Archive for Ronnie James Dio

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Rainbow- Straight Between the Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Straight_between_the_eyes

Here’s the paradox that is me. I have said many times that my favourite era of Rainbow was when Ronnie James Dio was at the mike and I will forever feel that way. However, my favourite Rainbow song of all times comes during the Joe Lynn Turner era and yep you guessed it, is from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes.” That song is “Death Alley Driver.” When I heard it on the video screen at a rock bar on Okinawa, Japan, I thought, “This song kicks ass, totally.” It’s just a pure rocker and Blackmore plays possibly his best guitar solo of all time on it, pure magic.

Recently, I have been debating to myself whether or not to call “Straight Between the Eyes” a metal album. There are some songs on the album that would certainly qualify it as such like “Rock Fever” and “Power,” besides the big song I’ve already mentioned. However, there are other songs that are more progressive like the ballad like “Tearin’ Out My Heart” and keyboard oriented songs like “Stone Cold,” “Miss Mistreated,” which has a really cool keyboard intro. To add further confusion into the mix, Ritchie goes to town on the guitar on the songs here. Then there’s “Bring on the Night” that is definitely hard rock and includes more cool soloing. So, what I should be asking myself here is why the f*ck I’m worrying about what category I should or shouldn’t put this fine album in and simply appreciate it for the great album that it is. So I will.

While Ritchie Blackmore shines on the album, the rest of the band steps up just as much. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals make those more progressive songs sound that much better but he can also belt our a rocker like “Death Alley Driver.” David Rosenthal proves a more than capable replacement for Don Airey on the keys. The intro on “Miss Mistreated” alone is proof of that. Roger Glover is the brilliant bass player that he’s always been and provides a strong rhythm section with Bobby Rondinelli. All of these elements combine well to make the album all that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Death Alley Driver
  2. Stone Cold
  3. Bring on the Night (Dream Catcher)
  4. Tite Squeeze
  5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
  6. Power
  7. Miss Mistreated
  8. Rock Fever
  9. Eyes of Fire
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

 Hence lies the danger of putting music into categories. One worries too much if a band is metal, hard rock, prog rock etc and don’t enjoy the music. “Straight Between the Eyes” from Rainbow is just simply good music.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Oriental Beat

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.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 1982: Loudness- Devil Soldier

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

LOUDNESS_DS

Funny thing about Loudness, I spent the last three months of 1982 and the first three of 1983 in their home country, Japan, and never heard of them. Thinking back to my time there, I do not remember hearing any home grown music of any kind. The juke boxes in any bar I went to or even in the night clubs, all they seemed to play was Western music. My conclusion is that the Japanese are more receptive to Western music and for an act to make it there, it has to first make it outside of Japan. Loudness would certainly do that three years later but at this time, they would remain beyond my attention.

One thing that Loudness certainly prove with their second album, “Devil Soldier,” is that metal can rule no matter what language it’s sung in. As long as there is a great band behind a brilliant voice, great metal can break down barriers. Some of the songs are sung in the native tongue with some parts sung in English. Take “Rock the Nation,” I tried to follow along with the lyrics written down in English but they didn’t sound like English to me, except for parts of the chorus. Nevertheless, lead singer Minoru Nihara sings it very well and he is yet another singer whose talents haven’t been given the respect it deserves. I’m going to put my hand in the piranha’s tank and put him in the same class as Dio, Meine and Gillan. His vocals just come through on each and every song.

Talking about talent, guitarist Akira Takasaki has gotten some well deserved respect. Some have said that he copies other great guitarists but I don’t hear it. The closest he or the band in general come to copying is on the title track where the beginning of the song reminds me of Heart’s classic “Barracuda.” Thinking about it, I did see that song on at least one juke box when I was in Japan. Back to the subject, Akira lays down some good riffs on many songs, most notably, “Hard Workin'” and “Angel Dust.” When he’s not shredding, he does very well in accompaniment with the rhythm section. So, what do I think? Simply, this album kicks ass.

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Player
  2. Angel Dust
  3. After Illusion
  4. Girl
  5. Hard Workin’
  6. Loving Maid
  7. Rock the Nation
  8. Devil Soldier
Loudness

Loudness

Minoru Nihara- vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Masayoshi Yamashita- bass

Munetaka Higuchi- drums

In 1985, many in the West would say that thunder would come from the east and it did. However, in 1982, Loudness were still gearing up for their conquest with a great album in “Devil Soldier.” It’s proof to me that heavy metal could unite the world.

Next post: Whitesnake- Saints and Sinners

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

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

Bloodstock: Friday August 7, 2015- Part II

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

When we last left our story, our heroes had just been completely blown away by Fire Red Empress. Uplifted by such a great set from the fore mentioned band, we now move back to the main stage and take our positions close to the stage in order to appreciate the full impact of Overkill who were coming on next. While we waited two fellow metalheads came up to me saying that the recognised me from attending both Armoured Saint and Nuclear Assault. One gentleman, Waylon from Mid-Wales as he introduced himself as, stated that the thing about a metal festival is that metalheads from all over can get together and enjoy great music. I fully support his sentiments and Waylon, if you are reading this, thanks for that. It has given me food for thought at the end.

Waylon and pals showing their love of metal

Waylon and pals showing their love of metal

Anticipation increased as the sound checks were carried out before Overkill made their dramatic entrance onto the main stage. Some caught a glimpse of lead singer Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth prompting a guy near me to shout out “Hey Bobby!” I don’t think Bobby heard him. Then the inevitable happened and Overkill were out on stage bringing mayhem and destruction with them. As soon as they were out, mosh pits opened either side of where I was standing and wave upon wave of crowd surfers started being passed overhead. I’m sure I passed the same young lady to the front three times because those skimpy denim shorts and thin black tights were looking all too familiar. One person told me that I was getting too old for this shit, I beg to differ.

At first, I thought there was something wrong with Overkill’s sound because I could hear the bass over both guitars and it just didn’t sound right, not that it mattered that much to the crowd. They were all enjoying the mayhem. Fortunately, it must have gotten sorted because twenty five minutes into their set, Overkill played the song I wanted most to hear, “In Union We Stand,” and it sounded fine. What was better was that they followed it up with “Rotten to the Core.” So it was a double helping of metal nostalgia for me. Other great Overkill anthems included “Hello From the Gutter,” “Electric Rattlesnake” and saving it for the end was “Fuck You,” to which Bobby got the audience singing along to. Yes, a very appropriate song to end things with I thought.

Having never seen Overkill before and having seen a lot of bands with front men who possess varying degrees of charisma, I have to say that I was more than impressed with the showmanship of Bobby Ellsworth. He definitely knew how to work the crowd even if did refer to us as mother fuckers throughout. I guess it was a compliment. Overkill could have covered a Wham song and Bobby would have had me singing along to it. It just shows how good he and Overkill are live and credit to Bloodstock for getting them to play there.

Overkill playing to the crowd

Overkill playing to the crowd

Playing In Union We Stand

Playing In Union We Stand

Overkill establishing their dominance

Overkill establishing their dominance

 

Teal with his souvenir from the festival

Teal with his souvenir from the festival

Just when we had recovered from the carnage caused by Overkill, Sabaton took the stage with intent of causing more destruction. Being second from the top of the bill, they had more use of lights and effects and they took full advantage of it. The drums was on the turret of a tank and I also liked the army helmet and M-16 theme on the microphones. Coming out below the strobe lights and through the dry ice all dressed in camouflage trousers, it gave me the notion that this was somebody to see. Their music proved the notion right. The combination of power, speed and viking metal was a sound to behold. Admittedly, I don’t listen to the bands of today as much as I should because of my love for the golden decade, the name of the blog bears witness to this but Sabaton has made me promise to myself that I will pay more attention to them and other more modern bands. I have to say that I was very impressed with them.

The mosh pits dwindled down to one and the waves of crowd surfers thinned out during Sabaton’s reign on the stage but it didn’t matter. They orchestrated a new way to go nuts by having the entire audience start jumping up and down. I could do that and so I did. In fact I jumped a lot during their performance. Still it was the music that won me over. I knew very little of their music before that particular evening but one song that I remember and loves was “Panzerkampf,” which was about a big battle in World War 2 between the Germans and the Soviets. Maybe metal would be a good way to teach history. That’s the one thing I found paradoxical about them. They played several songs from their “Art of War” album and that had me wondering that for a band from Sweden, a country who hasn’t had a proper war in 250 years, they seem to write a lot of songs about war. It didn’t matter that much because again, the power metal had me until the end when Sabaton released blue and yellow confetti into the crowd marking the finale of a really great show.

Sabaton's ascent to the stage

Sabaton’s ascent to the stage

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Great fire effects

Great fire effects

Jumping to Sabaton

Jumping to Sabaton

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Hail to Sweden

Hail to Sweden

Wanting to avoid having to leave before the end, my stepson and I went and got some energy drinks and rushed back to the main stage to await the headliners, Trivium. The stage set up alluded to the idea that this was going to be a great show. I loved the two devil skulls in the background on either side of the stage. When they came out, they didn’t disappoint the huge crowd assembled in waiting before them. However, their appearance didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu disappeared for two songs. When he came back, he stated he kept getting shocks of the electrical system but thank God, it was fixed and he showed what a good guitarist he is.

Back in full flow, Trivium let their music do the talking for them. Sure they had some great effects being the headliner but it was the music that did it for me. They were another band who I considered too modern for me, (yes I got to stop being such a stick in the mud,) but like Sabaton, they made a believer out of me. At one point, lead singer Matt Heafy stopped to talk about the time he met Ronnie James Dio when Trivium supported Heaven and Hell in Japan in 2007. Heafy explained how gracious Ronnie was in talking about his vocals and what a great man Dio was and reminded the Bloodstock fans that the main stage was named in honour of him. I thought that was cool but of course, Trivium went back to making great music and taking the crowd all the way to the end, even playing three encore songs and ending a great day in metal history.

The stage

The stage

 

Trivium in full swing

Trivium in full swing 

Trivium under the lights

Beaulieu wailing away

Trivium in a blur

Trivium in a blur

Near the end

Near the end

One thing I noticed on this very eventful day is that metalheads are a family. There was one blind man who had to be led by his friends to the front of the stage and another with profound special needs in a wheel chair. In both cases, fellow metalheads accommodated them, allowing them to get through the crowd. I wonder if a One Direction audience would have been so thoughtful and considerate. Another thing I would like to see as a result of the day is Armoured Saint on a UK tour with Fire Red Empress as support. They could play the Thekla in Bristol, I would go see that show for definite.

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Three Lock Box

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: Friday August 7, 2015, Part I

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

Metal concerts aren’t just simply concerts, they are pieces of history. I said that about many of the concerts that appeared in “Rock and Roll Children” and it applies today as much as it did back in the 80s. On August 7, literally less than 24 hours before the time I am writing this now, another chapter in heavy metal history was carved in stone. History was again made at Bloodstock.

Having never driven to the festival on a Friday morning, I was concerned about getting caught in Birmingham rush hour traffic. I have been caught in it in the past and it’s not fun. Furthermore, I’ve never driven through the British city of Tamworth on a weekday morning, so I had no idea what to expect. The in flight entertainment provided by Axel Rudi Pell’s “The Masquerade Ball” and “A Real Live One” by Iron Maiden did a great job in taking the edge off my anxieties. It also helped that my worries were for naught as I cruised around Birmingham and straight through Tamworth with little bother.

Arriving earlier than expected, my stepson and I had to wait to be let into the complex as they had no one to take the one day ticket but fortunately, the wait was only a few minutes. It was the same with access to the Ronnie James Dio stage. Once we were let in, we went to the main stage. Not much seemed to be happening, so like two years prior, we went to the New Blood Stage in the hopes that I might discover another Black Emerald. However, people seemed to be blundering about with no sign of any band taking the stage. Suddenly, a riff from a guitar coming from the Ronnie James Dio Stage sent us back there. Things were looking serious so we found a place near the stage and eagerly awaited Nuclear Assault to emerge. After nearly half an hour of waiting and listening to lots of sound checks, Nuclear Assault’s bassist, Dan Lilker, came out on stage and explained that the band’s gear had gotten tied up at the airport. He further explained that they had left Frankfurt on six hours prior so the band was feeling “a bit bushed.” I’m nuot sure if he convinced the crowd but he left to let the crew sort out the sound checks.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd

When Nuclear Assault finally came out on stage, they put to rest any question by me or anyone else in the audience over the wisdom of the promoters to put such an iconic band as the very first act of a three day festival. The answer came straight away. Normally, the very first act on any day at Bloodstock plays to about fifty people and in some cases, that band is very gracious in thanking those fifty people for turning up to see them. Not the case with Nuclear Assault. A brief glance over my shoulder saw that there was a very large crowd and they were lapping up everything the band on stage threw out. I now see the move of putting Nuclear Assault first was genius. Their hardcore thrash pummeled the Bloodstock crowd into submission. What songs they played have kind of slipped my ageing mind although I do remember the classic “Critical Mass” being played and they played “Died in Your Arms” from the new EP. Mental note to buy it. Nuclear Assault succeeded in setting the bar for the rest of the day and my stepson was converted.

Nuclear Assault  in full assault

Nuclear Assault in full assault

 

And again

And again

When you are at a festival for three days, when a band leaves the main stage, you usually head for the bar. When you are only there for one day, you try to fit as much in as possible. So not even taking a second to catch our breath after being battered by Nuclear Assault, we headed over to the Sophie Lancaster stage to see what was there. What we saw was quite unique, a drum and bass act. You are now probably thinking ‘what in Sam hell is a drum and bass act doing at a metal festival?’ Well, they were a drum and bass act because they had a drummer and a bass player and boy the bass player could shred. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone shred a bass quite like it and it worked along with his heavy metal vocals. So, you have to give Oaf credit where credit is due. They rocked without having a guitar player. I did manage to catch the drummer a few hours later, you couldn’t miss him, he was dress in very bright colours, and compliment him on how good Oaf was. I just hope that the band forgives my unsteady hand when taking the photos.

Oaf, This one was the better of the two I took

Oaf, This one was the better of the two I took

When Oaf finished their highly amusing set, we headed back to the Ronnie James Dio stage to get ready for Armoured Saint. However, Raging Speedhorn hadn’t finished making their mark on history for the day. If Oaf hadn’t have been so entertaining, I would have seen more of Raging Speedhorn. I was fortunate enough to catch the last few songs and I did like the two lead vocalists trading off vocals they way dual lead guitarists trade solos. What I did hear did arouse my interest in them in the future.

Raging Speedhorn

Raging Speedhorn

Armoured Saint was the only band on the day who I had seen previously. That was back in 1986 and I partied a little too much before the show to fully appreciate them. This time was different. When they came onto the stage, I was ready and so was the crowd and so was Armoured Saint. From the moment they got onto the stage, they set out to dominate. The first song got my attention but the second one was their old faithful classic, “March of the Saint.” A few songs down the line, they premiered their new song, “Mess,” which only had me making mental notes to buy their new album. A veteran of thirty years of shows, vocalist John Bush worked the Bloodstock fans very well. Even going out to the sides of the stage to encourage audience participation. For me though, the big story was the guitar work of Phil Sandoval. He just shredded the whole set and it left me asking myself, ‘why hasn’t anyone taken notice of him before?’ Just when things were winding down, Armoured Saint pulled one more surprise when they brought out Sandoval’s young son to play with them on stage. He looked about five or six but he did genuinely play the song the band was playing, excellent. When they did finish, (they weren’t on stage long enough) I was pleased to have converted my stepson to another great band from my era.

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

John Bull singing to the crowd

John Bull singing to the crowd

Phil Sandoval shredding away

Phil Sandoval shredding away

Armoured Saint with their newest young member

Armoured Saint with their newest young member

After a morning and part of the afternoon of headbanging away to the likes of Nuclear Assault and Armoured Saint as well as being entertained by Oaf and Raging Speedhorn, we decided to go for lunch. Upon our return, we heard some very good metal sounds erupting from the Sophie Lancaster stage, so we had to check it out. Those responsible for that sound were called Re-Animator. We literally caught the last song of their set but it was a good song played well. Therefore, I decided it was worth taking their picture and putting it here.

Re-Animator

Re-Animator

Once Re-Animator had cleared the stage, we decided to head back to the Ronnie James Dio stage. Shortly after, Norwegian prog metallers Enslaved ascended the stage. I had listened to a couple of songs in You tube in the days before the festival but hadn’t formed an opinion of them one way or the other. At first, I wasn’t so sure about them, especially when the lead singer made an awful joke. However, about fifteen minutes in, they were starting to grow on me. However, my stepson wasn’t impressed and asked if we could go back to the Sophie Lancaster tent. He stated that Enslaved were sending him to sleep and I wanted to avoid the situation of two years ago when we had to leave before the end, so we left.

Enslaved

Enslaved

Maybe Teal was guided by some heavy metal light because when we returned to the Sophie Lancaster tent, a better band called Neobliviscaris was on stage. These guys were unique in a couple of ways. Many bands have either a left handed guitarist or bassist. Neobliviscaris had both. Furthermore, they had a violinist in the band. The only bands where that has worked have been the Charlie Daniels Band, Jefferson Starship on their first two albums and most notably Kansas. I have to say, this was the second surprise of the day arising from the Sophie Lancaster stage. The violinist played a solo with guitar back up and he complimented the band very well. We were both impressed.

Neobliviscaris

Neobliviscaris

When Neobliviscaris left the stage, it was announced that the next band would be Fire Red Empress. My stepson’s eyes lit up immediately. He has been following this band on line and so we had to see them. I had converted him to two bands so far this day so it was his turn to convert me. I had never heard of this band before so like Leaves Eyes in 2010 and Black Emerald in 2013, Fire Red Empress won my award for band I had never heard of who impressed the hell out of me. All of their songs were in excess of five minutes but with the musicianship they displayed, it was worth it. It was straightforward metal, I think the best comparison, actually I can’t think of anyone to compare them to, they were phenomenal. I hope all of you will keep your metal radar out for this band in the future.

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

And again

And again

As it’s late, I have decided to bring the post to a close and save the top three bands for next time. Sorry, if you’re disappointed but I think all would agree that the likes of Overkill, Sabaton and Trivium should possibly have a separate post where I can write with a clear mind.

Next post: Part 2

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Great Metal Albums of 1982: Michael Schenker Group- Assault Attack

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Msgassault

There is a story from back in the day in which this album is involved but not in a good way. In the closing weeks of 1982, I was stationed on Okinawa. On most Saturday nights, my friends and I would hit this rock club about 10 miles from the base. I won’t go into too many details about the club as that is reserved for a future post but I will say that they had video screens which were state of the art back then. One song that received a lot of play on those screens was “Cry for the Nations” by Michael Schenker Group. I liked the song enough to want to check out the album. During my search, I assumed that the song was current, so I looked up their most current album at the time, “Assault Attack.” However, seeing that the desired song wasn’t on this album, I put it down and continued my search. After all these years, and finally listening to the album, I see what a fool I’ve been. The worst part was that I can’t blame being in the service for missing it because I had this album in my hands! Anyway, what I have learned that this album totally kicks ass.

When I posted “Great Guitarists of the 70s,” an old friend of mine stated that he would have added Michael Schenker to the list. While I wasn’t totally naive to the guitar mastery of Mr Schenker, it took this album to agree that he possibly should have been included, at the very least, in the group of underrated guitarists because this guy can play. What amazes me most is his versatile style. He lays down some great blues based riffs on “Rock You to the Ground” but goes more straight ahead metal with the likes of “Assault Attack,” Samurai” and “Desert Song.” Then he shines in the spotlight with the instrumental “Ulcer.” Bad joke alert: I did not get one after hearing that track. Anyway, I humbly beg Michael Schenker’s forgiveness in ignoring his guitar talents and make a vow to rectify that.

Of the lead singers who fronted Rainbow over the years, I must say that Graham Bonnet was always my least favourite. While Ronnie James Dio will always be my favourite, I even put Joe Lynn Turner above Bonnet. After listening to his vocals on “Assault Attack,” I am now in the mind that my feelings about that era of Rainbow were nothing to do with Graham but more to do with the songs they put out at the time; too commercial for me. Listening to him with MSG, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that he was the lead singer because his vocals are just superb on this album. One prime example is “Dancer” but he hits the notes on every song on the album. I have the feeling that I’m going to be eating a lot of humble pie after making this post because Graham, you rock here!

Track Listing:

1. Assault Attack

2. Rock You to the Ground

3. Dancer

4. Samurai

5. Desert Song

6. Broken Promises

7. Searching for a Reason

8. Ulcer

Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker- guitars

Graham Bonnet- vocals

Chris Glen- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

Tommy Eyre- keyboards

Cliched quotes like “all’s well that ends well” and “better late than never” are entering my mind in regards to this great album by the Michael Schenker Group. Unfortunately, none of them justify the fact that back in 1982, I literally let a fantastic album slip through my fingers. As for “Cry for the Nations,” I did find the song on a live album and that’s coming next.

Next post: Michael Schenker Group- One Night at Bukokan

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

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Black Sabbath- Live Evil

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

220px-BlackSabbath-LiveEvil-Front

Perhaps it’s something to do with having black in the title of the bands’ names but like Blackfoot in 1982, the mighty Black Sabbath also recorded a live album in the same year. Like the former, Black Sabbath were riding high on the wave of two very successful studio albums, “Heaven and Hell” and “The Mob Rules.” It could be argued that with great albums such as these and a further legacy of great albums with the previous lead singer, it is only logical that they put out a live album.

“Live Evil” is everything I would expect from a live Black Sabbath album. It’s a fine marriage of the great songs they were playing at the time from the last two albums and their classic older hits. I can easily imagine myself sitting in the audience, my anticipation ready to explode through the roof with the introduction of “E5150” and then having it actually do so when the band explodes into “Neon Knights.” What a great song to open the show with. Then lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio shows right away that he can handle the Ozzy era songs in the way he sings “N.I.B.” I am very tempted to actually take Lucifer’s hand when I hear him sing the line. Then comes my favourite Dio era Sabbath song and possibly my second favourite over all, “Children of the Sea.” Maybe with this one, it was a good idea that I wasn’t in the audience at some arena but listening at home. There I could jump around to the song totally unheeded.

Black Sabbath live

Black Sabbath live

Following “Voodoo” from “The Mob Rules” album, which is also nicely done, the band launch three of the best known Sabbath classics, “Black Sabbath,” “War Pigs” and “Iron Man,” the middle song being my all time favourite Sabbath jam. There is no need to repeat myself as to how well Dio handles the Ozzy songs, so I’ll comment about the musicianship, especially the guitar playing of one Tony Iommi. He simply cooks, not only on these three songs but the entire album. We are also treated to a drum solo from Vinnie Appice following “War Pigs” although I have heard mixed comments about this. All I know is that it sounds okay to me. However, going back to Tony, it’s “Heaven and Hell” where he really cooks. The song is twelve minutes long and most of that is him just laying down some cool guitar work. If I had been in the audience, I would be definitely holding my cigarette lighter high in the air.

“Heaven and Hell” serves as a great climax to the show. The final songs, “Sign of Southern Cross” combined with the remainder of “Heaven and Hell” lead things out nicely. However, if Black Sabbath left the stage at this point, I would have been one of the many thousands screaming for their return. Of course, as the album shows, they played the all too familiar “Paranoid” and end things with “Children of the Grave.” While, I would have been booing when the main lights came back on, I would have still left with a very contented feeling that I had witnessed a piece of history.

Track Listing:

1. E5150

2. Neon Knights

3. N.I.B.

4. Children of the Sea

5. Voodoo

6. Black Sabbath

7. War Pigs

8. Iron Man

9. The Mob Rules

10. Heaven and Hell

11. Sign of the Southern Cross/Heaven and Hell

12. Paranoid

13. Children of the Grave

14. Fluff

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tommy Iommi- guitar

Geezer Butler- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

Like some of the live albums I covered in 1982, at the time, this was the closest I had come to seeing them live. Fortunately, in the case of Black Sabbath, that would change a year later, so be prepared for when I visit that album. But if you haven’t seen them live, then “Live Evil” is the best alternative to it.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Diary of a Madman

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

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-SabbathMob

Vacation is over I’m afraid and now I am back in the UK. The remains of Yuengling and spicy buffalo wings are passing through my system. I had a great time on holiday although that wasn’t the real reason why I went over, that was to look after my mother whose not in the best of health but I did get some time to enjoy myself too as you saw in my last post. Now that I’m back, I will go back to posting twice a week and what better way to celebrate my return than with Black Sabbath’s 1981 album, “The Mob Rules.”

This was the second album with Ronnie James Dio at the vocals and it was simply a continuation of their fabulous “Heaven and Hell” album a year earlier. Rolling Stone might have slated the album when it came out but what do they know? “The Mob Rules” is a fantastic album. It’s yet another album that I really can’t go on about individual tracks because they are all that good. One thing I must point out is the title track. It has been said that the mix on the album is different to the version that appears on the soundtrack of “Heavy Metal.” This might be true but I don’t hear any big difference. Both versions are fine with me. Another observation I have made is that Geezer, Iommi and Appice have to do very little to alter their style to match Dio’s vocals nor does Ronnie alter his vocal style. The final three tracks definitely highlight this fact and what you get is some classic Black Sabbath at their best all over this album.

Track Listing:

1. Turn Up the Night

2. Voodoo

3. Sign of the Southern Cross

4. E5150

5. The Mob Rules

6. Country Girl

7. Slipping Away

8. Falling Off the Edge of the World

9. Over and Over

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tony Iommi- guitar

Geezer Butler- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

Were Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne in competition with one another back in 1981? Whose to say? If it was the case, that competition spurred all of them on to make a couple of magnificent albums in 1981. Half of that was “The Mob Rules.”

Next post: Billy Squier- Don’t Say No

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 1981: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Before I go into the meat of the post here, I think it’s best that I do a “then and now” brief. Nowadays, many young metalheads like my younger son don’t classify Rainbow as heavy metal and may even point to this very album as proof. There is plenty of evidence within the material on “Difficult To Cure” to back up that argument. However, before anyone gets the branding iron out, I think it’s only fair to mention the state of rock music back in the early 1980s. First of all, most anything that had a heavy guitar in the sound was considered heavy metal by radio stations and music magazines. That’s why Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album was considered heavy metal back then. More important is the fact that heavy metal was still in its youth. While great metal artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and so many others were stamping their mark on heavy metal, there was no definite definition of what heavy metal was and certainly no sub genres in the music. While Rainbow makes very good use of keyboards in their music, very evident on this album, they were certainly considered a heavy metal band back then, especially with a guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore and original vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the line up. With all that said, I’ll rest my case on the fact that I listed them as one of the great metal influences. If you want to trawl the archives, Rainbow was part eight in the series. God, with speeches like that, maybe I should go into politics.

Now to the album, I didn’t know until now that they had recorded an early version of their most successful hit, “I Surrender,” with Graham Bonnet before he left the band because he didn’t like the direction it was taking. Joe Lynn Turner was brought in to sing over the already recorded musical tracks and the result is obvious, “Difficult to Cure” is a very good album. As I have said several times before, I get a little nervous when the opening track to an album is the big single. However, the opening chords on “I Surrender” is attention grabbing and starts things off perfectly. But unlike one hit wonders who use their hit to open their album, the rest of “Difficult to Cure” can stand on its own. “Spotlight Kid” is definitely a good rocking song as is “Can’t Happen Here.” I knew there was something familiar about those two songs when I heard them and so I checked the “Anthology” album and found those two songs were on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Magic”starts very progressively but Don Airey plays his keyboards masterfully on the song and Blackmore does his usual magic with the guitar, which superbly makes the song. “Freedom Fighter” is also a noteworthy rock song and the album finishes beautifully with the instrumental title track which was also Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ve heard the live version of the song and it’s totally mind blowing but I won’t take anything away from the version on this album. “Difficult to Cure” is a fine outing from Rainbow

Track Listing:

1. I Surrender

2. Spotlight Kid

3. No Release

4. Magic

5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time)

 6. Can’t Happen Here

7. Freedom Fighter

8. Mid Tunnel Vision

9. Difficult to Cure

rainbow-prog1981

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Don Airey- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

With “Difficult to Cure,” Rainbow proved that keyboards can work in heavy metal. They had an influence all their own on heavy metal in its early days and continue to influence many progressive metal bands today.

Next post: Def Leppard- High and Dry

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 1980: Black Sabbath- Heaven And Hell

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by 80smetalman

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Since the 1980s was the golden age of heavy metal and that golden age began with 1980, I thought what better way to pay tribute to it than to kick things off with an album by one of heavy metal’s founding fathers: Black Sabbath. The thing is however, “Heaven and Hell” isn’t just an album, it’s a iconic album destined to go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

The main question when this masterpiece was first unleashed back in 1980 was would new lead singer Ronnie James Dio fill the void left by Ozzy Osbourne. The answer to that is a resounding “YES!” Now, I am not going to debate who’s the better of these two vocal Gods. They both have different vocal styles but at the same time, their vocals were suited to the needs of Black Sabbath. Dio’s vocals are truly amazing on this album and for Sabbath it proved to the world that there was life after Ozzy. (Although a year later Ozzy would prove there was life after Black Sabbath.) Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting that this album was all down to Dio. Definitely not! On “Heaven and Hell” Tony Iommi continues to do what he does best on the guitar providing some memorable riffs. “Children of the Sea” definitely comes to mind when I think of that. Geezer Butler and Bill Ward also as always, make the fabulous rhythm section that we all know and love. More reasons why this album is such a classic.

“Children of the Sea” is just one of the brilliant tracks I could name here. There is not a bad song on the album as each one in my mind radiates what pure metal should be. If I named each one here in this paragraph, there would be no need for me to do the track listing as all of the songs make the grade and more.

Track Listing:

1. Neon Nights

2. Children of the Sea

3. Lady Evil

4. Heaven and Hell

5. Wishing Well

6. Die Young

7. Walk Away

8. Lonely Is the Word

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tony Iommi- guitars

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Additional Musician

Geoff Nichols- keyboards

In my post for the 1978 “Never Say Die” album, I mentioned that Black Sabbath would headline my dream concert. There was a twist to it however and so not to repeat myself for those who have already read that post, I suggest those who haven’t have a read and hopefully, like one reader then, you will be in awe when you think about it. “Heaven and Hell” is one of the reasons why Black Sabbath would headline my dream concert. For me, it one of the cornerstones in the foundation of what we now know and love as heavy metal.

Before I go, I would like to invite all of my readers to share in remembrance with me something that has been with me for nearly three decades. See thirty years ago tomorrow, October 23, marks the tragedy which befell the US Marines in Lebanon when 241 died when a suicide bomber drove a van loaded with explosives into the building there were housed in. This occurred less than four months after I left the marines but I served in that battalion for nearly three of my four years in the service. I know I lost friends on that fateful day. Now, I don’t hate America over this, hell no, but I do think that while America mourned their deaths for a while, they were also too quick to sweep the whole affair under the carpet. It is also why I am now officially beginning work on my next book which will be about the marines in Lebanon. For those who’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” it will be a prequel to it as the Mitch character from the book will be the main character in the new book. I hate to end this post on such a downer, especially after visiting such an iconic album but I don’t have the time right now to put it as a separate post, so do forgive me for that. To unify these two thoughts, it was a marine buddy from my platoon when I was serving in that battalion who provided me with the first listen of this great album.

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Danger Zone

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 Rock Albums of 1978: Rainbow- Long Live Rock and Roll

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by 80smetalman

First of all, I have been kicking myself for leaving out Rainbow albums in the past chapter of “Great Rock Albums of the 70s.” I should have at least included the “Rising” album in one of the posts. Not taking anything away from Graham Bonnet or Joe Lynn Turner, I will be visiting their contributions to Rainbow, but I remain convinced that the Ronnie James Dio era was Rainbow’s best, this album is one of the contributors to my belief.

At Bloodstock 2010, there were many tributes to Ronnie James Dio by many acts over the three days. While it could be said that some of the bands should have checked with eachother, it seems fitting that many of them played the title track, “Long Live Rock and Roll” as a tribute to Ronnie. I might be biased here, but it was Twisted Sister’s version of the song I liked the best.

Needless to say, the title track isn’t the only song that does this album justice. Other tracks like “Gates of Babylon,”Kill the King” and the mellow but eeriely appealing “Rainbow Eyes” also combine to make this album what it is, a great album. “Long Live Rock and Roll” is a great hard rocking album and one where metal bands can point to for inspiration.

Track Listing:

1. Long Live Rock and Roll

2. Lady of the Lake

3. L.A. Connection

4. Gates of Babylon

5. Kill the King

6. The Shed (Subtle)

7. Sensitive to Light

8. Rainbow Eyes

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

  Cozy Powell- drums, percussion

David Stone- keyboards

Bob Daisley- bass

“Long Live Rock And Roll” would be the last album to feature Ronnie James Dio, who would go on to take over the singing duties for Black Sabbath. Rainbow would continue on and both would achieve greatness. I believe that Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell, who passed away a few years earlier, are jamming together in the after life and continuing to rock on.

Next post: The Who- Who Are You

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

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