CD Review: Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo

Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo
Michael Schenker
inakustik
Tracks: 18

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

Michael Schenker, one of music’s greatest rock guitarists has just released a new live album titled “Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo”. Recorded at Tokyo’s International Forum on August 24, 2016 via inakustik this historic concert features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker over the years including M.S.G.’S Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley of the McAuley Schenker Group.

For Michael Schenker fans not fortunate enough to have been able to attend the “Michael Schenker Fest” last year in Tokyo, Japan the latest live offering from the prolific guitarist has you covered. Together with inakustik the listen is instantly catapulted front and center for a barrage of riff-tastic goodness courtesy of Schenker and, a bevy special guests from Michael various groups. Tracks like “Attack of the Mad Axeman” featuring Gary Barden, “This Is My Heart” featuring Robin McAuley and probably my favorite track off the release “Doctor Doctor” which features Gary Barden, Graham Bonner and Robin McAuley all side by side with Schenker and his band.

Though I found the albums overall mix to be a touch thin the performances on each of the albums 18 tracks more than made up for any audio short comings as each performance was quite enjoyable. I also liked that the release is available in a variety of formats (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) allowing you to have two different experiences with the same release. Long time Schenker fans will certainly want to pick this up for their collection.

Track Listing:
CD 1
1.) Intro: Searching For Freedom
2.) Into the Arena
3.) Attack of the Mad Axeman
4.) Victim of Illusion
5.) Cry for the Nations
6.) Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
7.) Armed and Ready
8.) Coast to Coast
9.) Assault Attack
10.) Desert Song
11.) Dancer

CD 2
1.) Captain Nemo
2.) This Is My Heart
3.) Save Yourself
4.) Love Is Not a Game
5.) Shoot Shoot
6.) Rock Bottom
7.) Doctor Doctor

CD Review: CJ Ramone “American Beauty”

“American Beauty”
CJ Ramone
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 12

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Out of the seven billion or so people on the planet, only seven men have been lucky enough to be gifted with the Ramone surname. As of 2017, four have already headed off to that great gig in the sky. Thankfully, CJ Ramone has no plans to leave any time soon and his latest album “American Beauty” is sure to solidify that statement. The album which is being released via Fat Wreck Chords features twelve brand new tracks and is the follow up to Ramones 2013/14 album “Last Chance to Dance”.

Though the original Ramones lineup is no longer with us thankfully guys like CJ Ramone who was a member of the band from 1989 to 1996 when the band officially retired are still around and making music to fill that empty void. “American Beauty” is the latest offering from CJ and his band who continue to wave the flag for the originators of pop infused punk rock. With subtle nods to his former band mate’s tracks like “Let’s Go”, “Girlfriend In a Grave Yard” and “Run Around” all tap into that same appeal vintage Ramones tracks have but with a modern and somewhat updated twist. Tracks like “Without You” which features a guest appearance by Big Eyes front-woman Kate Eldridge is a catchy back and forth love song about being apart while the track “Tommy’s Gone” is a somber acoustic driven number paying tribute to original Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone (Erdelyi) who passed away in 2014.

Whether you’re a casual listener or a devoted Pinhead CJ Ramones’s “American Beauty” has something for you. From catchy vocal lines and pogo inducing choruses to overdriven guitars and thumping drums and bass the latest offering from a this true punk veteran is worth a listen.

Track Listing:
1.) Let’s Go
2.) Yeah Yeah Yeah
3.) You’ll Never Make Me Believe
4.) Before the Lights Go Out
5.) Girlfriend in a Graveyard
6.) Tommy’s Gone
7.) Run Around
8.) Steady as She Goes
9.) Without You
10.) Be a Good Girl
11.) Moral to the Story
12.) Pony

CD Review: The Bombpops “Fear of Missing Out”

“Fear of Missing Out”
The Bombpops
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 12

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

San Diego punkers The Bombpops are set to explode with their first full-length album titled “Fear of Missing Out”. Released via Fat Wreck Chords the 12 track album is the follow up to the bands 2015 self released EP titled “Can of Worms” and hits with a sound and energy that harkens back to punks resurge in the 90’s.

Fat Wreck Chords has a long and fabled history as one of the independent leaders of punk rock music so whenever I get a chance to check out a new release from them I jump at the chance. Right from the albums opening track “Capable of Lies” to the closing notes of “All in a Day’s Lurk” the album is two parts nostalgia and two parts new as the 4 piece band consisting of Poli van Dam, Jen Razavi, Josh Lewis and Neil Wayne provide listeners with 90’s styled pop-punk fueled with modern day angst. Tracks like “CA in July”, “Watch Me Fold” and “Sweet for Sorrow” are definitely worth noting as they provide a perfect example of my previous statement.

If you were ever into bands like Dance Hall Crashers or Save Ferris then you definitely owe it to yourself to check out The Bombpops and their latest release “Fear of Missing Out”. Not only does the band/album provide a new take on a familiar sound each track’s catchiness is through the roof making it an album you can throw on repeat and listen to multiple times.

Track Listing:
1.) Capable of Lies
2.) CA in July
3.) Be Sweet
4.) Sweet for Sorrow
5.) Jerk
6.) FOMO
7.) I Can’t
8.) Watch Me Fold
9.) Forever Since
10.) Brake Lights
11.) Marry. Fuck. Kill
12.) All in a Day’s Lurk

CD Review: John5 “Season of the Witch”

“Season of the Witch”
John 5 and the Creatures
60 Cycle Hum
Producer: John 5
Tracks: 13

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

World-Renowned guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures are back with a brand new 13 track album titled “Season of the Witch”. The album (John’s 8th as a solo artist) is being released via 60 Cycle Hum is the follow up to his 2014 release “Careful With that Axe”.

John 5 seems to be one of those guys who is constantly going and perfecting his craft. From his work with Rob Zombie and Rod Stewart to scoring films and appearing as a guest performer on dozens of albums each year the guy always seems to be playing. John’s latest offering “Season of the Witch” blends, twists and smashes a variety of genres leaving practically no musical stone unturned over the course of its 13 track, 37 minute run time. From the sample laden opener “Book of Spells”, to the Rush-esque “Guitar, Tits and Monsters and the layered back twang filled echoes of “Behind the Nut Love” listeners are take on a rollercoaster ride of sound and emotion as the virtuoso lets his guitar do all of the talking. Backed by an equally impressive band known as “The Creatures” consisting of bassist Ian Ross and drummer Rodger Carter the trio connects flawlessly providing an enjoyable listening experience.

Don’t let the albums brief runtime fool you as John 5 and the Creatures pack every ounce of musicality they can in to each and every second of “Seasons of the Witch”. Easily his most diverse solo effort to date John 5 showcases his ability and diverse tastes by blending country, funk, rock and metal with his love for the macabre into one cohesive package that provides listeners with something new each time you listen.

Track Listing:
1.) Book of Spells
2.) The Black Grass Plague
3.) Guitars, Tits and Monsters
4.) Now Fear This
5.) Behind the Nut Love
6.) Making Monsters
7.) Cr. Evil’s Spookshow
8.) Here’s to the Crazy One’s
9.) The Macabre
10.) Ddd
11.) Hell Haw I.G.R.
12.) Ode to Jasper
13.) Season of the Witch

 

CD Review: Dropkick Murphys “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”

“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”
Dropkick Murphys
Born & Bred
Producer: Ted Hutt
Tracks: 11

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Everyone’s favorite Bostonian punk band Dropkick Murphys are back with a brand new studio album titled “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”. The album (the bands ninth) is being released via the groups own Born & Bred label and features 11 tracks which were produced by Grammy Award winning producer Ted Hutt.

With a four year lapse since the release of 2013’s “Signed and Sealed in Blood” fans of Dropkick Murphys have had a bit of a wait for new material however with the release of “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” DKM has made up for that lost time. The album opens up with a mostly instrumental track titled “The Lonesome Boatman”. The track which features gang like chanting serves as sort of a rallying call announcing the bands return. I found this to be a fitting way to open the album given the gap between this album and the last. As you make your way through the albums 11 tracks you get a spattering blend of traditional and non-traditional instrumentation mixed with vocalists Ken Casey and Al Barr’s signature Boston snarl. Tracks like the upbeat “Rebels with a Cause” and the rawkus “I Had a Hat” are classic DKM in their subject matter and approach while the 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein show tune “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is given a folk/punk makeover that is new and fresh while still paying homage to the original. Another track worth mentioning is the somber “4-15-13” which is the bands heart-felt tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” is everything fans of Dropkick Murphy’s have come to love about the band and their music. The only negative I really found was as the title suggests the album is a bit short. Clocking in at less than 40 minutes I seemed to be through all 11 tracks before I knew it, the upside is the albums diversity makes it easy to listen to multiple times through without it getting stale or redundant negating its short run time. No matter if you are a long time fan of the boys from Boston or a more casual listener the latest release from Dropkick Murphy’s surely has something you will enjoy.

Track Listing:
1.) The Lonesome Boatman
2.) Rebels with a Cause
3.) Blood
4.) Sandlot
5.) First Class Loser
6.) Paying My Way
7.) I Had a Hat
8.) Kicked to the Curb
9.) You’ll Never Walk Alone
10.) 4-15-13
11.) Until the Next Time

CD Review: Judas Priest “Turbo 30”

“Turbo 30”
Judas Priest
Sony Music
3 Discs

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

British metal legends Judas Priest are set to reissue their 10th studio album “Turbo”. Originally released in 1986 the album incorporated a variety of new technical inventions which allowed the band to challenge their creativity and push their sound as a band forward. “Turbo 30” is being released via Sony Music and features recreated album art work, a re-mastered version of the “Turbo” album and an unreleased 2 disc live recording from the bands 1986 “Fuel For Life” tour.

Having reviewed the bands last reissue/live release I was anxious to delve into “Turbo 30”. The band and Sony spare no expense to make sure these re-releases are top notch and not just an opportunity to sell their back catalog. From the quad fold packaging to the recreated artwork and original photos just the looks alone of this release are enough to make me recommend it. Disc one of three features a re-mastered version of “Turbo” featuring tracks such as “Parental Guidance”, “Locked In” and “Turbo Lover”. Despite being an analog purist the re-mastered version of the album did sound quite good however, were the release really shined was in the bonus two disc live recording. Much like the re-issue of “Defenders of the Faith” in 2015 “Turbo 30” includes an unreleased live performance from the albums subsequent tour. These live recordings sound amazing and just shred through your speakers as they capture the band in their natural environment. Not only do you get live versions of songs from the featured album but you also get fresh versions of some of Priest’s biggest hits including “Heading Out to the Highway” and “Breaking the Law” to fan favorites “The Sentinel” and “Electric Eye”.

As Priest albums go “Turbo” is probably one of the least re-guarded of the bands 17 studio albums however, the presentation and the inclusion of the unreleased live performance on this 30th anniversary edition make it a decent pick up. Even fans who may dislike the studio album portion of the release will appreciate the quality of disc 2 and 3 as the band sounds great.

Disc 1 Track Listing:
1.) Turbo Lover
2.) Locked In
3.) Private Property
4.) Parental Guidance
5.) Rock You All Around the World
6.) Out in the Cold
7.) Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days
8.) Hot For Love
9.) Reckless

Disc 2 Track Listing:
1.) Out in the Cold
2.) Locked In
3.) Heading Out to the Highway
4.) Metal Gods
5.) Breaking the Law
6.) Love Bites
7.) Some Heads are Gonna Roll
8.) The Sentinel
9.) Private Property
10.) Desert Plains
11.) Rock You All Around the World

Disc 3 Track Listing:
1.) The Hellion
2.) Electric Eye
3.) Turbo Lover
4.) Freewheel Burning
5.) Victim of Changes
6.) The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)
7.) Living After Midnight
8.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
9.) Hell Bent for Leather

CD Review: Lamb of God “The Duke”

“The Duke”
Lamb of God
Epic Records
Tracks: 5

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Richmond, VA heavy metal band Lamb of God has just released a new five track EP via Epic Records titled “The Duke”. Written in honor of the band’s late friend and fan Wayne Ford, who was named after “The Duke” John Wayne the album features two new tracks and three live performances from the bands recent “Sturm Und Drang” tour.

Over the past few years Lamb of God has become one of my favorite bands both from a recording stand point and as a live band. “The Duke” EP is a solid blending of both of those attributes as rarely do you find a band that is solid in both. Both “Culling” and “The Duke” showcase the bands writing and musicianship. Randy Blythe again gets to stretch his legs vocally similar to his performance on the “Strum Und Drang” track “Overlord” as the EP’s title track flip flops between catchy sing a long verses and choruses to ear shredding break downs and backing vocals. The second new track “Culling” takes off like a rocket with drummer Chris Adler’s machine gun like double bass drums laying a solid foundation for the rest of the band to build up. The remaining three tracks are live cuts taken from the bands Rock AM Ring and Bonnaroo performances. Though I found the mixing of the tracks to be a little on the thin side each song was a still a fun listen and is worth checking out especially if you were fortunate enough to attend one of the shows where these were recorded.

Fan’s of the band already know that “The Duke” EP is a must have however what I think really stands out is that the EP is accessible enough to where new comers and more casual listeners can easily get into as well. The two new tracks and three live tracks makes for a fun familiar listen while adding just enough newness to warrant cracking open your wallet or dipping into your ITunes balance.

Track Listing:
1.) The Duke
2.) Culling
3.) Still Echoes (Live from Rock AM Ring)
4.) 512 (Live from Bonnaroo)
5.) Engage the Fear Machine (Live from Bonnaroo)

CD Review: Crystal Lake “True North”

“True North”
Crystal Lake
Artery/Cube Records
Tracks: 10

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Japanese hardcore/metal band Crystal Lake has just released a brand new full length album titled “True North”. The album (the bands 6th full-length) is being released via Artery Record in the United States features 10 tracks which blend and blur a mixture of unique styles and sounds which instantly sets them apart from other bands in the genre.

Being somewhat unfamiliar with Crystal Lake I jumped in blindly as I hit the play button. Right away the band had my intention as the albums opening track “Alpha” teases your senses with underlying synth rhythms before hitting you like a ton of bricks. Vocalist Ryo Kinoshita pushes his voice to the near edge on tracks like “Omega” and “True North” while tracks like “Breathe Deep” and “Metro” showcase the bands diversity and musicianship as they bounce between light melodic verses, aggression fueled choruses and fist pumping breakdowns providing a unique rollercoaster like listening experience. Even if you are not a fan of heavy music there is enough substance in “True North” to make this a worth-while listen.

Despite finding some of the sound structures a little redundant mainly in the way of the albums electronic elements it wasn’t enough to pull my attention away from the core elements of each song. For fans of heavy music looking for something a little different give the latest offering from Crystal Lake a try as you won’t be disappointed.

Track Listing:
1.) Alpha
2.) Omega
3.) Hatred
4.) Metro
5.) True North
6.) Breathe Deep
7.) Black and Blue
8.) Six Feet Under
9.) Walk on Water
10.) Waves

CD Review: Jimmy Buffett “‘Tis The SeaSon”

Jimmy Buffett “‘Tis The SeaSon”
Released: October 28, 2016
Genre: Christmas
Length: 39:31
Label: Mailboat Records
Producer: Mac McAnally, Robert Utley

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

In our house if Jimmy Buffett’s music is not playing then something must be wrong. With the holidays coming, that is still no excuse to get in the mood. For the last 20 years, we have spent each season listening to Jimmy Buffet’s first Christmas album, “Christmas Island”. It is a must listen every Christmas season. So now finally after 20 years of waiting, Jimmy has released his follow-up to that album with “‘Tis The SeaSon”. I have to admit, I was hoping that it wasn’t going to disappoint especially how high “Christmas Island” was held in our household but it delivers nothing but non-stop holiday cheer and smiles all around. Definitely a perfect way to get into the Christmas mood.

Some highlights for the album definitely have to be the very funny “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” with its Parrothead version of the classic track. It is a must listen. I think I almnost have it down pat to repeat after numerous listens. “What I Didn’t Get For Christmas” is a great track written by fellow Coral Reefer, Mac McAnally, who also produced the album. Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is easily one of my favorite Christmas songs and Jimmy has taken it and made it better!

Jimmy Buffett, the usual suspects also appear on the album including Robert Greenidge, Jake Shimabukuro and the lovely Nadriah Shakoor dueting with Jimmy on the classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. This entire album is done in true Margaritaville fashion and I literally loved every single second of it! These are classics taken my Jimmy and giving such a perfect island “Jimmy Buffett” feel to them. If you are looking for something new this holiday season, then look no further, this album has it all! Merry Christmas!

Track listing:
1. Wonderful Christmastime
2. Jingle Bell Rock
3. All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
4. Drivin’ The Pig (Manejando El Cerdo)
5. The Twelve Days Of Christmas (Parrothead Version)
6. What I Didn’t Get For Christmas
7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
8. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
9. Santa Stole Thanksgiving
10. Mele Kalikimaka (Feat. Jake Shimabukuro)
11. Winter Wonderland (Feat. Robert Greenidge)
12. Baby It s Cold Outside (Feat. Nadirah Shakoor)
13. White Christmas

CD Review: Avenged Sevenfold “The Best of 2005-2013”

“The Best of 2005-2013”
Avenged Sevenfold
Warner Brothers
Tracks: 18

Our score: 2 out of 5 stars

Warner Brothers has recently released a new “Best Of” double album featuring Avenged Sevenfold. The album titled “The Best of 2005-2013” features select tracks from the bands four albums with the label (City of Evil, Avenged Sevenfold, Nightmare and Hail to the King) along with three cover tracks and two previously unavailable songs from the bands eight year run with the famed label which are spread across two discs.

Having seen dozens and dozens of ”Best Off” albums come and go with little to no fan fair I was sort of hoping for a little more from Warner Brothers in regards to Avenged Sevenfold. However knowing the relationship between WB and the band was coming to an end in a not so pretty way we have this rather lackluster piece. Pretty quickly I noticed something sounded a little off with the tracks as they all seemed a bit thin and not as powerful as each track sounded on its original release. At first I had thought maybe it was just my speakers however re-listening to the album on a different system yielded the same results. Disc one of the set features three tracks from “City of Evil”, five tracks from “Avenged Seven Fold”, three from “Nightmare” and two from “Hail to the King”. Basically they stripped away some of the more unique pieces on the bands catalog and went straight for all the radio friendly stuff listeners have heard a million times over by now. What fans of the band might enjoy most is disc two of this release as it features three cover tracks pulled from two tribute records the band was a part of along with the tracks “Carry On” which was featured in the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and “Not Ready to Die” featured in the “Call of the Dead” video game. These two tracks along with “Walk”, “Flash of the Blade” and “Paranoid” were certainly the shining stars as they are not tracks heard as often as those found on disc one.

I would have thought that with the invention of ITunes and other digital media services that greatest hits releases like this would be a thing of the past or at-least reserved for late night info-mercials. Yet there are still handfuls of them released year after year where they are doomed to take up shelf space. Avenged Sevenfold “The Best of 2005-2013” seems to be another one of those releases as it really offers little to longtime fans of the band. Yes you get a hardcopy of a few rarer tracks but, how many people out there are rocking a Discman these days or don’t have some sort of mobile hook up for the media player where they would really need a hard copy? My advice, skip this release as all these tracks can be found on various streaming and download sites. You will not be missing anything by not purchasing a hardcopy of this release as even the packaging is a simple as it can be offering nothing new or original to fans of this era of Avenged Sevenfold.

Track Listing:
Disc 1
1.) Bat Country
2.) Beast and the Harlot
3.) Seize the Day
4.) Critical Acclaim
5.) Almost Easy
6.) Afterlife
7.) Dear God
8.) A Little Piece of Heaven

Disc 2
1.) Nightmare
2.) Welcome to the Family
3.) So Far Away
4.) Hail to the King
5.) Shepherd of Fire
6.) Walk (Pantera Cover)
7.) Flash of the Blade (Iron Maiden Cover)
8.) Paranoid (Black Sabbath Cover)
9.) Carry On
10.) Not Ready to Die

CD Review: Metallica “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”

“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”
Metallica
Blackened Recordings
Producer: Greg Fidelman, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich
Tracks: 12

Our score: 5 out of 5 stars

Rock and Roll Hall of famers Metallica are back with a brand new full length album titled “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The album (the bands 10th studio release) is being released via the bands own imprint Blackened Recordings and features 12 brand new tracks from the heavy metal legends which were produced by Greg Fidelman, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

With the “Death Magnetic” era of Metallica long since past fans of the band (myself included) have been clamoring for some new material from the one of the biggest bands to come out of the early eighties thrash music scene. We all have heard the phrase “Be careful of what you wish for” and that couldn’t be more than true with “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The albums 12 tracks capture the band firing on all cylinders and sounding stronger than ever. Tracks like “Moth Into Flame”, “Halo On Fire” and “ManUNkind” all feature the groups blend of ballad like lyricism mixed with the crushing guitars and drums we have all come to love while tracks like “Atlas, Rise!”, “Confusion” and the Lemmy tribute track “Murder One” go straight for the jugular as each track blazes through your speakers with reckless abandonment and aggression. Hetfield and company appear to be at the top of their games both lyrically and instrumentally making this one of the bands most powerful releases in the past twenty years.

Coming off an eight year lapse between records Metallica surely could have gone a number of different ways with their latest offering however, “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is a solid mixture of the bands signature classic sound with just enough newness to make you take notice while not completely alienating the listener. “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is a near perfect blending of all things Metallica as it flawlessly mixes both old and new while providing listeners with what could possibly be one of thee best releases of 2016.

Track Listing:
Disc 1
1.) Hardwired
2.) Atlas, Rise!
3.) Now That We’re Dead
4.) Moth Into Flame
5.) Dream No More
6.) Halo on Fire

Disc2
1.) Confusion
2.) ManUNkind
3.) Here Comes Revenge
4.) Am I Savage?
5.) Murder One
6.) Spit Out the Bone

CD Review: Wovenwar “Honor Is Dead”

“Honor Is Dead”
Wovenwar
Metal Blade Records
Tracks: 11

Our score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Metal Blade recording artist Wovenwar are back with their sophomore release titled “Honor Is Dead”. The group which consists of former As I Lay Dying members Nick Hippa, Josh Gilbert, Phil Sgrosso and Jordan Mancino along with Oh Sleeper front man Shane Blay is taking things to the next level with their latest release consisting of 11 aggressive tracks which demand listener’s attention.

From the opening lines of “Confession” to the closing notes of “130” the latest offering from Wovenwar is a much more aggressive album than the groups 2014 self titled debut. Vocalist/guitarist Shane Blay seems to have settled in and planted his roots firmly with the former As I Lay Dying members which are nicely showcased on “Honor Is Dead”. The group once again does a great job blending melodic tinged vocals and crushing guitars but goes one step further amping up the heavy portion of the album with strategically placed guttural screams and lyric passages that will surely satisfy even the most fanatical heavy music listener. For those looking the album more melodic moments check out the title track “Honor Is Dead” as well as “Silhouette”. For those wanting the heaviest of the heavy take a listen to “Stones Throw” and “Cascade” as the will undoubtedly do the trick.

The band seems to only be getting better the more and more time they spend with each other and “Honor Is Dead” is a solid testament to that. Though I found the album lacking some of the catchiness found in the group’s previous release I still enjoyed listening to the new material. Clocking in at just over thirty minutes allowed for multiple listens and the diversity of each track cancelled out any redundancies making the latest from Wovenwar a solid pickup.

Track Listing:
1. Confession
2. Censorship
3. Honor is Dead
4. Lines in the Sand
5. World on Fire
6. Compass
7. Stones Throw
8. Cascade
9. Silhouette
10. Blood Letter
11. 130

CD Review: Saxon “Let Me Feel Your Power”

“Let Me Feel Your Power”
Saxon
UDR Music
1 DVD+2CD’s

Our score: CD 4 out of 5   

                   DVD: 3.5 out of 5

British heavy metal legends Saxon have just released their 10th live album titled “Let Me Feel Your Power”. The two CD and one DVD/Blu-ray is being released via UDR Music and features 16 tracks that were recorded in Munich and Brighton in November of 2015. The release also contains bonus footage from the bands September 2015 show in Chicago. “Let Me Feel Your Power” is available in a variety of formats including a deluxe vinyl version which also includes the Blu-Ray and 2 CD’s and is limited to 1500 copies.

The latest live offering from Saxon is a solid testament to the staying power of one of the originators of the NWOBHM movement. Vocalist Biff Byford and company sound great through all 30 tracks making this an enjoyable listen and one of the better live releases I have heard recently. The video portion (which coincides with the audio portion) of the package is equally good as it features a variety of crystal clear camera angles with top notch sound. Songs like “Motorcycle Man”, “Power and Glory” and “Queen of Hearts” rip through your speakers with surprising clarity which allows you to hear every instrument with ease, often a rarity with live recordings even with today’s modern technology.

With a track listing that is a mixture of both new and old Saxon “Let Me Feel Your Power” has something for just about every era of Saxon fan out there. Combine that with top notch audio and video and you have a really enjoyable release. Though there are a few songs which you get duplicate versions of and a lack of any real bonus or behind the scenes footage of the band (which would have been cool) these small short comings weren’t enough for me to not highly recommend this release as it’s a great heavy metal listen.

Audio Track Listing:
 Disc 1
1. Battering Ram
2. Motorcycle Man
3. Sacrifice
4. Destroyer
5. Power and the Glory
6. 20,000 FT
7. The Devil’s Footprint
8. Heavy Metal Thunder
9. Queen of Hearts
10. Princess of the Night
11. Wheels of Steel
12. Denim and Leather
13. Crusader
14. Eye of the Storm
15. Battalions of Steel
16. Requiem

Disc 2
1. Motorcycle Man
2. This Town Rocks
3. Sacrifice
4. Power and the Glory
5. Solid Ball of Rock
6. Dallas 1 pm
7. Heavy Metal Thunder
8. Rock the Nations
9. The Eagle Has Landed
10. Wheels of Steel
11. Backs to the Wall
12. Just Let Me Rock
13. Strong Arm of the Law
14. 747 (Strangers in the Night)
15. Princess of the Night
16. Denim and Leather

Album Review: NOFX “First Ditch Effort”

“First Ditch Effort”
NOFX
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 13

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Punk veterans Nofx are back with their first album in six years titled “First Ditch Effort”. The new album which is being released via Fat Wreck Chords features 13 tracks from the Nor-Cal punkers and is classic Nofx through and through with however with a tinge of maturity.

From thought provoking lyrics and tongue and cheek song tiles everything you have come to expect from Nofx is included on the band’s latest release “First Ditch Effort”. The album starts off with the 90 second screamer “6 Years on Dope” which features guitarist Eric Melvin on lead vocals. Thought this isn’t the first time Melvin has lent is voice to a NOFX track his voice sounds better than ever making wish he would sing on a few more tracks. Front man Fat Mike is no slouch either in the vocal department as he much like the rest of the band only seems to get better with age. Tracks like “California Drought” and “Generation Z” are perfect example of this as the both of these tracks show the bands cohesiveness. For listeners looking for a more somber moment in the record and/or something similar to what was found on the “Cokie the Clown” EP from 2009 check out the track “I’m So Sorry Tony” a heartfelt tribute to No Use For a Name front-man Tony Sly who passed away in 2012.

Clocking in at just over 30 minutes “First Ditch Effort” harkens back to the bands mid 90’s heyday but with a modern twist. Catchy sing along choruses and tales of aging and loss fuel the 13 tracks making up the album which is easily the bands strongest release since 1994’s “Punk In Drublic”

Track Listing:
1.) Six Years on Dope
2.) Happy Father’s Day
3.) Sid and Nancy
4.) California Drought
5.) Oxy Moronic
6.) I Don’t Like Me Anymore
7.) I’m a Transvest-lite
8.) Ditch Effort
9.) Dead Beat Mom
10.) Bye Bye Biopsy Girl
11.) It Ain’t Lonely at the Bottom
12.) I’m So Sorry Tony
13.) Generation Z

Album Review: Against Me! “Shape Shift With Me”

“Shape Shift With Me”
Against Me!
Total Treble Music
Producer: Laura Jane Grace, Marc Hudson
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 our of 5 stars

Against Me! is back with their seventh studio album title “Shape Shift With Me”. Produced by front-woman Laura Jane Grace and Marc Hudson the album features 12 brand new tracks which are being released via Total Treble Music. The album is the bands first new studio album since 2014’s “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and is the follow up to the bands 2015 live album “23 Live Sex Acts”.

Against Me! have been moving at what seems like a relentless pace since the release of “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” in 2014. Between playing countless shows all around the globe, releasing a live album in 2015 and now with a new studio album to add to their resume the band seems to be firing on all cylinders. “Shape Shift With Me” further verifies that statement as the album despite clocking in at just under forty minutes bolsters quality song writing and performances which make you want to listen to this album over and over again. From the catchy choruses of “Boyfriend” and “Crash” to the seethe “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be” and the rockabilly like rumblings of “Haunting, Haunted, Haunts the album is a diverse yet cohesive listen that grows on you the more and more you listen to it.

Though the latest offering from the band didn’t grab me right away like their two previous studio releases “Shape Shift With Me” over timed seeped into my senses and after a few full listens I found it to be the only thing I wanted to hear when it came time for some listening enjoyment. Don’t let the albums brief run time or the redundant opening track “ProVision L-3” sway your first responses as this is an album that needs a little breathing time and requires more than one or two listens before it settles in but, once it does it will quickly become a favorite.

Track Listing:
1.) ProVision L-3
2.) 12:03
3.) Boyfriend
4.) Crash
5.) Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be
6.) 333
7.) Haunting, Haunted, Haunts
8.) Dead Rats
9.) Rebecca
10.) Norse Truth
11.) Suicide Bomber
12.) All This (And More)