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It Ain’t Heavy; It’s Just My Music

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This week it’s all pedal to the metal with a few twists of punk and syphonia. This is head-down head-banging goodness. Just what the doctor ordered right now. No DVDs either; just aural pleasure and pain.

CD Reviews:

Human Factor: Unleashed

Human Factor have the power metal thing of Helloween and thier ilk down pat. They are Chilean and all the rage back home. It’s competent stuff that is not exactly the most original of recordings; but there is some quality on show. This CD is two years old, having been released in their home country first. This is a bit bog-standard power metal; but not bad second-string stuff. I suspect a few tours with some of the big boys of this type of metal will give them the inspiration they need. Ones to watch, that is for sure.

Killing Machine: Metalmorphosis

Killing Machine certainly have their Judas Priest fixation down pat. Much of this stuff sounds very much like it could have come off any of JP’s albums. That high-pitched screech of Halford is rife on this CD. Killing Machine features Dave Ellefson, formerly of Megadeth; Jimmy DeGrasso of Megadeth; and James Rivera, formerly with Helstar. Helstar did not get that much traction but has been tapped as a rather under-rated band by many in the know. KM is thrash-tinged twin-guitar Priest-fuelled metal, no holds barred wonderful stuff. Just try a bit of the song “Killing Machine” if you don’t believe me. This is quality stuff that gets better with every listen. Those mourning the glory days of Megadeth might take a gander here.

Black Label Society: Kings of Damnation: Era 1998-2004

A story collection for those who do not know the whole story of Zakk Wylde’s non-Ozzy output. The CD even gives a glimpse of Zakk’s pre-BLS output in the form of a track from Pride & Glory (an album I can highly recomend) and something from his excellent acoustic album Book of Shadows. We then get into the meat & potatoes of BLS’s impressive output including the excellent title track to “Blessed Hellride”, “Sold My Soul”, “Stronger than Death” and other highlights. However if you do not know BLS or Zakk’s non-Ozzy output then I would highly recommend this collection. It is a perfect CD for a long journey anywhere. While not everything is top drawer stuff, the overall collection is a very good representation of the man and the band. Love or loath the man; he does crank out some damn good redneck metal.

Dog Fashion Disco: Adultery

DFD are a bunch of nutters, a bit Faith No Moreish or even some of Mike Patton’s more outre stuff, however they do seem to be able to pull it off; no more so than with this their fifth album. While it’s fairly eclectic in outlook combining things like jazz, prog, speed meta ala Slayer on “Sacrifice of Mrs Rose Covington,” and a bit of lounge on “Desert Grave” for good measure, it all just works nicely. Rather than some of the unlistenable (well at least off acid) avant-garde stuff kicking around; DFD manage to produce a myriad of individual soundscapes. On the basis of this CD, it is no wonder that DFD’s mainman did the soundtrack to the Exorcist prequel recently released; the band are involved in scoring two more films. DFD are definetely the band for those who like their rock a bit odd, but still very listenable.

Wicked Wisdom: s/t

The first thing that strikes me about this band is the similarity of the lead singer Jada Pinkett Smith (yes, that one, the actress) to Die So Fluid’s Grog. By that I mean the vocal ability to take advantage of all ranges of the female voice, not just stick to the high stuff or alternately the uber-aggressive stuff the boys can do. The music is not so disimillar to DSF either. Aggressive female-sung punky metal with oodles of attitude and lots of class. I mean “Bleed All Over Me” is just pure undultrated metal goodness. Jada’s vocals are aggressive; but not grating like Tarrie B’s. Her band just does business the way it should be done; 10 tracks of oozing heaviness. Would you be surprised to hear that I think they are probably cracking live? As they say in Maine, it’s wicked good.

So that wraps up another fine collection of diverse heavy rock.

There is no news on my band’s tracks actually showing up on iTunes yet. (If you find them please send me an email.) However, not to be too down; my chief song-writer and I are planning on having a crack at writing an anthem for the England World Cup soccer team. Wonder if the fact my fiance works for Arsenal and the David Beckham Academy has any influence on that move? And we have about six other new songs between us to work on.

On a side note, it might amuse you to hear that a think-tank, here in the UK, has taken me on to write a piece on the state of the music biz and where it needs to go. In my younger days I spent some time trying to get work with one of these wonk fests. Now with my long hair, leather trousers and rock band I get approached to do paid writing for one of them.

Until next time, have a heavy rocking good week.

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