The Metal Files

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Archive for September 2011

Whitesnake – Box O’Snakes: The Sunburst Years 1978-1982

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Whitesnake.  A band that I loved to hate in the late 80s.  Their videos were annoying and I never saw the allure of Tawny Kitaen.  Then in the late 90s when I started getting into Thin Lizzy and investigating John Sykes’ material, I bought 1987 and realized how great that album was along with Slide It In.  About 10 years ago I heard the pre0Sykes version of Slide It In and thought it was really great in a 70s rock sort of way and started delving backwards into Whitesnake’s back catalogue.  All of their pre-Slide albums are about 50/50 with me. There are some really great songs and some real duds.  Nonetheless, it’s good stuff overall.

In November of 2011, EMI will release Box O’Snakes: The Sunburst Years 1978-1982.  This looks like a nice collector’s piece with all of their pre-Slide studio and live albums along with a DVD and book.  I think I want one!

Check out more details here and on the photo below.



Written by The Metal Files

September 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

Posted in 2011, box o'snakes, whitesnake

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Evil United – S/T Album Review

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I’ve been meaning to post my review of this one for months now.  I was given an advanced copy  and have even seen them live 3 or 4 times now, but yet, no review.  So here it is.  Who is Evil United you may ask?  Evil United features some legendary dudes like Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Dangerous Toys, ex-Watchtower, Ignitor etc), Don Van Stavern (Riot, SA Slayer, Pitbull Daycare), JohnValenzuela (Pitbull Daycare), TC Connally and Json West (Muderdolls, Sebastian Bach).  Not  a shabby group of folks to get together and make a band, eh?

This album is…well…this album is HEAVY.  Very heavy.   From beginning to end it’s in your face.  McMaster’s vocals go from his shrill to a good tenor backed with power.  I really like it when he’s in his lower registers.    It’s a nice change and he’s got a great clean voice which he has used with Ignitor.

The band is as solid as it gets.  The riffs are tight and the drums are as solid as you would want.  In a live setting this band is especially tight.  Again, the drummer is a badass.  The styles on this album flash from old school thrash and some power metal to some nu-metal sounds with some homage to Pantera.  The production is the one thing that bothers me on this.  It’s a bit too clean and the drums are overtriggered (at least they sound that way to my ears).  But that’s my opinion.  I want all albums to sound like an old Omen record.  haha

Highlight tracks include Walking to Sodom, Dawn of Armageddon, Rise and Fall of Earth and Man, Blasphemer and Hexorcism.

If you need a dose of heavy that’s not of the normal cookie cutter brand, I recommend this album for you.  And thankfully there’s no screamo/growling/cookie monster vocals.  It’s a nice change of pace.

You can stream the whole album on their Reverbnation page.



Written by The Metal Files

September 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance Review

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First and foremost, John Arch is in my top 2 or 3 singers of all time.  Personally I feel that man can do no wrong vocally.  His 3 albums with Fates Warning are easily the best 3 consecutive albums a band could ever dream to put out.  From Night On Brocken to Awaken the Guardian his voice progressed along with Fates’ music.  By the time Awaken came out, I felt the band had set a standard for themselves that would make a follow-up album tough to compare.  Then I read in one of the metal magazines that Arch had left the band.  Seriously?  Then out comes No Exit, a serious let down for me.  It wasn’t that Ray Alder was a bad singer, but that certain something that only Arch could bring to the table wasn’t there.  No Exit is a good album in its own right and I’ll be the first to admit that Perfect Symmetry is a great record, but still, it didn’t have John and after that one I was done with Fates Warning forever.  They got too light and proggy for me.

In 2003 Arch released the 2 song EP A Twist of Fate and it was great to hear his voice again.  At the beginning of this year it was announced that he had signed on with Jim Matheos to do an album.  The band was dubbed Arch/Matheos and also includes journeyman bassist Joey Vera, Bobby Jarzombek and Frank Aresti.  Wait, why not just call it Fates Warning?  I’m sure respect for Ray and probaby some legal issues abound that keep that from happening along with John probably not in the mode for touring.  Fair enough.

But for me, this is a Fates Warning album.  This is the album that could have followed Awaken the Guardian.  I finally bought this from iTunes this past Friday night and have listened to it about 8 times all the way through along with the new Anthrax album.  This one’s better by a county mile, no disrespect to ‘Thrax.

I am loving this album on so many levels and for so many reasons.  John’s voice and lyrical phrasing, the lyrics, Bobby Jarzombek’s drumming, Aresti’s contributions, Matheos’ riffage and song structures.  I only wish the bass was a tad more prominent.

The album consists of 6 songs that all seem to flow together very well, much like they do on Awaken.  Under a stained Glass Sky is my favorite so far, but the whole album just great.  And seriously, Bobby Jarzombek is easily one of the best drummers in metal today along with Van Williams (Pure Sweet Hell/ex-Nevermore).  Bobby doesn’t suck and he is perfect for this project.

This album is beautiful from front to back surely a must for any John Arch-era Fates Warning Fan.  I am calling it the album of the year and it gets a 10/10.  This will stay in steady rotation and I can’t get enough of it already.  While it’s not Awaken the Guardian or Spectre Within, it is a wonderful new Fates Warning album with a phenomenal singer/lyricist.

I hope that a second album could be in the works somewhere down the road.  This is good enough to warrant a follow-up.  A tour?  Please?  Doubtful I know, but a man can dream, yes?

Again…10/10.  Buy it!

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Anthrax – Worship Music Album Review

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Anthrax has dome some shuffling over the years in the singer department, that’s for sure.  Turbin’s out, Belladonna’s in, Belladonna’s out, Bush is in, Bush is out, Nelson is in, Nelson is out, Bush is back in, Bush pulls aside (or is put aside) to allow for some shows with Belladonna, Bush ih out, Belladonna is in.  Wow.  There’s no question that Anthrax’s most popular era is with Belladonna at the helm.  When we saw them last year, they sounded great overall and Joey’s voice sounded strong.

Anthrax released Worship Music last week and I’ve got 3+ listens into it which is enough to give it a proper review.  Let’s be clear in that while I love John Bush with Armored Saint, he just didn’t cut it for me with Anthrax, although seeing them live with John in 2006 on the We’ve Come For You All Tour and they were really good.

Worship Music opens with the selt-titled intro then blasts into Earth on Hell which starts out fast with blast beats.  That’s a twist.  The next 5 songs are pretty killer with Fight ’em Til You Can’t, The Devil You Know and I’m Alive are my faves on the album.  In the End rounds the last of what I consider the best tracks on the album.  From here they really start changing things up a bit.  The riffs get a bit chunkier and it starts sounding a bit more “modern”.

The last 5 songs really put me off a bit where the previous tracks all work well together.  That being said, Joey sounds great and you don’t hear a lot of “fixes” in his stuff although there are some spots if heavy layering and “harmonizering”.  I am sick of that sound in metal these days.  It’s used as a cover up.  Just get it out there clean and in the raw and of you can’t then don’t try at all.  But this is good stuff.  The ending tracks aren’t bad by any means but they’re quite a departure from the first half of the album.

I will call them out for ripping themselves off though.  Remember Make Me Laugh from State of Euphoria?  They totally jacked some of the vocal melody in the song for Fight ’em Till You Can’t.  It’s a goofy song lyrically (zombie apocalypse) but it’s well-sung and well written.

In general, don’t expect Spreading the Disease or Among The Living, although there are a few flashes from Among on here.  You get more of a State of Euphoria/Persistence of Time vibe in the whole thing with some modern metal vibes.  Benante is a badass on some of these tracks…in general he’s a beast on the drums anyway.  There are some really good guitar melodies here and there, something that you normally don’t get out of Anthrax.

It’s a good album and worthy of any Anthrax fan’s collection.  It’ll get more listens from me fore sure.  I give it a 7.5/10.  With more listens I see that number go up a bit.

Written by The Metal Files

September 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Danava – I Am The Skull

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Thank you Decibel Magazine for releasing a song from Danava’s upcoming album Hemisphere of Shadows.  The song is called I Am The Skull and can be heard here.

Danava is a great band.  I got to see them live a few times earlier this year.

Written by The Metal Files

September 22, 2011 at 8:29 am

Posted in 2011, danava, decibel magazine

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Anthrax and Testament: Together Again!

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Anthrax/Testament/Death Angel coming to Emo’s East October 29, 2011

I first saw these 2 bands together in 1987 at the legendary Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  It still hails as one of the best shows I have ever seen.  Testament opened the show and were on The Legacy Tour while Anthrax was supporting Among the Living.  I remember the crowd being so tight and jam packed that it felt like you could life your feet off of the ground and you’d be held up.  A lot of movement back and forth as well.  It was pretty crazy and both bands were pretty awesome.  Both bands were great.

I’ve seen Testament several times and not once have they ever disappointed.  I think they are the most consistent live band ever.  Let me think about it a moment…how many times I’ve seen Testament: 87, 88, 91, 2000, 2008, 2010…There has to be another in the 90s and I think one more time in the last 5 years.  Anthrax I’ve seen a few times as well:  87, 88, 91, 2005, 2010.  They were good every time I’ve seen them as well.

I’m no Death Angel fan but everyone says seeing them live is pretty sweet.  They are a band that I have tried to like over the years and have even owned their stuff multiple times in hopes of enjoying it.  Minus a couple of tracks (Mistress of Pain and Room with a View), they just don’t do it for me.

Click here to see tour dates.

See you there!

Written by The Metal Files

September 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

Sade & John Legend – Austin Review 9/7/11

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I had to turn in my metalhead membership card for a night.  May I have it back now?  Thanks.

Last night was Sade and opening act, John Legend.  What a show.  I’ve been a fan since her 1984 debut album Diamond Life.  What a voice.  Smooth, unique, beautiful.  She doesn’t tour often and when she did in the past, the opportunity never seemed right for me to see her.  That is until this show.

Earlier this year her tour dates were announced and the closest one to me was Houston.  It was a weeknight and once again I didn’t go, this time because of work.  I would have had to take a day and a half of vacation that I didn’t want to spare.  After the tour had started, more dates were added with Austin being one of them.  AUSTIN!  Even better it was scheduled at a venue 6 blocks from my house.

The day of the presale I wasn’t able to find a code to use and a friend on Facebook let me know that Citicard was one of the companies offering presale tickets.  Just so happened that I have a Citicard that hadn’t been activated yet.  Luckily the presale accepted my number and BOOM, I got 3 front row center tickets.  My friends got the next 3 seats.  We were set.  Finally I was going to see one of my favorite vocalists ever.  Just a week and a half earlier I got to see Odin in Hollywood, a band that I had waited 25 years to see.  I’m a pretty lucky fella for sure.

The day I bought the tickets, I called my buddy Mike who I knew was a huge fan and offered him one of the tickets for face value.  Mike is one of the biggest Sade fans I know and a phenomenal singer in his own metal right.  Mike sings for Texas metal legends Militia.  Mike instantly accepted and my other ticket was to go to whomever I decided to take with me.  That ended up being my best friend, Amelia.  I missed her birthday and thought that this would be a good belated gift.  She was pretty excited when I asked her to go.

Now, on to the show!  The 3 of us walked to a restaurant for a quick dinner then into the Frank Erwin Center to get our seats.  It reminded me of the old days going to shows at Hampton Coliseum and Norfolk Scope except none of the shows I saw back then were reserved seating.  Apparently there was some weird problem with the seating in the front row but security got it straight and we were able to remain in our spots.  Sweet!

John Legend was originally scheduled to go on at 7:30, but I think the problem with the seating and some other issues

John Legend

delayed him until 8:30.  I’ve never heard one song by the guy and didn’t know anything about him.  I had no expectations but generally was disinterested in seeing his performance.  All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised when he started.  He’s a really good singer and pays the piano pretty well.  While I don’t think I’d ever buy any of his music, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him live again.  He’s a solid performer and his backup band was pretty badass, especially the drummer and guitarist.  You could have inserted those dudes into any metal band and they would be able to hold their own just fine.

Being right up against the stage, we didn’t get the cleanest mix.  I don’t think I heard any of the bass and most of the drum sounds I got were straight from the kit, which was nice actually.  Same with the guitar, we got most of his stuff from his small Fender-copy stage amp.  There were times when you could hear John’s voice coming at us naturally, mainly when he would stand in front of us at the edge of the stage.  We were literally 10’ from the edge of the stage.  It was quite incredible, really.  Nice show, John Legend!

After his set, everything is removed from the stage completely and it was completely empty.  I noticed that her stage setup was under the stage and most things would be moved up and down with hydraulics.  Bob Marley’s One Love started playing and that has apparently been her intro music for years.

All of a sudden some spotlights come on and Sade appears as does her band, opening with Soldier of Love.  She is still


quite beautiful and her voice seems unchanged.  There were professional video cameras in the stadium.  We were asked before the show to sit during the performances of Jezebel and Pearls, obviously for video purposes.  When she did Jezebel, she sat on the edge of the stage right in front of us.  It was quite incredible for me.  The whole night.  Her set was a good mix of her hits as well as some lesser known songs (unless you’re a big fan).

There were a few quick wardrobe changes but it was no detraction at all.  She’s still got “it”…whatever “it” is.   She’s got a good sense of humor as well and that woman’s smile could easily melt glaciers.  Stunning.

Three of the guys in the band have been with her since her first album, which is pretty impressive.  They also had a band called Sweetback, whose first album is pretty good.  All of these guys have some serious chops at their respective instruments.

The sound up front was a little better, but the bass and keyboards were still pretty low because of our location to the mains.  No biggie.  Like during Legend’s set, there were time where you could hear Sade’s natural voice when she was at the edge of the stage and the music was low.  Incredible.  She belted out a few notes here and there that certainly gave me chills as did her performance of No Ordinary Love.  Easily my favorite song of hers and it was spot on beautiful last night.

Because of the pre-show delays, her performance didn’t end until almost 12:30AM.  I got up at 6:30AM for work and it took me forever to wind down from the show and finally fall asleep last night.  I’m tired but it was worth every effort.  I’ve seen a lot of shows since I first started attending concerts in 1985, but this one I think is in my top 10 all time and easily top 2 of all non-metal/hard rock shows.  It was a great night all around with great friends and wonderful music.  If she ever tours again, I’ll certainly try to be there and will certainly try for front row again!

  1. Soldier of Love
  2. Your Love Is King
  3. Skin
  4. Kiss of Life
  5. Love Is Found
  6. In Another Time
  7. Smooth Operator
  8. Jezebel
  9. Bring Me Home
  10. Is It a Crime
  11. Love Is Stronger Than Pride
  12. All About Our Love
  13. Paradise
  14. Nothing Can Come Between Us
  15. Morning Bird
  16. King of Sorrow
  17. The Sweetest Taboo
  18. The Moon and the Sky
  19. Pearls
  20. No Ordinary Love
  21. By Your Side
  22. Cherish the Day (Encore)

Ticket and fake rose petals that fell from the ceiling

Written by The Metal Files

September 8, 2011 at 9:39 am