Ranking the Judas Priest Discography

UltimateClassicRock.com recently published a list ranking Judas Priest’s studio albums from worst to best. Lists are always fun and good for debate. It got me to thinking about how I’d rank the band’s discography. It goes something like this…

17. Rocka Rolla – Yes, the band’s debut album is their worst, IMO. #SorryNotSorry That said, I don’t think it’s bad but I don’t think it’s very memorable. It’s really only notable because it was the band’s debut album; they were still finding themselves.

16. Jugulator – Most fans who can stand the Ripper era prefer this one, but I don’t.

15. Nostradamus – Said it before and I’ll say it again, this album is a bloated in every fashion possible. Trim it down to one disc and you’d have something decent, but as a double album it’s a bore and chore to sit through.

14. Point of Entry – An okay album with one excellent song (“Desert Plains”) that was nowhere near a follow-up worthy to British Steel.

13. Demolition – This is the Ripper-fronted album that has a greater number of songs that I enjoy. I have a soft spot for it because I bought when it was first released; it was my first “new” Priest album.

12. Turbo – A lot of people dislike this one but it’s a guilty pleasure to me and features a few great tracks.

11. Ram It Down – A harder-edged version of Turbo, it too falls under the category of being a guilty pleasure.

10. Angel of Retribution - Another album I have a soft spot for since it was Halford’s return to the group. I was very excited for this one. It was a good but not great reunion album.

9. Redeemer of Souls - Given that this album was only released a few months ago, it’s hard to truly determine where it stands in the Priest catalog. I feel like it is definitely a top 10 album for the band. It’s certainly the best album the band has made since 1990’s Painkiller.

8. Sad Wings of Destiny  – While the band’s debut didn’t offer up much of interest, their sophomore effort saw the band heading down a heavy metal road that would eventually end with them being crowned as Metal Gods.

7. Defenders of the Faith - Released between the classic Screaming for Vengeance and the controversial Turbo, this one delivered a few classics in its own right.

6. Sin After Sin – The very first Priest album I ever bought.

5. Stained Class – This one is a near tie with the next album…

4. Hell Bent for Leather - …except this one wins out thanks to tracks like “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Before the Dawn” and “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)”.

3. British Steel - I know there’s a strong case to be made for this being the band’s best releases, but there still some filler on this one.

2. Screaming for Vengeance - The band’s commercial breakthrough. I could go without ever hearing “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” for the rest of my life, but I’ll never get tired of “Riding on the Wind”, “Bloodstone”, “(Take These) Chains”, “Electric Eye” or “Screaming for Vengeance”.

1. Painkiller – This one, thought well-reviewed, still does not get enough love as far as I’m concerned. It’s the heaviest, fastest album the band ever did. A lot of people point to this album as having simple comic book lyrics, but who cares? Every track is an atmospheric heavy metal classic. It’s just too bad it was released in 1990 just as heavy metal was starting to slip a bit in popularity.

Buckcherry – Singles Club [Digital Singles Review]

p18rvbr5q92nu107rfq112ern6s4

Buckcherry – Singles Club [digital singles]
2014, F-Bomb Records

1. Beast of Burden
2. Small Man, Big Mouth
3. I’ve Done Everything for You
4. Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation
5. Hot Legs
6. Devil Inside

Singles Club originally started up this past summer by the band on PledgeMusic. You could pledge money to the band through their PledgeMusic project and in return you’d get six cover songs released digitally over the next six months, with the final song being released in early December. The higher your pledge, the more goodies you could get. I also pledged so that I could get a signed copy of the band’s Fuck EP on CD.

This was a cool project I was more than okay with contributing to but now I’m ticked off by it. The original deal was you pledge to get six cover songs, released digitally and exclusive only to fans who pledged. Now all six songs are going to be released on physical CDs, which is what I expected and I’m okay with… EXCEPT I’m not okay with the part where CD pressings of the Singles Club songs (re-titled The Covers – Volume I for CD) are going to have a cover of Aerosmith’s “Mama Kin” as a bonus track.

We already went through this with Fuck. I pre-ordered a signed copy Fuck online, then the band announced that retail versions of the EP would feature “Mama Kin” as a bonus track. Excuse me, but what the Fuck? If you’re going to PledgeMusic and throwing you dollars down for this band, that means you’re part of the dedicated and hardcore fanbase that the band should be catering to instead of catering to retailers who and casual fans who probably haven’t followed the band since “Crazy Bitch”.

Not once, but twice did the band snub their PledgeMusic fans. As it stands, if I want “Mama Kin”, I would have to go to Best Buy and buy a copy of the EP yet again or order a CD copy of the cover songs. I’m not doing either. Hopefully the band makes this right and does the easy and simple thing of release a digital (and free) copy of “Mama Kin” to those of us who signed up for this half a year ago. Rant over.

 As far as the music goes, the band covers The Rolling Stones, Minor Threat, Sammy Hagar, AC/DC, Rod Stewart and INXS. Not bad. I’m not into punk music so “Small Man, Big Mouth” does nothing for me but I’ve always loved the Stones’ “Beast of Burden”, INXS’ “Devil Inside” and Hagar’s “I’ve Done Everything for You”. The Hagar song was previously covered by Rick Springfield in 1981 to much success (much more than Hagar ever had with it). Rounding things out you’ve got Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs”, which is a surprisingly good song given how I usually think of Rod and AC/DC’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation” which is a bit generic, in my opinion.

All told, the “Singles Club” collection of songs is pretty cool and worth listening to but maybe you should order the CD so you can get “Mama Kin”. Or maybe just wait for the special edition on vinyl that will include “Patience” and “White Wedding”.

Fozzy – Do You Wanna Start A War [Review]

Fozzy-2Fozzy – Do You Wanna Start A War
2014, Century Media Records
Buy the album

1. “Do You Wanna Start a War”
2. “Bad Tattoo”
3. “Lights Go Out”
4. “Died With You”
5. “Tonite”
6. “Brides of Fire”
7. “One Crazed Anarchist”
8. “Unstoppable”
9. “Scarecrow”
10. “No Good Way”
11. “SOS”
12. “Witchery”

Band:
Chris Jericho – Lead Vocals
Rich Ward – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Billy Grey – Guitar
Paul Di Leo – Bass
Frank Fontsere – Drums

Producer: Rich Ward

Fozzy’s sixth album brings them their best first-week sales and highest Billboard chart position yet — over 5,000 copies sold to place the album at No. 54. There was a time when a number like that wouldn’t have gotten you in the Top 200 at all but in this digital age, that’s a pretty good number for a rock/metal band.

For the most part, the album is modern hard rock/metal that could be passed off as Shinedown, Pop Evil or whoever but the band takes a few twists and turns every few tracks. This isn’t necessarily a problem as long as the songs are good but this album is all over the place. Which, I guess, is a symptom of all Fozzy releases. They do a lot of genre hopping and trend-following. On All That Remains, they tried a rap-metal song. On Chasing the Grail, they did a song that sounded like Avenged Sevenfold. With Do You Wanna Start A War has a modern rock radio ballad in the form of “Died With You” but experiments with screamo metal on “One Crazed Anarchist” and then I hear bits of glam rock on “Tonight”. “SOS” is a cover of ABBA.

As I said, this isn’t a bad thing. Do You Wanna Start A War is a pretty interesting listen because of its diversity and the band is employing melodies to a greater degree this time. Chris Jericho’s voice continues to get stronger. His work on their earlier albums was pretty weak and he was probably getting by only on name-value at that point but he’s definitely come along as a vocalist. I would actually rather him focus on music these days than professional wrestling.

14 years after the band’s first release, it seems like Fozzy finally has a spark about them, even if their sound is a bit unfocused.

Highlights: “Do You Wanna Start A War”, “Lights Go Out”, “Died With You”, “Scarecrow”, “No Good Way”, “SOS”

The KISS Album Focus Volumes, 1 – 4 [Book Review]

                                           81N0boRBCLL 81NTESI+6RL

                                           81nzkQ-fkSL 81eKuYPISRL

 The KISS Album Focus, Volume 1: Kings of the Night Time World (1972 – 1982)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 2: Hell or High Water (1983 – 1996)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 3: Roar of Greasepaint (1997 – 2006)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 4: Never Enough (2006 – 2013)
by Julian Gill
KISSFAQ.com Publishing

For many years, the website KISSFAQ.com (not affiliated with or endorsed by the band KISS) was the source of a lot of great info on the band. What I found most entertaining and informative was the website’s “KISS Album Focus” series where the band’s recording history was broken down into detail. These considerably lengthy articles were all posted and available for free. Eventually, he Album Focus articles were pulled from the site and were slowly released in book format starting in 2002 (with updated editions being published at various points). As of this writing, the series covers the band beginnings all the way up to 2013.

In addition to KISS albums, these books also focus on what every band member was up to pre- & post-KISS. Various editions of albums and singles are discussed as well.

I’ve read a lot of KISS books over the years and these are some of the best. While this isn’t technically a biography of the band, it does cover every album the band has released (including compilations and live albums) and talks about events during and leading up those releases.

I started with Volume 2 because it covers my favorite era of the band. I think KISS’ run during the ’80s and early ’90s is much more interesting than the classic period. We’ve heard all the stories from the band’s 1970s heyday a million times. so my eyes and ears always perk up when I get to read about what went on post-originals/pre-reunion.

Next I purchased volumes three and four. Volume 3 was interesting because it focuses on the reunion and while I already knew that Psycho Circus wasn’t a true reunion album, I didn’t realize how much of a mess relations were in the band from the get-go. Volume 4 covers the shortest amount of time out of all the books and according has the least amount of pages. I was a bit disappointed with this one because I felt surely there’d be much more to say with the band kick-starting their creatives juices with the releases of Sonic Boom and Monster.

Finally, I picked up Volume 1. I almost bought the $5 Kindle version because the paperback was listed as being out of print and prices on copies of it skyrocketed up around $40. Just a few days earlier the paperback was in stock and had been listed at around $17 or so. I mulled over whether I wanted an e-book to complete the set but after doing that for a few weeks, Amazon got more paperback copies in, so everything turned out okay.

My biggest complaint about this series is that Julian Gill really could’ve used an editor (or a spell-check/grammar check program). Words are omitted, words are misspelled, entire paragraphs are repeated but worded differently… This happens throughout the entire series but seems to happen the most in Volume 1.

I wouldn’t recommend these books to a casual KISS fan that may only pick up a Gene Simmons book for a quick read, but all hardcore KISS fans should read and love this series. These are books I’ll be referring to and re-reading certain chapters for many more years to come!

Drew’s Famous presents Haunted Horrors: Classical Halloween Music [Album Review]

Scand78984.png

Drew’s Famous presents Haunted Horrors: Classical Halloween Music
2014, Drew’s Entertainment/TUTM Entertainment

1. Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odssey)
2. Ride of the Valkyries
3. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
4. Night On Bald Mountain
5. Chiller
6. Crypt-O-Night
7. A.K.A.
8. Fur Elise
9. Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# Minor)
10. Danse Macabre
11. Funeral March of a Marionette (from Alfred Hitchcock Presents)
12. Bolero (Short Version)
13. Funeral (From “Barry Lyndon”)
14. Fantasia In E Flat
15. Funeral Mach
16. Petrified
17. The Monsters Are Here
18. The Cryptkeeper
19. Don’t Move
20. Final Steps
21. Scary Movie
22. Virtual Insanity
23. Vanished
24. Close Your Eyes
25. The End

Figured I would mention this one just because I’m in such a fervor over Halloween and I picked this one up at a Walmart for $3. I’m a big fan of listening to dark classical music around Halloween and having been using Spotify to listen to some of these classical numbers already, I figured it would be nice to own them on a CD as well.

Drew’s Famous is a surprisingly popular line of soundtracks designed to be used at parties. Seriously, there are a number of Drew’s Famous albums that have gone gold or platinum. The Drew’s line doesn’t only focus on Halloween or holidays but I think this is their third or fourth Halloween-themed album. All of the tracks are credited to “The Hit Crew” (I think this is the same for all other Drew’s Famous releases). This album features the some of the quintessential dark classical pieces like “Night on Bald Mountain”, “Ride of the Valkyries”, “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”, “Fur Elise” and “Moonlight Sonata”. Those songs alone easily make it worth the $3 to finally have them on CD and the last two are probably my favorite classical pieces of all time. I’ve never considered “Also Sprach Zarathustra” to be something that should be used around Halloween though.

Filling up the second half of the album are original sound effects tracks (usually around a minute in length) featuring evil laughing, women screaming, clanging gates, dogs barking and other kinds of creepy noises.

This is a fun album to listen to around Halloween but would be best enjoyed if you put it on a shuffle so you get a mix of the classical music and creepy sound effects.

Sixx:AM – Modern Vintage [Review]

Screen-Shot-2014-07-30-at-4.33.39-PM

 Sixx:A.M. – Modern Vintage
2014, Eleven Seven Music
Buy the album

1. “Stars”
2. “Gotta Get It Right”
3. “Relief”
4. “Get Ya Some”
5. “Let’s Go”
6. “Drive”
7. “Give Me a Love”
8. “Hyperventilate”
9. “High on the Music”
10. “Miracle”
11. “Before It’s Over”

Band:
James Michael – Vocals, Keyboards
DJ Ashba – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass

Additional Musicians:
Jeff Fabb – Drums

Producer: James Michael

This is the third release from what was originally intended to be a Nikki Sixx side-project that I now hope will become a full blown touring/recording band once Motley Crue finally wraps up their concert days. Going back to the band’s debut, they always had a knack for writing big choruses and catchy melodies although given the nature of lyrical content, the music was a bit more ugly and harder edged. This Is Gonna Hurt featured the band spreading their wings and writing hook after hook and chorus after chorus. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time and still receives play from me to this day.

With Modern Vintage, it seems like the band is experimenting with styles a bit. This Is Gonna Hurt definitely had some pop moments that would’ve have sounded out of place on a Kelly Clarkson album but now it seems like the band is trying out what I basically think is dance rock with a song like “Miracle”. Then there’s “High on the Music” which comes across as a reworking of Imagine Dragon’s “Ready to Rock You”. Then there’s a pretty straightforward cover of The Car’s “Drive” that seems pretty pointless.

“Before It’s Over” is kind of an odd one in that it’s a bouncy tune featuring trumpets. It’s strange and sounds like something that could’ve been from The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack. I hated it when I first heard it but it’s growing on me just because it’s quirky. I’m glad it closes the album though. It would’ve completely ruined the album had it been stuck somewhere in the middle.”Get Ya Some” sounds like it could’ve come from the debut as well.

Sixx:A.M. has always written catchy music but it seems like they are making an effort with some songs to become a bit more mainstream. This isn’t necessarily bad but songs like “Miracle” and “High on the Music” seem to get their inspiration from music scenes I couldn’t care less about. On the flip side, “Stars” and “Gotta Get It Right” are stone-cold classics and sound like they could’ve come from This Is Gonna Hurt, which was a great album from top to bottom with zero filler.

Modern Vintage is a good release that’s better than their debut but a step down from This Is Gonna Hurt. Perhaps the band would’ve been better off releasing an EP as I’m finding half the album to essentially be filler.

Highlights: “Stars”, “Gotta Get It Right”, “Relief”, “Give Me a Love”, “Hyperventilate”, “Before It’s Over”

Michael Sweet – I’m Not Your Suicide [Review]

915zmcJAIhL._SL1500_

Michael Sweet – I’m Not Your Suicide
2014, Big3 Records
Buy the album

1. Taking On the World Tonight
2. All That’s Left (For Me To Prove)
3. The Cause
4. This Time
5. I’m Not Your Suicide
6. Coming Home
7. Miles Away
8. Strong
9. How To Live
10. Heart of Gold
11. Anybody Else
12. Unsuspecting
13. Heart of Gold (Duet with Electra Mustaine)

Musicians:
Michael Sweet – lead vocals, lead guitar
Kenny Aronoff – drums
John O’Boyle – Bass
Paul McNamara – Piano, B3, Moog, Keyboards
Pete Adams – Steel guitar

Guest Musicians:
Tony Harnell – Vocals (“Taking on the World Tonight”)
Kevin Max – Vocals (“This Time”)
Electra Mustaine – Vocals (“Heart of Gold”)
Chris Jericho – Vocals (“Anybody Else”)
Doug Aldrich – Guitar (“Anybody Else”)
Robert Sweet – Backing Vocals (“How to Live”)
Tim Gaines – Backing Vocals (“How to Live”)

I don’t know how Michael Sweet gets any rest. Stryper is constantly releasing albums (not that I’m complaining), he has a side-project with George Lynch and he continues to also pursue a solo career as evidenced by the release of I’m Not Your Suicide. Sweet’s powerful vocals are pretty recognizable so it’s hard to hear his voice and not think this is Stryper. The truth is that many of these songs could’ve ended up on a Stryper album. Sure, there’s nothing here that’s anywhere near as heavy as No More Hell to Pay but a good number of these tracks would fit in with Stryper’s typical style melodic rock. Michael even branches out a bit with a song like “Coming Home”, which sounds like an obvious play for the country stations. The result? Eh. The least liked song on the album for me. One of my favorite tracks is “This Time”, which I can’t help but getting a feeling of Electric Light Orchestra from.

There’s a number of interesting appearances on this album such as TNT’s Tony Harnell, Fozzy vocalist/WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, ex-Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich and Electra Mustaine, Dave Mustaine’s daughter (How’d that come about about?).

The first half of the album is very strong. I found a lot of the second half didn’t strike the same chord with me that the first half did but overall this is a very good melodic rock/pop album that really wouldn’t sound too out of place as a part of the Stryper discography. Michael Sweet continues to show that he is one of the most gifted songwriters and vocalists in the world of rock today.

Highlights: “Taking On the World Tonight”, “All That’s Left (For Me to Prove)”, “The Cause”, “This Time”, “I’m Not Your Suicide”, “Miles Away”

Midnight Syndicate – Halloween Music Collection [Review]

halloween

Midnight Syndicate – Halloween Music Collection
2010, Linfaldia Records
Buy the album

Dark ambient, neoclassical, dark wave, Gothic, orchestral, symphonic, “soundtracks for the imagination”… It doesn’t matter how you want to categorize or describe Midnight Syndicate’s music. What matters is whether you’re a fan of fantasy & horror because if you can’t check off those boxes then the music of Midnight Syndicate is not for you.

Based out of Ohio and founded in 1996 by composer/filmmaker Edward Douglas, Midnight Syndicate basically creates what I would describe as soundtracks or scores for horror/thriller/mystery movies that don’t exist (and some that do). They’ve also done an officially licensed soundtrack for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The group’s music is mostly instrumental with the rare occurrence of a voice or sound effects being used. Some songs are big and bombastic while others a low-key and haunting.

Halloween Music Collection is exactly what the title implies — a collection of music for use during the Halloween season. Specifically, this a compilation album that pulls songs from the group’s past efforts. Those songs were specially remixed by the group for this compilation. As a starting point and introduction to the group, you can’t find a better album than this. This album sets the exact tone I want during the Halloween season. Even though I live in the Florida heat, this eerie collection of music whisks me away to a place that actually gets cool autumn weather where I imagine a cool breeze on a dreary day and having a nice seasonal-scented candle (pumpkin!) lit. Each song here conjures up an image whether it be some psycho-killer stalking through a forest, a creaky old dark house, the Phantom of the Opera, some cult about to offer a sacrifice, Hammer horror or a graveyard filled with fog.

 Halloween Music Collection is the perfect Halloween soundtrack to play while having a Halloween get-together or on an evening when you feel like you need an injection of the Halloween spirit. For added spookiness, try listening to this album when you’re alone! This album is definitely a new standard for me when it comes to the Halloween season.

Ace Frehley – Space Invader [Review]

ace-frehley-space-invader-cover

Ace Frehley – Space Invader
2014, eOne Music

1. Space Invader
2. Gimme A Feelin’ [Radio Edit]
3. I Wanna Hold You
4. Change
5. Toys
6. Immortal Pleasure
7. Inside the Vortex
8. What Every Girl Wants
9. Past the Milky Way
10. Reckless
11. The Joker
12. Starship

Musicians:
Ace Frehley – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Matt Starr – Drums
Chris Wyse – Bass

Producer: Ace Frehley

There was a sticker on the wrapper that said “Space Ace has out KISSed KISS. This may end up the best KISS album KISS never recorded.” Relax, dude.

Of course, Ace being Ace, you can’t help but pick out the classic KISS sound on a few of these tracks. It’s a part of who he is as a musician. That classic KISS sound couldn’t have existed without Ace playing lead. “Toys” and “Inside the Vortex” have that classic KISS vibe. And “Inside the Vortex” actually sounds like something that fits right alongside “Modern Day Delilah” and “I’m An Animal” from KISS’ Sonic Boom album. “What Every Girl Wants” isn’t a standout track but it has a KISS vibe as well.

It’s the first four tracks that I find to be the best. “Space Invader” is some of Ace’s best guitar work in decades. “Gimme A Feelin'” and “I Wanna Hold You” are kinda like amped up ’50s/’60s rock. Very catchy. Especially “I Wanna Hold You” (which is tied with “Space Invader” as my absolute favorite song from the album). “Change” reminds me of something we might’ve heard from Frehley’s Comet back in the late ’80s.

Maybe it requires further listening but “Restless” strikes me as a bit of filler and Ace’s cover of the Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” is most unwelcome. Not because of Ace’s performance but because the original song itself is terrible.

Ace closes the album with an instrumental called “Starship”, which is worthy successor to the “Fractured” series of instrumentals and done in the same vein. I would not be mad if any and all future Ace albums continued to feature “Fractured”-like instrumental. It would be nice to have a compilation of all of these instrumentals. I’m sure something like that will pop up on YouTube eventually if it isn’t already there. I would have to listen back to know for sure but off the top of my head the song “Immortal Pleasures” (which is not an instrumental) seems reminiscent of the “Fractured” instrumentals.

I don’t feel bad that Ace is not in KISS anymore. He signed his rights away to the character he created and left the band on at least two different occasions of his own freewill and I think he can be just as much of a flaky, egotistical trash-talker as Gene, Paul and Peter can be. I’m saying this to show that I’m not an Ace fanboy and while I thought Anomaly was good, I was only mildly interested in this CD as I figured Ace probably didn’t have enough in the tank to even match the quality of that album. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised to be wrong! This is a great album and blows Anomaly away. Space Invader easily trumps everything, except Ace’s first solo album way back in 1978.

Highlights: “Space Invader”, “Gimme A Feelin'”, “I Wanna Hold You”, “Change”, “Inside the Vortex”, “Past the Milky Way”, “Starship”

 

Dio – Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993 [Review]

81C2uaukG0L._SL1500_

Dio – Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993
2014, Eagle Rock Records

Disc 1:
1. Stand Up And Shout
2. Strange Highways
3. Don’t Talk To Strangers
4. Evilution
5. Pain
6. The Mob Rules
7. Children Of The Sea
8. Holy Diver
9. Heaven And Hell
10. Man On The Silver Mountain
11. Drum Solo
12. Heaven And Hell (reprise)

Disc 2:
1. Jesus Mary & The Holy Ghost
2. Hollywood Black
3. The Last In Line
4. Rainbow In The Dark
5. We Rock
6. Here’s To You

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Lead Vocals
Tracy G – Guitar
Jeff Pilsen – Bass, Backing Vocals
Vinny Appice – Drums
Scott Warren – Keyboards

Live in London was recorded on December 12, 1993 and is the Dio band’s third live release that’s been pulled from the archives since the passing of Ronnie James Dio in 2010. The set list isn’t all that dissimilar from what the Dio band has always played: a mix of their own material plus cuts from Ronnie’s run in Black Sabbath with the occasional Rainbow tune thrown in.

For this album, the band was touring for the release of Strange Highways and the set features no less than six songs from that album. It’s an album I own not but something I was ever too impressed with. The songs really don’t sound too different from the darker and angrier music Ronnie made with Black Sabbath on 1992’s Dehumanizer, just less memorable. In this live setting, I can appreciate the “Strange Highways” track much more. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Dehumanizer or even Heaven & Hell’s The Devil You Know.

This was also the era when the controversial Tracy G played guitar in the band. Honestly, I’m not sure why people say he wasn’t a good fit. He looked like your typical metal-head and is obviously a gifted guitarist. I think maybe he caught all of the negativity just because he was the guitarist for two albums (Strange Highways and its follow-up Angry Machines) that were musically and lyrically darker affairs from what Dio usually put out. All you have to do is check out his guitar solo on “Pain” and you’ll know this guy was worthy of following in the footsteps of

Here’s where I would put out that even in 1993, Ronnie James sounds just as powerful as ever, except you can say that for every year he was on the planet up until he started getting ill! The guy was truly the most gifted rock/metal vocalist of all time. Never lost a step no matter the year, no matter the song. Amazing to think he never had to warm-up either. Simply legendary.

If you’ve kept up with the last two Dio live releases, this isn’t essential listening but fans of Strange Highways will probably want to hear songs from that album performed live (or even buy the DVD or Blu-ray of this concert).

Highlights: “Stand Up and Shout”, “Strange Highways”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “The Mob Rules”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Man on the Silver Mountain”, “The Last In Line”, “We Rock”, “Here’s to You”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 132 other followers

%d bloggers like this: