WOLFSBANE SAVE THE WORLD
I've been disappointed with many releases over the years...and this is one of them. Clearly one of my favorites, I expect better from Blaze Bayley. To be clear, I've thoroughly enjoyed almost all of his solo material. SILICON MESSIAH is one of those albums that I ensure never leaves my IPod, my phone and whatever other listening device I might use when I leave the house. While I didn't care for his Iron Maiden stuff (like, well, everyone else), I have always thought it was just a bad fit for his style.
XI: THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW
To say the least, Lillian Axe continuing on must just be the mission of guitarist Steve Blaze. Certainly, even he would have to admit that the band has suffered it's share of setbacks over the last few years. With five years of seemingly a new vocalist fronting the band for each release, it's just been tough to get continuity as a band for Blaze and company. For THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW, they even had to switch albums mid-cycle when former Metal Church vocalist Ronnie Munroe left the band. Still, they have carried on.
Unlike most metalheads, I think I'm somewhat sacrilegious when it comes to my non-appreciation of Venom. They are one of two acts that I know are just worshipped in the metal community, but I simply do not get the appeal at all (the other being King Diamond). That being said, I had very little expectation for a new Venom release, and yet, they came though with what is a fairly solid effort.
LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM
It seems that all previous pains in the Mr. Big camp have been forgotten. Mr. Big returned last year with a great album, tour, and now a fairly intimate acoustic live album called LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM. It's good to see. This band that was always strong on musicianship might be the band of all bands best suited to do an unplugged set. Not only are their songs very condusive to this kind of setting, but they are so far superior a class of musicians than the average band that attempts to try this. They aren't hacks like Poison who just sound awkward when performing the songs outside of the defined box of their original recordings.
THE THIRD CAGE
I get the math. When a major band changes singers, the next guy never gets the respect of the first. If they change again, that guy always gets disrespected greatly. Look no further than the once again popular Van Halen for proof. Anyone want to argue that Gary Cherone was ever given respect in that band? I thought not. In my eyes though, the single most disrespected singer in rock history has to be vocalist Tony Martin. Martin had the distinction of being the guy who replaced Dio in Black Sabbath. You remember - Dio replaced Ozzy, and then Martin replaced Dio. As third guy on the totem pole of Black Sabbath, I would argue that his catalog from start to finish was stronger than the Ozzy era (the whole Ozzy era, not just the first 4 albums). I personally will always reach for an album like HEADLESS CROSS long before something like TECHNICAL ECSTACY. Maybe it's just me, but I have long respected and sung the praises of the Martin era of Sabbath.