Vim Fuego

Patrick Stott
Forum Admin Group · Admin,Thrash/Death, Grindcore & VA teams
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Favorite Metal Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

489 reviews/ratings
MORBID ANGEL - Altars of Madness Death Metal | review permalink
PUNGENT STENCH - Been Caught Buttering Death Metal | review permalink
CATHEDRAL - Forest of Equilibrium Doom Metal | review permalink
BRUTAL TRUTH - Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses Deathgrind | review permalink
ANNIHILATOR - Alice in Hell Thrash Metal | review permalink
DARK ANGEL - Darkness Descends Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Retaliation Crossover Thrash | review permalink
EXODUS - Fabulous Disaster Thrash Metal | review permalink
HOLY TERROR - Mind Wars Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARCASS - Symphonies of Sickness Goregrind | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Carnivore Crossover Thrash | review permalink
DARKTHRONE - Soulside Journey Death Metal | review permalink
DEICIDE - Deicide Death Metal | review permalink
DESTRUCTION - Sentence of Death Thrash Metal | review permalink
BAD NEWS - Bad News Heavy Metal | review permalink
EXHORDER - Slaughter in the Vatican Thrash Metal | review permalink
8 FOOT SATIVA - Season for Assault Thrash Metal | review permalink
TERRORIZER - World Downfall Grindcore | review permalink
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Live Shit: Binge & Purge Thrash Metal | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Thrash Metal 120 3.84
2 Death Metal 54 4.09
3 Heavy Metal 54 3.66
4 Grindcore 37 3.73
5 Crossover Thrash 19 3.97
6 Groove Metal 18 3.08
7 Hard Rock 15 2.63
8 Black Metal 12 3.54
9 Alternative Metal 10 2.70
10 Glam Metal 10 3.25
11 Technical Death Metal 10 3.70
12 Industrial Metal 9 3.44
13 NWoBHM 7 3.21
14 Power Metal 7 3.29
15 Progressive Metal 7 2.36
16 Non-Metal 6 1.75
17 Melodic Death Metal 5 2.60
18 Goregrind 5 4.10
19 Gothic Metal 5 3.30
20 Deathgrind 5 3.70
21 Sludge Metal 5 2.80
22 Symphonic Metal 5 1.60
23 Doom Metal 4 4.00
24 Folk Metal 4 3.75
25 Brutal Death Metal 4 3.38
26 Death 'n' Roll 4 2.00
27 Nu Metal 3 0.67
28 Hardcore Punk 3 5.00
29 Atmospheric Black Metal 3 2.83
30 Death-Doom Metal 3 2.83
31 US Power Metal 3 3.33
32 Stoner Metal 3 2.83
33 Symphonic Black Metal 2 4.50
34 Speed Metal 2 2.50
35 Deathcore 2 2.00
36 Funk Metal 2 1.50
37 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
38 Avant-garde Metal 2 2.50
39 Crust Punk 2 4.75
40 Pornogrind 2 4.00
41 Melodic Black Metal 2 1.25
42 Metal Related 2 5.00
43 Metalcore 2 3.25
44 Heavy Alternative Rock 1 4.00
45 Mathcore 1 3.50
46 Heavy Psych 1 0.50
47 Cybergrind 1 4.00
48 Drone Metal 1 4.00
49 Rap Metal 1 2.50
50 Technical Thrash Metal 1 3.50
51 Viking Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

DEATH Leprosy

Album · 1988 · Death Metal
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It must be a teen angst thing, to claim a song or musician “speaks” to you. It was common in the gunge… er, grunge era, where spotty anaemic teens thought Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder were channelling their personal feelings or thoughts, and were communicating straight to them. It’s not a new phenomenon. Similar claims have been made of Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Bono, and just about any trendy fuckwit who has ever written a vague sounding song which can be reinterpreted or misinterpreted, and appeals to safe middle class, suburban youth.

Fuck. Off.

All it means is you’ve never experienced anything challenging or real in your life, and you’re trying to be more world wise and weary than you really are. That sort of music, and it’s fans, are deeply superficial. There is nothing truly thought provoking in it, because there is nothing real in it.

For outsiders, people attracted to harder, heavier music, it is either a reflection of the harshness of life, or a complete escape into fantastical escapism. On the reality side, you have genres like grindcore and crust punk, with their social conscience and political colours emblazoned for all to see. Other genres, like brutal death metal or power metal take refuge in slasher movie gore, or Dungeons and Dragons made flesh. A few bands though, managed to combine the two extremes, creating something which was both thought provoking, and an escape. Death’s “Leprosy” is such a creation.

Death’s legacy is legendary in metal circles. The band’s first album “Scream Bloody Gore” is a seminal death metal milestone, creating the bloodstained blueprint for the genre. However, by the time Chuck Schuldiner got to making “Leprosy”, he had been playing this style of music for half a decade, and the plain old guts and gore thing had become a bit passé. So Schuldiner changed tack. Instead of musical horror movies, as later perfected by the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Autopsy, he turned to true life horror.

Take title track “Leprosy” for example. It’s a biblical illness, right? People don’t get leprosy any more, do they? Well, when this song was written, more than 5,000,000 people worldwide had the disease. Although now curable, it is still present in the developing world. There’s a horrifically detailed (and even more horrifically predominantly shocking pink!) Ed Repka depiction of the disease on the album cover. A descriptive song, it describes the ravages of leprosy on a human. It doesn’t just describe the physical effects, but also the social stigma, and the psychological torment of someone disfigured and dying. How would you feel?

Musically, “Leprosy” was also a change of tack. It’s fast and heavy, but also sharp and clear. And ya know, it’s a pretty fucking impressive backing band here. Although things went all to shit later on, and the rest of the band copped a lot of criticism from Schuldiner, all three have been incredibly influential in the way death metal sounds today. The non-Chuck ¾ of the band went on to reform Massacre with former Death alumni Kam Lee. Bassist Terry Butler didn’t actually play on this album, but he has had a full career since, also playing in Six Feet Under and Obituary. Rick Rozz co-wrote much of the music on this album. His playing style was criticised at the time for his blatant Kerry King worship, but in the years since, his style has been adopted by many death metal lead guitarists, because it suits death metal so fucking well.

The rest of the thought provoking songs followed on in a similar vein from “Leprosy”. “Born Dead” took a closer look at third world famine and disease than any pop star collaboration trying to feed the world. “Forgotten Past” is a story of horrifying dreams, or are they a revealed memory?

The incredible “Left To Die” is a war song, told from the point of view of a seemingly unimportant victim dying on a battlefield. It could be the final moments of many millions of soldiers since the invention of gunpowder, but is that life still unimportant if it is yours?

“Pull The Plug” is a powerful first person point of view of a helpless victim in a vegetative state, sensing all, but able to do nothing. It’s like Metallica’s “One” without the anti-war message, and poetic license. “Open Casket” is a jab at the insensitive and cringe-worthy practice of open casket funerals. What good comes from seeing someone’s body in death?

“Primitive Ways” is probably the only song which would have fit well onto “Scream Bloody Gore”. It’s a description of cannibalistic rituals. A bit less intelligent than the rest of the album, this is still plenty gory for the guts fetishists.

And final track “Choke On It”. It’s not a perverse song about brutal sex, as the title may suggest. Instead, the song makes the listener consider: “How would I cope if subjected to torture?”

So, feelings? Yes, there’s plenty, if you count all the varieties of physical and mental pain, and societal rejection. Thoughts? Plenty are provoked, often of the “I’ve never thought of it that way before” and “thank fuck that’s not happening to me” variety. And does it speak to anyone? Well, yes it does. This album spoke to death metal fans and bands the world over. The message was it was OK to explore themes outside murder and gore, it was possible to make clear sounding music without losing the death metal essence, and intelligence and death metal were not mutually exclusive.

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills...But Who's Dying? - Volume 4 of the Ultimate In Thrash

Album · 1989 · Thrash Metal
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Young metal fans today have it easier than in days gone by for discovering new music. YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, websites, streaming, downloads, message boards... None of things existed until at the late 1990s at the very least. The young know not what they missed.

Back in a pre-internet time, communication was much slower, and information much harder to access. Music had a more limited number of formats. There was vinyl, which was inconvenient and easily damaged. Cassettes were more convenient, but were also prone to damage when tapes stretched and chewed, and had definite sound quality issues. CDs were new, and had great clarity of sound, but they were expensive. A lot of labels and bands could not afford to release material on CD, and CD players could cost as much as a second hand car. Live was the best way to hear a band, but if the bands didn’t come to your country, you’d never hear them.

Discovering new bands and new music was also trickier. Radio and TV were next to useless, a few notable exceptions excluded. Try explaining to a teen metal fan now the frustrations of trying to tune into a metal show at 11pm on a Sunday night, broadcast from a student radio station with less power than a lightbulb (I kid you not. The transmitter for 98RDU, my nearest student radio station had a 98 watt transmitter!). Trying to even get a barely recognisable signal involved orienting the radio in the right direction, fiddling with the aerial, and stringing bits of wire around the room as an antenna extension. And then if it was raining or windy, just forget it completely.

All in all, it was a pain in the fucking ass. It took a lot of effort, could cost a lot of money, and it was easy to miss things. So just imagine the satisfaction, and the near priapic joy, when you managed to discover something as magnificent as “Speed Kills...But Who's Dying?”

The Speed Kills series of compilations had been going since 1985 as a showcase of what was new in “speed metal” on the Under One Flag/Music For Nations label. Even in 1985 with the release of the first compilation the title was already out of date. Through licensing deals and the label’s own releases, that album featured Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Venom, Voivod, Celtic Frost, and a number of other early thrash metal bands, with only a couple of genuine speed metal tracks, but there was little distinction made in those days. Basically, it was metal, it was fast, and it was well outside the mainstream.

By 1989 with the release of the fourth album in the series, “Speed Kills...But Who's Dying?” underground metal was becoming a little more fragmented. Death metal, black metal, and grindcore were all starting to emerge as distinct subgenres. The likes of Metallica and Megadeth were on the cusp of mainstream success, and would never again be seen on a compilation like this. So what was left? An outsider who knew little of metal would probably call “Speed Kills...But Who's Dying?” second rate, or second tier, but this compilation isn’t for them. This is for the true fans, those who want to dig deeper, to a place where commercial success does not equate to quality. This is for people who wanted to explore the deeper dungeons of thrash metal, rather than just leaping about the parapets of the Big Four.

There are endless arguments about who comes next after the legendary Big Four. Cases can be made for Testament, Overkill, Kreator (which forgets Germany had its OWN Big Three/Four), or the first band on this compilation, Exodus. Long may these good, friendly, violent discussions continue, but don’t forget the music. The song “Parasite” is one of the stronger tracks from Exodus’ second and ultimately flawed album “Pleasures of the Flesh”. It has all the Exodus trademarks which marked them for metal stardom - heavy riffs, shredding solos, Steve Souza’s sharp shout, intelligent lyrics, and it’s just a fucking good song.

Re-Animator were marked for big things too. While history has proved otherwise for the band, “Deny Reality” is a great technical song, and arguably the best the band ever recorded. Unfortunately, Re-Animator couldn’t maintain such a high level of song writing throughout their career, and faded out in the early 1990s.

Apocalypse’s “Cemetery” has a melody to die for, a big facet of thrash metal often overlooked in the race for faster/heavier. The singalong gang vocal refrains are irresistible.

Blind Illusion’s “Blood Shower” has a building menace, and featured a pre-Primus Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde. Mark Biedermann’s vocals have a shredded throat edge, and the twin harmonic/disharmonic guitars were something not used near enough in thrash.

Acid Reign’s “Life in Forms” is a tirade against bureaucracy. Seem like a boring subject for a song? Listen to this killer before you dismiss it. The mid-pace chug of this song is unbelievably heavy, and H’s clear vocals are a treat.

Death’s “Open Casket” was definitive death metal in it’s day. The album “Leprosy” from which this song was taken proved death metal didn’t have to be a gargled mess, and riffs, solos, and non-gore based lyrics could still be brutal as fuck.

“No Resurrection” by Holy Terror is an anti-Christian diatribe, with tornado guitars and vocals. Holy Terror was a bit much for many thrash fans at the time, but looking back, it’s now plainly obvious why this band has since attained cult status.

“For All Those Who Died” by Bathory is dramatic and brutal, yet atmospheric and uplifting at the same time. The incredibly simple beat and riffs underscored Quorthon’s roared vocals. The discordant, seemingly out of time solo snakes its way over top of the song, with every element of the song seemingly redlining into static.

And on to side two. Yes, this is one of those old “you gotta turn it over” things. “Wired” is far from a typical Nuclear Assault song. The NYHC influence is less obvious than in their earlier material, basically because this is so damn slow. The vocals are near on impossible to decipher on a first listen, like listening to a foreign language you are still in the process of learning. The effect is odd, and definitely original, but it’s not off-putting.

“Execution of Mankind” by Agony is the only misfire on the album. It’s too long and doesn’t really engage like the rest of the songs here, but like “Wired”, it adds a bit of contrast to the faster songs here. It’s not necessarily a bad song, it’s just not as good as everything else on here.

“Mirror of the Past” by Hexx is a nasty little song, possessing a quantity of venom and bile. Clint Bower’s vicious vocals have a hardcore edge to them, and almost cross over into death metal territory.

Exodus pop up next, for a second appearance, this time a cover of AC/DC’s “Overdose”. The song was a bonus track on some versions of “Fabulous Disaster”. Zetro does a great Bon Scott vocal impression. This version retains the blues rock groove of the original, while adding thrash flourishes to it, and of course, is orders of magnitude heavier.

Forbidden’s “Chalice of Blood” is a masterclass in technical thrash. The twin lead guitars weave in and out of one another, all the while showcasing some incredible riffs, and Russ Anderson’s melodic yet powerful voice soars over it.

Death/thrash pioneers Possessed showed there was more to their repertoire than just Satan. “Storm in my Mind” is a psychological maelstrom, creeping along creating a sense of impending chaos. And the chaos hits, like a psychotic brainstorm of confused neural signals. This band is legendary, and this shows why.

At their peak, Dark Angel was the only band in all of thrash to be able to rival Slayer for intensity and sheer shit-your-pants horror. “The Death of Innocence” is a whirlwind song with a far nastier tone than anything else here, and is probably harder for a new thrash fan to digest than even Death or Bathory.

How to follow Dark Angel? Change direction and tempo completely. Final track “Suspended Sentence” shows once again Acid Reign’s lyrical intelligence and great sense of song dynamics. It rumbles and chugs along at a slow canter, but occasionally gallops off into a blast beat. The song has some seriously thought-provoking lyrics about murder, the moment before death, and the price of a life.

All in all, this album is 73 minutes of near metal perfection. It is the perfect basecamp for starting a wider exploration of thrash. It is also an incredibly accurate time capsule of a genre from a time since past, the original spirit preserved here for posterity in a format now almost extinct. This is how it was.


Album · 2018 · Groove Metal
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In the past, Machine Head has soared to mountainous metallic highs, and then plunged deep into despairing sewage filled depths. To say the band’s career has been inconsistent is a massive understatement.

At times, the band has been a shining beacon through eras of simpleton nu-metal and generic metalcore. “Burn My Eyes” was an intense indicator of where the post-thrash metal scene could have gone, but didn’t. Follow up “The More Things Change…” was heavier and more groove oriented, and was the peer to anything Pantera produced. In “The Blackening”, the band produced one of the most lauded metal albums of the first decade of the century, followed by the occasionally stunning “Unto The Locust”.

And then there were the misfires. The awful duo of albums “The Burning Red” and “Supercharger” are the red headed step-children best left confined to the attic. So which end of the spectrum are we getting with “Catharsis”?

Um… both.

Initially, this album sounds like a lame compilation of the worst metal pretenders of the past two decades.

The first track is “Volatile”. So far, so Devil Driver. All the ingredients are there to produce something which could and should be good, but isn’t. Yeah, it’s heavy, is played at a decent tempo, and the guitars aren’t bad, but there’s none of that breath-taking kick to the guts of Machine Head at top form. Ever wondered what Linkin Park might have sounded like if anyone in the band had ever learned to play guitar? The title track “Catharsis”. The less said the better… “Beyond The Pale”? Imagine Disturbed stealing riffs from The Bloodhound Gang.

“California Bleeding” lifts things a little, with more of a John Bush-era Anthrax feel with some decent melodies and strong riffs, and some fucking good solos. Yes, Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel remembered they can play their fucking guitars!

“Triple Beam” is probably the worst offender on the album. The listener is inflicted with a sub-Limp Bizkit turd, which even Fred Durst would be embarrassed by. The rapping is awful, the attempted melody out of tune and very forced, and the plodding, ultra-cliché’d riff is just dumb. It might be a song about a fight resulting in murder, but it’s insulting to the intelligence.

The clapping intro of “Kaleidoscope” is cringe-worthy, but it opens out into a bit of a rager, the likes of which the band made their name with. This song hits a sub-hardcore groove, and has powerful hardcore-shout vocals with suitable hard-hitting lyrics, but the word “Kaleidoscope” just can’t be sung aggressively and still sound convincing. It’s the best song so far, but not a redeemer.

And just when all seems lost, along comes “Bastards”. There’s that fucking shining beacon again. This is far from the typical Machine Head song. The song starts with a noodling guitar line, backed by an acoustic guitar. It is a “what the fuck”? at the Great Leap Backward which hit the United States politically and socially in 2016 and 2017 and, unfortunately, for the foreseeable future. It targets the newly empowered alt.right redneck “make ‘Murica great again” cadre of Neanderthals, racists, and religious zealots determined to drag the United States back to a time when people were property, a man could wear his pointy white laundry in public without shame, and God blessed it all.

This song was written the day after the Untied States of America (no, not a spelling mistake) decided an orange, racist, misogynist, former reality TV bullshit artist best represented what they stood for. Flynn’s heart felt, politically loaded lyrics perfectly portray the sense of disbelief, betrayal, and impending danger felt by decent people throughout his country, and the world over, as a once proud nation lurched into a state of quasi-fascism. And this is not one-off posturing from Flynn either. Earlier the same year, he rightly called out Phil Anselmo for a highly publicised white power Nazi salute.

As the song’s lyrics turn from disbelief to to anger, the music picks up an old school punk feel. Imagine Social Distortion gone feral. And the anger turns to resolve. “So give us all your faggots, all your niggas, and your spics/Give us all your Muslims, your so-called terrorists/We’ll welcome them with open arms, and put ‘em in our mix/We’re better off together now, embrace our difference”. A huge chunk of right wing metal fans are going to hate this song, because it cuts far too close to the bone.

And then it’s followed by “Hope Begets Hope, and the cliché and lameness is gone. THIS is the Machine Fuckin’ Head of days gone by. Big riffs, hard, harsh vocals, a driving beat, a well-placed solo, and it’s metal nirvana. And it keeps going, with “Screaming At The Sun”.

“Behind a Mask” finds Flynn singing within his limitations, and finally hits upon a decent vocal melody. It’s a ballad only in the sense it’s played with acoustic guitars and it’s not a balls out rocker. It’s followed by a string section intro, which turns into the epic “Heavy Lies the Crown”. The song expands into a sort of crusty power metal saga, then hits a thrash section, breakneck solos and all, before fading back to strings. “Psychotic” lives up to the title. “Grind You Down” has some of the most vicious vocals ever produced by this band. “Razorblade Smile” is traditional old school Machine Head, equal parts thrash, groove and hardcore. Then just for a final unbalancing step, “Eulogy” meanders for half it’s duration, with lazy guitars and lethargic vocals, but is unexpectedly overcome by a sludgy doom metal passage, and an ominous fade-to-black drone.

The initial reaction to this album is to go back to the start and try again. Were the first few tracks really so bad? Yes they were. Is the second half of the album almost like an entirely different band? Yes it is. Is it time to write these fuckers off? Up until “Kaleidoscope” I thought so. The rest of the album proves that you do so at your own peril.

WITH HONOR This Is Our Revenge

Album · 2005 · Hardcore Punk
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Dismissing With Honor as just another straight edge hardcore band would be a mistake. Their sound is straight from the old school and their message takes precedence over image. Besides, there's very little on `This Is Our Revenge' which could be considered typical straight edge anyway.

Musically, there's nothing here which hasn't been done thousands of times before, but damn it, these guys are tight, and well-performed hardcore is as powerful now as it has ever been. The band aren't afraid to experiment a little either, something which doesn't often happen in this genre. The guitars on "Bottoms Up" have an almost metal tuning, and the song is reminiscent of Poison Idea. Furthermore, the acoustic introduction to "You Always Said" is a nice touch of subtlety.

Vocalist Todd Mackey is turbo charged fury personified but he does have a few variations he can pull out. He's not just a one-dimensional shouter, actually being able to hold a tune or lighten the mood when needed, and he performs a moody spoken section on "Plot Two" to great effect. "20 Strong", a lighthearted song about touring, is more tuneful, sung in almost a So-Cal punk vein. Almost...

The lyrics are quite a change from the genre's norm, for once not targetting the "evils" of drugs, drink and meat, or wittering on about unity and "the scene". Mackey's message seems to be about how modern life is detached from reality, with messed up priorities making people more concerned with the trivial than the important, but the lyrics are such that the ultimate interpretation is up to the listener.

This isn't going to be to everyone's liking, but it's not meant to be. Bands like this make music for themselves and their close-knit fans without compromise, and if you don't like it, that's your problem.

DEAR SUPERSTAR Confessions Of A Twisted Mind

Album · 2006 · Metalcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
There was a time, believe it or not, when the first thing someone wanting to play in a rock band did was to go out and actually learn how to play an instrument. Dear Superstar do the decadence and excess thing, but unlike many a hairspray rock pretender, these guys earned the privilege first.

If you like hearing guitars being shredded, but without the heavy metal attitude, you can't go far past "Sunset Strip Suicide". The title and lyrics might be straight out of mid-'80s LA, but it doesn't have the posture or pose of yet another Mötley Crüe tribute song, because guitarists Rockhurst and McNasty can actually play. The song also has a delicious drunken swagger to it.

Sure, impressive licks and high tensile hooks are good, but are merely decorations if there is no medium in which to express them. Well, Dear Superstar do songs too. There's not a hint of filler anywhere. The title track drives like Guns N' Roses at their best. "Falling Apart" is a hard edged power ballad, and yes, you guessed it, a girl is the cause of the troubles. The main recurring riff to "Break Up" sounds like Eddie Van Halen playing a cameo, but the rest of the song is surprisingly more like One Minute Silence, vocals included.

Vocalist Micky Satiar has the occasional shouty emo lapse, but then redeems himself with moments of pure Zodiac Mindwarp-style theatre, minus the unintentional self-parody. In other words, he can sing and doesn't sound like a big girl doing it. Satiar shows a fairly diverse range. OK, so he's no Mike Patton, but he does melodic, clean, emotion-charged, rapped, shouted, whispered and roared. It often sounds like the band has more than one singer, but it is just the single larger-than-life personality in the spotlight.

If you're sick of bands promising much and then delivering fuck all because of lack of ability or attitude, Dear Superstar could well save a lot of disappointment. Try other bands first, by all means, but do yourself a favour and check these guys out soon.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 1 day ago in Metal Music Archives List Challenges
    [QUOTE=LittleBig][QUOTE=adg211288]First in a new series based on year of release.[/QUOTE] 28 of 75 items (37%)[/QUOTE]13
  • Posted 1 day ago in Metal Music Archives List Challenges
    [QUOTE=Nightfly][QUOTE=adg211288]Gothic is still being made, but here's the first of a second round of genre lists, starting once again with black metal.[/QUOTE] Very poor result - only 11/100.[/QUOTE]I got 7, which is higher than I expected.
  • Posted 5 days ago in Now -- what are you listening to? V2
    [TUBE]WgP6liQOozk[/TUBE]I love how Joey has realised his voice isn't what it used to be, so he's changed his singing style a bit, and still remains really powerful. A lot of other aging vocalists could learn from that.


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