Well it's been a few weeks since I last did this column as I am on holiday and doing wedding planning here in Maine. That is not to say I haven't been listening to some cracking heavy tune-age.
Eric Adams & Chester Moore: Wild Life And Wild Times
Magic Circle has released a DVD featuring Manowar Vocalist and keen hunter Eric Adams who teams up with outdoorsman & zoologist Chester Moore to bring you a metal and hunting video not seen since the last DVD from my blood brother Ted Nugent. As you can imagine this ain't a DVD for the vegan and vegatarians among you. It's hunting, skinning, and eating some of the most impressive beasts you can find including wild boar, elk, a rattlesnake round-up, and American bison. Along the way the lads provide some interesting information about the wildlife they encounter both to kill and to merely view.
The fisherman among you are not left out either. There is some fishing for king salmon. Extras include some amusing bloopers, one involving an inflatable snake and a whole instrumental soundtrack for your listening pleasure. Not the DVD for everyone but an interesting piece where metal and nature meet.
Black Label Society: The European Invasion Doom Troopin (Live)
This is Zakk Wylde and company blazing a trail across Europe on their most recent tour. Live music recorded in both Paris and London (though all but one of the songs on the London bit appeared in the Paris bit too which is a bit measly) and set off into chapters. Seventeen tracks of BLS giving it all in front of adoring crowds makes for a pretty good DVD. On the second disc you get a backstage documentary (that comes off a bit staged at times) as well as the videos for "Suicide Messiah," the making of, "In this River" and "Fire it Up."
Over 200 minutes of BLS for all those dying to have more of Mr Wylde and his co-horts. Is it essential for the rest of us? No, not really but it is still quite a gas to watch and listen to. Wlyde is a talented guitarist and frontman, there is no doubt. He has come a long way since he was a rather shy bloke I met at an invite only gig at Gibson's cafe in New York in 1990 with his band that would become Pride & Glory.
The guys in this band (on the back cover) look like another lame-arse emo band trying to jump on the bandwagon. Well I was in for a pleasant surprise as they aren't anything of the sort. They have more in common with Tool, Sevendust, and Faith No More with a pinch of '90s rockers Skin. The vocalist sounds a dead ringer for Skin vocalist Nevill MacDonald with his delivery.
It's no shock these guys have picked up endorsements from Hellion Clothing and Jagermeister with tours with Velvet Revolver and others. They sound modern but not an imitation; and catchy as stink. Expect to hear from this lot very soon; for once college radio has found someone worth paying attention to. It's no shock "Too Far" is a hit single. They have some heavy backing and for once actually deserve it. Mark me down as impressed.
Within Temptation: Silent Force
I have been reading quite a bit about this lot in the press but had never heard anything of theirs until this CD fell into my lap. Bloody hell what was I missing! The whole CD is amazingly good combining goth, symphonic, and metal touches with the frankly amazing female voice at the front and a stonking band. Think a more metal HIM with a female singer and you might come close to this. This CD rather dumps all over Evanescence and would give Nightwish a good run for their money.
Songs like the hit single "Stand my Ground" and the frankly amazing "Angels" which follows the cracking "Jillian" just shows you how much talent this lot have going for them. Amazing stuff from an amazing band; Ms Lee and the new look Nightwish have a lot to prove next time out; that is for damn sure.
Iron Maiden: Matter of Life & Death
Iron Maiden have released yet another album that is declared by some their best for 20 years while others, yeah that means you Mr Popoff, have found it to be lacking. I sincerely believe this is their best release since Seventh Son (originally proposed by my mate Rob) and furthermore has marked their complete surrender to their numerous prog influences. They have released an excellent value edition which contains a 60 minute documentary filmed and recorded by the album's producer via video camera.
The band seemed relaxed and pleased with not only what the band has produced but more crucially how it was produced. It was one of the quickest sessions for the band which helps the CD retain a live feel. The bonus disc also includes the videos for the first single "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg" and for "Different World."
This is solid album through and through but my personal favorite track, lyrically especially, has to be the truly awesome "These Colours Don't Run." This is the best thing Dickinson has been involved with since "Chemical Wedding" and shows that Harris has let him run with his healthy imaginative writing style. If you have not bought an Iron Maiden for a very long time; then this is one to get. It is really that good. And as with most, Blaze Baily era-exepted, Iron Maiden albums, it only gets better with repeated plays.
With a bit of time on my hands I have finally gotten a bit of PR out the door for the new EP. More importantly over the last week or so I have discovered my betrothed has a voice that can match that of the best Goth female singers around which gives me a whole bunch of interesting ideas songwriting wise. Let's put it this way; she is able to sing Tarja's parts with ease. Colour me blown away.
Well that is your lot for this week. Much of it tilts on the heavy side but not without lashing of emotion and sincerity. Next week reviews including the much-hyped new Mastadon album and most probably the new one from Evanescence together with whatever else has landed on my doormat.