THE LORD OF STEEL
I'm sure Manowar had to make this album. I'm sure the Magic Circle of Manowarriors expected it. Just like Kiss keeps putting out records that pander to the "character" the band created, so too does Manowar need to create a record steeped in the tricks and turns of its back catalog.
That's the only reason I can gather that guys looking at 60 are still compelled to write material like this.
To my ears, the band sounds a bit like a middling Scandinavian power metal band bashing out NWOBHM-styled tunes. In theory, that would be great for me, but the band keeps trotting out the same tired ideas, the same riffs, the same choruses, the same Valhalla battles fought over and over since 1982's Battle Hymns.
DARK ROOTS OF EARTH
Without question, Testament is one of my favorite bands of all time. In my mind, they really are yet to do a bad album, even in the wake of health scares, hiatuses and a seemingly endless see of lineup changes. While they have missed the mark on occasion (ELECTRIC CROWN, DEMONIC), their bad albums are still a quality listen! As for their great ones, well they are as good or better than anything in the history of Thrash Metal. A few years ago, they stormed back onto the metal scene with the brilliant release THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, and for that reason alone, expectations were sky high for this new disc. For the most part, they deliver once again...although without the immediate punch that past records have featured from the opening seconds of a listen.
YELLOW & GREEN
While the Red and Blue albums certainly shimmered with moments of grand brilliance, the masterful Yellow & Green is Baroness' most complete majestic offering to date. Filled with melodious surprises the new platter is genius from alpha to omega — no small feat considering its 1.2 hour play time spread over 18 disparate yet somehow analogous sonic puzzle pieces.
Where Baroness rise above their peers is in their expert use of dynamics. The band's best trick is an uncanny ability to lull listeners into a hypnotic state with delicate droning passages only to boisterously break trance an instant later with a wall of fuzzed out intellectual cacophony.
Hard work and determination can always pay off, if there's talent to match it. That is clearly the case with Crucified Barbara. These classic rock ladies have worked tirelessly for over a decade; self financing their work, their tours, their promotion and their lives all the while growing stronger and stronger as a band over the years. With the release of their MIDNIGHT CHASE recording, the band finally gets rewarded for all their hard work. Now signed with metal powerhouse label Nuclear Blast, Crucified Barbara sees the opportunity staring them in the face, and there's no stopping them now from grabbing at metal's proverbial brass ring. PITRIFF caught up with Mia Coldheart of the band to talk about all the things going on with them - both past and present. Here's what Mia had to say!
A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA
As a thrash fan, I always try to give all these bands the benefit of the doubt. Tankard is one of those bands that has just never done enough to grab me though. I don't know why. I don't know if it's the silly imagery, or the fact that they really don't write much more than silly, frat boy thrashers or what, but for whatever reason, this band has never caught fire with me.
A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA doesn't change that one iota. Listening to this release does pretty much what every Tankard release does to me - it forces me to think about a lot of better bands of the same genre and wish that I was listening to them instead of Tankard. Songs like "Witch Hunt" are a prime example. Technically, all the elements of a good thrasher are there, but the riffs just sound tired, as do the vocals of Andreas Geremia. For me, Geremia is a big part of the problem. His mish mosh vocals just don't have the fire of a Blitz Ellsworth, Tom Araya or even a Rob Dukes for that matter. They just lay there over song after song, which makes a full trip through A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA a struggle of epic proportion.
As a fan of Linkin Park, the last few years have been pretty rough sailing. The albums have gotten progressively worse, to the point where a good many fans have jumped off the bandwagon for good. For some reason, I continue to stay interested in what they are doing. That said though, I do so not expecting much good at all out of LIVING THINGS.
Still, the band has surprised me here. While they no longer sound, at all, like the band that recorded HYBRID THEORY or METEORA, they have progessed their experimental side from the last two releases and found some decent ground to work from. In a lot of ways, LIVING THINGS reminds me of Nine Inch Nails' YEAR ZERO album from a decade ago. What I mean by that is there are enough elements of the music to let you know that it's the same band, but the sound and experimentation has transformed the band almost completely away from their original, core sound.