The Metal Files

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Archive for December 2008

My Life With Ozzy

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Having been very familiar with Ozzy from Sabbath, I looked forward to hearing his solo stuff. My brother brought home Blizzard of Ozz in ‘81 and I was a bit surprised how different from Sabbath it was.

Blizzard of Ozz – 1980 (81 in the US)
This is a really good album overall but I never liked Crazy Train and No Bone Movies. Goofy songs. Yes, I know Randy sounded good on both of those but he couldn’t save them. My faves would be Suicide Solution, Mr. Crowley and Steal Away (the Night). Ozzy annoys me with his little noises he does in many of their songs. Like Crazy Train…aye aye aye…or whatever. He’s a doofus. I just never really got into this one.

Diary of a Madman – 1981I think this album is heads and tales better than Blizzard. Better riffs, solos and a tad less goofiness from Ozzy. SATO is my favorite Ozzy song ever. For this album, Flying High Again is probably my least favorite followed up by You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll.

Bark at the Moon – 1983
This was the first Ozzy album I bought with my own money and it will always hold a special place. I adore Jake’s playing on this and have always liked his style better than Randy’s. Ozzy got a little goofy on this one with the title track and Rock and Roll Rebel (retarded lyrics) but the riffs and solos in both songs overshadow the dumb lyrics. I could probably do without So Tired, but whatever. Jake rules.

Ultimate Sin – 1986
Ozzy really should have started getting someone to write lyrics for him by this time. Cripes. Thank God for the Bomb, Secret Loser and Never Know Why are silly, but again, Jake saves the day. Lots of long winded songs on here as well. The production was so thin and tinny. Awful. I am hoping that one day this will get properly remastered. The title track and Shot in the Dark and my faves. Jake is great.

No Rest for the Wicked – 1988
Zakk who? My current guitarist was a finalist to replace Jake in Ozzy’s band and subsequently they chose Zakk. There’s a plethora of tales out there as to how and why Zakk got the gig. My guy was told by Sharon that they chose Zakk over him because he (Doug) wasn’t quite “Randy” enough and that Ozzy needed that again. Doug rehearsed with the whole band a few times before getting the phone call and subsequent letter in the mail. Anyway, as for the album, it took me years to actually get into this one and it’s still not one I listen to often. Lyrically, this album sucks for the most part. My faves would be Breaking All the Rules and Bloodbath in Paradise. I saw this tour and Zakk was an idiot on stage. Ozzy let him speak way too much. He’s an idiot. It was nice to see Geezer though and Castillo was great.

No More Tears – 1993
Side one of the cassette is great. I rarely listen to anything from side 2 besides Hell Raiser. Lemmy saved Ozzy on this one. In general, it’s not a bad album but I rarely listen to it at all.

Ozzmosis and everything after…0/10

Blech.I really wish he’d just go away at this point.

Written by The Metal Files

December 31, 2008 at 1:45 pm

My Life With The Scorpions

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Like most people around my age, I first heard the Scorpions with the song No One Like You as it was a radio staple in 1982. I thought it was a cool song but it didn’t spark my interest enough to delve further. Then Love at First Sting came out and EVERYONE owned it. White cassette in the standard tan Polygram tape case. Helz yeah. Lots o’ memories thinking about that. I subsequently bought World Wide Live and Savage Amusement but still didn’t go back in time with them.

If you read my Thin Lizzy post, you saw that I acquired a friend’s LP collection around 1997/1998. In that same collection were all of the pre-Love at First Sting LPs. I owned a record player at the time and started spinning. Wow. WOW. So here goes the review.

Lonesome Crow – 1972
I really dig this album. It’s dark, moody and all around weird. Lots of jazz stuff going on. Some of the songs drone on a little long but it’s a really strong debut. There are some great promo vids on YouTube from this album.

Fly to the Rainbow – 1974
Enter God…erm, I mean Ulrich Jon “Uli” Roth. This album is a complete 180 degree turn from Lonesome crow. They got upbeat and the goofy lyrics are abound. I love it! Highlights include They Need a Million, Drifting Sun and This is My Song, but there’s not a bad song on here at all.

In Trance – 1975
It blows my mind that this album is 33 years old. Uli’s guitar work really shines and their use of the double guitar is great. This is probably my favorite album of theirs. Not a stinker in the bunch. Have I mentioned how badass Uli Roth is yet? Super nice guy, too. Met him a few years ago @ Jaxx and he was super cool. I got to help load in his vintage gear. When he saw me rolling a cabinet he said, “Do you work for me now, too?” I told him that his tour manager asked for some extra hands so I offered to help. I then asked him if these cabs were the same ones he used with the Scorpions. “Definitely!” he said with a smile. I bent down and wrapped my arms around the cab and he said, “Vas zis you are doing now?” I replied with, “Uli, I’m just hugging history, man.” He laughed and thanked me for my help.

Virgin Killer – 1977
OK…WTF is with that album cover? Beyond that, this is about another flawless album with the insane guitar work from Roth. Don’t get me wrong, Rudy is a badass in his own right, but he’s no Uli. Neither is Michael Schenker. That’s right, I said it. Polar Nights, Pictured Life, Catch Your Train. The only let down would be Hellcat. Uli really should not ever be given a microphone. NEVER. Just play your strat, homie. Did you see the movie called Stoned Age? There’s a quote in there where someone says “Dude, she looks like the girl from the Virgin Killer album.” WRONG Poindexter. They should have said the In Trance cover, but fewer people would have even gotten that reference.

Taken By Force – 1978
Things started changing for the Scorps around this time. Their popularity in Germany and Japan had made them celebrities. It’s a good thing to be successful, but I think their music started suffering for it a bit. This is a fine album, but not up to snuff of the previous 2. I guess the only real stinker is He’s a Woman – She’s a Man (also covered by Helstar). I never dug this track. Steamrock Fever is a bit goofy too. Then you hear We’ll Burn the Sky and Sails of Charon and all goofiness is forgiven. Uli. Damn. Go ahead, son.

Lovedrive – 1979
Uli! Come back! Why hast thou forsaken us? So Matthias Jabs, eh? OK, so he was and wasn’t in the band at the time since they wanted to bring Mikey back. He lasted 3 months on tour *cough* alcoholic*cough*. In general, this is a very good album, but very different than the Uli era. Gone are the classical licks and some of the space rock tones. Enter the happy sing-a-long era. Like I said, this album is excellent for what it is, just a bit of a shock. Not a stinker in the bunch.

Animal Magnetism – 1980
This is a bit of an odd record for me. I never really liked it although the LP cover is badass. “Take that bitch!” haha. I really only like 3 songs…Falling in Love, Lady Starlight and The Zoo. I see a trend though…POWER BALLADS. Damn.

Blackout – 1982
Helz yeah. This album is badass. Funny they wrote a song called Arizona and now they live there. In case you live under a rock, Don Dokken originally recorded the vocal tracks to this album while Klaus was getting surgery done on his vocal chords or something. I’d give up all 3 of my testicles to hear his versions.

Love at First Sting – 1984
What a year for metal. 1984. Lots of good stuff. This is a really strong album and I like it front to back. It’s sort of a let down to know that Jimmy Bain played bass on the whole damned thing, but it makes sense. I think Bucholz is a lot better than Bain and always thought that the basslines on this LP were pretty weak. It all makes sense now.
9.5/10, only because it was overkilled on the radio for so long and the sing-a-long-ness.

Savage Amusement – 1988
I think I am one of the few who really likes this album. I was excited when it came out and played it incessantly for months. Lots of great songs such as Believe in Love, Love on the Run, Every Minute Every Day…the whole damned thing really.

Crazy World – 1990
Besides Send Me an Angel, I detest this album. I did see this tour, however, and they were phenomenal live.

I really didn’t bother with anything else after this but saw them again in 1999 and they were awesome. They played “We’ll Burn The Sky”! I almost shit myself. 3/4 of the crowd were clueless tot he song.

I’ll see them again given the chance as they always put on a great show. I do prefer the Uli era over the Matthias era, but both are really good.

Written by The Metal Files

December 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm

My Life With Fates Warning

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I remember the day that my best friend came home from a California vacation in 1984 and he brought back Night On Brocken…I was instantly a fan.

Night on Brocken – 1984
Upon first listen, I did like most and compared John Arch to Bruce Dickinson but that comparison quickly faded away. John’s voice, Matheos’ songwriting and Zimmerman’s drumming style were the perfect combination. Other than the 2 instrumentals on this one, it’s fabulous. Buried Alive, The Calling and Damnation are my utmost faves.

Spectre Within – 1985
Whoa. Talk about improving on a formula that was already awesome. This album is perfect. Front to back. Perfect. I don’t know what else I could say about it.

Awaken the Guardian – 1986
Three in a row? Really? I am torn sometimes as to which I like better; Spectre or Awaken. Arch’s vocal harmonies and the songs Guardian and Giant’s Lore are phenomenal.

No Exit – 1988
Enter Ray Alder…too bad he still hasn’t exited! Upon first listen, I hated this album. Silent Cries was alright and the Ivory Gate of Dreams was good, but Ray’s nasaly whine didn’t do it for me. Zimmerman’s drumming was pretty good. Lyrically they started to tank on this one. WHIMPY. I bought the recent reissue and can stomach it a little better than I did 20 years ago, but it’s still not great.

Perfect Symmetry – 1989 I was really excited about this one coming out mainly because Mark Zonder was playing on it. I’d been a huge fan of his playing since Warlord. He did a good job on this album and the songs, in general, were much better than No Exit. I still didn’t care much for Ray’s singing but the songs Through Different Eyes and The Arena are great. They are certainly turning into a flower metal band at this point.

Parallels – 1991
WHIMPY FLOWER “METAL”. This is where they started to compete with Dream Theater to see who could consistently release the most boring albums ever.
1/10 – I liked The Eleventh Hour

Inside Out – 1994
I still can’t believe I actually gave this a chance. It didn’t deserve it. Whiny whimpy introspective lyrics and boring rock.

Everything after…I just stopped. I couldn’t take it any more.

Written by The Metal Files

December 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

My Life With Thin Lizzy

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As far as being a fan of a band, especially an older band like Thin Lizzy, I am a relative newbie. In 1997 one of the consultants that I worked with (now a good friend) gave me his record collection which consisted of German pressings of UFO, MSG, Scorpions, Van Halen and Thin Lizzy to name the main ones. He told me to sell what I didn’t want and pay him for that and keep anything else that I wanted to keep for myself. Of course everything went except for the Thin Lizzy stuff.

Now, let’s back up another decade or so. I remember being at Daniel’s (Cathedral71) house and he had Renegade on cassette. He played Angel of Death from that album for me and I thought it was pretty cool but never gave them any attention until I acquired that record collection 10 years later. One of the LPs he had was a compilation called Lizzy Killers. Like most people who had ever owned a radio, I was familiar with The Boys are Back in Town and Jailbreak, both of which were on the LP, but I had never heard Whiskey in the Jar or Wild One or pretty much anything else by them. So I started playing the other LPs more and more.

I cam remember when Z-Rock had its local affiliate and they used to play Cold Sweat just about every day and I always thought it was a cool song, but it still didn’t make me want to learn more about them. After spinning those LPs of Kraig’s for a few months, I was hooked. Such a talented, versatile band.

Here’s how their discography breaks down for me:

Thin Lizzy – 1971
Lots of blues and jazz influences on this one. Definitely not one of my faves but the standout tracks are Honesty Is No Excuse and Look What the Wind Blew In. Lizzy was a 3 piece band in this era and Eric Bell’s playing just never did it for me.

Shades of a Blue Orphange – 1972
I like this album even less than the debut. It just seemed like a very uncomfortable record. I rarely listen to it. Call the Police is about the only song I can say that I love on this one.

Vagabonds of the Western World – 1973
This is the album that seemed to be a turning point for the band. They started to heavy up a bit. This also includes Whiskey in the Jar (later bastardized by Metallica). Lots of really good songs on here; Little Girl In Bloom, The Rocker, A Song for While I’m Away, Black Boys On the Corner. Thankfully for Lizzy, this was Eric Bell’s last album with them.

Night Life – 1974
Exit Bell, Enter Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham. I’ve always considered this album a bit sultry. It’s got it’s bluesy overtones with songs like Still In Love With You, Showdown and Night Life. It’s a soft album but probably in my top 3 of their catalogue.

Fighting – 1975
Now they are beginning to rock it out. I still find it odd that they chose a Bob Seger cover (Rosalie) to open an LP with but it proved successful for them over the years. Lots of great songs with stunning guitar work like Wild One, Fighting My Way Back and Suicide. They also keep it diverse with mellow songs like For Those Who Love To Live and Spirit Slips Away. Gorham and Robertson are a perfect fit.

Jailbreak – 1976
Yep. Two huge hits from this one: Boys Are Back In Town and Jailbreak. Those are two songs I could live without for sure. But there are some other fine gems on here like Emerald, Romeo and the Lonely Girl, Running Back, Cowboy Song and Warriors. Damn fine album that was really their only lasting effort in the States.

Johnny the Fox – 1976
This one was written while Lynott was recovering from hepatitis and is recorded a half step down from standard tuning. When writing it, he said the lower tuning helped him sing while he was laid up. Lots of great songs on here and this is one of my faves by them. Borderline (possibly my fave Lizzy song ever), Don’t Believe a Word, Old Flame, Fool’s Gold, Massacre and pretty much the whole album are worth putting ears to.

Bad Reputation – 1977
Another favorite of mine and loaded with great songs like the title track, That Woman’s Gonna Break Your Heart, Dear Lord and Dancing In the Moonlight.

Black Rose – 1979
Definitely not one of my favorites by them and I don’t really know why. Robertson left the band and Gary Moore filled in on this one. The only 4 songs I like are S&M, Got To Give It Up, With Love and Waiting for an Alibi. The rest just doesn’t do it for me.

Chinatown – 1980
Each album of Lizzy’s follows a good progression of getting heavier and it was well-known that Phil liked metal. Gary left the band and Snowy White came in. He never looked like he fit but he was a fine player. Lots of great songs on here including the title track (great dual guitar stuff), We Will Be Strong, Didn’t I, Sugar Blues and Hey You. Phil seemed to write a lot about his personal life and his drug use came up in his songs over and over. This was a rough time in the band as both Phil and Scott were hooked to the gills on smack.

Renegade – 1982
This is a hard rock classic. Angel of Death, Hollywood, Mexican Blood, Leave This Town, Renegade…I love this album except for the song Fats. I just never felt that it fit but it did show some fancy bass playing by Phil and it sounds like he’s playing a fretless on it. All that being said, I love it.

Thunder and Lightning – 1983
Exit Snowy White, enter John Sykes. Lizzy entered the metal era. The title track, Holy War, Cold Sweat. Damn! This album is perfect and I really wish they would have stayed together to do one more. Even though it’s not heavy, The Sun Goes Down is definitely a standout track and another one where you can hear Phil pour some of his heart out in the vocals.

Unfortunately, they didn’t do well stateside and even more unfortunate is that they are basically known here by one album and 2 to 3 songs. One this that is kind of nice is to see how many bands from that era and later cite Lizzy as an influence. Phil’s songwriting abilities are certainly highly regarded in the music business and it’s easy to see why.

Thanks Kraig.  Thanks Phil.

Written by The Metal Files

December 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm

My Life With Yngwie Malmsteen

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I first heard this guy when Rising Force came out in 1984. After hearing this and reading stuff in Metal Edge and Circus magazines, I picked up Steeler and the first Alcatrazz as fast as I could. My friends and I were amazed at what this guy was able to do on guitar. It was mind-numbing and no one else at the time could hang with him. To date, I still consider Yngwie as my favorite player ever and believe he is one of the best ever living or dead.

So on with the show…

Rising Force – 1984
This album has a perfect mix of instrumentals and vocal songs. Jeff Scott Soto is such a powerful singer and was just a perfect fit for this style of music. There is not a stinker in the bunch.

Marching Out – 1985
Holy hell. As noted in the Scorpions review, the first 3 Yngwie’s also had the cream colored Polydor/Polygram tape cases. I’m one of the few, it seems, that likes this album over Rising Force. Mainly because of the addition of more vocal songs, not to mention the addition of Anders Johansson. This is one of those albums that I play over and over anytime it hits the CD player. I was never a fan of I Am A Viking but it doesn’t detract from the rating I’m gonna give this one. It’s a perfect album.

Trilogy – 1986
Mark who? When I first heard it, I hated it. I hated it for years and years. The thin production, Boals’ wimpy vocals. Yeah, the solos and riffs were there, the production and vocals really killed it for me. I think I went about 10-15 years without listening to this and finally bought it on CD a few years ago. I was blown away by it. I still don’t think it’s as good as Marching Out, but it’s damned good overall. Dark Ages is probably the weakest track on it (Viking pt 2 anyone?). I saw this tour when he opened for Triumph and got a really nice surprise when Soto came out instead of Boals. It was a great night. Jens Johansson is a deity.

Odyssey – 1988
Ahhhhh…I was finishing up my senior year in high school when this came out. I had read in the mags that Joe Lynn Turner was doing the vocals and was excited about it…afterall, Bent Out of Shape is my fave Rainbow album. So I see the first video before I heard the album…Heaven Tonight. D’oh. Dude. C’mon. OK, I understand trying to write the hits for MTV and radio, but this was a bit too cheese for me. Over the years I have grown to appreciate it, but it’s still wimpy. I’m not a fan of the instrumentals on this one and generally skip them but songs like Riot in the Dungeons, Dreaming, Faster than the Speed of Light, Crystal Ball etc. Great stuff even though his style lightened up quite a bit. I also saw this tour with Lita Ford opening up. Another great night.

Eclipse – 1990
Exit the Johansson Brothers. Damn! Enter horrible production and some pretty weak songs. Enter the upswing of Yngwie’s cocaine habit. I think with better production these songs would have been a bit better. Goran Edman’s vocals were really really thin as well. I do like Motherless Child, Judas, Demon Driver and What Do You Want. The rest was just average stuff.

Fire and Ice – 1992
WTF? The only song I can recall off the top of my head is Teaser. [PUKE]. I saw this tour as well and what a letdown. The bass, keyboards, rhythm guitars and all main and backing vocals were prerecorded. I kid you not. I was sort of crushed to see my favorite guitarist resort to such tactics. He was getting pretty hefty at this point too. I think he may have finished 2 bottles of wine while on stage. It was just awful.

The Seventh Sign – 1994
Enter Mike Vescera. I was completely excited to see him in Yngwie’s band because I am a HUGE Obsession fan. Well, I was let down a bit when I hear the album. The whole thing seemed to be written out of Mike’s range and he sounded strained through the whole thing. Never Die and Pyramid of Cheops are the highlights for me. I also saw this tour and got to the venue early to hopefully meet Mike (and possibly Yngwie). I knocked on the bus door and the tour manager said, before I could say anything, “Yngwie’s not seeing fans.” I said, “Cool, I’m here to see Vescera anyway.” After listening to the manager say that Mike was busy blah blah blah I saw him on the bus and just started shouting “Obsession! Scarred for Life! Marshall Law!” Mike came to the front quickly, moved the manager out of the way and hung outside with me for about a half hour. He freaked out when he saw my Obsession and Loudness vinyl and freaked out more when I told him about seeing Obsession back in the 80s. (Long story behind that one that I knw he’d remember…and he did!). Good times. Weak album.

Magnum Opus – 1995
Ugh, dude…Vengeance and Fire in the Sky are the only tracks that I can listen to. Mike sounded terrible (again).

Facing the Animal – 1997
Holy crap, Yng. Four in a row? I really wanted to hear this one because Cozy Powell drummed on it, but it couldn’t help it. Crappy production and poor songwriting killed it.

Concerto Suite – 1998
OK…for years I wanted Yngwie to release an acoustic classical album and I guess this is as close as I was going to get to hearing that. It’s pretty good overall, but I would have preferred him playing on a nylon stringed guitar along with the symphony.

Alchemy -1999
Re-enter Mark Boals. When I heard he was coming back, I was not amused at all. Then I bought the CD. Damn. DAMN! This album kicks my ass every time I hear it. For me it was a return to classic form for Yngwie. It’s a long one at 70+ minutes, but it’s great. Mark Boals sounds incredible when he has decent production backing him up. Highly recommended.

War to End All Wars – 2000
Bore to End All Bores. Not even Boals could help this one. Another let down. I wanted to like this one but it just didn’t happen. I did see the tour with Lizzy Borden opening up. Met Yngwie at a meet and greet that day and he was a jerkoff.
1/10 for Prophet of Doom.

Attack!! – 2002

Unleash the Fury – 2005
Surprisingly, this is a really good album. Doogie White’s vocals are really strong and the album is pretty consistent, just a bit too long. I also saw this tour. The day he rolled into town, he and his drummer came into the record store that I worked Sundays in. Yngwie freaked out at all of the Blackmore stuff we had on DVD and bought all of it. He invited me to sound check and of course I accepted. I got to hang out with him quite a bit that day and was blown away by how nice he was. The whole band was cool. His tour manager was a douchebag though. After the show he thanked me and the store owner a dozen times for the DVDs and for making his “return to Virginia” a better experience than last time…not sure what happened last time.

Perpetual Flame – 2008
This album has terrible production although I do hear some licks from Yngwie that I have either never heard from him or haven’t heard him do in a long time. Owens’ vocals are so enhanced that it’s almost painful to listen to. While there are a few catchy tunes, this album falls flat. Yngwie, get Tsangerides to produce your next one. He made Alchemy sound brilliant!

I think I may have seen Yngwie live one or 2 other times…it all gets a tad hazy.

Written by The Metal Files

December 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm

My Life With Judas Priest

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It was 1977 or 1978 when my brother brought home a copy of Sin After Sin and it was the first time I had ever heard of Judas Priest. I was already listening to KISS, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper so metal was no stranger to me. I listened to it often and it’s where my love for JP began.

Rocka Rolla – 1974
I like this album much more now than I did say 15 years ago but I don’t love it. Lots of good songs on here and really no stinkers.

Sad Wings of Destiny – 1976
I was never much of a fan of Victim of Changes and if I never heard it again I’d be ok with it. Tyrant, Dreamer Deceiver and Genocide are great. I love this album in general.

Sin After Sin – 1977
Anytime I put this album on I play it all the way through. I adore their version of Diamonds and Rust. In general, I think this was one of Halford’s best albums.

Stained Class – 1978
Another perfect album. This was the second album I heard by them and was hooked instantly. Every song on here is awesome, especially for 1978. I didn’t realize until today that Better By You was originally written by Gary Wright. If anyone has an mp3 of that, feel free to send it to me.

Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather – 1978/1979
Other than the silliness of Evil Fantasies, this is another great album by Priest. I could live without Delivering the Goods as well.

British Steel – 1980
Obviously the album that gave Priest their biggest notoriety in the states. It’s really a simple album riff-wise and the drums got dumbed down a lot (of course since Dave Holland joined on this one). This was the first JP album that I actually owned. I never liked United and really can’t stand to hear Living After Midnight or Breaking the Law. I played those 2 songs in bands enough times over the years to kill it for me forever. I do like Metal Gods and You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise quite a bit. This album was really the true beginning of their lyrical silliness.

Point of Entry – 1981
The album so many love to hate. I like this one quite a bit. Hot Rockin’ sucks. Period. Priest is definitely staying the course riff-wise when compared to British Steel.

Screaming For Vengeance – 1982
Ugh. I’ve caught grief over the years for my distaste of this album. I like the title track and Electric Eye the best. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is OK, I’ve just heard it way too many times.

Defenders of the Faith – 1984
Ugh again. Other than Some Heads Are Gonna Roll (quite possibly my fave Priest song and they didn’t even write it!), I don’t really like this album. Is there another version of that song floating around by Mr. Halligan?

Turbo – 1986
Not bad in general. Parental Guidance is rather retarded and I don’t really like Wild Nights, Hot and Crazy Days or Hot for Love at all. Still, It was a tad better than the previous 2 LPs. Out in the Cold .

Ram It Down – 1988
Geez guys. What the hell? Blood Red Skies and Ram It Down are about the only ones I can stomach.

Painkiller – 1990
WTF? I hated it then and I hate it now. Sure, it’s heavy but it’s not catchy. I was excited that a local acquaintance had joined the band but they weren’t able to deliver an album that I wanted to listen to.

Jugulator – 1997
Other than Cathedral Spires, I don’t like this album. Like Painkiller, it is the lyrical equivalent of the writings of an an average 2nd grader.

Demolition – 2001

Angel of Retribution – 2005
It’s been 2 years already? Wow. Worth Fighting For and Angel are really really good songs. The rest of the album leaves me flat. Still, it’s the best thing they did since Point of Entry.

Nostradamus – 2008

Written by The Metal Files

December 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm

My Life With Iron Maiden

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My introduction to Maiden was Run to the Hills, which I’ll assume was the way it happened with most metalheads older than 35. I had seen their album covers in stores but wasn’t able to buy albums at that time (80-82–I was 10-12!). But I heard Run to the Hills and thought it was a cool song but never heard anything else from Number of the Beast. I remember when Piece of Mind came out and Circus magazine had given it a great review. Right after I read that review I heard the Trooper on the radio. I hated it and still do. Because of that, I never gave the album a chance. 1984 rolled around and my Mom and I flew to Pittsburgh to see some relatives. At the Pittsburgh airport I bought Powerslave and Bark at the Moon on cassette but couldn’t listen to them because it seemed that no one in my extended family up there had a working cassette player. After I returned home, I popped Powerslave in the player and was hooked. It is my favorite album of all time. I’ve owned several copies on vinyl and cassette as I kept wearing them out. Now follows an album by album review of my favorite band of all time (1980-1988 anyway).

Iron Maiden – 1980
Raw, powerful, Di’Anno is on fire. It is a bit goofy in places but what metal band wasn’t in 1980? I don’t like the instrumental at all and Running Free, Sanctuary and the title track bore me a bit. I adore the rest of it, expecially Strange World and Prowler. It’s a damn fine debut by a band.

Killers – 1981
I’m no fan of instrumentals in general and don’t like the ones on this album although I know them by heart after listening to this album so many times. I don’t even skip them as I feel that this album needs to be played in its entirety to get the full feel of it. Standout tracks are Killers, Purgatory, Murders in the Rue Morgue and Drifter. The addition of Adrian Smith was a good move. He and Dave just seem to fit well together. Steve’s bass work on this LP is probably his best ever. I love the production, so raw. As with the S/T LP, I don’t like Clive’s style that much. He likes to repeat his drums fills over and over within the same song. Drives me crazy. This is probably my #2 favorite Iron Maiden record.

The Number of the Beast – 1982
Damn! Who is this guy? Bruce Bruce! As with the above 2 records and Piece of Mind, I was in backtracking mode after hearing Powerslave. I basically bought all four of them at one time. Whatever, back to this LP. There’s not a stinker in the bunch although Run to the Hills has been played to death and I could probably live without Invaders (incredible bass work). My faves are certainly 22 Acacia Avenue (duh), Children of the Damned and The Prisoner. I love Adrian’s influence on this album. I ranted a while back about Iron Maiden including Total Eclipse in the recent re-release versions. Granted, it may very well be my favorite Maiden song, but after listening to that album for 20+ years and hearing that song in between Gangland and Hallowed Be Thy Name, it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t own that version and don’t plan on ever owning it.

Piece of Mind – 1983
Does Iron Maiden think they are Kiss? That’s a lot of records in 4 years! This album is awesome. Damned near perfect if it wasn’t for The Trooper. What was worse was that all of us cover bands in the 80s always wanted to play it. Beyond that song, perfection. Still Life, Revelations, Sun and Steel, To Tame a Land, everything. Totally badass. The is probably Maiden’s most powerful record. I do love how they took a Christian hymn and made Revelations out of it. Growing up in church, my best friend and I found it in our hymnal and used to always put notes in the offering plate to see if the preacher would actually put it on the list to be sung one Sunday. It never happened. I think he was on to us. Not to mention the addition of Nicko McBrain. That man is awesome and was the reason I wanted to become a drummer. He was probably the greatest influence on my playing and getting to Meet him in 1988 and play his kit was awesome.
9.9/10 (The Trooper hurt the rating)

Powerslave – 1984
I don’t know how much more I need to go on about this one. I hear people throw the term filler when talking about this record quite often, but whatever. Dorks. Even the instrumental is tolerable. I love it, actually. The album is perfect although I always thought the production was lacking a little.

Somewhere in Time – 1986
I was so excited when I read about the release date of this album in Circus magazine. I knew the owner of Unicorn Records really well and back then they would get new releases a week or so before the actual release dates. I went in the day before this was to come out and he sold me a copy. I almost cried. I was itching to hear it (the rash subsided). I put it in the cassette player of my 66 Nova 4-door and drove around listening to it. I didn’t know what to think. It was so very different than any other Maiden album and it took me quite a while to digest it all. But after a few listens, I fell in love with it. Wasted Years, Sea of Madness, Deja Vu and Heaven Can Wait are definitely my favorites. There are no songs that I don’t like but Alexander the Great does get skipped every now and then. Unfortunately this is where Maiden really started repeating the choruses way too much.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son – 1988
WTF? I also got this one prior to its actual release date and it was such a let down. The repetition, the weak songs and the sheer whimpyness of this album left me flat. Moonchild and Infinite Dreams are tolerable. I only listen to it about once a year now and it’s mainly for nostalgia reasons. I don’t like it, I never will. I saw the tour, however, and it was awesome.

No Prayer for the Dying – 1990
Janick Gers? Who? What do you mean Adrian left? Honestly, I think I may have cried when I read about “H” quitting the band. My memory is hazy though. I bought this album with a lot of reluctance. Overall it’s a silly record. Hooks in You? Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter? Holy Smoke? Ewww. Again. WTF? I do like Run Silent Run Deep, Mother Russia, The Assassin and Fates Warning but the rest blows. Gers blows. I saw the tour and was disappointed. Gers blows.

Gers blowsFear of the Dark – 1992
Why did I buy this? I knew what I was in for yet I still bought it. Curiousity killed the cat. WTF? I actually just had to go to Wikipedia to see the tracklisting for this. Judas Be My Guide was OK. Terrible album cover.

Gers blowsThe X-Factor – 1995
Blaze Bayley? I had Wolfsbane’s debut and thought it was decent, but I couldn’t see him as a fit for my Iron Maiden. While I commend Steve for going out on a limb and trying something different (unlike Priest did with Ripper), it was a failed experiment. The album sucked. You know what? It still does. I listened to a CDr version a while back and it’s horrible. Another rotten cover.
-10/10 Gers blows

Virtual XI – 1998This one ranks very higly! On the suck scale, that is. I can’t even talk about it.
-3,456/10 Gers blows

Brave New World – 2000
Adrian is back! Bruce is back! Gers is gone! Oops. They’re keeping him? Really? Three guitarists? C’mon, man. Do they think they are a southern rock band now? Whatever. I was excited about the aforementioned prodigal sons. Other than their patented chorus repetitions, it was a decent album overall but I rarely listen to it.
5/10 (psst…Gers still blows!)

Dance of Death – 2003
What’s with the album cover? Rainmaker was an OK song and I sort of like Gates of Tomorrow but overall this album reeks!
1/10 (see final comment for Brave New World)

A Matter of Life and Death – 2006
I didn’t want to hear it but I bought it out of sheer curiousity. Man, what a surprise! I love this one. I think people hate this one more than any of the Bayley albums. I love it and still listen to it often. Bruce sounds great.
8.5/10 (even Gers doesn’t annoy me too much on this one…but he still blows)

Written by The Metal Files

December 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm