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Music Reviews: Iron Maiden, Opeth, Puscifer, The Melvins, and Several More

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Back with another large batch of recent releases and the forthcoming. As my fingers aren’t totally back to full snuff, the reviews are a bit short and sweet. I aim to get the guts of the releases covered however.

Iron Maiden: Somewhere Back in Time

If you are a metal fan of a certain age, you will have these tracks in many different forms I would bet. Released with their most recent worldwide trek, complete with their own plane (a fully Derek Riggs Eddie-decorated 757) flown by Bruce, this is really aimed at the young tykes who have not been around long enough to remember some of this stuff. I am guessing that the discs will be a gift from the older generation of metalheads to the younger version. If this were a book, it would be a lovely cross-section of what makes Iron Maiden one of the greatest metal bands of all time.

You can even download a free three-day version of the album for nothing from Iron Maiden; If you don’t have all the albums get this and if you do own them, get it to give to yer favorite younger rocker. Good… of course it’s good, it’s bloody Iron Maiden! Up the Irons!

Opeth: Watershed

Here’s another band that seem to enjoy making reviewers come up with new superlatives.  A line-up change has not halted the member’s quest to show us that you can hit the levels of Floyd-esque sublime brilliance via death metal. If you like Opeth you will love this disc. If you like prog-metal you bloody well should like it and if you are fan of well crafted metal of any kind ditto. It's simply revolting how talented this lot are… growing with each release taking their music to an even higher level. Get this disc, hit play, and from “Coil” on enjoy the brilliance. Essential… whether or not you go for the edition with bonus tracks.

Puscifer: V is Viagra-the Remixes

Here’s more bizarre weirdness from this lot. This time remixed. Is it essential for anyone but fans of the band? Well, is any re-mix album ever? If you like this lot you will love the twisting and turning of the various near-do-wells who show up to mangle Puscifer tracks. Outrageous… yeah, check out the bonus “Country Boner”; One of those albums for when you are a complete nutty mood. Long live Puscifer. If you didn’t exist we would have to invent you lot.

Melvins: Nude with Boots

Odd? Check. Eclectic? Check…with occasional bursts of Kiss-like tongue-in-cheek over the top goodness. Yep, that is here too. Fun, dumb, and full of it, the Melvins have another good one to add to their back catalogue. “Suicide in Progress”; even has a wonderful southern fried feel to it. You never know what to expect track to track on here, which is a good thing.

Atris: Lensing

Mentioning Coldplay in the PR is probably not a good way to get my attention, but for some reason I didn’t toss this one aside. It's a similar vibe to plod music which is what constitutes sub-Coldplay pop these days but with a hint of originality. It mostly bored the tar out of me but it wasn’t awful. In fact, I would say there is less of samey element on here as there are on that band’s releases. Probably good for the morning-after hangover.

16 Second Stare: Red Carpet Material

Never heard of this lot; but got to say they are rather good. Modern hard rock with hints to the past. You can’t fault "Better Man", which will have you reaching for your lighter within seconds and singing along by the second verse. Whisky drenched heavy vocal styling over some great playing. This reminds me a lot of Tesla with a hint of Salty Dog via The Cult. Like UK bands like The Answer, Jaded Sun, and Glyder, this lot remind us of some great rock and assure its future. I will be coming back to 16SS in the coming months that is for sure.

The More I See: The Unholy First

Gizz Butt, previously of the Prodigy, has decided to revisit the golden age of thrash with a strong hint of Metallica. This isn’t part of the modern wave of thrash with its post-metalcore sensibilities, but straight out of the 80s. This album makes Trivium’s latest sound like a cover band. Try not to headbang to “Bloodline”; I dare you! If you ever wanted to be reminded why you like this sort of music in the first place, then this lot are the slap up your head you need. Their debut The Wolves are Hungry was pretty damn good; this is even better.

If you need something to keep yer cockles warm until Metallica pulls their finger out then this might be just the release for you. Yes, its that good.

Billy Morrison: Stimulator

With a pedigree like The Cult, Circus Diablo, and Camp Freddy you can expect something good from this release. Very much an artist letting himself go on a solo album, there are all kinds of things on here ranging from the sub-industrial of “Driving me Mad”, to the Velvet Revolver-alike of “When I close my Eyes”, to the straight ahead rock of “Cold”. Morrison obviously wanted to try his hand at modern metal. Not entirely essential, this release, but fans of modern heavy rock might like to take a listen. A bit of an indulgence maybe, but not too much of one.

Cult of Luna: Eternal Kingdom

A concept album based on a diary found in their rehearsal space, this is all rather odd. Modern prog death metal with hints of Voivod and other experimentalists. I found it both hard to get into and rewarding after a few listens. No doubt fans of the band will be all aflutter but it might take some getting used to for new fans of the band. No doubt the talent of this lot and well worth looking into.

Gama Bomb: Citizen Brain

This lot remind me a bit of M.O.D./S.O.D. with its almost rapping vocals and thrash background. This is brain-dead thrash antics at its daft best. A new load of thrashers to really annoy the crap out of your parents with… or your siblings. Short songs with loads of riffing and blast-beat drumming. You can just see the long-shorts and bouncing round the stage. It sure put a smile on my face. Get drunk and put this on; your neighbours will thank you.

Michael Vescera: A Sign of Things to Come

You know the score with this one. You are well known as a vocalist in the flash metal circles. You give yer mates a ring and produce a concoction that is all their bands and yours rolled into one. It might work or not, but you have a damn good time doing it. Well in this case it works well; the end result is pure Rising Force widdling brilliance. Check out “Crossing the Line”. This would drive pure metallers nuts but its hard not to smile listening to this stuff. “Something to Believe” just sums up the Rising Force-esque world of heavy rock.

Yes it's flashy, a bit over the top, but when it's this much fun who gives a toss. I think it's time to get the Ferrari out of the garage, put the top down and go cruise — gold chain optional.

Elevener: When Kaleidoscopes Collide

If Toto had not come from Southern California and instead came from Scandinavia, it would have sounded like this. “I Still Remember” is so unashamedly steeped in the eighties power-rock/pop its chronic and how about “All of my Life”? The band don’t give a damn wallowing in it with goofy and knowing smiles. Infectious as hell, with annoyingly catchy choruses and soaring guitar solos, you can just feel your metal cred flying out the window. You can just imagine the soundtrack this belongs on.

There is no doubting the talent on here that is for sure. They seem to be having a great time doing it. So, stop resisting and just sit back so you can enjoy the ride. Every rocker has a soft side. You could do a hell of a lot worse that showing if off with this lot.

Well on that pomptastic note I should probably end. Not that you should be shocked that I like the smaltzy stuff considering I just released CD of a “love-letter song” to my wife with her response.

I certainly have covered quite a range of stuff this week from the daft as a brush thrash, through darkness to deep prog, to the foot-on-monitor antics of Iron Maiden. As always please check out live music whenever you can and stay safe.

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About Marty Dodge