Trench reviews Into the Wild Life by Halestorm

intothewildlife

I don’t want to overhype this but Into The Wild Life is the best Halestorm album so far. It is their heaviest album by far and a little more dark than previous albums. Even the ballads are heavy. Now I’m not talking about sacrificing babies in satanic rituals dark but the album has just enough of a darker edge on it to make it so entertaining to me.

I can not stop listening to this album. Most albums I buy these days I listen to it a couple of times before adding it to the eternal shuffle mix. I’ve been listening to this near flawless album for over a week.

4 1/2 fedoras out of 5

Here’s my favorite track off the album right now, ‘Amen’.

Review of Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life

RonnieJamesDio_ThisIsYourLife

I had such high hopes for this album. I should have known that it wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype.

For those of you who don’t know ‘Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life’ is a tribute album to the late Ronnie James Dio. With sneak previews of songs by Corey Taylor and Halestorm that were amazing I thought this album was going to be amazing, Metallica being on it notwithstanding. I guess I should have checked the track list before I got this album because I already have three songs on this album from other albums one of which is from a previous Dio tribute album. I also felt that there were some performances on the album that just felt mailed in. However I was happy to see some songs from the 1990 Black Sabbath album ‘Dehumanizer’ on there.

3 1/2 fedoras out of 5. Buy it anyway because proceeds do go to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund.

You’re still missed Ronnie. m/

Here’s one of my favorites from the album, Jasta doing Buried Alive from the aforementioned Dehumanizer album.

Review of 13 by Black Sabbath

black-sabbath-13

I feel the need to preface this by saying that Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands of all time. When I heard the first drum beat of Ironman and then the opening guitar riff with Ozzy’s synthesized voice declaring ‘I am Ironman’ I was hooked. Having said that Black Sabbath’s new album 13 was a chore to listen to.

This album sounded more like a band that was trying to emulate the Black Sabbath sound and failed. Kind of like how Kingdom Come was to Led Zeppelin. All the songs on 13 reminded me of other and better Black Sabbath songs from years gone by. Basically on this album it sounds like they are ripping themselves off. Ozzy’s vocals are uninspiring on this album. It sounds more like an Ozzy solo album and we know how they fared in the past few years. Tony and Geezer sound like they are just going through the motions. Bill Ward should be thankful that he wasn’t on this album. Even the album title is lame. Didn’t Megadeth just name their 13th album Th1rt3en a few years ago? All in all this album should have been called ‘One Last Paycheck’.

1 fedora out of 5.

Here’s one of the least boring songs from the album, Methademic.

And really, Ozzy shouldn’t be lecturing anyone on drugs.

Review of Super Collider by Megadeth

Megadeth-Super-Collider

Anymore I only do reviews of something if it’s really good and Megadeth’s latest album Super Collider is damn good. It’s an almost flawless album in my opinion.

Now some people have complained that it isn’t head stomping, mosh pitting, face breaking thrash metal but I’m ok with that. Even without that level of thrash I still think Super Collider is the best album of the modern Megadeth era. Is it Rust In Peace? No, of course not. Very few bands can recreate that kind of level of perfection but Super Collider is a more mature release for a more mature audience. You have to figure that Megadeth’s first generation of fans started listening to them in the 1980s like myself. We can’t all be stuck in teen rebellion mode forever.

Super Collider instead deals not only with modern problems but the problems of adults in the working world. Let’s face it. Dave Mustaine is a millionaire yet somehow he still is in touch with the working class. This was first heard in “The Right To Go Insane” off of Endgame but even more so in “Dancing In The Rain” off of the new album. Speaking of that song I would rank it up there along Peace Sells and A Toute Le Monde as far as Megadeth songs go. As a matter of fact I think it’s a more mature Peace Sells.

Even though Dave seems to be cranking out albums the past few years Super Collider sounds like a more planned out album. Endgame and Th1rt3en sound more like Dave just threw down some tracks and released them as albums. Don’t get me wrong. I like those albums but they don’t come close to Super Collider. On the past two albums Dave engaged in some of his conspiracy theories in his music. It may have worked on United Abominations but it didn’t work on the previous two albums. On Super Collider he turns the conspiracy rhetoric down and the album comes out more like it’s ripped from the headlines with the latest NSA scandal.

I felt a couple of songs were weak but still listenable.

All in all I give it 4 fedoras out of 5. Buy this album.

Now check out Dancing in the Rain…

Trench reviews The Strange Case Of… by Halestorm

thestrangecaseof

I’ve been a huge fan of Halestorm since I saw them at the Uproar Festival in 2010. I loved their debut album, I thought it was almost flawless. I bought the ReAnimate EP when it came out and was amazed how they could take some crappy songs and make them into amazing covers. I bought the Mz. Hyde EP when it came out. That had 4 songs from the new album on it and I thought that if the rest of the album is this good it will be better than the first one. Alas I overhyped the new album to myself because it didn’t quite reach the punch of the first album.

Don’t get me wrong this is still a phenomenal album. In my opinion Lzzy Hale is the best female rock musician since Joan Jett. She writes with a raw sexuality without being overly crude that some female artists do to overcompensate for not being male. This album has a lot of that but not as much as the first album.

Also when I bought the new album I thought it was too ballad heavy but the more I listened to the album the more I realized that some of the ballads are really really good.

The main reason that The Strange Case Of… isn’t as good as the first album is because it has more skippable tracks than the first album. On the first album there was only one song that I didn’t really care for. On this album There were two tracks that weren’t my cup of tea and one of them was a bonus track. I find the song American Boys, which is one of the skippable ones, reminds me too much of early 90s hair metal.

While it sounds that I am trashing this album this is not the case at all. Halestorm is one of the most entertaining bands I’ve listened to in quite a long time and The Strange Case Of… is definitely a hard rock album that not only kicks ass but will also having you waving your lighter in the air.

4 fedoras out of 5.

Now here they are with my favorite song off the album I Miss the Misery.

Review of Th1rt3en by Megadeth

Megadeth_TH1RT3EN_Cover

Just like I said about Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer, Dave Mustaine is conspiracy theorist and ego-maniacal prick but he’s also a musical genius. However that did not translate well on Megadeth’s new album Th1rt3en.

While Dave’s conspiracy minded lyrics were great on United Abominations it was annoying on Endgame and just downright boring on Th1rt3en. Not to mention while the guitar work on this album is amazing more than half the songs on this album are just mediocre at best. To be honest I only liked about 5 songs on this 13 (natch) track album.

2 1/2 fedoras out of 5.

Here’s Sudden Death which in my opinion is the best track on the album.

Review of Dystopia by Iced Earth

icedearthdystopia

I’ve said before that Jon Schaffer is a conspiracy theorist and ego-maniacal prick but he’s also a musical genius in my opinion.

I was a little apprehensive to hear this album because I know nothing of new vocalist Stu Block. I was a huge fan of Matt Barlow and an even bigger fan of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. Stu holds more than his own on this album and is a worthy successor. He even sounds like an amalgamation of Matt Barlow and Ripper. That’s a compliment by the way. Jon Schaffer has once again struck gold with his choice of vocalists.

This album is a theme album much like Horror Show was. In case you haven’t guessed the theme of the album is dystopia. Schaffer’s writing here is excellent as always and continues to be the American Iron Maiden by writing a few songs about dystopian movies such as V for Vendetta, Soylent Green and a personal favorite of mine Dark City. Something that bugged me about this album though was it seemed like some of Schaffer’s other project, Sons of Liberty, bled into this album. Minor annoyance though as I actually liked Brush Fries of the Mind even though I didn’t agree with all of its subject matter.

Now I’ve been a fan of Iced Earth since Something Wicked This Way Comes and every album since then has had a personal anthem for me on it. This album is no different. It’s not the song Anthem as you might guess even though that is one of my favorite tracks on the album. My anthem from this album is End of Innocence that Stu Block wrote about his mother having terminal cancer. That really hit home for me as most of you know my mother passed away this year from cancer. Thanks to Stu and Schaffer I now have a definitive song to remember my mom by. And when I say thanks to them I really mean it. It is a personal thank you.

There’s not a bad song on this album but it’s not as epic as the two Something Wicked Saga albums.

4 1/2 fedoras out of 5.

Here’s End of Innocence. I miss you mom.

The Devil You Know by Heaven and Hell

If Black Sabbath had written Stairway to Heaven it would be Bible Black.

This song is an instant classic that should be in the pantheon of Dio-Era Sabbath songs like the song Heaven and Hell. Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t rock as hard. Oh it rocks all right and it’s a great album. It’s just not as good as other Dio Sabbath albums. Yes I think Dehumanizer is a better album. But it’s still the Dio fronted Black Sabbath so it’s automatically awesome.

Highly Recommended.

All hail his name m/

All hail his name m/

Operation Mindcrime II

Last night I purchased Operation Mindcrime II by Queensryche. The follow-up to my favorite album of all time Operation: Mindcrime.

Plusses:

  • The political rhetoric was kept to a minimum
  • Even more of Pamela Moore, the voice of Mary
  • Great lyrics
  • Geoff Tate’s vocals are still strong
  • The song “The Chase” with Ronnie James Dio is great
  • It’s better than Tribe and Hear

Minuses:

  • The story is not as complex as OM
  • Too many songs sound like Geoff Tate’s solo album
  • No song really kicks you in the head like so many songs off of the original
  • No opus in this one like “Suite Sister Mary” from the original
  • “The Chase” was too short. That should have been the opus since it was the confrontation between Nikki and Dr. X. Not only that but how can you have two of the greatest metal vocalists ever on the same song and have the song be under 4 minutes?
  • Nowhere near as theatrical as the original
  • The ending was unsatisfying

I may change my mind after a few more listens but I doubt it.

2 1/2 out of 5.