The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

Pure Sweet Hell – Spitting At The Stars CD Review

leave a comment »

Pure Sweet Hell features Van Williams (ex-Nevermore), Dean Sternberg (Onward, ex-Into Eternity, WithinAnother, Toby Knapp) on vocals and Chris Eichhorn on guitar/bass.

This album is pretty damned good, especially Van’s drumming.  I know that should go without saying as he’s such an incredible player and personally I feel he’s severely underrated in the drumming community.  This album is heavy, and that’s a good thing.  There are some good technical spots here and there and this is pretty much just up in your face.  Dean’s clean vocals on here are killer, albeit a bit over-layered in this writer’s opinion.  In general this album is quite enjoyable except for Dean’s more “brutal”-esque vocals.  I’ve just gotten to a point where that singing style just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

There needs to be a renaissance of clean vocal metal again!

This album gets 8/10 though, as the music and clean vocals sound great.  I’d go see them live.

Written by The Metal Files

June 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Riot – Immortal Soul Review

with one comment

I’ve talked about Riot more than once on this site and about how I really love the Thundersteel era over the Fire Down Under era.  Don’t get me wrong, FDU is a great album and extremely influential, but I prefer the more metal/powermetal version of Riot, partially because of Bobby Jarzombek.

I was fortunate enough to see the Riot reunion show in June of 2009 in San Antonio.  It was quite special.  They mentioned at that show that a new album would be forthcoming, then I believe Tony Moore left…then came back.  Great news!

Once the album buzz started getting posted around the web, it got me excited.  I love this band with Moore on vocals.  He sounded really good live in 09.  I finally got the album via iTunes a while back after hearing a few songs that had been posted around the YouTube and such and liked what I heard.

Upon getting the full version, I gave it several listens, at least 15 now.  This is a strong album and well worth owning if you’re a fan of that era of the band’s music.  Bobby Jarzombek shows off his amazing skills as expected.  That guy is awesome, period.  The guitar work is really good, some of the best I’ve ever heard from Reale.  I assume that Flyntz is doing some of the solos too, but not 100% sure.

Lyrically it’s what you would expect.  They obviously made an effort to make this sound like the followup to Thundersteel and not necessarily the followup to Privilege of Power.  The songs are strong and some have their fair amount of lyrical cheese, but it works well.  It’s a fun album.

If I had to make a complaint, it would be on the vocals.   To my ears there sounds like a lot of fixes to Tony’s vocals.  Lots of harmonizer.  It does get annoying in spots but generally doesn’t detract from the album as a whole.

Highlight tracks for me would be Still Your Man (which is basically Johnny’s Back pt 2), Riot, Sins of the Father, Fall Before Me, Wings are for angels.

If you don’t have this album yet, get it.  8/10

Written by The Metal Files

December 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Billy White Concert Review, Austin TX 111011

with one comment

Last night I was able to see a small and rare performance of Billy “Blanco” White.  You may remember Billy from such bands as Watchtower, Don Dokken and the Billy White Trio.  The guy is such a great guitar player.  He’s been spending much of his time in Mexico in recent years and primarily does flamenco style music now, although he said last night he’s been doing some guest spots on other people’s albums recently.

I first saw Billy play in 1991 and you can read about that here.

Last night performance was pretty cool, albeit a tad uncomfortable.  He played in a small room that was about 20’x40’.  Everyone sat on the floor and we had to remove our shoes prior to entering the building.  Even sitting on a pillow, my back and knees were killing me but it didn’t matter, I was sitting a few feet away from a great musician.  Only about 40 people showed up and it was a great experience.  His playing was awesome.  A mix of flamenco with a tad of fusion thrown in.  He had a violinist and a tabla player sit in for a few songs as well.  It was all pretty cool.

Afterwards I got to speak to him for a few minutes.  He graciously signed The Book and some CDs for me.  It was a fun evening, very relaxing.

Billy White

Written by The Metal Files

November 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Philm, Unmothered and My Education Concert Review, Austin, TX 110311

with 2 comments

Philm is a project that has been around since the mid-1990s according to their drummer, Dave Lombardo.  It remained pretty dormant until the time(s) he wasn’t with Slayer and apparently they jam a bit.  I had seen some of the YouTube stuff and I was pretty underwhelmed by it.  When I saw that they were playing Austin, I was a tad excited about it because, hey, it’s Dave Lombardo.  While I could never claim him as an influence on my drumming, he was certainly an inspiration.  The guy is a beast of a player and given the chance to see him play outside of Slayer seemed pretty rad.

Originally this show was $15 but a few days beforehand they made it a free show.  Slayer is in town this weekend for the FUN FUN FUN Fest so I guess Dave decided to try and float his other band here.

The opening band was called Unmothered from Austin.  They were pretty good and I’d certainly go see them again.  They were a 3pc sort of droning thing.  There was a weird dark almost black metal undertone but this was no black metal band.  Worth checking out again for sure.

Up next came My Education, also from Austin.  Apparently they are considered “post-rock”, another sub-genre of rock.  They were all instrumental and had a viola player through most of it.  It was slightly prog and gave me somewhat of a Kansas (band) vibe.  They weren’t awful by any means, but a bit boring to watch.  Perfect background music, though.  My friend made a good observation by saying that if they had some sort of film projection along with their live performance, it’d be more palatable in a live setting.  AGREED.

Up next was Philm.  By the time they came on, there may have been 150 at the show.  I’ll go ahead and say it first, they were very underwhelming.  Sure Dave did some cool stuff here and there, but it was pretty boring.  I think if they went all instrumental it would have been a bit better.  The singer killed it for me, not to mention that the music was rather generic.  It was cool to see him do his thing on a tiny drumset though.  Apparently he came out for a few minutes after they played.  A few friends met him.  I didn’t bother as I got to meet him while he was on tour with Testament back in 2000.  It was cool because I got to meet his wife and kid too.

Rumors were flying around that Slayer was going to show up and do an impromptu set after Philm.  I think it was all a set up to get more people to the show and sell some drinks.  Slayer never played.  That was unfortunate as it would have been cool seeing them do a few tunes on a barebones stage.

C’est la vie, eh?  At least I got to see another one of my musical idols play again this week.

Written by The Metal Files

November 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

Yngwie Malmsteen Concert Review, Dallas, TX 110211

leave a comment »

Lucky me. Twice in one week I got to see another one of my all-time favorite bands/musicians. Yngwie! I think this was 8th time I have seen him since 1986 (Triumph/Yngwie). Even though many of his recent albums have been a bit lackluster, he’s still quite entertaining live and just being able to watch him play is worth it.

I’ve been working out of town during the week in Dallas for the last 3+ months and haven’t really explored the music scene up here much and regrettably missed some quality shows, but there was no way I was going to miss this one. I bought my ticket on Monday at Wal*Mart of all places. They were the nearest Ticketmaster hub to my hotel. I don’t like going there and it just felt weird buying a concert ticket there. But no bother.

Last night’s show was at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas. I went down right after work and it only took a few minutes to get there from the office. It was a bit odd, though. Downtown Dallas is huge but last night it seemed like such a desolate place. Other than the parking lot outside of the venue, I didn’t see anyone out and about. Maybe the cold front that blew in that evening kept some folks away. I liked it down there, though. I love city living…concrete and steel for me!

Doors opened to the venue at 7PM and I got there around 6PM. Because of the storm that was brewing, I decided to just eat there. Wasn’t too bad but of course a bit overpriced.

Checked out the merch booth and didn’t see anything that really caught my eye.

Opening band went on promptly at 8. They were called Little Green Men and hailed from Fort Worth. While they played a tight set and there were some good guitar solos, the band was not my thing, not in the least. I was pretty bored and just wanted them to stop playing. Just give me some Yngwie!

After clearing the stage, you could see the full Yngwie stage setup. The drums were set at the back left corner of

Marshall City!

the stage almost behind the wall of Marshalls…17 cabinets and 27 heads. No, really! I think that was the biggest setup I’ve seen him use ever. Of course most are only for show, but still…80s excess at its finest! The keyboard player was at the far left of the stage almost completely out of sight and the bassist hung around that side as well. I mean, c’mon. This IS the Yngwie show, right?

The lights die down and you hear the keyboard intro to Rising Force (From Odyssey), then the drums kick in and the band hits the stage and kicks into the song full force. For as much as I have slagged Ripper Owens over the years, he sounded pretty good going into the set, much better than he sounded when I saw him with Yngwie in San Antonio a couple of years ago. The setlist stuck with a lot of newer material and I think that’s mostly because Ripper can’t sing a lot of the Joe Lynn/Jeff Scott Soto era stuff. Not many can. He did sound good on Never Die as well.

They got to Dreaming mid-set and for the first half of the song, Ripper sounded great. I was shocked…then after

Yngwie unleashing the fooking fury!

that, I don’t know happened, but for the last part of that song, he sounded like he was singing something different. Sure, the lyrics were right but he had gotten so out of key that it was painful to hear. Not sure if he lost his inner-ear monitors or what, but the end of that song was horrid. It then kicked into Gates of Babylon and he sounded fine in that.

I’m sorry, but he can’t carry the Turner/Soto stuff. I really wish Yngwie could find someone else who can handle all eras of the band vocally. Not to mention that Ripper sounds so “enhanced” on the last 2 Yngwie albums.

Patrick Johansson is a killer drummer, unfortunately all you could hear was his kick and snare. He had toms, but they were so low in the mix that they didn’t matter. Same with the keys and bass. There were a few moments where Yngwie and the keyboardist were playing together and you could hear him somewhat and the guy was really good. The bass was practically non-existent, which is typical for an Yngwie show.

Now we get to Yngwie. The giant Swede. The man took what Uli Roth and Ritchie Blackmore and created a whole new genre. Sure, in recent years he plays fewer riffs and just solos everywhere, but he’s still incredible and fun to watch. The last 3 times I have seen him, he really seems to be having fun on stage. He has mastered the art of kicking guitar picks into the crowd. I think Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick is the only person to throw out more picks.

I stayed back by the soundboard for the show. Attendance seemed to be around 300-350, not too shabby, but seemingly small for a club that holds 1700.

It was a fun show. Not my favorite show that I’ve seen of his, but still quite enjoyable. I try not to miss him if I can help it. I’m glad he’s still out there touring and still glad I’m able to see it.

Setlist as I remember it:

Rising Force

Never Die / Shot Across the Bow
Overture
Critical Mass
Badinerie
Far Beyond the Sun / Star Spangled Banner
Enemy Within
Red Devil
The Damnation Game / Baroque & Roll
Live To Fight (Another Day)
Dreaming / Gates Of Babylon
(Rainbow cover)
Into Valhalla
Trilogy Suite Op: 5
Red House
Fugue
Heaven Tonight
Encore:
Black Star / Cherokee Warrior
As Above, So Below
I’ll See the Light Tonight

Written by The Metal Files

November 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel Concert Review 092911

with 8 comments

It’s really amazing what music can stir up in a person. You know how it is.  You hear a song on the radio/iPod/etc that just shoots you back in time.  Last night’s show at the new Emo’s East did just that.  It was a high school flashback for sure.

I first saw Anthrax and Testament together in 1987 at the now defunct Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  To this day that hails as one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.  Anthrax was on their Among the Living Tour and Testament was promoting their debut album, The Legacy.  Just an awesome show.

Death Angel opened the show and I’ll readily admit that I am not a fan.  Not for lack of trying, mind you.  About every 10 years I’ll listen to their first 3 albums to see if they sound any different to me and they never do.  I just couldn’t get into them minus a few songs like Mistress of Pain and Room With A View.  My friends here kept saying that I had to see them live and it would change my mind.  Well, it didn’t.  I went in open-minded (no, really, I swear I did!).  They just didn’t do it for me.  Sure, they were solid but their brand of thrash just doesn’t settle with me.  Rob Cavestany is a fine guitarist, though.  He was shredding it up last night.  I did get to meet Mark Osegueda at my favorite bar a while later after the show.  Fun guy for sure.  Super nice.  Shots!

I’ve lamented for years that Testament is the greatest live band ever.  They never disappoint and last night they surely didn’t.  They had Gene Hoglan behind the kit and as always he was perfect with ever hit, every beat.  The guy is the greatest metal drummer alive and certainly the most versatile in my opinion.  I was hoping to catch up with him and say hi but it wasn’t in the cards, unfortunately.  Testament’s set was really strong.  They played a good mix of their back catalogue.  Chuck was in fine form.  Skolnick, while playing great, seemed a light bit bored, like he was going through the motions.  I know he is really into his jazz trio these days and maybe playing the metal is taking a back seat, but again, he shredded it perfectly.  The whole band was on it, as always.

Anthrax…I’ve been a fan since I first bought a used copy of Spreading the Disease on cassette for $3.99 at Unicorn Records in 1986.  They were a band that I had read about but not heard yet and Spreading is still my favorite album of theirs to this day.  Thanks to the Internet, setlists of previous shows get posted instantly and I was able to see what they had been playing on this tour recently.  Great list!  The main part of their set had been consistent for most of their shows with the closer changing up a little.  Only and Medusa had been played recently and I was really hoping to not hear Only and hear Medusa.  You see, they didn’t play Medusa when they were in San Antonio within the last year and I was a little disappointed.  Last night, instead of Medusa, they gave us Be All, End All.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Seriously?  Man, I really wanted to hear that one badly.  But alas, no dice.  I will admit that I left when they started their encore.  The went into N.F.L. and I was out.  My feet were killing me. Anthrax kills me, though.  With a band whose Belladonna era has some really great material, they continue to throw in Antisocial and Got The Time in their set.  I would’ve been happy with Belly of the Beast from Persistence of Time and something else a little more obscure like Raise Hell (yeah right, I know I’m dreaming) or even A.I.R.

There were a few times during Anthrax’s set that I really felt like it was 1987 all over again.  It was a great feeling, albeit a strange one.  Stirred up all kinds of stuff.  So glad I got to see this show and so glad I got to see most of my favorite Austin folks there.  It was quite refreshing.

I need more shows like this.  NEED!

Death Angel setlist:

I Chose the Sky
Evil Priest
Claws In So Deep
Relentless Revolution
Seemingly Endless Time
The Ultra-Violence
Thrown to the Wolves

Testament Setlist:

The Preacher
The New Order
The Persecuted Won’t Forget
Envy Life
Over the Wall
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Electric Crown
Henchmen Ride
More Than Meets the Eye
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch

Anthrax Setlist:

Earth on Hell
Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
Caught in a Mosh
Madhouse
Antisocial
(Trust cover)
I’m Alive
The Devil You Know
Indians
In the End
Got the Time
(Joe Jackson cover)
Be All, End All
Encore:
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Metal Thrashing Mad
I Am The Law

Chuck Billy...THRASH!

Gene Hoglan. (Photo by Brooks M)

Yours truly, Mark Osegueda, T.A.

Written by The Metal Files

October 30, 2011 at 9:56 am

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

with one comment

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

Tagged with