Skid Row – Slave to the Grind (1991)

Skid Row - Slave To The Grind (1991)

Skid Row - Slave To The Grind (1991) Skid Row made their entrance on the rock scene with a bang back in 1989. Their self-titled debut album contains a couple of Top 10 singles, “18 and Life” and “I Remember You”, and memorable anthems like “Youth Gone Wild”. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1995 for shipping five million copies in the United States.
But as it says in the high circles of the industry, the second album is the one which separate the men from the boys. And Skid Row deliver it.
“Slave to the Grind” it’s flawless. A metal masterpiece. Read more Skid Row – Slave to the Grind (1991)

Van Halen – Women And Children First (1980) (Remastered 2015)

Van Halen – Women And Children First (1980) (Remastered) (2015)

Van Halen – Women And Children First (1980) (Remastered) (2015) “Women and Children First” was the third studio album by the American rock band Van Halen, released on March 26, 1980 on Warner Bros. Records. Generally speaking, the third album of a band it’s crucial, while the first might be an accident and the second a sequel of that, the third generally proves if that band have something to say or they never really had. In the particular case of Van Halen, “Women and Children First” was really a turning point of their career and the moment when the boys grown up and became men. “Women and Children First” rocks your s*it off. Literally. And their both previous albums were hard as a rock!
Kerrang! magazine listed the album at #30 among the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”. If you never heard the duo of “Tora! Tora!”/”Loss Of Control” you have definitively wasted your life or you’re in the wrong place! Or if you never had partying on “Could This Be Magic?”. “Tora! Tora!” it’s blacker then Black Sabbath and “Take Your Whiskey Home” bring the blues to a brand new level of… aggression. Not to mention “And The Cradle Will Rock…” which is an absolutely rock classic!
My mom had this one on vinyl, “Loss Of Control” and “Everybody Wants Some!!” were among my favorite songs beside “Rapid Fire” (by Judas Priest) and “Ace of Spades” (by Motorhead) – all of them songs of 1980!! Afterward I bought “Fair Warning” as well. The rest is history! Read more Van Halen – Women And Children First (1980) (Remastered 2015)

Venom – From The Very Depths (2015)

Venom - From The Very Depths (2015)

Venom - From The Very Depths (2015) Venom is definitively one of the most influential metal bands of all times and they were genre founders with their first two albums, “Welcome to Hell” (1981) and “Black Metal” (1982). Their third album, “At War with Satan” (1984) left some serious marks on me too with it’s 20 minutes long title track. it was a semi-concept album that tells the story of a war between Heaven and Hell where the latter side wins. Cronos – bass guitar, vocals; Mantas – guitar and Abaddon – drums had major influence on the development of heavy metal and contributed to the creation of other sub-genres such as thrash, speed, death and power metal.
In 1985, Venom released their fourth album entitled “Possessed” which was not as successful as their previous albums. Dunn then left the band to pursue a solo career.
Their fifth album, 1987’s “Calm Before the Storm”, moved away from Satanic themes in favor of “sword and sorcery” material and it was even less successful than Possessed. As result Lant, Clare and Hickey all left Venom which left Bray as the only group member.
As many other fans I lost touch with Venom as many other exciting bands flourished on the scene. Read more Venom – From The Very Depths (2015)

Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died (2014)

Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died (2014)

Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died (2014) It was the middle of the 80’s when this band blew out of blue and delivered one of the best ever heavy metal album entitled “Refuge Denied”, produced by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and released in 1987 by Epic Records. Afterward they toured with Megadeth and Warlock.
The band consisted of Warrel Dane (vocals), Lenny Rutledge (guitar), Sean Blosl (guitar), Jim Sheppard (bass) and Dave Budbill (drums), and they were from Seattle – just like another great band of those times, Queensryche. Actually “Refuge Denied” was a deadly explosive mixture of Iron Maiden type of European heavy metal, some subtle Queensryche flavors and power, respectively speed metal grindings. And, not at least, the Warrel Dane type of blood-freezing high pitch screams. It was perfect!
Their second album, “Into the Mirror Black” was released in Europe in 1989, while the US version came out the one year later. “Mirror Black” was a darker, slower, eventually more Queensryche style of progressive metal related album. A video clip for the song “Future Tense” was made and received some airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. During the tour – with Fates Warning, Forbidden and Death Angel – guitarist Sean Blosl left the band and he was replaced by Jeff Loomis.
Their bad luck was called grunge. That new genre made their hometown more famous then Jimi Hendrix ever did and unfortunately they had a record deal with a major label which over-night wanted to turn them into a Pearl Jam copy. The pressure form the record label and tensions inside the band lead in 1992, Sanctuary to officially disbanded.
But the story actually didn’t ended there. Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard and Jeff Loomis formed a new band called Nevermore in the same year. Dave Budbill lives in Florida, and he is currently the drummer for Alive Inside. Sean Blosl is creating music and film through Golden Flower Media, while Lenny Rutledge became a musical producer, and has his own studio. Lenny actually helped Nevermore on the demo sessions of their 1998 third album, “Dreaming Neon Black”. Read more Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died (2014)

Skid Row – Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two [EP] (2014)

Skid Row - Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion Chapter Two [EP] (2014)

Skid Row - Rise Of The Damnation Army - United World Rebellion Chapter Two [EP] (2014) Skid Row are back again. And “We Are The Damned” it’s a kick-ass rock’n’roll anthem, one of the best Skid Row songs they ever delivered. It’s irresistible and unstoppable. As rock music should be. The rest of the EP it’s composed of 3 more rocking heavy metal flavored songs, a quite forgettable balled and 2 solid rock covers: Queens’s “Sheer Heart Attack”, and the Aerosmith’s classic “Rats In The Cellar”. Except the 2 covers, the build-up of this EP it’s similar with the last year released “Chapter One” EP.
This is a solid, enjoyable, American heavy metal release, but I’m not sure if it’s good enough to bring back Skid Row to where they belong, at the top of the rock. If back in ’96 opening for Kiss felt to Rachel Bolan unacceptable and finally lead to fire Sebastian Bach, the guys now opening in Europe for Saxon, a good, but mediocre British heavy metal band.
Solinger it’s for 15 years now the lead singer of Skid Row and he’s doing a really fine job, no use to wait for Bach to come back, but enjoy this fine piece of American rock release. Read more Skid Row – Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two [EP] (2014)

Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014) Judas Priest is back! This equally could be a good or a bad news. It is the 17th studio album by Priest since their formation in Birmingham, England in 1969, their first album since 2008’s “Nostradamus” and also their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing, who left the band in 2011 and was quite successfully replaced by new guitarist Richie Faulkner. The album was released on 8 July 2014. As very first impression and generality, this is much better then “Nostradamus”, but this is still a very late 80’s flavored classic heavy metal album both as sound and style which might be a good news for their conservative old fans, but might be quite disappointing for those who always appreciated the creativity and capability of Priest to reinvent themselves and delivered always fresh and surprising albums till their quite controversial and in my humble opinion, pretty under-rated 1997’s album “Jugulator”. “Demolition” was their first alarming step-back and since then they only moved backwards.
“Halls of Valhalla” is possibly the strongest track of the album with a distinguished “Painkiller” flavor and it’s also probably the most “modern” song on this record. Read more Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Nanowar of Steel – A Knight at the Opera (2014)

Nanowar of Steel - A Knight at the Opera (2014)

Nanowar of Steel -  A Knight at the Opera (2014) I have written about this Italian band long-long time ago, true in a different language, can find that article here. Their brand new – and third – album it’s the same brilliant and hilarious. Putting metal and gay in the same sentence would be blasphemy and an unforgettable sin some years ago, but since Rob Halford publicly came out as gay in 1998, things are changed… We’ve got gay metal ever since! 😆
How much true gay flavor or how much deep irony it is in Nanowar, it’s impossible to see clearly from this distance, but actually it doesn’t really matter while the outcome it’s so brilliant.
Formed in 2003, called simply Nanowar at first, the band added “of Steel” to their name to parody fellow Italian band Rhapsody’s name change to Rhapsody of Fire. So, here we go, their third album recall the classic 1975’s Queen album title, “A Night at the Opera” and it’s called in the Manowar’s heroic-epic manner “A Knight at the Opera”. Released on 23 February 2014 , and the album features some old tracks re-recorded and some new ones. It is sold as a CD + DVD, including Nanowar’s live performance at the True As Steel festival in Buelach, Switzerland, October 2007. Read more Nanowar of Steel – A Knight at the Opera (2014)

Queensryche – Frequency Unknown (2013)

Queensryche – Frequency Unknown (2013)

Queensryche – Frequency Unknown (2013) And here it is, the new ‘ryche product, not really sure now if this is really the thirteenth Queensrÿche – honestly, I don’t think so – or the first album by Geoff Tate’s version of the ‘ryche – which seems more appropriate. Since I mentioned the war between the two sides of the band, the preliminary injunction lawsuit, disputing ownership of the band name, resulted in a verdict that allow both Tate and the other band members to use the band name until the next court date, scheduled for November 2013. The “other” half – actually 90% of the band – will release their album in June, although, the first single, “Redemption”, was released on March 25, 2013.
I know, generally speaking, the truth it’s somewhere in between, but this whole thing of Tate claiming the Queensrÿche name after he was the one who always was complaining about the metal content of the band and always tried to force his bandmates to leave behind the rock and metal roots and do “other” things, try different approaches and sounds, now smells pretty bad. And listening “Frequency Unknown” and the desperate struggle to prove that they are rock and metal and “true warriors”, make them look – and sound – quite ridiculous. I was curious why the hell Tate felt the need to re-record some classic ‘ryche tracks (I Don’t Believe in Love, Empire, Jet City Woman, Silent Lucidity) and his answer was shocking and cynical: “The money. The record company really wanted those for resale and licensing and all that kind of that stuff, so they said: ‘We’ll give you a lot of money for it.’ And so I said, ‘Okay, beautiful!’ They wanted them to sound, you know, as close as we could make them to the originals. And that’s what was really hard, was making them sound that way.” Well, the result it’s actually not so satisfying. Unfortunately, they managed to sound only as an imitation. Read more Queensryche – Frequency Unknown (2013)

Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Chapter One, EP (2013)

Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Chapter One, EP (2013)

Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Chapter One, EP (2013) Solid, powerful heavy rock which would just fit perfectly and make probably serious waves, get acclaimed both by fans and critics as a follow up of their killer, 91’s “Slave to the Grind”. Unfortunately, 22 years late released from a band which could be one of the best American rock/metal bands – even against all the trends and media bulls*hit. But back in ’96 Sebastian Bach failed to convince his band mates to open for KISS while Rachel Bolan considered the band too big to play as opener. Just as a twist of fate, after they fired Bach, they subsequently opened for KISS both as Ozone Monday and later as Skid Row. But this is history now!! Can’t bring those days back anymore…
After the failure of Ozone Monday featured lead vocalist Shawn McCabe, in 1999, remaining Skid Row members Dave “The Snake” Sabo, Rachel Bolan, and Scotti Hill hired Johnny Solinger to replace Bach. To date he has sung on the albums “Thickskin” (2003) and “Revolutions Per Minute” (2006), but Skid Row have been toured every summer. In 2008, Johnny Solinger pursued a country music solo career and released his debut solo album, although, previous Skid Row he had his own rock band called Solinger and released three studio albums and a live recording.
“United World Rebellion: Chapter One” is the band’s first EP since 1992’s “B-Side Ourselves”, and the first in a set of upcoming EPs releases throughout the next 12-18 months. And well, it passed seven years since “Revolutions Per Minute” as well, quite a serious gap in time between two releases for any artist. Read more Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Chapter One, EP (2013)

Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2013)

Even my five years old son knows who is Eddie and even further, he have several favorite Iron Maiden songs already. No better proof that Iron Maiden are living classics and definitively one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all times. And probably the only heavy metal band engaging three lead guitarist!! But this is a different story!
In September 2007, Iron Maiden announced the “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour”, which was tied to the DVD release of their “Live After Death” album – originally released in 1985. This tour led to the release of a new compilation album, entitled “Somewhere Back in Time”, which included a selection of tracks from their 1980 eponymous debut to 1988’s “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, as well as several live versions from “Live After Death”. The final leg of the tour included the band’s first ever appearances in Peru and Ecuador, as well as their return to Venezuela and New Zealand after 17 years. At their concert in São Paulo on 15 March, Dickinson announced on stage that it was the largest non-festival show of their career, with an overall attendance of 63,000 people.
At the 2009 BRIT Awards, the 34 years old Iron Maiden won the award for best British live act. Voted for by the public, the band won by a landslide. Read more Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2013)

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