Loudwire.com 1994 Metal Album Of The Year—-Pantera / Far Beyond Driven

Far Beyond Driven [Explicit]

Far Beyond Driven is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Pantera, released on March 22, 1994 by EastWest Records. The album is Pantera’s fastest-selling album. The album peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Also, the album was certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Far Beyond Driven is the first album by Pantera where the band’s guitarist Darrell Abbott is credited as “Dimebag Darrell”, having changed his nickname from “Diamond Darrell” soon after Vulgar Display of Power was released. The Japanese and the Driven Downunder Tour ’94 Souvenir Collection editions contain a bonus thirteenth track, “The Badge”, a Poison Idea cover. This cover was also featured on The Crow soundtrack.

The Analysis—-

Strength Beyond Strength—-From the very second you hit play. you are pummeled by not only an aggressive vocal…but the band…seems so much larger and filled with an urgency that literally leaves you collapsed on the floor. Anselmo sounds possessed with his vocal….out of control and mad as hell. The energy is incredible….and scary!

Becoming—-Seeming to meld from one track right to the other, Anselmo sounds a bit more grounded with his vocal on this track. The vocal comes at you from every direction….sometimes pleasant as hell….other times seeming to be possessed by some demon we are not privy to. The band is so well in tune….it literally wraps itself around the vocal…fitting right in with the aggressive vocal.

5 Minutes Alone—-Never giving you a second to catch your breath. the band literally leaps from one song right into the other. Phil comes forward with his vocal…deep and smacking you right up side the head with a venom and anger that you can’t run from. The yells sometimes seem to come right from the center of his being…..just incredible.

I’m Broken—-Huge, fantastic power chords introduce the track. The drums are just incredible. Phil has a bit of a double track vocal…it gives the song a very full feel…but wonder how it played live. The vocal delivery is just incredible…full of venom and anger…desperation and a slight pleading underneath it all. This is heavy…intense and full of a darkness even the bright guitars can’t escape from.

Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills—-What an incredible bass line intro!!!! And the effects of the song leave you a bit off kilter and wondering what the hell is going on. The vocal enters with a spoken word filth that leaves you a bit removed from the intensity of the previous tracks. This is a literal noise fest that i really never gelled with.This is just pure noise with no structure.

Hard lines, Sunken Cheeks—-Again. a nice fuzzy bass line introduces the song but is joined by the brightness of the guitars. The drums are smack in the center of your forehead as the plodding intro seems to last forever. Then Phil burst forward spitting lines after lines of venom. The drums remain right there though…so in your face you almost get whiplash. I can take or leave the vocal…but the band and their performance…..is on point!

Slaughtered—-Huge blasts of guitars serve as the introduction to this track. Anselmo, again delivers a vocal that differs so little from other songs it all begins to sound the same. It is the magic that the band has that makes this listenable for me. The drums are stellar…the guitars come at you like machine guns. The voice is just fuzz in the whole affair…..I have never heard the band sound better.

25 Years—-Clearer and with a friendlier sound at the onset of the song, the band is in such great form…right sown to the cow bell in the back drop of the song. When the deep bass elements of the song come into play it is like listening to early Sabbath on speed. The noise and the wall of sound wraps around your head and just squeezes. This is fantastic.

Shedding Skin—-Again with the incredible drum and bass line at the onset of the track. Everything seems to fall away to introduce an odd vocal beginning…but the band comes back alive…as dos the vocal. Lines seem to overlap lines….and the song is really one of the most accessible tracks on this release…aggressive but rather listenable…giving some substance and showing how ell practiced the band is.

Use My Third Arm—-Really aggressive….both lyrically and vocally…the bass line is played so incredibly fast and the drums come at you right out of the best Death bands. The vocal…I can take or leave…Phil wears me out after awhile…not like many of the Hardcore bands I like. There is just so little variance in his delivery…it is like one huge long song from him. it is the mastery of the band that makes this release tolerable for me….these are great musicians.

Throes Of Rejection—-The rhythm section leads the song off right from the very onset……giving everything a dark and ominous tone. Even the strong clear lines of guitars never take away from the deeper tones of the song. The band is literally magnificent on this release…Phil just seems to appear and scream for the most part. I could listen to a instrumental version of this release forever.

Planet Caravan—-Delivered with a musical finesse that leaves me in awe, even the vocal is rather acceptable. I’m amazed at this cover…one of the best I have heard. This closing track leaves me with a much better taste in my mouth than did most of the release. It just seemed to me…that most of this recording found Phil out of control…the band was tight as hell…but he was everywhere else.

***3/4 out of 5





Loudwire.com 1993 Metal Album Of The Year—-Type O Negative / Bloody Kisses


Bloody Kisses

Type O Negative was an American gothic metal band formed in Brooklyn, New York City in 1989, by Peter Steele (bass, vocals), Kenny Hickey (guitar, vocals), Josh Silver (keyboards), and Sal Abruscato (drums), who was later replaced by Johnny Kelly. Their lyrical emphasis on themes of romance, depression, and death resulted in the nickname “The Drab Four”(in homage to The Beatles‘ “Fab Four” moniker). The band went Platinum with 1993’s Bloody Kisses, and Gold with 1996’s October Rust, and gained a fanbase through seven studio albums, two best-of compilations, and concert DVDs.

On April 14, 2010, lead vocalist, bassist, and principal songwriter Peter Steele died, reportedly from heart failure brought on by an aortic aneurysm. Members Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly stated in a November 2010 interview with French music magazine Rock Hard that the band would not continue.

Bloody Kisses is the third album by the American band Type O Negative. It is also the last recording to feature the band’s original line-up, as drummer Sal Abruscato would leave Type O Negative in late 1993. The album further established Type O Negative motifs, such as including cover songs restylized into gloomy gothic metal, sample-heavy soundscapes in between songs, and dry, satirical humor. This album includes a cover of the Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze“.

Bloody Kisses was the first album on Roadrunner Records to achieve gold and platinum certification.

The Analysis—-

Machine Screw—-As with most Type O releases, the slight intro is one of sardonic humor and noise. Being a late bloomer to this band, I was fortunate enough to become a hardcore fan and witnessed Peter and Co. live just before his death. And we move onward to….

Christian Woman—-That trademark baritone of Steele’s ushers in the track with a spoken word that opens up with a wispy and eerie vocal before the band and the song kick into gear with a damn pleasant song. Not too heavy and not too sweet…but full of darkness and deep tones. I love the way Peter sings….still one of my favorite tracks, this is the band at top notch.The end of the track is both beautiful and dark with vivid lyrics and a delivery from Pete vocally that is fantastic…..he could sing really well when he wanted to.

Black No. 1 [Little Miss Scare-All]—-Perhaps one of the best known Type O Negative tracks in their career, the deep and plodding sound of the music sets you up for the deep baritone vocal that seems to wrap right around the music. This version…a bit different….is full of mood swings and some really nice guitars. When Pete really begins to deliver his vocal you realize this really is premier Goth Metal. Masterfully delivered with humor, darkness and a slight brutality.And a chorus for the ages!!!

Fay Wray Come Out And Play—-This brief interlude…filled with humorous effects and plain noise is typical of the band and their sense of humor. Eat em’ up…..

Kill All The White People—-Kicking off with a fuzziness, the song is as much Punk rock as it is Heavy Metal. Speedy with a distorted feel even to the vocal, this is dark humor at it’s best…as only this band could do. The mood shifts in the song are incredible…becoming clear and then dissolving back into mayhem. Classic.

Summer Breeze—-Perhaps one of my favorite tracks from the band….just simply because they could take such a smooth and pleasant song and add the touches to make it a dark and depressing journey through summer happiness. This is the band at their best…filled with a sense of humor, a unique point of view and a wonderfully musical delivery. Only Pete could sound so depressed…only a Type O bass line could sound so majestic!

Set Me On Fire—-Melding from the previous track with a precision and seamless melody line, this is fantastic. The band delivers an almost 50’s inspired beautiful sound to the song. The drums are outstanding and the harmonies are incredible….Kenny Silvers and his vocal is ON POINT….a high point on the release.

Dark Side Of The Womb—-Another odd interlude….but it is as expected……continuing on to…

We Hate Everyone—-speedy in musical delivery and filled with the back drop of Silvers vocals, Steele actually sings at times on the song all while the drums keep things going until a machine sound filled break brings a halt to the enthusiasm. We are back in deep and dark plodding mode as the track continues…with Pete delivering a vocal hard to even understand. The many moods of the song always keep me interested though…you will never be bored with a Type O release.

Bloody Kisses A Death In The Family]—-Classic Horror organ introduces the song before the sludge of the bass line begins and sends us on yet another slow and plodding sardonic romp through the brain of Peter Steele. The vocal is catchy as hell…you find yourself wrapped around it like a lost lover. There was no band like this at the time….and they continued to deliver this classic sound till the time of Steele’s passing. Just incredible…..there is NOTHING to complain about. That pleading vocal from Steele towards the end…is actually heart-wrenching.

3 O.I.F—-Noisy and odd, what else would you expect from the band….always consistent…..but always full of surprises….this is atmospheric and just plain odd….

Too Late: Frozen—-Another fan favorite that lived well into the career of the band, the guitar squeals and the huge chorus made it ready for audience participation at live shows. The entire band adds to the song….and it is a brighter romp…musically. Lyrically…it still falls well within the realms of the bands concept. This has some really nice bright spots though. a favorite.

Blood & Fire—-Fuzzy and filled with a slight distortion, the track also has some really nice power chord blast that lead into the darker sounds that the band does so well. Pete sings really well on this track…you find yourself loving the melody line of the song. The lyrics…not happy…..by relate able…..we have all been there. This is a beautifully constructed song….backing vocals that fir like a glove…a lead vocal that displays huge emotion and a musical landscape that is as you wish for….consistent.

Can’t Lose You—-Ending the proper release with some nice funeral style bass and what sounds like a sitar, the track leaves us as moody and dark as the intro left us feeling. This is a fantastic listen….a band at the peak of creativity and really filling the glove of who they had set out to be…humorous….dark but quality musicians. This is a fantastic listen.

***** out of 5





Loudwire.com 1992 Metal Album Of The Year—-Pantera / Vulgar Display Of Power

Vulgar Display Of Power [Explicit]

Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers – drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell – along with vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing the original unofficial bass guitarist Tommy D. Bradford. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. With its fifth album, 1990’s Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced a groove metal sound. Pantera’s sixth album, 1992’s Vulgar Display of Power, exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

Tensions began to surface among the band members when Anselmo became addicted to heroin in 1995; he almost died from an overdose in 1996. These tensions resulted in the recording sessions for The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) being held separately. The ongoing tension lasted for another seven years, during which only one studio album, Reinventing the Steel (2000), was recorded. Pantera went on hiatus in 2001, but was disbanded by the Abbott brothers in 2003 amid communication problems and their conclusion that Anselmo would not return to the band.

The Abbott brothers went on to form Damageplan, while Anselmo continued work on several side projects, including Down in which Rex Brown joined as well. On December 8, 2004, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed on stage by a mentally unstable fan during a Damageplan concert in Columbus, Ohio, permanently ending hopes for a reunion.

Vulgar Display of Power is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Pantera, released on February 25, 1992 through Atco Records. One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power has been described as “one of the defining albums of the groove-metal genre”. Several songs from this release have become some of the band’s best known, such as “Mouth for War“, “A New Level“, “Walk“, “Fucking Hostile”, and “This Love“.

The Analysis—-

Mouth For War—-Musically powerful from the very first note, this release really introduced me to the band the mix of melody and hardcore music it was delivering. Phil sounds literally possessed with his vocal….rising above the power of the band to deliver line after line of lyrics that make you afraid and think at the same time. This was extraordinary to see live…I remember this show well.

A New Level—-Deeper in tone and full of an aggressive bass line, this track is brutal. The sharp blast of guitars are perfectly evened out with the bass line and the drum delivery. Phil delivers a vocal that spits venom and reminds me of Jasta from Hatebreed. The melody of the song is always present though…..giving your head something to groove to.

Walk—-With a remarkable groove from the rhythm section of the band, this was a taste of the hardcore to come in the later 90’s. Phil has such an aggressive voice..it gives the song much more of an edge than the music gives it. He sings with an underlying anger and venom that is incredible. This track makes me feel 10 feet tall.

Fucking Hostile—-Brutal and filled with an undeniable anger from the first notes, Anselmo enters with his vocal and takes things to an even higher level. The music is fast…almost an ode to the Thrash bands that opened doors for this type of harder edged music.  This is incredible…the instrumentation is incredible…the energy palatable and the aggression undeniable.

This Love—-The intro to this song seems shocking after the previous track…..the intricate melody line and the sweet and sincere vocal so different from the earlier songs. The band is so tight…well rehearsed and ready to allow the song to explode at the chorus….this is just fantastic….making me want to shove my hands to the sky and give the finger to everybody that has hurt me.

Rise—-Coming back at a blistering pace with this track, the drums threaten to blow the top of your head off. The steam that is produced by this song fills your entire cerebellum. Phil enters with a vocal that spits anger and venom…disgust and putrid feelings. This is fast….blazing and searing….a true triumph.

No Good [Attack The Radical]—-Almost predictable in sound, the outstanding thing from the very onset of this track are the stellar drums on the song. Phil comes and goes with his vocal…sometimes almost whispering and other times threatening to toss his vocal box on the floor. There is a nice melody line in the chorus…but it disappears as soon as it comes along.

Live In A Hole—-Again, the rhythm section of this band really gives the sound a full body and groove to the music. The drums are so strong….the sharp bass lines are unforgettable. The vocal….strong as always..suffers at this point in the record….sounding to much the same as on every song…there is little variation. I like when the chorus kicks in and there is some variance. I get tired of hearing Phil scream all the time….sorry.

Regular People [Conceit]—-Huge drums open the song along with a fantastic bass line that propels everything to an energetic melody line that runs underneath everything. There is a fantastic rhythmic quality to the song that makes you almost groove along….one of my favorite tracks here…..musically.

By Demons Be Driven—-Blast from every direction swirl around your head as you listen to the opening of this track. The song seems to be layered with aggression at every turn. Phil enters with his vocal and delivers more of the same…I just find his vocal delivery a bit tiring after a bit. I like this…musically it’s stellar….vocally…it’s very repetitive.

Hollow—-Ending the release with a bit of a game changing melody. its nice to hear a variance in the music finally….not only the music…the voice is actually delivered with melody and an actual singing tone. The song is a very big surprise…the melody is outstanding…you never lose the power chords or the drums…but you end on a note that does not leave you as tired as you were at the last song. Well placed and well played.

**** out of 5

Loudwire.com 1991 Metal Album Of The Year—-Metallica / Metallica [The Black Album]


Metallica (commonly known as The Black Album) is the eponymous fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. Released on August 12, 1991 by Elektra Records, it received widespread critical acclaim and became the band’s best-selling album. Metallica produced five singles that are considered to be among the band’s best-known songs, which include “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Wherever I May Roam,” and “Sad but True.” “Don’t Tread on Me” was also issued to rock radio shortly after the album’s release, but the song did not receive a commercial single release. The album marked a change in the band’s sound from the thrash metal style of the previous four albums to a slower one. Metallica promoted the album with a series of tours. In 2003, the album was ranked number 252 on Rolling Stones 500 greatest albums of all time.

The recording of Metallica was troubled, as the band frequently entered conflicts with Bob Rock, the band’s new producer, during production. The album debuted at number one in ten countries and spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200, making it Metallica’s first album to top album charts. By February 2016, the album spent 363 weeks on the Billboard album chart, making it one of the ten longest running discs of all time. Metallica is one of the best-selling albums worldwide, and the best-selling album in the United States since Nielsen SoundScan tracking began. The album was certified 16× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2012, and has sold over sixteen million copies in the United States, the first album in the SoundScan era to do so. Metallica played the album in its entirety during the 2012 European Black Album Tour.

The Analysis—-

Enter Sandman—-By the time this recording was released, Metallica had cemented their selves as a force in the Metal Community. You realize upon the first listen how much more polished the music is here….the band is a tight yet fractured force. James delivers a vocal that is so well produced…always present but never taking away from the music. The drums are smack in your face. This is a song that will never die….and it still plays as well today as it did upon it’s release.

Sad But True—-By this time in their career, Metallica had moved away from the harder edged Thrash that had made them champions of the Metal community. But….evolution is never a bad thing if it is aimed in the right direction such as songs like this. Although slower in pace, the power of the song is palatable. The melody line is incredible and the entire rhythm section drives the track onward. Hetfield delivers a vocal that is so clear and concise….you catch every word and you feel the song in your very core….that is what music is all about.

Holier Than Thou—-Coming back with a more uptempo and brutal track, the band truly shows versatility on this record. The original Thrash elements are all over this song….but the vocal remains strong and understandable to the listener. Lars and his drums are smack in your face…and the message of the song is very relevant to certain politicians right now….today. This is outstanding.

The Unforgiven—-Again, showing talent, versatility, insight and the ability to surprise the listener, this track is a slice of heaven. With a gentle guitar intro, the wall of sound is still thee as the tracks kicks in. again, Hetfield delivers a vocal that is understandable and poignant. This is a favorite of mine…the melodies on the chorus are incredible…the drums very strong but never overpowering. The song moves in and out of moods…keeping the listener entranced by the song. This is extraordinary.

Wherever I May Roam—-Moody and enthralling at the very onset, the song has a dark element that you can’t escape even as it opens up with a wider sound. The almost plodding sound does speed up as the song progresses but you are still left with that somewhat dark and morose feeling. Hetfield’s vocals are so strong on this record…so clear and concise…you can’t help but fall in love with this record. Way too long since I have listened to this.

Don’t Tread On Me—-A huge and powerful track that is again…very relevant in the day and age we live in. Music at times…can be literally timeless. The vocal is outstanding…the blast from the bass guitar and the drums really form the structure of the song. At times the rhythm guitar opens up…but for the most part…this is a deep and dark track.

Through The Never—-Crisper in sound right from the onset, the pace of the song is much faster and hearkens back to the earlier days of the band. Even the bass line seems less pronounced at the beginning. The voice is clear and the drums are incredible. The mood of the song fills me with an energy and vigor…it is an exciting track…full of sonic blasts and sharper guitars.

Nothing Else Matters—-Returning to a stripped down intro and melody filled guitar line, this song is beautiful at the intro…precise and exquisite. Hetfield surprises with a vocal that he actually sings rather than shouting or speaking his way through. A beautiful melody line never leaves the track even when it ramps up in sound. This is the band at it’s creative best. This is a track that will never become old to anyone who loves the band.

Of Wolf And Man—-Huge blasts of guitars and drums shock you as you try to recover from the mellow sounds of the previous track. but the recovery is rapid…this is a powerful track that makes me think of the older days of the band…where the blast of the guitars were sharp and quick. This is an overlooked track…..really a fantastic vocal…drum track and lyrical content.

The God That Failed—-A melody line that will refuse to leave your head, Hetfield again sings more than usual…but yells on occasion as well. The harmonies on this are nice….either band delivered or double tracks…not sure. But the mood and delivery of this track is incredible…you will think about it for a times.

My Friend Of Misery—-Moody and intricate once again, the beginning of the song is loaded with sounds from all directions. The deep tones put you right in the center of the song as the drums crash and the bass line lands in your forehead. James enters with his clear vocal and delivers line after line that is so relatable and sometimes too true. This is a fantastic overlooked track….should have been smack in the middle of the album rather than the end.

The Struggle Within—-Ending the release with a marching snare drum intro, the guitars come at you from a distance and then smack you in the face. Hetfield comes at you with a vocal that is fast and loaded with venom as he chastises you for the person that you are versus the person you want to be. This has been a remarkable revisit to an album not listened to often enough.

***** out of 5




Loudwire.com 1990 Metal Album Of The Year—-Megadeth / Rust In Peace

Rust In Peace

Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine’s dismissal from Metallica. A pioneer of the American thrash metal scene, the band is credited as one of the genre’s “big four” with Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer, responsible for thrash metal’s development and popularization. Megadeth plays in a technical style, featuring fast rhythm sections and complex arrangements. Themes of death, war, politics and religion are prominent in the song lyrics.

In 1985, the band released its debut album on the independent label Combat Records. The album’s moderate commercial success caught the attention of bigger labels, which led to Megadeth signing with Capitol Records. Their first major-label album, Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?, was released in 1986 and influenced the underground metal scene. Despite its prominence in thrash metal, frequent disputes between its members and substance abuse issues brought Megadeth negative publicity during this period.

After the lineup stabilized, the band released a number of platinum-selling albums, including Rust in Peace (1990) and Countdown to Extinction (1992). These albums, along with touring worldwide, helped bring public recognition to Megadeth. The band temporarily disbanded in 2002 when Mustaine suffered an arm injury and re-established in 2004 without bassist Ellefson, who had taken legal action against Mustaine. Ellefson settled with Mustaine out of court and rejoined the group in 2010. Megadeth has hosted its own music festival, Gigantour, several times since mid-2005.

As of 2014, Megadeth had sold 50 million records worldwide, earned platinum certification in the United States for five of its fifteen studio albums, and received twelve Grammy nominations. Megadeth won its first Grammy Award in 2017 for the song “Dystopia” in the Best Metal Performance category. The band’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead, regularly appears on album artwork and, since 2010, in live shows. The group has experienced controversy over its musical approach and lyrics, including canceled concerts and album bans. MTV has refused to play two of the band’s videos that the network considered to condone suicide.

Rust in Peace is the fourth studio album by the American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on September 24, 1990 by Capitol Records. Following the departure of band members Jeff Young and Chuck Behler in 1989, Rust in Peace was the first album to feature guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. Rust in Peace received universal acclaim from fans and critics, and was responsible for bringing Megadeth to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. It has been cited as one of the best thrash metal records of all time by publications such as Decibel and Kerrang!, and listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Grammy Awards.

The Analysis—-

Holy Wars….The Punishment Due—-Great intro blast welcome you the extravagant release from one of the premier Thrash bands in the world. Instrumentally, this is so concise and well played that they might have eclipsed Metallica in technical playing. This is just incredible. Mustaine has a bit of a mellow voice for this genre…which may have been what kept the band in second place. But have no doubt…this is fantastic. Moody…intricate and well played.

Hangar 18—-Somewhat of an odd beginning for me, but this track has resonated with millions and become one of the bands standards at live shows. The drums are very in your face…the leads are fantastic. I wish Mustaine would deliver a bit of a growl with his voice…but the music out does any lack of vocal delivery. I love the technical playing in this band.

Take No Prisoners—-Heavy bass lines and blast of drums smack you in the face as this song begins. The sound….deeper than ordinary almost drowns itself out…but the playing is incredible. Mustaine and the entire band deliver a vocal that is fantastic….sounding a bit manipulated,,,but fitting the instrumentation magically. This track is a journey…different sounds hit you from all directions…this is just fantastic.

Five Magics—-With a long instrumental beginning, I found myself not paying attention as I should have. the band can be too technical and overblown at times. The vocal is nice…but still a bit weak for me…I like it better when on the chorus the entire band joins in and sings along…giving the song a fuller bodied sound.

Poison Was The Cure—-Beginning with a ‘gentler’ tone from the bass line, the track takes a bit to build…making the anticipation a nice quality. The blasts from the leads come at you slowly before building up to a drum that is aggressive and blazing fast. The vocal is fast paced and deeper than normal…exactly what I was needing. This is a great song…perhaps my favorite on this release.

Lucretia—-Building nicely from the previous track, I actually really like the vocal on this song. Much more straight forward Heavy Metal, Mustaine blends in well with the quality of the band in this setting. This is built for him it seems….I love the way he seems to wrap himself in the music…this is fantastic!!!

Tornado Of Souls—-Again, much more straight forward in the musical delivery, this is aggressive but easily listenable. Mustaine hits some nice notes on this song….sounding like a bevy of classic 80’s Metal bands…leaving the heavy Thrash sound behind for a bit. This is really great….I love the music.

Dawn Patrol—-Beginning with a really great HEAVY bass line, the vocal that is delivered at the onset is surprising as hell…sounding evil and with a slight demented sound…the bass line never ceases….delivering and steering the direction of the song while the drums maintain a strong presence in the back drop. Really nice….with an eerie sound and delivery.

Rust In Peace—-Returning to a more straight forward Thrash sound to close out the release, even Mustaine delivers a vocal that is more accessible to me. This reminds me of classic Testament…I love the fact that the higher tones are here…but the deep sound of the song is never lost. This is almost perfect…..the sounds come at you from everywhere.

**** out of 5



Loudwire.com 1989 Metal Album Of The Year—-Morbid Angel / Altars Of Madness

Altars of Madness (Full Dynamic Range Edition)

Morbid Angel is an American death metal band based in Tampa, Florida. The band was one of the original death metal bands signed to Earache Records, and was also influential in the transition of death metal from its thrash metal roots to its current form by incorporating guttural vocals, up-tempo blast beats, atonality in guitar soloing, and dark, chunky, mid-paced rhythms. They have been described as one of “the most influential and emulated bands in death metal”, alongside Cannibal Corpse, and have been cited as an influence by many later bands. They were also the first death metal band to experience mainstream success in connection with being signed to Giant Records in 1992, heavy rotation of their music videos on MTV, and having the music video for the song “God of Emptiness” shown on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head. Their first four albums are considered classics in the genre.

UK music magazine Terrorizer ranked Morbid Angel’s 1989 debut Altars of Madness first in its list “Top 40 greatest death metal albums”. Decibel magazine also rated guitarist Trey Azagthoth as the number one “death metal guitarist ever”. The band’s songs are complex in arrangement, owing to the considerable technical skills of both Azagthoth as well as drummer Pete Sandoval, the latter of whom also played in the grindcore band Terrorizer. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Morbid Angel is the third best-selling death metal band in the United States (after Cannibal Corpse and Deicide up until 2003 with sales of over 445,000), with their third album Covenant being the best-selling death metal album during the beginning of the Soundscan era time with over 150,000 units sold.

Altars of Madness is the debut album of Florida-based death metal band Morbid Angel. Bonus tracks were included on the CD version as well as the remastered 2003 release. These are remixed versions of songs from the album. 2006 saw a dualdisc release with the 2003 remaster on the audio side and Live Madness 89 recorded at Nottingham Rock City on November 14, 1989, on the DVD side.

The cover artwork, by Dan Seagrave, depicts “a flat disk made of a fossil material, that has captured souls”.

The Analysis—-

Immortal Rites—-Really having no exposure to this band, as much as I love Cannibal, I guess I’m  a late bloomer…or a poser…lol. This, upon first listen is a pretty fantastic band. The vocals are not as guttural as many Death bands…you can actually catch some words. The guitar squeals are classic of the Florida scene….they all sound somewhat alike. the lyrical imagery is not as extreme…but it is very listenable. The different moods of the song are great…I can see why this is a ‘classic’.

Suffocation—-Right out of the gate the music smacks you in the face. The pace of the drums are absolutely incredible…..they pummel you right in the forehead. The vocal on this track has more of a dark and evil tone…the lyrics are very dark…as you would expect. What is amazing to me is how tight this band is….well practiced and schooled in the ways of Death Metal.There are great shifts in the music….the bass line appears very heavy at times and then clears for the leads. Remarkable.

Visions From The Dark Side—-Again, there is no time from song to song to give your brain a rest…..you are smacked..literally from the moment the song begins. The melody line that runs underneath this track is just incredible. So far…my favorite track from this release. The leads are a bit fuzzy…the voice not as clear…but the energy and aggression are simply palatable. This is fantastic.

Maze Of Torment—-A great bass ushers in the track……a literal wall of sound as the track progresses with huge power chords and incredible drums. The track kicks into high gear and then ebbs and flows…the noise and aggression is incredible. The vocal enters…..singing so fast you barely catch a word…but it is impossible to not be enthusiastic about the whole damn thing. Amazing. The shifts in the music…..really must take a lot of finesse’….I’m really impressed.

Lords Of All Fevers & Plague—-Right off the bat….you get the same treatment as you have been subjected to. The vocal comes at you so fast, this borders of pure classic Thrash. The drummer on this recording is just incredible…how a human can do that is beyond me…not to mention for an extended amount of time. The guitars are brilliant…..the bass line apparent but never overshadowing the leads.

Chapel Of Ghouls—-With a bit more of a structured sound at the onset of this song, I fall right into the delivery from the music. The chaos gets a bit more extreme as the song continues…the vocal and the lyrics are almost laughable at the attempt to be truly evil…with any band that falls in this genre’….one treads carefully as to how much they buy into. This is still fantastic aggressive music…the break mid song….the downshift of the instrumentation….really shows a lot of talent.

Bleed For The Devil—-Really aggressive from the first notes, the vocal enters rather quickly and full of venom. It is hard to catch the words…but it really is not necessary…the intent and song title are clear. The drums remain just incredible…the lead guitars soar above the bass line…but it is always there smacking you in the face.

Damnation—-The vocal growl that opens up the track in incredible….the music continues to blast your brain right through your ears…but you really never tire of the sameness of the recording. The band plays so tight, I keep shaking my head wondering how long these guys were kicking around practicing before they scored this contract. This is well rehearsed and delivered.

Blasphemy—-What sounds like muted gunshots opens the track and then the music enters to stuff you back into the blender of mayhem. This has an almost sing song vocal delivery that is really accessible…despite the aggression and energy. Really incredible.

Evil Spells—-Ending the release much as it started…unrelenting and full of an aggressive musical attack, the bass line here is just incredible…interrupted only by the classic Death Metal guitar squeals that shock  your ears and make you shake your head in amazement. I can see very clearly why this is considered to be a classic……a fantastic listen.

****1/2 out of 5



Loudwire.com 1988 Metal Album Of The Year—-Queensryche / Operation: Mindcrime

Operation: Mindcrime (Remastered) [Expanded Edition]

Queensrÿche /ˈkwnzrk/ is an American heavy metal band. It formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington out of the local band the Mob. The band has released 14 studio albums, one EP, several DVDs, and continues to tour and record. The original lineup consisted of vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield.

Queensrÿche has sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including over 6 million albums in the United States. The band received worldwide acclaim after the release of their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime, which is often considered one of the greatest heavy metal concept albums of all time. Their follow-up release, Empire, released in 1990, was also very successful and included the hit single “Silent Lucidity“. The band has received three Grammy Award nominations for songs from both albums. In 1998, drummer Rockenfield received an individual Grammy nomination.

In 1997, guitarist and primary songwriter DeGarmo left the band for personal reasons. Over the years, his replacements have been Kelly Gray, Mike Stone, and Parker Lundgren, respectively. Following a highly publicized backstage altercation before a show in São Paulo, Brazil, in April 2012, Tate was fired from the band and replaced with then-Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. In response to his dismissal, Tate and his wife Susan (who served as the band’s manager from 2005–2012) filed a lawsuit in a Washington court, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated. The ruling in the preliminary injunction was that both parties were allowed to use the name Queensrÿche until a court ruling or a settlement decides who gets to use the name. A settlement was reached on April 17, 2014, in which founding members Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson were awarded the rights to the band trademark, continuing to play with the lineup that additionally includes singer La Torre and guitarist Lundgren.

During the time both parties could use the name Queensrÿche, Tate created his own lineup featuring former guitarist Gray and musicians from bands including Blue Öyster Cult, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, AC/DC and Quiet Riot. This version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate released the album Frequency Unknown on 23 April 2013, while Queensrÿche (with La Torre replacing Tate) released their eponymous album on 24 and 25 June 2013 (European and American release date, respectively).[9]Both bands toured in 2013 and 2014.

Operation: Mindcrime is the third studio album by the American progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche, released on May 3, 1988. The album was re-released on May 6, 2003 with two bonus tracks, and in 2006 as a deluxe box set.

A concept album and a rock opera, its story follows Nikki, a recovering drug addict who becomes disillusioned with the corrupt society of his time and reluctantly becomes involved with a revolutionary group as an assassin of political leaders. In January 1989, it ranked at No. 34 on Kerrang! magazine’s “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”.

The album was certified by the RIAA as ‘gold’ a year after its release, and it was certified as ‘platinum’ in 1991. A sequel, Operation: Mindcrime II, was released on April 4, 2006.

The Analysis—-

I Remember Now—-It is quite possible, to listen to this release and not buy into the whole concept…but it is difficult. This interlude sets us up……

Anarchy-X—-Tate, the modern day Roger Waters of the rock world, truly brought this release to life with his over the top ideas and vocals and added effects. There is no doubt though….that this was a band at it’s best moment. The guitar from Chris was phenomenal…..the drums a huge wall of pounding and emotion. tie that all together with the vocals from Tate and you realize this was truly a landmark recording.

Revolution Calling—-The vocal has a dirty quality to it….making you fall right into the story.Tate has so many overlays to his vocal…making the sound of the band literally huge. The drums come at you so strong….and although the songs are important to the story….the arena ready tracks are as acceptable played out of context as any thing in the bands catalog. This is huge and requires a crowd to just lose their mind to.

Operation: Mindcrime—-All of the effects layed out on the release really add to the ebb and the flow as the story progresses. There never is a lack of emotion or power to the delivery of the songs. Tate delivered his baby and it lives in infamy. This is a powerhouse of a song…steeped in classic 80’s style Metal…..huge instrumentation….soaring vocals and an attitude that makes you lose control.

Speak—-Huge guitar from DeGarmo, Tate enters with his vocal and the band takes on that jaunty delivery that it started to establish back in the early days of releases. There is a remarkable energy to this…..making you want to pull your hair out with emotion as the music sinks into you deeper and deeper. This is classic…I miss the energy of THIS version of the band…altogether, they were unstoppable. The vocal here is INCREDIBLE!!!!

Spreading The Disease—-Again, the band delivers that energy that they really started to establish on Rage For Order. The jaunty guitar that evokes energy and conjures up the need for the listener to jump up and down with enthusiasm and excitement. This is the band at the peak of creativity and vision. The drums…..will make your brain explode.

The Mission—-Sometimes….the vocal interludes allow you to realize the age of the record…but at the same time allow you to realize how history tends to be repetitive. Tate delivers a great vocal…allowing a well placed cool down and quiet time before the band becomes alive and delivers another chapter in the story…this is so well out and constructed. I love this record!!!

Suite Sister Mary—-Progressing with the story through brief spoken words, the recording still manages to maintain its energy despite the slower acoustic style interludes and interruptions. Your ears are almost transfixed as the music continues to tell its story. Much like The Wall….this has an entire subtext that you only catch after many listens. Just magical.

The Needle Lies—-Perhaps one of my favorite tracks on this release…it reminds me of the London style music from Rage….which to me was a land mark recording. The energy and the vitriol are incredible. The feeling you get from the music….in conjunction with the dark words creates a literal picture in your brain. This is just fantastic…I’m in love all over again.

Electric Requiem—-A brief respite before….

Breaking The Silence—-Tate is in his best emotive voice on this track…the quivering of his voice apparent as he delivers his emotional tale that propels the story. The energy of the band is incredible…the vocal delivery making the song even larger than thought possible. The sharp guitar bursts and constant high hat taps on the drums make the urgency smack you in the face This is exquisite.

I Don’t Believe In Love—-Songs like this…the down tempo ballad style tracks….helped propel this band to million dollar sales and a career of money. Perhaps tracks like these only added to the demise of the band. The emotional quality is palatable…the musicianship never suffering…but sometimes the bigger the song…the harder the fall.

Waiting For 22—-Filler that is emotive but offering nothing to new for me…I often skip over this and it all works out fine. Although…Tate sounds literally Waters possessed towards the end of this track.

My Empty Room—-Returning to the same melody that plays through much of the album and the concept, this all ties things together in a neat package…such as the concept record is. I like this…but it just seems like a redux of everything that has already been played.

Eyes Of A Stranger—-You can never deny the vocal power that Tate had in his younger days. Having seen him recently…let me assure you….the voice is no longer there. The grandiosity of this excellent song will never again be repeated by him live…..he just can’t do it anymore. This will still live on though….an excellent closer to a fantastic journey.

****3/4 out of 5