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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Album Review: Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record (1976)

I've just finished listening to ELOs landmark 1976 record, A New World Record.  And boy has this album blown me away. ELO themselves have long impressed me with some of the hits they managed to produce in their history - some of which are of course here on this album, but this album has gained the honor of being one of the very, very few albums that I can listen to comfortably from start to finish.  If you extract the best known hits - "Livin' Thing", "Rockaria" and "Telephone Line", you're left with an album replete with songs that in no way could ever be called fillers.  They are masterpieces in their own right.  The album itself, upon playback of the opening track, "Tightrope", comes across as a concept album, although it isn't one, and every song seems to fit in harmoniously with one another, as if the entire track list were one.  It really is a magnificent piece of work, and should be rated far higher than it is.  "So Fine", "Do Ya" and "Shangri-La" are just three of the nine great songs that make up this classic album.  Mixing rock, pop and classical never sounded "so fine" to me.  Magnifique!  A

Album Review: Van Halen - Diver Down (1982)

If you want to listen to a Van Halen album that exemplifies nicely that "f*** it" factor and sets out to be nothing but fun, look no further than Diver Down from 1982.  In a way it is a strange album, but that's a good thing - few metal or hard rock bands would contemplate doing a cover of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman." and the ones that would dare try would fail miserably to do it justice like Van Halen did.  And they did a spectacular job of it.  Hell, the rest of the album ain't bad either,especially the second half.  As for "Big Bad Bill (is Sweet William Now)", it stands out from the album like the proverbial mammaries on male cattle (and the band's work in general), but it's the most fun track on the record.  And their version of "Dancing in the Street" is the best ever too.  "Little Guitars", "Hang 'Em High" and "The Full Bug" are also worth listening to as well.  All in all, a better album than what many people claim it is.  Check it out for yourself and hopefully you'll see what I'm talking about.  A-

Album Review: Metallica - Master of Puppets (1986)

My four month fixation with a certain violent video game has pretty much subsided and now I'm back to writing reviews of albums.  And for my first review of the month, I'll be reviewing Metallica's magnum opus, Master of Puppets from 1986.  This is a quintessential album that should be in every metalhead's record collection - even if you don't like them to whatever degree, you should own it.  Because it is bloody well near perfect as far as thrash albums are concerned.  Sufficient enough to induce anger that will compel you to tear small animals to pieces, politically charged enough for you to invest in a soap box and harass passers-by in the center of town, and of course, sufficiently well crafted enough to make you shed a tear upon listening to the brutally symphonic instrumental "Orion", the album is revered for all the right reasons.  Book-ended by two of their finest fast 'n furious ditties, "Battery" and "Damage, Inc." this album is a roller-coaster of sheer thrash madness, enthusiastic fervor and outright brilliance.  Love this album!  A+