Blog Archives

Steel Panther – All You Can Eat [Review]

COVER-SP-All-You-Can-Eat-copy

Steel Panther – All You Can Eat
2014, Open E Entertainment
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. Pussywhipped
2. Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World
3. Gloryhole
4. Bukkake Tears
5. Gangbang at the Old Folks Home
6. Ten Strikes You’re Out
7. The Burden of Being Wonderful
8. Fucking My Heart in the Ass
9. B.V.S
10. You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11. If I Was King
12. She’s On the Rag

Band:
Michael Starr – lead vocals, backing vocals
Satchel – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Lexxi Foxxx – bass guitar, backing vocals
Stix Zadinia – drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:
Vivian Campbell – Guitar (“Gangbang at the Old Folks Home”)

Steel Panther continues to prowl the streets with their special satiric blend of heavy metal, melodic rock, sex and gross-out humor. All You Can Eat delivers some of the band’s best songs to date with some interesting musical choices. “Pussywhipped” begins with an acoustic intro that sounds a bit ominous, I half expected the band to break out into 1980s-era thrash song while the keyboards portions used in “She’s On the Rag” sound like they could have very well come from a Lady GaGa song.

For my money, Steel Panther is one of the best rock/metal bands around. Not only are they funny but they are great musicians and songwriters. Pop, heavy metal, glam… it doesn’t matter. They do it and do it well (and I’m not just talking about having sex). Though the band already has some great songs in their catalog, this is probably their best record to date. I can’t get “The Burden of Being Wonderful”, “You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk”, “Bukkake Tears” or “She’s On the Rag” out of my head. In fact, I’ve had to correct myself at work because I’ve found myself mumbling the lyrics on a number of occasions. And trust me, “Bukkake Tears” and “She’s On the Rag” are two songs you don’t want to sing aloud unless you want a visit from HR!

Even so, “Bukkake Tears” and “The Burden of Being Wonderful” are two of my favorite songs of the year. They are nothing short of modern pop-metal masterpieces. I realize some people many not be accepting of that given the lyrics, but that’s how I feel. If these guys toned down the humor for one album, they’d probably deliver one of the best hair metal albums of all time. Even with the humor, they are still delivering some of the best hair metal albums. Filler tracks here would be “B.V.S.” (which stands for Big Vagina Syndrome) and “Ten Strikes You’re Out”.

All You Can Eat is an extremely fun album with great riffs and catchy choruses for days. Gonna be tough to beat this one at the end of the year.

Highlights: “Pussywhipped”, “Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World”, “Gloryhole”, “Bukkake Tears”, “The Burden of Being Wonderful”, “You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk”, “She’s On the Rag”

Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria [Review]

2594316

Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria: Live at the Joint, Las Vegas
2013, Frontiers Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

Disc One:
1. “Women” 6:11
2. “Rocket” 6:09
3. “Animal” 4:07
4. “Love Bites” 6:08
5. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” 4:32
6. “Armageddon It” 5:26
7. “Gods Of War” 7:14
8. “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” 4:33
9. “Run Riot” 4:49
10. “Hysteria” 5:59
11. “Excitable” 4:37
12. “Love and Affection” 6:17
13. “Rock of Ages” 4:15
14. “Photograph” 6:13

Disc Two:
1. “Good Morning Freedom” 3:36
2. “Wasted” 3:44
3. “Stagefright” 3:41
4. “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” 4:56
5. “Action” 4:13
6. “Rock Brigade” 3:41
7. “Undefeated” 5:25
8. “Promises” 4:11
9. “On Through The Night” 5:11
10. “Slang” 2:37
11. “Let It Go” 6:08
12. “Another Hit And Run” 5:14
13. “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” 3:44
14. “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” 4:43
15. “Switch 625” 5:08

Band:
Joe Elliott – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Phil Collen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar, Backing Vocal
Rick Savage – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums

Producer: Ronan McHugh

In the late ’90s/early ’00s, the fad among hard rock bands seemed to be working with a symphony. Then for a bit it seemed like cover albums were all the rage for the older bands. Now? Well, it looks like Vegas is the place to be for ’80s hard rock groups and honestly… that makes sense considering most of those bands were decadent and over-the-top with their music and live performances.

Viva! Hysteria is Def Leppard’s second live offering, recorded in March of 2013, and it arrives only two years after the release of their first live album, Mirrorball: Live & MorePersonally, I think it’s way too soon for the band to release another live album (and they’re both double albums!) but I understand them wanting to commemorate their run Las Vegas run at The Joint.

At least the set list is not similar to Mirrorball. Viva! Hysteria captures an entire live performance of the Hysteria album while disc two sees the band playing fan service by tossing in some old favorites, oddities and rarely played songs. It’s always great to see a classic band do this rather than run through a tired ‘greatest hits’ set list for the millionth time. I imagine the second disc will get more spins from the hardcore Def Leppard fans than the first disc will. I’m glad to see they dusted off “Promises” from 1999’s Euphoria. It’s a great song from one of my favorite Def Leppard albums.

The band actually opened for themselves performing under the name of Ded Flatbird while playing those deep cuts from disc two. So the entire live performance of Hysteria on disc one is actually how the band closed their shows (while tossing in Pyromania‘s “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph” as encores).

Def Leppard may have released some of the most polished rock albums ever but when it comes to live performances, you won’t miss the studio trickery… they actually sound like a rock ‘n’ roll band! I just wish the band tossed one or two new songs on this release as I liked the three new studio tracks they released with Mirrorball.

www.defleppard.com
www.facebook.com/defleppard

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball: Live & More

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball: Live & More (2011, Mailboat Records)

Disc 1
1. “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)”
2. “Rocket”
3. “Animal”
4. “C’Mon C’Mon”
5. “Make Love Like A Man”
6. “Too Late For Love”
7. “Foolin'”
8. “Nine Lives”
9. “Love Bites”
10. “Rock On”

Disc 2
1. “Two Steps Behind”
2. “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”
3. “Switch 625”
4. “Hysteria”
5. “Armageddon It”
6. “Photograph”
7. “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
8. “Rock Of Ages”
9. “Let’s Get Rocked”
10. “Action”
11. “Bad Actress”
12. “Undefeated”
13. “King Of The World”
14. “It’s All About Believin'”

Disc 3 – DVD
– Behind the Scenes on the Sparkle Lounge Tour 2008-2009
– Live Performances: “Rock! Rock! (‘Til You Drop)”, “Armageddon It”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Hysteria”
– Music Videos: “Nine Lives”, “C’Mon C’Mon”

Band:
Joe Elliott – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Phil Collen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rick “Sav” Savage – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Def Leppard & Ronan McHugh

Wal-Mart nabs yet another exclusive North American release from yet another band that has fallen into the classic rock category but this time it’s a live album (and more!). It’s a proven method for success these days as the album debuted at #16 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. with approximately 20,000 copies sold.

The live tracks were all recorded somewhere out there over the rainbow (it’s never specified exactly when and where in the liner notes) during the Sparkle Lounge tour that ran from 2008-2009. As someone who saw that tour and most recently caught them on tour in support of this album I can safely that Mirrorball is a good representation of what the band sounds like live. Obviously there is polish and trickery in the studio that cannot be replicated live (certainly true when it comes to a band like Def Leppard). As most “live” albums go, there is a little tinkering done not-so-live but this is still a faithful representation that plays out like a live greatest hits.

Which is basically what Def Leppard has been doing for a number of years now — a greatest hits set list, which is fine, but after awhile you wanna see them throwin some fan faves that they haven’t played in a number of years. The most recent album Def Leppard is playing live from in 2011 (other than “Undefeated” from this album) is 1993’s Retro Active! They’ve released 5 albums since then but all are being ignored… that’s a bone to pick for another time. Live versions of “Action” and “Bad Actress” are tacked on near the end of the album, supposedly they are “bonus” tracks. I guess maybe the Frontiers edition doesn’t have these songs?

Although I would’ve picked this album up regardless, the real bait for me was the three new studio tracks:

  • “Undefeated” is a classic Leppard. The first few times I heard the leaked form on YouTube, I liked it but wasn’t really impressed (Joe’s voice seemed pretty weak). Since then, the song has grown on me in a big way. I’ve got it on my iPod for when I run and it’s a great choice to open the shows on the current tour. Sounds even better live. Classic Rock magazine said it was “as good as anything they’ve written in the last 30 years”. I wouldn’t go that far but it is a very strong number that is definitely as good as anything from the past 15 years or so.
  • “Kings of the World” sounds like a track that didn’t make it onto Sparkle Lounge. Total Queen-worship here which the band doesn’t deny at all. Lyrically, it is very similar to Queen’s “Princes of the Universe” from A Kind of Magic. Slow song but good.
  • “All About Believin'” wraps up the audio portion of Mirrorball and sounds like it could’ve come from Euphoria. Another good song.
After being slightly disappointed with Songs from the Sparkle Lounge it’s good to see the band embrace their “classic” sound a bit more with these new songs. Hopefully between Yeah! and Sparkle Lounge the band has worked out their ’70s glam rock impulses and will go back to the Mutt Lange-dictated/inspired sound that gave them their best albums (PyromaniaHysteriaAdrenalize and Euphoria in case you’re wondering).
The third disc, a 50 minute DVD, is interesting– a couple of live performances and some behind-the-scenes footage. All told, this is a great collection showing that on the stage and in the studio Def Leppard can still get it done. Now about that set list…

http://www.defleppard.com
http://www.facebook.com/defleppard

Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010, Niji Entertainment Group)

Disc 1: 1983
1. “Stand Up And Shout” … 3:50
2. “Straight Through The Heart” … 4:49
3. “Children Of The Sea” … 6:16
4. “Rainbow in the Dark” … 4:38
5. “Holy Diver” … 5:09
6. Drum Solo
7. “Stargazer” … 1:43
8. Guitar Solo
9. “Heaven And Hell” … 11:06
10. “Man On The Silver Mountain” … 3:33
11. “Starstruck” … 0:47
12. “Man On The Silver Mountain (Reprise)” … 2:30

Disc 2: 1987
1. “Dream Evil” … 4:56
2. “Neon Knights” … 4:44
3. “Naked In The Rain” … 7:29
4.” Rock and Roll Children” … 2:47
5. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” … 4:39
6. “The Last In Line” … 4:12
7. “Children Of The Sea” … 1:22
8. “Holy Diver” … 1:28
9. “Heaven and Hell” … 3:18
10. “Man On The Silver Mountain” … 4:29
11. “All the Fools Sailed Away” … 4:23
12. “The Last in Line (Reprise)” … 1:12
13. “Rainbow In The Dark” … 5:12

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar (Disc 1)
Craig Goldy – Guitar (Disc 2)
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Another great document and testament to the power of Dio live! This collection of two live Donington shows is the first album to be released under Ronnie & Wendy’s Niji Entertainment Group label. The album was in the works before Ronnie’s death (he gets executive producer credit) but sadly he did not get to see the release of this album. Disc One was recorded August 20, 1983 while Disc Two was recorded on August 22, 1987. These shows are available to us today thanks to the BBC archiving them (along with a couple of the other bands) for the purpose of a few radio broadcasts. Now they’ve passed the savings onto us!

And what a release it is! Very nice digipak foldout featuring some cool pics from the shows (the album cover is the best shot), promo art, a bit of history on the band leading up the shows, plus two mock-laminate passes for these ’83 and ’87 Monsters of Rock shows. Also, if you pre-ordered from Ronnie’s official site, included is an exclusive Dio VIP backstage pass. I’m not sure if the passes were from random tours but my pass is from the 1990 Throw ‘Em to the Wolves tour which of course had the band supporting the Lock Up the Wolves album. If the pre-order pass isn’t authentic and something they found in a warehouse somewhere, they really did a heck of a job with making it look so.

Disc One features a hungry band on fire and with something to prove. Ronnie was coming out of Sabbath and had just released Holy Diver the month before and the group was placed early on the bill. Ronnie and his gang had no choice but to throw down the gauntlet and show the world they could make it just fine, thank you. Half of the set list features songs from the then-new Holy Diver album while Ronnie also makes use of his Rainbow and Sabbath days to further win over the crowd. The worst part about this set? We are only teased with way-too-short versions “Stargazer” and “Starstruck”! But there is another lengthy and epic version of “Heaven and Hell” to make up for it while the band shows all kinds of flash, power and pizazz on their shiny new songs. A lively crowd throughout (even cheering on the new and soon-to-be classics) helps makes this an even better show.

Disc Two finds Craig Goldy stepping in for Vivian Campbell. An extended set list is here as well now that the band had graduated to “Special Guest” for their second Donington appearance playing second to last on the bill (Bon Jovi headlined this year). Dream Evil was the new album to promote that year (also coming out in the previous month) and it’s a good album so I have no problems with some of those songs making appearances but I would’ve loved to have heard “Sunset Superman” (in place of “Naked In The Rain”) and even “Sacred Heart” from the 1985 album of the same name. At least Sacred Heart‘s Rock and Roll Children made it! One of my favorite Dio songs. I’m also surprised “Holy Diver” got the short end of the stick but oh well. Still, with Dio now being able to call up on four albums of his own and adding a few more Rainbow and Sabbath nuggets to distinguish this set from the 1983 show, this is yet another great concert. Funny how “Rainbow In The Dark” had worked its way up to becoming the band’s closing number.

I won’t even get into the highlights this time. The first disc is full of fire and energy and the second disc thankfully does not repeat too much of disc one and is a fine total performance in its own right. Dio fans must own this album!

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.facebook.com/officialronniejamesdio
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

DIO – Intermission

Dio – Intermission (1986, Vertigo Records – German Import)

1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:41
2. “Rainbow in the Dark” … 4:42
3. “Sacred Heart” … 6:23
4. “Time to Burn” … 4:25
5. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” Medley: “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”/”Man on the Silver Mountain” … 9:40
6. “We Rock” … 4:55

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Vivian Campbell – Guitar

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

Intermission is a fantastic live EP which features one new studio track. All of the live songs were taken from a performance on 12/06/85 at the Sports Arena in San Diego, CA. I’ve read a couple of different theories on why this EP was created. One theory states that it was an attempt to boost sales for the previous year’s Sacred Heart album (which found itself not doing quite as well as Dio’s first two efforts). The other theory is that it was meant to introduce new guitarist Craig Goldy to the world. Goldy had replaced Vivian Campbell in the middle of the Sacred Heart tour.

Vivian was still in the band at the time of the recording of the live songs so they actually had Goldy re-record some of those guitar parts. The new studio song “Time to Burn” was recorded entirely with Goldy on guitar. It’s a good song that is on par with some of Sacred Heart‘s better moments but anyone in 1986 who was hoping it would be a return to the Holy Diver or The Last In Line albums would have been disappointed… even more so since half of this EP is compromised of Sacred Heart songs. I’m a big fan of that album though so I think this EP is great. The live performances are typically very good. You can’t go wrong with Dio live. I especially enjoy “King of Rock and Roll”, “Sacred Heart” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” (which features a medley of “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Man on the Silver Mountain”).

I’ve had this album on my want list for a long time but it was always a low priority because it was a live EP. With the unfortunate passing of Ronnie, I decided there was no time like the present to get it. I tried to order it used on Amazon’s Marketplace but two or three days after placing my order, the seller told me they did not have it in stock and probably would not be getting it in stock again. So I went to my usual online stop CD Universe where they had it on backorder but I knew that was normal because every time I looked at the listing in the past it was always listed as such. I went ahead and placed the order anyway and hoped for the best. The CD finally shipped about a week and a half after I placed the order.

Highlights: “King of Rock and Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

DIO – Sacred Heart

Dio – Sacred Heart (1985, Vertigo Records – West German Import)

1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:49
2. “Sacred Heart” … 6:27
3. “Another Lie” .. 3:48
4. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” … 4:32
5. “Hungry for Heaven” … 4:10
6. “Like the Beat of a Heart” … 4:24
7. “Just Another Day” … 3:23
8. “Fallen Angels” … 3:55
9. “Shoot Shoot” … 4:20

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

Alright! I own a Cold War-era import! I’m guessing the U.S. pressing (where it was released on Warner Bros.) is out of print? Doesn’t matter, owning imports gives you an extra bit of credibility and cool and this is one of the last few Dio album I needed to acquire to make my collection complete.

I’ve read a lot about this album not stacking up to Holy Diver or The Last in Line and that may be true but it doesn’t make Sacred Heart anything to stick your nose up at! In fact, this is pretty good stuff. It’s Dio! How can you go wrong? Just his voice alone makes his albums worth the price of admission and sure he’s criticized for using the same themes over and over again but honestly — what’s wrong with angels, dragons, rock ‘n’ roll and evil women? I’ve listened to this album 4 or 5 times in full since buying it and I haven’t gotten tired of it.

There are a few keyboard-heavy commercial efforts here. Seems a if Dio was trying to replicate “Rainbow in the Dark” with songs like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” and “Hungry for Heaven” but that’s okay because I happen to like the songs. They’d be better though without the keyboards and that goes especially for “Hungry for Heaven” which is a catchy rocker but it totally loses its balls when the keys come in.

Dio’s first two albums went platinum and this one only went gold (500,000 copies sold). None of his albums have been certified gold or platinum since. If this is the beginning of any popularity “downfall” for Dio there’s still more than a few good notes here for him to go out on. Quality certainly isn’t the issue as far as I’m concerned. Sacred Heart is a solid release in a long history of them from Dio.

In addition to being Dio’s last flirt with mainstream success, this was guitarist Vivian Campbell’s last album in the group. Vivian joined Whitesnake in 1987 and has enjoyed a cushy job in Def Leppard since 1992.

“Shoot Shoot” is often cited as one of Dio’s worst songs but I don’t see it that way. It’s not great and the lyrics are silly but I don’t think the song is terrible. I guess I’m just not that hard to please when it comes to Dio.

Highlights: “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Another Lie”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”, “Hungry for Heaven”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

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: