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Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper [Review]

081227568023

Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper
1999, Rhino Records

Buy the box set at Amazon.com

Disc 1
“Don’t Blow Your Mind” – The Spiders (1966) – 2:36
“Hitch Hike” – The Spiders (1965) – 2:01
“Why Don’t You Love Me” – The Spiders (1965) – 1:57
“Lay Down And Die, Goodbye” (Original Version) – The Nazz (1967) – 2:07
“Nobody Likes Me” – (demo version – 1968) – 3:23
“Levity Ball” – (studio version – 1968) – 4:45
“Reflected” – (Pretties for You – 1969) – 3:14
“Mr. and Misdemeanor” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 3:00
“Refrigerator Heaven” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 1:54
“Caught in a Dream” – (single version – 1971) – 2:55
“I’m Eighteen” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:58
“Is It My Body?” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:39
“Ballad of Dwight Fry” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 6:34
“Under My Wheels” – (Killer – 1971) – 2:47
“Be My Lover” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:21
“Desperado” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:29
“Dead Babies” – (Killer – 1971) – 5:42
“Killer” – (Killer – 1971) – 7:05
“Call It Evil” – (demo – 1971) – 3:28
“Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets” – (School’s Out – 1972) – 4:39
“School’s Out” – (single version – 1972) – 3:31

Disc 3

“It’s Hot Tonight” – (Lace and Whiskey – 1977) – 3:21
“You and Me” – (single version – 1977) – 3:25
“I Miss You” – (Billion Dollar Babies – Battle Axe – 1977) – 3:31
“No Time for Tears” – (Sextette film outtake – 1977) – 2:59
“Because (featuring The Bee Gees)” – (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film – 1978) – 2:45
“From the Inside” – (single version – 1979) – 3:30
“How You Gonna See Me Now” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 3:53
“Serious” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 2:41
“No Tricks” – (single B-side – 1978) – 4:15
“Road Rats” – (Roadie film – 1980) – 2:43
“Clones (We’re All)” – (single version – 1980) – 2:51
“Pain” – (Flush the Fashion – 1980) – 4:10
“Who Do You Think We Are” – (single version – 1981) – 3:05
“Look at You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear” – (demo – 1981) – 3:18
“For Britain Only” – (UK-only single – 1982) – 3:02
“I Am the Future” – (single version – 1982) – 3:45
“Tag, You’re It” – (Zipper Catches Skin – 1982) – 2:52
“Former Lee Warmer” – (DaDa – 1983) – 4:07
“I Love America” – (DaDa – 1983) – 3:47
“Identity Crisis” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 2:50
“See Me in the Mirror” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 3:12
“Hard Rock Summer” – (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 2:30

Disc 2
“Hello Hooray” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 4:15
“Elected” – (single version – 1973) – 3:43
“Billion Dollar Babies” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:39
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:07
“I Love the Dead” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 5:07
“Slick Black Limousine” – (Flexi-disc from New Musical Express – 1973) – 4:27
“Respect for the Sleepers” – (demo – 1973) – 3:48
“Muscle of Love” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:45
“Teenage Lament ’74” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:52
“Working Up a Sweat” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:31
“Man with the Golden Gun” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:13
“I’m Flash” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 2:47
“Space Pirates” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 3:30
“Welcome to My Nightmare” – (single version – 1975) – 2:54
“Only Women Bleed” – (single version – 1975) – 3:17
“Cold Ethyl” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 2:54
“Department of Youth” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:17
“Escape” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:14
“I Never Cry” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 3:43
“Go to Hell” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 5:11

Disc 4


“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Demo – 1986) – 3:20
“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Movie Mix) (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 3:44
“Teenage Frankenstein” – (Constrictor – 1986) – 3:32
“Freedom” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 4:04
“Prince of Darkness” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 5:09
“Under My Wheels” – (The Decline of Western Civilization II film – 1988) – 3:10
“I Got a Line On You” – (Iron Eagle II film – 1988) – 2:59
“Poison” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:27
“Trash” – (Trash – 1989) – 3:58
“Only My Heart Talkin” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:44
“Hey Stoopid” – (Single Version from Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:15
“Feed My Frankenstein” – (Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:42
“Fire” – (single b-side – 1991) – 3:00
“Lost in America” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 3:54
“It’s Me” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 4:40
“Hands of Death” (Spookshow 2000 Mix) – with Rob Zombie – (Remix of the version on “Songs in the Key of X” soundtrack – 1996) – 3:53
“Is Anyone Home?” – (A Fistful of Alice – 1997) – 4:10
“Stolen Prayer” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 5:35

As you can see by the wall of text (which hopefully was formatted and will post correctly) devoted to 81 songs spread out over 4 discs and, wow, this is what a box set should be. I’ve seen some labels use the box set as an excuse to release a series of albums together in their entirety or to basically do a giant-size greatest hits but The Life and Crimes… really hit the nail on the head. Sure, you get the greatest hits, the best of, the fan favorites but it’s the number of oddities and rarities that makes this a box set worth owning.

Not a single album goes untouched and this box set starts at the very beginning back when the original Alice Cooper group started out as The Spiders and then The Nazz and goes right up to 1997 when Alice released “Is Anyone Home?” as a new studio track on his live A Fistful of Alice album. Then you’ve got demos, singles, songs from soundtracks (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandMonster DogFriday the 13th Part VI!), remixes, B-sides, the previously UK-exclusive “For Britain Only”, etc. This one really has it all for the Alice Cooper fan!

The collection here features some of Alice’s best work and others would argue some of his worst (like his weird stuff from the late to mid ’80s). All told, warts and all, this is an excellent overview of Alice Cooper’s career.

For me, this was a great introduction to much of Alice Cooper’s catalog. Unfortunately, over time, I lost the actual box and booklet that came with the set. Oh well, at least I still have all of the CDs. I don’t think the price has dropped much over the years on this one. I think it was about $60 when it was first released but even if you’re paying $40-50 today, this is a worthy purchase for Alice fans.

alicecooper.com
facebook.com/alicecooper

GUNS N’ ROSES – The Spaghetti Incident?

Guns N’ Roses – The Spaghetti Incident? (1993, Geffen Records)

1. “Since I Don’t Have You” [The Skyliners] … 4:18
2. “New Rose” [The Damned] … 2:38
3. “Down on the Farm” [U.K. Subs] … 3:28
4. “Human Being” [New York Dolls] … 6:48
5. “Raw Power” [The Stooges] … 3:11
6. “Ain’t it Fun” [The Dead Boys] … 5:05
7. “Buick Makane/Big Dumb Sex” [T. Rex/Soundgarden] … 2:39
8. “Hair of the Dog” [Nazareth] … 3:54
9. “Attitude” [The Misfits] … 1:26
10. “Black Leather” [The Professionals] … 4:08
11. “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” [Johnny Thunders] … 3:35
12. “I Don’t Care About You” [Fear] … 2:17
13. “Look at Your Game, Girl” [Charles Manson] … 2:34

Band:
Axl Rose – Lead Vocals, Keyboard, Kazoo
Slash – Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Duff McKagan – Bass, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Drums
Gilby Clarke – Guitar
Matt Sorum – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Dizzy Reed – Piano, Keyboard, Backing Vocals, Percussion

Additional Musicians:
Michael Monroe – Lead Vocals
Carlos Booy – Guitar
Mike Staggs – Guitar
Richard Duguay – Guitar
Mike Fasano – Percussion
Eddie Huletz, Stu Bailey, Eric Mills, Rikki Ratchman, Blake Stanton – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Guns N’ Roses, Mike Clink, Jim Mitchell

The last album that the so-called “real” Guns N’ Roses would ever record together was a album of covers and thus, in my opinion, a bit of a downer due to the odd collection of songs. It was meant as a placeholder (much like GN’R Lies) to keep the fans satisfied until the next original studio album arrived. Of course, that album, Chinese Democracy, arrived FIFTEEN YEARS later with only Axl & Dizzy making the trip.

There’s a strong punk influence on the album (I bet Duff was in heaven), but punk rock has never really been a favorite genre of mine. The real standout is the album’s opener, The Skyliners’ “Since I Don’t Have You”, which itself was kind of an odd choice for an cover album made up of mostly punk bands (and Charles Manson).

The parallels to GN’R Lies continue as Axl made sure to put another controversial track on the record (although it is unlisted on the album’s track listing) — “Look at Your Game, Girl”. It was written by Charles Manson. Supposedly, the rest of the band protested, but as usual, they folded to the demands of Axl who insisted this song be included. The only GNR members to perform on the track were Axl & Dizzy. Surprise surprise!

Anyway, this album is more of a curiosity than anything essential. Sad note for the old school GNR to end on.

Highlights: “Since I Don’t Have You”, “Ain’t It Fun”, “Hair of the Dog”, “Attitude”, “I Don’t Care About You”

www.gunsnroses.com
www.myspace.com/gunsnroses

Trimming The Fat: GNR’s Use Your Illusion I & II

In an attempt to add content to this blog besides reviews, I’ve come up with a new feature. The premise? I take a double album, double release, etc., cut out the filler and present it as one wholesome, satisfying release. Welcome to the inaugural edition of…

TRIMMING THE FAT

Guns N’ RosesUse Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II are both very good releases, but were mired in filler. This is to be expected when you release 30 songs at once though.

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Axl Speaks to Billboard

http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/feature/the-billboard-q-a-axl-rose-1003939032.story?pn=1

NOW he decides to talk? Nearly three months after the release of Chinese Democracy? Where were all these fan site & Billboard chats before the release to, y’know, actually PROMOTE it? Where was ‘Axl Rose: The Rolling Stone Interview’?

Oh well. At least he’s getting out there in the press, but he sure has a funny way of promoting an album. Perhaps sometime within the next three months he’ll announce a tour for 2010.

The Top 10 Albums of 2008 (#1-5)

Before we get on with the conclusion of the Top 10 (#6-10 found can be found here), let me first say that outside of the #1 spot, there were no clear cut rankings. I spent the last month listening to each and every 2008 release once a day in order to accurately judge where they should be ranked.

Okay, not really, but it was pretty tough deciding who went where, especially when getting down to the cream of the crop…

1. Guns ‘N Roses – Chinese Democracy

Well, this was a no-brainer for me. Is it bloated? Full of ego? Overproduced? Sure. But through all of that, there’s no filler. Regardless of who the public thinks should be a member of GNR and what GNR should sound like, this is a great hard rock album. The fact that I spent the last 7 years listening to most of these tracks (in some form or another) and still play this almost every day in my car to and from work just goes to show how powerful the whole album is. It’s completely epic, UYI sessions to the extreme and I love it.

2. Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus

Edguy came late in the year and vaulted over everyone to earn the No. 2 spot in my eyes. I’m a big fan of Edguy’s change in style and Tinnitus Sanctus continued the hard rock catchiness and huge choruses found on Rocket Ride.

3. Whitesnake – Good to Be Bad

After hearing the new tracks from Whitesnake’s Live: In the Shadow of the Blues, I knew David was going to give the world a great hard rock album… and he did! This is quite possibly Whitesnake’s best release, it stays true to the Whitesnake sound, and I’m still playing it these days. The band is powerful and so is David’s voice. Just a shame Whitesnake doesn’t carry as much cloat as a band like AC/DC because Good to Be Bad definitely deserved a wider audience.

4. Metallica – Death Magnetic

Funny thing is, this album may have ranked higher had it played in my car, where I tend to do most of my music listening (it’s a 20 minute drive to work at the least, depending on traffic). For some reason, it skips in my car’s CD player, so I was restricted to listening to it in the home, where I’m often distracted. Great album though. I’m still not sure where I’d rank it in the band’s catalog, but easily their best since the Black Album and possibly even better. Metallica just can’t win with fans these days though, because I’ve seen some serious trashing on this album as well.

5. AC/DC – Black Ice

Well, they did it! One of the most successful releases of the year and AC/DC definitely earned it with Black Ice. AC/DC is a great band, but I had grown tired of them quite some time ago. This album pulled me back in.

Now that we’ve talked about the best…

Most Disappointing Releases of 2008

Def Leppard – Nine Lives

I’m okay with Def Leppard abandoning the “Def Leppard sound” for the most part, but I just can’t get behind this album. 1970s glam cover album YEAH! was definitely an influence here, but it didn’t influence them to rock. “Nine Lives” was a great Leppard-esque rocker, but the rest was a huge letdown.

Alice Cooper – Along Came a Spider

Not bad, but definitely one of Alice’s least impressive albums. There’s just nothing special about it. Just to show how little of an impact it made on me, I only remembered it after posting this article! Again, my gripe was that it just didn’t rock out enough.

Don’t forget to check out what these great sites thought of this year’s releases…

All Metal Resource
Bring Back Glam
Hard Rock Hideout
Hair Metal Mansion
Heavy Metal Addiction
Heavy Metal Time Machine
Imagine Echoes
Layla’s Classic Rock
The Metal Minute
The Ripple Effect
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense
Rock Of Ages

Metal Excess News Desk #3

Chinese Democracy unleashed upon the world and debuts at #3 on Billboard, world calls it a complete failure! Axl still in hiding, label angry!

So the numbers finally came out for GNR’s Chinese Democracy… 261,000 copies putting it at #3 behind Taylor Swift (#2 with 267,000 copies sold) and Kanye West, the week’s other big release, who came in at #1 with 450,000 copies sold.

People are blasting this #3 debut as if it’s the end of the world because they didn’t get #1. #1 would’ve been great, but for a group that hasn’t released a studio album of new material since 1991, and seeing as how this is essentially The Axl Rose Band now, the #3 spot and 261,000 copies is exceptional, as far as I’m concerned for a group that has had virtually zero precence in the mainstream since the early 90s and it considered by some to be an “80s hair band”. 261,000 copies + praise from highly respected industry critics = good enough for me. What, were people expecting this album to ship diamond to make up for that $13 million+ that has been sunk into this album? Even if this was a hugely anticipated album: perspective, people…

By the way, Axl has been incommunicado with the label pretty much since handing the album in, so it’s been said. Universal/Interscope/Geffen/whatever execs are miffed about Axl’s disappearance and lack of promoting the album. Yes, I’ll agree with that, he should be out there promoting this. But knowing Axl (which I don’t), I think he’s probably just sitting up there in his mansion reading every word people are saying about the album and taking that into account for the band’s next move (which I hope is to tour). After the world waiting 17 for new original material, I think he decided it would be best to let the music talk for him. He’s never been a fan of the press anyway.
Now, as much as Axl is to blame for not helping to promote this album, I have to point a finger at Best Buy as well. Where were the commercials for Chinese Democracy? Where were the huge in-store banners and special sections of GNR merchandise & albums? There weren’t any. Not at my local store, at least. I go to Best Buy frequently, and you wouldn’t have known the album was even coming out if you weren’t on top of the situation already. There was NOTHING there to let you know “HEY! GNR is BACK!!! And it’s EXCLUSIVE RIGHT HERE at BEST BUY!!!!”
I picked my copy up the day it was released. I came in about an hour and half AFTER the store had already opened and they were just then starting to put up a (small) cardboard stand to put GNR’s albums (including the new one) on. I mean, I know Best Buy isn’t Wal-Mart, but should have at least *tried* to follow the extremely successful formula that Wal-Mart used for AC/DC’s Black Ice.

Eleven Seven Music rock label performing well thanks to Motley Crue, SIXX: A.M. and Buckcherry

Blabbermouth

Eleven Seven Music, the independent rock label, dominates the iTunes Critics Picks for 2008. BUCKCHERRY’s “Black Butterfly” is named the Best Rock Album of 2008, MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Saints of Los Angeles” is the top rock song, SIXX: A.M. is named a Best New Rock Artist of the Year and SIXX: A.M., BUCKCHERRY and MÖTLEY CRÜE top the sales chart. Eleven Seven Music’s releases comprise 25% of the Top 20 Best Rock Songs as selected by iTunes’ Editorial Board with MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Saints of Los Angeles” at #1, BUCKCHERRY’s “Too Drunk…” at #2 and their “Rescue Me” at #8, SIXX: A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful” at #10 and TRAPT’s “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight” at #17. iTunes Best of 2008 can be seen in its entirely at this location (you may have to re-enter link address once iTunes opens).

Eleven Seven Music is among the best-performing rock labels, taking hold on a good portion of the rock charts since its inception in January 2006. With the recent #1 independent release from MÖTLEY CRÜE (the label scored the #2 position last year with SIXX: A.M.’s “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack” and BUCKCHERRY’s platinum and Grammy-nominated “15”), Eleven Seven continues to build on its model of research-based marketing strategies targeted directly to the fans and building out from that base. At rock radio, SIXX: A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful” was the most played song of the year. Helmed by President Nikki Sixx, the label’s roster includes MÖTLEY CRÜE, BUCKCHERRY, SIXX: A.M., TRAPT, DROWNING POOL, MARION RAVEN, THE LAST VEGAS, CHARM CITY DEVILS and THE EXIES.

Really happy for all these bands and the label. Hopefully the label won’t fizzle and Nikki can stay interested enough to help keep it afloat. Great roster of talent.

Stone Temple Pilots a thing of the past… again?

USA Today

“When you commit to a band that big that sold so many records and touched that many people, you can’t easily get out of it,” he said. “I’m finally on my own, at a place I’ve wanted to be for so long.”

On being gun-shy about band duty, he said, “There’s a beauty in being part of a band, when there’s equality and trust. But at this phase of my life, I want to write and not have to think about whether a song is going to be a hit. I want to explore the music that inspires me, and I don’t want to ape myself.

“I’ve been saying for a long time that I couldn’t see myself shaking my (butt) in leather pants when I’m 40. My goal in STP was to leave an imprint. That was done. I want to move forward and be in control of what I do musically. I have kids, and I don’t want to spend my life on the road.”

This is kind of disappointing to read. STP are my favorite alternative band (probably because they had so little in common with most of the bands from that genre). As much as I don’t like Weiland these days, STP always delivered great music and I’m sure they could do it again.

These comments are quite odd though considering the band still has a few dates to play this month and Weiland has already gone on record to say the’ve written tons of new songs while on the reunion tour… Bait and switch?

And the 2008 Grammy nominees are…

A few categories in which some of the nominees are relevant to this blog:

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

* Rock N Roll Train – AC/DC

* Violet Hill – Coldplay

* Long Road Out Of Eden – Eagles

* Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon

* House Of Cards – Radiohead

Best Hard Rock Performance

* Inside The Fire – Disturbed

* Visions – Judas Priest

* Wax Simulacra – The Mars Volta

* Saints Of Los Angeles – Mötley Crüe

* Lords Of Salem – Rob Zombie

Best Metal Performance

* Heroes Of Our Time – DragonForce

* Nostradamus – Judas Priest

* My Apocalypse – Metallica

* Under My Thumb – Ministry

* Psychosocial – Slipknot

Best Rock Instrumental Performance

* Castellorizon – David Gilmour

* Suicide & Redemption – Metallica

* 34 Ghosts I-IV – Nine Inch Nails

* Hope (Live For The Art Of Peace) – Rush

* Peaches En Regalia – Zappa Plays Zappa

Best Rock Album

* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends  – Coldplay

* Rock N Roll Jesus – Kid Rock

* Only By The Night – Kings Of Leon

* Death Magnetic – Metallica

* Consolers Of The Lonely – The Raconteurs

It’d be really cool for Priest to win at least one of the awards they’ve been nominated for. I listened to Nostradamus again two weeks ago and I’m becoming a big fan of it.

GUNS N’ ROSES – Chinese Democracy

Guns ‘N Roses – Chinese Democracy (2008, Geffen Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Chinese Democracy” … 4:43
2. “Shackler’s Revenge” … 3:36
3. “Better” … 4:58
4. “Street of Dreams” … 4:46
5. “If the World” … 4:54
6. “There Was a Time” … 6:41
7. “Catcher in the Rye” … 5:52
8. “Scraped” … 3:30
9. “Riad n’ the Bedouins” … 4:10
10. “Sorry” … 6:14
11. “I.R.S.” … 4:28
12. “Madagascar” … 5:37
13. “This I Love” … 5:34
14. “Prostitute” … 6:15

Band:
Axl Rose – Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Backing Vocals, Guitar
Bumblefoot – Guitar
Richard Fortus – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tommy Stinson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Frank Ferrer – Drums
Dizzy Reed – Keyboard, Piano, Backing Vocals
Chris Pitman – Synthesizer, Keyboards, Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Buckethead – Guitar
Robin Finck – Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Paul Tobias – Guitar, Piano
Bryan “Brain” Mantia – Drums

Um… Let’s just say the credits for the songs are like a phone book, so I’m not listing the rest!

Produced by: Axl Rose & Caram Costanzo

In 1993, Guns N’ Roses released The Spaghetti Incident?, a collection of covers. 15 years later to the day, GNR’s next studio album has finally seen the light of day as an exclusive through Best Buy.

There aren’t too many surprises here for anyone who’s had a computer and an internet connection since the leaks began way back in 2001. Various live versions, mixes and demos have been leaked to much controversy, from a legal standpoint and a listener standpoint.

GNR (Axl specifically), much like KISS and Metallica seem to be a lightning rod for die hard hate from those that profess to be the fans of the band. I don’t like change more than anyone, but it’s not 1988 and Slash, Duff and Izzy aren’t coming back to give us Appetite For Destruction, Part II. Everyone’s got opinions, but I think GNR’s new music has been unfairly criticized over the years just because of who *isn’t* in the band.

In my opinion, the music of Chinese Democracy is simply amazing. Yeah, this isn’t Appetite. So what? Guns never did anything even similar to Appetite, so why even bother comparing then and now when it’s a whole new lineup and musical direction? The only thing I could see where people could knock the music is that Axl’s voice definitely isn’t as strong as it used to be, but there are still some shining moments where we get the old Axl back.

Take the best of the Use Your Illusion albums and push it into the millennium and this is the album you get. I’ve seen it criticized as being too pompous, overproduced and orchestral, but that’s just Axl’s influences (Queen, Elton John, Bowie, etc.) shining through. It’s just an epic release.

While the whole album is very good, the ballads especially shine. “There Was A Time” is one of my favorite Guns songs EVER now, “Street of Dreams” is a wonderful piano ballad and “Madagascar” and “This I Love” are mesmerizing.

Will Chinese Democracy appreciated by the masses? Time will tell. I think it at least has a strong curiosity factor going for it and that will give it some great initial sales. According to Sebastian Bach, Axl told him this is part one of a trilogy, with the next installment to be released in 2010, but who knows. If this album bombs, I don’t think we’ll ever see Axl again unless it was at gunpoint to bring the original Guns back.

I’ll admit, for an album that’s been worked on since 1994, it’s not going to live up to the expectations of anyone. I know most people are going, “Okay, you had 14 years, this better be the greatest album ever made”. It’s not. But I think it *is* a great release and definitely the best of 2008. Axl is a genius and knows how to write great songs (though I don’t hear any hit singles here). So my hope is that people can just sit back, forget about the roster changes and the years of waiting and take the album for what it is.

Highlights: Simply one of the greatest albums in YEARS. The only song I’m not in love with is “I.R.S.”, which is okay, but seems like filler.

Metal Excess News Desk #2

Chinese Democracy unleashed on MySpace! Axl Rose in hiding!

2 days before the album’s Best Buy release, GNR’s very own MySpace page now has every track up for your streaming pleasure. Listen, and be amazed. I’ve been familiar with most of this album for the past 7 years, but I’ll be there Sunday at Best Buy to grab the CD.

In related news, Mirror.co.uk is reporting that Axl has disappeared in the midst of all the Democracy buzz, reportedly to work on the band’s “comeback” and to make it “go off the scale”.

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Metal Excess News Desk #1

Welcome to the first edition of the Metal Excess News Desk! In order to provide more content to the blog, I’ve decided to do a round-up of rock news that is of particular interest of me and provide my own thoughts. So just how frequent will I be doing this? Who knows. Maybe every few days, once a week or twice an hour! Just whenever I feel like it!

Now, on with today’s top stories…

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END OF DAYS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

End of Days – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Clean Version] (1999, Interscope Records)

Track listing:
1. “Camel Song” performed by Korn … 4:22
2. “So Long” performed by Everlast … 5:00
3. “Slow” performed by Professional Murder Music … 3:58
4. “Crushed” performed by Limp Bizkit … 3:24
5. “Oh My God” performed by Guns N’ Roses … 3:40
6. “Poison” performed by The Prodigy … 6:15
7. “Superbeast (Girl On A Motorcycle mix)” performed by Rob Zombie … 3:52
8. “Bad Influence” performed by Eminem … 3:40
9. “Nobody’s Real” performed by Powerman 5000 … 2:54
10. “I Wish I Had” performed by Stroke … 6:34
11. “Sugar Kane” performed by Sonic Youth … 5:58
12. “Wrong Way” performed by Creed … 4:20

Soundtracks can be a great (and not so great) snapshot of a certain time in music history when said soundtrack is full of contemporary songs & artists. The soundtrack to 1994’s The Crow perfectly captures the grunge & alternative rock scene and End of Days does a fairly good job of showing what rock music was at the turn of the century: rap metal, nu metal, industrial metal and post-grunge rock.

BUT… While the soundtrack covers it’s musical bases just fine, that doesn’t necessarily mean those genres were any good in the first place and that this album is. Okay, okay… I’ll be honest, there’s actually some solid stuff going on here and not your usual soundtrack throwaway filler.

I could mention that, surprisingly, I like the Korn, Limp Bizkit, Creed and Eminem songs, but that’s not what is important about this album. What IS important is that it holds the only officially released single from the mythical Chinese Democracy from Guns N’ Roses. Of course, I’m talking about “Oh My God” which is a loud, aggressive NIN-inspired song that is just awesome and features Axl at his angriest and most sneering. It’s a far way from “November Rain” or “Nightrain”, but so what? Good is good and I love this song and it’s the only reason I bought the soundtrack. At this time though, if Democracy does ever come out, I think it’s probably best to leave this one off the record due to the time that’s elapsed since it’s original release.

In the end (of days), despite the genres involved, this album actually offers up some really great tunes and to this day, it’s an album I’ll occasionally pull out and listen to. Which is a lot more than I can say about the supposed “comeback” the movie was meant to be for Arnie.

And yes, I have the “Clean” version, picking it up at Wal-Mart and not realizing until later that there was an explicit version.

Highlights: “Crushed”, “Oh My God”, “Superbeast [Girl on a Motorcycle Mix]”, “Bad Influence”, “Nobody’s Real”, “I Wish I Had”

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