Rev It Up: Vixen

Rating: 75%

Vixenrev.jpgVixen followed up on their debut in 1990 with “Rev It Up.” Unfortunately, this album didn’t do so well. This was mostly due to the change in music popularity. Grunge was hitting the airwaves. Just like most of the Hair/Glam Metal bands, Vixen would fall victim to the new Pop Alternative and Grunge hitting the airwaves. Shame too! As Vixen could’ve been so much more.

Janet Gardner still sounds amazing. She can hit those high notes. Jan Kuehnemund throws out some decent riffs and leads. Nothing killer, but decent. The rhythm section of bassist Share Pedersen and drummer Roxy Petrucci are still on top of their game. All of the band in fact are great.

Musically, this album is very pop orientated. Think along the lines of Bon Jovi. The music itself is very polished and filtered. It’s not heavy, but it is hard. Either way, Vixen is a band that deserves respect. If it wasn’t for a change in the mainstream, Vixen could’ve been something larger.

 

Track listing:

Rev It Up 4:55
How Much Love 4:38
Love Is A Killer 4:41
Not A Minute Too Soon 4:23
Streets In Paradise 4:29
Hard 16 4:01
Bad Reputation 4:08
Fallen Hero 5:17
Only A Heartbeat Away 5:08
It Wouldn’t Be Love 4:39
Wrecking Ball 5:12

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Be My Slave: Bitch

Rating: 90%

Be_my_slave_4_5.jpg1983 was the debut release by Bitch. This isn’t your ordinary band. It features lyrics of sex and bondage, plus humor. It features vocalist Betsy Bitch, guitarist David Carruth, bassist Mark Anthony Webb, and drummer Robby Settles. So, you don’t know who any of these guys and girl are?

Musically, this album is much heavier and more raw than the second album “Bitch is Back” released in 1987. The vocals are more screamed. Discharge comes to mind when listening to Betsy’s vocals. Her vocals are very strong and powerful on this album. The rest of the band sounds pretty good. It’s got a lot of great riffs and leads. The drumming and bass sound just as good.

The overall sound is pretty impressive. It’s raw, meaty, and in some parts gritty. For 1983, the music is very original, not taking in any of the Glam/Hair Metal scene that was just starting to hit the airwaves. This is a solid introduction to Bitch. It’s straight in your face Heavy Metal. The tempos are based upon mid to faster paced tempos and melodies. Even the more slower songs are heavy.

Track listing:

Right From The Start
Be My Slave
Leatherbound
Riding In Thunder
Save You From The World
Heavy Metal Breakdown
Gimme A Kiss
In Heat
Make It Real (Make It Rock)
World War III

Vixen: Vixen

Rating: 85%

R-2005870-1371458879-8701.jpeg.jpgI remember when Vixen released their debut in 1988. I must admit, I thought Vixen was a good band. They proved that girls could rock as hard as dudes. So, when I caught wind of this band in one of the Heavy Metal magazines, I was like “Damn!” The music of Vixen, although, was along the lines of Glam/Hair Metal, I thought was a good band.

The musicianship of lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist Janet Gardner, lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, bassist Share Pedersen, and drummer Roxy Petrucci was outstanding. Janet Gardner’s vocals were amazing. She had and still has the range. Jan Kuehnemund provides some killer riffs as well as some kick ass leads. The drumming and bass are good as well.

Musically, the overall sound was crisp and clean. It was very polished and at times could even have a strong Pop sound to the music. “I Want You To Rock Me” and “Cryin'” are good examples of that.  “Edge Of A Broken Heart” by Richard Marx was made popular by the band. Other songs put in mind of the Runaways or early Lita Ford. Also, some of the songs have a ballad structure. Most of the songs are based upon a much mid level tempo. Other songs are built around more of a Hard Rock structure than Heavy Metal.

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So, if you like 1980’s Heavy Metal or Hard Rock, Vixen may be a good band for you to check out. I can honestly say, Vixen is one of those underrated bands and I am glad to see that the band, for the most part, is still performing.

Track listing:

Edge Of A Broken Heart 4:22
I Want You To Rock Me 3:28
Cryin’ 3:32
American Dream 4:17
Desperate 4:17
One Night Alone 3:48
Hell Raisers 4:25
Love Made Me 3:16
Waiting 3:09
Cruisin’ 4:23

The Bitch Is Back: Bitch

Rating: 80%

Bitch_BackBitch returned in 1987 with their second release “Bitch Is Back.” For those who aren’t familiar with this band as I was back in the day, the pushed the limits with their tongue-in-cheek lyrics that was humorous. Lyrical themes could be at times very sexy with lots of references to bondage and S&M. That just pissed off everyone from the left of the isle to the right.

I remember when I purchased this album on cassette. I was totally blown away. The music was heavy and the vocals were great. But nowadays, no one would even remember this band as they never really gained National attention. Which is a shame. They could really wail. Even my friends were like “dude! This band rocks!” But to be honest, I’m not sure why the Glam/Hair Metal scene didn’t grabbed Bitch up. That might be the reason why they never gained national fame. I’m just glad that I rediscovered Bitch

Bitch was made up of lead vocalist Betsy Bitch, guitarist David Carruth, bassist Ron Cordy, and drummer Robby Settles. The musicianship was very impressive. Their were some nice riffs and screaming leads. The drumming was pretty decent. The bass had an equal sound to that of the guitar. Betsy’s vocal pipes are impressive. She can hit those high notes, let me tell you.

The overall sound wasn’t raw nor was it polished. It was creative and sharp. Fast tempos are in your face. It’s almost border line Speed Metal at times. Even Elton John’s song “Bitch Is Back” was made to fit the group’s overall style and sound. To be truthful, there isn’t a bad song on this record.

Track Listing:

Side one
“Do You Want to Rock” – 3:44
“Hot and Heavy” – 4:25
“Me and the Boys” – 3:27
“Storm Raging Up” – 5:58
Side two
“The Bitch Is Back” (Elton John Cover) – 3:13
“Head Banger” – 3:28
“Fist to Face” – 4:14
“Turns Me On”  – 4:09
“Skullcrusher” – 4:06

M: Myrkur

Rating: 80%

Myrkur_M_cover.jpgSo, I heard all of this smack about this woman who is a well known Pop star that turned Black Metal. I was like huh? Then I heard how the Heavy Metal community was all up in arms that this woman couldn’t do Black Metal and instantly, everyone began trashing her music. So, I decided to take a listen. Well, I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.

Musically, this album contains a lot. Many influences and elements here from classical to folk and yes, classic Black Metal. It’s all thrown together. This album contains a little bit of everything, plus more. Plus, and this is a major plus, she plays everything. She is a one woman band. And talented she is.

The music is very rich and full when you throw in all of the elements of Black Metal, Folk, and yes Pop. Some of the chorus lines are very full. But as broad as this is, somehow Amalie Bruun pulls this off and brings it home. There’s a nice collection of melodies mixed with harsh and clean vocals.  I love the riffs of the guitar all the way down to the folk instruments. With all of the influences, Amalie somehow balances the music out to compliment the overall sound. There’s also some atmospheric pieces which is where the classical or folk comes in. The song structures are pretty good and yet VERY dark.

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So, where are the complaints and controversy? I think, this woman pretty much pulled it off and made an album that isn’t perfect, but an album that damn good. She does have one hell of a good voice and song writer. I think that this album is very underrated.

Track listing:

1. “Skøgen skulle dø” (The whore had to die) 5:17
2. “Hævnen” (The revenge) 3:23
3. “Onde børn” (Evil kids) 4:09
4. “Vølvens spådom” (Prophecy of the Völva) 1:37
5. “Jeg er guden, i er tjenerne” (I am God, you are the servants) 4:03
6. “Nordlys” (Northern light) 2:15
7. “Mordet” (The murder) 3:41
8. “Byssan lull” (Swedish lullaby best known version by Evert Taube) 2:38
9. “Dybt i skoven” (Deep in the forrest) 3:09
10. “Skaði” (Skadi) 4:29
11. “Norn” 2:17

Queen of Siam: Holy Moses

Rating: 75%

Holy_Moses_-_Queen_of_SiamIn 1986, the Speed and Thrash Metal community was taken by a storm with the debut of Holy Moses. But once the dust settled, and the years past, they became one of the those average Thrash Metal bands. Since then, these German musicians have been overshadowed by other bands like Sodom and Kreator.

The musicianship upon first listening is super tight. Vocalist Sabina Classen has that classic Black Metal style. She has the growls, shrills, and the screams down. When I hear this album with her vocals, I think of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. Guitarist Andy Classen knows his ax. He throws out some well though of riffs and leads. His overall sound isn’t as heavy as Sodom or Slayer, but he does sound good. Bassist Ramon Brüsseler can be heard clearly in the back. He adds a certain harmony to the overall melody. Kicking and pounding the skins is drummer Herbert Dreger.

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Lead vocalist Sabina Classen

Overall and musically, this is a pretty solid debut for a mid 1980’s Thrash Metal band. The sound is raw. It does lack a certain degree of aggression to the overall music. A tad bit more effort could have gone into some of the songs. Some of the songs seem more like a filler. But then again, other songs like “Walpurgisnight and “Don’t Mess Around with the Bitch” the band just nails it with energy and excitement.

The music itself isn’t full or rich, but it does have that nice thrashing feel to it. The tempos are built upon speed and I do like the guitar fill ins whether they be during a verse or part of the bridge. I do like the vocals as they do add a certain evil feel to the overall music. I think Sabina Classen is talented for that and many female vocalist should look up to her as she was one of the first doing this.

Track listing:

“Necropolis” – 3:39
“Don’t Mess Around with the Bitch” – 5:35
“Devil’s Dancer” – 4:20
“Queen of Siam” – 4:24
“Roadcrew” – 3:12
“Walpurgisnight” – 3:21
“Bursting Rest” – 3:39
“Dear Little Friend” – 5:36
“Torches of Hire” – 3:06

The Thousandfold Epicentre: The Devil’s Blood

Rating: 90%

The_Thousandfold_Epicentre.jpgLate in 2011, this album was released. When I first heard them on Sirus radio, I was blown away. It was like stepping back in time to the era of early 1970’s Progressive Rock with tons of Black Sabbath thrown in.

The musicianship is really good. Farida Lemouchi the vocalist is what really stands out. Her vocal style is amazing and fits in with those female artists of Goth Rock. The next thing you’ll notice the guitar and the leads that goes with it. Great bass and drumming all around.

The music itself is full of melody. Also, you’ll notice some of the progressive, goth, and psychedelic styles and influences. Lyrically, its about the occult, sex, and paganism. The best tracks are the opening track, “Die the Death”, and “Feverdance.”

So grab your witches brew, light up the night with a fire, and drink some wine, because you’re in for a pleasurable listening experience.

Track listing:

1. “Unending Singularity” 2:18
2. “On the Wings of Gloria” 7:04
3. “Die the Death” 3:53
4. “Within the Charnel House of Love” 3:35
5. “Cruel Lover” 7:26
6. “She” 5:39
7. “The Thousandfold Epicentre” 9:02
8. “Fire Burning” 5:06
9. “Everlasting Saturnalia” 6:13
10. “The Madness of Serpents” 8:28
11. “Feverdance” 15:15