Archive for Black Sabbath

Bloodstock 2018: The Friday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Even having a crap night’s sleep the previous evening didn’t dent my enthusiasm for the first full day at Bloodstock. We started with a hardy bbq breakfast because we couldn’t have one the evening before on account of the waiting to get in and the brief rain. Therefore, we had it in the morning. After a breakfast of champions like that, which was washed down with beer, we decided to head for the arena.

Keeping with my established tradition, I made it a point to be present for the very first band out on the Ronnie James Dio Stage. That band happened be British punk band Feed The Rhino. If there is a textbook on how the opening band of a festival should act, then Feed The Rhino followed it to the letter. They exploded on stage at 300 mph with a song that grabs you by the throat and makes you listen to it nor did any of that energy dissipate after the first song. However, some purists may argue that the band broke protocol by organizing a mosh pit and then a wall of death. Whoever said opening bands weren’t allowed to do that? Especially when the lead singer, Lee Tobin, did a little crowd surf towards the wall. It was amazing and when they left, which was too soon, Feed The Rhino had set the mood not just for the day but for the entire weekend!

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

Lee Tobin carried by the crowd

In spite of the fact that I had seen and heard three bands I had never heard of previously who totally blew me away, I still went to the New Blood Stage to seek out more. Playing at my arrival was the band Garshkott. While they weren’t bad, their sound was in the vein of Feed The Rhino and Bloodshot Dawn, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were ever signed, in my mind, they didn’t measure up to the two bands I have just mentioned. Then again, those two bands set the bar astronomically high.

Garshkott giving it their all

Heading back to the RJD Stage, I thought I should see Onslaught. I had seen them at my first Bloodstock in 2010 but I didn’t remember anything about them. Seeing them again, I remember why I didn’t remember them, there’s really nothing about them to remember. While their music was okay and I have since discovered from Youtube that their recorded material sounds pretty good, they just didn’t do anything for me when I’ve seen them live.

Onslaught coming out to play

Another shot of them

The uneventfulness of Onslaught meant that when the rains came down in the final minutes of their set, I fled for cover. The closest was the New Blood Stage. Providing the entertainment in my new found refuge was Democratus. They weren’t thrash but good solid metal. The singer did a great job in getting those in the tent to sing along. He would sing out, “Is this what you call?” and the audience, me included, would shout back, “Democracy!” Very relevant at the moment and I thought they were pretty good. If I was a scout, I would have signed them before the previous unsigned band on the day.

Democratus

Still raining down in buckets outside, I decided to stay in the New Blood Tent to remain dry. It turned out to be the will of the metal gods because coming on stage next was Vulgore. Of the three unsigned bands I had seen so far, these guys were the best. Their music was loud and brash but the guitarist could shred a little too. Still, their music is not for the faint hearted. They announced they have an EP coming out titled “Bliss.” I might have to hunt this one down.

The guitarist from Vulgore

More Vulgore

Vulgore made the rain stop, so after their departure, I headed outside. On the Dio Stage at the time was Memoriam. I only caught the last two songs from their set but they sounded all right. Plus, I noticed that the lead singer’s hair probably made many ladies jealous.

Memoriam, but this photo doesn’t show the singer’s hair properly.

Still looking for the music, I headed for the Sophie Lancaster Stage where I was treated to the doom metal sounds of Godthrymm. This trio was doom metal in the true sense of the word, even more than Black Sabbath. Most of the songs were about death. I remember one lyric, “Oh God, you lost your only son,” I think that explains a lot. Guitarist hammered out some good solos and he shared the lead vocal duties with the bassist. Godthrymm proved a great change of pace on the day.

Godthrymm playing doom

I’m not sure what this picture was. I think it was this person dressed up going through the crowd during Godthrymm

After a brief but necessary break, I returned to the Ronnie James Dio Stage for the first band I truly wanted to see. Before that band came out, I caught the last few minutes of Swedish death metal band Bloodbath. They sounded okay and I was amused at the shirtless guitar player whose torso was covered in fake blood.

Bloodbath, not sure if you can see the guitarist covered in blood

Then came the big bombshell. It was announced that Suicidal Tendencies were running late and wouldn’t be up next. They were re-scheduled to play at the Sophie Lancaster Stage two hours later. I had caught up with Teal and Joe and we decided to get some dinner. I kind of regret this in hindsight because swapping places with ST was the all female death metal Japanese band Love Bites. I heard they were really good and I’m liking what I’m hearing thus far. Oh well, I’ll put a song of theirs in tribute.

Returning from our late afternoon bbq, I followed Teal’s suggestion that I go with him to check out prog metal band, Kamelot. Full marks to his wisdom here because I thoroughly enjoyed them. I was duly impressed with the guitar work of Thomas Youngblood but I won’t take anything away from the rest of this band, they’re that good. They brought a female singer on for a few songs as well which made them more diverse. Let’s say I was very impressed.

Kamelot

A better shot of them

Thomas Youngblood jamming

I tried to get the female singer in this one

Instead of Kamelot following Suicidal Tendencies, we had Suicidal Tendencies following Kamelot. Which way around didn’t matter as we joined the throng heading for the Sophie Lancaster Stage. There was talk that the sheer weight of numbers in ST fans would knock the Sophie Tent off its foundations. Suicidal Tendencies exploded onto the stage with “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Almost immediately, Mike Muir had the crowd in his hand with everyone singing the chorus. The band darted around stage and Mike did his little dance. It seemed that the opening song might go for the entire set because every time it sounded like it would end, the band would pick it up again. When the song did end, the audience was screaming their appreciation. Afterwards, they played songs “I Shot the Devil,” The War in My Head” and “Subliminal.” When they played the “Skater’s Song,” Mike announced that the band had been inducted into the Skater’s Hall of Fame. A young boy was brought up to play drums along side of Dave Lombardo for one song and they also let a man in a wheelchair onto the stage. ST are definitely a class act! In between songs, Mike talked about not letting things get you down. His advice was to “Get up, stand up for yourself and you will be the person you want to be.” Great words of wisdom. When they left, the crowd was on a major high and it was also announced that it had been the largest crowd the Sophie Lancaster Stage ever had. They were phenomenal and like Teal converting me to Kamelot, I converted him to ST. It didn’t even matter that they didn’t play my two favourite songs again nor the fact that they pretty much played the same set they had at Download last year.

The crowd heading to the Sophie Stage to see Suicidal Tendencies

ST comes on stage

Guitarist Dean Pleasants can still jam.

Another shot of Dean

Mike leading the charge

After feeding my face some more, we all headed back to the Ronnie James Dio Stage for the main even, Judas Priest. They had a massive stage set up with what looked like cacti which lit up on the wall behind. When the band came out, Rob Halford looked like a bent over old man but he quickly straightened up when they started playing. They opened with “Fire Power” and played two more songs from the album. It was the fourth song that was the big thrill for me when they revealed their all time hidden gem, “The Ripper.” I think I was the only one in the crowd who went absolutely nuts at it. Both Teal and some young lady in front of me both stated, “You’re excited about this song.” Next, they revealed that it was the 40th anniversary of their “Stained Glass” album where they played “Saints in Hell” as a tribute. Other Priest greats included “Turbo Lover” and “Freewheel Burning.” While Rob was the great show man he has always been for more than four decades, I was impressed with guitarists Richie Faulkner. He seems to have learned from his mentors and if the band was to continue, he is more than capable to carry them on. Scott Travis was pretty cool too and I loved how he and Richie traded solos. Things seemed to end with an extended version of “You Got Another Thing Comin'” and “Painkiller,” both drawing large cheers from the crowd. But Judas Priest weren’t done. Obviously, there would be an encore and that’s when they sprung a surprise. Glenn Tipton came out to play with them for the four encore songs. He did look a little frail and Rob kept coming over to him but he stayed the course. He even played a solo on the closing song, “Living After Midnight” which followed on from “Breaking the Law.” When the mighty Priest did leave, it was to much adulation and a brief but cool fireworks display.

Blasted light show kept me from getting decent pictures of Priest

See again!

A little better

Even taking a photo of the big screen didn’t work.

I kept trying though

Teal and Joe called it a night but I had one more act to watch. As soon as Judas Priest was finished, I high tailed it over to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to catch Doro. My timing was perfect because as I entered the tent, she was performing one of my favourites, “I Rule the Ruins.” That wasn’t the only one she treated me to, a few songs later, I got to hear “East Meets West,” where she brought out a former guitarist Tommy Bowen. Therefore, for the rest of her show, she had a three guitar attack behind her. Sounded real good when she played “Burning the Witches.” Doro engaged the audience really well throughout and while her light show was nothing like Priest, it was still pretty cool. “All We Are” got the crowd really going and it carried on until she left the stage. When she came back out, Doro asked the audience what song they would like. I was too far away so she couldn’t hear me calling out for “I’ll Make It On My Own,” so she said, since nobody came forth with a song, she’d pick one, which she did. A second song was asked for and she picked one from a young lady in the front and that’s how the night ended, with loads of bows and “thank yous” before leaving. It was a great way to end the first day!

Doro on the Sophie Stage

Better pics with Doro

Tommy Bowen on guitar

Doro mesmerizes the crowd

Note: You may have noticed that I haven’t posted songs from every band I saw. I thought to do it with the ones I had never heard of before and now you have.

Next post: Saturday

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Keel- Lay Down the Law

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2018 by 80smetalman

I’m now back in the UK and after getting over my worst ever case of jet lag, it’s back to business as usual here on 80smetalman’s Blog. Obediently following my list of albums for 1984, upon my return, the next one up just happened to be “Lay Down the Law” by Keel. This was one where back in the day, I listened to a couple of times and thought, “It’s okay,” before putting it to one side and hardly bothering with it since. As a result, the question as to whether I would be of the same opinion thirty plus years later came into play now.

Now, I know you’re all waiting with baited breath right now to know whether or not I am of the same opinion. Well, the answer is that the album is still just okay, although on some listens it manages to claw its way into the ‘Good’ region in my mind. In dissecting the album, let me start with the not so positives. First, there’s the opener, “Thunder and Lightening,” which is at the bottom of the best song rating list on the album. I think Keel try to hard to be that “We’re going to come out and kick your ass” type band with it. Unfortunately, they do not convince me. The other not so positive is the power ballad, “Princess of Illusion.” Now I know that many glam type metal bands have their token ballad on every album and maybe this was what the band was going for here. However, it will not even come close to any of my favourite power ballads.

Keel’s strength is playing straight ahead heavy metal. Fortunately, they do this rather well on the remainder of the songs. The title track and “Speed Demon” do well to make you forget the opener and that momentum is only slightly killed by the power ballad. Fortunately, the best song on the album comes right after it. “Born Ready” is Keel doing straight forward metal at it’s very best and I have to say that they should have followed that format all through the album. The following track, “Metal Generation,” does follow on very nicely.

“Till Hell Freezes Over” is  an attempt to emulate Dio or the Ronnie James Dio era of Black Sabbath. It’s starts out like it’s going to be another power ballad but before I think, “Oh, not again,” the song goes up two gears into more straight ahead metal. While it’s not quite equal to what Ronnie would have done, it’s a pretty good effort on Keel’s part. Besides, it has the best guitar solo on the album. “Tonight You’re Mine” takes things back to more familiar territory although the song is more speed metal here. Then they close with another brave effort, a cover of the Rolling Stones classic, “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” Covers can be rather hit or miss and in this case, Keel put a good metal touch on the song. Would Mick and Keith approve? That’s up to them. I do like the bit at the end where Ron sings a little of the title track before advising the listener of their Miranda rights.

My honest conclusion on “Lay Down the Law” is that Keel weren’t sure what they wanted to be with the album. They try different things on different songs and some work while others don’t. If I could have advised them back in 1984, I would have told them to stick with the straight forward metal because that’s what they seem to do best.

Track Listing:

  1. Thunder and Lightning
  2. Lay Down the Law
  3. Speed Demon
  4. Princess of Illusion
  5. Born Ready
  6. Metal Generation
  7. Till Hell Freezes Over
  8. Tonight You’re Mine
  9. Let’s Spend the Night Together

Keel

Ron Keel- guitar, vocals

Marc Ferrari- lead guitar, backing vocals

Bryan Jay- lead guitar, backing vocals

Kenny Chaisson- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Marks- drums, backing vocals

If I were giving marks, I would give Keel a B- for their debut album. “Lay Down the Law” does have some points they should not have touched but there was some definite potential here. Would they follow on this? That question will be answered when I visit future Keel albums.

Next post: Autograph- Sign In Please

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Great Metal Album of 2018: Black Emerald- Hell Can’t Handle All of Us

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

It’s been four days since my weekend in Reading and after listening to their debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us,” I can still say I’m really into Black Emerald. I’ve now given the album three spins and I am completely impressed. Back in the 1980s, I used to love to listen to up and coming bands because they were hungry and that hunger was reflected in their music. So, it’s great to see that more than thirty years on, that theme is still present.

Things start off with an intro that totally reminds me of Black Sabbath. You know, that slow gloomy bass and guitar sound that gives the eerie feeling of impending doom. Something I have always loved about Sabbath. However, unlike Sabbath, that mood quickly changes to a faster uptempo sound which the earlier hook leads you into banging your head away to. This is a good opener to the album.

Following on is the more speed metal “Life of Anxiety.” Gutlocker vocalist Craig McBrearty lends a hand on the lead vocals and his vocal trade off with Emerald front man Edd Higgs, is just great to listen to. On “Dr Stein,” we have a fusion of Black Sabbath meets Megadeath. An interesting combination to say the least but it works very well on this song. There is the speed of Megadeath to start and even the first chorus reminds me a tiny bit of one of my favourite Megadeath tracks, “A Tout Le Monde.” Later in the song things go to the slower, gloomier Black Sabbath sound. “Dr Stein” ends with a very interesting combination of sounds from the guitar, bass and drums.

Next comes my favourite song on the album, “B.O.D.” I have said many times before that if the music is good in a song, the content of the lyrics won’t matter. The song could be about loving Jesus, eating fruit or doing terrible things to cats with a spoon and I wouldn’t be affected. “B.O.D.” is an anti- drug song and at my age, I shouldn’t be amused by the lyrics but with the song being so good, I don’t care that the opening line is:

“Shoot it up and snort the line

Dropping acid to drinking wine.”

Even later in the track, there’s “Smoking weed to smoking crack,” but I’m still rocking away. It could be down to the fact that guitarist Simon Hall really opens up on this track.

“One For the Road” continues to show how well the band can change it up during a song with elements of speed metal and melody. Afterwards, there’s “Voodoo Princess” which features Remnant guitarist Andy Gunn. The guitars on this track give the song a Jimi Hendrix feel to it. Like I said when I saw Remnant, Andy Gunn can play a guitar and Simon is playing along with him. I get impressions of guitar solo trade offs in the forms of Tipton/Downing, Smith/Murray and even Hanneman/King.

The second song from the demo tape I was given at Bloodstock is “Drown in the River.” It’s is done even better on the album and now that I have the lyrics on hand, I know know that the singer is drowning in the Thames River and not the River Death like I thought he was the past four and a half years. It also has a cool guitar solo and a great fade out at the end.

Black Sabbath rears its influential head again on the intro for “Sculptures to the Sky.” Now before every starts going WTF? let me say that this track is what Black Sabbath would sound like if Tom Arraya was lead vocalist. I don’t know if that would work in real life but Black Emerald makes it definitely plausible here.

The final crossover track from the demo is “Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross.” During the show, Edd explained that the song was about Charles Manson. Reading the lyrics, I can see that but they could be singing about a Hitler, Manson, Satan orgy and I would still like this song. Another weirdo fanatic is featured in the near ten minute track, “Jonestown.” The song is about Reverend Jim Jones who ordered his cult to commit suicide in 1978. What I love about this song is that’s it’s a celebration of what the band is capable of. Great vocals, musicianship and some cool tempo changes just so you don’t get bored. Not that you would. “Jonestown” leads into the closing instrumental that is “Revelations” and that is a brilliant way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Can’t Handle All of Us
  2. Life of Anxiety
  3. Dr Stein
  4. B.O.D.
  5. One For the Road
  6. Voodoo Pricess
  7. Drown in the River
  8. Sculptures in the Sky
  9. Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross
  10. Jonestown
  11. Revelations

Edd Higgs- bass, lead vocals

Simon Hall- guitars, backing vocals

Connor Shortt- drums

 

 

You know what? Of the many hundreds of albums I have covered here, I have never broken an album down this extensively. This is because every track has something to offer. Black Emerald are hungry and this debut album is surely evidence of that. So, I hope I’ve converted all of you and you will all go out and buy this album.

Next post: WASP

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Virgin Steele- Guardians of the Flame

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-virgin_steele_guardians_of_the_flame

Virgin Steele’s 1982 debut album might have passed me by, (I blame being in the service at the time), but their second album, “Guardians of the Flame,” didn’t. I have a friend of my sister’s to thank for that because she was a big Virgin Steele fan. It was this album that she played on cassette in her car one day and the rest was history.

What hooked me straight away is that my all time favourite Virgin Steele song is the opener on “Guardians of the Flame.” “Don’t Say Goodbye Tonight” is one of those with a fast catchy beat that hooks you immediately. One can’t helped to headbang away to this tune. It is helped by the guitar work of Jack Starr, then the entire album is as well, and the rhythm section sounds the tightest on this song. What’s best is that lead singer, David DeFeis doesn’t try so much to be Joe Cool metal singer on it. His vocals are good enough but his attempts at high screams have always been off putting for me. He doesn’t do that on “Don’t Say Goodbye Tonight.”

DeFeis does those things on the next two tracks but fortunately, Starr’s guitar work cancels out the screams and makes those songs enjoyable. Maybe he gets the hint by track four because he doesn’t scream on “The Redeemer” making it a strong, powerful track. I sense a little Black Sabbath influence here and done well. The song is seven minutes long but a lot of that is Jack laying down the jams, so it’s a very enjoyable track.

Following a brief instrumental is the title cut. It begins like any other straight forward Virgin Steele metal tune but then in the middle, it goes totally progressive rock. I mean that when I listen to this part, I could be listening to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. However, it works with the second longest song on the album, just shy of seven minutes. You got to give them credit for having the balls to stretch out a bit here and credit where do for pulling it off. Again, Jack Starr has an influence on it too.

Things go back to more power metal after that with three really strong metal tracks. Then the album closes with the ballad like, “A Cry in the Night.” Using a ballad as a closer is always risky but there is a great guitar solo towards the end that helps to take the song out in very good way and has me making mental notes to listen to it again.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Say Goodbye Tonight
  2. Burn the Sun
  3. Life of Crime
  4. The Redeemer
  5. Birth Through Fire
  6. Guardians of the Flame
  7. Metal City
  8. Hell or High Water
  9. Go All the Way
  10. A Cry in the Night
Virgin Steele

Virgin Steele

David DeFies- vocals, keyboards

Jack Starr- guitar

Joe O’Reilly- bass

Joey Avazian- drums

I was impressed by the second album from Virgin Steele, “Guardians of the Flame” and I would seek out their later material. So what I ask myself is why I never got their debut album. If any of you can shed light on whether I’ve committed a travesty or had a lucky escape by not listening to it, I would be very grateful.

Next post: Waysted- Vices

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Quiet Riot- Mental Health

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-metalhealthquietriot

Here’s one reason why I was so excited about music in the Autumn of 1983. In the months leading up to when my household finally acquired MTV, we were still relying on the late night, half hour programme called “Video Rock” for our television musical feed. One video got a lot of play on that show, though I liked it and the song from the very first viewing. Sorry, no 80smetalman points for guessing it because I think you all know that it was “Cum On Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot. Seeing this video and hearing the song, sometimes on radio, it was no wonder I was so pumped up when I went to see them open for Black Sabbath in the November. Black Sabbath/Quiet Riot is definitely in my top ten of concerts I’ve seen in my life. However, I didn’t have to buy the album, “Mental Health” back then because my sister did. Of course, I borrowed it quite a lot.

Some misguided rock officianadoes, at least they think they are, have marked Quiet Riot as one hit wonders because later albums weren’t as commercially successful as “Mental Health” and the follow up single, “Mental Health,” only reached 31 in the charts. Hey, who gives a stuff about that? Obviously, these so-called experts never sat down and listened to the album because if they had, they would have been completely blown away. I know I was.

While the two singles lead the album, there are so many great metal tunes on it and a couple I wouldn’t call metal but are good nonetheless. Take “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” for example. There is definitely a funk infusion on this song that is definitely not metal but is good anyway. Plus there’s the tribute song to the late Randy Rhoads, “Thunderbird.” It is slow and there is a piano in it but I think Randy would have still approved of it. Another observation is that lead singer Kevin DuBrow’s singing style is the same on those two songs as well as the more metal ones on the album. In fact, I think he would sound the same if he sang country/western.

What raises “Mental Health” to the precipice it stands upon is the great metal tunes on here. Everyone I know agrees that “Slick Black Cadillac” is a great metal tune and the harmonizing is done so well. I can hear a Black Sabbath vibe in “Life’s a Bitch” at the beginning of the song while “Breathless” is a straight forward in your face metal tune as is “Run For Cover.” “Let’s Get Crazy” goes more on the anthem side of things but trust me, when they played it live, it had me ready to jump out of my seat. Guitarist Carlos Carvazo is more than sufficient throughout the album but he does get his time to shine on “Battleaxe.” As far as I can remember, this was the second time I heard a track where the guitarist was just given the chance to show his stuff and Carlos rises to the occasion. “Eruption” was the first.

Track Listing:

  1. Mental Health (Bang Your Head)
  2.    Cum On Feel the Noize
  3. Don’t Wanna Let You Go
  4. Slick Black Cadillac
  5. Life’s a Bitch
  6. Breathless
  7. Run For Cover
  8. Battleaxe
  9. Let’s Get Crazy
  10. Thunderbird
Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot

Kevin Dubrow- lead vocals

Carlos Carvazo- guitar, backing vocals

Rudy Sarzo- bass, synthesizer

Frankie Banali- drums, backing vocals

Not only was did “Mental Health” propel Quiet Riot onto the metal and commercial world stage, it gave a  famous British band from the 1970s its big break in the US. Once people learned that “Cum On Feel the Noize” was originally recorded by Slade, many people like myself investigated said band further. That would mean big things for Slade with their next album, which I’ll get to in time. Besides, Mrs 80smetalman met Slade back in 1979. Like, “Pyromania” by Def Leppard, “Mental Health would be considered on of THE albums of 1983. In fact, here’s a piece of useless information my strange brain managed to retain: “Cum on Feel the Noize” squared off against “Photograph” on the MTV Friday night video fights. From what I remember, “Photograph” won by a landslide.

Next Post: Krokus- Headhunter

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Black Sabbath- Born Again

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-sabbathborn

The first concert I saw at the Philadelphia Spectrum after getting out of the marines was Black Sabbath. Having heard the album they were promoting on the tour, “Born Again,” I already knew that former Deep Purple lead singer, Ian Gillan, would be fronting them. However, I still thought it was a bit strange that when they came out for the second encore, they played “Smoke on the Water.” Actually, that strange feeling lasted only for a few seconds because the song worked as did Gillan singing some of the more classic Sabbath songs. I thought he did a particularly good job on “Heaven and Hell.”

This begs the question, if Ian Gillan sounded so good for Sabbath, then why did so many of the so-called rock critics slate it and why isn’t this album considered one of their best? Let me address the second point. When I hear “Born Again,” I don’t immediately start pining for the more classic Sabbath albums like “Paranoid” or “Heaven and Hell” but I won’t put it on the same level as those more memorable albums either. It’s a great album but not a classic. As for the critics, well, what do they know?

Ian Gillan’s Deep Purple influence comes out immediately on the album. “Trashed” could have been a Purple song. At least until Tony Iommi goes into one of his trademark guitar solos in the middle of the song. Plus, I can say the same thing for “Disturbing the Priest,” although the instrumental track in between those two, “Stonehenge” tries too hard to copy “E5150.” My hypothesis here is that Tony and Geezer let Ian sing according to his style and bent their guitar and bass playing styles around the vocals. Personally, I think they do a damned fine job of it as well. This really shows through on the track “Zero the Hero.” Unlike some critic, I don’t find the song embarrassing, I quite like it, especially how Tony Iommi nails the guitar solo on it.

My favourite track on the album has to be “Digital Bitch.” I love the way, they take Gillan’s shrieks and Tony’s guitar and fuse them together. The title track is a more slower bluesier number. Black Sabbath have been doing these for years except in the past, they did it with a much heavier guitar. They don’t do that so much with this one except for the chorus. At the time, it was believed that this would be the closest Black Sabbath would come to a power ballad. Ian Gillan’s voice suits the song well but then he is definitely if not the best, one of the best vocalists in rock or metal.

Now I haven’t forgotten to mention the interesting album cover. After all, I had it on a t-shirt. I always thought it very amusing even if the American religious community didn’t. Now, I wish I still had that shirt.

Track Listing:

  1. Trashed
  2. Stonehenge
  3. Disturbing the Priest
  4. The Dark
  5. Zero the Hero
  6. Digital Bitch
  7. Born Again
  8. Hot Line
  9. Keep it Warm
Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi- guitar

Ian Gillan- vocals

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Note: Bill Ward would not tour with the band for this album. Replacing him for the tour was former ELO drummer Bev Bevan

I wonder what would have happened if Ian Gillan had stuck around with Sabbath for a few more albums. Would musical history as we know it been changed? Hard to say. As we know, Ian would leave Sabbath after this and rejoin his mates Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover from Rainbow and reform that band they were in together during the early 1970s. Ian Gillan might have only recorded one album with Black Sabbath but it is definitely one to remember.

Next post: Because they supported Black Sabbath when I saw them, I thought it right that it be Quiet Riot- Mental Health

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Ozzy Osbourne- Speak of the Devil

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-ozzyosbournespeakofthedevil

Welcome to another 1982 album that came to my attention while I was still serving with the marines on Okinawa. Even when I first heard then, I, like many others, speculated on why Ozzy would put out an album featuring live performances of his Black Sabbath material. Further investigation turned up that the reason was that this album was a contractual obligation album with Jet Records. That could explain many things like why Ozzy has publicly renounced the album.

Another thing it explains is the shockingly bad production of the album. Yes, this is a live album but it sounds like it was recorded live at a local pub. I can hear why many people found this album off putting. A further reason was that Ozzy’s drinking problem was getting to him big time. The vinyl version has pictures of a road crew member who suffered from dwarfism, bringing Ozzy drinks in between songs. It also explains why his voice wasn’t tip top on “Speak of the Devil.”

In spite of all my negativity here, if you really want all the Black Sabbath classics and are too cheap to go out and buy all their albums, then this is a decent substitute. Yep, all the great songs are there. “Iron Man,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Snowblind,” my all time favourite Sabbath song, “War Pigs” and as always, the live show is ended with “Paranoid.” They’re all there although some songs sound better than others and none of them come up to the standard of when they were first recorded. Personally, I think “The Wizard” sounds the best on it.

One more positive I can add is that Ozzy always gets a good crew of musicians behind him and this is the case on “Speak of the Devil.” Here, we have Brad Gillis, before he joined Night Ranger on guitar, Rudy Sarzo, who would go to Quiet Riot on bass and Tommy Aldridge on drums. When the production allows, the talents of these three men show through and make the album listenable.

Track Listing:

  1. Symptom of the Universe
  2. Snowblind
  3. Black Sabbath
  4. Fairies Wear Boot
  5. War Pigs
  6. The Wizard
  7. N.I.B.
  8. Sweet Leaf
  9. Never Say Die
  10. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
  11. Iron Man/Children of the Grave
  12. Paranoid
Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne- vocals

Brad Gillis- guitar

Rudy Sarzo- bass

Tommy Aldridge- drums

“Speak of the Devil” isn’t one that is mentioned along with the other great Ozzy Osbourne albums. In fact, it has been universally agreed that a better live album would come out four years later. Don’t worry, I’ll post about that one in due time. Still, if you fancy a trip down memory lane and want to hear Ozzy sing some Black Sabbath classics, then this album is okay to do that.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Piece of Mind

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London