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Album of the Month - August
  • Live - Back to the Roots - Accepted [DVD + 2 CD]
    Live - Back to the Roots - Accepted [DVD + 2 CD]
    by DIRKSCHNEIDER
Video of the Month - August
  • Live - Back to the Roots - Accepted [DVD + 2 CD]
    Live - Back to the Roots - Accepted [DVD + 2 CD]
    by DIRKSCHNEIDER
#SoundSmarter
  • Heavy Metal Music and the Communal Experience
    Heavy Metal Music and the Communal Experience
    Lexington Books
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
Thursday
Sep022010

Black Label Society: Doom Troopin' Live (Blu-ray)

Zakk and company rock the shit out of ParisZakk Wylde has had a rough couple of years, but he has bounced back in 2010 with a new CD (Order of the Black) as well as the re-release of his 2006 concert DVD, Doom Troopin' Live - The European Invasion on Blu-ray.  It is hard to believe that Zakk has been kicking our ass for over 25 years, and whether it be with Ozzy or BLS, this guy always brings it.  After losing the Ozzy gig, Zakk had some health issues, but now he's back stronger than ever, placing all of his focus on Black Label Society.  

Doom Troopin' Live features the band supporting their 2005 release Mafia, on the European leg of the tour.  The DVD features a full length show from the band at the Elysee Montmartre in Paris.  Killer venue.  The DVD also features 4 songs from a show they did at the Astoria in London.  The shows are shot very well and give you a sense of being there.  The sound is impecable as well.  I never saw the standard version of this package, but the Blu-ray is amazing. 

Doom Troopin also comes with an addtional disk that features a 50 min. documentary of Zakk and BLS on the road, as well as some promo videos.  Any documentary featuring Zakk is entertaining, and this one is no different.  There are some funny moments as well as some interesting ones i.e. when Zakk gets into it with the video director.  This is one dude you do not want to piss off.  All in all a very enjoyable watch that will stay in the rotation.

Bottom Line: This is one of those Blu-ray's that you'll put in and will give you such a rush, that when it is over, you'll rush to your computer to find out when BLS is coming to town.

- Ragman is racing out to get the new CD

Thursday
Sep022010

FART: The Movie

A movie that lives up to its nameI should have known by the title that this movie would probably suck, but being a fan of B-Movies, I decided to give it a shot.  FART - The Movie is a cult classic film, that was released in the early 90's and has just been released on DVD.  I'm not sure who thought this was a classic, or why it warranted a release on DVD, but now it is out there for the public to consume. 

FART is about a guy named Russell who has two loves in his life: Farting and his girlfreind Heather.  Man, this dude has issues.  The film centers around Russell and his constant need to fart.   Heather does not like the farting but supposedly puts up with it, because she loves this douche bag.  She is constantly opening windows and spraying air freshener to cleanse their home.  Long story short, one night Heather goes to a party while Russell dreams of a world where everyone on TV farts.  Stupid, I know. 

I still can't figure out why I wasted 90 minutes on this piece of shit.  I'm one of those guys that keeps hoping it will get better, but unfortunately for FART, it got progressively worse.  The only thing that would make this movie worth watching, is if you made a drinking game out of it.  Mercifully, you would probably be passed out after about 20 minutes.

Bottom Line: One of the worst flicks I have seen in sometime.

- Ragman has to take a FART: The Movie shit now

Saturday
Aug282010

Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train - Round Trip

Tony Harnell doing what he does bestSince Tony Harnell left TNT back in 2006, he has kept himself busy with various projects like Starbreaker as well as flirting with a solo career.  Tony got close when he released Cinematic, which was a solo EP comprised of some demos that he had been working on, back in 2008.  The EP was released exclusively on his website.  2010 brings the man a little closer to fulfilling the promise of a solo CD, with his latest release Round Trip

Tony has recently re-surfaced with his new band The Mercury Train, for a reworking of some of his tracks from TNT and Westworld.  For Round Trip, Tony decided to strip things back and make the majority of the tunes acoustic based, which he hopes will gives these classic tracks new life.  This seems to be a fairly popular trend for established rockers to revisit classic tracks and modernize them.  When an artist does this, it can breathe new life into a classic track, but it can also uncover some hidden gems that may have been overlooked the first time around.  I think it is a cool trend, but you have to be careful re-doing a classic songs, because, if it sounds the same or worse, then what is the point. 

Round Trip starts with the re-working of the classic TNT track Somebody Told You off of the Firefly record.  The track starts off with a cool funky bass line and then kicks into the tune.  The re-worked version comes off fresh and fun.  You can tell by the first tune, that Tony has put a lot thought into the track and has added a new twist to this classic tune.  Tony has done a nice job by changing up the tracks and making them fresh again.  Check out the re-workings of Intuition, Lonely Nights and Northern Lights.  I think the stongest thing about this CD is Tony's vocals.  The dude just sounds amazing.  This CD really highlights what a stong vocalist he is.  He has not lost anything as a vocalist. 

Round trip contains 14 tracks.  The CD is primarily made up of classic tunes, with the exception of Univited (Alanis Morisette) which was originally covered for the Westworld - Skin record as well as the sole original tune Anywhere but Here.  I'm glad he included Uninvited, because the version has a really cool dark vibe to it, which ends up being one of the highlights on the CD for me.  Anywhere But Here leaves a lot to be desired.  It has a Beatles vibe, but never really goes anywhere.  It is just a subpar track, and probably the weakest on the CD.  Too bad, because I was hoping for more.  The CD has a mellow vibe, but is done well and should keep fans happy until the next release.

Bottom Line: Tony Harnell stripped back.  The CD borders on that adult contemporary vibe, but is still cool because it's Tony Harnell.  This CD truly showcases what a great vocalist that Tonay Harnell is.  The only down side, is that the one original track on the CD, is not that strong.  Hopefully there will be better things to come in the future in regards to new original material.

Standout Tracks: Uninvited, Lonely Nights, Somebody Told You, and Northern Lights

- Ragman is looking for his lighter

Tuesday
Aug242010

First Signal (Featuring Harry Hess)

Harry sounds great, but the music's lacking...It is hard to believe it has been 2 years since Harem Scarem hung it up.  With the way their schedule had been, 2010 would have been the year for a new CD.  Unfortunately Harem Scarem is gone, and have vowed not to come back, but with the emergence of a new project called First Signal, there may be some hope to bring back that classic HS sound.  First Signal is the welcomed return of vocalist Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) to the hard rock world.  It appears that First Signal is a project headed by bassist/producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) and the folks at Frontiers.  Frontiers wanted to put out a release that hearkened back to the classic Harem sound, but with a twist, and that is exactly what we got.

First Signal's debut starts off with the energetic first single This City, which is an upbeat melodic rocker that has some elements of HS, but a little more polished.  The tune is catchy, but nothing too spectacular.  To boil it all down this CD, is full of catchy and melodic tunes, that lack the punchiness of Harem Scarem.  From what I read, the goal was to bring back the Mood Swings era HS sound, but unfortunately they missed the mark, and come off sounding more like Journey than HS.  Had the songs,  been heavier and edgier then they might of achieved their goal.  Don't get me wrong, there are some cool tracks on the CD like, Part of Me and Naked Desire, which sound like they could have come off a Pink Cream record.  These two tracks have a dark vibe to them and are heavier than most of the other tracks on the CD. 

This is not a bad CD and maybe I have been a little too critical, but I was expecting more than what I got.  The brightest part of this CD is the return of Harry Hess.  Harry sounds amazing on this release as well as the other studio musicians that participated in this project.  The songs are played well and written well, but they are missing that umph factor.  The songs are catchy and poppy, and do lend to the HS sound, but only because Hess was involved.  If you want to compare this to a Harem Scarem CD, then the closes comparison, would be to their self titled first album.

Bottom Line: Harry Hess is back and sounding amazing as usual on a CD that might have been better had it been a band project rather than just a bunch of studio musicians getting together to crank out a CD.  If you're not aware, one of the biggest disappointments about this project is that all of the material was written by outside writers.

Standout Tracks: Naked Desire, Part of Me, Crazy and First Signal

- Ragman was looking for just a little more

Saturday
Aug212010

Podcast #106: Type

Kai demonstrates his "Horn up" greetingWhile to the average person, metal is just loud guitars and screaming, to the aficionado, it's much more complex.  Initially categorized as traditional, hair and thrash, now there are so many genres it's hard to keep track.  Join Genghis and Ragman, as they dig deep into this music to see what they can unearth.  You'll be amazed with what they come up with.  Next the boys have lined up Gamma Ray mainman, Kai Hansen, who discusses his band's latest effort, To the Metal, as well as his relationship with former Helloween vocalist, Michael Kiske.

DVD of the Show: The Haunted - Caught on Tape

1st Beer of the Show: Holzar-Bier Dunkel (Beer Rating: 3.5)

2nd Beer of the Show: Allagash Fluxus (Beer Rating: 3)

Featured Tracks: Y & T - Shine On; The Haunted - Ceremony; Overkill - The Goal is Your Soul; Lillian Axe - Sad Day on Planet Earth; Orange Sky - Roses; Rush - The Spirit of Radio; Anthrax w/Public Enemy - Bring the Noise; Pantera - Clash with Reality; Avalon - Eternal Flame; Steel Panther - Asian Hooker; Gamma Ray - Somewhere Out in Space, Empathy, To The Metal, Time to Live, All You Need to Know & Valley of the Kings

Classic of the Show: Hanoi Rocks - The Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Ragman's Pick of the Show: Soilwork - The Thrill

Genghis' Pick of the Show: Vanden Plas - Holes in the Sky

- Ragman is finally getting caught up...

Podcast #106: Type