Tag Archives: New York City

Doll Skin announce new album, tour and spot on Vans Warped Tour

Phoenix pop-punk favourites Doll Skin have announced the release date for their upcoming second album Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which is due for release on 16th June via EMP/SPV in Europe and EMP Label Group in the US.  Produced and mixed by Cage9 frontman Evan Rodaniche (who also produced albums by Lacey Sturm, and Powerman 5000), Manic… is the follow up to Doll Skin’s EMP debut, 2016’s In Your Face Again, which was produced by Grammy Award winning Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, which spawned multiple singles including, Family of Strangers, Let’s Be Honest, and Furious Fixation.

2016 saw the band tour much of the year with Otep, Lacey Sturm, Fire From The Gods, Hellyeah, Dead Kennedys and more, before settling in to record their new record.  Not to be outdone by last year, the band kicked off 2017 in equally notable fashion with a packed hometown show supporting former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5, and the announcement that the band would join the lineup of the 2017 Vans Warped Tour from June 16-25, appearing on the “Hard Rock” Stage alongside Metal and Punk bands such as The Dickies, Municipal Waste, The Ataris, TSOL and more.

In addition to the stint on Warped Tour, Doll Skin have announced a run of headlining dates in April and May, as well as the release of Shut Up (You Miss Me) as the first single from the new album.

Drummer Meghan Herring says:

“How excited are we for Warped Tour?? Psyched. Ecstatic. Beside ourselves. We’re feeling it all at once. Before we were even a band, I would go to Warped with the girls. Now our names are on the poster. It’s a surreal feeling. The lineup this year is absolutely incredible as well. Let’s do this!!!”

And on the subject of the new album Herring adds:

“We are so crazy excited for this new record to be released!! The sophomore album is an entirely different beast. It’s colorful, loud, and all over the place. It really shows the world who we are.”

Vocalist Sydney Dolezal adds:

“I am so excited to be hitting the road again this spring! We’ve got some great new tunes that we know you’ll all love, and I can’t wait to see all of our friends and fans around the country!”

Tour Dates:
DOLL SKIN Headlining:
4/29 Tucson, AZ. @ The Loudhouse w/ Dead Horse Trauma
4/30 Albuquerque, NM. @ The Co-Op
5/02 Lubbock, TX. @ Backstage Live w/ Never Say Die
5/03 Abilene, TX. @ My Place w/ Never Say Die
5/04 Ft Worth, TX. @ Ridglea Theatre w/ Never Say Die
5/06 Hutchinson, KS. @ The Rusty Needle w/ Another Lost Year & Never Say Die
5/09 Peoria, IL. @ Rail II w/ Drugs Delaney & Evil Engine
5/10 Crest Hill, IL. @ Bada Brew w/ Drugs Delaney & Evil Engine
5/11 Ft Atkinson, WI. @ Hijynx w/ Evil Engine
5/12 Mt Calvary, WI. @ Maximillians w/ Evil Engine
5/13 LaCrosse, WI. @ The Warehouse w/ In Solace
5/18 Colorado Springs, CO. @ Sunshine Studios
5/19 Salt Lake City, UT. @ Club X
5/20 Las Vegas, NV. @ Adrenaline
VANS WARPED TOUR 2017 PRESENTED BY JOURNEYS:
June 16 — CenturyLink Field – Seattle, WA
June 17 — Oregon State Fairgrounds – Salem, OR
June 21 — Balloon Fiesta Park – Albuquerque, NM
June 22 — Fear Farm – Phoenix, AZ
June 23 — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
June 24 — Utah State Fair Park – Salt Lake City, UT
June 25 — Pepsi Center – Denver, CO

Hi. Welcome to Jazz Club… Nice.

Though Alex Skolnick may be well known as the guitarist of the legendary Thrash Metal band Testament (which he joined at age sixteen, left in the early 1990s and returned to in 2005), these days, more and more recognize him as a “musician’s musician” for whom terms such as shredder, thrasher etc don’t paint the full picture. Describing him as a “genre-defying guitar hero” for a 2015 cover story, Making Music Magazine said:

“Though he’s pretty much a household name in heavy metal, Alex is not your average, everyday shredding guitarist. In reality, he defies categorization by musical genre.” (Making Music, Jan 2015).

For evidence, one needn’t look any further than the Alex Skolnick Trio (AST). AST blend the conviction of rock with the elegance and sophistication of jazz. Conceived while Alex was pursing his jazz degree from New York’s New School University, AST are known for their sophisticated re-harmonisations of classic hard rock and heavy metal songs, along with originals whose depth, humour and character are enthralling to fans across the musical spectrum, achieving legitimacy in the eyes (and ears) of sceptics while converting first-time jazz listeners to the pleasures of music without mosh pits.

The trio’s 2011 album, Veritas, reached the Top Ten of the iTunes jazz charts at no.7, positioned between Dave Brubeck and Esperanza Spalding and was released via the esteemed jazz label, Palmetto Records.  Since their 2002 debut, AST has been honoured with 4 ½ stars by Downbeat, reviewed by Jazziz, The Village Voice, has charted on the Jazz Week radio charts and enjoyed its status among the greats as an NPR Jazz Daily Pick feature.

Fans of the group include international superstars Rodrigo y Gabriella., who have taken the trio on tour, and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo (a noted jazz fan and producer of the upcoming Jaco Pastorius documentary) who joined the band for an impromptu jam at Radio City Music Hall.  AST was also the main support band on Rodrigo Y Gabriela‘s consecutive European and US tour in 2010, including five sold-out nights in London.

Skolnick’s additional instrumental work include his acclaimed 2014 album Planetary Coalition (including Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Kiran Ahluwalia and many others), What’s Next? – a jazz duo album by New York pianist-composer Randy Klein and several stints as a first-call guitarist for electric bass hero, Stuart Hamm. 2016 also saw, after four acclaimed studio albums, the release of the first AST live CD, Live Unbound. This album contains live versions of two of their reimagined remakes (Aerosmith‘s Dream On and ScorpionsStill Loving You) along with a few songs from their last couple studio efforts.  The CD kicks off with two brand new tracks, Unbound and Culture Shock!

Skolnick about the album:

“This recording says that we don’t have much use for limitations.  Our live performances can take us anywhere, from the spirit of quintessential jazz guitar trios to distortion and chaos. It’s all possible. We realized that the live element has been such an important part of what we do, but it’s just never been captured before and it’s never been put out. We have these great new songs that we wanted to do as well, so it just made sense to release them as live versions. (The album) gives us a chance to sort of re-introduce some of the material from earlier albums, but the way we play it live, even if you don’t get to catch us in concert.”

Alex Skolnick Trio:
Alex Skolnick – guitar (Testament, Trans Siberian Orchestra)
Matt Zebroski – drums (Gil Goldstein, Dave Eggar)
Nathan Peck – bass (Maynard Ferguson, Maria Maldaur, Richard Cheese)

European Tour Dates:
01 March SOUTHAMPTON, England – TALKING HEADS
02 March CHESTERFIELD, England – REALTIME MUSIC
03 March GLASGOW, Scotland – AUDIO
04 March BIRMINGHAM, England – FLAPPER
05 March LONDON, England – PIZZA EXPRESS
07 March KARLSRUHE, Germany – JUBEZ
08 March NANCY, France – MAI FRANCE
09 March FÜRTH, Germany – KOFFERFABRIK
10 March PASSAU, Germany – MUSEUM CAFÉ
11 March HABACH, Germany – VILLAGE
12 March FRAUENTAL, Austria – BLUEGARAGE
13 March VIENNA, Austria – REIGEN
14 March BUDAPEST, Hungary – DÜRER KERT : ROOM 041
16 March PRAGUE, Czech Republic – AGHARTA
17 March REICHENBACH/VOGTLAND, Germany – BERGKELLER
18 March NORDHAUSEN, Germany – CYRIACI-KAPELLE NORDHAUSEN
19 March ROMA, Italy – PLANET LIVE
21 March COPENHAGEN, Denmark – STENGADE
22 March MILANO, Italy – THE BLUE NOTE MILANO
24 March LARVIK, Norway – GUITAR FESTIVAL
26 March GÄVLE, Sweden – CC PUB
28 March FEHMARN, Germany – CAFE LIEBEVOLL
29 March HAMBURG, Germany – HAFENKLANG
30 March BREMEN, Germany – KITO
31 March DORTMUND, Germany – PIANO
01 April TILBURG, Netherlands – PARADOX

Heart Avail – Heart Avail EP

Milagro Records

Review by Rick Ossian

Aside from what may appear an unfortunate moniker for themselves, Spokane‘s Heart Avail have a lot going for them.  Though there are only five songs here on their eponymous debut, they are all strong tunes and each one has the potential for concert appeal and/or FM Heavy Rock airplay.  Aleisha Simpson (vocalist) can be eerily reminiscent of Evanescences Amy Lee, or any one of a number of Nightwish/Within Temptation wannabes, but she has her own set of sexy, sultry pipes and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she can hang with the boys.  By the by, the boys are Greg Hanson (guitar), Mick Barnes (bass) and Seamus Gleason (drums).

heartavailgroupshot

Broken Fairytale, the second single (Femme Metal), starts things off in fine form.  There is a creepy cool intro filled with acoustic guitar and angelic choirs that soon blossoms into a riffy, uptempo commercial heavy rock number.  The vocals are somewhat akin to what sirens must have sounded like, and though the structure is almost cliche, something keeps it lively.  A beautiful synth close signals us that it is time to move on the next number.

Up next is Vacillation, and features heavy riffing on top of a pounding, grinding AOR-esque uptempo rock number.  The vocals fit the rhythm of the music, which is always helpful.  This would be perfect pop fodder for FM radio.  I’m totally digging the main riff, which is excellent!

Always begins life with some random synth bleeps and bloops.  Good strong vocals accompany a chugging riff about a minute in to the proceedings, but shortly afterwards (1:27) a decided progginess rears its ugly head.  Again, I’m digging the main riff, even when it is interrupted by a noodly guitar solo and some violin-style FX (probably generated by the guitar or the keys).  The production is in-your-face heavy for the most part, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it would have been more effective in more practiced hands.  This is a 7-minute monster that could possibly have been pared down, but what’s the point?

No Remorse includes one of those spooky intros that you always find me yapping on and on about, but when the guitars and the drums kick in you will find yourself nodding and smiling right along with me!  Aleisha is sexy and all sorts of sultry again on this track, which is a mid-to-uptempo rocker, chock full of shifts (2:45) and riffs.  There is the obligatory guitar solo at about four minutes in, but there are lots of keys and vocals to rave about as well.  The vocal passage at five minutes in was a particular wow for me.

The last number, Pink Lace, is oddly enough the first single.  Normally I would think the first single would be the lead off track, but then, again, more practiced hands may have prevailed.  Dig that opening guitar lick – I really love the energy on this one.  Cool, chugging riffage accompanies a “prissy little princess in ribbons and bows”.  The vocals are a strong, plaintive howl, and can be, again, in your face – but this, dear reader, is a good thing. Trust me on this.  Rock blues must ask its questions, and the main one here seems to be “if you could see what you do to me/ Every time that stupid smile…” well, you get the picture!

If you like your rock along the lines of Evanescence, Within Temptation or Nightwish, and you don’t mind a bit of commercial AOR for your background, then you should do just fine with Heart Avail! Enjoy!

Verdict: 7/10

Anyone in USA want to play at Wacken?

Americans!  Ever wanted to play at Wacken Open Air in Germany?

Everybody’s heard of Wacken Open Air, right?  If anyone hasn’t, it’s possibly the biggest (and probably the best known) outdoor Metal festival in the world.

Here’s a trailer:

For over a decade, up-and-coming bands have competed at the festival to be crowned Metal Battle winners.  This year, for the first time ever, Wacken Metal Battle USA is going to America and will be hosting qualifying rounds in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia (more may be announced).  The national champion of those battles will perform at the 2017 festival taking place from August 3rd – 5th in Wacken in Germany.

Submissions for Metal Battle USA began October 21st and will end on December 2nd at 11:59pm EST.

Band submissions can be made at the following link: https://metalbattleusa.com/apply/ 

How it works:

Each city will hold their qualifying rounds plus city finals (dates to be determined), selecting the top band to move forward to the national finals in New York City (date to be determined) with one being selected to perform at the 28th edition of Wacken Open Air. All bands will be judged during battle rounds by respected local music industry.

The finalists will be selected as follows by city.

2 Finalists from Boston
2 Finalists from Philadelphia
2 Finalists from New York City
National Final in New York City

For more info on Wacken Metal Battle USA, please visit these links:

Official Website: http://www.metalbattlusa.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/metalbattleusa/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetalBattleUSA 

For more info on international battle, please visit: http://www.metal-battle.com

For more info on Wacken Open Air, please visit http://www.wacken.com

RULES:

All bands, that wish to participate in the Metal Battle, must read the following rules and guidelines. Bands who send in an application automatically agree to the rules and terms.

  • Your band doesn’t have a deal and isn’t about to sign to a label in the near future.
  • Your band can easily play a 25 minute set consisting of your own songs. (No Covers). Full set performance time is 25 mins.
  • PA, lighting, and sound engineer will be provided for all bands.
  • Backline arrangements TBA.
  • The bands must bring their own instruments such as guitars, bass, drum breakables, keyboards and effect pedals and may also bring and use their own guitar amps.
  • To keep the changeover times as short as possible, bands with left handed drummers will play as first or last band. All bands have to follow the directions given by the promoters or stage manager.
  • Semi playback is not allowed. All bands must play live. Background orchestrations are ok as long as all vocals, guitars and bass are live. Intros / interludes are also ok.
  • Jury of respected music industry folk will decide the winners each night.

If a band overruns its allotted performance-time, then the band-members should be aware of the fact that in this case their sound will be faded out. The running order for the concert will be released a few days before the event takes place.

Please note:
Travel for the winning band to go to Germany is at their own expense and accommodations at the festival will be in the form of camping in the VIP area.
Full professional back line will be provided for performance.

Wyrd Ways Rock Show CCCXL

Back in the proverbial saddle with another Wyrd Ways Rock Show.

This big news this week is an interview with Sabaton, recorded for us by Nick over at Nuclear Blast, and a MASSIVE slab of music from next year’s SOS Festival in Manchester.  Nine bands have been announced.  I’ll be playing you something from seven of them, including the Friday night headliner.  I’ve also got Wyrd Ways Rock Show favourite, Lordi‘s new single, released in advance of the new album, a couple of bands from Canada, new music from a certain Mr Hansen (you may know him from bands such as Helloween and Gamma Ray) and… well… quite a lot of other things.  Don’t just take my word for it, look at the playlist below and click on the Soundcloud player above.

Want to know more?  Turn it all the way up.
Lordi – Hug You Hardcore
Medevil – Nightwalk
Chariots Of The Gods – Ages Unsung
Covered: Sabaton – Camouflage
Iron Mask – Cursed In The Devil’s Mill
Kai Hansen – Born Free
SOS Festival 2017: Kill II This – Typhoid and Swans
SOS Festival 2017: I Saw The World Burn – Apostasis
SOS Festival 2017: Pythia – The King’s Ruin
SOS Festival 2017: Crowsaw – Bitch Blues
SOS Festival 2017: Fahran – Take This City Alive
SOS Festival 2017: Resin – End Of Level
SOS Festival 2017: Screaming Eagles – One Man Revolution
Sabaton – Sparta
Sabaton speak to Nick from Nuclear Blast
Sabaton – Blood Of Bannockburn
Record Of The Week: Jinjer – Captain Clock
Record Of The Week: Jinjer – Sit Stay Roll Over
Record Of The Week: Jinjer – Under The Dome
Metallica – Hardwired
Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake
In Flames – The End

Evil Scarecrow Rock You Like A Hurricanado

Nottingham’s *ahem* finest, Evil Scarecrow, hit the road in the wake of their triumphant non-headlining slot at Bloodstock.

After their brilliantly bonkers performance at Bloodstock on the Ronnie James Dio Stage last week to an absolutely huge crowd, all robototroning, crabuloning and hurricanadoing like crazy, Evil Scarecrow are delighted to announce new dates for the start of 2017 and beyond, on their Rock You Like A Hurricanado tour backed by Live Nation.

Previously released dates:
29th October – Corporation, Sheffield
26th November – Midlands Metal Crusade, Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

7th January – Yardbirds, Grimsby

‘Rock You Like A Hurricanado Tour’:
26th January – Cathouse, Glasgow 
27th January – The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
28th January – Rock City, Nottingham
2nd February – The Engine Rooms, Southampton
3rd February – Electric Ballroom, London 
4th February – Thekla, Bristol

A quote from Dr Hell on the forthcoming shows:

“We’re back on the road for our Rock you like a Hurricanado Tour (see what we did there).  We’ll be bringing our biggest, silliest show yet along with some brand new, probably never heard before, music ‘genius’.  I expect the entire tour to sell out immediately now that we are super famous massive rock stars, so I’ll be personally selling extra tickets on eBay like a dirty tout. Dust off your robot cardboard boxes and get ready to spin on the spot!”

The Agonist announce new album release

The Agonist have announced they will release their new album Five on 30th September through their new label, Napalm Records.  They also released the first official video from Five, called The Moment.

Watch it here:

About making the video, singer Vicky Psarakis stated:

The Moment was probably the most exciting and demanding video I’ve had to shoot so far. Chris (bassist/FTB Visuals director) came up to me with the idea to create a “storyline” with a close up of just my face singing the lyrics underwater. And we achieved it by building a box with a plexiglas panel that fit my head, while the rest of my body was standing and perfectly dry. I guess you could say it was scary and awkward to have just your head submerged underwater and a bit dangerous to have to perform the entire song in that position, but honestly, I wouldn’t mind doing the whole thing all over again!”

If that’s not enough for you, here’s the lyric video for the first song released from the album, The Chain:

Five was produced by Mike Plotnikoff at West Valley Studios.  Mike has engineered and produced such artists as Buckcherry, Flyleaf, My Chemical Romance, Apocalyptica, P.O.D, Halestorm, Skillet, Seether, Three Days Grace, Aerosmith, and Kiss.

Maor Appelbaum handled the mastering at Maor Appelbaum Mastering studios.  Maor has had the pleasure of mastering recordings for major international acts such as: Faith No More, Yes, Starset, Ill Nino, Dokken, Fates Warning, Sepultura, Yngwie “More is more” Malmsteen, Armored Saint, Lita Ford, Butcher Babies, and more.

Five Track Listing:
1. The Moment
2. The Chain
3. The Anchor And The Sail
4. The Game
5. The Ocean
6. The Hunt
7. The Raven Eyes
8. The Wake
9. The Resurrection
10. The Villain
11. The Pursuit Of Emptiness
12. The Man Who Fell To Earth
13. The Trial
14. Take Me To Church (Hozier cover) (Bonus Edition Only)

Just to put the proverbial tin hat on it, and get their moneysworth out of Napalm’s PR team (hello Andy and Will!) the band have also announced a slew of tour dates across the world with various bands:

European Tour:
27.09.2016 – Fryshuset Klubben- Stockholm, Sweden
28.09.2016 – Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, Sweden
30.09.2016 – Tube – Dusseldorf, Germany
01.10.2016 – Epic Metal Fest – Tilburg, Netherlands
02.10.2016 – De Kreun – Kortrijk, Belgium
04.10.2016 – Opera Concert Hall – St. Petersburg, Russia
05.10.2016 – Клуб Театръ – Moscow, Russia
07.10.2016 – Sala Becool – Barcelona, Spain
08.10.2016 – Sala la Burbuja – Castellon, Spain
09.10.2016 – Sala Maladar – Seville, Spain
11.10.2016 – Sala tbc – Lisboa, Portugal
12.10.2016 – Sala Lemon – Madrid, Spain
13.10.2016 – Sala Azkena – Bilbao, Spain

Canadian Tour with Xandria, Epica and Fleshgod Apocalypse:
04.11.2016: Quebec City, QC @ Imperial Theater
05.11.2016: Montreal, QC @ Corona
06.11.2016: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Hall

American Tour with Arkona, Epica and Fleshgod Apocalypse:
08.11.2016: Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
09.11.2016: Minneapolis. MN @ Cabooze
11.11.2016: Saskatoon, SK @ Saskatoon Event Center
12.11.2016: Calgary, AB @ Marquee
13.11.2016: Edmonton, AB @ The Ranch
15.11.2016: Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
16.11.2016: Seattle, WA @ Studio 7
18.11.2016: San Francisco, CA @ Social Hall
19.11.2016: Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
20.11.2016: Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel
22.11.2016: Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
23.11.2016: Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
25.11.2016: Dallas. TX @ Gas Monkey Live
26.11.2016: Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room
28.11.2016: St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theater
29.11.2016: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
01.12.2016: Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
02.12.2016: New York, NY @ Webster Hall
03.12.2016: Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

Top Ten Judas Priest albums

10: Turbo

Much maligned (most unfairly in my opinion), this one is still one of Priest‘s biggest selling albums.  The change in sound from the more Trad Heavy Metal sound of the previous few albums happened as a reaction to the mid-80’s trend towards incorporating synth pop influences, as pioneered by ZZ Top.  Despite that, the title track is one of my personal favourite songs and has remained in Priest‘s live set.

 

9: Stained Class

This was the album that started the evolution towards Priest becoming the quintessential Heavy Metal band.  Producer Dennis MacKay streamlined Priest‘s songwriting, filtering out most of the Prog to create a tighter, meaner, more direct sound.  Stained Class also spawned Beyond The Realms Of Death and Exciter, as well as the controversial Spooky Tooth cover, Better By You, Better Than Me.

 

8: Jugulator

Even though Rob Halford had left the band somewhat acrimoniously, Priest made a solid attempt to carry on where Painkiller left off.  This was an angry band with a new singer in Tim “Ripper” Owens who could snarl as well as scream.  This may count as sacrilegious, but Ripper‘s version of Green Manlishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown), which can be found as a bonus track on Demolition, has a creeping menace to it that not even The Metal God himself could match.

This one is a grossly underrated album, that is worth re-evaluating purely on the strength of the last two songs: Bullet Train and the truly epic Cathedral Spires.

 

7: Sad Wings Of Destiny

Priest’s second album, the follow-up to 1974’s Rocka Rolla could probably be called the band’s first Heavy Metal album.  The centrepiece is the monumental Victim Of Changes, which set the stamp of what Judas Priest would be for the next six years, before everything changed for British Steel.  The Progginess was still strongly evident, but so were the riffs, solos and stratospheric vocals that became their trademark later on.  As well as Victim… this one is probably best known for The Ripper and Tyrant.

 

6: Defenders Of The Faith

Defenders… was the last of the three absolute classic albums Priest recorded in the 80’s, that pretty much set the standard the rest of their albums are judged by.  In terms of style, it didn’t really veer much from the path laid down by it’s predecessor, Screaming For Vengeance, which is why it’s not higher up in this countdown.

That said, it’s got another one of my favourite Priest songs on it, in the shape of The Sentinel.  It also contains Freewheel Burning, and Eat Me Alive, which is a masterclass in the art of lyrical innuendo and the double entendre, and earned them the ire of a certain Tipper Gore.

 

5: Redeemer Of Souls

After the bitty let-down that was Nostrodamus, Judas Priest needed to get their act back together, especially with the retirement of original member and mainstay, KK Downing.  To be absolutely honest, they played it safe.  Thing is, this is Judas Priest, one of the greatest Heavy Metal bands ever to walk the Earth, so their version of “playing it safe” puts them head and shoulders above most other bands.  This is a bloody good Judas Priest album, with very few weak links.  That’s why it’s sitting at Number 5.

Remember though, that this album was never supposed to happen.  The original plan was that Priest would do one more tour (named “Epitaph”, for obvious reasons), then would hang it up.  Substitute guitarist, Richie Faulkner (who had also worked with the late, great Sir Christopher Lee on his second Charlemagne album) changed all that.  Infused by new energy, they went back into the studio and recorded the album that righted the ship.

 

4: Angel Of Retribution

Arguably Priest‘s most important album, for them at least.  After the acrimonious split in the early 90’s, this was the album that brought Rob Halford back into the fold.

It was like he’d never been away.  The lessons Halford had learned from Fight and his own solo material were folded back into Judas Priest and they were all the better for it.

 

3: Screaming For Vengeance

The term “classic album” is bandied around far too much.  Judas Priest, though, got into a little bit of a habit of producing “classic” albums.  This is one of them.

The album kicks off with The Hellion, which leads into another all-time favourite of mine, and a mainstay of the band’s live set: Electric Eye.  This album also features Bloodstone, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and Devil’s Child.

Then there’s the title track, Screaming For Vengeance, itself.  In the old days of vinyl and cassette, that one kicked off side 2, and… well.  That’s why it’s in the Top 3.

 

2: British Steel

If any album deserved the accolade of being called “all killer, no filler”, it’s this one.  If not for the next album on the list, this would have been unassailable at the top.  There is not one single even slightly below par moment on this entire album.  Even the recording of the album has passed into legend in a way that only an album by a British band can… most notably due to the story behind the sound effects on Metal Gods.

It’s also got Grinder, Livin’ After Midnight, Rapid Fire and the song that is to Judas Priest as Paranoid is to Black Sabbath, Breaking The Law.

The only thing that stops British Steel being Priest‘s greatest album (the genius of the Breaking The Law video isn’t allowed into it) is that it doesn’t have a certain song as it’s title track…

 

1: Painkiller

It was never going to be anything else, really, was it?  As soon as British Steel came in second, this one was obviously the top.

None other than Sy Keeler, singer with Onslaught, agrees with me that this album sums up what Heavy Metal is all about. It was Rob Halford‘s original swansong with the band, and by the gods he went out on top. As with British Steel, this album has no weak links. A quick scan down the tracklisting shows up Hell Patrol, Night Crawler, Between The Hammer and The Anvil and Touch Of Evil. There’s also All Guns Blazing and One Shot At Glory.

Generally, that would be enough to bring it nose-to-nose with British Steel, but then you bring the title track onto the field, and the war is over. Kicking off with new boy (at the time) Scott Travis, formerly of Racer-X absolutely hammering his drumkit into the floor, Painkiller doesn’t let up for a second.

That’s why it’s Judas Priest‘s best album (so far), and possibly the greatest Heavy Metal album ever recorded.

Die No More to release new EP

Up-and-coming North Eastern Thrashers (and firm Wyrd Ways Rock Show favourites) Die No More are gearing up to release a brand new EP, entitled Destruction Complete on 9th September.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on it early, the band have announced a pre-order offer through their Big Cartel store, which you can get to by clicking HERE.  It comes in one of two flavours:

  1. Standard pre-order – Destruction Complete CD on it’s own.
  2. Limited Edition pre-order – CD + The Enemy Within T-Shirt, which is only going to be available through this pre-order offer, and looks like this:Die No More t-shirt

Armored Saint announce performance at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest kick-off party

Just back from a stomp across Europe, Armored Saint will be making a special appearance back in the USA this fall at the Ozzfest Meets Knotfest kick-off party.  This particular bash is exclusively for those brave souls who will be camping at this double-header music and lifestyle weekend.

The September 23rd pre-festival concert will give campers early access to the campsite, allowing them time to prepare for a night of performances from Armored Saint, Havok, Exmortus and Thrown Into Exile. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.ozzfest.com and http://www.ozzfestmeetsknotfest.com

As well as the festival appearances (which also includes the famous Loud Park Festival over in Japan), Armored Saint have also lined up some US tour dates, bringing Queensrÿche and Midnight Eternal for the ride:

Sept. 23 – San Bernardino, CA – Ozzfest Meets Knotfest kick-off party
Oct. 8 – Tokyo, Japan – Loud Park Festival

Armored Saint tour dates
w/ Queensryche, Midnight Eternal

Nov. 15 – Showbox At The Market – Seattle, WA
Nov. 16 – Ace of Spaces – Sacramento, CA
Nov. 18 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
Nov. 22 – Alamo City Music Hall – San Antonio, TX
Nov. 23 – Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Nov. 25 – Clicks – Tyler, TX
Nov. 26 – Trees – Dallas, TX
Nov. 29 – Mavericks at the Landing – Jacksonville, FL
Nov. 30 – Culture Room – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Dec. 1 – The Cuban Club – Tampa, FL
Dec. 2 – The Music Farm – Charleston, SC
Dec. 3 – Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Dec. 4 – Chameleon Club – Lancaster, PA
Dec. 6 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
Dec. 7 – Rex Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA
Dec. 8 – Diesel Concert Lounge – Chesterfield, MI
Dec. 9 – Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL
Dec. 11 – Limelight – Peoria, IL
Dec. 13 – The Waiting Room – Omaha, NE
Dec. 14 – Kanza Hall – Overland Park, KS
Dec. 15 – The Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO