The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘cd review

Heart Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 16, 2014

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heart_dreambutt_fannie_front_coverHeart was great last night.  I’ve been a fan since the 70s and it started in Ellwood City, PA in my grandma’s basement.  My awesome aunts Dianne and Debbie were big fans and I have good memories of spinning Dreamboat Annie, Dog and Butterfly and Little Queen down there.  The limited time I spent up there yearly was filled with music in the basement with my cousins and aunts.

Oddly, I never went to see them until last night.  I especially love the 80s MTV-era stuff.

Heart opened with a slow-ish version of Barracuda and rolled right into Heartless and Magic Man.  Ann’s voice was stellar.  She’s 64.  She sounded so damned incredible and I was completely blown away by the power she still possesses in her voice.  Nancy is 60 and neither of them looked their ages at all.  They are still both beautiful.  I was amazed as to how tiny/short the sisters are.  I don’t know why I thought they’d be taller.  I would have hugged both of them if I had been given the chance.

The whole band was tight as expected.  The setlist was a decent cross section of the 70s and 80s hits.  I will admit to getting all choked up during Dreamboat Annie.  A few tears rolled down.  Not sure why.  I love that song and all, but it just moved me a bit last night.  We were 5th row center for the show.  Right after Dreamboat was played, the lights were turned on the crowd for a moment and I had the horns up in the air.  Standing at the edge of the stage, Ann caught my glance, gave me a wink and a thumbs up.  I was already smiling and that just made me smile even harder.

I will say that the show was damn near perfect except for one thing…the abundance of cover tunes.  I know they’ve been playing Zeppelin covers for years, but for the entire three song encore?  I’m not a Zep fan at all, but Heart does it well.  They also did a Wings cover.  I went to the bathroom on that one.  I’m no McCartney fan in the least.  They did, however, cover Robin Trower’s Day of the Eagle and that sounded cool.  But when you’re already playing what I thought was a short set, fill it with originals.

But overall, it was a great show and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see them.

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of Heart’s soundwoman

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha.  Photo courtesy of "The Austin 360 A List"

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha. Photo courtesy of “The Austin 360 A List”

Satan – Life Sentence Album Review

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Growing up in a house where I had parents who weren’t so keen on me listening to heavy metal, I had to be careful of what I brought satan-court-in-the-acthome to listen to.  Certainly a band called Satan wasn’t going to do me any favors with mom, no matter that the band wasn’t “satanic” at all.  I believe I had an unmarked dubbed tape version for years which got me through my teens.

Satan’s full length debut, Court in the Act, came out in 1983 and it didn’t grace my ears probably until about 1984 or 1985 after Metal Blade Records picked the album up for USA distribution.  To be straightforwardly honest, Court in the Act is probably my favorite NWOBHM release ever, Iron Maiden’s back catalog notwithstanding.  The album was perfect, mainly because of the clean vocal stylings of Brian Ross.  Easily one of my favorite singers of all time.  After Brian left, they followed up with 2 other releases, Into the Future and Suspended Sentence, and to be honest I thought they were terrible.  Looking back, it was the new vocalist that killed it for me.

Court has remained in steady rotation for the last 25+ years and will continue to be.  A year or so ago new came out that Satan was reuniting with the original lineup to record a new album.  To say I was hesitant about hearing a new album by a band that hadn’t done anything in almost 30 years is an understatement.  Typically reunion albums suck.

Satan’s 2013 release entitled Life Sentence, however, does not suck.  Not in the least.  To be truthful, this album is pretty stellar.  I finally picked it up last week and have listened to it at least 4 times.

Ross’ vocals sound great and not over-produced or “fixed”.  The album as a whole has a very raw sound.  Very natural and a perfect followup to Court.  Sure, Brian’s no spring chicken now and hitting those sweet high notes like he used to do isn’t really possible, but it doesn’t detract to a great vocal performance on Life Sentence.

The whole album just sounds like Satan should.  Clean, powerful, melodic.  True NWOBHM.  The songs are catchy and memorable.  I am SATANcover1400x1400quite pleasantly surprised as to how good the album is.  Time to Die, Twenty Twenty Five, Tears of Blood and Another Universe are the standout tracks for me.  If I had to pick a least favorite, it would be the title track, Life Sentence.  Not a bad song by any means, but just didn’t grab my ear like the rest of the album.

That being said, if you’re even a minor fan of Court in the Act, get Life Sentence ASAP.  You shall not be disappointed.

9/10

 

Written by The Metal Files

October 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

Karion – Iron Shadows CD/DVD Review

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There’s no secret that Texas had a legendary metal scene in the early-to-late 80s with the likes of Watchtower, Militia, Wyzard, Syrus, SA Slayer, Juggernaut, Sentinel, Obliveon Knight, Assalant, Helstar, Pantera, Rotting Corpse, Gammacide and a ton of others.

Another band that deserves mention and praise from that era is Karion which featured Art Villarreal (SA Slayer), Chris Cronk (Jag Panzer, Fates Waring, Talisphere, SA Slayer), Pete Perez (Riot, Reverend, Spastic Ink) and Frank Ferreira (Helstar).

Starting sometime last year, Art and friend Bob “Dog” Catlin (Juggernaut, SA Slayer) began the process of cleaning up some Karion demos and the result is the 2-disc set entitled Iron Shadows.

Disc 1 contains 6 tracks which I believe are compiled from their 84 and 87 demos, although not all of the songs from the 87 demos are on the CD.  Karion brings that great style of progressive power thrash that was well-known in south central Texas at the time.  Good clean higher ranged vocals, solid guitar riffs and killer solos, great bass work and fine power drumming made this disc a valuable addition to your collection of true 80s metal, especially for the fans of Texas metal.

Disc 2 of a live DVD of a 1986 Karion show filmed from the balcony of the Villa Fontana.  The audio/video quality is much better than I expected and shows that the band had a really good fan base at the time.  Their performance is solid and makes me wish even more that I had lived in the area at the time.

One interesting thing that I found while doing a little extra reading about Karion is that vocalist Chris Cronk recorded 2 different demos with Fates Warning in 86 and 87.  I haven’t listened to them yet but a quick search will lead you to a download of those.

I can’t recommend this set of discs enough.  It’s been kicking my ass for a week now.  I recommend that you pick it up from Rockadrome Records in San Antonio.  Keep it local!

Written by The Metal Files

July 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

Wild Dogs – Reign of Terror

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I really can’t remember how I happened upon this band.  I do know that I owned their early era vinyl stuff for quite a long time when Matt McCourt was singing for them.  I never really liked that stuff that much except for the song Evil In Me.  Not to mention Deen Castronovo’s drumming on that stuff was pretty good.  But overall those first 2 are a bit average.  Not bad, but not great.

And then came Reign of Terror.  Holy crap!  From beginning to end this album is great.  Sure, some of it gets a little tedious in the lyrics department, but the music overshadows it by a mile.  Deen is all over this on the drums and Jeff Mark’s guitar work is stellar.  Another thing that helped this album a lot was the addition of a new singer, Michael Furlong.  He always reminded me a little bit of J.D. Kimball of Omen.  Sort of raspy, but clear.

My top picks on this album would be Call of the Dar, Siberian Vacation and Streets of Berlin.  As stated earlier, there’s not a bad track on here and I never skip any of it.

A reissued version came out a few years ago with bonus tracks but I have yet to hear them.

Download here.

Written by The Metal Files

August 11, 2010 at 11:28 am

Deathwish – Demon Preacher – 1988

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Here’s an old one and a tad bit obscure. I remember first buying this on tape when it came out. I saw an ad in a magazine and thought the cover looked cool. Remember back in the old days when you had a good chance of picking a good band by their album covers? Not so much these days.

Deathwish hailed from England. While this isn’t a great thrash album by any stretch of the imagination, it’s worth giving a listen to once a year or so. I picked it up on CD a few years after its release and got it in a cutout bin for maybe $5. What an investment it was! A few days ago I sold my copy on eBay for $65!

Download it here.

Written by The Metal Files

April 30, 2010 at 7:54 am

Solstice – Solstice (1992)

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This is one that I picked up around the time it debuted mainly because of the label it was on.  Century Media Records was putting out some cool stuff like Iced Earth at the time so I thought I’d give this a shot.  Glad I did.  It’s a good cross between death and thrash metal without getting too over the top.  I guess they featured members of Cannibal Corpse, Demolition Hammer, Disincarnate, Divine Empire, Hateplow, Hellwitch, Malevolent Creation, Resurrection; none of which I have ever cared about in the least.

I really liked the drummer on this release.  Some really good footwork.

Overall this isn’t the greatest band to come from that Florida death/thrash scene but this album is certainly worth a listen.  It’s been out of print for quite some time.

Download it here.

Rex Inferi – Like A Hurricane (1985)

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Here’s another rarity out of the collection.  I picked this up about 2 years ago from Sentinel Steel.  Limited to only 500 copies on CD, I had to pick it up after hearing a few tracks from YouTube.  This is great early Italian power metal and highly recommended if you liked the NWOBHM stuff.  The first 4 tracks feature one singer and the last tracks feature the replacement singer.  I definitely prefer the first guy.  They remind me a bit of Tokyo Blade (Night of the Blade era).  I highly recommend this download.

Tracks:

1. Angel Of Might 03:48
2. Ghost Horse 05:05
3. Flight To The Sky 05:38
4. Like A Hurricane 04:25
5. Welcome To The Slaughter 03:21
6. Back From War 05:46
7. Murder In Time 05:54
Total playing time 37:56

Download it here.

Written by The Metal Files

January 3, 2010 at 1:17 am