365 Albums In One Year

I actually liked the big Nickleback album back in the day. I think I had been listening to too much Paradise Lost and was rebelling against myself.

Brave New World - Iron Maiden
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: The Wickerman/Ghost Of Navigator/Brave New World

The Steve, Bruce and Adrian penned track opens the album announcing triumphantly the return to form from the British legends, and what a way to open the album, not a masterpiece but an amazing song killer riff and Bruce sounds really strong. Fading out allowing for the entry of the Ghost Of The Navigator which has an opening riff which could easily be off SIT/SSOASS in terms of guitar tone, heavier than the previous track Bruce sings slower, a miniature epic track. It doesn't feel like as much time has passed since FOTD was released the band sounds fresh and strong. The solo section picking the pace up is a welcomed shift before the album closes off and the title track comes in calmly. Bruce sings in a stop and go fashion at the beginning before the song picks up and his vocals become soaring chorus while not the worst kind of repetition Maiden has done is repeated a little too often, however a really strong deliver of the chorus makes it almost negligible, quite strong solos.

The Wickerman - 9/10
Ghost Of The Navigator - 8.5/10
Brave New World - 8/10
Side 1 - 25.5/30

Side 2: Blood Brothers/The Mercenary/Dream Of Mirrors

The second side begins with a calm guitar intro, before Bruce comes in singing softly before an erupting chorus of classic Maiden proportions. The repetition fits this chorus as the song soars, the guitar solo is amazing and the "think we've used all our chances..." section is absolutely brilliant. The Mercenary bursts in as soon as Blood Brothers ends, the great guitar tone is here once again. Bruce delivers some strong vocals, he clearly has aged from his 80s siren vocals but his mature sounding voice does an amazing job, the solo comes in where you'd expect it but without any warning transitioning into the second one soon after delivering a great and abrupt ending to the song. Dream of Mirrors comes in calm and a much longer track overall, the chorus is fairly unique and is a nice swap from the title repetition of previous songs. A song which has moments of absolute greatness and others where I can feel its length, I suspect it will grow on me.

Blood Brothers - 10/10
The Mercenary - 9/10
Dream Of Mirrors - 8.5/10
Side 2 - 27.5/30

Side 3: The Fallen Angel/The Nomad

A heavy riff which sounds quite familiar opens up side 3, the Fallen Angel rises Bruce delivers some exceptional vocals as always, the band delivers an outright amazing short rocker, Adrian and Steve did wonders on this track. The second 9 minute track of the album follows in suit with a nearly stop and go style intro, varying vocal styles throughout and some nice solos from all three of the guitarists. Following the solos the band lets an instrumental section ensue

The Fallen Angel - 10/10
The Nomad - 9.5/10
Side 3 - 19.5/20

Side 4: Out Of The Silent Planet/The Thin Line Between Love And Hate

Side 4 opens with a very space feeling intro which makes sense based on the title of the track transferring to almost acoustic before heavy drum work like a machine gun puts an end to it all. A heavily harmonized chorus once again adds variety to the song while fitting in the theme. A nice solo. Finishing with a slowed chorus it leads the way for the heavy riff of the final track on the album to come in allowing for the listener to know something bit is about to happen before it shifts faster. Layered vocals come in again, odd delivery but it works, the part with clean vocals is absolutely amazing with solos everywhere an excellent end to the album

Out Of The Silent Planet - 8/10
The Thin Line Between Love And Hate - 10/10
Side 4 - 18/20

Overall - Guitar work is top notch on the album, and Bruce delivers an amazing vocal performance, some songs go on a little too long or just miss a small piece which would make them essentially perfect. Overall a great comeback album

Overall 90%

Album 124/365

1. The Future Of Warfare - I miss the old ass-kicking, bombardment of musical destruction that Sabaton put into openers like "Ghost Division", "Night Witches", and "The Lion From The North", but this is a very solid effort nonetheless. The verse, reminiscent of "Stalingrad", leads into a big, sturdy chorus that I've come to really like. It doesn't blow me away, but this ode to the tank is a strong song nonetheless. 8/10

2. Seven Pillars Of Wisdom - Love the drum opening to this one, before barreling into a rewrite of "White Death". It's a fun song, but I have two qualms with it. Firstly, Lawrence of Arabia is the subject matter... doesn't he deserve something more "epic"? I know this is Sabaton we're talking about, but still. Secondly, instead of listening to this one, I could just go and listening to "White Death". So, with that in mind, this is a fun song but hardly the band's best outing as far as the songwriting goes. The solo is absolutely awesome though. 7/10

3. 82nd All The Way - The fade in opening and resulting riff are pretty cool, and then the verse is just "7734". Sort of like "Seven Pillars", Alvin York deserved a bit better of a song than this one, I think. It's little more than a traditional Sabaton rocker. The title was a bit of a misnomer; would've been interested in hearing an actual song about the 82nd Airborne Division. The chorus has been stuck in my head all day though, so it's far from a bad song. Just weaker than it could've been. 7/10

4. The Attack Of The Dead Men - An opening shot at the battlefield before that riff kicks in and this one kicks an enormous amount of ass. I love the keyboard that flits in and out of this song, very reminiscent of Rammstein and acting as the audible representation of the gas. The verse is reminiscent of the ones that were on The Last Stand, and it's very serviceable. Darkened pre-chorus leads to a not so anthemic chorus, but one that works perfectly in the context of the situation. The dead come back to life and kick the Germans in the arse! The solo is great too, and as a whole, this song is the first to reach the hallowed halls of greatness that Sabaton constantly strive for. 9/10

5. Devil Dogs - "Devil Dogs", to me, is a name that deserves a song with fire and punch, aggression, speed, etc. We kind of got it with this one, but... it's just a rewrite of "Smoking Snakes", with some extra bits of "Aces In Exile" thrown in. I love the opening lines of the verse, the rest of this is a bit stale for the Sabaton canon. I wouldn't even say it's average, but it's bordering. Kudos for the "sons of bitches" line because that's a really cool moment in an otherwise less-than-spectacular song. 6/10

6. The Red Baron - The opening here is keyboard reminiscent of the style used by a lot of '70s hard rock bands, and it's not the first thing I expected from a song about the fuckin' Red Baron. That said, it does give off a 1910's sort of vibe in a way, and the way it rolls into the verse is epic. The rest of this song smacks of "Night Witches", one of my favorite Sabaton songs, and it doesn't even come close to toping it. That said, I like the song anyway. It's very fun, Joakim's "And he's flyin'--" pieces are great, and the guitar in this song, mostly hidden under the persistent keyboard, sounds fantastic. It's good for sure, but not one of the band's all-time greats. 8/10

7. Great War - The opening choir here reminds me a lot of the chorus to "Attero Dominatus", yet it's as epic as that song was. Joakim has a quieter opening verse in which he acts the part of the common soldier within the Great War. Things get wild in the chorus, which is fast becoming one of my favorites from the band's entire discography. I really like how it sort of feels like the band is also talking about their time on tour, growing almost tiring at times. Am I the only one who gets that impression? Regardless, this song is a monster and I love it. My personal favorite from the album and a kick-ass composition certainly. 10/10

8. A Ghost In The Trenches - Coming in with the second line to the chorus, this song wastes no time at throwing down what's about to happen at the listener's feet and begging them to pay heed. The way the lines in the verses and pre-chorus are cut feels unique in Sabaton's discography. The chorus itself is a lot of fun, and along with the rest of the song, paints a picture of a ghostly soldier running from trench to trench alone, picking off the enemy that dares come towards him. I do have a big issue with one part of the song, however: the end of the instrumental section. What were they thinking there? It sounds like a poor attempt at carnival music and is a blah moment on a pretty strong song. I'm docking a point because of it, but otherwise this is a very good song. 8/10

9. Fields Of Verdun - Drums kick off this fiery song before the guitar rips into the listener's ears... and the battle has begun! This song is pretty typical Sabaton stuff but hell, they really make it work so well. It's frantic, it's bombarding, it's a gripping first single for the release. I love the chorus, with all their rhyming and stuff, they just make it sound so good. The end of the bridge as well, with Joakim and the unholy chorus just bellowing out the lines in a rapid machine-gun-fire-esque way is awesome. And then the solo to top it off! Another song that I think is absolutely perfect. Killer, killer stuff. 10/10

10. The End Of The War To End All Wars - An untypical opening for the Sababois. Piano and orchestra? Didn't expect that. And the orchestra sticks around even as the song plunges into a skull-crushing riff. Joakim's verses here feel so raw, frantic, and yet determined, it's great. The lower pre-chorus leading into more orchestra, this is the sort of thing I wish they expanded upon for the whole album. Oh well, regardless I love this one. And the lyrics to the verses are awesome. A choir comes in for the chorus and it's just so good. Where some may not like this more cinematic approach at songwriting, I love it. Again, the sort of thing I wish Sabaton had done more of throughout the whole album. It's just a fucking amazing stab in the dark at trying something new and exciting, and it pays off in spades. Possibly their most epic song ever. 10/10

11. In Flanders Fields - Nothing like Sabaton have ever written before. Because, well, this isn't a Sabaton song, really. It's a choir taking John McCrae's iconic poem and bringing it to life, and it's a great ending to the album. Pretty wonderful recreation. I'm not assigning a rating though because again, it's not really a Sabaton song.

Like I've been droning on for some time, The Great War doesn't feel complete as far as the album as a whole goes. Greatest Hits Of The Great War may have been a better title for it. Still, the songs on here are all decent to great, which helps it a lot. It isn't up there with the best work the band have done, but it is a very solid release and I enjoy listening to it a lot. Now let's see where the war machine heads next...

Rating: 83%

M.S.G - McAuley Schenker Group
Format: CD/Digital

Eve - Opening up with some nice riffing, Robin sings low before rising in his register. Raspy vocals coat this track, Schenker unleashes a nice solo with the band backing him up nicely. Religious symbolism throughout, a really good opening track. - 8.5/10

Paradise - Track two opens with a mini solo before settling into a mid-paced track McAuley sings, the vocal delivery becomes more poppy on this track while the musicality remains on the balance between metal and pop-rock. -8/10

When I'm Gone - A calm opening leads into another midpaced ballad, chorus is upbeat while the verses are calm featuring simple playing behind Robins crying vocals, for some reason Robins vocals despite being quite strong don't convey the emotions of the song which honestly would make this song absolutely amazing - 8/10

This Broken Heart - Another poppier track, well delivered but not quite the same quality of the previous three tracks. - 7.5/10

We Believe In Love - Shifting back to another ballad, musically and vocally there truely is nothing wrong with the song it just lacks that one little thing which once again would skyrocket it to being a great song. The solo and bridge come in at a point where frankly I feel like the song could have ended just fine - 7.5/10

Crazy - Getting crunchier, gang style vocals in conjunction with McAuley singing alone. At times reaching towards commercial but the track works, quite enjoyable with some great vocal performances. - 7.5/10

Invincible - This song sounds like it could a Motley Crue track, it would have made a good Crue track the band does a fairly good job on it but it doesn't really stand out too much. -7.5/10

What Happens To Me - Another slower song, Robin's vocals are quite clean on this track, his clean vocals suit the track quite well, Schenker solos a bit in the background as the song transitions between acoustic and electric. - 8/10

Lonely Nights - Once again a track which screams Motley Crue, mainly because of Robin's vocals, a nice beat which fits the song, Schenkers solo is fairly good, starting off slowly before he shreds away. -7.5/10

This Night Is Gonna Last Forever - Solos open the song with harmonized guitar work before Robin comes in over calm acoustic guitar, gang vocals return but much calmer than before. Schenker lets out some nice connective guitar licks between verses and the chorus. Another enjoyable track but nowhere near mindblowing - 7/10

Never Ending Nightmare - Majestic and haunting, the acoustic guitar of Schenker spells out doom and Robin singing is so pained, a dark track closing off the record in style. - 10/10

Overall - 79%

Saint & Sinners - Whitesnake
Format: CD/Digital

Young Blood - A quick track which clearly shows the direction Whitesnake will be taking over the next few records. Gone are the blues of the previous album and in is the more commercial rocking. The only thing that makes this not feel like it could be off Slide It In, are Coverdale's lower vocals, he hasn't tried singing high over the band quite yet. A rather solo nice from Marsden. - 8.5/10

Rough An' Ready - That intro riff is definitely recycled on 1987 not quite sure where it is but I've heard that riff before. That being said it is a catchy riff with Coverdale singing about chasing women cause what else could a singer in the 80s sing about... A short and fairly direct track which could have been a nice vehicle for some solos - 8/10

Blood Luxury - The first song where any of the blues influence is felt, but it is fairly subdued. Lord's keyboards are featured more on this track than the previous ones. A nice guitar solo ensues and Paice's drums keep going in the background. - 8/10

Victim Of Love - Call and answer intro allows for Coverdale to let loose some nice more recognizable vocals. His voice soaring over the band, once the song really gets going the blues comes back for the chorus, fairly repetitive chorus but overall another enjoyable song from the band. -7.5/10

Crying In The Rain - The band goes full blues on the original version of Crying In The Rain, amazing opening lines, quite stripped back compared to the massive version on 1987. Coverdale's vocal delivery holds this version back more than the stripped down approach. A strong track which has so much potential. Personally I prefer the rerecorded version over this one. - 9/10

Here I Go Again - The bands classic anthem comes in but in a different way than most know, this version is still great, having the heartache sung effortlessly from Coverdale in the intro of Lord's keys, delivered in a way which makes it similar enough to the radio staple but still vastly different a great rendition. - 9/10

Love An' Affection - Going back into the more direct fashion, holding over the groove from the bluesier tracks, very sexualized. A decent track. - 7/10

Rock An' Roll Angels - Harmonized vocals and more direct than the previous track, with a weak uninspired chorus, as the track progresses it gets slightly better but it doesn't really excel. - 7/10

Dancing Girls - Continuing on the trend of returning to a more rock oriented approach, the chorus is repetitive and not the strongest. - 7.5/10

Saints An' Sinners - The title track closes off the album, and is a really good combination of the blues and rocking featured on the album. All band members maintain writing credits on this track. A fantastic way to end the album. - 8.5/10

Overall 80%

The Open Door - Evanescence
Format: CD/Digital

Sweet Sacrifice - A symphonic esc song with some lower guitar work, Amy's vocals suit the material quite well. Short and to the point it opens the album with a mid paced rocker. - 8/10

Call Me When You're Sober - Piano and Amy solo open this next track before the band comes in removing changing from the ballad it could have been into the rocker, a song regarding a relationship falling apart, fairly dynamic despite the songs relatively short length. A natural progression from the first album. - 8.5/10

Weight Of The World - This song is where the band gets everything together, dynamic like the second track, with the darker subject matter in regards to feeling overwhelmed. A haunting track at times with amazing execution. - 10/10

Lithium - The first ballad, dark but so beautiful. Amy's way to describing the acceptance of internal numbness while using it to fuel the creation of something beautiful. Haunting with some great high notes. - 10/10

Cloud Nine - More upbeat and more industrial sounding. This one doesn't pull me in quite as much as the last 4, but Amy does a good vocal delivery and the band compliments her well. - 7.5/10

Snow White Queen - A heavily orchestrated intro leads into calm vocals from Amy, but once the chorus comes in the song no longer is calm as Amy cries out to the heavens, a very subdued track outside of the chorus, but it works oh so well. - 8.5/10

Lacrymosa - Faint military style drums in the background as strings are heard in the forefront, Amy sings calmly over it all, operatic and heavily orchestrated, a clear indicator of their most recent project at the time of this review. While not breaking from something you would expect from the band it is a completely new direction from the previous tracks. - 8.5/10

Like You - Another calm song, this one doesn't stand out, it doesn't have the high notes of Lithium, or the heavy orchestration of Lacrymosa. Or the killer chorus of Snow White Queen. It is calm and subdued throughout without much reaching out to pull you in until really close to the end of the song where it picks up. - 7/10

Lose Control - Piano introduces the next song, backing vocals are heard wordlessly singing as the band comes in and Amy sings low and darkly. The song picks up but once again falls back down into the almost buried vocals and wordless singing. - 7.5/10

The Only One - Another slower track, I wish the album had a couple rockers sprinkled throughout, Amy does a great job as always and the band delivers this track well but the songs are running together and they don't have enough difference in sound to keep my attention. - 8/10

Your Star - Another piano ballad this one hasn't ever connected with me, when I heard it live it didn't do anything for me either. Amy sings calmly with long drawn out notes which grow higher as they progress. The band plays similar to what they've done before. - 6.5/10

All That I'm Living For - Slightly more upbeat while still having the band mostly in the background. Amy's voice remains the centerpiece of the song, a little more variety should be included. - 7.5/10

Good Enough - The album closes off with a final piano ballad, in the vein of My Immortal it stays a low calm ballad, orchestral backing helps the song convey the emotion of the track. I wish it wasn't following such a long feeling album. - 8/10

Overall 81%

A Dying Machine - Tremonti
Format: CD/Digital

Bringer Of War - Militant drum beats lead into a guitar assault led by Mark Tremonti, he comes in singing lower than I'm used to (Only really know his AB stuff). Harmonized vocals with a clean chorus. The verse vocals feel like they drone on at times. But the chorus Mark sings quite upbeat and it really improves the listen. - 8/10

From The Sky - Mark sings cleaner from the start on this track and it has a better first vocal impression as a result, a nice solo, guitar work is driving but very large sounding. - 8/10

A Dying Machine - The title track comes in heavy riffing his vocals are quite dynamic and fit well into the more aggressive form of the songs thus far, the chorus is further back, the sections with clean vocals and non-thrash style guitar work pull me in while the heaviest sections do stray away from my preferences. - 8.5/10

Trust - An uplifting sounding track, building then calm once again throughout, the chorus is fairly catchy. - 8.5/10

Throw Them To The Lions - Upbeat and heavy once again, Mark sings fairly clean and the verses have varying speeds of delivery. A wicked solo ensues with rapid drums backing it. - 8/10

Make It Hurt - Continuing from the previous track feeling like a continuation with some nice vocals but the guitar is just backing as a wall of sound. - 7.5/10

Traipse - Acoustic work opens the next song, Mark sings really well over his calm guitar, picking up for the chorus before dropping back down somewhat. - 8/10

The First And The Last - Beginning slowly the track begins picking up the pace while staying subdued, Mark sings amazingly over the track. Erupting on the second chorus the track remains very commercial and it clicks for me. - 9/10

A Lot Like Sin - Going harder again Mark delivers another solid rocking track. An upbeat chorus with some heavy wall of sound guitar work. - 8/10

The Day When Legions Burned - A short drum intro leads into a quick and aggressive riff. Mark delivers the lyrics quickly and each word is short and to the point. Lacking a true solo section the song is quick and direct - 7.5/10

As The Silence Becomes Me - Clean guitars open up another of the albums 5 singles. Mark sings clearly with some fairly soaring vocals from his mid ranged voice. - 8/10

Take You With Me - I quite enjoy this commercial track, high energy and straightforwards the song has some great vocals from Mark and great soloing. - 9/10

Desolation - Another calm beginning leads into, the most unique sounding track on the album and overall a solid track. - 8/10

Found - Closing out the album is an instrumental track, ominous and building at the start, not entirely sure why it was used to close off the album and it goes on a little too long without really amounting to anything big. It doesn't really serve a purpose so I'm not counting it towards the ratings. N/A

Overall 81%

While the majority of the album isn't exactly my style musically it is quite good and every song is enjoyable.
So life has been stupidly busy and basically is supposed to be so till the end of the year meaning that it is rather unlikely for me to actually complete this. That being said I will still try to.


Pump - Aerosmith
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Young Lust/F.I.N.E/Love In An Elevator/Money On My Back/Janies Got A Gun
A heavier beat opens up the final 80s album from the American rock legends. Quick paced with group style vocals and Steven letting loose some early screams, the speed is unreal by comparison to what they have done before. Dynamic in a short time with some slower instrumental portions amongst the fast paced rocker. Chorus could be a little stronger but this song has so much energy it doesn't really pull it down, Perry's solo is short and sweet also the ending could easily segue into a drum solo. Song 2 comes in slower but with a well done groove from Hamilton. Not as strong as the opener but still having an aspect of enjoyability, instrumentally quite strong the lyrics are classic Aerosmith and delivered in a nice way but overall the song is decent. An interlude comes in next before the band launches into a radio staple in the raunchy Love In An Elevator comes in, Steven doesn't even bother trying to hide his sexual experiences with this classic track. A midpaced track with a great sing-a-long chorus and some solid trading guitar solos. A fantastic track throughout. An anti-drug track comes in next slowly with some distorted vocals off the bat from Tyler before a strong drumbeat and some interesting guitar work comes in. Not on par with the 3 that had come before the band does an admirable job as the song is enjoyable but not nearly as well put together as the rest of the ones on the first side of the album. Side 1 closes off with the brutal Janies Got A Gun, a monstrous ballad about incest and murder, Tyler delivers the darkness incredibly well in his vocals and the band exemplifies the darkness. An amazing solo with some wicked screams.

Young Lust - 8.5/10
F.I.N.E - 7.5/10
Love In An Elevator - 9/10
Money On My Back - 6.5/10
Janies Got A Gun - 10/10
Side 1 - 41.5/50

Side 2: The Other side/My Girl/Don't Get Mad, Get Even/Voodoo Medicine Man/What It Takes
A quick acoustic intro leads into side 2's opening track, a mid paced track which maintains the lighter guitar sound. Tylers singing is good as always, enjoyable but not outstanding. The band however does a great job and is clearly riding their comeback which started with the previous album quite well and they give a good performance. The second track is another good faster track, good beat throughout with some gang style vocals. Track 3 opens with synths before some harmonica comes in. A stomping beat is delivered by the bass drum of Kramer, the title of the song is said and the band comes in. Tyler lets loose and delivers some classic demon screams. An ominous intro track leads into the bands track regarding Voodoo, a really good intro for such a track, dynamic with some killer drum work. Bass and guitar has a strong groove as Tyler alternates between screams and low vocals. A really nice track which I had never heard before. The album closes off with a ballad, Steven sings beautifully and the chorus is powerful. A song about how to move on from a breakup essentially the opposite of their smash hit I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing. A slightly less commercial ballad with a nice solo and amazing delivery from the band.

The Other side - 7.5/10
My Girl - 7.5/10
Don't Get Mad, Get Even - 8/10
Voodoo Medicine Man - 8.5/10
What It Takes - 10/10
Side 2 - 41.5/50

Overall the album is a really good listen start to finish, incredibly enjoyable despite some of the songs being of lower caliber than the others. Killer ballads and some nice deep cuts on the album among the commerical tracks.

Overall 83%
Another band which I feel like the production of their time held them back.


Beggars Banquet - Rolling Stones
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Sympathy For The Devil/No Expectations/Dear Doctor/Parachute Woman/ Jigsaw Puzzle
A calm but instantly recognizable intro kicks off the Stones ninth album on US shores. Jagger sings as the devil in this late 60s rock classic. For the time I'm sure this track would have raised several eyebrows. So much potential to be a roaring epic if it was produced in a modern studio. More calm acoustic work opens the second track, the guitar work is simple yet so effective the sounds of what could be old swing sets in the background, a soothing ballad which Jagger delivers quite well vocally. Continuing on the slower side the next track comes in with paired vocals from Keith and Mick, not as good of a ballad as the previous track. Vocally the two don't do it for me and the track remains average. A steady beat short and sweet the followup track doesn't offer anything which really stands out. Side 1 closes with another longer track, Jigsaw puzzle more into what I would expect from the band. It is more upbeat with some nice noticeable guitar work. A pleasant side closer.

Sympathy For The Devil - 9/10
No Expectations - 8.5/10
Dear Doctor - 7/10
Parachute Woman - 6/10
Jigsaw Puzzle - 8/10
Side 1 - 38.5/50

Side 2: Street Fighting Man/Prodigal Son/Stray Cat Blues/Factory Girl/Salt Of The Earth
The most upbeat song thus far opens up side 2, the short and direct an acoustic guitars work quite well on this track. This would make for quite the enjoyable live track fading out before the next track comes in another acoustic and calm track with an upbeat nature however the track does next to nothing for me, except pass the time. Going electric the band leads into a bluesier track with a dark undertone throughout, the lyrics are regarding sex with underaged groupies and Mick delivers the vocals quite well. The electric guitar returns to its case as the band goes acoustic for Factory Girl a super short track with some nice fiddle work among other different instruments, pleasant. Closing out the album, Keith opens the song delivering some really nice vocals, remaining acoustic Mick comes in and the two singing conflicts with each other causing the enjoy-ability of the song to go down but at times the song shines through quite well.

Street Fighting Man - 9/10
Prodigal Son - 6/10
Stray Cat Blues - 8/10
Factory Girl - 7/10
Salt Of The Earth - 7.5/10
Side 2 - 37.5/50

Overall a rather boring album due to the sheer onslaught of midpaced/slow acoustic songs. It has some great highlights in the two side openers but other times it isn't that great.

Overall 76%
If you want something done properly . . .

Virgin Steele - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Part I (1994)

I Will Come for You - Pretty unconvincing to start with, but picks up well enough into a solid rocker. 8

Weeping of the Spirits
- Wasn't a big fan at first, but it's definitely grown on me since then. 8.5

Blood and Gasoline
- IMO this is one of the quintessential VS tunes, featuring the usual mix of noodly guitar and pseudo-classical piano. The mid-section also happens to be a bloody good sing-a-long. 9

Self Crucifixion
- For a song released in '94, it swaggers along in a very 80s fashion. Arguably it takes this a bit far, but it certainly works. 8.5

Last Supper
- Initially it's a bit of a step down from the preceding tracks, but it does pick up in the middle. 8

Warrior's Lament/Trail of Tears
- There's nothing wrong with the two-and-a-bit minute interlude part here, but it doesn't strike me as being entirely necessary either. As for the other half of this equation, it takes a while to get going (seems to be a theme developing) with its kinda-sorta rocker shtick, but the step-up in the middle doesn't really materialise. 7

The Raven Song - DeFeis et al try turning the tempo up a tad for this one. It kinda works, but the weak start/strong mid format seems to have been reversed here. 7.5

Forever Will I Roam
- Get your lighter out, it's power ballad time. There's an above average slab of guitar noodling, but ultimately it's pretty generic. 6

I Wake up Screaming
- Another stab at a little rock 'n' roll swagger here. It's a bit patchy, but when it works it does so in a convincing manner. 7

House of Dust
- Another ballad? It's another case of guitar solo to the rescue. 6

Blood of the Saints
- Ah, we revisit the underwhelming start/strong mid-section format. 7.5

Life Among the Ruins
- Ditto, but with a weaker main riff and more prog-ey mid-section. Chorus is good though. 7

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
- Remember the middle bit from this album's opener? Prepare to hear it again. No rating

Come on, it wasn't that bad

Virgin Steele - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Part II (1996)

A Symphony of Steele - An unconvincing intro eventually stumbles into a solid little rocker, garnished with appropriately cheesy synth horns. Great chorus, and the first guitar solo has a slight Queen-esque quality to it. 8

Crown of Glory
- Oh yeah. It's epic but not bloated, it's proggy without being self-indulgent. A great blend of musicianship and headbanging. 9

From Chaos to Creation/Twilight of the Gods
- Forgive me for repeating myself, but once again we find a meh interlude that doesn't really add anything. Part 2 is another decent, perfectly listenable rocker. 7.5

Rising Unchained
- Similar recipe and tempo to the preceding tracks, but for whatever reason it's not as consistent here. The pre-chorus in particular falls a bit flat. Also contains a cringey spoken word bit in the middle. 7

- Hmm, this seems interesting, I wonder what's . . . it's another power ballad. Admittedly, it's better done than those on the previous album, in that I don't have to put the kettle on while waiting for the chorus/solo. 7

Prometheus the Fallen One
- An eastern-tinged intro leads into a fantastic long-form headbanger sprinkled with VS signature usage of piano. The chorus is a little jarring on first listen, but that's about it. 9

- I'm all for recycling, but copying the middle bit from the track immediately beforehand and expanding it into a 9-minute epic is pushing it. That said, and as much as I might want to criticise it for that fact, it is another brilliant track. 9

- Ugh. Always two ballads there are, no more and no less. It does at least have the decency to not go full high-fructose-corn-syrup. 6

- Here we find the 'ardest song on the album. The band harks back to their USPM origins here, and god damn does it work. 8.5

Unholy Water
- Regular service has been resumed, and in a handy fashion. Arguably it uses the same ingredients as Crown of Glory, and this time around the result is merely quite good. 8

Victory is Mine - Ah yes, it's that-one-other-Virgin-Steele-song-the-average-metalhead-may-just-have-heard. Compared to the keyboard-rich tunes populating most of the album, this one sounds a little . . . shallow? For whatever reason my ears aren't being filled to quite the same degree. Still a good song. 8

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Revisited
- Hey, you remember the short instrumental of basically the same name on the previous album? hope you liked it, because here it is again with some extra sonic filler. No rating


The Razors Edge - AC/DC
Format: CD/Digital

Thunderstruck - A radio staple and argueably one of AC/DC's most well known songs, and easily in the best of the post Back in Black era. Brian delivers a killer vocal, and the Youngs are absolute geniuses with their power chords and rhythm. The backing end is done expertly and the song drives onward with some nice growls and screeches from Johnson. The song just holds so much energy it isn't even a particularly fast track but it has the catchy chorus and sing a long lyrics with enough energy to make you feel like you're listening to a faster more upbeat track. - 10/10

Fire Your Guns - More upbeat but lacking the energy of the previous track this short rocker lets the drums come in heavier driving the pace, Brian maintains the growl/screech style vocals which has become attributed to AC/DC's sound. A nice solo is the clear standout in this decent track. - 7/10

Money Talks - Another driving beat comes in another sing a long style track, mid paced not a masterpiece but quite an enjoyable track to listen. Simple guitar work with another strong vocal performance from Brian. It is a song just like this that 10 years ago had me hating AC/DC and essentially any rock band. But times have changed and I appreciate the tongue and cheek lyrics enough to listen to the muscianship behind it all. - 8/10

The Razors Edge - A building intro leads into the title track, a track which doesn't have the upbeat carefree nature of AC/DC off the start instead having a dark ominous feel to it. Brian's open vocals are fantastic. A nice shift in feeling from a band known for not changing their style. The outro is full of soloing from Angus. - 9/10

Mistress For Christmas - Christmas bells comes in as the band begins singing a rock n roll christmas carol, slow from the start, the band is requesting that they receive a mistress at christmas (I know shocking based on the title). A decent solo ensues and the band returns to asking for something that knowing the rocker lifestyle is already occurring. Overall a subpar track... - 6.5/10

Rock Your Heart Out - The band picks up the pace slightly with this rather subdued track, with some more electric section but throughout the verses Angus is barely heard. That is until the solo section where he comes in and makes up for his subdued performance. As a whole the package lacks something but it has its moments - 7.5/10

Are You Ready - A calm intro is broken by the band asking the listener "Are you ready?". A nice change in style but the song isn't amazing by any means. It could have been a decent opener for the concert tour but AC/DC already caught lightning in a bottle for the albums opener - 7.5/10

Got You By The Balls - Midpaced and unremarkable. - 6/10

Shot Of Love - Shifting to a more upbeat track, Angus has some nice licks throughout the track. And Brian sings well. Beat is good and consistent. Not close to some of the earlier tracks but still an enjoyable track to hear throughout. - 7.5/10

Lets Make It - Slowing down again the band returns to the uninspired sounding rock. Honestly AC/DC post Back In Black became a bit of a hits band which is 100% fine but sometimes cutting an album a little shorter and removing the excess songs would be more beneficial. - 6.5/10

Goodbye And Good Riddance to Bad Luck - Slightly better but still a track I would consider to be filler. Brian delivers vocally which has been very consistent throughout the album but the band doesn't feel inspired. - 7/10

If You Dare - The album closer brings back the energy the band had been lacking the past few tracks, short and to the point the band delivers a quick rocker to close it all off with nice soloing and vocals. - 7.5/10

Overall 75%

This would be much better with 2-3 less tracks...

Queensryche (EP) - Queensryche
Format: Digital/Youtube (Blinded)

Queen Of The Reich - A killer track, absolutely amazing wails from Geoff along with absolutely amazing guitar work, when I saw the band live they closed with this track and wow does it translate incredibly well. Speedy with a great solo and quick vocals. - 10/10

Nightrider - Another amazing quick paced track, only real downsides are the two lower screams which frankly to my ears don't fit the song fully higher vocals would have been much better suited for the song itself. Amazing intro and heavy throughout - 9/10

Blinded - Crunchy off the start, nice riffing as well, and a solo immediately following the intro makes way for Geoff to come in. The backing sounds similar to Nightrider. Not quite as strong as the previous two tracks but wow is it still a great track. Vocally quite strong as most early Queensryche tracks tend to be. - 8/10

The Lady Wore Black - An eerie intro leads into the bands first ballad/epic track, majestic and powerful the band. Geoff sings beautifully and that riff as the chorus comes in is amazing. The high soaring vocals complimenting it quite nicely. A fantastic track. - 10/10

Overall 93%

'74 Jailbreak - AC/DC
Format: CD/Digital

Jailbreak - A raw sounding riff signals the start of a song written for the Austrailian version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Mid tempo with some decent backing vocals from the band. A song which could really have been a welcome addition to the fairly boring album, the song's tempo is consistent but it has a feeling that it could explode at any point. - 7.5/10

You Ain't Got A Hold On Me - The first of 4 tracks on the Austrailian High Voltage album which from some quick research was very much a different album than we got in North America. Midpaced with a catchy groove it shows the band not really taking many risks at all but instead keeping a unique sound pulled back, almost ballad like with a nice chorus. - 7.5/10

Show Business - More upbeat with the raw sounding vocals from Bon, Angus' guitar sounds much more prominent at times and the song as a whole sounds incredibly retro. Angus lets out some small solos throughout and it really is a sign of what is to come from the band later on in their career with the guitarist letting out unreal solos on stage. - 7.5/10

Soul Stripper - The longest track on the EP, and the Austrailian album as well, continuing the slower trend of the album this track has some nice little teases from Angus in the opening and Bon comes in singing calmly. The song quickly picks up the pace a dynamic early track which is quite strong but is just missing something to bring it to the level of the masterpiece it could have become - 9/10

Baby, Please Don't Go - The final track on the album is the would-be opener of the Austrailian album and a cover track. The most upbeat track on the album with a really nice guitar lick throughout. Bon sings upbeat throughout. A rather good track. - 8/10

Overall 79%

Dance Of Death - Iron Maiden
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Wildest Dreams/Rainmaker/No More Lies
Once counted in the band launches into the first single of the album, Bruce delivers a strong vocal in the verse but the chorus is frankly weak. The band delivers the punchy track with some nice guitar work in the back among the Rhythm. The solo is really well done and makes up for the weak chorus. Bruce lets out a nice cry in the bridge and the chorus comes in slightly better than before. All in all not a bad way to open the an album but clearly a flawed track. Continuing on the short and direct approach another single from the album follows up, Rainmaker, Chorus is delivered better than the previous track and the verses are still well delivered by Bruce. The song feels like a radio single but doesn't feel like Maiden is geared too far towards commercial. Solo isn't quite as impressive as the previous track but the interlude guitar work throughout is great. The first epic of the album closes off side 1 of the album. Bruce comes in over the calm band with low vocals the song slowly builds in the background clearly preparing to explode as the chorus comes in the band does this. Very repetitive but following the first chorus the band stays in delivering some aggressive riffing behind Bruce's mid ranged vocals. Wow is this song strong outside of the chorus a really strong track as a whole but the Chorus is far too repetitive albeit the second and third chorus are stronger than the first.

Wildest Dreams - 7.5/10
Rainmaker - 8/10
No More Lies - 9/10
Side 1 - 24.5/30

Side 2: Montségur/ The Dance Of Death/Gates Of Tomorrow
Side 2 opens with a heavy riff aggressive and dark the band wastes no time as Bruce comes in menacingly singing about the assault on the fortress of the same name. Bruce is constantly singing and wow is it amazing but I completely understand why it has never been played live. Wow is this song heavy and aggressive it would have made an amazing album opener. An amazing track throughout I regret not hearing it sooner. Acoustic guitar follows up the aggressive mini-epic as the title track comes in Bruce sings less menacingly than the previous track but the feeling of danger remains. An epic track with a feeling of theater this track is an experience not just some combination of notes it is more than that. The theatrics of Maiden are heard throughout the track and Bruce delivers as always. The solos are godly and the track ascends higher than those before it. Easily a track which had it been written decades before would be held in incredibly high regard by casual fans. Short guitar work opens up the side closer like every song on this side this one is written by Harris and Gers with Dickinson (on all but title track). Bruce sings very differently than he normally does and the approach isn't quite as strong, however he comes in quite soon after with normal vocals before the chorus which compared to what has come before on this side really lacks something. Overall the song is typical Maiden weaker track, a decent track which could be a great track for nearly any band but on a Maiden album it falls short among the brilliance of the band's creations on the album. A nice solo does

Montségur - 10/10
The Dance Of Death - 10/10
Gates Of Tomorrow - 7/10
Side 2 - 27/30

Side 3: New Frontier/Paschendale/Face In The Sand
Side 3 features Nicko's writing debut as the opening track, a heavy start segues into some nice guitar work as Bruce comes in, the chorus has a nice vocal tone to it. Fairly commercial sounding with a very political lyrical basis. The bridge into the solo sounds very much like 2 minutes to midnight and the solo itself is a beauty. Overall the song's lyrics while I don't feel exactly the same way as Nicko does it is well suited by the band behind it. Another good track with a catchy chorus. Adrian's epic is next, Paschendale is one of the songs which got me into Maiden, a monstrous war epic which features the classic guitar work Adrian's shorter tracks are known for with the brutality required to convey the horrors of war. The soaring chorus is simple but effective. Beautiful solos, the entire band is unreal throughout. Face In The Sand opens with what sounds like a continuation of the title track's riff, building evidently from the very first moments. When Nicko comes in the sound just gets so much heavier. Orchestral sounding in the backing. Bruce comes in and the song takes a dark turn appropriate for the heaviness of the track, very simplistic introduction to the solos which rip out of the darkness almost like a beacon of hope before being swallowed up by the heaviness of the track once more as the final chorus comes in.

New Frontier - 8/10
Paschendale - 10/10
Face In The Sand - 9/10
Side 3 - 27/30

Side 4: Age Of Innocence/Journeyman
The albums final two tracks open with a calm intro and Bruce sings over it as such but soon it changes into a heavier tune, Bruce's vocals drone a little bit on the chorus but I think it fits it really well. The verses don't feature much to note from the band but as a whole it works out decently with a nice solo. Closing off the album is Maiden's sole fully acoustic track, the orchestral feeling returns and Bruce sings calmly over it all, chorus is a little weaker but as a whole the calm track is a nice way to close off the monstrous album, the verses are well delivered.

Age Of Innocence - 7.5/10
Journeyman - 8/10
Side 4 - 15.5/20

Overall the album has a monstrous feel to it, the epics are amazing the shorter tracks are either hit or near miss. I feel like cutting 2-3 tracks would have made this album an absolute masterpiece. Slight reworking on a couple tracks would also have worked but wow are sides 2 and 3 amazing.

Overall 85%

1984 - Van Halen
Format: CD/Digital

1984/Jump - A synth heavy intro leads into one of Van Halen's classic tracks, upbeat and catchy as all hell. A radio staple for a reason, the track is super accessible and the band does a great job. - 9/10

Panama - Another staple radio track comes in next, roaring guitars and punchy. A catchy track once again but not nearly as dated sounding as the previous track. - 9/10

Top Jimmy -A calm intro leads into a short and direct rock track. Quite forgettable in all honesty. - 6/10

Drop Dead Legs - A track which features fewer vocals and has a longer guitar interlude overall not amazing. I frankly hold the opinion that Van Halen are overrated as a whole and this track just adds to that. - 7/10

Hot For Teacher - Another staple Van Halen track comes in this one opens up less commerical than the others before transitioning into a conversation then returning to the riffing. A fast paced rocker. - 7.5/10

I'll Wait - Midpaced and overall fairly boring aside from the slow melodic solo - 6.5/10

Girl Gone Bad - Picking up the pace again the next song has a fury of guitar and drums well by Van Halen standards. - 7.5/10

House Of Pain - The album closes with an upbeat track Roths vocals aren't the greatest here but the song is better than most of what came before - 8/10

Overall 76%
Top Jimmy is some of the best Van Halen imo. Also Hot For Teacher is a 10.