The Jesus And Mary Chain / Damage And Joy

Damage And Joy

The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. After signing to independent label Creation Records, they released their first single “Upside Down” in 1984. Their debut album Psychocandy was released to critical acclaim in 1985 on major label WEA. The band went on to release five more studio albums before disbanding in 1999.

Damage and Joy is the seventh studio album by Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. It was released on 24 March 2017 by ADA and Warner Music Group. It is the group’s first album in 19 years, and marks their first collaboration with producer Youth.

Some of the songs had appeared previously in a different form – “Song For A Secret” and “Amputation” had been released by Jim Reid – the latter as a solo single in 2007 under the title “Dead End Kids”, “Can’t Stop The Rock” was previously released by Jim and William Reid’s sister Linda under the stage name Sister Vanilla, and “The Two Of Us”, “Get On Home” and “Facing Up To The Facts” were previously released in a different form by Freeheat, a band which Jim Reid formed during the band’s hiatus, following the split after the release of the album Munki in 1998.

The Analysis—-

Amputation—-It seems almost impossible that at this point in my life I am privileged to be awarded the release of one more JAMC release. How wonderful to hear the conjoined sounds of the Reid Brothers coming together again…like they had never left me. This is not aggressive as many previous tracks…but the familiarity of it all is remarkable and distinctive. This is brilliant!

War On Peace—-Wonderfully brilliant from the very first strains of the song. This would have fir perfectly on the Stoned And Dethroned release… can almost hear Mazzy singing in the backdrop. This has an underlying fuzziness that is so comforting…and over the top the ageless Reid vocal. This is stark and quite simply beautiful. The end of the song is a triumph as the mayhem threatens you with sounds of days past….but remains remarkably in control.

All Things Pass—-Fuzzy and filled with a nice sense of static, the deep bass line sounds right off of an early New Order release. The melody line enters….masterful drums and that incredible voice follows. The pace of the song is so 80’s inspired and pleasant….I just want to wring my hands with sheer joy. This is a huge, addictive track…..I love this.

Always Sad—-Jingly and remarkable in the ability to sound both new and throwback at the same time. this is so addictive….it will urge you to replay over and over….the female vocal that joins in incredible…..and you will have this is your head for a long time after just one listen. This is straight out of the 90’s Lollapalooza era…….just fuckin; brilliant!!!!

Song For A Secret—-Again…..stepping right off the mood of Stoned And Dethroned, the female vocal sounds just like Mazzy…..making me want to dig that release from the crates for another grand listen. This is so fresh…..yet so retro and familiar…so new….but incredibly comfortable. This is just a truly fantastic record!!!

The Two Of Us—-With a nice feedback filled intro like the old days, the song erupts into an almost sunny feeling track that makes you smile inwardly with the sheer pleasure and pleasantness of the whole damn thing. the constant female vocal that runs through the songs adds so much more depth to the feel of the record. I love this as much as Stoned And Dethroned…this is a brilliant return.

Los Feliz [Blues And Greens]—-Lush and melancholy right from the onset, this track is stripped and bare. Reid enters with his vocal….sounding like a ghost whispering from the dark of feelings never expressed before. The slight jaunt to the guitar gives the song just the right needed touch of life……even riding over the sometimes sarcastic nature of the chorus……just fantastic…….like they were never gone.

Mood Rider—-Dense and layered with a sense of darkness at the onset, the guitar truly enters into the fray and lightens the track a bit. Reid slowly sings with a sadness and the fuzz in the underbelly gives this an almost staid funeral feel to the march of the music. This is just brilliant….my God I love this record!

Presidici [Et Chapaquiditch]—-Addictive and filled with a guitar jangle at the onset, the sunny feel of the song belies the rather dark lyrics that form the track. This is a petty ironic American story from a bunch of Scots….but it is filled with irony and almost gets a grin out of me. The music is so addictive and pleasant…this is so wonderful…..I freak in feel like I’m in heaven!!!

Get On Home—-Again, filled with a sound that is very 90’s Alternative music, you can tell that this has been kicked around for a time. The Reid Brothers seem to have found a sense of humor and a talent for irony….but this is still a great song…..stacks up perfectly with the catalog. Without a doubt……musically the noisiest song on the release thus far.

Facing Up To The Facts—-Magnificent in construction and delivery, the lyrics are fantastic……”I hate my brother and he hates me……that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” Just brilliant…..the Reid Brothers facing up to the facts!!!!

Simian Split—-The oddest musical introduction and the most disturbing lyrics of the record. I understand this is all about irony and sarcasm…..but some things you leave alone. This is my least favorite track on the record….but musically one of the most diverse and experimental.

Black And Blues—-Acoustic in nature and accompanied by a damn pleasant vocal…..again with the female vocal that adds and rounds out the sound so incredibly well. I am hopelessly in love with this record…I can’t describe the joy…elation and pleasure at hearing this……I will return easily over and over and over.

Can’t Stop The Rock—-Rounding out the release without ever losing integrity or grit, this will be a release I re-visit on a regular basis…..filled with memories…a fresh perspective and a vigor that sounds like it was never displaced by anger, I truly hope there is more still to come. A Brilliant Release!!!!

***** out of 5




Depeche Mode / Spirit [Deluxe Edition]

Spirit [Explicit]

Depeche Mode /dˌpɛʃˈmd/ are an English electronic band that formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group consists of founders Dave Gahan (lead vocals, occasional songwriter since 2005), Martin Gore (guitar, keyboards, vocals, main songwriter since 1982), and Andy Fletcher (keyboards, bass guitar). Depeche Mode released their debut album Speak & Spell in 1981, bringing the band onto the British new wave scene. Original band member Vince Clarke (keyboards, guitar, main songwriter from 1980 to 1981), left the band after the release of the album, leaving the band as a trio to record A Broken Frame, released the following year. Gore took over the lead songwriting duties and, later in 1982, Alan Wilder (keyboards, drums, bass guitar, occasional songwriter) officially joined the band to fill Clarke’s spot, establishing a line up that would continue for the next 13 years. Depeche Mode have been a trio again since 1995, when Wilder left.

The band’s last albums of the 1980s, Black Celebration and Music for the Masses, established them as a dominant force on the mainstream electronic music scene. A highlight of this era was the band’s concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, where they drew a crowd in excess of 70,000 people. In the new decade, Depeche Mode released Violator, a mainstream success. The subsequent album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and the supporting Devotional Tour exacerbated tensions within the band to the point where Alan Wilder quit in 1995, leading to intense media and fan speculation that the band would split. Now a trio once again, the band released Ultra in 1997, recorded at the height of Gahan’s near-fatal drug abuse, Gore’s alcoholism and seizures, and Fletcher’s depression. The release of Exciter confirmed Depeche Mode’s willingness to remain together, the subsequent, and very successful, Exciter Tour being their first tour in support of an original album in eight years since the Devotional Tour, although the band had toured in 1998 to support The Singles 86–98 compilation album.

Depeche Mode have had 50 songs in the UK Singles Chart and thirteen top 10 albums in the UK chart; they have sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Spirit is the fourteenth studio album by the English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released on 17 March 2017 through Columbia Records. It was preceded by the single “Where’s the Revolution“.  Spirit is the band’s second album released under Columbia. Depeche Mode recorded it with new producer James Ford.

The Analysis—-

Going Backwards—-With trepidation and excitement, I hit the play button on a long awaited release. The opening strains are very guitar based….little in the way of swirls and synths until the song progresses. Dave Gahan enters with his trademark baritone and gives the song a very bleak feel….aided by the darker than dark lyrics and general lack of optimism. The song speaks vividly to the current times wonderfully well….a nice beginning.

Where’s The Revolution?—-The first proper release from the album, this lead off single is not much brighter in terms of musical landscape or lyrical content. The familiar Depeche Mode synth sounds are here…the gentle ‘creaking’ found in many of their songs. Gahan spreads his words out in long wails……then the song opens up with a huge anthemic chorus that inspires and begs people to pay attention to the things going on around them. This is fantastic…..the train is coming…..get on board!!!

The Worst Crime—-Keyboard based with a gentle and sad vocal at the onset, the musical landscape sounds bleak and naked. The feeling of the song is so stark and lacking any defining synth line…instead the music produces a thick, dark and lonely fog for you to dig your way out of…..not a favorite track…the plodding goes on a bit to long.

Scum—-With a bit of a livelier synth line, Dave enters with a distorted almost Industrial style vocal that is run through a processor. the lyrical content on this entire release is very dark and intense. I wonder who this song could be directed to….this entire album has huge political overtones.

You Move—-Continuing in the same vein as the rest of this release, the strains of this song lack any real musical bright spots…the sound is very layered and dark. The chorus enters and the strains of the synth are a bit livelier…and Gahan has moved into the upper register of his voice….as the track continues it does have bright poppy moments….much needed at this point.

Cover Me—-Filled with a bleak edge to it at the onset, this is airy despite the dark feeling of the lyrics. The synth effects give off a gentle puff of fog as it enters the landscape of the song…Gahan sounds sad and tortured here. The song left me feeling sad and lonely…but somehow hopeful. Really nice.

Eternal—-This comes from the fog with an almost Church like synth line…Gahan sings almost in acapella fashion as the music is so stark and naked. The sadness and intensity of the lyrics and vocals leave me in a less than bright place in my own psyche…Not a favorite track…..a bit too intense.

Poison Heart—-I like this right from the onset…..although the music is full of plodding beats and mundane synth lines, the vocal…delivered at that higher tone gives the song a brighter feel. at some points in the song, the synth lines threaten to become a bit noisy… magical. A really great effort from the Kings Of Gloom!

So Much Love—-Jaunty and noisy, this is a nice surprise right out of the gate, Gahan almost struts with his vocal…I can see him now! This is a fantastic track…I predict this could be the second single. The synth lines are excellent…little blips and beeps appear from nowhere and what sounds like a female vocal on the chorus gives the song a nice body. This is a favorite…really great effort.

Poorman—-This has a nice intro sound that hearkens back to the earlier days of the band. Gahan enters again with a vocal that seem a bit manipulated as do the guitars that are heard. This speaks to poverty…the daily grind of street people and the battles they face on a regular basis. This is social awareness put to music. Brilliant.

No More [This Is The Last Time]—-Although this has a dark tone to it, the airy synth line and the big chorus line gives a remarkable life to the song…this is in contention as another single I think. Gahan sounds rested and in the best voice I have heard him in a very long time. This is a truly brilliant, classic Depeche Mode track,

Fail—-Rounding out the proper release with another stark and almost naked rack, Gahan sings in a pleasant croon that tries to belie the meaning and feel of the song. This is dark and leaves you a bit hopeless….question as you do everyday the meaning of our lives…where we have been and where we might end up, Sometimes the ‘croon’ on the vocal makes me think of classic Bowie.

Cover Me [Alt Out]—-A bit more jaunty and synth laden, this is nice. The blips and the beeps that ride over the top of the foggy synth line are really nice…gives the song a much fuller body than the original. with just wisps of the vocal on the song….this is a phenomenal instrumental journey….EXCELLENT!!!

Scum [Frenetic Mix]—-again, this track becomes much livelier in a remixed form. The synth lines like quick, sharp snaps of a whip at your backside. There are times where everything falls away and the song sounds completely naked…but over-all…I love the sound of this…stark yet powerful.

Poison Heart [Tripped Mix]—-Ominous and dense with toy piano sounds introduce the song….Gahan is back with a vocal on this remix,,,sounding even more manipulated and dense then ever. This is layered with coat after coat of the blackest paint you can find. Not a favorite track…but it is pretty true to form.

Fail [Cinematic Mix]—-Full of static and magnificent darkness, the song has these little slivers of light that magically shine through the trees in the deep woods…giving direction and hope. This is wonderfully thick with sound and reverb. A masterful remix.

So Much Love [Machine Mix]—-Again, a bit of a livelier introduction than the original…the song seems stuck on a never ending loop that takes forever to begin. slowly new sounds and wisps of vocal are introduced…but overall…the song is dense in effects and lacks a true brightness. I don’t hate this…but I would pass over it during a casual listen.

**** out of 5
 2003 Metal Album Of The Year—-Children Of Bodom / Hate Crew Deathroll

Hate Crew Deathroll

Children of Bodom is a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. Formed in 1993, the group currently consists of Alexi Laiho (vocals, lead guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka Seppälä (bass), Jaska Raatikainen (drums) and Daniel Freyberg (rhythm guitar). In total they have released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, two compilation albums and one DVD.

The band’s third studio album, Follow the Reaper, was their first album to receive a Gold certification in Finland, and since then, all seven of the band’s studio albums have acquired the same status. In Finland, Children of Bodom has released three consecutive albums that debuted at number one on Finnish album charts, and has also seen chart positions on the United States Billboard 200.

The band has incorporated many different musical styles, leading critics and fans to label their work as melodic death metal,”extreme power metal“, thrash metalsymphonic black metal, and neoclassical metal. They are one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time with more than 250,000 records sold there alone.

Hate Crew Deathroll is the fourth album by the Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, released in 2003 under the Century Media label. The album is the final one to feature guitarist Alexander Kuoppala. It was successful both in Europe and the USA, which is demonstrated by the appearance of the “Needled 24/7” music video on MTV2‘s Headbangers Ball. “Needled 24/7” also featured on the heavy metal documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and the 2012 horror comedy video game Lollipop Chainsaw.

The Analysis—-

Needled 24/7—-Huge and blistering from the very first note, the sway back and forth of the guitar is incredible. The Speed of the onslaught makes me smile inwardly……I needed to hear this today…..the melody line that runs underneath the chaos shows a well constructed song. The vocal is not as extreme as on later releases…but the power and the brutality are in full effect. This is a huge track…loaded with the best of everything.

Sixpounder—-Walls of bass smack you right upside the head as this all begins. There is the vocal I was speaking of….brutal and literally seeping with a venom that makes your ears bleed. The aggression is huge….the bass that drives the song is incredible….but there is that magic melody line that gives everything a structure. This is extreme…in a most fantastic way!

Chokehold [Cocked N’ Loaded]—-With a nice build up to the mayhem, the song has a galloping feel that makes me feel right at home. The vocal comes at you hard…spitting right in your face with a nice mix of clean and guttural voices. This is fantastic….the entire band adds to the chorus….making it larger than life and giving it much more body. Extreme…….and fantastic!

Bodom Beach Terror—-Nice drums and sharp blast of guitars welcome you into the pit as this song takes you on a journey that travels 1000 miles an hour. Never losing the brutal feel of the music nor the structure of the melody line, the talent was written on the wall even now. This is fantastic….the chorus is built for crowd interaction….and I can feel my enthusiasm rise with every blast.

Angels Don’t Kill—-The intro is scary and sounds like a horror movie come to life…..just brilliant. The deep and dank plodding feel of the music makes the track huge. The vocal has a clarity that surprises me…..the slight guitar squeals a promise of things the band would deliver with later releases. This is a fantastic track….full of a foreboding and darkness….but still menacing and intense.

Triple Corpse Hammerblow—-That scream sets the song off to a blistering pace that is fueled by an anger and venom you can’t quite figure out. There are huge blasts…..almost orchestrated and built for audience participation. This is a favorite track of mine…I love the quasi orchestra feel fueled by keyboards…it gives it a huge feel….and the drums……my God….they are blistering.

You’re Better Off Dead—-Deeper in tone and filled with a slight bit of an angrier tone, this is none the less…extreme. The band…sounding so tight…..keeps pace with the vocal rather than vice versa. The lead guitars soar above your head and the entire band joins in on the chorus….built for an audience to lose it’s mind to. This is incredible…powerful….dark and aggressive.

Lil Bloodred Ridin Hood—-With a huge drum intro, we are soon off and running with the pack once again. the bass line and the drums are matched perfectly…while the vocal seems to swim right over all of the aggression with an added layer. This is just too good to be true….have not listened to this in a long time…too long.

Hate Crew Deathroll—-Ending the proper release with the same energy and venom that it began with, you can now pick yourself off the floor and clean up. This was just a promise of the grandiosity to come from the band….but if you need a starter kit…..pick this one!

***** out of 5 2001 Metal Album Of The Year—-Tool / Lateralus


Lateralus (/ˌlætəˈræləs/[2]) is the third studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released on May 15, 2001 through Volcano Entertainment. The album was recorded at Cello Studios in Hollywood and The Hook, Big Empty Space, and The Lodge, in North Hollywood, between October 2000 and January 2001. David Bottrill, who had produced the band’s two previous releases Ænima and Salival, produced the album along with the band. On August 23, 2005, Lateralus was released as a limited edition two-picture-disc vinyl LP in a holographic gatefold package.

The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than 555,200 copies in its first week of release. It was certified double platinum by the RIAA on August 5, 2003. On August 30, 2004, the album was certified silver by the BPI. It was also certified platinum in Australia, and double platinum in Canada. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song “Schism” in 2002. Lateralus was ranked No. 123 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s “Definitive 200” list.

The Analysis—-

The Grudge—-Kicking off the release with a decidedly Prog feel, the bass heavy intro sends swirls of atmosphere around your head. The vocal enters….and then you get sharp bursts of music followed by atmosphere and then more  sharp blasts. The vocal sounds a bit tortured and filled with a desperation and hurt that is almost painful. There are huge epic moments……I like this….but I just have to admit right out…I’ve never been a big fan.

Eon Blue Apocalypse—-Jangly guitar and a instrumental swirl adds to the dankness of the record here. It is short lived and experimental in sound….one of those famed interludes.

The Patient—-There is no other word for this music than experimental and progressive. Everything seems so layered in different sounds and tones… never quite no where the song is going to go. The vocal is classic Alternative in sound….delivered with angst and huge flourishes of expression. I just can’t seem to find any structure to these songs…..there are some brilliant huge elements to the song…which I like. I just wish it all felt like it was meaning something to me personally.

Mantra—-Another odd little interlude that leads us towards…..

Schism—-With what seems to be the centerpiece of this release, the music has little variance from that we have heard thus far. The vocal is much more upfront in the song…with overlays that make it more textured and layered. The whole thing just takes so long to really get started and formulate for me. I don’t hate this…but I will say….Tool has never produced a song I’m in love with. Just not my band I guess….and that is why we are all different.

Parabol—-Odd at the onset and full of desolate sounds and vocals, this is rather haunting and pretty at times. I can tap into the emotional quality of the vocal and the stripped bare instrumentation….but I keep waiting for something more….but I can’t find it. Perhaps I lack taste….lol

Parabola—-And finally the song becomes alive with this built in sequel to the monotony of the previous track. This has a magic melody line that sucked me in right away…I actually rather like this….it has powerful guitars…incredible drums and still maintains the tortured vocal of the previous track. Really nice!

Ticks And Leeches—-A huge drum intro……building and building….filling me with the promise of something grand to become of all of this. The guitars are interesting and then the drums seem to explode…leading you into a journey of a vocal I have never heard from this band. this is pretty stellar…who knew Maynard had it in him to scream like that and deliver lines full of such venom. Pretty good second half of the release for me…I rather like this.

Lateralus—-Returning to the more familiar experimental sounds of earlier tracks, this song seems to take a lifetime to formulate any kind of clear direction. Suddenly huge guitars blast you and you find yourself back in a comfortable range. The vocal comes on the stage….sounding nothing like the last few tracks…..we are again sitting in Alternative-Progressive slop. This is not a favorite……there are high points….but the whole thing is too damn moody for me.

Disposition—-Sounding, at the onset, like everything else mundane on this record. Where is the energy and the vigor…this is all to flat for me…..the guitars are forever and a lifetime to get going….the drums are nowhere…the odd instrumentation rubbing on my cerebellum like a cheese grater. Please…….enough already.

Reflection—-I literally feel empty and without inspiration at this point……there is nothing here that comes close to appealing to me. I could not imagine sitting through an entire concert of this. Really…..and people simply adore this band.

Triad—-Coming back with a bit of steam after the tedious feel of the last few tracks, I still find a lack of inspiration and direction. This is just experimental noise that does nothing for me.

Faalp De Oiad—-I’m done!

**1/2 out of 5 1995 Metal Album Of The Year—-At The Gates / Slaughter Of The Soul

Slaughter of the Soul

At the Gates is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. They are a major progenitor of the Gothenburg sound. At the Gates were initially active from 1990 to 1996. In 2007, the band announced a limited reunion tour between April and September of 2008. However, they reformed for a second time in 2011, and have since continued to perform live. The band released At War with Reality, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014.

Slaughter of the Soul is the fourth studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band At the Gates, released on November 14, 1995. It was their last album before their eleven-year breakup from 1996 to 2007. Slaughter of the Soul is considered a landmark in melodic death metal and played a major role in popularizing the Gothenburg scene, alongside The Jester Race by In Flames and The Gallery by Dark Tranquillity. The album was recorded and mixed in Studio Fredman, early 1995.

Andy LaRocque‘s neo-classical guest solo on “Cold” was widely acclaimed as one of the greatest metal solos and guitarist Anders Björler admitted in 2007 that he still couldn’t play it properly.

“Blinded by Fear” was covered by The Haunted (composed largely of ex-At The Gates members) on their Japanese version of their live/double disc album, Live Rounds in Tokyo and was also covered by Fleshgod Apocalypse on their Mafia EP. The song also appeared in the game Rock Band 2 as downloadable content.

The Analysis—-

Blinded By Fear—-Dark and foreboding at best on the onset, the music soon begins and the technicality of the whole thing is immediate. The vocal is as you would expect…forceful…full of gravel and delivered at a blistering pace. The drums…outstanding, are very in your face…but it will be be the guitars..with the soaring melody lines that you notice right from the onset. Well constructed and very listenable.

Slaughter Of The Soul—-Seeming to meld from the previous song, you have no time to catch your breath before the speed of the music wipes you on the floor. The voice is abrasive but not as bad as some of the bands I have come to adore. The guitars are so clear…the rhythm section very pronounced. This is excellent.The mid point of the song…..the guitars seem to literally levitate above your head…..

Cold—-Beginning with a wall of bass guitar, the mayhem soon commences with an outstanding ascending guitar line that forms the melody line of the song. The bass line that begins the song…remains clear throughout the entirety. The voice is removed a bit from the track…the music is the star of the show…this is exquisite…you can hear the technical elements of the band all over…from the breaks, the tempo changes and the masterful upswing again…this is incredible.

Under A Serpent Sun—-Again. we are off and running right from the very first note of the song. The guitars form a melody line that you actually find your ears tuning into and drowning out the death screams of the vocalist. The soaring tones….the temp changes….the rhythm section that is so present…have made for a landmark recording.

Into The Dead Sky—-Beginning with a beautifully constructed acoustic guitar, the intricate melody that opens up and adds a bass line is exquisite. The vocal enters with a eerie whisper that runs underneath of the beautiful music….giving everything a ‘dark around the edges’ feel. This is incredible and a really nice surprise.

Suicide Nation—-Leaving the dark beauty behind and digging back in the trenches for mud to sling at your head, the mayhem picks up from where it left off. The vocal is fast…spitting at your face with a disgust and venom. The music is fast…with a heavy bass melody line. This is fantastic. Very dark with a disturbing lyric….but still fantastic.

World Of Lies—-Huge walls of aggressive bass kick off the song…the drums are really prominent and excellent. The groove that is produced is soon interrupted as the song dissolves into a huge mess of sound that comes at you from all directions. But the construction is very technical and in good form. This is not just bashing out a song….there is a lot of thought here. When that galloping bass line kicks in mid song….I can do nothing but shake my head in amazement.One of my favorite tracks on this release.

Unto Others—-Offering what you have come to expect, the death scream at the intro to this track is incredible. The drumming threatens to ruin your life as it pummels right in the center of your forehead. The guitars offer a melody line that magically seems to rise right above all the noise and mayhem. This is the most organized chaos I have ever heard. The acoustic break that magically appears in the middle of the song will leave you shaking your head in amazement.

Nausea—-Another death scream and we are off and running at an incredible pace. The band seems to almost leave the vocal behind….but there it is again….that magical melody line that appears…disappears but magically leads the song in the direction it is going. The bass takes over….falls away and you are right back to the technical melody that soars clear above your head and keeps you from sinking into the black water. Amazing.

Need—-Not to much new at the onset of the track….the established and trademark sound of the band is now permanently tattooed in your frontal lobe. The vocal….becomes tiresome at points… is only the magical mastery of the music that makes you crave more from the band. This is ground breaking.

The Flames Of The End—-Ending the release with atmosphere and a surprise intro, the band again shows its talent and versatility with a slow and melodic intro that leads you down a scary path into a darkness you are not sure of. The blasts of guitars that appear and disappear are monstrous and then gone….here and then there. This is stellar. The tone of the song…so dark and eerie. Not a single word was uttered with this final song…but it pt you right where the album wanted you to be.

****3/4 out of 5
 1981 Metal Album Of The Year—-Ozzy Osbourne / Diary Of A Madman


Diary Of A Madman

Diary of a Madman is the second solo studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. It was released on 7 November 1981, and re-issued on CD on 22 August 1995. This is the last Osbourne studio album to feature guitarist Randy Rhoads and drummer Lee Kerslake. An altered version appeared in 2002 with the original bass and drum parts removed and re-recorded. In 2011, a Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition was released with all original parts restored. To date, the album has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.

The Analysis—-

Flying High Again—-This second solo outing from Osbourne finds him in great voice and backed by a stellar band…perhaps classic is the best word. The feel of the music…helped usher in the hair Metal feel of the later 80’s. The slight vocal manipulations make the vocal seem so strong…..but it is the guitar delivery from Rhoads that defines the release. This is a classic and enduring track.

You Can’t Kill Rock And Roll—-Wonderful and beautiful guitar chords usher in this track….classic in sound and filled with the quintessential sounds of the 80’s. Soaring guitars and classic melancholy vocals….amped up mid stream with huge electricity and power riffs. this is a fantastic track….I love the sentiment and the mood of the song, This is fantastic.

Believer—-A great Sabbath style bass line introduces the track that seems to evaporate into a pile of momentary noise before the clarity of the guitar clears things up a bit. Osbourne delivers a vocal and mood that would have fit perfectly on any Sabbath record…this is a kind of odd track…all the sound effects in the production take away from the potential power of the song.

Little Dolls—-A great drum intro ushers in more classic sounding metal that defined the 80’s. Osbourne sounds in such great voice…the overlays on his vocal give the tone an almost menacing tone. This is a great song I never paid much attention to. the guitars and the slight squeals that are produced are fantastic. The double tracked vocal is awesome…..great track.

Tonight—-Returning to full on ballad mode, the intricate guitars are fantastic. Osbourne sings with an expressive quality that sucks you in and makes you feel the words. The bridge/chorus is a huge affair that is just classic ballad Metal. This is really nice….Ozzy at his best.

S.A.T.O.—-Full throttle Metal that really does not fit the entire meaning of the song….the initials standing for Satan Always Takes Over…..the track is not nearly as menacing or evil. This is blistering if only for the great guitar work from Rhoads…..who seems to make the guitar sounds literally soar above your head and take flight. This is fantastic….instrumentally and vocally…lyrically it falls a bit short.

Diary Of A Madman—-Again with the quiet and genial guitar intro, this release is a lot of promise but takes a bit to get used to. When the guitars really kick in on this track I am hopeful…but the electricity quickly dies away for a more acoustic feel again. Where is the power and the grit??? Where is the Metal. Half of this release is near ballad material. I remain disappointed.

*** out of 5 1980 Metal Album Of The Year—-Black Sabbath / Heaven And Hell

Heaven and Hell (Remastered Edition)

Heaven and Hell is the ninth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on 25 April 1980. It is the first Black Sabbath album to feature vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who replaced original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in 1979.

Produced by Martin Birch, the album was a commercial success, particularly in the United States, where it reached number 28 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified platinum for 1 million sales in the United States alone. In the band’s native country, it sold well enough to be certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry in April 1982.

The Analysis—-

Neon Knights—-Seeming to abandon some of the deep sludge of earlier recordings, Sabbath roared back with Dio on vocals….it is amazing how well his voice fit with the band and how full the sound is from the band. Dio just soars with his vocal…the overlays and tales of dragons and such just seem to be a perfect fit with the band. This is a new and refreshing sound for Sabbath….a true triumph.

Children Of The Sea—-Such a remarkable sound from this band…like the vigor for creativity was regenerated with the new life in the band. this is powerful as hell…and Ronnie delivers a vocal that never grows old. The power of his voice melds with the band like a magic potion. The tales of mysticism and darkness is perfect for Sabbath. This is monumental.

Lady Evil—-A huge drum intro and the almost trademark sound of 80’s Metal ushers in the track. Do begins his tale with mystery and eerie lyrics….much as you would expect. The chord changes in the music are incredible…and the vocal overlays make Dio 8 feet tall. The power in the voice is just incredible and melds with the vibe of the band perfectly. this is a new Sabbath….and i loved it.

Heaven And Hell—-The true centerpiece of the album, you can hear familiar strains of early Sabbath right from the first notes. When Dio begins to sing over the plodding bass line, you are almost transported to a magical mysterious place. That is what music is all about…that feeling you get when you listen to a song….no matter how old it is. This is an epic track. The band created a perfect scene with the music….the voice and the lyrics. This is history.

Wishing Well—-Powerful and classic in sound, the voice is the standout point of this track. the music seems thick and layered…but the production allowed the voice at the very front of the mix and allowed it to override the sometimes chaotic mix of guitars. The drums are incredible…you can feel every hit in your head phones. This is an overlooked track….but it is brilliant.

Die Young—-Just an incredible track…right from the very first notes….the airy and mystical feel of the song is fantastic. The lead guitars seem to literally soar above your head. when the bass line and the drums kick in, the track is off at full tilt. Dio sings so fast…but never looses that feel his voice is able to convey. This track has many moods and shifts….typical Sabbath/Dio…..a brilliant piece of music.

Walk Away—-More in the classic 80’s sounding Metal at the onset, this really does not sound…musically….like Sabbath at all. At times I miss that deep sound that was there in the early days. Dio raises the band to a whole new level though…it is like the fire from his voice steered the band to a crisper and cleaner sound. This is a great song…not the stand out like some…but still holds up well.

Lonely Is The Word—-Blasting from your speakers at full volume, you hate to see this release end. The guitars are incredible….but never come close to overpowering the vocal from Ronnie. The mood shifts and down tempo from the guitars give the song a darker feel. This was incredible to listen to again. a true classic Metal masterpiece.

***** out of 5