Archive for Ronnie James Dio

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Loudness- Disillusion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2018 by 80smetalman

No further proof is needed to support the fact that heavy metal had the world by the balls in 1984 than the album from Japanese metal greats Loudness, “Disillusion.” As far as I know, this was the first Loudness album to be sung in English. All previous albums had been sung in the band’s native tongue although that did not make them any less kick ass.

Thinking about the above statement, that leads to the one small problem with the album. Minoru Nihara’s vocals are sometimes difficult to hear. This is a shame because it is true he sings better English than what he speaks. I’ve heard interviews with him. What is a further shame is the fact that you can’t hear what a great voice he has. Some of you might remember that when I’ve posted about previous Loudness albums, I compared Minoru Nihara to the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Klaus Meine and Ian Gillan. He certainly belongs in the same league as those just mentioned.

While not being able to fully appreciate Nihara’s vocals on “Disillusion” is a little frustrating at times, it is only a small inconvenience because what does obscure the vocals is the brilliant guitar playing of Akira Takasaki. From the first note of the instrumental opener, he just shreds and riffs all over the album. The solos are superb and even his rhythm guitar parts are done amazingly well. He shines extremely well on the tracks “Butterfly” and his instrumental solo “Exploder.” However, my vote for the favourite track is still “Satisfaction Guaranteed” because Nihara’s vocals come through the clearest on it and he does a good job with them. Of course, Takasaki’s guitar playing guided by a good rhythm section help as well.

Track Listing:

  1. Anthem
  2. Crazy Doctor
  3. Esper
  4. Butterfly
  5. Revelation
  6. Exploder
  7. Dream Fantasy
  8. Milky Way
  9. Satisfaction Guaranteed
  10. Ares’ Lament

Loudness

Minoru Nihara- lead vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Masayoshi Yamashita- bass, taurus pedals

Munetaka Higuchi- drums

“Disillusion” put Loudness on the metal map in the West and set the stage for the following album which would propel them to greatness. It also proved that culture, race, or national borders had nothing to do with enjoying great metal.

BTW, I will be purchasing my tickets for Sunday’s Download tonight.

Next post: Triumph- Thunder 7

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Dio- The Last in Line

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by 80smetalman

No further evidence to support the fact that 1984 was the year of heavy metal is needed beyond the fact that Dio had two songs from their second album, “The Last in Line” played on commercial radio. When I first heard the title track played on my local commercial station, I wasted no time in cranking up the volume and breaking out the air guitar. I was working at a parking lot at the time but it didn’t matter one bit if I was the subject of people’s attention. To hear such a song on the radio was completely mind blowing at the time.

The video to the track, “The Last in Line” was cool in my view but it did come in for a lot of criticism at the time. In the eyes of the religious fanatics, scenes of people getting tortured by Satan’s minions was a major problem. Of course, if they bothered to watch the entire video, they would have seen that the protagonist in it does make his escape with the help of Ronnie himself. My conclusion was that it’s a cool video for a great song.

“Mystery” the second single, didn’t do quite as well but I love this song too and the video for it. The video is a more fantasy setting so no one gets tortured in it. After one showing of it on MTV, the vee-jay said “Mystery” was the closest thing to a ballad from Dio. Maybe so, it would be another twelve years before “Angry Machines” and the closer to it, which is a definite ballad. Still, I continue to love “Mystery.”

Now, let me go to the four tracks which some people consider to be filler. I don’t because I consider “Breathless,” “I Speed at Night,” “Evil Eyes” and “Eat Your Heart Out” to all be good tracks. Maybe the heavy breathing before “Breathless” is a little OTT but that intro and Ronnie’s “No No No No No” more than cancel it out. Coming home from visiting my children the other night, I realise that I do speed at night. In some cases, I discovered that I was doing 80 on the motorway, so that song is very true. “Eat Your Heart Out” has a cool intro as well and I love how “Evil Eyes” ends. So, in my mind, these songs aren’t filler.

As for the three songs I haven’t mentioned, well, they are better than the four I just mentioned. “We Rock” would have been used to open their shows on tour for “The Last in Line” had they not had a better show opener from the “Holy Diver ” album. “Stand Up and Shout” is one of the greatest show opening songs ever. But while it might not have opened the show, Dio still had the sense to play it on their next couple of tours. It is a cool song. “One Night in the City” is my hidden gem on the album. I have always loved Ronnie’s ability to tell stories behind the great music and on this one, it’s near perfect. The same can be said for the closer, “Egypt (The Chains are On.)” This too tells a great story behind what is some great music. I don’t quite rate it as good as “One Night in the City” but it does make an excellent closer for the album.

Most people can attest to the great vocals of Ronnie James Dio and he does a superb job on “The Last in Line.” However, the rest of the band needs their credit where due. Vivian Campbell lays down some brilliant guitar solos on here. Why some people call him overrated I’ll never under stand. Jimmy Bain and Vinnie Appice remain the tight rhythm section on this albums as much as they were on the last one. Then there’s the new addition on the album. It was here, keyboards player Claude Schnell joined the band and his contribution to the band is immense. All together, these five men work together and put out a fantastic album.

Track Listing:

  1. We Rock
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Breathless
  4. I Speed At Night
  5. On Night in the City
  6. Evil Eyes
  7. Mystery
  8. Eat Your Heart Out
  9. Egypt (The Chains are On)

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Claude Schnell- keyboards

Vinnie Appice- drums

 

 

The best concert I ever went to in my life happened on this tour. Dio, supported by Twisted Sister was a night I will take to my grave with me as one of the great highs. One of the main contributors to this ecstasy was the fact that it was “The Last in Line” album. Thinking back to when I wrote about this concert in “Rock and Roll Children,” I didn’t highlight just how magnificent a show it was.

Next Post: Helix- Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Kerry Livgren AD- Timeline

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2017 by 80smetalman

Once again, I was deceived by Satan in 1984. The Christian Rock radio programme, TCN Hot Rock played the song “Mask of the Great Deceiver” by Kerry Livgren. What blew me away about the song was who was on the lead vocals. That alone was grounds for me to go out and buy a Kerry Livgren album. However, when I read the tracks on the 1984 album, “Timeline,” that track wasn’t on it. Therefore I didn’t buy it. As think back to that time, I see the irony in it all, in regards to the vocalist on the song. See, it was about this time that the singer was getting attacked by Christian groups for being Satanic. They obviously never listened to Livgren’s song for even the deejay had to admit the great job done by the vocalist. I’m not going to tell you who that vocalist was, you have to listen to the song and guess. Though, it is pretty obvious. Actually, the picture gives it away but have a listen anyway.

Most of you will know that Kerry Livgren came over from the great 70s prog rock band Kansas. After leaving Kansas in 1983, he met some musicians who were like minded in his spiritual beliefs so they formed the band Kerry Livgren AD and “Timeline” was their first album although it’s considered by some to be Kerry’s second solo album. He had one in 1980 which features the track I pontificated about above.

One critic back then called the “Timeline”album stale. While I won’t agree with that, I can see where he might say that because the first tracks are very 80s synth pop. However, he does nail a good guitar solo on the opening title track and some interesting keyboards work at the end of the second one. While probably the weakest tracks on the album, the first two do set the stage for the better tracks that follow. In fact, the very next track, “Make or Break It” is reminiscent of Kansas and the track after even more so. Kerry nails down some killer guitar solos on tracks, “Take Us to the Water” and “New Age Blues,” (my favourite track), as well as some interesting keyboards work. “Slow Motion Suicide” is a great example. Another very interesting and very notable aspect on “Timeline” are the Yes inspired harmony vocals on the album. They appear throughout. There always being an exception, the track “Beyond the Pale,” sounds very contemporary for the time Joe Jackson.

Track Listing:

  1. Timeline
  2. Tonight
  3. Make or Break It
  4. Take Us to the Water
  5. Beyond the Pale
  6. New Age Blues
  7. Slow Motion Suicide
  8. High On the Hill
  9. Life Undercover
  10. Welcome to the War

Kerry Livgren AD

Kerry Livgren- guitars, keyboards

Michael Gleason- lead and backing vocals

Warren Ham- lead and backing vocals

Dennis Holt- drums, percussion

David Hope- bass

Kerry Livgren AD might have been pushed into the area of Christian Rock by some critics and followers of Christ but there are no in your face Jesus lyrics. To me, it’s just some good old progressive rock similar to what Kerry did with his former band.

Next post: Stryper- Yellow and Black Attack

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1506774683&sr=8-4&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tony Carey was another great artist considered a one hit wonder by the MTV generation of the mid 1980s. In the spring and early summer of 1984, his biggest single, “A Fine Fine Day,” tore up the charts and eventually made it to number six or seven. It got tons of airplay on both radio and MTV. However, what these robots failed to understand that Tony had been rocking our world for many years before this. They didn’t know about his stint with the great Rainbow or even known that the year before, he had success with his band Planet P. Fortunately, I did and that information led me to procure his 1984 album, “Some Tough City.”

If I had been among the ignorant, the second single released from the album might have put me off buying the album. “The First Day of Summer” wasn’t bad, although there are much better tracks on “Some Tough City,” it’s just in the video for the song, he tries too hard to act like Joe Cool Rock Singer and that was a bit off putting. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Carey has a good voice but he’s an even better musician as demonstrated on the album where he plays all the instruments. I know I have beaten the word ‘underrated’ to death on 80sMetalman but the term definitely applies to Tony.

“A Fine Fine Day” is not typical of the album. It’s a great song and it won my 1984 award for best non metal song of the year but it’s more progressive rock and Tony definitely demonstrates his keyboard skills on it. Most of the rest of the album has more of a hard rock edge to it, even “The First Day of Summer.” However, some of the more rockier songs like, “Eddie Goes Underground” and “A Lonely Life” really cook on here. A real paradox on the album is “Reach Out,” where it starts out like it’s going to be some 80s synth pop song and then really explodes into a rocker. The big surprise on it is the fact that Tony hammers out a decent guitar solo on it. He does the same, actually his guitar work is even better on the more progressive rock sounding “Tinseltown.” Let’s face it, Tony Carey is a brilliant all round musician and his talent has been ignored for far too long.

Track Listing:

  1. A Fine Fine Day
  2. A Lonely Life
  3. Eddie Goes Underground
  4. The First Day of Summer
  5. Reach Out
  6. Tinseltown
  7. Hungry
  8. I Can’t Stop the World
  9. Some Tough City
  10. She Can Bring Me Love

Tony Carey- vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Now my mind is going off to strange worlds from posting about “Some Tough City” by Tony Carey. I wonder if he and Ronnie James Dio ever hooked up again after Rainbow. That would have been mind blowing. It wouldn’t have been possible in 1984 because Tony was riding a huge wave of success as a result of the album and its top ten single. As for Ronnie, that will be all explained in a future post.

Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2016: The Sunday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by 80smetalman

Sunday, the final day of Bloodstock and while that meant packing up to go home, (I couldn’t stay the Sunday night as I had to be in work for 7:40 the Monday morning), I was determined to make the most of the final day. The two bands at the top of the bill on this day was incentive enough. Therefore, while I didn’t rush things, I still went into the arena fairly early.

Let me declare to the world that I have found the perfect cure for the Sunday morning hangover! It comes in the form of the first band of the day, Ghost Bath. Their brand of what I would call stoner metal definitely soothes the soul and the melody of their music makes it very easy to sway back and forth to with little effort. The vocals basically consisted of the lead singer, he was the one dressed in black, screaming the occasional “Yeah!” down the microphone. Strangely, it went very well with the music. Furthermore, I was intrigued by Ghost Bath’s appearance. Except for the singer, the rest of the band was all in white, sort of like ghosts. Like I said, a great way to get over your hangover on Sunday morning.

Ghost Bath soothing the afflicted

Ghost Bath soothing the afflicted

Going from one extreme to the other, while Ghost Bath were more soothing on the ears, loud vicious wails coming from the New Blood Stage beckoned me in that direction. Needing to investigate, I went into the tent and found the perpetrators, a band by the name of Pteroglyph. They were a well put together quartet of thrash metal mania. Again, like with Witch Tripper, I hope any scouts viewing them this day didn’t pass on a great opportunity. Furthermore, I hoped the older looking appearance of the rhythm guitarist wasn’t a further excuse to ignore this band. He looked close to my age but that could have been the lighting. I was impressed.

Pteroglyph releasing their carnage

Pteroglyph releasing their carnage

Leaving the New Blood Stage, I returned to the Ronnie James Dio Stage in time for the second band of the day, Heart of a Coward. I had seen a picture of this band before and they reminded of the typical English men who go out on a Saturday night, get drunk and then engage in a good punch up. However, from the sounds they were creating on the stage, I get the impression that they put all of their aggression into their music and the sound resulting from that is fantastic. In between the power notes, there was some good intricate guitar work to be heard as well. This leaves me to conclude that the band’s name is a good catchy hook because there is nothing cowardly about this band. Thinking about it, Heart of a Coward with Pteroglyph in support would make a cool concert on its own.

Heart of a Coward proving they weren't

Heart of a Coward proving they weren’t

Having fully been metalized for the Sunday morning, duty called so I had to return to tear down the tent and pack away. Fortunately, tearing down the tent wasn’t nearly as difficult as putting it up. Even though, we had less to carry back the car as we did when we arrived three days earlier, it wasn’t an easy task. That was probably down to my determination to get it all done in one trip. I did use a bit of ingenuity when we got to the edge of the car park. We grounded our gear and went and brought the car around to load it, thus saving a lot of effort. It allowed us to get back in plenty of time to see Dragonforce, who Teal and Joe were raving about.

At first, I was going to give Dragonforce a miss because Anthrax had arrived in the signing tent and getting their autograph would have been a dream come true. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you view it, I had to wait in a mile long queue to get an autograph. That line wound in view of the main stage, so when Dragonforce appeared, I got the best of both worlds. Dragonforce’s brand of progressive metal, (they reminded me of Stratovarius), was quite enjoyable. It calmed my frustration brought on by standing in a line that wasn’t moving. If I had known that I would never even get close to seeing my heroes Anthrax, I would have ventured closer to the stage because they seemed to have a good presence. Dragonforce eased the disappointment ten-fold.

Closest I got to Dragonforce

Closest I got to Dragonforce

I should have gotten closer

I should have gotten closer

I figured that I should go see one last band on the Sophie Lancaster Stage before I went home and Dragonforce’s departure from the stage provided that opportunity. Ditty bopping over into the tent, I was treated to the powerful music coming from Vecktor. Here was another band that had some great guitar and progressive interludes in between lashings of pure power. They definitely had me head banging away to them along with most of those who were in the Sophie Lancaster tent at the time. I could feel the powerful climax to the night rapidly building up.

Vecktor putting on a cool performance

Vecktor putting on a cool performance

With the two bands most of Bloodstock I was waiting to see, I thought I would get close to the main stage in preparation. I’m glad I did. Not because I was going to be in a good position for Anthrax but also because I got to see the predecessors, Symphony X. While I only saw about twenty minutes of their time on stage, I thought it was well worth it. They were a natural progression from Dragonforce and Vecktor and would prove to be a good bridge for what was to come after. Power chords melded with some good melody backed by competent keyboards always makes a good listen and Symphony X ticked all of those boxes. By the time they had left the stage, I was a volcano waiting to erupt.

Symphony X

Symphony X

With Symphony X departed from the stage, I maneuvered my way down to the front of the stage, this time removing my glasses first and waited. Time flew by it seemed but watching the crew carry out the final checks only served to heighten the tension. Then it happened, Anthrax were on stage. I don’t know what song they opened with but I didn’t care, especially as they followed up with “Caught in a Mosh” and predictably, a huge pit opened nearby. Now, my only complaint when I saw them in 2013 was that they didn’t play any songs from the “Spreading the Disease” album. This time, they rectified it with the fourth song. Predictably, it was “Madhouse” but that didn’t stop me from singing along. Also, the first time I saw Anthrax was 30 years ago, but they, especially Frank Bello and Scott Ian, moved about the stage as if they hadn’t aged at all. In fact, I never saw Frank quite so animated. He was all over the place. “Indians” proved to be the perfect climax to the show as all those in the pit started a war dance. They were on stage for a little more than an hour but the energy they showed, it seemed like only twenty minutes. Time does fly when you’re having fun.

Anthrax assert their dominance

Anthrax assert their dominance

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal.

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal.

Rob Craggiano managed to get close enough for me to take a picture of him

Rob Craggiano managed to get close enough for me to take a picture of him

With Anthrax done and dusted, the only ones left for the festival was headliners Slayer. Not wanting a repeat of Saturday, I drifted to the back but made sure I had a good viewing point. Slayer came out and wowed the crowd with great lights and music. The problem with so many lights, it hampers good photos but nonetheless, I tried. Anyway, Slayer granted my request and played not one but two songs from the “Show No Mercy” album, the title track and “Die by the Sword.” While the played a good mix of material, they played the same two songs from “South of Heaven” they played three years earlier, “Mandatory Suicide” and that title track. However, I didn’t care that much about trivial things like that as Slayer clobbered everyone in the crowd with what they do best. They did disappear on two occasions for a few brief minutes and I never could figure out why. When they returned, their absence was quickly forgotten. However, I wonder if that’s why they never came out for an encore. At least it seemed that way. Nevertheless, when Slayer left the stage, I was completely satisfied with them, the Sunday and the whole weekend!

Slayer come out to fire and light

Slayer come out to fire and light

Slayer, a class headline act

Slayer, a class headline act

Best shot of Slayer on the night

Best shot of Slayer on the night

This photo wasn't too bad

This photo wasn’t too bad

Explosion of light

Explosion of light

On the journey home, I discovered a conspiracy. For the third time in a row, when coming home from Bloodstock, I hit road detours on the motorways and had to go all around the houses. While it lengthened my trip time, I had the musical delights of Megadeath and “Twisted Forever,” a tribute album to Twisted Sister to make the ride home enjoyable and allowed me to rejoice in the history that I had witnessed over the weekend.

Next post: A Surprise Gig

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2016: Friday- Twisted Sister

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

Photo0097[1]

Having stood in virtually the same spot for nearly five hours and having to endure things like crowd surfers and mosh pits opening nearby, I was ready for the main event. It wasn’t all bad. I did get to rock out to Behemoth, Venom and Corrosion of Conformity and Venom did give me a present before they left the stage. Now, as I was waiting for the band I would have moved mountains to see, especially since it was the farewell to the UK gig, I couldn’t wait for Twisted Sister to get on that stage!

A nice gift from Venom, I managed to pick one up off the ground.

A nice gift from Venom, I managed to pick one up off the ground.

Let me cut straight to the chase, Twisted Sister were full of surprises this night. The last two times I saw them, they opened the show with “Come Out and Play” and the two other times before, it was “Stay Hungry.” I’m not sure which song it was the first time I saw them in 1983 but it might have been this one. They opened with the first track from their “Under the Blade” album, “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can’t Hurt You”) and both the crowd and I went nuts. Afterwards, they kept the momentum going with “The Kids are Back” rapidly followed by “Burn in Hell.” It was a great way to start the show.

Any speculation that Twisted Sister’s set was going to be dominated by their most successful album, “Stay Hungry,” evaporated very quickly. They played a good mix from their first four albums and I thought they sounded better than ever. If this was their farewell performance, they were certainly going out on a high, an astronomical high! A few songs in, Dee Snider, probably one of music’s best when talking to the audience, explained about this being Twisted Sister’s farewell show. He did point out the likes of The Scorpions, KISS and Ozzy, all of whom said they were retiring only to return two years later. Dee promised that this was definitely the band’s last tour, the skeptic in me says time will tell. Anyway, they followed his words up with my all time favourite TS song, “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll.”

Continuing on with their domination of Bloodstock with that great mix of songs, (I’ll provide the full playlist further on down the post,) Dee again addressed the crowd in his usual manner. This time he was more serious as he highlighted all the great losses heavy metal has had in the recent years. Starting with the legend, Ronnie James Dio, he then went to point out the band’s on personal loss with AJ Pero, who passed away last year. Here Dee introduced Mike Portnoy and thanked him for stepping into AJ’s place. After which, he told about the two most recent losses, Jimmy Bain and of course Lemmy, thanking Lemmy for his role in getting Twisted Sister noticed. Tributes were payed to all four with the most appropriate Twisted Sister song to do it with, “The Price.”

Metal Twisted Sister style rocked the arena for several more minutes with Eddie Ojeda and Jay Jay French hammering out solos, Mark Mendoza beating another bass to death, Mike Portnoy’s drumming and Dee Snider’s vocals and crowd chat. It all seemed to end too soon and Twisted Sister appeared to close out by playing a great Rolling Stones classic, “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and I loved it.

Of course, they came back for an encore, starting with the song I thought they might have opened with and then went into a great song from the first album, have a guess, the answer’s further down. It was after the second song that all four of the original members each spoke to the crowd thanking them for all their dedication over the years. Starting with Mark and then Eddie, but as usual, I thought it strange he hadn’t said much before, Jay Jay brought up a very good point. Using the example of X-Factor, he says how the winners thank everyone for their support for fifteen weeks. He was totally right when he said that fifteen weeks was nothing when compared to bands like Judas Priest and KISS as well as Twisted Sister who have been going strong for forty years or more! Stick that one Simon Cowell. Always to have the last word, Dee thanked everyone, especially Mike Portnoy and explained that Mike had been personally chosen by AJ to replace him if the need should ever arise. No one would have thought it would have been under the most tragic of circumstances. With that, Twisted Sister brought an end to a great night with the best song possible, “SMF.” When they left, I’m sure the 15,000 or so who saw them felt they got their money’s worth.

Playlist:

My memory sucks so the order may be slightly out

  1. What You Don’t Know (Sure Can’t Hurt You)
  2. The Kids are Back
  3. Burn In Hell
  4. Destroyer
  5. Knife in the Back
  6. You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll
  7. The Fire Still Burns
  8. I Wanna Rock
  9. Under the Blade
  10. The Price
  11. I Believe in Rock and Roll
  12. I Am I’m Me
  13. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  14. It’s Only Rock and Roll

Encore

  1. Come Out and Play
  2. Shoot’ em Down
  3. SMF

Photos from this historic night

Twisted Sister come out and play

Twisted Sister come out and play

Jay Jay and Mark in support while Eddie cranks out a solo

Jay Jay and Mark in support while Eddie cranks out a solo

Dee showing he still got the vocals while Mark beats his bass to death

Dee showing he still got the vocals while Mark beats his bass to death

Jay Jay's turn for a solo

Good lighting as well as music

Jay Jay's turn for a solo

Jay Jay’s turn for a solo

The fire still burns

The fire still burns

TS at the best ever

TS at the best ever

Photo0106[1]

And here

And here

The grand finale

The grand finale

I am making a promise here which all of you can hold me to. If Twisted Sister change their minds and do come back again, I will not go see them. Not because of any lies but because I believe they couldn’t do any better than what they did on this night. For me they went out on an ultimate high.

Note: My memory isn’t the greatest and though I took notes of the entire weekend, shit for brains here lost the notepad so my memories may be slightly off. If any of you reading this were there, I would love to read about your versions of this piece of history.

Next post: Saturday

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2016: Friday- Well Most of It

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2016 by 80smetalman

Old age had caught up with me just after midnight on the Thursday so I decided to call it a night. Trying to get to sleep, I was disturbed by several loud crashes that went on through the night. When I awoke the next morning, Teal, my stepson, tells me about the latest sports craze sweeping Bloodstock, bin jousting. From what he tells me, you get two large dumpster bins, one or more persons to stand on it and then a group of people to push the bin into that of their opponent’s. Whoever falls loses. I would have definitely done something like that in my youth but these days, nah!

My first morning at Bloodstock, I wolf down my breakfast and head for the arena. With no apparent appearance of anyone on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, I head over to the New Blood Stage. Maybe, I’ll find another band like Black Emerald. At 10:30, a three piece band called Witch Tripper from Mansfield, England ascends the stage and immediately blows me away. They were a great power metal band. The guitarist, who is also the lead singer, can definitely shred and he is supported by a very capable rhythm section. They were that good that they held my attention to the point that I never even noticed the first band of the day on the main stage had begun playing. If there were any record scouts watching these guys play and didn’t make them an offer, then shame on you. Witch Tripper was a great start to the Friday morning.

Witch Tripper made the perfect start to the day.

Witch Tripper made the perfect start to the day.

When Witch Tripper finished, I immediately beat feet to the Ronnie James Dio Stage to catch the second half of Hark. I’m glad I did. Hark’s brand of metal followed very nicely from what I had just seen. They were powerful, fierce and hungry and their performance on the stage showed it. While Witch Tripper might have kicked things off for the day, Hark definitely got the show started on the main stage.

Hark

Hark

It was on Teal’s recommendation that I check out the second band on the main stage on Friday, Gloryhammer. My first impression when I heard them was, “They sound a lot like Hammerfall.” Melodic keyboards, fantasy lyrics and at times, a good power sound, yes, all the elements I know of from Hammerfall. Furthermore, all the mannerisms of the band while they were on stage gave the impression that they were from one of the Scandinavian nations. Even the actions of lead singer, Thomas Winkler, had me thinking they were from said reginon. Well, the last bit was all wrong. The members of the band are from Scotland and Switzerland! In fact, Winkler claims he is the heir to the throne of Fife. Still, their music and stage show was very good. I especially liked when they brought a young lady dressed as a medieval serving wench to refresh them. So, while there was still a definite Hammerfall influence here, they were unique enough to rock the stage.

Gloryhammer fulfilling fantasies

Gloryhammer fulfilling fantasies

More Gloryhammer

More Gloryhammer

Heir of Fife addressing his subjects

Heir of Fife addressing his subjects

Tried to get the serving lady, too many hands got in the way.

Tried to get the serving lady, too many hands got in the way.

With a break in the action on the main stage, I heard loud sounds from the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Going to investigate, I discovered the band Brutai blasting away. Silly cliches but Brutai were brutal. They were loud and proud. So loud in fact that work phoned my mobile during their time on stage and I had to walk a good ways from the tent in order to hear the call. They proved to be an enjoyable bridge between Gloryhammer and the next band to ascend the Ronnie James Dio Stage.

Brutai pounding the Sophie Lancaster Stage

Brutai pounding the Sophie Lancaster Stage

Gloryhammer played melodically to people’s fantasies. The next band on the main stage, Evil Scarecrow, simply scared the crap out of people. Their Halloween make up combined with their aggressive thrash metal was not for the feint-hearted. Evil Scarecrow pulverized the stage and anyone who got near enough to hear them. It must be my sub-conscience masochistic tendencies but I kind of enjoyed what I heard. Still, not one to play when your grandmother is visiting.

I wasn't the only one unafraid of Evil Scarecrow

I wasn’t the only one unafraid of Evil Scarecrow

For some reason, Evil Scarecrow left me feeling a bit hungry. I mean there was no drinking of animal blood on stage or anything like that but my stomach was calling. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to feed my face, down a couple of cans in preparation for the long time I was going to be at the front of the main stage. It was always my plan to see three of the last four bands on the Friday and since the other band was the one on before the headliner, I thought I would see them just so I wouldn’t lose my place for the main event.

The first of those bands was Corrosion of Conformity. I listened to one album of theirs back in the 1980s, but that was all. My memory of them was always them being a thrash metal band but this night, I was educated. While they were definitely metal, I couldn’t help hearing some of their Southern roots in their music. Well, they were announced as being from North Carolina, so I can certainly see where that comes from. Nevertheless, they were metal on this day, through and through. Really loved it when they played “Vote With a Bullet.” They were a great start to the marathon.

Corrosion of Conformity establishing their dominance

Corrosion of Conformity establishing their dominance

Woody Weatherman cranking out a solo

Woody Weatherman cranking out a solo

Corrosion of Conformity wowing the crowd.

Corrosion of Conformity wowing the crowd.

Actually, the wait between bands wasn’t as excruciating as I was fearing. So, it didn’t seem all that long before, Venom emerged. Not to be outdone, Venom hit the stage like a formula one car and only accelerated more as they went on. Playing a good mix, it was only four songs before they played the first of their classics, “Welcome to Hell.” From there, they only created more mayhem on the stage and I have to admit, compared to when I saw them in 1986, Cronus has definitely matured as a musician, singer and showman. Plus, new guitarist, La Rage, was definitely a welcome addition to the band. The only thing I could nit pick was the fact they didn’t play “Women, Leather and Hell” but only a minor disappointment from what was a rather good set, especially when they ended with “Black Metal,” fantastic! At one point, Cronus stated that Venom hadn’t played Britain in ten years but I think that on this day, they earned their place back in the hearts and minds of British metalheads.

Venom comes back

Venom comes back

Cronus proves he still has pipes

Cronus proves he still has pipes

La Rage showing what he can do with a guitar

La Rage showing what he can do with a guitar

I thought that this might have been my first time seeing Behemoth but I now realise that I may have seen them in 2010. I can’t be sure. If I had, back then, they definitely didn’t enter the stage as theatrically as they did on this day. With guitar and bass waiting under a wooden frame while eerie music played, Nergal made his dramatic entry onto the stage and then all pandemonium broke loose. Behemoth’s brand of black metal and death metal provided an interesting gap in what had gone before and what was to come. While I only realised it since coming home from the festival, Behemoth played their latest album, “The Satanist” in it’s entirety. Knowing this and seeing them on stage, has made me want to listen to the album. I have to say, their stage show was quite good except at the end when they released the black confetti, all I could think was that Sabbaton did that last year.

Orion, Seth and Inferno silently wait for things to commence

Orion, Seth and Inferno silently wait for things to commence

Nergal hits the stage

Nergal hits the stage

Behemoth go for it

Behemoth go for it

Cool light show

Cool light show

Black Confetti

Black Confetti

One band was to follow Behemoth on this night. However, you will have to wait til next post to read about them. After all, I did say that I would do a separate post for them alone and trust me, they deserve it.

Next post: Twisted Sister at Bloodstock

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: Dio- Holy Diver

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

dio
Like with David Bowie’s and Motorhead’s 1983 albums, I was hoping to write about the debut album from Dio, in 1983, under much happier circumstances. With the passing of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, I feel that it should be a fitting tribute to him that I post about this iconic album now.

Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What can I say about “Holy Diver” that hasn’t already said? Probably nothing, therefore, I am going to speak about it straight from the heart and yes the pun is intended. From my first listen, I admit it wasn’t til early 1984 when I got that opportunity, til now, I was and still am completely blown away by it. No wonder it’s my fourth favourite album of all time.

Why is this album so good? Let’s start with the opener, “Stand Up and Shout.” That is one of the best album and concert opening songs of all time. A great opener will grab you by the throat and make you listen to the entire album. It’s no wonder, Dio opened with this song three of the five times I’ve seen them live.

You are the driver
you own the road
you are the fire — go on, explode

Then comes my favourite Dio song of all time, the title track. If I were running a ‘Headbanging for Beginners’ course, “Holy Diver” would be the first song I would use. This unique but catchy riff is just plain phenomenal. I still remember at the local nightspot in London for heavy metal, scores of metalheads all in a huddle headbanging away to it. The song is so easy to do that with. Not only that, there are Ronnie James Dio’s lyrics, (he was top of his game here), and Vivian Campbell just nails the guitar solo. For me, it’s always been truly an amazing song.

Between the velvet lies

There’s a truth as hard as steel

A vision never dies

Life’s a never ending wheel.

Following the title cut are two more excellent songs in the form of “Gypsy” and “Caught in the Middle.” With both songs, we see some heavy chords being struck while in sync with more of Ronnie’s lyrics.

Take a look at yourself, you might see someone you don’t know

If you haven’t already figured it out, the above lyrics were from “Caught in the Middle.” After that is what many claim to be the best non single or song that should have been released as one on the album. Anyone who has any experience of Dio will know “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Its eerie intro followed by lyrics that can be of sound advice before exploding into pure heavy metal mania with Campbell’s solo probably being the best one on the album. There’s something for everyone to like here. It is most likely the reason why Dio has played this song all five times I’ve seen them live.

Having originally procured “Holy Diver” on cassette, I should go on about side two. However, the age of CD’s and MP3 downloads has made me stop dividing albums into sides. “Straight Through the Heart” is a very powerful rocker and maintains the standard the album sets but after that is my choice for best hidden gem on it, “Invisible.” Don’t ask me to explain why or how but I just love that song. I think it’s the way like “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” it starts melodically before hitting you over the head with more power chords. Those chords may not be quite as in your face as the other song but it does the job.

If your surface stays unbroken, then you’re a lucky man

Cause it never, never, never has for me

In the palace of the virgin lies the chalice of your soul

And it’s likely you will find the answer there.

Again, Ronnie’s lyrics are amazing, especially matched with his truly one of a kind voice. Following “Invisible” is the more known “Rainbow in the Dark,” which maybe was Dio’s most successful single. Hell, I remember in 1984, a Budweiser advert being played to this tune. This is the one song where keyboards play a major role but still, they don’t detract from the power of the song.

Now onto the closer, “Shame on the Night.” If I have to pick a least favourite track, it would have to be this one. Don’t get me wrong, it is no way a bad track, I just don’t rate it quite as high as the other eight but what it does do is close the album very nicely, I guess that’s what Ronnie had in mind with it. That is yet another reason why I think “Holy Diver” is so fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Holy Diver
  3. Gypsy
  4. Caught in the Middle
  5. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  6. Straight Through the Heart
  7. Invisible
  8. Rainbow in the Dark
  9. Shame on the Night
Dio

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals, keyboards

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

I don’t give a flying fart as to how cliched this statement sounds but I know in my heart that Jimmy has now joined Ronnie and they are jamming away together in a better place. Probably their former Rainbow band mate, Cozy Powell has joined them and if they had any sense, they would invite Jon Lord to do the honours on the keyboards. However, I can’t think of any guitarist who has played along side of these guys who has departed from our world. Therefore, I would suggest they take Criss Oliva from Savatage as his guitar work would fit Ronnie’s vocals perfectly. Who knows, maybe they would make an album as great as “Holy Diver.”

Next post: Billy Idol

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

R.I.P. Lemmy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2015 by 80smetalman
Lemmy

Lemmy

My wife broke the sad news to me this morning and it’s already all over Facebook. Last night, heavy metal suffered its most tragic loss since Ronnie James Dio with the passing of Motorhead bassist and singer Lemmy Kilmister, who died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

Ace_of_Spades

It would simply be a case of preaching to the choir if I start spouting how valuable Lemmy was to heavy metal. He defined a whole new style of bass playing and had a voice that you will never forget. But Lemmy was more than just some stereotypical metal musician. Many of his songs spoke about history, his disdain for authority and even wasn’t afraid to take on the issue of child abuse, (Daddy Don’t Kiss Me.) Furthermore and this is a given, he was a major architect behind the creation of thrash metal. Motorhead were certainly pioneers in that field.

My main regret is that I don’t paint a good picture of him in “Rock and Roll Children.” See, the night I saw Motorhead live in New York, he spent the entire night complaining about the sound and to some, he came across as a bit of an asshole. My reaction to his complaints was that he sounded fine to me, so he should shut up and play. Fortunately, I would see him again at a later date and he had no complaints about the sound, Motorhead just beat your ears to death like they always do. So, I hope he forgives me for this because right now, Lemmy joins Ronnie and so many of the other great musicians who are no longer with us and are jamming away together in a better place.

R.I.P. Lemmy