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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Album Review: Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast (1982)

Master of Puppets by Metallica - love it.  Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest - love it.  Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath - love it.  Spreading the Disease by Anthrax - love it.  Ace of Spades by Motorhead - love it.  The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden - love it as well.  These are just some of my favorite heavy metal albums.  And they're all classics.  I haven't listened to Iron Maiden in a long time now, and I recently made the decision to give The Number of the Beast another spin, followed of course, by an overdue review.  I completely forgot just how brilliant this album really is.  No fillers.  No bullshit.  The very best of Iron Maiden is at play here.  This album alone will reinvigorate one's lust for life.  It. Is.  Sooooo goood!  In fact, there is only one bad thing about this album - the pseudo-Vincent Price intro to the title track is not loud enough.  That is it.  And it is easily overlooked anyway.  "Children of the Damned" "Hallowed be thy Name" "Run to the Hills" and the title track are the best of the best if you really need to know.  "Invaders" is pretty awesome too.  But then again, so is the remaining three tracks I haven't mentioned.  If you haven't heard this album, I would highly recommend that you do so, irrespective of whether you usually listen to heavy metal or not.  Bloody magic is all I can say.  A+

Album Review: AC/DC - Black Ice (2008)

It's a real shame what has happened as of late with AC/DC.  Drummer Phil Rudd was ejected from the band for running afoul of the law, Malcolm Young was forced to resign due to dementia, Cliff Williams has made the decision to retire and Brian Johnson has left due to hearing loss.  And of course, Axl Rose has subsequently taken over vocal duties.  For me, the band is as good as dead.  I love Guns N Roses, and of course Axl Rose, don't get me wrong, but the best vocalist for AC/DC is by far Brian Johnson, no questions asked.  It is either him or nobody.  If Phil and Brian get back on board at some point, my interest in the band will most likely be rekindled.  But only time will tell I guess.  But anyway, back to the review.  I have just finished listening to 2008's Black Ice album.  And it is better than what I could have hoped for.  Yes AC/DC still sound the same after all these years - but that's a good thing, in my opinion.  Reinventing themselves simply wouldn't work.  Despite widespread criticism of their perceived musical sameness, I couldn't see them shifting musically toward a Cliff Richard inspired style of softness, nor could I imagine them wanting to sound more like Metallica.  They sound good just the way they are, and Brian's scream sounds just as amusing and enchanting as I thought it did when I was eight years old.  "Rock N Roll Train" is probably the best known song of the album, and of course, it sounds great, although I am also somewhat partial to the Live At River Plate version as well.  "Big Jack" is probably my favorite song here, and "Anything Goes" is probably the least AC/DC sounding song since "Let Me Put My Love Into You."  But I still love it anyway.  A great effort, lads.  A-

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Album Review: Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (1975)

Rumours is without a doubt Fleetwood Mac's greatest album.  But it certainly wasn't the first great album from them.  Their self-titled album from 1975 is yet more proof that over-reliance on 'greatest hits' and 'best of' compilations is always going to be a bad thing.  For a while now I've been pointing out that there is more to a studio album than its greatest hits, i.e. the songs everybody knows, courtesy of the radio stations.  I'm glad I invested in a copy of this album for this very reason.  The album is full of radio playlist staples, but there's the overlooked tracks that are dire need of some attention as well.  "Blue Letter" is a song I've been waiting for for so long now.  And "Sugar Daddy" isn't too bad a ditty either.  "Warm Ways" and "Crystal" are a little too sluggish for my personal preference, and that latter has too much of a Bread vibe too it.  But there's plenty of hits of course - good hits, I should add - to make this album essential buying.  Or streaming, whatever your preference is.  "Rhiannon", "Say You Love Me" and "Over My Head", amongst others, all remind me that the tenner I invested in this record was money well spent.  Stick this album on your next playlist.  A-

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Album Review: Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever (1989)

I love it when I get an album that is so easy to listen to.  Something that holds my attention and doesn't dick around too much, something that gets to the point.  And Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty does an excellent job in this regard.  There is only one song on this album that I would skip, and that is "Alright for Now."  Not my cup of tea, but otherwise I would say that the album represents the very best of Tom Petty.  I can't help but feel that this album is a sort of spiritual successor to Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1.  Fair enough I suppose, given that Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and even Roy Orbison (not forgetting Jim Keltner, aka Buster Sidebury) all aided in this album's production in varying capacities.  Some of his biggest hits are here too, "Free Fallin'", "I Won't Back Down" and "Running Down a Dream" will no doubt jog the memories of those familiar with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.  And good songs they are, of course.  But "Yer So Bad", "Love is a Long Road" and "Zombie Zoo" are all pretty good.  Damn good, as a matter of fact.  Don't settle for the Spotify version, go out and buy a physical copy instead.  You won't regret it.  A