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Music and DVD Reviews: Saga, Magnum, Loudness, Fear Factory, Ozzy Osbourne, and Volksmetal

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This column sort of continues the theme of last week’s with some examples of bands still bringing it. And, of course, we have another Ozzy Osbourne live DVD.

Saga (the band, not the vacation tour company) are back with a great new album called 20/20, which is in fact their 20th album to date. The band, now reunited with original singer Michael Sadler, are returning to a quality that equals their heyday. Great stuff from a great band that deserves another 20 years.

Another bunch of ole’ goats who won’t lay down is Magnum. Not only have they not run out of steam, they have released a damn good album in the form of On the 13th Day. While it could be argued much of this album is hard rock rather than metal, it is hard to criticize the quality. I enjoyed it start to finish and think it is the best thing the boys have put out for a rather long time.

Another blast from the past is the new release from Japanese metallers Loudness, Eve to Dawn. Keen metal watchers of the ’80s were stunned by this band’s releases of that decade, amazed at the technically brilliant yet approachable metal. Yes, this is as good as they were in their heyday. Akira Takasaki has lost nothing over the years and still plays like a demon.

Fear Factory are back with another blast of techno metal in the form of The Industrialist that I am sure is satisfying the FF fanatics to no end. It is by far their best release for quite a while and is a blistering slab of industrial metal. Their best since Obsolete, quite possibly.

Ozzy has another DVD out. This one is entitled Speak of the Devil and contains a live gig from Irvine Meadows in 1982. Don’t expect any modern DVD spectacular here, though it sounds great. No extras whatsoever except for liner notes from Ozzy’s bassist of the time, Rudy Sarzo. It is a pretty solid performance considering Randy Rhoads was not long dead. Brad Gillis (of Night Ranger fame) filled Rhoads’ shoes in spectacular style.

I’m going to sneak in a new album that sounds sort of old. The band is called Volksmetal and they are, for lack of a better term, a German umpah-metal band. Yes, their self-titled album is silly and a bit goofy, but it is a ton of fun and I found myself singing along in German having no idea what they are on about. Think of this band as the anti-Rammstein.

That is your lot for this week, stay safe & rocking out there.

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