Saxon-"Heavy Metal Thunder"-2002

Haven`t gotten yer fill of Saxon? "Heavy Metal Thunder" should cure what ails ya! Recorded at the same time as the "Killing Ground" sessions, this 2 disc set features 13 re-recorded tracks culled from the bands` "classic" period. This collection should satisfy both the casual AND diehard Saxon fan, as well as the novice listener [especially those youngsters who think System Of A Down invented Heavy Metal!]. Among the gems here are [of course] "Heavy Metal Thunder", "Strong Arm of the Law", "Power and the Glory", the awesome "Crusader", "Princess of the Night", "747 (Strangers in the Night)" [my all time FAVORITE Saxon tune!!!], "Denim and Leather", and other crucial Saxon tracks. If you`ve ever wondered what the older tunes would sound like with newer recording technology, this should satisfy your curiosity. And while some of the edge and lustre of the older tunes may be missing from these new versions, they still kick some holy ASS! [Do you really think Limp Bizkit will be re-recording updated versions of THEIR early stuff 20 years from now? I don`t THINK so....] CD #2 was recorded live in San Antonio, Texas, USA 2002 and features the following: "Broken Heroes", "Dragon´s Lair", "The Eagle Has Landed", "20,000 FT", "Crusader". as well as a live Video track "Killing Ground", recored live at Wacken 2001. Heavy Metal Thunder" INDEED!!!!!


Gary Moore, Cass Lewis, Darrin Mooney-"Scars""-2002

Gary Moore is back, and is he PISSED!! Well maybe not, but the Irish axesmith`s playing on his latest, "Scars", displays a grit and menace long absent from the last 12 years worth of outings. Gone are the polite, B.B. King Las Vegas-style blues, to be replaced by a more down `n` dirty, at times positively caustic approach to the blues/rock genre. And Gary`s playing the Strat again, turnin` `er up good an` LOUD! But those expecting "Corridors Of Power Part II" will doubtless be dissapointed, while those with more of an open mind will be pleasantly surprised. Refusing to be pigeonholed, Moore has created some of the heaviest rockin` tunes of his career, no small feat, considering his extensive resume! For his latest sonic venture, Gary enlisted ex-Skunk Anansie bassist Cass Lewis and Primal Scream drummer Darrin Mooney, making "Scars", sound like a true power trio in every respect. The whole album has a "tight but loose" feel, and the uncluttered arrangements give the impression of 3 guys blastin` out and having fun. I wouldn`t be surprised if many of these tunes were first or second take, such is the spontaneous nature of the tracks! From the modern blues rock of "When The Sun Goes Down" to the psycho soloing of "Rectify", and the experimental "Wasn´t Born In Chicago", it`s obvious that these guys are firing on all 8 cylnders! Other choice cuts include the funky, Hendrix-style "Stand Up", the heartfelt "Just Can´t Let You Go", which is helped by the sparse arrangment and Moore`s soulful voice. "My Baby (She´s So Good To Me)" would do Buddy Guy proud! "World Of Confusion" sounds like Gary dusted off his copy of "Are You Experienced" , and his soloing on "Ball And Chain" defies all known laws of logic and physics! Wrapping things up is the beautiful "Who Knows (What Tomorrow May Bring)?", and this could just as easily sum up Gary`s career, as well. And while talent-free morons like Tom Morello get guitar magazine covers and full page articles, Gary Moore labors in the shadow of the blues, as always. The "Scars" this album leaves are deep and lasting, but in a good way! And they don`t hurt; well, maybe a little, but also in a good way!

Gary Moore

Rondinelli-"Our Cross, Our Sins"-2002

Just 5 months after "Cage 2" [with Dario Mollo], Tony Martin is back belting out more Hard Rock soon-to-be classics! "Our Cross Our Sins" is the second release [since 1985!] for Rondinelli, and this very impressive line up includes Bobby Rondinelli (drums), Neil Murray (bass), Teddy Rondinelli (guitars) and Tony Martin (vocals). With a combined resume featuring the likes of Whitesnake, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore and Quiet Riot, you KNOW you`re in for a treat! Musically, the album is similar in both theme and feel to Sabbath`s "Cross Purposes" [on which Martin and Rondinelli performed]. This is epic hard rock on a BIG scale, folks! The production here is first rate; the drums, vocals, guitar and bass are all given equal time. This is the work of a BAND, not a bunch of sideman! Although Martin made no contributions as far as lyrics, his unique stamp is all over the tunes [with the exception of"Dawn" and "Ride On Fire"; the vocals for these 2 tracks were done by Teddy Rondinelli]. "The Meaning Of Evil", "It´s A Lie", "Midnight Hour", "Naughty Dragon", "Find The One", "Bulls Eye", "Time", "Our Cross Our Sins" are winners, one and all in my book, so I won`t bother to pick out the "best" tracks! The arrangements are simple and clutter free, allowing the music to breathe. The overall band performance? Need you even ask?! I`ve already gushed about Tony Martin, so `nuff said! Neil Murray; can this guy EVER play a wrong note?! Of course Bobby Rondinelli`s drumming is going to make ANY recording sound like a million bucks! As for brother Teddy; this is my first introduction to his work, and WHAT an intro! Not a shedder like past Martin collaborators Dario Mollo or Aldo Guintini, Teddy comes from the bluesier end of the spectrum. He strongly reminds me of Leslie West [he once worked with Felix Papalardi, so no wonder!], or Cream-era Clapton. Thick, meaty riffs deivered with the right blend of tone, touch, and technique; what more could one ASK? And as mentioned earlier, Teddy is a fine vocalist, as well [on the aforementioned tracks, as well as "Find The One"]. 15 years ago, this sucker would`ve rocketed up the charts, but thanks to corporate stupidity, the mainstream will probably never hear this album, which is a DAMN shame! Without a doubt, the finest Hard Rock release of the new millenium. Oh, you are gonna LOVE this one!!!

Interview With Bobby Rondinelli!
An Interview With Tony Martin!

Yngwie Malmsteen-"Attack"-2002

After a couple of musical mis-steps , The Man Of A Thousand Notes gives us "Attack!!", his best release since "Facing The Animal", and a definite throwback to the "Marching Out" and "Trilogy" days. The latest edition of the band features former Rainbow belter Doogie White, Derek Sherinian [keyboards], Patrik Johansson [drums] and er...Yngwie Malmsteen [everything else!]. From the firey opening salvo of "Razor Eater" to the rousing "Rise Up", as well as the killer title track, this is an Yngwie Malmsteen album, no doubt; fortunately, it`s mostly a very good one, as well! Other standouts include the cleverly titled instrumental "Baroque ´n Roll" [howzabout "Flat Baroque"? "Baroquen Arrow"? ""Baroquen Hearted"? GOD, this is fun!] "Stronghold" features a memorable, pulsing main riff. "In the Name of God" is a real cruncher. The Hendrix-style "Freedom Isn´t Free" beats most of the Stevie Ray wannabes hands down! Only letdown on this tune; Yngwie on vox! [Why? WHY!?] There`s the majestic Viking themed "Valhalla" , with a great vocal performance by White. The catchy "Touch the Sky" and the powerhouse "Ironclad". To his credit, Yngwie has always enlisted first rate vocalists, each with their own distinctive voice. The choice of White was an inspired one, as he has both the higher register Dickinson-stye gymnastics AND the blusier Glen Hughes vocals with equal aplomb. Pity White didn`t have more input in the song writing department, something Mr. Malmsteen has never been keen to share. One can only wonder how much he`d accomplish if he`d relinquish some of the song writing chores, instead of hogging them all! But such is life for with the Swedish whiz kid. And there`s no point in me telling you about the solos, as there are solos to spare, and they`re ALL great. Despite what his detractors say, Malmsteen`s solo work is never devoid of emotion, and his tone and technique are simply mind boggling, something that cannot be said for his many copy cats! But he [and we] could definitely benefit from a collaboration, a Dio/Blackmore style partnership. `Til then, you get what you get......

Yngwie Malmsteen

Holy Moses-"Disorder Of The Order"-2002

The "Princess Of Hell" herself, Holy Moses vocalist Sabina Classen has revived the German Thrash Metal monsters! Having survived a battle with cancer and a terrible motorcycle accident, the tough-as-nails Classen obviously had a LOT of aggression to release, and what better way than an all out Metal assault? The band`s 2001 "comeback" EP "Master Of Disaster" was but a taste of things to come. Which leads us to their latest album, "Disorder Of The Order", a 12 track wall of total death! The latest incarnation of the band is: Franky Brotz-rhythm guitar, Joern Schubert-lead guitar, Andreas Libera-bass, and Julien Schmidt-drums. After the spooky intro, it`s Gotterdamurung all the way with the vicious "We Are At War", followed by the crushing "Disorder Of The Order" and the Thrash Metal HELL of "Break The Evil". Other highlights include the menacing "Deeper" and the aptly titled "Hell On Earth". Sabina`s vocals were ALWAYS terrifying, and they have only gotten better with age. With all due respect to Arch Enemy`s Angela Gossow, Sabina did it first and did it BETTER! [and she STILL does!] And the band matches her all the way, riff for brutal riff! "Disorder...." is some of the most LETHAL Germanic Thrash to come out since the last Sodom release; yes, it`s THAT good! Welcome back, Sabina & crew! You are MUCH needed!

Holy Moses


Remember when female rock vocalists sang with power? I mean, REAL power, as well as emotion! This does NOT include the current crop of pre-fab, punk/pop "riot grrrrls", who sound like a bunch of 14 year old, tantrum throwing after-school detainees. Want some real powerhouse vocals? Look no further, `cause Doro Pesch has just what you need! With nearly 20 years of quality hard rockin` to her credit, Doro`s got the goods and knows how to deliver `em! Since her days with Warlock, this lady has unflnchingly waved the Heavy Metal freak flag, while most of her peers caved in to the Seattle [and later the Nu Metal] sound to stay afloat, rather than stay true. Her latest, the aptly titled "Fight", shows that Doro is prepared to do JUST that, and as always, she`s got the band to help her do it. Nick Douglas - Bass, Keys, Joe Taylor - Guitar, Johnny Dee - Drums, Oliver Palotai - Keys, Guitar and Chris Lietz - Guitar, Bass, Keys [Chris Caffrey of Savatage played the guitars on "Salvaje" and the guitar solos on "Descent]. The whole thing kicks off with the hard rockin` title track. "Always Live To Win" , a fist pumping anthem, is next, followed by "Descent" (featuring Type-O Negative`s Pete Steele). Other goodies include the powerful, heart wrenching "Undying". My favorite track, and a great performance by Doro is "Legends Never Die" (written by Gene Simmons and originally performed by the late Wendy O. Williams) "Rock Before We Bleed" [arena rock at it`s finest!], the neck snapping "Sister Darkness", and "Wild Heart" [an autobiography?]. Closing the album is "Hoffnung", which is German for Hope. And there IS hope; hope that Heavy Metal will return to better days, when a Metal band was judged on it`s own musical merit, not on how many pierced, goateed, tatooed, bald bass players your band has. And with "Fight", Doro has given us that hope!


Tır-"How Far To Asgaard"-2002

First off, I will tell you what this band is NOT! They aren`t some raging, screaming Power Metal Maiden/Helloween-obsessed clone band of the type so prevelant in much of the Euro Metal scene. So if you`re looking for that crap, you won`t find it! Tır is much, MUCH more than that, believe me! They are a progressive metal band, founded in Jan. '98 by Faroe ["sheep"] Islands residents in Denmark. They are: Kári Streymoy [drums], Heri Joensen (guitar), Gunnar H. Thomsen (bass). Terji Skibenæs [guitar], and Pól Arni Holm [vocals on the album; he was later replaced by Allan Streymoy, who has since left the band]. Drawing inspiration from their rich heritage of Old Norse Mythology and the Icelandic sagas, as well as bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica and Dream Theater, Tır have created a sound all their own, based upon the ancient Faroese ballads and Norse history. [Tır is the god of war. He was the bravest of the gods] The 8 tracks [varying from 4 to 8 minutes in length] on "How Far To Asgaard" weave a fascinating tapestry, rich with tales of Norse gods, heroic deeds and otherworldly realms, made all the more interesting by the fact that they are derved from actual traditions, not some ridiculous fantasy! The songs: "Hail To The Hammer", "Excavation", "The Rune", "Ten Wild Dogs", "God Of War", "Sand In The Wind", "Ormurin Langi" [sung in Faroese], and the title track. Tempos vary from slow to mid paced, and though quite long in spots, the songs have a hypnotic quality to them, never boring. The arrangements are well thought out, and hold the listeners attention throughout. It also helps that the band are first rate musicians, as well! Innovation in a genre that thrives on imitation is rare; Tır is one of those rare musical entities that has used their homeland`s relative isolation to their advantage, and in the process created a new chapter in the annals of Metal. Without a doubt, one of the most original bands to come along in many a moon! Do yourself a favor; go to the band`s website and purchase the disc. And of course, play it LOUD!!!

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