Monday, June 30, 2008

Pestilence-Malleus Maleficarum

Metal Mind
1988/2008 Re-issue

I remember buying this on cassette back in 1988 without knowing a whole lot about this band. Back then I thought that it was very fast and heavy compared to many of the thrash bands of the day. Hearing it again via this re-issue, they were playing a style of thrash that was also bordering on an early death metal style. It's fairly aggressive with more pace changes than most bands and they were still holding on to a slightly underdone production which certainly suits their style rather nicely. Looking back this isn't as noisy as say the early works of Possessed or Death and certainly not in the hyper speed for the sake of speed approach that bands like Napalm Death were conjuring up back then. Thrash was a movement that come on fast and quickly splintered off into various sub-genres. Say around 1986-87 thrash was a fairly limited style, I mean you had some difference in pace and approach yet it wasn't that varied. By about 88-90 you had bands from the group who were becoming more mainstream and slowing down and then you other bands that wanted to grow and either become more extreme or diverse. After this debut Pestilence would grow beyond their fairly basic thrash origins and by the early 1990's they would be integrating jazz and other sounds into their music. Today they are regarded as one of the bands who helped to create a more technical style of death metal. Their debut is rather basic is some respects, but they were certainly active enough that this holds up well twenty years after it's release. Not every thrash act from back can say that as I have gone back and heard acts once loved only to discover that they now sound clunky and amateurish. Mallevs Maleficarum is tightly woven and thick enough in it's heaviness that I still enjoy it. Their lyrics seem to show an equal amount of distrust towards organized religion and the world of science. I can't say that they did enough on the debut to hint at what they would become, but perhaps the ideas were in their heads even then. Metal Mind's re-issue includes a booklet with lyrics and a band biography.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Shame Club-Come on

Small Stone

St. Louis based Shame Club seem to approach their music like the last 33 years or so never happened. Being on the label they are on and due to popular trends this band might get the stoner rock label slapped on them, but that wouldn't really be fair. This is pure late 60's-early 70's hard hitting rock that never stops. The influences are plenty including The Who, Mountain, Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, early Aerosmith and ZZtop. Yet despite the numerous influences the songs themselves still seem remarkably fresh and vibrant. My best guess is that they just this style so much that they passionately rip and tear into every little nook and cranny of their material. There are a number of bands playing early 70's influenced hard rock or metal yet most them seem more like tributes because they follow one or two bands so closely without leaving a trace of themselves. Shame Club mix and stir the styles and their almost frantic approach to the pace and the stellar jams sets them apart. The way they attack their music reminds me of of a live show in the 70's where there's a bit of an over the top, impromptu jam powered performance. After absorbing "Come on" I felt like I had finished a feast that was full of a great of variety, yet instead of feeling stuffed I felt the desire for more. This is a splendid and completely satisfying display of real early style hard rock.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

What's coming up?

I am still getting over the awful taste and feeling that was left upon me after listening to the new Judas Priest. Oh well I also heard Bonded by Blood's release which was almost as good as I had hoped. I am supposed to be getting a copy of new Crue soon so we will see how that one pans out once it arrives. So some big names have come out already then we have Alice Cooper's new one coming in just over a month, Motorhead the next month and some reports are saying that the new AC/DC is coming very soon. The only one of those I would pay money for is Motorhead though. Re-issues of the debuts by Defiance and Artillery are coming out soon as well as the new one from Laaz Rockit. So some cool old style thrash is on it's way. One of the albums I am reviewing this week has just two tracks on it yet it is a major killer and getting better each time I hear it. This week I hope to have out the following.

Reviews of....
Shame Club-Come on
Pestilence-Mallevs Maleficarum (re-issue)
Ancestors-Neptune with fire

Interviews with...
Pale Divine

Plus a First Day Flashback and maybe more.

Have a great week!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Sarasin A.D. - Daggers, Lust, Disgust


Sarasin A.D. (known simply as Sarasin in North America are a hard rock band of veteran musicians. Vocalist Phil Naro has contributed writing for Coney Hatch, Peter Chriss, Lee Aaron and others. The opener "In America" comes on sounding like a cross between AC/DC and Fastway with a decent enough groove going. The second track "No sensation" sounded like an early Iron Maiden riff turned into a hard rock song, not as killer as Maiden of course yet a decent track. So right away they pull from different influences and that trend continues throughout the album. Unfortunately these were likely the two best songs on the entire album. Despite the different band influences, these guys pull from two general styles. One is hard rock from say around 1982-1986 and the other is some more modern heavy rock sounds. The modern sounds don't work very well for this guys because it's slightly toned down and they sound uncomfortable doing it like they feel they have to do it rather than doing it by choice. The hard rock tracks (other than the first two) are alright, but just rather lackluster and you likely heard a whole lot more talented bands playing the same thing with a lot more fire over twenty years ago. It's okay to be inspired by a sound from the past, but you have to either add something of your own or really be on fire. Even die hard fans of this era don't or shouldn't want to hear second rate material played in a lukewarm fashion. All in all we get a rather average album here that really doesn't do enough to trigger any really emotions good or bad.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Means-To keep me from sinking


Means play a style of hardcore with some metal flavoring sprinkled in and they would not exactly fall in the category of metalcore. The music and the vocals are a bit more clean than typical metalcore styled bands. I get somewhat turned off by modern hardcore bands that think noise and growling through gritted teeth serves as hardcore. These guys are easily more technically competent than a number of other hardcore acts. Technical skills only go so far, but fortunately these are decent songs writers and the arrangements take advantage of their playing abilities. They are also fairly adept at conveying some emotion which is something I think a number of today's hardcore bands struggle with. The vocals contain some surprisingly smooth as silk melodies at times. This was a little startling at first, but I think this works because the music changes to fit along with it and the move along together. The only thing about this album that didn't quite convince me were the occasional growling vocals. They were not used a huge amount, but they came across as being a bit forced and didn't quite mesh with the rest of the song. Means play with enough conviction and talent to really keep you hanging onto what they are trying to accomplish here.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bonded by blood-Feed the beast


To some extent I was anticipating this release from southern California thrash outfit Bonded by blood despite the fact that I have not been overly impressed by many of the other new wave of retro thrash acts recently. After several spins I can safely that this band isn't doing a whole lot that wasn't already accomplished twenty years ago. However, I do feel that they have done enough to establish themselves as one of the leaders of the current thrash revival. The style presented here reminds me of a mixture of Steve Souza-era Exodus, Testament and even Anthrax. What really got me about these guys wasn't as much what they played, but rather how they went at it or rather how they attacked their material. They were not as consistent as I was hoping, but when they got on a roll they just plowed ahead with some hyper blasts of thrash and power. There in lies the difference because I have heard too many younger thrash acts sound so cautious and planned out and the results are so-so when you approach this style of music in that way. Bonded by blood know how to build up a good head of steam and then explode with some nasty, bone crushing parts. Now if they could just get a better grip on it and maintain in for longer periods of time then they might be on to something that's beyond just being part of a limited retro movement. What didn't work for me was the group chorus chants that dragged some of the songs down to a rather typical style. The group vocals chimed in and it was like slapping a stamp on the CD that said "made in 1989". Not that '89 was a bad year at all, but rather that this really limited their progress in my mind. I think that despite a few time capsule like inclusions that these guys are on or at least near the right track. If they can bring it around and move into their own on their next album than might on their way to really emerging from the pack.

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ShannoN interview

Hard rock band ShannoN are from France and have been together for a decade. They released the excellent “Angel in Disguise” earlier this year. I recently interviewed vocalist Olivier Del Valle to learn about this band.

MM-Please introduce yourselves and tell a little about the history of your band.
ODV-I am Olivier Del Valle, lead singer of ShannoN since 1998. Before joining ShannoN, I sang in many bands in which I gained a lot of experience and really learn the job. Let’s go back to ShannoN. To sum up in few words the history of the band, ShannoN was born ten years ago. At that time, Patrice and Thierry were already playing together, working on some Bon Jovi, Europe or Journey covers. I joined them in spring ’98 and soon we decided to stop the covers and write our own songs. Quickly we made a demo that was sent to some labels. Feedback was pretty good, so in 2003, we issued our first album. We played some shows with big names such as Pink Cream 69, Axxis and Jeff Scott Soto. At that time, the line-up was not stabilized yet. In 2005, Benjamin and Nico joined us. From that moment on, ShannoN went bigger. We worked hard to play live as often as we could and started to compose for the new album. Since then, line-up hasn’t changed and things are going fairly well.

MM-Who are your musical influences?
ODV-Our influences are numerous. Clearly, we are influenced by NWOBHM of the 80’s with bands like Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden or Saxon. It is the music we grew up with. We have also a vein from Dokken, Danger Danger, Warrant, Harem Scarem and Firehouse. As a matter of fact, what these bands have in common is this amazing alchemy between melody and power. I guess you can listen to this in our songs. Apart from the bands I talked about, for the moment, Gotthard is unanimously appraised by all the band members in ShannoN. And myself, I am a die-hard fan of White Lion. I do believe that the represent the ultimate melody and the duet between Vito Bratta and Mike Tramp was fabulous.

MM-What are some of your favorite songs off of “Angel in Disguise” and why?

ODV-I have no real favourite track on this album. All the tracks are ours, all reflect today’s ShannoN. Without saying that it is my favourite, “Do You Know”, the track that opens the record, is special to me. Aside form “Road Of Desire” which is an track a bit older, “Do You Know” is the first one we wrote for this album and I feel that it give the pace of the album.

MM-What are some of your songs about? Where do you get the inspirations for your song topics?
ODV-Themes are multiple. We love keeping this double face, between good times tracks with happy vocals and tracks with darker lyrics. “Do You Know” is a good example. This song talks about death, what we’ll become when we have left this world. It is also an invitation to position you, to chose your path and chose right or wrong. In the same mood, the lyrics of “Winter Nights” speak about exclusion, the story of a guy that has lost everything and is left alone. When you’re out of the society, pretty soon no one sees you, people don’t see you anymore. Besides this we have funnier songs like “No Better Times” or “Keep on Rolling”.

MM-How do you think that you have improved since you first started out?
ODV-I do believe it so, and I hope too! From 2003 when we launched our first album, we had time to make our influence ours. When Benji and Nico joined in, it was a great thing for us as they brought their own approach of music. They do not have a hard rock background. Before joining ShannoN, they had played in jazz or funk oriented bands. It has been a real challenge for them. Talking about our music, I would say that "Angel In Disguise" is more mature than the first one. As evidence, our style became harder, while keeping the melody. The tracks are heavier, more direct. And they make a homogeneous whole. As I had told you, when we recorded the first album, we had never played them with a complete line-up. For this one, we had time to rehearse and play them live; this changes everything. Another big difference is production. We put a high care in that and so, "Angel In Disguise" has a far better quality of production.

MM-In what areas do you think that you still have to improve upon?
ODV-I guess we can improve on all domains, in the studio, for the production level and even on stage. It’d be crazy to think that with 2 records we have seen it all! We know that the way is still long and tricky to become known and, even if things are going fairly well since the launch of « Angel In Disguise », we keep cautious!


MM-You obviously have a strong 1980’s hard rock/metal influence. What do you think was so good about metal from that decade?
ODV-As I said earlier, the hard rock from the 80’s is the music we grew up with, so there is a little nostalgia and emotions for us... At that time, hard rock was top fashion and there were so many fans! It was in fact more than music that kept us together; it was a real way of life. In the 80’s, hard rockers were a family. It was really special. Music had changed, also, during these years. With bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Van Halen, the hard rock image was deeply modified. It was a sudden change from bands that were meeting success as Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple to real machines which set world tours with very spectacular shows. These years have been crazy in terms of quantity of bands that burst! Just for melodic hard rock, the number of high quality bands from this period is amazing: White Lion, Dokken, Cinderella, Y&T, Motley Crüe, Def Leppard… the list is endless!

MM-If you could only listen to three albums over the next month then what would you choose?ODV-Whitesnake “Good To Be Bad”, White Lion “Return Of The Pride” And Dokken “Lightning Strikes Again

MM-Is there much of a metal scene in France these days? Any there good unsigned bands we should know about?
ODV-Even if France has no culture or tradition for rock, there is a hard rock scene. Bands like Lightseekers and Manigance deserve it, for instance.

MM-What should someone who comes to see you live expect?
ODV-Just having good times. For us, being on stage is above all the way to share a nice moment with the fans, filled with rock’n roll and fun.Who have you opened for? What have been some of your more memorable shows so far? We opened for Pink Cream 69, Axxis, Jeff Scott Soto and Gotthard with whom we shared the bill of the last Raismefest. When you play with these bands you learn a lot, just talking, and seeing the way they consider their job. They have a lot of experience, and everything is so professionally structured. For a band like us, it is highly motivating and so instructive.

MM-What touring plans do you have for 2008?
ODV-For the time being, the new album promotion takes all our time. So we could not take the road and play our new tracks live. But we work for that and we shall start soon. We have few dates in France, mainly for festivals but we’d love to tour abroad. This is highly depending on the way our record shall sell outside France.

MM-Why should people buy “Angel in Disguise”?
ODV-Just because I think that it is a good record that should please every melodic hard rock fan. All the 13 tracks from the album are melodic and powerful. I do believe also that the production is quite good that give the real worth of each and every song. Now, fans have the final words...

MM-What music are you currently listening to?
ODV- Essentially melodic hard rock : Gotthard, Whitesnake, Work Of Art and many others. But I still do listen to old good records from the 80’s as Motörhead, Judas Priest, Saxon, and of course White Lion, which remains my all-time favourite.

MM-What interests do you have besides music?
ODV-Besides music, I love spending time with my family and my friends. In fact, nothing really amazing, just having good times with the ones I love. If you take into account the time that music takes, these moments aren’t that numerous and I do appreciate them even more.

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band, your music or anything you want to promote?
ODV-I want to thank you for your interest and to have helped me introducing ShannoN to your readers. Now, for those who still hesitate, check our MySpace page. There are many extracts from our music and live video footage!

***Thanks to Olivier for doing the interview.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iron Maiden and the new wave of British Heavy Metal

Sexy Intellectual

This documentary introduces the roots and origins in metal and then tells the story of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal from it’s start around the mid-1970’s up until around 1981. They rely largely on interviews with journalists, various insiders and musicians including former Iron Maiden members Paul Di’anno and Dennis Stratton, Brian Tatler of Diamdhead, Rob Weir of Tygers of Pan Tang and others from the scene. As the title indicates Iron Maiden get more focus than the other bands so you get a great deal of early history on the band plus various opinions on why the band was able to succeed. There is also a decent amount of time spent talking about other scene leaders Def Leppard and Saxon as well as second tier bands Tygers of Pan Tang, Samson, Diamond Head, Girlschool and Praying Mantis. There are a number of parts of live clips and stills shown in the film as well. What I liked about the film was that they allowed the participants to tell their stories and give their views no matter what instead of using clips to give one particular view. I like how they tied in the punk rock scene early on and some of the people interviewed expressed the theory that the punk rock scene may have delayed the NWOBHM scene but that it also empowered those bands because they saw the punk rock bands using a DIY style of promotion and followed that example. I also felt that most of the people here were honest and it was refreshing to hear views that it was a movement like any others in that there were good bands and there were second rate acts as well. Now it still didn’t help me to understand why people in the UK didn’t accept High –N- Dry or Pyromania, but they embraced Hysteria, but I guess that’s a question for another day. However being that I am from the states I enjoyed the views of this scene from people who lived in the area at the time. I have long realized the importance of this scene, but not having lived there I never thought of the community aspect of the movement at least during the early years. They didn’t cover some bands I love such as Raven and Venom, but perhaps it helped the film to be more concise by just focusing on a few bands. The only real downside is that is clocks in at two hours and thirty seven minutes which is fairly long for a music film with just a very limited amount of music. If you love the topic then you may easily sit through the whole thing, but others might have to take it over the course of a little at a time.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Judas Priest-Nostradamus


There are so many ways I could approach this review. I could state that it has been 18 years since Priest have done a good album and that this streak will now continue on. Perhaps I could equate this album to feeling very hungry and then opening a refrigerator full of food that is all of the food is rotten and moldy. Or I could say that I didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict that this album was going to be poor. None of those really tell enough about what did or didn't happen on this album though. I should be judging this as a Priest album and I did, but I couldn't help but think about Iron Maiden while listening to this release. Maiden and Priest were arguably the two best metal bands of the 1980's yet now Maiden can do something like 2006's "A matter of life and death" which is full of epics and all of them work. Priest set out to do this two disc set filled with epics and quite honestly virtually nothing works on this album. So why is that? Well, I think it's because Maiden have long been about building their songwriting skills and adding on thus epics have become a natural progression for them. Priest had some tracks like "The Sentinel" and "Victim of changes" that were not epics per se, but they certainly use a certain amount of storytelling elements and they do it well. However these were exceptions because Priest were primarily about go for the throat metal rockers and that's what worked for them. That doesn't mean they can't grow, but you have to know your limitations or else you end up with two discs full of boring crud and some of the worst written material of the year. I thought Halford and Tipton were talking back around 1987-1988 about realizing that they shouldn't have used synthesizers of Turbo because it wasn't metal and it wasn't them. So why are they using synths again? I have no idea, but they overuse them and they serve to bore me to tears and lose my attention before the vocals or the main guitar riffs actually kick. I wasn't too big on "Angel of retribution" because I felt that it seemed forced yet Nostradamus is even less of a real Judas Priest album. That's sad because this band was so steady from the mid-1970's until the mid-1980's and it's shame to realize that they may not have another good album left in them. Just about every song just meanders around eating up time, but making no impression and largely feeling more like background music or bad horror movie theme songs. Like many fans I thought that when Halford returned to the fold that they would get back to form, but that hasn't happened. Honestly everything Halford did when he was out of Priest was at least good yet not that he is back in this band they can't seem to even get a spark going. I can't quite understand it and don't want to believe it, but unfortunately Judas Priest appear to have spent a long time making a real clunker.

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Sun City

Lessdress hailed from Poland and were playing a style of hard rock that was very similar to what was popular over in the states at the same time. "Dumblondes" was originally released as a cassette only release back in 1989 and it was rare even in their own country. The good people at Sun City Records were able to seek out and and get the rights to this one. Then they re-mastered it and quite honestly the production values are very high. Lessdress play a fairly guitar heavy and surprisingly tight style of semi-sleaze/glam rock. The influences are somewhat varied because the guitars are relatively heavy, but the vocals have large, smooth melodies plus there are keyboards scattered throughout. I would say that I hear Def Leppard, Roxx Gang, Shotgun Messiah and maybe even Bon Jovi sprinkled throughout. The tracks here are very much designed to have you singing along and generally they work on that level. Although I prefer their songs that rely as much on the guitar because many of the many riffs are certainly above average for this type of music. They obviously knew how to mix up the tempos and sounds enough to maintain a fair amount of interest and that sets them apart a little for this kind of music. Unfortunately like every other hard rock band going at this time Lessdress felt obligated to churn out a ballad. The result is five minute plus slug paced piece of pulp called "Strange kind of friend" which turns out to be the only weak track on this album. Would these guys have made it if they had gotten on an American record label back then? I am not sure, but they have enough variety to their songs that I can safely say that they were better than a number of bands who did land major label deals back in 1989. They come across as being more just competent that out and out exciting, but the music world can use both kinds of bands. Overall another nice find by Sun City of a fairly rare slab of energetic hard rock.

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The Exploited interview

The Exploited have been cranking out angry, explosive punk rock for almost thirty years. I recently got to interview long time drummer Willie (Wullie) Buchan to find out more.

MM-What are you currently working on?

WB-Hi Mark, Wullie the drummer here. We are currently writing songs for our next album which will Be on the Nuclear Blast label

MM-Do you still believe in anarchy? If so then why, if not then do you have different beliefs about society than you did in the 1980’s?

WB-I think anarchy is still alive today. Just look at the chaos in the Middle East and other warzones around the world. Also people {in The UK} need to stand up for themselves more. Show governments that they better fucking listen to the people. A lot of folk seem to not be bothered about the fact that our freedom to privacy and civil rights, to move around the world in general are slowly being taken away.

MM-I saw GBH a couple of years ago and was surprised by the number of kids there that were under 20. Not just that they were there, but that they knew the songs. Do you get many younger fans at your shows like that? If so then does that surprise you?

WB-Yea it’s cool to see a lot of new blood at the show but also we get a lot of old timers too, which have helped keep the scene alive when punk was more underground. If it wasn’t for the punk Fans we couldn’t have kept playing all these years. Thanks guys.

MM-What do you think about the punk rock scene in general today? Is it better or worse than say Twenty years ago?

WB-It’s more diverse now the media have created a huge sub genre of what’s punk. Some of its just pop piss that means nothing to us personally. A lot of it just is bands copying other bands with no originality in their music. Then again you get bands that are striving to get their own sound and try to be more original. I think a lot of bands are scared to try and be different, that’s what’s different about now and back in the late 70's-early 80's.

MM-This band has been around for almost 30 years. Do you still think that your band and what you Are doing is relevant in today’s scene? Why?

WB-We couldn’t care if other people think if we are relevant or not. We do this because we love It. we get a lot of shit from various sources saying we are this or that, mostly from people who have never fucking talked to us or even seen us play...we say hahaha fuck you...keep talkin' shit We don’t care. We know who our supporters are...cheers.

MM-In October of 2003 a concert you had scheduled in Montreal was cancelled. When fans were told they started a riot and smashed windows on cars and stores plus they overturned cars and set Fires. Were you shocked when you heard about this? What do you think about the fans reaction during this incident?

WB-All we can say is if people riot they must be pissed off about something...if you want to use us as an excuse to smash shit up goes ahead, but in reality it had nothing to do with us, we were trying to get back into the states at the time...looked good on CNN tho lol.

MM-When you play live do you still dedicate the song “Dead Cities” to any particular cities? If so Then which ones?

WB-Nope not for a long time.

MM-What’s your favorite Exploited album and why?

WB-Can’t really say. People think our stuff all sounds the same but if you listen to all our albums They are pretty much all different in sound and style.


MM-Since say the early 1990’s there have been long gaps between your studio albums. Why is that?

WB-Because we are lazy fuckin' bastards and we love playing live and spend a lot of time touring.

MM-What do the Exploited stand for today and is it any different than what the band stood for in say the early 1980’s?

WB-As you get older your views change you see something’s differently. And also we have had many band member changes so of course it changes but in general we still have the same attitude towards government war and cunts in general.

MM-You guys have always been known for your energy and your blunt lyrics. Is it as difficult to keep getting fired up for every show after you have been doing it for so long? How do you stay motivated?

WB-Just look at the state of the world then that will answer that question.

MM-What songs are your favorite to play live? Are there any songs that you have gotten sick of playing time after time?

WB-Mine personally are Sex and violence and Beat the bastards, System fucked up.

MM-If you could only listen to three albums over the next month then what would they be and why?

WB-Martyn Bennet- grit-Scottish guy who mixed up traditional Scottish music with electronic stuff, sadly died of cancer a few years ago, but his music’s great. Skindred-Roots rock riot- I just like these guys they rock and they are original sound wise. Suicidal tendencies-Freedumb...just listen to it and you will know why classic stuff.

MM-What would be your advice to younger generations?

WB-Be true to yourself and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself and don’t just take shit, change shit!!

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or your music?

WB-We rock,

Cheers Wullie

***Thanks to Wullie for doing the interview.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Night Ranger-Hole in the sun

VH-1 Classic

Back in the 1980's Night Ranger were always a band that to me were not quite heavy enough to be hard rock nor were they really catchy enough to be very good AOR. They had a few good songs, but largely they just seem to create some rather bland pop music that would seem rather dated by the time the 1990's rolled around. Still I was willing to check this one out and see if maybe time and the other projects that the band members had been in had perhaps had an impact on how they would approach another Night Ranger outing. They do for the most part manage to shake off the over processed and sometimes wimpy sound that plagued them two decades ago. That's not to say that they adopted a perfect sound on this album though. Honestly it's a relatively varied album as far as the different styles that the band tackled. The worst songs are a few that find them falling into the trap of sounding like old men trying to be cool with beats and vocals that sound both outdated and out of place coming from this band. That's maybe 1/4 of the album, but the rest of the material is a bit more solid and a tad more genuine. There are some solid rockers here and then some slower tracks that manage to avoid being sappy and the strength of the arrangements keeps them afloat. The album as a whole comes across as somewhat uneven in the end. I think that's because the members have done so many other projects over the years that when they came together the results are an album of rock songs than a Night Ranger album. So fans of their other material may find it to be a little different, but I found it to be more lively and overall more appealing. I would say they gave an admirable effort with slightly above average results. This album has twelve songs plus very mediocre acoustic versions of "Don't tell me you love me" and "Sister Christian" that are listed as bonus tracks.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

What's coming up?

This was the busiest week of the year for my job, but I survived it. We went and saw Kung-Fu Panda today and it was surprisingly good. It was also my two year old son's first trip to the movies and he did alright. This week I hope to have the following topics out.

Reviews of...
Means-To keep me from sinking
Judas Priest-Nostradamus
Night Ranger-Hole in the sun

Interviews with...
The Exploited

and maybe one more topic if I can get to it.

****I just realized that today is the third anniversary for my blog. Which means that I have been ranting and raving about metal and random silliness for quite some time. Thank you for reading my blog.

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Ganon-As above, so below

Acerbic Noise Development

The sophomore album from this Michigan based band finds them a bit more poised and they are certainly testing the waters. Most of the songs center around a sound that could probably be described as post doom with the deliberately singular sounds and the solid control of the slow but heavy tones. Yet they quickly push beyond this and inevitably they begin and the music just flows oftentimes in multiple directions as they weave in and out creating a wide spectrum of beats and flowing rhythms. Still they are always in control and just as quickly as they allow things to spread, they can pull it all back in and tie everything together into a package that makes complete sense. There are five tracks on "As above, so below" and each one has it's own identity and inevitably each track is like opening a box of various treasures because each song sparkles in it's own way. It's not about complexity or virtuoso indulgence, but rather about building and adding parts and although they vary, they still feel enough like very natural extensions of the foundations that they emerged from. They not only create contrasts, but they actually seem to thrive on them as they can take you into the deep dark shadows then lift you soaring through beautifully flowing layers of spiraling sound. This is certainly an album that you likely need to concentrate on to really understand everything that is taking place. It's probably also one that you will continue to discover more things to like about it each time you listen to it. The little bit of vocals that are here are slightly one-dimensional, but the music more than makes up for it. Definitely a band who is bending and stretching the basics of metal music.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Unfortunately named


While writing about Canada's Slaughter the other day I began thinking about how they had to watch a hair band with the same name get some popularity and inevitabley cause some confusion. Now Canada's Slaughter were actually going by Strappada by the time the hair band released their debut. However they still probably had some confusion and may have even gotten teased. Another band in a similar situation is the far more obscure Warrant from Germany who knocked out an EP called First Strike and an LP The Enforcer both in the mid-1980's. I have never heard this band, but have heard them described as an early speed metal band. Now granted the German band released their albums several years before the hair band, but this could cause confusion even today. Somehow I envision a member of the German Warrant now in his late 40's browsing in a local record store. He sees a young metalhead wearing a Kreator shirt and can't help but try to talk about his past. Perhaps the conversation would go something like this.

Warrant Guy: Cool shirt.
Metal Dude: Thanks

Warrant Guy: I used to be in a metal band.
Metal Dude: Really, which one?

Warrant Guy: Warrant
Metal Dude: EWWWWW

Warrant Guy: No, no, not that Warrant.
Metal Dude: I think I am ready to leave.

Warrant Guy: I was in Warrant the metal band!
Metal Dude: Uh, yeah, Cherry Pie, real thrashin' stuff, Grandpa.

Warrant Guy: No, wait, come back I really was in a cool band!
Metal Dude: Get, away from me you nut. Why don't you go where the Down Boys go and stay there! (as he heads towards the exit)

***See how much trouble this could cause?

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Interview with Alibi


I guess today is Alibi day here at my site as I reviewed their CD and now I am posting an interview with them. I recently got to check in with Keith and Billy to find out more about this band.

Please introduce yourselves and what instrument you play.


Tell us a little about the history of your band.

BILL - The band was formed by Keith and I around 1991. We auditioned several drummers and singers before finding Wolfe ( Vocals ) and Adam Scott ( Drums ). We played clubs in CT, NY and Mass. for about two years and released two 5-song demo tapes.

Who are your musical influences?

KEITH - We have many musical influences, but some of the major influences were LED ZEP, VAN HALEN, RUSH, SCORPIONS, DEF LEPPARD JUDAS PRIEST & OZZY.

How did you come to get signed by Retrospect?

BILL - The people at Retrospect Records heard two of our songs on a compilation c.d. which featured Hard Rock / Metal bands from Connecticut. They tracked us down using the internet and asked to hear any other material we recorded. We sent them both of our early demo tapes and they loved the songs !

Did it seem odd to get signed at this point? How surprised were you?

KEITH - It was odd, since they contacted us 15 years after we wrote these songs. We were quite surprised !

Is your album all songs from back in the early 1990’s? What has been the response to your album so far?

BILL- The songs on our album were all written and recorded in the early 90's.
I feel that these were well written songs with great lyrics and very strong hooks. I think that anyone who likes metal bands such as Skid Row, Motley Crue, Dokken, Queensryche and Tesla will like our songs as well. So far the response has been great !

Who did you open for back in your prime? What were some of your more memorable shows?

KEITH - We had several good gigs at the famous TOAD's PLACE nightclub in New Haven, CT. One of our best gigs at Toad's was opening for Yngwie Malmsteen.

Did you ever do much of the self promoting as far as handing out and posting fliers and that sort of thing? If so then how much time did that take and did help spread your band name?

KEITH - We handed out fliers and hung posters like most bands did, but I think word of mouth was the best promotion we had ! After our first few local gigs the word got around that we kicked ass !


Did you get any interest from any labels back in the early 1990’s? If so then who?

BILL - We had a pro management company from Chicago that was interested in representing us. They had worked with some of the major labels and we had a meeting with them in an office at the World Trade Center in NYC, but the whole Seattle/ Grunge era was kicking in and heavy metal bands just were not being signed.

Why do you think that you didn’t make it back then?

KEITH - I feel that we were just a little too young and a little too late. If we were formed in the early or mid eighties I think we would have had a much better chance of being signed to a major label.

What were you doing after hard rock kind of got pushed out in the early 1990’s?

BILL - We all kept busy with different music projects and we even worked together in a called DAMNATION with a different vocalist. DAMNATION was very different from ALIBI, the sound was kind of like Nine Inch Nails meets Marilyn Manson with a good dose of synthesizers and electronic drums.

Do you think hard rock has made a comeback in this decade? If so then why do you think that is?

KEITH - I think hard rock is coming back around pretty well. Some of the newer rock bands like DISTURBED, SALIVA, STONE SOUR and AVENGED SEVENFOLD certainly have an 80's heavy metal feel to their songs.

If you could only listen to five albums during the next month then what would you pick?


Is there anything that you wish you had done differently in your musical career?

BILL - I wish that the internet and mp3's and myspace were around in the early 90's, we could have gotten our music heard by a lot more rock fans !

Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or your music?

KEITH - I feel that we wrote a bunch of really good songs ! I am confident that any hard rock fan that buys our album or sees us play live at ROCKLAHOMA this July will become fans of ALIBI !! I'd like to thank Retrospect Records for getting these songs out to rock fans everywhere !!!

***Thanks to Keith and Billy for doing the interview.

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Alibi were originally around from the early 1990's until the mid 1990's and never got signed back then, but recently Retrospect signed them up and released this album of recordings from their first run. The first thing that struck me about this album was that the majority of the material reminded much more of the mid-1980's then in it does the early 90's. Perhaps it's the lack of slick production, the direct guitar tone or the lack of sappy ballads, but it reminded more of something that would have been done around 1984-86. What we have here is melodic hard rock with some seriously strong vocals and decent enough song writing. They sound a bit like Dokken, Icon and perhaps even early Queensryche plus they even have a slight hint of some various AOR influences as well. They spend little time with build-up and primarily jet straight into each song which is a plus. Alibi do a decent of job of mixing up the styles between rockers and slow tracks. I love the A few tracks overstay their welcome and they could benefited from tightening some songs here and there. By the band's own admission they were getting things together about the time grunge had run hard rock out of town so they had little hope of getting signed. However if you are a fan or mid-80's sounding hard rock with sharp solos and powerful vocals then there is a lot to appreciate about this disc. It may be fifteen plus years after the fact, but at least this band now gets the satisfaction of seeing their music get released.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slaughter-Not dead yet/Paranormal


Metal Mind

First the brief history lesson, Canadian thrash/death metal outift Slaughter recorded the Paranomal EP in 1988. Then the band changed some members and their name as they became Strappado. As Strappado they released "Not dead yet" in 1991 so this release includes both those albums plus four live tracks recorded in the 1980's. The "Not dead yet" material comes first on this release and it's rather typical although semi-satisfying thrash. The guitar is a little muddy in the mix and the complexity and fire are adequate yet nothing that's going to bowl you over. For 1991 it's even a little behind the times I would say due to some rather one dimensional thrash parts. The Paranormal EP is slightly better with a bit more steam behind them a stronger and richer production. Both albums are decent, but both fail to really pick up on the sound that this band established on their 1986 debut "Strappado". It's as if they became more basic and less aggressive at they went along which makes no sense to me. They also started as an early death metal band and were ahead of the game by mid-80's standards. Yet by 1991 they were playing rather standard and even slightly dated thrash. Perhaps they dumbed down the style in hopes of getting a better record deal during while thrash still had some following. I am not sure of the reason behind the change, but it was slightly disappointing. This version also includes four live tracks that are good, but the sound is somewhat fuzzy. A decent package for sure, but it's shame these guys didn't follow what they are started on their debut.

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Metal Mind

Every mention of this band over the last 17 years has to include "no, not the hair metal band of slight early1990's fame". Instead these guys were from Canada and played a rather early style of death metal that was influenced by the likes of Venom and Celtic Frost. Unlike other early death bands like Death and Possessed, Slaughter (at least at this point) were as much about heaviness as they were about speed. Strappado has some thick, killer riffs that grind forward and it's easy to see why this band had a bit of a cult following. With all the bands trying to blaze forward, Slaughter stood out a little because their direction was far more creating a pounding sound that you would not just hear but feel in your bones. The vocals are even less of a typical thrash style, but actually there is a slight hardcore influence as well rather than the standard growling of most early death metal singers. A few songs sound a little bit alike yet that's not all that important compared to the relatively fierce sound they churned with ease on this underground classic. This re-issue also includes an entire live show that sounds like the band is playing to maybe a dozen people in a basement somewhere on a Tuesday night. The quality of the live recording is extremely raw even by 80's standards yet their style and agrressiveness shine past their primitive sound and off the cuff banter with the crowd. It may not have seemed like an essential release in 1986 amidst all of the typical thrash of the times, but Strappado holds up well and there's no doubt it was influential on death metal bands over the next half decade or so.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lesser of two evils

When the Red Hot Chilli Peppers hit with Mother's Milk I think record labels started to take notice and see that there was a market for funk in the mainstream. Not too long after that Extreme started to make some bucks with the their blend of hard rock and kind of watered down funk. So in what would eventually be the final months of hard rock's big run there were a few funk/hard rock bands that got to release albums. I think the hope was this might open up hard rock to a new audience and keep it fresh. However it's not fresh if you just copy other bands which is what happened some extent. So it's....





White Trash-s/t

Kingofthehill would rate rather low on the funkometer as they are fairly subtle with their funk and they are very much more a hard rock band. White Trash are far more funk oriented, but not necessarily that original. So let's slap at our basses, pretend we have rhythm and get at it.


For Kingofthehill it's Frankie (yes, just a first name) against Dave Alvin for White Trash. Both guys are in tune and moderately fired up. Frankie is more a hard rock singer and he's fairly typical of the times, but he does a decent enough job at handling different paces. Dave Alvin comes across as a second rate Axl Rose trying to do funk. It's not that he can't sing, but he comes across as a little forced like he's trying to tie all the different trends into one song.

Point to Kingofthehill


We have Jimmy Griffin for Kingofthehill against Ethan Collins for White Trash. Jimmy Griffin is fairly run of the mill as this is just straight hard rock with light funk parts mixed in. He handles it okay, but not a lot of emotion or kick to his parts. It won't bore you to death, but it's not going to get anyone excited either. Ethan Collins has far more bite to his playing and he wastes little time. The downside is the lack of variation because most of the songs have the same pace, same tone and same feel. Still a few moments are better than none.

Point to White Trash

Rhythm section

Okay this was probably the only category that wasn't very close. For Kingofthehill it's George Potsos on bass and Vito Bono on drums going up against Aaron Collins on bass and Mike Coldarella on drums for White trash. The Kingofthehill guys are barely noticeable as I suppose they are getting it done, but they made no impression whatsoever. Now the White Trash pair are probably the heart of whatever slight force this band managed to muster. The best parts of their funk sound depend and are delivered by this fairly consistant pair.

Point to White Trash


Production is adequate on both albums so no advantage their. As I said earlier both bands were following trends although fairly recent trends at the time. What bothers me about White Trash is their inability to vary the style or tone much. Even though Kingofthehill are following a somewhat standard format they do mix it up a little.

Point to Kingofthehill

Who rocks more?

Another close contest as Kingofthehill might be tighter overall, but they don't know how to just let go and plunge forward. White Trash are not all that competent at it either, but they try and they even hit here and there. They don't necessarily take more chances, but the songs flow better. Kingofthehill are far more ordinary then I think they wanted to be.

Point to White Trash

That's wraps it up as White Trash take this funkfest 3-2 in a battle of the bands that time forgot. Both bands got some play on the Headbanger's Ball and I even remember hearing White Trash's "Apple Pie" on the radio. White Trash got some good reviews when it came out, but I didn't and still don't think it's as fresh as some people did. Kingofthehill were supposedly very big in their home of St. Louis and I heard more than one report that Frankie was a very good frontman. I think more than anything both bands suffered from releasing their debuts during a time when hard rock was being swept away. The labels were trying to get what they could out of their hard rock bands and of course the bigger names were the priority so it was sink or swim for bands like these guys.

I'll be back with another Lesser of two evils soon.

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Interview with Eerie Von


Eerie Von might be best known for his time as bass player for Samhain and Danzig. He has also recorded solo albums, photographed the Misfits in their early days and he is an artist. I recently got to check in with him and find out more about his career and his current projects.

MM-Hey, what are you currently working on music wise?
EV-I'm recording a Country record.

MM-Tell us some about your artwork.
EV-I've been painting and drawing since I was a kid, but I've been painting full time for about 10 years. It's mostly spooky stuff. Lots of Devils, and skulls, and just weird shit I have in my head.

MM-When did you first get into music and what were some of the first albums that really pulled you in?
EV-I grew up listening to a lot of 50's Rock and Roll, and Doo-Wop, along with Motown, and the Beatles. The first record I bought was an Elvis album when I was 8.

MM-You went to school with Doyle, how and when did you first find out about the Misfits? What did you think when you first heard them?
EV-Doyle and I became friends around 13 back in Junior High, but I didn't get into the Misfits until I was 14. He gave me some of their early Eps, and made me some tapes of the unreleased MSP, and Static Age sessions. I thought it was great that they were writing their own songs, and putting out records without a record company.

MM-You took a lot of pictures of the Misfits. How did that opportunity come about? Do you still have all these pictures? What are some of your favorites?
EV-I took pictures from about 1978 on, and did all the High School sports stuff. Doyle, and his brothers were all football players, so I shot them, and once Doyle joined the band, he just asked me to shoot them. I still have all the negatives, and my favorite stuff is the "Cave" Session we did.

MM-When did you start using the name Eerie Von? Where did the idea come from?
EV-I was Eerie in High School, and Von was a nickname from my family. It was my Punk Rock name. Everybody had a Punk Rock name.

MM-I am guessing you became closer with Glenn than the other members of the Misfits since he pulled you into Samhain. What do you remember when Samhain was first forming? Didn’t you briefly play drums early on?
EV-I was good friends with Doyle really, and me and Jerry played basketball together sometimes. I got to be friends with Glenn because I was making a lot of kool T-shirts, and we both collected toys. Once he started saying he was gonna leave the Misfits, we began talking about doing a new band, so we started rehearsing in my basement, he played guitar, and I was on drums.

MM-What was the writing and recording process like with Samhain? Did the ideas flow easily? Was Glenn trying very hard to steer clear of the Misfits’ sound?
EV-Glenn had some songs that he didn't want to give to the Misfits, like Blood Feast, and Death comes Ripping, but he needed them for Earth A.D. He knew what he wanted the band to sound like, and since the Misfits had turned into a Thrash type band, playing really fast, we went for a much slower more musical thing.It used to piss people off, that we weren't playing real fast.

MM-Was Samhain’s music difficult to reproduce live? What were some of the more memorable shows you played with Samhain?
EV-I remember Glenn saying, that there was the studio, and then there was the live show, we didn't worry about what extra stuff there was on the records, so we just played the songs in the format of a 3 piece band.The 1st show in NYC at the Rock Hotel, and the Chicago Bloodbath are 2 of my favorite shows, but they were all really kool.


MM-What are some of your favorite Samhain songs?
EV-I like a lot of the stuff on November Coming Fire the most, but Samhain, and All Murder, All Guts, All fun, and He who Cannot be Named, are also favorites.

MM-How did you guys come to meet Rick Rubin? What was it like working with him?
EV-We decided to play the "New Music Seminar" at the Ritz in NY, kinda like South by South west is today, and Rubin saw us there, and wanted to work with us right away.

MM-Why the band name change (to Danzig) and why the image change?
EV-Rick thought our image was too underground, and that we might scare off, a lot of people, so we decided to change. Once Chuck Biscuits, and John Christ joined, it wasn't Samhain anymore, so it seemed like a natural progression. The name change, made sense for the same reasons. It was a new band.

MM-In Danzig the music seemed to be more basic. Was this the band’s idea or was it recommended to you guys to head in that direction?
EV-John brought a lot of the Metal influence with him, but Glenn always liked Black Sabbath, so it wasn't a big deal. It was all new to me, because I had never listened to any of that stuff. Rubin brought in an AC/DC influence, plus Glenn was into Blues, so it all came from there.

MM-What is your favorite Danzig album that you played on? Why?
EV-I like "How the Gods Kill" the most I think, because the band was at the top of it's game. We recorded the basic tracks, in 4 days, mostly 1-2 takes. We were really tight.

MM-What were some of the more memorable moments about being in Danzig?
EV-The Irvine Meadows show in California, where they filmed the Live "Mother" stuff, was a great moment. For a band like us, that wasn't selling a lot of records, it was a real achievement to put 13,000 peole in that place. The first Europe Tour with Metallica in 1988, and some of the early shows with Slayer, were awesome as well. I enjoyed touring with Type O Negative, Soundgarden, White Zombie, and later, Marilyn Manson.The whole time was really terrific.

MM-Why did you leave the band?
EV-After Chuck left, a lot of the soul of the band went with him. It just wasn't as good. The magic was gone. It was time to move on.

MM-You have done some solo albums in recent years. How has the writing and recording process with these albums been different than when you were in Samhain and Danzig?
EV-In Samhain, we recorded very quickly. As long as we got a good take, with no mistakes, that was it. For Danzig, we spent a lot of time working out the songs, and rehearsing, until we could just go in and knock them out. We never took more than a few months to do a whole album. Since I record all the music on my solo stuff, it takes longer, but I just go for the feel rather than a perfect take.I learned a lot about song writing, arranging, and producing, in Danzig, and I think I've gotten pretty good at it all of them.

MM-What music are you currently listening to?
EV-I still listen to what I always have. Blues, Country, Elvis, Motown, The Beatles, the Stones, the Doors, lots of old stuff, plus new shit too.

MM-Is there anything else that you would like say about yourself, your music or your art?
EV-I'd like to thank all the people who have supported me, from my first band, thru Samhain, Danzig, and my solo stuff, and for checking out the Paintings.

Come see me at
www. myspace. com/eerievonart
or write me at EV777@AOL.COM
go to Eerievon. com, and look for my Fiend Art Paintings on Ebay.

***Thanks to Eerie Von for doing the interview.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Houston!-Fast in Elegance


This was somewhat of a tricky release to pin due to Jekyll and Hyde like variance in styles presented here. There was a time where I thought pop like melodies had no place in hard rock, but now I know it can work if it's tied in using a method that isn't too sappy. Italy's Houston! were tough to read because they have tracks that come on like barnstormers and next they launch into a piano lead ballad like it's the most natural progression they could follow. I don't mean hair metal ballads so much as it is more a real pop sound and yes there is a difference. What I like about this album is how they blatantly do what they choose without regard of trends or fitting in. That I can respect and admire plus it shows a lot of confidence in what they are attempting to do. Now I don't think they succeed at everything they attempt though. Perhaps it's lack of experience, but I am not sure the hooks are often sharp enough to keep some of their songs going. The vocals help a lot, but they need some polish things up here and there to really sustain some momentum. This album didn't quite feel as complete as I was hoping it would be. Yet every single time I listened to this album there were moments where it was undeniably vibrant and maybe even fresh. Those moments were enough for me to hope that this band maintains their undeniable spirit and turns their attention towards elevating their music to the same level.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Snake of Eden interview


Snake of Eden are a young glam/punk band who are currently working their way up the ladder. I recently got to interview guitarist Matty D to find out more about what they are currently up to.

MM-Hey, introduce your band and what instruments you play?

MD-What up, my name is Matty D, I play guitar, we got Kelli on Vocals, Izzy on the bass, Rock on Keys and Oskar on drums

MM-Who are your musical influences?
MD-We are all into different shit but I would say Oskar our drummer loves shit like Crue, Hardcore Superstar and Skid Row.. The harder rock shit which is perfect for a drummer cause he knows how to lay down some heavy grooves. The triplets dig Hanoi Rocks, Billy idol, Shotgun Messiah, Sex Pistols and shit like that. I dig everything, but lately mostly 70's punk and trashy rock n roll and shit like Chuck Berry and early Aerosmith, that’s where our sound comes from. The style of shit we play is just straight up street rock n roll, lotsa attitude, bangin’ drums, loud guitars, ya know, the good stuff.

MM-What are some of the first albums that you heard that you really got excited about?

MD-Fuck every time I hear a new record that is sick I get excited, I’m still discovering so much music, that’s what I love to do, but I remember the first time hearin’ the first Aerosmith record and make it kickin’ in I was blown away, or Hanoi-Self destruction blues was rad, I dunno.. There is too many good record out there, nothin I love more than hearing a kick ass song I never heard before, it’s better than drugs.

MM-I saw you recently posted a new song over at your Myspace page. How many originals do you have so far?

MD-We got a set right now of 5 Originals and a cover of an old Alice Cooper tune called "Is it my body" from the "Love it to death" record. We got other songs that are bein’ worked on right now that we will bust out soon too, so our set list is.. Back to life, Hollywood blues, Back in the trap, Hollywood Rat, and the Darkside.

MM-Have you had any interest from any labels yet? How important is to you to get signed at his point?

MD-There has been some small interest but nothin' that has led to anything right now. As far as getting signed it depends on the label, a lot of major labels and badly run labels can really fuck you up so ya gotta be careful, but if a cool label came along that really believes in the band than fuckin’ A ..gimme a pen..

MM-Are you holding out for a record deal or is there any chance you might do a self-produced album instead?

MD-Well we have been recording our own shit lately but that’s just demo shit, truthfully I don’t think any of us could handle putting our record out and getting it in stores and all that, we can produce the thing on our own but as far as getting shit pressed we will need a label.

MM-You guys must be doing something right because I have been hearing a lot about your band so far. So what is your band doing that's going to make you stand out in today's scene?

MD-We are playin’ good fuckin’ street rock n roll and have good songs, that’s all that matters, some bands got a pretty look but can't write a song, I call ‘em posers! bud

MM-I know you have a few shows lined up soon including dates in Las Vegas and San Francisco. What have been some of your more memorable shows so far? Who have you opened for?

MD-Well since I joined in February we been playin’ the Cat Club bit on Sunday nights opening for Happenin Harry's bands which has been cool, we played with my boy’s band Thunder City in San Francisco
who rip, check ‘em out, our cat club gigs have been rad, we just played the Knitting Factory and that was pretty cool too.


MM-What is it like having a set of triplets in the band? Does it help or make it confusing or does it really matter?

MD-I live with ‘em and it is a fuckin’ circus, they are fun fuckers though and I love 'em to death but they are all completely insane, and I say that in the nicest way possible 'cause I’m a nut as well, but it helps the band cause they are all extremely talented and creative motherfuckers and that to me is all that matters.

MM-Obviously you guys are big in 1980's glam/hard rock. What do you think was so good about hard rock in the 1980's compared to music from other decades?

MD-What seemed good about it?? I dunno lotsa chicks drugs and money and some sick lookin' parties. Some decent music but also a lot of shit music. The 80s to me just looked like a lot of fun. Compared to other decades and other music scene I don't rate it any higher or lower there is a lot of rad music and music scenes I wouldn't say the 80s glam scene was the best. There is too much good music out there

MM-Do you think that hard rock/glam is making a comeback? If so then why do you think that is?

MD-In Hollywood there is a lotta cool rock bands comin out so fuckin a that is cool, but I'm from Toronto and there 'aint really any shit like that goin' on down there except for my friends band Diemonds . It would be cool if there was an audience that built up and started something new and cool but I don't reallty care about that 'cause I'll still be playin' rock n roll regardless if it comes back or not.

MM-What are you currently listening to?

Slaughter and the dogs, the Boys, Diamonds, Dead Boys, Plasmatics, Slayer, Hanoi Rocks, the Heartbreakers....I dunnoo, lotsa random shit

MM-From looking at your Myspace page it looks like you have a small army of supporters with all of the street teams and fan pages. How did all of those get organized and how much do you think they are helping to spread your name and your music?

MD-I honestly have no clue how it came but I think it is fuckin' awesome that fans would do that and I wanna thank them for the support and let em know that we appreciate that shit.
I think it helps a shitload cause the more people they tell about our band means the more people that will get into our music so thank yA@!


MM-It's almost halfway through the year. How has 2008 been for your band so far and what do you hope to accomplish in the second half of the year?

MD-So far it has been rad, I just joined in February but when I joined we literally had nothing, no songs or anything so we have built this up pretty fuckin' nicely so far in the past couple of months, shit is movin' fast and goin better than I could have expected. In the next half of the year I wanna keep pumpin' out sick songs and playin' as many gigs as possible and buildin' this shit up more and more so by the end of they year everyone in California knows who Snake of Eden is and we can start 'our gigs where we get lotsa people out to see us. Hopefully get a record done the end of the year too that would be cool.

MM-Pick the band from each of the following pair that you prefer and tell why.
Pretty Boy Floyd or Tigertailz

Both bands are LAME! haha I don't listen to either of 'em

LA Guns or Skid Row

First LA guns record over all Skid Row but that's just my opinion, Oskar our drummer would disagree, both bands got rad songs tho and I dig em both.

Hanoi Rocks or Ramones

Tough one, love em both, depends on my mood but I'll take Hanoi right now cause I just scored some rare Hanoi shit I'd never heard before and it rules.

Motley Crue or Poison

Crue, Poison SUCK!

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or your music?
MD-Check out our Myspace page and listen to our tunes
come see us live and we will blow ya

***Thanks to Matty D for doing the interview.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Teaser-No big deal


This is a three song demo so I'll break down the songs individually since there are so few of them. The opener "Tease Her" is a bewildering track of sorts that seems to contain parts of sleaze type rock, but there are some more classic hard rock moments as well. Although there are some nice pieces, the results are that not everything fits and it feels rather confused. Track two "Make up your mind" is about as big of a turn around from the opener as I could ask for. This is solidly in the camp of early 1980's hard rock along the lines of Scorpions, Rainbow and even a touch of Journey. A far more complicated track then the first one yet they handle this song with greater ease. The final track "Guilty of love" is somewhere between the above two in style and proficiency although it leans a little more towards "Make up your mind". Simple hard rock with a medium-slow tempo and it takes a little time to build up. The majority of this track is fine, but it feels a little underdone like it could have tightened up some. So we have one very good song, one decent and one is kind of average. It's hard to judge a band on just three tracks, but I think they have enough talent and ideas that I would seek out a full length album from them once they get to that point.

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Fifi Larue-s/t

Self Produced

"GC: Gothic Content-Some material may not be cool for all you normies". So reads the warning on the back of the self-titled disc from black clothing clad, face paint wearing goth-metal outfit Fifi Larue. Underneath all of the trappings the sound here is very much of a mid/late 1980's style. It took me a little while place the sound, but somehow this band reminds me of what would happen if Ace Frehley fronted Alice Cooper's band around 1987 and then you threw in splashes of early WASP and Detroit horror/metal outfit Halloween. Yes, front man Fifi does sound Ace Frehley which was a little startling because you don't hear a lot of vocalists who sound like Ace. There are also a number of musical guest stars including Chris Holmes (WASP), CC Deville (Poison), Roxy Petrucci (Vixen), Eric Singer (KISS) and Kerri Kelli (Alice Cooper). Many of the songs are basic and go in between hard rock and metal. I would have like to have seen them use a little more variation here and there, but generally the vocals and the straight for the throat approach show that they have some fire for what they are trying to accomplish. When I first saw that there fifteen tracks I considered that to be rather ambitious, but unfortunately the album may have been a little more concise and balanced if they have just done around ten or eleven. Track eight "So blue without you" is the first of a block of three tracks that serves to sideline this album for a while. It's a rather surprisingly light and slightly bland ballad that really had me scratching my head as to why they thought it fit. It's followed up by a very average rendition of the Door's People are strange. The last of the three consecutively weak tracks is another cover and this time it's a very lukewarm version of Lennon's Imagine. They seem to have been on a roll before this and these tracks seem like filler that only serve to make me re-consider what I was thinking about this band. However they get the ball rolling well enough to finish out the album. The potential is here for most part although they could use a little more complexity in their songs and maybe even be a little heavier, but still a decent album.


Bon Scott-The early years


IMV Blueline

About a month before he joined AC/DC, Bon Scott recorded 3 songs, which were "Carey Gully", "Round and Round" and "To Know You Is To Love You". Those songs were never released back then, but now producer Ted Yanni has devoted almost two years to bringing Bon back to life via three previously unheard songs. There are also track on this release are of Bon Scott with the band Fraternity. Talk about humble beginnings indeed, this collection may capture Bon's voice on recordings of varying quality. Yet anyone who appreciated Bon knew that he wasn't great because of an overwhelmingly powerful voice. His range and power were merely decent, but it was his style and swagger that made him so likable and helped to establish AC/DC during his all too short time with the band. Most of the tracks here have me believing that either Bon needed a certain kind of music to excel at or that he had not yet really developed the style we would know him for. The first few tracks have me envisioning Bon Scott singing at some picnic, town gathering or something like that as the material is very sedate and quite honestly not very intriguing. Although track two "Round and round" has a few moments where you can hear Bon using his voice and showing a few pale signs of what he would be just a few a years later. Most of the other songs have me thinking of Spinal Tap doing "(Listen to the) Flower people". Okay, perhaps it's not that bad yet it's very similar in my mind as it's this slightly familiar voice singing to very standard and dated 1960's pop music. The last song "Sooky sooky" is spirited enough to give Bon a chance to charge ahead a little and show a bit of his potential. I have no idea how much if any say that he had in writing of this material so I don't know if that's a factor or not. Really this is just a collection of songs that even the most devoted Bon Scott fan would be hard pushed to really want to own. The sound quality is hit and miss and the material itself is spotty with only a few real sparks of any interest. Fortunately Bon moved beyond this and made his mark with AC/DC and helped to define that band as well as establish himself as one of the better hard rock front men of his time.

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What's coming up?

Everyone in my house has been sick this week with colds and various side effects. I manage to get by with only missing half a day of work and am starting to feel better. We got a swing set last week so my kids have been loving that. I have a lot that I am hoping to accomplish this week and some interesting items to review. I hope to have these out this week.

Interviews with...
Eerie Von
Snake of eden

Reviews of...
Teaser-No big deal
Fifi Larue-s/t
Bon Scott-The early years
Slaughter-Strappado and Not dead yet/Paranormal re-issues (hopefully on the same day)
Houston-Fast in elegance
Ganon-As above, so below

and hopefully that White Trash/Kingofthehill Lesser of two evils that I did not get to this week.

***Have a great week.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Journey Memories


While listening to and enjoying the new Journey CD this week I have also been remembering times when I really enjoyed Journey years ago. Here are my top three memories.

1)Some time in late 1981 I was fooling with this old Radio Shack science project kit of my brother's that allowed you to make a radio by hooking some wires onto this circuit board and then attaching a wire to the tv antenae. It worked and the first song I heard once it connected was "Don't stop believin'" off of Escape. I was just starting to get into rock music around that point so it sticks in my memory.

2)Probably in 1983 and into 1984 I was going with my dad on Friday nights when he went bowling. He would give me few dollars to spend on playing video games. The jukebox was near the video games and I would never dare spend my money on the jukebox over video games. Yet I remember hearing "Seperate Ways" being played a lot as I tried to master Star Wars the video game, Dragon's Lair and others.

3)It seems like Caddyshack first came on tv when I was in sixth grade which would have been 81/82. Even though this version was highly cut I still loved it as soon I viewed it. One of my favorite parts was Rodney Dangerfield blasting Journey's "Anyway you want it" out of his radio/golfbag.


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Interview with El Chupa Cobras

El Chupa Cobras play a wild blend of metal, punk and other assorted sounds and tones. I recently interviewed vocalist/guitarist Kenny Johnson to see find out more about this outfit and what makes them tick.

MM-Please introduce your band and tell what instruments you play.

KJ-We are El Chupa Cobras from Montgomery, Alabama. Chad Baker plays the drums. Mr. Steve Rowe plays a guitar. Vonda McLeod plays the bass, and I (Kenny Johnson) play a guitar and yell about a bunch of stuff no one cares about.Tell us a little about your history and how you formed.We started played together as the Cobras in late 2004 or early 2005. Steve and Chad played together in Babydriver for a few years. Vonda and I were in Ed Kemper Trio for about 6 years. Both bands had just split up and we were all ready to start something new.

MM-You seem to get a number of shows in your area. Is there much of a music scene in Montgomery, Alabama? Any great unsigned bands there we should know about?

KJ-There's a small, but healthy scene here. It primarily revolves around one bar, Head on the Door. It's really the only place in town for punk, metal or any odd-ball music. The bartenders Todd and Brian are great! Without those guys there would be nothing happening here.Yes there are some great bands here that nobody knows about. The Rudy Banes Breakup is great. Their shows are like live therapy sessions for the front man Rudy Banes. And the songs are excellent! Their music is a very cool take on punk and you can shake your ass to it. Banes means it man! Another great band is Man Versus Plague. Really awesome metal band. If they toured, the country would need to rebuild the Interstate system in wake of their sonic destruction. And of course, there is Last Transgression. These guys have been together for like 15 years. One of the best metal bands period. Please check them out. A friend of ours made a really great documentary about the Montgomery scene called "People Will Eat Anything". Lots of great bands. I think you can still get it through Acerbic.

MM-How did you come to get signed by Acerbic Noise Development? How has your relationship with them been so far?
KJ-Acerbic is our drummer Chad, and his wonderful wife Heather. In Alabama nepotism reigns supreme, YOW! Even if I weren't in this band
I'd give the Bakers much praise. They are doing things "right" with Acerbic. All their bands are not only great players, but cool folks too.

MM-Who came up with the band name? What was the inspiration for it?
KJ-Chad Baker named us. It's based on the Mexican goat killing creature of legend El Chupacabra. We're all suckers for dumb puns. We even screwed up grammar on purpose.

MM-Who are your musical influences?
KJ-For this band: Craw, Dazzling Killmen, Voivoid, Melvins, KISS, AC/DC, Ramones, etc…But we listen to lots of different stuff. For example I'm big into African music lately. Vonda is digging Indian music, etc. I think Chad and Steve are really big into Dub and House music. I guess it's the beats… and stuff.

MM-I believe it took a around a year in between when you started recording the new album and when it was released back earlier this year. What was the recording process liked and are you completely satisfied with the results?
KJ-It did and it's all my fault. Everyone in the band has been in and out of recording studios for years. Each time we went back and listened to our recordings we said, "Man, I wish this was different. I could have done better" Well, it was my big fat idea to not be able to do that this time so I fussed over every minor aspect of the recording. The other guys did too, but I think I started taking it to far. A few months quickly stretched in to a year. I was obsessing over it and finally had to just let it go. For example I trashed the vocals (on everything) starting over from scratch four times. Plus we had no budget and did this as we could piece-by-piece. If it weren't for the patience of Adam Vincent, who engineered the record, I'm positive the process would have lost focus. I'm extremely satisfied with the result. However, I think we need to bang it out quick and dirty next time. The only thing lost in the translation on this recording is the fury of our live set. I think a good in-and-out approach would nail that next time.

MM-What has been the reaction to your album so far?
KJ-So far all the reviews have been really positive. And for the most part the reviewers understand exactly what we are trying to do, which is be unique and difficult without falling into the math rock and Metal trap of losing sight of the song. We intentionally stick Big Rock Moments in as satire and just because it's awesome! It balances out the tricky stuff. If you get to complex you can lose sight of what this is supposed to be about, fun.

MM-You have a very different sound, how would you describe your music?

KJ-Thanks man. It's part metal, part rock, part punk, etc. It's really just a combination of all our influences and experiences. We try very hard to sound like us whatever that is. We focus on song structure and how the song flows and builds tension. Most of the stuff is very manic and feels as if it might unravel at any moment, which again is intentional. I've been calling them Nihilistic Love Songs About Physics and Babies as Played by Iron Maiden and Slayer. That or we're just a Craw cover band.

MM-Have you played much out of your home state of Alabama? What have been some of favorite shows so far?
KJ-Yes, as often as life allows. All our previous bands toured our butts off. Now we are focused on writing good songs and playing as many solid worthwhile shows as we can. Until this pays the bills we can't tour much. There are just too many crappy bands wasting peoples' time touring with their lame songs. If we're going play live the songs need stand out. I hope that is how it comes across when we play live.For now though Lafayette, LA is awesome. Memphis has been really good too.

MM-Your Myspace page says that your band consists of former members of Ed Kemper Trio, Saragashum and Babydriver. How are El Chupa Cobras different from those other bands and how is this band different those other acts?
KJ-EK3 was more post-punk type stuff. Like a Jesus Lizard you could dance too. Chad was in Saragashum, which was a bludgeoning prog-volume fest. Babydriver kicked out the rock jams. The Cobras are a blend of it all. Maybe more so a blend of our individual rock experiences than a blend the previous bands' music. For example at band practice I'll be going on and on about some overly complex pretentious idea about song structure and Steve will pull out a Super Rock Riff that makes the song work perfectly. Same for Chad and Vonda. We all filter and complement each other very well musically and as people.

MM-We have a little over half a year left to 2008. What do you hope to accomplish in the remainder of this year?
KJ-Write a new record. We're all burnt on the old stuff. A short European tour would be awesome. Hookers and drugs… that's cool too, right? Wait… Tiddies!


MM-Pick the band from each of the following pair that you prefer and tell why you picked them.
Ganon or The Devil and the Sea
The Devil and the Sea because there is room for only one Kenny in rock music. HA!

The Melvins or Voivod
I love them both, but Voivod because they're more consistent.

Clutch or Fu Manchu
Fu Manchu because they catch bigger air.

Vonda and Steve will disagree with me but AC/DC. Now we're talking Bon Scott only. After Bon it gets spotty. KISS made me want to be a rock star. AC/DC made me want to be a good guitar player, which is a better thing to be.

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or music?
KJ-Give all your dirty rock 'n' roll money to our drummer and he will send you some of the best new heavy music you didn't know existed

***Thanks to Kenny for doing the interview.

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