The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for December 2008

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

My Life With Triumph

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I first heard Triumph in 1981 when Fight the Good Fight and Magic Power were on the radio quite often. I was hooked instantly and bought their albums when I could find them. They are still in my top 5 or 10 all-time favorite bands. There has been talk of a reunion. If it happens, I hope they do a studio album and not just tour. Rik Emmett = deity.

Triumph – 1976
Half of this album ended up on Rock an Roll Machine. For the non R&RM tracks, What’s Another Day of Rock and Roll is the standout. Not a shabby debut.

Rock and Roll Machine – 1977
I detest their version of Rock Mountain Way as well as the original. There are 2 versions of this album…one for the US and one for Caaaanada. The City and Little Texas Shaker are cool tracks from the Canuck version but I prefer the US track listing better. One thing that will become a theme throughout this review is my dislike for most of Gil Moore’s songs. This album is no exception. Rocky Mountain Way, the title track and 24 Hours a Day (credited to Emmett) suck.

Just a Game – 1979
This is probably my favorite Triumph album. Like most of their albums, this one has some goofy songs, but overall it’s a gem. American Girls (Moore) sucks. Standout tracks are Just a Game, Hold On and Lay It on the Line. This also included some fancy guitar work by Rik in the form of Fantasy Serenade.

Progressions of Power – 1980
I’ve always considered this a “WTF” album by Triumph. GOOFY. Standout tracks are Hard Road, Take My Heart, Woman in Love and In the Night. The rest of the album sort of blows. Friggin’ Gil Moore.
5/10 (Hard Road is AWESOME)

Allied Forces – 1981
This was a good answer to the crap pile that was Progressions of Power. Other than Fool for your Love and Hot Time (In this City Tonight), this album is pretty badass. Magic Power, Fight the Good Fight, Ordinary Man and Say Goodbye are brilliant. Even Gil Moore couldn’t ruin this one.

Never Surrender – 1983
This is a pretty good album, but a bit dark and moody IMHO. I love World of Fantasy, Writing on the Wall and All the Way. Overall it’s not one of theirs that I listen to regularly, but it’s not bad. It just never made it to a regular rotation. By the way, Too Much Thinking sucks (Gil Moore). ha

Thunder Seven – 1984
I never got into this album. While I love Spellbound and Follow Your Heart, the rest never caught on with me. It’s not a bad album but it’s another that I don’t regularly listen to.

Sport of Kings – 1986
I friggin’ LOVE this album. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy (Somebody’s Out There) but I can’t explain why this one became one of my faves. I saw this tour with Yngwie opening as well. There’s not a bad one on here, not even Gil’s songs. Emmett’s soloing on this album was better than his average.

Surveillance – 1987
Another Triumph record that I never quite got into but I feel I should spin it again for old time’s sake. The one song that stands out on here for me is All the King’s Horses. The soloing between Emmett and Steve Morse is killer.

Edge of Excess – 1993
WTF? Exit Rik Emmett, enter Phil X. Too bad. I guess this album wouldn’t be so bad if they had changed their name. When I see the name Triumph on an album, I want to hear Rik Emmet.

Written by The Metal Files

December 21, 2008 at 4:45 am

They died with their boots on…

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So I have trouble finding comfortable shoes and have for about 10 years now. I tried several tennis shoes, dress shoes, combat boots, sandals…everything. No luck. Two weeks ago I went to a boot store here in town to get a pair of cowboy boots for my Motorhead tribute band. Lo and behold I found a pair that fit and are confortable. I have a coupon for 33% one item at the same place and will likely go back in and get a second pair. I think there’s a pair with a green/turquoise top in the same style, so I’ll grab those.

But believe me…my feet, legs and back feel better now than they have in years.

And no, you will not see my buying a cowboy hat too. I draw the line at boots and western shirts. no hats.

Written by The Metal Files

December 19, 2008 at 8:13 pm

My Life With Black Sabbath

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About the same time my brother was bringing home KISS’ Dressed to Kill, he was also letting me hear Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. The mid-70s were very influential on my becoming a metalhead. Here’s how Sabbath breaks down for me.

Black Sabbath – 1970
This is still one of my favorite Sabbath albums, in the top 3 even. The haunting vocals of the title track are awesome as is the use of the Devil’s tritone chording. NIB is the only song I wish I would never ever hear again. Perhaps radio overplay killed it for me. I don’t really remember liking it that much as a kid either. Ozzy’s voice is clean and has a raw quality to it.

Paranoid – 1970
I catch flack for this all the time, but I really don’t like this album in general. Maybe hearing it all the time growing up killed it for me, I don’t know. Paranoid, Iron Man and War Pigs make me want to puke. Radio overplay again maybe. I guess it’s really those 3 songs that kill this one for me as I do love Planet Caravan, Electric Funeral and Hand of Doom.

Master of Reality – 1971
Sabbath is really starting to hit their stride at this point. Other than Sweet Leaf, I adore this album. The downside to this is that it is starting to make me hate Ozzy’s vocals. One of the things that has annoyed me about him all these years is that he always seems to have to do stuff between normal vocal parts, i.e. “alright now”…”can you hear it”…”yeah”. And it may not be so much what he says, but the frequent nature of it and his annoying whine. But damn, Children of the Grave, Into the Void, After Forever, Lord of this World. Doom! DOOM!
8/10 (blame Sweet leaf for bringing down the score)

Volume 4 – 1972
This is not a bad album overall, but I rarely ever listen to it. I don’t know why that is. Even Changes doesn’t bother me. I have no favorites on this one. I can’t praise it but I can’t dog it out either.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – 1973
This is a great one beginning to end although Ozzy’s whiney voice really gets on my nerves. Spiral Architect and National Acrobat are definitely my faves.

Sabotage – 1975
Damn man. That’s a lot of metal from 1970 to 1975. Anyway, this is another one that I rarely listen to. Hole in the Sky and Symptom of the Universe are definitely my faves. There are no stinkers on here.

Technical Ecstasy – 1976
I sometimes like this one and I sometimes hate it. I don’t listen to it often, but I don’t think it sucks. This is definitely an experimental one for Sabbath and I like seeing bands try to stretch their limits a bit. It didn’t really pan out for them here.

Never Say Die – 1978
This was a nice recovery for Sabbath. The title track is great. Overall it’s not a great album, but it has a few shining moments.

Heaven and Hell – 1980
Ladies and gentlemen, Ronnie James Dio. Having heard plenty of Rainbow up, I was familiar with Dio and always loved his voice. This album is brilliant. Sabbath got heavier. This is another of my top 3. There are no bad songs on here. There aren’t really any average songs. It’s just awesome any way you slice it.

The Mob Rules – 1981
Oh man. Things got even better. How is that possible? Don’t ask questions, you doofus. Just listen to the album…over and over. Simply brilliant. Too bad Ronnie left after this one. This is my favorite Sabbath album. My top 3 rotate around sometimes and H&H falls out only to be replaced by the next album on the list…
11/10 (yes, I said 11)

Born Again – 1983
This seems to be an album that people either love or hate, no in betweeners. I personally love it. The addition of Ian Gillan was nice even though his vocals on here are pretty erratic. Trashed is perhaps my favorite Sabbath song ever. The first time I heard it was on the K-Tel metal compilation Masters of Metal (which also featured Rainbow and DIO). Other than the production, this is a great LP. The songs are very weird and very dark.

Seventh Star – 1986
WTF? I never liked this one in general. No Stranger to Love is OK but this just isn’t Sabbath enough for me. Yeah, I know, this was to be a solo album for Tony. Glenn Hughes’ voice annoys me. I don’t like his Deep Purple work either.

The Eternal Idol – 1987
Enter Tony Martin. This is a pretty good album all the way around and I always felt Tony was a good substitute for Dio. The Shining is awesome. It’s not a brilliant LP by any means but it’s worthy of several listens.

Headless Cross – 1989
This is definitely a step up from The Eternal Idol. The addition of Cozy Powell doesn’t hurt. This is a great album beginning to end. I still kick myself in the ass for not going to see this tour when it rolled through Norfolk. Thankfully, I do have that show on CD. Tony Martin sounds awesome on here.

Tyr – 1990An often overlooked album by metal fans. It’s nowhere near the caliber of Headless Cross but it does kick some mighty ass…well, except for It Feels Good to Me. Sorry, that song sometimes makes me nauseous. By the way, Mr. Martin…nice hair. Haha

Dehumanizer – 1992
I’ve never physically owned this one until 2007. Letters To Earth, Sins of the Father, I, Buried Alive. I really wish i hadn’t waited to bother with it. It rocks!

That’s it for me. I never bothered with Cross Purposes or Forbidden.

Written by The Metal Files

December 19, 2008 at 7:36 pm