Blog Archives

Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life [Review]

81mbVD8bbtL._SL1425_

 Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life
2014, Rhino Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. Neon Knights – Anthrax
2. The Last In Line – Tenacious D
3. The Mob Rules – Adrenaline Mob
4. Rainbow In The Dark – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher
5. Straight Through The Heart – Halestorm
6. Starstruck – Motörhead with Biff Byford
7. The Temple Of The King – Scorpions
8. Egypt (The Chains Are On) – Doro
9. Holy Diver – Killswitch Engage
10. Catch The Rainbow – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren
11. I – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy
12. Man On The Silver Mountain – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren
13. Ronnie Rising Medley (A Light In The Black / Tarot Woman / Stargazer / Kill The King) – Metallica
14. This Is Your Life – Dio
Bonus Track:
15. Buried Alive – Jasta

Well, there certainly hasn’t been an absence of Dio-related releases since Ronnie’s passing. In the 4 years that Ronnie has been gone there have been two compilations, two live releases (a third is due shortly) and at least three tribute albums by my count. Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life is the third tribute album that I am aware of. The first two tributes were Jorn’s Dio (which Wendy Dio gave her blessing for) and Joey DeMaio’s Magic (which Wendy did not approve of), though I’m sure there’s probably more out there.

As far as star power and  talent goes, you won’t find a better Dio tribute: Anthrax, Halestorm, Metallica, Scorpions, Rob Halford, Motorhead, Biff Byford, Vinny Appice, Doro, Doug Aldrich… the list goes on and on.

Most these songs are played fairly straight and faithfully but it’s still interesting to hear Dio covered by other well-known artists and the songs cover his years in Rainbow, Black Sabbath and the Dio band. The majority of these tracks range from good to excellent. Even Tenacious D (who I normally can’t stand) do a decent job.

There are a few tracks I do have an issue with though. For one, Killswitch Engage’s “Holy Diver”. I don’t like metalcore and never needed to hear a metalcore version complete with unnecessary pinch harmonics that would make Zakk Wylde proud. I give them credit for trying to make the song their own, but it doesn’t make it a good cover.

Then there’s the cover of Black Sabbath’s “I”. There’s a good line-up of musicians on the track and Oni Logan is a good singer but he lacks the power to really put that song over the top like Dio did. He doesn’t sound bad, but I don’t think he’s the right fit for a song like this, if that makes any sense.

Then there’s “Man on the Silver Mountain”. Again, great musicians here. It’s Rob Halford backed by a collection of former Dio band members. Doug Aldrich’s presence is felt throughout the song and while he was in Dio before he joined Whitesnake, the song is given a slight makeover and comes across like a modern Whitesnake song. Halford sounds fine, but again, he doesn’t have the proper voice to be covering songs sung by Ronnie James Dio. Or songs sung by Ronnie James Dio that have been given a Whitesnake makeover. I’m liking this take on the song musically, I just think Halford’s vocals are out of place.

Glenn Hughes turns in a fantastic soulful performance on “Catch the Rainbow”. He is also backed by a collection of former Dio players. Motorhead & Biff Byford do a great job on “Starstruck” and I initially thought that was the Glenn Hughes track when I first heard it. “The Temple of the King” by Scorpions is wonderful as well. It’s a faithful cover of the original but it’s very cool to hear Klaus Meine on vocals.

The track that is garnering the most attention, obviously, is the Metallica track. I’m glad they are on this project because there’s no doubt they have brought eyes to this album that might not have given it a look otherwise. They do a good job covering four of Rainbow’s best songs.

The physical CD closes the album with the ballad “This Is Your Life” which is pulled from Dio’s 1996 album Angry Machines. The song is given extra weight considering the circumstances. Jasta’s “Buried Alive” is a digital album exclusive bonus track and is actually pretty good. Once again, Japan gets more material than North America because Stryper’s cover of “Heaven and Hell” and the Dio Disciples’ take on “Stand Up and Shout” appear on pressings over there. Seriously, what’s up with Japan always getting bonus tracks that never see the light of the day in the United States? I’ve never heard anyone actually address why that happens so often!

A few minor quibbles, but this isn’t a better Dio tribute album out and there probably never will be. Must have for Dio fans!

Highlights: “Rainbow In the Dark”, “Straight Through the Heart”, “Starstruck”, “The Temple of the King”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, “Catch the Rainbow”, “Ronnie Rising Medley”, “This Is Your Life”

Newsted – Heavy Metal Music [Review]

newsted-heavy-metal-music-album-cover

Newsted – Heavy Metal Music
2013, Chophouse Records
Buy the album

1. “Heroic Dose”
2. “Soldierhead”
3. “…As the Crow Flies”
4. “Ampossible”
5. “Long Time Dead”
6. “Above All”
7. “King of the Underdogs”
8. “Nocturnus”
9. “Twisted Tail of the Comet”
10. “Kindevillusion”
11. “Futureality”

Band:
Jason Newsted − Vocals, Bass
Jessie Farnsworth − Guitar
Mike Mushok − Guitar
Jesus Mendez Jr. − Drums

Producer: Jason Newsted

Former Metallica/Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted returns with a new metal outfit. The simple album title is indicative of what you’ll find on this release — heavy metal music. That’s it. This isn’t “modern” metal, this isn’t alternative metal. It’s meat and potatoes heavy metal influenced by the likes of Black Label Society, Black Sabbath, Motorhead and, yes, Metallica.

Newsted does a fine job on vocals as he snottily growls on vocals in a style similar to James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine and it’s good to have him back front-and-center with his own band. He was underutilized in Metallica and with this new band I hope he’ll be much more visible in the metal scene than he has been for the last decade or so.

Heavy Metal Music is not unique and does not set out to reinvent the metal wheel. It’s quite down-to-earth and basic but that’s okay. That’s all you need sometimes and Newsted has come up with a handful of memorable songs such as “Heroic Dose”, “Soldierhead” (which sounds like it could’ve come from Death Magnetic), “Above All” and “Nocturnus” (Iommi riffing). It’s good to know there are still those out there dedicated to providing an old school sound but they don’t try to pretend it’s still 1985. This is new music rooted rooted in 1970s & 1980s metal.

Highlights: “Heroic Dose”, “Soldierhead”, “Above All”, “King of the Underdogs”, “Nocturnus”

http://www.facebook.com/jasonnewstedofficial
http://newstedheavymetal.com/

Metallica – Beyond Magnetic

Metallica – Beyond Magnetic (2011, Warner Bros. Records)

1. “Hate Train” … 6:59
2. “Just A Bullet Away” … 7:11
3. “Hell and Back” … 6:57
4. “Rebel of Babylon” … 8:01

Band:
James Hetfield – Vocals, Guitar
Kirk Hammett – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums

Producer: Rick Rubin

Beyond Magnetic is a collection of the 4 songs that didn’t make it onto 2008’s Death Magnetic album. 14 songs were written for that album but only 10 made the cut. So, after debuting these songs live during one of their 30th Anniversary shows, Metallica originally released them to the world  through digital retailers (exclusive to iTunes in North America) on December 13, 2011. The E.P. is available in CD form as of January 31, 2012.

From what I understand, these are only rough mixes of the songs (I’m assuming final mixes do exist). I just hope they don’t try to pad out the next Metallica album by throwing completed versions of these songs on it and calling it a day.

As expected, reaction to this Beyond Magnetic has been mixed. I’ve read everything from “It’s worse than Death Magnetic!” to “Why the #&$% weren’t these songs on Death Magnetic?” to “It sucks!” to “They’re playing thrash again!” to “At least it isn’t Lulu!”

I’m not one of those “fans” that takes the stance that everything the band has done since …And Justice For All  (or the Black Album) sucks. I’ve talked about making the ultimate Load & Reload compilation in the past. And I quite liked Death Magnetic. I listened to it again recently and it still holds up. With the songs from DM still fresh in my mind, I’m in the camp that’s wondering why these songs weren’t included on the album. In fact, that album only had 10 tracks, what’s wrong with bumping it up to 14? Still, “Suicide & Redemption” and “The Judas Kiss” could’ve easily been left off DM to make room for at least “Just A Bullet Away” and “Hate Train”.

“Just A Bullet Away” comes the closest to sound like old school Metallica. I don’t really think we’ll ever see a true return to that era but this is about as close as these guys can get these days. So, yeah, your mileage may vary but I think this is a good little E.P. with on “Rebel of Babylon” kinda just wandering around for a bit.

If you’re a Metallica hater, you’ll probably hate Beyond Magnetic but that’s expected of you. As for anyone who actually enjoyed Death Magnetic, this is worth checking out.

The album art looks like a butterfly.

Highlights: “Hate Train”, “Just A Bullet Away”, “Hell and Back”

http://www.metallica.com
http://www.facebook.com/Metallica

Buy Beyond Magnetic [CD Edition] at Amazon.com

Trimming the Fat: Metallica’s Load & ReLoad

 

Quite some time ago I took a look at Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums, took the best tracks and laid out what I thought one single album should’ve looked like (never mind there is a UYI compilation… mine is better). Well, I’m here to do that again.

The subject? Metallica. The albums? Load and ReLoad.

The original plan was for Load to be a double album but with some songs coming along slower than others, this idea was scrapped. The 14-track Load was released in June 1996 while the band continued to work on the remaining songs and released them as ReLoad (13-tracks and essentially “Disc 2” of Load) in November 1997.

Both albums are completely filled with, er, um… filler. Too many tracks, too many long tracks. Load is nearly 79 minutes. ReLoad is 76 minutes. Both albums are WAY TOO LONG.

I know it’s fashionable online to bash anything and everything this band has done since 1991 (even 1988 if you’re particularly grouchy) but mid/late ’90s Metallica wasn’t too bad. Were they card carrying members of the Metal Militia anymore? Absolutely not but that doesn’t mean they weren’t able to spit out a few good hard rock numbers… even if those songs did have a southern rock and/or alternative vibe. Corrosion of Conformity, anyone? What is too bad is that Metallica thought they were onto something so special that they felt they needed 2 albums, 27 tracks and 2.5 hours to tell their tale.

I give you the “Metal Excess Cut”:

Loaded: The Very Best of Load & ReLoad

Fuel
Ain’t My Bitch
King Nothing
Devil’s Dance
The Unforgiven II
Bleeding Me
Slither
The Memory Remains
Hero of the Day
Until It Sleeps
Fixxxer

Of course I profess no great skill when it comes to sequencing the tracks, so you mileage may vary, but I will not budge on “Fixxxer” being the closer.

So there you have it. I think these 11 tracks are really the only ones worth listening to from Load & ReLoad and with a running time of a little over 60 minutes, it may still be a tad lengthy but certainly better than nearly 80 minutes!

Buy ‘Load’ at Amazon.com

Buy ‘ReLoad’ at Amazon.com

Who Cares (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends) – Out Of My Mind / Holy Water

Who Cares (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends) – Out Of My Mind / Holy Water (2011, earMUSIC/Eagle Rock Records)

1. “Out of My Mind” … 5:19
2. “Holy Water” … 7:00

Band:
Ian Gillan – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Linde Lindstrom – Guitar
Jason Newsted – Bass
Nicko McBrain – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards

How’s THIS for a super group: Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Iron Maiden’s Nick McBrain, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, ex-Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord and HIM’s Linde Lindstrom! Well, um, nothing against Lindstrom but, wow, he feels a bit out of place doesn’t he? I think his connection is he’s either dating or married to Iommi’s daughter.

Who Cares was initially a project put together by Gillan & Iommi to help benefit the rebuilding of a music school in Armenia but there was always the vague promise that Gillan & Iommi would continue to work together on some new material. I imagine with a reunited Black Sabbath that won’t be happening… ever (Sabbath will probably take up the next few years and these guys are old enough already). Shame. I’d much rather hear a Iommi & Gillan record (Geezer can tag along too) than a new Sabbath album with Ozzy.

Initially released as a digital single, the album has been made available on 7″ vinyl (limited to only 1,000 copies) and as a deluxe CD single featuring a video clip and a 30 minute documentary.

Despite being a one-off super-group that implied Tony & Ian might continue to work together, Who Cares went a bit under the radar, I think. Yes, it was done for charity so it’s not like there was any huge label or promotion backing this but given the talent involved I would have expected more buzz from the rock/metal community.  The songs are just phenomenal and while I haven’t heard any of Gillan’s recent work with Deep Purple, the guy can still sing and scream like a rock ‘n’ roll god (even if his voice is a tad bit weathered, but at 66 years old, I’ll give him a break).

“Out of My Mind” is just plain heavy. Not Born Again heavy, but still heavy nonetheless, stomping along and sounding Black Sabbath & Deep Purple put in a blender: Iommi pulling out a great riff and solo, Gillan singing with venom and Jon Lord doing what he does best. Musically, it’s really not too far off from what we might’ve heard from Heaven & Hell.

“Holy Water” is a bit more majestic in scope with a taste of the Middle East. I’m not all that well-versed on Deep Purple with Steve Morse but from what I have heard, this sounds like the type of song you might hear from them as Jon Lord’s keyboard factors heavily into this track and Gillan is a bit more subdued.

Who Cares was put together for a great cause and features great music so it’s definitely worth buying. It also shows us what a great pairing Gillan & Iommi can still be and hopefully we can get some more music of out this duo in the future.

Amazon.com

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 – Music From and Inspired By

Mission: Impossible 2 – Music From and Inspired By (2000, Hollywood Records)

1. “Take a Look Around” – Limp Bizkit … 5:20
2. “I Disappear” – Metallica … 4:26
3. “Scum of the Earth” – Rob Zombie … 2:55
4. “They Came In” – Butthole Surfers … 4:42
5. “Rocket Science” – The Pimps … 3:30
6. “Have a Cigar” – Foo Fighters & Brian May … 4:02
7. “Mission 2000” – Chris Cornell … 3:42
8. “Goin’ Down” – Godsmack … 3:23
9. “What ‘Chu Lookin’ At?” – Uncle Kracker … 5:11
10. “Backwards” – Apartment 26 … 3:09
11. “Karma” – Diffuser … 3:16
12. “Alone” – Buckcherry …3:23
13. “Immune” – Tinfed … 3:49
14. “My Kinda Scene” – Powderfinger … 4:26
15. “Carnival” – Tori Amos … 4:18
16. “Nyah” – Hans Zimmer & Heitor Pereira … 3:32

Ordered this one online for dirt cheap all because I wanted the Metallica and Buckcherry songs that were exclusive to this album.

A number of singles were released from this album: Limp Bizkit’s “Take a Look Around” (a rap-metal reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme), “I Disappear” and the Foo Fighters/Brian May cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” spring to mind. The local radio stations seemed to be all over the Limp Bizkit single (it was 2000, after all, and rap-metal was all the rage) and “I Disappear” received substantial play as well.

I love “I Disappear”. I think it’s one of Metallica’s best songs. Sure it’s not heavy metal but it’s a great hard rock tune and whenever I heard it on the radio I felt compelled to drive faster. Maybe the music video of James Hetfield speeding around had something to do with that!

Once again showing myself becoming ever more the completist, Buckcherry’s “Alone” is what truly made me decide to buy this album. I didn’t even realize they were on this soundtrack until recently and the song is exclusive to this soundtrack so I had to own this. It’s a pretty good tune, not a career highlight for the band, but I like it and it’s a lot better than most of the songs here.

As you can tell by looking at the artists involved, this is mostly an alternative rock/metal album with most acts turning in the usual generic songs that has come to be expected from soundtracks. Chris Cornell’s “Mission 2000” is decent and despite the title, it’s not some type of remix or variation on the M:I theme — it’s a new, harder version of the song “Mission” which was on his excellent Euphoria Morning solo debut from the year previous.

To be honest, most of this soundtrack is garbage but I only spent a few bucks and got out of it what I expected to get out of it so I guess it’s not a total loss.

Highlights: “I Disappear”, “Have a Cigar”, “Mission 2000”, “Alone”

METALLICA – Kill ‘Em All

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1988, Elektra Records)
Original Release: 1983, Megaforce Records

1. “Hit the Lights” … 4:17
2. “The Four Horsemen” … 7:08
3. “Motorbreath” … 3:03
4. “Jump in the Fire” … 4:50
5. “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” … 4:27
6. “Whiplash” … 4:06
7. “Phantom Lord” … 4:52
8. “No Remorse” … 6:24
9. “Seek & Destroy” … 6:50
10. “Metal Militia” … 5:05

Band:
James Hetfield — Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Kirk Hammett — Lead Guitar
Cliff Burton — Bass, Backing Vocals
Lars Ulrich — Drums, Percussion

Producer: Paul Curcio & Johnny Zazula

My first impression when I heard this album was that I found it pretty funny how young James sounds. He’s practically a baby! No one can dispute this is a heavy metal classic and it’s a very important album for the world of metal just for the fact that it is Metallica’s debut album. That said, they did far better releases throughout the rest of the ’80s as their songwriting became more complex and mature.

There’s an innocent charm and a great sense of purity to Kill ‘Em All though. Metallica was just another metal band at this point, not greedy whiny billionaires meticulously over-analyzing  and calculating every album they wrote. Anyway, this album is speed and thrash metal for the sake of speed and thrash metal!

Of course, I can’t say egos weren’t they yet because they were and that is part of what led to Dave Mustaine being kicked out before even getting to record this album with the band. His raging alcohol problem was the major reason for the band giving him the abrupt boot, but Dave himself and others have speculated that given Dave’s natural-born leadership qualities, it just didn’t mesh with the equally headstrong Lars & James. Apparently, Ulrich and Hetfield were willing to co-captain the Good Ship Metallica, but didn’t want a third guy his hands on the steering wheel too. Enter Kirk “Go With the Flow” Hammett as the new lead guitarist just in time to record.

Mustaine’s hand prints are still all over this album with him getting four song credits and original bassist Ron McGovney (who was let go by the band for being too passive) gets one credit. “The Four Horsemen” was based on a Mustaine song called “The Mechanix” with a little altering from Hetfield and Hammett. Dave released a more faithful version simply called “Mechanix” for Megadeth’s debut. Dave says he asked James and Lars to not use ANY of his music for the album, but they deny that claim. Such drama, it’ll never end!

The album was originally released on CD in ’83 by Megaforce, but the band’s longtime label Elektra did a reissue in ’88, which is the version I own. I don’t even have the jewel case or insert for it. I was supposed to be borrowing this album from a friend and in exchange I let him borrow the Black Album. Well, he ended scratching up that album pretty bad and told me I could keep this one as compensation. That was 9 years ago and I still have never replaced that Black Album!

Okay, finally getting back to the music, there are some really great songs on this album but for me some of the weaker songs just kind of blend together. Very good release, but Metallica has done better (and a LOT worse) so it’s not near the top of my grab list when I want to hear some Metallica.

Highlights: “Hit the Lights”, “Motorbreath”, “Jump in the Fire”, “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth”, “Whiplash”, Seek & Destroy”

www.metallica.com
www.myspace.com/metallica

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.

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…

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: