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

Advertisements

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