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Music CD/DVD Reviews: Duran Duran, Staind, Delain, Eagle Twin, Grave Digger, and Striker

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My, how time flies in the summer. Well, let’s see what is on the review deck this week.

First up we have a DVD/CD set of releases called A Diamond in the Mind: Live 2011 from Duran Duran. This is not very heavy rock by Dx2. However, they do put on quite a good show & the music is perfect for the summer. Of the two, I would recommend the CD rather than the DVD, unless you must have the documentary on their recent history and Simon Le Bon’s vocal problems. As you might expect, both discs have all the hits played for an adoring crowd. One look at the audience will tell you why Duran Duran were a secret gig that many heavier rockers went to in the ’80s. Hint: they may be older but there are still lots in the crowd these days.

Then there is the live CD from Staind called Live from Mohegan Sun which I have to admit I don’t get at all. The lead singer (Aaron Lewis) is barely able to do anything close to “sing”. It is more a prolonged whine. The music is sub-Nirvana and smacks of bandwagon jumping at its worst, though clearly it was successful for these guys. The band has been around for a while so they play well. It is just that the music is so lame.

Delain has released another collection of female-fronted heavy rock goodness called We Are The Others. I would be hard-pressed to say this isn’t their best album to date. I especially enjoyed the title track and song called “I Want You” that seems to have been written from the point of view of (female) death in the Shakespeare’s Sister song “Stay”. The edition I have ends with four live tracks that just finished off the package nicely. Delain are now in the league with Within Temptation, old Nighwish and old Evanescence. I seriously can’t get enough of this album.

Now we go a bit darker and much heavier with Eagle Twin. The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale is epic doom and down-tuned goodness, despite that it does plod along nicely and never feels samey. You probably have to be in the right mood for this lot, but when you are it does reward quite nicely. They are a bunch of miserable blokes from Utah, but their misery is great to listen to in the end.

Grave Digger’s Home at Last EP is quite a generous release of power metal. It is three studio tracks and three live tracks that end up being 30 minutes of head down quality metal. It’s also fists in the air and foot on the monitor, head-banging metal that is clearly aimed at the festival crowd. Not exactly genre-busting, but this release is damn good fun all the same. It is to get us all limbered up for their upcoming full-length. Job done methinks.

Striker deliver a heavy metal onslaught that is very North American in sound—-they are from Canada. This highly technical big sound-type metal mixes thrash and a touch of power metal one minute, then straight-up American hard rock the next. Armed to the Teeth could have been released in the ’80s and fit right in. They have managed to mix all their influences into a pot and not sound like any one of them which is quite a feat for many of the NWOAHM bands. Sit back let it sink in and enjoy proper heavy rock done right.

Well that is your lot for this week. Stay safe and rocking out there.

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