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Album of the Month - November
  • Disconnect
    Disconnect
    by Threat Signal
Video of the Month - November
  • Dimevision Vol. 2 - Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over
    Dimevision Vol. 2 - Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over
    by Dimebag Darrell
#DefineMetal
  • Metal: The Definitive Guide
    Metal: The Definitive Guide
    by Garry Sharpe-Young
Props

CD of the Month
  • Mudvayne
    Mudvayne
    by Mudvayne
Inspiration
  • Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
    Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
    by Michael Moynihan, Didrik Soderlind
  • Retribution
    Retribution
    by Shadows Fall
  • Brutal Legend
    Brutal Legend
    Electronic Arts
Tuesday
Oct192010

Lillian Axe - Deep Red Shadows

Lillian exploring their dark side.Over the past couple of years Lillian Axe has been putting out records that are darker and less melodic than the music that they created back in the day.  I have to say I miss the glory days, but the darker material ain't half bad either.  The band has just released their 8th studio album Deep Red Shadows, which is the last to feature vocalist Derreck Le Fevre.  Le Fevre left the band shortly after the recording of the CD.  Ex-Metal Church vocalist Ronny Munroe took the helm temporarily, before recently departing as well, leaving the band without a vocalist.   Not sure what the fate of the band will be, but at least we have a new release to talk about.

Deep Red Shadows continues the darker direction that the band had adopted back in 2007 for Water's Rising (Which I thought was a killer CD).  This new record is a little different though, because about half of the CD is acoustic based while the other half is electric.  The electric songs which dominate the beginning of the CD are dark and have a modern flair about them.  The Acoustic tracks are more melodic and a little more enjoyable.  Dont' get me wrong the opening track Under the Same Moon is a solid track, but I think the acoustic tracks are just a little stronger.  Not a bad CD, but not a great one either.  It feels like the CD was rushed, possibly by the impending departure of Le Fevre, and lacks the cohesiveness of previous releases.

Bottom Line: A darker more grungier Lillian, but with some bright spots of melody mixed in.  The songs are good but not as catchy as with previous releases.

Standout Tracks: A Minute of Years, Nobody Knows, Under the Same Moon and Noctrunal Symphony.

Ragman has seen darker days.

 

Tuesday
Oct192010

Heaven Below - EP

I love it when I find a new group, that embraces the heart and soul of 80's hard rock, and makes it sound fresh.  My latest find, is a band called Heaven Below, and they have a new EP that kicks ass.  HB has an 80's hard rock sound mixed with a cool heavy modern edge to it.  The EP kicks off with the track Dying Vicariously which is a mid tempo rocker that has more of a modern vibe to it.  This is a cool track but it wasn't until the 2nd track When Daylight Dies, that I started to get hooked.   The track starts off slow but then picks up after the chorus.  The song is fueled by a cool riff and a stand up and shout type chorus. 

I dig this band because they mix it up abit.  The EP gives you a true taste of what these guys can do.  A nice mixture of rockers and ballads.  The EP contains a couple of cool covers as well: Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar) and Twilight Zone (Golden Earing).

The format of this release is interesting because it contains 6 tracks that are listed, plus 4 bonus (MP3) tracks.  Interesting that they chose this format, because had they included all of the tracks as standard audio, then they would have had a full CD.  The CD also includes 4 videos as well.  A solid EP that will get you craving a full release. 

Bottom Line: New Schoolers kicking it old school.  Good solid hard rock that hearkens back to the day, without sounding dated.

Standout Tracks: When Daylight Dies, King of Nothing, Twilight Zone and Above the Satellites

Ragman is rocking it new school.

Friday
Oct152010

Unruly Child - Worlds Collide

Back from the 90s, it's good to hear Marcie (Mark) Free again.It was anyone's guess if Marcie (Mark) Free would ever return to music, after she left the bizz back in 1995 to deal with some personal issues.  After some coaxing by former Unruly Child band mates Bruce Gowdy and Guy Allison, Marcie came back to the scene sounding better than ever.  Marcie is by far, one of the most soild melodic rock vocalists of our time.  Whether it be her time in King Kobra, Signal or Unruly Child, she always delivers vocally. 

Worlds Collide is the first CD by the original band in 18 years, and it is sure to offer up some melodic rock ecstasy.  Unruly Child have picked up, right where they left off with their self titled debut debut by producing some of the finest hard rock out there.  The CD starts a little slow, with the opening two tracks Show Me the Money and Insane, but then takes off from there.   The first two tracks are okay, but they lack the fire that the rest of the CD contains.  These songs seemed a little forced and just do it for me.  The first track to hook me, is the track When We Were Young, because it brings back the big chorus' and top notch melodies that the band is known for.  It has a dark vibe to it before kicking into an ultra melodic chorus.

It is good to have Unruly Child back, and this is a solid re-union record, but I wish the production had been a little heavier.  The first CD had a heavier vibe than the new CD.  Worlds Collide, at times, comes off a little too polished.  I think if the CD would have had a heavier edge, then the already great songs on this record, would have even sounded better.  Don't get me wrong, this is a solid CD and is worthy of picking up, I just wish it would have been heavier, but don't I always?

Bottom Line: Solid melodic rock by one of the greats.  A welcomed return by an overlooked band in the 90s.  Free still sounds amazing and hopefully this won't be the last we hear from her.

Standout Tracks: When Worlds Collide, When We Were Young, Very First Time and Tell Another Lie

- Ragman's worlds are colliding

Tuesday
Oct122010

Tangents - One Light Year

Middling 90s-era alternative rock? Meh. Could be worse.Tangents is a non-metal project from Unearth drummer Derek Kerswill and Of the Hour vocalist Dave Witham (who?).  The two of these guys wrote and recorded the full CD via the net.  Pretty amazing what you can do online these days.  The music they came up with sounds like early 90's alternative.  The band mixes the early alt vibe of Radiohead with with the pop sounds of Oasis.

Alright, If I haven't scared you off yet, then you might be willing to check out a fairly descent CD.  The songs are well put together and do give off a vibe of early 90's alternative.  The first track Arrow in the Heart has a dark vibe to it, before kicking into a alternatively tinged tune.  The rest of the tracks pretty much fall in suit.  There is a not a lot of variety on this CD, which unfortunately makes the disk drone on a bit.  The music on this CD is very mellow and subdued. 

This is one of those good background CD's, because it is pleasant to listen to while you're working.  I think the musicianship on the CD is solid, but the vocals sometime come off a little irritating.  Witham is not bad vocalist, but can come off a little whiney at times.  Not a bad CD, but not a great one either.

Bottom Line Nothing to write home about, but nothing to discard either.  90's tinged alternative rock, that is good, but not great.

Standout Tracks: Missing (One Light Year), Nothing Left Undone and When Will it End

- Ragman is ready for bed after this one

Tuesday
Oct122010

Killing Joke - Absolute Dissent

Killing Joke is back and sounding better than ever!I'll never understand why some of the greatest bands of our time have never gotten their due.  On the surface, it seems like these bands have all that it takes to take over the world, but for some reason it never happens.  Killing Joke is one of those bands.  They are a band that have influenced many of the big names out there today, and have received consistent praise by the critics, but for some reason, they were never quite able to make it to the big dance. 

On and off for over the past 3 decades, Killing Joke has been a driving force in the alternative/metal community.  The band has just released their 14th studio album Absolute Dissent, which could be one of their most complete records to date.  I think that is so cool that bands that have been around, for as long as Killing Joke has, can still put out relevant product. 

Absolute Dissent brings the original line-up back together again, which will be a treat for KJ fans.  When I first heard that this CD was coming out, I was curious as to if the band still had any gas left in the tank, but after a few listens, it was apparent that there was, and it is some pretty high octane shit, because this CD rocks. 

The thing I like most about this CD, is that it mixes the aggression of the band's more recent material, with the more melodic sounds of Brighter Than a Thousands SunsJaz Coleman has such a commanding vocal style, because his vocals can soothe when melodic and terrorize when angry.  There are a variety of tracks on the CD ranging from the pummeling This World Hell to the melodic electronica sounds of European Super State.  A very complete CD that will get Killing Joke fans giddy.

Bottom Line: Killing Joke is back sounding better than ever.  The band has put out a CD that encompasses the sounds of their whole career.  There are a few duds on this one, but for the most part, it rocks!

Standout Tracks: European Super State, This World Hell, The Great Cull and Absolute Dissent

 - Ragman is glad to hear the more melodic side of the Joke again; it's been a while...