No Guts…No Glory: Molly Hatchet

Rating: 90%

No_Guts...No_Glory_(Molly_Hatchet_album_-_cover_art).jpgThe South has risen once again with the 1983 Molly Hatchet release “No Guts…No Glory.” This record has plenty of dueling guitar leads, a powerful set of trio riffs, great drumming and fantastic vocals. It’s full throttle Hard Rock from start to finish. It features one of the best signature and jamming songs by the band called “Fall of the Peacemakers.”

The musicianship is perfectly formulated. Vocalist Danny Joe Brown is on top of the world and is in his prime. The trio of guitars are performed by Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland. Man, they can throw out the riffs and harmonize those leads like no other. Bassist Riff West and drummer Barry Borden are great setting the time and beats. This is Southern Rock with a hard edge with a dash of Country and Blue thrown into the mix. Southern Rock never sounded so good. 

Track listing:

Side one
“What Does It Matter?” – 3:33
“Ain’t Even Close” – 4:35
“Sweet Dixie” – 3:54
“Fall of the Peacemakers”  – 8:03
Side two
“What’s It Gonna Take?”  – 3:59
“Kinda Like Love” – 4:09
“Under the Gun” – 3:54
“On the Prowl” – 4:07
“Both Sides” – 5:08

Victory Songs: Ensiferum

Rating: 90%

Ensiferum_Victory_SongsReleased in 2007, “Victory Songs” remains one of my favorite Ensiferum albums to date. I love the opening song “Ad Victoriam” on the album which sets the pace for the entire works. It begins with a very European Folk style acoustical piece that features a blend of musical instruments centered around a soft chants with the keyboard in the background. Throughout the album you’ll hear these arrangements of bagpipes, mandolin, whistles, and yes, the recorder. That is what Folk Metal is about, the instrumentation. As the second song opens with a scream and heavy sounds of guitars, drums, and bass and fast tempos, the rest of the album falls into place.

The musicianship is topnotch. You have harsh vocalist Petri Lindroos on guitar and banjo, clean vocalist and guitarist Markus Toivonen, keyboardist Meiju Enho, bassist Sami Hinkka, and drummer Janne Parviainen.

Musically, this album has some very catchy chorus lines, great riffs, fast leads, and great tempos. The instrumentation of acoustical and electric go hand and hand to break up the pace of the music and make it really enjoyable to listen to. The music itself is very epic. It’s got plenty of melody that is intertwined with atmospheric Power Metal and Epic Metal. Through the lyrics of Viking themes, they manage to capture history that is now becoming very popular.

Track listing:

1. “Ad Victoriam” 3:10
2. “Blood Is the Price of Glory” 5:17
3. “Deathbringer from the Sky” 5:10
4. “Ahti” 3:55
5. “One More Magic Potion” 5:21
6. “Wanderer” 6:32
7. “Raised by the Sword” 6:11
8. “The New Dawn” 3:42
9. “Victory Song” 10:42

Eric the Red: Týr

Rating: 90%

Eric_the_red_re-release_cover.jpgReleased in 2003 and released in 2006, “Eric the Red” is a unique take on European traditional folk songs and tales. Musically, this album is a combination of Folk and Viking Metal with some Progressive influences. It also has some of the Power and Epic Metal elements that are blended nicely into Týr’s brand of Heavy Metal. One thing is for sure, Týr will leave you wanting to know more about the traditional themes that are the subject of their lyrics.

The song structures are very complex, loosing more of the power chord and going for more of riffs that are almost along the lines of scales. Think Iron Maiden. The music itself isn’t as heavy as most Viking Metal bands are as many of them fall into the Death Metal realm, but along the lines of traditional Heavy Metal.  Again, think of early Iron Maiden or Manowar. This album is rich on harmony and melody from the music to the vocals. It also seems to have some melodic melodies to it as well.

Vocally, there are chants and songs written in poetic manor that tells story of those yesterdays. The arrangements of lyrics are both inspiring and epic along with those melodic and majestic chorus lines. The chorus really makes you want to sing out loud and you’ll hear inside you mind because of how catchy they are. It’ll turn you into a Pagan or Heathen when your done.

Vocalist and guitarist Heri Joensen delivers a great performance on this record. I really admire his vocal style and song writing capabilities. Also shredding on the ax is Terji Skibenæs. Keeping pace and time is bassist Gunnar H. Thomsen and drummer Kári Streymoy whom I must say really give this brand of Viking Metal that tasteful Progressive complex of off beats. 

 

Track listing:

1. “The Edge” 7:44
2. “Regin Smiður” Traditional Faroese 6:08
3. “Dreams” 5:32
4. “The Wild Rover” Traditional Irish 4:12
5. “Stýrisvølurin” Traditional Faroese 6:57
6. “Ólavur Riddararós” Traditional Faroese 4:36
7. “Rainbow Warrior”  5:28
8. “Ramund Hin Unge” Traditional Danish 4:31
9. “Alive” 7:24
10. “Eric the Red” 7:42
11. “God of War” 6:23
12. “Hail to the Hammer” 3:49

Bad to the Bone: George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Rating: 95%

George_Thorogood_&_The_Destroyers_-_Bad_To_The_BoneSo, George T. only wrote three of the songs on this 1982 “Bad To The Bone” record. Who cares, right? Not when the other songs are done up in George Thorogood fashion and style. So grab a few beers and get ready for a party down memory lane.

So, it’s Blues mixed with dash of Country and Rock n’ Roll. Great mixture of genres for George Thorogood’s style of slide guitar. The way George adopts these songs from other artists and creates arrangements to suit his band is amazing. It’s got soul, it’s got talent, and it’s got swing. It’ll leave you thirsty for more.

The musicianship is very tight.  Billy Blough’s bass lines are very good. The drumming of Jeff Simon is good and the added saxophone by Hank Carter makes the music even more energized. You add that along with the whiskey drench vocals and the beer soaked style of the guitar, you have a true sound unlike any other. To this day, I still think that Thorogood is under rated and unappreciated by Rock n’ Roll. 

Track listing:

“Back to Wentzville” (George Thorogood) – 3:30
“Blue Highway” (Nick Gravenites, David Getz) – 4:44
“Nobody but Me” (The Isley Brothers) – 3:28
“It’s a Sin” (Jimmy Reed) – 3:32
“New Boogie Chillun” (John Lee Hooker) – 5:03
“Bad to the Bone” (George Thorogood) – 4:52
“Miss Luann” (George Thorogood) – 4:13
“As the Years Go Passing By” (Deadric Malone) – 5:03
“No Particular Place to Go” (Chuck Berry) – 4:00
“Wanted Man” (Bob Dylan) – 3:12

The Song Remains the Same: Led Zeppelin

Rating: 90%

Led_Zeppelin_-_The_Song_Remains_the_SameSo, when I was younger I owned the cassettes to this sound track. Now, I own the DVD movie, the original vinyl, and the 2007 remaster CD set with unreleased songs of this concert. I no longer have the cassettes, they were lost many years ago.

Now, I’ve heard from both sides about the content of this live performance. Many people say it’s not their best because of the fact that many of the songs are drawn out. Or, because of the stardom has taken the band over. On the other end, I heard those in favor of this album say it’s one of Zeppelin’s best performances. Either way, this album has pros and cons. Forget about the movie. The movie was OK, but that’s what bands did back then before MTV. They were entertainers first, and not movie directors. Even “Let There Be Rock” by AD/DC has it’s slow parts during the interviews that makes no sense of the actual concert.

What I like about this album is Jimmy Page’s guitar solos and his performance. Forget about the fact that Robert Plant can’t hold a single note on here or keep up with the music. What Jimmy Page showcases is talent that is undeniable. He plays based upon feeling and not by perfection. John Paul Jones on is a talented bassist. His bass is clearly heard all over this performance. Then, you have John Bonham the master of the skins. His performance too is outstanding. It’s amazing to hear how in tuned he, John P. Jones, and Jimmy Page are playing together. This performance is almost a solo album for each of the musicians in so many ways. The improve of each musician is something that most bands can’t do today.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Rock and Roll” 4:03
2. “Celebration Day” 3:49
3. “The Song Remains the Same” 6:00
4. “The Rain Song” 8:25
Side two
1. “Dazed and Confused” Page 26:53
Side three
1. “No Quarter” 12:30
2. “Stairway to Heaven” 10:58
Side four
1. “Moby Dick” 12:47
2. “Whole Lotta Love” 14:25

Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man: The Bob Seger System

Rating: 90%

Ramblin'_Gamblin'_ManSo, I picked this album up for $3.00 and the vinyl was in great condition. As a younger person who was looking for content as a guitarist, this album did inspire me. I used to play the tape all the time as I learned to master several of the songs on here. It isn’t the Bob Seger that many people think. So take “Turn the Page” and “Beautiful Looser” and forget about that sound as this album has neither styles on it.

The year was 1969 and Detroit was rocking. Bob Seger and his band released their debut album “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.” This album featured songs that are a melting pot of sorts. Seeing what worked and what didn’t work. It’s got Folk, it’s got Hard Rock, and it’s got Blues and yes, elements of Garage Rock which is a formation of Punk. It’s Psychedelic elements are very attractive. It’s got groove and funk as well as a dash of country. There’s a few atmospheric moments too!

The musicianship is very good. Bob Seger sounds out standing as a lead vocalist and guitarist. Don Honaker throws out some very groovy bass lines. Pep Perrine keeps the tempo and beats on the drums. The music structure features many mid paced tempos. Many of the songs are short coming in under three minutes. Musically, it’s a good collection of heavier style of music and it contains those elements of the softer sounds. Great riffs too. It’s a bit raw at times. 

Track listing:

1. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” 2:21
2. “Tales of Lucy Blue” 2:28
3. “Ivory” 2:23
4. “Gone” 3:28
5. “Down Home” 3:01
6. “Train Man” 4:06
7. “White Wall” 5:20
8. “Black Eyed Girl” 6:33
9. “2 + 2 = ?” 2:49
10. “Doctor Fine” 1:05
11. “The Last Song (Love Needs to Be Loved)” 3:04

Black Aria II: Glenn Danzig

Rating: 60%

Glenn_Danzig_-_Black_Aria_II.jpgIn 2006, I was excited to hear the release of Black Aria II. After purchasing the CD, and listening to it, I was disappointed. The music itself, is a tad bit boring in some places as it didn’t hold my attention. But not all is lost as there are some decent pieces within the tracks themselves. Again, melody is lacking. It is worth listening to around Halloween, but I rather listen to it’s previous record, Black Aria from 1992.

Track listing:

“Overture: Winged Night Demon” – 1:21
“Abbandonment / Recreation” – 4:12
“Zemaragad” – 3:57
“Lamia” – 4:14
“Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu” – 2:16
“Dance of the Succubi” – 2:21
“Unclean Sephira” – 3:46
“LCKR” – 1:43
“The Succubus Feeds” – 2:20
“Shiddin” – 2:37
“Demons Reprise” – 3:13
“Lamenta Lilith” – 2:36