Sunday, July 31, 2011


PATAC Records

Back in late 2010 Akron, Ohio's Fistula got a lot of local press when they announced that 100 copies of their album "Goat" would contain a bonus gift baggie containing soil that was reportedly taken from the front yard of accused serial killer Anthony Sowell. Now "murderabilia" being the big hit that it is no doubt allowed Fistula to sell a few more copies of the concept album than it normally would have. Although admittedly serial killers have always been a favorite topic for heavy metal and thrash bands so was it really all that shocking? A concept album about a guy who is charged with the aggravated murder of the 11 women and attacks on three others might seem morbid, but it isn't new either. That said there just might be something a tad evil about Fistula. Even as the band calls their music “downtrodden, face in the gutter doom” that might just be a tad kind. This is nasty doom sludge. It reeks of death and is covered with maggots. "Loser" as it is is fueled by the four "D"s- Divorce, Dependency, Depression, and Destruction. That has been Fistula in a nutshell this last year so its no wonder "Loser" is as shit-faced ugly as it is. This stuff doesn't so much play on your speakers as creep out of them waiting to dissolve you in it's putrid, toxic waste. Approach this one carefully. You've been warned.

Wolf/Kruizer-Echos Of The Past

Split, High Roller Records

Released at the start of 2011 this split just now landed in my hands thanks to a friend. This one is also limited to just 500 copies with 150 being a sweet blue/ black blend vinyl. The LP comes with a 20 page booklet that details the history of one Wally Rumsey (lead guitar) and his adventures with Wolf and Kruizer. Since he is the only thing that connects both bands (and since Wolf's end pretty much ran smack into the start of Kruizer) it seems fair to say this is all about Wally. This is NWOBHM territory we are talking about, but both bands do exhibit slightly different sounds. Wolf (not to be confused with the Wolf from Cumbria who were formerly Black Axe) display nice heavy rock full of emotional guitar playing. Both heavy and melodic Wolf also add in small amounts of classic rock (Cream style!) and even some proto-rock/new wave music. Kruizer meanwhile are more in line with Jaguar, Witchfynde or even Satan (as their promo material points out) and other than the lyrically awful "Rain" offer underestimated NWOBHM. The material on Echos Of The Past was collected from Wolf's lone single and the one demo that Kruizer managed to put out. This nice LP set from High Roller Records offers a great look into two bands who came and went with far too little fanfare. Thanks to labels like High Roller Records we get another chance to discover this long lost classic. It is great to hear this one yet again with an improved sound and neat package. NWOBHM fans will surely want to check this one out. It is a limited run though so better scope it up soon. You snooze you lose on this one!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reviews for suckas-Metallica:St. Anger

Mr.T is taking on Metallica's 2003 album St. Anger.


"This album says Metallica on it, but this isn't the Metallica we used to know. This sounds like a bunch of fools beating on trash cans in their basement. Just listen to some of these songs. "Frantic"? I was franticly trying to cover my ears so I didn't have to hear this junk. "All within my hand"? Those idiots in Metallica better not get close to my hands or I'll give them the hurtin' they deserve for releasing this pathetic garbage. "Shoot me again"? Shooting is too good for someone who wrote this, I'd like to slap them hard upside their silly heads and then I'd slap them again just so they got the message. Don't even get me started on the album title-St. Anger. The only anger is coming from the fans who had to hear their pitiful jibba-jabba. If I ever catch Metallica acting like crazy fools again, they are gonna meet my friend...pain!"

Labels: , ,

Executioner-The Anthology

PATAC Records

For better or worse this is it. This is the entire recorded output of California hardcore punk band Executioner. Despite playing with legends like the Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Crucifix and Fang these guys never got their proper due. This is prime hardcore circa San Jose 1982 with all the rage and explosive capability of a Molotov cocktail! Since the band never released anything officially other than a few tracks on the Growing Pains tape (a skate cassette released by THE FACTION) this anthology is filled out with demo cuts as well as live recordings. Since it has painstakingly been restored and remastered the sound for the most part is pretty good. Some songs due suffer from a fuzzed out effect, but hey this is punk hardcore and not a Lady Gaga album so what do you want? Getting all of this together on one convenient album is a pretty sweet deal and like all good punk this one is timeless. Rage like this never grows old or gets tiring. Other than being there in person this is as good as it gets. Executioner might not be thought of quite like the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Germs, Circle Jerks or the Sex Pistols which is a crime. This is real deal. It's sloppy, raw, angst ridden, pissed off and full of piss and sweat. Good times.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Forgotten Gems:LeMans-On the streets


In the 1980's there were so many hard rock/metal bands that it was hard to keep up with or hear single band that was in existence. Which is probably a part of why so many bands fell between the cracks. Some deserved to passed by, but for others it was unfortunate that they didn't get more notice. I never heard of this band until oh about two weeks ago and they definitely fall in that second category. Hailing from Concord, California this was the band's first of two albums. The line-up here includes guitarist Derek Frigo who would later play with Enuff Z'Nuff and vocalist Peter Marrino later of Cacophony. The style is melodic metal with a strong attention to details. Maybe a little like early Dokken crossed with early Lizzy Borden. Still they manage to define their own sound on this album. The vocals oddly enough remind me a little of Tim Baker from Cirith Ungol. The guitars are tight and the rhythm section is always on target. Tracks like to "Live to rock","Hells Halls","Take me down" and "Nervous Breakdown" had me hooked right away. No filler tracks at all and they had their hooks down right away. It's a shame that these guys didn't get noticed back then because for 1983 they were slightly ahead of time for the trends of hard rock as their kind of style didn't totally explode until the next year. Still you should definitely track this one down and check it out.

Labels: ,

Einvera-In your image


"In your image" is the self-released debut full-length from LA based Einvera. I have always found the term "everything but the kitchen sink" to be both funny and interesting. It sounds amusing, but the meaning is that the subject is for some reason bringing all or just about all they have to give. That old phrase could apply to this album because Einvera bring almost everything but the kitchen sink to this album. It may be labeled as experimental, but it's far more than that. Their style includes elements of death metal, progressive rock, rockabilly and much more. Yet they never get caught up in being different just for the sake of being different. Everything they play is important to the overall whole of their songs. At times it's madness, but everything works out in their music. Each track has it's flavor which is built by the blending of styles. It's isn't smooth and it doesn't have to be, but they sure know how to get the most out of what they are doing. Certainly an album worth checking out.

Labels: ,

What's coming up?

For this coming week we hope to have reviews of Mockingbird,Discharge, Silent Rage, Twisted Sister, Buzzcoks,Fistula, Sigh and maybe more. Plus NWOBHM Wednesday, Clash of the album covers,Forgotten Gems, French Metal Friday and Reviews for suckas.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Heavy Artillery Records

File this one under kick ass. Formed in 2008 this Portland, Oregon band blend the sounds of early 80's death metal with early 80's thrash to create something that sounds fresh and frightening. Following a 2009 demo and 2010 EP the group hit the studio in December of 2010 to record this their full length debut. What a debut it is to! The easiest way to describe this one would be a heavier and faster Kreator as seen through the eyes of early Possessed/Death. Throw in some Destruction for good measure and you have a band that is heavy as hell and twice as wicked. 2011 looks to be a good year for thrash thanks to Excruciator. This one hit me by surprise and quite frankly made my day. Who says retro-thrash all has to sound alike?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pro-Pain-20 Years Of Hardcore

AFM Records

Not so much a greatest hits package seeing as Pro-Pain has already had three of them. Rather this new collection gathers four new tracks, four re-recorded tracks, cover songs and a fourteen-song live set filmed in the Czech Republic. The DVD that comes along with the disc contains over 90 minutes of additional material. This includes live footage of several full concerts, fan-filmed footage and various other goodies. Fans of Pro-Pain will certainly want to invest in this set as it does offer lots of extras. Formed in 1991 (out of the ashes of the Crumbsuckers) Pro-Pain started out playing metallic hardcore. Like Prong (another fellow metallic hardcore band) the band's sound would evolve over time. While Prong adapted more of an industrial style Pro-Pain went on to incorporate elements of groove metal and thrash. While I loved them when their sound was more urban in nature I lost touch with their music as they adapted a more care-free attitude. While this release might just be a must-have for die hard fans (it is well crafted and offers quite the bang for your buck) the days of Pro-Pain being a serious threat (hardcore assault wise) are long gone. As such if you love where Pro-Pain has been and where they are now I can recommend this one. If not it isn't a bad package by itself it is just that it stands as a sad reminder of what happens to far too many bands (especially hardcore ones) when they start playing around with too many different genres.

Sinister Realm-The Crystal Eye

Shadow Kingdom Records

Allentown, Pennsylvania band Sinister Realm are another band looking to ride the rails of the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal train. Formed in 2008 by bassist John Gaffney (formerly of Pale Divine) and drummer Darin McCloskey (also Pale Divine and Falcon) Sinister Realm began with a mission to play heavy metal straight out the early 80’s (think acts like Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and of course Iron Maiden). Joined by vocalist Alex Kristof, lead guitarist Keith Patrick and rhythm guitarist Keith Patrick they quickly found a loyal following. The band would gain well deserved recognition thanks in no small part to their self-titled debut album. Released in 2009 the album had all the hallmarks of classic heavy metal but with a nice twist of doom added on for that special touch. With The Crystal Eye the group has returned with a new drummer, Chris Metzger, and a new lead guitarist, John Risko. The sound and mission remain the same though. Classic heavy metal first and foremost is what Sinister Realm is all about. Listening to The Crystal Eye brings in thoughts of Dio at first. This is finely crafted heavy metal and a real reminder that there are still bands playing straight ahead hard rock/heavy metal despite the fact this style still takes the back seat to thrash and black death these days. As with their first album doom also makes a guest appearance on several cuts and while it is most likely to be thought of as a Black Sabbath look I thought I detected some Witchfinder General. The fact is Sinister Realm should be looked at as being among the best of the new crop of NWOTHM bands. Hopefully The Crystal Eye opens up new doors for the band as they rightfully deserve it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

R.U.S.T.-Forged in the Fire of Metal

Self-Release (supported by Pitch Black Records)

Usually if it is easy enough (and available) to find online I like to listen to a group's demo first before hearing their debut album. It's a good way to gage growth and get a feel for a band if you've never heard of them before. In the case of R.U.S.T. I had been digesting Forged in the Fire of Metal for a week or so when I came across their 2007 demo on another blog I visit. Having just gave it a good listen earlier today I noticed for the most part this is the same band who crafted that album only they are a few years older and maybe wiser. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out where R.U.S.T. are coming from. Just look at the cover. If that wasn't enough of a hint check out these song titles-"Metal Child", "We Are Rock n Roll", "In the Streets of Rock n Roll", "Queen of the Amazons" and the title track "Forged in the Fire of Metal". This one screams 80's metal like there is no tomorrow! Listing Savatage, Warlord, Accept and Saxon as influences gives a good starting point although early Overkill, W.A.S.P. and Manowar make appearances as well. This Cyprus-based heavy metal band has given us an album that feels like it was ripped out of the 80s and dropped in our laps rock n roll side up. Headbangers and rockers alike will appreciate the production here. Sure this one is being released through Pitch Black Records, but it is essentially an independent album and as such it sounds like it is another long lost recording from an era when heavy metal wasn't so overproduced and slick. If no line-up info had been sent along you'd almost be forgiven for thinking this was some sort of unknown project from Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth. Not that it is bad thing, but these vocals have that same sort of shriek and snarl that Bobby made famous. When it is laid down over smoking hard rock/heavy metal tunes it brings me back to my teenage years. For me this album sounds like I really went back in a Heavy Metal Time Machine! Back to the days when the sweet sounds of vinyl could be heard blasting through my stereo. Forged in the Fire of Metal would have also likely been a cassette tape played to death and worn ragged from multiple rewinds. No doubt knowing the critics out there like we all do I'm certain to catch some heat here with my retro-metal worship. The loud voices carry saying R.U.S.T. is just another band trying to relive the past by relying on used up heavy metal riffs and lyrics of days gone by. To that I say lighten up folks you'll live longer. Just let this one play out and enjoy the ride. This one is a burner thanks in no small part to the fact that it was "Forged in the Fire of Metal" by the devil himself! Nothing hip or modern to be found anywhere with R.U.S.T. One way or another they have lived this style of metal because it echos through loud and clear their love for fantasy themed lyrics and epic guitar anthems. This one will be filed away in the repeat listen folder because frankly it just reminds me too much of a simpler time and that isn't a bad thing at all.

Forgotten Gems: War Babies-s/t


I remember seeing an ad for this album back in 1992. I took one look at them, figured they were G-n-R wannabees and forgot about them for years. Then some 15 years later I found out that this band featured former TKO frontman Brad Sinsel. That fact peaked my interest enough to pick up a copy for under $2. I slipped in the player and promptly had my socks knocked off. The sound in a heavy blues rock along the lines of Tesla and Asphalt Ballet with some AC/DC mixed in. The album includes hard stompin' tracks like opener "Hang me up", "Killing Time" and "Sweetwater" plus some smooth slower ones like "Cry yourself to sleep" and "Blue Tomorrow". The bottom line is that the band handles all of those styles with the same amount of confidence and skills. The production gets high marks too, but the real star of the show is Brad Sinsel. His voice is slightly deeper here than when he was with TKO. I guess that came with age as this album was done some six years after the last TKO album, but that deepness only adds to the quality of his voice. Quite honestly he steps it up and delivers a totally impressive performance. He hits every note with feeling and force. It's a shame I missed this one 19 years ago and it's also a shame that this was their one and only release, but it's sure worth tracking down. You will be playing this one over and over for sure.

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 25, 2011



"Born in a trailer park in Cleveland's east side
From the first day of birth, he'd wished he'd died
His father fought in Vietnam, wished his son a better life
Give the kid a comic book, said heroes conquer strife"

Those are the opening lyrics to the first track on Deadiron's 3 song EP. The track in question ("Underdog") just about sums up the attitude of these Cleveland natives. Bringing together the best that metal has to offer by way of influences ranging from Sandinavian melodic death to American thrash icons like Metallica and Pantera and the East Coast hardcore sound of Blood for Blood and Madball this band plays with a chip on it's shoulder. Unless you've lived in Ohio (especially in the Cleveland area) and have suffered through our cold winters and hot summers you'll be hard pressed to understand why this area creates these sort of brutal bands. With an economy in ruins (even more so than the national scene), severe poverty and high crime there are just parts of Ohio that are quite frankly depressing. These are the ideal conditions needed to create such a hard hitting and gritty band of misfits. As it is Deadiron were formed when vocalist/bassist Alexander Van Ness (formerly of Neonatal Death and punk band the Brazen Rogues) meet guitarist/backing vocalist Sunny Kolattukudy in 2008. It wouldn't be until 2010 though that Deadiron would really get off the ground though and in that short amount of time of the band has already made quite an impact on the local scene. With a full-length album due out later in 2011 the band looks primed to quickly rise up the ranks of heavyweight Ohio metal acts. If this EP is any indication of what awaits us Deadiron should be a household name within a short time. With nods to acts like Megadeth and Iron Maiden written in blood within these riffs this is one EP that is just way to short! By the time you really get to enjoying it the EP is all wrapped up. Looks as if I will have to make a trek out to experience these guys live because all this one did was make me long for more. Find out for yourself why Deadiron should be in every one's metal collection at their website below. And if your in Ohio be sure to check out the band live if you get the chance.!

Thin Lizzy-Live in concert 1983

XXL Media

This show was filmed in Dublin, Ireland in 1983 on the Thunder and Lightning. We get 11 tracks all of decent quality. Phil Lynott is obviously very subdued here, either he's tired or it's due to substances or some of both. He sounds fine and his playing is on, but the fire in his performance is lacking in this show. It's mainly up to guitarists John Sykes and Scott Gorham to keep the energy level up on this night and mainly they do just that. As they keep the tempo going and their solos serve to keep the crowd engaged. The set actually starts out a bit sluggish with "Thunder and lightning" and "Baby please don't go" coming off being not even quite as good as their studio counterparts. By about "Are you ready?" and "Cold Sweat" the band seems tighter and from there on out the show heats up to a simmer at least. The high points for me are probably "Emerald" and "Still in love with you" and the crowd is very excited by these tow selections as well. The picture quality is fuzzy, but overall alright. There are limited camera angles, but at least the camera work is steady enough. It would have been nice to see more scenes of the crowd because they seemed really into it. Yet the most we are backs of their heads and some shots of their raised hands. I would have preferred seeing some face shots to see some expression. The sound quality is fair, but low and muddy at times. Any time you get to see a Thin Lizzy show is a treat because their grooves always shown through no matter what. Still there are better live shows out there and this one is more for completists than the casual fan.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tornado-Amsterdamn, Hellsinki

Listenable Records

This American, Dutch and Finnish band looks to answer the age old question what would SLAYER sound like crossed with MOTLEY CRÜE ? Well, maybe you and I have never asked that question but someone must have because the result is TORNADO. While that seems to at least be the premise of TORNADO (according to their bio at least) and I'm sure they honestly believe those influences the result wasn't too far out there. To these ears the end result sounds more like Joey Belladonna era ANTHRAX that anything else. Sure that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about ANTHRAX. If your like me and you love what ANTHRAX was doing during the late 80s and early 90s then TORNADO while agree with you. For a band (or any new band rather) it is hard not to sound like various other acts that have come before you. If your going to sound like another band it is at least good to pick a good one right? In other words this will be enough for those of you who love older ANTHRAX like I do. It isn't cut and dry ANTHRAX mind you. I can hear the SLAYER and the sleaze influences clear enough. And what TORNADO do they do well. These guys can play and lead vocalist Superstar Joey Severance is great on the mic. The leads are smoking hot and the rhythm section is tight. It's all there and quite honestly it is a fun listen. It has a old school charm going for it and the band crafts catchy speed metal/thrash that flat out rocks like I said. Interesting enough just like with early ANTHRAX there is a punk/crossover feeling to be found on Amsterdamn, Hellsinki and some of that same humor as evident on the cut "Diva". What can I say other than I liked this one even if it does sound a tad familiar. This one is a keeper.

Iron Claw-A different game


Many bands from previous decades come back with new albums and the results tend to be varied although it's normally tough for a band to recapture their glory from the old days. However on occasion a band has all the ingredients to make it work despite age or current musical trends. Thus is the case with Iron Claw who have not released new material since the 1970's. Instead of being a blast from the past this is more of a full out explosion as opener "What love left" came plowing out of my speakers. It was like Steppenwolf, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath wrapped into big hard fisted attack. "The Traveller" treads into blues rock territory and this is an area that several songs on this album fall into. It is a style that they are very fluent in.
"Southern Sky and "It's easy" both have a definite Deep Purple vibe with fantastic vocals. In fact several tracks on this album have a definite Deep Purple influence both in the music and the vocals. Singer Gordon Brown reminds me of a cross between Ian Gillan and Slough Feg's Mike Scalzi. "See them fall" is one of my favorites with it's marching pace. This track definitely reminds me of Slough Feg only a bit more upbeat perhaps. Final track "Closing In" creeps on slowly, but don't let it fool you into thinking this is going to be sleeper. Hang in there and the passages towards the end will have you in awe of this band once again. These are just a few of the standout tracks, but really the whole album is impressive. This is an album that will thrill long time fans and have young fans wondering why they never heard of Iron Claw before. Either way Iron Claw have unleashed a thrilling, heavy blues rock album that's sure to be towards the top of my best albums of 2011 once December rolls around.

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Predator: The Concert

Dir. Joan McCall (1987)

Now as you should know by know Mark and I share a love of all things heavy metal. That much is a given considering the name (Heavy Metal Time Machine) and our run of the mill reviews. What isn't as well known though is the fact that we share a love of sci-fi and horror films especially ones that are a bit more off the beaten path as it were. So with that while searching for a rare horror movie a month or so back I came across this site called Dedicated to the art of releasing rare films the site caters to open minded movie collectors especially those looking for Horror Films, Exploitation movies, Shocking Videos and Bizarre imports. This of course includes your Cult Films, Grindhouse Films from the 70's, Obscure Rare Horror, Revenge Movies, Euro-Trash, Psychotronic, Drive-In Movies, Midnight Movies, Made for TV Horror and Forgotten Gems (hey, that sounds familiar!). Now mind you these are not movies you could normally pick up in Walmart or order through Amazon. No, these are titles that have slipped through the cracks and don't currently have an official commercial release here in North America. According to their website 90% of the titles offered are made available from imported sources of varying formats. TwistedAnger only caters those movies that are unavailable in North America in Digital and BU/DVD Formats. What I like most is that you won't find any Hollywood Blockbuster titles or movies currently in theaters. This site collects the truly odd. You know those films you've always heard about and wanted to see, but for whatever reason companies just won't put out an official DVD release. Now one such film I found on TwistedAnger is Grizzly II. The original Grizzly was a horror film released in 1976 to capitalize on the sudden box office success of Jaws. The first of many films to rip-off Jaws in plot it actually did quite well at the box office. A sequel should have been only a matter of time considering movie studios are driven by greed. For one reason or another though it would take until 1983 before work began on Grizzly II. While the film is often considered to be a bit of an urban legend in horror movie history (seeing as reviews popped up for Grizzly II in the late 70s) it should be noted that the film was never actually released. Instead in 1977 another independent horror film titled Claws (also about a killer grizzly bear although this one took place in Alaska) was made. In 1978 that movie was released in Canada and Mexico as Grizzly 2, in a blatant attempt to capitalize on the success of Grizzly. Similar in nature to what happened when Dawn Of the Dead was released in Europe as Zombi and then Zombi 2 came out even though it had nothing to do with Romero's original masterpiece. Let us get back to the matter at hand though and look at what could have been with Grizzly II. With that Grizzly II: The Predator (also known as Predator: The Concert) is a workprint and as such the film is a tad odd and uneven. With the basic premise being a killer grizzly bear on the lose what makes this one interesting is the final showdown which takes place at a rock concert. The set-up works well enough although honestly it seems as if this one is also a thinly veiled re-working of Jaws. With Park Ranger Hollister (Steve Inwood) at odds with the Park supervisor (Louise Fletcher) over the large rock concert set to take place one can't help but think of the plot of Jaws. While Hollister worries about the local bears there is money to be made so of course that trumps everything including public safety. Well, not really but it is obvious that everything is riding on the success of this event. Of course with all these meals (I mean people) walking around in the woods sooner or later someone is going to get attacked. When the bear does finally kill three people a bounty is quickly set on his head. Sound familiar? It all is of course and part of me was groaning with how obvious it was. Still though underneath it all the film has charm. While principal photography was completed for the most part the film does lack a lot of the special effects involving the actual bear. The grizzly attacks were too be added in at a later time so during those moments all you get is blank shots and cut away movements. Thankfully the ending was filmed and is one of those moments that must be seen to be appreciated. Having it take place during a rock show is a fun twist. Speaking of rock the version I have features a soundtrack jam packed with Michael Jackson. In fact most of the "artists" who are there to take part in this rock concert could hardly be called rock. Typical of the time (1983) these bands are fluff pop and new wave although the flamboyant glam rocker at the end was certainly interesting! Shot in Hungary (of all places) the film is also sought out by movie collectors thanks in no small part to its interesting cast. Actors like George Clooney and Charlie Sheen appear in early roles. If that isn't enough excitement for you also present are Louise Fletcher, Laura Dern, Deborah Raffin, John Rhys-Davies, Dick Anthony Williams, Charles Cyphers, Marc Alaimo and Jack Starrett. With that cast how could they have gone wrong? Sure the film has plenty of filler. The concert scenes for one thing go on entirety too long. These tiresome shots surely would have been trimmed after test audiences weighed in. Otherwise Grizzly II offers up the sort of Piranha/Piranha 2 kind of cinema cheese that I adore. Love bad movies? Not bad movies mind you. "Bad" movies. This is the sort of film where enjoyment could be had if only you could suspend your disbelief for awhile. Predator: The Concert is an unfinished product make no mistake about it. Even with that said though I must admit that I enjoyed it and can't help but wish it would have wrapped up shooting. It isn't a masterpiece. More like a anti-masterpiece for those of us who like our films a bit more "interesting". While Predator: The Concert isn't one of them I do feel compelled to mention that the fine folks over as TwistedAnger do offer special packaging on some of their films. Yes, all of the DVDs they release feature nice printed labels on the actual disc. Nothing is ever hand written. These are nice items let me tell you. That said with their special DVDs you get great color packages. You can tell that TwistedAnger takes pride in their product. While Predator: The Concert's picture is fair (obviously the best source material available) the quality varies with each release. They gather only the best source material out there for each and every film. The website is easy to navigate and the sheer amount of rare films they have amazes me. Next up for me from TwistedAnger is Endgame a post-apocalyptic film that I've been dying to see for years. Find out more for yourself at their website below.

Pop Evil-War of Angels (Deluxe Edition)

E1 Music

I have to claim ignorance on this one folks. Suggested by a friend the group Pop Evil were alien to me. One short visit to Wikipedia later and I learned that the band was formed in 2001 and that their debut album (Lipstick on the Mirror) was released in 2008. Featuring the radio "favorites" (whose radio and whose favorites being subjective) "Hero", "Somebody Like You", "100 in a 55", and "Stepping Stone" the album was a hot seller and allowed the band the opportunity to hit the road with Judas Priest. With Pop Evil described as all of the following: hard rock, alternative metal and post-grunge I approached their new album War of Angels with little in the way of expectations. Not a bad way to look at it because hey, there is nowhere to go but up right? With that "Last Man Standing" kicks in. First track and maybe my friend is onto something. Sure this is radio rock (metal?) here. But at least it's a foot stomper. Nothing more than that I'm afraid. It does have "single" written all over it. You'll no doubt notice I've been on a post-Black album Metallica kick lately in describing this sort of heavy music. It's something to think that songs like "Enter Sandman" had as much influence on bands as grunge leaders like Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots did. Now "Epitaph" continues that heavy handed hard rock/heavy metal vibe. Listening to Pop Evil and your certain to come away with the feeling that they really like Cowboys From Hell (Pantera) and listened to a lot of classic rock radio. AC/DC, Judas Priest and the Cult run through these opening numbers in spirit and that might not be such a bad thing. By the time "Broken & Betrayed" comes rolling along I could see where this one might be worth more than a listen. Too bad that feeling faded as the album went on. Sure maybe you could make the case that "Boss's Daughter" draws a nice line from 80's hard rock/glam/sleeze to modern day radio bands like Pop Evil. I'd buy that. Problem is that other than those 3-4 songs the rest of this drops down into miserable Nickleback territory. Not just the softer rock variety. No sir we are talking ballads here folks and boy are they bad. They stink like yesterday's milk left out in the hot sun. Playing both sides of the field is nothing new. Rockers and ballads go hand in hand and have so since the guitar first got electrified. Rarely though have things been so extreme between good and awful. War of Angels might be dressed up like its got something to say. You can't tear out of the gates though spitting fire and then declare a pillow fight. Bad form gentlemen. Bad form....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Clash of the album covers

It is...

Anthrax-Worship music


Motorhead-The world is yours

***Which cover do you prefer?

Labels: , ,

What's coming up?

This next week we hope to have reviews of from R.U.S.T., Thin Lizzy, Pro-Pain, Iron Claw,Pop Evil, Buzzcocks, Dead Iron, Brainoil,Sinister Realm, Einvera and Grizzly II: The Concert. Plus Clash of the album covers and maybe more. Keep cool!

Labels: ,

Eliminator-We Rule the Night

The Forge

This 5 song EP seems to have slipped by most of us in the heavy metal community unnoticed. No doubt it would be quite the shame to let this one pass by for even a minute more. Even if it is a few months old We Rule the Night deserves mention. This little bundle of heavy metal might not seem all that different than the flood of retro-acts hitting the market at first. That said this Lancaster (U.K.) five piece not only pays homage to the usual legends of heavy metal (Iron Maiden and Judas Priest naturally), but others like Jaguar,Virtue,Angelwitch,Heavy Load and Elixir. You and I both know that the United Kingdom is still breeding bands like this. Usually though they are a dime a dozen. Eliminator have style though, a real gem of a band playing not so much to be in vogue but rather for the love of it. You can tell the band is for real by way of the opener "The Warrior...of the Skies". This powerful number flat out rocks and showcases a young band that just might already have the much needed skills to develop into an honest to goodness force to be reckoned with. Eliminator doesn't play off the music almost tongue in cheek like too many bands these days who try to outdo Iron Maiden and the like. No, they take NWOBHM and classic 80's metal and bring it up to date somewhat making We Rule the Night a true statement! They might be a shade rough around the edges. That is to be expected for a band just starting out. That said this one is just way too good to pass up for fans looking for no frills heavy metal. Obviously if your into Enforcer, Cauldron and the like you'll flip for this one. Even if your not these guys have charm and a sense of true conviction making this one worthwhile. Another up and coming act that has produced a worthwhile EP. There is room to grow and with time Eliminator might not slip by people so easily. Find out more below.

French Metal Friday: Sortilège

Think back to the year 1981 and the heavy metal scene. Not only were bands like Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer and Queensrÿche just starting up over in the States out but overseas you also had some great albums hitting the stores such as Holocaust - The Nightcomers, Girlschool - Hit and Run, Iron Maiden - Killers and Riot - Fire Down Under. In short there was something amazing happening worldwide that year. Likewise in France Sortilège was set to become one of the most well know and arguably one of the best heavy metal bands that country would ever produce. In the history of French heavy metal these guys were the real deal. For today at least we'll skip the whole story of the band and instead focus on what made this band stand out and why these guys matter so much. With so many bands formed during the early part of the eighties it is easy to lose sight of how good this band was. All due respect should be given to the rich crop of not only French bands, but NWOBHM ones as well but hardly no one can touch Sortilège when it comes to crafting near perfect albums! The three studio recordings-Sortilège EP,1983, Métamorphose Full-length,1984 and Larmes de héros Full-length,1986 are all such well crafted affairs it is a shame more people don't know of them. This is classic heavy metal that borders on power metal. A good point of reference would be Iron Maiden although I've read where other's point to Heir Apparent, Crimson Glory, and early Queensrÿche. I'd say that is more than fair considering that what the band would craft music wise would come to be known as power metal. The music is rich and the vocals (courtesy of Christian Augustin) are simply top notch. Their sound was certainly infused with NWOBHM characteristics. How could it not be though given the day and age? Maybe not a radically different approach but for the early eighties this was top notch. It was clear and crisp and carried emotion even when sung in French. Now while most French metal bands were never able to break out across the border that wasn't necessarily the case with Sortilège. Yes, the group did release English-language versions of the two albums (Metamorphosis and Heroes Tears) later on. While I have nothing against these versions I do find the original French language ones more even. In their native language the emotion is more evident and my suggestion would be to check out those first. These days finding Sortilège on the web is pretty easy. I know Axe Killer Records re-released the albums, as well as a boxed set compilation and their albums are often found on Ebay and the like. When pressed to answer which album I like the most I answer with Métamorphose. There is really no reason at all it is just my simple preference. Pick any though and you won't go wrong because this is what heavy metal should sound like plain and simple!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Powerwolf-Blood Of the Saints

Metal Blade Records

There have been times lately when a terrible thought would occur to me. What if while I am sitting here listening to these albums I'm really on some sort of hidden camera reality show? What if some of these albums are just a test to see how much one person is willing to take before they crack up? Has it all been a cruel joke pulled on me? What if right now as I listen to Blood Of the Saints there are people at home laughing at me because they are in on it and here I sit scratching my head trying to make sense of all of this? God help me if that truly is the case. Dear God please help me.

Let's start with this promo picture. They are not serious are they? Black metal goth? Are they supposed to be scary? Honestly, they look like idiots. Especially the guy in front who I assume is their singer. Someone should have stepped in and took away the fact paint. Just hideous. What were they thinking? Moving onto to the actual music though which is the whole reason for this write up. European rock and heavy metal bands have a long standing tradition of being all about inflated self-importance. With that all the pomp and circumstance are on full display here. Get past the outlandish outfits and you have high pitched singing, 80's style backing vocals (IE. ganging up on the chorus), song titles that sound like cheesy horror movies ("We Drink Your Blood" and "Murder At Midnight") and of course lyrics that sound like they were written by 12 year old boys. One or two songs like this would be enough to test the endurance of any listener, but when seemingly every song follows the same pattern well now your talking headache territory. The touch of organ music only helps to give the whole affair a Gothic vibe and make it sound all the more ridiculous. With all do respect to fans of over-the-top European power metal this one would literally cause your teeth to rot out with how sugary the whole thing comes off. What could be considered competent power metal breaks down into an album that will leave you wondering if Powerwolf are in on the joke or if they are the jokers? Either way this one is for die hard fans only as I have a feeling real heavy metal freaks will have the same feeling I had and be left wondering "are these guys for real?".

Top of the heap-Metallica

Andy says-

For this week's Top Of The Heap Mark suggested we go with Metallica. Now I have been very vocal here, there and everywhere with how sorry this band has become and could easily use this column as another opportunity to further state that opinion. Fear not though as this one is all about their best work. With that in mind this was really only a three album contest for me. Metallica's first three albums are near masterpieces to these ears. I love all of them although Kill 'Em All is the one that I listen to more than the others. So, with that logic would dictate it is their best album right? If only it was that simple and with me things are never simple. Released in 1986 Master Of Puppets would be the last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who sadly died in a bus accident while touring to promote the album. Since there are likely millions of reviews for this album (and considering just how influential it would be on future bands) I don't feel the need to dissect the album track by track. Simply put every track is simply stunning, crafted in such a way that the album would forever change heavy metal's landscape. This album for me is reserved for moments when I can be alone to truly absorb it's technical wizardry and beautiful take on brutal thrash. I look at it like I look at Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. Truly each movie is a classic and Star Wars always seems to be the one movie I see most often. Yet with that Empire is still my favorite. Such is the case with Metallica's early works as well then. As a metal community we have all likely at one time or another discussed what would have happened to the band if Cliff Burton hadn't died before his time. What would the band be like today? With Cliff's wide range of tastes (he was into everything from The Misfits to classical music after all) it does seem likely that Metallica could have still developed a more commercial sound. We don't know for sure, but they were evolving album to album and they could still have pulled the rug out from under die hard fans and surprised everyone. I tend to think though it would have been better arranged and that albums like the awful St. Anger wouldn't have happened. It is what it is though and with that in mind for me at least Master Of Puppets was Metallica's peak. One could argue that it is the best heavy metal album of all time. Without radio play the album reached #29 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. That in itself is pretty amazing but consider the fact that it would be the band's first gold record for sales of over 500,000 copies in a time when pop rock still ruled the dial. It has gone on to be become one of the band's most covered albums and even saw Kerrang! magazine offering a track by track tribute album in 2006 to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary. Now off hand other than AC/DC I know of few heavy metal bands who have gotten that kind of royal treatment. In fact to get something like that just shows such appreciation for the impact the album has had. Despite future missteps the praise is warranted.

Metal Mark says-
Remember back when Metallica were considered the cutting edge of metal? Yes that does seem like a long time ago and indeed it is. In 1988 And justice for all marked the end of Metallica's string of fantastic releases. Before that they were leaders in the scene. "Kill 'em all" was one of the best early thrash albums of it's time. Then the band obviously spent a lot more time practicing and probably took some lessons because the next two albums showed a huge improvement in their playing and their writing. They took chances, stretched the songs out and added in some slower parts. All of that lead to that lead to them being a great band at least for a few years. I have always thought that "Ride the lightning" and "Master of puppets" were very similar in style. You could even draw lines between songs from each album as to which song has a counterpart on the other album. Yet for me "Ride the lightning" is a little better and stand's as Metallica's finest hour. "Fight fire with fire" was the first Metallica song I ever heard. It was a local radio show called Friday night metal that was on in 1985. I was floored by "Fight fire with fire". Before that the heaviest stuff I had heard was like Maiden and Priest. That same radio show also played "For whom the bell tolls", "Fade to black" and "Trapped under ice" during that summer. So I had heard half the album that summer and would hear the rest of the album a few months later when I bought it. Each song on the album had it's personality. Unlike "Kill 'em all" it wasn't about speed and force although tracks like the title track, "Fight with fire" and "Creeping Death" all deliver on that level. Metallica were quickly defining themselves as a band who could mix thrash bits with heavy pounding parts and slower bits and still have it come out sounding almost perfect. I wore this one out cassette before the end of the 80's and it's still the album of theirs that I listen to the most.

***What is your favorite Metallica album?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bitch-Be my slave/Damnation Alley re-issue

Metal Blade

I remember around 1984 or 1985 flipping through the "metal" section of my local record store. Now this section pretty much had anything that was kind of heavy that wasn't a big name band at the time. Big name meaning like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. So this metal action had bands like Metallica and Slayer who weren't big names yet plus albums by much lesser known acts like Vyper, Savage Grace and others. One day I stopped flipping through the albums when I came upon a copy of Bitch's "Be my slave". What was this? Was she serious? I thought it goofy and kept going and I never heard Bitch until around 1987. Then I realized what I had been missing. Once you get past the the goofy lyrics you have a solid metal band. They kind of road the rails between metal and hard rock not unlike other early/mid 80's LA acts like WASP, Lizzy Borden, Witch and others. With such steady rockers like "Leather Bound" and "Riding in thunder" Bitch were a force to be reckoned with. Betsy's vocals are stellar with the right mix of smoothness and raw edges. It's a shame I didn't hear this one closer to when it came out because I would have played it over and over for sure. This set also includes their 1982 EP "Damnation Alley" which is good, but a bit more plain rock then metal. These two albums were released together back in
1997, but this new set is re-mastered and includes the bonus track "Let's go" from 1985 plus a DVD. The two albums alone are good, but throw in all those extras and you have one of the better re-issues of the year.

Labels: , , , ,

Malefice-Awaken the Tribes

Metal Blade Records

British heavy metal seems to be getting a much needed shot of adrenaline by the sounds of Awaken the Tribes. Hailing from Reading, Berkshire, Malefice was formed in 2003 while it's members were in college. Even though their 2007 full-length debut album Entities was the talk of the town and getting rave reviews in the English press the band remained relatively unknown outside of Europe. A punishing affair the album (along with 2009's Dawn Of Reprisal) showed a band that mixed thrash, death and mathcore into a sonic brew best ingested loud! With Awaken the Tribes the band again crafts a record that equals the most recent works heard in top tier technical thrash bands. Melodic thrash/death moves with no resistance over mathcore and power metal on Awaken the Tribes. While their early work recalled Pantera and Lamb Of God this new material moves further along offering wonderful opportunities to explore new creative ideas. Having shared the stage with Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Sepultura, DevilDriver and Morbid Angel you can see those bands were not lost on Malefice. In fact one of my favorite songs on the album (the excellent "Baying for Blood") is arranged in such a way that one can't help but draw a line towards Master Of Puppets era Metallica. No, there isn't retro-thrash copy cat material on display here. This is far too modern and precise. It frankly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as it's recommended fan base. In it's R.I.Y.L. list the promo mentions the bands Darkest Hour, DevilDriver, Misery Signals and Lamb of God. With maybe the exception being Lamb Of God those other bands don't offer much more than Malefice does. At least in the this field Malefice offer interesting, catchy, well arranged and progressive tinted heavy melodic death/thrash that should take them far. No hype needed in my mind these guys are the real deal and if Metal Blade Records can get them to break through here in the U.S. then Malefice have all the tools needed to succeed.


Andy says-
Few NWOBHM acts can boast the legacy of England's Saxon. Formed in 1976 in Barnsley, Yorkshire Saxon would begin life as Son Of A Bitch. Originally conceived by the pair of Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson (guitar and bass respectively) the band Saxon could be called the father of English heavy metal. When Biff Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn (guitar) and Pete Gill (drums) joined up, the classic lineup was set and the history of heavy metal would never be the same. Signed to the label Carrerre the group would release their self-titled debut in 1979. While that album is good in it's own right the next four studio albums are truly considered to be outright classics. The albums Wheels of Steel (1980), Strong Arm of the Law (1980), Denim and Leather (1981) and Power & The Glory (1983) are all some of the best this genre has to offer. Those albums stand the test of time making Saxon one of the best bands to emerge from the era. Over time though tensions developed in the band and around 1996-1997 a legal battle ensued between the current lineup (led by original members Byford and Quinn) and the former members Oliver and Dawson. To make a long story short there ended up being two different versions of the band playing out at the same time both of them wanting to use the name Saxon. While Oliver and Dawson started out again under the old name (Son Of A Bitch under which they released Victim You in 1996) they decided after some time that they wanted the old Saxon name for themselves. Their logic was that the Saxon name had been tarnished over the years by sub-par albums and that they should be able to take back the name and right the ship so to speak. After many years of ugly legal battles the courts finally awarded the rights to the name to Biff's version of the band in October of 2003. While the other band was allowed to continue on as Oliver Dawson Saxon it doesn't appear they were anything more than a live touring act. Saxon themselves has carried on with Biff Byford and Paul Quinn fully in charge. Despite Saxon losing their classic sound over the years 2009's Into The Labyrinth saw a return to NWOBHM inspired hard rock/heavy metal. While I haven't heard all of Call To Arms (their new 2011 album) early reviews have been positive. Along with Iron Maiden few bands of the era have been as consistent as Saxon. Their blue-collar approach to heavy metal has kept them in the hearts of heavy metal fans. While they might not have had the same amount of impact here in the U.S. that other NWOBHM bands have had (including Iron Maiden and Def Leppard) they at least remain popular in their homeland. English heroes, Saxon remain one of their top draws and are a band that carry the NWOBHM flag proudly.

Metal Mark says-
I remember around 1984/85 when American metal mags would talk about NWOBHM bands and normally the top bands mentioned were Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon and in that order. There were a ton of NWOBHM bands, but very few achieved much success here in the states. Cleary Iron Maiden and Def Leppard did so to a high level and stayed in the limelight for quite some time. Saxon appeared on the brink of metal stardom in the early 80's, but that popularity soon faded as they got away from a heavier sound in the mid to late 80's. "Wheels of steel" was the first album I heard by Saxon and I took to it right away. The solid riffs, the pounding beats and fist pumpin' type anthems had me sold right away. So I began to explore their other early efforts as well. I agree with Andy that it's those four albums done between 1981 and 1983 that I enjoy most. Saxon had it all together than and every on song on those albums is a winner in my books. The lyrics could be cheesey, but they made up for it with solid music and vocals. "Crusader" in 1984 was the first album where I think the cracks started to show and some filler tracks made their way into the album. The next few albums after that were even more mundane as they seemed to be shooting for a more radio friendly sound. Unfortunately that was a mistake as thrash and heavier genres became more popular many of the older style bands like Saxon were being pushed under the surface. Fortunately they have stuck with it and some of their more recent albums have beeen not just good, but outstanding. Certainly a metal band to note both in the early days and today.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Arkhasis-Monde Parallèle


With much apology to Arkhasis I must admit that I sat on this release for far too long after an open invitation to do a write up about the band. No real sleep should be lost though I suppose as I did end up downloading Monde Parallèle off of iTunes myself. At first I fill compelled to admit this one was to be an addition to this week's French Metal Friday. While it would have fit and been an excellent example of the current state of French heavy metal it would have been a tad lazy on my part and there has been enough of that lately from me. So, with that where to begin with Arkhasis? There had been an attempt on my part to get some piece of history or bio on the band. With no luck there I am left to gather what few bits are to be found on the web (especially in English). Obvious by now the band hail from France (Épinal, Lorraine) and were formed in 1995. Other than the 2003 Relic & Shapes Demo and the 2004 Concert Journée Talents Honeywell DVD it looks as if the band spent some length of time just shaping their sound. That sound you ask? Heavy speed/power metal with touches of prog, traditional British heavy metal and what could almost be 70's era rock. An odd mix perhaps made all the more strange thanks in no small part to the vocal style of lead singer/guitarist Bruno Barbillon. Certainly not a traditional heavy metal vocalist Bruno seems almost uncomfortable trying to mix his voice in with such heavy and fast music. Throughout the album he dosn't so much as sing with the band as he does try to find his comfort zone. Maybe it sounds more off to me though as much of the album is in French (the few English tracks still suffer the same fate although with repeated listens it grew on me). In all though it is a very well crafted, arranged and produced album showing a mature side to Arkhasis. The production is clear. The album's sound is clean and crisp and despite Bruno's vocals the album has a tremendous rock vibe to it. For whatever reason it reminded me of a leaner Metallica during their early attempts at working with Bob Rock. Don't let that put you off though as Arkhasis make the sound work and by adding those few hits of classic British metal and prog they create an album that is classy. An interesting album and a good starting place for a band that with the right couching and a better lead vocalist could be truly amazing.

Monday, July 18, 2011




UK's Grifter have previously released a pair as EPs and a demo, but now we get to check out what they can do with a full length effort. Opener "Good day for bad news" is a southern-fried sounding thumper wrapped around a laid back groove. After that the gems just keep coming. "Alabama Hotpocket" is just dripping with fuzzed out glory. "Asshole parade" has some basic but monstrous drop beats guiding the march on this instantly likable track. After that we get even more tracks that hit like sledgehammers. Grifter are masters of getting a lot out of simple riffs and rhythms. They obviously realized that a little is enough if you have enough soul and know to maintain control. They tap into what really makes fuzzed out stoner rock move and that's just focusing on a riff and building from there. Nothing face, but they sure make it sound good and suck you in for the ride. The only track I couldn't get into was "Bean". It was okay, but didn't quite have the sparks that the other songs possessed. This is definitely one of those albums that you want to have ready to play when you get out of work or school or wherever and just crank it up and sit back and enjoy.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nocturnal Fear-Excessive Cruelty


Detroit's own retro thrash act Nocturnal Fear were formed in 2000. Now while most retro thrash bands worship all things Bay Area these guys prefer German-inspired speed/thrash metal. Clearly Sodom, Destruction, and Kreator all serve as prime influences and as such are a good reference point kids. Also, the band are clearly obsessed with war and all things military and have made it yet again the main focal point on Excessive Cruelty. There are still those guttural vocals and insane attempts at faster than the speed of light 80's thrash. At times things do blur together and without much variety this one comes off as take it or leave it, paint by numbers thrash. Nothing bad about bowing at the alter of thrash. Just with few songs ever getting beyond pure aggression for the sake of aggression it did make this one a bit more of a chore than simple enjoyment. No doubt these guys love what they do and have the chops to pull it off. I'm sure they are probably beasts live too. Excessive Cruelty though was more like "excessive beat the crap out of everything and scream metal" than killer thrash.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Battlecross-Pursuit of Honor

Metal Blade Records

Could it be true? Has Metal Blade Records returned to a simpler time when their roster actually included heavy metal and thrash metal bands? Not that mallcore and fashion metal nonsense? If Battlecross are any indication then maybe Metal Blade Records might just be back with an axe to grind. Born on the dead end streets of Detroit Battlecross are just the latest group of merry metalheads to yearn for the good old days of heavy metal. While crafting a potent brand of classic metal infused technical thrash would be one thing the band take it up a notch or two thanks to the near death growls of vocalist Kyle “Gumby” Gunther. With a style that is part-time death metal maniac and full time heavy metal screamer Kyle Gunther makes Battlecross seem less like a band and more like a do or die mission. Let us not overlook the twin guitars of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala though. Whether it is the Iron Maiden inspired "Push Pull Destroy" or the Slayer meets Morbid Angel of "Breaking You" these two know how to get things done. Meanwhile bassist Don Slater embodies the best of Steve Harris and drummer Mike Kreger sounds like a possessed energizer bunny (only one capable of insane double-bass drumming!). Now, what it might lack in overall originality (yes, your sure to pick up bits of not only Iron Maiden and the Slayer/Morbid Angel mash-up but also Megadeth/Testament style Bay Area thrash, Pantera, Devildriver and of course Lamb of God) it more than makes up for in intensity and sure fire headbanging ability. As such I can enthusiastically recommend this one and say good job Metal Blade Records. Thanks for putting the "metal" back in Metal Blade. Battlecross is a name I hope to hear more good things from down the road.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What's coming up?

For the coming week we hop to have out reviews from Nocturnal Fear, Iron Claw, Arkhasis, Grifter, Buzzcocks, Malefice, Thin Lizzy, Battlecross, Bitch, Powerwolf and maybe more. We will also have French Metal Friday, NWOBHM Wednesday, Clash of the album covers and Top of the Heap.

Labels: ,

Royal Blood-Thanks Seattle...For Killing My Band and My Dreams

FnA Records

Now it is a well known fact that FnA Records has made a name for themselves releasing long lost recordings. There are albums in their collection that make you wonder how someone passed on it the first time around. In fact the last few FnA promos I've listened to left me with feeling that these guys really know their music. With that had I had the pleasure of reviewing this album ahead of time for FnA Records I would have told them to pass. Off hand I can suggest dozens of other bands who would deserve a second chance at stardom. J.J. Merciless' Wicked Witch anyone? To admit your material just wasn't that good would be a breath of fresh air. Instead you blame a whole genre on the lack of your success? Sure, it is well known by now that the birth of grunge did in fact bring about the quick death of hard rock and glam. Bands like Royal Blood would have been flooding the airwaves though if not for the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden so count your blessings. The big hype machine of course is that these recordings feature a band that consists of world renowned guitarist (and two time Grammy nominee) Alex Masi along with Billboard chart-topping songwriter and bassist Rocky Newton (MSG, Lionheart) and vocalist Eric Golbach (Craig Chaquico, WWE, The Aqua Nets). That alone can't account for what sounds like watered down hard rock that was spoon feed Whitesnake, Kiss and Def Leppard leftovers. With a production that would have raised red flags even 20 years ago (when this was first laid to tape) this albums attempts at inspired rock fall flat. Lifeless and limp Thanks a album that should have stayed buried right where it was. Here's hoping that the next time FnA Records goes scrounging around for long lost rock that they really strike gold and not fool's gold like this album.

Thursday, July 14, 2011



Obviously any conversation about a band called Survivor must be started off with the disclaimer that this is not the "Eye Of the Tiger" one. This Survivor was formed in Louisiana in the mid 70's (1976 to be exact) while the other one was AOR band Survivor from Chicago. Despite the fact that this one formed two years earlier people still can't seem to understand that there was no attempt to mislead or confuse the buying public. While a buyer on Amazon offered this ever so helpful review-"Warning warning not eye of the tiger survivor just a band claiming to be the first with the name waste of money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" the fact is that All Your Pretty Moves is a fantastic album that sadly just got lost in the shuffle of 70's hard rock. It's also better than anything the "Eye Of The Tiger" lads ever put out truth be told. Now partly because it was a self-release All Your Pretty Moves became something of a cult album to hard rock collectors. There is a good reason that even though the group had to rely on self-promotion to help move the album (and get it played in other markets) All Your Pretty Moves became more than just a regional hit. Now obviously a good manager (and a financial backer) could have made this Survivor something to behold and put them on the top instead of those AOR guys. As is though very few people now know about this album and that is such a shame. First and foremost what you need to know as the listener is that this is some fine 70's hard rock. What sets this Survivor apart though is what they did with their hard rock foundation. With a solid nod of appreciation towards Thin Lizzy the band builds upon their sound with a style that would come to be known as NWOBHM. Iron Maiden and UFO in particular mix with the sounds of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heap and Led Zeppelin to create an album that flat out rocks. Now the production is pure 70's. In other words it is bottom-heavy and crunchy. For a private pressing this is quite an amazing job and I'd wager that All Your Pretty Moves sounds just as good (if not better) than some of the major label hard rock offerings of the time. The album is highlighted by the skills of vocalist/bassist Brian Clark (sounding all the world like a cross between Phil Lynott and Rob Halford) and the stunning guitar work of Pat O'Hara and Paul Restovich. This Survivor put out an album that should be in the collection of every true hard rock fan. One of my favorite cuts is the epic "Deceive Me". This hard rock number comes off like a harder and heavier Thin Lizzy jamming with Led Zeppelin! Now as good as the band is on this record they were also a forceful live act. With matching outfits the band would take the stage and blow people away. They made use of intro tapes which was somewhat unusual at the time (at least for independent rock groups). Also the theatrical appeal of acts like Alice Cooper and Kiss wasn't lost on the band so they used backdrops to create a visual experience. Even though the band would hit the road with their own brand of hard rock in 1978 (playing clubs throughout the southwest) it wasn't enough to put them over the top and get them noticed by the bigwigs. With little to no support the band folded. Some sites say the band was done by late 1979 while others say they were around until 1983. Either way after this sole album the group called it a day. It should be noted though that they later evolved into the Christian heavy metal group Philadelphia (who released Tell the Truth in 1984 and Search and Destroy in 1985). Now while Monster Records did reissue the album in 2003 it appears it is out of print and fetching serious dollars on the secondary market. It's criminal that All Your Pretty Moves can't be heard by more people. For those looking for this long lost classic I'd suggest doing a Google search. The album has made the rounds on various blogs and while I am not suggesting that you just download it (for legal reasons) All Your Pretty Moves should be heard to be appreciated. For example one listen to "Kristallnacht" and you'll be hooked on these fuzzed out rockers like I was. These are the types of bands that personally I would like to see more people getting into. While classic rock radio stations play the same old tired songs over and over again it would be awesome to see hard rock groups like this get some airplay. Maybe I'm just a tired old man and a little grey in the years but wouldn't it be something to turn on the radio every day and get to discover a new group or artist from the 70's or 80's instead of hearing the same Led Zepplin song for the millionth time?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Demonical-Death Infernal

Metal Blade Records / Cyclone Empire

Demonical was formed in early 2006 out of the ashes of Centinex (a band that had a long and varied career in the death metal field) with the sole purpose of playing old school death metal. While looking to return to the roots of death metal Sweden's Demonical has evolved with each passing album and have added new dynamics to the mix with Death Infernal. Now, seeing as these guys are from Sweden (the home of one and only Entombed) there is some of that classic Swedish death metal sound on display here. There is even some death 'n roll to be found within. But, yes this is a nod towards classic death first and foremost and other than some thrash moments here and there Death Infernal is prime death. With that special mention must be given to vocalist Sverker Widgren work. While his voice is rough you can actually make out every word he utters giving Demonical that certain edge. Also, seeing as the band can craft songs that feature catchy blasts of death thrash (with melody and technical ability as well!) Death Infernal is an album that you look forward to hearing what's coming up next. True to their press release this is some of the group's most varied and sophisticated work yet and might just catch some death metal fans by surprise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



At a loss

Australia's Whitehorse don't just embrace the doom/stoner style, No, they actually grab it tight and squeeze every so slowly with all their force and might to get every last drop they can out of the sound. They use some effects and use them so effectively that you feel spine tingle both from the tones and from the sense of dread that they convey. They take their time in carving out mountain sized sounds and then slowly push them out for all to soak in. The drums sound like each beat is ripping through you and that's probably the effect that they hopes for. The vocals range from sounding like a madman drowning to being more like a rabid dog. The vocals were not as easy for me to get into as the music was, but eventually I took to them. This is very deep, heavy sludge that begs for you to be patience and realize all that is transpiring. Not just a good album, but an impressive experience as well.

Labels: ,

Goreaphobia-Apocalyptic Necromancy

Dark Descent Records

With a new guitarist in VJS (Kult ov Azazel, Crimson Moon, Demoncy, Incursus, Tenebrous, Nightbringer) and a new label (Dark Descent Records) Philadelphia death metal act Goreaphobia release the follow up to 2009's Mortal Repulsion. Formed in 1988 the band released a hand full of demos and singles before breaking up. It would take the band until 2009 before they would release their debut album. As sophomore releases go Apocalyptic Necromancy is 12 tracks of pure death metal. Filthy and foul the album is nothing if not nasty and loud. True to their underground creed Goreaphobia don't get caught up in current trends. Instead they stick to the tried and true path of straight up 100% death. It might just be middle of the road death and nothing fancy, but that doesn't stop it from being an enormous blast of frenzy filled death rage. Nice.

Mox Nix Interview

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing vocalist Johnny Duff and bassist Robert Fernandez of cult 80's heavy metal act Mox Nix. I would just like to say thank you to both of them for taking the time to talk to Heavy Metal Time Machine and for being so down to Earth!

Andy-Mox Nix have achieved cult status among hard rock and heavy metal fans. Could you give us a brief history lesson on how the band came about?

Robert-we started around late 1982...I got a call one day from a high school classmate named Bruce Tousinau...I knew him as a violinist in the orchestra and he invited me to jam with a band he was forming. Things got off to a weird start as he told me that his mom wouldn't let us jam in their garage and if we could use my house...of course my mom said no...remember we were all barely out of high school...anyway...somehow he managed to set up the audition at his house...I didn't know what to expect as I saw Tommy, Donnie,Johnny and Bruce already jamming on songs I'd never heard before but liked right away. "Armed and Ready" by the Michael Schenker Group was the song...Bruce and Johnny showed me the chords and off we went...I was the last member to join but they made me feel as if I'd been there all along. We quickly began playing game rooms(arcades), skating rinks, parties...any place that would have us. Their was a local club called Mr. B's ballroom where the only night they allowed hard rock or heavy metal was Monday nights...we slowly built up a following there and eventually they let us play there on weekends.

Johnny-Mox Nix was started in the summer of ‘82. Original lineup consisted of Bruce Tousinau and myself on guitars, Robert Fernandez on bass, Donny Bragg on drums and Thomas Rogers on vocals. We started out like most did at that time, playing covers of the bands we loved like UFO, Y&T, and The Scorpions,to name a few. We started playing out at parties, game rooms and small clubs around the area. It was an interesting time, as far as music goes , here in Texas as we were winding down from the “Urban Cowboy” craze and it just seemed like their was this explosion of New Wave and British Metal everywhere! We were excited to be a part of it and played whenever we could. Some of the clubs at that time would book you to play Monday through Saturday which was great for any band trying to hone their craft. But it also showed us who was really wanting to be a part of this. Thomas was the first to leave, on his own admission, and we auditioned a few singers before it was asked of me to try singing. I was a bit skeptical at the time because I didn’t see myself as a ‘frontman’ type. I worked really hard at developing my voice and, trust me, those first shows we did with me out front were absolutely horrible! But, as I kept practicing, I found my pitch , so to say, and found songs that worked. When Donny left, we got Joe Vernagallo. Joe was the one who convinced us to try writing our own songs. We watched in amazement as Helstar put out their first album and thought,”Wow! We want to do that,too!” So we started writing, slowly introducing our songs in our sets and then finally, doing full blown original shows.

Andy-I'm listening to your album as we speak. It's amazing how fresh and timeless it still sounds. What made Mox Nix click so well?

Robert-I think we clicked really well on a musical level because we were friends first and band mates second...we hung out a lot...listening to music, skateboarding, hanging out at the clubs...and jamming a lot...not only with ourselves but with other great local musicians...we'd go watch Helstar rehearse and they'd let us jam...or they'd come out to one of our was a great musical time in S. Houston. We enjoyed being together as people and that carried over in to our music. Also I think we were all at the same skill level...everyone in the band was able to carry their own weight.

Johnny-I think ,at that time,we were all focused on the music. It seemed like everything, and I mean everything, was secondary to the band.

Andy-If I'm not mistaken there was talk at one time about releasing another album. What ever became of that?

Robert-We recorded our 2nd album at Pyramid Studios in Ithaca,NY...Shatter records gave us a list of producers that were interested in producing our next record and we chose Alex Perialis based strictly on tracks we had heard him produce. It was a bonus to find out that Rob "Wacko" Hunter of Raven wanted to engineer in studio. We arrived in the bitter cold of November 1987 and did some really great short the label had sunk a lot of money on Paul Di'Annos Battlezone and Rhett Forrester's the time they got around to us the money simply wasn't there. They asked us to hold on but after being in limbo for about a year and a half, we decided to part ways and they released us from the contract. Pyramid still had possession of the masters and understandably wanted to recover their costs--we shopped the rough tracks to some labels that were interested but ultimately they wanted more control over the production. We really liked what was coming out of those sessions so we held our ground. Maybe this cost us in the long run but there's something to be said for loyalty and artistic reasons. Ultimately we disbanded before the 2nd album could be finished and released.

Johnny-Our deal with Axe Killer was for that one album, which may or may not have been a bad thing, but they never approached us for another. We did , however, sign another deal with an American label out of New York called Shattered records. We started recording in October of ‘86 in Ithica, New York with Alex Periales and Rob Hunter. Unfortunately, before much was done, the label folded and it was never finished. Alex and Rob worked really hard with us. We were over playing on everything and not really letting the music ‘breathe’ sort of speak. We learned a lot from those sessions. We tried to get interest from other labels but no one seemed interested in continuing, or should I say, ‘picking up the tab’ and finishing the album.

Andy-What are you favorite songs on the album and why?

Robert-My favorite song on the album is one that Johnny wrote called "Reckless". It was driving, very melodic and had some really cool and sophisticated chord changes. The kind that Johnny was really good at.

Johnny-I would say ‘Steal The Show’. Probably not the best song on the album, but it was our first and we all wrote it together.

Andy-Heavy metal has changed so much since the eighties and yet it seems like there are more and more bands these days who are embracing that sound. The sound of traditional heavy metal is making a strong comeback does it surprise you at all?

Robert-It doesn't surprise me at all that more traditional heavy metal is making a comeback...metal has always been about melody, pounding rhythms and bass and most of all great vocals. If you look at the great hard rock and metal bands, they all have great singers...from Deep Purple to Maiden, Dio, Metallica, you name it...I think some of the metal bands in the last few years deluded themselves into thinking they didn't need a great singer...just a great growl over a wall of sound.

Johnny-Not at all. I think that the early eighties, just like the early seventies, will always be an attraction. The music just seemed more sincere at these times and I think people sense that. It has nothing to do with musical abilities. It is all about conviction and most of us do not learn this until later in life.( pointing my finger at myself)

Andy-What would you like people to take away from your band? What would you like your legacy to be?

Robert-I would like people to take away from our band...a feeling that they just listened to and truly enjoyed some straight ahead metal from a group of musicians that did the only thing they really liked to do at the time... If they listen to our album from beginning to end and say "wow, that was pretty kick ass..." then we did our job. I think our legacy is that there's some really great music out there that you might have missed from some working class guys living in an industrial town that could have taken the easy road and played country music but instead chose to play what was right for themselves.

Johnny-These were some good ol’ boys from Texas who decided to make themselves a Metal album! Seriously ,though. I am proud to have been a part of Mox Nix, however, I don’t believe our lifespan was long enough or lengthy enough for any kind of legacy.

Andy-While you did re-release your album on CD it is now out of print and fetching high prices on sites like Ebay. Any chance it might be re-issued again down the road?

Robert-The fact that our album fetches such high prices still boggles my mind...I can only guess that it's a testament to the quality of our music...I guess at the time that we were creating the music I never gave us enough credit or realized the impact it would have. I assume Axe Killer Records is no longer in operation so there's really nothing stopping us from re-releasing the CD ourselves. I'm sure we could add some unreleased material to it. I know Joe our drummer has a fairly decent live recording of a Houston show where we were supposed to open for Warrant. (on a side note in 1989 we were booked to open for them but they never arrived for sound check at a club called The Axiom) We ended up playing anyway to a crowd of pissed off Warrant fans but it turned out to be a pretty good show despite their no show.

Johnny-Hopefully? Maybe? That’s a good question. I bought one myself off Ebay from a guy in the Czech Republic. Axe Killer did a wonderful job on CD too, by the way.

Andy-What about the unreleased album. Will that ever see the light of day?

Robert-I personally doubt that the album in it's entirety would be released but definitely some cuts off of it could make their way out there. Two of the tracks made it onto the Axe Killer CD re-release.

Johnny-I would have to say no. I don’t believe any of us are interested in that. All of our musical interest have changed too much over the years.

Andy-What became of the band after Mox Nix split up? There was hope that the band would reform and try to make another run at it.

Robert-...After Mox Nix broke up we all lost track of each other for a few years...Bruce was in Nashville, I was in LA, Joe and Johnny in Houston.Ultimately we all ended up in Houston for a short while. Joe, Johnny and I played in a band called Hip Circle for a few years. Bruce moved long enough for us to do a few reunion shows in 2007 and 2008. It was greatly. to play with them all again. As far as another run at it I think it would be difficult as we're doing other things...Johnny has a successful band called J.J. Dynomite, I live in and work in LA as a director of photography and Bruce lives near Austin. The occasional reunion gig is the best we can hope for...

Johnny- We all got involved in different music projects. We had relocated to Los Angeles at that time. Joe had quit the band and moved back to Texas. We had a new drummer , Ron Sareson, briefly before our final demise. I moved back to Texas at that point . Bruce and Robert stayed in California. We did reform briefly to record the two additional tracks for the CD. It was kind of surprising that after all that time, going back in the studio with everyone, that when it was done, it sounded like the rest of the album.

Andy-Your sound was rooted in hard rock and heavy metal of the day. And yet there is no denying that Mox Nix had their own sound. What were your influences?

Robert-We were definitely influenced by bands such as Riot, MSG, Iron Maiden, Priest, UFO, Y and T, Deep Purple...really classic bands that all knew how to write songs. These bands weren't necessarily popular at the time...but they had a huge impact on us. I think we developed our own sound because we were a close knit band that didn't set out to be derivative. We wanted a sound of our own and we were fortunate to find it. Chasing trends was never something that we wanted to do.

Johnny-I think we were drawing off of groups like Y&T and Michael Schenker Group on the one hand, and groups like Metallica and Slayer on the other.

Andy-Any bands you guys like these days as far as the new ones?

Robert-I like Avenged Sevenfold a lot but I still find myself putting on Riot's Fire Down Under or Accept's Balls To The Wall more often than not.

Johnny-I find myself going back and discovering bands from the seventies I knew nothing about more than anything new.

Andy-Again I just must say this album flat out rocks. It is criminal you guys never got your proper due.

Robert- As far as us getting our proper due, it still feels good to go back to Houston and be sitting at a bar or restaurant and someone comes up to me and says how much they enjoyed one of our shows and still listens to our album and that their kids are now fans because they heard it through them...that feels proper.

Andy-If you could go back and change anything about Mox Nix would you?

Robert-If I had to change anything it would be...having the foresight to have looked more to the future instead of focusing on the present. We got so busy touring, rehearsing, writing new material, and living life, that we didn't plan as much as we should have. We didn't take care of the business side as much as we should have. For instance to this day I don't know why we only had a one album deal with Axe Killer even though it was one of their best sellers. There was a planned tour with label mates Dark Angel that never came to fruition for reasons our management could never explain.

Andy-Any funny stories from the road?

Robert-One funny road story was this huge drum riser that Joe had was made of welded steel and was strong enough to hold an 18 was so freaking big that for the Accept show in San Antonio it barely fit onstage. It gave the rest of the band about a foot of space before plunging 12 feet down on to the ground. We could barely move without falling. We ended up donating it to the venue...the Majestic Theater I think was.

Andy-You guys opened for some big names back in the day like Yngwie Malmsteen, Accept, Killer Dwarves and Warlock. What was that like?

Robert-It was cool opening for Yngwie and he would watch us from the side of the stage. His tour manager told us that he rarely ever showed up early to catch the opening act and that he liked our music. He even sent a case of beer to our dressing room in Austin when he found out that the promoter didn't provide any for us.

Andy-What are the band members doing these days?

Robert- I work in the film industry, I'm not really sure what Joe and Bruce are up to...I guess I should give them a call...maybe Johnny knows.

Andy-Thanks for taking the time to check in. Any last words? Want to hype any current projects?

Robert-As far as last words, I would say that it was a pleasure being part of a great scene at a time before the Internet, when fanzines and word of mouth could be used to build a following. I truly enjoyed my time in Mox Nix and the majority of my lifelong friends came from those times.