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 1986 Metal Album Of The Year—-Metallica / Master Of Puppets

Master Of Puppets

Metallica is an American heavy metal band based in San Rafael, California. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles when vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded to an advertisement posted by drummer Lars Ulrich in a local newspaper. Metallica’s current line-up comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

The band’s fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship placed them as one of the founding “big four” bands of thrash metal, alongside Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. Metallica earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and won critical acclaim with its first four albums; their third album Master of Puppets (1986) was described as one of the most influential and heaviest of thrash metal albums. The band expanded its musical direction and achieved substantial commercial success with its eponymous fifth album Metallica (1991), which resulted in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience. The album was also their first to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, a success that they also achieved on their following five studio albums. In 2000, Metallica joined with other artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material without consent from the band. A settlement was reached and Napster became a pay-to-use service. The release of St. Anger (2003) alienated fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the “steel-sounding” snare drum, and a film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording of St. Anger and the tensions within the band during that time. The band returned to its original musical style with the release of Death Magnetic (2008), and in 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After touring for most of the next eight years, the band followed up with Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016), which demonstrated examples from some of the different musical styles that the band has dabbled in throughout its career.

Metallica has released ten studio albums, four live albums, five extended plays, 26 music videos, and 37 singles. The band has won eight Grammy Awards and six of its albums have consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The band’s eponymous 1991 album has sold over 16 million copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan era. Metallica ranks as one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold over 110 million records worldwide.[1]Metallica has been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone, which ranked them 61st on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[2] As of December 2012, Metallica is the third-best-selling music artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, selling a total of 54.26 million albums in the U.S.[3][4] Metallica collaborated over a long period with producer Bob Rock, who produced four of the band’s studio albums between 1990 and 2003 and served as a temporary bassist during the production of St. Anger. In 2012, Metallica formed the independent record label Blackened Recordings and took full ownership of its albums and videos. The band is currently promoting Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, which was released on November 18, 2016.

Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on March 3, 1986 by Elektra Records. Recorded at the Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the first Metallica album released on a major record label. Master of Puppets was the band’s last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album’s promotional tour. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2003 for shipping six million copies in the United States. The album was eventually certified 6× platinum by Music Canada and gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

Master of Puppets was released to critical acclaim and has been included in several publications’ best album lists. Its driving, virtuosity music, and angry political lyrics drew praise from critics outside the metal community. The album is considered the band’s strongest effort of the period and is one of the most influential heavy metal albums. Critics credit it for consolidating the American thrash metal scene with its atmospheric and meticulously performed songs. Many bands from all genres of heavy metal have covered the album’s songs, including tribute albums. Master of Puppets was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” enough for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the United States Library of Congress in 2016. Only 450 recordings have earned this distinction, with Master of Puppets being the first metal selection.

The Analysis—-

Battery—-You notice right from the first notes, the great production value of this release. The usual muted Thrash sound has been replaced by a full bodied sound that threatens to blow your head off. The breaks and the tempo changes are just incredible. Lars never played the drums better than on this release. Although the vocal falls into the beginning Thrash sound a bit, the full sound of the band over rides the entire thing. The music…dark in content and sound fills you with a jubilant feeling that never grows old. To hear this again…..sparks my enthusiasm and love for this band.

Master Of Puppets—-Full bodied and filled with an energy that makes you almost lose your mind, the bass delivery on the song is as incredible as the drums. Hetfield enters the fray with a vocal that will live on for ever…the urgency to the tone of his voice is so contagious….it makes me think this is more relevant today than it was the day it was released. This is such a fine tuned machine…the production quality…the practice….the ability to transport the studio energy to your head phones…..just remarkable. A true landmark recording.The way the track takes you through so many moods and then re-smacks you in the face……incredible.

Welcome Home [Sanitarium]—-By far, one of my very favorite tracks ever in the history of this iconic band. The moods….and the melody of the song transport me to a place where you actually feel the pain and the desperation…the sadness and the feelings of hopelessness and at the same time irritation at your own inabilities. Hetfield delivers an incredible vocal….and the band never comes close to over riding the emotional qualities of the song. This is an incredible recording.

The Things That Should Not Be—-Deep and brooding at the onset, the track opens up into a heavy dose of Metal at its finest. The peaks and the valleys of the songs construction are incredible. Hetfield sounds so good when he delivers one dark line after the other. The band…showing incredible restraint to allow for the full feel of the song to play out has never sounded better. I wonder how the band would sound now if the Burton tragedy had never occurred. This is a complete and pleasant wall of sound that sounds like it was recorded yesterday.

Disposable Heroes—-Right out of the gate, with the very first note, you are pummeled by the aggressive delivery of the song. This was a huge step up for the Thrash community…and the entire Metal world sat up and paid attention. The wall of sound…coming at you from every direction through the headphones is just incredible. James sound almost possessed as he delivers his vocal…this is dark…..but so intense in bright talent….I can’t believe I have not listened to this in such a long time. That chorus….one for the history books……..never forget.

Leper Messiah—-Although this has never been a favorite track of mine, it can not ever be overlooked in the whole entirety of the release…it fit perfectly in the line of songs that were recorded and released during these sessions. The music is huge and powerful…I just don’t find genuity in the delivery of the vocals or the music…still a triumph.

Orion—-This track…stands up very well with the rest of the material on the release. The brutality of the music is fantastic…but still manages to salvage a melody line that almost seems to seep into your cerebellum and take up residence for a very long time…it all seems to be a long story that I never tire of hearing.

Damage Inc.—-Rounding out this landmark recording with another very favorite track of mine, there is a melody line here that always seems present as well. The buildup to the intro of the song is almost maddening…making me bite my lip with anticipation of what is to come. The ensuing Metal is genuine and fantastic….sharp huge burst of energy and incredible drums like you have never heard…this is aggressive but melodic…powerful but brutal. A true masterpiece.

***** out of 5



Loudwire.com 1985 Metal Album Of The Year—-Exodus / Bonded By Blood

Bonded by Blood

Exodus is an American thrash metal band formed in 1979 in Richmond, California. Spanning a career of 38 years, Exodus has gone through numerous lineup changes, two extended hiatuses, and the deaths of two former band members. Their current lineup consists of vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza, guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus, bass guitarist Jack Gibson and drummer Tom Hunting. Hunting is one of the original members, and departed from Exodus twice, in 1989 and 2004, but rejoined in 2007. Holt joined the band about two years after its formation, and is the only member of Exodus to appear on all their releases.

Since its formation, Exodus has released ten studio albums, two live albums and two compilations. Along with Possessed, Testament, Death Angel, Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Lääz Rockit and Metallica, whose longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett was an original member of Exodus, they are often credited as pioneers of the Bay Area thrash metal scene, and have sold over five million albums worldwide as of 2013.[4] Exodus had particular success in the mid-to-late 1980s with their first three studio albums: Bonded by Blood, Pleasures of the Flesh and Fabulous Disaster. The critical praise given to Fabulous Disaster garnered attention from major labels, including Capitol Records, with whom Exodus had signed in 1989. Exodus released two more studio albums (Impact Is Imminent and Force of Habit) before disbanding in 1994. After temporarily reuniting in 1997–1998, Exodus reformed once again in 2001, and since then, they have released five more studio albums, the most recent being 2014’s Blood In, Blood Out. The band is expected to release their next studio album in late 2017.

Bonded by Blood is the debut studio album by the San Francisco thrash metal band Exodus. Although the album was completed in the summer of 1984, it was not released until 1985 due to issues with Exodus and their record label. It is considered one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time. It is also the only full-length studio album of Exodus to feature Paul Baloff on vocals, though he was also on their 1982 Demo. Baloff was back in Exodus for five years (from 1997 to his death in 2002), and appeared on their 1997 live album Another Lesson in Violence.

In 2008, Exodus re-recorded Bonded by Blood and re-released it as Let There Be Blood, featuring a new line-up of members aside from drummer Tom Hunting and guitarist Gary Holt who played on the original.

The Analysis—-

Bonded By Blood—-Coming out of the fog, the somewhat primitive Thrash Metal kicks in and smacks you in the face. the vocal is interesting….sounding full of tin and lacking any deeper tones. The musicianship is extraordinary. The unrelenting blasts fill me with energy and an almost joy. I love this…reminds me of early Testament.

Exodus—-Delivering much in the same vein as the opener, the voice and the delivery makes you think this could all sound like one long song. I’m not saying it is bad…I love the energy and the shout a long chorus that the song delivers. The music is pushed to the back so much…it amazes me how the vocalist kept his time. I like the range…you get some good screams and yelps…..this is full of vigor!

And Then There Were None—-Beginning with a much clearer guitar sound and direction, the pace of the song is more moderate than previous tracks…this is nice…giving the record some variance. The vocal is fantastic….the entire band joining in on the chorus…making it appear very large. This has definite punk leanings in the delivery…I love this.

A Lesson In Violence—-Nice speaker play introduces the track as the song begins at full throttle and allowing you no time to catch your breath. The pummeling drums are fantastic…this has long been a very favorite track of mine….kind of my introduction to the whole Thrash scene before I became familiar with the band. This is energetic…dark enough for an impressionable listener and fast enough for a short attention span.

Metal Command—-With a nice chugging bass line to kick off the track, the drums are very upfront in the mix. The energy is undeniable…the vocal almost pleads with you to pay attention. I love the higher tone now…it really grows on you as the release continues on. It fits the entire sound damn perfectly. This is brutal….fast and energetic….never giving you a respite.

Piranha—-Again with the phenomenal drum intro….it leads the entire band at a frenetic pace throughout the entire song. The galloping bass line is just incredible. The vocal enters with a nice evil tone that gives you the whip cream on the top if you will. This is classic Thrash…one of the premier bands that started it all.

No Love—-Oddly pretty at the onset, this will take you by surprise. The gentleness is rather shocking after the thrashing you received. But the track does open up and deliver you back to the comfort zone the band set forth. This is fantastic….shows nice diversity and talent. I love the teasing intro…followed by the smack in the face.

Deliver Us To Evil—-No new surprises are delivered with this track….the consistency and the talent are remarkable though. This is exactly what you signed up for when you laid down your cash for this epic release. The vocal has grown on me so much…there is a certain evil quality that matches the music. The drums are just incredible…and the flourishes of the lead guitar are fantastic.

Strike Of the Beast—-The onset of the track almost magically seemed to have a better production quality….but you are returned to what you expect. This is not pretty hair metal or glam rock…this is pure pummeling to your forehead Thrash that still plays so well today…..such an epic release!

**** out of 5




Loudwire.com 1979 Metal Album Of The Year—-Motorhead / Overkill [Bonus Tracks


Motörhead (/ˈmtərhɛd/) were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, who was the sole constant member. The band is often considered a precursor to, or one of the earliest members of, the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and drummers played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of “Fast” Eddie Clarke on lead guitar and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor on drums.

Motörhead released 23 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12 compilation albums, and five EPs over a career spanning 40 years. Usually a power trio, they had particular success in the early 1980s with several successful singles in the UK Top 40 chart. The albums Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, and particularly No Sleep ’til Hammersmith cemented Motörhead’s reputation as a top-tier rock band. The band are ranked number 26 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. As of 2016, they have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, and their fusion of punk rock into the genre helped to pioneer speed metal and thrash metal. Their lyrics typically covered such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and, most famously, gambling.

Although Lemmy has been credited with being part of various musical scenes, thrash metal or speed metal in the main, from the mid 1970s onward, he stated very clearly, when asked the question, that he plays Rock n Roll. He (Lemmy) has said that they had more of an affiliation with Punk Rockers than with the so-called Heavy Metal scene; Motörhead having evolved out of the London mid-1970s Punk era.

Lemmy died on 28 December 2015 after being initially diagnosed with an undisclosed aggressive form of cancer, which was later revealed as prostate cancer, and heart failure, after which drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell both confirmed that Motörhead would not continue as a band.

Overkill is the second studio album by the band Motörhead, released 24 March 1979, on Bronze Records, their first with the label, and it peaked at #24 on the UK charts. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at #46 among the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”.

The Analysis—-

Overkill—-Huge drums introduce the barrage of sound that defined Motorhead. one thing the listener will discern immediately….this is not the pretty, huge Heavy Metal becoming popular at the time. Instead, the pace is faster and trashier…..sounding more punk than metal. A classic album none the less…..I determined Metal could be loud and nasty with these guys. No pretty vocals here….no soaring vocals….this is dirty in your face Metal.

Stay Clean—-Again with the heavy drums, but a deep melody resonates on this track as well. Lemmy actually comes close to singing during this track…rather than shouting his way through the track. The message is clear….and the music is sooty and dirty. I love the underground feel of the whole damn thing. this was the beginning of a really epic career. The music is tight…the drums are incredible…and the bass is smack in your face.

[I Won’tPay Your Price—-Down and dirty and filled with a Birmingham style blues vibe, this is a step away from the faster paced tracks thus far. Lemmy sounds so clear with his vocal…you catch every word. The guitars are epic…with old school style squeals and a definite boogie feel. I rather like this….constructed well and catchy as hell.

I’ll Be Your Sister—-The trademark Motorhead bass kicks off the track and the barrage of noise seems incredible. Lemmy delivers a vocal that is not as forward in the mix as usual….it seems like the guitars are right in your face while the drums pummel you. This also has a slower pace to the music…not quite bluesy….but very accessible.

Capricorn—-Again with the drums……and a spirit of sonic noise opens the track. The guitars are fantastic….Lemmy enters with his vocal….talk singing his way through the track. I don’t hate this song…but it is weak to me….I love the soaring sonic feel of the guitars at times….but I usually skip over this.

No Class—-Returning to fine form, this opens with the trademark fast guitar delivery and the yelps from Lemmy. This is fast and dirty…exactly what you need after the space filled track before. This is almost classic punk in sound. I love the noise the band manages to make. This is fantastic! I love this song….the guitars are so clear and loud at times……venturing off in a full tilt boogie that fits into the middle of the song perfectly.

Damage Case—-Huge right from the first note, this sounds like an extension of the previous track. The contrast between styles on this record was only a promise of the things to come. Sometimes, Motorhead could be a classic punk band….other times they deliver the blues….and then the Thrash…..This is a nice mix of everything.

Tear Ya Down—-Fast and filthy musical delivery….makes you want to jump up and down with exhilaration. The drums are just incredible on this record….never overpowered by the voice or the fantastic guitars. This is bass deep….but the clarity of the lead guitars in the center of the song are always present. Just a huge, fun romp through the underbelly of emerging Metal!

Metropolis—-At the onset, this sounds different…..and as the track progresses you realize it is. This sounds muted and less inspired than most anything on the record. The production is muddled and the sound is too deep. The voice is pushed way back in the mix….this just sounds odd…period. It grows on you as you listen though….

Limb From Limb—-Ending the proper release in full bombastic flavor, the track has that down-tempo bass sound that resonates the blues. Even the leads seem tuned down a bit to get that dirtier and grittier feel. I like this…there is so much going on in the song. The ever present bass….the fantastic drums….the deep leads and the proclamations from Lemmy all create a perfect storm.When the track hits the mid-point and the band lets loose….classic Motorhead!

Bonus Tracks:

Too Late Too Late [B-side Of Overkill]—-A bit of a hollow sound in the production, this is still a really strong track for a B-side. The melody line is fantastic and remains through the entire track. Lemmy sounds excellent…..with a bit of an echo on his vocal making it even larger. A really great song.

Like A Nightmare [B-side Of No Class]—-Beginning deep and with a touch of feedback, this is excellent. Lemmy enters sounding clear and concise with his vocal….not like the later days. The chord changes from the leads give the song a full body sound. This is great for a B-side as well……would have fit perfectly on the proper release.

Louie, Louie—-I can take or leave this….really never cared for the original and this offers nothing new for me. I don’t like this……sorry.

**** out of 5




Motorhead / Bad Magic

Bad Magic

Motörhead (/ˈmtərhɛd/) were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, who was the sole constant member; guitarist and songwriter Larry Wallis; and drummer Lucas Fox. The band is often considered a precursor to, or one of the earliest members of, the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Motörhead released 23 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12 compilation albums, and five EPs over a career spanning 40 years. Usually a power trio, they had particular success in the early 1980s with several successful singles in the UK Top 40 chart. The albums Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, and particularly No Sleep ’til Hammersmith cemented Motörhead’s reputation as a top-tier rock band.[2] The band are ranked number 26 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.[3] As of 2016, they have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, and their fusion of punk rock into the genre helped to pioneer speed metaland thrash metal. Their lyrics typically covered such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, and, most famously, gambling.

Although Lemmy has been credited with being part of various musical scenes, thrash metal or speed metal in the main, from the mid 1970s onward, he stated very clearly, when asked the question, that he plays Rock n Roll. He (Lemmy) has said that they had more of an affiliation with Punk Rockers than with the so-called Heavy Metal scene; Motörhead having evolved out of the London mid-1970s Punk era.

Lemmy died on 28 December 2015 after being initially diagnosed with an undisclosed aggressive form of cancer, which was later revealed as prostate cancer, and heart failure, after which drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell both confirmed that Motörhead would not continue as a band.

Bad Magic is the twenty second and final studio album by the band Motörhead released on 28 August 2015, and is the fifth release under the UDR GmbH / Motörhead Music collaboration of the previous five years.

Due to the death of founder Lemmy Kilmister four months after the album’s release, the band disbanded after 40 years on the road. Surviving members Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell stated to numerous media that the band was finished.

“When the Sky Comes Looking for You” was the only song from this album to be played live, to current knowledge.

The Analysis—-

Victory Or Die—-With the classic sound right from the first moment you hit ‘play’, there is never a mistake when you hear Motorhead. Lemmy sounds remarkably fresh and driven…the words coming at you blazing fast and the music classically fast and aggressive. This is so nice to hear….Lemmy always forsaking his bass guitar to let the lead guitars shine and take you on a nice journey. Fantastic drums and a great vocal.

Thunder & Lightning—-Speed racing through your headphones, this track is true to form and classic in sound. Lemmy sounds a bit hoarse….the rest of the band joining him on the vocal….the sound a bit weak at times…but the constant wall of sound still intact. This is fast…aggressive and tinged with a classic punk sound.

Fire Storm Hotel—-With more of a classic heavy metal sound at the onset of this track, the pace of the song is less punk and more mainstream heavy metal. Lemmy sounds graveled and weathered….but it as you would expect. This is still classic Motorhead…..loud and pounding….and you catch every word from Lemmy. Fantastic! And a great bass solo!!!

Shoot Out All Your Lights—-Huge drums kick off this track and then the speed commences…urging Lemmy to sing as fast as he possibly can. The chorus is a huge band affair….reminding me of the golden era of the band if you will….I’m sure this would have played live incredibly well. This is fantastic. The band is tight as hell…and Lemmy sounds fantastic.

The Devil—-With an odd almost mystical beginning, the chords emerge sounding almost like Motley Crue. Lemmy delivers a vocal that sounds really rough and removed from the actual mix of the music…like everything is pushed to the background. This has a nice bombastic sound…but it is the music that shines versus the voice.

Electricity—-Sounding much crisper and clearer than the previous track, the band is back to full throttle punk/metal. Lemmy sounds refreshed and delivers his vocal with a slight blues tinge that I really like. This has a classic sound all the way through.

Evil Eye—-Drums begin the track, but the entire thing seems to be missing a bit of the vitality and energy that I expected. You have to consider all the health problems Lemmy had been having…and shake your head with amazement that this release was even ever made. The music lacks a certain punch for me…until mid point in the track when the leads take over.

Teach Them How To Bleed—-A huge fantastic bass line and drums from hell begin this track and then we are off and running. It seems to me like some of this release was recorded at different times…the energy seems so different on some tracks than the others. Lemmy sounds clear, concise and driven here rather than muddled and uninspired. This is great!

Till The End—-Slow and melodic with a huge beautifully soaring guitar, I am surprised to hear such an introspective Lemmy. The gravel plays odd at this slower pace…but the song builds to a huge fantastic chorus that gives me chills. This is a ballad I guess, and it is a fantastic one. This is remarkable and full of fore shadowing.

Tell Me Who To Kill—-With a nice lead intro, the mayhem is back in full swing although you notice the vocal seems pushed to the back of the mix again….making it seem thin and weaker than expected. The voice does sound weathered…but you can feel the attitude through your headphones….this is fantastic…huge bass…excellent drums and a melody to die for!

Choking On Your Screams—-Aggressive in sound, but the voice sounds so muted and removed from the track. I’m glad to have this swan song from Lemmy and Co. but the voice sounds tired and ready for a rest. The mood of the song is darker and more slowed down…..sometimes as if Lemmy is reaching for every word. Not a bad track….but sounds rather old and under-produced.

When The Sky Comes Looking For You—-Full ratchet and with a huge melodic guitar line, now Lemmy sounds present and up front the way he deserves to be. I am convinced this album was recorded at different times of Lemmy’s decline. This sounds fresh and driven…exactly how I choose to remember the wonderful enigma called Motorhead.

Sympathy For The Devil—-This is done very well….covered by hundreds of bands, it is hard to do this any different…lol. Lemmy sounds sedate and removed…but the power is there. The instruments are quieter…allowing him to snarl his way through the track. Really nice.

**** out of 5



Metallica / Hardwired…To Self Destruct

Hardwired...To Self-Destruct

Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is the tenth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as a double album on November 18, 2016 by their independent label Blackened Recordings. It is the band’s first studio album in eight years, following Death Magnetic (2008), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in the band’s career. It is also the first studio album by the band not to feature songwriting contributions from Kirk Hammett since he joined the band in 1983.

The Analysis—-

Disc 1:

Hardwired—-Incredible Ulrich drums right off the bat and a thrash styled guitar lets you know that the band is back and better than ever. Hetfield sounds so driven with his vocal…its as good as the old days. The precise breaks and the chord changes are just outstanding. This is a classic song with all the elements we have been missing…..brilliant. The urgency to the vocal delivery is awesome…..can’t wait to see this live!

Atlas, Rise!—-Allowing the bass guitar to serve as the intro for this track, the drums are not far behind. The staccato guitar line adds to the layers of the song.The vocal is slow to enter but is filled with a nice melodic tune rather than just an all out pummel like the previous track. The delivery from Hetfield reminds you of the good old days of the band…when the melody was as important as the thrash. Crisp and clean.Guitar solos and all!

Now That We’re Dead—-Sounding entirely different than the other two tracks, this is a release that keeps you guessing! The intro bass line is huge….the drums adding to the deeper plodding sound. The production is fantastic….not at all muddled despite the bass heavy delivery. The vocal is very slow to enter and has an almost blues tinge to the sound of it. The crisp clear sound lets you catch every word…this track sounds a bit dated…sounding like something from the late 80’s or early 90’s…but it is not bad in the least. I like the variety.

Moth Into Flame—-Returning to that deeper bass driven melody the band is famous for, the prominent bass line almost gallops at the onset of the song. Very Maiden! Hetfield enters with his higher tone vocal that inspires urgency and a driven message. The break in the song has a nice barrage of higher lead guitars and fore front drums. The chorus is damn catchy…with a nice break between lines. This may well classify as a future classic Metallica track.

Dream No More—-Sounding at the onset like a long lost Sabbath track, the higher instrument tones that enter give the song a funeral march feel. The bass guitar kicks in with the huge drums behind it and fills out the entire thing. The vocal when it enters is even Sabbath inspired. The double vocal in higher and lower tones damn near mimics Osbourne in his better days. This is deep, dark and intense. Fantastic!

Halo On Fire—-Crisp and crunchy with a soaring guitar lead intro, this is yet another different sound than previously displayed on the release thus far….for me that is a plus. The track slows and quiets and introduces the perquisite ballad. The vocal from Hetfield barely sounds like himself at the onset. The chorus and the bridge are huge…..creating a memorable track that will play really well live. This is damn near perfect.

Disc 2:

Confusion—-Blasts from the bass furnace kick off the second disc while a guitar melody plays underneath the riff and delivers a wall of sound. The stop…start…stop…start is incredible and speaks well of the talent in this band. The fast paced bass line that runs through the underbelly of the song keeps things dark but melodious. The vocal is a bit odd…sounding somewhat muted and incomplete….but the overall feeling of the track is huge. This is great.

ManUNkind—-Beginning with a gentle almost quiet guitar intro and a underlying bass line, the song slowly erupts into a classic heavy Metallica riff that sounds incredible traveling from headphone to headphone. The lead guitar line is crisp and clean and leads the song more than Hetfield and his bass line. The vocal enters and is so damn pleasing….but there is a remarkable familiarity to this song. Not sure why….but it does not sound entirely new to me.

Here Comes Revenge—-Bass heavy and noisier at the onset, this has a lot going on in the track…but clears way for the prominent sound that most of this release has. Again we get the nice galloping bass line ala Maiden that propels the song….but quiets suddenly to allow for the quieter vocal. I would not call this a ballad…but rather a track with many different moods and textures….sometimes Hetfield bellows….other times he seems to whisper. This is fantastic!

Am I Savage?—-Once again, slowing things down into an almost ballad style, the intro to this song is false as it opens up. the lead guitars soar and the drums sound louder than ever only to be matched stroke for stroke with the bass guitar. this is great….the song once again displaying a slight blues edge that is attributed to the drawn out lead and vocal. Let me also say….Hetfield has not sounded this good in years…like he has been re-invigorated with a new energy…..just what this release needed.

Murder One—-Much in the musical vein as the previous track, this begins slow……explodes and slows again…..taking you through the many moods of the song. Ulrich delivers a stellar drum performance on this track…letting you know he is alive and well behind the kit. Hetfield enters with a slight evil edge to his vocal delivery….and the breaks and mood shifts are all over the place. This is extraordinary. I rather like this song.

Spit Out The Bone—-Ending this release with a 7 minute extravaganza of speed and power riffs, the machine gun blasts from the bass are incredible and super human….aided by the huge drums. This song is by far the fastest and most driven thing on this release and leaves a remarkable taste in your mouth…almost begging for more. Hetfield sings so fast and so driven it is as if he is possessed by some demon. This is a HUGE track….full of everything….trademark bass and drums….clear lead guitars and a vocal for the history books.

***** out of 5