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CD of the Month
  • Mudvayne
    by Mudvayne
  • 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
    by Shadows Fall
  • Brutal Legend
    Brutal Legend
    Electronic Arts

Alex Rudi Pell - The Crest

A little heavier edge is nice.There aren't many bands out there that are more consistent from release to release than Axel Rudi Pell.  Yeah, you might get a dud here and there, but for the most part you get a solid product every time.  Another thing about Axel, is that you pretty much know what your going to get every time - Good solid hard rock with a metallic edge.  Since Pell joined forces with vocalist Johnny Gioelli back in 1998, it seems like this guitar virtuoso has excelled as a song writer.  Gioelli's awesome vocal style fits Pell's songwriting to a "T".  ARP is as traditional hard rock, and metal as you can get.  His CD's are full of big catchy riffs, big choruses and smoking guitar solos.  The Crest is Pell's 14th studio album, and could very well be his best.

The Crest explodes with the uptempo rock Too Late, which sets the stage for the CD.  It is a heavy track with a great melody and a strong chorus.  The next track Devil Zone (My favorite), is a traditional metal track fueled by a killer riff.  Once the song kicks in from a mellow intro, Axel comes in with this driving guitar riff that sent me into a head banging frenzy.  It is one of those tunes that just makes the head bang and the fist fly in the air.  The next track is Prisoner of Love, which is destined to be a single on metal radio.  Its got the catchy melody and memorable chorus that will stick in your head for days.  The thing I love about this CD is the heaviness of it.  The majority of the songs are heavier and are mixed with a darker vibe, which is shown on the track Dreaming Dead.  All in all a very solid effort.  I think this could be the best CD Pell has ever put out.  Go get it!

Bottom LineStandard Pell, but with a welcomed heavier edge.

Standout Tracks: Devil Zone, Dreaming Dead,  Too Late and Burning Rain.

- Ragman is searching for buried treasure 


Masterplan - Time To Be King

Masterplan - Time To Be KingI have to say I was pretty geeked when I heard that Jorn Lande was back with Masterplan.  Not sure what happened, but I'm glad to hear that the boys have mended the fences and decided to rock together again.  Even though MKII rocked (The CD they did with former Riot vocalist Mike DiMeo), unfortunately the CD received mixed reviews, which left the fans clamoring for Jorn to rejoin the band.  Well 3 years later, Jorn has rejoined the band and they have just recently release their fourth CD titled Time to be King.  If your not familiar with Masterplan, they are powermetal band that was formed by ex-Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch back in 2003.  With the return of Lande, there will be high expectations placed on this new CD; lets see if the new disk will live up to the hype.

Time to be King blasts off with the killer track Fiddle of Time, which is an uptempo metallic rocker, which is full of melody and bound to be a staple in the band's set list.  It is great to hear Jorn back with the lads, DiMeo did a great job during his short tenure in the band, but there is nothing like the original.  The next track to kick my ass is the first single on the CD Far From the End of the World.  This track is also up-tempo rocker, fueled by Jorn's strong vocals and a very memorable chorus.  Killer track.  The interesting thing about this CD is that it has the classic Masterplan sound, mixed with Jorn's solo band.  It sounds like Jorn injected more of his sound into the mix with this release.  Once you check out the title track, you'll hear what I mean, because it sounds like it could have come off of one of Jorn's solo efforts.  All in all a solid effort, even though I think the latter part of the disk is not quite as strong as the first 6 tunes.  The last 4 tracks are good, but not as strong as the first 6.  Not sure if the CD was put together in stages or if the songs came from different sessions, but for the last 4 tracks, the band didn't bring their "A" game.

Bottom Line: Jorn is back in Masterplan, need I say more?

Standout Tracks: Far From the End of the World, The Dark Road, Time to be King and Lonely Winds of War

- Ragman has a plan...


Pearl - Little Immaculate White Fox

Pearl - Little Immaculate White FoxWhat do you do if you're the daughter of Meat Loaf and the fiancee of mosh master Scott Ian (Anthrax)?  Form a band and put out a CD, of course.  Well that is exactly what this former back up vocalist, for her dad and Motley Crue, has recently done with her debut CD Little Immaculate White FoxPearl Aday has lived the life of a rocker since the day she was born.  She literally grew up in recording studio's and on the road; during the height of her father's career.  Pearl's influences run from AC/DC to Janis Joplin.  Actually if you look at the cover of her CD, it will remind you of a Joplin record.  Pearl was named after Joplin's nickname, by her biological father, who played drums in Janis' Full Tilt Boogie Band.  For her debut, Pearl enlisted a heavy arsenal of musicians to help her out like Scott Ian, Ted Nugent and Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains).  Even though this CD has all of the makings of a new millennium version of Janis Joplin, Aday has many other influences to make this hopefully a rockin debut.  Let's see if it rocks.

LIWF begins with track Rock Child, which is an autobiographical tune about Pearl's upbringing.  It is a uptempo rocker that oozes with 80's flair.  It actually has a Motley Crue blues vibe to it, and is an adequate way to start the CD.  The next track Broken White, is not as strong and actually will make you reach for the FF button with lightning speed.  It is a midtempo blues rocker full of cheesey lyrics.  The next 3 tracks, Nutbush City Limits, Check Out Charlie and Mama are probably the strongest tracks on the CD.  Nutbush and Charlie are killer rockers with cool riffs and catchy melodies.  Mama is a bluesy type classic rock ballad that flows well and is very soulful.  After track 7, I began to lose interest in the CD, because I don't feel the songs were as strong as they were on the first half of the CD; with the exception of Broken White, which I didn't dig.  All in all not a bad CD.  There are some highs and lows, but I think the highs win out.  The one track that sticks out like a sore thumb, is the Punk inspired Whore.  If the track were good, I would show some mercy, but Aday is out of her element on that track and it just doesn't work.

Bottom Line: A surprisingly good debut with a nice mix of 70's and 80's blues rock.  LIWF is a strong enough debut that Pearl will be able to stand on her own without be in the shadows of the Loaf.

Standout Tracks: Nutbush City Limits, Check Out Charlie, Mama and Nobody

- Ragman is feeling bluesy


The Moody Blues - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (Blu-Ray)

The Moody Blues - Live At The Isle Of Wight FestivalThe late 60's and early 70's set the stage for some of the best musical festivals known to man.  These early pioneers paved the way for the festivals that we enjoy today; without a Woodstock or an Isle of Wight Festival, would there be an Ozzfest, Wacken or even a Vans Warped tour? Me thinks not.  It is really cool to take a look back and see how our parents or even grandparents used to rock out.  That being said, Eagle Rock Entertainment has just released The Moody Blues set from the Isle of Wight festival.  The Moody Blues are an interesting group because they started out as more of a R & B type act, before evolving into a psychedelic rock band.   In the late 60s' and early 70's, the band had really come into their own and was making waves on both shores.  The band was out supporting, their now classic album, A Question Of Balance, which had been released several months before this performance.  The Isle of Wight was a pinnacle moment in the band's career and solidified them as one of the top acts of that era by sharing the stage with the likes of The Who, The Doors and Hendrix.

Threshold Of A Dream: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival starts with a cool documentary which includes interviews with the members of the group, as well as some footage from the show. The interviews are from present day, intertwined with some vintage footage of the festival.  I found it interesting to hear the members take on this historic day, some 30+ years later.  The documentary also gives a brief history of the band up to the point of the concert.  The remainder of the full feature, is the actual performance.  I couldn't get over the clarity of the film.  It transferred well to BLuRay.  I have to admit, I was never a huge fan of the band, but did enjoy watching this DVD.  It is cool to go back and watch some of the rock pioneers at the top of their game.  Overall a very enjoyable watch, even though I only knew a handful of tunes.

Bottom Line: The Moody Blues at the top of their game.  A look back into the past of one of the most legendary rock festivals of our time.

- Ragman is feeling psychedelic


Dream Theater/Iron Maiden

Sorry about the lateness of this review, but come on, you know the deal...  It's Dream Theater and Iron Maiden.  How can you expect anything less than amazing music?  Best of all, there were no attractive women to distract me and only me at said show.  What a relief, huh?  That said, let's get to the nitty-gritty.

Having been a fan of DT for the last 20 odd years, it's pretty difficult for them to disappoint me live.  I've never heard a bad show from these guys, even if the quality of their discography is a source of contention amongst its fans (for the record, I actually liked Falling Into Infinity a lot).  Long story short, they played a nice mix of their catalog (A Rite of Passage, off their latest album, sounded great live), but no solos from any of the ridiculously talented members as they blazed through a good 45 minute show.

You can guess the quality of the mix being that they were the opening act.  But for the most part, they sounded good, played their asses off to an ecstatic crowd and everyone came away from the experience happy from what I could see.  I only wish I could have gotten me one of their 25th anniversary shirts before I left, but I will bide my time...

I've written so many times about Maiden before, and what can I tell you except that their show was another fantastic live experience from one of the best metal acts in existence.  Think about it, Iron Maiden has been around since 1975 and they're still putting out albums that are able to stand on their own merit.  I'm not saying they're breaking down any barriers or forging new ground in metal - shit, much of their music is some of the ground that other metal bands have stood on for years!  But I'm simply attesting to the pedigree these guys bring to the table in terms of heavy metal concerts.  They are simply one of the best touring bands in existence; you never feel like they're phoning it in, and these guys have been doing in since the early 80s.  Rags felt like the set list was lacking, as they played more than a couple of numbers from Dance of Death, admittedly one of their weaker albums.  I honestly didn't notice, as I was enthralled by yet another amazing set inspired by the sci-fi theme of their upcoming release, The Final Frontier.  Alien monster Eddie was in full effect.  And the irons?  Bitches, they were UP!

Bottom line, if you've never seen an Iron Maiden show, but have been to other, newer metal bands' shows, go see the masters at their game.  And get me a DT hat!

- Genghis is looking for some online t-shirt deals now...