Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 24th September 2012

Isengard – Høstmørke The only album proper from the Fenriz side project that I mentioned last week. More of the same as the Vandreren demo really and sounds as much like a demo as that did! Maybe even more so. This was a great escapist listen on the Monday bus to work.

INXS – Listen Like Thieves and Kick I’ve been a fan of these albums since the 80s but I’ve found myself really reconnecting with them in the last couple of years. It’s tight, funky Pop but when I was a young ‘un this stuff made perfect sense alongside the rockier fare of the day like Whitesnake and Def Leppard.

Rush – Vapor Trails I’ve not listened to this one for ages. I never minded the production of this as much as some people seemed to. Listening to it this time it strikes me as a tad overlong but every time I started to drift off they hit me with a belter like Secret Touch. I’d definitely rate this above Snakes and Arrows but I think the new one, Clockwork Angels, has trumped it. There’s been talk about remixing/remastering Vapor Trails too which I’d be keen to hear.

Dissection – Live Rebirth Gave this a listen while writing my previous post about it. A great introduction for fans of traditional Metal that want to dip their toes into more extreme territory.

The Misfits – Collection I Also known as the first disc in their awesome Box Set. This is just front to back great fun. Direct, catchy as hell and songs like Astro Zombies even manage to be strangely touching!

Iron Maiden – The Soundhouse Tapes Mike Ladano has been expertly reviewing the Iron Maiden catalogue recently and you should definitely check out his excellent reviews. Although the albums concerned are basically hard-wired into my consciousness, while reading his posts I realised that I hadn’t listened to The Soundhouse Tapes or their many B-Sides for ages. I got totally caught up in The Soundhouse Tapes even though it was, understandably, naïve and rough around the edges. Pretty much the NWOBHM in a nutshell! Loved it.

Iron Maiden – Running Free/Sanctuary It was fun to go back to the singles again too. I’ve got these from the First Ten Years Box Set which I’m lucky enough to own (sadly sans lid). The highlight of this one is the enjoyable but atypical Burning Ambition. I love that washy vibrato effect that NWOBHM bands were so fond of.

Iron Maiden – Women in Uniform/Twilight Zone Never liked either Women… or Twilight Zone that much but releasing non-album singles was pretty old-school, even in the 80s, and good value for money for the fans. The B-Sides are excellent and include the naff but fun Invasion (almost inventing Bad News single-handedly with its lyric “robbing and pillaging, raping and looting the la-a-and”. Kind of poetical political isn’t it?) and an excellent live version of Phantom of the Opera.

Iron Maiden – Purgatory/Maiden Japan Had forgotten how amazing the song Purgatory actually is. Can’t escape the feeling that Maiden picked an odd bunch of songs to promote the Killers album though. Maiden Japan is shit-hot with an awesome version of the under-rated Innocent Exile.

Ghost – Opus Eponymous This was totally mis-sold as a Mercyful Fate/Angel Witch style affair when it was released when anyone with half an ear can tell they’re pillaging Blue Oyster Cult for all they’re worth. Still, one of the best debuts of recent years and I’m intrigued to see how they are going to follow this up.

Pink Floyd – The Wall I could never get into this band when I was younger. They appealed too much to all the layabout stoners I knew and I was too busy listening to Ted Nugent going gonzo at Hammersmith! Glad I’ve found my way round to Floyd now though because there’s lots of amazing, dramatic stuff here. I’ll wager Pink Floyd never played three headline shows in a row though! Wimps.


Buying Round-Up – 3rd October 2012

Some more stuff I done bought.

Is there a particular reason the Dynasty cover portrait is so badly framed?

KISS – Hotter Than Hell, Rock and Roll Over and Dynasty Vinyl (Missing Glasgow £10 for the lot)

I’m always on the lookout for KISS LPs and there was a load suddenly appeared in Missing Records that I cherry picked from. None of the frills or extras that some original issues might have had but they were in great condition, were only £4 a pop and the chap gave me the three for £10 which was a cool deal. Still on the lookout for KISS, Dressed to Kill, Love Gun and Alive II but it’s only a matter of time before I get my grubby mitts on them!

“G N’ R Meets Hovis” cover

Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy Vinyl (Amazon Marketplace £6)

I absolutely adore this album and I’d been on the lookout for a cheap vinyl copy as I had a right clear notion this would work great as a double LP. Due to its lukewarm reception it didn’t take a genius to work out that the price for this was eventually going to drop so I played the waiting game and finally pressed “add to basket” when it hit £6!

The Stranglers – No More Heroes (Fopp Glasgow £3)

I enjoyed The Stranglers’ La Folie so when I saw this going for £3 at my local Fopp I couldn’t say no. Haven’t listened to it yet, mind you, but it’s not going anywhere either. I feel sorry for people that don’t live near a Fopp…

OK… so I round the prices up…

Black Flag – The First Four Years Vinyl (Monorail Glasgow £13)

Been wanting to check out Black Flag due to my renewed interest in all things Rollins-related. Fact-fans will note, however, that Rollins doesn’t actually appear on this one but I wanted to start at the very beginning. This is pretty much what I expected: fast, aggressive, catchy and fun! Bought this repro-vinyl at Monorail in Glasgow for a respectable £13 which is not a shabby price at all for an import album. Great shop!

Rollins Band – The Only Way to Know For Sure (Amazon Marketplace £10)

Rollins Overload! Emphatically recommended by the keeper of the Thumb and a shoe-in for my Live After Live After Death series. I’ll review in more depth later but I’m pretty blown away by this. Intense heavy rock with a really loose bluesy delivery. The whole band is tireless and on fire. Took a couple of weeks to arrive despite the sterling efforts of the Canadian Postal-Canoes crossing the Atlantic but this is proof that good things come to those who wait!

Amount spent on purchase: £42

Amount spent in total so far: £348

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 17th September 2012

Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth Stonking comeback record from the Diamond Dave-led VH. Strong contender for Album of the Year and You and Your Blues is even a contender for Song of the Year. Love how dirty and raw this is and Roth’s got a charismatic bluesy croon to his voice now. I’m not sure I can handle living in a world where Dave Lee Roth is anything less than an alpha male so this is welcome stuff!

Public Image Ltd. – First Issue John Lydon’s first post-Pistols venture. It’s pretty adventurous stuff with some fantastic jaggy guitar playing. I thought I’d check this out as I’ve been reading Simon Reynold’s Rip it Up and Start Again which covers this band in a couple of chapters. Although the album is often quite naïve and atonal it’s also surprisingly hypnotic and the lead-off single Public Image livened up an otherwise dull bus journey!

Def Leppard – High N’ Dry I really love Def Leppard and this is an excellent album.  Just couldn’t get into it this week for some reason. It happens.

Deep Purple – Live in Japan (Disc 1 – Osaka Show) Live Purple Overload! This excellent set features the three separate shows that were drawn from to make up the Made in Japan album. I only listened to the first show on CD1 and got right into it. Ian Gillan once described this band as “ a monster of the individual contribution” and he wasn’t wrong! Top notch.

Mastodon – Leviathan My girlfriend is listening to the 135-day-long Moby Dick Big Read Podcast so it gave me the notion to check out Mastodon’s hefty take on Melville’s classic tale. I see that the band chose to jump straight to the Whale stuff and gloss over the touching White Christian/Pagan Cannibal bromance. Shame.

Danzig – Danzig Not enough people mention Danzig when Rick Rubin’s name comes up. It’s all Johnny Cash-this and Reign in Blood-that. Fucking Danzig! Maybe I will move in with him…

Yes – Yessongs Another monster of the individual contribution. This is an absolutely transcendent live album. As you listen you feel like the full, rich possibilities of music are being explored! At least I do anyway. I just got this on vinyl so it’ll be appearing in a “Buying Round-Up” sometime soon.

Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion I really like the Frosties and while this is regarded as one of their best albums I can never quite get into it for some reason. But it must have something going for it cause I refuse to give up on it and often pop it back on for another whirl.

Isengard – Vandreren Darkthrone’s Fenriz gets his Viking on for this 1993 demo. Really raw stuff but also has some stirring riffs and swarthy Nordic vocals. While listening to this I found myself drifting off into a reverie of longboats and helmets and basically grinning like an idiot.

The Black Crowes – The Lost Crowes (Tall Sessions) This is a great album but was scrapped for… reasons. Features many alternate versions (some better) of songs that would eventually end up on the excellent Amorica and Three Snakes… albums.

Journey – Trial by Fire Listened to this after reading a review on the excellent LeBrain blog. The post caused a surprising amount of debate over the album’s merits. I had a listen and chipped in about it in the comments section there so you should go and check that out and save me repeating myself!

Dissection – Live Rebirth (Review)

Swedish Black Metal legends Dissection had only released two studio albums before they embarked on the “Rebirth of Dissection” tour that kicked off with this show in Stockholm (listed on the LP jacket as September 2004 but it other sources suggest that the show was actually in October!).

The band had disbanded in 1997 following the imprisonment of guitarist/vocalist Jon Nödtveidt as an accessory to the murder of an Algerian man in Sweden. Upon his release in 2004, Nödtveidt quickly assembled a new line-up of Dissection for the tour captured on Live Rebirth.

For a band with only two albums of material to draw from, this is an exceptionally strong set of well-written and passionately performed tracks. The atmosphere and excitement at the show is well captured. The taped intro of instrumental track At the Fathomless Depths combines with the enthusiastic crowd cheering to build the excitement level for the first track proper Nights Blood so the feeling of being at the gig is palpable from the offset. In fact, the opening song is exciting and epic enough to be worth the price of admission alone.

Dissection’s take on extreme Metal is grounded with a strong grasp of songwriting and pacing. There are stunning, memorable riffs in abundance here and, although the hoarser vocals and dark atmosphere may be off-putting for some, there is much to love here for fans of the NWOBHM era and other older acts like Mercyful Fate.

Highlights for me include Where Dead Angels Lie and Maha Kali (the only new track here). These are absolutely thrilling and timeless, both delivered with an enigmatic folky lilt. Maha Kali also builds to a fantastic climax with its exotic feel bolstered by female Hindi vocals. The Somberlain evokes Iron Maiden with its melodic guitar harmony lines and there is also an excellent cover of Tormentor’s Elisabeth Bathory. Another band for me to check out!

Overall, this is an incredible Metal live album and is right up there with the best of them. It’s dripping with atmosphere, epic in scope and there is not a single track on here that is anything less than incredible. For such a short-lived band to have created a set like this is pretty remarkable. Jon Nödtveidt would commit suicide in 2006.

Buying Note: This full gig is available on DVD as Rebirth of Dissection and also available as Live in Stockholm 2004 on CD and LP but that version has some tracks removed and some are shortened. This edition, released in 2010, by the excellent High Roller Records has the full set intact.

HMO Rating: 5 out of 5

Noise-Some Notes – A Week in Listening 10th September 2012

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 10th September 2012

Napalm Death – Grind Madness at the BBC Massively groundbreaking and influential Peel Sessions from the Extreme Metal pioneers. The first from 1987 is the best. Essential.

Rollins Band – End of Silence and Weight Really enjoyed End of Silence last week so another listen was required and I’m so glad I’m finally getting to know Weight better too. What a band. I even made it all the way through to the excellent live bonus tracks this time. Check me!

The Black Crowes – Three Snakes and One Charm The glorious “Beard Years” of the Crowes resulted in this album and Amorica, their two finest moments. Quality adventurous stuff.  Then they went and shaved.

Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory I’m not entirely up on DT’s career but this is fantastic and hasn’t been far from my ears for the past few years. A band that has managed the feat of both playing in odd time signatures and staying in decent hotels. Bill Bruford would be proud. In other news, I met James LaBrie and Jordan Rudess in a shop once. Nice guys but they couldn’t pronounce “Braehead” to save themselves.

Slade – In Flame A great soundtrack to a great, gritty movie. How Does it Feel and Far, Far Away are the well-known hits but I absolutely adore Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing which is an awesome slide-driven rocker. I love Slade more with every passing year.

KISS – Dynasty and Rock and Roll Over Possibly my two favourite studio albums from the original line-up. I’m going to give a shout out here for Dirty Livin’ on Dynasty. A real sultry effort from the undervalued Peter Criss, it also features a feedback solo from (I’m guessing) Ace Frehley which is a shivers-down-the-spine moment. Rock and Roll Over is more signature-style KISS though and I would treat anyone that didn’t like it with extreme prejudice.

Charred Walls of the Damned – Charred Walls of the Damned I’ve went back to this often since its release. It’s a formidable blast of modern Metal but with a really appealing melancholic melody running through it. It’s very addictive stuff! The song Blood on Wood is the stuff of training montage dreams!

Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy Really pleased with this on vinyl. A great album that just got better. This feels like it was meant to be heard this way.

Yes – Drama Yes have had more than their fair share of drama but never more so than when Buggle Trevor Horn took over the mic. His glasses may have looked daft but that didn’t stop this being an awesome and surprisingly heavy Yes record. One of the great underdog albums.

Buying Round Up – 22nd September 2012

Here’s some stuff that’s been bothering my inner Bank Manager.

The Steelbook is shiny, it excites!

Iron Maiden – En Vivo! DVD Steelbook with Stickers (HMV Glasgow £18)

Another excellent Maiden DVD. This is the HMV exclusive edition. Not especially fussed about Steelbooks or stickers but this was the cheapest version I could find and, you have to admit, it’s purty! You can order online with HMV now and pick your order up at your local store… Good idea! I can’t bear waiting on the post to arrive. The Final Frontier album has proved a real grower and has received many listens lately so I wanted to see and hear that stuff captured live. I really respect Maiden’s commitment to their new material and the intervening retro tours are a great idea too. The new tracks sound great on this, especially Coming Home. “En Vivo” translates to English as “Live” which is a bit disappointing. I thought it was going to mean something cool like… I dunno… “Have at you” or something like that.

I asked for Bacon!

The Darkness – Hot Cakes Ltd. Edition with Bonus Tracks (HMV Glasgow £10)

I’ve mentioned this album a couple of times in my listening notes and it has been getting many, many plays. One of the strongest albums of the year.  It’s a real relief to hear a new album that is as good as this. There are still classics waiting to be written!

The small one that doesn’t come with an amp!

AC/DC – Backtracks 2CD/DVD (FOPP Glasgow £10)

I’m not the hugest fan of AC/DC but £10 for this just seemed like an irresistable bargain. The more committed fan should check out this beast but I’ll content myself with this version. I mainly wanted the Aussie album tracks, like Crabsody In Blue, which never made it onto the UK versions of the albums so this covers that base. To be honest, I can never really get into this band that much these days but we’ll see if this floats my boat. I’ve got a good feeling about this one…

The extra violent, inappropriately attired cover

KISS – Destroyer Resurrected (Amazon £7)

I don’t need a whole bunch of bonus tracks to rate a reissue highly. A good remastering with entertaining liner notes applied to a well-chosen classic album is quite enough for HMO. I can’t help feeling that more could have been done with this though, like with the recent Queen reissues. It just seems a bit stingy. I’ve only given this a couple of listens but KISS are always a bit of an Autumn/Winter proposition for me so I reckon I might start listening to this more as the year progresses.

Amount spent on purchase: £45

Amount spent in total so far: £306

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 3rd September 2012

Paradise Lost – Gothic Monday morning again and what better way to start the week than with misery mongers PL! Up and at ‘em! Not listened to this for ages but dug it out after seeing it in Kerrang’s 666 Metal Albums You Must Hear Before You Die(!) magazine. It’s the toilet read that keeps on giving. As you can probably guess from the title, Paradise Lost were starting to introduce a Goth style to their established Death Metal making this a pretty unique transitional and innovative album in their catalogue.

The Darkness – Hot Cakes I’m loving this more with every listen. It’s good to have them back.

The Plasmatics – New Hope for the Wretched and Metal Priestess EP New Hope… is the Punky debut from The Plasmatics who hadn’t quite found their voice at this point. But it’s great fun and, coincidentally, also appears in the Kerrang mag. They had found their sound by the time of the later Metal Priestess EP but the debut has its fair share of classics like Butcher Baby and Monkey Suit.

Genesis – We Can’t Dance Phil Collins’ final studio effort with the mighty Genesis finds the pop songs joined by some moodier tracks like No Son of Mine, Dreaming While You Sleep and the excellent Driving the Last Spike which I absolutely love. Driving The Last Spike has the kind of emotional build that’s reminiscent of Marillion and there is a superb performance of it on the Way We Walk live DVD.

The Dictators – Go Girl Crazy A great album for fans of Alice Cooper, early KISS and Blue Oyster Cult although it’s a bit scuzzier and wackier than any of those acts. Also features the legendary Ross the Boss who would later form Manowar thus achieving complete godliness.

Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy This long-delayed album proved to be well worth the wait and it increases in my estimation with each passing year. Just bought the vinyl edition because I had a notion the album would make a great LP. I was right, some albums are so good you have to buy them twice… although I did wait for the inevitable price drop!

The Wildhearts – The Wildhearts  Easily one of the greatest albums of the last 10 years. Brilliant hooks and most of the songs veer off into epic, tightly composed riff journeys. There’s also a DVD called Live in the Studio: A Film by Tim Smith where they bang the whole album out live in a recording studio. Which is way more entertaining than it sounds, I promise!

KISS – Destroyer Resurrected OK remix of the iconic album adds some instruments and oomph in some places but manages to lose half a beat from Flaming Youth. Try air-drumming to that! Also, the cover wasn’t used because it was too violent? I thought it was cause they had the wrong outfits on?

Danzig – Danzig II: Lucifuge This taut Blues-Metal workout is one of the evil-Elvis’ greatest achievements. Love Danzig… but not so much that I’d want to move in with him or anything.

Rollins Band – End of Silence An absolutely primal album. This was my introduction to Henry back when it was released and it’s one of those albums that refuses to grow old or get too familiar. For such a long record there is not a wasted moment here.

… and classic rock too!