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)

heavy metal top albums

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BLACK SABBATH Paranoid Album Cover Paranoid
4.51 | 223 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Powerslave Album Cover Powerslave
4.50 | 232 ratings
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RAINBOW Rising Album Cover Rising
4.47 | 156 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Sad Wings Of Destiny Album Cover Sad Wings Of Destiny
4.46 | 158 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Album Cover Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
4.44 | 202 ratings
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HELL Curse & Chapter Album Cover Curse & Chapter
4.77 | 17 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN The Number Of The Beast Album Cover The Number Of The Beast
4.38 | 205 ratings
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BLACK SABBATH Master Of Reality Album Cover Master Of Reality
4.37 | 186 ratings
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BLACK SABBATH Heaven And Hell Album Cover Heaven And Hell
4.36 | 151 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Somewhere In Time Album Cover Somewhere In Time
4.35 | 177 ratings
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BRUCE DICKINSON The Chemical Wedding Album Cover The Chemical Wedding
4.47 | 38 ratings
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DIO Holy Diver Album Cover Holy Diver
4.33 | 129 ratings
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heavy metal Music Reviews

JUDAS PRIEST '98 Live Meltdown

Live album · 1998 · Heavy Metal
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As I said on my review on it, Jugulator was a good 1990s metal album, but not a great one, and it didn't really sound like a Priest album. '98 Live Meltdown, the first live release from the Ripper Owens-fronted era of the band, does a fair amount to course-correct.

Of course, it certainly helps that on a 24 song setlist, only five come from Jugulator, and they're largely buried in the middle of the set. The remaining 19 songs are various Priest classics, distinguished from previous renditions largely by Ripper being on vocals instead of Rob Halford.

It's here where Ripper really gets to prove himself. Sure, in terms of the instrumental backing, the team of Tipton, Downing, Hill, and Travis do the excellent job playing these we expect of them, but Ripper's ability to tackle the Halford-material establishes him as an impressive vocalist in his own right. You can tell why he was a successful frontman of a Priest tribute group before getting his chance with the real deal, because he has a similarly impressively wide range as Halford himself, but he's able to put just enough of his own take on the material that he's not just in tribute act mode.

As for the Jugulator material, the band do a good job of choosing the better songs from that album to perform, and offer renditions which bring them a little closer to the classic Judas Priest sound. Indeed, the quality of '98 Live Meltdown does have the side effect of making seem Jugulator seem all the worse by comparison. Perhaps the production was off, or perhaps the band went into the studio too soon and needed a little more time to workshop and refine the material before setting it down, but either way I prefer these live versions to those we got on the studio album.

Whilst I'm not sad that Rob came back to Priest - the greatest gig I've attended in my life was probably their Bloodstock 2021 headlining set - '98 Live Meltdown does go some way towards rehabilitating the Ripper years for me. I wouldn't give it more than four stars - it's a solid but not groundbreaking set based largely on Priest classics, and the patchier Jugulator material does pull it down - but I wouldn't give it less either.


Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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I approached Iron Maiden’s seventeenth full-length album Senjutsu in the same way as I approach all new releases from glorious bands of the past: with a mixture of hopeful excitement and reluctant dread that the new album won’t be anywhere near the glory days of years past. In this sense, Senjutsu turned out to be a pleasant surprise, showing that, even though they are no longer the reckoning force of 40 years ago, Iron Maiden are still a relevant voice in today’s metal landscape. This conclusion is even more surprising if one considers that I have not been impressed by any of the recent releases by the band, including the oft venerated Book of Souls.

So what’s Senjutsu’s secret? In two words: strong songwriting. Yes, it’s that simple. Forty-one years on after they have started their recording career, Iron Maiden can still write memorable heavy metal tunes that are both fun and arousing. The songwriting formula hasn’t changed much over the years: a powerful combination of galloping bass grooves, twin guitar leads and riffs, tight drumming, blazing guitar solos and Bruce Dickinson’s soaring dramatic vocals that often double the main guitar melody. Fast songs alternate to epic, brooding mid-tempos (giving off strong X Factor vibes) and ballads, creating a varied tracklist that keeps things fresh and entertaining. Structurally, the songs are not too complex, despite the lengthy duration of some of them. There are extended solos and instrumental sections, and the lengthier songs feature multiple parts, but it is all very accessible and memorable, only tiptoeing on the line that crosses into progressive metal.

So far nothing new under the sun as far as any standard Iron Maiden album is concerned. The difference compared to the band’s most recent records is that Senjutsu contains a handful of truly inspired songs, with memorable instrumental sections and great vocal melodies. Most of these tracks can be found on Disc 2 of this 81+ minute long double album. “Darkest Hour” is a sublime ballad infused with pathos and drama thanks to Dickinson’s fantastic vocal performance. The emotional solo in the second half of the song is another unmissable moment of the track, and a true highlight of the whole record as well. “The Parchment” is probably the best song off Senjutsu It is a strongly progressive piece, with some daring tempo changes, a spectacular instrumental section, and a fabulous doomsday verse that sends chills down my spine every single time (strong Seventh Son of a Seventh Son vibes here!), showing that Maiden can still bite when they want to. Album closer “Hell on Earth” is another strong contender for best track of the album, twisting between delicate acoustic arpeggios and epic galloping guitar riffs. Disc 1 is slightly more average, but there are some glorious moments there too, like the title-track, a very catchy and easy-listening track that shows how consummate Maiden are as songwriters.

Senjutsu also introduces a couple of unexpected sonic twists, like the surprising bluesy guitars of “The Writing on the Wall” or the vaguely 1970s, Floydian intro of “Lost in a Lost World”. There is nothing that truly innovates or changes the musical direction the band have been following over the past 40 years, but it is nevertheless refreshing to see that Maiden have not lost the appetite for subtle sonic experiments, seventeen albums into their discography.

The rest of the material is slightly less impressive, with tracks like “Days of Future Past”, “”The Time Machine” and even the slow winding “Death of the Celts” coming across a somewhat too derivative and flat. This is probably the main gripe I have with the album: if instead of releasing a double disc of over 81 minutes, Maiden had applied a little more quality control and reduced the material to five or six songs for half the length of the LP, this could have been one of the strongest albums the band has released since the 1990s. Nevertheless, Senjutsu stands tall in the band’s recent discography and represents a true return to form for Iron Maiden.

VOLBEAT Servant of the Mind

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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2021’s Servant Of The Mind is Danish Rock/Metal band Volbeat’s eight studio album, it was produced by Jacob Hansen (with Michael & Rob from the band) and follows up 2019’s Rewind, Replay, Rebound album.

I first got into the band after seeing them live on the cycle for Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie, and fell in love instantly, then devouring their back catalogue and becoming obsessed, listening to them more in one year than it takes me a decade to listen to most other bands, but when it finally came time for me to get in on the ground floor with a new release; 2019’s Rewind’ was a bit of a disappointment for me (especially at first, but to be fair it was a grower), as it initially felt like it was missing a lot of the charm, variety and quirkiness of their earlier work, and also was significantly less heavy or metallic than my favourite side of Volbeat’s many sided style. For me, Rewind’ leaned much too heavily on the band’s radio rock side. That’s always been a part of their sound – but not the whole sound, and to me Rewind’ just focused on it too deeply, too often.

Servant Of The Mind by contrast seems to be very conscious that the previous album was a bit too far away from their metal side, and is a pretty hard and deliberate course-correct towards heaviness. There is much more speed, power, groove, crunch, umph, tiny bits of Thrash-esque moments here and there, even one cheeky Death Metal riff hidden in there once.

Tracks like “Becoming,” feel built for fans who like the band’s heavier material (think “Slaytan”), while “The Devil Rages On,” “Step Into The Light” and “Say No More” more than make up for the previous album’s lighter touch. Heck, “The Sacred Stones” seems to be a deliberate tribute to Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell.” In addition to Metal though, they’ve also always had a bouncy punk tinge at times, and “The Passenger” covers that side of them as well.

While I may be banging on a bit too much about the metal; Volbeat have never been entirely all about heaviness – it is an important part of the puzzle, and it is nice to see it get enough focus again, but it is only part of the bigger picture. For those fans who like the bigger, catchier moments, the album does still have some nice radio rock moments, for example the single “Dagen Før” (featuring Alphabeat’s Stine Bramsen doing guest vocals) covers that kind of “Cape Of Our Heroes” or “Last Day Under The Sun” melodic vibe, and the choruses of even some of the heavier tracks lean into big American radio rock at times (its still there, its just blended better on this album).

Volbeat have also always had a fun side, and while I sort of make it sound like I didn’t like their previous album, it certainly had its great moments. This record takes some of those great moments and builds upon them. Single “Wait A Minute My Girl” has a jaunty saxophone solo, kind of like the fun “Die To Live” from the previous record, while “Step Into The Light” with its reverby twisted surf-rock guitar lead feels like a sequel to the previous album’s “Sorry Sack Of Bones.”

Now, while I have spent most of the review describing the album’s stylistic decisions, being heavy, or melodic, or bouncy or fun is pretty pointless if the album isn’t actually good. Luckily, the material is really strong. There are riffs that will stick in your head for days, choruses you’ll be dying to sing along to, memorable fills and a very clear production job. More than three quarters of the album I want to see live, I’m spoiled for choice over which songs I’d include in a best-of compilation or playlist.

While I wouldn’t make an argument that it is their all time best album, it is certainly in the top half of their discography, pleasantly surprising, and I would whole heartedly recommend it.

Ps. If you can, try and get the edition with the bonus tracks, the extra cover songs are brilliant!

ACCEPT Too Mean to Die

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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Kev Rowland
It doesn’t really seem to matter who is in Accept, everyone knows what they need to do, and off we go with another album. Towards the end of 2018, bassist Peter Baltes announced his decision to leave the band he helped move professional in 1976, leaving guitarist Wolf Hoffmann as the only original still there. Although singer Mark Tornillo only joined in 2009, he now has the second longest tenure as everyone else is more recent, so although there is only one person who has been there for all the classics, Accept appear to be rejuvenated and with Andy Sneap at the desk have produced an album which shows them not slowing down at all, and possibly even heading off in new directions. It is interesting to see that they have also followed Helloween in that they now have three guitarists, but neither band has the complexity of arrangements beloved by the masters of the triple attack, and instead Accept use it to provide more crunch.

In the UK, Accept got widespread attention with their fifth album, ‘Balls To The Wall’, and while only Hoffmann is still there, there is no doubt that their sixteenth studio album is in direct lineage. If someone had asked me what the new Accept album was like before hearing it I would have said, crunching riffs, simple but effective solos, hard hitting Teutonic metal with hints of AC/DC, with rough and raw vocals over the top, and that is exactly what we have here. This album got to #2 in the German charts, and Top 10 in four other European countries to boot. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

If you like Accept, then here is another album showing them what they do very well indeed, but if you haven’t enjoyed their straightforward approach in the past then it is unlikely that this is for you.


Album · 1988 · Heavy Metal
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"Them" is the 3th full-length studio album by multi-national heavy metal act King Diamond. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 1988. There have been a couple of lineup changes since the release of "Abigail (1987)", as guitarist Michael Denner has been replaced by Pete Blakk and bassist Timi Hansen has been replaced by Hal Patino. "Abigail" was a commercial and artistic success for King Diamond and the band didn´t rest on their laurels, quickly entering the studio after finishing the tour supporting "Abigail". "Them" turned out to be another great commercial and artistic success for the band, selling even more copies than the predecessor.

As it´s also the case with "Abigail (1987)", "Them" is a concept release telling a horror story. This time the story is also centered around a haunted house, but the story is quite different from the story of "Abigail (1987)". The protagonist of the story is King himself as a child, and the story begins with King, his sister Missy, and his mother waiting at their house for their wheelchair bound grandmother to return from a long vacation (which is later revealed to have been a longer stay at a lunatic asylum). The following night King awakes to the sound of voices and finds his Grandmother sharing bloody tea with invicible spirits (called "Them") speaking in strange tongues telling stories from beyond, and he is invited to join them.

The bloody tea has a hallucinogenic and an addictive effect and soon King becomes numb to reality and craves the nightly meetings with "Them", despite the fact that the blood in the tea is drained from his sleeping mother. When Missy discovers what is going on and why her mother is ill and tired all the time, she destroys the tea pot but is subsequently killed by the enraged "Them" (she is basically chopped to little bits with an axed wielded by invicible hands and then burned in the kitchen fireplace while King is watching in horror). After Missy is murdered King finally snaps out of this sedated state and lures his grandmother to leave the house. He has picked up the axe from the kitchen and beheads his grandmother. The story ends with King being taken away to a lunatic asylum accused of murdering his little sister and his grandmother.

Stylistically the 11 tracks on the 43:14 minutes long album continue the intricate and theatrical heavy metal style of the two preceding albums. King´s vocals are predominantly high pitched but he also sings more mid-range type vocals. The vocals are often multy-layered to create intriguing harmonies or choirs. The two guitarists produce sophisticated heavy metal riffs with the occasional nod towards more hard edged thrash metal style riffs. It´s the many neo-classical influenced guitar harmonies and skillfully played melodic guitar solos which are the icing on the cake though. Both Pete Blakk and Andy LaRocque are incredibly creative and each guitar solo has been meticulously crafted and is played with great care for detail. The rhythm section of drummer Mikkey Dee and bassist Hal Patino also deserve a lot of praise as they deliver powerful and tight (yet organic) playing, which drives the music forward with great energy. The music also features atmosphere enhancing use of keyboards.

"Them" is structured with an atmospheric horror intro, a short interlude track, and a short outro, so there are only eight "regular" length heavy metal tracks on the album. Great care has been taken with the tracklist to make sure that there is a good flow throughout the album and the short intro/outro/interlude tracks are important to help ensure that flow and the creepy horror atmosphere too. But it´s of course the "regular" tracks which are the most interesting part of the album. Tracks like "Welcome Home", "The Invisible Guests", and "Tea" are among the highlights of the album, but "Them" is a strong release throughout.

There is a slight issue with the rhythm guitar sound sometimes drowning a bit in the mix and there is a dryness to the sound, which isn´t always pleasent to listent to, but overall the sound production is enjoyable enough. It is the only minor issue with the album, but it has to be mentioned as it does affect my rating a slight bit. "Them" is in many ways a high quality release by King Diamond and a worthy follow-up to "Abigail (1987)", but to my ears the sound production does keep it from reaching the same masterpiece heights as the predecessor. Still a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

heavy metal movie reviews

FOZZY Unleashed, Uncensored, Unknown

Movie · 2003 · Heavy Metal
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I’m totally unashamed about my love for this band and this DVD! Released in Fozzy’s early days when they were playing mostly covers, this is complete rock ‘n’ roll nonsense documenting how Fozzy created heavy metal and then signed a dodgy contract that left them stranded in Japan for twenty years!

The main documentary is hilarious. You can tell everyone is just having a blast filming it, and the added cameos from the likes of Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach and Mike Portnoy just add to this. And at barely a half an hour in duration, this main feature has plenty of replay value.

There’s an abundance of extras too, including more daft early Fozzy shenanigans as well as sincere and out-of-character footage too, showing that even in their early days this band possessed unlimited potential, but then, what would you expect when rap metal pioneers Stuck Mojo joined forces with wrestling icon Chris Jericho?

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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siLLy puPPy
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.

Artists with Heavy Metal release(s)


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