BLEED & SCREAM
While most bands mellow like wine with age Sweden's Eclipse have followed a different trajectory becoming heavier over the course of their thirteen year career. Bleed & Scream, the band's fourth release, showcases these stellar musicians at the apex of their creativity and aggression. Having slowly shed the melodic hard pop of their early days, this album is pure unadulterated metallic rock of the classiest variety.
Each song glimmers strongly with its own unique identity proving the Swedes have worked hard at evolving their craft rather than finding a "formula" and riding it out. Stand out tracks like "Bleed & Scream" "SOS" "Wake Me Up" & "A Bitter Taste" are as different from one another as they are from any other bands in the melodic metal scene. After a decade of writing, this skill deserves more applause than it gets.
IV: PART 1, THE PURPLE EP
Of all the guys from Pantera, it really is surprising that Philip Anselmo was the one to emerge and find the most success after that band. We all know what happened to Dimebag, but Vinnie Paul's decision to join an average to below average Supergroup and Rex Brown's recent move to the decent but not going anywhere band Kill Devil Hill leaves Anselmo as the lone guy still making music that a lot of the Pantera fans actually love and respect. Returning from the great but disappointing album OVER THE UNDER (disappointing because the production was so God awful), Anselmo and his southern fried project Down are back with the first of a multi-installment set of releases. THE PURPLE EP is exactly what you would expect from Down, especially if you were a fan of DOWN II: A BUSTLE IN YOUR HEDGEROW.
It's been a long road for Dokken. They have had more than their share of turmoil throughout the years. The feud between Don Dokken and George Lynch is one of the most famous feuds in the history of rock music. They've had great albums, and let's be honest, they've had a couple of true duds as well. The band "Dokken" now only contains namesake Don Dokken (and sometimes Wild Mick Brown) from the original band. Don has toured relentlessly for over 30 years now, and that once crystal clear voice has lost it's top end now. So, clearly, the deck is stacked against Dokken now to produce a solid collection of musical hits.
BEST IN SHOW
Jackyl is just one of those bands that you pretty much have to love, aren't they? They really haven't done a damn thing different in 20 years. There's not a note of music on the latest album, BEST IN SHOW, that wouldn't have fit perfectly on their debut album...or any of the other ones for that matter. In short, Jackyl have had a nice career being the poor man's, southern fried version of AC/DC. Some may find that to be insulting, but my bet is that if this review finds it's way to Jesse James Dupree, he'll just smile, snicker and go, "fuck yeah. He gets it."
DIG IN DEEP
Tyketto is one of those bands from the 80s that I always liked, but really never caught on very much. They had a couple hits that were cool, but even their best songs like "Forever Young" and "Seasons" were marginally successful at best. The band was a highlight reel for former Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn, who shined and ended up building a solid solo career outside of Tyketto in the AOR world when Tyketto disbanded.
They are back with the original lineup I'm told, and interestingly, DIG IN DEEP is exactly what they've always produced. It's an album full of solid tunes that aren't especially memorable, yet feature some great playing and even better vocals. Simply put, Vaughn is a great singer. His voice is pretty much a mish mosh of Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison and Thunder lead man Danny Bowes. He sounds great as always here on songs like the mid-tempo, yet punchy "Here's Hoping It Hurts". The thing to remember though is that while Vaughn is a great singer, he never has a distinctive moment like either Bowes or Jamison do to separate their vocals from the music. Vaughn is certainly clear vocally and clean throughout, but there's no memorable or emotional moment where you latch onto any song on the disc. Songs like "Love To Love" are nice songs, but really fall into the unmemorable category five minutes after listening to them.
UNDER MY SKIN
Contrary to popular belief and a lot of silly bits that I've done throughout the years on THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW and THE METAL SHOW respectively, I really am a fan of Doro. I loved her work in Warlock, and I like her work even more as a solo artist. I'm one of those guys that even liked that period where she tried to stop being metal and attempted to be more of a vocalist than the reigning queen of metal. But all that said, at what point do we just say "enough" to all these rehashes, reissues, and repackaging of her's (or any artists) greatest hits? I think now is as good a time as any.
ALL I WAS
For the last 2 months, I've been slowed down in writing anything based on the fact that I was going through a divorce, which really pretty much fucked up my brain. The last thing I've wanted to do during this time was listen to new music and try to pick through it to figure out the ins and outs of what anyone was trying to say artistically. But like everything else, you have to get back up in the saddle and ride once again. Thankfully, the album I chose to get me back together was this one, ALL I WAS by Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. Why am I thankful, exactly? Well, primarily because this album not only kicks a ton of ass, but it contains the song "The Things I've Seen"; just a masterful song that could have been written directly from the never centers that have feed my brain for seven weeks.
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.