I hope you all had a good holiday season. While I didn't do as much listening to review material I was able to catch a cracking show at Earls Court in lovely seats with my beloved and a bandmate.
Classic metal as sung by a woman with the pipes more normally associated with people like Ronnie James Dio. While not a growler like Angela from Arch Enemy, this woman can deliver powerful low vocals with oodles of oomph. No singer songwriter style whine from this lady.
The CD is only 11 tracks long, and two of those are covers: decent versions of 'Heaven & Hell' & 'The Mob Rules', delivers the goods in great dollops. One can be in no doubt why people have been raving about the band. Ok, the lead singer makes for the perfect rock chick as well, which adds to the appeal. Much of the guitar work on this CD has a Zack Wylde feel about it, rather than a Tony Iommi feel. Granted the band wear their influences on their sleeves, but when the results are this good who gives a damn. I rather like the band-named track with its snatches of Latin. Another highlight is tribute to fallen witches called 'Wicca.'
Oh sod it, if you like good heavy metal and don't mind a woman on the vocals (I know some do), then this is a rather essential purchase.
Joe Bonamassa: You & Me
Those in the know about blues have been lauding this chap for quite a few years now. Despite his young age, he has three albums and numerous tours under his belt. If you have tired of the Clapton-esque over the top/over-produced playing, then this guy is for you. He has a strong feel of Stevie Ray Vaughn or Gary Moore about him. More importantly the lad just lets his fingers do the talking; he has a great voice that really shines on tracks like 'Asking Around for You'.
This is blues played incredibly well delivered with oodles of class and talent. It is an absolute pleasure to listen to and one that every blues lover will just adore. Whether you got 'em bad or just want to be reminded of what the blues are like, this is the CD for you. Not one duff track and certainly the blues album of the (last) year.
Trivium & Iron Maiden
Earl's Court, London
23 Dec 2006
You know it's love when your betrothed gets you two tickets to Iron Maiden on the last night of their most recent tour in their home town. The fact the seats were some of the best in the house…ok, the best seats in the house made it even sweeter. The kicker comes later.
First up we had the upstarts Trivium who have just released their Metallica album (or rather album) where they demonstrated their true metal love. Opening for the legendary Iron Maiden must have been quite daunting and they tried to live up to it. The band are a damn good opener, but they still don't have all the elements they need to be a great headlining band.
For one thing they barely have enough good songs to fill a headline set. Their newer stuff like 'Anthem, We are the Fire' went down far better than some of their older material. Matt spent a bit too much time nattering on stage as well. Overall it was a pretty tight performance from a talented band.
Iron Maiden, on the other hand, had all guns blazing (quite literally at the end) and made the brave move of playing their most recent album, A Matter of Life & Death, in its entirety in proper order. This would be an idiotic move for all but a very few bands.
Besides making those who didn't have the new album feel a bit prat-like, it gave the Maiden masses a chance to see something other than a "greatest hits" show. The stage set was spectacular and the large screens allowed the entire audience to see the band doing their thing, including Nicko's bare footed drumming. (Imagine the calluses.)
As one has come to expect with Iron Maiden, the band were tight as a monkey's and delivered all the complexities of their later material without a single hitch. Despite the fact there was no 'Run to the Hills', 'Number of the Beast' or 'Bring Your Daughter' – they did less played tracks like 'Fear of the Dark' - the crowd left pleased as punch. Oh yes, and I was pleased to "catch" my non-metal betrothed head-banging like everyone else. She rather enjoyed herself and was duly impressed with Maiden (alas, less so in the case of Trivium).
Got a pile of stuff heading my way, so expect an onslaught of reviews. I hope you had a musical holiday season and have lots of rocking CD/DVDs to enjoy this winter. As always stay rocking, safe and check out live music where ever it might be.