Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Album of the Year Is...

It's that time of year again, stockings are hung, trees are trimmed, turkeys and a few other critters that frequent holiday dinner tables are looking for a prime hiding place, and us bloggers and columnists who write for the Doom Charts are putting the finishing touches on our year end best of lists. I struggled in naming my number one album this year. The top 11 records in my countdown all at one point during the year were serious contenders for Album of the Year for me. This week as I finally sat down to write up my top 25, I discovered that there were still six albums that I wanted to name number one. So, how did that all shake out, keep on reading. For albums 1-25 I'm only providing the band, album title, my favorite track from the record and the Bandcamp link. For the top 10, I am providing a brief write up this week. 

25 Clouds Taste Satanic - Second Sight
Favorite Track: Second Sight.

24 Howling Giant - The Space Between Worlds 
Favorite Track: Cybermancer and the Doomsday Express.

23 Skunk - Strange Vibration 
Favorite Track: The Black Crown.

22 Spiral Guru - Void 
Favorite Track: Holy Mountain.

21 MIIST - All the Useless Spinning
Favorite Track: Philosophy of Pessimism.

20 Arrowhead - Coven of the Snake 
Favorite Track: Ghost Ship.

19 Saint Vitus - Saint Vitus
Favorite Track: 12 Years in the Tomb

18 Baroness - Gold & Grey
Favorite Track: Tourniquet.
Not available on Bandcamp.

17 Witcher's Cred - Awakened From the Womb...
More Cow Bell!!!
Favorite Track: Witcher's Creed

16 Goatess - Blood & Wine
Favorite Track: Blood & Wine

15 Candlemass - The Door to Doom
Favorite Track: Astrolus - The Great Octopus

14 Magic Circle - Departed Souls
Favorite Track: Hypnotized.

13 Crypt Trip - Haze County
Favorite Track; 16 Ounce Blues.

12 Monocluster - Oceans
Favorite Track: Ocean in Our Bones.

11 Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Yn Ol I Annwn
Favorite Track: The Spaceships of Ezekiel.

10 The Pilgrim - Walking Into the Forest  Put this album on, light up (providing you live in one of the eleven states or a country where that's legal), kick back and relax. Let your cares melt away as The Pilgrim takes you on a mystical journey. This is a transcendent album, it's damn near a high without the drugs, it's so smooth and mellow, calming. It's my favorite record to blow of stress.
Favorite Track: Brainstorm.
Bandcamp.


9 Merlin - The Mortal
Merlin's follow-up to the well-loved album The Wizard from 2018 is this year's The Mortal. My initial reaction was, "Not as flashy, or adventurous as the previous release." However, The Mortal is a solid, well-rounded effort that proves a satisfying listen with each successive spin. Filled with plenty of the usual sonorous saxophone, the band added flute, accordion, trumpet, and omnichord to the mix this time around, to successful effect. The atmospheric opening eventually yields to Jordan Knorr's vocals accompanied by a sensuous, sexy sax played by Stu Kersting. Doomy riffs pervade throughout the album, filling tracks such as side two opener The Mindflayer, the album closer, The Mortal Suite, the bouncy Basilisk, etc. I ned to rethink my initial position on this record. Indeed, it's more adventurous than The Wizard, takes more chances, pushes the envelope further... whatever cliche you want to think up fits. But what it all means is, Merlin dropped another damn fine recording on the Doom community, and we're better for it.
Favorite track: Basilisk.
Bandcamp.


8 The Well - Death and Consolation
A little three-piece from down in Texas - drums, guitar, bass. Stop me if you've heard this story before, LOL. Actually, don't. The Well, hailing from Austin, Texas, two and a half hours up Highway 10 from Houston where another little three-piece from Texas made its name, just dropped its third long-player in 2019, Death and Consolation. The band shows growth and progression on this effort. The band sounds together, obviously the product of playing together the past few years and gaining road experience. Guitarist Ian Graham emerges a bit more vocally, to my ears anyway. It seems his is the dominant voice on much of the album, whereas on previous releases vocal duties were split more evenly with Lisa Alley (bass). The band has moved away from longer, meandering jams that appeared on earlier albums, favoring concise songs, with just two tunes checking in at more than five minutes in length.
Favorite Track: This Is How The World Ends.
Bandcamp.


7 Wizzerd - Wizzerd
Wizzerd's self-titled debut really should rate higher than number seven, but when you have six number ones, what do you do? So number seven with a bullet. The record is a concept album. The first track, which consumes al of side one on the vinly edition (and is not available anywhere else), is titled Druggernaut and tells the tale of an hash-filled asteroid that crashes into a dead world and brings life to the planet. The next few tracks spin the tale, and then there is a song tied to each of the five band members/characters in the tale, plus one titled Wizzerd, who is the villain of the piece.
Favorite Track: Warrior.
Bandcamp.



6 Church of the Cosmic Skull - Everybody's Going To Die
On Black Friday, I mean Cosmic Friday, The Church of the Cosmic Skull surprised the doom community by hurriedly releasing the follow-up to 2018's breakthrough album Science Fiction, titled ominously Everybody's Going To Die. The new album is less ABBA and a little more doom in general than the previous effort. To me this band sounds like someone tossed ABBA, Black Sabbath, Jon Lord, a copy of the Principia Discordia and the Buggles into a random gene splicer and Church of the Cosmic Skull was the result. The new album still has the killer harmonies, but there is a little more crunch to the riffs this times, and a little more edge to Brother Bill's vocals.
Favorite Track: Everybody's Going To Die.
Bandcamp.


5 Roadsaw - Tinnitus The Night
The mighty Roadsaw returned to the scene after nearly eight years between albums. They dropped a monster on us with Tinnitus The Night, ten tracks of face-melting, interstellar, stoner rock, space boogie. Highlights, for me anyway, come near the end od each side of the vinyl version: side one's closer Peel has an incendiary guitar solo at the finish, and track 9 and album closer Midazolam and Silence are a wonderful back-to-back one-two punch comedown after the frenzied intergalactic trip the rest of the album takes you on.
Favorite Track: Silence.
Bandcamp.





4 Legba - Hell
Legba is one of the best kept secrets in the doom/stoner/psych scene, and that's unfortunate.
This band deserves to be heard on a massive scale. Each of their three albums have been epic, and Hell may be the best of them all, methodically driven, with alternately clean and growled vocals, enough synths and airy spaces to lend a bit of light to the consuming darkness.  Hell briefly occupied the number one position in an earlier draft of my top 25 countdown, but in a revision was bumped down to four. As I noted, the top six albums are fairly interchangeable.
Favorite Track: Beaten Dead.
Bandcamp.





3 The Neptune Power Federation - Memoirs of a Rat Queen
Al hail the Imperial Priestess Screaming Loz Sutch!!! The new album from the Neptune Power Federation, the band's fourth and third with the Imperial Priestes behind the mic, takes the form of a travelogue - a time travelogue that is. Each song tells the tale of a particular point in time through the eyes of the Imperial Priestess as experienced the events. Listeners are given the location and a date, and in the case of the European gatefold edition that I managed to pick up a lyric sheet, and are left to piece out the details for themselves, such as Can You Dig? Isle of Man, 625. That date certainly refers to Edwin of Northumbria's arrival. He would shortly convert to Christianity and conquer the Isle, and apparently the High Priestess bore witness. The only location and date I couldn't work out had the dateline "Station 825C1, 2203."
Favorite Track: I'l Make a Man Out of You.
Bandcamp.


2 Green Lung - Woodland Rites
What an amazing album! I really thought this was going to be my number one record of the year right up until the final week before assembling my list. That's when I flipped. Still, this record is deserving of high honors. By the time 2019 concludes the band's debut album should hit one million streams on Spotify. That's crazy for a self-released record. But it is such a rich album, steeped on doomy goodness, replete with fuzz guitars aplenty, witchy lyrics (I can't get enough of May Queen and Into the Wild myself), and calls to "let the devil in."
Favorite Track: Into the Wild.
Bandcamp.





1 Bright Curse - Time of the Healer
Awarding the number one spot proved a Herculean task for me this year. The top six albums in my countdown are AL deserving of the top honor, but only one album can be named number one and that album is Bright Curse's Time of the Healer. Why? Well, this album did the little things that made it stand out from the pack, the use of the "Shamanic Flute" in Smoke of the Past, the extended percussion solo before the denouement in Time of the Healer, the inclusion of the trumpet on Laura. Sure, other bands use non-traditional instruments in their work, I'm loking at you Merlin, and do it exceedingly well, but something about this record captivated me enough to push it narowly ahead of the competition this year.
Favorite Track: Smoke of the Past.
Bandcamp.


Check back late next week and I'll try to post additional write-ups for the other 15 albums in the countdown, and I'll share an additional five albums that just missed my top 25.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Wizzerd spins a tale of high fantasy, a sonorous Silmarillion


Wizzerd's latest, a self-titled double LP that happens to be an adventurous concept album to be the band's sophomore effort, released back on March 29th, debuted at number 7 in that month's Doom Chart.  This is a smokin' hot album that makes love to your ear holes, it penetrates you, it permeates you, it leaves you a sweaty, sticky mess afterward and you don't mind it at all. In fact, you want to drop the needle on the first track, "Druggernaut," and embrace it all again!  Damn, what a ride!

While the entire band, which hails from Kalispell, Montana, had story ideas and input into the project, ultimately, the development of the concept behind the LP is the brainchild of Phoenix (drummer Samael Moore).  It's a high fantasy tale, straight out of Dungeons & Dragons.

The album's narrative goes like this:

"A mysterious figure has usurped the throne of the great king...  The lands are in turmoil and people are dying.  A plague has spread across the lands, from ocean to ocean... but there is still hope!

Four heroes, accompanied by an immortal spirit, are on a journey to kill the usurper, end the plague, and save the land.  They come from the four corners of Great Gaia's Green World:

The Dragon, a fearsome rogue, a legend of his time, he slayed the Grand Elder Dragon of the Great Desert bringing a permanent end to the Age of Fire.

The Warrior, his family was killed in the first siege of the doomed.  Mortally wounded, he dragged himself into the the magickal Ancient Forest where he was blessed by the Dryad of the Elder Wood to become the Protector of the Natural World.

The Wizard, an elderly wiseman, a reclusive intellectual known by no name, who wields the power to bend reality.  He has witnessed mountains crumble, and oceans dry.  He has seen the Apprentice become the Adversary.

The Phoenix, an undying madman, his origins and purpose shrouded in mystery.  He has dwelled where the mountain tops meet the moon, and flown to where the sea meets the sky.

The Wraith, an aeons-old inter-dimensional immortal spirit, whose purpose is to bring about and maintain balance between all realities.  He rides within the AEther, observing all of times most crucial events.

The Wizzerd, the evil ruler who has usurped the throne from its rightful king.  He is the mastermind behind the devastating plague known as "The Doom."  His lust for power driven by KAEOS, has lead him to use his powerful crystal talisman to rob the people of the world of their souls, giving him magickal power beyond comprehension.

Will our heroes bring balance to their world, or will they perish at the hand of the Wizzerd?"

Wizzerd's structure is much like a fantasy novel - the opening track, that is the bonus track on the vinyl edition "Druggernaut," is a prologue.  The meat and potatoes of the story comes in the next three "chapters" or songs, leaving the final six songs to sort of serve of an appendix, or perhaps you can think of it as sort of a musical Silmarillion, as the final six tracks are essentially character sketches, one for each of the four heroes, plus their ethereal companion the Wraith, (ultimately the band's alter egos) and then one for the evil Usurper. Another interesting point fans of Wizzerd's debut album may notice, each of the four heroes, leaving aside the Wraith a more recent addition, represent one of the four regions from the debut album, "Desert," "Forest," "Ocean," and "Sky."  Dragon is desert, Warrior is forest, Wizard is Ocean and Phoenix is sky.

The album opens up with the epic track "Druggernaut," available only on the vinyl release.  It clocks in a shade over 14 minutes and serves as a prologue to the album, telling the tale of a monstrous being of stone, smoke and drug that crashes into a water planet.  The Druggernaut walks across this water world, crumbling into nothingness as he goes, completely falling apart creating the land of Gaia.  Philosophically, the band seems to be playing with the idea that every act of destruction is an act of creation.

This towering tune just oozes cool personality, and to be frank, it is reminiscent of another band that makes music in this genre, in a good way, and that is the mighty Sleep.  But "Druggernaut" is, for a lack of a better term, cleaner than anything Sleep has done.  That's not to say the fuzz isn't there, it is in the form of Jhalen Salazar (aka Dragon) and Jamie Yeats' (aka Wizard) guitars, but Layne Matkovich (aka Warrior) plays his bass so pure and insistent in the mix. It's the stand-out instrument here.
                                                                                         
I have to mention Dragon's vocals on this one.  He absolutely fuckin' killed it!  It sounds like a duet, but in actually Jhalen handles all vocals.  Mad respect!

The album commences in earnest with "Great Mother Gaia," a balls out rocker. If you picked up the CD or purchased the download, this is where your album begins, and that's not a bad thing, this track will blow your drawers off. And, if you're not wearing any, all the better. If it wasn't for the instrumental coda on this tune I'd swear it was a Ramones or Black Flag cover.  It ultimately clocks in just a second under six minutes, but it has the feel of a Ramones three minute blitzkrieg until the lyrics conclude and the tempo changes pace for the remainder of the tune. 

I love the outro and how "Gaia" blends into the next track,"Kings of Esbat." I believe that's the work of  Wayne Randall (aka Wraith) on synthesizer, organ, audiomancy, and voice.

"Kings of Esbat" was the initial single from this release, back in February. This tune tells the tale of the Usurper claiming the throne.  It builds slowly at first, unwinding with a riffing guitar that climbs during the chorus.  The drums are kind of buried in the mix on this one until an odd little interlude where we're treated to the band's versatility as they bring in a mandolin (Wizard), a violin (Dragon) and a cello (Warrior), but I noticed the drums at this point also, crisply audible for the first time during the song.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the glassy, closing solo on this one.

"The Doomed" is a mid tempo jam, relaying the conditions of the plague to the listener.  Bleak indeed.  "A dark, demonic fright/ Has spread across the land" and "Plague has taken your soul/The Doomed shall soon become us all..." There's no mistaking Phoenix's drums here.  They're bold and out front on this one.  For such grim subject matter, this song is really one of the more upbeat tunes on the album. 
                           
The jazzy character sketch "Dragon" opens side C, and is one of the more catchy tunes on the album, one that'll quickly have you singing along to the chorus.  "Black resin builds in your lungs/This Great War has only begun/Foul demon with vile smoke/He takes your life with every toke."

A drum roll at precisely the five minute mark signals an ass kicking is about to occur.  The tune breaks it into some high octane shit at that stage.  Gone is jazzy first two thirds of the song, replaced with some thrashing Pantera would have been proud to perform.  The lyrics are no longer sung but spit out, then, with about 1:22 remaining, the tempo changes again, into a loose chug and jam.

"Warrior" opens with a verbal telling of the character's tale, followed by the pounding of drums and a rising call to arms until Dragon begins to bellow the lyrics.  The colossal vocal delivery from Dragon on "Warrior" is a treat for your cochlea.  This is the vocal highlight of the album in my opinion, the sheer heights he hits here are stunning.  And the chorus calls of "WARRIOR!" just make you want to experience this one live, with its namesake's rumbling bass and the repetitive shouts.

Next... Did I hear a xylophone on this one?  "Wizard" kind of fooled me.  It was jamming along and I was expecting it to really kick in and cut loose with the crunchy guitar and drums well before it did.  Instead it took an atmospheric turn and put that off for a moment, and the song ultimately is curve ball on an album of mostly balls out rockers.  An interesting change-up pitch.                                     

"Phoenix:" the interwoven vocals and the washboard playing during the acoustic interlude really stood out to me.  Oddly, no washboard playing is credited in the linear notes.  Did I aurally hallucinate while doing repeated playbacks of this track for review?

Was that a didgeridoo?  The organ intro to "Wraith" signals that something very different is about to be unleashed.  Very different indeed.  The crawling, creepy guitar, the gritty vocals, the loping drumming, the synthesizers, everything about this track is unique on this album and it reminded me of something the Devon Townsend Project might have done.

The final track is dedicated to the protagonist, the usurper, the Wizzerd himself.  It's a fast-paced fantasy rocker, very much in the vein of what you'd expect from bands like Blind Guardian, until it reaches the chorus, where it slows down into more traditional doom territory.  After a verse-chorus, verse-chorus run through, the song collapses into a wall of sound to close out the album.

A powerful album, that gets better with each subsequent listen.  After my first two or three listens of it I knew I liked the album, but I wasn't convinced of it's greatest yet.  I was drawn in by songs "Warrior," "Dragon," "Phoenix" and "Wraith."  After I received my vinyl copy and I heard the Sleep-like quality in "Druggernaut," I think my interest in the album stepped up a whole new level.  This album deserves a lot more attention globally than it has been getting, and I'd really like to see it in several end of the year lists, preferably near the top.  I rate this album a damn near perfect score - 98.

Facebook Here.
Bandcamp Here.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Origins of the Heavy Metal Battle Jacket

The front of the battle jacket I recently completed.
At a metal or rock show battle vests and battle jackets are a pretty common site.  They're conversation starters, show pieces, pop art, ways for people to recognize one another, and so on. A battle jacket is a personal statement, depicting bands that are meaningful to the wearer.  Often times, the patches and pins sported on a battle vest or battle jacket will have been collected one at a time, by attending a show of each band represented, and sewn on the vest over the course of months or years.


The back of my recently completed battle jacket.
It seems an odd thing, metal heads who listen to the likes of Cannibal Corpse or Amon Amarth, Sleep or High On Fire, sitting around at a festival with a beer,  needle and thread during their down time, sewing their latest additions to their collection on their battle vest, but certain enough, this is not an uncommon site.

But that is just one way to assemble a collection of patches to make a battle jacket or battle vest.  With the internet available these days there are a number of online outlets, eBay, Facebook patch and Battle vest groups, etc. where a metal head can find a wide variety of patches and pins, including vintage '80s patches and band buttons.

But where did these heavy metal staples get their beginnings?  What are the origins of the common battle jacket?

The battle jacket actually got its start during, as one might expect due to the term "Battle," conflict between nations, specifically, during the years of World War II.

Air Force corpsmen would decorate their leather flight jackets with the insignia of their squadron.  They would include the number kills they were responsible for so they could have bragging rights, sexy women in various stages of undress were commonly depicted as well.  As the war went one, they added to their jackets items including pop culture icons such as Bug Bunny, Donald Duck and others.

Upon the war ending, these fly boys found themselves at home with nothing to do and many of them took up riding motorcycles for adventure.  In the meantime, they had discovered that the paint had flaked off their leather jackets and that it was much easier to sew patches onto denim, and that denim also would protect them while riding their motorcycles, so many riders switched over to denim for their club battle jackets.

As the 60's arrived there were two prevailing groups that lent themselves to the development of the battle jacket.  Both groups, the 60's gangsters and Woodstock era hippies, were dedicated to free self expression, rebelliousness, defying the norms and generally being a nuisance to the establishment.

These two outfits sort of merged with the rolling over of the calendar into the 70's.  Rock (now days referred to as classic rock) punk and heavy metal, arrived on the scene as if out of nowhere.  Band fashion was copied by the fans.

The punks were the first to incorporate customized jackets into their look, adding metal spikes to their jackets, something the heavy metal crowd would later adopt.

Perhaps the two men most responsible for influencing the leather and denim look among metal heads are Judas Priest's Rob Halford, and Motörhead's Lemmy Kilminster.  Halford is an aficionado of the leather and spikes look, while Lemmy was always seen wearing denim.

A battle jacket is a deeply personal thing and making one can be a rewarding experience.  Is it time for you to start collecting patches and look for the right piece of denim or leather, to start your jacket or vest.  I was 45 before I began my first one, pictured at the top of the page, sleeves at the bottom.

























Editor's Note: Most of these photos were taken as the result of random searches of the net.  If you see one and know the owner or are the owner please feel free to message me for photo credit or to have it removed.


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Green Lung's Woodland Rites early favorite for Album of the Year


South London's Green Lung dropped an album perhaps destined to be named Album Of the Year on at least a few lists back on March 20th.  Impressively, Woodland Rites debuted at number one in that month's Doom Chart poll and perhaps more impressively, the album has lingered in the countdown ever since, holding down the number 22 position after the June balloting was over and done with.

The band had released the Free the Witch EP in February of 2018 as a four piece and the Green Man Rising demo in June of 2017 before that.  It was the addition of organist John Wright to the existing chemistry of Tom Templar (vox), Scott Black (guitar), Andrew Cave (bass), and Matt Wiseman (drums) that gave Green Lung that extra kick on Woodland Rites that was missing on the previous two releases.

The album has received universal praise from sources such as The Obelisk, The Guardian, Doomed and Stoned, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, and the list of doom media outlets singing the album's praises just goes on and on.  Add to it I Talk To Planets as it is most assuredly among a small handful of albums that are currently in the running to be named our Album of the Year as we reach 2019's midway point.

From the moment the needle drops on the opening track,"Initiation," and you hear the sounds of bird calls, soon joined by a gentle acoustic guitar strumming before the band cuts loose and lets you know this is going to be a heavy release, with Sabbathian overtones and plenty of witchery afoot.  Of course images from the film Wicker Man instantly rushed to the forefront of my mind.  It was my entry point into this genre all those years ago.

The songs on side one get progressively longer as the record goes on, "Initiation" at 2:33, "Woodland Rites" at 4:33, "Let the Devil In" checking in at an even five minutes and "The Ritual Tree" at 6:48.  It's my view that Green Lung is at its absolute best on the longer jams.  "The Ritual Tree," "May Queen," and "Into the Wild," all 6:41 or longer, are the strongest entries on the record, in my mind at least.

So, what can I say about the music itself that hasn't already been said?  It's riff driven drugged out doom, steeped in the occult, chock full of towering solos, a deep low end, and a smattering of samples thrown in for good measure.  You can practically smell the pine needles and feel the candle wax dripping as a druidic ritual is carried out deep in the forest.

It's good clean fun if your idea of good clean fun involves a ritual sacrifice, a bacchanal, and Green Lung center stage blaring out tracks from Woodland Rites as the evening's main event. Turn that shit up to 11 and tear off the knob! 100!

Bandcamp. Here.
Facebook. Here.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

AC/DC, how do the two eras of the band stack up against one another?

Brian Johnson (left) and Bon Scott (right).
I know this is mainly a stoner rock page, but every now and then I like to write about something else rock and roll related and today and I'm rating the two eras of the rock group AC/DC, and comparing what I think are the band's best 25 songs from each era of the group, Bon Scott's era fronting the band and since Brian Johnson took over vocal duties, screw Axl and his 15 minutes of fame, especially considering he didn't record with the band, thank god!

So, let's begin.

25.
Bon Scott - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Brian Johnson - Thunderstruck (The Razor's Edge, 1990)

24.
Bon Scott - Touch Too Much (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Cover You in Oil (Ballbreaker, 1995)

23.
Bon Scott - Big Balls (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Brian Johnson - Rock N Roll Train (Black Ice, 2008)

22.
Bon Scott - The Jack (High Voltage, 1976)
Brian Johnson - Rock Your Heart Out (The Razor's Edge, 1990)
               
21.
Bon Scott - T.N.T. (High Voltage, 1976)*
Brian Johnson - Danger (Fly On The Wall, 1985)

20.
Bon Scott - Rocker (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Brian Johnson - Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution (Back In Black, 1980)

19.
Bon Scott - Jailbreak (74' Jailbreak, 1984)
Brain Johnson - Are You Ready (The Razor's Edge, 1990)

18.
Bon Scott - Girl's Got Rhythm (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Play Ball (Rock or Bust, 2014)

17.
Bon Scott - Shot Down in Flames (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Shoot to Thrill (Back in Back, 1980)

16.
Bon Scott - Squealer (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Brian Johnson - Sink the Pink (Fly On The Wall, 1985)

15.
Bon Scott - Highway to Hell (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Moneytalks (The Razor's Edge, 1990)

14.
Bon Scott - Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (Let There Be Rock, 1977)
Brian Johnson - Big Guns (The Last Action Hero Soundtrack, 1993)

13.
Bon Scott - Go Down (Let There Be Rock, 1977)
Brian Johnson - Shake Your Foundations (Fly On The Wall, 1985)

12.
Bon Scott - If You Want Blood (You've Got It) (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Playing With Girls (Fly on the Wall, 1985)

11.
Bon Scott - Love at First Feel (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Brian Johnson -Stiff Upper Lip (Stiff Upper Lip, 2000)

10.
Bon Scott - Whole Lotta Rosie (Let There Be Rock, 1977)
Brian Johnson - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) (For Those About To Rock, 1981)

9.
Bon Scott - It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) (High Voltage, 1976)*
Brian Johnson - Heatseeker (Blow Up Your Video, 1988)

8.
Bon Scott - What's Next to the Moon (Powerage, 1978)
Brian Johnson - Flick Of the Switch (Flick Of the Switch, 1983)

7.
Bon Scott - Ride On (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, 1976)
Brian Johnson - Evil Walks (For Those About To Rock, 1981)

6.
Bon Scott - Rock 'n' Roll Damnation (Powerage, 1978)
Brian Johnson - Who Made Who (Who Made Who, 1986)

5.
Bon Scott - Nigh Prowler (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Have a Drink On Me (Back In Black, 1980)

4.
Bon Scott - Riff Raff (Powerage, 1978)
Brian Johnson - War Machine (Black Ice, 2008)

3.
Bon Scott - Cold Hearted Man (Powerage#, 1978)
Brian Johnson - Let Me Put My Love Into You (Back In Black, 1980)

2.
Bon Scott - Walk All Over You (Highway to Hell, 1979)
Brian Johnson - Hell's Bells (Back In Black, 1980)

1.
Bon Scott - Let There Be Rock (Let There Be Rock, 1977)
Brian Johnson - Back In Black (Back In Black, 1980)


Okay, it's done.  And YES!  I realize there is a glaring omission.  I'm sick to death of that song so I did not include it, sue me.  You don't like my list, PLEASE, I entreat you, make yours and do it in my comments section and share with me and my readers.


*Originally appeared on an Australian only release.
# European edition only.



Sunday, November 4, 2018

Blood of the Sun smoked my cerebellum

Blood Of The Sun's latest release Blood's Thicker Than Love keep's the intensity comin' from the initial drop of the needle all the way through the final run-out.  While the band didn't lay down as many tracks on this new album, with six, as they did on 2013's Burning On the Wing's of Desire, eight, the run time is extended by three minutes, 38 minutes then vs. 41 minutes now, so we're treated to longer, meatier jams this time out.  And those jams do not disappoint.

The opening track may be the most memorable, simply for it's title and chorus, "Keep the Lemmys Comin'."  Of course, on January 12, 2016, after Ian Fraser Kilmister, or "Lemmy" died on December 28, 2015, Food and Beverage magazine officially named the Jack and Coke "The Lemmy."  This song obviously honors the spirit both literally and sort of piously.  It's a dirge to the shit faced lifestyle:

"I gotta Keep drinking/I can't stop thinking/ready to hit the floor/Keep the the Lemmys Comin' All night long/ ready to lose control."

And the next morning:

"looking in the mirror/nothing seems clearer/what was the name of that girl?/Cutting through the fog/get the hair of the dog/and I'm ready to rock and roll/Keep the Lemmys comin' all day long and I'm ready to lose control"

All set to a blistering guitar and some smokin' keys, played by Dave Gryder, on top of a driving rhythm section.  This is a hell of a lot of fun and it's just the opening track.

Now I've got to admit, the title of the second song didn't catch me, at all... "My Time."  But after about 1:59 I was really starting to get into it.  "If you don't like it hit the road," indeed.  About the three minute mark the guitar just takes over this song completely, and man, I was ever wrong about this one.  Do not judge a song just because it may have a title that doesn't catch your eye.  This guitar solo fucking SMOKES!!!  And the organ does just enough to compliment it.

"Livin' For the Night," an epic eight minute jam is up next.  It's so easy to praise the guitar and organ work on every song, and the vocals, belted out by Sean Vargas, are solid, they're cleanish, gruff, but clean delivery style, the rhythm section kind of gets lost in the shuffle.  But on this tune in particular the bass, handled ably by Roger "Kip" Yma, and drums, played by Henry Vasquez, chug right along at a thunderous pace.  They just lay down such a powerful bottom end you can really feel it in the pit of your stomach with any volume of appreciable levels at all.

The twin guitar attack of Wyatt Burton and Alex Johnson is brutal.  Their playing on the "Air Rises As You Drown" is nothing short of an aural assault.

My favorite vocal on the album belongs to the fifth track, "Stained Glass Window," a tune about a bad relationship.  It also has some of the more unique keyboard work, not necessarily the best, but certainly different than what appears on much of the remainder of the album.  It's got almost a church hymnal like sound, which may be the point.

"Blood Off the Road" closes the album.  I LOVE the keyboard work to open this one. It is reminiscent of Deep Purple and many of their "hard driving tunes."

Basically this album fucking blew me away and I didn't expect that.  I was familiar with Blood of the Sun's body of work and while I had enjoyed it, I was NOT prepared for a slab of rock and roll this smoking hot.  Honestly, released this late in the year, it has to make me re-evaluate my current list of albums I was assembling for my year end Top 25 Releases From 2018, because it may earn a slot.

I rate this album a damn near perfect 95/100. 

An early November release, I certainly look for this one to make next month's Doom Chart.
You can get a copy of Blood of the Sun's new album here.
Blood Of the Sun on Facebook

Friday, November 2, 2018

FINALLY, I saw Monster Magnet Live

Monster Magnet (l to r): Dave Wydorf- guitar, vocals, electronics, Phil
Caivano - guitar, Garrett Sweeney - lead guitar, (Bob Pantella obscured
 - drums), and Chris Kosnik - bass.
After 28 years of fandom I FINALLY was able to see Monster Magnet, my all-time favorite band, perform live last week in Nashville.  My friends, it was every bit worth the wait. 

Dave Wyndorf, who turned 62 this past Sunday, October 28th, looked like he was still in his 30s, dancing around, doing high kicks with bassist Chris Kosnik, and switch from mic, to guitar to electronics with ease all during songs.

The band careened through a dozen tunes over and hour and half set that included a 20 minute encore where the band did an extended jam of "Spine of God" that included a snippet of Don McLean's classic tune "American Pie."  After slowing things down with "Spine" the band blew the roof off the joint when they closed with a rollicking version of "Powertrip."

Since Monster Magnet had not played Nashville dating back to its heyday back in the Powertrip/God Says No era of the group, Dave and company made certain to play a "hits" heavy set list.  While I would have preferred a show teaming with deep cuts myself, I would have been happy with Monster Magnet playing a Chinese menu or the phone book after waiting 28 years to see them live in all honesty.  So I can't complain too much.

The band opened with "Dopes To Infinfity" before dipping into the new material off of the latest release Mindfucker, playing a smoking version of the opeing track "Rocket Freak."  "Twin Earth," the lead single from Superjuedge many moons ago came next, followed by the title cut off the new album.  "Radiation Day" kind of surprised me.  I honestly would have expected "Unbroken (Hotel Baby)" from Monolithic Baby! if any track was going to be played from that album, or possibly "Master of Light" due to its inclusion on the Torque soundtrack, but I digress.

Laura Dolan of Electric Citizen stage right.
"Look to Your Orb For the Warning," a track that appeared in The Matrix and on the official soundtrack for that film, came next.  Then "Dinosaur Vacuum" from Superjudge and then back to the new album again for "When the Hammer Comes Down."  Monster Magnet closed out the main set with its two biggest hits, first off "Negasonic Teenage Warhead," which has become more of a household name among Deadpool moviegoers over the past couple years thanks to the character portrayed by Brianna Hildebrand, followed by the huge sing-a-long hit "Spacelord."

Support came from a local Nashville group, fellow New Jersey act Dark Sky Choir (who frankly slayed the audience) and Electric Citizen (Who I wrote about on this month's Doom Chart.)  Electric Citizen have a new album out called Helltown, and it's pretty damn good, so check it out here.