Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Alive! Top 5 Live Albums with Luc Carl - Ep155

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It's hard to believe that this week's theme has not been covered on the Decibel Geek Podcast but today it takes place.

Media worlds collide this week as SiriusXM deejay and author Luc Carl joins the Decibel Geek podcast to discuss their Top 5 Live Albums. When picking parameters for their choices it was mutually agreed that each person would choose albums that had a personal meaning to them in their journey through music and life. Because of that, you're going to hear a wide variety of picks; some you'll agree with and others you won't. Either way, there's lots of tunes, lots of laughs, and lots of great stories shared between Chris, Aaron, and the Ayatollah of Jack and Cola, Luc Carl!

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

AC/DC Drummer Delivers Head Job

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Most of us know the name Phil Rudd as synonymous with Aussie rock stalwarts AC/DC.  Phil joined AC/DC in 1975 and remained with the band until 1983 when he was reportedly dismissed due in part to a conflict with guitarist Malcolm Young.  He moved to Tauanga, New Zealand and filled his time away from AC/DC with the purchase of a helicopter company, racing cars, becoming a farmer and building his own recording studio.  Rudd re-joined the AC/DC camp in 1993 and has since appeared on the albums Ballbreaker (1995), Stiff Upper Lip (2000) and Black Ice (2008).  He also owns a steak and seafood restaurant in Tauranga New Zealand.

Rudd has now taken a stab in the solo album department with the recently released Head Job.  He wrote and recorded the effort with two friends, guitarist Geoffry Martin and bassist/vocalist Allan Badger.  I had previously investigated the advance video release of "Repo Man" and found it to be enjoyable but I had my doubts on what the whole thing would sound like.  Let's see if I was right shall we........

The title track "Head Job" gets things underway fantastically.  I played it four times through before I could move forward.  I can't say enough good things about this track that remained in my head for days afterwards no matter how many times I listened to it.  In fact as I would be singing the chorus
under my breath to the beat rolling in my head throughout the day it often came out in answer to a question I was asked by co-workers.....this action elicited some very questioning looks!  The subject matter is not sexual but according to Rudd the track is about "going to the pub to commiserate with your mates about someone doing your head in".  If this track doesn't get your toe tapping you may well need a visit to the hospital for life support systems!  What an opener to an album and an instant fave for me, hope to hell this quality keeps up!  "Sun Goes Down" sits in the second position of the collection, filled with a bluesy swagger and a great driving beat for another excellent straight ahead rock song.  The slower but still infectious groove of "Lonely Child" keeps things rolling but so far nothing matches "Head Job".  "Lost in America" continues the vein but my excitement is beginning to wane.   After that we get "Crazy" an almost country-ish and frankly weak tune that I just don't enjoy.  "Bad Move" brings back the distortion and heavier sound in this plodding number that grows on me with every listen.  The funk of "No Right" is catchy but "The Other Side", the longest composition, gets skipped during almost every listen.   "40 Days & 40 Nights" fixes everything and has a groove that you can't miss, while "Repo Man" is just the way Southern Blues Hard Rock should be.  "When I Get My Hands On You" is the final entry and another solid one at that.

Bottom line:  While I found a couple of the middle tracks of Head Job to be a little flaccid Phil Rudd and his friends have created some amazing and catchy Southern blues, swagger-filled songs.  Take note of "Head Job", "Repo Man", "40 Days & 40 Nights", "Sun Goes Down" and "When I Get My Hands On You".
Cheers,
The Meister

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(Buy: Phil Rudd - Head Job)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Caught in the Storm of Blades

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In my novice days of joining the Decibel Geek ranks (seems so long ago now) one of the early articles I chose to write was about an awesome band that I had recently discovered at the time.  That band's name was Bullet originally formed in Vaxjo Sweden in 1996 and comprised of Dag "Hell"
Bullet Bus-photo by The Meister
Hofer (vocals), Adam Hector (bass), Gustav Hjortsjo (drums), Hampus Klang (guitars) and Erik Almstrom (guitars).  The band has issued four albums prior to 2014's Storm of Blades, Heading For the Top (2006), Bite the Bullet (2008), Highway Pirates (2011) and Full Pull (2012).  Every album is fantastic exuding their straight ahead hard rock sound oft compared to that of AC/DC.  I was excited and fortunate to get the opportunity to see them at Sweden Rock 2013.  While there I even happened across the Bullet Bus (too bad no-one was in it when I passed by) that carries the band from gig to gig.  (Days 1&2 at Sweden Rock 2013) (I Bit The Bullet)
Bullet at Sweden Rock 2013-photo by The Meister

For Storm of Blades Erik Almstrom has departed the Bullet fold and Alexander Lyrbo stepped in to take up the second guitar position.  The album opens with a near minute long "Uprising" intro that doesn't really seem to serve much purpose in my mind, as most intros don't.  After the intro the 
charging guitar riff of "Storm of Blades" leads into the classic sounding Bullet cut which was issued as a single and video back in July.  "Riding High" is up tempo and has a catchy chorus to it while "Tornado" features a great little guitar solo.  The ferocious "Hawk Eyes" is up next but "This One's For You" seems a little like filler to me and is one of the weaker selections, but don't get me wrong it's in no way bad.  That filler feeling doesn't last long as we get into the totally awesome pumping anthem of "Hammer Down" followed by the infectious "It's On""Crossfire" is again a strong composition but the blistering pace of "Run With the Hunted" is a thing of beauty.  Things wrap up with the longest running track "Coming In Loud" which reminds me of a sweeping epic somehow....maybe it's just been a long day, no matter it's a stellar track as is the whole album.  I better hit "play" again right now!

I guess there's not really a glaring "standout" track contained here rather a tight collection of AC/DC (I wonder how they feel about all the AC/DC comparisons) style balls out rockers that collectively surpass their previous Full Pull release.  If I was forced to pick I'd say "Storm of Blades", "Hammer Down" and "It's On" are the top three.  I hope against all hope that there's a US/Canada tour coming up soon, but if not hopefully I can get my fix and take in a Bullet show while I'm over there for Sweden Rock 2015!

Cheers,
The Meister

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(Buy: Bullet - Storm of Blades)




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Motley Crue's Fifth Member (Or A Fifth Of Motley Crue)

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Grunge has often been credited with killing much of the music of the 80’s metal scene.  But as we now have the ability to look back it sure seems to have taken a bigger toll on bands like Ratt and LA Guns than it has for Motley Crue.  Vince Neil  recently acknowledged as much between Big Mac's and lipo treatment when he told Q magazine "I don't know why people say grunge killed rock. Only people whose careers were on the way out said that. It didn't seem to kill us.”  Hmmm.  Is that really true?  How is it that Ratt’s career was over in 1991 but not Motley’s?  And while Vince can say that now I doubt he felt that way when he released his second solo album, Carved In Stone, in 1995.  Not even I bought that.  And I buy everything.  In retrospect the downfall of the Sunset Strip scene was predictable.  Bloated bands offering nothing real or fresh.  The first single off every album was an upbeat rocker followed by a generic power ballad.  The same pattern.  Same video.  And when Guns N’ Roses broke it was clear there was a void that needed to be filled with angry music and we weren’t gonna get that from Slaughter.  Or 1989 Motley Crue for that matter.  But why is it that in 2014 bands like Ratt, Cinderella or even Judas Priest are viewed as less than Motley Crue?   
 
Let’s be honest.  Motley didn’t release a great album after Shout at the Devil.  Even if you disagree with that you must acknowledge the general population doesn’t care much for anything they released after Dr. Feelgood.  Don’t get me wrong.  I suppose all bands from this era are nostalgia acts at this point, but Motley seems to generate more current buzz.  Yet most of the people going to Motley’s farewell tour right now have no idea who John Corabi is or that they once had a female drummer.  I’m not talking about guys like me.  Guys like me know every detail.  Guys like me would rather hear City Boy Blues than Kickstart My Heart.  Guys like me will buy every Motley Crue record as it comes out.  With the full faith and credit that it will suck.  Guys like me look at going to shows and buying the records as an obligation.  But guys like me don’t fill arenas.  Depending on your city we might fill a club.  So why Motley and not LA Guns?  Tracii Guns had a theory.  He once said LA Guns would’ve been bigger if they'd had a blonde singer.  I don’t know about that but I do have my own theory on why Motley is revered more than any of their contemporaries. 
 
Tommy Lee’s penis. 
 

Far too many of us have seen Tommy and Pam’s “leaked” *cough* sex tape.  And once Tommy honked a boat horn with his dick the course was set and the ship had sailed.  At the time the video was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, Pamela Anderson was internationally famous for bouncing along a beach in slow motion and showing her enhanced goodies in Playboy every other month.  Tommy Lee, and Motley Crue for that matter, were names that guys like me knew and the general world stopped caring about years earlier.   Then came the most famous sex tape ever (Sorry Kim Kardashian.)  And not long after Tommy and his crank were almost as famous as the tits in that video. 
 
We all know what happened next.  Motley were reuniting with original singer Vince Neil (Who had his own sex tape but with just an average size penis) to record an awful record and tour the world.  They released a book called the Dirt.  And while the road since that point had its ups and downs for Motley, Tommy and his dick parlayed their fame into a handful of really bad solo records.  A really bad reality TV show.  And a  couple of stint’s in jail.  The unintended beneficiary to all of this was Motley.  They became iconic.  Infamous.  And now as they promise to leave us forever as a touring entity, I find it hard to believe that the general public would care as much as they seemingly do were it not for Tommy’s special purpose.   (What do you think he is?  Some kind of jerk?) They had fewer hits than Ratt but would Alice Cooper open for Ratt today?  As the bank accounts of all four members grow, it’s the growth of an uncredited member that should take a bow.  Well, maybe in few minutes.  Not right now. 
  
Does anyone have some hand sanitizer?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pantera Discussion with Chad Lee - Ep154

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In the early 1980's a pair of Texas brothers decided to form a band. 30+ years later, they are heavy metal legends. Pantera's rise to the top of the thrash heap happened despite a lack of heavy radio airplay and media hype. Their ascent was due to the power of grassroots word-of-mouth brought on by a legion of loyal fans that are still as fanatical about the band as they were at the end of their run in 2003. Today, we talk to a fan of the band that wound up in the inner-circle.

This week, Chris and Aaron are joined by rock photographer Chad Lee to discuss all-things-Pantera. Chad is not only a talented photographer but was a personal friend of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. He organizes the Nashville chapter of Ride for Dime. With the Nashville event coming up on September 27th, Chad sat down to discuss Pantera and Darrell's legacy, their material, and other entertaining stories about the "Cowboys from Hell." 

Ride For Dime Inc, a 501 (c) 3, charitable organization, honors the lives of guitar hero and friend, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, Jeff Thompson, Nathan Bray, and Erin Halk. Ride for Dime has proudly given back to charities that were of interest to Darrell during his life as well as charities he would have been proud to be a part of, like IAVA. In 2010, they started planning and began raising funds for their own "Ride for Dime Scholarship Fund" and are well on their way with the addition of new chapters.

We encourage all of our local listeners to purchase a ticket to the upcoming event and hang out with us! Ticket purchase includes entry into a raffle for autographed guitars from KORN & Halestorm. If you aren't local, you can still purchase a ticket and that money will go towards the charity so you can help from abroad as well. All proceeds benefit Rock Against MS and Nashville animal rescue Proverbs 12:10

Event Information:

Ride For Dime Nashville 2014 3rd annual Motorcycle run and concert


Main Street Music
527 W. Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Date: Saturday September 27, 2014 06:00 PM Doors: 5:00 PM

Headliner:
KIST -AMAZING KISS tribute full costume and stage show
FUNGONEWRONG
Opener:
Erasing Never
Sekond Skyn
The F**king Pantera Cover Band

Special Guest:
Jonathan Montoya - SALIVA
Nick Catanese - The Evil Twin (Black Label Society)
Nick Bowcott - (Grim Reaper/Marshall Amps/Guitar World Dime tribute)
Jose Mangin- (Sirius XM, Liquid Metal, Ozzy's Boneyard , Affliction Clothing)
Lüc Carl (Sirius XM Hair Nation, Ozzy's Boneyard Drunk Diet author)

Buy Tickets HERE!

More information at www.RideforDime.org
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Damageplan

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Devil City Angels @ Southport Bar & Grill

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Devil City Angels, the latest "Supergroup" played their very first show on (9/4/14) at Southport Bar & Grill in Indianapolis,IN. The band is made up of...


Tracii Guns - Lead Guitar
Brandon Gibbs - Lead Vocals/Guitar
Rikki Rockett - Drums
Eric Brittingham - Bass


I usually do not get too excited when I hear about some of my hero's from the 80's hard rock scene getting together to form a new band or "Supergroup". It usually ends up falling apart as fast as it came together or they put out one album followed by zero tours or live shows..(ie. KXM). In this case it seems to be just the opposite, the Devil City Angels have hit the road having only released four songs through their Reverb Nation page but with a back catalog of songs by their respective bands, what else do they really need? 


So, let's get to the show shall we? My buddy Scott and I decided to make the drive up to Indianapolis,IN from Louisville,KY to catch the show. The venue is a decent sized sports bar and as of late has been booking some pretty cool shows. I made the trip up back in May to catch an unplugged John Corabi show so I was excited to return to the venue and see the Devil City Angels. For this to be the very first Devil City Angels show the band DID NOT disappoint! Heading into this show all that most people had heard were the 3 or 4 tracks that the band has up on their Reverb Nation page. All of which were played along with such classic 80's Hard Rock hits as "Never Enough" by L.A. Guns, "Gypsy Road" and "Nobody's Fool" by Cinderella and "Talk Dirty to Me" and "Nothing But a Good Time" by Poison. The stand out song of the night for me was "The Ballad of Jayne"...that has always been one of my favorite songs and finally being able to catch Tracii Guns playing it live
was well worth the $20 cover charge.
I really do not know anything about vocalist Brandon Gibbs' history but the dude is a pretty solid front man/performer/guitar player and had zero trouble covering the material from the other members respective bands with the exception of maybe Cinderella. Something just didn't seem to fit vocal wise but in all reality, who can really sing like Tom Kiefer? No one, that's who! It wasn't "bad" just different.  Moving on to Tracii Guns, I truly believe Tracii is a very underrated guitar player and seeing him play live just re-enforced that thought. Tracii often broke into some bluesy guitar licks and blistering leads that breathed some new life into some classic songs!
Rikki Rockett, has never really been considered the most technical  drummers out there but he sure seems to be every bit the showman he has always been and was certainly entertaining to watch, not to mention being a pretty nice guy as well. This was my first time seeing Eric Brittingham live as I never got a chance to see Cinderella back in the day. Eric seemed to be a solid bass player. Eric's bass playing added with Rikki's beat made for a rock solid rhythm section. 

Now, to take a quick trip into "Negative-ville" for a minute, let's get to the "Meet & Greet" shall we? The Devil City Angels offer a Meet & Greet package for $50 That does not include the ticket price. I am REALLY not a fan of paying to meet someone. In this case I had a few classic LP's from my collection that I wanted try to get signed so after exhausting all efforts of contacting the Angels and the venue for some press credential's to no avail, I gave in and paid the $50. Was it worth it? Not really. Don't get me wrong, it was cool to shake the hand of one of my favorite guitar players, but seriously, is a hand shake really worth $50? Not to me.

Once the V.I.P. members were let into the room for the Meet & Greet we were told that the band WOULD NOT sign anything EXCEPT for the "pre-signed" band photo. One by one we were lead up to the band like we were getting ready to sit on Santa's lap for a group photo then quickly ushered out of the room. I am only adding this in here to help you make up your mind about purchasing the V.I.P. package. Personally, I would like to have my $50 back but hey, you might think it is worth it! You do get a pretty cool "Devil City Angels" tour pass though (pretty sweet for a collector), a "pre-signed" picture of the band and 1 picture with yourself and the band (as long as you have your own camera or phone). Still not worth $50. Just my opinion. You do what you want. No "shooting the shit" here just, "Hi, say cheese, bye". Save your $50 for something else. Seriously.

With all that said, please do yourself a favor and check out the Devil City Angels if their tour rolls through your town. Just save your extra $50 for beer.


If in the Indianapolis area or within a couple hours drive you should definitely check out Southport Bar & Grill. Have to hand it to them for bringing these shows to the region and supporting all the 80's Hard Rock bands that we all love. Check their website for upcoming events....

www.sbgindy.com

Be sure to swing by the Devil City Angels Reverb Nation page and give them a listen.
 http://www.reverbnation.com/devilcityangels











BTW....Keep an eye on our Decibel Geek Youtube page. There may just be a few videos from the show popping up soon!


There ya go, my first post. Short and Sweet.

MichaelG (or as Chris and Aaron have dubbed me...Metal Mike lol)

\m/..\m/

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Meister is Filled With Blind Rage!

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 When iconic German metallers Accept, Wolf Hoffman (guitars), Peter Baltes (bass), Herman Frank (Guitars) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums) joined forces with former TT Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo in 2009 the resulting album would be the first of new Accept music in fourteen years.  Blood of the Nations dropped in 2010, its follow up Stalingrad in 2012 and recently 2014 sees the completion of the trilogy, if you will, in Blind Rage.  All three albums are the highest charting Accept albums to date, Blind Rage the first to reach number one on German charts.  The latest, like the previous two is helmed by Andy Sneap and in a more "bang for your buck" play Accept has also included a DVD of their full concert in Chile in 2013!

We find the eleven song collection on Blind Rage starting strong out of the gates with the previously released in video format "Stampede".  This is a perfect opener and follows suit of the rejuvenated formula we received on Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad.  In "Dying Breed" we find Accept paying tribute to some classic bands such as Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin among others proclaiming "They're the last of a dying breed and we salute you".  The slower, but still heavy pace of "Dark Side of My Heart" is reminiscent of old classic Accept.  "Fall of the Empire" is again a slower composition with a chanting background chorus but certainly no ballad by any means.  "Trail of Tears" picks up the pace once again starting out at a blistering pace while "Wanna Be Free" is a more mid-tempo selection leading off acoustically.  Tornillo's gruff and gravelly vocals shine in "200 Years" and "Bloodbath Mastermind" begins slow and soft before exploding into one of the best on the album.  "From the Ashes We Rise" takes us through to the absolutely awesome and longest running track, "The Curse", a sweeping epic of a track.  Another melt your face off rocker closes this awesome effort in "Final Journey".


With only a couple of songs contained here under the five minute mark Accept have submitted a worthy edition to their catalog in Blind Rage.  While perhaps just a smidge below (and I mean only just) its predecessors of Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad it's still an absolute must for any metal fan.  Sort of like completing the trilogy of the original Star Wars movies.



Cheers,
The Meister

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(Buy: Accept - Blind Rage)





The Meister's Kissin' Dynamite!

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German band Kissin' Dynamite released their debut album, Steel of Swabia in 2008 when they were but 15 and 16 years old.  Since then they've followed it up every two years with another solid
effort, Addicted to Metal in 2010, Money Sex & Power in 2012 and now the end of September sees Megalomania hitting the shelves.  The five guys from Swabia (a southern part of Germany), vocalist Hannes Braun, guitarist Ande Braun (Hannes brother), guitarist Jim Muller, bassist Steffen Haile and drummer Andreas Schnitzer formed as a school band.  They have opened for the likes of Steel Panther and U.D.O. who also lends his gravelly vocals to the title track on Addicted to Metal.

For their latest effort, Megalomania, and quite frankly my introduction to Kissin' Dynamite, they barricaded themselves into their studio in Flensburg, Germany for a few weeks to write the songs.  The press release uses the word "zeitgeist" in a few places and after looking it up on wikipedia I found it to mean: "The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time."  Well, let's see if Kissin' Dynamite characterize the zeitgeist as the release claims shall we.

With ten tracks and only a 39 minute run time this is already different than several other reviews I've done lately in which there are 11 or 12 lengthy tracks and total run times over an hour.  "DNA" starts things off and quickly has my attention after the synthesizer beginning explodes into the pumping beat that drives the track.  The darker and pace changing "Maniac Ball" follows and does not live up to the preceding track.  "VIP in Hell" however raises the bar once again, with a breakneck pace but the downfall are the "rap-like" sections of the verses.  My total album killer curse "The Ballad" rears it's ugly head in the fourth spot with "Fireflies".  Not being a fan of ballads, a few classics aside mind you, this one fares better than most and does not squash my interest in the album.  The shortest track and arguably the best on Megalomania, "Deadly" appears next, great rocker with a little more modern tinges.  "I'm the God in you"
chants the beginnings on "God In You" before it opens up into an anthemic balls out rocker and in "Running Free" we are treated to more catchy hooks and melodic choruses.  The industrial flavored "Legion of the Legendary" is not really my style and it's followed up by another yawner ballad in "The Final Dance" instilling a growing loss of interest.  The album closes with "Ticket to Paradise" containing a crunchy beginning and an infectious sing along chorus in this melodic masterpiece that ends on a high point.

All in all Kissin' Dynamite's fourth effort is decent, but a little "all over the map" between the elements of sleaze rock, hard rock, industrial, power metal, speed metal and ballads but the songs I like, I like a lot.  They've certainly enticed me into a search of the previous three outings, remember these guys are in their early 20's with four albums already under their belts.  Let's see what they come up with next.

Cheers,
The Meister

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(Kissin' Dynamite Website) (Kissin' Dynamite Facebook) (Kissin Dynamite Twitter)

(Buy: Kissin' Dynamite - Megalomania)
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