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Archive for the ‘dio’ Category

Uli Roth and Black Knights Rising Concert Review, Houston, TX, February, 13, 2015

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When I saw that the Extreme Guitar Tour was coming through Houston, on a weekend night no less, I had to make arrangements to go.  It was a tough drive since the Alice Cooper after party from the night before gave me a bad case of rock and roll pneumonia.  haha

Opening the show was a Canadian band called Old James.I couldn’t quite get a bead on them.  While I could tell that they were all proficient musicians, nothing sounded congruent.  No hooks.  They covered Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat but I couldn’t tell what it was until the chorus.  I heard a few other folks say the same thing.

Black Knights Rising (BKR) is a bit of a supergroup featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens (Winter’s Bane, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio Disciples and many more), Craig Goldy (DIO, Giuffria, Rough Cutt), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, DIO, Rick Derringer), Elliott Rubison (Uli Roth, MSG, CEO of Dean Guitars) and sometimes John West (Uli Roth, Royal Hunt, Artension). Based on the BKR Facebook page, Bobby Rondinelli was slated to take over drums after February 9th. That didn’t happen. Either way, both Bobby and Vinny are both in The Book, so I was set either way.  The band comes out and opens with Death Alley Driver by Rainbow and they sound great.  This show was the final night of he tour.  Everything played was either by Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath or DIO.  John West came out and went back and forth vocally with Owens on Burn.  They both sounded great!  Highlight for me, though, was Stand Up and Shout.  Vinny’s insane snare work always blew me away in that song and watching him that close live gave me a new appreciation for his playing.  He’s still a beast.  Goldy’s playing was spot on as well.  Effortless player and I’m glad I finally got to see him live.  Last time I saw Ripper live was on the Jugulator tour in Norfolk, VA.

Half of the crowd left after BKR.  Seriously.  Uli was up next and half of those folks left.  I’m still shaking my head over that.  His band is made up of John West, Elliott Rubison, Kofi Baker (son of Ginger Baker), David Klosinski (guitarist from one of the Sky Academy classes) and Allesandro Bertoni on keys.  Uli opens with All Night Long then in to Sails of Charon.  Holy crap.  To finally see him playing these Scorpions classics live was a dream come true.  His playing style is so fluid and relaxed.  He almost looks bored up there.  But even watching the old vids of Scorpions, he always has that look.   Klosinski played rhythm guitar and did some harmony soloing with Uli and was spot on with it.  How cool it must be to have Uli as a mentor.  John West sounded great.  There’s only one Klaus, and West wasn’t trying to imitate him.  He was a great fit.  Kofi’s drumming was great and you could tell that he and the band followed Uli’s every move.  He directed some jams with the wave of a hand, a nod or just some quick eye contact.  Seeing them play We’ll Burn the Sky and In Trance gave me goosebumps.  Maybe even a little verklempt during Burn the Sky.  I absolutely love that song.  The final 3 songs were all Hendrix covers, which is not surprising.  I’m not a Hendrix fan but respect his influence.  He’s obviously very important to Uli.  It was a great show.

After the show I got to meet Vinny and Goldy.  They were both very inquisitive about the book.  They signed on the DIO group photo that features both of them, so it was great that Vinny was there.  I also broke my own “no selfie 2015” rule.  Uli was available, too, but I had met him in 2000 and he signed the book back then.  It was also getting late and I was dog tired.  Great seeing some friends there as well.

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.
9/10

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.
6/10

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.
5/10

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.
8/10

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.
7/10

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.
3/10

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.
5/10

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.
10/10

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.
9/10

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.
2/10

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.
6/10

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.
9/10

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
7/10

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!
8/10

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