Sunday, January 22, 2017

Volbeat: Globalization of Hard Rock 2.0

I've known of this band for a few years and I am surprised it has taken me this long to talk about them.  I have dug the sound Volbeat has put out for the past few years but I guess what got my attention was the story behind the band. That prompted me to write my blog about the band.

I first heard the band back in 08 with their release of the track Sad Man's Tongue and thought the sound was good.  In 2010, was their Album release Beyond Hell/Above Heaven and the band became a hit.

The band is very guitar rift driven.  They use a lot of the same driving rhythm on their tracks.  There is a lot about the mythology of the American Old West.  That's okay but when you find out where Volbeat comes from their obsession with the Old West takes on a wholly different feel.  Doing my research into the band I found out that they are Danish.  Once again, it is a  small world we live in that a Heavy Metal band from Denmark would write such authentic songs about the American Old West.

Their latest release was Seal the Deal and Let's Boogie.  The album keeps the same driving beat and great vocals of their past releases.  I enjoyed it but preferred the 2010 Beyond Hell/Above Heaven release.  Maybe the 2010 release had more tracks that I have heard for the past 7 years and really love so those might be the only reasons I prefer that release.

I would recommend several tracks for the band to get a feel for their sound, The Mirror and the Ripper, A Warriors Call, The Hangman's Body Count, Lola Montez, and my favorite release Still Counting.

A great modern Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band with a cool back story, Volbeat should be listened to.

Till next time, listen to the best  - your ears deserve it.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Halestorm 3 take on Covers

I discovered Halestorm many years ago, actually 11 years ago with their first self titled release.  The song I Get Off got me hooked.  It has been great to see the band grow and become a mainstream of Modern Hard Rock, especially since the band is fronted by one Lizzy Hale.

I have talked about Women in rock and the strong foothold they have taken in the 21st Century.  One of the leading bands in the new wave has been Halestorm.  The band writes strong songs with driving guitar work and insightful lyrics.  I highly recommend any of their releases, but this review is about the latest of three EPs of cover work.

Starting in 2011 with the release of Reanimate Halestorm their first of their cover EP's.  I have mentioned in earlier posts that one of the great things about Modern Hard Rock and Metal is the respect they show to the bands from the 80's and 90's with covers.  The other thing that the Reanimate EPs and others in the Modern Hard rock community have done is cover current Pop songs.  The first EP has a astounding cover of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga and the current has a unique take on Heathens by 21 Pilots.  I have to say the stand out track for the three EPs is the cover of Pat Benatar's Hell is For Children.  Lizzy does justice in tribute to a female pioneer of Hard Rock.

The band shows their range by covering all periods of music; giving tribute while keeping the bands own flavor at the same time.  I only have one of sort of criticism, I wish they did the full cover of Still of the Night by Whitesnake. Lizzy sounds great on it but I want the full orchestra on all that Whitesnake had.  Other than that very minor critique of the EPs I wholeheartedly recommend you give them a listen.

Til next time,  listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Native Howl's Trash Grass

Thank you Joe Proctor for adding a link to this band on your Face Book page.  I am always looking for different blends of sounds and the latest EP release from The Native Howl fits the bill very well.

The Native Howl are 4 very talented musicians from Detroit who blend folk, rock, alternative and with the newest release Bluegrass to form a fun unique sound.  The band is still relatively young, only formed in 2013,with only three EPs/Albums released.

Intrigued by the Thunder Head track, the first release from Trash Grass, I decided to dig deeper and listen to the rest of the three albums the band has done.  I mostly liked what I heard from the first two releases and Love the newest Trash Grass.  The first two releases are mainly a Folk Rock, Alternative sound, which have never been my favorite.  I respect the musicians and can hear the quality of what they are doing but just not my cup of coffee.

Now with Trash Grass the music speaks to me.  The first track Thunder Head sounds like if you gave a top Bluegrass Group at hit of Speed and then recorded the results, which are Awesome.  Doomed from the Start is a fun track about how useless existence is the lyrics cleverly go over all the different ways Mankind can be doomed. Follow Me is a released track from an early release.  Finally, with Hurricane, the EP comes to its howling end.

A pleasant find and a fun blending of two styles of music that don't normally blend give Trash Grass a listen.

Til next time, listen to the best- your ears deserve it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Metallica Hardwired on the third try

The past 13 years haven't been great for the god's of Metal , the band Metallica.  I will start with Death Magnetic, I won't mention the album that shouldn't be named St. Something or other, it was not a great album.  Death Magnetic was on the level of the Reload release, kind of there but not awful. It took 13 years since the departure of Jason Newsted to get it right, but with Hardwired... to Self Destruct, Metallica sounds like the gods of metal again.

8 years is a long time in between releases and I have heard many times during the past years that this album was coming.  After too many years of false starts the release has been worth the wait.

To start,  I have to say I am impressed with the full court press of media on this release.  A full week of a single channel of Metallica on Sirus/XM and appearances on Jimmy Kimmel. There are also at least 8 videos for the album on You Tube.This is a statement. The band knows that this album is getting them back to the top of the Metal Mountain.

A few months ago, thanks to ITunes music, I listened to the first three released tracks: Hardwired, Atlas, Rise! and Moth into Flame. I was hooked just from theses tracks.  Finally,when the rest of the album came out I feel the fans' patience was rewarded.

The best thing about the album is that its a great gumbo of Pre and Post Black sounds.  Atlas, Rise! and Spit out the Bone sounds early, Now that We're Dead and Hardwired sounds like Black era.  I have really enjoyed every track on the release and the sound should satisfy all Metallica fans.

If you want to listen to one of the gods of Metal reawaken to their Greatness listen to Hardwired,,,To Self Destruct.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A7X Stages a reaching release

As mentioned in an earlier post (The Best Metal Band of 2000) I think Avenged Sevenfold is the best Hard Rock/Metal band of this generation.  And with three years since their release of the Monster album Hail to The King the band was due for some new music.  What was odd was on how they released the new stuff, no fanfair.  Just a quiet here's our title track released on Itunes, Amazon, Spotify oh and next few weeks the rest will be out.  Hey when you are the biggest band out there you can have the luxury of people finding you.

So after a few weeks of listing to the album The Stage I am still mixed on my review of it.  Let me start by saying Avenged Sevenfold has not stepped back musically or creatively.  Truly it is the opposite the band is reaching for much more on this release, and my reaction is did they Overreach?   The title track and first release The Stage is grand.  The song clocks in at an epic 8:32 time wise and it isn't even the longest song on the album.  Musically and lyricly it is ambitious and is very much worth the longer time.

Honestly all the songs on The Stage deal with deep issues and are richly layered  with amazing guitar and pounding double bass drums. The final track on the album is the epic Exist,  The song clocks in at an 15:41 and even has Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking on the track.  So yes the songs are almost like orchestral movements on The Stage.

I loved Hail to The King and think the band reached the top of the Hard Rock world with its release.  So if there is a time for a band to stretch out and go beyond their musical limits why not try when you are at the pinnacle?   I am mixed on my review but I can say I have really enjoyed getting lost on The Stage.  So if you want to hear a band at its height musically and popularity wise see how fat they can go you need to go listen to The Stage.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Alter Bridges the gap from Pretentious to Perfect Lead Singer

My praise for Myles Kennedy has been noted on this blog several times.  Even a few posts back I was writing on how he is an incredible lead singer.  As I mentioned, in the Louder Than Life post,  his band Alter Bridge is incredible and not to be missed live.  With the bands new album titled The Last Hero I had to give a good listen and review, so here we go.

I knew about Myles and heard some of Alter Bridge on SXM's Octane but that was the amount of knowledge I had on the band before this release.  The album is great and I decided to dig into the band.  Surprise, surprise the band behind Myles is the critics favorite Creed.  (Yes,  that is sarcasm,the critics Hated Creed and I agreed with the Critics somewhat)   So with this knowledge it might explain my instant enjoyment of Alter Bridge.  Follow me here , Creed was a great 90's band with a talented but Self Absorbed Pretentious lead singer in Scott Stapp.  I really liked the band but I couldn't get past Scott.  So for the second time  (see my review of Slash's solo album) Myles has stepped in and brought a band to where I can really dig them.

The release is solid melodic heavy hard rock.  The band lays down tasty hard rock groves and Myles delivery soars with them.  One of the great things about the band is that they are Hard Rock but with many more musical layers that sets this band apart.  The first release Show Me a Hero is a soaring rock anthem that has a message not missed on this listener during the Campaign season.  My Champion has some outstanding guitar tracks. The title track drives home the dark theme of the release and ends a gem of an album.

Myles Kennedy with his band Alter Bridge delivers a great CD which is almost as good as they are live.  The Last Hero is diffidently to be listened to.

Til next time , listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mellencamp ages fine like a great wine

For my birthday my dearest got us tickets to see John Mellencamp in concert.  There were a couple of reasons we really wanted to see him preform.  First off, John Mellencamp hasn't visited the Bluegrass since 1988 so this is the first time we have been able to see him in a very long time.  Second, not to sound too grim, we want to see John Mellencamp preform before he dies.  Really with the year we have been having with performers,  it is time to see this artist.

I always loved John Cougar Mellencamp, as he was known then.  I remember how huge the album Uh Huh was when I was in Jr High, the  artistry in Scarecrow for my High School years and the insights of Lonesome Juliblee for my College years. The great things about John Mellencamp's songs is that he revels in the rebelliousness of youth but with the tone of enjoy it now cause it will be gone. What makes him a great artist is that you can enjoy and see yourself in his songs in anytime of life.

As for the concert,  John Mellencamp showed that he has been preforming for over 40 years. He commanded the stage with an ease that only comes with time. He preformed all his major hits with a touching treatment of Jack and Diane. The song was just him and his guitar with the audience doing most of the singing. I was surprised he closed with Cherry Bomb, not Pink Houses, but it was a great closer.

If you get a chance, don't miss this great artist preform. With the year 2016 has been it might be your last chance.

Till next time,  listen to the best  - your ears deserve it.