (some featuring a speaker-rattling Michael Anthony and When It’s Love features Gary Cherone). Although Sammy and Vic Johnson are fine players they sensibly chose some of the least flashy Van Halen tracks which means they sit more comfortably alongside the non-VH songs. The newer tracks like Shaka Doobie, Deeper Kind of Love and Little White Lie are also strong, fitting in perfectly with the old favourites like Three Lock Box and Heavy Metal. In fact, one of the great features of the album is how it assimilates material from a long and varied career into a really cohesive set.

This has obviously never become a classic of any description but I really enjoy this and it actually served as a gateway for me to get more into Sammy’s and Van Hagar’s albums. Overall, if your ears can take the remorseless pounding of the production, this is just great fun and one of the best examples I can think of where a live album manages to evoke the excitement and vibe of a being at a really entertaining Rock show. If I’m looking for an album to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step this would be a strong contender and there can’t be a higher recommendation than that.

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 20th August 2012

This week we’ll take it for read that I listened to Nile and Gojira!

Rollins Band – Weight I’ve been in the mood for working through the Henry Rollins catalogue after seeing the Hank-related posts over at My Left Thumb. I’ve listened to the End of Silence loads but I’m not hugely familiar with the rest of his career. Thought I’d start here as it’s one of his better known releases and I really enjoyed it. It’s got all the righteous anger you’d expect but with a really funky, spacey feel too. Standout tracks so far are Civilised, Disconnect and Liar but I’ll be coming back to this I’m sure.

Saxon – The Inner Sanctum This album followed Saxon’s appearance on UK TV’s Get Your Act Together in which promoter/manager Harvey Goldsmith attempted to revive their declining fortunes. I personally doubt whether his involvement or the publicity were directly responsible for improving the band’s situation but the NWOBHM stalwarts certainly sound galvanised on this superb album. I think the inference that they were dated and treading water was all they needed to pull out the stops. Get it up ye!

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier and Brave New World Two modern day classics that easily hold their own with the older albums. Been listening to Frontier a lot this year but I don’t revisit Brave New World enough and I really enjoyed giving it a spin this week. I actually wasn’t that bothered about them reuniting at the time as I was such a fan of Bruce’s solo work but this album easily changed my mind. It’s ageing pretty well too.

Wendy O. Williams – W.O.W. Produced by Gene Simmons who also provided Bass in the guise of Reginald Van Helsing! It also features performances and songwriting contributions from Paul Stanley, Eric Carr, Ace Frehley and Vinnie Vincent. Wendy is on fine gravelly vocal form although the whole thing sounds a bit unfinished to me and there are a few uninspired ploddy tracks. It’s My Life is a brilliant song and this is well worth investigating if you like 80s KISS. Wendy’s previous album (with the Plasmatics) Coup D’Etat is much better though.

The Plasmatics – Metal Priestess EP The first time I’ve listened to this and it blew me away. A real punk attitude but played with an Unleashed in the East guitar attack. What’s not to like about that?

Jethro Tull – Broadsword and the Beast Not one of the better known Tull albums although it was big in Germany. This always goes down well, it’s got a great mystical fantasy vibe to it that is right up my street. A lot more mature and sophisticated than the album title or cover suggest! Now fetch my Broadsword, minion!

Richard Thompson – Mock Tudor Listening to a lot of RT at the moment. Think it must be the time of the year or something. This is one of my favourites, a collection of vignettes about suburbia. A great mix of styles on here. It’s hard to think of a guitarist so equally adept at both electric and acoustic guitar. He rages on Hard on Me and is exquisite on The Sights and Sounds of London. Folk Overload!

KISS – Destroyer Listening to the original in preparation for Destroyer Resurrected although I didn’t really have to bother because this is imprinted on my DNA. A great album for sure, but not the towering classic it’s often made out to be. I can think of many KISS albums I would rate higher than this. Interested to see what the new remixing does for it.

Buying Round Up – August 2012

 

Hirax – Not Dead Yet (Monorail Glasgow £16 and MetalHit £4) I had been eyeing up this CD on Amazon for a while and then stumbled upon this vinyl edition in good old Monorail, scourge of my bank account! Glad I held off because the larger that Pushead cover is the better. Comes with a cool insert of photos and lyrics too.

This is the band’s debut record Raging Violence from 1985 coupled with the EP Hate, Fear and Power. Really vintage blend of Metal, Punk and operatic high/low vocals from the awesomely cool Katon W. De Pena. I also bought the mp3 on MetalHit.com for about £4 which is pretty good going too if you don’t mind buying a bunch  of 1s and 0s.

Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage CD/DVD (Amazon £12) I’m well pleased with this one. Has a really layered mix of heavy and clean guitar so the melodies and riffs are well defined, even when the tracks are catastrophically heavy. It’s nowhere near as dense as, previous album, The Way of All Flesh. The live DVD that comes with this is also fantastic and the …Flesh material works so much better live than on the album.

Gojira – From Mars to Sirius (Amazon £10) I’m enjoying this band a lot so it makes sense to go back to what is touted as their breakthrough record. After a cursory listen this sounds ferociously heavy but with more warmth than …Flesh. I’ve got so much Gojira rampaging around at the moment it’s quite difficult to take it all in so I might put this on the backburner for a while and concentrate on the new one.

Nile – Black Seeds of Vengeance (Amazon Marketplace £5) and…

Hate Eternal – I, Monarch CD/DVD (Amazon Marketplace £10) Just trying to fill a few glaring gaps in my Death Metal collection with these two. Haven’t listened to either of them yet. Tut tut.

Queen – The Game 2CD (Amazon Marketplace £10) and…

Queen – Jazz 2CD (Amazon Marketplace £10) and…

Queen – News of the World 2CD (Amazon Marketplace £12) Ok, I went a bit mental here… I picked up the first 5 Queen Special Edition albums really cheap when they came out the other year but these ones seem to never end up being discounted. I basically got sick of waiting and I’m in a real Queen mood these days so I finally caved in. Don’t have much to say about the bonus EPs yet except that they seem a bit stingy! The remasters of these are great though and I’m tempted to carry on into the Hot Space/Flash Gordon/The Works era to see if there are any under-rated albums for me to discover. Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time.

Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation 2nd Hand LP (Missing Glasgow £4) Nice cheap copy of this in great condition. Really enjoyed listening to this on vinyl and it’s much better than I remember it (not as patchy as I remember) and it just turned 25!

Gwar – Scumdogs of the Universe (Amazon Marketplace £8) I’ve loved this album since I was a teenager. The gags really draw attention away from how good some of this is. There are some riffs here any Thrash band would be proud of, great hooks and it also has Horror of Yig which is one of the most glorious cacophonies of all time. That song alone makes it worth owning. I’ve had it on vinyl for ages but my LP is missing the superb Death Pod (basically the Gwar origin story in a song) so I bought this Russian edition.

Amount spent on purchase: £101

Amount spent in total so far: £261

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 13th August 2012

Ooh, bit of an odd week this one!

Cradle of Filth – Dusk and Her Embrace Nice to start the week with some Black Metal. Never been that familiar with this band and on a first listen this sounded pretty impressive. I was on the bus at the time, though, and it wasn’t quite cutting through the vehicle din so I ended up abandoning it so I could give it more attention later.

Gerry Rafferty – City to City I bought this 2CD reissue in January primarily for Baker Street and I’ve finally given it a proper listen a couple of times this week and I’m getting hooked into it one song at a time. Opening track The Ark is just beautiful. Nice to finally have a Scot in the Noise-some Notes!

W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw This again! Can’t really say much about this that I haven’t already. Blackie Lawless’  intro to The Manimal does get more ridiculous with each listen.

Little Richard – Here’s Little Richard The Rock N’ Roll originators great debut album. I was down at my Mums and thought she might like this. She did!

Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight I discovered this record about six years ago and it has became one of my very favourite albums. There is not a bad moment on this, it is an exceptionally colourful and moving record. Cavalry Cross and End of the Rainbow are just absolutely mesmeric. In this instance it was a bit of a bleak choice for commuting to work but… never mind.

Hirax – Raging Violence I’ll cover this during an upcoming Buying Round-Up but this is from a gorgeous gatefold vinyl album I picked up recently. It’s actually called Not Dead Yet and is essentially a compilation featuring the albums Raging Violence and Hate, Fear and Power. It’s a lovely object with a bonkers Pushead cover so I’ll get some photos taken. Pacy, chunky Thrash with Katon W. De Pena’s operatic vocals resulting in a sound a bit like sped-up Candlemass. Quality stuff.

Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane Powerful Black Metal with a strong grounding in classic Thrash and Heavy Metal. Icy, melodic and often spellbinding. The track Where Dead Angels Lie is a particular favourite.

How Tempting! 26th Aug 2012

Here’s a wee round-up of things that might be burning a hole in my wallet sometime soon!

Blue Oyster Cult –  The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Just had a wee swatch around Amazon, for the first time in ages, and noticed this little beauty!

Fourteen albums of BOC(how do you actually do umlauts on your PC?) from their debut to Imaginos. It also includes the Some Enchanted Evening bonus DVD and two albums of Rarities and Radio broadcasts. Apparently initial copies come with a download voucher for four live concert broadcasts too!

The first question I always want to know with these kind of sets is whether all the albums are remastered because often they are packaged with only the existing editions of CDs with no new work done which means they can be a mixed bag sonically. After a root around online I’m delighted to see that the later albums have all been remastered for this release and that makes it phenomenally tempting for £50. It’s out in the tail end of October. BOC are an essential and cruelly underrated band. I have most of this stuff already but mostly on vinyl so this is a MUST!

Temptation Rating: 10 out of 10 A Fire of Unknown Origin took my money away.

*****

Black Flag – The First Four Years LP

There’s been a lot of Henry Rollins chat here and over at My Left Thumb so I’ve been on the lookout for any Rollins/Black Flag stuff in the shops. There wasn’t much doing as most of the stuff is import-only over here but, I’m happy to report, good old Monorail in Glasgow has saved the day with a nice stock of Black Flag vinyl and CDs so it’s just deciding where to start really! This is the early EPs and singles before Rollins joined the band but I’m told it’s essential so I’ll probably start here as it looks like a bit of a steal at £13 for the vinyl.

Temptation Rating: 9 out of 10 Only financial considerations are getting in the way here but this is definitely on my wish-list.

*****

Enslaved – Riitiir

I really enjoy these Progressive Black Metal legends. But, really, I’ve not listened to their older stuff nearly as much as I should have so I’m going to do my best to hold off on this. At least until I’ve given the rest of their stuff a decent whirl. It’s been getting phenomenal reviews though so it might be hard to fight off the temptation.

Temptation Rating:  6 out of 10 If I’m serious about cutting down the buying, I can do without this… at least for now.

*****

Testament – Dark Roots of the Earth CD/DVD

Pretty much the same story as with Enslaved. Too much music and too little time so I need to make more of what I’ve already got!

Temptation Rating: 5 out of 10 Not had the rave reviews that Enslaved have enjoyed so I’ve docked a point.

*****

KISS – Destroyer: Resurrected

I’ve been staying out of Amazon as much as I can lately to fight off temptation. But I had a wee peek today and noticed this is already out. Aaaarrrgghhhh!!!! WTF?!

Temptation Rating: 10 out of 10 I’m going to get up and get down to the shops right now.

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 6th August 2012

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier There’s just no stopping Iron Maiden any more. I didn’t find this as immediately enjoyable as their previous album, A Matter of Life and Death, but I think it’s proven more enjoyable over time. Highlights of the En Vivo DVD were on telly recently which put me in the mood for hearing this again.

Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here This is a dreamy slice of summer bliss and one of the best albums of recent years. I’m still enjoying it so much I haven’t been able to completely give my full attention on to this year’s Weather Systems. I’ll get there…

Megadeth – Endgame Bought this on its release and I only really liked the track 44 Minutes and the rest went over my head. Admittedly, when it was released it was up against some other big competition for my attention like Porcupine Tree’s The Incident and Mastodon’s Crack the Skye. 44 Minutes had reappeared in my head lately so I had to give this another spin and , happily, it went down really well. I’ve been listening to this fairly regularly ever since so it’ll be popping up here for a while I should think. Their best since… hmm… Youthanasia.

W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw Not a lot of the LA bands bothered putting out live albums. Thankfully W.A.S.P. did cause theirs is a beast! I can think of one other “Hair” band that put one out and I’ll be covering that at some point. Any ideas? Theirs is a beast too.

Opeth – Damnation I tend to categories a lot music into seasons! This album is especially wintery! So bugger knows why I was listening to it in August. Never mind, it went down well as always. A very King Crimson-esque mellow album from Opeth (the drummer is definitely doing his best Michael Giles) but, influences aside, it’s a really gorgeous album. A good place to start for people that don’t like the shouty stuff although I personally think the skillful mix of extreme and mellow is Opeth’s strength.

Megadeth – Th1rt3en Not sure if I spelled that title right. Picked this up for a £5 after enjoying Endgame so much. It’s sounding promising so far although, on a first listen, some of the production choices sound a bit odd. Just me?

Richard Thompson – Walking on a Wire (1968 – 2009) Great 4CD box set of Richard’s finest moments. I had a run through of the 3rd and 4th discs. Just brimming with great stuff. Great Folk Rock, inspired guitar playing, rich warm vocals and some excellent songwriting with a dark seam running through it all. I was first exposed to Richard as he plays on some tracks from Robert Plant’s excellent Fate of Nations album and his guitar playing is just stunning. Highly recommended.

… and classic rock too!