Blog Archives

Skid Row – Rise of the Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two [EP Review]

81iWDE2-6dL._SL1500_

Skid Row – Rise of the Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two
2014, Megaforce Records
Buy the album

1. We Are the Damned
2. Give It the Gun
3. Catch Your Fall
4. Damnation Army
5. Zero Day
6. Sheer Heart Attack
7. Rats in the Cellar

Band:
Johnny Solinger – Lead Vocals
Dave “Snake” Sabo – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Scotti Hill – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rachel Bolan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rob Hammersmith – Drums

Skid Row is back with the second installment of their United World Rebellion series of EPs, which I think is meant to be a trilogy. Personally, I think this is a great way for bands to go about releasing music — a steady stream of EPs and then maybe do a double or triple disc compilation later down the line.

Not sure why it took these guys seven years before they released new music but a fire has certainly been lit under them. I never bothered with Thickskin or Revolutions Per Minute because both albums were reviewed by mostly everyone as being poor or mediocre, but the United World Rebellion series shows the band still has a snotty punky attitude and continues to show why they were one of the heaviest of the “hair bands” back in the early 1990s. “We are the Damned” is a true headbanger and the best track on the album. Though I enjoyed the first United World Rebellion, I was caught off guard by how good this track is.

The band wraps up the second chapter by superbly covering a few Queen and Aerosmith classics. If you’re looking for something the band to try to recreate the past with some glossy hair metal, you’re not going to find it on these recent EPs but what you will get is good solid heavy metal and hard rock. If this is the type of music the band continues to release, I don’t have any interest in ever seeing them reunited for a nostalgia run with Sebastian Bach (who I happen to like as a solo artist anyway).

Highlights: “We are the Damned”, “Catch Your Fall”, “Zero Day”, “Sheer Heart Attack”, “Rats in the Cellar”

Metal Excess Awards 2012

Despite 2012 being a year where a number of major classic rock acts reappeared with new albums (KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith), I was slightly disappointed with the rock scene overall. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I’ve listened to less music in 2012 than I have compared to the previous 5 years or so. Whether it’s because I’m getting too old or getting too busy, I didn’t sit down and listen to or write about as much music as I have since I started this blog a few years back. I haven’t been paying attention to the world of hard rock & heavy metal as I should have. Forgive me. Maybe I can make up for it in 2013.
Anyway, here’s my contribution to the millions of “Best of 2012” lists that are already all over the internet!
Best Albums of 2012
As I said, 2012 didn’t seem like an incredibly bright year for rock releases but that doesn’t mean I’m knocking some of the cream of the crop. Rick Springfield (of all people!) delivered a classic album that I just had to give the #1 spot based on how much I played it. My Darkest Days had yet another incredibly strong release. Other than Hess at #7, the rest of the top 10 is made up of veteran artists who know how to get the job done.
1.Rick Springfield – Songs for the End of the World
2. My Darkest Days – Sick and Twisted Affair
3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
14. Jack Blades – Rock ‘N’ Roll Ride
15. Trixter – New Audio Machine
16. Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
23. Papa Roach – The Connection
23. Zerokings – Kings of Self Destruction
24. Primal Fear – Unbreakable
25. Fozzy – Sin and Bones

Missed Them in 2012…

These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.

* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP

Best EP/Compilation/Cover/Singles

The “everything else” category.

1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]

Most Anticipated in 2013

Judas Priest:   Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?

Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.

My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.

Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.

Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.

Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.

Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.

AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.

Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.

Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!

Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.

Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)

Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.

Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)

Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.

Aerosmith – Music from Another Dimension! [Review]

Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension!
(2012, Columbia Records)

1. “LUV XXX”
2. “Oh Yeah”
3. “Beautiful”
4. “Tell Me”
5. “Out Go the Lights”
6. “Legendary Child”
7. “What Could Have Been Love”
8. “Street Jesus”
9. “Can’t Stop Loving You”
10. “Lover Alot”
11. “We All Fall Down”
12. “Freedom Fighter”
13. “Closer”
14. “Something”
15. “Another Last Goodbye”
Bonus Tracks:
16. “Up On the Mountain”
17. “Oasis in the Night”
18. “Sunny Side of Love”

Band:
Steven Tyler – Lead vocals, Harmonica, Piano, Drums, Mandolin
Joe Perry – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Brad Whitford – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tom Hamilton – Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Joey Kramer – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Jack Douglas, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Marti Frederiksen

Music From Another Dimension! is a good “comeback” album but a bit misleading if you were paying attention to the press leading up to its release. The band said they were going back to their ’70s blues-hard rock roots with this release and that’s true. On some of the songs. There’s still a lot here that can be compared to their last two original studio releases: 1997’s Nine Lives and 2001’s Just Push Play. Regardless, the album sounds like Aerosmith. It’s just a matter of which era.

And yes, I do liken Music From Another Dimension! to a comeback album (even if it seems like the band never went away… at least in terms of news). It’s been 11 years since their last original studio album and the band has broken up/nearly broken up/threatened replacing Tyler/battled so many addictions in that amount of time this really was a case of “Do they still have the magic after all of that?”

A few songs are actually an amalgamation of… well, everything. “Out Got The Lights” sounds like a culmination of the band’s various eras. It’s no surprise. Aerosmith really does seem to be embracing their entire history on this release despite the lip service to longtime fans. Jack Douglas is back producing (well, co-producing), which is good but other frequent Aerosmith collaborators are here as well. Diane Warren (offering up a ballad, of course), Desmond Child, Jim Vallance and Marti Frederiksen all contribute to varying degrees. This is slightly disappointing because I’m pretty sure at one point either Steven or Joe said the album was going to be a stripped down affair ala KISS and there would be no outside collaborations. To be fair, 7 of the 15 tracks were written exclusively by members of the band (and they tend to be the better songs!).

Let’s go over a few tracks. “Legendary Child” was the album’s lead single and I loved this one as soon as I heard it. It has that old school Aerosmith swagger but doesn’t sound retro at all even though the lyrics are a nod to their past. “Street Jesus” is completely old-school Aerosmith. Written by Steven, Joe and Brad. This is great hard rockin’ Aerosmith. One of the best pure hard rock tunes they’ve written in a looooong time, sure to please old Aerosmith fans. “Lover Alot” is another fun rocker that I would already put up there as a classic Aerosmith song. “What Could Have Been Love” is a decent but typical Aerosmith ballad. It sound likes what you’d expect from them. I like it but it doesn’t compare to previous ballads the band has done. I’m actually surprised they released that as a single and didn’t run with Diane Warren’s “We All Fall Down” or the Carrie Underwood duet “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”. “Beautiful” is the most modern sounding rock song on the album. Could’ve been on Just Push Play. I like it but it’ll probably not become a favorite with the Aerosmith faithful. I would’ve run with this as a single or tried to get it onto a soundtrack.

Joe Perry of course gets a few tracks to shine on vocals. “Freedom Fighter” sounds like Neil Young and features Johnny Depp on backing vocals. “Something” is a slow-moving bluesy number that would’ve fit right at home on Honkin’ On Bobo. Perry also shared vocals with Tyler on “Oh Yeah” and takes lead on the bonus track “Oasis in the Night”.

I have a few minor complaints. The opener “LUV XXX” gives you the idea that this is going to be another Just Push Play or Nine Lives. It isn’t terrible but I certainly wouldn’t have started the album off with it. Luckily, the next track “Oh Yeah” offers up a much more typical Aerosmith style song. My other complaint: there’s too many ballads! “Tell Me”, “What Could’ve Been Love”, “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, “We All Fall Down”, “Closer”, “Another Last Goodbye”… Geez! There’s nothing wrong with these songs. There’s just too many of them! This is a rock band, right? Some of these songs should’ve been saved as bonus tracks for the various special editions. This is just too much to process. None of these ballads really get a chance to shine because two tracks later, here comes another one.

There are a total of 5 bonus tracks. Have fun buying all the editions to collect them all. At least you can buy the deluxe edition and get “Up on the Mountain”, “Oasis in the Night” and “Sunny Side of Love” on Disc 2. The remaining two bonus tracks are cover songs (The Temptations’ “Shakey Ground” and Mose Allison’s “I’m Not Talkin'”) and you’ll have to track down a Japanese edition to own both of those. Or settle for a Walmart edition where you can get “Shakey Ground” (which features ex-Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay). Luckily, all three bonus tracks from the deluxe edition are good.

I definitely think Aerosmith has succeeded and validated themselves. I think I would take Music From Another Dimension! over Nine Lives and Just Push Play any day. The band has done a great job bringing together the last 40 years of their music onto one album. It’s not what I was expecting. I was expecting a very old-school ’70s sounding album but let’s face it, Aerosmith is a mainstream brand and that’s not going to change now. Regardless, this is very good album and I’m happy to see despite all the band’s troubles that they could still come together and put out great music like this.

Highlights: “Beautiful”, “Out Go The Lights”, “Legendary Child”, “What Could Have Been Love”, “Street Jesus”, “Lover Alot”, “We All Fall Down”, “Freedom Fighter”, “Another Last Goodbye”, “Up On the Mountain”, “Oasis in the Night”, “Sunny Side of Love”

http://www.aerosmith.com/
http://www.facebook.com/aerosmith

Buy the album at Amazon.com

Looking Forward to in 2012…

2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?

In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:

AcceptStalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.

KISS – Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.

SunstormEmotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.

Crashdiet
No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.

Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.

Aerosmith (May)
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted,  I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001’s Just Push Play).

Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?

Judas Priest
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a PainkillerHell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.

Primal Fear – Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.

Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.

Buckcherry
Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.

The Last Vegas The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.

Slash
His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.

Trans-Siberian OrchestraRomanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.

Dokken
With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.

Stryper
This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?)  followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.

M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.

They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.

Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?

I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!

Concerts! Part II

This past April, I mentioned a number of concerts I would be attending this summer. A few more have been announced/come to my attention so I thought I’d provide an update as to who I’m going to see this summer. Here’s my complete dance card!

July 1st
Scorpions w/ Cinderella
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Less than a month away! This was the second concert I had lined up this year and Scorpios are one of my all-time faves so I’m pretty excited about it. Cinderella’s great too, I just wish they had some NEW material to play.

July 16th
Alice Cooper w/ Tesla
Common Ground Music Festival
Lansing, MI

Finally bought my tickets for this last night. It’s all general admission so there was no rush to get’em, even though they’ve been on sale for close to month now. In addition to Sammy Hagar playing on another night, Buckcherry and Bret Michaels were recently added as headliners for the nights they play and Cinderella is now playing a date too (not as headliners though). I would love to see all three of them but I’ve seen Buckcherry three times already, saw Poison last summer and I’ll be seeing Cinderella with Scorpions, so I gotta go with Alice! I’ve wanted to see him forever, he’s one of my favorite acts and the fact that I’ll see Tesla too is a really cool bonus.

July 17th
Iron Maiden w/ Dream Theater
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

First concert tickets I bought for 2010. I just saw the set list for the tour and I’m kinda disappointed because it mostly focuses on their music from ’90s through today. It’s understandable since their last tour was built around their ’80s catalog but for this being my first time seeing Maiden, I wanted all the signature songs!

July 22nd
Huey Lewis & The News
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

I actually like this band a lot, at least when it comes to their “hits”. I have one of their albums and two greatest hits. Lawn tickets were only $7 so I figured why not? Should be fun.

Aug 31st
Aerosmith w/ Sammy Hagar & The Waboritas
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills, MI

Haven’t bought the tickets yet (they go on sale next Wednesday but I won’t be able to buy them until the Wednesday AFTER next Wednesday) but I’m really excited for this show. Tickets are pricey but it’s AEROSMITH! With Sammy Hagar! I don’t want to pass up seeing Aerosmith at least once in my life.

Sept 5th
Ted Nugent
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Another $7 lawn seat ticket. Ted’s a really cool guy but he’s another act I’m not all too familiar outside of his signature songs. Still, I think it should be a fun show. Haven’t bought these tickets yet but I will the same time I buy the Aerosmith tickets.

Sept 11th – Saturday
KISS w/ The Academy Is
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI

Definitely HAD to buy these tickets, got’em yesterday. Since the great ‘Rock The Nation’ show cancellation back in 2004 (Paul got heat exhaustion and the Pensacola, FL show I had tickets to got canceled and was never made up), I made a promise to myself that I would always go see KISS should they ever be in my neighborhood. How could you expect any less of me when they’re my favorite band? Well, I saw ’em last September as they were one of the last acts to ever play the historic Cobo in Detroit and I’ll see them this September too! DTE’s site lists The Academy Is as the support (they kinda suck and are way too indie rock/pop to be supporting KISS, IMO) but KISS is also holding a contest for a different unsigned band to get the opening slot in each city. Could be interesting…

So that’s my summer concert series! Should anything else pop up, I’ll be sure to report on it here and I’ll definitely be doing my concert reviews for each and every one of these shows.

AEROSMITH – Big Ones

Aerosmith – Big Ones (1994, Geffen Records)

1. “Walk On Water” … 4:54
2. “Love In An Elevator” … 5:22
3. “Rag Doll” … 4:34
4. “What It Takes” … 5:10
5. “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” … 4:23
6. “Janie’s Got A Gun” … 5:29
7. “Cryin'” … 5:07
8. “Amazing” … 5:55
9. “Blind Man” … 3:57
10. “Deuces Are Wild” … 3:33
11. “Other Side” … 4:03
12. “Crazy” … 5:14
13. “Eat The Rich” … 4:09
14. “Angel” … 5:04
15. “Livin’ On The Edge” … 6:20

Band:
Steven Tyler – Vocals, Keyboards, Harmonica, Mandolin
Joe Perry – Guitar, Dulcimer, Backing Vocals
Brad Whitford – Guitar
Tom Hamilton – Bass, Backing Vocals
Joey Kramer – Drums, Perscussion

For its time, this compilation of Aerosmith’s commercially successful years at Geffen was as pretty good place to start for anyone concerned with the band’s post-1970s hits. I snatched this one up during my greatest hits phase. If there was a band I wanted to check out and they had a greatest hits album then I bought it to get the most bang for my buck. I was very much a “just play me the hits” kind of guy when just getting introduced to a band. Of course, I was well aware of Aerosmith long before this release and it was hard to avoid their music once they collaborated with Run DMC and exploded all over MTV.

Older Aerosmith fans will probably be disappointed with this release because it focuses solely on the music the band made while signed with Geffen Records and even ignores the first Geffen release Done With Mirrors. During these Geffen years, the band went from a hard rock band with a classic sound to a pop-metal band.

Like I said, the album was good for what it is, I played this one a lot when I was a teenager but it is completely obsolete these days. The band recorded two new songs for this release: “Walk On Water” (which sounds like something that could’ve been on Nine Lives) and “Blind Man”. Neither song particularly stands out but both were included on the Young Lust compilation from 2001, which again is a compilation that focuses only on the Geffen years, but that time around they included songs from Done With Mirrors.

I suppose this album can probably be found for pretty cheap these days, but if you absolutely feel you need an Aerosmith compilation, I’d go with one of the more recent releases or just go all the way back to the Columbia Records Greatest Hits release from 1980 for their best stuff.

www.aerosmith.com
www.myspace.com/aerosmith

Looking Forward to in 2010…

2009 was good, can 2010 be better? With these albums penciled in for 2010 it looks like we’ll have another good year for rock ‘n’ roll because there’s tons I’m looking forward to! I’ve listed tentative release dates where I could.

Ratt – Infestation (March): Ratt is one of the best bands to spring from the L.A. metal scene, I can’t wait to hear some new music from that.

Scorpions – Sting In The Tail: Well, hopefully we’ll see some new Scorpions. They haven’t gotten a U.S. distribution deal yet, but in this day of the internet, I don’t foresee any problems getting my hands on an import. According to the band, they’re going back to their “early ’80s” sound and scrapping the modern style they had on Humanity: Hour I. That’s a shame because I remember Klaus Meine being pretty adamant about the band not writing anymore “eighties” songs and I like Humanity a lot (which seemed to imply there’d be a sequel). Oh well, I liked 2004’s Unbreakable a lot too (the band’s most recent attempt at having that classic Scorpions sound), so either style they want is good with me.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon (April 3): Edguy’s Tobias Sammet, one of my favorite vocalists, is back with his side project and he’s got two albums coming at us at once on the same day. The Scarecrow was really good and Sammet has tons of guest musicians lined up again, I just hope he hasn’t spread himself too thin by releasing two albums’ worth of material.

Read the rest of this entry

AEROSMITH – Classics Live!

Aerosmith – Classics Live! (1986, Columbia Records)

1. “Train Kept a Rollin'” … 3:20
2. “Kings & Queens” … 4:46
3. “Sweet Emotion” … 5:14
4. “Dream On” … 4:50
5. “Mama Kin” … 3:41
6. “Three Mile Smile/Reefer Head Woman” … 4:54
7. “Lord of the Thighs” … 7:05
8. “Major Barbra” … 4:03

Band:
Steven Tyler – Vocals
Joe Perry – Guitar
Jimmy Crespo – Guitar
Brad Whitford – Guitar
Rick Dufay – Guitar
Tom Hamilton – Bass
Joey Kramer – Drums

Produced by: Paul O’Neill, Tony Bongiovi

I didn’t buy this album myself. I was borrowing it from my girlfriend back in 2000 along with Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and Alice In Chains’ Nothing Safe: Best of the Box, but we broke up and they never made their way back to her. Oh well, I don’t mind… Thanks, Candice!

A bit on the short side for a live album isn’t it? Eight songs and “Major Barbra” isn’t even live! It’s a studio track leftover from the Get Your Wings sessions. Not really anything special, in my opinion. As for the rest, as short as it is, it’s a good showing. These songs were record between 1977-1983 and “Kings & Queens” and “Dream On” are the most spirited and energetic songs of the bunch. Perhaps if the album was longer, it’d be a strong recommend, but it’s not an album I would go out my way for when there are a number of other live Aerosmith albums available.

I never had the jewel case or booklet, just the CD, and I couldn’t find any concrete info online as to who exactly played on this album, but judging by what I have read, it’s a safe bet Rick Dufay (Brad Whitford’s replacement) played and it’s a lock that Jimmy Crespo (steeping in for Joe Perry) did as well.

And yup, that’s Jon Bon Jovi’s cousin, Tony, who produced parts of this album.

Highlights: “Kings & Queens”, “Dream On”, “Three Mile Smile/Reefer Head Woman”, “Lord of the Thighs”

www.aerosmith.com
www.myspace.com/aerosmith

Buy Classics Live! at Amazon.com

METAL EXCESS Goes LIVE!

In honor of the Judas Priest/Whitesnake/Pop Evil show on July 15th and Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick show on July 24th that I’ll be attending (both at the DTE Energy Center in Clarkston, MI), for the next two weeks I’ll be reviewing nothing but live albums. The plan is five album reviews a week, plus a concert recap.

Here’s the rundown:

Week 1
Aerosmith – Classics Live!
Halford – Live Insurrection
KISS – Alive
KISS – MTV Unplugged
Megadeth – Rude Awakening

Concert Review: Judas Priest/Whitesnake/Pop Evil @ DTE Energy Center 7/15/09

Week 2
AC/DC – Live
Bon Jovi – One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001
Cheap Trick – At Budokan
Poison – Great Big Hits: Live Bootleg
KISS – Alive II

Concert Review: Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick @ DTE Energy Center 7/24/09

Check back Monday to see what album I kick things off with!

AEROSMITH – Nine Lives

Aerosmith – Nine Lives (1997, Columbia Records)

1. “Nine Lives” … 4:01
2. “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)” … 3:25
3. “Hole in My Soul” … 6:10
4. “Taste of India” … 5:53
5. “Full Circle” … 5:00
6. “Something’s Gotta Give” … 3:36
7. “Ain’t That a Bitch” … 5:25
8. “The Farm” … 4:27
9. “Crash” … 4:25
10. “Kiss Your Past Good-Bye” … 4:31
11. “Pink” … 3:55
12. “Attitude Adjustment” … 3:44
13. “Fallen Angels” … 8:16

Band:
Steven Tyler – Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Keyboard, Percussion, Hammered Dulcimer
Joe Perry – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Dulcimer, Slide Guitar
Brad Whitford – Guitar
Tom Hamilton – Bass, Chapman stick
Joey Kramer – Drums

Produced by: Aerosmith and Kevin Shirley

This was my first Aerosmith album and it was just a weird time for me in general what with being in high school and all. I used to come home and listen to this album everyday so it takes me back to those early high school years whenever I hear this.

Definitely not one of Aerosmith’s best. Half the tunes are good, the rest is trash and I’m not a fan of the “taste of India” (if you’ll pardon the pun) that the band gave this album. “Hole in My Soul” and “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)” are really good Pump/Get a Grip-era Aerosmith tunes though.

Aerosmith has done some great commercial hard rock, but they’re always better when they just stick with the bluesy hard rock and this album was far from that sound and should probably only be picked up by completists. But hey, this album went double platinum in the middle of the alternative rock scene, so what do I know?

Highlights: “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)”, “Hole in My Soul”, “Full Circle”, “Ain’t That a Bitch”, “Crash”, “Kiss Your Past Good-Bye”, “Fallen Angels”

www.aerosmith.com
www.myspace.com/aerosmith

%d bloggers like this: