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Review: The Morning After – You Can’t Hurt Steel

The Morning After – You Can’t Hurt Steel
(2009, Rising Records)

1. Metropolis … 1:04
2. Lost In Time … 6:09
3. Hell And High Water … 3:48
4. Glitter And Bombs … 5:02
5. Crush.Kill.Destroy … 8:26
6. In The Heart Of The Young … 6:12
7. Atlantis … 5:15
8. Sometime After Dark … 4:43
9. The Destroyer … 0:47
10. You Can’t Hurt Steel … 5:43

Band:
Sam Ryder – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Phil Maher – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Gary Stone – Bass, Backing Vocals
Jake Booth – Drums 

Okay, after loving the ’80s melodic rock-meets-modern rock/metal sound of Legacy so much, I decided to check out The Morning After’s debut album You Can’t Hurt Steel. It’s a less pleasant offering because metalcore permeates throughout most of the songs complete with those harsh growling vocals. I like when bands are influenced by Avenged Sevenfold, I just don’t like when those influences are from A7X’s metalcore years.

The Morning After still has their melodic moments but nothing like what is to come on Legacy, the songs on You Can’t Hurt Steel are heavy and fast. This is heavy metal and I think with their follow-up they toned their sound down to be more in the range of hard rock.

Musically, I really have no complaints because unlike most metalcore bands there is tons of melody here along with the chugging riffs and shredding solos, the problem is when the metalcore vocals come in but thankfully clean vocals are used the majority of the time.

The intro “Metropolis” is hilariously deceptive as to what is about to be unleashed throughout the rest of the album. It’s epic AOR featuring keyboards and it’s jarring when the modern metal of “Lost In Time” kicks in. It’s not until “In The Heart of the Young” that the album finally lets up and allows you to breathe and see where the band was heading for the next release.

Overall, You Can’t Hurt Steel is a good melodic modern metal album that is well worth exploring but if you’re like me and backtracking from Legacy, you may be in for a bit of a shock from the metalcore influence.

Highlights: “Glitter And Bombs”, “Crush.Kill.Destroy”, “In The Heart of the Young”, “Sometime After Dark”

http://www.facebook.com/tmaofficialuk
http://myspace.com/themorningafterrock

Buy ‘You Can’t Hurt Steel’ at Amazon.com

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

Black Veil Brides – Rebels

Black Veil Brides – Rebels (2011, Universal Republic Records)

1. “Coffin” … 4:15
2. “Rebel Yell” … 4:38
3. “Unholy” … 3:25
4. “Rebel Love Song” [Extended Director’s Cut Music Video] … 6:50

Band:
Andy Biersack – Vocals
Jake Pitts – Guitar
Jinxx – Guitar
Ashley Purdy – Bass
Christian Coma – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Zakk Wylde – Guitar (“Rebel Yell”)

Just six months after releasing the glam/metalcore Set The World On Fire album, the Black Veil Brides are back with an iTunes exclusive EP featuring one new  original song, two covers and a music video. Truthfully, I couldn’t care less about the music video to “Rebel Love Song”. That seems like it would’ve been better suited to be included as a bonus on STWOF since that’s the album the song comes from.

I recently read excerpts of an interview with lead singer Andy Biersack who made it sound like BVB were looked to spread their wings beyond the metalcore scene. They don’t want to do anything fancy or “mature”, they just want to play & write fun rock songs. “More Motley Crue, less W.A.S.P.” is how Andy put it. “Coffin” will still appeal to their goth & emo Hot Topic fan-base but it’s definitely a song that shifts away from the metalcore sound into a regular ol’ modern metal sound that’s comparable to Avenged Sevenfold.

Just as Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows moved away from the awful screaming metalcore style of “singing”, Andy seems to be doing the same as well. He still screams but it’s not as abrasive as before and certainly sounds in place on Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and KISS’ “Unholy”.

Yes, the ’80s influence is coming through even more. “Coffin” itself is a good song and stands up to the best from STWOF but if “fun” is what BVB is going for these days — then they’ve far beyond exceeded that with their covers of “Rebel Yell” (Zakk Wylde guests on this one) and “Unholy”. Their versions are great. A very powerful, heavy sound has been given to both and this especially suits “Unholy”.

I am very interested in seeing what is coming on the next album. I have a feeling that just like Avenged Sevenfold once these guys further break away from metalcore, they’re going to be one of the great modern metal bands.

http://www.bvbarmy.com
http://www.facebook.com/Blackveilbrides
http://twitter.com/#!/OfficialBVB

IDOLS ARE DEAD – Mean

Idols Are Dead – Mean (2008, Scarlet Records)

Track Listing:
1. “This Is Not The End” … 4:05
2. “Let’s Do It!” … 3:27
3. “Dance with the Devil” … 3:34
4. “Pain for Sale” … 4:16
5. “Dirt” … 3:50
6. “It’s So Easy” … 3:08
7. “The Name of the Rage” … 3:18
8. “Proud to be Sick” … 3:13
9. “Twiggy” … 3:45

Band:
Mana – Vocals
Ico – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Alley X – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Maxx C – Bass, Backing Vocals
Luca – Drums

Produced by: Gabriele Ravaglia, Simon Mularoni, Maxx C

YES! Now this is some modern metal I can really get into! I’ve been wanting to try out some heavier stuff than my usual 80s-inspired hard rock and this is just what the doctor ordered! Idols Are Dead are heavy, but not *too* heavy. They are a melodic blend of good old-fashioned heavy metal, thrash metal and modern metal, so they keep things interesting and don’t just pummel your ears. The songs are really catchy and have stuck in my head after listening to the album.

And you know these guys’ hearts are in the right place because they do a cover of Guns ‘N Roses’ “It’s So Easy”… and it’s pretty good! But this album isn’t some 80s heavy metal throwback, the band has taken old thrash and metalcore and made it work. I’ve seen others reviews comparing their modern touch to Avenged Sevenfold or Trivium and that sounds about right.

This Italian band is trying to break in the U.S. and I really hope they do because this is a really strong record that the States needs to hear. Definitely looking forward to hearing whatever they come up with next.

Highlights: “This Is Not the End”, “Let’s Do It!”, “Pain For Sale”, “Dirty”, “It’s So Easy”, “Proud to Be Sick”

www.idolsaredead.com
www.myspace.com/idolsrdead
www.youtube.com/idolsrdead

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