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

SIR LORD BALTIMORE Kingdom Come

Album · 1970 · Heavy Metal
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Unitron
Perhaps the first album to be described as a heavy metal album, it comes as no surprise, as Sir Lord Baltimore's debut of Kingdom Come is a roaring shredfest that sounds closer to what's known as the classic metal sound than many of their contemporaries.

The first thing that caught me when I first heard this album was just how much fucking energy is just bursting out of the speakers. It's like these guys just had a bunch of built up energy inside waiting to unleash itself in the form of spastic and driving heavy metal. Apart from the medieval break of Lake Isle of Innersfree and the title track, which is closer to lumbering doom, this is just pure energetic metal. Hard Rain Fallin', Pumped Up, and Hell Hound especially are absolutely infectious in their delivery. They're raucous and raw, switching between distorted crunch and screeches with attitude, with vocal expressions of so much personality and thunderous drums going off like crazy.

It's a hard choice between this and Deep Purple's In Rock as my favorite metal album of 1970, this album just has so much exuberance and pure joy in playing expressed. Crazy album, in all the right ways.

METALLICA Load

Album · 1996 · Heavy Metal
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Vim Fuego
Metallica’s self-titled 1991 album was a big surprise.

Also known as the “Black Album”, it surprised long-time fans in the radical change of musical direction the band took. The cover was a bit of a surprise in its Spinal Tap-like none-more-blackness. The choice of Bob Rock as producer was a big surprise, since Rock was better known for producing metal pretenders like Motley Crüe, not a contender like Metallica. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all was how the popularity of the album absolutely took off. It sold tens of millions of copies, made Metallica a household name, and made a huge impression on metal and rock the world over.

Following up such a monolithic album was always going to be a challenge, but this was a band which had always tackled challenges head on. They had been uncompromising as a young band, hiring and firing who they felt they needed to complete their all-conquering line-up. They soldiered on and recruited a new bass player after the tragic death of Cliff Burton. They didn’t bow to MTV pressure and achieved success on their own terms. And then they created a big, black-clad monster. What came next was anyone’s guess.

And nobody guessed.

Five years after the “Black Album”, “Load” hit the shelves, with a sticky looking cover, made of blood and jizz. Inside the bodily fluid covered cover, there was photographic evidence of haircuts, new wardrobes, and make-up. All this caused a stir even before the album landed. Yes, there had been a single released a few months earlier, the hard-driving “Until It Sleeps”, with its Heironymus Bosch-inspired music video, but it didn’t prepare fans for the massive image shift.

And then the biggest surprise? The music. Of course it was the music. It’s always meant to be about the music. And surprisingly enough, what “Load” served up was an even duller version of the “Black Album”.

There was no return to the thrash roots, as many long-time fans were still vainly hoping for. The heavy was dialed back – there’s nothing that approaches Sad But True’s Godzilla stomp. And there were a few more non-metal shades infecting the music. It sounded like more of the same, but less. And more. More in that this album is too long. It’s an absolute chore to sit through all 79 minutes of it. Towards the end of the album, you find yourself checking “Is it nearly done yet?” Ever done that with Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets? It seems the band had got too big, and too self-important, and just didn’t know when to fucking stop. And who was going to tell them to?

The album kicks off with “Ain’t My Bitch”, a slightly more up-tempo song than those on the “Metallica” album, but James’ singing seems to have lost its edge. Also, the gut churning bottom end which made up for some of the previous album’s loss of tempo is gone. “Ain’t My Bitch” just ain’t as heavy.

“2x4” swaggers and swings, and Kirk wails on the lead, but it’s ultimately pedestrian. It’s different to what Metallica had ever done before, but it is also unadventurous.

“The House That Jack Built” is more like it. The dark Lovecraftian Gothic shade hinted at by the “Until It Sleeps” single is back. It has some great melodies, it’s has the body-slamming heavy vibe, and there’s even vocal harmonies. There’s some creepy wah pedal effects, along with talk box guitar, popularised by Peter Frampton, and used by Mick Mars on “Kickstart My Heart” – could this be Bob Rock’s influence again?

“Until It Sleeps” is the first outstanding song on the album. It is nightmarish and creepy, heavy and compelling. It uses contrasting dynamics highly effectively, and isn’t ploddingly obvious like some of the other songs here. James Hetfield’s oblique esoteric lyrics are open to interpretation (hint: it's about cancer!), but this definitely isn’t a happy song!

“King Nothing” and “Hero of the Day” are slightly less dark, but both are hard driving, dynamic songs. “King Nothing” harks back to the “Black Album” again, with a big main riff, but with more going on around it, and like “Enter Sandman”, revisits childhood verse in an adult context. “Hero of the Day” mixes soft/loud/soft, light/heavy/light song structure, and builds to an almost thrash mid-section, punctuated by stuttering kick drums from Lars Ulrich. The song includes some of Kirk’s best lead guitar on the whole album, and one of Hetfield’s smoothest vocal performances ever. By the final fade, it feels like Metallica might have pulled it out of the fire, and delivered a good album after all.

Yeah, nah. Didn’t happen. It’s mostly downhill from here.

“Bleeding Me” is just long and boring. Yeah, there’s another big riff, there’s more solos and shit, but it’s all the same damn plodding tempo we’ve already heard.

“Cure” is pure filler that those kings of poorly padded albums KISS would be proud of. What’s the fucking point of this song? It’s a boring shit sandwich of a song, the lowest point on the whole album. It’s only slightly longer than “Fight Fire With Fire”, but feels like it’s never going to end.

“Poor Twisted Me” has a megaphone vocal effect, which is really the most interesting thing about it. Once again, mid-tempo and little purpose. “Wasting My Hate” starts with a bluesy riff and vocal, and threatens to take off, but just settles into that mid-tempo groove again. Every time it seems like it’s going to get good, it gets pulled back from the brink and ends up squarely in mediocre again.

If you make it through those four turgid lumps of over-produced yet half-baked stodge, you’re treated to a diamond in the not-rough-enough. “Mama Said” is a country-tinged ballad. Though they built their reputation on hard charging thrash, Metallica have always been amazing balladeers, because they always avoided the clichés the 80s hair metal bands built their hits around. Metallica always understood when to stomp on the overdrive. The song is fleshed out with multi-tracked vocal harmonies, a string section, and steel guitar. “Mama Said” is heart-felt and emotionally powerful, written about Hetfield’s mother, who died of cancer when he was only 16.

“Thorn Within” once again promises much, and delivers little. There’s simply no risk taken. It drives straight down the middle of the road Metallica have been building for much of this album. “Ronnie” is painful country/blues infused mid-paced metal. Yep, mid-paced. Again. It’s like the whole album is stuck with the handbrake on.

Don’t expect any mercy just because you have reached the end of the album “Outlaw Torn” creeps promisingly, like a bulldozer track, slowly crawling and crushing all beneath it. And finally, what we’d all been waiting years for but heard only sporadically – Jason Newsted prominent in the mix! His subtle but supple bass weaves through the main theme of the song. With all the ostentatious egos and undoubted talent of other band members here, it’s easy to forget what a maestro Metallica had in their bottom end, but here is one of their greatest resources wasted on a meandering fade out to nothing. This song clocks in at nearly 10 minutes long, but apparently is missing the best part of the song cut off the end, because they ran out of space on a CD. You should have dumped one of the other songs, you stupid bastards!

“Load” is what Metallica felt like they had to record. It’s safe and unchallenging. After all, what do you have left to do once you’ve conquered the metal and musical world? You cement your base by delivering more of the same, without alienating or scaring your massive fan base. There IS a good album in here. It’s just it’s buried under an avalanche of pointless detritus.

KILLER CLOWN Killer Clown

Boxset / Compilation · 2015 · Heavy Metal
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siLLy puPPy
KILLER CLOWN was one of many many many metal bands that arrived too late to the 80s party to find any real success. This band from the desert town of Ridgecrest, CA formed in 1991 just in time for the grunge scene and alternative everything 90s to arrive which changed the entire musical landscape and shut the doors for a once thriving classic metal market. This band was very much rooted in the 80s heavy metal style of Judas Priest, Saxon and other twin guitar attack metal bands.

Starting out as Tyrant, the members of James Johnson (vocals), Mike Stanley (guitars), Brandon Ernest (guitars) and Ron Cram (drums) discovered that the moniker was already quite popular and the more established bands from Germany and the US already staked their claims on this one so the band searched high and low for a new band name and came across it in a very weird way. Apparently one of the band members’ kids was wreaking havoc with the equipment and he had messed up hair and a toy knife. He got the nickname KILLER CLOWN which ultimately became the band’s new name!

Having formed when they did and given their isolated location in the middle of the Mojave desert, KILLER CLOWN never released an album but they did record two demos, “Show Us To The Circus” which came out in 1991 and “All Bets Down” which was released in 1994. The band never officially broke up but sort of went on a permanent hiatus until the 21st century when the internet allowed old relics from the past to be experienced by all. Interest in their demos began to rise and ultimately resulted in the two demos being released as this eponymously titled compilation album which appeared on the Greek label Psycho-B Records and released in 2015.

Given the amateur status of these tracks, KILLER CLOWN had already honed its chops and played some really good 80s style metal and although not exactly original or groundbreaking in any way, mastered the art of crafting catchy hooks and strong melodic performances with tight instrumental interplay with heavy twin guitar attacks, thumping bass grooves and excellent drumming. Even James Johnson’s vocals were perfect for the part. If you ask me there’s a more epic sound to KILLER CLOWN and i’d say they sound closer to bands like Manilla Road rather than Judas Priest, Saxon or other NWOBHM acts.

While not professionally recorded, this compilation was remastered and could be considered a veritable album but still sounds crude and raw. The tracks that appeared on the two demos are not in the same order as the originals but rather the two demos are mixed up randomly so it’s impossible to distinguish which track came from which demo. The band was as adept at crafting nice acoustic arpeggiated intros much like the early Metallica albums as it was in unleashing exquisite metal bombast with heavy guitar riffs, nice solos and well thought out compositions that added all those extra touches of mastery.

This one was a surprise and had KILLER CLOWN emerged five years earlier very well could’ve found itself on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball but the music industry has always been a cruel one and the band would not even release a single album in their day. Given the renewed interest and the benefit of a long requested release, the band reformed in 2014 but has not yet released any new material. Whether that is their destiny remains to be seen but for an obscure album that nobody has heard of this one is of high musical quality albeit could use a better production job and perhaps a few more modern touches to make it stand out a bit. A pretty cool set of demos that displays exactly how many talented bands have existed and never had the chance to take their musical visions further.

CIRITH UNGOL Frost and Fire

Album · 1981 · Heavy Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) was gaining steam in jolly ole England in the 70s with bands like Judas Priest and Saxon gestating the stylistic approach into the behemoth musical style that would overtake the metal saturated 80s, similar bands existed elsewhere whether it be Germany’s Scorpions cranking out similarly minded heavy rock tunes or even Argentina’s Pappo’s Blues however there was a huge scene in the USA as well with bands like Riot, Alkana and Bang in the forefront of more metal infused hard rock. Add to that list another legendary act, namely CIRITH UNGOL which formed in 1971 in Ventura, CA and was well known for its fantasy based lyrics and power metal leanings long before its 1981 debut FROST AND FIRE.

While this band was in the same league as the early pioneers of the NWOBHM such as Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Def Leppard, given the exclusionary premises of the ill-fated descriptor, such American based bands have been since been fitted with the tag of early US power metal which isn’t without its merits but hardly adequate. The decade of music that spanned from the band’s formation in 1971 and its debut a decade later is perhaps one of the most dynamic ten years in all of music history. The band started with the lineup of Greg Lindstrom (guitars, synthesizers), Robert Garven (drums), Jerry Fogle (guitars) and Pat Galligan (bass) as Titanic with an interest in playing hard rock that was similar to Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad and after changing their name to CIRITH UNGOL which refers to the mythical tower in the Tolkien universe. For this debut the lineup was Greg Lindstrom (guitars, synthesizers), Robert Garven (drums), Jerry Fogle (guitars) and Michael Vujea (bass) and Tim Baker on vocals.

FROST AND FIRE was hardly regarded as a classic at the time of release and although the album cover art by Michael Whelan suggests a connection to the rather mediocre animated flick “Heavy Metal” which came out the very same year of 1981, CIRITH UNGOL’s album is much more interesting than the lame soundtrack that supported that rather ho hum film. This debut album is sort of an anomaly in the CIRITH UNGOL canon as it’s more rooted in traditional heavy metal than the following albums that are slower that adopt many characteristics of doom metal. This one is much more diverse but generally speaking employs faster tempos and is much easier to latch onto upon a single listen. The opening title track is the perfect example as it implements a catchy rhythmic groove, guitar riff and captures the spirit of the early NWOBHM scene perfectly. Augmented by the rather idiosyncratic vocal style of Tim Baker, CIRITH UNGOL immediately stands out as an act that is utterly existing in its own paradigm and yet it was not only influenced by the past but provided a lot of inspiration for the bands to come.

While based in the as expected sword and sorcery fantasy world of early metal that was the norm, FROST AND FIRE exceeds in its ability to take heavy metal into unexpected terrain. Added to Baker’s idiosyncratic stylistic approach as vox box in chief, the album just plain rocks with seven disparate tracks that all partake in implanting a different approach. While the title tracks bursts onto the scene with a brash bravado, “I’m Alive” is a bit reserved but a careful analysis will reveal a close connection musically speaking to Iron Maiden’s “Revelations” on the “Piece Of Mind” album revealing how the mighty Maiden had its ears pricked far and wide to capture the sonic displays from afar. “A Little Fire” on the other hand finds CIRITH UNGOL as the borrowers of past ideas as it really does evoke a bit of Jimi Hendrix’s classic “Fire” albeit teased out into contemporary sonic regalia. “What Does It Take” may catch some flack for the cheesy synth sounds and slap bass effects that makes it sound like a new wave hit on MTV but personally i love this track as it adds a bit of contrast to the business as usual. Despite sounding as if it could’ve emerged as a harder edged song by The Cure, despite the synth-laced atmospheres delivers all the metal creds in abundance.

“Edge Of A Knife” displays a rather proto-metal sound that seems like it emerged from the band’s earliest days but offers a chorus that sounds an awful lot like Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” so it goes without saying that CIRITH UNGOL was a fan of the NWOBHM even if they as a band emerged before its official inauguration into the world of heavy metal. “Better Off Dead” starts off with a drumbeat that ushers in a funky bass groove way before funk metal was a “thing” but also seems to add a few parts that Cinderella took liberties in borrowing on their single “Somebody Save Me.” Just check out the “Shot o’ gasoline” part of Cinderella’s single. The album ends with the very unique sounding instrumental “Maybe That’s Why” which sounds somewhat like as Lynyrd Skynyrd song progression at first but then engages in a unique guitar stum-athon with bluesy licks and despite sounding out of sync with the rest of the album displays the band’s interest in varying styles of musical format. Pretty cool if you ask me.

For some reason, CIRITH UNGOL’s debut album FROST AND FIRE gets panned a lot for not being on the same league of the more focused “King Of The Dead” and “One Foot In Hell” but i guess i’m in the minority in actually liking the different styles on display on FROST AND FIRE which display a band in a free-for-all modus operandi of just doing whatever the fuck these band members want to! Granted a lack of focus can diminish from an experience but nothing on FROST IN FIRE does just that. Everything on this debut is kept within a certain parameter of focus but yet allows a bit of creative mojo to ooze out from the big bang of creative explosive music magic. For that i love this debut by CIRITH UNGOL and all i can say is that the naysayers probably have never heard this album (in remastered form of course) on a ridiculously expensive stereo system on a road trip. OMG! After experiencing this album in a much more intimate setting, i TOTALLY upped my appreciation. Just sayin! Classic classic classic!!!! BTW the eighth track “Cirith Ungol” on many releases is a BONUS track on reissues. Nice but from the doomier side of the band’s sound beginning with the next album.

BUFFALO Volcanic Rock

Album · 1973 · Heavy Metal
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Unitron
The sound of metal in the early 70's made a comeback in the 90's, with bands under the labels of grunge, stoner rock/metal, and some doom metal bands all essentially bringing back the dark, dirty, and bluesy sound of the music that they probably grew up listening to. Bands like Black Sabbath and Budgie have been shown plenty of appreciation, with bands all across the metal scene covering them. The Australian heavy metal band Buffalo's only got a couple to my knowledge, grunge bands Cosmic Psychos (covered Sunrise) and Screaming Trees (covered Freedom).

Volcanic Rock has lived on to become a cult classic to many fans of early metal and the grungy 90's, and it's the album that sounds most grunge before grunge was a named genre. If Soundgarden was around in the 70's, this might just be what they'd sound like. The main riff in The Prophet even brings to mind Soundgarden's Searching With My Good Eye Closed. Out of the big B's of early metal, If Blue Cheer was the wall of distortion, Black Sabbath was the brooding darkness, and Budgie was the upbeat speed, Buffalo was the heavy heart and soul of metal.

Thunderous riffing rains down as Dave Tice sings his heart out. He has so much of both bluesy soul and gravelly metal attitude, and sounds like no other metal vocalist of the era. Freedom and The Prophet especially display this sound combo perfectly. It really wasn't until vocalists like Chris Cornell and Pepper Keenan for this kind of bluesy passion to see a return to metal. After the vocals, it's the bass from Peter Wells that stands out to me, particularly the massive sound of Freedom. The band isn't always lumbering though, they can pick up the pace as heard in opener Sunrise and closer Shylock. The latter closes the album in such a raw fashion, with John Baxter's furious riffing being unrivaled, and Jimmy Economou's drumming is excellent.

I could go on and on about how much I love this album, the melodies, the riffs, the emotion expressed, all so good. In my opinion, this is not only the best metal album of the 70's, but the best album of the 70's. Any fans of 70's metal and 90's grunge/stoner-type metal should not be without this cult classic.

heavy metal movie reviews

ACCEPT Restless & Live

Movie · 2017 · Heavy Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
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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progshine
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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Kingcrimsonprog
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
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Kingcrimsonprog
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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