Heavy Metal

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Heavy metal (often referred to simply as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues-rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are generally associated with masculinity and machismo.

The first heavy metal bands (Proto) such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple attracted large audiences, though they were often critically reviled, a status common throughout the history of the genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur the genre’s evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal had attracted a worldwide following of fans known as “metalheads” or “headbangers”.

Visit the NWoBHM sub-genre page for more details on this particular music movement.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Heavy_Metal

Inclusive Traditional Heavy Metal Genres

Melodic Metal is often short for Melodic Heavy Metal and as such is usually included under Traditional Heavy Metal on the MMA. On rare occasions Melodic Metal releases may also be included under Power Metal however, such as Arven's Black is the Colour (2013).

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres & shared with Hard Rock and Glam Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)

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heavy metal Music Reviews

HERETIC Torture Knows No Boundary

EP · 1986 · Heavy Metal
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"Torture Knows No Boundary" is an EP release by US, Los Angeles, California based heavy metal act Heretic. The EP was released through Metal Blade Records in December 1986. Heretic were in their original run a rather short lived act who formed in 1985 and disbanded in 1988. They released "Torture Knows No Boundary" and the "Breaking Point (1988)" debut full-length studio album before splitting up. The latter features Mike Howe on vocals. Howe would join Metal Church and shortly after Heretic disbanded. On this EP the vocals are handled by Julian Mendez though. The material on "Torture Knows No Boundary" was re-released in 1991 as part of the compilation album "The Don't Turn Your Back!! & Breaking Point".

Stylistically the material on the 5 track, 17:54 minutes long album is traditional heavy metal through and through. Heretic is mostly known as a US power/thrash metal act, but that´s not the case here, as "Torture Knows No Boundary" features a more old school yet still raw and powerful heavy metal sound. Julian Mendez is a relatively strong vocalist with a raw delivery, and the band are well playing too (although the drums occasionally sound a bit untight). Hard rocking riffs and solos and a powerful pounding rhythm section.

The EP features 5 tracks a and a full playing time of 17:54 minutes. The first four tracks are "regular" heavy metal tracks, while the closing title track is an instrumental with both clean guitars and some blazing solo work. It shows another side of Heretic and brings some variation to the EP. The sound production is raw and powerful, suiting the music well. Upon conclusion "Torture Knows No Boundary" is a promising first release by Heretic. It does sound slightly old fashioned for a 1986 release, but that doesn´t make it less enjoyable. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

AVATAR (FLORIDA) City Beneath the Surface

EP · 1983 · Heavy Metal
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"City Beneath The Surface" is an EP release by US, Florida based heavy metal act Avatar. The EP was released through Par Records Inc. in September 1983. Avatar were formed in 1979 but changed their name to Savatage in 1983. "City Beneath The Surface" was actually released after the name change (Savatage debut album "Sirens" was released in April 1983), but under the Avatar monicker. It features 3 tracks off Avatar´s 6 track demo cassette tape "Living for the Night" from February 1983: "Sirens", "City Beneath The Surface", and "The Whip". The former track was included on Savatage "Sirens (1983)" album while the latter two were included on the "The Dungeons Are Calling (1984)" EP (also released under the Savatage monicker).

Stylistically the music is traditional heavy metal performed with great skill, energy, and conviction. Jon Oliva has a strong voice and a raw delivery and paired with the hard hitting and organic sounding rhythm section, and the incredibly skilled guitar playing by Criss Oliva, that makes for a very successful cocktail. Considering that this is a 1983 recording, the sound production is also pretty well sounding. Detailed, organic, and raw, which is a perfect fit for the material on the 3 track, 12:23 minutes long EP.

So upon conclusion "City Beneath The Surface" is a quality release by Avatar. The whole name confusion thing and the fact that the three tracks are available on Savatage releases too (and in better recording quality), doesn´t change the fact that viewed upon as an individual release "City Beneath The Surface" is still a worthy listen. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.


Album · 2014 · Heavy Metal
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Vim Fuego
Dear Sony Music,

I wish to take issue with, and express my displeasure at, your 4 disc compilation album “Pure…metal”, released in 2014.

It seems like a generous compilation, pulling together 61 songs for a discount album price. However the title of this album, I believe, is misleading, if not downright false. While this album does contain metal, it is not pure, in any way, shape or form. Please observe the following:

Disc 1: Exhibit 1: “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest and “Poison” by Alice Cooper. Right, so I have contradicted my argument with the very first piece of evidence… or have I? While there is nothing wrong with either song, and both qualify as metal (just, in the case of “Poison”), I believe these are so over-used in compilations as to render them diluted. “Breaking The Law” features on two more compilations I own, while “Poison” appears on five other compilations, including another IN THIS SERIES. “Poison” is featured on the “Pure…hard rock” compilation too, which pre-dates this one by three years. Had you run out of ideas Sony Music, or did you not suspect that a metal fan might also be a hard rock fan?

Exhibit 2: “Slither” by Velvet Revolver. This song won the Grammy for “Best Hard Rock Performance” in 2005. Hard rock is not pure metal. Exhibit 3: “B.Y.O.B” by System of a Down. Actually, this song fucking rocks. Note to self: come on dude, focus. We’re looking for the clueless shit here, not the stuff that fits…

Exhibit 3a: “Tears Don’t Fall” by Bullet for my Valentine, “Got The Life” by Korn, “Scream With Me” by Mudvayne, “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria. Bullet for my Valentine is undoubtedly a metal band – now. However “Tears Don’t Fall” came from the band’s first album “The Poison”. It is an emo album. Korn and Mudvayne are nu-metal bands. I object to them on principle. Coheed and Cambria does not qualify as metal. While undoubtedly a fine progressive rock band, they do not belong here, and besides, they bore the tits off me. Exceptions on disc 1: “Whose Fist is This Anyway?” by Prong is mechanical industrial metal might. “Vote With A Bullet” by Corrosion of Conformity sounds like they put down the joint just long enough to jam out this little beauty. Lemmy always reckoned Motörhead was a rock n’ roll band, but even demigods can be wrong, and “Bad Religion” is blues infused metal heaven (of course the fucking pun is intended!) “Widow” by Paradise Lost is a bit gloomy, but if you see where these miserable fuckers came from , you would be too. Warrant’s “Machine Gun” scrapes in as glam metal, but it’s not very interesting. I suppose you could call HIM metal if you squint a bit, but you definitely can’t call “Buried Alive By Love” interesting. Just because Infectious Grooves has members of a metal band in it, it doesn’t automatically become a metal band. This is a funk band. Except this time. It’s funky and metallic, and annoyingly catchy, and I didn’t want to like it, but I do. Bugger.

Disc 2: Well fuck, ya don’t half know how to make a critics job hard, Sony Music. There’s not a huge lot to complain about on this disc. “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” by Quiet Riot, “Headhunter” by Krokus (it’s still a fucking flower, no matter how you misspell it guys!), and “Say What You Will” by Fastway all offer a flashback to 1983, when metal was metal, and thank fuck things have moved on since then… “Voices in The Sky” by Motörhead and “Electric Eye” by Judas Priest both offer up second shots of bands which have already featured, although there’s no reasonable complaint about either.

“Girlschool” by Britney Fox is formulaic misogynistic crap so typical of glam metal, “Sport’n A Woody” by Dangerous Toys is silly double entendre laden childish humour so typical of glam metal, and “Evil Twin” by Love/Hate is intelligent, thoughtful social commentary, so atypical of glam metal. ”Pictured Life” by Scorpions shows why they were one of the great bands of the 70s during the 70s. “Thundersteel” by Riot shows how one of the great bands of the 70s could change their approach to metal and be a great band in the 80s. “The Battle Rages On” by Deep Purple shows one of the great bands of the 70s could still sort of rock in the 90s.

“Battle Angels” may make some people question why Sanctuary ditched thrash, when they were obviously so good at it. These are people who have not heard the even greater greatness of Nevermore.

Suicidal Tendencies… No, I can’t pull the old “these guys are a punk band” trick, because “You Can’t Bring Me Down” is metal as fuck. So is “The Final Word” by Metal Church.

Ah! Got a couple!

Exhibit 4: Gotthard is a Swiss hard rock band. And “Firedance” is a bit boring. Pink Cream 69 (how fucked up were these guys when they thought up THAT name?) is a German hard rock band. And “Keep Your Eye On The Twisted” is even more boring than “Firedance”. (Note to self: this evidence is getting a bit feeble. You sure this is really such a bad compilation?)

Disc 3: Yes! Paydirt!

Exhibit 5: On what planet is “Down” by 311 metal? Yes, it’s more infectious than measles at an anti-vaxxer meeting, but metal? No. And neither is “Bartender by (Hed) P.E., or “Someday” by zebrahead. There are also the highly objectionable Korn and Mudvayne again, and whoever put Three Days Grace on a metal compilation album needs a smack around the head with a pipe, just to remind them what metal actually is.

OK, I’ll give you Eighteen Visions. It’s not the heaviest shit here, but “Victims” could almost slip in as a metal song. However, Crossfade is a fail. It’s hard rock at best, and that’s being generous.

Well Mr (or Miss, Mrs, Ms, or whatever qualifier you may or may not like to add before your name. I’m trying to criticize your work, not make it something personal) Sony Music Compilation Compiler, you finally got warmed up for this disc and put in some proper fucking metal! “The Last Time” by Paradise Lost is a good dose of Gothicism. Opeth’s “Master’s Apprentice” isn’t. It’s 10 fucking minutes of boring bog standard death metal by a highly overrated band, but that’s just my opinion. Many other metal fans will be jizzing in their undies (or creaming their knickers – not trying to exclude anyone here) at the inclusion of this track. “Her Ghost In The Fog” by Cradle of Filth gets back to the gothic stuff again, except a bit faster and more atmospheric than Paradise Lost.

You remember what I said about Bullet For My Valentine before? Yeah, well, “Your Betrayal” is actually a METAL track! Or mostly metal anyway.

Exhibit 6: Dear oh fucking dear! Someone is a bit lacking in reading comprehension here. LOOK AT THE TITLE OF THIS FUCKING SONG! “Hard Rock Hallelujah” by Lordi might have won the Eurovision Song Contest, but it’s NOT METAL! The biggest clue? The. Name. Of. The. Song…

“The Bear Song” by Green Jelly is a guilty pleasure for many a metalhead, but most aren’t going to admit it. Not near as charming as their legendary “Three Little Pigs”, but it’s got a silly singalong melody which many of us remember from our childhoods. Steve Vai reckons “The Audience Is Listening”, but I reckon he’s just showing off.

Disc 4: OK, so I suppose by the law of averages, you were bound to get things mostly right for most of a disc eventually. Is that why these compilations are four disc sets? Three discs to get things started, and then finally get it right on the fourth? Why not just save yourselves some time and effort Sony Music, and just release the fourth disc on it’s own!

Anyway, “Trip At The Brain” by Suicidal Tendencies is a classy crossover thrasher. “Lost and Found” by Prong is a harsh industrial pounder. “Babalon A.D. (So Glad For The Madness)” by Cradle of Filth is pseudo-black metal. “Feed My Frankenstein” is another over-compiled Alice Cooper track, but I’ll let you away with this one because, well, fuck it. It’s Alice! Krokus’ “Midnite Maniac” is more flower power… er, but it’s not very powerful and quite forgettable.

Bonham’s “Guilty” is guilty of taking all it’s cues from Jason Bonham’s Dad’s band, but Led Zeppelin worship isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, sticking a Bon Jovi-esque chorus in a song is!

The Scorpions were “Raised On Rock” a very long time ago, but these metallic senior citizens get a pass for this song, for their efforts in growing old disgracefully. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Warrant is a tricky one, because while it’s not named after the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, it’s still quite serious, which was very un-Warrant-like. Damn you Warrant for making me take you seriously!

“Clean My Wounds” by Corrosion of Conformity basically showed every other stoner metal band in the world how to do stoner metal properly. “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour showed a band could enjoy a bit of glamour but still be smart and have a message to convey, and could make radio friendly music without compromising their principles. OK, so Infectious Grooves’ previous song wasn’t metal, but “Violent and Funky” is violent and funky. And metal. “For The Love Of God”, Steve Vai, we know you’re an exceptional guitarist, but fuck, this song is so boring! And Anathema, you miserable bastards, “Make It Right” is such a moody downer to finish the album on.

Exhibit 7: Ha! There’s two fuck-ups out of 15 songs on this disc! Your best strike-rate yet! “Bury White” by Far, and “Silver” by Hundred Reasons aren’t metal. So there!

So in summary Sony Music, I put it to you that you compiled a 61 song, 4 disc album and called it “Pure…metal”, when clearly it’s not pure metal. This is adulterated with hard rock, alternative, funk, pop rock, and whatever the fuck you call 311’s music. This is not pure. Perhaps if you had called it “Unrefined…metal (And Sundry Detritus)” or “Fuck, We Don’t Really Know What Metal Is, So This Is A Bit Of A Guess At…metal” or “Blatant Rip-off, Trying To Cash In On Our Back Catalogue…metal” the title may have been more accurate. I for one would have appreciated more honesty in the naming of this compilation. Yes, I could skip the tracks I dislike, but having paid for all of the songs here, I believe I have the right to have a bit of a moan about the ones I don’t like and the ones which don’t belong here. After all, everyone’s a critic.

Yours in sincere displeasure and high opprobrium,

Vim Fuego


Boxset / Compilation · 1998 · Heavy Metal
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‘Believe’ is a 1998 compilation album by American metal band Savatage. It was only released in Japan, and focuses primarily on the bands 90’s output, most notably with cuts from the studio albums ‘Handful of Rain’ and ‘Dead Winter Dead’, as well as the two live albums ‘Japan Live ‘94’ and ‘Ghost in the Ruins: A Tribute to Criss Oliva’. With that in mind, while it serves its purpose well as some kind of 90’s commemoration, it’s a bit of pointless and uninspired release.

And what’s up with that lame cover art?

Still, for what it’s worth, Savatage are one of my all time favourite bands, and the material on offer here is still bloody brilliant! From hard rockers like ‘Taunting Cobras’ and ‘Handful of Rain’ to symphonic epics such as ‘Chance’, ‘This is the Time’ and ‘Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)’, while there are other songs from the studio albums that are missing, these are still great tracks. Plus, you get the song ‘Believe’ from the ‘Streets’ album, which is always a fan favourite.

And as for the live tracks... well, I’ve always been a sucker for studio albums, but still, you’ve got the likes of ‘Edge of Thorns’, ‘Gutter Ballet’, ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ and ‘The Dungeons Are Calling’, so there’s some good stuff there too.

But as a whole, looking at this album in retrospect, it’s pointless. There are other Savatage compilations that do a fantastic job of covering the bands entire career. Whereas this one is best left for the absolute, most die-hard and committed collectors, like me, and even then, I’m never going to listen to it.


Album · 1984 · Heavy Metal
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Black metal has become one of the most popular and shapeshifting forms of the entire metal universe starting out as a form of Satanic reverie with heavy distortion and muddy lo-fi production conjuring up the sonic demons that have taken over the entire planet, however before Bathory, Mayhem and Darkthrone, there was another type of black metal altogether and although it’s loud and obnoxious like any good metal should be, this type of black metal wasn’t quite the facepaint and tremolo picking in praise of Satan type. This distinct style of black metal began all the way back in 1977 by a band called BLACK DEATH. I call this black metal because this was in fact the world’s first band where every member was an African-American thus technically this was the world’s first black metal band! Stylistically, this was more in the vein of the classic 80s sound and emulates bands like Judas Priest and other NWOBHM metal bands but it does evoke a sense of evil in the vein of early Mercyful Fate.

After the death of Jimi Hendrix who pioneered much of what would evolve into hard rock and heavy metal, it was surprising that very few musicians of African descent gravitated to the style. A few bands such as Thin Lizzy found a front man in the form of Phil Lynott but a heavy rock band consisting of ALL blacks? Unheard of until BLACK DEATH came along. While this Cleveland, Ohio band holds that title of first, claims have been made by the Los Angeles based Sound Barrier, another all African-American band that was around during the same early 80s period. True that Sound Barrier released its debut album “Total Control” in 1983 a year before BLACK DEATH released its eponymously titled debut, however BLACK DEATH was formed three years earlier and released three demos starting in 1981 as well as appearing on the 1983 various artists compilation “Cleveland Metal.” The band’s first recording “Outcast” found some airplay on local radio in 1980.

So the clear winner of this disputed claim belongs to BLACK DEATH which formed in 1977 with Greg Hicks (guitar), Phil Bullard (drums), and Clayborn Pinkins (bass). Guitarist and vocalist Reginal Gamble aka Siki Spacek filled the lineup in 1978 however Pinkins was murdered in 1979 and after a brief stint with a replacement finally ended up with Darrell Harris as the bassist that would form the lineup on the band’s one and only album that emerged in 1984. Musically BLACK DEATH was in that stage where 70s hard rock had upped the tempo and the distortion and created a grittier guitar riff based mayhem that was part Black Sabbath, part Judas Priest, part Mercyful Fate and part epic early US power metal in the vein of Brocas Helm or Manilla Road. The mix while not always seamless was powerfully performed with heavy driving guitars and bass and a stellar drumming style of Phil Bullard. The band cranked out a true headbanger of an album with seven strong melodic tracks that was released with the earlier two track EP “Here Comes The Wrecking Crew” as a 7” 45 RPM.

If there is a weak link it’s clearly the vocal style of Siki Spacek whose style takes a little getting used to but he actually has a fairly eclectic range. While he mostly performed in a brash bravado with a heavy growly voice almost Motorhead-esque in style, on “When Tears Run Red” he sounds a lot like Vince Neil from Motley Crue while on “Fear No Evil” he plays up his best Rob Halford and King Diamond. The album unfortunately didn’t lead to much success but showcases an amazingly diverse set of tracks with the lengthy nine minute closing title track bringing the more epic approach to its full climax. The band had a knack for crafting cleverly tight compositions that maintained a strong sense of melody, an even stronger range of dramatic metal fortitude and clearly had its hands of the pulse of the current metal scene by soaking in as much into their own style. Sadly the band wouldn’t be able to take things to the next step and the world would have to wait a few more years for Living Colour to emerge as the first successful all black heavy rock band.

For all its metal cliches and classic period feel, BLACK DEATH could certainly crank out the classic 80s metal like any other. This is a beauty of a beast that is heavier than the contemporaries. Although the band sounds like Judas Priest at times, the stellar bombast of the percussion gives this a fuller metal sound than the classic Priest albums of the era. What’s really cool is how BLACK DEATH takes the different Sabbath sounds and trades off with Priest, Manilla Road and Mercyful Fate. While the styles aren’t completely integrated into their own style quite yet, the tracks still emerge as addictively satisfying listens and this album has surprisingly grown on me. Despite the fact that these guys are all African-American, you could never tell from simply listening to this album. This album is as bad ass as any British invasion band that was emerging. While it may be a mystery as to why more black musicians don’t join the ranks of the metal world, it’s really cool to hear a band like BLACK DEATH that did just that and cranked out one truly impressive album styled in early 80s classic heavy metal and did it so well. Oh, the production is weak, but in my opinion gives it that awesomely authentic underground rawness, so i actually like it that way. Don’t miss this one, it’s better than you would think!

heavy metal movie reviews

ACCEPT Restless & Live

Movie · 2017 · Heavy Metal
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Restless & Live is a concert release from the veteran German Heavy Metal legends Accept. It was released on Nuclear Blast Records in 2017 on several formats; such as a CD set with tracks taken from different concerts across the touring cycle for Blind Rage (their third studio album since being reinvigorated by the joining of new singer Mark Tornillo). It was also released as a Blu Ray of a single entire performance at 2015’s Bang Your Head Festival. If you’ve got a bit more money to splash out you can get a set with the Blu Ray and CD versions, or if you prefer DVDs that’s also an option.

My personal preference for concert movies or albums is that they come from on single concert not a mix of shows, and if available preferably on Blu Ray, so for me this was the version I went for and am most happy with. (which this review will be focusing on).

In terms of specs: The Blu Ray version is in 1080p with PCM Stereo and DTS HD Master 5.1 options, Region:All. There aren’t any bonus features. There’s a booklet with some photos but no linear notes.

So the main reason you are buying this disc is for the concert; which is about an hour and forty-five minutes of blistering classic Heavy Metal. The 18-song tracklisting is pretty heavily focused on the three Tornillo-era albums, with a few of the classic ’80s crowdpleasing tunes added in as well. So if you’ve already got the DVD that came with Blind Rage its still worth checking this out for the different tracklisting and higher production values. (The CD version of Restless & Wild contains 27 songs and more of a mix of material).

The tracklisting is: 1. Stampede 2. Stalingrad 3. London Leatherboys 4. Restless & Wild 5. Dying Breed 6. Final Journey 7. Shadow Soldiers 8. Losers & Winners 9. 200 Years 10. Midnite Mover 11. No Shelter 12. Princess Of The Dawn 14. Pandemic 15. Fast As A Shark 16. Metal Heart 17. Teutonic Terror 18. Balls To The Wall

The performance is tight and professional but still has that ‘live’ feeling and energy, it isn’t all sterile but it isn’t loose and sloppy either, its just right. They all give it gusto and look pretty into it. There’s no complaints on vocals, musicianship or song selection for me. Wolf Hoffman’s guitar solos are as entertaining as you would expect and there’s a fun bass versus guitar trade off section at one point. The camera work, editing, sound and mix are all solid. Nothing jarring or out of place, no sync issues, all instruments audible and in correct balance. The songs sound clear and yet muscular.

Its a pretty simple and honest affair. There’s no gimmicks here; no big show with giant robot crabs on stage or band members catching fire or shooting lazers out of their eyes, and there’s no life changing documentary, no animations weaved into the concert or anything… but if you want to buy an Accept live concert and watch songs like ‘Fast As A Shark’ and ‘Balls To The Wall’ played well by the new line-up and competently captured and prepared for home viewing then it is an absolutely fine product and I highly recommend it to fans of the band, especially to fans of the newer three albums. For me, watching songs like ‘No Shelter,’ ‘Stalingrad’ and ‘Pandemic’ belted out enthusiastically are worth the money.

If you are new to the band, this is a very strong starting place, (if not entirely representative of the overall discography) and if you are a fan already its a worthy addition to your collection.

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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Universally cited as one of the absolute best live albums of all time, LIVE AFTER DEATH is the first live album / video release of IRON MAIDEN’s classic early Bruce Dickinson years and was recorded during their “World Slavery Tour.” Despite lasting a whopping 331 days, this double LP album only took two venues as their source for representing their electric live performances. The first 13 tracks were recorded at the Long Beach Arena in California, USA and the remaining five tracks were taken from a night at Hammersmith Odeon in London. While LIVE AFTER DEATH was released both as audio LP and video VHS in 1985, the two aren’t exactly identical in content. The audio LP originally contained 18 tracks (one of which is “Intro: Churchill’s Speech”) but the VHS visual experience only had 14 tracks. Unfortunately when LIVE AFTER DEATH was originally released on CD it was too long for a single disc and instead of simply issuing a double disc, EMI unwisely decided to cut the last five tracks which included the Odeon performance, therefore it is highly advisable to obtain the Sanctuary remastered version which was released as a double disc and retains the entire run of one classic song after another.

LIVE AFTER DEATH is the absolute perfect live album. I very rarely put live albums high on my list of favorites because more often than not something or many things prevent them from capturing my attention and worthiness as essential. If it’s not the weak production values then it is the inability of the band to capture the magic that is manufactured in the studio. That is not the case here. IRON MAIDEN was at the pinnacle of their creative prowess at this point and after several outstanding and classic albums to mine for material, they perfectly execute these live performances and offer every little ounce of excitement heard on the studio releases. Bruce Dickinson nails the vocals and the thundering trio of Steve Harris’ bass and the guitar synergy of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith accompanied by Nikko McBrain’s stellar drumming style doesn’t get any better. While most of the tracks are performed rather faithfully to their studio versions, there is plenty of live improvisation taking places as well. Standout moments include Bruce’s attempt to get audience participation on “Running Free” and another great difference can be heard on “Revelations” where the tempo is upped and Bruce changes the vocal phrasing to make the track sound different and refreshed.

The video release offers all the theatrical visuals of the tour. The “Powerslave” album was based on ancient Egypt and likewise the stage was Egyptified to the max with sarcophagi, hieroglyphs and a mummified Eddie embellished with ridiculous amounts of pyrotechnics. The tour was a smashing success and this release whether it be audio or video is the perfect testimony to the genius that went into every single detail. The sound and mixing is perfect as well as Martin Birch found the perfect balance of every cast member and delivered one of the most satisfying production jobs for a live release that i have ever heard. In the visual department Jim Yukich perfectly captured two nights in Long Beach showing a great band doing great things at the peak of their game. Another piece of perfection with this one is the brilliant cover art of Derek Riggs surpassing previous album themes of Eddie as the mascot by incorporating those themes of previous albums covers and then putting it all on steroids. The spread of the album is breathtaking in content and color with the boldness of the yellows and blues. Every aspect of talent on board with this release guarantees to wake the dead. I cannot find one negative thing to say about it. It is true that Bruce doesn’t hit every note exactly as on the studio version every single time but when he doesn’t he offers interesting new ways of interpreting the classics. This is simply one of the most perfect live releases i have ever encountered and even MAIDEN themselves haven’t even come close to achieving similar results. Masterpiece.

OZZY OSBOURNE God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

Movie · 2011 · Heavy Metal
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It is an interesting documentary that tries to focus on his personal life. But it stays in the middle of the road in the end.

You have this big and interesting chunk talking about Sabbath then when it comes to his solo career they talk about 2 albums and... that's it.

Look, if you're doing a documentary or you focus on the music or in the person, every documentary that tries to do both end up staying in the middle of the fail road.

This is interesting, it gives you an idea how Ozzy was really in bad shape for so many years and how he turned things around, but it's far away from being a great and complete documentary.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY The European Invasion: Doom Troopin' Live

Movie · 2006 · Heavy Metal
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Doom Troopin’ Live: The European Invasion is a live concert video from Black Label Society, available on Blu-Ray. It documents the European leg of their touring in support of ‘Mafia.’

The setlist is fairly heavily comprised of material from the ‘Mafia’ and ‘The Blessed Hellride’ albums, with little from the first three records, which may be disappointing if its your only BLS video purchase, but which does result in little crossover with their other DVD ‘Boozed Broozed & Broken Boned.’ A similar idea to Kiss’ Alive II perhaps.

There are 16 tracks in the main Paris concert according to the back of the box but three of those are jamming. They tease the crowd with a bit of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Mama I’m Coming Home’ for example. Plenty of the time between songs is given over for additional guitar soloing as well.

It’s a decent mix of fast and slow, its mostly heavy but there’s a bit of light in there and it gives a lot of time over to Zack’s guitar talents, without wasting too much time away from actual songs. I think a good balance has been struck of all of Black Label’s constituent parts.

The performance is fairly strong, noticeably so on the ballads. Zack has a good stage presence pumping fists, pointing and striking poses, although some of the spoken crowd interaction is very mumbled and hard to make out. A lot of the songs feel a lot faster, louder and heavier live than they did on record, and feel crunchier and more earthy sounding. The drumming in particular is a lot more impressive live; Craig Nunemacher has a lot of character I hadn’t noticed before seeing this.

I think the sound is very good. Its well mixed, fairly heavy and the songs have bite. It feels ‘live enough’ but it isn’t sloppy. Again, a good balance has been struck, this time between concert-feel and actually good sound.

There was a fair amount of effort put into the stage design too; mic stands made out of chains, skulls on plinths, an impromptu pub made out of amplifiers with beer sat on it, flashing siren lights, BLS banners etc. There’s a professional looking lighting show and the camera work is well done. So in one way, it’s a good looking concert too.

In another way however, the visuals are the only letdown for me as the editing is a bit distracting. A lot of time, especially in the earlier songs, is given over to fancy effects, going black and white momentarily, screen overlays, slow motion, fake film grain etc. which some viewers may find a bit too distracting. Luckily instances of this reduce as the show goes on. It isn’t enough to spoil the concert in my opinion, but if you are picky about that sort of thing I would recommend that you try before you buy it.

I had read negative reviews about this concert stating either that Zack was miming his vocals, that there were very obvious vocal overdubs or that the audio and video were out of synch. Whichever way, if you look at his mouth it doesn’t match the sound of the singing. That would have been a huge letdown for me. I was worried because the same vocal-synching issue had been a fairly big distraction on a Marilyn Manson and a Queensrÿche Blu-Ray I owned and I didn’t want to buy this if it shared the same problem.

I looked on youtube to see footage from the DVD which indeed had the problem, but read reviews that claimed the problem didn’t exist. Luckily when I watch my copy (region 0 Blu-Ray, with the audio set to DTS HD Master Audio) there is no issue at all. All the tom rolls, guitar solos and singing matches what you see on screen. Admittedly, Zack has a lot of effects on his vocals, other members do backing vocals and there are some sections of pre-recorded music like in lots of concerts, that you were never meant to think was live, but that’s about it.

The bonus features include an extra four songs (‘Been A Long Time,’ ‘Suicide Messiah,’ ‘Stillborn’ with massive extended-jam & ‘Genocide Junkies’) from London, three music videos from the Mafia album, a making-of for the ‘Suicide Messiah’ video and a 50-minute documentary feature called ‘Backstage Pass.’

The video is 1080i HD Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1). The audio options are LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS HD Master Audio

Overall, this is a fairly enjoyable Blu-Ray with a well performed and sounding concert and some interesting extras. I would recommend it if you like the band, as long as you aren’t very picking about over-edited concerts or only like the early material.

JUDAS PRIEST Rising In The East

Movie · 2005 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Opening with the classic double punch of `The Hellion/Electric Eye,’ you know that this concert is going to be good.

The band do their best to mix a diverse career spanning set list with playing all their biggest hits and do a pretty successful job, managing to cover a full five songs from their then new `Angel of Retribution,’ album with their big hits like `Breaking the Law,’ `Living After Midnight,’ and `You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,’ while still playing at least one song from their less famous `Point of Entry,’ `Turbo,’ and `Ram It Down,’ albums.

Musically, the band are on fire, with impressive guitar soloing, energetic on stage performances and drummer Scott Travis playing songs harder, with confidence and authority that makes them sound that much heavier and tighter. The band are playing on a fairly large stage with elaborate set pieces, risers and of course, the famous motorcycle.

Some fans have made a lot of complaints about Rob Halford’s performance here, but with the sole exception of the vocals on the track `Painkiller,’ (which, as it happens has impossibly difficult vocals to begin with) I think these complaints are pretty off the mark.

If you need proof that Rob can still reach those high notes see the `You’re Possessing Me,’ scream in `A Touch of Evil’ or indeed the entire performance of the fast and high pitched `Riding on the Wind.’

Furthermore Rob’s whole on-stage attitude is a winner, seeming genuinely pleased each and every time the crowd gets a sing along moment correct, adding little Robotic Walk gestures to `Metal Gods,’ and generally looking like he’s giving it his all, to the point where he is sweating and red in the face, not because he can’t hack it, but rather because he’s giving it his very all.

Even if you do for some reason take exception with Rob, there is simply no denying the performances of Glen, Scott, Ian and Mr. Downing who all blast away like a well oiled machine, but with the energy of a much younger band.

In terms of camera, editing, sound and mix there really isn’t anything to complain about, everything is handled well and the whole package is as slick and professional as you would hope for from a band of their size.

Overall this is a great looking and great sounding DVD from Judas Priest and that alone should have you interested, add to that an interesting set list and dismiss the complaints about Rob and you should find `Rising In The East,’ a really worthy addition to your collection.

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