No Grave But The Sea: Alestorm

Rating: 90%

ale.jpgReleased in 2017, Alestorm proves that ideas are not running dry when it comes to Pirate themed adventures and quests in song. This album is just as strong as any of the band’s previous releases. And if you’re a pet owner, the band even did a version for dogs. Get the deluxe edition for that second CD. 

The songs are catchy and the music is fine. This album does have it’s funny moments on songs like “Fucked With An Anchor.” The band seems to be having a blast and the creativity seems to be ongoing. Some of the songs have a bit of harshness to the vocals with Elliot Vernon’s vocals. Listen to him on the song “Alestorm.” Musically, the songs are all done very well. It features great guitar riffs and leads, excellent drumming and bass line, along with great keyboards.

The musicianship is excellent. You have keytarist and vocalist Christopher Bowes whose voice is amazing. It’s drenched in so much whiskey, that he sounds like no other out there. I love his approach. His keytar playing skills are amazing. Guitarist Máté Bodor really throws out some nice riffs and lead solos. Keyboardist and vocalist Elliot Vernon really seems to betaking his role with the band to a new level. Which is great. Drummer Peter Alcorn and bassist Gareth Murdock prove once again, that they can keep the tempos moving and providing some great rhythm that compliments the band.

So, lets go out and get drunk on some ale, mead, and rum. While you do so, make sure you have this album near by. You’ll want this for your next adventure.

Tracks:

No Grave But The Sea
Mexico
To The End Of The World
Alestorm
Bar Und Imbiss
Fucked With An Anchor
Pegleg Potion
Man The Pumps
Rage Of The Pentahook
Treasure Island

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In The Navy: Alestorm

Rating: 90%

387451.jpgLate 2013, Alestorm released their single “In The Navy.” This single is a fun little party song that is drenched in whiskey and grit, only as Alestorm can do. I purchased the single off of Bandcamp for $1.99. That’s the only way you’re going to get this little treasure.

Musically, the single track is done wonderfully. It keeps it close to the original version, but does incorporate the heavier elements of Power Metal to it. The other song, “Shipwrecked” is remixed and features more of a electric dance vibe. But that is just as fun to hear. Both songs are a wonderful treat by Alestorm.

The musicianship is pretty tight by our favorite party guys. Christopher Bowes gritty and whiskey drenched style of vocals are top notch. You can tell he is having a lot of fun with this song. Guitarist Dani Evans throws out that powerful sound and makes this song part of Alestorm. Keyboardist Elliot Vernon is really good.Giving these songs balls is the backbone of the band. Drummer Peter Alcorn and bassist Gareth Murdock. 

So, when you’re having a ball or party, take this version of “In The Navy” and crank it up. Watch all of the jaws drop and see the headbanging that occurs next.

Tracks:

1. In the Navy (Village People cover) 03:14
2. Shipwrecked (Drop Goblin Remix) 04:15

Refuge Denied: Sanctuary

Rating: 85%

Sanc_refdenied.jpgIn 1987, Sanctuary released their debut record, after being discovered by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. When this album was released, I was blown away. It was the most original sounding metal I’ve heard. It was fresh.

Musically, this is just good ol’ Heavy Metal that some Thrash and Power Metal influences thrown in. It’s well balanced and very creative. If you were looking for a band that was going for the middle ground of what was out there at the time, but trying to separate themselves from the mainstream, then this was the band. It has many good riffs, killer leads and solos. This album has very interesting tempos. It also has some great offbeats that seems to give an edge to the music, making it a great listen. Awesome screaming high pitched vocals that range upwards to the soprano levels considering the vocalist is a natural baritone.

The musicianship is very good. Warrel Dane is one hell of a front man. His style actually comes from his training as an opera singer. Be cause of that, his vocal range is very broad. Guitarists Lenny Rutledge and Sean Blosl are dominating this album with fast riffs and excellent lead solos. You can almost describe their style as classical. Bringing up this rich sounding rhythm is bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Dave Budbill.

Track listing:

Side 1
1. “Battle Angels” 4:52
2. “Termination Force” 3:40
3. “Die for My Sins”  3:42
4. “Soldiers of Steel”  5:30
Side 2
5. “Sanctuary”  3:57
6. “White Rabbit” 3:10
7. “Ascension to Destiny” 4:57
8. “The Third War”  3:52
9. “Veil of Disguise”  5:55

Blessing in Disguise: Metal Chruch

Rating: 95%

Metal_church_blessing_in_disguiseRealizing that change was needed and a new direction with the shifting of mainstream music, Metal Church foreseen the future as the high water mark of Glam Metal was on the decline and so was Thrash Metal. “Blessing in Disguise” proved to be the change needed in order to produce a solid heavy album. This is the first album with vocalist Mike Howe and guitarist John Marshall. The end result is an album that is almost flawless.

The heaviness, new vocal style, the drumming, and the bass are absolutely brilliant on this album. The opening track “Fake Healer” features all of the ingredients for the perfect Heavy Metal song. Heavy and powerful guitar riffs, fantastic leads and fills. This with some great drumming that even features the slapping of the drum sticks, a powerful bass guitar and strong, harmonizing vocals is what made this album great. The melodies within the song structure are amazing.

The rest of the album is just like that. The production is so much better on this album than the previous two records.  The song writing has greatly improved. This is one of the greatest Metal church albums that they released still to this date.

Track listing:

1. “Fake Healer” 5:55
2. “Rest in Pieces (April 15, 1912)”  6:38
3. “Of Unsound Mind” 4:44
4. “Anthem to the Estranged” 9:31
5. “Badlands” 7:21
6. “The Spell Can’t Be Broken”  6:46
7. “It’s a Secret” Instrumental 3:47
8. “Cannot Tell a Lie” 4:17
9. “The Powers That Be” Vanderhoof Wells, Vanderhoof 5:22

Inhuman Rampage: DragonForce

Rating: 50%

Inhuman_Rampage_(Japan).jpgIn 2006, “Inhuman Rampage” by DragonForce was released. When I heard the first song off this album,  “Through the Fire and Flames”, I was blown away. it was powerful, fast, meaningful, and refreshing. It was Power Metal, but yet, the speed was amazing. The main riff and the lead were such a welcome sound to my ears. The vocals were crisp, and clean. Then I went and bought the album and that’s when trouble came.  The rest of the album was exactly the same.

The song structures are drawn out. I find myself fast forwarding through the album. The leads are very complex. The chorus lines are drawn out with layers of harmony. There is content, but there isn’t any context. It was like every song was built around the same idea from the melodies to the tempos. The drumming is good, and so is the bass, but they too are looped on the same structure. I do like the classical elements that one hears throughout the entire album.

The sound as metallic as it is, is very thin and generic. All of the ingredients are there for a fantastic album, but it lacks excitement. The musicians are very talented. But, the formula they used on this album just didn’t work out well. It’s like watching the same TV show over and over again and when you loose the attention span, you forget what it was that you were watching. I was almost tired when I finished listening to this album. Best song off this album is still the opener, “Through the Fire and Flames.”

Track listing:

1. “Through the Fire and Flames” 7:21
2. “Revolution Deathsquad” 7:51
3. “Storming the Burning Fields” 5:18
4. “Operation Ground and Pound” 7:43
5. “Body Breakdown” 6:57
6. “Cry for Eternity” 8:11
7. “The Flame of Youth” 6:40
8. “Trail of Broken Hearts” 5:54

Death and Glory: Running Wild

Rating: 95%

dog200In 1989, Running Wild unleashed “Death and Glory” which is an album that focuses on history and the high seas. The sound is incredible.  It’s clear, clean, and crisp. Musically, it’s a well balanced of Speed, Power, and Epic Metal that makes this Heavy Metal album brilliant.

The song structures are wonderfully done. The melodies and harmonies sound great. The song concepts are very original, and yet they compliment those former Heavy Metal legends such as Iron Maiden. This isn’t recycled crap in order to make an album. There was a lot of artistic thought that went into the creation of the album.

Guitarist & vocalist Rolf Kasparek, guitarist Majk Moti , bassist Jens Becker, and drummer Ian Finlay produce this rich sound. Vocally, this album sounds very epic and powerful. Even the backing vocals are very powerful. There are plenty of tight riffs and fast lead solos. The leads are just fantastic. The guitars have a rich, clear sound. The two guitars harmonizing together provides this duel guitar slinger type of atmosphere. It’s exciting and entertaining. The bass is outstanding as well. It thunders through the music and is clearly heard. The drums are great. There lots of great tempos being used which gives this album plenty of backbone and power.

Track Listing:

1. “Riding the Storm” 6:27
2. “Renegade” 4:29
3. “Evilution” 4:43
4. “Running Blood” 4:29
5. “Highland Glory (The Eternal Fight)” (instrumental) 4:51
6. “Marooned” 5:12
7. “Bad to the Bone” 4:46
8. “Tortuga Bay”3:16
9. “Death or Glory” 3:56
10. “Battle of Waterloo” 7:50
11. “March on” 4:08

Kings of Metal: Manowar

Rating: 90%

Manowar_kingsofmetalsalbumcover.jpgIn 1988, “Kings of Metal” was released by the one and only Manowar. This was the album that started it all for me with the band. Ever since I heard this album, I went back and purchased all of the prior albums. Manowar was the baddest, loudest, and heaviest band around. Well, that’s what they claimed. But they are good enough to be called “Kings of Metal.”

This album to me is a great Heavy Metal album. There are some flaws with it, which is why I rated it lower. Don’t get me wrong, I love Manowar and their style. To me there are some fillers on here. You have one song that isn’t a song. “The Warrior’s Prayer” is more or less and story that is being read. Although, it’s a great story, I would have preferred a real song instead. Secondly, “Wheels of Fire”, the opening song on the album really doesn’t fit in with the material of warriors.

Manowar in 1988, if you already didn’t know consisted of, vocalist Eric Adams. This guy has got plenty in his vocal pipes. I love his sound, style, and range. Then you have guitarist Ross the Boss. He throws out riff after riff. I love his heavy sound. He also throws out plenty of great leads and solos. Then you have bassist Joey DeMaio. Then you have the man, the god of thunder himself, drummer Scott Columbus. Man this guy can play.

Musically, this album it kick some serious ass. The songs are super tight. They are aggressive, some are fast, strong, and well structured. “Kings of Metal”, “Pleasure Slave”, “Hail and Kill”, and “Blood of the Kings” are ALL great tracks. These tracks are heavy, they have great solos, and have great vocals. The “Sting of the Bumblebee” is an instrumental that has some great bass and guitar solos. “Heart of Steel” is a slower, almost ballad style of metal. I love the German lyrics better than the English version here.

Track listing:

1. “Wheels of Fire” 4:10
2. “Kings of Metal”  3:45
3. “Heart of Steel” 5:10
4. “Sting of the Bumblebee”  2:49
5. “The Crown and the Ring (Lament of the Kings)” 4:50
6. “Kingdom Come” 3:56
7. “Pleasure Slave”  5:38
8. “Hail and Kill” 5:58
9. “The Warrior’s Prayer” 4:20
10. “Blood of the Kings” 7:29