Metal Music Reviews from rushfan4

VAN HALEN OU812

Album · 1988 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.66 | 27 ratings
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rushfan4
In response to David Lee Roth's Eat 'Em And Smile, we got Van Halen's rebuttal Oh, You Ate One Too. Pretty witty.

Anyhow, I have written this elsewhere in the forums but on the day I purchased my first CD player I bought 2 CDs. This one from Van Halen and Long, Cold Winter from Cinderella. I loved the Van Halen one and played it numerous times. Those were the days when I only had 2 CDs and therefore spent a lot of time listening to my entire discography instead of just select portions of it. Anyhow, at this same time I was reading the Stephen King novel "IT", and this album became the soundtrack for this book for me. Not really sure why. My memory has gotten worse with age and it is funny the things that the brain remembers, but I always associate these things together. As I listen to this album for the first time in ages, my memories of the book come back as well. I used to devour Stephen King books in my youth, and "It" was probably my 2nd favorite from him after "The Stand". Back on point, OU812 is my favorite Van Halen album from the Sammy Hagar era and 2nd only to 1984 in my favorite Van Halen albums. Probably because of all those listens it is ingrained in my head pretty deeply. For me, there are no weak moments on this album. The musicianship is splendid and unlike the David Lee Roth years most of the songs exceed 4 minutes in length, with Cabo Wabo topping 7 minutes. On the other hand, Long Cold Winter is mostly just a footnote in my CD collection history as one of the first 2 CDs that I ever owned. It is actually a decent album, but at the time I didn't really like it all that much because the music was actually better composed and played and more mature than their previous release which was an awesome hair metal album (at the time anyhow).

VAN HALEN 5150

Album · 1986 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.70 | 38 ratings
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rushfan4
Hellllloooo Baaaaaaaabbbbyyyy!!! This album kind of snuck by me when it was released. I had become a pretty huge Van Halen fan following the release of 1984, but aside from the couple of songs on the radio I didn't hear 5150 until years later when I finally picked it up on CD. Not sure if it was because of the "that ain't the real Van Halen" attitude or what, but anyhow, it is a really good, solid album. I like the David Lee Roth years, but I think that the band released much better albums during the Sammy Hagar years. Or at least much better developed songs then those created during the DLR years.

VAN HALEN 1984

Album · 1984 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.70 | 43 ratings
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rushfan4
Yes, I know 1984 is cheesy 80's pop metal with synths, but man when it came out it was so awesome, and I still love listening to it in this day and age from time to time. Jump, Panama, Top Jimmy, Drop Dead Legs, Hot for Teacher, etc... were all great tracks. Besides 1984 is also the last time that the Detroit Tigers won the World Series, so maybe they are just waiting for the next Van Halen album with David Lee Roth, which rumors say is on the way. Maybe I am just a sentimental old fool, but 1984 is definitely one of my all-time favorite albums and a recipient of 5-stars in my book.

VAN HALEN Diver Down

Album · 1982 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.35 | 24 ratings
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rushfan4
Diver Down one is an album mostly about cover songs and instrumentals. it had super hits with the cover songs (Oh) Pretty Woman and Dancing in the Streets and a minor hit with Where Have All the Good Times Gone!. Some good instrumentals with Cathedral, and Intruder as a lead in to Pretty Woman, as well as the Little Guitars intro leading into the spectacular Little Guitars. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) and Happy Trails are possibly Van Halen and David Lee Roth at their worst. This one and Women and Children First are my least favorite Van Halen albums, but I think that this one is a little bit better because of its high points, although I think that it also contains the lowest points in their career as well.

VAN HALEN Fair Warning

Album · 1981 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.04 | 28 ratings
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rushfan4
Fair Warning is one of my favorite albums from Van Halen. This is one that my friends and I used to blast in the car quite often. One Foot Out the Door while cruising in the car. Sunday Afternoon in the Park is one of their best instrumentals. Mean Streets, Dirty Movies, Sinner's Swing!, and Unchained are all excellent songs and fun songs to listen to. If I am not mistaken none of these were hits and the only place that you will ever hear them is on your own CD because there is not too much radio play to be found here.

VAN HALEN Women And Children First

Album · 1980 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.74 | 32 ratings
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rushfan4
Women and Children First was one of the last Van Halen albums that I acquired way back in the day when I was in the Van Halen album purchasing mode. This album is one of their least memorable releases, although songs like And The Cradle Will Rock and Everybody Wants Some are amongst their hit songs. There are no cover songs on this album. Tora! Tora! is the 1 minute to shine instrumental which leads into Loss of Control, but nowhere near as good as previous and future instrumentals. Possibly my least favorite Van Halen album, but still a worthy purchase and a fun album to listen to.

VAN HALEN Van Halen II

Album · 1979 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.41 | 32 ratings
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rushfan4
Van Halen II is a small step down from their blazing debut, but still an excellent hard rock/metal album from the VH boys. Includes the hit Dance the Night Away and their cover version of You're No Good. Of course, VH were all about the SEX, Drugs and Rock and Roll, as described in Somebody Get Me A Doctor, Bottoms Up!, Women in Love, and Beautiful Girls. Spanish Fly is 58 seconds of pure acoustic guitar glory. Ah yes, the memories of past listens with friends of yore. In my opinion you really can't go wrong with any of Van Halen's albums.

VAN HALEN Van Halen

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.24 | 87 ratings
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rushfan4
VH are one of my favorite bands from my youth, when I thought that 1984 was the greatest thing since sliced bread and worked my way through their back catalogue. OU812 has the co-distinction of being the first compact disc that I ever owned. Their debut consists of their awesome original hit songs Runnin' With The Devil, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love, and Jamie's Crying along with what is arguably the most successful cover song ever done with You Really Got Me. The second song Eruption is of course an Eddie Van Halen instrumental classic that is one of the blue prints for all shredders to follow. Also, can't forget Feel Your Love Tonight and Little Dreamer. Alex and Eddie Van Halen were annually listed among the best rock guitarist and best rock drummer year in and year out during the 70's and 80's. Michael Anthony may not be the best bass player, but he was certainly a very good bassist. And of course, everybody has an opinion of love or hate with one of the best known frontmen in the business David Lee Roth. Van Halen might be the only band that provides more debate than Genesis over which vocalist do you prefer: David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. Not to mention that both bands most recent albums were released with third vocalists, that although had decent enough music, it caused their legions of fans to turn on them and cause these albums to be remembered only as forgettable.

JUDAS PRIEST Demolition

Album · 2001 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 2.64 | 39 ratings
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rushfan4
It is hard for me to get used to Judas Priest with Tim "Ripper" Owens as their lead singer, but this album is actual quite decent. It is much better than Ripper's debut album, Jugulator. Tracks like Hell Is Home, Jekyll and Hyde, One On One, and Bloodsuckers are all actually quite good. It seems that touring and playing live together during the four years between Jugulator and Demolition gave the guys time to gel as a band and the result is a more cohesive album. This album does a really good job of merging the classic Judas Priest sound with the more modern thrash sound of the 90's. I do like this album well enough, however, it is not quite worthy of the 4 and 5 star ratings of the classic albums from their peak, it is close and worthy of a 3 and 1/2 star rating. Following this release, I would have to get used to Ripper Owens screams within other bands as Rob Halford returns to the fold on the next album.

JUDAS PRIEST Jugulator

Album · 1997 · Groove Metal
Cover art 3.19 | 52 ratings
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rushfan4
Seven years passed since Painkiller and Judas Priest finally return with a new singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, who was a singer in a Judas Priest tribute band. A movie was made based on his story of going from a tribute band to being the lead singer of the band that he was singing tribute to. I hate to be one of "those" people, but Judas Priest should have remained on hiatus. Admittedly, I haven't listened to this album enough to give it a fair shake, but it is too thrashy for my tastes. On occasion, with the screams Ripper Owens sounds a lot like Rob Halford, but on the rest of the album he just sounds like a run of the mill thrash metal singer. Ironically, Rob Halford left the band to pursue a different type of metal, and he became more thrashy too, and quite frankly I don't care all that much for his solo career either. Obviously, K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton felt that they had more to say as Judas Priest, and musically it isn't all that bad, but it just isn't Judas Priest without Rob Halford. This one is hard for me to rate within the MMA guidelines because it is hard to give it 2 stars for fans only, because I am a fan and I don't really like it. But on the other hand it isn't a horrible album that would deserve only 1 star, even though I don't really like it. So with this being said, I have decided on 2 and 1/2 stars as a compromise. I have a feeling that it will appeal to many modern metal fans, who tend to like the harsher vocals.

JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller

Album · 1990 · Power Metal
Cover art 4.43 | 117 ratings
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rushfan4
This was the final Judas Priest album with Rob Halford behind the microphone. It would be 7 years until another Priest album, with a new singer and a thrashier sound. Yet 7 years later, in 2004, Halford will return but by then the Priest were just a distant nostalgic memory for me. This album has a bit of everything and I suppose may be their first progressive "metal" album, although it is more metal than progressive. And the Priest still know how to start off an album with the heavy drum beat of Painkiller. Other highlights include Metal Meltdown, All Guns Blazing and Night Crawler, but again all of the songs are worth the listen. This one falls just short of masterpiece status for me but is still great enough to rate 4 and 1/2 stars from me.

JUDAS PRIEST Ram It Down

Album · 1988 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 3.34 | 68 ratings
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rushfan4
Kind of like Turbo, this album is not up to the standards of the best of Priest, but this was released in my senior year in high school and the memories of head banging to this while hanging out with my high school buddies bring a smile to my face. Highlights are Ram It Down, Heavy Metal, Blood Red Skies, and Monsters of Rock. They also do a good cover of Johnny B. Goode which got plenty of MTV air play back in the day. Although I've never seen Judas Priest live, the first concert that I did see live was the Monsters Of Rock festival with Van Halen, Metallica, the Scorpions, Dokken, and Kingdom Come and the songs Monsters of Rock always brings a smile to my face for that reason alone. An album that I enjoy more than the average Judas Priest or metal fan would, this albums came and got a 3 star rating from me for being good, but not essential.

JUDAS PRIEST Priest... Live!

Live album · 1987 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 3.87 | 25 ratings
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rushfan4
Judas Priest's 2nd live album spanning their metal years from Hell Bent for Leather through Turbo. Almost all of their best metal tracks are here and this is an awesome listen. The one song that is missing on the original release, which I have, is Screaming for Vengeance, but it is now on the remastered version. There should be some sort of rule where you can exchange old versions for new versions for a small exchange fee, instead of having to buy new versions, but that is a discussion for the forums. This live album should definitely be heard by all Judas Priest fans and would be an excellent addition to most metal fans collections. The band announced this week that this year will be their final tour and sadly, I have never seen the Priest live and in person.

JUDAS PRIEST Turbo

Album · 1986 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 2.89 | 73 ratings
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rushfan4
In retrospect this album is probably quite a disappointment given the complete awesomeness of their previous albums but it is sort of a guilty pleasure album for me. I was a 16-year old at the time of this release and everyone knows what that is like, and songs like Private Property and Parental Guidance just spoke to me. I remember this album with fond memories. I can remember lying around the pool soaking in the sun rays and blasting Turbo at volume 10 so the entire neighborhood could hear it. This album probably did not age as well as their earlier releases as a result of the use of guitar synthesizers and electronic drums but I still enjoy listening to it from time to time. If I had rated Turbo back in 1986 I have no doubt that this would have garnered a 5 star rating from me, but the onset of time and outside influences result in a downgrade to a 3-start rating.

JUDAS PRIEST Defenders Of The Faith

Album · 1984 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.00 | 89 ratings
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rushfan4
This album just grabs you by the throat with the first notes of Freewill Burning and Eats You Alive to the final multiply repeated chorus of Defenders of the Faith. What an awesome, awesome album. All tracks are highlights on this one. The year was 1984 and my Detroit Tigers went wire to wire to win the World Series, therefore making it a very memorable year for me. On top of that we had this fine Judas Priest album, of which, I wore out the cassette tape from playing it so much. Judas Priest ascended to the Metal Gods throne with their past releases and definitely defended their kingdom with this release. The sands of time have eroded my rating a bit to 4 1/2 stars, but really this is another album that was as good as it got in my traditional metal opinion. I suppose that in order for this album to be successful today it would require the Mikael Akerfeldt growl to get acrossed the message that "Some Heads are Gonna Roll", but thankfully to my ears, back in the day it just required Rob Halford's golden scream.

JUDAS PRIEST Unleashed In The East

Live album · 1979 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.27 | 45 ratings
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rushfan4
The first live Judas Priest album finds them Unleashed In the East performing live in Japan, the best of their earliest songs from their first four albums. A highly energetic performance with them in top form. The two guitar assault with Halford's golden pipes are almost as good as it gets. The album clocks in at just under 45 minutes and with the advent these days of two and three disc live CD sets, I would really like to see them re-release this album as a full concert with the entire set, as I imagine they were probably playing at least an hour and a half to two hours sets then. Either rate, this is still a really good document of their early live shows and worth of a 4-star rating for being an excellent addition to any metal music collection.

JUDAS PRIEST Screaming For Vengeance

Album · 1982 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.12 | 107 ratings
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rushfan4
British Steel was the album that introduced me to Judas Priest and songs like Breaking the Law and Living After Midnight made me a fan. However, it was the next trio of albums that has made a lifelong fan of the Priest. This was their period of most commerical success which coincided with the popularity of MTV. All songs on this album are awesome, but the highlights are Screaming for Vengeance and of course the megahit You've Got Another Thing Coming. This was the first Judas Priest album that was a current release while I was aware of the band and a fan of the band. I can remember that it seemed that every one I knew had this on cassette tape and everyone knew the words and were "Screaming for Vengeance". A great album as a teenager and still an album that I enjoy hearing. This one is my 2nd 5 star album from Judas Priest following British Steel.

JUDAS PRIEST Point Of Entry

Album · 1981 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 2.94 | 72 ratings
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rushfan4
The 7th release from Rob Halford and company is a good metal album but not as good as its predecessor or its follow ups. I'm not sure if this makes much sense but even though it is a good metal album it is merely an OK Judas Priest album. Highlights include Heading Out to the Highway and Hot Rockin'. Being the Priest it is hard to complain with the product but it just isn't quite as good as its surroundings might indicate. Fortunately, great things would appear just around the corner. This one only garnishes a 2 1/2 start rating from me. It is probably worth checking out for the Judas Priest junkie like me, but if there is a Judas Priest album to be avoided this is probably the one.

JUDAS PRIEST British Steel

Album · 1980 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.00 | 102 ratings
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rushfan4
This sixth release from Judas Priest is the best of the best for the Priest and one of the absolute best heavy metal albums ever. British Steel is synonymous with Heavy Metal. Highlights are Breaking the Law, Living After Midnight, and Metal Gods. The only weak spot is United which is kind of a non-metal Anthem. British Steel was the first vinyl record that I ever bought with my own money, so there is a sentimental reason to my 5-star rating as well as my just feeling that this is one of the greatest metal albums ever. For those too young to remember, there was once a time when MTV played music videos and one day I was watching MTV and in between the Genesis and Peter Gabriel videos they played this songs called Breaking The Law from Judas Priest. If I remember correctly, the video consisted of the band driving along in a car being chased by the police with Rob Halford belting out "Breaking the Law, Breaking The Law" and the guys playing their guitars in the back seat. At any rate, I was hooked and had to get this album. I believe that this was their first album with which they had some mainstream commercial success in the United Staets as a result of Breaking the Law and Living After Midnight getting radio and video play, which may be a negative to some, but to me it was well deserved success.

JUDAS PRIEST Killing Machine

Album · 1978 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.00 | 83 ratings
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rushfan4
The fifth album from Judas Priest is heavy metal excellence. The Priest have "delivered the goods" with this release. Highlights are Delivering the Goods, Hell Bent for Leather, and Running Wild. Also included is a cool cover of Fleetwood Mac's Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown). This was their final album of the 70's and it is somewhat amazing to think that back in the day, you could count on your favorite bands to release a new album on an almost annual basis. I say that with the realization, that it would still be a couple of years before I became a fan. This is another essential album for the Judas Priest fan and a worthy 4-star excellent addition to any metal fans collection.

JUDAS PRIEST Stained Class

Album · 1978 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.20 | 106 ratings
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rushfan4
Album number 4 from Judas Priest and the progressive rock tinges are only very slightly there now. Now it is mostly White Heat, Red Hot thrash metal that singes your eyebrows off if you stand too close to your speakers. Highlights include Exciter, Invader, and Beyond the Realms of Death, but again I find there to really be no weak songs from the metal masters. I must say once again that Rob Halford produces my favorite screaming vocals in the metal world, and very few bands can boast of having the twin lead guitar bombast of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. If you've not figured out from reading my previous reviews of Judas Priest's albums, I am a huge fan of the band, so my reviews should be taken with that grain of salt. Judas Priest were my favorite band for quite some time before being replaced by the band in my MMA nickname, but they are still one of my all-time favorite bands. I have rated this album with 3 and 1/2 stars, as I feel that it is a good to excellent album that will appeal to many metal fans, and definitely should appeal to Judas Priest fans. This being said, their best work is still yet to come.

JUDAS PRIEST Sin After Sin

Album · 1977 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 3.94 | 99 ratings
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rushfan4
The 3rd album from Judas Priest is still progressively tinged but they are becoming more of a metal band with each album. The highlights from this album are Sinner, and Let Us Prey/Call for the Priest. The album also includes an enjoyable cover of Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust. I purchased this album on vinyl many years ago, and I always remember being disappointed in it because the album came with a scratch on it on the second side, so as much as I loved the music I didn't listen to it very often. I don't know why I didn't bring the album back and exchange it for a good one. Anyhow, it has since been replaced with a CD version and I am now quite happy to listen to the CD since it doesn't skip. The album artwork is also one of my favorites. There is something so cool about the building with the words Sin After Sin over the door that is so Judas Priest. It just says that when you put this album on you are entering into a great hall, where your ears will fornicate to the sound and you will feel oh so dirty but oh so good. I believe this album to be a 4-star effort that would be an excellent additional metal music collection, and it is an essential addition to any Judas Priest's fan collection.

JUDAS PRIEST Sad Wings Of Destiny

Album · 1976 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.42 | 141 ratings
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rushfan4
Album number 2 from Judas Priest and this is even more progressive and more awesome than Rocka Rolla. The album features spectacular songs like Victim of Changes, The Ripper (one of my all-time favorite songs), Tyrant, Genocide, and Epitaph. To hell with it, all of the tracks are awesome. This album features all of the trademark sounds of Judas Priest: the best screaming vocals in metal from Rob Halford, the dualing twin leads guitars from K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, the crunching bass and drums of their rhythm section. On top of that a piano works it way into the mix. This would be as close to progressive rock as Judas Priest would get as they would go on to adopt the more thrashier sound that they are so well known for. This album is their first of a number of 4 and 5 star albums that they produced throughout their career. I have rated this album with 4 and 1/2 stars, as I don't quite think that it is a masterpiece, but it is damn good.

JUDAS PRIEST Rocka Rolla

Album · 1974 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.58 | 79 ratings
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rushfan4
The debut album from the kings of British heavy metal. At this point, they were more of a progressive rock band with more than a hint of the full-fledged thrash metal band that they would soon become. Judas Priest are one of my favorite bands of all time, and this is a decent debut album. If you are a fan of the band you should definitely check it out to see where their trademark sound started. The highlight songs are Rocka Rolla, Never Satisfied, Run of the Mill, and Dying To Meet You. I have rated this album with 3 stars as I feel that it is a good album, but it is not an essential release for the heavy metal fan.

JACKYL Jackyl

Album · 1992 · Glam Metal
Cover art 2.30 | 3 ratings
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rushfan4
This debut album from Jackyl is the only album that I have purchased from them. I purchased this album after being hooked by The Lumberjack on the radio. The Lumberjack was fairly well-known as it featured the gimmick of the singer playing lead chainsaw on the song. The album consists of a combination of southern rock, hair metal smut, and AC/DC vocals and riffs, played with a bar band mentality. The vocals definitely reminded me of Brian Johnson era AC/DC, and he would actually make guest appearances on a couple of future albums. It is pretty safe to bet you can imagine what the songs are about by reading the song titles "Dirty Little Mind", "Down on Me", "Redneck Punk", and "She Loves My Cock". Even The Lumberjack refers to "holding his lumber". I once heard the phrase "Cock Rock" to describe this type of music, and it is probably an appropriate description. As I write this review, this is the first time that I have listened to the album in probably 10 years. It is actually kind of enjoyable to listen to, with its raunchy sense of humor. Overall, it is a good album, but not essential, so I think that 2 1/2 stars is probably appropriate. It may have been a 3 or 4 star in the year of its release but time has somewhat eroded its appeal.

AYREON The Human Equation

Album · 2004 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.14 | 85 ratings
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rushfan4
The Human Equation is an absolute masterpiece progressive concept album (rock opera). The album consists of 20 songs spread over 2 discs. The concept is a story relaying the various human emotions felt by the title character (sung by James LaBrie) who following a car accident is left in a comatose state. He is attended at his bedside by his wife (Marcela Bovio) and his Best Friend (Arjen Lucassen). Each of the various emotions are sung by a different guest vocalist, including Heather Findlay as Love, Mikael Akerfeldt as Fear, Devon Graves as Agony and Devin Townsend as Rage. The songs mostly alternate between the thoughts inside his head and the conversations between his wife and his best friend. It is an emotional story of love and betrayal and forgiveness. To fully understand this concept album it is highly recommended that you follow along to the lyrics with the CD booklet. Within the CD booklet each of the various vocal parts is clearly labelled as to who is singing which parts. This is definitely an excellent aid for following along and gaining an understanding of which emotions he is dealing with. Many of the songs are duets with alternating male and female vocals. The female vocals on this album are absolutely gorgeous. Word of warning: there are some death metal growls sung by Agony and Rage which have a cringe inducive factor, but quite frankly in my opinion, these death growls are actually appropriate in order to convey these emotions of Agony and Rage and the amount of death growls is very small so they shouldn't put off the listener too much.

All in all, this is one of my favorite albums of all time. I suppose that one of the things that I like best about it is that the concept is clear and about real life situations. There is relatively nothing abstract about the concept and it isn't a sci-fi fantasy concept (I like these too, but they can tend to be a bit cheesy). Happy listening!!! I hope that this review has been of some help to someone who hasn't heard this album and is looking for an excellent concept story/rock album to add to their collection.

ABYDOS The Little Boy’s Heavy Mental Shadow Opera About The Inhabitants of His Diary

Album · 2004 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.84 | 9 ratings
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rushfan4
Abydos is the side project of Vanden Plas lead singer Andy Kuntz. The album consists of 12 tracks covering various degrees of progressive metal, symphonic metal, and progressive rock. The album is a concept album based on "a little boy's heavy mental shadow opera about the inhabitant's of his diary" (this is the subtitle of the album). Andy had experienced the death of his father and three other loved ones at the time this album was created. According to additional reading, the concept revolves around a little boy who experiences visions of other people's lives inside of his head following the death of his father. In addition, the concept is about the mythological Egyptian location of Abydos and an evil alchemist, Green the Scarecrow Man, who betrayed Osiris, the Egyptian God of death and rebirth by stealing the gift of permanent reincarnation so that he could live forever. The first track, The Inhabitants of His Diary, is a minute long instrumental dominated by some heavy metal drumming by his Vanden Plas band mate drummer, Andreas Lill. It is an introduction to tell you that this isn't your father's concept album. This is going to have some heavy metal bite to it. The second track, You Broke the Sun, is a very nice progressive rock track which includes some beautiful piano and guitar playing, some orchestral strings, and a choir singing the chorus. At times, Andy's singing voice sounds uncannily like James LaBrie from Dream Theater. The third track, Silence, is a seven minute long track consisting of multiple time signature changes. It is partly a melodic rock song and partly a progressive metal song. Andy varies his vocals on this song so that he does not sound as much like James LaBrie. The fourth track, Far Away From Heaven, is a piano based ballad which includes some swirling string sections. The next three tracks, Coppermoon (the other side), Hyperion Sunset, and God's Driftwood are three straight progressive metal songs in the Dream Theater vein. On Hyperion Sunset, Andy uses some harsher vocals, possibly using a bull horn to distort his voice. The seventh track, God's Driftwood, is the third progressive metal song of the trio. It starts out with acoustic guitar playing and strumming before the metal kicks in. The eighth track, Radio Earth, starts out with a Buggles' type computer voice, followed by a Steve Howe type acoustic guitar riff. The song has some nice piano and guitar work throughout and is mostly a progressive rock song. The ninth track is the title song, Abydos. It is a symphonic rock song with a liberal use of piano and an orchestral string section. This is probably my favorite song on this album. The tenth track, Green's Guidance for a Strategy Adventure Game, is a minute long section that introduces the concept surrounding Abydos and its mythological significance of reincarnation; as well as the betrayal by the alchemist of the Egyptian god Osiris, and according to Andy, this was the birthplace of mystery theater. The vocals are done via a computer voice similar to what can be heard on Ayreon's space concept albums. For the eleventh track, Wildflowersky, Andy again pulls out the James LaBrie sounding vocals and produces another Dream Theater type progressive metal song. There is some superb drumming on this track and at about the 7 minute mark there is a really nice tempo change and then a lively 30 second section before returning to the main theme of the song. The last track, A Boy Named Fly, is an epic track, 12 minutes in length. This song consists of rock, metal, and symphonic sections with multiple time signature changes. This is definitely the track that most progressive rock/metal fans will probably enjoy the most. All in all this was an excellent album which I highly recommend to prog fans; however, it doesn't reach masterpiece status for me for two reasons. The first reason is that this is a concept album, but quite frankly, the only reason that I think that I know what the concept is, was that I read an interview with Andy Kuntz. I prefer that when listening to a concept album that the concept and story are out there for all to hear and understand and enjoy. The second reason that it doesn't reach masterpiece status is because of the numerous pronunciation errors that occur throughout the album. I realize and respect that English is not his first language but somebody should have told him that he was singing "wision", "wirus", and "can o' pie", instead of vision, virus, and canopy. I should note that he is releasing/or has released a stage theatrical production of Abydos which includes theatrical productions to the story line of Abydos. The acting and costumes might provide a lot more detail to what the actual concept of the story was. I am hoping that someday I might see this video to see if it shines a light on the concept for me.

DIO Holy Diver

Album · 1983 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.32 | 113 ratings
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rushfan4
"HOLY DIVER BATMAN!!!!"

Holy Diver is the debut "solo" album from former Elf/Black Sabbath/Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio. Technically, it wasn't a solo album but a band project using his last name. However, over the years he remained the one constant member throughout, thus the "solo" label. This album, possibly single-handedly, established the heavy metal sound of the 80's to be used by an untold number of followers. Holy Diver, along with the follow-up album, The Last in Line, are the two essential releases from Dio that all metal fans must have. This debut deserving the masterpiece status with The Last In Line being just a touch below.

This album is strong from top to bottom. The album starts out with the great heavy metal anthem Stand Up And Shout, which is what heavy metal is all about. The highlights of this album include its two hit songs Holy Diver and Rainbow In The Dark, which is one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all times. The remainder of the album is also quite strong with great tracks such as Don't Talk to Strangers, Straight Through The Heart, and Invisible.

Ronnie James Dio has one of the top 5 voices in heavy metal and this album displays this voices at its finest. The drumming from fellow Black Sabbath refugee Vinny Appice is exquisite throughout. Whereas fellow Rainbow refugee, Jimmy Bain's bass playing completes the hard hitting rhythm section. Relatively unknown guitarist Vivian Campbell shines with his playing filling the album with a number of excellent riffs and quickly established himself as one of my favorite guitarists.

One of the keys to my enjoyment of this album is the band's glorious use of tempo changes. Songs starting out soft and beautiful turning quickly into hard-hitting metal bombardments of drums, bass, and guitar riffs. These tempo changes would be somewhat perfected by Metallica in the near future.

This album truly is a masterpiece and belongs in the collection of all fans of heavy metal. Dio went on to create 9 additional albums, but none of them, including the Last In Line managed to reach the heights of Holy Diver.



F5 A Drug for All Seasons

Album · 2005 · Alternative Metal
Cover art 3.49 | 3 ratings
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rushfan4
ISN'T F5 THE PAGE REFRESH KEY IN THE FORUMS?

F5 is ex-Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson's follow-up band after his eviction from Megadeth. The music is heavy, but remains melodic. Vocalist Dale Steele has a great metal name and also a really good metal voice. Although I've always considered myself a Megadeth fan, I've never been a big fan of Dave Mustaine's voice, however, it is his voice that adds a uniqueness to Megadeth that differentiates them from other metal bands for me. Dale Steele's voice is more accessible, but lacks that uniqueness to separate them from other metal bands. This is a good metal album that I enjoy listening to from time to time. I get what I expect to hear from listening to a metal album. Crunching bass and drums, reliable guitar riffs, and a good metal voice to accommodate the underlying music. I would say that the opening track "Faded", the title track "A Drug for All Seasons", "Dying on the Vine" and "Hold Me Down" are the standout tracks on this album. A personal favorite of mine is their cover of the Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians hit "What I Am". It is a somewhat awkward track that is out of place on a metal album, but it is a track where I have always enjoyed the original and I also like F5's interpretation. In my opinion this is a good solid metal album. Not quite as thrashy as Megadeth. Power Metal is probably a good description of this album, but I would also throw in Alternative Metal, as I think these guys would appeal to fans of bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.

DIO The Last in Line

Album · 1984 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.02 | 62 ratings
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rushfan4
THE SECOND IN LINE

This album features the classic Dio tracks "We Rock", "The Last In Line", and "Mystery" which all received considerable airplay during the 80's as well as video play on MTV back in a time when MTV actually played music videos. In addition, to these 3 tracks the album also included the fist pumping "I Speed At Night". The other standout track from this album is the epic Egypt (The Chains Are On). The remaining tracks are also decent or good, but somewhat generic in nature and less memorable than the previously noted tracks.

Admittedly, DIO was one of my favorite artists during the 80's. The two albums Holy Diver and The Last in Line are both essential to any 80's metal collection. The band was a bit of a supergroup as it included Ronnie James Dio, the frontman for Elf, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow; Vinnie Appice, a drummer for Black Sabbath; Jimmy Bain, bassist for Rainbow; and Vivian Campbell, who was a relative unknown at the time but had played guitars for Sweet Savage, and would go on to play guitars for Def Leppard. In addition to the well-known musicians, the keyboards were played by Claude Schnell.

The highlight of any DIO album is the golden voice of Ronnie James Dio, who in my opinion (as well as many others) has one of the top 5 voices in metal history. I would suspect that most readers of this review will be familiar with his work, so there is no reason to go into alot of detail. However, if you aren't familiar with him, or only know him from his work with Black Sabbath, Heaven or Hell, or Rainbow, and you are interested in checking him out then I don't think that you can go wrong with The Last In Line, as it is definitely one of the classics when it comes to 80's metal albums.

GALACTIC COWBOYS Feel the Rage

EP · 1996 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 2.00 | 1 rating
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rushfan4
This EP was released in 1996 as a companion release to the album Machine Fish, which was the Galactic Cowboys' first album with new guitarist Wally Farkas. This EP includes the song Feel the Rage from the aforementioned Machine Fish. The highlight of this album is the previously unreleased Paradigm Shift, which tracks in at over 7 minutes. It is followed by two interesting cover songs I Want You from Kiss, and Junior's Farm from Paul McCartney. These are followed by two live tracks from Machine Fish, Idle Minds and 9th of June. These are interesting from the standpoint that the Galactic Cowboys have, as of yet, not released a live album, so these are the only two released live tracks from them, as far as I know. The last song on the album, Grandmother's Coffin, is not listed on the album cover and only clocks in at 44 seconds. This last track is pretty much a throwaway track.

This EP clocks in at just over a half an hour. The music is good and being an EP can be found on the internet for a really cheap price. For someone looking to get into the Galactic Cowboys this might be an affordable introduction into the band. Overall, however, I am rating this with 2 stars as it is, like with most EPs, most likely only something that will appeal to a fan or a collector.

NIGHT RANGER Midnight Madness

Album · 1983 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.91 | 7 ratings
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rushfan4
Midnight Madness is one of the very best albums from the AOR genre. The highlights include the four hit songs from the album: (You Can Still) Rock In America, Rumours In The Air, Sister Christian, and When You Close Your Eyes. (You Can Still) Rock In America is a classic rock and roll anthem, especially in America. And of course, no AOR album would be complete without a slow ballad and Sister Christian fits the bill, and is one of the very best of its kind. Back when this album was first released it was pretty hard to turn on the radio or MTV and not hear a song or see a video from this album. Listening to this album brings back wonderful memories of days gone by. I suppose that by today's standards of metal this is probably a pretty dull and boring pop album, but it has sentimental value for me and thus rates it a 4 1/2 star rating. If you like 80's AOR this is a must have because as I said in my opening, this is one of the very best of the AOR genre. On the other hand, if you dislike 80's AOR, or you've heard some of these songs on the radio and you disliked them, then I would highly recommend avoiding this album, because this album is a strong representative of the AOR genre, and if you don't like this genre you probably won't like this album.

DREAM THEATER Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra

Movie · 2006 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.26 | 25 ratings
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rushfan4
THEY SHOOT! THEY SCORE!!!

This concert DVD documents Dream Theater's 20th Anniversary concert at Radio City Music Hall in their hometown of New York City. The concert includes 14 songs played over two sets in front of 6,000 rabid Dream Theater fans. The first set includes 8 songs covering the first 8 albums of the band's career. As the first set concludes an orchestra appears. Egads and gadzooks!!! What is this you say???? An orchestra at a metal concert. Has the world gone mad??? Well, let me tell you, like with Metallica and their S&M performance, this works really well for me, although I suppose that it might add a cheesiness factor if you already have a negative opinion of Dream Theater.

I typed a longer review but it got lost, so screw it. I gave this 4 1/2 stars. I think that this is a fantastic show for Dream Theater. All of the guys played well. LaBrie sounds as good as ever, and the addition of the orchestra adds that little extra touch.

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