Down To Earth: Rainbow

Rating: 75%

Down_to_Earth_(Rainbow_album)_coverart.jpg“Down to Earth” released in 1979 is the fourth studio record by Rainbow. This more commercially produced album is the first to feature vocalist Graham Bonnet and the last to feature drummer Cozy Powell. 

Ritchie Blackmore sounds great on the guitar. He throws out some fantastic classic riffs and leads. As far as the rest of the band. Powell’s drumming is decent, bassist Roger Glover sounds good, and keyboardist Don Airey is there, but nothing spectacular. Graham Bonnet’s vocals are OK, he seems to be overselling it a bit on certain songs. 

Musically, this album is hard to describe. One minute it has that classic Dio sound to it like what you would hear on “Rising”. But the more poppy sound to it kind of makes it seem more your typical Classic Rock sounding bands. At times the music seems to be a bit more generic as the band is moving into a tradition period. This is a basic all around Hard Rock album, a product of the 1970’s. Bland at times it is, but, it does deliver and where the music lacks, the musicianship makes up for it.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “All Night Long” 3:53
2. “Eyes of the World” 6:42
3. “No Time to Lose” 3:45
4. “Makin’ Love” 4:38

Side two
5. “Since You Been Gone” 3:25
6. “Love’s No Friend” 4:55
7. “Danger Zone” 4:31
8. “Lost in Hollywood” 4:51

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This Is The Sound: Cellar Darling

Rating: 95%

cellar.jpgAfter leaving Eluveitie, vocalist Anna Murphy, guitarist/bassist Ivo Henzi, and drummer Merlin Sutter formed Cellar Darling in 2016. Shortly after the formation of their new band, “This Is The Sound” was released. This album is a perfect blend of Rock, Metal, and European Folk. So, if you’re into Folk Metal with strong female vocals, then this may be something you’ll want to check out.

The band itself is very tight. After all, they played with each other for ten years in Eluveitie. The vocals are outstanding. The music has lot’s of guitar riffs. There’s lot’s of great drummer. The hurdy-gurdy is a great touch to the overall sound of the music.   

This trio of musicians had something to prove and they did. The result is a solid debut album. Musically, this is a step down from full fledged Heavy Metal, and more along the lines of modern Hard Rock. It’s very tasteful, creative, original and well balanced. The album has some heavy melodies. It has a along with a great overall sound.

Track list:

Avalanche
Black Moon
Challenge
Hullaballoo
Six Days
The Hermit
Water
Fire, Wind & Earth
Rebels
Under The Oak Tree…
…High Above These Crowns
Starcrusher
Hedonia
Redemption

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

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

Passiondale: God Dethroned

Rating: 80%

Passiondale_(album).jpgRather than creating albums dealing with satanism, ancient ones, death, and war, God Dethroned went to create something much different. So in 2009, God Dethroned brought us the first of a trilogy of World War One concept albums. The main concept on this album is about the Battle of Passchendaele of 1917. But before writing material for the an album concept like this, Henri Sattler had to do a lot of research. So writing songs that tell the stories of World War One isn’t easy. But Henri did it in a manner that was honorable, and bringing attention to a forgotten subject in world history. 

The musicianship is very tight. Vocalist and guitarist Henri Sattler sounds amazing. He recorded all of the guitar parts as well on the album. He throws out some massive riffs. Bassist Henk Zinger and drummer Roel Sanders just add to the thunderous tone of them music itself. As far as Blackened Death Metal, the entire band sounds original and solid. 

The music is what you would expect from a Blackened Death Metal band. Lots of fast paced guitars, excellent guitar solos, bass, blast beats. I think what you have here is a strong, and memorable concept album. Musically, it’s well balanced and sharp. This album to me is is well focused and I think that lyrically, it’s well thought out and researched.

Tracks:

“The Cross of Sacrifice” – 1:05
“Under a Darkening Sky” – 3:59
“No Man’s Land” – 3:14
“Poison Fog” – 6:39
“Drowning in Mud” – 3:44
“Passiondale” – 4:05
“No Survivors” – 3:51
“Behind Enemy Lines” – 3:38
“Fallen Empires” – 4:49
“Artifacts of the Great War” – 2:57

My Top 12 Primus Bass Lines

I love the band Primus. The weird sounding guitars, and odd tempos of the drums, makes for an interesting ride. But, what I like the most, is Les Claypool and his style of slap bass and weird vocals. I got into Primus in 1993, just after “Pork Soda” was released. I remember hearing the song “Mr. Krinkle” played on 98 Rock and I was like what the “hell was that?” After that album was released, “Tales from the Punch Bowl” was next. I remember being at Walmart after midnight and I bought that album in 1995 upon it’s release. I played it in my tape deck on the way home and just fell in love with the bass lines and the music itself.

Les Claypool is a genus on bass. His style of bass guitar and vocals are so unique that it’s easy to see why so many people pass him off as being nothing more than just silly. But, when you hear a Primus song, you know it’s a Primus song just by hearing the very first note. He has pretty master the realms of bass either by playing the stand up bass or one of his 4, 5, 6 stringers. That is what makes him such an amazing talent. Les, himself is the best of Pink Floyd, Rush, and King Crimson all wrapped up in one person and band.

This is my top 12 favorite Les Claypool’s bass work within Primus. Believe me when I say this was very hard for me to think about. There are so many great Primus Les Claypool moments. These may not be the best songs, but these are my favorite and what I think makes Les Claypool one of the greatest all-time bass players.

12. “Lee Van Cleef” I just love the grooviness of this song. Hearing that bass line kind of makes think about Lee Van Cleef.

11.  “Coattails Of A Dead Man” This song is one of the most fucked up Primus songs out there. But, I really like it. The bass is weird. To me, this song is about as insane and yet as fun as a bass could get.

10. “Shake Hands with Beef” Now this song has some funk to it. I love watching Le Claypool slap those strings upon the neck of his bass. It’s such a weird song to and features a very off rhythm musical style.

9. “Fisticuffs” This song here seems to be so simple to play, but I just love the overall sound of Les’ bass. It has a certain thud to the overall sound as if the bass was a fist.

8.  “Too Many Puppies” A protest song yes, but the bass is amazing. It has a very heavy drive to the overall riff. It’s very straight forward.

7.  “Here Come the Bastards” This song is pretty heavy as well when it comes to the bass. It sounds a bit sloppy, but that is what makes this such a great bass riff.

6.  “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” Now, this song is insane. The riff is so fast and complex. I think that this really showcases what Primus is with regards to the bass itself. I love the heavy chorus bass to it. It just blows me away.

5.  “Mary the Ice Cube” This song is so mellow when it comes to the bass. I can sit there and watch an ice cube just melt away in the summer sun. This is such a fun song to listen to and try to play along with to my own bass guitar.

4. “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” This song reminds me of a classic Country and Western style song. I love the chicken picking at the end done on the guitar. But for Les, I think this show cases that Les can play more standardized and traditional bass lines. He still has some funk in his bass, but it’s more geared toward traditional bass.

3.  “My Name Is Mud” This song is just pure slap bass. It’s muddy and yet very complex. I love the opening note followed by that deep bass riff.

2. “Hellbound 17½ (Theme From)” Pretty standard bass here, but it is a fun song to play along to. This will make your fingers tired by the end.

1.  “On the Tweek Again” Whammy or tremolo on a bass. That’s the biggest difference here. The bass work on this song is by far, my favorite. It’s heavy, it’s classic Les, and there is nothing that even comes close to copying this song.

Snowy Shaw Brings Back Old School Shock Rock

Snowy_Shaw_-_Wacken_Open_Air_2016_08.jpgI found this guy while checking out YouTube. So, when I brought Snowy Shaw’s live at Wacken Open Air 2016 up onto the screen of my TV, I was very surprised and blown away. I thought that I was watching King Diamond, Alice Cooper, and Marilyn Manson all wrapped up into one man. The band itself was fantastic, especially wearing those black hooded costumes. The whole show features this certain degree of weirdness mixed with a certain degree of eeriness and creepiness. Yet, musically it combines old school Heavy Metal. A very simple formula, that worked well in the 1970’s to the present. Yet, it’s original and refreshing to hear. I could not turn my TV off. I would laugh one minute at the vocals, and yet I was amazed at how well the entire show was. I kept wanting to be entertained even more by this guy. That’s when I looked at my wife and said “Damn this guy is a fucking genius at entertaining his crowds, with old school Heavy Metal appeal and adding that to a traditional Shock Rock show.” The Hoverboard on stage thing during the opening song at Wacken Open Air was a nice tou

So where did Snowy originally come from? Snowy has been around for a while now. He’s been in many bands, since his joining King Diamond in 1989 as a drummer. As far as what he does? Well, for starters, he can play drums, bass, and guitar. He also shreds on the guitar. At the same time he is also a vocalist and a song writer. So, on his own studio videos, he’s a one man band. But live, he’s still playing everything, just one song at a time.

So watching his videos from the soon to be solo album of all original stuff, this guy seems to have a very promising future. His first real solo album “WHITE IS THE NEW BLACK” is set to release soon. So far, I have enjoyed all of the songs that I’ve heard from “Krampus” to “Don’t Hurt The Animals, or I’ll Have To Kill You.” And don’t judge, that song about the animals is for a good cause with helping PETA. I know, but the dog’s are just so cute in that video with these long haired guys. So, check Snowy out and give him a try.