Sunday, August 31, 2014

Danger Zone-Fire Fire (Single)


It's been two years since we last heard from Italy's Danger Zone. The thing is, based solely on the high quality melodic rock/hard rock that fans (incl. yours truly!) have come to know and love so much from this Bologna-based group, that seems like more of an eternity! Formed in 1980 (with highly skilled guitarist Roberto Priori serving time as the sole original member!) and known as much for the cult 1984 release, "Victim Of Time" (one EP that I have long dreamed of seeing it get a proper* CD release!) as they are for their excellent 2012 comeback album, "Undying" (with a handful of demo recordings and the very cool "Line Of Fire" nicely sandwiched in-between the two proper studio releases) Danger Zone has long been the type of band that is lovingly embraced by those in the know while (sadly) mainstream success seems to be just beyond the group's reach. One can only hope that the future holds better things for Roberto Priori and his brother's in arms as Danger Zone, which is lead by Giacomo Gigantelli (Spitfire) and (as of this fantastic cover song) has "officially" welcomed new bassist Matteo Minghetti into the fold (with long-time drummer Paolo Palmieri (as wonderful as ever) rounding things out) is simply far too talented and way too good to be ignored forever! Maybe the group's next release (reportedly in the works and rumored to be issued later this year or early 2015) will finally open some eyes & ears to this band's full-potential? In the meantime Danger Zone has released this digital single as a means to tide over fans and possibly hint at what is in store for the new album. Originally performed by Japanese band EZO and often-times covered by Danger Zone on the live stage, "Fire Fire" is a damn near perfect choice of covers for these Italian hard rockers seeing as it's chock full of contagious riffs and it hits the listener from all these different directions at once! Available on iTunes as well as Amazon, "Fire Fire" initially slipped past me someone how this summer but I've more then made up for that oversight by BLASTING (!) this hot slab of hard rock fury over and over again since just discovering it this past Friday! You can check out them video for this hell-raising rock number right below and if you are not entirely  familiar with this highly-underrated Italian group then be sure to check out any of links that I've posted below!


*There is a bootleg split CD by Revenge of True Metal Records floating around, but more then anything I would love to see this incredible EP re-mastered and re-packaged with some bonus demo material and possibly even "I Can't Live Without You" from the 1987 compilation album Metalmaniac!


"Line Of Fire" review:

Article about "Victim Of Time":

Review of 2012's "Undying":

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Anthrax-Chile On Hell (Live DVD)

Megaforce Records

Set for release on September 16, 2014, "Chile On Hell", which will be made available on both Blu-ray and DVD, is a live-in-concert release from Anthrax that was filmed at the Teatro Caupolican in Santiago, Chile on May 10, 2013. Recorded at the tail end of the "Worship Music" tour and mere weeks after the band had issued the covers EP, "Anthems", "Chile On Hell" is arguably the best representation that one can get of this thrash metal act live outside of catching one of their performances for yourself! I can confidently say that as nine months prior to the band's performance in south America I had the pleasure of catching Anthrax's set at the 2012 Mayhem Festival with an old work friend and his teenage son! On that occasion Anthrax simply smoked through classic numbers while simultaneously showing off the utter strength of their new material in a live setting. With "Chile On Hell" the band effortlessly does the exact same thing only better! Thanks to a highly energetic and enthusiastic crowd and the stellar work of guest lead guitarist Jon Donais (Shadows Fall) the "Worship Music" number "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" ends up having the same amount of fiery magic as early Anthrax tracks such as "Among The Living", "Caught In A Mosh" and "I Am The Love"! As he is in fine form here (sounding for all the world as good as he did the summer before hand when Rob Caggiano was still in the line-up) no over-dubs were needed in the case of Anthrax front-man Joey Belladonna. For his age (and the wear and tear that his voice has likely suffered since first joining the band in 1984!) Joey still rocks the mic duties while doing it with the same class and style that he has always been known for! Meanwhile the rest of his band-mates prove that there is still plenty of spring left in their steps. Scott Ian, who continues to be one of metal's most underrated guitarists, plays like he never ages while the rhythm section of Frank Bello (bass, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on the always appreciated "I'm The Man"!) and Charlie Benante (drums) threaten to blow the Teatro Caupolican into a billion tiny pieces! Thanks to the excellent production skills of Jay Ruston "Chile On Hell" unfolds as if you are right there. And that would be right there in the middle of one of the most intense crowds imaginable! When Anthrax rolls out the fan-favorites "I Am The Law", "Madhouse", "Indians" and "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" the crowd leaps to it's feet and shares the love for this long-lasting New York metal band. Scott Ian (rhyme guitar, backing vocals) and Joey Belladonna (lead vocals) fill in the pauses with friendly chatter, but you can just tell that these hungry fans were there let loose and get down as "In The End", "I'm Alive", "A Skeleton In The Closet" and "Medusa" drives everyone crazy! "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" shows how Anthrax still has a stake in the game while "Indians", "Madhouse" and "Caught In A Mosh" show just how far you can come while still holding firm to your humble beginnings. Meanwhile cover versions of S.O.D.'s "March Of The S.O.D.", Trust's "Antisocial' and AC/DC's "T.N.T." offer portraits of the many faces this band wears while the medley "I'm The Man / Raining Blood" pays tribute to a fallen comrade. In-between all of the original numbers and cover tracks the viewer is treated to a variety of clips from the band members themselves as well as fellow musicians, critics and friends all of whom double as fans. All in all "Chile On Hell" proves itself worthy of the Anthrax name as it shows many different facets of this long-loved band from onstage (where Scott, Joey and the rest of Anthrax simply shred through new and classic songs and covers with fire still bubbling hot in their bellies!) to off (it's cool listening to Dave Ellefson of Megadeth wax nostalgic about his favorite Anthrax song!) and it does it in a very honest and sincere way. Not once does Anthrax ever come across as anything but humble as it painfully obvious how much they love their fans and the scene which they share with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. While it would be easy enough to be cynical about yet another live DVD (whether from Anthrax or in general) this one definitely has more than it's fair share of positives including the fact that it is A) well-produced so that it looks and sounds spectacular! B) it offers an expansive overview of Anthrax's career so far C) it features a choice cover of "T.N.T." by AC/DC (a fave band of mine as well as Ian!) who are, alongside the Ramones and Motörhead, one band that I always appreciate getting the royal treatment! D) the small tribute that is paid to Slayer's fallen guitarist Jeff Hanneman is a nice touch and finally E) it will retail for the very reasonable price of $16.98! Yes, fans will have to wait a little while longer to purchase a copy of this excellent live-in-concert release from Anthrax, but on the plus side it will be well-worth the wait. In the meantime be sure to check out the DVD's trailer here:

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Johnny Touch-Inner City Wolves

Shadow Kingdom Records

Awesome album art and an awesome sound? Now that's nice. Real nice. For Australian-act Johnny Touch and their full-length debut "Inner City Wolves" it all sounds so natural, but that's far from a bad thing right? Formed in 2008 (and taking it's cue from traditional heavy metal, N.W.O.B.H.M. and even the likes of Metallica and Metal Church) the band previously released a demo tape and two 7" splits. With "Inner City Wolves" though we're talking the real deal. A full-fledged, front-to-back cover, one of a kind heavy metal thunder release which is screaming(!) to be heard by metalheads in their native country and worldwide! With someone as good as Pahl Hodgson  (Beyond Mortal Dreams, Born for Burning, Oath of Damnation, ex-Blood Mason, ex-Darklord, ex-Hatred Slave, ex-Oni, ex-Obsidian Aspect, ex-One Step Beyond, ex-Sumeria, ex-Deluge) on the mic and lead solos that range form straight-up heavy metal slammers that actually recall someone as great as the late Randy Rhodes to almost neoclassical pieces it is hard not to appreciate the excellence that transpires once you slide this one into your CD player. "Inner City Wolves" is not just one of the best debut albums of 2014 it's overall one of the best heavy metal albums of the year! Don't just take my word for it though. You can hear the complex/yet easily-accessible "Inner City Wolves" for yourself right here:

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My Own Ghost-Love Kills

Secret Entertainment

My Own Ghost is a female-fronted band from Luxembourg, Germany which was founded in 2013 by guitarists Fred Brever & David Soppelsa and bassist Joe May. The 13-track "Love Kills", which will be released on October 10th, is the band's full-length debut and with vocalist Julie Rodesch (Providers, Seven Days On Fire) and drummer Michael Stein (Red Circuit) rounding things out it has the potential to turn My Own Ghost into a buzz-worthy/must-hear act! Due to the five musicians' different backgrounds, reportedly ranging from pop to metal, and the fact that each and every member of My Own Ghost contributes to the songwriting (a rare feat in this day and age!) you end up with an album that is chock-full of variety while marvelously consistent. Again, this is not something you see everyday but when it comes to the melodic yet powerful My Own Ghost and their alternative/modern rock (by way of electronic, classic, pop and heavy rock) sound it's not only attention-getting it's downright special! The strong songwriting here on "Love Kills" is nearly overshadowed by the amazing performances from all five members with extra points be awarded to vocalist Julie Rodesch and the guitar playing of Brever and Soppelsa. If My Own Ghost gets a chance to move beyond their home country and then all of Europe one could almost envision this band and their radio-friendly rock making a real run towards worldwide recognition and admiration!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gloryful-Ocean Blade

Massacre Records

Ten month's after issuing their well-received (if reportedly nowhere near as intense as this epic, 40 plus minute release is) debut album, "The Warrior‘s Code", Gloryful return with the rock-steady "Ocean Blade". As a follow-up tot he band's 2013 first full-length it's highly energetic and technically-rounded and as hard-driving and flat-out crushing as opener "Hiring the Dead" is the album, which was mixed by the legendary Dan Swanö and mastered by Charles Greywolf (guitarist of Germany’s Powerwolf), only gets better as it advances with it's attack just like the mythical beast posted above! Formed in the summer of 2010 by lead singer Johnny La Bomba (a rough-edge type of singer who really adds to the gritty nature of this five-piece act!) and guitarist/occasional bassist Shredmaster JB (aka Jens Basten), Gloryful, who made their debut the same year as forming with the 3-track demo, "Sedna’s Revenge", combines elements of classic heavy metal and near-epic metal with both speed and power metal. Lyrically-speaking the band is driven by the Inuit-legend of sea goddess Sedna, but for all intensive purposes let's just say that "Ocean Blade" should readily appeal to everyday metalheads as much as it does to the epic and Euro-flavored crowd. Or, if you will, power metal fanatics in general or those who simply love straight-ahead, kick-ass METAL! Well-written, effectively performed and as steady-handed as they come (with more than it's fill of fist banging moments and air guitar-worthy shredding leads!) "Ocean Blade"is worth it's weight in pirate gold and makes for a nice addition to one's heavy/power metal collection. 

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J.B.O.-Nur die Besten werden alt

AFM Records

J.B.O. (James Blast Orchester) is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Erlangen, Germany that was founded in 1989. Dubbed "The Defenders of the True Nonsense", J.B.O. (now 25 years old!) is known for their parodies of pop and rock songs with their new album "Nur die Besten werden alt" (Only the Good Get Old) serving as their 10th studio album. Singing in their native language and often-times blurring the line between seriousness and flat-out parody (or if you will original compositions verses a strong desire to "paraphrase music-classics" with new lyrics and new arrangements) J.B.O, who are as colorful as the above album art suggests (!), offer a fun listening experience even if half the time one has no idea whatsoever what the hell is going on! There are however a few exceptions which we'll touch on. "These Boots Are Made For Walking" by the still lovely Nancy Sinatra turns into "Das Bier ist da zum Trinken" while "Schule aus" is Alice Cooper's classic "School’s Out". Meanwhile Lou Bega's over-played/somebody kill me if I have to hear this god-awful song once more in this underwhelming thing I call my life number "Mambo No. 5" turns into the heavier/much better "Metal No. 666" and Austria-based pop rock band OPUS (known for the 1985 single, "Live Is Life") is honored on "Death is Death". Between these "tribute" numbers and J.B.O.'s stab at original compositions (cuts which, besides drawing from extremes such as Metallica and Mötley Crüe, on at least one occasion reminded me of AC/DC while also serving notice that J.B.O could be viewed as a more metal-minded Die Toten Hosen!) "Nur die Besten werden alt" is as quirky as it is frustrating! Why is it frustrating though? Well, seeing as 99% of the group's new album is in German it is impossibly to catch all of the reference points unless you know the language. Unfortunately my two years of high school German is of little help as I've forgotten more about this language that even I care to admit! And speaking of admitting things, "Nur die Besten werden alt" most certainly offers other song "re-workings", but (blame it on my old age if you will) I'm just not able to pin-point what they are! Either way "Nur die Besten werden alt" comes recommended. Due to drop towards the end of September, J.B.O.'s latest work shows how it's possibly to bride the gap between metal and comedy without misplacing the immediate impact of either element!

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Estrella-Whatever It Is (Single)

SJS Entertainment Limited

"Whatever It Is" is a new single from Scottish four piece Estrella. Taking it's cue from classic 70s/80s rock influences such as Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Van Halen, AC/DC and Bon Jovi, Estrella is made up of  brothers Paul Gunn (lead vocals), Luke Gunn (lead guitar) and Nathan Gunn (bass) plus drummer Leo McPherson. Already a live hit thanks to plenty of buzz-worthy shows and a European tour with Robin Beck, Estrella, which is based in Aberdeen and will be touring Europe once more come November when they hit the road with ex-Guns N Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, will be releasing a new album in 2015. This particular single (due to released Oct. 13th) comes from the band's 2012 debut album, "Come Out In Play", which can be ordered from: A perfect reflection of the group's influences, "Whatever It Is" is repeat worthy as it has a remarkably comfortable and familiar vibe about it. All out once it reminds you of your favorite classic rock and hard rock bands while maintaining it's own air of authenticity meaning it meets you have way between nostalgia and originality. If  "Whatever It Is" is just one tiny slice of the excellence that awaits listeners on "Come Out To Play" (an album which I hope to secure for review purposes in the very near future) then there is a good chance that Estrella's debut outing is nothing short of a rock and roll gem!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Flesh Eaters-A Minute To Pray A Second To Die (2014 Re-Issue)

Superior Viaduct

Re-issued last month by Superior Viaduct, which means this one is fresh off the presses and probably still hot to the touch(!), "A Minute To Pray A Second To Die" is the second studio album from California's legendary (experimental) punk rock band The Flesh Eaters. The product of Slash magazine writer/punk poet Chris D.(aka Chris Desjardins) this oft-times macabre/downright moody band, which was fittingly enough named after a cult horror film from the sixties, was formed in L.A. in 1977 before making it's official debut one year later with the 7-inch EP "Flesh Eaters" (aka Disintegration Nation). Three years later the punk "group" issued it's first full-length album, "No Questions Asked", and with it's dark, near-death rock take on garage rock and roll the stage was set for The Flesh Eaters (with it's goth rock mentality) to do something truly magical. Cue 1981's "A Minute To Pray A Second". More experimental and (in a way) breath-taking then "No Questions Asked" (an album that is also consider to landmark achievement in the field of punk rock) The Flesh Eater's (bizarrely beautiful) second full-length album benefited from having a star-studded backing band featuring a real who's who from the then ever-expanding L.A. punk scene. Besides having Chris D. on lead vocals/shrieks and maracas the one-time line-up included Dave Alvin (Blasters) on guitar, John Doe (X) on bass, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) on sax, Bill Batemen (Blasters) on drums and DJ Bonebrake (X) on maracas, snare and marimbas. With it's darker hues and morbid, horror-themed lyrics the ghoulish "A Minute To Pray A Second To Die" had the impact of a speeding hearse slamming straight into punk's underground rock scene and (influentially) it would go on to inspire bands for years and years to come! By bringing together roots rock, country, rockabilly, goth rock, jazzy garage rock, death rock and the blues the album took a stab at what punk rock was supposed to sound like and turned it into something radically different and gloriously original. Much like The Gun Club this L.A. band marched to it's own beat as evident by the oddball nature of this landmark recording. As a re-issue it sounds as wonderfully madcap as ever making it all the more deserving of a spot in everyone's essential punk rock collection!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bootlegs-W.C. Monster (2014 Re-Release)

Minotauro Records

The first of two cult re-releases from our friends over at Minotauro Records, "W.C. Monster" was the full-length debut from Iceland's own (pride and joy) Bootlegs. Initially released in 1989, with the group's only other studio recording (the self-titled "Bootlegs") appearing the following year, "W.C. Monster" is as much a reflection of the times as it is a creative & spontaneously diverse first take from a band mostly-unheard of outside of their native country! As unfortunate as that may be (especially seeing as there is just too much fun to be had given the unrestrained nature of this beast known as "W.C. Monster"!) one would think, fuck, let's make that HOPE that a fine re-release such as this one would finally rip the lid off of this hidden treasure once and for all! Especially seeing as this CD (as LOUD and PROUD as it wants to be!) seems perfectly suited for today's live fast, die even faster heavy fuckin' metal community! Formed in 1986 and (stylistically-speaking at least) aided by the gruff, near punk rock-like voice of lead guitarist Nonni this (oddly-named and criminally underrated) thrash/speed metal band was originally only active until 1991 or so. Since then it's been a case of on-again/off-again with the band reportedly back together once more as we speak. Born not only of some real classic thrash (Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Anthrax, Voivod, Exciter and early Artillery), but bands as different as Suicidal Tendencies and the Subhumans this (sadly) short-lived band had piss and vinegar in it's veins making "W.C. Monster" a nice little banger of an album! Bootlegs has the fist-fighting fury down pat early on "W.C. Monster" thanks to garage thrasher "At The End..." and from there on out it's either more tender-loving raw thrash we're talking about (from the A bands: Agent Steel, Acrophet and Acid Reign to X, W and Z ones: Xentrix, Wargasm and Zoetrope!) or real nasty (hardcore-leaning) material from a band that could have been construed as trying to do the whole crossover thing! That would be C.O.C., S.O.D. and even D.R.I. although quite honestly this bunch never strayed too far off in that direction. Either way it's a win-win situation as Bootlegs rocks it all the same! Album-wise (or would it be package-wise?) this is what you are looking at with this stellar re-release:

Now that's nice right? Would you like it to get even better though? Yeah? How about we chat about this expanded package's bonus material then! During one of those "on again" moments Bootlegs recorded a live show which ended up being released (in limited fashion just like their two studio albums) in 2006. That show is split up between the two re-releases as a sort of "special treat". So, not only do you get a taste of Bootlegs in the studio (something which is damn fine cooking in and of itself!), but you get to hear one of Iceland's best kept secrets in the wild and unchained! And you know that raw, almost crossover-like band that occasional shows up on tape? Yep, you guessed it. Strip away the "restraints" of a studio and this was one band who took the phrase "lean and mean" to a whole new level! If you're old enough to remember the underground clubs and real dive bar scene of the eighties (where skinheads, greasy looking bikers and long haired thrashers all took the pit at the same time and shared the love along with plenty of blood!) then you'll certainly recognized the live sound that Bootleg cranked out! It comes splashing down like a blast from the past and from the outside looking in it's little wonder that Bootlegs was a local favorite! The bonus material alone made me remissness about those days when punk and heavy metal was still in the early stages of their relationship and wearing your favorite concert tee was a badge of honor not some silly trend. But, that's one story for another time. For now why not head over to Minotauro Records online store where not only can you find this great re-release, but "Bootlegs" (the band's sophomore release which I hope to cover in the next day or two!) and other fantastic gems from heavy metal's heyday! You can find all of that and more right here: while you can check in the band itself by heading to:

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Witch Mountain-Mobile of Angels

Svart Records

Other then a brief break in the action in 2002 (and the fact that it took 10 years to get from the group's 2001 debut album, "Come To The Mountain", and it's follow-up, 2011's (Metal Mark-reviewed) "South of Salem") Portland's Witch Mountain has maintained it's presence in the doom metal community. Since 2009 the band has been fronted by Uta Plotkin (Aranya, Olympus Mons and Stalking Jane) and on "Mobile of Angels" (the band's fourth full-length album overall) it sounds as if time has done nothing but enhance this Oregon outfit and their post-Sabbath/Pentagram take on the genre! Here on "Mobile of Angels" guitarist/former lead singer Rob Wrong flat-out levels the playing field with his solid 70's hard rock-inspired playing while the rhythm section of Charles Thomas (Blackwitch Pudding) and Nathan Carson (bass and drums respectively) keeps the ship nice and steady with it's put up or shut up presence! As lead singer Uta Plotkin easily enchants with her with her dark persona the rest of Witch Mountain (sounding as rich and rigid as ever while arguably presenting the darkest, must dreary and downright damned release of their long and varied career!) hold all the cards tight in their hands as they deal out track after track of monster-sized dark metal! This 38 minute doom coaster is epic in scope and thanks to the help of producer Billy Anderson Witch Mountain has an album that should stand the test of time and remain more then a little relevant for decades to come!

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