For Those About To Rock: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

ForThoseAboutToRock_ACDCalbum.jpgReleased in 1981, as the follow up to the “Back In Black” album, AC/DC has created something of a international anthem. But then, as you listen to the rest of the album, it becomes more or less a hit or miss album.

The musicianship is lacking here. It’s like the morning after when you are suffering from a major hangover, and you don’t feel like doing anything. Brian Johnson’s vocals are a bit weak, but still impressive. After this album, Brian’s vocals really start going downhill as AC/DC matures. His vocals are still strong with some rasp as he hits those mid to higher level notes with in the soprano range. The guitars are seem to be coping and pasting the same styles throughout many of the songs. I can’t hardly hear Cliff Williams on bass. Phil Rudd to me is the only one that is saving this record. 

The music is lacking the raw power and intensity of explosive melodies. The music tempo is very slow, compared to the previous AC/DC albums.  It’s almost to the point, that I find myself wanting to push the skip button to fast forward to another song. Lot’s of filler on this album. The overall sound is heavier than prior albums, but there’s no drive to half of the album.  

But not all is lost on this album. Take the opening track, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).” This is over five minutes worth of pure Hard Rock. It has a powerful guitar riff. This song has become one of the best international anthems of all time. “Inject the Venom” is another good song on this album that stands out. “Evil Walks”, “C.O.D.”, “Night of the Long Knives”, and “Spellbound” are also good songs with decent riffs, but they too lack that power driven guitar that AC/DC is always known for.

Track listing:

1. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” 5:43
2. “Put the Finger on You” 3:25
3. “Let’s Get It Up” 3:53
4. “Inject the Venom” 3:31
5. “Snowballed” 3:23
6. “Evil Walks” 4:23
7. “C.O.D.” 3:19
8. “Breaking the Rules” 4:23
9. “Night of the Long Knives” 3:25
10. “Spellbound” 4:28

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: AC/DC

Rating: 100%

ddddc.jpgIn 1976, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep was released to the world, except for the U.S. which would have to wait until 1981. This album is excellent! It’s got the right dosage of Rock N’ Roll, Blues, and yes, Country music all blended into one bold sound. Angus Young is really tipping his hat to Chuck Berry.

The musicianship is super tight. I love the quirkiness of Bon Scott’s whiskey soaked vocals. Behind the power switch is Angus and Malcolm Young on the guitars. Angus really knows how to through out the best solos. Then bringing up the rear and yet, establishing the fuel for the power is bassist Mark Evans and drummer Phil Rudd.

This is a great album lyrically because of the humor in the songs. Take “Big Balls” for example. It’s full of tongue in cheek humor making one think is he talking about those parties or what’s between his legs. Simple, yet funny! Just look over the song titles. There’s a lot of great riffs and leads. The rhythm and melodies are raw and yet, explosive when you give this album a listen to. This is an example of what a Rock band should sound like. 

Track listing:

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 3:46
Love At First Feel 3:05
Big Balls 2:39
Rocker 2:46
Problem Child 5:43
There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ 3:14
Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire) 6:51
Ride On 5:47
Squealer 5:12

Invasion Of Your Privacy: Ratt

Rating: 80%

RattInvasionI hated most of the Hair Metal bands of the 1980’s as I thought the style and music was basically fake and full of posers. But some of the bands did stick out to me that were decent, including Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, and yes, Ratt…or at least this album. And by the way, the cover model is Playboy mate, Marianne Gravatte. 

This second album by Ratt is pretty good. It has plenty of good moments, even the semi-ballad “Closer to My Heart” is OK. Even though, I hated most of those love ballads by these Hair/Glam bands. The album has a nice flow to it, some good melodies, riffs, and yes, the classic Hair Metal style leads and solos.

The musicianship isn’t bad at all. Stephen Pearcy’s raspy vocal style is what sets this band apart from those others. There is no one that could even come close to sounding like him. Then you have the duel shock of guitars by Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, who throw out the mighty riffs and leads. Surprisingly, Juan Croucier bass is right there and is clearly heard as he sets the timing right along with drummer Bobby Blotzer. 

The album opens with the killer song “You’re in Love.” To me, this song should have been a number one hit, as it is nothing more than pure Heavy Metal. “Lay It Down” is more or less one of those songs, even though it charted, was more of the same style as the rest of the Hair Metal bands. But, it’s not a bad song, just isn’t what I thought would have been a charter. In fact the majority of this album follows the same style as “Lay It Down.” There is some filler, but that is expected. “Between the Eyes” to me is another song that I don’t understand why it charted, to me that is a filler song as is “What You Give Is What You Get.” But hey, this is what those crazy long haired fist throwers wanted and that is what they got. All and all, this album is a well done album. I was lucky enough to get this as a teenager on vinyl for like .25c at a pawnshop when CD was getting to be popular.

Track listing:

1. “You’re in Love” 3:12
2. “Never Use Love”  3:54
3. “Lay It Down” 3:23
4. “Give It All”3:19
5. “Closer to My Heart” 4:30
Side two
6. “Between the Eyes” 3:54
7. “What You Give Is What You Get” 3:47
8. “Got Me on the Line” 3:04
9. “You Should Know by Now” 3:29
10. “Dangerous but Worth the Risk” 3:30

If You Want Blood: AC/DC

Rating: 90%

Acdc_If_You_Want_Blood_You've_Got_It.JPGRecorded in 1978 during the world tour of “Powerage”, AC/DC released this live album. I manged to pick this gem up on vinyl over at Hanover for under $6.00 near mint.  This record has a lot of power and energy behind it. The raw sound of AC/DC during this concert can be summed up as “sheer raw power.” The entire band sounds great. This live album showcases the best that the band is and greatest was yet to come.

Bon Scott’s whiskey soaked vocals are at his greatest. Musically, the songs are well balanced and engaging. Angus Young on lead guitar is an entertainer. His style of power is just mind blowing. His leads are on top of the world. Malcolm Young on guitar is just as good as his brother, pumping out the grooves. Cliff Williams on bass and drummer Phil Rudd are the backbone of this band on stage.

After listening to this on vinyl, it was like hearing the concert as it was meant to be heard. The sound of the concert is clear with very little background noise. If you’re into early AC/DC, then go out and find this record. It’s awesome!

Track listing:

1. “Riff Raff” 5:59
2. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” 4:10
3. “Bad Boy Boogie” 7:29
4. “The Jack” 5:48
5. “Problem Child” 4:40
Side two
6. “Whole Lotta Rosie”  4:05
7. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation” 3:41
8. “High Voltage” 5:05
9. “Let There Be Rock” 8:33
10. “Rocker” 3:24

Unholy Passion EP: Samhain

Rating: 90%

Samhain_Passion.jpgOver the weekend, I was able to pick up a copy on vinyl, this little treasure by one of my favorite bands, Samhain. The vinyl is splattered orange and is a reissue, but…at least I have a copy of it on vinyl now. I remember purchasing the 1990 version of this EP under the “Final Descent” album on cassette. Then the box set came in 2000, and I was able to get a copy on CD.

1985, saw the release “Unholy Passion” by Samhain. This was the second album to be released by the band. You have the one and only Glenn Danzig on vocals, keyboards, as well the guitar. Eerie Von on bass, Steve Zing on drums, and Damien on guitar.

Musically, this record sounds amazing on vinyl. The overall sound of the band is fantastic. The entire band sounds much tighter. It’s got a very rich guitar sound that doesn’t take away from the bass. The riffs are present as well as the structures themselves. You hear less of the Punk structure with the band moving more into the direction of Rock and Heavy Metal. Lyrically, it’s much darker than the “Initium” debut. Glenn’s vocal style is more of what he has been known in the band Danzig. 

Overall, if you a fan of anything that Danzig has ever done, then this is a great addition to the collection. I have been a fan ever since 1988, and it didn’t take long before I discovered the other bands that Danzig was with. Even though, Samhain more or less changed it’s name to Danzig, so, one might say the other band Glenn was with.

Track listing:

Side A
1. “Unholy Passion” 3:10
2. “All Hell” 2:19
Side B
1. “Moribund” 1:43
2. “The Hungry End” 3:06
3. “I Am Misery” 3:40

Straight to Hell: Hank3

Rating: 90%

Hank_III_Straight_to_Hell“Straight to Hell” is a double CD release by Hank3 in 2006. When I heard this album for the first time, I remember thinking about how much darker in lyrical terms it was compared to the first two albums Hank3 released. Musically, it’s a lot heavier. Also, this was the first Country music album to wear the Parental Advisory for lyrical content and to where Wal-mart had a clean version of the album for it’s customers to buy. Again, Hank3’s third album here is much darker and heavier than his previous two, but it is an enjoyable album, if one can handle the drug references and the F bomb.

The album begins with a sweet melody that seems to be old timey. After that introduction, it’s full throttle for the most part. Some of my favorite early Hank3 songs are on this album. The entire album has a good clean sound with the exception of the second disc which is more background noise driven. Musically, this album is a mixture of gospel, traditional Country, Heavy Metal, and Punk thrown in and incorporated into Hank3’s main sound. Instrumentation is very good all around.

Lyrically, this album is very dark. Lots of drug references may keep the traditional Country fan from enjoying his music, or at least make it uncomfortable for the listener. Hank3 also pays tribute to some of his Country music heroes including Waylon Jennings. Anther interesting point, it seems that Hank3 is really pissed off. Number one he’s pissed at the record company, two, I think he’s a bit pissed off at his father and adopted son Kid Rock. “Not Everybody Likes Us” is a good song to listen to in order to hear what I mean. There is also a good bit of humor in the lyrics. “My Drinkin’ Problem” is a humorous song about a woman telling her man to quit his drinking or she’ll leave him. After nearly drinking himself to death to see if she would really would leave, she did.

I love Hank3’s music. He is a brilliant musician, song writer, and entertainer. There is no comparison of Hank3’s style to compare it to, but vocally, I swear he is just like his grandfather Hank Williams.

Track listing:

Disc I:

1. “Satan Is Real / Straight to Hell (Medley)” 3:08
2. “Thrown Out of the Bar”  2:07
3. “Things You Do to Me”  2:22
4. “Country Heroes” 3:29
5. “D. Ray White” 3:47
6. “Low Down” 3:24
7. “Pills I Took”  2:31
8. “Smoke & Wine” 2:36
9. “My Drinkin’ Problem” 2:42
10. “Crazed Country Rebel”  3:09
11. “Dick in Dixie”  2:37
12. “Not Everybody Likes Us” 4:30
13. “Angel of Sin” 6:07

Disc II:

1. “Louisiana Stripes”  3:28
Medley
2. “I Could Never Be Ashamed of You” 42:00
3. “Smoke & Wine (Slowed Down Version)”
4. “Alone & Dying”
5. “On My Own”
6. “Back by My Side”
7. “Take My Pain”
8. “What’s His Name”
9. “Loaded 44”
10. “Up in Smoke”

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