Sodom-"Code Red"-1999


[ahem] Well, now that I got THAT out of my system, on with the review. The new Sodom! What more need be said? This 13 track Blitzkrieg continues the German War Machines` legacy of brutality. Only Manowar, Motorhead, and Slayer can match this 3-man Death Squad in terms fire-power! After a brief intro, The Ripper & crew dive right in and proceed to blow yer head off with the title track! From there on, it`s the audio equivalent of a drive-by shooting; lots of chaos, carnage,and general MAYHEM! I won`t even bother to mention which songs are the "Best",`cause being the Sodommaniac that I am, to do such a thing would be pointless! Tunes like "Tombstone", "What Hell Can Create", "Liquidation", "The Vice of Killing", and "The Wolf and The Lamb" prove what REAL Sodom fans have known all along; Sodom never dissapoints, never bows to trends, and never fails in their on-going quest to produce the Heaviest, Loudest, Fastest, Metal music on planet Earth! If you have NEVER experienced this band before, this CD would be an excellent starting point,as it is their BEST album YET! Until the next album,anyway...

Loreena McKennitt-"Live in Paris and Toronto"-1999

I know what you`re thinking: "What`s THIS doin`on a Metal reviews page?! The hell`s wrong with this guy?" Hey,it`s MY site, remember? I`ll put up whatever I want! And THIS album deserves to be here, not just because I`m a HUGE fan of Loreena`s, but because it`s a GREAT recording! Captured on her 1998 world tour, the 17 tracks on this 2-CD set are culled from performances at the Salle Pleyel in Paris and Massey Hall in Toronto. They also show why Loreena is held in such high regard the world over; backed by a first-class musical ensemble,these tunes are taken to another level in a live setting. Nothing is lost in the transition from studio to stage. "The Mystic`s Dream", "Skellig", "The Old Ways", every track comes beautifully to life on stage! ALL of my personal favorites are on this album, so I won`t bother trying to pick out a particular track; buy it and decide for yourself! You`ll be won over,believe me! At the moment, this double-CD is available only from Quinlan Road, Loreena`s own label {All proceeds from sales of this album will go to The Cook-Rees Memorial Fund For Water Search and Safety}; you can find out more by going to her official site.

Loreena McKennitt Official Site

The Cage-S/T-1999

Another disc I`ve been foaming at the mouth over as I waited lo these many months! After being un-ceremoniously dumped by Sabbath after nearly 10 years & 5 studio albums, and helping ressurrect the bands career {internationally, at least} in favor of that tatooed, bat-biting, over-weight, has-been {you KNOW who I`m taking about}, vocalist Tony Martin has now involved himself in The Cage, the project of Italian guitar wizard Dario Mollo that also features the talents of keyboard legend Don Airey, as well as Fulvio Gaslini on bass, and Ezio Secomandi, drums. Available only in Italy upon initial release, the CD has just been released in Japan {where I obtained my copy via import} and will be out in Europe late June. 10 tracks of Hard Rock/Metal that finally give Mr.Martin the chance to display the full range of his vocal/song-writing talents, free of the unfair comparisons to previous singers that plagued him during his tenure with the Sabs`. In sum,THE CAGE KICKS ASS!!! These tunes are what Metal USED to be {and could be yet again!}. From the opener,"Cry Myself to Death", to the final track, "Soul Searching", and all points in-between {the Japanese version features a STOMPIN` cover of Deep Purples` "Stormbringer"} this disc is yet ANOTHER contender for best Metal album of 1999! Mollo is particularly impressive; this guy BURNS, cutting up the fretboard with high-tech,yet always melodic and in control, guitar work that reminds me of Brazen Abbots` Nicolo Kotzev. And Tony Martin, well what can I say? One of my all-time favorite Hard Rock frontmen, Tony positively SHINES on this disc! My only hope is that this "project" becomes something more, because this combination of musical talents is to DIE for! Now if some smart, savvy record company here in the States {IS there such a thing?} would take notice...well, we can DREAM,right? To Tony Martin: The next time those ingrates whose initials are B.S. {not for nothing,it seems} come crawling to you for help, sit them down, play
"The Cage" full blast, then tell them to go f**k
themselves. You can do better and,on this album,you have!

Soul Destruction-"United in Obscurity..."-1998

Death from the Mid-West!! I`ve been waiting to get my hands on this bad boy and lemme tell ya, it was WORTH it! "Scorched Earth Policy" is most definitely the mind-set SD were in when they recorded this monster, `cuz this CD leaves NOTHING standing in its` wake! Front to back, "United..." is a winner. Every cut is a collage of Metals` stylistic diversity; Death, Thrash, Speed/Power, you name it, it`s here! Don`t get me wrong, this ain`t no kitchen sink approach,just a perfect example of intellegent, articulate song-writing, delivered with all the subtley of a wrecking ball! The band{Ron Cardwell-bass, Turk Elliot-drums, Randy Reynolds-guitar, & vocalist/frontman/all around cool MO`FO` Aaron Werner} are all first-rate musicians, and this is clearly evident on tunes like "Follow Me", "Anger Process" {personal fave}, "Punish the Children", and "Soul Destruction". It`s not fair to single out these tracks `cuz they`re ALL ass-kickers! And you can remember the songs long after you`ve heard `em, a trait of ANY true Metal classic,which this album most certainly is! Yeah,you BETTER get this! {Hey, Aaron,what`s up,`bro?}


Darling Demoniac-"Let Sleeping Corpses Lie"-1999

From the ashes of Female Dominated Society comes Darling Demoniac, probably the HEAVIEST thing to come outta Upstate New York EVER! Original FDS members MicHELLe and Meghan {drums & bass, respectively} have joined forces with guitarists Pat O`Riley and Chris Wood, and vocalist/vampiress Jessica Darling to create the most EVIL sounding shit I`ve heard in years! While most contemporary Death Metal bands seem content to recycle the same ideas that Slayer, Deicide, and Morbid Angel used up 10 years ago, DD are Death Metal for the 21st century and beyond. {And besides,I`ve GOTTA say these things `cuz MicHELLe knows where I live!} The high-quality production only enhances the bands first-rate songwriting skills; they KNOW that any song,Death Metal or otherwise, has to be memorable AND heavy, and they`ve got the musical ability to pull it off. The rhythm section is absolutely BRUTAL, laying the foundation for some of the best sounding guitar work this genre`s seen in while. There`s no wasted notes, no pointless noodling, no fuckin` around,PERIOD! The 4-song CD kicks off with "Unchained", which begins as an almost tranquil instrumental until the band turns it up & caves yer skull in! "99 Fulton Avenue", which deals with a Hudson Valley serial killer with a taste for prostitutes {thanks for the info, `HELLe!}, "Clone",& the final track, "Becoming", featuring an ending that`ll give you nightmares for a week! All of this is topped off by Jessicas` Scare-the-livin`-shit-outta-ya vocals, some of the best in Death today. {Jess,you can rip my throat out ANY day!} Without a doubt, the most VISCIOUS album since "Hell Awaits", and one of the best Metal CDs` of `99! Evil as FUCK!

Outrage-"Just a Demo..."1997

Oh, YES!! This 7-song demo from Santa Rosa, CA Power Metalers Outrage simply BLEEDS attitude! Featuring Tracy Houser on Guitar, Ari Kohn on Bass, Liz Say on Drums, and the lone male, Kurt Houser,on Vocals, Outrage tears it up with the best of `em! Sound-wise they kinda remind me of "Vulgar Display of Power"-era Pantera, but the band most definitely has a style all their own, delivered with an ear-bleeding intensity! The high quality production [for a demo,anyway] accentuates the high degree of musical skill the band possesses. [BTW, Liz Say did NOT play drums on this tape; she only recently joined the group and Kurt tells me her drumming is FAR more INTENSE than that of the previous drummer! OUCH...] Tunes like "To Overcome", "The 2 Sides of Denial" [personal fave.] and "Mai-Tai, Mudslide, Stoli" [Must`ve been a HELL of a party,guys!] are Metal the way it`s SUPPOSED to be played. Kids,this is the SHIT! Outrage is a band to watch [and fear?]! Special thanks to Kurt, Tracy, Ari,& Liz for their generosity in supplying me with this tape; you RULE!

The Official Outrage Homepage

Cessation of Life-"Aggressive by Nature,Destructive by Choice"-1998

The problem I have with many of the "Modern" Metal bands is that they all seem to be folowing the same route; Pantera/Machine Head-style songs, abrasive hardcore-influenced vocals, down-tuned Sabbath riffs. All of which is fine, but there doesn`t seem to be any variation in what they do. Pretty soon, you begin to experience a feeling not unlike getting your car stuck in the mud; there`s a lot of noise, a lot of grinding, a lot of anger & frustration, but you never go anywhere! NONE of the above applies to Cessation of Life. This Los Angeles based 5-piece most DEFINITELY move! The sound reminds me a little of the `80s Bay Area Thrash, with a Hardcore edge and a modern attitude. And they GROOOOVE,too! Variation and originality are the watch-words here, and C.O.L. has both of these qualities to spare. "Synthetic Suicide", "Angel of Mercy", "Impalement", all display the bands excellent song-writing skills & first-rate musicianship. Power, Speed, you GOT `em! Listening to this CD is kinda like having a grenade go off in yer skull,and YES, that`s a good thing! Get "Aggressive..." NOW!

Mail Order Bride-"The Dance of Death"-1998

Absolute, 100%, Rip-Yer-Face-Off Metal from this New York 4-piece! This 5-song wall of death is yet another spike to drive through the heart of the Alternative Beast. While the tape may have its`faults in the production department, a good song will stand out no matter what sonic limitations are present; THESE tunes pound your senses into total submission! Cool riffs abound,and M.O.B. piles `em on like there`s no tomorrow. First rate musicianship, top quality song-writing,it`s all here. And to top it all off, we have The Bride herself on vocals! Sounding like a VERY pissed-off Pat Benatar who`s just returned from a 6 month holiday in Hell, this woman can go from a sweet, seductive whisper to demonic growls that make Glen Benton sound like Adam Ant! All of these qualities give Mail Order Bride a sound all their own,and should help propel them to the fore-front of the current Metal "revival". With songs like "Beaten and Battered" [which is how you`ll feel after you hear this tape], and "Concrete Graves", they shouldn`t have any trouble getting there! "Pure True Power Metal", indeed! Buy this tape; do NOT make the Bride angry!

Shango-"Metal Mafia"-1998

HOLY S#*T!! Metal DEAD? Not if THESE guys have anything to say about it! From da mean streets of Brooklyn come 3 wise guys who play what they call "Mafia-Core", and they`re makin` you an offer you CAN`T refuse. Do NOT look for political correctness here,`cuz Shango [pronounced "Shawn-go"] don`t fuck around! They`re loud, hard, fast,and most of all, FUN! Remember that word? The blubbering ninnies who have dominated the so-called music scene of the `90s didn`t,but their day in the sun is OVER! Shango has arrived to kick their asses with a good, healthy dose of ATTITUDE! Trying to point out the best tracks is impossible. "Who Told You That" has the BEST lyrics of any Metal tune I`ve heard. "Powerland", along with the other 10 songs on this disc, showcase the bands superior musicianship & song-writing skills. "I Killed Your Music"should be dedicated to MTV. And the closer "Just Play The Fuckin` Song" is THE Metal anthem of all time! In fact, "Metal Mafia" is right up there with "Ace of Spades" & "Kill`em All".The perfect CD to pop in while you watch "Goodfellas", "The Godfather", or "Gotti". But make sure you play it very,VERY,loud! Get this album NOW! Don`t MAKE me come after you.....

Dreamsfear-"Prelude to Destiny"

Power Metal from the Emerald Isle! This 4-song mini CD is, in my not so humble opinion,one of the BEST straight up Metal releases to come out this year [OK, so we`re only 4 months into the year, SO WHAT?]. No "Hard Alternative" here, just good ol` fashioned Thrash/Power Metal for the 21st century! This self-produced EP gets top marks in all departments; first rate production, KILLER guitars [a Heavy Metal essential!], excellent vocals, a precise rhythm section, and most important of all, the song writing, which is finely crafted & obviously well thought out. From start to finish, these tunes hold your attention and never let go. No mean feat, considering that 3 of these songs are in the 7 to 8 minute range! But there`s not a bum note to be found here, no wasted space or pointless guitar extravaganzas, just one cool riff after another.the songs: "Ruins", "Bleak Horizons", "As Darkness Falls", and "Burning Bridges". Great job,guys!!! You can find out more about Dreamsfear by clicking on the link below. [Special thanks to Kieran Hynes for sending me the disc!]

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